No, actually, it's just me. I survived CORTRAMID. Yay! If anyone makes me say "Aye Corporal" in the next month, I'll fire a grenade launcher at them. Be scared. I actually hit the target at 400 m. Oh yeah.
Anyway, this is just the prologue. It is relevant, I promise. I know it's been a month, so I'll refresh your memories: this is from the mission to Lightning, where Kushina was captured and Kyuubi met his mate. Remember that? Okay, we're good.
I'll update next monday, and as usual, keep the schedule as much as possible. Updating today is a present for one of my readers. You know who you are. :D
Still, I'll try to keep the cliffies down on this one. I know you all hate them, so I'll do my best.
This is a sequel. Do not read without reading "If Only" and "Belly of the Beast" first!
Disclaimer for this story: I don't own Naruto.
by Mari Falcon
The young redhead—not natural, he noted—thrashed and screamed on the cot. The room was rank with her sweat, fear and pain, as it had been for days. The second had really come out a few hours into the experiments, when she realized what was going on, when they discovered the wonderfully complex summoning seal on her back. His experts had copied and analyzed it, then pulled it out of her skin, much to the young woman's . . . discomfort. They couldn't figure out how it worked, which led him to believe that it was involved in a kekkai genkai of some sort.
But nothing more could be done with it until they had who it summoned, so he turned back to the subject in front of him.
Such interesting energy in this one. He'd seen it before, in a few, rare subjects. Their chakra was far more powerful than normal, and those of higher rank could use it much more finely. Still, that was with mere traces of this fantastic substance. They were contaminated with the blood and chakra of normal ninjas. This girl was pure.
"Send it to her eyes again," he commanded.
She shook her head, understanding what was about to come next. His technicians carefully, delicately, reached through their chakra strings into her body and redirected the flow of the energy, sending it straight to her eyes. She had them squeezed shut as tightly as possible. The monitors on her body beeped happily, reporting the energy centering in her eyes.
He nodded and turned back to her, but her eyelids still covered them. An uncharacteristic frown slipped on her face. "Open her eyelids."
The others in the room shifted uneasily and she whimpered on the bed. He spun to them. "We need her eyelids open to get results. You and you—"He pointed to two random men. "—force them open."
The men gulped, but stepped forward. The girl began to shake her head back and forth furiously.
"You hold her head still," he ordered another one, impatient to see results. In previous times, they'd been able to get her eyelids open a sliver before she bit someone's finger off.
He hoped this time it would be different. Sensors were attached to her skull, watching brain waves, and he'd performed an incredibly complicated medical jutsu that linked her optical cortex to a screen. It was blank right now, as her eyes were shut tightly, but he knew it worked. He wanted to see what she saw, see what that energy saw, what it was.
His attention was once again on her as she growled and tried to bite fingers. Her legs and arms quivered in their restraints, bruised, broken in some places from her desperate attempts to escape. Her cot rocked back and forth, enough for him to feel the vibrations in the floor. Finally, one of them grabbed a hold of her neck, putting just enough pressure on it to freeze her entire head in place.
She howled and tried to break free, but his brute strength was no match for her, dehydrated, undernourished and overmedicated. The other two came up, braver now, and pinched at her eyelids. The screen showed flashes of color as her eyeball tried to interpret the pressure and her screams increased in volume and intensity.
A sliver of real color appeared on the screen, but vanished as they lost their grip. He spared but a glance for them: three men and twenty restraints holding down one barely adult female. Pathetic.
He barked out an order to hurry up, as her screams were hurting his ears now. He wanted to see.
At last—finally—they managed to wrench open her lids. His eyes widened as he stared at the screen, at the colors and patterns. There was green, brilliantly emerald specks floating in the air, concentrated in the shape of—people? He gasped, trying to process the images, but suddenly her screams reached a crescendo. The jutsu connecting her eyes and the screen overloaded and shorted out, causing an explosion of chakra that sent everyone flying.
He hit the ground hard and the breath was knocked out of him. Something inside cracked. He pushed himself to his elbows to see green energy—green energy, green specks—arcing across her eyes, as if trying to escape. Almost like lightning, it shot across the room, finding someplace new to go. It landed on one of the technicians, who had been holding her eyes open.
