Title: The Everlasting Sins
Rating: Rated T.
Pairings: Canon pairings for Naruto, along with slight NaruHina near the very end of the story.
Summary: A sin lasts forever, even if other things do not. Naruto's debilitating disease doesn't, nor does his hatred. His past, however, forever continues to follow him. Smart, powerful Naruto. Rewritten in collaboration with The Sin of Justice, the original author.
Regarding Q&A: Any questions regarding the story can be asked via PM or review to either me or The Sin of Justice.
Beta: N/A—Help wanted.
Warnings: Language, violence, and moderate blood/gore.
Category: Naruto and Fullmetal Alchemist crossover.
Uploaded: December 29th, 2012
Thoughts—for everyone, including Bijū.
Please note that Bijū cannot "speak" unless their host is inside of the seal, and please enjoy the story!
A perfect day never lasts.
All started out well, of course. However, the extreme precautions and preparations for Kushina's birth didn't stop the Masked Man (For lack of better alias, Minato bitterly thought) from breaking into the sealed hospital room where the Yondaime Hokage's beloved wife had just given birth to twins—Uzumaki Naruto and Uzumaki Natsuki.
It only got worse, as predicted.
The air in the hospital room began chillingly cold and slightly windy as a man with an orange spiraled mask appeared by the window. "Yondaime," the man acknowledged. "I see your village is doing well."
"Who are you?" Minato asked sharply, a three-pronged kunai at the ready as he stood protectively in front of his wife and newborn children. He faintly remembered that, in the back of his mind, the ANBU he set up to protect the hospital room were nowhere to be seen.
"I have no name. I simply wish to tell you something, Yondaime."
Minato narrowed his eyes a little bit, adjusting his position into a more flexible stance. "And that would be?"
The man flickered for a second and reappeared, Minato's children in one hand. "Oh, nothing really," he drawled, a smirk clear in his voice. "Just that your village will be under attack in about thirty-five seconds."
Minato froze, eyes wide at both the news and when the man held the kunai to his son's throat. "Back away," the Hokage growled, bringing his kunai up into an a more assaulting position, rather than the previous defensive one. "I'll give you three seconds to return my children."
"Aren't you protective? It'll be a shame when your village burns," the man taunted before vanishing into thin air.
"Kushina? Are you alright? Are the twins okay?" he asked urgently once the man left, then noticed his children in Kushina's arms once more. "Thank the Heavens that they're safe," he sighed in relief.
"Minato," Kushina started worriedly, "he said that the village will be under attack. What do you think he—"
And then she screamed, her seal erupting into pain. Neither heard the distinct, unmelodious laughter.
And, not even two minutes later, Minato stood on top of the Toad Summoning Boss Gamabunta, his children at his feet. He called out his jutsu, eyes shedding water. I'm sorry, Naruto, Natsuki. The village depends on your survival.
Making a few complex hand signs, the Hokage shouted, "Fuuinjutsu: Idaina Chakra To Tamashii Bunri!"The Kyūbi, who was stomping the homes and buildings in the very same village he swore to protect, slowly decomposed. The chakra flew to his daughter, and the sinister soul to his son.
And thus, the tale of the truths and the lies that would plague a life began.
Exactly seven years later, radiant sapphire-blue eyes looked out from a window with the curtains covering all but the top of his head. The small boy could see the many villagers—The "beloved" villagers, he thought distastefully—watching street performers and enjoying the festival. He had once wondered what the festival was about (he and his sister's birthday, perhaps?), but quickly lost interest as he discovered the fox masks. Damned village.
The boy was small for his age, barely reaching three feet and two inches. His hair was slightly limp, a light blonde that looked too pale to be entirely natural. He had three scar-like whisker marks on each cheek, one of his only distinguishing characteristics. He was thin, more so than perhaps an average child of his age, but he did not care. His only concern was for his future.
Not even days after the Kyūbi Attack, the hospital had been rebuilt enough for Namikaze Minato and Uzumaki Kushina (whom had never married) to have their children inspected for diseases or something of the like. And they had found something.
A rare disease, by any standards. It's name was cliché and blaringly obvious: Chakratitus. They had wept for their child and taken them both home, thankful to the Heavens that at least one of their children was healthy. They immediately tended to their son once home. The reason Chakratitus was such a dangerous and rare disease was because of its very nature. Chakratitus occurred in newborns, but was usually not tested for. The only reason it was even found out was because once a child began training to become a ninja, and his chakra coils began to develop. While this is not normally a problem, Chakratitus made his chakra coils become crippled to such a degree that it was nearly impossible to continue living.
And, of course, Uzumaki Naruto had that disease. He was doomed to be a sad, lonely child who forever lived indoors for not only his disease, but the village's hatred for the soul he contained inside of him. The doctors had said he had ten years to live—three left.
Naruto blew them off. He knew the villagers would eventually forget him. The only reason they'd ever recognise him was for his spiky hair or his whisker marks, which made his sister easily recognised as well. One would think that his sister would be hated as well, but of course not. The people of Konohagakure no Sato were naïve and ignorant, believing him the one infected by the beast and his younger sister not. Oh, wouldn't he like to just—
No, he berated himself silently. I mustn't think that way.
