Sit Upon the Frozen Heavens
By: James D. Fawkes
For NaruHina version, see "Chapter VIII: B-Side".
Chapter Eight: Twilight Sea
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
The large, thick wooden doors opened with a loud, agonized creek, revealing the lively village of Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village. Five figures stepped through the gate, three dressed in black and the fourth dressed in red and green with long white hair. The fifth member was dressed in an extravagant but dirty white kimono. The moment they had entered, one of the figures turned to another and bowed.
"Taichô," Hawk said respectfully, "I must report to Hokage-sama."
"Go ahead, Kimimaro," Naruto said. As Kimimaro straightened and leapt onto a rooftop, Naruto cupped a hand over his mouth and yelled. "And I'm not your Taichô anymore!"
A chuckle from one of his other companions brought the full force of Naruto's glare, "You find something funny, Niisan?"
"Not at all," Itachi assured him unconvincingly, waving his hand dismissively. "I am merely admiring the depth of Kaguya-san's loyalty."
Rolling his eyes, Naruto jumped up onto a tall, thick wooden signpost and took a deep breath as he spread his arms wide. Eyes bright, he took in the view of his beloved village, the very village he had left nearly two and a half years ago to get some training done. He laughed suddenly, a broad grin stretching his lips, "I've missed this place!"
"He's certainly cheerful today," Jiraiya muttered under his breath.
"Maybe so," Mitsunari said, the amusement in his voice clear, "but we wouldn't have him any other way."
Eyes alight, the blonde continued, "It hasn't changed a bit!"
Naruto suddenly blinked as he caught sight of the Hokage monument, then grinned, "So they've added Tsunade-baachan's ugly mug to the mountain, huh? Heh!"
"You've certainly grown a lot," a familiar voice commented. Naruto looked back to find a silver-haired Jônin that he'd recognize in his sleep, "haven't you, Naruto-kun?"
"Kakashi-sensei!" Naruto leapt off the pole and landed on the steel awning next to his previous teacher. "You haven't changed at all! Still reading Ero-sennin's dirty books, eh?"
Naruto's eyebrows jumped up, "That reminds me."
He rummaged around in his kunai pouch before pulling out a familiar orange book with a different and new title. Kakashi grabbed it eagerly, caressing the hard spine gently as Naruto explained, "It's the latest in the series. The newest one in three years; Icha Icha Tactics. I didn't like it that much, but I think you'll get more enjoyment out of it than I did."
A giggle reached Naruto's ears and he spun around, locking gazes with a pair of soft lavender eyes. In an instant, he had moved to their owner, Hyuga Hinata, and swept her into his arms, showering her face with kisses. She stopped him, and for a moment, he was afraid he had done something wrong. Then she pressed her lips to his in a mind-blowing kiss that sent his brain reeling.
Her lips were incredibly soft and moist and he could distinctly taste cinnamon, too. It was a passionate kiss filled with love and happiness and a touch of sadness. She had obviously missed him greatly during his long time away. He hesitated slightly, but she didn't seem to notice. Should he tell her about Yuugao?
No, he decided firmly. Yuugao was dead and gone and no good would come of mentioning what he had done for her; the physical comfort he had given. Yuugao was gone and he would not stain her memory with hate, jealousy, and betrayal. What he had done for her and with her would remain secret.
When his lungs began to burn, Naruto pulled back and gazed lovingly at Hinata's flushed face, smiling brightly. As she let him go, he placed one more kiss on her forehead and stepped back to admire her growth. And growth was indeed the correct term to apply to the changes Hinata had gone through.
Though Naruto wasn't the tallest person in the world, he was about level with Kakashi and Hinata was only a few centimeters shorter than him, her eyes on level with his nose. She had filled out considerably and had smooth, womanly curves the like of which Anko would be jealous. Her breasts were bigger than he remembered, but they weren't obscenely large like Tsunade's, and her hair reached down to the middle of her back.
Her attire had changed drastically, though he did note that it fit a taijutsu user like her much better than her old clothes did. The black top was sleeveless and stopped just a few centimeters above to top of her pants, revealing the skin-tight white undershirt that the black top hid. Her pants were black as well and clung to her legs like a second skin, cut off just slightly above her knees. He could see black gloves poking out of her pocket.
"What," Naruto turned around to see a smirking Tenten, "none for me?"
The blonde's lips curled to match hers, his voice teasing, "I don't know. I'm not sure you deserve it. Have you been a good girl while I was gone?"
The air left Naruto's lungs as Tenten lunged into his arms, hugging him tightly. She gave him a quick peck on the lips, then rested her chin on his bare shoulder. Smiling tenderly, Naruto gripped her tightly as she whispered three heartfelt words into his ear, "I missed you."
"I missed you, too," he whispered back. "You and Hinata are my lifelines."
A voice spoke up and Naruto could practically feel the sarcasm dripping from it, "Well, it certainly seems like Naruto's closer to reviving his clan than I am reviving mine."
A blush lighting up his cheeks, Naruto turned and stuck his tongue out at Sasuke, "At least I'm not some stuck up idiot who can't get a clue!"
Whatever else the blonde planned on saying died in his throat as he caught sight of Sakura hanging off of Sasuke's arm, obviously just back from a date, and glaring at him. Sasuke merely tilted his head back and smirked victoriously, as if to say, 'You were saying?' Naruto simply waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"So," he smirked, "what have you two been up to for the past two and a half years? Can I expect any godchildren?"
A vicious blush lit up Sasuke and Sakura's faces, coloring their pale cheeks a violent red. Naruto resisted the urge to leer. One point to him.
"Oh that would be adorable!" Tenten gushed, almost as if on cue. "I would love to have little Uchiha kids running around calling me Tenten-oba-chan!"
"Oh," Hinata chimed in, "but how would that work? Isn't Sakura the current midwife at the hospital? She'd probably have quite a bit of difficulty delivering her own baby."
Laughing as Sasuke and Sakura's blushes spread further and darkened, Naruto said, "Okay, that's enough. We've tortured them enough for now."
"Jiraiya," Tsunade walked up from behind her teammate, gazing fondly at the assemble group as they continued to bicker and joke, "Naruto's become more like you these past couple years, hasn't he?"
