Summary: Creating a jutsu is dangerous. Too bad an eleven-year-old Naruto didn't know that. AU, Naruto with MPD.
Warning: Some bad language.
Disclaimer: Not mine, apart from the parts that are.
A/N: Edited version of the prologue is now done. Thanks go to martinique, who betaed and to Duke Bonez who pointed out some mistakes in the original I really should have caught.
Naruto slept uneasily, hearing the low babbling of voices permeating through his mind, rising out of nowhere, snatches of speech-
"What makes you think I play fair?"
"I'm not interested in games, Konohamaru."
"Do you think she'd prefer the white chocolate or the dark?"
"Get out of my way."
"You shouldn't break a promise."
-that flowed around him, fluting over him and under him, past him and through him, sinking into his mind and his dreams to tug at the edges of his consciousness, his left hand twitching to a powerful rhythm that thrummed somewhere that he could sort-of-but-not-quite hear.
If he had been awake, he would have been in agony; the feeling of his chakra pools splitting into separate flows burning him up, twisting around new presences that were slowly edging in on his mind. He would have seen the tinge of red that was always in the corner of his eyes be pushed back slowly, overwhelmed by too many, too many; aching to his bones as his body was forced to adjust to an absence of easy power, forced to adjust the coils of his energy even as they split themselves again and again.
He was lucky, he was asleep, and because, although Kyuubi's chakra was being forced back from the lake of blue-and-red, the waters slowly turning just-blue, bright-blue, it still crept into his muscles and his blood and every part of his body it could ferret itself into, numbing the pain to keep its host asleep and silent. Inside a cage, a fox paced with vicious intent, but Naruto was unaware of that too; unaware of eyes staring at the fox, and then turning away as if it were no unusual sight.
Naruto was asleep, and he was missing what could have been the breaking-point of his eleven years; missing what could have finally destroyed the demon brat from inside out, the pain bubbling through him, his blood like molten fire and his nerves screaming in agony.
An eleven year old Naruto had just created what would be classed as an A-class forbidden jutsu when the next person who decided to try Naruto's jutsu ended up brain-dead and broken on the floor, his eyes glassy as he stared up at the ceiling, floating in a sea of pain. He had created lives and memories with hand seals he 'just thought looked cool'. He had changed his whole life and turned it inside-fucking-out.
It was a good thing for Naruto that Kyuubi had no desire to spend his life trapped inside a mindless container; knew that if Naruto broke he would be put to death as a risk, a danger, a potential demon returning from what the children thought as death and what the adults knew as imprisonment. Lucky. Naruto was very lucky, and he never knew just how lucky he was.
"Naruto, you failed the end of year test again," Iruka said, his voice disappointed. Naruto cringed back into his chair, unable to force his customary wide grin onto his face as Iruka sighed. Behind them, Naruto could hear the faint snickers going from one classmate to another, whispers that he wasn't meant to hear, but could hear anyway. Naruto stiffened his shoulders, and refused to turn around and see just who was laughing at him – just another form a cowardice, another hope that maybe they didn't really mean it.
Iruka stared directly into his eyes, flinching away from the hurt that Naruto was trying to hide. "Naruto," Iruka murmured, too low for any of the others to hear. "Why do you keep on trying? You can't even pull off a decent Henge and that's one of the most basic ninja skills. At this rate, you're certainly going to fail the graduation exam – you could just drop out."
"No way, Iruka-sensei!" Naruto exclaimed, although his heart was twisting at his teacher's words. "I don't give up! I'll do it next year, I promise. I'll get better."
Iruka sighed, and ruffled Naruto's hair, messing the spikes up further. "Maybe if you laid off the pranks for a while..." he said, but there was a forced note in his tone. Naruto ignored this, and grinned brightly instead.
"Maybe I'll do that," he said, but his posture clearly conveyed a 'no way', as he turned and bounced back to his seat as if nothing untoward had happened. He ignored Uchiha Sasuke's condescending look, looked away from the best in his year. His gaze caught on Haruno Sakura's, and her pretty green eyes were faintly disgusted at him and his weakness ("Nothing like Sasuke-kun," a brown-haired girl whispered smugly in her ear, and Naruto kept his smile on).
"Alright, class!" Iruka said, clapping his hands together. "You all have your reports for the year, and the results have been varied. If you want to check your standing in the class, check the noticeboard outside."
