Hi! Sooo… I know it's been forever and a day since I've written for the Naruto fandom, mostly just because I fell out of the fandom and because all my old writing for it was so bad, I am mortified it even exists. Some of it I fully intend to delete someday when I decide not to be a lazy bitch.
I'm just guessing as to what's going to happen in the future. I'm probably wrong on any number of points, but you know what? I don't give a shit. It's a brain dump. Forgive and forget.
I forever disclaim that which is not mine, which seems to be bloody well everything, including the storyline, characters and franchise upon which I base my story.
They were dead. Naruto hadn't even met all of them in life. How depressing. He had met Gaara, naturally, but he at least was still around and kicking. Naruto knew for fact that he had made a difference in Gaara's life, or at least had prompted a change in his fellow Jinchuuriki that started a domino effect of good things for him. The poor bastard's life had been complete and utter shit when they'd first met, and he hadn't been the most mentally stable psychopathic homicidal 13-year-old around, and that was saying something in a society of ninjas where mental stability was actually kind of a rarity. Naruto acted naïve as hell, sure, but he knew every Jinchuuriki went through hells like his, or like Gaara's. Was it so bad to wish that he'd gotten to maybe help those who needed it before they'd died?
There was Bee, at least.
The death of Killer Bee was something that was going to haunt Naruto until the day he died. He had never meant for it to happen. He hadn't thought it was possible, but when Sasuke burst in on their fight with Not-Madara… He'd allowed himself to be distracted. They'd both been knocked unconscious and dragged away. He could remember the terrible pain that wasn't so much in his flesh (although that too was torn and bruised everywhere) as it was in his heart and mind. He could still remember Bee's broken form levitating, a bluish substance enveloping him as his back arched and his mouth widened in a silent scream, only tiny groans and twitches letting Naruto know he was still alive.
Until he wasn't any more.
And then it had been Naruto's turn.
It had been, without question, the worst experience of his life. He couldn't even remember the majority of what it was like (Inoichi said something about memory repression, which he took to meant it had to be so shitty that he just didn't want to remember), and to be frank, he was okay with that. He just didn't want to know. He knew it was horrible, and that was enough. He also could recall the end with amazing clarity. He felt the pain receding, receding, finally, at last, even though his hurts were still there and his entire body was still broken and his organs felt like they'd been cut open, sewn together, and then cut open again more times than he could say, but the thing that was causing the pain was going away. Thank Heaven. Thank whatever Gods there be. Maybe they'd let him die now and all of his pain would be gone forever.
But God was both cruel and hysterically funny at the same time, and decided that he ought to screw with Naruto just that little bit more.
He'd lived. What a sick joke.
Actually, he'd kind of suspected it might happen. After all, his mother, Uzumaki Kushina, had lived for about a full hour after her Bijuu was extracted. It stood to reason that the trait was genetic. And even then, she only died when she did because she'd been fucking impaled. Well, as it happened, Not-Madara didn't even really give a fuck, and had just sort of left him alive. To be honest, Naruto didn't blame him. The enemy was a sixteen-year-old boy who was about nine-tenths dead, blood pooled on the floor and legs utterly unable to support any weight. There was also the added bonus of rubbing in his success to be had, which must have been fun.
Not-Madara hadn't wasted any time at all (how soon was Naruto going to kick it, after all? Better hurry up) and bound together the nine Bijuu he had collected into the monstrous, horrendous beast that had plagued the world before the arrival of the Sage of the Six Paths. Naruto had been on the verge of death, welcoming it, and even so, he was terrified in the presence of such a creature. Or had he been? Maybe he'd just gone into shock. He couldn't remember. Not-Madara had then attempted to seal the beast within himself, first binding the super-mega-ultra-demon into the jutsu, and then working to connect himself with it.
Naruto still had no fucking idea where he'd gotten the strength to jump the fuck up, yank out a kunai, and jab it between the third and fourth ribs of the mid-justu vulnerable Not-Madara, quickly finishing what the dead man started and drawing the beast into himself.
Now, that had hurt.
At the time, he didn't know what he was doing. All he knew was that he didn't want to release the creature onto his friends, pseudo-family, and – hell! – even the people he didn't know. He would protect them all if it killed him three times over, which it was actually pretty likely it would do.
He erected the same mental barriers and traps that he normally put in place for the Kyuubi, but put all of his strength into them. He had thought his mind was going to break from the sheer pressure.
