Timeline: For Naruto, this takes place days after Sasuke escapes Konoha and Kakashi brings Naruto back alone. For YYH, this takes place a few months after the end of the series.
Age Discrepancy: In this fic, the teenagers are fifteen and up, rather than twelve. Comparing anime character designs, some of the Naruto boys look older than the Gundam Wing boys, and they're fifteen.
Category: Naruto-Yu Yu Hakusho crossover, Yaoi, TWT
Summary: Drawn by the energy unleashed between Naruto and Sasuke, strangers have come to Konoha. Their interest in Kyuubi isn't nearly as disturbing as where they claim to be from.
Warnings: shonen ai, language, possible humor and violence, rating may climb
Main Pairings: Naruto x Sasuke, Kurama x Hiei
Minor Pairings (most one-sided): SakSasu, NarSak, Bui-Hiei, Kyuubi-Hiei
Email: arigatoumina (a) hotmail . com
Website: www . arigatomina . com
The Hidden Continent
Part 1: Following the scent
The trail was easier to follow than they'd expected. Had they started at the actual point of impact, they probably could have saved themselves a good deal of effort dealing with the snake. Even without a helpful guide, they could sense the energy wafting over the valley. The cracks and debris in the surrounding cliffs were saturated with it, a deep creeping residue that no amount of rain would wash away. Even the pool itself, replenished by the waterfall that continued to pour into it, was seeped with the smell and feel of opposing powers mingling in the muck below. One, perhaps both, had hit the muddy floor of that pool and left his mark as clearly as they had on the statued cliffs. A tracker with any skill had merely to stand at the base of that valley in order to track both essences.
The path through the forest was more clouded, mixed with scents and signs of strange energies and scarring battlegrounds. That vibrant energy which had painted the valley a thick red was faint on this path, compressed and hidden as if the owner had been near death. Perhaps near birth was more accurate. The snake hadn't been forthcoming, but they'd gotten the distinct impression the demon wasn't considered much of a threat, or a temptation, either. Whatever was binding it had managed to mix its essence until they were following the signs of battle and travel, rather than the youki. Even the human's scent was nearly undetectable the further they went from the valley. Perhaps they'd both been bound, making the unleashing of that power all the more noticeable when they'd clashed.
There were watchers in the forest, the closer they came to that faint but undeniable youki signature. Humans in hiding sparked through the foliage like fireflies on a river bank. They avoided them for convenience more than anything, the same way they avoided the clear paths that twisted to connect the village to the one they'd first arrived at. While the hidden humans might have been guards of some sort, the ones who traveled those open paths were weaker and unaware of their presence. They had no plans to start a panic, so it was simpler to avoid these travelers. They skirted the paths and made a round of the village walls, staying at what they deemed to be a safe distance. At this point they were aware that these humans couldn't be dismissed as quickly as their instincts suggested. If the demon could suppress his presence so well, there was no guarantee the guards were as powerless as they seemed. They were being cautious.
They were being too cautious, really. What should have been an hour-long trip had turned into half a day's worth of scouting and it was annoying to waste so much time. They hadn't learned anything, and at this rate, their guide would complicate things before they even entered the village. It wasn't as if they really had anything to worry about. Even if the humans proved to be more than their reiki implied, all it would take was a single pulse of energy to switch realms. They did have Reikai approval for this mission, after all.
A burst of impatience and simmering annoyance brought the quicker of the two out of hiding. He dropped from the canopy and landed in a fluid crouch on the path below. Gates in that surrounding wall opened here, giving a perfect view of the strange civilization within. Two men were standing guard on the wall, to either side of the gate. They jerked with alarm at the sudden arrival and a sigh sounded from overhead as the other one dropped into sight.
"This wasn't the plan," the taller one said.
"I don't care," the impatient one sniffed back. "I don't feel like sneaking in. It's a waste of time."
Hiei turned a burning, yet somehow bored, glare on the alert guards, who were now watching them tensely. Their hands were hidden, likely reaching for weapons of some sort, or perhaps communication devices. They hadn't exactly learned the extent of the technology these people had access to.
"We have something of yours," he called up to the men, in an annoyed and bored tone. "Bring your ruler, king, or whoever has the power here."
The two men exchanged looks and muttered to each other from across the open gateway. Bui frowned and shifted the burden hanging over his shoulder.
"Sounds like they have a different chain of command here," he said quietly. "We'll probably be taken to a squad leader of some sort. Some of the words are strange..."
"At least they speak Japanese," muttered Hiei. He rolled his eyes a moment later, sensing a handful of those fireflies approaching from behind them. "Watch your back. We'll be in a mess if one of them dies."
