Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or BLEACH… however I do have a Hitsugaya plushy, a Naruto plushy and a Jiraiya plushy! =]
A/N: All hope is not lost! See I do update… sorry it took so long~
WARNING: UPDATES WILL BE SPORADOC AND I DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE NEXT CHAPTER WILL COME OUT!!! *dodges rotten tomatoes* [I am in my final year of highschool and so I am putting school as my first priority for now (you can see how well that's working for me] I would like to point out that I have exams in 4 days! *looks over shoulder in fear of parents* See I do love you guys!!! So give me some love and REVIEW~~~~~ ^-^
~~~Hollow or Shinigami~~~
He awoke slowly, sky blue eyes blinking away the haze of sleep. His body ached. Trying to sit up he stopped the action. Having tried to move his arm he found that it was heavier than it should have been. It was not only the weight that stopped him however, as he had moved pain had lanced up his body preventing him from wanting to move. A rustle to his side alerted him to the presence of somebody else; he froze as he realized that he could not sense the person. Immediately his mind leapt to it being an enemy. Springing to his feet ignoring the ache in his body he stood in a defensive stance facing his supposed enemy. He was met however by a young face.
Finally registering that his body had NOT wanted to move he fell to the ground in a rough pile. The young girl watching him winced. Ow, I really should pay more attention to my surroundings and how much damage my body can take. The girl cautiously walked over to him. Very slowly he relaxed each of his muscles, settling his racing heart and feeling the tension leave his body. Breathing slowly he watched as the young girl crept closer.
He was reminded painfully of Hinata. This girl appeared to be similar. Carefully the girl approached him. Slowly so as not to scare her, Naruto moved his hand to cover his eyes. His head was killing him. Feeling small hands on his chest he flinched involuntarily, he looked up to be met by the eyes of the young girl. Brown eyes with raven hair and a heart shaped face; she would be quite beautiful when she was older. Damn Ero-sennin, you were a bad role model…
Her hands felt along his ribs, checking for injuries, "Don't worry, it shouldn't hurt for much longer. All new souls feel pain when they first arrive." Her voice was gentle, calming. Absently she muttered to herself, "Shiro-chan should be back by now… I hope he's alright."
Shiro? White-chan? Deciding to find out more he started simple, "…" he cleared his throat unused to not being able to speak, "I-I'm Uzumaki Naruto. Or at least I was Uzumaki Naruto, what would your name be?" his voice ached with the feeling of disuse… or overuse. I guess the sealing hurt worse than I thought, I must have screamed too much or something. The days of silence afterwards probably didn't help either. The girl was watching him carefully; slowly a small smile broke out on her face.
"I'm Hinamori Momo. There is a boy who is with me; he's getting food at the moment, Shiro-chan. At the moment the both of us are travelling back home, we live with our grandmother in District 1. Currently we are in District 12." Seeing the confusion in Naruto's face she began to explain, he was a new soul, he probably didn't remember the Shinigami who sent him here, or perhaps he didn't know about the 'after life' just yet.
"When we died each of us ended up here, in Rukongai. Souls will enter this plain mostly in the districts, district 1 is the closest to Seireitei and therefore the best district, there are many Shinigami who will enter into district 1, and they keep us safe from Hollows." Seeing his confusion she continued to explain "Hollows are also souls, however they are souls that are filled with hate, and they attack and feed off of normal souls like us. When you were alive you probably called this place heaven or paradise, the place you arrived after death where you would never be hungry, never be afraid, never be hurt." Acknowledging his nod she continued in a more disdainful manner, "Well as you've probably realized, you can get hurt," he winced in pain as Hinamori bandaged his bruised ribs, "you can be hungry," I wonder if he will be hungry? I wonder if he's like Shiro and me. "And you should be afraid. The only thing stopping the Hollow's are the Shinigami-" she was cut off by Naruto.
