The Dragon in Her Heart

Disclaimer: I am not Masashi Kishimoto. I cannot use a transformation jutsu to look like Masashi Kishimoto, or at least not yet. I may have it mastered by the time chapter twenty is up and posted though. However, for the time being I can't use it. And therefore I do not own Naruto or any other character created by Kishimoto.

Some things in this world simply do not make any logical sense. How could a writer that has almost 300 reviews (all saying something along the lines of: Holy crap. Update soon. I can't wait for the next chapter! –or- The White Raptor is so cool! He is an awesome original character! –or- This story is really good. Please continue.) for a fanfiction story and then suddenly turn around and change almost the whole thing?

What would drive a writer to disregard the reviews of his or her fans?

Sometimes there is no 'correct' reason, no answer that can be found that you can accept. Philosophy is a fickle world. Emotions can be triggered in an instant, but they never are triggered without a reason. The reasons behind our emotions and actions are extremely important.

But here is a question; which is more important: Our feelings and actions or the reasons behind them. The correct answer is arguable. Let me put it in the terms of a book that most of us have all probably read; The Odyssey.

At the end of the famous/ infamous poem, Odysseus (the so-called hero) kills the suitors that had been in his house over the years. Odysseus killed many people, some of which were pretty innocent. Killing these suitors was his action. But there were obviously reasons behind this action. Some of the suitors were planning on killing Odysseus's son, while others raped the female servants and even attempted to rape his wife.

As you can see, the reasons for our actions and the actions themselves both seem very important.

-

Naruto was lying on the battlefield, his body resembling a piece of crinkled-up paper. His clothes were in tatters, damp with sweat and soaked in his own blood. Part of his shirt had been torn off, revealing his bare stomach.

No longer was the seal of Kyuubi placed upon his skin.

The boy made no attempt to stand. He had stopped breathing.

Suddenly, a silver whip of chakra lashed out at the lifeless body.

Tenten stopped in mid-charge.

Neji halted as well.

Time's militaristic march stopped, if only for a moment. Tenten and Neji turned and stared. Uzumaki Naruto, the hopeful ninja with a dream of becoming the revered Hokage, was already dead. There was nothing that they could do to save him.

The name of Uzumaki Naruto had been stripped off the holy list of the living. Time reflected on the removal of his name from the esteemed list of future Kage. Instead, his name made it to a more sombre, yet sinisterly administrated scroll. Both Neji and Tenten had witnessed this event a few days ago. And now, it had come true. Time's judgment was absolute.

No. Time can not be absolute, Tenten's inner voice echoed.

Not a single being is, Neji's own voice replied.

They searched each other's eyes, the last naked epicenter of collective emotion; shades of brown and lavender relegated themselves to the background. Neji knew what Tenten wanted, and he planned to help her.

The next instant had been decided well in advance.

The dam that had held time's army was ready to bust. The flood of time was absolute. It couldn't be changed. No matter what.

Which was the exact fact that seized to matter to Tenten and Neji. They rushed towards the corpse of the blonde ninja. The waters of the Absolute surged forward. The two had to beat them to Naruto.

They stood before the boy's remains, their arms spread open in an attempt to block the silver blast of chakra from wiping out was left.

They were willing to sacrifice their lives for Uzumaki Naruto. For a dead shinobi. There was no reason behind their foolishness. Besides the fact that they wanted more than to prove something like time, or demons, or Gods or even fate wrong.

They just wanted to save their friend.

Chapter One

Long Awaited Information

Hatake Kakashi leaped as far as he could from atop a high tree branch. He had to end this pursuit now.

The silver-haired man descended towards the ground, tackling his target's back. The frightened looking ninja bore a hitai-ate engraved with the Cloud symbol. He surrendered to gravity, nearly collapsing beneath Kakashi's weight and from fear of the inevitable.

Kakashi clawed into the man's shoulders, turning him upwards so that he could see his face. The Cloud nin wore a mask that covered everything up to the tip of his nose; a half mask much the same as the one Kakashi wore. But, if anything, it pronounced his terror more. It brought most of the attention to his eyes, currently bulging out of his skull as if 'Abandon ship!' lay emblazoned in its veins. His pupils were dilated so far that they were practically non-existent. The man knew who Copy Ninja Kakashi was. And he was scared shitless.

With separate light thuds, two young teenagers jumped down to either side of the infamous Sharingan wielder.

One of the two was Haruno Sakura, 15 years of age. He pink hair was somewhat messy and several inches from touching her shoulders. Her emerald eyes were narrowed in the darkness of the night. She despised the ninja pinned beneath Kakashi. In her eyes, all of the ninja from Kumogakure, the Hidden Village of the Cloud, were all spineless, moral-less, shameless pieces of trash. And this man fit the standard description without error.

