A/N: Long time no see! IIn case anyone has forgotten, I've been on an updating spree as of late, tackling all of my favorite fics and breathing life back into them once more! At long last, this is next to be update! But first, some key facts. Now that we know a helluva lot more about the Rikudou Sennin and the Jyuubi, I thought it was high time to continue this little ficlet! Alas we also know that the Jyuubi is no dragon as some of us had first assumed but I won't say anymore for sake of spoilers. And to that I say bah! My imagination has already been unleashed in this matter, so for all their intensive purposes, the Ten Tails remains a dragon in this story. Recap, when last we left our favorite blonde he was having quite a bit of trouble with the ladies. And with that...
...onto the next chapter of Convergence!
"You have no idea who you're messing with...
The Beast Within
"Ano...that's a nice sword you've got there."
"Thanks." Naruto grunted and cocked his head aside, barely listening to Lucy Heartfillia as she approached him from behind. "It gets the job done." He gave it a perfunctory swing just to be certain its edge hadn't dulled at all in the last year since its use. It hadn't. The sword seemed to cut through the wind itself, its strange edge singing with delight as he wove it in and out of the air. The rookie continued to stand behind him, silently admiring his swordsmanship, he could feel her eyes weaving this way and that against the lines he wove, mirroring the complex patterns carved into the afternoon sky. Or, perhaps she was just admiring his bare back? Naruto wasn't sure. Honestly he didn't want to know.
"So?" the S-Class mage asked aloud, never once taking his gaze away from the blade, never once ceasing his moving. "Is there something you wanted, rookie?" Out of the corner of his eyes, Lucy started at the unusual title she'd been given. Her curioisity was understandable. Having only joined Fairy Tail a few days ago she'd probably heard something about him from Natsu and taken it upon herself to investiage. After all, he was said to be Fairy Tail's second strongest mage-surpassed only by Gildarts. It was only natural their newest member would want a chance to speak with him. He only hoped it was out of idle curiosity. He'd gained something of a reputation after the S-Class exam and his one year tenure here. An infamy of sorts when it came to women; to say he had plenty of admirers was a spectacular understatment.
Besides, he'd no desire to bed anyone else. At least...not until he got to know them better.
"Remind me again...why are you so stingy? You've got a bombshell blonde right in front of you!"
'Remind me again...why are you such a pervert?' Naruto countered scathingly. There was a silence. Then:
"Assuming direct control-
'NO YOU FUCKING DON'T!'
With a supreme effort, he quashed the dragon's attempts to seize control of his body. His life was complicated enough with Erza and Mirajane; the last thing he needed was to bang a complete stranger! Sulking, the old dragon retracted its attempts to make Naruto do things he rather wouldn't.
'Jyuubi, I swear to god-
"Lisanna told me you once split a mountain with that sword." Lucy said suddenly, shattering their concentration.
Naruto faltered for a split second; his momentary lapse in concentration shattered the pedestal upon which he'd been training. Realizing this exercise was as good as over, he lowered himself back to the earth, alighting effortlessly upon the shattered stones with just a touch of dissapointment. Lucy flinched beneath his gaze. Naruto didn't blame her. He was more than a touch terrifying when he looked like this. With an effort he forced the Jyuubi's features to recede, willing his demonic appearance to dissipate. He'd been in the midst of conducting a little experiment, testing the duration of the Rinnegan's powers, whilst wielding a sword. It might have succeeded, had he not lost his concentration back there at the last instant.
At length he sighed, favoring his fellow blonde with an apologetic smile.
"You were saying something?"
The girl swallowed visibly and began to repeat her previous statement.
"Lisanna told me-
"Ah. You mean the whole mountain-splitting thing." The Dragon God sighed at last, favoring his weapon with a looong, lasting glance. "Well, you'd be right. Although...it wasn't intentional. I was so focused on trying to save her at the time...well, I'm sure that's a story you've already heard a couple of times." Lucy followed his gaze, staring at the strange sword. She was probably wondering how he'd split anything with such a weapon, eerie and unwieldly as it was. A couple of years ago, Naruto would've sympathized. But not now. This weapon, here in his hands, had the power to shape the world itself.
The Sword of Nunoboko was a large, double-helix shaped sword, having once belonged to the Rikudou Sennin himself. At full power, one swing of this blade could obliterate a town; end a thousand lives in an instant. In his restrained state, it was simply a very sharp sword capable of penetrating just about anything. Flesh. Steel. Even memories. His was a terrible power, which was why he almost always restrained himself. At only a quarter strength he'd almost made of Elfman with this very blade one year before. He'd only grown stronger since then. To use his true strength now, against anyone short of Master-Class, would mean certain doom for his opponent. Perhaps even death. That was something he hoped to avoid at all costs.
Just thinking of what he'd nearly done to Elfman that day sent him into shivers...
