Disclaimer: I in no way shape or form own Naruto.
Naruto: Severed Bonds
Slowly he packed everything he could think he would possibly need. The ever burning pain in his neck nagged at his subconscious. The cool of the night rushed past him as he stepped put of the door to his home.
He decided that he would leave silently and without leaving any trace of where he was going; although he was sure that those who thought they were close to him would figure it out eventually. The snake had made the enticing deal and the promise to make the pain stop.
The moon was bright enough that it illuminated everything in a dim gray light. Taking in one final look out over the horizon and at the four grandiose stone faces on the cliff overlooking the village that he had known as home for his entire life. Affirming his decision in his own mind he locked the door behind him and leaped from the small landing and out into the night.
In a small park Sakura Haruno sat contemplating everything that had happened since she had joined team 7. The lessons she learned had helped her grow from the useless, and usually helpless, backup to a prominent if still a little conserved kunoichi of her year. This ritual was typical when she felt stressed like she did now. Ever since Naruto and Sasuke had fought on the hospital's roof she could feel them growing more distant than ever. Her crush on Sasuke had always caused her to side with him in the squabbles between rivals but lately she had been finding that quite hard with his new attitude. Sakura was so lost in thought she didn't notice a figure appear out of the trees behind her.
"Sakura," the figure said in a barely audible whisper.
She was immediately pulled from her thoughts and stiffened into an alert posture but quickly relaxed upon seeing the figures familiar face. "Naruto what are you doing out here this late?"
"I could ask you the same thing." replied the blond in a more serious tone than what she was used to hearing from the happy-go-lucky shinobi.
"I- I'm just out here to collect my thoughts. Naruto is there something bothering you?"
"Nah, It's just that... It's just that... well I'm leaving."
"What do you mean? Were you given a solo mission from Lady Tsunade? Why would she give it to you only and not to our team?" she asked worried about her teammate.
"No. I'm just leaving. And that's it." he replied as he began to walk away.
"But Naruto, why? If this is about Sasuke I'm sure you and him could work out whatever happened between you two."
"I only wish it were that simple Sakura. But it isn't."
"Naruto why won't you just tell me why you're leaving and throwing away everything you stood for. What happened to your pledge to defend those who're precious to you? What about our team? What about you're friends?"
"You'll never get it will you?" he responded getting furious, "Have you seen the way people look at me, the way my so-called friends treated me when I was younger. How I was treated by the people after I not only won my match against Neji but also saved you and the village from Gaara only to have most of the blame for the destruction caused in the woods blamed on me. Sometimes I just feel like you could only see what Sasuke did for you and that you were oblivious to everything that I've done."
"N- Naruto, I had no idea that you felt like this."
"Well that doesn't surprise me. All that goes through your head is 'Sasuke this' and Sasuke that'. You couldn't care less about me. You could never know what it feels like to live alone like I do."
"B-But ..." Sakura stammered but was abruptly cut off by Naruto appearing behind her
"I'm sorry." he whispered into her ear as he punched her in the back.
Slowly the corners of her vision began to grey out. Her vision began to tunnel until finally the only thing in focus was Naruto's face. That too became an out of focus blob. As her last moments of consciousness faded out she could only whisper "Don't do this... Naruto."
He stood over her as she fell slowly to the whims of her subconscious. As soon as he was sure she was out, he left the village to rendezvous with the contacts that the snake had sent. And even though he didn't want to trust these four strangers, he really had no other choice.
"Lets get that stupid seal off the curse mark." said one with four arms.
"Right, I just hope he doesn't die before we get him back or else Lord Orochimaru will be pissed." said another.
"Just shut up that's why we're putting him the container; it'll make it easier on the kids body as the seal advances to level two."
"Ya Ya just shut up and lets get this crap started." shouted another.
And as if it were all a blur Naruto's world went completely black. And slowly he began to remember when he first encountered the snake...
The second stage of the chunin exams. Three days of living hell as you tried to survive being attacked by other shinobi teams trying to recover the twin scroll and reach the finish. Many died and others suffered terrible injuries to both their minds and their bodies.
Team 7 had just fended off a small attack by an Amegakure genin when he attacked. Orochimaru attacked intent on exerting his terrible influence over the young Uchiha.
