Naruto – Kyuubi’s Curse
‘Naruto’ by Masashi Kishimoto
“Kyuubi’s Curse” by Del’Cera Osirin Kusakurin
Beta: Ryuuzaki Kusakurin
DISCLAIMER: Naruto isn’t mine.
Warnings: Violence, language, etc.
Characters: Uzumaki Naruto, Uchiha Sasuke, Hatake Kakashi, Tsunade, Tatsuki, Kyuubi
Theme Songs: Monsters [Matchbook Romance], Amaranth [Nightwish], Wanted Dead or Alive [Bon Jovi], Standing Outside the Fire [Garth Brooks], Cliffs of Dover [Eric Jonson]
Pairings: None so far
This might be posted on fanfiction.net, if you see it anywhere else, please notify Ryuuzaki Kusakurin.
Hi no kuni. Situated in the middle of the five great elemental countries, the Land of Fire boasted a very warm climate, but one that was temperate enough to allow for the growth of large trees. Located on the northern border was Ta no kuni, the Land of Rice. It was on this border that a battle was taking place. In a small canyon, known as the Valley of the End, a river had carved a deep trench. Flanking the waterfall that the river flowed into were two statues- one depicted the Shodai Hokage, and the other bore the image of Uchiha Madara. The two men had fought in this very valley, and now their battle was repeated. Uzumaki Naruto, wrapped in the demonic, red chakra that appeared when he drew on the power of the demon sealed within him, stood on the head of the Shodai’s statue, facing his opponent. Uchiha Sasuke, with the large wings, long hair, dark skin, and cross-shaped face marking representing his level two cursed-seal transformation, stood on the head of Madara’s statue. Both ninja were too far gone to end the fight, both charging their best attacks. A purple ball of unstable energy hovered in Naruto’s palm, while black lightning began to encase Sasuke’s fist and right forearm. With respective cries of “Oodama Rasengan!” and “Chidori Nagashi!” the two attacks collided. A large black-and-white ball of energy erupted to life along their hands, and quickly moved to engulf their warring bodies. Naruto, unwilling to kill his best friend, redirected his Rasengan to Sasuke’s forehead, carving a gash in his hitai-ate before dispelling the glowing orb. Sasuke, on the other hand, saw his chance to gain the Mangekyou Sharingan. He took it, and plunged his hand into his best friend’s chest. The sheer power contained in his hand allowed him to force his fist through Naruto’s chest and cleanly out the back, nicking the spine in the process. Then, just for good measure, he ripped his arm out through the side, burning his way through a lung, multiple ribs, and Naruto’s left elbow. The arm immediately dropped, and Naruto followed soon after, a look of shock etched on his face. Sasuke merely turned, huffed, and walked north, away from Konoha, his home, forever.
Naruto watched with morbid fascination as the water was slowly stained red by his blood. The pain of the icy water flooding his wounds was nothing compared to the pain of Sasuke’s betrayal. He felt the current pick up and knew he was heading to the large waterfall, but he could not bring himself to care; not even the Kyuubi could heal this kind of damage. Hopefully, there would be rocks at the bottom- he would rather break his neck after a two-hundred foot fall than give his former best friend the satisfaction of killing him. However, as he felt his rapidly-weakening body near the edge, his mind was dragged down to the Kyuubi’s cage.
He quickly navigated the sewer-like mindscape, coming to a halt in front of the large gates.
“What do you want, fox?”
“A spar,” replied the deep, gravelly voice.
“Why in the HELL do you want to spar!? First off, you’re too damn BIG to spar with- I’d get crushed! And second, in case you haven’t noticed, that asshole Sasuke just ran his HAND through my fucking CHEST! I’m DYING!”
“I know that,” the fox replied, and I have a way to heal you. But I need to see if you’re worthy of it.”
“Fine,” Naruto agreed, “how do we do this?”
“Step inside the bars,” the fox answered, retreating into the darkness of the cage.
“FUCK no! Dying or not, I’m NOT giving you my body!”
“Listen, do you want to live, or not!?” Was it just Naruto, or was the voice strangely higher-pitched than normal?
Deciding that he had nothing left to lose (after all, it was hard to survive a two-hundred foot fall, headfirst, even if one was a demon), Naruto squeezed between the bars and walked into the cage, never once questioning why he still had his left arm here. He was quickly confronted by a girl, about his age, maybe a little older, with close-cropped red hair. She was fingerless black gloves (leather, perhaps? Naruto wasn’t sure.) and a karate gi, held closed by what looked to be an ordinary belt, instead of one of the traditional, colored ones. The gi’s sleeves were removed, revealing fishnet sleeves that came down to her mid-bicep (whether they were part of a shirt or not, Naruto couldn’t tell). He also noticed a pair of blue jeans covered her legs, and that she had bare feet.
