A/N: This is what comes from obsesssing over One Piece too much! I go crazy with conspiracy theories! This ficlet is a byproduct of a challenge that I might have heard of a while back, but no worries, in case any of you haven't noticed, I'm updating regularly now and NONE of my stories are abandoned! Updates for ALL of them are on the way, as I have demonstrated with Prince of Darkness and Nakama! Oh, and for any of ye who wonder, this takes place shortly as in, just after the Alabasta Arc!
He leapt, long and high.
Lightning split the sky into a thousand pieces. Thunder boomed. Far below, and all around, the sea raged. The rain and wind scoured him clean. He opened his mouth and felt moisture on his tongue for the first time in what felt like a century. After so long in the pit, it tasted like freedom itself. He swallowed, gulping down the water; lapping up that sweet and bitter H20 as a massive wave clapped him across his body and left him deafened.
He had meant to hit the ground running, but fate had other plans.
Instead, he hit the deck with a harsh, metallic thump. Unable to support the weight inflicted upon it, the rotten timber gave way, leaving him to tumble to his doom. In a heap of yellow, red and black, he fumbled to his feet, heedless of the many splinters protuding from his back. Wounds were irrelevant. Pointless. He needed to keep running. Surely his pursuers hadn't given up the chase; not after all they'd gone through to capture him.
Why was that again?
He winced, the letters on his arm throbbing in painful protest with every step. They'd been branded into his arm during his brief stay in the government facility. He didn't want to look at them. Didn't want to acknowledge what he already knew to be the truth. Even so, his inborn curiousity eventually betrayed him. He stole a brief glance for the wound; warily eyeing the black letters that still pusled an angry, throbbing shade of crimson.
His earliest given memory was of having those runes carved into his flesh. A hellish experiment that left him reeling, devoid of any memory of his past life or existence. Power thrummed in and out of his body; bottled up, begging for release. He clung to the one thing he did remember, and that was his name. Knowing it gave him little comfor in the end however; because he'd long since given up trying to claw out this hellish tattoo.
'Where am I?'
It burned as he ran, this name that was carved into his flesh, that bespoke of silent and nameless destruction. He hadn't the foggiest of what pluton was, nor what significance the name bore for his pursuers. He knew only that he had awoken to find himself unbound for the first time since his captivity. For the very first time since the experiment had first begun, the slighest sliver of light, of freedom, had been offered to him.
Needless to say, he'd taken it and run with it.
'Who am I?'
And still he ran.
'What am I?'
Raw and bleeding, his feet drummed against the ground.
'WHAT IN THE HELL AM I ?'
The pounding beat of his stride originated in his heels and ran up his legs, through his hips, and along his spine until it terminated at the base of his skull, where the recurring impact jarred his teeth and exacerbated the headache that seemed to worsen with every passing step. He couldn't hear the sound of her pursuers any longer; the thunder was all but deafening in his ears, drowning out all else.
He kept running.
He had to get out to sea. He had to get out to sea and then...and then what? Steal a boat? Escape? Despite his complete and utter lack of memory, he somehow knew that he had no skills in navigation. How it was that he knew that, remained to be seen. He could swim, right? Couldn't he? Despite the vauge feeling of nausea at the thought of trying to swim to freedom, he hastened to renew his pace.
"Hold it right there, Uzumaki Naruto!"
The name struck a chord somewhere deep within him. He tripped; stumbled, his pace lessening for a hairsbreadth of an instant. Somehow that name, his name, held some manner of thrall over him. Who's voice was that? A woman? Yes, the voice most certainly belonged to that of a detected the faintest tint of pink when something began to stir deep within the undergrowth. Who could it be?
He didn't wait to find out.
He flung himself forward anew, barreling back into the forest, making for the coastline. At least, he hoped that was the coastline. He could have been running in circles for all he knew, but aything was better than standing still. He held no desire to return to that hellish pit. Just the thought of it sent a raw surge of sheer terror down his spine. No, if it came to that, he'd sooner commit sepuku! Anything, anything! He'd do anything if it meant he didn't have to go back to that hell!
Then he smacked into something.
"W-What in the hell...!"
"Greetings." A soft voice boomed above him. "Naruto."
The lad known simply as "Naruto" clamored backwards, his eyes wide and disbelieving.
"W-Who in the hell are you? How do you know my name...?"
The man was large, of that much he was certain. He was a great, hulking shadow in the night, his face illuminated only briefly by the light of the storm. As a jagged streak of violet crackled across the clouds, he received a brief glimpst into the shadows of that face. Huling over him amidst the branches a square jaw bellied a body that was as large as it was wide.
