Disclaimer: so...I don't own Naruto. That's good. I do own any and all OCs used in this story. Which are a lot, now that I think about it.
I don't own School/Summer/Cross Days, either. That belongs to 0verflow. Mahoraba is a creation of Kojima Akira, but I guess it belongs to Square Enix.
- ナルト- 幻脅威宴
Chapter One: Enter Sayuri
"Wha…where…where the heck am I?"
Uzumaki Naruto eyed the strange structure he found himself in with outright confusion. It was a bleak, old building; its original colors long replaced by the colors of age. The passage he was in extended beyond his range of sight, and lateral passages emerged from both sides their lengths consumed by darkness beyond belief. Strange ductwork riddled both walls and ceiling, and water (or at least he hoped it was water) flooded the whole place almost to his hips.
"Wha-what the…?" Naruto muttered to no one but himself. He needed to think; not an activity he enjoyed or practiced very often, but when it became necessary, he could put up with it. He would normally sit down, cross his legs and make a face, but if he did that he would probably drown, so he just made the face.
"I…last I remember, that bastard ero-sennin pushed me off the cliff –I'm so getting him for that!– and then I tried to grab that rock but I slipped………"
His face crunched up more and more with every word, until it reached critical point.
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?" He yelled, once again, to no one but himself.
"Kyah!" A voice squeaked in the distance.
"Kyah?" Naruto repeated. That's when he felt it: what he would have felt since the very moment he made it there had he not been too busy complaining and asking questions to no one.
This feeling…it's that chakra…
The strange –yet undeniably powerful– chakra hit his senses like a bizarre amalgam of sound, scent and taste. Naruto had no problem following it as it grew stronger, until he reached the jail.
Naruto could do nothing but gape at the sheer size of the thing. The huge metal bars were as thick as Naruto himself, and tall beyond measure. A big paper strip with the kanji for "seal" stood in place of the lock. He also noticed the water level had dropped in this room, to the point that only his feet were submerged.
Naruto couldn't help but make a strange face at the…well, strange sounds coming from beyond the bars. Despite the whole "DON'T GET ANY CLOSER!" vibe the jail pretty much smashed on him with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, he couldn't stop himself from moving forward. The sounds, in all their weirdness, were sorta like someone crying. There was no way Naruto could ignore something like that.
Naruto followed the sound and managed to catch a glimpse of a small figure creeping away from him, deeper into the darkness. He did not need advanced chakra-sensing skills to tell that the mysterious figure was the source of the strange chakra that seemed to flood the whole place.
A gasp from within the darkness was his response. He was about to speak again when the other one beat him to it.
"Who……who is there?"
Naruto blinked. The voice was unmistakably a girl's. A very young girl's, if he had to guess. So, where was he and why was there a little girl in a bigass jail? He hoped he could get some answers soon…the fact that he was supposed to be falling to his death notwithstanding.
"Ah!" The girl gasped. If Naruto had to describe it with a word, he would have gone with "excited."
The "pichi, pachi" sounds of feet splashing water reached his ears an instant before the lone inhabitant of the cell appeared before him. Had he been given some warning, he would have seriously considered running away screaming.
No. Fucking. Way.
She was wearing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Unless you count ears, fur and nine tails as clothing, of course. The tips of her exaggeratedly long, plain hair made wriggly trails on the water as she moved. The hair was the color of honey, the same color as the…uh…fur…that covered her legs all the way up until mid-thigh.
Her eyes, her disturbingly big red eyes, stared at him as if she were in the presence of the truth of the universe. Her nine bushy, white-tipped, fluffy tails wagged up and down, right and left, with no apparent control from the girl, who seemed to be focusing the entirety of her brain capacity on memorizing his face.
As for Naruto, well…he was dealing with some internal issues.
No way…no…just…that…no…no way…
With his mind unable to form coherent thoughts, he relied on his mouth to get his out of this dead end. Being used to speaking before thinking, it wasn't that hard.
"Uh…" He grasped at straws. Very thin straws made of barbed wire. "…Kyuubi?"
"Jiiiiiiiiii…" The "girl" just STARED. She didn't blink. Naruto would say she wasn't even breathing.
