A/N: YES! I! AM! BACK! BACK AGAIN! BACK WITH REQUEST YEARS ONCE MORE! This week's request? Updating this fic! Among others. So off we go!
Now, someone asked about Naruto going to the dark side in this? Is it a possibility? Hmm. That depends. Remember, he is very, very VERY angry at a certain Goddess for screwing up his life. Add to that the whispers he's hearing, and the new wellspring of power he's only just begun to tap into and all I can say is...he's toeing a perilous line. It remains to be seen whether he crosses it, or not, dear readers.
Now, I proudly present the next chapter of...
...Not So Far Away!
...make of it what you will!
I'm also taking pangs to make this story different, unique, and very much my own from the new canon.
As you'll soon see.
Hope ya like it, folks!
"You will give in. You just haven't realized it yet."
Whispers of a Fall
"FUCK! MY! LIIIIIIIFE~!"
Naruto gnashed his teeth as his world spun in a violent circle, the viewport before him little more than a mottled blur of sand sky and more sand. Rey was putting the ship through her paces, throwing in every trick she knew and then a few more in a desperate attempt to keep the enemy fighter from scoring a direct hit. Yawing from side to side did not do wonders for one's aim however, much less one's stomach. More than once, that wasn't enough and streaks of super-heated green plasma howled past mere inches from the hull and the gunner's turret.
Not to mention the constant spinning was sending his gut lurching and there was only so much one could take of that...
"What's going on down there?!" Rey's voice called over the intercom, "Why aren't you shooting back?!"
"The damn turret's jammed!" he snarled, "I've got nothing!
"Why does this always happen to you?!"
"Not the time for this here, Rey! NOT THE TIME!"
Cursing his sand-blasted luck, the blond wrenched the controls for all he was worth, but still, they refused to respond. They were well and truly jammed, the buttons stiff and unresponsive to his touch. It would've been one thing if they'd merely been locked in the upright position, he could have at least made a go of that, but noooooo apparently fate felt like fucking with him today! Another blast rocked the battered old freighter, and, this time, he wasn't so fortunate to escape it unharmed.
Pain exploded in his forehead as his head snapped forward, caught on something sharp, and tinged his vision red.
Raising his gaze, wincing at the agony throbbing in his skull,
He caught sight of the Tie Fighter then, a brief glimpse of mottled black and grey weaving past his screen.
A spark of anger worked its way through the fog of his thoughts, worming its way deep into his heart.
The ship shook, smashing his head against the controls, sending a spike of agony into his skull.
And for the first time in a long time, Naruto realized an awful truth.
He was angry.
Angrier than he'd been in a long time.
He was absolutely bleeding furious and it stung more than words ever could to admit it. This in turn, only made the broken shinobi all the angrier. Not with Rei but at himself, at the tempermental state of own body, the weakness of his powers, at this wretched hunk of junk masquerading as a ship, at the dead controls in his hands. But this extended well beyond that. It had begun slowly, in fits and spurts, now a rushing tide. His wrath had been building for days-weeks!-now, seething just under the surface. Ever present but contained, even as it reached a fever boil.
Now, to be fair Naruto had never been the sort to dwell on this sort of thing in the past.
But that had been before.
Before he'd been stranded here. Before he lost his leg. Before he'd been crippled. Before his powers were reduced to a mere flicker of their former might. Before he had to watch Rei struggle to make a living for the both of them, watching her scrape by, scavenge increasingly dangerous areas just so they could make ends meet. Even now she was fighting to keep them both alive and there wasn't anything he could do...!
Now it came to a head.
For the first time since he'd found himself on this miserable dust-ball of a planet, Naurto Uzumaki gave the anger within room to breathe.
And oh, did it breathe.
'Good, good!' An ancient, withered voice cackled in the back of his mind. 'Let the hate flow through you!'
Naruto barely heard it and, looking back, he should have paid it more attention. But he didn't.
He wanted to find the ones responsible for his sorry state.
