Somewhere deep in the forests of Fire Country...
"Let's have a chat, shall we, Naruto-kun?"
Stopping his forward momentum, the sixteen, almost seventeen year old blond came to an abrupt halt as the madman known as Uchiha Madara slowly materialized in front of him. Gritting his teeth, he watched as the man finished his transformation, then proceeded to casually lean against a nearby tree trunk, arms crossed over his chest.
"What, no hello from you? That makes me a little sad."
"Why would I want to talk to you? You're the reason behind the Fourth Great Shinobi War, and because of you Sasuke has been twisted so badly I can't even recognize him!"
Madara chuckled from behind his mask. "While it is true that I started the war, in regards to Sasuke... I merely opened the boy's eyes. He was already walking down the path, I just cleared the debris from it."
Naruto simply glowered at the man in front of him. The Fourth Great Shinobi War had been going on for almost a year now, with no end in sight. While the forces of the allied nations were still going strong, and nearly every nation with a hidden village had joined their side, Madara used the massive wealth that Akatsuki had managed to accrue to buy a very, very large army. Granted, most of his forces weren't that skilled, but what they lacked in skill they more than made up for in numbers. Madara was willing to pay anyone even to pick up a pitchfork and merely impede or delay the progress of the shinobi forces, and many were willing to do what they could for a little bit of coin. Anyone with a grudge against a shinobi of any kind was willingly flocking to Madara's banner of 'forced peace'.
"Still not talking? I don't know what else to say, Naruto-kun. I could tell you that it's a little irritating that you insist on destroying all of my bases, but it only takes me a couple days to get a new one set up, so it's nothing more than an inconvenience."
"Every time you make a new one, I'll burn it to the ground. You can count on it."
Madara chuckled again. This boy certainly had changed, the hardships of war had a habit of doing that. He'd seen more wars than he'd like in his artificially extended lifetime, but he knew better than anyone that sometimes war was necessary if you wanted to bring about change. Especially big change.
"Well, I'd like this base to last a little longer than a week, if at all possible. I put extra care into the paint job, this time. Allow an old man to enjoy his work for a little bit before it gets destroyed, please?"
The blond found his hands clenching into fists. Madara was up to something, it had been many months since the man had appeared in front of him. The last time he had appeared, it was to tease the teenager by saying he had sent forces to go level the Mist Village if the boy wouldn't hand himself over. Naruto had immediately taken off in that direction of Water, using Sage Mode to accelerate his travel, only to find that Mist was merely under siege and had not quite been breached yet. Naruto wasn't sure if Madara had intentionally misled him, or even Madara had underestimated the ferocity of the Mist shinobi under their newest Mizukage, Terumi Mei.
"I'll consider it, but what are you planning on teasing me about this time? You never appear in front of me unless you're planning something."
He heard Madara let out a few exaggerated sniffles as one hand rubbed back and forth under the eye hole in his mask. "Naruto-kun! You're growing up so fast, you catch on so quick now! I'm so proud."
"Cut the crap, Madara." Naruto's voice was gaining a gravelly edge, as it had started to do when he got angry. The Kyuubi had long since been conquered inside him, and he had free access to it's chakra. However the fox still got a kick out of prodding him with just the right thing to make him angry. Even though it would no longer attempt to control him, the Kyuubi was still a separate entity that existed inside of him, and it had its own consciousness. It also had many, many opinions to share, most of which dealt with bloodshed of some kind. Once an angry old fox, always an angry old fox.
The Uchiha sighed, then pushed forward from the tree he was resting against. "I just wanted to have a little fun. But I see you're not up for any games."
"Why the hell would I want to play games with you, bastard! Because of you, people who would otherwise be innocent are dying!"
Madara looked away from the teen for a second, up towards the sky. He shrugged as he looked back down. "Separating the wheat from the chaff, that's all. Only the strong deserve to witness the paradise I will bring to them."
Naruto only felt his anger growing, and was well aware of the Kyuubi laughing somewhere deep in his subconscious. "You're insane."
"Not really. I've just had a long time to think. A really long time. Now... I guess I should ask this once, just for old time's sake. Will you come with me peacefully so I can extract the Kyuubi's chakra?"
A growl. "Never."
