Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to Daystar Clarion
I'm kind of embarrassed to be updating, since its been more than two years since the last one, but...here you are... We'll be bouncing around in this chapter a lot- forgive me.
Warnings: graphic violence, gore, more cannibalism (if that's how you want to view it) Very AU, canon character death
Dancing with Demons
Chapter Twenty- Four
They had covered his mouth and his eyes, but sense of smell and hearing had not been taken away from him, and he was well aware that he was far from his territory. He could smell the dry dirt, he could hear their boots scuffing silently against the rocks that they moved over. Perhaps humans couldn't hear it, but he could hear and smell everything- the scent of their sweat, and salty tang of Gaara's blood, the almost silent rasp of his labored breaths. But he could do nothing.
It was like he was resting, except his body was no way near that time, and he couldn't be going through the healing rest, because he had not been badly injured. Oh the lightning going through him had cooked a few things, but by the time he had pulled himself from the muddy water, he could already feel the healing taking place. No, he hadn't been hurt enough for healing rest.
They had forced him into a type of rest, everything about it felt unnatural, even leaving his mind a bit muddled. Usually his mind was completely clear during resting, maybe thought was a little slower, but it was clear and concise. But this had left his mind vaguely confused- it was hard to focus on things this way. But he could still hear, and he could still smell. And when he could, he made promises. He would kill everyone in sight when whatever they had put in him wore off. He would slaughter and consume every human he could once he was free- there would be no mercy- he didn't care who it was.
They were dead. All of them. They just didn't know it yet.
It was within the earth that proper thought returned to Dyadem, and he knew who he was and what had happened to Sunny and Tsorn. He rose from the dirt-no sand, and took wolf form, blinking around at his surroundings. It had been his befuddled intention to follow Sunny's captors- the electrical current had allowed him that much thought, but it seemed he still had wound up somewhere he had not expected. He stared out at the ocean, watched the waves crash gently up the shore, sensing that the gray water was cold; he watched the sea birds scream as they massed into the sky, flying above him, their attention on him, an angry, frightened cloud of flesh and feather. Why had he ended up here? He had been sure that he was heading the right way, or as sure as his damaged mind could allow.
He turned from the shore, about to head up the beach onto more stable land, when sound disappeared, muted so suddenly that he had for a second believed he had lost his ability to hear. Dyadem froze, turning back to the water. The ocean had stopped moving. Dyadem stared apprehensively at the seemingly frozen water, small waves raised but unmoving. The sea birds had fled quickly and silently, disappearing from view, having fled the ocean front. Dyadem took a step back in the dead silence, and for a wary second appreciated the sheer size of L'Yrishka, where the ocean touched the sky there was no movement.
It had been questioned millenniums ago, who was the largest of the Masters, and between L'Yrishka and Kyuubi, he believed that the female had officially won, for he could not see nor hear any moving water- that was the sheer mass of her. There was also the chill, that he had not felt her come, had not sensed her rise from the deep mysterious depths that she preferred to dwell in.
*L'Yrishka. It has been some time.*
\Indeed little possessor,/ she gurgled, and a human skeleton emerged from the water, seaweed attached to its naked skull, mimicking hair as it moved fluidly through the water, heading steadily for the shore. The skeleton stopped as its feet touched the sandy shore, empty sockets focused on him, forever grinning. \But I expected Kyuubi to visit me, for it has been such a long time since he and I have shared company together. Tell me possessor, what has kept him away from me?/
Ah yes. It had been rumored, that Kyuubi had taken a liking to the female demon that dwelled in the ocean, that they had often shared company together. However that had stopped after Keiyatsutsan had ruined everything. Everyone had fled, and though Kyuubi himself had not been on earth at the time, he had not returned to stay, only showing up every few decades to lower the human population by several hundred thousand. Only L'Yrishka and the Lesser Demons had remained permanently, and the Lesser's not by choice.
*Loss of memory, I fear. He may have taken over the human body he was forced in, but he lost all memory of himself. He has become a new demon, weaker.*
\A pity. You'll have to bring him to me soon- I will return his memory for him./ The demon did not seem surprised by his admission, but that was of no surprise- it was from her that he had learned of Kyuubi's imprisonment while others whispered of his demise
The skeleton lifted a bone finger and brushed a strand of greenish-yellow seaweed from in front of its skull, a very human gesture. Behind it, the ocean remained frozen, L'Yrishka remained unmoving. If such a demon were to come ashore, what would she look like? What form would she take? She was not a possessor, so she did have a physical form. Was it really water?
\What is it that you desire of me, little Keiyatsutsan?/ she trickled.
*Do not call me by that name!* Dyadem snapped, feeling disdain run through him. *I am not my brother.*
The teeth parted in what seemed like soundless laughter. \But you wanted to be. You coveted so much of what he had, jealous of his power, of his friendship with Kyuubi./
*You know nothing of what you speak,* Dyadem replied coldly, baring his black fangs.
\Ah, but I do,/ she splashed. \The sea holds many secrets, and many have desired to share them with me. Keiyatsutsan often spoke of you, of your jealousies./ The skeleton's head cocked to the side in silent speculation of him. \Shall I tell you a secret?/
Dyadem's eyes narrowed as the skeleton moved toward him, stopping at his side. It smelled of the ocean, and of course, of a Master demon.