"Umm…hello?" Naruto insisted, leaning his body forward to get closer to eye level with the "girl" beyond the bars.
"Gyaaah!" The "girl" was apparently startled by Naruto's sudden movement, releasing a deafening shriek as she fell on her naked rear.
A long and uncomfortable silence ensued, interrupted only by the annoying "plick" of water droplets falling from leaks in the ducts and the occasional sobs coming from the wide-eyed nine-tailed little girl.
"Umm…" Naruto tried again, not really sure of anything anymore. "…you okay?"
The girl sobbed one more time. Naruto easily recognized the way her body was shaking. He had seen it before, in babies and in girls of all ages. Oh Kami she's going to cry.
"Waaaaaaa!" The girl wailed and rushed towards him, her arms extended with the obvious intention of wrapping Naruto in a hug…
Naruto had to wince and look away from the bright fireworks as the seal kicked in and did a fine job of electrocuting the little girl. Had he been in another state of mind, he might have realized it could not be real electricity, or he would be suffering in the same way, with all the water around.
Okay, that's just plain pathetic. Naruto found himself thinking at the sight of a twitching, smoking nine-tails. "Um…you okay?"
"Uh…what's that supposed to mean?"
"Mugyuuuuu…" The girl repeated as she struggled to get up. Naruto sweatdropped, but hurried to aid the little one, seemingly unaware that he had just walked THROUGH the seal and INTO the cell.
"Hey…hold onto me, I'll help ya."
The girl, though, stiffened at the contact of his hand on her left shoulder. After an uncomfortable moment of silence, her body relaxed and her left hand held on to the fabric of his orange pants. Naruto wrapped his right arm across her lower back and rested his hand on her right side, eliciting a tiny squeak from the girl, who simply allowed herself to be lifted. He quickly checked for any lasting wounds, but apparently the shock was not as nasty as it had looked. The girl was still sobbing and wiping off some tears with her left arm.
Naruto once again lowered his body to get closer to eye level. "Oi, are you o-"
He was stunned to silence by the girl burying her face on his belly. He was even more disturbed by her tails, which also moved to her front, as if attempting to hug him.
"I was wonwy." Whatever that means.
Naruto said no more, allowing the girl…fox…girl…to cry in his clothes.
Once the girl ran out of tears, introductions were in order. Naruto had already noticed he was inside the cage. He just shrugged and went with the flow. He wasn't dead yet, after all. The water was very shallow inside the cell, so they just sat down.
It had taken a full five minutes to stop the girl from sitting on his lap. Not that he minded children sitting on his lap, the whole situation was already wrong enough.
She was right in front of him, her knees touching his footwear.
"I'm Uzumaki Naruto."
Naruto blinked. For some reason he couldn't fathom, that was the answer he least expected. "Uh…okay. Sayuri."
A shudder went all the way from his scalp to his toes. From that point onwards, Naruto's inner dictionary defined "wrongness" as "that moment."
"Uh…sure. So, you are…" Naruto muttered, shooting an odd look at the tails, which seemed to move with a mind of their own.
"A Kiko of the Higashiyama Clan." She suddenly was all smiles as her tails wiggled wildly. "I've got nine tails! They're pwetty!"
Naruto was known as a particularly loud individual. However, in that moment, and from that day, a definite change began to take place. For starters, he stored her self-denomination of "Kiko" for posterior inquiry…if he ever got the chance, that is.
"So you're the Kyuubi."
The foxgirl nodded effusively. She was obviously proud of her status. "Sayuri's a Kyuubi, yup!"
Naruto didn't notice the change of article. "You're the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox."
"Demon Fox?" Sayuri tilted. "Nope, that's not Sayuri's name. Sayuri is Sayuri!" She exclaimed happily, wagging her tails for good measure.
She suddenly dropped her fox ears as she went into her equivalent of "deep thinking."
"Sayuri's name's Sayuri so Sayuri is Sayuri. If Sayuri wasn't Sayuri then Sayuri wouldn't be Sayuri, but…uh…Sayuri…"
Naruto sweatdropped. What's that supposed to mean?
"What does that mean, onii-chan?"
"HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?" Naruto screeched, eliciting a "Kyaaaah! Mugyuu…" from the tiny foxgirl.
It was impressive how Naruto managed to yell and shudder at the same time.
"Anyway! You're the nine-tails who attached Konoha when I was born!"
"Eeeh? Attack? Sayuri? Ko-no-ha? Nope, didn't do that."
Naruto made an odd face (an amalgam of gaping and glaring) before he exploded again. "But you attacked the village!"
Sayuri was quick to reflect his feelings. "Sayuri didn't! Sayuri's a good girl! Sayuri would never huht anyone!" She suddenly paused, her eyes turning upwards in remembrance. "Uhh…there was that time…and that one…but that wasn't mah fault!"
"Uhh…" Naruto clutched his head, trying to filter the useful information out of whatever the little foxgirl had just said. "…mou, whatever! You're the nine-tails who attacked Konoha!"
"I DIDN'T!" Sayuri cried back, the corners of her eyes holding tears. "Sayuri is a good girl!"
"Then what the hell were you doing when you ended up here?"
Sayuri's angry mode quickly switched back to 'pouty' mode. "Sayuri…Sayuri was just-" She stopped herself, covering her mouth with her tiny hands and doing her best to hide the blush forming on her cheeks. Her foxy ears were pointing straight up.
Naruto? Naruto just glared. The secret of Kyuubi's attack was just about to be revealed. Like hell he wouldn't get to hear it. His eyes glowered with burning intensity, breaking through the little girl's feeble mental defenses. Her ears gradually dropped, reflecting her embarrassment.
"Sayuri was just…" She repeated. Naruto's eyes narrowed a bit further. Sayuri whimpered and dropped both her face and her ears. If Naruto wasn't…well, he wasn't sure of exactly how he felt, but it wasn't a nice feeling. Anyway, if he wasn't feeling however he was feeling, he would have found the sight incredibly cute.
"Sayuri was just…" Sayuri said for the third time. The blush had extended throughout her skin, giving her rosy skin a deeper tone.
Unable to resist the pressure of Naruto's angry (?) stare anymore, the little girl exploded.
"I WAS JUST CHASING MAH TAILS!"
"…" A long pause. "…huh?"
Her reluctance utterly crushed; there was no stopping her tongue anymore.
"See, Sayuri was all 'waaai, waaai', 'cause Sayuri got the nine tails, you know?" Sayuri "explained," using wide arm gestures and changes in tone for emphasis. "Yeah, so Sayuri was all 'yaaaay', and Sayuri was checking her new powers and then Sayuri became weaaaaaaaally huge! Like thiiiiiii…" She extended her arms as far her the little limbs could. "…iiiiiiis big! Sayuri was like 'wow, so cool!' and then Sayuri saw her biiiiig tails and Sayuri was like 'tails!' and Sayuri went like 'wissshhh'…"
Naruto could only stare as the little foxgirl rolled on the damp floor, her tiny arms reaching for the fluffy tails, which also moved away from the eager limbs.
"…and Sayuri wolled all the way to the sea! Sayuri got all wet! Yuck-cky! So Sayuri was like, 'eww, salty!' and Sayuri stopped chasing her tails, and when they fell on the sea there was a big 'whoosh!'" She raised her arms over her head. "And this HUUUGE lot of water got me even MOAR wet. Yucky! Oh, and the water fell on this tiny human town thingy, and the town disappeared."
"But it didn't really matter because Sayuri had just rolled over them."
Naruto gaped more.
"Anyway, so Sayuri was all wet and yucky, so Sayuri began to shake, you know, like this." Sayuri shook like a dog dealing with wet fur. This time not even angry (?) Naruto failed to notice the sheer cute of her actions. He was still angry (?), though. "But then evwything got blown away, like, 'fwoosh!" Sayuri suddenly threw her arms to the sides, gesturing that everything around her was blown away by the winds raised by her colossal form. "And the water was flying, and the trees were flying, and the houses were flying, and the pigs were flying…well I think they were pigs; they were weaaaally small, you know, 'cause Sayuri was big. So, well, pigs. And the pigs were flying, and the boats were flying, and the people were flying…"
"So Sayuri got weally scared, 'cause Sayuri didn't want to fly. Sayuri doesn't like tall places."