“You ready?” She asked tauntingly, dropping into a stance unfamiliar to Naruto.
“Who are you?” Naruto asked, even as he dropped into his own stance.
“I’ll tell you that later,” she returned, “for now, we spar.” With that, she launched a vicious kick, aimed right at his temple.
Naruto caught the offending leg, only to have the girl jump up and try to kick him with the other one. Remembering what his friend Lee had done in the same situation, he leaned back, dodging the kick, while simultaneously dropping her leg and striking at her side with a snap kick. She batted it aside with one hand, aiming an elbow strike for his face. He stopped it, but failed to anticipate her followup- a knee to the stomach. Naruto staggered back, and the girl leaped into a flying kick. Naruto, again taking a page from Lee’s book, grabbed her leg, threw her, and kicked her in the back as she passed him. She tucked into a ball as she hit the ground, rolled, and sprang up facing Naruto. She charged him, arm thrown back, prepared to hit him with a right haymaker, when he came up with a plan. He had noticed that her knee strikes were just a touch slower than her elbow strikes; had it been almost anyone else, that detail would have gone unnoticed. However, Naruto had a unique bloodline (1)- his brain processed images at a substantially faster rate than most people. This, combined with the excellent sight his mother gave him, allowed Naruto to spot the only hole in the girl’s defense – one she intentionally left, as a test (though he didn’t know that). Naruto ran toward her; he evaded her punch, batted away an elbow strike, and prayed that he was fast enough to follow through with his near-suicidal plan. He saw her tense and just barely brought an arm down in time to intercept a rising knee. He felt his left forearm shatter, and brought his right arm up in an attempt to connect rather soundly with her jaw. She dodged, which he had planned for, so he brought a leg up and kicked her hard. His knee and shoulder blocked the view of where he’d kicked her exactly, but he did see her body flying back like a ragdoll. Naruto’s victory was short-lived, however. He watched as the girl caught herself in midair, and landed in a crouch, one hand on the ground. Naruto cursed and dropped into a taijutsu stance again. He was surprised, though, as the girl simply stood up, arms hanging loosely at her sides. Suddenly, she laughed. Naruto suspected that it could have been a nice-sounding laugh, had her voice not been so hoarse. Finally, the girl calmed herself enough to speak.
“A most surprising ninja indeed! I admit that I had expected the uppercut, but that kick caught me by surprise! You’d better be careful, though,” she said, massaging her throat with her right hand. “Hit a normal person with a kick like that, and you’ll crush their windpipe.”
“Alright, that’s it,” Naruto exclaimed. “Who are you, why are you in my head, what did you mean by ‘normal people’, and where the HELL is the damn fox!?”
The girl smiled.
“Very good questions. To answer the first, my name is Tatsuki,” she said, her voice strangely back to normal. “As for the others, well, what would you do if I told you that,” here, her voice suddenly grew deep. Very deep. Too deep to be a human voice. “I AM the Kyuubi no Kitsune!”
As nine blood-red tails fanned out from behind her, Naruto started stumbling backward, toward the giant gate he had entered through. He turned, and sprinted for the bars. They loomed ahead of him, telling him to go faster, or the demon at his heels would get him. Naruto reached the gate, and threw himself at it, trying to get between the bars before the giant fox could eat him. A blue field of energy suddenly sprang up around them, and Naruto watched in horror as it got brighter the closer he came. Finally, Naruto came into contact with the strange energy (by this time, it was glowing so brightly that Naruto feared for his vision) and felt as though he had plowed into a brick wall. He crumpled to the floor, and surprise blended with fear and resignation to make (what he thought was to be) his final facial expression. The Kyuubi, in all its foxy glory, slowly padded toward Naruto, before returning to the shape of the girl. She crouched down, nine tails still waving behind her, and asked, “Now that you know you can’t escape, will you listen to me?”
“Hell no! There’s NO WAY I’m letting you take over my body!”
At this, the Kyuubi – Tatsuki – fell to the ground, clutching her sides, trying not to laugh, and failing dismally.
“The hell’s so funny, Fox?” Naruto demanded.
“You are,” she returned, after getting her laughter under control. “What makes you think that I WANT your body? Aside from the obvious gender complications, I would go from a soul, which is immortal, to a body that has thirty seconds to live, if that.”
