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This article, Embarking: The Winds of New Beginnings Blow, is an article only to be used by Ten Tailed Fox.

This article, Embarking: The Winds of New Beginnings Blow, is property of Itachisharkak.

Warm winds blew across the Land of Rain's storm-darkened plains. At the base of the mountains, our story begins. A story of brotherhood, of resentment, of strife, and of victory.

Crossroads

The dirt pathway was proving to be a hassle for the two Seijin that treaded upon it. Two Konohagakure shinobi, returning from their meeting with the Order of the Seijin at the Seijin Temple shielded their eyes as the warm winds kicked up the dirt from the road into their faces. Of the group stood a tall boy, no older than eighteen and no younger than seventeen who possessed long, light purple hair. The other boy was around twelve years of age and possessed a short brown mop of hair. Both traveled side by side, as if they were related, though they were not.

A young man walking up from the opposite end of the road was holding a young boy of about eleven years old in his arms. "Rest easy Inumaru, I won't let anything happen to you now."

The two Seijin continued down the road until the two other young men came into sight, also appearing to be walking along the same road. "Koga..." said the younger boy. "Steady, Ū." Koga replied looking down as he flicked off his hood, "I sense their chakra too." he told the boy. "It's not just that. One of them feels familiar." Ū continued. "Familiar? You mean, Kumogakure chakra?" Koga asked. Ū nodded, "Yep. It feels like the chakra of the Raikage who was in charge during the time I got abandoned." Koga stroked his chin. He could see his young student getting visibly upset by the rush back of unwelcome memories. "Calm now, Ū. I won't let anything hurt you." he reassured the boy. Ū nodded, "I know you will...oniisan..." he thought inwardly.

As the distance between the two teams closed, a few memories rushed back into Kai's head. He glanced down at Inumaru, and then looked up at the sky. "No...I won't let anyone hurt Inu, never will I let you get hurt. If any one person or an enitre nations hurts you, I will kill them all. I can' t allow you to be hurt.......I can't...." Kai kept thinking these words to himself, and then he could begin to see figures.

As the two teams were now shoulder to shoulder, Koga seemed to freeze, completely stopping his movement there. Ū followed suit, but was becoming more and more upset, to the point of looking completely to the ground. Koga kept his senses trained on Ū as his eyes slid over to meet the stranger's who was right beside him now. The wind kicked up dust below his feet and Koga noticed a kid in the man's arms. "This could get dangerous." Koga thought silently. Ū stood perfectly still, becoming at one with his surroundings. "If things get ugly, this may be my only chance of fighting on par with these guys. Oniisan...I'm scared..." he thought. Koga looked down at the boy and smiled warmly, "Don't worry..No matter what happens, I am here." he thought towards Ū, as if they had a mental link.

Kai stood still, and he set Inumaru down to stand on his own feet. "Koga...It has been a long time."

Ū looked shocked, "Y-you know him?" he stuttered. Koga sighed and kept his gaze fixed on Kai, "Ya, Ū...I know him." Koga replied silently. "Indeed it has been awhile, Kai." Koga responded to the former Raikage, looking between him and the boy he had just sat down. "I take it that's a new pupil of yours?"

Kai placed his hand on Inumaru's head and responded, "Yes. Also, a younger brother." Kai then turned to look at Ū, and remarked," And it seems this is your new one."

Koga looked back and cocked an eyebrow, "New one? Student, yes. And I'm also technically his guardian for now." Koga explained looking back at Kai, "He's not my little brother, though he might as well be with the way he follows me around." Ū smiled at Koga and looked briefly back at Kai. Koga briefly returned his gaze to Ū, "It's a long complicated story, one I don't feel like repeating." he said softly.

Kai looked at the two of them, then at Inumaru, and back at Koga. "Koga...after you left, things were difficult. Why? Why did you leave?"

Koga looked at Kai and narrowed his eyes, "I have my reasons. Life gets to people. People change, life becomes hurtful, things get unbearable quick, and I couldn't handle it. My life was torn between two worlds. Worlds that only hurt me the more I traveled in them. Let me ask you this. If one is miserable with something, does that person continue to put up with the misery or find a way to turn it into happiness? Before you answer, do not consider your own emotions about me leaving. Only consider my mental state. Why do I ask you this? Because removing ones self from an emotional states allows one to understand the other more." he responded.

Kai stood still, but then proceeded to speak. "So then, you left for your own reasons I see. So let me ask you this. Did you leave because of how I was? Was I too much too bear?"

Koga narrowed his eyes further, causing Ū to become nervous. "No. The weight of everything put together began to get to me. I have my own life that I had to worry about, and the weight of so many others...." he stopped and looked behind him at Ū, smiling. "Besides, I had others that needed my full attention."

The Battle Begins

Kai put his arm around Inumaru, and then he motioned for Inumaru to get behind him. The air started growing thick with chakra, and the ground began to quake. "Koga." When Kai spoke these words, a feeling of death overcame everyone. "You and I have issues, and now let us take to them in a rational matter."