But there Mom and Dad were.
They were right there, on either side of him, pushing to seal the beast away and help their only son in what were probably his dying moments. He knew he probably imagined them. He didn't care.
Oblivion had followed.
Naruto had woken up a good month or so later in a hospital bed, much to his surprise and private dismay.
Just as Kurama's chakra had healed his injuries in battle before, so too did the Jyuubi heal the damage done to his organs by the forceful extraction of his Bijuu as well as the wounds he had sustained in battle. He had heard most of this from Sakura, who, after half-killing him all over again with high-pitched screaming sobs and death-gripped hugs, had begun to explain just what he'd missed while being comatose for a month.
When Not-Madara died, the barrier jutsu protecting the sealing area broke as well, allowing the army to come in. The labyrinthine halls had impeded their progress, though, and Sakura, sensing Naruto's fast-fading chakra, had lost it and just punched through the stone wall separating her from her childhood friend and adoptive brother.
Apparently, she and everyone else thought he'd been dead. They saw that Bee and Not-Madara were dead, and what with the horrible pools of Naruto's blood that were below his prone form and streaking his clothes, hair, and face… It made sense that they'd assumed as much, really. It didn't help that his heart had stopped for a short while.
Damn it all to hell if it hadn't started back up two hours later when Sakura was cleaning off what she thought was the corpse of her teammate to prep him for a funeral ceremony. But then he never woke up for a month, and he was all up to speed.
The knowledge that he was alive was shocking, to be certain. The knowledge that he was now the Jyuubi Jinchuuriki was another matter altogether. At that realisation, Naruto had just sat in a corner, one hand fisted in his hair, trying to figure out what the hell it would mean for the future.
Well, he'd found that out, too.
Tsunade, Gaara, and the other Kages got together to talk to him about what was going to happen now. Naruto had been kind of locked up throughout the meeting, completely unable to so much as glance in the direction of the Raikage. It was as good as his fault that Bee was dead. The guilt turned his skin pale and his mouth dry and he just hadn't been able to respond well to anything that was said to him. Somehow, though, he'd picked up the important bits.
He was never going to be Hokage.
He was too powerful for that, now, and devoting that power solely to Fire Country's military forces would throw the balance of power so out of whack, they'd never be able to swing it. It was a nightmare of politics. Even though it was peacetime and all the nations' military forces had more or less blended, the alliance was going to be broken again someday soon (the Daimyo were forcing their hands and urging the countries to break apart, now that the threat of Not-Madara had gone.
There was a reason Naruto hated lawyers and politicians alike, and this was certainly reinforcing that opinion.
The thing was, if the reason he wasn't allowed to be Hokage was that his power couldn't belong to one country, the same applied for just being a regular Konoha ninja. It had been at this point that Naruto had jumped up, finally making eye contact with Tsunade and bellowing, "What the actual fuck are you saying here?"
God, that had been painful for them all. But it had been enlightening, as well.
"Are you seriously telling me I can't be a part of Konoha any more?" he had cried. Tsunade hadn't been able to keep up eye contact with a young man whose heart was breaking. "Tsunade-baachan, I just wanna go the fuck home! I want to go home and pretend none of this ever happened. I want to go eat three times my body weight at Ichiraku. I want to take a really long bath and get smacked over the head for forgetting and falling asleep in the bathhouses. I want to go back to my dinky little apartment and sleep for another month, because goddamn if the first one wasn't enough. I just want to go home, for God's sake! The Daimyo say I can't?" Naruto had chucked a bedside table through a window, and still wasn't the least bit sorry. "FUCK THE DAIMYO! Konoha is my home and if he honestly thinks he's going to kick me out, I will… I will… I don't know, but it's going to be crazy, and trust me, crazy is not what you want from me right now. Or ever, really." He had sunk back against his hospital headboard, legs bent up to his chest, which was still heaving with effort. "As if it weren't bad enough with everybody talking all at once…"
He hadn't even meant to say it, but there it was. All of a sudden, it was the elephant in the room.
"Naruto…" Gaara had asked gently, "what do you mean, 'everybody talking at once'? We've only been speaking one at a time."
He sighed. "Out here, yes." He waved an arm carelessly about the room. "In here, though…" He gestured to his head, "it's a different story."