Naruto pondered that for a moment, before asking, “Then why’d you call me here?”
“Simple. You’re dying, and I have a way to fix that; I wanted to know if you’d accept.”
“Why are you even offering me this? If I die, don’t you just go back to Hell, or wherever you came from?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Then why are you helping me?”
“‘Cause, frankly kid, I like you. You remind me of myself when I was younger.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You remind me of me – a headstrong brat with more guts than sense, but with a heart of gold.” Tatsuki smirked at Naruto’s indignant look, then continued. “And that’s why I’m offering you this deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
“The kind of deal we both can agree to: we both stay alive, I get a little more freedom, and you get more powerful. Who knows – you might even get your left arm back.”
“Hold up, what do you mean, ‘more freedom’? And since I know for a fact that I lost my arm, how do I still have one here?”
“It’s rather simple, really. I will be able to access your senses- it’s the closest thing to a new body that I can get without some seriously dark rituals, and I don’t do sacrifices. Period. And as for your arm, it doesn’t matter that you know you lost it- your mental image of yourself stays the same. That’s why amputees complain about phantom limbs.”
“Why doesn’t my mental image change?” Naruto asked, still wary of the fox, but curious at the same time.
“Because changes to the body don’t affect the mind,” the Kyuubi replied. “It’s the original meaning of the phrase ‘mind over matter.'”
“So then, why do Genjutsu work?”
“Because the body cannot live without a mind to operate it, and Genjutsu kill the mind.”
“So, since my body can’t live without my mind, you’re telling me that if I die taking this deal, we both die anyway?”
“That’s about right. The seal will make sure that I can’t take over before we both die.”
“And if I don’t take the deal, I fall two-hundred feet to my death. The choice seems fairly obvious to me, what about you?”
“So, what do I do to go through with this? Remove the seal?”
“NO!” Tatsuki cried, a look of fear on her face. “If you do that, the chakra backlash will kill both of us!”
Naruto quickly retracted the arm that was reaching for the small slip of paper holding the gates closed.
“So then, what do we do?”
“It’s actually rather simple. I turn you into a demon.”
“FUCK NO!” Naruto screamed, jumping to his feet in rage. “There’s no way in hell that I’m letting you turn me into a demon! No! Not gonna happen! EVER!”
“So you’d rather die than protect those people in the village that you care for? Let them fend for themselves, so that you don’t have to deal with something you don’t understand, and have never tried to?” Tatsuki shot back, obviously angry- not with his refusal of the deal, but for his lack of actual thought; he HAD to stop relying on his instincts in conversations- one day it might even get him [and her, by proxy] killed, and she was NOT going to let that happen. “How do you think that we came into existence?! All of the ‘tailed creatures’ are like me!” Taking a deep breath, Tatsuki temporarily paused her tirade. “None of us had this chance, you know,” she added softly. “We had no choice.”
Naruto, his mouth open to continue his tirade, stood in stunned silence for a moment, as the Kyuubi’s words sunk in. Did he really want to abandon everybody that he cared for? Would he really make all of the sacrifices – his childhood, Zabuza, Haku, and his friends’ injuries from this mission – completely in vain? Did he really want to crush the hopes of those who he knew were praying for him to come home? Especially Sakura? Sakura! How could he forget about her! Yes, she was praying that he would bring Sasuke home, but if he died, who would help her pick up the pieces of her life and keep going? Naruto didn’t know if anybody could. He knew she was strong – stronger than many gave her credit for, but nobody could help her with something like this. Without talking to somebody else who had lived it, nothing would ever feel right ever again. He knew that from experience.
At that moment, Naruto decided. Come Hell or high water, he would help those he cared for- even if it meant becoming the very thing that the villagers hated him for harboring.
“Alright,” Naruto sighed. “Let’s get it over with.”
“Excellent!” Tatsuki cried, glad that he had actually used his brain instead of his feelings for once. “It’s actually a fairly simple process, but it will hurt. A lot. More than you’ve ever hurt in your entire life.”
“Anything to protect my friends.”
