He is in constant torture, he sees everyone he ever knew die a thousand times in a thousand different ways, every single day, he knows that he is at least a little insane. Can Naruto really be normal, while living in a never-ending nightmare? For this story, Naruto is subject to the Kyuubi at (almost) all times. (A play with the theory of Tsukiome and the Mengenkyo Sharingan: If the Mengengkyo is derived from the Kyuubi, as was hinted in the manga, then perhaps its most powerful techniques are also.) Basically, Naruto is under a permanent Tsukiome, and just learns to deal with it.
Fire. Blades. Teeth. Claws. The sound of breaking bone, the tear of ripping flesh, the screams of a thousand dying innocents. A world so bloody that even the sky is tinged with red, with a moon dyed a deep crimson.
Wild animals tear at his flesh, while mocking villagers stab him and beat him and kill him. The ground is scorching hot, searing his exposed and shredded skin into a charred, blistered mess off blood and flesh. The air is so hot, so humid, and so heavy that he can scarcely breathe. It pushes upon him with relentless force; his weakened, battered and dying body cannot hope to even raise an arm to defend itself.
With his fading vision, he can see a pink-haired girl suffering a similar fate, only yards away. She screams and screams, cursing him for letting this happen to her, for subjecting her to this excruciating torture.
He wants to deny it. He wants to claim his innocence. He wants to explain that he, too, suffers this fate. He wants to tell her that it isn't him, but the demon inside, that is killing all of them. But his broken jaw cannot move. His ruptured lungs cannot expel the necessary breath.
All around him, the countless others, people he knows, people he's met, and people he has only ever seen writhe in agony, screaming and cursing his name, his parents and his ancestors. As far as his eyes can see, the barren, blood-red wasteland is filled with those who are dying, and those who wish they were dead.
He holds in a grunt as a wild, feral dog tears out a kidney with red-tinged fangs. It's slitted pupils glare mockingly at Naruto as it swallows the organ whole. The villagers identical eyes glow an orange-red as they continue to cut, slash and bludgeon him with various primitive weapons.
"Naruto? Are you even paying attention?"
Iruka pinches the bridge of his nose, sighing loudly. "Naruto, you are never going to pass if you don't pay attention. Now, what did I just finish explaining?"
"Uh, you were talking about traps?" It comes out as a question, since he really has no idea.
"We finished talking about traps ten minutes ago, Naruto. Now we're onto kunai storage and maintenance. Please listen to what's going on, okay Naruto?" Iruka's voice takes on a faintly fatherly tone.
Naruto stretches his mouth side, showing his teeth in a cheerful smile. "Of course, Iruka-sensei!"
The other students in class roll their eyes at the obvious lie, but Iruka returns to talking about how to sharpen kunai, and how to keep them from rusting.
Naruto can't help that he can't pay attention. It's hard enough to stay aware of what is going on around him, let alone listen to what someone says, or to read books, or anything.
He tries to pay attention to Iruka, who is demonstrating the proper use of a whet stone, even as a sledgehammer comes down hard on his knee, shattering it into countless bone fragments that stab and cut his leg muscles and tendons.
Long, smooth strokes along the stone, moving the blade away from yourself, of course, so you don't accidentally cut yourself. Kunai need to be sharp enough to cut with very little pressure.
Unlike the scythe that stabs into his shoulder, separating the joint there. It is so dull, it tears instead of cutting, ripping apart skin and sinew in a pain that goes beyond describing. The radiant red eyes of the villager flicker with a sinister light as he twists the tool one way and other, prying off the arm as though with a crowbar. The point of the scythe digs against bone and muscle, deep inside.
It is so hard to pay attention in class. But Naruto knows he can't tell anyone why. He is already hated enough as it is. Shops refuse to sell to him, restaurants refuse to serve him and mothers warn their children to stay away from him. There is no way that anyone would react in a way other than horror and fear if Naruto told them what he experienced every second of every day.
Pain so intense that it felt as though it might burst out of his skin, even in the real world. Terror so frightening that it was all Naruto could do to keep from screaming out loud.
The dog morphed into a subtly different shape, his nose and mouth becoming more narrow, his eyes more fierce, and his body more lithe. His tail grew more bushy, and split several times. There, glaring down at him with gleeful aggression, was the fox. The nine-tailed demon that tormented Naruto all his life.
There was no way Naruto could tell the others that his entire life was spent in a waking nightmare. He couldn't concentrate, he couldn't focus, he couldn't relax, and he couldn't even sleep. So much agony that it felt like some sort of pressure inside. Sometimes he wondered that he didn't explode with the sheer power of this affliction.
