I do not own Naruto/Bleach

The Burdens We Carry

Yoruichi Shihoin took no small amount of satisfaction out of destroying the last hollow, watching as it's ghastly features dissipated into nothing underneath the moonlight of the lush forest. She expanded her senses, feeling nothing in the distance, perhaps in the village then. A long sigh escaped her lips as her hand went through her hair.

Usually she did not go out and hunt down hollows to relieve stress or distract her thoughts.

No, it was a far different reason in the first place. Over a hundred years had passed, and she had accepted the consequences regarding saving that eccentric mad scientist from execution. With misty eyes she looked into the distance of a half-crescent wall, a village cozied by the mountain that backed it. The sight of that old place reminded her all too well of two years, two years that had been the best in her life. Or was it afterlife? Bah, semantics.

She fell in love. Oh, she was more than aware of the implications concerning Shinigami Law. But at the time…she closed her eyes and calmed her breath to lower her heart rate. It was wonderful despite it being brief.

Minato Namikaze. That was his name. Genuine, sincere, clever. He had far more character to him than any stick-up the ass noble from the Seireitai.

She shook her head and vanished from sight. Dwelling on old memories didn't do one any good.

Jiji was right. As he always was.

He really should have listened in hindsight.

It was the yearly Kyuubi festival. Everyone got to go! Why couldn't he?! It sounded wonderful, all the food, games, and music. Then there was the fact it was on his birthday, making all the more important.

Those thoughts were lost to young Naruto Uzumaki's mind as he needled through the back allies, away from the celebrating families and crowds. His lungs burned as his heart thumped against his ribs, throwing a glance over his shoulder every second.

Now he was being chased by a monster with an ugly, sinister mask for a face. After shifting through a tight and narrow space he leaned against the wall with sweat sliding down his forehead.

Above, the moon hung ominously. Only Naruto stood in the lifeless and quiet streets of the new housing district. Then it rang from every corner. It was a discordant sound that filled one's soul with terror and of a longing hunger.

The hairs of the blond haired boy stood on his neck as he looked around, in the sky, at the ends of the streets, frenzied eyes scanned every corner before hiding in the nearest house across from him. He ducked under the construction warning tape and reached the massive two story house and tried opening the door, the brass knob rattled as he tried pulling at it with all his strength. Blood pounded in his ears as he grit his teeth.

A moaning lament sent his heart jumping sending his heart up to his throat. Closer and closer it was coming! He took a step back and scanned the house quickly, he saw a low window that was left open and pushed it up as much as he could before pulling his frame into the house pressing up the window as he did so. With a muffled thump, he fell to the floor, wincing.

His frame froze when a long shadow passed by thanks to the light of the moon. Hands clamped over his mouth as he huddled against the wall, twitching and frantic at every noise and low groan, the flapping of tarps in the uncompleted rooms on the opposite end of the room.

Slowly, the adrenaline slowed coursing through his system as he got to his feet and took careful, measured steps. The floorboards creaked and groaned at the pressure causing him to take minutes in getting to the small entrance hall.

He put an ear to the door and listened carefully to the sounds. The wind whistled in the air in tandem with the crickets. After two minutes of silence, a long sigh escaped his lips as he slumped against the wooden frame. Would Jiji believe him about this monster or would he be waved off as though it were a nightmare?

A low hiss much like a snake was all the warning Naruto got. His reaction wasn't fast enough as a limb punched through the door, sending splinters into the air as a clawed, skeletal hand the size of a large watermelon raked and swung about to find its prey.

The blond got a strangled cry in his throat, scampering up before the inhuman beast grabbed his ankle and tried dragging him through the door. Fingernails cut into the wood, trying to grab onto something, anything. He tried kicking, but it did little other than entice the predator to it's prey.

Then it stopped, frozen as if having realized something. A single moment that gave Naruto all the time it needed to escape from it's grasp and flew up the stairs as fast as his short legs could carry him.

Two times the door buckled under the strain, then gave way, shattering with a thunderous crack. From around the corner of the railing, he got a good look at the creature chasing him like a hungry wolf.

It had no legs, no feet, merely floating off the ground. The upper body was serpentine to him, dark as the night itself with a bony mask that bore a snake like jaw with glowing red eyes that had no intelligence, merely a mad beast. It loomed over a normal human by eight feet of slender muscle. The arms were weathered and worn, almost as skeletal as it's very hands and digits.

He bolted down the hall to his right, not staying a second longer. The shrill that followed told him it was angry, fed up with this game. He took a left and closed the door behind him, then with all his weight, he pushed his back against a small shelf to barricade the door.

