What up? Finally got the urge to work a bit more on this fic. More, definitely to come. I may take a long time, but I never quit.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or the Jak and Daxter franchise. If I did, the horror that was 'The Lost Frontier' would not exist.
Boredom...it had officially set in after the first race. The next wasn't for another few days, and the only one managing to keep busy was Keira, who was working on everyone's car modifications. It had gotten to the point that Naruto was actually meditating...though he was getting several odd looks. He had stabbed a kunai into the floor and was half in a trance while in a one-armed hand-stand while balancing on the weapon. It may have seemed bizarre to the others, but to him, the inverted position had a special meaning. Beneath his shirt, unseen by the team, the dark eco crystal was seemingly clinging to his flesh, veins of the dark substance spreading out from the point of contact, visible beneath his skin. Sensing the looks, his eyes shot open, a dark violet color, before returning to their bright red. Luckily, nobody noticed.
"Can I help you?" he asked, a bit irate at his meditation being interrupted. Bending his arm, he snapped it back and pushed himself into the air, landing back perfectly balanced on the ring of his Kunai, prompting Daxter to whistle, impressed.
"Now that's what I call 'Upper-body strength," he said, hopping up onto Jak's shoulder. "Why can't you do that?" His partner just gave him a dirty look, prompting the ottsel to just chuckle nervously and leap down. It was times like these he really wished Tess was around. She may have become an ottsel like him, but she was still more than enough to back him up...that and she had this thing she could do with her tongue...he shivered a little at the thought. "Note to self, call up the girlfriend. Daxter needs some lovin."
"That is pretty impressive," Jak finally agreed. "You must have had to train your body for years to have the strength and balance to pull off a trick like that." The whiskered blonde scoffed.
"This?" he asked. "This is child's-play for a shinobi like me."
"Shinobi?" Ashelin questioned, crossing her arms and leaning against the wall. "I've seen and heard of a lot of things, but I've never heard that term before." Naruto nodded.
"You wouldn't. Most shinobi are very secretive. Luckily for you all I'm not most shinobi, so I'll clue you in a little," he replied. "We're warriors. Specially trained from childhood to be the deadliest fighters in the world. We work in silence, mastering espionage, deception, and assassination." At the looks he received from his teammates, he gave a feral grin. "You don't think Krew kept me around for my devilish good looks, do you? Rayn, maybe, but Krew, never." Upon the declaration, the blue-haired young woman scowled, though a blush did adorn her cheeks, before she turned and walked away in a huff.
"That explains why you're so brutal on the track," Torn said, thoughtful. Still smiling that eerie smile, Naruto plucked his kunai knife from the floor. A wind seemed to pick up in the room from nowhere, swirling around the spot where the blonde was no longer standing.
"Believe you me," rang out the disembodied voice of the ninja, seemingly coming from everywhere at once. "Krew, this competition, even you all value weapons too much. I hate having to resort to such brutality to win, but on the track there is no such thing as a subtle kill." Jak, Torn, and Ashelin, the three best fighters, searched the room with their eyes, trying to find the source of the voice, of where their teammate had gone. And suddenly, he was upon them, each pair of eyes widening as they felt cold steel at their necks, a clone behind each of them wielding a kunai. "As for me, I have learned the art of death. I understand it. I revel in it. I am assassin. I am Mercenary...I am fighter for hire. I am fear, I am shadow, I am death itself. This is the way of the Shinobi."
Each clone suddenly disappeared, the original taking their place, dropping from the ceiling. "I could have killed you all before you would have realized death was upon you. Lucky for you all, we're on the same side." Rubbing her throat, Ashelin growled before pulling out her pistol, but she was stopped by Jak and Torn, who forcibly lowered her hand. Again, Naruto smiled, and now each could see his nature, and knew to be wary. "Really, Ashelin, that temper will get you into trouble. Now then, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see where Rayn ran off to."
