Author's Note: It has come to my attention that due to the similarities this fanfic has to Naruto canon, I should outright mention that many things will be either changed to what I feel fixes several minor plotholes, and additionally, there might be a few calls I make that are either disputed or pure headcanon on my part. Despite similarities, this should likely be considered AU.

That said, I am receptive to criticism, and if anyone has something they want to bring to me (other than "that isn't how things are supposed to work"), I am happy to hear it. (Also, if someone believes there is a mistake rather than a purposeful change, let me know as well. While I reference Naruto material often, I am not perfect, and have only fully watched the series from start to finish once.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Kurama was not a being that most would consider slow. Powerful? Yeah, sure. Arrogant? He could probably give Orochimaru a run for his money. But despite his fondness for chakra bombs that could level mountains, or just, you know, sitting on people, he really knew his way around a battlefield, and could be surprisingly tricky. If something caught his attention, his focus was instant, laser-like, and –

...Okay, maybe he was a little hard to wake up.

This time, though, waking up was a little stranger than usual. He didn't seem to be in a sewer, for one. Also, he didn't seem to be laying down.

Did Naruto switch with me? I hope he knows I actually don't know that many ninjutsu. And what's the deal with not telling me before doing something this stupid?

...Okay, that was likely the exact reason he didn't tell me. Just exactly is going through your head, you stupid brat-

His head crashed into the ground. It wasn't particularly gentle.

Naruto? What the hell are you doing in there? I was asleep? What's going on?

Bindings tightened around him. Hard enough where he could actually feel that they were chains through his fur.

Kurama growled. This was getting nowhere fast. Worse, he didn't even need to open his eyes to know that there was more than one being right in front of him that hated him with immense passion.

Or Naruto. It was hard to tell. Lots of people tended to not distinguish them, which was annoying as hell.

As long as it isn't those damn Uchiha. I hate those stupid control freaks, and I don't want to hear a word of it, Naruto.

Still, he got no response from his… well, Kurama would have once called him a warden, but after he removed the seal, and, well, trusted him a little more than was probably wise, the only thing keeping him actually bound was that he really didn't want to kill the kid. Especially after Naruto stopped taking his chakra without asking.

So maybe friend really was the correct term, as much as he wanted to gag when thinking about it.

These two sources of hatred in front of him... They certainly didn't move like they were at full battle strength, so it was unlikely that Naruto just decided to mess with him and make him fight instead. But something was definitely up with Naruto right now. He usually responded right away.

Based on the chains, which were uncomfortably familiar, his enemy probably had talent with sealing.

He growled again.

If those bastards sealed Naruto…

Well, they certainly weren't going to get the same treatment as his friend.

He didn't open his eyes. He didn't even try to stand up, to break the chains that were binding him, even though they didn't even feel like they were close to the magnitude really needed to seal him.

No, why would he give away an advantage like that?

Especially when they decided to line up so perfectly like that?

Minato was confused.

The sensation was not totally unfamiliar to him, as his wife caused this state frequently. But battle was always a different matter. He always knew what to do. But not now.

The Kyuubi had simply… stopped. He had broken that man's control over the beast a minute prior, and all that it had done was close its eyes. This wasn't anything close to normal behavior.

It barely reacted to Kushina's chains, either, which was completely baffling.

Yet that was no reason not to take advantage of the strange situation.

The unfortunate truth to the matter, the truth that Minato did not want to admit, was that Kushina would likely die soon.

It was really rather simple. She was a Jinchuuriki, and her biju had been extracted.

While it should have been possible to re-seal the creature, especially bound as it was, Kushina was already deathly low on chakra, and would be immediately overwhelmed. Not to mention that his own chakra was low enough after teleporting several biju bombs. In order to seal the Kyuubi away completely… well, he would need her help, making the situation only worse.

The beasts were beings of chakra, though. Perhaps if he were only to seal the beast in parts…

The attack came quickly. Too quickly, compared to all the other attacks he had defended against previously.

On reflection, he was actually unsure whether his body's refusal to move was the result of genuine surprise, or his subconscious realizing that Naruto was directly behind him, and would have easily been caught by the attack.

But that was irrelevant at the moment. He no longer had the time for three seals. He barely had time for one.


She tensed behind him. "Of course."

The beast seemed to freeze. The pressure of the Kyuubi's immense claw through their bodies ceased, and even Kushina's chains seemed to settle oddly on the creature's fur.

Its eyes were open for the first time, and Minato almost faltered.

Kushina's chains shattered as his seal activated, the beast contorting as it flew into Minato's infant son.

Its departure was their death knell, its claws still real enough to tear through the rest of their bodies.

But all he could think about was how strange it looked, for an expression like that to be on a face that evil.

What could cause such a creature to feel such horror?

Kurama found himself once more in a cage, though that was almost irrelevant. He was used to that.

He knew where he was now. He knew when he was now, as impossible as that seemed.

And so, due to his own stupidity, he had cost Naruto his parents once again. He had almost cost Naruto his life, simply because he assumed that malice meant an enemy.

He tried to excuse the error by pointing out to himself that it was a perfectly reasonable assumption to make, given the recent Shinobi alliance and a great many people accepting Naruto, and even himself, as if not a friend, then an ally. Anybody else was trying to literally end the world.

That thought rang hollow when he realized that a simple half second of thought and observation would have meant Naruto could have grown up loved. Grown up as a hero, like the one he had become. Or at the very least, not treated like Kurama was.

But the room was dark, the water was cold, and he would have a long, long time to think on exactly what went wrong. And how he was going to fix it.