“Then let’s get started.” Tatsuki gave him a mournful smile, and then went to work. Eight of her red tails slashed through the air, and ended up hovering a millimeter above the locations of Naruto’s eight Celestial Gates. The ninth tail snaked around as well, and came to a stop right over his Base Chakra (2). Naruto began to feel very nervous about the process, when Tatsuki suddenly drove the tails through his skin and bones, and into the major spiritual centers of Naruto’s body. Knowing that she only had a small window of opportunity to make this work, she began pumping demonic chakra into his body as fast as she could. Thirty seconds later, and Tatsuki had finished. Naruto lay on the floor, bleeding from nine gaping wounds, and Tatsuki was panting- she had never used that much chakra turning somebody before. She looked around, and saw that the environment appeared to be dissolving, as well as Naruto. As the walls melted, she smiled happily- she had succeeded. Now she only needed to worry about staying in contact with Naruto, the only thing that could keep her from dissolving like the boy’s mindscape.
Naruto came to about five feet from the top of the waterfall. He was thankful that the entire process had taken place at the speed of thought, but now was waiting for whatever the fox did to him to kick in. Suddenly, as he fell off the edge, he felt something- shift. It was like he was suddenly just not there. And yet, somehow, he could look down and see himself perfectly. It was all very strange. And then he noticed something else- he was no longer falling! He wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and so he decided that he needed to get to high ground far away from the waterfall. Well, the highest ground was on top of the Shodai’s statue, so he went there. That was another strange thing- one minute, he was floating by the waterfall, and the next he was on top of the statue! It was all so confusing. And then, suddenly, he felt like he was there again. He looked down, and saw what appeared to be little squares of flesh, the size of confetti, sticking to his body, which was completely red, as if he had been skinned. But that couldn’t be right, because he would have felt it, right? Then, Naruto looked down at his left side, hoping against hope that his arm would still be there. But, alas, it wasn’t. Instead, he had an arm, but it wasn’t his. It was substantially darker than his other skin, almost a caramel color instead of the fairly light tan he had. The muscle on it was stringy but dense, and he could count each and every vein. And then there was the hand- it was slightly bigger than his right hand, and the fingers were a little longer than their counterparts on the right. They also ended in nails that looked more akin to claws than fingernails. (3) After pulling off his tattered shirt to check his other wounds, Naruto noticed that the dark skin ended roughly at his elbow. The dark tan continued up his arm, gradually flowing into the light tan that covered his skin, but the majority of it simply stopped at his elbow, revealing the seam between whatever was left of his human arm, and this new, what he supposed was demonic, appendage. He also noticed that he had a fairly dark stripe of skin on the left side of his chest, right over his heart. He supposed that was the place where Sasuke shoved his hand through, and ripped it out.
Suddenly, Naruto sensed something. It felt like a familiar chakra, which was weird – Naruto knew that he could not sense chakra before, and he didn’t know how he knew the chakra was familiar, let alone friendly. Filing that little tidbit of information away into a quickly growing list that was aptly named “Things to ask the Fox about when I get a chance”, Naruto turned to meet the new arrival.
Hatake Kakashi charged through the bushes, praying to whatever deity was listening that he got there before Naruto and Sasuke killed each other. He had felt the chakra spike and seen the black-and-white dome that marked the clash of two powerful techniques and picked up his pace. Then, he felt the second, larger spike, and hurried even more. That chakra felt different – almost demonic. He hoped he could make it in time.
He neared the valley, broke through the tree line, and saw exactly what he had feared.
Blood covered the ground, some places had mere splotches, and others had decently-sized puddles. And Naruto stood, alone, on the head of one of the statues. Something about him was different, but at that distance, Kakashi could not tell what.
“Naruto!” He called out, “Where’s Sasuke?”
“I don’t know, Sensei,” Naruto responded, anger and utter annoyance blending in his voice. “He stabbed me in the chest with that Chidori thing you taught him, and I fell in the water. I guess he ran off to wherever he wanted to go. If it weren’t for the fuzzball in my gut, I would have died.”
Kakashi started. Sasuke? Stabbed Naruto with the Chidori? And then ran off to Orochimaru? No! That couldn’t be! He would have never – and then Kakashi stopped. He realized something at that moment, something that he should have seen long before. Sasuke was not him. He was not Sasuke. Naruto was not Obito, and Sakura was not Rin. He had been superimposing his old team on his genin squad. Had he not, he would have seen that Sasuke had been slipping, and would have never taught him the Chidori. Unstable people, ninja or no, did not need to know A-ranked assassination techniques. He had high hopes for Sasuke, and had been grooming him to become the next Copy-Nin of Konoha. Had he looked “underneath the underneath”, as he once told Naruto, he would have seen that Sasuke did not have the requisite maturity to learn such a devastating jutsu. And, unfortunately, it had nearly cost him the life of one of his students to learn that lesson. Then, as he closed on Naruto to make sure that he had no lasting injuries and to help him home, Kakashi noticed what he thought was different. Naruto’s hair was no longer what he had dubbed “radiation blond”. Instead, it was more of a strawberry blond. And his ears. His ears were pointed at the top, and reminded him of children’s stories featuring elves. The most striking difference though, was the dark stripe of skin on his chest, and the dark skin on his arm.
