Here we go.
The sound of soft chuckling could be heard as Naruto and Sango walked down a worn dirt path that led to the demon slayers village.
And then Shippou dumped the entire bottle of salt in Inuyasha's eyes. It was so hilarious seeing Inuyasha screaming his head off as he ran around like a lunatic."
Naruto chuckled silently and Kirara purred with amusement from her perch on the slayers shoulder.
Yet the comfortable atmosphere shattered abruptly as they went over the next hill and the remains of the slayers village came into view.
Sango's eyes immediately clouded with sadness and her form slumped slightly.
Naruto as well, felt a slight feeling of nostalgia. It was so similar. Both of their pains came from…from this. He felt as if he was back in the burning remnants of his village. Nothing more than smoke, ash and charred remains with which to burry the memories of those he once loved.
He sighed and once again his mask came to his defense. He turned to Sango and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Are you allright?"
She took a deep breath and nodded solemnly. "Yeah its just…it doesn't really go away, you know?"
Naruto nodded and tore his gaze away. If she only knew.
He stepped forward and made his way towards the village. Sango stood for a few more seconds before slowly following.
It was several hours later when Sango finally deemed her weapon sufficiently repaired for the night. It wasn't perfect but she had been working since they had arrived and she was tired and sweaty from working in the forge.
Naruto had offered to help her but these were secrets that were passed on from one demon slayer to another not something for outsiders to learn, even though…there may not be a next generation of demon slayers.
She sighed as she took the Hiraikotsu and placed it on a rack on the wall. She would put the finishing touches on the thing tomorrow.
She looked out and noticed that the sun was now going down. She looked alarmed, she had been there for more than half the day and had left Naruto alone in an empty village with nothing to do. She hadn't even showed him the archives so she could actually see what he was looking for.
She immediately walked out of the hut that housed the forge works and found Kirara in her full demon form laying across the porch resting. One of her cat ears twitched as the neko heard Sango's arrival and a single lazy eye opened to look upon the demon slayer.
Sango smiled down at her long time partner and spoke. "Kirara where is Naruto?"
The Fire cat pointed one of her tails off behind a few huts. Sango smiled and nodded before walking off in the direction the cat indicated.
It was after a few seconds that Sango noticed that Kirara had pointed to the graveyard. She began feeling slightly queasy as she approached the area. She began wondering if Naruto had gone to pay his respects to the dead. The thought surprised her. Few people passed through a decimated village and paid their respects to the dead. Infact, few even bothered to burry them let alone pray for them.
When she finally caught sight of the blond she could see him kneeling before the graves and praying. Just as he detected her presence he ceased his prayers andstood as he turned to face her with a small sad smile on his face. "It is not much, but…"
She immediately interrupted him. "No no, Thank you for the thought. She looked saddened for a moment before she shook her head and smiled at him. "I'm finished for today. I was thinking that perhaps we could go to the archives and search for the demon you wanted to look up.
Naruto looked towards the setting sun before he spoke again. "Are you sure, I don't mind waiting until tomorrow if you wish to rest."
She shook her head. "No, no if we do it today we can get a good start early tomorrow morning."
Naruto shrugged. "Allright, whatever you say."
It was only a few minutes later the two of them found themselves walking down a dark corridor hat led to the demon slayers archives.
Naruto eyed the demon slayer walking beside him and soon spoke. "Sango, may I ask you something?"
"You just did." She said back rather playfully as she turned and gave him a small smirk.
Naruto raised an eyebrow at her sly coment and offered a smirk of his own "Well then, I'll ask you something else then."
She nodded and looked on ahead. "Go on."
He seemed contemplative for a moment before he spoke. "How…how did you cope with it. The death of all your loved ones. Is it the simple drive of revenge that helps you keep on going?" He asked as he placed his eyes back on her form.
Sango stopped walking and looked down to the floor while biting her lower lip in thought. Her bangs covered her eyes and for a moment Naruto thought he may have intruded on something a bit too personal.
