Pre-word: Hey again, everyone.

So what's this? Starting something so quick after just starting something else? Well, probably shouldn't get too excited. For starters, I'm actually not even sure where I'm going with this yet. I would say this is more of a concept than anything else at the moment. I got a couple ideas for where I wanna take this, but we'll kinda see how things go from here.

This concept actually kind of came out of left field for me. I was inspired while doing a rewatch of the Bakemonogatari series. In particular, Naruto and Kaguya's relationship will be reminiscent of Koyomi and Shinobu. So if you're familiar with that, you might know a little of what to expect in that regard.

For now, I hope you can just enjoy the initial premise.

Heart Under Shadow


Ōtsutsuki Kaguya had been watching.

For seven years now, that was all she had been doing. She was little more than a passive observer of the truth.

At first, watching was all she had been able to do. It was hardly what one would call ideal, but that was the very nature of her resurrection; In that it hadn't been ideal.

It was imperfect.


In the same way those disgusting humans that would taint her garden world were incomplete, so now was she.

Kaguya loathed them… for they had stolen everything from her. Sealed her to the moon for over a thousand years. Then they forgot about her.

That was their first mistake.

For she was not something that should be forgotten. It was careless of them. Foolish, even. To think she was some existence so little as to be tossed away from collective thought was the height of incompetence. She, which had once been known as the Rabbit Goddess and later an Oni, was forgotten. And she would make them pay for it.

Because while they may have forgotten, she had not. Her will had not. It had gone by many names over the years. Preferring to think of itself as her son, it would be more accurate to have called it her shadow. It had worked tirelessly for her resurrection and it had finally succeeded, but only in a sense.

The Shadow knew that in order to restore her, numerous conditions had to be met. So it had secretly been gathering those things over time. Her true son, Hagoromo, had split up her chakra into nine pieces. So her will collected most of those pieces. Not enough that anyone would notice, just mere slivers of them from the Jinchuriki hosts they inhabited. It had been enough.

The reason why; is because alone those pieces of Biju chakra, her chakra, was only a single piece of the equation. Equally important were the eyes. Her son knew she needed those eyes and so had destroyed his own upon death. However, what he failed to foresee was the actions of his own children. For he also had two sons. One of them Indra. The other Asura.

Those two would conflict with one another for centuries and over the course of many reincarnations. Until one day, one of those reincarnates got an idea. No, it wouldn't be right to say he got an idea. He had been fed an idea. By her very own shadow.

Indra's Reincarnation stole a piece of flesh from Asura's and by grafting it upon himself, he finally awakened those eyes. Even then, it wasn't enough. For him it was too late and he perished soon after having accomplished this task. For the shadow, it was the perfect opportunity. One they had been waiting over a thousand years for.

Taking the eyes, Rinnegan, it implanted them inside itself. Now all the pieces were nearly in place. It had eight slivers of chakra from the Biju and the Rinnegan eyes cultivated by a reincarnation of Indra. The only thing left was to get the last piece, the Kyubi, strongest Biju of them all. Once it had the merged chakra of all nine beasts, incomplete as that may be, it would then place the eyes once more in another host. Since the last one had been Indra, this time it would be Asura that they chose.

As fate would have it, those two things coalesced. Asura's newest reincarnation became the Kyubi Jinchuriki on the night of his birth. Even so, her will couldn't be hasty. They had waited a thousand years, it wouldn't hurt to wait five more. Which is exactly the amount of time that it waited.

On the child's fifth birthday, her shadow made its move. Not in a way that anyone ever realized. For the resurrection to be complete, time would be necessary. So it had to give Asura's reincarnation, Uzumaki Naruto, these gifts in a way that no one would immediately recognize.

In order to do this, it merged itself with Naruto's shadow. Her will, her own shadow became his. Along with all the things it had gathered. All these things mixed together and became one. Her will couldn't possibly maintain itself amongst such a vortex and so even that became mere nothing. And from that nothing she was reborn.

A mere child.

That was right, her form had taken the shadow of its host. So in appearance she may have been much like she had desired; long white hair, pale skin, even reclaiming her ceremonial robes. However, she was small. Inhabiting a five year old had been their mistake, because his shadow only allowed them to take the shape of another five year old.

A miscalculation.

It was no matter. She would leave, hide herself away in the forests until one day she reclaimed her full adult form. This imperfect resurrection left her without most of her power, so she would need time to recover that anyways. That was what she thought. Her second miscalculation had been assuming she could leave at all. Of course she couldn't, she realized only too late.

She had no shadow.

That meant there was no place for her under the light of the sun, nor even the moon which just reflected its light. She was trapped, bound to the shadow of Asura's incarnation. Even under such circumstances, she did not panic. There was no need for worry, after all. Even stuck in this shadow, her plans didn't have to change.