Naruto's face took its best "WTF!?" look. She had turned into a colossal fox of DOOM! That's, like, a +32 size bonus to Strength! And it was her who was making all those things fly!
"So Sayuri wan away. I wan weaaaaally far, 'cause Sayuri couldn't see the sea anymoar. But Sayuri was wunning so fast there was a big 'whoosh!' and I tripped and fell on something weally hard. It huht."
Naruto remained silent…or more like Sayuri continued before he could think of saying anything.
"So Sayuri looked awound and I was in, like, a town or something." Her face suddenly displayed great excitement. "And there was a big festival!"
"Yup, festival! Because, you know, everyone was screaming weaaaally loud! And everyone was, like, wunning around, and there was lots of fire! The fire was kinda scawy, but my momma told me that humans make big fires duwing festivals, so it was okay. And fire is cool. Even if it's scawy."
"So, Sayuri wanted to join the fun, so I made my trick!"
Naruto actually hesitated before asking. "Your trick?"
On cue, tiny balls of flame took form on the tips of Sayuri's tails. "Kitsune fire! Pwetty!" The nine fireballs began to make a clockwise motion behind Sayuri, creating a perfect circle. "Sayuri played with them like this for a while, but then I skewed up and they fell. But nobody cared, it was great! Everyone just yelled even louder! Everyone was sooo happy!"
"So Sayuri kept doing moar and moar tricks until the festival ended…I think. Everyone just went silent. I didn't even notice them go away! That was cool."
They didn't go away, they became ashes. Naruto concluded.
"Sayuri guessed everyone had gone to sweep, so Sayuri left, 'cause she didn't want to bother."
"So Sayuri was twotting awound when suddenwy this human appears on my nose!"
Naruto frowned. This was different. "Human?"
"Yup! Human. He was weawing this weally funny thing on his head, like, a mask or something. He said his name was…uh…Madawa…or something. He said that he needed my help and I was like 'Sure!', 'cause momma always told me I had to be nice to people."
"Uh-huh." Madawa…? That would be 'Madara', huh…nope, doesn't ring a bell.
"Yup. So Madawa tells me to look at his eyes, but it was weaaaally hard, 'cause, you know, he was weaaaaally tiny, and he was standing on my nose, and that was kinda ticklish so Sayuri sneezed and he went like 'whoooosh!' He flew away. It was weaally funny!"
Naruto rolled his eyes. He knew he should be angry, or terrified, but it proved incredibly hard.
"But then Sayuri remembered momma said that people get hurt if they fall from too high, so Sayuri went to wook for him. Sayuri got to this town, you know, and Sayuri was going to ask if they had seen Madawa, but they began throwing all these nasty things at me! And the nasty things stung."
Naruto's expression hardened. It was obvious she had gotten to Konoha.
"Sayuri thinks it was another festival, 'cause there was screaming and fire, too, but I didn't wike it 'cause the nasty things stung. I wanted to go away, but I had to find Madawa, you know? 'Cause if Madawa got hurt then Sayuri was a bad girl, and Sayuri doesn't want to be a bad girl. Sayuri's a good girl."
"Uh-huh." By this point, Naruto had so many potential responses he just couldn't find it to voice any of them. So the Kyuubi girl continued.
"So I was wooking for Madawa, wooking awound evwywhere, but people were flying all awound so I couldn't find him. I didn't know humans could fly. Can you fly, Naruto-nii-chan?"
"Aww…too bad for onii-chan."
Naruto just let the cringing flow over him until it was properly grounded. He did, however, notice that Sayuri's expression had changed. She had lowered her head and she looked downcast.
"Um…Kyuubi? I-I mean…uhh…Sa-Sayuri…chan?"
"…then…" Sayuri's shoulders shook a bit. "…then this big and ugwy toad showed up. I…I thought…" The shaking became more pronounced and her voice was faltering. Naruto began to feel a bit disturbed. "…I thought they would start a new game, so I was kinda happy, 'coz I didn't like the stingy things…"
By this point it became obvious to Naruto that she was crying.
