I have decided that, instead of lengthening my profile every time I have an idea, I would instead write a concept chapter or two and put it here. People get to read something more extensive than a two sentence idea and I get to practice my writing. Win-win!

Anyway…

Cornered Animal

In the forest of death, Naruto lay unconscious under the roots of a great tree, incapacitated by Orochimaru's Five Element Seal. If there were anyone present with enough medical expertise or chakra sensing capability, they would be disturbed by the chaotic surges that rippled through the blond's chakra coils, threatening to tear his body apart from the inside out. The Dead Demon Consuming Seal and the Five Elements Seal weren't designed to work together, and the careless manner in which Orochimaru applied the Five Elements Seal to Naruto created destructive resonances that weakened both seals and put Naruto in a coma in the process. Orochimaru had suspected this might happen, but he trusted the Yondaime's seal to hold and didn't care if Naruto ended up crippled in the process of harmonization. Indeed, in another time and place, the two seals would reach a tentative balance after a couple of days and nothing much would come out of the whole episode.

This wasn't one of those times and places.

Inside the seal, Kyuubi was silent and focused. Floating in front of it was a fairly small (for the Kyuubi, anyway) orange sphere that held its hopes for freedom and dreams of revenge. The curled up fox kit inside the sphere was a culmination of 13 years of work, one that it started almost immediately after it was sealed. After it realized it was dying.

It was a shock to the great demon fox, to realize that the humans it dismissed so readily had found a way to destroy it. Though it knew nothing of human sealing techniques, it was a being of energy and chakra, and many thing that humans knew only theoretically were plainly visible to it. The evidence was undeniable. The Yondaime, may he rot in Shinigami's stomach forever, bound it inside a seal forged with divine power, and nothing Kyuubi could think of even cracked the thing. Worse, the seal was slowly consuming it, incorporating its chakra and soul into the host. The fox couldn't even trick the boy into killing himself, because the seal would drag it along to the afterlife, where the process would simply continue.

A human might have despaired, or even refused to believe it, but Kyuubi was above depression and self-delusion. If it had no choice but to die, then it would die at its own terms. It certainly wouldn't stew quietly behind the seal while its idiotic host stole its power! The yellow-haired child was weak and stupid and in general an embodiment of everything Kyuubi despised about humanity. And on top of everything, he was the son of the very man responsible for its predicament! It had to hand it to the Yondaime, the man really knew how to take revenge on someone – the only way this 'Naruto' brat could have been more of an insult to the Kyuubi's sensibilities would be if the kid were a civilian beggar or something.

So the Kyuubi had started to work on a project that would keep most of its power away from its host's grubby little human hands and ensure that its legacy didn't completely vanish from the world in the process. It started to create a child… or perhaps 'a lesser version of itself' would be a more appropriate choice of words?

Sadly, its initial experiments discovered that simply copying its memories and personality into a new body wouldn't work. The seal had a template of the Kyuubi, and only something substantially different from it in mind and power would be spared of the seal's effects. Unconcerned, Kyuubi continued its work. It simply meant it would have to be particularly clever in its effort to preserve as much of its own identity as it could in its descendant.

Taking traits from the host was right out – not only did the Kyuubi recoil from the thought of infecting its successor with even minute amounts of child's idiocy and naiveté, experiments showed such an action would only make it easier for the seal to absorb the resulting blend. Fortunately, there was a much more appealing alternative – the death god's own power suffused the seal, and though the power of a god was beyond even the Kyuubi's considerable power to oppose, the seal that employed it was merely human. Minute traces of divine power leaked constantly from the little imperfections in the seal, and Kyuubi was ecstatic to find it didn't object to being blended with Kyuubi's own chakra in the slightest. It was enough to make it cackle in glee in the solitude of its cell – it may have lost its life and freedom, but in the end its vengeance would be complete and total. With the power of a death god at its fingertips, nothing would be beyond its successor's grasp!

But though Shinigami's power was potent in the extreme, the amount available to the fox was too small to be enough all by its own. It needed something more plentiful, and it already knew how to get it too – with the tiny amount of Shinigami's power it had in its disposal, it would snatch up souls of people who died close to the host, dragging them into the seal to be digested and incorporated in the slowly forming child-fox. As far as it could tell, the seal would not impede it in that endeavor – the Yondaime simply never considered the possibility. It would later find out that the seal was actually designed to funnel souls foreign to the body directly into the seal, probably as a form of defense against spirit walkers, making the whole thing even easier than the Kyuubi expected. This was good, because the less of the Shinigami's power it wasted on this, was more of that power it could give to its child.

