Naruto: Paths Cross
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. There, now will you lawyers PLEASE stop stalking me?
A small blonde child with whisker marks on his cheeks ran away from a crowd of villagers, his eyes desperately searching for a way out.
He ran into an alley, and in his haste, didn't notice it was a dead end.
Despair clinging to his heart, he turned around just in time to see the villagers surround him, promises of pain and harm in their eyes.
"You were hard to catch demon. Just like all foxes. But we've got you now!"
"Yeah! It's time to avenge the Hokage and our people!"
"Kill the demon!"
"Please! No! I didn't do anything! Why are you doing this to me?!" He screamed as he covered his head with his arms, but even this was to no avail as the villagers stomped, kicked, punched and stabbed the innocent child.
It continued for several hours, with the boy loosing consciousness after twenty minutes.
He would have died, if it wasn't for his tenant, until finally, the villagers left him alone, tired of beating the poor child.
They left him, all alone in a grimy alley, bloodied and beaten, barely alive and his clothes ripped nearly to shreds.
The sky started to rain, almost as if it was crying for him.
And through this all, a figure in white watched him from the roof, his fingers clenching around a sheathed sword in frustration, in his inability to protect and intervene.
His black hair plastered to his face due to the rain, he noiselessly hopped down to the ground, silent tears streaming down his face in his helplessness, indistinguishable with the rain.
"You poor child." He started.
Why did this always happen? Why?
He didn't do anything this time. Not even a prank. And yet, they chased him down for no reason. Calling him 'demon' or 'monster' and other names.
What did he do to deserve this? Was he really a demon? If so, then why was he even born here in the first place? Why wasn't he in hell?
"You poor child." A soothing voice, rich and deep but definitely male called out to him. He flinched, was this a trick? To give him hope only to crush it underfoot? It had happened before.
"So young, yet so noble, forced to shoulder a burden heavy even for heroes and scorned for something that is not your fault." It continued, and he felt gentle arms lift his weight and carry him.
He felt strangely at peace, as if he was safe from any harm when in this man's presence. Slowly but surely, Naruto Uzumaki, for the first time in his short life, slept peacefully.
Cross Azala Erazur smiled at the figure in his arms, his image fading into nothingness as he cast a cloaking spell and stepping into a portal, the house of the boy on the other side. The smile fell however, when he saw the state of the dwelling.
Once again, he felt the urge to unleash his wrath upon the villagers, bringing down justice upon their heads. But he forced it down. He was better than that, he was not someone who killed in cold blood. They would get their justice when their time comes.
"S-Sir?" A weak voice caught his attention as he glanced down at the pale malnourished form in his hands. He grimaced, but turned it into a smile for the child. "Yes little one?" He asked in the kindest voice he could muster.
"You're not going to hurt me are you?" The child questioned desperately, almost as if that was that was the norm of what people normally did to him.
"Of course not. My name's Cross kid, and I'm not like the others. Now sleep child. I'll protect you." He assured him, placing child gently on the small futon and tucking him in. Pretty soon, he was asleep.
The grimace returned, and he looked at the window. "Humans and their fear of what is different." His fists clenched tightly, the material covering them straining. "To hurt a CHILD and see a demon...such atrocities." He tilted his vision to the boy. "When this day is over, you will never meet me again for a long time. But..." He knelt down and placed his hand on his head. "I'll be DAMNED if I leave you unprotected." With ease, he entered the boy's mind.
*drip drip drip*
The constant sound of dripping water reverberated throughout the sewers that were Naruto's mindscape. The tunnel was grimy, black with splotches of filthy green while sewer water ran freely on the ground. To have a mindscape as foreboding as this, required multiple traumatic experiences. Once again, Cross cursed the restrictions that had been brought upon him upon entering this world.
Compared to his friends' his freedom upon this world was like that of a chained dog's. He could only fully interact with his friends and he had to hide from nearly all sentient beings from this world.
