Kyoukan no Naruto

Naruto didn't know where he was.

His location, the time, what had led up to this situation… nothing. The dull throbbing in his body told him he had to have returned from a fight, and his sluggish mind briefly entertained the idea that he was in a hospital, but that was shot down by the realization that he was far too uncomfortable to be sitting on a bed, and the sounds and smells were all wrong. The only familiar scents he could discern was the earthiness of moss and dirt and the sharp, metallic odor of blood. He soon discovered he could also taste the substance – it was sliding down out of the corner of his lips and pooling where his chin was pressed against the cool surface of his resting place.

Where am I?

Something was dripping.

Chapter 1

Contract

Naruto made a vain attempt to sit up, but before he was able to lift his shoulders five inches off the ground he fell back again, gasping with the effort of simply moving. His heart was beating erratically, and he began to breathe faster, ignoring the fact that he was quickly falling into the trap of panic.

"H"

ello? Naruto tried to say, his weak voice disappearing after little more than the first letter. Headache pounding, he slowly opened his eyes, murky blue depths struggling to focus.

Above him, gray stone doming identified his surroundings as a cave, with dark green vines snaking up the walls in a slimy fashion. Naruto worked to turn his head so that the cool rock surface he was lying on touched his cheek, refreshing against his hot skin. His breathing slowed slightly, taut muscles relaxing against the soft sensation.

That was when he realized that the stone was far too smooth to be there of natural purposes. Focusing, he discovered that he was elevated; sprawled across a long marble table. The dripping was finally confirmed when Naruto spotted the small pool of blood at the edge of the table, the steady stream overflowing off the end every few seconds. Even such a miniscule sound had him mentally begging for it to stop; his migraine did not look to be letting up any time soon.

"… 'nyone 'ere?" he rasped through dry lips, gaze flickering around the cavern and finding everything to be in triples. It felt like someone was sitting on him – not because of injury, he found, but because of a gravity jutsu that had to have been placed on him. And then, all at once, the blonde was able to classify his whereabouts.

The Akatsuki base.

Just like that, memories came rushing back to him – the information leak discovered back home, infiltration mission in Iwa, the ambush – everything. He had no idea what had become of the rest of his team, couldn't remember or hadn't been conscious to witness their fates. They were ANBU, a part of him argued, but parallel to that – this is Akatsuki.

It was his worst nightmare come true, and now here he was, pinned and totally helpless at the heart of Akatsuki headquarters. How would he possibly escape from this? Madara – the very same man who fought and nearly overcome the first Hokage – would be here in at any moment.

Then he'd be dead, and Kyuubi would be free.

Naruto clenched his eyes shut and shuddered against the hopelessness of his situation.

You'd call that freedom?

Naruto's eyes snapped open again, and he gazed up at the ceiling in resignation. Akatsuki didn't really let the demons loose – they manipulated them to carry out the will of the organization, just as Madara had done sixteen years ago with the near-destruction of Konoha.

No, Naruto responded mentally. I guess I wouldn't.

It wasn't the first time Naruto had spoken to the nine-tailed fox without entering his sewer-like mindscape, but it also wasn't a common occurrence. Naruto wondered vaguely if the bijuu planned to taunt him with promises of slaughter and chaos or if he merely wanted company before he was crammed into the confines of a lonely statue.

Do you know what it is exactly that I desire, kit? Kyuubi asked him in his low, majestic voice, sounding every bit like he was right beside him in the cavern. Naruto's eyebrows slid together in confusion.

No.

Will, Kyuubi answered simply. Naruto peered across the table, watching the small, red droplets fall to the ground like some kind of sick hourglass and steadily add to the pool building beneath the table. True, free will.

You sure are demanding.

The fox continued on as if he hadn't said a thing. That which I miss most, though, is my authority over those who stand beneath me. I abhor being used, kit.

Stop calling me that. I'm not your kit.

I miss having my power, control, dominance. They are mine, and they were wrongfully stolen from me.

And if you can't have them? Naruto ventured, dimly wondering where the demon was going with this talk.

I will take what I can.

Naruto narrowed his eyes. He was about to ask what Kyuubi meant until he sensed the fox's presence withdraw back into his divine prison, evidently without the intent to offer any further explanation. Naruto was alone again.

