Silence is Crimson
A Xenocide Production
AN: Greetings, True Believers. I'm terribly sorry for the lack of updates. I've been hit hard with a case of Writer's Block, that horribly debilitating disease. This was actually already half written a while back, so I fixed it up and decided to post it, if only so you guys could see that I'm still alive. Never fear, both Initial Offensive and Dead On Arrival are still on the agenda. They're just coming along very slowly. Hope you enjoy. Just a little twisted oneshot on the values of silence.
Enjoy and Review……Please?
Summary: Some silences are best keep in the deep recesses of the mind. But sometimes they surface, despite our best efforts.
Disclaimer: I own nothing that Kishimoto owns. Dammit.
He stared down at the bloody arm that had been rammed into his chest with a slightly confused expression on his face.
These things usually hurt, he thinks distractedly. But somehow, he couldn't feel a thing. Well, numbness doesn't count.
He slowly clamps both hands around the protruding appendage and raises his gaze to his attacker.
Chilling windmills that spiraled wildly in a pool of crimson gazed back at him.
He tried to open his mouth, to say something, anything! But his traitorous throat wouldn't cooperate.
"I tried to warn you." The other murmurs gently. "But you didn't listen, dobe. You never do."
After a year of chasing after his old teammate, he had finally caught up. They had cornered Uchiha Sasuke in one of his old master's abandoned laboratories. It was almost too good to be true. But no amount of gut instinct or vague warnings from Team Seven's captain could prevent him from pouncing on what was obviously a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Sakura had tried to reason with him, but it was only half-heartedly. He could see that she couldn't care less about the danger, only about her Sasuke-kun. He couldn't tell if the twinge in his chest was from that stray thought or from the arm that was boring a new cavity in his torso.
Sakura was sprawled across the cold, dank floor, unconscious from a particularly nasty blow to the head. Kaka-sensei and Sai were……somewhere. It was hard to think and his thoughts were jumbled, filled with rasping growls, flickering red, and encroaching darkness.
"I learn from my mistakes. No mercy, Uzumaki. Not anymore. You will die because I will it so, and that thing that you carry within you won't be able to heal this." A disdainful sneer marred the usually stoic Uchiha's face.
And the arm in the very center of his chest began to flicker with tiny bolts of electricity.
Naruto looked down at his chest. There was a feeling…of sorts. It tingled.
He looked back up at the cold eyes of his once time brother.
And there, at the very end, he managed to shake off his shock induced stupor. Just for a brief moment.
"Sasuke." He exhaled softly.
A flicker of blue light. And a thunderous shriek of power as the rapture of one hundred lightning bolts ran rampant throughout the blonde's body.
His body snapped to attention, rigid as stone, and then arched backwards so violently that it seemed he would snap in two. Smoke rose from his body, and the sickeningly sweet smell of roasting flesh permeated the small room. His muscles spasmed uncontrollably as the electricity coursed through him.
He twitched and danced on the arm of his enemy, who looked on with icy detachment.
Blue flames licked the roof of his mouth teasingly, and he shed tears of searing fire. And then, he remembered what pain was.
"AIIIIEIEIIIIIIEIIIEIIEIIEIIAHAHHHAGGGHGHAGAH!" A wail of torment tore from his lips.
Slowly, the blue flames dwindled from his person. He slumped on his tormentor's arm, looking for all the world a puppet with his strings cruelly cut.
Tiny thunderbolts danced along the Uchiha's arm as he casually slung the broken boy from his arm.
"It was supposed to have incinerated him completely." He shook small chunks of smoking lung from his bloodied hand.
He looked at the twitching form of the blonde, who was still smoking horribly.
He could see the Kyuubi working desperately to save the boy, though it did so in vain. Skin was regenerating, muscle rebuilt. But it was an exercise in futility. It was highly doubtful that even the Great Fox could spontaneously regenerate a beating heart. The gaping hole in his chest was testament to that.
Cerulean eyes were already beginning to glaze over.
He shrugged. No matter. The dobe would be dead within minutes. The rest of Team Seven was otherwise…..occupied. He spared a brief glance for the pale kunoichi on the other side of the room. She was beginning to stir, moaning and shifting slightly.
He left the room without a backwards glance. He had not yet attained the object for which he had braved the former Snake Sennin's perilous laboratory. Akatsuki may have been a shadow of its former self, but with Itachi sill amongst its ranks, they were still a formidable foe. He may have been Itachi's equal in a one on one fight, but he still wouldn't be able to hold off against the combined might of the Organization's remnants.
