Chapter 4: Invincible

-October 10, 23:45, Konoha West District-

Naruto felt another kunai plunge itself into his body. With a grunt a villager kicked him in the ribs. Naruto numbly noted a villager pulling out a katana. His blood arced into the air as he was cut by the new weapon. A man walked up to him rope in hand. Naruto pondered at the man's identity. 'Oh that's right, he's a fruit vendor.' Roughly the man tied him to a pole in the middle of the street. When he was done, a liquid was poured on his body. Naruto inhaled the scent of lighter fluid. He sighed at what would happen next. This wouldn't be pleasant.

In seconds his body was engulfed in flames. The burning pain was blinding. For a while, white engulfed his vision. He grit his teeth at the pain. But eventually this was futile. He couldn't hold back the coughs that raked his body. Violently his body screamed for air. But it was no use. Smoke was the only thing entering his body. And try as he might, he couldn't open up his lungs enough to breathe. He knew what was causing this. Circumferential burns to his torso had made his skin rigid. It wouldn't be possible to expand his chest past a few inches.

The fire singed all his hair, though it grew back just as fast as it burned. Already he could feel parts of his body go numb. Parts where third degree burns had destroyed the nerves. Still he felt some of his intact nerves sending the feeling of subcutaneous fat melting.

Meanwhile the villagers watched. Some had already gone home, the violence too much for them. Some looked away. Some watched a solemn look on their face. Others were much more gleeful about the whole thing. Smiling and laughing. The more demented ones even throwing projectiles at the boy's burning body. But even though the torture would continue for hours to come, no one was there to stop it. The boy always recovered in minutes anyway. So what was so wrong in letting them continue? The meaning of today was still fresh in many of their memories. Some had lost everything on this day. Because the memories still tore at them. They needed this to feel better.

Naruto wasn't aware of what happened on this day but he could see how it tore at them. The children would smile at the festivities, but the adults couldn't hide the sadness from sneaking into their eyes. And when the night came Naruto saw the pain in their eyes as they beat him. As they called him the monster, the demon, the destroyer. They would still be sad throughout the entire ordeal, even the ones trying to smile and laugh. Naruto could see it all, tears that ran down their happy faces. But it was all worth it to the blond. In the morning they would smile. They would move on with their lives, until the next year. Until they needed him once again, their favorite scapegoat. And he would endure it all for his village.

-Trade Road 48, October 17 13:42-

Team 7 walked down the road in a perpetual silence. Their charge looked at them with a questioning eyebrow. To Tazuna, who had just met the team, the silence was a bit perturbing. He watched with a small amount of worry at the tension between the three young gennin. The dark haired boy would occasionally send a glare at the blonde. The young girl in the team would alternate between looking at the blonde with a fearful glance, and staring at the dark haired boy with a faraway expression.

Meanwhile Naruto looked ahead, a look of absolute boredom and apathy on his face. Though Tazuna didn't expect too much out of the three gennin, considering who would be coming after him, it wasn't a reassuring sight to see even the jonnin walking with an orange book in hand and a perverse giggle escaping his lips every so often. Tazuna felt sweat begin to drop at the strange dynamics of the team. Deciding to break the silence, Tazuna cleared his throat. "Are you four usually this quiet?" Tazuna asked dubiously.

Everyone seemed unfazed by the question, except Sakura. She frowned as she considered the question. It was true that her teammates were quite reserved. Sasuke was a person who liked being alone to his own thoughts, and try as she might Sakura couldn't get him to open up. She usually stopped talking to him right after he rejected one of her advances. Naruto didn't really seem to have anything other than death on his mind. The only sign of life he would exhibit would be when he pulled out a red journal, and jot down a quick sentence before putting it away. Though even if he had something to talk about Sakura found herself to scared to speak to him.

It was apparent to even her though that Sasuke both disliked Naruto, and had a begrudging respect for him. Sasuke would occasionally ask the blonde questions during training; however these questions were usually met with short responses. All in all it left for long hours of awkward silences between the trio. As for her sensei… Well if the small nosebleed he was currently trying to wipe away was anything to go by she didn't really want to know what was on his mind. Before she could muse any farther she was interrupted by Tazuna once again clearing his throat, trying to get a response from somebody.