The other was Uzumaki Naruto, also 15 years of age. His spiky blonde hair was matted with sweat, leaves and the occasional twig. His eyes were as blue as an ocean, one going through a thoroughly troubling tempest at this time. Naruto wanted to kill the Cloud nin. To rip his arms and legs off. Probably beat him with the appendages if he still lived. What gave the man the right to even breathe? Naruto knew what some shinobi chose to live and die for; he could never answer why they chose the path they did, despite feeling it deep within him. Regardless, this man held the information that he had been waiting for over the course of just over three years. He would listen to what the spineless bastard had to say. Afterwards, he would tear him to shreds.

"You better start talking now," Kakashi ordered his captive.

Only one of his eyes was visible, the other concealed beneath his lop-sided hitai-ate. But you only needed to see one of his intense eyes to know that he was being serious.

"You see, none of the us three have any patience left. Tell us everything you know or this night will be your last."

The man opened his mouth to speak. No words left his mouth. He was so afraid that his body was paralyzed and his voice was lost. He didn't want to die. He wanted to tell them everything. He was a spineless coward that would betray his lord if it meant that he could live. But he was unable to speak. His body shook in fear. He was going to die.

"So you don't want to talk, huh?" Kakashi commented. "Then I'll just have to use this."

The Jonin of the Leaf released one hand from pinning down the man; one would suffice. He then lifted up his headband, straightening it so that it was level across his forehead. Underneath it had rested his Sharingan, the blood red Kekkei Genkai; the unique power of the now massacred Uchiha clan. Kakashi may not have been born amongst the Uchiha, but he still knew how to maximize the abilities of the bloodline ability obtained from a fallen comrade.

The Cloud ninja gazed at the eye as it spun like a pin-wheel. Some how, for some reason, the spinning relaxed his body, hypnotizing him. He would be able to speak after all.

"Your Sharingan… it is no where near as hateful as Uchiha-san's," the man spoke, relieved behind belief.

Sakura and Naruto's eyes widened for a second with interest. This confirmed it. The Land of Lightning had formed an alliance with Otogakure, Orochimaru's village.

"Where is Orochimaru's base?" Kakashi demanded. "We've found Otogakure, but the village had recently been abandoned by him. We noticed several lingering Sound ninja scatter away, and with them were Cloud shinobi."

"Hmph. Yeah, it's true; Kumogakure and Otogakure have formed an alliance," the Kumo ninja admitted, committing treason. "The Land of Lightning offers much more space to hide in. And the terrain is harsh, limiting accessibility. We formed an alliance with the Sound after Orochimaru had offered to share his eternal life jutsu with Raikage-sama."

Naruto clenched his fist and cracked his knuckles.

"So you've met Sasuke?" His words were both a statement and a question, but his voice was much more demanding.

"Yes," the man spoke. "He was… a different kind of shinobi. A different breed."

Sakura winced at the words.

"How so?" Kakashi asked as if he was being inquisitive.

"He'd… do anything for power. Anything," the ninja of Kumo answered. "His goal is to become the strongest ninja, no matter what. That is why, Orochimaru cast his jutsu two years ago."

"And what the hell was so special about this freakin' jutsu?" Naruto yelled. He was already very impatient. He just wanted to get all the information he could.

"The Tenten jutsu," the man replied hastily.

There was a slight waver of panic that returned to his voice, although he tried his best not to show it. After all, he was not in a situation where he could pick and choose what information to reveal or not.

"The Tenten jutsu?" Sakura asked, obviously confused. Regardless, she acted tough and in a position of authority, which she was.

"Do you mind elaborating a little?" She reached into a pouch that she wore over her hip, pulling out a kunai as a threat to the cowardly man, whom grew pale upon seeing the glint of silver in the dim moonlight.

"I- I don't know!" the man frantically said, "I just heard him use the term only once! I'm not exactly high up on the ladder, okay?!"

Kakashi's Sharingan was observing him with great detail. Judging by his movements, his pulse had increased rapidly. But it did not give any sudden jolts or jerks. This indicated that he was telling the truth.

"Fine," Kakashi replied simply, "We'll let you go unharmed as long as you answer my final question: Where exactly is Orochimaru's new base?"

This, of course, was the most crucial thing to find out.

"Okay, okay," the man spoke. "I've only been there once. But it really is the perfect hideout. It's beneath Kumo. Underground."

"Where's the entrance?"

"I don't know. I was blindfolded when I entered so that I wouldn't find out. Only the higher-ups know that answer."

"…" Kakashi once again did not sense that the man was lying. "You're free to go then."

