And Nine's the Devil, his old self

A young, spiky blonde haired man sat with his head in his hands in a dark, dank sewer. His pain was so great that it almost seeped into the very air surrounding him. Should he raise his head, he'd see a great golden gate being held shut by only a single sheet of paper with the word seal inscribed upon it in Kanji. Behind the gate, a silhouette could be seen, with nine shadowy tails flowing behind it, and a pair of glowing red, merciless eyes. This form belonged to none other than the Kyuubi no Kitsune, the Nine Tailed Fox and the most powerful of the nine Biju. The young man was his jailer, the current Toad Sage Uzumaki Naruto, and the sewer was his mindscape.

He was currently in a state of shock from seeing Hyuuga Hinata, a girl from his graduating class, declare her love for him then promptly get stabbed by the man who killed Jiraiya, Pain. He felt worse than he ever had before, a bond being shown that he hadn't known about, then being violently snuffed out by someone who seemed to be killing his precious people, one by one. First Jiraiya, then Kakashi, and now Hinata. His grief made his mind wander, and the water beneath his feet began to show memories of his life.

His early life had been hard. Set up in a private apartment by the Sandaime Hokage as soon as the orphanage had raised him enough to be self sufficient, he'd had few friends. Most adults avoided him and spoke in muttered whispers when they thought he was out earshot. At the Ninja Academy, things weren't much better, since the majority of the students had been told to be wary of him by their parents, and those who hadn't been told to, followed the crowd in leaving him alone, trying not to lose their friends. At least the adults were never stupid enough to try to attack him, to do so would invoke the wrath of the Hokage, who was as protective over Naruto as he was over his own kin. Hatred was useless towards a child who never had a choice over his fate, and so indifference was practiced. Ignoring the problem in the hope that it would go away. Unfortunately, it prompted the young Jinchuuriki to play pranks on the village as he desperately craved even the slightest bit of attention. Indifference cuts deeper than hatred, it numbs the soul like ice, while hatred burns around you like fire but rarely goes deeper than skin.

The night he passed his genin exam, his world was turned upside down. He'd finally learned a bunshin technique, a high level one at that, and he felt confident about passing the course. Unfortunately, that was when Mizuki attacked Iruka, and told Naruto about the Kyuubi. He'd run off in confusion, only to hear Iruka's heartfelt speech about how he was a precious student, and not a demon. In response, Naruto attacked Mizuki, going a little too far in defence of the first ninja outside of the Hokage to acknowledge him, and beating the man into unconsciousness.

On his first C-rank mission, he got a taste of the true life of a shinobi. He met Momochi Zabuza, an A-rank missing nin from Kirigakure, and a boy called Haku, who turned out to be working for Zabuza. The boy taught Naruto about precious people, then tried to take away one of Naruto's by attacking Sasuke. The anger that he felt allowed Kyuubi's chakra to flow into him for the first time, strengthening his muscles and healing his wounds. When he realised that Haku was the masked ninja he was fighting, his rage dissipated, and the foxes influence fled from his mind, though he never realised that he'd tapped into its chakra.

After the snake freak had sealed it away, and the pervy sage had unsealed it, he'd encountered the chakra again. Only this time, he'd visited his mindscape for the first time, after being thrown off a cliff into a ravine, in a desperate attempt to deliberately tap into the fox's power. He'd come face to face with rage incarnate, a hideously powerful being who had a malignant, malevolent intelligence just lurking below the waves of anger and fury. He'd withstood the wave of chakra that threatened to blow him away, and brazenly demanded its chakra as rent. The Kyuubi allowed more chakra to flow through the seal; all the while he could almost feel the amusement and disdain the great Biju felt for him. As the chakra filled his system, he caught a glimpse of the true nature of his prisoner.

It was times like these when he could understand the villager's fear. It was times like these when the Kyuubi seemed so alien and unlike anything else he'd ever known. It was times like these he could admit that he believed the Kyuubi was the devil himself. The sheer power that the mere presence of the Kyuubi gave out was immense. It was as unstoppable as the sea, never ending as time itself, never tamed or controlled, only held at bay temporarily or vaguely directed.

When he was betrayed by his best friend and teammate, Uchiha Sasuke, he'd been overpowered by the Scion of the Uchiha, forcing him to use the Kyuubi's chakra once more. As the Uchiha's Sharingan awoke to its three tomoe form, Naruto had been beaten down even with the foul chakra surrounding him, forcing the Kyuubi to push more chakra through the seal and a single blood red tail to form behind him. The resulting boost in speed and power would've been enough had the Uchiha not tapped into the power of the cursed seal bestowed upon him by the snake freak Orochimaru. Sasuke left Naruto bloody and unconscious, unable to bring himself to kill his friend.

