A/N: I'm back! And my suegeries are is over! I feel like absolute crap just now, but I'm still alive, so I suppose that too, is something to be thankful for, no? And speaking of thankful, major thanks to Dylan Millwood for helping me with this work! Thank god they're letting me use my laptop in the hospital, huh? Consider this my present to you all! Along with the fact that I'm still alive, of course. So...
...here we are! Enjoy And remember, I own nothing!
"May kami have mercy on my sorry soul..."
"Okay. This is weird."
"Is it?" Sabrina inquired innocently.
"Yes." Naruto's deadpann was barely concealed; the flock of Pidgey perched upon his arms made no such effort. The pigeon-like pokemon had inexplicably dropped out of the sky as they'd cleared Viridan Forest, five of them in number, each claiming a place on his arms, shoulders...hell, one had even made a nest in his hair, much to Vulpix's ire. The little kit would've gladly roasted them if not for a word from her master. Sabrina had to admit, the fox was surprisingly loyal despite his lack of badges. She had to be at least level twenty-five by now and not a once had she tried to disobey him...damn but she adored her master.
"Kushina, c'mon!" Naruto laughed, lightly reprimanding Vul with her nickname when the kit nuzzled his leg for attention. "There's not enough room for you up here!" Sabrina had wondered at the choice of name herself until he had been explained to her that it'd belonged to his mother. She almost envied him the connection, observing quietly as he stooped to pet his pokemon.
"The blonde one is...strange." a telepathic though tickled at the back of her brain, drawing her attentions inward. "He is kind to my kind as bellies his appearance, yet he is neither human nor pokemon. Perhaps touched by Arceus this one is?"
Sabrina silently sighed in agreement at the mention of the Pokemon deity; who knew, perhaps it was Arceus that had sent him to this world. As for the voice in her head, that, was courtesy of Alakazam. Doubtlessly her partner was baffled by the ease with which he interacted with Pokemon; though slightly uncomfortable by the flock, the hyibrid made no effort to shoo his new tenants away. It would've been well within his power to do so, perhaps even capture one of them, and yet he did not. It was almost amusing.
"Gah! That tickles!"
Nevertheless, Sabrina savagely suppressed a smile as the blond continued to "suffer" beneath the flock of fowls. Truthfully she found it amusing, but in the same vein, she didn't want Naruto know she was enjoying this little debacle. In reality, it was all she could do not to burst out laughing at the silly scene unfolding before her.
With the issue in Saffron thankfully resolved by that trainer -she hoped- there really wasn't a reason not to enjoy the journey. She'd even let Alakazam out of its pokeball for the day-something she never would've done before back at the gym outside of a battle. The Psychic-type seemed quite pleased itself howver, rarely having a chance to stretch his legs, let alone converse with other pokemon. Indeed he seemed to be getting along swimmingly with Vulpix, the little fire fox now having turned its attentions onto someone that wasn't swarmed with Pidgey.
"Vulpix!" she exclaimed, trotting over to him.
"Kazam?!" the larger pokemon tilted its head in a confused inquiry. "Alakazam?"
Sabrina could've sworn Vulpix was smiling.
"Vul, vul vul!" she explained heatedly, "Vul! Pix!"
"Zam." the psychic-type nodded in understanding, raising a spoon in Naruto's direction. "Alakazam!" Moments later a very startled Pidgey found itself engulfed in a faint (Confusion) blue glow. It had just enough time to sqwuak in surprise before it was forcibly removed the blonde's hair, nest and all-thankfully it hadn't laid any eggs yet-its pudgy body rudely ejected from its roost and into the sky, swiftly vacating Naruto's messy mop for another slightly larger pokemon to take its place. And take it she did!
"Wha-oi?!" Naruto cried out in surprise as Kushina claimed the top of his head as hers, draping herself over him adoringly. "What're ya doing, Kushina?!" But the fox would not be dislodged, she simply attacked his face with her tongue (Lick) when he tried extract her from his scalp. When that failed she cried out her own name (Charm) stalling his attempts entirely.
"Sheesh, fine." he relented, recognizing the futility of such efforts. "You can stay up there. Just don't burn the birds." The other Pidgey somehow unruffled despite Alakazam's psychich interference, simply cooed in quiet questioning at the sudden eviction of their kin. A cone of fire from Vulpix was more than enough to make them reconsider their line of inquiry. No one took her special seat!
