Naruto of the Red Sands

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto in any way and swear upon my honor as a ninja that I will not attempt to make any monetary gain from this work of fan-fiction.

Chapter I

October 10, most wouldn't see the day as significant. To most of the Elemental Nations, it's just another day. Nothing special at all.

To Konoha, it's the Kyuubi Festival, celebrating the 'defeat' of the Nine-Tailed Fox at the hands of their beloved Yondaime Hokage, Namikaze Minato. That's the official story, anyways.

To anyone of the last generation… it is something else entirely. It's the day the 'Fox Hunts' are held to help in finishing what the Yondaime started.

To one seven year old boy, it's none of these things. It's his birthday, and the one day of the year he hates the most. He knows the truth of the matter. He found out why people call him 'Fox brat', 'Demon' and so many more names in his short life. He found out two years ago, on his fifth birthday, after the matron of Konoha's orphanage kicked him out of the only home he ever had.

She told the 'Fox Hunt' where to find him, she told them when to be there, and she just looked the other way as he was taken. He was beat, stabbed, cut, and bludgeoned that day. It was also the day he first met his one and only friend in this world.

That was the day Uzumaki Naruto started to hate the Leaf Village for their ignorance.

"Less reminiscing and more running, Naruto!" A female voice ordered from inside his mind. That was the Kyuubi no Yoko, or Hitomi, as Naruto knew her. That was her true name, instead of the title she was given by the ignorant humans. 'I know, Hitomi-chan! I'm running!'

The Fox Hunt had started a half hour ago, and it was 'good training' as Hitomi had once commented. It was usually a daily or every other day occurrence for him to be chased around the village, and as such, Naruto's physical endurance had increased. That didn't mean the young jinchuriki liked it though. Who would?

'Hitomi-chan, today?' he asked within his head. He could almost feel the vixen nod. "Yes, Naruto-kun… today is the day. I want you to leave Konoha today." Naruto inwardly nodded at that.

With a single burst of chakra through his feet, courtesy of Hitomi's teachings of the past two years, Naruto leapt on top of one of the roofs. Then he made a mad dash for a certain house, before jumping over one of Konoha's walls, halfway between the north and west gates, a place with no guards.

With that, he leapt through the forest, visions of the accursed village of Konohagakure no Sato burning to the ground already running through his head.

Also in the forest outside Konoha, is a certain master of puppets. Walking on the ground at a leisurely pace was a figure that looked to be no older than fifteen. He had short red hair of a shade common to Suna, reddish-brown eyes and wore a long gray cloak that covered his body completely besides his hands, face, and feet- which had ninja sandals on.

It was Sasori, or as he is more widely known, Sasori of the Red Sands, master puppeteer and killer of the Sandaime Kazekage. He was an S-ranked missing nin of Suna. Right now, he was searching the Elemental Nations for scrolls of powerful jutsu. After all, with all his puppets, he could have one of them use any technique he found, no matter what element.

Konoha happened to have quite a bit of Fire jutsus. So he was headed there. He didn't expect anyone to be anywhere near him, though. There was that chakra signature that kept following him through the trees. It wasn't a threat, even if it seemed pretty high.

Whoever held it obviously meant no harm to him, and obviously didn't know who he was. Or so the genius puppet master assumed. With a sigh and a shake of his head, Sasori called out "Come on out, I can sense you! Don't make me use force!" Suddenly, a boy even younger in appearance than himself was in front of him.

The boy couldn't be older than seven or eight, had a mess of spiky blonde hair, very bright blue eyes, three whisker marks on each cheek, and was wearing a black shirt and pants with ninja sandals. The shirt had a red Uzumaki swirl on the right shoulder. "Who are you? What do you think you're doing following me around, gaki?"

The boy seethed at being called a brat, but spoke calmly. Sasori saw the coldness and pain in those eyes… worse than they ever were in his own eyes. "My name… is Uzumaki Naruto." Sasori's eyes widened at that. 'A living Uzumaki? Didn't they all die? I thought Uzumaki Kushina was the last one… unless… could he be?" "And I was following you because you seem like a strong ninja from your chakra levels." 'A sensor? He's too young though.' "I just left the village you're heading towards, and I know you don't have generous plans for it. I want you to teach me… Sasori-san."

The redhead looked the boy up and down. 'He knows who I am, at such a young age? And his chakra levels… even without being a sensory-type, I can tell they're high for a boy his age… high-Jonin at the very least. So what was said about the Uzumakis is true.' "And why should I train you?"

The boy smiled slightly. "Why, Sasori-san, I was under some sort of impression that you wanted things from Konoha's jutsu library from the Hokage Tower, ne? I knew the Hokage personally, and he would let me stay in his office alone. You think I didn't memorize the scrolls there? Or make a copy of them?" Sasori smiled at the young boy and shook his head.