Naruto lost track of what Iruka-sensei was saying, as the pain overwhelmed him again.
This was important. He was sure of it. There was some reason he needed to be aware of what was going on around him. Something that demanded that he take his body off the sort of autopilot that was most of his life.
Iruka and Mizuki stared at him from across the table. "Well, Naruto, aren't you going to at least try and do the bunshin, so you can pass?"
Naruto quickly recalled what was going on. Right. Final exam. Practical test. Except that he didn't really know the bunshin. Well, he had the seals, but he hadn't practiced it at all.
Fighting the pain, Naruto focused enough to call on his chakra, and ran through the seals he can memorized. But he couldn't focus, and his chakra faltered and floundered without direction. A single image of him appeared, pale and transparent, and soon vanished.
Iruka sighed sadly. "Sorry, Naruto, but that won't cut it. Maybe next year."
Mizuki interrupted before Naruto lost focus. "Well, he at least got one to appear this time. Why don't we let him pass? I mean, he's been doing this for years, now. We can cut him some slack."
Iruka shook his head firmly. "We can't send him off without the proper instruction. You know that Mizuki."
Naruto smiled and thought he scratched the back of his while he excused himself. It was hard to hear himself over the screams, which only increased in volume as he was unable to keep his focus on the outside world.
He was vaguely aware that his body was pouting and sitting alone on a rooftop when he heard a voice. It sounded familiar. But it couldn't be Mizuki, since Mizuki was dead. Though it sounded a lot like him.
Naruto turned his head, and there sat Mizuki. Naruto's face stretched in a smile and asked what was up, while he realized that it was only in his mind that Mizuki had died. Right?
Probably. People in the real world didn't seem to die nearly as often as they did in his world. Or was this another vision? Would Mizuki explode in a shower of gore, another trick by the demon fox to fool him into a false hope? Maybe the test had also been part of the illusion, making Naruto fond of Mizuki before brutally killing him.
But instead of dying, Mizuki began to speak. Naruto caught bits of it between screams and brief periods of particularly intense pain.
"... second chance... tonight... steal the Forbidden Scroll... prove you have the skills... meet me in the forest..."
Naruto perked up, in spite of himself. This was definitely too good to be true. The Kyuubi had to be behind this. Now Naruto was waiting in horrified expectation for Mizuki to die a terrible death. But the man merely nodded in response to something Naruto had asked, and leaped off the roof.
Maybe, just maybe, this was a real chance.
It was dark. Naruto crouched carefully in the shadows until the two chuunin sentries had passed out of sight, before slipping into the scroll library. Suddenly the floor in front of him burst in a shower of splinters, as a horde of chuunin leaped at him, eyes glowing with-
No, wait. The floor was still there. The chuunin stabbed him repeatedly, hacking off his right arm, while Naruto walked through them and across the unreal hole.
He fell into a dark pit, getting skewered on the spikes at the bottom. His wounds burned as the acid-tipped spikes tore through his legs and torso. He heard the growl of predatory animals from the darkness beyond his dimming sight.
Naruto shook his head sharply to clear his vision, and looked through the scrolls quickly, looking for the one that Mizuki had specified. The Forbidden Scroll. After several minutes, he came across it, sitting innocently on a shelf with genin-level techniques.
Suddenly the scroll turned white-hot, shining brighter than the sun as it incinerated his hand. Falling from his grasp, it quickly set the floor on fire. The scrolls quickly ignited, and before Naruto could even think about escaping, he was engulfed in fire. His skin blistered and peeled off his face and remaining limbs.
Naruto wrested control back from the nightmare, and quickly snuck back to the window, looking around the the sentries. They were still gone. But before he could jump out of the window, he heard a noise behind him. He turned stare into the face of the Third Hokage.
The Hokage smirked, his slitted pupils wide in the darkness. Moving so fast that his movement became a blur of motion, the old man pulled a sword from somewhere and impaled Naruto through the stomach. The sword twisted right and left, up and down, while Naruto vomited copious amounts of blood.
Naruto forced himself to ignore this, and quickly performed his prank technique, the Sexy no Jutsu. But instead of turning into a beautiful female, his insides twisted painfully, as his organs were caught somewhere in the middle of transforming into a female. He felt his insides burn as his ruptured stomach spilled acid onto his other internal organs.