He released his grip on the man's shoulders and stood up to his full height. The Cloud nin looked almost confused, but he was relieved. Picking himself up, he turned around and started to run off into the dense forest. He would live to fight another day.

Or so he thought.

A clawed hand grabbed his shoulder, piercing his skin and covering his arm in his own warm blood. The ninja turned his head to see exactly what was going on. He would have fainted in fright at what his eyes witnessed if it was not for the searing pain of his new wound.

Naruto had his nails digging into the man's flesh over his shoulder. Around him was an ever-growing aura of intense red chakra. His deep blue eyes had been replaced by red-set slits.

"I don't think you've got long," Naruto growled. "Chances are Orochimaru already knows that you betrayed him. If I don't kill you now, then he'll torture you to death the slowest and most painful way he can think of. Consider this a favor."

The Cloud ninja didn't stand a chance against the fury of the Kyuubi's vessel.


A masked duo darted through the dense forests surrounding Konohagakure, the Hidden Village of the Leaf. They took zigzagged shaped paths through the tree branches, trying to shake of a pursuer. But the thing that was giving chase after them wasn't going to be easily shaken off.

The male shinobi had long jet-black hair that flowed backwards in the wind. His mask was unlike Kakashi's; it covered his entire face, much more like the standard issue ANBU mask. It was white with narrow, wolf-like eyes and several slash-like strokes painted upon it in blue. Over the mask was a hitai-ate marked with the Cloud symbol. The ninja wore a long white coat that trailed behind him as he attempted to ditch his pursuer, accentuated fairly by matching white trousers. Upon his belt were three swords; a wakazashi and a tachi over his right side, a sakabato over his left.

The kunoichi wore her light brown hair so that her long bangs framed her face, the rest of it trailing back just as much as her male partner's. Her mask was black with painted teal-green eye slits, several arcs of the same color upon it as well near the forehead. She, unlike her partner, wore her hitai-ate, engraved with the symbol of Kirigakure, the Hidden Village of the Mist, tied around her right wrist. The kunoichi wore a slim fitting body suit that cut off right at her knees. Upon this shiny black suit was a white vest made of a less reflective material. Over her shoulders was a long cream-colored cloth made of silk, worn like a scarf. Upon her back was a sheathed blade that must have been at least four and a half feet long. Tucked underneath her tight-fitting belt was a much shorter blade; a kodachi.

Ka-rack! Ka-rash!

Multiple trees were knocked down as an enormous silver flash of fur rushed through the forest at an extreme speed. Soon, the distance between it and the two shinobi decreased. It was only a matter of time before it caught up with them.

The kunoichi turned around in mid-jump, swiftly drawing out her long sword from its sheath. She had to find some way to buy time. Seeing her plan, her partner stopped as well and unsheathed his tachi. Without even talking, the two knew what exactly to do.

A clawed silver leg swiped towards them, creating a shock wave of harsh wind. The two jumped out of the wind's path, and then headed towards the thing that had been chasing them on their journey to Konoha.

As they advanced towards it further, the beast, ironically, made itself less inconspicuous.

It was a giant silver furred fox, no less than eighteen feet tall from head to foot. Its bristly fur was covered with a thin layer of translucent gray chakra—pure energy. Its tail was long and wispy, like a trailing stream of dark smoke. Its legs were bent, signaling that it was ready to strike at a second's notice. Its feet were armed with sharp claws, their size varying, their properties mimicking that of kunai. Upon the beast's chest was a mane of white strands, which glowed with the concentrated amounts of chakra. But all of these things could easily be overlooked upon even glancing at the fox's head.

It had eight eyes; four stacked up on the left and four of the right arranged in symmetrical fashion. And not a single eye was open.

The monster was relying on all of its other senses. The two shinobi didn't even want to think what the monster could do if its eyes were opened. It was a frightening thought.

And thus evolved the plan to go for his eyes first. Win-win situations were more fit for Tales of the Gallant Jiraiya than for reality.

The kunoichi rooted her feet firmly upon the tree branch she was standing on. She raised her long sword over her head so that is pointed horizontally at the multi-eyed beast. The hilt was slightly behind the back of her head, which was grasped inside her right hand. Her left hand, however, was outstretched forward so that her fingers barely touched the middle of the weapon. And then, keeping that same stance as her upper body, she lunged at the monster's head.

The fox, immense in size, snorted and strands of smoke exited its nostrils, cloaking the girl's vision with a thick gray haze. Regardless, she continued her assault. Landing upon the fox's nose, she then shifted her legs and bent them to make her body lower. Then, like a spring filled with tension giving the opportunity to release, she leaped forward, jabbing at the monster's multiple eyes with multiple hits.

Cling Cling Cling Cling Cling Cling Cling Cling!

