Yo, wassup readers? I'm sure you're all ready for the chapter so let's go ahead and dive into this pleasurable business.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Bleach. Within the next ten years, writers of fanfiction will be writing this statement when my own anime show becomes a major hit in the industry. No B.S. I'm dead serious. Until then, I'm cool with doing this.
Chapter 6 – Fate: Damnation
The sky was clear as the clouds listlessly drifted in the upper atmosphere. Shinigami moved on with their daily routines as the day passed. For one Uzumaki Naruto, this day was becoming a pain.
"Dammit, why isn't this working?!" The spiritual jinchuuriki growled as he relinquished his hold of his reiatsu once more. Perspiration glistened on his countenance as his upper robes were discarded under a nearby tree. Closing his eyes, he took to deep breaths, calming himself as his attitude began to even out.
It had been several months since his induction to the Second Division, Yoruichi had decided that he would go to the basic training, if only to motivate everyone else. The month flew by rather quickly to the whisker-cheeked shinobi, taking each day at a time. The only time it was difficult for him was when Soifon had to instruct a few lessons, knowing for a fact that her actions were purely ornery with him when she called him out. He couldn't recall how many times she had done so, but Uzumaki Naruto doesn't back down from anyone so she could throw that theory back to the pits of hell for all he cared. Damn straight.
Naruto and Soifon never had the chance to spar with each other, her work schedule becoming busier for one reason or another, much to the shinobi's ire. Still, it would never stop him from messing with the lieutenant before she would try to put him in his place.
The golden-haired shinigami's memories unfortunately continued to leave him. There was nothing he could do at this point; having done all he could in saving them after he wrote it down in a journal that he had kept hidden in his room. No one knew that he even had it, the shinobi doing everything in his power to keep it that way.
The first week after basic training was finished, a group tried to trash his room as an initiation of his official stay. The shinobi didn't take to kindly to that, making sure that they visited Unohana for the next two weeks. The second division learned something that day…if Naruto didn't invite you, don't go in his room.
Speaking of his memoir book, the shinobi looked in there and with the help of Kyuubi, remembered that he had a technique that cloned himself. Naruto knew the usefulness of the technique, lighting a fire in his heart as he decided to try and bring back the jutsu or at least replicate it.
Which brings us to his current situation.
Naruto sighed quietly as he reined back his frustration. "Alright, what am I doing wrong?" He whispered to himself, trying to recall how making a clone felt. He heard a sigh within his mind, making his eyebrow twitch in annoyance.
"You honestly are struggling to remember…" Kyubi said, surprised of the whole ordeal. "It's only been a few months since our death… This was the move you always had on-hand, you were able to litter the area with a legion of clones..." The fox woman said quietly, a small part of her sympathizing with her jailer.
The shinobi grimaced, lightly narrowing his eyes. "I know… Maybe I'm going about this all wrong?" When he would try to make a clone, he could feel himself missing a step. It was like he couldn't solidify it when it came time to make the clone appear.
Kyubi thought about it in contemplation. "It shouldn't be that way. You are overloading the jutsu with your reiatsu, but that shouldn't be the hindrance. Perhaps it's the seal you're using…"
Naruto's expression became one of confusion. "I know the seal is what I used when I was alive…"
The former demoness sighed, silently holding in her annoyance, "Yes, but think about your situation…"
The shinobi paused for a moment before the wheels in his mind began to turn. "Yeah I know I'm dead, but the hand seals shouldn't be different. Their basic hand seals aren't changed from ours." The former sage thought to himself before he paused as an enlightening passed through his mind. "…But maybe being alive and being dead could actually have a different effect on jutsu?"
The vixen-like woman narrowed her eyes as she began to explain. "That's what I'm saying. If that's the case then maybe you have to alter the seal or find a different seal altogether. That could take years…" Kyubi paused, closing her eyes as she finished, "This is rather strange, but I'm sure we'll figure it out. Try it again."
Naruto sighed as he began to gather his reiatsu again. He placed his hand into the trademark cross handseal and focused. "Kage Bushin no Jutsu!" He whispered as he began to divide his reiastu. The spiritual energy briefly swirled next to him as a ghostly version of himself appeared. The shinobi continued his focus before looking at his transparent clone. The clone blinked once and looked at his maker, waving as a grin appeared on his face.
Naruto closed his eyes in a blank expression as he summed it up. "…That's not the kind of clone I was looking for."
The see-through copy looked at its creator with the same expression. "Don't judge me you jackass." The former sage's eyebrow twitched in annoyance.
Kyubi offered an amused smile. "It's definitely a clone, if its attitude is meaning anything."
Naruto frowned lightly as he thought back, "This ain't right..."
"It's different." The former demon said, her mind going to work. "Have it try to hit you." The shinobi quietly sighed.
The jinchuuriki waved to his clone. "Hit me." The clone looked at him for a moment, not sure if he heard right. Naruto grew irritated, "Come on! Hit me!" The cloned wasted no time as it attacked, its fist blocked by the former sage.
The Ninetails focused on the clones' energy as it touched her container. "Hmm…it's solid, but the clone feels weak somehow." She knew there was something missing, a small detail that was overlooked. The shadow clone technique produced much more solid clones than this.
Naruto nodded in agreement, his azure eyes narrowing in contemplation as his mind went to work. "Solid, but weak…" He began to recall how chakra felt compared to reiatsu. "Chakra had more substance. It was heavier. But reiatsu is lighter, more controllable than chakra…" Revelation dawned on the shinobi, uplifting his palm to face upward. He slowly created a Rasengan, feeling the energy being forced together. "If I can compact my reiatsu more then maybe my clone can be more solid…" Dispelling the jutsu and the clone, the golden-haired man thought back, "What do you think Kyubi?"
The red-haired woman remained quiet for a moment. "It sounds plausible. Unfortunately, you have someone coming to see you." Naruto inwardly frowned as he felt someone approaching his position. Quietly, he vanished within the trees.
Yoruichi appeared a moment later, silently landing on a branch. She narrowed her eyes as she didn't see her subordinate. "I know he was here…" She wondered to herself, increasing her awareness to her surroundings. She stood on the branch before looking down to see Naruto staring back with a grin. She sweatdropped seeing him stick to the other side of the branch that she was on, hanging upside down.
"Yo!" Naruto greeted, giving a two finger salute. "Something you need, Yoruichi?" The shinobi asked, rather content with his place on the tree. The captain of second division shook her head, smiling from his antics.
"I can't just see my charge?" She asked, giving a small pout. "I'm hurt Naruto. I thought you would've thought better of me."
Naruto grinned foxily. "Did I ever say that I didn't?"
Yoruichi allowed a feline smile to grace her features, standing back up as she used reiatsu to keep herself on the branch as she slid around the tree limb to hang beside the shinobi. "No, but I do wonder sometimes." The stealth captain grinned before she continued, "I just need you to run an errand for me."
The shinobi blinked before releasing his hold of reiatsu on the tree branch, prompting his superior to do the same. Landing quietly on their feet, the jinchuuriki questioned, "An errand? I thought this was my day off. Why don't you ask someone else to do it?"
Yoruichi gave a flat expression. "Because I want you to do it. Besides, it isn't all that bad. I just need you to retrieve a message for me."
The Ninetails' host sighed quietly. "I guess I'll have to continue my training another time." He looked at his squad leader, resigned to catering to her. "Alright, who is the person I'm supposed to get it from?"
Yoruichi grinned in her small victory, much to Naruto's irritation. "It's the lieutenant from Squad Ten."
Naruto blinked for a moment. "Rangiku-chan?" He merely shrugged his shoulders, more so glad that it wasn't Kenpachi or Byakuya. The noble captain always put him off, challenging him whenever they encountered each other. His attitude reminded him too much of some of the people he knew of in the past.
Kenpachi on the other hand…was an addict. Battles were his craving and he loved the high. The stronger the person the higher he was…insanity wise anyway. Though, Naruto was willing to admit, when fighting him he was forced to give more than a hundred percent. While a pain all in itself, the results were worth it. The jinchuuriki could confidently say had more than enough respect for the captain.
In knowing this, it never changed his opinion that the captain was just too out of his damn mind for him though.
"Rangiku, huh? I can't remember the last time I saw her…" Naruto grinned to Yoruichi. "Alright. I'll be back then." He vanished via Shunpo, clearing out the area.
Yoruichi stood in the clearing for a moment, looking around the place. "Why was he training way out here?" She wondered, knowing that her division's training grounds were about three miles away. She didn't dwell on the thought any longer, deciding it was for the best. She sighed before leaving the area.
The more she tried to figure him out, the more questions would rise concerning him…
Naruto took to the rooftops, finding it easier this way than dodging anyone in his way. Just like he wanted, the shinigami below were unaware of him, leaving the shinobi a peace of mind. When he found an empty street, he hopped to the ground, a block away from Squad Ten's headquarters. The shinobi began his walk, blending in with the crowd as he continued to his destination.
Naruto reflected on his life here in the Soul Society, seeing the improvements he strived for. His usage of Shunpo had been much better, but couldn't change his feet leaving the surface just before he would perform it. Yoruichi tried to instruct him on it, but ended in failure. They went as far as going to Kisuke looking into it.
The results weren't what they had expected.
Flashback: Two weeks ago
"Why are we going to Kisuke again?" Naruto was rather annoyed to say the least. While he was all for a visit to a friend, what did it matter about how he executed one technique? "I'm able to use Shunpo and I get from point A to point B, even in battle so what's the deal?" He felt a fist impact his head, getting an agitated sigh from his commander.
"It's the fact that you somehow manage to lift of the ground every single time just before you use it. It's something worth looking into, especially since it's something you can't control. Besides, I'm sure Kisuke told you to stop by and I'm sure you didn't, so now we're going." Yoruichi answered, not particularly caring of how her charge felt about the matter. She needed to know the reason of this problem, believing it had something to do with his reiatsu itself.
The former sage briefly looked at her, wondering why she was so dead-set on this. "My reiatsu can't be that different from everyone else…right?" Regardless of Kyubi, his spiritual energy shouldn't be much different. He took another glance, seeing her gaze calculative as it was curious. But there was a small gleam of anxiety that glimmered for a moment before it disappeared, her attention on to him now.
A small feline smile graced her features. "Checking me out now?" She asked, her grin spreading a little. "I'm surprised it took you this long before you would get bold." The captain teased, amused by the light blush that came on his face.
Naruto couldn't stop the heat that rushed into his cheeks from being called out like that. Dammit, he thought he was over that! Nonetheless he composed himself fairly quick.
"Or maybe you finally took note that I had my eyes on you the whole time. Besides, don't think I haven't seen you sneak your glances on me, undressing me with your eyes." He responded, the blush replaced by a playful grin. What he said was true, knowing that he had caught his superior checking him out from time to time.
Yoruichi smirked lightly in response. "I never hid that from you. You have sparked my interest, you know. I just like to take my time with these things." She wasn't lying to him. As time passed the shinobi had been maturing, both mentally and physically. His battle prowess was something that evolved her Stealth Squadron, always coming up with tactics and ambush plans that would have a 'safety net' so to speak, should the initial plan backfire. The Second Division overall respected him, his warm nature changing the division for the better. His influence had even affected her apprentice, Soifon becoming a little more open and less cold to people.
There was also the Josei Shinigami Kyoukai (Shinigami Women's Association) that had been making these calendars for next year and had been looking for candidates. Everyone had thrown in their votes and opinions with her blond subordinate surprisingly getting a good sum of votes out of the group of men they selected. She still had yet to get a suitable picture, but his month would be October.
The irony there was beyond her at the moment.
Naruto shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, giving a lazy smile with a hidden gleam in his eyes. "Take as long as you want, though don't expect me to sit around for you. You may not be the only one that I have my eye on."
The chocolate-skinned captain became even more interested. "Oh? There's someone else besides me?" Her golden eyes showed her amusement, her mind wondering who else the shinobi was referring to. "There are a few that want him, but him looking at someone?" She wondered for a moment, a small part her she was unsure if she liked that or not. Her playful side however, allowed her humor to shimmer in her eyes as a subtle smile graced her visage. "Well that will be fun…" She couldn't really tell if he was joking or not, but that didn't too much bother her. It was something to consider though.
The jinchuuriki didn't say anything, merely placing his index finger to his lips teasingly. He felt that he finally had her in her own game. "What will you do now, Yoruichi-chan?"
Kyubi grinned in amusement, her jailer underestimating his division captain. "Placing the seed of doubt was a nice touch. But this woman is completely confident…and she knows what she wants." The red-haired woman felt a small twinge of something, watching her container's dealings with the purple-haired woman. She shrugged it off, not deeming it something worth looking into.
The former bijuu looked at Fuujin, who was rather quiet in her own thoughts as she had her eyes closed to the ordeal with a bemused expression. It was strange to actually have someone with her instead of waiting for her host to visit, but it was appreciated. She looked back through the shinobi's eyes, watching to see what the chocolate-skinned woman would do next.
Yoruichi gave a feline grin before she vanished. The shinobi blinked before he felt her arms wrap around him from behind, her hands sliding slowly across his chest. She moved her lips to his left ear, pressing her ample bosom against his back in the process. "Whether you have your eyes on someone else or not, I don't care." She whispered sensually in his ear, sending shivers down his back as a light blush appeared on his face. He felt her soft lips lightly gracing his ear as she spoke, making it all the more difficult to fight the urging that was beginning to rise. "I enjoy a little competition. But know that if I want you…" She mover herself closer before kissing his whiskered cheek velvety and deliberate, emphasizing her point. "Then I'll have you." She finished with an alluring smile, releasing him from her hold as she reappeared ahead of him.
Naruto looked at Yoruichi with a light pink hue glazed over his tanned cheeks. The captain looked back with a knowing smirk as she moved with a sway in her hips, her haori doing little to hide her figure. She knew that she had his full attention, enjoying her small victory all the more.
Naruto continued to walk, his mind temporarily distracted as he knew he had lost their little verbal fixture. He closed his eyes for a moment, getting his bearings together as attentions from a beautiful woman weren't always in his schedule for his daily life, as embarrassing as that sounded. A small grin appeared on his face as he thought to himself, "Alright Yoruichi. I'm game."
He could hardly remember the last time that any woman had taken interest in him in a romantic sense. While he had met plenty of the fairer sexes, there were few that were taken in a dating fashion.
While his memory still continued to depart from him, he vaguely remembered a young woman with pink hair and jade green eyes that he had once harbored feelings for, even if she had eyes for another.
It was someone one his team too, as a frown almost had a permanent place on his visage. He was treasured by the place that they were from, being the last of his family. It really made no sense to the shinobi, wondering why girls were into guys like that. That same guy…defected for…something, he couldn't recall, but he did know that he had to fight for him during that retrieval mission.
It was on that beginning of that same mission that Naruto let his feelings go of the pink-haired girl, understanding that he could never find the same affections from her as her heart stayed with that traitor. It hurt him quite a bit, but he was a better person for it.
Then there was another girl around his age, a beautiful one, who held feelings for him. He never saw it, a combination of him being dense and what he had been going through at the time. The most distinctive feature that she had was her pearl-colored eyes, as if she were blind. While her name escaped him, Naruto could recall the warmth that she held within those eyes whenever she gazed at him. That was what he always had liked about her. Unfortunately she was killed trying to save him, proclaiming her love for him for the first and final time. It was the first time anyone had told him that they loved him. That alone had driven him mad for some time. This was one of the memories that he couldn't shake, haunting him as a nightmare in the past.
Another woman, one of the most striking he ever encountered, was a red-haired woman who had a particular knack for flirting and melting her opponents. She was a leader for…yet again; his memories failed him, unable to pull up what country she was for. She was rather a tenderhearted woman, intelligent as she was observant. He couldn't even remember how they met…something about an escort job… Well she took a shine to him, appreciative that he could actually have a legitimate conversation with her as they talked about some of the deep-rooted issues in their lives. Due to circumstances, they were forced to part separate ways, meeting each other on occasion.
He could remember the woman's warm smile and the mirth that danced within her green eyes. Naruto could remember a night where they had just embraced one another, her responsibilities as a leader as well as her loss in the war affecting her as she had broken down crying. She was the one to show what it was like to give up her own needs to tend to the people, something that had been taken to heart. He could also remember how she died, taking a fatal blow from a sword to her chest, protecting one of the nation's military leaders. He could remember running to her downed form, her bloody hand tenderly caressing his face before she passed. That was a part of the more harsh nightmares, having that one recently. He couldn't sleep for the rest of that night from it.
But the woman that had impacted him the most gave some of the most memorable experiences in his entire past life. She was also a violet-haired woman, much like his captain. Her eyes were black, but were perceptive as most of her shinobi career was to remain in the shadows…always wearing a mask. His remembrance of her were a constant, whether by thought or by dream. He could even recall waking a few times with tears in his eyes.
Flashes of the kunoichi came to his mind, ranging from walking together, having a few spars, to just talking. He loved her; he knew that, a part of him still there. It was blurry, but he could remember the time they spent when they were together. No one knew except them, not wanting to put each other at risk. And yet…
She was killed, trying to help buy time so that he could access Kyubi's chakra when he fought that masked man. Her dying, loving gaze was one of the most recurring visions that he saw throughout his time here in the Seireitei. And it hurt him every time.
"…I'm sorry…" He thought in remorse, closing his eyes if only to hide his thoughts from all those around him. Naruto sighed, fighting to put the thought into the back of his mind. He had to keep pushing forward. This was a new life with new people and opportunities. No need to dwell there.
If he would have looked up he would have saw the worried gaze of Yoruichi on his person.
"Ah, Yoruichi and Naruto! What brings my two favorite people here?" Kisuke was excited as he was boisterous, happy that he had pleasant visitors instead of his lieutenant bringing him paperwork. Now he had a legit reason to ditch the paper stack of hell!
The former sage responded with a grin while his captain smiled. "It's Naruto. His reiatsu needs to be tested and you're the person for the job." Kisuke allowed the two into his room, closing the door behind them.
The sandy blond nodded in excitement, grinning as he locked it to ensure their privacy. "So you finally come for that." Urahara moved to the duo, sitting in front of them with a smile. "Good. I made a machine for this purpose, but I'll need some of that reiatsu to get it to work!" He offered a hand to his fellow blond.
Naruto blinked in confusion, reaching out for the handshake. Both grasped each other's hands in a greeting fashion for a moment before the shinobi felt a pull on his reiatsu. Kisuke's gray eyes shivered in concentration, tugging on the jinchuuriki's spiritual energy. He released the whisker-cheeked man's hand, taking his reiatsu with him. He held a hand-full of the blue energy, grabbing a small scanner-like apparatus near his desk before he dropped the radiating power on the little device.
Everyone remained quiet for a moment before Kisuke spoke, "You have some potent reiatsu my friend." His face was focused as it was calculative. "It seems like your reiatsu is dense by nature. I've never seen anything like it." Yoruichi looked at Kisuke, her attention on him while Naruto lightly grimaced, hoping they wouldn't ask too much about it.
"How potent is it?" The stealth captain asked, needing to know if it could affect her. She glanced at Naruto, seeing an attentive, otherwise blank expression on his visage. She inwardly frowned. She could never tell what he was thinking when he did that.
Kisuke gave a small frown as he lifted his hand. "My hand was numbing because of handling it. Its density overrides my own, and it's not even concentrated." He looked at the shinobi. "Let Yoruichi pull on your reiatsu so she can understand."
Naruto nodded in compliance, offering a hand as he looked at her. Yoruichi looked at him for a moment before placing her slender hand over his, pulling on his reiatsu. The shinobi pushed his spirit energy into his hand for easier access, allowing her to take a hand full like her fellow captain did.
Yoruichi held Naruto's reiatsu in her palm, feeling that it was more resilient that normal spiritual energy. "My…" She marveled for a moment, molding it to her control. It was strong, each particle made to be as effective as possible. It lightly gave her chills as she allowed the two reiatsu signatures mingled with each other. She pause as her eyes lightly narrowed, feeling her hand numb from her subordinate's reiatsu as it began to weigh against her own. She released her hold of it, the spiritual energy dissipating into the air.
It was but a moment afterwards did she regain the feeling in her hand again. She looked at Naruto, having a different perspective of him as well as a new appreciation as she could see the potential of having denser reiatsu. "Your reiatsu isn't as scattered as everyone else's. It's more durable. Granted that you have to have more control for it, but it's something I've never encountered before. I see why your Rasengan is powered like it is." Naruto lightly blushed from the compliment, sheepishly scratching the back of his head.
She continued with her analysis, looking at Kisuke. "It's like his reiatsu is wired to the fullest. I let it intersperse with my own before it weighed my spiritual energy down as it started numbing my hand."
Urahara nodded in agreement as he focused back on the machine. "Precisely my point. His reiatsu wouldn't just blend in because it can't. So instead, it'll try to muscle down the reiatsu around it." The sandy blond sighed as he deactivated his machine, allowing the reiatsu to disappear into the air. He looked at the shinobi with a happy expression. "Your reiatsu is definitely on steroids!"
Naruto sweatdropped, a part of him rather offended. "My reiatsu is not on roids!" He sighed, feeling his honored defended enough. "It's just… naturally wired." The two captains gave him a deadpanned expression, making him fold his arms as he pouted childishly. "Damn haters."
