Sleep. Perchance to dream, and piss!
A seven-year-old child, incapable of defending himself against the harshness of the world, barreled through empty streets in the shadows of the moonlight. He dodged into random streets and alleys without looking back, his lungs burning from the effort and his muscles screaming for relief, which they were given when he attempted to cut through a graveyard to try and hide behind some of the tombstones. After he had dashed behind one he heard them come to a stop and begin to talk among themselves, before separating and beginning to search.
One of the men passed his stone and he could see the silhouette of a butcher knife. He bit his lip and tried to sneak away but tripped over a rock and fell with as thump. He looked behind him into the eyes of the man who was now smirking and re-gripping the knife in his hand as he stalked toward him.
And then the voice spoke...
Through you, I will display my power...
The voice was creepy and ethereal, as if he wasn't hearing it with his ears but in his head. It sounded old and young, deep and raspy all at the same time. Naruto scampered back until he was trapped between the tombstone and the man who raised his knife up high. Everything went dark at that exact moment and the voice spoke again.
Through you...I am born.
The blond gasped as vision returned to him and he saw the man cowering away from him, his knife forgotten. From behind him a long razor bladed tendril stretched forth and tripped the man as two snake-like demon heads appeared on his left and right. They were both adorned in white lights that shifted to red and had yellow eyes that gleamed. They released a high-pitched growl as they too lunged for the man, one biting down on his abdomen and tearing the man's intestines out while it's brother latched itself to the man's neck, snapping the bones of the spine with it's powerful jowls. As the first head finished it's meal it hissed and lunged at the corpse's chest breaking through the ribs and tearing out it's prize; the man's heart, and like a dog showing off for it's beloved master, it tossed it in the air before swallowing it whole.
As one can imagine, this attack caused a lot of screaming from the now silent man and his friends had come to find out what was going on. The first to arrive was greeted by being bitten on the skull, lifted and tossed to the gates where he was impaled upon their spikes before they bent from the force. The second arrival, seeing this tried to run and was impaled from behind by the razor tendril that tunneled through his chest and continued forth to catch two other men before twisting and relinquishing the men into a bloody heap. One man tried to hide behind one of the tombstones but was noticed by the demon head on the left. It's colored dots shifted yellow and flew at the floor slithering forth toward him. As soon as it hit the ground, the blond could see everything, feel everything it felt as if the creature was a part of him. He watched through the beasts black and white vision as it found it's prey and growled catching his attention. He victem had time to let out a scream before the demon head snapped at his head ripping his face off and retracting back to it's owner.
When all was said and done there were only three men left and both heads growled before shifting a light blue. One screamed and a black hole in time and space opened sucking the screaming and crying men inside as well as the many bodies the massacre had created before shutting with a small pop.
Before the blond collapsed out of both shock and exhaustion he heard the voice again and it sounded full of glee.
Lucky, Lucky Boy, Uzumaki...
"Naruto!" Iruka called from his roster, bringing the attention of the blond away from his fans who he was teasing with playful winks and smiles. "You're next!" The boy sighed and rose from his seat and made his way to the room in which he would be tested for graduation from the ninja academy. Iruka and Mizuki observed the quiet, intimidating boy approach the desk and put his hands together into the appropriate seals.
The scarred shinobi had known Naruto when the boy was a mere child, they had encountered on another several times in the streets. At the time, Iruka understood that the blond child craved attention and worked to obtain it any way possible, whether in the form of pranks or childish behavior. He understood that the boy had led a harsh life and empathized with him when they first met, but now...Now it was like that persona was gone.
Something happened to Naruto before his entrance into the Academy. As the years went by, so did his wardrobe. His gaudy jumpsuits transformed into a set of loose clothing that seemed to exist only to cast shadows around him. The boy before him wore a long trench coat that touched the ground that matched his cargo jeans. The only light clothing on his body was his white T-shirt.
