A beast wakes.
A beast wakes in three different planes.
A beast wakes at three different times.
A beast wakes at the same time.
A beast wakes.
And now it approached.
Her eyes snapped open, her body lying still and relaxed.
But she saw what no other could see, ethereal planes and currents shifted and molded themselves into the inextricably complex pattern and weave, that was the fabric of the reality here.
Eldritch energies fissured and forked, splitting and jumping before becoming seamless into the eternal pattern.
The Kyuubi no Kitsune, the greatest of the Bijuu, one of the last true immortal creations of the gods could see it all. And she saw that things were violent.
She sat up, rising to her feet, as gracefully as she could, stepping forward and vanishing into a haze of red mist before she came to, appearing through thin air where she wanted to be.
She saw him open his eyes, shifting awake at her presence before he relaxed, looking up at her, his exhausted gaze attentive despite its weariness.
His friends were asleep around them, they would stay asleep she knew.
"Kyuubi." He greeted, only the barest hint of cautious warmth in his voice. He still did not fully know how to act around her, where he stood, or where she did.
Better that way really.
She smiled down at him. Kneeling at his outstretched feet. "Hey."
He smiled back, a slight ease to what she could see of his face, one that wasn't there just a few months before... Still, he cut through the pleasantries, for how little he knew her, he still knew her better than most. "Come on." He said, sitting up, leaning in a little closer. "You and I both know you don't just show up to say Hi. That would be boring."
She let out a quick breath of laughter at his words. "So true." She traced a claw along his boot, smirking in that familiar way of hers. "But wouldn't you like me to...dally?"
He raised an eyebrow, keeping quiet. He trusted her now-to some extent. But she knew it was not to the extent to really allow for something like that to happen between them. Smart of him really. She was a fickle thing, she knew. She'd had many lovers throughout the thousands upon thousands of years of her life. Some she grew bored of, some she killed.
Too few she could say she ever really cared for to any significant degree.
Did she care for him? It'd been so long since she had cared for anyone she wasn't entirely sure herself.
Better this hesitation, better this slow pace. For him especially, but also for her to a small degree.
She dropped her flirtatious smile, easing back into a more casual stance. Though, before her next words even that grew faint, her lips released her smile to lay at a flat line. "You need to leave."
He raised an eyebrow, looking to his left, then to his right, making a show of looking for something. "And why exactly?"
She sighed, wondering again why humans required so many explanations. Celestial beings knew when to obey so much better.
"Let us suffice it to say that you are in danger."
"From who?" He prompted, drawing out the last word, she felt as though she were pulling teeth, he probably felt the same really.
That made him draw a little short, straightening. He tilted his head just a bit. "Uhh, is this because I haven't prayed in a while? Shouldn't they be after Miroku instead? He is practically-"
"They want you dead because you can traverse time."
He stared at her for a moment longer; then he straightened, no longer leaning against the tree he stared at her straight in the eye. "Okay. Why don't you start at the beginning, hmm?"
She let out a breath through her nostrils.
"Oh am I?"
-So you don't know, but there are rules, very important and strict rules regarding the manipulation of time."
"And...I take it I broke one?" He asked. "I don't suppose they'll just accept an apology."
"Not when you're a repeat offender." She smirked, watching him raise an eyebrow in confusion. "One of -infact no- the most important rule, is that no human must ever hold knowledge on how to manipulate the currents of time."
He rubbed the bridge of his nose. Either to push back a headache or the last vestiges of sleep. "So why are they after me and not Kagome?"
"Oh I'm surprised at you Naruto." She drew up a mocking indignation. "Wanting to drag the girl to draw the God's anger."
"You know what I mean." He said. "She's been jumping up and down that well for years now. I used your blades once...what was it a month ago?"
She let her teasing drop, shrugging her shoulders. "Because she has no control over it. That well brings her back five hundred years to the day. A two lane road with no curves and two dead ends. It will always take her back to the same spot."
"And that's not the case with the blades you gave me." He concluded.
"No it isn't. Quite frankly, I didn't think you'd...refuse my offer." She hesitated a little, bringing it up, she saw the brief flash of pain before his eyes. It was a wound still fresh. One he'd received willingly...but... "If you hadn't, this would have sorted itself out. I would have sent you back through time, everything would become unraveled, through the machinations of paradox and time continuum displacements nothing would be as it was, the blades, if they were even able to return with you, would have lost all their power, because at that point in time, I did not have the ability to bend the fabric of reality to such a degree."
"So...no time travel blades...no Gods wanting to hunt me down."
"Precisely." She nodded. "As it stands..."
She paused, hesitated, and Naruto leaned forward a note of genuine concern in his voice. "Kyuubi?"
Her face tightened, the lines etching themselves into her perfect, eternal features. "As it stands, the Gods will soon move to cut your cloth from the fabric of reality. Making it as though you never existed."
