"It's a genjutsu, it's a genjutsu, it's a GENJUTSU!" Sasuke's eyes were squeezed shut, and only now did he dare open them to peer at the... thing... that had just appeared before him. But the monstrosity was still there, staring down at him with her wide blue eyes. Crap. It definitely wasn't a genjutsu.
It had all started normally, with a normal mission, heading to a relatively normal place. Sure, the Temple of Forgotten Destiny, with all of it's potentially fatal traps and crumpling structures, might not be what your average citizen would call normal, but Sasuke digressed. He was a ninja, for crying out loud, and had certain rights to go sneaking into places that weren't originally intended to be snuck into.
But by the time he had reached the central chamber, Sasuke was feeling less like a ninja and more like a certain adventurer who was named after one of the United States. The poison dart traps he could deal with, but a freaking boulder? Really? Though it was true that he didn't have to outrun it, and simply had to blast the rolling stone with the infamous Amaterasu to avoid it. Sure, using the Mangekyo was extremely tiring, but if that was the price to avoid becoming temple roadkill, then so be it. Besides, even if he was tired Sasuke had made it to the central chamber relatively unharmed, and that was that.
Now, Sasuke's whole reason for risking life and limb at the hands of long-deceased natives was because his mentor, Madara, had wanted a certain artifact from the Temple. You see, the ruins were built by a civilization that was said to have abilities disturbingly similar to the Uchiha Sharingan. The source of these people's power lied in the 'Eye of the Beholder', and it was with the Eye that the civilization thrived. It's decline, on the other hand, was directly linked to the Eye as well. Madara knew this, but figured that, if it could increase the power of the Sharingan, it was worth a shot.
So now the cream colored, perfectly circular stone sat before him on a suspiciously Asian altar. The Eye was small, but it was eye-sized so that was probably okay. Sasuke was well aware of the risks of taking treasures that looked ripe for the taking, but he was irritable that day and impatient to get this whole ordeal over with. Making no sudden movements, Sasuke carefully held the Eye's smooth surface between his thumb and forefinger, stepping swiftly away from the altar in case something large came swinging in to crush him out of nowhere.
He waited, but nothing happened. The longer the silence stretched on, the more worried the young Uchiha grew. He frowned, and eyed the plain looking prize. Was it a dud? Sasuke didn't want to relive the humiliation of bringing back the wrong thing, like he did with the eight-tails. But how would he know if this artifact was the real thing?
As if in response to his thoughts, the tan 'skin' of the Eye split open, revealing a pocket of blood red chakra whirling within. But Sasuke's cold look remained the same. The Eye would be terribly creepy to others, but to him it was simply a fortunate happening. In truth, the young Uchiha had seen worse things within himself.
And while all of Sasuke's musings were going on, the Eye of the Beholder had sensed it's captor's coming. The artifact had done everything it could to get rid of the intruder, but it was no use. It would now have to use it's own personal methods, and draw out the darkness within the thief's heart...
The moment it activated it's Seeing ability to do so, the Eye froze from what it discovered. In this young boy, was a horrible, horrible, dark chakra. The Eye's favored defense mechanism (besides the Indiana Jones boulder) was sending would-be treasure hunters into their negative selves, catapulting them into a living hell, either a warped version of their current reality or reliving past tortures. To the Eye's complete horror, this particular thief was already in that living hell, all by himself. Everyday, this person had fought a loosing battle with the monsters of his childhood, and had recently succumbed to their influence. Now it was simply a question of how far he would sink into his own inner darkness before choking and drowning. The Eye knew that this boy would die, unmourned by any...
But wait. The Eye noticed something within the tortured depths of Sasuke's soul. It wasn't a light, for sure, but it was something else, something more important. A possible way for him to escape the hole he had dug, in the form of a relationship he had with a person. Shock rang through the Eye's very existence. How strange! Normally, when humans had sunk to this level, all bonds with others had to have been cut in the process. But for some reason, this mortal was different, for there was still someone who cared for him despite everything this mortal had done.
While the Eye couldn't care less about his current opponent, this would be thief, the Eye's figurative heart broke for the individual who was strong enough to continue believing in him, even though that belief was both unappreciated and only self-harming. And with that, it made up it's mind.
The artifact narrowed its eyelids, directing a glare at the dark soul of the person before him. I will help you, the Eye thought to itself. Not for your sake, but for the sake of the crazy person who, for some reason, still cares about you.
