Uchiha Lord: The idea for this story originally came from Zephyrclaws, but he doesn't like DarkNaru as much as I do, so he let me have it. Hope you enjoy it.

And of course, the standard 'I don't own Naruto, cause if I did it wouldn't have become so sucky lately' disclaimer.

Please review! They fan the flames of my youth!

A five-year old Uzumaki Naruto watched as the other kids who'd been at the playground left with their parents. A couple of the adults had sent him dirty looks as they picked up their children. Why? he wondered for the hundredth time. Why do they all seem to hate me? He looked down at the ground as the tears began to fall. As he stood there, he heard footsteps and looked up to see an older boy wearing glasses walking toward him.
"Hi there," the boy greeted him. "What's your name?"
"N-Naruto," Naruto stifled a sob as he spoke.
"Nice to meet you Naruto. I'm Yakushi Kabuto." The boy held his hand out to Naruto, who frowned at it. He'd learned the hard way to be wary of strangers.
"What do you want?" Naruto asked him.
"I just wanted to talk to you. Can we go somewhere a little more private?" Kabuto asked with a friendly, open smile. Naruto shrugged and Kabuto led him away from the park and to a darker, less populated part of the village. As they walked, Kabuto started asking him some questions. "So, Naruto, why were you crying?"
"I was sad." Naruto answered tightly.
"What happened?" Kabuto asked, sounding concerned.
"None of your business," Naruto snapped.
"Sorry, I'm not trying to be nosy," Kabuto apologized. He stopped in the middle of a dark road and sat down on a bench, patting the spot next to him. Naruto hesitated, but sat down. "So, Naruto, I actually know quite a bit about you already." Naruto frowned.
"What do you mean? What kind of stuff?" Kabuto smiled again.
"I know why people hate you." Naruto froze and stared at the boy, not sure whether or not to believe him. "Do you want me to tell you?" Kabuto asked in a friendly tone. Naruto thought about it for a moment, then nodded. "You were born on October 10th, right?" Naruto nodded. "You know what else happened that day, don't you?"
"Yeah, the Yondaime killed the Kyuubi and saved the village," Naruto answered.
"Almost true. The Yondaime defeated the Kyuubi, but he couldn't kill it. It's impossible for any mortal to kill one of the Biju."
"So what did he do?" Naruto asked.
"He had to seal it away. Most Biju can be sealed inside objects, but the Kyuubi is the strongest. The only thing strong enough to contain the immense power of the Kyuubi was a newborn baby. You see, a newborn has undeveloped chakra coils, so his body and chakra network can adapt to the Biju's chakra." He stopped talking when he saw the look in Naruto's eyes that told him the boy understood exactly what had happened.
"You mean.. They hate me because I have the Kyuubi in me?" Naruto whispered. Kabuto nodded.
"Don't misunderstand, though. Most of those fools view you as the Kyuubi reincarnated. All you really are is the container of the Kyuubi. You are still Uzumaki Naruto." Naruto's bright blue eyes took on a fierce, angry glare. He looked around and saw nothing but more of the village. The sadness and hatred he'd fostered as he grew up suddenly seemed to double. His breathing grew faster and his heart started pounding as his thoughts started running at a mile a minute.
They hate me for something that was never my fault. I had nothing to do with the Kyuubi, yet they all treat me like a monster! If I wasn't around, the Kyuubi would have destroyed the village! I helped save them and they treat me like complete trash!
Kabuto saw the boy growing angrier and angrier and quickly stepped in before Naruto did something to give them away.
"Naruto, calm down." Naruto wheeled around and glared at him angrily.
"Calm down?" Naruto growled. "Calm down!?"
"Yes. If you get angry, you might unleash some of the Kyuubi's chakra, and then you'd be in a lot of trouble," Kabuto answered smoothly. Naruto hesitated, then took a deep breath as he attempted to control himself. "Besides, it's not all bad." He saw Naruto's incredulous, disbelieving look and quickly continued speaking before the boy could interrupt him. "There's a man who's willing to make a deal with you because of the Kyuubi. He says that he'll give you power if you agree to serve him."
"How do I know I can trust him?" Naruto snarled. Kabuto smiled, then took off his glasses and stood up.
"Watch," he ordered. He allowed his old blood to rise and he seemed to transform in front of Naruto's eyes, becoming a suddenly fearsome figure. Naruto gasped and took a step back. Kabuto smiled as he restrained himself again and replaced his glasses. "I have that power because of my master. He gave me power in exchange for servitude, and he's willing to do the same for you."
"What's 'servitude'?" Naruto asked, somewhat sheepishly.
"If you're in servitude to someone, it means that you obey them. You will have to do as he says, without hesitation."
"I'm not so sure I like the idea of being forced to obey someone like that," Naruto muttered.
"It's not really that bad. It's no worse than what the shinobi of this village have, and you'll get a lot stronger a lot faster." Naruto thought about it a little bit. "You don't have to answer me right now," Kabuto said with that open, friendly smile. "If you want to join Orochimaru-sama, meet me here tomorrow night. If you change your mind, you just don't have to come. But don't try to sell me out, Naruto-kun. That would be quite rude, and you wouldn't get anything done anyways." He smiled, then turned around and walked away from Naruto.
XXXXXXXX
Naruto returned to the orphanage that night, his mind whirling in confusion. Thoughts of the Kyuubi and his past spun around and around in his head. He fell sleep with his mind buzzing.
The next morning, he woke up and, after eating breakfast, went to the Hokage Tower to find the old man. He had permission to see him whenever he wanted, so he just went straight up to the office on the top floor.
"Hey, oji-san!" Naruto greeted him with a forced, fake happiness. The Sandaime Hokage looked past his stacks of paperwork at the young boy.
"Hello, Naruto. How are you doing?" He didn't realize that Naruto was faking being happy, because Naruto almost always was.
"I'm alright. Hey, oji-san, do you know about someone named Orochimaru?" The Hokage sat straight up like he'd been electrocuted. His face grew suddenly stern and worried.
"Naruto, where did you hear that name?"
"I heard someone mention it yesterday," Naruto said truthfully. The Sandaime took a deep breath as he tried to calm down. Most likely, someone had just been ranting about Orochimaru.
"Orochimaru was once my student. He was a very powerful and dangerous man. When the time came for me to decide who the Yondaime Hokage would be, Orochimaru thought that he should have been chosen. When I chose someone else, he abandoned the village, feeling he had been betrayed."

"How strong was he?" Naruto asked.

"He was incredibly powerful. He was almost as strong as the Yondaime." Naruto's eyes grew huge as he imagined it. Someone as strong as the Yondaime, giving him power… And all he had to do was become the man's shinobi.

He had made his decision.

Uchiha Lord: I already have a pairing lined up for Naruto, in case you're wondering.