"-and let me guess, they are like people anywhere, corrupt and full of themselves. Following a set of rules which sounds good but in reality keeps them rich and the rest of us stuck in places like this." He gestured to the cramped room. His tone of voice told Hinamori all she needed to know, he hated people like that. And he was going to change it. "Itai! Hinamori-saaaan, that hurt." Hinamori left Naruto pouting as she hurried over to the door; she heard shouting and hoped that it wasn't Shiro-chan. They were in enough trouble already… as soon as that thought passed she glimpsed white hair as the boy raced for the door.
As the small, white haired boy slowed his breathing he looked around the room, noticing that the blonde they had found earlier was now awake. Swiftly he pulled Hinamori closer to his side as far away from the blonde as he could. He watched as the blonde calculated the situation, tensing before relaxing completely, and his arms spread leaving his already injured and half wrapped chest open to attack. Showing that he was no threat. Slowly Hitsugaya relaxed. Allowing Hinamori to move away from his side but still keeping a close watch on the blonde.
Hinamori watched the exchange in amusement, her Shiro-chan had always been very protective but it was still amusing to watch as he tried to 'save' her from a boy who was injured and unable to walk. "Shiro-chan, this is Naruto-kun, he's a new soul, oh and I think that he remembers his life! Isn't that amazing Shiro-chan! He has bruised ribs and won't be able to walk for a few days due to dizziness and instability." Hitsugaya was shocked, that guy actually remembered his life? Not many souls did… however he was a new soul; his memories would probably fade soon enough.
"Hello, as Hinamori-san said I'm Naruto, Uzumaki Naruto. You are Shiro-kun? Or is that a nickname?" Seeing the annoyance on 'Shiro-kun's' face he knew that it was a nickname, and an unwanted one at that.
"My name is Hitsugaya Toushiro." Wow, the kid's voice was cold; he would be good at intimidation if he were older, just like Neji… and Sasuke.
"Ah Hitsugaya-san, my apologies if I offended." Oh how he hated being polite… however he had learnt that being polite could get you far. Ero-sensei would be proud; he knew how much I hate not speaking freely.
Hitsugaya held out the bread roll he was holding to Hinamori, "here you take some first, it's getting harder to trick the stall holders around here, we'll have to move on in a couple days. Plus there aren't many more places around here that we can look." Hearing the stomach of their 'guest' grumble he sighed, "Great we just had to find someone who actually needs to eat… I guess we'll have to split the bread in three." Naruto looked sheepishly at the two.
Both Hitsugaya and Hinamori went and sat down a few feet from Naruto, far enough to get away from him easily if needed but close enough to be polite. Eating the bread that appeared to be a few days old the two younger souls began to talk. Well mostly it was Hinamori with a few grunts or one word replies from Hitsugaya. Just like Sasuke and Neji. When the two finished their meal they turned to him. Hitsugaya watched him, studying his features, seeing that he was obviously used to fighting, "Uzumaki. What will you do, now that you are here in soul society?"
He thought about it, what would he do? There was the Shinigami issue; he could try to fix that. His dream had always been to become Hokage, well how about he change it to whatever the leader of the shinigami was called? But could he do that again? Could he devote himself to a goal so similar to the one that he had failed? Did he really want that again? Did he really want to continue fighting? To continue training? To continue what he was never able to accomplish in his life? Did he really want to dedicate himself to forever serve? To forever fight? What about those he knew who had died? Were they here? Was Jiraiya here!? Would he be able to find his precious people? The Sandaime, his Jiji, would he be here? What other options did he have? He looked at the two children who were watching him as he struggled with his thoughts, he told them the truth. "… I don't know. I, I want to find my precious people; I want to be able to protect them. I could join the Shinigami… but it, its so much like my life. I don't know if I could dedicate myself to something again, I can't watch as the people that I come to love are killed again. I don't know what I should do."
