"Just another day"
Naruto stood in front of Zabuza and Haku's grave.
He looked at the slightly raised patch of dirt in front of him with the Kubikiribōchō stabbed in the middle, where their bodies are buried. Cerulean blue eyes took this in with no small amount of sadness and pity. But inwardly, he was also quite glad for the two.
'Maybe they'll do better in the afterlife.' He mused thoughtfully.
Kakashi put a hand on his shoulder, urging him to turn back and let it be.
But the blonde shook his head roughly, "No, I…want to stay for a while Kakashi-sensei. I just want to say goodbye." He said quietly, making it a point to let his sensei know that he wants to be alone for a moment.
The silver haired man hesitated, it seemed that his student knew Zabuza's apprentice before the final battle. So the boy's death must have been a harsh blow for the blonde, especially how their situations seemed to be eerily familiar and parallel.
In the end, Kakashi sighed and let his hand fall to his side.
Bringing out his precious book, the jounin gave an understanding glance his student's way.
"Alright, I'll wait for you in Tazuna's house and check on your teammates. If you aren't there by sundown, well…" Kakashi shrugged and his eye crinkled to a smile. "I will have to drag you back, be it kicking or screaming." He stated cheerfully, back to his usual quirks.
Naruto rolled his eyes and grinned at his sensei.
"Yeah, yeah. Tell Sasuke-teme that he should be back on his feet in no time so I could kick his ass already!" He exclaimed happily, trying to assure his sensei that he'll be alright.
Kakashi nodded, satisfied, then disappeared in a shunshin.
The blonde boy sighed tiredly and looked at the tree on the far side.
"You can come out now, Eyebrowless-freak, Haku." He stated calmly, but there was a playful lilt in his voice.
There was a growl of annoyance, then some scuffling before two people stepped out behind the three trunk with chains dangling down from their chests.
Zabuza was not amused as he stared at the blonde genin. Haku just smiled at the blonde, glad that even though he and his mentor are technically dead, things are back as to how it had begun. They've been following the blonde for some time now since they died.
Both were actually surprised that Naruto could see them since no one have been able to.
They realized that when the blonde had immediately initiated eye contact with them, letting them know that he could perfectly see them. He wasn't even surprised or spooked out by the fact that he was seeing ghosts.
He didn't talk to them, just gestured sometimes and spoke through his eyes.
And by some miracle, they seemed to understand most of the messages.
Like that one time he had glared at them to get out of the way as the genin dealt with Gato and his thugs' soul – which had transformed into some kind of beastly monster – dressed in a peculiar set of black clothing.
They tried questioning him but the boy was too good at ignoring something when he wanted to.
"Time to answer some questions, gaki." Zabuza growled impatiently, narrowing his eyes.
Naruto smiled at them pleasantly.
"Well, we don't have much time. So you better make it quick, I've stalled long enough as it is." The blonde informed them as he stretched his arms over his head with a satisfied sigh.
Haku frowned confusedly. "What do you mean we don't have much time?" He asked, a bit put out.
"Exactly as it is. You see those chains hanging from your chests?" They nodded slowly. "Well, they've been eroding and disintegrating slowly, right?" He pressed with a serious set in his blue eyes.
Zabuza nodded, idly rubbing his shoulder.
"Yeah, so what of it?" He questioned quite gruffly.
Naruto shrugged. "If it completely disintegrates then you'll become a hollow, like what happened to Gato's soul and those thugs who died." He explained as he crossed his arms over his chest.
The blonde ignored their horrified squawks as he sighed.
"That is why you have to make this quick." He pointed out as he shook his head.
After regaining his composure quicker than his mentor, Haku released a shaky breath and stared at the blonde.
"Before we ask you how we can get out of this predicament, what are you, Naruto-kun? The Kyuubi was supposed to be imprisoned within you, we were there when Kakashi-san talked to you about it. He thought that you released some of its chakra, but the power was more crippling than any dark chakra we've come across. We have faced the Yondaime Mizukage before and he also houses a bijuu. It's like breathing the life out of me…" Haku voiced out, confused and a little troubled.
Zabuza frowned thoughtfully at that.
