Disclaimer: I don't own any characters, themes, locations or other intellectual properties belonging to the Marvel or Naruto franchises. I just write cool fanfics.

A/N: Hey guys, I'm back! I am really sorry for my absence, I really thought I would be posting a ton of stuff during this time thanks to the virus keeping us all trapped indoors, but things didn't quite turn out that way. Several real life complications kept me busy, and then both my phone and tablet, which are pretty much my primary means of connecting to the internet, died. Even this 6th Chapter of AUH, which I have been wanting to put out for a while, was delayed by nearly three weeks because I don't really have any form of access to the internet at the moment. So once again, sorry guys.

Now that doesn't mean I won't find a work around, in fact I already have or I wouldn't have been able to upload this chapter. However, my current method of uploading is not perfect. I am currently living a really remote area (currently in the Southern Province of Zambia), but I can always go to an internet café in the nearest town whenever I stop there for supplies, and upload then. It took a while to find said Internet cafe. I won't be able to reply to PM's as frequently, however, at least not until I get a new phone or tablet capable connecting to the internet, out here.

Okay, so we finally have AUH chapter 6, and as some of you know, I've talked about finishing this chapter for a while, and now I am just glad I got it done. I wrote at least seven or so alternate drafts for this same chapter, all of which went in wildly different directions, with their own set of unique set of events and endings, but none of them felt right in the end. For example, one drafted pretty much ended with Naruto on Mars, getting scolded by Gaea. Another ended with him accidentally blasting a huge chunk of Venus' upper atmosphere out into space. A third draft had an epically huge fight with Ms. Marvel over the ocean and ended up dragging Namor into. They were all interesting ideas, but in the end they were also completely unnecessary to the plot of the story and everything else I've been setting up since chapter 1. Furthermore, a lot of scenes were beginning to overshadow a bunch of important events occurring in this chapter that set up the ground work for a great many things to come. So in the end I discarded all the other drafts in favor of this more down to Earth version of chapter 6.

Speaking of which, I have also been considering the future of this story. You see, when I originally started AUH, I had a rough outline of what I wanted to do for the next 25-ish to 30 chapters. However, after going through all my previous chapters, plus considering new useful information we've gotten from the Boruto manga and the Marvel comics since this fic began, as well as the sheer difference in my writing skill since back then. I've decided that I want to rewrite the first five chapters at some point in the near future, and change a couple of things about where this fic is going. In hindsight, I missed so many excellent opportunities with this fic to really make it unique, because I was playing it cautious and still familiarizing myself with the Marvel comics landscape. Oh, and I also want to fix a bunch of plotholes I left unintentionally.

Anyway, this chapter will be a bit heavier, emotionally, at least for Naruto and will set up a lot of answers to some of the questions you been asking me about him over the last five chapters. Though some of those questions you already guessed the answer to. Just remember that Naruto was an ANBU commander, and that he developed a similar aloof and mysterious type of personality to that seen in other ANBU characters such as Kakashi and Yamato, at least until we got to know them better in the Naruto series. He masks his pain, insecurities and regrets just as much as any of them do, and only those who are very close to him at the X-mansion have really seen the true Naruto underneath. Everyone else sees either the 'The Commander' in him, or an extremely powerful happy-go-lucky youth who sometimes has wise insight into things. He doesn't show his vulnerabilities to people he doesn't trust.

Now this is just an update on the Harem, which is Naruto/X-23/Ms. Marvel/Valkyrie/Angela/Kelda-Skadi?/Jean Grey/Psylocke/Magik/Future Valeria Richards/Black Widow. Depending on what I do during World War Hulk, I may or may not switch out Kelda Stormrider/Skadi for someone else. The ladies all have a purpose which you will begin seeing soon. Now to reply to a couple of reviews.

Yatsushiro Ryko: Thank you so much for your review and it did indeed encourage me, you're awesome. Personally I prefer smaller harems or single pairings because they are more manageable for me to write, but I don't mind writing big ones as long as they have a purpose that makes sense, and develop naturally over time. I actually created all the big harems in my fics because of my friends who were pretty persistent about 8 to 10 woman harems. Insanity I tell you.

Hadrian von Eveschatten: All the answers are in this chapter and the next chapter. There were shenanigans involved in his arrival.

IndigoDarkChild: It is here. Though I will have to apologize about that fight I promised. It didn't turn out anything like what I was originally going for, but that just means Naruto didn't vaporize a section of the planet as collateral damage.

Jerm069: Thanks. As for Ms. Marvel, she has the potential to be vastly more powerful than him due to her Binary form and other aspects of her abilities that she's just never tapped into. However, at her currently level she doesn't really stand a chance against him. He not only has access to a lot more strength, speed, durability and raw power without even using any ninjutsu/energy projection abilities, but he is also far far more skilled than her in application of his power and fighting ability. She's not that great at hand to hand combat, weapons combat, stealth and other skills that come second nature to a ninja.

Samuellegion123: Continued, sorry for the delay.

lamthai316: Sorry, working on that. Should pick up the pace now.

Ferocious Nightfury: It's not established anywhere that females have two claws. In fact most wolverines children have three claws, its merely the placement that changes. Laura's third claws are in her feet, Daken under his wrists. Logan has another daughter Rien, who has three claws in her hands just like him and can use magic.

Scotty26: Yeah, everything is a little different in this Naruto's origin. It's darker and more violent for one, and he used his intelligence more often to solve problems than pure charisma and the power of friendship. Still got the job done though. Anyway, everything going down is shortly after M-day in comics, and as of this chapter, literally before the Quest for Magik arc in New X-men.

Okay I got more than a hundred and fifty reviews since my last chapter so I can't reply to them all, or we'd be here forever. I just want to give a special shout out to my two newest patrons, on pat reon dot com, Beastank and Hayden Williams. Thank you so much for your support, it means a lot to me and will help stories like this one go a very long way.

Now, I've rambled on enough, so it's time to get on with this story. Please leave a review at the end so that I can make improvements and take your opinions into account as I continue writing. Now, on to the story.

Chapter 6: A divergence!

"For as long as I can remember, my life and my very dreams have been defined by my past in the Elemental Nations. Defined by the orders of the Kage I followed, and by my military service to my hidden village and the nation surrounding it. Defined as much by the friends and family I made, as the bonds I created with my brothers and sisters in arms.

However, I'm no longer in that world anymore, I'm not bound by those rules, and that entire way of life is in my past, a place I will never be able to return to no matter how much I want to.

All I have now is this world, this new and strange, beautiful and utterly terrifying – all at the same time – world, and the people who call it home. I can't pretend that I know which path forward I will take, but it's a second chance and that's more than what most people ever get. This is a place I can truly be free in a way I have never known before. I only need to want it bad enough."

Naruto Uzumaki's journal, entry #27


Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Subbasement level, Beast's Lab...

"Okay! I might have deserved that one Miss Marvelous." Naruto groaned as he looked up from the floor where he was lying on his back, clutching at his jaw, while the angry superheroine floated above him. She had decked him across the entire room as soon as he had entered the lab, but since his jaw wasn't dislocated or better yet, splintered into fragments, Ms. Marvel had held back by quite a lot. "But that…...was your one and only free shot, and you're not getting another one." He declared seriously. "Now I swung by to talk to Dr. McCoy about something for a moment. If you really want to get into it with me, we can pick this up after that." He finished, rising back to his feet.

Beast, from who's perspective had just witnessed Ms. Marvel randomly attack Naruto, was anything but happy with Carol Danvers, and the blue furred mutant quickly made this known, very vocally. "Carol!" The blonde haired Avenger flinched at the harshness with which he yelled her name, suddenly remembering that Beast had been standing right there when she attacked Naruto. "What do you think you're doing? And why is it that every time you come over, you seem to find a reason to punch someone? What could Naruto possible have done to you to deserve that?" The super-genius demanded as he gestured to Naruto and then at the mess of chairs and scientific equipment that had been knocked down when Naruto slammed into them.

Knowing the Avenger was in trouble, an evil-ish smirk adorned Naruto's features, as he turned to Carol and said in a playful tone. "Oh please tell, I am sure you're just dying to let Dr. McCoy and everyone else know exactly what I did to you, to get you so riled up." Through his empathy, Naruto could feel Ms. Marvel's embarrassment spiking as she thought back to the whole incident in the Park earlier that day.

When Carol came to the X-mansion that evening, she didn't explain in detail to Beast, her reasons for taking an interest in Naruto. Only mentioning that she had met him earlier in the day, and that she wanted to confirm he was a mutant and a resident of the Xavier Institute, rather than an unregistered Superhuman. Dr. McCoy didn't bother to question her either, since they were old friends and she often came by the X-mansion to see him and a few other mutants he was close to. The sheer embarrassment of what had happened that afternoon meant that she really didn't want to bring up the details of that encounter, especially with someone as close to her as Beast. Which was why Naruto found watching her squirm under Beast's intense gaze, quite fun.

With a red face, Carol looked away from an expectant Beast while giving Naruto the stink eye. Beast also narrowed his eyes in suspicions at Naruto when he used that strange tone, but the ninja ignored it in favor of giving Ms. Marvel a "go on" gesture, much to her annoyance.

Finally, Carol simply crossed her arms under her impressive bust and said rather tersely. "I encountered Naruto earlier today, there was an altercation over a misunderstanding between us, and he left a less than favorable impression before we parted ways." It was a technically true summarization of everything that occurred earlier that day, but one that left out just about everything important in terms of context. Glaring at Naruto again, Carol quickly added. "He deserves a lot more than that little love tap I just gave him."

Naruto snorted in amusement as he replied. "Maybe you're right, but then I could say the exact same thing about you after what you did to Laura." With a more serious tone and small glare of his own, he added. "And for the record, you left a less than stellar impression, yourself…Avenger." The way he stressed the word Avenger, wasn't quite insulting or filled with anger, but neither was it said in the nicest way.

Frowning at the growing hostility in their back and forth, Beast sighed tiredly and cut in. "Okay, obviously something happened to get you both rather upset with each other. Now why don't you tell me what you did Carol, and I will help you two resolve it." Beast gave his longtime friend a pointed look as he asked her this. It was a well-known fact to him that Carol Danvers tended to punch first and ask question, almost never.

Carol scowled as she saw the look he was giving her, and more than a little defensively asked. "Why are you just asking at me Hank?"

"Because you tend to lead with your fists or photon blast whenever you get angry, I've rarely seen you advocate for diplomacy first. Admittedly, Naruto can be just as stubborn and hot headed as you Carol, and he has absolutely no qualms with punching first and not asking questions at all." "Thanks sensei." Beast ignored the young man's sudden input, he wasn't complimenting him. "However, from what I have observed of him, he rarely ever starts the fights he gets into, and when he does, he tends to have good reasons for engaging in them. You, not so much." Hank pointed out, making the Avenger pout as she looked away in embarrassment, unable to deny the accusation.

"Ugh, that's so not fair Hank." She grumbled, a light blush was already coloring her cheeks from all the embarrassment. Carol felt unsure of how to explain everything that had happened that afternoon to the X-man. Luckily for her, Naruto who was more amused by everything that had occurred than upset with her for it, decided to finally come to her rescue.

"What she did is unimportant sensei." He cut in, waving Beast off when he gave the redhead a suspicious look. "And I think we would rather keep it between her, myself and Laura, in order to avoid any personal embarrassment for all involved parties." Naruto continued diplomatically, much to Carol's relief. She just knew that once one of them revealed the fact that she'd shot a hole through Laura's chest, Beast would be pissed with her for a few weeks. She also didn't want to talk about the fact that Naruto had slapped her rump and kicked her ass in revenge. It might have gotten Naruto in trouble too, but as an Avenger and a woman, it was frankly embarrassing thing to admit to close friend.

