Alright, everyone. I've been feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with my own stories, and have so decided to take up a challenge-fic, specifically pudgypudge's dark brotherhood challenge. Don't worry, I'll get around to my original ones as soon as I can manage to fix them up to my standards. I'm not going to make a huge outline of how the story is going to go, I'll let most of that be a surprise. However, if you dislike black and gallows humor, or swearing, then get off of mah lawn, you derned whippersnappers! Violence and blood go without saying, this is the dark brotherhood. Members of that faction don't kill clients with fluffy teddy bears and unicorn farts. Actually, knowing the elder scrolls, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if unicorn farts did have a magical property useful in the killing of people, but my point still stands.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Naruto series, nor do I own the Elder Scrolls series. If you are surprised by this, then please stop trying to make out the funny squiggles on the screen.
It was a cloudless October night in Konohagakure no Sato, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. The smells of cooking and alcohol, the sounds of drunken laughter, and the sights of bright lights and colorful displays painted a happy picture. It was the six-year anniversary of the Kyuubi's defeat at the hands of the village's most prolific hero, the Yondaime Hokage, also known as Konoha's Yellow Flash.
There was one child for whom this was not a happy occasion. A short blonde boy, six years of age, was constantly ostracized; it was always worse than normal on this very night, when the alcohol and mob mentality drew what some would call the darker part of many people's minds to the forefront. Courage gifted and inhibitions lifted by the enchanting effect of the bottle, these foolish men would always vow to teach their perceived enemy a lesson he'd never forget.
In a dark alley, the drunk men planned to enact vengeance against their vilified victim. Blood spattered across the walls, and the crunches wet smacks of bone and tendon ripping rang clear through the air. Twisted giggling echoed out, before being replaced by full blown maniacal laughter. But oh, it was the boy that had fun THIS night.
Liquid ruby arced through the air, dark and deep, flashing bright where the light hit it. The spots and spatters on the wall were a form of poetry, and a salty, coppery smell filled the air. It was... sweet? Yes, that was it, the young one thought, reveling in it, the smell of blood now like candy to him. And the blonde had a sweet tooth.
"How do ya like this, ya old bastards! How do you like it? Huh?" The voice trilled out in a shrill voice filled with malevolent mirth. Howling at the stars, the boy reveled in the feel of what he'd done. The power he felt as he grabbed his bigger oppressor's knife.
The joy he felt as the men stopped attacking, running away from their comrade screaming. The beautiful way his torturer's blood spilled, bones cracked, tendons ripped and cut. As he stood there, soaked in the blood of the attacker turned victim. He realized that at least one man would never try to beat him up again...
Oh, shit. Crashing down from his place on high, the boy thought about the consequences of his actions. He dropped the knife and backed off. It clattered to the ground, splashing slightly in the ever-growing puddle of plasma. The boy felt his stomach turn, but he fought off the urge to vomit.
What were they going to do to him? They'd attacked him first, but no one would ever believe him. His crimson-soaked hands came up and cradled his face, as he felt the world spin around him. The mean old people in that meeting room were definitely going to get him in trouble for this.
Would they have him killed? Would they lock him away for a really long time? What was he going to do, what was he going to do? He fell backwards, landing on his rear. No, he wasn't going to die! He had to do something!
He tried his best to hide the body, but a six year old wasn't about to move the rather plump man easily. At least the larger pieces. It seemed that whatever kind of maniac strength had possessed him earlier was now gone.
"Come on, come on, ya big stupid lug! I can't let anyone see you!"
He tugged and tugged, but his efforts were in vain. Panting in ever-growing panic, his eyes began flickering back and forth, watching, waiting, for someone to stumble upon him or the military police to come and arrest him. A deep, suave voice broke him from his thoughts.
"Well, well, what have we here?"
Frozen in fear, the blonde turned around and laid eyes upon a black cloaked figure. His heart leapt up into his throat and he started to shiver. He was in trouble. This man was surely going to arrest him or maybe even kill him. His eyes darted around for the dropped knife, his only option clear to him.
"Wait, it isn't what it looks like! He attacked me! I was just protecting myself!"
As his protests waxed ever more defensive, panicked, and vehement, the figure stood unmoving. Naruto couldn't resist the feeling, however, that the man was... amused? Who was he, what was he going to do to him? The fear rose again, and Naruto's already clammy hands shined slightly with cold sweat.