Naruto didn't need to check. He knew exactly where he'd be – second-last, just above Osamu Kenshin who'd dropped out to train as a blacksmith under his grandfather. It was a pity, because Kenshin had pretty much been the only sop to Naruto's pride; the thought that he wasn't actually the very last in class.
"It's been a pleasure – or not, for some of you; Kiba, please stop barking at Akamaru – to have taught you this year. You have a one month holiday and I hope to see you all back next year." Iruka looked around the rest of the class, a faint smile on his face as several perked up under his gaze. "While not all of you will return for your last year at the academy, I wish you all well. Class dismissed."
There were shouts of glee as people scrambled for the door, several jumping over desks in their hurry, elbowing through the crush. "Wait 'til I tell Dad about my report," one boy cheered as he left, and his friend high-fived him. Naruto scowled at their backs, and picked up his bag. Iruka seemed like he was going to say something, but shook his head and apparently decided against it, instead shooing Naruto out of the room, just after a coolly aloof Sasuke.
Naruto walked home, weaving past the crowds that seemed to open a wary pathway for him, unfriendly eyes watching him and people falling silent as he moved. He considered going to the park and playing on the swings or something for a while, but decided against it. He... didn't really feel like being around other people right now.
As he got further into the villages, he leapt up onto the rooftops, taking the shorter jumps at a run and barely noticing as the older ninjas zipped by at blurring speeds. It didn't really occur to him to walk on the road; that was for civilians, and whatever Iruka said, Naruto was never going to give up on his dream to become a ninja. He wanted to be a ninja, he wanted to be Hokage and he wanted everyone to acknowledge him, whatever he had to do for it. He would not give up, not even if he couldn't do some stupid jutsu that wasn't even useful anyway – Naruto was skilled in self-deception, refusing to see a truth in front of his face.
He finally reached his apartment, waving to the old lady who had started to smile back after he'd helped her with her shopping bags once or twice, and pulled out the key which he hung around his neck. He'd quickly found that he had a habit of losing it on a regular basis and it had been Iruka who had rolled his eyes and given Naruto a piece of black string to tie around his neck.
Sticking it in the lock and twisting hard (the lock was sort of rusty, and when he'd been younger he had barely been able to open it), Naruto stepped inside the mess he called home, kicking aside a couple of books he'd left scattered in front of the door. He continued to move, making his way to the window where he could see the Hokages' heads from where they were carved into the mountain, the sun halfway down the sky and casting long shadows across them.
From here, the Fourth looked as though he were smiling at Naruto; a trick of the light maybe, but Naruto was happy to convince himself that, no, it was actually real. He stared at the face, and tried to imagine himself up there – and felt his heart skip, once, twice, when he realised that he couldn't.
He sighed, and turned away from the window. The red clock he had hanging on the wall read four thirty, and Naruto mentally added an hour – he should really get around to changing that, but he could never be bothered. Anyway, it was an easy excuse for whenever Iruka asked him why he was late.
He pulled out a cup of instant ramen, and began to absentmindedly prepare it. He looked around his apartment, and saw some notes scattered loosely across the floor from where he'd thrown them last night, unable to wrap his mind around the concepts. It wasn't that he didn't try to control his chatsra, chakra, whatever (maybe he should start listening to Iruka in class) but more that whenever he tried, he didn't seem to be able to do anything with it – so he drew on more of his power, but that just seemed to make it worse. He could still remember his disastrous attempts at Henge. He'd ended up looking more like the fat woman who ran the grocery shop than Iruka.
Maybe, he thought. Maybe, he was just going about this all wrong. So he couldn't master the same jutsus as everyone else – that didn't mean he couldn't invent his own. He grabbed his ramen and a pair of chopsticks, and began to shove it in his mouth as he thought. Sure, they hadn't been taught anything about making jutsus, but it couldn't be that hard, right? Just use some hand seals, draw on some chakra, and boom, instant amazingly-cool jutsu of his own creation. Iruka would probably be so in awe of Naruto's new and really cool jutsu, that he'd just pass him instantly.