"Vul!" the fox chirruped her thanks to her erstwhile ally.
"Zam, Alakazam." the older pokemon waved her gratitude away with a three-fingered hand.
Sabrina gave her pokemon a pointed look.
"Was that really neccesary?"
"Ala." the human-like pokemon shrugged sagely as if to say 'what can you do?' and continued on after Naruto. Shaking her head, Sabrina resigned herself to follow. Truly, her Pokemon had a mind of its own sometimes but so too did Naruto's. She'd already learned the hard way that his Beedrill did not feel comfortable around her Alakazam, being a Bug/Poison type. It was right to be a bit fearful she supposed. Surprisingly, the hornet was all too eager to follow Naruto's orders, happily fetching berries-perhaps in recompense for its earlier temerity?-whenever asked and more than willing to scout ahead for surprises.
Odd. That sounded a good deal like Beedrill now.
"Oi oi," the blonde's grumble reached her ears seconds later, though he reamined out of sight from around the bend. "You weren't kidding. It's a mess!"
Rounding the route's corner she was just in time to watch Naruto conversing with said pokemon, even patting its head, much to the bee's delight. Its multi-faceted eyes narrowed in obvious pleasure, wings beating with glee as its trainer stroked the soft spot between its antennae. Then it saw Alakazam and bristled, immediately. Launching away from its master in a rapid movement the bug type flung itself forward, suddenly brimming with aggression and energy at the prospect of facing its natural enemy.
"Beeeeeedrillll!" It buzzed angrily, scraping its twin needles together in challenge.
Alakazam scoffed in flat refual, it wasn't even remotely interested in facing Beedrill. Granted, the bug was plenty strong, but Alakazam simply wasn't the sort to fight without being told.
Naruto sighed as he interposed himself between the pair.
"Easy there, Bugsy." he reached around to stroke one of Beedrill's antennae. "You've been out all day. No need to get so fired up, ya know?"
Sabrina almost choked on her own spit. Did Naruto have to give a nickname to everything he saw? Honestly, she was surprised he hadn't come up with names for her and her pokemon! But 'Bugsy; relented, backing off only reluctantly once Naruto promised it a match against the psychic pokemon at a later date. Vulpix crooned her own encouragement, which the latter accepted with an appreciative trill.
"Good boy." he smiled, returning the bug to its pokeball, "Have a long rest."
"It seems the way is blocked." Sabrina mused.
"Yeah, no kidding." Naruto frowned at the massive pile of boulders blocking their path. There was virtually no way around them, the only way to Pewter City was through this roadblock. Sabrina would've thought it an avalanche...but had one of the boulders twitched just now? A reverberating rumble greeted her ears (Roar) not a moment later. As if to mirror that thought, Alakazam retreated to its pokeball, seeking sanctuary deep within the sphere. Whatever was behind those boulders must've truly frightened it. Wait a minute. Those boulders had moved. Rumbled. There was only one pokemon like that...
"I'll break it." Naruto decided abruptly, beginning to wind up. "Stand back!" Sabrina and Vulpix blanched as one, but it was the former who spoke.
The blow sent the remaining Pidgey shrieking into the sky; perhaps they knew what was about to happen. Naruto certainly didn't.
"Yeow!" He immediately yelped and drew his fist back. "What the hell is this thing made of, iron?! I hit that sonuvabitch at full strength!" That was when the boulders began to move. One by one they rose, composing a serpentine body as long as it was tall. Onix. Sabrina recognized the creature at once. They'd woken a sleeping Onix! Naruto sharing no such distinction, simply gawped at it. Beside him Kushina gulped audibly, her eyes as wide as her anatomy would allow.
"Back away," Sabrina hissed out a breath, edging southwards in retreat. "Slowly." Naruto was inclined to agree as he peered up at the gargantuan creature towering over their heads, its great bulk momentarily blotting out the sun itself and casting the world in its shadow; it was as if something had taken a snake and merged it with giant boulders, the largest of which composed the creature's face, its angry black eyes peering down a ghoulish glare at the two humans who had disturbed its slumber. One of them had even dared to punch it! The blond one...the one who was still staring at it.
