I don't own Naruto or Big Red Gum (not that the title refers to gum of any sort). This is my first fanfiction for the Naruto universe and this idea has been bugging me for a while. I always liked the stories where Naruto takes some of the fox's power but the Kyuubi never really seemed like one to train a mortal or do things gradually. It seems like the fox just wants to be left alone. With that in mind, here's the story.

He leapt through the large trees as quickly as he could but the bundle in his arms slowed him down. Hattori Shinji, a Rain chuunin, struggled to force air into his lungs as he fled from a group of Konoha ninja on this particularly warm summer night. This is perhaps the fastest he has ever run, his pace driven by fear and adrenaline, but it makes no difference when his pursuers outclass him by such a large margin. Shinji can sense a massive chakra signature approaching him that would overtake him soon. He would have to switch to the contingency plan that was set up for just such a case as this.

He and the rest of the ninja that had taken this mission had been briefed on the way to destroy the thing if worse came to worst. If the Hidden Rain could not have the demon, then those Leaf bastards would not get it back. Apparently, these things are incredibly hard to kill and if you don't do a thorough job, a demon vessel can pull through even what is normally fatal. So, as he entered a clearing, Shinji took the bundle off his shoulder and began preparations for the destruction of an unconscious eight year old blond boy.

As he worked, he remembered how the whole mess started. He was actually the lowest ranked member on the team with three other jounin, only along for support and his mediocre skills as a medic. They had handed him the Kyuubi vessel after it was obvious they were being followed and stayed behind to stall the Leaf ninja. This mission was too important to the village of Rain to worry about one's own life. His village had thought that with the power of a tailed beast, Rain could become one of the greater villages. They had discovered the Kyuubi's imprisonment and its vessels horrible treatment, so they assumed the act of brainwashing the child would be relatively easy. Hell, as long as they didn't actively mistreat the child, he would see how much better Rain was than Konoha. If that didn't work, they had ninja who specialized in psychology who could easily manipulate the young, attention starved child.

Shinji and one jounin had waited outside of the village while the two other jounin snuck into Konohagakure and retrieved the little boy. They wore nothing to identify themselves as Rain ninja so they were safe from political incident. The boy had been drugged quickly after he was nabbed from the otherwise uninhabited park. Everything had been going according to plan until they were somehow noticed. They only found out they had been spotted when they sensed a group of ninja approaching rapidly. By that time they had already made it to the forest. After a brief period of fleeing, they realized it was no use and he was sent on alone with the vessel while the jounin stalled their pursuers.

Apparently, his comrades were unable to stall for long, he thought as he heard the Konoha nins approaching. But they had still given him enough time, for as the Leaf ninja had entered the clearing, he placed the last explosive tag.

The Sandaime Hokage was enjoying a rather nice blend of tobacco as he sat in his office finishing up the review of several mission reports. He had opened the windows, as the room was positively stifling with them closed, and allowed the breeze as well as the moonlight to flow into the office.

After he finally finished the retched paperwork, Sarutobi decided to check in on his favorite kitsune container. He took out his trusty crystal ball and conjured up Naruto's apartment. Failing to find him there, he searched Ichiraku's ramen stand and then the park where Naruto liked to play. When he couldn't find the boy in the usual places, he began to get worried and used his crystal ball to sweep through the village.

Sarutobi was very disturbed when he finally caught sight of Naruto. This was mainly because he was slung like a sack of potatoes over the shoulder of an unknown ninja who was climbing over the village walls and into the forest.

The Hokage flared his charka and moments later two ANBU appeared in his office. Speaking quickly and in stern voice, Sarutobi addressed one of the animal masked ninjas.

"Gather ANBU team four and then head towards the section of forest by the north wall. I will already be in pursuit of foreign ninjas. Cat, come with me."

With that said, he and the ANBU with the cat mask sped toward the northern forest. They bounded over the wall and through the trees with Sarutobi pulling ahead of the ANBU. He may be old, but he is Hokage for a reason and his worry was driving his strides. After a few minutes of traveling, Sarutobi could sense chakra up ahead. Slowing down slightly, he continued warily through the forest.

After a few more leaps, the Hokage knew he was ensnared in a genjutsu. It was very subtle and quite well done but he wasn't known as the "Professor" for nothing. His eyes narrowed. He did not have time for these games.

Instead of dispelling the illusion of what he knew to be false surroundings, Sarutobi threw a kunai at each of the trees closest to him. One of the weak points of a genjutsu such as this was that the user would place objects over his or her hiding spot so that the target would not accidentally bump into them. Thus, the genjutsu caster was almost always disguised as some inconspicuous object. This is how the unfortunate ninja ended up with a kunai embedded in his forearm.

After the illusion dispelled, due to lack of concentration caused by a pointy object lodged in an arm, the Sandaime saw that the ninja had shielded himself and thus prepared to go in for the kill. As he started toward the man, who had a look of horror on his face as he recognized just who his opponent was, Sarutobi stopped short as an umbrella was launched above him.