"Now, now, young boy. I have no intention of condemning you. You did what you had to. I'll take care of this, hurry on home. Do not fetter, and sleep the sleep of the pure."
The words, soft as silk woven by a cunning spider, drew Naruto in, wrapped him in a soothing dream, and as if lead by some unknown leash, he stumbled in the direction of his home, not a care in his heart.
The figure watched him walk away. Though it was a minor illusion, merely to calm the boy and make him vulnerable to suggestion, any true guilt over what he'd done would have broken it. He had what it took. In a few hours, things were going to become truly interesting.
Turning to the scene the boy had left, he felt something welling up in him... it was pride. This was a true work of art, a gem that shone beautifully to the Unholy Matron. This child had a gift, true potential. Soon, a truly devoted child would be drawn into the loving embrace of the Night Mother and the Dread Father.
Uzumaki Naruto was wrapped in his blankets, cocooned in a beautiful dream. He saw the man he'd killed, and though a small, stubborn part of him still insisted on feeling a minor pang over it, it was eventually joined in unison with the rest of him in reveling in it. Could it truly be so wrong? He'd ended the life of a man who'd put him through immeasurable torture, and the bastard was dead and gone, never to beat him or ostracize him again.
All too soon for his liking, though, he was drawn out of his slumber, not by a crash of police at his door, but by a gentle whisper in the wind. The sweet whisper of death embodied; Truly, if tonight had shown the boy one thing, it was that death was not something to be feared, but welcomed.
"Ah, even considering my illusion, you sleep soundly. Rise, my boy, gifted in the arts of murder."
Rising obediently (what else could he do? This man had saved him) Naruto looked up to the figure as one might an angel. Why not, for the man had understood him. Though he'd learned to be wary of strangers at this point in life, he felt a connection... some kind of bond he couldn't describe.
"No need to be shy, my young friend, for we are kindred spirits. Tonight, when you shed the blood of that foolish man, you signed a pact?"
Naruto looked at him in confusion. A pact? That... was some kind of agreement, right? The six year old didn't quite grasp the concept, but his confusion was an open book to the man.
"I suppose I should elaborate. To be more accurate, what you did tonight, shedding the lifeblood of that detestable... pig... was an assistance in writing up a contract, an agreement, to put it simply. His blood the ink, your method the handwriting, and if you wish to continue, you'll make it a signature unique to you. I must say, though, your signature, if it is at all as magnificent as earlier, will be more art than almost any I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing."
The boy felt as if he'd been swept up in a strong current, not frightening however, but loving, carrying him along and holding him safe. He still felt kind of confused, since everything was happening so fast. Deciding to do what had always served him best, he followed his heart.
"What do you mean? Why do you want me, the entire world hates me for being a monster! I'll never be loved, like all the kids my age!"
He was nearly screaming at the end, and the man in front of him looked almost as if he wanted to give him a comforting hug.
"But that, my dear boy, is where you are wrong. You are a gift. An unholy blessing upon the world, beautiful to the Night Mother and our Dread Father, along with all of their children. If you but wish it, you will have a family, a family closer than the bonds of blood all too many cling to in this age. You wish to feel love? Why, that is already given to you, by the Night Mother herself."
Naruto felt as if he was going to collapse. He... was loved? Not just kindness, like the old man? The old man had always been kind, and Naruto felt indebted to him for it, but it was different from love. The old man had family, and was always busy with work. He didn't even visit Naruto on his birthday, the hardest day of the year.
He sat back on his bed, wonder running at a frantic pace through his mind. A family? Love? To this man and his family... Naruto wasn't a monster?
Throwing himself forward with as much force as he could muster, he crashed into the man, clinging on to his robes as if for dear life, gazing up at the man as if he were his personal savior, a dark messiah born down to save him, to wrap him up tight and rescue him.
"Do you mean it? Do you mean it? I could have a family? A family who'll love me, and won't see me as a monster?"
The man reached down and put a hand on the crying boy's shoulder, smiling a smile both sanguine and gentle.
"Why yes, my dear boy. Sithis, and his bride, our wondrous Night Mother, love all of their children, and our family is held together by bonds of the strongest sort. Pure love, the kind of love that can be shared only by those united together in the truth of the Void."