\It is known that Keiyatsutsan ate too many human brains, but only I know that it was at Kyuubi's request./
Dyadem blinked, looking up at the skeleton, who looked down at him, the seaweed dangling from its skull. The sun was high and directly behind it, so that most of its skull was in shadow. *What are you speaking of?*
\You know, like the many before you, and the many after you, that it is advised never to consume too many humans brains- the knowledge of them changes the way a demon's mind works, thinks, reasons. Many have become sympathizers of them, befriending them, keeping them as pets, protecting them./
He had not heard of this- he was sure his brother had been the first to feel anything for the creatures, and had not heard of there being others who had desired to remain in a human's company.
\Kyuubi's interest in humans was unusual, to say in the least. You see, my little possessor, Kyuubi spent ninety-nine percent of his time in the spirit realm, unlike all the others, who had dwelled here. But every so often, he would come down here, and attempt to wipe out the human race, and any demon who dared to care for them. Once, he was almost successful in wiping them from the face of this earth, but the Spirits intervened on behalf of the humans. They gathered together and stopped him from completely annihilating the humans with his destructive Hell Foxes./
*I know this,* Dyadem said, not that he knew Kyuubi had lived mostly in the spirit realm, but that he had hated humans with a passion. *Tell me what this had to do with Keiyatsutsan.*
\No one knows Kyuubi's age, we all can simply guess by the random words that he had shared over the millenniums, but some have rumored it was long before humans came about. You see, when humans started progressing mentally, when they started to build things, become a sentient civilization, well, Kyuubi sent Keiyatsutsan down to discover what the humans were about, how their minds worked, what they were capable of. He encouraged your brother to eat the brains, knowing what it would do to him, and most likely, what it could do to the rest of our kind./ The skeleton lifted a bony finger to its chin. \I wonder if that makes him just as responsible as Keiyatsutsan for the woes that have plagued our kind?/
Dyadem gazed down at the sand. He remembered when the strife had started for his kind, when the humans had all but chased them from this realm. He remembered the hatred and rage that was sent toward all the possessors. Humans used chakra against them, humans defeated them with their innovative ways of using it. Humans had a way of taking something and twisting it into something completely new, something utterly unexpected. And Keiyatsutsan, a possessor, had shown them how to do it. He had fled up to the spirit realm, had gone to Kyuubi to tell him what Keiyatsutsan had done. He remembered how unsurprised Kyuubi was, how those enormous crimson eyes had gazed at him, then turned to observe the dealings of the earth realm. Kyuubi hadn't been enraged like he had thought he would, had simply simmered, had said that Keiyatsutsan was not allowed to return, that he had betrayed his race.
Dyadem looked up at the skeleton. *And what do you gain from this telling?*
\Nothing,/ she sprayed. \Sometimes the sea has a wanting of sharing its secrets./ The skeleton lifted its head and stared up at the sun. \I do not know why Kyuubi hated the humans- he hated them long before they became dangerous. He would never tell me; he was a creature of few words./ She looked down at him. \But I always imagined it had something to do with the Spirits- something they must have told him, long before you and I existed, something he did not like- perhaps something he wanted to prevent./ The skeleton turned and began to move fluidly toward the immobile shoreline, and he noticed pockets of water were holding the joints of the bones together. \But who knows,/ she sprinkled, skeleton half submerged and continuing to sink lower as it continued to walk. \Fox are sly things, and if they keep secrets, it's for a bigger laugh at the end of all things./ The skeleton was gone, submerged in the frozen depths.
Dyadem stared at the frozen ocean, or more like L'Yrishka, until suddenly the water crashed against the shore, and there was movement all the way to the horizon. She had left. Dyadem continued to stare, letting his mind mull over things. Shukaku had been right in a way, L'Yrishka would not be able to tell him things of current import, most likely she knew nothing of the Akatsuki and what had happened to the others. She only had secrets and memories. Important ones. But it was she that had told him of Kyuubi's imprisonment- how she knew, he hadn't gotten around to asking.
He did not know what to think about what had gone on with Kyuubi and Keiyatsutsan. Had Kyuubi deliberately done that to his brother? He shook his head and looked up at the sky, seeing that none of the seagulls had returned, that the sound of the surf was the only noise that was in the area. Would they return, or had L'Yrishka scared them off for good?
Dyadem headed up the beach and into the nearby forest. He had to find Shukaku and Sunny- no Kyuubi...He flashed into his natural form and floated up into the leaves. It was her parting words that agitated him the most- or perhaps it was everything about the female demon that irked him.
...a bigger laugh at the end of all things...
Two things happened to the very old-One, they became short tempered and impatient, tired of seeing others make the same mistakes over again, or extremely patient, extremely conniving, able to slowly let their plans play out over vast periods of time.
He paused, mulling over Kyuubi's personality; he had fallen in that second category- slow to anger, unperturbed by the dealings around him. And suddenly he wanted to know what it was that the Spirits had told Kyuubi- if they had truly imparted some dark truth to him. He wanted to know if whatever it was- would it have caused Kyuubi to plot Keiyatsutsan's fall from grace. He wanted to know if he should be enraged.
The humans brought him down into the earth, into a cool webbing of caves. He could smell humans in there, several of them, and he could smell the cave rock. He knew he was far from Fire Country, because this cave wasn't connected to one of his own; he could not scent himself down here in the dry coolness.
During the whole trek, both humans remained silent, not speaking to one another, except for the sounds of their breathing and the other minute noises humans made involuntarily. There was a grating sound, and he was dropped down onto a rocky floor, his face smacking into the hard surface.
