The Winged Fox
Chapter One: Meeting and Betrayal
"Hello" human talking
"Hello" Kyuubi talking
Five years after the Kyuubi attack on Konoha
A small boy in clean but ragged clothing walked smiling through the village marketplace. He did it everyday just trying to get something edible to get him by another day. Sometimes there would be a traveling merchant band that would treat him like any other kid. Some of them even liked the whisker like marks on his cheeks and gave him some free food.
Unfortunately, the town's more established restaurants, stalls, and carts would either ignore him or treat him like vermin. He could yell at the top of his lungs and only get a sore throat or a kick in the rear for his troubles. He had no parents or friends to help him out, and could be seen walking alone wherever he went.
One day this boy went into the wooded areas within the village walls to get away from a particularly nasty dango dealer. His smile was gone, and tears ran freely down his cheeks. He felt empty, both in his stomach and in his heart. How he wished for friends, just someone to talk to. Anyone would do.
"Isn't there anyone who'll talk to me?!" He did know one person who talked to him, and he was nice. The old man with the big hat, but he was too busy to come by most of the time. Generally birthdays or to tell him about the academy he was going to start in the fall, where he'd get to meet lots of kids his age without their parents around to mess it up.
As much as he liked the old man, the boy wanted someone to be here right now. Someone who could help him understand why people acted the way they did. It was all he really thought about.
He stayed in the forest so long he fell asleep, hoping to dream of having a family. In his dreams, however, he saw only death and destruction. The village he lived in being attacked by a giant red fire. It was kept moving towards a tiny white flame until a yellow bolt of lightning came and tied up the red fire. The lightning pushed the giant red fire into the little white one, and for a moment the lightning seemed to hover over the tiny flame protectively before disappearing.
The boy awoke with a start, crying again but without knowing why exactly. The dream seemed so different from any he could remember, most of those involved being surrounded by food and friends. He couldn't say why, but when he saw the bolt of lightning fade it filled him with great sadness.
"As it should be, little one."
The boy's head shot up at the powerful voice.
"Who's there?" Equal amounts of hope and fear laced his voice.
"I am the Kyuubi no Kitsune. The Nine-tailed Demon Fox who was the red fire in your dream."
The boy looked up and realized that he wasn't in the forest anymore, but a sewer like the ones he had hidden in before to get away from the emptiness. Water halfway up his leg filled the room he was in. In front of him was a giant gate with a piece of paper on it with the word "Seal" on it. Behind the gate was a young man, wearing red and black clothes. He had hair as dark as the night sky and his eyes were a brilliant shade of red.
"You don't look like a Nine Tailed Fox."
"I took this form so you wouldn't be frightened. My true form is much bigger and much more frightening."
"I'm not scared of anything! I'm going to be Hokage like the old man! Show me your true form; I'm not going to be scared!" Naruto's face and voice both plainly showed his anger.
The young man seemed to bristle for a moment before he began laughing.
"You've got guts kid. Okay, I'll show you my true form, but don't say I didn't warn you."
"Come on get on with it already! Let's see the great Kyuubi no Kitsune!"
The young man's smirk could only be called feral when red fire-chakra started growing out of the ground, circling the youth. After picking up some speed the chakra flames sprung from the ground and enveloped the young man. The fire grew until it was as tall as the Hokage Tower when it disappeared, like a great breath had blown it out like a candle. Where the young man had been was a giant fox with nine tails twisting and dancing behind the red body of Naruto's new acquaintance.
Naruto was in shock. One of its teeth looked bigger than he did, and the power he felt was enough to make him take a step back. He did not, however, show any sign of fear, only awe.
"That was so cool! Can you teach me to do that?" Naruto's enthusiastic response surprised the Fox, who chuckled within his cage.
"What is your name boy? I would know my vessel."
"U-uzumaki Naruto. Um, where are we?" The boy realized he'd forgotten to find out where he was, or how he got there.
