So many disclaimers... but yeah, don't own Naruto yadayadayada...

Kusari no Naruto

The Kyuubi no Kitsune; the Nine-Tailed Fox, was said to be the most powerful of the Bijuu. A living natural disaster. For ages, back before time immemorial when the current names of the countries were barely a thought, it had been heralded as a sign of oncoming destruction. It was known as a mass of hatred and evil, its sheer presence cowing mortals as it cut swathes across the continent.

However that same fox, for all its power, currently found itself impotent within one Uzumaki Naruto, a young blonde-haired child from the Shinobi village of Konohagakure. Seven years ago, it was released from its previous container under unknown circumstances, only to almost immediately be sealed into a new-born. Not however, until it had cut a swathe of destruction across the village that would remain in their collective memory for generations.

Right now, the all-powerful Bijuu lay in the dank, dark confines of the eight-trigrams seal that was his prison. Great metal bars spanned his vision, leading into the more brightly lit room beyond, where he was sure that one day his container would stand before him as the others had. If he was anything like the last two, it would also be the last time they met. He would be told to remain silent and docile like some domesticated pet. That, or his new container would demand his power and keep him in the worst kind of servitude… just like that man.

Of course, the Kyuubi didn't particularly care about the idle whims of short-lived mortals, they would pass on while he remained, as it always had been and always would be. However, for such a long lived creature, to be imprisoned for even a fraction of that time was not only insulting, but infuriating. Not only that, but to add insult to injury, it was human to do it; the weak, feeble creatures his progenitor held in such high regard.

A low growl briefly escaped the beast's lips, echoing off into the empty space of the seal behind him which, as far as he could tell, was infinite. For once though, in his seven years of newly instated imprisonment, the echoing noise was not met by utter and all-consuming silence, but an answer.

"Still as grumpy as ever baka fox?"

Immediately, one great, bloodshot eye snapped open in the direction of the all too familiar voice. Sure enough, with her vivid red hair trailing down her back, stood his former container, tantalisingly out of reach behind the bars of the seal.

"Kushina." It was more of a growl than an actual attempt at speech, but it got the massive beast's point across.

"Huh, you look a lot smaller than I remember you, I get Mina-kun did a good job with the sealing."

That very same slitted eye narrowed dangerously as the Kyuubi snorted once, sending Kushina's hair fluttering from the hot exhalation. "You look a lot less dead than I remember you; I had hoped you would stay that way once you were impaled on my claw." As if to punctuate its words it lifted up one massive hand, clicking its gleaming white claws together just behind the bars.

Kushina remained unperturbed, an easy-going grin splitting her face as she leant almost casually against the bars. "Can't keep an Uzumaki down with a little thing like death; I'm going to protect my Sochi for as long as I can –'ttebane!"

At that exclamation the Kyuubi seemed to unfurl, sudden, furry bulk appearing out of the shadows that had previously concealed it. He rose up to his current full height, which was irritatingly below his prime, and stared down at Kushina, bringing his full presence to bear. Unfortunately it was greatly diluted by the blasted seal so Kushina was still able to grin right back at him, unintimidated by the walking catastrophe.

"And by protect..?" The beast turned its head so it could bring a single great eye around to peer at the woman. Despite his diminished size the Kyuubi's eye alone was still taller than her, and Kushina was able to see herself relected in his sclera as the massive slitted pupil narrowed.

"I'm going to make sure you can never hurt my Sochi –'ttebane!" The woman looked down at the ground for a moment, her features furrowing into a frown. "He's been hurt enough already." However, far from the reaction she was expecting the Kyuubi simply rose back up, a barking sound that could very well have been a laugh thundering through the seal.

"You would be very welcome to try Uzumaki, but as you can see, this is not your seal." To punctuate its booming words the lumbering creatures slammed both of its forepaws down on the shadowy ground within the cage, causing the entire seal to rumble. "Here, I am very much free, none of your chains to hold me down. Step within these shadows and I will make your end both long, and excruciating, for the imprisonment you subjected me to."

Briefly letting a slight look of worry pass over her features Kushina quickly found her resolve and steel quickly entered her violet eyes.