Jiraiya refrained from answering, causing Tsunade to sigh, "The nostalgia ends here, though. Kakashi…"
The book in the Copy Ninja's hand snapped shut, catching the attention of the five teens, who looked at him, Team Seven in surprise. Suddenly serious, he said, "Naruto-kun, Sasuke-kun, Sakura-san. From now on, you three will be coming with me on team-related missions. It's different than before. It's not Teacher and Pupil any longer. Starting today, we're considered equal. Naruto, you especially, considering you were promoted to Jônin last year."
"Wait," Sasuke said, looking at Kakashi skeptically, "Naruto was promoted to Jônin? Isn't there some sort of exam or something for that?"
"No," Kakashi said, shaking his head slightly, "Jônin are appointed, not selected from an exam. Generally, you have to do something to prove you're Jônin level before you can earn the rank, but the Hokage can promote whoever he or she deems fit (within reason). Speaking of which, Naruto, what did you do to get promoted?"
Naruto grinned viciously, "I mastered the Rasengan."
Kakashi's visible eye widened, "Did you…?"
Naruto nodded, answering the unfinished question, "Shape and Elemental manipulation. It took me three months."
Blinking, Kakashi cleared his throat noisily, "Right, like I said, you guys are considered equal from this point on."
Kakashi reached into his pocket, pulling out two bells, "But first…well, I'm curious as to how you guys have come along. The rules are the same as before. If you don't come at me with the intent to kill, you won't be able to get the bells."
Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke all smirked.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
The clearing was familiar, almost painfully so. The three training logs sat stock still amidst the short grass and the patches of bare dirt. The river was quiet, but could still be heard if one sat down and listened to it. It trickled along at its own pace, ignorant of the wildlife around it and uncaring of the four humans who stood a short distance away.
"You guys know the rules," Kakashi repeated, standing with his book open once more. "You have until sunrise tomorrow to take these bells from me."
A thought seemed to strike Kakashi, "Ah, that's right. This is the place where we, Team Seven, first trained, isn't it? Ironic, huh?"
The orange book snapped shut, "Well, then. Shall we begin? Oh, right. Naruto, no Bankai."
Naruto's eyebrow twitched, which Kakashi seemed to notice, "You know as well as I that using that in this place will be too noticeable. Plus…well, I'd prefer not to explain why I'm in the hospital frozen solid."
Naruto's lips suddenly quirked into a smirk, "You're not going to read the book this time, Kakashi-sensei?"
"No. I get the feeling," Kakashi lifted his headband up, revealing the swirling red Sharingan in his left eye, "I'm going to have to take you three seriously."
"Coming from the legendary Copy Ninja," Sasuke said, smirking as his own eyes flashed red, "I suppose we should take that as a compliment."
Sakura slipped on a pair of gloves, "You sure you can take this, Kakashi-sensei?"
Naruto drew his sword, point down, twirling it in his fingers until he had it in the correct grip. The metal of his hitai-ate glinted from his right biceps, an eager grin twitching at the corner of his lips but not revealing itself, "Let's see just how far two and a half years has allowed me to advance, eh, Aibô?"
Kakashi closed his right eye and all was suddenly silent on the nearly abandoned training ground. Then, in a flash, Sasuke dug into his shuriken holster and let loose four of the tiny black throwing stars. Kakashi ducked, allowing the metal stars to zip over top of his head with several centimeters of clearance.
Fluidly, he moved back up, twisting around and throwing out a backhand. With a clang, Naruto's shimmering silvery sword clashed with the thin dense plate on the back of Kakashi's black glove. Twisting once more, Kakashi suddenly moved away, releasing the muscles in his arm. Naruto stumbled forward slightly without the resistance and Kakashi leapt away as a tremor split the earth where he had just been standing.
Growling lightly, Naruto swung his sword, releasing a beastly dragon that roared as it soared towards the grey-haired Jônin. Scowling in determination beneath his mask, Kakashi flipped through three hand seals and held his hand out as the dragon came closer. Lightning danced along his hand as the beast's nose came down, splattering on contact with the volatile electricity.
Dipping his other hand into his kunai pouch, Kakashi spun around once more, blocking the slash of Sasuke's full length katana. Taking advantage of Sasuke's occupied hands, Kakashi lashed out with a kick that the black haired boy tried to dodge. It collided anyway, with enough force to knock the Uchiha back quite a distance, but it hadn't been as direct a hit as the Jônin had intended.
Flipping backwards, Kakashi watched as Sakura stumbled over her own feet, overextending her punch because there wasn't a body there to receive it. Landing behind her, he hit her with a solid palm strike, which sent her into the arms Sasuke as he tried to renew his charge. Both lost their balance and fell onto the ground.
Jumping up, Kakashi leapt over another dragon, using his chakra manipulation skills to jump off of the beast and dodge the bolt of white lightning that passed just barely under his feet. Reaching once more into his kunai pouch, he threw it with all his strength towards his blonde colleague (and Naruto had indeed earned the right to be a colleague). It was easily fended off.
Kakashi ducked under two more shuriken, watching as Naruto effortlessly batted them away (with his bare hands, no less). He lashed out with a sweeping backwards kick, which Sasuke jumped over and Sakura blocked. Twisting, he brought his other foot slamming into her shoulder, sending her back several meters.
Standing back up, he dropped his shoulder and let Sasuke's sword fly past his face. Grabbing the boy's exposed wrist, he threw the Uchiha across the clearing and into a tree. Twisting again, he brought his hand up, Naruto's blade scraping against the metal of the plated glove. Kakashi's eyes went wide, however, when a glowing palm was held in front of his face.
"Hadô no Sanjuusan," Naruto said calmly, "Sôkatsui."
There was an explosion of blue fire, sending several wooden chunks sprawling all over the clearing. They stopped moving after rolling several times, smoking lightly from the heat and power used to splinter the wooden log. Naruto felt his lips twitch in eagerness and no small amount of pride.
Turning around, Naruto smirked at Kakashi, who was staring at him seriously, though his posture was relaxed. Holding his sword up, Naruto spoke four words that sent a chill down Kakashi's spine, "Ten wo Tôjiro, Hyôrinmaru." (Rule the Heavens, Ice Ring)
As soon as the words left his lips, the sword in his hands transformed. The blade was thin and long, but wider than a normal Tsurugi. The blade itself looked to be made of blue crystal, but it was (obviously) densely packed ice, which, Kakashi was sure, was hard as diamond. It was straight and double edged, glistening in the midday sun.