"So young, and so devious; reminds me of… a fox. Sure, I'll train you, Naruto. Those jutsus and your assistance on my personal missions will be payment for your apprenticeship." The boy grinned at his new sensei. "Come on, we have places to be, totei (apprentice)." Naruto nodded and followed Sasori, ready to begin his plan for revenge. "Konoha will pay, kit. We will have our revenge… Dattebayo." The Fox said, teasing Naruto with the last word. 'Oh, yes they will.'

Two months passed under Sasori's teachings and Naruto was ecstatic. The first week consisted of Naruto refining his chakra control to an acceptable level to create chakra stings. The second was spent learning how to make a chakra string from each finger, but that took until the end of the first month to do, because he would always make them either too thick or too thin.

Once he perfected his slightly purple chakra strings, Sasori, as a reward, gifted him with his first puppet. It wasn't an organic one, much to the Uzumaki's dismay, but a wooden one of his master's own creation. He called it Karasu, Crow, and it was, plain and simple, a tool of assassination. Almost five feet tall of oak in humanoid form with brown hair and three eyes in a triangle formation on its head, four arms on the torso and dressed in a brown cloak that was in tatters on the sides, it was very creepy. But every single inch of the thing was a weapon, and every weapon was poisoned in Sasori's own personal brand of nerve poison and nerve gas that would kill anyone slowly and painfully without the antidote carried by only two people, Sasori and Naruto.

It took all of three days for Naruto to master the movements of Karasu through chakra strings and he eventually got down to being able to use crow with only three fingers to the mastery of a normal puppet master would need ten to do. He was readying himself for his next puppet, which his sensei promised would be his today.

All he had to do was make his first kill of a ninja. So they were right outside of Kiri. Surely he could find at least one ninja to be a useful puppet? The blonde jinchuriki surely hoped so.

"Are you ready, Naruto?" He heard Sasori ask him as they sat in a tree right outside the Mist Village. Naruto nodded calmly as he idly stroked the scroll held in his trench coat. In two months, his attire had changed little, he still wore all black, the only difference was he had taken to wearing a dull black trench coat that had plenty of pockets for scrolls and other things.

Other things had changed drastically though. Sasori had figured out Naruto's jinchuriki status and created a steel tail for him that matched his scorpion one, Naruto's, however, was reminiscent of a fox's tail, and could split into nine parts, much to Hitomi's amusement. The tail itself had a hidden dagger in the tip and was segmented, each segment could split a little, letting chakra-powered circular saws out. He loved his deadly present.

On top of that, his teacher had given him two black bracers with hidden blades and two wrist-mounted senbon launchers. Sasori's personal taijutsu style that Naruto was learning heavily relied on machinery, a mechanized chakra-powered tail, hidden blades, and poisons. He called it the mekasasori style (mechanical scorpion), and remarked that Naruto had all but mastered the basics.

"Let's go then, totei." Naruto nodded and as one they leapt over the Kiri wall at a point without guards. The two stood on a roof and scanned the village. "Naruto, I heard rumors of a civil war within Kiri due to the Yondaime Mizukage decreeing bloodlines punishable by death. It should be no problem finding an injured jonin with a bloodline to finish off. Do not pick a fight that you fear you may lose. Understand?" The blonde nodded. "Good, I'm off to the Mizukage Tower for a few water scrolls. Flare your chakra if you have any trouble."

"Hai, sensei. I will." With that the redhead left in a sand shunshin and Naruto smiled. 'Hitomi-chan? Where's the biggest amount of negative emotions?' Throughout his time with his vixen prisoner, he found that she could sense any negative emotion, the stronger, the better she could sense it. So, he regularly used it to locate bandit camps for his sensei. "Well, Naruto-kun, there's this mass of people off to the north… a mob. And I can feel a large amount of fear from a single source… sort of reminds me of Konoha's 'Fox Hunts.'"

Naruto had a serious look on his face and sped off in that direction, eventually seeing what he was hoping against. A group of twenty adults had cornered a girl his age with pale skin, long black hair, and wore an icy blue kimono. She looked absolutely terrified. Naruto was furious and unsealed Karasu from a scroll, controlling it with one hand while he jumped down in front of her. "What the hell is your problem, attacking a defenseless girl, you bastards?" One of them growled.

"That ain't no defenseless girl! It has the accursed Hyoton! And by Yagura-sama's degree, must die!" Naruto gaped at them, before growling. He talked to who he was protecting without taking his eyes from his opponents.