"I see. Well, that's a bit of a shame. You know, I've never used this technique on a jinchuuriki before. You have two separate chakra sources inside you, your own and that of the Kyuubi. This technique separates a chakra source - or even part of one - from this dimension and moves it to another of my own creation. I wonder what would happen if I used it on a space that has two chakra sources as one?"
Naruto crouched down into a combat ready stance. The bastard was going to try using that teleportation technique on him, the one he'd seen used on Sasuke more than once. "What the hell are you trying to do, old man?"
Madara chuckled, and Naruto felt his perception twist a little bit. The world looked like it was... twisting.
"I don't know if this will work, but I've waited long enough for my plans to come to fruition and am tired of seeing them be delayed. I can't seem to locate Killer Bee, but when I sensed you I decided to take this chance. If it works, then you'll simply be transported to wherever I need you to be. If it doesn't... well, I can still make my plan work without the Kyuubi, but it will take longer. At least you'll be one big thorn that's no longer in my side."
"Madara! Don't think you ca-"
Naruto's eyes went wide as everything twisted sharply then flashed white in front of him. Immediately after that the pain hit, and if he could find his voice he would have screamed.
Something smells... like... rotten eggs...
Naruto sat up quickly, muscles and joints screaming at him for moving so suddenly. The smell of sulfur hung heavily in the air, and it took him several moments for him to get his gag reflex under control. Cracking open one of his eyes, he risked a glance at his surroundings.
Black rock, flowing rivers of red, huge gray clouds in the sky... while he had never seen an active volcano before, never mind several, he had no idea where in the world he could possibly be. He'd traveled through most of the continent where the Elemental Nations were located, and the best view he got was a long distance glimpse of a dormant volcano somewhere in western Earth Country. That he was in the location of several active ones completely boggled his mind. Was this what Madara had intended? To send him somewhere that no one could find him, only to come and pick him up later when it was convenient?
Naruto slowly leaned forward, bringing his legs underneath his body to push off the ground. His fingertips grabbed onto a large rock, and he put some weight on it to gain leverage. Unfortunately the black rock wasn't as stable as it looked, and promptly fell over when he put a little too much weight on it, causing him to fall over next to it.
The blond teen grunted in pain as his shoulder hit the ground first, impacting roughly against other rocks underneath him. He lay there for several moments, silently willing the pain to go away, even if the uncomfortable position he was in wasn't helping matters any.
"So, you survived after all."
Naruto tried to look around from where his head was resting against one of the many rocks, only to give up and close his eyes. Letting out a sigh, he closed his eyes and chose to reply to the random voice instead. If it was someone who wanted him dead, he would have been dead already. It was likely just Madara, deciding to come tease him again.
"That you, Madara? Where the hell did you send me?"
There was a rumbling from somewhere behind him, and the sound of something scraping over rocks. That something sounded very large, if the slight vibrations on the ground were any indications.
"I know nothing of this Madara that you speak of. I can assure you that I am not him. Is he the reason you are here?"
Naruto started to speak, only to let out a series of hacking coughs. Tasting metal in his mouth, he spit a little bit, to see it come out slightly red. Something inside of him was still bleeding, which was unusual. Come to think of it, he could barely sense the Kyuubi at all. Thoughts of the Kyuubi brought him back around full circle - Madara.
"I think so. He has some sort of teleportation ability, and he can teleport others too. He claims that it's to another dimension, and considering I don't remember seeing a place like this before, I'm starting to believe it."
There was another rumbling noise from behind him, and he noticed that the voice seemed to be growing louder, and the vibrations on the ground were growing larger as well.
"I can honestly say I have never met anyone named Madara, let alone any mage with the ability to teleport. I've lived for hundreds of years and met the most powerful mages in this world, and I'm certain I would remember someone with a skill set as unique as that."
There were several warnings that went off in Naruto's mind at what the voice said. First was that it - whatever it was, it still hurt too much for him to roll over and look - had lived for hundreds of years. Secondly was the fact that the voice distinctly mentioned mages. Finally, it spoke as if teleportation was something unique... any talented shinobi could do short distance teleportation, Madara was just really good at the extremely long-ranged stuff.
"Mages? What the hell is a mage?"