"You're damn right!" Yoruichi said rather childishly, lightly frowning. "My reiatsu doesn't get that kind of density until I use Shunko. You have that kind of reiatsu on a daily basis; you could do so much damage with that." "And I could do so much more in my cat form…" That last thought made her inwardly sigh, partially envious of her charge.
She became serious as her golden eyes bore into the shinobi's azure pair. "Do you know why your reiatsu is like that in the first place?"
Naruto gazed at her before looking at Kisuke, seeing that both were looking for some kind of explanation. How could he tell them that he had a former demon within him that had resonated with his energy since day one of his existence? While they were his closest friends, he wasn't ready to say anything about it. There was no chance in hell that they would believe it anyway.
The shinobi sighed as he stood up as he walked to the door. "I don't have a clue." He unlocked the door before opening it. "It's just me." He finished with a small grin as he walked out, closing the door behind him before vanishing with a shunpo.
Kisuke and Yoruichi looked at each other in concern. "…You think it has something to do with his first life?" Urahara asked, seeing his childhood friend staring at the door in worry.
Yoruichi nodded quietly, frowning at the false smile that Naruto parted with. "It has to be…"
Little did they know, that whole conversation watch overheard by a person that sat on the rooftop. The shadowed figure stood up with a small smirk. "Just you, hm? Good to know, Uzumaki. Interesting…" They vanished, the wind blowing from the sunset air.
Naruto sighed as he became aware of his surroundings, finding that he was standing in front of the lieutenant of Squad Ten's quarters. He stared for a moment, wondering if they would be here at this time of day before shrugging lightly, knocking on the door.
The wind lightly blew, no one answering the door as Naruto sweatdropped. He looked to his left and lightly slapped his head. "Of course no one would be here; she would be in her office…" He disappeared, taking to the rooftops once more to find his target a little ways from his current position.
Naruto landed on the rooftop of Squad Ten's office silently, looking at different people walking in and out of the place. The shinobi hopped down, landing gracefully as he grinned. He was rather excited to see two of his friends. Though, he felt terrible for not visiting them like he should have. The shinobi shook off the thought before he entered inside.
The former sage was greeted to the sight of Toushiro sitting at the captain's desk, furiously writing on some documents. Without looking up, the white-haired prodigy asked, "Is there something you need? I'm rather busy at the moment." He heard a light-hearted chuckle, irritating him all the while. Looking up, he stopped in his writing, his eyes expressing his surprise. "Naruto!"
The golden-haired man grinned in response, giving a two-finger salute. "Yo!" Hitsugaya stood up, shocked to see his friend. The ice user walked up to him before jumping up, punching him on his head. Naruto looked wide-eyed as he held his throbbing cranium, his eyes watered. "What the hell gaki!" He received another hit from his last statement.
Toushiro looked at him with an annoyed look. "You put me through a lot of crap!" The shinobi looked up as the young genius continued. "Rangiku wouldn't shut up about you after you disappeared from the hospital! She even dragged me to go looking for you! More than once!" Naruto had the decency to look away shamefully. Hitsugaya sighed, offering a hand. The shinobi finally stood, giving a handshake to his friend. "Still, it's good to see you again."
Naruto grinned, grateful that the adolescent genius calmed down. "Thanks." The shinobi looked around for a moment. "Is Rangiku around?"
Hitsugaya sighed for a moment. "Well, she went on an errand and possibly went to grab more sake along the way not too long ago." The young third seat looked out of the door. "She should be back soon."
Naruto shook his head in exasperation. He just wanted to get back to his training and maybe even prank Soifon later. Before he could think any further, the sound of footsteps reached his ears as he turned to the doorway.
"I'm back!" A feminine voice rang to the two male's ears, watching the door open. A buxom woman walked in with a spring in her step, smiling cheerfully all the while. She wore the standard shinigami attire with a few moderations to accommodate her style of dress, such as the pink sash draped around her shoulders as well as the upper part of her clothing revealing much cleavage of her bountiful bust. On her left forearm was her lieutenant badge wrapped neatly on the appendage.
"Did you miss me Tou…shiro?" Her greeting faded from her shock, gazing at the shinobi next to her subordinate. "…Naruto?" She took a few steps closer, continuing to stare at the azure-eyed shinigami.
The former sage gave a foxlike grin as he waved. "Hey Rangiku-" He was interrupted with the lieutenant abruptly hugging him, his expression softening as the woman held him. He wrapped his arms around her, enjoying the embrace for the moment.
Rangiku finally released him with a tender smile before she punched him on his head, forcing him to squat as he held his head once again. His poor cranium…
"You dumbass! I haven't seen you since the Hollow Outbreak when you were in the hospital! How the hell do you just disappear and forget about us!" Her expression took a softer visage. "Toushiro and I were worried. We heard that you made yourself the bait and almost gotten yourself killed in that hollow incident."
Naruto looked at the ground in shame, feeling the conviction of her words. He glanced at Hitsugaya, seeing his teal eyes on him with hidden concern. He sighed quietly, standing straight as he looked at the two Squat Ten members. "I'm sorry, I got caught up. Me not visiting you wasn't intentional. When I awoke from the Hollow Outbreak incident, I had to go to the captains to explain what happened and graduation was within the same week. After getting sent to Second Squad, I had been training and doing missions." Naruto looked down with a grimace. "It isn't any excuse though…"
Rangiku gazed at the apologetic shinobi before her, seeing that his words were authentic. She remained quiet for a moment before she glared at the determination. She strode to the shinobi with purpose, making him look at her with curiosity. The busty lieutenant grabbed his hand and began to walk out of the room, grabbing Toushiro by collar.
"What the hell Matsumoto-fukutaicho! What are you doing?!" Toushiro asked, not one to enjoy being dragged out by anyone. Try as he might, he found that her grip was inescapable.
Rangiku continued on as she dragged the two males out, releasing them when they were outside. She ran back inside for a moment, making Naruto and Toushiro look at each other in confusion. They looked back to see the strawberry-haired woman run back to them, closing the office door with a sign that read, 'Take the rest of the day off!'
Hitsugaya read the sigh with his mouth agape, his eyebrow twitching as his shock and annoyance were expressed both facially and verbally. "We can't just take the day off! That's total irresponsibility!"
Rangiku placed her hands on her shapely hips defiantly. "When was the last time anyone had a day to themselves? And can you remember the last time we spent time with Naruto? That hospital visit doesn't count!" The short prodigy sighed. Knowing how his superior was, he began resigning himself to his oncoming fate.
She moved closer, her cloudy blue eyes looking directly into his eyes. "And from the sounds of it, you haven't had any real downtime either." She smiled, her eyes lighting up in excitement. "So we're going to hang out for the rest of the day!"
Naruto took in her cheerful disposition, giving a foxy grin of his own. He paused for a moment, remembering his initial reason of being there in the first place. "I'm all for it! Besides, the real reason I came was for you." He said, a genuine smile gracing his features.
Matsumoto looked at the spiritual jinchuuriki, stopping her thoughts as she thought she didn't hear him correctly for an instant. "He's here for me?" She gazed at the shinobi, seeing his azure eyes on her form with a sunny visage. A blush began to appear on her cheeks.
Rangiku was by no means a shy woman, having solid confidence as she loved the attention she attained from her beauty, mostly revolving her ample bosom. But with the way the shinobi was staring at her, she couldn't help the heat that invaded her cheeks… "Why were you looking for me?" She asked; her gazed subdued as the blush on her face increased by a margin from embarrassment.
Naruto grinned sheepishly, scratching the back of his head as he answered, "Well, I was sent from Yoruichi to retrieve a message from you." The buxom woman blankly stared at him before she fell to the floor anime-style, the young genius smirking at her in amusement.
She quickly got up and moved to the shinobi's face, yelling out, "Is that the only reason you're here?! For a stupid message?! You've got to be the worst friend ever!" She moved back, sighing as she folded her arms under her breasts with a small pout. "Whatever…" That didn't turn out like she thought it would. She suddenly grabbed the blond man's arm, pulling him along. "We're still hanging out!" Rangiku chirped, a smile residing on her beautiful face.
The shinobi stumbled as he tried to keep up, wondering how this day was going to play out. He still needed that message but he figured that he wouldn't get that back to Yoruichi anytime soon. He could only hope that she wouldn't give him a beat down when he managed to get back to her.
Tourshiro blinked in a deadpanned manner as he sighed. He turned back to the office door, hoping to get some more paperwork done before the day was over. He reached for the door, only to abruptly feel himself being dragged away from it. He looked up with panicked eyes to see his lieutenant grinning at him.
"Don't think I've forgotten you! You are my favorite subordinate after all!" Matsumoto chirped with a beaming expression. Hitsugaya growled, completely irritated with her.
"Damn it, fukutaicho!"
Yoruichi was not amused.
She sent him on one mission, an easy one at that, and he still has yet to show up! It was already night for heaven's sake! Her irritation was sorely expressed on his visage. "Where the hell is he?" She asked to herself as she walked around, looking for the golden-haired man. "He doesn't normally do this so what exactly is going on?" Her golden eyes looked towards the path for the Tenth Division. "Maybe I should see if Rangiku knows where he is." She vanished, a small cloud of dust picking up where she stood last.
It didn't take her long to get to her destination, reappearing before the Tenth Squad's office. She allowed a bemused smile to grace her features, seeing the sign still hanging on the door. "Obviously they aren't here." She began to walk, looking to find Matsumoto. Yoruichi had a feeling that she had something to do with Uzumaki's absence.
As she approached the lieutenant's room, the sounds of laughter rang out. Her curiosity peaking, the captain continued her way until she was near the buxom woman's room, finding that her door was open. And from the sound of things, there was more than one person in there. A resounding crash was heard before everything went silent. The chocolate-skinned woman finally arrived, walking through the door as an entertained smile made its way to her face.
Naruto was pinned down by Rangiku, her bosom against his chest thoroughly as she lay in between his legs. Her hair somewhat curtained over their faces as she had a blush on her visage, inebriated by the once full sake bottles lying around the room. Her cloudy, grayish blue eyes gazed into his own azure pair, their faces mere inches from each other. Her expression was soft as was her smile, moving a bit closer to him.
"Do you know how much I've really missed you, Naruto-kun?" She whispered, sake hitting his nose as the heat on his face grew by a margin. She giggled lightly, her eyes directly on him as a sultry smile was offered to him. "You know, we may not have known each other that long, but you have this way about you…" Her eyes were half-lidded, moving toward his lips. Naruto was fighting between his libido and his integrity. This woman before him was obviously drunk, so he wouldn't want to take advantage her. But she was asking for it in all but words, if her actions weren't any clearer. He watched her move in on him, going for his lips. His heart raced before he moved his head to the side, making her miss as her lips impacted his neck. It was soft as it was sweet, hitting a tender spot as he suppressed a shudder of pleasure that went down his back. She stopped, becoming completely still.
Naruto looked over to the side, her noticing that she had not moved from her spot on him. He heard something from her, straining his hearing to listen to what she was mumbling about. Her breathing became rhythmic and evened out, making the shinobi slowly realize something. He could finally hear the sound that she made…light snores…
She was sleeping.
With an aggravated expression Naruto moved from under her, maneuvering himself so that Matusmoto could continue undisturbed. He looked at the snickering Toushiro, mentally giving him the bird as he lifted the lieutenant. The shinobi moved to her futon, moving the comforter out of the way as he laid her in gently. He pulled away from her, shaking his head silently as he picked up the empty bottles. Instead of throwing them away, the spiritual jinchuuriki stacked them against the wall next to her bed, making a decent-sized pyramid. He gazed at his quick handiwork with light amusement in his eyes before he turned took look at the short prodigy, only to pause as his sight glances at the door.
His eyes widened as he stared at the doorway, seeing his commander leaning on the door frame with a feline countenance. "…How much of that did you see?" He had to know. The former toad sage thought he would go home and not say a word about that moment, keeping it to his grave. But that smile on her face told it all, she was not going to let him live this down. He knew he was done for. She just had to show up, didn't she?
Yoruichi moved herself off of the wall and replied with a catlike smile, "Enough to know that she missed you." A blush blared on his face as he growled to himself. The captain moved to him as her amused expression never left her facial features. "It seems like someone had taken a shine to my charge." She looked at the snoozing lieutenant, snuggling with the blanket over her. "You must have done something special for her."
Naruto watched the orange-haired woman as she rested with a reserved gaze. "I didn't do anything from what I normally do. I don't know what she sees in me." Toushiro chuckled, moving to the golden-haired man.
"That's just it." Both members of second squad gazed at the prodigy. "You don't try to impress her. That and she noticed that when you two spend time, she would always do something to bring attention to her...pride and joy…but you seemed like you would move past that and try to get to know her as a person. At least, that's what she said once." The shinobi blinked, looking at his adolescent friend. Hitsugaya's eyebrow twitched in annoyance. "It's part of the stuff I went through when you didn't visit." Understanding lit in the former sage's eyes as he nodded.
Yoruichi began to walk out of the room as she said, "Naruto, we need to leave. Take care of yourself and Rangiku, Hitsugaya-san." It was getting late and she had some things to do before tomorrow.
The golden-haired man waved to the third seat. "Later Toushiro. I'll be sure to stop by every week or so." He grinned foxily, giving a thumbs up. "That's a promise." He finally followed his leader, exiting through the open door.
Hitsugaya watched the doorway for a moment longer, his expression of surprise. A grateful smile graced his features as turned out the light and walked out of his lieutenant's room to go into his dormitory. He looked at the moon above them before closing his eyes as continued his path. A small smile appeared as he quietly spoke, "I hope you keep that promise, Naruto. If only to enliven the place more…" No more words were spoken from him as he kept moving to him dorm room.
Naruto and Yoruichi began their walk to their division housing, taking their time as they walked. The shinobi pulled an envelope from inside his robe, passing it to his boss. "Sorry it took so long, but I got that message you wanted." The captain looked at him curiously, taking the parcel. The former sage saw her gaze and lightly shrugged.
Yoruichi on the other hand, wasn't even concerned with the message at this point in time. No, her thoughts were on Matsumoto and her subordinate's intimate moment. The spiritual container didn't try anything like most men would have. That in itself showed respect and self-control, considering that she was the one that initiated it. The captain could see the internal struggle within his eyes, restraining himself when the lieutenant wouldn't.
The stealth leader understood that the shinobi wasn't a normal man. Matsumoto was one of the most sought after women in the whole Soul Society and Naruto avoided her advances out of the respect for her. Yoruichi gazed at the golden-haired man beside her in amusement. "Why didn't you take Matsumoto?"
Naruto's visage became one of shock, his face flushing a rosy hue from the thought. He looked at Yoruichi for an instant, seeing the feline gleam in her eyes. He looked away, sighing quietly as he composed himself. "I didn't want to take advantage of her and do something that we both may regret. If I do have…intimate relations with someone, I prefer them sober. Everything will mean more that way." He gave a small grin, sheepish in his mannerisms as he scratched the back of his head.
Yoruichi stared at him quietly, somewhat surprised even if it didn't show. She thought that his oversight of the matter was rather romantic yet considerate, thinking of the other person as well. She could definitely trust him, seeing that he didn't sleep with Rangiku when she wasn't in her sober state of mind. Color her impressed, she liked what she was seeing with the more she found out about him.
She grinned, deciding to pose a question. "So you wouldn't take me if I was drunk?"
Naruto blushed briefly before he began to walk away in a different direction, seeing that his room was nearby now. "Goodnight Yoruichi." He heard her melodious laughter in the midnight air before he vanished with a shunpo.
Yoruichi allowed a bemused smile for a moment, looking at the spot where Naruto disappeared from. "You're quite the man, Uzumaki." She began walking back to her room, shaking her head as she decided to shunpo to her room.
Naruto made it to his designated area of living, exhaustion coming over him. He sighed quietly, feeling the comforts of his own home. He took off his robes and headed for the bathroom with his nightwear in hand, ready for a shower.
Thirty minutes had gone by before he finally exited, having finished showering and brushing his teeth. He looked around for a moment, stretching his senses before deciding that no one else was in his room. He moved to the closest and gazed at the top shelf, grabbing his hidden book of his past memories before closing the closet door. Walking to his futon, he grabbed his zanpakuto, setting it on his lap as he sat down. He opened the book, skimming through a few of the pages. One in particular held his attention, moving him to read whatever he wrote down about them.
It was a woman, her hair blond as she had warm hazel eyes as a small purple diamond adorned her forehead. Beautiful by many standards, she wore a gray robe with black lining, her sash and her trousers a navy blue as she wore heeled sandals on her feet. Her figure was shapely, proportionate as her assets reminded the shinobi of Matsumoto. He read the name of this person that he stared at.
"…Tsunade…" His memories with the woman were sparse, having a limited recalling of their time together. He could see glimpses of her smiling at him, angry with him as she punched his head and sent him through a wall, a concern visage as if they were talking, and even one of her crying when he was going unconscious. He could hardly remember anymore, frustrating him.
Before his thoughts continued, the former sage felt something rubbing against his thigh. His eyes looked down to see a black cat looking back at him with its golden eyes, rather curious of his behavior. A light smile graced his features. "So you're back again?" The cat purred before jumping onto his lap, looking at the page in wonder. Naruto chuckled, finding the little animal a sense of relief for his life.
"This book that you're on is what I wrote down of everyone when I learned that my memories were fading." His eyes lightly narrowed in a downcast fashion, bitter mirth gleaming within along an undertone of remorse. "I don't remember much of this person like I used to, but she was a great woman. I know we were close." The feline took in the drawn pictures in the book, seemingly marveled by how everything was. It had paragraphs next to the drawings, sharing the experiences he had with her. The cat moved its gaze back on the shinobi, sensing the downtrodden atmosphere around him as he continued to stare at the blond woman's picture.
Naruto felt a pair of small paws on his lap and chest, looking down to see the little animal stretch to his face and lick his whiskered cheek. A small smile appeared on his visage as he scratched behind the feline's ear. "Thanks. I guess I do have to move on, huh?" The former sage looked out of the window quietly, his gaze subdued. "I really missed them today though…"
The cat stared at the Ninetails' host with its beautiful golden eyes, looking away as it put its head on his chest. The spiritual jinchuuriki absentmindedly began to pet it, content purrs sounding throughout the room.
Naruto felt his mind drift, wondering about things here and there before his eyes landed on his zanpakuto. "Fuujin, I haven't heard from you today. You alright in there?" There were days where she didn't speak or have much to say; only really speaking when she deemed it the time to do so.
In his inner realm, Fuujin seemed rather surprised, hearing her wielder ask about her wellbeing. A graceful smile appeared on her visage, finding it satisfying that he was concerned for her. She allowed a miniscule amused laugh escape her lips. "I'm quite alright. But I suppose I should really be posing that question to you." A small frown adorned her features as she could feel the dark pulses of regret from him. It made the realm that she resided in a bit darker, the ruins reminiscent of an olden battleground as the winds were not as calm as before, lightly howling in quiet lament.
Naruto allowed a trivial bitter smirk grace his visage as he continued to pet the little feline's back. "You know me. I'll always bounce back." His smile disappeared, leaving the resentment to remain. "But in all honesty, looking at this lady, Tsunade, it's getting to me. I only see bits and pieces and yet I know that we were close. I wish I could remember more." A quiet sigh escaped his lips. "I don't want to let go of them, you know?"
The wind zanpakuto remained silent for a few moments. "…Losing your memories is going to happen, whether you come to terms with it or not." She spoke, not knowing anything but the realist approach. Her shinigami closed his eyes, crushing the need to yell an outburst so that he could listen. The purple-eyed woman continued in a softer tone. "But what they imparted to you will not. It's a part of you; something from them that you have to keep with you."
Naruto stayed quiet for a while, the words of his spirit sword ringing throughout his mind. His focus moved back to his book of memories, grazing the picture of Tsunade with his fingertips.
He moved his zanpakuto by his futon, making sure that didn't trip on it as he got ready for bed. He shut the manuscript, placing it beside his mattress as his gaze moved to the little animal on his lap. Carrying the cat as to not wake it, he moved his comforter before climbing into the mattress. He placed the sleeping feline away from him, getting himself comfortable as he lay on his side with the blanket covering the lower half of his body. No words were spoken as he closed his eyes, soon becoming unconscious of his surroundings.
The black cat opened its eyes, gazing at the shinobi with a flurry of hidden emotions as its eyes lightly shimmered before it vanished. The little animal stood, moving closer to the former sage as it curled directly next to him. Its golden eyes lingered on his form, finally closing them to get some sleep.
The sun had begun its daily routine, barely passed the horizon line as the morning sky took in an orange hue. Naruto stirred in his sleep, his consciousness awakening as he felt comforting warmth over him. It was definitely welcoming, he decided, enjoying the heat that radiated around him. His azure eyes slightly opened, seeing a blur of purple. Instinctively his vision cleared, finding the violet hue to be associated with hair. With his awareness quickly setting in, his focus led to the realization that there was a body wrapped around him; legs tangling with his as their arms wrapped around his torso.
A few more seconds allowed him to be more conscious, knowing that the body with him was definitely a woman, if the supple breasts against his chest were any indication. Heat slowly yet surely radiated to his cheeks, his eyes still half-lidded as his mind began to race. Last he recalled, he talked to Fuujin and went to sleep a little after that. A low feminine moan reached his ears, feeling a shuffle of movement as he felt the figure nestle into to him. His eyes finally were able to see her face, his vision taking in striking golden irises staring back at him.
