The Dark Knight
I dedicate this to Heath Ledger. This is something a bit different that I thought of for a while. I decided to write this as a break from my usual story. Many thanks goes to the kind people at TFF that helped me with the polishing, along with MC.
Dialogue normal/external speech
Dialogue inner thoughts
Dialogue Kyuubi speaking aloud
Dialogue Kyuubi thinking/musing
Started: 16 Aug 08
Completed: 21 Aug 08
Summary: Those Council fools want me gone so they can get back to the way things were. But I know the truth: there's no going back. You've changed things ... forever.
"Are you sure that you want to retire?" asked Sarutobi.
Uchiha Itachi nodded, a resolute expression on his face as he placed his discharge papers on his desk. They were signed and dated, with a request to be moved into the Konoha Military Police.
"But why? You were our best operative ever. Why do you want to stop now?"
The raven haired teen tried to hide the haunted look in his eyes, but was unsuccessful, "I have walked in the valley of death Hokage-sama. I have seen death, pain, misery and destruction. It – it isn't what I want to be. I am a peacekeeper, not a killer. I can better do that as a policeman than as a shinobi."
The Sandaime found that hard to argue against. He had a vision of peace that would mean the forcible retirement of all the ANBU. While Itachi would be sorely missed, having an operative that wasn't willing was tantamount to suicide. Failure would mean a very messy and painful acknowledgement that Konoha had acted but failed.
"Very well. Your records will be Sealed to the Flame. I am sorry to see you leave Itachi-san. It was a pleasure serving with you."
The Uchiha gave a genuine smile and bowed deeply, "The honour was all mine Sarutobi-sama."
The MP turned to the direction of the shout and faced his brother, "What is it otou-tou?"
"Come play with me!" demanded a playful Sasuke.
The raven haired prodigy gave him a look before smiling, "Sure, why not."
Uchiha Fugaku sighed as he looked at the two siblings in exasperation. While Itachi was in the ANBU corps there was a great sense of honour bestowed upon their clan. After all, it wasn't everyday that a shinobi was promoted to taichou at such a young age, where most children were still playing with training kunai.
But he couldn't begrudge the decision. Especially when it had given their clan unexpected benefits through his new position as a military policemen. People had always greeted him fondly, waving and speaking to the boy. The civilian Council of Fire had supported their resolutions which gave them an edge against the Hyuuga in their perennial, if civilised, disputes over other matters.
Uchiha Mikoto smiled at the scene, glad that the ANBU tour of duty hadn't changed her son into an unfeeling monster. She chuckled at their antics before gracing her husband with a hug.
"Isn't that just adorable?" she asked, nipping Fugaku in the ear.
The two boys were playing a game of tag, with Itachi coaching the younger boy in the application of the Kawamiri no jutsu. The MP knew that Sasuke had dreams of becoming a shinobi, which he would support whole heartedly as a good brother should.
While the Uchiha patriarch was somewhat disappointed with his oldest son, he had high hopes for his youngest. While he wasn't a prodigy like Itachi, he had the strength and determination to become something really special for Clan Uchiha. While a part of him hated it when he saw his sons as shouji pieces, he had the interests and expectations of the house upon his shoulders. For the good of the whole, he had to do things that were distasteful to him.
He had initially loathed the idea of sending a boy into the ANBU corps, no matter how talented Itachi was. It was a division for seasoned adults as they were engaged in some of the most sordid and bloody acts that could be assigned to a shinobi. But the council had demanded that he be sent, as a statement of their superiority. Despite his misgivings and the tearful entreaties by his wife, he had allowed them to go ahead with their decision.
And looking back, he couldn't help but think that everything had worked out for the best.
"Aniki, why did you quit the ANBU?" asked Sasuke as they were alone in a clearing.
The Uchiha stopped at that and gave a small sigh, "I was sick of killing. Sick of using our clan's gift to be nothing more than a murderer for our state."
"What do you mean? It is an honour to serve in Konoha's armed forces. Father says that it is our duty as the founding clan to protect it with our lives and Sharingan," protested Sasuke.
Itachi shook his head slightly before whispering, "Otou-tou, the Sharingan is our clan's greatest gift, but the heaviest curse as well."
"I don't understand..."
"Of course you don't," Itachi said with a sad smile, poking Sasuke's forehead, "And I hope you never do."
"Hah! I will activate my Sharingan and then we can go on missions together!" he proclaimed, boyhood dreams coming to the forefront of his mind.
Itachi couldn't help but chuckle at his brother's innocence.
The duck haired Uchiha then turned to him and asked him, "Why is it a curse?"
Itachi was silent for a few moments before answering, "The reason why we can copy tai, nin and gen jutsu is because we have a photographic memory. Each movement, no matter how slight, is imprinted onto our consciousness."
Sasuke had his mouth opened in surprise before Itachi closed it for him. He flushed at that and crossed his arms with a humph.
"But that is a terrible thing for a shinobi as well..."
"Otou-tou, I remember every single kill that I have ever made."
There was silence as the boy digested his words.
"All their gestures, the hopelessness in their eyes, the way they crumpled into the ground like the strings being cut from a puppet... Worst of all was the accusation on their faces, like you had committed a grave sin beyond forgiveness," whispered out Itachi.
"We live in a world where might makes right. That violence is the ultimate solution to any form of dispute resolution," he said cynically.
"But, but the ones sending us to war have no idea to what it really means to be out in the field."
Sasuke looked at him, surprised that his normally taciturn brother was opening up to him.
"From the safety of Konoha they send us out to die. To kill. Even criminals caught in our village are not put to death, but we can easily go out and kill strangers. Just because they are in the way of ... policy."
"A war is the worst thing to ever happen. Especially when you have a Sharingan, when you are pushed to the hardest and most dirtiest missions available," the MP concluded.
"But, but, you were the best!" protested Sasuke with pride.
Itachi laughed hollowly, "Maybe. But I never enjoyed what I did. Not once. I was just good at it," he admitted with self deprecation.
"Do you know what happens to the corpses after a battle?" he suddenly asked.
"They are buried with full honour and respect," quoted Sasuke with text book precision.
The MP pondered on whether to break his illusions before deciding that the truth needed to be told, "That is a lie."
"Our troops are taken away to stop the enemy from capturing them and dissecting them. They do the same. But most of them are not that special. Some of the injured aren't from important clans, or don't have bloodlines or connections. It is impractical to keep them, even as prisoners of war. So guess what happens?"
Sasuke shrugged mutely.
"We kill them. Take a blade and slice it across their throats."
The younger boy winced at that.
"And then, they are left to rot. Imagine an entire sea of bodies in every single state imaginable Sasuke. Limbs torn off. Organs spilled. Heads missing. Bodies burnt, charred, liquefied... and imagine walking through it all. Your sandals get disgusting, the smell never quite leaves your nose and worst of all..."
Itachi looked haunted as he continued, "I still remember each and every one of them. And I remember how the crows got fat from eating them."
Sasuke grimaced and felt slightly ill.
His brother continued with pained detachment, "And the terrible irony is that they love to eat the eyes. They peck away at the face, going for the soft flesh –"
"Please, stop! I'm getting sick!"
Itachi caught himself and he gave him an apologetic nod, "So you see, killing is something that ... I chose not to do any more. I stopped becoming a shinobi because I would look at myself in the mirror and ... I didn't like the person in front of me."
"But, what if you did it without the Sharingan?" asked Sasuke.
"I might not have it seared into my mind, but I would know," admitted the Uchiha genius, "And it only takes that one step. Once you kill, it becomes easier to do it the next time. No matter what the reason, the road to hell takes one small step before it becomes a sprint.
"I hope that we can live in a world where everyone will play by the rules. Where the use of force is the absolute last resort, and killing a thing of the past. As long as we can set an example otou-tou, then we can show the world that it is possible. And hopefully they will take our lead and we can truly make a difference. That we can finally call ourselves civilised nations."
Sasuke was entranced by his brother's idealism, but was still a bit wary of those 'heretical' thoughts, "Are you sure, I mean, I don't like playing by the rules..."
Itachi chuckled again before ruffling his brother's hair, "But still, imagine if no one did? What would happen then?"
Union Bank of Konoha
Customers and staff were all huddled on the ground as they were promptly robbed by people in white noh masks as they moved efficiently amongst the group. Valuables were taken and shoved into bags while another team was assigned to hit the vaults underneath.
The branch manager had hit a panic button and grabbed a blade in his hand, intent on driving off the bastards that had the audacity to rob UBK in broad daylight.
He saw a figure and threw a kunai across the room, seeing the steel lodge itself in the cranium of a thief as the other took cover as he assessed the threat.
"Do you have any idea of who you are robbing?! Danzo will have your heads for this!" he roared out.
He stormed over to the group and raised his ninjaken. He swung down before his hands were trapped and promptly broken by one of the masked assailants. He dropped the sword and tried to head butt the man. He missed and was pushed on the floor.
Before he could react, he was straddled and two daggers were shoved into the back of his kneecaps, destroying the joint and making him squeal in agony.
The figure stood up before tsking at the man, howling as he couldn't stand up at all.
"Now now, that wasn't nice, that wasn't nice at all. You left me alone. Ah well, it shouldn't be too long anyway," he said somewhat absentmindedly.