All eight of the kunoichi's strikes were made useless as a dense shield of chakra formed over the closed eyes. But it didn't matter. She had just been setting up the stage for her partner to make his move.

The masked ninja jumped as if from no where, landing on the slightly annoyed fox's forehead. His tachi, now unsheathed, was pointed between the creature's eyes, and although it touched the fur, it did not pierce through the skin. Beneath his mask, the shinobi closed his eyes. Instantaneously, his tachi was cloaked in thick, black chakra. The fact that he could make his chakra visible showed that he must have been extremely skilled. Regardless, his upcoming jutsu, or ninja technique, was not to harm the beast. It had a much more… studious purpose.


The masked shinobi's mind's eye opened, which was following the path of the chakra that he had inserted into the giant silver fox. The chakra control he used was precise, thanks to the fact that he could actually see from his own chakra's point of view. And now inside the fox, the black chakra turned a bright white that illuminated the darkness. Currently, his chakra was following the fox's own chakra paths that were entwined with its brain.

Rip. Shred. Bite. Crunch. Kill!

This close to the canid's head, it was as if he could actually hear the monster's own subconscious thoughts. It was obvious that it wasn't going to just sit there for long. His partner would have to get to work and restrain the enormous animal ASAP.


The kunoichi quickly sheathed her blade in a single movement, putting it upon her back once more. Her attack upon the fox's eyes may have failed, but she still would have to help make sure that her partner had the time to use his jutsu.

She whipped the silk cloth off from her shoulders, revealing that it was nearly a dozen feet long when fully unwrapped. She performed a single hand sign, ヘビ. Then, a fluorescent green chakra poured out of her fingertips, which was then absorbed by the silk fabric. The girl leaped up high into the air, and whipped the cloth downwards. The momentum made the cloth wrap around the fox's mouth. The kunoichi then landed upon the beast's snout and tied the cloth into a complicated knot. Still grasping the cloth that was not used in the knot but still connected to it, she jumped down upon the ground, pulling the fox's head down as well. As long as she kept a tight hold on the cloth, the fox could neither run in the opposite direction nor open its mouth. However, the fox could still run towards her. But her solution to this was simple. She performed another hand sign, and soon dug a hole under the ground. Now she would be safe from attack and the fox could hardly move, allowing her teammate to be able to stay on the fox's head and finish his jutsu.

The two of them had a perfectly coordinated strategy. And they didn't even have to verbalize it.


Slowly, the masked boy directed his chakra away from the fox's brain. He did, however, leave some of it behind so that the fox's chakra would have a tougher time at sending messages to the brain, thus lowering the animal's reaction time. It was a nice trick, although difficult to perform correctly.

His chakra took several turns and then went down. He was looking for something particular; a seal, or multiple seals. The fox, no doubt, had broken any seals placed upon it, seeing that it was in a free state. But the shinobi should still be able to identify the remains of shattered seals. A beast of this caliber must have been sealed away or bound in some degree. And for a long time at that; a creature this strong must have been spotted before and would be well known by now if it had been free for long.

Then, the shinobi found a trace of a broken seal. His chakra collided with a disrupted path of the fox's own chakra. By now, his chakra was in the beast's chest. So the fox had one broken seal on its chest, underneath its long fur. Despite being shattered, the ninja could determine that the seal was either a pentagram or hexagram.

The search did not end there, though. The ninja manipulated his chakra once again, making it creep down the left leg of the creature. Soon, another broken seal was detected. This one, though, was destroyed so thoroughly that what type of seal it had once been could not be determined. Then the chakra continued down to study the foot, but found no more oddities, so it changed direction and went back up, then traveling over and down through the right leg. At a right angle from the left leg's seal, the right leg had yet another seal. It, too, was completely demolished and the seal type could not be determined. The chakra then continued its search for seals, but coming up short in the foot again.


The front legs of the silver fox started shaking uncontrollably. The multi-eyed monster had lost most of the control and chakra flow in its front legs. Its knees couldn't hold up its weight, and the enormous animal collapsed into the ground. It let out a deep, menacing growl. How dare someone paralyze its legs? How dare someone invade its body with their own chakra? How dare someone think they stood a change against it, the great Eight Eyed Fox?

As the beast fell to the ground, the shinobi atop of its head focused a small portion of his chakra to his feet, making sure that the fall didn't shake him of his spot and disrupt his jutsu.


By now, the male shinobi had directed his chakra as far as into the fox's stomach. He had not yet discovered the remnants of another seal. His chakra then took an abrupt fall, going into the chakra paths of the beast's left hind leg. Just when the shinobi thought that he no seal had been placed upon this particular area, he saw a faint blue glow, the color of a shattered seal, at the ankle. This seal, however, was clearly more intact than all of the other three previously found. The male shinobi automatically identified it as a pentagram seal. The blue chakra network or the seal was hardly even broken; only a hairline crack could be seen going in an imperfect diagonal diameter. And if the seal was hardly even damaged, then it meant that some of the fox's chakra was still blocked off.

