I own nothing except perhaps original characters and some of the plot twists I incorporate into the story. All constructive criticism is appreciated.
Chapter 1: Shiki
Really, what the hell was blowing off one of his toes going to accomplish? Stupid shinobi. It was just going to regenerate like the last three times. He found it difficult enough to fight the urge to pounce on them like mice. No, not like mice, mankind was less intelligent. Mice had enough of a sense of self preservation to not go running toward a creature a thousand times their size. As much as he wanted to put the little prick in his place, he had more important things to accomplish.
He felt the sharingan's genjutsu release his mind not too long ago, and soon Namikaze Minato would be free to begin the events that would lead to Shiki Fuujin. So instead of reacting on his natural impulse to lash out, he retreated into the inner levels of his consciousness placed by Rikudo Sennin. He opened the circular seal array where he stood by his fellow Bijuu, in both past and future, onto the forest floor.
He scanned his designated area marked by a series of symbols that represented everything that he was made to be, a divine path taken from the whole of a former kami.
He could never achieve anything with that path, because the only way to hold onto it was to lose his memories and knowledge for a virtue that would only be ruined again. So instead, he redirected his purpose onto those he held responsible for his ruin. He corrupted mankind and then promptly destroyed them for becoming corrupted. It was much easier than facing his setback.
Kurama placed his forepaws around one symbol that defined his path and began to twitch his tails and formed the necessary movements to reform his chakra. He had learned from Chomei that it was possible to change their virtues from one unachievable definition to another by replacing it for another of the same meaning. Confusing as it sounded, it still worked. It was how a seven tailed grub-worm changed his form to that of a rhinoceros beetle.
He was a lucky bastard, much like his annoying speeches over the luck of the number seven claimed. Having tampered with the definition of his own existence, he could have easily destroyed himself if he placed a wrong kanji. Even in the futures where Chomei allied with Naruto, the bug was never suited to his original concept, Humility. Grace, however, the bug could achieve. The two were similar but encompassed different aspects, however equally corruptible. Kurama only needed to do the same for himself.
He concentrated and poured everything into altering the symbol, ignoring the line of shinobi just outside the seal. Without knowing its purpose, they were hesitant in approaching him now. Instead, they began coordinating earth jutsus to break up the seal. It wouldn't work but, hey, they could try.
Red lines of chakra surged through the entire circle and ripped through anything that obscured the design, scorching the ground and burning the canopy in a flash. Likely, the other eight were feeling his use of the seal. Maybe they would wake their jinchuriki counterparts in warning, but only Chomei would know of what he was actually doing. That alone could change a lot of upcoming events but he really didn't care. He wasn't going to dance around a set of events for nostalgia's sake. No. The more trouble he caused for the masked psychotic moron the better.
The energy swirled towards the center, changing from a menacing red to bright yellow and then back toward his direction. The characters pulsed to life and began to rearrange to his purpose. It lit up the sky similar to daylight and forced his eyes to readjust to the light. He could make out a large figure of a toad in front of him now. He hoped the Yondaime would only try to discern what he was doing before acting.
Another pulse and the chakra became almost white in color and washed out the sight of his surroundings. He concentrated on the effect of his change. He did not want to become stronger or become anything different than himself. Not really. He wanted a method to embody his new path. He wanted to simplify and yet remain himself, but still needed a way to hide in plain sight. He needed a mask.
He focused on a human image he found suitable. He shoved down all his malicious chakra into his core until he had only the base of his reserves and dwindled it down to an appropriate human range. He removed every possible fox trait, ears, tail, and scent. Only his eyes would remain, but that could be given a suitable excuse.
The process was painful and disorienting as his form shrank down to a level he never experienced firsthand. Being devoured by Shinigami felt worse, if only marginally. His conscious shoved into the form. There was a heavy feeling in his stomach from the condensed chakra that made him want to vomit. He grit his teeth and ignored it. The light from the seal would fade and everyone's blindness to what was happening would end. He didn't want to be standing in the same place when that happened. He would reveal his true identity but not to the entire shell-shocked village of shinobi. Plus, he was naked.
So, he formed the hand signs and created a Henge to give him the most basic of shinibi clothing with a few adjustments of looking disshevled from prolonged battle. If he was lucky, the shinobi would mistake his departure for a release of a summoning. He rushed backwards from where his true form once stood, his existence forgotten. He watched as the dust settled, taking his old life with it. From this point forward, he could no longer be the nine-tailed fox.
Now wasn't the time to think about that, not when he had to convince the gathering forces of Konoha he was no less human than they were. Damn, would that be difficult. By all appearances, he was human but his true form was buried, not destroyed. He made a glance up toward where the Yondaime still stood atop the toad Gambunta, whom he now had to admit now looked far more imposing from this new perspective. The seal master was the bane of his existence for so long and he dreaded the outcome if he failed to convince the young Hokage. He had only the confusion of the night's events to cover himself in a well crafted lie.