“Naruto,” he asked, “why is your skin a different color on your arm and chest?”
“Honestly, Kakashi-sensei, I’m not sure. I think I have an idea, but I need to run it by Baa-chan and see if it’s even possible before I say anything.”
Kakashi nodded- he’d been in situations like that as well. Giving Naruto a quick once-over and assuring himself that the boy would survive the trip, Kakashi set a brisk pace back to the village.
“And that’s what happened, Baa-chan,” Naruto concluded.
The only thing keeping Tsunade from punching Naruto in the side of the head was the fact that he just got back from a near-lethal mission, and the pure shock that his story created. She could understand his reasoning, even if she didn’t like it- he was dying, about to fall two-hundred feet, and wanted to keep his friends safe. He really did have nothing to lose. However, learning that he had made a deal with a demon (especially one of the opposite sex- she had used her gender to get information on MANY a mission. Guys were REALLY stupid when they didn’t use the head on their shoulders) still made her uncomfortable.
“So,” Tsunade asked, her tone deceptively mild, “you said that the Kyuubi pumped you full of demonic chakra, right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“So then, does that mean that you are now a demon?”
Naruto spluttered indignantly for a few moments, before finally letting out a very heartfelt “HELL NO!” Sputtering for a few more moments after the outburst, he finally calmed himself enough to talk. “I talked to the Kyuubi while we were returning to the village,” Naruto continued, “and she said that, while I am definitely no longer human, I am not a full demon either. Somewhere in the middle would be our guess, but she said, and I quote: ‘We shouldn’t get into fractions- after all, what does it mean to be a half-demon instead of a quarter-demon? Does it mean you are one-quarter better? It’s so much easier to just think that you are neither human, nor demon, but a bit of both’.”
Tsunade was stunned for the second time in as many minutes. She knew the Kyuubi was capable of higher-level thought, as was evidenced by its prioritizing of targets when it attacked Konoha, but she would have never thought it could think so abstractly! Then, worried about what that could mean for the future of Konoha, she decided to ask Naruto about the Kyuubi’s motivations for attacking.
“Funny- I asked about that too,” Naruto responded. “And she said that she was, quote, ‘young and stupid, and disregarded orders from Inari-sama to avoid human settlements.’ Apparently, she was heading for Rai no Kuni, looking for her sparring partner, when she accidentally stepped on the wrong person, and got too near Konoha. We overreacted, and the rest is history.”
“How do you know that the Kyuubi was not lying?”
“You know the whole ‘demon breaking its word’ thing? Apparently, that’s true. She swore to tell the truth, and she didn’t burst into a ball of flames, melt, or anything.” For her part, Tsunade, reeling from the bombshells that Naruto just dropped, merely signaled him out of her office, wondering what the brat had gotten himself into this time.
(1)- No, you don’t need to worry- this bloodline will NOT, under ANY circumstances be some sort of “Deus Ex” doujutsu. Full stop. I based it around the idea that, if the Yondaime were to use the Hiraishin no jutsu, there is a very good chance that he would faceplant into a tree, or even worse, unless his mind could process sensory input faster – specifically, input from the eyes.
(2)- I bet some of you are wondering- why the Base Chakra? Well, I’ll tell you. It was the only one that I could be sure would not be near another tail. The Crown and Third Eye Chakras are out because Naruto already has two tails going into his brain, he doesn’t need a third. The Throat Chakra would take his head off, so that’s out, too. As for the other three? I’m not sure of the exact placement of the Eight Gates, so I just sorta guessed, and went for the only Chakra that I know was not near a Gate.
(3)- As for Naruto’s transformation, I envisioned something like that chapter (or episode, for those of you watching the anime) of Bleach where Don What’s-His-Face (Kanoji? Something like that…) rips the chain out of the ghost’s chest and the guy just evaporates, and then he reforms on top of the building. I hope I described it well enough, but I probably didn’t. And, if you want to know exactly what Naruto’s left arm looks like, from the elbow down, replace it with Jack Carver’s from FarCry: Instincts, after he goes feral. Same color and everything, minus the tattoo (though he might get one later – I dunno).