I awoke in a sewer, the water's surprisingly clean, I noticed looking to where it reached just above my ankles. It took me a moment to recognize the soft red light that bathed the dark gray walls; it had been a long time since I had been in a sewer of any kind, the last time in a real sewer was long before I graduated from the Academy. The last time I was in this particular sewer...was back in Wave country. It seemed like an eternity since I had been here, in my own mind. I followed the light to the nine-tails' cage. Behind the bars was darkness, empty darkness. I took a few tentative steps forward, eyes searching for the 'seal' kanji that rested in the middle of the gate. Instinct made me leap back as Kyuubi's paws rammed against the bars, claws piercing between them, swiping almost desperately at my spirit.
"Brother." Kyuubi spat in a disturbingly familiar voice. I stared, transfixed as he grotesquely transformed before my eyes. Slowly, his form became something of shape, human, skin perfectly smooth, hair a silver-blonde I recognized better than my own golden-blonde. Knives. My eyes bulged, disbelieving in what I saw clear as day in front of me. "Surprised brother?" He mocked taking in my shocked countenance. "You knew our power, Plant Power, is truly impossible to destroy!"
"But how?" I asked, falling to the ground, stunned, water sloshing around me.
"When we were killed-"
"YOU committed Suicide!" Knives glares at me.
"When we were KILLED." He yells over my protests. "Our spirits roamed this world searching for peace. Instead all we found, dear brother, was the humans' hatred! We were drawn to death, murder, rape and child abuse, all the horrors your precious humans could possibly come up with! ...but these atrocities soon granted us power! In order to put an end to their miserable lives, we began collecting those evil souls as our due. And soon we had power enough to manifest in the physical world. The Nine Tailed Beasts we were called. Most humans feared us, while others, less sensible, worshiped us. We destroyed them all, unconcerned with loyalties. Humans are filth. And our sisters and I easily agreed they needed to be destroyed."
"Knives!" I pleaded, "You must understand-!"
"NO Vash! YOU must understand!"
"-Worthy of a-"
"They slaughter innocents in droves!"
"-Second chance! And so you would MURDER-!"
"They kill their own kind for pleasure and power-"
"-Those self named INNOCENTS to be rid of a whole race!"
"-ENOUGH!" Knives yelled, and I know I've hit a point. "You, Vash, will never understand. I don't know WHY I'm trying so hard. You haven't changed a bit! Still the innocent murderer. The naive slut, whoring himself out to a race that will never understand or appreciate us! There is no talking you out of it!" He yelled, face red in exertion, tears nearly rolling down his cheeks.
"No Vash. No. This is it. The end." He said, reaching his hand up through-THE SEAL!-to the Ofuda locking the seal in place. The paper slipped easily between his fingers-IMPOSSIBLE!-and is yanked off in a quick motion. I sit in shock, sure I couldn't move even if I wanted to. The cage creaked open slowly...
"Knives..." I plead weakly.
"No Vash. This is the end." And with those words I'm tossed behind the bars that slam shut with his force of will. The ofuda was quickly replaced. "I won't kill you brother." He said, eyes soft with-with something, maybe remorse? "No. I won't kill you Vash...but you'll wish I had!" He yelled. Definitely not remorse, maybe a mix of pity and hatred.
"I'm sorry brother...oh wait. No I'm not!" His insane cackle is the last thing I heard before the room went dark without his immense red chakra to light it up.
AN:/Another one for Remzal Von Enili! (Un?)Fortunately, though I haven't been writing very much, I do have some idea of where this story is going. Some suggestions that go against those half-formed ideas are a bit harder to write out than others that I can work into the world and use to move the story along. The original ending to this chapter had Naruto waking up from a dream after 'The cage creaked open slowly...' But I felt that I could do better in honoring the inspiring idea. Thus, this chapter DID NOT HAPPEN within the "real" world of NTS that I've been building for the last year, hence the chapter title "AU 1"...hopefully getting this out will help me write other pieces that I didn't feel fit in with the story...