He set to move toward the large figure but was abruptly slowed down by the imbalance of weight at his core. He fell suddenly onto a knee. Something was remarkably off with this form already? The earth around him sunk down into the forest floor with him at the center. Sweat dripped down his face as he tried to locate his error. His body was no more than an average human as were all the limitations he sealed away for his speed, strength, and chakra. A burning within his gut reminded him of the cause of what happened.
There within his center was a hardened form for all his power massed into a tight location. This body could not tolerate holding onto so much concentrated chakra without being rendered immovable. He hadn't thought of this as an outcome, believing that in any form he could handle his own power. The old adage about every jutsu possessing a weakness and every seal having a sacrifice came to mind. He had two options: release that power and assume his old form or remove that power. He wasn't going to undo his work thus far if he could help it, but he couldn't just go at his stomach with a kunai either.
He concentrated on the burning mass and formed a shape he was familiar with manipulating. It swirled in his stomach until it made a smooth sphere, then forced it through his throat. The process burned his throat along the way and forced his eyes to water, but when the object cleared he barely registered the fact that it had begun to etch a design onto his hand and forearm.
He looked down at the object in his hand. It was a sphere that fit easily into his palm, cool to the touch, and shone with an angry red coloring. The object was a physical manifestation of what he sealed away. Even though condensed, high-level chakra crackled underneath the surface. It felt much lighter outside his body.
"That hurt like hell."
He should be embarrassed about talking to himself while a number of shinobi were starting to surround him, but all he could feel was the relief that the process was over. Besides, if he didn't talk to himself, he would have no one to talk to at all. Once he was trapped within the first seal formed by Uzumaki Mito, he'd become completely isolated from anyone but his jinchuriki. Only Naruto ever attempted to speak with him beyond what was absolutely necessary.
The sky shifted back to its dark tones before revealing stars beyond the clouds. If he ignored the uneven, burn-scarred earth and panicked shinobi, the night was much like before his destructive release onto the village. He clutched the orb in his hand, hoping he could use this new development to convince them he was a seal master by trade. He had little time to prepare himself or adjust to this new human existence. If he ran now, he'd draw too much attention toward himself, something he couldn't afford.
Namikaze Minato approached him from the perimeter of his men cautiously. The blonde's eyes were hard and calculating as they scanned over his form. The man was definitely every ounce the village protector that Konoha remembered and threat Iwa feared. Because of his fierce skills as a shinobi combined with his will to protect the whole of his village, Namikaze became synonymous with the loyalty and will of fire. Most bijuu tended to look down on humans as a species but right now the Hokage was all that stood between him and freedom. All of Kurama's efforts hinged on this man's decision to seal away his existence into the hands of Shinigami.
"Who are you?"
Kurama would have sighed with relief if it wouldn't give him away. So far, the Yondaime thought him human, rather than an alternate form of the fox. Good. It was better to let the man think him a potential shinobi threat than a terrorizing bijuu. If he was locked away in Konoha's underground, then his time would prove more fruitful than facing a time loop again.
"I'm the one who has managed to lock away the power of the Kyuubi and prevent any further damage to this village." Kurama had spent centuries designing and rehearsing his story with the very man facing him. Now, hoping the Hokage would buy his story, he tried to appear calmer than he was as he settled to tell a partial truth. "My name is Uzumaki Kurama."
If the Hokage was shocked to hear his wife's maiden name, it didn't show. His eyes scanned over Kurama once more until it settled on the seal that marked his arm. "You sealed the beast within yourself? Turned yourself into a jinchuriki?" he asked.
Kurama pulled his arm up and reexamined the markings his chakra had made. The lines were not dark but the design was familiar to the archaic circle that he had just altered moments before, the altered symbol burned into the underside of his wrist. He shook his head in answer to both questions. "No, my body does not have the ability to withstand that much without destroying myself. I've just altered the seals that form the basis of existence set by Rikudo Sennin. The result is what you see here."
He held out the object within his hands and let the man draw his own conclusion. "Though it is safe at the moment, I would not trust this in anyone's hands until properly and completely sealed away."
Namikaze blinked in surprise at his honesty. Perhaps, he expected him to lie over the nature of such a powerful object or was it his willingness to hand it over? In truth, Kurama didn't want to hand over his power, but being apart from it for another century was better than being trapped within Shiki Fuujin or being under control of the Uchiha. This plan would also make it near impossible to catch both his consciousness and the portion placed away from himself. Chakra without consciousness could not be controlled by genjutsu and his consciousness within a human form was relatively powerless compared to his previous form. The masked one would first have to discover the truth of his identity then capture both he and Naruto before continuing any desperate plan for world control. By the time any of the Akatsuki attempted any plans, Kurama hoped he and his jinchuriki would be adept at blocking the genjutsu abilities of the Sharingan.
A smirk came across his face as he thought about the demise of those who would soon stand in his way. He had no choice but to hold back against this village, but Konoha's enemies would be his enemies. Uchiha, Orochimaru, and Pein would all soon be fair game.
Namikaze broke him out of his thoughts with another question, "What formula did you use? I have never heard of anyone making anything resembling what you have done."
