Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto
Bleach © Kubo Tite
Chapter 5: Deep Dive
"'You said we'd meet again, but when we did, we might not recognize each other... I think I understand. I see myself the way you remember me. And you see yourself the way I remember you.' (Roxas) It hurt so much to watch you go, to be mortal again knowing that just like last time I was unable to save you and that the next time we meet you won't know me. And just like always, I am powerless to change anything."- Hanatarō
Mid-afternoon: Hanatarō's Dorm
It was a Saturday.
One full week and a half after The Incident, as Hanatarō had summarily dubbed the reiatsu channeling exercise…and its results.
The young cadet groaned in annoyance, grabbed his pillow and pulled it over his head. He wanted sleep, damn it, and no one was going to disturb him.
Not even the annoying, persistent, stubborn, finger which was currently poking him in the shoulder was going to succeed if he had anything to say about it. Perhaps if he kept on ignoring him, he would eventually give up and leave him alone.
He should have known better.
'Hanatarō-chan.' The whine was unmistakable. And it grated on him.
Hanatarō's fist just tightened on his pillow barrier. He was going to get his sleep. He was going to get his sleep. He was going to get his sleep…
After that rather disorienting day, which he concluded was a result of the twin head injuries he received, the young student believed that it was a dream. What else could it be?
He might not be the most promising or the most talented student, but even he could learn something just by watching the elderly commander. It was actually a great honor and privilege that the founder himself was actually leading an expedition in person. No one in their right mind would want to miss the Sotaicho of all shinigami.
Okay, so apparently he was the idiot out of his 'right' mind because he slept right through the morning reveille. And apparently the entire academy was suspended for the day because of the event.
But in his defense he wouldn't have been in good shape for the excursion with his self-induced head trauma. In fact he had almost convinced himself that he was just exhausted from the exercise and had therefore slept right through the day. And that what had happened was just a dream.
…Which the blonde thoroughly disabused the notion as soon as he woke up in his dorm later that evening.
Hanatarō had decided that either the blonde was a figment of his imagination, a hallucination that somehow stayed with him after he passed out from reiatsu exhaustion after the exercise, or (and this was the most likely) he had somehow summoned his own personal ghost.
A poltergeist to be exact (how else was the…being able to touch him?). And while that sounded like it would be fun (in theory anyways), Hanatarō could readily beg to differ.
Which was an rather ironic thought. Mostly because he was a shinigami-in-training and was probably considered a spirit or ghost himself.
A Death God having his own personal haunting, it was a very ironic thought indeed.
Either way, he found that none of the above possibilities appealed to him in the slightest.
And the worst was that no one else could see the blonde. So whenever the apparition became unbearable, most people would stare at him because he would start yelling at nothing. Already several concerned students and teachers had approached him about it. To put it frankly, those were embarrassing conversations. The worst though was the bullying. It had grown to almost unbearable proportions.
So to avoid most of the ridicule, the young cadet had taken to hiding out in his room, the gardens and, most surprisingly, the practice fields where the students were allowed to test their Kidō. His tormentors probably thought he was holed up in some closet while they prowled the halls.
"Go away," his muffled whine filtered out from underneath his pillow barrier.
'Oh? So you are awake after all?'
"No. I'm asleep." He muffled again before turning on his side towards the wall and specifically away from his personal annoyance. He had tried to avoid any and all confrontations with his spectral visitor at all costs.
Not that it helped any.
Hanatarō felt the ghostly presence withdraw though he didn't disappear completely, alerting the academy student to the fact that he was still present within the room. The young cadet, partially awake, turned a groggy eye towards the blonde. His internal alarm was sounding warning bells.
"What are yo-"
His shrill cry promised bloody murder as it rang across the Shinōreijutsuin grounds. A thin trail of black smoke wafted through the air above the first year dorms.
Late Evening: Kidō Practice Fields
Hanatarō glowered at the blonde. He was going to kill him when this was over not that he hadn't tried already…numerous times in fact. It was the very reason he spent the entire day chasing the ghost around the Academy grounds.
