Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. Vurt belongs to Jeff Noon.

I've been informed multiple times that those people who don't know about the Vurt universe are going to be really really confused (obviously I scored a record on writing one of the obscurest fusions ever). So, um, the only really important things to know is that this world has virtual reality games that are played by basically sucking on feathers--blue for legal fun, pink for porn, black for violence, yellow for knowledge, and silver for making other feathers; and only the yellows can kill you--and that Sasuke is an extremely weird product of genetic quirkery.

Vurt Ninjas 1: In which the idea came to me while washing dishes last summer, and made so little sense that it made perfect sense. You know?


With all due apologies to Jeff Noon.


Sakura was about a foot from the door when she could hear the yelling. She rolled her eyes and unlocked it with slightly more stealth.

Said stealth was useless, because Naruto heard it anyway and had grabbed her arm by the time she'd pulled the key free.

"Sakuraaaaaa! Sasuke's being a pansyass again!"

"Don't drag her into this because you're not getting your way," Sasuke said tonelessly from where he was sitting at the table, finishing what was lunch for him.

She tugged her arm free and pushed Naruto away long enough to shrug out of her coat. "Now what?"

Sasuke answered before Naruto could. "He wants to try a new feather."

Sakura brightened. "Pink?" she asked Naruto. He shook his head, and she gave him a brief pout before returning to normal.

"Black," Naruto replied. He trailed behind her as she headed to the kitchen to throw together what would be a late dinner for her. "With a little yellow."

Sakura glanced at him over her shoulder. "What?"

"Just a little!" Naruto said defensively. "You can barely see it on the fringe."

Sasuke swallowed a bite of his sandwich and brushed the crumbs away from his mouth. "I don't do yellows. I like my mind functional and sane."

"Ffff, wuss. Just because it's not one of those sorry blue Soapvurts--"

"Those are Sakura's," Sasuke interrupted.

Naruto gave a disbelieving snort. Sakura, pulling the bag of grapes out of the minifridge, rolled her eyes again but didn't contradict him.

"Come on," Naruto said, looking to Sakura for support. "Do you know what a pain in the ass it was for me to get this one? It's barely yellow, I swear. And it's supposed to be really cool."

Sakura raised an eyebrow as she started washing a stem of grapes. "Which one is it? Major Tom? Tea Party?"

"It's called Konoha."

She frowned. "I've never heard of that one."

"Yeah," Naruto said, leaning against the table next to Sasuke. "It's new."

"New?" Sakura repeated dubiously.

"It's been tested, geez," he replied to her tone. "I'm not an idiot." He pulled the packet up from the table and held it out to her. "Look, look, it's barely yellow."

Sasuke snorted under his breath and finished off his sandwich. "I'm going to work," he stated, shoving his chair under the table and dropping the plate in the sink. Sakura pushed it under the water to disseminate the faint shadows clinging to it.

"Pansyass!" Naruto called again. Sasuke casually shrugged on his jacket, casually flipped him off, and casually slammed the door behind him.

Sakura turned off the faucet and examined the feather critically. Naruto was right--the yellow was barely visible at the edges except when it was held up to the light.

"Well . . ." she said, holding it out to him, "I'll try it with you. But only if Sasuke's around, just in case."

Naruto slid it back into the packet, even as he shook his head vehemently. "No, it's gotta be all three of us!"

She raised an eyebrow again. "But why?"

He grinned. "Just trust me?" When she raised the second eyebrow, he kept grinning, but it turned serious. "Come on, I got it from the old pervert bastard's supplier. You know he wouldn't let the guy sell me anything that was bad."

Sakura gave the feather another dubious look. "Yeah . . . but if you can't talk him into it, you know I'm not gonna be able to."

Naruto sat on the table. "If we can make him curious enough. . . ."

Sakura glanced heavenward before turning back to the sink. "If you want to do that, you might have to actually give us some information on it."

Naruto scratched his arm, flicking the corpse of a flea out of the light fur a moment later. "It's about ninjas."

Sakura popped one of the grapes into her mouth, picked up the rest of the bunch, and then turned around and gave him the most disbelieving look she had.

"What?" Naruto asked.

Naruto's incredibly undetailed plan of Wear The Bastard Down Until He Agrees took three days, or roughly the amount of time Sakura deemed necessary to pass before pointing out to Sasuke that both their psyches were going to be suffering more damage from any further contact with Naruto than from anything the Vurt could throw at them. Sasuke finally agreed because the only other viable option was to work more hours at the club, and he disliked people too much for that one.

But he still gave Naruto an irritated look while the blond was smearing Vaz on the feather. "If this is enough of a yellow that we can't jerk out, I'm going to kill you."

"So long 's I get to molest you while you're all feathered up and submissive first," Naruto mumbled absently, carefully greasing the tip of the feather from his seat on the floor.

Sasuke tensed, and Sakura had lived with the two of them long enough to know when he was about to attack. She used the leverage she had from sitting on the couch behind him and hooked a leg over his shoulder before he could tackle Naruto, and then held her hand out.

"That's good enough. Come on, I wanna try it sometime tonight!"

Sasuke muttered "Traitor" under his breath, and Sakura dug her heel into his ribs. Naruto snickered and handed the feather over.

She slipped it into her mouth, making sure that it touched the back of her throat, before quickly pulling it out and handing it down to Sasuke. She heard him coughing faintly (he never seemed to get used to feathering, despite his fondness for blacks), and Naruto saying something, before the opening to the game began.

Jesus Christ, Sakura thought to herself a few moments later, before the Vurt had completely plunged her into her character. These trees are huge.