Forcing his way back to the reality, Naruto watched as the Hokage, caught off guard by such a beautiful apparition, fainted, leaving Naruto free to leap out the window. Landing, he began to run toward the forest. He had not gotten more than a few yards when a kunai pierced the Achilles tendon of his left leg. He stumbled and fell onto his face as more blades embedded themselves in his back and thighs.
Naruto looked back, and saw the two sentries smirk, their eyes glowing as they slowly approached, their knives glittering dangerously.
Naruto, with great effort, ignored this illusion, and made it into the forest without incident.
But, as he expected, the offer was, indeed, to good to be true, though not because of the Kyuubi. Somehow, by the end of the night, he was a genin.
Naruto wasn't sure just how his infantile whining had gotten them a C-ranked mission, but it seemed that the Hokage had a soft spot for him.
And so here Naruto was, on a mission with his team to escort some old guy to Wave country. As he was slowly growing accustomed to doing, he tuned out the random, horrific images that Kyuubi projected to him. While he still felt the pain, it was slowly growing easier to concentrate, and to tell the difference between what is real, and what is not.
So, when two ninja suddenly leaped from the forest and killed Kakashi-sensei, Naruto just kept walking. Knowing that it was an illusion, he was able to ignore the sounds as Sasuke took on the mysterious, masked enemies, and Sakura set herself in front of Tazuna, just as he was also currently ignoring the mob of rabid animals that were tearing out his intestines. Naruto just kept walking.
It wasn't until he was about fifty yards away that he realized that it might not be an illusion. Running back, he made it just in time to see Kakashi appear and take out the two ninja that Sasuke had been fighting.
After questioning Tazuna about his less-than-truthful mission request, Kakashi turned on Naruto.
"Naruto, what were you thinking, just leaving your teammates to die like that?! I thought I made it clear with the bell-test that teammates are the most important thing on a mission!" The silver-haired jounin's disappointment could be clearly heard in his voice. Even if Sasuke was too stuck up to get it, and Sakura was to obsessed with Sasuke to pay attention to it, Kakashi had been sure that Naruto had learned this lesson.
Naruto opened his mouth to speak, but found that he had nothing to say. What could he say? "I'm sorry, I thought it was all a trick?' 'Whoops, thought the Kyuubi was fooling me again?' And any lie would never convince Kakashi.
Kakashi frowned when Naruto just stared at him, eyes and mouth wide. The sun, a bit behind Naruto, cast shadows across Naruto's face, especially the permanent dark circles that ringed his eyes. The jounin started to feel a little worried. Was Naruto so tired that he hadn't even noticed? Those dark circles had been there ever since the jounin had seen Naruto. Maybe he was unable to sleep because of the demon, and so was unable to focus?
Or maybe he was deaf? Which would explain why he was reported to never listen in class, and why he hadn't heard the fight just now. Though it wouldn't explain his lack of reaction to the destruction of Kakashi's bunshin.
Deciding to deal with it later, the jounin just motioned for everyone to follow him. He noticed, with some worry, that Naruto had no playful or hot-tempered response to Sasuke's taunts of cowardice.
Everyone flattened to the ground as an enormous sword flew overhead. Everyone, that is, except Naruto, who had dismissed this as another trick.
Fortunately, he was only hit with the handle, though that was enough to send him flying into a tree with cracked ribs and ruptured organs. The sword, too heavy and too fast to be much affected by the impact with a single light genin, flew further and stuck itself into a tree.
A masked ninja appeared on the sword, his smirk evident in his voice. "Well, I guess he wasn't really cut out to be a ninja anyway, right? So no real loss there."
Kakashi cringed. He was not going to lose a student on their first C-rank mission. He moved his headband up to expose his Sharingan eye, and attacked.
While he and Zabuza were fighting, Naruto was trying desperately to force his way out of the illusion. He had been getting so good, or so he thought, at seeing past it. But now he couldn't see the reality beyond himself laying at the base of a tree, injured by some ridiculously large sword. That couldn't be real. Perhaps the Kyuubi had only been toying with him, letting him think that he was able to see past the nightmare. Or, if not seeing past it, then being so used to it that it no longer affected him.
Naruto checked himself. Well, maybe it could be real. After all, that had been the only injury so far, and usually there were many that followed. And, this was supposed to be a mission, a real ninja mission, so there was a possibility of this sort of thing.
Sitting up, Naruto ignored the pain as he looked around. Kakashi-sensei was fighting some sort of ninja. Sasuke and Sakura were standing guard over Tazuna.
