Yo, folks!

First off, a quick rundown:

Yes, I know most of the readers here are probably from the "Genius Losers..." crowd, and thus wish to finish that story first. Make no mistake, I will be working on that one far more than this. This story is meant to be muuuuuuuch shorter than that one. Hell, maybe even less than ten chapters??

Secondly, I chose the mature rating due to extreme blood, violence, and sadism (yes, you read that right). This is a dark Naruto fic! (I put that in bold 'cause I know people like to skip the author's notes a lot).

Thirdly, due to the nature of the content of the story, there will be a lot of religious-themed statements and comments made by the characters. Remember, this is only the context of the story and in no way should any of you take it to be anything more than that. If you're offended by any of it, then stop reading or barrel through it. For the record, even I was slightly offended when writing half this stuff, so there you have it.

The official pairing is Naruto and Hinata, but I haven't really decided. She's merely one of the contestants... heheh... at some point I'm gonna ask you to vote, but I WILL. NOT. ASK. NOW. Any 'suggestion' left in a review before I ask for it will be utterly disregarded.

Now, on with it! Leave a review when you finish!


Naruto ran for his life down one of the many dark streets in the hopes of evading a handful of drunkards who pursued him. He was only a seven year old child and incapable of defending himself against the harshness of the world, so fleeing was his singular option. Not that he wasn't used to it by now- there seemed to be quite a few people amongst the villagers who actually attempted to act on their feelings of contempt and kill him- but such a thing got old after a while.

The young blonde barreled through empty streets in the shadows of the moonlight to no avail- the hostile handful still followed. He dodged into random streets and alleys without looking back, his lungs burning from the effort and his muscles screaming for relief. Eternal minutes passed and the cries of the inebriated men died as the surrounding environment blurred into a darkened smear. The Uzumaki's small feet slowed when he felt he was finally safe and he glanced up to find that, once again, he was not alone.

Apparently he had entered a lesser populated section of Konoha- a select few blocks dedicated to shops and stores rather than living quarters. He stood before a circular dead end that was elevated in a clearing between clusters of tall buildings. The area was fairly spacious and there was an eerie fire that burned in the center amidst a circle of seals.

The figures lining the outdoor chamber glared at him with a mixture of surprise and hate, both emotions he was familiar with by now. Every one of them carried brutal-looking long weapons and was donned in dark clothing that could cast a silhouette in the black of night. There was a single hooded man standing before the fascinating conflagration who turned to eye the newcomer as if expecting him.

"Uh…" the blonde struggled to explain his way out of this one, "Hi."

"An intruder to our ritual," the menacing character stated coldly. He snapped a finger. "Kill him for the sacrifice."

Naruto's eyes went wide at those words and he tried to run again, but this time he was caught by a bulky tall man with a mane of jet black hair that could overshadow a lion. The enemy stabbed at him with a long javelin, piercing his small stomach and sending the boy to the ground. The stranger then unearthed a string of beads connected to some circular jewelry and began chanting something while dragging a foot against the ground, smearing the Uzumaki's blood into a pattern.

Said blonde felt the world growing dark and cold. His eyelids weighed more and more as the seconds passed and he struggled for breath. What felt like hours later, he awoke to find that very little had changed- the man who would be his murderer was still murmuring and painting that simple symbol on the ground in blood. The sight of the spilled crimson liquid suddenly seemed… appealing, and Naruto felt anger well up in his gut- a special kind of rage that he had never experienced before. Heat emanated from his body and he felt strength return to his fragile body, so he clumsily stood to his feet and faced the man who stabbed him.

The killer made haste and, for whatever reason, licked the end of the short spear and swallowed the smidgen of the boy's blood. Naruto didn't understand why he did this, but he no longer cared. He lunged at the man and clamped his small hands around the wide throat.

What happened next would remain unclear to the boy for years to come; the fury within his soul surpassed the vengeance of being stabbed. It felt as if all the hatred and spite of the world was being channeled through his veins. His soul burned with malicious power, and every act of cruelty and harshness ever bestowed on the Uzumaki exited his body through the muscles and tendons of his arms as he proceeded to tear his assailant apart with every ounce of strength available to him. A voice not his own screeched in his mind as he beat, ripped, tore, and bludgeoned the dying enemy. Said man fought back, his mouth opening and his weapons slashing, but no sound came from him or the outside world. What seemed to be days passed before the blonde child's sentience returned from the inner hell on earth, and he awoke to his consciousness to find himself drenched in blood.

