Ok, this is the last chapter. I got kind of tired of this fic. It just didn't turn out the way I really wanted it to so I'm not very happy with it, you know?
If any of you want to write a sequel to it or play off it, feel free. Just tell me so I can read it!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or InuYasha.
Chapter 19: The End
Naruto clutched a bloody black cloak in his bandaged hands. Sobs tore through his throat as he desperately tried to keep the sorrow inside.
"No…please, Gods…please…no, no, no…"
Tears leaked through his shut eye lids and his body shook uncontrollably.
He didn't notice it. He didn't notice his long, bloody blond hair cover his face like a curtain, or that the numerous cuts and slashes on his body didn't heal like they normally would, or the Tetsusaiga's hum slowly die out without its master holding it. He didn't notice three pairs of eyes watch him silently, one emotionless, another matching his grief, and the last not really knowing what to feel. He didn't notice any of these things.
Naruto, however, did notice how everything was unnaturally quiet. It was the only thing he noticed or cared about.
"Hey, how was your date?" the money masked Anbu asked his partner.
Dog mask answered, "Bad. I don't think she's ever going to call me or even talk to me again. I though she'd get over it but she just turned her head away when she saw me today."
"Ouch. What did you do?"
"Well…hey, who's that over there?" Monkey mask leaned forward.
Dog mask paused too. He tilted his head a little. "Huh? I don't know, all I can see is long blond hair. It's really dirty, though. Oh, and there's another person."
"The blond is probably a girl. The other's wearing a hood, I can't see his face."
"Who are they?"
"I guess we'll see."
Knock, knock, knock.
The door creaked as it was opened.
"Huh…?" Tsunade mumbled inconhorently as she raised her head from her desk. "What is it?"
"Hokage-sama, there is a girl and a man waiting outside for you. They say that they won't see anyone but you."
Tsunade raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Don't they realize I'm busy taking care of the whole village?"
Shizune hesitated, but continued. "…They…came here from outside of the village. I don't know why, but I think you should see them."
The Fifth gave a resigned sigh. She answered, "Send them in."
Shizune bowed and exited. After a few moments, two people came in.
The shorter person was bundled tightly in dark colored cloths, a scarf covered the lower part of the person's face. Tsunade could only see the dirty waist long hair from under the hat and sharp, cold blue eyes. The other wore a hood and the cloak covered his body.
Tsunade smirked when she saw those eyes. "…Girl?"
"…It's not my fault they thought I was a girl," came the blonde's mumble. The person removed the hat, revealing the leaf insignia on a bandanna. The scarf was the next to be removed, then the various cloths. The person was very much a he, from his flat chest and masculine face.
"So dog man and his fox pet returns," Tsunade said with a smirk. She leaned back on her chair with her arms crossed over her chest. "It's been three years, glad to see you back."
"It has been three years, but…" Naruto glanced at his companion.
Taking it as a signal, his companion took off the hood with a graceful sweep of artful hands. "I am not InuYasha. And your men are incompetent ningen."
A moment of silence.
The Godaime couldn't help but laugh. "Oh Gods! They were right when they said it was a girl and a man, but they mixed up your genders!"
"It's not funny, ningen!" the female demon yelled.
The Fifth desperately tried to stop laughing. Eventually the giggles died down. "Alright, alright. Who are you?"
"My name is Kagura and I was once part of Naraku." Tsunade stared at her in shock. "Not laughing now, are you?"
Naruto sighed and sat down in the chair in front of Tsunade, gesturing for his companion to do the same. He said softly, "Do you have time? This will take a while."
"Hey, Sakura!" Ino said, dragging out her friend's name. "What are you doing?"
"I've been practicing this new healing jutsu that Tsunade-sama taught me," the pink haired girl replied.
"Oh, I just got back from a mission. Just regular escorting, I didn't even meet any bandits!" the blond girl sat down next to her friend with a huff. "This stall in the war is really getting at me, you know?"
"I get the feeling too. That's why I'm trying to learn as much as I can and train really hard," Sakura said with determination. She relaxed her hands with a sigh. "I wonder how Naruto's training is going…"
"He's probably kicking demon ass!" Ino yelled out, thrusting a fist in the air. After a pause, she said thoughtfully, "And even if he isn't, I bet that silver haired demon would help him."
Sakura gave a strangled scream.
"What? What's wrong?" Ino asked, quickly pulling out a kunai from her sleeve. She scanned the area for danger.
"It's been three years already! He should be back here! With us! Not going around frolicking with demons!" Sakura punched a nearby tree, which fell down from her might.
Ino didn't know what to say to that. She slipped the kunai back under her sleeve with a sigh. The blonde continued to watch her pink haired friend smash down trees.
"Hey…what about Sasuke? What does he think?" Ino suddenly asked. "I mean, he was his teammate too."
Sakura paused. "I…I don't know. Whenever I mention Naruto, he gets this weird look in his eyes. I'm not sure what it is, but it kind of scares me. He listens to everything anyone says about Naruto, like he's absorbing it."
"Creepy…do you think he'll want to fight Naruto?" Ino asked hesitantly. She lost interest in Sasuke after he tried to leave. However, she knew her friend still had feelings for the Uchiha.
