Hey everyone! Draco Kamikaze here, with chapter 9 of Naruto Chuuten! I can't think of anything else...so enjoy!
I don't own Naruto or Bleach.
"Zanpakuto spirit speech"
Naruto Chuuten: Rising Into The Heavens
By: Draco Kamikaze
A lone figure stood within the burning village, in the country formerly known as Nami no Kuni (the Land of Wave). Due to the lack of shinobi in the country, there was hardly any soul energy for him to take, let alone any that were large enough to truly interest the figure. However, despite the strength he would undoubtedly spend on something that seemed like a meaningless task to anyone else, it was one that he was currently relishing in.
It did make it a lot easier to do considering there weren't any shinobi who could have helped, as hopeless as that would have been.
"What pathetic creatures."
Taking a deep breath, he looked over what could only be described as pure destruction. There was no longer anything living in the village, to the point that even the flames were fading. Bodies were scattered throughout, various wounds covering their corpses. He chuckled as he remembered the valiant effort that one of the men had put up to stop him from destroying their village. Inari, he believed his name was. It was almost a shame he had to rip in him apart. He would have preferred to toy with him a little longer.
In the distance, the Great Naruto Bridge was shattered. Only bits and pieces of the structure were left to even suggest that such a bridge had existed.
"The Great Naruto Bridge. Bah. What an unsightly name for an unsightly bridge." The man said as he looked over his work. It was not his best work, he had been able to do so much more in Kumogakure no sato (Hidden Cloud Village). Now that had been fun. The Raikage had an especially resilient soul, that he had savored as he finally put an end to his suffering.
As he continued to look upon the destruction, he almost missed the new presence behind him. "Wow, never would have thought of you for a 'burn things~ to the ground' kinda person."
The man growled slightly as he glanced up. "Is there something you need?"
"Well, it's~ almost time. And we've got front row s~eats~ to the greatest sh~ow in town."
The man slowly turned around, his murky red shirt billowing slightly as he did so. As he glared at the man behind him, he slowly spoke. "I would presume that you are telling me this, because you are expecting something in return…Akogi."
Akogi grinned. "Maybe I am. It's~ been a while since I sh~ed my skin and walked in the body of a god, so I might decide to be a bit…benevolent."
The man scoffed. "You? Benevolent? That's a sure sign of your expectations. Your charity goes as far as the things that you can reach out and take."
Akogi grinned. "Well, that is~ pretty true. Like my new kimono? I got it free from some idiot in Kusagakure."
Akogi twirled around, attempting to show off his kimono. It was a strange combination of colors, the main portion of it was an azure color, with purple colored hemming. His short unruly gray hair almost made him look ridiculous as his grin threatened to split his face.
The other man however, had already started to leave. Seeing that his audience was moving, Akogi jogged after him lazily. As he reached the man's side, he quickly fell into step besides him, acting oblivious to the obvious anger that was coming off his companion.
"What's~ the matter? Does a cat have your tongue at my fabulousness~?"
The man glanced over at Akogi, his face suddenly changing to one of indifference. "Why do you continue to speak like that? I thought that once you got a human form you'd rid yourself of such a strange manner of speech."
Akogi smirked. "I thought s~o to…until I had a change in heart. This~ voice is~ rather endearing, as~ it leaves~ a las~ting impress~ion upon all thos~e people who cross~ my path. That, and it's~ something that only I can have."
The man shook his head. "You and your greed. You know it'll be the end of you, yet you continue on."
"It will be a fabulous~ way for it to end…if it were to." Akogi said, a dark look crossing his face as he continued. "I don't plan on los~ing to anyone though. After all, I've done s~o much in purs~uit of this power, that I will s~trike down all in my path."
The man scoffed. "And are we in your path?"
Akogi glanced at him. "That depends~, are you planning on killing me?"
The man sighed. "No, I don't have the authority to take you apart. If I did, I highly doubt either of us would be here."
There was a short silence as both men slowly entered the Between. As the 'door' behind them closed, the man glanced at Akogi out of the corner of his eye. "Have you ever seen what happens when a planet gets out of balance with its souls?"
Akogi blinked in surprise. "No, I haven't."
