Disclaimer: I do not profit from this story in any way. Unless otherwise noted, the characters and concepts used in this story belong to Masashi Kishimoto. The series of events portrayed in this story are the products of my own imagination. Any similarities to other stories and events, fictional or non- fictional, are completely coincidental.

Author's Notes:

This is a dark/smart Naruto fan fic.

Naruto will not be paired with anyone romantically.

Romance and couple pairings will not be the focus of this particular piece of fiction.

This story was rated M( Mature) for depictions of violence and the use obscene language.

This story will cover the time period from Naruto's early childhood to the day of the Genin graduation exam.

Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading the above notes and I hope you will enjoy reading my story (:


Prologue

The voice was guttural and dignified. He couldn't help but revere it. The voice had given him so much. It would be a crime not to give it the proper respect.

Before the voice, coherent speech was an impossible feat. His vocabulary consisted of words and phrases(most of which were obscenities) that he heard throughout the village. His communication skills greatly improved when under the instruction of the voice. Now, he could speak in full sentences, read books and scrolls, and write basic kanji.

In addition to language skills, the voice also instructed him on how to survive. The voice led him to allies and dumpsters, where food could be found. He was told when someone was following him and where to hide in the presence of danger. He didn't particularly like eating trash or hiding behind moldy boxes, but the number of his beatings went down and his diet now consisted of something other than air. He had some thing in his stomach and his wounds weren't constantly being reopened. His overall health was improving. He learned that the voice was a good thing.

He also learned the voice was never wrong.

Even when he prayed it would be.

The voice warned him; the reward for his efforts would be abuse and heartbreak.

He told himself things might turn out differently this time. Maybe, the voice could be wrong. Maybe, today, he would find a friend.

Friendship, it seemed, was not in store for him today.

Parents would slap or scream at him before dragging their children away. When he was lucky enough to speak with the other children freely, they harshly declined his requests for friendship. The children were so cruel. They recoiled in disgust; as if his plea for companionship was some kind of poison.

He began to obey the voice more. His obedience had spared him unwanted pain. More importantly, he gained a reason to go on living; a purpose.

Naruto promised to become an invaluable asset to the voice, his only companion.


Decay: Chapter(1)

The Streets and Promises; Empty

"Rise young one. It is time for us to head toward our destination."

With a slow yawn, the boy grudgingly sat up and turned his tired gaze to the window. His head hit the pillow, after concluding dawn was not coming anytime soon.

"Mm…I wanna sleep some more…"

" If you still wish to explore the village more, it is imperative that we leave now."

"Huh?"

"If you want to enjoy the park, we need to leave right now!"

"Oh Yeah! The Park!"

How could he have forgotten about the park. The voice promised him they would go to the park today. With his excitement mounting, the three year old hastily threw on an outfit and dashed out into the night. Naruto loved the night time. It was the only time of day he could walk through the streets without a sense of fear or dread. At night, the voice led him into stores, restaurants, and any other places he wasn't allowed entrance into during the day. With help from the voice, he could safely enter and explore any place without anyone finding out. Although he was always extremely happy just to finally gain entrance into such establishments, he couldn't help but feel a little saddened by his solitude. He quickly killed that thought.

He was not alone.

So absorbed in his thoughts, Naruto barely noticed he had arrived at the park.

"Play until your heart's content, but at dawn You and I must have a little chat"

Those words unsettled Naruto quite a bit, but he quickly pushed those feelings aside in favor of enjoying the playground.


One more. He would go just one more time. Climbing the cool metal ladder, Naruto couldn't help but smile in anticipation. He loved the slide almost as much as he loved the swings. He slid down the slide, letting his smile fade with the night. The sun was slowly making it's way into the sky. He would have to return home soon. The voice had taught him it was not safe for him to be out during the day. The villagers would pelt him with rocks and trash if he was caught walking the streets. Naruto walked to the edge of the park, opting to spend the last few minutes of darkness in the sandbox.

"Naruto. It is time for ourchat."

Naruto began to sweat and shake in nervousness . This "chat" seemed like it would be discouraging.

"This is no need to feel so anxious, I merely want to ask you a few questions."

