"Kamen Rider Joker: Uzumaki Driver"
Chapter 1: "Once Lost, Now Found"
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, and VIZ Entertainment. Kamen Rider Double belongs to TV Tokyo, Toei, and Ishinomori Productions. I make no money whatsoever from the use of either property in this story.
Author's note: I got into Kamen Rider Double recently, and I'm still heavily into Naruto, even if some of the recent developments haven't necessarily been to my liking. Thus, I decided to mix up my two great interests and if you're wondering how this is going to work, I'm going with the explanation that the world we see in Naruto, with its mix of modern aesthetics and Japanese tradition, is what humanity was able to salvage after the apocalypse. That's why things like guns and the other really destructive weapons don't exist anymore; they've long since been buried. If you wanna know how all that happened . . . read the story.
"Stupid Pervy Sage," young Naruto Uzumaki muttered to himself. "I've gotta fight Neji in two weeks and I'm hardly learning a thing. Sure, walking on water's useful. Sure, it's good that I'm figuring out how to tap the Nine-Tails' chakra and even summon. But what am I learning about actual fighting? Neji'll eat me alive if I can't up my taijutsu game!"
As he was muttering to himself, he was not paying attention to his surroundings, and that would either cost him dearly . . . or help him. Right then, Naruto was thinking more along the lines of the former, assuming he could think beyond random internal swearing due to rapidly tumbling down a valley he hadn't even noticed until a fateful misstep. At the moment, he was just yelling "ow" repeatedly until he crashed to a stop.
"Where the hell am I?" he wondered, looking around curiously as he dusted himself off. He walked through the dark valley, wondering just how no one else had found this before. It seemed rather maintained, though, for a place no one had been in before. "Maybe somebody's using this place for something, but what?"
Then a thought popped into his head: What if he found a cool new jutsu he could use against Neji? That'd show that pompous prick not to mess with him – and more importantly, he could teach said prick a lesson about beating the crap out of his own cousin. His excitement dimmed a little when he thought about Hinata; she was way too sweet to deserve the beating Neji had given her in the preliminaries. Sure, she was a little strange with her constant blushing and shyness around him, but she was good people. She didn't deserve that.
Naruto was so absorbed in his thoughts of Hinata that he didn't notice where he was walking until he bumped into some kind of table. He heard something clatter on the ground and kneeled down to pick it up. It was almost the size of his middle finger, maybe slightly larger, and it resembled a flat stick with an equally flat plug. It was colored a somewhat purplish black and had an uppercase letter "J" engraved in its center.
"What's this?" he asked himself. His attention quickly wandered to a strange device on the table, colored red and looking kind of like the uppercase letter "L," only more angular. Curiously, he picked it up and looked it over. Comparing it with the little black stick he'd found, his eyes spotted something that looked like an outlet for the stick. Maybe if I put the stick inside, something'll happen!
So Naruto put the stick inside the device's plug, only to hear a voice shout, "JOKER!"
"What the hell?" Naruto yelped in fright, dropping the device in his shock and panic. Somehow, the device simply attached itself to his waist and formed a strap to keep itself there. "What the . . . ?"
His attention was then drawn to something that looked like a book, and he opened it, hoping that the answers he needed would be in there. "'They know me now as the Rikudo Sennin, the Sage of Six Paths. I am the one who defeated the Ten-Tailed Beast and caged his wicked soul within my body. However, they do not know the full truth, the truth that it was my family that created the Ten-Tailed Beast.'"
"Ten-Tailed Beast?" Naruto wondered. "I thought there were only nine of those things!" Nevertheless, he continued reading.
"The memories of Gaia gave great power to my family, power that my family sought to use to remake the world. Unfortunately, they knew not what they had unleashed. Along with the man that would become the closest thing to a brother I ever had, I became the warrior Kamen Rider Double to stem the tide of destruction my family knowingly caused, even if they did not understand its full impact.