Once again, Kurama answered truthfully. "The formula is not my work and technically is in place on all bijuu. I've only changed a fraction of the seal in place."
"So tell me, Uzumaki-san, what brings you to the aide of Konoha?" Namikaze asked.
He knew it wouldn't be easy getting in the good graces of the Hokage. The entire conversation threw off every timeline, so he would be fighting against mankind's senses and instincts of the 'wrongness' of his presence. He would need to appeal to the man's intelligence instead.
"Truthfully, I had no interest in the village before, save a few kin. But a handful of rumors caught my attention concerning this night. It seemed to prove true."
"What sort of rumors?" asked the Hokage.
Kurama let his bitterness show. "At first, nothing of much importance. An organization of nuke-nin or control of Kyuubi and eventually all bijuu. Others have attempted such before, but when I came upon the identity of the one in the mask, I could not risk inaction if he proved to be alive."
Although it would be detrimental if the Hokage began investigation of Konoha's enemies too early, but the hints would be useful when they surfaced over the years. The one in the mask wasn't likely even who the Hokage thought of, as Uchiha Madara's name carried more weight as a threat than the truth. Absolute truth, however correct, was sometimes less believable.
Namikaze took one last hard look before he finally nodded, as if he reached a decision. He clasped onto Kurama's shoulder and performed the Hiraishin. The scenery shifted from greenery to absolute black of another dimension and back again inside a large room. Kurama's eyes adjusted to artificial light and he noted there were no windows. The floor and walls seemed to be stone and carried a faint scent of must from either being underground or just disuse.
"Right now, we need to finish sealing the Kyuubi, but come tomorrow I will have more questions for you, Uzumaki-san. I will be checking into every part of your story. You don't want to be caught in a lie. With tonight's events, I won't give second chances." The Hokage met his gaze a few seconds before releasing it. "If you wish to leave you will wait until after my village is safe. If you wish to stay, then you will stay in the village until I know more about you than your mother. Pass muster and I will see to you becoming a certified shinobi within Konoha. Clear?"
Kurama nodded. "I wish to stay."
The Hokage began a set of hand-seals that released a ritual alter for the Hakke no Fuuin Shiki. It was similar to what he had seen before, save the addition of a small carrier cloth. Kurama realized it was meant to carry a sealing item, like the kettle often used on Shukaku. The seals on the cloth were meant to hold a bijuu until transferred into a host so that the object would not corrupt a seal master during a ritual. Unfortunately, the precaution was much too late for Uzumaki Kurama to be unaffected according to that superstitious belief.
Namikaze checked the preparations before turning back toward him, "After I've finished, you're welcome to get some rest but considering what happened tonight, I would recommend going to the hospital. Many who come in contact with that chakra have found their chakra coils damaged if not destroyed, so I will perform the next step of the sealing." When Kurama made no response he made use of his Hiraishin once again, likely to go to get Kushina and Naruto.
Kurama listened to the silence of the room that followed. When he was sure the watchful Hokage was gone, he moved toward the carrier cloth. He set the object, his power, onto the cloths' seal and felt no lingering effects or attachment work against him. He stepped away and sank down to the floor. He was free, safe from being sealed and ready to sleep. The first part of his mission would soon be complete and without any mishap.
Many thanks to TigrezzTail and jamin1227 for your reviews. They are very appreciated and give me reason to squash my procrastinations and write the next chapter, even if that means I have to go after my muse with a sledgehammer.
My next chapter I'm considering using a different POV but I'm not 100% sure on that decision, yet. There is little description of Kurama's human appearance so far, because it's not that important at the moment. But if you're curious, yes, Kurama's design concept will be based off the gentleman I used in the story picture. Cookies if you know who he is and the anime/manga he is from. Anyone curious about what Kurama changed in his seal design?
Thank You for reading. Please review because it's not nice to hit and run.
Chomei (Nanabi)- seven-tailed rhinoceros bettle
Hakke no Fuuin Shiki (Fuuin Shiki)– Eight Divinations Seal Style- a Fuuinjutsu(seal technique) used in conjunction with Shiki Fuujin to seal Kurama , the jutsu attached Kurama's soul onto Naruto's life force, which allows the two jutsu to leak chakra into Naruto's own chakra
Hiraishin (Flying Thunder God Technique) - is a technique created by Minato Namikaze which allows the user to transport themselves to a marked location.
Rikodu Sennin- Sage of Six Paths
Shiki - has multiple meanings depending on where/how it is used: command, direction; equation, formula, ceremony; morale (of troups, team, etc.); four seasons; time of death
Shiki Fuujin – corpse spirit sealing- a Fuuinjutsu (seal technique) that calls Shinigami with the proper hand seals, the user will hand over their soul in exchange for removing the soul from his intended target
Shukaku (Ichibi) - one-tailed raccoon-dog (tanuki)
I own nothing except perhaps original characters and some of the plot twists I incorporate into the story. All constructive criticism is appreciated.