The shinobi shuttered. If all of the seals the fox had were completely and utterly destroyed, and if the beast opened its eyes, then it would be nearly unstoppable. Scratch that; it WOULD be unstoppable.

Slowly but surely, the young male shinobi manipulated his chakra up the left leg, and then back down the right. Just as on its left counterpart, the right hand leg had another glowing blue pentagram seal right on the ankle, beneath the fur. And this seal was in perfect condition. It didn't even contain a crack or dent.

The male's chakra was controlled again and forced back up the leg, There was only one place the ninja had left to study with his jutsu: the fox's tail. Soon, the ninja's own chakra was inches from entering the tail, and continued to creep forward.


KA-BOOM!

The very instant that the ninja's chakra touched the dense chakra of the tail, an explosion as nearly as intense as that of a nuclear bomb went off from outside of the beast, sending a giant dome of smoke across the forest.

Not even the black-haired shinobi's precise chakra control allowed his feet to stay planted upon the fox's head. Instantaneously, his body was flailing to the ground, landing with a very painful crash.

The explosion ripped through the light blond-haired kunoichi's silk cloth that had been glowing with a fluorescent green chakra. Now the Eight Eyed Fox was free.

The intense explosion shook the ground, causing the hole that the kunoichi was in to cave in. She had to work fast; otherwise she'd be crushed by the rocks. The girl raised the tattered cloth, still fluorescent with chakra, over head. The silk protected her from harm, allowing her to kick up off the bottom of the hole and leap up without being injured.

But once she was up she had wished that she'd stayed down in the hole. The resulting smoke from the explosion was far too thick to see through. And it was the exact same color as the enormous fox's fur; the animal was perfectly camouflaged for this new environment.

With a few muffled groans, the male shinobi struggled to stand up in the thick smog. Most of his bones were fractured or broken. He massaged his throbbing forehead. The explosion had caught him completely off guard. Nonetheless, he had still been able to gather enough information on the chakra network of the fox. And it had had five pentagram seals. He doubted that the tail had contained a sixth because it must have been swarming with an unprecedented amount of chakra.

"Tsuchiko, are you all right?" the ninja called out into the blanket of gray.

"Yeah. Where are you, White Raptor?" a feminine voice replied.

"I've told you already that you can call me by my real name," the male shinobi spoke, but he knew that his request would be pointless; she hardly ever called him by his birth given name. "And judging by your voice, you are about 6 yards to the northwest from my location. I think that I might need your medical abilities."

"Okay, I'm coming," Tsuchiko replied.

Soon the familiar light brown hair and black body suit of the kunoichi came into the White Raptor's view, appearing through the compressed smoke.

"Ouch," Tsuchiko said, seeing the condition of her partner.

The White Raptor's upper forehead and scalp had a long gash across it. His coat was torn and slashed, with blood seeping through the rips. His right leg looked limp. "I was lucky; I was underground when that explosion went off. Okay, let me see you're leg first. I should be able to mend it in a few seconds."

The White Raptor allowed himself to ease his body to lie down upon the ground. Tsuchiko walked over to his side, her hands overflowing with green chakra; the characteristically colored chakra of medical ninja, or the ninja that had extensively studied the healing abilities that chakra could be used for. The kunoichi placed her hands over the broken bones of her only teammate's leg. In a few seconds, his leg had been mended fully and she moved on to heal his other wounds.

Both of them were thinking the same thing; that the monstrous fox could attack from out of the smoke in any second. This thought only pushed Tsuchiko to work faster.

"So what is your analysis?" the kunoichi asked inquisitively. She was referring to the information that her partner had obtained from his jutsu.

"… This monster had five pentagram seals attached to it, most of them broken," the White Raptor answered, "I don't believe that it broke them by itself. This monster was sealed away into the realm of nonexistence. Whoever, or whatever, freed it must have known its true identity. The releaser probably thought that they could control it, but as you can see, they were wrong.

"The fact that it was sealed with pentagram seals is quite puzzling. I was hoping to find at least eight; one to seal each of its eyes. And none of the pentagrams were connected to its main chakra valves."

"Wait, so you're thinking that the seals weren't used to seal its chakra?" Tsuchiko interjected, "But then that would mean that the pentagrams were used as binding seals; seals that attached the fox to another chakra source, thus making it incapable of moving and stuck onto to something. It would've lived like a leech."

