A/N: Hey there peeps. Having a good day? Well...I'm here with a new One-shot to contribute to that hopefully wonderful day. This is a darker One-shot, unlike those I ever wrote. This story is a part of a Halloween 2020 challenge event that I, along with many other wonderful authors are part of. If you like this story and crave more spooky, gritty and eerie stuff, I will leave a list of all the authors of this event down in the endnote. Make sure you check them out as well. There are some wonderful and talented writers who are just bustling with anticipation and excitement to satisfy your pumpkin spice craving, horror seeking appetite.

As many of those who follow me are aware of, I'm more of an action/adventure portraying kind of writer with a dash of humour for garnish. But this time, I entered a completely different domain. Change is necessary for evolution. I hope you guys enjoy some psychological horror because that's exactly what this is. Set in a universe where the concept of virtue is subjective and karma is defunct.


The usually bustling streets were beginning to dwindle down as he walked down the market area of Konohagakure no sato. The storekeepers and owners were cleaning up their businesses and making preparations for another busy and profitable day ahead. The road was almost deserted save for the chunin guards who were going to or returning from their duty. Civilian presence at this hour was a rarity, especially on the weekdays. He noticed the respectable bows from those around him who noticed his presence, looking a little surprised while doing so. He couldn't blame them though. Nobody expects him to hang around the office and return home after half the village was already asleep. But he does that anyway. He was the Hokage after all and as the leader of his village, he had a duty to serve his people to the utmost of his abilities.

Granted that his work was taxing and kind of boring, which was unexpected considering it was his dream to become the Hokage as far as he could remember, he still made every effort to uphold the duties of the office he held, not compromising or backing down ever. He could say that it was his new nindo, which he created by tweaking his old one to better suit the kind of work he does now.

He smiled at them and nod his head in response to their bowing as he passed through the area. Just as he was about to turn the corner which led straight to his home, he heard a very familiar voice call him.

"Hokage-sama! Fancy a bowl of ramen? We have 1 serving left. It's your favourite, Miso ramen with extra Chashu." Yelled a slender figured woman in apron with dark brown hair framing her mature yet radiant face.

He turned to face the ramen shop which he frequents to this day with a smile that grew out of nowhere. Any signs of exhaustion he displayed vanished at the sight of the apron-clad woman who called out to him with an irresistible offer. "Ayame nee-chan. You seem quite energetic for someone who runs a busy ramen store throughout the day." He said as he made his way to greet her.

"Well...technically, tou-san worked here today all by himself. I just returned from our new restaurant's worksite and offered to clean up and sent him home." She replied as she continued to set the cleaned up bowls in the side shelves, giving them one last swipe with a dry cloth.

"Working hard as ever I see," Naruto said with a bright smile. It was really heartwarming for him to see people close to him happy and content. His family, friends, co-workers, subordinates or even a random stranger laughing with his family sent a wave of assurance towards him, letting him know that everything was alright and his job as their leader was going smoothly.

"Not like you do Hokage-sama! Your visits have reduced considerably after you succeeded Rokudaime-sama. Even he visited more often than you are doing now." Ayame replied pouting like a little girl. People would think that it's unbecoming for a 38-year-old woman to pout as such but Ayame's vivacious spirit actually managed to pull it off quite well.

"Sorry about that. I'll try to make a better effort in dropping by for a bowl from now on." Naruto said sheepily while rubbing the back of his head. "Also, stop calling me that nee-chan. It's kinda embarrassing ya'know." He added, noticing how Ayame stressed while addressing him with the proper honorifics.

She just giggled in response. 'He's still the same old Naru-chan I saw growing up before my eyes.' She mused. "Anyway, want me to set you up a steaming bowl of your favourite? It'll be on the house for all your hard work."

"Sorry, nee-chan. Will have to pass up on the offer. Got a possibly angry wife at home waiting for me so she can give me an earful for letting her dinner go cold. See you around." He said as he prepared himself to leave and continue back to his home.

"Understood. Well, drop by for the opening of our new restaurant with your family. Will make sure to keep a nice table ready for our top customer." Ayame said as her parting words.

Naruto smiled brightly and gave her a thumbs-up while promising her, a habit which he carried on from his childhood. All and any source of noise and lights ended as he turned his street corner, save for the street lamps. The tranquilly quit street seemed like a calm before the storm as the gate to his house came into his view. The lights in the hall and kitchen were on which only consolidated his jitters.

His wife is usually a calm and loving woman. She goes on about her job while making his life easier in the process. She wakes up before he does and makes sure to wake him up just at the right time so that he won't be late to work while also keeping in mind to give him enough time to sleep. She cooks breakfast and packs lunch for both and him and their daughter before heading to work. She understands when he calls her late in the evening to tell her he was going to be late. This side of her is what he loves the most. She understands him and never complains about him prioritizing work at times. She never makes a fuss over his late returns or working over the weekends. She realizes his love for his work, his dream just like she realized his love for her without needing to tell her.

He still remembers how she walked up to him and kissed him without a word in front of the then Hokage, Senju Tsunade, in the hospital room right before his discharge after the 4rth great ninja war. He remembers Shizune nee-chan's gasping, Tsunade baa-chan's wolf-whistling, Kakashi sensei's fake lecture about etiquette in front of adults and Ino's snickering. He remembers the feeling of her left palm on the back of his neck and her right palm on his chest while kissing. He remembers the feeling of her soft lips trying to express her feelings for him. He remembers the feeling of her narrow waist in his only arm. He remembers the feeling of her petite frame against his body while he claimed her lips after the initial shock. He remembers the affection pooling in her emerald orbs while they pulled away from each other, gasping for air. He remembers her heartfelt confession to him about how dense she was to take so long to realize his love for her, how stupid she was to ignore him and how lucky she was to have him in her life. He remembers that day. The day his life started turning brighter and brighter with every passing minute.