The culprit was standing there in the practice field like nothing in the world bothered him. Just taking in the smugly innocent countenance made his blood boil and just like that he felt his reiatsu gather in his hands just begging to be released.
His wonderful, relaxing Saturday, one of the few rare days where they were given a break from the Academy classes, had gone up in flames…literally.
How the fool managed that, he didn't know, but whatever he did cost him his favorite pillow and a burned tatami mat.
And his pajama top.
Now all he had were pajama bottoms and a strange nightcap that his unwanted blonde roommate had insisted he wore, though he had no idea where the blonde obtained it.
Personally he thought it was rather childish, but who was he to complain. A gift was a gift after all and he rarely, if ever, got any of those. Not since…anyways he thought it was the other male's way of apologizing to him. He just wished it didn't look like some kind of animal trying to eat his head.
Hanatarō was jarred out of his musings when his semi-transparent annoyance floated over to him. He could tell the blonde had something cooking in that mind of his, he just wasn't sure if he'd like whatever resulted from it.
The ninja watched the younger male through half-lidded eyes that shielded his thoughts. After that first day, the boy had clammed up rather nicely and he just couldn't pry anything from him.
'Yet.' He was bound and determined to get the younger male to open up to him. Even ice-prince Uchiha had somewhat thawed before going rogue.
Movement returned the shinobi's attention back to his victim. The ninja watched amusedly as the student tipped his chin and straightened his back. It didn't take Hyuuga Neji to read that body language. Obviously the little guy thought he was going to tell him off.
"Look…you …you…" Hanatarō couldn't believe his tongue had failed him as he was at a loss for words. Fortunately his unwanted dorm-mate stepped in before he could trip over his own tongue any more.
Hanatarō blinked, "What?"
The blonde, for his part, just straightened and crossed his arms in front of his chest. He made sure to meet the black-haired student squarely in the eye.
'My name is Naruto, use it.'
"Sure. Right. Whatever you say, ghost-man." Hanatarō wasn't at all in the mood to feel accommodating. Naruto leaned towards the shinigami-to-be in exasperation.
'Na-Ru-To.' Each syllable was punctuated with a finger poke to the chest. 'Say it.'
"Why?" Hanatarō was feeling more than a bit defiant. He was irritated and tired. His sense of propriety was battered as he was only dressed in his sleeping pants and even they were in bad form. But most of all he felt beyond humiliated. The medic-to-be had run pell-mell all over the Academy grounds in nothing else and it drew more attention than he wanted.
And he didn't see the point. The man was a ghost after all. Said spirit blew out a sigh before glaring at the teen.
'Just say it.'
"Fine." He harrumphed, "Naruto."
He sent the spirit a dark glower, "There. Happy?"
As the blonde had replied, Hanatarō got his first good look at the man. Normally he had been too busy running and studying for his classes to even spare the man a thought. Now, though, it seemed pertinent to know what made the man dress the way he did.
"What are you?" he wondered, earning him a strange look from his companion.
'Me?' Naruto's surprise was more than evident, 'Isn't it obvious? I'm a ninja.'
'Don't tell me you never heard of ninja before, you have got to have met some sometime, right? I mean lots of us die every day…' He trailed off. 'I guess we'll have to make another lesson of that later.'
"What?" Naruto paid him no mind and continued on. Hanatarō sulked a little, annoyance and confusion circulating through his mind.
'Since it seems you are in a place of learning,' he quickly hid his grimace of remembered pain, 'I decided to help your studies along.'
"Lucky me." The cadet muttered. The ninja blatantly ignored the grumbling.
'Now we are going to learn about chakra.' Naruto magnanimously announced flinging his arms wide open and spinning around excitedly. He missed the flat look Hanatarō sent him.
"Catra? What's that?" He unknowingly made the same mistake Naruto had in his life. Though the shinobi could chalk it up to a bad education, the cadet had no such excuse. The shinobi couldn't help the snicker that came out.
'Chakra.' The ninja corrected. At the point blank look he was receiving, Naruto stopped snickering and tilted his head with a look of puzzlement, 'don't you have chakra here?'