"…Yoruichi?" The shinobi called quietly. His mind began to move a million miles an hour, trying to figure out when and how she got here. The captain offered a sultry smile as she moved closer to him, her amusement very apparent. The former sage had so many questions and thoughts in his mind, but there was one that topped all others. "She's here with me in my futon…and I can't remember anything from last night…" The shinobi didn't know whether to curse himself or thank the heavens for the wake up.
Yoruichi held her feline gaze as she spoke with a purr, "Good morning, Naruto…" She pressed herself closer as she enjoyed the heat. "You sure know how to keep a woman warm." She watched the shinobi she held keep his composure with a light flush of his face, deciding to go even further as she leaned to his ear with a whisper. "I certainly enjoyed my night with you…" She allowed a soft laugh to escape her lips as she watched his face become red.
"…I won't ask why you decided to sleep in the futon with me. I rather know your real reason in being here in the first place." Naruto said, getting comfortable as he moved his arms from her grasp, wrapping his arms around her waist as he closed his eyes. He rolled from lying on his side to his back, pulling the stealth captain onto his chest.
The second division captain raised an eyebrow as a small grin adorned her features. "My, you sure have gotten comfortable." She rested her head against his chest, sighing quietly as she took a more serious tone. "I'm going to meet Kisuke later. Soifon left last week and won't be back from her mission until tomorrow so you're filling in for her. It's a rather serious matter so I need your input on this. No jokes. No games. I need you as attentive as possible." Her golden eyes closed as she finished, silence reigning as she listened to the shinobi's heartbeat.
Naruto opened his azure eyes half way in contemplation, quietly responding, "Why bring me? I'm sure you and Kisuke can handle it so it shouldn't be much of a problem." He didn't hear an immediate answer, only feeling the chocolate-skinned woman shift lightly as she became content.
"I trust you." She simply said with her eyes remaining shut. "There is a reason why I placed you as a commander in the Onmitsukido. You're infiltration skills are second to none here and we need that in this situation." She said, smirking as she rubbed her body against him. "Besides, that means that we spend more time together, right?"
The former toad sage felt his eyebrows furrow as a blush colored his whiskered cheeks, fighting his baser instincts from her actions. "It's hard to take this seriously when you do that…" He muttered, ignoring her chuckle as he continued. "But you think someone is snatching our shinigami from the inside?" He felt her nod, making him concerned as his eyebrows lightly furrowed.
"There have been shinigami disappearing for a while now. And it's not just shinigami, but people all over the Rukongai. Soifon's mission is checking the last disappearance spot that had occurred back a few weeks ago." She frowned for a moment, becoming lightly stressed. "All the evidence leads me to believe that it's someone within the Soul Society. There haven't been any hollow trails from the vanishings. I would have sent you on that mission, but this is really top priority so Soifon had to go."
Naruto narrowed his eyes, his shinobi mind going to work. While it had been a few months since his induction to the second division, lately he had heard a few rumors of a few people not showing up for their duties and being labeled missing later on. "If someone is really kidnapping them, it could be anyone. Do you think that it may be a captain?"
Yoruichi sighed lightly before she quietly responded, "It just a speculation. While I don't believe that it's any of them, I prefer to start with the greatest threats possible before working my way out of the Soul Society." The stealth captain gazed at the golden-haired man that she embraced, allowing a subtle smile to grace her facial features. "But we can deal with that when the time comes."
A soft laughter reached the shinobi's ears as he felt the kunoichi-like captain move, her face directly over his as it was only a few centimeters apart. A feline grin appeared as her eyes held a hidden gleam within them, seeing his face take a rosy hue as he stared at her. Before the chocolate-skinned woman registered what happened, she found herself pinned underneath the shinobi with her arms above her head while his azure eyes deeply gazed into hers.
A shiver ran down her spine, heat beginning to radiate to her cheeks as she held a small grin. The purple-haired woman regarded the spiritual jinchuriki with anticipation, seeing him move closer to her as she felt his hot breaths on her collar bone. Naruto gave a tender kiss to her neck, the violet-haired woman softly releasing a breath of pleasure as a reaction.
A quiet chuckle caressed Yoruichi's ears before she heard, "So close, Yoru-chan…" The shinobi planted another velvet kiss on her neck, feeling her head turn to him as she gazed at him with a light blush on her face. Naruto gave a small, foxlike smile before he finished, "…And yet so far. It's not fun being teased, is it?" He released her, getting from his position above her as he walked away.
The shinobi moved to the bathroom, his face never shown to the captain as it carried a rosy color. With the constant tantalization of his commander, he couldn't help himself with what he had just done. He knew that she would get him back for that, but for now he would enjoy his victory…with a cold shower. That move he played almost ended up being a double-edged sword, his desire rising from the contact. He mentally shook his head, closing the door as his visage had become red. He was definitely not used to this flirting business.
Yoruichi on the other hand had watched him go to the restroom, leaving her lightly bothered and hot. A small smile remained on her beautiful face, surprised that he decided to tease her. It was a different feeling, having someone rising to the challenge like he did. Her smirk grew a margin, sitting up as she wore her normal attire of black pants and a sleeveless shirt without a back with white wrappings around her bust.
The second division captain touched the spot where her subordinate kissed her on her neck, the feeling of his lips still there. The kiss was rather soft as it was fiery, nothing that she had expected or thought of, surpassing her expectations. Yoruichi had to admit, she undeniably enjoyed her time with the shinobi from the things that he did. Putting all things aside, the game was not over, not by a long shot. She allowed a bemused smile to grace her features, thinking about his words before he went to the restroom. She quietly laughed as she spoke to herself, "Being teased may be no fun, but it makes things all the more exciting." The feline woman finally stood, beginning to walk to the living room before she stepped on a book.
Yoruichi looked down to see the thick journal, her eyes softening for a moment. She recalled last night, seeing Naruto at a vulnerable moment as he looked through it with her in her cat form. The stealth captain could see the aching in his eyes; the scar of his loved ones' death still taking its time to heal. He dealt with it alone the whole time, keeping it to himself. If she never had visited him as she did, she would've never thought anything like this was plaguing him. He always put on a brave face as he continued maintaining a smile as the days passed, but still could see that some of those smiles never reached his eyes.
The kunoichi-like leader had never known that he had a book that he wrote for him memories, last night in being the first time ever seeing it. It was a desperate attempt to keep remembrance of his past she knew, the feeling of sympathy washing over her. He had done well of organizing it, having a very well-drawn picture of them at the side and his experiences with them written next to it. Originally she had planned to depart when he slept, but after seeing that she didn't have the heart to leave him alone for the night.
Her golden eyes glanced at the bathroom door for a moment, her gaze reserved. She would have to keep an eye out for the shinobi, seeing as he wasn't vocal about his problems. He definitely needed a friend to talk to, that much was certain to her. She decided to be there for him, whether as a person or as a cat to help him get through it. She finally turned away as she walked to the living room, closing her eyes as she kept her sympathies hidden. For now, she would have to get ready to handle the upcoming day.
Naruto walked beside Yoruichi as they walked to the Twelfth Division, not looking at anything in particular as he absentmindedly held his zanpakuto in a fond manner. He felt a mental nudge, his focus going to his tenants as he heard melodious laughter. "Good morning to you too, Naruto." Fuujin said with a warm smile, the winds in her realm feeling rather peaceful. "I trust that you're feeling better?"
The shinobi smiled in earnest, unknowingly grasping the stealth captain's attention. "I kinda am. Thanks for the talk last night." He took their conversation to heart, believing that whatever was imparted to him will live on in him. Still, handling the loss of his memories was hard for him to bear, but at least he was little more at ease with it.
Fuujin could see that his attitude was genuinely brighter, making her smile widen. "Anytime. You can't always deal with these matters by yourself, Naruto." Her violet eyes took a softer tone for a brief moment before glancing at Kyubi, the blood-haired female having a mischievous gleam in her eyes as she grinned.
"You know he isn't dealing with everything alone, Fuujin." The vixen said, her smirk growing ever so slightly. "No, his captain wouldn't allow now would she?" The shinobi's smile dropped as his face began to take a rosy hue while his eyebrows twitched in annoyance.
Naruto remained silent in his thoughts for a moment, taking the time to think of a response. "…Neither would you, Kyubi…" He knew she was referring to the beginning of his morning, trying to taunt him. While he was uncomfortable to talk about it, he couldn't let that be known.
Fuujin blinked as a vulpine smile graced her features, turning to the former demoness to see how she would react. The fox woman held her grin, her expression bemused as she said, "Damn right I wouldn't." The wind zanpakuto laughed quietly, watching as her owner becoming rather embarrassed about the whole thing. Kyubi offered a sultry smile as she finished, "I can't have a weak container after all. But if we were in that position that you were in this morning, you wouldn't be out there for a while…"
Naruto couldn't halt his blood from rushing to his visage, putting his head down as his face became red. He dropped the conversation, only hearing the red-haired spirit's laughter all the while. The shinobi quietly sighed to himself, a small smile coming on to his face. At least they didn't find him annoying. "No, sometimes I still do. Just not as often as your last life." The former toad sage squinted his eyes in irritation as he decided to ignore her. He didn't need her opinion anyway.
Yoruichi looked at Naruto with interest, watching the different facial expressions on his face. A part of her wondered if he was communicating with his zanpakuto. She inwardly frowned from the thought, unsure if he could at all. He was strong, she would give him that but surely he wasn't strong enough to be talking to his sword on a regular basis, at least not yet she believed. Still, it never hurt to keep that as a possibility. She hadn't fought him for quite some time now, so he could have bonded with his zanpakuto already.
"Maybe that was why he was away from our training grounds yesterday…" Yoruichi inwardly sighed as she halted her thoughts, deciding for the better if she just asked. "Something on your mind?" The golden-haired shinigami looked back at the golden-eyed woman, giving a sheepish grin as he reached for the back of his head.
"Just different…things." He offered a smile as he continued, "I just remembered that I was going to see Unohana-chan today. It's been awhile since I've last talked her." Ever since he went into basis training, he never took the time to go see her. He inwardly grimaced; berating himself as he was doing was he did to Toushiro and Rangiku in not visiting.
The stealth captain smiled lightly, seeing the shinobi making the efforts to keep in touch with his small circle of friends. She would be holding him for a while for today though, knowing that she had some paperwork to send for a few other divisions. "If we get through with this ordeal today then you should have time to." Her golden eyes held a hidden gleam in them. "And maybe afterwards we could have a spar."
Naruto allowed a small grin to grace his features, his azure eyes glimmering predatorily. "It's been awhile since we had one. But don't be too surprised, I've been training enough to where you'll have to take me seriously…" The purple-haired woman couldn't stop the feline smile that appeared on her beautiful features as the golden-haired man finished in confidence, "I'm sure I can even force Soifon to use her Shikai if she wants to survive."
Yoruichi raised a delicate eyebrow as she began to grin. She wondered if he was bluffing, but could see the reassurance behind his eyes. "He really believes he can." It had been a few months since she last fought him, there shouldn't any way where he progressed so much in such a short amount of time. "Then again, he shouldn't have been able to destroy a Menos Grande while he was in the Shinigami Academy either…" The stealth captain's smile widened a margin, beginning to anticipate her fight with her subordinate. "We'll see if you can back up your claim Naruto…" She thought to herself before her golden eyes took note of entering the Twelfth Division's base.
"Yoruichi, Naruto." Both turned to see Kisuke, no sense of glee or joy that normally comes when either of them was seen. His eyes maintained a serious countenance, prompting them to do the same. "We can't afford to waste any time. Follow me." The captain vanished, the second division members immediately following after him.
They all reached his office, moving inside as he shut the door behind them. "Alright Kisuke." The chocolate-skinned woman spoke, placing her hand on her hips as she continued. "What's going on?" The shinobi hadn't spoken a word, his focus solely on the twelfth division captain.
The scientific captain turned around looking at his close friends. "Before I say anything, I'll recap for Naruto." The golden-haired ninja nodded in appreciation, needing the whole story. Urahara took a quiet breath before he decided to speak. "Shinji and Lieutenant Aizen were the ones to bring to my attention that there have been strange sequences of vanishings in the Rukongai. Not just shinigami, but people outside of the Soul Society too." The former sage narrowed his eyes slightly, listening as he saw the blond captain continue.
"The Ninth Division is investigating this as it is, but I'm going to take extra precautions. I'm planning on creating new type of gigai to stabilize the souls that are disappearing, to better track them." Kisuke sighed for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "No one knows this yet, but I'll need a few of the captain to be aware of what I'm doing-"
Angry yelling was heard before the door was kicked in. "Dammit, that's so like you sneaky murderer!" It was a rather short, blond-haired girl whose hair was fashioned in spiky pigtails that were held with red bands. Her eyes were hazel as her face had freckles on her cheeks, her visage holding a scowl as a canine jutted from the left side on her upper lip. On her left arm was a lieutenant badge, representing the Twelfth Division.
Her eyes were dead-set on her captain as her annoyance was apparent. Before she could say anything else she felt a kunai graze the location of her jugular. Her eyes widened in shock and fear, feeling ill intent weighing on her being as her heart began pounding. She had never felt anything like it, the feeling of hate and despair for what seemed to be an eternity.
No one saw Naruto move behind the demure-sized lieutenant, his azure eyes taking a piercing quality to them as he glared at the girl. "Kisuke is not the murderer, little one." He quietly spoke, not in the least amused of having a friend falsely accused.
"Naruto calm down! That's my lieutenant!" Kisuke said, trying to placate the shinobi. "She's referring to my time in the Onimitsukido! She calls me that all the time!" The former toad sage remained in his place, processing the words as the ill intent vanished. He released the small girl as the kunai swiftly was put away.
"Your time in the Onimitsikido, huh?" The azure-eyed jinchuuriki said lowly before he sheepishly scratched the back of his head. "Then I guess we're all sneaky murderers in this room!" Everyone sweatdropped and fell back anime-style, with the exception of Yoruichi.
The stealth captain stared at her subordinate in apprehension. She had never seen him do anything like that. He was completely focused as he was intimidating, uncaring if he was about to execute the lieutenant. That malevolent aura that weighed with his spiritual pressure was what concerned her the most. It wasn't dark like a hollow, but something more sinister as it promised death.
But the second division leader also noted that he did it to defend Kisuke's name. The action itself was incredibly foolish in her mind, especially if done to the wrong person. Had that been someone else like a captain, they would have taken the shinobi out right then and there for treason without any questions or remorse. So yes, the action was by far foolish in her opinion. She didn't need him dying off from a simple misunderstanding.
The intent with the action however spoke with much more volume. Naruto was willing to kill someone, just to protect a friend's reputation. That alone was rather frightening, seeing how protective he could be. As excessive as it was, she found it rather sweet of the shinobi, knowing that he would go that far for a friend. A small graceful smile began to appear on her features. "It's little things like that…"
The lieutenant soon enough recovered as she stood up, getting in the golden-haired man's space. "What the hell, you bastard! All I did was walk in here and you just put a knife to me?! You paranoid son of a bitch, I should kick your ass!" She yelled, making whisker-cheeked shinigami sweatdrop.
Urahara nervously laughed, seeing his subordinate salty about what his fellow blond did to her. "…I should probably introduce them before things get further out of hand here…" Kisuke thought to himself. "Allow me to properly acquaint you two to each other!" The research captain said with a smile on his visage. "Naruto, meet my lieutenant, Sarugaki Hiyori. Lieutenant Hiyori, meet Uzumaki Naruto." The two looked at each other, Naruto allowing a foxlike grin on his features as Hiyori maintained the glare on her face.
The shinobi knew he started out badly with her, wanting to apologize to her as he extended his right hand to her. "Hey, nice to meet you. Sorry for earlier, I shouldn't have jumped into conclusions like that-"
"You damn right you shouldn't have!" The small lieutenant interrupted, pointing at him as she took in his state of dress. It was rather unusual, having loose-fitting pants whose ends were bandaged to his shins and ankles. He wore the normal straw sandals with black tabi socks, finding it the closest that he would ever get to his old footwear. His upper garments consisted of sleeveless robes, having a black sleeveless muscle shirt underneath that went up to his neck. On his waist was a white sash firmly holding the robes as they extended to his knees, opened at his front for mobility. On his back was his nodachi, the sheath's chain going across his torso as it held the zanpakuto in place. "And you must be one of those guys from the Onimitsukido! Sneaky murdering bastard! And what the hell is up with the whiskers? You trying to be a sneaky murdering cat bastard?"
By now, Kisuke had to hold in a laugh, thanking Kami above that his fiery lieutenant didn't see his struggles of maintaining himself. Yoruichi had an eyebrow raised, clearly amused as she saw her subordinates grin never leave his face.
Naruto on the other hand found the small girl annoying, yet funny at the meanwhile. "I think someone's jealous." The shinobi began, "My whisker marks are cooler than your lame-ass freckles. And I was born with these." His azure eyes took satisfaction in making the little lieutenant irate, not noticing Urahara coughing to hide his laughter or Yoruichi's brightening grin in approval of his comeback.
"As for me being a sneaky murdering cat bastard, well…I can't deny you there. I do murder for a living. But let me ask you my vertically-challenged friend…I have whiskers and all, but you have one sharp tooth poking from your mouth so who's really trying to be the animal here?" Silence reigned for a moment, Hiyori's fists shaking from her fury as her eyes were shadowed.
Urahara began to back away, moving closer to the stealth captain. He leaned to her as he whispered, "You may want to back away just a bit. Naruto just touched all three taboos for Hiyori, so she's bound to explode here…" The feline woman heeded her friend's warning, retreating from the two.
Hiyori jumped, dropkicking Naruto in his chest as she flipped forward. She grabbed the shinobi's robes before she cranked her fist back, swinging it with all her might before it was blocked. The small shinigami's arm was pulled before she was tossed away. Hiyori regained her barring in the air before she landed on her feet with but a graceful flip. She rolled up her sleeves as she said, "Okay you cat-burglaring son of a bitch, your ass is grass!"
Naruto wasn't one to back down, even if it was a child. "Bring your little snaggle-toothed ass over!" He jaunted, getting ready to pound his opponent into the wood underneath them. "Consequences be damned, you're gonna get the business and pay to the Uzumaki federal fund!"
Before anything else happened, the door opened up to see lieutenant Aizen walk through the doorway. He looked at Urahara, walking to him as he handed a letter to him. "A message from Hirako-taicho." Urahara nodded as he opened it, reading it for a moment before placing the parcel in his haori.
"Thank you Lieutenant Aizen. That reminds me…" He looked inside his desk cabinet, pulling out two parcels as he looked to the second division captain. Yoruichi pulled out two letter envelopes as she gave them to Kisuke. "Lieutenant Hiyori, I need you to give these out. The captains' names are on them so they should be easy to find." The temperamental girl looked at her superior, walking to him as she received the letters with her normal frown on her face.
Yoruichi looked at her charge for a moment. "Naruto, why don't you go with her?" The golden-haired man looked at his captain, blinking as he rather had stayed with them. The chocolate-skinned woman took note and continued, "I know you don't want to, but it'll do you some good to know some of the other captains out there. When you're finished, come find me." Her eyes told him that she would fill him in with the details later, so the shinobi slightly relaxed. He didn't like it, but he would respect it. He was supposed to be finding suspects to this case anyway. He quietly nodded, turning as he moved to the door.
"Is it alright if I tag along with you all?" Everyone turned to Aizen's smiling visage as he finished, "My division is on the way and I'm sure Hirako-taicho is taking a break right now."
Naruto began to feel irritated, his instincts bothering him concerning the smiling lieutenant. Something about him was…fabricated, that smile on his face lying to everyone. "I…I don't like this guy. He feels elusive to me. I can't really get a good read on him…" The shinobi would have to keep an eye on the glassing-wearing lieutenant.
Hiyori shrugged her shoulder uncaringly. "As long as you don't get in the way, I don't care." She began to leave, walking out of the room. Aizen followed, not minding her response as he followed her out. Naruto was last to leave, glancing back at his two friends. Kisuke held a smile, solemnity behind his eyes. Yoruichi had a serious expression, slightly apologetic about having him to leave. The shinobi gave a blank gaze to them, turning quietly before leaving as he softly closed the door.
Kisuke looked at his childhood friend. "I don't think he's exactly pleased with us…" The research captain could feel it before the shinobi left, sensing his aggravation briefly before it disappeared. "He really wanted to stay here."
Yoruichi frowned quietly, knowing that her fellow captain was right. "He'll get over it. If we're going to find the one taking people I need him to start looking. He knew and understood that." How she hated that blank expression. She couldn't read him at all like that. "Like a barrier that no one can get into…" She thought to herself before she shook off her thoughts. "He'll be fine…" She pushed the subject to the side; other pressing matters were at hand.
So why was she experiencing this foreboding feeling creeping to her when she thought of him?
Naruto walked with the two lieutenants, taking in the air as he internalized his irritation. For one, he and Hiyori had gotten off to a bad start and finally, he wanted to go over strategy with Kisuke and Yoruichi. He inwardly sighed, knowing that he couldn't always have what he wanted. Taking it with a grain of salt, he took to silence as he decided to observe the two lieutenants.