The man grin darkly. "It's a beautiful thing. This planet in particular was rather difficult seeing as many of the people here could easily take out Hollows without any particular difficulty. Although, it was rather convenient for us that they were to busy fighting each other, and reviling in their supposed success to notice our presence." He turned around, a mirror rising in front of him as he spoke. "And now, we will see the fruits of our labors."
As they looked in the mirror, it slowly began to glow. As the light grew, it began to take the shape of the Hi no Kuni (Land of Fire). As the light began to settle, the scenery began to shake. Small gouges in the ground slowly took form, connecting, and spreading out to each other, connecting as they slowly began to split the earth. Within moments, the entire landscape was covered with these cracks as the ground began to shake faster.
Suddenly, the land began to split apart, rising and falling with no apparent pattern. In the background, the mountains began to break apart and sink down into the spreading chaos. Then, just as the destruction seemed to reach its peak, a geyser of lava shot out of several of the cracks. The lava poured over the earth, burning it and warping it into a barren wasteland in a matter of moments. Far faster than it seemed possible, the ground gave one final heave, and then collapsed inwardly, completely destroying Hi no Kuni, as well as all the other countries on the face of the planet.
The man chuckled. "And with this, our quest for the end of this planet is over. The imbalance of souls caused the earth to end its own life to gain some form of equilibrium. This is…a beautiful masterpiece."
Akogi rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say…Jiman (Pride)."
Fourth Division Hospital Room
Soifon grumbled to herself as she found herself pacing around the room. How could this have happened? Or, an even better question, what had happened.
She sighed as she glanced towards the bed. Naruto lay silently, as he had been for a few hours now. In a way, she was disappointed in the lack of sound coming from him. She never thought that she would miss the hyperactive voice that she generally heard resounding through the Second Division barrack.
Figuring that pacing was doing her no good, she flopped herself carelessly on a nearby couch. She thought back to when she had entered his room, following the strange advice of one Zaraki Kenpachi. While she had not been sure if she should accept his advice or not, she eventually decided to on the off chance that he was right. She never thought she could be more angry at someone for being right than for being wrong.
Since his sudden collapse, Naruto had been in a catatonic state for an hour. Hanataro had been so scared when he had come back with Unohana. Soifon chuckled humorlessly as she remembered how Hanataro had rushed over to him and taken him from her arms as he and Unohana had rushed him to a medical station.
That had been a surprise even to her. Catching him before he had fully fallen to the ground. As she thought back to that moment she tried to figure out why she had done it. Was it because he was a member of Second Division? Was it because he was a member of her personal guard? Or was she just missing something?
"If I may, it sounds like your having trouble with your thoughts."
Soifon sighed as she heard Suzumebachi talk in the back of her head. "How could you tell?"
"There's kind of a windstorm picking up. I can only assume that you're having troublesome thoughts."
Soifon groaned. "I don't know what's going on anymore. This…this isn't me."
"It sure feels like you. You've been having this problem on and off for a while now."
Soifon blinked. "I have? Since when?"
"Think back. I'm sure you'll get it."
Soifon glared up at the ceiling as she let her mind wander down memory lane.
Flashback – Meeting
Soifon glanced at the two boys in front of her. Naruto and Sasuke glanced between each other as they fidgeted nervously. She had no intention of speaking to either of them, as they were already disrupting her as it was. Giving Kaien a sidelong glance, silently telling him to get them out of there, she returned to her work.
Kaien tried to move them away, understanding that Soifon was obviously not in the mood to talk. There was something else in his movements that seemed that he was urgently trying to get them out, but she ignored it in place of her work. She had no time for undisciplined kids.
Sasuke, the more sensible of the two, followed Kaien immediately out of the room. Naruto on the other hand, just stood there. Soifon continued to go through her paperwork, trying to ignore his presence. After a moment she glanced up. He still stood there, looking at her curiously. Soifon sighed. "What do you what?"
Naruto blinked. She watched him glance around, and figured that –somehow- he had lost track of his group. Quickly moving to the door, he paused on his way out. Glancing back at her, he smiled.
"It was nice to meet you Soifon."
