Naruto is the creative property of Masashi Kishimoto, who created this wonderful anime/manga series. Anything not attributed to Kishimoto-san belongs to their respective owners, such as other series, references to, for example, "Have Fun Figuring 'Em Out!", and vice-versa. This story is written purely just for fun, guys; please for God's sake, don't sue me! I'm just a college student with too much free time on his hands! On the other hand, any specific author created characters I created for this fic (despite how unoriginal they may be at times) are mine. So without further adieu, let's get on with the show!
The Surgeon General's Warning:
Read at your own risk.
The Idiot's Guide to Nindo
Moetagiru HAATO wo omae to --- makka YUUKI aru chikai wo!/ Kazama Arashi
This blazing heart, together with you --- a blood-red oath, sworn by COURAGE/ Arashi Kazama
A Star is Born
A Naruto AU fanfic by James "Ray" Edwards
To compound matters, it seemed the thing had a level of intelligence too, because it had left Yuuno alive --- for now. The changeling boy hung suspended amongst the tendrils on the Jewel Beast's back, just breathing to stay alive. He was a mess of burns and cuts, proof that he had put up one hell of fight, but alas, he had still been no match for the nightmare.
And now, it is up to me, thought Chrono, pocketing away the perfect ruby, as he rose once more to the occasion, a handful blue magical knives materializing in his free hand.
"Song-Two-U: Stinger Blade..."
The Jewel Beast too prepared its hand, a mass of crackling purple energy gathering rapidly from its maw.
"...Burst Shift, standby..."
One hour, forty-five minutes, thirty seven seconds... If help was on the way, it was sure taking its sweet time to get here.
The staccato melody of the rain poured down non stop, punctuated ever so often by cracks of lightning and the drumbeats of thunder. Brilliant flame and noise, red hot shrapnel, forced him back, sending him skidding across the slick pavement, barely managing to keep his footing, and still the beast continued its rampaging pursuit. In the span of time, they had leveled three city blocks to ruin and smoking ashes.
T'was a miracle the temporal force field was still holding, but time was clearly not on Enforcer Chrono's side. The optimist in him would like to say that a great deal of luck and a touch of skill had managed to keep him alive this long, yet he could not shake there was some foul play a foot, and he had been made the fool. He was weakened well before the duel began, struck by an arcane blast and tackled aside wherefore he was broken through a bench back at the park.
The Jewel Beast had dispatched Yuuno swiftly and had caught up to him in no time at all. If it possessed such strength to defeat his subordinate in such a short time, why was it taking so long with him? Though Chrono was the stronger mage that did not change the fact he was the wounded one here; in fact, he had acquired lacerations now to compound his burns, blisters, bruises, and internal bone fractures, with his recent round of combat. His barrier jacket was wreck, bleeding out glittering particles of mana, unable to self-repair itself, as Chrono was focusing all his energy just to say in the fight.
Is that thing toying with me? he wondered, as the smoke began to clear.
The cynic in him told him firmly with no room for argument: yes. It was the most logical conclusion. He had underestimated the beast --- no --- the creature immensely. It is intelligent; how else could it have dragged out this drama for so long? Why it has not killed Yuuno yet, who is still held hostage on its back, unconscious and helpless?
But even if it was intelligent, Chrono would have deduced a method to defeat it well before events turned against him. However, he had been unable to do so; the entire time his mind had found itself preoccupied, solely on his own failing condition and just surviving the fight. It was --- unlike him.
So what if its hide was so tough, that his only available attacks were inadequate?
So what if on top of its toughness, the creature could regenerate the damage he inflicted with ease?
Chrono had been in tough scraps before, but this was the first time where he was acting like an amateur. He fought to win, never to just survive. So why? Why was he so preoccupied by the cold lethargy clouding his thoughts, his body growing heavier and heavier, this despairing exhaustion? He had been hurt worse before, had he not? And still his mind had been clear and lucid, devoid of any doubt or fear!
What! A voice on the telepathic...wait, this channel is the one only he and Yuuno can use. Who in the?
