Pain and Suffering
Summary: It is said that pain and suffering go hand in hand, yet that saying is distorted by the fact that there is no one to inflict suffering, only pain. Until now.
Word count: 3,511 words.
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Naruto stood over the body of the Iwa jounin known as 'Living Earth' in the bingo book. Naruto was not practiced in fighting Doton users, and it showed badly. A blade of rock had been about to puncture his chest when he suddenly blacked out, only to awaken to this.
The jounin was dead, and looked like someone had force-fed him explosive tags. In short, it was strange, but the blond was no stranger to killing, so this had not the effect it would have on others.
As if a puppet with its strings cut, the blond collapsed, clutching his head. He hissed in pain, and closed his eyes tightly. Despite his visual sense closed off, he still saw, yet from a different perspective, where rain never stopped, and men abound with piercings walked about. Suddenly, one of those men looked straight at him, his eyes rippling pools of metal. The visual feed was lost shortly after, and Naruto stood up, and ignoring the throbbing in his head, trudged back toward the body. He sealed it in a scroll, and headed for Konoha. He had something to discuss with the old man.
Sarutobi Hiruzen sat in his chair with a severe hunch, as if hiding something he was holding with his upper torso. The fact that he kept looking down at it and giggling was enough for most anyone to puzzle out what he was doing. Said thing was the new addition of Icha-Icha Violence. #4 to be exact, platinum edition, personally signed. A speaker on his desk crackled loudly as his secretary's grating voice rang through his ears. Sarutobi, with the practice of years on his side, slid the book into a safe under his desk, closed it, and sat up straight. It took less than a second; more than enough to catch the message broadcast on the intercom. "Sarutobi, you have a visitor," and in a particularly nasty tone, "it's him."
It took another half-second for him to decipher her meaning, which was slow by ninja standards. He was getting soft. Nevertheless, his face twisted itself into an angry scowl, his eyebrows knitting together, and his lips pursing. The loss of composure was due in part to an intolerance to those that would act less than cordial with Naruto. He had no lenience when it came to those people. She wouldn't keep her job past the week. He would see to it personally.
His expression of utter loathing left him with practiced ease as Naruto stepped through the door. The Sandaime waited, and when a minute passed, and it was revealed that Naruto wasn't going to say anything, he interrupted the silence, "Success?"
With a grimace, Naruto took out a scroll, but paused and looked the Hokage hard in the eye. "This is to remain only between us, right?" A stern nod later, and Naruto unsealed the body on the floor of the Hokage's office. The sight would have made a lesser shinobi green, but like Naruto, Sarutobi was well accustomed to death.
The body was so completely destroyed, it was hard to pick out where the head and limbs were, though Naruto guessed the occasional sharp white spikes sticking out of the unfortunate Iwa-nin's body could have been arms and legs at some point.
An uncomfortable grin lit the chunin's face, "I didn't do it," an alarmed look from Sarutobi made him rethink that, "at least I don't remember doing it."
A hard look from the Hokage told the blond that the venerable shinobi had read between the lines. "Yes, as you already deciphered, I lost. Badly, I might add. I'm terrible at fighting the Rock Heads…" Naruto trailed off.
Another hard look from Sarutobi reminded him that he hadn't elaborated on the details. Sarutobi loved details, which, due in part, was a reason for him becoming Hokage. He had forgotten again, the necessity of honesty in Konoha. The last time he had, his friend had gotten killed. It wouldn't happen again, he vowed.
"Ok, so here's how it happened," Naruto paused, assembling the events in his mind into a recognizable sequence, "I went after him, like the mission said, because he was raiding the Fire country's supply stores. He was very well versed in Doton justu," an annoyed glance from Sarutobi told him he was just repeating facts the Hokage already knew. "As you know, I don't know shit about lightning jutsu, and he was able to defend his element quite soundly from assaults from my wind. Anyway, he manifested a rock blade, and I got cocky, using a blade of wind. My mistake was throwing it away from myself, and if I hadn't, I wouldn't have lost," a glance to the body on the floor, "or won."