Lisanna dared to creak open one eye, wondering why she wasn't dead. This didn't make any sense. Elf nii-chan had lost control of the takeover and everything had gone so wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong. Mira-nee had tried to stop him...tried and failed. She'd thought for certain he would be able to break through it, be able to recognize her...only he hadn't. Instead of recognizing his little sister for who she was, he'd struck out at her, with full force. Struck with intent to kill. Lisanna had realized his intentions too late. Just when she was certain of her end...she felt it.
It hung over her like a shround now, its black-crimson light wrapping her body in warmth. Gradually the magic resloved into the shape of a single figure, his blue-black robes standing out in stark contrast to the mottled red green of The Beast's hide, the emblem of Fairy Tail standing tall and proud upon the back of his jacket.
"Naruto!" But how was he here? She'd heard he was taking his S-Class exam...and yet here he was.
The blonde peered up at Elfman's takeover form in sinister silence, eyes teeming with untold fury. His hand was all that stood between her and certain doom, an immutable pillar that would not falter. Though the Beast strained and struggled against him, it failed to make any headway. That hand was like an impenetrable wall, no matter how hard it tried...nothing could make it move. A flick of his wrist sent the massive monster flying back from whence it had come; its armored hide plowing through the ground miles way.
"Yo." was all the reply he could muster. "You're damn lucky, ya know that? If I hadn't marked you and your sister with the Hiraishin...which reminds me, where's Mirajane?"
Lisanna gulped audibly as a clone helped her to her feet.
Naruto's gaze snapped back toward the clearing where her elder sister lay, her body sprawled amidst the broken branches, her head hanging at an awkward angle, her chest rising no longer falling with breath. Lisanna would never understand just what that sight evoked in Naruto that night but it obviously wasn't anything pleasant. He walked to her woodenly, trembling all over. He bent low, cradling her head to his chest as though in doing so he might somehow breathe life back into her broken form.
"Mira," he whispered brokenly, shaking her. "Oi. Mira. This isn't funny...
"Quiet." he hissed. "She isn't."
"I said she isn't!" Naruto all but roared! "She can't be!" Then, more softly, "I won't let her be!"
Blue eyes drifted shut for what might've been an eternity, only to snap open seconds thereafter, revealing the tear-soaked violet swirls of the Rinnegan. And then impossibly, before Lisanna's very eyes, Uzumaki Naruto did breathe out four words. Just four little words, and yet they changed so much.
"Rinne Tensei no jutsu."
A green glow spread from his fingers and suffused her sister's form, wrapping her in jaden light from head to toe. Lisanna wanted to tell him that it was useless; you couldn't heal a dead person. Couldn't bring the dead back to life. And at first, it seemed she was right; because nothing happened. Then Naruto took a deep breath and pressed his lips to hers. The effect was as immediate as it was miracuously. Mirajane jerked upright as though she'd been struck by lightning, gasping for breath in his arms, clawing at him as though her were a raft in the ocean and without him she might drown. Lisanna gasped in disbelief, a small sob fleeing forth from her lips as Naruto cradled Mirajane close, stroking her cheek and whispering soft nothing to her sister. Because Mirajane was alive. But that was impossible! Her neck had been broken!
"Godamnit!" was the first word to erupt from her sister's lips as she pulled away. "I was...you...but how...what the fuck was that?!"
"Something I can't use all that often." Naruto coughed weakly, and it was only then that both sisters saw the blood leaking from his lips, the trembling of his body and arms. "Don't worry. I'll be fine." Whatever he'd done to bring Mirajane back from the abyss must've extracted a monumental toll upon him. His body seemed to have aged twenty years in the span of a single second and despite his reassurances that the look was only temporary, Lisanna could not help but wonder if the toll went still deeper than she thought. It was if Naruto had shaved those years off his very lifespan. Even nows she could see his youthful features returning, but the bleeding still had yet to cease. Just what manner of magic was that, to weaken him so severely...?
And then, as if to mock him for all of his effort, the beast's roars resounded in the distance. The Strauss siblings started. In all the confusion they'd nearly forgotten about Elfman. He could be heard now, plodding back out of the mire in which it had been trapped. Naruto must've heard it as well; a sinister snarl snaked between clenched teeth, sending his aura into fits and sputters.
"Stay back," he warned, staggering to his feet. "I'm gonna have to get a little rough with this thing..."
"You can't! It's Elfman!"
Naruto gave her a blank look.
Scarce had she spoken than their saviour strode foward, black material swirling into existence in his palm. The Beast came storming out of the forest to greet him, bellowing its fury. Without pause or preamble, Naruto raised the sword of Nunoboko high, unflinching in the face of Elfman's charge. Then he swung it a vicsious vertical arc.