He panted and backed away from the door, hearing the dragging of the claws against the walls grow closer and closer. He looked for an exit, an escape, a weapon, something! First everyone hates and ignores him, now this?!

The room he was in was a large study with antique furniture, a coffee table stood in the middle atop a rug with small couches on either side, tall and sturdy book cases nearly reached the ceiling. The window opposite the door entrance looked out onto the small courtyard that acted as an entrance and looked down onto the streets.

He was shaken from his panicked thoughts when a series of crashes and glass, wood and stone were torn apart or shoved off from the room opposite. A thought entered his head: What would a shinobi do?

Time and time again he checked the room then himself and cursed the fact he didn't pay much attention in class. He stopped in his thoughts, recalling the usual eraser trick he pulled on Iruka. A grin worthy of a fox crossed his face, looking to the massive book shelf. The door groaned, then cracked before he put his plan into action. He was Naruto Uzumaki, The future Hokage!

Not a minute later the door came down as well as the small shelf. It came in, sniffing and drooling, looking for its pint sized meal. Dull eyes swept the room, under the furniture and the table before landing on a pair of shoes that stuck out under the draping red curtains. Digits wiggled slowly, moving in for the kill. Heavy laborious breaths exited his mouth, like it'd been anticipating this moment for years. Then something struck it on the head midway, clattering to the floor. Just a book. A mere book.

Then a loud groan followed as a shadow cast over it's form and drowned in a sea of texts. It probably helped that the heavy, old and massive book case zeroed it's mass on the creature with a satisfying crash and crunch that kicked up dust and destroyed the couch to timber.

Naruto tumbled off the back of the bookcase, landing back first onto the ground, thanking the fact he frisked a kunai from a garbage can on the way. It was half way into the wall, providing him the support needed to push the thing in the first place. He looked at the motionless scene before relaxing.

He cheered in his mind and got up, dusting himself off. Sasuke would be so jealous when he heard about this. Now to go get Jiji, he'd let him wear his hat for this, maybe even the villagers would like him. At ease in mind and body he left at a leisurely pace before a blood lusting aura permeated the room freezing him in his tracks.

Then a massive roar followed, probably waking the entire village. At the same time, the book case flew off, crashing through the wall that would resemble paper more than strong, reinforced concrete. Naruto, stiff with terror felt a hand wrap around his legs before he was smashed time and time again into the floor, furniture, like a doll when a child was in a tantrum.

There was no time to scream. His nerves lit up like fire across every point in his body, bones snapped and broke before he was hauled up, hung up sided down face to face with his rapidly confirmed executioner.

It growled deeply, glaring at him with eyes of utter malice. With the flick of the wrist, Naruto was sent careening out the window, shattering the glass with the metallic tang of blood on his tongue.

Time slowed as the glass shards danced in the air. His heart pounded in his ear, blood stilled in his veins. This was it? This is how he'd be remembered? Not some legendary Hokage, but would die as some nameless and unwanted orphan?

Darkness crept on his vision before swallowing him whole. The last thing he saw was that monster darting out of the room to finish him off and a strange orange flash out of the corner of his eye.

Author's Greetings.


Too long. Too long have I kept myself away from continuing this story. While no excuses or apologies can explain my neglect for writing, I will update and continue this story. This revision is for a few reasons. Well. Cough. Brainstorming is merely one of them after coming up with several concepts and ideas I found very intriguing.

One - I looked over the original, and found it was too...dense. If lack for a better word. Too much information at once, I figure I need time to develop Yoruichi's history and character.

Two - I mostly got inspiration for the original prologue from an FF dot net writer when I was still on the whole NarutoxHarem, and Godly!, Powerful! bandwagon. I feel this is much more appropriate.

Three - An original premise. This is my first shot at trying to hang some tension and suspense in the beginning. Do give me some constructive criticism in regards to my writing style. Point out elements that work, others that fall flat and how I can improve them if I encounter such in the future.

Four - Give me an honest opinion on this. I can come back and edit it later. Already, I have a fellow writer who is looking it over.

I'll see if I can put up a few chapters before Christmas. Aside from that, I already have a few events and crucial plot points planned out over the course of the story.

And a bit of an admittance on my part. What drew me back to gluing my butt in a chair and writing whenever I could was due to my reading of one of my favorite writers and philosophers: Albert Camus.

Anyway, I'm back and I will try to get down a schedule, pending real life of course. I'm a junior in college and my final exams are around the corner, I'll see how I can fit some writing. Over break, I may just sit down for a few days and write.