As he followed Krew's daughter, something in the back of his mind told him that little display might come back to bite him later, but at the moment he didn't care. He was still reveling in the pure rush of Dark Eco channeling into his system. Much like the Kyuubi's chakra, the feeling of empowerment was incredible, but like the demon's power, it also had its drawbacks. For example, the feeling of euphoria which he felt, telling him in his mind that he could do anything without consequence. He took a deep breath to steady himself and rid him of those feeling, before he came to the door to Rayn's room. He knocked.
"Rayn, can I come in?" he asked.
"No," was his reply. Of course, being Naruto, this didn't stop him from entering anyway. He smiled a bit at the tic mark forming on Rayn's forehead.
"I see all that time in the Wasteland hasn't affected your manners," she said, albeit laced with sarcasm.
"Well, you know me," Naruto said, leaping onto her bed and stretching. "I've never been one to listen when someone tells me 'no." Suddenly he had moved from his spot to behind the glaring girl. "Not that you've ever really said no to me," he whispered in her ear, sending a shiver down her spine. She would have been lying had she said she hadn't been expecting what came next. She felt the tingle of his lips on her neck, his breath raising goosebumps and his teeth nibbling at her bare skin.
"I recognize those sheets," he said, motioning toward Rayn's bed. "A memento, maybe? How I loved the way the silk flowed across your skin." At this point Rayn had had enough and twisted around, glaring daggers at her former lover. Naruto seemed honestly confused by this. "Whoa, I was trying to get you worked up, but not like this," he announced, only to be met with a slap across the face. "What the hell is wrong with you?" he asked incredulously, only to receive the same withering glare.
"What's wrong with me?" she asked, heatedly. "I seem to recall you being much smarter...but four years without a call, no letters...I guess my memories of you have faded." Naruto actually backed away from the girl, who was breathing heavily, a strand of hair falling in front of her eyes, as if to show how dangerously close the normally composed young woman was to outright blowing her top. "Four years, Naruto. At least before then I'd get to see you between your jobs, but then you just drop off the map into the wasteland, and into the arms of some...some...monk WHORE!" Eyes widening now as Rayn advanced on him, he backed into the wall as she got in his face.
"How do you know about her?" he asked, stuttering a bit. Rayn poked him in the chest to emphasis her message.
"My father was not the only one with connections," she hissed. "I was trying to find you, convince you to come back. When they finally did manage to locate you, they saw you with her. To be honest, they had thought she was a man until she removed her clothes and you...you..." Naruto's cheek stung as she once again slapped him across his face. He didn't complain. Now he knew what it was for, it was clear he deserved it.
"I'm sorry," Naruto said, hanging his head. "You deserved better than that, and I'm sorry." Rayn turned around, crossing her arms. She couldn't continue to look at him, see how dejected and pathetic he looked, and remain angry.
"You're right, I did," she said. "But I don't believe I can forgive you...at least, not so easily. You and I both know how dangerous trust is in this business. You had mine once. You had it and you threw it away. If you want it back, you'll have to earn it." As she walked away, Naruto cracked a bit of half-smile.
"So all that stuff about it just being for stress relief...those really were all lies, weren't they?" he asked, prompting Rayn to stop in the doorway, turning back for just a moment more.
"Do you know what hurt me the most?" she said, and for a second, he swore he heard her voice begin to crack, and her eyes had glossed over with tears which she was too stubborn to let fall. "You never even said good-bye." And with that, she left Naruto to his own devices.
Falling. It wasn't a new sensation for Naruto. Tumbling downward at great speed. But it was different this time. He wasn't sure if it was something about the falling itself, or maybe how much blood he'd lost, but for some reason, Naruto didn't move. He couldn't. He could not stop himself. There was nothing to grab or latch onto in the open air. The whistling winds in his ears on further disoriented the blonde, and it sunk in that he had absolutely no idea where he was. No clue why he was falling.
