Author's Blurb: Goodness *headdesk* I'm sorry about the wait… I don't suppose any of you guys have taken the LSAT?... Ahh… I hate standardized testing… Actually, I'm not too fond of any kind of testing, really. XD ANYWAY! Hope the longer-than-usual chapter makes up for the wait… Ooo, some of you are going to kill me… :3
'… Blah, Blah…' denote thoughts
II …(italics)… II denote a change in language
II…(bold)… II denote a second change in language
A Beyblade and Naruto Fanfiction by Sholay
Disclaimer: Beyblade belongs to Takao Aoki and is licensed by Nelvana and published by Viz, though that may depend on where you live. Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto and has also been published by Viz. So now that we've established that I do NOT own either of these fictions, shall we move on? Additionally, I took some liberties with politics, history and cultural differences (i.e. The difference between the Chinese and Japanese) so while there are some facts strewn in there, there is also a healthy dose of fiction. Have fun!
SABOTAGE! The Shocking Plot Twist!
Striding up the steps and into the aircraft, Sasuke merely glanced dismissively at the overly cheerful pilot greeting him before peering into the depths of the metal contraption. An airplane: designed by civilians as a method of transportation. Flight: with neither chakra nor flexible wings. Sasuke would be lying if he said he was not uneasy.
Nonetheless, he did not falter or lag behind like Naruto nor did he express fear like Sakura. Sasuke did not know much about the world that existed outside ninja and chakra; knowledge like that hadn't seemed pertinent to his ultimate goal. However, his family had been nothing if not informed. In all the arrogance and self-importance that befit an Uchiha, Sasuke supposed that it was in their very blood to continually thirst for knowledge.
As such, the Uchiha library contained many scrolls detailing the processes and technologies that existed in the world of light—one not hidden and secreted away in shadow. As a child, Sasuke had been obliged to learn about this world—a place so divorced from his own. But it had been a long time since he'd touched those scrolls.
One of the things he did remember though, was the fundamentals of flight: airplanes and their function.
And that knowledge alone was probably the only thing keeping him standing confident on this tubular deathtrap.
Sasuke eyed the narrow, padded blue seats, conveniently placed in couples. There were enough for everyone but they would all have to pair up. Having been told that the flight would span several hours, the young genin was inclined to choose his partner with care.
On one side, Sakura gestured at him excitedly and he quickly turned his head, letting Naruto head toward the girl instead. Sasuke—as he carefully turned a blind eye to the empty seat next to Kai—was vaguely aware of the pink-haired kunoichi spurning Naruto's attempt to sit near her. The blond was then pulled over by Tyson, letting Max take the seat near Sakura. Kenny and Hilary were sitting together and Sasuke looked back to see Kakashi lowering himself into the seat adjacent Kai—who didn't exactly object, ignoring the elder ninja completely.
Sasuke glanced around. Everyone had effectively paired up, the only option left to him was…
Rei's amber eyes narrowed as he locked gazes with the dark-haired ninja.
Sasuke seated himself warily. The Chinese teen was not one to underestimate. Though not as insufferable as Kai, Sasuke knew Rei's heritage alone could cause only problems.
It didn't help that, whenever they were forced in each other's presence, Rei's hackles would rise. The elder teen's lip would curl and he would stop just short of hissing like an animal.
Though suspicious and cool to all the ninja, Rei had varying degrees of frostiness: he would converse lightly with Sakura, but seemed to avoid Kakashi. The teen would throw wary glances at Naruto and acted skittish around him—a reaction that the blond seemed oft to bring upon himself—as Sasuke had seen many people in Konoha act much the same way.
But Sasuke had yet to receive anything that wasn't outright disdain from Rei.
Not that he could blame him; Sasuke didn't like what the teen was all that much either.
Or what he suspected he was.
The pilot of the airplane announced their imminent departure over the intercom system and as the engines started up Sasuke couldn't help but tense. Ahead of him, he picked up the traces of Tyson and Naruto's conversation and focused on that.
"So… I saw what yours and Max's bitbeasts were; but what are the others?" Naruto quizzed, practically bouncing in his seat. Seated next to the window, the childlike ninja alternated between staring out at the runway and grinning at his new friend.
"Well… Rei's is a white tiger and Kai…" Tyson's voice turned devious. "Kai's bitbeast is a flaming turkey."
"Eh? A turkey? Really?" Naruto sounded surprised and Sasuke saw Tyson's head decline in a nod of affirmation. "Oh… I was expecting something… y'know, cooler… That sounds kinda lame…"
On his left, Sasuke was aware of Rei rolling his eyes.
"Hey… Where're the cute flight attendants?" Tyson wondered, twisting around in his seat to look around. "Aren't they supposed to be telling us to put on our seatbelts or something…?"