He couldn't love her any more than that. At least that's what he thought until he held their daughter in arms for the first time in the hospital. That day, he started seeing his wife in a new light. Up until that day, Sakura was someone whom he shared his life with. From that day onwards, Sakura was someone who completed his life. He realized that there was no limit to how much he could love her. His love for her grew every day. Every bright smile and laugh their daughter let out would only increase that further and he knew the feelings were mutual. Sakura treasured him like no other. Though at times, he would have trouble expressing his feelings to her, something which he picked up after they started dating, but she never did. She would constantly make an effort to let him know how much she loved him. Through words or acts. He prefered the acts to words though.

One time, she laid out a spread for their anniversary that put 5-star hotels to shame. The food she prepared that day was so delicious that for the first time ever, he put something over the Ichiraku's ramen in his favourites list. She once planned and arranged for a surprise vacation for the 3 of them in snow country while convincing Shikamaru to take care of the duties in his absence. It's still a mystery as to how she did that. And boy was she a minx in the bed. The things she did to him and the ways she made him feel, he lost count of how many times he feared going blind due to the pure bliss that washed over him.

She was all of that and more as long as Naruto behaves. She won't hold anything against him if he slips up because of some unexpected extra work. She did her apprenticeship under a former Hokage and knew how strenuous it can be, albeit the said former Hokage never did all of those. But she expects him to live up to his word. If he said he'd be home by 8:00 PM, he better be. When she explicitly states he shouldn't be late, he better not. Otherwise...he shuddered at the very thought. As luck would have it, today was one of those days. He carefully opened door to the house and peeked inside to find the hallway empty.

'That's a relief. She's not waiting at the door so I guess it won't be too bad.' he thought as he removed his shoes. He noticed another set of shoes while placing his own in the rack, ones he didn't recognize. They were clearly male and not his. 'Someone's here?' he mused while making his way into the dining area. He was surprised to find him of all people at his dining table.

"Sasuke?" Naruto called out in surprise. The said man turned his head towards the host and smiled in response. Not the smile you usually expect from a person whom you're meeting after a couple months. This is Uchiha Sasuke we are talking about. His lips just thinned and one of the corners slightly turned up. For anyone else, this would be a very forced smile but it was perfectly normal if you're dealing with the only surviving Uchiha in the elemental nations.

"Hello, Naruto. Hope you don't mind me dropping by your house at this hour." Sasuke said with the smile lasting only for a moment before he began to speak, his usual demure demeanour returned to grace his face.

"Not at all. You're always welcome here. Just surprised to find you here, that's all. We rarely ever see you around the village anymore." Naruto said as he walked up to the raven-haired man and slopped down onto the chair beside him.

"Yeah, my bad. The last expedition took longer than I expected." Sasuke replied with a hint of embarrassment in his voice. His face remained stoic so it was hard to sense the dormant bashfulness. Naruto chuckled seeing his old friend like that. Who would've guessed the once pompous Uchiha would be reduced to this? Not him.

"No worries. Did you have dinner yet? Where's Sakura-chan by the way? I'm sure she prepared enough for at least 2 more." The blonde said and started looking for his wife from his seated position.

"Oh, she went upstairs to put your daughter to sleep just a few minutes ago. I tried to excuse myself out of here then but she insisted I stay for dinner tonight." Sasuke said as a matter of factly.

"Awesome!" Naruto exclaimed in joy. "I see you've met Ume-chan as well."

"Yeah. She's quite lively and yet possesses a composed disposition." Sasuke said as he looked at the stairs leading to the upper floor, remembering the little girl wave him a cheery good night.

Naruto smiled fondly at his friend's words. True to what Sasuke said, Ume was an untainted spirit to the core. She had this aura that brightened her surroundings with her personality. It was almost as if the sun and stars followed her wherever she went. She tends to have a sharp tongue at times, putting out the uncomfortable truth bare into the open but her cute character ensures nobody takes offence to that. People just started to laugh off such comments from her, assuming her innocence stemmed out of her pure soul.

"She took more after her mother," he said, the smile never faltering.

"Good thing she did." Sasuke shot back with a smirk etched on his face now.

"Oi, what's that supposed to mean teme?"

"Exactly what you thought, dobe."

Both the men stared at each other for a few moments before breaking into a fit of laughs. Sasuke was more composed while Naruto displayed no restraint. He bellowed in laughter while banging the dinner table a couple of times.

"Gosh, how long has it been since we shared a laugh huh?" Naruto spoke again as he wiped the tears from the edge of his eyes.

"Too long I guess."

Comfortable silence reigned in the dining room for a few moments before Sasuke's face darkened a little. Naruto who sense the change in his friend's demeanour furrowed his brows a little. He felt like a rather difficult conversation was overdue looking at Sasuke.

"Listen Naruto, I didn't drop by your house at this hour to reminisce our past or anything. There's actually a purpose behind this. I needed to discuss something with you. Something of grave importance. That's why I returned to Konoha in fact. Otherwise, I still had a couple of things to take care of on the road but this simply couldn't wait."

"What is it Sasuke?"

Naruto was waiting for his friend to respond. He wanted to know what was so important that made Uchiha Sasuke return to the village almost after a year and a half later in the middle of his journey of repentance. He wanted to know what was gnawing at the shadow Hokage's mind. He was paying rapt attention towards Sasuke's pursed lips while contemplating what it might be in his mind.

"Remember the students from other ninja villages who visited Konoha for that joint training programme you created?" Sasuke asked looking blankly at Naruto. "Those students were found dead."

The last statement had shaken Naruto's core. His eyes widened in bewilderment, his mouth hanging open, all his struggling to free himself ceasing. "Wh-what? What did you say?"

