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"Hey Naruto!" Sasuke yelled as he spotted the blonde swinging in the swing set, his hat already on his head. It kind of surprised him to see Naruto using the swing at all without anyone telling him to. When Itachi had pulled up in their mom's car, Sasuke had been stumped and asked Itachi if Naruto was okay.

Itachi had nodded and said he was probably feeling better, before he took off up the steps and walked inside the clinic.

"How come you're swinging?" he asked when he got closer.

"Because it's fun." Naruto smiled, freaking Sasuke out a little more because this Naruto wasn't the Naruto he was used to. This Naruto was weird. "Swing with me."

"Okay," he nodded as he jumped onto the other one.

"I bet I can swing higher then you." Naruto taunted as he pumped his legs.

"No you can't!" Sasuke shouted back, completely forgetting about the way Naruto was acting now as he focused on the challenge given. After a few good pumps of his legs, he was almost as high as Naruto. "I'm the best swinger here!" he declared.
"Nu-uh!" Naruto shouted as he kicked harder. "I'll be better!"

For a while both continued to swing until Sasuke realized his legs were getting tired and he wanted to stop. Not wanting to look like he was losing speed, he jumped from his swing, stumbling a little, before turning to Naruto. "I bet I jumped farther then you ever will." he grinned.

With a grin on his own face, Naruto let go of the chains as the swing went forward. In seconds he was in the air and just as quickly he was on the ground, landing evenly with Sasuke. "It's a tie." Naruto declared with a pout. As their eyes met, Sasuke stilled. Naruto's eyes looked funny. They were the same color but they weren't the same. They looked kind of scary. Even if the blonde was smiling, Naruto's eyes weren't.

Shaking his head, Sasuke blinked a few times and looked away. "Then to break it we have to..." looking around he said, "run to that post over there. The first one there is the winner. Ready. Set. Go!" he shouted and took off with Naruto right beside him. Not wanting to lose, Sasuke concentrated on his steps, trying to out run Naruto was hard. The blonde stayed even with him. When they were halfway there, Sasuke leaped, "I win!" he shouted as Naruto stopped behind him. "That means I'm the better swinger."

"I would have won, you cheated!" Naruto shouted, pointing a finger at him.
"Nu-uh, there were no rules about jumping." Sasuke smirked. "I'm the winner- hey what's that!"

Naruto turned to follow Sasuke's finger. In the distance he made out some kind of dog running right at them from across the field on the otherside of the road. "A dog, are you stupid?" he asked the raven. "Even I know what it is."

"I know what a dog is!" Sasuke defended himself as he grabbed Naruto's arm and began slowly pulling the blonde with him back to the clinic. Trying not to show fear, he said, "Let's go get some water, I'm thirsty."

"You're a chicken," Naruto grinned, "You're scared of the dog!"

"I am not! I'm thirsty is all." Sasuke said, his eyes widening as the dog got closer. "Come on Naruto."

"I want to pet the dog," Naruto answered as he pulled away from Sasuke, "Come here dog."

"Naruto!" Sasuke shouted, wanting to run but not wanting to leave Naruto. Why did Naruto have to be different today? Why couldn't he be the same Naruto that reminded him of a robot? The one that did what he was told to do? "Naruto please!"

"No, I want to pet the dog!" Naruto said shaking Sasuke off again. "Why don't you go inside and let me play?"

"It's not a nice dog!" Sasuke shouted as he pointed to the dog crossing the fence and then the road, it's face foaming from the mouth. "Look it's a mean one!"

"You're only saying that because it's big!" Naruto glared. "You're a girl baby."

"I'm not a girl baby!" Sasuke shouted as he backed up a few steps. "Itachi!" he screamed as the dog growled and jumped at them. Using his body, he tackled Naruto to the floor, the dog sailing over them. "Itachi help!" he screamed as he pulled Naruto up and took off running to the house, the dog coming behind him. "Itachi!"

"Run Sasuke!" Naruto yelled, fear now showing on his face and his voice. "He's gonna get us!"

"ITACHI!" Sasuke screamed as he and Naruto tried to outrun the big dog. Looking over his shoulder, Sasuke tripped, bringing Naruto down with him, the dog once again flying over them.

"Sasuke!" he heard his brother shout, running out of the clinic with the doctor behind him. "Shit! Here dog!" Itachi whistled, trying to get the dog to notice him. Instead of running at him, the dog continued to move toward Sasuke and Naruto.

Kabuto ran out of the house at the first scream from Sasuke and the clattering of Itachi's chair. Finding both Sasuke and Naruto running from a rabid dog, he blinked in shock. Why wasn't Naruto doing anything? This was nothing compared to what the blonde was used to. Why wasn- "012607!" he shouted, jumping over the steps and running to the blonde and the raven, ignoring Itachi trying to find something as he continued to try and gain the dogs attention. At the sound of his number, Naruto stilled. His body ready for the next command. "Protect the child!" Kabuto finished.

In a flash, Naruto was up, his fear long gone as he stood between Sasuke and the dog. Without a word, Naruto lunged at the german shepard, catching it in the throat with his foot, sending it flying back. Following the dog back, Naruto punched the dog in the head, creating a loud crack within the silence of the day. In less then five seconds, the dog layed dead at Naruto's feet, the hole in it's head, bleeding into the grass. Kabuto, Itachi, and Sasuke watched in shock as Naruto picked up the dog from the scruff of it's neck and pulled it to a fire pit. Tossing it in with ease, he grabbed two stones and slammed them together, creating a fire that quickly spread over the dog. As it burned behind him, Naruto turned to face Kabuto, waiting for his next command.

"What did you call him?" Sasuke asked Kabuto as he slowly stood up, his face pale and full of fear. "Why did you call him that?"