He chewed on his food, making a face at a crunchy noodle that cracked between his teeth. Maybe he should let it cook longer next time. That was unimportant though – what was important was this new jutsu he was going to create, which would do everything and be so amazing that when he used it to defeat Sasuke, Sakura-chan would instantly fall in love with him ('you're so strong, Naruto-kun!') and the Hokage would step down, proclaiming Naruto Godaime, and everyone in the village would turn out to cheer him, throwing flowers, and there would be girls all over him, but of course he'd stay faithful to Sakura-chan...
Really, if Naruto had been honest with himself, as he finished his ramen and managed to find an unused piece of paper and a pen, then he would have realised that he had absolutely no idea what he was doing, and that the jutsu he was creating with slow and cautious hand-writing was more likely to kill him than do anything amazing. Naruto made a policy of not being honest with himself though, or he would have given up on being a ninja years ago and tried his hand at gardening or something.
His hopes were rising as he scrawled out symbols in the handwriting that only Iruka (if he was lucky) and Naruto himself could decipher. Snake first, then ox, then ram, then dragon, then dog, combined with bunshin and another ram to solidify... Naruto was making it up as he went along, and convincing himself that this was the best idea he ever had. Finishing his masterpiece with what was meant to be a flourish, but looked more of a squiggle, Naruto put his pen down and waited impatiently for the ink to dry, blowing on the symbols gently to help them along.
The sun was beginning to set over the mountain, and Naruto blinked in surprise. Surely he hadn't taken that long? He shook his head, discarded the thought as unimportant, and then, slowly, began to move his hands in the seal movements, feeling chakra begin to fill his veins as he pushed it out.
He nearly faltered mid-seal as a flash of green wound across his vision, but managed to keep going, even as it snaked around him, coiling across his arms and legs. He couldn't feel anything from it, but could see it – and that was unnerving. The next hand seal, and grey was added to the green, subtly edging in on the corners of his vision, clashing with the Kyuubi-red that was already there, that he'd grown so used to that he found it odd when the grey began to push it back. Another, and then light blue flickered through, dancing around his head – dark red came, sinking in with the green and forming a jagged line across his stomach – and yellow; bright, vibrant yellow, encasing his fists and painting them as he continued the hand movements.
As he moved on, the colours twisted off his body, wrapping around him, moving faster and faster, blurring into a kaleidoscope that made him dizzy-
And then, as he finished the last seal, everything vanished.
Naruto stopped; looked around. Nothing. He blinked a couple of times. Still nothing. What the- That was so lame! He scowled, waiting for a legendary summon creature to pop out of nowhere, and say something about being late. Or a delayed firestorm. Or amazing super powers.
Hey, that was a thought. Maybe he could fly now. He eyed the window for a few moments, and deflated. Who was he kidding? Still... Hesitantly, he tried to flex his muscles in case the jutsu had increased his strength – nothing. He tried to pick up his table (just in case, just in case, he told himself) but succeeded only in straining a muscle. He tried to run faster than light, but tripped over his own feet and slammed into his fridge.
So not fair. Someone up there was laughing at him – all the build up, and then nothing for his efforts? Naruto scowled, and yawned, tiredness suddenly smashing into him with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Feeling decidedly jilted, he staggered over to his bed, not even bothering to change out of his orange jumpsuit, and was asleep before he could even pull the cover over himself.
Naruto woke with a headache throbbing through his mind and his entire body aching with suppressed pain. His eyes burnt slightly as he stared at his off-white ceiling, trying to work out what he'd done last night that made him hurt this much.He couldn't remember pulling off any all-night training sessions, trying to do sit ups and press ups until his arms and legs were shaking uncontrollably as he had done before. No, the last thing he remembered was pulling off that stupid jutsu that didn't even work-
He rolled off his bed, hitting the floor with a thud and a groan as he whacked his elbow on the bare wood.
"Goin' to be late for school," he mumbled like a zombie, before pausing. "Wait. Month holiday. Don't have school. Damn."
Stumbling over to his fridge, he pulled out a carton of milk and drank straight from it, nearly choking halfway through a swallow and shaking himself awake. Sighing contentedly, he threw the now-empty carton into the bin, and looked over at his cupboards in hope of some aspirin magically appearing.
"That sucks," he grumbled, when, predictably, nothing mysteriously teleported itself to his apartment.
'My head,' a voice said deliberately, in reply, 'Is killing me.'
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Reviews are much appreciated. :D