Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars or Naruto. I just own my original character and that's it… Damn it…
Peace is a lie; there is only Passion.
Through Passion I gain Strength.
Through Strength I gain Power.
Through Power I gain Victory.
Through Victory my Bonds are Broken.
The Force shall Free Me.
-Code of the Sith.
Chapter 2: Training and Meetings.
Something felt… wrong…
It was a difficult sensation to place. It wasn't like anything had changed. The building was still the same; the same people came and went. The same children laughed and played in the hallways, each hoping for their opportunity to find themselves a new home.
Everything seemed perfectly normal.
So why then, did she get the feeling that something was missing?
It was like a sudden emptiness had suddenly appeared, just in the last few hours. She was at a loss as to how to explain it any other way. She just knew that something had happened, something had gone missing.
There was also that strange sensation that she had felt last night…
She walked through the hallways, occasionally swerving to avoid the running, flailing bodies of the other children in the small orphanage. Their laughter filled the air as it always did. Didn't they notice too? Didn't they realize that something was wrong?
She stopped just short of the door way leading to the caretakers room, hearing voices talking within.
"WHAT! That little beast was actually adopted?"
Little beast? Adopted? What was going on?
"Yes, just earlier today in fact. A man came in looking to adopt him. I told him that he would have been better off adopting one of our other children. But apparently he was set on him."
Who? Who were they talking about?
"How strange. But what an idiot. Nobody in their right minds would want that little piece of trash."
She really didn't like where this conversation was going. The caretaker, who was normally warm and kind was speaking with such loathing that she almost couldn't believe that it was the same person.
"But… that wasn't the strangest part. The man who came in, he was… different. He wore strange clothes, heavy robes actually. And there was something… frightening… about him. I don't know how to explain it. He seemed decent enough, but at the same time…" She trailed off.
There was a moment of silence before the other woman responded "… Oh well. As they say, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. We should be grateful that that brat Naruto is gone. It should be much more peaceful around here now."
Naruto-kun? They were talking about Naruto-kun?
"Yes, you're right. It really is good that he is gone. I don't know what Hokage-sama was thinking when he told us to take him in."
She couldn't stand sitting here listening to this anymore. She wanted to understand what was going on.
The two women looked up, mildly startled. They recovered quickly however, each smiling warmly at her. They seemed so sincere that she could almost write off the horrible things that they were saying just seconds ago.
Almost, but not quite.
"Yes, Kaori-chan? What is it? Did one of the boys pick on you again?"
"Ummm, n-no…" She mumbled. She looked down slightly, absently dragging her toe in little circles across the wood floor.
"Then what is the matter?" She said, no less kindly. Still, it felt off now. She could still remember how the woman spoke not too long ago. Her kindness now seemed so fake, like a mask.
"… Nothing…" she said quietly.
Dejectedly, Kaori left the room.
A masked ninja dropped lightly to the ground from the trees, landing in a small clearing. Looking about, he gauged his surroundings, lightly placing a hand on the forest floor as if feeling the ground for any traces of those who might have passed by. Several other figures were doing the same, each bearing an animal mask which marked them as members of the ANBU.
A small sound caught the ninja's attention. Looking down, he came face to face with what looked to be a small bull dog.
"Hey boss. I think I picked up the trail. They went west from here awhile ago. One of the other ANBU squads is already in pursuit." The dog stated, lightly scratching at his ear.
The ninja nodded, slipping off his mask so that he could better speak to the animal. His face underneath was half covered with another mask, this one made of cloth. His headband, which marked him as a leaf ninja was drooped over his left eye.
"Good job Pakun." Kakashi said, giving the small ninja dog a pat on the head. He then turned his one exposed eye out into the forest.
Something about this situation had him deeply troubled. The Hokage also shared his sentiments. For someone to have taken an interest in Naruto meant only one thing: they were after the Kyuubi. Even though he was one of the few who did not hold anything personal against the boy, he knew that the majority of the people in the village would have happily killed him rather than go through the trouble of adopting him. Not to mention that the Hokage specifically ordered the orphanage to keep Naruto in their custody, no matter who might come by. It was not an order the orphanage had accepted well, but they knew better than to go against the Hokage's orders.
