A/N: Argh! Alright, Tamer received some bad press. I won't take it down but still, one of the reviewers gave me an interesting idea. Wouldn't a certain adept psychic be a better partner towards Naruto than some ditzy redhead? Looking back, I certainly think so. She's MUCH more mature, and considering that I am basing her off the game version of herself and NOT the anime, it should be doubly interesting...
"My power cannot be surpassed...nor can I.
Death was a funny, fickle little thing.
If you couldn't stop for it, then it, stopped for you. It didn't care where you were, or what you doing. You could be about to save the world, and it wouldn't matter one bit to a creature like death. When your time was up, it was up. There could be no arguement waged against it, even as you bled to death in a pool of blood beside your best friend. It didn't care. Death didn't care if you friends were clutching at you, begging you to live. It didn't matter how strong you were,how much they wanted you to live. There could be no fighting against it.
There was only futility.
It sapped your strength like a leach. The harder you fought, the faster you went. It crept into your skin and promised only emptiness; the death of flesh and the freedom of a soul, at the cost of your physical form. Where did the soul go after death? Did it go to the afterlife? Did it reincarnate? Or did it simply pass from one plane of existence to the other; to another realm, parallel and yet entirely alien to your own. Perhaps the latter was true. Perhaps not. But perhaps it is.
Therefore, it came as less a surprise, more a relief, when he finally awoke.
At first, anyway.
His first clue that he had returned from the land of nightmares came when darkness truly fell. The visions evaporated and the voices went with them. For a very welcome period there was nothing to see or hear or even think. He could just rest, and be.
Then new noises began to intrude upon his solace.
Then new noises began to intrude on the peaceful silence: the whirring of rustling cloth, low-pitched whispers and murmurrs from someone, a fizzing, spitting noise that could have been running water, and other sounds that had no place in his serenity. His heart rose at the sound of the river, rising above the others. The faint sticking point between the sound of trickling water was horribly familiar.
'Where am I?'
His mind clawed at the question, tearing it apart, piecing it back together only to sunder it anew any number of times.
Whatever obscure scene he had found himself in, it had passed. He closed his eyes and let out a small sob of relief, but refused to lower his guard all the same. The darkness had still yet to lift from his vision; because his eyes remained painfully scrunched shut. Whether it was a refusal on his part or simply his that his body coping with the trauma, he simply could not bring himself to see a thing.
Eventually, he forced his eyes open.
Eventually, he realized where he was.
And now he was here, overlooking a river, in a place he'd never been before. It was pretty enough, he supposed. He could hear the birds chirping-it sounding something like a pidgey sound, so again, what the shit-He stared down into the water's surface, eyes wide, mouth gawping. In placement of his his ears, a pair of orange-orange!-kitsune ears jutted just out of the yellow mane that was his hair. And if that weren't bad enough,if the ruined state of his black and orange jumpsuit were not enough, there were the tails.
Nine of them.
The nine tails of orange fur emerging from just above his backside. They coiled about him, as if sensing his distress. He raised his hands and saw that they had become claws the fingernails having sharpened themselves into razor sharp edges. He stared at them, at himself, and wondered...what the hell happened? The last thing he remembers was the life leaching from his fingers, and a defiant snarl from his tenant. Then there had been a light, an exceedingly bright light that blotted out his vision and obliterated him of the earth.
And now he was here-wherever here was-looking like some strange fox-human hybrid. Acting on some instinct he wasn't sure of, Naruto reached for Kyuubi's prescence in his mind. The bastard fox-whom he'd recently befriended-was nowhere to be found. Only an empty cell that reeked of loneliness and death. He could still feel its chakra, however, flowing through his veins, making him better, faster, stronger...
Before he could contemplate it further, something struck the back of his head.
He felt a strange sort of suction sensation, and with every fiber of his being, he resisted. He tore himself free from the light enveloping him; bursting free from the the small confines of his prison. And then, as swift as his capture had been, so too was it over. He lurched upright and sundered whatever it was that held him. The darkness fled from his vision, and the light returned with an ecletic snap-hiss.