"Stay behind me. Got it?" He heard a mumbled and terrified "H-hai!" from behind him and focused. Twitching his fingers ever so slightly, Karasu opened its mouth and shot out a round of blades, impaling three through their heart, two in the neck, and another five took injuries to arms or legs, hissing in pain as the poison began to take effect.

Two he didn't hit made a dash for him, kitchen knives in hand. 'Civilians, seriously?' He started a series of one-handed seals to a wind jutsu Sasori had taught him after testing his affinity to find it as Wind and Fire, with a secondary affinity for Water. "Futon: Kaze no Yaiba!" (Wind Release: Blades of Wind) Several blades of wind materialized and shot forward, slicing up the two civilians and three other foolish people who hadn't backed away. 'Ten down, five more will die soon. Hitomi-chan, how many ninja?' "Luckily, only one. He's in the back, watching you." Naruto mentally nodded.

"Run!" One of the remaining four unharmed civilians shouted, and all but one left. The remaining one stepped forward, looking at Naruto in interest. He was about 4'10" with a ponytail of black hair, pupiless green eyes, dressed in a standard chunin uniform with his hitai-ite on his right arm and had a chainwhip curled at his waist.

"Why do you protect the Ice Demon?" He asked in a calm voice.

"Because I know what it is like to have to suffer through mobs and ignorant humans, people who would kill you for something out of your control. Who would brand you evil for something they don't understand. Those of my own village labeled me a demon as well. But I left, and no one should suffer my fate." The chunin looked wide-eyed at Naruto and was about to speak, except Kurasu shot out more poisoned blades from his mouth, so the Kirin in jumped.

He performed handsigns and announced "Suiton: Mizurappa!" (Water Release: Violent Water Wave) and a Jetstream of water left his mouth towards Naruto who had finished his own one-handed seals "Suiton: Suijinheki!" (Water Release: Water Encampment Wall) the ensuing water wall that formed from the stream of water from his mouth absorbed the water from the other's jutsu. Naruto used that to his advantage and performed more handsigns quickly "Suiton: Suiryudan!" (Water Release: Water Dragon Missile) A dragon of water formed out of the wall and shot towards the other man.

The chunin jumped over the water dragon only to find Karasu behind him, holding him tightly in its four wooden arms and then impaled by a poisoned blade that protruded from Karasu's chest and through his own.

The Kiri chunin spat out blood before going limp. With a single handsign he learned from Konoha's Forbidden Scroll, he summoned a Kage Bunshin to seal Karasu and his newly acquired puppet into scrolls while he turned to the girl.

"Are you alright?" she nodded and thanked him.

"I-I am, thank you. I am Haku… Yuki Haku."

"Haku? That's a weird name for a girl, anyways, I'm Uzumaki Naruto." The girl laughed.

"I'm a boy." This is where Naruto gaped at Haku before recovering.

"Wow. That's a surprise, Haku-san." He nodded and then looked a bit nervous.

"Naruto-sama… could you take me with you? If I stay here, I will surely die!" Naruto was taken aback by the –sama suffix, but shook it away. Should he take Haku? "Do it, kit! He's a Yuki! He has the Hyoton bloodline; that would be very useful against Konoha." Naruto smiled to Haku.

"Sure. I'll take you with me. Let's just find my sensei." The Hyoton user nodded and Naruto grabbed his shoulder, disappearing in a shunshin of fire.

It only was two minutes later that Sasori found Naruto and his new companion outside of Kiri's wall. "Naruto, who is this?" The redhead asked curiously.

"Sasori-sensei! This is Haku, could he accompany us? I saved him from a mob not unlike the Fox Hunts I told you about that happened in Konoha. I even got a new body to use for a puppet, but he's all alone." Sasori was about to protest when Naruto interrupted him. "He has the Hyoton!" At this point, the redheaded S-rank criminal was taken aback. 'That could be useful…'

"I won't teach him, you'll be the one to do that, understand? And you may not teach him the puppet arts, do I make myself clear?" Naruto nodded vigorously and grinned as Haku smiled.

"Good, then let us go forth. We have things to do."

"Hai sensei!" Naruto responded and they left, the group with an added member.

A/N: Okay, here's the first chapter of my second story, Naruto of the Red Sands. As you can see, it'll be a Dark Naruto story. Though, the storyline will obviously change slightly with no Haku to help Zabuza. As it stands, Team Naruto is Sasori, Naruto, Haku and someone unknown. Who should the last be? It won't change who I choose, but I'm curious.

And do not worry! I will not stop updating The Ice Duo, I just had this idea and wanted to start it. I'll switch off my updates between the two stories.

As always, review and tell me what you think! I appreciate your opinion.