Sasuke stopped paying attention at this point, as the plane had started to move.
"Ooh… we're speeding up…!" Sakura's wobbly voice floated over from somewhere to his right.
And the plane kept speeding up. His eyes flicked unwittingly to the window and became fixed to the sight of buildings, grass and land blurring by. The aircraft was horribly noisy. He forced his teeth together, clenching his jaw against the urge to clap his hands around his ears as the plane seethed and whirred. So fast—everything began to rattle and shake and Sasuke thought the thing would surely explode. The plane then lurched upward—Sakura yelped in fright—Sasuke saw the wheels leave the ground. There was a tiny dip that made his stomach rise into his throat and Sasuke gripped the armrests tightly even as Naruto whooped in joy.
The plane kept rising and Sasuke simply stared through window, waiting with morbid fascination for the moment when gravity would finally take hold and drag them plummeting to their deaths. But no, the plane rose—up, up, right through the clouds and into a sea of cyan.
It was then that Sasuke saw that Rei was looking at him in amusement—oh, the teen's expression was blank, but he could see the mockery in those unnatural eyes—and Sasuke scowled, ripping his hands off the armrests and positioning them in a suitably nonchalant manner on his lap.
The plane eventually levelled out and, once he had proper control over his breathing and his heart had stopped beating a rapid percussion on his ribs, Sasuke put a voice behind the question that had been bothering him for a while now.
"You, you are Xun Shou Shi, aren't you?" It was the only possible explanation: the teen's unnatural eyes, his teeth and pointed ears, the way he exuded an aura that set Sasuke's instincts to tingling—they all pointed to this one possibility.
Rei met Sasuke's eyes full on, surprising the ninja. Instead of being ashamed, or cowed—as one in his position should—Rei looked proud: actually dared to look down on Sasuke.
"And you," Rei returned. "Are a purebred." The tone he used was more akin to someone describing a dog.
Sasuke snarled, Rei smirked and the mutual dislike between them grew.
The hours dragged by as the seconds and minutes were slowly eaten by an endless expanse of sky. What had once been new and exciting for Team 7 was gradually whittled down to nothing as the only sights visible through the window were sky, cloud cover and more sky.
Naruto had fallen asleep within the first hour. A few of the others looked about ready to join him when the door to the cockpit was abruptly thrust open with a jarring rattle.
"Hello and welcome!" The pilot, a tall, skinny man, who's grin was slightly too large and toothy for his face, snapped off an exaggerated bow before flashing them a jaunty thumbs up. "Today I will be your pilot, co-pilot, steward, flight attendant and overall source of entertainment on this flight. And oh, what a flight it will be!" With a nonchalant shove, the man slammed the door of the cockpit closed behind him and there came the sound of a lock clicking into place.
Almost in unison, a frown shadowed the faces of both ninja and Bladebreaker alike. Tyson nudged Naruto awake, Kakashi had risen halfway out of his seat and Kai was favouring the pilot with an intent stare, as though searching for something.
"Now, now, don't get up on my account!" The pilot waved a hand idly in Kakashi's direction.
"Now, there's something I've been meaning to tell you all," The pilot tilted his head to the side, shrouding his face with wavy, dirty blond hair. The man took a few steps forward, his long legs extending with feline grace until he was nearly level with Max and Sakura. Max, closest to the man, drew back in his chair when the pilot reached down and curled one spindly-fingered hand around Max's armrest. Sensing the movement, the pilot turned his too-wide grin on the blond teen, who felt a shiver race across his shoulders as gleaming hazel eyes focused on him in a way that was not wholly sane.
"It wasn't nice very nice of me, you see," The pilot gesticulated widely as he spoke and the grin did not fade even for a moment. "I was a little selfish, I wanted to see the great Bladebreakers and their little ninja consorts myself—ah, ah…" Kakashi had risen completely at the word 'ninja' but, faster than the eye could follow, the pilot had pulled a short sword seemingly from thin air and levelled it to a frightened Max's throat.
Hilary cried out involuntarily and Sasuke found himself digging his fingers into Rei's forearm, pinning it firmly to the armrest as he prevented the other from jumping to his feet. In the row ahead, Naruto was holding Tyson back in much the same way, though the genin looked like he wanted nothing more than to tackle the twisted man himself.
"What was I saying now?" The pilot spoke almost lazily, even as Max trembled, struggling to keep his chin up and to not swallow too hard. "You should learn to listen better… Or" The man's eyes flickered down to Sakura, who was covertly reaching for her weapons pouch. "… Do you need some encouragement?" Max let out a small, scared whimper as the edge of the sword pressed into his skin. There was a fierce stinging pain followed by the distinctly uncomfortable feeling of blood rolling down his neck to soak into his shirt. Sakura looked horrified as she raised her hands in surrender.