He wanted to hurt those who'd dared to attack Rey.
He wanted to hunt them down in droves.
He wanted to destroy them.
Just reach out and-
To Naruto's measured disbelief, the Tie abruptly imploded.
As though a giant, invisible hand had reached out and took hold of is wings, the menacing black craft folded inward, crumpled into a ball of broken metal. It seemed to hang there for a moment, as if in suspension of the very disbelief he himself felt, still carried forward by its own momentum. Then it crashed headlong into a cliff face and shattered, sinking like a falling stone. Somewhere overhead in the pilot's seat, Naruto hard Rey give a loud whoop of relief, unaware of what he'd just done. If only he could claim such ignorance.
Naruto glanced at his hand, still outstretched, fingers clenched into a claw.
When had he done that? He didn't remember making such a motion.
"Well." he murmured eloquently, "That was...new."
Had he done that?
He didn't have time to marvel at this unexpected feat however.
Because something took hold of his mind then, viciously dragging it down and somewhere else.
"No, I'm justice."
Naruto's only response was to raise the hilt in his hand.
With a warbling shriek the LIGHTSABER sprang to life in his palm, a thick amber-colored blade igniting as they looked on. The ninja gave the weapon an experimental twirl, testing its weight. Seemingly satisfied with his new creation, he gave it a flick of the wrist, hanging it at his side, dragging against the brown leaves until it drew sparks.
Then he started forward.
"I'm going to kill you." he drew the words out with deliberate care, as though the young man were as much admitting it to himself as he were Ren. "Slowly. Painfully. Piece by piece. I am going to take my fucking time with you, and I'm going to enjoy it, even though I shouldn't. I hope you realize that." Ren realized something alright; those eyes weren't blue anymore. They were...gold, a sickly shade of yellow, like so much poisoned honey, not the eyes of a man, but a monster, a cold-blooded killer brought to the fore by the events that had transpired here.
"And when I'm done with you, I'm going to do the same to your master. I AM GOING TO FUCKING DESTROY THE TWO OF YOU!"
Then he flew at him.
The vision fled all at once, leaving him feeling drained.
'Okay...that was new, too. What the hell...?'
Naruto saw rather than felt himself slump against the gunner's turret; because numb as he was, he could scarcely think, much less feel. It felt as if someone had been digging around in his brain with a pair of scissors, tearing every nerve apart on the way out. Sithspit, a gundark could've trampled on him and he would've felt better than this! With an effort, he pushed himself off the battered controls, painfully conscious of the fierce throbbing in his skull, sensation rushing back to replace the sudden void.
Distantly, he was aware of Rey's voice over the intercom, but it all sounded so faraway, somehow.
Remarkably, he managed to pull himself up the ladder before he collapsed.
The scene from the viewport was damning.
His gaze craned back to the smoldering crater that had once been the tie fighter. A fighter he'd crushed with his mind. Just reached out and...crunch. The thought made him shudder. He'd never once had the power to do something like that, even before his accident and that he did now frightened him. More than he cared to admit. This anger was worrying, and that he'd just willingly lashed out, even against an enemy-
An angry and insistent series of beeps yanked him back to the present.
Glancing down, the battered blond found himself face-to-ball with the very droid responsible for their flight.
"Oh, hey little guy." a wan smile plucked at his whiskered features, "Enjoying the flight-ow!"
His smile vanished when BB-8 extended his tazer and gave him a sharp jolt.
"I'll take that as a no?" he laughed. "I was just joking, ya know."
A flat tone told him exactly what he thought of that.
"Hey! No need to be rude there, little guy."
In response, he flipped up a lighter.
Chuckling at the sheer amount of vitriol conveyed in the following string of sound and his spirits successfully lifted by the droid's antics-clever fella-Naruto hauled himself up off the floor. Climbing to his feet with a wince of pain, he stood. The little droid rolled after him, shooting an inquisitive squawk at his heels, its lone eye rolling up to peer curiously at him.