Bui turned and waited for the men to show themselves. He blinked at the white animal masks they wore, porcelain, or maybe even plastic. That was different. Still, he kept his demeanor as unaggressive as possible and gave what he thought was an acknowledging nod. If the people here were anything like the last ones they'd encountered, they'd threaten them verbally before attacking. Until then, he was content to follow his commander's lead. One of the men approached and gestured to the boy he was carrying. He stepped back in response and glanced over his shoulder at his companion.
"Go ahead," Hiei shrugged. "He belongs to them. As long as they don't kill him, it's not our problem."
Bui nodded and handed the boy to the masked man. He caught the man's wrist before he could step away and nodded to the eyes of the white bird-like mask. "You heard that, right? If you wanted him dead, you should have caught him yourself. We can't be responsible for his death."
The masked man twitched visibly, but whatever expression his face had twisted into was hidden from sight. Bui was starting to wonder if they understood him at all. His Japanese wasn't nearly as good as Hiei's, and the humans here mixed far too many foreign words into the language. The man tilted his head down and Bui realized he'd squeezed the human's wrist tighter than he'd meant to. He winced and released him quickly. If he didn't know Hiei would have laughed at him, he'd have offered some sort of apology. It just wasn't appropriate to apologize for threatening someone too forcefully.
Hiei, who was still facing the guards on the wall, jerked his head upward. "Your leader?"
"I'll report this to the Hokage," said the masked man Bui had accosted. He did something with his hand and disappeared in a small cloud of smoke.
Hiei twitched and shot a wide-eyed, exasperated, look over his shoulder at the spot where the man had stood. Every time he decided the humans here were just like their Ningenkai counterparts, they did something excessive to prove otherwise. It made no sense at all. If they could teleport, why the hell had the tracks from the valley shown a mess of them chasing each other through the treetops? And how could they have the technology to teleport when they didn't even have airplanes? Not even the demons had found a way to teleport without relying on inborn talents and blood magic. Teleporting was expressly a Reikai skill.
Hiei was more annoyed now than he'd been a few minutes ago. Bui could tell from the simmering rise in his energy. He winced a little and kept his back turned.
His gaze shifted over the four masked men who were still blocking the path as if afraid they might attempt to escape the village. He got the impression they weren't going to answer if he asked them anything, so he just stared at them. Their clothing was simple enough, cloth and leather and metal, no less advanced than anything found in the two realms. Three of them had small bladelike weapons attached to their outfits and all had packs and sachets strapped to their hips, thighs, and vests - to conceal more weapons, he supposed. Aside from the masks, and the fact that they were entirely human, they were no different from the people they'd seen at the last village.
Well, there was one other difference. One of the masked 'men' was a woman, and they hadn't seen any women at the other place. But she was bound and dressed just like the men, so he thought they probably weren't supposed to notice.
At least it explained where the boy had come from. The impression they'd gotten when they encountered the snake was that these 'humans' ran in entirely adult male packs, living in underground lairs with a strict competition between the members. If this village had females, there were bound to be children as well, leading to a recognizable - and less disturbing, honestly - civilization. He'd begun to wonder how these humans had survived for so long if they were all like the ones they'd first encountered. While the guards hadn't been very competent by demon standards, it made sense that they at least tried to protect their village when there were groups like the snake's stealing or luring off their children.
They perceived the masked man's return more than they had his departure. There was a tiny flare of energy somewhere in the midst of the village, the sensation of it approaching in an impossibly fast wave, and then he appeared in the same sort of smoky cloud he'd disappeared in. How ever he was doing it, it was not some form of excessive speed. His energy literally dissolved, traveled, and reformed in the new location.
"The Hokage will see you."
The masked men surrounded them, leading the way. Hiei didn't appreciate their assumption that proximity was safer than not. If he hadn't sworn to be on his personal equivalent of 'best behavior', he'd happily have flashfried the men for flanking him so closely he couldn't help but smell every old bit of sweat, blood, and foliage on them. The reek of recent sex on one of them was enough to make his eyes water. Blegh. Humans.
The hospital room was so quiet the curtains brushing the windowsill sounded louder than the occupants' breaths. A concentrated, studious aura floated over the bed and congealed along the pristine ceiling, mixing with the dust where the yellow light shone down. Cloth brushed over skin, a brief warning before the small black stone clicked on the board. A growing noise droned louder and erupted into a frustrated groan.
"What part of this is supposed to be fun?" the blonde boy in the bandages asked. "You said you were gonna teach me how to play - not kick my ass just for the hell of it!"