He felt it before he hit. A strange tingling sensation throughout his whole body. His hair stood on end and his skin ridged up with goose-bumps from the almost electric energy coming from below. And then he landed. It wasn't the ground, but it wasn't water either. The thick black liquid was like electrified tar, but Naruto still couldn't move. He watched the thick substance flow over him, felt it burn his eyes and lungs as he accidentally inhaled some. He had no idea where he was, no idea what was going on. But it didn't matter. He had resigned himself to his fate, drowning in the energized goop, sinking ever deeper into the substance.
As the lights began to dim, he began to make out raspy whispers. He couldn't quite understand what it was they were saying, but it was soon drowned out by a roaring in his ears. He felt it. His one lifeline. As the red chakra flowed from the seal, the tar-like liquid began to bubble and swirl, and the burning feeling became almost unbearable. The liquid reacting violently for a moment, before Naruto went completely numb, unable to feel anything, and he began to slowly reverse course, floating back toward the surface.
As he breached the surface, he gratefully gulped in the fresh air. Managing to turn his head, he noticed that the battlefield was gone. He now found himself in what appeared to be a vast desert. Whatever he was floating in seemed to be a natural spring of the dark liquid. Before he could ponder what had happened, he watched some sort of...vehicle, drive up to the edge of the pool, and saw figures get out and just stare at him.
Waking up, Naruto yawned. The dreams didn't bother him so much anymore. He had them enough to get over them by this time. Throwing on some clothing, as well as his twin necklaces, the young man left his room and entered the main area of the racing team, finding his teammates Jak and Daxter already awake, eating breakfast. Giving them a slight nod of acknowledgment, he moved to the refrigerator to get something to eat for himself.
"Can I ask you something?" Jak said as Naruto came back into the living-room area. Naruto quirked an eyebrow, but nodded.
"I think you just did, but ask away," he replied, plopping down on the couch.
"How did you start working for Krew?" Jak asked, and Naruto just shrugged.
"Sig introduced us," Naruto said. "I assume you know him. Me and Sig go way back. He was one of the first people I met out in the Wastelands." Jak and Daxter just gave each other a look.
"So where are you from originally? Haven? The Wastelands?" Jak said, but Naruto shook his head.
"Neither. I was born in a small village called Konoha. In the village military since the age of twelve. Probably a good thing. Those Spargus citizenship tests can be brutal," he replied.
"I know what you mean," Jak said, but was met with an incredulous look from Daxter.
"YOU know what he means?" he replied, grabbing his tail and showing it to the two. "I'm just lucky my fur grew back."
"Well, I'm impressed you actually continue to go along with the crazy shit Jak here puts you through," Naruto announced, closing his eyes and thinking. "That being said...you wouldn't last a day as a shinobi..." Daxter, who previously had beamed at the complement, now had fallen over, planting his face to the floor. Alerted to the sound of footsteps, the three looked up to see Rayn enter the room.
Upon realizing Naruto was looking at her, she gave a little 'hmmph' and stuck up her nose, refusing to look at the whiskered blonde and the reality of just how upset she really was hit him. Until now, she had been trying to distance herself, remain proper and business-like, which is why she hadn't mentioned anything the night before. But now that things were out in the open, she was being downright icy toward him, and he really couldn't say he enjoyed it.
He had always told himself that Krew's daughter liked him, liked being with him. But like always she had never admitted anything, claiming that it was just for stress relief, or just for fun...or that time she had just gotten wicked drunk. He shook those thoughts from his head. The point was she had never shown any interest in him romantically, only sexually. And when she began getting more involved in the 'family business' and he started to take more contracts on the side, the two had drifted apart. A mission to Spargus had managed to take his mind off of things, especially when he met a young Monk girl named Seem.
At first, she believed she could purify him. Cleanse him of the Dark Eco. But soon, the nature of their relationship had gone from enlightenment to romantic. She reminded him of Haku from back in the day. Only where Haku was a boy that usually dressed and acted like a girl, Seem tended to dress a little more ambiguously. Being a monk, it never mattered to her. But she more than confirmed that she was all woman. Unfortunately, being a monk, she and her brothers and sisters at the temple could not reconcile their beliefs with Naruto's Dark Eco training. He never told her good-bye either. He realized solemnly that he had a habit of leaving without good-byes.