The other frightening individuals flinched to move against him but checked the motion when the hooded man held up an open palm. "Halt," he ordered quietly, his command followed obediently, "He has proven himself."

Naruto straightened himself from the bloodbath at his feet and stared coldly at the awaiting throng. This time, rather than glares of hatred, everyone's gaze contained something foreign: begrudging approval. The boy didn't understand how or why these intimidating people seemed to suddenly tolerate him, but that was a musing far from his mind. He was in shock; he had just killed a man with his bare hands and reality seemed to be an eternal distance away as he stared into the moonlit night with azure orbs. He regarded the hooded man with blank eyes.

"According to our beliefs," the man waved a hand and the mutilated corpse was handled by an adjacent pair of strangers, "You keep what you kill." The bloody heap was brought to him and he carefully removed the golden jewelry from the shredded neck. "You have killed Vastos, not a simple task among the believers. He was a powerful one amongst the followers gathered here." He held the ornament out towards the boy, the simple symbol dangling from the beaded wire. "If you wish, you may take his place amongst us."

The blonde continued his empty gaze. "Why… would I do that?" he inquired with a choked voice. He wanted to cry but his body refused to cooperate.

"In our way of life, one can do whatever they please. There is but one requirement; that we slaughter our enemies in the name of our lord."

The young Uzumaki's impressionable mind took all this in and began mulling it over. At first he blatantly rejected it, but memories of the countless efforts on his life kept him from verbally expressing so. The gears in his brain turned; for as long as he could remember people had been trying to kill him, he had been consistently abandoned by those supposedly responsiblefor his care and well-being, and he was continuously ignored and berated by those who wouldn't actively seek to end his life without cause. What was there to truly live for? It was obvious that no one cared about him save the elderly Hokage, and even he wouldn't be around for long. Soon enough, he would be absolutely alone in a world that denied him his right to simple survival. There was no point in going against such a futile uphill battle while being held back by the hatred and disgust of the world.

He weakly held out his hand to accept the bloodied medallion. "Is… there more?"

The hooded man smiled wide and graciously relinquished the golden ornament. "So much more," he stated while Vastos's body was hurled into the bizarre fire onto a pike hidden by the flames. The corpse was thoroughly impaled and began burning with a certain fascinating grotesqueness. "Let us now begin the ritual, and you shall be one of us," he explained before turning in place and raising his hands into the air. "We beseech you to hear us, Lord Jashin!"

That night, Naruto watched and listened intently to the disturbing ceremony and became the newest member in the cult to the god of murder. He had chosen to change his fate to that of immortal hatred and vengeance in exchange for the inherent kindness in his heart.

--

"Naruto!" Iruka called from his roster, "You're next!" The boy silently rose from his seat and calmly made his way to the room in which he would be tested for graduation from the ninja academy. Iruka and Mizuki observed the quiet intimidating boy approach the desk and put his hands together into the appropriate seals.

While Mizuki displayed his false concern for the boy, Iruka felt something entirely different. The scarred shinobi had known Naruto when the boy was a mere child- they had encountered on another several times in the streets. At the time, the Umino understood that the blonde child craved attention and worked to obtain it any way possible, whether in the form of pranks or simply childish behavior. He understood that the boy had led a harsh life and empathized with him when they first met, but now…

Something happened to Naruto before his entrance into the Academy. As the years went by, so did his wardrobe. His gaudy jumpsuits transformed into impossibly dark loose fitting robes that didn't weren't even appropriate at a funeral. The boy before him wore one such robe tied together by a coil of rope that was dyed blood red and carried a scent frighteningly similar to that of the ruby liquid. He was also the only student to ever carry an unsheathed weapon- an odd spear that was almost as tall as he was. The javelin gradually flattened into a thick blade at one end while the other tapered off into a spike; it was beyond Iruka how one was meant to wield it effectively.

