Chapter 2 – Walking Dead
He woke to screaming.
The noise rattled around his head like a bunch of marbles, sending streaks of pain down his spine. He felt a rush of irrational hatred towards whoever was wailing like that.
It was at that point that he realized the one screaming was him. Then the pain hit him.
It was like nothing he had ever felt before. Every nerve was alive and screaming. Every twitch, every breath sent agony wailing down into his central nervous system. He screamed and screamed and screamed until he could scream no more, and the pain continued.
The pain seemed to last forever. Then finally, it lifted enough for his screams to stop. Slowly, he managed to open his eyes. He saw a blue sky, and buildings that seemed to extend into infinity.
After another eternity, he was able to sit up. He tried to focus, but couldn't. The pain was too great.
He curled up into a ball, and screamed. He screamed a hoarse plea to someone, anyone to just make it stop.
But no one was listening.
Naruto didn't want to admit as much, but the silence was getting to him.
It had been ten minutes since this Four-Eyes character had approached him, declared that Naruto was part of some sort of cosmic war and that Four-Eyes himself was actually the Shinigami. Naruto personally was convinced that he'd finally found someone that outcrazied Orochimaru.
But then the lunatic had told Naruto that he'd take him somewhere that could give him more specific answers. Of course, Naruto would prefer to go somewhere that the crazy person wasn't, but as Four-Eyes was the only person who actually knew something about Konoha, he didn't have any choice in the matter.
And the bastard hadn't said a word since. At first he hadn't minded, as Naruto had no interest in talking to a lunatic. But as they kept walking, the silence began to irk him more and more. Which lead him to this point, where he was bored and looking for entertainment. That combination, as any veteran ANBU could tell you, was a recipe for disaster.
"Hey; small, scrawny, and quiet! We there yet?"
"No." Succinct, and to the point. Words that translated into 'boring as all hell' for Naruto.
"How about now?"
"No." Absolutely no change in tone, inflection, or any other big fancy words that mean, basically, that he talked like a damn robot. Naruto frowned, trying to think of another way to piss off the bastard.
"So…this whole war in heaven thingy. We going up against all of them?" Now that got a reaction. The 'Shinigami' slowed, looking back over his shoulder at the blond; which, granted, was not the reaction he was hoping for – but better than nothing.
"…yes…" Four-Eyes answered slowly, clearly not sure where Naruto was going with that question.
"Well, I was just thinking, did that include the gods of love, 'n peace, an' cute lil' furry animals?" The Shinigami stared at him for a long second, before turning back around and continued walking at his normal pace.
"There is no such thing as the god of 'cute lil' furry animals.'" He answered over his shoulder. Naruto scoffed.
"Oh, pleeeease. Of course they've got one. Have you seen the way women react around those things? There's no way in hell that's normal." Naruto wasn't sure, but he thought he saw the Shinigami speed up a little. Naruto grinned.
The next five minutes were made up of Naruto thinking up the most insane things he could, and pestering the Shinigami about them. His personal favorite was whether someone could make crossbow bolts out of sausages. Four-Eyes had actually stopped, and asked him why the hell he would want something like that.
"…to use against the vegans." Naruto responded, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. The Shinigami's mouth opened, and then closed. Then he just turned and kept walking. It was about another three seconds until the deity had given in to his curiosity, and turned to him.
"And why would you use them against the vegans?"
"Because they're invading."
"And why are they invading?"
"Because we're making crossbow bolts out of sausages."
The Shinigami hadn't responded to any of his questions since then.
"So… how many woodch-" The Shinigami cut him off before he could finish.
"Be sure to watch your step." Naruto paused for a moment, thrown by the non sequitur. But the Shinigami didn't slow down, and turned into an ally.
"Hey! Wait up!" The blond raced around the corner and saw the Shinigami open a door and walk through it. Naruto rushed after him through the dark doorway before it closed, hoping to catch up. The first thing that ran through his mind was 'Where'd they put the floor?'
Weightlessness hit him as his foot sailed through air rather than the ground, and Naruto found himself falling forward. He yelped and windmilled his arms, trying to recover his balance. His foot brushed something and he adhered to it with his chakra instinctively.
