WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: This story contains a social message and is in no way related to canon of either original manga/anime or my other fan fictions. I do not own Naruto or any cannon characters or storyline, nor do I own the rights to Hero by Christian pop group Superchick, which inspired this one shot and is italicized throughout. I do own any original characters and storylines, and I reserve the right not to care that this story contains spoilers; though, I doubt there will be. In other words, you should not read this if you do not know as much of the cannon story as I do. For temporal reference, the story takes place when the universe main characters are nine years of age.

WARNING AD NAUSEUM: This story contains a social message, and the images are disturbing.

Heroic choice

No one sits with him; he doesn't fit in,

Naruto sat alone as he always did at lunch. He looked around towards his fellow classmates. All he wanted was some kind of companionship, any at all. In return, he received cold stares.

But we feel like we do when we make fun of him,

He noticed some students turn their heads and quickly whisper to their friends. They thought he didn't hear them, but he did. He always did. "He's a monster." "Disgusting, did he look over here?" "Haha, did you hear he has a crush on Sakura-chan?" "Him? I feel sorry for her!"

'Cause you want to belong, do you go along?

A few didn't immediately dismiss him. Shikamaru, Chouji, Ino, Kiba, and Shino didn't shy away from him on their first day of school. A girl named Hinata avoided him, but she never ridiculed him. From time to time, she peered at him, but she didn't fear him.

'Cause his pain is the price paid for you to belong

Ino soon became the girls' de facto leader. It wasn't long before she gave into the temptation to spread rumors and gossip. She fell to the trap of peer pressure, and she helped rumors grow more fantastic.

It's not like you hate him or want him to die,

He didn't know it, but his classmates were slowly succumbing to his cries for attention. Shikamaru and Kiba thought his pranks were pretty clever, and he didn't seem half as bad as some, especially overreacting adults, made him out to be. Sakura felt honestly sorry for him at times, but his over the top advances annoyed her to no end. Hinata thought he was the most wonderful light in the world. Ino sometimes hesitated and often felt miserable when she saw the results of her cruelty. Shino was earnestly intrigued for Naruto presented the most unique enigma.

But maybe he goes home and thinks suicide,

Naruto sometimes sat at home and ran his fingers over the sharp edge of a kunai. Sometimes, he pressed the blade against the small bulge of his throat. Other times, he grappled his fears as he stared at an explosive tag. Just a little chakra, it would be so easy.

Or he comes back to school with a gun at his side,

As he walked to the school building, he idle fingered the seam of his pants. He wondered if anybody would notice. Would the teachers be impressed with how well he hid his weapons? He licked his lips; he was nervous. He hid his kunai well, and the explosive tags were ready to go off. He held no illusions that he could take on seasoned shinobi, but his teachers were also cruel. When they got to him, wouldn't they be surprised?

Any kindness from you might have saved his life…

Shikamaru was observant, and his friends often called him a closet genius. Well, the blond banshee, as he sometimes called Ino, most often pressed the issue, and she coined the phrase for him. He just preferred not to stand out, and he found the lessons easy to follow. Whatever the case however, he saw something strange with Naruto that day. His gait was strange, and he was more anxious than usual. Walking up to him, Shikamaru noticed why. Without changing his expression or pace, he walked up to his blond classmate and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, want to hangout after school? Chouji always brings too many snacks, and I was looking for somebody else to play shogi with."

Heroes are made when you make a choice…

Naruto's eyes welled with tears. He broke away from the warm gesture and ran home. Unknown to him, an ANBU captain watched from across the street. He tilted his head to one side the student disarmed himself.

You could be a hero,

Heroes do what's right,

You could be a hero,

You might save a life,

You could be a hero, you could join the fight,

For what's right, for what's right, for what's right…

For the first time, Naruto planned a prank with others and suffered the consequences with others, as well as laughed at the ensuing results.

No one talkes to her, she feels so alone,

Hinata sat under the shade of a tree. She nibbled on the plum packed in her rice ball. From time to time, students passed by. They talked and joked and laughed, but none even looked at her. They ignored her without even a pacing glance.