- Students Training Field
Soifon stood outside the Academy, looking down at the kids as they continued on with their daily activities. She was scouting for any potential Second Division members that she could possibly recommend to the Sotaicho. So far, she had found that none of them were too her liking. They were all soft, undisciplined, and slow. She did notice that a few of them might have had the right stuff to get in, but quickly marked them off as going to other divisions that were more suitable.
Sighing to herself, she turned to leave the training ground. As she did so, she noticed a figure that she had not noticed before. He was standing, completely still underneath a tree, his sword sheathed, and his eyes focused on one leaf in particular. Curious, she silently sat down.
It was a patience game, as he waited for the leaf to fall. Soifon took this opportunity to look him over, trying to figure out who she was seeing. The boy in front of her was stocky, but not like many of the Eleventh Division members were. His eyes were calculating, yet silently lost in thought. His hair blew lightly in the wind, as he continued to wait for his target.
Suddenly, his stance shifted. Shooting forward, he drew his sword in a quick motion, splitting the falling leaf in two. From there it was a dance, moving to and fro as he attempted to not allow a single leaf to touch the ground. As she watched, a name finally began to put itself with his face. Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto.
But that could not be right. She had seen Naruto on his first day, he had come into her barracks. Undisciplined, scatterbrained, a jester, an accident waiting to happen. That is what she took away from that first encounter. And he did not appeared to be like that in any way, shape, or form. Determined, focused, a warrior, poetry in motion. It was like watching a totally different person.
As he cut the last leaf, she watched his shoulders slouch. "It's almost poetic."
Unable to contain herself, she blurted out, "If this is poetry, then what is the message? What are you getting from watching this?"
Her hand clenched into a fist as she silently cursed herself. She had not only reveled her presence to him, but had somehow been pulled into questioning him as well. She bit her lip, silently praying that a part of the idiot she had seen when they had first met was still in him.
And then, he began to give an analogy. She could not help but look at him in confusion as he brought up a relatable message from something that seemed almost pointless. There was something about this Naruto…something she was finding difficult to place.
- Second Division Barracks
Soifon quickly moved through her barracks. She was going to her private training field…which felt a lot less private since Naruto had asked to be trained by her. She was hardly getting a moment to herself, and now that Naruto was being sent on more missions, she would be able to get more of that time to herself.
Turning the corner, she suddenly found herself face to face with the very person she had been thinking about.
Naruto blinked in surprise. "Oh, hello Taicho-sensei. Off to training?"
Soifon sighed. "Yes Uzumaki. Now if you'll excuse me, I must be going."
Moving around him, she continued on her way out of the barracks. She silently hoped that Naruto would not do anything stupid while on the mission, or while she was absent from the barracks for that matter. However, what he said next was something that she found herself completely unprepared for.
"You look nice today."
Soifon stopped, whirling around to face Naruto. "…what?"
Naruto grinned. "I said, 'you look nice today'."
Soifon blinked, unsure of how to respond. She had been raised in a way that most of the complements –if not all- she had ever received had been from Yoruichi. Looking away from Naruto, she thought of what she should say to that. After a moment, she finally found the words that had been lost to her for a long time. "Uh…thank you?"
Naruto's grin softened. "You're welcome."
- Eighth Division Party
"Dang it Uzumaki, stop swaying!"
Soifon grumbled to herself as she attempted to maneuver Naruto's swaying form around a corner. They had just left Shunsui's party, and were making their way back to the barracks. Or trying to, as Naruto has somehow gotten drunk during their short stay despite Nanao's diligent effort to make sure that Shunsui would unable to get any himself, as it would be unbecoming of a captain to act like that at his own party.
"Aw~ but Soi-chan~! I was…having fun at the…at the party." Naruto said, drawing out his speech as he stumbled again. "Whoops."
Soifon glared at him as she straightened him out. "Whoops indeed. What did they give you?"
Naruto shook his head. "Nuttin…jus a glass of punch is all. Shunsui and everyone already had one…so I had some too."
Soifon resisted the urge to growl at this. It was the oldest trick in the book, spiking the punch. And yet, somehow, Shunsui had managed to get someone to sneak some sake in to do it. And whatever it was, it seemed to be pretty strong. Either that…or Naruto was a lightweight.
"Eh, Soi-chan?" Naruto said, surprising her as he suddenly tried to straighten out.
Soifon grumbled. "What Uzumaki?"
