A/N: My my, I'm simply on an udpating craze as of late! Having recently updated most of my One Piece crossovers, it suddenly came to me that I've been neglecting this little ficlet as well. Now, I know all of you are just dying to know whether Naruto will wind up meeting the Strawhats and going with them, tagging along with Fairy Tail, or perhaps something else altogether. I'd tell ya up front, but that would spoil the chapter now, wouldn't it? And with that after much talking and a long awaited adue, onto...
...Locked out of Heaven! Warning! Extreme hilarity in this chapter!
"That's the thing about dragon scales. They're harder than diamond. Hotter than lava. And, when I want them to be...they shine brighter than light itself!"
Fairies and Dragons
Uzumaki Naruto, the only man to have killed a tenryubito and lived-for now-to tell the tale, marched quickly under the pale evening sun, moving steadily across the mangroves. He had stopped in at his apartment for a brief changes of clothes to replace the ones he'd lost; now, his black boots covered the ground in long, sweeping strides, propelled by his large, leanly muscled frame with a sense of urgent purpose. There was an air of menace about him, accentuated by the firm set of his jaw, his heavy brow, and the dark intensity of his eyes. This, even more forbidding than the black armor or the sinister hook-handled katana he wore at either side, marked him as a man of fearsome power: a true swordsman to be respected and perhaps, even feared.
His jaw was set in grim determination against the pain that flared up every few minutes at the back of his skull. He did not regret his actions in the least; nay it had been many an hour since he'd last transformed; since he'd assumed his terrrifying draconic form and devoured Shaulia and her men. The aftereffects lingered, however sporadic bursts shooting through his braiin like a milllion tiny knives stabbing at the dark recesses of his mind. He had expected these effects to fade over time, but in the hours since the attack, their frequency and intensity had steadily increased.
He could have called upon his Haki, that is, his willpower, to keep the pain at bay, cloaking himself in an aura of impregnable fortitude. But in order to do so, in order to silence the throbbing in his head, he required the utmost he could not currently bring to bear. Instead, he transformed the pain into anger and the anger into hate and the hate into thick resolve, stoking his regenerative capiabilities until he felt the agony begin to ebb once more.
The terrifying image the former outlaw projected contrasted sharply with the small figure that followed in his wake, struggling to keep up. Wendy was only eleven, maybe twelve, a waif of a girl with long, navy hair. Her clothing was simple to the point of being rustic: a loos fitting dress that seemed several sizes too large for her frame. Anyone who saw her scampering after Naruto's massive, black-clad form would have been very hard-pressed to imagine she too was an ability user.
But looks could be deceiving.
There was power in the child. He'd seen ample proof of that at their first meeting, less than six hours earlier, at the hands of the Tenryubito. Naruto didn't know all the details surrounding her capture; he'd encountered her after the fact, and that was when this god-awful headache had begun.
He heard a grunt behind him and turned back to see that the girl had tumbled to the ground, falling in her haste to try to keep up with the relentless pace he'd set. She snififled up at him, pain and misery etched across her features.
"Slow down!" She begged. "You're...going too fast!"
Naruto clenched his teeth as a fresh bolt of pain ripped through his skull. "I am not going too fast," he replied, keeping his voice even but stern. "You are going too slow. You must find a way to keep up." Wendy bristled at his brusqueness, but did not protest as she scrambled to her feet.
Naruto clucked approvingly. She had spunk, this one. Wendy hadn't offered a single word of protest when they'd stopped back by his shack to retrieve his armour and weaponry-alongside a few keepsakes he had to his name-and she didn't do so now.
Perhaps he'd spoken too soon.
The blond released a long suffering sigh.
"What is it now?"
"You...look like you're in pain." Wendy murmurred, speaking in halting sentences beneath his brooding gaze.
Naruto frowned, slowing in his stride.
"And if I am?"
"..." Wendy said nothing.
He waited just long enough for her to close half the distance before he started walking again. Then Wendy had to go and startle him by reaching for his hand. Scarce had she touched him-her little fingers brushing upon his large ones-than he felt it. A pleasantly sort of warmth flooded his veiins, ebbing away at the edges of his concsiousness, relieving him of the pain that'd been haunting him ever since he'd reverted to his human form and figure. It simply ceased to be; one moment he was barely fighting it off, and the next, not so much as a glimmer of discomfort.
