A blonde man stands in the midst of the carnage made by the rampaging demon fox, Kyuubi no Kitsune. His hair rest between his shoulder blades in a ponytail, and is wearing a black kosode under a white kimono, a white hakama, a black obi sash, (Hallow Ichigo outfit from Bleach) and two katana, one on each. On the right a red hilt wrapped in black and on the left is a sky blue wrapped in white. Before him stands two ninja, one man and one woman, from the village of the Hidden Leaf Village, Konoha, both had a chain attached to their chests.
Both stare wide eyed at the man as he pulls the red and black hilted sword. He walks calmly to the man, whose chain is close to his chest. "May you find peace." He slams the hilt of his sword into the man forehead and the man disappears, a smile on his face. His attention turns to the woman, as he approaches, she falls to her knees and shuts her eyes, resigning to her fate. She hears him getting closer and then stop, she waits for him to hit her as well, but instead she feels a hand on her shoulder.
Her eyes open wide to find him on her right, sword still drawn and facing behind her. "You have nothing to fear, as long as your chain remains attached to your physical body, you can be saved. If it breaks, pray that one of us find you before it reaches your chest." He sheathes his sword and walks away as a medical team reaches where her body lay, paying the man no heed as if he weren't there.
They pay him no mind because they cannot see him, he is the soul of a deceased Iwa ninja, killed not six months prior, by his own brother no less. His brother had escaped from Iwa early in life and had come to Konoha, in the last Great War, they found themselves on opposite sides of the battle field, while he used their family's techniques, his brother used unorthodox tactics and both fear and awe inspiring jutsu, the likes of which he had never seen or heard of.
While he lay dying, his brother approached him and they spoke for the first and last time in twenty years, they last words being what they had hoped to accomplish in life, and though he couldn't in life, he was given the chance in the afterlife. When he crossed over, the Shinigami appeared before him with an offer, he would be given the chance to become the Shinigami. When he asked why he was given the chance, the god laughed and said. "The title of Shinigami is passed every thousand years, my time is almost up and I have selected many candidates, but I sense something that likes you different from the others. I will test all the candidates, and I need your answer now."
He agreed and was told what his job would be if he were chosen. Upon hearing the true purpose of the Shinigami, the determination that was both a blessing and curse of his family took hold of him. From the hundreds of candidates, only seven were left, of those only two were human, three were oni like the present Shinigami, and two were from a race that neither would name. Though he was on fairly good terms with them, he had quickly become friends with the other human candidate.
Said person was walking towards him. "Hey man." He wore the same outfit, except in opposite colors. His sword was strapped to his back, and his hair was orange. (Guess who)
"Didn't you say your brother is here?"
"Yeah, he looks almost exactly like me."
"Well, I haven't seen him, but that doesn't mean the others haven't."
"I know." He sighs. "I'm actually hoping he's alive, even if he did kill me, one of us should be allowed to realize our dreams."
"Aren't you living yours in a way?"
"Yeah, but the only one who recognize it are you and Shinigami."
"Better than nothing." Ichigo plops down on the ground. "I can't believe that Shinigami won't let us take care of this oversized furball."
"We can't, he made himself visible to them and in order to effectively fight him we would have to too and that…"
"Would disrupt the world of the living, yeah, yeah, I know, but I don't like the fact that we have to sit here and watch while cleaning up the mess."
"I feel the same, but orders are orders and you know what happens if we don't follow them."
"What about that other guy, Oro-something, that snake freak that has Shinigami so pissed, can we kill him if we find him?"
He shrugged "Don't know, never said we couldn't, but I doubt he'd still be he after the shit he pulled."
"Damn it, why can't we ever use our combat skills."
"What skills, you get you ass handed to you in almost every spar."
"Not everybody can be as gifted as you when it comes to using our Zanpakuto. You know you're the most likely choice for be chosen, you been in his favor since day one."
The Shinigami stood at the center of a large room, the walls covered in swords. "Every Shinigami has carried a Zanpakuto. This is an important tool, because without it, you are unable to help the newly departed souls in the living world pass on. If they don't pass on, they will grow to hate the living, and this hate can cause them to become demons, if a single person's hate was strong enough, they become like those called Bijuu. These Tailed Demons are the most powerful beings you will ever encounter, you may not even be able to kill them."
One of the dumber occupants looked around the room. "These swords don't look like anything special." In a second, the Shinigami was where the man stood before a bone like dagger in his hand, and the man just disappeared.
"That is what will happen to the ones you use a Zanpakuto on, they will be sent to either heaven or hell depending on his/her actions in life. That is also what will happen to any of you that disobey my orders and those who fail my tests. In the end only one of you will remain and that one will get my title. If more than one passes all my tests, which has never happened as far as I'm aware, they will have a battle to determine who is worthy, the other will be sent back to where I brought them from. The first test is now, pick a Zanpakuto and tell me the name of the sword, if you can't you fail. Go one at a time."