Maybe this could be his chance to make up for screwing up earlier! But how? If the enemy ninja was a match for Kakashi-sensei, then there was no way a genin could do anything to him, right?
Suddenly, Naruto found himself involved in the fight. Zabuza was targeting him, while Kakashi furiously tried to defend both himself and Naruto.
In a blur of motion, Naruto found himself in a headlock, while Kakashi looked on helplessly.
"Not dead after all, eh, kid?" Zabuza's voice rumbled through Naruto's body. "I guess I can make an example of you for your sensei, what do you think?"
Naruto saw the horrified expression on Kakashi-sensei's face, knowing this his student was going to die, and being unable to do anything about it. Naruto was furious. How dare Zabuza do that to him! Naruto knew pain, and knew that he never wanted his friends to experience this sort of pain in the real world.
Naruto wished that Zabuza could have just a taste of the pain. Just a glimpse of a nightmare of dying friends and horrible tortures.
Naruto could feel the pain rising in him, so intense now that his eyes almost rolled back into his head. Why, now, would Kyuubi choose to torment him more? But it felt different. The feeling of pressure grew greater and greater, as the pain mounted to unbearable levels. It felt like he would explode just from the sheer agony.
Unbidden, a thought came to his mind. Push. Push it out. It was like a voice, but not a voice. Like a thought, but from somewhere else, faintly familiar, but unrecognizable. Naruto felt Zabuza's hard bicep press against hit throat, and pushed.
It was like waking up for the first time. An incredible lightness of being. Like he had been wearing many heavy weights, which had been suddenly removed.
Meanwhile, Zabuza stiffened. He saw Kakashi's eyes change, pupils elongating, and both eyes changing to a glowing orange color. The mask fell down to reveal a mouth full of sharp fangs, honed to points. The sky darkened, turning a sickly blood-red. The sun blackened, somehow shining with a dark light that filled him with despair.
And the kid in his arms turned to face him, eyes glowing with the same unholy light, and face contorted in an expression of ancient malice. The kid's hands, no, his claws, suddenly sliced open his stomach, cutting and tearing all in one fell swipe.
Zabuza doubled over in pain, his vision just clear enough to see a feral Kakashi lunge for his throat.
Zabuza knew he had to be dead. But he wasn't. Injury after injury, cut after cut, bite after bite, he didn't die. He would getting hurt in places he thought he remembered having cut off. Over and over again. Time seemed to stand still as he was killed, and yet not killed, again and again.
He looked to one side, and there he was. His old friend from the Academy. The one he had shared meals with, trained with, and ultimately killed. Zabuza could do nothing as this newcomer joined in the attack.
Then the others he had killed, one by one, came to join. Zabuza would have screamed, if his throat had not been ripped out. Or had it been bitten out? Or both? No, he was screaming. Only, now he wasn't. It was confusing. It was horrifying. But mostly, it was painful. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days.
Kakashi was more than a little confused when Zabuza grunted, twitched, and then suddenly dropped to the ground with a strangled shout. Naruto stood there, shuddering and shaking.
Not daring to ask questions, Kakashi checked Zabuza's body. Still alive. Kakashi resolved to amend this shortly, and then stood up to examine Naruto.
The boy was no longer shaking, and wore an expression of pained endurance for a second, before he gave an exaggerated sigh and wiped his forehead. "Whew! Thanks, Kakashi-sensei! You're awesome! I didn't even see you touch him!"
Kakashi wanted to ask Naruto about what had just happened,, but at the same time, was well aware that even if Naruto knew, he probably wouldn't say, and even if he did, Kakashi wasn't sure he really wanted to know. But the Hokage would definitely hear about this.
3. This was going to go on in similar fashion, as Naruto learned to control and use this 'power'. Maybe something odd would happen if Itachi tried to use the Tsukiome on him. Or maybe it would work like normal, just not affecting Naruto at all since he is used to it. Perhaps Naruto would go on to learn how to use the other powers derived from Kyuubi, the Amaterasu and whatever you would call the Sharingan's enhanced learning curve.
4. I stopped writing on this because I thought Naruto was getting too overpowered (being able to use the Tsukiome on anyone at any time, even if he has to touch them, is pretty overpowered, not mention if he got Amaterasu or something), and I thought that I made him recover too fast from the nightmare, just kinda breezing through it. And I didn't feel like rewriting that part, because it would be really dull to read about the nightmare constantly, almost as annoying as it was to write it. Bleah.
This is the last fragment for a while. The others are only outlines or incredible short.