"No. Not quite. The binding wasn't complete when Not-Madara… Tobi… Masked Motherfucker or whatever we've decided to call him died. I didn't know to finish it. They were bound in form but not in consciousness, so I've got nine voices in my head minus my own, and they all. Keep. Talking." He dropped his head onto his knees. "I never knew what bitchy little girls Bijuu could be… Oh, shut up. You know I don't mean it," he muttered, as though he weren't quite sure what was spoken aloud or in his thoughts any more. Tsunade and Gaara both quickly (thankfully) came to the conclusion that Naruto had been trying to stress: if Naruto was ripped away from his beloved home, he would seriously become mentally unstable, and all hell would have a high probability of breaking loose. They had convinced all the Kages to go to their respective Daimyo and convince them to leave Naruto be. It hadn't actually been that hard, since most of them were a little spooked by the story of the table thrown through the window. As the Jyuubi Jinchuuriki, Naruto was ten times as terrifying in power as he had ever been before, and frankly, the Daimyo were cowards. To avoid pissing him off, they let him have his way. Well, there was the upside to all of it.
Now to see who he could threaten about opening up the position of Hokage to him once Tsunade retired…
Naruto sat atop the stone head of his father, overlooking the quickly flourishing city of Konoha. It seemed no-one had been idle during his long absence and about half of the city that once had been there had been replaced with fresh, new buildings. Naruto, though, had a rather sensitive nose these days and sorely missed the way the village used to smell. The air used to smell mostly of food, dirt, and water, with some of that spicy musk that came with the age of the buildings and the old majesty the place had. Now, everything smelled of construction, with new paint fumes, pine resin from freshly-cut beams of wood, sawdust, and sweat. There was no charm to it. Well, not yet. As the buildings aged, they surely would lose their industrial scents and take on the spirit of their people in olfactory form. In the meantime, though, Naruto would spend his free time on top of his father's head.
He grinned a little at the irony. He had told Tsunade that he'd wanted to go home to his apartment, forgetting entirely that it had been flattened like all the other buildings in Konoha when Nagato attacked. It seemed that the village contractors and construction workers had gotten together and planned a stunning home for Naruto, as a thank-you gift of sorts both for saving their lives and their freedom both before and during the War. He had found out and assured them that he wanted no such thing when they had more important things to be working on. He just wanted his dinky little apartment and that was it.
So, in the meantime, he was homeless. Irony's a bitch.
At least the voices were under control. Hinata, of all people, had suggested meditation as a method of keeping his own mind (and its many inhabitants) ordered. Honestly, the girl was a godsend. Once he'd gotten the basics down, he enjoyed the experience an incredible amount. It was something amazing to be laden down with stress and tension, sit down, begin breathing exercises, and have all of your worries melt away into nothingness. It wasn't quite joy, but rather, a deep, fulfilling sense of contentment as the sun warmed your skin and the light summer breeze played with your hair. The voices would fade into silence, basking in the perfection of thinking about quite literally nothing at all. It was kind of hard, thinking of nothing, but once you got there, it was worth it.
Naruto had begun to notice it last week during his meditation sessions.
Yes, the voices of the Bijuu were fading, quieting.
But others were starting to emerge.
He had to try again. He had been trying again all this past week, just to see if maybe he was right and it wasn't just wishful thinking. Today… he had a good feeling about today.
Breathe in… 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… Breathe out… 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6... 7…
He could already feel his body relaxing and his shoulders rolling into more comfortable, natural positions. His weight shifted from mid-chest to lower back, and his thoughts began to fall away.
There! There it was!
Naruto accidentally jolted himself out of it. He sucked air in, eyes wide in excitement, and tried again.
"-hear me, yeah boy, talkin' to you. Ain't like anybody else to talk to. Child be trippin', 'e don't ever listen, boy be just a plain-out foo'."
"Bee!" Naruto cried, this time keeping his actions restricted to his mind. "You're alive!"
"No shit, my man, 'cause here I stan', and ain't no way a dead man can."
Naruto gasped out little giggles of utter disbelief. "How is this even possible?"
Bee scratched the back of his head. "Dunno fo' sho' but I can venture a guess: it ain't just me; we're includin' the rest. Jinchuuriki and Bijuu done melted into one, so if one survives, then the other ain't done. The others're 'round here, but I don't know where, or if they wanna meet us – they might not even care. If you wanna look, this is still your mind. I'm willin' to bet there's nothin' you can't find."