Everyone froze, barely breathing as the turbines on the airplane rotated loudly.
Kakashi was still standing and it was to him that the pilot turned his attention next. "Sit, sit…" Though his words were soft, the sinister light reflecting off the sword in the man's hand turned the idle words into an overt threat.
The jonin relented, easing himself slowly back onto his chair.
The pilot's grin widened at this obedience. "Good! Very good! You're house trained. How nice. Now, where was I…? Oh yes, I was very excited you see. It's not often you get to meet so many important people in the same place!" Here, the man's gaze swept past Kakashi, resting a moment on Kai before sweeping to the other side of the cabin and piercing Sasuke where he sat. The dark-haired genin's eyes widened fractionally, wondering what interest he could possibly be to this psychotic man. But then the moment was broken and the pilot was once again talking to Kakashi.
"Yes, but it's unfortunate, terribly unfortunate, that my employer does not intend for you to make your destination."
Someone gasped and it was then that they saw the pack strapped to the pilot's back.
"Oh and don't bother looking for more," The man said, gesturing with his chin to the parachute he was wearing. "This is the only one on the plane. But if you hurry, you might be able to change the course I set with a rather convenient range of mountains. And… with those words of wisdom—" In the span of time it took them to blink, the pilot had dropped his sword and leapt at the door.
Kakashi was dashing toward the man even before the sword hit the ground, forming symbols with his hands.
"Too slow!" The captain crowed. With a powerful wrench, he opened the emergency exit and let the loose door get swept outside. The howling, torrential winds came so suddenly that Kakashi had to stop and grab onto Naruto's seat to prevent himself from sliding forward. Even then, the elder ninja's feet began to slip. In a flash, Sasuke had reached out and grasped his teacher's arm tightly.
Turning to give a final thumbs up to his dumbstruck audience, the pilot laughed and took a flying leap off the plane.
Hilary's shrill scream was the first thing to break the stunned silence that had fallen over the group. And, like a trigger being released, more voices were added in: talking, yelling and panicking in disorganized chaos. Tyson was fighting with his seatbelt and Kenny's face was so pale, Kakashi was certain he could have cut him with a kunai and not drawn blood. Meanwhile, Max was still shaking and Sakura was groping through her bag for bandages.
Kakashi pursed his lips around his teeth and let out a piercing whistle.
"EVERYONE BE QUIET!"
The indisputable command in Kakashi's voice forced the shocked cries and yelling to die down as everyone looked to the elder ninja. Wind screamed at his back as gusts of air rushing through the plane's open window whipped Kakashi's hair around, but he ignored it, instilling calm into his voice.
"That's good enough, Sasuke," Kakashi, bending at the knees, eased off the vice-like grip his student had on his arm. Sasuke slanted him a dubious look but dutifully let his hand slip away. This degree of concern, from his most reticent student no less, was touching; but Kakashi was forced to focus on the matter at hand.
Chakra blazed on the ground around his feet, keeping him from sliding or falling on the floor of the cabin. He stood strong against the wind for a moment before addressing the group.
"Sasuke, Sakura, you come with me to the front of the airplane. Naruto, I want to you stay here and maintain order." Any surprise at this last order was drowned by the gravity of the situation. "Everyone else: stay calm, stay seated and try not to panic. We will get this situation under control." And with that, Kakashi turned and headed into the cockpit. The lock barely caused the trained ninja pause as he formed a few hand seals and had the door sliding aside with a squeak. Sasuke and Sakura jumped up from their chairs, executed a brief hand sign to ignite the chakra at their feet, then pushed their way through the gales of wind to follow their teacher to the front.
A pregnant pause filled the cabin in the wake of the three ninja until finally Hilary couldn't stand it anymore.
"This is ridiculous!" She burst out over the rushing air. "We can't stay like this, all the air will be sucked out of the airplane! The pressure will kill us!"
Kenny moaned, clutching Dizzy to his chest and Tyson and Max's eyes widened.
Rei immediately undid his seatbelt. "If we can find something to cover that door—!"
"Oh no!" In a flash, Naruto had stood and rushed over to Rei, halting him from getting up. "Kakashi-sensei told me to make sure you guys stay put. So that's what I'm gonna do!" Turning determined eyes to the gaping hole in the side of the airplane, Naruto clenched a fist. "I got an idea!"
The ninja's hands shot up, index and middle fingers uncurling to form a vertical cross.
"Kage Bushin no Jutsu!"
Shadow Clone Technique!
