A/N: Found this old thing collecting dust in my documents folder and decided, hey, why not?

"I'd rather swallow shuriken than go out with you!"

Life actually could be worse for Naruto then it currently was, and with this knowledge the blonde demon container simply shook his head instead of conveying his hurt with a well-directed pout in his insulter's direction. Sakura could probably be meaner if she tried.

He wanted to apologize for asking, but that wouldn't go without explaining why he was apologizing in the first place, something it wouldn't help him in the long run to do. So Naruto mentally shrugged off her painfully negative response to his pleas for a date and turned his attention to Sasuke, hoping that if he bantered with the other long enough he would get angry enough to forget about being sad.

The Uchiha promptly told him to shut up and walked faster, ahead of him and ahead of their sensei, who looked at Naruto behind his shoulder with a somewhat disapproving glint in his eye.

"There would be a lot less frustration on the team if you just kept quite like Sakura and Sasuke, Naruto." He ignored the boy's involuntary wince turned back to his book to ignore him for the rest of the trip home.

Nobody saw him gritting his teeth as his steps behind them became more rigid. Nobody paid attention to his attempt to suppress a hostile growl. Nobody saw his eyes welling up with frustrated tears. They never did.

He would have just let the anger pass over him like it usually did, but all of a sudden before he could take another step, a searing pain exploded through his head and he staggered backward, caught off guard. The feeling seized his body in a shocked tension that caused his knees to lock and then go limp under him, bringing him down to the ground with him holding his head.

In front of him the sounds of howling reached Kakashi's ears and before the other two could react he had his weapons out and his sharingan exposed, wildly scanning the perimeter for the enemy. While he was looking around for an adversary that indeed was not there, Sasuke and Sakura were watching Naruto with stunned curiosity.

"Naruto, what's wrong?" Sakura cried but didn't make a move to run to him. The boy clutched his head and shook it violently, making the kunoichi too wary to approach her teammate. She couldn't tell if he was wounded or if she should have been looking for an outside source to his obvious pain, but she stood stock still and stared, too careful to look at Sasuke.

Kakashi about shoved her aside to see what the blonde Genin was crying about but fractionally hesitated when he saw that there were no tears streaming down the boy's face. "Naruto!"

Naruto didn't answer. He was too angry to answer. He was too sad to stop yelling. He was too lonely to open his eyes and see them. He was too afraid of them. He hated them.

And then, as suddenly as the burst of emotion began, it was gone and Naruto was on his feet and tearing through the woods before his team could blink.

He had to get away! They saw…they saw too much! He promised he would never allow anyone to see! What happened back there?! How had they gotten so close?! Paranoia clouded his judgment and instead of running back to Konoha he had taken off into the woods opposite of the village.

"Naruto!!" Kakashi yelled, and took off after him. Sakura had frozen and Sasuke had rushed after their sensei, wanting to know what was happening to Naruto. In reality, the chase hadn't lasted long but by the time they caught up to him, Naruto felt like he had run a marathon. Kakashi grabbed him and he twisted and kicked and screamed and finally tears gushed out of his eyes as the Jounin struggle to hold the wild boy still.

"Stop it! Stop Naruto, calm down!!" Sasuke watched the struggle go on for another minute before Kakashi lost his patience and knocked the blonde out. Naruto instantly went limp, but not before they saw blood running out of his ears and mouth.

Kakashi jumped to his feet and picked Naruto up. "Get Sakura and go home!"

"What?! What's wrong with him---

"Now Sasuke!!"

The Uchiha took off at the sound of his sensei's angry voice. But he wasn't going home. Sakura could stand there and whimper all day, but he was going to see what was up with the dobe, even if he had to defy Kakashi.

Kakashi stared ahead as he flew through the trees as fast as he could move. He'd wanted to smack Sasuke back there. The nerve of the brat to defy him! To ask him what was wrong as if he knew! How the fuck should he know?!

He had to get to Konoha as fast as he could. The sudden screaming from his usually hyperactive student had startled Kakashi and he didn't want Sasuke to see how perturbed he had been by it. By the time his feet touched Konoha soil he ran through the village with the haste of a madman. By that time Naruto was stirring in his arms. A loud wail ripped through his ears and the boy began to fight him again and everyone around him watched the crying child attempt to fend the copy-nin off.