"Yeah, I get ya. Let's go find Rey."
On that, they agreed.
Oddly enough, he found that he felt stronger now, the numbness falling away to be replaced by an oddly euphoric, nearly giddy sensation. He felt...good. Better. Revitalized, even. As if he'd just stepped out of a bacta tank after a good long soak, which was odd in and of itself for that matter. With each step he took he felt the weakness leaving him, still there, but diminished for the time being, pushed back into the furthest reaches of his mind. He walked with only the slightest limp, now a brisk pace, the ache little more than a faint reminder.
Rey found them as they reached the lounge, dropping down the ladder in a rush.
"That was amazing!"
"Wait, what was-UGACH!"
This exclamation and her wide, disarming grin brought Naruto up short; so much so that when she flew at him, he nearly didn't catch her in time.
Old reflexes took over however and catch her Naruto did, his hands locking around Rey's waist smoothly even as her arms flung themselves around his neck. The sheer force of her tackle spun them both around for a moment, then he gripped her by way of her hips, and neatly spun her to a halt. Her cheeks were warm and flush as her forehead rested upon his, still giddy with adrenaline, chest rising and falling against his in short, rapid bursts as her body came down from that unexpected rush. Even with her hair a mess, even with her body covered in sweat and dust from their flight, she looked absolutely radiant.
For a fleeting moment, neither spoke, and Naruto felt his heart skip a beat.
"Pretty fancy flying there."
She preened under his praise.
"You weren't so bad yourself."
In that instant his arms nearly betrayed him, nearly did something untoward.
In the end, he settled for placing a the lightest of kisses upon her forehead, and felt terribly awkward about the whole thing for doing it without her permission. Rey, for her part, colored at the sudden display, but didn't resist and buried her head in his chest, holding him tightly as she colored. It was...almost adorable, watching her tan face color prettily like that. It served as a not-so-subtle reminder that for all her boyish behavior Rey was still very much a girl, and one he cared for at that. The idea of facing those feelings terrified him, and so, he scrambled for a distraction.
"So," he managed, "If you're here...whose flying the ship?"
"The auto-pilot, of course." Rey took her head out of his chest and drew back to give him an odd look. "Though I'm amazed it works at all."
"Remind me to give you flying lessons sometime."
"I'd probably just crash."
Rey snorted and a fleeting instant he thought that would be the end of that.
Not so lucky, alas.
"Still, I can't believe you pulled off that shot!" she laughed, gazing up at him with pure awe. Then her brow furrowed. "How did you do that? I didn't see-
Naruto jerked backwards, reluctantly disentangling himself from her further.
"I...ah, got lucky."
The lie came to him easily.
Far too easily.
"Really." Naruto reaffirmed.
Before she could pester him further, BB-8 swooped in with a determined series of chirps and whistles. Exasperated, the rotund droid gave Rey's leg a hard nudge, as though eager to remind her of just where they where and what needed to be done.
"The Ileenium system?" Rey frowned. "That's where we need to take you?"
BB-8 chirped loudly.
"Why, is that a bad thing?" Naruto inquired.
Whatever else she might've said as the ship chose that moment to protest.
A curtain of smoke shrieked to life as panel shot loose, caroming wildly off the ceiling to rest at their feet. The sudden spout of steam that followed was a welcome distraction, for it had Rey turning to face the noise and inspect the sudden discord. Thereby allowing Naruto the time to better concoct a story that consisted of something other than 'I crushed it with my mind' or somesuch. Unfortunately, he got more than he bargained for with his distraction as his favorite scavenger leaped into the opening to see to the damage. Not a moment later, all hell broke loose.
Rather, it came in the form of an unexpected stowaway.
"Gah!" A sharp, female voice cried from the floorboards in Huttese. "Poodoo!"