"You heard right. Those students are dead. Found buried in various locations throughout the forests of Hi no kuni. Spies from their respective villages found the bodies and took them back to their homes a week ago. The spies also found some incriminating evidence that Konoha was behind the brutal murder of 212 academy students of the 14 hidden ninja villages from all over the elemental nations. All the leaders of those hidden villages met 4 days ago to discuss this issue. They've apparently reached a conclusion which blames Konoha as the sole conspirator behind this massacre."

With every word that left Sasuke's mouth, Naruto was sent reeling into a bottomless pit of darkness. His breath hitched, heartbeat quickened and his thoughts spiralled out of controlled. His brain was assessing and thinking about each and every sentence that said and before he could process one bad news, another one hit him. The overwhelming amount of travesty he heard weighed over his head. He subconsciously held his breath for a good 2 minutes while lost in thoughts. His body finally gave in and he gasped for breath which reeled him back into the real world. He noticed Sasuke looking back at him with a mixed look of concern and contemplation.

"No... This...This can't be happening! This is all wrong!"

He was a little lost in thoughts and his awareness of surroundings was reduced to Sasuke's troubled face which led him to not notice the sudden movements caused around him. Before he knew what happened, he was pinned to the wall, spread eagle, with black receivers pierced all over his body. It wasn't until the pain coursed through his body and his chakra being suppressed to almost nothing, did he realise what happened.

All his limbs were throbbing in agony, his whole body writhing and convulsing in suffering, the excruciating pain almost blinding him. It was through the sheer will that Uzumaki Naruto could finally open his eyes and look ahead to see a blurry image of a composed Sasuke sitting on the chair like he was before, smiling at him like everything was fine. He still didn't understand what exactly happened but 2 things were perfectly clear to him. One, he was immobilised, in pain and his access to his chakra cut off for good. Two, Sasuke was behind this. What he didn't understand was the 'why' aspect of this situation. Why was Sasuke doing this? But before he can get to the bottom of that question, he needed to free himself of the black receivers which crucified him to the wall.

'Kurama? We need to get rid of those black-' his subconscious conversation was interrupted when Sasuke spoke.

"Don't even try dobe. It's useless. The black receivers pierced in your body not only suppressed your own chakra, they cut you off with that filthy beast as well. His chakra is off-limits to you now. The Kyuubi is still in your body but it won't respond to you. I've separated you from your partner. It's like I've placed a seal on it. You can't sense him, talk to him or access his powers. You're powerless Naruto." Sasuke said as he rose up from his chair and walked towards Naruto.

True to Sasuke's claims, Naruto couldn't sense Kurama's presence within him. There wasn't even the emptiness as proof of Kurama's missing presence. It was as if Kurama never even existed within him, to begin with. 'Fuck. So his black receivers can do this now?' Naruto thought while his own chakra reserves which were suppressed are now being siphoned out of his body at a rapid rate. He could feel his body become weaker physically, the fatigue affecting his already blurry eyesight and mind. The existing pain started to die down a little, not because it was losing its effect on him but rather his body going numb.

"Why you...what's the meaning of this Sasuke? Why are you doing this?" Naruto wanted to shout at the top of his lungs but barely managed to whisper. But he hissed his words out to convey the contempt he was feeling right now.

Sasuke stared into Naruto's venomous glare for a while before dragging a chair from the dining table to sit in front of the struggling blonde. "We will get to that in a short while. But first, I have a few things to I'd like to tell you Naruto."

"Stop fucking around teme...Why?! Answer me!" Naruto yelled this time, feeling his depleting chakra levels restore a little. They were barely there but it was enough for his body to reach a considerable level of functioning. With the renewed energy came back the pain which was accompanied by the black receivers.

Sasuke looked amused as he sensed Naruto forcing some of his chakra back into his body through will power alone. He smiled at the fact that the nanadaime Hokage was struggling to stay conscious in his own home.

"You're as annoying as ever Naruto. You know what, I'll let you have a bit of chakra in your body after all. I want to see you continue your pointless struggle in hopes of coming free out of these shackles. It's also better this way. You'll have enough energy to shout and scream to your heart's content at what I'm about to tell you."

Naruto felt a little more chakra enter back into his body. He felt re-energised, all the fatigue present a while ago was fading away. But it was barely enough to support his system at 100%. He felt like a genin. Hell, his chakra levels even a genin were 100 times more than what he had in his body right now. The blurriness was gone and his throat felt like he could talk at a normal level now.

"Sasukeee!" Naruto growled in anger. "This is not the time to be doing this. Stop fucking around! I don't have time for whatever got into your head again. I need to meet the other Kage and contain this situation before-"

"I did it."

Silence. There were no chirping cicadas, howling winds or hooting owls. Stillness. There were no movements he could see. Not the fluttering curtains, rattling windows or television static.

His throat dried up and it felt sore to speak for a second. Did he hear him right? He must've misheard Sasuke. He must've. That's the only possibility. There's no way Uchiha Sasuke, the man who's hailed as the shadow Hokage, his go-to man, his best friend whom he fought for and fought with, the man whom he considered as a brother to him would kill 212 innocent kids. He wouldn't. He needed to believe in his friend. He shouldn't doubt Sasuke. Sasuke is a good man. He turned his life around, realized his mistakes, even sought redemption and atonement for the things he did in his past. He shouldn't even ask him why or what. No. That would be insulting his character.

But Naruto couldn't stop himself from doing that. It hurt, it physically hurt this throat while he asked the question. Maybe it was because of his sand dry throat or something else, the hitch didn't leave. His voice was shaky and raspy. He stammered against all his will not to. He failed in displaying the confidence he believed he had in his friend. The single word he spoke, the question he posed despite his own prejudice was one of the most difficult things Naruto had ever experienced.

"What?"

"I did it. I killed those children who were part of the joint exercise programme."

Naruto couldn't believe what he heard. His face looked like it was completely drained of blood, deathly pale. His shoulders slumped. The strength in legs left and his knees gave in. He would've dropped to the floor if not for the black receivers holding him in place.