"How did he do that?" Itachi asked as he moved to Sasuke's side and picked him up. "That dog could have killed him and Naruto took him out like nothing."
"Naruto come here," Kabuto ordered but to his shock Naruto didn't move. The boy waited silently by the fire, still watching him. "Naruto?" Oh god, what did he do?

"Naruto?" Sasuke called out to his friend. "Naruto, what's wrong? Did the dog bite you?"

"Why is he so still?" Itachi asked, taking a step away from the small blonde. Naruto had no emotions on his face. His body was alert and waiting for something.

"012607?" Sasuke said. At that Naruto turned his body, moving like a solider, and faced Sasuke. "Itachi..." Sasuke whimpered in shock as Naruto continued to gaze at them. "Itachi why did he do that?"

"What's going on?" Itachi asked Kabuto who had yet to look away from Naruto.

"012607," Kabuto whispered, watching Naruto turn back to him, "Inside." he ordered. Like a small solider, Naruto marched inside. "Will you two come in as well?" Kabuto asked them. "I promise nothing's going to happen to you." Without waiting for them to reply, Kabuto walked into his home, leaving the door open for them to follow.
"Itachi?" Sasuke asked his brother.

"Let's find out." Itachi answered. With a brave face for Sasuke, he walked back into the clinic and shut the door behind him. "Doc-"

"Call me Kabuto," Kabuto answered from the empty waiting room. Because it was early, there weren't any people in the house and wouldn't be any for another hour. "Sit down please."

Moving to an empty chair across from Kabuto, Itachi sat down with Sasuke in his laps. Turning to look at the boy standing at attention beside Kabuto, he waited for whatever the man would say.

"What I tell you can't leave this room. If it does Naruto, me, and everyone in this town will be in danger." Kabuto said and waited for Itachi to nod, "Naruto doesn't have cancer. It's just something that came out of no where. I never planned to stay but Mrs. Akimichi kind of made it impossible for us to leave. Naruto... Naruto is a solider created by the government. He's one of thousands that are alive. He was born an orphan, like all the others. But unlike the others, Naruto somehow began to think and act like a child. He was sentenced to death by the head man. I was supposed to kill him."

"What!" Itachi shouted in shock as a look of horror overcame his face. "Why!"

"Because the defective children all die. They are deleted for not meeting the doctor's standards." Kabuto flinched as he remembered all of the children he was forced to end. At least one every two weeks or so. More if they were too injured to fix. "When I went to end his life, I couldn't do it. He spoke to me and I couldn't end him. Instead, I took him and ran. Now we're on the run from the government and if they find us, they'll kill us." reaching up he removed Naruto's hat, showing them his number. At their gasp, Kabuto said, "This is his number, when they go out on a mission, they are told what to do and their numbers are covered so no one else can control them."

"Why?" Itachi asked, his eyes looking at Naruto with a new light. So many things made sense now. So many things that he had seen and that Sasuke had said made sense. Naruto had seemed like an odd ball to begin with, but this...

"The government believes that they can stop a war by training children to do the deed. No one expects a child to kill them. No one expects a child to be a solider. They are trained in everything from languages to fighting to weapons and everything in between. They are trained to blend in and follow orders. They are trained to be machines. Naruto didn't meet their standards."

"Why here?"

"Like I said, Mrs. Akimichi kind of kept us from leaving. And then Choza said you guys needed a doctor and I thought we could start here." Kabuto shrugged as he looked at Naruto in sadness.

"A doctor, not a killer." Itachi glared as he pulled Sasuke closer. "So what happens if one of the towns people insult you? Are you going to sick Naruto on them? I mean look what he did to that dog. Imagine what he could do to one of us? Who's to say it won't be one of the kids? That Sasuke won't-"

"I would never ordered that!" Kabuto shouted, causing Sasuke to flinch and clutch tighter to Itachi.

"You ordered him to kill the dog."

"The dog would have killed your brother!" Kabuto yelled. "I've only ordered Naruto to do one other thing and that was to be a kid and it backfired on me. I might have broken him beyond repair because of it."

"You speak about him as if he was a machine," Itachi said with a glare forming.

"He is a machine! I made him like this. I didn't want to. I wanted him to be a kid but he wouldn't. He couldn't fit in. I was afraid he'd give us away. And now... We need to leave." Kabuto stood and headed out of the room. "We can't stay here anymore. They'll come."

"You can't take Naruto!" Sasuke shouted, "He's my friend!"

"Sasuke if they find us-"

"What if we promise not to tell?" Sasuke asked, jumping off of Itachi's lap and moving to Naruto's side. "What if we keep it a secret? I can help fix Naruto too! He's my friend I know him best!" Sasuke went on, reaching up to touch Naruto's numbers on his head, stunned that he had never even notice them before.

"Sasuke, I can't risk the town-"

"You said, before you told us anything, that everything said in here can't leave this room." Itachi said, "Look, even if I don't know what to think, I can't let them kill him. Say you run, what if they come here anyway? What's to stop them from killing us? Let us help Naruto be Naruto and not 012 whatever it is. I'll bring Sasuke over with me like always and on the days I don't come, I'll pick up Naruto. What's a better way to be a kid then hanging out with kids?"


"Just trust us."

"Please?" Sasuke asked hopefully, taking Naruto's hat and putting it back on his head.

C~ ^ ~S

Orochimaru was starting to get angry. All of his soliders had yet to bring him what he desired most. He needed to find the doctor before he did anything stupid. He needed to find 012607. With the right training 012607 would be perfect.

Tapping his fingers on his desk, he frowned. Kabuto, Kabuto, Kabuto. "Foolish idiot."