Kasek: LAME CHAPTER IS LAME -sob- This is a transitional chapter between story arcs. I need to do some planning, 'cause I looked at my outline and realized that, aside from really key plot points (that aren't for some time), I'm out of ideas. I think I might take the crossover a bit deeper into Bleach territory next chapter... if you know what I mean. Which you should at least be able to guess. Anyways, on with the chapter (LAME CHAPTER!!!!!)
Disclaimer: I own neither Naruto nor Bleach
Namikaze Minato sighed as he waited in Tsunade's office with the other shinigami, plus Tsunade. Today was the day that the shinigami were supposed to report to whoever Soul Society decided to send down to them to listen to said report. Naruto gulped as he put a hand on his white zanpakuto. "You're sure I shouldn't have just left this behind? They don't need to know, right?"
His father sighed again. "I received a zanpakuto from my half of the Kyuubi, so it's only natural that you got one too. We can say that the white sheath is from it being the yang half of the Kyuubi being sealed inside of you." The young boy nodded, and didn't say anymore. Minato looked around at the assembled shinigami. "Remember our story- there was trouble with Adjuchas Menos outside of the city limits. No casualties, very little property damage. We managed to chase them off. They appeared at separate times. The zanpakuto manifested itself when I got hurt. Any questions?" Nobody dared say anything. "No questions? Good."
They finished up just in time, as the doors signifying a portal to Soul Society appeared and slid open, and all were surprised when Uchiha Itachi walked through. Naruto noted that he now wore thin, black glasses. Tsunade glared at him. "What are you doing back here, Uchiha?"
Itachi sighed. "I came to apologize... and to explain myself."
Tsunade raised an eyebrow. "Explain yourself? How can you possibly justify slaughtering the Uchiha clan like that?"
The Uchiha glanced towards Hiruzen. "I certainly hope the one responsible doesn't mind if I do... considering that they're the one who ordered me to do it in the first place."
Naruto was shocked as he followed Itachi's gaze to Hiruzen. "Old man...?"
Said ex-Hokage sighed. "You're the one who suggested the order in the first place, Itachi-kun..."
To say Naruto was confused was an understatement. "What order? What's going on here?"
Itachi glanced towards the young Namikaze. "As I said, let me explain. You see... the Uchiha were planning a coup d'etat. If they had gone through with it, it would've plunged the world into another shinobi war. I couldn't just let that happen, so I... suggested, to Sarutobi-san and his advisors that they be... eliminated. I even volunteered to be the one to do so."
A scowl appeared on Hiruzen's face as he nodded in agreement. "It's... true, I'm afraid."
Itachi continued. "I was actually surprised you didn't know, Tsunade-san, as as Hokage you are obligated to look through all of the Hokage-only files."
She sighed as she leaned back in her chair. "I would've remembered seeing something like that... I guess they've been removed altogether. Probably my advisors' doing..."
A voice piped up- it was Sakura. "Umm.... why are you wearing glasses? You weren't wearing them before."
The Uchiha chuckled at the innocent question. "The simple answer is that my contacts... broke. Anyways, I believe that it is my job to do the interrogating. Did any Hollows attack the village?"
Minato pinched the bridge of his nose. "Well... you see... they didn't attack the village itself, but there were two attacks by Adjuchas Menos..."
Itachi's eyes widened behind his glasses. "Two of them? Why would they attack like that?"
The blond ex-Hokage shook his head. "I don't know for sure... this is a high-reiryoku concentration area. As much as, if not more so than Karakura Town in the other world."
The young Uchiha continued with his line of questioning. "Did you defeat them?"
Again, it was Minato who answered. "Not exactly... they each retreated before we could finish them off."
The Second Division vice-captain nodded at that. "I see...did they give their names? Adjuchas Menos are intelligent enough to have them..."
Minato's frown deepened. "Helrood Stormvos and Bancyning."
Itachi nodded. "I'll make sure to research those names at a later date..." He looked around at all of the shinigami present, and his eyes settled on Naruto- or more specifically, his second sword. "Ah, why does young Naruto-kun have a second zanpakuto? He didn't have one last time I was here."