Naruto was standing exactly ninety degrees from the ground.
On the goddamn _side_ of a building, with the ground of the ally a good forty feet below.
And Four-Eyes was on a ladder hanging directly below the door. Laughing at him. Naruto's eye twitched.
"Hey, fuck you!" He yelled at the other man. The blonde didn't really care if this guy was the 'Shinigami' or not. He could have fucking _died_, for Kami's sake. He hollered as much at Four-Eyes. However, the bastard blew him off, choosing instead to stare at Naruto's foot.
"Ah, so you can still mold your own chakra. Good. That'll make our job easier." Naruto blinked. What the hell was Four-Eyes talking about?
"Oi! Listen to me when I'm talking to you, damnit!" The Shinigami rolled his eyes.
"If you're done with the theatrics, we need to keep moving." Naruto let out an outraged squawk.
"Theatrics? Did you not notice how I nearly died?!" The Shinigami started down the ladder once more, turning his attention away from Naruto.
"I'm the Shinigami, remember? Besides, I would have caught you." Naruto looked at the God of Death, taking in the thin arms, quick breaths, and overall appearance of frailty the 'deity' exuded.
"Well, color me relieved, then." Naruto muttered quietly. But apparently, not quietly enough as Four-Eyes paused, shooting an irritated look up at the blond. Then his fist lashed out, striking the brick wall. A moment later, the Shinigami hung there with rubble that was once part of the wall he just hit clenched in his fist.
"I thought a good ninja knew better than to judge a book by its cover?" The Shinigami smirked. Naruto stared back blankly. After a moment, the deity shook his head and started back down the ladder. Naruto grabbed onto the ladder and, releasing his hold on the wall, started climbing down himself.
"A good ninja never judges a book by its cover." Naruto imitated quietly, beyond irritated. "Fucking crazy bastard. 'Oh, look at me! I can punch the shit outta a wall!' The hell that wall ever do to you, asshole?"
"I heard that." Came the flat response from below. Naruto rolled his eyes, but kept the rest of his monologue internal.
Then he paused, looking out at the night sky, while he hung from the side of a building.
"Oi! How the hell'd we get here?" The Shinigami paused, and looked back up.
"You only thought to ask this now?" Naruto flushed.
"Hey! Near-death experience here! Little bit distracting!" He protested. "Now seriously, what the fuck's going on?" Four-Eyes stared at him for a moment.
"The gods tend to play fast and loose with what they're creating. They're an impatient lot, and settle for what they the fastest thing they can get in the shortest period of time, that will still hold up to their 'games.'" The Shinigami reached the ground, and moved to the end of the ally.
"Let's keep moving." He said as soon as Naruto's feet touched the ground. The two stepped out of the ally and onto the street. "There are places in this world where reality is… fractured." The deity continued. "However, as reality cannot – will not – sustain a tear in itself, it tries to find some way to heal itself." The two paused at an intersection and waited for the light.
A giant, clunking, bright red metal monstrosity came to a squealing stop right next to them, making Naruto jump a foot in the air. Then the blond stared as he noticed that the …thing was filled to the brim with green… things – green, people sized things, with huge jaws and large fangs. One stood up and stared at them.
"What da zog?" It croaked. "Humies?!" Then it leaned forward and smacked another that was up in front of the …thing. It started yelling something that Naruto couldn't even begin to make out. The other one yelled something back, before yanking a lever that sent the contraption forward again. Naruto stared, wide-eyed, before turning back to the Shinigami.
"What the hell was that?" The other 'boy' shrugged.
"Orks." He said simply.
"Think of reality as a sort of bubble." The Shinigami continued as if never interrupted. "Granted, it doesn't really work that way, but it gives a framework to work with." They crossed the street, and continued walking.
"Now, the tear can heal itself in two ways: either by healing itself over, or connecting to another tear elsewhere. The first is highly discouraged by the gods, as it mars the seeming 'perfection' of their work." Naruto frowned at the sarcasm lacing the 'Shinigami's' voice. Wasn't he supposed to be one of the gods?