"Exactly," the male shinobi said, "And the only way that it could've been set free without severing all of the seals was if the 'host body', per say, was killed itself. Or… the beast could've sucked all of the chakra from its host."

Tsuchiko looked nervous. She was bracing herself for a surprise attack from the demon-like fox. "But then how did it escape the realm of nonexistence? We both already know that to escape that world, you must have someone from reality touch the balance gate, while the being in the realm of nonexistence touches it as well. Then, the gate will open for a year," the kunoichi stated. "Surely you don't believe the gate was open? Who else would find out about it besides ourselves?"

"… I think we both know who," the White Raptor replied. Tsuchiko swallowed the excess of saliva that had been growing in her mouth. She knew who could, but she did not want to believe it.

"But if the gate has really been open, then shouldn't there be other monsters that escaped as well?" Tsuchiko pondered aloud.

"Not necessarily," the masked ninja replied. "This one could've killed the others and devoured their chakra. And that would explain its pure power."

The male shinobi hurled his body from the grassy ground without warning.

"Tsuchiko! Get out of the way!"

CLING!

The sound of metal hitting bone echoed throughout the forest. Tsuchiko leapt up to the right, unsheathing her long sword in a flash. Before her was her teammate, struggling in a losing battle of strength. He had drawn his tachi, which was holding open the giant jaws of the silver fox. The blade was the only thing that had stopped the fox's teeth from tearing into the masked shinobi's flesh and ripping him in half. With much difficulty, he pried his tachi out from in between the deadly fangs and leapt back. He then did something quite unexpected.

Holding the tachi in his right hand, he raised it to the forearm of his left. He rolled up his sleeve. Then, in a swift, fluid slice he cut deeply from his palm up all the way up to his left shoulder.

Tsuchiko's eyes widened in both surprise and worry.

"Surely you don't plan on sealing the fox in your arm!" she exclaimed. "The stability of your chakra will be ruined!"

"But if we don't defeat this thing, then the stability of the realms will be set into chaos," the White Raptor responded, "It was tracking us for what we are. It knows what purpose we serve. And that is why we know that the snake freak set this beast free. That bastard already used his jutsu on Tenten and all of Konoha. If we wish to reverse that jutsu, then we must take care of this fox now."

The White Raptor focused a bright blue chakra to his palms, and knelt down. With two earth-shaking pounds, he hammered the ground with palm strikes. Two giant circles outlined in thin Japanese characters originated from the two points where he had made contact. The characters of the left circle read 'sharing of a single body' while the characters of the other read 'confining to a single appendage'. He then performed the hand signs雄豚, boar, ヘビ, snake, and bull, 雄牛. The sealing circles then grew in diameter until the monstrous silver fox was inside both.

Tsuchiko walked over and started tracing over the characters with her fingertip. Her touch was the final activator of the seal.

Rays of endless, blinding light jutted up vertically from the inside of the circles, engulfing the mighty and fearless fox with their grace. The masked shinobi darted into the light and towards the temporally disabled beast, the blood from his arm dripping down in a multitude of red beads.

He clenched his fingers into the fox's fur, digging down into the flesh of its leg.

"ARarghAgrhaArGhGGahhRRAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" the fox shrieked in pain, in absolute misery.

Slowly, the fox's body began to be sucked into the wound on the shinobi's arm, starting with the chakra-dense-tail.

The White Raptor let out an agonized groan; his arm felt as if an inferno was raging inside of it.

Soon, the tail had disappeared into the boy's arm. The hind feet then began to be pulled in, shrinking and condensing in the process. But the Eight Eyed Fox wasn't going to just let the shinobi seal itself inside of him.

The monster tried it's best to turn move it's body so that its head would face its attacker. After twisting its spine, it managed to do so. The creature snarled, baring its menacing teeth. Its claws on its front paws seemed to flex, almost like those of a cat. And then it struck out with a slash of its armed leg.

There was no way that the White Raptor could dodge or block. If he released his grip now, then his sealing jutsu would be incomplete and useless.

Ka-LING!

Tsuchiko leapt up and had blocked the slash with her long sword held in both hands. She stood no less than three feet from her partner. Trusting the strength of her right arm, she let her left wander under her belt, unsheathing her kodachi. Her sacred blade.

Right on cue, the fox lashed out with its other clawed foot. The kunoichi blocked this attack with the kodachi. Her willpower was amazing to stand up against such raw power like that of the silver fox. It was as if Tsuchiko possessed all of the strength of the earth; the strength of the rocks, soil, and trees.

But now even she was left open to an attack from the jaws of the beast.

Tsuchiko, please, just get out of the way! the White Raptor thought, pleading in his head.

But the kunoichi did not. The jaws of death came face to face with her.

