WARNING: WILL CONTAIN YAOI (BOY X BOY) IN LATER CHAPTERS!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Bleach
Summary: Uzumaki Naruto has been wandering the Earth alone, guilt and sadness resting heavily on his shoulders for many years, since Akatsuki destroyed Konoha. However, the blonde-haired shinobi is unable to pass on, because the Kyuubi refuses to let him die.
But when Naruto discovers the existence of one fifteen-year-old Substitute Shinigami, his world is once again turned upside down. Surely things couldn't get any worse? Well … if only Kurosaki Ichigo wasn't so annoying …
Pairing(s): Naruto x Ichigo
"…" - Normal talking
'…' - Thinking or inner talking
"…" - Kyuubi talking
Italics - Stressed word in thinking or inner talking
Bold - Stressed word in normal talking
Author's Note: I apologising for not updating in such a long time! Thank you to orochimaruninjafan, Insane Blood Prince, fanbasher865, afallenheart, Inumaru12, azab, hypersreak, akatsuki-tenshi-kitsune, FumetsuKaji and Lunar Tokala for reviewing. I hope you all enjoy the second chapter ^_^
Chapter Two - Source of Power
"Is he alright?" Naruto heard a female voice ask softly, as he roused from his unconscious state. How long had he been unconscious? And more importantly, where had he ended up?
'Well, at least I can understand the language,' he thought optimistically.
"Are you going to ask her if she knows someone who can use chakra?" Asked the Kyuubi sarcastically.
'Very funny …' However, his thoughts were interrupted at that moment by another speaker.
"Who knows?" He heard a male voice reply unconcernedly. Irritated, Naruto automatically clenched his hands into fists and immediately regretted doing so. What if whoever was watching him noticed? If he could avoid talking to these people, especially the male he would. Considering the fact that the male didn't seem to care about unconscious strangers lying in the middle of … well, wherever he was …
"He looks pale. Why don't you examine him?" The female voice then suggested almost imperiously.
The male sighed, and then Naruto felt someone prodding his right cheek. "Hey, you alive?"
'Stay calm … They'll leave you alone eventually …'
"You hope," the Kyuubi added.
'You're finding this funny, aren't you?'
"A little," replied the Kyuubi smugly. "After all, if you'd stayed in Konoha you wouldn't be in this mess."
'I wouldn't call this a mess …'
"Alright then, predicament."
The Kyuubi had a point. If it had been Sasuke, or even Sai prodding his cheek to wake him up, he'd have hit them by now … or tried to anyway. However, he couldn't leap up and punch the male who had now made his cheek very sore from all his prodding, just in case he seriously injured the poor person. However, what sort of life had he lead back home? Arguing with the Kyuubi was on occasion, entertaining but he'd had no future there. Here, he could have a future … hopefully. And if he ever found the person with that immense chakra, he'd train them. And besides, there was no turning back now. This was their home, whether they liked it or not.
'I'll think of something …'
"Well, I'm not going to help you," replied the Kyuubi and he promptly fell silent.
'Fine …' and an audible groan escaped the blonde-haired shinobi.
"Hey, wake up idiot! I want to go home!" And the male switched from prodding his cheek, to shaking him violently.
Naruto could handle having his cheek prodded to the point where he could no longer feel anything, however this was just too much. His weary body already ached enough as it was. And in that instant, his resolve not to do anything rash crumbled and he gritted his teeth in frustration. This male really needed to learn some manners. And so, Naruto leapt agilely to his feet startling the male.
"I'm awake!" Snapped the blonde-haired shinobi, as he glared down at the kneeling form of the male who had been shaking him a moment ago.
He had an unusual hair colour … orange … the same colour hair as Pain. Annoyed at himself for having even made that connection, Naruto shook his head.
"Hey, are you alright?"
Startled by his sudden concern, Naruto refocused his attention on the male, his eyes slightly wider than necessary. "I'm fine!" He replied hastily.
The orange-haired male studied him for a moment, and then tilted his head slightly to the right and sighed. "I have no idea why I'm about to suggest this to you, considering the fact I just want to go home and have a peaceful evening, but my dad's actually a doctor. Why don't you come to our clinic and he'll have a look at you. It'll keep her happy anyway," and he pointed towards the female with his thumb.
"Her?" The female repeated the word, her voice an octave higher.
Naruto sighed, as the pair began to argue. This male definitely needed to learn some manners. And the more time the blonde-haired shinobi remained in the orange-haired male's company, the more irritated he became. He couldn't afford to let his frustration get the better of him here though. And so, he took a deep breath then spoke.
"I appreciate your concern," he said calmly but firmly, "but I really must be going now." And before the male or female could reply, Naruto swiftly walked past them.
