The sound of feet slapping the dirt ground echoed through the dank alleyway.
A young boy, unusually short and malnourished, panted heavily as he skidded around the corner. His skinny legs fumbled beneath the weight of his body and twisted outward, sending the child to his hands and knees. Bruised hands clawed the wall of a nearby building and forced his legs to straighten. Bloody spots were left on the dirt floor from where he had collapsed.
The boy's eyes widened as he spotted the red stains on the floor. His panting increased as he hurriedly kicked the surrounding dirt onto the spots to cover them. But no matter how hard he tried; the bloodstains stared back like florescent signs.
A clanging sound echoed from the opposite side of the alleyway.
The six-year-old child looked up in raw fear and scrambled in the opposite direction. He rounded another corner and reached out a hand to catch the corner. His face scrunched up in pain as the rough texture of the building dug into his raw skin.
"Where is that demon?" a villager spat out with a disgusted undertone as he looked up and down the dark alleyway. The boy had slipped inside another alleyway that was perpendicular to the one that the mob was in.
The boy winced and lowered his head in shame. He wasn't sure why people called him that but he was well aware that they were referring to him. After many incidents of the past, he had become very familiar with being referred 'demon' that he had once believed that that was really his name.
The child held his breath as he listened to the whispers and rude yells of the villagers. The sounds soon quieted to a whisper. Footsteps padded away. Discontent mumbles and jeers followed and soon faded out.
A breath of relief escaped the young child. As the adrenaline and strive for survival was no longer needed, the boy collapsed onto his bottom.
Tears ran down from his eyes in torrents. He couldn't stop them; he didn't want to stop them.
His bloody hands were limp on the floor and he could see how bruised he was. Blood had seeped underneath his nails, darkening his nails to a frightening dark red color. His hands and arms were littered with deep cuts and raw flesh. His clothes were reduced to pathetic strips that waved like flags in the cold night breeze.
The boy's eyes turned away from the horrors of the bruises and made no move to wipe away the unstoppable tears. He leaned his head on the wall of the cramped dark alleyway and looked up into the sky.
The cool October wind brushed his face and slid down his arms. Its icy touch sent a streak of pain up his arm. Other than the slight twitch of his fingers, he made no indication that he felt the pain.
Perhaps he was too tired. Perhaps he was too numb. Perhaps he was too used to this pain.
From the boy's point of view, the October night sky was only visible in a small strip above the tall alleyway walls.
The stars shined and twinkled, as though laughing at the condition that the small child was in; especially the irony that it was his birthday.
The boy's eyes dully reflected the light of the stars above. He sighed heavily, as though the burden of the world weighed down on his frail shoulders.
Slowly, fatigue overtook the boy's body.
Naruto slowly closed his eyes and slept.
Naruto's bloodshot eyes snapped open. An icy breeze traveled from his legs up his spine. His arms folded across his chest and rubbed his arms to create some heat. He frowned and looked down at his body.
Despite the fact that he had been brutally beaten and attacked, his body was unmarred.
Naruto looked closer at his skin, which led him to discover that his surrounding was a sea of red.
High above him, the sky was a dark red, with no clouds or light to set any differences. Beneath his feet were blades of grass, dyed the color of blood. The red plain stretched out on all sides, ending to meet with the red horizon.
A light wind blew past Naruto, carrying a strange smell to his nose. It was familiar but he couldn't quite remember exactly what it was. A sliver of cold air separated and traveled down the collar of his shirt, making young Naruto shiver at the icy touch.
Naruto jumped in fright and looked around frantically, searching for the disembodied voice.
Again the whisper came, sending an involuntary shiver down Naruto's spine.
"W-Who's there?" Naruto feigned courage but his shivers betrayed him.
A vision of red surrounded by darkness, the glint of sharp fangs, a splash of water onto bare floor, and a deep growl answered him.
Naruto backed away, his thin legs shaking uncontrollably. He spun around and ran as fast as he could, but no matter how hard or fast he ran, the red tinted trees at the edge of the clearing stayed the same distance away as when he first started. Naruto slowed to a stop, knowing his efforts were useless. He bent down; his ragged pants were the only sounds in this world.
Suddenly, the splashing of water drew Naruto's attention. He looked towards the sound and found a small stream a couple of feet away. The sight of water reminded him of how thirsty he felt and also conveniently pushed away the small voice at the back of his mind that repeatedly told him that the source of water hadn't been there when he arrived. As Naruto neared, the strange smell became more distinct but that didn't deter Naruto. He kneeled down on the bank of the stream and cupped some water in his hands. He hurriedly brought it to his mouth to drink.