He jerked a bit. "That seems a little extreme."
She shook her head. "You do not understand just how much of a travesty your very existence is to them now. Entire worlds have been purged for similar offenses, whole universes and dimensions annihilated before the problem could get out of hand."
"Why exactly am I such a problem?" He asked, as patiently as he could. "And please don't say its because I'm human." The irony of those words was not lost on him.
"Because humans will always seek too much." She stood, beginning to pace infront of him, red robes brushing over the blades of grass as she walked. "When Celestials are given a command, we follow it, because we can grasp the repercussions, we are allowed to change much, allowed many liberties. My sending you back to the Shinobi period to change history? A steep move to be sure, but not one that would draw too much attention from the powers that be. But with those liberties we know when things cannot be carried further than allowed. We know that if we go back too far, or jump forward too much, the very nature of our reality could be irrevocably altered. Imagine a world where two plus two equals five. Everything changes at the most fundamental level. Our power, our beings, the existence of every living thing in this reality, and the countless others would be put at risk."
"And humans wouldn't abide by this?"
"No you wouldn't. You would not understand, not in their eyes. You could never truly grasp the concept of it. Even now, your mind is simplifying my words, bringing it down to a scale you can fathom, when it is in truth simply beyond your level of comprehension."
He let her continue, watching from where he sat as she continued to slowly pace infront of him.
She seemed to gather her thoughts before pausing, turning her head to look at him dead in the eye.
"But more than that, it is because you are the weakest."
"Well gee, thanks a lot." He muttered, lips pursing in a frown.
"You are. Even in your time, Demons were still a superior force, I have long since ascended to join the ranks of immortal celestials, second only to Gods, and the Gods are second only to the powers that define Fate. It is because of this weakness, because you have nothing, that many would be willing to risk anything, to achieve anything. Those with nothing to loose have everything to gain. The half breed, Naraku, held that flaw, a left over from the human mind of the man known as Onigumo. And you yourself have known and fought others with such a flaw."
He had. Orochimaru, members of the Akatsuki...Sasuke. He'd fought a lot of bad people in his time.
"Even yourself really."
A muscle in his jaw twitched, teeth grinding as he glared at her. "I'm not like them!"
She raised a perfect eyebrow. "Aren't you?" She brushed a hand in the space between them. "Consider you having these blades before you came here. That you'd acquired them the day after Konoha's destruction. Wouldn't you go back? How far back would you go? Just far enough to stop the destruction of the village? Maybe. But what if you got ideas afterward? Would you go far back enough to slay Orochimaru in the forest of death before he bit Sasuke? Or perhaps further? To save your life from misery and pain, to save the Fourth. Hmm? Would it have been a tempting thought to go far back enough to stop my attack on the village at the night of your birth? Or even further back? To a time when my power was much less? Would you stop my creation altogether if you could have?"
"Not now." She interrupted, kneeling down again, she cupped his chin in her hand, feeling the cloth beneath her fingertips as she kept his eyes on her. "I know you wouldn't now. But remember Naruto. Remember how you were. How it felt. The pain was so great you wanted to die. And while now you're not seeking death, you still wouldn't be wholly opposed to it would you?"
His eyes grew a little dim, the sadness just touching the blue surface. His shame was his admission.
"Do you see now, why this is so dangerous to the Gods? Why this power above nearly every other in known creation is guarded so jealously."
He closed his eyes, sighing. He nodded. "I suppose...so what do we do? Destroy the swords?"
"That won't be enough." She said. "What is made cannot be unmade, every creation leaves its mark upon the fabric of reality. Your swords are no different. Even should you destroy them, you have the knowledge on how to acquire them again. And even without that, there is still the fact that at a very base level, your body remembers, it knows that it moved in a manner that is unnatural to humans, that it went against the flow, even if it was for an instant. Like I said. The Gods are jealous in their guardianship of this knowledge. That alone could very likely be enough to set them against you."
He rubbed his forehead, closing his eyes and this time she knew it was to stave off a headache rather than sleep.
"Ok..." He breathed. "You have a plan." He looked up at her. "You wouldn't have come here if you didn't. You said I need to leave."
She nodded. "That's right."
"I think its a safe bet that I'm going to regret asking this but...where exactly?"
She smiled and it was somehow equal parts gentle and predatory.
Barely a week later the entire group was milling around the bone eaters well. Though Naruto had explained the situation as best he could, there was still a general sense of confusion hovering over the Inu-taichi.
"There's one thing I'm not getting yet." Kagome muttered, hugging her knees as she knelt, directing her question more towards Kyuubi rather than Naruto. The latter of the two lying flat on the grass as the former traced small but intricate markings over his forehead.
"And what's that little Miko?" Kyuubi asked, not looking up from her work.