Naruto looked up into those eyes, those eyes full of death, and saw in them the truth. He wasn't lying. These people really would care for him.
He had to resist the urge to cry and hug the man more, and with a great effort, he stood up and snapped a trembling salute.
"Now, now, Naruto, there's no need for that. I'm an assassin, not a soldier. I do so enjoy etiquette, but... well, we'll teach you that."
Despite Lucien's normal intelligence, there was about as much of a chance of that as Jiraiya dropping his perversions. Not even Sithis himself could teach the boy to be any more civil than was necessary.
"In any case, Naruto, let's gather your things. I'll be bringing you to your new home. Your new family. Your new life, in the service of Sithis."
Wonder in his eyes, the Uzumaki rushed around the room, packing up his meager possessions. Within a few moments, he was ready to leave, to join his new life... his new family. As he turned back to look at his old apartment one last time, he gulped and banished his doubts, and with a squeeze on the shoulder from Lucien, the two disappeared into the night.
Naruto's night was not just over yet, though. Oh, no. Lucien had a... special plan for him, the man chuckled to himself as he lead Naruto into an abandoned manor house, the basement of which held the main entrance to the Konoha sanctuary. He stopped, however, at the door, drawing a look of confusion from Naruto.
"Naruto, do you remember the men who were with the one you killed?"
The boy looked nervous for a moment, before remembering who the man in front of him was and nodded curiously. This "killing is okay" thing was still a little weird, even if he was an impressionable young boy whose outlook on life was prone to molding by others.
"Well, the matter of fact is, we usually have potential family members kill targets that we wish to dispose of for their final test, but given your young age, I think that some fun is in order. Those men with the one you killed wanted to have you arrested, killed."
Naruto's eyes widened, he'd forgotten about them! Oh, crap, he was so screwed! But the man, Lucien, just laughed.
"Don't worry, my boy. Members of your new family apprehended them. Normally we'd kill them for you as a proof of our love, being enemies of our newest family member, but the option is open to you. Do you want to crush their pathetic lives like the vermin that they are?"
Naruto, for a moment, struggled with the morals he'd been so far taught. After a surprisingly short deliberation, he threw them out the window. These people... were family. If they killed, then he'd be okay with that too. He nodded up to the man, remembering that his new family followed... Sithis. The Night Mother and Sithis.
"Yeah, mister. For Sithis!"
The childlike exuberance on his face far contrasted what he was about to do, but Naruto walked up to the door ahead of them.
"What is the color of night?"
The voice, hissing like that of a snake, seemed to emit from the door itself. Naruto recoiled, but Lucien simply stepped forward.
"Sanguine, my brother."
Seemingly accepting of the answer, the door swung open. Naruto gaped, and Lucien was starting to grow concerned when the boy burst out in a shout.
"Awesome! A talking door! That was cool!"
Lachance laughed to himself softly and led the boy through the door into a central area that was forbiddingly lit... yet strangely comfortable.
"Come this way, my dear boy."
Leading Naruto through a small side door and down a long set of gray stone steps, the two reached a dojo. It was brightly lit, with padded bamboo mats on the floor and the walls covered in uncountable weapons. In the middle of the room, on an already red-stained group of mats, sat five men, bound by the ankles and wrists and gagged.
"These men have caused you pain, have they not?"
The six-year old gazed at those men, his torturers. They'd tried to hurt him again. They had hurt him before. Also, they'd probably do it again, given the chance. Something welled up from deep within the young boy, whispering for him to make sure the could never hurt him again. Like he had once before, also on this night, he embraced it, joined it.
"Since you're now a family member, these fools are enemies of Sithis. In the name of the dread father, show them the mistakes they've made."
From the depths of his robe a hand appeared, holding a strange black and red dagger with a reverse curve, so that the tip pointed forward. This was handed to the young Naruto.
"You will eventually have your own weapons, but you may borrow my personal Black Hand dagger for this. Use it well, and sign the contract, beautifully and artfully in your own way."
Looking into the terrified eyes of one of his tormentors, he thought for a moment. Did he really have the right to kill these men? Mister Lachance said so. Apparently, this Sithis said so. His rescuers, the people who were supposed to be his new family all thought so, if Mister Lucien was telling the truth. He looked at the man whose fate he held in his hands.
Yes, yes he did have that right. It was no longer a question to him, and he roughly pulled the strip of cloth out of the man's mouth.