This can't be the end, he thought quietly to himself, closing his fists tightly. But he couldn't move! Perhaps the demon had been giving him some kind of clue to escape? Naruto explored the idea, running it through his mind numerous times until giving up on that process. Nothing Kyuubi said helped him when he was physically restrained and drained of chakra.

Still, he couldn't shake the fox's message. I hate being used.

Naruto eventually deduced that Kyuubi didn't want the extraction jutsu to be successful, because destruction wasn't the most important thing to him. Free will was. He'd made a point to tell Naruto that he'd rather be locked in a cage where he was free to walk around in circles than out in the open to be manipulated like some kind of demonic puppet. At the very least it was Kyuubi's decision on whether or not he offered Naruto his power – and very occasionally he even managed to wrangle complete control over Naruto, even if these periods never lasted long.

The blonde was jarred from his thoughts by the harsh sound of footsteps resounding through the cave. His attempts at trying to lift his head to see who it was approaching were thwarted by the damnable gravity jutsu. Instead, the newcomer was identified when Naruto heard the voice call out to him in a thick drawl,

"Hello, Naruto-kun. Feeling any better?"

"What does it matter?" Naruto replied, grinding his teeth. He hated Uchiha Madara more than anyone else.

"Indeed, why does it matter? The extraction jutsu does usually end in the death of the host, yes?"

"It won't work; you'll never win," Naruto bit back out of habit, even though in his current position he was far from ready to believe those words. They sounded so hollow now – why wouldn't Akatsuki win? Because of the Will of Fire? Because Konoha was strong enough to stop the most powerful nuke-nin in existence? The village couldn't even take down Pein without his help, never mind Uchiha Madara.

"I already have. Eight out of nine demons is nothing to scoff at, Naruto-kun."

"Don't call me that!"

"I'll do whatever I please."

The arrogance displayed by Madara drove him crazy – he was just so sure of his world domination… but really, what could he do about it now? At this point, everything just seemed set in stone. He'd run out of options. No one was coming for him, and the extraction jutsu would most likely begin any minute now.

"Do you know how the extraction works?" Madara asked him casually. Naruto remained silent, but the ancient man continued nevertheless.

"It begins with the demonic chakra. Draining you of that, and then using it to take apart the seal that binds the host to the demon. It's a very complex process, hence why it takes nearly three days to complete. That's with ten people, too – and unfortunately we only have eight here today, so it might take closer to four or five days."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"Why, I think a person has the right to know how they're going to die, don't you?"

"I'm not going to die!"

It was right then that seven people flashed into existence by Madara's side. Naruto was able to make out the two-toned Zetsu as well as two of the unidentified ninja that attacked him in Iwa. Behind them stood four more people – Sasuke and his team Taka.

Naruto gritted his teeth, glaring across at his old teammate. Sasuke gazed right back, his impassive expression opposing Naruto's impassioned look of desperation.

"Sasuke!" he rasped, his voice cutting out from breathlessness. Raising his voice to such a level took its toll and Naruto soon found himself wracked with coughs. After it was over he felt weak and drained with the discovery that his former best friend was here to aid in his death. Thinking about it did not help to keep his optimism high.

Sasuke made no move to show that he'd heard him, only relocated his crimson gaze to Madara for instruction. This was the first time Taka was participating in an extraction.

"Everyone, please get into position," Madara ordered the group. The result was instantaneous – within seconds the eight people had assembled into a circle around him, their hands moving upwards in preparation of the ritual. Panic erupted in Naruto – they were beginning now, and he hadn't yet come up with a plan. What could he do?

Madara's hand moved in quick, fluid motions, implying the distinct notion that he'd performed this technique before. He stopped, and all other hands in that room burst into identical motions. Then, in a toneless voice that made Naruto's blood run cold, he called out,

"Genryuukyuu fuujin."

Pain exploded in Naruto's stomach, sending him crashing into oblivion. His back arched and he opened his mouth, but no sound emerged before he slipped into unconsciousness, falling into the black that was calling for him so welcomingly.

0o0o0o


"Ugh…"

Naruto groaned, propping himself up so that he was poised on his elbows and looking around the cavernous room he'd visited so many times. It seemed darker than usual… or maybe his sight was beginning to fail him already. Was it possible that he'd already died? Or did his death have to be drawn out over the next four days?

Poor Gaara… Naruto couldn't help but think.

Do not pity the one-tailed jinchuuriki, kit. He lived.