Soon enough another man dragging a bag of sealing scrolls approached him. The odd thing was that it was theoretically and practically impossible to place one scroll into the state space of another. It would lead to odd occurrences where the items would be irreparably lost.
"You're late," drawled the masked figure who had taken down the banker.
"Yeah, well, there was a shitload of cash and I had to kill the guys that had to help me out. Not that I am complaining, it just means a bigger share to me."
With that the thug whipped out a trench-knife that was placed against his jugular.
"Woah, what is this?"
He scoffed at that, "I'm betting that The Kitsune told you to kill me as soon as I loaded the cash."
He shook his head, "No, no. Nothing like that at all."
Suddenly a quarrel burst forwarded from his head and his body crumpled to the floor. He waved out to a figure on an adjacent rooftop before making the handseals for Shunshin no jutsu.
Before he could make his exit, the manager looked up and spat at him, "Who the fuck are you!?"
The man shrugged and took off his mask. His face had a heavy level of white makeup that was applied on so thickly that it formed clumps at times. A grotesque red lipstick smile was on top that didn't fail to cover the three scars on each of his cheeks. His dirty blond hair was slick with product, the roots a deep red as he gave the man a mocking wave.
"Kami, who the hell are you?! The criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honour. Respect. Look at you! What do you believe in? What do you believe in!" demanded the man.
The Kitsune smiled maliciously before shoving a metallic orb in his mouth, "I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger."
With that he walked off and waited for the device to go off. He disappeared in a flurry of leaves as it exploded, causing the civilians to shriek as they were covered with blood and brain matter.
Three hours later
Itachi looked at the scene with disbelief. He couldn't think of any group that would have dared to take on UBK. They were the premier bank of the village, who held accounts from the most powerful shinobi and council members. Their security was second to none.
But with a surgical strike, all the guards were neutralised. They had also cleaned out the vaults completely. But the odd thing was that the thieves were all dead. The manager had taken one down but the rest were seemingly killed by their own.
Kami, it looked like the work of jackals.
Shisui came over and shook his head at what had happened as well, "Well, they do say that there is no honour among thieves, but this is unbelievable. It is a core tenant that you don't double cross your accomplices in the middle of a heist. Hell, if they all did then no one would work in a group. I can't help but feel that this is some sort of message. But against who?"
Itachi nodded his agreement, "What do the witnesses have to say?"
"Nothing really. It was all too fast and dramatic for them to get any real details. They were all wearing masks and they didn't look at any of them at all. But it seems that the guys had some shinobi training to pull this off."
The Uchiha prodigy sighed before taking out a pen and notebook, "This is going to be a long investigation."
Konoha Shinobi Academy Graduation Party
Naruto paced the room, a glass of wine in hand as he looked at the little graduation party with depraved amusement. His men were eyeing the children carefully, kabuki masks on as they kept a careful guard on their hostages.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are tonight's entertainment! I only have one question... Where is Uchiha Sasuke?" he asked the newly made genin.
Nobody responded so Naruto walked around the room, pointing with his kunai at everyone. He picked a person at random and accosted him, "You know where Sasuke is? You know who he is? Rookie of the year?"
The terrified boy shook his head vigorously. Naruto persisted with his questions, " -You know where I can find Sasuke? I need to talk to him about something. Just something, a little..."
Seeing that he wasn't getting a response he pushed him to the floor and continued along the line.
"Naruto, what the fuck are you doing?! We know you didn't pass, but come on! And what is with that freaky makeup-" started Kiba before the blond casually reached out and gutted the boy in front of him. The girls screamed as the Inuzuka fell to the floor, gasping.
"Ah shut up ya mutt. I don't want to hear your blather, not anymore," said Naruto with a sneer.
"N-Naru –Naruto-kun! Wh –what are you doing?" asked a terrified Hinata.
"Isn't it obvious? I am using you all as bait for Itachi," he drawled out.
"Because, I want to have a little chat with him. And this is the only way that we can do it, through his precious little otou-tou."
Ino blustered out her outrage," We're not intimidated by you, you freak!"
Naruto smacked his lips before focusing his attention on the Yamanaka, "You know, you remind me of my mother." He suddenly pulled out a switchblade and brought it to the blonde's mouth. "I hated my mother!" he snarled viciously.
Hinata screamed out at the violence, "Pl -please stop this Naruto-kun!"
The jinchuuriki turned to face the Hyuuga heir and smiled. He tossed Ino to his thugs and walked over to Hinata, readjusting his hair with the knife in his hands.
"Well, hello, princess. You must be Sasuke's squeeze, hmm?" he asked her with a leer.
Hinata squeaked at the thought and shook her head slightly. Naruto gave her a look over and whistled, "And you are so pretty, if you ever bothered to look up. I wondered if they would try to do this, unify the clans with you and that emo-teme. I guess it worked."
He walked around her, sniffing her at times and made the timid girl feel incredibly nervous as she couldn't reconcile her image of the boy that never gave up with the psychotic maniac in front of her.
He picked up on her fear and cocked his head sideways, "You look nervous. Is it the scars?", he asked with concern, pointing to his cheeks, "You want to know how I got 'em?"
Hinata was too afraid to say yes or no, so Naruto took that to be a yes. He grabbed her head and forced the poor girl to look at him and his ice blue eyes.
"Come here. Hey! Look at me," he chided softly, "I am going to tell you a story that I have told no one else. Well, I was about... six when it happened. I snuck out of the orphanage to watch the stars one night. I had always been doing it because they were so pretty, always there without a care in the world. And then I came back in. But... she was waiting for me."
"W-Who?" asked Hinata with curiosity.
Naruto chuckled darkly as he continued, "Ah, the lovely matron of course. She had a bottle in her hand and looked at me. She came right up to me and SMACK!", the blond made a smacking gesture right near her ear, causing her to wince, "I was on the floor, seeing stars."
"She then picked me up, looked at me before spitting at my face. Do you know what she said then?"
"No..." she whispered out.
"Why aren't you laughing? Don't you always laugh, aren't you ever sorry for what you have done? Why aren't you laughing?! Why aren't you smiling?!"
"So I just stood there, not knowing what to do. I was just a kid that wanted to go to bed. Can you guess what happens next?"
Hinata stayed silent before hesitantly shaking her head.
"Well, she takes a knife from her belt and opened my mouth like this," he gently squeezed open Hinata's cheeks and placed a blade into the cavity, moving it left into her cheek.
"She smiles at me and says, 'What's the matter, fox got your tongue? Why so serious? WHY, SO, SERIOUS, NARUTO?!"
There was shocked silence at his words.
"And then she started cutting. I cried, begged her to stop. But she continued to slice away," Naruto intentionally slurred that word as he peered deeply into Hinata's lavender eyes," All the way into my cheeks from my lips. My mouth was full of blood, but I still struggled. And then," he paused to laugh manically like it was a joke, "and then, she did it again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!"
Hinata had tears in her eyes as Naruto lovingly put pressure onto the blade, about to pierce her delicate flesh as her mind was consumed by the brutal image that Naruto's words had painted.
"And eventually, she stopped," he whispered, "I was taken to hospital and kicked into an apartment. But do you know what happened to that lady?"
The Hyuuga heiress was mute. She was horrified beyond belief that Naruto had suffered in the way that he had described and no one seemed to care at all.
Seeing that he was not going to get an answer, he spoke maliciously, "Oh, she got off with a slap on the wrist and continued looking after the kids in the orphanage. So tell me Hinata, was that fair at all? Hell, the only thing that really changed from that night is that I am always smiling now!" he cackled out.
"Let her go," demanded Itachi, finally arriving as his eyes took in the scene. The genin's were huddled into a corner, looking pathetically grateful at his appearance.
Naruto spun around, putting the blade to the girl's neck as he gave an excited laugh at the Uchiha's arrival.
"Ah, here at last. You sure took your time wonder-boy."
The stoic Uchiha made a pacifying gesture with his hand, "Come quietly and no one has to get hurt."
Naruto cocked his head and made a queer noise, "Oh really? Get him boys."
The MP activated his Sharingan as the men approached him. He quickly took care of them, taking them down into a heap. Naruto had backed into a glass window and kicked it into pieces. He made a move out before a kunai was thrown next to his head. He spun around, Hinata a fearful statue in his hands.
"Let her go Naruto!" he demanded.
"Ok," with that he pushed the girl out of the opening, where Itachi cursed and leaped out to grab her.
"Well, wasn't that fun?" he asked the shocked graduates.
On the radio waves
I am the one that has your money. It's right here, just waiting to be used. In fact, I will put a hundred thousand bounty if somebody kills Uchiha Sasuke for me.
Anyone? Do I have any takers?
Well FUCK, no one is taking me seriously. But what if I blow up the Academy?
They all looked to the north to see the once proud structure go up in flames.
"How the hell?!"
Oh, do I have your attention now motherfuckers?
Since you might be too... righteous to take money, how about this? If somebody doesn't deliver Uchiha Sasuke's head to the centre of the Fountain of Fire, then I am going to blow up a civilian block, every hour on the hour. Does that change things at all?
Itachi felt his blood run cold, "Where is my brother now?"
Shisui shrugged helplessly.
Emergency Shelter Number Fifty Eight
Sasuke heard the announcement and looked at his friends in unease. They had seen the torrent of fire that had eradicated their school and from what they had seen of Naruto, they knew that he was serious.