But looks were only the tip of the iceberg; his personality had also undergone a radical change. The happy-go-lucky personality that had once defined the Uzumaki had all but vanished by now; he still smiled and spoke loudly with pride, but the smiles were those of a beast seeking a kill and the headstrong attitude possessed undertones of one who did not fear death or retribution in any way. The way he carried himself had changed, too. Gone was the cheerful bounce in his step and morose slump when he was down; those were now replaced by a confident slouch that was a mix of laxness and superiority. Even Sasuke's brooding self couldn't touch that combination.

Which led to another thing: Naruto's interactions with the other students. He no longer strived to be the center of attention. Instead, he sat back to live and let live, at least until someone threw a verbal jab his way. Such actions died rather quickly, since the other preteens seemed to sense something… wrong emanating from the boy; they generally kept their distance. Strangely enough, when the blonde first began exhibiting his aloof attitude, a small fan club developed for him; it seemed the females of the class were attracted to the bad boy stereotype. But unlike Sasuke, who chose merely to brood while keeping everyone at arm's length, Naruto frightened the fledging fangirls with the specifics of his daily habits. It was later said that his gaze could stop one's heart for a moment, and not in the romantic sense.

The Umino was also curious about the boy's academic standing. To be sure, the Uzumaki wasn't the best and brightest of the class, but he had never really displayed any true show of intelligence. He would easily score among the lowest on tests where book smarts were concerned and his chakra control, for lack of a better word, sucked. But when it came to practical applications of chakra, he would try hard enough to get the job done at an absolutely minimum level then quit, so his capabilities were still unknown. Iruka also wondered why the boy displayed such a detailed understanding of muscle groups and bone structures only to turn around and fail to name a few key facts that were practically common knowledge. "Hell," he mused, "He's even corrected me a few times on human anatomy…"

The scarred chunin was shaken from his inner observations when the blonde in question failed to produce an adequate clone. "Sorry, Naruto," he began, "I can't pass you for that."

"It's a shitty way to test battlefield skills," the Uzumaki sneered, "What good are clones you can't even touch anyway?"

"Like it or not, those are the basics. If you can't even pull those off, then I can't pass you."

"Don't be so harsh, Iruka," Mizuki countered, "After all, this is his third time testing for graduation. Perhaps we could let him pass this time; he's obviously putting forth the effort."

He wondered about that last comment. "Mizuki, you know the rules. We can't make exceptions for anyone."

Naruto snorted with eyes that possessed elevated degrees of annoyance. The preteen turned on his heel to exit the room. "I'll try again next time," he spat before disappearing from view.

The Umino sighed inwardly; the boy was difficult to understand. Or maybe it was simpler than things appeared? Little did he know he would find out soon enough…

--

Late that night, Iruka sailed through the trees in search of the blonde. The boy had made off with one of the forbidden scrolls from the Hokage's home and the village was on high alert. The scarred man hoped he found his pupil before anyone else; who knew what the others would do to him?

He sighed in relief when he found the blonde seated next to the document in question and taking controlled heavy breaths. The older ninja approached the prone boy and confronted him in a way he didn't see as too aggressive.

"Naruto, what the hell were you thinking?!"

The blonde gazed at him with mildly sleepy eyes. "Iruka," he greeted with his usual bloody smile, "Can I pass now?"

"What do you mean 'can I pass now'?! You stole a very dangerous scroll! What the hell were you thinking?!"

"Mizuki said if I snuck the scroll past the Hokage and learned something from it," he panted yet hid his exhaustion, "I could pass."

The Umino raised an eyebrow. "He what?" he asked with real concern overriding his frustration. "He told you to…?" He put two and two together. "Oh my God…"

"Well," a voice called from the treetops, "Looks like you got to him before me!"

Both heads swiveled to find Mizuki perched on a thick limb overhead. "Mizuki!" Iruka yelled, "Why did you tell Naruto to steal the scroll?!"

"And they call you a teacher," he mused outwardly, "You can't even figure that one out?"

"It's a treasonable offense! You know that!"

"Oh come on, no one'll ever link me to it. I mean, look," he nodded towards the blonde, "Everyone knows he stole it… and when neither he nor the scroll returns, everyone'll know he took off with it."

His eyes widened. "You… what are you planning?! Why are you doing this?!"

"You seriously don't know? Fucking moron!" He stood from his crouched position. "Might as well tell you since you won't be around much longer..."

"Yes, explain yourself!" the Umino unsheathed a kunai.