The edges around Naruto's body blurred, then stretched, and the Bladebreakers stared two, four, eight, sixteen, then innumerable Narutos appeared in the cabin.
"Naruto! What are you doing! You'll crush us!" Hilary gasped as the number of blond ninja continued to grow.
"No, wait!" The Narutos cried as one. "Watch this!" And with identical grins they scurried over to the open door and began piling up in front of it. At first it didn't look like there would be enough Narutos to cover the entire door. But the ninja was undeterred and his clones kept stuffing the entrance until they had effectively formed a human plug in the side of the airplane. Wind hissed past the gaps between their bodies but there was no longer a rushing gale pulling the breath from their lungs. As the roar of the plane's engines was muffled so was the panic in the cabin.
"Wow, Naruto." Tyson breathed. "That power of yours is amazing…"
The real Naruto, standing in the aisle to Tyson's right, flushed happily and rubbed his nose. "Aw… well—"
Whatever the ninja was about to say was abruptly cut off as the plane dipped sharply, causing the boy to collapse ungracefully into a chair as the floor suddenly tilted. There was a startled cry and Max pointed to the door hatch. A number of clones had been sucked through the door, opening a large gap. More clones came to fill the space but it was obviously a temporary solution.
Naruto's face scrunched, as he wracked his brain for another plan, but when the next voice spoke up it wasn't his.
"Enough of this foolishness."
Kai, who had thus far been sitting quietly in the back of the cabin, rose to his feet with a decisive air. "Naruto, come here." He ordered.
The blond ninja jerked in confusion—it was, after all, the first time Kai had spoken to him directly. Regardless, he hopped to his feet and headed toward the elder teen.
The plane vibrated and rocked under their feet, so much so that Kai could barely keep his feet under him even while gripping two sides of the seat before him. With both hiss feet were glued to the floor with chakra, Naruto was at an advantage as walked with fair stability toward the back of the plane.
"Hn." Kai eyes swept appraisingly over Naruto when the younger teen was level with him. "I need you to get me to the cockpit." Kai gestured toward the door through which Kakashi, Sasuke and Sakura had disappeared for qualification.
"But Kakashi-sen—" Naruto started.
"I know what your teacher said. That is irrelevant. And we are wasting time discussing it. You will get me to the front. Everyone else," Here Kai locked gazes with each of his teammates in turn. "Gather all your belongings, keep them close. Rei," Kai's attention snapped to the Chinese youth, whose eyes turned shrewd in response. "I need you to figure out why these air masks aren't coming down." Kai thumped the top of the cabin—the section which housed said air masks—twice with the side of a fist. "I don't care if you have to use Drigger to cut them loose, just get them down." Rei gave a curt nod of understanding.
Finally, Kai turned back to Naruto. "Now, let's go."
The blond ninja looked for a moment like he was going to disagree, but then, the plane bucked. Both he and Kai were thrown roughly into the seats in front of them, making the breath rush out of their lungs.
"You can help?" Naruto gasped, his gaze searching Kai's face for something.
Naruto didn't necessarily trust Kai; he was too unknown for that. But what Naruto did trust was the bone-deep conviction he saw shining in the youth's eyes. They were the same eyes Kakashi had had when he'd protected Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura from Zabuza. And the same eyes Sasuke had worn when he'd told Itachi to leave Naruto alone. Sakura had gained that look when she'd delivered flowers to Sasuke's hospital bed. And Naruto had seen those eyes reflected in the mirror enough times to know what they meant.
He said nothing more, simply nodded grimly and gripped Kai's upper arm in a strong hold.
Together, the two teens staggered to the front of the cabin. They started out well, and it wasn't until they were about a foot away from the cockpit when things went wrong.
With an ominous clunking of metal, the right engine of the plane spluttered, squealed, then died. The airplane seemed to drop several hundred feet in the air, making everyone shake and grab their heads as the pressure made their ears throb. The floor tipped sharply as the plane leaned alarmingly. Kai's feet were knocked out from underneath him and he fell bodily against the floor with a heavy thud. Naruto cried out as Kai's arm was ripped from his grasp. The ninja fell against the wall, hitting his head, momentarily stunned.
At the same time, many of Naruto's clones had been pulled though the door. It was as though a giant mouth outside the plane was taking a deep inhale and Kai, with neither handhold nor purchase, was pulled helplessly toward the vast open air.
"KAI!" Tyson's seatbelt was hanging loose as he leaned as much forward as he dared, but his outstretched hand could not reach the sliding teen in time.
"KAI!" The Bladebreakers screamed as Kai's feet reached the edge of the plane. Thinking quickly, the dual-haired teen swept his legs apart, planting both feet on either side of the door.