The blade struck downwith such force that Lisanna thought he'd slain her brother on the spot; it seemed to slice right through his beastly form. Instead she was left to gasp as a mountain shattered in the distance. The Beast stood there a moment longer, tottering back and forth on its feet. Slowly, its features began to shrink. Claws and talons receded into human fingers, its bestial body falling apart in a shower of golden light. Within seconds.
The blonde blinked, drawn from his reverie by Lucy's verbal prodding. He'd been thinking too hard again; even the memory of losing Mirajane, however briefly, was almost too painful to revisit. He'd nearly lost himself that very day, nearly killed Elfman in his rage. If it wasn't for this sword...
"You came out here because of Natsu, then?" he asked forcing a smile.
"He really wants to fight you, ya know." she replied, mistaking his pallor for nervousness.
The Ryūjin sighed and raised his blade to pary against an unseen opponent, willing himself to be calm and still once more. And within seconds, he was. "Impulsive as ever, that one. So is that it? You just came out here to ask me me that?" Another sweep split through a falling leaf, leaving it to flutter to the floor in two separate halves. Lucy watched in awe as he made a small motion with his hand; time itself seemed to rewind in that instant, leaving the sundered leaf complete and whole upon his palm. He held it for a moment, cradling it there amidst his fingers until it blew away. What kind of magic was that, she wondered? It was as if he'd rewound time itself!
"You're staring." Naruto noted at last. "Admiring the view?"
"N-No!" Lucy sputtered, cheeks flaming. "I...I wanted to ask for your advice!"
"Advice?" That got Naruto's attention. The Jyuubi's, too. "Whatever for?"
"Well, Lisanna also told me-
"Talkative girl, that one." This time his deadpann was barely concealed. "What did she say about me this time?"
"Only that you had some sort of key I might want to see?"
"Oh." Lucy blinked as the blonde snapped his fingers, sealing his mighty weapon away in the blink of an eye. "You're a Celestial Spirit Mage, then?"
"Hai." the blonde nodded readily.
"Interesting. Do you have a contract with the Spirit King yet?"
"Nani?! Do you?!"
"Of course I do." It was no secret that Naruto as a Ryujin had mastered almost all manner of magic. Having honed his own talents to a flawless edge during his two years of training, he'd spent the last year assimilating any and all magic he could get his hands on. After all, there weren't many missions that required his level of skill anymore. After he'd eradicated most of their subdivisions the three main members of the Ballam Alliance had gone into hiding; it was virtually impossible to find any leads on Oracion Seis, Grimmoire Heart, or even Tartarus these days. They were bound to strike out at him eventually however, so at the Jyuubi's behest he'd taken to learning any and all magic available, preparing for the time when they'd eventually strike back.
Holder Magic, like most magicks, was merely another manner of utilizing his immense reserves; like a summoning of sorts. He'd never bothered to track down the other keys; he only had the one. Bequeathed to him by the Spirit King himself-perhaps because he hailed from another realm?-it was one of his most invaluable treasures. But even that paled in comparison.
"By the way, I heard Erza-san is coming back today...
"Why didn't you tell me sooner, newbie?!"
Naruto took off like a rocket towards the guild, leaving nothing but dust behind!
At least Lucy thought he did. What she failed to realize as she followed after him was thus; although she had been speaking to the original this entire time, she'd failed to notice the clone quietly waiting in the wings, its prescence masked, its body hidden by a clever camoflaugh jutsu. It had received it summons some time ago and hand been biding its time ever since. Now it emerged from its camoflauge-turning to regard a seemingly innocuous patch of ground.
"Well?" he drawled. "Are you going to come out now?"
The earth rippled at his feet, exposing two figures, both of whom were cloaked. One was a large, bulky man, the other a slim, hodded figure.
"Greetings, Ryujin-sama." her voice was distinctly female.
"Oh?" He turned his head to regard the hooded woman, lips seemingly quirking in a slight smile at the mention of his title. "Well...this is a surprise." Where one to know him, they would've recognized the smile for what it truly was, the grin of a predator scenting its prey. He laughed at her-his pupils dilating as increased adrenaline began to pump through his system, his visible eye crimson. And bright with bloodlust. His teeth gleamed with a wolfish light in the shadow of his ragged locks as they pulled back the hem of their cloak, his lips parting for an almost amused sigh as beheld the one who had addressed him so formally.
"Well well," he continued slowly. "I didn't expect to see you here...
Thin lips quirked in a slight smile as she went to him, flinging herself round his neck and shoulders, her momentum driving him against the nearest tree, lips locking against his with an almost desperate need. It wasn't what most would've thought; he'd met Angel during those hellish two years of training, they'd struck up a fast friendship soon thereafter, though he hadn't seen her since. Her sudden arrival here had been unexpected to say the least, moreso that he hadn't been able to sniff out her prescence, evern with his advanced sensory capabilities. As was that kiss. Where the flying fuck had that come from?
