Author's note: Hey guys! Welcome to Animal. To previous readers, welcome back! To new readers, this story is a sequel to another one of my stories called Crossroads. It is not imperative that you go back and read Crossroads, but since it is a great story, I recommend doing it at some point in your life!
Also, my editor helped out with this story too! The designs of the characters vary from who designed them and who didn't. I'm not going to bore you with the details of who did what (mostly because I don't remember who did who… All I really remember is that I did Sasuke and Zeera did Kakashi… . Sorry…)
So yeah, story takes place four years after the events of Crossroads. Have fun and hopefully I'll do better with the whole updating thing!
Disclaimer: (because we all know that I have to do it!) By writing this story, I do not claim ownership of Naruto, the characters, places and ideas present in the story. They belong to their respected owners. This is for pure entertainment. No copyright infringement intended.
Rated T for: Blood, violence, and mature themes.
Chapter One: Monster
Great Naruto Bridge
October, 25th, 2010
The voice was quiet and breathy. Two cloaked men stood, not facing each other, on the center of the Great Naruto Bridge. One man had on a black cloak with red clouds while the second had on a full black one. "Only by a few moments…"
"That is sometimes all one has…" the second hissed softly. "Were you followed?"
The first heard the second shift his position, as if in agitation. "Not followed by anyone you didn't want to follow you…" the man corrected quietly. Sure enough, the black and red clad ninja had a second… A female with vivid blue hair, but the man knew she would stay hidden.
"Enough with this banter. Do you have something to offer me or did you call me at this unholy hour to chat?"
"Patience, my dear Nagato…" The man forced himself not to flinch. "Are you aware of the legend of Raikansuropu?"
"Transformation into a wolf?" Nagato whispered. "Or the medical condition where one believes they have turned into an animal?"
"Take your pick."
"Yes I've heard of it… Why do you want to discuss werewolves?"
"I come to offer you a jutsu I call Raikansuropu no Jutsu."
"the Art of the Werewolf?" Nagato shook his head. "That's absurd. What does it do? Turn the user into a wolf to be a slave to the full moon?"
There was a slight chuckle from the man behind him. "All in due time…"
"I won't agree to this plan unless I know what I'm getting my organization in to."
"Of course. Mistrusting and cautious. Exactly why I choose you, Nagato…" The Akatsuki leader held his ground. "The jutsu has no effect on the user if the user does not wish it. Its purpose is to transform anyone in the range of the jutsu to turn into an animal…"
Nagato shook his head slowly. "It doesn't sound practical… what's the point?"
"Have you ever heard of the Frog in Water experiment…?" Nagato didn't answer and the man didn't seem to mind. "It's said that a frog, with every ability to escape, will allow itself to slowly be boiled to death if the water is raised one degree at a time in slow intervals."
Nagato blinked slowly. "What does this have to with anything?" he snapped.
His question was ignored. "Do you know why the frog will not save itself?" There was no wait for an answer. "Because the frog doesn't notice the change until it's too late…"
"That's all good and well, but…"
"Patience!" the man snapped. " Raikansuropu doesn't only transform affected ninja in body, but also in mind. The change, however, is gradual, and…"
"Like the frog, they won't notice what's happening to them until it's too late…" Nagato finished. "But… Won't having animals running around make it difficult for us to attack?"
"No… You too will be turning into beasts, but not in the mind, just the body…"
"I see…" Nagato whispered. "And if I refuse…?"
"I will do this jutsu with or without you backing me up. If you want your group in on the secret and allow them to escape the mental affects of the jutsu, you won't refuse…"
"Then we accept…" Nagato agreed softly.
"Good… I wish you luck in your quest and for now, I bid you adieu.."
"Wait! Who are -…?" Nagato spun around, but all that was left where the man had been was a single fluttering leaf. "Konan!" Nagato called. "Did you see his face?"
"No, sir…" the blue haired woman whispered. "He was wearing a mask…"
Konoha, Kakashi's house
"Kyuubi! Kyuubi, where are you?"
"Here, boy!" the fox replied, standing tall over the teenage.
"Kyuubi! What's happening? Where am I?" Pain was blossoming in his chest, spreading and growing like a noshed flame. The vision began fading. "Kyuubi!" Naruto screamed. The fox roared at him, as if in warning, but as his roar continued, it began to fade out of existence.
A hand reached out and dragged his shoulder. Naruto screamed and fell back in a pool of blood. "Wha-?" he whispered as his strength began fading.
"You can't escape forever…" a bitter voice hissed.
Pain ripped through his body again and Naruto gripped the ground. His whole body shook. "N-no…" he gasped…
"SENSEI !" the child screamed. He shook his head. "J-just a dream…" he gasped, still shaking. He went to grab his head, but stopped. When he looked down there was a black paw… "What…? Still dreaming…?" Naruto shook his head again and noticed ears hitting himself. He twisted his body around to see nine orange-tipped tails laying on the bed. "KAKASHI!" Naruto screamed.