"Your reaction is understandable Naruto. But I don't have all night. I can't wait for you to process everything at your own pace. So I'm gonna continue talking but I want you to pay attention to what I've got to say to you. You must be wondering why I did it, right? Here's why. I wanted to severe your relationship with all the ninja villages and turn them against you. I wanted to destroy your political agendas, motives and career. I wanted to shatter your fragile dream of being the greatest Hokage."

"This must be a joke. It must be." Naruto muttered to himself in an attempt to convince himself against what he knows is the reality. He can hear, see and even feel Sasuke owning up to what he did, seemingly remorse free.

Sasuke scoffed. "If that's what you're gonna believe, then you're weaker than I thought. Accept it Naruto. I know you don't want to but I also know that somewhere deep inside your heart, you know what I'm saying is true. I know you can feel the truth inside me, just like I know I felt the truth inside you when we fought at the valley of the end."

It was true. Naruto could sense the truth in his words. He didn't need Kurama's power to feel the ugly truth dripping in Sasuke's words or the dark veracity burning in his eyes. He knew what Sasuke was claiming was the truth despite the absurdity of it. But he didn't want to believe it. He wished Sasuke would suddenly laugh and call it a prank. He'd have to punch the twisted sense of humour that his friend developed but it would be better than accepting it as the truth.

"How?" Naruto sounded defeated.

"Well...I had to put some Konoha shinobi in genjutsu to make them bury the bodies. I made sure that the aforementioned spies were present to see that scene and promptly kill those shinobi before retrieving the bodies. The rest you can piece together."

"That's not what I meant! How could you? You bastard!" Naruto lashed out, screaming in rage that was boiling inside of it. They were children. A couple of years shy of even entering the teenage. Innocent and pure souls full of unbridled dreams and aspirations. All 212 of them.

"I didn't hate them or anything Naruto. I won't say I feel awful about what I did either. I did what I thought was needed to be done. They were just a means to an end. That's all. They were just unfortunate." Sasuke spoke with a straight face. There was no guilt or regret in his words. There was no malevolence either. It was too mechanical. That's when something struck Naruto. Something that simmered his hopes up a little.

"Sasuke. If you're being forced to do this, then you don't have to. We can find a way to stop this. Together. Whatever it is. I know if we fight together, we can come on top of this." There was a sense of urgency in the Hokage's voice, hoping his words would reach his strayed friend before it's too late. A part of him was yearning for even a tiny bit of hope, something he could hold onto. Something that could put an end to this madness.

But any inkling towards such hopes washed away when Sasuke chuckled darkly. It was a vile and nefarious smile, something that spelt ominous very clearly. He just shook his head, the smile refusing to vanish despite his efforts to repress it. "You really are a hopeless idiot, aren't you?" He stood and walked towards the pinned down blonde.

"There's nobody in this world that can make me do things that I don't want to. I am standing at the pinnacle of this shinobi world. I can fight an entire country if I want to and win. You of all people know this better than anybody Naruto." He barely said above a whisper, any hints of smugness and wickedness gone but it sent tremors all over Naruto's body. The cold chill that freezes one's spine rigid. The kind that shatters all your preconceived notions about something and leaves you clueless. It injects a fear that can only arise from one thing. Ignorance. Naruto doesn't have a clue. He doesn't have a clue about what's going on, why is it happening, what is Sasuke trying to achieve by doing this or who even Sasuke is anymore.

"What's going on here?" A feminine voice broke the silence which loomed over the dining area. Both the males immediately turned their attention towards the source of the voice. Uzumaki Sakura stood still, exchanging puzzled glances between Sasuke and Naruto, looking rather unperturbed by the image of a crucified Naruto. She had a dazed look on her face like she was trying to process the scene in front of her. Naruto, bleeding through several places all over his body, immobilised while Sasuke stood in front of him with an indifferent look on his face.

"Sakura-chan?" Naruto drawled. He completely forgot her presence with the staggering amount of grief he was experiencing. Her presence suddenly sent alarms ringing through his mind. His wife and his daughter were still in the house. They were in danger. "Sakura-chan! Get away from here. Take Ume-chan and get out of here." He wailed while trying to find strength in case Sasuke attempted to block their escape.

Sakura, still looking dazed, made her way to Sasuke's side. She intertwined her fingers with his, gripping them as if seeking comfort and looked at his face. "Anata, what's going on here? Who's he?" She asked, pointing her finger towards Naruto.

Sasuke smiled fondly at her, caressed her cheek lovingly and kissed her forehead. "Don't worry Sakura. He just lost his path, strayed away from the man he was. I'm just trying to beat some sense into him." He said while running his fingers through her smooth pink tresses.

"Is he gonna be okay? He's bleeding a lot. Should I maybe treat his wounds?" She asked, clueless to the unsettling reality which Naruto was starting to understand but refusing to believe.

"SAKURAAA!" Naruto bawled, tears streaming down his cheeks, but his eyes storming with fury as he laid his on Sasuke. "You fucking bastard! What have you done to Sakura-chan? I'll rip you to shreds you fucking asshole!" roared in ire.

Sakura coiled into Sasuke's torso, wrapping her dainty arms around him in panic and fear. She gripped his overcoat tightly with her fingers, wrinkling it and shut her eyes with all her might. Sasuke pulled her into his embrace and comforted her by rubbing his hand over the head in a protective way. "Anata, I'm scared. Who is he? Why is he saying he'll kill you when you're helping him?" She asked, her eyes still shut but finding some confidence to voice her thoughts.

Naruto paled at hearing those words. His heart clenched at hearing his beloved wife speak like he was a stranger. He knows something was wrong with her, with the whole situation surrounding him. He knew Sasuke did something to her that made her like this. The way she got scared by his screams, the way she cowered into his embrace, she wasn't the Sakura he knew and married. She was different. The Sakura he knew was a strong woman who destroyed landscapes with her bare hands. The Sakura he loved was a caring and considerate person who would've rushed to heal random strangers in need of medical help. The Sakura he married loved him and would never ever forget him. He was left speechless just looking as the events unfolded in front of him, praying internally for all of this to be a nightmare.