Hitsugaya thought about it, Uzumaki seemed to be genuine, he wouldn't attack them for no reason… he nudged Hinamori. He didn't feel like talking and she would be only too happy to have someone to actually talk to. "Naruto-kun? Why don't you stay with us? At least while you are figuring out what you want to do. We could probably use your help." Seeing that Naruto was listening intently she talked on, "we are looking for something that will hopefully lead us to someone that our Grandmother knew. We need to find them. Will you help us Naruto-kun?" who was he to say no to anyone when asked for help, especially when he owed them. The smile on Hinamori's face and the slight uplift to Hitsugaya's lips, (whether in a smirk or a smile he didn't know) was all the encouragement he needed. As soon as he was healed he would help the two find whatever it was that they needed.
He awoke to the smell of bread. It wasn't fresh but it was food, and at this stage he wouldn't complain. Whatever Hitsugaya found was good enough for him. He spent the day mostly alone, trying to figure out how injured he was. The fox was still distant; however he could now feel its power inside of him, growing stronger as time went by. His own power was also growing, faster than that of the fox's. He could feel the energy within him building, however it was different. It was not his chakra that he felt. He sat up, the most that his tired and pain filled body would allow him to do and accepted the meager meal that was handed to him. I hate being an invalid…
Hitsugaya sat watching the blonde. He didn't trust him, not yet. The blonde was obviously a fighter, somebody used to training and pain, somebody who could pose a threat. That could mean the blonde was a danger to Hinamori. He wouldn't let anyone hurt her. However, he wouldn't worry just yet; it would take at least another day before the blonde was a danger to Hinamori. Besides at this stage the new soul couldn't even stand. For Hinamori's sake he would try to accept that the blonde was here to stay… until he became a threat anyway.
She sighed watching her Shiro-chan and Naruto-kun silently fighting. Well, actually, it was Shiro glaring at Naruto who was ignoring him… quite a feat really as it looked like Shiro was about to stand up and punch him, the aura of the room was menacing… Naruto must have had practice with people like Shiro. I wonder who? Seeing the glare darken as the sender realized he was being ignored Hinamori sighed at the stupidity of her Shiro-chan. She picked up her book; she was going to have to ignore them too, if only to maintain her sanity.
Two days passed, Hitsugaya glared, Hinamori was silent but watchful and Naruto was impatient. Why was he impatient? Oh it just so happened that he still couldn't get up and move around! He watched as the other two occupants of the room walked around with ease, Hitsugaya frequently leaving to go and find the person that they were searching for. Hitsugaya was already prepared to leave this place as soon as he could; it was only Hinamori that had stopped the two from leaving him here alone.
Naruto was not a patient person. He was also not somebody who could sit around for days on end with nothing to do. And most importantly of all, he was a very, very determined person.
He didn't care anymore. If it was the last thing he did he was going to stand up and move!
Groaning at the slight pain that shot up his legs and speared through his back he forced himself to a half crouched position, leaning heavily against the wall. He had waited until Hinamori had left the building before attempting this feat. He knew that she would worry, just like Hinata always would when he was injured and pushed himself too far…
Forcing himself to stand straight he waited a few minutes whilst he tried to reconcile with the pain. His muscles shook. His breathing ragged as he stood still leaning against the wall. Slowly, very slowly he moved his right leg, forcing the rest of his weight onto his left leg. The pain was unbelievable but he struggled onwards. I've had worse, I can beat this. He continued to lean on the wall, he knew, even if he was stubborn, that he needed the support. A gasp informed him that Hinamori had entered the room; it must have taken him longer to overcome the pain than he had thought. She wasn't meant to be back for an hour at least. Left leg followed right leg, an exercise that was, normally, easy and simple now took considerable effort. He had made it half way around the room before his left leg collapsed beneath him. He lay still, allowing his body to rest. He could still feel the pain that he had wrought, however a huge grin broke across his face. I can do this! I can beat this!
It took him a moment to realize that there were hands on his ribs, slight pressure being applied to check if he was injured, and his thoughts immediately went to the kunoichi of the Konoha 9… Hinata, Sakura, Ino. Each of them had had to check whether he was injured before, when he was headstrong and went straight into battles that should be impossible for him to win… He missed them. He missed his precious people. What are they doing? Are they safe? Is Konoha safe? Are they grieving? Has my death caused them pain?