Koga began to look back at Ū, but Ū stopped him by speaking up, "I know what you're going to say. You're gonna tell me to stay back and not to get hurt. Not to get in trouble and all that jazz. Not gonna happen this time. I'm staying with you." he said. Koga smiled and closed his eyes, "Fine. I can't stop you. But if things get dangerous I want you to run and don't look back." he replied. Ū nodded his agreement. Koga then turned back to Kai as the release of his own chakra began to kick up the wind around them, "You're right. We do have a lot to settle. Let's do it right now."

"Inumaru." Kai began to speak, but Inumaru stopped him. "No. I'm not leaving you, not now." Kai then looked up at Koga, and then back at at Inumaru. He then leaped back with Inumaru in his arms. "Inu, listen to me, if anything happens, you leave as quickly as possible." Inumaru nodded, and then gave Kai a pat on the back. "Don't worry Kai, you'll be fine." Inumaru then backed away a little bit, and let Kai take care of matters. "Inu, I love you so much, and I can't let anything happen to you." Kai then stared down Koga. "Let us begin."

"Nine-Tails, start gathering natural energy for me. I'm not gonna use your chakra unless it comes down to getting extremely serious." he mentally told his sealed Tailed Beasts. Red pigmentation began to form on his eye lids as he entered Sage Mode. "Ū, watch my flank." he said crouching down. Ū nodded and formed several hand seals, "Time to get down to business." he whispered.

Kai pulled out his Katana, and Inumaru pulled out a kunai. "Inu, take on the child. I will handle Koga." Instantly, Kai lunged at Koga with such speed that the ground ripped up behind him. "You caused so much hurt...."

Koga met Kai in battle head on, causing the earth and dust to kick up around the two combatants. Using Frog Kata, Koga aimed a punch for Kai's cheek. Ū leaped back, "Crystal Release: Snowflake Shuriken!" he declared, tossing several snowflake shaped shuriken towards Inumaru.

Kai instantly leaped back, for he knew that he does not even have to be hit directly for frog kata to inflict damage. Inumaru pulled out a scroll, which created a large shiled.

Koga quickly closed the distance between himself and Kai, using acrobatics, kicks, punches, and leaps all to attack his foe while using his Frog Kata attack style. Ū on the other hand formed several more hand seals, "Crystal Release: Crystal Pentagonal Prison!" he said, ensnaring Inumaru's shield and then smashing the crystal with a large kick. He then formed the tiger seal, "Sage Art: Crystal Dwelling!" he declared, as the shattered crystal began to glow as it disappeared. Ū's eyes also gained red pigmentation, a mark that he was now in Sage Mode as well.

Kai looked over at Inumaru, and then back at Koga. "Trying to take on both of them at once is hard, and Inumaru can't handle this." Kai then leaped out of the way, trying to get to Inumaru.

"Is it safe to turn your back when I am right here?" Koga asked, slamming his foot into the ground which caused the kicked up earth to form a wall between Kai and Koga's battle as well as Ū and Inumaru's. "We're settling our differences now. You need to believe in Inumaru more. I know Ū can handle this and I won't offend him by intervening." Koga told Kai. He then put his hand up above his head and charged an enormous Rasengan, "Sage Art: Super Rasengan!" he roared, leaping into the air and then funneling his attack down on Kai.

Meanwhile, Ū formed a much large crystal shuriken than he had previously used, "Sage Art: Crystal Release: Giant Hexagonal Shuriken!" he yelled, tossing the immense shuriken for Inumaru's legs.

Kai looked up, and then created a large ball of lightning in his hand. It was spinning at such high speeds, that it could easily rip through chakra. "Koga...take this!" Kai then ran it into Koga's jutsu.

Elsewhere, Inumaru was fighting Ū, and managed to hold his own. "Crap it..I can't lose here though." Inumaru jumped on top of the shuriken, and then stood on top of it.

Koga and Kai's jutsu exploded after a few moments of collision, throwing both fighters back. With that he leaped back up and ran for the still downed Kai, with a new Rasengan in his palm, "Wind Release: Rasengan!" he screamed, thrusting the jutsu down towards Kai's chest.

In Ū's battle, Ū had already prepared his next attack, "Sage Art: Crystal Release: Tearing Crystal Falling Dragon!" he said as a giant crystal dragon with wings was formed and flew after Inumaru with great speed. Before Inumaru could dodge, however, Ū dispelled his shuriken, causing the latter to fall off, heading for the ground.

Kai looked up, and then used his next jutsu. "Earth Style: Hiding Like a Mole Jutsu." Kai then went underground. He then made a few hand seals, and then left his underground tunnel. "Water Style: Water Vortex." Kai was using Koga's wind style Rasengan agaisnt him.

Inumaru looked at the incoming dragon, but remembered something that Kai had taught him. Lightning can beat crystal, and that lightning was his element. "Lightning Style: Lightning Rod!" Inumaru then shot lightning at the crystal dragon.

Koga became feral in appearance as a one-tailed cloak began to surround him allowing him to crush the Water Release jutsu as he whirled around and aimed his Wind Rasengan for Kai's chest once more, this time backed by Frog Kata.

Ū's crystal dragon shattered as the lighting came into contact with it. "Crap...he has lighting nature. Which means I'm gonna have to stick to taijutsu...however, there is still a good usage for my crystals..." he thought as the shattering of the dragon increased his sage chakra. Ū then rushed up on Inumaru and began to use complex taijutsu in the form of Frog Kata.