Sarutobi rubbed his temples. "So you're saying that he beat you, knocked you out, and then, after an undisclosed amount of time, died in this manner?"
A hesitant nod from Konoha's resident demon vessel only served to entice Sarutobi into action.
"Due to your reckless acts, and thoughtlessness on the field, you are hereby put on permanent leave from the Leaf Corps, effective immediately." Sarutobi's carven look reflected Naruto's retort back upon himself even before it manifested.
Naruto's weak protest was long in coming, but still came, and this served to raise Sarutobi's respect of the now defunct chunin, "But sir, did I not complete my mission anyway, even with the strange method of death?"
Sarutobi's carved expression seemed to grow creases, until he resembled completely the monument just outside the window. "I have no way of knowing if it was the Kyuubi that did that, or even an unallied shinobi," the betrayed expression on the blonde's face held no water with him, "heaven forbid, Orochimaru, or another such delinquent. I now have all but proof that you are an enemy plant. Leave now, before you are executed. Give your equipment and ID to the secretary outside. I'll give you two hours to gather your belongings and leave the village."
"NO!" Hot salty tears leaked down Naruto's face, creating a sickly beautiful painting of despair.
Despite this, Sarutobi's expression remained, and with an upturning of his hand, five ANBU appeared, and carried the boy out.
The blond did not fight back, as he knew that if he did, Sarutobi would not be as merciful as before. All he did was sob silently, then as the ANBU dumped him in front of his ratty apartment, he cried out, low and terrible, like the death knell of some great beast.
The ANBU didn't seem surprised at the corpse nailed to Naruto's front door. In fact, one had the urge to attempt a chuckle. Something inside Naruto snapped, as if a taut steel cable.
::They did this to you, murdering your beloved…:: Fangs gnashed terribly ::They betrayed you…:: Tails swished ominously ::spat upon your sacrifice,:: Fur bristled violently ::hurt you.::
A great roar emitted from within the metaphysical cage fueled Naruto's rising hatred, nurtured it, and made it permanent, all in a single action, and in two sentences, Naruto became a being of destruction.
Naruto rose from his prone position, displaying nothing of what had transpired within that terrible instant. He placed his hand upon the torso of the corpse nailed upon his door. Her pink hair matted with blood brushed his fingertips. His eyes flashed, and tears of liquid silver ran down his cheeks. Tears of God.
One of the ANBU crowed, "Ain't she pwetty? The guys down at ROOT set this up, you know, Danzou. Said it would toughen you up. Too bad you'll have to be tough outside Konoha, eh?" Naruto mumbled something incomprehensible.
"Hey! You listening, kid?!" A hand grasped Naruto's collar, and attempted to hoist him up to eye level.
"Let go." Naruto commanded. The tears on his face made for a non-threatening visage which the ANBU was quick to challenge.
"What'cha 'gonna do about it, punk?" The ANBU turned away to his comrades, laughing, and turned back to something that made him shiver. Why did the kid's eyes look different?
He was given no time to comprehend this, as Naruto spat through the eye-holes of his tiger mask. A terrible burning and screaming were emitted from the man's throat until a clawed fist emerged from the back of his head, ending his suffering.
Naruto was upon the next closest in an instant, mouth and sharp fangs burying themselves in the woman's neck, and then ripping out savagely, painting his patio a rich crimson. He left her, in her shock and helplessness to bleed out.
Naruto flashed forward, sweeping his razor sharp claws across the next ANBU's stomach, disemboweling him swiftly, the steam rising in the cold air.
This time, it was the ANBU that attacked, in tandem. Naruto evaded the first downward swing of a ninjato, and opened the ninja's carotid artery like an envelope. He left the shinobi gurgling, and drowning a hundred miles from the ocean.
He felt no regret, knew nothing except cold vengeance. He would have it. If it took him a thousand years, he would exterminate every last one of them.
He returned to the corpse hung on his door. He lifted her face, and opened her eyelids, the orbs glassy and cold. He kissed her, long and hard, and left without a sound. Sakura's killers would be the first.
