Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Young Justice or any related characters or properties.
OCTOBER 10, 8:02 UTC-2
TEAM YEAR NEGATIVE FOURTEEN
The newly-crowned king stopped in mid-sentence, angling his neck away from the red locks swaying in the water. He stood from his seat immediately, ignoring his breakfast and rising up effortlessly in a few quick kicks to hover evenly, looking out the window.
"Orin! What's wrong?" The girl joined him, a concerned scowl across her face. The sudden disturbance interrupted their first opportunity to be alone together in weeks. Her teeth were clenched together in a look that signified rage, and he was personally glad to not be on the receiving end.
Orin shared her impatience with his personal life being interrupted for his new duties. He wasn't supposed to receive the throne until he had matured, but that had been cut five years short when his father passed away. The throne immediately fell to him, and the stress and grief had seemingly aged him several years in only a few short weeks. These moments with Mera, as infrequent as they were, reminded them he was ultimately still too young to rule.
Orin and Mera looked through the partly-translucent dome, just as the water shook from another explosion. "What was that?" she asked again, her scowl fading finally.
For once, he was glad that the palace was on a higher shelf, partially-removed from the city itself. Down below, the two of them could see the source of the problem. A building in the financial district remained in ruins, the coral and rock glowing with heat that reminded him of thermal vents. Fish swam away from the city in huge schools, terrified of what had occurred.
"I do not know, but they will need me," he said apologetically, but as he left to go look, Mera gave him an exasperated look and followed. "It's not-"
"Safe? I'm going and you can't stop me."
Orin and Mera swam towards it faster than they probably should, passing several concerned citizens who cowered behind the walls, staring above them and thinking the others would come as well. Mera calmed them as best as she could, shouting that it would be okay as they moved.
When he stopped suddenly, floating in place above the wreckage, there were already several soldiers pointing their spears and gathering around the building.
"What's happened?" Orin asked carefully to the commanding officer, a Conservatory tattoo of a sea serpent circling his eye.
"Something suddenly burst from above, surrounded by yellow light and crashed into the bank," the man said carefully, bowing to his king. "The explosion when it crashed was strong enough that it cracked open the seabed." He pointed to the thin, shallow chasm below their feet, extending as far as the eye could see and destabilizing several other buildings, pieces of which had broken off and fallen inside.
"Was anyone harmed?" asked Mera, and the soldier gave her an interesting look.
"You can share the intel with her. She is with me," he said automatically, and the soldier earned a scowl from the redhead.
He shook his head. "No, my king. I ordered my men to keep away from whatever was the source. The civilians talk of a meteor."
Orin shared a glance with Mera and then moved toward the inside. "Stay back a moment." She looked like she would protest, but the soldier moved in front of her.
"We will keep her safe, my king."
Orin nodded, already wishing that she was as respected as he was. The girl was just a student of the Conservatory to most of the population, and they could not see the love the two held for each other. One day, they will love you as their Queen.
"Send for Vulko," Orin commanded, hoping the scientist could help discover what had happened. He swam into the wreckage, the heat from the explosive collision warming the water around him to incredibly high levels. He was escorted by four soldiers, their spears at the ready, but he doubted they would need them once he saw the source.
Deep in the center of a smoking crater was what did appear to be a meteor, but the bubbles spiraling up from the massive heat around it made it difficult to see. He dropped to the bottom of the crater, mere centimeters away from touching the surface, and his feet were already scolding. A soldier's dolphin-like tail whipped against the ground and immediately jumped through the water in pain, a small burn already forming.
He sent for help from someone who knew magic, who could stabilize the heat so they could investigate what was going on. He moved as close as he dared, avoiding the hot bubbles just in front of his face, and looked directly at the object to investigate it. The steam-filled bubbles faded away for a moment, and his eyes flashed with realization.
Surrounded by what appeared to be glass or perhaps an opaque gemstone was a sleeping newborn infant, as naked as the moment he was born. The stone was crimson red, striated like it was made of several pieces, and Orin was terrified for the boy. Could he be alive?
He turned to the soldier beside him, grabbing the spear. "Let me borrow that for a moment!"
"What are you going to do?"
"Break it open," he answered simply, already flexing his muscles in preparation.