"This is your mindscape, Naruto-kun. Do you know how you came to be here?"
Naruto just shook his head.
The Kyuubi sighed. "Your desire to have a friend allowed your mind to contact me and showed you how we came to be joined like this."
Naruto looked up at the great demon and asked in a half-hopeful tone, "So does that mean you'll be my friend?"
"Yes Naruto, I will be your friend."
Little Naruto jumped for joy, then began dancing. All the while screaming, "YATTA! I'VE GOT A FRIEND! YATTA!"
"How can one so small have such a loud voice?" quietly murmured the Kyuubi, cringing at the boy's volume.
Naruto suddenly stopped and looked at his first friend. "So if you were the red fire in my dream, what was the yellow lightning? It seemed so sad when it faded away."
The massive maw released a sigh. "That would be the Yondaime Hokage. He was once a good friend of mine, and I was on my way to visit him that day when I was attacked by a great dragon. It used its power to unleash my demonic love of destruction and set me loose on my friend's home. He sealed me into you in the hope of saving both his village and myself, but it cost him his life."
Naruto looked sadly at the water that covered the floor. "That's why no one likes me isn't it?"
"Unfortunately yes, their fear of me makes them fear and hate you. For this I am truly sorry." Kyuubi bowed his head in apology.
Naruto broke out into a bright grin. "Don't worry about it; they'll all respect me once I become Hokage. Then they'll be my friends too."
The Kyuubi looked intently at the boy for a moment, weighing what he said with the scrawny child before him. "Hokage, eh? If you want to be Hokage, then you'll have to be able to be the strongest ninja in this village. It will take a lot of work, but we might just make you up to the task when the time comes."
Naruto's eyes became as big and watery as freshly washed saucers. "Do you mean you'll train me?" The Kyuubi could barely hear him with his large and sensitive ears.
"Consider it my repaying the debt of causing your village to hate you. This won't be easy, but if you are willing I can train you to the best of my ability. While I don't know any human techniques, I can teach you to control your chakra and strengthen your body. That's the best I can offer you since you unfortunately lack the power to perform even the weakest of my techniques."
Naruto looked like Christmas had come early. "Are you kidding? That's great! But . . . what's 'chakra'?"
The Kyuubi's head met the ground in a facefault. "You've got to be kidding me. This will take more work than I thought." Fortunately Naruto couldn't understand what his new teacher just said, with Kyuubi's voice muffled by the floor. Kyuubi pulled himself off the ground and looked at his student. "Come closer kid, I got some things that will help your training go faster."
"Yes, it most certainly will."
Once Naruto was right in front of the gate, Kyuubi exhaled powerful. A thin thread of chakra left his fang-filled mouth and flew over to Naruto, quickly entering his ear. After a moment, Naruto felt like he was choking and when he opened his mouth, a blue thread of chakra went from his mouth to Kyuubi's ear. The two threads grew brighter for a moment before fading.
So Naruto's training began with a demanding regimen of running, pushups, and carrying around heavy objects from place to place (logs, rocks, pails of water, etc.). It took several months before Kyuubi was satisfied with his progress, then Naruto began his first chakra exercise.
Naruto was currently standing in front of a tree wondering what his training would start with. "Okay Kyuubi-sensei, let's get started already!" Naruto was bouncing with barely contained excitement as well as the joy of not carrying another water bucket.
"Patience Naruto. Self-control is an important trait of a ninja, after all."
Naruto stood still for a moment before slowly bending his arms and legs.
"What are you doing now?"
"Working on self-control, Kyuubi-sensei. Am I doing it right?"
" . . ."
Naruto began to hear banging sounds on his link with his demonic trainer. Naruto asked his sensei what was the matter in a worried voice, but only got silence. After repeated calls the Kyuubi finally responded in a very agitated voice.
"The self-control I was referring to was of the mind, not the body. Now onto your first lesson - tree walking."
"Tree-walking? How do I walk on trees?"
"With chakra, of course."