But looks were only the tip of the iceberg; his personality had also undergone a radical change. The happy-go-lucky behavior that had once defined the Uzumaki had all but vanished now; He still smiled and spoke with pride, but the smiles were those of a beast seeking a kill and the headstrong attitude possessed undertones of one who did not fear death or retribution in any way. The way he carried himself had changed, too. Gone was the cheerful bounce in his step and morose slump when he was down; those were now replaced by a confident slouch that was a mix of laxness and superiority. Even Sasuke's brooding couldn't touch that combination.
Which led to another thing: Naruto's interactions with the other students. He no longer attempted to be the center of attention. Instead, he sat back to live and let live, at least until someone threw a verbal jab his way. Such actions died rather fast, however, as the other preteens seemed to sense something...Wrong emanating from the boy; as such most kept their distance and left him more or less in peace. Those that did not were members of a small fan club that had developed around, and because of, his new behavior. It seemed the girls of the class were attracted to the "bad boy" stereotype. But unlike Sasuke, who chose to brood while keeping everyone at arm's length, Naruto relished and thrived in the affection and would tease and play along with their little games. In fact, much to Iruka's surprise, naruto was quite the little ladies man and seemed to have this way of turning anyone of the opposite sex into a loving fan.
Iruka was also curious about the boy's academic standing. To be sure, the Uzumaki wasn't the best and brightest of the class, but he had never displayed any true show of intelligence. He would score among the lowest on tests where book smarts were concerned and his chakra control, for lack of a better word, sucked. But when it came to practical applications of chakra, he would try hard enough to get the job done at a minimum level and then quit, so his capabilities were still unknown. Iruka also wondered why the boy displayed such a detailed understanding of muscle groups and bone structures only to turn around and fail to name a few key facts that were common knowledge. "Hell," he mused, "He's even corrected me a few times on human anatomy..."
The scarred chunin was shaken from his inner observations when the blond in question failed to produce an adequate clone. "Sorry, Naruto," He began, "I can't pass you for that."
"What's the point of a fucking clone that can't even attack anyway?" Naruto sneered with a cocky grin. "It's like pissing in a lake, it just doesn't do anything"
Iruka frowned as a few of the students giggled. That was another thing; Naruto's mouth had fouled almost as bad as his temperament. Where he had learned such a vocabulary was as much a mystery as everything else. "Like it or not, those are the basics. If you can't even pull those off, then I can't pass you."
"Don't be so harsh, Iruka." Mizuki countered, "After all, this is his third time testing for graduation. Perhaps we could let him pass this time; It's obvious he's putting forth the necessary effort."
Iruka rolled one eye to stare into the face of Mizuki, never before had this man showed anything less than a very well hidden scorn for the blond, so it struck him as very odd that he would do anything to help the blond... Maybe he's grown on him… "Mizuki, you know the rules. We can't make exceptions for anyone."
Naruto snorted with eyes that possessed elevated degrees of annoyance. The preteen turned on his heel to headed back up to his seat. "I'll try again next time," He spat before leaning back on two legs and resting his head on the desk of one of his fans who began stroking the blond strands.
Iruka sighed; the boy was difficult to understand. One minute annoyed as all hell, then he's flirting. Iruka shook his head
That night found Iruka sailing through the trees in search of the blond. The boy had made off with one of the forbidden scrolls from the Hokage's home and the village was on high alert. The scarred man hoped he found his pupil before anyone else; Who knew what the others would do to him?
He sighed in relief when he found the blond seated next to the document in question and taking controlled heavy breaths. The older ninja approached the prone boy and confronted him in a way he didn't see as too aggressive. "Naruto!"
The blond gazed at him with sleepy eyes. "Hey, Iruka-sensei." He greeted with his usual smug smile. "Can I pass now?"
"What do you mean 'can I pass now?! You stole a very dangerous scroll! What the hell were you thinking?!"
"Mizuki-sensei said if I snuck the scroll past the Hokage and learned something from it." He panted, trying to hide his exhaustion, "I could pass."