/We both know you want to,/ the voice in his mind taunted.
Naruto growled slightly. /Awake already, Kurama?/
/Damn right, brat,/ the fox responded. /How could I miss the festival of my own demise?/
/Oh, I don't know. Perhaps...sleeping through it like normal?/
Naruto knew the conversation was over. Kurama didn't particularly enjoy speaking with people, and formalities were below the giant fox. Even if the beast held almost no power over his own chakra anymore, he still was the Kyūbi no Kitsune—the Nine-Tailed Fox—and he'd be damned if he'd let some roadblock like no chakra stop him.
Naruto never discovered why the fox talked to him. He supposed it was something about himself that he didn't realise. After all, the fox wasn't an all-knowing immortal for nothing. Even when they first met, the fox revealed nothing except for his name: Kurama.
It didn't matter, anyway. His books provided enough knowledge for him to be happy. So much so, actually, that he was what you could call a child prodigy, not that anyone knew or cared. He swore he was just a half-dead wallflower sometimes.
/Actually, Naruto, I have something interesting to tell you./
/Oh?/ Naruto raised an eyebrow. /What would that be?/
/There's a book in the Yondaime's library. It's on something that might interest you./
/What's it called?/
/Of course I will, fox. There's only—oh, I don't know—thousands of books in the library./
/Look in the third row, bottom shelf on the left. It's leather-bound./
/If you knew where it was, why didn't you tell me?/
/Because I just found out where it was using my chakra, stupid./
The fox chuckled and receded back into Naruto's passing thoughts. Naruto just rolled his eyes slightly and began slowly walking down to the library, careful of not being seen by his parents when he had to go through the dining room. He could have sworn that eyes were on him for a split second, but dismissed it as him just being paranoid. Treading lightly, he opened the askew door to the library and looked at the vast expanse of words on paper.
Third row, huh? Bottom shelf, on the left... There it is, Naruto thought, sighing. This doesn't look especially promising.
/Trust me, kid—it is./
/If you say so, Kurama./ Naruto skimmed over the imprinted title: How to Find the Honeycomb of Reclusive Bees. Naruto snorted slightly. /Honeycomb? Reclusive Bees? This is interesting...how?/
/Just read it./
/Yeah, yeah,/ Naruto replied absently, opening up the crisp book. The fragrance of freshly-made leather hung heavily on the pages, making Naruto rub his nose disinterestedly, irritation flooding his senses. Glancing over the handwritten, ink words, Naruto flipped through the parchment. The honeycomb is especially rich when it comes from bees who do not wish to give it up, for they have worked long and hard to perfect it. Naruto scrunched up his nose in confusion. How is this helpful?
/It's coded,/ theKyūbi explained. /Bring it back to your room and read through it. You'll notice odd word choices here and there. I've never seen the book before, so you'll have to decode it. I need to focus on regenerating chakra./
/How do you even regenerate it when you're just a soul?/
/It comes back to me. Every time your sister preforms a jutsu, a little bit of my chakra floats out. Guiding that chakra is a delicate task, but I can eventually force it to go onto the path I want to go on, leading it into you. Your body absorbs it and I can now access it. With that little amount in your system, I can begin regeneration./
Naruto blinked at the large amount of speaking Kurama did, but nodded. He raced out of the room, feet creating soft "clunks" when they touched down on the hard birch of the floor. Again, he could have sworn he felt eyes on him. Maybe I'm just imagining things.
He didn't know that the owner of the eyes thought the same.
/This is hopeless, Kurama. I'm not going to figure out the code, no matter how much you believe in my ability!/
/We both know that's not true./
/How can it be a lie if I haven't figured out the code after a whole year?/
/The book was written by an old friend of mine. If that book still exists, so does he. It's written in code so that audacious fools like your village don't get a hold of it and disturb his peace./
/But why's it so hardddd?/
/Don't whine. And don't ask me; I don't know, either. Once you figure out the code, we can get on with our lives./
/Not that my life's very long, anyway,/ he muttered bitterly.
/I'm working on that./
/My chakra should be enough to stabilise your condition. At most, it can add up to five years. I expect it to add maybe three, though./
/So I have a little longer to live? More suffering, just for your sake?/
/No. The author of the book is very powerful. If you can decode his book and figure out where he is without my help, he will cure you. But know this—he will know if you receive help./
/Just exactly how old is this guy, anyways?/
/Older than me./
Naruto stayed silent, looking down at the book in his hands once more. The parchment had turned yellow at the edges and the crisp leather had begun to crinkle. The ink had become more smeared as time went on, and he didn't like it one bit.
