A/N: REVIEW FOR IT FEEDS MY ENGINE OF CREATION!
They said it couldn't be done!
They said "Neon, you're only interested in writing crossovers about the first three God of War games! You won't write about the new one! You're not willing to take risks!" Gonna be honest, that lit a fire under me. And then someone-thanks!-suggested I do this. Now, I admit, I may have forgotten their name. Sorry about that. Memory isn't what it used to be after the surgeries. But I DO remember the idea, an idea so novel that it lit a fire under me, no a raging FLAME that I couldn't ignore! So here it is! To all those who said I couldn't or wouldn't do it...
WHAT SAY YOU NOW?!
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!
My health might be poor, but I'm determined to go out swinging. I want to remembered for forging new ground, for writing-and yes, FINISHING-all of my works before I kick the bucket. Heh, guess you could call it a bucket list. Sorry, sorry, bit of gallows humor there.
This story is going to be deep and meaningful. Emotional. Rich. Poignant.
A bit humorous at times...and also unexpected.
There will also be a pairing for Naruto, as the summary suggests.
Whereas this chapter is deliberately designed to make you question things.
How did he get here?
What is he?
Who will he become?
Ask away, and look forward to the journey ahead...
...and we leap right into the thick of things!
"The blond one...he's not your son, is he?"
...he is not. And yet he is."
The boy slept.
Distant images chased themselves through his mind as he dreamed, blurry scenes of carnage interposed over a scarlet haze. Children wailed. Indistinct figures raced past him, calling for loved ones. Houses splintered like rotten driftwood, sundered by mighty blows. Flames roared high in the night. Everywhere he looked the world suffered greatly. Men and women valiantly fought against the attacker, a beast that defied creation. Impossibly large and more powerful than anything he could imagine, it slaughtered them with punitive ease. He saw it all, viewing the world through a shroud, watching it-the village-below burn.
He had to wake up.
He needed to wake up.
On some level the boy knew this must be a dream-worse, a nightmare-yet he found himself powerless to stir in spite of it, unable to wrest his mind away from the sordid scenes playing out around him. Like an old play that he'd memorized by heart, he knew what would happen; yet he was not its playwright and thus helpless to do anything but watch everything play out to its inevitable conclusion. He wanted to help them, indeed, his very spirit ached to aide them, but he could not. He was nothing more than a ghost bearing witness. Both part of the dream and not. Helpless to do anything but watch.
To witness, as four stone faces shattered and crumbled away into dust.
And there, looming over it all.
A beast with nine tails.
It saw him.
Its maw parted-
"BOY! Wake up, boy!"
Harsh words jolted him out of the nightmare with a start.
Tumbling off the pile of furs that served as his bed, the boy crashed to the floor in an ungainly tangle of arms and limbs. A harsh rasping resolved itself in his ears, and it took him several moments to recognize it as his own, heavy breathing. Blurry eyes took in his hands, curled white-knuckled against the floor. A pair of boots interposed themselves beside his tan palms. Knowing whom they belonged too, the boy rigidly slew the fear he knew must've manifest on his face and averted his gaze.
"Are you well?"
The gruff voice grated against his senses.
"Fine, father." he muttered, raising his gaze. "I'm fine. Just another dream."
...as you say."
His father was strength and will personified; a great bearded mountain of a man with skin chalk white, save for a curling crimson tattoo adorning the left side of his body. Like an immutable oak he loomed before him in stoic silence, that pale, flinty visage ever unchanging. By any comparison, the boy felt as though he were little more than a fail sapling. He had a name of course, but his sire always seemed loathe to speak it for reasons unbeknownst to him. This man was simply Father and he was "boy." Just as his mother was only Mother, and his younger brother-though seldom named-was still his Brother.
In another life, such a moniker would've annoyed him beyond measure.
Now, the boy took solace that he was acknowledged at all.
Gathering himself up, he hastily dusted off his fur tunic.
Silence towered over them, large and immense.
"What is it?" The Boy ventured, pushing a hand through his disheveled hair, still sleepy, yet eager to make himself useful. "Are we going hunting? Do you need help with something? Or-
"Your mother has passed."
The words were simple and clean.
Yet a knife twisted in the boy's heart.
"Oh. She...has?" he managed eloquently. "When?"
That unflinching visage hardened somewhat. "This morning."
This morning? While he'd been asleep? She'd passed during his dreams?
In disbelief, the boy staggered back a step. He almost didn't want to look. He knew what he would find there. Yet when he saw the wrapped bundle tucked aside near the door, something in him quivered. He knew without a doubt that it was her. Mother. Gone. Taken from this world, and he hadn't been there in her final moments. Spirits, he hadn't been there. The thought tied his guts in an ugly knot of despair deep inside him, threatening to damage him beyond repair. Mother. The one person who'd understood him. The one who'd read his name to him, the letters stitched in that blanket. Who knew the truth of where he hailed from. Who'd promised to tell him all of it, someday. Now she was gone. Soon, she would be little more than ashes.