As though by divine providence, he heard a familiar voice shout at him, and without another moment, the bearded scientist floated down next to him. "My king! What has happened?"
"Vulko! There's a baby inside it!" he said carefully, pointing to the meteor that he wasn't sure was actually a meteor anymore. "We need to free him!"
The head of the Science Center nodded, moving closer than he himself even dared, driven by his curiosity. "Don't do anything rash."
Orin grinned at the sight, having known the man for as long as he had been alive. The Chief Advisor for all things science to the king, Orin realized this was the first time he had personally called on Vulko. One of his first memories was going with his mother and father to the Science Center to consult the kingdom's rising acid levels.
The mages from the Conservatory arrived, Mera taking the initiative to join them, and four of them accompanied her. They chanted lightly for a few moments, before the spell formed. Water glowed with green and blue light, instantly chilling the water significantly. Ice formed on the crater's surface, stopping the steam from rising. They could see the object more clearly now, and Mera joined him, her octopus-like tattoo fading.
"There's a baby?" she asked carefully, an arm around the fifteen-year-old king. The other teen sounded hopeful. "Do you think he's alive?"
Vulko nodded, removing any prejudices he had against Mera asking questions. The separation between civilian and nobility was incredibly clear in Poseidonis, although there were other cities he had visited with a blurred perspective. Orin had to thank the man later for giving Mera the time of day. "Yes, I believe so. The crystal around it must have preserved him, protected him from the impact."
They couldn't see clearly enough through the glass to see if the baby was actually human or not, but Orin was suddenly thankful that Vulko had arrived in time to stop him from breaking it open. Was he an alien from beyond the surface world's skies? If the baby was human, the pressure would kill him. He was already contemplating an order to the members of the Conservatory to cast the necessary spells to create a bubble of atmosphere around the area, but the scientist suddenly shouted something unintelligible.
"He's Atlantean!" Vulko shouted, instantly raising more questions. The soldiers murmured around them, but Orin was already thinking of what to do. Ordering the mages to perform the necessary spell as a precaution, the five mages held back the powerful force of the ocean. Mera's tattoos glowed to life again, running along her cheeks and pointing directly to her eyes. He had to stop himself from dropping his jaw at her beauty, as the ocean washed over him.
Stepping to the ground of the crater, still cool to the touch, he felt the usual weakness that accompanied the feeling of being away from the water. His body adjusted within a few seconds, but he supposed that was far easier for him than most, given who his father was.
He stepped into the center of the crater, holding the soldier's spear in his hand. Vulko was suddenly beside him, touching the surface of the odd crimson gem-like material. It seemed to glow lightly from his touch.
"Fascinating," he said carefully. "It would have be incredibly durable to withstand the pressure and protect what's inside." He ran his hands across it, but Orin was staring intently at the baby's belly. The orange light seemed to becoming from an interesting tattoo-like spiraling symbol on the boy's stomach, but he couldn't see any other defining Atlantean features. The gem was too opaque to see clearly, but perhaps Vulko knew better. He had to trust the man's word on matters like this.
"There are nine pieces, carefully wrapped together to protect the air pocket in the middle," Vulko said with great scientific interest. "Not a stone formation that could have occurred naturally, and definitely not in outer space." He mumbled something about the surface dwellers, but Orin couldn't listen to his prejudices. "Someone did this intentionally, as though they knew he was going to be sent underwater. The spherical ridges distinctly protect against the depth. I've never seen anything like it."
"Can I break it now?" he asked abruptly. "They can't hold the spell forever."
After a long moment, Vulko nodded. "You have to do it so precisely." He pointed to a spot where three striations seemed to meet, above where the boy's head was underneath. "To hit this spot, and this spot only. Hit it hard, but do it carefully."
Orin nodded and took a deep breath, looking around the glowing lavender bubble of water. Mera gave a weak wave, and it was all the encouragement he needed.
Tensing his powerful muscles, he carefully stabbed the spear's point into the exact place where Vulko instructed, and the object cracked, a crisscross of hair fractures running across it. He panted lightly, Gods this thing is tough. Arms straining, he suddenly jerked the spear upwards, prying a huge piece of it away.