Hiyori continued her walk with her normal scowl, her light brown eyes gliding over to him in a light glare. It was rather amusing to the shinobi, his azure eyes slightly shining. She huffed as she turned away, no doubt cursing him in silence. Naruto moved his attention to the other lieutenant, finding that Aizen was gazing at him with a kind smile. The shinobi was wary of the high-ranking shinigami, out of his concern or instinct he didn't know.
"I've heard a lot about you, Uzumaki-san." The spectacled man started, adjusting his glasses resting on his face. "You were the one that killed that Menos Grande from that Hollow Outbreak with that academy class." Aizen allowed an amused expression on his visage as he finished, "I must say, I'm quite impressed."
In hearing that, Hiyori swiftly turned to the shinobi with surprise. The former toad sage didn't look like much to her, but that thought was immediately banished as she recalled her encounter with him earlier. "He was the one that did that?" She wondered to herself, rather in disbelief. "Even if he just graduated not too long ago, he shouldn't be able to move like he did earlier…" So maybe there was more to the golden-haired shinigami than she first thought. She gazed at the second division member, watching his response to her fellow lieutenant's statement.
Naruto gave an uncomfortable expression as he inwardly grimaced. To be truthful, he didn't like speaking about the whole ordeal. And the smile on the lieutenant's face didn't help either. "I guess I am, but I kinda don't feel comfortable talking about it." He gave a small apologetic smile, looking away as he heard the brown-haired shinigami chuckle.
"My apologies, but it isn't every day you get see a strong shinigami at a young age." The male lieutenant said as the same kind smile remained on his face. "You were the key to saving the students from being slaughtered by those hollows. I just wanted to express my approval and gratitude on the matter."
Hiyori turned to the shinobi, giving a side-glance as she spoke with a frown, "Well even if you were the one to do that, you still have to earn your respect with me!" The Ninetails' host gazed at the small-statured female, listening as she continued. "I don't give a damn about reputations, for all we know you could be a punk and the whole thing you did to kill the Menos Grande was a fluke!"
Despite himself, a foxlike grin appeared on his visage. He definitely liked her style. "You know what?" He moved to the girl's personal space, making her put her guard up. He placed a hand on her head, surprising her as he finished with a warm tone, "You're alright!"
Hiyori slowly looked up at him in confusion, lost on his actions. She was sure that he was going to try and prove himself somehow by fighting her or somewhere around that area. That was the normal response from everyone else that she had been accustomed to, not someone showing genuine respect of her opinion. At this point, she didn't know what to make of the shinobi.
Naruto found her expression amusing as he held his grin and moved his hand from her blond hair, asking, "So how many letters do we have and who are we going to first?" He saw her eyes dilated for a split second before her normal scowl returned, growling at him.
"You ask too many questions and don't rush me!" She yelled, some of the shinigami around looking their way as they recognized the little lieutenant. A few moved away from her, not willing to near as they could be next if not careful. Hiyori looked at the parcels, seeing four letters. "We have four to deliver, captains of the first, fourth, fifth, and ninth divisions." She looked to the right, finishing, "We'll start with the ninth division and work our way up." Naruto nodded as he began to walk alongside the lieutenants.
It wasn't too long as they reached their destination, walking into the ninth division as the former sage took in his surroundings. It had a stricter feel, reminiscent of his own unit as he saw many of the shinigami train with their best. The golden-haired man narrowed his eyes ever so slightly, feeling that he was being watched. He turned to his left to see a tall, silver-haired man walking towards them.
"Well well, it looks like we have some visitors. What brings you over to my squad?" He looked at the trio, his eyes lingering on the shinobi before he looked down at the small lieutenant. Despite himself, he finished with a grimace, "Damn, not you again…"
Hiyori glared at him as she responded, "Keep your trap shut and maybe we can get somewhere!" She handed him a letter, continuing, "This is from Urahara-taicho." She watched as the leader took the mail, opening its contents as he read the paper. Nodding to himself, he slipped the letter in his haori.
Kensei gazed at the trio in contemplation for a moment before he felt someone crash into him. "Captain Kensei! Why didn't you introduce me to your friends!" The hakudo user pushed the person off of him as he growled with a vein beginning to show on his forehead.
It was a young woman with vibrant wavy green hair that ended at the base of her neck. Adorning her head was a pair of white-framed goggles with blue lenses. Her eyes were large as they were brown, expressive as she held an innocent smile on her face. A pink scarf was on her neck, the tied ends pointing to her left as it complemented her style. Her shinigami outfit hardly differed from the typical wear, only the sleeves being long enough to cover her hands and a lieutenant badge wrapped around her left arm.
Kensei collected himself, keeping his irritation in check as he sighed. "I'm sure you two know who this is." The captain began as he referred to the lieutenants of the small group. His gaze turned to the shinobi as he finished his introduction. "This is my lieutenant, Kuna Mashiro."
The green-haired girl nodded excitedly, appearing in front of the shinobi as she said, "Hi, nice to meet you!" She extended a hand as the former sage took her smaller hand in with a grin, believing that it was rather refreshing to see someone open to making new friends.
Feeling the need to respond, the spiritual jinchuuriki said, "Hey Mashiro-chan! Name's Uzumaki Naruto!" The shinobi saw her smile widen before she paused, her visage becoming focused as she began to reach out. Her hand moved towards his face, making him raise an eyebrow in questioning before he felt her fingers touch his left cheek, specifically his whisker marks. His eyes began to lower, half-lidded as he unconsciously moved towards her hand as he enjoyed the sensations of her touching of his cheeks. Mortification began to rise within him as the lieutenant squealed from her discovery.
"They're real! And you're so cute, like an animal!" Since she first saw the former toad sage she wanted to meet him, hence her reason of crashing into her superior like she did. It wasn't until she was up close that she noticed his whisker marks, wondering if they were authentic. Seeing that they were just elicited another excited high-pitched cry from her lips.
Naruto however did not feel the same joy as the young lieutenant. "What the hell was that?!" He had never done that before, wondering why he did so then. But then, no one had ever touched his cheeks like that, his embarrassment increasing as he saw everyone around him snickering, or in Hiyori's case, outright laughing at him. He could feel Mashiro doubling her efforts, his eyes glazing over in contentment as he swiftly tried to move away from the green-haired girl. "S-stop that!" He used shunpo, moving away from her reach.
Mashiro pouted, disapproving of the former human's escape. "Aww…you don't have to be so mean about it…" She thought his pleased expression was an adorable sight. She took notice of her captain and smiled, jumping on his back as she childishly pointed at the shinobi with a cute pout. "Captain! Why did he leave Mashiro?"
Kensei growled as he tried to get his second in command off on him. "Dammit Mashiro, leave me alone! If I was him, I would've left you too!" No matter what he did, his subordinate seemed to keep just out of his grasp. It only added fuel to the flames at this point.
The trio sweatdropped as they watched to two scuffle with each other. "…Yeah…we'll be going now…" Naruto said, walking out with the two lieutenants. "See ya later Kensei-taicho, Mashiro-chan!"
The young lieutenant bounced off of her leader and waved back. "Bye Whiskers! Hope to see you soon!" She watched as they walked into the distance vanishing from sight. She liked the shinobi as far as she was concerned, not finding anything wrong with him. Not to mention that she found him cute…
Kensei stood up as he dusted off his clothes, rather annoyed with his charge. He gazed at her, finding that her brown eyes were on the small group that left. He looked away, walking to his office as he needed to continue his search of the missing souls. "Hey, don't you wish you had Naruto's whiskers?" He snapped his head to his lieutenant looking at him with expectation to answering her question. The ninth division leader wanted to slap himself from frustration, believing the question was stupid.
"…Why do I have this girl as my lieutenant?"
Hiyori held her stomach as she laughed, making fun of him as she said, "Calling my freckles lame! Serves you right!" She continued to mock him, though in the back of her mind she really did contemplate on trying to touch his cheeks. The thought vanished, finding it much more satisfying to laugh at the shinobi's expense.
Naruto however held a blank expression, talking to the vixen as he was trying to figure out how his whiskers were sensitive in the first place. "Kyubi, last I recalled, my whisker marks were never sensitive like that." He heard a giggle of amusement, surprising them when he didn't get riled about it.
"I don't know how they became sensitive, but frankly I approve." A grin graced her feminine features as she finished, "I don't think I could change that even if I wanted to. Just accept it. I like them so no need to be serious about it."
The shinobi sighed, understanding that he had to let the matter drop. He became of his surroundings to see that they had made it to the fifth division, witnessing Hiyori dropkicking Shinji in his face. Both Aizen and Naruto sweatdropped, finding the whole scene before them ridiculous.
Shinji stood back up as he muttered curses under his breath. He looked back to Hiyori to her handing a letter to him with a glare. Ignoring that, he snatched it, opening the envelope as he read the contents of the note. The fifth division captain narrowed his eyes before he folded the paper and slid it into his pocket.
The captain looked at his lieutenant, a small smile appearing as he said, "So you took the scenic route back, huh? I had wondered where you ventured to." The leader of the fifth division looked towards his fellow blond, his smile growing as he appeared next to him while slinging an arm over the shinobi's shoulder. "You finally decide to come here!" Looking ahead, the captain finished, "Welcome to the Fifth Division! I'm Hirako Shinji and you've already met my lieutenant, Aizen Sosuke."
Naruto lightly sweatdropped from the long-haired blond's enthusiasm and introduction. "Thanks." He looked around for a moment, getting a feel of the area. It was rather peaceful, everyone going about their business as the day continued on. The spiritual jinchuuriki looked over to the captain to find him making faces at Hiyori, which prompted the girl to commence another dropkick.
He felt himself being pulled to her line of fire, making him blink as he gazed at the grinning blond captain. He looked over to his front to see the small lieutenant speeding to him, her eyes glaring at Shinji as she couldn't stop herself. Naruto grinned foxily as he waited until the last few moments before sidestepping the attack, shocking everyone.
The demure-sized girl stumbled as she missed. There was no way someone like him could dodge that, even if she was trying to get Shinji. Her anger resurfaced, about to try again as she heard, "Rule number one: Never let your opponent get behind you." The shinobi was crouched with his hands in a tiger seal, not that she could see it as she was still in shock. "Secret Ninja Art: Thousand Years of Pain!" His hands remained in the seal as he attacked, his index and middle fingers assaulting her backside. In that instant she sailed in the air as she screamed in pain, cursing the shinobi and the captain as she swore revenge. She disappeared over the seventh division buildings, hearing a resounding crash over that way not a few seconds later.
Naruto could hear Kyubi in his mindscape chuckling at the little girl's expense as well as the irony that her host used that technique. "Of all the things he still remembers…" She shook her head in exasperation. She was sure that his sensei would be proud of him if he were here to witness that. Fuujin on the other hand blushed in embarrassment, wondering why her master had to be such an idiot at times.
Shinji stared at the golden-haired man in unadulterated shock, his eyes wide. "You..." He moved closer as he grabbed the shinobi's shoulders. "You're awesome! What the hell did you do? You know what? I don't even care! She got what was coming to her!" Shinji ran over to where Hiyori flew to as he cupped his mouth and yelled, "Karma's a bitch ain't it!"
A small rock hit him on his forehead, forcing him to yelp in pain as they heard a faint, "Shut up!" Naruto sweatdropped for a third time today, wondering if this was going to be a daily occurrence. Shinji held his head as it throbbed, moving back inside his division as he looked at the shinobi with a smile.
"Despite all of that, you seem to be a cool guy. If Kisuke and Yoruichi believe you to be competent in this case then you've got to be something special. And I think I've seen enough to where I can trust you." The captain said as he referred to the times the shinobi was called into the captain's meeting. The former toad sage smiled lightly as he understood. The captain extended his hand with a grateful smile. "You're welcomed here anytime Naruto."
The shinobi shook the hand offered to him as he gave a foxlike grin. "Thanks, Shinji-taicho." The acknowledgement and the making of new friends warmed his heart. The shinobi could remember a time where that was all he wanted before the Fourth Shinobi War started, going to great lengths to achieve it. Part of him even felt that he was finally taking a step forward, progressing in his new life.
Unknowingly the Kyubi felt his emotions, causing her to smile softly of her container. She understood that he felt like he was walking the path toward redemption. "…Naruto…" The vixen was genuinely happy for her host, finding some light in his future instead of the darkness that lingered over his life.
Aizen watched as the shinobi and his captain shook hands, replaying his encounter with the whisker-cheeked shinigami. "Despite his actions, he's rather reserved. He won't open up to just anyone." Aizen lightly frowned as he continued his thoughts. "Something must've happened in order for him to be like that. And he places faith in Kisuke and Yoruichi…" The lieutenant lightly narrowed his eyes. "Especially Yoruichi."
The lieutenant could recall the time where he bumped into the shinobi and made him drop his small backpack at the graduation day. "He was protective of that bag…" The gears in his mind began to go to work, coming to the conclusion that whatever the former sage had inside was something he wanted to remain as a secret. "That could either make him…or break him." Aizen turned as a smile played on his lips, one not like normal smile as it held malevolent intent. He walked away, lowly laughing to himself in confidence.
Naruto walked to the first division, having decided to finish delivering the last of the mail to the last two captains, Yamamoto and Unohana to escape Hiyori's wrath. The temperamental lieutenant did come back and dropkicked the both of them with the vengeance, the shinobi rubbing his right cheek as it throbbed from the abuse. "She's so persistant…" The shinobi said aloud, thinking of the small lieutenant that tried to stomp a mud hole through his face. "How did she even recover so fast? It must've been the hate that drove her…" The shinobi sighed before using shunpo to get to his destination.
Five minutes passed before he finally reaching the first division. He could feel the authority emanating from the establishment, walking inside as he tried to find the head captain. The golden-haired man felt a rush of memories pass in his mind, remembering an old man wearing white and red robes as he held a warm smile on his face. Naruto 's azure eyes were wide, a few tears beginning to well in his eyes as he could see the elder in his mind clear as day. "…Jiji…" He whispered, shutting his eyes as he kept himself together.
"Why am I remembering this?" The shinobi wondered as he kept walking. He felt that Yamamoto was similar to Hiruzen, in power, responsibility, and authority. And being around him always reminded him that. But the captain-commander was much gruffer, doing what he believed to be the right thing for the Seireitei. If anything goes wrong he would eradicate it with the swiftness, no hesitation whatsoever.
"Uzumaki? What brings you here at this time of day?" The shinobi turned to find the elder in question, his back turned to him as he stood quietly in front of a garden as he gazed at the sky. Naruto reached into his robes and pulled out a letter, walking towards him as he handed the parcel. The old captain turned around, receiving the piece of mail as did not immediately read it, resuming his previous actions as he looked at the blue atmosphere above them. "How has the shinigami life been treating you?"
The shinobi moved next to the head leader, looking forward as he watched the people move along. "It's been alright. No issues here." He answered with a small grin, making the elder hum in amusement.
"That's good to hear. You seem to be happier than when you initially arrived here." The elder had wondered about the golden-haired man from time to time, wondering if he was accepting that he had to move on from his previous life. Obviously he had been putting forth the effort if his grinning visage said anything about it.
"I just take things day by day." Naruto said looking up as his smile faded, his eyes growing reserved. "It never really goes away, you know?" The elder beside him nodded in sympathetically, knowing how it felt to lose a loved one.
"I understand, young one. It won't ever leave you, but the pain numbs when you have others with you that you may come to love." Yamamoto responded, passing advice to the golden-haired shinigami.
Naruto took the wise words to heart, nodding appreciatively as he turned to leave. "Well I have one more message to give out, so see you next time oji-sotaicho." He waved, walking back to the entrance to head to Unohana.
Yamamoto continued to contemplate as the young spiritual jinchuuriki headed out. The elder could feel that the shinobi was uncomfortable talking about it. Inwardly, he shook his head as he thought, "Should he continue to bottle it inside, it will fester into something much worse." The old warrior hoped that it wouldn't be so for the Kyubi container. He sighed before he decided to head inside for tea. All of this thinking was making him feel as old as he was…
It was sunset as Naruto finally reached the fourth division. The shinobi allowed a smile to grace his features. It had been a while since his last visit and he had planned to surprise her. He wondered how she had been in his absence, moving past some of the faculty as he sighted the fourth division lieutenant. "Hey, Isane!" The silver-haired woman looked up at the sound of her name, turning to see Naruto. "Is Unohana-taicho still in?"
The assistant healer shook her head. "No, she left about ten minutes ago." Isane gazed at the shinobi in curiosity, asking, "Are you looking for her?" The shinobi nodded, making her sigh in a relieved manner.
The former sage became concerned. "What's going on?" He watched as her eyes took on a dismayed gleam, silently turning her head.
"I know it isn't my place to say..." Isane began, placing a delicate hand on her chest. "But maybe you can help her. She won't say, but for the past couple of weeks, something has been bothering her. I tried to talk to her, but she won't tell me." The lieutenant looked back to the shinobi with worry on her countenance as she asked, "If you don't mind, could you talk to Unohana-taicho?"
Naruto nodded to the silver-haired woman, giving a reassuring grin on his face as he responded, "Sure thing. Consider it done." He gave a thumbs up to the lieutenant and waved her a goodbye, leaving the hospital part of the vision to search in the barracks.
He jumped on to a roof, pausing as he closed his eyes. He began to search for her energy signature, finding it in route to her chambers on the first floor of the barracks. Naruto grinned and took off, silently moving from one rooftop to the next.
Unohana walked to her room, sighing quietly as she thought about the people that were admitted within the week since most of the occupants being from the Eleventh Division. She could only wonder how long it would take before she would see Kenpachi in, seeing that the hospital held a good part of his subordinate. She inwardly shook her head, dropping the matter as she looked at the setting sun for a moment.
A graceful smile appeared on her beautiful face, enjoying the heat that came in the evening time. Sometimes it had gotten rather cold in her work place so this was something she always looked forward to. A thought crossed her mind as she continued to her destination. "I wonder how Naruto is doing…" The last time she seen him was after the captain's meeting about the hollows swarming the academy students, the shinobi hugging her before he disappeared. The female captain rather enjoyed his company, finding that she could relax and have a conversation with just about anything. While things have been busy lately, the healer couldn't help but miss him.
Unohana paused as she felt someone wrap their arms around her slender waist, turning to see a familiar tuff of blond hair. "Hey Retsu…" The healing captain couldn't stop the heat from lightly coloring her cheeks, from the warm tone of the voice or the rather intimate position she was in, she didn't know. The person released her, allowing her to turn and gazed at the grinning shinobi.
A sincere smile graced her lips, rather delighted that he decided to see her. "It's nice to see you again. It's been awhile." She watched as he scratched the back of his head as the grin remained on his visage, seeing that he was glad to see her as well. It warmed her heart, her smile growing as her eyes took a softer tone.
Naruto nodded in agreement, his smile toning down as he answered, "Yeah, it has. I felt it to be too long for my tastes, so I thought I could surprise you." His azure eyes twinkled mischievously, knowing he accomplished his goal with that.
Unohana smiled as she turned around; prompting her companion to follow her as she replied, "It was definitely a pleasant surprise. I had begun to wonder if you had forgotten about me." The shinobi stopped his tracks for a moment, his eyes widening from her words.
"No, I didn't forget about you!" The former sage said, trying to explain himself as he became flustered. He didn't want the healing woman to think that, frustrated with himself that he had done the same with Toushiro and Rangiku.
Before he could explain any further Unohana turned to face him, giving a reassuring smile. "I was just teasing. I know things have been rather busy for the both of us. Otherwise, I would've come to see you." She watched with a graceful smile as the shinobi flushed, a sheepish grin appearing on his visage as he scratched the back of his head once more.
The spiritual jinchuuriki calmed down a little, gazing at the dark-haired captain as he asked, "So how have you been? You look like you had something on your mind before I came around…" The shinobi could remember seeing the contemplative expression on the medical captain's features, making him a little concerned since the fourth division lieutenant said that she had withdrawn lately.
Unohana politely smiled as she quietly laughed to herself. "I've been alright, a bit tired from the intake of patients lately. Quite a few members from the Eleventh Division have been admitted from a free-for-all training exercise." Amusement danced in her blue eyes as she found the situation rather humorous. "Apparently, they had gotten carried away."
Naruto shook his head as he chuckled, knowing the squadron well enough to understand their overall mentality. "That sounds about right. But I know they had fun." The shinobi gave a wistful sigh. "Some people have all the luck…" The medic giggled from the former sage's antics, refraining herself from shaking her own head.
The pair arrived to a closed door that was recognized as the healing commander's room. Naruto looked at his companion as he inwardly sighed to himself. As much as he wanted to catch up with her, he was sure she wanted to have the rest of the day to herself as he knew that the captain had duties at her division. His azure eyes watched as she placed her hand on her door, faintly pulsing her reiatsu through it before she slid it open.
Unohana turned to the golden-haired shinigami, her gaze quiet as she allowed a gracious smile on her features. "Please come inside. There are some things I would like to talk about and getting your opinion would be most helpful." She began to walk inside, leaving the door open for the shinobi to follow her.