He had work to do. Now that that pesky annoyance from Konoha had been taken care of, perhaps the Leaf would abandon their futile campaign. He had destroyed the world's strongest Jinchuuriki in one blow. Not even the power of the Great Fox was a match for the Uchiha.
His form was enveloped by smoky haze and sinister darkness as he descended deeper into the very bowels of the earth.
All would come to fear his name. It was only a matter of time.
He was sitting with his arms wrapped around his knees as his world fell down around him.
There was a cage, and a small seal in front of him, the residence of his unwelcome and unwanted permanent tenant.
A great eye, wreathed in wisps of crimson, brought itself down to the boy's level.
A low rumble, the murmur of ages long past, growled forth. "I can't believe you were so foolish, mortal. Walking directly into what was obviously a trap? Your idiocy has never once ceased to amaze me."
A few bricks crumbled from an unseen ceiling and fell with a splash to the water ridden floor below.
The furred hellion bared its fangs in a snarl.
"Weakling! You're just going to sit there and accept this!?!" The demon's voice echoed loudly in the vast expanse of his prison. "I am the Great Kyuubi, Lord of Hell and Ruler of the Nine Bijuu! Angels fear me and mortals worship me on bended knees! The sun will burn out into a cold, lightless ball before I admit defeat. My existence cannot and will not end with that of a puny mortal who is unworthy to even lick the pads of my feet!"
It stood up on all fours and roared mightily, causing a good portion of the ceiling to come crashing down, nearly crushing Naruto in the process. "Now stop whining like an infant, and get up and HELP ME!!"
Naruto, looked up and straight into the eyes of the demon in front of him. The demon was slightly taken aback at the utterly despairing look on his face.
But not for too long.
He could care less about a mortal's fragile psyche. He was going to live, even if he had to tear the brat's mind apart to do it.
"Do whatever you want, Fox. I really couldn't care less." The blonde laid his chin back onto his knees and resumed idly watching his mind fall apart in the throes of encroaching death.
"Then open your mind, boy! I can't save us if you keep me completely walled behind this damned seal!" Kyuubi was near to frothing at the mouth in his rage and fear. Death for an Immortal being is a far worse fate than any mortal could ever dream of.
Even in his despair, Naruto knew better than to give in completely. He would not be the instrument of the Leaf's demise, by way of a freed demon. But still, he made concessions.
Without looking up or gesturing, he weakened the seal.
It did not allow the demon freedom, oh no. That would have disastrous consequences. But the bars……the bars widened just enough. He would not risk an escape. If the Kyuubi healed him, that was fine. If he died, that was fine too.
Those things just didn't matter anymore.
Sasuke had killed him.
And Sakura was still harboring feelings for the last Uchiha, no matter how much she had tried to deny it to her new lover.
Most importantly, those cold stares had never ceased, no matter how hard he tried to prove to them that Naruto was Naruto, nothing more and nothing less. Having friends had helped with the dark brooding depression that came from his constant efforts to prove himself and keep a goofy grin on his face, but he couldn't surround himself with them every minute of every hour of every day.
No, to most of the Leaf's inhabitants, it would have been easier on them all if a knife had been slipped between his ribs long, long ago. His precious people were his wall, his impenetrable fortress against the biting cold and the dark, murderous red that threatened to engulf him.
But lately, it seemed as if it wasn't enough. It would never be enough. No matter how he bowed, scraped, laughed, grinned, joked, and kept the mask of cheerful idiocy glued to his face, things would never change.
Maybe Sasuke was doing him a favor. It was almost worth a laugh, the thought of the bastard doing anything for another person intentionally.
He almost considered closing the seal and barring the Fox from even attempting to revive him. But, there was probably no need. He was missing a heart and a good portion of his left lung. He was going to die and that's all there was to it.
The thought seemed to bring him a little comfort.
Red chakra roared around him, having slipped through the widened bars, frantically racing to restore life to his near failing body.
The demon was gnashing its teeth and snarling obscene curses in a guttural tongue not meant for human ears. It was taking no care at all in its haste. The crimson eddies corroded the floor, made grooves in the wall, and ate its way through the ceiling.
He was going to live, and nothing would bar his way, not even his host's sanity.
And so, creeping crimson slithered through the cracks in his mind and rushed to fill his body.
She moaned quietly as she sat up, a hand pressed to her temple in a futile effort to relieve the dull throbbing that was drilling a torturous hole through the back of her head.