They must have had it. He had seen a few other of these 'shinigami-in-training' out here earlier using something like jutsu, only they had they ridiculously long chants.
"Well," Hanatarō's mind worked overtime, they had covered that in shinigami basics, "we have something called reiryoku. It's what we use to cast, umm, Kidō." It was the cadet's turn to receive a point blank stare from his companion.
'Like justu?' the blonde surmised, trying to decipher the foreign word.
Naruto palmed his face. They were getting nowhere, 'Alright. What is this reiryoku?' Something obviously wasn't translating.
The student looked to be at a loss as to what to say. He hadn't quite understood the introductory theory the way they explained it. He did get the gist of it though.
"Well, reiryoku is…how'd they explain it? Ah!" Hanatarō snapped his fingers, "It's spiritual energy. We, shinigami, use that energy to cast spells on our opponents…I think."
'Spiritual energy, huh?' Naruto adopted a thoughtful expression, his index finger tapping his chin in thought, 'Well, we shinobi use spiritual and physical energy to make chakra-'
"Physical," Hanatarō interrupted, "That isn't possible."
He received a bewildered look from the ninja. Did the man really not know anything?
'Why not?' Naruto's puzzled
"But we're not 'living' beings, we don't have physical bodies."
'Then what is this…' the ninja once again commenced poking. Hanatarō swatted the offending appendage away.
"Stop that!" his irritation became visible, "As I said we aren't technically alive in the mortal sense."
'Perhaps I'm phrasing this wrong then,' the enigmatic ninja muttered, 'spiritual energy can be equated to mental energy. So you have both mental and physical energy.'
"Like I said, we don't have physical bodies."
'And I say,' the blonde scowled and smacked the shinigami-in-training on the head, 'what's this?'
"Ow! Would you stop that!"
'Not until you answer my question.'
"What questio-OW! Okay, Okay, I get it. This-" the pajama pant wearing teen gestured towards himself, "-is my body."
'Good. Now all we have to do is trained you to combine physical and mental energy and BAM,' Naruto clapped his hands for emphasis, 'you get chakra.'
"I think we are not communicating here." "How many times do I have to tell you that I can't because I don't have a physical body, I'm dead."
'So? So am I and that never stopped me.'
Hanatarō eyed the man skeptically. He wasn't like any dead soul he'd ever met before, and living where he had, Hanatarō was sure he knew what newly deceased looked like.
'So follow my instruction and you'll see.' The teen just threw his hands up in the air, in exasperation, and mirrored the ninja's movements. The blonde's voice smoothly directed him into what he was supposed to do, create, draw out, and mold chakra. Hanatarō couldn't help but make one last jab.
"This is going to fail."
'Just do it.'
He had no idea what was going on or what was happening, but he did know that he felt a rush of something, it could only be described as liquid power, and that it exploded outwards from his body. It wasn't reiryoku that had a light, airy feeling.
This was wild, uncontrollable…heavy. It was like nothing he'd ever felt before. Had the teen been to the world of the living, he'd have compared it to force of a hurricane. As it was it left the teen gasping for air.
Naruto had felt a slight welling of pride in his chest when he saw the telltale, wild arcs of Chakra explode from his impromptu student in much the same way it had for him. That alone told him the boy was going to be a monster…just like him. Hanatarō's voice brought the ninja's thoughts back to the present.
"This…" Hanatarō's astonishment and disbelief were evident, "this shouldn't be possible."
'But it is.'
"No it isn't."
'Do you want to know why?' Hanatarō nodded, bewilderment still adorning his features, 'It's because you have the wrong perspective.'
'You were thinking in terms of living and, well, not. As long as you…manifest in some 'physical' form, you will always be able to mold chakra…provided you have the mental energy to mix. Otherwise…' Naruto trailed off.
"Otherwise?" The cadet prompted.
'Otherwise you'll only be harnessing half of the power, like everyone else.'
"How do you know that?" Hanatarō pressed. The question brought Naruto up short, causing a thoughtful look to overtake his features.