"Do you think Taicho-sensei is pretty?"
Soifon froze, unsure of what she had heard. Glancing up, she studied his curious face for a moment, trying to figure out just how drunk he was. After a moment, she decided to find out for herself. "You know, I'm not sure." She rolled her head in his direction and calmly asked, "What do you think?"
"Me?" Naruto asked, his thoughts slowly composing themselves. After an agonizing moment, he finally spoke. "I dunno. She looks nice, but she acts so rough."
Soifon glared at him. Was he complaining about her training methods? After all that she had done to help him advance in his skills, he was going to complain about it? "What do you mean rough? Is disciplined not-"
"She doesn't have to you know. Act rough. I don think anybody would care." Naruto said, ignoring Soifon's outburst. "She just…she strong without breaking. I think…she hurting…inside."
Soifon had to bit down on her lip to prevent herself from kicking herself. Tough, she thought, he thinks that I'm acting tough. But…why does he sound so concerned about it?
"I'm sleepy." Naruto said, suddenly slumping down on her shoulder.
With a large sigh, Soifon continued to make her way back to the barracks, suddenly feeling more confused than ever before. To think, all she wanted was to get away from a party she didn't even want to attend in the first place; now she was trying to figure out the mystery of Naruto.
- Soifon's Training Ground (Different Time)
Soifon slowly made her way to her training grounds. While she was exhausted from the workout she had gone through earlier in the day, she found herself going back to her training grounds yet again. The reason; Naruto had returned from a mission, and got everyone worried because he looked depressed. And since no one was able to find him, and no one wanted to think about going to her training grounds, she was the only person who would be able to find him if he was there.
Sure enough, as she approached her training grounds, she saw a darkened figure against the gentle moonlight. Slowly approaching him, she eventually came to a stop by his side. She figured that if he wanted to talk, he would do so when he was good and ready.
Glancing at him out of the corner of her eye, she winced as she noticed the defeated look in his eyes. They seemed to have lost that burning passion that he would normally have held at any other given time. Slowly giving in, she spoke up first. "What's on your mind Naruto?"
Naruto glanced up, somehow startled by her presence. "Oh, Soifon." Immediately after he had said her name, he snapped his jaw shut. Shaking his head, sighing as he began to speak again. "I'm sorry…I meant, Taicho-sensei. What are you doing here?"
Soifon glanced at him curiously. He had never slipped up on calling her 'Taicho-sensei' before, not counting the time he was drunk. Which meant that whatever was on his mind was messing it up, and making him lose focus. She sighed. Not an easy problem to fix. She thought as she spoke, "The guys in our division noticed you leave and were worried about you. What's on your mind Uzumaki?"
Soifon felt a slight tightening of her chest as she noticed him wince at the question. "It-it's nothing. Just some issues that I need to resolve."
Soifon smacked his head. "Baka. You might not realize it, but when you're in a bad place, everyone in Second Division knows it. And they're all concerned. Now would you mind being a bit more specific?"
Naruto glanced up at her, rubbing his head. "Fine. But you have to promise not to laugh." Soifon gave him a scrutinizing look, that made Naruto turn away. "Uh…my zanpakuto is being mean to me."
"…what?" Soifon asked, blinking in confusion. She must have heard him wrong; after all, there was no way that his zanpakuto was being mean to him. It was the embodiment of his fighting spirit. They should have gotten along just fine.
"You heard me." Naruto said, his previous rubbing turned into a clutching motion and he grasped his hair in apparent frustration. "I don't know why, but after my mission, Gama-san was going off on me. I didn't think I did anything bad, far from it. I was able to help a lot of my friends, and was able to purify plenty of Hollows. It took a bit out of me, but what we're looking for is the end result…isn't it?"
Soifon nodded. "Yes, that is the purpose of our missions."
Naruto sighed. "If anything I think that Gama-san is confusing me. Like…I'm talking to him at one moment, and then someone else the next! …I'm starting to think he bipolar or something."
Soifon shrugged. "Wouldn't surprise most people."
Naruto gave her a questioning glare. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Soifon waved her hand dismissively. "Nothing, nothing at all." Turning around, she began to walk back to the barracks. "I'm going to head back for now. You can stay here until you feel that you've figured out everything you need to."