And there was that strange presence that he had felt late last night. He wasn't sure what to make of it; he had certainly never felt anything like it before. It was not a chakra signature or anything similar. Rather, it felt as if a massive presence had suddenly blanketed the entire city. He felt something, or someone, looking into his mind, scanning him…
Of course that was ridiculous. There wasn't a jutsu created that could do something of that magnitude.
"So what's the next move boss?" Pakun asked, apparently eager to go. Kakashi considered it for the moment.
"Let's go. I would like to see for myself just what is going on and who has taken Naruto." Kakshi let out a low whistle. Within seconds the other members of his squad had gathered in front of him, five total.
"Naruto and his abductor have been tracked westward. We will join the squad that is giving pursuit. Move out." The other squad members nodded their affirmation. Then as one they leapt into the trees.
Still, Kakashi had a very bad feeling about all this.
'This is getting more and more interesting' Xander thought to himself as he and his new ward walked briskly through the dense forest just outside of the village. In just a few moments the forest seemed to come alive as numerous figures began to systematically search the forest. Not that they would be able to find them of course. At least, not until he was ready.
He had felt the presence of nearly a dozen pursuers a few minutes after leaving the gates, an incredibly fast and confusing response. This of course just raised even more questions in his mind. The boy was obviously not well liked considering the problem he had in adopting him. Hated, actually. He could feel the sheer spite and loathing that the people of the city had towards him, their malice easily perceptible even without the Force. So, logically, his disappearance should not have caused such a massive stir. Certainly not enough to fully mobilize such a massive search party so quickly.
Just what was it about him?
Next to him, Naruto seemed off in his own little world, clinging happily to the long sleeve of his robe.
There was no doubt that the boy's raw talent in the Force was unnoticed by the locals. He had felt enough to know that they were far too primitive to sense as such. So that reason was out. Which left, of course, that strange presence within him.
There were abilities in the Force which he remembered studying which were capable of achieving something quite similar to what Naruto seemed to possess, involving the inserting of the essence of one life form into another. So the possibility itself was not all that surprising, rather that it was performed by a people who otherwise demonstrated no knowledge of the necessary methods of achieving such. It was something that he would be sure to study when he had the luxury to do so. Now, however, there simply was no time.
A wave sensation through the Force caught his attention. Several of their hunters were beginning to gain on them, five of them to be exact. They were several hundred yards away and gaining fast.
He continued to walk at a leisurely pace. He had no worries, no worries at all. Let them make the first move. This would give him the advantage.
A small tug at his sleeve pulled his attention back to the young boy. Naruto looked up at him with inquisitive eyes, obviously feeling that something was amiss about their current situation.
"Ano… Xander-san, what's going on?" He asked.
'How perceptive.' Xander smiled down at him "It would seem that news of your adoption did not go over well with the village you came from." He explained.
Naruto's smile turned to a look of shock "W-what?"
Xander kept walking "It would seem that we are being hunted. Apparently they are out to kill us."
Naruto looked at him, shock clearly evident on his face. He scrunched up his nose slightly as he attempted to reason out this terrifying turn of events "But why, Xander-san! WHY?" He wiped at his eyes with his small hands, his cheeks turning red as pent up emotion began to surge out of him.
Xander simply laid a comforting hand on his small shoulder.
"What!" Naruto asked, shocked. He clung tighter to Xanders robe.
"I said run." He repeated.
"Now." He said again, still with that unflinching calm.
Naruto was about to argue some more, but a sudden push from behind sent him stumbling forward. What had pushed him? Xander-san still had his hands tucked into the sleeves of his robe.
Looking back one more time, the terrified and confused child bolted into the woods. Once he was out of sight, Xander smiled to himself, a smile that was more predatory than kind as he had used with Naruto.
"Might as well test the competition a little now."
With that, he leapt upwards into the forest canopy far above. Only a few falling leaves marked his departure.
Kakashi and his squad arrived on the scene only shortly after the other squad did. After getting a more thorough report from the squad's leader, Shinji, Kakashi surveyed the forest about for any signs of either Naruto or his mysterious abductor.