/When was this written, then?/
/A couple thousand years ago, I expect. It was after the Jūbi came down to this world./
/The Jūbi? What's that?/
/It was the beast that is all of us Bijū combined together. It wreaked havoc upon the world before the Rikodou Sennin was able to stop it./
/The Rikodou Sennin? The one from the legends? Did you know him?/
/Yes. He was the one to divide the Jūbi into the nine Bijū./
/But how could the Rikodou Sennin manage that? The Jūbi must have been—/
/The Rikodou Sennin is very powerful,/ Kyūbi replied. /He's just about on the same level as the man who wrote the book in your hands. How the Yondaime came to own the book, I don't know. However, this man is like a god—he writes fate itself, if he so desires. It's likely he put the book somewhere the Hokage could access it./
/Do you know why?/ Naruto pressed.
The Kyūbi fell silent, debating. /That's enough questions for today. Get working on that code./
/Sure,/ Naruto puffed, pouting slightly. He caressed the book cover gently, his hand running over the cracks in the pungent-smelling leather. Well, he thought, I might as well. Living is enough for me, even if it is without purpose.
Without purpose? the Kyūbi wondered, having been listening in to Naruto's thoughts. He noted dully that Naruto set the book down on his nightstand before unlocking his door.
The village obviously doesn't care for me, and I rarely see my own family. I'm glad this house is large enough for them to have extra rooms. Moving into one of those was easy. Naruto paused, glancing back at the book. I'll start again after eating something. My last meal was yesterday's lunch.
So my container isn't satisifed with his way of life, Kurama thought. Once he's done with that book's code, he will have no doubts about his destiny. Until then, though, I think I should just focus on his medical needs. Can't have him dying just yet, now can we?
Half a year later, Naruto slammed the book down on his bed. That's it! he thought excitedly. I...I think I got it!
Kurama's attention was drawn towards the blonde when he stood up suddenly. /What's up, Naruto?/ the Kyūbi asked.
/I got it,/ Naruto replied happily. /Whoever wrote this book wrote it while staying in these coordinates. Now, if you follow these coordinates on a map.../
/You get to Uzushiogakure?/ Kurama guessed. Naruto paused in his celebration to slowly process what the Kyūbi just said.
/You knew...the whole time...?/ he questioned slowly. /I decoded this book for a year and a half and you knew the message the whole time...?/
Kurama smirked slightly. /I had an inkling./
Naruto began walking to his wooden door, letting it open with a slight creak. He padded out on the floor and went down the stairs into the kitchen, looking around. When he found what he was looking for, he picked it up and went upstairs once more. /You okay?/ Kurama asked hesitantly. Naruto didn't answer.
Beginning to worry, the Kyūbi intruded upon Naruto's thoughts. They're gibberish, Kurama noted. Is he really that upset?
After finally sitting down on his bed, Naruto gingerly picked up the rolling pin and began banging his head with it. Whoah, what the—?
/Stupid fox,/ Naruto grumbled through their link, /I wasted a year and a half of my limited life for this and you knew the whole damn time!/
/Calm down,/ Kurama begged. /You're killing your brain cells, and you need every single one if you're going to talk to this guy./
/What's the point? He probably can't even heal me anyway. You just made this all up!/
Damn it, the Kyūbi thought. How do I do this...
/Look, there's one more thing you need to do. There's a book—a folk tale—that's rather well-known here in Konoha. If you read it, you can find out more about this guy./
/Why should I care about him?/ he asked aggressively, hitting himself one more time. Kurama flinched when it impacted.
/Because, he's basically all-powerful!/
All-powerful? Naruto thought hurriedly. He's...all-powerful?
/Yes, all-powerful, I know,/ Kurama responded. /However, if you talk to him even once, he'll give you a gift. You have no idea how few people have ever seen him. He doesn't want to be seen, only known of. However, if you see him, he'll speak to you./
/So...this "all-powerful" man will speak to me?/
/Yes, he will. I've never actually seen him or spoken to him, but the Rikodou Sennin told us tales of him. They seemed rather close./
/So he's not actually all-powerful?/
/I wouldn't know, but he's not weak by any standards, even if in the stories, he seemed to get hurt quite a lot. Read the tale and decode it—it's fairly short, so maybe another six months—and if you bring that story along with your knowledge, he'll surely give you something worthwhile. I'm not talking about just healing you, either./
/What's this book called, then?/ Naruto asked calmly, setting down the rolling pin.
/If You Have Two Good Legs, Walk./
/That's rather cliché,/ Naruto deadpanned.
/It's about two brothers who go on a journey to restore themselves to their original bodies, which were destroyed after a failed technique. It's "supernatural" and supposedly a fairy tale, but it's written by the same man who wrote that book./
/You never mentioned his name, you know,/ Naruto realised. /What is it?/
/His name?/ Kurama grinned. /It's Edward Elric./
Thank you very much for reading this. The plot and story idea was written by a good friend of mine, The Sin of Justice. While he is indeed the one who came up with this, the two of us are "co-writing" the story (I write it, he says what to write). It's a lot of work, especially since two minds are never the same. I'll persevere somehow, though, haha.
In any case, if you review, virtual cookies. If not, that's fine too. As long as you like the story, everything's all good!
Shameless advertising: If you're a fan of Fullmetal Alchemist and Harry Potter crossovers, I have a story called Molten up. It's a bit drabble-y. I also have a Naruto one-shot called A Way to Win, if anyone's interested.