Sakura sighed tiredly. "I don't know."
"It happened two weeks ago. We were on the other side of the world-"
"A third of the world away, not the other side."
Naruto sighed. "Fine, a third of the world away, when InuYasha, Kyuubi, and I met Naraku and Kagura."
"Naraku," Kagura sneered the name, "had a small army of demons with him…"
"Well, well, well," InuYasha began with much mockery. "If it isn't the big, bad baboon. Been out much?"
Naraku sneered. "Half breed."
"Look who's talkin'!" Kyuubi shouted from beside Naruto, who was glaring fiercely at the enemy.
Kagura glanced first her InuYasha, then at Naraku, thirdly on Kyuubi, and landed on Naruto. "Master," she began, not taking her eyes off the blond. "You are not strong enough to face them. The blond brat has become stronger!"
Her master backhanded her. "Do you think me weak, Kagura?" he hissed. "Do you think me stupid? Do you not think I see that myself!" He turned his red eyes toward InuYasha. "You think you can defeat me?"
"What, just because you lived the last couple hundred years you think you're all tough?" The dog demon sneered. "Wrong! The only reason you're not dead is because I didn't know you were alive! If I had, be assured you would be six feet under by now!"
"As much as I enjoy your charming personality," he words dripped with sarcasm, "I'm sure my servants are hungry." With that, the demons behind him charged forward.
"You'd think he'd learn by now," Kyuubi said loudly to Naruto. "Numbers mean nothing to Otou-san."
"So true," a voice said behind them.
Naruto quickly threw three shuriken behind him and watched the demon, who was frighteningly close, smoothly dodge them.
The demon raised an eyebrow. "Naruto, is it? I heard a lot about you."
"Lord Shiroi," Kyuubi said hesitantly.
"What in the seven hells are you doing here?" InuYasha snapped out.
"You are in my lands," came the smooth answer. The panda demon rested his cool eyes on Naraku. "And you are still alive."
"Shiroi! Help me destroy these scum bags!" Naraku commanded.
Kyuubi tensed but then forced his body to relaxed. Naruto settled onto a defensive stance, he didn't know how he'd fair against a demon lord, after all. InuYasha smirked, not even bothering to face the lord of the south.
"You seem to be under the impression that I'm on your side," Shiroi snarled, disliking the fact that he was being ordered. "That was centuries ago, I no longer serve you."
"…So you're a traitor too!" Naraku growled out.
"These sort of things change," Aki said, coming down from a tree behind him. She hung upside down from a thread, not touching the ground. "We need to adapt to the times, Naraku. I hate ningen as much as the next demon, but we must learn when it is the proper time to fight…and we must learn when it is the proper time to let leave things in the past."
Kouga appeared beside her. "Remember me, you bastard? Should have finished me off!" He gave a cruel smirk.
Sesshomaru materialized next to Naruto. He rested his emotionless eyes on the blond, who looked right back at him fearlessly. "Such a strange stray you have picked up, Otouto-san," the demon lord of the west said softly. "But a strong one."
InuYasha, who still had his smirk, replied, "Of course he is!" He swept his eyes about the group. "Well, all the Lords and the Lady, eh? Been a while since we all gathered like this."
"Been a while since we saw any sign of you being alive," Aki responded coolly.
"Jerk! Just leaving us like that!" Kouga growled with a fist raised. "You didn't reply to any of my messages!"
Naruto noticed Naraku shifting to the side. The blond said sarcastically, "Yeah, yeah, yeah! Let's all have tea later on, but maybe we should invite them along as well?"
Everyone's gaze settled on Naraku and Kagura. Kagura sighed, hoping they wouldn't judge her just because she was enslaved by Naraku. She folded her fan and placed it inside her kimono.
"Is this how it is?" Naraku whispered. A strange glint appeared in his eyes.
"I dunno why, but I kind of envisioned a glorifying battle," Kyuubi said thoughtfully.
"Well, look who's still alive!" Kouga yelled with a smirk, finally noticing the kitsune. "Funny, I thought you were a bit bigger than that."
"It's not my fault Kit's a shrimp! Ow!" Kyuubi rubbed his arm where the blond had hit him. "Well you are! Five feet six-dammit! Stop that!"
"Kiddies, let's concentrate on the bad guys instead of each other, ok?" InuYasha interrupted.
Naraku laughed, making Kagura flinch and take a step away from him.
"I think he just became even more insane," Aki said seriously.
"InuYasha, do you dare to attack me?" Naraku asked, dark humor showing through every part of his body.
"Do you even have to ask?" InuYasha ran forward, Tetsusaiga raised.
Naraku reached into his baboon pelt and pulled out an orb, which caused all the demon lords to either raise their eyebrows or narrow their eyes. InuYasha stop dead in his tracks and stared at the other, furious.
"Kyuubi, what is that?" Naruto asked in hushed tones.
Kyuubi stared at it, then said slowly "I don't know…"
"That," began Shiroi, "is the monk's soul."
"You…" Naruto said slowly, shock slowly leaving him. "Stole Miroku's soul? How?" Outrage filled his very being. It was disgusting, what Naraku did.