"Therefore," Four-Eyes continued. "The tear seeks to connect to another tear; which causes things like the doorway we just walked through." Naruto nodded slowly. There was a lot the Shinigami didn't answer, but it did explain how they managed to go from an ally in daylight to the middle of a building in the middle of the night. Granted, that was assuming all this 'gods' bullshit was true, but Naruto really didn't have much else to go on. But, even then…
"And the …orks? Just what part of this fucked up 'reality' are they from?" The Shinigami flashed him a smile.
"Oh no, they're leftovers." Naruto came to a full stop.
"Leftovers from what?"
The only answer he got was a smile.
Tsunade leaned back in her chair and sighed, wishing for some sake and cursing the policy against drinking while working. She had just gotten out of the latest round of 'pin the blame' with the rest of the hospital staff, due to the 'disappearance' of Uzumaki Naruto.
That was something no one should have to suffer through without the promise of sake at the end of it.
There was a knock at the door, and Tsunade found herself wishing she could just throw a punch through the damn door, and send the asshole that dared bother her flying. The knock came again. Shaking her head at the strange thoughts that ran through her head at times, she stood up and walked to the door. She was greeted by the sight of a file right in front of her face.
"Here's the bloodwork you asked for, Tsunade-sama!" Shizune said. Tsunade blinked, before snatching the file from her assistant. She mumbled a thank-you as she walked back to her desk. Far too used to Tsunade's single-minded focus to be offended, Shizune simply bowed and returned to her own work.
When hearing that the boy was unconscious for no apparent reason, Tsunade had ordered for a sample of Uzumaki's blood to be tested. The results of the tests were in her hands right now.
And they made no sense whatsoever.
Tsunade slammed the file down in frustration, before storming off to the labs to give someone hell for lackadaisical work. Then she was going to run the damn tests herself.
It seemed that the Shinigami enjoyed playing 'Mr. Mysterious,' as the bastard refused to answer any more of Naruto's questions. In reply, Naruto decided to tell him to go do several things that were physically impossible. The two fell into silence again, weaving through crowds, holding all sorts of odd …things. They ranged from hulking brutes to tiny little critters, and everything else in between.
Most disturbingly, Naruto found that the more similar a creature was to a human, the stranger it was. A perfect example would be the green-haired woman that he had seen across the street. She seemed almost perfectly normal (and very attractive) to Naruto, at first. Except for the fact that she had bat-like wings emerging from both her lower back and her skull – and she was staring at him as if she wanted to eat him.
The instant the Shinigami spotted the woman, he grabbed hold of the boy's elbow and with a hissed command of "Don't make eye-contact!" had rushed him past her. They had kept up that pace for a good five minutes.
Now, though, the Shinigami stepped out into the middle of the empty street. Naruto followed more slowly. He'd seen those … 'cars' (as the Shinigami called them) flying by, and was not interested in getting hit by one. His attention turned from the street, however, when he heard the sound of metal against concrete.
The Shinigami was lifting up a sewer cover.
"Oh, you gotta be shitting me." The Shinigami simply flashed another one of those damn smiles of his, and dropped through the sewer-hole. "Okay, so you're not shitting me. Bastard." He stared down into the hole, recognizing the same pitch-black darkness that the damn doorway opened up into. He stared down at it for a moment, wondering just where the hell he was going to come out this time.
Naruto took a deep breath, trying to work up his nerve and brace himself for anything.
Unfortunately, that 'anything' didn't extend to the Ork's moving scrap-heap plowing through a building behind him, and skidding to a stop in the middle of the street.
Naruto found himself staring down the front of what he now realized was a giant battering ram. One of the green …orks stood up – Naruto recognized it as the same one that had been yelling the last time he'd seen these guys. It looked around, as if looking for something. Then it shrugged and pointed down at him, and screamed.
"HUMIE! GIT 'EM, BOYZ!"
The contraption roared.
Naruto dove through the sewer-hole, just as the metal battering ram raced overhead. Then he had the curious feeling of gravity deciding to shift gears, as down became sideways. He fell flat on his face on wet stone. He groaned as the wind was knocked out of him.