"Gaia Impact destroyed the world that was. How fortunate that we were able to restore humanity . . . but things had changed forever. We knew now, that the Gaia Memories were too dangerous for human hands to touch, so we buried them, scattered them across the world to prevent another from using them. It was a little too late, however, as the power of Gaia Impact had seeded itself into all living things, creating the force that some spiritualists called 'chakra.' Even worse, a monstrous demon had been created from the remnants of Gaia Impact, the Ten-Tailed Beast.
"What few know about me was that when I died for the first time, I was reborn as a living repository of the memories of Gaia. Because of that ability, I was able to entrap the Ten-Tails within my own body, and use its power to defend the world as I had before, albeit in a different way. I taught a select cadre of students how to harness the power of Gaia within their own bodies to protect the world, and they in turn taught others. Unfortunately, not all took my lessons to heart, some growing greedy and only thinking about how they could use their power to rule over others. It was with a heavy heart that I had to put an end to them.
"It has been years since those days. I have lived a lot longer than I thought I would, but it is time for me to pass on again, this time for good. It is just as well, I suppose. Shotaro is gone. Akiko is gone. Ryu is gone. Elizabeth is gone. Everyone I know and love has long since ceased to be, and this world . . . this wretched and beautiful world . . . I fear for what it will become. . . ."
"Whoa . . ." Naruto put the book down, startled at what he'd read. He'd never really paid attention in history class; who cared what a bunch of dead people did way back when? After reading what he'd read, though, he was starting to regret not paying more attention in class. He also regretted that Iruka had made it all sound so boring – if he hadn't, maybe Naruto would have really gotten into it.
He started to walk again, trying to find his way out, only to stumble upon the strangest thing he'd ever seen. It looked like a machine with two wheels, one wheel in front and one wheel in back. The machine was colored black and fairly sleek, ending in a triangular nose poised over the front wheel. Closer examination revealed a red-and-white uppercase "W" inscribed on the sides of the machine, as well as paired glass panels on the front of the machine. He also saw what looked like handlebars on the inside, as though this machine was supposed to be piloted or steered somehow.
"What the hell is this?" Naruto wondered, straddling the machine curiously. It even had a seat for him to rest his backside somewhat comfortably, and holds for his feet so he didn't slip and fall. "How do I get it to start?" An idea popped into his head. "Maybe if I pump some chakra into it . . ."
A small dose of chakra later, the machine was rumbling like a demon from hell, scaring the crap out of Naruto. It got even scarier when the machine started to move forward, taking the frightened and confused Naruto along with it at blistering speeds. Naruto screamed for his life as he tried to gain control over the machine, but there was no such thing as control. The machine seemed to have a mind of its own, like a wild horse that would not allow a human to tame it.
Failing to control it, Naruto tried to at least steer it. This time, all he succeeded in doing was going in circles before he figured out how to reverse direction. Unfortunately, he still had no idea how to control it as the machine continued its hellish rush down the valley. Scared to death that he had no way to control the machine, Naruto did the one thing he thought he could do.
He lunged off the machine, crashing to the ground as the machine spun out of control and collided with the valley wall. "What in Kami's name was that thing?" he yelled. He ran up to the machine and kicked it angrily. "Were you trying to kill me? Was that it?"
The machine, being just a machine, didn't answer. With one last kick, Naruto walked away from the machine, accidentally brushing his hand on the device on his waist. Immediately, it folded out into a V shape, and he could hear that same voice shout, "JOKER!" This time, the voice came with a violent aura of purple energy that engulfed his body and reformed into skintight black armor with purple highlights on the chest and shoulders that resembled an uppercase "W."
"What the hell?" Naruto exclaimed in shock, especially after hearing his voice filtered through the helmet he was wearing. He noticed that his vision had become a lot clearer, albeit filtered through a red haze, as though he were wearing colored goggles. Not only that – he felt a lot stronger, and he knew exactly what he wanted to test it out on.