"You stay comfortable for a while while we take care of your friend here," the blue-ish human, Kisame said. Sunny growled deep in his chest in response, making the human chuckle in amusement. "We'll be back." The grating continued, and the humans retreated until they were faint echoes in the rocks. His tongue, though it had been very heavy in his mouth, finally seemed to function, and he was able to push the cloth out of his mouth, then tried to lift his arms, and only one moved, sliding along the rocks closer to his head. He rubbed his face against the rock, pulling the cloth over his eyes up so he could peer out at his surroundings. He was in a small dark cave with jagged walls and an even more jagged ceiling. He lifted his heavy head and peered ahead, staring at the metal bars that trapped him within the cave. Beyond it was a tunnel that led off to other tunnels. Then his head flopped back down and he continued to wait for mobility to return.
What seemed like hours later, he heard the sound of movement, a strange sliding of what sounded like flesh against rock, a strange scent of human- but not human- perhaps tree bark, and then the familiar stab of the senbon needles raining along his back, and he was back into that immobile resting like state, once again unable to move, barely able to keep his eyes open. Twice more it happened- just when mobility was starting to come back, there was that stranger's approach, then the stabbing of the senbon needles. He wondered if he would ever be free of the forced resting.
And then the resting was fading, of a sudden, as if his body would no longer tolerate being held down any longer; he felt a burning in his blood, and he could slowly lift his head up again. He dragged his arm under his chest and tried to push himself up to at least a sitting position, and the arm managed to lift him a little. His left leg seemed to finally respond to his silent commands and moved under him, so that he was finally up on one hand and knee. But his head felt too heavy, his neck too weak to hold it.
So he stayed in that position until his other arm moved to hold him up, then his other leg so now that he was on both hands and knees, staring at the rocky floor. After what seemed like an hour, he finally lifted his head properly, and sat back, staring in empty silence at the gate. He would attempt to bend the bars, but he would wait, perhaps another hour until he was sure he had his strength back. His reserves were pitifully low, but they had been since the pack had died- it had never been what it had been since then. Not enough time, not enough meals- but if needed he could still go weeks without nourishment. He wouldn't be happy about it though.
He worried about Gaara, who he could recall by smell alone, was injured. Was he in a healing rest right now, in some other cell?
Another hour passed, it seemed like an eternity, before he got to his feet, brushed the needles from his back and rushed the thick bars. The moment his fingers gripped the bars, an intense shock blew through him, knocking the demon onto his back. It felt remarkably similar to the bolt of lightning that had gone through him. Sunny gave a hissing growl, leaping to his feet and rushed at the bars again, gripping them in a rage as the shocks reverberated through his body. He threw his head back and howled, then bit the bars, attempting to gnaw at them with his teeth. Pain exploded through his head, and again he was tossed back, landing on his back. Blood filled his mouth, and as he turned over onto his stomach, he began to spit out blood and teeth, most of them the ones in the front. He was trapped. He turned and glared hatefully back at the bars, spying something at the far end of the hall. It was protruding from the rock, a black and white head with strange grayish-green protrusions encasing its head and shoulders. It looked like a human- at least it had a human's head and hair. In a black and white face sat two round dull yellow eyes with no pupils, both focused silently on him. The scent of human and tree bark hit him, and he knew this was the one that had been forcing him to rest for what felt like days.
Sunny staggered to his feet, spitting more blood out of his mouth and sent both chakra hands out past the gate, reaching for the strange human creature- but it was too far, and the chakra hands jerked to a strained stop not a foot from the thing.
"Where'th Gaara?" With most of his front teeth missing, his tongue clacked against his still bleeding gums. "Gith him thu me!" The chakra hands dissipated, as if knowing that there was no use trying to get at the creature. He snatched up a handful of senbon that had littered the floor and threw them all at the human/plant thing- it sank into the rock and was gone, the senbon clattering against the rocky wall uselessly. Sunny backed away from the bars, ears straining to hear more sounds as blood continually dripped past his lips. He could hear it faintly, the sound of human voices, and then he could feel it, the gathering of chakra, lot's of it, each with their own flavor. What was happening up there? Where was Gaara? What was happening to Gaara?
Where was Dyadem?
Where was Tsorn?
Sunny sent his chakra hands and grabbed the bars, attempting to pry them open with his chakra, but the bars gave an audible hum, the arms gave wild spasms, then both exploded.
Sunny turned to the rocky walls of his prison and clawed at them in a rage, losing claws and quickly growing new ones just as a tooth broke through the top of his gums.
He was huddled in a ball, crouching down, trying to make himself as small as possible, to shield himself from a pain that wasn't physical, but it felt so. He was truly alone now- no village- no siblings- but more importantly, no Sunny. He wasn't monster enough. He gave a crazed laugh as tears poured down his face. All his life, the humans of Suna, the opponents he had fought, his own father and siblings, had called him a monster. He didn't belong with them- he wasn't wanted. Monsters didn't belong with humans. Then he had met other monsters- Sunny, Dyadem, and Tsorn. And they had made him feel like he belonged- he was with fellow monsters- he had belonged!
But now Sunny did not want him around. He wasn't monster enough! He was too human! He was neither here nor there- he was trapped somewhere in a middle that did not truly exist. There was no middle- and yet he was there.