He pulled himself to his feet, and looked around. He turned to the Shinigami, who was standing next to him.
"It's a sewer."
"Observant, aren't we?" He motioned for Naruto to follow. "C'mon, we're nearly there." He lead Naruto through a winding maze of tunnels, before coming to a stop at the mouth of a very wide tunnel. He flashed a smile at Naruto. "Almost there." The blond swore mentally. He was quickly learning to hate that smile.
The two of them stepped up to the tunnel, and walked into the darkness.
And continued walking. Naruto stayed on edge, anticipating a sudden fall at any moment. He was so focused that he barely noticed when they stepped out into the sun. He jerked as light stabbed his unsuspecting eyes, before staring accusingly at the other man, who just grinned and kept walking. Grumbling, Naruto followed.
They were walking along a snow-covered path up to a mountain. Naruto shivered from the sudden onslaught of déjà vu. Naruto pushed the dark thoughts from his mind, and focused simply on following the Shinigami. Soon they were half-way up the mountain, and Naruto was shivering for an entirely different reason.
"Almost there, huh?"
"What, you cold? Suck it up." Naruto rolled his eyes. The Shinigami clearly wasn't one of the more forgiving deities.
Soon, they had reached what seemed to be a hollowed out tunnel in the mountain wall. Naruto welcomed the shelter from the biting cold of the wind. The overcoat and pants he had swiped from the homeless guy were warm 'n all, but having more clothes than that tended to help.
And he wasn't even going to start talking about his bare feet. Channeling chakra through them managed to keep them warm, but his suddenly severely limited chakra reserves had forced him to regulate how much he was channeling, keeping them just above frost-bite levels.
He turned his mind from his woes as the two of them exited the tunnel and entered a city. Quickly gazing around, Naruto realized that the city had been constructed in the center of a dormant volcano. He noticed that the Shinigami had gotten ahead of him and raced over.
The Shinigami was approaching a house. Naruto had caught up with him as the immortal reached the steps and knocked. Moments later, someone answered the door.
A second later, Naruto mentally thanked the Shinigami for dragging him through that weird-ass place earlier, because he didn't jump and freak at the woman who answered the door.
His first impression was that she had a bear somewhere in her ancestry. She was ferocious looking, with sharp fangs, a somewhat stocky and clearly muscular body, and a thin layer of fur. But despite that, she was very much 'all woman,' as Ero-sennin would call it.
"'Ello, Lord." She greeted the Shinigami in a heavily (and strangely) accented voice, before turning to him. "Ah! Hyu must be Naruto." The boy nodded warily. "Come in." She said, stepping aside from the doorway and motioning them in. "Ve have been vaiting for some time now. Hy am Mama Gkika and…" She trailed off, before turning to the Shinigami. "Have hyu told him?"
"I was just about to." She nodded in understanding.
"Come vith us?" She asked Naruto, gesturing towards the back of the house. Naruto nodded, thinking that there really wasn't much choice. The three made their way through the house, before entering a wide, expansive room. One that Naruto was pretty sure was bigger than Gkika's entire house. Well, he would have been pretty sure, had he actually noticed.
Instead, he was too busy gaping at what he saw.
"Hello, Naruto." The Sandaime Hokage welcomed him from where he was sitting at the table in the center of the room. "It's good to see you again." Next to him, the Yondaime Hokage nodded a greeting.
"…what the fuck?"
Naruto sat back in his chair at the table, setting down the tea Gkika had provided him, trying to wrap his mind around everything that had happened so far.
"Okay, I give. How the fuck are you two alive?" The two former Hokages looked at each other. Then finally, Sarutobi cleared his throat, and began to explain.
"Well, you see, neither the Yondaime nor myself died of natural causes. Both of us contracted a service with the Shinigami, which cost us our souls. And as the body cannot live without the soul, we… died. Our souls were then the Shinigami's to keep." The old man gestured to the Shinigami. "And he has chosen to… bring us back." Naruto blinked in surprise.
"Wow. I actually understood you the first time." The old man rolled his eyes, before smiling wryly.