Stomping over to the machine that had nearly killed him, Naruto delivered a vicious kick to its side, which improbably knocked it over into a standing position on its wheels. He looked upon the machine with renewed curiosity. "Maybe if I learn to control you better, you won't get to knock me around anymore!" he shouted at it. Straddling the machine again, the black-armored Naruto gripped the handlebars and thumbed the switch that would turn it on, concentrating hard on not putting as much chakra in as before.
The machine started again, but this time the rumble wasn't as loud and scary. "Hey . . . this is actually kinda cool," Naruto muttered to himself.
That was when the crazy snake woman with her purple hair worn up in a spiky ponytail and wearing a beige duster over her impossibly immodest outfit came down. "Hey!" she shouted at him. "Who are you, and what are you doing messing around like that? You're disturbing my freaking peace and quiet!"
Naruto couldn't help but smirk underneath his helmet. "I didn't know you were into peace and quiet. Anyway, I'm about to try out this scary machine. You wanna hold my hand so I don't panic and crash?"
Anko Mitarashi, the aforementioned crazy snake woman, snorted. "You've got some nerve, kid. But I'm gonna go with it, just because you made me laugh."
"Who says I'm a kid?" Naruto asked.
"You sound like you've barely started puberty," Anko jeered.
"Oh, go –" Before Naruto knew it, Anko was behind him on the machine, pressing her ample chest against his armored back. "Uh, hey . . ."
"You said you wanted me to hold your hand, right?" Anko remarked. "I can hold other things, and maybe I'll help you steer if you're nice."
"You know how to handle this thing?" Naruto asked.
"Well, I'm a little smarter than you, so maybe I can figure it out easier than you did," Anko jibed.
Naruto pouted beneath his helmet. "Whatever. Let's go." He revved up the machine, and it began to move forward at a reasonable speed – not too fast and not too slow.
"C'mon, you can't speed this thing up a little?" Anko asked.
"I'm trying not to die," Naruto replied. "Isn't that what you told me to do?"
"Ah, now I know you . . ." Anko purred. "You're that brat Uzumaki . . . wouldn't have guessed you liked black, way you parade around in that orange getup of yours."
"What's wrong with orange?" Naruto asked irritably. "Orange is a good color."
"Sure, if you wanna get yourself dead," Anko taunted.
"Whatever," Naruto murmured. "Hey, this is kind of fun."
"No kidding," Anko agreed. "Wind through my hair and all . . ." She slowly moved her hands until they were resting on top of Naruto's black-gloved hands. "C'mon, baby. Trust me a little. I'll make it worth your while." She had Naruto just distracted enough not to notice her revving the throttle, but he sure noticed when the machine sped up.
"What the hell?" Naruto yelled. "What did you go and do that for?"
"You're not scared, are you, tough guy?" Anko yelled over the roaring engine.
"The hell I'm scared!" Naruto shouted back at her, more angry than scared at this point. "You want fast? I'll show you fast!" He revved up the machine further, and they became a black blur to most onlookers' eyes, the only audible sound being Anko's mad whooping.
"Hell, yeah! Now that's what I'm talking about!"
"You having fun?"
"Hell, yes, I am!" Anko shouted back at him. "Are you?"
Actually, kinda, yeah, Naruto mused to himself. Man, if only Sakura could see me now. She'd be so jealous! She'd get over Sasuke in a heartbeat, just to get on my sweet new ride! A huge grin formed beneath his helmet, as he thought about all the fun he'd have now with this new machine. He'd be the talk of the village! They wouldn't be able to ignore him or disrespect him anymore!
For a moment, he wondered if there were more machines like the one he and Anko were riding now. Maybe they could form some kind of riding machine gang that would protect the village from all those freaky bastards out there that wanted to hurt people. Maybe they could go roaming Fire Country, ready to thrash anybody that'd lay a hand on innocent people. He'd be a hero!