Jak and Daxter shared a look, confused at how quiet Naruto was being. Normally, he'd have been flirting with Rayn, sharing some lewd or perverted remark. Despite not knowing him very long, this out-of-character moment was confusing. "Something happen between you two?" whispered Daxter, only to receive a piercing stare from the ninja.
"Don't worry about it. It's my business, not yours," he replied, standing. "If anyone needs me, I'll be working on the Blade." Descending into the garage, he saw Keira assisting both Torn and Ashelin on their vehicles. They eyed him warily, but upon seeing him move toward his vehicle, relaxed slightly. Ashelin, very slightly. She'd be damned before she let the ninja get the drop on her again. He pulled up the schematics of the Road Blade. He contemplated adjusting the chakra-conversion so he could turn his normal chakra to blue-eco and thus turbo, but decided against the idea. Using the Kyuubi's chakra was different. It didn't waste his own energy, and he only needed quick bursts. Chakra as blue eco would be far too draining, even harmful to his health in theory.
"Need any help?" He raised an eyebrow and turned to see Keira, her face smeared with oil and grease, looking over his vehicle.
"Not really. Just need to make sure she's in working order for the next race," he replied. "I currently have all the upgrades I need. Maybe as the tracks change I'll need to make some adjustments, but I can do that myself. When you're in the wastelands, your vehicle is essentially your life. I know how to mod with the best of them." She circled his car, practically drooling.
"I'll say. Look at this beauty," she announced. "And boosters up front. Ridiculous in theory...definitely smart in practice. It was actually a good move. Not many people think about stopping in these races." Naruto nodded. It was after all the whole point. To augment his breaking system. Cursing from Torn grabbed their attention and Keira rushed over, trying to stop the mess the former Krimzon Guard had caused. He knew his way around a vehicle, but these cars were rather temperamental. Naruto had learned that the hard way, or rather, his clones had. So far, they had been crushed by tires, burned out in turbo tests, and hit with misfired weapons. Not pretty, or fun for the original to remember.
"You know," said Daxter, the furry ottsel sitting on the back of the couch. "Aside from a draft in my nether regions, I feel fine. Maybe Krew was bluffing about this whole poison stuff." The hope in his voice was crushed by Ashelin, who came up from behind.
"I had the bottle analyzed," she sighed. "There were traces of Black Shade at the bottom, a rare and deadly plant found in the wasteland. We were poisoned alright." Her hands were balled into fists. If there was one thing that Ashelin hated, it was feeling vulnerable. And right now, the hopeless vulnerability of her situation was beginning to get to her. It was then that Rayn stepped forward.
"Father never cut corners," she announced, disdainfully, and Ashelin looked disgusted to even be in the presence of the Crime Lord's daughter. "Trust me," she continued. "It's the real deal."
"Never Fear!" Daxter shouted, leaping into a standing position with enthusiasm. "When the going gets tough...Jak will get us out of it."
"We're just gonna have to win the whole thing," Jak proclaimed, much to his partner's ire.
"Against those lunatic racers out there?" he asked incredulously. "What are the odds?"
"You don't wanna know," whispered Torn, in his own state of depression.
"Odds mean nothing," Naruto said, stepping from the shadows, racing helmet beneath his arm. "Just a bunch of numbers. Way I see it, it's all fifty/fifty. We either win, or we lose. May not be very good math, but at least in my mind, we got a lot better shot than what some stupid odds say." That seemed to perk up most all in the room, even Rayn. The only one not having it was Ashelin.
"Sorry guys," she said. "But I'm not going to trust my life to anyone but me. Just stay out of my way, I'll win."
"Well somebody here had better win," Daxter exclaimed, more than a bit annoyed. "Or I'm gonna be very pissed...and very dead..."
