The Strawberry and the Fishcake
A.N.: Hey everyone,
First of all I'd like to thank all of you for your support. As I write this, it is December tenth and I am hoping I will get this out by Christmas as a thank you to all you guys and gals...and...Ugh (shudders) yaoi fangirls (subspecies of humanity: Homoerotica amorus)
I am finally issuing a challenge. I admit I was reluctant due to there being no specific area of FF(dot)net that allows authors to issue challenges, but I have gotten fed up. I know quite well that I couldn't possibly write the crossover I have in mind, mostly because to support carefully hidden sociopathic tendencies, I have to have some form of violence in my fics that are generally as graphic and nasty as I can make it.
Now for the challenge:
I would like someone to write a Naruto/Aria crossover. I only have a few stipulations:
1) That only Naruto go there...initially and the toads are the ones who bring him there.
2) The pairing is up to you. Anyone writes slash and I'll...do something. Not sure what, but something...
3) And finally the reason he goes there must be to escape Akatsuki, like Jiriaya's final request or something.
How he meets up with the gang on Aqua is up to you. But I stress only people familiar with this beautiful series should write this fic and that after Naruto arrives in Aqua there should absolutely no violence except for comical purposes as Aria is not an action series.
Personal addendum: 12:28a.m., 18th of December Australian Time in Coastal NSW:
Just finished watching AVATAR......what can I say to all you folks out there who are planning to see it by the time this gets posted, those who have seen it, and those who don't want to see it.
For those who have seen AVATAR you know what I'm talking about. For those who plan to see it, I'm not gonna spoil anything. And for those who don't want to see it....you're idiots. AVATAR is the most awesome movie I have ever seen in my twenty one years on this planet. Its- its just utterly indescribable; the story; the visuals; the graphics and the environment are just beyond anything made before. You have to see it. Whether you go to the theatre or you wait till it comes out on DVD, it is a movie you have to see to believe.
Addendum: February 25, 2010, 9:37p.m., Australian time:
I'm twenty-one now have been since February second, looking forward to getting into Uni (Was lazy and missed first semester) and almost finished this chapter. This is a request, I am getting seriously sick of writing XXXX(to infinite) as a page break could someone suggest something better?
Addendum March 4th 2010 11:15 p.m. Australian time:
Finished it! Not sure if I'm happy with the ending, because it seemed a little rushed. But I'm okay, whippin' this bad boy off to the Editor's to be checked over and my horrifying grammar and spelling corrected. Just like to say to all my readers: thanks for both your support and sticking by the guy with the slowest damn muse in the world.
Editor's Addendum, March 16, 2010, 8:43 p.m., North American Eastern Standard Time:
I know I'm not supposed to add my own stuff in here, but I couldn't resist. If you do not feel up to Joe's challenge, please see my profile for your shot at an original crossover.
Naruto grunted as he headed in a randomly chosen direction. He was currently heading straight towards a tall white tower. He prayed that he would run into someone soon.
The blonde Walker's fellow agents were in predicaments of their own. Ichigo and Ganju had run into two very strange members of the Eleventh division while Chad was avoiding detection by very diligent scouts.
Yoruichi had landed by herself and was searching for the others in her cat form.
Uryu and Orihime had landed in an area devoid of Shinigami.
Naruto strolled casually through the Seireitei. His hands were locked behind his head as he meandered aimlessly. He should have felt lucky as he could very well have been witnessing something as disturbing as Gai and Lee's Sunset Genjutsu, or as it was called in this world, Ikkaku's lucky dance.
Even if the words are confined to the mind though, Fate never misses someone tempting her.
Naruto halted abruptly, his mood going from curious to cold as almost a hundred battle-ready Shinigami stood before him. What was odd was that their backs were to him. He walked up to the one nearest him; a plain slightly flabby man with an average katana for a Zanpakuto.
"Hey man what's going on?" the man turned revealing a neatly trimmed goatee.
'You don't know?" Naruto shook his head, nonplussed.
"I was asleep," he answered. The man grumbled under his breath.
"Several Ryoka have invaded Soul Society. One landed near here and we're looking for him." he paused looking at Naruto again "Who are you again?"
"Oh I'm Naruto the Ryoka," the man nodded.
"Huh. Nice to meet you." he looked away and Naruto grinned as the man suddenly stiffened.
'Wait…what did you say?" he turned looking back at Naruto who merely grinned.
"IT'S HIM!" the Shinigami turned en masse.
"What's up?" one Shinigami who appeared to be African-American replied instantly.
"Not much bro," then paused, thought about what he said and glared at Naruto.
"GET HIM!" Naruto grinned and leaned back out of the way of the first blade to try and draw his blood. He drew his own weapons and retaliated, slashing the chest of two different Shinigami before diving into the bulk of them shoulders first, knocking several from their feet.
He was in amongst them. He knew he couldn't really kill them: that would just make it more likely that the higher Ranking Shinigami would use deadly force against his friends. He spun, slashing tendons and muscle groups, nothing that the 4th division couldn't heal but definitely taking out his victims from the fight.
He flowed between his enemies, no blade coming near him- thanks to two millennia of honing his shinobi abilities- and the few that did come close he deflected with his own blades. No one could touch him.
He was brought out of his slightly bored haze when his right hand blade met another with a clang. He stared at his opponent, and it was another average Shinigami who was shaking in fear at the moaning and bleeding trail of bodies behind him. Naruto sighed and simply clocked him on the head with the butt of his left blade and moved on.
He turned another corner and ducked avoiding a blade that would have taken off his head. Naruto grinned as he looked into the impassive eyes of Kuchiki Byakuya. Naruto had been spoiling for a proper fight against this pompous ass.
"Word up Taicho," Byakuya just stared at him, not acknowledging the greeting. Far too much like Neji for comfort.
"How did you survive?" Naruto grinned like a Cheshire cat.
"To learn that, my feminine freak, you have to defeat me."
Naruto redrew his blades, deflecting Byakuya's first strike and swiping back with his offhand blade. Byakuya merely swayed out of the way. Several more blows flew over the matter of seconds until their blades locked. Naruto blades were crossed, blocking Byakuya from splitting his head in two. Naruto grinned into Byakuya's emotionless face before he reared back his head and slammed it into the unprepared Captain. he was rewarded with the satisfyingly loud crack of breaking cartilage as the Captain's nose shattered.
Byakuya, unprepared for such an unorthodox and basically barbaric move, staggered back, trying to clear his eyes which had watered as a natural response to the broken nose. Byakuya glared at the smirking Naruto, who had a few specks of blood on his face, none of it his own. Byakuya, had it not been beneath him would have growled out a curse. He merely glared and readied himself to end this foolish game.
"Scatter," He stared at Naruto as his blade began to disappear into countless blades. The blonde was smiling right before he winked out.
"Shunpo," whispered the Captain of the Sixth Division just as a blade slashed straight through where his own had been, gouging a deep long cut right across his torso. The wound was a nasty one, but it did not deter him. He momentarily forgot about his opponent's second blade as pain exploded in his stomach. He glared into the suddenly impassive blue eyes of his opponent, who had appeared in front of him as he withdrew his sword from Byakuya's stomach.
Byakuya was not a Captain for nothing. A quick Shunpo moved him away from his opponent. He gathered himself and swung his blade hilt at his approaching opponent's right arm. He however did not anticipate his opponent being similar to Kenpachi in constitution.
Byakuya's only working theory on how the boy had survived a stab to the heart was scientific. He simply thought that like one of the Shinigami under his command, the blonde was afflicted with Dextrocardia. Dextrocardia meant that the blonde's heart, instead of being situated in the left half of his thoracic cavity, was located in his right. Byakuya surmised that he had struck a nasty, but not immediately fatal blow.
He had never considered that he survived a stab to the heart simply because was unable to die from such a simple wound. So it was natural for the otherwise calm and collected captain to have his eyes widen in shock and surprise when the thousands of tiny blade fragments that made up his Zanpukuto's Shikai state shredded his opponents arm to no obvious effect other that his right blade being dropped.
Byakuya froze when blood drenched fingers slammed somewhere into the joint between his neck and shoulder and a burst of foreign Reiastu flooded into his system. His eyes widened when he collapsed, his body no longer willing to listen to his commands. He stared up at his opponent as his blade sealed itself and clattered to the ground next to him.
The blonde Ryoka rolled his shoulders and grinned. "Hmm, I didn't think that would work. Wasn't sure if introducing my own Reiastu straight into a pressure point would actually do anything. I sure wasn't expecting this." Byakuya had to agree as he couldn't even move his jaw to talk.