"Well, I had plenty of time to work out the exact phrasing this time, and properly dumb it down." Naruto scowled at the old Hokage.
"Oi!" Sarutobi simply smiled, giving the boy a challenging look. Naruto's eyes narrowed.
"Oh, yeah? Well, at least I can't put foreign dignitaries to sleep by chatting my wrinkly old ass off." Sarutobi snorted.
"That was once, and that man was older than dirt." Naruto paused mid-breath, and stared at the old man. Not once had the Sandaime ever said anything bad about any politician, as far as Naruto could recall.
"What?" Sarutobi asked, biting back a laugh. "I'm not Hokage any more. I don't have to play nice with those blood-suckers." Naruto's mouth opened, before shutting with a 'clack.' Then he cracked, and started laughing. He was wiping tears by the time he caught his breath.
"It's good to see you again, you old geezer." Sarutobi smiled, and started to speak. Whatever he was about to say was cut off as the Shinigami groaned and leaned forward in his chair.
"Yes, yes. This is a lovely reunion, I'm shedding tears at the beautifulness of it all; but can we get to the meat of this thing?" Naruto briefly wondered if the bastard was allergic to niceness, but nodded and leaned back in his seat.
"Yeah, we can. And we can start by one of you explaining just what the fuck is going on." Sarutobi nodded, and turned to the Shinigami (whom Naruto was beginning to begrudgingly accept was actually the real thing).
"How much did you tell him?" The deity shrugged.
"Not much. Just the big picture."
"Ah, so he doesn't …"
"No, I figured I'd let you tell him, as he tried to rip out my throat when I so much as mentioned the place." Both Hokages turned and shot questioning looks at the boy in question, who grinned sheepishly. Though he noticed Gkika giving him a thumbs up from where she was sitting.
"…Very well." Naruto turned his attention back to the old man. Sarutobi sighed, before pulling out his pipe and lighting it. He took a deep drag, before leaning forward towards the genin. "The first thing you have to understand, Naruto, is that while Konoha was very much real, so is this place." Naruto nodded.
"Yeah, I've been picking up on that. So what, we just gotta go through some tear-thingabobs to get back, right?" The Sandaime shot the Shinigami a look.
"I may have also taken him through one of the other Brokenlands." The old man sighed quietly, which Naruto knew meant that he was irritated as fuck, but not going to say anything. Yet.
"I see. Well, Naruto, unfortunately it doesn't work like that. This place is as real as Konoha, but they cannot exist at the same time." Naruto frowned.
"You see, Naruto…" The old man trailed off for a moment. "The gods destroyed the fabric of reality that made up Konoha, and replaced it with the one you are in now." Naruto felt a chill run down his spine.
Konoha was… gone?
"…why?" The old man sighed deeply, and seemed older than Naruto ever remembered him looking.
"Apparently, the gods once warred with themselves directly. But that proved far too destructive, so they agreed to never raise arms against another, and instead move their battle to another place, and let representatives of each god that wishes to take part carry on the fight for their patron god."
"Okay… why the hell've I never heard about this? And where the fuck does destroying Konoha come into play?" Naruto asked. The old man held up his hand, asking for silence.
"I'm getting there. Once a winner was decided, the gods would tear apart the world, and construct a new one for whoever else wanted to take part." Naruto sat up straight in his chair.
"Indeed. But there's still more to this tale. They continued on like so for some time, fighting through the lens of the game rather than against each other directly. However, an anomaly began to develop as time went on. I believe you know it well." Naruto cocked an eyebrow at the old man, looking for some sort of clarification. Because he sure as fuck didn't know any 'anomaly.'
"The Kyuubi." The Yondaime answered Naruto's unasked question. The demon vessel's eyes widened.
"Yes, the Kyuubi." Sarutobi continued. "At first, they dismissed it as a minor threat, and let their champions challenge it instead. They believed that their Champions would be strong enough to handle the beast." He shook his head.
"They were wrong. Very wrong. It destroyed the Champions handily, and began growing in power. Soon, it was strong enough to rend and distort the very fabric that the gods had created." Naruto sat back in his chair, and looked down at his belly.