Hey, wait, if I was gonna have a riding machine gang, who would I put in it? Naruto wondered. Then he realized that he didn't know very many people outside of Team Seven. He was half-sure Sasuke would want to try out a riding machine for his own, but that would be another thing for them to compete over, whose machine was cooler. Sakura would probably drool all over Sasuke's machine, even if Naruto's was way cooler.
His musings were interrupted by a sudden turn. "What the –? Anko?"
"Be grateful you're not dead," she replied. "We nearly hit a wall."
"Oh," Naruto uttered in realization. "Thanks."
"So who were you thinking about?" Anko asked.
"What makes you think I was thinking about anyone?" Naruto asked.
"Young stud like you, you've probably got girls all over you."
"I wish. The girl I like is obsessively in love with my teammate, best friend, and main competition."
"You mean broody boy?" Anko smirked. "Yeah, he's pretty, but I like my men a little more adjusted."
"Wouldn't have guessed."
"I might be a wild child, but a lady of sufficient experience like me prefers a guy she can count on to be there for her, not a revenge-obsessed jerk who deliberately pushes away everyone that tries to be his friend." She snorted again. "Well, maybe you can get through to him. He seems to like you."
"Of course he likes me. I'm awesome!"
Anko chuckled a little. "I believe you, kiddo."
"You better not be being sarcastic!" Naruto yelled.
"Who says I'm being sarcastic?"
Naruto chuckled wickedly. "Oh, I know where we can stop."
"Where?" Anko asked.
Naruto steered the machine right through what most adult ninja referred to as "the red-light district." Anko chortled wickedly.
"You've got some nerve, kiddo, having our first date be here."
"No, I'm meeting someone."
When the machine stopped, the black-armored Naruto and Anko were outside a burlesque house. Just to be irritating, Naruto revved up the engine of his new riding machine. True to his presumption, a white-haired man in a red vest over a gray-green outfit and with a metal headband marked with the kanji for "oil" came out, cursing angrily.
"All right, who are you and can't a guy get his jollies without being interrupted by a psycho on a loud machine!" he yelled.
"Oh, hey, Pervy Sage!" Naruto shouted. "Didn't know you were in there!" He was, of course, lying through his teeth.
"Naruto, what are you wearing and what is that machine?" Jiraiya asked, recognizing the boy by virtue of that damnable nickname.
"Dunno," Naruto replied. "It's some kind of weird armor, and the machine . . . well, it's some kind of land transport vehicle. From the sound of it, the engine burns some kind of fuel to get this thing moving."
"And third . . ." Jiraiya smirked when he saw Anko. "Who is this lovely woman and how did you get her to take a ride with you?"
"Wanted to see what he'd do with it," Anko replied. "Hey, Jiraiya. Been a while."
"Yeah . . ." Jiraiya agreed with a smile. "You've certainly grown up just fine."
"Watch it, Pervy Sage!" Naruto yelled, pointing at him.
Anko patted Naruto's shoulder. "Nice to know you care, but Jiraiya's just being Jiraiya. No need to defend me."
"You guys know each other?" Naruto deduced.
"I knew her sensei," Jiraiya answered cryptically, a dark look passing over both his and Anko's faces for a moment.
"Is he dead or something?" Naruto wondered.
"It's not something I like talking about," Jiraiya responded. "Anko likes talking about it even less. For the sake of your health, let's change the subject."
"Fine," Naruto grumbled, only to be interrupted by the sight of several immodestly dressed and made-up women crowding around . . . him. "Huh?"
"What is that strange machine?" one of them, a blonde with blue eye shadow and lipstick and garbed in a corset that left very little to the imagination, asked.
"Dunno what it's called, but I can go really fast on it," Naruto replied.
"How fast?" another one, a purple-haired woman with dark eyeliner and purple lipstick, inquired.
Naruto looked into the cockpit of the riding machine. "Uhhh . . . 290 kilometers an hour?"