But just as suddenly the connection was made, the alien presence broke away, and all was deadly quiet. Icy needles of fear pricked him, drawing his eyes wide open, as Chrono spun about, his panicked gaze darting across the devastation around him. Not here; not here; nowhere to be found; he had made another fool mistake.
"Never lose sight of your enemy."
Left, right, front, and behind...he already looked, so where else could it be?
Instinctively, he materialized a handful of Stinger Blades in his free hand, brandishing them before his line of sight. Ready to loose them at any time, the enforcer mage alas met only cruel disappointment. He had been tricked, despite his training to overcome his inherent instincts; after all, humans lived virtually all their lives trudging around on the ground. The idea of looking up rarely crossed their mind, so he had been retrained as a bird of prey, always gazing down upon his enemies from his perch high above, masked by the sun and invisible.
But alas, a bird of prey with his wings clipped was as good as a sitting duck on the ground, and worse, he had the fool belief that the "earth" was something static and unchanging. How wrong he was... Chrono should have remembered that human logic does not apply to that which is not --- human.
The asphalt road split and ruptured, spilling beams of crackling violet for a split instant underneath his feet, before the white flash enveloped him. Vaguely, the enforcer mage registered the fantastic crack of the explosion, as forces and energy flung him skywards in an arcing trajectory, his senses rocked. Gravity soon took over and he began to fall, but there was another surprise in store for him for out from debris a black mass of tendrils rippled out. They wrought together, forming a fist, and hammered into him with a gut wrenching impact.
He was sent spiraling beyond control, smashing through the ash filled remains of a cafe, kicking up a cloud of soot and debris in his wake. Oh, but the Jewel Beast still was not done: the seeking "fist" opened up and unleashed a whistling violet hail of sparkling needles, sanitizing Chrono's position utterly. The senseless bombardment went on for several blood curling minutes, and then it was all quiet.
Tentatively, the Jewel Beast emerged from its hole and onto the street once more. Tunneling below street level into the sewers running beneath had been an ingenious maneuver, and the results were self evident in the settling dust. The shimmering light of a disintegrating "Round Shield" barrier spell marked a valiant last stand, a miracle of subconscious human will that saved Chrono Haraoun from instant death perhaps. Alas, he had only been able to protect his vitals, sacrificing the rest of his body into a proverbial pincushion.
If he was a wreck before, now he might as well be a cripple: the movement of the arms and legs had completely been stopped by those "needles". His barrier jacket was practically gone revealing his soiled officer's uniform beneath, and his staff had been shattered. Bloodied, filthy, burnt, and broken; in body he felt completely paralyzed, his breathing dry and hoarse, and his once sharp senses dull. He could barely see anymore; everything was growing so dark.
...Check-mate... echoed an alien voice.
Helpless, Chrono was brought before the Jewel Beast, ensnared in its seeking tendrils and hung like a puppet on strings. It was the end. He had put up quite a fight...
Two hours, two minutes, seventeen seconds.
Too bad no one would ever know of this struggle. He was far, far away from home, or any real civilization for that matter, but then again, maybe it was better no one knew: for to be defeated by a monster's poison ---- poison! of all things...
A light intruded through the darkened haze of his vision, but Chrono knew well enough of its intentions for it was the same dark violet energy emitted by the monster he fought. If it was not clear enough, right at the center of that light he could see the Jewel Seed. Which number it was he had no clue, but it would not matter soon enough. It was gathering energy out of the air, crackling with violent electricity, as it prepared to give him his last service.
Forgive me, but this was...
But he never got to finish as a new voice cried out bravely:
Don't give up!
Floating before him was a gem he vaguely remembered, blazing so bright and proud, like a star.
She was a --- yes --- that perfect crimson ruby, Raising Heart.
The real fight begins here, Papa!
Wha-ha-wait a minute-wha-HUH!?