He jumped off the bed but wobbled and dropped to all fours. Naruto looked back at his body. It was covered in sandy fur, the tips of the tails fading out into the same orange-red color the Kyuubi was. His four paws were socked with black fur giving the image of wearing black boots. Naruto turned his streamline head to his mirror. He head tall, pointed ears, capped with the same orange color as his tails. Fluffier fur fell across his shoulders and chest giving him the appearance of a lion-like mane. .
The body itself was graceful. The tails waved in a constant fan-like motion and everything about the body was stunning. Naruto shook his head and watched everything settle back into place. Naruto's ears pricked up. All around him he heard various animal sounds. Outside sounded like a zoo that wasn't maintained well at all.
"Naruto!" a voice screamed from outside his door. "Let me in!" Naruto turned to the door and blinked his bright orange eyes. How would he open the door…?
"Coming…" he called quietly and stepped towards the door. With a soft sigh, he turned his tails to the door and bucked like a horse. Surprising to him, his hind legs slid right through the door with little resistance milliseconds before a loud crash could be heard.
"Naruto…?" The boy turned fox turned around slowly and then jumped back. Before him was a lion, slightly smaller than the fox himself. Bi-colored eyes blinked at the fox. The lion was a dark navy blue, the color of the Jounin clothes, with green and red markings on his back as if he were wearing the Jounin vest. The lion's mane was a beautiful silvery-grey color and the paws were black.
"Sensei…?" Naruto asked quietly. "What's going on…?"
"I don't know…" Kakashi muttered. Naruto found it strange to hear his teacher's voice coming out of the lion's mouth, but he figured that Kakashi thought the same thing when he heard Naruto talk. The lion stood a good half foot smaller than the fox. Naruto noticed that he was broader in the shoulders and more muscular than the lion. "Genjutsu?"
"I don't think so…" Naruto whispered. "And I don't think we're the only ones…" Outside the noises became more panicked and confused as more ninja started to find their companions.
"Kakashi… Naruto-kun?" Naruto looked over Kakashi's head to see a tiger standing behind him. The creature was inverted, with a black body and orange stripes. It had an eye patch on its eye and orange goggles.
"Obito…?" Naruto asked. The tiger dipped his head. All three animals spun at the sound of a loud "oof" and a crash. Obito led the run back into Sakumo's room. What they found was a pure white wolf struggling with a vest.
"Dad…?" Kakashi ask. "What are you doing?" The wolf lifted his head at the sound and smiled sheepishly.
"Well… I want to wear my vest…" Sakumo whimpered softly.
"Why?" Kakashi asked. "You're a wolf… It's not like you need to wear clothes…"
Sakumo looked at everyone and sighed. "I want to add color… Everyone else are different colors and well…"
"You're white," Naruto finished.
"Exactly!" Naruto watched as Kakashi lifted one of his massive paws and placed it on his forehead.
"I don't see how you're related to him, Kakashi…" a female voice teased behind them. Naruto turned his massive head to see a dark brown cat behind them. He blinked. The creature was about the size of a lioness, but not nearly as broad in the shoulders. It was built like a large Turkish Angora, but the most stunning feature of the cat were to two large, deep purple wings folded on its sides.
Kakashi and Obito were both staring, stunned, at the female creature. Sakumo had a devilish, wolf grin on his face and Naruto found the two members of old Team Seven's reactions to be hilarious . "Rin, I'm guessing." Sakumo observed as he seated himself and began attempting to pull the zipper up on his vest. Neither Obito or Kakashi had made any sort of move on Rin since she came to live with the hodge-podge family, though Naruto knew both wanted to.
"Hatake-sama, I don't think you really need that…" the girl whispered.
"Don't bother," Kakashi muttered as he sat down on his haunches. "There's no reasoning with him when he's like this…" The man looked at the assortment of animals assembled. "Now we just have to figure out why we're animals… Then go check on everyone else…"
"Akatsuki," Naruto stated with a matter-of-fact tone.
Kakashi lifted his head and blinked slowly at Naruto. "Why do you say that…? What purpose does this serve?"
Naruto shrugged. "Well, I'm the fox, right? And I'm assuming Gaara is a Raccoon Dog, and so on and so forth… The Akatsuki would be able to locate us easily. They probably have some sort of upper hand on this whole operation…"
"What about the Sound?" Obito asked doubtfully.
"No motive," Naruto answered before Kakashi could utter a word. "Why would Orochimaru want to turn us all into animals? It makes no sense to me…"
"Orochimaru is crazy…" Sakumo muttered as he rolled around on the floor, struggling with the zipper.
"Insanity doesn't account for something like this…" Kakashi muttered, cutting Naruto's remark. The fox shrugged and seated himself. He twisted around to lick at some dust on his shoulder as the man continued speaking. "I think Naruto might be right… The Akatsuki has better reasons for doing this to… Naruto…? What are you doing…?"
The fox stopped in mid-lick and turned to Kakashi, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. "W'a?" he asked with a cock of his head.
