Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Author's Notes: Well, this is my first major fanfiction. I've got a lot of things planned, and this story is going to be one of less than a hundred Naruto fanfics over 100k words once I finish it, which I have promised myself I will do. There are no confirmed pairings, and the only one I've even thought of would be a het pairing for Naruto. All chapters will begin with a quote related to the chapter. On with the show!

There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised. - Anton Szandor LaVey

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Chapter One

Naruto groggily opened his eyes, wincing as the agony of dozens of non-lethal puncture wounds made themselves known. Rolling over and trying, unsuccessfully, to keep the needles from digging any deeper into his legs and back, he saw that hunter ninja, Zabuza's apprentice, down on the ground. Focusing blearily on something far closer to him, he saw Sasuke's legs and shorts, ridiculous bandages to the knee and all. Sasuke's voice came down to him from out of his field of vision. Naruto couldn't muster the energy to look up.

"Damn, no matter how many times I warn you, you still keep getting in my way," Sasuke snorted arrogantly.

Unable to let a barb like that go, Naruto jerked his head up, ready to retort. "Sasuke! You -" he stopped in shock, a disturbing image reflecting in his blue eyes. A collar of senbon needles was clearly visible on Sasuke, even over the massive collar on the Uchiha's shirt. So were a dozen others, piercing Sasuke's chest, legs, arms...he heard Sasuke gag, and blood splattered onto the ground in front of the fatally wounded raven.

Sasuke turned around, eyes unfocused. "Wipe that look off your face, dead last."

Naruto turned from Sasuke to the enemy ninja's body. Sasuke was standing in a straight line between him and Naruto. His eyes widened even further, and he felt tears well up as every memory of Sasuke, from glaring at him that day in the Academy to leaning on him as they walked back from their tie at the tree climbing exercise, flashed through his mind.

"Wh-Why?" was all he could think of.

"Hn. I don't know; my body just moved on its own. I used to hate you, you know..." Sasuke answered, leaning forwards and panting, trying to catch the breath that just wouldn't come.

"Why? Why did you...why...me?" Naruto stuttered, still not comprehending.

His only answer was more blood splattering to the ground and Sasuke falling backwards. Naruto caught him, ignoring the pain as some of the senbon imbedded in Sasuke dug into his side. Sasuke stared up at the sky, eyes beginning to glaze over.

"I swore I wouldn't die until I killed my older brother...thought the oath would save me...but don't you dare die, idiot." Sasuke closed his eyes and went completely limp in Naruto's arms, a final sigh escaping his lips.

"Is this the first time a comrade of yours has died? Such is the path of a shinobi," came the enemy ninja's voice from in front of Naruto. He kept staring down at Sasuke's lifeless body, unable to comprehend it. Sasuke was dead.

An unthinking rage welled up, burning his numb grief into liquid-hot fury. He carefully laid Sasuke down on the ground, turning red, near-mindless eyes on the ninja who'd taken the life of his first and only friend. "I'm never going to forgive you for this," he said, voice oddly deep and filled with an ancient malevolence.

The enemy ninja didn't bother waiting, and loosed another volley of chakra-enhanced senbon. Naruto didn't feel like dodging, his thoughts turned to one thing. 'Kill.'

That changed as five needles impacted his stomach in a perfect circle, six inches in diameter. His eyes widened in shock as the pain spiraled right through his bloodlust and -

- he wasn't on the misty bridge, surrounded by mirrors and enemies and Sasuke's corpse, he was in a dank, underground room. Massive iron bars loomed ahead of him, rising into the murky ceiling and stretching to either side in a seemingly endless expanse of cage. Behind the cage two huge, red, slit-pupilled eyes glared back at him. Devoid of the need to kill that had consumed his entire being mere moments ago, Naruto stared back listlessly.

The world inverted, and suddenly the cage was down and up was away. He fell towards those widening, baleful red eyes -

He crashed against the bars, teeth snapping together painfully as he bit through the tip of his tongue and tasted the familiar, disgusting, bitter coppery taste of blood. But he couldn't find it in himself to care as he bonelessly went with the curve of the bar, rolling inside the cage and towards fangs that had appeared out of the darkness. Just as he was about to fall into the open maw, gravity shifted again, his fall arced, and he landed in between the two red eyes. Before the eyes and towering fangs could react to the presence, five pillars, each the size of one of the massive bars, spiked through the side of the cell, forming a circle, each spinning slowly. The beast below Naruto lashed out with a feral-feeling chakra at the pillars, and the slow spinning of the pillars suddenly became a mad twirl.

The center of the spinning pillars exploded inward, and Naruto and his evil face perch were instantly drawn towards the incredible suction. For the first time since Sasuke's death a short moment ago, Naruto felt something.

Fear.