Naruto paused for a moment, not in the least expecting to be invited into her home. Not one to question it, he moved inside as he slid the door shut behind him. His azure eyes took in the spacious room before him as he believed her living space to be humble, having a small elegant table in the middle of the floor with two red pillows across from each other. His gaze moved beyond that, finding that there was a step chest on the left side of the wall. On each step was a picture that was framed, each holding a fond memory of the healer's life.
The golden-haired man looked to his right as he walked along the tatami flooring, seeing a segment of the wall built in a cubic fashion as two drawers occupied part of the top and bottom sections with the middle space free. A vase inhabited the opening, carrying a plant that he couldn't recognize though he suspected it to be a medicinal herb. Next to it was the kitchen, small sliding doors above the quaint stove as he assumed that plates and silverware could be found.
The medical leader began to discard her haori, looking back at her guest as she spoke, "Make yourself at home." She began to walk towards another shoji screen that was closed, moving it open as she folded her cloak. "Would you like some tea?" The raven-haired woman asked with a smile as she placed the haori in her room, closing the door as she began to move to her stove.
The shinobi chuckled lightly, enjoying the cozy atmosphere as he replied, "Sure." He gave the room a once over before he grinned fondly. "I like your place. It's nice." The spiritual jinchuriki felt welcomed, a sensation he wasn't used to. The fourth division captain's home was tranquil, a peaceful setting as he could feel himself relaxing within the room. Compared to his own household it wasn't the same, the memories of his past life haunting him as each day ended. While he still enjoyed his household, he definitely appreciated the medic's place more.
A pleased expression graced the healing woman's beautiful features, glad to see the shinobi approving of her home. "Thank you." She said, pouring water into a kettle as she continued preparing for the tea. She reached into the cabinet over the counter, pulling out two porcelain cups as she sets them next to the stove. She turned away as the fires of the stove began to heat up the water, walking to her living room to see the shinobi sitting cross-legged with his zanpakuto laid upon his lap. The medic sat across from him, formally sitting with her legs underneath her as she settled in.
"So what's on your mind, Unohana-chan?" The Ninetails' host wondered as he looked into the fourth division captain's quiet gaze, concern underlying in his tone. "Is someone bothering you again? I could end that in a heartbeat!" He finished with a grin, making the woman smile from his antics.
"No, it isn't any of that." The healing shinigami said, taking a moment to gather her thoughts. "It's about the disappearing souls." She saw the shinobi lightly frown, attentive to her words. "It's rather strange. And the vanishings seem too random." She looked down for a moment as she finished, "Personally, I don't think that it's a hollow killing taking these people, but someone working in the shadows…"
Naruto began to think, agreeing on her point of view. "You think maybe someone could be doing this to distract everyone from their real goal…is that what you're trying to say?" He watched the captain nod, making him grimace.
Unohana gazed back at the golden-haired shinigami. "I cannot say for sure though. It's just…" She remained quiet for a moment, seeing her guest gently prompting her to continue. "…For the past few weeks, I've been having this feeling that something serious will happen. I'm unsure of what to make of it…" She looked up, her expression becoming soft. The woman didn't know how to approach the matter, let alone knowing what actions to take to rid herself of the dark feeling, but she understood that she needed to be wary and watch her surroundings.
The raven-haired woman began to hear the water on the stove boil as steam became apparent, beginning to stand to take the kettle off of the fire. She moved towards the kitchen, turning the stove off as she poured the hot water into two small cups. Sitting the kettle to an unheated section of the stove, she grabbed the cups and moved them to the table. Placing a cup in front of the spiritual jinchuriki she moved to her seat, sitting across from him as she began to smile from the warmth of tea within her hands.
Naruto looked into his tea, the scent inviting as he became lost in his thoughts. He knew something was amiss in the disappearance case, but if it was someone behind everything then they covered their tracks well. "They have the advantage of watching everyone and shifting the situation to their benefit." The shinobi inwardly grimaced, not enjoying the thought of being out of control of the circumstance. It disturbed him even more so that Unohana felt guarded about the whole thing. The thought of anyone trying to hurt her or anyone of his friends outright angered him. "I'll find them, whoever they are." The golden-haired shinigami thought in determination. "I swear, I'll find out what their end game is…"
"Uzumaki-kun?" The whiskered-cheeked shinobi was shaken from his thoughts, gazing at the concerned visage of the medical captain. "What's wrong?" The black-haired woman hadn't taken a sip yet, seeing a solemn expression on the shinobi's face.
The azure-eyed shinobi blinked before he offered a grin, shaking his head as he tried to reassure her. "Nothing's wrong, just spaced out." He took a sip of the tea, the flavor pouring into his mouth as he had begun to savor it. He brought the cup from his lips, looking directly at the healing beauty as he paused for the moment. "…This is really good…" A grin began to creep onto his face, the expression contagious as the medical shinigami began to smile back.
"Thank you. It's peach and ginseng tea." She took a drink from her own cup, closing her eyes as she took a quiet breath. She gazed at her guest once more, seeing him finish partaking in the tea for the time being as a distant smile graced his features. A frown marred her beautiful features, the expression on his visage reminiscent of the captain-commander of the Soul Society.
Naruto sighed as he stretched, taking a standing position as he walked to Unohana and offered her a hand. She gracefully took it, standing next to him as he spoke, "As much as I want to stay here with you Unohana-chan, I have to get back to the second division to give my report for the day…" The captain nodded, following the shinobi as he walked towards her door. Before he opened it, he spoke once more. "And don't worry about the investigation. I'll find whoever it is so don't think about it, alright?"
The medical leader stared at the former toad sage in quiet surprise, seeing him turn to her with a confident grin on his features. An authentic smile appeared on her visage, finding his attitude rather encouraging. The healer raised her arms as she pulled the shinobi close, surprising the blond ninja as she embraced him. The spiritual jinchuriki's eyes became gentle, wrapping his arms around her being as he began to relax.
"…Thank you…" She whispered, warmth in her tone as she enjoyed the heat radiating from him. The pair remained in their position before finally releasing each other. The fourth division captain maintained her serene smile, beginning to speak once more. "I'll be keeping an eye out anyway, but please be careful." She watched as a vulpine grin graced his visage, her eyes taking a quiet quality to them.
Naruto turned away, sliding the door open as he began to exit. "And Naruto …" The golden-haired shinigami turned back to see the healing woman giving a beautiful smile towards him. "Let's not let too much time pass before we see each other again."
The spiritual jinchuriki paused for a moment, his azure eyes genuine as he grinned foxily. "It won't. I'll see you sooner than you think." The medic captain's smile grew, watching him turn away as he departed.
As his silhouette began to leave her sight, the smile she wore faded as her expression became reserved. While talking to the shinobi had eased her, the dreaded sensation that had lingered in the back of her mind remained. She felt as if it would be the last visit she would have from him for a long time to come, troubling the raven-haired woman. Her blue eyes shined in concern, unsure of what to do.
She couldn't just wave it off, understanding that it was better to be paranoid than naïve. She remembered the hollow infestation with the academy students, the former sage having that premonition the morning of that day. No, she would keep watch for both her and the shinobi's sake. Unohana turned away, going inside with the intent to prepare for bed. She sighted the two cups on her table, quietly staring at the one she gave to the golden-haired shinigami.
The Ninetails' host walked on the road ahead of him as his thoughts moved on from different matters, the most prominent on the disappearing souls. It didn't make any sense to him, how the random vanishings could do anything for anyone unless if it was a distraction. "If that's the case, then what are trying to hide?" He sighed, leaving the matter be for the time being. There just wasn't enough information at this point in time and he knew that sweating the case would only put unnecessary stress on him.
The shinobi looked at his surroundings, finding that he was near the second division as he sighted his squadron's base of operations. A part of him became relieved, knowing his duties for the day were coming to a close. The former sage paused in his steps, faintly feeling a presence near him. He turned to his left to see Aizen walking towards him, gazing at him intently as he smiled. The glassed-wearing shinigami spoke, "Uzumaki-kun, how nice to see you again." The golden-haired shinobi held his annoyance, not agreeing with the lieutenant's greeting within the least.
Aizen and Naruto quietly stood from across each other, putting the former toad sage on edge. "Is your new life treating you well?" The golden-haired shinigami nodded, not really wanting to speak as he kept his eyes on the man. The Kyuubi host watched the shinigami before him look away in contemplation, his smile gone. "…Do you ever wonder what you were in your old life?"
The shinobi inwardly narrowed his eyes but gave nothing away as he replied, "Not really. All that matters is the present and what I want to do in the future." His azure eyes watched as the lieutenant smiled quietly, holding his gaze at the sky above them.
"I suppose that is true. But our past makes us who we are, right?" He closed his eyes, shaking his head as he quipped, "But how can that happen when we don't even remember our past life?" Aizen gazed at the sky a few moments more before he turned back at the spiritual jinchuuriki, a small smile on his visage. "Yes, I see why you say this. I agree with you I suppose." The lieutenant began to turn away, walking to his barracks. "Anyway, I just needed some insight. See you another time Uzumaki-kun."
Naruto watched as the shinigami continued to his destination, finally leaving the area as his mind replayed the conversation. At first glance, one would think that the lieutenant was just musing with a random question like that. The shinobi frowned. "What was the point in asking that question?" It left a bad taste in his mouth thinking about it, especially knowing of his past. Aizen called it insight. Naruto called it suspect. Shaking his head he dropped his thoughts for the moment, moving on as he finally entered his division.
The azure-eyed shinobi looked around as some of the members were out, either about to find a bar and drink or continuing their training. Naruto shook his head, seeing a few people that he had worked with on a few missions. The whisker-cheeked shinigami moved along, going to the office to meet with his captain.
Nearing his destination, the golden-haired jinchuriki suddenly stopped as his head began to throb. He shut his eyes, having more memories coming to him as he saw a masked silver-haired man walking with him with his eye in a humored expression as he talked with him on a night similar to this. The shinobi snapped his eyes open, the pupil dilated as he shook and gasped for air. "Why…why am I having these memories come to me like this?" He thought as he took shaky breaths. He remembered that man, one of his mentors in his past life. That person was one of the ones that fought with him during the last battles. Tears began to well in his eyes before he willed them away, closing his eyes as he took a few calming breaths to recollect himself. After a few moments the shinobi moved, opting to shunpo the rest of the way.
The spiritual jinchuriki appeared around the corner to the second division headquarters, sighing as he began to walk. He looked before him to see the door closed, moving to it before knocking on it. It was a few seconds as he heard soft footsteps walk to him before the door slid open, seeing the stealth leader grace him with a grin as she allowed him entry. "It took you long enough to get here Naruto." She shut the door when he walked inside and watched as a smile appeared on his features, but could see something bothering him. Her smile began to fade as her concern began to rise. "What's wrong?"
Naruto closed his eyes, finding it rather difficult to refrain from telling her anything. He sighed quietly to himself as he answered, "Don't worry about it." The shinobi smiled tiredly, managing to chuckle as he said, "It's been a long day."
The captain frowned, moving to her seat at the end of the hall as she pushed a finished stack of paperwork to the side. "We have time." She said with a bemused expression, beckoning him to sit before her. Her initial plan of talking about the case could wait, wanting hear what was on the shinobi's mind.
Azure eyes met gold as the former sage moved to his superior, opting to sit next to her than across from her like she had expected for him to. He could see amusement on her face making him grin lightly before it fell, looking away in a reserved tone. "…It's just my memories…" The Onimitsukido leader looked at him quietly, watching him close his eyes. "It's been years and I've forgotten so many of them, but the ones that remain…" His eyes briefly became detached, recollecting of a few moments of what was left of his past. He shook his head, forcing everything he felt down as he quietly chuckled. "It's hard to deal with. That's all." He looked over to the purple-haired woman, giving her a small grin as he wasn't willing to say anymore. "So what's the deal on this case?"
Yoruichi stared at his being for a moment, turning away as she remained silent. She understood that he didn't want to talk about it, him shifting the conversation making that obvious. The feline woman couldn't help but feel irritated with him because of it. She wanted to help but how could she when he was wary of everyone? Her expression began to show her crossed state, managing to keep it to only a frown with her eyebrows lightly furrowed as she closed her eyes. "We've decided to keep watch, not having enough information yet. My squad will be back tomorrow, so we'll wait on that. I'll brief you more on it tomorrow since Soifon will be back by then. We'll need her report before we decide on anything."
The spiritual jinchuriki nodded, his sapphire eyes remaining on her visage. He watched as her face became calm, aware of her taking the time to collect her thoughts. She began to stand and move to the door, prompting for her subordinate to do the same as he followed. "I'm tired of being in here. Some fresh air would be nice for the both of us." She glanced back with a smile, her expression causing him to smile back to her. Both exited the building, the door closing and locking behind them.
The pair leaped to the rooftop, each sitting next to each other as they watched a few of the squad members pass by. Naruto watched the people with reserve, seeing different expressions on each one. He glanced at Yoruichi, finding her gaze to the stars as she admired them. He began to smile, watching the beautiful woman that helped him since he had first gotten here. "…Thanks, Yoru…" The purple-haired woman's became one of surprise, turning to see her companion gone.
The stealth captain stared at the spot where the shinobi was a moment earlier, her gaze becoming softer. His last words before he disappeared were warm, knowing he meant his statement. She looked into the distance, a graceful smile appearing on her beautiful face as she rather enjoyed the nickname from him. The second division captain wondered about the shinobi, finding that he had been in her thoughts lately. He seemed rather distant this past month, figuring that it was his memories if she went by his words from earlier. She looked at the starry night sky once more; her visage having a soft tone before vanished with a shunpo.
Whispers. Naruto could hear them all around him, familiar voices of the past. He could see a pearl-eyed woman smiling warmly at him as she spoke, a burly man with wild white hair laughing boisterously, two identical men with distinct eyebrows and bowl haircuts speaking animatedly with him, a blue-haired woman with a paper flower as an ornament speaking as an elegant smile was on her countenance, and many other people as remnants of fond memories circled within him.
Things began to fade, the memories taking a darker turn as saw a silver-haired man stared at the sky in peace while blood pooled beneath him as he rested upon ruins, a blond woman that coughed up blood as she held him while doing her best to heal him, another person much like him as a brown-skinned man screamed while his demon was being taken from him, a russet-haired woman who tenderly held his cheek as her life faded from her green eyes, and dark eyes staring at him lovingly as a violet-haired woman sacrificed herself, a sword pierced her heart.
The shinobi watched as highlights of his past life show and disappear, becoming too much to take as he glared with tears beginning to well in his eyes. He could feel the longing within as regret expressed itself through his visage, narrowing his eyes as he fought back his tears. Naruto then began to see his past memories disappear as his friends from his new life began to appear, seeing Toushiro smirking at him while Rangiku waved as she smiled, Kisuke smiling jovially as he had an arm around his neck in a brotherly manner, Soifon smirking as she tried to punch him, Unohana laughing as she walked with him, and Yoruichi grinning at him as they sat and talked.
"Naruto…" The golden-haired ninja turned around to see Fuujin softly staring at him. Beside her was Kyubi, her hand extended as she reached out to him. The former toad sage moved to them as he too began to reach for the Ninetails' hand, finding his strength leaving him as he fell to unconsciousness.
Naruto's eyes snapped open as he jolted from his slumber, finding that it late in the morning as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight that gleamed from his window. Harsh knocks were made at his door, not noticing it until he became more aware of his surroundings. The shinobi swiftly threw the covers off of his body, glaring as he grabbed a white shirt and walked to his door.
The spiritual jinchuriki put his shirt on, opening the door as he had prepared to rip whoever it was a new one as his irritation was nearly boiling over. His azure eyes widened in surprise, finding seven shinigami from his squad as they poised their zanpakuto. The leader of the small group stood in front of the whisker-cheeked man as his face remained stoic.
"A warrant has been placed on you, Uzumaki. You are to be sent to the Detention Unit for questioning on the case of missing souls." The chief of the investigation party spoke, his eyes completely focused. He watched as their target began to glared, becoming serious.
"On what grounds?" The shinobi asked, not taking the matter lightly as he became irate. This was so sudden, adding insult to injury since he just got on the investigation yesterday. The shinobi saw the lead of the detaining group unmoved by his question, another shinigami stepping up as he held the azure-eyed man's attention.
"You have been pointed out as a suspect, sightings of you running out of the Seireitei last night with your zanpakuto in hand." The second-in-command spoke, narrowing his eyes as he finished, "Captain Shihoin gave us the warrant to search your settlement and Captain Yamamoto gave the order out for your arrest."
The former sage stood quietly for a moment, lightly narrowing his eyes as he held himself back from lashing out. "Alright Naruto, keep it together. They're probably expecting a reaction and that'll make matters worse on me…" Internalizing his anger, he gruffly asked, "Can I finish changing then?"
The leader nodded, responding in a calm tone, "Yes, but we must keep an eye on you. Since a search warrant is placed on you, we must ensure that you don't try to hide anything."
The shinobi lightly grimaced before he shrugged, turning back into his abode as the search group followed him inside. They watched as the golden-haired shinigami move to his room, swiftly changing into his normal wear before he left his bedroom not even five minutes later with Fuujin in his hand. One of the guards moved to him, halting as he shook his head. "One of us must have your zanpakuto. It will be given to your captain until the end of your questioning, depending on what is judged on your story."
The shinobi gritted his teeth, his gaze on his spiritual weapon. He never went anywhere without her. "Dammit…" His azure eyes narrowed, his grip on his zanpakuto tightening before passing the blade to the shinigami. "I'll get you back as soon as I can, Fuujin…"
The zanpakuto felt herself being given, grimacing as she was aware of what her master's situation was. "I know you will. Just don't do anything foolish…" Her words were reserved as it was concerned, reaching the bijuu container before she was fully out of his grasp. The shinigami ninja lightly frowned, watching as the guard took a few steps back.
The leader of the search party looked at his subordinates and nodded. His gaze moved back to the unarmed man. "Let's go. We've wasted enough time here." The second division member nodded, following the chief out with two of the guards behind him. Naruto briefly tightened his fists as he walked, ignoring the stares as he held his frustration.
Kyubi watched as she felt her host's irritation while a frown marred her beautiful features. The vixen spoke, feeling that the statement summarized the whole ordeal as her container would certainly agree.
"Damn, this is a rough morning…"
Yoruichi walked within the Detention Unit, ignoring the criminals that she passed as her thoughts were on the reports from this morning. While the situation didn't make any sense, she was the one that had to interrogate the suspect. Her golden eyes narrowed, seeing her destination just ahead. Three guards stood in front of a large door, their posture completely straight as they saluted her. She gazed at the trio, her authority exuding as she ordered, "We are not to be bothered unless if Yamamoto-sama says otherwise."
The shinigami guards saluted as the responded with a sound, "Sir!" The second division captain nodded as one of the guards opened the door. The purple-haired woman entered the chamber, the door closing behind her as the sound echoed throughout the room.
The space was a decent size, having a wooden table and chair in the middle of the room as the place held fair lighting. The feline shinigami remained quiet, her focus on the shinobi before her as he sat cross-legged on the floor as his visage was calm. She took another glace around the room, spotting some fist-size indentions scattered across the right wall. Inwardly she frowned, knowing that the blemishes on the wall would have to be fixed later.
"Naruto." The second-division captain called, watching as did not immediately respond. Finally, the former toad sage opened his eyes, his piercing azure eyes gazing into her golden pair. "There have been reports about you appearing to leave the Seireitei on your last night. What exactly is going on with you?"
The suspected ninja stood, no humor on his countenance as he stared back at his captain. "Whoever wrote that report is lying." He spoke quietly, his expression simmering as he continued. "I haven't left the Seireitei at all. When I left you last night, I went home." The shinobi gave a determined stare as he finished, "Whatever speculation anyone has on me in this is wrong Yoruichi!"
The kunoichi-like captain did not say a word, pulling out a few papers before she looked at them. "Many of these reports read that you went off in the dead of night and came back with wounds all over you!" She looked at the shinobi, her frustration beginning to show. "While I want to believe you, I have to consider you sneaking off! How can I trust someone who can't even give the same respect?" The question was deeper than first glance, something that the former sage didn't miss.
"…Is that what you believe of me Yoruichi?" He asked quietly, his reserved tone carrying more volume then what yelling could prove. The captain shuffled through the papers, pulling one out in particular as she showed it to him. It was two pictures, the left side showing him leaving the premises with his weapon in hand as the right side showed him returning with fatigue on his expression as well as many wounds on his body. The Ninetails' host felt in eyes widened a bit, more shocked than what currently lied on his visage. "I…I remember that night! That was about two weeks ago when I left to train on my zanpakuto and that other technique…"
The stealth leader watched as her subordinate became surprised, his eyes lightly glazed in remembrance. "So you do know what this picture is?" The golden-haired ninja quietly gazed at her, her expression completely serious. "What was so important that you had to leave?"
The shinobi found himself in a hard place, knowing it was best to tell the truth. "…That was two weeks ago I left the Soul Society to train. Nothing more, nothing less. I had been doing so since I had been enrolled here." The spiritual jinchuriki watched as his commander was taken aback, continuing on. "Do you remember what I told you when you asked why I kept my scores low during the academy?"
The second squad captain hadn't forgotten that conversation, thinking back on the memory. "There are few that I honestly trust here…" Yoruichi gazed at the former sage quietly, seeing his gaze resolute. She read in between the lines, understanding his implication. "So you think someone is framing you?" The purple-haired woman watched the whisker-cheeked man nod, taking the time to think for a moment.