"Oh . . . what was chakra again?"
"Didn't you already ask that question?" Kyuubi sounded very irritated at being questioned again.
"Oh yeah . . . but you never told me the first time I asked?!"
Kyuubi almost blushed at the mental mistake, silently cursing the boy for his highly distractive nature. "Oh all right. Chakra, as humans know it, is a blending of physical and spiritual energies."
"Huh?" Naruto's face had gathered at its center in a confused expression. "Physical and spiritual energies? Where am I supposed to find those? Are they in the tree? Is that why I supposed to walk up this tree, to collect the energy then put it in a blender?"
Kyuubi's face once again met the ground in a face-fault. After he had pulled himself away from this renewed acquaintance, he spoke in a slow calm voice, struggling to hide the irritation and frustration he was feelling in mass quantities.
"You already have the two energies. Physical energy is the energy in your body, and spiritual energy is the energy contained in the non-physical part of yourself. And to blend something just means to mix the parts together. Understand?"
Naruto stopped to think about this for a moment. "I think so. So you want me to walk up this tree to learn how to mix those two energy things together?"
"YES! I think you're finally catching on."
Naruto felt very proud of himself for having figured this out. He just didn't know his teacher was being very sarcastic about what he just said. He did, however, notice one minor detail they hadn't covered. "So how do I mix them up?"
Kyuubi sighed as he realized that this was how everything was going to be, endless questions he'd have to answer. How tedious.
"I guess THAT should be our first lesson, since having you die from a broken neck would seriously interfere with my plans for you kid. Don't ask questions, just sit down and do what I tell you. Okay?"
"Alright, you need to breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for a moment then breathe out through your mouth. You think you can handle that?"
"I think I can handle breathing Kyuubi-sensei."
"No talking, just breathing. Or I drop chakra control from the list and you never become Hokage?"
"But you promised to help me become Hokage!"
"Then you must do exactly what I tell you! Now, resume the breathing exercise. Remember, no talking."
Naruto kept silent this time and began to do what he had been told. After many failed attempts to keep still during the exercise, Naruto was finally able to achieve a proper meditative trance.
"Good, now slow everything down. Feel the flow of energy inside of your body. Focus on the strongest flow, and follow that to your center. That's where all the flows connect."
Again, it took several attempts to keep his attention where he was instructed, but he finally managed it after a few screams from his sensei. Once his attention was on the swirling energies at his center he couldn't stop mentally gawking at it. Since Naruto had never felt chakra before, he wasn't ready for the rush that hit him like a raging river. He felt energized, pumped, and just plain alive.
His whisper broke his concentration and his link with his chakra was broken. Naruto breathed heavily at the exhaustion he felt, as well as the empty feeling that he now felt in his stomach. Taking a deep breath, he began again the process of reaching his energies. As Kyuubi had said, the second time took much fewer tries than the first, familiarity and hunger giving the boy an edge this time around.
This time he basked in the feelings of power and energy. When his hunger was satisfied for now, Naruto took a closer look at the energies and noticed the different feels that they all had. Curiosity took hold as he tried to feel them all. The more he focused the clearer the mental image became. Then it seemed as if he was looking at them with his regular eyes. Come to think of it, why did his feet feel wet?
He was in his head again! Just like when he talked with Kyuubi-sensei.
At that very thought, a very amused rumble filled his ears.
"Well, you seem to have learned this particular lesson rather quickly. Given your past performance, I would have thought you'd need me to hold your hand the whole way."
"Kyuubi-sensei, that was awesome … I had no idea chakra felt like this." Naruto's hushed whisper filled the silent mindscape.
"Kid, you've barely begun to feel power. Now that we're both here, I'll show you how your body mixes these chaotic energies into stable chakra."
Naruto could only look openmouthed as a pale blue mass of light mixed with something that to Naruto looked like thick transparent air. The resulting blue flame was bright and joined the flow of power within the blond boy. Naruto tried to make more chakra and felt both stronger and more tired after each attempt. He tried one more time, wanting to see more of the blue fire, but he instead fell into the black grip of unconsciousness.