The hilt had changed as well, from a golden hand guard to two sapphire prongs shaped vaguely reminiscent of broken glass. The hilt itself was also crystalline and smooth, colored a mesmerizing blue not unlike Naruto's eyes. There was an aura about the entire thing, an aura that spoke of power, "Hyôrinmaru Nishiki." (Hyôrinmaru Second Style)
Shifting his grip, Naruto jabbed his sword into the ground. Immediately, spikes of hard ice jutted out of the ground, continuing to pop up at a rapid and dangerous pace in a straight row as they headed for the silver-haired Jônin. Kakashi, recognizing the danger, leapt up and over his blonde comrade, watching as the spikes pierced through a tree and immediately froze it.
His escape was cut short as Naruto tore off one of the prongs on his hilt and it lengthened into a spike that he then threw. Taking a deep breath, Kakashi flashed through hand seals and blew out a large fireball into the air, propelling him out of the spike's path and towards the ground. He flipped in midair and landed with a harsh thud that sent pain lancing up his legs.
As Kakashi leaned backwards to avoid the vicious stab Naruto had aimed at his head, he became alarmed at the sound of fabric being cut by something very sharp, something he would have missed were he anyone else. He looked down at his waist, but was too late to stop Sakura from grabbing the two bells that Sasuke had cut free.
And then, Kakashi laughed, "Okay, okay, I lost. You guys deserve this."
Standing straight as Naruto sheathed his sword, Kakashi reached into his kunai pouch and grabbed something. Sakura and Naruto moved a bit closer to get a better look but Sasuke was being his usual self and only peering out of the corner of his eye. Opening his palm, Kakashi revealed three perfectly shaped gems.
"These," he explained as he handed one to each of his students, "are gems mined and cut specifically for ninja. Look at the patterns they give off when they reflect light and tell me what you see."
"I see a hexagon," Naruto said, squinting slightly as he examined the oval-shaped, sapphire blue gem in his hand.
"I see a pentagon," Sasuke said tonelessly, looking at his gem dispassionately.
"Me too," Sakura told them, peering at her gem like it was a crystal ball.
"Naruto, Jiraiya told you how chakra paper is made, right?" Kakashi asked. Naruto nodded. "These gems are made essentially the same way. However, because they are non-living, they retain the energy they absorb instead of using it and, eventually, gain special abilities. The type and quality of the gem determines what these abilities are. These particular gemstones are called Protect Gems, which are made from sapphires, and amplify your skin to make it harder to damage.
"In other words, these gems protect you from other elemental jutsu; in particular, the ones that cause damage to the skin and surface of the body. Fire jutsu are a good example. They cannot, however, protect you from the paralyzing effects of lightning chakra. The quality of the gem determines its strength, and quality can be observed by how it reflects light. An S Class stone has a hexagon pattern, an A Class stone has a star pattern, a Class B stone has a pentagonal pattern, and so on and so forth. S Class stones, I've heard, can negate all elemental Jutsu C-rank and below."
"Wicked," Naruto whispered. "So how do they work?"
"Simple," Kakashi eye-smiled, unzipping his vest a little to show a hexagon-patterned gem hanging around his neck, "you have to wear them."
Sasuke looked appalled at the idea, but Naruto ignored him and continued to ask questions, "So every ninja has one of these stones?"
"No," Kakashi shook his head. "They're rare and abundant at the same time. Out of all the Elemental countries, Chakra Gems can only be found in the Land of Earth and — by default — Iwagakure, the Land of Wind and Sunagakure, and the Land of Fire and Konoha. Different gems are found in different countries, too. As I understand it, Iwagakure has more Spirit Gems, which allows them to more easily manipulate chakra and the elements, earth in particular. We have more Protect Gems and Suna has more Power Gems."
"Kakashi-sensei," Sakura interrupted, "I don't understand. How can they be rare and abundant at the same time?"
"They're rare, in that they can only be found in those three countries," Kakashi explained. "However, they're abundant in that Konoha mines enough of them to supply to about half of the ninja on the active duty roster. They're important enough, though, that only Jônin are issued them and can decide to give them to Chûnin and below."
"Why us, then?" Sasuke asked. "Why are we being given these gems if they're so precious?"
"Orders," Kakashi shrugged. "Tsunade told me that, if you guys could take the bells, you were skilled enough to merit having one. Naruto gets the S Class one because he's earned Jônin and you two are still Chûnin."
Looking up at the sun, Kakashi suddenly stood straight and stretched slightly, saying, "Right. Well, I've got to report to Tsunade, so I'll see you guys later!"
He disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Naruto's stomach rumbled, "Ah, man, I'm hungry! You two have fun. I'm going to find Hinata-chan and Tenten-chan and grab a bite to eat!"
He leapt towards the trees and looked ready to take off, but paused, as thinking about something. He turned slightly and grinned, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do! I'm too young to be a godfather!"
As Sakura and Sasuke blushed furiously, he cackled and disappeared into the foliage, Sakura's outraged yell echoing after him.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
The streets seemed particularly busy as Naruto walked down them, Hinata on his left and Tenten on his right. People were crowded on the dirt roads, some walking in one direction, others walking in the opposite direction. Some were even foolish enough to carry large stacks of objects that they, at best, could barely see over. Those people seemed unnaturally lucky, as none of them had managed to drop their piles (whether it was merchandise for a store or stuff they had bought).
Some of the people greeted the trio brightly, others even went so far as to address the blonde as 'Naruto-sama' or 'Naruto-denka' (Hinata, of course, received much the same treatment while Tenten got some of it simply for being associated with Naruto). Very few of the many villagers scowled at him or scorned him, and even those that did quailed under Hinata's glare.
"So, you girls up for some Ichiraku's?" he asked his companions with a charming smile. "It's been a while since we've gone there together. I'm pretty sure Ayame's in tears, and Teuchi-jiisan is probably broke without their best customer."
Hinata giggled and an amused smile curled on Tenten's mouth, "Sure. But, as a proper gentleman, you have to pay for everything."
As Naruto's smile drooped slightly in a mock pout, Hinata added, "She's right, Naruto-kun. It's only proper that the man pay for the meal on a date. That means that you have to cater to our appetite."
Giving an exaggerated sigh, Naruto slung his arms over their shoulders and said, "How can I ever say 'no' to the two most beautiful girls in the village? I swear, the odds are stacked against me. Does a guy ever win an argument against a woman?"