Sasuke shushed her and pulled her out of his embrace, held her by her arms and looked into her emerald eyes. "Don't worry Sakura. I'm here for you. I will protect you no matter what. Go upstairs and check on Ume-chan, to make sure she hasn't woken up again. Be by her side so that she doesn't get scared. No matter what happens, stay by her side. Don't come down until I say it's safe to, okay?"

Sakura nodded while smiling, wiping away a few stray tears that threatened to spill. She promptly made her way back upstairs while throwing one last frightful glance in Naruto's direction before disappearing for good.

Sasuke stared at Naruto, noticing the defeated look in his eyes. He could see the world turning upside down and burning over for the blonde. Sasuke knew what was about to happen. If Naruto was still the person he knew from a year and a half ago, he'd either go completely berserk in a couple of minutes or his mind would've shattered and he'd a husk of his true self, his will and soul being utterly crushed at the sight of his beloved family being snatched away. But he wasn't done with Naruto yet. No. There were things he wanted to tell the blonde before Naruto loses himself in the abyss of despair.

"I stole your wife and daughter too. I altered Sakura's memories and replaced you with myself. I completely erased you out of her life. I wanted to destroy your personal as well as professional life. Not only that. I will soon turn your friends and this whole village against you. I'll make the whole world your enemy. I'll isolate you from everything you hold dear and make you regret your existence for the rest of your life. This is my end goal Naruto. I wanted to destroy your life." Sasuke said he stood in front of Naruto once again, his face devoid of any emotion. It was as stern as steel, cold as ice and dry as a desert.

Naruto was silent. He didn't respond. He heard Sasuke. He wanted to. He wanted to know why someone whom he treated like a brother all his life was doing such things to him. He wanted to know and search for a solution to this horrid phantasm which was turning into a reality. But after hearing Sasuke say his piece, he grasped the gravity of the situation. He understood Sasuke wasn't looking for a solution and it doesn't matter even if he's able to find and offer it to him. So he decided to do what he thought was necessary to save his family, friends and the village from the fate that Sasuke had promised him.

"Please Sasuke, I beg of you, let my family go. Please don't do this." Naruto pleaded while tears streamed down his face. His eyes were bloodshot, not out of anger but desperation, his voice choking and his body completely exhausted. "Please don't punish them. Kill me if you want to but please, let them go. Let my daughter and wife go." He sobbed facing the floor, not having the strength to look Sasuke in the face.

He would beg if that would save his family from this ordeal. He was the Hokage, he was the most powerful in this country, heck throughout the elemental nations alongside Sasuke himself. People looked up to him. Children aspired to be like him and adults admired him for what he is. He was in an insurmountable position in every aspect of his life. But he'd cast away all of it to save his family.

"You still don't get it, do you? I'm bent on destroying your life Naruto. I want to see you at your nadir. I've pulled you down from the zenith that you've achieved. What are you going to do now? How will you overcome this indomitable obstacle? That's what I'm interested in. That's what I want to see. I'm not interested in fighting you and know who's the strongest. I don't want your apology or surrender to feel superior. I want you to overcome this and show me how a person can bounce back. That's what I want to see and hear from you. THAT is the solution to the misery you're suffering now."

'He's crazy. He's fucking crazy. He put me through all this hell to see me overcome it? He killed over 200 innocent kids for that? He involved Sakura for that?' Naruto snapped his head up to glare at Sasuke with a venomous gaze. "You really did all of that just to see me overcome it? What will you gain by it? You find gratification in my suffering? Is that it?" Naruto spat albeit weakly.

"Gratification in your suffering? No. It might sound ridiculous but I don't hate you Naruto. I actually admire your unwavering spirit. I was banking on it. All of this is because I wanted to see how you can overcome it. How one person is supposed to find his way back from the voids of darkness and anguish. I genuinely believe if anyone can do that, it's you."

"STOP FUCKING AROUND SASUKE!"

"I'M NOT!" Sasuke roared back, his eyes fuming in outrage. This was probably the first time Sasuke displayed such levels of emotion tonight. It was leagues above the amused chuckles or brooding impassively. "YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S ALWAYS FUCKING AROUND YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!" Sasuke yelled and kicked Naruto in the gut. "YOU ARE THE MIGHTY UZUMAKI NARUTO, THE 7TH HOKAGE, THE HERO OF THE VILLAGE, THE HERO OF THE WAR, THE SAVIOUR, THE CHILD OF PROPHECY." Sasuke continued his lynching, kicking the half-dead blonde with every mock praise mentioned. He huffed out a huge gasp of air before calming himself down a little.

"You have everything in your life. You have a happy family, a beautiful wife, a sweet little princess as your daughter, friends who trust you and believe in you, power, fame, wealth, every fucking thing a man could ever dream of. And what do I have? Nothing. I don't have a family, friends, not even a home. Nobody trusts me because of things I did in my past. Yes, I did terrible things. I'm not proud of them now. I tried mending my ways. I tried to atone for my past crimes. I went on a journey of penance, wandering in the darkness, searching for redemption. I tried to help anyone with whatever I had. I risked my life on several occasions to save this village. But what did I get in return? Nothing. This village still scorns me. The whole world distrusts me. They refuse to believe me and accept me."

"You said you understood me, understood my pain, my sufferings. You said you could relate to me because you've experienced the same pain as I did. You were wrong Naruto. You didn't experience the same pain that I did. You suffering was different. I won't insult you by saying you suffered less than me but you didn't suffer as I did. I had a loving family once. I had a brother whom I admired. I had a clan full of people who believed in me. I had a village who accepted me. I had a world waiting for me out there. Then I lost everything. My parent's love, my brother's affection and guidance, the clan, the village, the entire fucking world had abandoned me."