Of course the only reason Naruto wasn't making a big deal out of what Carol had done to Laura, was because Laura herself did not seem to care one bit about what had happened that afternoon. Well, that and Beast seemed to be rather fond of Carol Danvers, so for the sake of his mentor's friendship with the beautiful Avenger, and because his girlfriend wasn't holding a grudge, Naruto decided to just let it all go. "Besides." Naruto continued with an easy going smile. "Like Ms. Marvel said, it was all over a misunderstanding between us, so if she is willing to, then I am more than happy to let bygones be bygones." With his piece said, Naruto stretched out his right hand for her to shake.

Carol for her part glared at the outstretched hand, as if it was a particularly venomous snake, but eventually she took it in her own and firmly shook it. "Yeah, I don't mind letting bygones be bygones." Her smile was slightly forced as she said this, but Naruto did not detect any anger or ill intent towards him through his empathy. Instead he felt anticipation. Carol's grip in their handshake suddenly tightened. Had Naruto been an even remotely normal human, every single bone in his hand would've been crush under the pressure the woman exerted. Instead, he merely matched the strength of her grip while raising in an eyebrow at her.

Ms. Marvel's beautiful features, morphed into a glare as she continued. "However, you owe me a fight Naruto Uzumaki. I can't let that shit you said about me being weak just slide. Don't worry, I won't hurt you." She paused as she let go of his hand, impressed that he wasn't at the very least wincing in pain and cradling it tenderly, before adding. "Much."

Chuckling at her failed attempt to intimidate him, Naruto replied. "I suppose saying that your moves have stagnated could be interpreted as calling you weak. Very well, I accept your challenge, you look like you'll be fun. I've never really been one to back down from a good fight when I'm in the mood, and I am certainly not going to pass up a chance to school an Avenger in the delicate art of kicking ass."

Understanding exactly where this was going, an alarmed Beast leaped in between them while yelling. "No, No! Whatever this is or isn't, going on between you two, it's not happening here. This building is a school, a home and many other important things, including an expensive lab filled with highly experimental technology and dangers chemicals. My lab if we are to be precise. I will not have the two of you tearing it up just so that you can prove to one another who is stronger and satisfy your urges for destruction." He finished, putting his foot down on the matter.

Naruto who was all but ready to fight Carol there and then, laughed while scratching the back of his head as he replied. "Sorry about that, you make a good point sensei! There is not nearly enough space anywhere around here for a good sparring match with Miss Marvelous over here." He finished with a gesture to Carol who frowned, but was also relaxing from the fighting stance she had shifted into a moment ago.

"Hmm." Beast grunted in acknowledgement, happy that he had stopped any sudden outbreaks of violence from occurring in his lab, but there was something off about the way Naruto was so quick to agree. 'And what's with that name? Miss Marvelous.' Hank thought. His instincts were telling him that the ninja was up to something.

Making a show of looking around the lab as he walked past Beast – who was looking at him funny for butchering Ms. Marvel's name – towards Carol, who watched him warily. Stopping in front of the gorgeous blonde, with a mischievous grin Naruto picked up where he had left off. "Luckily, I know a good place far from civilization. If you will just take my hand ma'am, I will transport us somewhere nobody will interrupt us." As he finished saying this he offered his left hand to Carol. She looked unsure of the offer, though deep down inside he could sense that she still wanted to fight him.

It was with dawning horror that things seemed to click in place within his mind, as he realized too late the ninja true intention. Dr. McCoy had forbidden them from fighting here, or to be more specific, on the Xavier Institute grounds, he hadn't said anything about else, and while he hadn't seen any sign of it before, he wouldn't put it past Naruto to have a means of transporting himself and Carol away quickly. Beast only got as far as growling. "Naruto." Before he was interrupted.

"Sorry sensei, but like Miss Marvelous said, I owe her a fight." It was just as he finished saying that, that Carol resolved herself and placed her hand in Naruto's palm, trusting him to get them away from the X-mansion so that they could fight. The redheaded ninja smiled at her while simultaneously making several one-handed, hand-seals, and before Beast could say another word to stop them, there was an explosion of white smoke and the duo were simply gone. Dr. Henry McCoy was all alone in his lab, much to his frustration.


A small island in the South Atlantic Ocean...

The world exploded around them in a mix of thick white smoke and dust particles. Naruto hadn't meant for this to happen; things were not supposed to go this wrong. From the moment that he had laid eyes on her and Ms. Marvel had decked him across Beast's lab, he knew that despite her smiles and calm demeanor, Carol was itching for an excuse to fight, and if he was being honest with himself, he wanted to fight her just as badly. Not because of what she had done or because he disliked her for any reason, nor did he want it be anything more serious than a good spar. No, Naruto just wanted to fight against someone who could not only take his hits but dish out blows just as good.

The X-men where an awesome group people with unique abilities and versatile tactics. They were fully capable of keeping him on his toes, as long as they all worked together and he kept holding back from his more lethal moves. That didn't change the fact that he had his own far more unique abilities to lean into, was schooled in even more versatile tactics than most of them, and was faster, stronger and an overall better fighter than any single one of them…or at least that was true of the X-men he had met so far.

Simply put, short of a reality warper showing up and hand-waving him out of existence, someone who was several degrees tougher, faster, stronger and generally more powerful than himself fighting him, or someone with a power that could not only sense him from a distance but instantly shut him down the second they perceived his presence, then he would win just about any battle against them the moment he decided to go all out. This wasn't pride talking but a statistical fact, he severely outgunned the X-men he had met so far, in combat. The only person he was even remotely worried about fighting was actually Beast, and even then it was only if the furry mutant was given enough time to build something to specifically take him out. If there were any real limits to Dr. Henry McCoy's intelligence, Naruto had yet to find them, which in his mind made Beast one of the most dangerous mutants on the planet.

Anyway, the point was that Naruto did not really feel challenged when he sparred with the X-men and only did so for training purposes – their training – or to indulge them like a Jounin sparring against Genin in a training exercise. It could be amusing, it could even be downright fun at times, but it would never get the blood flowing or make him feel like he was in the heat of real battle.

For a while now, Naruto had been longing for a good sparring partner or a real fight against someone whom he could actually hit, and would actually be able to not only take his hits without breaking, but hit him back just as hard and fast. Something to get the blood pumping and help him release some of the pent up stress he'd been feeling, from going weeks on end without any answers on the status of his home universe and a means to return to the Elemental Nations.

Back in the Elemental Nations it wouldn't have been a problem, he could always talk Sasuke into spar with him, or failing that, ask Tsunade, Kakashi and Sakura to tag team with the help of a few ANBU. Hell, a few weeks after the war, he once asked the entire available ANBU corps for a spar and soloed all of them. This world had powerful individuals too, people who he would struggle against in any kind of fight. However, it was just unfortunate that he hadn't encountered any of them, or was incorrectly position to befriend them and ask for a spar. Again, he was mostly looking for a sparring partner to relieve some stress, not an enemy, otherwise he would have probably invaded Latveria or something.

Which was why when he met Carol Danvers earlier that day, despite all the drama in the park with the monsters from another dimension, he just knew that she was the answer to his unspoken prayers for a powerful sparring partner. Beast comment about them having destructive urges wasn't that far off the mark. He knew without question that she was like him; they both enjoyed the thrill of battle and wanted a way to cut loose every now and then, without actually harming innocents.

While Naruto had indeed studied footage of her and knew that she was quite a powerful superheroine, it was only after he hit her with the Heavenly Foot of Pain technique he'd learned from Tsunade, and Carol remained largely unaffected, that he was sure she could take his attacks in a serious fight. Unfortunately, due to everything that was happening at the time, he and Laura had to get out of there quickly, leaving no chance for him to seek her out and ask for a sparring session. Also, at the time she wanted to arrest him and drag him to Avengers H.Q, which wouldn't have been good for him.

Turns out his worries about missing an opportunity to talk with Ms. Marvel were all unnecessary; Carol was already waiting for him in Beast's lab when they finally got back that evening. With Carol Danvers outright asking for a fight but not so keen to get on Beast's bad side by blowing any holes through the mansion, and Naruto actually wanting one, the redheaded ninja ensured that they could duke it out far from anyone.

With her hand in his, Naruto teleported the two of them to this remote island in the South Atlantic, via a modified Reverse Summoning Array he had anchored to the island several weeks ago. The array was originally something he had come up with incase the X-men turned on him or he simply needed to escape from the X-mansion in a hurry. Back then, he wasn't entirely sure he could trust them 100 percent. Now though, Naruto knew that his precautions were unnecessary, and the X-men as well as the other mutants at the mansion where good people who wouldn't betray him. However, with everything else going on in his life, he still occasionally needed a place to get away from everyone and meditate in isolation. This nameless little island had become that place, and it was also the perfect place for a little spar with Ms. Marvel.

Of course, in transporting Ms. Marvel to this island, Naruto had forgotten one crucial detail about the blonde haired Avenger, specifically that she could absorb just about any form of energy and this came back to bite him in the ass…hard. As the saying goes, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Naruto hadn't even fully materialized through the other side of the teleportation array when he felt something go wrong. Space and time seemed to twist and then heave around them, and he felt himself get quite literally pushed forward a step or two, but by then he was already out the other end of the portal and standing on the sandy beaches of the island. That should've been his first clue that something had gone very wrong. Unfortunately, it was when Ms. Marvel began to transition back into reality that everything really went south. Carol was quite literally shot out of the sealing array at supersonic speeds and smashed right through a grove of palm trees, before slamming into a boulder that shattered around her body like bowling ball that had been thrown through a glass window.

No one needed to say anything for Naruto to realize that from Ms. Marvel's perspective, this was a clear attack on her person, and unfortunately she was tough enough to simply walk it off without a problem. What was meant to be a fun stress relieving sparring match that could be ended at any moment, without either of them holding a grudge against the other, had now turned into something else…and he wasn't sure he liked it.

As the woman rose to her feet, glaring daggers at him, the only thought in Naruto's mind was. 'I know I wanted to fight someone tough enough to match me, but this isn't quite what I meant by that.'


Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Subbasement level, Beast's Lab...

Back in his lab, Beast blinked to ensure that he had actually seen what he thought he just saw. The security footage had been slowed down to the maximum the system which was of his own design could handle, yet still all he got was a distorted flash of light and then nothing. No Naruto, no Carol.

One minute Naruto had walked into his lab, which was followed by Carol decking him clean across the room for reasons known only to two of them, and then they had talked for a bit, with him but mostly to each other, then they suddenly wanted to fight each and he'd forbidden them from doing it on the Xavier institute ground. Of course that was when Naruto simply offered to transport them somewhere else, which was where things got interesting. After taking her hand in his own, Naruto's right hand suddenly blurred through hand-seals at a speed too fast for the eye to even perceive and in the next instant they were both gone.

Hank always knew that Naruto was fast, they had performed a multitude of tests weeks ago that all pointed to this fact, however, he had never had any reason to believe Naruto was this fast. Beast had physically been in the room and looking right at Naruto, all he had seen was perhaps the first hand seal which was still a blur to his vision, and the last, not the 31 other seals that had happened in less time than it took for him to blink. The Camera's in the X-mansion only picked it up because they were modified – by him and forge – to be able to pick up Quicksilver or any other speedster mutants, if they ever decided to zip through the mansion at full speed unannounced, and do something…stupid.

