A/N: *EDIT*

Remember. This is an alternate universe in which Drifter!Naruto is aware of his reincarnation and the fact that he died once.

Chapter Three of "A Most Unlikely Collection" holds all the answers you need.

I'm doing the best I can here with daily updates.

A Most Unlikely Sage got lambasted and well, that didn't sit too well with me.

And now it begins.

I wouldn't call Drifter!Naruto the true villain...but he's dangerously close. Someone who can literally break worlds if he isn't careful. Worse, with Gilgamesh influencing him, he has access to weapons and artifacts not seen since the dawn of time. Including EA as we saw in the last chapter. Its a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde scenario, if Jekyll wanted to stay away from people while Hyde wanted to burn them all to cinders and start over.

And now the two of them decided to start a Holy Grail War of their own with something unimaginable as the prize.

Someone better help the Servants, because Drifter's here and he's fresh out of mercy.

Kindly suspend your disbelief and enjoy the story.

Yes, this is an interlude. Sorry if its short.

As ever, I don't own jack.

Enjoy the references.

Sorry if its short!

"You tell me to be normal. To live an average life. I cannot. I already tried. My eyes see the world as a garden one moment; a wasteland the next. I both love it, and I hate it. I AM SICK OF IT! Sick of this endless cycle! Of being able to see but never to have! Never to hold! I! TRIED! And I died for it! But I came back as this! I remember it! All of it! All of the smiles! All of their deaths! I remember her! But I remember him, too! Not a minute goes by when he isn't here, isn't in my head, isn't influencing me! There's no other way for this to end!

Don't you understand?! I'm not your Beast. I beat him. I broke him.

No. You lot will fight, or you will die. Those are your choices.

Now make your decision...mongrels."

~Drifter.

A Most Unlikely Creation (Interlude)

He set foot in paradise.

Golden gilded boots trod upon hallowed ground, paying the long blades of grass little more attention than one would an ant underfoot.

Naruto grimaced at the sight of it; this thriving world full of life and light and sunshine, cloudless blue skies, a land full of rolling green hills and open plains as far as the eye could see. Even the air was cleaner here, free from civilization and all the taint it carried. The sole blot on it all was a smattering of villages in the distance and the ruins of a castle to the north. Civilization. Mankind's blight on this world. His mouth curled in disgust at the sight. Primitive in this country perhaps, but the sight of it irked him nonetheless.

Even in this era, there were mages.

Before he was done, this world would likely be little more a dying husk clinging to life. He could never reign himself that long-either he would lose control again or Gilgamesh would lay waste to everything in a fit of pique over some slight or another-before it all fell apart. Worse, he could barely stir himself enough to care. Why should that concern him? He wasn't here to save anyone. He was here to find the answers he'd sought, solutions to the burning question he'd been chasing since the moment he reincarnated in this form.

...this world will do."

He supposed Ireland was a good a place as any to start a war.

In this era, this singularity, this reality, the corrupted Holy Grail had been destroyed long ago by one Shirou Emiya. That ghastly thin had never been recreated since. Perhaps it would be, given enough time and resources. and endless politicking .That didn't concern him in the least. He couldn't be bothered to deal with the Association of any of its mad machinations, least of all the Church.

If any interlopers tried to interfere, they'd have a bad time.

His current Grail was incomplete after all.

It could Summon Servants certainly, even activate without a Lesser Grail, but it could not grant a wish. Not the one he needed. It required massive amounts of energy to achieve such a feat-least of all the one he required of it-and he knew of only one way to gather that energy so quickly. With so few souls to devour in this era, he hardly deemed it worth the effort of hunting them down. No, he reminded himself. He wasn't here to eradicate the weak and raise the strong-though part of him longed to do just that-his was a nobler purpose.

Yes, a war would gather all he needed.

Not an average war but a true one. A Grand Holy Grail War.

Contestants across the realms, Masters and Servants alike, mighty and powerful.

Perhaps then he might have an answer at last. Who knew? If he was lucky, one of them might able to kill him.

Ah, but that was just a pipe dream; the faint hope of some silence semblance of sanity still lurking in the darkened corridors of his mind.

First and foremost, Drifter made himself a Master in this war to come; then beyond that, to make him its Administrator. Easy enough given that he owned the Holy Grail itself. He'd bent it to his will long ago; it responded happily when he reached for it. He'd had it for so long now that he was almost reluctant to let it go; to free it from his grasp and grant its true purpose once more. For though this Grail was pure and its inner core it was inclined to listen to him, it ultimately had a task to perform. So he told it to search for strong fighters, for brilliant scholars and warriors, as well as Masters to command them.