"You don't the pain of such loss. You don't know the pain of lost love. You neve experienced parent's love, a brother's protection, a village's hopes. Your life was empty, to begin with. You resented the void. Not me. My life crumbled all around me. You don't know how it feels to see your brother, the man you looked up to your whole life, standing over the dead bodies of your parents with a bloodied sword in his hands. You don't know how it feels to experience your parent's death over and over again for 3 days straight. I was left broken."

"Then came along Sakura. This annoying girl who professed her undying love for me. I honestly hated her at first. But as time progressed, it felt good to be loved again. I never said it loud but I wanted her to love me. When she embraced in the forest of death during our chunin exams, I felt her feelings. I felt comforted by her touch like the constant pain inside was fading, even if it's just a little. But when I decided on my path of vengeance, I knew Sakura shouldn't be involved in it. She was detrimental to that. I couldn't afford any distractions. Not by her or you or Kakashi. So I left. I put myself through hell to obtain the power to kill my brother only to find out later that he never betrayed me. He never stopped loving me. You know how it feels to realise that you killed the one person who always loved you no matter what? You know how it feels to be manipulated into destroying everything you actually wanted? You don't. I wanted to burn down this entire world for putting Itachi in such a position. I was blinded by hatred."

"But you, you fucking bastard was the once who convinced to give this world another chance. I tried to look for the silver lining. I believed I still have a chance to get back my life, a life filled with people who loved, believed in me and accepted me. I let go of everything. My revenge on the people who stole my family from me and my resentment towards the people who scorned me for my suffering only to find out that the only person whom I believed still loved me, didn't anymore. Sakura left me for you. When everything was said and done, you gained everything, went to live your dreams while I was cast away into a life of misery and pain."

"I still tried to make things better. I gave it everything I can only to be left all alone in this world. That's when I realised something. Maybe I was doing this the wrong way. There had to be some other way to get my life back. I tried searching for that for years on end to no avail. That's when I decided. You were the one who pushed me into this life. You should be the one to provide me with the solution. But for that to happen, you have to go through the same suffering I went through. That's I why did all those things. To isolate you and make you feel abandoned. So that you'd feel the exact pain I felt."

"Now, rise up Naruto. Overcome this like you always do. Show me the way to salvation from this perpetual wasteland of adversity." Sasuke said as he held Naruto's collar and peered into his lifeless eyes. The usually bright cerulean blue orbs were now grey.

Naruto didn't know what to do. He mind was torn asunder. He couldn't differentiate between right and wrong. Who's fault was it? Was it Sasuke's fault that he felt abandoned by this world? Was it this world's fault for being wary of Sasuke given his history? Was it his fault for not noticing his friend's suffering? He didn't know. One thing he knew was he believed Sasuke's words. The world can be a cruel place, especially with its prejudices. He was a victim too during his childhood. But does that mean the victims had the right to destroy innocent people's lives?

'"It was your fault." Naruto a familiar voice say that. It wasn't Sasuke's. It wasn't Sakura's. It was his. No, he knew who it belonged to.

"You?" Naruto said he looked back into a reflection of his himself with crimson orbs and black sclera. He never knew when it happened but he was definitely inside his subconscious plane.

"Yeah. It's been a long time, myself." Dark Naruto chuckled. "Been well?"

The mocking tone irked Naruto. "How are you here? I thought I was done with you back then." Naruto replied with a scowl.

"Hahahahaha. Sasuke is right. You are indeed a hopeless idiot." Dark Naruto said with the aloofness that Naruto didn't have any tolerance for right now.

'Is this one of Sasuke's genjutsu?' Naruto thought as he gazed around himself. It definitely looked like his subconsciousness. But he couldn't be here. His access to Kurama has been severed. Then he had no purpose to be in here.

"Nope. You're inside your subconscious moron. You are here because you wanted to be. You might refuse to accept it but that's the truth."

Naruto was suddenly alarmed to see dark Naruto read his mind.

"Of course I can read your fucking mind. I am you, remember. Your precious hatred reincarnate."

"No way. I defeated him on Paradise Island long ago."

"You didn't defeat me. You can never defeat me. You just convinced me to give in to your ideals. You can never get rid of a part of yourself. You can accept it and live with it. That's exactly what you and I did back then."

"Then why are you coming back now?" Naruto was suspicious of the timing of this occurrence.

"Because it's your ideals that led to the current situation on our hands. It's your fault."

With his growing impatience, Naruto couldn't contain his rousing anger anymore. "What the fuck do you mean?"

"You and your stupid ideals which made you look at people in black and white is what led to this. Your faith in people's goodness is what endangered Sakura-chan and Ume-chan today."

The mention of his wife and daughter and the likely possibility of them being in danger shook Naruto once again. He suddenly remembered everything that happened a while ago. His entry into his subconscious has temporarily given him a false sense of security and insulation from the problems outside. He never realised when it happened but all the apprehension and fear he felt as he heard Sasuke's words were gone for a while. He felt that he escaped reality or he was in reality now and whatever happened was a mere apparition. But as the gravity of the situation slowly sunk back into him, he collapsed onto his knees and held his head.

'Wh-what am I su-supposed to do? How am I supposed to save them? I am the Hokage, aren't I? There's something that I must be able to do. Something...' Naruto racked his brains. He couldn't even find a starting point. Desperation began to get to him. Asphyxiation crept up to him as he felt powerless in this predicament. He needed to find a way to overcome this. Sasuke said that was the solution. But how can he overcome this? To do that, he'd have to give up on everything he treasured. 'Nope. That's not an option. What else? Think. Think. The problem needs to end. So I need to weed out the root cause. Which means...'

"Killing Sasuke." Dark Naruto finished the thought that Naruto couldn't.

