Eternally Linked

A Naruto/Bleach Crossover

by Frib

Disclaimer - I do not own either the Bleach or Naruto mangas...

Chapter 1: Where death is the beginning…

The sun had just started to set on a day that neither Naruto nor Hinata could ever forget. It had been almost 18 months since Hinata grew the courage to tell Naruto that she was in love with him. Every moment since Hinata had whispered those words and Naruto caught her fainting body had led up to this day. Today was the day that Naruto had proposed to Hinata; and, of course, she accepted.

Naruto had proposed at Hinata's favorite place: a hidden waterfall where the two had once shared a romantic night. The two were now walking hand in hand through the forest towards the village. Radiant smiles covered both their faces.

Naruto couldn't afford a wedding ring, so instead he gave Hinata a red jade ring with the words "Eternal Love" inscribed on the inside. Naruto wore a matching one on his own hand. Hinata loved the ring, but she loved what it signified so much more. The two were to be married, to be eternally linked. This was the best day of both of their lives.

As the two walked home a strange noise rang out behind them. It sounded like something being ripped apart from the inside. The two turned and instinctively prepared to defend themselves. There seemed to be a hole ripped in the air itself, and suddenly there was only black. It was more than that though; instead of being engulfed in blackness they seemed to be surrounded by nothingness. Neither of them could see, hear, or even smell anything.

"Byakugon!" Hinata screamed out, but she could not even hear her own voice. Still, her bloodline trait activated to a surprising view. It seemed that Naruto, herself, and another person wearing a strange set of clothes were surrounded by a small dome through which she couldn't see out. She had no time to wonder what the dome was because the other person was running at a dumb struck Naruto with a sword.

Hinata leapt at Naruto and pushed him out of the attacker's path. As Naruto's body fell, the swordsman swung through the air and right across Hinata's chest; neither the cut nor Hinata's scream could be heard in the dome. Hinata fell to the ground. Limp. Dead. The dome suddenly disappeared.

Naruto lay on the floor and shielded his eyes from the now blinding light shining from the trees. He could make out a man standing near him and a body on the floor. Naruto's eyes exploded, "HINATA!" He quickly made his way to her on his hands and knees as his scream echoed all around him. He picked up her body and held it to his own. He could feel blood still pouring out of her chest as tears leaked from his own eyes. "Hinata, NO!" He yelled as he embraced her dead body.

"Way of Binding number 1," Naruto could barely hear the voice through his own quiet sobs, "*Sai." A shock shot through Naruto's body. He tried to put Hinata's body down, but he couldn't. He couldn't even turn to face his attacker. His body was frozen in place. "That should hold him," an arrogant voice came from behind Naruto.

A man walked into view and stood right in front of Naruto. He had long brown hair and square glasses that he held as he bent down to look into Naruto's face. The man smiled at Naruto. His smile was laced with arrogance and superiority, but seemed to hold a trace of supreme happiness. "Thank you," he spoke softly to Naruto before lifting his head and walking out of view. "Gin." The man spoke out from behind Naruto.

A quiet, gleeful laugh sounded out from behind Naruto. He could hear the sound a sword being drawn and then everything was pain. The person who had laughed, this Gin, had slashed clear through both Naruto and Hinatas' bodies with one hard slash. Now free to move, Naruto's body fell limply onto Hinata's. "Is it now, Aizen?" The speaker's voice was high.

Naruto could sense all feeling leaving his body; he was dying. It took all his energy to turn his head towards the sound of the voice. Three men stood in front of the hole in the air that seemingly came from nowhere. One was a black man that Naruto recognized as the man that had attacked them in the dark nothingness. Standing in the middle of the other two was the one that had thanked him, the arrogant brunette with the glasses. The last man had to be Gin, his killer. Gin looked evil, smiling widely at Naruto's dying body while holding the blood stained sword out as if for Naruto to see.

The man in the middle spoke out, "It should be…" he was cut off however. An intense pain shot through Naruto and he let out an intense howl. This pain was worse than anything he had ever felt, worse than Gin's sword, worse than dying. It felt like something was clawing away at his insides, desperate to be free from his dying body. His body jerked and tossed as it started to glow red. The glow surrounding his body grew in both size and intensity until everything was red. "This is it." The brunette spoke, and then everything was gone. The red glow, the three attackers, the pain; it was all gone. Naruto was dead.