In time she would achieve adult form and her power would return. That was what she believed; Her third miscalculation. For she had placed her powers inside a former Jinchuriki. So when she replaced Kyubi, she had done so in the most literal sense possible. That meant her power was to be held back, kept in check and for use by none other than Uzumaki Naruto himself. A mere boy of five years old.

So for the next seven years she could only watch. Watch as he aged, becoming a prepubescent man while she did not change. Her chakra returned, but only enough to fill the body of the five-year-old-like container she was now trapped in. In a sense, it was enough. Even in her weakened state, she was far more powerful than most adults; With perhaps few exceptions.

Despite this, it wasn't enough to break free from the shadow. Watching might not have been her only option, but when she considered the alternatives, it was the only thing she desired. What would she do if not watch? Speak with Uzumaki Naruto? No, she would not sully her voice by giving him the chance to hear it.

After all, he was just a mere human. A thief like all the rest of them, who had stolen her chakra. She had nothing to gain from trying to communicate with him. It was these thoughts that Kaguya assumed she could hold onto. That she could somehow be an impartial juror long enough for something about her situation to change.

This was her final miscalculation.

For she had forgotten, but she was once a mother. Even in this five-year-old body, those instincts did not disappear. She thought she had destroyed them long ago, when she had resolved herself to fight her own children. However, being in Naruto's shadow changed that and watching him reminded her of all those things she thought she had discarded.

This was the humanities second mistake.

That they would dare place all their anger, cowardice, and malice on the shoulders of one small boy ignorant of sin. He was blamed for the actions of the demon fox, a once malevolent creature given shape by chakra and for a time sealed inside him. The arrogance of man was thinking that meant the two were one and the same. That arrogance led them to acting out all of their ugliest desires and wills.

Uzumaki Naruto was scorned, cursed, beaten, neglected, and hated with the weight of a full village. No matter where he turned, there was no salvation that could possibly be found. The ones who had promised to protect him had abandoned their posts. Those who didn't resent him merely watched from afar. And those who were ignorant of it chose to remain that way, because their ignorance was truly a form of bliss.

He was in Hell.

All alone in the darkness with no one to help him. That was why Kaguya would wait no longer for something to change. Watching Naruto reminded her of many things. Of her children when they had been his age. Of herself when she had been scorned by the people of this new world she escaped to. Of her own desire to just be loved.

Before she had even realized it, Kaguya's plan had changed. With it, so too did her fate. She was no longer the woman seeking to reclaim everything for herself. Instead, she would just settle for revenge. Against all those who sought to keep her imprisoned and those who would harm the master of her shadow.

The time to enact that change was now.

She would watch no longer from his shadow.

That was because the last straw was here, Naruto laying on his side in some back alley. It was hardly poorly lit, orange lights dancing in from just off the main road. It was the height of the evening night-life. Many people passed by the alley, their shadows coming and going as they hurried past without a care for what was happening inside. Even if they did know, not a single one of them would have stopped to help. That was just how they all were.

"Wohoo!" A younger man yipped in joy, the toe of his boot drilling into the young Naruto's ribcage. The young blond let out a cough, blood spraying from his mouth and staining the already garbage filled pavement.

"This is great stress relief! I might just keep him as a punching-bag." A second man cooed with laughter, stomping down on the down-trodden boy's calf with his heel.

"I've been waiting a long time for my crack at him… damn fox." The third and final man of the despicable trio was digging through the trash, searching for something. "Hmm… this will do." He finally seemed to decide, pulling out an old and rusted pipe from deep within the darkness of the garbage.

Naruto could not have possibly seen what it was, but he heard the metallic clinks as the man tested it out against the brick walls. The sound was almost grating, echoing vibrantly inside the small alley and out into the street. Yet not a single person paid those noises any mind. No one was coming to save him from out there.

"Is this kid really training at the Ninja Academy?" The first one asked again, continuing to kick and stomp at Naruto as he talked. "He hasn't even tried fighting back! This is too easy."

"He knows he can't," The one brandishing the pipe crouched down, licking his teeth as he leered over the beaten blonde. "Don'tcha ya little hellspawn?" He then rose up to his full height, placing the tip of his foot down on Naruto's cheek. "No one cares if we beat on you, but if you hit back… well, that's it for you!" He raised the bar over his head, muscles tensing as he prepared to bring it down.

"That's far enough." Ōtsutsuki Kaguya demanded, her voice coming simultaneously from everywhere around them and yet nowhere at once.

"The fuck!?" The three men spun around, looking for the source of this new voice. None of them saw her as she emerged. No, perhaps they had seen her but it was impossible for their minds to understand what was really happening. That's how outside the realm of possibility Kaguya's first emergence was.