Pain roared through his body- yes, this time it was clearly physical, and Gaara tried to cry out, tried to struggle- but he could not move. It felt like his life was being sucked from him, pulled through his pores. He tried to force his eyes open, tried to scream, but could not. He was helpless, he was being killed. People were standing around him- His Father! And Temari, with Kankuro at her side. They all had similar expressions of disdain on their faces. He tried to look away, and to his horror there stood Sunny, grinning, red eyes staring down at him apathetically.
He tried to reach out to him, he wanted to ask for help- he wanted to play hide and seek again- no one but Sunny had ever bothered to play with him- no one but Sunny had ever wanted to. But the blond jinchuuriki shook his head, the smile fading from his face.
"Sorry Gaara," he said in the language of humans, and it seemed just speaking it annoyed him. "You're simply too...human."
Gaara felt weakened- he felt like he was crumbling away, withering away- in fact- he wanted to, if only to get away from their gazes. The pain was already gone-
Suddenly his vision flashed white, causing him to squint, then everything went black, with two triangular-like yellow eyes staring down at him. He knew those eyes. Shukaku.
"It's an illusion," the whiny voice said, sounding like grated sand.
"The ninja put you under a genjutsu. You remember- the one with the red clouded cloak."
Yes- he remembered fighting that one- what was his name? Itachi?
"All of it is an illusion. Shhh. Can't you hear him? He's calling you."
Gaara strained his ears, desperate to know, desperate to believe- and he could hear it, just at the edge of his hearing.
Relief flooded through him, tears streamed down his face as his mouth turned up into a smile. Sunny was searching for him, seeking him out. And he was hiding- he had gotten a bit better at hiding. He belonged. He was wanted. He was monster enough.
Sunny slumped down against the bloody stone that he had been clawing at for the last twenty minutes, staring absently at the nail that was growing back, running his tongue along the newly regrown teeth in his mouth. He had been calling for the red-head for some time, and his only response was a burst of chakra from Shukaku. Maybe he was free? Maybe he was on his way. So Sunny sat against the wall and waited eagerly for Gaara to come, sure that he was in the process of decimating their enemies on his way. He would free him from the burning cage and they would go about eating the rest of the surviving opponents. It would be a feast that they both would talk about for years.
He lifted his head at the sound of approaching footsteps, hopping to his feet and moving close to the bars, his eager smile fading as he noticed that the light steps were in no hurry, and though he could smell Gaara, he could also smell the human he had fought. He backed away from the bars, red eyes narrowed as the blue-ish human Kisame came into view, Gaara slung over his left shoulder.
"Thought I'd deliver this personally," he said with a sharp grin, stopping just out of range of grabbing distance. Sunny stared at the limp body on the human's shoulder, eyes narrowing further until there was just a red glint behind his lashes. The human tossed Gaara toward the gate, the red-head flopping lifelessly down several feet from the bars. Sunny didn't move as he stared at the body.
"He's probably still smiling," the human said, and Sunny's narrowed eyes looked at him. "He was smiling when he died." The human seemed to wait for him to say something, but he remained silent, until the blue-ish human became bored with him and left. Still he stared down at Gaara. His clothes were burnt in many places, and one of his arms had been blown off from the elbow down.
Sunny's chakra hands slithered past the gate, carefully clutching Gaara around the torso and lifted him toward the bars. He could not squeeze his own body through the bars, so he did not try to pull Gaara through them either. Instead he moved to the bars and turned his friend over, reaching his hand carefully through the bars to touch his cold face with the tips of his fingers.
Gaara's empty green eyes were slightly open, his now grey lips turned up in a slight smile. Sunny looked at the fingertips of his own hand that had touched such cold flesh. His fingers blurred as tears filled his eyes.
Another pack member gone.
He backed away from the bars and settled himself against the wall, staring back at the body. The chakra hands grabbed the body again and attempted to pull him through the bars, and it hummed, Gaara's body jerking as the shocks ran through his lifeless flesh. Sunny leaped forward, grabbing the bars his friend was being shoved through and pulled with all his might before the shocks sent him crashing against the far wall. But he had managed to bend the bars just enough that Gaara was pulled through and brought to him. The hands laid his friend on his back, and Sunny crouched at his side, sniffing him over. He smelled human- more human than Sunny had ever smelled him. The scent of Demon was fading.
He looked up at the craggy ceiling. Was Shukaku gone? Was Shukaku dead too? Was everyone he cared about going to die by some action of his own? His face crumbled, and tears fell down his cheeks. Krik, Spayt, Tkaa- was Tsorn even alive?- or was he thoroughly cooked by the lightning, at the bottom of all that water? Was he always going to be alone?
A sob escaped his throat as he tore Gaara's long-sleeved shirt from his body, taking the undamaged arm and biting a finger off. When would he have his revenge? He crunched the digit and swallowed, wiping his wet face as another sob broke from his mouth. He bit off another finger. When would he devour all of his enemies?
Humans seemed in the process of taking everything from him.
He clutched Gaara to his body in a tight embrace. \I' am sorry friend,/ he said in Demontongue. \ I' am sorry./ He bit into his cold shoulder, deep enough that his teeth grazed bone, and he began to devour him.
Within the hour there was very little left of the jinchuuriki- there was his clothes, burnt and discarded, and there was his teeth, that Sunny was moving about absently in one hand as he stared vacantly at the far wall. He would keep them, make a necklace out of them- or a bracelet... they would be a reminder to him, of what he had lost- yet again.