"Naruto! Stop it!" He had thought the hit he had administered to Naruto's neck would buy him at least two hours but it had only been little over fifty minutes.

"NOOOOO!!!!!! DON'T!!!" The blonde screamed. Hearing this, Kakashi's grip slipped in surprise and Naruto shot off through the streets. He would have gotten quite far at the speed he was going had someone not grabbed him. Unfortunately, it was a ninja. Iruka Umino. Wild eyed, Naruto snatched a kunai from the Chuunin's holster pouch and began slashing away at himself.

"My god!!! Naruto!!" Iruka managed to wrestle the knife away from him and had gotten his hands cut up for the effort. "STOP IT!!! LET ME DIE!!!!!!" By then Naruto had already accomplished stabbing himself twice in the chest and stomach and cutting his face and throat. Still screaming, he tried to again grab a weapon from Iruka but the man caught hold of both his arms and held him face down in the dirt with bloody hands. Blood gushed from Naruto's wounds and Kakashi came to aid in holding him down until the commotion had brought the Hokage out who dropped to his knees beside them and pulled a needle out from his robes. Kakashi and Iruka watched the Hokage jam the needle into Naruto's temple and the distraught teen instantly went limp.

Amidst all of the yelling of encouragement for Naruto to finish himself off by the hateful villagers, Sasuke and Sakura stood horrified to stillness by the display. They watched as Kakashi put his arms around his head and buried it between his knees and his stomach, rocking back and forth. Iruka was suddenly shouting, trying to take Naruto from the Hokage after seeing the old man put some sort of drug into his ex-student. The Chuunin was put to rest with a sedative by a nearby ANBU as the Hokage ran in the direction of the tower with Naruto hanging lifelessly in his arms. An ANBU guard also shot Kakashi up and took both him and the Chuunin away, but in different directions.

Everything had happened so fast. On moment ago they were walking along, nothing out of the usual and the next all hell broke loose and Sakura was still reeling even as the love of her life shook her so hard it felt like her neck would break.

"Sakura! Are you alright?!" But the girl simple looked dazedly at the spot where her dimwitted teammate screamed and fought, begging to die, trying to die. What happened?

He would take her home and then go to the Hokage's office and demand to know what had happened. Running through the dirt paved streets with Sakura slung over his shoulder like a weightless doll, he grit his teeth and let his mind wonder. He knew Naruto was stupid but…

When had the dobe become crazy?

When Kakashi woke up, he fully expected the first person he saw to be Ibiki Morino. He wasn't disappointed to meet with the hardened eyes of Konoha's Interrogation Specialist.

"You're better off forgetting what you saw, better yet, don't even ask. I've given you a sedative and you're free to leave at any point you wish. Though you do realize its standard procedure to wipe away your memory. However, I for one would like to think that you're strong enough to move along the way you always have." All of this Ibiki said while prepping a syringe Kakashi was sure was meant for him.

"W-What?!" Kakashi whispered in disbelief. Forget? What the hell was Ibiki talking about? He was there. He was there the first time it had happened. How could he think what happened wouldn't bring back memories?

Ibiki advanced on him with the needle. "You're just a little shaken up because it reminds you of….look, just go home, and get some rest, the medicine I'm about to give you wil—

Kakashi smacked it away and was clear across the other side of the room and out the door before Ibiki could regain his composure. Not that the man was worried, or even surprised. Luckily had had already foreseen Kakashi's reaction.

When Kakashi wrenched open the door and bolted into the hallway, he ran straight into Sandaime. Stumbling back, he glared up at the old man.

"Where is he?! What happened to him and why did you drug him?!" Sarutobi calmly observed the crazed need for answers in his eye and turned away from him. "Kakashi. I realize that this incident reminds you of Sakumo's death, but do not attempt to trick anyone, including yourself into thinking that your perspective of Naruto has changed." He walked away from Kakashi, leaving him staring wide-eyed at the symbol of leadership. What did he mean by what he said? Change his perspective? From what?