His apprentice's observation was accurate. He had faced Yagura's tailed beast form and it was intense – pure hate, pure malice, and pure power.
That's how a bijuu's chakra is.
Considering Roshi from Iwagakure, that man is a monster. And Zabuza had been on his first S-rank mission by then when he had witnessed the four-tailed jinchuuriki slaughter his teammates. He had been left for dead and defeated, that's why he joined the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist to improve and eradicate the weakness he saw in himself during that battle.
And yet, those chakras are nothing alike to what he felt in the bridge.
It had scared him to his core, he would admit only to himself.
Naruto eyed them, searching their eyes.
They were taken aback when those blue orbs flashed a vivid gray, like the stormy skies, for a second.
"Alright, since you're the first shinobi souls I've encountered that haven't transformed into hollows immediately, I'll let you know." The blonde conceded with an excited grin.
When they heard that, they expected many things.
Not just something like this.
The blonde genin brought out a dark round pill from his pant pocket and swallowed it instantly like some kind of soldier pill. Then that's when the unexpected happened. Another blonde separated from the orange clad one they were talking to just a minute ago.
It was the same blonde they saw when Gato and his thugs' soul had been dealt with.
Naruto is now dressed in a black kosode with matching black hakama, his feet are adorned by tabi socks and wooden sandals. On his left hip, a katana is strapped. The hilt is a dark stormy gray, like the color of his eyes awhile ago, and two black tussles dangling from the end with five-pointed crimson-colored star as the guard and matching black sheath.
And there's also a catch, this blonde seemed to be younger than the original orange clad youth who stood off to the side and watched them curiously.
In fact, he looked to be no older than ten.
Just a little bit, considering Naruto is the shortest kid among his age group at twelve though Haku was curious to see the blonde shorter than the orange clad one and stood barely up to its nose.
"What the hell just happened?" Zabuza asked incredulously as he gaped.
Haku just stared, speechless at this development.
The blonde genin sighed and groaned, tiredly cradling his head in one hand with a small laugh.
Naruto then looked at them with the same blue eyes, only this time they seemed to be wiser than they first saw, some age behind them, and dark intelligence that they were almost afraid to ask. There was an ominous feeling about him that they couldn't place.
"The better question is, what am I? Like you've been wondering for a while." The black clad child started with a small proud smile. Haku's eyes narrowed, this feeling… it was like they were in front of a… higher being or something.
Zabuza agreed. "Yes, what are you, gaki?" The man almost snarled.
Naruto shrugged eloquently.
"Well, believe it or not, I'm a Shinigami."
There was a long beat of silence.
Naruto raised an eyebrow at them and crossed his arms, frowning.
Then Zabuza did snarl.
"What the fuck are you playing at? Are you freaking telling me that you're the Shinigami–"
Naruto shook his head.
"I said I am a Shinigami, not I am the Shinigami." He corrected with a roll of his eyes.
Haku tilted his head.
"Are you saying that there are other Shinigamis as well?" They could all hear the disbelief.
The blonde nodded enthusiastically.
"That's right! I'm just a root here for Soul Society." He agreed with a grin, glad that they were beginning to understand.
"And does that mean that you're…?" Haku was almost afraid to ask, but he just had to know.
"Dead? Well, supposedly for five years when I was four years old. But time here moves much slower than our realm – I've already been in Soul Society for 80 odd years from those five years here. It's skewed though, sometimes, the time is too slow or more less slow then there are times that one day here could equal to three days there or two days. It's really weird…" Naruto tried to explain as he scratched the back of his head.
"Four years old? Did the village have a hand in your death?" Haku pressed on, despite the fact that his brain was screaming for him to stop.
Naruto furrowed his brows confusedly at Haku's insistence. "Sure, who wanted the jinchuuriki of the demon that killed their families anyway? But can't blame them and it already happened. Quite glad too that it had come to it, I'm happy with my friends back in Soul Society… the ones I wasn't able to make in the village due to obvious circumstances." He finished with an indifferent shrug.
Haku nodded, satisfied.
"What's this Soul Society you keep mentioning?" Zabuza inquired quite rudely, wanting to go back to the original topic.