"Hundreds of years ago," Naraku gloated. "When he died. Too bad none of you noticed." He turned his eyes from Naruto to InuYasha. "His agony was sweet, he thought he could hurt me, you should have seen him try-"
"Shut up!" InuYasha ordered. He took a step.
"Another step and the orb goes crack!" Naraku tightened his grip around the orb.
"You fucking bastard!" Kyubi yelled out. He glanced at InuYasha, who caught his glance.
"Just like the old days, huh?" InuYasha sneered. "Up doing tricks and crap! Can't fight at all, can you?"
"Only a fool like you would charge into the unknown with a sword as your only weapon," Naraku replied. "But do you want to know what I was doing with this? You probably already figured it out, Shiroi. You were rather clever, if I remember correctly."
The panda demon gave a grim smile. "I'm impressed, actually. However, even with your old powers, you don't stand a chance against all of us at once."
"What d you mean, old powers?" Kouga yelled out angrily. "Kagome sacrificed her life to seal them! He's not getting them back!"
Aki gave a gasp as she realized what Shiroi had already figured out. She looked at Sesshomaru, and the way he pressed his lips together suggested he already knew too. She murmured, "You…ingenious…!"
"What? What the hell are-" Kouga was interrupted.
InuYasha gave a bitter laugh. "So that's your plan? It's a pretty big gamble, bastard."
"What are you people talking about?" Naruto asked, bewildered. Kyuubi looked at them, just as confused.
"Do you remember when you were kidnapped?" InuYasha asked. "How was he going to take your soul?"
"That's sick!" Kouga yelled out, apparently figuring it out too. "You were always a sick bastard, but this is even worse! For centuries you did that?"
"That's right," Kagura said, finally speaking. Seeing how Kyuubi and Naruto were still confused she continued. "The miko bound him by his hate. As long as he hated, he was bound. Even to her last minute of life, she could think of even my master's redemption. Master thinks that if he can cause the monk's soul to hate enough, he may be able to transfer the curse to him."
"…That…that's…" Naruto looked at the orb in Naraku's hand. He could feel it now. Repressed hatred coming from the orb. He shuddered. It was different from the feelings he got from Kyuubi's memories. The monk used to be kind, now his soul was tainted. The blond took a deep breath. "You're evil. I didn't use to think that was possible, you know. I'm a shinobi and it's part of my job to kill for money, so it's pretty stupid for me to think in terms of good and evil, right and wrong, but you're sick. You're just plain evil."
"I'm going to kill you even if it's the last thing I do," Kyuubi said with such calm, such conviction it surprised Naruto. Bloody red eyes stared at equally bloody red eyes. "See these claws?" He lifted his hands. "These claws that you gave me? I'll use them to kill you."
"Pretty words," Naraku mocked. "But, will you actually do them?" He held up his hand- but then noticed it wasn't in his hand anymore. He whirled around and faced a smirking Naruto. He looked back and saw the Naruto there puff into smoke. "Clever."
"Isn't it? You really do like to brag. Arrogance, really."
"Didn't you ever learn that when you steal something, you should get as far away as possible?" Naraku lunged at the blond. InuYasha gave a snarl before charging forward.
Aki opened her mouth and spat webs everywhere to make sure no one would be able to leave or, should Naraku have more allies, get in.
Kouga rushed into the battle, he wasn't going to be out done by InuYasha.
Naruto, who was surprised by Naraku, jumped back, but he wasn't fast enough. Naraku had already slit his throat.
Kyuubi screamed. "How DARE you? Filth! Don't touch him!"
Naruto stopped talking.
"Naruto?" Tsunade asked carefully. "What happened?"
"Do you have to know all the details?" Kagura hissed, but she looked at Naruto. "Just give her a summary! You don't have to say everything!"
Kagura's red eyes glowed with suppressed rage. "What? What 'but'?"
"I don't want to be one of the few to remember them."
Kagura stared at him in shock, jaw dropped. She shut her mouth in an audible snap. She sneered, fangs glinting in the light. "You think they care about fame? About glory? InuYasha may have seemed like a glory hound, but that doesn't mean he is one! Do you think they sacrificed themselves to make themselves look better?" She eyes sparkles, as if she was holding back tears. She whispered, "They did it because they cared."
Naruto stared at her, surprised. 'It looks like she wants to cry…she probably never had anyone ever care about her like that. Demons…have feelings too.'
"Don't!" she snarled at him. She turned her head away. "Your pity is worse than your hate."
Tsunade sighed. She knew she shouldn't have pushed, but it was far too interesting. She wouldn't push any further. "I think you should get some rest. You look like you need it. Your apartment is still there."
Naruto made his way past the crowd, Kagura following behind. Her scowl was masked by her fan.
"You know, you're going to have to get used to them," Naruto said after a moment of silence between them.
"I'm still trying to get used to you."
The blond rolled his eyes. "You have to be more-"
Naruto turned his head to the person who called his name. "Ah! It's Kiba!"
"Who?" Kagura asked dryly.
"Naruto," Kiba said again as he jogged up to the blond, Akamaru (who had grown and reached his master's thigh on all fours) by his side. "You're back, huh?"