The duo had most certainly teleported out of the room, because the door to his lab had been closed shortly after Naruto entered, and it was still intact. There were also no windows on this level to leave through. If the redhead ninja had simply runout of the room at speeds approaching relativistic, which he would've needed to do, in order for the cameras to not notice him and Carol, then there would've been other signs to indicate he had done so. Sonic booms, changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature, physical environmental damage due to the kinetic impact of footfalls and plasma damage from air resistance as they moved. These were just a few of the most obvious clues Beast could list off the top of his head, and would've allowed to trace the two. Now though, there was nothing, absolutely no trace of them.

Hank had no idea where Naruto had taken Carol off to, and there was no question in his mind that Naruto had simply teleported himself and Carol away, which presented a bit of a problem. One that took the form of him being unable to track their temporal energy or whatever it esoteric effects were left in the vicinity of the place they were standing in, after they teleported. Because of course Naruto decided to pull out a new surprise power all of a sudden, never having really mentioned teleportation to be one of his skills.

Furthermore, Carol Danvers was an Avenger in Tony Starks 50 state initiative, and it would complicate things between the X-men and Avengers, if something bad happened between Carol and Naruto, while Naruto was out with her…unsupervised. Beast didn't doubt that they would be safe, the two were among the most powerful individuals in the world. No, what worried him and the rest of the X-men was Tony Stark aka Ironman, he didn't want the man taking an interest in the kid and his origins. It was already a miracle that dozens of different government agencies and criminal organizations hadn't already found out about Naruto's true origins and come storming the X-mansion to either retrieve him or at least collect a genetic sample from Naruto to experiment with. The kid was a walking miracle after all. But with an Avenger off the grid, it was possible that Tony Stark would come sniffing around her last location and that could end up being very bad.

Beast sighed tiredly, he needed to figure out where they went quickly, and then inform Scott and maybe grab Logan and Psylocke so that they could covertly go pick Naruto up in the Blackbird. Hopefully they would arrive in time to talk Carol out of alerting Tony to Naruto's existence. The file on Naruto's abilities that he had compiled for O.N.E – which SHIELD could access at any time – hadn't exactly mention that he could teleport, or any other of the truly numerous abilities he had.

Furthermore, after what Tony Stark, Reed Richards and Hank Pym did with Thor's DNA, Beast did not feel comfortable with them knowing about the Naruto. He really didn't want SHIELD, O.N.E and SWORD to get involved in this matter either, if he could avoid it. Though he wouldn't mind having another chance to talk with the lovely Director of SWORD operations, Abigail Brant.

'Hmm? I haven't figured out how to track his chakra yet, and even with Cerebra Emma has trouble locking onto his mental signature due to some trick he's learned recently. The only other way I can think of doing it would be by locking onto his quantum signature, but it would take too much time to build a device that could do that. Unless one already exists and the only person in the world who would have one lying around would be...' His thoughts trailed off as he pulled out a boxy device from a nearby drawer. It looked like it could withstand the hulk stomping on it.

It wasn't a cellphone, but rather had the features of a cellphone integrated into its structure, along with a computer, a scanner and many other important devices. This device was to Beast at least, a multi-purpose handheld tool, which was inspired by the concept behind Naruto's own Omni-matrix seal. A modular multi-purpose tool capable of a myriad of tasks and as well as being continually upgraded. It wasn't quite as good or efficient as the seal Naruto had made, but it was a step in the right direction and would only get better with time.

As he waited for the person on the other end of the line to pick up, Beast hoped that the man he was calling would already have a lock on Naruto or at least be able to help him get a lock on Naruto within the next 10 minutes. Later than that, and Dr. McCoy was betting that anything might happen to Carol and Naruto, and Hank had a bad feeling that none of it would be good.

He didn't entirely trust Reed Richards, after all the man had been a part of the creation of that abomination that perverted Thor's DNA, and murdered Bill Foster aka Goliath. However, Reed already knew about Naruto and had been helping the young ninja try to figure a way back home. If Stark was still unaware of Naruto's existence after Naruto had met with Reed all those weeks ago, then Reed likely wouldn't reveal anything to the Director of SHIELD, even if he discovered something new about Naruto. Also, regardless of his feelings about what Reed, Tony and Pym had done, he knew that deep down inside they were good people, short sighted and misguided people at times, but good nonetheless.

The activation of the holo-emitter snapped Hank out of his deliberations, as the call was answered and the face of Dr. Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic appeared before him. The man looked tired, as if he hadn't slept at all, which considering he was the world's top scientist and it was past midnight, Hank wasn't surprised at all by. Pulling late-nighters and all-nighters was a pretty standard thing for any academically minded individual and even more so for super-geniuses like themselves. Still he greeted his fellow super-scientist. "Reed! It's been a while."

"Likewise Hank! It's good to hear from you." The world's foremost genius replied.

Nodding tiredly in acknowledgment, Hank asked. "I hope I am not interrupting anything important because I have a favor to ask of you?"

Reed shook his head in the negative as he responded. "Nothing critical. However, it's a good thing you called, because I was just about to get in contact with you guys at the X-mansion. I need to talk to Naruto Uzumaki, though I guess that can wait. What's the favor? I'll try and do what I can for you but I make no guarantees Hank, Naruto will need to hear what I have to say soon."

"Right." Beast began with an embarrassed chuckle, his instincts telling him that something was seriously wrong. Eventually, he simply admitted. "The thing is, it's actually about Naruto. You see, he teleported somewhere with Ms. Marvel to have a sparring match or something along those lines, and I need to find him, but he is shielded from most of our means of tracking him. I called because I believe you either have a device capable of scanning his quantum signature to locate him, or you at least have the means to build one quickly. I really don't want him catching Tony's eye, or AIM, Hydra, SHIELD and just about anyone else who would try to dissect him in order to figure out what makes him tick."

Reed's left eyebrow rose as Beast listed off these organizations, before he settled for massaging the sides of his temple as if to stave of headache. Finally, looked directly and Hank and said. "That might be a bit of a problem."

Nodding his head reluctantly, Hank responded. "Yeah, Ironman would hound us forever if he gets wind of the kid. Naruto's a lot more powerful than he seems."

"You misunderstand Hank. I have more than enough pull with Tony, SHIELD, the government and the Avengers to tell them to back off. I can effortlessly put a stop to them going after the kid." Reed Richards corrected casually. It was true, the Fantastic Four was probably the most adored group of Superheroes in America, slightly more so than the Avengers and a lot more than the X-men. If anyone had the capacity to convince the government and all those agencies to look the other way when it came to Naruto, it was Reed Richards. Whether he would do so however, was an entirely different matter.

Still, Beast found himself feeling confused about Reed's comment and asked. "What is it exactly that I misunderstood?"

"The problem!" Reed promptly replied, he then gave Beast his most serious look as he added. "The kid's quantum signature is the problem."


Crystal Palace, Center of the Earth...

"Hah! See that sister!" The most famous Earth goddess in all of human history, smugly exclaimed to her sister, as she pointed at a mirror like distortion in the fabric of reality that was showing Naruto Uzumaki and Carol Danvers, while saying. "I told you I wouldn't get involved this time. Naruto Uzumaki and the Soldier would naturally be drawn together, even without any outside influence." Gaea finished, looking incredibly satisfied with herself as she smirked at her sister.

"Oh be quiet already Gaea, and there is no need to look so smug." Oshtur said before looking towards the young man who had caught Gaea and now her own attention, with intrigue. "I will witness for myself, what this Naruto Uzumaki is truly capable of and why you have such confidence in him. Will he forge a connection with the ten and will it be enough to survive what's to come?" She muttered to herself.

"You suddenly seem like you're enjoying yourself, or does that grin mean something entirely different?" Gaea asked with a playful smile on her face and amusement dancing in her eyes from far closer than Oshtur remembered her being. Gaea's beautiful face was at that moment less than inch away from that of the leader of the Vishanti. Startled by her sister, having somehow snuck up on her, Oshtur flushed with embarrassment.

Turning to her fellow Elder goddess, Oshtur violently shoved Gaea towards the couch, while snapping. "Be quiet Gaea. I have no time for your jests." The radiant goddess was literally glowing with power, in her embarrassment. Probably glowing from sheer embarrassment too.

Gaea merely chuckled at her sister's reaction as she tumbled onto the sofa. "I am not making fun of you, sister. It's just that for the first time in about a billion years, you actually look like you are having fun." She admitted happily. When Oshtur did not reply other than looking away from her sister with a slightly guilty look, Gaea merely threw head back in a hearty laugh. Fortunately, the mother of Earth decided to give her sister a reprieve by changing the subject and asking. "So, who do you think will win this fight? My money is on Naruto, naturally."

"Don't be silly sister. Even I can tell that that's a suckers bet." Oshtur replied and Gaea noted that the mother of Agamotto was openly grinning, Oshtur probably hadn't even realized this about herself. "Without access to her full power, the only thing we can really bet on is how much or how little Naruto will toy with our dear little Soldier." She added.


Back on the Island, South Atlantic…

Her first punch had been all power and rage, fist glowing with photonic energies as she flew at him and tried to punch him half way to New York in one go. In response, the infernal redhead simply ducked under the blow while wrapping his arm around her own extended punch and twisting around her body in a single circular motion, before pivoting Carol over his hip and into the unforgiving dirt below them.

Air exploded from her lungs as she hit the ground after the perfectly executed hip-throw, but other than some disorientation and a severe need to take another breath, Carol Danvers was physically fine. Her pride as an Avenger on the other hand, was a completely different story.

Carol was still reeling from the hip throw when Naruto suddenly straddled her waist; pinning both her arms to either side of her head as he leaned forward until their noses where practically touching. Ms. Marvel's breath hitched, suddenly very aware of Naruto's sheer masculine presence domineering over her, and the intimate nature of their new positions. The anger that had been clouding her mind up until that point, had long since fled from the sheer shock of his actions, while her heart began to thunder in her chest.

To say that, between getting winded by the hip-throw and straddled by Naruto, Carol felt extremely confused about what was happening – particularly in regards to her own feelings on the matter – would've been a colossal understatement. Especially when all she could focus on was the pair of mismatched purple eyes above her staring into her own, not leering or full of lust, but as if searching for something.

Carol didn't dare take another breath for fear of what might happen next in this alien situation she suddenly found herself trapped in. Even had her arms been free move, Carol doubted she would've had the resolve to so much as twitch, much less push Naruto off of her. Much to her joy, whatever was happening did not last long. Too little time passed for even the shock to wear off, before Naruto suddenly tilted his head to the side as he lowered himself enough to whisper, calmly and almost seductively into her ear. "You're Dead."

Carol knew what he meant and she even understood why Naruto had said it just then. In a real fight, getting as distracted as she had just been could be a death sentence. What Carol Danvers did not understand was why in that brief moment Naruto leaned forward, she suddenly thought he was going to kiss her, or why the idea felt so…agreeable. As a result, all that came tumbling out of her mouth in response to his comment was an unintelligent. "Eh?"

With the tension completely shattered and her anger as well as surprisingly strong desire to reshape the admittedly cute redhead's face, doused. Naruto climbed off her with a chuckle, earning himself a low growl from the willful blond avenger, who was still emotionally reeling from her own conflicted thoughts and feelings.

From where he was standing Naruto scratched the back of his spiky head as he gave her goofy grin saying. "Sorry about that, as well as for suddenly laughing. It's just that you looked really cute, all confused and everything, a moment ago."

"Cute." She growled, clearly offended.

"Never mind that." He casually waved her off, looking almost embarrassed as he did so, though his eyes crinkled mischievously. If someone looked at the pair of warriors, right then and there, they may have been forgiven for assuming that two were old friends due to the relaxed way that Naruto carried himself, and the air of familiarity surrounding him. Which was why it was almost jarring when his demeanor shifted a moment later, and he was suddenly completely serious as he asked. "Have you calmed down enough to listen? It would be troublesome if I had to do something even more drastic to shock you out of your misguided anger."