Questions skittered about in his head like restless squirrels and the boy struggled to master them.
Disbelief was the foremost among them.
How had she passed so quickly?
True, she hadn't been well, but...something in him rebelled against it. He didn't want to believe she was gone. She was the one who'd first revealed his name to him-that he had a name in spite of all his doubts-and to have her snatched away so quickly seemed cruel. Even for the gods. He'd loved her, loved her with a love so pure that it was almost painful to think off. Mother had been his world. A light so bright that she overshadowed everyone else around her. Everything he'd ever done revolved around her. Her smile, her laughter, her gentle reproach when he made a mistake. Father had been there before her of course, and while he craved his but twisted as it might sound, Mother had simply been more...present. He'd even dreamed of wielding her ax, one day.
That the Gods would allow her to die, despite all his hoes and prayers...it almost made him angry.
"Spit on the gods." A dark voice growled in his ear. "They'd do the same of you."
The sudden statement almost made the Boy blink in surprise.
Surely he had imagined that voice just now. Yes, surely...
Still, he knew Father wouldn't like it if he pried.
Even so, he asked.
"Was she...in any pain?"
"No." Father turned aside and made for the door. "Go. Wake your brother. I must gather the wood for the fire."
"Wait! I can help!" the boy pleaded, suddenly afraid to break the news to his sibling. "I'm strong, you know I am! Just let me get my-
As he looked on Kratos-Father, he reminded himself-stooped low and scooped up Mother's wrapped corpse. No doubt he wanted it out of sight while he made his preparations. All the while he kept his back to him. Never once did he look over his shoulder. Nor did he provide the comfort he craved. He knew Father was a hard man, but even so, was it wrong for him to hold out on a ledge of hope? Instead of...whatever this was? A rare spark of anger flared to life in the boy's chest, but he stubbornly stifled it. He knew Father had to be grieving in his own way. He must be. The alternative was unacceptable. So, once again, he tamped down that brief flicker of irritation and mastered his rage.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, the boy nodded and did as he was bade.
A muffled grunt was Father's sole assent, then he shouldered the door aside and vanished.
The Boy grit his teeth and sighed.
"Figures. Why did I expect anything different...?"
Theirs was a small home; it only took a few quick strides to reach the small cot that housed his sibling. Somehow, he'd managed to sleep through it all; his nightmare, Father's shouting...everything. He almost envied him for that. Anyone who could sleep through such a ruckus was blessed by the gods indeed. Though he was two summers younger than him, his sibling had a gift for language and the bow...and sleeping like the dead. Even now he could hear him snoring softly against the wall.
It almost brought a smile to his face.
While he bore wild ice blue eyes, whiskered cheeks and unruly hair the color of spun gold, Atreus took after their mother with his dark hair and pale appearance. While he remained hale and hardy, by contrast Atreus was often frail and sickly; he'd only recently recovered enough strength to venture outside. Likely because he'd been born of her. Unlike...no. Ruthlessly, the boy slaughtered that rebellious thought before it could take root. He wasn't to blame in this. No one was at fault, no matter how much he might wish it were so. Mother had been such an integral part of both their lives, and now that life had ended. He refused to allow his grief to get the better of him. There would be plenty of that soon enough when Mother was laid to rest.
Atreus wouldn't take the news well.
A scarred hand fell, shaking his shoulder.
"Time to wake up and face the world, little brother." he muttered softly. "Rise and shine."
A muffled groan greeted him. "Just a few...more minutes...
"Sorry, not this time."
At first Atreus resisted him, halfheartedly batting his hand away with hands heavy from sleep, but the older Boy persisted. Persistence was the key in all things where his little brother was concerned. So long as he didn't give up, he knew he'd wake up eventually...even if it made him a little cross. He'd forgive him for the rude awakening sooner or later, just as he did when sibling rivalry inevitably reared its ugly head between them. Of course they'd fuss and fight, even come to blows at times. They were siblings. In the end, they always forgave one another. It was never a matter of if, only when.
They were brothers after all.
The boy grunted quietly.
"Hmm. Need a hand?"
Dark eyes fluttered open under his relentless rousing at last.
Taking his arm, Atreus hoisted himself upright. Eyes bleary from sleep blinked slowly, not yet aware of the tragedy that had befallen them. For a fleeting moment, the boy almost wished he'd disobeyed Father and left the house after all. Anything was preferable to...this. Seeing the light in the eyes of his kin and knowing his next words would snuff it out. Perhaps forever. Atreus had loved their Mother deeply, deeper even than him. What was about to transpire might break him, shatter him so utterly that he'd never come together again.