Just as everyone was about to sigh in relief, the plane gave another heaving lurch and one of Kai's feet came loose and passed through the door. The Naruto clones piling at the door were completely useless; as soon as Kai touched them with any weight, they popped out of existence.
Hilary screamed shrilly as Kai tried to grip something, anything. But the floor was smooth and the walls were curved. The aircraft was spacious enough that he couldn't even reach one of the chairs. Then, just as Kai was about to be completely sucked out of the plane, a hand latched around his wrist, tightened, and pulled.
Hair whipping across his eyes, Kai glanced upward and saw Naruto's determined face as the younger teen pulled the elder backward. As soon as his feet could get purchase on the ground, Kai helped Naruto along by scrambling backward, pushing off his heels and using Naruto's grip to yank himself back to his feet.
Naruto's clones immediately filled the space which Kai had left, choking the door and covering the exit as best they could in order to staunch the wind flow. Naruto himself kept a strong hold on Kai, stabilizing him until the airplane tilted back enough so that Kai could keep his balance. Whatever Kakashi, Sasuke and Sakura were doing in the cockpit seemed to be working because they were no longer on a downward spiral through the air.
Kai's chest heaved as he gasped in long breaths, staring at empty space as he contemplated how close he'd just come to loosing his life.
"Hey. Hey." Naruto patted Kai's shoulder awkwardly. "You okay?"
Kai swallowed then looked up into the wide, frightened eyes of his teammates. He forced calm into his countenance, told his legs to quiver some other time.
"Yes." He stood straight, watching as, one by one, the Bladebreakers let out sighs of relief. "I'm fine. Come."
"I can't make sense of these things!" Sakura raised her hands helplessly—shook them over the sea of lights, switches, indicators and electronic screens before her. The flight desk was full of things that beeped, blinked and hummed and none of it held any meaning to the young genin.
Kakashi was seated in the pilot's chair, trying desperately to stop the plane from continuing its deadly nosedive. Sakura was seated in the co-pilot's chair but felt more useless than anything else as she could only stare uncomprehendingly at the panel and joystick before her, scared to touch anything should it cause them to explode or something.
Upon entering the cabin, the ninja had immediately spotted the metal pole the pilot had affixed to the steering keeping it pointed in one direction. After removing it, they had gained what seemed to be only minute control over the aircraft. It had been enough, though, to avoid a near collision with a shelf of rock. But then one of the engines had blown and the fuel gauge started whining loudly in time with a big red light blinking 'EMPTY'. Now it was all they could do to stop the plane from simply freefalling through the air.
In front of them, through the panel of curved glass that wrapped around half the cockpit, Sakura could see the sky: wind and clouds whipping past at an alarming speed. She couldn't see the ground yet, but if the dropping numbers on the altimeter were any indication, they did not have long to go before crashing headfirst into the ground became a very real possibility.
"Sasuke-kun! Do you know what to do?" Sakura appealed to the other ninja, gesturing at the flight desk.
Sasuke, though more knowledgeable than her about planes, was just as clueless in this situation. He shook his head. "Teleportation jutsu?" He suggested hesitantly.
"Impossible." Kakashi grunted as he pulled ineffectively at the winged joystick in front of him. "At this speed, we'd be lucky not to teleport ourselves six feet under the ground."
Sakura shook her head. "Then what—"
The door to the cockpit swung open with a bang and all three ninja turned to see Kai stagger into the room, gesture Naruto back out, then close the door behind himself.
"What—?" Sakura began, but was quickly cut off by Sasuke
"What are you doing? We're trying to save all our lives here. Don't get in the way."
Kai ignored Sasuke, pushing past the younger boy and moving to stand right behind Kakashi.
"Move." Was all the youth said.
Surprisingly the elder ninja ceded his position with little argument, getting up and moving out of the chair even as Kai slid in.
Sakura watched in amazement as Kai's eyes skimmed the sea of lights, dials and information intently, as though taking in the abstract information they had to offer. He then flicked some switches, reached up to fiddle with who-knew-what and then gently pulled back on the joystick. There was an immediate improvement in the plane's altitude. It didn't level out, but at least it was no longer continuing the breakneck nosedive it had been on before.
"Wow… have you flown before?" Sakura asked.
"…No." Kai answered at length, his eyes trained on the flight deck before him. "Simulations. I need Kenny."
"Huh?" Sakura raised her eyebrows and glanced behind herself at Sasuke, who looked as bemused as she felt.
"Get Kenny in here. Tell him to bring Dizzy. " Kai's words were clipped, to the point.
Kakashi nodded to Sasuke, who quickly exited the room to help bring in the younger boy. The jonin then turned back to Kai. "How safe of a landing can you get us?"