Onix didn't like that. Not at all.
A low rumble started in the back of its throat, building into a snarling growl that promised pain for the fleshy creatures. It rose even higher upon its tail, the boulders that formed its brutal body grinding together with a ponderous groan. Clearly it was more than a little displeased at having had its nap interrupted.
"Whatever you do," the psychic continued softly as she and Naruto edged away, "Don't look it in the eye-"
Naruto paled at that. Having never seen anything like the rock snake before, he naturally stared at it. And as for looking it in the eye...
"Gwoooooooah!" Onix roared and lunged at them.
"FUCK MY LIFE!" Naruto shouted.
Kushina jumped at the Onix and let loose a burst of flame, aiming right for the rock-type's eyes, one of the few vulnerable spots on a rock pokemon's body unless you were either a water-type or a Rhydon. The wild pokemon shut its eyes through, and smashed into the Vulpix like a train.
Naruto caught her as she was slammed backwards and he and Sabrina dodged out of the way of the Onix's attack. As the angry pokemon turned around for another lunge, Naruto looked at the small fox he'd decided to name after his mother.
Seeing his partner injured, Something in Naruto snapped.
Passing his starter pokemon to Sabrina, Naruto glared at the stone serpent and held out one hand, and with a whirling hum of energy, a blue sphere that looked about the size of a soft ball, and it also had several swirls to it almost as if it was moving from the inside began to form in his hand.
Lunging at the pokemon, Onix let out a roar of sheer agony as the ball struck it and it was sent flying backwards, spinning uncontrollably until it crashed into the cliff behind it. It blacked out from the pain.
Spitting at the Onix, Naruto rushed over to Kushina and placed a hand on her, and the little fox shuttered. Naruto could feel the broken bones in the brave little kit.
"H-how did you do that?" Sabrina asked.
"What? The Rasengan? It's a pressurized ball of raw energy that spins in all directions while still being compressed to fit in my hand, so the pressure builds. So when it hits something, it digs in like a drill and expands like an explosion. There's no way to strengthen your internal organs, no matter what you try, so any enemy hit with that kind of attack is going to surcumb. Minimum impact, maximum effect." Naruto said, taking Kushina back and set his pokemon on the ground on her side to check her over.
As soon as he explained that, Sabrina nodded with wide eyes. That was a nasty attack to be hit by, and the mechanics behind it made it easy to understand why that was. Then she looking at Kushina and Naruto, Sabrina winced, not even needing her powers to tell Naruto was worried for his little fire pokemon's safety. "We could take her to a Pokemon Center to get her healed up, but there's not one around for miles." Sabrina said, easily seeing and understanding her companion's distress.
Naruto looked at her, horror struck. Miles! But Kushina might not last that long! He felt his heart wrench at the thought of loosing the little fox who he'd named after his mother and that almost reminding him of a mini Kurama, minus the evil eyes.
Wait a minute...! It was a gamble. But it was the only chance his partner had. He kept his hand on Kushina's side and shut his eyes. Please let it still be there!
Plunging his focus into finding what he was looking for, Naruto was rewarded when a fiery orange-red chakra burst from his body and then traveled down into his little fox. Kushina squirmed at the foreign energy entering her body and then she was suddenly enveloped in whit light, glowing from within and seeming to grow and change.
Naruto yelped and jerked away. Shocked.
Sabrina put her hand on his shoulder, but she was just as surprised as he was. A Vulpix evolving without a Fire Stone's energy radiation? Unheard of! But Naruto was a very unique being, so perhaps the idea of his little fox evolving all on its own wasn't all that strange.
"Relax...pokemon do that when they evolve." she told him.
When the light Kushina emitted faded, however, the shinobi and the physic's jaws dropped. WHAT THE...?!
Sabrina was expecting a Ninetails...but this...!?
"...I stand corrected. That's NOT supposed to happen..." she said.
Where Naruto's Vulpix had once been was a young woman.
The bangs of her long, fiery, dark crimson red hair perfectly framed her unblemished heart-shaped face while cascading down her back like a waterfall of blood down to her firm and shapely rear.