"Another mutt," Kagura muttered. She didn't realize Kiba had better hearing than most people.
"What did you call me?" He raised his clenched fist as a threat. Akamaru took one sniff of her and growled.
"Relax, she's a friend," Naruto said, he didn't want a fight to break out.
"Friend?" the demon sneered. She lowered her fan. "You dare to call me that as if you're my equal? I scoff at your ningen ignorance!"
Kiba, who remembered what ningen meant, narrowed his eyes. "Naruto, man, you need to stop bringing in demon strays home every time you leave. Besides, this one is really bitchy."
"Is that you, Naruto?"
All four (including Akamaru) turned their heads to the new voice.
"Chouji!" Naruto said with a smile. "You're better!"
"It has been three years." The large teen came up to them as he stuffed his face with potato chips. Kagura made a disgusted noise. Chouji stared at her. "You brought another demon home?"
Naruto laughed weakly as Kagura fumed silently.
Everyone who went after Sasuke all those years ago were crowded in Ichiraku, eating ramen. Kagura was also there, pushing the noodles side to side.
"When did you get back?" Shikamaru asked.
"And who's the chick?" Kiba added with a glare to the demon. She glared right back.
"I got back today," Naruto said with a smile. "And this is Kagura." He gestured to the demon who sat next to him. "She'll be staying with me for a while."
"Why?" Neji asked. He had felt uncomfortable with the demons Naruto associated with, then Naruto had brought home one more.
"She's being tested," Naruto answered. "You see-"
"I don't want you to tell them," Kagura interrupted. She glared at them. "It's none of their business."
Naruto shrugged. He turned to his ramen and slurped up the noodles.
A silence fell over them after Kagura spoke.
"You should eat your food," Naruto said after a while.
"Don't tell me what to do," she snapped.
"How troublesome," muttered Shikamaru. 'Women…'
"Sakura! Sakura!" Ino called out, running to her friend's house.
Sakura, who had been at home reading, looked out her window. "Ino? What's up?"
Sakura stood in shock for a moment. She shook herself from it and jumped out her window, landing gracefully on front of her friend. "He's back? When?"
"Today! Shikamaru told me, said they went out to eat. Naruto's at home right now though."
"I'm going to go-"
Ino grabbed her arm, halting her. "I don't think you should." She bit her lip, then let it go. "Shikamaru said he looked…sad."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know, I didn't see him. I'm just saying what Shikamaru said. I asked him to explain and I had to beat it out of him, but he said that Naruto looked like he was forcing himself to act more social."
"Sakura, I don't think he wants to see anyone right now…oh, Shikamaru also said that he had a demon woman following him around."
Ino shrugged. "It's Naruto, weird stuff is always happening around him."
"This is the dump where you live?" Kagura gave a disdainful look around the apartment.
"Sorry, there isn't a lot of room…" Naruto scanned the apartment. "Looks like Iruka-sensei cleaned it up while I was away…"
"Get a new one."
"What?" Naruto looked up at her.
She pursed her lips.
"Well…I don't have a lot of money, I'll need to do some missions for-"
Kagura had took three steps forward as she reached into her kimono and drew out several jewels. "Enough?"
"Let's look for an apartment, now. I'm not sleeping here."
Sakura stood nervously in front of Naruto's apartment. She had woken up early but then realized she had forgotten where the blond lived. Then she remembered that she had only visited his home once in all of her life and guilt squirmed uncomfortably in her gut. After she had gotten the address from the Hokage's secretary and finally made it to his apartment, it was lunch time.
She quickly checked her reflection on the window before she knocked and then waited.
"Naruto! Open the door! It's Sakura!"
When there was still no answer, she picked at the lock that denied her entrance. She saw no signs of life in the apartment, though it was rather clean. Sakura sighed. Maybe the blond had gone out for lunch. It was no big deal. She'd just visit later.
Sakura left the apartment and closed the door behind her.
Sakura was walking down the side walk when she saw a very strange looking woman. The woman had her silky black hair in a bun, red eyes, and…fangs? Strange, she never saw the woman around the village before.
'Shikamaru also said that he had a demon woman following him around…'
The pink haired konoichi's eyes grow wide and she ran as fast as she could to the woman, who was disappearing around the corner. "Wait! Excuse me! Please wait for a moment."
The demon continued on her way. She seemed to not notice, or was trying not to notice, the people around her. She paused and turned her head when Sakura continued to call out to her. She stared at the konoichi in front of her. "What do you want, ningen?"
"You…are you a demon?" Sakura hesitated. Maybe it was a bad idea to be so direct.
She narrowed her eyes at Sakura. "What do you want?" she repeated.
Sakura grew impatient. She only wanted to see her teammate again, why was that so hard?
She whirled around and stared at the person who called her name. 'Different…' Shiny blond hair (she wished her hair was so fine!)…taller…taller than her now…such a coldness in his eyes, making them seem darker…a more attractive build… 'Familiar…' The whisker like scars…the color of his hair…the same empty smile…
His smile widened, a touch of feeling in them. Sadness? Happiness? He carried bags of groceries in his arms. Cups of ramen filled a bag in one arm and more nutritious foods in the other two bags. At least some things didn't change.
