Long have two worlds existed in separated harmony; one in near constant war, the other in near constant fear.
It had always been so. It would have always been so.
Except, in one world, one boy defied fate. In another, one boy defied death.
Both would fight so that their worlds may continue. Both would live so that their worlds may change.
Their similar reasons for existing had drawn a link between them. It was a thin link, a small link, but the link existed. From the two boys, their link spread.
First, to a girl who would heal; from both, to a boy who would kill, from all three, to the first teacher, from all four, to the next teacher. From there, they made links to those who already had links; to a woman who had healed, a man who had sealed, a man who had killed. And all to an old warrior who had set them on the paths they were on.
The boy who defied death, his first connection in his own world was to a large man, a happy man, who let him into a small, fearful world that he was to save. The next link was to a fire-haired boy, and a wild-haired girl, and a blond-haired boy who wasn't exactly nice. From there a link was made to an old man who would die, a woman who was a cat, a man who was a phoenix in a snake's scales. And all to an old snake who had set them on the paths they were on.
Since the two boys had been living, a cosmic tug-of-war had been going on. Both worlds were fighting to stay the same, no farther apart, no closer together. Either the link between the two boys would break or it would grow stronger; sending the worlds spinning apart or crashing together.
The bond grew stronger.
It happened slowly, the growth of their link, but gradually, the strengthening picked up speed. The connection went from a thread to a string to a cord to a cable, and finally, to a bridge.
But there was somethhing wrong with the bridge; it was not finished, as if a single nail had not been hammered in. For that nail to be hammered in, something neended to happen.
There needed to be a catalyst.
The demon could feel the two worlds growing closer. He could feel the link between the two boys, see the threads of the universe coming undone and lashing onto different threads. he could almost taste the strange chakra of the other boy.
The demon knew what the other boy looked like, could see him in his host's dreams. The fuuinjustu master, the one that smelled like frog, thought the dreams came from the demon.
The demon was vaguely insulted. Why would he send dreams that possessed such blatant love for humanity?
It did amuse him that they thought him capable of dream-weaving. No, his strength lied in playing the threads of the universe; break a thread here, set that one to vibrating, this one to loosen, twitch his tail to give it direction, and voila- a tsunami, or an avalanche, or a destroyed mountain.
But that was before he was imprisoned. Now he could not reach the physical fibers of the world, only the metaphysical. He'd thought it a curse, but perhaps it was a blessing inn disguise.
He would pluck and pull and trip and touch and trigger threads and strings and cords and cables until the way to this new world would unfold before him.
Perhaps the rules of this new world would be different, perhaps the shinigami would have no sway over him there. Perhaps, perhaps, he might -maybe- might just manage to get free.
At the knock at her door, Tsunade looked up from the paper work that was well over a week and a half past due.
"I told you not to call me that!" the fith hokage snarled, and then frowned when the paperweight she'd thrown wasn't dodged.
"What's wrong? The dreams again?" Tsunade had laughed when her blonde ninja had told her he'd been dreaming about a boy-really, Jiraiya would be heartbroken his protege barked up the other tree- but had then grown concearned. What at first sounded like teenaged hormones now sounded like like some sort of psychic connection. If Naruto's dreams were to be believed, the boy- Hari Potta- dreamed about Naruto as well.
A quick shake of a blond head deepened Tsunade's concern.
There were only three things that got Naruto in a funk; it wasn't the dreams, so it had to be Sasuke. But if it was the Uchiha, Naruto would be halfway to where ever Sasuke was, not standing in her office looking sick with worry.
If it wasn't Uchiha Sasuke, and it wasn't the dreams....
"It's the the fox."
In the second of stillness before the Kyuubi's chakra exploded from the boy's body, Tsunade could have sworn she heard the damned thing laugh.
He had to get away, had to run away, away from the demon, from the demon in the boy, the demon out of the boy, the demon that was hunting him, had to get away!
Harry had seen the boy in other dreams, but none were as real as this. And the other boy was never like this... not like the murderous, slavering, beast that was chasing him. The boy he'd begun to know through watching him had blue eyes, not red, and normal pupils, not ones slitted like a cat's eyes. The boy certainly wasn't harmless, but he wasn't cruel.
Harry didn't want to know where the beast had come from, or how he'd taken possesion of the boy's body; Harry just wanted to wake up before the demon caught up with him. He didn't know what would happen then. In all his previous dreams- of the blond boy or the ones sent by Voldemort- Harry had been an observer, like an unseen ghost. Now, though, he was at the center of the action and he wanted out.
He turned another corner in the dreamscape- a muggle sewer?- and sloshed through the muddy water-he hoped it was mud- as fast as he could. Another few bounds and the demon would be on him.
Harry ran faster.
Ten steps, about face, ten steps, about face, ten steps, about face, ten steps.
Ten by ten.
The deminsions of Tsunade's office; or at least, the new deminisions now that every thing had been pushed to the side to make room.
To make room for the seal painted in blood on her floor.
Naruto was lying in the center of it, limp, locked in his mind, battling the damned fox, and there was nothing Tsunade could do about it.