She was currently wearing a rather revealing red battle kimono that left her shoulders bare while showing off a great deal of her firm and perky D-cups. The kimono, although closed and held in place by a black Obi, opened up at about mid-thigh to reveal her long creamy legs; she wore no footwear of any kind however. To finish up the 5'8 beauty had three faint whisker marks on each cheek, red fox ears with black tips that came out the top of her head and nine silky smooth tails, the same color as her ears, connected to her tailbone just over her rump. Her tails swayed about in a soothing yet enticing manner.
She blinked as her eyes fluttered open, exposing that they were a blood red, a fact that was enhanced all the more by her pale cream colored skin. Still blinking, she sat up and at the sight of the two people before her, the woman smiled warmly as she looked upon them, more specifically, Naruto. The latter just gawped. Who the hell was this? More importantly, what-
Naruto clapped his hands over his face as a fountain of crimson liquid escaped from between his fingers. WHAT?! What the HELL did this woman...!
Sabrina's jaw dropped. She was just as shocked as Naruto, and it was evident when the ground cracked and heavy chunks of the earth began to jut up wildly in height, fray together, and wrap the area for a ninety yard circumference around them into a craggy, hard-to-navigate mess.
Naruto snapped out of his shock as the ground shook, without thinking he grabbed both Sabrina and the new woman by the hand and tried to keep himself as safe as possible. If he didn't keep himself on edge, any of them could have gotten their leg broken, or worse. As the landscape continued to warp and change, Naruto sought refuge for himself and the ladies with him on an upright spire as the tremors came to an end.
Sabrina blushed, she'd been so stunned that she'd let her control of her powers slip and her psychic abilities had caused a concentrated earthquake.
"...What was that?" Naruto asked, knowing earthquakes don't do that naturally, and it ended and started too abruptly to be normal. It was more like a Doton jutsu.
"...Uh...Master, the Onix is waking up." the fox-woman pointed out urgently.
Pailing at that, Naruto had one of his tails snag one of those red and white balls and tossed the ball at the stone snake. Naruto was shocked when the two halves of the orb opened, engulfing the Onix in a swirl of red light. He looked on, thunderstruck as that light was sucked into the now-open pokeball, which snapped shut upon its passing, rolling quietly to the ground. There was a bit of noise as it jostle once, twice, three times and then...ding! The red light still flashing suddenly dimmed. Just like that. It was done.
"...Just how big can something be to keep that ball from sucking it in?" he wondered aloud.
Sabrina and the other woman shrugged before Naruto hopped to the ground and set them both on their feet. Despite the ire he'd felt at the beast only moments before he still picked up the pokeball and attached it to his belt next to the one with his Beedrill in it, then turned to the woman.
"Now just who are you...and why do you keep calling me 'Master'?" Naruto asked, slightly perturbed and puzzled. Where oh where had Vulpix gone? As if sharing this very question Sabrina laid her hands on either side of the person's head, her eyes glowing as she scanned this woman's memory...she'd barely started before she jerked away with a start. Gawping she stared, wide eyed at the other female.
"No way...that's...impossible...!" she sputtered, hopelelssly confused. "How could you...What was that red energy...?!"
Naruto's mouth dropped open. "K-Ku-Kushina?!" he sputtered.
"Of course!" The female fox-human hybrid giggled at their expressions and put her hand under Naruto's jaw; the slightest application of pressure closed his mouth again. "Who else would I be? You gave me that name yourself, Master." There was a long, awkward pause between Naruto and Sabrian
"Are you seeing this?" Naruto muttered. "Please tell me you're seeing this."
Sabrina gulped, her face bone white.
"Thought so." Naruto said, feeling his vision begin to dim. "Yeah...I'm gonna pass out now."
At that, both Naruto and Sabrina sighed and fainted, their heads knocking against one another at they hit the ground. Kushina blinked owlishly, baffled by their sudden knockout. Her tails flicked curiously.
"Wonder why that happened..."
Sabrina started awake seconds later, her eyes peering not at the open sky, but darkness incarnate. Shadow stretched outward in every direction, offering her no recompense but forward. What was this tunnel in which she found herself? Where did it lead? Why was it filled with water? All these questions and more welled up at the forefront of her brain, but no answers were forthcoming. Forced to choose between standing here in this dank water and walking, she chose to walk, hoping the passageway wasn't as long as it appeared. As fate would have it. It wasn't.