"You have only half your power now –'ttebane! My chains were good enough to hold you before, and they will be again; I'll make sure you'll never be able to hurt Naruto!" As she spoke Kushina began making long sweeping motions with her hands, drawing large black characters in the air that slowly snaked their way up and around her arm, down to her stomach. There, they created a facsimile of the seal written on her son's stomach which, upon completion, caused the small paper tag binding the bars of the cage together to flutter uselessly to the ground, revealing a spiral-esque lock.

"You will regret this decision human."

Kushina grinned back defiantly as she twisted the spiralled seal on her stomach, an action mirrored by the actual lock.

"Bring it on fuzzball –'ttebane!"

Normally when the average villager of Konohagakure no Sato thought of Uzumaki Naruto, and it would be a fleeting thought at best, not the most pleasant things came to mind. However, many would agree he was a rather hyperactive, ever-smiling, blonde nuisance of a child with a too-large mouth and an annoying, if not exuberant, voice. That was why they might not have recognised the sad child, slumped over on a swing in one of Konoha's parks, gently pushing himself back and forth with sluggish movements of his feet. Of course the sunflower-yellow, spiky hair and six whisker like marks on his cheeks gave him away, but the tears slowly leaking down his cheeks were a relatively unseen addition.

It had been at a young age when Naruto had first figured out that, for whatever reason, he was not well liked by the village in general. Years of being blatantly ignored by adults, children playing with him one day only to run away from him the next, or worse, call him names and pick on him, had taught him that well enough. However under the guidance of the nice old man he had recently come to know as the Hokage, he persevered, doing his best to get people to accept him, or just acknowledge him.

Of course he was a child, and there was only so far a child's patience lasted before it snapped, so occasionally he would lash out with a prank. For a time they seemed to get him some recognition, even if it was in the form of infamy, but soon enough people simply returned to ignoring his various outbursts. It was getting to the point that Naruto was beginning to believe he would have to do something bigger, or more extravagant to get people to stop ignoring him. A quiet sigh escaped his lips as he pushed back off the ground, never taking his eyes off the ground.

It hadn't been a good day; this morning he had made his breakfast as usual, but the milk was horribly expired. It was strange because he had bought that very same milk just the day before. All the same, it had made him incredibly queasy. He had decided to make up for it by going out to the park to see if there were any kids who would play with him; no luck there. The first group of kids he had come across had offered to play Ninja with him, letting him hide first. It had been almost an hour before he realised they weren't even looking for him.

Then, on his way back to see what had happened, he saw some bullies a few years older than him picking on a young girl with weird milky eyes. He had stood up to them only to get the snot beaten out of him, when he had managed to pick himself up the girl wasn't even there anymore; she probably ran off like all the others. Finally, as if to top off the worst day in recent memory, he had gone to a store to buy some replacement clothes for the ones the bullies had ripped and torn up only to get thrown out of the store; maybe not so much physically, but the shopkeeper had made sure he knew just how welcome he was.

Another sigh escaped his lips at the same time a shudder passed through his body, the sun was beginning to set and it was getting cold; his ripped clothes weren't exactly offering much protection. Still, he decided to just sit there for a while longer, at least until he could get the damn tears to stop falling down his cheeks.

The Kyuubi grinned menacingly as his tails swatted away anther volley of chains from the surprisingly fast-moving former Kunoichi. However, while he would never trade away his imposing size and intimidating presence, there was something to be said for having a smaller body, it made him lighter on his feet for one. He used that as he suddenly jumped into the air, shocking the Kunoichi who was a bit more used to seeing the Kyuubi stationary, bound to the rock within her own seal. He span in mid-air, his tails whipping around his form like some kind of furry buzz-saw before crashing into the ground right over where Kushina stood.

For a moment his rapidly spinning body ground against the hastily erected dome of chains Kushina had brought up, but while the Kyuubi was at only half-power at the moment, Kushina was a mere fragment of her former self and his overwhelming bulk and Chakra won out. However it had given Kushina enough time to dodge out of the way so instead he crashed into the seemingly indestructible ground. Suddenly there were hundreds of puffs of smoke around him as a plethora of Kushina's popped into existence about his body, all of them sending out dozens of bright golden chains at him.