"Well we talk sometimes, but usually we are pretty quiet I guess." Sakura said nervously.

"Shouldn't brats your age be more talkative, I expected at least one of you to be jumping around and yelling?" Tazuna asked with a frown.

"As if we would embarrass ourselves with such childish antics." Naruto interjected.

"Besides ninja are meant to be silent, talking unnecessarily would only serve to give away our position." Sasuke added.

"You guys must be a blast at parties." Tazuna muttered under his breath. "And what do you mean by not embarrassing yourself doing childish antics? You're not even wearing shoes!" Tazuna argued loudly.

"Shoes are a crutch invented by the enemy." Naruto said dismissively. Tazuna sighed in response, it was apparent he wouldn't get a conversation out of the ninja. It was better that way though he told himself. He won't feel as guilty if one of them died on this mission.

-2 hours later-

Puddles weren't anything to be feared. Small deposits of water, staying for a few hours till the sun eventually dried them up. Not uncommon to find during and after rain. At most they were but a few inches deep. The greatest danger they could ever hope to serve would be wet sandals.

These were the thoughts that ran through Sakura's mind as a chain, emerging from a puddle, wrapped itself around her sensei. "That's one down!" She absently heard a gauntlet wielding rogue ninja say, as he and his apparent partner rose from the seemingly small pool of water. With a flick of their wrist the chain closed in, ripping and shredding, making short work of the silver haired teacher.

Not wasting any time the two enemy ninja hurled the chain at the three gennin. Sasuke immediately threw a shuriken and a kunai to the approaching chain, pinning it to a tree. Without any hesitation the two ninja detached the chain from their gauntlets and ran to the gennin. Naruto, seeing the enemy ninja approaching, walked in front of his teammates.

"Naruto!" Sasuke called out, getting the blondes attention as he ran towards Naruto. Seeing the angle Sasuke was coming at him Naruto knew what he wanted to do. Naruto opened his stance up so that he was lower to the ground. At that moment Sasuke jumped over Naruto as the Blonde reached his hands up above him. With impeccable timing Naruto gripped Sasuke's shirt and heaved the Uchiha towards one of the enemies.

The move seemed simple enough, but for the two antisocial boys the attack had taken them a long time to get right, their sensei's persistence was the only reason they even learned it. Sasuke couldn't help the smirk that came to his face as he flipped and kicked the mist ninja's face at an incredible speed. The other ninja, bewildered by the gennin's quick response, could only watch as Sasuke began to pummel his ally. Before he could get his bearings back a kick from behind him sent him to the ground. Picking himself up quickly the mist ninja faced his attacker. He was greeted with the sight of a very uninterested Naruto.

"Are you going to attack or just try to stare me to death?" Naruto said, tapping his foot impatiently.

Growling, the enemy ninja jumped at Naruto. "Careful what you wish for brat!" He said as he stabbed the blonde, with his iron claws, straight through the chest and exiting out his back. He smirked as he violently ripped the gauntlet from his chest, turning away from the scene he had just caused. "Not so tough now, weakli-." He stopped speaking as he felt blinding pain coming from his chest. He looked down to see a crimson cone like shape protruding from the center of his chest. With eyes open wide he slowly turned his head till he faced a now healed Naruto, wielding a red lance.

"How?" He weakly muttered, vision going dark.

Ignoring the question Naruto just gave the dying ninja a dissatisfied look. "It looks like you were just another disappointment." He said as horizontal lines appeared on the lance. Without warning they began to spin in opposite directions. Screams of anguish accompanied the horrifying sight of blood spouting from the enemy's chest, the skin twisting with the spinning lance.

All activity ceased as everyone watched Naruto hoist the enemy into the air, before throwing him off the weapon that he was impaled on. The now dead ninja was hurled into a tree, his limbs becoming tangled as he came to a vicious stop. Everyone on the road looked on. The brutality of the act was so traumatizing that not even the one remaining enemy ninja could find the strength to move.