Naruto's father swallowed, and spoke. "It... manifested itself when he saw me get hurt fighting Stormvos. We believe it to be a manifestation of the beast inside of him."
The barely-an-adult Uchiha nodded again. "And... the color?"
Young Naruto noticed his father flinch momentarily- fortunately, Itachi's eyes were on the zanpakuto. "That, we believe, is a result of the sealing of the beast- I sealed its yang energies into Naruto, and its yin energies into myself."
Itachi nodded for a third time. "Ah, so that explains your own second zanpakuto... I've been curious, but never enough to ask. Well, if that is all..." He paused for a moment, making sure that there were no interjections. "...then I shall report back to Soul Society on this matter."
He turned around and drew his zanpakuto, and stabbed the air with it. The door to Soul Society reformed, and a black butterfly flew through it. Itachi nodded to Naruto before he walked through it, and it closed behind him, fading as it did so until it disappeared. Tsunade sighed, and took a big gulp out of a sake bottle she had produced from nowhere. "So, what now?"
Naruto and Sakura chatted animately as they walked down the near empty street. They were not currently on duty- Sakura being a medical shinigami and Naruto still needing training-, so they were merely walking around to see if they could find any shinobi they knew. Naruto was currently recalling a time when a girl his age had confessed to him.
"...so I told her she was nice and all, but not only wasn't she my type, I didn't even know who she was!"
Sakura giggled. "Geez, Naruto. You sure were popular at the Academy, weren't you?"
The blond moaned. "Now I know what it must have been like for Sasuke..."
A sigh escaped Sakura's lips at the thought of the young Uchiha. "I wish... I could have seen him..."
Naruto frowned as he stared intently at Sakura's face. "Well... he didn't look... too different. I mean, sure, he had white hair, and those weird mask pieces sort of made him look like Itachi, but..."
A voice called out to them. "Hello, Naruto, Sakura."
They looked to the side, and saw... somebody, leaning against a tree. He had on a hooded, light-colored jacket that covered his hair but not his hitai-ate, as well as a second, black jacket underneath with a high collar that covered everything below the eyes. The eyes themselves were covered by small, black goggles. Naruto tilted his head in confusion. "...why do I feel like I should know you?"
Sakura's green eyes widened in recognition. "Ah... could it be... Shino?"
The young Namikaze's eyes also widened when he realized that she was correct. "Whoa, you're right! It is Shino!"
A nod from 'Shino' affirmed who it was. "It is good that you recognize me. Your stay in the afterlife has not diminished the memories of your life."
Naruto grumbled to himself. "I say that wearing that getup makes it hard for anyone to tell who you are..."
Sakura turned her body so she was facing Shino fully. "So, I guess the village knows about us now, huh?"
Another nod from Shino. "All of the shinobi know, seeing as they are able to see you. I was doubtful at first, but Tsunade-sama was able to prove Sandaime-sama's identity with very little doubt. Also, my kikaichu detect no chakra from you, so you cannot be shinobi using a henge. Tsunade has also demonstrated your invisibility to normal people, and since there was no genjutsu involved, that also proves your status as spiritual beings."
A smirk found its way onto Naruto's face. "Geez, you've got all your bases covered just like you used to."
Another voice entered the conversation. "Shino, you're early! Oi, who're the kids with the swords? I don't smell them at all."
Sakura and Naruto turned around and saw something that astounded them- the sight of Kiba riding on what appeared to be a much larger than remembered Akamaru. Kiba had long switched out his hooded jacket for a leather one. Naruto pointed at Akamaru while taking a step back. "A-Akamaru?! He's huge!"
Kiba blinked at what he saw. "Huh? Naruto? So it's true you came back from the dead? Man, you're as short as ever. Guess dead people don't grow."
Sakura shook her head. "We're still dead... and even dead people grow old, it's just at a much slower rate."
The Inuzuka boy groaned as he rubbed his hitai-ate. "Yeah, yeah, shinigami and all that... guess that explains why I can't smell you. Hey, you guys planning on saying hello to Hinata? She should be along any minute."