It was like he was suddenly a different person. Naruto seemed friendly and very approachable a moment ago, but now he seemed…professional, was the only word that came to mind. Naruto had told Carol that he was a soldier just that very afternoon, and she didn't get the feeling that he was lying. However, hearing it and seeing it were two different things, and right now she was definitely seeing it in him. The urge to suddenly stand at attention and salute the redhead was incredibly strong. He just seemed to suddenly have this aura of command around him.

Perhaps Carol would have even saluted under normal circumstances or if she had the emotional responses of a normal person. Instead she latched on to the smoldering remnants of her anger, a familiar emotion, which was further fanned by his latest comment and replied. "Misguided you say? You asked me to trust you to bring us here and then hit me with that cheap shot while I wasn't looking, after teleporting us to the middle of fucking nowhere!"

"I apologize if it looked like an attack, but I assure that that's not what happened at all. I was careless, and I failed to anticipate that your energy absorbing abilities would mess with the method of teleportation that I used to bring us here. Your energy draining ability began to destabilize the artificial wormhole we were traveling through, mid-transit. Since I was providing the energy to fuel the technique, I transitioned to this side correctly. You however, as the source of the destabilization got spat at out on this end at hyper-sonic speeds. We won't be using that method to return home, I don't want to risk something worse occurring." He explained, looking genuinely apologetic for the accident.

Despite the scowl still planted on her face, Carol accepted his explanation with a nod and a tired sigh. "Okay fine, I can understand how that was a mistake, but what about you straddling me just now? What the hell was that about mister?" She demanded with narrowed eyes. Internally she was still very confused about that.

Naruto winced when it was brought up and hastily replied. "Oh that…umm, it was an ANBU black ops de-escalation technique I was taught a long time ago. Never thought I would ever need to use it though. The idea is that if the target of the technique is irrationally angry and a danger to you, themselves or others, then you do something to literally shock them out of their anger, causing their thought process to momentarily freeze. At that point, before they get even angrier, you quickly de-escalate the entire situation. The method of doing so varies from person to person and situation to situation, but it is very effective…at least so long as you don't go too far. Overdo it and you might genuinely piss off the target instead of shock them senseless, and if that happens then you will actually be the cause of their anger, and not just its unintended victim." He finished with a nervous chuckle, while rubbing the back of his neck. It had been a truly long time since he used something like this so he was out of practice, it was just lucky that it worked well enough this time.

"Fine." Carol relented with a sigh. There was a twisted kind of logic to what he was saying. It wasn't by any means a good idea to use such a technique in her opinion, but she was self-aware enough to admit that she had a temper, and that right before Naruto used the obscene tactic on her, she pretty much wanted to rip his head off. When seen from that angle, she couldn't exactly argue against the effectiveness of his methods even if what he did was unacceptable. 'And hot.' Her mind supplied treacherously. Quickly looking around at their environment so that she didn't have to dwell on these unexpected and revealing thoughts, she asked him. "Where are we?"

"We are on a remote island in the South Atlantic. It doesn't have a name in case you are wondering." Naruto quickly replied. By now that aura of command had dissipated and he was back to approachable, happy-go-lucky self. Grinning at her, there was a level of excitement to his voice, as if he was sharing some kind of personal secret, as he added. "I occasionally come to this places in order to meditate in silence and commune with nature, whenever the hustle and bustle of the city life gets to be a bit too much for me. It's also a handy place to train or spar against someone powerful without worrying about accidental property damage." He finished in conspiratorial whisper.

Looking around at the environment, Carol could easily admit that Naruto had a point. The island couldn't be larger than a kilometer in diameter, most of which was volcanic rock from the dormant underwater volcano turned mountain, or thick forest that had bloomed in the rich volcanic soil. The rest was tropical sandy beaches and palm groves. It was quite a beautiful sight actually, especially with the full moon above.

Grinning as she turned to face him she said. "That's right, you brought us out here to fight." Reaffirming their reason for being there with a bit of challenge leaking into her voice, she dusted the sand still clinging to her body off and then entered a combat stance, making her intentions very clear to Naruto. She was looking forward to putting the boy in his place, and would enjoy every moment of it.

Naruto on the other hand merely chuckled at the sight of this, and entered a fighting stance of his own. It was a style Carol was unfamiliar with, one that all members of Konoha's ANBU black ops were taught. "Naturally, somebody's got to teach you Avengers what a real fight looks like." The redhead teased. It was time to school an Avenger.

Somehow Carol just knew that she would either get along swimmingly with Naruto after today or come to truly hate his guts. Call it her womanly instincts.


When Carol Danvers attacked him for the second time that night, Naruto immediately noted the difference. She was calm, efficient and actually thinking things through as she attacked. Unfortunately for her, it just wasn't nearly enough.

Initially she had attacked with another telegraphed right cross. Disappointed by this repetition, Naruto grabbed her arm as he sidestepped, in preparation for another hip toss. However, she had learned her lesson from last time he had done this. Naruto was quick to note before he committed to the hip-throw, that her left hand was glowing with brilliant golden-white energies.

Naruto expected her to try and shoot him at point blank range with the photon blast, something he had already anticipated and was prepared to dodge, so it was a bit of a surprise when Carol instead fired straight down at the sandy ground. The ninja was forced to shield his eyes from the explosion of dust and sand, while Carol yanked her arm free from his grip before using her flight power to circle around him, to his back while he was still blinded. With both arms raised above her head, she brought them down in a gravity-assisted double hammer blow to the back of his head as she dropped from the air.

Sensing the attack coming, Naruto simply raised his left forearm above him to block the attack, while twisting around to drive his right elbow into her unprotected stomach, getting grunt of pain from her as she descended. Carol staggered back a bit from the blow, giving Naruto enough room to snap a kick at her face. Luckily Ms. Marvel blocked it with both arms before it connected with her chin. However, the sheer strength of the kick was still more than powerful enough to blast her backwards and slam her through half a dozen palm trees, the sheer impact of which was like a small explosion had gone off. And just to show off, he took his sweet time lowering his leg back to the floor.

When Carol finally recovered enough to realize the world was no longer spinning, and that her back was pressed against the sandy floor, she could only blink in surprise. There standing above her head and looking down at her with a slight mocking grin was Naruto, who simply said. "Better, but still very much dead." It was as if he wasn't talking to one of the most powerful beings on the planet. Not even her enemies belittled her this much, and it pissed Carol off, especially when he added as an afterthought. "Are you going to try again, or is this all that an Avenger is capable of."

That last comment was all it took for the blond avenger to snap to her feet, and with a scream of rage Ms. Marvel leaped at him, unleashing an impressive barrage of punches and kicks at Naruto. The redhead in question merely danced around them while openly laughing, as he cheered. "That's it, that's the spirit!"


They had been going at it under the moon lit sky for over 30 minutes at this point, and it infuriated Carol Danvers that Naruto had been smirking at her the whole time. Smirking at her, Ms. Marvel, as he casually deflected punch after punch and kick after kick, as if they were nothing to him. Even after Carol was forced to start integrating more advanced techniques from old half-forgotten lessons she had been taught back in boot camp and over her military career, he didn't seem to be fazed.

Carol had naively assumed that, even if Naruto was a good enough fighter to match her in combat, she could still win in a battle of attrition by simply fighting at higher pace and outlasting him. Like most humans, super-powered or not, Naruto would inevitably grow tired and she would have her chance to overpower him. How naïve she had been.

At the rate they had been going, most super-humans would've long since run out of steam from the sheer flurry of blows they were trading, never mind keeping up with their sheer speed. Her kree-human hybrid physiology and her ability to absorb energy allowed Carol Danvers to go far above and beyond the human limitation when it came to physical exertion of any kind. Apparently Naruto had something similar, because he had yet to even break a sweat as far as she could tell.

Another thing that Naruto had made clear at the beginning was that he didn't care if she used her powers or not, as long as she did it creatively. Whenever she recklessly fired photon blasts or photon beams without any thought, he started to hit her harder…a lot harder, however when she did something clever like focusing her energy into a blade of energy with which to gut him, he actually laughed and gave her a thumbs, openly encouraging her.

It was very clear that Naruto was not taking this fight seriously…well, not seriously in the sense that if he wanted to and stopped holding back, he could absolutely demolish her. However, this did not mean he wasn't giving his all in their fight. The best way to describe what was going on, was to say that he was limiting himself to a certain level of martial ability, just slightly above her own and fighting to the full range of his skill within that specific level of martial ability. It made it even more obvious that he was far more skilled than her and holding back by a lot.

"Keep your focus up." He said, as he, ducked under a right hook and shoulder checked her away before she could get her guard up, sending her tumbling backwards. "Losing focus on the battlefield is a good way to die." Naruto lectured while waiting for her to get back on her feet.

This was another thing that he started doing as they fought on. He wasn't just kicking her ass; he was actually teaching her as he kicked her ass, much to her mortification. Naruto was ruthlessly exploiting any openings in her guard while explaining away her mistakes to her, as well as why he was able to exploit that particular opening. Much to her annoyance, this teaching method was working. Carol realized that she had been closing those very openings one after another as the battle went on, and in doing so improving her fighting abilities in leaps and bounds.

As she recovered and prepared for the next engagement, she was surprised when Naruto held his chin as if in deep thought, and not particularly concerned with the fact that she was back on her feet already. She didn't like this, especially after his last comment, and growled. "I thought you just said I shouldn't lose focus on the battlefield."

"Oh don't worry about me. I can still track your position even when I am not looking at you." He replied completely unconcerned, before turning to her and saying more seriously. "I'm sure you already know that I have been holding back."

"Yeah. Every time I use my abilities in a way that doesn't meet your approval you…..." She trailed off, not really wanting say it. He'd kick her ass pretty thoroughly and only her superhuman regeneration was keeping the bruises from showing.

"Escalated." He helpfully supplied for her. "If I fought you even remotely seriously, with the way you were when we first got here, then it would've been a spectacularly one-sided beat down." He bluntly put it, making her grit her teeth when she found herself unable to refute his words. "Which is why I am so impressed by the speed at which you've improved. You still have a lot weakness in your style that need to be straightened out, but you can keep up easily with the way I was fighting up until this point, so I am going to be taking things up a notch from now on. Hopefully you will be able to patch up your remaining openings before we go back home, so please try and keep up." Less than a second after he finished speaking, his meaning became clear as he suddenly charged at her.

Naruto was fast, Carol already knew this on some level, but knowing about something and experiencing it firsthand were two very different things. It wasn't the fastest she had ever seen an enemy move, but he was still fast enough to make her nervous. Her eyes and other senses could barely track him as he tore a bloody hole through the sound barrier.

Experience and instincts allowed her to predict exactly where he would stop and she threw a high kick aimed at where his ribs would've been in order to force him back. Unfortunately, Naruto simply stopped a millimeter beyond the range of her fully extended leg and stepped around it while saying. "Good instincts, but in this case you need to avoid reflexively attacking like that." As he spoke, Naruto stepped into her guard, her missed kick was still extended high in the air, when he simply placed a hand on her shoulder before pushing her to the ground. She hit the dirt with a small yelp, as he continued the lesson. "Against a charging opponent who is faster than you, your reflexive attacks can backfire badly and you can be tricked by your enemy into creating an opening for them, even when you didn't really have one. Remember that those who can move at incredible speeds can generally perceive time differently from you."