A sigh drew out from the black-haired boy sitting by the bed as he leaned over to collect the white stones he'd surrounded with his last move. "I am teaching you. If we were actually playing, I'd have beaten you ten minutes ago. You didn't want to play Shogi, so we're playing Go. This is shidougo - it's a teaching game. Why do you have to be so bothersome?"
"Me?" Naruto blurted. "You're the one who's supposed to be entertaining me! I'm the one stuck in here. What did you come for? So you could have all the fun and I'll be even more bored out of my mind? Some friend you are!"
Shikamaru sighed again and cast a martyred look at the door behind him. "I wish Chouji didn't sleep so much. I never have to work this hard to entertain him. Then again, if Sakura would visit her teammate once in a while, I wouldn't be stuck here listening to this..."
Naruto jumped in the bed, bristling and ignoring the vague twinges where bandages dug into his shoulders. "Oh! That's just great! Throw it in my face, why don't you! I thought you came by to make me feel better, not worse...!"
"Fine, then!" Naruto growled. "If I'm such a bother, why don't you just go. Leave me here to rot all by myself, see if I care!"
Shikamaru glanced back with a slightly interested expression on his otherwise bored face. "Really?"
Naruto glowered at his friend. He knew full well that Shikamaru would do it. Shikamaru kept saying he only came to the hospital to see if Chouji was awake enough to want company, but he was pretty sure the boy would have visited him even if his own teammate were already released. He was like that. No matter how 'troublesome' he said visiting him was, he still came by a few times a day. But the second he had an excuse to leave without feeling guilty, he'd leave. No questions asked.
"I guess this game's kind of interesting," Naruto said sullenly. "We could at least finish this match..."
The other boy turned back in his chair and resumed his resigned slump over the board and the bed. "It's your turn, then."
"Yeah, yeah. I just hate playing when I already lost."
He glared at the board, squinting his eyes as if that might make it easier to see where to place his stone. As far as he could tell, this game wasn't any easier or fun than Shogi, but it was still better than sitting by himself and feeling horrible. Jiraiya had given him a week to 'rest up' before he could go off and start training to get stronger. As long as he was stuck in a hospital bed, unable to do anything but brood and be miserable, even playing a game he'd lost from the beginning was nice. And it was nice that he had at least one friend who cared enough to visit. He didn't blame Sakura for avoiding him. She'd smiled at him the one time she'd stopped by, but he knew all he did was remind her of Sasuke. It was probably better that she didn't force herself to stop by or they'd both be miserable.
The sound of footsteps running past the cracked door caught Naruto's already wandering attention. He looked up curiously and appreciative of the distraction. Shikamaru had sworn the others were out of danger, so he knew the fuss couldn't be about them.
"Want to see what's up?" he asked eagerly. "Sounds big!"
Shikamaru shot him a look that asked if he really had to, and pushed back his chair. Naruto might as well have asked him to clean his toilet, for all the eagerness and interest he showed. Even his pace was slow and reluctant. He poked his head out the door.
"Well?" Naruto urged, after waiting a minute in impatient silence. "Come on! I'll get griped at if I get up again. I can't even open the door without one of those nurses threatening to drug me up. Like I'd actually use the door if I wanted to leave, anyway. That's what the window's for. Moron doctor-people."
"..." Shikamaru pulled his head back in and shut the door behind him. He turned and folded his arms over his new chunin vest, a concentrated expression drawing his brows together. Seemingly oblivious to how close Naruto was to exploding with curiosity, he thought for a moment before speaking. "Anbu. Two of them are guarding one of the operating rooms, another near the stairs. It looks like they brought in someone critical and important, or dangerous. I should probably go see what it is..."
"Yeah," Naruto groaned in exasperation, "that's the point of being a chunin, you know! You just stand there when you could be helping. I can't believe they advanced someone like you. They gotta be crazy."
"I thought the same thing," Shikamaru sighed. "I guess I'll go, then. See ya..."
He waved a hand and turned, sluggishly unenthusiastic, to the door.
Naruto let out a semi-explosive sigh. Not even an emergency right outside his room could entertain him. It wasn't fair. He was healed enough to get out of here - had been since yesterday. Sure, he'd used up his chakra and he still felt like he'd been rolled over by a super-sized Chouji-ball, but he had Kyuubi's inexhaustible reserves and instant healing. Why the hell did he have to be stuck in a hospital bed? He'd already promised not to go running off after Jiraiya caught him the first time. He could be waiting in his apartment just the same as he was waiting here, without the nurses hanging over him.