"Ughhh!" she groaned, trying her best not to scream. She felt lightheaded, like she just wanted to fall over and close her eyes. And that is exactly what she did.


"Tsuchiko, wake up. Tsuchiko!" a voice called out to the kunoichi.

A cool burst of water wetted the girl's face. She opened her heavy eyelids. At first, all she could see were blotches of reds and oranges. But soon her eyes began to function normally, as well as here ears. She could here the faint rushing of moving water no more than a few feet from where her head lay. Before her was her masked partner.

Tsuchiko tried to sit up, but a cracked sensation emerged in her side. She winced, and then looked down at her torso through her squinted eyes. A bloody fang nearly the size of kodachi was lodged in beneath her rib cage. She made an attempt to remove it by clasping both hands around it, but was stopped.

"You shouldn't do that," the White Raptor replied. "The tooth had a chakra valve system of its own. Once it got stuck in you, that chakra system fused together with your own. Removing it would only cause you to rupture your own chakra."

The kunoichi from Kirigakure stared at her Kumogakure partner. His left arm was wrapped with bloody bandages.

"What exactly happened? How am I still alive?" Tsuchiko asked.

"You're little pet came and helped out," the White Raptor replied.

He was referring to a rusty-orange furred fox that was sitting on his shoulder. Upon seeing his master look at him, the fox jumped down into Tsuchiko's lap.

"What? But I didn't even summon him," Tsuchiko commented, confused. "How could he have found me?"

"Summon creatures are quite peculiar," the Cloud shinobi spoke. "He came from no where and slammed into the silver fox's head, making it go slightly off course and hit you with only a single fang. From there, my sealing jutsu sped up and soon the monster was trapped inside my arm."

"And how does your arm feel now?" Tsuchiko asked.

"Worse than hell," the White Raptor calmly replied. "Come on, we have to find Tenten. You can stand, can't you?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine," Tsuchiko answered, standing up with great difficulty upon her feet. She used some of her medical ninjutsu to heal some minor fractures and bruises. She then picked up her fox and placed him on her shoulder. "Let's go."


The two masked teammates stood atop the Village Hidden in the Leaves' main gate. The moonlight was shrouded in clouds, making the two's presence even less unknown. The two looked at each other, then darted off together, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

After a few minutes, they jumped down to the ground. A small, one story house lay before them.

"So this Tenten's house?" Tsuchiko spoke. "… Such a humble existence."

Together, the ninja and kunoichi walked up concrete steps that lead to an unpainted wooden front door. The White Raptor reached out his right hand and softly rapped upon the wood. There was no way of checking to see if Tenten was awake, but he had a feeling that she would be.


Tenten almost flinched as she heard a knock on her door. Who would possibly be visiting her, of all people, this late at night?

She wore her dark brown hair held tightly into two buns and had soft brown eyes. She was still dressed in her day clothes; a faded red jacket with gold trimmings and a pair of black pants that cut off at her ankle.

The sixteen-year-old kunoichi stood up, dropping a cloth that she had been using to clean an assortment of weapons. She walked over towards her front door.


"And what exactly are you two doing at Tenten's home so late?" a hiss-like voice spoke out in the darkness of the night.

Tsuchiko and the White Raptor spun around, obviously startled by the new voice.

Standing about ten feet from Tenten's house was none other than Orochimaru, a surprisingly skilled shinobi with long black hair and pale skin. He had been forced to flee the Konohagakure when he was discovered to be experimenting with human bodies.

"I'm sorry, but I've worked too hard for you to foil my plan this late in the game," Orochimaru spoke, suppressing a wide grin.

Without even moving his arms, the criminal had teleported all three of them back into the forests surrounding the village.

"How… How did you do that?" Tsuchiko nervously questioned.

"Once you've fooled time long enough, then it tends to pass on some of its secrets to you," Orochimaru devilishly replied. "Now, which one of you should I kill and which one should I keep as bait?"

He had already known the answer to this question. Tsuchiko would be the easiest to murder. All he had to do was remove that fang from her side.

And the other one was… much too valuable.

"It's such a pity that you sealed the Eight Eyed fox inside your arm," Orochimaru hissed, speaking to the Cloud ninja, "It was quite a task for me to free it. And killing you would only destroy it as well. But to seal a creature like that inside your arm; you'll be wishing that I just killed you instead. The pain it will give you will be far worse than any death imaginable. And one day, mark my words, the beast will take over you, both body and mind."

Tsuchiko suddenly collapsed upon the ground. The fang had been removed from her torso without her, or her partner, from even noticing it. Orochimaru let his wicked grin show through. He had simply moved his fingers and the fang had been pulled out.

"Come to Iwagakure if you wish to if you wish to rid the demon from your arm," Orochimaru spoke to the White Raptor. He then turned around and started to walk away.