Yoruichi closed her eyes as her eyebrows furrowed in irritation. "I can only base my judgment off of facts, not a bunch of speculations Naruto. The evidence says that you left the Soul Society when you weren't supposed to and you lied to me, which makes you untrustworthy at the moment." She steeled her gaze as she finished, "Because of these accusations, I cannot allow you on this case anymore."
The shinobi stood in silence, knowing that he would be taken off of the search. While in knowing, it still hurt him to hear it. "…I understand." His stare was low, his expression quiet as it was subdued. Yoruichi held her gaze, though internally she hated making this decision. "Am I allowed to have Fuujin back?"
The chocolate-skinned woman nodded, seeing the former sage's eyes shadowed. She didn't feel right about this, even if it didn't show. The feline captain stood, feeling that the interrogation was at its end. Even if she had to withhold him from the investigation, she believed his word over the reports. Something was definitely up, her subordinate subjected to misleading accusations enforcing her opinion. She turned around, walking to the entrance as she opened the door. Naruto followed, left in his own thoughts.
The leader of the three guards saluted and presented a small document and the shinobi's zapakuto. "Sir! The suspect's home has been search and nothing was found!" The Onimitsukido captain nodded. The guard gave a curt nod, continuing, "Also an emergency meeting for all captains has been called!" The feline leader looked at the guard in slight surprise, her mind wondering what exactly was going on. She took a glance at the suspected shinobi, his eyes solely focused on her as he was concerned as she was.
His azure eyes glistened in frustration and disappointment before he closed them, grabbing his zanpakuto from the guard as he placed his weapon on his back. The whisker-cheeked shinigami became focused as his eyes held hidden intensity within them, walking past his captain as headed for the entrance. "I know you all will get to the bottom of this." He paused in his steps, turning back to her as a foxlike grin was on his face. "I have every confidence in you!"
Yoruichi visage held one of slight surprise, seeing the spiritual jinchuriki placing his faith her since he couldn't help anymore. But she recognized that his last words were meant to be seen more than just face value. While she had been questioning his trust and faith lately, he never lost any of his in her. Her eyes lightly tempered, rather unsure what to feel about the shinobi at the moment.
Naruto turned away from her, continuing his walk to the outside world. His smile began to drop, his eyes taking on a piercing quality as his grip on his zanpakuto tightened. It was one thing to be targeted, but when you pit someone he cared about against him then all bets are off. No, whoever was playing them would be found and mercilessly slaughtered before the shinobi would drag their sorry carcass all over the Seireitei.
The stealth captain watched the former sage's retreating back, the foreboding feeling washing over her form once more as it became stronger. She imperceptibly grimaced, the sensation vexing her. Her golden eyes stayed on the ninja's figure, concern veiled as she whispered, "Naruto…" The former sage vanished in a shunpo, not a trace of him ever being there. The kunoichi-like captain pushed everything in her mind aside as she grew solemn, taking after her subordinate as she disappeared to meet with the captains.
Naruto appeared at his home, unlocking the door as he entered. He looked around, finding his things placed back as they were. He blinked, having to expect his place to look ransacked. The thought didn't stay for long, looking around to make sure that they didn't leave or take anything.
"This had to be done for a reason…" The shinobi thought as he inspected his home. It didn't make any sense to him. He had been going out of the Seireitei to train since he had been here, no issue as he was never sighted. His azure eyes narrowed, knowing that whoever was behind the vanishing souls had to have a hand of his arrest. Now he couldn't even help on the investigation. He gritted his teeth as his fists tightened, a low growl sounding from his throat. The shinobi took deep breaths, calming down a bit as he subconsciously grabbed his zanpakuto.
The former sage moved to his room, his eyes taking a solemn tone as he sighed. "Well getting pissed off about it isn't gonna help." It wasn't the first time he had been framed on a serious offense, his memory recalling being in a prison for attacking the leader of the…land of the sky? Another sighed escaped his lips, grimacing as he grabbed his head in pain. "Dammit…" Thinking about his past life too hard gave him headaches.
Speaking of memories, the spiritual jinchuriki thought of his hidden journal as his eyes lit a little. The shinobi walked to his closet, his gaze at the top shelf as he began to reach for it. His hand touched nothing but wood, his eyes widening slowly. He moved his hand as he searched; only coming to the same conclusion. "Where…where is it?" He became frantic, breaking the shelf down to see nothing but the broken ledge. He rushed from his closet, swiftly moving to his mattress as he threw his blanket out of the way. All he saw was the sheets for his troubles, making him growl in aggravation.
"Where is it?!" Naruto swiftly ran to the living room, breaking more than a few things as he searched high and low for his book of memoirs. Finally he stopped as he roared out in pure unadulterated rage, still no sign of his beloved chronicle. The spiritual pressure increased, his azure eyes narrowed as his teeth clenched against each other furiously.
"Naruto!" The calling of his name startled him, his eyes widening from the authority their tone. "You need to calm down! I'm as upset as you are, but now isn't the time! Don't lose your head!" Kyubi couldn't let her host go on a murdering spree as entertaining as that sounded to her, knowing that there were people within the establishment that could take him out. The vixen had always said that she couldn't have a weak container and she meant it, knowing that her jailer was better than his current enraged state.
His body began to ease, but not by much. The spiritual jinchuriki reigned his wrath back in as he listened to his tenant, taking a few minutes to simmer down. The pressure around his atmosphere dissipated as his eyes remained narrowed, taking the time to think. "That book was there! I made sure of that before I left!"
Kyubi glared as she stared at the wasteland-like ruins in the zanpakuto realm, her container's anger the cause of the area's condition. "It must have been one of those men that came and searched the place." Considering the circumstances, this couldn't have been by mistake. The investigation on her vessel had to have been a setup, her anger lightly flaring. "There's too much left unanswered…" She thought to herself, irritation beginning to show.
Naruto had already begun walking to the door, exiting his home as he slammed it shut. His expression showed sharp focus, walking away as he narrowed his cerulean eyes. "I can't talk to Yoruichi; she's still on the investigation... But maybe Kisuke could help." The shinobi vanished, dust picking up from where he stood a moment ago.
Naruto appeared at the Ninth Division headquarters, near the scientific captain's office. His movements were swift as they held purpose, moving amongst the division members to make his destination. The shinobi couldn't help but hear the whispers, slowing down as he strained his hearing.
"The investigation team that was dispatched from earlier disappeared?"
"Yeah, Captain Urahara isn't pleased…"
The former sage grew concerned, not needing to hear anymore as he continued to the office. "If Kisuke is upset like they say then it leads me to ask…who was sent?" He rounded a corner, using a shunpo to take to the rooftops. It wasn't long until he was at the office, dropping on an empty hallway before he walked to the closed front doors as he prepared to knock.
"Damn this is getting out of hand!" The golden-haired soul paused in his actions, hearing muffled angry words on the other side. "They needed a researcher at the site and I told Lieutenant Hiyori to go… That was a mistake! I should've gone myself! Now she's missing too!" The shinobi heard something slam into a desk, the person continuing, "And Naruto was taken off the case from speculation that he might be a helping hand in the disappearance of souls. Tessai, I don't know about you but I know that none of this is right…"
Naruto didn't stay for the rest of the conversation, walking away as his hair shadowed his eyes. His fists were balled, anger apparent in his posture. "Kisuke…Hiyori…" He remained silent for a moment before finally making a decision that would forever change his fate within the Soul Society. "I know I'm not supposed to be anywhere on this case, but I don't care anymore… I'll find them myself."
Kyubi held her solemn visage, the feeling of déjà vu washing over her. The feeling itself worried her as her past existence was for the most part, dark. She grimaced, her blood-colored eyes gleaming in vexation as she thought about her container.
It was strange, only ever feeling like this when the Rikudo Sennin was dying. But the feeling that was impeding on her was more intense, running deeper than she cared to admit. The crimson-haired woman couldn't explain the unusual feeling, closing her eyes as her eyebrows furrowing in anxiety.
"Something is definitely going to transpire in this whole ordeal."Her jailer continued walking, his eyes taking the piercing state remnant of his partaking in the Fourth Shinobi War. "Just…" She went quiet, her expression becoming soft for a fleeting moment. She mentally shook the thought away, focusing on the matter at hand.
Fuujin had been watching her fiery companion, remaining silent as she herself had been focusing on being prepared to fight. She could feel the deception in the air, knowing her master wouldn't stand for it.
She just hoped that it wouldn't kill him.
The sun had begun to fall below the horizon, painting the sky an orange hue as the day neared its end. Yoruichi took in the atmosphere above her silently in contemplation, her day being rather long. "Lady Yoruichi?" The stealth captain looked to her protégé, seeing the petite shinigami gaze at her in worry. "Is everything alright?" The chocolate-skinned woman looked away, her golden eyes serious as they gleamed in concern.
"It's nothing for you to be bothered about." The feline woman replied, not wanting to discuss it. Her mind was on the shinobi, seeing as to how see hadn't seen him since he left the Detention Unit. In fact, she asked around and no one had seen him. She wanted to talk with him, but when he didn't want to be found then no one could locate him.
"Soifon." The lieutenant looked up to see her master stopping in her steps, her gaze ahead. "We're done for the day. If there's anything else then I'll let you know." The captain then continued her trek forward, leaving behind her worried pupil.
The apprentice turned away, her gaze questioning as a fleeting thought passed. "I haven't seen that idiot Naruto today…" She vanished, going to her dorm for a much desired bath.
Yoruichi finally made it to her destination, standing outside of the ninja's room. She knocked on the door, waiting as she received no answer. Her irritation grew, deciding to bypass the whole thing as she grabbed the door handle with every intention to burst in. She paused, noticing that the door wasn't locked. In all of the time she known him, he would never leave his door unlocked. The captain opened the door slowly, her eyes taking in a mess of broken things and disarray.
Tentatively she walked in, mindful of her steps. "Naruto..." She called, moving to his room. The kunoichi-like shinigami gazed at his room, finding that his closet was open as the shelf broken. Her gaze moved back to the disheveled bed, concern on her visage. She had never known for the shinobi to lash out like this, even if she gave an order he didn't want to do. Something was definitely wrong she knew, turning around as she began to leave his wrecked room.
She needed to go find him.
Five people flew through the foliage at the dead of night, the moon risen high above as the sky was without a cloud. Shinji took the lead as his eyes were focus on the path ahead of him. "It won't be much longer now. We're almost at the disappearance sight."
"What do you think happened to Kensei and the others?" The fifth division captain turned to his left to see Rose, concern glazing his eyes. "They couldn't have been taken out so easily…"
"Hopefully he's still alive." Love spoke as he kept pace with the group. "Whoever this hollow is, they must be tough to put Kensei down."
A rather giant man wearing a fuchsia overcoat over his shinigami attire narrowed his eyes lightly as he followed. His hair was pink; having a black ring design with three points that protruded in a triangular fashion. His position in the Soul Society was the lieutenant of the Kido Corps, Yamamoto believing his skills to be beneficial to the investigation. While his hopes were that all the souls were alive, he couldn't exactly dismiss that the research team's lives may have been taken. Regardless, he kept to silence as he focused on the area around him.
Lastly, a woman traveled with the group, her shinigami attire modified as the upper robes served as a makeshift skirt with the ends of her sash tied to the left of her hips. She wore socks that stopped at the bottom of her calf muscles, their color being white. Her black hair framed her facial features, having two braids flowing as she moved along with the group. On her face were red-framed oval glasses, giving her an intelligent air about herself as her sharp teal eyes took in the area around them. On her upper left arm was a lieutenant badge, securely wrapped to stay in place. Though she may not have said a word, she was concerned of the souls for the souls that disappeared.
The spiritual pressure grew heavy, alerting every one of the danger. Shinji narrowed his eyes as he spoke, "Rose, Love, Hachigen, Lisa! Get ready!" The four nodded in unison as they landed in a clearing, seeing a hollow-like figure rushing to kill a down Hiyori. The fifth division captain wasted no time, rushing in to block a powerful punch with his zanpakuto swung in a horizontal position. Love attacked as he darted in to meet the seemingly hollowfied ninth division captain with an overhead swing, giving the golden-haired leader the time to grab the small lieutenant as he used shunpo to gain distance.
"No, don't attack him!" Hiyori called, making everyone listen. She coughed harshly, grimacing as she finished, "That's Kensei! Let me go!"
Everyone looked at the transformed captain, Shinji grimacing as his eyes narrowed. "If we don't draw swords then we're as good as dead. We need to put him down!" The captain of the seventh division nodded as he sprung again, engaging the hollow shinigami.
Shinji gritted his teeth as he watched his hollowfied friend retaliate to Love and Rose attacks on him. The third division captain was sent back, landing a fair distance away as he prepared to join the fray once more. Another figure appeared behind the aristocratic leader with her leg high, heel-kicking the unsuspecting captain into the ground with a resounding crash. The fifth squad's chief recognized the person as the dust began to settle.
"Lieutenant Mashiro too?!" He thought to himself in shock. Hiyori coughed again, still struggling against his grip as she continued to demand her release. The long-haired captain scowled as he watched the scene unfold before him.
"Just what the hell happened to you all?"
Another figure dashed through the forest as they didn't make a single sound. He felt a battle ensuing, slowly coming to an end as he moved as quickly as he could. "It took me awhile to track their reiatsu signature."
Naruto recalled how he acquired the information of another investigation group coming in, hearing the captain of the eighth division, Kyoraku Shinsui, talking about the matter to the captain of the thirteenth squad, Jyuushiro Ukitake. Both leaders were concerned as they were anxious, both understanding that something far darker must have been going on. The shinobi narrowed his eyes, his beliefs right along with theirs.
The spiritual jinchuriki's eyes narrowed as he felt their energy beginning to change. He gritted his teeth, worry on his countenance as he recalled who was assigned on the investigation mission. His destination wasn't much further, adrenaline pumping as he readied himself.
The whisker-cheeked shinigami could see the clearing, his eyes seeing Shinji fending off lieutenant Aizen as a white substance threatened to cover his face. A fierce expression was on the pursuing man visage as he pulled his nodachi zanpakuto from the sheath on his back, rocketing in with every intention to kill the lieutenant before another man appeared, barely making it as the two zanpakuto clashed harshly.
Shinji gazed at the new comer in surprise as he continued fighting off the hollowfication process. "N-Naruto!" He shouted in surprise, watching as the shinobi kick away the person who blocked his attack. The former sage's gaze was rather penetrating, assessing the situation at hand as he saw four hollowfying people on the ground.
Naruto couldn't stop the surprise from being expressed on his face as he knew most of the people. His gaze moved back to the people before him, first taking in the shinigami who blocked his strike.
It was a brown-skinned man, wearing a white facemask as his hair was fashioned into fro-like spikes. He wore a white shirt under his shihakusho, a white haori-like coat over the uniform. His eyes were closed, his eyebrows furrowed as he remained wary of the shinobi.
The next one behind Aizen was a rather skinny man, his skin pale as his eyes were squinted while he bore a snake-like grin on his face. Nothing else was noted as he wore the normal shinigami robes. Though, the shinobi narrowed his eyes as his killing intent began to leak, the lithe shinigami reminding him of a man that was similar in terms of appearance and presence.
Finally, his azure eyes glared into Aizen's amused pair, seeing the mocking smile on his visage. "Ah Naruto-kun. A pleasant surprise to see you here." A smile began to show as the lieutenant continued, "But since you're here now, I'm sure you're confused of what's going on." The former sage growled deeply, simmering as he listened to the fifth division member.
Shinji gritted his teeth, his eyes narrowing as he felt the hollow power slowly overtaking him against his will. "Naruto…Aizen isn't the man he seems..." The shinobi looked at the struggling captain, the captain's eyes lowering from the pain that impeded on his being. "I…I always knew something was off with him… I don't know how but…he did this to us…" The hollowfying shinigami fell to his knees, a groan of agony sounding from him. The spiritual jinchuriki glared at the accused lieutenant, his perception of the situation quickly coming together.
Aizen chuckled as he closed his eyes calmly. "I won't deny Hirako-taicho's claim. It would be useless anyway as I'm sure you wouldn't believe me if I denied it." He opened his eyes as he gazed at the shinobi, confidence on his countenance as a smirk was placed on his visage. It didn't bode well for the golden-haired shinigami, holding his peace for the moment as he tried to formulate a plan to save the victimized soul reapers.
"Tell me, Naruto…" The shinobi watched as the bespectacled man looked at him, his tone in a chiding manner. "Are you even supposed to be here?" The ninja narrowed his eyes ever so slightly, making the lieutenant smirk.
The spiritual pressure around Shinji began to change, making him give out a harsh cry before he fell unconscious. Naruto suddenly appeared next to the hollowfying captain kneeling, fear and concern etched on his face. His attention snapped to the trio, the Onimitsukido shinigami yelling out, "What the hell did you do to him?!" His azure eyes taking on an intense nature as he stood, "What the hell did you do to all of them?!" The shinobi paused in his anger, his thoughts replaying what the fifth division member asked before the fifth division captain went unconscious.
"…You set this up…" Revelation began to crash on the whisker-cheeked man. "You were behind the kidnappings. You…you used them as experiments, didn't you?" The shinobi remembered something similar happened in his past life, an old mentor of his speaking about someone close to him taking people with special abilities in search of immortality. A surprised expression was on Aizen's face, but did nothing to stop the former toad sage from continuing. "And you also were the one to set me up with those pictures. You knew I would come looking for the person responsible for that…"
The serpentine-like shinigami took a step forward, a smile remaining plaster on his face as he spoke, "My word, he's quite the chatter box and a smart one at that. He's got some of the puzzle pieces together."
The lieutenant placed a calm smile on his visage. "How astute of you, Uzumaki. But I suppose that comes with growing up as a shinobi…" The former sage's eyes grew wide, dread and anger beginning to build within his heart. Aizen reached into his robes, pulling out a small and dense book as he maintained his nonchalant expression. "But that wouldn't mean much to you because all that matters is the present and what you want to do in the future, right?"
Aizen promptly moved to the side as Gin met the former sage's zanpakuto with his own, stalemating as he held his horizontal position. Naruto glared at the shinigami in the way as he loosened his grip and flickered out his thumb and hit the tsuba of his blade, the other half of his spirit sword shooting up at the silver-haired man. Reacting swiftly from the unexpected attack, snake-like fighter moved his head to the left.
The shinobi spun starkly with the other half of Fuujin, his right hand in a tight grip as faced Gin's back with his halved nodachi flying up towards his left hand as his opponent remained in his place. The silver-haired shinigami's slitted eyes opened slightly in shock, using shunpo to leave the golden-haired fighter's range before two harsh sword swipes were there not a moment later as he caught the half of his zanpakuto that he sent initially. Thin razor winds immediately followed after his failed swings, forcing the trio to shunpo away as the landscape was somewhat scarred from the attack.
Naruto stood silently as the three shinigami appeared behind him in a decent distance. The killing intent thickened considerably, the small group beginning to perspire. The shinobi stood straight as he slowly turned around, his eyes showing his rage as he remained silent.
Aizen glanced at Gin, seeing the normal smile gone as his expression was serious. The glasses-wearing shinigami moved his gaze back to his angered opponent, asking aloud, "He wiped your smile off your face rather quick…"
The silver-haired man didn't move his eyes away as he replied, "He's certainly skilled. He caught me off guard." The lieutenant didn't respond, watching the simmering shinobi.
The former sage connected his zanpakuto together, his eyes on the trio as his thoughts angrily ran at a million miles a minute. "He's the culprit of this whole mess…" Naruto gritted his teeth, having flashback of his past as he saw a man in a gray mask with strange ring ripple-like designs staring back at him with a cold indifference. "You remind me of that bastard…" The shinobi inhaled, fighting to get a hold of his fiery emotions to properly plan a way to get his journal back and defeat his opponents to bring them in and clear his name.
Kyubi watched as her container fought between his rage and his logical side, knowing it was a trap that he walked into. But that book held everything he knew of his forgotten past; the only way that he could see them again. The former demoness was with her host a hundred percent and then some, greatly appalled to the harsh offense of stealing his treasured book of memories.
Aizen calmly stared at the spiritual jinchuriki, smiling all the while as he spoke, "Writing down all of your memories…a rather smart idea." He chuckled, irritating the shinobi further. "But it's also a desperate attempt to keep what you'll eventually forget. When everything of your past is gone, how will you know that it was ever real?" The bespectacled shinigami finally questioned, watching the golden-haired man before him.
The shinobi remained silent for a moment, his eyes shadowed by his hair. "It isn't forgotten if it's imbedded within you." His azure eyes shimmered with focus as he recalled Fuujin's words from a few days ago, continuing on. "At this point, I do remember some of my life, which is more than enough proof for me…" Naruto gripped his zanpakuto with both hands, separating them with ease as he glowered, finishing as his statement. "And I will do what I can to protect what I have, both past memories and future ones." The former toad sage lifted the sword in his left hand in a horizontal position, his eyes dead set on Aizen.
"Rage along the maelstrom, Fuujin."
Two more figures dashed towards the investigation site, their dark cloaks helping them to blend in with the night atmosphere. One was larger than the other, the former having a rather muscular figure as his high collar stood out. The latter wore a black bandana on his head, blocking his hair color from being spotted.