And then the spiraling, continual inward explosion of the pillars was surrounding him and the thing he was standing on, and Naruto clutched his head in agony as he felt reality warp. He was no longer a twelve year old boy; he was a small mass of brightly burning blue light.

And he was surrounded by a dark light (was that possible?), and the orange glow began to thicken slowly, until he could see nothing beyond it. He had a sense of pressure, but suddenly it didn't matter because -

he was back in the real world.

Opening his blood-red eyes, Naruto roared primal fury at the ninja who had taken his only friend. He felt dozens of needles fly out of his flesh, pinging against the ice as they fled his rage, wounds closing instantly as if they had never been. In a way that felt utterly natural, he dropped to all fours, a volley of senbon flying over him. His claws dug furrows through the ground as he pounced forward, the world an impossible blur as he reappeared nearly instantly in front of the mirror. He could see the ninja trying to escape, fleeing to another of his damnable glass hiding places. No longer. Pushing against the ground with all four limbs, and leaving a small crater in the ground from the force of his leap, Naruto sailed into the ninja, grabbing onto a foot with his clawed hand. Whirling around, he threw the ninja face first through one of the mirrors. He could hear the crack of the damned mask as the chakra-reinforced ice shattered, and he pounded after the still flying body of the ninja.

Before the ninja's body had even come within ten feet of the ground, Naruto had caught up. Another four-limbed leap and he shot straight up, spun around, five fingers of his clawed hand aimed straight at the back of the pale neck. He felt his claws penetrate, saw the blood spurt down into his face in slow motion. He grinned savagely as the sanguine spray coated his upper body, wet his hair, and closed his eyes in brief ecstasy as the overpowering smell of spilled life rolled over him. Then he twisted his hand, felt the neck of the ninja snap, and threw the body at the edge of the bridge as he swiveled, landing lightly on all fours. The corpse, head dangling at an impossible angle, made a sick crunching noise as it hit the railing of the bridge before slowly tilting over and falling into the water. He'd never seen the face, and he didn't care. Dead foes should be forgotten; they had failed the tests of life. The foreign idea just seemed part of him, and he accepted it without question.

Slowly standing upright, Naruto closed his eyes, chest heaving in time with his breath. The claws slowly receded, but the whisker marks on his cheeks remained a deepened black. He opened his eyes and stared at the tip of his nose with crossed red eyes. A drop of blood slowly rickled down the bridge of his nose before falling into his open mouth. He swallowed reflexively, finding the taste strangely fulfilling. He raised a blood soaked hand, staring blankly at it.

He'd killed, his hands were irrevocably stained with the blood...but he didn't feel bad about it. Strange. They'd told him in the Academy that his first kill would be a traumatic experience, and it was not uncommon for ninjas to freeze up right after, and get themselves killed. But he felt only satisfaction. The ninja had earned it by killing Sasuke. He heard something in the distance and cocked his head. Something...crackling.

"RAIKIRI!" yelled Kakashi, followed by a meaty splattering noise.

The mist began to disperse, and Naruto saw Kakashi, arm buried up to the elbow in Zabuza's chest. Strangely, there was a small pack of dogs immobilizing Zabuza's now lifeless body. Placing his left hand against Zabuza's chest, Kakashi shoved, pulling out his arm with a wet splash as a small flood of blood poured out of the ruined ribcage.

The pack of dogs dispersed with a series of poofs of smoke and Kakashi fell to his knees, clearly exhausted, dragging his hitai-ate back down over his Sharingan eye. Zabuza fell backwards, head banging against the concrete wall of the bridge with a dull crack.

Sakura and Tazuna, until then unnoticed by Naruto, rushed up from the side of the bridge.

Sakura approached him slowly, staring noticeably at the blood covering Naruto, which had begun to mat in his hair. "N-Naruto...where's Sasuke?"

He looked down at the ground clenching his teeth, hand curling into a fist. He couldn't answer. He looked up, bit his lip with fanged teeth hard enough to draw blood, and shook his head.

Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Naruto could see tears welling up. "No...no..." she choked off a sob and ran off to where Naruto and Sasuke had fought the hunter nin, leaving Naruto with the bridge builder, who began to shift nervously from foot to foot. Naruto briefly considered trying to do something about the blood that was clearly scaring Tazuna, but something in him told him it didn't matter. Blood on him somehow seemed...if not natural, then at least not unusual.

A voice called out from the under construction section of the bridge. "I see the 'Demon of the Mist' and his little toy were defeated! I knew the bastard was nothing but hot air. Demon indeed," sneered the short man, leaning forward on his cane, tacky black shades perched on the end of his rather large nose.

Kakashi, still unable to fully stand, answered shakily. "Gato. I assume you and your thugs are here to finish the job?"

The shipping magnate's sneer widened into a calculating grin. "I'd planned on finishing off Zabuza if he was still alive, but you saved me the trouble. Now its just a single exhausted shinobi and a couple of kids standing between my army and that old fool. This went better than I could have planned!"