She's in too much pain to survive on her own,

Nobody noticed. Nobody cared. Her family expected too much of her, and the burden weighed too much on her. She had no friends, and only Kurenai even seemed to care. Did she, could she care? It was impossible to imagine. She sat alone in the corner of her room and wept.

The hurt she can't handle overflows to a knife,

As the sun set, a nearby gleam caught her eye. She forgot when, but she made it a practice to keep a kunai nearby whenever she was home. She hesitantly reached out and grasped it by the handle as fiercely as if it defined and made her whole.

She writes on her arm, wants to give up her life,

She choked and hiccupped as she moved the edge across her wrist. She traced imaginary lines and contemplated who might miss her.

Each day she goes on is a day that she is brave,

She sank the blade into the wooden planks between her legs. She broke into fresh tears; she felt numb.

Fighting the lie that giving up is the way,

She thought of Naruto and everything he had to go through. "I'm going to be Hokage! Just you watch and see!" His words defied everybody's hatred, and he seemed to define light. He fought. He fought so hard, and she had to.

Each moment of courage, her own life she saves,

She looked at the floorboards between her legs. She could no longer count the scratches and dents discarded kunai left.

When she throws the pills out, a hero is made…

She looked in the bathroom sink, unsure when or how she got there. She threw the medicine packet on the ground and backed away. She couldn't. She wouldn't! She was going to find a way to define herself just as the bright light she watched everyday!

Heroes are made when you make a choice…

Kurenai fell to her knees and thanked whoever was watching over Hinata at that moment. She feared she would be too late, but the moment passed without incident.

You could be a hero,

Heroes do what's right,

You could be a hero,

You might save a life,

You could be a hero, you could join the fight,

For what's right, for what's right, for what's right…

The next day at the academy, a particularly clever prank brought a smile and ringing giggle to Hinata's face. When she looked up, she thought she saw Naruto's sunny face grinning at her. From then on, she lived to see that expression again and again.

No one talks to him about how he lives,

Itachi ignored the clan leaders. He defied the clan elders. He spent more time outside the Uchiha compound than he did with his own family. While neighbors talked about him behind his back, they appeared afraid to say anything to him.

He thinks the choices he makes are just his,

He was trying to find himself and balance loyalties. He made the choice to live outside normal Uchiha means and refused to listen to reason.

Doesn't know he's a leader with the way he behaves,

The clan leaders and elders wanted him to join the council for a variety of discussions, and they often revolved around the fate the Uchiha clan.

And others will follow the choices he's made,

Itachi instead secretly met with the council of Konoha, and he murdered his best friend to gain power.

He lives on the edge; he's old enough to decide,

When the police confronted him, he attacked. He scoffed at his father when he intervened on his behalf.

His brothers who wants to be him is just nine,

Sasuke watched and absorbed everything his older brother did. He wanted to be just like him, and he practiced every day to catch up with him.

He can do what he wants because it's his right,

Itachi fled Konoha. He pressed the desire for revenge into his younger brother, and he broke his mind with images of death and broken buildings.

The choices he makes chance a nine-year-old's life…

Sasuke grew hard. He grew cold and only sought retribution. His eyes could only see death and broken buildings.

Heroes are made when you make a choice…

Itachi didn't know what choice to make, and he thought his younger brother would soon see the world with unfettered eyes.

You could be a hero,

Heroes do what's right,

You could be a hero,

You might save a life,

You could be a hero, you could join the fight,

For what's right, for what's right, for what's right…

Itachi let events spiral out of control, and he couldn't gain perspective until it was too late.

Admittedly, the last stanza is not as inspired as the first two. Needless to say, it's two successfully heroic choices versus one failure.

The reason I wrote this fan fiction is rather simple, perhaps odd. I was driving to work, and the idea just would not leave me alone. I try not to write works like this, but the idea wasn't going away until it was written down.

Anyway, I have a theory on the Uchiha and Itachi that actually makes sense, and I'm currently working it out. I'll also point this out just in case it wasn't clear with the disclaimer and warning. I am not implying in any way, form, or fashion that any part of this is acceptable canon for either the original manga/anime or my fan fictions. This is simply a stubborn mind after being inspired. Constructive criticism only!