"Bee…" Naruto began, stopping suddenly. His eyes dropped to his feet. "I… I'm sorry. I never meant for what happened to happen. I'm so sorry," he whispered.
"Boy, listen to me, 's my own fault I got nailed, so don't beat up yourself; I'm the reason I failed."
A brief smile flitted across his face. "You mean that?"
"Why? 'S not a lie. Boy, I ain't that kind of guy."
They set off like that, wandering through the water-submerged hallways that seemed to populate Naruto's inner mind, trading bad raps and good ones alike. Oddly, the first two they found actually found them first.
Bee was beating out a fake ballad/rap about his oh-so-tragic 'death' when two voices from around the corner bellowed their own variations of, "Oh Dear God, Bee, just shut the hell up already!"
"Yugito! My girl! Where you been at? Naruto, she's the chick with the Two-Tailed Cat."
"I can introduce myself, asshole," said a tall, strikingly beautiful woman with a Cloud forehead protector and brushed blonde hair that was pulled into a ponytail that went down to her waist. Her cheekbones looked like somebody could cut themselves on them. She turned to Naruto, her mildly irritated face taking on a pleasant, if not entirely welcoming, form. "Hello, there. I'm Nii Yugito, if you remember. From earlier?"
"Yeah! Matatabi's your counterpart, isn't he?" Naruto said, grinning from ear to ear.
"Wait, you've met? When did this occur? Naruto, man, how long have you known her?"
"Remember when we were fighting Not-Madara and I said something about a bunch of difficult names?" Bee nodded slowly, like he didn't really remember but was going to play along for the hell of it. "Well, that's when I met her. And her," he said, nodding his head towards the other girl standing next to Yugito.
"Ain'tcha gonna introduce me to your friend, Kyuu?" Fuu asked. "I mean, I already know who he is, but I don't think he knows who I am."
"Bee, this is Fuu. And c'mon, Fuu, my name's Naruto, not Kyuu."
"Aw, c'mooon," she groaned, "lemme have my fun. You have to admit, when we refer to each other by number, we sound like secret agents, and that's fuckin' awesome."
"Fuu, some days you concern me," Yugito muttered.
"What, a dead girl can't like secret agent films? Just 'cause they're dude flicks doesn't mean I'm barred from liking them. I mean, you've met Utakata, right? The dude's girly as hell! He can like bubbles and girly shit like that but I can't like guy-aimed entertainment? Double standard much?"
Naruto hadn't talked to Fuu much before (well, she'd only introduced herself, really), but he found himself liking her more and more. She was damn near crazy enough to be a Konoha nin.
"Anyway, Hachi, Choumei is my Bijuu. We're lucky number Nana." She grinned toothily and wiggled seven fingers at him.
"Nice to meet you, Nanaban. I'm the suave Killer Bee-san." He bowed, kissing the back of her hand in greeting. Yugito wasted no time in slapping the shit out of her fellow countryman. Naruto and Fuu just laughed.
"Are we supposed to socialise now?" asked a monotonous voice.
"We may as well," said a voice that was rather dry and sarcastic, but at least had more emotion than the former.
Yagara and Utakata stepped out from another hall, looking only mildly curious in what was going on.
"I would like you offer congratulations to you, Naruto. 'Good save', as it were," Yagara said.
"Indeed. Also, for the record, I would like to point out how bloody irritating the inside of your head is. We've been wandering around in here for ages, but only recently did things get ordered enough for us to find one another. This is the most stable the passages have been since our arrival," Utakata said.
Naruto grinned sheepishly. "Yeah, sorry 'bout that. I wasn't expecting visitors, you know. Or long-term residents. Whatever you guys are at this point. I just got into meditation, so it's probably what's been getting things straight around here. I'll keep working on it."
"Thank you kindly."
Fuu gasped. "Oh my God! We're like your own personal ghosts! We're your imaginary friends who aren't imaginary! This is so cool! I'm gonna bug the shit out of you right when you least want me to. You know that, right?"
"I can live with that," Naruto said.
"She better not bug the rest of us! I'd like to live out my death in peace, thank you very much," Roshi's rough voice asserted from down the hall Fuu and Yugito had come down previously.
"Seconded," Han's deep, rumbling voice echoed from… above them? A ceiling vent clattered to the floor, a massive man in full armour swinging down from the open shaft.
"How in the hell did you even fit in there?" Fuu breathed. The others privately agreed.