He staggered forward, black spots bespeckling his vision. Swearing a blue streak, he blinked them away, searching for the source of his pain. A strange red and white sphere rolled to the ground, resting at his feet. Snarling, ignoring the sudden surge of vertigo, he picked it up. It was small and fit about the length of his palm. He tossed it up down with one hand, contemplating it. What was this thing? And why had someone thrown it at him? But he didn't have to wonder for long.
"Oh." Someone sighed a dissapointed sigh from a ways behind him. "It didn't work, after all."
Naruto rounded on them, glaring bloody red daggers at the one who had spoken.
"What the hell was that for!" He exclaimed furiously as he came about. "Where you trying to kill me or...something?"
He took in the large eyes, perfectly coifed hair, clear skin, full lips, and lean, firm curves and he marveled at her. Hers was a beauty beyond describing, but, ultimately, it was the eyes that ensnared him him. Her eyes were cool, twin pools of crystalline jade, so much unlike his own. Hers were eyes that knew pain, but at some point her pain had been taken to pieces it had been dissected, dissasembled, examined from every angle, and then, summarily conquered.
"You spoke." The girl noted, her eyes widening marginally, her tone remaining flat. "You spoke to me."
"Pokemon should not be capable of speech." The girl remanded quietly, taking a step forward. "You should not be capable of speech." Despite himself Naruto took a small step backward. Kami! Didn't this girl care about his personal space? Still, one of the words she'd said nagged at him. What was it again. Pokemon. What the hell was a pokemon? It irked him, his confusion, so he repeated the quesiton aloud.
The girl blinked, slowly.
"Pokemon." She repeated staring at him. "Isn't that what you are?"
"I am no such thing!"
"I suppose not." She gazed up into the afternoon sky, regarding the clouds with idle interest. "Pokemon are incapable of speech, and yet you are speaking to me." She tilted a bit to the side, as if in thought. "That's strange, isn't it?"
"I think we've established that, already."
"Who or what are you, then?" The girl inquired, turning her gaze back to him with sudden authority. "Tell me."
"Naruto." He snapped back, slightly offended. Just who did she think he was? First she threw things at him, and then she demanded his name? Shikamaru would have said she was troublesome. Naruto was inclined to agree. She reminded him of Shizune; calm, just with...less clothing and less fussiness. Now that he looked, he noted her attire; a red blouse and a pair of slim blue jeans that hugged her hips in all the right places. Her skin was a soft, porcelain pale as was her face around which long tresses of deep darkened green lofted around her pale, beautiful heart-shaped face.
Wow. He thought to himself, his irritation falling away into awe. She's...actually kinda cute.
"Just a moment." She held up a finger for silence, although Naruto hadn't said anything. "I need to be certain of something."
The girl produced a small red device from her pocket, and Naruto cringed. Was she going to throw that at him, too? Instead, the device flipped itself open, and the girl seemed to stare at it for what felt like an eternity. Finally the device beeped in response, and replied with:
No Data Available.
"Odd." The girl murmurred, glancing from the device to Naruto, then back again. "Why isn't there any data? You can't possibly be human...can you?"
"I am human!" Naruto stressed, his words tumbling to a growl. "How many times do I have to say that to you, girl?"
"My name is Sabrina." She answered matter-of-factly, pinnioning him with a gaze, even as she returned the device to her pocket. "I was once the Gym Leader of Saffron City, until a certain organization took control of my home and forced me to flee." Naruto blinked at that one. Sabrina, huh? That was a nice name. It suited her. But she looked so sad now...
"Did something happen?"
"Team Rocket." She spat the word as though it were poison. "They happened."
"Wow, that's a lame name."
"On that we can agree." said Sabrina.
"So they just came and took over your town." Naruto repeated, trying to form the image in his mind. "Just like that? Didn't you fight back?"
"I fought!" Sabrina snapped back, her voice rising to a frantic cry. "But I'm only one person! There's only one of me, and dozens of them! I couldn't possibly take on the entire organization by myself!" Abruptly she quieted, her voice falling, her eyes drifting toward her feet, her toes squirming within her sandals. "I did fight." She whispered to herself, as if trying to convince herself of her conviction. "I did." She quivered; her teeth sinking into her lip, her hands squeezing against her shoulders in an awkward embrace. Could she stand there and take it all? Could she hold it in, and keep from breaking apart? Probably not.