"It should wear off but if it doesn't I'll leave a note or something for them to find…Judging by the look in your eyes, you thought I was going to kill you huh? Well…I thought about it. I was damn curious as to why someone would do that to their own relation but I'll find out one day. Lesson of the day? Don't fuck with Uzumaki Naruto." Naruto could tell by the slight hints of frustration and anger in the fallen Shinigami's eyes that he would definitely seek down the blonde when he was healed.
"Well gotta go save your sis and stuff…I gotta have her around so I can take more pictures of her with Ichigo…y'know the dude with the orange hair?" Naruto grinned inwardly as Byakuya's eyes darkened in rage. This could possibly backfire with Ichigo's death, but he would make sure it wouldn't to the best of his abilities. Most likely Byakuya would question Rukia about it, horribly embarrassing the young girl. Just in case, he discreetly slipped a photo of the two in bed he had taken into Byakuya's clothes.
He quickly left a note in his own blood on the wall, flared his Reiastu and left. Within a minute, a small group of Shinigami arrived. The 4th division member of the multi- divisional squad sent off a message to his division's HQ and began wrapping the Captain's wounds. Within ten minutes Unohana Retsu had arrived on the scene. After momentarily studying the message written in dripping blood, which secretly she admired as a genuinely nice gesture, she started to heal Byakuya enough to be transported to the hospital in her Division. She would cure his paralysis later; she already had an idea on how to cure it but it wouldn't do for the stubborn Captain to run off with his wounds half healed. Unohana also found the temporarily paralysis fascinating, not as an attack technique of course, but something to restrain more difficult patients. She would question Byakuya on it if the source of the attack was killed by another Shinigami.
Unohana could only speculate that one of the Ryoka had gotten the drop on the Sixth Division captain in terms of abilities, most likely not overpowering him, simply neutralizing him by luck and underestimation of said abilities. As she readied the Captain for transport she sent off several hell butterflies to the various Captains, after learning from some of the other wounded Shinigami nearby that it was the blonde Ryoka who had done it.
She admired a man who had a sense of fair play and morals.
Soul Society was in an uproar. Every Captain save three were surprised to hear of Byakuya's defeat, the only ones not being Byakuya himself, Unohana because she already knew, and Kenpachi because he was so lost following Yachiru's directions that the Hell Butterfly sent to him died of old age before it reached him.
Captain Kaname Tosen of the Ninth Division was surprised when Shuhei Hisagi read out the contents of the message sent by Hell Butterfly. His lieutenant was still recovering from the stab to the stomach from the same individual. The future traitor idly wondered if the blonde man followed the same path he did, or was another beast like Kenpachi. He was also curious about Aizen's interest in the strange Ryoka.
Hitsugaya Toshiro of the Tenth Division frowned. This was unexpected, Byakuya being defeated. He didn't know if it was by power, sheer luck or whether the Captain of noble birth had been tricked. If the shortest Captain (ever) ran into the blonde Ryoka he would attack him with all he had just in case. He left his office.
Kurotsuchi Mayuri of the 12th division merely thought that if the blonde was captured he would make an excellent test subject.
The Captain of the Thirteenth Division, Ukitake Jushiro, merely blinked. "I wonder if he's one of them," he spoke softly, confusing the two who shared the third seat of his division, Kotetsu Kiyone and Kotsubaki Sentaro, who worked together to compensate for the vacant Lieutenant position Kaien Shiba had left many years ago. He exited the meeting and the officers followed suit.
Captain Kyoraku Shunsui of the Eighth Division did nothing as he relaxed on a hillside near his division quarters "Looks like Yama-Jii was right," he knew that Yamamoto had spoken quietly to both himself and Jushiro about the possibility that the strange blonde Ryoka was one of…. them. He blinked in resignation as he left the hillside behind.
The massive captain of the Seventh Division, Komamura Sajin, grumbled behind his helmet. Something strange hung in the air. He glanced once more at the Hell Butterfly and was gone within a blink.
Sosuke Aizen's perpetual smile never left his face. If he could get the blonde to join his side, his plans would work so much better. If not, he would need to be removed before he became a problem.
Ichimaru Gin merely smiled like a Fox…or a snake, depending on who you asked "I knew he was different," he stated to nobody.
Soi-Fon merely gazed at her juggernaut of a Lieutenant, who was stuttering and mumbling about how it was impossible that Byakuya had lost to a Ryoka. Soi-Fon thought about it and made a simple logical conclusion; the Kuchiki had severely underestimated his opponent and would not do so the next time they fought. Though it was puzzling why he had been left alive, along with the rest of the downed Shinigami. Killing a captain would have been a severe blow against Soul Society.
Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryūsai let out a rattling exhale in his office as he took a final sip of tea. He set his cup down, picking up his walking stick and walked out of his office.
With silence only possible through millennia of training, Naruto moved towards his location. As he rounded a corner, he jarred to a stop, eyeing the Shinigami in front of him with calculated curiosity.
"I have heard you described, so I know who you are." his opponent did not respond.
"I didn't expect to face another Captain so soon, let alone you of all of them. Urahara had a great deal to say about you." Still no response. Naruto grinned.
"You wouldn't bother facing me yourself even though I did defeat what's-his-name so that can only mean one other thing." An eyebrow arched.
"You know what I am." He finished.
"I do indeed, Walker of Worlds." spoke the Commander General of the Gotei 13 Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryūsai. "Stuff of myths, and yet I've met two of your kind before."
"Do the other Captains know?" Yamamoto shook his ancient head.
"No. Only Jushiro, Shunsui and myself know about your kind. Unohana was within their presence but never knew they were different." Naruto frowned
"Why are you telling me this?" Yamamoto smiled slightly
"I held great respect for those two and I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt…but may I ask why you sided with the Ryoka?"
"Rukia is my friend." Yamamoto nodded as if that explained everything.
"Walkers, always willing to go to war with the world for their friends… I admire that."
"Thank you… I must say I'm practically shivering with excitement here. I mean, you of all people coming out to face me…this is just- just…fucking fantastic! It's great…so umm…shall we dance?"
"Yes" came the slightly disappointed reply.
"Cool …umm, you wanna start off with normal Zanpukuto or you wanna bring out the big guns?" Yamamoto blinked
"You have attained Shikai? I must say, even knowing what you are that's a little astonishing…and yes, Shikai seems appropriate." Naruto nodded as he glanced around for a fleeting moment, searching for anything that could be used to decide who went first.
Yamamoto, to Naruto's surprise, held out his closed fist. Naruto nodded and spoke "Saisho wa gū!"
Yamamoto and Naruto pumped their fists once in mid air and began to chant "Jan,"
Naruto smiled. "You first Yamamoto-san,"
Yamamoto nodded and the cane in his hands morphed into a katana with a dark red handle and a circular guard.
"Ryujin Jakka banshō issai kaijin to nase!" the blade was suddenly engulfed in a swath of flames, accompanied by the illusion that Yamamoto was similarly engulfed.
He shrugged off the crushing spiritual pressure that Yamamoto was releasing with nary a hint of effort. He smiled and drew his own blades crossing them in front of him.
"Born in the fires of creation, flying in the winds of time. Soar to the heavens to descend and scorch the earth clean of life. King of Dragons; FIGHT BAHUMAT!!"
Yamamoto was surprised to see the two blades engulfed in flames, blocking their wielder from sight. When the fireball cleared, Naruto was in an odd stance, legs spread wide like a sumo wrestler would stand and his torso was held low. His left arm was held out in from of him, palm up, fingers curled in a 'come on' gesture. A gigantic Zanpukuto rested on his shoulders, the hilt being held loosely in his right hand.
"Hmm interesting…two blades become one. And a fire type as well," Naruto grinned.
"Wind and fire, actually." Yamamoto's eyebrows arched slightly before he nodded at Naruto.
"Ready?" Yamamoto nodded
"Say hello to my little friend!" Naruto roared as he launched himself at the most powerful Captain in the Seireitei.
Across the Seireitei, all action ground to a halt. The captains barely remained on their feet as the surge of a two huge spiritual pressures crashed down on them. One utterly crushing, the accompanying paralleling level of a new captain, but was slowly getting larger. There was no one in the immediate vicinity of the two, so collapse was not immediate; panic set in amongst the lower ranks. Seated officers, though beleaguered by fear, restored order and looked to their captains for direction. Realizing who was actually fighting, the captains looked to each other to confirm what was going on until an order came through. The order, sent previously by Commander General Yamamoto, told them to not interfere.