Naruto had the vague sensation of free-fall in pitch-darkness. Then suudenly, the ground had been illuminated. Oh God how it was so close! Closer and closer, he plummeted in his descent of doom until the inevitable impact.
He felt it, deep within his bones, the fall had sparked something terrible.
A sensation of being caught. Hadn't he just hit the floor?
It happened five more times, the person who kept catching him changing slightly; a little taller; a little stouter; a little shorter; a bit heavier; much lighter; and finally entirely more fragile. It was so strange: the strange and utterly unique sensation of his mind being filled; entirely cramped and uncomfortable.
His eyes morphed beyond recognition, cerulean to mercury in an instant, six circles flashed into existence around his pupil and he stood, now back in his apartment.
He was struck with the sudden overpowering urge to fill someone else as he was, and he set off to do just that.
Sakura's revenge could wait.
This took precedence.
Sarutobi had in his hand a report from a frightened villager, of which there were more every day. Said villager had owned one of the only inns in the village built upon a secret entrance into Konoha's caverns. Said villager had come across a terrible stench while near said secret entrance, and fearing the worst, had contacted Sarutobi. He sighed. Things were becoming difficult. The village was falling apart, and he had only himself to blame.
Strange disappearances and shadowy figures in every alley had shinobi and civilians alike uneasy. One by one, notable shinobi were dropping like flies across the village, the only evidence a struggle had appeared was a strange mark engraved on the shinobi's body. It consisted of a pupil-like dot carved onto the corpses' back with several concentric circles surrounding the dot. The ripples always numbered six. This had first been discovered by Kakashi, who had found the mark on Asuma's cooling corpse.
Sarutobi had gotten Jiraiya to take a look at one of the bodies, who had proclaimed that it looked as if it was the Rinnegan. Sarutobi had thought this impossible, and told Jiraiya as much. It seemed as if today was a day of revealed secrets, as Jiraiya told Sarutobi, for the first time of the orphans he had trained during his stay in Amegakure. Jiraiya told him of Nagato, the silent and strong, of Yahiko, charismatic and idealistic, and of Konan, the sweet and bold.
The Sandaime put his powers of deduction to work, and gleaned the reason for Naruto's reported unconsciousness in his latest mission. All he needed was to know how Nagato had obtained the Rinnegan. He questioned Jiraiya of this, and got an answer that shook him to his core. "I wasn't there personally, but he and Yahiko and Konan were attacked by a shinobi. From what Nagato himself said, he blacked out, and after regaining consciousness, saw that his opponent was ground into hamburger. Why?"
Sarutobi's face went ashen. Concerned, Jiraiya asked, "What's wrong, old man?"
"I have unleashed a terror like no other." The Sandaime replied cryptically, and surprised himself by not stuttering.
"Aww, I'm sure it's nothing, you geezer!" Jiraiya slapped Sarutobi on the back good-naturedly, and left.
"Oh, how I hope you're right, Jiraiya." Sarutobi knew it was hopeless. He had fucked up, and now the world would pay the price.
Naruto stood over Kakashi's corpse, utterly annoyed. "Finally! One worthy body amongst the heaps of trash and refuse of this city has come to me."
He had spent the better part of the week searching for a suitable host. For what, he knew not. He was guided with an unfamiliar, tainted instinct.
His eyes flashed to the now familiar mercury and a kunai levitated to his level of sight. Without pausing, the blond fisted his hands and twisted downwards as if bending a crowbar. The kunai, in synchronization with his hands, bent as if the aforementioned crowbar. Naruto again twisted, the kunai becoming an obscene, floating pretzel.
The blond then mashed his fists together, the knife becoming a straight, if stout bar. It was not long, only about three inches, and the end was promptly sharpened upon a finger jab of Naruto.
Naruto then took the sharpened spike into his hand, coating it with the chakra of his tenant.
The kunai morphed black, and the other end was sharpened, creating a double edged spike. The knife, still permeated with the Kyuubi's energy was promptly thrust into the Hatake's neck, emerging out the other end, albeit barely.