Naruto's heart went out to the girl.
"That sounds bad." Naruto shrugged. "I wish I could help, I really do, but...I just can't." He turned away from her, ignoring the sharp stones of the riverbed as they dug into his feet. "I have to get back to Konoha...
"Konoha?" Sabrina repeated softly, her eyes narrowing tearily in confusion. "I've never heard of such a place."
A cold snake of dread coiled in Naruto's gut. He felt like he'd just been stabbed. Never heard of Konoha? Just where the hell had he landed? What was all this talk of Pokemon and this strange attire this girl wore? He couldn't recall having ever seen anyone wearing such ridiculously tight jeans and such a scintilating outfit...
"Um, yeah, sure." He shook his head, slamming the lid on that train of thought. "Look, I really need to get going and I have no idea where here is, so if you'd kindly direct me toward the nearest town...
"Saffron City is the closest town." Sabrina repeated, still looking at him with those sad, sad eyes of hers. Damnit! What was it with women and the damned puppy eyes! They were the bane of every man's existence! He cast his gaze skyward, trying to avoid those teary eyes of jade. He did not succeed. Sabrina's gaze held him and ignored any and all attempts to otherwise evade it. That she was standing mere feet from him certainly didn't aid the situation any.
"S-Stop staring at me!" Naruto spluttered. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do!"
"Can't you?" she sobbed, hiccuping quietly as she finally boke down.
"H-Hey!" He cried, stepping toward her. "Don't cry!" Shit! He didn't know how to deal with this sort of thing! The only time he'd seen someone cry before him had been Sakura and he'd been just a boy back then. He might be older now, but he hadn't a clue as to what to do. Tentatively, awkwardly, he laid his hands on Sabrina's shoulders. Instead of calming she grabbed him. Violently. Her hands fisted feebly against the lappels of his jacket and dragged him forward, twisting the fabric as she buried her head into his chest and stood there, sobbing tremulously. Naruto froze, arms raised behind her back in an awkward embrace. And then she started crying. Naruto remained there, frozen, unsure and uncertain of what he wanted his arms to do.
Suddenly, by some instinct he wasn't aware of, they closed around Sabrina. One hand moved to the back of her head, the other cradled her back and held her close. Sabrina, she sniffled, but said nothing. Her nails dug into his jacket, pricking the skin beneath, making Naruto want to cry out, but he bit his tongue. He tasted blood in his mouth, but said nothing. Did nothing. By some instinct, he knew not to release her. He held her for what felt like a long time, but what was probably one five minutes.
Eventually, Sabrina quieted. Her face remained buried against his chest, but her sobs stopped. As if by some silent accord, Naruto's arms knew to release her at that moment, and in that very moment Sabrina took a deep breath and stepped away from him.
"I am...sorry, Naruto." She fumbled with the words, scrubbing at her eyes with the back of a hand. "I musn't be seen like this. You must think me a fool." She smiled then and it was the most beautiful, brilliant thing he'd ever seen. Her eyes were red and blotchy from crying, and it looked as though she might cry again, but Sabrina stood strong. She awaited his response, as though her very being hinged on his approval.
Whomever she was, this girl had some serious confidence issues.
"Well, I wouldn't call you a fool per se," Naruto chuckled nervously, his cheeks heating up under her gaze. "I'd say you're someone willing to fight for what they believe in, and for those they want to protect. There's nothing wrong with crying about it when things get tough, but its what you take away from it that matters, ya know?" Aha, there it was the dreadful "ya know" tacked onto the end of his sentence.
Sabrina blushed, a faint, eager red.