'Ya know, I don't know…well, not really.' He replied with a casual shrug, 'I can kind of guess a certain amount of power and what not, not a skill I was really good at when I was alive mind you, but I couldn't tell you anything exact. What I can say is that the shinigami who chant,' Naruto held his fingers up and made quotations gestures at the word 'chant', 'lose an excess of about half of their energy because their reiryoku don't have a stabilizing factor.'
'At least that sounded professional-ish.' Naruto haplessly thought. He could only guess at levels and feel the expelled excess. Hopefully that answered cadet's questions.
'So, have a seat and let the lessons commence.'
Hanatarō sighed and hunkered down into the grass. He had caught the determined glint in his self-employed mentor's eyes and had a sinking feeling. This was going to be a long day.
A/N: Fair Warning: From now on, I will have a Pre-Bleach Timeline and a list of terms with explanations at the end of every chapter. That way you can refer it when you are confused about something in the story. Just be warned that it will make the chapters seem longer than they really are.
You guys have no idea how much all of your reviews and speculations make me want cackle evilly… oh, wait, I do that anyways.
Anyways, I would like to make one thing clear about our dear medic, he is a nobody to the higher echelons. And even though he'll eventually be a seated peon, he is in the 4th division…which sadly says it all. Even the most open minded of the upper ranks will pass him over at a glance (if they notice him). Of course the flipside of this is it's perfect for his 'awesome-ninja-ness'…
(I had no idea Hana-chan had such a fan following, *chuckles nervously*)
Everyone, please lend your support to and acclamations to the Authoress: Defiant Vixen and her story A Woman Behind These Clothes. It partially reignited my interest in this story. So please give her your support.
LJ 11/15/09, 3/22/10, 6/26/10, 7/28/10
Timeline (for Sealed Deal, not exactly precise with Manga canon):
-Yamada Hanatarō is sent to Soul Society (217 years), survives the 80th South for the next 106 years
-Yamada Hanatarō is discovered and tested (dragged bodily) to the Academy, 1 week prior to it starting (111 years)
-Yamada Hanatarō & Ichimaru Gin Begin Academy (111 years)
-Ichimaru Gin graduates (110 years), Turn Back the Pendulum: Begins (Ch 97-108) (110.5 years)
-Hikifune Kirio, Captain of the 12th Division is promoted to the Royal Guard (Zero Division) (110.5 Years)
-Urahara Kisuke is promoted to Twelfth Division Taicho (110 years)
-Yamada Hanatarō unintentionally summons his zanpakuto spirit (Uzumaki Naruto) on his first try with a practice Bokken, a feat that should be impossible. (109.5 years)
-Aizen Sōsuke successfully hides his experimentation with Hollowfication and recruits Ichimaru Gin (109.5 years)
-Yamada Hanatarō graduates the Academy, unseated shinigami of the 4th Division (105 years)
-Shiba Kaien agrees to become Fuku-Taicho for the 13th Division (103 years)
-Urahura Kisuke failed in saving the Vizards from Hollowfication, is framed and banished (100.5 years)
-Kuchiki Rukia is assigned to the 13th Division (64 years)
-Shiba Miyako (Kaien's wife) was murdered by the Hollow Metastacia (63 years)
-Kurosaki Ichigo is born (16 years; July 15)
-Kurosaki Karin and Yuzu are born (11 years; May 6)
-Kurosaki Masaki is murdered by the Hollow Grand Fisher while saving 9 year old Ichigo's life (7 years)
-Bleach begins: Ichigo is fifteen almost sixteen years old (0 years)
Notes (provided, with a few personal modifications, by Bleach Wiki):
-Bokutō (木刀, "wood sword"): or more commonly known as a Bokken in the west, is a wooden sword used for training is several martial arts.
-Shinigami (死神?, "death kami"): Death Gods, Soul Reapers, are souls that protect the human world from Hollows and that lead people to Soul Society, a place reigned by souls in another dimension.
-Zanpakutō (斬魄刀?, literally "soul-cutting sword"): a weapon which reflects aspects of their soul and personality. (A/N: Mwahaha…)
-Reiatsu (霊圧, Spiritual Pressure): is the physical force/pressure that a person's Reiryoku creates when released. Otherwise it's shown as the possessing power that could be literally felt within the atmosphere.
