Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Pokémon. If I did, I'd have a lot of money…but I don't. So don't bother suing, you won't get anything out of it.
Notes: (Crossover, could be a crack!fic if you want) Here there be Naruto characters and Pokémon monsters! This is a short story which follows "Forest of Death".
I hope that you enjoy it!
Naruto grinned as the forest opened up to reveal the "front gates" of Konoha Town. It was a traditional Torii gate placed over the only road in and out of the small town with a banner-style sign at the top that said "Welcome to Konoha Town" and it was decorated with swirly symbols. And…now that he really looked at the patterns, they reminded him of his latest badge: the Leaf Badge.
Weird, he thought, studying the badge pinned to the inside of his jacket (well, his father's jacket; since it stopped smelling like mothballs he tended to forget that fact). What a weird coincidence…
Shrugging that observation aside, Naruto adjusted the straps of his backpack on his shoulders and marched through the symbolic gateway with his vibrava and drifloon flying after him.
"So this is the town where I live," he told them as he walked and they floated. "What do you think?"
Both Sandy and Drifter made approving sounds and studied their surroundings with great interest. Naruto was thoroughly pleased that they liked his hometown. But as they drew nearer to the center of town, he couldn't help but frown.
Konoha Town was a small, sleepy place. But at noon, in the middle of town, there should be a few people around running errands, visiting the café, or just loitering around with nothing to do. No matter where he looked though, he didn't see a soul.
"…This is really weird," Naruto muttered as he turned onto the street that would lead to his house out by Lake End. "Where the heck is everybody?" Feeling rather creeped out by the ghost-town atmosphere, he turned to his pokémon for help. "Sandy, Drifter, go up high and see if you can see any people in town."
The purple balloon and tan dragonfly immediately started circling higher and higher, soon rising above the roofs of the nearby buildings. Naruto craned his neck and kept walking to keep them in sight. This was a mistake as he didn't see the tripwire until it caught his ankle.
He barely avoided skinning his chin when he crashed into the concrete sidewalk. And then a heavy net fell on top of him, half-blinding him. When he tried to get up and shrug it off, it only seemed to get tangled on him.
"We got him!" a little boy's voice cried in excitement.
"Really?" a little girl squeaked.
"Huh, really?" another boy, who sounded like he had some really bad allergies, asked in a stuffy voice.
Naruto froze in his struggles as he placed the voices. "…Konohamaru?"
"Ah!" Konohamaru yelped. "It talks!"
"Konohamaru…" Naruto growled. "You and your friends better let me out of this net… What the heck are you doing setting traps in town anyway?"
"…Naruto?" Konohamaru squeaked in disbelief.
"Yeah, who else?" Naruto snorted, trying to peek through the holes in the net at the younger boy and his companions. "And how do you get out of this thing?!"
After a lot of awkward tugging—and feeling like he'd been turned into a pretzel at least twice—Naruto finally managed to get free of the net trap. Konohamaru sheepishly grinned and tugged at his long green scarf while Naruto glowered at him. Konohamaru's two little friends—Moegi and Udon—tried to edge out of the scene and pretend that they had nothing to do with the net mess.
The little trio didn't look too much different from the last time that he'd seen them. They were about a year older—making them ten instead of nine. The three of them seemed to have adopted goggles (cheap swim goggles, not the high-quality heavy-duty goggles he sported) in an attempt to model themselves after him, their sempai. Well, that was certainly Konohamaru's motivation; his two friends just did it to copy the young Sarutobi.
What was really different about them was their pokémon. When Naruto had left town on his journey, only Konohamaru had a pokémon of his own—an aipom he'd named "Monkey"—that his grandfather had given him as a birthday present. Now in addition to the aipom, Konohamaru also seemed to have a curly-tailed rattata at his command. The red-haired girl, Moegi, had a little taillow perched on her shoulder. And Udon, the sniffly boy with glasses, had a buck-toothed bidoof in his company.
"So, you guys all have pokémon now?" Naruto asked.
"Uh-huh," Udon nodded, digging around in his pocket for a tissue.
"Konohamaru-kun and Monkey helped us get them," Moegi added, stroking the top of her taillow's head.