"Wide shaft," he said, shrugging. It seemed that he was a man of few words.
"Don't you dare make a joke, Bee," Yugito warned, raising a finger and shaking it at him.
"Who said I was going to? Now that's just sick. When he said 'wide shaft', why were you thinking of his di-" Yugito punched him through three consecutive walls.
"Miss Yugito, it may be inadvisable to do that, however grotesque his insinuations, given that this is Naruto's mind and any damage here might be reflected in Naruto's own mental state," Yagara said.
Yugito paled and coughed into a fist. "Sorry about that."
"Eh, no more brain damage than was already there," Naruto said.
"Nobody panic; I got this shit! I can't even feel where I got hit!" cried Bee's distant voice, accompanied with the sound of shifting rubble.
"In all seriousness, though, Naruto," Utakata said, "thank you. We may not be entirely free, but we are not slaves, and we are housed in the mind of someone who genuinely cares. Thank you." He bowed slightly.
"Thanks a bunch, sweetheart," Fuu said, giving a curtsy.
"Thank you," said Han.
"Thank you for freeing us," Roshi said.
"My thanks," Yagara said.
"Thank you, Uzumaki Naruto," Yugito said. "I speak for Bee as well."
Naruto had no idea what to do with himself. He just blushed crimson red and stared at the ground, fiddling with the stitching on his jacket and trying to get across the point that he hadn't really done much of anything at all but nearly get himself killed. He had an epileptic fit in the general direction of Not-Madara with a kunai and just so happened to get lucky. That was really all there was to it. But how to say that without sounding like an attention whore, fishing for praise?
He should have known. They understood, whether he said it or not. Instead, he was pulled into a massive hug by Fuu and Yugito. When they let him go, Utakata patted his shoulder and offered a slight, but no less warm smile. Yagara shook his hand, as did Roshi and Han. When Bee stumbled out of the rubble of the wall, he yanked Naruto up into his own crushing hug, which Naruto enthusiastically returned.
Naruto had a big stupid smile plastered on his face. "Thanks, guys."
"Come on! What's family for, if not to make you feel awkward as fuck?" Fuu offered, planting a kiss on his cheek and sauntering away. "See you later!" she called over a shoulder. "And you WILL be coming back later." It was not a request.
"See you then!" Yugito said, also turning to leave.
The others offered their own farewells, until just Bee was left with Naruto.
"Hey, er, Bee? Before you go?" Naruto asked. "There's something I've been meaning to ask you. What the hell am I supposed to tell your brother? I mean, do you want me to tell him that you're not as dead as we thought you were, or… well, what do we do?"
Bee just sighed. To Naruto's mild shock, he didn't bother to rhyme. "I guess that depends on how he's been taking it so far."
"I wouldn't really know. He seemed a little out of it when I met up with the Kages a while ago."
Bee smiled slightly. "Then tell him I'm here if you want." He picked up his beat again. "If he needs me to drop him a rhyme, I'm sure that I can make him the time. Anything, sure, for a brother dear – go 'head and tell him that Bee's still here!"
Naruto grinned. "You got it, man! You got it."
Naruto opened his eyes in the real world, still grinning even though his limbs were stiff and the sun had moved enough that it had probably been a few hours. There were things in this world that he still had yet to do. The thing was, now he had seven family members in his head to talk to whenever things got rough. He'd be okay. Whatever life, politics, or demon monsters threw his way, he'd be okay.
(A/N): Rhyming for Bee all the time is hard. I don't even LIKE rap and here I am trying to write it. If I didn't characterise them the way you pictured them in your head… Tough shit. This is how I roll, y'all. I dunno. I've just been wondering how the series is going to end and I made my own conclusions. I have no idea how the thing with Sasuke is going to get wrapped up, so yes, I left that as the giant plot hole in this story. The rest of it, though? I seriously feel like it's going to happen that way EXACTLY. Let's wait together and see if I'm right, okay?
For reference, I wrote this right after the chapter where everyone (the Ninja Army and Sasuke) is heading towards the location where Naruto, Bee, Gai, and Kakashi are all fighting Not-Madara. Actually, I like the title Masked Motherfucker better. Let's keep that one. Tobi was the sweet goofball, Not-Madara was the douche, and Masked Motherfucker is the bastard who needs my foot shoved so far up his ass he can taste every kind of dirt I've stepped in for the last three years.
And with that lovely mental image, I shall leave you.