Kai smirked at Koga, and then leaped into the air. "Lightning Style: Lightning Rods." Kai shot several lightning rods at Koga. "How long can you stay in sage mode, and keep up the Nine Tailed fox?"

Inumaru backed away, and then awaited the first move. He blocked the first hit, and then flipped him.

However, due to Frog Kata's innate powers, each punch's natural energy connected regardless of whether it was blocked or not as Ū began adding kicks to the fray.

Koga blocked the lighting rods with his Nine-Tails enhanced fists and landed, "I can't use the Nine-Tails' chakra while I'm in Sage Mode. Obviously, since I'm in my cloaked form, I have exited Sage Mode for the moment. Under normal circumstances, the Nine-Tails gathers nature energy for me while in Sage Mode, allowing me to fight like a sage fused with a frog: indefinately." he explained as his cloak dissipated and he reactivated Sage Mode.

Kai sat quietly, and then pulled out a katana. He charged his lightning chakra into the blade, and ran head first into Koga.

Inumarau kept backing away, but then he had a thought. He then leaped into the air. "Since Kai had made the air wet from his water jutsu, now my lightning can travel faster." Inumaru then proceeded to make hand seals.

"I sense that chakra of yours...I came from Kumogakure, I can feel it getting ready to be shot." Ū explained, aiming a kick powered by natural energy down, causing an eruption of rock and earth that shielded Ū from the upcoming attack.

Koga simply caught Kai's katana, protecting his hand from the blade's cutting power with natural energy, while deactivating the lighting chakra by channeling his own wind chakra into the blade, "You attack me half heartedly." Koga said in a stotic manner, "You're not coming at me with the intention to kill...Then what are you doing? You blame me for the pain that was caused in my absence, but I think it's starting to occur to you what's really going on here." As he said this, he snapped the tip of Kai's katana and threw it back at Kai, "You and I are both responsible for ourselves. While it isn't our choice to receive pain, it is up to us how much we will take before we say 'No more'!" Koga explained, "I did that. I said, 'No more crap! I'm going to find happiness', and I did. My brother...he's gone. Not completely, I mean, he's still there and I'm trying to get him to see the light, but he's surrounded by the darkness as I once was. He won't let me protect him...so I had to let him make that decision. Then Ū came along. He looked up to me, respected me. Now my brother is beginning to wonder why I'm suddenly so happy and why he's sinking further into the darkness." Koga looked Kai right in the eye, "It's over!" he shouted, his voice combined with the Nine-Tails', "I accepted my pain and threw it behind me. This kid is right in front of me. He needs me and I'm going to do everything in my power to protect him and then...when I become strong enough, I'm going to save my brother too."

Kai dissapered in a puff of smoke, but the Real Kai pulled Koga from underground. Now, Koga was in the ground, and Kai was above. "I don't intend for that to hold you, but now I have your attention. Inumaru is all I have now. Zutto came back to me, but he rarely ever speaks anymore. Sure, we see each other in passing, but there is no realy brotherly connection. Inumaru means more to me now then Zutto ever could have had. All I have now, I owe to Inumaru. He is my little bubby, and I will be damned before anything hurts him." Kai began to change his voice to a much mroe forceful one, and then he stared Koga in the eyes. "But you were not there when all of this happened to me. You left when I was at my worst. Everything fell apart, but then Inumaru needed a teacher, and I accepted the offer. Ever since that time, I have grown to love him more and mroe everyday. While he is not my blood brother, in my heart, he is my little brother. And it is my job to be the older brother to him, because I won't let him fall like I did. He saved me from my darkness, he brought back the youth I lost years ago, and he let me expereince a bond of love so strong that it cannot be broken. Several members of the council hate him, but I don't. I refuse to let him feel hated, because...." Kai's voice began to trail off, but then it came back stronger then ever. "Inumaru is my brother, and I will protect him, even if I have to remove myself from you to do it!" Kai was now yelling at Koga, and his chakra was riled up. His eyes became bloodshot, and then his chakra began to destroy the area. "Now....I will fight you with every last ounce of power I have. You are not facing Kai Saizu the Fifth Raikage, no, you are fighting Kai Saizu, the older Brother of Inumaru Saizu!"

The sheer chakra that was being exerted began to weaken Inumaru, to the point he passed out.

"Crap! At this rate, Inumaru will die from lack of oxygen." Koga thought as he began to focus natural energy into his body. Koga smiled for a moment, looking back to Kai, "The way you talk, you've long since removed yourself from me. But I am not afraid." he said, his hands now deadlocked around Kai's wrists, "My life is almost restored and the past has no burden on me. You act as if I was suppose to shepard you, as if I was suppose to be present for every trial you went through. I'm not someone's emotional punching bag! I'm a human and there's only so much I can take!" Koga screamed lifting Kai with his sage-enhanced strength, "And I've got news for you bud, I'm not the timid creature you use to know." He then threw Kai high into the air, charging a jutsu in the process, "Sage Art: Wind Release: Rasenshuriken!" he roared, tossing the ever expanding Rasenshuriken into the air after Kai.