What in the nine hells?
Wendy had slowed beside him, her overlarge eyes having drifted shut when he wasn't looking. She seemed to be in some sort of trance; doubtlessly responsible for the sudden abscence of his pain. He felt something at the edges of his mind, like a gentle hand massaging his throbbing temples, leaving him completely and utterly at ease. Was this part of her abiliity? He watched Wendy's visage narrow in concentration then twist in pain sweat beading down her brow, as the last lingering remnant of his migraine abated.
Was she taking his own pain into herself? He didn't want that! Naruto tried to take his hand from hers but found the muscles of his right arm had locked up; he couldn't move the limb no matter how hard he tried. Cruel chills crawled across his spine. This wasn't happening. This wasn't happening! He stood there, helpless as the numbness pervaded his body, locking his limbs in place. For a man who was always on the move, to be held in place, against his will, was the worst manner of torment. It didn't matter if she was healing him; she was still holding him against his will!
"Oi, knock it off...!"
The prescence in his mind delved deeper, sifting through his thoughts as the white glow spread to envelop his body. Naruto tried to shake himself, managed only a rasping hiss.
"I said stop, chibi!"
Abruptly, her eyes fluttered open, regarding him with a cool, innocent gaze.
"You're really not a bad person, are you?"
A memory stabbed at him.
"You're a pretty nice guy!"
Naruto jerked his arm backwards in alarm at the sudden inquiry, spooked by just how deeply her words had cut into him. He tore his fingers free from hers; a look of scorn, etching itself into his features. If Wendy was at all hurt by the sudden rejection, she did little to show it. The faint glow faded from her fingertips as he looked on, restoring sensation to his limbs.
"What the hell was that?" he hissed.
"That was part of my ability." Wendy smiled weakly, squirming beneath his gaze. "I ate theTengoku Tengoku no mi (Heaven Heaven fruit) when I was little. I guess you could say my abilitiy is related to that." Ignoring the irony of such a name-consider the term devil fruit-the wanted man favored her with another of his scathing glares.
"Can you still walk?"
"Hai?" Wendy blinked, taken aback by the question.
"I asked if you can walk." The deadpann was barely concealed.
"Not good enough."
Naruto cut her off with a brusque nod of the head before she could continue and reached down for her. "C'mere, squirt." Wendy didn't even have a chance to protest; by the time she thought about doing so, Naruto had already scooped her off her feet, swinging her onto a broad shoulder with an equally broad sweep of the arm. And then they were off, forcing the girl to cling to his shoulder for dear life as the land blurred beneath their feet. She felt a rush of wind as the ground disappeared, the sound of popping bubbles fading in the wake of their sudden movement.
Naruto had grown wings from his back, the great scaly appendages ushering them onward at a speed that would a hummingbird green with envy. She stole a glance at his face as he pulled her into his arms and gasped at what she found there. Scales peppered the lining of his visage, bestowing an almost demon-like appearance upon his countenance. His narrow, slitted eyes remained fixed firmly upon the groves ahead, thos almighty orbs of black and crimson narrow and intent on some unseen point in the distance. It was...frightening, to say the least. And he wasn't even fully transformed!
"Where are we going?" she forced herself to ask.
Naruto made an exasperated noise between his teeth.
"You are going back to wherever the hell you came from." he growled, his low rumbling voice making that growl impressive indeed. "Whereas I am going back to bed, laying low and pretending this never happened. Do you understand, chibi? End of story. Now, where the hell am I supposed to drop you off?"
Her eyes welled with unshed tears.
"But I don't know the way back by myself...
Naruto stiffened and cut their flight short, the sudden exit from superspeed creating a sudden sonicboom. Wendy winced, her ears popping from the sudden explosion of sound. She half-expected an angry exclamation from her protector. But Naruto said nothing. His wings beat slowly, steadily, ushering them upward into the branches of a nearby mangrove tree. He alighted efforrtlessly upon a large bough, wings retracting back into his shoulder blades with nary a sound. Then, and only then, did he turn to face her.
Wendy nearly shrank back, such was his expression. Those ice blue orbs were leveled upon her, colder than any winter sky. Naruto wasn't a bad person; she'd had to tell herself this time and time again since she'd met him, especially now as he peered down at her.
"I said I don't know how to get back!" she all but wailed. "I don't remember which grove we left our ship in!"