"He was an odd one," the orange-haired male commented when he was sure the blonde-haired shinobi was far enough away. He was now on his feet, his hands shoved into his pockets.
"Was he?" His female acquaintance asked softly.
He nodded once then sighed. "I'm going home."
The last golden rays of sunlight had just disappeared behind the horizon, when Naruto who had since escaping from that pair been wandering around aimlessly, decided to sleep against a wall. He let out a weary sigh and tried to make himself as comfortable as possible.
"Enjoying yourself yet?" The Kyuubi asked then.
"I thought not," the Kyuubi replied smugly and he let out a short laugh, which sounded more like a bark before falling silent once more.
Naruto sighed. Admittedly, his situation hadn't improved much, however he had to remain positive. He hadn't been here very long after all and things were bound to improve ... eventually. Exhaling slowly, he folded his arms and closed his eyes. However, instead of falling asleep, the blonde-haired shinobi began to think about the male and female.
They had both been about fifteen years old, the same age Naruto looked. Both had worn odd clothes. A grey jacket, a blue t-shit with a white collar, a pair of grey trousers, and a pair of shoes the likes of which Naruto had never seen before for the male. And for the female, a grey jacket, a white shirt with a red bow, a grey skirt, a pair of knee length socks, and a pair of shoes which had been similar, but not quite like the shoes some people had long ago worn back home.
The girl, who had been smaller than Naruto and quite possibly the boy too, had had shoulder length midnight black hair and vibrant indigo eyes.
And then, eyes still closed Naruto frowned slightly. The boy's features had been so severe, and yet when Naruto had looked deep into his brown eyes, he had momentarily lost the will to stay angry at him. For in his eyes, Naruto had seen that the boy had felt the pain of losing someone close to him.
'Which means, he's like me,' the blonde-haired shinobi thought solemnly.
Naruto sighed once more. There was no point in him dwelling on that now, though. In fact, if he could he would forget about those two completely. After all, he had more pressing matters to think about. Like where he was going to get some new clothes from. If he stayed dressed as he was, he was going to stick out like a sore thumb. However, that would have to wait till morning.
When Naruto awoke in the early hours of the morning, he could barely move. His whole body ached, and when he finally managed to haul himself to his feet, he had to stretch for at least ten minutes for him to feel more comfortable. When he'd finally worked out all of his aches and pains however, he decided to explore. If he was going to pose as a local he should really know the area, and since there was hardly anyone about so early in the morning it was the perfect opportunity for him to get his bearings. As time marched on however, he encountered more and more people going about their business. Children making their way to school in groups, chatting happily amongst themselves. Men in business suits scurrying off to their jobs, as they hurriedly munched on pieces of toast. Women carrying large shopping bags on their way to buy provisions. The usual hussle and bustle of everyday life that even Naruto was familiar with. Smiling nostalgically, he decided that it was probably time that he got on with what he needed to do. However, he hadn't achieved anything at all. In fact, the blonde-haired shinobi had spent the entire day making a fool out of himself. Unable to acquire new clothes, his attire had attracted quite a lot of attention. A young couple had laughed at him when he'd asked them what sort of money he had to use. And an elderly gentleman had suggested he go see a psychiatrist, when he'd asked what a car was.
"How long does it take someone to answer the door?" The Kyuubi then asked irritably, interrupting the blonde-haired shinobi's thoughts.
Naruto sighed. "Don't complain, I'm sure someone will open it soon."
"You know, you're wasting your time. Even if someone does open it, they'll only turn you away like everyone else did."
With another sigh, the blonde-haired shinobi shifted most of his weight onto his right leg. He then placed a hand on his hip. "They might not." The Kyuubi snorted.
Admittedly, Naruto had been going from door to door for well over an hour now, and soon it'd become far too late for him to continue knocking on people's doors. If that happened, he'd trudge back to the same park the orange-haired boy and that girl had found him in. However, he was determined not to give up just yet.
He knocked on the door again and listened.
"Just a minute!" He heard a young female voice call out.
The blonde-haired shinobi hastily stood up straight and removed his hand from his hip. And then, the door opened.
"Can I help you?" A young girl, with light brown hair and sparkling dark brown eyes asked politely.
Naruto hesitated a moment, then spoke. "Are your parents home?" He asked softly.
The young girl studied him for a moment and then spoke. "Dad, this young man wants to see you."
A moment later, a man in his forties appeared beside the young girl. He was tall, with short, spiked up black hair and brown eyes.
"Can I help you?" He asked politely.
Naruto swallowed hard. "I apologise for disturbing you," he began softly, "but I am in desperate need of some food and a warm place to sleep. Would you be so kind as to let me in? Although, I will understand if you turn me away …"
The blonde-haired shinobi then inclined his head slightly and waited.