Twenty went before him, but only five passed, when they said the name of the swords, they changed, not always into a sword. The man behind him was smiling. " I can't wait to get mine."
The blonde turned to him. "What makes you so confident Carrot top?"
"My name's Ichigo, and it's because I can hear him already. It's barely a whisper, but it's there."
It was the blonde's turn now and he walked around the room, strain his ears to hear the whispering Ichigo was talking about. He closed his eyes as he continued to walk. He went half way around the room before stopping and turning to the wall. In front of him was two swords, one had a red handle wrapped in black and a black sheath. The other had a sky blue handle wrapped in white and a white sheath. 'Which one is it?' He stared at the two swords for a moment.
The Shinigami was growing impatient. "Is there a problem?" The blonde shook his head and grabbed both swords. The Shinigami gave him a confused look. "Why did you take both?"
"I hear them both."
"Then what are their names?"
He held up the black and red sword in his left hand. "Awaken Akuma." The new sword had no hand guard, the handle was a single piece twisted with golden stripes every few inches, at the base it was twisted into a spiral with a red gem surrounded by a silver ring at the center. At the base of the blade, the metal was formed into a demonic looking face, with a grayish-purple gem for an eye and dull golden metal for the teeth. The blade itself was dark purple and serpentine, starting from the 'face' the blade was the same width as before, but grew wider towards the curved point.
The Shinigami smiled slightly. "And the other?"
He held up the other sword in his right hand. "Take flight Enzeru." The sword was slightly longer then Akuma, it had a sky blue crystal at the end of the hilt, which was dark blue. The hand guard only protected the underside of the hilt. It was shaped in an S shape with an extra spine by the upper half of the hilt. At the point of the upper half the hand guard, there was a rounded indent to the top of the blade. There is a smaller one on the underside as well, the blade is curved into a point, but otherwise straight. The sky blue blade gleams in the light and almost appears to be made of ice.
The Shinigami's smile went to an all out grin. "You surprise me, no one other than the original Shinigami could hear the names of two swords. I look forward to seeing what you'll do it the future." The swords transformed back and he went over to where the others waited.
Ichigo stepped forward and walked straight to the largest sword in the room. The moment he touched it, the blade transformed into a large cleaver, it had no hand guard, white cloth wrapped around the handle and some hanging off. The blade was black with a sliver edge.
"You don't need to say it's name, impressive, but do you know its name?"
"I think he hold both of us in high regards, he said he was impressed by you too, besides I'm not so sure I want the job anymore."
Ichigo looked at him in shock. "What do you mean by that?"
"I want to help people, but as Shinigami I can't interfere because of the laws that keep balance. If I broke one of those laws to help, I would also doom the people I save. I'd rather be in the afterlife than sit idly by and watch as things like this happen." He waves his hand in front of him toward the Kyuubi. "If it were my choice, I would have stopped this demon before it came within 100 km of my brother's home."
"So this is about him?"
"In a way, my brother may have killed me, but he doesn't deserve this, just like I want to help people, he wishes to be his village's pillar of strength, their hero."
"He may get his wish. Isn't that him on the oversized toad?"
He saw what his friend was talking about, a toad rivaling Kyuubi's height was fast approaching the demon and on top stood a blond figure wearing red and white robes. "What the hell is he thinking, he can't kill a demon."
A blinding light came from the top of the toad and the two stared in horror and awe. "How the hell did he summon him? What the hell is he thinking?"
"I have no idea, but I plan to find out." He moves forward as if to run and fazes out of sight.
Ichigo snorted. "Flash Step huh, damn he's always a step ahead of me."
The Yondaime Hokage stood, arms crossed on top of the Boss Toad, Gamabunta, facing the Nine-tailed fox. He had just used a new jutsu to summon the Shinigami to seal the fox, but in return it would cost his life. He could feel and see the god's hand reaching through his stomach towards the fox. "At least I'll take you with me demon. My village will be able to live on because of my sacrifice."
A man appeared out of thin air, one he had never thought he would see again. "What have you done Otouto?"
Arashi smiled. "Nii-san, I guess this means that I really will die here. I brought Shinigami here to seal the demon within me, and then as payment he will take my life and in doing so kill the demon."
"You're an idiot Arashi, you have no idea what you've done. You won't just be killed, your soul will be tormented for all eternity within the being you summoned, and at constant war with the demon you hoped to kill."
"As long as my home is safe I don't care what happens to me."