Pain pulsed in his palm as Command Spells in the shape of a crimson crown bloomed upon the back of his right hand.

"Well. How ironic." Naruto mused softly, gazing at them in the waning light of the setting sun. "They almost remind me of something...

'Stop dawdling and get to work!' Gilgamesh's voice cracked at him like a whip in the shared space of their mind. 'You've kept us waiting long enough!'

"Fine, fine, don't get your trousers in a twist."

"WHAT WAS THAT?!"

"Nothing!"

Rolling his eyes, Naruto reluctantly did as he was bade; carefully removing the shrunken Holy Grail from his coat to lay it upon the ground. No sooner had it made contact with the soil than it swelled back to its true towering size; a great looming creation visible for miles in either direction. It certainly was impressive in its own right; the shell he crafted to protect it, even moreso. A looming dark coffin pulsing with bleak light to darken the skies above. Anyone fool enough to attempt to breach those defenses would be eradicated body and soul.

Satisfied with these temporary protections, the blond began to raise his castle.

First came his throne.

Holding its unseemly image in his mind's true eye, Naruto drew the Throne forth from the vault and wrenched it deep into the loamy soil; this great, gaudy golden thing padded with crimson cushions upon which he could rest comfortably. Armor clanking with every step, he turned and all but threw himself into its waiting embrace. Satisfied that they were sitting in their rightful place above all others and all creation, Gilgamesh ceased his snarling and begrudgingly lent him aid when he asked for help.

After a moment's hesitation, Drifter went to work.

A dozen seething portals bloomed and fired as one, great golden bursts of light gouging out the ground in a volley of roaring thunder. Once. Twice. Thrice. Three such volleys flattened the ground down to the bedrock and a fourth scoured the remains clean, making way for the foundations. There. The merest snap of his fingers created an army of one thousand clones, each of whom knew their assigned tasks from the moment of their birth, as it were. Wordlessly they went to work. They knew what he desired, and would not cease until the task was finished. As one, they began to shape the earth, forging stone and steel out of the bedrock.

Nearly done now.

With that task assigned, Drifter dipped a hand into a golden portal and withdrew a sheaf of parchment from the endless depths of his vault, followed by an ink quill. After a moment's hesitation he began to write. The message was a simple one; one that vanished just as quickly as he willed it away from this world. Another eloquent missive scrawled upon paper after paper, one after the other, dozens in all. Each sent out into worlds both beyond this one and the next. He even sent out invitations into this one, curious to see who might respond. These weren't so much messages as they were challenges; an invitation to some, a welcome to others, and a lure to the rest. He knew threats wouldn't work-thus far-no, he had to entice them.

He could start a Grail War, but he needed Masters. No, more than that. He needed Servants.

If they came from this world, that was fine. If he had to kidnap a few of his "brothers" to jumpstart things, so be it.

Some would ignore him, of course.

A few even had the power to outright ignore him.

Others would answer the call all too quickly, eager for a wish.

With that, the hook was baited. All that remained was to see what he would catch.

Now he had but to wait.

In the meantime, there other matters to attend to; matters that he couldn't simply shake off in his apathy.

At such close proximity to the Greater Grail Naruto found he didn't need a summoning circle at all. Good. tracing one was an inconvenience when the Grail was already primed; ready and willing to access the Throne of Heroes on his command. Nor need he bother with a catalyst. He knew who would answer him already. He'd known for quite some time now. His suspicions proved correct. A quick chant, the merest of murmurings and the Grail responded. He felt the faintest tug on his life-force and pulled himself upright in the throne, curious to see if his prayer would be answered.

It was.

They didn't so much appear as they did arrive; a shining star of brilliant light arriving in sullen silence.

He took in a tan face with bright golden eyes and long white hair. He recognized her. She looked just as the same now as she had back then. Clad in a red-black dress bearing a startling similarity to a kimono and a long European style coat with long stockings as jet black as her smile. She was death personified, a peerless killer who would cut anything at his command. A pang of pity pricked a this heart. Did she not remember him from their last life together? He felt the contract settle between the two of them, but still, she wouldn't look at him. In stoic silence she turned at last, her dead expression without so much as a hint of life or emotion...