Naruto and the Kyuubi's chakra were fluctuating with greater strength now, and the council was about to break down her door, baying for blood.
"Kakashi," the jounin looked up from the scroll he was studying with Jirayia.
"Go get Naruto's friends."
Jirayia looked up then too.
"You're sure it's safe?"
Tsunade sighed, and walked to her window.
"They'll want to say goodbye."
She'd known since the mission to save the Kazekage that Naruto had the Kyuubi in him.
She'd known since she started training under Tsunade that if her team mates were ever considered "too" dangerous, she would be responsible for... dealing with them.
Sakura hoped to god that Kakashi hadn't meant it was time to deal with Naruto when he told her to come say her goodbyes.
Naruto was still alive, that much she knew. How much of him was still Naruto...
Sakura was hoping he wasn't there mentally. She didn't want to see his eyes when she slit his throat.
The demon following him was catching up. All those years of evading Dudley,his cousin's friends, and various Death Eaters had paid off, but he was no more a match for a demon than a muggle was for a dementor.
Harry couldn't keep running like this forever.
He grasped his wand and prepared to face the possessed boy.
Tsunade looked over the gathered people that had come to protest Naruto's death. There were more than she had expected.
All the rookie nine, Team Gai, their teachers, Iruka and the owners of Ichakaru Ramen had shown up; even Uchiha had somehow managed to ditch his ANBU guard and was lurking the shadows, looking just as pale and shaky as Sakura and Kakashi.
None of them ever thought they would loose their sunshine blonde, it was evident on their faces.
The surprises were that Morino Ibibki, and Mitarashi Anko had shown up. Apparently Naruto had made an impression on them.
They all stared at her; some eyes were full of tears, others were flooded with accusation.
Tsunade locked eyes with Sakura, and nodded towards Naruto.
She watched with melancholy pride as her student pulled herself together and withdrew a kunai from her pouch, striding towards her downed teammate.
Ino was struggling with Asuma, trying to get to Sakura, to stop her, but her sensei was having none of it.
After a few more moments of futile thrashing, Ino called out;
"Sakura, if you take one more step, you'll never hear from me again!"
Sakura kept walking.
When Naruto woke up, it was dim, wet, and cold. He didn't like it much.
Naruto stood up, looked around, and wondered why the hell he was in his mind this time; he didn't remember being in any life threatening situations.
He shrugged, sat back down with a splash, and began meditating. He wasn't going to spend anymore time near the fox than he absolutely had to.
When he opened his eyes the second time, he was still in his mind, though a little closer to the place where he would return to consciousness.
Naruto got up once more and sighed; looked like he was going to have to do this the manual way. He got up slowly, stretching and cursing the fox as he went.
He took two strong strides, tripped, and fell flat on his face.
The thing he'd tripped over groaned.
Naruto was screaming at the fox, the fox was roaring at Naruto, and the boy - who was very much not suppposed to be here in his mind- was huddling against the wall looking very much afraid.
"Why the hell is he here?!?"
" LEAVE, YOU WORTHLESS BAG OF FLESH"
"LEAVE MY PARENTS OUT OF THIS!"
"BE HONORED I EVEN GRACE THEM WITH MY MENTION!"
"I'LL BE HONORED WHEN YOU'RE DEAD, YOU BLOODY SACK OF FUR!"
The Kyuubi roared and slammed himself against the bars of his cage, and the boy with the green eyes and Sasuke-wild-hair whimpered, and clutched his broken hand closer to him.
Naruto snarled at the damned fox one last time, then stalked over to the boy. The boy scrambled up, and backed away, brandishing a broken stick awkwardly in his left hand.
Naruto didn't exactly blame the kid; when they'd woken up, they had been on Kyuubi's side of the cage, so who knew what had happened while he was out.
Naruto sat down and held up his hands.
"I'm not gonna attack you, 'tebayo!"
No reaction. Well then.
"Damn, that's right you speak that wierd funky language, huh? Well that kind of sucks,'tebayo."
The boy looked alarmed, and kept glancing from him to the fox, and back again.
Naruto turned around and shouted,
"Shut up, stupid fox!" And turnedd back to the boy, and beckoned him closer.
The boy just aimed the broken stick at his head. Which was stupid, really, considering that the chest was a larger target, and even if you didn't hit the heart there was still some pretty damn important stuff in there. Silly little civie. It was almost more cute than it was stupid.
Naruto pulled out a roll of bandages from one of his pockets, pointed to his hand, pointed at the kid's hand-regardless of the fact the boy looked about the same age as him, the boy was a kid, Naruto decided- and gestured him over again.
This time, the kid wavered before he slowly lowered his stick.
Harry didn't know what the hell was going on; first, he'd been running for his life from the blond guy with the red eyes. Then the blond had been on him, and somehow his hand had been broken -which really, really hurt-, and his wand was barely a thread away from being snapped clean in half-which was really, really bad. Some point affter that he must have hit his head pretty hard, because the next thing he remembered, the very same blonde that had been trying to maim him was leaning over him, just staring at him. And his eyes were blue instead of red again.
That was what convinced him, when the blond was sitting down and offering bandages for his crumpled hand, to lower his wand and inch over.