For half an instant, the man glowed bright, dazzling green. Why green? But the energy was too much for him. His skin began to split and peel and his face contorted in pain as the green energy continued to pour into him.
He shoved off the floor and ran out the door, slamming it shut and locking it tight behind him. On the other side, his howls reached agony as his bones exploded from the unnatural pressure of the energy.
The man watched as he died, and the energy searched for a new home. Understanding lit inside him. They were forcing all of this strange, green energy to her eyes, but it was too much. In self-preservation, it was leaving her eyes, searching for a new body to temporarily stay in until it could return to its place. But the energy was hers, and only hers, it couldn't be transferred or given away.
Another man died the same way as the first. He scratched his chin, thinking over the complications of this. His mouth twitched unhappily as yet another assistant was fried. He spun to the controls of her energy and dialed it down, returning the flow to normal. The crackling green energy in the room flew back to her body, now that it wouldn't destroy her flesh and blood.
He stepped back to the door and unlocked it. The remaining men crawled or ran out. He nearly gagged at the smell as he stepped inside. Charred flesh and urine. Added to that was the smell of her, unwashed for days, and the unfortunately old, rusty metal the room was made of. He'd need to spend a long time in the bath houses tonight before going home to his family.
The female was sobbing on the cot, her body trembling. Tears and blood were rolling from her eyes. "My friends," she rasped. He grimaced to her hear voice, nearly gone from the constant howling. "They're—"
"Not coming for you," he interrupted, sighing. "Everyone says that. I suppose I could tell you why you're wrong."
She gasped, but didn't answer and he took that as a yes. "This place is a sort of reverse summoning," he began. "Just as the creatures you summon live in a parallel dimension, so to speak, so does this place. You're not in your world anymore."
A sob escaped from her battered throat. "That doesn't matter," she whispered. Her lower lip split as she talked, and blood pooled on her chin. Disgusting. "They'll find me eventually."
"Wrong, again," he said. He leaned down and pulled at the recording device in the room, the one hooked up to the now broken screen. "You see, Lightning is home to some of the greatest time and space jutsu masters in the world. They all collaborated—and what an ego fest that was—to help with this place. In addition to being out of sync with your space, it is out of sync with time."
He picked up a rod and poked at the chunky remains of one member of his team. "Every week here is only one day there, approximately." He dropped the metal as she began to understand. "You probably told them to meet you in two or three days. That gives me anywhere from fourteen to twenty-one days to find out what I want before I send you back. Oh, and you won't remember anything, really. Just vague impressions, and a lot of pain."
He sighed contentedly, thinking of all the ways to erase her memory. "I love medicine."
"What do you want, you sick bastard?" she demanded.
"I want to understand that energy that you have," he answered. He wished he could look in her eyes—green eyes, green energy—as she came to realize what he was going to do. "I want to know what it is, I want to know what it can do, I want to know where it came from, but most of all, I want to know how your body survives it. You saw what it did to your men. There is something in your genes that allows you to carry and use this energy. I intend to find those genes and discover the truth of your energy."
"Why?" she asked.
"It is powerful," he responded. "And the people I work for want a powerful weapon. If I can isolate those genes, possibly reproduce them in another, Lightning would have an army of warriors with that energy, that energy which enhances jutsu and healing time, which deepens chakra and control. We would be unstoppable."
"I'll kill myself first," she gasped. "I won't let you use me as a weapon."
He sighed and stepped over an intact bone, femur probably, based on its circumference. "I won't let you. And I won't kill you either. You can lead me to others with this energy. And there's always the possibility of you having children. I would like to see what this energy does to a bloodline limit, how it affects it."
Just before he closed the door, the Lightning doctor gave a small smile. "Imagine how powerful those children would be. Who wouldn't love to get their hands on them."
It's a cliffie, yes, but it's also a clue. Don't worry, everything will be explained in time.
I love you all. Thank you for waiting so patiently.
And for those of you who asked, yes, this is the last part. I've had it planned since chapter 1 of If Only (with minor adjustments for canon changes. grrrr). Hope you enjoyed it and see you in a week!
Review!! Tell me how much you missed me!!