"No way. Sasuke's my friend. I won't do that. He's just lost his way. I need to restore faith inside him."

"Faith? In what? The only thing he believes right now is that you're the solution to his problem. You giving up your struggle and learning to cope with this loss is the only thing that will satisfy him. Are you willing to do that?"

"No. No. There has to be some other way. There has to be some other way where I can save everyone."

"Listen to yourself. Spouting such nonsense. There's never a way to save everyone. No path will satisfy everyone. Everything is a choice based on priorities. His priority is his life over everything else in this world. It's not just him. Everyone in this world is like that. Everyone prioritises themselves over everything else. That's how people are."

Naruto looked back at dark Naruto with a grief-stricken face, a look of hopelessness clouded all over him, scared of the future. "What are you saying? Everything's going to be alright." Naruto yelled out loud, but it seemed to be for assuring himself more than convincing the other.

"How? How will anything be okay now? We might possibly face a war against every other ninja village because of what happened. How will you stop that?" Dark Naruto questioned, irked at Naruto's naive and baseless claims.

"I...I don't know. I don't know. I don't...know." Naruto was reduced to wailing bundled of flesh, blood and bones, completely devoid of his spirit. He held his head in his palms, bent over his knees and sobbed into himself.

"There's nothing left for you to do now Naruto. You just can't. But I know a way to ensure Sakura-chan's and Ume-chan's safety."

Naruto whimpered and glanced at dark Naruto with Hope rising in eyes. "Really? How? How?" He said as he immediately got back on his feet, desperation getting the better of him.

"You can't do it. But we can. Together. All you need to do is, let go. Let go of your ideals and give in. Give in to me. I will ensure nothing happens to them. Trust me." Dark Naruto spoke as he hugged Naruto from the front.

"Really?" Naruto asked, his tear-stained cheeks raising up as he smiled with hope.

"Really. I promise." Dark Naruto said with a smirk adorning his face, hidden from Naruto.

Sasuke looked curiously as he sensed a change in Naruto. Something about his demeanour, his aura was different from before. He was expecting belief, strength and determination to exude from Naruto. But instead of that, he could sense has hatred, malice and an insatiable bloodlust.

Naruto lifted his head up and gazed at Sasuke with a smirk on his face. His blue orbs were replaced with crimson and white sclera with black. "Hello, Sasuke. Nice to finally meet you in person."

Sasuke gave a knowing look, understanding what happened. "So he gave in huh?"

"Thanks to your efforts, yes. I was tired of being cooped up inside anyway."

"So I won't get my answers now. All of this was for nothing." Sasuke said with a shake of his head.

"You won't even need any answers Sasuke because I'm going to kill you," Naruto said he summoned a red bubbling chakra to shroud himself in. The injuries started healing and his whisker marks got pronounced and darker.

Sasuke was surprised to see that. "How are you able to access the Kyuubi's powers after I cut off your connection?" The surprise didn't last long as he composed himself fairly fast. He knew the situation was getting out of hand there's not much time before all hell breaks loose.

"You did manage to cut off his connection to the fox but it's still present inside him. All one has to do is to look in the right place. Stupid fox refused to be my partner so I just forced out his chakra. Very unrefined but quite strong. I'm liking this feeling." Naruto claimed he tried to free himself off of the black receivers.

Sasuke knew it was a matter of a couple of minutes before Naruto is back on his feet, ready to rampage. He quickly turned on his heel and headed upstairs. He promptly made his way through the hallway and opened the bedroom door to see Sakura stroking Ume's hair as the latter was fast asleep. The only source of light in the room was the bed lamp which barely illuminated its surroundings. Sakura immediately got up on her feet and hugged Sasuke.

"Anata, what's happening? I heard loud screams and was afraid Ume would wake up. Fortunately, she didn't. Is everything alright down there? Should I heal him now?"

Sasuke shook his head in response. " I'm afraid it's too late for that Sakura. He's completely lost himself. I failed in overcoming this problem. I'm sorry." He apologised sincerely.

"Don't worry Sasuke. I'm proud of you anyway. We don't always succeed in whatever we do. Sometimes things go wrong. That's how life is. We just have to live with that." Sakura said as she placed a kiss on Sasuke's cheek.

Sasuke tried his best and controlled the tears that threatened to well up in his eyes. He made inhumane efforts and remained stoic. He looked back into Sakura's eyes and stroked her hair. 'You don't know how correct you are, my Sakura.' He thought. He activated his Sharingan and peered into her eyes. The last thing Sakura saw before the world turning dark was the glowing Sharingan.

Sakura immediately began to slump but Sasuke caught her at her waist. Now he allowed his tears to spill, but still refusing to let out even a whimper at the unconscious sight of the girl whom he thought was the only woman for him. He put her limp body over his shoulder and went to the bedside. He reached his hand out and stroked the sleeping Ume's pink hair. Not as bright as her mother's but just as beautiful. 'You could've been mine.' Sasuke thought before carrying the sleeping girl in his arms. He activated his Rinnegan and opened a dimensional portal. He made his way inside carrying the mother and daughter seconds before a red burst of corrosive chakra invaded the room, shattering everything inside it.

When Sasuke exited the portal, he was inside an empty office. He placed Sakura on the nearby vacant sofa and tucked Ume beside her comfortably so that girl won't wake up her slumber. He knelt beside the sofa and gazed at Sakura longingly.

'I'm sorry Sakura. I stole your memories, disrespected you by altering them. I'm sorry. You're the only person that I believed loved me for the longest time that I remember. Thank you for that. I hope you can find in yourself to forgive me for what I did when you wake up.' Sakura would wake up with all her real memories intact and no knowledge of the events that occurred in the past few hours. Sasuke shook his head at the last thought. ' I guess you shouldn't, seeing as how I destroyed your life as well.'