Some of the genin from non clan backgrounds were looking anxiously around, some of them with fingers edging towards their pouches. That made him anxious as he tried to scope out the prevailing mood in the shelter.
Ino, Hinata, Shino, Choji and Shikamaru noticed this and pointedly formed a circle around the Uchiha, which made him smile in thanks.
The rest of them looked anxiously to the south to see if The Kitsune would carry through with his threat.
"Oh come on. There was no one in the Academy when it blew up. Do you think Naruto would really do what he said? I mean, come on, this is the dead last we are talking about? Sure he may have pulled some pranks, but killing people? Come on," scoffed Ino.
Choji shifted a bit in his seat, his bag of chips empty as he remembered the thousand meter stare that Naruto had on his face when he revealed his true colours, "Yeah, but have you forgotten that he nearly killed Kiba as well?"
Ino was caught out and she lowered her head slightly. The last that they had heard was that the Inuzuka heir was in intensive care after his stomach was ruptured from the stab to his abdomen.
"N-Na –Naruto-kun..." Hinata whispered out sadly, wondering what had happened to the cheerful blond that had inspired her for so much of her life.
Sasuke shook his head, "This doesn't make any sense. Why is he doing this –"
There was another dull blast that made everyone stop dead in their tracks.
Shikamaru turned his head slowly to the window, disbelief as clear as day on his face, "No way..."
The genin's scrambled to get a view.
"Holy shit! He took out the east quadrant!"
Some of them fell down in shock as they knew that their families resided there. Hopefully they would have made it out, but who would have taken Naruto seriously back then?
They all looked at him as the jinchuuriki's voice came on the air again.
So yeah, still no head waiting to be collected. I am disappointed... and angry. Hmm... I guess people will start evacuating places. So here is a general but real threat. On the half hour, I will destroy another building. I am not going to tell you which one, but it will happen. And people will probably die. I really hope that they do. To prove my point, say goodbye to the market district.
There was another mushroom cloud as an explosion ripped through the shopping stalls that took out all the workers and customers.
So... how much is Uchiha Sasuke really worth to you? He is just one person. Is he really worth a hundred lives? Five hundred lives? One thousand? I think it's time for a little... experiment.
If you give me what I want, then everything will be fine. But if ya don't... Well, we will see Konoha run red. Sayonara.
The graduates looked speculatively at the Uchiha before they all stood up and drew a weapon of some form.
"What do you think you are doing?!" shrieked out Ino in disbelief.
"You heard Naruto! He is serious about this, you stupid blonde bitch! Just one life, compared to those he would save ... we have no choice!" shouted out a genin.
Shino spoke up, "This isn't your decision to make."
"Then who will?! None of you fucking clan bastards will give up your own, but maybe it will change if he hits one of your compounds."
Shikamaru tried to diffuse the situation, "Ah... so troublesome. Look, just calm down –"
"Don't tell me to calm down you lazy son of a bitch! Look at Yumi! Her parents worked there and they are probably dead! Along with Kaede, Shinobu, Hiro... How many more people have to die before you do what is right?!"
Sasuke stood up and spat on them, "So what, you want to cave? What happens then? What if he asks for the firstborn from every family, or he will continue this? Where does it stop? No, we let the MP's and the ANBU find him. We do not give into criminals like that."
"Oh, that's easy for you to say, since it's your ass on the line," muttered out a genin darkly.
Sasuke flushed slightly but refused to back down, "I would say the same thing for anyone," he shot back defiantly.
Things were becoming tense before Itachi came through the window. Sasuke's was finally located by the MP's. He raised his eyebrows at the scene before sighing. He couldn't quite blame them but this was his brother that they were threatening.
"Otou-tou, let's go," he said.
Sasuke nodded and they left, feeling the glares on the back of their necks as they exited.
"Nii-san, where are we going?"
"The only place that is safe at the moment. The Uchiha compound. Now come on, we will Shunshin there so we are not ambushed by anyone. Our mother is waiting with an escort outside so we can go."
They made it to the muster point where they all nodded to each other.
"Alright, let's –"
Streaming dragons of fire burst forward from the rooftops to hit the surrounding group who quickly kawimiri'd out of the way. Armed assailants burst forward to engage the MP's before they could form the seals for the Shunshin no jutsu.
The Kitsune looked at the scene from a distance before driving a carriage into the surrounding area, jumping into the air and flinging explosive tagged kunai into the wagon. It hit the massive load of explosives contained in the back which detonated in a second.
The concussive blast floored everyone as they hit the dirt to avoid the flying shrapnel.
Shisui cursed as he struggled to get to his feet, his ears bleeding and numb after being caught in the epicentre of the blast, "Fuck, doesn't he care about friendly fire?!"
Naruto landed lightly on his feet and unsheathed a tanto as he went forwards to Sasuke. He rather absentmindedly, but brutally, slew the MP's in his way as he made his way to the rookie of the year.
"Oh Sasuke, I have a little something to give you," he promised maliciously.
Before he could make it there Mikoto burst forward from the smoke and punched him across the jaw. He spat out blood and growled, doing some flips as he drew on some of the Kyuubi's power to enhance his fighting abilities. Everyone felt the familiar bloodlust as it bore oppressively down upon them.
"Come on, is that all ya got!?" he asked contemptuously as he adopted a loose fighting stance, the red chakra forming a shield around him as his hands and feet developed claws and his canines elongated. His eyes became slitted, his whisker marks becoming more prominent as the MP's were able to see that they were really scars.
"Damn... this is bad," cursed Mikoto as she unleashed her three tomoed Sharingan. She could only hope that it was enough to do the job.
The Kitsune jumped into the air roaring before shocking them all as he unleashed four tails above them.
Oh fuck, came the collective thought as the jinchuuriki slammed his way down back to earth, leaving a massive gouge on the road as he eyed them all speculatively.
Itachi raised his eyes and tightened his grip on his ninjaken, "Get the ANBU now. Especially Tenzou. Go quickly."
The MP ran off as the rest of them confronted The Kitsune. They couldn't just leave as the beast would go on a rampage in the centre of Konoha. They were the MP's, charged to keep the peace in the village hidden in leaves. They wouldn't abandon that vow now.
"Form delta formation now!" he ordered. The remaining policemen activated their doujutsus and rushed the transformed blond. With their precognitive abilities awakened, each member could see where their partner was going to move before they did, allowing them to work in perfect harmony with each other. But when that was combined with every single Uchiha on the field, it gave rise to amazing possibilities.
Naruto growled and decided to destroy the area around him in an attempt to ward them off. Tails burst forward and lashed into buildings, demolishing them as he danced like a gymnast in an attempt to murder them all. It didn't work, as they could see and anticipate his movements as well. They were slowly drawing him into a trap where the ANBU could incapacitate the boy.
Yamato looked at the jinchuuriki with disgust and pity. He concentrated on his chakra to mold mokuton jutsu to render the bijuu's chakra harmless. He was about to do so when he was shot in the back with a crossbow, leaving him stricken and unable to move.
The MP's below were wondering what the wait was when Yuugao had arrived, blade in hand as she deployed her ANBU cell to contain the animal.
"Tenzou, it's getting hot in here. Where are you?" asked the violet haired kunoichi as Naruto was doing a great job of making the Konoha shinobi look like fools.
After hearing no response from her headset she cursed, "... Screw it. Deploy the chakra crystals!"
When Hatake Kakashi had rescued the Snow Princess he was able to get his hands on a prototype chakra amour core. It had the unique property of absorbing chakra that had very useful applications in many areas. Especially against chakra based beings like the Kyuubi.
They deployed the crystals to form a circle to envelop The Kitsune. Naruto felt his energy being sapped away from him as he looked quizzically around him.
What the hell?
Uchiha Mikoto went forward and gave a vicious kick to Naruto's face that sent him stumbling to the floor. He got up and saw Itachi in the distance.
The raven haired Uchiha started running, his hands blurring in hand seals as lightning soon became visible on his hands.
Naruto jumped up and down in excitement, watching the implacable Uchiha bear down on him, "Come on, I want you to do it, I want you to do it. Come on, hit me. Hit me!"
With his Sharingan fully active, he could see the direction that Naruto would move next. But to his horror, he realised that the jinchuuriki didn't intend to move at all, like he was going to take the blow straight to his heart. At the very last second Itachi lost his nerve and changed direction, his fist heading towards the pavement to the left as it plunged straight into the concrete. The other MP's felt the crystal working on them as they tried to get out of the way, their doujutsu's deactivating as the chakra was being leached from them.
The Kitsune sighed as he curb-stomped Itachi, delighting in the feeling of contact. Itachi groaned as he rolled over. Naruto smirked before slamming the heel of his foot into his ribs, feeling them strain under the impact.
"You just couldn't let me do it could you?" the blond asked sadly, "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object," kicking at the fallen Uchiha each time for emphasis.
The boy sighed out happily as he planned his get away," You truly are incorruptible aren't ya? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever," he said happily.
Itachi groaned before facing the boy, "You will be locked up forever. In a cell where you will never, ever get out."
Naruto shrugged before replying, "Maybe we can share one. You're a shinobi that refuses to kill for crying out loud. They'll be doubling up, the rate this village's inhabitants are losing their minds."
Before anything else could happen the Black Guard ANBU materialised on the scene, all of them holding their blades to The Kitsune's throat.
