His fractured mind made him capable of anything. It made him Konoha's most unpredictable ninja. And eventually, Konoha's most unpredictable ninjas. If it sounds strange, it's because it is.
It amused him to toy with his weak, human container. And besides, it wasn't like he anything better to do. Trapped in a mortal child, Kyuubi needed some sort of distraction.
Which was why he found himself playing along with Naruto as the silly blonde tried to build a castle of some sort out the many bricks that had found their various ways into Naruto's apartment.
Do you think it will work if I build it like this, foxy?
Kyuubi casually thought about the image that Naruto sent his way, a rather elaborate design for a brick castle. I don't think we have that many bricks. Maybe you should go for something smaller? Kyuubi pictured in his mind a much shorter, but sturdier looking castle.
It looks more like a fortress.
A castle is a fortress.
Oh. I knew that.
Kyuubi would've rolled his eyes, if he'd had any. Only this kid could possibly be so dense. But then, it wasn't like he could ever be considered normal. Living and playing all by himself, taking advice from his only a friend, a voice he heard in hi head.
Of course, the Kyuubi was not unaware of the strange effects this situation had upon Naruto, although it was just more entertaining to watch it happen. Because of his constant interaction with Kyuubi, Naruto was used to talking and debating within himself.
Although the boy hadn't noticed, the Kyuubi knew that Naruto was slowly developing multiple personalities. More and more often, Naruto would be talking to Kyuubi, and would seamlessly transition from one point of view into another, and never noticing. Only the Kyuubi was aware that Naruto's persona had changed, like the flip of an invisible switch.
It was quite amusing.
In the Academy, it was thought that Naruto was a sleep-deprived hyper kid. This way, the students and teachers accounted for his strange, self-contradictory behavior. Sleeping through class, then screaming and running around like a madman when awoken. Declaring that he would become Hokage, and then running away from class, where the most basic skills necessary to become the village leader were learned.
No one but Kyuubi understood, and the fox was not really interested in intervening. This was too much fun to watch, and occasionally mess with. It was boring as Hell trapped in Naruto's body (And Kyuubi would know), and so any distraction was welcome.
Kyuubi watched the separate personalities develop simultaneously, growing so slowly that Naruto never noticed, yet quickly enough that they were quite evident by now to the demon who witnessed everything the boy did.
When Naruto approached Sakura, his mind was a storm of screaming voices.
Ask her out because she's cute!
Beat her up for all that mean stuff she said last time!
Just be a gentleman!
Confused and slightly aggravated with all the internal conflict, Naruto always ended up making a fool of himself in front of her.
When Naruto stole the forbidden scroll, and learned the kage bunshin, things only got weirder. Now there were other Naruto's outside of himself giving suggestions on what to do.
Kyuubi was rather amused at the way the kage bunshin worked, having read the important parts of the scroll that Naruto skipped over.
The parts about why it was a forbidden jutsu.
The kage bunshin formed a permanent clone that had the user's personality. The clone could, in theory, last forever, as long as it didn't take a hit. And the clone learned and developed separately from the original until it dispelled. Which, of course, could be a problem. If the clone lasted too long, it deviated from the way the original thought, and so when it dispelled, it's personality came back to the original, along with its knowledge and skills.
So when anytime a clone lasted too long, its deviant personality was added to the others already there in Naruto's mind.
Kyuubi watched this development with interest. It was quite amusing, even if the constant bickering in Naruto's mind got old sometimes. He watched as the clones, which received only one personality, seemingly at random, would do things that Naruto had never intended for them to do. And sometimes the clones would offend Naruto or another clone, and start a fight. After some time, even Naruto figured out that the clone technique was doing weird things to his mind, and was careful to use it only in the short term.
But by then, it was really too late.
Naruto's mind housed a legion of personalities, every possibility that the mind could think of, represented by a different voice. Or voices, in the case of a particularly strong emotion or opinion.
All the time now, Naruto would behave strangely, bursting out into maniacal laughter in the middle of a solemn discussion, or getting incredibly angry at the drop of a hat. His moods swung as fast as thought. Happy, sad, angry, sad, angry, happy, and so on.
Only when the majority of his mind was aligned with his purpose was Naruto any good at something. When, on the mission to Wave, Zabuza attacked, Naruto had the aid of dozens of other advisors, creating and modifying plans to free Kakashi-sensei.
Immediately after the fight, the voices dissolved back into their ordinary chaos, but it made Kakashi wonder. How had Naruto gotten so clever, thinking of that plan with the henged clones and shadow shuriken? And why did he not now display that same level of intelligence?
Naruto couldn't fight off Haku at the bridge, until Sasuke was seemingly killed. Whether or not they liked him, most of the Narutos didn't want him dead, and they all wanted revenge. Kyuubi, worried about his host's life, even helped a little.
Kakashi could never figure out why Naruto only seemed able to work under pressure.
But things only got worse. By the time of the chuunin exams, Kakashi almost prevented his team from entering. Naruto was not just a clown. He was a liability.
On even the most basic missions, he could be counted on to screw things up. Spontaneously deciding to wander off, and totally forgetting about the mission. Randomly bursting into hysterical laughter. Suddenly wracked with a towering rage.
All of these came about at the least suggestion. An odd glance, an innocuous comment, and Naruto changed his mood in an instant.
But they entered, and oddly enough, it was only Naruto's split personalities that got them through. Because he was impossible to read. No one, not even Naruto, knew what he was going to do next. When Sasuke activated his Sharingan in the forest, while in a fight against another generic team from Rain, he had happened to glance in Naruto's direction, and froze.