Naruto turned his gaze to the enemy, the bored look on his, now bloodied, face remaining unfazed by what he had just committed. "I hope you have more to offer than him, because otherwise your next." Naruto said as he pointed his lance at the enemy.

The mist ninja took a step back, fear showing all over his face. Before Naruto could attack him, rustling in the trees alerted everyone to Kakashi coming out of hiding.

"K-Kakashi!" Sakura said, unable to hide her relief at seeing her sensei still alive.

"Stand down for now, Naruto." Kakashi said nonchalantly. Turning to the rogue ninja, Kakashi eye smiled. "How about you surrender… Unless, of course you want to want to take your chances with my student?"

Immediately the ninja fell to his knees. "Please, I'll do whatever you want me to do! Just keep that monster away from me." He screeched out.

-5 hours later, off the coast of the Land of Waves-

The truth had come out. Tazuna was trying to build a bridge that would strip the billionaire, Gatou, of his control of the land of waves. The project was ambitious and now that the bridge was nearing completion, Tazuna began to fear for his life, and with good reason. One does not simply usurp power from the richest man in the world and simply get off Scott free. And so Kakashi left the choice up to his gennin. Go back to the village and let some else handle it, or continue the mission despite the dangers. In the end team 7 agreed to go. Sasuke because of the chance for a challenge, Naruto because of the prospect of finding death, and Sakura because of her unwillingness to let her team down.

At the moment they were they were all sitting on a boat, waiting to reach the Land of Waves. If Tazuna thought the silence was uncomfortable before, then it was downright suffocating now. He looked over to Sakura, looking like she was ready to burst from a question she was too scared to ask. Before Sakura could gather the courage to ask though, Sasuke beat her to the punch. "Hey Naruto can I ask you a question?" Sasuke inquired his apathetic voice unable to disguise the curiosity that was brimming from him.

"What's up?" Naruto sighed in his usual flat tone.

"Have you ever killed anyone before?" Sasuke asked. The question was blunt, and for the most part very rude. It was common courtesy among ninja not to ask of one's experience with killing, unless it was for professional reasons.

For his part, Naruto did not as much as flinch at the question. "I have once before. Trust me when I say this one was much easier than that time." Naruto said, his voice betraying no emotions. It was the truth for the most part. Naruto's first kill was rather traumatic; killing an enemy ninja in comparison was no special feat. Though it also had to do with the large amount of gore he had been exposed to in the last few years, leaving him quite numb to the full impact of something like pain and death.

"So who was your first kill?" Sakura asked, her interest overpowering her fear of the blonde. For a few seconds Naruto remained silent. After a few seconds Kakashi considered cutting the conversation short, but Naruto finally spoke.

"An old friend." He sighed. Nobody on the boat could hide their surprise at the answer. Tazuna could not help but wonder if all ninja were so twisted. Sasuke and Sakura weren't sure but they thought they heard a tinged of sadness in his voice. They wanted to question further, but figured by the finality of the blonde's last answer that they were pushing their luck with the boy. Besides that, if what the blonde said was true, did they really want to know the answer? With that team 7 finally settled into a strange and awkward silence.

-2 hours later, undisclosed location-

Kakashi was stuck in an orb of water. The man at fault was none other than Zabuza, rogue ninja of the Hidden Mist Village. Team 7 had been walking along until a flying zanbato came flying by, nearly decapitating the entire team. The battle that had followed between Zabuza and Kakashi was short but more intense than any fight that the three gennin had ever seen. With speed, strength and finesse, they fought to a standstill, until finally Zabuza had managed to trick Kakashi.

Team 7 watched as Zabuza trapped Kakashi into a water prison jutsu. At their sensei's sudden helplessness, team 7 was at a loss as to what to do. Even Naruto couldn't stop the frown from coming on his face. Without waiting for their response Zabuza made a water clone to finish the gennin off.

"Get out of here!" Kakashi yelled. "You don't stand a chance; if you run you'll be able to get away from the water clone's range!" But it seemed his plea landed on deaf ears, as Naruto walked up to the advancing clone, his teammates yelling after him.