The invaders received no such calming news. Uryu, already pale, became as white as chalk. He hadn't been prepared for such an utterly crushing feeling. Judging by Orihime, shivering and supine at his feet, she hadn't been either. He had thought he was prepared, but if this was the kind of thing he could expect from a Captain, he felt ready to begin doubting his survival.
Chad merely glanced at the distant glow, his face neutral. "Don't die Naruto… I'll miss your jokes," he said softly.
Ichigo wiped the cold sweat from his brow then kicked Ganju "Come on Scaredy-Cat!" he snapped. Ganju cursed him and moved to follow.
Yoruichi was shaking in both rage and terrible fear. She recognized both Naruto's and Yamamoto's Reiatsu signatures. Only one possibility came to her: Yamamoto must know that Naruto was a traveler from a distant world. Yoruichi almost…almost flew into a blind panic and would have transformed into her human body and used her Shunpo mastery to get to the fight and get Naruto away before she remembered Naruto's words.
He had neatly avoided promising to follow her orders but he had promise that he wouldn't die. Knowing Naruto always kept his promises eased her nerves. Not by much though.
Naruto grunted as the flames from his opponent's Shikai licked at his arms, leaving mild burns that were gone almost as quickly as they had been administered. They had exchanged numerous blows, yet Yamamoto had yet to be hurt, only letting out the odd grunt of strain under Naruto's devastatingly strong swords strikes. Naruto had been burned and sliced several times not because of lack of ability with a blade, but because of inexperience with wielding a Zanpukuto and the particular sword style that the Shinigami use of which Yamamoto was a master.
"Kagirinai no Hisho!" he shouted as he once again swung his blade at Yamamoto. Unlike the Hollows he had used it on before, Yamamoto was simple too strong to be lifted up and sliced to pieces. He was though, put slightly off balance by the strong wind and dozens of small rends appeared in his clothes.
Yamamoto grunted and stepped back he discarded his haori and the top half of his uniform revealing a scarred and slightly wrinkled but none the less impressive physique. Naruto paused letting out a low whistle.
"You sure keep yourself in shape Yamamoto-san," Yamamoto nodded at the compliment but sighed inwardly.
"No doubt this has already caused a panic amongst the Divisions. I must end this quickly." Naruto exhaled in exasperation.
"Ok I get were you're coming from..." he shook his head resignedly "Let's go."
Naruto charged and swung his blade. "Ryuubi!!" A massive geyser of flame extended out from Naruto's huge weapon and snapped at Yamamoto like a whip. The elder Shinigami Shunpo'd to safety, appearing behind Naruto who about-faced too late.
"Nadegiri!" he spoke aloud as he swung his flame covered weapon in a sideways sweep even though he was several feet from Naruto. A large writhing flame arced out from Yamamoto's blade and sliced into Naruto, who grunted in pain as the searing flame not only severely burned his entire body, but cut him in half.
Yamamoto sighed and sealed his blade. Naruto's spiritual pressure had dropped sharply, but had remained high enough to prove he wasn't dead to those sensitive to these things. Yamamoto knew something was afoot, as they had fought they had also talked to each other. Naruto had introduced himself and revealed his actual age. Yamamoto had been pleased to find someone close to his own age even though he was still quite a bit older that the young Walker.
Yamamoto knew that this win had been too easy. A blow like that wouldn't put down a universe-jumping demigod for long. Naruto had to be playing dead, but for what reason? Yamamoto did not know, but he would find out.
He signaled for the 4th division and wasn't surprised when Unohana appeared within moments. He was quietly thankful that he had moved the two pieces Naruto had been cut into back together so it appeared that he had been only had extremely bad burns and had almost been cut in half, not that he had been cut in half and burnt to a crisp.
'This one is extremely dangerous Retsu-chan. No one but you must attend to him." Unohana nodded. The man was clearly very serious
The Seireitei calmed. The intruder who had defeated Kuchiki Byakuya and attacked Yamamoto had been captured. While the group Naruto had entered with didn't suspect that he had been gravely injured, two of them were glad for another reason.
Chad was happy that Naruto was still alive. Yoruichi was happy Naruto had been taken alive by the insanely strong captain even if she did suspect Naruto had let himself be captured.
The rest of the Shinigami and Ryoka were just happy the pressure had faded.
Deep intense blue eyes snapped open to stare into eyes that were a nice navy colour.
"You have a most remarkable regeneration speed Ryoka-san, and the paralysis technique you used on Byakuya is fascinating. I would hope you would discuss it with me so I may implement it in medicinal ways."
Naruto blinked then grinned slightly his eyes flickering over the voluptuous form well hidden behind the Shihakusho and the captain's haori.
"Uzumaki Naruto, and you must be Unohana Retsu, correct?"
"Please call me Naruto, formalities leave a bad taste in my mouth. Anyways, you wanted to know about that technique?"
"Yes. It would help with restraining difficult patients as well as…" Unohana trailed off as Naruto laughed.
"That's what it was invented for." Unohana raised an elegant eyebrow on her beautiful face in curiosity.
"My grandmother was my home's greatest healer and she specifically invented that just for me…I had a habit of slipping out of the hospital way before my release date."
Unohana favored the injured man- well, at least she thought he was injured- with a small amused smile.
"Well Naruto-san, you will not be escaping this hospital so easily. I am the only one allowed access to your room and my Lieutenant is outside this room and will only open the door at my voice. On top of that, you are tied down with Reiastu sealing restraints, so it seems you will be under my care for the near future."
Naruto's smile faded. "I am sorry Retsu-chan,"
Unohana blinked both at the familiar form of address and the apology. "For what?"
Naruto surged up out of the bed, his lips slamming into Unohana's own making the Healer freeze, only realizing her mistake when fingers rested on a pressure point between her shoulder and neck.
Her body went limp and inwardly the serene but powerful woman seethed at such a rookie mistake. She would have her revenge; the Ryoka would not get far with his wounds even if he got out of the room
"I must apologize again Retsu-chan, as I must take a small liberty with your body." She glared at him as he straightened her from her slightly bent over position, just out of the corner of her eye she could see the various straps holding him down had been untied and the Reiastu draining cuffs broken apart. He quickly removed her haori and placed her in the bed, strapping her down and covering her with the blankets as he replaced the cuffs around her ankles and wrists.
Naruto stared into her flaring eyes with a smirk before looking down at his own person. He was dressed in only boxers and bandages. He ripped off the bandages and by sheer chance, glanced over into Unohana's wide amazement filled eyes.
Unohana stared at the utterly unblemished body standing near her. Wounds that even if healed at a massively advanced pace should have left scars, bruising, some sort of sign. He had healed in a few hours wounds that would have been fatal to most.
Very troubling ideas were blooming in her mind. What if the Ryoka allowed himself to lose? Well, lose that quickly, simply because it was the most prudent means to achieve his goals, whatever they may be. His wounds contradicted this idea, but what if he had a superb control over his own body and allowed his healing factor to remain dormant? Feigning injury until he was placed alone in this room then healed in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, wounds that would take several weeks for even a captain to heal from.
"Now I know what you're thinking: 'Naruto can't get out of this room,' well let me show you a little trick."
Unohana became greatly intrigued when she found herself staring at someone who looked identical to her, down to the last iota.
"Open the door please," 'Unohana' said in a voice that even sounded like the original. The door cracked open and Naruto smiled softly at the person on the other side who was obviously her own lieutenant. If only Isane would step into the room or even peer at the bound form which was obviously that of a woman's.
"Ah, I believe Ryoka-san here should have some clothes on hand. He is healing quite nicely and should be able to be transferred to a holding cell sometime tomorrow. Would you mind fetching a Shihakusho for me? I will wait here for your return." Naruto requested in her own voice.
"Right away Taicho," Isane affirmed as she closed the door. Unohana would have groaned if she could vocalize anything.
Naruto merely stood in her form, rocking back and forth on his heels and humming quietly to himself for a few minutes. Soon enough, there was a knock on the door.
"I have the clothes Taicho!" Lieutenant Kotetsu Isane called
"Ah yes. Please come in and place them by the door." Isane stepped in and quietly closed the door behind her, then stilled. She stared at Unohana, bound and unmoving in the bed then the Unohana grinning madly standing next to the door.
"What the..." she managed to get out before a hand slammed into her neck and she dropped like a stone.
"Don't worry, she'll be up and at em' in a little bit." Naruto quickly stripped and wasn't surprised when Unohana didn't blush. She have most likely stripped him herself to apply bandages so she had seen it before. Naruto dressed then walked over to Unohana, pecked her lightly on the forehead and received a confused glance.
"Ta-ta Retsu-chan," and then he was gone.