Both of them knew that Naruto could've done a lot worse to her in that moment, than simply pushing her to the floor, instead he simply gave her a lesson. It further infuriated Ms. Marvel that he could deliver it in such a non-judgmental teaching voice, right in the midst of a spar where he was kicking her ass.

She rolled backwards to quickly get back to her feet and put distance between them, noting that Naruto nodded in approval at the action, right before sprinting towards her again, even faster and in a random zigzag pattern. Carol began to throw a punch as her instincts predicted where he would be but Naruto angrily barked. "What did I just tell you?" Carol quickly forcefully suppressed the urge to blindly strike out at him, and just as she did so, her instincts seem predict he would be a little further from her than they initially predicted, something that was confirmed as Naruto stopped at the edge of her range once more, with a smirk. The lesson was learned.

"Good. Let's try something different." He muttered, before he suddenly blurred to her left and began to circle her in a wide counterclockwise loop, too fast for her to keep up with. His voice seemed to come from everywhere as he said. "You have feet and the ability to fly. Use them to keep up."

Carol floated slightly off the ground as she listened to his instruction, spinning fast enough to keep up with Naruto and keep him away from her back, to which he muttered. "Very good. Keep your eyes on the enemy at all times, and if you can't, then track them with your other senses. Don't let them touch your back or any other weak points." It was a good thing she couldn't get dizzy easily thanks to her superhuman abilities.

Naruto suddenly stopped on a dime and changed directions in the blink of an eye, zigzagging away from her in a random pattered to confuse her. Carol let go of her flight, choosing to use her feet to turn towards him and better track his movements. Which was when he blitzed towards her when she least expected.

Jumping into the air with a front flip, Naruto righted himself at the apex of his jump and then raising his left leg above his head to bring it down in an over-exaggerated heel-drop kick. Despite this, the attack came down fast enough that Carol had to dive away to avoid it. She had already experienced the Heavenly Foot of Pain, just that afternoon and had no desire to be reacquainted with the technique. That said, when his foot made contact with the floor, it wasn't anywhere near as destructive as the one he'd used on her earlier that day. This was deliberate.

Carol was barely back on her feet, when she found that she had to bend over backwards till her upper body was physically parallel with the ground, just as Naruto flew through the space her face had occupied mere microseconds ago, with a flying kick. It scared her that the dust cloud from his previous attack was still in process of blooming into an outbound wave, yet he had been able to land and immediately come at her with the flying kick, and likely would do so again as soon as his feet touched the sandy ground once more.

"Dodge all attacks, and if you can't dodge them then deflect the majority of the energy away from you in a parry, and if you can't do that only then should you completely block, with the intent to counter the full power of the attack." Naruto instructed, his voice somehow vibrating through the air in a way that was just unnatural, even as he flew past her. Okay, this was complete bullshit, they were literally moving at speeds beyond sound at that point, yet he was still able to lecture her somehow. "In the event that the attack you are trying to block is something beyond your ability to fully handle, then choose a part of your body you are willing to sacrifice to take the damage in exchange for your survival. Something none vital like an arm or leg." He finished just as he landed behind her.

Carol came to the realization that the redhead was getting increasingly faster with each moment. She had barely righted herself from her last backbreaking maneuver before she was forced to raise her arms and block a powerful kick that would've smacked into the side of her head, the force of which still launched her body sideways with the utmost ease, and into a small grove of palm trees. "Good. Keep your head and torso protected at all times, your limbs can take care of themselves but it's over if your internal organs are turned to mush." Naruto's voice followed her as she was sent flying across the island.

Her body impacted several trees, twisted a couple of the palms into confetti and drift wood as she blew right through them before finally came to a stop when she crashed into solid rock. The rock fragmented around her like an exploding grenade, and Carol thanked the Kree gods that she her regeneration would get rid of the bruise soon.

Getting to her feet, with a grunt, Carol grabbing a nearby tree trunk of one of the more wholesome palm trees she'd knocked down. Ripped its remaining roots out of the ground as she hoisted it over her shoulder and threw it like a javelin at where her senses anticipated Naruto would be, even as he pursued her. Her guess was correct; Naruto was already less than twenty meters away and in midair – leaping straight towards her – when her improvised missile flew towards him. Suspended in the air, there was no way for him to dodge the thrown projectile, or so she thought.

What she didn't expect him to do however, was to kick the palm tree in mid-air, into an entirely different direction while using the impact of his own kick to send himself flying towards a different palm tree in the grove. "Sir Isaac Newton's 3 laws are always good in a fight. For example, the 1st and 3rd laws of motion." He announced as his next useful lesson to her.

'An object in a state of uniform motion will continue in that state of motion unless acted upon by an outside force. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.' Her mind supplied. Vaguely recalling memories from Physics class in High School and Pilot training in the Airforce.

The redheaded ninja spring-boarded off the palm tree, jumping towards a new one before bouncing off of it towards another, and quickly began ricocheting from tree to tree, not unlike a bouncing ball fired out of a potato gun in a small windowless room or a demented monkey. Carol couldn't decide which analogy she preferred.

"Be aware of your environment and exploit it ruthlessly." Came his voice as he blurred through the trees so fast that all she saw was an after image when she tried to track him. Even her precognitive instincts were beginning to be overwhelmed and give her false positives. She was just barely able to get her guard up every time as he struck at her whenever he got near and retreated before she could begin to even react, creating an impromptu game of strike and retreat that went on for five minutes longer, before Carol finally had enough of it.

This was supposed to be a fight, not a game, no matter how much better at combat Naruto might have been. Regardless of how bad things were going, she was still Ms. Marvel, still a warrior, and she was done fighting fair, one way or another she was ending things now. So when Naruto suddenly appeared directly behind her and said. "I thought I already told you that losing focus in battle means death." Carol merely roared back. "Enough!"

A blast of pure stellar energy shot out from her, in an outward bound shockwave that flash liquefied the beach sand beneath her feet and vaporized everything organic in a fifty-meter radius. Without even realizing it, Carol started floating above the ten-meter crater quickly being filled with molten glass, that she had created. Suddenly realizing what she had done, Carol was momentarily terrified that she had vaporized Naruto, or at the very least severely injured him thanks to her unexpected new ability. Neither option was a good thing.

Fortunately for her, Carol instead heard clapping coming from above her, where she found Naruto casually hovering in the air and slowly floating down towards her. His eyes, which she knew for a fact where a shade of lavender and amethyst before, were different now. However, before she had the chance to get a good look at them, they returned to normal and Naruto promptly dropped out of the sky and onto the surface of the water, where he simply stood instead of sinking, much to her amazement.

"Congratulations on discovering this new aspect of your powers, Ms. Marvel. Though I am both surprised and impressed by how long it took to push you to the point that you lashed out and unleashed it." He said with a teasing grin, however, Carol did not miss the way winced as he looked around the battleground that was once his beautiful island, and took in the devastated state of that entire section of the island. "That said, you might need a bit of time to refine your control over that shockwave ability, before you go about using it in the city. I can't imagine anyone would appreciate it if you level the neighborhood and endanger the very people you are there to save, whenever you end up in a highly stressful environment and unleash one of those shockwaves. Never mind that stressful environments are the default environment you Avengers operate in. The devastation you've wreaked on this part of the island is, I believe, warning enough of how bad things could potentially get if you're not careful."

Taking another look around, Ms. Marvel gaze lingering the molten glass that used to be white beach sand, the burning vegetation at the fringe of her new abilities range and a couple of partially slagged boulders, before she winced again. Naruto had a point about her needing to learn to control this new aspect of her powers, and to do so quickly. "Sorry about that. You said you liked to come here for meditation right." She apologized.

Naruto just waved her off with an amused smile and said. "Don't worry about it, I'll fix the place up good as new in no time." He then walked up to her, water from the ocean moving unnaturally beneath his feet to cover the still burning island and immediately snuff it out. There was a burst of steam, but Naruto merely swung his hand in that direction, a gust of wind being generated the blew the steam away and ruffled her golden locks. As he got near, he took in the smudges of dirt and her disheveled appearance from the scratches and bruises that had long since healed while they fought. After maybe a minute of this silent observation which began to make Carol feel self-conscious, Naruto asked her. "So what do you think about your progress?"

Frowning in confusion, Carol asked. "By my progress, what exactly are you talking about?"

"A few hours ago I called you stagnant remember. Up until two hours ago, when we began our little session, that might have applied to you. I remember when we got here, you had more openings in your fighting style than a sieve, and any sort of serious fight between us would have ended in me giving you a spectacularly one-sided beat down. But then you surprised me, with astonishing speed you started to pick up on all the small lesson and hints I was dropping for you, closing all those openings and weaknesses you started with.

"It was admittedly my intention to force you to notice the openings in your fighting style and your over-dependence on you super powers, but even I will admit that I underestimated how quickly you'd adapt and improve. Then to top it all off, you used your powers in a way you never have before, creating an omnidirectional outbound shockwave of energy that incinerates pretty much everything organic in its radius, and hot enough to liquefy sand and rock in an instant. Admittedly not the most environmentally friendly power, but my point is, after all of that, can anyone really call you stagnant, least of all me?" Naruto asked. He sounded simultaneously proud of her, impressed with her and concerned for her all at once. It was also some of the most sincere praise she had received in quite some time, and made her feel surprisingly good inside.

"I…huh, I guess I did do all that." She chuckled. After hearing him list all that she had accomplished in a handful of hours, it felt surreal that it had been her who had done it all. "You were right about the whole stagnating thing I guess. If I am being honest, I really can't argue that I was getting more than a little comfortable with what I could already do with my powers, and never tried to learn anything new. Up until now my abilities have been more than enough to deal with whatever crap the universe threw my way. However, fighting you was tough and you showed me a lot of stuff I needed to fix, you also showed that there is more I can become, and for that I want to thank you." She replied just as sincerely.

Naruto smiled softly as he simply said. "It was my pleasure Ms. Marvel. Back home we have a saying, 'Only after knowing your current limitations will you understand how to surpass them'. It's pretty self-explanatory, but it's still an important lesson, and one you needed to learn for yourself. I think, you've put a lot of artificial limits on yourself Ms. Marvel, and today you took your first step beyond them."

"Yeah, I suppose I did. By the way, what happened to you calling me Miss Marvelous, Red?" She asked, completely ruining the mood.

Naruto snorted and replied. "I was under the impression you didn't like it when I called you that."

"I don't like it, but sometimes I don't mind it either." For some reason she looked embarrassed, looking away from him, before hastily adding. "Besides I call you Red all the time."

"Well, there are a lot of worse nicknames you could be calling me, so I am not against it. More importantly, its normal for friends to give each other nicknames and fight." He replied with such certainty that it seemed like a universal fact. There was even a small grin on his face that seemed to just be daring her to challenge this opinion.

"You consider me your friend?" Carol asked, not really surprised by this. On some level she felt a certain level of kinship with him. As if they could both understand each other very easily. Her impression that she would either get along with Naruto or hate his guts, seemed to have been correct because she could really see herself as his friend.

Naruto shrugged and replied. "Why not? You look like a fun person to have as a friend."

Carol snorted at his simple and honest reply, before saying with a smile. "I like the sound of that."

"Good, because I had no intention of taking no for an answer." Naruto added.

Carol through her head back in a wild and unladylike laugh. It was almost childish logic, and Carol loved it. Yes, she would get along with him swimmingly with Naruto, she decided. After getting herself back under control, she said. "I somehow figured as much. I take it we are headed back now."

"If you want to, but, we won't be teleporting. I haven't exactly figured out how to get around your passive energy absorbing ability, so the portal would just spit you out again, and maybe me with you." He teased, to which she shrugged.