Both Naruto and Sakura's faces changed to looks of horror, for different reasons. Naruto rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Well, um... oh, would you look at the time, I have to meet my dad for some training."
Sakura bowed deeply. "I apologize, I must be going as well."
They stood there for a moment, perfectly still, and then they ran as if the hounds of hell were after them. Kiba blinked as he watched them go. "...what was that all about? I can understand Sakura, but Naruto?"
Shino shook his head. "...I do believe Sakura told Naruto about Hinata's feelings for him."
Kiba chuckled. "Yeah, that would do it."
The normally tan face of the Inuzuka paled, and his head turned to face none other than Hyuuga Hinata. Her long hair was being blown by a small breeze, and her eyes were narrowed at Kiba. Her arms were crossed over her jacketed body in annoyance. "Well?"
Kiba gulped. "It's... it's nothing really..."
He was glad when she did not press the issue. "If that's the case, then we should get to training immediately." He nodded, and the three of them (four counting Akamaru) left to go train.
Naruto made a rude gesture in a random villager's face, and laughed when he got no reaction. "Man, that never gets old."
His pink-haired companion did not seem amused. "What if one of them was a shinobi in disguise and got mad at you?"
Naruto shrugged. "Not like they can cut me in half or something like that."
They heard a voice from behind them. "How troublesome... Naruto, I thought you were the type to strive for attention, not enjoy a lack of it."
The young Namikaze grinned as he turned around. "Hey, Shikamaru! What are you up to?"
Said Nara sighed as he leaned against the wall. "Right now? Worrying the villagers by speaking with someone who isn't there."
Naruto chuckled at the thought. "Yeah, that's the risk you take when you talk with us, huh?"
Shikamaru sighed again, and glanced at them from the sides of his eyes. "Yep... so, are you guys off duty or something?"
Sakura nodded. "Yes... I only have to react to injuries, and Naruto is off for today."
The Nara boy rubbed his neck. "I'm on a small lunch break... I have to sort through all of the applicants for the Chunin Exams..."
A frown slowly settled on Naruto's face. "The Chunin Exams, huh..."
Shikamaru nodded. "Yep... you know, Tsunade-sama posthumously made you a chunin."
Naruto's eyes widened in disbelief. "What?! Sakura, you never told me about that!"
The young Nara chuckled. "It was after Sakura died... she made you and Sakura chunin for valor or something like that. After all, a lot of power was thrown around at the valley, and Sakura did take out a jonin."
Sakura smiled at the thought. "Well, I mean, it's not like we can do anything with the rank now that we're shinigami..."
"Oi, Shikamaru! I've got your lunch for you!"
Everyone turned to the source of the voice to find Chouji walking towards them. Naruto identified him by his face and cheek marks- his hair had grown much longer, and he was wearing a variant of samurai armor with not as much armor around the waist and no shin guards. Naruto gave another grin at Chouji. "Hey, Chouji! Long time no see!"
The 'somewhat-chubby' Akimichi's eyes widened. "Naruto? Sakura? So it's true that you guys are ghosts?"
Sakura nodded. "Yes, it is..."
Chouji nodded in understanding. "I see... do you guys, you know, eat?"
The grin on Naruto's face got even wider. "Only if you have spiritual powers. Which all shinobi have, so you're safe."
Chouji wiped his forehead in a gesture of relief. "That's good... I was worried I wouldn't be able to eat in the afterlife. What kind of heaven would it be without food?"
Naruto chuckled at Chouji's train of thought. "Yeah, I mean, no ramen? Seriously, I'd hate it."
This time it was a female voice that called to them. "Chouji you idiot, you're late! What are you doing hanging out with... with..." Her voice trailed off as she suddenly recognized Sakura. Sakura herself gulped, as he knew that this was probably going to be emotional.
Ino walked over to Sakura and got kneeled in front of her. The pink-haired girl could already see tears in her eyes. "Geez, Sakura... you... haven't changed a bit..."