The Heat of Battle Gets Underway

Kai looked down at the quickly approaching spiral, and then over at Inumaru, at Koga, and back to the spiral. "So then...we have both moved on it seems. Then there is only one thing left to do..." Kai removed his large scarf, and tossed it to the ground. Kai began to form a large amount of chakra in his hands, so much, that his body began to bleed. "TAKE THIS!" Kai screamed at Koga. The two forces collided, both pushing against each other. Kai began to push his hands into the mass of chakra, pushing it even further. "If I can't push myself to my very limit, then I am not worthy of being called a big brother." Kai was now pushing as hard as he possibly could, and then he managed to force his chakra even further.

Koga tensed up and focused his natural energy into a stream to power up the Rasenshuriken which would eventually begin shredding Kai to pieces. Before long, Ū ran up behind him, "Inumaru is out cold, so the best I can do is fight with you." he said quietly. Koga glanced down at the boy, "Alright. Just don't get caught in my Rasenshuriken." he said. Ū nodded and backed up slightly. Koga then turned back to Kai and his battle with Koga's jutsu. "Seems you haven't moved on quite yet...from your pain anyway." he thought, now standing directly under the struggle, looking up. "You still don't quite get what I mean. You don't have to wrap yourself up in a person to feel whole...if you do that'll only lead to heartache and the situation in which you now find yourself. Your own chakra is, at the moment, hurting Inumaru yet you persist. It's almost as if you have to know you have the power to protect, even if costs the person you're protecting's life. It's utterly detestable."

Kai kept pushing his chakra against the Rasenshuriken, and then he smirked. "You think my chakra hurt Inumaru?" Before anyone could answer, Inumaru appeared behind Koga at point black range with a Raikiri in hand, aiming for his opponent's head. Kai responded to this action with the following words, "You see, when I went undergound with my earth release jutsu, I was making a way for Inumaru to get over here during the battle. He has worked with me long enough, and you should know the my chakra won't hurt him,"

Koga didn't bother to turn around, as he exited Sage Mode and his eyes turned red and grew slits. With one sonic roar he created a sphere of red energy around him, sending Inumaru flying backwards. Instantly Ū arrived at the scene; he himself still in Sage Mode. Koga glared at Kai, "And you should know by now to tell a child of that age not to get close to a Jinchūriki who can control his beast. Especially one such as Nine-Tails."

Kai stood still, but then smirked. "Exactly." The Inumaru that went flying was acctually a large shuriken that was rigged to take out Ū.

Koga's backside sprouted one of the Nine-Tails' chakra tails, which then transformed into one of the Nine-Tails' real tails, which caught the shuriken in it's hollow middle and flicked it away before the tail dissipated. "You also seem to think I'm just going to let you harm Ū while he is in my range of protection. Wise men from the past would tell you not to anger a Nine-Tails jinchūriki." Koga spat.

Kai retorted, "I see that, but just how long can you keep sage mode and the Nine-Tails up at the same time? Only one will win out." Kai then appeared beside Koga, and then backhanded him. Kai then turned around and made a Raikiri, and aimed it directly at Koga's chest.

Koga caught Kai's arm right above the wrist, stopping him in his tracks. He then gave Kai a funny look, "What in Hell's Bathroom are you talking about, little man? I told you, I can only use one at a time. Right now, I'm using the Nine-Tails. If I switch to Sage Mode, it means I'm not using Nine-Tails. Is that such a hard concept?" he asked comically, throwing Kai back with relative ease.

Kai looked at Koga, and then asked, "Do you really think I am this weak?"

Koga narrowed his eyes with sympathy at Kai, "You have used less than Jōnin-level strategies, such as believing that a shuriken transformed into a kid could fool a Jōnin-level ninja and the words that you have spoken to me today have shown me that you just cannot remove yourself from the past. I do not see you as weak as much as I think that you are killing your potential. As a former Raikage, you should be better than this."

Kai stood up, and removed his scarf. "Koga, tell me." Kai's chakra began to flow wildly, and his eyes began to grow solid black. "Do you want me to face you like a true Raikage would?"

Koga's skin began to peel off as the Nine-Tails chakra rose fastly within him. "Only if you do not want to be killed." Koga declared. "With Ū so close by, I cannot do a full transformation. So, that means I have to stick with version two." he thought. "Ū! Go back to the treeline and wait there for me." he shouted. Ū looked startled but knew what was about to happen, "Yes sir!" he replied before rushing back towards the trees. With Ū out of sight, Koga became enveloped in a dark, blood covered cloak with three tails and large glowing eyes. "You are a former jinchūriki, Kai, but don't get cocky. You were never the Nine-Tails...the king of beasts. Watch carefully. Few ever get to see me do this transformation."

Kai looked upon his old friend, now turned into a blood seeking monster. "Koga...you will now face the real me." Kai bit his thumb, and then pulled out a scroll.

Storm clouds began to gather above the fighters and the Nine-Tails transformed Koga sank down and got on all fours. "You say that, but only time will tell. You haven't let go yet. I will not allow you to remain in this state. Right here, right now, you will realize freedom...even if I have to beat it into you."

Kai stood still, and then looked at Koga, and then at the ground. "So it's come to this. Then I will put it in these words. I don't need you anymore Koga, I have Inumaru now. I must now let you go, and I will do that with all that I have. All of the love that I have for Inumaru will become hatred for you, and it is time that I show you." Kai instantly made the hand seals and shot a large pool of water at Koga, and then prepared a large lightning Jutsu.