Uchiha MP holding cells
Sarutobi looked at Naruto in despair. With his white make up and red lipstick, he was a terrible parody of the ANBU forces in his control. The Hokage wondered how things had ended up this way.
Mitarashi Anko eyed the boy with disgust as she kicked him into the corner, interrogating him with a level of brutality that was customary to her. They had placed the Gogyou Fuuin seal on his stomach so he couldn't access any of his chakra in an effort to render him harmless. So far their efforts were successful. Sarutobi was still wondering how he was able to use the Kyuubi's chakra so freely, but decided that there were more immediate problems. The seal would prevent Naruto from becoming too much of a threat for now.
The Hokage made a motion to the tokubetsu jounin, "Stop. Naruto, are you ready to do the right thing?"
The boy laughed hysterically, having trouble breathing as he stared at the Hokage in disbelief.
"Oh, I am when you are," he answered laconically.
"Don't make me hurt you anymore than I have too kid," growled out Anko.
Naruto looked at the kunoichi with disinterest, "Oh, you can't do nothing to me pretty lady. Nothing that hasn't happened to me before. Not from your villagers, not from your shinobi."
Sarutobi shook his head at that, "What are you talking about Naruto? I know that the civilians haven't been ... kind to you. But my ANBU were protecting you after that incident –"
"Oh? And what happens when it is those precious ANBU that have been hurting me?" he said with a brittle smile.
Sarutobi's blood ran cold at that statement.
"What do you mean?" he demanded.
Naruto choked out another laugh before sighing at the old man, "Did you really think that they were looking after me? No, you old bastard. They were the ones torturing me."
Anko spat on the white faced boy, "Stop lying you piece of shit –"
"There was one of them," he interrupted, a lost look on his face as he stared into the ceiling, "He wore a dog mask. He kicked me to my knees and dropped his pants. He told me to use my mouth in the only way that it was good for. Called me a useless shit that didn't deserve to exist. Not worth the Yondaime's life, taking away the father that he never had. And that if he didn't give him some tongue, well, he would mess me up. So, so I did," he whispered.
Both Konoha nins stopped cold at his words.
"I didn't want to," Naruto sobbed out, "but, but he made me do it. And – and when he got close, he pulled out, opened my eyes and, and he finished into it. I can still see it now, that white mess rushing forward as it hit me..."
A pin could have dropped, leaving echoes to haunt those in earshot.
"So I was there, on the ground, my eyes burning. And hell, it really, really burned. And do you know what he did then?"
They shook their heads slightly.
"Well, he backhanded me, bent me over and took out a kunai. He then placed the tip into my ass and twisted. I cried out but he pushed my head into the floor as he pushed it in. Deeper. And deeper. And deeper and DEEPER! He then pulls it out and I cry out, thinking that it was all over. But guess what?" he asked.
"Inu-teme wasn't done yet. He puts something else in again. It wasn't as cold and didn't hurt as much, but could you guess what it was Hokage-sama?" he spat out.
Oh kami, Kakashi, what?! No... this has to be lie!
Seeing the unease on their face, he nodded with satisfaction, "Oh, you know very well what it was. And thanks to the fact that I cannot fucking die, he did it for years until he got bored of me. Every night I would bleed but I would be ok the next evening. And then he gave me over to his friends who felt the exact same way as he did. All of them were ANBU," he whispered out.
"Why, why didn't you come tell me?" asked a haunted Hokage.
The blond fixed the Hokage with a contemptuous look on his face, "Oh, I tried to. Every time I went to your office I was kicked out by your secretary. Inu-teme threatened to kill me, do it even harder, bring his friends along to do me all at once if I said anything. But you must know all those times when you bought me ramen that I tried to tell you."
And the old man realised that Naruto was right. In retrospect, things were too horribly clear.
Anko looked at the boy with sorrow and pity. She had a hard life, but still, Naruto was systematically tortured since he was born.
The blond turned to face the Snake Mistress, "Now that is the reason why you can't hurt me anymore Anko-chan. You can't do anything to me that hasn't been done before. Cut me, burn me, rape me, cover me with your cum. Look at my fucking face and tell me these scars are normal!?" he shouted out with contempt, pointing to his whisker marks.
The two of them stood back and tried to regain control of the situation.
Sarutobi approached another problem that had arisen," Uchiha Sasuke and Hyuuga Hinata never made it home."
The Kitsune shrugged his shoulders at that, "Of course not."
Anko went up to his face and asked him, "What have you done with them?" she asked kindly, trying to garner his sympathy.
Naruto put on an innocent look as he held up his arms in handcuffs, " Me? I was right here," he said innocently.
"Stop playing games with us Naruto! For the love of kami, tell us what you know!" Sarutobi pleaded.
The Kitsune giggled before sighing happily," Who did you leave him with? Your people, the ANBU? That's assuming of course that they are still your people, and not mine, or someone else's. Does it depress you, Jiji-san? To know just how alone you really are?"
Truthfully the Sandaime felt that it was long past the date of his retirement, especially if his own forces were capable of such atrocities under his watch.
Naruto felt that he had hit a nerve and continued slyly, "Does it make you feel responsible for Sasuke and Hinata's current predicament? I mean, you trusted them with me and look how I turned out."
Sarutobi tried one more time, "Where are they?"
Naruto tried to have a look at a clock in the room, where there was none, "So, what's the time?" he asked, seemingly off topic.
"What difference does that make?" demanded Anko, her patience exhausted with the vexatious boy.
The blond spoke slowly, like he was explaining something to an idiot, "Well, depending on the time, they may be in one spot or several."
The Sandaime sighed, "If we're gonna play games..." He walked over and took off his handcuffs.
The blond cocked his head at that threat before rubbing his wrists, "The good shinobi, bad shinobi routine? Then what was Anko-chan here for? "
Sarutobi gave him a wan smile, "Not exactly. And Anko made you talk more than you know."
"He is crazy," Itachi said with horror, observing the interrogation behind the one way screen. While there was no sound, he saw the way that Naruto had taken a beating that most men would have caved under. He had just laughed it off like it was nothing to him, even when his healing was retarded by the seal.
The Sandaime nodded with sorrow. His eyes were full of grief as the boy that he was so fond of turned out to be a psychopathic murderer right in front of him.
"Doesn't – doesn't he have any friends that can reason with him?" asked Itachi.
Anko snorted, "Does he look like the kind of guy to have friends?!" pointing to Naruto who was waving comically at them, making funny faces at the reflective glass.
The Sandaime sighed before rubbing his temples, "I am sure that we wouldn't have this problem if he did indeed have any friends close to him that were not ... driven away." The Hokage contemplated whether he should break the news to the Uchiha before nodding to himself, "Itachi, your brother and his fiancée are missing. The Kitsune said that he took them."
Itachi burst into the interrogation cell and pinned the boy to the wall.
"Where is my brother and Hyuuga Hinata?" he demanded in a cold voice.
The boy cocked his head and shook it in a chiding manner, "Why, so, serious Itachi? You really should calm down; it's gonna give you high blood pressure."
Itachi slammed him again, activating his Sharingan and stared the boy down, "I am not going to ask you again! What is this, some sort of joke to you!"
Naruto cackled and head butted the Uchiha, sending them both down, "Of course this is! Life is a complete joke, when you understand what it really is! A killing joke!"
Itachi drew a kunai and stabbed it into Naruto's shoulders.
Naruto gasped in pain, "Ow! That hurt, how about a little more to the left?"
Grunting with frustration, he withdrew it and stabbed him again.
The blond cackled and shrieked, "Oh yeah! That hit the spot. I can't thank you enough-"
He was slammed face first into the desk before being thrown onto the floor. Itachi placed his foot over Naruto's throat and applied pressure.
"Tell me where they are," he growled out.
"Of course I will tell you where there are," Naruto choked out, "It won't be any fun otherwise."
He withdrew his foot and looked at the boy with distrust, "Where are they?"
Naruto was on the floor gasping for breath as he slowly stood up again, "Ah, you have all these rules and you think they will save you. They won't ya know," he observed flippantly.
Itachi growled as he started to choke The Kitsune again, "I only have one rule!"
The blond smiled in a macabre fashion, taking the MP's hands in his own to loosen the grip, "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules. And tonight you're gonna break your one rule. Believe it."
He then got to his feet, readjusted his clothes and stared into Itachi's Sharingan eyes, "You know, I wonder if you can see the future with those things. So you must know what I am about to say already."
Itachi stared implacably at the blond maniac, refusing to give an inch, "Hnn..."
"You and me, we are so alike you know that?" the blond said offhandedly.
"I am nothing like you!" spat out the raven haired teen, horrified at the thought.
Naruto grinned widely as he disagreed, "Oh really, I exist because you exist. You, you hate violence. Hate killing. It's why you came back to the MP's after being in the ANBU. Such a stupid thing to do, but anyway, they welcomed you back even if you were a total pussy. What matters is that without me to show you the right path, you are nothing. Will remain nothing."
Itachi was silent, not wanting to process the seemingly irrelevant information. The jinchuuriki continued nonetheless, "You were the golden boy, the one that people loved. Adored. Would have given their daughters to have your children for the sheer hell of it. And me, fuck, I was lucky if someone would cross the street to piss on me if I was set on fire. Without you, I would have never have known what it was like to be wanted, to be acknowledged. So in a way, I have to thank you for opening my eyes. I can never go back to that stupid, gullible idiot who wanted to be the Hokage of this pathetic village."