'Don't send me away … Please don't send me away …'
They stood there in silence for at least a minute, before the man spoke. "Unfortunately …" Naruto sighed.
'Looks like I'll be sleeping rough again tonight …' the blonde-haired shinobi thought solemnly. He kept his eyes focused on the floor for a moment longer and then looked up.
"Sorry I disturbed you," he muttered under his breath. And he was about to turn and walk away when the man stepped out and rested a firm, but gentle hand on his shoulder.
"You didn't hear what I said, did you?" He asked in an almost fatherly tone of voice.
Confused, the blonde-haired shinobi hesitated a moment, before shaking his head.
The man smiled slightly, "unfortunately you'll have to sleep on the floor in my son's room if you want to stay the night, because I can't really spare any of the beds in the clinic, just in case there's an emergency. Of course, that's highly unlikely but then again you never know. However, you're welcome to eat as much as you like. In fact, we were just about to start eating when you knocked."
Lost for words, Naruto simply stared wide-eyed at the man. He couldn't believe that this man was willing to let a complete stranger into his home, when everyone else the blonde-haired shinobi had asked had turned him away.
"Well, are we going to stand here all night or are you coming in?" The man then asked gently, bringing Naruto out of his day-dream like state.
"I … I can't repay your kindness …" He replied hesitantly.
"I never expected you to repay me in the first place. Now, let's get you into the warm." And he removed his hand from the blonde-haired shinobi's shoulder and turned. His daughter, the young light brown-haired girl, moved aside and then the man stepped back into his house. Once inside, he turned once more to face Naruto. "Come on in."
"Thanks," the blonde-haired shinobi muttered under his breath. However, just then his vision blurred and he sank to his knees.
The man was beside him in seconds. "What's wrong?"
"I'm feeling a little light-headed," Naruto replied softly. He hadn't after all eaten anything substantial since his arrival.
The man hesitated a moment, and then gently took hold of Naruto's right wrist and placed his left arm around Naruto's waist. And then, he slowly pulled the blonde-haired shinobi to his feet.
"Sorry," Naruto apologised softly.
"Don't apologise," the man replied just as quietly. And then he carefully helped Naruto inside.
The young light brown-haired girl silently closed the door behind them and the trio slowly made their way towards … well, wherever the man was taking Naruto.
When they finally reached the kitchen diner however, Naruto's eyes nearly popped out of his skull. There, sat at the table looking very irritated, was the orange-haired boy.
'Why did I have to end up at his house?' The blonde-haired shinobi thought irritably.
"It must be fate."
'Why would fate bring me here? I doubt he's the one we're looking for …'
"What makes you say that?"
'I don't know … But I hope I'm right. I don't think I have enough patience to train him.'
"I'm sure there were plenty of times when Iruka, Kakashi and Jiraiya thought the same about you …"
"Forget I said anything …" And the Kyuubi fell silent.
'Kyuubi …!' However, at that moment the man supporting Naruto spoke, interrupting the blonde-haired shinobi's thoughts.
"Everyone, I'd like you to meet … umm …"
The young light brown-haired girl, who had at some point sat down next to a young black-haired girl, smiled slightly. The young black-haired girl merely nodded, however the orange-haired boy glared at Naruto.
"We've already met," he muttered under his breath.
"Really?" The man asked, his eyes widening slightly in surprise.
The orange-haired boy nodded. "A friend and I found him unconscious in the park yesterday. When he finally regained consciousness, I asked him if he wanted to follow me home so that you could take a look at him, but he refused and took off."
The man hesitated a moment, and then spoke. "Naruto-kun, you're not in any trouble are you?"
"Huh?" Was all Naruto managed to spit out.
"Are you running from someone?"
"No!" The blonde-haired shinobi replied hastily. And then he sighed, and inclined his head slightly. "But I … I've …" However, his sentence trailed off into silence.
"It's alright Naruto-kun," the man replied after a moment, "you're safe here."
The blonde-haired shinobi quickly bit his tongue to stop himself from laughing. They had obviously come to the wrong conclusion, however as long as Naruto was able to stay and have a hot meal and hopefully a good night's sleep, he really didn't care what conclusion they had come too.
"You must be exhausted," the man said then. Naruto, who admittedly was a little tired now hesitated a moment and then nodded.
The man smiled fondly. "Well, after you've had something to eat you can go to bed. I'll give you a quick check-up in the morning."
"Thank you," Naruto replied quietly.
"You're welcome," and then the man looked at the orange-haired boy. "Ichigo, you'll be sleeping on the floor tonight."
"I … I don't want to cause any trouble so I'll sleep on the floor," Naruto interjected quickly.