Yet he had to tell him.
To keep this from him was not only impossible, but his brother would resent him for it. Perhaps even despise him. To tell him the truth...
This was his duty as eldest.
A lump lodged in his throat.
Atreus glanced about their home, noting the absence of their parents and the silence that came with it. A heavy pall draped itself between the two siblings, opposite as night and day. Even so the elder held his tongue, waiting for the younger to come around, wanting to spare him the pain as long as he could. Finally, he knew he could wait no longer. The words pounded at him, ready to burst forth from his lips at the slightest provocation, in spite of his best efforts to hold them back.
Taking his brother by the shoulders, he steeled himself.
...she's not here."
When Atreus finally spoke, he scarcely heard him.
"She's gone, isn't she?"
The Boy nodded.
"You can cry, if you want. I won't tell Father-
His words trailed off into a mild grunt as the boy's head abruptly slammed against his chest. The sudden burst of strength had startled him, but he made no mention of it. He simply sat rigid atop the pile of furs, a shoulder to cry on. Small hands fisted against his tunic, gripping fiercely against them until their knuckles went white. He felt his brother's pain in that instant, as keenly as if it were his own. There was confusion of course, dismay and anger, but also sorrow. So much so that he nearly drowned in it. He didn't trust himself to anything but sit there, one arm curled awkwardly around his sibling's shoulder.
"Why her, Naruto?" he croaked. "Why did she have to die? Its not fair...
The use of his name, so rarely spoken, startled him.
A lone tear rolled down his whiskered cheek.
He didn't speak.
He only held Atreus.
Family was family after all.
In the end, family was all you had.
Perhaps, had he known the chain reaction Mother's death would cause, he would've wept too. Not just for her, but for what was soon to come. A catastrophic series of events, all triggered by one death. One that would lead to more. Many more. It would bring about the very end of the world as they knew it, not just for this realm, but many more. One would have everything ripped away from him, yet gain so much more for his loss. The other would be cursed by both gods and men alike, forsaken in the eyes of many. Yet also blessed by others as he tore one order down and built another in its place. Together, they would lay waste to the very heavens themselves.
They would suffer, they would sacrifice, and in the end, one would pay a terrible price.
All this, from this single, solitary moment.
But how could they have known?
They were only boys, after all.
This is their journey.
A/N: Phew, feels good to finally get this off my chest. Helps that I've beaten the God of War game-and I'm STILL discovering new things! Also, Sigrun is kicking my ASS! I just haaaaaad to put it on the hardest difficulty. How the hell am I going to beat her?! I've got maximum health, rage, and everything!
God of War indeed!
As a note, Kratos's role will not be diminished in this tale. Not at all. If anything, he might run into more trouble because of a certain hothead. Atreus is still Atreus and Naruto will still be Naruto of course, but he's a touch more aggressive when it comes to combat. Helps when you have actual training...
Also, yes, the Valkyries are going to have a role in this. As is Freya.
Other gods will be more visible/prevalent, too.
Moreso than the games, at that.
...and someone else.
So, lets clarify.
Naruto is roughly two summers older than Atreus, meaning he's two years older than him. Mind you, we never get an exact age on Atreus, but one can guess. Naruto's nearly a young man by this point, but not past Shippuden in terms of age. YES, he does have a certain furry creature locked inside of him and that's going to cause heaps of problems down the road. But how did he wind up with Kratos and is his realm done with him? Can he use chakra? Ah, you'll have to wait for future chapters for these answers...
And no, I'm not going to bloody abandon this!
I'd rather die than disappoint you readers!
So in the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...Review...Would You Kindly?
And enjoy the previews!
"I...felt that. I actually FELT that! You! What did you do?!"
He never received an answer.
A clawed fist crashed down on his head.
"YOU!" One blow. "DO NOT!" Two blows. "TOUCH MY!" Three blows. "FATHER!"
...where did you find those?!"
"Under the floor. They weren't the only things down there...
"Boy, control your temper!"
"Brother...you're kinda crazy sometimes."
"I'm not your son."
Kratos went eerily rigid.
"Boy...you will watch your tone...
Still, the boy bulled on ahead, heedless of the danger.
"But I'm not," he muttered, kicking a stone down the path. "Not really." Blue eyes found his, blank and glassy. "I'm not your blood; not like Atreus." he jerked his head toward his "brother" further down the trail, carefully searching for their prey. "You might've found me first, but after you had him, you only kept me out of pity. That's okay. I don't mind being the second fiddle. Just...
Strong arms took hold his shoulders.
"You are my son."