"Whoo! We were almost too late to save him."

"He looks funny. Is he really that strong?"

"Let's hope so."

There was no pain. Naruto could feel nothing as he slowly opened his eyes. He lay on his back looking up towards the ceiling of some strange room. "So this is death." He spoke out to the empty feeling surrounding him.

"You're only half right," said a cheery voice.

Naruto sat up quickly and looked around him. He was in a sitting room surrounded by a blonde man and two children sitting in a circle. "Are you all dead too?" He asked to no one in particular.

Apparently, even in death there is pain, and that pain shot through Naruto's head. "What kind of a stupid question is that?!" someone yelled at him. Naruto grabbed his hurt head and turned towards the voice. A young boy with red hair and a red oversized iron rod was being held back by a sweet little girl with red cheeks and pigtails. The boy seemed excessively upset for no real reason while the girl seemed to apologize with her eyes.

"Now, Jinta-kun," the cheer voice spoke out. Naruto turned to see who was speaking; it was a blonde man wearing a funny green outfit with a matching hat and sandals. He seemed like a push over, not someone who could take command of bratty children. "Could you and Ururu please wait outside so we can speak to our guest?" Naruto expected the children put up a fight, but the two simply walked out of the room.

"Now, back to what I was saying. You are only half right when you say you're dead." Naruto's eyes widened in confusion. He remembered dying, feeling death take him. The man with the green hat seemed to sense this and put his hands up in a defensive position as if to apologize. "Oh, I'm sorry. I would hate to insult you're intelligence. You are in fact: DEAD," He seemed to make a point to emphasize the word, "but you have not yet crossed into Soul Society. Do you understand?" The man wore a look like he had just explained something that Naruto should already have known.

Naruto was now even more confused. "Huh?" was all he managed to spit out.

"Kisuke, Naruto has no knowledge of Soul Society." The voice seemed to come out of no where. Naruto looked around for the voice. Who was speaking and how did they know his name?

"Who said that!?" Naruto commanded. His face contorted to look like he demanded to know.

A small black cat that had been sitting in the corner walked up to him and jumped on his shoulder. "I did," the cat spoke into his ear. Naruto shook the cat off in surprise. It landed on the green hat's shoulder. "Rude…" the black cat lifted its nose to Naruto before walking back to the corner it had once occupied.

The green hat, Kisuke, let out a weak laugh with a large smile, "Yes, yes. I'm sorry Naruto. Soul society is where souls are transported after they leave their human bodies. It is what some humans call heaven." Naruto's eyes moved from the cat to Kisuke and back, his face still full of confusion.

"But how…" Naruto didn't know what to ask first. "How do you know my name?" he decided to ask. His question, awkwardly, was directed at the talking black cat. When the cat seemed to refuse to answer Naruto looked toward Kisuke.

Again, Kisuke's hands flew up in an apologetic manner, "Now Naruto," his face held a huge ignorant smile, "that's a story for another time." Naruto didn't want to hear an excuse. He had no idea what was going on around him or why these strange people knew his name. As he looked into Kisuke's smiling face he grew angry; he wanted his question answered now. Just as Naruto was about to demand his question be answered Kisuke's face and body language changed drastically.

The stupid smile that portrayed idiocy had been replaced by a serious, stern look that commanded attention, and his apologetic waving hands had been lowered onto his knees as if ready to attack if needed. This person had seemed to change almost instantly before Naruto's eyes and Naruto's anger seemed to dissipate immediately.

"Naruto, please allow me to explain your situation and your choices." Even Kisuke's voice had changed; he now had a sober tone that bordered on danger. Naruto sat up, crossed his legs, and looked focused on Kisuke; he had Naruto's full attention. Kisuke's stern facial features lightened slightly but his voice remained the same. "Good, now you have to understand that both and Hinata have both been murdered and are now dead." He said this as if he were simply stating a fact; his words held no emotion. Naruto's eyes left Kisuke's and fell to the floor. That day had been so good; the best in his life. How could it turn out so bad? "Naruto," Kisuke continued on, "because you two were murdered your souls would most likely be very sorrowful and vengeful. It would be probable that one of two things would happen: either the vengefulness would cause your soul to become a hollow, or your sorrow would cause your soul to be lost in Soul Society with no memories of your prior life."