'I'll humor the kid. A Shinigami? Is he fucking with my head?' The dark haired man thought with a sneer.
Naruto perked up at that.
"Soul Society is where the souls go when they died. It's basically the term you humans would call 'Heaven'. It's also where Seireitei is located. Seireitei is where other Shinigamis reside. The Spirit King's location is not there though, so don't expect anything grand. But you'll like the captains." Naruto stated with a sinister smile.
"Captains?" Haku piped in.
The blonde tiredly scratched the back of his head. "Well, there's a ranking system among the Shinigamis and their basically the strongest and the highest of rank. From 20th seat to third seat, then vice captaincy and captain, then we are all headed by the Soutaicho."
Zabuza then grinned.
"So what rank are you, gaki?"
Naruto then beamed with pride as he straightened.
"Namikaze Naruto, Third Seat of the Thirteenth Division under Ukitake Juushiro!" He exclaimed proudly.
"So, there are also Divisions?"
The blonde genin sighed, as it started to become common occurrence.
"Well, I'm not really good at explaining things. I'll have to send you there soon though before you become a hollow. That won't be really pretty, believe me." He grumbled as he took his sword out of its sheath. The blade was a fine dull silver with an obvious tint of gray.
Haku eyed the blade with discomfort.
"So what will you do then? How do you send us there?"
"Konso or Soul Burial. This is a zanpakutō and by tapping your heads with it, you would be in Soul Society in no time. Try to go to lower numbered districts though and look for my captain. That should help you." Naruto informed as he suddenly appeared in front of the two, startling them badly.
'This speed…' They thought with dread, even more so on Zabuza's part, the suffocating feeling at the bridge suddenly pronounced.
Naruto smiled at them. "I would love to explain everything to you, but we don't have the time and I'm not good at explaining the theory about Soul Society. So good luck." He didn't give them a chance to make a choice and tapped their foreheads.
With a bright flash of light, they were gone.
'Well, the chains have been steadily eroding again and I can't let them become a hollow. I could say Eyebrowless-freak still doesn't believe me unlike Haku.' He pouted. 'Though I also did the same thing when I died. Now I kinda wish I was there to see their faces.' He thought miserably.
"Oi, what should we do from here?" The orange clad blonde approached, loud voice echoing in the clearing.
Naruto eyed his gigai containing his soul candy. He kind of hated it a little, as its personality is so loud, exuberant and invariantly stupid. He had a sneaking suspicion that Shunsui-taicho had something to do with it.
And since he have to leave his gigai most of the time to report in to Soul Society and was around his division for some time, he is forced to act the same to avoid scrutiny.
Before he could answer, there's an insistent ringing that reverberated throughout the air.
Naruto picked up the ringing phone from one of the pockets he had accustomed to his hakama and answered the call.
"Namikaze Naruto, speaking. Hello?" The blonde answered and raised a stalling hand to his gigai who scowled.
The blonde sighed when he heard the cheerful voice of his captain over the line.
"I've dealt with the hollows. Yes, there were no problems. No, I'm not injured. And yes, I'm doing alright. I've sent two souls there though, the first two that haven't turned into hollows immediately." Naruto finished with an exasperated roll of his eyes.
There was surprised silence from the other line.
"Uhm… Momochi Zabuza and his apprentice Haku. Yes, I've told them a little of the basics but not all of it, I left the job to you people."
Then Naruto frowned.
"Yeah, tell her that I miss her too. I need to get going, bye. Yes, I'll take care. Bye!" He instantly ended the call.
As much as Naruto admires and respects Juushiro-taicho, the white haired man's mothering tendencies are so irritating.
He moved back into his gigai and pocketed the soul candy once again. Then he slowly made his way back into Tazuna's house before Kakashi went through with his promise and the blonde wasn't going to test that.
But since he arrived here in the Elemental Nations three years ago, it was just another day. Another job done and another time of boring patrol duty.
His zanpakutō hummed in his mind.
Yes, just another day indeed.
AN: I am just posting the fics that has been gathering dust in my PC and I will continue the ones the readers would like me to. So please review and thanks for reading.