He held a bible in one arm, and began pulling off a glove with the other. Naruto had the briefest glimpse of a strange, pad-like apparatus embedded into the man's palm. Now, he realized his peril. He didn't know this man, but for some reason, the very sight of him filled his soul with dread. The tattoo on his arm shrieked in protest as he scrabbled a pace southward, his hands clawed furtively against the ground; feebly trying to find some semblance of purchase so that might be able to escape this newest obstacle.
A dull whump echoed just outside his vision. Then the strangest of events occurred.
His hand inexplicably closed around a piece of fruit and stayed there. No more than a hairsbreadth later, he tripped, coming down on the offending piece of fruit that had been shoved at him; mouth first. On some raw instinct he swallowed. It proved to be the best decision of his life, though he would have no way of knowing it at the time. Suddenly, his body refused to respond at all, even in the slightest.
"A gift." The voice of the bear man came from behind him. "You've just been force fed the Chikyū Chikyū no mi. Be grateful to me for my assistance, welp." Naruto snarled, his eyes flying wide at the age old insult. But the hulking gargantuan no longer stood behind him, and the sudden motion drained what little energy he had left. His stomach gurgled but once, then he was forced to bend double as his body ultimately betrayed him for the fifth and final time.
Scarce had he taken two steps than that black jacket and white bullseye swelled before his vision once more. Something crackled across his face and sent him sprawling. By the time his body agreed to obey him again, the bear-man loomed over him, his hand at the ready. Naruto broke out in a cold sweat and screamed at himself to move but it was useless; utterly futile. He made it to his elbows; just before the eerily familair assailant spoke to him.
"If you were to go on a trip...where would you like to go?" The bear-like man asked. "Uzumaki Naruto?"
"What the fuck?"
Naruto paused, momentarily struck by the incredulity of it all. Before he could hope to form some semblance of an answer the sound of crashing and cracking stormed through the forest. They'd found him. His day was done. He was going to be dragged back to that pit and they were going to continue embedding those foul and perverse things into his veins and...and...and...
Damn it all to hell!
"A-Anywhere but here!" he rasped aloud. "Anywhere!" The words took the last of his strength from him. At that very moment, several men armed with heavy artillery burst in and out of the clearing, leveling dozens of barrels and sightnings upon the blond. The rain was all but blinding now, but in the harsh glare of their spotlights, the grove was lit as bright as daylight.
"As long as there's plenty of land, and lots of hospitable people!" Naruto added hastily, wondering why on earth he'd thought of that last part. And why was it that the strange bear-like man was smiling, just now, even as Marines and Government officials stormed into the clearing?
"Shichibukai Kuma has apprehended the weapon!" One of them shouted! "Quickly! Prepare the tranquilizers! Before it goes berserk again!" But Naruto was no longer focused on the mention of his impending fate. Rather, his mind was unfocused, the world swimming through his eyes as his body was wracked with convulsions. Blast it all! He didn't understand any of this! What was a Shichibukai? Who was Kuma...Bartholomew Kuma?
Kuma? The seventeen year old froze in mid-breath as a flood of memories assaulted him at the thought. Images of a lab, of an operating table, of wires, needles and various machine parts flickered through his vision in a dizzying haze of blues and greens that left him more than a little disoriented. What in the hell? He clutched at his head as yet another migraine assaulted him; his world fading to black at the edges as white spots speckled before his vision.
Naruto had just enough sense to jerk his head upward. The guns fired in unison, and at that very instant, just before the nedles could send him back into oblivion. A pawprint filled his vision and then there was only blackness. He felt like he was flying through space for the briefest of instants, then his head collided with something harsh and entirely unyielding, something that shattered as he shot past it and into what felt like utter oblivion.
Then he sank into true blackness for what felt like an eternity.
A/N: Hurrah for Kuma! But where, or where will Naruto land (HINT HINT Alabasta WINK WINK) Anyway, someone mentioned this idea to me by chance, and, well, since we know next to little or nothing of Pluton (or its twin, Poseidon) I figured, hey, why not? What if Pluton was a person? Or at the very least, a massive weapon of ungodly destruction that was fused with the shell of a man and thought to be human? I hope you all like this original idea, Sorry if any of you are confused! Please review! Reviews speed my recovery and the updates of My Pride is a Hurricane, which will be following soon and forthwith!
Chikyū Chikyū no mi=Earth Element=LOGIA!
Oh, and remember...NO CANCER FOR ME! YOHOHOHOHO!