Koga let out a tremendous roar and easily blew away the oncoming pool of water. "Hatred? What do you know of hatred? Listen to you! You're consumed! It's almost as if you have to be loved or be loving some person; only one. Then you let that person consume you, over take you, control every aspect of your life and thought process and then you turn out like this!" he roared. "You hate anything that stands against that one person, you hate anything that challenges your affection, and you hate anyone who has managed to free themselves of the chains you are now buried in! Stop it, Kai! If you continue this way, you'll only open your heart up for immense pain, and then what? Are you going to choose yet another person to fill that gap? It's one foolish game of leap frog after the next! Wake up! We live in a world where heartbreak occurs daily. No one human being can save you from that. Not me, not Zutto, and not Inumaru! Certainly, they can be our friends and our inspiration to continue on." he continued, remembering Naruto. "They can even be our reason to fight, but they can never be our reason for existance. You constantly blame Zutto for your past pains, and then you blame me for not being there during times of trials, but when are you going to wake up and realize that that's life?! Mankind will always let you down. There is no such thing as a 'perfect person' to 'fill the void'."

Koga crouched down and prepared for Kai's next attack, "It's not like you 'letting go' of me means anything now. I've already let go. I have to be free. Free to love, free to hurt, free to fight back, and free to move on! And I certainly can't do that if I'm tied down by one person's emotional baggage!"

Kai stood there, quiet. "He's right..." Kai then stood there, and called for Inumaru to come to stand by him. Inumaru looked at him with his bright blue eyes and his warm smile, and then asked, "What's up bubby?" Before Inumaru could say anymore, Kai backhanded Inumaru with all of his might, sending him flying across the air, and landing in a pile of rocks. "You stupid kid." Kai then walked over to Inumaru, picked him up, pulled out a kunai, and then stabbed him in the leg. Inumaru cried out with a bloodcurdling scream, and then fell to the ground crying in pain. Kai stared over him, and then kicked him in the stomach, and stepped on him. "You are just a kid, and you were my contrainst for quite some time. I don't need you anymore Inumaru. You were great at the time, but I suppose we should all move on, We should all free ourselves from these bonds, but I will take it a step further. I will physically remove those who I once called friends." Kai then pulled the kunai out of Inumaru's leg, and then stabbed Inumaru through the hand. Inumaru began screaming harder, and then looked at Kai with tears pouring out of his face. "Why?! Why did you do this? You said you would be there for me?! You said you would never leave my side, you said I was you little brother and that you loved me! Wh-" Inumaru was cut short of his words, and then cut short of his life. Kai looked upon Inumaru, and then stopped down to where his dying body was. "Inumaru...." Kai began with tears streaming down his face, but then his expression changed to one of apathy. "Rot in hell."

The Line is Crossed! Fury of the Nine-Tails

Koga's eyes dramatically widened. The world seemed to go into slow motion as he watched Kai commit the atrocities he did against Inumaru. Before long, all he could hear was his own heartbeat. Then, in a split second, the ground erupted in dark red energy that flew high into the sky, piercing the clouds and causing a deafening roar. From a distance, Ū watched on in horror, "This is....the Nine-Tails chakra enhanced by Koga's emotions?! Just like the Nine-Tails attaches it's will to it's chakra, after Koga took it's chakra from it, he can attach his will to it too and his emotions by extension. When that happens, his emotions fuel his Nine-Tails state while he remains in control...What the heck is going on over there?!" he thought in panic.

Koga now possessed six tails and the start of the Nine-Tails skeleton around his chakra shroud, "You monster!" he roared. "Ū, get here now!" Ū leaped from the trees and carefully approached Koga's location, keeping Kai within his sights. "Take Inumaru and head back to Konoha to get him medical treatment." Koga ordered. "But, what about you?" Ū asked, worried. "I'm going to do something I should've done a long time ago. Now go!" he shouted. Ū nodded, "Just be careful." he managed. "Don't worry." Koga said, looking back at Ū, "I'll be fine. I'll meet up with you when I'm done here." Ū nodded once more, picked up Inumaru, and vanished into the trees. Koga slowly turned his transformed body back around to face Kai, "I know what you're thinking. You're gonna go after them and either finish off Inumaru or kill Ū, but I'm here to tell you that you will not leave this place alive." Koga snarled. "You will die here and....it will be at my hands."

Kai removed his exterior clothing, and revealed a battle armor. "Koga...if I cannot have a bond with Inumaru, then I have no need for him. In fact, maybe I should just go after Ū right now."

Snarling, Koga advanced on Kai's position by several steps, "Go then...if, that is, you believe your head will still be attached to your shoulders by turning your back on me. I no longer believe you to be human. You're a thing of the darkness now, since that seems to be the only thing you will please. You wallow in your darkness and your definition of 'bond' does as well. To you, a bond is something where the other person only serves as someone to constantly love on you and give you praise...make you feel good about yourself. To me, a bond is something more. It's a fragile thing that I must protect. I must treat that person with respect, but so must they to me. I don't want a love affair, I want someone whom I understand and who understands me. And....as long as that person doesn't take advantage of me, as you have done to every bond you've possessed...I will fight for them...to my last breath!" he shouted, the snarl of the Nine-Tails fusing with his voice.