Sometimes, being the Hybrid King and an enigma was more trouble than it was worth. And until his existence has fully adapted to this world, it would stay that way. But that would take years. And he did not have the luxury of that kind of time if he wished for this child to be an apprentice.
Carefully, he navigated through the sewers, knowing full well the dangers of being in someone else's mind. Even the greatest psychic master could fall under an unexpected surprise.
Finally, he sensed it. The source of all of the child's problems. It was faint, but then again, the seals on the child's stomach gave him reason to hypothesize that the demon would be kept near the center of his mind. Having started on the very edge of his mind, he had a lot of ground to cover.
Cross increased his speed, speeding through what would be several miles before reaching the room where the cage was kept. The aura was so powerful it was almost an actual weight in the air, and the killing intent of the vile chakra would have killed a lesser man. But Cross was NOT a lesser man. He had faced worse throughout his life.
He stepped into the room and right in front of the cage that had a bettered paper with the kanji for 'seal' on it. He could see inside it, see the large red fox that had ravaged the village of Konoha five years prior. He narrowed his eyes, an astounding mixture of blue and green glowing faintly as his own aura slowly rose in power, rousing the fox from its slumber. Slowly, but surely, the eye of the fox opened, and his own eyes flared, as if in challenge.
The fox breathed deeply, the gust of wind making his trenchcoat and hair flap wildly in the breeze. "Who dares interrupt my sleep. The Great Kyuubi no Kitsune?" The deep booming voice of the fox questioned him with a roar at the end, before narrowing its sights on him.
Cross didn't even flinch through it all. "Cross Azala Erazur. The Hybrid King." He answered, not the tiniest bit intimidated by the monster in front of him.
If a giant fox could show curiosity, this one did. It opened its mouth to speak, when a voice cut through the air.
"C-cross?" Naruto's voice interrupted them. Cross frowned when he saw Naruto take small, frightened steps toward him, before running full swing and latching onto his leg as if it was a lifeline. "Naruto" He breathed, placing a hand on his head.
"Cross-oniisan, what is that thing?" He asked, frightened by the gigantic fox who had bared its teeth in a sort of interested/menacing fashion.
"That...is the reason why everyone hurts you Naruto. You are not a demon. But you are the jailor of one. This is the Kyuubi no Kitsune." Cross explained. Naruto's eyes widened in disbelief, and his grip on Cross's pants tightened.
Kyuubi grinned in a nightmarish passion expecting an angry outburst, a tirade of profanities against itself, or fear. But it certainly did not expect Naruto to laugh, tears steaming down his face.
The surprise was evident on both Cross and Kyuubi as Naruto's laughs lowered into short hiccups before going silent. "Naruto? Are you alright?" Cross asked, worried for the boy's safety.
Naruto wiped the remains of the tears from his face and smiled at Cross. "It's okay Oniisan. I'm just happy to know the truth, and to know that all this time, I wasn't a demon like I'd thought I was." He explained.
'He has suffered so much, and yet, he still manages to find happiness in the direst news. I chose a fine successor.' Cross thought, also noting the fact that Naruto had called him 'Oniisan' which he knew meant 'brother'.
"As much as I like this touching scene, I hope none of you are forgetting I am right here." Kyuubi interrupted the two of them.
"I haven't. And since you probably already know who Naruto is and I've already introduced you to Naruto, I'll get to the point; I want you to help train Naruto." Cross dropped the bomb.
"WHAT?!" Naruto screamed, obviously wondering if his new friend was insane, asking THE Kyuubi no Kitsune, the most powerful Bijuu and the one cause of his problems to TRAIN HIM of all things.
Kyuubi's surprise was short-lived, laughing loudly when what he said sunk in. "And what makes you think I'd train the child who holds me imprisoned? You have a few screws loose Cross. If that's all you wanted to say, I'm leaving." Kyuubi disagreed, turning around.
"Is that so? I know your kind Kyuubi. You're a prideful creature. Even imprisoned in a jinchuuriki, you want your reputation to be grand. What would the others say when they hear the container of the Kyuubi is a weakling?" Cross pointed out, and Kyuubi stopped in its tracks. "I'm listening."