"Its good to see you again." she purred, pulling away.
"Ditto." he replied guardedly. "Somehow I think you didn't come her for a chat, though."
"I'm here to extend an offer to you."
"Do tell." Naruto replied, intrigued by her audacity.
"Join us." her words urged at him. "Come to Oracion Seis with me. You're wasting your talents here in this guild. Join us before the Ballam Alliance destroys them. Its the smart thing to do." Naruto stared at her for the longest moment, unable to believe his ears, his heart sinking with each second. This girl was with a dark guild? How had he not seen that? The answer was obvious; he'd been young and stupid back then, all too willing to have someone to speak with, someone to share his feelings for.
"I have a counter offer. Come with me. Join my guild."
Angel shook her head.
"Then I'm afraid I must refuse your offer." Naruto replied flatly.
The clone turned its gaze toward the direction in which the original had departed. Any moment now, the real Naruto would be meeting up with Erza. One of the many reasons he was still with this guild.
"I have a place here now." he replied at last. "A home. Friends. Family. I can't give those up. Even for you."
"I see." For a precious moment, the white-haired lass actually seemed sad. Then her eyes hardened. "You will regret that decision."
Naruto countered with the slightest of smiles.
"You know. Angel..you should be grateful."
"And why is this?"
"I could kill you with just a snap of my fingers; if I really was such a bad person as you so claim, you'd be dead by now. And because I'm a good person, I'm going to let you deliver a message for me. Tell your masters I'm coming for them. They will not know they day nor the hour of their reckoning; only that it is coming." He raised his hand, cupping her cheek as though her face were made of the finest china. "And if you're as smart as you are beautiful, you won't be with them." Without another word he turned and vanished in a plume of smoke. He did not care for the scathing glare burning into his back, nor her muttered words of impreciations at Angel's failure to try and convert him to her cause. She would bring him over to their side. To the darkness. No matter what it might take...
"This isn't over, Uzumaki...
"Damn right it isn't..."
The sage blinked in surprise, baffled both by the memories of his dispelled clone reaching him and as he too reached the doors of the guild. Angel? Working for Oracion Seis? What a shocker. But now wasn't the time for thought. Scarce had he strode through those very doors than he found himself face to face with the one he sought. Her back was to him as she addressed the guild, clearly unware of his prescence. The prankster in him just couldn't resist. Even as she set the massive horn down he was creeping towards her-even as she chastised her fellow guildmates for their foolish behavior he was drawing in a deep breath. Finally, just when Scarlet seemed to realize something as amiss, he leaned forward and nibbled at the nape of her neck. The effect was as immediate as it was pleasing:
Erza's composure deserted her in a hearbeat as his lips descened upon the supple skin; her knees knocking and her breath hitching in her throat. A throaty groan fled from her lips; then she shifted in his arms, writhing up to greet his lips with her own. There really was something about redheads he mused as their mouths mashed, tongues tangling with an almost fierce frequency. "Good job boy! Take her now, in front of everyone!" He jerked back before he could succumb to the Jyuubi and its suggestions of banging her on the floor. He had to have some decency after all!
"Not fair." she hissed at him when he pulled away.
"I just love to tease." Naruto laughed as he danced away and out of her arms.
"Wait!" She called after him. "I was just telling Natsu and Gray but...
"Ah!" Another voice called from behind the counter. "Is that you Naruto? I needed you help with something!" Realizing his folly, the blonde darted away from that direction as well.
"Perhaps another time Ladies...
"Don't look now, but you've been caught...
The blonde bristled in surprise as Erza grabbed his right arm, whilst Mirajane latched onto the other. He froze, trapped between the pair, between Erza and Mira. The latter had become kinder since that Elfman incident, more gentle towards others but in any matters pertaining to him, she remained her usual viscious self. Again, there was just one problem.
"I need you for a mission!"
They both wanted him for the same thing!
A/N: Bwahahaha! More hilarity in the Fairy Tail world! As one can see, we've experienced a oneyear timeskip since the events of last chapter and an awful lot's happened since then. Naruto's been a busy bee since then, learning jeverything and anything he can about magic and for a damned good reason. Needless to say that the Ballam Alliances will be a good deal stronger this time around and we won't have unanimously happy endings as in the anime and manga. Speaking of manga, have you seen the hell that is Tartarus?! And now the Ballam Alliance is trying to recruit Naruto?! It cant possibly turn out well...
Poor Erigor, he has no idea of the hell that's headed his way...
So...in the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...Review...Would You Kindly? And of course, Enjoy the preview!
"So you're the shinigami, eh?" Naruto mused thoughtfully as he regarded the scythe-wielding mage. "In that case...
...welcome to hell!"