Naruto nodded. "Alright I will. Oh and Taicho-sensei…thanks for coming to find me."
Soifon felt a small chill run down her spine. She forcibly moved herself back to the Second Division barracks, all the while fighting the urge to go back and make sure he got back alright.
Soifon sighed. "I still don't get it."
"Don't worry about it. You'll figure it out."
Soifon grumbled to herself, and to Suzumebachi as she closed her eyes, allowing sleep to overcome her.
Thirteenth Division Training Ground
A loud crash rang out through the training grounds as Sasuke and Kaien clashed. Both of their swords were released, and neither one appeared to be backing down any time soon. With a loud roar, Sasuke swung Raikiri in a downward arc, lightning streaking from the edge of the blade. Kaien barely had time to dodge as Sasuke's blade cut through the space he had just moments before occupied.
Kaien had a calm, collected smile, which was reflected by Sasuke, as each attempted to break through the others defense. Sasuke continued his previous assault by thrusting Raikiri forward, lightning shooting across the blade as he let it extend towards his opponent. Kaien just chuckled as he let the crashing waves of Nejibana -his own zanpakuto- crash between himself and the lightning.
Kaien understood the science behind Sasuke's techniques, and how his own would usually make things worse. As water easily conducted electricity, Sasuke should have had the advantage from the beginning. However, he'd soon found himself attempting to dodge the rebound of his own techniques as Kaien let his own water natured zanpakuto conduct the lightning and move on towards Sasuke.
Sasuke cursed as he jumped back, avoiding another wave of lightning powered water. This was ridiculous. He'd faced every other member of Thirteenth Division, excluding the captain, and was only held back by Kaien. Only Kaien had the experience and power to take on Sasuke as he constantly challenged himself to improve.
Taking a deep breath, Sasuke concentrated on his reiatsu into his hand. "Ye lord! Mask of blood and flesh, all creation, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! Inferno and pandemonium, the sea barrier surges, march on to the - !"
Kaien's eyes widened as he heard the incantation, quickly whipping his own hand towards Sasuke. "Bakudo 9: Geki! (Strike)"
Sasuke froze in place, a red light engulfing him as Kaien's Bakudo took effect. Unable to do anything else, Sasuke glared at Kaien. Kaien simply grinned as he placed Nejibana against Sasuke's throat. "I do believe…that is checkmate."
Sasuke cursed as the reiatsu that had been binding him was released. After resealing Raikiri he chuckled, holding out his hand towards Kaien. "That makes it thirty to nine, doesn't it?"
"I stopped counting after your last win." Kaien said, returning Nejibana to its own sealed state. As he sheathed it, he gave Sasuke a sidelong glance. "You wouldn't happen to remember when that was, would you?"
Sasuke suddenly found a newfound interest in the ground as he kicked up a bit of dust. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Kaien chuckled. "I'm sure you don't. Come on, let's head back."
"Fine." Sasuke murmured, slowly sheathing his own sword.
As they walked back to the Thirteenth Division barracks, they talked about a few how they were doing, how the people they knew were doing. Which, slowly lead into a conversation about Naruto.
"So, what did you and Naruto talk about last night?" Kaien asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
Sasuke flinched. "Uh, nothing much. Just chatting, really."
"Really?" Kaien asked, curiosity suddenly shooting through the roof. "And, what kind of stuff were you chatting about?"
"It sure doesn't sound like nothing. Come on, I won't tell anyone."
Sasuke gritted his teeth in frustration. Why can't he just let it go? I need time to think up some reasonable imaginary conversation that Kaien might believe! This is really –
Sasuke suddenly stopped as he felt his phone suddenly vibrate. Confused, but glad for the distraction, he quickly answered it. "Hello?"
Sasuke blinked in surprise. "Hinamori-san?"
Sasuke suddenly grinned. "Hey, how are you?"
"I'm good. But – "
"Hey Momo! Stop hogging the phone, I wanna talk to him!"
"Renji you moron, leave her alone."
"But this is THE Sasuke! I just wanna talk to him!"
"That doesn't mean you should steal Hinamori's phone."