"Are you kidding me, chibi?!"
"Why are you apologizing?!"
"Sh!" Naruto leaned forward, pressing two fingers to her lips as voices rose beneath them. "Quiet!" He craned his head toward the noise. "I think I heard something." Wendy followed his gaze, glancing to the ground as the draconic-blond glared down, staring bloody red daggers at a pair of civilians passing just beneath their hiding place.
"Did you hear?" A passerby below remarked in awe. "Someone struck a Tenyrubito!"
Naruto froze, his mind racing.
"Yeah, I heard about that!" The second agreed. "Knocked him right out, he did!"
"Well, I think he deserved it!"
"Are you crazy?! If they Tenryubito heard you say something like that, you'd be put in chains!"
"Yeah, like they'll ever find out...
Naruto felt his ire blaze as they walked away, utterly unaware of his attention
Shit. Shit shit shit shit.
How could this happen?! He'd killed all the witnesses! It didn't make any sense! It didn't-
Wait a second.
Naruto blinked. There had been no striking on his part. He'd eaten Saint Shaulia, and in doing so, made certain there was no one to report his action. He listened intently as word spread beneath the groves below, white hot fury giving way to idle curiousity as more and more was revealed. Apparently someone had started a riot back at the Human Auction House. Said someone had preceded to punch the liiving daylights out of a certain Celestial Dragon-meaning an admiral would soon be called-hence the reason for the uproar.
And that someone was...
"Mugiwara no Luffy?" For what must've been the upteenth time today, the blond cocked his head to the side. That name sounded familiar somehow. The longer he listened, the more certain he became. Strawhat. Luffy. Those words stirred something in him. A flicker of recognition, perhaps? Or maybe, just myabe...
Aaaaaand just like that, it was gone.
Naruto grunted as a blue blur slammed into his face, nearly knocking him from his feet and the branch altogether. His fingers closed around something soft and furry. He grabbed it by the tail-tail-and flung it back down to the branch with an aggravated snarl. Of all the times to be interrupted!
"Ouch!" The offending object yelped!
He felt like he was going mad, his mind straining to see a connection that either wasn't visible or simply wasn't there. He squinted against the evening sun and planted a foot on the grass and glanced about. Okay, who said…?
Then stared some more.
Look again, his brain told his eyes.
We're looking! his eyes insisted. It's real!
He found himself peering down at a little blue cat, standing on its hind legs. It peered up at him with big black eyes and...were those wings on its back? Why was it wearing that ridiculous hat on it head? Naruto blinked. Slapped himself. Scrubbed at both eyes with the back of a hand. The cat didn't disappear. Naruto took out his flask and shook it, frowning when he realized it was all but empty. That was it then. It had to be. He'd gone and gotten himself drunk. That was the only explanation for this crazy, fucked up day.
That's it, he decided, I'm swearing off alchohol after this...
"Happy!" Wendy exclaimed in delight! "You're alright!"
"Aye!" The cat saluted with a bright grin. "I got to Natsu and the others, they're looking for you, too!"
Naruto's left eye twitched.
"Oi," he began at Wendy, "that cat just talked."
"Aye!" the cat chirruped again.
"Its wearing a pirate hat." Naruto's disbelief grew.
"AND WHY IS IT TALKING TO ME?!"
"Oh, that's Happy." A woman's voice answered from across the bough. "He's a talking cat, or an Exceed for short."
"Well, thank you for that-huh?!" Naruto froze, suddenly aware that they were no longer alone.
He caught sight of a long, lustrous curtrain of crimson as he turned to face the newcomer. A scintilating shate of scarlet, so much so that his jaw nearly dropped clear off his face. She was beautiful; a heartshaped face around which her crimson tresses lofted, from which doe brown eyes shone. What fascinated him was thus; this woman was wearing armor. Not the gaudy baubbels favored by the slavers and their guards, but actually bona-fied armor, a crimson carapace sheathing her upper torso in sinister steel, shining in the sunset so much like her hair.
Brown eyes met blue, those soft caramel orbs lingering against his own, cold, calculating; assessing him. Abruptly, she bowed at the waist. Naruto nearly fell out of the tree such was his surprise. When the devil did she get up here?! And just who was she?
"Ara, who are you?"