He looked up into the face of his worried 'doctor' disappointed when it was not the pale eyes of Hinata or the bright green of Sakura or the soft blue of Ino nor was it the golden brown of Tsunade. He did not know what he had expected, they were alive… and he was dead.
With the help of Hinamori he was able to once again sit against the wall. He would have to forgo the comfort of the bedding he had previously been resting upon.
Hitsugaya returned home a flash of worry when he did not see the blonde idiot where he usually was, a quick scan of the room and he saw the idiot on the other side of the room, fast asleep. Looking for Hinamori he saw her next to the blonde. Sighing in irritation he grabbed the blankets from their usual spot and placed them over his two… friends. Yeah he considered the blonde a friend… or at least the blonde had a chance to be considered that. It would take time for him to truly consider the blonde a friend and he would have to find out more about him but for now he would trust him. It was amazing really how fast the blonde had won his respect; it had only been three days since he had met the blonde. However that didn't mean that he would let the blonde have the easy way out. He smirked at the two sleeping side by side. A shiver ran down Naruto's spine… he had a feeling that being a 'cold bastard' (the blondes words, not his) around the blonde would be fun. Hinamori was able to too easily bring him out of that state; the blonde however had no hope.
Four days passed with little incident. He continued to struggle around the room, Hitsugaya continued to search and Hinamori continued to watch over him like a hawk (she wasn't going to let him nearly hurt himself again!).
He had been in complete control of his emotions for the last few days; he continued to be polite to the two. Even if Shiro-Teme is a bastard.
He had put up with the food. Even if it is stale bread.
He had put up with his own weakened state. Even if I feel like I'm gonna go insane if I can't do something else.
And most of all he had tried to learn about the world that he was now in. And it sounds like it's a horrible place to live… what kind of a paradise is this? He had learnt about the Rukongai district, the shinigami, their so called 'protectors' and he had learnt about the old lady that was Hinamori's and Hitsugaya's Grandmother.
He couldn't wait until he was well enough to move, they could finally leave this horrible little shed of a room, the stench was becoming unbearable and he swore something had died for it to be that bad. He knew that there were a few more districts to search before they were where the other two occupants of the room felt was home… he was more excited than he would like to admit at the prospect of meeting the old woman, she sounded far too much like many of the kunoichi he knew when he was still alive for her not to be from the elemental nations.
He continued to 'walk' around the room. He still relied on the walls but he could now go half a lap without the need to support himself, slowly, very slowly he was getting better, in a week he felt he would be able to leave here, although he would probably have to forgo his pride and ask the short white haired bastard to lend him a hand…
Lately he had found himself watching Hinamori… she was so much like Hinata. They were so similar and he found that he was becoming reliant upon their similarities. He was attempting to replace what he had lost. Already he felt the incessant need to help her, to protect her. The same need he had felt around his friends. And Hitsugaya wasn't helping. He acted like a perfect mix of Neji and Sasuke. He didn't talk about fate as Neji had done nor did he go into rants about revenge like Sasuke… He did have the whole, I-am-awesome-and-you-are-beneath-me aura going.
Although the bastard was short by normal standards he was only about a head shorter than Naruto was now… in fact Hitsugaya was taller than Naruto had been at the age of twelve. Thank GOD I got taller. All in all he was a reminder of many of the people he had considered family. And it was painful to know that he considered the bastard as family, not exactly to the same extent as he had with Sasuke but he was, well, perhaps a cousin or something… and they had only known each other for a matter of days. It had taken him years before he had found family within the rookies and their sensei back at Konoha. Years of building trust. What was so special about the two with him that he felt like this?
He had always been fast to trust. He was always the first to believe in someone, to encourage them, to help them and to give them a space in his heart… but never to this extent. He had never allowed himself to get this close to people so fast.