"Oh come on. Just a few seconds? I promise not to say anything stupid."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "Wow, I never thought I'd hear someone who sounded as intelligent as Naruto…or someone with a lack of intelligence to match him."
Kaien shook his head. "No way, there is no one who could possibly stand up to Naruto's stupidity."
Sasuke glanced at him, staring him down before quickly setting his phone to speakerphone.
"Come on! I'll do anything, just let me talk to him! This is so not fair!"
"Renji, we understand that you're upset…but could you please put your sword away and stop trying to kill Kira? I mean, this is getting a little out of hand, don't you think?"
"No way! Let me talk to him!"
Kaien blinked, awestruck by what he was hearing. "Well what do you know, there is someone with an IQ level equal to Naruto's. I didn't think that was possible."
"And now you know." Sasuke said, returning the phone to its normal settings as he listened in on their –rather amusing- conversation.
"This doesn't mean you're off the hook though. I still want to know what you guys talked about."
Crap. "Hinamori, you do realize the phone is still on, right?"
"Huh? Oh, Sasuke! Sorry about that, Renji is just – hey!"
"Hello? Sasuke? Is that really you?"
Sasuke blinked. "Uh, who is this?"
"Abarai Renji! We met in passing last night when you were flirting with Hinamori."
"He wasn't flirting with me!"
"Whatever. Anyways, I was wondering if we could talk. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions…uh, for a report. Yea, a report. Best cover up, ever."
Sasuke shook his head. "It might have been…if you hadn't said that last part out loud."
"Huh? Oh, that I mean, that is…uh…"
Sasuke mischievous smirk crossed his face. Screw whatever I thought of him before, this guy makes Naruto look smart. "You know I would, answer some questions, but I don't think this obsession is very healthy for you. Besides, despite what you may or may not have heard, I don't swing that way."
"What? Wait, NO! No, nonononononono!!! That's not what I was saying at all! I just wanted to ask for some tips on how to get ahead once in the – "
"Bakudo 9: Geki!"
There was a sudden clatter from the other end of the line. Then, "Sorry about that, Renji can be a bit compulsive at times."
Sasuke chuckled. "Well, I'm not really sure if I could blame him, but he did come about it the wrong way. Maybe if I were to talk to him, and knock some sense into him, he'd stop being…an idiot."
"I doubt it, but I guess you could try."
"So, where should we meet at?" Sasuke asked, slightly looking forward to fighting someone he knew he could defeat.
"Uh, how about the restaurant that we met at yesterday?"
Sasuke grinned. "That sound great. How does – "
"Kira! Help me up! The dirt is getting in my eyes!"
"Do you know how annoying you're sounding?"
" – half and hour sound?"
"Alright. I'll see you then. Bye."
As Sasuke hung up the phone, he suddenly felt a shiver run up his spine. Glancing around, he noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Still, the shiver continued to itch its way up to the base of his skull, where he absent mindedly began to scratch at it.
Kaien watched Sasuke's sudden, drastic change. He went from smiling like an idiot who had just gotten high for the first time, to suddenly serious and down in the dumps. He quickly reasoned that Sasuke was thinking intensely about the girl, as he began to scratch his head in thought. Naturally, Kaien did what any other good friend would do.
"Sasuke's got a girlfriend. Sasuke's got a girlfriend. Sasuke's got a girlfriend."
Sasuke blinked, shaking his head suddenly. "What – wait, no! She's not my girlfriend!"
Kaien smirked. "You should have told me you! Now I can finally give one of you two knuckleheads advice on how to court a girl! Plus I'll win the bet!"
Sasuke growled. "Look, she's not my – bet? What bet?"
Kaien gulped. "Uh, I didn't say bet."
"Yes, you did." Sasuke glared at Kaien as he took a step closer, trying to catch the man in his slip up. "What was the bet?"
Kaien suddenly walked off, whistling nonchalantly. Sasuke blinked, confused by his sudden change in behavior. As he caught up, and attempted to reengage him to find out what had happened, he noticed a member of Second Division racing towards them.
The poor youth, out of breath as though he'd run a great distance, attempted to catch his breath before speaking. "Soifon-taicho wanted to see you at Fourth Divisions barracks. She wants to know if you've noticed anything strange about Naruto."
