"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?' -George Bernard Shaw
AN:Entire story revised 9/06/11. No romance. Rest of the info is in my profile.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
Voices whispering from looming bodies. Eyes glaring at him from others his age. Simply staring at intangible shadows as they flickered across walls. Rain falling down on him as he walked home. Gazing up at the darkened sky and wondering when it would stop.
This is loneliness.
Naruto knew it, could feel it in the very marrow of his bones. He tried talking to others, to be friends. Words were elusive and Naruto could never manage to get his point across without looking like a fool. So he stopped and began withdrawing deeper and deeper into himself. Naruto didn't talk much anymore. A chat with the Hokage every once in a while and a few stilted conversations with Teuchi and Ayame was all. Sometimes he would hear voices though, other versions of himself with glowing red and violet eyes. They were always watching him, always reminding him of that night. It was better to ignore them.
This is darkness.
Truly, he felt emotions he shouldn't sometime. An old lady who'd spit in his general direction was close to having her head ripped off. It would have been so simple. Naruto knew he had power, knew how to access it. But no one else could know. They'd kill him, that's what his dad had said.
But his dad was dead now and Naruto was alone. He was always alone. Always searching for a way to heal the wrongness he felt inside. It wasn't the Kyuubi's fault. He knew the fox was long gone, only leaving behind a dark gift.
This isn't life. This is living death.
Alone, in his room, Naruto grasped onto this power. He molded it as he wished, creating
many different shapes. He found a strange solace from those shapes. They followed his command, combining and splitting. Yet it was not enough. Naruto did not know how long it took him to tire of the shapes, only that he was ready to move onto something else.
This is boring.
Naruto needed something more. He retreated into his mindscape once more. It was pitch black. The only source of light came from the center. Naruto walked to the center, lights casting an eerie orange glow on him. Before him lay the body of the Kyuubi, glowing brightly. Naruto smiled and scooped up a bit of the Kyuubi's chakra and began molding it.
A sphere, a cube, a dodecahedron: none were outside the range of his abilities. But all the shapes he created eventually fell apart and went back into the Kyuubi. It wasn't fair. It wasn't the Kyuubi's anymore. It was his. Furious, he gathered all of the chakra together and formed it into a giant sphere. Rising in the air above him it slowly combined. Naruto had created a blazing sun to illuminate his mindscape.
Naruto looked at it, not amazed as he'd been the first time he'd done it, but disinterested. He freed the chakra from his direction and watched as it settled back into the form of the fox.
Couldn't he have just a little bit? He'd suffered so much for it and now it would deny him ownership? Naruto raged, tearing the chakra apart, only to watch it meld back together unharmed. Then he had an idea. He pulled a small bit of the chakra into his hands. Be mine, be mine, thought Naruto, gently caressing the energy.
The chakra went into his hands, disappearing from sight. His body started to glow and the energy rushed through his veins. Naruto had never felt more alive. His eyes flashed red, blue, and then purple before settling on blue once more. His body crackled with vigor and slowly the glow disappeared.
This is true strength.
Instinctively, Naruto cupped his hands around a small space of air. Concentrating, Naruto ground his teeth as his hands glowed. The light went from his hands into the thing he was making. It was small, just a small glowing light. But to Naruto, it was something ethereal. He gently touched it with a finger and watched as his finger went through it. He grinned suddenly and commanded the light with his mind. The little light zoomed upwards and took a place in the sky. It twinkled and shone like a beacon in the darkness of his mindscape.
He'd created a star. Naruto was giddy with excitement. The process hadn't used up a discernable amount of chakra. He nodded to himself and cupped his hands together once more. Stars flowed out of them and flew to join the other one in the sky. They crowded together in a happy jumble. Naruto stopped making them and examined his work. True, the sight of all these stars lightning up his mindscape was cool, but that was it. It was just stars and the darkness.
"A sky," Naruto suddenly said to himself, "I need a sky, or at least some colors."
Then he frowned. How was he supposed to change so much at once? I could- he thought before being ripped viciously from his mindscape.
At 7:37 pm on a rainy fall night, the malevolent chakra of the Kyuubi was felt by the citizens of Konoha once more. Cups fell and shattered. Conversations flew to a sudden halt. Chairs were shoved aside as people stood and looked in the direction of the chakra source. The look on their faces ranged from apprehension, anger, to outright fear.
At that moment, the third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi rose from his desk. He pressed a button on a wall and spoke into an intercom.
"Inform all ninja to initiate code N-09. Send a squad of ANBU after me to Uzumaki's house."
"Yes sir," replied his secretary. Sarutobi tossed off his baggy Hokage robes and donned his old battle outfit. Doing a couple quick shunshins, the Hokage rushed through the village. Two minutes later and the ANBU squad joined up with him. At a single nod, the group changed into a different formation with Sarutobi in front.
A minute later and each ninja entered Naruto's apartment via windows and the front door. The scene in front of them was not one they expected. The apartment was lit by a single candle flame. Sitting on the bed was Naruto, his hands cupped around something and his mouth formed unspoken words. Naruto did not acknowledge their presence. His head was held down, messy hair covering his eyes. His shadow hung over him, looking quite menacing and evil, and made some of the ANBU uneasy.
Sarutobi signaled for a couple ninja to check the exits and rest of the apartment complex. Slowly he tapped Naruto on the shoulder. There was no response. Genjutsu, thought the old man.
