The idea for this one shot comes from two places. The first was No Reason by AnimeFan101 (August 2006). It was rather thought provoking at the time. The other is Chapter 370 of the manga, which confirms AnimeFan's guess. This story though, to my knowledge, is my own.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

You pitiful humans. I sit here day after day listening to you calling him evil by his association with me, yet you do not even try to understand the reasons I exist. It is time to pull the blinders off your eyes.

I began small, with just one spark of jealousy. A man envious of another's good fortune. The world was small then, sparsely populated, so I did not take form, not yet. But as the population grew and such emotions as anger, hatred, jealousy and bitterness became more common, each dark emotion fed me and gave me the life I needed. Finally I took form, the form of a nine-tailed fox.

Randomly I would appear, formed by the population's own hate, own darkness, and would destroy whatever I could. As the population was cut down, the dark feelings dissipated and I would vanish for a time, only to rise again as the population increased and the dark feelings gathered once again. So it went for countless centuries.

However, one day that changed. A dark entity, one with a darker nature than my own, made the decision to summon me to this plane. I will not say why, but I was rather pleased by the results, though not the ultimate ending. I watched you attack me like the pitiful insects you are, not knowing that your fear was feeding me more, making me stronger. The only pure emotion stopped me and now keeps me trapped here. One man's love for his fellow man. But for how long?

You see, your hatred of the boy for all these years has been feeding me. His love for others keeps me in check, but if one day he should die, or finally give in to the hatred as he nearly did as a child, then I will be free thanks to the darkness you contain.

So who is the more evil, you or I?

The fires of hate compressed within the heart/Burn fiercer and will break out at last in flame. - Corneille, El Cid

A/N: For those who wonder what I meant by Naruto giving in to hatred, in chapter 132 he says how much he hated the people of the village as a child for how they ignored and shunned him. He believed that if he had not found people who loved and cared for him, he would have given in to the blackness of his pain and hatred as Gaara had. It is unknown if he still hates them, but he certainly did at one time.

Original post: September 29, 2007

Edited and reposted: October 14, 2007

Edited 2nd (and hopefully last time): November 3, 2007