This is my new story and the first Naruto story I have ever done. The story will take place two days before Naruto meets Jiraiya and will follow the canon storyline up until this plot. This will be strictly Naruino since I enjoy this pairing, so please don't ask for another main couple. I am open to ideas concerning other couples and would like it if you voiced your opinion on this matter. Now onto the disclaimer.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto

Naruto: A New Path

Ch. 1 The Nightmare

Darkness was all he saw. It was a consuming darkness without the faintest hint of light. He tried to make sense of where he was but couldn't place it. Even time seemed to be consumed by the endless darkness. He tried to move his hands but found them useless, he tried to walk but found that there was no floor beneath him. A small flash of red illuminated the darkness. He turned to the light and tried to get closer to it, no sense in staying in the darkness he thought. He found himself floating towards the light and as he got closer he started making out other colors. First he found that the light was in fact a circle, secondly he found that the red orb had a black slit on the center.

"Naruto," A voice growled. Suddenly light filled the darkness and the figure of a giant fox filled his sight. Naruto tried to run away but found that he couldn't move. Many thoughts raced through his head but a single one made itself more apparent, 'Why was the fox out of its cage?'

"Naruto," a new voice whimpered. The blond turned to the source of the voice and was met with a pink-haired girl's bloody figure. She was cut in half, her once silky pink hair was now painted crimson with blood and her piercing green eyes were now dull and lifeless.

"Sakura!" Naruto yelled in despair. He tried to go and aid the girl but before he could try to move the fox's giant paw crashed into the girl.

"Do you see how useless you are now? Can you finally feel the weakness that you think is strength?" the fox said in amusement. "Now I will show you true despair!"

The surroundings changed to that of a grassy plain stained with blood. Corpses could be seen everywhere. One of a black-haired teen with a bloody blue shirt, a masked man with silver hair, an old man with deep red robes that had been once white and finally one of his first friend and teacher, Iruka. Naruto lost all air at that moment and he couldn't help but gag at what he was seeing, tears flowed freely from his eyes and for the first time in years he sobbed.

"Pitiful human, you have seen nothing yet," the fox growled before appearing in the field and engulfing everything with fire.

Naruto woke up with a start. Fresh tears rolled down his cheeks as he tried to make sense of what exactly was going on. He ran a hand through his hair and found that he was covered in sweat. He looked around and found himself on his room laying safely on his bed. He glanced at a lone picture on his nightstand and sighed in relief. It was a picture of Team 7, where he formed his first bonds and gained a new respect for himself.

When Naruto had been a kid nobody would talk or acknowledge him. He had thought that it was because he had been initially sort of shy to talking to other kids but when he dropped his shyness he found that he still couldn't make friends. It was at this point that he started to think that there was something wrong with him. If nobody wanted to be his friend then it was because he was a freak amongst everyone. The Third Hokage, his grandfather figure, had told him that he was just as normal as everyone else and that people ignored him because of their own ignorance. When his jinchuuriki status got out, Naruto had really thought of himself as a demon and nothing else. It wasn't until Iruka declared otherwise, that Naruto thought of himself as his own person. After this he had been made a ninja of the leaf and put into Team 7.

Naruto smiled at how things had changed. He now had irreplaceable friends and had actually gotten into the final rounds of the chuunin exams. Of course there had been trouble but he and his team had managed to cope. His whole team had passed but Sakura had been disqualified for having tied with Ino, a girl Naruto didn't really know much about except for her huge crush on Sasuke. Thinking back on the chuunin exams, Naruto couldn't help but think of Orochimaru. The man had completely trashed them without breaking a sweat and had marked Sasuke with the curse seal that messed with the teens behavior. He had been unable to protect his friend much like the time when Haku, a boy he meet on his first mission, had 'killed' Sasuke. Both times Naruto had relied on the Kyuubi's help to protect his friends.

Naruto shuddered at the thought of Kyuubi. Thinking of the nine-tailed fox had brought back the nightmare he had just woken up from. It had all been so real and he had been too weak to do anything. It had just been a dream but it did have a lot of truth in it. Naruto hadn't been able to help his friends with his own powers and had been forced to use the Kyuubi to protect them, a creature who would want nothing more than to burn them all to ashes. Naruto felt truly weak for the first time since he had been made genin. In order to protect his friends Naruto had to train hard and get stronger.

"Yes." Naruto whispered, "I will not let anybody hurt my friends ever again."

Naruto got out of bed and picked up his scattered clothes. First he picked up his orange pants and black shirt. He quickly put them on and walked over to his discarded jacket next. As he put on the jacket he thought of cleaning the apartment. It had just been one month and a half since he cleaned it but he felt that it was better to clean it now before it got dirty. He walked towards the door of his apartment, while avoiding stepping on any of the pieces of trash that were on the floor, and put on his ninja sandals. A quick jog around town would certainly clear his head from the dream.

When he got out of his apartment he noted that it was still dark out. With a shrug he jumped out of the building and raced to the one place that would help him calm down, the Hokage Monument. Ever since the Third had taken him there Naruto had made it his special spot. Something about sitting on the head of his idol, the Fourth Hokage, seemed to calm him down. He remembered that it had been there that he decided to be Hokage. At that time he had only thought of being acknowledged but now that he thought about it, he really didn't know what being Hokage was about.

He knew that it would be a long time until he knew the real reason behind being Hokage. A Hokage was responsible for protecting everybody in the village but what made them want to protect them? What was that which drove them to put their lives before the village? Naruto promised himself to answer this questions but for now he knew one thing. That nightmare with the Kyuubi had opened his eyes. Right now he was weak but with enough training he would be strong enough to protect all of his precious people. Maybe this was the path into learning the answer for the reason for being Hokage but for now he would only focus on getting stronger in order to protect his friends.

"Do you hear that?" Naruto yelled at the village. The sun rose and shined on the whiskered blond, showing the determination on his blue eyes. "I won't let anyone hurt my friends. No more games, from now on I won't let anybody down!"

Ch. 1 End

I know that the chapter was short but please take into account that this is the introductory chapter. This was the best spot to end the chapter and even I think that it's a little too short. Don't worry though as others chapters will be around four to five thousand words each. I know that the beginning is a little slow but this chapter was supposed to show just what goes on in Naruto's head. The story will pick up after this so please tell me what you think.