Hushed voices passed his door. He was sure he recognized one of them, but since he couldn't even peak into the hall without getting a nurse-from-hell on his case, he didn't bother moving. He cleaned up the Go board and set it on the chair Shikamaru had been using. Then he stretched out and flopped on the bed a few times, as if proving to himself that he was fine enough to move around would make him feel better. He was half hoping Shikamaru might come back and tell him what was going on. It wasn't likely, though, since that would mean more trouble for the trouble-allergic boy.
A vague breeze, every bit as bored as he was, twitched at the curtains. And Naruto shivered in surprise. It felt as if his stomach had just flipped over. That wasn't it. Even without diving into his subconscious mind, he knew it was Kyuubi coming to attention. He squinted at the window and offered a tentative thought to the fox locked away inside him. The response was so violent he would have pitched over if he'd been standing.
A wave of chakra hit him, threatening to burn the thin sheet covering his legs. And he could swear the psychotic fox was trying to numb him to the point where it could take over like it had when Sasuke had nearly killed him. He closed his eyes tight and hissed at the thing, anger and shock helping to mask his sudden fear.
'What the fuck! Stop it! What's wrong with you, you stupid fox!'
He didn't go deep enough to actually see the bars holding Kyuubi at bay, but those burning eyes were bright behind his eyelids. And he could feel the chakra shifting around him, trying to con him into crouching in that animal pose it had used during that far too recent fight. The excitement, hunger, and overwhelming need had his hands curling into claws on the open window sill. If he hadn't been wide awake he just knew he'd have leapt out the window without a moment's hesitation.
'God damn it, I said stop! What is it? What? Say something!'
His head tilted back and he inhaled a waft of that warm air. He hadn't meant to, and that fact scared him more than Kyuubi's mindless silence. Could it control him even when he was awake now? Had letting it free to attack Sasuke made the seal useless? It couldn't be true. He was still inside the room. Kyuubi wanted him to jump out the window and he hadn't done it, so...so he had to still be in control...
Whatever was in that breeze, it made Kyuubi's excitement double until the burn was a physical pain in his stomach. One of Naruto's clawed hands tore free of the window sill and wrapped around his waist.
'Stop it. If you don't tell me what's wrong with you right now, I'll - I'll do something. I don't know what, but you won't like it one bit! Are you trying to kill me? You'll die, too, you know!'
The chakra didn't lessen, but the burn eased until it was slightly more tolerable. It was enough for Naruto to open his bleary eyes to the calm sunlight outside his room. There was nothing outside, just the open yard in front of the hospital, and the low wall that separated it from the town beyond. Everything was quiet and calm outside, in stark contrast with the chaos Kyuubi was stirring inside him.
'Can't you smell that? Feel it?' Kyuubi growled in his mind, the words coming in bursts of air as if it was difficult to even speak.
'No!' Naruto shot back, his panic settling into frustrated anger. 'What is it? What's wrong with you?'
'Demons, whelp. Pure...Alive...and here! Right here! Reeking of the snake and your boy. And mine! My kind. I can smell it! I haven't smelt that in...not since...'
The chakra pulsed around him, and Naruto cringed at both the sensation and the soul-splitting cry in his mind. He blasted back as loudly as he could.
'Get control of yourself! There's Anbu in the hall, you moron! Do you want them to come in here and see me like this? They'll think you're loose and they'll kill me...! You want that, stupid fox? You'll die, too! And what do you mean, demons and my boy? Make sense, damn it!'
'That boy is here, the demons brought him here, he's all over them. And one of mine. It's faint, but I can smell it there! They're right here - now! Go! If the snake sent them you want to go, don't you? That's what you wanted! To find the boy and kill the snake? This is your chance! And mine...! They must know I'm here. If they're with one of mine, they'll run and your body is too slow to chase them. They can't escape! Go now! Stop fighting!'
Naruto's eyes widened and he shot a sudden look at the door of his hospital room. Kyuubi's uncontrolled chakra made a reddish orange shroud in the air around him, but he ignored it. The footsteps. The Anbu keeping guard on an operating room.
'Snake,' Naruto thought sharply, 'Are you talking about Orochimaru? And Sasuke? Sasuke's here? Here-here, like in the hospital? Right now?'
'Yes! Now go! They're moving...closer...'