Sasuke shrugged. "Not really, unless you count how he normally acts as strange. I haven't seen him since a few weeks ago."
Sasuke suddenly stopped speaking, finally catching onto what the messenger had said. "Wait, Fourth Division? Why is Naruto in Fourth Division? He's the last person I'd expect to be in need of medical attention."
"Sorry Sasuke-san, I'm just the messenger. However, if you'll come with me, we might be able to sort out this mess."
Sasuke nodded to the messenger, before turning back to Kaien. "Sorry Kaien, but we're going to have to have this conversation another time."
Kaien shrugged. "No problem. Just let me know what he did."
Sasuke agreed, and followed after the messenger. As he watched them run off, Kaien suddenly realized something. "How could Sasuke have had a conversation with Naruto last night if he hasn't seen him for a few weeks? Oh Sasuke, nothing's going to get you out of telling me what really happened last night!"
Naruto's Inner World
"Holy s--t on a f-----g sandwich! This is not looking good!"
"No~ you think?"
Covering a good portion of Naruto's inner world was a pitch black aura that had already enveloped a sizable portion of said inner world. No longer able to simply stand around, they were both running around and attempting to push back the dark energy, with an obvious lack of success. Every attempt they had currently made, had only increased the aura to cover an even larger portion of his inner world.
"Are you finished with your little project yet? 'Cause, if you're not, I'm sure that the world will be more than ready and capable of taking the explosion of energy that is bound to come out."
"No, it's not done. Are you happy with your little taunts? Does it make you feel like you've accomplished something while Naruto's torn apart?"
"Dude, lay off. I'm just saying, Naruto is currently in the middle of Fourth Division, the center of healing. And if this gets out, it's likely that it's not going to be a little destruction that's bound to ensue. Did you ever think of that?"
Gama blinked in confusion. "Uh…no?"
The shadowed figure shook his head. "It figures. You come up with the idea of sealing the power back up, but you forget that there might be casualties if this goes horribly wrong. Seriously, who do you work for? 'Cause they cannot be this stupid!"
"They aren't. I just didn't realize that you would have realized this as well."
"Yea, okay, so the idiot's brain doesn't work. Hardy har har. And can you please explain why I'm still covered in shadows? I mean, I'm now in broad daylight, and have no reason to be hidden in shadow?!?!"
Gama glanced up at the figure. Truth be told, he himself didn't understand what was fully going on within Naruto's inner world. The fact that he had a shadow enveloped entity simply made it even further confusing for him. Not to mention the problems that they Kyuubi was giving him.
Gama shook his head. "It's probably just this darkness. It's consuming everything, so why not the light?"
"…uh, good point? Whatever, we've got to – "
The shadow figure and Gama suddenly stopped, sudden realization shooting through them. Both glanced at each other, confused, and praying that they were wrong. After a moment of silence, Gama spoke, "Naruto's waking up…"
"Yep. And he is so~ not going to like what's he's going to find."
In the distance, the shadows continued to creep closer.
Naruto groaned as he sat up. His vision was slightly blurred for some reason, and he felt like he was being held upside-down. Resisting the urge to vomit, he swung his feet to the side of the bed. Almost too quickly, his feet connected with the cold floor. A shiver ran though him, his mind vaguely noticing how sensitive his feet were to the cold.
Stumbling upwards, he attempted to focus on the world around him. As the furry on multi-colored images whirled around, his eyes found themselves focusing something that looked like a giant slug. Curious by this, he focused on the image, letting it reform into something his mind could understand.
After a moment, it finally decided to turn back into reality, where he saw Soifon sleeping peacefully on the couch. Smiling to himself, Naruto walked silently towards Soifon. Despite the fact that she was definitely more skilled at detection than someone like him was at assassination, she didn't so much as stir in her sleeping as Naruto approached.
Noticing that she had somehow knocked a few blankets off the couch that someone had attempted to give to her, he chuckled softly. "Either she's a restless sleeper, or she's too stubborn for her own good."
Picking up one of the blankets, Naruto slowly draped it over her shoulders. He paused for a moment when she appeared to stir, but slowly let out a small sigh as she continued to sleep. "Sweet dreams, Soifon."
Moving around the couch, he silently made his way outside. Taking to the roofs, he began to leap from roof to roof, no particular destination in mind as he did so.