After healing up from his wounds, the pervy sage Jiraiya took him on a training trip to hone his skills and prepare him for the attempts of Akatsuki to capture him. It turned out that the Yondaime had given Jiraiya the means to alter the seal slightly, a key to either tighten or loosen the seal. Jiraiya chose to loosen it, reasoning that Naruto may need to access the potent chakra of the Kyuubi to defeat some of his future enemies. However, upon loosening the seal, it became apparent that this was a mistake, as Naruto lost conscious control and saw everything as a potential threat, launching pre-emptive strikes against Jiraiya and severely wounding him before he attached a suppression seal to Naruto and the chakra receded. According to Jiraiya later, he'd had a total of four tails and turned a sizeable area of grassland into a crater. They agreed to not meddle with the seal again, as the results were unpredictable to say the least.

After returning to Konoha and learning of Gaara's kidnap at the hands of Akatsuki, he'd rushed off to try to rescue the only person he knew who could understand his pain. After they found him limp and in the hands of two men, he'd chased after the one who took the body in a rage. His anger peaked when they managed to recover Gaara and discovered he was dead, and two tails of Kyuubi's chakra leaked out before Kakashi could suppress it with a seal given to him by Jiraiya. When Chiyo sacrificed her life to resurrect Gaara and required more chakra, he gladly volunteered some of his own to save one who was a brother in spirit.

On meeting Orochimaru again, he accessed the Kyuubi's chakra almost instantly, his rage at the Sannin allowing first one, then three full tails of chakra to appear. After three tails proved to not be enough to injure him and he started to compare him to Sasuke, his fury increased and a fourth tail appeared, forcing him to turn into a miniature Kyuubi lookalike, complete with evil grinning face, a malicious aura and under the influence of the Kyuubi. This form proved capable of injuring the annoying man and attempted to blow him away with a powerful compressed ball of chakra. This was barely blocked and Naruto was beaten back by the Kusanagi, but not scratched of harmed in anyway. Unfortunately, Sakura was nearby and ran to him begging him to stop. The influenced Naruto proceeded to attack her, and was only stopped by Yamato's Biju suppression abilities. Yamato later told Naruto later of what happened and not to use the Kyuubi's chakra again if he wanted to not injure his comrades. Naruto was horrified and agreed instantly.

When they finally succeeded in catching up to Sasuke, the Kyuubi tried to influence him once more. Naruto argued with it, and told it that he'd never use its chakra again. The Kyuubi managed to partially manifest outside the seal, and commented on how he'd relied on it before, and how he would again. Naruto's will held until Sasuke arrived in his mindscape and drove the Kyuubi back behind the seal, ignoring the comments about Uchiha Madara and how he'd regret it if he killed Naruto.

Remembering these events reminded Naruto about his present problems, and the pain he felt for Hinata. He asked for anyone to stop the pain, and the Kyuubi responded, its entrancing voice telling him to surrender his heart and it would make the pain go away. Becoming tempted by this offer, the seal on his stomach distorted and twisted, the spiral turning into a hole, looking like an eye weeping blood which gathered around him. In the pool of darkness, he caught a glimpse of eight tails destroying a gigantic prison made of rocks. The Kyuubi enticed him to remove the seal and take vengeance.

He stood; hand almost on the sealed paper, ready to release the Kyuubi upon the world once more. As his hand touched it, he felt a hand on his arm and his world vanished in a yellow flash.

And cut! Good place to end it I think. This is it, the last chapter of Counting Biju. It's been fun to write, and hopefully this chapter is up to snuff. Overshot my target of the end of October slightly, but this has given me something to do on my 7 hour train ride home.

If you can't tell, this is set after Hinata got stabbed, while being trapped by the Chibaku Tensei, and unleashing the six and eight tailed forms. Thanks to myth buster for the idea.

Once the Rikudo Sennin was outed as a Jinchuuriki for the Juubi, I was slightly disappointed that I didn't start this idea later, as I found a rhyme which went to 10, where the last line was "And ten's the devil his own sel'". Just as fitting really, but hey, no use crying over spilt milk. Thanks to all reviewers, it's always nice to get a response and some ideas from people.

Time to decide for New Beginnings now, and whether I should start a new story. Ah well, no rest for the wicked I suppose.