Naruto stared at the men, a low growl ringing out of his throat. Foul beasts, circling in a pack, waiting for the truly powerful to weaken so they could overwhelm them with sheer numbers. They reminded him of something...something he'd fought before and yet never seen in his life. Something he despised. He slowly began to walk forwards, fingernails lengthening into claws again, the world taking on a red tinge.

Kakashi looked up as Naruto strode past, raising an arm out and wincing. "Naruto...don't be an idiot. There are over a hundred of them; you don't stand a chance."

Naruto turned, looking down at his sensei with red eyes, teeth bared in a snarl. "They are nothing more than...jackals." He didn't know where the words came from, but they sounded appropriate. Kakashi froze, staring into the slit-pupilled red eyes, the darkly whiskered face.

Bringing his attention back to the smirking thugs, Naruto glared, bloodlust rolling off in him in a constant, surging wave of pressure almost thick enough to see, still advancing slowly.

The fools weren't even trained enough to know the killing intent for what it was. They began to catcall. "Oh wook, has the wittle kiddie wost his mommy?" "Come here brat, I got a present for ya!" Naruto ignored them.

Ancient instincts pulsed, and in a movement honed by decades of practice that he had never performed, Naruto lunged forward, covering the remaining fifty yards in an instant, appearing in a shower of blood as his outstretched claws sliced Gato's arm off at the shoulder.

The assembled thugs took a nervous step back while Gato fell to the ground, rolling and screaming as he clutched his shoulder, blood fountaining out in a seemingly unending spray. One of the men who had been catcalling a moment ago stuttered, "W-what are you?"

Naruto's answer was to drop to to all fours and run through the crowd, clawed hands flashing out, fangs ripping flesh. The few men that reacted quick enough to even attempt to attack him met only air; Naruto flowed with an almost liquid feral grace around flashing steel and left only crimson stains in his wake. After the first few moments the men tried to run. Tried, and failed.

After two minutes of slaughter, Naruto stopped, the last of the thugs slumping to the concrete floor of the bridge. He uncrossed his raised arms and let them fall to his sides, head tilted up to the sky, grinning with savage joy, panting for breath between bursts of laughter. The blood of the weak had been spilled by his hand.

He heard a retching noise off in the distance; it sounded like Sakura. Sakura...throwing up at something he'd done?

His eyes snapped back to blue, the claws and fangs retracted, and his whiskers resumed their normal fine-line appearance. He blinked, confused for a moment, before staring at the carnage surrounding him. The blood splattered all over him in a thick coat, crusting his fingernails. He swallowed, confused for a moment, before his mouth opened and his face fell into an expression of numb shock.

"What...what...?" he asked the fallen, hand reflexively clutching his stomach. It was too much; his eyes rolled up into his head and he passed out, slumping forward and landing on what was left of one the thugs. The upper half of the man's left leg was the single largest chunk of flesh - besides Naruto - in the entire blood soaked mass of corpses.


Inside the sewer, the blue light flared, ripping a massive hole the orange. Naruto looked out through the hole, a brief smile of triumph transforming his face. (Did he have a face? He appeared to be only a blue glowing mass. Somehow he knew he did.) He could see clearly. He despised what he saw; himself, an animal. But...that was not him. He was not that. His nindo would not permit Uzumaki Naruto to be that, and his smile was for the clear sight he had of himself. Of the example of what he could never become if he was going to be Hokage.

The orange glow began to bubble, hiss, and close with infinitesimal slowness, covering Naruto's window to the real world. He balled nonexistent fists, and stretched out to grab the edges of the orange obstruction, to tear it fully away from his view. The moment the two essences collided, the orange flowed down Naruto's arms and towards his eyes. He froze as the orange energy reached his eyes, foreign sensations rushing over him, coming in a continual stream from the orange glow, down his arms, and into his brain. The moment stretched into eternity, and Naruto, enthralled, failed to slow the orange glow, slowly closing the hole in the bubble surrounding Naruto, one iota at a time.

Something about the slow progress of the orange glow seemed to be filled with a grim satisfaction.

It seemed...final.


Author's Notes:

The next chapter is longer; this is more of a prologue that begins to show why this is different from canon. Don't worry, this isn't a retelling. The very beginning of Naruto going Kyuubi on Haku is the only scene in the entirety of Naruto that is directly taken from the actual Naruto.

Chapter One Edited: 11-9-07, to correct spelling, flow issues, and to edit the clarity of the Kyuubi cell scene. The number of senbon was also changed from thirteen (which would be impossible to throw in one volley) to five, which is more likely and is also the same number as the Tenma Fuiin. The five "chakra enhanced senbon" formed an impromptu seal that began to mess with the actual seal.