Blood:

Naruto Uzumaki

Iorekbyrnison

The blood from his most recent kill stained his clothes. Scrubbing would not save them, but Naruto tried anyway even though he kind of liked the rusty color it turned his tattered orange jumpsuit. Sakura would say the color clashed with his skin tone, but the pink haired shinobi was dead three years running now and even when she was alive the woman did not have the most subtle coloring for her career.

Naruto wondered how hard Jaraiya would hit him for destroying the clothes he bought him. He wondered how hard the Sannin would laugh at the hideous color's demise. The jinchuuriki marveled at the blood that ran watery across his fingers before disappearing down the drain of his bathroom sink. The liquid was cold, but that was the faucet's fault. He'd never had hot water in his apartment anyway.

Instinctively Naruto felt that the blood should be warm like it had been freshly splashed on his skin from his enemies' jugular vein, but maybe that was the Kyuubi's blood lust. He certainly knew what that felt like. It was hard to ignore the constant desire to kill or to put aside the demon's primal need to bathe in the blood of those who made themselves the blonde's enemies. Naruto did ignore those urges though. He'd ignored them his entire life. That was the only small revenge he could enact against the nine tails that decimated Konoha the day of Naruto's birth.

Naruto gave up his jumpsuit as a lost cause. Though he felt the need to throw away the trash, the sentiment of Jaraiya's gift made the blonde carefully fold the orange-red fabric and place it on the shelf at the top of his closet where maybe one day he could go to fetch it down only to find that time had eaten it away.

No amount of scrubbing, like the jumpsuit, would erase the tinges of death from his hands however. Naruto killed many since Iruka put the symbol of Konoha on his head with a smile. The lips of his old sensei were permanently silenced these days. The dead can't talk in most cases unless one was to count Uchiha Madara. Naruto killed often too since the brutal sacrifice of Haku upon the Great Naruto Bridge, because a shinobi cannot pull his punches forever.

One day Naruto's fist returned the favor done him long ago and punched a hole through his best friend Sasuke's chest, only this time the blonde's aim was a little closer to the heart and the Uchiha did not have the Kyuubi's chakra to heal him. Really, the sight was far less gruesome than when the ebony haired man tore the entirety of Team 7 to pieces limb by limb before Naruto's eyes.

Today he lived on the winding path towards the title Hokage. It did not really matter that Naruto did not walk that path for himself anymore. His naïve dreams of being the leader of the will of fire died truly when Hinata's eyes were ripped from her skull and Kiba died screaming as his body was engulfed in the black flames of the Amaterasu. That dream died when Ino stepped in front of him taking a fatal attack to the front with a feral grin before perishing as the poison reached her heart. The path of Hokage was littered with the broken dreams and corpses of shinobi precious to him. Naruto walked along that path scooping up dreams and wishes as he went until one day he could finally fulfill them all with his own strength, the strength of a Hokage. Only that power could save his remaining friends, his precious people from being more than ashes in a funeral urn, carved names in a memorial stone, and memories that were slowly forgotten by the living. Naruto would be Hokage. He would survive for his friends. He would kill for Konoha.

Maybe then, one day, he could finally place his heart on the shelf in his closet and leave time to its appetite.

-AN: So this is another one shot since that seems to be all I have time for these days. I know it's very dark and gloomy, but I felt the need to give Naruto another perspective on the job of a shinobi. For those of you who follow some of my other stories To the Ends of My Courage will be updated soon. I just have to type up Hikari's chapter the rest of the way. Thanksgiving and Finals will but a hamper on many more of these shots and new chaps, but I hope to get everything done without going insane or collapsing from exhaustion. (Work will be the thing that kills me.) Anyway, hope you guys like this piece.

Until next time.