The lights outside had cast the shadow of Naruto's prone form up against the nearby dumpster the metal pipe had just been dug out of. Floating up from that shadow now was Kaguya herself. Standing at even full height she couldn't have been much more than a hundred centimeters. Her long white hair was taller than she was, extending down and into the shadow, unable to come out completely. Atop her head was two horns, almost giving her the appearance of a rabbit.

"A Hyuga?" One of the men asked, finally locating her. He was mistaken, of course. Kaguya was no Hyuga, one of the elite ninja clans located within the village. She was much older and far more ancient than that. Even so, he wasn't mistaken that she did share their Byakugan eyes. Before her imperfect resurrection she had a third eye, but that would not open. Not in this incomplete form.

"Just a brat." The man holding the pipe said, still positioning it above his head as if to swing it at any given moment. "I don't know where you came from kid, but get lost. This doesn't involve you."

"...Run." The raspy voice of Naruto chimed in. He could barely see her, the skin around one of his eyes swollen shut. The other blue orb was partially pressed against the dirty alley pavement, tears slowly leaking out. Even so, he called out to her in an attempt to protect her. To not get her involved in this fight. In a situation like this, he would care about others more than himself.

Which was precisely the problem and why Kaguya would deal with this right now.

"Thou concern is unneeded. Be silent while we eradicate these vermin." She spoke to Naruto and Naruto alone. To someone such as Kaguya, even the fact that humans as lowly as the others had heard her voice was in a way tainting it, as if somehow making her more impure for allowing them to interact on the same plane as she existed in. That didn't matter, for she was about to erase them anyways.

"What the hell was that you bitch-!?" Three small thunks cut the man off before he could say anything more. None of them had realized it but Kaguya had already prepared her attack while she was talking to Naruto. For her it was as simple as raising a single arm, pointing at them with her hand curved into the shape of a finger-gun. Then from the tip of her finger, a gray bone had shot out, tearing through her own flesh as it did. She had done this three times in quick succession, all while the one man had taken a step forward to yell at her.

That was the last thing any of them ever did. Before there was even time to scream, the little bullet she shot them with caused a chain reaction. They turned to ash, originating from the source of the bullet wound and expanding to the rest of their bodies in a matter of seconds. As they broke down, fear and brief terror flashed across their eyes, before those too dried out and disappeared, becoming nothing more than a gray pile of dust on the ground, awash in the orange light from the main street outside of the alley.

"W-What did you just do!?" Despite his injuries, Naruto attempted to jump to his feet. He failed, only to collapse back to the ground and land on his butt. As he tried to scurry backwards and away from Kaguya, his shadow shifted and danced in the light.

"Wait! Still thyself!" Kaguya called too late, his shadow falling away from the dumpster she stood atop of. The shifting shadow dragged her with it, sending her sprawling onto the dirty, garbage filled street below. She hit the concrete with a loud thud, letting out a small groan of pain as she rolled over.

"Uhh… sorry?" Naruto said. Despite the fear and confusion still racking his whole body, the slightly comical sight of the little girl falling from a dumpster was enough to calm his nerves. Although only temporarily as he once more looked back at the piles of ash where his assailants had just been. "Did you kill them?" He asked, still unsure if that had truly been what had just happened.

Not long before this, those three men had jumped him while he attempted to pass this very alley. They had struck him in the head first, dazing him and making him unable to react. The one man had been wrong earlier, when he assumed Naruto didn't fight back because he was afraid of higher retaliation from those in charge. The truth was, Naruto didn't give two shits about stuff like that. His opponents had just been adults that blind-sided him and made it impossible to get a firm grip on what was happening until it was too late. That was all. Except now... they were dust.

"Lower thy voice. Lest others learn of what we did." Kaguya urged, holding a hand up and glancing around the surrounding area with her Byakugan to be sure. It was fortunate for them that most people wanted to ignore Naruto, as it also meant they weren't going to check on the men she just murdered. So long as no one had seen the initial act, there would never be any proof of what had happened to them. They were as good as vanished.

Not that Kaguya cared about such things as human laws or their fear of death, neither of which were things she was capable of understanding to begin with. All the same, it would be inconvenient for her if the master of the shadow she was bound to found himself incarcerated for charges of murder.

"We!?" Naruto yelled, suddenly pointing a finger at her in accusation. "Don't lump me in this together with you! You did that by yourself, even if you were trying to save me! Thanks by the way, but don't act like I had anything to do with whatever you did just now! Ah-" His voice was suddenly cut off, the pain from earlier returning as he got over his shock. His eye was still swollen and several ribs were cracked. Not to mention all the bruises and other internal bleeding he no doubt suffered from at the moment.

Kaguya sighed. "We doth not refer to thou and us. We use it only in direct reference to Kaguya as oneself." She picked herself up, slowly ambling over to him to inspect his injuries as she explained.

