A/N: Alright ladies and gentlmen, good news and bad news. Good news first. I'm fresh out of ANOTHER surgery-hurts like hell. Bad news. Things aren't looking well for me. My health has been in decline as of late, my girlfriend's all but left me because of it, and I'm still jobless. And to top it all off, I've just been informed that my grandmother's in the hospital, and she might die. Ain't that just peachy?! *Takes a deep breath* Alright then, enough of the rant, ya'll are here for the story, not the rambling of a man potentially on his deathbed.
Anywho,I managed to put this up here at points between the forced anesthetic. Bad news is I still have more surgeries ahead. Still, I'm feeling a bit better now. Really. I'm hanging tough though, despite everything life is throwing at me. Despite all that's happening, I don't intend to die quietly in a bed somewhere! And on that note I should give you fair warning, some changes have been made here to keep things interesting, folks. So with that, onto the next long awaited chapter of...
...Sentinel! Its a nice looong chapter, just like last time!
"Harmony and discord are but one and the same; two sides of the the coin, forever in opposition...
Shepard soon realized there was a key difference between the combined psyches of Naruto and Sentinel. Whereas Sentinel preferred to obliterate the enemy through sheer firepower, wading through enemy positions in a masterful parody of a human tank-Naruto reveled in combat.
Specifically close combat.
More than once she caught sight of the blond in the ensuing firefight-his deadly knives carving through the thick armor of Centurion's and soldiers as though they were mere drapes. Others simply lose their minds gibbering madly as they opened fire on their fellows. It took Shepard less than an instant to realize Naruto was adversely affecting the reaper tech planted embedded in their skulls, his sphere of influence causing them to turn on one another, without any other say in the manner whatsoever.
It was...disturbing, to say the least.
"By the Goddess!" Liara seemed to share her opinion; the asari shuddered in cover beside her as entire squads turned on one another and began to butcher their comrades without so much as a second thought. Naruto flitted amongst them; those strong enough to resist the suicidal urges soon found their lives cut short, dispatched at the end of his devastating daggers. She didn't have to ask to know how the rest of her squad felt, all but Near seemed disgusted by the blonde's brutality.
"Crazy bastard," Garrus muttered, popping out of cover just long enough to snap off a shot.
James was a touch less reserved in his opinion. "Hey Lola, he's still on our side, right?"
"You wouldn't be here if he weren't." a new voice quipped.
Isabelle balked at the little reaper known as Near materialized at her back. Her "skin" had been bruised in several places from gunfire, another indication of her inhumanity; those rapidly-healing bruises, would've been full blown holes on even the largest of krogan. The young hybrid holstered her powerful rifle with a malevolent grin, pale eyes regarding the single-handed slaughter with a delirious delight that the organics found to be both disturbing and amusing in equal measure.
"Dios," James muttered under his breath. "Do you have to keep doing that, kid?"
Hanabi looked as though were about to beat his brains in for that remark and she might well have were it not for Shepard's scathing glare.
"You know how to use that thing?" her gaze fell upon the massive weapon the girl had somehow procurred during the chaos. It wasn't just any rifle the commander realiazed, Near, had somehow gotten her hands on a Widow. But not just any ordinary Widow was that little rifle, that beauty was a Black! It could punch hole through armor like a krogan!
"Do you have any idea who you're talking to?"
"Can you use it or not?"
"Good. Then go back up your brother over there."
Her pale face purpled with anger and disgust. "He is not my-
"Less talky, more shooty missy!"
Near cracked her neck, scowling, but did as she was asked-vanishing with another pop. A hearbeat later and two more Cerberus went to the void; ushered onward by the gaping holes in their heads courtesy of one very deadly Black Widow rifle. Even a reaper had to admit that the weapon possessed unquantified destructive capabilities when faced with flesh. Naruto's bemused laugh boomed out over the sounds of their dying screams. he held no delusions about the deadliness of that particular rifle either.
"Thatta girl!" he nearly ate those words when Near fired at him!
"Silence, you buffoon!"
Naruto merely laughed and danced away, dealing death
The more Shepard thought about it, the more apparent it became. Naruto. Sentinel. The only difference between them was their attitude, an outlook on life. One sarcastic and cynical, the other simple and singleminded in his duty nay, its very purpose. Both gloried in gore and craved combat-their only redeeming qualities being their desire to see an end to the Cycle...
"Close combat!" A salarian's voice jerked her out of the daze, its tones piquing in distress. "Problematic!
The sharp crack of Garrus' sniper rifle put an abrupt end to a soldier's short-lived biotic charge-and his head-before he could reach Mordin's position. Even so, the display gave Isabelle pause. Didn't change the fact that the man had clearly displayed biotics just now. When the hell did Cerberus start using them? In all her encounteres with the pro-human organization they had always employed unusual tech and overwhelming numbers. But never biotics. So why now? Hadn't they cleared out Grissom Academy, rescued Jack and her students, to prevent such a happenstance? Something wasn't right here.
First the attack on the Citadel. Now this? What was going on here?