Unohana sighed as she cursed herself for making the mistake of thinking she could be in control every time she had an invader in her ward.
Naruto had already found his Zanpukuto under lock and key in what was obviously Unohana's office, while the office itself was not locked. A strong kick had done it for the locked chest that held his weapons. With them retrieved he was gone, racing across the roofs of the Seireitei when he came across a sight that made him stop dead then lie prone on the roof tiles. A sword was impaled into a blank wall but a group of people standing in the courtyard some distance below stared up at it in horror.
A woman screamed.
He peered over the edge. The gathering of people was staring at a sword impaled into a wall and nothing else. He frowned when one of them a small woman staggered forward and fell to her knees screaming.
This place was screwy.
He backed away and dropped down the side of the building, disappearing from sight and ignorant of what had actually transpired in the courtyard or how it would ultimately affect the future.
While repercussions of Aizen's apparent murder were echoing throughout the Shinigami ranks, other important events were happening across the Soul Society.
Ichigo, having defeated and fought Madarame Ikkaku, had moved on. Ganju, having acquired Yamada Hanataro as a hostage/ally had faced down and defeated Abarai Renji who this time was at full power unlike their previous confrontation on earth. Ichigo was now facing, much to his friends' horror, one of the strongest Captains of the Seireitei: Zaraki Kenpachi of the 11th division.
Chad had smashed his way through a good portion of the 8th division forces but was defeated quickly and without grievous injury by Kyoraku Shunsui, Taicho of the 8th. Who ironically, was being sent to the prison section of the hospital from which Naruto had just escaped.
In testament to his luck, bad as it may be, Naruto had run headlong into another confrontation.
Naruto was running down another of the seemingly endless identical pathways that made up the home of the Shinigami when he sensed something and slowed to a stop.
He drew his blades just in time to deflect a Kusari-gama-like weapon that was aimed for his head. Naruto jumped, tucking into a tight spin to dodge several more swings from the weapons, two identical blades attached by a chain. He landed in a crouch bringing up his blades to stare at his opponent.
"We meet again Ryoka"
"I'm sorry, do I know you?"
Hisagi Shuhei face faulted hard. He surged to his feet quickly growling.
"You stabbed me, dipshit," Naruto shrugged.
"I stab a lot of people. You and that other dude ain't much more than two extra faces on a long list." Hisagi gritted his teeth in anger at the blatant disrespect this Ryoka was showing everyone.
"I don't know what trick you pulled on Byakuya-Taicho to defeat him, but it won't work on me." with a growl, Shuhei leapt forward, using his odd Zanpakuto to full effect. Naruto grinned people who used Kusari-gama as weapons were generally dangerous to a person with a normal sword, what with the ability to strike from a distance and to entangle the opponent being key. Therefore people who actually knew how to use one were several times more dangerous, just like this guy. Their weakness was relatively simple: Get close to them, or get them close to you… actually, doing that was kind of tricky.
Naruto grinned as the lieutenant, in a extremely rapid movement, entangled most of his right arm and his Zanpakuto in said hand with a simple deceptive movement. He deliberately made an ineffectual swipe at the chain with his other sword ignoring how the blade of the Kusari-gama wrapped around his arm and pierced the flesh of his shoulder. Shuhei then made his mistake. He shifted his weight slightly; no doubt in preparation for another attack but it was just what Naruto needed.
Shuhei had believed for a moment that due to preparation, foreknowledge, surprise and a little luck, he'd caught his opponent. That all changed as his eyes widened in alarm, then finally bulging in pain before he lost consciousness. His opponent dropped the weapon in his trapped arm and kicked the butt, sending the Zanpakuto whipping through the air to embed itself into the Shinigami's thigh. An abrupt yank of strength comparable to a captain's pulled him off his feet and face first into a very hard fist.
Naruto smirked to himself slightly as he picked up the Zanpakuto he dropped to punch the surprised lieutenant, and calmly removed his sword from the man's thigh. As an afterthought, he tore off part of the unconscious Shuhei's uniform to bandage the wound.
He was walking away when a strange high pitched noise sprung up from nowhere. It didn't seem to be an attack until it cut off. A hushed whisper and the unmistakable shuffle of sandaled feet came from behind him. He whirled coming face to face with a man who appeared to be of African descent who was in captain's uniform. He wore some kind of visor over his face. Naruto immediately recognized the blind man by the description given to him by Urahara.
"Kaname To..." he looked up in time to see hundreds of metal blades inches from penetrating his body.
Kaname Tosen deflated as his attack killed the Ryoka. Aizen-sama would not be happy that he had killed the mysterious Shinigami, but Tosen couldn't allow a man like that to live. He could not let Soul Society generate another unstoppable demon like Kenpachi. He stared with sightless eyes at the place his attack landed for a moment before sheathing his sword. He made to turn when he felt an unnatural movement of air brush across his skin. He inhaled and made to draw his sword. Agony cut a path across his torso as he was slashed before pain erupted in his stomach as he was run through with another blade. Tosen gagged. This was impossible! How had he dodged it? He fell to the ground his hand dropping limply from the hilt of his sheathed blade when a voice whispered in his ear.
"It takes a man to kill a monster boy," before he blacked out he realized he must have spoken aloud while musing about his attack. Before he blacked out he could hear the Ryoka walking away whistling a merry but strange tune. Yep, definitely another Zaraki. Those words… what did he mean by that? Did Tosen need to find some inner resolve before he could defeat a being like that? Yes, that was probably what he meant. Kaname Tosen passed peacefully into unconsciousness moments before a squad from the 4th arrived to see him treated.
Naruto was en route to the last place he'd felt Ichigo be when he saw a tall, lithe curvy and very, very naked figure rushing across rooftops carrying an unconscious Ichigo on one shoulder. He Shunpo'd next to her where she promptly tossed Ichigo to him and reverted to her feline analog.
"What happened to him?" the cat woman replied tersely, either angry at Ichigo or at him. Probably both.
"He fought two high powered Shinigami, one of them a lieutenant and won before fighting to a draw with Kenpachi. Where the hell have you been!?" she demanded angrily.
"Fought a bunch of weak guys, managed to get the drop on that Byakuya guy, he underestimated me, fought Yamamoto and let him beat me. Escaped from a hospital run by a total babe, saw some weird event thing and severely wounded the Blind Captain and his lieutenant." he heard Yoruichi chuckling to herself as they rapidly approached a cliff. They both scaled it with ease, happening upon a hidden door. Naruto had heard about the place, so if he was ever seeking asylum, he could hide but he never expected it to be so remote.
Yoruichi changed back to human form and with Naruto, who for once was showing actual seriousness by ignoring her nakedness to help save Ichigo's life. When they got the boy stabilized and resting comfortably, Naruto sat against the door with Yoruichi back in her cat form, curled up in his lap and purring as he stroked her ears. He dozed off as he waited for Ichigo to wake.
The feeling of Yoruichi jumping off his lap woke him up. Naruto cracked an eye to see Ichigo had finally rose from his near-comatose slumber.
"Ah you're finally up." murmured Yoruichi, alerting the injured boy to their presence.
"Yoruichi, Naruto… you guys saved my life, didn't you?" Yoruichi snorted.
"I saved your life. This fool only turned up later on when we were almost here, and you survived because of your strong life force. Without that, you never would have survived such serious wounds no matter what I did" Ichigo blinked.
"Wounds?" his eyes glazed over as he obviously recalled his fight with Kenpachi "that's right in… I actually thought he killed me for a second there." he muttered before becoming pale.
"OH NO!" he shouted suddenly sitting up making Yoruichi let off a strange yelp that sounded as if it didn't know whether to be male or female.
"Dammit" Ichigo swore before grunting in pain, grasping his bandaged belly.
"Don't move you dolt! You'll just open up those wounds. Don't you realize how badly you got hurt?" Naruto remained silent, enjoying watching Ichigo making an idiot of himself. Ichigo ignored the warning, tossing his sheets off and attempted to get up.
"I gotta go help Chad, I think he's in danger." Ichigo let out another exclamation of pain when Yoruichi pounced on his face, knocking him flat on his back.
"Chad is okay, just relax." Yoruichi jumped off as Ichigo took an ineffective swipe at her. "Orihime and Uryu are fine too," Ichigo glanced over at Yoruichi, obviously expecting an explanation.
"Chad was lucky to fight who he did. He left him wounded but alive. Uryu and Orihime have avoided confrontation and so far haven't suffered a scratch. Naruto caused even more trouble than you, taking down almost an entire division, fighting three captains while severely wounding two of them, as well as a Lieutenant and managed to escape after being captured."