"Many thank yous for rescuing Wendy for us." She offered a benign smile in return. "My name is Erza Scarlet, second in command to the Fairy Pirates. "However might I repay you for your righteous deed?" Naruto stared for a moment longer, struggling to reconcile fact with fiction. One look at Erza's arm was all it took to confirm his suspicions. Fairy Tail. What the devil?! These people weren't supposed to exist!
"I...ah...really, there's no need...
"No, no," Erza insisted, approaching him. "It's entirely my fault that Wendy was captured in the first place, entirely my fault that she inconvenienced you. Please, allow me to make it up to you!" Naruto couldn't help but to sweatdrop. Was she the type to blame herself for everything? These Fairy Pirates certainly had strange characters...
"Well, when you put it that way-
"Hold it right there, Scarlet!"
A winged blur launched itself upright, alighting upon the bough between them.
Great, Naruto sighed, Another wierdo...woah!
"Oi oi oi oi...just how much did I drink?!"
"Tch," The redhead swore, "I was wondering when you'd make it here...
Naruto clamped a hand over his nose in a vain attempt to stifle the overwhelming flow of blood that was sure to follow. Whereas Scarlet was dressed like a true pirate captainess, this Mirajane character...she looked as though she'd just stepped out of a strip club! She stood in sharp contrast to Scarlet, white hair framing cold, crystal blue eyes, cascading down her back. Dark material obscured pale skin that obviously hadn't seen the sun in a long, long time. Oddly enough, it only enhanced her beauty.
"How is that my fault?" The white-haired woman snapped back. "Just because you and Happy found her a few seconds before me-
Mirajane caught sight of him just then and the words died away. She arched an eyebrow, a coy smile playing at the edge of her full lips.
"Oi, Scarlet." she asked, "Who's the stud?"
"I don't know." the redhead admitted reluctantly. "He hasn't give me his name yet."
"Naruto," Naruto found himself supplying his name warily.
"Naruto?!" Mirajane's eyes bulged so large he was almost certain they'd fall out of her pretty little head. "As in Uzumaki Naruto?!" Out of corner of his eye he caught a glimmer of reaction from Erza, though hers was all but subdued compared to Mira's. Naruto frowned. Did he know these two? It certainly seemed so, if their reactions were anything to go by. But how was that possible? Perhaps it had something to do with his inability to remember.
...yes." he found himself frowning, deeply. "Why?"
Mirajane sauntered forward with a scowl, peering at him. She came close, dangerously close, her forehead pushing against his. Her eyes probed his own, seemingly searching for something. Eventually the foul-mouthed lass seemed to find what she was looking for; because Mirajane grinned.
"Ha!" She laughed, elbowing him in the side. "It really is you! You damned bastard! When did you get so handsome?"
"Knock it off, baka! Its me!" The demon girl continued, her grin faltering somewhat. "Mirajane! Don't you...remember me?"
Naruto eyed her with confusion. Just who was this girl? She obviously knew him. But whenever he tried to reach for the memory, he found only...emptiness. Try as he might, he could not bring himself to remember the young woman standing before him, nor the armored redhead at her elbow.
"I've never seen either of you before in my life."
There was a silence as the girls processed what he'd just said, his words slowly sinking in. Erza flinched as though she'd bene struck. Her companion's reaction was a great deal less subdued.
Mirajane's smile shattered; her face twisted in a rictus of fury.
Naruto stiffened, his haki prickling in warning as he raised an arm to defend himself. And not a moment too soon as she drew her arm back, her fist covered in a series of scales that oddly reminded him something demonic.
...YOU UNGRATEFUL BASTARD!"
Their fists collided, and the world burned into a cold white.
A/N: Clarification! The Ryu Ryu no mi is a Mythical Zoan type, not ancient! My apologies for that. Also, lol at Happy with the tiny pirate hat! Aye! Alas now, I am off to work once more. I'd wanted to post this story last month just to get it out there, but after some thought I decided to wait until I had more detail. Now I'm glad I waited. Hope you enjoyed it! I'll be back at midnight to answer all of your reviews,so I look forward to them! Who will Naruto ally with?! Fairy Tail or the Strawhats...Or perhaps both?! And just what is his past with Mirajane? Obviously she's pissed because he can't remember...
BTW Ya'll can expect another update for She is My Noble Mistress, any day now!
So, in the immortal words of Atlas...
...REVIEW, WOULD YOU KINDLY?