Instantly dropping to his knees from expended effort, Vulko pulled more of the crystal away carefully and grinned heartily. He pulled what looked to be a scroll from the baby's side, looking at it carefully. "Odd. Someone's sent a message with it?" he suggested before opening the paper.
Orin was interested in the message, but he was more interested in the baby boy. A tuft of blonde hair, tiny little fingers, a glowing orange tattoo on his belly. His eyes were closed, too young to have them open yet, but there were clear gills on his shoulders, proving his Atlantean heritage. His chest rose and fell as he took what could have been one of his very first breaths with his nose, before it suddenly screamed awake.
"Oh, good, he's awake!" the scientist said, looking away from the scroll, as Orin lifted the boy into his arms, troubled at the appearance of pointed teeth, almost like a shark. His spine lightly protruded from his neck, the back of his hands shimmering with lightly shining blue-green scales. The boy's going to attract the attention of the Purists...
After only a few seconds of being away from the crystal structure, it fell apart and suddenly disintegrated to nothing but mere dust, as though its purpose had been fulfilled. The tattoo stopped glowing, the black ink suddenly bubbling up from the skin. Orin nearly dropped the baby when the liquid suddenly lurched out, as though alive, before falling away and turning into nothing more than a small puddle. It disappeared shortly after, preventing them from getting a sample of it. The crystal dust was gone as well, and Orin frowned.
The baby continued crying loudly, even as Orin rocked him carefully in his hands. He suddenly realized he had no idea how to take care of a child, and he doubted that Orm counted.
Vulko had a frown on his face. "I can't make heads or tails of this. It's in some kind of antiquated air-breather language." Orin took a peak himself, but it definitely was indeed an odd language of symbols. He could read and speak English on account of his father, but this was nothing like those letters. What was the most odd, however, was the fact that it was written in a crimson ink that had to be blood.
"I'm sure someone can cast a spell to translate it," he said, knowing that they had devised a spell for similar purposes. He gestured to the members of the Conservatory, and the water and all its pressure gently reapplied to him. Orin felt reinvigorated, and the boy seemed to calm immediately. His fingers gripped the man gently, and he grinned.
"He's beautiful," Mera said as she joined him immediately, gesturing for her hands. Orin's grin extended even further the moment the thirteen-year-old took the baby in her hands, supporting its head. The red-haired girl had never looked more gorgeous than that exact moment, and Orin's heart swelled.
Everyone came to greet the newborn Atlantean, while Orin tried to handle all their questions that he could answer. The baby seemed happy surrounded by all these people, but it didn't take long before he started to cry again.
"I'll go feed him," she declared, swimming away from the wreckage of the crash site. "I'm sure there's something he can eat around there." As she did, several soldiers followed to escort her.
He wanted to follow, but Vulko stopped him. "The answers are all in this scroll," the scientist said.
As soon as the translation spell was active, a light blue glow emitting from the letters, they seemed to shift into an intelligible script. He wanted to read it all at once, but there was a lot of information there. When he found something that could be considered an introduction, he began to read.
I'm sorry for what we had to do. I'm sure you're old enough to understand the contents of the letter, but there are so many things to explain. The most important thing to understand is that we decided that sending you away into another world would prevent another catastrophe from happening. A great demon called the Kyuubi no Kitsune was terrorizing your hometown, and as the leader of the village, I had to do something to stop it. So I sealed part of its power within you, and sent you to another world. There were people trying to control its powers, and it was too risky to leave you here where we are. As my last act, I sent you away using what was left of the Kyuubi's power to do it, to protect you on your journey and to allow you to fit into this new world, wherever you may be. When you read this, the Kyuubi should be dead, and you'll never have a reason to fear it again.
There's so much more than we want to say, but we are running out of time. We're sorry.
There was more on the scroll, but Orin suddenly felt like he was violating into another person's life. He shut it carefully, sticking it into his pocket. "I'll explain it to everyone later." He kicked off above, hoping to go find Mera and the baby named Naruto as quickly as possible.
OCTOBER 10, 16:11 UTC-2
TEAM YEAR NEGATIVE FOURTEEN
Orin never realized he had fallen asleep until someone knocked on the door, shaking him awake. It opened carefully, revealing the form of his younger brother, running a hand through his brown hair as he swam inside. "I came as soon as I heard! How are you two doing?"