'Rain ninja,' Thought the Hokage. He spared a glance at the three, as two revealed themselves, foreign ninja and saw they had no identification to show their allegiance. 'These better be missing nins,' The old man thought angrily as he quickly flashed through seals, 'for Rain's sake.'

After he finished his hand seals, the Hokage quickly thrust his hands toward the umbrella and a harsh wind issued forth causing it and its poisonous needles to be blown away harmlessly. Eyeing the three nins, he notices they seem to realize what their fate would be should they oppose the aging Fire Shadow, but they seem resigned to death.

Sarutobi's eyes widened slightly in realization when he could not sense Naruto's chakra signature in the immediate area. Normally it was not possible to sense a young child's chakra, especially one who had absolutely no training in the shinobi arts, but Naruto was anything but normal. This meant these people no longer had him or the boy was dead. The smell of blood was not present and there was a trail heading further north so he concluded that these men were stalling.

Cat had caught up by now and prepared to engage the enemy. Sarutobi wanted to go on ahead but he was not totally comfortable leaving the lone ANBU to face three unknown ninja. He threw a kunai at the enemy, flashed through seals, and a moment later the kunai had multiplied several times. A few had caught the enemy ninja but no fatal wounds were inflicted. That was not his intention though, as he wanted to even the playing field for his ANBU.

Turning to the masked ninja he asked, "Can you handle these men until reinforcements arrive?"

"Hai, Hokage-sama," the ninja replied.

Sarutobi nodded and took off towards the foreign ninjas' accomplice and hopefully Naruto. One of the nins tried to pursue but the ANBU cut off their path. The Sandaime sped off in pursuit of whoever had Naruto by following the trail left in their wake. He was confident Cat could handle himself as the squad he had requested would be there at any moment. Now his only concern was Naruto.

After some time of high speed travel, the old man knew he was gaining as the trail became easier to follow, showing that the nin's steps became more and more frantic. Finally, he came to the edge of a clearing and caught sight of the ninja. He was kneeling with his back facing him and Sarutobi was wary of a trap of some sort, but this man seemed to be the only one left.

Sarutobi walked into the clearing as the ninja stood, his back still toward him. The Hokage could see that Naruto was behind him and since he could still feel his chakra, he knew the boy was still alive. He would try and take this ninja alive for questioning. His step faltered somewhat when the ninja turned around and Sarutobi caught the deranged look in his eyes. The man smiled cruelly and spoke.

"If we can't have him, than no one can!"

The Sandaime didn't care about questioning the man any more as he turned toward Naruto. The old leader quickly threw a kunai that embedded into the man's skull. He dropped before he could do anything to Naruto, or so he thought.

Sarutobi's relief was short lived and replaced with horror as he finally got an unobstructed view of Naruto. The boy was literally covered in exploding tags. The scene was only made more surreal as the boy stirred. Finally conscious of the outside world, Naruto eyes fell on the Hokage's aged form and a smile lit up his young face.

"Old man!" the boy said excitedly.

The Hokage had enough time to reach his arms toward the boy before the clearing was bathed in fire.

Naruto just about had it with the constant instances of being knocked unconscious only to wake for a second in an unfamiliar place and then being knocked unconscious once more. To add to his irritation, he was now wet. Finally looking up from the puddle in which he was sitting, Naruto spied some massive gates held shut with a piece of paper.

As he looked at them, the gates seemed to become transparent. This was strange, but what was even stranger was the fact that he himself no longer seemed solid. Before he could think more on this peculiar occurrence, a pair of giant red eyes and two rows of menacing teeth suddenly appeared in front of him.

Naruto did not even manage to shut his eyes before the gaping maw lunged through the faded bars and consumed him whole. As he once more lost consciousness, he heard a malevolent voice that seemed to reverberate within his mind.

"Do not lose this one, human."

Sarutobi managed to sit up from the remains of a tree into which he was flung into at high speed by the concussive blast. He stood up and walked carefully into the clearing as several ANBU landed beside him, having already disposed of the three intruding ninja.

The Hokage ignored them as he looked at the clearing in sorrow.

The ninja from earlier was in two or three major pieces, but was unrecognizable. All that was left of Naruto's body was a finger here or a piece of flesh there.

"Oh, Naruto," Sarutobi sighed as he fell to his knees. A tear trailed down his aging face as he thought about the boy and what he could have done differently for him. He had seen the boy as a surrogate grandson and yet he could not save him, from death or the scorn of his own village. A red glow interrupted his musings. At the epicenter of the blast, a crimson orb hovered a few feet off the ground. 'Great,' Sarutobi thought as he prepared himself for what was to come, 'As if this day could not get any worse.'

The light from the red orb grew in intensity until smoke erupted from it to fill the clearing. Eventually, the cloud of smoke towered over the large trees of the forest. Though all those present could guess what was just unsealed, they all prayed it was not what they assumed. Sadly, their prayers went unanswered.

A nine tailed fox, the color of fresh blood, stood over the forest of Konoha.

Things that seem unclear will be explained in later chapters. Please review if you've got the time!