"You mean you refer to yourself in plural?" Naruto asked, before then letting out a hiss of pain as Kaguya poked at his swollen eye with her sharp nail. "Umm… Kaguya, was it? Kaguya-chan?" Even sitting down on the ground and Naruto wasn't much shorter than her.

"Refer to us as thou please." Kaguya snapped, applying a slight Jyuken touch to the wounded area around Naruto's face. It wasn't much, but the swelling was already subsiding as the wound mostly healed on its own. As Kaguya inspected his innards, she noticed even his cracked bones were beginning to mend themselves. Apparently a side-effect of being linked directly to her, but his healing was extraordinary.

There was one other thing she noticed, a sudden swelling of chakra in the palms of Naruto's hands. "This is.." She whispered in awe.

"What is this?" Naruto asked, feeling the pulsating in his hands. He let out another hiss of pain, not sure what was happening. The palms of his hands ached in searing red-hot pain, as if his skin itself was being torn open. Which might have been an accurate description of what was happening. Because as he looked down at his hands, two purple eyes looked back up at him. Not just ordinary eyes, but eyes with a multitude of concentric circles.

"Rinnegan." Kaguya clarified. "...We see now, so that is what happened." She had always wondered what happened to the Rinnegan eyes that her shadow had stolen from Indra's reincarnate. The eyes had never manifested themselves in Naruto before now, despite the fact that they should have. It would appear the trauma from watching three men turned to ash in front of him had been the emotional trigger necessary to unlock them.

As far as she could tell, it was an incomplete awakening. That was why they opened in his palms and not where they should have in the sockets attached to his brain. Incomplete summed up about every part of this botched resurrection, however, so it was no wonder this didn't go as it should either. If anything, this was the more expected outcome.

"I don't really get it, but is this gonna be okay?" Naruto slowly turned his hands over, inspecting the back to make sure nothing was there. He then slowly curled in his fingers into fists, the Rinnegan eyes shutting themselves automatically as he did. When he unfurled his fingers the eyes opened back up. "...Weird." He was at least handling the sudden appearance of them better than Kaguya would have hoped.

"Thou shall be fine." Kaguya assured him. She began to sink into the earth, merging once more with Naruto's shadow. "For now, seeking nourishment would be wise. Sustenance will help thou heal." In mere moments she was gone.

"Wait, where the hell did you go!?" Naruto leapt to his feet, this time successfully and without once more collapsing to a heap on the street. He spun around in circles, looking for Kaguya but failing to catch any sight of her. Even if he could stand, the sudden twirling motion didn't sit well with his injured head and he nearly topped back over. An arm coming from his shadow in the wall caught him, holding him upright and preventing that.

"We are here… exactly where we have always been. Inside thy shadow." Her voice felt like it was echoing around inside Naruto's head, not coming from any kind of outside source at all. Which was probably the most accurate way to view how she was currently communicating with him.

"I still don't get it, but it sounds like you're gonna be with me for a while then? Is that right, Kaguya-chan?" He took a couple uneasy steps forward and the arm that had been helping him stand once more retreated back into his shadow.

"Yes, that would be an accurate assessment." Kaguya agreed. From inside his shadow she could see as Naruto took another look back, glancing down at the ashes that had once been people. "Doth thou regret their deaths?" She asked, unable to curb her own curiosity. Such fears truly were an enigma to her and she couldn't help but wonder how Naruto could hold anything resembling affection towards those who had wished him harm.

"No." Naruto shook his head, surprising her by revealing the opposite instead was true. He looked down at one of the Rinnegan on the palm of his hand. "It's weird… I always thought I would hate it, if someone that always cursed me died before I could make them change their mind. After you killed them though… I just felt relieved. Kind of like thank goodness, now I don't have to deal with their stupid cowardly bullshit anymore. Does that… make me twisted?" He asked, smiling sadly as he turned to his own shadow.

"We do not think so." Kaguya said simply. She had no idea what concepts a young human like Naruto might view as right and wrong. However, she did know one thing; If feeling remorse for the loss of those three was what modern humans considered to be proper, she would reshape their view starting from this moment.

Naruto nodded in response. Slipping his hands in his pockets, he then walked out from the alley and left those three piles of ash behind. To him, they were gone now, both in the physical sense of the word and to him emotionally. He would offer their ashes no respect, nor would anyone else know they were ever there. Reduced to mere garbage to be swept up and thrown in the trash with everything in that dirty street.

Just like that, the curtain peeled back as the first proper meeting between the two that would shape the entire Ninja world unfolded. The cruel stage play had already begun. Yet no one had been there to witness it but the main actors themselves: Ōtsutsuki Kaguya and Uzumaki Naruto.

Prologue: End

Post-word: So there you go?

I'll be focusing on my other on-going fic for now, but I had to get this idea out of my head. The problem is, once you start writing it doesn't seem like you can stop.

Thanks for checking this out and hope to see you next time!