The entire area looked completely different from what he remembered, but acute memory told Dyadem that he was in fact at the last spot he had seen and fought beside Sunny. The whole area was flooded with water and driftwood. Though he had attempted to follow the fox, he had clearly veered off course somewhere- way off course, and so he had to start back at the spot he had last seen Sunny. How he had gotten all the way to L'Yrishka was a mystery. The last thing he could remember was standing on the water, telling an angry Sunny to have caution. Then there had been that sudden flash of light-
\I figured you would be back./
Dyadem paused, floating up toward the trees and up to where Tsorn crouched, the leg of a deer disappearing down his throat. He seemed uninjured.
*Where is Sunny?* Though he already knew the answer.
Tsorn's yellow eyes stared at him a moment before he replied. \Gone. The humans took him./
*Useless!* Dyadem hissed, flashing into his wolf form and putting his face not an inch from Tsorn's brown face. *And why are you here? You should have followed him!*
The Lesser Demon bared his teeth back at him. \And I would have, if not for the healing rest! I am not like the three of you- if I get injured, I have to pay the price a lot faster than you do./
Dyadem swallowed his anger- yes, occasionally he forgot that Tsorn was Lesser.
*We must go find him then. Which way did they go?*
Tsorn gave him a flat look before leaping into another tree. \This way. We've lost a full day and a half. Where were you?/ He had the audacity to sound accusatory.
*Hearing tales,* he replied, baring his teeth at the other demon. The brown demon snorted before turning away and moving through the trees.
\I hope it was something useful, like who this Akat- something is,/ Tsorn grumbled. \And what they want with Sunny. And I suppose you should know that Shukaku has been taken as well./
This gave the possessor pause, and he resisted the urge to groan- typical that he would have been captured yet again.
\The scent is weak, but the blood connection is strong/ Tsorn murmured, moving through the trees. \All this water.../
Dyadem flashed back to his original form and floated silently after the Lesser as they made their way through what was now a marsh, the forest ruined by the humans' summoning of things they should have never learned. And all this time, Keiyatsutsan had been the blame. But what of the one he served? What hand did Kyuubi truly have in all of this? Betrayal? Had he betrayed them? Dyadem grumbled darkly. How had this all come to pass- jinchuuriki's and captured Greater Demons? Who had done this- that's what he should have asked L'Yrishka- if she knew- if she cared, if he had been in the proper mind to ask her, anyway.
\We have a ways to go,/ Tsorn was saying. \They took him far from here./
The blond demon stood motionless in the middle of the cave, eyes narrowed, ears perked as he listened for movement above him. The sound of human life was faint, but he was sure there were still humans in the series of caves, in different places, judging by the varied level of voices. His eyes opened and looked toward Gaara's mostly ruined clothing, then down at his fist, which held the jinchuuriki's teeth. He didn't particularly care for clothing, but he needed somewhere safe to put the teeth, and if humans had ever created anything useful, it was pockets. He picked up the torn grayish-green pants- an ugly color- and pulled it on, carefully placing the teeth inside the pocket, smoothing the fabric down as his eyes filled with tears again. He sniffed, rubbing his eyes and turned his bloody gaze toward the bent bars.
He could slip through them now. Moving toward the bars, he turned to a left profile, slipping through, his dirty hair standing on end as he felt the powerful vibrations that were running through those bars. He backed away from them, looking up the length of them to see the very top wrapped with large scrolls, with human words written on them, completely unfamiliar- though he could only recognize the word seal amongst it. His lips curled as he turned away from the prison with a snarl, red eyes glowing as he charged down the rocky hall, heading toward the sound of voices. Rounding a sharp corner, he came upon two human males, both dressed in those red swirly cloaks, and he did not stop as he came upon them, swinging a clawed fist at one, catching him in the face and removing his jaw completely from his head. The other attempted to jump back, pulling out a kunai, but also forgetting that he was in an enclosed hallway, collided into the rocky wall behind him, giving Sunny the chance to ram his fist into his chest cavity, gripping his heart- as he was an expert at finding such things, and pulling it out. The human made a bloody choking sound before dropping lifelessly to the ground. Sunny brought the still beating heart to his mouth and bit into it as he leaned down to examine the face of the human, seeing that it was neither the one that looked like Sasuke-boy, or the blue skinned one. The other- though half his face was missing, proved to be the same. Scowling, his swallowed the rest of the heart before removing the other one and devouring that one as he raced toward the other voices.
In moments he came upon a vast cavern, the scent of Shukaku's chakra still in the air, but he was no where to be seen. Sunny's eyes darted about wildly before falling on the bluish- skinned human, Kisame, who was standing upon a rocky ledge far above him. Standing next to him was a shadowy human shape, near see- through. Sunny narrowed his eyes and sniffed the air, only scenting Kisame, Shukaku's fading scent, and unfamiliar chakra, coming from the shadowy thing.
"Where's Shukaku?" He growled, hopping up toward the human, teeth bared, claws growing longer.
"How did you get out of your cage?" The human asked with a frown as he leaped away from Sunny's chakra claws. "That bastard Zetsu should have kept you nice and quiet until the others arrived." He blew a blast of water at the blond, who dodged and came forward, managing to get within physical striking distance, before being blocked by the scaly sword. It tore at the flesh of his arm as it passed over him, making him hiss at the feeling of his peeling flesh, but also as his chakra hands dissipated. He hated that thing with a passion. He was blown back by another blast of water shaped like a shark, massive water like jaws digging into his torso and blowing him back into the rocky walls. Sunny howled as he felt his spine and ribs snap under the pressure, and he flopped to the ground, gasping in pain as he felt his bones jar and grate where they were broken.