Naruto's eyes shot up to meet Kyuubi's scarlet ones, which were peering at him from across the room. The bars were still in place, but they were flickering every once in a while, as though they would collapse at any given moment. Naruto glared venomously at the fox, who stared back unblinkingly, projecting no emotion whatsoever.

"Why are you so calm? We both know this isn't going to end well for either of us."

I am contemplating the stupidity of the human race, who are oblivious even when all present information is laid out before them.

"Are you making fun of me?"

I have complete control over the situation. I was just wondering how you have failed to figure it out by now.

Naruto ran a shaking hand through his hair in frustration. He had no clue what the demon was talking about.

"Guh!"

Naruto fell back against the pavement, a gasp escaping him. A sharp wave of pain had just washed over him, like someone had lit his core on fire. Blue eyes flickered to the side, where a long, ember-red chain had risen from the ground and wrapped around his arm, making the skin beneath it sizzle.

"W… what's happening?" he stammered, looking to Kyuubi, who was watching the scene play out before him like some kind of sick movie. Nine orange tails whipped back and forth, red depths taking their host's suffering in stride.

You know exactly what is happening. The extraction jutsu, kit. It's begun.

Another red chain rose from the ground and clung to his other arm, drawing a scream out from between his clenched teeth. He struggled against the fiery binds, but they only tightened, forcing another cry from him.

"K-kyuu…"

I wonder if I can make it stop…

"Kyuubi!"

Two more chains flew from the ground and took to his legs, pinning him against the concrete and pushing him to the edge of sanity. Thrashing violently, he desperately tried to escape, but he was losing energy fast. The agony burned through his body like a match, and he was completely powerless to stop it.

"D… do something…!" he hissed, his resistance to the chains draining with each explosion of pain. He wasn't sure how much longer he could handle it – things were getting darker, and the pain worse, and now his thoughts and memories were cutting out. How had he gotten here? Where was everyone? … Who was everyone…?

"HELP ME!"

The fox gave a loud, booming laugh that shook the cave and rattled the chains.

You think I will help you purely because you asked? Simple human, it takes more than that to put me on your side.

"W…what… do you… w-want…?"

I told you before, did I not? Control, power, supremacy, authority. Do you think you can give me those things, kit?

Naruto arched his back, trying with all of his strength to push himself free of the restraints. A second later he was thrown back down again, the force winding him while the chains pulled tighter, burning his skin. He screamed again, this time much more openly. Panting, he glared over at the demon, speaking this time through thought alone, having drained himself of the energy to speak aloud.

I don't know.

The fox lifted himself off the ground, stretching languidly and recovering some the grace he'd left standing. At the moment the glinting bars flashed out of existence, he stepped out onto the other side, and though less than a second later they reappeared, the bijuu had already made his move, retracting a long claw from one of his paws and beginning to carve kanji into the stone beneath him.

What are you…?

Silence.

The long, sharp claw moved in fluid motions, as though writing in stone was hardly more difficult than writing in sand. Naruto tried to make out what he was saying, but the pain was worsening, marring his ability to focus on any action for more than a few seconds.

The Kyuubi continued on as if he could see nothing else, filling in the blank, cracked space of the pavement with unknown symbols that Naruto couldn't begin to understand. Fighting the sway of the chains, he swept his gave over to the writing Kyuubi was just finishing.

Hurry up!

The fox ignored him, but Naruto continued to silently will the demon. He couldn't allow his eyes to close for fear of being unable to open them again while the shaking of his body showed no signs of letting up. He'd gone from knockout poison to torture in a matter of hours, and all on one stupid, worthless mission.

Your moaning is messing with my concentration – stop it. I need you calm so I can keep my focus.

Easier said than done! Naruto mentally snapped.

And then Naruto noticed it – the kanji carved into the stone was faintly humming with the red glow of demonic chakra. That familiar, sickly reassuring aura that had saved him so many times… he needed it…

Shaking his head, Naruto jerked away from the idea, panting slightly. Demonic chakra had always come so naturally to him when he was angry that he no longer felt it as a separate entity as he should. It somehow went completely unnoticed when it surged through him, passed off as just another angry thought. Demonic chakra felt very obviously evil, but it was also tricky. It knew the perfect time to strike in order to blend in.