"You mean you aren't a mage? I sensed an incredible amount of magic power coming from you upon your arrival into this forsaken land, hence the reason why I decided to break the rules of the exile and investigate the cause, even if it was a human."
Naruto groaned and pushed his hand back into the rough rocks, forcing himself to sit up again. The voice started talking to him again, and it sounded strangely curious.
"Your body is obviously damaged to a large degree. For a human, I'm surprised that you still have the will to live."
Naruto closed his eyes and grit his teeth, pushing against the ground even harder. It would not end here, he had to pay Madara back and end this war! "I... won't be stopped here. I have to much... left to do... too many people are... counting on me!" With a loud groan, Naruto pushed himself all the way up, only to start falling backwards. Quickly moving his arms backwards, his elbows landed roughly on the rocks behind him, but held steady. Trying to catch his breath after exerting so much effort, silence surrounded the area for several long moments. Slowly opening his eyes, he began looking around once again, this time to find out where the voice came from.
It didn't take long for him to spot the... creature. It was a large, curious thing... not quite as large as one of his largest Toad summons, but still big. It looked like a lizard, and it was gazing at him with what he would guess was some sort of intrigue.
Naruto looked down the length of the creature, seeing that it had red scales of different hues, and appeared to be scarred in several places along its body. It had some large, sharp looking ridges along its back, as well as wings. They were large enough to give Naruto the impression that it could fly if it really wanted to. "So... what kind of summon are you?"
The creature's eyes widened for a second, before they narrowed. "Summon? Why would you dare suggest such a thing? I am a dragon, one of the ancient beings of this land! Are you a fool, human?"
The blond's eyes went wide, apparently this... dragon... was offended at being called a summon. This was definitely a strange place. Naruto's face adopted a thoughtful look, it definitely was not a good idea to piss off his only potential source of information.
"I'm... sorry. I've always been called an idiot, so your guess isn't too far off. It's just, I've never seen one of your kind before, and where I come from, all animals that are your size or bigger are summons."
The dragon was definitely looking at him with interest now. "Where do you come from... boy?"
Naruto started to shrug, but stopped half way through the motion when his shoulders reminded him just how sore his body was. "I'm from Fire Country... I was right at the River Country border when I was ambushed by Madara."
"I have never heard of countries with names like that, and I have traveled this entire world during the course of my life."
Naruto looked at the dragon in shock, and opened his mouth to speak, only no words came out. It was then that he remembered something Madara mentioned... something about dimensions.
"Ugh... don't tell me I'm in another dimension... friggin' Madara..."
Upon hearing that, the dragon began to look intrigued again, gazing off into the distance. "Dimension hopping... in all my time I've never known a human able to control such a talent. That is quite a dangerous skill to have... even in Edolas, it is strictly controlled by the Exceed, and even they barely understand its functions..."
"Huh? Edolas? Exceed?"
The dragon swiftly turned its attention back towards the teen. "You most certainly are not from around here if you do not know what those are. Right now we are in Earthland, but that is all I can tell you. Edolas is a world parallel to Earthland. You could very well say that it is in another dimension, but one that is connected very strongly to this dimension. It is not hard for those with the knowledge and the power to break through the barrier separating the two worlds. But since you don't recognize the name Edolas or the Exceed people, that means you aren't from there."
Naruto slowly shook his head. Now he was just getting confused. "So let me get this straight... there are two dimensions that are easy to travel between, but I'm not from either one of them?"
The dragon nodded. "You show no recognition to any of the more commonly known aspects of living on this world, so you are correct. I believe you are from somewhere else entirely."
"So how am I going to get home?"
The dragon looked up towards the billowing gray clouds of smoke and ash. "I have no idea."
Naruto felt his vision start to darken around the edges, and was barely aware of the pain as he collapsed backwards onto the rocks once more.
Cracking one eye open, Naruto could barely make out the creases of cave rock above him. It was rather dark wherever he was, and there was a faint crackling noise that he could hear nearby, as well as a pale reddish glow coming from another part of the cave that he couldn't see.
Slowly sitting up, the teen realized that he must have finally healed up, because he no longer had any aches or pains. Some of his muscles were a little tight, so he must have been lying down for a while, but otherwise he felt fine. Carefully moving along the the cave floor, Naruto moved in the direction where the red glow was coming from.