"Naruto?!"

...until she saw his face.

Okita slammed into him like a living typhoon, throwing her arms around his shoulders and latching onto him for dear life. Caught between the startled Servant and his unyielding throne, Drfiter could only fling up his arms in surprise. Even then the young Alter Ego didn't release him; on the contrary she clung to him all the more, uncaring that she'd all but landed in his lap. Her scent flooded his senses when he breathed in, drawing another poignant pang of remembrance. How long had it been since he'd seen her? Held her like this?

"I knew it, I knew, I knew it!" she babbled tearfully into his shoulder. "I knew that wish worked! I knew you were alive, somewhere!"

Words failed him, his tongue turning leaden and dead in his mouth. "You...remember me?

"Of course I do! Don't you ever scare me like that again!"

Before he could so much as think to finish that sentence she reared back and slapped him. For a moment, Naruto froze, his world snapping to the side from the sheer force of her blow. He actually felt a took creak loose. Even Gilgamesh had fallen silent in the face of this sudden upswing of emotion. She looked fit to slap him again if he said something stupid. Thankfully, he never got the chance. Then those tan hands seized him by the face and she crushed her mouth to his. Slowly, carefully, he dared to wrap his arms around her and draw her close, deepening the kiss. Okita didn't resist; on the contrary, she only cuddled closer.

All at once, she pulled away and leaned back.

"I fought in so many wars, looking for you." she pinched his cheek, as though to make certain he was still there. "Where were you?

Once again, the words lodged in his throat when he tried to tell her the truth. No. He daren't tell her his plan. Not here. Not yet. She'd hate him for it. He wanted to cherish this tiny moment, hold onto it before everything burned around them. Life seldom let his fate be a happy one. He wanted to believe this time would be different. That his plan would work, that this would succeed. And yet...and yet...the fear persisted, the weight of sins both past and present crawling up his back like ghastly little spiders, each one sinking their teeth into his hopes and dreams.

He couldn't do it. He couldn't tell her. It was all he could do just to control himself.

Gilgamesh scoffed in his mind. 'Fool. That guilt, that kindness, is why you fail.'

Rather than answer, Naruto buried his head into her chest.

Okita sputtered softly. "Are you...alright?"

No, he decided. I'm not. Not at all.

Even if this world burned.

At least he had her.

A/N: *laughs*

Get ready for insanity.

I'll say it right now, you've been warned.

So, which Servants would you like to see in this tale?

Because Drifter!Naruto ain't the only Naruto here. Confused? Don't worry; just think of this as a "movie" of sorts. It has some bearing on the timeline I've been creating, but it doesn't wholly count as a canon. Nevertheless! Events here are terribly real. Deaths count. This also gives me a chance to introduce some of the cast that I've been keeping on the back-burner for a bit now. Trust me, you aren't prepared for what's coming; you're gonna laugh, cry, and so much more.

Think of this as an iteration of Fate Strange Fake blended with Apocrypha.

Drifter!Naruto went and started his own Holy Grail War. This is something I've been working on for a long time.

You can think of this as a singularity, if you like; an event that diverged from space and time until it eventually became its own timeline.

Naruto's greatest enemy in this story is himself; his love for the world and the hatred that Gilgamesh has for those who would corrupt it. As things stand now he's already balancing on a knife's edge; with his near-uncontrollable power he could be a devastating force for darkness if someone gave him a push. Conversely, if he just took one step and learned to appreciate life and the second chance he's been given in this incarnation...well.

...he just might be one of the greatest heroes of all. Who knows? This could swing either way.

Reviews are love. Reviews are life. Reviews keep me alive.

Despite the trolls howling for my head these days.

They spur me, inspire me, lift me up.

The lack of them hurts, ya know?

GET READY FOR MADNESS!

(Preview)

"SO YOU'VE COME, CHALDEA!"


"Welcome, my brothers! Thank you for accepting my invitation. Fame and glory await-

Until one of his other selves walked right up and slugged him in the face.

"Who the hell are you?" a hand seized him by the scruff of the neck.

A dozen golden portals bloomed at Drifter's back.

"You shouldn't have done that...


"You can help the others, you know. They're still out there. Fighting."

"Why should I?"


"What do you hope to accomplish here?"

"Something? Nothing?" Drifter reclined upon his throne. "I don't know."

Hope ya liked it! R&R! =D