"But then…then…there was this blue flash…and Shinigami-sama appeawed…" Sayuri pronounced before a loud sob. Naruto frowned. Shinigami?
"Shinigami-sama…he…he…" Sayuri looked up at the blond child. Her bloodshot, teary eyes and her flushed cheeks struck a string inside Naruto. He just couldn't deal with sad children, having plenty of sad memories himself. Even if said children could obliterate small nations unconsciously.
"…he stabbed me with his knife…"
"…and it hurt! It weally weally hurt!"
This time Naruto didn't flinch when Sayuri buried her face in his chest, embracing him as if her very existence depended on it. His hands hesitated, but he eventually settled on letting them rest on her back.
"…it hurt so much…" The girl muttered between sobs, wails and tears in full force. "…it hurt…and I cried…I cried and called for momma…and then…and then I was here, and I've been here for so long, and it's so bowing, and wet and wonwy…I wanna go home…I wanna go home…I want to see mama, and Sayoko-chan, and…and…"
Naruto remained surprisingly silent the whole time the foxgirl wailed her pain, sorrows and loneliness out. But, seriously, what could he say to that?
After Sayuri ceased her crying once more, Naruto made things clear for her (now that's a first). He told her she had been sealed by the Yondaime (he wasted around five minutes explaining the concept of "Hokage," which led to ten more minutes explaining the concept of "ninja") inside his body (though why the inside of his body looked like a disgusting sewer thing, he had no idea).
"Look, Sayuri-chan, if I had any idea how to get you out of here, I'd do it right now. I…" He scratched the back of his head. "…I don't think you're a bad person…fox…girl…thing."
Sayuri blinked. "…I'm not a thing, Naruto-nii-chan."
Naruto cringed for the third time. That wasn't going away anytime soon.
"But I'm happy."
It was Naruto's turn to blink.
"…because Sayuri's not alone anymoar. Now Sayuri has Naruto-nii-chan!" Wiggle, wiggle.
Naruto actually blushed a little at this. For someone like him, being appreciated was an unusual luxury…even if it came from an unknowingly genocidal fox…girl.
Sayuri hadn't moved away from Naruto once she went into her second crying fit. Once she regained some sense of composure, she simply made herself comfortable on his lap. Her back resting on his chest, which proved rather difficult will all the fluffy tails. Naruto quickly discovered that Sayuri liked the feeling of his hand caressing her tails, as well as the fact of her ears being very sensitive and very ticklish.
While they had plenty of things to talk about, Naruto hadn't forgotten that he was still in the middle of falling to his doom. He made a pinky promise swearing to meeting her away as soon as he could (setting aside the fact that he had no idea how to enter his mindscape). Sayuri told him she would try to communicate with him while he was in the "outside world."
Of course, she didn't say it like that.
After a good measure of goodbyes, Sayuri unleashed her chakra and gifted it to the boy. It was a notable reminder of the fact that the sweet little girl was, indeed, a mighty supernatural creature capable of immeasurable devastation. He glanced nervously at the tongues of orange-red chakra that seemed to want to invade him and swallow him whole. Sayuri's innocent look as she unleashed her terrifyingly powerful chakra didn't help relieve him much.
He blinked…and he was out and back in the "outside world."
And his mind shattered in unfathomable agony, as the delayed feedback of massive body damage suddenly hit his pain receptors. The pain didn't even let him open his eyes, which was good because he didn't want to see the bloody mess his broken body had become.
…seems like you hit the bottom of the pit thingy while we were talking, onii-chan…woopsies?
Naruto tried to respond with the most awful curse he could think of. Unfortunately, his mind, overcome with unbelievable pain, couldn't come up with anything.
But check it out! I can talk to you from here now! Waaaaai! (Wiggle, wiggle)
Naruto's "I hate my life" came out like a garbled "Uhuguwufu," even in his mind. He resigned himself to wait out as he felt the massive surge of kitsune chakra which had already gotten started with his uncountable wounds.
Author's Notes: And it begins. The rewrite. This chapter was perfect enough as it was, so I just added some tiny things here and there.
As a reminder, Genkyouien roughly means "Phantom Menace Party."