"…Is there anything that thing doesn't fuck up?" The others were silent. Naruto dismissed his thoughts, and looked back to the Old Man. "Alright, keep going." Sarutobi nodded.
"The Kyuubi was powerful enough that the gods themselves feared to face it. Eventually, it warped the fabric of reality to the point where it created the Elemental Countries." Naruto jerked.
"Wait, hold up. Do you mean to tell me that we've got the Kyuubi to thank for creating Konoha – which it then proceeded to try to flatten?"
"In short; yes." Naruto sat back in his chair, numb. Then, after a moment, he let out a bark of bitter laughter.
"Huh. Go figure."
"Indeed. But back to the story. The Kyuubi managed to create the Elemental Countries just a few months before the attack on Konoha. Then one of the gods realized how to defeat the beast, and contacted a young promising Hokage whom had just taken office. The two proceeded to develop a plan, which they then enacted once the Kyuubi moved on Konoha, sealing the beast and ceasing its reign of terror."
"They waited fifteen years to ensure that the Kyuubi was truly caged, and then started the games once again. This." Sarutobi gestured around him, disgust dripping from his words.
"Okay, but how do I tie into all of this? Hell, how do you two tie into all of this?"
"You tie into it as, like I said before, you bear my Mark." The Shinigami answered this time. "You will be my champion in the upcoming war." Naruto's brows shot up to his hairline.
"Um, excuse me?"
"I was denied a place in this competition, out of the pettiness of my peers. They all feared what I had done in chaining the beast, and the power that I wielded." The Shinigami's eyes glowed with power. "The other gods were too soft, too weak to be able to face down the demon. Well, with the exception of one, but that lunatic would most likely destroy as much of the surrounding reality as the Kyuubi." The last part was muttered under his breath.
"So I decided to show them what true power was. You will be my champion, and with the aid of the former Hokages, you will defeat all of the other gods."
"Um… one question. Why the hell am I the one to take on these guys, rather than one of the Hokages? Cuz, you know, they're hokages? The best ninja in the village?" The Shinigami smirked.
"I think you overestimate the level of those you will be facing. As for why you, and not one of them – they have never truly borne my Mark. They have given their souls to me, yes. But neither has lived while my Mark burns their flesh." His eyes seemed to bore into Naruto's.
"But you have. Therefore, you are my Chosen. Not them." Then he shrugged. "Besides, having a resuscitated Champion is… 'cheating.'"
"But why should I do it?" Naruto pressed. "I mean, sure, I 'bear your Mark.' But that doesn't mean I have to do anything you say." The Shinigami's smile was back in full force.
"True. But there is an incentive. After all, why else would so many men choose to fight and die against one another?"
"There is a wish-granting mystical object which governs the game. And it gives one wish to the last Chosen standing. Is that enough incentive for you?" Naruto stared the deity in the eye, his mind racing. One wish.
'… Could I wish for Konoha back?'
"Are there any limitations on the wish?" The Shinigami shrugged.
"I'm afraid I don't know. It was never really a concern of mine." The demon vessel stared hard at the deity.
"Alright, I'm in."
"Good." The Shinigami stood, and all the others rose with him. "Oh yes, one more thing – you will need a weapon." The Shinigami reached inside his pocket, and pulled out a kunai. He then tossed it to Naruto.
"Wait, wait, wait. This is it? One single kunai?" He frowned. "What the hell do the others have?" The Shinigami made a show of trying to remember.
"Usually, a patron will grant his Chosen with a power of some kind."
"…And what've I got?"
"The ability to utilize chakra in a world where no one can?" Naruto blinked at that.
"One more time, now?" The Shinigami gave him a patronizing look.
"Come now. A god has been summoned twice by chakra techniques. Twice. Even I thought that impossible at first. Do you really thing any deity would be comfortable with that kind of power floating around?" Naruto nodded grudgingly.
"So… what? They got rid of chakra, or something?" The blonde froze. "…wouldn't that kill everybody?"