"Admittedly, this all was very unexpected," the shark human was saying as he dropped down and walked casually toward Sunny. "We're about two years ahead of schedule, and to capture two jinchuuriki instead of one! Well, we're going to need all the other members to remove the nine-tails from you." Sunny's lips turned up as he felt all the bones realign themselves, and the flesh regrow along his arm. "That's why I need you to stay nice and quiet until they all get here." The human was close enough now- Sunny leaped up and lashed forward, driving his claws into the human's shoulder, ducking as the scaly sword swung at his face, peeling half of his scalp off as it grazed him. Blood poured down his face as the human leaped back, free hand moving to do a jutsu.
"Suiton: Daikōdan no Jutsu !" Another blast of shark shaped water threw Sunny back, far down a tunnel, where he was dragged, sputtering in frustration before the torrent stopped, leaving him rolling for a bit before he came to a stop. He punched the ground in anger and fluidly got to his feet, wiping water and blood from his face, patting his head, feeling fresh scalp and the beginning of hair regrowth. Then he patted his right pocket, feeling for Gaara's teeth, feeling some relief in the mounting frustration with the water blowing human. Sunny made a few clicking warbles, his chakra tail lashing at the walls in agitation as he rushed back up the tunnel toward the blue-tinged human.
He was not leaving this place without taking vital pieces of that human with him.
Tsorn paused in the trees, staring across the expanse of rocky earth that lay before him, his glowing yellow eyes trained upon the slightly rising land. Behind him, Dyadem floated silently. For two days they had made steady progress westward, where the blood bond claimed Sunny was. The two hadn't said much to one another- though this was nothing new- Tsorn preferred Sunny to be away from Dyadem's influence, despite knowing that he would not be able to rescue the blond brat without the Greater Demon.
A faint wave of familiar source came to them, and he resisted the urge to cringe.
*It is the human with the water techniques,* Dyadem murmured coolly through his mind. *No doubt Sunny is fighting him, if that is his source that I also feel.*
\We should go,/ Tsorn suggested, dropping down to the earth, getting on all fours and making his way from the copse of trees and amongst the rocks. Was it cowardly that he was practically slinking his way toward his kin, instead of leaping and bounding? He half expected to hear some remark about it from the blue demon, but glancing behind himself showed that the blue demon was also floating low to the ground, inches from the gravel.
Tsorn sniffed the rocks as he went, feeling all that source get stronger and stronger as they made their way up the steadily rising terrain, looking for a hole that would lead them down into the rocky caverns that he could sense beneath them.
*Stop,* Dyadem's mellow voice drifted through his head suddenly, and Tsorn froze behind a rather large rock, turning to look at the floating demon. Just as he was about to ask what was wrong, he heard the sound of human feet, then a voice.
"We could have been here a day ago if you hadn't insisted on collecting that stupid bounty," the human was saying, and Tsorn peeked over the rock to see two humans approaching, both dressed in the same red swirly cloth. One had silver hair and purple eyes, while the others' head was wrapped, and a mask covered his face from the bridge of his nose downward, his eyes being the only thing revealed, green and red. The silver haired one continued to speak.
"And it seems we're in the process of missing a freakin' battle too! Shit yeah, I wanna get my hands on a jinchuuriki, sacrifice it to Jashin!"
"They said they captured the one-tailed demon and the nine-tails, and it is the nine-tails we are supposed to be extracting," the bandaged one replied.
Dyadem's sigh wafted through Tsorn's head, startling him into glancing at the floating blue ball. *I sense that these humans will be difficult to dispose of, and I do not wish for Sunny to meet them. You go on ahead, and I will stall these filthy creatures. Get Sunny as far from here as you can.* Tsorn nodded, backing away from the rock and slipping away, searching nervously for an entrance, seeing a flash of blue light behind him as he turned a corner, knowing that Dyadem had taken a different form, but not glancing back to see which it was. His blood burned, the connection between him and Sunny stronger as he got closer.
"Kakuzu look! A naked guy!" he heard the silver haired human say just as he noticed steam rising from the rocks. He moved forward quickly, spying a large hole in the rocks, large enough for him to squeeze his bulk through. Slipping down into the rocky earth, Tsorn carefully made his way toward the sound of battle, hearing Sunny's enraged growls and hisses, the scent of blood and water in the air, both human and demon. Coming into a clearing, he spotted both of them up in the rocks, Sunny attempting to tear the human apart with his source hands, while the strange sword-like objected sucked it away. Both opponents moved quickly through the air, cutting away at one another as Tsorn waded his way through a torrent of water. Sunny paused briefly, doing the foreboding hand movements that humans did that brought forth techniques, and multiple copies of him burst forth, all attacking the human in a flurry of blond hair and red tails. The human deflected them all, swinging that scaled sword around, absorbing them away as they attempted to rend his flesh.
Digging his claws into the crevices of the rocks, he made his way up the side of the cavern, not unlike a lizard, moving away from the water and as close to Sunny and the human as he could get without being noticed, his yellow eyes following the blond demon, who was clearly in one of his rages, judging by the complete redness of his eyes, and the long sharp canines that on may occasions attempted to snap at the human's flesh. His tail was a writhing mess behind him, also making multiple attempts to grab the slippery human, who, though injured, did not seem to be too bothered by the fight. This human was powerful, knew too much for Sunny to handle on his own- Tsorn knew this, knew that he had to get the youngling as far from the dealings of humans as he possibly could. It was his duty- he was the pack Leader, because the line of succession had come down to him, with no Tkaa to take Krik's place.