"Well, I better head out to the Loading Docks," Naruto said. "Wish me luck...but then, being the only one on the track should make things easier."
"So what do these, 'Death Race' challenges involve?" asked Jak, and Naruto smiled that slashed smile again.
"Oh, you know, blowing up as many dummy cars as possible, rack up points for kills, that kind of thing," the ninja replied. "And in case you forgot, killing lots of things very quickly is kind of my Shtick. Don't go worrying your pretty little heads. I'll bring home the gold...might even set a few records."
"Just win and get it over with," said Rayn coolly. "The sooner we finish this troublesome business, the better." Naruto just nodded, putting his helmet on so nobody could see the frown mar his face. Heading to the garage, he leapt into his vehicle and sped out, moving into position on the track. As he reached the starting line, he internally sighed as G.T. Blitz made a carside appearance.
"So, Naruto," he began, smiling that irritating grin that made the ninja want to slowly rip each tooth out one at a time. "You ready for a Death Race? After your performance at the last race, you seem to have developed a few fans that love your bloodthirsty nature. Any comment at all?" Turning to the man, he raised the visor of his helmet.
"Just make sure that the track sweepers are ready," he said, and Blitz could have sworn it sounded more like the feral growl of an animal. Flipping his visor back down, he watched the lights flash down, revving his engine, ready to start. When the green flashed, he slammed his foot on the gas. And as his tires spun and squealed, he gave the commentator a solid one-fingered salute before he got the traction he needed and sped off. A stunned G.T. Blitz was left at the starting gate, glad his camera could auto-censor images.
The cars began to appear on the track, and Naruto used his machine guns to take out a few. But even with their paper-thin armor, he wasn't close enough to manage any real damage. Drifting around a corner, he hit a blue eco charge, filling his turbo. Letting the boost loose, he easily covered the distance between himself and the dummy cars. He crashed into a few, almost causing him to lose control and crash into a wall, but points were points after all. Hitting a yellow eco charge, he drifted the corner only to drive over a boost-pad, automatically boosting him so he could shoot up the ramp at speeds high enough to make it across the gap.
Looking to his weapons which he acquired, he smirked before firing off both homing missiles in the air, easily destroying two more of his targets. Twenty seconds of his three minutes had come and gone and Naruto had already destroyed twelve dummy cars. In order to score a bronze metal, he needed a score of thirty. For silver, seventy, and for gold, a whopping one-hundred and ten. He smirked. Childs-play.
"Give me a challenge!" he shouted, filling his vehicle's dark eco tanks with each kill, and unbeknownst to the racing officials and even his team, using what control he had over dark eco to charge the dark weapons even faster. Kill thirty got him the desired result. What happened next...was slaughter to the highest degree. Even his team, watching the event from the racing garage, were a bit awe-struck. A few were even a bit nauseous at the rate and proficiency of the killing. It was pure carnage.
Blitz on the other hand was loving it. Ratings were shooting through the roof with each kill. Despite his dislike of Krew's race team...and Krew in general, the excitement was starting to get to him. Too bad...the kid would have made a fine addition too.
Finishing the three minutes, Naruto had managed to accumulate one-hundred and eighty-six kills, seventy-six more than he even needed. He drove back to the mobile garage, not a word being said over the com-link, despite his teammates all congratulating him on his rather brutal performance...all except Rayn and Ashelin that is.
Long time coming, but figured I'd get this out, since I'm forcing Karasu87 to do a Jak and Daxter fic lol. And the plot thickens. And before any of you get on me about Seem, the jury is out. The official Jak 3 website lists Seem as male, which is supported by Daxter who casually refers to Seem as "Monk Boy", and by the PS3 trophy "Dude in Distress", which is earned when saving Seem at the temple. However, the official Jak 3 guide and commentary refers to Seem as female. Seem's body type is ambiguous to either gender. Fans are largely divided on the subject. So no complaints.
Peace to all my fans
Fan of Fanfics