"Prepare for a sweep of the forest" Kakashi stated, signaling with his hand. The other ANBU nodded their heads in affirmation, each of them immediately breaking off into groups of two to scour the woodlands.
Keeping a sharp eye on his surroundings, Kakashi and Shinji continued forward into the forest, both of them keeping their senses open for any sign of an enemy ninja.
"They're here, I know it." Kakashi stated. There was a definite tingle on the back of his neck, and he was experienced enough to trust his instincts.
"A third squad, led by captain Ucchia is on its way as well, captain Hatake." Shinji answered. Kakashi closed his one eye in exasperation. He never did feel comfortable around Itachi, the young recently promoted ANBU giving him a bad feeling every time he was around. Still, the help would be useful, and while he found his company disturbing, he could not doubt Itachi's abilities.
One of the five 2-man groups was currently wandering a short distance away from their respective squad leader's group. Both were on full alert, each making sure to keep an eye out in all directions for any ambush. If any enemy were to attack, they would be more than…
A sudden faint noise caught the attention of one of the two men. Stopping short, he motioned for his partner to stop and listen as well. After a moment, when the sound did not repeat, the ANBU relaxed slightly, turning back to discuss the situation with his companion.
Only to find that he was not there.
"What the hel…"
He did not get to finish as he was suddenly lifted bodily into the air then slammed violently to the ground repeatedly. His now broken body was then dragged quickly and silently into the bushes.
Another group on the opposite end of the sweep was also keeping a sharp eye out. Keeping their kunai drawn, they swept through the woodlands, periodically stopping to check suspicious bushes and shrubs for any lurkers.
"Geeze, frankly I don't see why captain Hatake is so certain that they're even any where near Konoha. I mean, they could be long gone by now." One whispered to the other. The other nodded.
"I know what you mean, but still, it is the word of Hatake Kakashi. He is certainly known for his good instincts."
The first ninja nodded in agreement, turning back to look out into the forest "True, it's not that I don't trust him it's just…" His voice cut off suddenly as a spurt of blood flew from his mouth. He dropped to the ground with a soft thud, a bloody kunai in the back of his skull.
The other ninja stood gapping in horror at what had just transpired. Before he had even been able to react, one of his kunai was suddenly whipped from his belt, as if held by some invisible hand, then thrust swiftly into the back of his companions head.
"W-what is… what is going on!" He stuttered. He had never seen anything like it before. Looking about frantically he kept his already drawn kunai in front of him. He inched forward, looking all about in search of his mysterious attacker.
As he turned, he was unaware of the threat directly behind him as the kunai which was imbedded in his companions head rose again into the air, and was then thrown swiftly into the base of his spine.
Naruto continued to run as fast as possible, but for a five year old boy that was hardly quick. After only a few short minutes he was already winded to the point that he had to stop and catch is breath. He shivered slightly, even though it was quite warm out.
He sniffled a bit, biting back tears that began to run down his cheeks. He could hear several voices coming from a short distance away, no doubt the people that had come to kill him. Why would Xander leave him at a time like this?
A shout caught his attention. Turning, he saw two ninjas, one of whom was wearing what looked to be a wolf head mask. The other was unmasked, or at least partially, for a cloth mask covered his mouth. It was this ninja who pointed in his direction and gave the shout.
His fear re-kindled, Naruto began running again, desperately ignoring his aching legs and burning lungs. Behind him, he could hear his hunters gaining on him.
He had no doubt that they would catch him at this rate.
"What is going on here?"
One minute his companion was walking right next to him, the next she suddenly shot upwards into the canopy above, only to drop down a second later, hitting the ground with a bone crushing thump. She was then lifted again and smashed down again, being dribbled against the ground briefly before she was left to lie, her limbs broken and her neck twisted.
He was about to shout an alarm when he felt his throat close up, cutting off the sound before it made it to the surface. He felt himself being lifted upwards by the throat, about thirty feet off the ground, before he was propelled with tremendous force into the trunk of one of the massive trees. All went dark.
The broken body fell to the ground a short distance from where it had been pummeled repeatedly into a tree, the broken ANBU masking chipping off a youthful feminine face. A short distance away, another body lay, crushed into the ground as if some massive force had smashed it down, a small crater having been formed around the bloody body.