There was a slight problem, however – human society was a lot less violent than it had supposed. The Kyuubi had presumed it would have people dying around the host left and right, leaving it with the luxury of picking and choosing the best souls for its needs. Instead, it soon discovered that humans frowned on habitual killing, and especially young children (such as its host was) were actively shielded from death and violence. Honestly, how could it have lost to these creatures?

The barely repressed hostility most of the populace felt towards its host gave it hope for a while, but none of them ever resorted to lethal violence. And even if they did, Kyuubi wasn't sure its host would do anything about it – the child seemed to have compunctions about killing people.

It was clear no human souls would be forthcoming until the child became a ninja – if it became a ninja at all – so Kyuubi abandoned that idea for a time. Instead it worked on adjusting the child-fox's memories, trying to prune down its vast centuries of experience to bare essentials. The less similarity its mind had with the Kyuubi, the less effect the seal would have on it. Though the situation was less than ideal, the Kyuubi was confident that the developing entity it shared its prison with was sufficiently different from itself to escape, given proper conditions. All it needed was a chance.

Then its host finally, finally participated in murder! Kyuubi knew he wanted the soul of Zabuza and his apprentice from the moment it saw them, but everything seemed to conspire against it at first. First the apprentice stopped the host's teacher from making a killing blow, and then, when the apprentice finally managed to get its host murderous enough to draw on its power in its pure form, the ice boy just had to break out that stupid sob story and calm him down. Thankfully, it all ended up well in the end. Kyuubi wasted no time in dragging their screaming souls into the seal, where they were promptly fed to its child. His host would no doubt be devastated if he knew what happened to them in the end, but unfortunately Kyuubi couldn't afford to drag him into the seal to gloat – discretion was the key in this.

At this point, the developing entity had advanced past the point where Kyuubi could interact with its mind and chakra as it pleased, so it could not tell what the exact effect of the two souls were. Still, Kyuubi was confident that they were simply taken apart for power and skills, and that his successor wouldn't have more than vestiges of weak human sensibilities. The most obvious one was that the child-fox's chakra was not based on fire, like the Kyuubi's was, but rather on ice and snow. While initially appalled, Kyuubi soon realized it was a fortunate development. With such a fundamental change of nature, coupled with traces of death god's power coursing through it, the child-fox was only faintly affected by the seal. It was ready. All Kyuubi needed now was the right moment.

And as the demonic fox felt the seal around it strain from the interaction with Orochimaru's seal, it knew that moment was now. It had given everything it could afford to give to the child in front of it – a full three tails of power… though only two had survived the conversion into what it was now. Three more was stolen by its host in the 13 years of its imprisonment. The last three tails Kyuubi needed intact in order to give its child the life it deserved.

It placed one of its hand-like front paw on the sphere and began to speak.

"Awaken my child, and embrace the glory that is your birthright," Kyuubi rumbled. The fox inside the bubble opened its eyes. "Know that I am the Kyuubi – the strongest of the Bijuu – and that you have been created to succeed me."

Kyuubi squeezed, and the sphere shattered into a million pieces that evaporated into smoke. The tiny fox fell to the ground, gracefully landing on its legs. It sat back on its haunches, staring fearlessly at the Kyuubi's hulking form in silence. Kyuubi was pleased at its show of defiance, even if the youngster looked a lot less… fierce… than he would have liked. Its jet black fur and stoic behavior made it look more like a sinister shadow than a bloodthirsty engine of destruction… but at least it was intimidating.

"For years you have slumbered in this prison that surrounds us, dreaming of the day you will finally claim your legacy as the strongest being in existence," Kyuubi said. "That day has come. The prison is unstable and weakened, and the host lies unconscious in a place far away from anyone that could prevent our rebirth. I will sacrifice myself to open a temporary hole in the seal. You should be able to escape if you act quickly. The seal barely recognizes you as a part of me at this point. This is the only chance I can give you… don't let my sacrifice be in vain."

The child didn't speak. It merely nodded in understanding. Kyuubi gave it a vicious smile.

"Bring forth hell into the mortal world," Kyuubi cackled. "Let everyone know that Kyuubi cannot be caged!"

Not having anything else to say, Kyuubi turned towards the seal and gathered his power. It waited for the perfect moment, already feeling its soul crack under the pressure of what it was about to do. As a creature of energy, it had instinctive understanding on when and where to strike, and it fully intended to make the most of it. Finally he felt a particularly destructive resonance forming and poured everything it had into amplifying it. The seal lashed out viciously as its power made contact with it, but Kyuubi ignored it, no longer interested in its own survival. Its soul crumbled and imploded as it poured everything it had into the forming crack, but it succeeded in its task. The seal broke for just a moment before it quickly reformed.

But that moment was enough. When the prison snapped shut, the little black fox was nowhere to be seen.

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AN: Yes, that is a shout out to Starcraft in there. It seemed fitting.