"No one's ever said that to me before, Naruto." She stepped forward then, swiftly, pressed her lips to his cheek and backed away just as quickly. "Thank you." Naruto blinked with widening eyes. Once. Twice. Three times. Touched a hand to his cheek. Stared at it. At Sabrina. Back to the hand. Back to Sabrina. A kiss. He'd just been kissed! Disbelif threatened to overwhelm him and set his cheeks aflame, but he ruthlessly suppressed it, managing a lame-sounding:
Well, maybe I can do something...aargh! No! He shook his head. Resist! Must resist! I have to get back to the village! But it was futile. Despite the intense desire to find home again, he just couldn't ignore someone in need. That said someone happened to be rather attractive-damn you Ero-Senin!-and was looking at him in such away that his knees turned to jelly was merely icing on the cake. He was a shinobi after all-assuming he still was after looking like this-and as a ninja, he just couldn't let such an injustice happen under his watched. Plus, there was a pretty girl involved! Damnit, not again! Mentally, he cursed his mentor for supplanting his naivete with all these perverted thoughts in his head.
"Will you help me then, Naruto?" Sabrina asked, her hand straying to belt she wore, where a series of small spheres could be seen. Naruto didn't understand their purpose, nor did he care; because his mind was elsewhere. In all honesty, he couldn't say no to Sabrina just because he wanted to out of here. He didn't even know where here was! If he could figure that out, then maybe he'd be able to find his way home.
With any luck, he might be able to find some clues as to where he'd landed and possibly, get his bearings. He couldn't possibly be that far from Konoha, right? Wrong. Naruto had no way of knowing where he was; no way of knowing that he was indeed, very far from home. But he would not realize this for awhile yet; nor would he know that there was no way of getting home. But for now, he deluded himself into thinking that everything would be alright.
"I...think I might be able to help you, Sabrina-san." Naruto answered tersely, unable to keep the exasperation from his tone. He didn't like the situation. He didn't like it one tiny bit. He didn't want to have anything to do with this situation; going up against a troublesome organization with theor troublesome antics. Great. Now he was starting to sound like Shikamaru!
"Well, I guess you should show me where this Saffron City is, then...
With that, Naruto started to silently move away. She quickly turned and reached out with her hand, grabbing his forearm. He froze. She took his hand and brought it slowly up to hers, her fingers locking around his wrist. Her grip was surprisingly secure for a girl of her stature, and she held him fast.
"Will you really help me?" She asked, softer this time. "Really?"
"Well...yeah." Naruto blinked. "I said I wouldn't didn't I?"
"Well, in that case Naruto, since you can talk, would you be so kind as to allow me to capture you?" There was a silence, and when he did not answer, she hurried to recover her words. "Um...well, I usually prefer psychic pokemon myself but since you're so rare...I promise I will be gentle." She produced another of those strange spheres from her pack, and showed him it, as if in offering.
"Erm...I'll have to decline." He said with a shake of the head. She still hadn't released his hand. "I'm not really a fan of being captured." A pause. "Come to think of it, I don't even know what you mean by that "capture" thing, but quite frankly, I don't very much like the sound of it."
"Oh." Sabrina seemed dissapointed, but she did not press the matter further. "I apologize for my rudeness."
"You've nothing to be sorry for."
Sabrina smiled softly to herself.
"I'm glad I had a vision of your arrival." she murmurred, the words little more than a whisper. Because she had. Shortly before Team Rocket's attack, she'd had a vision of a powerful warrior who would aid her and stand by her side against the forces of darkness. She believed this "Naruto" to be that warrior. He certainly looked the part. Now she looked upon him and she was even more certain than before.
"Did you say something?" he asked.
"N-Nothing!" Sabrina sputtered, moving to walk ahead of him...
...nothing at all."
A/N: Yup! Naruto meets Sabrina! But what exactly is he? Guess he'll find out as he helps her retake Saffron City from a certain organization *cough*Team Rocket*cough* Also, I apologize for any OOC that is to be found within this chap; because this is an AU crossover story, after all. Hope you enjoy it! Don't worry, we'll get to see Ash and co...eventually! This story will focus primarily on Naruto and Sabrina, who, suffice to say, is about to have quite the surprise thrown at her as of next chapter. BTW...I wonder if Naruto will have any of his old shinobi powers intact, i.e. sage mode, chakra cloak, shadow clones, etc...