The Umino raised an eyebrow. "He what?" He asked as the realization dawned upon him. "He told you to-Oh God."
"Well," A voice called from the treetops, "Looks like you got to him before me!"
Both heads swiveled to find Mizuki perched on a thick limb overhead. "Mizuki!" Iruka yelled fury coursing through his veins as naruto's eyes clouded in confusion. "Why did you tell Naruto to steal the scroll?!"
"And they call you a teacher," He grinned. "You can't even figure that one out?"
"It's a treasonable offense! You know that!"
"Oh come on, no one'll ever link me to it. I mean, look," He nodded towards the blonde, "Everyone knows he stole it, and when neither he nor the scroll returns, everyone'll know he took off with it."
Iruka eyes widened. "You...What are you planning?! Why are you doing this?!"
"You don't know?!" He stood from his crouched position sighing as if he was being forced to explain basic math to a child. "Might as well tell you since you won't be around much longer. You know as well as I do what that brat is."
"Mizuki!" Iruka knew full well what the traitor was about to say, and his voice dripped with warning. "Don't say it!"
"He's the Kyuubi! And when I kill you two, I'll dispose of the bodies and no one will know or care that he's gone!" Mizuki laughed. "Hell, If it wasn't for me taking off, I'd be a hero in this village!"
The scarred chunin glanced back at Naruto. He expected the boy to be in shock from the news, but what he found instead surprised him. The Uzumaki frowned, as a great deal of understanding began to cover his darkening face. "I get it now." The boy whispered to himself, "Now it all makes sense..."
"Naruto!" The ninja instructor crouched and grasped the blond by the shoulders, "You are not the fox! Mizuki is-!"
Said traitor laughed. "Come on, Iruka, don't lie! He killed your parents that night when he attacked!"
"That's a lie!" Iruka shouted back at the man in the trees. "Naruto is the fox's prison, not the fox himself!"
"Whatever," Mizuki spat as he gave up the verbal spar and unhooked one of his over-sized shuriken whirling it on his hand. "Once I take you two out, I'll be free to make any kind of bargain I want." He lobbed the massive throwing star, but not at Iruka. The failed academy student was far more vulnerable. The scarred man saw this ploy and moved to intercept the incoming weapon while shielding his student. He leaned over the blonde in time to receive a sharp pain spinning into his back, spattering blood in the boy's face. He glanced down to order the boy to run only to find his expectations dashed once again.
"What are you doing?" Naruto inquired with a fading grin that resembled disappointment. He seemed rather confused. "Why did you do that?"
"Wha...?" He almost questioned him further but swallowed the question with some blood. "Naruto, you've got to run!" He gathered himself, yanked the weapon from his back, and returned it to the sender.
Mizuki dodged the flung device with exceptional ease. "Not good enough!" He leaped from his hefty branch and tossed the other one, landing it in the fellow chunin's stomach. Iruka doubled over from the sudden pain while the traitor rushed towards the boy who attempted to stand in time to counter him. However, he was far more experienced than the blond bane, and his kunai stuck quite in the boy's abdomen.
But the Uzumaki did not go down and the kunai was flung back with the user by a strange rubbery substance. When he looked up Naruto's smug grin met him as the shadows began to gather, twisting and shifting as though the night itself had come to life. His eyes glowed a bright yellow as the substance that blocked his attack began to grow over him, connecting to his cloak and bonding it into a set of skintight armor. "You're wrong about one thing Mizuki..." He said, his voice as quiet and cool as a moonless night. Iruka recognized it as a similar tone he used when speaking to his fans, yet he'd never known it could become so terrifying. From behind him a long black tendril made from the same substance as his armor, lunged forth and stabbed the traitor in the leg impaling itself in between his tibia and fibula bones and lifting it up upside down. "There are people who would miss me should I kick the bucket." Iruka's eyes bulged as two demon heads grew from Naruto's shadow each glowing red and snapping as the armor continued to grow over his mouth canging his cool voice into a distorted and altogether demonic tone. "And when the sun's away...They all come out to play."