Normally, Sasuke saw the next second or two of movement of the ninja. Like a blur of motion, except that it was motion yet to happen. If a ninja was preparing to punch, Sasuke saw the body as it was, and as it was going to be.
But around Naruto, Sasuke saw only a blur of possibilities. Naruto couldn't be read. His sharingan told Sasuke that Naruto was going to punch, and that he was going to kick, and that he was going to jump, and dodge, and spin, and laugh, and scream, and flip. All at the same time.
Instead of a blur of future motion, looking at Naruto was like watching through a thick fog. Nothing was certain, and everything was obscure.
And so Naruto was unbeatable. Just good enough to avoid typical attacks, and too wild and unpredictable to be hit by anything else, Naruto tore through the opposition.
Enemy ninjas cringed when, in the middle of a particularly viscious, anger-fueled attack, Naruto dropped to the ground, howling with laughter. But before they could take advantage of this, the boy was on his feet, and a dozen clones were surrounding them, kunai drawn and held in position to throw.
But the ninja never got to block the thrown kunai, because Naruto changed his mind again and told them to attack. Most of the clones did, but two of them decided to throw their kunai anyway. One hit another clone, which promptly blamed his counterpart for intentionally attacking him. He threw a kunai, which the clones dodged.
Naruto, nearly hit by the kunai, reacted on instinct and summoned hundreds of clones to his defense.
Before anyone knew what was happening, a war broke out in the middle of the forest, with vicious, raving, orange-clad clones attacking everyone in sight. In the confusion, even the Rain ninja were killed.
Sasuke and Sakura emerged from hiding as Naruto finished off the last clone, an hour later, with a cruel, backhanded swipe.
"Ha! Take that, you traitorous bastard!"
They didn't dare comment on it, and continued on their way.
When Orochimaru showed up, Naruto laughed and joked around with the snake sannin, putting the false grass nin in quite a good mood. Naruto joked and played, until Orochimaru made a vague reference to typical dumb blondes.
Naruto exploded, and summoned hordes of wrathful clones to attack. In his anger, he drew upon the power of Kyuubi, who didn't really care, since this was bound to be entertaining.
As per usual in any fight involving large numbers of clones, fights broke out among them, and Naruto ended up summoning even more clones to deal with the 'traitors', and then more to deal with the rather tough grass ninja, and so on.
Orochimaru, confused and rather disturbed, snuck away quietly while Naruto was fighting amongst himselves, and marked Sasuke with the curse seal. Then, just as quietly, he slinked off.
Sakura cared for Sasuke as best she could, until Naruto had finished off his clones and calmed down enough to carry Sasuke towards the tower.
Sakura noted that Naruto carried the Earth scroll that the strange ninja from before had carried, and didn't know when Naruto had gotten it. When she dared ask, Naruto seemed as surprised as her, and said that he didn't know when he had picked it up.
Sakura's right eye twitched, but she didn't dare do anything that might set him off.
And from then on, it only got stranger. As his career progressed, Naruto became one of the top-ranked ninja in the village, a master of open battle and a veteran hunter of groups of bandits and missing-nin. He was put into every issue of the Bingo book. Uzumaki Naruto, S-rank ninja. A.k.a. Konoha's most unpredictable ninja.
But he was never assigned bodyguard or stealth related missions. Because Naruto couldn't keep the peace. Not even by himself. He was so skilled with the kage bunshin that he could summon clones with a thought. Any of him could summon clones with a thought.
And so stealth was not an option. At any one moment, Naruto could be walking along with a smile on his face, and then the very next moment he was in a battle for his life against his own clones. Not a great quality for sneaking around quietly.
And bodyguarding was not an option. After a few such debacles as his first few missions like that were, he was never given another. It was unfortunate, but Naruto had a tendency to get other caught in the crossfire when his inner turmoil exploded into the outside world.
Naruto's mind was fractured. Each personality fought for itself. And Kyuubi prodded them on, just to entertain himself with further amusement.
After some time, the personalities began to congregate into two main groups. Time and time again, one group would fight against the other. Naruto's collection of voices was smaller than the other side, but he was the original, and that counted for something.
It didn't make a lot of difference, anyway. Fights still broke out all the time, just like normal. In fact, it changed absolutely nothing until that fateful day.
Akatsuki attacked. Hidan and Kakazu were sent to capture the vessel of the Kyuubi. It wouldn't have mattered so much, except that by this point, Naruto was absolutely insane. Without a moment of rest, he and his allies fought against the larger, though weaker group of other personalities.
Dazed with lack of sleep, and distracted with his own internal and external fights with himself, Naruto leapt up and backwards just as Hidan swung his scythe to scratch the vessel for a bit of blood.
But as a result of Naruto's unpredictable jump, Hidan sliced him clean in half, from head to groin.
The two halves fell to the ground, and the Akatsuki could only watch in wonder as Naruto regenerated.
Both halves regenerated. Each side grew the missing parts, and within a few minutes, there were two very angry Uzumaki Narutos staring them down.
One hour and several thousand clones later, the two immortal Akatsuki abandoned the battle and returned to base to report, leaving the twin Narutos to fight each other.
The leader was incredulous, but eventually convinced. Naruto had split. And, based on what the immortals had seen, both halves housed the Kyuubi.
Shaking his head, the leader wondered how they could simultaneously siphon the Kyuubi from two equally powerful and unpredictable ninja.
The last two entries in the latest bingo book were prefaced by a small authors note.
"This is not a typo. There are two of them, each looking exactly the same, and each with the same name."
They shared a heading:
"Uzumaki Naruto, Konoha's most unpredictable ninjas."
Whoa. That was weird. Not at all what I had planned. I don't know where that came from. Oh well. Let me know what you think, eh?