"Good. Because all that I want is for Naruto to have a chance at life. And it won't be possible if he can't protect himself from all the beatings he receives. Isn't that right Naruto?" Cross gestured to him.
"H-Hai" He responded.
Kyuubi growled. "Very well. But you should know that the only things I can do for him is to teach him chakra control and give him some of the knowledge I have gathered over the years. After all, you can't expect me to know ninjutsus and whatnot when all I had to do to fight is to breathe fire or bite and slash."
"Acceptable. But I think you're forgetting the skills that you could teach him if he were to turn into a Hanyou." Cross added.
"IF he turns into a Hanyou."
"Hmm...then until that time comes, I'll have to be the one to teach him." Cross muttered, a plan on how to bypass his restrictions already in mind.
"Really?! You're going to teach me Cross-oniisan?!" Naruto shouted in excitement.
"Well, it's hard to explain Naruto." He sighed heavily. "I currently have a LOT of heavy restrictions, ones that will take years before disappearing. The fact that I'm talking to you two right now is already stretching it thin. But I think I know a way on how to get by them." He turned to the fox. "Well Kyuubi, do we have a deal?" He held out his hand.
Kyuubi growled once more, before holding out a clawed paw and letting Cross shake the tip of it through the cage. "Yes" It accepted.
Cross grinned. "Good. Now I hope you two won't mind a few more 'tenants' so to speak." He added.
"Wait, what?/Nani?" But Kyuubi and Naruto's question wouldn't be answered as a bright flash filled the mindscape, and they knew no more.
Cross sighed in relief as he removed his palm from Naruto's forehead. It had been a success. Hopefully, by the end of this day, Naruto would have ample protection and a reasonable chance for a bright future. All that depended on what he was about to do now.
Now, there was a reason for the title 'Hybrid King' that he carried. The story on how it happened was irrelevant but what it meant was important.
He was originally a Lacroan, an INCREDIBLY altruistic race, though by no means a stranger to fighting to the death. A fiasco concerning a certain Vampire Queen had resulted in him turning into a half-breed instead of a full vampire and the resulting transformation forced him to feed or die.
Having an incredibly high level of control despite being a 'newborn', he could feed without fear of killing the donors, most of which were done with their consent. Who ever said a vampire couldn't just ask if he could suck your blood? Anyway, long story short, it turned out that he absorbed the species' strengths and very rarely, their weaknesses, and having never deserted his race, he obtained blood/essence (this was due to him taking the blood of an Essence Absorber, enabling him to take the powers of those that had no blood to speak of) from so many different races and used it for his Kingdom's benefit.
There were a few side effects of this though. One of which was for him to develop personas from each new species he obtained. The result? He had a few thousand other personas in running around in HIS mindscape. Hopefully, this would soon turn into a blessing.
What he planned to do was to infuse Naruto with the essence and mind of a choice three races, each one of them containing the experience and skills needed by Naruto until he could train him himself when his restrictions are lifted. The problem was: who to choose? Thankfully, he had already made up his mind, and with luck, Naruto would thrive with his gifts.
He focused on the three races he had chosen, channeling their energies and plucking them from his mindscape and containing them in the sphere that had formed in his hand. "Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze, I choose you as my successor, and so, I bless you with these gifts, and may you use them wisely, and grow into a worthy heir of my power." He proclaimed, and the thrust the ball into the boy's heart, a flash of light filling the small room, dimming after a few minutes.
By the time the light had fully disappeared, in his place, was a small gray rectangular box, barely the size of a man's fist. Intricate patterns carved into the stone weaved through the item, most prominent around a silver glowing stone the size of a child's thumb inlaid into the box...
Well FINALLY I finished that. Hopefully it'll rock when we get to the action. Please review people! I wanna know what you think. Does it rock or does it suck?
I like criticism better than no reviews!
On a side note, when I get to Hinata, you will NEVER look at her the same ever again... 'evil laugh'