"Naruto, get in cover!"
The blond simply cackled and vaulted toward where Bailey lay. That was where the fighting was the thinnest and the soldiers seemed to realize it; converging on the wounded C-Sec officer in a desperate attempt to end him before the brutalizing blond reached their position. A flash of kunai, followed by a spurt of blood, and they were no more. Oddly enough, some of the soldiers seemed to drop before Naruto even reached them, their dark helmets lolling dangerously aside as though struck from behind.
"Alright, that's impressive." Garrus growled. "How the hell did he do that?"
"Cover inadvisable." Mordin returned with a gleam in his eyes, slapping another clip into the battered submachine gun he wielded. "Likely to limit effectiveness."
"Yeah, I know that," the turain grumbled, "But
"Not Naruto." a small smile twitched at the aging alien's lips.
"Wait, if that wasn't him, then who-
"I missed one!" someone sulked, their voice emerging from nothinginess. "Jeez, that's what I get for sneaking around in a warzone...
Another small pop signalled the disolution of a cloaking field, revealing a familiar black-clad body to all. Shepard couldn't quite keep the smile from her face. She hadn't heard that voice in such a long time now; yet she recognized it almost immediately. The dark suit, those dancing eyes, lilting voice...
The smaller woman grinned
"You always do find trouble, Shep." she singsonged merrily. "Or it finds you. Not sure which. By the way," she continued in flawless Japaense, her gaze sliding to Naruto, "That was some nice work back there. I'd shake your hand but I wouldn't want to get blood on my dress."
"Osu!" Naruto snapped off a cheery salute, earning the slightest of smiles from his fellow Japanese. "Uzumaki Naruto, at your service!"
"So you're recruiting Reapers now, Shep?"
"Hey! I'm not a reaper." the blond put out, perturbed. "Well, my body might be, but still! Blame old wire-head for that. He," Abruptly the blonde's visage furrowed in concentration, blue eyes narrowing. "What? Already? You've repaired yourself and want me to go back? No! Actually, scratch that. Hell no! I haven't had this much fun in centuries! There's no way I'm letting you stuff me back into that hole without a-
Sentinel sighed a moment later, those bright blue eyes subsumed by that eerie glow once more. "Forgive me, Commander. I allowed him a moment's respite, and this is the thanks I receive in return? It appears that he doesn't intend to make this easy, though our fate is-
"Still here, ya bucket of bolts!" a light, almost airy tone issuing forth from the proto reaper's mouth confirmed that Naruto hadn't gone quietly back into the black. "And I thought I already told you, we won't die! Not 'till we see this through, ya know?! So quit yer bitchin' and lets get on with this, Shepard!"
There was a silence.
"Wait...what?" Liara frowned. She knew now wasn't the best time, but it was beginning to sound like Sentinel wasn't the only one inhabiting that body. Indeed if that other voice could at all be judge, one might even try to suggest he had another personality within...or was there actually another mind, trapped in that eerie shell? Naruto, was it? Goddess, this things he must've seen, the secrets he must know...
"Wait...so are you Naruto now or Sentinel?"
"Naruto/Sentinel!" Both answered the asari simultaneously, their voices overlapping in angry unison.
Near groaned, palming her face in a rare expression of human disbelief. "Creators have mercy on me...
"Carumba." James swore softly. "One was bad enough, but this?"
Garrus scoffed his agreement. "Next thing you'll tell me he's going to split in two or something."
"Fascinating." Mordin alone seemed to take this new development in stride, the
"He does not wish to return, Shepard." Sentinel somehow sounded affronted; if the pursing of his lips were any indication.
"And who the hell would?! Naruto snapped back. "I like it out here!"
"Let him stay, then." Isabelle waved him off, her attention focused instead on the still-prone Bailey. "Split-personality disorder is the least of my concerns. Just play nice, you two."
In hindsight, play nice didn't mean much a reaper. Or a shinobi. Playing nice, as she had so blatantly put it...
...meant toying with your prey.
Kai Leng, the most-skilled assasin Cereberus had ever wielded, didn't stand a chance.
In the end, he never saw the atack coming. One moment he stood over Thane, drawing the blade from his flesh. The next, a blur of black and blur ripped him from his feet and hurtled him into the wall. Kai Leng flew. Literally. His feet left the floor and his body the earth and then he was airborne. A muffled grunt left his lips as his head kissed the back of an equally hard wall. Where in the world had that come from? He hadn't even seen an enemy in his peripheals; one moment he'd been standing, squaring off against Shepard even as the Drell's blood coated his blae.
The next he wasn't. Was this some s
"So what. Doesn't matter." He said boldly, psyching himself up. "I can take this, I can handle anything these ba-YAH!"
"Human." A bleak voice rumbled. "Your time has come."
Leng yelped in surprise as his vision was suddenly filled by a wall of red, black, and death. Simultaneously, Shepard heard the sound of flesh meeting metal and she swore.