It didn't take long for him to come across a fire pit. The only odd thing about the fire pit was that it seemed to be burning without any fuel. Next to the fire was a small pile of strange looking... fish. At least they looked like fish. Beyond that the light from the fire reflected brightly off of the reddish scales of the dragon from before. He didn't know if the dragon was aware of his presence or not, since he couldn't see the dragon's face from where he was currently standing.
"Ah... I'm sorry, are you awake?"
"Yes. Dragons don't sleep like you humans do. We rest, but are always aware. I brought some fish for you from a lake not too far from here. My son used to love to eat them, so I believe you will enjoy them as well."
"T-Thank you very much."
There was a rumbling noise that came from where the dragon's head was, though it never lifted up its neck to look at him as it spoke. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, it wasn't until he actually took a bite of the cooked fish did he realize how hungry he actually was. It tasted wonderful too, just as the dragon had said it would. No fish where he came from ever tasted like this without needing to have other spices added.
"You're right, these are great! Your son has good taste!"
He clearly heard the dragon snort, though since he couldn't see it's face, he wasn't sure if it was from humor or some other reason. Making a point to finish off all the fish that the dragon had gathered for him, Naruto stood up and bowed to the dragon once he had finished.
"Thank you again. I'm sorry if I'm an inconvenience."
This time the dragon did lift its head up and peer back towards his direction. "It is no worry. As much as any of us dragons like to deny it, company is nice, every once in a while."
"Once in a while? But I thought you said you have a son? Doesn't he visit you?"
"He... cannot. I raised him when he was abandoned by his birth parents, trained him, nurtured him... loved him. Then the time came, and it was my turn to abandon him as well."
Naruto was about to ask more questions before he stopped, completely shocked. "W-What? Abandoned him? Why would you abandon your own son! How could you do-"
There was a loud roar in the cave, and the dragon quickly got to its feet, turning around and snapping at the blond. "Silence, human! You know nothing of this world or the way things happen here! I did not want to abandon him, but it it a rule of my kind!"
The dragon's large teeth were glistening directly in front of Naruto's face, and its breath was incredibly hot. Still, Naruto did not back down and stared at the sharp teeth without batting an eyelash. "I was an orphan, I had no one to raise me as I was growing up. You say you had no choice, and since you've been around for so long you probably don't remember what it was like when you were growing up, but humans don't have the luxury of a long life. We remember things in great detail. I would have given anything in the world to have my parents there to raise me. I can only imagine what it was like for someone to be willingly abandoned!"
Nothing was said for several more tense moments, until finally the dragon pulled back. Naruto couldn't tell for sure, it was hard to guess what the dragon's expression held, but he could have sworn it was smirking at him.
"It is as you say. I regret that I had to leave him. But the date arrived for the departure of my kind, and I had no choice. If I were to disobey, I could be killed, and if I were to be killed the balance would be disturbed since I have no replacement. I'm still too young to even consider having one."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
There was a rumble that definitely sounded like laughter. "You definitely amuse me, boy. To sleep for three days straight and come back immediately with so much vigor..."
Naruto absentmindedly rubbed his stomach. "Three days? No wonder I was so hungry."
A comfortable silence settled over the duo, neither saying a word for a while. It wasn't until Naruto remembered he was staring at a fire that had no fuel did conversation resume.
"Hey, dragon, how is that fire burning with no fuel?"
Naruto turned towards the dragon's face, and raised an eyebrow.
"Igneel is my name. Use it, instead of calling me 'dragon'."
"Oh! My name is Uzumaki Naruto! Nice to meet ya!"
The dragon snorted, causing small plumes of flame to sprout from its nostrils. "As for the fire, it exists because I will it to be so."
"It's burning only because you want it to?"
"Correct. My magic is specially attuned to flame, I can do things with it that most humans could only dream of."
Naruto's eyes went wide. "Hey, that's cool! Can you teach me any cool things?"
"Awww... why not?"
Igneel was silent for a moment. "Because I have already taught my son everything I could before I had to leave. I am forbidden to teach another until after the Dragon King Feast."
"Oh... okay, I guess. When is that?"