A shot of pain threw him roughly from his thoughts once more, reminding him of his present condition. Stars spinning in his vision, he wasn't given any time gather his wits before the next hit smashed into him, feeling every bit like a rockslide collapsing over his unprepared figure.

"Agh–! Kyuubi, whatever you're doing…!" – Hurry the hell up!

The large room shook as an intense shockwave of power passed through it, sending Naruto nearly whirling into oblivion. Releasing a raw scream, Naruto was left resisting the restrictions of the chains with all of his strength.

Damn it, Kyuubi–!

It is done.

Naruto's bloodshot eyes dropped upon the thick kanji once more, discovering that it had since disappeared. Replacing it was a long, tattered scroll, with all the information written in elegant ebony strokes. Two, unmarred lines sat neatly at the bottom, awaiting blight.

Read it.

The pain fell back slightly, allowing him time to read over the scroll. It had shifted into kanji he could understand, so Naruto began wearily.

If the High Lord Kyuubi no Youko is to pull his master Uzumaki Naruto-sama from Genryuukyuu Fuujin and preserve his life, Uzumaki-sama must assist Lord Kyuubi in deciding the fates of those who have previously slighted him and accomplishing unfinished goals with employment of the utmost of secrecy. In exchange for such aid, Uzumaki-sama's life will endure, and he will furthermore receive higher regeneration abilities and heightened senses. Kyuubi-dono will even bestow unto one so unworthy that of the Kitsune summoning contract.

Should Master Uzumaki agree to these terms and then fail to uphold them, all gifts listed must be relinquished, as well as his free will–

Wait, what?

It speaks of a binding contract. All stated will be given to you as promised, but you must–

Obey your every command? Hell no.

That is not what it states, you mindless human! There are no tricks in the redimio pactum. It is of royal demonic descent and therefore free of deception.

Oh yes, because you demons are known for your honesty

Any breach of the contract will result in nothing more than what is written. You will not die–

But I will be possessed by a bloodthirsty bijuu with thoughts of revenge against my village.

And I, in turn, will be confined to the darkest corners of your mind should I fail to give you that which has been proclaimed.

Isn't that where you already are?

Kyuubi scoffed. Do not fool yourself – the punishment for failure to comply with the contract is the same for both of us. I would lose what little liberties I already have.

Naruto eased a breath through cracked and bloody lips, positive he must have punctured a lung. Red erupted from his mouth and streamed down his chin and neck. His head rolled uselessly to the side as he tried to picture days of this kind of agony.

It would be like… you're not even there?

Correct.

Still, the tone was doubtful. I'm not sure if it's worth it.

Do not undermine the power of the privileges I am granting you, ungrateful ingrate! It seems I have spoiled you far too much if you think what you have been provided thus far with can compare to what I am offering. I don't much believe you have a huge choice in the matter besides that – you seem to be forgetting the other thing I've been so generous as to offer to you.

Yeah? And what's that?

He was answered when the next tremor rattled through the mindscape, scattering his thoughts like oil to water. Pain tore into him once again, reminding him just how close he was to dying at the present moment.

It also reminded him of the fact that the only way he was going to get out of here was if he listened to the Kyuubi. Yet that thought led him to his next: Kyuubi doesn't wantto be used by Akatsuki. Whether I agree or not, he is going to do this.

I know what you are thinking, Kyuubi chimed in. You are thinking that I will do it whether you agree or not. There is something you are overlooking, though.

Naruto didn't get the chance to respond when his body felt that crushing sensation again, keeping him immobile. Everything had gone double for the second time around.

It has been about twenty minutes since the jutsu started, and you are already writhing in agony. Do you think you can stand another five days of this? It will only grow worse… and worse… and worse… until you are on the verge of insanity… and then you die.

But I won't! he wanted to snarl back, angry that the fox had suggested such a thing. I won't go insane or die!

It hurts, doesn't it? The thunderous voice silenced him. More than any of the injuries you have sustained before in your pathetic lifetime. And yet you believe that through sheer will, you will be able to lie there, even as it gets worse, until you want to die?

He paled, eyes shutting as another wave of pain wracked his body. It had been easy enough to say, but when Kyuubi put it that way, he wasn't so sure. It wasn't that Naruto didn't have a pain tolerance to be proud of – he had earned it, after all – but this was on a different level.

It feels like they're trying to rip out my soul.

It's trying to extort my Youki from you, kit. Not your soul.

