Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto does. I do not own Star Wars, George Lucas does. I don't make any money off of this story. Suing me would be pointless and mean.
A Village Hidden in Hope
Jiraiya groaned, cursing his aching head and double vision. His face was burnt and a small sand dune was forming over his legs and torso. He wiped the grit from his face and sat up. He wiped his eyes a few more times. There were still two suns in the sky.
"What the hell?"
With another groan he got to his knees. Standing all the way upright would probably be pushing things. His head spun. What had he been drinking? After several stupefied attempts to remember he realized it was chakra exhaustion and not alcohol poisoning that was slowing his wits and dragging his body back to the ground.
"Was I trying a new technique?" he mumbled.
He was lying at the bottom of a very large sand dune and from the trail along the side of it, he had probably started at the top and come sliding to his present location. That would probably explain how all that sand had gotten down the back of his pants. All around he saw only more sand and the too yellow sky. He started back up the dune he had tumbled down.
"I was looking…I was looking for the brat-"
He stopped talking to himself and flinched a little. This wasn't the land of Sand in Wind country. True there was sand everywhere, but the air was wrong, and there was no way the Kazekage could afford a second sun, no matter how much profit he made as Leaf faltered.
He got to the top of the dune, and paused, not rising from his hands and knees. There was nothing but sand from one horizon to the other, not even a haze of mountains in the distance. He swallowed, and felt the grit in his throat.
If the brat…if Naruto had ended up here, he would not have made it. It was unlikely Jiraiya himself would survive, even with all the jutsu he knew for gathering water. From the taste of the air, there was just no moisture to be had. And with the rolling dunes in the endless sea of sand, he would probably never find the boy's body either.
"Looks like I've failed for the last time Sarutobi-sensei," he said. "I bet you're still mad."
It had taken him three years to figure out how to follow Naruto to this place. Three years since his attempt to teach the boy summoning had gone wrong. He looked up at the sky again. He still did not know where he was. He had managed to find a trail of the Kyuubi's chakra twisted up in the ravine Naruto had fallen into—been pushed into, to scare him into using the demon's power to summon a toad. He did not know where the trail led. He managed to copy the strange reverse-summon the boy had accidentally created and thrown himself after him.
Was this the underworld, some strange waterless hell? Or maybe it was the realm of the Kami. They didn't need to drink did they?
Jiraiya's mind went floating to images of the memorial stone in the village, smoke rising up around the Third Lord Hokage's name, and the name of Jiraiya's student.
"I guess you were the last one," he said to Naruto, though he knew the boy could not hear him, whatever world he was in.
He shook his head to clear it. The memorial stone vanished, and once again he looked out on the horizon, sighing. He blamed his foul mood on the lack of sake, and his immanent death under two alien suns.
He saw the shadow for only a moment, but he knew it was not a mirage. It was grainy tan against grainy tan, but he pushed more chakra into his eyes, and the details became surer.
It looked like an upside-down boat, perhaps twelve meters long and three high. He could pick out several narrow dark slits in the sloped hull, though it was too far away and too dark inside for him to see who was peering out at him. The keel pointed at the sky with a row of antenna rising from it, and a dish at the very end. The deck of the inverted craft hovered above the sand on a cushion of wavy energy. He couldn't tell if it was chakra or heat, but it displaced only the slightest cloud of dust as it rushed towards him.
The sand boat vanished behind more dunes as it got closer. He considered running or hiding, but there was no where to go, and to be honest, he did not have the strength for it. He tried to feel the chakra of those in the craft so he could at least prepare for gods, men, or demons, but nothing came to him.
The boat crested the towering dune across from the one he stood upon, and stopped. It rocked back and forth on the invisible cushion that carried it, and then sank down onto the sand. A door folded down from one side into a ramp. It was dark inside, but a rectangle of sunlight showed him the occupants as they passed near the opening. There were people in there, or at least creatures about the size of people. For a moment he glimpsed a woman with sharp teeth and tentacles on her head, and something shaped like a man, but larger and covered completely in fur. The sound of growling and hissing reached him, and mumbled sibilant words he could not even begin to understand.
And then a woman stepped out onto the ramp, and his attention was drawn to her. She seemed a normal human size and shape, though she was covered from head to toe in tan cloth. All he could see were her hands and her eyes. She waved, and then began walking down her sand dune with sure and well practiced steps. After a moment's consideration, Jiraiya did the same, though he slid and stumbled as he found his way down.
They stood across from each other in the trough between the towering dunes. This close he could see the woman was on the far side of middle age. Her hands were callused from work and the skin around her eyes was tanned and stamped with crow's feet.
"Greetings to you, ero-sennin," she said with a heavy accent.
Jiraiya fell on his face.
"Who are you?" Jiraiya asked.
The woman pulled down the cloth covering the lower part of her face. She was smiling softly, but Jiraiya probably would not have noticed if she had fangs and a beard. His eyes were glued to her cheeks, each painted with three whisker like lines.
"I am Shmi Skywalker," she said, carefully. "On behalf of our Kage, I invite you to the Village Hidden in Hope."
Author's Note: This is more of a teaser chapter than a prologue, but I have a reason for putting things up in this order. There is sort of a frame story going on, but if this ends up being too confusing, I might change the format. Anyway, let me know what you think!
P.S. I know this should probably be slotted in crossovers instead of the plain Naruto category, but I see a lot of crossovers in this section anyway, and I think it gets more attention.