Orin turned to see Mera rocking the baby to sleep, holding a skin filled with nutrient-enriched water, a bit of kelp on a plate next to her. She smiled at him and at Orm.
"We're fine. Little Naruto here is okay as well," she said. "His gills aren't fully developed, so he's having some trouble breathing, but he's been adjusting for the past few hours. Everyone says he'll be fine shortly."
The prince smiled. "Of course. Do you need anything, Mera?" When the woman shook her head, he gestured for Orin to come with him. The blonde teenager nodded and waved carefully, before swimming out of the room with his brother.
"I assume you have something to discuss?"
Prince Orm frowned lightly. "Well, yes, I'm afraid. The Elders have convened-"
"Without me?" he asked, careful not to raise his voice, but his anger was still evident.
Orm backed off a bit. "They felt you would be too close to the boy to truly make a decision that would be what was best for the kingdom."
He grit his teeth. It was like his father all over again; after his mother died, his air-breather father had become king, and they didn't respect him at all. The Elders operated as though they were beyond reproach.
"Brother, would you tell me where the power lies in Atlantis?"
The boy opened his mouth, taking in a breath. "In you, of course."
"Exactly. What did they declare about Naruto?"
The prince seemed confused about hearing the boy's name, but eventually shook it off. "They believe the boy is a danger to Poseidonis and all of Atlantis as a whole. There's too much mystery about himself and this other world he comes from, so the boy is to be executed."
The casual way his brother said that immediately angered him. "The baby will be staying in Poseidonis, end of discussion. If not in our very home, dear brother, then we will find a suitable home for him. It is not up for debate."
Orm squirmed under his tone, but there was some kind of hidden anger in his eyes. "I did not mean to offend, my brother, I was merely relaying what they decided."
"Thank you for telling me about the decision that I will entirely disregard," Orin declared. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some people to see."
He left the prince and vanished from the palace, hoping he could take care of a few things that he should have taken care of earlier. When he finally arrived at the Science Center, Vulko was already waiting for him, holding data reports in his hands.
"How's the baby?" asked the man quickly, and all Orin could do was nod before he was interrupted with the science talk. "We were able to isolate a certain kind of unknown radiation at the site, as well as particles of that crystal that looked like it had disappeared completely." He held up a picture of the microscopic image, revealing what looked like a very crystalline solid.
"What is it?"
"It's some kind of energy construct," he said excitedly. "There's so much power behind that tiny speck, but it vanished completely within a few minutes. We managed to get a picture of it under a microscope before it disintegrated."
He nodded; it must have to do with the demon. He'd already guessed that the crystal was the protective force Naruto's parents had mentioned using the demon's power for, but a lot of questions were left in the air. Was this "other world" that the scroll mentioned filled with people who looked like Atlanteans and lived under water? It seemed unlikely, but he supposed they would never know unless there was more information from the scroll.
OCTOBER 11, 09:19
TEAM YEAR NEGATIVE FOURTEEN
Mera focused on the boy's small face, his teeth as sharp as a shark's, despite being so young. He was an oddity, an impossible little boy who made little sense in the grand scheme of things. It was as though the gods themselves had sent him to them, and she considered that a blessing.
The scroll had said otherwise, but she thought it was a miracle. Poseidon must have influenced the boy coming here of all places, even if the boy's actual parents had sent him to another world. The gods had to have helped guide the boy on his journey from one place to the next, because that was what they did, wasn't it? They guide heroes.
She smiled. "My little hero..."
Mera wondered what her mother had been like, but she had no memories of her. Her father had been absent, and he could be anywhere in the Seven Seas right now, and she'd never find him. She might have only been thirteen, but she had already made up her mind.
This boy was going to be raised like her own, whether Orin was there or not. She'd already received a visit from one of the nurses who didn't like her, and gotten an inappropriate look. The woman had requested to take the boy to a hospital about his breathing problems, but she'd refused. The idea of the boy leaving her side was terrifying, especially when she heard what Orin said about the Elders.
She knew what happened to the so-called "fish-heads" and that wouldn't happen to Naruto. She wouldn't let it.