"…"

Naruto still felt nervous. He was always told he was not very smart. He couldn't talk, read, or write until the voice began to teach him. What ever the voice wanted to know he certainly wouldn't have the answers. That made him quite nauseous. The voice was always so helpful to him. It helped him find food, shelter, and guided him away from dangerous situations. The voice was his only true friend. He couldn't bear the thought of being useless to his only friend.

"Naruto, are you aware of who I truly am?"

Naruto silently panicked. In all the time he had know the voice he had never once learned it's name. He felt like an awful friend. He held his head down in shame. His lips began to quiver indicating tears would soon fall. He was going to hurt his friend's feelings. He was going to lose the only friend he had.

"Relax young one. I guess a better question would be do you know what I am?"

He didn't know who the voice was. It also seemed he didn't know what the voice was either. He couldn't help but let a few tears roll down his face as he answered.

"N-no…"

"Do not cry, Naruto. I do not blame you for not knowing. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox , Kyuubi."

Naruto didn't have a great memory. He was three. But he was certain he'd heard that name before. The civilians of Konoha would mention the Kyuubi in their whispered conversations. He never caught any information about who this Kyuubi was, or what he looked like. He now felt extremely anxious and embarrassed. He could have been in the presence of royalty or some one famous and he wasn't the least bit aware.

"I think it will benefit us both if we continue this conversation face-to-face."

Naruto's world was morphing into darkness; he was losing consciousness.


It was dark. Too dark. Naruto usually enjoyed the darkness. It reminded him of the night and the adventures he had exploring the empty village. This darkness was suffocating. It was beginning to frighten him. Tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. He was alone in the darkness.

"Naruto."

The voice had returned. Kyuubi had returned. He was no longer surrounded by darkness.

He was now waist deep in sewer water.

"This way Naruto"

Naruto's heart soared. Turning carefully in the water, Naruto's eyes landed on a huge metal cage. It was the voice; Kyuubi's voice. The voice of his only friend; beckoning him to come closer to the cage. He would finally get to see the one who shielded him from pain and danger; the one who showed him the world and offered him kind words in addition to friendship. Moving as fast as his small body would allow, Naruto reached the cage. Slowly, he moved his head through the bars in hopes of seeing something in the darkness. Squinting his large blue eyes, Naruto finally saw something.

A razor sharp claw was headed straight for his head.


The last three years had been trying. The village was still in need of extensive repair and his power as Hokage was slowly being chipped away by the village council. To make matters worse, Naruto was beginning to act strangely. His crystal ball showed Naruto wandering the streets at night, breaking into stores and other places with a stealth even his best men could not match, and even more ominous were the conversations the boy appeared to be having with himself. Hiruzen Sarutobi desperately hoped the boy had an imaginary friend. The other explanations were not the least bit pleasant. If no make-believe creature were involved, the boy was either losing his sanity or...

communicating with the Kyuubi.

Naruto's recent and alarming behavior made him realize just how wrong his decisions had been. He needed to help the boy more. The council thought it best the boy live on his own after being kicked out of the orphanage. He had grudgingly agreed after he found a nice apartment in the best part of would live well and he could have someone check on him regularly. However, two days after the agreement, he discovered Naruto living in an abandoned pest infested motel near the edge of the village. The boy had been beaten and thrown out of the apartment complex as soon as he set foot in the building.

Sarutobi felt shame at how blind he was. The villagers hated Naruto. Before his recent change in habit, Naruto was beaten in broad daylight. He had been stabbed, at least twice, and no establishment within a hundred miles would allow the boy entrance inside. He felt incredibly foolish.

He was leaving an abused and lonely child with the most devious and malicious of all demons as his sole companion.

He was failing Naruto. He was failing his protégée. The council be damned. He was the Hokage and he would put forth his best effort to help Naruto. He promised Minato, the boy's father, he would. He had shamefully shied away from that promise. He knew any attempts to aid the boy would be met with resistance.

It would be hard.

He used that fact as an excuse to avoid fulfilling his promise; but no more.

He would keep his promise; he would help Naruto become the hero Minato wanted him to be.


"Greetings, Kit."