It was probably an hour's flight at her top speed back to New York, more if she flew slower so that they could chat. Carol couldn't help but wonder if Naruto had a faster alternative, but in the meantime she decided to ask him. "Not just yet. Before we go back, I wanted to ask if you have any other pointers you can give me on how to get better."

Naruto hummed in thought before replying. "I have plenty, but it all depends on what you are after."

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"Your goals." He clarified. "I know what you can do in a fight, but what about what's driving you inside?" He placed his hand on her shoulder for emphasis. "Where are you headed? I know you've taken on greater responsibilities as the new leader of the Avengers and with your Operation: Lightning Storm thing against AIM, but what is your goal? What are you aiming for?" He asked.

Carol frowned, at this and thought about why she did what she did, about the goal she had recently set for herself after the events of M-day. Eventually, she replied. "I want to be the best."

"The best? At what?" He asked

"The best superhero in world." She promptly replied, her confidence in herself growing as she recalled what she had seen in that alternate universe/dream/vision/thing that Scarlet Witch had whammied them all with.

Naruto gaze turned assessing after she declared this and he took in her form. She was still dirty and disheveled, but Carol had a certain grace and confidence to her at that moment, as if she was 100 percent sure she could get to the top. With a nod to himself, he simply said. "I see. I believe you."

"Really?" She asked, surprised that anyone would believe her after such a sudden and impromptu declaration.

He smiled kindly and simply reassured her. "I do."

"Why?" Carol asked, she was puzzled by this. She could see it in his eyes, that he wasn't lying, that he honestly meant what he had said. She just couldn't understand why in the world he would have so much faith in her, or how for that matter.

Naruto did not immediately give her an answer, choosing instead to look up to the starry sky in silence, with a look of wonder and appreciation as his red hair was ruffled in an evening breeze. Eventually, with a small smile on his face he said. "If you were to find a diamond or an emerald or any other kind of uncut precious gem in river or muddy environment, then is it not natural to wash it, have its quality appraised by a jeweler, cut and then polished until it shines majestically. You're like on such gem Carol; so full of raw potential that I'm frankly amazed by how it's been wasted for so many years. I suppose you could say that like looking at a beautiful gem I am dazzled by the possibility of what you might become, and I want to see it with my own eyes…no, more than that, I want to help shape and bring that possibility into reality.

"For the record, I blame the brats back at the X-mansion for this. Teaching them how to fight and use their powers in unique ways has made me come to enjoy nurturing people's talents, and now I want to help nurture your natural talents. The truth is that I have no tangible reason for why I believe you can be the best superhero in the world, in the end potential is just potential, and until its tempered with experience and skill, it doesn't really amount to much. However, when I look at you, I still feel as if your goal is not something impossible for you to achieve no matter how inexperienced you might be." Naruto finished with shrug, before adding. "So I have faith that one way or another you will get there."

Once again, Carol felt awed by Naruto. He wasn't necessarily saying that he knew for a fact that she could be the best hero in the world, but he still actually had faith in her to achieve her goal and was willing to help her. It struck Carol that she had friends in the Hero community who had never expressed as much faith in her and her new dream as Naruto did, a stranger she had known for less than a day. That was something she found rather saddening, albeit, she hadn't exactly gone screaming from every rooftop about her dream, so her other friends couldn't be blamed for not encouraging her. Still, Naruto had to be an incredible young man.

Finally getting over the awe she felt, she said. "You sound so sure, yet you've barely even known me for longer than half a day."

Naruto merely smiled at her and replied. "Well we are friends right. We have time to fix that. Beast already told you my name is Naruto Uzumaki, and I'm a Ninja from another universe by the way. I'm glad I got to meet you today." He finished with a hand stretched out for a shake.

This time Carol did not hesitate to take it, and immediately replied. "Carol Danvers, and as you know, I'm an Avenger. Despite how things turned out this afternoon, I'm also really glad to have met you Naruto Uzumaki." She smiled back at him. That Naruto was actually a powerful ninja from another universe, also soothed her pride slight, from the ass-kicking he'd given her.


A few blocks from Carol's apartment, Manhattan…

It was something of a novel experience for both Carol and Naruto to travel back to New York with Naruto using his Six Paths Sage Mode cloak. For Naruto, because it had been the first time he directly drew on the power since arriving in this dimension, though the form it took was unexpectedly different from its usual state. For Carol, it was the feeling of his energy as she passively absorbed it due to her own abilities, that and the fact that it took them mere seconds to get back to New York. Seconds from the perspective of normal people.

Juiced up on Naruto's energy, her power levels had risen to the point that she simply perceived time differently and thus was able to note that Naruto took the longest and most random route possible to return to New York. Literally traveling to just about every other continent and a multitude of countries at speeds easily approaching relativistic before he finally settled on speeding towards the Big Apple.

Mt. Everest, the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis, Angel Falls and many more places had been stopped at for mere Picoseconds before they were suddenly over Manhattan and she had direct him to her place.

Naruto had had to carry her around in order to move at those speeds, and while she didn't like it, she was also a soldier so didn't put up as much of fuss when he offered to carry her piggyback style. He understood pretty without her even telling him that he would've rejected bridal style, unless she was critically injured, but piggyback was so bad when you could fly all over the world in seconds and see plenty of amazing sights.

As they stepped onto the roof off a building near her apartment, golden glow of energy surrounding Naruto died down and he said. "Um…I don't know if Beast got a chance to tell you Carol, but the X-men are trying to keep my existence quiet. So I would appreciate it if you didn't tell Ironman and the people at SHIELD about me."

She frowned in confusion at the request and asked. "But aren't you already in the mutant database? Your information is already out there for them to read."

Naruto nodded in acknowledgment of this fact, but responded. "As you've seen for yourself, I have a lot of powers, and I'm actively keeping a lot of my more powerful abilities secret. We're trying to avoid AIM and other organizations trying to get samples of my DNA to clone me or use me in some other inhumane experiment. Something that is appallingly common around here, from what I hear. You've seen some of the things groups like AIM get up to, and frankly I don't trust Tony Stark and his boundless curiosity, either. Look what happened recently during your civil war, with Goliath and that Thor clone."

Carol visibly flinched at the reminder of that debacle. Sure, the Pro-registration side won, but a man still lost his life because Tony couldn't control the monster he, Reed and Pym created. With a wince she said. "Yeah, I see what you mean. I won't say a word about you to Tony or SHIELD."

"Thanks. I really don't need the attention right now." Naruto said, in relieved tone, before turning to her and saying. "Anyway, It's getting pretty late now. I need to get back before Beast gets too worried."

"Uh…right. I also got work in the morning." She offered up lamely.

Naruto smiled and said. "You're a hell of a woman Carol Danvers. We should do this again some time."

"Gladly." She replied with a smile, before reluctantly saying. "See you around, Red." While floating away to her apartment.

"Right back at you, Miss Marvelous." He replied, then burst into his golden flame-like energy, and just like that he was gone. Not teleportation, because she had seen the streak of yellow chakra that surrounded him as a cloak, stretched in the direction of the X-mansion. However, he was moving at such extreme speed that even she was left gawking at him, as he vanished into the night.


Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Subbasement level, Beast's Lab...

"Sensei, I'm back!" Naruto announced as he stepped back into Beast's lab were the furry mutant was hunched over a computer busy typing something at a frantic pace. The rate at which he was typing, honestly sounded like automatic fire from a machinegun.

"Naruto!" Beast yelled as he spun around to take in the ninja's appearance. "Where have you been, boy?" He demanded in a slightly annoyed tone.

"Err, right. I had some fun, sparring with Ms. Marvel, and before you ask, she's fine. I just dropped her off near her place a few minutes ago." Naruto quickly assured Beast who was looking panicked.

"That's…a relief. I've been trying to find you for a while now." Beast said, pausing momentarily to look him up and down. "You know what? We will get into that tomorrow; I will go tell everyone you are okay. Meanwhile, I'll get Dr. Richards back on the line. Naruto, he has some important news that you need to hear." Beasts said, while quickly tapping at a keyboard connecting a video call to the Baxter Building. With that done, the furry mutant left the lab to give Naruto some privacy, while the ninja merely waited for the call to be accepted.

Moments later, the face of Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic appeared on the massive screen. The man looked tired, and due to the nature of his powers, the bags forming under his eyes were…exaggerated. He had a cup of something that might have been coffee in his left hand, and he was clearly in his sleepwear, either having just woken up or just preparing to go to bed.

"Dr. Richards." Naruto greeted respectfully. "I apologize for the late call. I was out late with a friend and only just got back. Dr. McCoy said you had something to tell me and that it was urgent." Naruto said, referring to Hank in a more formal manner as he spoke to one of the mutant's few peers in the scientific community.

"It's no problem Naruto. I myself was just getting ready to go to bed for the night, so you didn't really wake me." The scientist responded, before pausing. Naruto noted that there was a certain hesitation in his eyes and he seemed to be choosing his words carefully before he spoke again, as if unsure of how to say what he wanted to say. That worried the Konoha ninja, greatly. Eventually Reed simply admitted. "Naruto, I don't know how to say this delicately, but there is something you really need to know, something that I just discovered recently and you are not going to like it."

"What do you mean doctor? What did you find out?" Naruto asked warily, already having an inkling that it was related to finding a way back to the Elemental Nations. He had a very bad feeling about this, and was silently praying that his instincts were off for once. Unfortunately, when had he ever been that lucky.

"Naruto, I am sure you remember I scanned your quantum signature weeks ago when you came to visit me at the Baxter building. Well, what you didn't know is that I did a bit more than just that. I collected a bit of your DNA after you left, hair follicles on the couch and dry skin. I destroyed the samples later, of course, but they were important for helping in my search for your home universe. Which is how I found out about a few important things, related to you." Reed admitted with a guilty expression. Both of them knew that sneaking off with samples of Naruto's DNA, without getting Naruto's express permission to use them was unethical. However, Naruto was more than willing to not give Reed any headaches about it if it helped him get home faster.

"Like." Naruto asked impatiently. He'd been dying for some news about his home universe, and really just wanted to get on with the explanation at this point.

Reed sighed as he said. "It's your quantum signature. It's changing, slowly mimicking that of this universe, and that's not good news for you. Soon your quantum signature will be indistinguishable from that of every other being native to this universe."

"How is this happening? And what does that mean for me?" Naruto asked, instantly shifting to his ANBU training in order to steel himself emotionally or risk breaking down in despair, right in front of the scientist. He knew, from simply observing Reed's body language, micro-expressions and tone, that there was still more bad news to come.

"I...don't know how its happening." Reed Richards admitted, genuinely sounding as if those words were the strangest thing to ever come out of his mouth. "What I do know is that – your native universe was what those of us who have had the pleasure of exploring and studying alternate universes call, Bad Continua. It's an elaborate topic that I am well versed in, due to the exploratory nature of my work in the Negative Zone and other pan-dimensional-." There was more that Reed would've droned on about if Naruto had let him, but then they probably would've been there all night. The man was an educator and explorer at heart, but now wasn't the time.

"Doctor, please!" Naruto cut him off mid-ramble.

Reed paused, and seemed to realize he had begun rambling and gotten off topic. "I apologize."

Naruto Nodded and pointed out something alarming that Reed had brushed over, as he asked. "You just said that my universe was? As in you used the past tense." The ninja's bad feelings were spiking as he said this, and they went into overdrive when he noticed Dr. Richards immediately tense upon hearing the question.

"You pick up things very quickly Naruto." Reed noted, sounding impressed, tired and mournful all at the same time, before finally locking eyes with Naruto and adding. "Yes, I did use the past tense in reference to your universe, and the reason I did so is because it isn't there anymore."