The spiritual pressure grew as they moved to their destination. "Kisuke, do you feel that?" The smaller man nodded in response, his eyes narrowing.
"Yeah. It feels like a battle. Hopefully everyone is alright…" Winds rushed to the duo suddenly, making them put their arms up to protect their faces. The scientific captain felt the reiatsu signature as his eyes widened in recognition. "No…"
Tessai watched as his best friend's visage held one of surprise. "What is he doing here?" The kido master asked, "Last we heard, he was banned from the case."
The sandy-haired shinigami grimaced, a frown apparent. "I don't know, but he's released his Shikai. We need to hurry." The duo continued on, the spiritual pressure thickening as they moved closer to the altercation.
Finally, Kisuke and Tessai arrived at the clearing, their eyes taking in the seven hollowfying shinigami. The demon arts master wasted no time in his analyzing as he took a look at them. The twelfth division captain narrowed his eyes as he watched the white substance overtake their faces. Before anything else passed in his mind, a resounding crash shook the ground, making the two snap their attention to the ensuing battle.
The golden-haired shinobi dodged Tosen's attempt of beheading him by ducking, spinning as he lashed out the hooked blade at the blind shinigami's leg. The dark-skinned man leaped to avoid the attack, moving as the former sage planned as he threw the weapon in his left hand in the air. The spiritual jinchuriki used the sword in his right hand as he swung, the hook snagging the sight-disabled man's shoulder as he swiftly charged reiatsu in his vacant left hand. Tousen let out a pained bark, feeling himself being pulled as he tried to swipe his opponent in retaliation. The whiskered shinobi roughly pulled his enemy in as he gave a powerful thrust with his other hand. "Rasengan!" The ball of spiritual energy clashed with the sightless shinigami's zanpakuto, the two stalemating for a moment before the brown-skinned man was sent back, tumbling and skipping off the ground before he slammed into a few trees. Naruto caught the weapon as spun, preparing to shunpo as he targeted a bemused Aizen before a red ball of energywas sent to the said shinigami.
The glasses-wearing shinigami lightly narrowed his eyes as he phased jumped away, disappearing from the spot before the attack arrived not a moment after, destroying the ground as it collided with it. Aizen reappeared, his attention to Kisuke, who glared at him as his hand was outstretched to him.
"Kisuke." The twelfth division chief turned to his right, seeing Naruto focusing on the lieutenant. "I'll handle Aizen. Tend to the shinigami unconscious. They're hollowfying and they need help in subduing the hollow power." Kisuke gritted his teeth, found in a rather tough position, believing that while his friend's plan was good, they needed to switch rolls.
Aizen remained silent, Gin and Tosen appearing next to the lieutenant in an instant. He didn't calculate the captain for show up. Still, it shouldn't hinder anything. "This might be used to my advantage…" The lieutenant exchanged a look to his two accomplices before they vanished. Aizen looked at the shinobi once more, smiling at him before he disappeared.
Naruto growled before he took off, ignoring Kisuke and Tessai's calls. "It won't be that easy Aizen…" The golden-haired man growled out lowly as he chased down the lieutenant. His pupils slowly became oval-shaped, eventually leaving its normal spherical shape as they became slits. "You hurt my friends and you still have my book you bastard. I swear I'll make you pay!"
The trio continued to rush to the Soul Society, feeling the shinobi trailing them as he slowly but surely gained ground to them. "Aizen, you know we'll need to be on our guard. Despite being an unassuming shinigami within the ranks, he's rather competent…"
The fifth division lieutenant didn't immediately respond, feeling the ninja coming closer as they rushed to the Soul Society. "That's an understood. You know what to do from here right Gin, Tosen?" Both of the shinigami nodded as they prepared themselves for their enraged enemy.
Tosen's eyebrows twitched before he ducked, dodging lightning as it destroyed a few trees ahead of him. He turned around; recoiling in shock as suddenly felt the shinobi on him. The former toad sage's visage was contorted in rage, his zanpakuto poised for attacking as he swung them in a diagonal arc. The blind shinigami barely had enough time as he blocked, his eyes becoming wide as he was sent away from the pressurized attack of the shinobi's zanpakuto. Gin rushed in, swinging his short blade as he clashed with the shinobi.
The former sage grew angrier by the minute with the fifth division's accomplices running interference. "Move the hell out of my way!" In a show of primal dynamism, the golden-haired shinigami roughly gripped his enemy's left wrist, his retaliation coming in a blur as his zanpakuto slashed across the silver-haired man's torso. Blood splashed out as time began slow, a memory coming to the enraged shinobi as he saw a raven-haired male around his age with strange, atom-designed eyes in place of Gin. The fire in the spiritual jinchuriki's heart grew, roaring out as he roundhouse kicked the injured shinigami away.
Naruto's hair shadowed over his eyes, the spiritual pressure increasing considerably around him. A deep animalistic growl emitted from his throat as he lifted his head slightly, glaring as Aizen continued to flee. His whisker marks became jagged, his hair thickening as its normal spikes developed into a wilder form as his canines extended. His azure eyes began to change, his irises becoming blood-colored.
Kyubi grimaced as she felt her container pull on her power, sensing his rage that accompanied it. She looked at Fuujin, seeing the white-haired woman focused as the zanpakuto's power was strained from her own chaotic reiatsu trying to domineer. "This isn't good…" The foxlike woman thought to herself, the torrents of her host's inflamed emotions washing over her. "He's losing it... At this point, I'm not even sure that he will even listen to reason…" The red-haired woman held a visage of burden, closing her eyes for a moment. She took a breath before she opened them, her eyes shining in determination. The shinobi she resided in was hurting, his memories flashing before his eyes as the situation worsened. "Naruto…I won't allow you to fall into that darkness that once held me…"
Naruto was unaware of the former demon fox's intent, his focus on the escaping lieutenant. The shinobi growled once again, his wrath imminent. Aizen's plan would be brought forth to the light if the former sage had anything to say about it. The ninja quietly spoke to himself in a bestial voice as his eyes illuminated dangerously. "There's nowhere to run to… I swear I'll find you…" He moved to take a step, only to vanish in a red mist from his speed.
Silence ensued for a moment before rubble was moved as the two defeated shinigami stood, grimacing of their wounds. "Gin, can you move with your injuries?" The blind man still felt his head spinning from the impact of the shinobi's pressured attack from his zanpakuto, blood running down the side of his face.
The silver-haired man held his bleeding chest as his breaths were somewhat labored. "Yeah…I can go…" He took a step forward, wincing as he lightly laughed to himself. "It's a good thing Aizen is taking the scenic route to the Soul Society…" Tosen walked next to Gin before they both took off.
Footsteps were heard down a hallway, their destination to the outside. A sigh escaped their lips as he continued his slow pace, feeling rather relaxed despite how his day went. As he passed by a small group of people, they showed their respect as one spoke for all of them.
"Good evening, Yamamoto-sotaicho."
The elder nodded to them, not stopping as he finally made it to the courtyard. He paused in his steps, taking in the air as he recalled the occurrences that happened earlier within his day. A frown pronounced itself on his visage, unsure of what to make from the situation discussed but from a few hours ago.
The disappearances did not stop, people still vanishing for unknown reasons. He sent a research team to investigate the last area their reiatsu were sighted before the same fate befell on them. Captain Urahara expressed his concern, urging to be allowed to go but was denied. His panicked state would only be a hindrance. The elder had to admit that he was rather irritated that the astute leader lost his cool about the whole ordeal.
Then it was brought to his attention that Uzumaki Naruto had been leaving the Seireitei in the dead of night on occasions, returning as he would have many wounds all over him. The wizened captain had been rather concerned for the shinigami initially, but with this over the shinobi's head his trust in him had been shaken. He wondered what was so important that he had to leave the Soul Society. While the young man had borne more hardships than a majority here could handle, he could not excuse the secretive course of action that he proceeded to take.
Yamamoto felt someone's energy signal home in as they appeared behind him with a shunpo, kneeling with his head bowed. "Sir, we have a problem!" The old shinigami turned his head, recognizing the voice. Before the leader of the all shinigami stood a lightly tanned man with silver hair and a thin handlebar mustache as his orange eyes expressed urgency. He wore a white haori over the normal shihakusho with a white turtle neck underneath his robes and his lieutenant badge on his left arm.
The elderly warrior full turned around as he gave his undivided attention. "Lieutenant Chojiro, what is it?" The bearded man felt a fleeting sense of dread in the pit of his stomach but swiftly snuffed it out with the state of indifference.
"The research team sent earlier has gone missing!" The wizened man slightly opened his eyes in surprise. The head captain held confidence in the team he assembled for the missing souls, wondering what was going on. The first division member narrowed his eyes as he spoke again. "But that's not all…" The second in command became grave, alarming his master by a margin.
"There is a malicious reiatsu heading towards the Soul Society. Captain Aizen is currently engaging it, leading it here to be subdued. Ichimaru Gin and Kaname Tosen were ordered to warn us and succeeded, though they suffer from attacks from the enemy." The old soul reaper narrowed his eyes as he sorted the situation out in his mind.
Yamamoto grunted as he began to walk away. "Alert and summon the captains!" The head captain slammed his wooden cane against the concrete underneath him, a web of cracks appearing upon impact. His eyes were focused as he stared ahead.
"This madness will stop now!"
Razor winds tore their way to the running target, cleaving into trees by the quantity as they missed the dodging shinigami. Aizen focused as he moved within the foliage, a small smirk on his visage as he turned his head to see his pursuer. "You're almost there now…"
Naruto on the other hand snarled as he continued to chase the lieutenant, finding it difficult to land a hit on the evasive shinigami. The former sage growled deeply, narrowing his eyes as he charged reiatsu into his zanpakuto. "Kaze o Nensho!" Orange reiatsu blazed through the forest swiftly, igniting whatever it touched. The mixture between the force and energy created another reaction as a series of explosions occurred, surprising the glasses-wearing lieutenant as he placed more reiatsu in his limbs to escape the chaos behind him.
Aizen abruptly halted as Naruto suddenly appeared before him, startled lightly before he ducked a horizontal swipe meant for decapitation of his head. The shinobi spun swiftly, attacking once more as his zanpakuto clashed diagonally with the lieutenant as they struggled in a stalemate. "What's your game Aizen?" The former sage asked lowly, pushing against his opponent with more strength. "What exactly are you trying to achieve?"
The fifth division lieutenant maintained his focus as he continued to resist the second division shinigami's blade. He had to admit, the young warrior was more surprising as the time passed. At this rate, the golden-haired ninja could be of lieutenant level if given another year. Still, he had to focus on the matter at hand as a small smirk appeared on his face. "Since I don't have a much of a past that I can remember, I'm trying to carve my future, Uzumaki." He kicked the shinobi back, vanishing with but a shunpo as he headed towards the Soul Society with vigor.
Naruto recovered in no time, disappearing once more as he caught up to the fleeing lieutenant. The shinobi readied his blade, swinging in a horizontal arch as Aizen twisted around in time with a vertical strike. The two zanpakuto collided, their respective masters fighting with resolution. The golden-haired ninja spun as he separated his nodachi, the weapon in his right hand was flipped into a reverse grip with intent to stab through his opponent's back. The lieutenant lashed out a kick and hit the shinobi's attacking forearm, stopping the oncoming strike before he punched the former sage in his face. Aizen raised a hand up, a red ball of reiatsu quickly gathering in his hand. "Hado # 31: Shakkaho!" The energy attack launched, rushing to hit its blond target.
Much to the death reaper's surprise, the attack was sliced in half, azure eyes glaring as he lifted two fingers to him. "Hado # 4: Byakurai!" White lightning shot off from his fingertips in retaliation, only to be cut down from the glasses-wearing death god. The fifth division shinigami widened his eyes as his opponent wasn't there.
Above him, Naruto wasted no time as he gathered yellow reiatsu within his hands, forming a triangle in the air as he quietly called out, "Bakudo # 30: Shitotsu Sansen!" The three points in the reiatsu triangle solidified into beak-like protrusions, beginning to fire off swiftly. Aizen snapped his head up as he moved to escape, dodging the first shot. The second shot narrowly missed him before the last one scrapped his left arm. He briefly looked at the flying attack that nicked him, proving to be a mistake as felt the shinobi upon him as he turned to see Naruto under him with a Rasengan in hand. "Rasengan!" The shinobi gave a mighty thrust with every intent to end the lieutenant's life.
Aizen had other plans as he swiftly blocked the attack with his zanpakuto, feeling the reiatsu try to grind its way to him. The bespectacled soul reaper narrowed his eyes lightly as he struggled against it, noticing the attack beginning to expand. Soon an explosion ensued, debris falling where they once stood as smoke began to take over the area.
Rushing from the smolder, Aizen launched away from the shinobi who remained on his tail. His left sleeve was torn, the lieutenant that once was placed on his arm destroyed. The fleeing shinigami began to pump more into his run, beginning to put distance between him and his opponent.
Naruto grew irate, finding that his target was pulling away. He grounded his teeth as his rage became apparent on his features, unknowingly pulling on Kyubi's reiatsu. He roared out, moving even faster as he began it catch the lieutenant.
Aizen saw as the border wall of the twelfth didvision was in his line of sight, narrowing his eyes as he stopped. A few moments later he ducked, Naruto flying in with his zanpakuto in horizontal swing as he crashed and blew out a part of the large structure of the wall. With no hesitation, the lieutenant of the fifth division ran through, dodging a wind attack sent from the enraged spiritual jinchuriki.
Naruto gritted his teeth, pulling more of the Ninetails' reiatsu as he roared to the heavens, crimson energy beginning to encase his body as the reiatsu boiled as if in agreement with the shinobi. The malicious cloak sprouted two long ear-like appendages at the top of the golden-haired man's head along with a reiatsu tail, swaying angrily as the transformation flashed in completion. The former sage glared daggers as he watched Aizen run away, only focused on killing him as he wanted to make him suffer from everything he did. "You won't escape, Aizen!" He took off; deeply uprooting the ground he once stood on as he rushed to catch up to the lieutenant.
Aizen glanced back, alarmed as he felt the distance he had made between him and the furious shinobi closing up too fast for his tastes. He saw what seemed to be a red claw made of energy coming towards him, shocking the shinigami as he was snatched from the air. The reiatsu burned to the touch, causing him to grit his teeth in pain as he felt himself being pulled in rapidly. He looked to see the shinobi influenced by the Ninetails' malevolent reiatsu, an awaiting violet Rasengan in his other hand poised for the killing.
Before anything was done, the reiatsu arm was cut off, Aizen using his zanpakuto as he swung down with his free arm. The lieutenant grimaced as he slid, dodging the intent maelstrom-like attack as he moved under it. The bespectacled soul reaper moved to his feet, his eyes widening as he used shunpo to avoid a punch that crushed the ground where he not moments before stood on. Aizen appeared in the air as he held his right hand by the wrist, blue reiatsu gathering at a swift rate. "Hado # 33: Sokatsui!" The charged blue ball blasted down with a wide path, slamming down on its target as it caused a large explosion.
Shinigami from all around were closing in on their location, their weapons carried as they moved to see the threat. Yoruichi and Soifon were no different, rushing in as they were ordered to prepare by the head captain. "This spiritual pressure…it feels chaotic. What in the world is it?" The stealth captain wondered, the feeling growing closer as they ran to the source of the malevolent reiatsu. The kunoichi lieutenant narrowed her eyes as he focused, unsure of what to expect.
They would learn soon enough, hopping over a few buildings as they looked before them, smoke and debris covering the area as they landed on the surface of a rooftop. They watched as Aizen flew in the air from the smoke, panting as he had some injuries over his being.
A roar was heard within the disappearing smoke, crimson reiatsu beginning to shine through. Yoruichi's golden eyes began to widen as the sight shook her to her core. "That…that can't be…"
Soifon stared in unadulterated shock, taking in what she would have never thought possible. "It is…"
Naruto glared at Aizen as he bared his teeth, the desire to murder him growing the longer he looked at him. But something wasn't right... "Naruto!" A surprised expression flashed on his visage, listening to his tenant. "Reign back your anger, you fool! Take in your surroundings!" And he did just that, slowly turning to see different shinigami staring at him in shock and even fear.
"It…it was a trap…" The spiritual pressure dramatically increased, making it harder for him to breathe as he stood stiff. "No…it was more than that…" In that moment, the shinobi experienced something beyond a normal realization, his mind reeling from an epiphany. "This…to see me in this state...that's what he wanted…" His blood-colored eyes glancing back at the lieutenant, seeing the small smirk across his visage. "All of this…that…that bastard…"
The false accusations to make his trust in his everyone falter, the stealing of his book of memoirs… With the evidence pointing at him, it would be rather convenient that everyone would believe that he was the one behind all of the vanishings. His eyes looked around again, this time catching many of the captains showing up. His crimson eyes saw many stunned expressions, coming across Unohana staring at him in shock and worry. It felt as though his heart had frozen, another revelation hitting him…
He was exposed.
Naruto unconsciously continued to look, his eyes meeting golden pair as dread washed over him. "Retsu…Yoruichi…" He looked away from them, shame and anger flashing across his visage. The spiritual pressure suddenly weighed down on him, hunched over as his difficulty in breathing began to show. His struggled but lifted his head up, seeing Yamamoto coming down on him. "Damn…" That was the last the last thing he saw, his vision going dark as harsh pain racked itself upon his body.
The blow Yamamoto gave Naruto vibrated as it shook the ground, a plume of smoke rising from the attack. The head captain stared at the unconscious form of the shinobi, his countenance blank. He had remembered when he first talked to the former sage about his past, hearing out in story. Seeing the state that he was in only enforced the truth behind his life. Closing his eyes he turned away, the dust settling. "Lock him up and take him to the Senzaikyu. I'm sure Central Forty-Six will decide on his punishment." Two of the shinigami from the Onimitsukido appeared, grabbing hold of the subdued shinobi's arms as they placed reiatsu-constricting shackles on his wrists. They both took an arm as they began follow the elderly soul reaper, dragging the unconscious golden-haired warrior away.
Toushiro stared in shock as he watched his friend being taken away, his teal-colored eyes glancing at Aizen, who stood in the air with an emotionless expression. The third seat looked over to his lieutenant standing next to him, seeing her stunned as a mournful air began to surround her. "…No…no way…" Toushiro looked away from her, not knowing what to say or how to even feel at this point.
Unohana was shocked that such malicious reiatsu came from the ninja. She grimaced, her mind going to the last conversation she had with him. She remembered his promise to find out who the culprit was, and him promising that he wouldn't be away for too long before he would visit her again. "It would seem that we not have long before we will never see each other again…"
Even though it seemed like it was the shinobi who was behind everything, she felt that something was amiss in this whole ordeal. Her blue eyes moved to Aizen, who finally landed on the ground as some of her subordinates ran to treat his injuries. A frown marred her features as she turned away, watching with sad eyes as the former sage was being dragged off.
Soifon remained silent as she processed what actually happened, shock on her feminine visage as she looked at his downed form. "He was in a different state of mind…" She remembered seeing the rage held on his face as he glared at Aizen, seemingly focused on him and him alone before he became aware of his surroundings. She saw the shame on his face for that brief moment, telling her that he was truly lost in his anger. Still, seeing that foul reiatsu that he produced made her wonder solemnly, "Was…was this what he was trying to keep from everyone?" She looked down, grief over her form.
Yoruichi quietly stood, watching her subordinate being taken away. She always knew the shinobi kept something to himself, never wanting to let it out, but actually see it… It honestly shocked her. What hurt her was the shame he held on his visage when he spotted her. That expression showed her that he was afraid that her opinion of him would change. Her golden eyes took a softer tone, seeing how insecure and vulnerable he actually was in that instance. The stealth captain narrowed her eyes, glancing around as she saw some of the people whisper to themselves as their eyes regarded the shinobi in fear or revulsion.
The second division leader looked at Aizen, walking with some of the fourth division members to treat more of his serious wounds. Her eyes narrowed, regarding the talk she had with the former sage from his interrogation earlier. "He believed that someone was framing him." She hadn't known him for being a practicing liar, always making sure that his words and intentions were clear. She watched as the fifth division lieutenant talked to a few of the healing soul reapers almost seemingly on autopilot. Yoruichi remained silent as she turned and walked away, disappearing with a shunpo.
The next day began with the early morning, the sun taking its place in the sky as it signaled the start of a new day. As significant as that could seem for someone, it also held the possibility in another person's point of view that it could be their last sunrise they could gaze upon before they die…
Or in this case executed.
Within the chambers of Central Forty-Six, two figures stood before the conjugation of forty wise men and six judges. Both grimaced, bar-like cuffs on their wrists as they awaited their judgment. The first man with sandy blond hair could only laugh quietly at his predicament, looking over to his companion. "Looks like were about to bite this, huh?"
Tessai held his gaze to the men before them, all hope seemingly lost. "It would seem so, Kisuke."
The people within the room looked down on the two, having reached a decision. "Urahara Kisuke, you will hereby be turned into a human and be banished into the world of the living for committing crimes against researching and creating forbidden phenomenon, along with the deception and gravely injuring fellow shinigami." The former captain's eyes widened as shock was expressed on his countenance. They weren't even given a chance to explain themselves!