"Not much." Kai's teeth were gritted as he struggled to control the airplane. "Fuel's gone, I have no idea where we are. Best case scenario is we make the landing and don't end up splattered like bugs on a windshield."
Sakura winced at the analogy.
It was to that grim atmosphere that Sasuke came back in the cockpit, practically carrying a trembling and cringing Kenny with him.
"Kenny, I need to you to find me the manual landing commands for a Learjet 57"
"M-manual?" Kenny squeaked as he seated himself on a small pull out chair in the corner of the room.
"Automatic was fixed, had us locked on a beeline course with the centre of the Earth. I had to switch it completely to manual."
Kenny let out a high sound in the back of his throat, but still opened Dizzy and immediately began typing away.
Kakashi listened to this exchange quietly, and now chose to speak up again.
"Is there a small kitchenette or food supply in this thing?" He directed his question to the small brown-haired boy.
"U-um…" Kenny jerked his head up. "Y-yes. Back of the plane." The boy nodded distractedly then dove his head back down.
Kakashi's eye narrowed. "Good." Then, raising his voice he addressed his words to Kai. "I will trust you to handle this."
"Yes." Kai said.
"Sasuke, with me. We're going to keep everyone back there safe." With a tilt of his head, Kakashi indicated the passenger cabin. "Sakura, stay here."
Kenny's head jolted up. "T-tell everyone to keep their heads between their knees, and their hands over their heads. It's… to brace for the impact." He advised.
Kakashi nodded in confirmation and he and Sasuke were about to leave the room when Kai's voice halted them.
"Wait." Kai called. "Sasuke, stay behind."
The three ninja exchanged glances. Sakura looked confused, while Kakashi seemed to understand. The jonin put a hand on Sasuke's shoulder and nodded. Much to the dark-haired boy's chagrin, Kakashi's visible eye seemed to be smiling at his obvious discomfort. Gesturing, Kakashi bade Sakura to come with him and they left the cockpit.
After a moment's hesitation, Sasuke turned back around and—upon Kai's request—took a seat in the co-pilot's chair that Sakura had vacated.
"You're good with your eyes," Kai stated rhetorically. "Watch what I do, then do the same on your side."
And Sasuke watched, Sharingan eyes blazing, as Kai completed a series of inputs on his side of the flight desk before pulling the joystick back and holding it. Then Sasuke copied the movements, pulling back on his own control stick.
"Good." Kai relinquished control of the plane to Sasuke. "You see the little indicator here?" Kai tapped on one of the many dials on the desk. "Just keep the speed in the green zone and we'll be fine." Next, Kai picked up a small handheld radio, pressed a button on the side and spoke into it.
"II Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is Flight 4139.II" Sasuke's head nearly jerked around as Kai made the swift, unexpected shift from Japanese to English, but he quickly checked himself and kept his eyes trained on the expanse of blue and white ahead. "II Number is… II" Kai leaned over to look at something. "II December One-One-Four-Eight-Nine-Three. We request assistance. The pilot is down, we are running out of fuel and right engine is gone. I repeat— II" Sasuke listened as Kai went over the message twice more, but every time the teen paused for a response the only thing they heard was static and white noise. No one was responding.
"Kai!" Kenny suddenly exclaimed. "I found it! You need to pull back on the throttle and use something called a trim wheel… I don't know what that is, supposedly it near your knees or… on the… headliner?"
"It's fine Kenny, I know the terminology. Just feed me the directions slowly." Kai said and Sasuke, without needing to be told, understood that Kai wanted control back of the aircraft and yielded it back in a smooth transition, following the commands he'd memorized with his Sharingan.
Kenny read out the instructions and Kai took them in silently. When Kenny finished, Kai just nodded.
"Not a moment too soon." Kai said. Sasuke, wondering what the youth meant, followed his gaze and saw, with widening eyes, the vast expanse of brown-yellow Earth stretching out before them.
"It's time. Sasuke, take Kenny back. Tell everyone we'll be hitting ground in about five minutes." Kai said evenly.
Sasuke stared at the dual-haired boy for a moment, then turned and quickly ushered Kenny from the room.
Left on his own, Kai let out a puff of air then gripped the throttle and angled the plane as best he could. He let the wheels out, but it was dubious if they would do any good. The plane was rumbling, trembling as though in anticipation of what was coming. His teeth were rattling in his mouth, and his head pounded from the pressure and noise. Kai was so focused on the scene ahead that he didn't even react when the door behind him opened nor when a figure slid into the co-pilot's chair next to him. He did, however, speak up after a few moments.
"I thought I told you to go back."
"You told me to take the boy back." Sasuke answered smoothly. "Now I'm here to make sure you don't die in this whole thing."