There was an explosion of pinkish-crimson light, and Chrono found himself lucid, not to mention airborne again, much to his ire. Of course, the sudden transition was unusually shocking for him, so much that he actually let loose with a hollering yelp. It was uncommonly undignified of him, and if Yuuno had been conscious and able, he would have snapped a photo for the Bureau's records in an instant.
Now, being lucid did not change the fact he was still a physical invalid, thanks to the Jewel Beast's little trick. Chrono had no idea if it was a toxin, a paralyzing agent, or both together, though in any case by the urgent whistle of air, the ground was coming up pretty fast. He really hoped the landing would not break his neck, or better yet, could somebody please catch him?
The girlish shriek was unexpected, and the same could be said for the much softened impact, though his momentum was still too much, causing them to roll over backwards several meters before coming to a stop. Amazingly, whoever caught him had not let go, and shouldered the worst of the trauma on --- herself?!
Chrono was dumbstruck gaping.
He had no idea what to expect from this primitive world in the first place. It was good that it was inhabited and had some form civilization, judging by the developed city itself. But to meet a human, a girl at that too! What were the chances of that happening?
She was around Yuuno's age, nine or ten cycles: auburn brown hair dolled up into twin tails by ribbons, slate blue eyes, pretty for her age I imagine so (I am not exactly an expert on the opposite sex, though my tutors in that regard cry foul play that I am a natural born expert), and... Well, she seemed to have a bit of an obsession with the color orange. Her poncho was orange (which mercifully soaked up most of the damage from our roll); her miniskirt was orange (a miniskirt at her age?! By the Stars, have these people no sense of shame or are they honestly that liberal?); her two-toned longsleeved high neck sweatshirt was also orange!
Thank the Stars, at least her stockings were black and her mini-boots were brown.
But here comes the bigger problem, he could not understand the words coming out of her mouth at all. Yes, they did sound rather beautiful, and oh look, there was the Jewel Beast writhing around wildly in agony. Damn does it howl loud; he bet the beast could not even begin to comprehend the predicament he was...though it was nice Raising Heart appeared to have stopped its movement temporarily.
Wait a second...
Calm down, Chrono Clyde Haraoun.
Think hard and use your head right now that you can use it:
1. Looking up at the distorted sky through the rain and all, it was obvious the Temporal Force Field was still active.
2. Raising Heart just activated on its own a moment ago, borrowing his power to launch a diversionary attack.
3. There is a native girl now beside him, who definitely was not here before, and from the looks of it had definitely been traveling through this horrible weather. She was shaken up clearly, judging by the quivering wide eyed stare she was shooting at the Jewel Beast, but who would not be seeing a monster like that for the first time in their lives (he assumed it was her first time)?
With these three stipulations before him, there was only one conclusion he could come to:
She was the one.
Out of all the people in this city, she was the one, the most suitable person to answer his call. She heard and she answered: here I am. Perhaps, it was absurd to think that a little girl, who had probably never fought in her life and was completely ignorant of the worlds and powers beyond her star, would now have to bear the burden of responsibility as an adult.
Could Raising Heart have made a mistake? Could he have made a mistake?
But then Chrono remembered what the voice had said (could it have been Raising Heart he wondered?)... She had begged him to believe, have faith that the decision he was about to make was the right choice.
I guess, I am going to have another troublesome one to look after, thought the boy with a grin. I wonder if this is what Admiral Graham felt like when he ran into my father all those years ago? Well, here goes.
With a pained guttural shout, Chrono grit his teeth and willed his abused, broken body to stand. Young Miss Orange (as he had dubbed her) immediately took notice, panicked, and tried to sit him back down, which was completely counterintuitive to their present situation. They did not have time for this because any moment the Jewel Beast could finish regenerating the damage it suffered. If only there was way to...of course!
"Please, Raising Heart, guide us!" shouted the enforcer mage.
Raising Heart heard and she answered, the perfect crimson ruby materialized above and came to life in a glorious blaze, bathing the battle ravaged area in the light. Young Miss Orange gasped in awe, spellbound by the alluring glow that caused the healing Jewel Beast to writhe as its wounds began to burn. The warmth of her light breathed strength into the mage's body, soothing away the aches and the misery for a time, so that at least he could stand and do what he must.