"If you truly have to ask that, then you haven't grown nearly as much as I've heard," a familiar lazy voice said. Naruto looked up to see Shikamaru, the ever volatile Temari walking next to him with her large fan strapped to her back. Shikamaru smirked. "For such a clueless and oblivious guy, it's ironic that you managed what most guys only dream about."
Naruto's lips twitched into a smirk as well, his hands moving downwards to wrap around each girl's waist, "I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."
Shikamaru chuckled, "Right."
Looking around dramatically, the blonde stage whispered, "So, are you guys on a date, too?"
"Y-you're joking!" Temari sputtered, her cheeks stained red. "Why would I go out with such a…! There's a Chûnin Exam, soon. I'm just going back and forth between Konoha and Suna for meetings!"
"And it's troublesome, but I've become an Examiner," Shikamaru said dully, "so I was told to go and see off the messengers from Hidden Sand."
"A Chûnin Exam?" Tenten asked, looking at him incredulously.
"That sure brings back memories," Naruto said, smiling fondly.
"Mm," Hinata leaned up and pecked the blonde on the cheek, "it certainly does."
Squeezing her hip lightly, Naruto turned his attention back to the lazy ninja, "So, how far has everyone else come? Sasuke and Sakura are Chûnin, but I haven't heard how far everyone else got."
"Well, everyone from our class has made Chûnin," Shikamaru told him. "Plus, Hyuga Neji from the class above us, Kankuro from the Sand, and Temari here have already made Jônin. And so have you, from what I've heard. I'd ask how you managed to do something like that, but sitting here and listening to you explain it would be far too troublesome."
"Wait," Naruto said, "then…what happened to Gaara?"
Shikamaru's lips curled into a smirk, "You're going to have trouble believing this, but…"
Naruto's mind stopped working for a second, "You're kidding. Gaara's the Kazekage?"
"Yep," the lazy Chûnin said, "and well liked, from what I understand."
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
The large, spacious hall was quiet and almost empty. Team Seven stood awaiting a mission to be assigned, Tsunade rustling through each scroll and trying to find one that suited such high skill level. Naruto was fidgeting slightly, his black-gloved right hand clenching and unclenching, as if eager to wield a sword.
Sasuke stood impassively, his arms folded over his chest and his eyes dull and dispassionate. Sakura was staring off into space, her mind wandering to other things and places in her boredom. Kakashi was, predictably (at least his students thought so) reading his oh-so-important little orange book, not letting on that he was alert and focused.
There was a series of pounding footsteps as well as several sharp pants as a pair of heavy oak doors on the side of the room burst open, a haggard woman gasping for breath as she shouted out to the entire group, "Tsunade-sama! It's bad! An organization called Akatsuki has kidnapped Sunagakure's Kazekage-sama!"
Tsunade sighed, suddenly turning deadly serious, "Team Seven, you have a new mission. You are to leave and go immediately to the Hidden Sand Village, find out what the situation is, and then relay it back to here. After that, you are to follow the Sand's instructions and back them up on their endeavor."
She snapped her fingers and a single ANBU was suddenly in the room, kneeling to her with his head bowed in submission. Not turning the slightest, Tsunade addressed him, "Itachi, as a former member of Akatsuki, you know their moves and tactics best. Get dressed back in your normal wear and meet Team Seven at the gates. Your mission is the same as theirs."
Removing his mask, Itachi nodded dutifully, "Hai, Hokage-sama!"
Barely fifteen minutes later found the whole group standing at the gate, packs slung over their backs as they turned around to address the blonde Hokage. Naruto saluted, tucking two necklaces into his sleeveless, zippered, turtleneck vest (one the Shodai's necklace, and the other a thin cord with a blue gem hanging from it).
Iruka smiled, "Do your best."
"Yo!" Everyone spun around to see Jiraiya standing in the path. "Off on a mission, eh, Naruto?"
Naruto nodded firmly, his face etched with unwavering determination. Jiraiya acknowledged his silent answer absently, "Um, more importantly, Tsunade, something terrible has happened. The Sand's Kazekage—"
"I know," Tsunade said gravely. She gestured to the group of five. "That's where I'm sending this motley crew. I got the message not too long ago."
Jiraiya sighed, "Naruto, be careful when it comes to the Akatsuki. I know you can handle yourself well enough — you didn't make Jônin for nothing — but nine on one isn't very good odds."
Naruto's eyes were cold and icy, the blonde's version of blazing anger, "They're after me for whatever reasons they have. This time, I'm going after them."
Jiraiya sighed again, "I know, Naruto, just…Make me a promise. Promise me that you won't use that jutsu unless you don't have anything else you can do. I know you can do it, but you've nowhere near mastered it, especially with the additions you've made. The chakra consumption that it takes from you is only good for three shots."
Naruto looked down for a moment, then stared Jiraiya square in the eye, "I promise. I don't like it, but I promise."
Nodding, the white-haired man turned to one of the dark-haired ninja, "Itachi. Make sure Naruto sticks to his promise. The last thing we need is for him to use it and for Hidden Stone to find out."
Itachi's face was grim, "I understand."
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Chiyo frowned, gazing sadly down at the young boy before her, "Poison is my specialty, but even I don't know this one. Sasori has grown quite a lot."
"What should we do?" Baki asked her.
"The only one who has more knowledge of neutralizing poisons than me is the Slug Sennin of Konoha, Tsunade-hime," Chiyo admitted. "During the great war, she could analyze my poisons and fix up an antidote almost instantly. That was rather embarrassing for me. All you can do is call her and ask her to analyze him. You're allied to Konoha now, aren't you?"
"Yes, but…Tsunade-hime is Hokage now, which means that she can't easily leave her village, can she?" Baki said. "Even so…Even if she comes here herself, it takes three whole days to reach the Hidden Sand Village from Konoha. But…but in that case…we don't have the time to wait that long."
He sighed, "For now, we have sent a request to Konoha for a specialist team. It's taking all of our strength just to wait for them to arrive."
"Hmph!" Chiyo scoffed. "Stop relying on other people! You're so dependent on your alliances with other countries, you've become careless in your training, and this is what becomes of it!"
"Becoming dependent," Baki muttered, "that is by no means what we intended to do."