"You know as well as I do what that brat is…"

"Mizuki," Iruka knew full well what the traitor was about to say, and his voice dripped with warning, "Don't say it!"

"He's the nine-tailed fox! When I kill you two, I'll dispose of the bodies and no one will know or care that he's gone! Hell," he continued, "If it wasn't for me takin' off, I'd probably be a hero in this village!"

The scarred chunin glanced back at Naruto. He expected the boy to be in shock from the news, but what he found instead surprised him.

The Uzumaki merely grimaced with what appeared to be a smile tugging at his lips. "I get it now…" the boy whispered to himself, "It all makes sense…"

"Naruto!" the ninja instructor crouched and grasped the blonde by the shoulders, "You are not the fox! Mizuki is lying!"

Said traitor laughed. "Come on, Iruka, don't lie! He killed your parents that night when he attacked. You should be thanking me…"

"That's a lie!" Iruka shouted back at the man in the trees, "Naruto is the fox's prison, not the fox himself!"

"Whatever," Mizuki gave up the verbal spar and unhooked one of his oversized shuriken. "Once I take you out, I'll be free to make any kind of bargain I want." He lobbed the massive throwing star… but not at Iruka. The failed academy student was far more vulnerable.

The scarred man saw this ploy and moved to intercept the incoming weapon while shielding his frightening student. He leaned over the blonde in time to receive a sharp pain spinning into his back, spattering blood in the boy's face. He glanced down to order the boy to run only to find his expectations dashed once again.

"What are you doing?" Naruto inquired with a fading grin that resembled dissappointment. He didn't seem shocked at all that his teacher was injured or that there was blood on his face. "Why did you do that?"

"Wha…?" he almost questioned him further but swallowed the question with some blood. "Naruto, you've got to run!" He gathered himself, yanked the weapon from his back, and returned it to the sender.

Mizuki easily dodged the hastily flung device. "Not good enough!" He leapt from his hefty branch and tossed the other one, landing it squarely in the fellow chunin's stomach. Iruka doubled over from the sudden pain while the traitor rushed towards the boy who attempted to stand in time to counter him. Fortunately, he was far more experienced than the blonde bane, and his kunai stuck quite nicely in the boy's abdomen…

But the Uzumaki did not go down. His face scrunched up in pain, but he suddenly jabbed at Mizuki with that strange spear he always carried. Mizuki hadn't expected the failed novice ninja to be so composed, so the blade of the javelin nicked him ever so slightly as he leapt back. He stared in awe as the boy, sporting a sick smirk that belonged on a serial killer rather than a twelve-year old, began moving his foot in wide arcs, smudging the spilled blood into a familiar pattern.

"Wait a second…" the traitor recognized the bloody symbol; after all, he was a teacher. "That's… you're a…"

"This will not be pleasant," Naruto stated with a dark smirk before licking the edge of the weapon that penetrated the backstabber's flesh. His body instantly transformed into that of a living voodoo doll since he already stood in the accursed mark and he plunged his unique weapon into the open wound of his stomach.

"Gah!" Mizuki gurgled in agony as his knees hit the ground and his abdomen split open. Blood dribbled from his lips and his eyes displayed the true fear of death as a recovering Umino watched the entire spectacle in horror.

The blonde immortal spared a brief glance at the scarred ninja before returning his gaze upon the traitor's face. He loved it when his victims screamed and begged for their lives, even if such pleas could only be described by their facial expressions. "That's good…" he said, trembling a bit from the ensuing endorphin release, "That's real good…" He jabbed a kidney and chuckled at the painful yet tingly sensation. He continued to inflict harm upon himself and, thus, his enemy until he tired of it. When it got old, he smiled at the doomed man who lied in a pool of blood. "See you in hell, Mizuki." The spear impaled Naruto's heart and ended Mizuki's tortuous ordeal.

The Uzumaki then spent the next few minutes preparing for the after-kill ritual; there were many such ceremonies that had to be obeyed in order to receive the benefits of immortality. But before he could lie in the center of the bloody circle, Iruka summoned the strength to speak.

"Naruto…"

He turned to face the man. "Yes?"

"So you're… a follower of Jashin?"

"Yes," he nodded.