Naruto looked down. If it was only doing that much, then why was he covered in his own blood? Why –

Once again the thought process was cut off as an earthquake thundered through the room, resonating with his Youki and brutally tearing it from the confines of his mind. The feeling was akin to someone taking a sledgehammer to his head – now his thoughts were coming in brittle pieces and images. He was trying to figure out what he'd been thinking about before that, but…

"Ugh–!"

Kyuubi watched impassively as his host was tortured, waiting until the boy's stubbornness would finally break and he'd sign the contract. It was only a matter of time.

Ready to sign it yet, kit? We can do this now, or we can do this in five days when you turn up in Konoha completely out of your mind.

"Lower–" he panted, "the–" deep breath, "–price."

My sole request is that you might take out the occasional old enemy, that's all! Just sign the contract, and we can both leave. Let's be done with this place.

I won't have you calling Konoha an enemy and telling me to destroy it! Not if my refusal results in its destruction by your hand!

Kyuubi growled.

Don't think I haven't got you all figured out, Kyuubi!

Fine! Kyuubi snapped, nine tails whipping back and forth through the room. If the boy had noticed that particular loophole, he would have to concede – there was no way Naruto would agree if he thought it would endanger his precious Konoha.

I will not ask you to kill your… friends.

Or Konoha.

Kyuubi growled. And I will not ask you to do anything that will directly harm Konoha or its people.

Naruto was silent for a moment, trying to raggedly breathe through the blood and the damaged lungs. Each gasp sounded wet and painful as his fingers twitched by his sides.

You don't really hate Konoha, do you?

Sign the contract before you permanently lose feeling in your limbs, kit.

One last thing.

You are becoming demanding…

I want a limit. I won't do it forever. I want a set amount of orders to carry out before I'm free from this contract.

One thousand.

One thousand demands from a demon… Naruto felt the bones in his right arm crunch and shatter into pieces under the pressure of the red chains. Naruto's mouth was gaping with a silent roar of anguish. Dark blood oozed from the injury, making him feel sick. He hated the scent of blood.

That's more than I'll accomplish in my lifetime! He was eventually able to communicate after a minute of reeling from the shock of the injury.

Kyuubi sneered. Eight hundred.

That's probably… still more. One hundred.

You must be joking.

Naruto's other arm went. Tears streamed down from the corners of his eyes as blackness enveloped them, and he found himself swimming in and out of consciousness. Kyuubi started.

Stay awake, kit! If you fall unconscious you will not wake up until it's too late!

I… can't.

Do not lose consciousness! Kyuubi's voice boomed. Five hundred!

One!

His chest collapsed in on itself as his ribcage gave. An enormous amount of pain enveloped him. Coherent thought became rare as pieces of Kyuubi's desperate roars snarled at him.

Three!

"One!"

Naruto felt like he'd been pushed under water. Everything and nothing swam though his mind in slow, loopy circles, and red and black were taking turns for dominance over his vision. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't move. He couldn't speak.

Fine! One hundred orders! Sign it now!

Naruto's hand slid across the concrete floor of the sewer-like room, and despite its uselessness somehow he was able to make it move. Reaching out for the parchment, he finally reached the edge, trembling so violently that Naruto was just waiting for it to stop working.

He painstakingly dragged the tip of his finger across the paper, using blood as his ink, until finally a barely legible coding of "Uzumaki Naruto" had been painted brutally onto the contract. And then, like an elastic band that had finally snapped, Naruto was falling, the room having disappeared.

He was able to see himself –at least, what was left of him. His ANBU uniform was shot – torn and bloodied beyond recognition. Exhaustion settled in, and Naruto's azure eyes began to slip closed, finally giving into the plummeting sensation… letting go…

Slam!

All of his bones screamed in protest at the ruthless landing as he hit the stone beneath him face-first. Naruto was sure his nose was broken, but there was nothing to do – he couldn't move, actually. Attempts to call upon his hands and feet were proving to be fruitless, and he was left with nothing to do other than lie there, listening for any means of sound around him.

"What – where – what just happened?" a voice sounding much like Suigetsu's sputtered.

"Shut up!" Uchiha Madara broke in. "Can you feel that?"

Now that his attention had been called to it, Naruto could feel it – a steady hum of power that was originating from the seal over his stomach. The beat continued, slowly rising and rising, until Naruto felt like it might interfere with his own breathing. Then:

"Guh!"