Itachi was reaching his limits, "Get to the point!"
The boy blinked before sighing, "Oh, so impatient aren't ya? Well, your brother is at a warehouse surrounded by eighty barrels of fuel and explosive tags. And Hinata, oh, she is such a lovely girl, is in the docks in a ship, also surrounded by petrol and tags. But here is the kicker; you can probably only save one of them."
Itachi felt his blood run cold, "What do you mean?"
Naruto closed his eyes in thought, "What's the time?"
The MP looked at his watch and told it to him.
The blond smiled happily and leaned back against the wall, "Oh, I might have set the timer for the tags to go off in ... twenty seconds. So, what are you waiting for?"
"So, when can I get my phone call?"
Uchiha Tekka ignored Naruto as he tried to glare the blond to death.
"I want...I want my phone call. I want my phone call," complained Naruto plaintively.
"That's nice," drawled out Tekka, contemplating on the satisfaction that he would receive if he roughed up the blond.
Naruto look at the man before asking him with interest, "How many of your friends have I killed?"
The Uchiha glared at The Kitsune before grinding out, "I'm a twenty year man. I can tell the difference between punks who need a little lesson in manners... and the freaks like you who would just enjoy it."
After a slight pause he finished, "Six. You have killed six of my friends."
Naruto faked some interest and mouthed the number 'six'. He decided on a new tactic and laconically faced the MP.
"Do you wanna know why I use a knife? Jutsu are too quick. You can't savour all the... little... emotions," he said, smiling in remembrance, " In... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did."
He smirked at the MP before asking candidly, "Would you like to know which of them were cowards?"
That hit too close to the bone as the Uchiha growled and rolled up his sleeves.
Naruto gave a dark smile as he got closer.
"How the fuck did he get out?!" shouted a MP as they saw Naruto waltz into the common room with Tekka as his hostage.
"Kill the bastard now! Don't worry about me, just take him down," said Tekka calmly, trying to ignore the kunai at his neck.
"Honestly, I just want my kami damned phone call!" spat out Naruto, like he was being perfectly reasonable.
They stopped at that, looking at him in disbelief.
"What? Is that so much to ask?" drawled out Naruto with his eyes rolled.
Uchiha Yashiro made a motion for a handset to be given over, "Inabi, hand him a telephone."
Naruto smiled with glee, "Finally, a reasonable man. You should take after his example. I will be sure to write a letter to Fugaku about this!"
My god, he is crazy, they all thought.
The Kitsune rang a number before connecting with someone, "Hit it babe."
The entire MP tenement was lit up with an unholy glow as lightening struck from the heavens, demolishing the compound as they scrambled for cover. Naruto laughed like a madman before blurring into action, escaping into the night.
The MP's moved out and Itachi raced to the warehouse, intent on saving his brother before the clock stopped running. He was about to enter the door when Shisui held him back with a shout.
"Dammit, don't lose your head! There might be traps!"
Itachi disregarded the warnings and was about to kick down the door when the entire building exploded in front of him.
Itachi woke up and saw a sterile white ceiling above him.
Oh hell, please tell me that I had some bad food and all of this was a nightmare.
He felt the door open so he turned to face his visitor. It was his father who had a grave look on his face. The MP's heart tightened as he asked the question on his mind.
"How is Sasuke-kun? Is he ok?"
The Uchiha patriarch lowered his head and took some deep breaths, "H- he is dead Itachi."
Itachi feel back to the bed, feeling numb as tears fell onto his bed. He couldn't even muster the effort to stop them flowing as he cried unashamedly. His father went up to him and hugged the traumatised teen, and swore vengeance on Uzumaki Naruto for breaking up his family like he had done.
Itachi woke up to the face of The Kitsune dabbing away at his face which made him start, "You! YOU!"
Naruto wagged his finger in front of him as he chided the restrained Uchiha, "Ah ah, don't strain yourself. You wouldn't want me to get the doctors here would ya?"
"You killed Sasuke! You –"
Naruto waved off the accusations, "Oh please, it wasn't personal. I didn't plan for him to die. Does it really look like I can plan anything?" pointing to his made up face.
Itachi still struggled against his bonds, desperate to hurt the monster in front of him. But he was still struck by the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.
"You know what I am? I am a fox chasing a carriage, I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just, do things."
The blond played with the equipment before continuing, "The Hokage has plans, the MP's have plans, the Council's got plans. You know, they're schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how, pathetic, their attempts to control things really are."
" So, when I say, ah, come here," he chided, grabbing Itachi's head to get his attention, "When I say that you, your brother and Hinata was nothing personal, you know that I'm telling the truth."
"You see, you need to have your eyes opened up. I gave you the choice, but really, you could have saved both of them. A quick Shunshin and bam! But they only chose to save one person you know that. Why is that?"
Itachi stilled at that, the events of the evening crystallising in his mind.
"I went after Sasuke, but I was pulled back before I could get to him," he replied in remembrance.
Naruto nodded happily before continuing, "I mean really, it was all those people making plans. They would have thought that it was just another trap to kill you so they stopped you from going after Sasuke. But they went after the Hyuuga instead with a full team. So really, they only planned to save one person."
His words hung in the air as the jinchuuriki observed Itachi like some sort of experiment, "But don't you realise that plans are useless? Trying to control things which cannot be controlled. Just think about it, your life was never really your own. Did you want to fight as an ANBU, in that war, seeing all those dead people?"
The jinchuuriki wagged his fingers at the bed ridden Uchiha, "It's those schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and uh, look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did, to this village with a few drums of gas, some explosive tags and a couple of kunai."
Naruto then adopted a thinking position before musing out aloud, "Hm? You know what, you know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the Council that a yakuza will get shot, or a wagonload of shinobi will be blown up on duty, nobody panics, because it's all, part of the plan. But when I say that one, little 'ol genin from the Uchiha clan will die, well then everyone loses their minds!" he finished by shaking his head and rolling his eyes.
Itachi struggled against his restraints, desperate to choke Naruto as he was reminded of Sasuke's loss.
"Ah ah ah. You still aren't listening to me," the boy snarled, taking the Uchiha's head and made him face his words, "If you knew the true history of your clan, what they did to each other behind closed doors, do you really think you would still fight for them?"
He pushed Itachi down and sighed, "Like I said, it wasn't personal. I didn't want them to die; they had a chance to live. The point wasn't to kill them at all. It was a test, to see what they valued. And guess what, your little brother didn't make the short list. But a stranger did... why is that?"
Itachi was silent, seething in anger as he digested the words being spoken.
"I guess the moral of the story is that plans suck. You made plans as well, thinking that you could control everything. Every single variable, like not wanting to kill. Oh, that was so self righteous of you Itachi, but did you really think that you could make that rule and stick by it?"
Itachi was tempted to spit out yes but he suddenly lost the fight in him. It all seemed so pointless now. The Kitsune nodded sympathetically as he whispered into the MP's ear, "In this world we live in, the only sensible way to live is by no rules at all. Because if you do so, then... you can see how well that turned out. Again."
Naruto then took out a knife and twirled it with his fingers, "Itachi, have I ever told you about how I got my whiskers?"
Despite himself, he shook his head. It was a mystery that had confused the ex-ANBU, but he never found out anything on the profile that the Hokage had on the boy. He had thought it was a birthmark, a visible representation of the Kyuubi's sealing on the boy. But in his experience, they were rather crude scars that didn't heal properly.
"You see, there was this girl. And she liked me. And I mean really liked me, even if she was only eight years old at the time. But people hated me so much that they would burn anything near me, just to make me cry. So one day, they took her. I didn't know where she went, I asked everyone and told people but they didn't want to do anything. But, but one day she came back. Do ya know what happened to her?"
The raven haired genius shook his head slowly.
Naruto played with the blade some more before whispering out, "Well, they took her to an abandoned warehouse and fucked her senseless."
Itachi flinched at that.
Naruto closed his eyes in remembrance, "Oh yes, they made her scream. She was just eight, but they didn't care. They didn't care that they were splitting her in two every time that they did it. They didn't care when they marked her with scars, carving the words 'fox slut' into her cheeks and her forehead. They didn't care that they messed her up so badly that she couldn't walk for months afterwards. She couldn't swallow for weeks after they were finished with her mouth."
The terrible yet familiar feeling of hollowness descended upon the Uchiha.
"And every time she looked at me, she, she flinched. And I could see it, on her face, the words written there. And I couldn't stand to see her cry, to see her lose hope. So, so I thought that if I smiled for her, she, she would get better. That if I had my cheeks scarred, it would make us even somehow. So I took a knife and started cutting."
Despite himself, the Uchiha winced.
"She just looked at me in horror, which made me cut more and more and more. I looked at her and asked her, 'Why so sad?' All I ever wanted to do was make her happy," finished Naruto with a forlorn expression on his face.
He stood up and started pacing the room, "So you see, this little elaborate game I have been playing, it wasn't a game at all. It was vengeance. On them, their sons, their daughters, their relatives. Anyone. Everyone. Root and stem. The whole of Konoha will burn. No body cared, not you, not the MP's, not the Hokage. Because it is all about fairness. They didn't give me any, so why shouldn't I be the same?"