The fight came closer to him suddenly- the human had jumped back, dodging one of Sunny's source hands, bringing him near Tsorn, who had been doing a remarkable job of blending in with the rocks. Tsorn took that moment to leap toward the human from behind, his powerful legs launching him into the air. He collided with the human just as it became aware of his presence, half turning, bringing up that painful sword to block his open clawed swing. Tsorn hit both blade and human, knocking it into the human's chest, hearing the satisfying crunch of bones even as he felt the familiar burn of scraped flesh. The human was knocked forcefully back to the rocky, water filled ground, only to meet Sunny there- the youngling collided into the human, mouth gaping with over large canines- and the two rolled in a flurry of limbs, Sunny's rage filled shrieks bouncing off the walls of the cavern as Tsorn landed and headed for the two, the water slowing him down just as the youngling's shrieks were halted quite suddenly and alarmingly. The two broke away, the human leaping up and away, a bloody mess, one hand holding what looked like a gaping wound in its neck.
Sunny, on his own feet, had staggered back, looking startled, confused, mouth open in an almost startled 'o', blood pouring from his mouth, his nose, and his eyes. As Tsorn reached him, the youngling brought a hand to his face, making a strange choking noise, bloody eyes looking confused. Above them on a ledge, the human was cursing wetly.
Tsorn stopped in front of the blond, picking him up so that he was at eye-level, and blanched in shock as he realized what had caused the bleeding. The human had rammed one of those shape things- a kunai, if he could remember- through the underside of Sunny's chin...the top point was poking out the top of Sunny's skull. Without thinking of the consequences, Tsorn gripped it with his claws and pulled it free, causing the youngling to gurgle and grab at his head, body spasming madly, eyes rolling. Tsorn tucked him under an arm, turning to look up at the human, who was still on the ledge, gripping his bloody neck, staring down at them as Sunny writhed in his grasp. Tsorn bared his teeth at the human, then rushed off down the cavern, back the way he had come, heading for the exit, and was none too surprised when they were blasted forward by a force of water- courtesy of the human- and he lost his grip on Sunny as he was tossed into the rocky walls and dragged along by the tide, until the rush stopped. He staggered wetly to his feet, head dizzy, but noticing gratefully that the water had actually brought them right up to the exit. He looked around for Sunny, and found him not too far away, pulling himself to his feet with the help of the walls, a shaky hand coming to his head in a cradling motion- and yet he was still trying to move back down the cavern, back toward the water wielding human.
\Absolutely not!/ Tsorn hissed, leaping forward and grabbing the youngling's arm. \We are leaving!/
With surprising strength, Sunny yanked his arm from Tsorn's grip and attempted to move forward just as the walls trembled and cracked around them.
\Don't.../ The youngling slurred, but Tsorn was having none of it. He could see the blood still streaming from Sunny's ears and down his neck.
Squaring his broad shoulders, he mustered all the authority he had and spoke. \Enough. Sun, you are to come away with me. Now./ His blood burned, his throat burned at his own words, and Sunny stiffened up, back going straight, blood dripping faster from his ears as he turning rigidly toward the brown demon. It was the blood bond, the command that Tsorn had over those that belonged to his pack, that were under his authority. It was working on Sunny.
Not taking the moment for granted, Tsorn turned and leaped up to the hole, crawling through the hole, and not having to look back to know that Sunny was following him silently. The sunlight was blinding, but welcome, and after blinking several times, he quickly leaped in the opposite direction of where he had left Dyadem, the earth was shaking madly around and beneath them, and he did not bother to look back or around. His duty was to get Sunny as far away as possible. They descended the rocky slopes quickly, making a dash for the forest, feet pounding as they hit the first copse of trees, his blood burning, the bond burning, the earth behind them crumbling.
The sun was setting when Tsorn deemed it safe to slow down, believing that they were far from the human, safe enough from being tracked, and he halted suddenly to a stop, his blood no longer burning. But then Sunny collided into him, and blinding pain radiated like a shock down Tsorn's back as Sunny sank his teeth into his spine. The Lesser Demon howled in pain, arm reaching back and grabbing the closest thing- which happened to be the youngling's head, yanked him off, feeling flesh and meat strip away in the demon's maw. He tossed the blond away as he hunched and steeled himself over the pain, appalled by the intensity of it as the youngling crashed into the trunk of a tree. He quickly staggered to his feet though, spitting Tsorn's flesh from his bloody mouth and turning equally bloody eyes on him, red tear tracks down his face.
\Never again,/ the youngling hissed, voice deep like a proper demon's should. \Never will you do that again./ He bared bloody teeth at the brown demon, blood still leaking from his ears as he slinked back into the foliage, out of sight except for a deep rattling, that slowly faded as the youngling put some distance between them.
Tsorn groaned and scaled a tree, settling in for a healing rest, because he was going to need yet another one- because he knew, from experience, that a bite from Sunny tended to burn burn burn for quite some time. And as he settled into an unmovable state, wish he could leer the way human's faces did, because no doubt, the water wielding human would suffer much more from Sunny's bite, even if he healed the actual wound that Sunny had made.
