A/N: This is what happens when I'm overworked and have little to no time on my hands. I spout random stories that crave attention! I've always been curious about that "power" Itachi gave Naruto. Therefore, I got to wondering. What would happen if it were to manifest, in some unexpected way? Also on another note, I apologize for this chapter being so short. My job is eating up ALL of my time and I have very little to afford unto writing now adays. Some of you might be wondering how that is, considering that Passing the Torch, Prince of Love, and Till Death Do us Part (I seriously recommend you check out these stories as they are among my best works yet) have all received updates.

Please understand that as I am working and only have the weekens to myself, it is a miracle I'm able to update at all. But no worries, friends! I am resolved to give you all the Beyond the Shadows chapter you've been longing for, and many, many others, quite soon in fact!

Hoping you enjoy and review,

Nz.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

~William Shakespeare

Beholden

It came as less a surprise, more a relief, when he finally awoke.

At first, anyway.

His first clue that he had returned from the land of nightmares came when darkness truly fell. The visions evaporated, and the voices went with them. For a very welcome period, there was nothing to see or hear, or even think. He could just rest, and be.

Then new noises began to intrude on the peaceful silence: the whirring of rustling cloth, low-pitched whispers and murmurrs from someone, a fizzing, spitting noise that could have been running water, and other sounds that had no place in his serenity. His heart rose at the sound of a respirator rising above the others. The faint sticking point between each cycle was horribly familair.

Someone-who was it-spoke:

"Godaime-sama, he's regainning consciousness.

"Keep him sedated until I'm finished, Shizune." Came the reply. "If he wakes up in the middle of the procedure...

For a moment there was only silence.

Then:

"Yes, ma'am." Was the answer.

Naruto raged against invisible bonds to move limbs he couldn't feel. The babble of noises faded for a moment, then returned, this time with light and sensation accompanying it. A needle swelled before his vision, encompassing his entire existence in a single instant. Then the rest of the world swam dizzyingly into focus. He was strapped prone to a medical table in the middle of an operating theater. Multicolored tubes and wires ran from several places in his body to dark machines stationed around him, and stretching up to the high ceiling above.

A steady bleating that had to be his pulse spiked irrevocably; rocketing skyward with his heartbeat.

"Shizune, the sedative, now!" Tsunade's voice commanded from somewhere beyond this terrifying vision. "Double the dose!"

"Hai!"

There came a sharp, pricking sensation in Naruto's neck. An eerie, icy calm washed over him, taking the terror away with it.

"Sedative injected." Shizune's voice swooned from somewhere above and all around him. "Hearbeat dropping...Vitals stabilizing... He's stabilized, Lady Tsunade." Momentarily, the pain in Naruto's eyes dimmed. He struggled to speak, to struggle, to say something, anything, but the darkness took him in the form of those damned black crows and the pain threatened to obliterate his existence once more, piquing ever higher until...

There was only the blackness.

0o0o0

(Later...)

Naruto awoke in a haze of pain. His eyes felt like they were on fire; every blink was like shards of glass through his retina. His chest ached so much that it took an act of will just to inhale. The air he inhaled was redolent of medicinal smells. He almost choked on the cloying odors, but just imagining how much coughing would hurt made his throat relax.

Whatever obscure scene he had found himself in, it had passed. He closed his eyes and let out a small sob of relief, but refused to lower his guard all the same. The darkness had still yet to lift from his vision; because his eyes remained painfully scrunched shut. Whether a refusal on his part or simply his body coping with the trauma, he simply could not bring himself to see a thing.

An unspecified amount of time later left his throat dry and his body reeling. Slowly, he came around, the sights and sounds of the world as he knew it proving too much for his slumber once more. He cracked open sleep-gummed eyes to see, to finally see a hand resting lightly on the blanket over his sternum. Attached to the hand was a wrist, to the wrist, an arm and, as his gaze traced the length of said appendage, he found himself staring into the most wonderful pair of pale, lavender eyes.

Lavender.

The thought sparked something in him; the faintest of tingling sensation. Who was it that had eyes like that, again?

"N-Naruto?" a thick voice asked as he sat up and rubbed at his eyes. "NNaruto-kun wait, d-don't!"

Too late; his fingers were already scrabbling at the wrapping around his face. They were soft and they tickled his nose, falling away at his touch fell away at his touch, and it was with an increasing fervor that he ripped and tore at the bandages surrounding his visage. Then he paused, her words reaching him after what felt like an eternity. He paused, his head cocked, ear attuned, alert, for any semblance of sound.

Then he saw her.

Hinata.

For an instant Naruto was struck by how cute she looked doing that, scrubbing at her eyes with the back of her hand like a little kid – nothing at all like the graceful kunoichi that sparred with him. Then he shook his head. This was, well, Hinata. While he was slightly touched that someone-anyone-had expressed such adamant concern for him, he had no business thinking such things of them, let alone Hinata.