"That's good," Ichigo admitted as he finally relaxed. 'World-hopping sunuvabitch! Stop making me look bad!'
"So you just stay here behind the barrier and rest." Ichigo murmured an agreement to Yoruichi's orders.
"Half your organs were crushed after all, if it hadn't been for this thing." she said pushing up a broken mask that looked similar to that of a Hollow. "You would have been sliced in half. Fortunately for you, it seems to have absorbed most of the impact." she manipulated the mask around a bit with her paws before she leveraged it up to fully show it to Ichigo. Ichigo stared at for a moment.
"That thing was on me?" Ichigo went on to explain how he had apparently lost it when a guy named Hanataro had thrown it away, thinking it was evil. After a small argument, Ichigo gave up the mask to a wary Yoruichi who moved it into a corner of the room.
"Well you're certainly are strong. That's very surprising." Yoruichi looked curious.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well you said you were almost here when Naruto showed up, so you must have carried me all that way despite being so small." Ichigo explained, looking rather confused at Yoruichi's lack of understanding.
"Oh! Lifting things is no problem for me once I revert to my original form" Naruto hid a smirk he knew what was coming.
"Ah right, original form, I forgot" muttered Ichigo before he blinked. "Wait a sec, what did I just say? Original form?" he repeated.
"I've never shown you and your friends my original form. Having come this far, there's no reason to keep it hidden anymore." Ichigo just blinked in confusion as Yoruichi backed up a small distance.
"Behold the most awesome, smexy and bad-ass Shihoin Yoruichi!" Yoruichi proclaimed, half joking, half serious. She began to glow as smoke emanated from her paws. She rose slowly, her form obscured by the smoke before finally appearing solidly and clearly in the form Naruto knew and loved (almost on a daily basis). Ichigo started, his jaw hanging. slack as he tried to pronounce something. He awkwardly pointed at Yoruichi still unable to move words from his brain to his vocal cords.
"Y-You're a girl?" Yoruichi smirked.
"I get that a lot. I guess most people assume I'm a man because of the voice I use as a cat." She stalked forward with a sultry sway to her hips.
"No matter how many times I do this, it's always fun to see the reaction I get. Though honestly, I expected someone like you to handle it a bit better."
"I thought you were a cat!" Ichigo mumbled and Yoruichi's smirk changed to a grin.
"Cat's don't talk Ichigo. Put some thought into it." Ichigo hung his head in shame, but it snapped up when Naruto, rolling his eyes, drawled out.
"Anyway," Yoruichi placed emphasis on the word, drawing attention away from the conflict that would imminently erupt, "that's enough surprises for now."
Ichigo's eyes stayed on her face for a total of three seconds before drifting down to her chest which was just below his eyes as she crouched. Naruto couldn't blame him; she had a nice chest. Yoruichi began to explain how she got him there when Ichigo turned a bright glowing red.
"GAAH!! WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!?"
A few minutes later, Yoruichi was getting dressed.
"Oh right, sorry about that." Ichigo, who had turned his back on her glared at Naruto who was calmly watching Yoruichi dress.
"Look away you lech!" he snapped. Naruto blinked
"Why? Yoruichi is the girlfriend I've been telling you about all this time." He was about to scream at Naruto for not revealing this before when Yoruichi interrupted.
"I'm surprised Ichigo, you're more innocent than any hard-ass should be. Is this the first time you've seen a girl naked?" Ichigo blushed and crossed his arms, hunching over like a petulant child denied a toy.
"Never mind," he grumbled.
"Do you want another look? Life is short and you might not get a chance to see a hottie like me again!" Ichigo turned to glare at her, not realizing she had lifted up the shirt she'd slipped on while speaking.
"STOP TEMPTING ME!" He shouted before blushing and turning away when he saw her state of dress. Yoruichi sighed looking over at Naruto who just never stopped looking amused.
"Naruto wasn't kidding when he said you didn't have a sense of humor. You really should take it easy or you're going to end up with an ulcer or something." Ichigo grunted and then bellowed at the top of his lungs.
"WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT SOME PANTS ON?!" Byakuya's spiritual pressure became detectable shortly thereafter. Ichigo, ignoring his wounds, stole Yoruichi's device for flight and rushed out the door.
"MOTHER. FUCKER!" Yoruichi swore as he took off.
"Naruto, you know how to find the training ground?"
"Good, go there. I'll grab Ichigo and bring him there later. You make sure there's no one around to spot us." Naruto rushed off without preamble. He encountered no resistance; what with the Reiatsu boiling out from the prison where Rukia was had drawn all the Shinigami away from the hidden training ground.
Roughly ten had passed when a clearly fatigued Yoruichi arrived with an unconscious Ichigo draped over her shoulder.
"Stupid boy tried to fight Byakuya in his condition, and it appears he healed from the wounds you inflicted on him earlier." Ichigo drew in a breath as he awoke and grabbed Yoruichi by her collar. He started to question her when a blade came to rest against his neck. The cat woman smiled
"Relax baby, Ichigo just wanted to know why I knocked him out." the blade was withdrawn and Naruto grunted in a reluctant acknowledgment. Ichigo sensing the danger had passed once again turned his wrath upon Yoruichi.
"Damn you! Why did you take only me and not the others? I was the only one who had a chance of surviving back there and now the others will be killed because of you!" Ichigo rambled furiously. Yoruichi remained calm and unmoved.
"Don't be so vain. None of you, except probably Naruto, could have survived against Byakuya, and not even he could have prevailed against both of the Captains there."
"I could too," Naruto pouted, only to pale slightly when Yoruichi glared at him, and it wasn't the usual 'Feminine glare of doom', or the 'It's the couch for you tonight' glare. Oh no, it was the dreaded 'I'll have your cock and not in a good way' glare. He quickly silenced himself.
Ichigo looked like he was going to strike her but with a simple push she flipped him onto his back.
"Stop thrashing around! Do you want to open up those wounds again?"
"Dumbass," Naruto drawled again
"Why don't you both go fuck yourselves?" Naruto's face lit up like a Christmas tree as he slipped an arm around Yoruichi's waist
"Good idea!" and started to pull her away only to receive an elbow to the gut and a mischievous smile that clearly said 'Later'.
"Why didn't you take any of the others or at least Rukia?"
"I could only carry one at a time. Besides, out of everyone, only you and Naruto could defeat Byakuya, and even then, that may be giving you too much credit. I'm going to help train you both, so you can defeat him and Naruto can face of against some of the others. They'll all be fine, Captain Ukitake was there. He's Byakuya's superior and a good man. Even with Ganju being and invader and Hanataro a traitor, he wouldn't kill them simply for trying to save Rukia's life."
"I'll train you to take on Byakuya and save everyone with your own hands." Ichigo slowly rose to his feet and gave Yoruichi a long hard stare.
"Lets do this" Yoruichi grinned and took a few steps back and with a short hop was standing on a large rock. It was the first time Ichigo noticed that he was standing in a large enclosed room much like the one under Urahara's shop.
Yoruichi went on to explain to Ichigo- as Naruto already knew this information as he had been trying to achieve Bankai for a while- about the second and final level of a Zanpakuto's abilities. She also explained how all of the captains save one could do this. As she talked about Kenpachi, Naruto hid a grin. He'd have to fight that guy sometime.
Yoruichi went on to explain about the spirit transfer dolls and how they could help achieve Bankai. She gave Naruto one and told him to go to the other end of the training room while she supervised Ichigo's attempts.
Naruto walked a fair distance away before stabbing both Zanpakuto into the life sized doll. With a flash of flame and a burst of wind, both aspects of Bahumat- the large oriental dragon and the man in armour- appeared.
"You wish to achieve Bankai." they stated in unison.
"Yeah. I was told I would have to beat you?" the twin-bodied soul-sharing being looked entirely too amused.
"That would be pointless. We both know everything you do, and with our boundless energies we would simply destroy each other in endless battle. No, you need to make a realisation; a dark knowledge you already know but refuse to admit. This knowledge could very well break you and turn you into a monster no one in this world could possibly defeat. Or it could galvanise you and change you into the god you need to be to survive the trials that will come in your life."
"What is this knowledge?"
"You already know it, you have just not realised it yet. If you never realise it, you will die here. I will ensure to destroy you. I cannot in good conscious allow an insane Walker to be unleashed upon this world. Think to your past, to your present and your future and you will realise the truth."
Naruto hated this cryptic bullshit but he sat down with a sigh while the Zanpakuto just continued to calmly watch him.