The Shinigami laughed. "Fool, even I can't hold a demon as strong as Kyuubi indefinitely. Sooner or later he will get free and he will more then likely attack again to get his revenge, next time there may not be another to sacrifice themselves like you have."
"What do you propose we do then?!"
"A newborn child would be able to adept to the demon's presence, in time the child would be able to access the demon's power and when they die the demon really would die."
"There are no newborns, the youngest is a few weeks old."
"Shinigami, I'll take the soul of the demon."
"You have no physical body to contain it in, you would have no better chance of containing it than I do."
"You have the power to put both our souls into a body. You can create the body, and seal my memories and powers. It will be as though a new life stated this day and I would remain in the living world until the body dies."
"I will do this on one condition, Orochimaru must die, I'll allow you to keep your two Zanpakuto to accomplish this, when your life is in danger, your power will return temporarily to assist you, after the first time, you will be able to call upon anything you knew in your life before this point."
"Thank you Shinigami, you will have saved my village from two of our most dangerous enemies."
"Don't delude yourself, it is my job to ensure balance and Orochimaru has disrupted it, as for the fox, even if I didn't want to, you summoned me and I required to fulfill your request."
"Well brother, it seems that you have obtained your dream, you will be the hero who stopped Kyuubi. Who knows, I may still be able to obtain mine."
Kyuubi's body collapsed on the ground with one last deafening roar. "It's time, it will be painful."
"Wish me luck."
"You won't need it Naruto." Arashi held out his hand and Naruto smiled before grasping it. In another blinding flash, the fox and toad disappeared completely. A young gray haired boy rushes across the battlefield to where the toad had been standing. The boy is wearing a dark blue long-sleeved shirt, pants, and facemask that covers the lower half of his face, his leaf headband covers his left eye. He found the Yondaime lying on the ground, smile on his face and a blonde baby boy in his arms.
"Sensei, why is there a baby on the battlefield, what happened?"
"Kakashi, take this boy to Sarutobi, tell him to keep the boy safe."
"What's wrong Sensei?"
"The jutsu I used has a price, it takes the user's life."
"Who is this boy?"
"He's our savior, Nar… uto U… zu… ma… ki." The Yondaime's eyes slowly close as he speaks, but the smile never leaves his face. Kakashi picks up the boy and his sensei's body. He gets his first real look at the boy, he has short blonde hair and three whisker-like marks on each cheek, he also sees the seal on the boy's stomach, his visible eye widens as he realizes what happened to Kyuubi. There are also seals on his arms, but he is unable to read them due to their size.
Unknown to Kakashi, Ichigo stands not far from him. "Good luck my friend, I have no doubt that we'll meet again."
At the age of ten, Naruto stood at just under five foot, wore a long, wide-sleeved blue shirt, black pants and ninja sandals, he used a stripe of black cloth to keep his shoulder length hair from his eyes. Like most kids his age, he was to attend the Ninja Academy, today was the first day. At the moment, he stood before his instructor Iruka Umino. "Uzumaki, where were you today that caused you to skip class?"
"I was training Umino-san, and I would prefer you just call me Naruto."
"I will call you what I want to, and you are to refer to me as sir or Iruka-sensei."
"No. 'Sensei' is a word given by those willing to learn, the only reason I'm here is because Ojii-san said I needed an education of some kind. I don't want to be a ninja."
"Then why are you training?"
"I don't know you well enough to tell you Iruka-san."
"You know I have to info Hokage-sama."
"Go ahead, it's not like he can do anything to make me come." Naruto just turned around and walked out of the classroom. 'It's getting to be easy to move again, time to increase the weights.' He went to his apartment and when he left, he slowly made his way to his training ground. It was deep in the forest, in a clearing only twenty feet wide, completely surrounded by trees. In the center is a large tree, its trunk covered in fist-shaped imprints, some coming close to an inch deep. He started by throwing punch after punch at nothing to get used to the new weight, switching between arms every other time. He then did the same with kicks.
After a two hundred with each limb, he went up to the tree. He held his hands up near his face and was slightly bouncing on the pads of his feet, he punched the trunk with incredible speed repeatedly and threw in a kick from time to time. He could feel someone's eyes on him and at first he didn't care, but as he continued, it started to annoy him, and it was showing as he started to hit the tree harder. After three hours, he got fed up with whoever it was that was watching him and swung full strength at the large tree, making a small spider web break in the tree bark.
The one watching him fell from the branches due to the sudden violent shaking. "It's not wise to spy on another's training Iruka-san. Some might not be as lenient as me. What do you want now?"
"I'm trying to figure you out, you say that you don't want to be a ninja yet you train harder than most jonin, you were moving faster before which suggesting weights, and above all else, you show no respect to anyone, not even the Hokage, but when you spoke about him earlier, your tone was full of respect and at least admiration for him, maybe even love."