Orochimaru chuckled as he fought the young Uchiha into submission. Soon he would place his mark on the boy and he would eventually seek him out to gain more power. He would take that body and he would gain the Sharingan he so desperately desired.
"It's pointless to fight. You might as well give up, Sasuke." chuckled the snake.
Sasuke stood slowly panting. 'Damn I'm out of chakra' "I won't give up to someone like you!" he yelled.
"Fine then I'll just make you bear the mark." Orochimaru said as his neck began to elongate. His head shot forward with two large fangs brought to bear. Sasuke closed his eyes and prepared himself but the attack never came.
Sasuke opened his eyes to see not only had the snake been hit but by the blond idiot. "N – Naruto! What the hell are you doing get out of here he's out of your league!"
"Shut up." said the blond in a deeper more gruff voice. "I won't let anyone hurt my friends."
"Heh heh heh, I'm not interested in you boy, I only want Sasuke but if that means I have to kill you then I'll have to oblige." said the snake-man as he recovered from the blow he had taken to the head.
Naruto erupted from where he stood into a flurry of punches into the gut of his opponent. But despite his valiant efforts the body simply turned into a muddy pulp. By the time Naruto realized he was simply wailing on a clone the original had summoned several snakes from his arms and had him bound to the nearest tree. "I must say that power of yours is quite interesting. Show me more!" The snake binds tightened enough that they began to break the skin and slowly blood began to trickle out from beneath them.
"Come on show me your strength!" Orochimaru yelled as the binds tightened even more. At that Naruto went limp. "Hmph, I guess I was wrong. Oh well, back to Sasuke. Maybe I'll even kill that pink haired girl to get him even more riled up."
Several seconds passed before something in the air changed. Alowly the limp body became enveloped in thin red veil of chakra. The veil shifted and shaped itself into the vague form of a fox with a single tail. Naruto began to work his way up, his appearance became extremely feral. His canine teeth had enlarged into decent sized fangs and the whisker-marks on his cheeks deepened. And finally his eyes took on a deep shade of red reminiscent of blood; they did not reflect the soul of a human but rather that of a demon hellbent on killing everything that moved. Once standing and zeroing in on Orochimaru, Naruto seemed to disappear from where he stood with nothing disturbed for several milliseconds later when the part of the bark on which he stood splintered and an enormous sonic boom ripped through the surrounding area.
"What the..." was all that escaped Orochimaru's clenched jaw before a clawed hand ripped through his abdomen straight through to the other side. While impaled on his left hand Naruto began to mercilessly beat on the snake with his other hand. After beating Orochimaru senseless, Naruto raised his foot between him and the snake and with a single kick sent him flying through the trunks of several large trees.
As sudden as it appeared the red veil of chakra surrounding the blond dissipated and he fell to his knees barely conscious. Watching out of his barely open eyes Orochimaru appeared from the rubble of the attack completely unharmed.
The snake chuckled as he approached Naruto. "It seems that I may be able to make some use of you after all." His head shot forward from an elongated neck and two large fangs sunk into the back of Naruto's neck. "Most of the people I place my mark on die. However, because of the demon's chakra you will almost definitely live. Oh and if you do live take this scroll, I don't need it anymore."
As mysteriously as he appeared Orochimaru sunk back into the shadows of the Forest of Death leaving team 7 in shambles.
Fast Forward (Tsunade Retrieval battle)
Naruto stood next to the body of his unconscious teacher, the sannin Jiraiya, as Orochimaru slowly walked towards them. The sadistic grin that adorned his face could easily be that of a demon that haunts the nightmares of small children. He chuckled as he approached staring directly at Naruto's eyes. The mark that had been placed on the back of his neck began to burn the longer he looked. As he looked at the eyes he fell into a deep trance-like state.
"I see that you refuse to use the power of the curse mark I gave you boy. Is that because you don't want them to treat you like a monster." He paused his speech 'Good he is on his way to becoming mine.' "They all hate you; they only think of you as a tool. But why am I telling this to you? Maybe I should let you find out for yourself." With the last sentence he placed his palm on Naruto's forehead and the blond dropped to his knees. A flood of painful memories ran through his mind. Everything from the cold stares to the occasional beating by a drunk exploded into his head.
"Get your hands off him!" yelled a blond woman who rushed in planting a fist into Orochimaru's temple sending him to the ground several yards away.