As soon as the liquid entered him mouth, he realized it wasn't water. It was similar to the liquid spilt when he bit his tongue during a beating or when he licked a deep wound before going to the Hokage to get healed.
It was the taste of blood. The reflection of the ruby red sky had hidden the true nature of the liquid.
Naruto quickly spat the mouthful out but the taste of blood still remained on his tongue. He looked down at his hands in shock. They were covered with blood. Naruto looked down further to discover his entire body was covered with the sticky substance.
A blurry figure materialized several feet in front of Naruto, its features hidden in the shadows of its hood. The figure extended a hand towards Naruto and made a beckoning motion. Naruto watched in amazement as the metallic liquid obeyed the figure, leaving Naruto's skin to combine together into a rotating ball in the figure's open palm.
Even though the figure's face was hidden, Naruto had a feeling it had turned its scrutiny now on him. The figure held out the rotating ball of blood towards Naruto, as though inviting him to take it.
Naruto cautiously reached out…
The morning rays danced on Naruto's eyelids. He slowly surfaced to consciousness and couldn't contain a sigh at the thought of having to live through another day with the villagers.
But things wouldn't be like that if you grew a backbone.
Naruto shot up quickly, too quickly, making his vision dissolve into pieces of red and gray. He fell back onto his pillow again to reclaim his vision but unfortunately, Lady Luck was not on his side. Naruto bumped his head on the wall at the top on his bed, fell off his bed after bumping the wall, stepped on one of his newly bought kunai, and managed to mess up his already messed up apartment even more.
After finally managing to reclaim himself, he remembered the voice that had caused all the trouble.
Naruto looked around, searching for the mysterious voice. After finding no one around, Naruto filed it under 'must-have-imagined-it' but opted to stay in bed for his own safety. It seemed that he wasn't having a good start to a day, which was all the more reason to skip school.
Are you going to spend your entire day in bed?
Naruto's eyes widened and frantically looked around.
"Who's there?" He shouted, stooping over his bed to retrieve a kunai. His house was silent.
I'm not a physical being but, I guess you could say, a spiritual being. I, once, was a physical being, the most powerful no less. I ruled the world-
"Who's there? Answer!" Naruto interrupted, his head darting from side to side in awareness.
You insolent child, how dare you cut me off? How dare you-
"Show yourself! You're trespassing on private property." Naruto tried again. His eyes darted from corner to corner. His apartment remained silent.
I order you to be quiet! I already told you that I am not in the physical plane. I am within you.
Within me? Naruto thought skeptically.
Yes within you. The voice answered with an impatient sigh.
Naruto gasped in shock.
Yes I heard your thought. I'm able to hear your thoughts because I'm locked within you. Therefore, we can contact telepathically.
Naruto remained silent on the outside. On the inside, he was teeming with questions.
Brat, clear your mind. I'll answer your questions according to importance.
Naruto sensed a change in mood. He quieted down and paid close attention to what the stranger had to say with suspicion and caution.
I am the Kyuubi no Kitsune, a bijuu of the highest order and power. I existed in the physical realm until approximately seven years old. I had…attacked Konohagakure and nearly managed to destroy it. My pride and confidence were my ultimate downfall. No one possessed the power to kill me but one man had enough power to seal me within a newborn infant. That infant was you.
Naruto stayed silent. He bowed his head in shock. He didn't know how to reply to the one whom was responsible for the torture he received since birth, the one who was responsible for him being called a demon.
Kyuubi stayed silent also, opting to leaving Naruto to organize his thoughts and new information. He had had a front row seat to the amount of beatings and torture the boy received from the villagers. He had had to suffer greatly from the mental damage the boy received.
Why have you appeared now and not earlier?
Kyuubi looked up from his musings. He had never expected the kid to ask such an innocent question instead of the barrage of blame that Kyuubi had expected.
I've never been able to contact you. The seal not only jailed me inside you but also created a barrier between us.
So how can you talk to me now?
I'm not sure. Seals aren't my specialty.
Naruto stayed silent. Kyuubi took the time to inspect the situation and his charge.
But since I'm here and I can contact you, I think it's time you learn something about yourself so you can defend yourself next time.
Kyuubi could feel Naruto's attention shift.
There's something inside you that was locked away, something that's rare and extremely valuable. Kid, what do you know about bloodlines?