Tsuchiko! The ninja screamed in his head. His eyes shifted from looking at his fallen comrade and the departing Orochimaru.

He swiftly unsheathed his tachi and in less than a blink of an eye he slashed Orochimaru in two across the midriff.

But the two falling segments of the evil man simply turned to a mushy brown blob of mud. He had used an Earth style substitution jutsu. The White Raptor doubted hat he could find the murderer, at least not in time.


Tenten opened her front door. No one was there.

"Hello?" she called out into the darkness. She received no reply.

That's strange, she thought, going back inside and closing the door behind her.


The White Raptor sheathed his tachi and ran over to his mortally wounded partner. Blood was pouring out of her side, and her chakra was escaping. He prayed beyond hope that she would be okay.

"Tsuchiko! Are you all right? Please, oh, please, just say something!" he spoke, panicking.

He knelt down beside her side. Despite not being a medic nin, he used his best attempts at trying to heal her with his own chakra. Beneath his mask, tears were scarring his eyes with their heat.

"… Please… remove… my mask," Tsuchiko begged, her voice hardly an audible whisper. Her partner obeyed.

Her deep green eyes were filled with tears as well, not with tears of pain, but rather with tears of goodbye. Her lips quivered slightly, barely moving as she spoke.

"I am… sorry that I couldn't… help you more."

The White Raptor removed his own mask, so that only she could see his face. This couldn't be happening. How could his partner- his love- be dying before his own two eyes? Why didn't he do anything else to try to save her?

"Tsuchiko, stop blaming yourself," the Kumogakure ninja replied softly, "This is all my fault… I should have never stopped to fight the damn fox in the first place. I'm so sorry."

"Arainami, neither of us should be sorry," Tsuchiko spoke, finally using his real name. "I don't want you to live your life in regret and suffering. I love you too much to bear to see you that way."

"But how can I even call myself 'alive' without you?" Arainami asked, his tears falling upon Tsuchiko's face.

"Because it was our goal to stop Orochimaru, a goal that has yet to be completed," the dying kunoichi whispered. "And now you must do it alone. Tenten… will find out on her own. The beast in your arm… must be destroyed."

The Cloud shinobi tried to wipe away his tears, but they continued to rush out. He was young, only seventeen, but he had experienced the intense bonds of love.

"I will forever love you, Tsuchiko," he replied, trying his best to controlling his wavering voice.

"And I will love you even in death, Arainami," the kunoichi whispered, before closing her eyes and going limp. They were the last words she would ever speak.

"Tsuchiko," he whispered, touching her smooth face with his fingers.

He knew she had left he world of the living. Saying her name was the only thing that could give him comfort. Just moments before she had been alive, and now she was dead. The whole thing had happened too fast. It was hard for him to comprehend.

But even beyond death, he couldn't let his love for her to flicker out like a candle in the rain. Her pale pink lips were curled into a serene smile; symbol enough that her love would be undying even in death. He would have to return the favor. She deserved it.

Arainami placed his mask over his face again. The one person that he trusted enough to tell his name was gone. He would cling to the title of the 'White Raptor' until someone else could win over his trust. Tsuchiko had died. And so he would once again shed his birth given- chosen- name and wear his mask and title to conserve his true identity. That way, no one could ever take a part of him again.

Cool rain poured down into the night, showering the White Raptor and washing way the blood on his skin. The wet beads were the sign of heaven's remorse over the death of the earth.


A/N: Tsuchi means 'earth', earth is the root word for Tsuchiko's name (thanks, Ultra Sonic 007 for giving me this name. 'Arainami' (the White Raptor's name) means 'wild (raging) waves; stormy seas'. I found this translation at www(dot)trussel(dot)com/f(underscore)nih(dot)htm

The upcoming chapters won't be nearly as long as this one, I think. I'll be editing the original chapters (prior to this rewrite) and change a few things around, and probably add some stuff too. I will try to make the sentences flow better.

And also like to thank tenjichan, who helped me organize the events of the rewrite. She's now officially my beta reader. A big thanks to Shiranui the Brave as well. He helped me with some minor rewording and gave me some pointers that I'm going to continue practicing upon.

If you wish to offer suggestions, please visit my forum. It is called 'The Tower of Legacies'. I could also help you with any of your fics there as well.

Update information:

This story will be updated when the first of the two things below are fulfilled.

Five weeks have passed.

This chapter has received 50 reviews

So, in other words, the next update will be in five weeks unless this chapter gets fifty reviews. I'm really busy, so this is necessary for me for the time being.

Thanks for reading. I hope this explained some stuff that needed to be explained. Please review to comment with your thoughts and opinions.