The deep, foreign power flooded him, projecting its endlessness and bathing him in a scarlet glow. But this was different from the fox's cloak – this was his to control, to mould, to destroy with. All former glory had been restored to his limbs, making them ultimately usable once more, so experimentally Naruto clenched his hand into a fist – the action was not missed by a single member of Akatsuki.

"Hey… is he–"

Naruto struggled to his feet, hanging his head until he was standing hunched with his arms dangling helplessly by his sides. Slowly he started to flex his fingers, curling and uncurling them as he savored the warm feeling coursing through them. His very blood was singing.

This kind of power was–!

"How is he still able to stand?" an unfamiliar voice spoke up incredulously, and Naruto turned in time to see the man launch in his direction only to jump back, his fingers burned by the distorted air around him.

"What is this?" the man hissed, drawing back.

Sasuke was the next to speak. He sounded furious.

"Naruto!"

But Naruto wasn't listening to him. He was still enthralled by the feeling that had taken over – not the killing instinct or blind potency he possessed when he was powered up by his tails, but the sheer knowledge that he could do anything with this strength right now. It was like eight tails all over again, except this time he was in control.

His eyes had turned their Kyuubi-red, but the color was brighter and more aware than before. His incisors had lengthened as well, as had his nails, and the whisker-marks on his cheeks had just as predictably broadened.

"I can feel it…" he laughed, raising his head to the ceiling. "… I like it…!"

"What happened?" Kisame roared, running at the man but receiving similar results as his predecessor. Naruto leisurely turned to look at the Akatsuki members.

"I'll be seeing you."

None of the Akatsuki members could get near him with such a strong layer of Youki coating his figure – he had the untouchable aura that the Kyuubi had possessed. Madara didn't see any other way; activating the sharingan in his working eye, he began to trigger the Mangekyo.

"Not this time!" Naruto hissed, running straight at a wall and pulling back his arm to charge a rasenshuriken. Deciding to test a theory, he tugged at the thick supply of Youki that was in reach for the time being and began to lace it into the jutsu, illuminating the technique with a deep violet glow.

The power increased brilliantly, decimating any of the seals Akatsuki might've placed on the cave. The hole he created in the wall as a result was wide enough to fit an entire whale through, destroying all the trees in the forest for at least a mile straight. Naruto charged out, immediately pushing his speed to the limit and finding that it was not at all unimpressive.

Tearing through the trees, he tried to put as much distance between the Akatsuki base and himself before he would allow his body to slow down. Seconds turned to minutes which eventually turned to hours, and Naruto had no idea how much time had passed before he finally tripped on a tree root and dropped into a roll, skidding to a rough halt in the middle of the undergrowth.

The feeling of falling had shocked him, evoking in him the same sense of descent that he had felt not long ago in the Akatsuki base. He still couldn't recall much more than a foggy, broken version of what had happened with the contract and the fox, but with the rush of power suddenly burning out at that moment, it was no wonder he couldn't think straight.

And after his eyes unconsciously slipped closed, Naruto wasn't thinking at all. He was fast asleep.

0o0o0o


Kyoukan = assassin

Genryuu Kyuu Fuujin = Complete Nine Mystical Dragon Seal


0o0o0o

Cliché ending is cliché.

I have been just aching to write a Naruto fic that involves some Kyuubi and a little adventuring, and this is actually a revived plot bunny from 2009 I found buried in one of my many old document folders. There are going to be a lot of supernatural elements in this – after all, Kyuubi's enemies are not your average pickpockets. Which means I get to do some research into Shinto mythology – yay!

I'm not sure if anybody is actually going to take an interest in this story, so make sure you drop a review and let me know what you think. I know first chapters don't provide a lot to go off of but if it doesn't seem like anyone is enjoying the story, naturally, I will most likely switch gears into something else.

Any questions will be answered if the review is signed! Thank you very much!

- r0manov

Note: This is not an instantly-super!Naruto fic. He isn't going to be immediately amazing at everything from this point onward, and he won't be running around the world saving every random girl being attacked by older men or kicking Akatsuki's ass in one punch. It'll be gradual, but he'll get stronger – just wait and see. That rush of power was a one-time deal due to the binding of him and Kyuubi.

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masahi Kishimoto, not me.