Iruka stared in awe as the boy, sporting a sick smirk that better belonged on a serial killer rather than a twelve-year old. The two heads lunged, biting the man's arms as the tendril ripped away and sliced at his stomach spilling his blooded his stomach. "Wait a second..." The traitor coughed as he was rammed into a tree. "That's...You can't..."
"Oh, I can. And they will." Naruto stated with a dark smirk. From every direction yellow eyes opened in the shadows and little imps began to come closer. The creatures were small about a leg's length high with three sharp claws and beady yellow eyes. None of them were armed or clothed, though quite a few of them were giggling; licking their lips like they were about to have a nice feast. One jumped on Naruto's shoulder and he reached up to scratch its chin before it leaped off. Iruka could only assume it was the alpha of the group as it possessed a small beard and wore a bloody, over-sized chunin vest and carried a long rusty katana on it's small back. "Have fun boys." Several of them shouted in glee and charged ripping and tearing at the now screaming traitor. The razor bladed tendril ripped itself from it's prey allowing him to fall and be swarmed by the monsters all which began gnawing on his body, ripping pieces of flesh and muscle in their frenzied feast. The two demon heads, had released him as well, though not before they ripped his heart out and proceeded to fight over it until, at last, it tore apart and each swallowed half.
The imps were also hard at work devouring what was left over by the corpse. The alpha was carving away at the head while nibbling on his scalp. The smallest of them shouted in its squeaky voice. "Why do I always have to eat the dick?!" Yet offered no resistance as it devoured the genitalia.
Iruka fought the urge to throw up as they finished leaving only bones though a few of them were using shattered bits of them for toothpicks. Still somehow he got up the urge to speak to his pupil. "Naruto..."
He turned to face the man who had tried, though it was uneeded, to save him. "Yeah?"
"What are these things?"
"The Darkness." He answered as the armor began to recede and his clothes returned. His voice shifted once again becoming calm and sollum, a tone one would use when speaking at a funeral. "It is a spiritual entity that possesses me and keeps me from dying. It does my bidding, and I give it my soul."
As the wounded chunin took in this newfound information, he realized that everything made sense now. Naruto's sudden change of personality, the way he carried himself, his method of confrontation and interaction...It all matched up to him becoming an immortal warrior. He didn't need to fear anything because he knew this Darkness, or whatever it was, would protect him from death…"Naruto," He asked, one question nagging him above all others.
"What?" The blond frowned growing tired of these ceaseless questions.
"Is this what you want?"
The boy regarded him with darkened azure eyes. "Yes."
An awkward moment passed and Naruto nodded to the alpha imp who lead the little creatures away. The two heads hissed at him when he glanced in their direction before they too vanished in a cloud of black smoke. "Naruto." He gazed at the wounded instructor once more. "I know this was your choice, and I won't tell you whether or not it was the right one." The blonde recognized some form of lecture ensuing and turned to leave. "I know you had a harsh life and I'm no one to criticize you for your own choices, but if you've ever listened to me, please listen to this." The preteen sighed stopped and aimed a attentive face in his direction. "If you ever find someone who cares for you, someone who truly loves you," he winced from his deep injuries, "Don't just let them go. Treasure them no matter who they are."
The disturbing boy took note of this advice and nodded. "I'll keep it in mind."
"That's good," he smiled, a trail of blood trickling from his lips. "Well, as long as we're here, did you learn anything from that scroll?" He inquired to lighten the mood while awaiting a medical team.
This earned the blond's trademark smug smile. "You bet I did..."
Before I go I must tell you that I had some major help in the creation of this fiction from Stigma, who was awesome enough to let me use the first chapter of his masterpiece "Naruto's Greatest Heresy" as a starting point, I would recommend checking him out and reading his stuff.
Reviews are appreciated and as always,
I'm Ganja Naraku, and keep kicking ass!