A shadowy figure darted across the tree tops above.
"Did you hear that?" Kakashi asked, stopping. Shinji next to him stopped as well, listening to the faint sounds of the forest about them.
"What did you hear?"
Kakashi removed his ANBU mask, then, grasping his headband, lifted it up and straightened it on his forehead, revealing his Sharingan eye. The three dots in the eye began to spin lazily as he activated the eye, trying to get a better view of the surroundings, hoping to catch any movement that his other eye could not.
"There!" He said, spotting a hint of movement up ahead. A small figure, now aware that it had been found, took off through the trees as quickly as it could.
There he was. Kakashi could not help but feel a small sense of relief.
"I got him." Shinji stated, taking off in pursuit. Kakashi began to give chase as well, but stopped.
'What is this strange feeling that I have?'
It nagged at him, like something just at the fringes of his mind. And that presence was here again; the one he had felt the night before last. His eyes widened in sudden fear.
"Wait, Shinji don't…!" He began.
"What…AAAAAAHHH!" Shinji began in mid run before he was propelled bodily into a tree a few feet away. He was then flung against the tree opposite, then back again, his body slammed back and forth upwards until he was then thrown headfirst into the ground. His body lay still.
Drawing his kunai, Kakashi took up a fighting stance, the wheel of his Sharingan were spinning rapidly at this point, taking in everything around him. Yet he could detect absolutely no movement that was out of the ordinary. Naruto crouched about 100 feet away, shivering against the base of a massive tree.
What had killed Shinji? Even with his Sharingan activated he had seen nothing, nothing at all. It was as if an invisible giant had simply picked him up and thrown him about like a rag doll.
A strange sensation was his only warning as he felt his body suddenly propelled upwards and forwards towards one of the massive trees. In desperation, he quickly clung to a sturdy branch as he flew past, barely managing to hold on until the strange force abated.
At least for a time.
He was thrown again, wrenched free from his grip and thrown swiftly towards the ground below. Again he barely managed to react, rolling with the fall to avoid landing on his head. Still, he could feel one of his legs give out, a sharp pain shooting up his right thigh as he landed. He tried to get to his feet.
"I must say, you're at least more competent and stubborn than your companions were."
Shocked at the sudden unfamiliar voice, Kakashi looked upwards to see a cloaked figure float gently to the ground from far above. Nearly his entire face was concealed from view, leaving only his mouth visible. Kakashi narrowed his eyes.
"Who are you?" Kakashi demanded. The figure before him stood passively, his hands concealed within his long sleeves, folded before him. He cocked his hooded head slightly, as if amused by the inquiry.
"Names and identities matter little to the dead, I'm afraid." He responded casually.
Kakashi quickly reached down into one of the small pockets on his vest, pulling out a small whistle. Putting it to his masked mouth he began to blow.
"If you're trying to call your companions, I'm afraid they won't be answering anytime soon. Or ever, actually." He said, still calm. The man then turned around to walk towards Naruto.
"Are you ok, Naruto." He asked, much to Kakashi's shock. The small boy sniffled a few times before nodding.
Reigning in his confusion, Kakashi immediately took advantage of his enemy's apparent carelessness. Drawing out ten kunai, the handle ring wrapping around each finger, he threw them towards his opponent. They never made it, however, each one stopping in mid-air just inches away from striking their target. Then, one by one, each kunai imploded in on themselves, crinkling as if each of them were made of nothing more than tinfoil. The now useless lumps of metal dropped to the ground.
"Is that it? Such a primitive creature." Xander quipped, not even bothering to turn around.
Kakashi, managing to bite back the pain in his right leg, managed to get unsteadily to his feet. His leg was certainly broken, and he would not be able to move well on it. That meant that he would have to end this quickly. Moving his hands into a series of complicated seals, he began building up his chakra. In the middle of his hand seals, however, his hands and fingers suddenly froze.
His frozen hands were then forcibly pried apart, his arms thrust out onto either side of his body. He could feel himself once again being lifted into the air. He struggled, but his arms felt as if something massive and unbelievably strong were gripping them, preventing them from moving. Then he felt each of his limbs being pulled in different directions. He began to groan in pain, as his especially sensitive right leg was being pulled slowly, painfully slowly from its socket.