After a few seconds though Sango spoke again. "It…it was really hard at first, you know? Even when I wanted revenge, first on Inuyasha and then on Naraku…I sometimes…I just felt like…
'Like you wanted to give it up.' He finished in his mind but said nothing and let her continue.
"But then…then I found out Kohaku was still alive." She smiled sadly at that. "Now, I…I have hope again. As long as Kohaku is alive and there's a chance of him being rescued, I think I can go on. At least for him…so that he doesn't have to go through what I went through. When I thought I was the last, you know?"
Naruto nodded and smiled gently at her.
Sango then shook her head to push the sad thoughts away. "Anyway, lets just find what you came to look for."
Naruto nodded and they continued to make their way inside.
"Have you found it yet?" Sango asked from her place near the entrance.
Naruto gave a simple 'Hn' as he continued searching through scrolls on ancient fox demons. Many of them had just pissed off a lord or two for stealing heirlooms and stuff of that nature, others had just pissed off a few villages. None could truly come even close to the being that he was looking for.
But still, the slayers archives were impressive, the cave chamber they were in now was about fifty feet in diameter and about seventy feet high with dozens of scrolls stacked one ontop of the other in an organized fashion. The most recent demons were near the entrance and the oldest ones were deeper in.
They had everything from dogs to wolves to snakes, foxes dragons, spiders and an innumerable amount of other demonic specimens.
He sighed and was about to give up when an old, worn dusty scroll placed in the back, in a corner caught his eye. It was definitely old, probably the oldest one here.
He reached in and grabbed it. He coughed as the movement picked up dust and threw it right in his face.
Sango noticed this and immediately walked over. "Found anything?"
Naruto shrugged and began unrolling the scroll, "Lets see."
He unrolled the ancient text, picking up more dust.
The kanji were blurred and worn from the moisture and time but were slightly legible.
Nine-nine beasts with ulim-power-Bri-eath-estruction- The end of all things.
Well that answered his question. It was definitely what he was looking for, but the Kanji were to worn to be read correctly.
He unrolled the scroll some more where he came across a painting, he immediately recognized two of the beasts portrayed in it. Shukaku and Kyuubi.
They were arranged in a circle with Kyuubi's form in the center. Each had their own background but Kyuubi's was the most curious. A forest in flames…how…accurate.
He sighed and rolled it back up before placing it back where he found it.
He stood and smiled to Sango, who was looking at the scroll curiously. 'Well, I couldn't find anything, thanks for helping Sango.
She smiled at him and nodded. "You go on ahead I want to look up something."
Naruto shrugged and walked away.
Sango waited until he was gone before she moved and picked up the scroll he had previously been reading. She unrolled it fully and scanned context.
She immediately noticed the fox demon with nine tails in the center of the portrait inside the scroll. She looked on and one Kanji immediately caught her eye.
'Jinchurikki' It was one of the few words that were clearly legible on the scroll, but nevertheless it was there.
She narrowed her eyes in thought. If this was any indication then this was indeed the scroll that Naruto had been looking for. But why would he say differently? She looked back at the nine tailed fox in the picture and immediately knew that there was some form of connection here.
She looked back to where it said Jinchuriki and tried to read the broken text.
'-Jinchuriki only o-th---stop—nine.'
Well it wasn't perfect but it more or less gave her an idea. The Jinchuriki were supposedly the only ones that could beat these creatures. So, could Naruto be looking for this creature to defeat it? It was a rational thought considering he was so powerful. Aybe she should take this to Kagome, maybe some one in her time could find a way to read this.
She silently rolled up the scroll and pocketed it, out of sight from the blond.
The two made there way back to the village in a comfortable silence each pondering their own thoughts.
But that was interrupted as Naruto's sharp sense of smell picked up a rather alarming scent…blood.
"Sango hurry up Kirara's in trouble!!!" He yelled before sprinting off to the village.
Sango was thrown into shock for a brief moment before she began running as well, all the while praying that Kirara was allright.