Naruto handed Itachi a kunai and pointed it at himself, "Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh and you know the thing about chaos, it's fair. No one is safe. And if that is the game that Konoha wants to play, then I will have to show them that I am the better player."
Itachi paused as the words sink in, making a horrible sense to him in his disturbed state. Naruto took out a coin that was blackened on one side. He flipped it into the air and it landed on the clean side.
Itachi mutters out, "You live."
Naruto nodded happily. He flipped it to the marred face.
"You die," he concluded.
The Kitsune nodded approvingly, "Now ya talking my language."
"It must be sooo hard for you, to be this one, single candle in the darkness. All it would take is one little puff and ... it's all over. Why bother playing with the rules if those rules are not going to protect the people you care about? Don't you owe it to Sasuke to avenge him?"
The raven haired Uchiha stormed into his father's office in a rage, determined to get answers to the disturbing questions that Naruto had posed to him. He kicked open the door and cleared away all the items on Fugaku's desk.
"Itachi, what are you doing?" demanded Fugaku.
"Why did you have me pulled back from saving Sasuke?" he snarled back.
The patriarch sighed and shook his head in grief, "It could have been a trap. We couldn't risk it –"
"But you risked it for Hinata didn't you?!" accused the teen.
His father went red with rage and roared out, "Yes, yes I did! She is the kami damned heiress to the Hyuuga Clan! What did you expect me to do?! Start a civil war because we didn't expend our best efforts in rescuing her? What the hell is wrong with you!?"
But Itachi would not be moved by that alone, "And Sasuke was my brother! Tell me why! Why did you choose her over him?"
Fugaku suddenly hunched over, a defeated man as he ran his fingers across his hair, "It – oh kami, did you know how hard it was? We only have enough people to form one proper room clearing cell. And ... the choice had to be made."
"Tell me why!"
He was met with a brittle laugh, "Oh Itachi... you can always have another brother, but for the good of the clan, sometimes sacrifices have to be made."
The MP's blood ran to ice, "... No... Oh ... NO!" he stuttered out in abject disbelief.
"What do you want to hear from me? Sasuke was my son as well. I loved him, loved him as much as you did. But Hinata's survival was too important to the clan –"
Important to the clan.
Have you ever made choices in your life Itachi? Or were they always made for you?
Schemers, all of them. Look at what happened?
The only sensible way to live in life is with no rules...
I only have one rule...
But tonight I will make you break it. Believe it...
The Uchiha patriarch grew desperate in his reasoning, "It was either her or Sasuke. You were too important to let go in case he did plan a death-trap for your brother. And in saving Hinata, the Hyuuga would owe us a debt of honour, I mean we chose her over one of our own -" the words were tumbling from his mouth, where he was trying hard to believe his own statements as they were like ashes in his mouth.
Itachi's eyes grew red as he activated his Sharingan, bloodlust overwhelming him as his father's frail justifications just infuriated him even further.
"You – you sacrificed Sasuke for that!? For politics?!" he screamed in outrage.
Shisui walked in, troubled at the outburst as he saw father and son coming to blows.
"What the hell is going on? The Kitsune is on the loose and you are here fighting!?"
Itachi growled out at that, "I don't care about Naruto. I care about my otou-tou. Why did you hold me back Shisui? I thought we were friends!"
The man look scandalised at the accusations, "Of course we are. But you, you were so emotional, too involved. You were going to rush in without even scoping the place out –"
"I only had ten seconds!"
Shisui shook his head, "It was too risky. You are my best friend and I wasn't going to let you throw your life away based on the words of a crazy bastard like that Uzumaki brat."
The ex-ANBU's voice lowered as he spoke brokenly, "He was in there... alone. Scared and not understanding what was going on. Probably praying for somebody to save him," said Itachi hollowly, "and I was outside. I saw it all go up in fire... You bastards," he spat out.
"I only did what I did to save you –" Shisui pleaded.
"And Sasuke was the one that needed saving, not me!" With that Itachi took out a kunai and stabbed it into the other's throat.
Shisui had a shocked looked in his face as he gargled, shocked by the look of bitter satisfaction on Itachi's face. He grasped desperately at his wound but it was too late.
Fugaku lunged at his son and wrestled him to the floor. But something unexpected had occurred.
A deep sense of pain burst into Itachi's skull as he felt his eyes being rearranged by chakra that he did not summon. He screamed out as his vision went from black to white, alternating between the two until it merged into a dichromatic haze. He felt himself becoming stronger somehow as he stopped struggling. He opened his eyes and looked at his father.
"Oh lord... Mangekyou..." whispered out his father in horror.
Itachi went off on a mission, tossing the coin that Naruto had given him as he went along. Invariably it landed heads up and another Uchiha died.
They were all over the place, trying to coordinate the effort to control the escaped inmates that when they saw Itachi. There were so caught up with their problems that they just didn't think twice to turn their backs to him.
Itachi had made a promise not to kill so that he could ensure a brighter future for his brother, for the next generation. But with Sasuke gone, he couldn't bring himself to care any more. He had fought for so long and it had ended in failure. He could only hope that someone else could take up his mantle because he couldn't be the hero that Konoha needed. The only thing left was to get his satisfaction...
He finished up to his mother.
She lay there in a hospital bed, her joints severed when the rogue ANBU had incapacitated her as she tried to protect Sasuke when they took him.
He looked at her with indifference, his heart dead with the killing that he had done. In front of him lay the last Uchiha beside himself. If they wanted to avoid a civil war so badly, then he would prevent it by exterminating the clan. He regarded his mother with conflicted thoughts. He loved her but hated her at the same time. She was part of the machinery that required Sasuke's death, the last chain on his soul. In his delusion he needed to judge everyone fairly, regardless of his personal bias. So he would let pure, unbiased chance determine her fate.
Oddly enough the rest of the clan had ended up dead by his hands. The law of large numbers didn't quite kick in at one hundred trials, even for a supposedly fair coin. But since it was Naruto who gave it to him in the first place, you had to wonder...
It twirled in the air before landing on the unblemished face.
He accepted the outcome and moved away. He needed to leave Konoha right away. He had managed to beat out an explanation from his father over the strange upgrade to his Sharingan. He had raided the clan archives and found what he had needed. He was disgusted by the tainted legacy of parricide that his clan had perpetuated for centuries. In fact, he was probably doing Konoha a public service by trimming back the Uchiha's. There were now just a few more people he had to visit before he left the village hidden in leaves permanently. The ANBU that had taken his brother needed to be judged still…
The Night of Knives was nearly over.
"Good work... Namikaze-kun," drawled the Tsuchikage, looking at the detailed reports by his intelligence ANBU as they listed the damage that Konoha had received.
Naruto gave him that chilling grin that he had perfected, utterly soulless yet full of mirth. It was one of their greatest victories, one that would be haunting the Professor for years to come.
It was a hard thing to be humbled in any war, but the Yellow Flash had done it singlehandedly. Children in the Academy were groomed to hate Konoha nins, being the victims of an extermination in an 'unethical' and 'unconscionable way'.
Namikaze Minato was a soulless monster, who didn't even give our shinobi the chance to surrender! He just made a jutsu designed purely for mass murder! He is nothing more than a beast who shows us the true face of Konoha. For all their talk of peace and cooperation, they were quick enough to exterminate anyone with extreme prejudice.
He acknowledged that they were laying it a bit thick, but it was one of the few things that they could do to keep their pride alive. By demonising Konoha's Yondaime, they were building up a visible target that channelled their anger into the next generation so that they would never forget.
But he couldn't believe his luck when the son of the Yellow Flash had come and offered his services to him. He had demanded proof of his lineage, which a blood test quickly determined. Thinking that it was a trick, he had the boy tortured and interrogated. His ANBU relished the task, but were unable to break the boy who took their ministrations in mocking silence. Intrigued beyond all measure, the kage approached the blond who laid out his plan in rather general terms. But he could see how it had all tied up together.
I have a ... friend who can help us with the preparations. She is as much a victim of Konoha as I am...
And he told his tale, it made him feel ill. If the situation was turned around, he would have treated Minato's legacy with the utmost of respect, if not pander to him outright. But being faced with hate, violence, sexual assault and death, it was not inconceivable that even the most kind hearted of children could become the psychopathic killer that they saw today.
Though he had to wonder as to what Naruto had done to warrant such treatment. But he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The absolute irony of the situation was all too delicious for him to pass up.
The Kitsune stretched, looking at the twelve men that came with him from Konoha's cells.
"Nice work on the extraction as well. We have missed you all," said the Tsuchikage.
The members were prisoners of war from the Third Secret Ninja War that were never returned after hostilities had ended. They had too much knowledge about Iwa in them for them to be released. Konoha's official stance was that they didn't exist and were regularly drugged and interrogated. But the kage remembered them all, as they were part of his Black Guard who he trusted with his life. And now they were reunited after fifteen years.
They had glassy looks in their eyes, as readjusting to freedom had them looking like lost men. And in a way, they were.
"So, it's time for your reward I guess," the kage said thoughtfully.
"Yep," agreed Naruto absentmindedly, twirling a kunai as he looked outside the window.
He took out a notepad and a pen before facing the blond, "What do you want?"
"Oh, just for you and your men to work for me now," said the boy offhandedly.