"That's pretty fast," a third, a redhead in a scandalously skimpy pair of shorts, remarked.
"You know, kiddo, if you want, I can set you up for a date with one of these lovely ladies," Jiraiya offered. "You'd be the envy of all your old classmates!"
"No thanks," Naruto replied, thanking Kami above for the helmet that concealed his blushing face from everyone looking at him. "Besides, I have to train. I got Neji to deal with in the Chunin Exam finals . . . which you've been doing a crappy job helping me with!"
"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," Jiraiya answered coolly.
"Yeah, right." Naruto scowled beneath his helmet. "Hey, Anko, would you like to train with me? I wanna see how this armor works."
"Sure, kid," Anko purred. "I've been jonesing for someone to play with and you're just about perfect."
"Sayonara, Pervy Sage!" Naruto shouted, and rode away with Anko.
Two weeks later, Naruto had gotten the hang of his riding machine, which he'd learned was technically a motorized bicycle. For the sake of simplicity, though, he called it a "motorcycle." He'd also figured out the Joker Memory and the device that it plugged into to generate his black armor. Inside the black armor, he was stronger, faster, tougher, and his senses and reflexes were more acute.
It wasn't just the black armor, though; Anko had kept him on his toes throughout their time together, using her snakes to pursue him. She'd acknowledged his improvement only when he was able to not only evade, but counterattack her snakes with his bare hands. At that point, he was certain that if he could react to snakes, he could react to Neji's attacks, which were just about as fast . . . if not faster, from what he'd seen.
He'd also taken the time to visit Lee in the hospital, just in time to find Gaara ready to kill him or something. To his great shock, Gaara had revealed to him that he had a Tailed Beast sealed inside him, one that had driven him quite insane and made him into a hated outcast among his people, an outcast that hated everyone just as much as he believed everyone hated him. That was why he had become such a brutal killer – to prove his existence, he had to erase the existences of others, or so he believed.
On his way to the arena where the Chunin Exam finals would be held, Naruto thought about Gaara, unable to get the red-haired Sand ninja out of his mind. Was that . . . what I could have become, if it wasn't for my friends? Would I have become the same kind of monster Gaara turned into?
Once again, Naruto had gotten distracted, distracted enough that he'd almost missed the arena. A small smirk crossed his face. It was time to make the new and improved Naruto Uzumaki known to his village. Revving up his motorcycle, he charged into the arena and skidded to a stop right in the center where the other genin – with the exceptions of Sasuke Uchiha and Dosu Kinuta – were also waiting.
"Yo!" Naruto announced himself as he got off the motorbike and dusted off his new clothes. Instead of a blue headband, Naruto now wore his Leaf-issued forehead protector on a longer black headband. He also wore an open black jacket with orange spiral patches on the shoulders over a black chainmail shirt and black pants with orange spiral patches on the knees.
In addition, he wore a pair of black open-toed boots with armor on the feet, ankles, and shins, as well as fingerless black gloves with metal backing marked by the symbol of the Leaf. A white strap around his waist held the L-shaped red device into which Naruto would insert the Joker Memory to summon his armor, with the Joker Memory safely contained inside the inner pocket of Naruto's jacket.
"Always gotta be a showoff, huh, Naruto?" Shikamaru drawled lazily.
"Whatever," Naruto grunted good-naturedly, taking his place beside the other genin. "Hey, where's Sasuke?"
"Beats the hell out of me," Shikamaru replied.
"Stand straight," the jonin on scene, Genma Shiranui, instructed. "You're future chunin. You should carry yourselves with pride."
Naruto stood straight, looking out into the surprisingly large crowd. "Where'd all these people come from?"
"All over the Elemental Countries," Shikamaru replied. "Wanna bet a lot of those people came here for Sasuke?"
"What's so special about him?" Naruto asked irritably.
"The Uchiha clan was feared around the world for their abilities on the battlefield," Shikamaru explained. "Now Sasuke's the only one left . . . lotta people out there wanna see how the guy lives up to his family's rep."