If it had been any other moment, Sasuke's uncharacteristic concern for him may have instigated some cynical comment; but now was not the time for poking fun. "You can create a barrier with that chakra of yours?" Kai asked.
"Close enough." Sasuke said, then his eyes slipped shut and he seemed to be concentrating.
Kai said nothing more, just held his breath as the ground rushed up to meet them.
The airplane struck the ground with a bone jarring impact, skidding and sliding uncontrollably.
In the passenger cabin, everyone was huddled in their seats, fear driving them to curl themselves into as tiny balls as possible. Rei had gotten the pressure masks down, but they did little to stop the pounding in their heads. Cries of shock and distress were torn from their throats at the sudden impact. Then the squeal of grinding metal and sparks drowned out any further sounds they could make.
The plane shook and rattled to an unbearable degree, the metal groaned as though it pain—as though trying to keep itself from falling apart at the seams.
The plane's ruthless jerking was enough to completely knock the cloned Narutos out of the door hatch and the roaring sound of wind, metal and engines increased tenfold.
Just then, when everything seemed to reach an unbearable level, the plane miraculously began to slow down. The blowing winds started to die away, the horrible moan of metal bending unnaturally stopped and the despairing air around the group began to lift.
"We—We're slowing down!" Hilary cried in thankful disbelief.
The plane slowed. It skidded harshly on its belly until it came to a complete halt and there was utter silence.
Then, like a wave crashing on the rocks, the Bladebreakers, Naruto and Sakura began to cheer and clap.
"WOOHOO! WE MADE IT!" Tyson pumped a fist, high fived Naruto's hand.
"WE'RE ALIVE!" Max cheered.
"I can't believe he did it!" Rei gasped.
"I helped!" Kenny grinned, hugging Hilary who was teary-eyed.
Sakura beamed, the emotion clogged her throat, making her unable to speak.
The mask on Kakashi's lower face stretched as he smiled, but before he could say anything the door to the cockpit swung open with a resounding crack.
"Everyone off the plane!" Kai's barking order, coupled with the panic reflecting in his eyes, had the Bladebreakers stilling in cold shock. Kai's figure took up the entire doorway. He was breathing heavily and sweat glistened on his brow, but other than that he looked more or less okay. Sasuke was behind him, a little worse for wear after having protected both of them from the brunt of the landing, but also seemingly unhurt.
"What—?" Everyone sat there, stupefied. Only Kakashi had risen, responding instinctively to the urgent tone.
"Do you have ears? Get out now! The engine is on fire; we need to get out unless you all prefer to be consumed by a giant ball of exploding gas!"
That statement got an immediate reaction. Suddenly everyone was in motion: grabbing handbags, coats and everything else that was at hand, they all scrambled to the door, and were in the process of rushing through when Hilary gasped and turned.
"Our luggage!" She cried.
"No time. I'm sorry." Kakashi spoke gently but his grip was firm as he pulled Hilary out of the airplane.
They all staggered on the ground with sea legs, thankful at having real Earth under their feet, but unable to celebrate it with the impending danger. Max stumbled on the uneven footing, and was pulled up by Tyson. Together they looked back at the empty aircraft, lying bruised and prone on its belly like a beached whale, smoking from an angry fire lighting its tail.
One second the plane looked completely benign, with only a mild fire flickering around its form. And the next minute everyone was screaming and throwing themselves to the ground as the entire thing erupted in an ear-splitting explosion of fire, smoke and metal.
"WATCH OUT!" Sakura tackled a still-standing Rei as a piece of shrapnel flew at his head. They hit the ground with a dull thump, smoke blowing over their bodies and sparks raining down.
Everywhere else, the others had fallen flat to the ground, curling their arms over their head and coughing through the billowing black smoke.
"A-are you okay?" Sakura coughed.
Rei's eyes were wide as he stared at her, stared at how she had shielded him with her body.
"I… Yeah." He said softly.
The worst of the explosion was over. Fire blazed through the remains of the airplane and there was another, smaller explosion near the cockpit. Sparks and flame burned the sky but didn't reach far enough for the group to be diving for cover.
"My God…" Hilary picked her way over to Rei and Sakura, still gaping at the fire. "If we'd been two minutes slower…"
Rei looked at Hilary, noticed her wild hair and how she was covered practically from head to toe in soot. He figured he probably didn't look much better. The wreckage of their airplane was absolute: pieces of cushion were strewn everywhere, springs, metal melted into convulsive shapes; the fire was still eating away at the insides of the plane and had burnt the ground black in eerily perfect circle around the remains of the plane.
A loud cry of distress jarred Rei from his thoughts with a shock.
From all directions, everyone in the group came running toward Max, who stood frozen on a high hill looking at something in the horizon.