-Reiryoku (霊力, Spiritual Power): is a power aligned with the spiritual sensitivity and willpower of the user. It is used by Shinigami to provide power for their various feats and to effectively channel the powers of their Zanpakutō. It can also be used to cast Kidō, magic spells created by the Shinigami. Reiryoku can even be coalesced into a physical form and thrown or shot as a projectile. As a display of potency, spiritual beings have the ability to incapacitate the opponent's movement and simultaneously frighten them, by means of dispersing Reiryoku into the air.
-Zanjutsu (斬術, "Swordsmanship"; Cutting Technique): is the most used form of combat among Shinigami. As the name suggests, it involves using a Zanpakutō and its various special abilities to attack an opponent. In addition to its basic form, each Zanpakutō has two enhanced forms: Shikai (始解, Initial Release) and Bankai (卍解, Final Release), which change the sword's form to unlock its potential and that of its user.
-Kidō (鬼道, "demon way", or "spirit way" sometimes translated as Demon Arts: Soul Reaper's powers): is the technique that Shinigami use to focus their Spiritual Energy into magic spells of various powers. These spells serve a wide variety of uses such as healing, defense, or combat.
-Hakuda (白打, hakuda; lit. white hits): Hand-to-hand combat is not elaborated upon by most Shinigami. Physical strength and skill is determined by this class. It seems to be a combination of several martial arts.
-Hohō (歩法, hohō; lit. step method): sometimes described as Agility, is a basic and important skill for most Shinigami. Though never stated clearly it most likely relates to the Shinigami ability to walk on air using spiritual power. By collecting and solidifying Reishi beneath their feet, Shinigami can gain traction on thin air to either freely move about or to stop themselves from falling. The agility and speed of Hohō can be enhanced and improved through mastery of it, concentration, and training. (A/N: Apparently Hana-kun has no talent for this…according to Bleach Wiki (*snickers*))
- Shunpo (瞬歩, Flash steps): a movement technique that allows the user to move faster than the eye can follow. The focal point that determines the bases of this technique is speed. As speed is the main point of the technique the method is best characterized by how fast one can get from point A to point B in the least amount of steps. Training and skill are what determines how fast a user of shunpo can move; those of little skill in the technique or those who haven't used it an extended amount of time would obviously be out of practice, causing those individuals to be considerably slower, which requires the use of more steps to move the same distance and become winded far easier in a shorter amount of time.
-Senka (閃花, Flash Blossom): a special shunpo technique where one moves to their opponents back. Directly attacking and sealing one's "Saketsu" and "Hakusui" in one strike. The movement is so fast that an opponent may not be able to tell whether he was attacked from the front or the back and even an outside observer may find it impossible to tell what the movements are.
-Shinōreijutsuin (精神的な芸術アカデミー, Spiritual Arts Academy), sometimes called the Shinigami Academy. Located in Seireitei, the academy trains future Shinigami for each of the three military arms of Soul Society.
-Seireitei (瀞霊廷, court of pure souls) is in the center of Soul Society. It is a circular shiro with four main entrances, ten days walk apart, each guarded by a Gate Guardian. These gates are called the Black Ridge Gate (in the North), the Blue Stream Gate (in the East), the Red Hollow Gate (in the South) and the White Way Gate (in the West).
-Rukongai (流魂街, wandering soul city): is the largest portion of Soul Society and the most populated. It is divided into 320 districts (80 in North Rukongai, 80 in West Rukongai, etc.), each numbered in descending order on how far they are from the center; this results in the higher-numbered (and farther) districts decaying into slums.
-Yamada Hanatarō (山田 花太郎, Yamada Hanatarō): is the 7th Seated officer of the Gotei 13's 4th Division, where he is also the leader of the 14th Advanced Relief Team (during the Ryouka Invasion of Seireitei). That said, in this he hails from the worst district in soul society, the South 80th. Hana has a past he doesn't like to talk about and is equally secretive about his personal life. Naruto is only aware of this because he's his Zanpakuto…and he recognizes the same qualities in Hana as he had himself when he lived.