Could it be his status as a Walker of Worlds? But what did that have to do with it? Just because back home in times of peace he felt a little restless unless training, sparring or in the presence of loved ones, he could live a life of peace for all eternity if he wanted too. No, that sounded boring. It sounded weak and disgusting, but where was this coming from? He had strived for peace between his home nations as a child and had finally achieved it through war. War: A dirty, disgusting business that he completely and utterly...enjoyed?
He enjoyed the rush of battle; of surviving; of defeating opponents. He felt alive on a battlefield. He had slowly gotten stronger over the years in spite long stretches of stagnancy. He had gotten faster, he picked up new fighting styles, weapons and jutsu with a speed a Sharingan user would be envious of.
This didn't make any sense. He was good at war, at every aspect of it. He was at home in battle, but what did that make him? A fiend? A monster? Maybe, maybe it made him someone who lived for war. Someone who couldn't truly exist without conflict, without fighting for his life. Whether that placed him with anything from the depths of Hell was debatable.
Did that mean he was going to spend the rest of eternity, or however long he lived, travelling from world to world and fighting countless battles and wars either alone or alongside friends and loved ones? A life lived making and ending war? An eternity of battle against an endless horde of powerful foes...sounded like fun.
He had long ago accepted that it was quite possible he would outlive Yoruichi and whoever else he fell for while in this world. He had accepted that possibility the first time he had been cut in half and simply rejoined.
An eternity of war, of death, pain and suffering. He refused to let that beat him. He'd face eternity head on, head held high and swords in hand until his final breath. Naruto smiled and was shaken from his thoughts by a gauntleted hand upon his shoulder.
"That was the hard part. The realisation that you will not know peace until the day you die could have driven you mad. The easy trial is now,"
"Don't die," With the speed of greased lightning, the armoured spectre drew his blades and rammed them through Naruto's heart and stomach.
Yoruichi watched as Ichigo crawled into the hot spring and was about to go looking for Naruto, as all she had felt of him in the last day had been a single large spike of Reiastu and then nothing. She was about to take off when something changed.
She couldn't tell what, but some sort of pressure buffeted her from all sides like a particularly fierce wind. Ichigo was clearly feeling it to as he looked around in a panic. The ground started to shake… hell, everything was shaking! The ground, her, the walls, the roof, even the very air itself vibrated.
She saw Ichigo mouth something to her. It looked like he was yelling but no sound was coming out of his mouth. That's when it hit her: This wasn't spiritual pressure it was a sound.
Then she began to hear it as she focused, listening for whatever was causing this phenomenon. It was one long impossibly loud note.
It was a voice, but not that of a human.
It was a roar.
It ended almost as fast as it started, leaving an almost deafening silence and the ground still suffering from tremors.
Ichigo quickly whipped on his clothes and rushed after Yoruichi. They arrived to find the air smelling faintly of smoke and flame. What was once the ground was now a convex pane of jagged glass. Naruto lay supine in a huge crater. His blades were stabbed into the ground on either side of his head. Ichigo hurried down the false window, Yoruichi hot on his trail.
The golden-eyed woman grabbed at Naruto's head with her hands, gently stroking his cheeks and calling his name. When no response came, Yoruichi looked as though she was about to start crying. As her eyes burned and her first tear threatened to fall, her blonde lover snorted. For a moment Ichigo thought Naruto was laughing at them when he snuffled slightly under his breath and rubbed his face against Yoruichi's palm. Ichigo noted that Yoruichi, while holding it back before, had started to cry. The woman who he had only experienced as either a playful tease or a harsh task master seemed strangely vulnerable as she gazed down on the blonde haired man. She smiled and kissed his forehead and gestured for Ichigo to help her move him to the hot spring. After a momentary bit of confusion caused by leaving without his Zanpakuto they had him back to the sleeping bags where he was snoring softly under the watchful gaze of his lover, Ichigo was dutifully a good distance away resting behind a rock. He would have been closer had Yoruichi not stripped Naruto to the waist, stripped herself and slipped the both into the one sleeping bag.
When Naruto woke, it was with an insane smile on his face. He had seen his Bankai; he had felt its power and knew that in single combat it was utterly useless. He was better of using his Shikai and his natural abilities. He would keep it as a trump card, not even telling Yoruichi....well, he'd probably cave on that one if she withheld something like sex or maybe those pancakes she sometimes made. He could really use one of them right now.
He sat up and looked around. He saw only Yoruichi's head as she obviously watched over her 'Padawan' training and he could feel someone else's receding Reiatsu off to the left. He got up and ambled over to Yoruichi after getting dressed.
"Who's the other guy?" Yoruichi didn't even blink.
"Renji. He's achieved Bankai so he's going off somewhere. He's on our side now, trying to rescue Rukia." Naruto grunted and decided what he was going to do until the time to stop the execution. He would train, it was that simple.
Ichigo was running from Zangetsu, looking for both a new blade and a position to attack from when he came to a dead stop. He sensed more than saw Zangetsu stop. He could almost feel his Zanpakuto's shock at what he was seeing. He presumed Naruto was training, but his method was insane. Naruto had apparently rammed a long wooden pole into the single biggest boulder he could find. If Ichigo could guess, it would weigh a couple of tons. Using the pole as a hilt, he was going through a kata using the boulder in place of his sword.
Naruto paused, looking confusedly at them.
"What?" then he blinked and smiled. "Oh right, time to double up!" he said cheerfully and seemed to pull an identical boulder on a pole out of no where and use both of them.
"Is he…?" Ichigo asked.
"Yes... an interesting training method." replied his weapon's avatar. Yoruichi appeared at their side.
"So that's what he was doing with those boulders. Hmm… he's probably a bit bored. They're not as heavy as the weights Urahara made for him back home. He's probably doing that thing he invented."
"Thing he invented?" asked Ichigo naturally curious.
"Yeah he invented this training style. It takes a huge amount of both control over your own body and sheer concentration to keep it up. Basically he's forcing all the muscles he's currently using to push against each other, using them to create more resistance in his movements. Like fighting submerged in mud." Ichigo whistled and had to duck a swing at his head from Zangetsu.
'Bastard's still making me look bad!'
Unohana thought she was using about fifty percent of her composure to keep from gaping as the orange haired boy stopped the Sokyoku and she believed another twenty-five percent disappeared when a loud juicy crunch came from somewhere from behind her. Turning, she was surprised at how utterly unsurprising it was to see the mysterious blonde Ryoka behind her, munching happily on a large apple. He turned his head towards her raising an eyebrow.
"Apple?" offering her another juicy bright red apple he pulled from within his robes. Unohana licked her lips. Those apples did look really good. She hesitantly took the apple he was offering.
"Where did you get them?" he shrugged.
"Stole them from some orchard."
"NOOO! Who has dared to steal the prize winning apples of the Kuchiki Orchard?!"
Unohana stifled a small moan as she bit into the juicy and crunch apple. She would have to learn where he got them. Since he was most likely going to die in the next few minutes though, she would have to learn on her own. Life was so troublesome sometimes.
Apparently no one else had noticed that Naruto was actually there up until this point. A sudden gasp was all the warning Naruto had as he ducked an attack from a petite woman with black hair. In the split second that the short captain of the second division hung in the air above him, her mouth open in a snarl, Naruto rammed his half eaten apple into her mouth with enough force to both choke her and send her tumbling.
As Soi-Fon spluttered and coughed up the remains of the apple, she looked up only to be kicked across the face sending her skidding across the plateau. As she once again rose to her feet, she witnessed her blonde attacker move with effortless grace as he dodged attacks from her own vice captain as well as the vice captains of Unohana and Yamamoto. He leaned out of the way of an attack by the silver haired Sasakibe Chojiro, Yamamoto's aide, and grabbed his face. In a show of monstrous strength the blonde Ryoka lifted the vice captain and slammed him head first into the ground with a massive boom. Chojiro was left lying in a large crater, unconscious, and no doubt suffering from a severe concussion and possibly a cracked skull.
While rising from his attack on Chojiro, the Ryoka flipped onto his hands and kicked out with both his feet, driving them deep into Ōmaeda Marechiyo's sizable gut. Doubling over the huge noble, pulling his feet back and tucking up into a ball while still remaining on his hands, he pushed up making his feet connect with Omaeda's chin. The fat man went down like several hundred kilos of bricks. While in mid air, Naruto flipped and landed in a crouch. With a spin he tripped up Kotetsu Isane and stood as she fell, ramming the ridge of his hand into the side of her neck while she was still airborne.