The professor's grandson puffed out his chest proudly, his aipom mimicking him on top of his head. "Yeah! Pretty cool, huh?"
Naruto flashed the kid a thumbs-up, but then frowned. "You still haven't answered my question. What are you guys doing setting traps in town?"
"Wild pokémon," Konohamaru gravely informed him.
"Yeah!" Moegi nodded. "Bunches of wild pokémon have been raiding town!"
"Nobody wants to go outside if they don't have to," Udon sniffed. "The town had to cancel the weekend markets because they'd invade the square and ruin all the fresh produce."
"Whoa, really?" Naruto scratched at his yellow spikes of hair in puzzlement. "When did this start happening?"
"About a month ago," Moegi answered.
"It was really weird," Konohamaru said. "A few wild pokémon wander into town every now and then, but out of nowhere whole packs of them starting appearing and causing trouble. Grandpa's been really busy trying to figure out why and how to fix it."
Naruto mentally chewed over all of this new information for a moment. "So…you guys are setting traps in town to try and catch marauding wild pokémon?"
"Yep," Konohamaru nodded. "That's exactly it!"
"Hmm…" Naruto hummed thoughtfully. I wonder why Mom never mentioned this the last few times that I called her…
"So, Naruto-sempai," Konohamaru spoke up, "could you help us reset this trap—"
"Look!" Udon yelped. "Pokémon!"
"Where?!" Moegi squeaked. "Where?!"
Naruto glanced up and saw Sandy and Drifter coming back down to him. "Oh, those are mine."
"Those are your pokémon?!" Konohamaru choked. "…Can we see them?"
"Of course," Naruto grinned as the drifloon and vibrava flew in behind him. "This is Sandy my vibrava, and Drifter my drifloon," he informed them, gesturing to each monster as he introduced it.
"Cool!" Moegi squealed, her eyes sparkling in delight.
"Yeah," Udon nodded in awe.
Konohamaru and his two pokémon eyed up the competition, trying not to look too jealous. "How many badges do you have now, Boss?"
"This many," Naruto grinned smugly, flashing the inside of his jacket where he pinned his badge collection.
"Wow!" Moegi cried.
"You have six?!" Udon blinked, adjusting his large glasses.
"Yep," Naruto beamed.
"Huh," Konohamaru sniffed. "I bet I'll get more badges faster than you did!"
"Maybe," the Uzumaki boy shrugged. "You already have more pokémon than I did at your age."
Young ego soothed, Konohamaru grinned proudly at that fact. "Yeah, you're right! I do…"
The Sarutobi boy cringed. "Oh no…he found us."
"Konohamaru-sama!" Ebisu cried, jogging down one of the deserted streets. "There you are!"
Ebisu was one of Professor Sarutobi's lab assistants…and a real weirdo. He always wore dark pants and a pristine white lab coat. And then he'd try and be cool by wearing a dark bandanna over his hair and round shades over his eyes. Much to Konohamaru's dismay, the up-tight lab assistant was usually the one sent after him when his grandfather couldn't leave the lab for whatever reason.
"Hey Ebisu," Konohamaru greeted unenthusiastically.
"You and your friends should not be out here!" Ebisu scolded. "Your grandfather wants you home right away."
Konohamaru scowled. "So what?"
"It is not wise to linger outdoors in this current situation," Ebisu lectured them. "Please return home immediately, all of you."
"No way!" Konohamaru protested. "I want to stay out here and help. I have pokémon of my own; I'll be just fine!"
"You are still one year away from being licensed," Ebisu frowned disapprovingly. "And you only possess two low-level pokémon. It is too dangerous for you to try and face down a pack of multiple wild pokémon, and it is irresponsible of you to draw your friends in as well."
"We can handle it!" Konohamaru insisted. "And Naruto-sempai is here! He's got lots of badges, and pokémon, too!"
The shade-wearing lab assistant finally took note of Naruto's presence and grimaced distastefully. Ebisu always had disapproved of Naruto. He saw the blond boy as a trouble-maker and a bad influence on impressionable youngsters like his boss's grandson, Konohamaru.
"…Regardless of your company, your grandfather wants you home now, Konohamaru-sama," Ebisu insisted, adjusting his shades.