"You're weak human!" While the chains were numerous, they were weakened by the division of the original's Chakra and the Kyuubi was able to lift himself up from where he was being restrained without much difficulty. Lashing out with his tails, he caused a plethora of smoky clouds to erupt about him with each shadow clone's destruction.

"You can't restrain me anymore!" The writhing beast managed to lift its head up high as little balls of black and white energy began to coalesce above his snout, forming a roiling purple sphere of energy… which quickly proceeded to shrink to the size of the average human fist.

Seeing what was happening the remaining Kushina clones all desperately tried to get away, some of them throwing up strong barriers with their chains. It was all for nought though as the Bijuu swallowed the massively condensed mass of unstable Chakra. A moment later it opened its mouth, releasing an enormous blast of energy in a near-constant stream that split through the air with a deafening ring. The seal shook from the tremors as the Kyuubi swung his head around, indiscriminately destroying any shadow clones in the vicinity, effortlessly tearing through their flimsy barriers.

When the bright white light finally died down the Fox grinned sadistically as he looked around for the original, even checking under its great paws to see if he stepped on her by accident. Slowly his tails swung behind him, flicking out every so often ad sending great gales in random directions, hoping to upset the little bug from her hiding place. Bared teeth, the size of two men, gleamed with saliva at the thought of the torture he would put his former container through.

Near the entrance of the cage Kushina suddenly sprang up from where she had been hiding, bolting towards the massive gates as fast as she was able. She had made a huge mistake coming into the seal; she had underestimated the Kyuubi massively and now not only her, but Naruto might pay for it. One arm hung limply at her side, burned and scorched, and her hair, usually a neatly combed waterfall, was a frayed mess. A smile alighted on her lips as her foot crossed the threshold of the seal only to immediately twist into a look of pure horror and shock.

"You lose human."

Shakily she looked down to see the long white claw emerging from her mid-section, an all too familiar scene. She fought through the pain, shooting out two chains from her palm that vanished into the corridors of the seal outside the gate. The Kyuubi grunted in annoyance at that, not quite understanding what she had done, especially when the chains disconnected from her hands and snaked off into the darkness of the hallways.

When he dragged the defeated woman back into the dark and silence of the seal, the massive gated bars slamming shut behind her due to the destruction of the temporary key on her stomach, she had a tired, but victorious smile on her face.

"I… haven't lost yet." Blood dribbled down the corner of her mouth as the Kyuubi lifted her up, still impaled through the mid-section, so they were somewhat face-to-face. "You've lost, you just don't know it yet, Naruto will beat you and become the saviour Mina-chan wanted him to be." For a moment there was silence as the two simply stared at one another in the darkness of the seal, Kushina staring up defiantly despite the grievous wound.

"It matters little, the boy will come to claim my Chakra only to lose himself in it. For now, I have you entertain me." At that Kushina grinned a bloody smile as her entire form started to fade away, the Chakra Minato had implanted into the seal running out.

"You're too late fuzzball, my time here's up and I've done all I can to make sure Naruto has every weapon he needs to defeat you." For a moment the Kyuubi frowned as he saw his retribution fade away in front of him before a far more malicious look overcame his features. Slowly, almost tauntingly he brought one of his long, swaying tails up over his shoulder, pressing it into Kushina's chest. The woman could only look on in horror as her semi-translucent form suddenly gained substance again as she was infused with a massive quantity of Chakra from the fox.

"I never gave you permission to die human."

Suddenly Kushina screamed as the Chakra began to burn at her. As if the Kyuubi was filling her with boiling hot magma, every nerve ending in her Chakra-constructed body screamed in pain.

"There's too many things we have left to do."

Naruto groaned as he walked along the street; the sun had set a while ago and eventually his tears had dried up, forcing him to sluggishly get off the swing and start walking back to his small apartment. As he walked he clutched at his stomach, wondering just what that milk had done to him as it felt like there was a small battle going on in his guts. He waved it off, wiping his brow of the sweat that had begun to accumulate there before groaning again. He kept going with thoughts that at least there was a warm bed waiting for him at home, and in a few days the Hokage had promised to take him to some Ramen stand the man said he would like.