He would talk to them; he knew that although Hitsugaya stayed silent and appeared disinterested that he wanted to know. Both wanted to know what his life was like. Neither of them could remember and he found it strange that almost no souls could remember their lives. What makes me so special that I do? Is it because of the Fox? He had told them about his precious people, the people that they reminded him of. He told them about being a ninja, about Konoha, about being an orphan.
He filled the small room with laughter of his tales about his Academy days, his pranks on Iruka, all the tests the training. He told them about the leader of his village, his Jiji. He talked about his Genin days, the time his team walked the dogs and the many times they had to chase Tora the cat… each story filled the room with Hinamori's laughter and even at times brought a smile to Hitsugaya's face. He told them about his disastrous first C-rank mission, Hinamori in tears as he retold Haku's story and Zabuza's final act of compassion. He told them about Sasuke his brother in all but blood, his betrayal and their battle at the Valley of the End. He told them about Jiraiya and Tsunade, the two Sannin who had become his Baa-chan and his Sensei. He told them about his training with Jiraiya, the toads and the amazing techniques that he had learnt over the years.
He withheld some things, such as his death and the Fox; two topics that were too painful to voice at this stage, even after his friends having been told about the Kyuubi he still held fear. Although he felt deep down that Hinamori at least would understand, she was so much like Hinata and Hinata had hugged him and cried for him when she had found out.
In return Hinamori told him more about their home and their Grandmother. They didn't know her real name but from the stories they told it was as if he knew her… she was so much like many of his loved ones. She was strong, as strong as a kunoichi, she could fight and was strong however she had Hinamori's temperament, and she would only fight when her loved ones were in danger. She did not hate although she could hold a grudge when she wanted. She had an eye for detail; she could remember almost everything, a necessity for Ninja who would often be sent to on missions to gain knowledge…
Struggling to his feet once more he made another lap around the room. Hinamori watched as he pushed himself to the extreme his lungs heaving and his legs shaking by his twelfth lap. Allowing himself to 'gracefully' fall to the ground he lay as he tried to control his breathing. He couldn't remember a time where the simple act of walking was such a chore. With his breathing nearly under control he watched as Hinamori sat reading. She seemed to be having trouble with the book in her hands. She looked up noticing his gaze on her. A flash of worry upon her face before it was gone replaced by confusion, "Naruto-kun? Is something the matter?" he grinned at her, reassuring her that everything was fine.
"Hinamori-san," she frowned at that, she had been trying to get him to call her –chan for the last few days, he ignored the frown, "what are you reading?" he saw her hesitate before she replied in a confident tone, however he could see the fear hidden just beneath the surface.
"I'm learning to read, I think it's about a fairytale, something about a fox…" noticing the interest on his face she continued, "It's called the Kyuubi, the nine-tails." Seeing the shock on his face she paused, "I-is everything alright Naruto-kun?" he seemed frozen unable to move, he had stopped breathing she noticed fear overcoming her. "Naruto-kun! Naruto-kun are you alright?!" she raced to the frozen blonde, reaching towards him. With a speed she found shocking he leapt away from her reaching arms in a defensive position. "Naruto? What's wrong? Are you alright?" Seeing the fear on his own face, the shock and worry on her own bled into one of calm. "Naruto-kun it's alright I won't hurt you. It's okay," she watched as his legs gave out beneath him, his exercise from before meaning he had no strength left, "tell me what's wrong. Please Naruto-kun I want to help you." Seeing the shaking of his arms as he fought to restrain himself and prevent his reflexes from attacking what they saw as a threat to his safety he slowed his breathing again.
Blue eyes gazed into her own, a haunted expression upon his face, "That Fox is what ruined my life, I never thought that the people here would know of it. Stupid really, somebody would of course know of the Kyuubi…" Hinamori sat calmly beside the blonde. "My life wasn't a happy one; as you know I was an orphan what you don't know is it was because of the Kyuubi. I was hated for most of my life because of the Kyuubi. You could say that I died because of the Kyuubi." Hinamori watched him, fear and pity in her eyes. "Hinamori, would you… would you read that book for me?" blinking up at the blonde in confusion she watched as he slowly pulled the book from her grasp, "I want to know… I want to know if it is the same Kyuubi." I want to know how much is known about the Kyuubi.