"Hey, someone, help me! The demon's trying to kill me!"
Naruto's eyes flashed, and the next thing he knew, hot red liquid sprayed across his face. The man slumped to the ground, a deep gash through his throat from the blade in the child's hands. A feeling of power overcame the boy, and in a feeling of joy unknown to him before, he began to roar out in laughter.
Over the next few minutes, the dance was held. A red promenade of the damned, a dervish of blood, as the roles were reversed, and the victim made the culprits, who made his life hell, into sacrifices. The blood of the guilty was spilled, made into a sanguine baptism, a crucible of vengeance where the sins of the judgmental were abated in death.
After all was said and done and the guilty laid cooling on the floor, the judge, jury, and executioner felt something he'd rarely had the pleasure of experiencing. Joy. Ecstasy, as he'd finally done what, for a long time, he wouldn't even admit to himself that he wished to do. Looking down at his blood-stained hands, what he saw didn't horrify him.
He had already gone far past that point. He reveled in it.
After a few minutes had passed, a hand laid itself on his shoulder.
"Well done, my boy. With this, your pact is finalized. You truly have a gift for what you just did."
From the corners of the room, several figures came forth. For just one moment, Naruto was afraid, before the group swept down upon him and he was drawn into a round of handshakes, congratulations, and cordial greetings.
"Welcome, brother. You're part of a wondrous family now, joined in the service of our Dread Father."
"Truly, you must be a blessing from the Night Mother herself. The way you dealt with those idiots was beautiful to see."
"Hey, brat, you got skills. I haven't seen anything that awesome in a while!"
Naruto found himself overwhelmed. Never had he seen such approval, never had anyone congratulated him, cheered him on. After seeing the boy's eyes start to droop, Lucien decided to cut in.
"Now, everyone, I understand you all are enthralled with our newest brother, but he's had a rather long day. Anko, why don't you show Naruto to a room? I doubt I'm far off in saying that he's exhausted after today."
The purple-haired woman dragged the boy away, chatting about how well he did and what he was going to learn, and most of the other brothers and sisters slowly headed off to either their duties or bed. Lucien chuckled as a brown-haired woman stepped beside him.
"So that's Kushina's kid. Looks like he's taking after his mom. Wish she could have seen this, she'd be so proud."
He sighed. Kushina had been an excellent silencer. She'd been good enough to attain the station of speaker easily, but she never wanted to move above silencer, saying that she didn't get to kill people that way. It truly was a pity that she'd died in childbirth. It seemed, though, that Sithis had blessed her child, in return for her faithful service.
"By the way, I call dibs on training him. It's his mom that got me into the brotherhood."
Lucien chuckled. That had been quite amusing. Technically, as a silencer, Kushina hadn't had the authority to induct someone. She managed anyway, needless to say.
"Oh, I think you'll have to fight Anko for that privilege. She seems quite enamored with him, though I'm sure you could share training duties. Right, Rin?"
The woman simply laughed, before her face turned serious.
"How are we going to hide this from the Sandaime, anyway? He allows the brotherhood in Konoha, but he never approved of Kushina being part of it. He's not going to be pleased with Naruto joining us."
"Oh, he'll get over it. Kushina was very gifted in the ways of Sithis, and little Naruto appears to run in the same vein. Plus, he knows Dark Brotherhood members make excellent shinobi, as well. Besides, Naruto deserves to be a part of the family his mother had."
With that, the two parted ways. The next few years were going to be very interesting.
Well, that's that. I'm mostly pleased with this, though there are a few things here and there I think I could have done better with. Thanks to pudgypudge for such an excellent idea. Please, review, and give some feedback on how I did. If I messed up anywhere, feel free to point it out so I can fix it in the future.
Next chapter will be some years down the road, when Naruto is fourteen. The academy graduation age is being bumped up to that age, because my muse is bitching at me. Seriously, I don't know why I want the Konoha genin to be two years older, I just do.
Don't worry, you'll see some of the things that happen during the timeskip in flashbacks. I simply wish to get on to the meat of the story without the use of rushed mini-timeskips.
Thanks for reading, Whispers out.
Oh, and reviewer poll. Should I do the traditional team seven, under Kakashi, or should I do a different team, probably under Anko? Please leave your thoughts in a review.