Soi-Fon remained grim. The man was obviously an expert hand-to-hand combatant, and yet she had never seen such an effective cross between a graceful fighting style such as that of her traitorous former Captain Yoruichi, and such brute force like that of the Eleventh division. As she rushed him simultaneously with Captain Kuchiki, he leapt upwards, landing perfectly on the execution stand.
It was then that Ukitake Jushiro and Kyoraku Shunsui, captains of the Thirteenth and Eighth divisions respectively made their move. Ukitake having just arrived, used the Shihoin shield together with Kyoraku to attack and destroy the Sokyoku which had been gearing up for another attack on Ichigo and Rukia.
Naruto whistled appreciatively as the massive phoenix exploded after noticing that Rukia was craning her neck to stare wide eyed at him. Naruto decided to speak up about his presence at the execution stand.
"Hell-oooo, Soul Society!" he exclaimed with all the solemn gravity he could muster, which was all destroyed by the mischievous smirk on his face.
"Been a while eh Rukia?" Rukia just continued to gape at the man she had thought she saw die. Naruto noticed a flicker of movement below and believed that the short woman was preparing to attack again.
To both Rukia and Ichigo, Naruto appeared to mutter something under his breath when he flickered and disappeared using Shunpo.
Soi-Fon blinked as the blonde Ryoka appeared in front of her with a Shunpo that was considerably faster than her own, both his hands were pointed towards her.
"SOREN SOKATSUI!" he bellowed. Soi-Fon and Unohana, who was directly below her dived and used Shunpo respectively to get out of the way of the double barrelled version of Sokatsui. Soi-Fon rushed the Ryoka, hoping to get in a fatal blow before he attacked again. He reappeared above her and shouted out another high level Kido attack
"RAIKOHO!" a massive blast of yellow energy struck the ground where she had been standing. As she once again dived out of the way and rolled to her feet, a strong, muscular arm wrapped itself around her throat. Another arm shot over her shoulder, the palm of its hand pointing directly at Yamamoto.
"Hiryugekizokushintenraiho!" the voice in her ear whispered and one of the most powerful Kido attacks launched itself towards the head captain. The Commander knocked the spell aside with a swing of his sword. The spell, though powerful, was both under powered due to lacking an incantation, and due to being made by an amateur.
She jammed her elbows backwards into the ribs of the Ryoka who backed off before aiming a sharp kick at her legs. She jumped up and kicked out, making him duck. They quickly descended into hand to hand combat. Soi-Fon's impression that he was skilled in hand to hand combat was blown out of the window. It was quite obvious that he was holding back and his style seemed to shift and change almost constantly.
One moment he was fighting with a brutality worthy of Kenpachi, allowing her to land heavy strikes simply so he could land a blow on her in return, and the next he was flowing, leaning, dodging and jumping out of the way of her attacks like his bones were made of water.
Behind them even more was taking place.
Ukitake and Kyoraku had fled with Yamamoto hot on their tails. Ichigo, seeing Naruto playing distraction, had attempted to flee with Rukia but ended up passing her on to Renji so he could battle Byakuya. Unohana had collected the injured on the field and taken them back to the 4th division HQ.
A pair of golden eyes watched the fight that was steadily getting more vicious, realising that Naruto could very well kill Soi-Fon if she got him mad enough. Intervention!
Naruto blinked as a blur snatched Soi-Fon away from him. It was obviously Yoruichi taking her former student somewhere to battle. Naruto was not put out in any way, due to there were still battles to be fought. With the exception of Ichigo and Byakuya a short distance away, Naruto realised, he was alone.
"Nuts! What the hell am I going to do now? So many options… Explore, prank, wait here, sleep? Ah screw it, I'm going exploring."
Yoruichi was beating Soi-Fon without even the aide of a Zanpakuto, and the rest of the Ryoka were slowly heading towards the execution grounds. Ichigo was slowly but surely ensuring that Byakuya ate all of his arrogant and noble assumptions.
While all this exciting stuff was happening, Naruto was just plain lost. He expressed his opinion of his situation in a way that made a young martial artist trekking through some forgotten forest with a massive backpack, in a dimension far far away, sneeze loudly.
"WHERE AM I NOW?!!"
Huffing in annoyance, he walked through the fancy door in front of him. Beyond that was another long walkway leading to a building sitting in a middle of a lake. The door to this building was barred, or at least partially barred: A huge hole had been smashed through it.
"Now that is interesting!" Increasing his pace, he entered the previously uninteresting building and walked through a large cavern like room to the only source of light. Upon entering yet another doorway he whistled, drawing the attention of the room's sole living occupants.
"That's a lot of dead old guys! What happened here kid?" It amused Naruto that the tall strawberry blonde woman with a bust that reminded him of Hinata once she had grown up turned her head to hide a smirk, while the kid in the captain's outfit frowned deeply.
"What are you doing here Ryoka? Is this monstrosity your doing?" questioned the midget.
"Nah I just got here. I was up at the execution grounds and I got bored. Besides from the smell and the colour of the flesh, these guys have been dead at least a week." Hitsugaya blinked and Rangiku openly gaped as the blonde Ryoka figured out immediately upon entering a room something that had taken the short Captain at least a minute and a half to figure out.
Hitsugaya Toshiro, knowing that not attacking the Ryoka was going against currently issued commands, decided to go against them anyway, as they where most likely issued after the Central Forty-Six were dead.
"Can you tell us anything else?" The Ryoka cocked his head then sniffed deeply. He repeated it a few more times before frowning.
"Funny, this place smells like that sword."
"Sword?" Toshiro asked with a frown.
"Yeah, this sword was stabbed into a wall in a courtyard somewhere. But for some reason, some short cute girl was screaming at it like someone had died. It was really weird."
Toshiro frowned in confusion. The Ryoka was obviously talking about the site of Aizen's murder, but he was acting as he had seen only Aizen's blade but not his body. Why would he think that?
Toshiro was about to ask more in depth questions when a voice interrupted them.
"Captain Hitsugaya, I figured I'd find you here." Naruto looked up to see a small built man with a haircut that reminded him distinctly of his dearest Ino-chan, and of course of that bastard Deidara. Naturally he decided to comment on this.
"I don't like you. You look a lot like one of my wives." The blonde man gave Naruto the appropriate 'WTF' look before he was questioned by Hitsuguya.
"Izuru? Are you the one responsible for this?" Izuru just turned and walked out the door. Toshiro glanced at Naruto who shrugged.
"Go, I'll be fine with the dead guys." Toshiro grimaced, hating to leave the invader alone anywhere, but not having much of a choice. He gestured to Rangiku to follow and took off after Izuru Kira, the Vice Captain to Ichimaru Gin. Just before the cleared the door they heard the Ryoka's voice one last time though it was obvious he was speaking to himself.
"That babe had a really nice set." Toshiro blushed slightly, having thought the same several times himself. Rangiku just grinned, accepting the lewd comment as a compliment.
After giving the corpses another once over, Naruto left to head deeper into the complex. He was well aware there was someone behind him in hiding; he just didn't register them as a threat. It was that short cute girl again.
About five minutes later, Naruto found himself in what was obviously some kind of living quarters for the guys upstairs. Once again sensing someone behind him, he paused to assess the situation.
There were actually two behind him. The girl and that Gin guy who reeked of danger. He did the prudent thing and hid. He watched as the girl was talked to by Gin then another guy turning up, one who apparently had been thought to be dead. He watched the girl approach this Captain Aizen when he just sensed something.
In his life as a ninja, he had developed the several extra senses. Ninja used them to keep themselves alive: One for danger, one for ambushes and traps, one for just plain trouble, one for angry women, and the ultimate version of one for an angry wife. He had also developed a sense that let him know when someone else was about to be attacked. His palms tingling, he moved.
Aizen blinked in surprise as his sneak attack on Momo was intercepted by someone else. The young impressionable girl was knocked to the floor as the blade meant for her chest pierced the flesh of another.
Momo gaped. No matter how much her heart wanted to deny it, the attack that was currently piercing the chest of the blonde Ryoka had been for her. She opened her mouth to ask a horrified question when a strong voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Run," she looked up at the blonde Ryoka, his bottomless deep blue eyes boring into her own.
"RUN!" and with that he struck out at Aizen who dodged, removing his blade from the man's chest. Momo stood to flee and had made it to the door when pain erupted from her stomach. Looking down, she easily spotted the blood-covered blade poking through her body. Looking back over he shoulder, Gin gave her a cheery wave before releasing his Shikai, making his extendible blade return to its original form.
Naruto drew his blades and blocked an attack from Aizen. He pressed his blades hard against Aizen's who let out a slight grunt of strain, leaning in close he smirked.