The kage laughed, along with the ANBU present. Naruto smiled widely, chuckling along until he gave them a deadly stare.
"I wasn't kidding."
The leader of Iwa just stared contemptuously at the boy in front of him, "Who the hell do you think you are?"
"Oh, I am many things. I am the son of Namikaze Minato, the jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune –"
His blood froze at those words.
"But, they are irrelevant-"
"Because they don't matter. Not anymore. I am The Kitsune."
"Well, that was messy," commented one of the freed twelve, wiping his kunai on the pants of the fallen ANBU that guarded the kage as he made his last stand.
"Yeah, people should know when they are beaten," observed The Kitsune.
The kage was one of the strongest men in the world, being nicknamed the Mountain that Rides. But he wasn't prepared to take on a five tailed Naruto as he piled through his defences and disembowelled him.
"...How? Why?" he asked weakly, bleeding out as his vision began to fade.
"Oh, that was easy. Those twelve, well, they aren't happy that you left them to rot for fifteen years. But more importantly, it is something that I have to thank Yakumo for. She is so lovely; I have to kill someone for her soon."
"Oh come on. It is the same thing that I did to the ANBU working for Konoha. She used a genjutsu to alter their memory, making them think that they were under my orders in the first place. And with her beautiful bloodline, she made it real. In this case, we just amplified the hate and betrayal into what you saw just then."
Naruto looked around the office before shaking his head, "You were so desperate to use me that you couldn't see beyond my fucking name and wonder what this was all about. This village deserves a better class of kage... and I'm gonna give it to them. Tell your men they work for me now. This is my village."
The Tsuchikage laughed weakly, "They won't work for a freak... "
Naruto laughed and mocked his accent, "A freak..." He then tossed a kunai to one of the former prisoners who walked up to the kage.
Naruto spat at the man, "Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to your dogs? Hmm? And then we'll see how loyal a hungry animal really is. It's not about money or honour... it's about... sending a message. Everything burns."
The Kitsune then turned to the remaining Iwa ANBU, "Now, our operation is small but there is a lot of potential for 'aggressive' expansion. So which one of you fine gentlemen would like to join our team? Oh, there's only one spot open right now so we're gonna have- "
He tossed a kunai to the floor.
"Tryouts. Make it fast ok?"
"Ah Naruto-sama, you are back."
The blond smiled at the serious faced girl before giving her a warm hug.
"Things have worked out perfectly," Yakumo purred at him.
It was an odd set of circumstances that have placed the two together. Naruto had been running away, determined to lose himself as he stumbled onto the Kurama residence as he recognised one of the ANBU who was his 'guard'.
"Naruto, could you do me a favour?" she started to ask.
He gave her a foxy grin as he nodded, "Sure thing darling, what is it?"
"Could you take that ridiculous paint off your face?!" she demanded with a sigh.
The Kitsune chuckled before walking over to a basin and dunked his face in it. He surfaced and reached for a towel with his eyes closed. He couldn't find one and looked to see Yakumo beckoning him towards her. He went over and allowed her to gently scrub away the foundation over his cheeks and forehead.
"I never understood why you wore that in the first place. Was it like war paint?"
Naruto chuckled darkly before nodding, "Kinda. It is a reminder to me of what a true monster actually is."
Yakumo's eyes widened as she nodded, "The ANBU," she spat out, her memories of the animal faced killers making her angry beyond belief.
"Yes, they were the ones to show me what true suffering actually was. So I wear in it memory of them. No one really seemed to make the connection back in Konoha, but whatever. It is scary and inhuman, everything that they have always blamed me to be."
He stayed silent as Yakumo finished her job.
"Do... do you think that I am a monster?" he asked.
The girl stopped before shaking her head resolutely, "No. You are just... ahead of the curve."
The blond giggled again, "I am just a simple person. I like explosive tags... and gunpowder ... and gasoline. The only thing that they have in common is that they are cheap and useful," he said wryly.
"Enough of that, let's celebrate," she said with a sultry look in her eyes as she beckoned the jinchuuriki to her bed.
"I can't believe that we pulled that off," gasped out Yakumo as she rested her head against Naruto's chest.
"Not really," disagreed Naruto as he sighed happily, "You see, when things are going great, Konoha can afford to take their moral high ground. But really, we know what people are really made of when the chips are down. And when it happens, these ... 'civilised people', they'll eat each other."
"Why did you kill Sasuke?" she asked suddenly.
Naruto shrugged, "That little fucker got everything and didn't appreciate it. So I figured I would humble that bastard to see how he would tick. Nothing more, nothing less."
"You're lying to me," she chided.
"Fine. It was never about Sasuke. He was just my key to Itachi, the White Knight of Konoha. They were always close, hell, closer than brothers should be. I always wondered with clans that marry each other over and over again if there wasn't something suss going on there..."
"Their fan girls would have creamed their pants at the thought of Itachi and Sasuke yaoi action," observed Yakumo drilly.
The blond shivered at the thought, "So yeah. I made them choose and Sasuke died. I figured that he would damn the entire world to save his little brother, so if he found out that his clan indirectly killed Sasuke... well, he would go bat shit crazy."
"Which he did."
Naruto laughed coldly, "Yep. And I showed that even the best of people have their limits. Oh Itachi, he was soooo pure, like snow. He was Konoha's heart and soul. He had that rule that he was so sure that he could follow. So I wanted to push his buttons, to see how much he could take before he broke, to become someone he hated. And now, now he is nothing more than a Kinslayer. Sarutobi must be rolling in his grave if he was dead right now."
Yakumo traced circles around Naruto's chest before asking, "Why bother though? I mean, I spent years learning those jutsus and sealing techniques. We could have blown up the entire village and got away. Why bother with Itachi?"
Naruto chuckled as he savoured his victory, "In a way, he completes me. I wasn't kidding when I said he was my other half. I was just a fucking idiot, being fed shit and made to think that I was lucky. But it all became clear to me when I saw him. And it made me sick. I was always trying to prove myself to them for something that wasn't my fault, but it never mattered. So I wanted to make him into the monster that they thought that I was," he finished off viciously.
"You wanted to show how stupid they were to judge on appearances, Itachi was everything that you wanted to be, but, but they never let you have a chance. So you decided to make them swallow their choice by turning Itachi..." said Yakumo with wonder.
Naruto shrugged at that, "Well, kinda. The most important point was that I could. So I did."
"Is that it?" she asked incredulously.
Naruto wrapped his arms around her and brought her close to him, "We are special and have power beyond imagining. But they would hold us down and break us. What else is power for but to reward our friends and punish our enemies? Even better, let our enemies rip themselves apart as we watch? I want them to suffer for what they did to me, to you, to everyone else. They won't know pain if they are not alive."
"Do you think they will ever figure it out?" she asked lethargically.
Naruto graced her with a foxy grin as he closed his eyes, "Probably. They will be desperate to know how the hell we blew up a third of Konoha without it being detected. The Inuzuka dogs are very good at bomb sniffing but they won't find a thing. The Hyuuga's would have scanned buildings and find absolutely fuck nothing. No explosive tags or anything like that. When they find out that you are missing, well... The dots will connect. Remind me not to piss you off anytime soon ok?"
She chuckled before straddling him, "Just don't give me any reason to Naruto-sama," she said seriously.
And not for the first time did Naruto marvel at the sheer wonder that was Kurama Yakumo. The ability to make genjutsu into reality was absolutely ridiculous. With it he had prepared sealed tags with illusions of things being consumed by balefire into existence. By placing them strategically around Konoha and calling her to detonate them, he had pounded the village into submission.
And better yet he had suborned the ANBU that were abusing him into his own private little army. While the Tsuchikage had given him some resources, most it came from the Hokage's own as when they came to get their fun from the blond, they were ambushed and reprogrammed. They thought that they were Iwa double agents all along, which gave Naruto a sick sense of satisfaction. And with Yakumo's ANBU turned, the Sandaime was left completely out of the loop for that one single night that would live on in infamy.
And the final piece was when the ANBU had released the prisoners from the holding cells and cut the power supply to the entire village. The anarchy was wonderful as Yakumo had made them all invisible for their escape to Iwagakure when all units were recalled to Konoha to re-establish order.
"Hey Naruto, did those things really happen to you? Those things that you told Hinata, the Hokage and Itachi?" she asked with curiosity.
The jinchuuriki stayed silent but gave a slight shrug, "Maybe. Maybe not. It's for me to know, and for you to ponder Yakumo-chan," he teased out with a foxy grin.
Naruto had found a soul mate in Yakumo, helping her defeat the oni eating away at her mind. It was rather easy when she had just reasserted control over body with his help and created a genjutsu to purge herself of the parasite. The problem was that the backlash would have killed any normal person, like her parents. But Naruto was gifted, or cursed, with an accelerated healing factor that let him take her punishment. She remembered his voice like it was an anchor.
This is your body Yakumo! Your ability! You control it, it doesn't control you!
And with that encouragement she found her demon and eradicated it with prejudice. The thanks that she had shown the boy had left him exhausted and sore afterwards, but he would readily admit that it was the best week of his life.
And Yakumo had found a delightfully dark and troubled soul in Naruto, making her want to make him whole again, just like he had done for her.
The two of them had entered into a partnership that would shake the foundations of the Elemental Nations.