Just as he was about to go and force some answers from the old bastard he was felled by a sharp pain in his neck. "You…son of bitch…" He mumbled before his consciousness was robbed by whatever drug Ibiki injected him with.

Ibiki smiled grimly and nodded at the ANBU on his left. The woman picked the copy-nin up and walked away with him.

What the hell is this?

Naruto wondered when he realized where he was. The hospital. Again. "Nooo…" he muttered weakly. Someone had…saved him. Why? Why would anyone save him? He didn't need saving, he needed to die. He needed, needed, to make it end. He had failed again. So miserably. That man, with the brown hair. Him again. Ruined it all. Bastard.

"What went wrong, Naruto?" A voice. A person. He wasn't alone. It couldn't possibly be worse.

"We tried everything. After all this time, you would relapse. What went wrong?" Old man's voice. Stupid geezer had helped. Fuck him, he would get no answers from him.

"You tricked me." Was all he allowed himself to say before he turned over on his side away from Sarutobi, noting with some pleasure that his torso and neck burned in pain with his movements.

"No, Naruto. I'm sorry if my intentions seem misplaced but I did not trick you. I thought we had gotten over this. I thought—

"I'll never get over this!" Naruto hissed. He wanted to get out of there but he would wait until the Hokage left the room. Hopefully the floor he was on was high enough to aid him in his endeavor to end his life. Yes, the room had nothing with which he could kill himself with, but as long as it had a window he already had two options.

Sandaime watched Naruto with all the worry of a grandfather and none of the pity. He had thought that the boy adjusted enough to be normal. To want to live a normal life. What an old fool he was to think that it would work. But what could have set it off this time? Hmm, he thought to himself. Perhaps he should have allowed Kakashi to speak with him. Now he would have to wait until the brat came to him of his own volition. There had to have been signs. Naruto trying to kill himself didn't just…happen. There had to have been something, a warning, a sign. Something. Kakashi must have seen something. If he had, Sandaime wanted to know. He would personally question Naruto's team and the other Genin he had come into prolonged contact with. Someone had to have seen something.

"How long have you felt the need to take your life?"

Naruto looked at him over his shoulder. "Forever." That wasn't it at all. He hadn't known a time where he didn't want to die. But….there was such a time. Because he had suddenly gone from stable, to being in a terrifying magnitude of pain. A familiar pain that he thought he would never feel again.

He thought for sure he had died. But no. They tricked him and he was alive. Reliving the pain of wanting to die but not being able to. And now he was stuck again. The same scenario applied. First the hospital, then the intimidating man with the scars, followed by an unknown amount of time in a room filled with smiling kids his age. A room filled with happiness, not the scorn and ridicule he was used to. It was then that he thought he had died and gone to heaven, the place people often spoke of but could never describe as anything but happy. In that place filled with children who actually wanted to play with him, men and women who wanted to be nice to him, he was for once in his entire life, happy. Until he woke up in a reality where a pink-haired girl was spitting hatred at him and another boy was ignoring his attempts at being playful. Where had all of the nice children and parents gone? Why had the man with them been so mean, telling him that his presence was not wanted? Then Naruto had come to the conclusion that he had been tricked. It was a cruel trick too, the kind where people laughed at the expression of realization and hurt on his face. But why? The old man had been the same old man that had brought him to that happy place. The place where he forgot about all of his pain. And now, to be snatched away from such happiness…

"Why?" He croaked. He hadn't realized how close he had been to crying. But he didn't care if the man saw his tears. He didn't care about anything. All he cared about was what he would do the moment the old man disappeared. Even with his spirit-lifting plans, he couldn't help but let his mind go back to the nagging question: How had those people gotten close enough to hurt him? He would have never allowed that. Never. So how?

"What did you do, old man?" He didn't really want to know, at least not from Sandaime. He wanted to figure it out himself, so he could chose the best way to put an end to the old man's game.

The Hokage grimaced. He didn't know what to say when he saw that Naruto was not going to give him a straight answer to any of his questions. So he simply walked out of the room and left him there to stare sightlessly at the wall.

"What did you do, old man?"

TBC….Please review.