"You're a clever one, Four-Eyes. Plans within plans, eh? I knew someone like you once, and guess what he learned just as his plan was about to come to fruition?" Aizen grinned, enjoying the fact that he was actually being pressed by the strange Ryoka.
"What did he learn?" Aizen's grin was cut off as Naruto head butted him, staggering back his hand went to his bleeding nose incredulously.
"EVERYTHING DIES!" The Ryoka bellowed like an angry lion before attacking with a terrifying ferocity. Aizen was temporarily on his back foot, unable to keep up with such an unpredictable fighting style, coupled with monstrous strength and ferocity. Releasing more of his own carefully hidden reserves, Aizen found it much easier to cope with the Ryoka's attacks until the Ryoka upped his own level in an identical move.
Aizen couldn't help the grin that came onto his face. A brief lull in combat had come upon them, both standing only a few feet from each other.
"I must say I would love to continue this battle. I haven't seen my own blood in many years. But unfortunately, I have somewhere to be and don't want to run late, so if you'll excuse me…" he lowered his blade just as Naruto launched himself at Aizen again.
Naruto grunted as Aizen once again blocked his attack, but the grunt wasn't from the block. It was from Gin's blade that stabbed straight through his side and out the other.
"MOMO!" Came a horrified shout. Naruto glanced over to see the white-haired kid cradling the girl. Using his best 'Command' voice Naruto ordered.
"KID, GET THE GIRL OUT OF HERE!" Instantly responding to the authority in the voice and tone he acted, scooping up Momo and retreating. A roar of pain behind him made him turn. Gin had turned his blade and ripped it out of the Ryoka's front, cutting him in half. His left hand blade deflected another strike as the other went in for an attack on Aizen.
Aizen, tired of the delay, moved with his true speed and strength. He batted aside the clumsy attack and abruptly beheaded the Ryoka.
Hitsugaya stared in horror at the dismembered head that lay at his feet. He turned to flee cradling Momo to his chest. He hadn't made it far when the two traitors caught up. Thankfully Unohana Retsu's arrival forestalled any attack on the Captain and his injured friend.
Aizen smirked as he held up Naruto's head getting horrified gasps from several throats. He didn't notice Yamamoto, Ukitake or Kyoraku hiding small smiles. His smirk widened at Yoruichi's horrified and broken gaze. He opened his mouth to taunt them when he heard what sounded like hundreds of birds chirping behind him. He turned to investigate when a pained cry drew his attention abruptly. He spun and his eyes rested upon Tosen, who was looking down with his sightless eyes in a vain attempt to see the hand covered with lightning that had been driven through his back and out his chest.
A familiar head poked over the already dying Captain's shoulder.
"Miss me?" Aizen lost his calm and collected demeanour, openly glaring at the killer of his partner in crime. Naruto pulled his arm out of Kaname with a sickening slurp allowing the Captain to fall to the ground, calling out Aizen's name.
Before anyone could move as they were either too shocked, too wounded or just didn't want to help the traitor, Naruto drew his blade and plunged it through the back of Tosen's head. He stood just as Gin's blade extended, cutting him neatly in half. Naruto's torso flew momentarily from his body before a blood red energy leapt from his torso to his legs and drew them back together with a wet splat. The wound was gone in an instant leaving Naruto utterly unharmed.
"That deserves a 'lol'," Naruto just chuckled. Aizen glared hatefully at Naruto before summoning the Negicon from the Menos Grande.
"I don't know what you are, but you will pay for this!" Despite being in the supposedly impenetrable Negacion, something sliced into his cheek. He spotted the slowly falling weapon: an oddly-shaped throwing knife. Somehow it had been thrown through the Negacion. He turned to the only possibly culprit, Naruto.
"I've marked you, boy." was all he said before he turned his back and started to walk towards Yoruichi.
As he was lifted towards the sky, Aizen held a hand to his cut cheek, swearing to make Naruto pay for his impudence. Ukitake called out to him.
"You've joined with the Menos, why would you want to do that?"
"I need to keep reaching for the top" Aizen proclaimed as he removed his glasses and flattened out his hair, making it spike and drastically changing his look.
"Have you become that corrupt, have you?" Barked the normally placid captain, his deep gravely voice giving the words extra menace.
"You're blinded by your self-righteousness. From the beginning, no one has ever stood at the top. Neither you, nor me, nor the gods. But soon that unobtainable vacancy at the top will be filled. From now on, only I will stand at the top. Goodbye Shinigami," Though the words weren't directed at him, he could still here Naruto's smug voice from below.
"So he wants to be a god. Pfft, fought them, killed them before." Aizen suppressed a growl and decided on one more gloating comment.
"Goodbye, Ryoka boy." directing his gaze at Ichigo "I must admit, for a human, you were most entertaining."
With that he disappeared with the rest of the Hollows and Gin, leaving Tosen's body to rot.
Unohana arrived to heal the wounded and found an amusing scene. Having been informed that the Ryoka were no longer considered enemies, she had decided to let her fascination for the blonde man to affect her. Having heard he was decapitated and seeing the evidence lying several feet from her, it was needless to say shocking to see him alive and well and being fussed over by Yoruichi. While half-listening to a report from one of her Division's members, she listened in on the blonde's conversation.
"Yoruichi stop it, I'm fine!" Naruto whined making Yoruichi huff in anger.
"I was terrified out of my mind! Why didn't you tell me you could survive decapitation?!" she half-screamed. Naruto just shrugged.
"It's not like it's ever come up. Besides, I wasn't worried; it's happened before. I was fine, just knocked out for a while! that's why I wasn't here sooner." Yoruichi just grumbled before hugging him fiercely and beginning to cry.
At that point, Unohana decided whatever was going to be said between the two would be private.
Naruto rocked slowly back and forth cradling, Yoruichi as she got over the shock of having thought him dead. He continued to hold her until the battlefield had been cleared of wounded and...Well, everybody else. Having found that Yoruichi had fallen asleep he lay down as gently as possibly allowing his love to lie gently upon his chest and drifted off into sleep.
The following morning, Naruto let off an evil cackle, disturbing many of the Shinigami around him who were already fairly disturbed by what he was doing. You see, Naruto had managed to steal back from the 12th division his head which had been taken for experimentation. He had managed to get away by feeling up the vice captain of said division, shocking her enough to let him escape.
He had subsequently, while not a single bit squeamish, burnt all the flesh off his head, inside and out, cleaned it and now had it resting on his hand while pretending to talk through it. He was thoroughly enjoying the creeped-out looks he was getting when something smashed down hard on his head, making him yelp and sending his skull flying.
He glared at the offender.
Yamamoto merely stared back evenly watching while Naruto retrieved the skull and offered it to him. To the shock of all those watching Yamamoto merely took the skull calmly and nodded to Naruto before continuing on his walk.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the Shinigami, Yamamoto was aware of one of the more peculiar traits of Walkers. They had a habit of finding their own heads after being decapitated and giving them as gifts to people the respected. Yamamoto already had two in his collection. This would make a third.
He had already explained what Naruto was to the rest of his forces. Needless to say Unohana had been greatly put out that the other two Walkers the oldest captains had met, who she had known, had never revealed their uniqueness to her. She had known they were fairly strange, possibly insane given some of their antics, but she hadn't suspected them of being any different from other Shinigami.
The first, named Logan, had disappeared shortly after Yamamoto established the academy. Marcus had disappeared about four hundred years ago with only the cryptic message 'time to move on' his only explanation.
The reactions varied. Byakuya had reluctantly admitted that even had he known about Naruto's abilities he probably would have fallen to him. Kenpachi just wanted to fight him. Kurotsuchi had wanted him for experimentation, having been enraged at losing the skull.
The other captains had been shocked. Said knowledge had spread to the lieutenants and subsequently within a matter of hours the entire Soul Society knew. Though as with such things the facts were twisted. The Eleventh division heard Naruto was some kind god of war, while the Third heard he was a demon. The fifth believed he was an immortal Shinigami who had been in hiding for millennia, and the Seventh thought he was some kind of monster.
Naruto found the range of reactions endlessly amusing, the looks ranging from awed, to wary, to a kind of respectful wonder and downright fear were a source of great amusement.
Naruto had learned they would be in Soul Society for little over a week, and as such he had time to kill.
It was time to have some fun.
Life was awesome.
And I know what you're going to say, "I know what happened to you was tough man but it was about damn time you got off your fat white ass, Joe."
And you know what...you'd be right. Well, thanks for reading hope you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see you again on here whenever I update next. When that will be? Even god is powerful enough to know.
Editor's Note: He's right, I DON'T know! ;)