If Kyuubi was distracted by the smell outside, Naruto was distracted by the idea of Sasuke being inside. Surely he would know if someone had brought him back. Shikamaru definitely would have come back and told him if it was Sasuke they'd brought in. Even if Shikamaru didn't know, Kakashi would, and he'd have come and told him, right? Or Sakura? Sakura! She'd be so happy...! He had to know for sure. So what if the nurses threw a fit when they saw him outside his room? If Sasuke was back, it didn't matter. He wouldn't even have to stay at the hospital if he didn't have any reason to go leaving the village to hunt down his runaway teammate. But...Sasuke? Who would bring him back here? And so quickly, too...
Kyuubi was throwing a royal fit inside his head, complete with thrashing and yowling to the point Naruto wondered if he were actually a spoiled toddler rather than a semi-mature adult. Unless it was Orochimaru sneaking into the village to take Sasuke back again, he didn't give a damn who smelled funny outside. Anyone walking down the main way couldn't be sneaking in, anyway. He mentioned that to the scrambling fox demon sharing his body and received a blistering combination of words in some language he was glad he didn't understand
'You're giving me a headache, you know. And you're burning my sheets! Shit! They'll probably make me pay for it, too. And look what you made me do to the window sill! Oh, you rat-bastard, you. Do you have any idea how many missions I'd have to do to pay for this? C-rank ones! I'll be living off Iruka-sensei for weeks! And he already threatened to cut me off if I pulled any more expensive pranks...! Maybe we'll get paid for chasing after Sasuke...we didn't succeed, but if he's back anyway, we should get something for the trouble. Yeah! That was a hell of a mission, too! No way can Tsunade-baachan get away with not giving us anything for it...!'
'...you absolute idiot. If I could kill you, I would relish it.'
The surprisingly quiet growl caught Naruto by surprise, and he scrunched one eye in a doubtful expression. He couldn't remember ever hearing Kyuubi sound so much like Sasuke and, frankly, it was disturbing. He didn't want a big scary Sasuke impersonator in his head.
'What's your problem, anyway?' Naruto scowled. 'Even if there were demons around here, what makes you think they'd come walking right through the center of town? Stupid fox. You're the only demon that's ever been in Konoha. There's no way something as big as you could get anywhere near here without everyone knowing about it.'
The response was pure acid. 'You know nothing about demons, whelp. They are here. Go after them. I'll take you there! Deny me this...and you will never use my chakra again. How do you like those terms, whelp? I may lend enough to keep you alive, but you'd be nothing without me. Try summoning or rasengen on your own chakra.'
'You...! You can't cut me off - you owe me! I let you live in me! If you're living in my body the least you can do is share chakra!'
Despite his outrage, Naruto imagined himself without Kyuubi's energy. All of his most powerful techniques and recent advances relied on having that bottomless well to draw from. Even Jiraiya had said that his strength was his endurance, that he had so much more chakra than normal people. Without that...
The malicious grin was audible in Kyuubi's sleek response. 'You can go back to being dobe, usuratonkachi.'
'Shut up!' Naruto cringed. 'Shut up! Don't you ever call me that! I won't listen to that from you - you're supposed to be on my side...!'
'Then give me this. You owe me. If they get away...if you don't give me this...then...'
Naruto opened his eyes and winced from the brightness of the room. Kyuubi's voice had trailed off. He could almost see the fox demon tensing, tails rising in a sudden mix of apprehension and eagerness. No, not almost. He could see it. The chakra around him was shifting, tightening and thickening into that tailed outline it had taken just days ago. And damned if that tail weren't lashing over the edge of the bed and burning the hell out of the formerly white sheets.
'What is it now?' demanded Naruto. 'What? You're not even gonna finish your threat? Did they leave? Or did you figure out that you were just imagining it to start with and there's no one to chase, you idiotic fox?'
'...no chase, whelp. He's coming to me...'
"What!" yelped Naruto. He jerked away from the window and twisted so he could keep an eye on the door. "Oh, shit... If anyone sees me like this...!"
A shadow darted in the corner of his eye. Naruto reeled to face the window just as a dark figure appeared a foot away from him. Cat-shaped eyes glared bloody red out of a pale face, staring right at him. He was so shocked his mind froze on the thought that the person had jumped three floors to crouch in the open window of his hospital room. So much for Anbu members guarding the doors...
The intruder shifted his gaze, noting the fiery shape Kyuubi's chakra had taken. And Naruto choked at the sudden lurch of emotions the fox sent him. Adrenaline, hunger, frustration, rage, want, hope, and predatory lust hit him at the same time. It was the last sensation that sent Naruto careening off the edge of the bed.
Naruto groaned, grabbing his head with both hands. 'Keep your chakra, you perverted fox! There's no way in hell I'm giving you that...!'