Naruto was beyond amazed. Behind the cage was an enormous orange fox. One of it's gigantic talons was gently ruffling his hair. This... This huge fox was the Kyuubi.

The voice in his head was a massive monster fox.

"Wait a minuteHow did a fox get in my head?"

" That is a rather long and boring story, Kit."

Naruto jumped back and pointed his finger at the cage accusingly.

"H-how did you know… How did you know I was thinking that?"

"I am inside of your mind so I can hear what you are thinking most of the time. To answer your question in simple terms, some one put me inside of your mind."

"W-Why would some one put you in here. In this bad place."

Naruto was upset someone had placed his friend in what appeared to be a sewer.

The fox chuckled lightly before answering the small blond.

"I will answer your question Kit, but first I need you to understand some things about me. Then you can decide how we will proceed in our Friendship."

"…O-Okay"

Naruto told himself he would be Kyuubi's friend no matter what was said. He worshiped the fox. He had done for Naruto what no one else ever would.

The monster fox lowered his head and turned to Naruto. His many teeth slowly formed a maniacal grin.

"I am a demon. The strongest demon on this plane of existence. For survival and for entertainment, I destroy and devour various places and people."

The fox flashed images of carnage and death in Naruto's mind. Buildings being reduced to vapor, bodies being burned, sliced, and eaten, and people running and begging for their very lives. Each scene was more gruesome than the last.

Naruto was frozen in fear and disbelief.

"I am despised among your kind. That is why I am now trapped inside of you."

" In-inside of me?"

"Yes, to end my destruction the beloved hero of your village sacrificed his life to seal me inside of you at the time of your birth. That is why people shun and despise you. They know I am part of you and seek to destroy me by destroying you. You and I are one."

Naruto was trying to wrap his head around the Kyuubi's words. The Kyuubi was a demon. The Kyuubi killed humans. So why hadn't the fox tried to kill him? Were they really the same being? That would make sense. If he was apart of the Kyuubi, then the Kyuubi attacking him would be foolish. It would be like the fox was attempting to harm himself.

"I need to know if you will accept me as your ally. I need to make you strong so you can fight against those who wish to cause us pain. Together we can destroy anything that gets in our way. Will you join me,Kit, or will you ignore me and follow the way of the humans in your village?"

Naruto silently stared into the fox's glowing eyes. His thoughts were spiraling out of control. The villagers described demons as cruel beings that lied and manipulated humans. The villagers had called him a demon. They hated him. They wanted him dead. The harder he tried to show people he was not a lying and conniving monster, the more hatred he received. Now he knew why.

This village had damned him to a life of miserable squalor and solitude the moment he was born.

They abused his starved young body. He remembered being stabbed at least four times in his short life. Each time the"noble citizens of Konoha" left him for dead, the Kyuubi would speak to him. The Kyuubi always healed his wounds and told him when someone was going to hurt him. The Kyuubi helped him, healed him, and only spoke kind words to him.

The Kyuubi was a demon.

He always told himself that demons were bad and no matter what the villagers said, he was not a demon. If Kyuubi was a demon, then what were the villagers? They were not kind like Kyuubi.

They lied to him. They hurt and used him whenever they pleased. The "kind Samaritans of Konoha" were the manipulative liars and Kyuubi was something else; something better.

Kyuubi was a noble demon lord.

So what was he?

Naruto thought he was human. But he could not deny that he was treated like a demon. He was denied human food and shelter like a demon. He was hunted and beaten like a demon. And the strongest of all demons was apart of him. They were apart of the same existence. They were one.

"I… want to join you. If you teach me to be strong… I will hurt anyone who wants to hurt us. "

Naruto silently vowed to serve and protect the fox who provided for him a purpose; a reason to live.

In the darkness of the cage, Naruto could see large sharp teeth forming an enormous grin. Naruto gave an innocent smile back. Suddenly, his small form was engulfed by red energy. The red substance was carefully pulling him into the blackness of the cage. Naruto could feel the energy seeping into his skin. The energy made him feel tired.

With his last ounce of strength, the three year old gazed into Kyuubi's bright red eyes once more before slipping into the world of dreams.