Using the rough wall as support, she managed to push herself to her feet. She squinted her eyes as she surveyed her surroundings.
The last thing that she recalled was rushing down the corridor until she came to this cavern. Then suddenly, she had seen nothing but black.
She scowled in anger. How stupid could she be? Every kunoichi worth her salt knows better than to rush into a darkened room without doing a little reconnaissance.
A pause as she tried to pierce beyond the pale light of the torch.
Where was Naruto? He had been right behind her, hadn't he?
Her breath hitched in her throat as she made out a hazy form on the edges of the darkness.
Her hands shook slightly and her eyes widened in shock as she saw a lock of blonde hair reflect the feeble light.
"N-n-Naruto?" Her voice was weak, thin, and tinged slightly with hint of panic. She forced herself to stumble closer to him, and the stench of burnt flesh and hair hit her with an almost palpable force.
She instinctively swallowed the bile that rushed up her throat, but it was a very near thing. She moved closer, and the smoking, gaping hole in his chest came into view.
He was staring straight up, seemingly fascinated with an unfamiliar ceiling. There was something missing from his eyes, though she couldn't quite place a finger on it.
A pitiful combination of a shriek and moan escaped through her lips, and her hands lifted towards him slightly, trembling, as if unwilling to reach out and confirm the nightmare to be truth.
She dropped to her knees at his side, numb to all but his unseeing gaze, and the red that poured cheerfully from his chest. She desperately tore off her gloves and thrust her fingers to his throat, searching for a hint of her sanity in his pulse.
She found none.
A whisper, softly uttered as she traced his cheeks and jawline.
"No." A broken word that tumbled from her lips as she traced his own with her fingertips. They were still warm.
"No!" She leaned down and crashed her lips against his, desperate to wring some reaction from him. His lips were still, unmoving, and she could taste a faint hint of copper. She sobbed into his mouth. She pulled away, and there was a wild look in her eyes.
"NO!" She scrambled around to his head, and forcefully dragged him into her lap, unmindful of the blood that stained her uniform and hands.
She tore open his shirt, and nearly screamed as she saw a hole the size of one of Naruto's beloved ramen bowls in his chest. Flecks of bone and lung matter clung to his skin, and she saw through her tears sinister red chakra lacing his body, trying desperately to heal the wound.
It was working miraculously fast, and even as she tore the rest of his shirt and body armor from him, bits of the lung and heart had already been regenerated.
With tears streaming down her face and sobs wracking her body, she placed her hands over the hole that was still wider than her hand span and tried to help whatever the damn Fox was doing for Naruto.
The Kyuubi's chakra was working faster than she had ever seen it work, but even she could see that it would be a futile effort. By the time the lungs and heart had been regenerated, Naruto would be brain dead, and all that was left would be an empty shell.
That is, assuming that the Kyuubi could bring a dead man back to life.
She slammed chakra through her coils hastily and healing green light was emitted from her palms outward. She pushed harder than she'd ever pushed herself before, draining her chakra at an alarming rate.
A sliver of red chakra separated itself from the maelstrom of healing on Naruto's chest, and reared up to curiously regard the pink haired medic and the green light of her chakra. Suddenly, it wrapped around her hands and latched onto her, and she felt something sucking her dry, draining her of every last vestige of chakra.
Naruto's body arched upwards, until only his head in her lap and his heels were the only parts of him resting. His muscles spasmed under the influx of more chakra than his body was designed to handle. Kyuubi or no Kyuubi, no human being's chakra coils was meant to handle this much power. He would literally burn from the inside out if she didn't regulate the flow.
There was………something………in her mind, oozing through every crevice, slithering sinisterly in the depths of her thoughts.
That's what it was. A seething spectre that seeped into her very being, whispered wickedly into her ears, even as it strove to pull the very lifeforce from her body.
She wanted so badly to pull away, to be able to wring her hands of the slimy essence and deny it entrance.
But……she held on. The boy who was screaming soundlessly in her lap, whose body was wreathed in crimson, whose life meant as much as her own, was her reason for enduring. Even if it meant her own death, she would immerse herself.
It seemed that it was all she would know in her last moments.
But thankfully, either through luck or design, the powerful pull of the red chakra ceased, and Naruto's body slumped to the floor, still twitching feebly from the aftermath of crimson's healing touch.
Sakura's vision wavered, and she very nearly succumbed to the darkness that lined the edges of her vision. It was a very near thing, too. Her chakra reserves were so low, that if she gave in to the near oppressive need to sleep, she very well might not wake up at all.