One month after the incident
The damage report lay on Sarutobi's desk, five inches thick. It was a terrible time for the Sandaime as he considered it giving it all up and retreating to a tall mountain.
Well, Naruto didn't leave a job half done, he thought morbidly.
He had corrupted Itachi, making him exterminate his entire clan but his mother. He had released all the prisoners in the ANBU cells, creating riots where civilians had died by the hundreds before they were contained. Worse still were the enemy intelligence cells had taken the opportunity to extract some of the prisoners that Konoha had sworn were dead or not in their custody. And some of their intelligence archives had been raided on that terrible evening.
He had cut down the power infrastructure, leading to colossal failures in the hospital system. Many patients died as life support simply did not exist. The ANBU headquarters, ostensibly impregnable, were blown completely apart which was a blow to the face for the Sandaime. Even now it wasn't clear to what had happened. There was no residue of explosives or anything like that. Just a massive and sudden spike of chakra that had levelled the entire structure.
But worst yet was the knowledge that possibly none of his ANBU were trustworthy considering what had happened. Too many ninja's were dead, Konoha's Book of the Fallen gorged with ink as he placed his hands on his face, despair filling his heart. And the remaining ANBU had to be re-vetted, which meant sending them to Morino Ibiki.
That is if Ibiki is still loyal in the first place. Oh yes, Naruto didn't leave any stone unturned.
But even worse were the civilian casualties. It seemed like the boy had taken out twelve years of anger and hatred upon them. In particular, every single person that had mistreated him in any fashion were brutally murdered. And he didn't stop there. Their families, friends and entire neighbourhoods were laid to waste.
Sarutobi had let many of his tormentors go, but placed the Doom upon them so that Naruto could dispense justice on them himself when he was old enough. But in hindsight he knew that the blond saw that as the ultimate betrayal, harbouring and protecting his abusers as he was sacrificed again.
But it seemed that the jinchuuriki had taken his vengeance. No one was spared.
Given the doubts raised on Kakashi, he didn't know if they were creative lies, or otherwise. It certainly rang with a sense of truth that he couldn't dismiss. Too often he had dismissed his concerns when it came to Naruto and Konoha had paid dearly for it.
He had showed everyone that he was a true menace, a danger that in some ways exceeded Orochimaru in lethality. While he wasn't a genius in the sense of the Snake Sannin, his hatred was a burning passion and he had brought Konoha to its knees.
... he turned out to be the monster that everyone thought him to be...
Even now he heard whispers of an invasion force from Iwa and Kumo. They were ready to fight as most of his forces were spared, but having most of the command structure gutted, it would be a one sided battle at the very best.
With the loss of the Uchiha's, most of his ANBU unreliable, the Council massacred and the economy sinking due to uncertainty, Sarutobi knew that this was going to be the largest test of his leadership ever.
What the hell do I do now?
Orochimaru looked at the new Tsuchikage, an amused look on his face as he stared at Naruto.
"Is there something you find funny?" asked Naruto with a rabid smile on his face.
The Snake Sannin slowly shook his head, "No... Nothing at all."
Yakushi Kabuto tried to hide his instinctive fear of the jinchuuriki, but it was in vain. He was powerful, but he had nothing on Naruto. The boy was able to handle nearly every single tail of power that the Kyuubi had to offer without losing his mind.
It's because his mind was so hopelessly lost already, he thought with morbid fascination.
Most jinchuuriki's gave focus and intent to the power that the bijuu had. But this usually resulted in a loss of control as the tailed beats fought for supremacy of their host's body. But Naruto was unique in coming to an accord with the Kyuubi such that they worked together in perfect harmony.
The Kyuubi was a beast that represented change through destruction, the flames burning and cleansing so that things had to be rebuilt to be reborn.
Naruto was a tortured boy who wanted to express his pain and hate through any way possible. It made Gaara look like a bloodless amateur in comparison.
A match made in heaven. Or hell.
So it was by odd curiosity that the two of them were together, plotting Konoha's downfall. The clouds were gathering over the Village Hidden in Leaves, the vultures circling as they waited for their perfect moment.
"So, why do you hate Konoha so much?" asked Orochimaru with interest.
Naruto gave him his foxy grin, sending a shiver of fear into the Sannin as he schooled his face into that arrogant smirk he habitually wore. It was rare that he had ever encountered any being stronger than him, but Naruto was one of those few rare people.
It didn't matter that he was just a boy. He had the entire power of the Kyuubi within him, making him a match for anyone in the Elemental Nations.
Naruto laughed before spreading out his hands to encompass Hi no Kuni on the map in front of him, "I want to see them burn. It is as simple as that. You see, they think that they control everything. That they are masters of the plan."
Intrigued, Orochimaru motioned for the boy to continue.
"People die all the time; no one cares because it is part of the plan. Konoha is seen as the saviour of the world, it is part of their plan. They hide their dirty laundry in their cloying self righteousness. All part of the plan. But what happens if we take it away from them?"
He faced the pale skinned shinobi and smiled darkly, "Konoha burning wasn't part of their plan. Their ANBU dying and being suborned wasn't part of the plan. Me turning out the way that I did wasn't part of the plan. They think that they can control everything!" he said with utter contempt.
Orochimaru was spellbound by the pure hate and anarchy that seemed to emanate from the boy.
And Naruto gave the man his foxy grin, "But they can't. It is all a lie. A beautiful lie. A near perfect lie. But still a lie. And it is one that I will take from them."
The pale faced shinobi found himself nodding along to his words, "Interesting..."
"And Sarutobi is the worst of them all. He is the face of the deceit. And for that, he must pay."
The Snake Sannin nodded thoughtfully, "I see. I think that we can come to an understanding."
The Tsuchikage smirked before standing up and walked over to his window, "I just want to play a game. It's called, 'How much can Konoha take?"
"...Would you call it putting them through a windmill of death?" he asked curiously.
Naruto shrugged, "I guess so, why?"
Orochimaru gave him an unbelievably eerie grin as he explained, "Well... I sort of have a goal. If I were to state it in words... I like to see moving things."
The blond blinked at that before shrugging his agreement, thinking that everyone had their quirks. Seeing the gesture, he continued, "They're boring when they don't move. A windmill that is not moving... can be nice from time to time...", the Snake Sannin allowed, "But most of the time, it's not even worth looking at," he finished emphatically.
He regarded Naruto with a sadistic and cruel look on his face as the finished, "Now I want to move the windmill with the wind called the destruction of Konoha."
The jinchuuriki laughed before running his hand through his hair, and shook his head mockingly at the elder, "The point isn't to kill them though. Any idiot can kill. An even bigger idiot will refuse to kill. It is all about how much you can make them suffer before they decide to end it all. But -"
Naruto went right up to the Otokage, the madness clear in his eyes as he stared down the nukenin, "You decide when it stops. Not them. Dattebayo."
Three years later
Amegakure was burning.
That in itself was a peculiar sight for the perpetually raining nation.
Pein opened his eyes and wondered why he was chained to a cross. Suddenly Madara and Naruto walked up to him, both looking at him like some sort of specimen ready to be dissected.
"We had an agreement!" he spat out to the Uchiha progenitor in outrage.
Madara just shrugged and look at the destruction with detachment, "I just wanted to get even with Konoha and the entire Uchiha clan. Once Naruto did that for me, it was all over. Danzo, Mitokado Homura and Utatane Koharu are dead. The Sandaime ardently wishes that he was dead. The Uchiha are gone except for three in the world. And honestly, your god complex was insulting and annoying, even to me. Let's face it; you would be a terrible deity."
Naruto nodded his agreement, laconically surveying the scene around him. The fires of Amaterasu had surrounded the city in a circular trench, where his kage bunshin were throwing chained followers into the pits. They screamed for mercy but received none as the clones moved methodically amongst them.
Naruto tsked at their cries before complaining, "Kami, you would think that they would be happy to go to the afterlife to see their 'god'. Oh wait, that would be you... who is still alive. But is a 'god' nonetheless... I'm so confused...", he complained out, giving a pout at the conundrum.
Madara raised his eyebrows but didn't comment. Right now he and Naruto were the two most powerful beings in the Elemental Nation and he didn't want to piss off the person that Yakumo adored. She had manage to craft a genjutsu that was like Tsukiyomi but entrapped a person in a pocket dimension that not even he could get out of.
Well, he wasn't sure of that fact, but he didn't want to try if he could help it. He had always wondered where Itachi had disappeared off to when Konoha was razed to the ground and had its lands salted until it was a barren tundra. He cast his gaze at Naruto and wondered too how he had become the ... thing he was today. Three years ago he was an angry boy with a pyromania problem. He was now a man grown who wanted to show everyone how ridiculous life was by highlighting every absurdity. And then blowing everything up. He and Deidara had gotten along famously. Hidan still tried to convert him to the worship of Jashin.
"Why?! Why did you kill them all?!" he croaked out.
The Kitsune stopped before giving a sardonic smile to the Rinnegan wielder, "Have I ever told you how I got these scars?"
Importantly, Pein had tried to make Naruto part of his plan. He wasn't going to stand for that, was he? All that is left to say is that the Toad Sages should tread very, very carefully.
So many mysteries. Did any of those events actually happen to Naruto? Not my usual fare, but enjoy it for what it is. If you can't get over it, why so serious?
Please read and review.