Xander walked up to him, the only hint that he had anything to do with the attack was the look of mild concentration on his face.
"Now then, what to do with you." He mused to himself, lost in thought. He had the look of someone who was staring off into space. Behind him, Naruto looked on dumbstruck, his face giving a mixture of horror and awe at the unfolding situation. The force of the pull on his limbs increased. Xander continued to stand there, his calm countenance mocking. Then, without warning, the pressure stopped, and he felt himself dropping to the ground.
"I could simply kill you. However…" He stated casually, as if simply making light conversation. He clicked his tongue idly in thought. Then, apparently coming to some sort of decision, he reached down and put his gloved hand against Kakashi's forehead.
"You'll be far more useful to me this way…"
It felt as if his mind were suddenly exploding within his skull. He had the strange sensation that something within him was being burned away.
Then, as soon as the horrible pain began, it subsided. He opened his eyes and looked around. What had happened?
That's right, now he remembered. He and his squad had been scouring the forest in an attempt to locate Naruto when they were taken by surprise by a group of enemy ninjas, each of which was apparently in on the abduction. Looking about he could see Shinji's body lying a few feet away. His own body was in terrible shape. They were indeed a very strong group of shinobi to put him in such a state.
Wait… that didn't seem right…
Thinking about it brought a dull ache to his head however, and any attempt to siphon through his memories turned up nothing to the contrary. Yet he still felt it was odd that he would have such a hazy recollection.
Sounds in the distance alerted him to the approach of Itachi's support squad. He certainly could have used them sooner than later.
His body aching, he drew forth his whistle again and blew on it. He heard another whistle respond in kind. Relaxing a bit now that he knew he had been found, Kakashi lay back, breathing heavily as he tried to relax his wounded body. One odd thought nagged at him though.
Why did he get the impression that he had tried to use the whistle before?
He and Xander left the masked ninja writhing on the ground, his body twitching slightly before finaly going still. Turning to look at the older man, Naruto tugged on his sleeve.
"Hmm?" Xander mumbled.
"Ano… did you, ummmm… did you k-kill him, Xander-san."
"No. I just set the stage." He answered. Naruto furrowed his brow.
"It's nothing, don't worry about it. Besides, were almost home."
The mention of the word 'home' immediately drove away any other thoughts that Naruto had. His heart pumping with renewed excitement, he clung happily to his new father's robes as they made their way to their new home.
"There he is, there he is!" One ANBU exclaimed. Itachi and the rest of the squad landed in the small glade where Kakashi lay. One of the ninjas, one of the few qualified medinin's in Konoha immediately made their way over and began to inspect Kakashi's body, working a small jutsu to help speed the recovery process. Itachi, meanwhile, began to survey the area.
They had come across the remains of the other members of both Kakashi's and Shinji's squads. That they had been killed was obvious, but the way they had been killed was far more mysterious. Many of them looked as if their entire bodies had been bludgeoned to death, while one group seems to have been killed by one of their own kunai. Another two were simply missing.
Just what could have done this?
Itachi could not help but feel a bit… intrigued. What ever did this was capable of far more than any ordinary shinobi, that much was certain, and being an Ucchia, he could feel the burning desire to learn whatever jutsu that this enemy used.
Naruto stood, somewhat awed, by the structure that would be his new home. It was strange in design, looking almost like a gigantic bird. Its metal surface gleamed in the midday sun.
Walking up to it, Xander pressed a small button on a miniature control in his hand. The hatch on the bottom of the spacecraft opened with a hiss, lowering a ramp down to the ground which led up into the belly of the craft.
He had spent the night before his adoption of Naruto salvaging and attempting to repair his craft as much as possible. One of the worker droids he had on board was still functional, and the droid was able to help him in repairing various systems which included the environmental systems, some of the weapon systems, and most importantly the stealth field. Not only that, but his collection of holicrons and his meditation room were intact as well, if a little wet.
"Come on in Naruto. Make yourself at home."
Naruto looked at him with a weird expression. As cool as this house looked, even he knew that it stuck out like a sore thumb. They would be discovered here in no time.