"YOU IDIOT! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL YOURSELF?!"
"I was just trying to make more chakra. Isn't that a good thing?"
Kyuubi took a couple breaths and got his voice to stop echoing inside his vessel's mindscape. "Yes, more chakra is a good thing, but comes from your energies and if you run out of those then you will die. I'm guessing you don't want that to happen."
Naruto shook his head vigorously.
"Good. Now, since you're half-dead I suggest that you go home and sleep to get your strength back. Understand?"
"And don't forget to eat something! Your body needs food to make all that energy you just saw."
"But where? Nobody from here will give me anything?" Naruto had begun to cry at this point, feeling again the loneliness Kyuubi had helped dispel.
"Find someone! Crying about it isn't going to help. Just go and find someone!"
Naruto began wandering through the village, hoping to find some kind soul that would let him eat something good. Eventually he came to little stall with a dirty countertop but the mouth-watering smells coming from the kitchen were more than enough to tempt the hungry tyke.
"Um, excuse me?"
A man with graying brown hair looked down at the small boy in the tattered clothes and Naruto wondered why the man stared wide-eyed at him for a moment before a smile lit up his worn face. "Hey kiddo, you like ramen?" His voice was inviting and Naruto didn't see a hint of malice in the older man's eyes.
Naruto didn't know what ramen was, but his stomach apparently did because it answered the man loudly. The man laughed as Naruto sheepishly smiled and scratched the back of his head. The man turned and called out to the back of the stand. "Ayame, will you keep our new customer company while I whip him up some ramen?"
A voice came from a storage room in the back. "Sure Dad." Naruto looked over to see "Ayame" but no one came out.
"Hi! What's your name?" This bright energetic greeting came from behind Naruto and caused him to fall off his stool. He was caught by two slender yet strong arms that helped him get back to his seat. "Sorry to startle you, but the look on your face was worth it."
Naruto finally got a look at his ambusher and saw a girl older than he was with brown hair and a very enthusiastic smile. Naruto could feel his cheek heat up a bit and chuckled nervously, scratching the back of head once again. Ayame looked at him expectantly. He glanced at the chef and saw him busy with dough. He looked back at Ayame, who was still staring at him. "What?!" His indignant shout came out as more of a squeak, causing the heat in his cheeks to get hotter.
Ayame seemed to just ignore the blush on his cheeks as well as his question. "I asked you a question. You haven't answered me yet."
Her matter-of-fact tone of voice made his blush deepen with irritation and embarrassment. "What question?"
"When I said hello, I asked for your name."
"You did?" Naruto looked at the girl like she was nuts, but after another brief stare-off; he just shrugged and put on a toothy grin. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto and I'm going to be Hokage!"
Ayame's eyebrows raised at his loud announcement. "Aren't you a little young to be Hokage?"
Naruto let out a loud exasperated sigh. "I'm not talking about tomorrow, but I will be Hokage one day!"
Ayame smiled at his enthusiasm and ruffled his hair affectionately. Naruto vainly tried to keep her from ruffling his already messy hair. He looked at her again and finally realized that he had heard her voice from inside the stall a few seconds before she'd surprised him from behind. This confused him and he asked her about it. She just smiled.
"I used to be in the Ninja Academy, but Dad needed help in here at the stand. I did learn a bit about chakra and know a bit about sneaking around." She glanced at the chef and leaned over and whispered conspiringly, "Helps when I want a midnight snack."
Naruto stared at her admiringly for a moment before a bowl of tasty smells was set right next to him. "Here you go, one bowl of miso ramen." The pride was evident in the chef's voice.
Naruto looked at the bowl and inhaled the aroma greedily, before reaching for the bowl with his hands.