Naruto felt as if one of the six who caught him had left, suddenly terrified, and then morbidly curious as the corpse below spoke.
"Jesus, that was terrible. Do you have any idea how cramped your head is?"
The voice was not Kakashi's.
The body that was Kakashi's stood, his bones creaking in a fashion that couldn't be comfortable. He scoffed. "Do you know anything? About me? The other realms?"
This seemed to spark something within Naruto, and suddenly, he saw from Kakashi's point of view. It was strange, disorienting even. The former corpse turned, exposing his eyes to the Jinchuriki. They were his own, the same rippling pools of metal.
The corpse spoke again, "It would seem that I don't have Kakashi's sharingan. That might have been for the best though: the conflict between two bloodline limits in one body's never pretty…" he trailed off when he realized Naruto had turned to leave.
"Hey!" an indignant stare later, "you realize that you can control this body now, as if it were your own."
Sure enough, Naruto visualized Kakashi impaling his hand with a kunai, and it was so. "Was that really necessary?"
Naruto became sick of the banter, and willed the thing to keep its mouth shut, which true to declarations made earlier, came true. The realm named 'Asura' as he was informed soon after shutting it up removed the kunai and fell into step beside Naruto.
Naruto mouthed 'five to go', his face taking on a deranged and possessed appearance.
Five to go.
Within the deepest recesses of Naruto's mind, a fox was in a heated discussion with six humans.
All but one were unrecognizable, their faces obscured by a suspicious black cloud. The one that was resembled Kakashi.
Despite the facial coverings, the beings had no trouble talking.
"You mean to tell me that the flesh bag awakened the Rinnegan? You're kidding."
A pointed look from Kakashi told Kyuubi what words could not.
"And what are you supposed to be?" The fox gestured with its massive paw toward the assembled humans in front of him. The body that was Kakashi touched his temple, and upon a nod from those around him told the fox to look him in the eyes.
Kyuubi did so, not because it wanted to, but from necessity. As an all-powerful demon lord, he wasn't used to being out of the loop.
The great demon was sucked within those mercury depths and dropped in front of an open scroll. It was old, as most parchment with relevant information was. It was fidelity to Naruto's continued survival, and by extension his own, that kept Kyuubi reading the entire thing.
It was an exhausting ordeal, and he barely remembered most of it. The most prominent were in regards to what the six in front of his cage were.
"I see." The demon paused, its tail flickering into vision irritably, "You are reminiscent of the realms of the religion you humans refer to as 'Buddhism.' Each of you appeared as coinciding with your realms, manifesting as personalities.
"Only one of you has any real form, though, which means that you need to inhabit a body to gain any sort of shape."
"Well done, Kyuubi. We, contrary to our violent manifestation are suppressible, but this is only made possible when we inhabit a body. When not exerting that suppressive effort, our individual personalities take over the body."
"I am to assume, then, from Naruto's earlier behavior, that without bodies, you are harmful to his psyche."
"Right again," Kakashi spoke, his eye upturning, "but the bodies are useless without the metal made from the combination of his and your chakra." He twisted the spike within his neck painfully.
"Hmm. So, in essence, the Rinnegan controls all six elements, the six realms which emerge as personalities within the host's mind, which in turn control a unique power."
"You have figured it out, Kyuubi."
"I have no more need of you." The kitsune declared irritably, not used to receiving any sort of praise, or relying on hints to figure things out. "Leave."
They did so wisely, for if they had not, a blast of earth shattering force would have forced them into a rather uncomfortable situation. Pain was pain, even in the mind.
A/N: This has been done almost to death, almost to the point of Sharingan! Naruto fics. But, I have an additional set of theories to bring to the table which are sufficiently original.
A note, the visions of Pain in Amegakure was a one time thing, meant to signify the beginning of the Rinnegan's awakening.
Oh! The voice after Naruto sees Sakura's corpse on his door are his emergent personalities. I honestly believe you could have puzzled it out, but I don't feel like being an asshole. Yes, Sakura is dead. She served her one-time purpose in this fic.