After a moment of pointless roof jumping, he came to a stop. A pain shot through his shoulder, as a trickle of blood began to seep from the random wound. Naruto groaned, "Great, just what I need, another out-of-nowhere wound."
Glancing around, he figured he was still in Fourth Division, and near enough to anyone who might be able to give him sufficient medical attention. A grimace crossed his face. "I never really liked hospitals, but today, I just can't get away from them!"
Hopping from the roof to the ground, Naruto glanced around for a nearby room that he could possibly use. After several seconds, he finally noticed on off on the end, partially hidden in shadows. "Spooky, but I'm sure it'll work all the same."
As he walked towards the room, he suddenly had a bad feeling wash over him. He paused for a second, reconsidering going to that particular room to get medical supplies. There were plenty of other places to get them from, although he preferred to get better faster so as to make sure that he didn't miss totoo much time with his friends, and training. Gritting his teeth, and throwing his strange feeling behind him, he continued towards the room.
Slowly entering, the first thing he noticed was that there was someone on one of the hospital beds, a dry cloth draped over his head, and various IV's hanging around the bed. Shuddering at the thoughthought of needles, he ignored the person as he looked to see if there was anything he could use to stop the bleeding.
While looking through the different cabinets, he suddenly felt nauseous. Backing away from the cabinets for a second, attempting to control his stomach, he was almost immediately beset upon by a sudden feeling of vertigo. As the world spun around him, he collapsed to his knees, his mind still attempting to grasp at everything at once. Because of this, he quickly found himself staring at lunch as it came back to haunt him.
Naruto coughed roughly, feeling a shudder go through him. This was getting to be a little more spooky that he'd originally thought. Sudden wounds from nowhere, and vertigo when he was just walking around. Naruto groaned. "Can Kami find any other way to screw up my day?"
Naruto's eyes shot open, his body completely going numb. He slowly turned around, facing the patient that he'd ignored since he'd walked in. Apparently, Kami not only had a sense of dramatic timing, but knew where and how to hurt Naruto the most.
Slowly standing up, careful to not step in the mess he'd just made, he stumbled over towards the bed. His heart beat faster as he moved to move the cloth from his head. His hands were shaking violently, and scowled at his weakness. Taking a few deep breaths, he quickly removed the cloth, silently hoping and praying that he was wrong, that this wasn't the person who he thought it was.
Unfortunately, Kami wasn't being kind to him today. Slowly, as though the motion pained him, the man slowly opened his eyes. After a moment to adjust to the light, he turned to Naruto. He spoke slowly, his voice sounding like it had been sandblasted in a furnace. "…Na…Naruto?"
Naruto felt tears come to his eyes, as he slowly knelt by his bedside. "It can't be…you can't be dead."
AN: CUT!!! *audience booing* Yea, I know, it's a bit shorter than the usual chapters, and left you with even MORE cliffhangers that I originally planned, but with you readers still interested, I wanted to show I'm back on the bandwagon again. So, just out of curiousity, who wants shorter chapters and quicker updates, and who wants longer chapters and slower updates?
Fluff in this chapter, only this time it's filling in with Naruto and Soifon! And some side fluff from Sasuke and Hinamori…with our new comedian, Renji!
If you look back on previous chapters, a lot of the 's' portions are now replaced with girls or other missing words. I know I may have missed a few…but I'm not sure where.
A special thanks to onixblack, who beta'd this chapter. If you see anything wrong besides the plot, please continue directing all questions and comments to me. It makes my job a lot easier, and his the more so.
Now, brownie points and special mention in the next chapter for the person who can guess the show/series where I stole at least one of the characters lines! It's hidden in the text, but I assure you, it's there.
Next time: Who is the mysterious figure in Naruto's inner world? Can you guess who Naruto talking to in the hospital room? Will I ever learn to write romance and fluff properly? Tune into the next chapter, and find out!
Also, apologies to the people who helped me pick out a sword name/type for Naruto; it had to be changed. I'll explain why when the name is released, which means you'll have to keep reading to find out why. Enjoy.
Remember, I won't know if you like/disliked this chapter that you just read, if you don't send me a review. Flames and complements accepted, critique an otherwise desperately needed.