Konohamaru stubbornly crossed his arms over his chest. "But—"
"Hey, Ebisu! Have you—oh, you found him."
Naruto looked to his left and grinned at who he saw coming across the street.
Iruka was a trainer born in Konoha Town who had returned for good a few years before Naruto had first gotten his probationary license. He split his time between working at Professor Sarutobi's lab and teaching the special trainer courses in the town's school. He was Naruto's favorite teacher by far, and he thought of the older trainer almost as a kindred spirit. Early in Iruka's training career he'd run into an aggressive wild sandslash that had left him with a permanent horizontal scar over the bridge of his nose.
"Naruto?" Iruka paused at the sight of him, and then smiled warmly. "Hey! Your mom said that you'd be coming back to town. How are you?"
"I'm great!" Naruto grinned foxily and gestured to his pokémon, which had turned their attention from Konohamaru and friends, to Ebisu, and now to Iruka. "Do you like my pokémon?"
"Wow, a vibrava?" Iruka said in awe as he studied Sandy. "You can't find these in the Land of Fire, and…a drifloon?"
"I got Sandy in the Land of Wind," Naruto cheerfully boasted. "And I picked up Drifter in the Forest of Death. Cool, right?"
"Very," Iruka nodded, and then leaned in to whisper. "You know that drifloon is a ghost pokémon, right?"
"Yeah, I know," Naruto shrugged. "So what?"
Iruka grinned and shook his head. "Oh, never mind. Your mom's still at the lab, do you want to follow us up that way?"
"No." Naruto tugged at the straps of his backpack. "I want to head home and drop off my stuff first, and then—"
The sound of shattering glass echoed down the street, interrupting their conversation.
Naruto frowned. "What the—?"
"Oh no," Iruka sighed. "Not again!"
"Konohamaru-sama, Moegi-san, Udon-san, go home now!" Ebisu ordered.
Without waiting for the younger children to protest again, Iruka and Ebisu sprinted towards where it sounded like the breaking glass was. Konohamaru started to follow anyway, but Naruto reluctantly stopped him.
"You should probably go home," the Uzumaki sighed. "You don't want to get grounded do you?"
"I'll tell you what I find out later, okay?" Naruto promised.
"…Fine," Konohamaru pouted. "C'mon guys, let's go to my house."
As the professor's grandson and his friends turned and left, Naruto rushed after Iruka and Ebisu. Sandy glided along at his shoulder, looking determined to be of help however she could. Drifter trailed after them, squeaking a bit out of nerves.
Two blocks away and around a corner, they came upon a trashed candy store. The big front window had been shattered and several shelves of candy had been destroyed. Whatever had caused the damage was already gone, but Iruka and Ebisu were still there with their empoleon and blastoise ready for action. The poor elderly candy shop owner looked about ready to cry.
"Oh, this is the third time this month!" he moaned. "I can't just keep replacing this window!"
"Do not worry, Mori-san," Ebisu advised him. "Professor Sarutobi is working to uncover the root cause of this destructive behavior so that it can be corrected."
The old shop owner only sighed and went about trying to clean up the mess.
Naruto went over to Iruka while his two pokémon studied the shards of broken glass scattered over the sidewalk with interest.
"What did this?"
"Vulpix," Iruka answered, patting his empoleon's wing-like arm. "A pack of wild vulpix."
"Eh?!" Naruto blinked. "Really?"
Iruka nodded. "A little over a month ago they started raiding the market in the town square and stealing produce and food from restaurants. When the market was canceled and people stopped eating outside, they started breaking inside under the cover of night to steal food. Sometimes they even do it in broad daylight."
"…Why?" Naruto wondered.
"The professor hasn't figured it out yet," Iruka sighed. "It's strange. No other kinds of pokémon are causing this kind of trouble, and vulpix tend to be on the shy side—preferring the more wild areas away from people than civilized places. It just doesn't make sense…"
Naruto had to nod in agreement. "Well…I need to get home."
"Alright," Iruka said. "I'll see you around."
Naruto waved goodbye and then coaxed Sandy and Drifter away from the intriguing bits of broken glass.
"C'mon guys, it's time to see my house!"