The thoughts of warm ramen filling his nose and mouth got him another few streets before he finally had enough and slumped over on a nearby wall, his vision swimming uncomfortably. He felt bile rising up his throat and forced himself to swallow it down, only making him turn a paler shade of white as his eyes began to drift. Finally, with a small whimper, he fell over onto his side, his world going dark. The last thing he felt was a warm burning in his stomach that slowly spread out through his body from the soles of his feet to the tips of his fingers.

Oddly enough though it only felt like a moment later when his eyes flickered back open and he groggily pulled himself to his feet. He did absently wonder when it had started raining though as he was definitely lying in some kind of puddle. Through bleary eyes he quickly worked out he was no longer on the street; in fact he seemed to be in some long corridor that stretched off into darkness in both directions.

Confusion still wracking his mind he got up and began walking in the direction he felt wind coming from; he had explored Konoha's sewers once as an inquisitive child and that was the method he had used to find his way out. He kept walking for another five minutes, never encountering so much as a bend in the corridor. His fear began to show in the slight tremble in his lip, wondering just where he was and if he would ever get out. His worries were put to the side as he finally emerged into a large, cavernous room that's ceiling stretched far up into the darkness. One wall was completely dominated by an enormous metal gate.

"Uh, Hello?" He called. It was far more timid than he would have liked, but in this oppressive, empty room, with what looked suspiciously like prison bars, he couldn't help but feel nervous. Even now he felt warm gusts of air blow past him, ruffling his tattered clothes, yet he got the idea that venturing past the thick bars would be a terrible idea. "Hello!?" He tried again, louder this time, only to hear his own voice echo through the darkness beyond the cage, with no answer for a good few seconds.

"Naruto?" Suddenly, from the darkness that seemed like a tangible wall just behind the bars, a single feminine hand emerged, gripping the cold metal. It was quickly followed by the rest of her as a tall, red-haired woman emerged from the bars, her violet eyes tearing up as she looked at the young boy who wasn't sure what to make of all this. "Is that you, my Sochi?" Naruto unconsciously took a step back, wondering what kind of messed up dream he had fallen into. Seeing his recoil, the woman frowned, taking another step only to meet some kind of invisible wall.

"W-Who are you?"

The woman reached her hands out imploringly for a moment, a look of genuine longing in her eyes as she took in the young blonde-haired boy's reaction to her.

"Don't you recognise me Naruto? I'm your mother."

Naruto took another step back, his mouth working uselessly like a fish as his breath caught in his throat. Finally though, as a tear was about to escape his eye his face became indignant.

"You're not my mom, the old man said she died, a hero of Konoha!"

Almost instantly that warm, longing look on the woman's face melted away as if it had been nothing more than a thin mask, revealing a cruel smile and two slitted red eyes. The body dispersed into what looked like dust before flowing back into the seal where it was wallowed into the darkness. Instead, what emerged were those same vicious eyes, only scaled up a hundred times as Naruto felt an almost tangible weight settle over his shoulders.

"Ah well, it couldn't last forever," a very different voice boomed.

Naruto fell back, his breath quickening as the demon standing just a few meters away from him continued to bore into his small form with his gaze.

"Pitiful, this is the child they chose to be my container; at least the others could stand in my presence."

As if breaking the trance over him Naruto shook his head, managing to work himself onto his feet shakily, if nothing else to prove to whatever this creature was that he could.

"W-Wha…" Naruto shook his head again, trying to throw off the oppressive feeling falling across his body like layers of stiflingly hot snow. "What are you?"

His answer was an enormous gust of wind that was likely the creature snorting derisively. "How original; why don't you ask something interesting, like where you are?"

Naruto, surprisingly, found a scowl on his face at being so easily dismissed; he had enough of that from the villagers to get it from whatever this demon was.

"I asked you a question –'ttebayo!"

One of the great red eyes beyond the gate quirked up in amusement at that before both lowered so they could better stare at Naruto's now less shaky form. "Oh, some backbone appears in the little human; very well, I am the Kyuubi no Kitsune."