But the Elders would pressure Orin to get the boy out of sight; they wouldn't let him taint the crown. Mera lived in the Conservatory of Sorcery, but she was uncertain if that would be any better than the palace. The Elders would pressure the boy to removed elsewhere, if not outright executed like they intended, and even if Orin could put his foot down, she wasn't sure if it would make a difference.
The Conservatory was the best bet, the more she thought about it. She could take care of a baby, and her own teacher had always wanted to have a child. She knew this would be the best option. She just knew it.
The door to the guest room where she had slept for the night opened, revealing two soldiers swimming in. She reached for the beautiful blonde boy and took him into her arms, as though to protect him.
"I'm afraid that you cannot stay here any longer, Mera. The Conservatory has requested your appearance immediately."
Mera nodded. "Is King Orin here? I need to tell him something I've decided about the baby."
The female soldier looked at her quizzically, gripping her spear loosely. "I don't believe so, ma'am. His highness left early this morning to take care of other business."
"What other business?" she asked, receiving a frown from the other soldier.
"A council meeting with the Elders."
Mera's eyes widened, realizing that they were going to make a decision about Naruto without her input. Perhaps justifiably so, but she needed to tell him immediately.
OCTOBER 11, 9:51 UTC-2
TEAM YEAR NEGATIVE FOURTEEN
Never in any moment before had Orin felt more powerful. He loved seeing their expressions when he challenged their supposed authority. This was the first major time he had ever had a conflict with them, and despite the fact that he wasn't of age, he wouldn't let them rule in his stead on issues such as this.
"I simply do not understand why you would protect the boy," one said in the closed chambers, placing his hands on the circular desk that surrounded him. "He's clearly a danger to the kingdom!"
"There are too many unknown factors involved."
"And the scroll said there was a demon involved! Do you want a demon in our midst?!"
Orin ignored their questions and concerns, but inwardly, he was worried about them. It was unnatural for teeth to be generated that soon. Was the demon still involved, despite all evidence to point to the contrary?
"I apologize, Elders, but I am simply not negotiating with you on this matter," he said confidently. "I will speak with you about tax brackets or how to deal with disputes among the city-states, but I will not make a deal with you on the issue of this boy's safety."
"This demon could be more dangerous than any damnable dispute!"
"You need to kill him. Get rid of him. He cannot threaten Poseidonis."
Orin sighed. "I am King, and what I say goes."
"And you're a fool!" shouted the most vocal of the Elders, a nasty-looking old man with a choppy beard. His robe billowed around him. "You are not of age, King Orin. We have been at this job far longer than you, and we will not be fooled into submission by naive upstarts."
Orin sighed again as the Elders all rallied behind the man's comments, and any good feeling he had about his authority was slowly sinking away. They were serious about ignoring his authority. What to do about it?
"King Orin, you have a visitor," someone said from the door, a guard to their chambers. The king saw the opportunity, grinning mischievously. "It's an urgent matter of life or death. Should I allow her inside?"
"Of course," he said automatically, much to the bemoaning of the Elders.
Mera entered the room, earning an even bigger smile from Orin. She rushed inside, the baby in her hands wrapped in cloth, and the king nearly watched the council behind him have heart attacks. A second person swam in, a middle-aged woman with the tail and size of a manatee; Orin recognized her as Savenna. Despite her weight, Savenna had this countenance about her that was as elegant as any noble person.
"This is an outrage! A civilian orphan bringing the demon inside the-"
"You'll be quiet and let her speak immediately," Orin threatened, completely exhausted of hearing this.
After a long moment, Mera cleared her throat and began. "Council, I know that you and the King are in disagreement about what to do with the child here. But I believe I have discovered a solution that will benefit everyone as a whole.
"I understand that the child cannot stay in the palace because of the impact it could have on his reputation." Orin wanted to argue this point, but she understood what Mera's game plan was now. "But I feel connected to the child. I lost my parents for different reasons at a young age: I know what it's like to never have known them."
Savenna swam forward, nervous but determined. "We suggest that Naruto grow up in the Conservatory of Sorcery under my tutelage. The mages can keep a close eye on him and his development. I wish to take care of him."
Orin was so proud of the two of them in that moment. Savenna was a great person and a good mother figure, and Mera would be close by. And if Mera was close by, then Orin would be as well. There were no downsides to this arrangement at all, but the Elders seemed skeptical.