"It's so pretty," the native girl spoke for the first time in a tongue he could understand.
Or was it the other way around? No matter, they would have all the time in the world later to figure it out.
"You, ugh, what is your name?" Chrono asked her through a wince, catching her attention immediately. It seems he was even worse shape than he thought, if Young Miss Orange could put aside her wonder that fast just for him.
"Ah! When did you get up? That's no good! You're hurt; if you keep-!"
"Please, answer me, Miss. We --- umph!--- do not have much time."
"Listen, Raising Heart cannot keep the Jewel Beast at bay forever, and that thing --- kuh! --- is going kill all of us. You, your friends, your family, your entire world is in danger, unless we seal it. So please, answer me: what your name?"
"N-n-Nanoha! Takamachi Nanoha, um, errr...?"
"Na-no-ha is it?"
"Good, I am Chrono, from far, far away amongst the sea of stars."
"Fr-From the sea of stars? You mean, up there, Chrono-kun? Outer space?"
"Sorry, no time to explain. Listen, I need you, ugh, I need your help."
"M-Me? But what can I do?" Nanoha gasped in astonishment.
"My hope and Raising Heart's light has brought us here together, Nanoha. You heard my prayer and saw Raising Heart's blaze, that is why you are here. Your fate, your destiny, and the lives of countless others under the Stars are about to change in ways you cannot begin to imagine. Will you come with me, Nanoha Takamachi?"
In an entirely impulsive move, Chrono offered his hand to her, soiled and bruised as is, drawing yet another wide eyed gasp (and a noticeable blush, not that he noticed of course) out of the girl. Sure, it was possibly cliché and maybe not in good taste, but dammit, he was running on instinct here!
"If you take this hand, you will never be able to go back, Nanoha. And if you do not, everything you love and know could be lost forever. I am sorry to put this, all of this --- but... But! I swear to you, I will always be with you, in fortune and misfortune, health and sickness; together, we will stand and go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb! This, I, Chrono Clyde Haraoun Le Fay, swear to you, Nanoha Takamachi!"
There, he said it. Blushing humbly red, Chrono did not understand what he just said exactly, but by the Stars, that had to be the most embarrassing thing he had ever said in his life! At this point, he was bracing for the worst possible outcome, all while holding his breath and teetering on the edge, not to mention trying to think of some alternative plans (and failing miserably in his subconscious panic).
And then, it happened: Nanoha Takamachi, flushing red, brought her two index fingers together and began to fidget animatedly, darting embarrassed glances up at him and at the ground, as if she could not quite look up at him.
"A-Anou, is this --- etou, what they call a --- a-a --- um, a proposal?"
"I only saw this on TV the other day, and we-well, we're kind of young, but... Mama and Papa are really happy... And...and...oh...how I am going to...Arisa and Suzuka too...but...a secret..."
Whoa, whoa! Wait a second here, is there some kind of miscommunication... Raising Heart! Hey! Raising Heart! Hello? Hello! Is anybody home? What's going on here?
Nanoha Takamachi smiled.
"If its with you, Hoshigami no Kimi --- I will!"
And she did a lot more than just take his hand, which she seized appropriately so.
As for poor Chrono Haraoun, well, he was too busy being in electrifying shock, that is to say he was pretty certain he did not need mouth to mouth resuscitation...interesting, this feels kinda good-!?
It was a beautiful annihilation of LOVE (what?!).
And that's how Papa met Mama...
To be continued...
Well, there you have it. Chapter 39 in all of its glory. Thoughts, feelings, questions: hey, fire away, fellas.
Thank you all for tuning in and remember, I always encourage each and everyone of you to feel free to comment, review, and/or discuss the story. Your comments can really make a difference, I assure you, and if you're up to it, feel free to ring me up on AIM, or even send me an e-mail (although you really don't need to boost my ego too often). You know how to get in touch with the maestro here.