Naruto was obviously the first to reach the village and found Kirara sprawled on the ground with a huge gash running across her right shoulder blade all the way down to her left hind leg. Blood caked her normally porcelain fur and her normally bright red eyes were dilated and unfocussed. She was alive but was going to need some serious medical attention and for the bleeding to stop.
Naruto, not being anything close enough to a medic to heal this properly, did the only thing he could think of.
He took out a kunai and with a small fire jutsu heated up the weapon and slowly cauterized the injury. Kirara hissed and growled in pain and he had to use two shadow clones to keep her from thrashing around in her unconscious state.
Just as he had finished Sango arrived and skidded to a kneeling position next to them. "What happened?" She asked anxiously as she began checking Kirara over.
'I don't know, I found her like this. I managed to stop the bleeding So she should be allright for now, if there isn't any internal bleeding. Go and grab your weapon, whoever did this might still be around."
Sango nodded and with a final concerned glance towards Kirara she rushed to go and get her gear.
Naruto stood and extended his senses to try and find whoever had done this and immediately felt it. No…he felt two presences. One was unmistakably Naraku but the other was one he didn't recognize. So it wasn't one of his detachments.
A few moments later Sango came out with her weapon in hand and her armor already in place.
Naruto nodded and pointed to where he had sensed their opponents. "They're over there."
She nodded and together they sprinted toward their destination.
It was only a few seconds later when the two came across a sight that made Sango's blood run cold.
It was Naraku, holding up her younger brother Kohaku, by his throat. The younger boy was struggling against his grip but it was futile.
The dark Hanyou smiled cruelly in their direction. "Ahh, Sango so glad you could join us." His eyes darkened at the sight of the blond however but the smirk never left his face. "And I see that you are here as well."
Naruto's features for once were cold and impassive. His mind was running a mile a minute trying to figure out just what the hanyou hopped to gain through this.
Naraku smirked and tightened his grip on Kohaku's throat. "Well Sango, you see, your brother has outlived his usefulness now that his memories have returned to him. And so, I have a proposition for you my dear."
Naruto noticed how her grip seemed to tighten on the Hiraikotsu indicating her anger and desperation.
Naraku continued after a few moments of tense silence. "The rules are quite simple, you have two minutes to save your precious brother, should you fail, I will kill him, should you succeed then he will live, simple correct?" He smirked that condescending smirk of his. "Oh and there's just one more condition. The ninja cannot interfere."
Naruto tensed. This was a trap and he could see that from about ten miles away with a blindfold on. He was setting her up for a fall that would drive her to the brink of her sanity.
Sango however didn't think of such things and with speed that surprised Naruto her Hiraikotsu was sailing through the air aiming to chop off Naraku's arm.
The cruel demon smirked before he leapt back to avoid the weapon.
Sango drew five shuriken and tossed them at the hanyou.
Naraku's smirk darkened before he did the last thing Sango and even Naruto expected.
He put Kohaku in the way of the projectiles.
The young boy let out a strangled cry as the sharp objects dug into his right shoulder and another in his hip and the last just beneath his ribs. Tears leaked from his eyes as he turned them to meet Sango. "Sister." He gasped softly as he struggled for breath as Naraku held his throat.
Naruto gritted his teeth and made to take a step forward when he noticed Naraku's cold red eyes turn to him. The dark Hanyou gave a smirk that seemed to say 'Just try it.'
Naruto's glare darkened considerably and he promised himself one thing…this bastard was going to pay.
Sango lost some of her strength at the sight of her brothers anguish and the fact that he had called her sister in a way that seemed to ask 'Why?'
But with a shake of her head she steeled her resolve and with a soft ring her sword was unsheathed. She rushed at Naraku and caught the Hiraikotsu mid stride as it came back to her.
Naraku smirked coldly again and sent some of his tentacles to attack the approaching tajiya.
Sango sidestepped the attack and continued her charge, when she was right infront of Naraku she dug her left foot into the dirt and with a diagonal upwards swing from right to left, moved to slice Naraku's throat open.