"Why? Will it hurt you? Do you really want to know?" looking down at the script in her hands, she felt the young man beside her shaking. Holding her hands still she watched as he turned the pages of the book. When he stopped she looked down, the book was open at the first page. "This is a tale, a story, which happened in a land still young. In this land man had discovered a new power. A means of survival, they could create fire with a whisper and create water from the air with a movement of their hands. Their power was new, an unknown. But the men were quick to discover new uses for this power. They learnt to control it. They created new powers, they created fear." She paused, watching as Naruto relaxed at the sound of her voice, "With this fear brought hate. This hatred brought war. War brought sadness and more power, more control, more danger, more fear. Each advancement in power created fear. And each development brought more danger. Man became insatiable, their lust for power, to protect, to enslave, they lost control of themselves in their madness. Years of war followed. Until one day a young man created a technique. This technique was to bring an end to the war, it would create a common enemy, it would stop the foolishness of man and they would live in peace together protecting each other. However the price that was paid was dear. The first time that the technique was used a creature appeared. Nine red tails, heat radiated from it, it had no skin and man could not find a way to stop it."
"The beast travelled the land, destruction following it, until it came to rest, away from man. The technique was used again, and again, and again. Until Nine Demons walked the earth. Now man had a common enemy and the fighting stopped. The demons were for the most part harmless, and so man forgot about them. Many years later war started again. Man against man. Another man, this time old and weary of war created a technique, he was one of the first Ninja, a warrior, specialized in killing and death. He was able to awaken the Nine-tailed beast; this angered the demon, sending it on a rampage. To stop the beast a woman with hair the same colour as the demons, sealed the beast away. The beast was stopped. This pattern was repeated the demon was released, awakened, and sealed again. As the demon was awakened one more time it headed towards a village. The leader of this village was a ninja; he was called the Hokage and was respected by everyone in the village. At that time he was at the hospital with his wife. His wife, a descendant of the first Sealer, was to give birth to their first child. A boy."
Hinamori stopped once more, noticing that Naruto was once again shaking, on the verge of tears, at the pleading look in his eyes she continued, "the boy was born, and he was given the name Naruto," Hinamori gasped, looking at the page with disbelief before looking at the blonde beside her. He had closed his eyes in an attempt to stem the flow of the tears now running swiftly down his cheeks. "The leader of the village was a brilliant man, handsome with blonde hair and eyes the colour of the sky and ocean. He was also strong and brave. He was loyal and would give everything for the people he loved. Minutes after the birth of his son he held the hand of his wife as she died. Holding his son he left the building. The power of the fox was unbelievable, it was strong far too strong for him to defeat in battle, however he was a master of Sealing, a prodigy like never before. With his son in his arms he confronted the demon. He sealed the demon with the strongest seal ever created. However it came at a price. This seal was only so strong because it required the sacrifice of two lives. That of the Sealer and the human sacrifice who would become the jailor of the demon." Hinamori stopped reading her voice shaking, "it was you, wasn't it Naruto? You were the boy…" Her only answer was the silent crying of the teen beside her. Placing the book down she hugged the blonde.
How much have you suffered Naruto-kun? How long have you been in pain?
A/N: Pairings: ok guys, although this may look like I'm pairing up Naruto and Hinamori I'm not. And Hinata isn't going to end up with Naruto either. NO OTHER NARUTO CHARACTERS WILL END UP IN SOUL SOCIETY! Oh I will also be changing the time line of Bleach (if you haven't figured it out already it's gonna be an AU fic), I have no idea when many of the characters were in the academy for BLEACH so I will be using my creative license *holds up piece of paper with the words 'creative license' on it* to make my story unique! At least I think it will be unique, I haven't come across any other fic with the same idea anyway…
If you find any mistakes or anything please let me know!
Please review! I like reviews~ =]