As the wounded chunin took in this newfound information, he realized that everything made sense now. Naruto's sudden change of personality, the way he carried himself, his method of confrontation and interaction… it all finally matched up. "Naruto," he spoke, one question nagging him above all others.

"What?" The blonde put a pause to his preparations once again.

"Did you…" he swallowed, "Did you join willingly?"

The immortal boy regarded him with darkened azure eyes. Was even the ambivalent Iruka about to betray him as well? "Yes."

"You did?"

"I did."

The wounded man closed his eyes and gave the smallest of smiles. "That's…" he sighed reluctantly, "That's good, that's good."

Those blue eyes narrowed; his teacher approved? "How's that good?"

"You joined of your own free will. That was… your choice, not someone else's. You weren't fooled into doing something you didn't want…"

An awkward moment passed and Naruto nodded before finally lying down on his bloody seal and jabbing his weapon into his chest. Many minutes quietly passed and, before he knew it, the minor ceremony was complete. As he stood, the scarred ninja spoke again.

"Naruto."

He gazed at the wounded instructor.

"I know this was your choice, and I won't tell you whether or not it was the right one, but please remember this…" The blonde recognized some form of lecture ensuing and turned to leave. "I know you had a harsh life and I'm no one to criticize you for your own choices, but if you've ever listened to me, please listen to this." The immortal stopped and aimed a passively attentive face in his direction. "If you ever find someone who tolerates you, someone who cares for you, someone who… loves you," he winced from his deep injuries, "Don't just let them go. Treasure them."

The disturbing boy took note of this advice and nodded. "I'll keep it in mind."

"That's good," he smiled, a trail of blood trickling from his lips. "Oh, yeah… did you learn anything from that scroll?" he inquired wearily to lighten the mood while awaiting a medical team.

This earned a smug smile from the immortal. "You bet I did…"

--

Sarutobi sat in his office staring intently into his crystal ball, viewing the scene that took place between teacher and student. While Naruto proceeded to create a mere handful of clones, the aged shinobi's mind raged an inward battle.

"I should have known," he thought, "Naruto went missing that night when those Jashin believers came through. Damn it! I should have been more attentive!" He leaned back in his chair and the logical portion of his brain kicked in. "But what could I do? If I had refused that cult passage, they would have fought their way through. It would have been a bloodbath for both sides all for the sake of a route for a simple pilgrimage." He recalled that day clearly; the high priest- a deeply scarred old man shrouded in an ornate crimson and obsidian hood- agreed to Konoha's terms so the group could pass through the village in safety. They may have been immortal, but it was still possible to permanently incapacitate them…

He returned to his magical surveillance device and grimaced; it was understandable why the Uzumaki would have been attracted to the religion of murder. He was a highly impressionable child at the time and the cult guaranteed something that was always in jeopardy as well as a means to extract vengeance.

The Jashin doctrine assured him life everlasting and the bottomless hatred to kill all those who wronged him.

--

The next day earned the Uzumaki even more glares, but not because he was a killer who enjoyed his beliefs. He hadn't passed the public exam to become a genin, but here he sat regardless.

"Why are you here?" the nearby Sasuke inquired with a voice filled with spite. Curse the fact that the nearest seat was next to him. "You failed."

Naruto directed his murderous gaze and sadistic smile at the Uchiha. "I passed another way."

The brooding genius scoffed. "I doubt it…"

"Proof," he replied simply, raising his plated headband that was loosely tied around his neck and rested under his dark robes. "I passed."

Sasuke made some offhanded comment about allowing a loser like the immortal blonde to pass and sparked a verbal death match between the two while a certain Hyuuga watched from above. Hinata couldn't believe that Naruto had somehow passed; what alternate test could he have taken?

But such a point was moot for her; the blonde was once again in her proximity. Over the years, she had grown fond of the boy despite his frightening personality. At first she was attracted to his carefree personality, but when he started to change she took it as a sign of maturity. But while that was true to some extent, she hadn't been entirely correct and she knew it- something had happened to him to alter his life in a significant way.

At first she was scared of him. She clearly recalled the day he arrived in the dark robes and strange spear and how afraid she felt. But unlike the budding fans who abandoned the blonde, she attempted to understand him a little more, and it paid off. She learned that underneath the intimidating exterior lied the same headstrong confidence from which she took inspiration. He still carried himself in that way that defied all those who told him he was worthless, something she desperately wished she could do as well. All in all, the qualities that she had grown to appreciate were still there, only the wrapping was different.