"Many years from now."
Naruto frowned. "That's a shame. I don't think I'll be here for that long."
"Yeah, I'm gonna try to find a way home. Hopefully I can go back..."
"Perhaps. In the meantime, however, I can teach you things about this world to help you survive. You'll likely need it. I also want to test and see just how powerful you are, you have so much magical power that it's nearly blinding my senses."
Naruto chuckled as he scratched at the back of his head. "Ah, sorry about that. I'm still not that good with my chakra control, even after all this time."
"Chakra? You mean magic? I can sense that you have a lot, though yours seems much more pure than any other human I've met before, even more than my sons..."
Now the blond simply looked confused. "I have no idea why. Maybe I should show you some of my stuff and we can find out?"
Igneel gave him a rather ferocious looking grin. "Follow me."
One month later...
Naruto let out a deep breath and set his bag down as he looked up at the sign in front of him. Stretching his arms, he let himself grin. It had been a long and slow trip, but he had finally arrived. Igneel had warned him about using his old shinobi method of transportation, he'd stick out like a sore thumb if he was spotted. Apparently shinobi didn't exist in this world, only mages. Some had the ability to do minor transportation, but it was rather limited and a very unique skill. To say he had impressed the dragon was nothing short of an understatement, the dragon had been blown away, both literally and figuratively.
Picking up his bag of supplies once again, he hefted it over his shoulder and pushed open the doors to enter the main lobby of the guild. As soon as he entered, his eyes opened wide as he took in the absolute chaos around him.
People were throwing things all over the place, magic was going crazy, and if not for his finely honed senses, he would have become victim to an errant beer mug that managed to sail in front of his face. People were going nuts everywhere, but the one thing that he did manage to pick up on was that everyone was smiling. There wasn't one person in the entire room that looked angry.
"Hey everyone, settle down! We have a guest, don't make us look bad!"
Almost immediately the entire room settled down and turned to look at the entrance. All but two people, young boys who were glaring at each other and throwing punches, though none of the punches looked like they actually hurt each other. It wasn't until a redhead grabbed the head of each of them and yanked them apart that they settled down, but even then they continued to glare.
"Hey, welcome to Fairy Tail! Don't mind those two, they're always like that. Are you here to put in a mission request, or was there something else you needed?"
Naruto turned his head to focus on the person who's voice he heard next to him. His eyes eventually landed on a young girl, perhaps fourteen or fifteen, with short white hair and big blue eyes who was giving him a large smile. He averted his eyes slightly, smiling and scratching at the back of his head.
"Ah, actually I was told that only the best mages work here at Fairy Tail. I was kind of hoping to talk to Makarov about joining."
Naruto swore he could have heard a pin drop. The white haired girl next to him actually looked surprised for the briefest of moments before she started smiling again. "The Master is on his way back from a Council meeting. He should be back later today, if you want to stick around for a little while I'm sure he'll talk to you..."
The girl smiled even bigger than before. "Nice to meet you, Naruto. I'm Lisanna!" She grabbed his hand and pulled him over towards the bar, then forcefully pushed him onto one of the bar stools. He just sat there blinking as Lisanna noisily sat down on the stool next to his. "So, where are you from, Naruto?"
Turning his head, he was about to reply when another voice shouted directly into his ear. "Hey! Who do you think you are?"
Wincing, Naruto turned on the stool only to come face-to-face with a young man with a pink head of hair. He couldn't be certain, but at first glance it seemed as if steam was rising from his skin. He was about to answer when yet another interruption appeared, this time in the form of another white haired girl who had a strong resemblance to Lisanna.
"Yeah, who do you think you are! That's my sister you're pawing at!"
"Mirajane, that's no way to treat a guest! Why are you acting like that!" This time another girl started yelling, the redhead who had separated the two boys earlier. At least someone was coming to his defense.
"Quiet, Erza! I was just going to tell him that if he needed to paw at a girl, he could use me instead!"
How this girl - Mirajane - could say that with a straight face he would never understand, but he immediately felt the blush rising on his face. Apparently the other girl, Erza, couldn't believe what Mirajane said either, because she also seemed to be flabbergasted. It didn't last long, however, before she let out a growl.