She'd less than an instant to comprehend Sentinel's statement before she saw something that was simultaneously incredible and terrifying. Near the back of the security office where she had first left Thane, Kai Leng was hurtling across the room. He flew twenty feet through the air before slamming down on one of the tables. The force of the landing launched lunch trays into the air and snapped the fixture's legs-shattering it into a thousand shards, sending its ruined husk crashing to the floor. The Salarian Councilor crouching behind the table screamed in surprise, and then the stunned hush fell over the room as everyone looked to see who was responsible.
Isabelle was as shocked as any of them to see the hybrid standing in the back of the room, his fist still raised to the skyi in silent offering, his face twisted in a mask rage and fury. And then to her horrors, she realized the reaper wasn't done.
"Get your ass up!" The blond roared, Naruto's voice superceding once more. "Stand and face me, coward!"
"What the hell are you?" The cerberus assassin spat a bloody glob from where he lay, not even deigning to raise his head. "No...human...should be able to hit like that."
Naruto grinned; it was a terrifying tear of white across his otherwise tan face.
"Whoever said I was human?"
The table in front of him flipped over, the empty chairs surrounding it cartwheeling away like they had been kicked by an invisible giant. Kicked toward Kai Leng, by a geyser of superheated pressure. Strangely enough, her first concern was not for the reaper, but for the assasin. The fool! He'd no idea what he'd just wrought! Provoking one of the most powerful synthetics in the galaxy! Naruto would surely...surely...
...raise a hand?
The blade never met its mark.
Sentinel blinked, staring at the blade as it protruded from his flesh. There was no blood. It was as if it simply phased through him.
"I have a message for the one you call...Illusive Man; the being formerly known as Jack Harper, the one watching this battle through your tainted eyes." His fingers tightened around Leng's throat, levering the Cerberus assassin ruthlessly into the floor. "We are not to be trifled with. We are not to be opposed. We are to be feared." Leng didn't even have time to answer; because the blond reached down, took his head in those hands in an instant, and pulled.
Despite all she'd seen and done in her storied career Commander Shepard actually blanched, only barely managing to stifle her gorge as blood spattered the walls, gore spurting in every direction. The untimely end of Kai Leng would be known only to a select few, one of those few cringing now as the man's severed head skittered across the floor to rest at her boot. Sentinel didn't even pause to survey his horrific handiwork; instead making haste for the nearest skycar, his compatriot, Near in tow.
"What?" his voice-Narutos voice-warbled out at her questing glance. "Someone has to put a bullet in Udina's skull. Might as well be us."
"You just tore off a man's head, and that's all you have to say?"
"That's it." Sentinel's deep voice interposed itself, cutting off whatever his host might've said.
Isabelle sighed as she and Liara wedged themselves into the cramped confines of the vessel. Garrus and the others remained, moreso that Mordin could see to Thane than the fact that there just wasn't enough room to fit the entire squad inside. She'd have to speak about the blonde's brutality sometime soon, but not here. Not now. Not when there was still so much work to be done.
"Remind me to schedule some shore leave when this is over...
A/N: Naruto/Sentinel is back with a vengeance! I'm sad about Thane, but Naruto simply can't save everyone. He's not a god, and though he may posses all the technological prowess of a Reaper; with its consciousness to boot, he simply isn't flawless. But with Leng dead, one might expect this war to come to an end soon...right? WRONG! There's still a great deal of chaos lurking ahead for the next few chapters, and remember...expect the unexpected! We're getting the gang back together here! Mordin's already aboard, having survived Tuchanka, and now we've got Kasumi...that'll be good for a laugh, considering her impishness and Naruto's love of pranking. WE GET TO SEE THE CITADEL DLC NEXTY CHAPPY! Stay tuned for more!
So...in the immortal words Atlas...
...Review, Would You Kindly? And of course enjoy this little preview!
Shepard made a face.
Khalisah Bint Sinan al-Jilani, -wow what a mouthful!- stood there outside the waiting room, and from the look on her face, it was clear she intended to make a mess out of things, to get the full story. Humanity-hell, the entire galactic community was still coming to terms with what had happened-an attack on the council and the betrayal of humanity's councilor, let alone the fact that they had a reaper to thank for saving their collective asses. Shepard might've found it funny if, she hadn't come so close to shooting Williams only hours before. Godamn Udina. At least he was gone now, with a hole in the head courtesy of her Phalanx.
God, perhaps she would take Anderson up on his offer and look at that apartment of his...
And, now she had to deal with this woman! Beside her, the whooshing of a door signalled Naruto's exit from what had once been -and would now no longer be- Thane's room. His eyes were still red, whether from anger at his own powerlessness or tears at Thane's passing she knew not. Regardless, he looked to be even angrier tha she was.
"Humanity needs to know-
Naruto said nothing, instead brushing past her to confront Khalisah. Thinking she'd just gotten the interview of the century, the woman never noticed the tightening of the reaper's fist. Then in a very Naruto-like move, the blond walked right up to the tabloid reporter and socked her in the face. She crumpled like a sack of potatoes.
"Dissengenuous assertions?" he offered a wan smile.
Shepard couldn't help but grin.