She wondered if she could ever work up the courage to talk to him. Perhaps today would be the day?

--

Hours later, team seven sat on a rooftop exchanging introductions. Sasuke didn't reveal much- only that he had a superiority complex, a one track mind, and childish motives. Sakura didn't verbally unveil much, but her body language and girlish mannerisms spoke volumes; she was pretty much a disappointment as well. Naruto's response was far more colorful; he stated his name and instantly followed it up with, "I like ramen and death, I hate… people in general, and I wish to one day become a high priest."

The Haruno shied away from his voice and maniacal facial expression while the Uchiha merely raised an eyebrow. Kakashi glared blankly at the boy; he had heard about the incident regarding Mizuki's gruesome death and Naruto's involvement. "High priest, huh?" he wondered, "He's a bigger time bomb than Sasuke…"

When the newly minted team broke for the day, the blonde immortal walked casually down one of the many market streets, ignoring the glares shot his way. He didn't care about these insignificant people and they knew he could easily kill anyone who wished to make an attempt on his life. Stories of his assailants turning up dead without any apparent weapon wounds only served to widen the unspoken barrier around him. He continued down the road until a commotion halted his progress.

"Goddamn bitch!" an obviously drunk individual shouted at a woman dressed in a trench coat. He tossed an empty bottle at her and continued. "Fuckin' snake whore!"

"I'm not looking for trouble!" Anko shot back.

"You shoulda' died when that traitor fucked you over!" He tossed a rock at her next.

She dodged the stone easily. "I said I'm not lookin' for a fight! Just let me eat in peace and I'll be outta here…"

"Bullshit!" He unearthed a serious blade from beneath his clothes. "You were probably plannin' to kill my son with him- huh?" he almost stumbled over the passing blonde, "Who the fuck're you?!"

"Move," he stated, "You're in my way."

"My ass, kid!" the inebriated man obviously didn't recognize the boy, "Kids outta know their place!" He slashed at him with the blade, etching a superficial wound into the blonde's cheek. "Now get! I'm gonna skin me a snake- ah!" he yelped loudly when a spike impaled his foot.

"All you had to do was move," Naruto stated with a growing smile, "Better start praying…" He extracted the weapon and moved his hand towards the small gourd he kept tied to his crimson rope belt as the man scampered away, whimpering in pain the entire way.

"Hey, stop!" a hand halted the boy's moving arm to prevent him from grasping the container, "You don't need to go that far!"

He eyed the Mitarashi with a glare and a confused sneer that compelled her to keep her distance. As if feeling the unconscious command, she released him and backed away a few feet. "Why?" he asked, "He attacked me."

"I know, but that doesn't mean you should kill him," she replied with mild apprehension.

He cocked an eyebrow. "Why?"

"Well... that's just something you don't do. I mean, he should be punished by having a brick shoved up his ass, but he's drunk- he doesn't really know what he's doing."

"He was going to attack you after killing me," he explained matter-of-factly, "Would you have let him go or killed him?"

"I would'a incapacitated his ass and handed him over to the ANBU."

He tilted his head and frowned. "Why?"

She paused before answering. "Sometimes… people just discriminate against people like me. I can't really do anything about it if I want to… you know…"

The blonde realized that she meant she was ostracized like him, but her answer still confused him. Why not kill anyone who meant harm, especially those who judged others with extreme prejudice? That didn't make sense to him. "I don't get it. When I stood up to the people who abused me, they stopped. Why won't you?"

Anko swallowed and briefly wondered if he knew why he was an outcast. "I don't do it because I actually want a chance to redeem myself."

"Why do you need to redeem yourself?"

"I…" she paused at the unpleasant memories, "I used to be Orochimaru's apprentice…"

Naruto raised an eyebrow at the familiar name. One of his religion's believers had joined an organization that possessed a member by that name. "And…?"

She smiled weakly. "A lot of people can't really differentiate between master and apprentice, so… I've got a lot to prove in order to fit in, and even then it's not a guarantee."

The blonde gazed at her a moment longer then returned his elongated weapon to its holster. "I see…" he said before turning to leave.