"What's your point, he's one of the only three that seems to actually give a damn about me in this whole village. As for the weights, they're part of my training. Being a ninja, I have no reason to be one, I already have another source of income."
"I know about the orphan's funds, I was given the same when I was a little older than you, but they are no where near enough to live on and they end when you turn twelve."
The smile that appeared on Naruto's face was the first bit of emotion Iruka had seen from him. "You thought I was talking about those pathetic rations? Ha, I was lucky to live to be six on that, but I've found a much more profitable income since then."
"What are you talking about, what job could a six year old do?"
"Take a look at my record, I'm sure Ojii-san keeps it in his office. If it weren't for this, I would be barely able to afford ramen, which reminds me, I told Ayame-nee-san that I would stop for dinner tonight. If after you see Ojii-san and still want to talk, I'll probably be there, bring him along if you can, I haven't seen him since my birthday when he told me I be attending the Academy." Naruto walked away again, disappearing in the shadows cast by the trees. Iruka smiled slightly and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
The Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi, watched the whole exchange through his crystal ball using Tomegane no Jutsu. He heard the popping sound and glanced at the newcomer before pulling out a folder. "You're here to see this I believe Iruka-kun."
"So you were also spying on his training."
"Yes, but my ways are more discreet then yours. But you should know that you are rather fortunate, he's never opened up so much for anyone other than me."
"I don't blame him, wasn't he kicked out of the orphanage at four? It's a miracle he's still alive."
"Not really, he's a tough kid. All the information he spoke of is in there." He placed the folder on the desk in front of Iruka, who grabbed it and started reading quietly aloud.
"Taken into custody three times for assaulting a Konoha citizen, no convictions, three charges of resisting arrest, no convictions, fifteen charges of disturbing the peace, fined, four charges of taking part of underground fights, arrested and bailed out." He looked up at the Hokage. "You have to be shitting me sir. That's the source of his income, street fighting?"
"It would seem so, and from what he told me, he's been entering them since he was six."
"Six!? Don't these people have any morals? Why in the world would they let a six year old compete in those matches?"
"I can honestly say I don't know, Naruto might be able to shed some light on it, but he won't even tell me all the details, probably fear of them not letting him enter anymore or that I'll shut them down, which I'm be pressured to do anyway, but they never hold it in the same place twice, so tracking them is rather difficult."
"How can you just allow him to enter these fights sir?"
"It's not my decision, he'll do what he wants no matter what I say, as I'm sure you're aware after what happened today at the Academy."
"There is something about that that I don't understand, why does he not want to be a ninja?"
"For the reason he told you, he sees no reason to be one. Few people see him as a human being, but even they do nothing to help the boy other than Teuchi Ichiraku and his daughter Ayame. They are the only shop that allows him in that doesn't over charge him. He ate there every meal everyday for two years, then he started in the fights and he had more money so he could buy other things to eat. He still tries to go there at least once a week, sometimes more if he's in a hurry. Most ninja choose they profession to make a name for themselves, protect their families and/or village, or to prove themselves to someone. Do any of those seem to fit Naruto from what you've seen?"
"I would think he would want to prove that he is human and not a demon like they think."
"How would you suggest he do that? The villagers and council will see any improvement or advance as an increasing threat, and if they do see him as a human that he's relying on the demon's power to help him fight."
"But that could be a good thing, he would be a valuable asset for us."
"If I were willing to do that, I would have handed him over to Danzo the day the fox was defeated. He is a person, not a mindless weapon. Doing something like that could cause him to become unstable, if that were to happen, we could be faced with another massacre on a broader scale."
"I suppose you're right, but if you know he won't become a ninja, why enroll him in the Academy?"
"I fear that by being shunned due to the older generations fear and hate has caused him to be antisocial and hopefully while in class he'll be able to make friends away from their parents. I can see what I can do about getting him to go to class, but like I said he doesn't always listen."
"Thank you sir. Since you were watching, you know that he would like us to come to Ichiraku's for dinner."
"Yes, but be sure to make it clear that you're not paying for him, even though he has a substantial amount of money, he's not one to turn down a free meal. And with the amount of ramen he eats, it's surprising that he has money to live on, even with his winnings." Iruka paled at the thought. "Well, lets be off before my assistant shows up with more paperwork." With that they both disappeared in puffs off smoke, just before the door opened.
A man came in with a stack of papers in his arm, almost so much that he couldn't see where he was going. "Hokage-sama, I have the results of the Anbu testing that require your attention." He set the stack on the desk and looked around to find no one. "He seems to have left for the day, oh well, it can wait till tomorrow." With that he left the office and started bring in another stack.