At first Rei looked to make sure everyone was all right. It seemed they were, but gradually everyone's gaze was being drawn to, and held by, whatever had Max so frightened.
Rei's head turned.
And he stared.
Sand, as far the eye could see. Great dunes of grains of sifting golden sand stretched to the horizon blurring into a haze that melded with the pure blue sky. The plane lay in a valley between the dunes, fire having charred the sand a black-brown. This, along with shock had been what first prevented Rei from realizing his surroundings. Now that he saw, he couldn't tear his eyes away.
So much sand. In every direction, Rei turned: round and round.
Nothing. They were adrift in a sea of sand.
To Rei's ears the sound of the fire became suddenly muted. The noise of the wreckage seemed far away as all he could hear was the deathly silence of the sand: shifting, blowing in his ears.
"Where are we…?" Tyson's quiet speculation floated through the group's dumbfounded silence.
"North thirty-nine degrees, forty-five minutes; East eighty-five degrees. China."
Everyone looked at Kai, who had spoken the words in a dull monotone.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" Tyson puffed impatiently.
Sakura, however, understood immediately.
"Oh!" She nodded. "Latitude and longitude. But what do they correspond to? Where is that? China?"
While the group was watching Kai though, the red-eyed teen had turned his gaze on Rei. "Northwest China, Rei." He stressed.
They then all had the dubious pleasure of seeing Rei's face drain of all colour as the realization hit him.
"Ai! Takelamagan Shamo!" Rei cried and his legs gave out. Shock put him straight to his knees. "We're in the middle of the Taklimakan desert. The desert of death."
',.-End, Chapter Fourteen-.,'
(*Poof* The author just made a convenient exit.)
Dani Hiwatari: Heya! Thanks! Hehe, they're not quite in Russia yet… X3
Elow: No problem! I love receiving reviews, so I always try to respond to everyone in turn. And it doesn't seem fair that only reviewers with FFdotnet accounts get replies. I know what you mean about the issues with crossovers; if I ever start to get too out of character feel free to give me a verbal smack on the head :D
dekoolsky: Thanks! And I hope you enjoyed this chapter too! It wasn't too evil, was it? X3
suri: Hiya! And thank you! It's AWESOME to hear that you think I'm portraying the Naruto characters well, since I have absolutely no experience writing them ^_^'. Kakashi's lines never fail to stress my brain XD I hope you enjoyed the update!
Sciura: Yay, more plot! I love the fluff chapters too, but now it's time to get down to business (*rubs hands together while chucking evilly* Oh yesss… this is gonna be FUN! Hehehe…)Though I don't think this was exactly the type of plot you were expecting XDD. What did you think?
Sammy: Hello! Thank you for reviewing! :D Yep, there aren't too many Naruto/Beyblade crossovers out there. Actually, it was never my plan to write this; I just had this weird dream one night of Sasuke and Naruto fighting while Kai and the Bladebreakers watched (Chapter 6… I think?) and I figured 'Wow, these characters are really alike; it'd be awesome if they met' and the rest is history XDD I hope you liked the chapter!
Australian: I updated! Sorry it took so long; but I hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reviewing!
To my reviewers: terracannon876, NEVERMORE DARKNESS, ShadowBlade7330, Nameless Little Girl, SoulNinjas, dragonlilly1993, Tears of Eternal Darkness, Silent Pandemonium, Jadej.j, sasukoi, Hiira, Golden feathers Edward, Kuma the wolf alchemist, sasukechica, 99DenmonChick99, The Swordsman, Kai-Chan94, Shiningheart of ThunderClan, .Hitachiinx3, stephvamp25, ShadowWolfDagger, Dani Hiwatari, StrangeoneXD, alanacrystal, Elow, dekoolsky LightlessFallenAngel, wolf's lament, beckylovesgigs, BloodRedViolet, Petalwhisker X Fireheart, FlamingIce94, iHeartLead, Mashy-Gaara4life, JustBeYou, DANHK, beybladeingninjaprincess, Kumerai-sama, BedknobsAndLlamas, Haro kzoids, suri, xDarkLemonx, bladz-liska, Sciura, LJasmin, Sesshoumarus-Dark-Angel, loves-emo-guys-with-hair, FEARMEfrancis, StarShinobi, Ninja2k, reading-maniac, Sammy, Monkey and Cookee, Australian, James Hiwatari, ice cold wolf and MagicalKaiLover18! Wow… thank you everyone!
(Last note: It's very likely that I will not be able to respond to reviews for this chapter. Right now it's going to be all I can do just to write, so the review responses will probably get suspended… I apologize in advance; I just wanted to mention this so that you guys don't think I'm ignoring you. I love reading your comments :).)