Naruto scoffed, but deep down he felt a little insulted. Where the hell was his family, huh? Were they all dead? Did they just drop off the face of the earth? Did they all go away somewhere so they wouldn't have to put up with him?
He refused to dwell on it, though. He wasn't going to cry in front of all these people and humiliate himself. He was Naruto Uzumaki, and even without a prestigious clan or any other kind of family, he was going to kick the living hell out of anything and anyone that got in his way.
"I'll move that riding machine of yours so it doesn't get in the way of the fighting," Genma offered.
"Thanks," Naruto replied. "Just be careful with it."
"I will," Genma answered, taking the moment to move the motorbike to the far side of the arena before returning to the genin. "All right, the first match is between Naruto Uzumaki and Neji Hyuga. Everyone else should move to the watching area set aside for Chunin Exam participants to avoid injury during their fight."
Shikamaru, Shino, and the Sand Siblings moved into the watching area for Chunin Exam participants, leaving Naruto alone with Neji and Genma, who stood between the two remaining genin. "Remember, the fight will go on until one of you surrenders or is unable to continue without risk of permanent injury or death. It should be mentioned that I have discretion to intervene if I believe one of you is in danger of death or permanent injury. Now, begin!"
Genma got out of the way, leaving Naruto and Neji to stare each other down. "I don't care what new clothes you made for yourself, you are still fated to lose," Neji sneered.
"The only reason you won was that Hinata didn't want to hurt you," Naruto retorted.
"She never could hurt me," Neji rejoined coldly. "She was always too soft to be a Hyuga."
Naruto withdrew the Joker Memory from his jacket pocket. "Let's do this."
"What is that thing?" Neji asked.
"Something to even the odds a bit," Naruto replied before slotting it into the L-shaped device on his waist. He pushed the device to unfold it into a more V-like shape and a glowing letter "J" shone off that device's mount. "Henshin."
A cyclone of purple-black energy engulfed Naruto, sheathing his body in black armor with large red insect-like eyes and a "W" crest that from far off could be mistaken for a "V" over those same eyes. Purple bands wrapped around his wrists and ankles, and a purple design that resembled a "W" spread over his chest and shoulders.
The transformation that had just occurred caused almost everyone in the audience to gasp, some more audibly than others. "How did he do that?" Sakura shouted.
Naruto . . . Hinata thought worriedly. What did you do to yourself?
Hanabi Hyuga, Hinata's younger sister, turned to their father Hiashi in search of an explanation. Hiashi's initial response was a hard stare out into the arena where the transformed Naruto faced off with Neji. After a few precious seconds, he spoke. "This is nothing but a failure attempting to show off. Neji will beat him. His Byakugan and fighting prowess are the most developed I have seen of this generation of our clan."
"Yes, Father," Hanabi assented.
Inside the arena, Neji scowled at Naruto. "Do you really think such a showy transformation will change the outcome of this fight at all?"
Naruto smirked beneath his mask and pointed at Neji. "It's time to count your crimes, Neji Hyuga!"
Neji chuckled and activated his Byakugan, the veins surrounding his eyes bulging and his pupils dilating enough to become manifest in his otherwise blank eyes. He shifted into a taijutsu stance. "You're too pathetic to scare me, trying to act like some flashy superhero out of a silly children's manga."
"We'll see who's pathetic when I'm done," Naruto rejoined calmly. "Make your move . . . bastard."
Endnotes: There you have it. The first chapter of my Naruto/Kamen Rider Double crossover is complete! The new Kamen Rider Joker is ready to take on the pride and joy of the Hyuga clan for Hinata's honor, but will his newfound abilities measure up to Neji's skills? How many other Gaia Memories will be revealed over the course of this story? Will there be new Kamen Riders, and if so, will they be allies – or adversaries? For the answers to those questions and others, hang on for next chapter and be sure to review!