Naruto barely heard what Kisuke was saying, and understood even less. He did, however, discern that Hinata was obviously in trouble. "Can… can I save her?" Naruto tried to fight back tears forming in his eyes.

"Save her?" The words came from the corner of the room. The black cat was lying on its side facing away from Naruto, but its deep voice carried very clearly. "Hyuga has a pure soul. There is no way her soul would become a hollow." For some reason Naruto felt somewhat relieved, even though he had no idea what a hollow was. "You, on the other hand, are tainted by the monster you held inside of you."

Naruto's eyes opened wide and he looked from the cat to Kisuke. He grabbed his own stomach hard, "You know about that?" He was shocked. They obviously knew more about him then he thought.

Kisuke's voice still held the quality of stating facts, "Does your body feel lighter than before? Empty? That's because Aizen took it." The name Aizen rang out through the room.

Naruto squeezed his stomach. Was the fox really gone? Was he really free from worrying about losing control to it? "Aizen?" He asked out, still thinking of the demon fox.

"Yes, Aizen." His voice was solemn, less stern. "I believe he came across this story," Kisuke pulled out a book, a very old looking book, and opened it up. He carefully gave the book the Naruto, "Please read it." The story was hand written in short, small letters. It was somewhat hard to read due to decay but it was still legible. There seemed to be parts that were changed, erased, or rewritten.

Back from a time when elements still ruled the land came

a man from the land of fire. His life had been one of danger,

of adventure, of love. He brought to Soul Society a power

he had been given by another. This power, held inside of him,

helped him move through the ranks quickly. This man

became stronger than any in Soul Society; stronger than

even the captain-commander. It was this man, with his

power, that created the first King's Key.

Naruto read the story twice through. His face contorted in thought as he came to the end again. Land of Fire. Power held inside; given by another. "Is this story about…"

Kisuke cut him off. "Yes Naruto, I believe that this story is about you." Kisuke had sounded somewhat energetic but his tone again regained its soberness, "We believe that Aizen found this story and," he paused, "that is why he killed you and Hinata." There was a long silence.

"Hinata?" The name seemed to ring in Naruto's head. "She was killed because of me?" The thought was horrible. Kisuke took his eyes off of Naruto and looked towards the ground; his answer was silent but obvious. Hinata had been killed, and now she was lost and alone in a strange place with no memories of their time together, because of Naruto.

"How…" he paused, not because he was unclear of what he wanted but because he had not remembered the name of the location. "How can I get to this Soul Society place?" Naruto's voice had regained the demanding tone it had held earlier. Naruto needed to get back to Hinata no matter what.

His eyes shifted between the green-hatted Kisuke and the talking black cat. The cat rose and turned, not to look at Naruto but at Kisuke, and Kisuke's dim witted smile returned to his face. "Ah," Kisuke's hands shot up as if they had approached some realization, "So it is decided. You will go to Soul Society." Kisuke leapt to his feet and walked to the corner of the room. He reached into what Naruto thought was a pantry, but before he pulled anything out he turned back to Naruto. "Oh, and Naruto, this will take some time?"

"I don't care about how long it takes!" Naruto yelled out. The story that was seemingly about him didn't matter. The fact that Kisuke and a talking black cat knew who he was and about the fox demon didn't matter. The fact that he was now dead, but still moving around and talking didn't matter. The only thing in Naruto's head now was getting back to Hinata.

Kisuke moved at an intensely fast speed; Naruto didn't even see him move from the corner of the room. "Ok," Kisuke's gleeful smile shined right in front of Naruto, "I'll see you in five years then." Naruto had no time to react. There was no pain, but Naruto could feel Kisuke's palm connect with his forehead.

"Five... years..." Naruto couldn't tell if he was speaking or only thinking the words because he couldn't hear his own voice. He felt his body fall back slowly as the room became black. Then, again, there was nothing.