"Nothing…" Kakashi muttered and then bowed his head. "Whatever the reason, we don't know exactly when this jutsu does, so step lightly…" Naruto was only half listening. He was suddenly very interested in making sure his newly found pelt was clean. "Naruto! Stop that!" Kakashi snapped finally. Naruto let out an exasperated sigh and plopped on the ground. Kakashi sighed deeply.
A loud roar woke him up. It sounded angry and hateful, but also confused. Sasuke moaned softly and rolled over, but was instantly hit with a massive wave of pain in his back. The boy bolted up, blinking in confusion. He looked down at his hands to see black paws instead. Lion? he thought. He gracefully jumped off his bed and looked at himself.
His body was pure black. He sighed and walked into his bathroom. He put his two massive front paws on the counter to look at himself in the mirror. He had a mane on his neck that was decorated in a flame pattern. He wasn't entirely correct about his first assumption. He was a lion… but only part of the way down. Around mid belly his midnight fur changed into raven feathers. Sasuke blinked at the Eagle talons that made up his back feet. Gryphon…? he thought, then he smirked. Not bad… Not bad at all… He spread his black wings and jumped to see that on the inside of them was his Sharingan. Well then… he thought with another, wider smirk. As he folded his wings, he noticed that when they came together, the pattered on the center of each wing created the Uchiha symbol. "Not bad…" Sasuke muttered. He was well pleased with his new form.
However, but the sound of another roar, he could tell that someone else wasn't all too pleased with their new form. Sasuke let out a loud yawn, marveling at his massive canines and then left his room, heading towards Orochimaru's. He passed Kabuto's, but didn't stop as he went. Besides the door was open and Kabuto's sent was beginning to become stale, meaning he hadn't been in the room for some time now.
Sasuke continued padding through the Labyrinth of hallways. Why in the world do we need so many rooms…? he asked silently. With a shrug, he finally made his way to Orochimaru's room. "Orochimaru-sama…?" Sasuke asked, but was answered with another angry roar, followed shortly by a terrified whinny.
The door suddenly exploded, spending shards of wood everywhere. Sasuke was face-to-face with a white lion with a long black mane. "Sasuke…?" the lion asked, astonished. Sasuke nodded. Behind the lion was an indigo horse with a white band across its belly and markings around its eyes that made it look like it was wearing glasses.
"And I'm guessing the equine thing behind you is Kabuto, right?" Sasuke asked as he sat down gracefully on his haunches. He noted with satisfaction that he was larger and more muscular than Orochimaru. "Funny, I would think you would be a snake, Orochimaru… And I figured Kabuto would be a rat…" Kabuto stomped his hoof and snorted in annoyance. Sasuke shrugged. "I wonder if dear nii-san is a weasel…?"
"If this made sense, then yes he would be," Kabuto snorted. "But it doesn't make any sense, so he's probably a snake!"
"How fitting," Sasuke snapped. "You're quiet, Orochimaru-sama… Cat got your tongue?" Orochimaru roared in anger and annoyance at Sasuke, but Sasuke didn't so much as flinch. The lion in front of him was not threatening. He looked like a frail, brittle old thing. Scrawny and pale, Orochimaru wouldn't hold his own in a fight against Sasuke now. He figured that since hand signs were out of the question, their fights would be brute force alone, and Orochimaru would be snapped like a twig.
"What is going on, boy?" Orochimaru snarled finally.
"Now how would I know that, Orochimaru-sama? Maybe you should ask Kabuto. Isn't he the smart one?"
Kabuto narrowed his dark eyes. "I don't know what's going on anymore than anyone else does!" the horse snapped.
"Well then, I guess he's not as smart was we were all led to believe, huh?" Sasuke hissed. "Anyway, I don't see what the problem is. I don't mind this form at all."
Sasuke smirked at Kabuto. The man caught that he was being stared at and whinnied softly. Sasuke hissed and then laughed as the horse jumped nervously. Oh, this can be fun. The man's a prey animal and I'm a predator. Eventually he will fear me… I just have to figure out how to get rid of Orochimaru… Lions are lazy creatures… Maybe he'll just make himself useless and leave us alone. I don't know how long that'll take… But I have time… I think I have all the time in the world…
He flexed his wings, spreading them wide. He went to fold them, but stopped as he noticed Kabuto staring at them. His eyes moved until they found their way to the red feathers in the shape of the Sharingan. The horse's knees buckled suddenly and he dropped to the floor, whinnying and snorting fearfully.
Sasuke smirked as he folded his wings. Oh, this is going to be fun…
Author's note: Awesome! I finally finished! Wow, that took forever! Sorry guys!
Just to clear things up, Sasuke is a Gryphon, not a Griffin. The difference is that a Gryphon is a term used for a half-lion, half-eagle creature with human intelligence and the ability to speak while a Griffin is just an animal that follows instinct. Since Sasuke will not be affected entirely by the jutsu, as far as the mind goes, he is and will be considered a Gryphon.
Rin isn't really anything but a winged cat. I like things with wings, so that's why she's that! You guys will get to the meet the Akatsuki and all their animal glory in the next chapter! Bet you'll never guess what everyone is! Good luck, though! Hope you enjoyed the first chapter!