Now the Eye knew, that as things currently were, there was little chance of fulfilling its goal. It needed to call upon a different sort of power, one that hadn't been used sense it was teaching the kings of old oh so long ago. This power was a stronger, reversed version of what the Eye had used on past thieves. For instead of sending the young man before it into a hell within himself, the Eye planned to send Sasuke into a more positive place, outside himself. A potential reality that never came to be, an alternate universe, if you will. Of course, it was up to the people in this realm, Sasuke, and the person who cared for him if Sasuke was to be freed of his bleak future or not, but the Eye was going to place the young man into the reality that had the most potential to do so.
Sasuke looked at his find with a sudden alarm. The red light that the stone had been emitting was growing brighter, spreading in a way that light should not. The glow was spilling from the Eye like tears of blood, dripping and completely covering Sasuke so swiftly he did not have any time to react. So within an instant, the Uchiha vanished, the orb he was holding still floating in midair.
The Eye drifted smugly back to its altar, giving its handywork a once-over before falling back into dormancy. When the artifact thought about it, the alternate reality was quite similar to one that Sasuke had already lived through, with only a few changes here and there. In fact there was only one critical difference between the ex-thief's memories of the past, and the one he would soon be experiencing. The Eye chuckled to itself wickedly. The misfortune of the whole situation made it almost want to observe the whole thing happening, but, well, it had better things to do. Such as sleeping.
Naruto raced swiftly through the throngs of random citizens, running with the complete abandon that only idiots and people who are chased can possess.
In her case, she was both. She snickered wickedly as she ducked behind a corner into a trash-filled alley. He would never find-
Suddenly the twelve year old was yanked up by her short blonde hair. "OW OW OW OW OWWWW! LEMME GO!" Swearing like sailor, she aimed a kick at wear she her opponent's pig parts were.
"Nice try Naruto." Came the bored response from somewhere above her. "You missed training. Again. I thought you wanted to be a ninja?"
"I do Kakashi-sensei, but take HIM off of the team! Do you wanna know what he did today!?"
Kakashi dropped his student, causing her to land with a painful-sounding thump. God, how he hated his new team. Sure, they had somehow passed the test, but teamwork was impossible! He stared down at the boyish girl before him. Naruto was the root of the problem, but she wasn't the one to blame. Or at least that's what he constantly reminded the Hokage, who seemed to be needing more and more of it these days. The jounin sighed, and started walking away, making sure Naruto was following him.
"I don't know what to tell you Naruto. I know you don't get along with your teammates, but still-"
"DON'T GET ALONG!? They HATE me! They're always calling me names, and throwing stuff at me, and tricking me whenever they can!"
"Naruto, calm down. I know they pushed you into the male side of the senior citizen hotsprings, but I'll talk to them. Don't-"
"Worry? You say you'll talk to them, but you never really do! You're too wrapped up in your book, moping because you don't have any teachable students! Well you know what, sensei? Your problems are over, cause I friggin' QUIT!"
Kakashi rolled his eyes and caught her before she could stomp off. "That's not what I think, Naruto. Now, go back home." Naruto stared up at him with her eyes full of some unreadable emotion, but then she nodded, her anger leaving her like a deflating balloon.
As she walked glumly back to her apartment, Naruto felt the weight of her humiliation press down even harder than usual. She had only wanted to be Sakura's friend, ever since they had met at the Academy. But it seemed like the harder she tried, the more the pink-haired girl scoffed and was mean to her. But it was Naruto's other teammate that caused the worst problems. Yes, she could truly say that she hated that son-of-a-bitch.
The short, wiry girl unlocked her door, and proceeded to drag herself into her messy room. So lost was she in her depression, Naruto promptly tripped over one of the many items scattered over her floor. The ninja fell, and lacked the willpower to even get up again. The thing that had made her trip was digging uncomfortably into her legs, but that did nothing to motivate her. The young girl had been bullied all her life, and it seemed like nothing could help her out of this pitfall. Heck, she might even start crying.
That was when the object digging into her legs began to move.
Naruto jumped about three feet in the air, shrieking with fright. She stared in utter horror as the thing- no, person-on her floor stirred groggily.
Was locking an unconscious MALE stranger in her room someone's idea of a joke!?
No, I don't own Naruto. Sorry to dissapoint.