She took a steadying breath, supporting her weight with her hands on Naruto's chest, and shakily cleared the cobwebs of fatigue from her eyes.
Wait. Her hands.
Her eyes alighted on his chest, and where a large gaping hole had once resided, there was only pink, healthy flesh. She allowed a flash of hope to drain through her as she slowly moved her hand over his heart. She was too tired to be able to properly tell if he was breathing or not, but a steady heartbeat would assure her that he at least was alive.
Shaking fingers burrowed beneath Naruto's shirt, ragged, burnt, and rife with the tangy scent of copper and cooked meat. Sakura sagged in relief as she felt a steady heartbeat.
He was alive.
She sighed, and idly toyed with a lock of his blonde hair. The boy seemed to keep getting himself in these scrapes these days, and it seemed like it was up to her to pull him out of them. And not so very long ago, the reverse would have been true.
A tiny smile flitted across her lips. It's nice to be the hero for once.
She settled down for a long wait. Kakashi-sensei and Sai had somehow gotten separated from them, but she was confident that they would show up eventually. She didn't dare try to wake Naruto so they could move. She still wasn't quite sure if it was only the body that was alive, or if he was merely in a coma. Either way, she was content to be ignorant a little while longer, and Naruto could heal while they waited.
It was rather nice down here, actually. The silence was not quite as oppressive as it had been, and the warmth in her lap drove out all of her fears and doubts. A quiet moment of stillness was quite rare in this day and time.
Silence was golden. And she was content to enjoy it.
In the deep recesses of Naruto's mind, there was darkness.
The corridors were pitch black, and an uneasy air of absence saturated the place. In the Caged Room, large chunks of stone lay submerged in the water.
A lock of hair and fluttering cloth lay trapped beneath one such stone.
All was still. All was silent.
From the Cage itself, nothing stirred.
A faint glow appeared in the darkest corner of the Cage, a small flame of--
--that flickered hesitantly.
It wavered on the edge of existence and nothingness, struggling to manifest itself before its light was extinguished completely by the shadows that were even now encroaching upon the room.
Slowly, ever so slowly, as if time itself had slipped out of tangible reach, the crimson flame grew. Though it drove away the shadows that threatened to overcome it, it also seemed to feed on them somehow, in a bizarre show of unwilling symbiosis. After all, the crimson flame had been born in the deepest of shadows, a flicker of light in the dark places of the world where the light of the Creator had never been shone.
It grew in strength and size, filling the Cage with wisps of elusive red, ghosting silently across the floor until it had reached the size of the previous inhabitant. It flared, and crimson bathed the expanse of the cavern until the last vestiges of shadow were driven away.
Two eyes, pupils elongated and full of malicious gaiety and triumph, appeared on what could be vaguely categorized as a head. The Kyuubi had very nearly died, its lifeforce all but spent in the revival of its erstwhile prison. What a stroke of fortune that the foolish mortal girl should lend her energy in a desperate bid to save the brat's life. He had capitalized on that opportunity, as any denizen of Hell would have, and tried his hardest to drain the girl of her life to replace his in the Demon's effort to save his host. He underestimated her, and a pang of fear wrung his heart when he recalled how close to death he had come.
But…a small portion of Kyuubi's chakra had survived, and he had lived long enough to acquire many defenses and wardings against death itself. He fed on the darkness itself, his birthplace and the home of all things unclean since the dawn of time, and regained what he had lost.
A lining in the wisps of crimson appeared, and Kyuubi smiled, fangs bared in a primal show of unbridled joy. The smile of a Demon is a terrible thing to behold, and it often portends great calamity and doom for the poor soul that should be damned enough to witness it.
A curious thing had happened. Kyuubi had indeed succeeded in saving the brat's body. But somehow, in the rush of green and red chakra, Naruto's mind, what could very well be termed his soul, was swept away in the process. The boy was not dead.
Far from it.
And Kyuubi was glad of that, as distasteful as the notion of caring whether or not a mortal lived was. If the boy had died, the Demon would have died with him, as that damnable seal had been so designed by that despised mortal. Instead, all that remained of Naruto was a tiny flicker of blue, hidden somewhere in the recesses of psyche. The small remaining part of Naruto was enough to keep him alive, but he was no longer in control. Indeed, he could hardly even be termed as 'aware'.
He was still. He was silent.
And that was all the Kyuubi needed.
This mortal coil was hardly the body that he once held, but infused with his power, he could eventually make it his own. In a deliciously wicked twist of fate, the boy would be his prisoner in whatever body the Kyuubi decided to fashion for itself.