"Who is this?" the demon, who Sakura had forgotten for a bit, asked.
"Oh…Kagura, this is Haruno Sakura. Sakura-chan, this is Kagura. Kagura is in my care for a while." His shifted the position of the bags to get a better grip.
"Why?" She was worried. Didn't he know it was dangerous messing with demons?
"Why do you have to tell everyone?" The demon crossed her arm, in one hand was a partially opened fan, and scowled.
"And why else would a demon like you willingly stay with me?" An amused smile graced Naruto's face. "We need to get back to the apartment, I'm kind of hungry."
"I dropped by your apartment earlier," Sakura said as she fell into step with the other two.
"Oh, Kagura didn't like it so she made me get a new one." Naruto glanced at his companion. "She paid."
Sakura raised an eyebrow. "She paid?"
"Kagura had some jewels with her, we sold them, and we got an apartment. The apartment we live in now is bigger and has a better view of the village. Some people," Naruto smirked at this part, "are used to living in big, fancy mansions."
"At least Naraku had taste," the demon sniffed.
"I want to see your new place," Sakura said, excited.
Naruto shrugged. "Sure, but I need to see the old hag later today, after I get a hair cut."
"You're what?" Kagura and Sakura said at the same time.
Naruto looked at them, surprised. "I need a hair cut. Look at my hair, it's too long. I'm like a Neji wannabe or something! I think I should cut it like I did when I was first a genin."
"No!" Sakura said, shocked. "Your hair's so…pretty!"
"…That's another reason why I'll need to cut my hair."
"There are a lot of demon, male or female, who would want to look 'pretty'." Kagura was looking at Naruto's shiny hair. It was a big difference when Naruto washed his hair last night. "Look at Lord Sesshomaru, he has long, fine hair. It shows class, not to mention power."
"What if someone tries to grab it during a fight?"
"Only those without honor do that. If they do, however, you should know the lord of the western lands has certain…spells that prevent the enemy from doing that."
Naruto and Sakura stared at her.
"There are spells that prevent someone from touching your hair?" Sakura asked in disbelief.
"Yes," Kagura said dryly. "That doesn't mean he uses them. He thinks that he should be strong enough to prevent the opponent from touching it in the first place."
Naruto laughed. "Fine, fine. I won't cut my hair.'
Naruto, once again, sat in front of Tsunade. Kagura sat next to his, legs crossed and to the side, playing with her fan. She opened it, closed it, and repeated.
"Where did I leave off yesterday?" Naruto asked.
Tsunade thought about it, then answered, "Your throat was slit and Kyubi was screaming profanities at Naraku."
"Oh yeah…well, next Kouga and InuYasha double teamed against Naraku, Aki was still creating the webs and Sesshomaru and Shiroi…"
"What should we do?" Shiroi asked.
Sesshomaru studied the battle ground. "It's a small enclosed space, too many people attacking Naraku right now would most likely result in our attacks hitting each other than hitting him." He turned his gaze to Kagura, who stood awkwardly to the side, watching the fight. "Kagura seems to want to stay out of this, but once Naraku notices, he'll order her to fight."
"She was always an unwilling slave," Shiroi commented.
Kyuubi knelt next to Naruto, and gently touched the blond's neck. A red glow surrounded the injured neck. The blue eyes were weakly staring at the kitsune.
"Shouldn't you help him?" the lord of the southern lands asked his companion.
"My sword can only heal the dead."
"Ah…wait, why is Kyuubi's youki turning purple?"
A pause as the two studied the scene. Kyubi's red youki was slowly turning a dark purple. The kitsune's face slowly turning panicked. Naruto had fallen unconscious.
"Poison," Sesshomaru muttered. He moved forward until he was next to the fox. "Can you remove it?"
"Do I look like a fucking healer to you?" Kyuubi removed his hand. He shivered and his face contorted. "It's…infecting my energy…I can't touch him without further contaminating myself!"
Sesshomaru didn't say anything but knelt down and took the orb that was still in Naruto's hand. He threw it to Shiroi, who caught it.
Naruto began to shift. His hands reached up to his neck and his pushed his fingers inside the wound, inserting them into his throat. Kyuubi quickly reach down and took them out. Naruto struggled against him.
"Why is he doing that?" Aki asked, momentarily pausing in her web making.
"He's hallucinating," Shiroi answered. "Do you see the way his eyes are moving? He cannot see us."
"Damn it!" Kyuubi cursed. He struggled against Naruto for a minute, ignoring the sounds of clashing metal behind him. "Can one of you hold him down?"
Sesshomaru complied. He asked, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm supposed to be dead anyway…I'll absorb the poison…it'll destroy my youki, but Naruto will live…"
"…He will hate you."
"Die already!" InuYasha swept his sword horizontally, even though he knew Naraku would dodge it. He knew that he should have hit the bastard by now, but he was too angry to think properly.
"InuYasha! Think! We're not working as a team!" Kouga avoided Naraku's punch. "Why do you always get so riled up?"
"If you would just-Shiroi! Look out!"
Shiroi, who was more concentrated on what Kyuubi was doing, didn't notice Kagura, who received a mental message from Naraku, until she stole the orb from him. He tried to take it back but she was up in the air before he could get a hit in.