"Don't worry, nobody will find us here." Xander said. Naruto did a double take. How did he…?
Naruto was jolted forward, as if something had suddenly pushed him firmly in the back. Too surprised to resist, he was gently shoved towards the strange structure.
"Come on, Naruto. Quickly, before you are seen." Xander said again, this time with a hint of impatience in his tone.
Not willing to stall anymore, the boy bolted up the ramp into the ship, followed closely by the hiss of the closing hatch. Several minutes later, the body of the ship shimmered, shifted, and then vanished from sight.
"Very well, continue your search."
"Hai, Hokage-sama." The ninja stated, giving a deep bow before leaving the room. Once he was gone, Sarutobi sighed, pulling out his pipe and lighting it. He took a deep drag, letting it all out in a single weary breath.
It had been almost three days now since Naruto's disappearance from Konoha, and he was becoming increasingly worried and uncertain. Naruto and his abductor could most certainly be out of fire country by this point, and if that was the case, then they were beyond their reach, the borders of each of the main countries being increasingly strained as of late. An incursion by a search squad could certainly be misinterpreted, and while he debated that it might be worth the risk, the chance of war with other countries was enough to stay his hand.
Kakashi's bewildering report was also a major concern. He had known Kakashi for quite some time, ever since he was a small boy. He knew him to be rational and trustworthy. Yet the report that Kakashi had given him upon his return simply did not add up.
An attack by an unknown group of ninja from an unknown country, each of which bearing a headband with a musical note insignia. There was no such village that had such a headband, he knew that for certain. Kakashi was, of course, just as much in the dark as he was, but he was certain that his group had been attacked by the ninjas he had described, and attempts to break any possible genjutsu were met with failure, so he was certain that no genjutsu was in place that might have altered his memories. So if what he said was true, then they would have to keep an eye out for this mysterious new village.
He sighed again. It looked as though he would have to call off the search, despite his reservation about doing so. There had been no leads that pointed in any direction, and he could not afford to have the ANBU running around searching for nothing. With a deep sense of regret he stood up, preparing to deliver his decision to the ANBU captains.
AN: Well, I'm afraid that this chapter turned out much, much differently than I had originally anticipated. My original concept was that Xander and Naruto would get to their new home quickly and easily and would begin Naruto's training, as well as introduce Xander to Kyuubi. That has been bumped ahead a chapter however, as I decided to make their escape from Konoha a little more exciting.
Ok, I'll come clean and admit that the scenes where Xander was taking out all the ANBU was greatly inspired by the Star Wars cartoon from the DVD that I got recently. But that scene was just so kick ass, and it seemed so appropriate to this story, so I decided to use it (Shrugs shoulders). And about Kakashi getting his ass handed to him, keep in mind that he is fighting an opponent who literally uses an alien power against him. He has never encountered anything like it before, and while he did manage to survive the encounter, I wanted it to be abudndantly clear that he was unprepared to deal with a Sith. He will likely be more prepared in any future encounters they might have, but for now I felt it was good that he just flat-out get his ass kicked.
And about Xander the answer is: Yes, he is a Sith. It was not really my intention of making it too ambiguous in the last chapter, though I did want to portray him as a bit deeper and more pragmatic than simply "I Sith! I KILL! RARGH! Darkside of Force kicks ass!" The true Sith in the Star Wars universe is a whole belief system, a philosophy just like the Jedi code. True Sith are far more deep and complicated than Dark Jedi like Darth Vader (No I do not consider Darth Vader a true Sith). True Sith are true masters of the Darkside, not simply Jedi with anger management issues. And yes there is a difference.
I wanted to portray Xander (you'll learn his sith name later, but not yet, but it might be fun for people to take guesses) as a more philosophical type rather than a "Rargh, I am Sith! Hear me Roar!"
Oh, and for those who are familiar with the Star Wars universe outside of just the movies, here is a small list of the characters that I personally view as being true Sith (This is not complete mind you, but these are the ones I know):
Darth Revan (also the first to use the word 'Darth' in his title)
Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine)
The following are not true Sith (In my opinion):
Darth Vader (Don't get me wrong, I like Darth Vader. I just don't view him as Sith)