Title: Stone Cold
Author: Shadow Rebirth
Rating: PG
Word Count: 376
First Written: May 10, 2009
Last Edited: May 27, 2009
Posted: May 11, 2009
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. This work has not been endorsed by Kishimoto Masashi, Shueisha, Viz Media, Shōnen Jump, Studio Pierrot, Aniplex, or any of the others holding copyright or license to the Naruto manga, anime, movies, and products. This is not a commercial work. The author receives no financial gain from its production or distribution. It is available without charge.
Summary: One-shot. Drabble. Sometimes the Shodaime's necklace felt heavy. Sometimes it felt like it was digging into the back of his neck with its weight, pulling him down, reminding him.

A/N: This one-shot was actually partially inspired by a fanart piece by orin called Naruto: Psychosis. There's a link to it on my profile if you're interested in taking a glance.

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Stone Cold

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Sometimes the Shodaime's necklace felt heavy. Sometimes it felt like it was digging into the back of his neck with its weight, pulling him down.

Sometimes he didn't notice its weight at all. Sometimes. But most of the time it was on the edge of his consciousness, like a nearly inaudible buzzing; never grabbing his full attention, but always on his mind just the same.

The necklace was a reminder of his hopes and dreams and desires. Every time he proclaimed his determination to become the Hokage, he would grip that necklace tightly enough for the stones to leave dark red impression in his skin. Every time he fought, every time he struggled, he could feel the cold metal of its chain pressing against his skin.

But the necklace was also a constant reminder of what he was.

Jinchuuriki.

Cursed, hated, and feared.

Trapped.

He would never be able to escape from the shadow of the Kyuubi for as long as he lived, Hokage or not. Its darkness, its rage and bloodlust, would always be there in the back of his mind, ready to take over if he slipped up but once. And he could never slip up. He couldn't release his rigid self-control even just once, even for just a second.

Often times he wondered if things would have been different if he didn't carry the burden that he did, if he had a chance to be normal. But…Honestly, he wasn't sure if he actually wanted his life to be different. To have never had the chance to struggle and grow as he had. Life might have been easier, but not necessarily better. What drive would he have? What reason would have had to become stronger? He would have been just some orphan kid. Just another person.

And he might have never met his friends, his team, his sensei…

That was what scared him the most; that prospect of losing his friends. They were everything he had, his entire world. They were a part of what made him who he was.

The Shodaime's necklace was a constant reminder of who he was and who he would become. But that was okay because he was Uzumaki Naruto, and he wouldn't want it to be any different.