"Why are you dependent and relying on Konoha? Because you didn't put advancement of your own village's power as your first priority!" Chiyo said heatedly. "They are them, we are us! Friendly alliances are just a fabrication! During times like these, all they can do is send us useless underlings. The main point is that…I can't stand that slug woman!"
"Kankuro!" a female voice cried. Six people rushed into the room: two blondes (one female, one male), two raven-haired boys (who just had to be brothers), a pink haired girl, and one tall, masked, grey haired man. Upon seeing the gray-haired man, the last to enter the room, Chiyo's eyes went wide and her mouth curled into a scowl.
"The White Fang of Konoha!" she snarled.
The tall Jônin only had a moment to register her words before she leapt at him with a furious punch. The blond boy, however, had already moved before she could hit him and grabbed both of her fists. With a vicious scowl, he let go of her left hand and moved past her guard as she overextended, landing a harsh palm-strike just beneath her collarbone.
"What the hell are you thinking?" he yelled. "Attacking Kakashi-sensei out of the blue!"
"I remember that time," she said darkly, "Konoha's White Fang…my son's hated enemy…and today, I will get revenge for him!"
Kakashi waved his hands, "Wait a minute! I'm not—!"
"There's no use arguing!" Chiyo shouted angrily.
An old man stepped in front of her, holding his arm out to stop her from dashing forward, "Sister, take a look. There's a strong resemblance, but he isn't Konoha's White Fang."
Chiyo arched an eyebrow in confusion, staring at Kakashi, then broke out in loud cackles, "No way! I knew that! I was just pretending to be stupid!"
"More importantly," the pink haired Sakura said, "Kankuro-san needs to be taken care of quickly!"
Hands glowing with green chakra, Sakura pressed one against his flesh and stretched the other away from his stomach, taking with it globs of dark liquid. She smiled, the dark substance floating above her palm, "Got it!"
The glow faded, "I don't think there's any need to worry anymore. I've removed the poison directly. Now, I have to make an antidote for the little bit left in his body. We can't relax yet. Please gather what I ask for."
"You're a lot like that slug woman," Chiyo said quietly. "That a girl like you would come…"
"That's because Tsunade-sama is my teacher," Sakura said brightly. "And she said that I should come here."
"Sister," the old man said, "time really is slowly flowing by…"
"We have to get moving, though," Naruto said firmly. Chiyo grabbed Sakura by the arm and led her out the door, presumably to find herbs and such. Naruto noted it absently. "As soon as Sakura is done, we need to go after Gaara and the Akatsuki."
"Hold on a moment, Naruto-kun," Itachi said. The gray-haired Jônin nodded gratefully. "We still have a few things that we need to do before we follow after the Akatsuki. We can't just go about, blindly searching for any trace of our enemy. We need to gather a little bit of information, first."
The Copy-nin gave Itachi a thankful look. Naruto was truly a good shinobi, strong and clever, capable of feats of power that sometimes left Kakashi wide-eyed. When it came to his friends, however, nothing was more important than their safety. The blonde would jump into the pits of Hell to pull them back, if need be.
"Do you know where they might have gone?" Sasuke asked Itachi.
The older Uchiha shook his head, "There are several different bases they could have fled to. Trusting me to find them would not be a good idea, as I have no clue where to start looking. Our best bet is to track their trail and follow them. If it was indeed Deidara and Sasori, they will be eager to stay behind and engage us."
Kakashi turned to Baki, "Excuse me, what happened to the pursuit of the Akatsuki after Kankuro-kun's fight?"
"Kankuro went alone," Baki informed him. "There were no others."
Kakashi frowned, "Then we've completely lost them?"
Baki looked down, "Yes, we have."
"Then," the gray-haired man began, "could you lead me to where he fought? The site of his battle? Though I might not look it, I'm an expert in pursuit and tracking. If even the smallest trace of their scent was left behind…"
"That's…not necessary," Kankuro sat up weakly. "There are two of them. One abducted Gaara, so you should follow Gaara's scent. Even assuming they split up, the second one caught a bit of clothing on Karasu's hand."
"Making a success from a failure," Kakashi murmured, "you are indeed a shinobi of the Sand."
"Kankuro," Chiyo was back, "are you absolutely sure that one of the men you followed was Sasori?"
Kankuro looked down, "Yeah. He was Akasuna no Sasori all right. He said so himself."
The door opened and Sakura walked back in, holding a teapot on a small tray. Setting it down on a stone nightstand, she poured the strange substance inside it into a teacup, then handed it to Kankuro, saying, "Here. Drink it all up."
He gulped it down quickly, shuddering at the taste as Sakura continued, "You should be fine now. Until the paralysis ends, however, you shouldn't be moving. You need to get some sleep."
"Let's go, now," Naruto said firmly. "We need to get a move on."
Sakura glared at him and picked up her backpack. Sasuke squashed the glare with his own words, "The idiot's right. Nothing can be accomplished simply by sitting around here and hoping for the best. Let's go."
"They're right," Itachi threw in. "The Akatsuki will take what they want from Kazekage-sama and then throw him away. The extraction process takes a while, but that doesn't buy us nearly enough time to sit around and discuss everything. We need to get going."
The entire group nodded at that and turned to leave.
"Uzumaki…no Namikaze Naruto," Kankuro's voice stopped the blond in his tracks. "Please, save my brother."
There was a pause, a dark, dramatic pause, at those words. The temperature in the room — normally very warm or at least temperate because of the desert — suddenly dropped down to an almost impossible low. Cold fury was palpable, and Kankuro could taste his own fear in the thick air.
"Konoha's Ryûjin is not someone to be merciful against his most hated enemies," Naruto said without turning, his voice icy. There was a presence to him, something that Kankuro decided he could have gone his entire life without feeling and be the happiest man on the planet. "I will bring Gaara back. And I will kill the men who took him."
The room temperature took a steep nosedive, "That's a promise."
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
The ground was soaked as they came upon the Akatsuki's mysterious cave, the water easily knee deep at the very least. The group of six, however, landed atop the water and stood there quite easily: Hatake Kakashi, Namikaze Naruto, Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Sasuke, Uchiha Itachi, and the old woman, Chiyo.
Team Gai was already standing in front of the cave, breaking their gazes from the large stone boulder that guarded the entrance. Tenten's face brightened at the sight of Naruto, but as she caught the look on her face, worry glanced over her features. The blonde was scowling darkly, his hand clenching anxiously. His rage and killing intent was barely restrained and his pupils had already become slits.