Sakura gave a short nod. "Y-yeah... you've changed, though. Your outfit's a bit more daring..."
A small smirk appeared on Ino's lips, but it was merely a facade. "Heh... and your outfit's totally modest. What, did you actually land a guy or something?"
A deep blush covered Sakura's face. "N-no! This is my uniform!"
Ino smiled at her. "Heh... a loser even in death, eh, Sakura?"
Sakura scowled. "I could very easily land a hottie if I wanted to! Naruto is considered prime boyfriend material in the afterlife, you know!"
She heard a chuckle from Ino as Naruto blushed. "Naruto? Prime boyfriend material? Well, I've seen pictures of his dad, so I guess I can see where someone would be coming from if they knew about him..."
Sakura smirked, and started boasting about Naruto, to the boy's embarrassment. "Namikaze-fukutaichou is considered the second-most-handsome of all of the shinigami, so of course 'future Naruto' is going to have his own fanclub."
Naruto coughed. "Uh, hello? Right here, you know."
As Shikamaru muttered 'Troublesome', there was a 'swish' of rushing air, and the young ones found Namikaze Minato standing in their midst. He smiled as he looked at Naruto. "Ah, there you are, Naruto. I've got some training for you to do!" He picked Naruto up by the back of his shirt, and after waving to the others, disappeared without a trace, Naruto in tow.
Ino blushed. "...and you say there's someone more handsome than him? I can die without regrets now."
The Akatsuki leader narrowed his eyes in thought. He had just listened to Sasori and Deidara's report, and had already seen Zetsu's recordings of the battles. Though Zetsu's mechanical half said he himself could see nothing of the battle besides the actual attacks- flashes of lightning, torrents of fire and water, trees suddenly sprouting large holes- the man could see every bit of it, and it was... unsettling. These spirits... from where had they come? They surely had not just... popped into existence. Their powers were very much inhuman. He would need to find out more about them, but... how could he get his hands on spirits?
A blue-haired woman walked onto the ledge he was sitting on, towards the top of the very large tower looking over the high-tech city. "Pain? There are some people claiming to be shinigami who want to speak with you."
He could almost feel his mouth twitch- some god that was higher than him had obviously decided to smile upon him.
Kasek: Dun-dun-dun! Pain meets the shinigami! Sorry I'm keeping what happens between them a secret at this point. Besides, it's just some relatively no-name shinigami for a smaller source of spiritual power (though I would think Pain generates enough reiryoku to constitute a village in and of himself- I guess he suppresses it). You'll get to see what Pain has in store for the shinigami at a later point.
I was kind of stuck with the reunion scene, so I just had Minato perform the plot-no-jutsu (usable even while dead!) and take Naruto off to train. I apologize for this chapter being so LAME, I mean, the Ino scene should have been more emotional, and the shinobi, even if they've been prepped, seem a little nonchalant about speaking with dead people... it's just one big mess.
Dang it all... I just found an old plot outline for this story, and it had some seriously epic stuff for the first meeting with Akatsuki. Like, Hollow Sasori, and Gaara meeting the Sandaime Kazekage. Shame. Maybe I'll go back and rewrite it, but I don't know if I want to put that much effort into it.
Here's an omake for those who bother to read the author notes!
My Contacts... Broke.
Itachi and Soifon had just come back from the living world when all of a sudden Soifon kicked Itachi in the back of his head. Itachi's eyes widened in shock, allowing his contacts to fly from his eyes. A moment later, and Soifon had shunpo'd to his side and blasted the contacts with a fireball kido. Her glare was venomous, but seeing as Itachi's sight was pretty bad now, it had little effect. "You have five seconds to explain yourself."
Itachi stood at rigid attention despite his head hurting like never before. "I was ordered to do it by my Hokage for the peace and safety of the world."
Soifon raised an eyebrow. "Ah... my apologies for the contacts. I know it took you a while to save up for them."
The Uchiha shook his head. "I suppose it is but a small additional price to pay for my actions on top of my death. I'll just have to dip into my savings again to get some glasses for now."
So yeah, that's the explanation for Itachi's new glasses.