"So Tsunade, I see you made your choice. Well then I'll just have to kill both you and Jiraiya now." he responded as he came to his feet.
Naruto was awakened from his trance-like state to find the container he was placed in beginning to splinter. With a few shifting movements he managed to finish the process and the light of the midday sun shined on his face. Giving his eyes a few moments readjust to the sunlight he began to slowly take in his surroundings.
"Naruto!" yelled a distinctive voice. Slowly he turned towards the origin of that sound and saw none other than one of his so-called friends. Naruto began to assume a fighting stance when a figure body-slammed Sasuke.
"Go, lord Orochimaru has no time to wait for you." said the man who seemed to be growing bone-like protrusions all over his body. Naruto just turned around and began to go in the direction he felt the bone-guy was taking him.
In the Hokage Tower
Tsunade sat in silence wondering if sending a team of genin after Naruto had been a mistake, knowing that Orochimaru was after him. She was lost within her own mind Caught between the guilt of not protecting Naruto and endangering the lives of those she sent after him. She would have remained that way had the old man not appeared. Slowly he approached the desk.
"Tsunade." he paused, "I know what you're thinking. Don't worry about it though. They'll get him back."
"I guess you're right Jiraiya, but still, I feel like I should send some more backup than just the sand siblings. Maybe, a jounin like Kakashi or Guy."
"Do what you think is best, but, don't start to think that this is your fault. If anything its mine." Jiraiya slammed his fist on the desk sending small splinters from the outer layers of the desk into the air. "I should have taken him out of here the day we got back"
"What are you talking about?"
"Naruto has a curse mark placed upon him by Orochimaru."
"What!" Tsunade was fuming now. "Why the hell didn't you tell me that. I would have put him in protective custody, I could've stopped this."
"No it's my mistake and now I'm going to fix it." Jiraiya yelled through his clenched teeth as he turned and walked out of the office.
'Dammit Jiraiya, I know you think that this is your fault but you can't fix it by rushing recklessly into battle' she thought.
Orochimaru sat alone in the dark of his throne room adjusting the chakra levels of his new body. The process would easily be done within a few more hours and by then his prize will have arrived. Kabuto tended to his master's every whim including everything from getting him water to changing the bandages of the wounded body. A dark presence began to seep throughout the main concourse of the room dimming the singular light of the candle on the table.
"Kabuto I need you to leave now." Orochimaru snarled, obviously disturbed by the presence in the room.
"As you wish, my lord." He responded with a conniving undertone that permeated all of his words.
As the door shut upon Kabuto's exit the darkness began to coalesce into the figure of a man. His face was only obscured by the mask adorned with an orange color and a swirl pattern. "You know that the boy is almost here don't you."
"Of course and I also can feel the Uchiha close by as well."
"I trust that you know what your doing. I need the Uchiha alive."
"Of course, I would never dream of killing a descendant of yours Madara."
"I don't care about him what I need are his eyes. And after you're failed attempt at taking that traitor Itachi's eyes this could be our last chance."
"Right about now he should begin fighting his friend and that, I believe, should push him to the full extent of the Sharingan's power."
"I'll be back and I'll expect to see some progress with either the Uchiha or the Kyuubi." said the mysterious man as he sunk back into the shadows.
Orochimaru smirked behind the bandages that covered his body. 'You will see progress, that is a guarantee.' he thought as he began to chuckle.
The Valley of End
Naruto watched as Sasuke emerged from the cave that he had chased him through. "You idiot, why can't you just leave me alone?"
"I'm not just gonna let you leave everything behind!"
"What are you gonna do? I saw the water tanks I know I'm stronger than you. You can't make me come back!" Naruto yelled. But before he could finish Sasuke landed a punch square into Naruto's face and sent him flying into the valley wall.
"So that's how its gonna be, eh? Well then bring it on!" came a scream from inside the plume of dust created by Naruto's impact.
To Be Continued
Author's Note Well that is the end of the pilot chapter of Naruto: Severed Bonds. This is part of little project I'm doing. I'm going to publish this and a Bleach fanfic (Bleach: Lords of the Shattered Mask.) at the same time and hold a poll on my profile as to which I should update more. The winner will receive updates more frequently than the other time permitting. Now that that is out of the way I'm curious as to what you have to say so make sure to leave a review with some constructive criticism.