Gai smirked in a friendly manner, "You're late, Kakashi."
"Well," Kakashi replied smoothly, "we ran into a bit of trouble on the way. Itachi said his name was Hidan."
"Naruto-kun!" Lee said excitedly. "Sakura-san!"
"Right!" Gai said confidently. He turned to the large boulder. "Let's do it, Kakashi!"
They never had the chance to even try, however, before the sudden feeling of paralysis flooded their limbs. It wasn't Kanashibari no Jutsu, it was far too potent to be something so easily broken out of. No, this feeling was that of a powerful beast, a dragon the likes of which could cleave steel with his teeth.
"He's dead," Naruto said, exhaling shakily. The entire group had frozen. "His spiritual pressure just vanished. There are still some Reishi lingering about, but that's all it is. Gaara is…Gaara's dead."
His fists clenched and the sky darkened, "They…they…I…I won't let them…I won't…I won't let them get away with this!"
His hands were a blur, moving so fast that only Itachi could see which seals he was using. There was a crack like thunder as he finished and several of the shinobi present cringed as the blonde's bones popped and his muscles tore, becoming denser, stronger beneath his skin. A single black-feathered wing bloomed from his right shoulder, folded against his body. Something new happened, however, and his sunny blonde hair paled into bright silver, retaining its spikiness.
The transformation complete, Naruto looked down at his hand, his voice deep, smooth, and seductive as he spoke, "Sixty percent."
He lifted cyan eyes with slit pupils to glare at the rock before him, "A five seal barrier…? This won't stop me."
He drew his sword and Kakashi watched as it became the strange ice sword again with the simple verbal command of, "Hyôrinmaru Nishiki."
With a dangerous look on his face, Naruto slashed at the boulder once, his blade moving in a diagonal arc. There were a few seconds of silence as everyone waited for something to happen, then the paper seal split in half and fell to the ground, followed a mere second later by a bisected boulder. Everyone's eyes were wide as the darkness of the cave glared at them.
Kakashi leaned over to Itachi, "Is this the jutsu…?"
"No," Itachi shook his head, "but I don't think Jiraiya-sama knew it would go this far."
As sunlight slowly revealed the large cave, two vaguely human sized figures could be seen in the dark, one sitting and one hunched over. A third figure lay on the ground, sat upon by the first man and motionless. A large bird stood a few meters away from the mismatched trio, staring at the Konoha group with wide, unnatural eyes.
"Well then," the first man said, his blond hair obscuring his left eye, "which one of you is the Jinchuriki, I wonder?"
"So you are the Akatsuki," Naruto raised his hand and dark clouds formed, blocking out the sun. It wasn't a question. "Not bad…for trash."
"I'll take this one," the hunched man said. "After all, you—"
"No," Naruto said calmly. His cyan eyes were blazing with hatred and power. "You're not the one I want. I'll get to you soon enough. No…I want the blonde one. I can smell it in the air…you're the one that took Gaara."
The blonde grinned, "Yeah. So?"
The blonde began to move, but before he could so much as touch the clay bird beside him, Naruto had vanished, reappearing with his sword pierced through the unnatural avian. In an instant, the entire creature had frozen over. Naruto's lips twitched as he turned, "Now, now. We can't have you escaping, can we?"
Leaping forward, Naruto spun around and launched a vertical kick that the blonde Deidara easily blocked. Naruto arched an eyebrow, "Well, it seems you do indeed have some sort of skill."
Using the block as leverage, Naruto jumped over top of Deidara's head and kicked him in the back of the skull with his heel, knocking the effeminate man to the ground with a loud thud. Wheeling around quickly, he brought up his foot and slammed it down onto the back of Deidara's hand with a loud crunch. Or he would have, if the blonde had still been there.
A clay bird came soaring towards him, but all Naruto did was hold out his palm and whisper three words. A ball of blue fire shot forward, colliding with the bird midway and exploding in a shower of thick dirt. Fluidly, his arm moved and his sword cut through air, slicing a kunai in half as well.
Naruto swung, releasing a giant blue dragon of water at his enemy. Deidara leapt up over the beast as it came towards him, splashing violently against the floor of the cave and coating the dirt in water and ice. He wasn't done, however, and a spike of ice leapt from the teen's hand, cutting through the air.
Surprised and caught off guard by the jagged spike of frozen liquid, Deidara didn't dodge fast enough to escape its full wrath. A thin line cut itself on his left cheek, drawing several small globs of red blood. Scowling for the first time during the entire battle, the blonde reached up with his hand and wiped the blood away furiously.
"Sensei," Sakura whispered quietly, eyes wide, "why is Naruto like this?"
"It's the Jutsu," Itachi explained before Kakashi could say anything. "Naruto-kun has an 'inner beast', of sorts, that has nothing to do with the Kyuubi no Youko. By drawing from this beast's energy, which is separate from his own, Naruto-kun can do the things we know as Shikai and Bankai."
"However," Kakashi broke in, continuing where Itachi left off, "there is also a style of Jutsu called 'Sage Jutsu', which involve taking Chakra in from the environment, called Nature Chakra, and using that to fuel techniques. Only those who have trained with the toads can accurately accomplish this."
"Naruto, however," Itachi said, "has found a way around that limitation. Instead of drawing on Nature Chakra like Jiraiya-sama, Naruto draws on the energy from his inner beast. By doing so, his form changes and shifts, becoming more and more draconic in nature. The slit pupils and silver hair are the most prime examples."
"So Naruto acts this way because of the technique he used earlier?" Sasuke asked disbelievingly.
"To put it simply, yes," Kakashi replied. "To be more accurate, no. It is said that all dragons have one hundred scales dedicated to good and evil. Seventy five of those scales are devoted to good, twenty five devoted to evil. While most dragons go through life without being affected by the evil, that evil is strong enough that you don't want to anger a dragon."
"To cut this entire explanation down to its root meaning," Itachi said, "this Jutsu, while powerful, brings out the darkness in Naruto-kun's own heart. At fifty percent, he fights to enjoy the battle. At sixty percent, he likes to toy with his foes. We never want to see the full one hundred percent."
Naruto wasted no time in attacking once more, driving his sword as hard as he possibly could through the man's black cloaked torso. Ice began to spread from the wound, creeping up over the blonde's body at a frightening rate. At the last second, however, his lips curled into a smirk and his body expanded and exploded.