"Would you like to see the baby?" asked Mera, a sudden idea catching their attention. Orin was glad for it; he could remove them from the council if any of the Elders had Purist tendencies. It didn't take long for one of them to agree, and Mera swam over to them and presented the baby to the old man. Orin was watching carefully, prepared to move in case something went wrong, but the Elder held the boy in his arms, his smile growing.
Orin witnessed several disapproving looks from four of the twelve-member council, but eventually, they relented. All twelve of the Elders were considered "pure" by Purist standards, and Orin knew it would be a good idea to select some "impure" men for the council.
"Fine. We will accept your proposal," the head of the Elders said, "but on the condition that if anything odd or demonic happens to him, he will be exiled from Atlantis." The other members agreed. Orin nodded once, but not more, showing that he didn't think that was necessarily reasonable, but it wasn't unreasonable either. From all the time he'd spent with the boy, everything seemed perfectly normal.
Mera bowed once, holding the baby closer to her chest before sharing a glance with Savenna, her personal instructor at the Conservatory. The kind woman grinned and bowed as well, before the two of them left the room.
Orin turned back to the Elders. "This meeting was a farce. I'm glad you gave him a good outcome, but I do not understand your attitude. The Conservatory will take good care of him, and will watch him grow to ensure he becomes an excellent citizen of Atlantis." He turned to walk away, but as he did, another thought ran through his head. "The respect you have shown to the crown my father and my mother shared for nearly two decades is appalling. I ought to destroy the Elder council; it's an antiquated system anyway."
And with that, he left, refusing to hear any more of their comments.
OCTOBER 11, 13:46 UTC-2
TEAM YEAR NEGATIVE FOURTEEN
Orin followed Mera to the Conservatory of Sorcery after the meeting, and they spent the next few hours playing with Naruto and catching up with Savenna. They greeted the king well, and the Conservatory itself seemed accepting of the arrangement.
"Look at those teeth!" shouted Nanaue, prince of the city state Nanauve, looking at the boy's shark-like teeth while he was crying. "I have a feeling that I'm going to like this kid."
Orin clapped the other man on the shoulder, half afraid the man would try to bite it off. He didn't have a great track record with Prince Sha'ark, but the man was unusually fast. "Of course. What's not to like?"
The prince's expression went dark. "Words travel fast. They say he's a demon."
"Words are exaggerated," Mera defended, stepping up to them. Orin had to smile at her brazenness. "He's not a minion of Hades. I'm sure if we did a prayer to ask him, he'd answer with, 'If I had sent a demonic baby into your city, don't you think I'd have boasted about it by now?'"
Orin and the prince laughed, before the man left to go prepare for a sparring session with one of the other students. Savenna returned after a moment, joining them. "I've set up a bed in my room for him to sleep in until he's old enough for another room. The bed is portable, so you and I can share him from night to night. Hopefully that will keep our sanity intact." She seemed positively glowing at the arrangement, and Mera was as happy for her as anyone else.
Orin laughed. "I promise to watch over him as well, when I can. You two aren't alone in this."
The two students nodded, before Mera leaned down to nuzzle the baby's nose. "Of course not. I expect you to be here a lot. Maybe taking care of Naruto will help you get your duties done faster. After all, how can you spend time away from this little guy?"
Orin had to hope that she was right; he made a mental note to ensure he was never behind on paperwork or other responsibilities, so that he could spend time with Naruto.
And that's it for now. Next chapter will jump ahead quite a few years, so Naruto can interact on his own with other known characters and we'll get more into the meat of the story/conflict.
Not sure why I'm compelled to do this story. I've been on such a Naruto kick lately, and I recently began rewatching YJ and got to "Downtime", and I suddenly couldn't get the idea of Atlantean!Naruto out of my head. Then I realized Mera and Orin have the same hair colors as Kushina and Minato, which was another unintended consequence of this idea.
There are a few crossovers of this type, but most of them just replay YJ canon with an inserted Naruto. I don't want to do that, so this will have a different feel to it, although it will follow the episodes/comics to some extent. I have no current pairings planned, but if you would like a certain pairing, there will be a poll on my profile with the possible choices. The pairing will happen from those choices and no others, although most of the ladies in the show are included.
Let me know what you thought in a review!