"And you Tsukabishi Tessai will serve life imprisonment in the level three detainment unit for using forbidden Kido techniques." The Kido master grimaced, not liking his situation in the least.
Kisuke looked up at the council as he contained his anger, asking, "What of Uzumaki Naruto?" The small congress looked at the former leader they condemned, hearing his question.
"Uzumaki Naruto will be executed on Sokyoku Hill, having killed citizens and shinigami alike as well as being deemed a monstrosity that we cannot allow to live." Urahara and Tessai looked up at them in shock, hearing that their friend's fate was far worse.
Suddenly, a white-cloaked figure dropped into the room, surprising everyone there. With no hesitation, the shrouded figure grabbed the two as they vanished, leaving the council in an uproar.
It wasn't long before they were taken to an underground area that resembled a dry rocky landscape. The two were unceremoniously dropped, both grunting in pain. They looked up to see Yoruichi glaring at them, frowning as she regarded them in anger. "We need to escape and leave the Soul Society. But before addressing that matter, why didn't you include me in your plan to find Naruto?"
Kisuke sheepishly smiled, "Initially, we didn't leave to find him, but to find Aizen." The kunoichi-like shinigami was surprised, but wasn't shown as she remained listening with intent. The former ninth division captain sobered up as he continued. "We had planned to follow Shinji and his group to find Aizen, but Naruto may have had the same idea and acted on that faster than we did, I don't know. But when we found him, Shinji and his group were all defeated and Naruto was fighting Aizen with his Shikai unlocked." Kisuke narrowed his eyes in contemplation. Whatever they did, it made the fight personal to him. He asked us to help Shinji while he took on Aizen, Gin, and Tosen. I…I didn't agree with it, though it was a good plan but obviously, we all took the fall."
Yoruichi grew quiet. "I see…" She spoke, looking at the scientific shinigami. "When I rescued you, Naruto wasn't there. I take it that his punishment was more severe…"
Tessai looked at the chocolate-skinned woman with a grave expression. "He was sentenced for execution on Sokyoku Hill." The shunpo master narrowed her eyes, worry behind her serious visage.
She began to walk toward a piled group, consisting of the hollowfied shinigami from last night. "As I said before, we need to leave the Soul Society. I brought them along to make sure that they escape the same fate Naruto is facing." She reached out and grabbed a sword leaning on the terrain upward, placing the chain that connected to the sheath on her back. "Kisuke, I brought eight of those Gigai that you were working on for when we get to the living world."
The astute soul reaper nodded, knowing what she was implying. "Right." He looked at the zanpakuto across her back, recognizing it. "Yoruichi…"
The purple-haired woman stopped walking for a moment. "…If we're not back within the hour, leave. We'll find you." She vanished with a shunpo, the light-blond haired shinigaimi moving on to the task at hand.
Once Naruto was freed, they would need to be ready to vacate the premises within the instance.
His eyes kept to the morning sky as he remained confined in his cell. He couldn't feel any of his reiatsu, the cuffs he had doing their job. "I'm sorry, Kyubi…" The shinobi apologized, his eyes not holding any of the exuberance he normally had. They had taken Fuujin, more than likely to be destroyed before he met his own demise. This chance of redemption that he had come to accept in this world…it fell apart in the span of a day…"I guess second chances are overrated after all. But I didn't want you to be taken down for my idiocy in being blinded by my rage…" He heard a soft sigh, but nothing more within in his head.
"…Yeah, you were acting out, weren't you?" She rhetorically asked, a small frown her features as she glared down. "You really should've handled that differently…but I understand your reasons. Just…" Her crimson eyes shimmered in remorse, her visage one of thinly veiled worry. "You were losing yourself…"
Naruto remained quiet, his azure eyes half-lidded as his expression was melancholic. While he understood the vixen's point, he couldn't bring himself to change the hateful feeling towards the fifth division lieutenant. The former demoness within gave a determined stare as she finished, "I'm not asking you to change your feelings for that damnable lieutenant. No, I'd kill him on your behalf if I could. I'm just saying if we're going to do this, you need to use your head, not immerse yourself in your emotions. You are a shinobi, right?"
Despite himself, he felt rather encouraged as well as chastised with her words. Still, it never changed the fact that he was locked in this cell with no reiatsu at his disposal. "How can I do anything if I'm imprisoned here?"
Kyubi allowed an expression of amusement to flash across her face, seeing her container coming to his old self. "Yet again I ask, you are a shinobi right?" She quietly smirked as she felt her jailer's irritation grow. "Then again, maybe you won't be flying as solo as we assumed…"
The cryptic answer puzzled the ninja for a moment before a figure silently appeared within his cell, walking towards him. The former sage's eyesight was rather sharp, his surprise evident as he took a step forward. "Yoruichi?" The flash goddess quietly gazed back at the shinobi, her focus on how much time they had left.
"Naruto…" The feline captain turned the shinobi around, using her reiatsu to break the restraints around his wrists. "We haven't much time; the guards will be awake soon." Her golden eyes took a softer tone as she finished, "When we escape, we can talk then..."
The former sage, while grateful, wasn't looking forward to touching the subject of the Ninetails' reiatsu. His azure eyes noticed the chain strapped across her body, seeing the hilt of the blade she carried, peeking from her left shoulder. Slowly, a smile made its way onto his visage. "You have Fuujin!" He watched as a grin made itself known across her lips, pulling off the zanpakuto as she handed it to him. With no hesitation, the spiritual jinchuriki place his spirit sword on his being, a oneness washing over him as he felt the familiar weight of h the nodachi. "Great to have you back Fuujin!" He welcomed, genuine with his words.
The zanpakuto spirit did not say anything at first, her eyes on the sky that seemed to brighten in her scape of reality. Her purple irises fleetingly took on a tender expression, her reply soft as it was meaningful. "Good to be back, Naruto-kun."
Naruto inwardly nodded as he focused back on the chocolate-skinned beauty before him, an authentic expression on his countenance. "Thanks, Yoruichi." The ex-captain smiled back before turning away, preparing herself for the run that they would have to make.
"Time is of the essence. Let's go." She vanished with a shunpo, the shinobi right on her trail.
"She had not been kidding!" The Seireitei had set an alarm nearly five minutes after they left the tower-like prison, searching high and low for him. At the moment, they were heading towards the forest to avoid the multitude of shinigami.
They hid in an alleyway, watching as shinigami flew right by their position. "When this next person passes, we go straight." The female shinigami spoke, crouched low as she awaited the opportunity to arrive. As soon as another person rocketed by the two disappeared, retreating into the forest.
Naruto jumped from tree to tree, following his former commander as his eyes lightly glazed over, the form of travel reminding him of his past life as he follow a long purple-haired woman through foliage. The shinobi instinctively moved to a higher branch of a tree, feeling another reiatsu signature before he was blasted on his back to the forest floor. Dust and debris filled the place for the moment, quickly beginning to settle. The shinobi struggled to stand, his body not quite healed from the night before. He looked up to see Aizen smirking at him as he landed, chuckling to himself.
"Tenacious, aren't you?" He dodged to his left as the shinobi threw a punch to his face, countering with an uppercut to the stomach. The shinobi felt blood leave his mouth, glancing up in the trees as he saw Yoruichi coming to his aid. He mouthed a no, stopping her advance as he took another punch to his left jaw. The expression he bore in that moment told her that she had a plan, making her grit her teeth as she stayed hidden.
He was sent away, skidding along the ground before he tried to stand once more. The fifth division lieutenant maintained his calm smile, his eyes staring down at the golden-haired shinobi. "That power must be intoxicating, is it not?" He pulled out the book of memories, waving it as he finished, "I must admit, I knew you hid something, but I would never guessed that. What exactly is it?"
The former sage didn't speak a word, on his feet by now. He pulled out his zanpakuto, his eyes focused as he rushed in. He was stopped in mid-stride as he felt a cold blade of another pierce his chest, his body losing strength as he slowly dropped his arms. Aizen glanced at the shinobi he stabbed, a cold gaze within his eyes. "It's over, Uzumaki. You will be nothing more than a memory of the past."
Naruto smirk tiredly at the lieutenant's words. "Didn't …I tell you…before?" His right hand gripped the other shinigami's wrist. "I will do my damndest to protect my memories…" His grip suddenly became hard, making Aizen gasp quietly to himself. He looked to see Naruto glaring at him in fierce resolution. "Both past and future ones!" The Ninetails' host swung his left hand out as he grabbed his precious book was in the grasp of the bespectacled soul reaper's other hand, kicking the lieutenant away as the book was in full custody of its rightful owner. He didn't have much strength left as he began to spin as he fell, chucking the book through the trees around the area Yoruichi hid in. "Please make it before I do…" He thought, gathering white reiatsu within his hands as he spoke lowly, "…Hado # 4: Byakurai…" The white lightning shot from his index and middle fingertips, the book vanishing within the trees as the lightning gained more ground to its target. Finally an explosion lit up the forest, unintentionally alerting the shinigami of their location as they rushed to the location.
Aizen stared at the shinobi, shocked as he watched ashes fall to the ground. "You…you destroyed your book…" He knew that his opponent was brash to an extent, but to destroy what he treasured most? He saw the downed shinigami clutching his chest as his breaths were labor, his grin on his visage.
"Damn…It looks like I won't been here to see boss send your punk ass to hell…" The glasses-wearing man raised an eyebrow questioningly, not understanding his statement. The shinobi suddenly converted into reiatsu, dispersing as the particles floated into the air. Aizen's eyes widened in shock, feeling reiatsu flare behind him as he turned sharply. Naruto was behind him, using Kyubi's reiatsu as he charged his Rasengan. The spherical energy attack was violet color, the intent of the attack clear as his calm crimson eyes glared into his own. "It looks like the Tamashi Bushin (Spirit Clone) worked well after solidifying the reiatsu together."
Naruto inwardly grimaced, feeling the chaotic reiatsu burn him as he fought against his own fatigue. "That's what I'm talking about Naruto!" He heard the vixen-like woman yell with a grin on her beautiful features, approving of his handle of the situation. This was the host she knew, unpredictable to the fullest! Fuujin herself had been rather surprised, but agreed with the blood haired woman all the same. She was definitely impressed.
Naruto finalized his technique, baring his teeth down as he maintained the power input. The clone had taken some reiatsu to create on the fly, but he would manage. He pushed energy into his legs, preparing to press his advantage. He saw Aizen move, prompting him to rocket forward. He cranked his arm back, glared at him as he gave an immense thrust.
Aizen narrowed his eyes in concentration, gritting his teeth as a small space in front of him seemed to tear open. He grunted, pushing his reiatsu forward before his enemy collided with him. The two energies met before they detonated, blowing away and uprooting many of the trees around. The smoke and dirt began to settle, worry settling on Yoruichi's countenance.
Aizen's was the first one to cross her line of sight, seeing him lying on his side as he bled in various places, most notable on his head. Her golden eyes moved on trying to find the shinobi that she freed to escape with. Something caught her attention, seeing a piece of her former subordinate's shihakusho floating as his gently landed in the dirt. She gasped softly, her heart beginning to ache as she stared in disbelief. "He…he can't be gone…" Anger surfaced as she moved her eyes to the downed lieutenant, turning herself as she was about to kill him. "Aizen…"
Yoruichi paused in her thoughts, feeling some of soul reaper heading to their location. At the rate they moved, they would be here in less than a minute. She turned away, fighting her need for vengeance as well as dealing with the fact that her golden-haired friend was killed. She vanished, retreating to meet up with Kisuke to escape to the real world. She clutched the item in her hands tightly; the hard cover the only thing remaining to remind her of the spiritual jinchuriki… His book of memories.
She had to admit, that was rather a clever plan to toss the book her way and take account that her speed could beat the prolonged shot of the lightning attack. Hell, she was more than impressed that he created a doppleganger to distract the lieutenant and throw off his guard. But thinking of that made it more of a reality for her that the shinobi was dead. She continued her trek, untraceable as she moved to her destination.
Meanwhile, two shinigami appeared within the decimated clearing, moving to the lieutenant of the fifth division. The bespectacled soul reaper stood by himself, his expression one of quiet contemplation as he looked within the distance. "Gin, Tosen. Healed already?" Gin held a smile, walking closer to him.
"So what actually happened here?" The silver-haired shinigami asked, ignoring the question altogether. "No signs of the demon brat here." Word spread fast, the events from last night earning the spiritual jinchuriki a less than favorable reputation as his name had begun to be associated with fear or hate.
Aizen remained silent for a moment, smirking to himself as he turned to them. "Let's just say that we won't be seeing him for a while."
Yoruichi appeared in the clearing, Kisuke, Tessai, and the rest of the escapees prepared to leave. The kido master noticed that something was off, the Shihoin heiress having a sorrowful air about herself. Kisuke narrowed his eyes, seeing that there was one person missing. The brown-skinned woman walked passed them, her voice ringing out as she said, "Let's go."
The sandy blond looked at her, surprised. "What about Na-"
The former stealth captain looked back at her childhood friend sharply, her expression of hurt betraying her. "Let's go!" Both of her closet friends stood silently in shock, understanding what happened right then and there. Kisuke looked away before he started the process, his eyes taking a melancholic tone as he set off to his work.
Yoruichi kept to herself, the feeling of guilt weighing on her. She should have intervened but she let him continue. Her hair shadowed her eyes as her fists were balled up in resentment and remorse. "…Naruto…" One lone tear slid on her cheek, another following as they portrayed the lament of a lost loved one.
White gravels flew through the harsh winds of the terrain. The tales of this reputable place brought shivers to many a shinigami, knowing what resided within. The land seemed to carry even more than the sands of time itself, all landmarks and civilization if there were any, lost without a trace as the eternal night sky reigned in the sky with the moon illuminating the desolate desert.
Naruto stared into the miles beyond miles of soil as he laid there in shock, his body taken its toll as he faded between the lands of reality and unconsciousness. "No…" By descriptions he knew of his location, his azure eyes unbelieving of the outcome.
Omake: Meeting the Tenth Squad Lieutenant
"You want me to what?" Naruto stared at Toushiro blankly, rather skeptical in the ice users request.
The short prodigy sighed as he repeated himself. "Could you come with me to meet my lieutenant? She swears up and down that I don't any other friends, except Momo and her. If you come, she'll finally shut up about it." He could see the golden-haired man unchanging his expression. "I swear it isn't any trap of the sort. I just want my lieutenant to be quiet and get off my case."
Naruto stared at the white-haired shinigami a bit longer, sighing as he consented. "Aright Toushiro, I'll come with you to meet your lieutenant. Who knows, it might actually be fun." The tenth division member nodded gratefully, relief clear on his visage. Now his loud superior would leave him alone after this.
The journey wasn't long nor a bad one, the shinobi looking at the sky with his arms on his head in contemplation as he absentmindedly followed. "I wonder what she's like?" He thought before the thought vanished as soon as it came. He still hand stuff to take care of, but it could be put off until tomorrow.
The two entered the tenth division, the environment rather comfortable as far as the spiritual jinchuriki could tell. Naruto happened to pass by few of the shinigami, them looking over their way as he noticed the eyes on Toushiro. "It's because they think I'm a kid…that I'm too young to be a shinigami."
Naruto held an unreadable expression before he turned to the group once more; grinning as he promptly shot them the bird. All of them were taken aback, one of them growing anger as he turned red. He moved to march up to the shinobi, but was held back by his friends.
Toushiro stared at the whisker-cheeked man in shock, his eyes wide. Naruto grinned to the young genius, a supporting gaze on his visage. "Don't let any of those punks faze you. They're just mad that they couldn't get to be a shinigami at your age. They suck too much!" The short male of the duo smiled before chuckling, finding that his friend had a point.
"Toushiro!" A feminine voice reached the two young men's ears, turning to see a beautiful woman with long orange hair in the normal shinigami robes, save for the pink scarf around her neck and the alteration of her robes revealing much more cleavage than it ought to. Naruto's azure eyes glanced at the lieutenant badge on her right arm, neatly wrapped with white bandage-like material.
"Is this her?" The shinobi asked in amusement, seeing his close friend sigh in agitation.
"Yeah, this is her."
The woman's sky-colored eyes registered the shinobi standing next to her subordinate, happily walking towards the two. Toushiro stepped you, hoping that this would sedate his commanding officer. "Matsumoto-fukutaicho, this is Uzumaki Naruto. He's still in the academy but this is my friend besides you and Momo." The female shinigami was initially prepared to tease him again on that when she saw him, but stopped as she registered the short shinigami's words. She blinked at him before moving her gaze to the golden-haired man.
The former toad sage grinned to her as he waved, stepping closer as he place a hand out. "Nice to meet you Matsumoto-chan."
She eyed the shinobi for a moment, a smile gracing her features as she accepted the handshake. "Well, you're no stiff like Shiro-chan here." The young shinigami swiftly held an expression of his indignant emotion, yet wasn't paid any attention to. "And you are quite the looker, Uzumaki." The shinobi watched as her smile became flirtatious, grinning all the while from her compliment.
"Thanks, you're not so bad yourself." He responded in kind, deliberately taking his time as he took in her features. While he initially didn't notice, she had a cute mark on the side just under her bottom lip, pronouncing her facial features quite nicely. She was nothing short of beautiful, knowing that most men were throwing themselves at her. Her open attitude and overall cheerfulness only made her more desirable, making him laugh inwardly as he finished his assessment of the woman before him. "And just Naruto is fine. No need for formalities."
Matsumoto felt a small shiver go down her spine as she had watched the shinobi gaze at her, her excitement growing. His eyes were rather sharp as he observed her, making her wonder what he thought. Nonetheless, she would not be outdone as she giggled lightly. "As long as you don't mind calling me Rangiku-chan." She would admit her subordinate's friend was interesting, finding that he didn't automatically bow to her wishes or anything of the sort from the sight of her. "So how did you meet Toushiro?"
Naruto smiled, surprising the lieutenant with the action as he began to speak. "At the academy. They said he was a genius and stuff, but I say that his body is trying to catch up with his mind, that's all." Rangiku blinked in surprise, seeing how genuine his words were. "That and I thought that talking to him was better than talking to kids who hadn't gotten a grip on reality yet…"
Toushiro looked at him with a deadpanned expression. "We fought each other that day."
The shinobi didn't skip a beat as he replied, "You learn who people really are with altercation!"
A vein grew on the prodigy's head in irritation, "That doesn't you the license to randomly attack someone!"
The former sage continued his grin as he said, "Hey, you were ready for it, so what's the issue?" He turned away, looked back at the buxom woman, "Since then, he's been my best friend. Then he decided to graduate on me and now works for you."
Rangiku smiled as she could see the camaraderie between the two, feeing that their bond was not false by any means. She looked to Toushiro for a moment. "Aww, he such a nice friend! I'm a little jealous. I might have to steal him from you."
Naruto grinned foxily as he made an open gesture. "It doesn't have to be that way. We can be friends too." Before he could register, his body was entrapped in a hug, her chest firmly against his head as she cradled his cranium rather affectionately.
"We definitely have to hang out!" She squealed, rather happy as a light reached her eyes. The shinigami she embraced, while enjoyed the hug, couldn't breathe as his arms flailed in distress.
"Matsumoto-taicho, he can't breathe with you holding him like that." Toushiro spoke, making the woman take note of the man steady growing limp. Releasing the shinobi, she saw him sway for a moment as he took deep breaths to calm his racing heart. Death by breast suffocation wouldn't sound too good on either end, one having the chest to kill or the other dying in some perverted man's fantasy.
The spiritual jinchuriki finally regained his normal breathing pattern, sighing as he did so. He looked at Rangiku, a light blush on his face as he grinned to her. "…Well that's one hell of a way to express happiness." The heat on his face faded as he finished, "It's cute."
Matsumoto smiled as a light blush graced her features. "Thank you!" Naruto grinned warmly to her, their new bond established.
The shinobi looked at Toushiro, a sheepish expression gracing his features. "I actually have to be somewhere important, so we'll have to do this another time." He waved to the two, grinning foxily as he began to depart. "Nice to meet you Rangiku-chan. Any time you two want to hang, let me know." The shinobi walked away, knowing his way out.
Toushiro sighed as he glanced at his superior. "He is a bit of a livewire, but he means well." He saw Rangiku keep her gaze at the golden-haired man, an interested expression on her countenance briefly flashed across her visage as she smiled. The ice user wondered if he should warn the shinobi of the oncoming danger, but decided against it. He didn't care to get in other's business and besides that, she was now quiet.
Hitsugaya's thoughts were interrupted as he felt himself being brought into the bosom of his commanding officer. "Do you this you can bring Naruto around more often?" The young genius knew where this was headed. She would hassle him to bring the golden-haired ninja over with them more, causing more problems than initially. While the whisker-cheeked soul was one of his closest friends, he would be force to suffer the lengths find him. And Kami knows how hard that can be.
And there we are. That's the end of this chapter, readers. Many days and nights I have worked on this so this should let you know that I haven't been a bum. A lengthy read right? Wanna know how many pages on Microsoft Word?
Also this was my first omake. It was a good cool down, pretty fun if I do say so myself. Made that straight off the top!
Anyhow, sorry for the wait and I hope you all enjoyed the update. I've been making some rather crucial life decisions and I gotta handle business before pleasure, lol. Though I'm tired, I'm also proud of this one, so I ask you all to please review.