Naruto reappeared several meters away, unharmed without a single hair or thread out of place. A scowl was planted firmly on his face, his cyan eyes scanning the cave for a sign of the blonde menace whom he hated with a passion. A growl tumbled past his lips before he could stop it as a large bird swooped out of the cavern, swallowing Gaara.
An instant later, Naruto had flown after it, rushing to catch up to the large yellow beast. Shaken from the stupor that had taken hold of her during the battle and Kakashi and Itachi's explanation, Tenten followed after, calling out his name as she spoke her sword's command phrase.
As Naruto followed Deidara, hopping from tree to tree, his enemy left no openings. There was no chance for attack, no opportunity to strike and knock the large avian made of clay out of the air. Tenten trailed behind him, struggling to keep up with his inhuman pace and begging him to wait for her.
But Naruto could hear nothing, save for the harsh sound of the wind blowing past his ears. Gaara was dead. Dead. He wasn't coming back. Gaara was dead and it was the fault of this stupid blonde man called Deidara. But Akatsuki hadn't counted on something when they'd targeted the redhead. They hadn't counted on the strength of Naruto's ire. And that simple, small miscalculation would be their downfall, the cause of their defeat, Naruto would make sure of it.
Glaring, the teen shinobi known as Ryûjin swung his sword, releasing a large blue dragon that soared toward Deidara with a silent roar. Alarmed at the visage of the beast, the blonde's eye widened considerably and he leapt from the bird, watching as the dragon tore his perfect creation into bits. Naruto leapt up and grabbed the avian's falling beak, which contained Gaara, falling and landing softly on a branch in the middle of the forest.
Unfortunately for Deidara, he wasn't prepared for the second Naruto that appeared behind him, the only warning a soft swish and the sound of his sword slicing through air. Deidara turned and tried to dodge, but he wasn't fast enough to escape the wrath of Naruto's crystalline blade and his right arm was severed just below the shoulder.
Flipping away from Naruto, Deidara landed unsteadily on a tree branch, scowling and glaring at his enemy. He was fortunate that ice had started to consume him from where his arm had been cut off. If it hadn't he would have quickly bled to death and the only one who could have saved him would be less than inclined to do so.
This boy…he was a lot stronger than the Akatsuki had given him credit for. Pein had insisted that, no matter how important to their plans he was, the Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Youko wasn't any real threat to them. He had gone to train with Jiraiya for a few years, but what could a few years do against a couple decades? Namikaze Naruto, Pein assured them, was no real threat.
But now, even though he had been at such a disadvantage, Deidara had been defeated. Both of his arms were gone, each taken by a Jinchuriki. The only back up he could expect was, most likely, still in battle with Itachi and the others. And, no offense to Sasori, Deidara didn't think that the puppet master could beat the infamous Uchiha Itachi. You didn't earn a nickname like 'The Phoenix' for nothing.
If he was honest with himself, Deidara didn't really think he would have won even if he had both arms. Namikaze Naruto was known for his technique called 'Bankai'. Whenever he was serious, he would use it and crush whoever stood in his way. Not once, however, had Deidara heard the word leave the boy's lips. That meant that there was still a lot of power waiting to be unleashed.
Physically, Deidara was one of the weakest members of his organization. Next to Pein, Sasori, Hidan, Kakuzu, Konan, and Zetsu (and he didn't really know how strong Zetsu was), he was the slowest and the weakest. He made up for it with his explosives and his cunning and his ability to infiltrate even the tightest of security. In espionage, he reigned supreme, and his explosives were more than capable of defeating any enemy who came his way.
Against his allies, however, he was incapable of winning. Sasori had far too many puppets for Deidara to safely get in a decisive blow. Hidan was pretty much immortal, so any attack aimed at him would be useless. The only thing he would get was an angry glare and, perhaps, a quick but painful disembowelment.
Kakuzu had those multiple hearts to support him, and destroying all of them before he got you was a very difficult task. With a little bit of planning and a little surprise attack, Kakuzu would be down for the count. Unfortunately, Kakuzu was simply too resistant to defeat so easily. The only thing he really had over the bounty hunter was seniority.
Konan was untouchable. No one dared approach her, not unless it involved strictly business. Pein was the only one who interacted freely with his second in command, and he was strict about what kind of contact the others could have with her. Pein was the only member that Deidara was sure could kill him effortlessly.
With a slash of his sword, Naruto's godly visage melted away into his normal appearance, a scowl planted firmly on his face. Deidara felt a bit of hope flare up inside his chest, but it was immediately extinguished when the blonde shinobi pointed his katana forward and intoned but a single word, "Bankai."
Ice spread over him, forming wings, a tail, a dragon head-shaped gauntlet, clawed feet, and four flowers with four petals each. In that instant, Deidara knew that he wouldn't be walking away from this one. His death was almost assured and there was nothing he could possibly do to stop it.
As Naruto raised his hand up to point at Deidara, the air between them solidified into tiny little particles of ice that looked like fog and mist. The light glinted off of several of these particles, reflecting into Deidara's eyes, who realized that these bits of ice were incredibly dense and sharp.
"Kongou Hokori," was all Naruto said. (Diamond Dust)
With a motion of his hand, the small ice particles leapt forward, spearing Deidara through all parts of his body, save his chest, neck, and head. He stood straight for a moment, incapable of collapsing, then fell backwards with a heavy thump, blood leaking from thousands of wounds on his body not much larger than a pinprick. He could not move; muscles, ligaments, bones — all had been torn to shreds, leaving him nothing but a gasping, pain-filled corpse.
Grabbing the blonde's coat, Naruto pushed Deidara against the bark, hissing, "Do you know why you lost? You underestimated me. And now, you'll pay the price for all you've done. You'll pay for killing Gaara, for all you've done to the Sand, for every sin you've ever committed, and I'll be eager to watch your trip to hell."
With his piece said and nothing more he wanted to express to the missing ninja, Naruto stabbed his sword through the blonde's heart, watching as fear and pain bloomed on his face. Holding back a snarl, Naruto whispered, "Don't worry, it's fatal."
The moment Deidara took his last breath, Naruto felt his anger dissolve into pain and emptiness as his Bankai vanished. Gaara was gone. One of the few people who could understand his pain was gone, and he wasn't coming back. Killing Deidara hadn't brought Gaara back. It hadn't made the pain go away.