"Good job, Kagura." Naraku smiled.
"You need to be touching the orb in order to transfer the seal!" InuYasha snarled. "Not only that, if you could have, you would have done it before!"
"Oh, didn't you notice?" Naraku laughed. "The monk's hate has grown since you arrived. He seems quite angry at me. Besides, you forget, Kagura is a part of me." He raised his arms, but froze when Kagura yelled at him.
"I'll drop it!" She stretched out her hand that contained the orb. "Give me my heart or I'll drop it! My freedom for your power!"
"You would betray me too?" Naraku asked coldly.
"I never wanted to serve you in the first place!"
"I created you!"
"You think that means anything to me? I won't end up like Kanna!"
InuYasha barely registered the argument. He was more concerned about what Kyuubi was doing.
"Are you insane?"
"He's dying!" the fox countered.
The hanyou hesitated. He looked at his elder brother. "I really wish your sword didn't break."
"You are going to let the fox die?" Aki asked, surprised. She hadn't gotten that impression of the hanyou when ever she met him. "In order to save this ningen?"
InuYasha gave a bitter laugh. "You think I have a choice? Kyuubi can make his own decisions. And Naruto…well, he's not conscious to argue, is he?" Truthfully, InuYasha wanted so badly to come over there and drag Kyuubi away from the blond, but he also didn't want Naruto to die. He was torn.
"InuYasha!" Kouga called out. He was staring in horror at Naraku.
InuYasha jerked his gaze away from the scene to Naraku, who had thrown Kagura her heart. Naraku used his link with Kagura to transfer the seal. Black miasma swirled around him.
"Damn," Shiroi muttered.
Aki's web was melted and destroyed. She cursed colorfully.
Naraku removed his mask, showing his face. "Look at this, my power has returned."
"You still don't stand a chance against us all!" InuYasha yelled out.
Sesshomaru, who noticed there was now more room to fight, ran parallel to his brother. Kouga came from Naraku's other side. Shiroi and Aki came from opposite side too.
"Eventually," Naruto said quietly. "Naraku managed to kill Shiroi, Kouga and InuYasha. Kyuubi was done healing me, but was able to retain his form for five more minutes."
"You bastard!" Kouga yelled. He had just watched Naraku rip out Shiroi's heart. "You're going to pay for that!"
Kagura watched from above. She knew she should leave while she still could, but she couldn't bring herself to it. She was so tired.
InuYasha howled in pain when one of Naraku's claws slashed him across the chest. He could feel the poison infect his blood, moving in his veins to other parts of his body. He snarled, "You're like a disease."
"Last words," Naraku sneered. He ducked under Sesshomaru's whip, but didn't manage to avoid Kouga's kick.
"Die!" Naraku threw Kouga to the ground and stomped on his face. The wolf demon's skull cracked under the pressure and collapsed. He was dead, head smashed.
InuYasha gave an outraged roar and slashed Naraku's backside. Sesshomaru wrapped his whip around Naraku's wrist and tugged on it. Naraku's right hand fell to the ground. Aki tried to ensure him in one of her webs, but he rolled under it.
Naraku, gasping and bleeding, smirked, "Two of you are dead. Funny, is this the best you can do?" He looked down and found a hand sticking out of his chest, clutching his heart.
Behind him, Kyuubi smirked. "I told you, I'll kill you. Don't you dare touch Kit like that!" He ripped out Naraku's heart. Kyuubi collapsed after ripping the heart to shreds. He disappeared in a puff of smoke.
InuYasha charged forward while Naraku was still distracted and sliced off his head. "Bastard! You cost me my son!"
For a while, all was still. Nothing could be heard except InuYasha's harsh breathing.
"You're dying," Sesshomaru stated.
"I know that!" InuYasha coughed and blood came out. "I…the poison…"
InuYasha stared at him. "You know…we never had a good relationship. But…I'm glad you're my brother, though I didn't think that when we were younger…"
Sesshomaru did something that surprised everyone, even him. He smiled.
"Don't worry, I will."
InuYasha smirked. Arrogant even to the very end. But his eyes were grateful. He fell down, silver hair streaked with blood following behind him. Tetsusaiga embedded into the ground, it's glow slowly dying.
Aki sighed. "Naraku, one of the most dangerous demons indeed."
Sesshomaru's eyes traveled to Naruto, who was starting to wake up.
"It wasn't really his fight," the demon lord said. "He knew what had happened, but he didn't experience it like we did. It wasn't his fight."
Aki was silent for a moment. She finally asked, "But will he understand that?"
Silence followed Naruto's last words.
"Naruto…" Tsunade stopped. She didn't know what to say. 'He was there, but he couldn't do anything. How Naruto must be feeling! He was there but he couldn't help!' Another thought came to her. "How did you know that if you were unconscious?"
"…Kyuubi gave me his memories…and Sesshomaru told me the rest…"
Kagura shifted. She looked out the window, guilt flashed through her eyes.
Tsunade couldn't stand to look at Naruto, who stared at the ground. She turned her gaze to the demon and asked her, "And why are you here?"