Naruto felt as if the floor had just fallen out from under him upon hearing that, he felt his stomach lurch in a nauseating manner as the world began spin. His surround seemed to fade, Dr. Richards' voice growing distant, as his breath quickened and his heart began to thunder. No amount of ANBU training could desensitize him from news this heartbreaking. 'Not there anymore, what the hell does that even mean? How does an entire universe disappear?' He thought with widened eyes.

"-ruto! Naruto!" Naruto was suddenly jostled out of his thoughts when Reed shouted his name loud enough to get through to him, even his panicked state. His enhanced sense of hearing was suddenly registering a lot of pain, and he realized that Reed had hijacked the computer systems in the labs to make enough noise to somehow snap Naruto out his shock induced stated.

With a bewildered expression he looked back at the man on the screen, as the whole world suddenly snapped back into focus. He could still feel his heart racing, but he wasn't on the verge of passing out from shock. He could also feel something wet on each of his cheeks, and his vision was a little blurred. Dabbing at his cheeks with two fingers, he quickly realized that the wet feeling was actually tears.

'Why am I crying? I don't have all the information yet, so there is no need to despair or jump to conclusion.' He thought to himself. He tightened his grip on his emotions, leashing his despair, horror, anger and sadness, as well as that desperate bit of hope that maybe Dr. Richards was wrong, and placing them all in a cage. He would get all the facts first.

Turning to the concerned looking Dr. Richards, he asked in the same steely voice he used to order around his ANBU operatives. "What do you mean it's not there anymore? Did it get destroyed or something." Naruto was fully immersed in his Commander mode at that point, it was the only way he could put off the emotions and thoughts trying to overwhelm, long enough to get answers. The super-genius scientist visibly flinched at the tone, but was also quick to understand what Naruto was doing to himself.

"I don't know if it was destroyed, but I wouldn't completely rule out that possibility. However, I'm clearly not explaining this very well to you, so let me give you the facts." Reed said, waiting only long enough to for Naruto to nod his head in confirmation that he was listening before saying. "The thing is Naruto, everything in this universe vibrates at a very specific quantum frequency. It's like a universal identification code that tells anyone who knows where to look, which part of the multiverse you come from. As someone born in another universe, your quantum frequency is naturally different from ours, and this was also reflected in the DNA samples I collected from you and scanned during your last visit…or rather, this was the case until recently. Now, that very quantum frequency that lies in every single subatomic particle that collectively forms every facet of your body, is emitting a different frequency, steadily deviating from the original with each second."

"How recently did this change occur?" Naruto asked in an almost detached tone.

"This evening actually. I don't fully understand this myself, but up until yesterday, your quantum frequency indicated that you are a being from a different universe. I even catalogued your universe in the past, and after finding all the information on it in my archives, I was working on building a safe gateway for you to return. Now, not only has your quantum signature changed, but all information on your native universe, is gone. Again, I stress that I have cataloged your universe in the past and kept a record of its location in the multiverse, for lack of a better word, archived in my private database. This private database, exists in a specially developed pocket-dimension that only I had access to, in order to safely protect my records. Nothing should've been able to access it, except me, yet it seems to have been breached and the information on your specific universe, erased." Reed explained. He was also pretty freaked out about what had happened.

Naruto took a deep breath, to steady himself and keep his emotions in check. "So are you suggesting that this isn't natural? That someone or something is deliberately altering information about my quantum signature and erasing evidence of my home universe." Naruto asked.

Reed nodded as he replied. "Yes! Exactly! My private database exists in an isolated pocket of space-time; it should not be affected by changes occurring in another universe. Even if all evidence of your universe were to be erased, as long as this universe exists, then I should've had some records left. Which is why I believe someone is actively doing this. Very soon, it will be like-"

"-my universe never existed, right?" Naruto cut in with a disturbed look on his face.

Sighing sadly, Dr. Richards nodded, as he admitted. "Yes. I am sorry Naruto, but there is no way for you to return home."

Naruto looked down at the floor, tears were beginning well in the corners of his eyes again, but he refused to cry. Instead he quietly whispered. "I need to find the survivors."

It was still loud enough for Reed to hear, who promptly said. "Survivors? Naruto, your whole universe is gone. Not just the planet, not even just the solar system or the multiple dimensions within it. The entire universe is gone, and your people are gone with it. There is literally nothing to return to."

Naruto's head snapped up to look Reed Richards directly in the eye, as he angrily replied. "My universe maybe be gone along with my planet and everything in it. But more than anything else, shinobi are those who endure. My people will find a way to survive, and I am going to find them!" He hadn't meant to snap at the doctor, the man was just being logical and pointing out the fact. Wasn't it him wanted to ascertain all the facts before he made a decision on what to do next. From Reed's point of view, Naruto must have looked like he was in denial, and perhaps he was, but the thought of just giving up on everyone back home was far too agonizing to contemplate at that moment. "No matter how hopeless it might seem." He finished in a whisper, while looking down at his hands which were beginning to shake.

Somehow the leader of the Fantastic Four seemed to understand his reaction, choosing not to hold it against Naruto. In an understanding voice, Dr. Richards simply said. "I see." The man had noted the look in Naruto's eyes and the conviction they carried, knowing full well that Naruto would not be moved on the matter. "Normally I would try to dissuade you from this, but I know that look in your eyes too well; You won't budge! Instead, I will just keep looking into this matter and hopefully more answers will turn up. If I can figure out who managed to get into my database and erase all traces of your universe, it might lead you to some answers, and if you discover something interesting that you don't understand, then me and my lab are always open to you Naruto Uzumaki."

"I…...thank you Dr. Richards." Naruto said, bowing respectfully, in a traditional manner, his head low to profess his gratitude. The action causing the tears welling in the corners of his eyes burst forth, two of tear drops managing to fall to the floor as Naruto respectfully held that position.

"It's no problem." Reed replied, feeling a little uncomfortable with the action. "Besides, you left quite the impression on my kids, and my wife thinks you are adorable. They kill me if I didn't do my best to help you." Reed said with a smile. "However, I am afraid that I need to get to bed now. I promised my wife I would be going to bed soon, and I would rather not upset her."

Naruto nodded, knowing that the man probably wanted to rest after a long day. "Indeed. Have a goodnight Dr. Richards." Naruto however, doubted he would be able to get any rest tonight. There were so many questions he had, and he already had an idea of whom he could go to in order to get answers.

"Goodnight Naruto." The scientist replied before he cut the call, and screen went blank.


It was with almost mechanically slow motions that Naruto stepped out of Beast's lab. The usually confident shinobi's head hanging low and his shoulders were slumped. Naruto was clearly devastated by the news he had just received and what it meant for his people, and it was an utterly heartbreaking sight for Dr. Henry McCoy to see, having grown fond of the young man he had had the privilege of mentoring in the scientific disciplines these last few weeks.

In such a short time Beast had come to see Naruto as not just a student and a friend, but as something akin to a little brother. The two had bonded over exploring the limits of his unique abilities and the different unique applications for chakra, things that had never even been considered back in the Elemental Nations. Naruto had regaled the furry super scientist with wondrous stories about his homeland, and about the mischievous things he had gotten up to over the years, while in turn, Beast had told of his own adventures, both with the X-men and on his own.

Which was why as soon as he had left the lab, Beast had woken up Scott, Emma, Wolverine and Psylocke, knowing that Naruto was going to need their support as soon as he came out. Hank had woken Scott because he was the leader of the X-men, and because he and Emma shared a room, so he couldn't really wake up one of them without waking the other. He had woken the rest of them up because Emma, Wolverine, Psylocke and himself were the closest X-men to Naruto Uzumaki amongst the adults. His closest friends on the senior X-men team. Which was not to say that Naruto wasn't on good terms with the other senior X-men, but rather that he hadn't really had a chance to bond with them, to the same degree he had with the four of them.

With them all awake, the five had waited for Naruto outside of Beast's lab, in the cold, in nothing but their nightwear, for over 20 minutes. Beast had told his colleagues that Naruto was in the midst receiving some really bad news, and that the boy would need them when he came out. If nothing else, they would at least show that they were there for Naruto and that no matter what, he would always be welcome at the X-mansion.

"Are you okay, brat?" Logan asked. It wasn't the most tactful thing to say, but like himself, the feral man genuinely cared about Naruto. Some of that must have been picked up, either in his words or his emotions, because Naruto's mood seemed to visibly brighten up a little upon hearing them, leaving the ninja looking somewhat distraught instead of utterly devastated.

"Guys." Naruto startled as he looked up, his tone indicated that he hadn't actually noticed the five of them standing in his way until Logan spoke up. Naruto's confusion abated as his facial expressions went from shock to a sad smile, as he said. "You didn't have to wake up for me, ya know." Beast could tell that the smile was fake – almost painfully so – and meant for their benefit, not his. Unfortunately for Naruto, everyone except maybe Scott, already knew him too well to be fooled by it.

"Of course you'd be onto us before we even said anything." Emma grumbled, knowing that Naruto had figured out why they were there with just a look and his ability to sense emotions. "Mr. Empathy." She teased, making Naruto grin at her. It was a bit more genuine than the fake smile, and they could all see the hurt in his eyes that he was desperately trying to hide.

Beast admired what the White Queen and Naruto shared. The two were always reading each other through their telepathic, empathic and cold reading skills, to such a degree that they seemed to have entire conversations without speaking a word. Quite frankly Beast pitied Scott Summers, the guy had to feel a little jealous and extremely intimidated by the bond Naruto had with his girlfriend. What sane man wouldn't, though Beast also knew that the two were only friends, as strange as their friendship seemed to be.

"However, even if we didn't have to get up at this ungodly hour, how could we not be there for you when you needed your friends?" Psylocke asked with a smirk. Naruto's eyes were a little red and there were clear tear trails down his cheeks from where his tears had mixed with the dust and dirt marks from his earlier sparring match with the Ms. Marvel.

Naruto didn't look like he was about to cry at the moment, he kept his feelings in check very well Beast had to admit. However, after getting to know him for a few weeks, it was clear that it was just another mask he was putting. The ninja would only break down in private.

Naruto nodded, and asked. "I'm guessing that Dr. Richards already explained the situation to Beast then?" His voice was off, not quite hoarse, but still not its usual quality.

"Beast knows the details of the matter. All he told us was that you would need our support when you were done talking, and that's more than enough for us to be here." Scott replied, it was clear that Cyclops wanted more details, but Hank had refused to give any until Naruto came out. They would all here it from Naruto, or from him if Naruto permitted him to tell them. Scott and Naruto were not close, unlike everyone else present. Their interactions were always professional and to the point, but that didn't mean the man wasn't willing to lend support when necessary.

Naruto nodded in acceptance, his head turning towards the ceiling as if he could somehow peer through it and the floors above, to see the stars, which he technically could with his Byakugan. No one said anything, sensing that they needed to give Naruto a moment, but eventually, the young man spoke up again, saying in a voice a little above a whisper. "Dr. Richards told me that my whole universe is gone." He paused, struggling with the words before adding. "Somehow, it no longer exists."

Beast heard Psylocke gasp in horror besides him, she, like himself, knew how badly Naruto longed to return home. Such news could only be devastating to the redhead, and it showed in how he clenched his fists so tightly they turned white, while his shoulders trembled. The X-men had all had quite a few close calls over the years, where some existential threat showed up to annihilate Earth, and through some means or another, heroes like himself somehow pulled through and saved the world. However, Earth was still here at the end of the day, and more importantly, the universe was still here. Naruto wasn't nearly as fortunate as them, so Beast couldn't even pretend to really know what he was going through at the moment.