A pair of warm arms wrapped around his shoulders, pulling him into a warm embrace. A small smile pulled at Naruto's lips and he leaned backwards into Tenten's awaiting arms, enjoying the warmth and comfort of her hug. A noise pulled him back to earth, however, and the situation was refreshed as he caught sight of the clone he had made earlier.
Gaara was gone.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
Sasori was dead. His body, nothing more than a puppet following his commands flawlessly, was cracked and burnt, as though it had been struck by lightning. The ground was split and had experienced a great upheaval and the cave in which that battle had taken place was all but gone. The remains of several puppets littered the brown earth
"Hm!" Sasuke smirked, eyes dancing victoriously, "he was no match for Murakumo and me."
"You think we should trust him, though?" Sakura asked unsurely. "About the bridge, I mean."
"Tenchi bridge in Grass Country," Itachi recited, staring at Sasori's smoking corpse, "ten days from now at noon. I'd…heard that he had a subordinate in Orochimaru's camp, but I didn't think he'd manage such a thing. Orochimaru may not be the strongest of ninja out there, but he is most certainly one of the cleverer ones."
"We have no other choice but to trust him," Neji cut in. "This is the best and most solid lead we've had on Orochimaru for years. Even if it turns out to be a trap, the chance that we can take down Orochimaru is too good to pass up. I'm sure Hokage-sama will agree with me. We must not ignore this."
"Sakura!" two voices cried. The entire group turned around to see Tenten and Naruto land, holding a motionless Gaara in between them. They set him down on a smooth section of dirt, backing up as Sakura rushed forward and dropped to her knees beside the unmoving redhead. She laid her hands on his chest, then paused. With sad eyes, she looked up at Naruto and shook her head.
Naruto's brow furrowed, his teeth grinding together, "Why…why was Gaara…always Gaara…To die like this…"
His fist clenched, "He's the Kazekage! He didn't become Kazekage just to…"
"Relax," Chiyo said calmly, "Namikaze Naruto."
Naruto spun around, unshed tears glistening in his eyes, "Shut up! If the Hidden Sand hadn't sealed that crazy monster in Gaara, then nothing like this would have happened in the first place! Gaara didn't ask for this! He didn't tell you to seal such a beast inside his body! Jinchuriki…it's just a word that people like you made up! It's a label that glorifies our lives!"
Droplets of water finally trickled down his cheeks, "I couldn't save the old man and I couldn't save Gaara. I trained and trained for three years, day and night, until I dropped. I trained until my hands bled and my muscles snapped. But nothing's changed. I can't save those who matter to me."
Face twisted into a determined frown, Chiyo strode forward purposefully, kneeling down next to Gaara and pressing her hands against his chest. Her hands glowed with chakra, forming a bright orb that consumed her arms from the elbow down. The grass around her rippled and swayed.
"Chiyo-sama!" Sakura gasped. "That jutsu is…!"
"What are you trying to do now?" Naruto asked stubbornly, refusing to get his hopes up. The aura to that chakra had a familiar feel. Could it be…?
"That's…" Gai muttered.
"Yes," Kakashi confirmed.
"What the hell are you doing?" Naruto demanded. Hope was blossoming in his chest, but he wouldn't allow it to grow so long as it could still be dashed in the next few moments.
Sakura looked over at him, "She's bringing Gaara back."
Naruto's heart started to beat loudly in his chest, "Is she…really…?"
Sakura's face was firm and grim, "This Jutsu is Chiyo-sama's alone."
"Guh!" Chiyo flinched. The glow weakened. "Damn! Not enough chakra…"
"You can…" Naruto knelt down on the other side of Gaara's body, "use my chakra."
"Put your hands on top of mine," she said, and Naruto did so. A thin smile appeared on her lips. "I'm glad that someone like you exists in this world of shinobi that we old people created. In the past, I made so many mistakes. But now, at the very end, I am able to do what is right."
She looked up at him, "Konoha and Suna…Their futures are differing from our pasts. That mysterious power of yours that Kakashi spoke of…That may just change the future. Become a Hokage like none before you."
Her eyes softened, "Naruto…a request from an old hag. You are the only one who knows Gaara's pain, and Gaara is the only one who knows your pain. So…help him out."
All Gaara knew was emptiness. He was alone in a world of nothing and his body refused to move. A voice called his name, a familiar voice, but he could not place a face or name to the voice. Warmth blossomed on his shoulder, a strong hand gripping him tightly and nudging him gently.
"Gaara…" the voice called.
"Gaara…" Gaara's eyes felt heavy and the ground felt hard and cold.
"Gaara…" at once, his eyes snapped open and he could place a name to that voice.
He looked up at the blonde who held him up by the shoulder, supporting him and his motionless body. He craned his neck and whispered the name, "Naruto…"
His eyes widened as he caught sight of his surroundings; hundreds of ninja stood, as if waiting for him to awake from his unnatural sleep. Each one was smiling, and as he sat up, several started to cheer for his return. Confusion and surprise filled his being, so he turned to look at his blonde friend once more.
Naruto smiled, speaking softly, "They all came here, Gaara. Everyone came running…just to save you. You put us through a lot."
A ghost of a smile lit up Gaara's face.
— o.0.O.O.0.o —
To be continued
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Bleach
Yes, I gave Hinata Tifa's Advent Children clothes. Chakra Gems were inspired by similar objects on Soul Calibur IV. Can anyone guess what jutsu Jiraiya told Naruto not to use? How about how far Naruto can take Ryûjin no Torai now?
And before any of you start complaining that Deidara was too weak, I'll remind you that he would have died at this point in canon if he hadn't used his Jibaku Bunshin.
This chapter is shorter than the last one, I know. Sorry.
Yes, Mitsunari is going to be an important character, though his true importance won't appear until the sequel. I know that I'm having this story take place about two or three hundred years before the real Ishida Mitsunari was born, but, hey, writer's prerogative. This story takes place in the late twelfth century (1183, now 1198). When Naruto 'dies', he'll be about 152 years old, and I think he's going to die in 1335AD.
From there, there'll be a massive time-skip, about 665 years, to 2000. That's where the sequel will pick up and we meet Naruto, hidden away in a cave near Karakura Town, alone for nearly seven centuries.
Kin no akari… (Golden Light)
James Daniel Godric Alan Fawkes
James Daniel Godric Alan Fawkes(Signature best viewed in Wendy Medium font style)