Kagura glanced at her before returning her sight to the outside world. The villagers were happily going about their daily business, not knowing what had happened. A legend that had started centuries ago had now ended. No one but they knew it. Kagura could see how Naruto thought it was unfair. She sighed but began the tedious task of explaining away the Hokage's confusion. "Sesshomaru saw no reason to kill me, though Aki said I was too dangerous to live. They would be busy trying to replace Kouga and Shiroi, so Naruto was appointed the task of looking after me. Should I try something, he should be strong enough to kill me." 'I won't tell them that Sesshomaru also thought Naruto shouldn't be left alone right now…'
"I see." After a moment, she said, "You may leave."
Naruto slowly got up. The story had taken its toll on him. Kagura stood up with him. They left the room.
After ten minutes the Hokage cursed. She forgot to warn Naruto about something.
The door to Naruto's new apartment was slowly opened. Sakura held her breath. She had decided to throw Naruto a welcome home party and invited all of his friends and acquaintances. 'Unfortunately Tsunade-sama is busy, but she is the Hokage,' Sakura thought.
At first she had doubts about bringing Sasuke, but the Uchiha had behaved so far, even though he obviously didn't want to be there. He glared at everyone and in turn, they stayed at least five feet away from him. Sakura wanted to go over there but knew she would only be told off.
Hinata fidgeted, standing next Kiba. He tried his best to get her to be less nervous while trying to be quite as to not alert Naruto.
Naruto stepped into his apartment and he looked utterly surprised when he saw them.
"Welcome back!" they all said at the same time.
Kagura, Sakura remember her name, scowled and turned to look at Naruto, as if asking him what she should do. He gave her a weak smile and shrugged.
"Ahhh…Naruto, picking up girls already?" Kakashi teased when he saw Kagura.
She bared her fanged at him, which made a lot of the people who didn't know she was a demon to do a double take.
"Um, guys, this is Kagura." He put a restraining hand on her shoulder when she moved her fan. "She's staying with me for a bit. Strictly business. Demon, that is."
"Stop bringing home demons!" Jiraiya yelled at his student.
"It's not my fault!" Naruto said defensively.
"How will the village take this?" Kurenai asked Asuma.
The man lit a cigar and shrugged. He was utterly surprised when Kagura came over and hit it out of his mouth with her fan. She snarled at him.
"Smoke in this apartment again and I'll rip your throat out, ningen!"
Naruto quickly made his way over and stepped between them. He gave a sheepish grin. "Sorry, she hates it when people pollute the air. You see, wind's her element."
"Oh…sorry…" Asuma looked cautiously at Kagura and took a step back.
She smirked at him. Her fangs glinted in the light.
"Would it kill you to get along with them?" Naruto asked dryly.
She thought about it, then answered seriously, "Possibly."
Shikamaru knew this was a bad idea. He stared at Naruto.
He had caught the sad look the blond wore when he entered the apartment (it was a really nice apartment too) before it was quickly masked. If Shikamaru had been less observant, he wouldn't have seen it.
He cringed when Naruto forced himself to act normal, but he couldn't help but think it was so fake. The demon, he didn't bother to remember her name (demon or not, she was still a troublesome woman), scowled at them in general. She whispered something to Naruto and disappeared into another room, probably her bedroom.
Shikamaru glanced at Neji, who shared his look and shook his head. So, Neji noticed too.
Naruto inwardly sighed. He didn't want to deal with the party, but he didn't want to seem rude either. He definitely didn't want to go through the whole story again.
He was somewhat envious of Kagura at the moment. She could excuse herself and leave, of course. She wasn't the one to have to endure this.
"What's that cut on your throat?" Shino suddenly asked.
Naruto was surprised. He didn't know Shino all that well, but he knew the other teen was strong and observant. He wasn't even sure he ever even exchanged a few words with him. He cursed his luck.
"It's nothing," he said hastily, taking his scarf and wrapping it securely over his neck.
Lee asked, "Did you get it in a fight?"
'I wouldn't call it much of a fight,' Naruto thought ruefully. "Sort of."
Sasuke didn't want to be here. He didn't want to be any where near his former blond teammate. He couldn't face him. The shame, the disgrace, the guilt.
'He's probably be better off without ever seeing me again,' Sasuke thought painfully. 'I don't deserve to be his friend.'
But he watched. He saw how Naruto avoided certain topics. He saw how the blond was reluctant to be there, just as Sasuke was. He saw how the other seemed to be hiding some deep sadness.
And he recognized it, too. He saw the cleverly hidden grief, the guilt, and most of all, the pain.
'Who did you lose, dobe?'
Tenten and Lee shared a look. Then a grin.
"Oh, let me guess!" Lee said dramatically. "Kagura-san is your girlfriend!"
Naruto spat out his drink. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Excuse me?"
"Don't deny it," Tenten put in. "She is, isn't she? That's why she's with you."
"No!" Naruto said. "She's way older then me!" He ducked when the door to Kagura's room briefly opened and a vase came at him. It sailed over his head. "I was just ordered by Lord Sesshomaru of the western lands to look after her." The vase was caught by Shino who was in a group with Shikamaru and Neji.
"Who?" Chouji asked.