"On top of that." The ninja continued, and this time there was a certain amount of anger lacing his voice. "Someone or something is changing or erasing information about my universe. Even my quantum signature which was unique to my universe has now shifted to match that of this universe. It's like they don't even want the memory of my home to be left." He growled, his eyes briefly flashing into glowing red with slit pupils, from their normal amethyst and lavender.

"That's horrible! I'm so sorry for your loss Naruto." Emma said, as she stepped forward and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, Scott half a step behind her nodded in sympathy, but said nothing. The simple action by Emma seemed to snap Naruto out of his anger, and his eyes morphed back to normal before he rubbed tiredly, while nodding. "You will always have a home here with us, Naruto." Emma continued soothingly.

"Thank you." He began in a whisper, his voice growing stronger as he spoke. "I am not entirely sure what to feel about this news, but this is not the end of the matter, not by a long shot. Something bigger is going on. Universes don't just cease to exist, and quantum signatures don't just change. Doctor Richards assured me that someone is behind this and I intend to find answers." He growled. There was no doubt in any of their minds that when he found his answers, he would do his damnest to make whoever was responsible beg for mercy.

Behind his quartz shades, Scott frowned slightly before asking. "Are you planning on leaving us?"

Naruto paused in thought, he seemed tempted for a moment, but eventually shook his head. The action also seemed to calm him a little, before he replied. "Perhaps in time, but I am just not ready yet. I need time to think and to process, before I decide my next move."

They all took in what he said in companionable silence, before Logan spoke up, having been silent this whole time. "You better not do something stupid without me kid." He muttered lowly, before walking out the room. It was his own special way of telling Naruto that he had his back. Hank also noted that Naruto's angry features softened into a small but genuine smile of happiness, while he closed eyes and looked down, grunting in acknowledgment.

"As Emma already said, you will always have a place at the mansion Naruto, but it's late and we should all catch up on some sleep. We will help you deal with this in the morning." Scott picked up, before walking out. Not even waiting for a response.

Nodding her head in his direction, Emma added. "What he said. Besides, you already know how I feel, quite literally I might add, so you better not mysteriously disappear on me, okay." Naruto nodded in silence, the smile on his face widening by a minuscule amount, even as she followed her boyfriend out of the room.

Walking past him, Beast stopped and patted the boy on his shoulder before saying. "It's late, and you've made this quite a tiring evening for me already; you had me worrying about you and Carol tearing up the place." Beast said with a chuckle, making Naruto snort in brief amusement.

"Yeah, sorry about that." The young man replied. He wasn't truly apologetic in the least bit, and they both knew it, but that was also comfort to Beast. The bad news was devastating to Naruto, but it hadn't completely crushed his spirit yet, and that left super scientist feeling relieved.

Waving him off, Beast said. "I bet you both had all kinds of fun together, didn't you? Then it was probably worth it, plus at least my lab survived intact. Carol's visits usually end with something in it exploding." Beast grinned when Naruto actually chuckled at that. In a more serious tone he added. "I believe it does not need to be said, that we all love you very much Naruto, and that whether you decide to stay in this mansion or leave to parts unknown, you will always be welcome here with us, and that more importantly…if you are ever in trouble, we will all come running." Naruto shook his head, to which Beast merely replied. "Good. Then I will see you tomorrow, hopefully." He finished, giving his student an extra pat on the should before walking off to his lab, leaving only Psylocke behind in the hallway.

For her part, Betsy merely approached him slowly, while saying. "Laura swung by my room a few hours ago. She told me all about your eventful day together, and I am glad you finally opened your eyes to the obvious." She finished with a mischievous smirk, also adding after a moment. "She might have also mention that you two finally shared a kiss." That got Naruto who was looking down this whole time with his eyes closed, to finally look up and at her.

"Ah…I." He didn't know what to say about that, but thankfully he was saved from saying anything when Psylocke simply stepped forward into his personal space and enveloped him in a hug. Because he was slightly taller than her, she placed her head on his chest as she held him tightly, listening to his heartbeat.

Naruto felt a rush of warmth and comfort as Betsy held him, mixed with surprisingly strong feelings of affection for his fellow ninja. With the knowledge that he had just lost everyone and everything precious to him back in the Elemental Nations, Naruto suddenly felt scared of losing anyone else, and that brought to the surface feelings he had been harboring for Psylocke, but had brushed off. He wouldn't act on them, even now, especially now with his current emotional state, but these feelings were also far more obvious to him.

"You don't have to say anything. I'm just glad for it." She whispered, and her hug tightened. "Both of you deserve some real happiness, now more than ever." Naruto tremble noticeably at her words, unable to suppress it in time and Elizabeth Braddock picked up on it. "It's okay, I know that you were trained not show your true emotions to others, and that this is all a mask to hide behind, but you may have just lost your entire universe. If you need to cry then cry until you have no more tears to shed, if you must rage at the injustice of it all then do so and if you have to work out your anger by hitting stuff till they break, then I will help you find something to hit. I will be here for you; I will help you get through this Naruto. A shoulder to cry on, a friend to watch your back, and whatever else you need Naruto. I am here for you."

In that moment Betsy Braddock felt one of the most powerful beings on the planet breakdown, as he began to shake again, before wet tears began to land her shoulders. He didn't really make a sound, but she didn't need to be psychic to sense the depths of his loss, and how much pain it was causing him. Patting him on the back, as she held him close, she whispered. "It's okay Naruto, you can let it out. You can let it all out." In her own mind she added. 'And I will shoulder your burdens with you. You might not realize it yet, but you've built a life here. With the students, the X-men, Laura and…even me. I didn't think I would come to enjoy your company so much…or feel the things I feel for you. Which is why I won't let you feel like you have nothing left to live for. You have us.'

It would be nearly an hour before Naruto calmed down enough to mutter an awkward thanks before shuffling off to be alone somewhere.


Grand archive, Omnipotence City, Unknown Mystical Realm….

/… … …\

Connection established… Soldier

Connection established… Killer/Queen

Connection established… Guardian/Assassin


Xavier Institute, gardens…

As he stepped outside into the crisp night air, Naruto felt a little lighter. Not much, and he knew he still had a long way to go before he could return to anything resembling normal, but he was definitely a little lighter. It was all thanks to Betsy, he didn't even know how he was going to thank her properly for this. The awkward – "thank you" – he'd given her as he left to be on his own, wasn't nearly enough after what she had just done for him. Psylocke had said things that he needed to hear, and helped him do things he needed to do, just by being there for him in a moment when he needed it most.

Cry? He was an ANBU Section Commander, in charge of four teams of over forty special operators. ANBU operatives did not cry, and their Commanders were even less likely to do so. Admittedly, Naruto had loosened up to an almost mindboggling degree ever since he came to the X-mansion, and that was largely thanks to the people here. He had even managed get himself a girlfriend of all things, crying and so openly showing his vulnerability, was the last thing he expected to do. Yet, Psylocke had managed to coax it out of him, despite the ironclad grip had on his emotions and the mask he had firmly hidden behind.

The others had contributed greatly to this too. Their words and the simple action of getting up at what had to be 02:00 am in the morning, simply to let him know that he was still welcome with them, and that they were there for him. Well, it nearly broke his self-control there and then, which when followed by Psylocke's words, actually did manage to break through years of conditioning and tear apart the mask he had been desperately clinging to. So many emotions suddenly welled up within his heart, that his head was left spinning.

Naruto did not know all the facts about what had happened, he was still reeling in shock from the news and he still believed – pure faith – that somehow, someway, the people of the Elemental Nations had survived…the ninja's at least. It was perhaps illogical and pure desperation, but he couldn't bring himself to give up on them either, at least not yet.

Which was why he was making his way deep into the gardens. The hedges would conceal him from observers and it was far enough that no one would really be out listening for him…or more importantly, the conversation he was about to have with a certain Elder goddess. After placing a privacy tag, to scramble any sounds so that anything he said became unintelligible to eavesdroppers, Naruto took a moment to still himself using senjutsu meditation.

Nature energy flowed towards him and he felt the feather-light touch of Gaea's presence mixed in it. He knew she was watching, or more accurately still watching him. "I sensed you, ya know." He spoke aloud. It was earlier, while he was using Six Paths Sage Mode to return with Carol to New York. Gaea's presence was faint, but Naruto had long since grown accustomed to sensing the 'flavor' of her divinity, within the nature energy of Earth, every morning as he practiced senjutsu. Gaea had been watching him and Carol. "It was only for a few seconds, but when I was in Six Paths Sage Mode, I could tell that you were watching me."

A breeze suddenly picked up from out of nowhere, carrying a musical chime in it, as Gaea's presence suddenly spiked, and the Elder goddess replied. "That's fairly impressive. I admit that I found your interactions with Carol Danvers to be…highly amusing. I wanted to see what happened next."

"How long have you been watching me?" He simply asked, not even concerned that the Elder goddess was essentially spying on him for entertainment. She had made it clear to him on their very first meeting that she'd grown quite bored over the eons and was looking for something entertaining. If anything, Naruto was almost grateful that she had been invading his privacy, if only because it meant that there was a hope for him to acquire answers. Gaea might have seen something, while observing him for fun, that even Dr. Reed Richards might have missed. She had also said in that first meeting that it was impossible for anything to remain unknown to her while on this planet…or something along those lines. "Does that mean you've been watching everything that's been going on with me since I arrived or just the events of today?" He asked just to be sure.

Gaea's presence was swirling around him like a tornado, only gently, and almost protectively. "I do not have all the answers you seek Naruto Uzumaki." The goddess replied before the air to Naruto's left began shimmer, as if being viewed through a distorted lens. As he observed this phenomenon, an archway of brilliant silver light snapped into existence revealing a portal to another land, where there had previously been nothing. "But I do have some, and I offer you these truths. Come into my abode Naruto Uzumaki, it's time we met in person. We have much to discuss."

With the obvious invitation before him, Naruto rose to his feet, and without any hesitation, stepped forward through the silver-rimmed portal and into another dimension. Never realizing how much this one decision would impact his life, and the chain of events that would follow, drastically shifting his own fate and the fates of countless others, friends and enemies alike.


And done. I really hope you enjoyed it. Carol was a bit of a pain to right due to all of her canonical emotional issues and needing to figure out her motivations and behavioral patterns during this point in time. She is at a point in time when she is beginning to evolve into Captain Marvel, but not quite there. She got a temper, can be very insecure, has gone through a bunch of traumatic experiences, and generally has a bunch of issues, but she's also at the point that she is beginning to step up and into the role of a leader, is growing more mature and is a lot more likeable for me. As Captain Marvel she was bit more of douche for me.

As for Naruto, well, his whole world just turned upside down. He was confident, very experienced and was just getting the hang of how things worked on Earth, only to get hit with curveball. He's now forced to face painful facts that he can't really do anything about and either grow or fracture under the weight of his grief.

Anyway, once again I want to really say thank you to everyone who's been encouraging me to keep going with AUH, and just really stuck with this story. Thank you guys all so much, you truly are the best. I also wanted to give a special thank you to Dragon God of Miracles, Zerak and 808Joker808 for their continued support of me on over the months. They've been an immense help in getting my stories out to all of you, and the reason I can keep doing what I am doing. I am truly grateful for everything they've done.

If you enjoy my work then please consider supporting me on pat_reon dot com ( slash ) ScarletAesir058. You'll be a very big help in allowing me to get a fixed internet connection, which will in turn give me access to more information I can research and the ability to cover more types of stories than I currently have available to me.

Okay I am exhausted and need to sleep soon. Next update will be Sage of War, though I am also thinking of doing a Star Wars story of some sort real soon. We will see what happens.

Anyway, thank you for reading and please remember to leave review.

Scarlet out...