"Why would he want to paw at a girl like you when he could have more fun pawing at me, huh! I'll show you!" The two girls foreheads were touching as they bared their teeth and growled at each other. Naruto turned his head to ask Lisanna if these kinds of things were normal around here, only to see her being dragged off by the guy with pink hair.
Sighing and shrugging his shoulders, he turned back around and faced the bar, only to come face to face with a little old man sitting on the counter.
The old man blinked his eyes a few times as he looked at Naruto, then slowly smiled. "Hey there kiddo, welcome to Fairy Tail! What can I do for ya?"
Naruto jerked his thumb back towards the entrance. "As I said when I first got here, I was told to ask for Makarov if I wanted to join the guild."
The old man nodded and slowly stroked his small beard. "Makarov... Makarov... he's a scary guy. Are you sure you wanna talk to him?"
The blond's face adopted a hardened look. "Yeah. With what I've seen I don't think anything can scare me anymore."
The old man's eyes clouded over for a second before they refocused on the young blond in front of him. "You've got the look of a warrior, kid. That's not a gaze I should be seeing on someone as young as you. Just what have you been through in your short life?"
"That's a really long story, old geezer. Are you sure you have the time to sit and listen?"
At that, the wizened old man laughed. "All I have is time, my young friend. After all, as a member of Fairy Tale, you can be sure I'm gonna want to hear about all of your exploits in full detail."
"What? I thought I had to talk to Makarov?"
The old man winked, "Who do you think I am, Naruto?"
Immediately blushing, the teen bowed his head. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize!"
Makarov simply threw his head back, laughing like a lunatic. Several surprised yet happy cries of 'Master!' echoed throughout the room.
"Alright you crazy people! Fairy Tail has it's newest member! It's time for a welcoming party, someone get more booze!"
Naruto sat at the bar, quietly watching as the last stragglers left the Fairy Tail building. It was quite the lively party, to be sure. He didn't drink anything, never being a fan of alcohol, but it was fun to watch others get drunk and totally lose control. All in all he had to say he laughed more this evening than he had in almost the entire last year back home.
Home... that was something he hadn't thought about for a while. He missed all of his old friends, and couldn't help but wonder how they were holding up without him, or even if he was missed. Especially his teammates, and Sakura. There was tension between the two of them, ever since her slightly truthful confession. She eventually apologized for misleading him, but confirmed that her feelings were true. They both wanted to explore their feelings, but knew with the war looming that it wasn't a good time. As a result, they couldn't even do missions together, for fear of messing up mission dynamics. Not only that, but he was being watched like a hawk 'for his own safety'.
A lot of good that does when Madara can appear anywhere on a whim and teleport you to another dimension.
You know, I really like that sarcasm, it fits you.
Where the hell have you been, Kyuubi? It's not like you to be quiet for so long.
Let's just say that Madara is a dumbass, and leave it at that, okay? I know you were sore, I was pretty much the same way, somehow. Whatever he did tried to rip us apart, but that damned seal of your fathers is too strong and held us together.
Well, that's a relief.
What the hell do you have to be relieved about? You can't be implying that you missed me.
I don't know, Kyuubi. I think without you to talk to in my head, sometimes I'd go insane.
Whatever, brat. I'm not here for your entertainment.
Startled from his stupor, Naruto almost fell off of his stool. "W-Wha? I'm sorry. I was distracted for a moment."
Makarov gave the boy a small smile, but continued to stare at him. It continued to the point where Naruto started to blush and had to look away. "W-What?"
The old man let out a chuckle and shook his head, picking up some trash. "Nothing. I was just thinking, you have the glow of a great mage about you. I think you're going to do great things."
"Well, you see... I'm not really a mage. I'm actually a shinobi."
"Oh? But shinobi aren't as powerful as mages."
Naruto actually chuckled at that. "Maybe not the shinobi you know. I know a certain dragon that would disagree with you."
As soon as Naruto mentioned a dragon, Makarov's face adopted a pensive look and he quickly looked around. Holding a finger up to his lips, he tossed the trash that he was holding into a nearby garbage bin. "Come with me."
Nodding, the blond teen did as was asked, and followed the Guild Master as he swiftly climbed the stairs. Once he reached the top, he opened a door immediately to the left and went inside, beckoning for Naruto to follow.