A chuckle gleefully resonated in the dark.
The seal had weakened considerably, and it was only a matter of time before the full weight of his millennia old knowledge would find a way to completely break the seal and allow him to completely dominate the boy's body. With a silent whoosh and another yip of laughter, Kyuubi no Kitsune flared his chakra and flooded the dark corridors and empty rooms with his power. For the first time in nearly sixteen years, he was free.
All would come to fear his name once again. It was only a matter of time.
Sakura was still threading her fingers through Naruto's hair, on the verge of surrendering to sleep, when said boy's eyes snapped open, and he sat up abruptly, narrowly missing clipping her chin with his forehead.
She shifted her legs, noting the uncomfortable tingle that meant that she had overstayed her welcome in that awkward position. Naruto's back was the only part of him that she could see, and it seemed that he was studying his surroundings in a daze. Sakura reached out a hesitant hand and placed it lightly on his shoulder.
"Are you all right, Naruto? I was so afraid that I wasn't fast enough….." She trailed off as she noted the way that he stiffened the very second that she laid hands on him.
Something was wrong. He never shied away from her touch.
She tightened her grip on his shoulder. "Naruto? What's wrong?"
Silence was the only reply that she received.
She tugged on his shoulder, trying get him to face her. He did so.
In one swift movement, he swiveled his entire body around, facing her with an impish grin on his face.
A gasp leapt from her throat, and she brought her hand up to her mouth, frozen in horror.
It was Naruto, and yet, she knew it was not. His features had taken on a demonic cast, slightly more pronounced than when he was actively using the crimson chakra that he despised so.
Somehow, someway, the Beast had been loosed.
And with that knowledge came a dawning realization and an agonizing wrench in her heart. Naruto was gone.
She fumbled for a kunai, though she knew it was futile. A lump of steel against an Immortal Demon? In what world could she have ever beaten him? And in her heart of hearts, she harbored doubt that she could plunge a blade into the heart of the man whose bed she shared.
Nar—Kyuubi lazily reached out and snatched the kunai from her grasp, wagging his finger in admonishing way, as if correcting the behavior of a particularly naughty child.
She opened her mouth to scream and he was suddenly behind her, one clawed hand over her mouth.
Kyuubi grinned, baring a mouthful of gleaming fangs, and inhaled the girl's scent.
Ah, it was wonderful to have a body again.
She struggled wildly, madly even, knowing without a doubt in her mind what was coming.
"Come, dear girl. It has been a while since I've had such a breath of fresh air, and I would love to share my fortune with a good friend." He laughed, and then stood up. Releasing her mouth, he fisted his hand in her hair and proceeded to drag her into the shadows, away from the prying eyes of the murky torchlight.
Some things were best done in the dark.
She screamed, sobbed, and twisted wildly in his iron grip.
Kyuubi only shook his head in disappointment. It seemed that he would have to teach the girl a lesson in etiquette. He was quite sure that she would be a fast learner.
The shadows swallowed them whole.
Wet, primal, and nightmarish sounds best left unheard by mortal ears issued forth from the darkness.
Kyuubi began the girl's education with a scripture that he had heard long ago, but twisted to suit his own personal preferences.
As fangs penetrated flesh, and claws delved in the hidden parts of her body, Sakura learned that silence was not golden, as she had so often thought it to be.
Silence was Crimson.
And indeed, Crimson was the last thing she ever heard.
This was a fragmented oneshot that I poured every ounce of my blackened little heart into. I had always wanted to try a TotallyKyuubi!Naruto and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. And before you ask, I deliberately left the fates of the rest of Team 7 and Sasuke unexplored. Why, you ask? Let's put it this way:
The Kyuubi is pissed at the Uchiha for being so high and mighty the last time they met.
Kyuubi need to stretch his muscles, so to speak, and Kakashi and Sai are just going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Please don't hate me too much, True Believers.
"He was staring straight up, seemingly fascinated with an unfamiliar ceiling." Oh come on, you guys should know this one. I love being totally vague when it comes to sprinkling obscure references to my favorite anime. To those of you following my little after story rants, this quote should be a no brainer.
"…where the light of the Creator…" Another vague reference to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. On a completely unrelated sidenote, I'm now on "Shadow Rising", the fourth book on the series. I swear, Jordan is the only author that I know of outside of fanfiction that can make the Harem genre look good. Other authors have tried and failed spectacularly. I must admit that I am guilty of rereading the fanservice chapters when I come upon it.