Starting at the sudden intrusion, Naruto turned and found himself face to face with a familiar visage, if only because he vividly recalled her feverish attempts to foist a certain crystal onto him. She'd since discarded her black and white leathers in favor of a dark flight suit featuring a series of mismatched pieces of mottled grey and red armor. Upon seeing them, her eyes lit up and she actually had the audacity to wave at them, in spite of the rapidly rising vapors around them. Her light blue skin seemed to shimmer in grease and grime, and with wrench it hand, it didn't take much to guess what she'd been up to. Though coated in muck, she was still a beauty to behold, as was the playful gleam in her eye, but that wasn't what drew Naruto's attention.
"H'chu apenkee!" she called happily. "Jeedai!"
"Waitaminute, the only one who called me that was-
The jiinchuuriki took a closer look at her face and recognized her immediately.
So did Rey; because the scavenger balked.
"Syn?" she exclaimed, aghast. "What are you doing here?!"
The Twi'lek managed to look mildly abashed, lekku curling in embarrassment.
"Rey! Die wanna wanga! Coona tee-tocky malia."
"Don't you give me that! What were you doing down there?!"
Syn chattered a string of foreign syllables that made utterly no sense to Naruto. He could, however, read the sheepish tone in her voice, see the way she tented her hands nervously. It didn't take a linguistic expert for one to see these were clear signs of contriteness. But for what? This universe had so many languages, too many for him to understand. He was just grateful enough that most people spoke simple english!
"She was trying to cannibalize parts for her ship under Plutt's nose." the scavenger groaned, palming her face. "Clearly, that's no longer an option."
Syn offered a sheepish shrug as it to say sorry.
"So? What do we do with her?"
Syn leaped out of the compartment before Rey could make her final judgement, eyes bright.
To Naruto's surprise, she actually took his hand and squeezed it firmly in her own.
In a heavily accented voice thick with that of her people, she implored him.
"Oh, please let me stay, master Jedi! I won't be in the way!"
"Look, I told you I'm not a Jedi-
She didn't seem to hear.
Rey offered a shrug.
"I don't see why not." Relenting at length, she pulled herself out of the fog-filled compartment and quickly clasped Syn's hand, pulling her away from Naruto. A bit forcibly, the blond noted with a wry look. "Syn, come here and help me with this power converter...
Naruto smiled, paused, stole a look at Rey and Syn, still wrapped in their conversation, then glanced back at his hand.
It was still trembling.
Hurriedly, he forced it into a fist.
He mustn't let her see it, mustn't let her suspect anything was amiss.
He wanted to believe that it wasn't, that nothing had changed, but still...
For a fleeting instant there, when he'd crushed that Tie Fighter with his mind, he had felt something. Fear. Not his own, but that of the pilot's. His raw dread as he struggled against the closing confined of his own craft, fighting and failing to free himself mere moments before being rendered a bloody red paste. He'd fed on it. Savored it. He had held the man's life in his hand and willingly taken it without so much as a second thought, with wrath and anger in his heart. Perhaps worst still...
...part of him wanted to do it again.
Somehow, that frightened him even more.
As if sensing that very dread, the ship went dark, plunging them into blackness.
"Are you kidding?!"
He had no way of knowing what was to come.
A/N: SURPRISE! Added a bit of my own spin on things, here. Hope you enjoyed!
Poor Naruto. Sorry if this chapter is so terribly, short, but I needed to get this off the ground. Now, before anyone says anything, Naruto is NOT at his max in this. Nowhere near it in fact. In short, he's gotten his arse handed to him, most of his powers reduced/stripped away, flat. Yes, he's stronger than your average human, but don't expecting him to be tossing any Rasenshuriken around just yet...
So, in the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...REVIEW! And May the Force be with you! AND ENJOY ZE PREVIEW! Tis an amusing little thing!
"What are you-URK?!"
"I find your lack of sense disturbing."
Naruto exhaled sharply through his nose.
"What?" he frowned. "What did I do?"
"You just choked out those men!"
"So? They were gonna kill us-
"Listen to yourself!"
Han sighed softly in agreement.
"Chewie, we're getting too old for this shit...