With that same smirk plastered on his face the hanyou stepped back and once again put Kohaku in the path of her strike. Sango tried to stop but she was moving far to fast and with a sickening slice the sword bit deep into Kohaku's side.
The boy let out a strangled yell and before Sango could react Naraku roughly pulled him away, causing the blade to cause even more pain and damage to the young boy.
Sango felt tears of rage and sadness well up in her eyes and trail down her cheeks. This being was truly heartless.
Naruto desperately wanted to move but with Naraku's eyes on him e couldn't even afford to make hand seals for a shadow clone.
The dark Hanyou smirked and leaned to the side to avoid the Hiraikotsu. He then took to the skies, a cloud of Miasma at his feet. "Time's up my dear Sango." He spoke in a condescending tone of voice.
Sango's breath became ragged and came in short hard pants. Her anger, herb desperation was almost a palpable thing. She caught the Hiraikotsu again and with a mighty swing in which she poured all of her anger, her sadness, her desperation, her drive. She put everything in it.
The Hiraikotsu sailed through the air but with a casual shrug Naraku floated slightly to the side, avoiding it completely.
"You failed demon slayer." He said mockingly. He turned his head slightly to the side and saw the Hiraikotsu coming back around. He smirked. How fitting'
Naruto and Sango both gasped in horror as Naraku tossed Kohaku in the path of the massive boomerang with a casual flick of his wrist.
'Damnit! From that height I don't think I can make it in time.' Naruto thought as he rushed forward in a last ditch effort to save the young boy.
It was all for naught however as with a sickening crunch and crack the Hiraikotsu slammed into Kohaku's back and sent him crashing to the ground below.
"KOHAKU!!!" Sango cried out as she ran towards her fallen brother.
Naruto landed on the ground and turned to glare at the smirking parasite. His eyes were as sharp as daggers and promised pure pain to the heartless monster.
"Kohaku!" Sango cried as she knelt next to him and turned him over, to notice that he was still alive his breathing was extremely laboured and he was barely hanging on. "Kohaku, please don't die, I'll heal you just…just…please don't die." She sobbed as tears came down unbidden.
Kohaku's next words however, would shatter her. "Sister…he rasped out…why…why did you…let him kill me?" He whispered hoarsely before life left him.
Naruto winced as he caught the words with his sharp sense of hearing and immediately noticed a Shikon shard, tainted to the point where it was almost black zip toward Naraku. The hanyou gave off a smirk before he vanished in a cloud of purple miasma. It was then that Naruto knew beyond doubt that Naraku had come here to break Sango. Kohaku was still under his control the whole time, now he just had to convince Sango of that fact.
Sango's features were in absolute horror. Kohaku's last words echoing in her mind. Tears trailed freely down her cheeks and her form shook violently.
She felt a hand her shoulder and shakily looked up to find Naruto using an expression that was sad yet somewhat…understanding?
She sobbed and her form shook more, Naruto silently knelt down and wrapped her in a gentle, comforting embrace.
That was all it took for the little remaining walls around her emotions to crumble and she cried.
She cried hysterically and all the pent up emotions she had stored within her came forth in terrible, heart wrenching sobs.
Naruto held her gently, rocking her back and forth as she sobbed and shook in his arms. "Go on Sango. Cry all you want. No one will fault you on this day."
She cried well into the night and when she was done Naruto silently carried her back to her home and then prepared Kohaku's grave.
Naruto sighed as he covered the grave and gave the young boy a silent prayer. He had to find a way to help Sango now, if he didn't she may take her own life, from either guilt because of Kohaku's last words or despair because of his death.
He then felt another presence and stiffened. He slowly looked to the treeline of the nearby forest when he saw the feudal version of Uchiha Itachi emerged from the darkness of the trees. Clad all in white it could only be the Taiyokai of the west.
"Sesshomaru." He said as he narrowed his eyes.
Somehow he doubted the demon lord came to enjoy tea.
Well, here you go. Tell me what you think.