"Are you strong enough to kill me?" Naruto asked genuine excitement and curiosity in his voice.

The water clone laughed at, what has to him, a stupid question. "Stupid brat! I could kill you a thousand times over!" Drawing his monstrous weapon Zabuza slashed Naruto from shoulder to hip, followed by a bone crushing kick to the face. Naruto was sent flying into a tree, Zabuza cackling at the ease of the kill, and the rest of team 7 crying out for Naruto in worry.

Zabuza didn't get to laugh for long however as a voice cut him off. "Is that all you have?" Naruto asked looking very agitated. "I'll just have to make you take me seriously!" Naruto said as he flashed though hand seals. "Vacuum Claw Jutsu!" He harshly whispered as a strange wind circled around each of Naruto's fingers.

Quickly Naruto attacked the water clone. In an attempt to make him back off Zabuza's clone swung his head cleaver at Naruto's shoulder. Instead of dodging Naruto completely took the brunt of the attack, using his own hand to allow the blade to sink deeper into his shoulder, temporarily immobilizing the water clone. With his free hand he clawed at the clone's chest. The clone leaned back to avoid the attack, but everyone was shocked as large claw marks appeared on the clones chest, killing it instantly, no contact seeming to take place.

Slowly Naruto walked onto the water's surface, his head low and hair covering his eyes. His wound became covered in smoke, and as the smoldering began to wane, a perfectly healed body remained. With a predatory gait he advanced on Zabuza.

"I don't know what you've taught this brat, Kakashi, but I'm not going to be intimidated!" Zabuza roared, going through one handed seals at a rapid pace. "Water clone jutsu!" 10 Water pillars, around Naruto, rose from the small lake before solidifying and taking the form of the demon of the mist.

Naruto calmly stopped walking. With deadly precision the water clones closed in on Naruto, their swords cutting deeply into the boy at all angles. The clones smirked at their vicious kill. Their excitement was short lived however. "Quit wasting my time, and take me seriously." The still alive gennin growled. In a violent fury Naruto ripped through the clones, with slashes from his hands.

With a yell Naruto ran at Zabuza. As the blonde got closer Zabuza noticed three things. The first was the boy's injuries healing at a rapid speed. The second was each of the blonde's fingers being cut up over and over again by an invisible force. The third however was the most haunting, as he stared at his advancing opponent, the blood red eyes of a demon stared back.

Breaking out of his musings almost too late Zabuza could only lean back as Naruto swiped at his chest. Again, long claw marks cut into his skin. But this time Zabuza felt it. It was unlike any injury he had ever felt before. As if his skin was being sucked in so ferociously that it was torn from his body. As Naruto went in for another strike Zabuza had no choice but to jump back, releasing the water prison jutsu.

Without paying head to the blood seeping from his chest wound Zabuza flashed through sand seals. "Water dragon jutsu!" Zabuza said as water rose in a giant pillar and taking the form of a dragon, eyes blazing yellow. It was upon Naruto, biting at his midsection and taking him through the air. As Naruto began to approach his team, he sunk his fingers into the dragon's neck. In a twisting motion he tugged, an invisible force digging deep into the jutsu. The dragon's head separated from the neck, decapitating and dispelling the jutsu.

Falling to the ground with a grunt, Naruto carelessly landed on his feet. His stomach sported a giant, painful looking, bite mark. But in a swallowing display of steam the bite mark disappeared, blood the only indication he ever had a wound. As the steam cleared he saw Zabuza suddenly in front of him, weapon drawn and poised to cut Naruto through. Naruto inwardly cringed as the blade came down, it wouldn't kill him he knew that now but it would still hurt. Despite Naruto's suicidal tendencies he wasn't a masochist. He had already been cut a few times by the blade, even if it was a clone, and he knew it wasn't a very pleasant weapon to get cut by. Something about it seemed to draw his very blood in and in a painful way, unlike his blood weapon jutsu.

Just as the Zanbato was about to rake itself against Naruto's body a wolf composed entirely of lightning assaulted Zabuza. Only from years of training was Zabuza able to change the course of his sword to block the incoming jutsu. Despite this Zabuza still found himself being pushed back before coming to a stop.