He raised the blonde's head up to get a better look at him. The whites of Naruto's eyes showed and he continued whispering. Reading his lips, the Hokage was able to put together the semi-coherent train of thought of Naruto. 'Things I shouldn't do. Don't do it. Do it. Shapes. Power. Mine. All mine. Stars…'. Sarutobi tapped Naruto on the shoulder again, this time sending chakra throughout the youth's body. The jinchuuriki stopped whispering. His eyes rolled back, but instead of their normal blue was a vivid at the random intruder in his house and interruption of his meditation, Naruto began to scream and flail wildly. Quickly an ANBU restrained Naruto and shoved a chloroform rag in his face. Naruto tried to resist but his vision began fading black. The last thing he saw before total shutdown was the face of his clock, which now read 7:42.
Naruto blearily blinked his eyes open. A bright light shone in his eyes. He hissed and tried to cover his face with his hands. Only his hands were strapped to his sides and he was strapped down to a metal bed. A heavily scarred man entered his field of vision. He wore a bandana and a grim unforgiving expression covered his face.
"Who ordered you to attack the Hokage?"
Drip. A water drop fell on Naruto's head.
Drip. He could see his surroundings a bit better now. A table to his right carried various metallic instruments. Darkness lay in front of him. He could only guess the gruesome torture devices that might be behind him.
"Then why did you?"
"Because I was scared and didn't realize who he was."
"What were you doing so that you didn't realize we were there?"
"Meditating," Naruto said quickly. Drip. He'd beaten the timer.
Drip. He wasn't going to answer that one. This guy wanted him to talk. Naruto had to give but not give everything.
"I know what you were really doing."
Drip. A short silence passed.
"Then why am I here?"
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. DRIP! Naruto didn't like the noise. He closed his eyes and traveled to his mindscape. The stars still hung high in the air. One floated gently down at his command. He converted it back into energy and put it back within himself. If he could command his chakra to do things, that meant he could order his body to do things also, right?
Stop hearing the noise of the water drops. Stop feeling the water. Naruto opened his eyes. All had taken place in a single blink. The man stared at him intently then left abruptly.
The man was Ibiki Morino, head of the ANBU Interrogation and Torture department. Ibiki walked out of the room and stood beside the Hokage. Each looked through a one-way window at the blond jinchuuriki.
"I believe he is casting genjutsu on himself, Hokage-sama."
"I think so too, however that's not the point. He's using the Kyuubi's chakra. He hasn't used it beyond one tail yet, but it could happen at any time."
"Should I break him out of his genjutsu?"
"Yes, I want to talk to him and examine the seal."
Naruto was alone again. No, he was not alone. He had the stars and the darkness. Retreating once more to his mindscape once more, Naruto looked at his stars. Then he looked at the darkness. Suddenly he realized something important. There was darkness because there was no energy in those parts of his mindscape. If he spread the energy around, then he could easily make whatever he wanted.
Naruto singled out a star. It flew a little ways from the main group, but did not come to him. He gave it one command. Explode.
The star grew brighter and brighter and then there was a loud boom as it went supernova. Naruto was momentarily blinded; he rubbed at his eyes then looked at the dust that hung around in the sky. With a wave of the hand it spread into a thin layer and became his sky. He made it a variety of different colors, purples cascading into blues with reds crashing in randomly.
He grinned, "That's good."
Then Naruto looked at his feet. There was no actual ground, only darkness. Instead of destroying another star, Naruto used some the energy he still had to form a beach at his feet. The white sand flowed in between his toes, the gritty texture unfamiliar.
Naruto used most of his remaining energy to create a black ocean. The waves crashed into the shore, slurping and smacking at his feet. Stepping into the water, he smiled.
This world was beautiful. The absence of noise and other people only made it more appealing. Colorful skies, a peaceful beach, twinkling stars within reach whenever he needed them, it was perfect. And all mine.
Suddenly, Naruto started laughing. He was laughing loudly and gladly for the first time in a while. He launched into a nonsensical dance and twirled around and around. Dance with me, he ordered.
The sand heaved forward. Silhouettes of people came together. Clumsily rising, they happily joined in on the frolic. The ocean flowed together and formed its own people. Beautiful and as graceful as the ocean itself, these figures also began to elegantly dance.
Perhaps the best was the stars. Each star became a little person zooming across the sky then skipping along the water's edge. Naruto happily jumped from partner to partner. He laughed as a star person danced on his head.
Then it was almost all ruined. A small tap of unknown chakra entered his chakra network. Naruto ground his teeth in frustration. Why couldn't they leave him alone? Almost instinctively, a red shield appeared around him. Smirking, Naruto silently commanded, don't let them interrupt me.
- "He's not snapping out of it!"-
A water woman bade him to dance with her. Naruto bounced over to her. They twirled around and around together.
- "Try more chakra! Naruto! Naruto can you hear me?"-
The sky blurred around him, and Naruto smiled.
- "Get a Yamanaka down here!"-
Naruto looked out upon his world. The perfect world where anything and everything was
possible. Nothing bad ever had to happen. Not as long as he was here.
- "Naruto! Snap out of it! Stop casting the genjutsu!"-
Something so simple.
- "We're detecting another surge in Kyuubi chakra if we keep trying to pump our chakra into him." -
Something so natural.
They would never take it away.