At that Naruto blinked, his mind going blank for a few moments; this was the creature that ravaged and nearly destroyed Konoha on the day of his birth?

"B-But the Yondaime-"

He was cut off by another large gust of warm breath that nearly bowled him over as the creature snorted again. "Could do little to stop a creature like me without sealing it into a human, and even then he could only do it halfway."

Naruto's mind was now working overtime; he knew little of Ninja arts like Fuuinjutsu, he would be learning those in a month's time when he joined the academy. However, one thing became starkly obvious to him as he looked up at the creature.

"Sealed in a human?"

Suddenly something new appeared from the shadows, a great long row of teeth in a vicious parody of a grin.

"Specifically, you."

Suddenly, so much made sense to Naruto; his birthdate coinciding with the Kyuubi attack, the villagers' hatred of him, the hushed whispers just out of earshot…

"B-But why? Why do they hate me if you're you and I'm me?" Either his whisper to himself had gone unheard by the Bijuu or the fox hadn't deigned to answer. It was obvious enough to him that he wasn't the Kyuubi, after all he was standing in front of the creature right now. "I…I…" For a moment Naruto looked down at his feet; his face rushing through a flurry of emotions before finally settling on one of determination.

"I don't care!" Behind the bars the Kyuubi simply watched on impassively, still grinning that gruesome smile. "I don't care if they hate me because if you; I'll just try harder and one day they'll recognise me; that's what the old man said!" There was silence as Naruto panted, feeling a little hoarse from his sudden bout of screaming up at the Kyuubi.

"You are foolish child."

Naruto looked up in surprise as the Kyuubi finally broke the silence, his grin never wavering for a moment.

"Humans are weak, idiotic creatures, slaves to their baser emotions. They are full of hatred and greed and will never break the endless cycle of suffering and pain they inflict on themselves. They will never accept you, because you represent what they fear, what they hate…" Despite the grin the Kyuubi's words were spoken forcefully, nearly making Naruto take a step back again. "…their own weakness."

Naruto frowned up at the colossal mass of Chakra, his stomach wavering as its oppressive presence pressed down on him."Why would I believe anything you say; you're a demon!" Another gust of air met him, casing his flimsy clothes to sway in the artificial breeze.

"A pathetic human title for beings beyond their comprehension; it matter little what I am, just that I accept it. Power is the only thing that will get you anywhere in your brief, fleeting life. Without it, the acknowledgment you seek will forever be out of your grasp." Suddenly the wide grin behind the bars grew even further as the massive beast inched his face forward until it was almost pressing at the bars. "I can offer you that power."

Right now Naruto believed the saying 'deal with the devil' never seemed more appropriate. "I don't need what you have to offer! I can become strong on my own –'ttebayo!"

The Fox merely grunted as it pulled its face away, the grin disappearing into the shadows and the eyes slowly closing.

"Believe what you will mortal, one day you will return for my power. Until that day struggle on with your pathetic life; you will come to see what I say holds true." With that the great eyes closed and the interior of the cage was once again nothing but darkness and shadow. Only the slow, steady breathing and the rushes of warm air showed the Kyuubi was still very much in there; a constant reminder of the burden Naruto was now aware of.

Before Naruto could retort, he felt his world turning dark once again, his body fading away.

When his eyes opened again it was to the darkened street corner he had collapsed on. With a groan he dragged himself to his knees before shakily standing up. For a moment he wondered if all of that was just some strange hallucination brought on by bad milk, but as a shudder passed down his spine some intrinsict part of him knew that had been all too real. He had felt every one of the Kyuubi's warm breaths, and shuddered at the reminder of the beast's overwhelming presence.

Still feeling groggy from it all, he stumbled out into the street… and just so happened to bump right into the one lone drunk staggering back home. The man almost absently swatted Naruto aside in his stupor with the end of the bottle held limply in one hand, some of the liquid sloshing out and over Naruto's shirt. The young blonde fell to the ground in a heap, clutching at his head as the man turned to look at him, to apologise or complain he would never find out as the man took one look at him, sneered and turned to go.