"… No, they didn't 'get rid of it.' Chakra is deeply tied to life, after all. They removed the humans' ability to harness it." He smirked. "Well, except for one." Naruto rolled his eyes.
"Okay, that sounds great and all, but I don't even have enough chakra for a henge, for crying out loud. How the hell am I supposed to 'utilize' it?" The Shinigami cocked his head almost playfully as he stared at his 'Chosen.'
"…so what else could I give you?" Naruto nearly palmed his face.
"I don't know! I'm not the god, here!" The Shinigami paused, considering.
"Well, I suppose…"
The Shinigami trailed off, removing his jacket, and rolling up his right sleeve. Naruto – and everyone else – tensed slightly, not sure what the deity was up to.
"You already bear my sigil – though it doesn't function in the same method as the others will." The immortal started to explain, though it sounded more like he was talking to himself. He stared at his right arm, concentrating. Then, slowly, symbols and tattoos began to form and blossom on the skin.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Naruto saw both the Yondaime and the old man take a half-step back in fear. "One of your greatest strengths – the demon's power – stems from that."
"But…" The Shinigami trailed off as the tattoos stopped growing along his arm. Then, lightning fast, he lashed out with a punch at Naruto.
The fist connected before the ninja had even realized that the deity had taken a swing. Then, rather than striking Naruto's skull and sending the boy flying, the fist simply… sunk into his skull, up to the wrist.
Naruto gasped, and his eyes rolled up in his head. The other three shouted in protest, but the god ignored them. Then, slowly, inexoriably, the tattoos started to fade from his arm; starting from the elbow and moving down its length. It was almost like it was flowing into the boy's head. The fist slipped out with a wet slurp just as the tattoos on the Shinigami's wrist faded.
Naruto dropped to his knees, gasping, with absolutely no wound.
"…But I suppose that it would only be fitting that my Champion wield the power of Death." Naruto blinked, raising shaking hands to feel the unblemished skin on his forehead. "Does this satisfy you?" The boy turned slitted crimson eyes to his …'patron.'
"What the hell did you do to me?" He snarled out. Then he blinked. "And what the hell're all those lines all over the place?" The god smiled.
It wasn't a pleasant smile.
"There was once a foolish mortal who dared to intrude upon my realm. He had something I later termed the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. Those 'lines' you mentioned portray the 'fated Death' of an object." He walked over to a cabinet sitting off to the side of the room. After inquiring to Gkika whether the cabinet was valuable, and receiving a reply in the negative, he turned back to Naruto.
"Do you see this line here?" He gestured to a thick black line that ran down the center of the furniture piece. The blond nodded hesitantly. The Shinigami's smile grew… strange. "Good." Then the immortal seized a butter knife from the table and… Naruto blinked as the cabinet collapsed on the floor, in two pieces.
"Holy shit." Naruto whispered. Similar hushed whispers came from the other three. The Shinigami paused, remembering something.
"Oh, you might want to stop doing that at some point soon. If I recall correctly, prolonged usage causes insanity." The shinobi's crimson eyes bugged out at that. Then he jerked.
"Wait, how the hell do ya turn 'em off?"
"Stop drawing on the Kyuubi's chakra." The Shinigami answered, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Naruto's eyes returned to their normal color, and he breathed a deep sigh of relief. Then he looked over at the kunai he still had clenched in his hand. Just one cut from this… He frowned. There was something written there…
"'Remembrance'?" He read the kanji out loud.
"Yes. I thought it symbolic to have you use the kunai that you made your first kill with." Naruto froze.
"Yes. I do." The Shinigami turned to the others. "My time is running short. I must go, before I am missed." With that, he walked out of the room. Naruto slowly pulled himself off the floor.
"C'mon, sveethart." Gkika rumbled, moving over to him. "Hyu got a long day tomorrow. Hyu better get sum sleep. Hy show hyu hyur room." Naruto was willing to argue that he'd had a long day today, but he really didn't have the energy for it.
He simply nodded, followed Gkika to what would from now be his room. Naruto didn't even bother taking in the sight of his room. Rather, he went straight over to his bed, and collapsed into it.
He was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
-END Walking Dead-