In a steady walk Kakashi's form came into sight from the mist. His sharingan blazing and small traces of lightning arcing around his body, excess element charged chakra still hanging over him. "That's enough Naruto. I got it from here."

Naruto frowned. "… Tch fine," he turned around and walked back to his teammates, "He's not strong enough to kill me, and I'm not strong enough to defeat him." He sighed. He got back into formation, his teammates strangely relieved to have him there.

Getting back up from Kakashi's attack, Zabuza glared at the sharingan user. "It's not over yet!" He roared. With that the two ninja resumed their fight.

-Outside Tazuna's house, 22:39-

The fight between Kakashi and Zabuza had lasted for but a few more minutes till Kakashi gained the upper hand. Before he could give the final blow however two senbon needles embedded themselves into the mist user's neck. A hunter ninja appeared shortly thereafter. He immediately explained that he would be disposing of the ninja's body and then ran off. Kakashi lost consciousness once the danger was cleared. Dragging their sensei to Tazuna's house team 7 had decided to rest for the night. Except for Naruto that is, once his teammates had fallen asleep he had snuck out the house.

Currently he had a shadow clone marking his body with a pen. What he was marking was Naruto's tenketsu points, using the aide of an anatomy scroll. Deliberately the clone made one last mark, and then dispelled himself. Naruto wouldn't be able to use the clones for his next move. Building up chakra he made some hand seals. "Vacuum claw jutsu." He whispered.

Immediately he felt the intense tugging of the jutsu take effect. The jutsu was very simple in practice. It displaced the air around his fingers. As a result everything within range would be sucked in, the empty space trying to fill the void of nothingness. The power was enough to pull metal into it, and even disrupt jutsu. It was quite effective, but with several weaknesses. The most obvious was that even the user's fingers were not left intact from the jutsu's range. As a result most people could only keep it up for a few seconds before they risked losing a finger. Naruto didn't have to worry about this however; his fingers grew back fairly quickly.

Naruto had read the story of a Hyuuga in the scroll. During the warring clan era he would use a combination of the vacuum claw jutsu and his family taijutsu to rip the very chakra points from his opponents. However the special gauntlets the Hyuuga had used to stop his fingers from being ripped apart from the jutsu had become lost with time. But Naruto wouldn't need any special gauntlets. With a deep breath he got ready to rip his chakra points out of his body. It would most likely end in disappointment, but it was worth a try. Steeling his resolve, Naruto plunged the fingers of his right hand into his distal left hand.

-Author's Note-

Sorry for not updating sooner! I really tried to, but I've been extremely busy this past week. I'm an army medic and usually I write when I'm covering ranges. Unfortunately that was a no-go this week, because I had to participate a bit. I'm talking things from 50 cal. ranges to vehicle extraction from 3 feet of mud and water. I was planning to catch up on the Veterans Day weekend, but truth be told I've been drinking myself into oblivion for the last four days. So today I managed to get a day off, and since I'm all out of booze, I'm settling with writing. I hope you like this chapter. Also thanks to all of you for the overwhelming reception this story has gotten. Seriously it has left me surprised. So trust me when I say I am very motivated to finish the story. If any of you are interested in reading a similar story, then like I said in chapter 1, go read 'Melancholy's smile' by tokehgeko. It's a very good read. Anyway to address some reviewers. Naruto is supposed to be apathetic. He will have moments of weaknesses, though for now it won't show till he does something like inject acid into his veins, like last chapter. Honestly I wasn't looking to make this story to dark, but it's certainly heading that way. Regardless, my sense of humor has a tendency to want to escape me, so expect some more funny scenes, though it'll be more subtle. And yes, this story is pretty morbid, haha. It will get more morbid, so get ready. This chapter is a little short, but expect them to keep increasing in length. I'll reveal the results of the last attempt whenever Naruto fight's Neji, if he does fight Neji. By the way, most of the jutsu Naruto learned in the forbidden scroll will be give and takes. None of his clones will be able to use them because they would dispel if they even tried it.

Reviews are appreciated