"No Naruto-kun, Ichigo will sleep on the floor. Isn't that right, Ichigo?"
Ichigo hesitated a moment and then sighed. "Fine, I'll sleep on the floor." The man smiled fondly and then carefully helped Naruto over to the empty chair, next to the orange-haired boy.
"Thank you," the blonde-haired shinobi muttered under his breath.
"You're welcome, Naruto-kun." The man replied softly before carefully helping the blonde-haired shinobi into the empty chair. The man then walked over to his own chair.
With a weary sigh, he sat down and then spoke. "Well, tuck in everyone."
"Itadakimasu!" Everyone at the table exclaimed eagerly, before they each helped themselves to the delicious looking dishes before them.
Naruto ate in silence, his gaze lingering on the faces of the people around him. He felt a sense of belonging here, as though fate really had intended for him to meet these people. Of course, he still hoped that Ichigo wasn't the one he was searching for, however when tomorrow came he knew he'd find it hard to leave. Perhaps the reason why he felt so at home here, was because the members of the Kurosaki family reminded him of the make-shift family he'd had back home. Ichigo and his father Isshin bickered between mouth-full's, like he and Kakashi-sensei had done over ramen. All the while the young light brown-haired girl, Yuzu tried her hardest to stop them from arguing like Sakura had done. And the young black-haired girl, Karin paid her father and brother little attention like Sasuke had. Naruto smiled slightly and politely asked for thirds.
After the meal, Ichigo and Naruto thanked Yuzu for the food and then bid everyone a good night. They then made their way upstairs.
"You should have followed me home yesterday," Ichigo muttered under his breath when they were safely inside his room.
Surprised, Naruto hesitated a moment and then inclined his head slightly. "I know," he replied quietly.
"Well … Oh, never mind … Let's get some sleep."
Naruto frowned slightly, but decided to let the matter drop. After all, if Ichigo had wanted to tell him something he would have told him.
"We're about the same size, aren't we?" Ichigo asked after a moment.
"Umm … Yeah …" The blonde-haired shinobi replied hesitantly. "Why?"
"Do you want to sleep in dirty clothes?"
"Not really, but these are the only clothes I have," Naruto replied looking down at his orange and black jacket.
Ichigo sighed. "You really are clueless, aren't you?" And before Naruto could argue, he threw a pair of trousers and a t-shirt at the blonde-haired shinobi. Naruto caught the items easily but stared down at them, puzzled. "You can keep them if you want," Ichigo said offhandedly.
"You can have them back in the morning," Naruto replied in a steely tone of voice. And then, the blonde-haired shinobi turned away from Ichigo to change.
'I definitely won't miss him when I leave,' he thought irritably as he unzipped his orange and black jacket.
Naruto hadn't been asleep long, when he was suddenly dragged out of bed and dumped unceremoniously onto the floor. The blonde-haired shinobi's eyes flew open and he was about to shout at Ichigo, when he was rendered speechless. It became obvious to Naruto that Ichigo hadn't pulled him off the bed, because the orange-haired boy was currently battling a weird creature Naruto had never seen before. However, seeing Ichigo fight … whatever it was … was not the main reason why the blonde-haired shinobi was speechless.
"Looks like you and Ichigo will be spending a lot of time together." The Kyuubi snickered.
'Do you have to rub it in?' Groaned the blonde-haired shinobi.
"I have nothing better to do."
Naruto gritted his teeth. If only he could get his hands on that stupid fox … And then he exhaled slowly. He couldn't let the Kyuubi get to him, after all he had more important things to think about. First of all, how was he going to tell Ichigo the truth? He couldn't exactly sit the boy down and tell him that he was a shinobi, who had come from another world to train him. No, he'd have to think of something else. Secondly, how was he going to get Ichigo to agree to being trained by him? There was a strong possibility after all, that Ichigo thought that Naruto was … well, weak. And lastly, how was he going to stop himself from strangling the boy when he felt the urge to do so?
And then Naruto smiled slightly, as a certain phrase Shikamaru had often said came back to him. 'It's troublesome, but I can't help it.' And training Ichigo would certainly be troublesome.
At that moment, Naruto caught sight of Ichigo leaping agilely out of his open window, followed by the black-haired girl who Naruto had met in the park that day. And then, the blonde-haired shinobi's eyes widened at the sheer amount of damage that had been done. It almost looked like an exploding tag had gone off in Ichigo's room. And then Naruto sighed and closed his eyes. He couldn't do anything now, he was supposed to be asleep after all. However, he'd consider helping Ichigo clean the majority of this mess up in the morning, after Ichigo agreed to being trained. And with that thought in mind, Naruto fell into a dreamless sleep.