"Back to the situation at hand; go after Ū, you say? If so powerful you are, why leave?" Koga grunted, continuing his slow advance.

Kai stood there. "If my idea of a bond is so twisted, then maybe I am a monster. Maybe everything I wanted was wrong. Maybe I can't truly feel a bond. But when Inumaru smiled at me, and when he hugged me and called be bubby, I felt loved. I didn't have to do anything to gain it. all I had to do was be there for him like I promised him I would be." Kai pulled out a large scroll. "If I could make Inumaru happy, I did what ever I could. But if I have to remove him from me, then I will. If I can't love someone, and they love me back and still be called a monster, then I don't want what you call love. If you think I want darkness, then you are sadly mistaken. If everyone else betrayed me, then I will beat them to the punch. But when he told me that he loved me, and that he would be there for me no matter what, it felt right. I felt like someone acctually cares for me, and I was going to do everything in my power to protect him. I was going to be there when his heart grew cold, I was going to be there to love him when the world seemed to turn against him, I was going to be there for him when he fell down, and I was going to be the older brother who loved him despite all his flaws. I was going to be his "bubby" no matter what pain I had to go through to be there for him, I was going to be there. His parents entrusted him to me when they could not be there on some days, and I would gladly take him and keep him safe. But it seems that I am still a monster. I didn't need his love to live, but I needed someone's love." Kai then fell to the ground, and threw the scroll he was holding down. "Monsters like me don't need to live. I failed Zutto, I failed Inumaru, and I failed you. But no matter what, Inumaru was my little bubby." Kai then was laying on the ground, and was giving up all hope. "I....am....a.....monster" Kai then released the seal on the scroll. The scroll contained Dark Release Chakra which had been charging over a period of 5 months, so its power was comprable to the Nine Tailed Strong Ball. "Leave if you want to live. Even you could not survive that attack. This monster will die here just like he deserves to."

"Always underestimating me...even to the death." Koga muttered as the Nine-Tails cloak receded. "Hang in there Inumaru...Ū will take care of you and I'm right behind him." he thought, leaping onto a nearby branch. Before leaving, he glanced back to say one final thing. "If all you wanted was Inumaru's care, then why did you attack him? To prove me wrong? Or maybe it's because I was right. In fact, what you are doing right now proves I was right, because if the fields were swapped and you had made that accusation to me, I would've ignored you, because only I truly know what I feel. My words towards you were only made out of my observations and now you have confirmed them." he said, turning to leave. "Goodbye, Kai." he whispered and then leaped off after his comrade and the incapacitated Inumaru.

"You thought that was all there was?' Kai spoke in Ū's head.

Ū froze and sucked in large amounts of natural energy, which in turn pushed Kai's presence out, as it cannot mix with the natural energy. A few moments later, Koga appeared on a nearby branch. Sensing the struggle, he released a large column of Nine-Tails chakra from his body into the sky, disturbing any chakra connections between Kai and Ū instantly. "That man underestimates the sheer destructive and toxic properties of the Nine-Tails chakra....He wanted to die alone, and that's what he'll get. If he tries anything funny, I'll kill him with my own bare hands."

Inumaru woke up, and looked at Ū. "Where is Kai?"

Ū sat Inumaru on the branch that he and Koga stood on, "He's over that way...where all that Dark Release chakra is." Ū replied.

Inumaru looked at Koga, and then Ū. He then folded his hands, and exploding in a fury of Lightning. The lightning traveled up to Koga, but avoided Ū.

Koga looked completely unharmed, having channeled his wind nature into his body to negate the lightning. He then looked in the direction that he had come from, as if staring through miles of trees at Kai's location, "You should know by now that lightning will never harm Wind Nature users."

Instantly, the sky began to grow black. From where Kai was standing miles away, he said, "Kurai." Kai had sent Inumaru out with his scarf to activate the jutsu.

A Climax is Reached!

Koga nodded to Ū who continued his journey back to Konoha. Koga then went back into his six-tailed version two form and rushed back to Kai's location. Bursting from the trees, he landed only a few meters in front of the man. He had so much anger for the man in front of him, but in a moment's notice, those thoughts were overcome by happier feelings. Those for Ū, Harutomaru, and his sweet Minako. He glared at Kai through the fox's eyes, "I stand against what you stand for." he suddenly declared. "No, I'm not talking about your so called 'love' so don't even start the lectures. I stand against attachments that require a person to bury themselves in another and pray that person always returns those feelings. You're living in a fairy world. I stand against protecting solely one person because they will 'always love you and protect you'. That's nothing but lies and wishful thinking. No...I stand for something much grander." he explained as flashback images of the kids of his place of work came to mind, followed by his young wife's smiling face, the day he and Ū first met, and the still smiling image of his far away brother.

"I protect and stand for a group of people, and not because they came to me in my moment of need, but because I went to them in that moment. I put effort into them...made them believe in me, and now they are my precious comrades." the Nine-Tails chakra was now obliterating the ground beneath him, "So bring on your stupid Kurai! I'll destroy your darkness or whatever it is with the light that is within me!"

Kai closed his eyes, and then opened them, revealing his new Jutsu: Omoigan. "After my research over the past five months, I can now use dark release." Kai's arms grew black with chakra, and then he charged at Koga. "Dark Relase: Dark Hollow Blast." Kai released a fury or black chakra at Koga.