He slowly rose up and opened another portal. He peered out of the windows and saw sand gusts breezing all around. He gave one last glance towards the 2 pink-heads before leaving the Kazekage's office without a trace of his presence.

He reappeared on top of the Hokage mountain to be welcomed by the scene of a burning Konohagakure no Sato. He saw a nine-tailed fox rampaging throughout the village, bringing destruction in its wake. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He could hear the panicked screams and shouts of the villagers from below the mountain. '212 innocent children from 14 different villages. Konohagakure no Sato. Sakura. Ume. Naruto. I destroyed all of this and for nothing. I'm not even fit to ask for your forgiveness. But I really am sorry.' he thought before bringing up a Kunai and proceeding to stab it into his jugular.


E/N: Wow. Okay...I know there wasn't anything horrifying about the scenes or the events that took place. I focused more on the frightening nature of humans rather and I hope you guys received it well. Anyway...unlike me here are the authors who can deliver some legit horror and kink if you're in into them. All the stories will be available by the end of October since the stories are released on a daily basis throughout this month. As of today, 1st 6 stories are available to read. Hope you guys have a great time enjoying them throughout this Halloween month.

1. Vivisection, by TheBadIdeaBears for Ao No Exorcist/Blue Exorcist; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 2.210

2. Deliverance, by Caldera Valhallis for Fate: Stay Night; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 11.281

3. The Beating Heart, by Ferith12 for The Silmarillion; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 1.356

4. Paradise Lost, by Potashiamu for Death Note; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 7.634

5. Nyctophilia, by Rhearenee for Naruto; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 5k

6. Indrajit, by Tartarun for Naruto; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 25k

7. Monsters, by Alastair for One Piece; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 17k

8. Whips and Chains, by Iceburg-sanCPX for One Piece; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 4k

9. There Is Light In Even The Darkest of Times... by Kittyface27 for One Piece; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 6k

10. Ishbalan Halloween, by Silirt for FullMetal Alchemist; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 3k

11. The Green Dreamer, by Kamil the Awesome for A Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 9k

12. The Soldier, by Nazaki-Sama for Marvel Cinematic Universe; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 19k

13. Cuervo La Sombra, by HisagiKirigakure for Bleach; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 1k

14. The Demon on the Mountain, by Phoenixreal for Bleach; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 3k

15. Dark Side of the Moon, by SesshomaruFreak for Bleach; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 3k

16. Ghosting Reality, by Yemi Hikari for Stardew Valley/My Time At Portia (Crossover); Theme: Horror, Word Count: 8k

17. The Fear I Promised You, by Seth's Kiss for Death Note; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 21k

18. Boo On You, by SerenaJones.585 for Yu-Gi-Oh; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 4k

19. Disorder, by The Token for Yu-Gi-Oh! Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 5k

20. Eleven Miles, by Shnuggletea for Inu-Yasha; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 20k

21. Who's Watching You? by Wrath of Vajra for RWBY/Predators 2010 Movie (Crossover); Theme: Horror, Word Count: 9k

22. Little Bit Of Poison In Me, by SereneCalamity for Mortal Instruments; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 6k

23. Paris's Dark Halloween, by DemonShippingQueen for Miraculous Ladybug; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 8k

24. Electric Bone, by Nissa Fox for Pokémon Theme: Horror, Word Count: 2k

25. Eclipse, by Spunky0ne for Yuri On Ice; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 3k

26. The Red Wolfe, by Brenna76 for Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 6k

27. Monster in Disguise, by DemonoftheFridge for Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 12k

28. Live. Die. Repeat, by Karkatsbabe for Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 22k

29. Trick and Treat, by SensiblyTainted for Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 8k

30. The Kitsune's Trap, by CrimsonRaine87 for Ikemen Sengoku; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 35k

31. Out of this World, by Silverstar for Thunderbirds; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 41k

32. Read the Fine Print, by DancesWithSeatbelts for Fairy Tail; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 1k

33. The Vault, by Desna for Fairy Tail; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 6k

34. Sweet Dreams, by FrejaBee for Fairy Tail; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 5k

35. Her Professor, by Drawingdownthemoon for Naruto; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 12k

36. Aftertaste, by Elleurs for Naruto; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 3k

37. SleepWalker, by KurohimeHaruko for Naruto; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 20k

38. Taken, by TsukikoUchu for Naruto; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 8k

39. To Do or to Die, by WhatIEternallyDesire for Naruto; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 5k

40. PAROXETINE, by Yatsu Narurasuke for Naruto; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 13k

41. Name Your Price, by Babyvfan for Harry Potter; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 9k ; LINK: TBA

42. Harry Potter and the High Jinx Hotel, by Xache for Harry Potter; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 10k

43. Blue Moon Massacre, by Jadeile for Hazbin Hotel; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 4k

44. Stuck in Hell, by NekoPantera for Bleach; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 10k

45. Curse of the Ishida Estate, by Sigan for Bleach; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 10k

46. Torment, by Bewdofchaos for Yu-Gi-Oh! Theme: Horror, Word Count: 3k

47. A Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare, by RayeMoon for Yu-Gi-Oh! Theme: Horror, Word Count: 7k

48. The Somnambulist, by ArgentNoelle for Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 13k

49. Against your Nature, by PhantomGypsy for Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 30k

50. What True Fear Shows, by AsgardianHobbit98 for Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler ; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 5k

51. Merely a Simple Conversation, by HoshisamaValmor for Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 3k

52. Butler and Master: Damask Honeymoon, by Starfire93 for Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler; Theme: Horror & Kinktober, Word Count: 5k

53. The Vampire of Yuggoth, by Count Morningstar for Sailor Moon; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 20k

54. Decorating for Halloween, by Max333 for Sailor Moon; Theme: Kinktober, Word Count: 4k

55. In the Shadow, by Sailor Silver Ladybug for Sailor Moon; Theme: Horror, Word Count: 6k