Inside Naruto found a sparsely decorated office. There were a couple trophies sitting on a desk, several picture frames with some slightly faded photos in them, and a book case overflowing with books. Makarov moved behind a desk, obviously his work desk, and sat down in a chair that let him barely look over the top of the table.
"Mmhhh... someone took the booster seat..."
Naruto couldn't help but crack a smile, even if he knew he shouldn't. The Guild Master didn't seem to care, however, as he pointed at another chair and told Naruto to explain what he meant when he said 'dragon'. "No one has seen any of their kind for a while now. I think it's going on five years. Dare I ask which one you met?"
Makarov looked completely shocked. "Are you going to tell Natsu?"
Naruto's eyebrows shot up. "Oh? Natsu is still here? Igneel told me where he last monitored Natsu at, but had no idea if he was still here."
"Yes, he is still here. Can you tell him that Igneel is okay?"
Naruto really, really wanted to say that yes, he would tell Natsu that his foster father was okay. He really wanted to. Unfortunately, he made a promise.
"I want to say yes, but I can't. I made a promise, and promises are one thing that I don't break."
Makarov's demeanor instantly changed into one of disappointment. "I... see. It saddens me, but at the same time I respect your choice and am glad to know that you keep promises. Is there anything you can say?"
Naruto thought for a moment. "Not really, but I also promised to watch over Natsu from a distance, to make sure he doesn't bite off more than he can chew. Igneel wants his son to become strong on his own, but at the same time he doesn't want him to die trying to get there."
"I understand. You should try to befriend Natsu at the earliest opportunity then. I think you'll get along splendidly."
"We'll see. So does that mean I'm in for real?"
Makarov laughed. "Of course, you were in before I even knew you encountered a dragon. Your magic reserves are very well hidden, but I can sense something very, very powerful hiding within you."
"You have no idea."
Ain't that the truth.
Not now, furball.
"Oh, I almost forgot!" Makarov reached out and grabbed something off the top of his desk. "This is the Fairy Tale insignia stamp. It will mark you as a member of Fairy Tail until the time you choose to leave, should you choose to do so. I just need you to pick a color and a place where you want it."
It took Naruto two seconds to pick the color and the location where he wanted it, and he got a kick out of watching the old man try to keep the smirk off his face. When the task was done, Makarov set the stamp back on his desk and asked one final question.
"Do you want to use a code name? Most of the Fairy Tail mages don't bother, but a few do for various reasons."
Naruto thought about it. A code name might be good, it would lend a mysterious air to his presence. That could only help in the long run, he had no idea what he'd have to do in order to perform his 'dimension jumping' tests.
"Sure, it sounds like a good idea, actually. I've got a name."
"Well? Let's hear it."
One of Makarov's eyebrows started to rise, followed by a grin. "Fire Shadow? How fitting, I like it."
"I need you to promise me two things before you leave. First, that you don't tell Natsu anything about me. If you remember what we talked about, you know my reasons."
Naruto sighed. "I don't like it, as you know, but since you confided in me I will promise not to say a word."
"Good. The second thing... watch over my son. Don't interfere with his battles, just make sure he doesn't die. You didn't hear this from me, but if he were to die, I might break too."
"Gotcha, I'll do what I can without doing too much."
"No problem. If that's all, I'm gonna head out."
"That is all. Maybe we'll meet again some day, Naruto."
Naruto laughed. "From the way you've been talking this whole time, I thought you'd be happy never to see me again. But whatever. Just go and do that hibernation thing or whatever it is you do, old man." Waving his hand over his shoulder, Naruto promptly disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
Igneel watched the location where he last saw Naruto before a small smile started working its way over his long face.
"Hmph. Cheeky brat."
A/N: What's this, another one? I know, I couldn't help it. Don't worry, the others are still being worked on too.
Naruto might seem a little bit different than how you're used to seeing him, a little less happy and a lot more serious, but that's because he's been fighting a war for the past year. Naruto is 16, almost 17 when he arrives in Earthland.
The rest of the Fairy Tail crew is still there, Mirajane and Erza are 16, Natsu and Gray are 15, Lisanna is 14.
Naruto will be paired up with Erza later.