"NOOOO!" The chef's scream caused Naruto to freeze. The hungry child looked at the man with terrified eyes, clutching possessively at the bowl in his hands. Was the man going to take the bowl with the yummy smells away? The man took a few breaths and seemed calmer. He pointed at a cup with sticks in it. "Use the chop-sticks, not your hands. The soup's hot, and I didn't want you to burn yourself."
Naruto relaxed at the explanation and grabbed some "chopped sticks." He looked at them for a moment before looking at the chef. "Now what do I do?"
The chef stared at the boy incredulously before letting out a guffaw and told Ayame to teach the kid while he went back to tending his kitchen. With great patience, Ayame showed Naruto how to hold the chop sticks and how to eat with them. After many tries and three sets of chop-sticks, Naruto finally managed to eat the whole bowl. He knew he should have been full but his seemed to growl louder than when he first arrived.
The chef looked over and smiled and silently put another much bigger bowl in front of Naruto went back to work. Naruto loudly thanked "Mr. Ramen" which set Ayame into another fit of giggles. Those ended when Naruto dubbed her Ramen-Hime, and it was her father's turn to laugh.
After the new bowl was devoured, Naruto felt his fatigue came back in full force and asked how much he owed.
The chef looked at him for a long moment before telling him cheerfully, "Well, the first bowl was on the house . . . " He stopped when he saw Naruto's confused stare at the roof of the stand. "That means it was free, but the second bowl will cost 10 ryu."
Ayame looked at her father with a shocked expression. His responding look told her to keep quiet. Naruto didn't notice any of this, exited as he was at the tasty yet cheap food. He paid and dragged himself home. He almost missed Kyuubi voice in his half asleep state.
Naruto couldn't summon the energy to make a reply as he fell into his nice warm bed. Dreams of tasty ramen and nice people welcomed him.
"Doesn't this get any easier?"
"If you weren't such a dunce, we would have to do this all the time. Now try it again."
"Okay. Here I go!"
A week had passed since the near fatal lesson about chakra, and Naruto had made little progress in his lessons on chakra control. The principle was simple enough: Focus chakra to the soles of his feet so they stick to the tree. The execution, however-
"Ahhhhh, not again!"
Suffice it to say that Naruto's attempts at doggedly running at the tree while pushing chakra in the direction of his feet weren't very effective.
"Enough brat, this isn't working. You start the Ninja Academy in a month, so they can help you learn how humans use chakra. Until then, back to physical training."
Naruto's only response was a groan.
That fall, Naruto started the Academy and was reacquainted with the distaste most of the village regarded him with. He had almost forgotten it while training with Kyuubi and only talking with Ayame and Teuchi (he'd finally asked the chef for his name). This distaste increased because of his early admission into the Academy.
At first he did well, especially in the physical and chakra manipulation lessons. His academic progression was minimal as he had little interest in those subjects. The only exception was the history lessons about the Hokages, which he more attention than anyone else.
Ayame had continued to sneak up on him, but eventually he was able to detect her. She wanted him to teach her some of the things he learned in the Academy, but due to Kyuubi's instructions to the contrary he always told her no with a childish grin.
Between Academy lessons, eating ramen at Ichiraku's (Teuchi and Ayame's stand), and his ongoing lessons with Kyuubi, Naruto found little free time. Not that he wanted it. He felt stronger than ever and, except at the Academy, he didn't have to deal with the cold looks most people gave him. He had finally learned the tree-climbing exercise using the hand seals he learned in the Academy to focus chakra, and less than a month later, mastered another chakra control technique that let him walk on water.
It was the happiest he had ever been.
A little over a year and a half after meeting the Kyuubi, Naruto was sitting in a tree resting from his morning workout. While sitting there he saw two girls his age picking flowers, one with pink hair and one with pale blond hair. Keeping silent and not moving an inch, Naruto watched them with increasing envy. He wished he could join them, but experience had taught him that trying to play with kids his age lead to heartbreak and trying to play with older kids lead to bruises, with Ayame being the sole exception.