The Mitarashi stared after the boy before reentering the shop to complete her now cold meal. "So that's Naruto Uzumaki," she mused, "Poor kid. And I thought I had it bad…" She retook her abandoned seat and frowned; she could relate to the boy in such a close way. It was a naïve way of thinking, but was there a possibility they could be… friends? "Nah," she shook her head, "We both got our own shit to deal with. Still," she directed her gaze out a nearby window, "It would be nice to know someone who has a similar pain…"

--

Naruto entered his home and slumped down onto the ragged couch he pulled from a dumpster several years ago. The blonde had eaten a feast of ramen at Ichiraku's stand, and the recent memory still plagued him.

He liked that establishment. A sick grin always plastered his face whenever he thought of the old chef's daughter, Ayame. She was so cute with that look of mild fear every time she glanced his way. He often wondered how her voice would waver and her lips would quiver should he take her to the brink of death before pushing her over the edge, but the only reason he refrained from doing so was because her father would probably close the shop upon her passing, or at the very least stop serving him. It was a conflict of interest: ramen versus indiscriminate killing. In the end, ramen won because Ichiraku's was the best in Konoha. Besides, its owners were among the select few people who tolerated him before his conversion- he owed them that much.

He unhooked the latch that kept his weapon to his side and noticed the blood from the man he wounded earlier hadn't yet dried. Staring at it, his lips creased into a smile and he strolled over to a special mat on his floor. Taking his small gourd and popping the cork, he poured a small puddle of blood onto the heavily stained fabric and smeared it into the familiar pattern. He licked the crimson fluid from the spiked end of his javelin and promptly plunged the device through his chest, trembling at the ecstasy of pain.

Somewhere within the Konoha hospital, a man being treated for a foot injury lurched forward as his chest miraculously split open in a fountain of blood. He died before he knew what happened.

A half hour later, as the Uzumaki finished up his after-killing ritual, he proceeded to unravel the scroll containing the teachings of Jashin. He had read the script many times over by now and it was fairly short and straightforward, but he always reveled in reading the few rules that lord Jashin bestowed upon his fellow immortals. His mind was muddled with the conversation with the 'snake woman'- he needed to squash the doubts that arose in his conscience thanks to her. "Why do her words bother me so much?"

"Kill without discrimination," he chanted quietly, "All men are mortals and deserve no separate treatment.

"Kill in the name of Jashin," he continued, "For he is the being who will one day baptize the land in blood gathered from those who follow him.

"Life is not precious; there is much of it. Live every moment as it is your final hour.

"Be strong and unyielding; soft words will only stay our lord's coming."

He reached the final and most important command of them all. "Abolish all forms of weakness and embrace chaos. Affection clouds the mind and stays the killing blow. Take up hatred and abandon love…"

The blonde continued to mutter aloud the entire script to cast Anko's words from his mind to no avail. He was so wrapped up in destroying the remaining sensitive emotions he had left that he didn't notice the faint presence at the door.

--

Hinata ran home with tears scrubbing her eyes. She had forced herself to go to Naruto's door and talk to him to tell her how she felt. After a solid five minutes of building the courage to knock on the door, she activated her Byakugan for only a moment to be sure she wasn't intruding, despite the irony of that thought process. What she saw shocked her beyond comprehension.

The blonde stabbed himself through the heart with his ebony spear. She was so surprised that she couldn't even scream, but before she could compose herself and burst into the room to help him, he removed the weapon as if went through air before impaling himself against the floor for a half hour. The only reason the Hyuuga didn't enter the rundown abode at all was because she couldn't move; fear and irrationality possessed full reign over her mind. Eventually, the boy sat up like nothing happened and began reading out of a scroll. This was when she bolted for home, confusion and concern littering her thoughts.

"What was that?!" she wondered with intense worry, "W-what did Naruto do to himself?! How is he alive?!" Her legs began to slow and her salty tears finally had a chance to flow downwards properly. "What… what is Naruto?"


Yeah, I know it's cliche to have Naruto running from a mob, but I really couldn't think of anything else to initiate things there.

The "Keep what you kill" quote is a blatant rip-off from the Chronicles of Riddick (great movie!!), but I felt that it worked really well.

Please leave a review!! It will help me determine whether or not I should spend any more time on this fic.

Catch ya'll later.