Naruto wasn't sure what it was right at that moment, maybe just a lot of pent up frustration, maybe the Kyuubi's words had stuck a chord with him, or it could have been the sliver of the beast's Chakra that had leaked into his body thanks to Kushina weakening the seal. Either way, he suddenly had enough with all the villagers ignoring him like his presence was meaningless. So what if he contained some monster? He was still Uzumaki Naruto Kami damn it!

"Hey watch where you're going jerk –'ttebayo!"

The drunkard froze at the fiery words, his head tilting to one side as if he couldn't quite believe what he had just heard. Slowly, he turned back to the blonde who by now had picked himself up; he was obviously quite drunk as he was unsteady on his feet and his eyes weren't quite focusing.

"What was that Gaki?" His tone was dangerous but Naruto couldn't find it in him to care; just for once he didn't want to put up with it, he wanted someone to acknowledge him.

"I said watch where you're going, teme!"

Quite suddenly the drunk's unfocused eyes narrowed, gaining a dangerous glint as he glared at the young boy who stared defiantly back. "I'll give you another chance to apologise kid, before I get angry." He took a step forward and for a moment Naruto faltered, but suddenly there it was again, that warm feeling spreading out from his stomach. A burst of determination filled him and he squared up to the man who was over twice his size.

"You're the one who should apologise bakayaro!"

The drunk nodded slowly, almost as if he was agreeing, a small chuckle escaping his lips that didn't sound all that warm. He turned, looking as though he were simply going to leave; that was why Naruto was completely unprepared for when he suddenly snapped back around. Before the boy knew it, something cracked against the side of his skull and he was thrown off his feet. He couldn't even do anything before there was another blinding pain in his side as the man kicked him again.

"You should'a apologised kid."

Naruto couldn't respond, his face was scrunched up in pain, tears streaming down his face as he attempted to curl up into a ball to avoid the worst of the beating. He felt so weak at that moment, so utterly helpless, and worst of all he knew that tomorrow he would wake up and nothing would have changed; the people would continue to ignore him, adults would keep hating him, and he was powerless to stop any of it.

Abruptly, he realised that the beating had stopped. He tentatively opened his eyes, hoping the man had decided to just leave.

"W-Wha?" His eyes shot open as he looked up into the face of the drunk who, only moments ago, had been stomping him into the ground. Only now he was lifted into the air, impaled through his body in various places by gleaming chains made of ethereal golden light. In his shock, it took Naruto a moment to realise the chains were coming out of his own body. Trembling, he turned to look up at the man, only for his eyes to widen. There was an expression he had never really seen outside of the mirror on the man's face; it wasn't anger, or hate, or even indifference… it was fear.

The man was looking down at him with fear because he no longer had the power to harm him, because Naruto was the one in control. Slowly Naruto raised a shaking hand up towards the man only for the drunk to flinch, his whole body shaking as blood dripped from his wounds. A long stream of it flowed down one of the chains to pool on Naruto's hand. It was oddly warm. Naruto just looked at it for a moment as it flowed over his skin. The warmth was new and, for a fleeting moment, he was reminded of the Kyuubi's deception.

He wondered if this was like the warmth of a mother's touch.

The man still being held in the air by glowing chains whimpered as the child finally looked up from staring at his blood covered hand. Except, it wasn't the same child that had looked down. Naruto now sported a deep, unnerving scowl. He raised his hand again, only now there wasn't so much as a tremor. The man whose name he didn't even know died without a whimper, as a final chain burst from his palm, impaling him right through the heart.

"Demon!" Naruto's head snapped around, catching sight of an elderly woman whose eyes were wide with horror and fear. She quickly turned to run away, to warn someone of what Naruto had just done only for a timid voice to call out behind her.

"Wait… please!"

She slowed, only to regret that decision a moment later as in a single moment a thick red-stained chain ripped through her chest, holding her in place. A moment later Naruto appeared in front of her, looking up into her eyes with a strange, searching expression.

"Sorry, I just wanted to see that look on your face again." Gradually, as the woman stopped convulsing, the expression twisted into a cold, slightly manic smile. Konoha had always called him a monster. That night, he simply decided to agree with them.

A/N: First chapter of a re-write. No real change to the content, just updating the format to be more in line with my current writing.