"I told you...I don't care!" Koga roared, holding up his Nine-Tails transformed palm to block the attack which dispersed around him and exploded. He then released several bullets of compressed flames from his mouth, aimed for Kai and his surroundings.

Kai stuck his hand out, and dispelled the attack. "Such a simple attack like that will not work on me." Kai had redirected his water chakra to his hand.

"You don't think I know that?" he retorted, Kai not having noticed his chakra arms had slipped under the surface of the earth. Bursting from beneath Kai, the chakra arms made a fist and slammed down on the former Raikage.

Kai was slammed into the ground, but he used that to create a mud river, and then traveled through the river.

Koga retracted his Nine-Tails arms, "You've fallen, Kai. Even your power has diminished. Can you not sense this?! Can you not sense the difference our simple views have made on our powers? I left on my journey for only a few months, one of us changed tremendously and the other has remained the same; do you understand now?"

Kai emerged out of the river, and then looked upon Koga. "Koga, this is where you are wrong. You see, I have changed. Just because you think nothing has, that does not mean that all is stagnant. Zutto did come back to the village, and we are still close. Ayame is well also. Inumaru is a child who is hurting. When you walk into a room in the Academy and you see a child crying his eyes out saying he wants to die, if I help him, does that make it a selfish action? Because I want to love someone who loves me, is that so wrong? The only reason I devote so much time to him is because he has obvious problems. Very few people like him in the Village, but they know he is intelligent. Even the headmaster of the academy admits I have done more with him in six months then anyone else has in six years. And do you know why? It is because he looks at me like an older brother. That is why no matter what comes, I will love Inumaru. If we never become attached to anyone, we will never grow up knowing how to. He has always had to work for affection, but I give it not for what he does, but for who he is. Inumaru is a treasure, but he is young. I refuse to let him fall into the pit of despair I was once in. I will correct you on this: he is not my reason for living. I have a much higher calling, and I have found that since you and I last talked. My higher calling has opened my eyes to the wonders of human love, and to the joys of sharing this love. The calling I have has removed the darkness, and has shown me light." Kai began to charge a great amount of chakra that was changing from black to white in his hands. "From this point on, you will fight the real Kai Saizu. The one who was created for a purpose. And that purpose was to serve the one who made me!." Kai then stood there holding a large orb of very dense chakra that was shining with a power that has never been seen before. "Now then, you have escaped the darkness, and so have I. So tell me, do you think I have changed?"

Koga had transformed back into his normal form, showing visible signs of tiring, "No. And I'll give you my reason why. You've failed to understand a single thing I've said here. That is why no matter what comes, I will love Inumaru. If we never become attached to anyone, we will never grow up knowing how to. That is what you said. Did I once promote not having attachments? No. I said do not engulf yourself in them. You really think you know freedom..." Koga said looking at Kai while panting, trying to catch his breath, "And I know this because I thought so too when I was in your place."

Koga held out his palm and created a Rasengan with what might he could gather and slowly began his advance forward, "But when he told me that he loved me, and that he would be there for me no matter what, it felt right. That is also something you told me here. You are literally putting to faith a promise of eternal love an commitment from a mere twelve year old. Don't get me wrong, Ū is my comrade but I would never allow him to put that pressure on himself. I care about him, but the way you're talking, it's as if you're in love with Inumaru. I've seen students and teachers get close, shoot I'm in that position myself, but nowhere near the level you are suggesting." he explained, now wincing in pain from the after effects of version two, yet still slowly advancing towards Kai.

"...if I cannot have a bond with Inumaru, then I have no need for him. Another quote from you today. The point is, everything you've said you've changed in just now is not really a change, but simply you wanting to change. Again, I know because I forced myself to believe the same things you are now awhile back." He stopped about two feet in front of Kai and looked up at the sun peaking through the clouds, "...and do you know what saved me from the self destruction you're heading towards?" Koga asked now looking directly into Kai's eyes with eyes of complete apathy, "The knowledge that the people that truly loved me didn't have to say it everyday...or at all for that matter. They told me through their actions, their jokes, their corrections, and their concern. You're obsessed with Inumaru just like you were with Zutto. Nothing has changed because you won't let it. You can't harbor a thought of yourself without Inumaru...but it's going to happen. One day he is going to go on his own, live his own dreams, and find his own bonds. You'll be nothing but a memory."

Koga shook his head and chuckled, "Call me wrong. Scream at me, I dare you. Come kill me for challenging his 'undying love for you'. I promise it isn't undying. A great gift in the world is keeping your friends, but a greater one is letting the young lives you have touched go knowing that the fingerprints you left on that child's heart with be spread. I have bad news for you, Kai. He won't always protect you. Look at how old you are, and you think a twelve year old can protect you? Foolishness; that's what it is."

Suddenly Koga's eyes filled with a righteous anger and his voice became loud and deep, "Then what will you do?! Once he leaves, will you attach yourself to another? Go back to Zutto? What?!" he shouted and then calmed himself, "I hope you don't. When a person moves on, here's what you do." he began again, closing the distance and using his Rasengan free hand to lift Kai by his collar, as Koga was now in Sage Mode. "You pick yourself up, thank God for getting the chance to know them, and then move on!" he shouted, throwing Kai down on his rear. "Your chakra will never impress me...it reeks of sadness."