While in this state of observation, he noticed a rather angry looking girl with a group behind her making their way over to the girls he'd been watching. Using the enhanced hearing Kyuubi let him have, he picked up that they wanted to attack the two girls he was watching. Being the future Hokage that he was, Naruto jumped down to stop the bullies.
Naruto was looking at his blood soaked right hand in horror. He felt the need to throw up every time he thought about what he'd done, and what his multi-tailed sensei had asked of him.
He was kneeling in the forest far from where he'd been, trying to come to terms with what he'd done. The dried blood on his hand wouldn't let him forget.
"What are you doing?!"
Naruto froze at the fury in the Kyuubi's voice. "I hu-hur, I hurt that girl Sensei! I . . . I didn't act like a Hokage." His conflicted heart was further rent by the Kyuubi's next statement.
"You acted like a ninja."
"But Hokage's are the best ninja's, and they don't hurt the people in their village. Even the bullies. That's what the Old Man Hokage told me."
Naruto didn't hear a response from the Kyuubi and just stayed on the ground for several minutes.
"I see you're too much like that old fool, despite my influence."
Naruto's confusion was visible. "Why are you calling Old Man Hokage a fool? He's nice to me."
"If someone's a threat to you, you should remove them and the threat. That's the only way to survive."
"That doesn't sound right. That's not what being Hokage is all about. That's not what I believe, Kyuubi-sensei!"
After that last impassioned cry Naruto found himself back in his mindscape facing the Kyuubi's cage. To his shock he noticed that some of the bars had been broken and there was a gap in the demon's prison. Naruto cried in shock as red chakra came pouring out of the gap and formed a giant paw, slamming him to the ground.
"Kyuubi-sensei, what's going on? Why are you doing this?"
"Still don't get it you stupid little brat? I'm a demon, a power-hungry treacherous demon that doesn't do favors for anyone. Can you understand that you little imbecile?"
Naruto was speechless as his first friend betrayed him. Kyuubi just laughed at the hurt expression on the boy's face.
"Ha ha ha, you actually thought a mighty demon lord like me could ever by the friend of a pathetic little human like you. Ha ha ha ha HA, that's just rich. All this time I've been preparing your body so I could take it over, and when I do the first thing I'm going to do is burn down that little ramen shack you love so much."
Naruto felt anger flare within him at the demon's last taunt. He glared powerless under the chakra paw of the Kyuubi.
"And the best part is that fool of a Hokage will probably take pity on you afterwards. You've seen how good an actor I am; I think I can convince him to train me in the ninja arts. That will only increase my power, and when I'm done learning from him, I'll devour him and absorb his power. Won't that be fun?"
"You leave Old Man Hokage alone, and don't you dare touch Ayame-chan and Teuchi-ojisan. I'll stop you!"
"Really? HA! You can't even fight a fraction of my strength. What are you going to do, bite my toenails off?"
Naruto struggled under the weight of the paw and despite the fire he felt, he couldn't get free. He lay there breathing heavily, listening to the cruel laughter of the Kyuubi. He felt tears of helplessness flow from his eyes. Despite his confident shout before, he wasn't sure he could stop the beast that wanted to hurt his few other friends.
The trapped boy began to shout for help, while continuing his struggles with the fox. Naruto could feel control of his body slipping away as the Kyuubi started to take possession. Finally he focused everything and prayed to Kami that someone would help him.
A few miles from where Naruto was struggling with the Nine-Tailed Fox, a couple of ninjas were returning from a simple C ranked mission. As they rested under a tree they heard a deep rumbling coming from a nearby mountain. They looked at the mountain and started to go investigate when a great gout of flame burst from the base and turned towards their home village.
The worried ninjas raced to catch up with the flying fire.
A/N: Dang, that took a long time to write, and is the longest chapter I've ever done. This idea has been with me awhile and this will be an epic, going beyond the timeskip and Shippuden. Please tell me what you thought of my attempt at a new story universe.