{{ Do you think about everything you've been through?
You never thought you'd be so depressed
Are you wondering "is it life or death"?
Do you think that there's no one like you?

~ One-X by Three Days Grace }}

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. As much as I would like to, Naruto is 100% the work of Masashi Kishimoto-sensei.

Prologue: October 10th

October 10 had always been the worst day of the year for Naruto Uzumaki. It was his birthday, but that obviously didn't make much difference to the villagers of Konohagakure no Sato. After all, not only was it Naruto's birth date, it was also the 4 year anniversary of the Kyuubi no Yoko's attack on the village. Naruto was old enough to understand that he was not very well-liked in the village. What he didn't understand was why. More than any other day, his birthday was the day the villagers harassed him the most. Naruto hated the eyes of the villagers. He hated how they never seemed to look at him as Naruto Uzumaki. The looks he got would be directed more towards a piece of garbage stuck to someone's shoe than a human child.

As he walked through the streets, plenty of those looks were directed his way. Scowling, Naruto kept his head down and ignored them. It was his birthday, and there was no way he was going to sit in his house all alone on his own birthday. Or so he'd thought, until the solid objects started flying his way.

The first one smacked him right under his eye, and Naruto flinched back, surprised. His sky-colored eyes met the fiery orbs of a man in his late fifties. He took three steps backwards as the man, who appeared quite drunk, staggered towards him. The man caught the off-guard Naruto quite easily. Hauling the boy upwards by his collar, the man screeched into Naruto's face: "You monshter! How dare you show your fache here!" His slurred speech continued, calling Naruto several colorful names. Naruto shrank back and squirmed free. He didn't know what those words meant, but the tone was enough warning for him. He knew he had to get out of there before he was seriously hurt.

Touching his rapidly swelling eye gingerly, he bolted towards the less populated section of the village, shaking with fear and fury. How dare they! How dare they treat him like something….something what? Naruto wrapped his arms around himself. Something inhuman? That's what a monster was, right? But Naruto knew he was definitely a human. So what, then? Why did they look at him with those hate-filled eyes? What had he ever done to deserve it?

"Chikusho!" Naruto cursed, slamming his fists into the ground. All he received for his troubles were bloody knuckles. Scraping the heels of his hands across his wet eyes, Naruto's body shook with ire. "Why? Why do they all hate me? What did I do wrong?" he wailed to the sky.

His eye hurt….but more than that, his heart hurt. He hadn't expected anyone to answer him…after all, he was alone. But a deep, rumbling voice bubbled into his mind, /Why, you ask? Does it really matter why, gaki? Just hate them back./ Naruto stopped crying for a moment. 'Who are you?' He thought back, curiosity replacing his anger for the time being.

The voice chuckled, a sinister sound. /You would think that you'd notice there was something else camping out in your body./ Naruto was confused. 'You're…inside me? Is that why everyone hates me? Because of you?'

The Kyuubi smirked. /I am the Nine Tailed Fox. / Naruto felt his eyes closing, and when he opened them again, he found himself in a strange place he'd never been before. In front of him loomed a giant gate, with a grinning face behind it.

/I summoned you here this time, but I won't again. You asked me if the villagers hate you because of me. It's mainly their fault for being so stupid. I will never understand humans. If I were not trapped by this tainted seal I would kill them all./

Naruto stared at the Kyuubi for a long time before speaking out loud this time. "The seal is tainted? What does that mean?"

The Kyuubi laughed, a deep, guttural sound. /It means that the seal doesn't work properly. It still keeps me trapped in here…but I can get out for short periods of time. Not much use to me, honestly. You, however….I could assist you…..for a price./

Naruto frowned. "Help me with what? More importantly, why would you want to help me? Wouldn't you get out sooner if I died?"

/I can give you the knowledge others refuse you. I would assist you slightly…in return for being allowed another body, outside of this prison. And it is true that your death would free me from this prison permanently. But it would be some time before I could return to this world./

After a moment of thought, Naruto's expression brightened a bit. "So killing someone to give you a body is the price? After I do that, you'd kick those dumb villager's butts?"

The Kyuubi smiled, looking feral. /You will just have to kill two people. I won't interfere in measly human affairs, but I can teach you many things. I have been sealed inside powerful ninja. And I have observed their fights. I know many powerful ninja techniques. In a year or two, you'll go to the ninja academy. Wouldn't you like to have an…edge?/

Naruto was suspicious, but this deal was beginning to sound beneficial to him. "You only mentioned one person. Who is this other person I would have to kill?"

The fox growled. /The other person is one I hate very much. Follow my orders, and you will beat him. Shall I reduce your enemies to rubble?/

Naruto was still uneasy about this whole thing…but it wasn't as if anyone went out of their way to help him. Why should he care if he had to kill two people? This sounded like a way to get power, and power was exactly what he needed. "So I just have to kill two certain people, and you'll help me?"

/That's right. How about it?/ The Kyuubi shifted behind the bars.

Naruto cracked his knuckles nervously. "Why do you want to get out? What good will it do you?"

The Kyuubi bared his teeth. /That is none of your concern, human. /

Naruto frowned, touched his still swelling eye, and thought about it for a few minutes. "All right." He said finally.

(A/N: So how about it? First chapter of my first fanfic. Please let me know what you think. I know it's pretty short, but it was a good stopping place. Any suggestions, comments, criticism, would be helpful. )