Koga's eyes seemed to glaze over with sympathy and tears, "You think the solution for sadness is happiness and kindness for everybody?! Bull crap! This isn't Princess Fairy Land! The world is heartless! You help that person, yes, but you don't give your heart completely over to them, lest you lose it. Love can be given without total commitment to every aspect of that person's life....If you're allowed to continue this, you could very well destroy Inumaru's own sense of self and he'll do the same thing you're doing. Be in the same pain!"

Koga clenched his free fist and raised his Rasengan to crush Kai with, "What I'm trying to say is; be a mentor without being a lover, be a friend without needing every ounce of attention from the other, be a person who loves because he can, not because you've been given a 'revelation'....and...learn to let go when the time comes and leave the past behind for good." he said, bringing down the Rasengan hard.

Kai grabbed the Rasengan, and then began to chrush Koga's arm. "Koga, if you want me to let go, then let it begin with you." Kai then looked at Koga. "I have been hurt enough. I have felt the agony of lonliness enough to know how to let go." Kai then pushed him away, and stood up once again. "I have lost many people in the past few months. Close friends dying, close friends moving away, close friends turning into monsters, and I had to let them go. You think that I am ignorent as to how this world is, but I'm no child that needs to be lectured. I have grown up though this world, and I have learned to take an emotional beating. You tell me to let go, but why won't you let me go? Why do you keep wanting to lecture me on something I am aware of? Do you think that I belive the world is a fairy tale? You misunderstand me Koga. You fail to understand that I have been through quite an ordeal. Remember that Inumaru is like a little brother, and I am overprotective. Sure, I get a little too overprotective a lot. I let him be his own person though. You have never seen me interact with him, so you have no right to tell me what I am. Have I once said anything to you about U?"

"What's there to say?" a distinctly feminine voice asked from behind Koga. The woman that walked forward was immensely beautiful and clearly of Hyūga descent. "Koga is a mentor figure in that boy's life, but he never oversteps those bounds. He taught the boy respect, kindness, and self restraint and you want to compare that to your own self?" she asked, clearly not as kind worded as Koga. "I know a lot about you, Kai Saizu, and your life in Kumogakure. That's the job of a diplomat after all.

Koga looked back with relief and surprise, "Minako....what are you doing here? He's a former Raikage, you're no match." he huffed through his pain. Minako took his arm and began healing the fractured bones, "It's a woman's job to stand by her husband, right?" she corrected him. "Ū made it to the village and told me." Koga's eye twitched, "Little twerp...No Ichiraku for him tonight." Koga joked comically, despite his pain. Minako turned her gaze back to Kai, "I've been listening for a few minutes now and, I think the reason why Koga is lecturing you is because....he has let go of you and he wishes you'd stop wallowing around in your fear and pain like it's all you have."

Slowly, her eyes became the Byakugan, "Come now, Mr. Greatest Raikage. Let this little lady teach you a thing or two about why you should never touch my husband and expect to get away with your limbs still intact." she declared, crouching in to her own stance.

Kai pulled back into a battle stance, and moved his chakra into his arms for battle. "Begin as you are ready."

Minako flashed to the side and thrust her palm forward, "Eight Trigrams Mountain Crusher!" she declared, thrusting a wave of chakra towards Kai.

Kai could follow the pattern of the chakra coming his way, and then he leaped out of the way.

With a quick leap, Minako was behind Kai, thrusting her palms in a spinning motion and utilizing her Gentle Fist fighting style.

Kai leaped back once more, and then held up his hand. "This fight is no longer needed."

Demounting the Battle..

Minako deactivated her Byakugan and leaped back by her husband, "What do you mean?" she asked assertively.

Kai let his hand down, and Inumaru returned to his side once more. Inumaru then gave Kai his scarf back, and then back away a little bit. "The reason for battle, is no longer needed."

Koga formed a one handed ram seal and was immediately transported behind Kai and Inumaru. Slowly and with great effort, due to his wounds, he used his Nine-Tails chakra to heal their wounds. "He's right, Minako-chan. This fight is unneeded anymore." he said weakly. Minako nodded and began to walk towards them.

"You and I were pushed to our limits. Were it not for the Nine-Tails, you would have collapsed long ago. And were it not for my extreme chakra reserves and Kurai, I would have done the same. Of course, who is the true victor here?" Kai asked as he placed the scarf back on his neck.

"Who needs a winner?" Koga asked, walking away and straight into his wife's arms. She looked him over lovingly, making sure he had no open wounds and then simply held onto his arm. "Sometimes it's better when there is no true winner." Koga finished, stroking his wife's long, blue hair. She, in turn, chimed in. "We should probably head back to Konoha." she said. "We have an adoption process to complete and you have got to get a lot of rest." Koga again formed his half seal, "Until we meet again." he said to Kai, and then they were gone.

Kai and Inumaru both stood there, but then Inumaru collapsed. Kai reached down and picked him up, and then held him in his arms. "I will give you distance, but you will still always be my little bubby. I will be there for you no matter what happens. And when the time comes to let you go, it will be hard, but I will." Kai then gently patted Inumaru on his head, and then whispered, "Let's go home little bubby."

THE END

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