Kakashi raised an eyebrow.
"He's a demon lord." Naruto looked at them strangely, then comprehension dawned on him. "Oh! I keep forgetting nin-I mean humans don't know about that. There are four demon lords…well, three and a demon lady, who look after a quarter of the earth each. They take care of anything that involve demons."
"What about the Kyuubi attack fifteen years ago?" Chouji asked. He looked shocked for a moment before quickly saying, "I mean, not that you-"
Naruto waved him off. "There was a minor rebellion at the time. Lord Sesshomaru, we're in his lands, had to take care of it."
"Why couldn't he look after her? Why does she even need to be looked after?" Kakashi asked.
"He's busy with other things and…I don't really think she wants me to tell you…" Naruto paused. "Then again, she didn't want me to tell any of that. But I kind of need to. It's stupid to think people are going to accept a demon without a valid excuse."
"Hey…what happened to Kyuubi anyway?" Chouji asked. "He was kind of nice, if a bit weird…"
"Naruto!" Kagura snarled. She left her room and walked right up to him. "Tell them to leave. I can't stand their scents or all of this noise!"
"But-!" 'I want them to leave, but I can't just tell them that!'
She glowered at him.
Naruto sighed. "Sorry about this but can you all leave?" He sheepishly scratched the back of his head.
Tenten and Lee, again, shared a look.
Tenten made sure she was the last to leave before making kissing faces at Naruto. He covered his face with his hands while the demon snarled at her. The konoichi fled quickly, giggling.
Naruto couldn't sleep, so he sat on top of a roof top. The moon held his gaze. It was only a crescent moon, but it reminded him of Sesshomaru.
In his hands was the Tetsusaiga.
He couldn't use it, it required demon blood. Not only that, it required blood from InuYasha's clan. He didn't know why Sesshomaru told him to keep it, since it would do better in his hands, but the demon had told him it was rightfully his. He may not be of the hanyou's blood, but he might as well have been from the way InuYasha thought of him.
"So many demons were destroyed but just one sweep of that sword," Kagura said.
Naruto was startled and quickly turned his head to her. "What are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here?" She scowled. "I'm supposed to stay with you at all times, remember?"
Naruto scowled right back. "You didn't when I was taking a bath."
"That's different." She snapped her fan open and covered the bottom half of her face.
A silence fell over them.
"You're being stupid."
"I can't help it."
She snorted, showing what she thought of that. "Survivor's guilt. Only ningen would get such a thing."
"Kagura…don't you ever feel…bad?"
She stared at him for a moment. "I don't understand," she admitted.
"Like…you get a feeling…that makes you really uncomfortable…that makes you want to hurt yourself…"
"That's stupid." She sat down next to him.
Naruto didn't answer.
After a while, Kagura finally said, "Maybe."
Naruto raised an eyebrow.
"When Naraku killed my older sister, Kanna."
"Kanna…" He searched what he could remember from Kyuubi's memories. "The white haired girl with the mirror?"
Another silence fell over them, this time it was not broken.
Naruto walked in a secluded part of the forest. Unfortunately, he walked into one Uchiha Sasuke. Literally.
"Dobe! Watch where you're going!"
Naruto stared at him and Sasuke became silent. It was awkward.
"…You look…better," Naruto said hesitantly.
"Don't leave me behind like that!" Kagura screamed, running into the scene. "I'll be the one to get in trouble should Lord Sesshomaru find out!" She glared at the blond until she noticed the awkwardness in the air.
"I'll see you later," Sasuke muttered when he turned away.
The Uchiha paused but didn't turn around.
Naruto smiled at him and said, "It's ok."
Naruto sighed. He could not believe everyone but he was a chuunin.
"That was boring," Kagura drawled.
Naruto shrugged and sat down on his couch.
"Are you still moping?" Kagura asked, disgusted. "Get over yourself!"
Naruto mumbled something but didn't look at her.
"You need a hobby."
"Naruto, I heard from Tsunade-hime what happened," Jiraiya said. He sat next to his student. "Are you alright?"
"…I think so."
"Well…I have something that I know will make you feel better." The frog hermite grinned and reached into his pocket. "Here! First book! It's definitely a collector's item! Icha Icha Tac Tics!" He held out the book.
Naruto clenched his fist.
"Idiot!" the blond yelled.
The sannin grinned weakly when he got back up. "…Where's that demon chick?"
"Where in the seven hells have you been?" Kagura screeched at him the second he opened the door. "I keep telling you not to do that!"
"I got you a present!" Naruto said quickly. He threw an orange book at her.
She looked at him, at first bewildered, then curious. She caught the book and carefully examined it. "Icha Icha Tac Tics?" she asked as she read the title.
Naruto was in his room, very much glad the wards in his room were very strong. Well, at least now he knew Kagura wasn't going to be a big fan of Jiraiya. He had at first stood awkwardly when Kagura opened the book but when her eyes widened with disbelief and anger, he high tailed it out of there.
"Open this door, ningen!" Kagura banged on the door.
Naruto ignored her and sat at his desk. He eyed the blank paper and pens scattered on his desk. "Hobby, huh?"
He began to write.
The Legend of the Shikon no Tama