That was when she saw it.
Her corridor branched outward into a massive chamber, the likes of which stored a cage. An empty cage. Dead. Empty. Hollow. Her psychic powers confirmed that nothing existed beyond those blackened bars, and yet at the same time, she sensed...a prescence...
"Well, well, lookee what we have here." the voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. "A guest! If I'd known you were coming I would've tidied up a bit."
A blur of motion registered in her peripheals, aborting itself in the form of a loud splash in the darkness. Footsteps plodded towards her, ripples revealing themselves, taking human shape and form. She knew it at once, rather, she thought she did.
Dark eyes fluttered open, exposing brooding red irises.
"Nope." Naruto shook his head, the motion sending wet droplets spattering in every direction. "Name's Yami." the doppleganger introduced himself with a bow and a flourish, dark red eyes glittering with amusement, bleak and otherwise. A cold chill shot up her spine at what he said next. "Welcome to the boss's brain. Or mindscape. Never really figured out the terms for that." A shrug. "Bottom line, that little headbutt back there momentarily knocked you into his head. Sooooo...welcome!" He spread his arms wide, "To my humble abode!"
Sabrina blinked, uncertain how to respond.
"Why so serious?" Yami asked, breaking out into laughter moments later. "Ahhhh, I love that line. But its not sooooo bad in here, really, once you get used to it. Kinda lonely though without Kurama. I miss the talks, ya know?" He turned, revealing one half of his visage to be horribly scarred, though whether it was intentional on his part or merely a reflection of Naruto's own pscyhe remained to be seen. She was suddenly quite certain that this "Yami" character wasn't just broken inside. He was insane. His very being radiated pain and loss and sorrow on an almost primal level, maginified even further by her psychic aptitude.
"You..." she cringed, almost vomitting at the negative emotions wafting off of him. "What are you? Where's Naruto?"
"Me?" Yami tittered softly. "I'm me! No two ways about it. I've been here for as long as I can remember. As for the boss...he's indisposed at the moment. So its just me for the time being." Abruptly, his grin shrank. "Say girlie, I never got your name, did I? Why don'tcha tell me." It was not a request, she realized. This...this...creature was clearly not well in the head. Any attempt at refusal might meet with catastrophich results. Reluctantly, she gave it.
Yami's grin grew until it was almost grotesque, his deadly canines peeking out over the edges of his mouth.
"Well then, Sabrina, It's been awhile since I've had company. Such a long time. Not since the Falls of Truth. Tell me, do you like movies? Oops, sorry. Not movies. I meant memories. I get so bored watching them over and over-I mean, you've seen someone die once, you've seen it a thousand times, right? Am I right? Of course I'm right! So whaddya sa? Feel like reminiscing with me? I mean its not like you've got anything better ta do now, ya know. He woulda shown you this sooner or later, but, I figure hey, best ta get the roadblack outta the way first. Like that Onix back there. The Rasengan was my idea, ya know. I wanted to kill that damned but nooooo, the boss had to be all wimpy and shit an' capture it. Bah! But at least some good came out of it; I mean, instead of a pokemon, he's got a little servant now and everything...score!"
Sabrina drew back, disgusted by this creature. This...this was not Naruto. This was something else.
"Bingo, babe!" Yami grinned. "Now are you gonna pussyfoot around all day, or are ya gonna answer me?"
"I...you...let me out of here this instant!"
"I'll take that as yes!" he sneered, vanishing with a maddened cackle, but his voice remained, ever tormenting her. "Enjoy your stay in Hotel Naruto! And do try not to lose your mind! It'd be such a shame to lose a fine piece of ass like yours, especially considering the boss has his eye on ya."
There was a silence.
Then the memories hit and the psychic was lost in the past.
A/N: And there you have it! This fic has returned! Once again, major thanks to Dylan Millwood, whom without their assistance this chapter wouldn't have been remotely possible. I know this story has been slow in starting, but there'll be some action, battles, romance, etc. quite soon! Because now Vulpix is a hybrid...just like Naruto! There will be quite In any case, I do so hope you enjoyed the surprise there at the end! Also!
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