Once Tsorn had moved away, Dyadem flashed into his human form and leaped up on the rocks, standing before the two humans, who both halted in complete surprise, staring at him with widened eyes. Then the silver haired one broke out in wild laughter. "Kakuzu look! A naked guy!" He pointed enthusiastically at Dyadem and burst into more laughter. Dyadem looked down at his human body and sighed. He didn't care for human cloth, and yet it seemed the first thing that human's noticed whenever he popped up, and he remembered how incensed that human female had been when he had approached this way. The human was still laughing, eyes filling up with moisture. The other human did not seem to think it was amusing at all, staring at him with unusual eyes, red and green- he had eaten many humans before, and none of the sclera of their eyes had been red- albeit, they usually could be seen that way if he choked the human and all the veins in their eyes popped, but this one looked like they were natural. Curious.
Dyadem sniffed the air, letting his nose take in the scent of them- both smelled like blood, and the one with the strange eyes had a slightly rotting scent about him- in fact, Dyadem was sure he had, or was carrying something that was in the process of decaying. He tilted his head, his starlight black eyes examining the human carefully, but was quick to move out the way as the other humans' strange pole-like weapon with the three blades swung at him. He looked at the human with less curiosity, which the human seemed to sense, and this seemed to irritate it.
"Alright naked guy, who the hell are you, and why are you trying to stop us from going down there?"
Dyadem cocked his head in birdlike manner. "Does it matter?" he asked, and watched as the human became more incensed.
"Leave this to me, Kakuzu. I believe I've found a heathen worthy of sacrifice." He stepped forward, grinning madly. Dyadem had no idea what a heathen was...
"We have no time for games," the human named Kakuzu replied shortly, and suddenly his foot connected with Dyadem's face, knocking the blue demon several feet away. He twisted and landed lightly on his feet, and quickly twisted away, avoiding another lightning fast blow from the human. The possessor allowed his own momentum to swing himself about and aimed a kick for the human's ribs. He avoided it neatly just as Dyadem felt the cold of a blade pass through his shoulder and part of his chest, impaling him completely through. He ignored it as Kakuzu swung a kunai at his neck, jabbing the human forcefully in the wrist, relishing the cracking of bone as the hand involuntarily released the kunai. The human jerked back, Dyadem advanced forward, the three blades slipping from shoulder and chest, ignoring the cackling of the silver haired human behind him as he attacked the human named Kakuzu. This human was fast, so very fast- most of his blows did not land- not that he cared. He was not interested in winning the fight- only stalling them so Tsorn could get Sunny away from the area.
"Decay," he murmured in humantongue to the human. "That is what you smell like. Decay."
The strange red and green eyes narrowed just as the the other human howled from behind him- "Where is your blood?!"
Dyadem paused in his attacks, looking back at the silver haired human. "What?" He dodged another blow from the human Kakuzu and back away as the silver one moved forward, purple eyes glaring at him accusingly and pointing a finger up at him.
"I stabbed you! Yet you aren't bleeding!"
Dyadem's grey lips turned up slightly as he looked down on the lowly creature. *Filthy human,* he replied in their heads. *I do not bleed.* Both human's seemed duly startled, the silver one seemed enraged by this.
"How can I sacrifice you to Jashin without blood, you naked bastard?!" He swung the strange weapon at Dyadem again. The blue demon snatched it out of the air and yanked it toward himself, jerking the silver haired human forward. The Kakuzu human was making a move, his arms disconnected from his shoulders- quite shockingly actually, and grabbed the leg of the silver one, as he hadn't bothered to release the weapon, halting him in the air.
And quite suddenly, as if to make the situation more unsettling, the rocks around them exploded, and Dyadem was being torn away by water. Dyadem was tossed into a fissure, water almost dragging down into the caves, except his human fingers quickly morphed into claws that hooked onto the tiny crevices of the rocks, and he held on until the water passed on, and he was fit to groan about the familiarity of it all. He was done with water, and any human that used it. Period. Flashing back to his original form, Dyadem made his way out of the fissure, the sound of crumbling rock greeting him- the whole area was collapsing in on itself, he saw this as he rose higher into the air, and spotted the two humans quickly escaping the area as the earth seemed to cave inward.
Dyadem floated toward the direction he knew Tsorn had gone when they had parted ways and hovered there. Had they escaped?
Sunny's acting strange, Tsorn thought to himself for the fifth time that night. After coming out of the healing rest, he had quickly gone to devour a few lingering animals and had relished in the relief of the burning that Sunny's bite had caused now that it was healed. Then he had gone and looked for the youngling, and had found him crouching on a fallen tree trunk, blood still leaking from his ears, red eyes focused on something in his right hand, his right thumb moving over it repetitiously. There was a whistling wheeze coming constantly from his small chest- it sounded strangely like the sound whimpering dogs make, and he edged over to see what was the object of Sunny's devoted attention.
In his hand was a handful of pearly human teeth. And suddenly he knew it would be a real bad idea to ask what had happened to the red haired human creature. A real bad idea.
I must, of course apologize for many things- one being the sheer lateness of this update- near three years. Also the quality of this chapter is also poor, spelling and grammar- being that I've become terribly rusty in the last few years at writing- apologies for that as well. Also the time-line is completely off from the manga, which is okay since this is AU. Also, the whole Gaara death thing was completely cheesy, but I couldn't figure out how to make it better, so please cringe and bear with me on that one.