She wouldn't appreciate it.

Strange.

Where had that come from?

"Are you alright?" She asked softly, suddenly unable to meed his gaze. Such a strange girl, some small part of him mused, a par that felt strangely alien unto him. If she could not bear to meet his gaze, then he really ought to meet hers, at least. What on earth? Yet again Naruto was stricken by the realization that these were not his usual thoughts; in fact they were quite the contrary.

What on earth was wrong with him?

"Ano...I brought you some ramen." she announced after an awkward pause, holding up a bag. Naruto blinked. Ramen. That was awfully nice of her. Sakura had never brought him ramen before, had she? Argh! Again with the strange thoughts that were not his own! Was that why his head hurt so much? He eyed his hands rather dubiously for nurses had also wrapped them in bandages as well, leaving not an inch of his skin exposed.

'What's wrong with me?'

He must've been doing that scowling-but-not-really-scowling thing, because Hinata didn't say anything. Smile. He should smile at least. That thought at least, seemed in some small part, normal. Perhaps it was just the sedative wearing off, or something like that. Yes, that must be it. He was fine. Perfectly, absolutely, fine. It was incredibly kind, and thoughtful of her to be so concerned for him, that was all. He paused, realizing the track his thoughts had once again taken, without the slightest provocation.

...damnit.

Naruto gave her a tremulous smile as Hinata carefully placed the bag on his bed-side table and opened it. She carefully handed him the covered container and a pair of chopsticks with it. Naruto straightened up a little more, smoothing the blankets, and then peered at the bag, feigning interest as he tried to sort out his whirling thoughts.

"Aren't you going to have some?" Hinata asked nervously.

"S-Sure." His voice felt and sounded hoarse, which served to only put him further on edge. He asked for a mirror. Hinata easily procurred one, having taken it from his bed side table and now, she held it out before him so that he might finally see what was bothering him so. But when she finally held up the mirror, Naruto almost screamed to the top of his lungs.

Instead, it emerged at little more than a dry, creaking squeak.

The likeness of Uchiha Itachi stared back at him in the mirror. Gaunt and dark haired, the face of Sasuke's brother blinked back at him. Naruto blinked and the ghostly face of the dead Uchiha was suddenly gone. Gone, but not forgotten. For as he ceased the rapidity of the opening and closing of his eyes, he realized that something was wrong. Very very wrong. So wrong in fact, that he both understood and deplored this "gift" that Itachi had lent him during their conversation in an instant; and rebelled against it.

"What the hell...

Twin pinprick of black crimson peered outward at him from within his face. Likewise his hair had become darkened and considerably and lengthened, threatening to eclipse the forehead; brushing at the whisker marks that still somehow tripled each cheek. Just the sight of it proved too painful; because Uzumaki Naruto was gone. In place of him was a strange specter that looked, sounded, like him, but at the same time was very much not him, just as the Sharingan that leered outward at him were not his own.

...is this!"

He wanted to do something. To say something. Something. Anything. And yet, he could not. Such was the ravesty that had ensnared him, the hopeless confusion with which'd he'd been taken captive. But whatever it was that held him mute and speechless so, apparently it did not apply to Hinata. Naruto felt the tears come; felt the water brimming on the ledges of his eyes, though no overwhelming sadness dwelled in him whatseover, and then a pair of slim jacketed arms embraced him.

His mind was too frantic; he couldn't make sense of her words, save for the fact that they were soft and held comfort within them. That was all he knew and all he would ever know, as his fragmented mind struggled to piece the pieces together and make sense of it all. In the end, the bloody tears continued to fall, and he was left powerless. Whom ever was there to witness the scene said nothing, and for that, Uzumaki Naruto was grateful.

It was almost as if the original owner of the eyes were crying out in despair alongside him. And with good reason. He knew not what had happened, only that it was something terrible, and that a strange, small part of him, rejoiced in it. That frightened him, more than anything else. More than the Kyuubi within him or the Akatsuki that sought it, this new power left him utterly terrified, and thus, he trembled.

And thus, for the first time, he was held.

This, was the day that Uzumaki Naruto's fate would be changed forever...

...whether it was for better or worse, remained to be seen.

A/N: Mwaha! Yondaime for the win! Sorry if it is short! My new job has me starved for attention and time! However, the latest Naruto manga (you guys MUST read it!) Gave me this idea! This takes place during the Itachi vs Sasuke fight, whilst Naruto and co. are busy fightng Tobi aka MADARA who is stalling for time. Itachi dies, and the power he embued in Naruto goes berserk and takes over. Hmmm...now what power of the eyes might that be...hehehe!

Review please until I die from overexposure! Although, being a skeleton...I AM ALREADY DEAD! SKULL JOOOOOOKE! YOHOHOHO! (One Piece humor Don't know, don't ask!)