"Well...if the Gods are after him why are they taking so long? If the Gods really wanted him dead wouldn't they like, drop a lightning bolt or something? Or just stop his heart."
The Bijuu laughed, a low chuckle half caught in her throat. "Oh if only it were so simple. No. Given the nature of Naruto's offense they need to be much more thorough in their handling of this. His death simply wouldn't be enough. That requires more than just a simple death. Which means more time."
"They're really blowing this way out of proportion from what you've been saying." The blond in question notes.
"Don't worry, jumping you five hundred years into the future will delay them further, along with...other things I have planned."
"Keh." The Hanyou put in, pacing a trench around the well. "From what you've said all you're doing is buying time. I haven't heard of anything you're doing to actually solve anything."
Kyuubi glances up with her eyes, a dangerous glint in them, and Naruto reacts, pinching her hip to draw her attention back to him.
He succeeds, and offers a look that somewhat translates into 'Behave' and a moment later they're both shocked by the audacity of it.
She smiles, laughing again, her shoulders shaking. More real this time.
"Things will work themselves out." She answered, reaching down and smacking Naruto's cheek, a bit more forceful than the playing motion would warrant, getting him back for the pinch. 'Trust me. I always have a plan."
She finished drawing whatever symbol she'd been brushing over his forehead, the cold ink feeling clammy against his skin. "Done." She said, putting the brush back down against the inkpot.
Sango wandered into his field of vision, leaning over him so her face blocked out much of the overhead sky. "So what's that?"
The demoness cut her thump open, a dark ruby red drop of blood welling up at her fingertip before the wound closed. "This my dear is so our intrepid little nuisance doesn't attract more attention than a lighthouse on a moonless night."
The drop falls and lands right over the symbol she'd drawn over his forehead.
Naruto sits up so fast he nearly headbutts Sango, his hands flying up to his head as he hisses through his teeth. "Aargh!"
"Stop being such an infant."
His muscles tensed and relaxed, his body shaking as though he'd suddenly been dumped in ice water as his stomach lurched with nausea. "Ohhh."
"It is a bit jarring I know, having most of your Chakra sealed away so abruptly, but you'll get used to it again soon enough."
He opened his eyes, glaring. "You could have warned me."
She smiled. "I could have."
He sighed, giving up before he slowly began to stand, thanking Sango for her offered hand as he reached his feet.
"Walk around." The Kitsune insisted as she dusted her clothes free of some imaginary dust. "Get a feel for it, you might be staying that way a while."
He frowned at that, his body felt weak, like he'd swallowed a muscle relaxant, or ten. He wasn't numb or anything he just felt like he could do a lot less.
He started walking, circling the clearing.
His ears twitched, listening as Kagome spoke.
"So what exactly are you planning?"
"Don't you mortals know its irritating to keep asking questions."
Naruto saw Inuyasha open his mouth, Miroku moving a moment too late to stop him.
"In other words she doesn't have a fuckin' clu-"
Naruto winced. He was half sure he'd heard Inuyasha's spine crack on that one.
Finally, walking over to the well, the blond peered into its inky blackness.
He heard the shuffling of footsteps behind him, looking over his shoulder he was not really surprised to see Kyuubi standing there, holding his two swords wrapped in a bundled cloth. He reached for them, hands just brushing over the hilts when her own lashed out, smacking his hand away. "Ahh ahh." She chided wagging her finger with a smirk. "Just one. I'll take the other. It'll confuse your hunters more."
He raised an eyebrow not completely understanding how but deciding to take her word for it. He reached down, pulling the Dragon sword, and leaving the other.
She smiled, nodding once. "Good."
The sword rattled in its sheathe as he shifted his grip, turning his blue eyes to look over Miroku, Sango, Kagome and the still prone Inuyasha.
He smiled, as reassuringly as he could. "Hey now. Don't look so worried. I'll be back before ya know it."
Kagome was the first one to smile, stepping forward and hugging the enigmatic ninja that had become their latest friend. "You just take care of Mom and Souta, tell them I'll follow in a few days ok."
"Sure thing." He said, pulling away before he exchanged his quick goodbyes with the rest of the group, even managing to pry Inuyasha free of his hole in the ground long enough for a handshake.
When Sango made her way closer, he noticed Hiraikotsu was bare over her back, the normal tarp that usually covered it now rolled up in her hands.
"Here. She said, shoving it forward into his chest, he grabbed at it awkwardly, taking it as she pulled back. "Use it to hide your sword. I know Kagome said weapons weren't normal in her time."
He was about to say that he could probably hide it in Kagome's house, but a pointed look, with absurdly wide eyes and a lolling head from the Miko made him smile and simply accept the gesture. "Thanks Sango."
She nodded, uncomfortable as Miroku and Kagome smiled while Naruto's eyes curled and squinted in their typical indication of his own smile.
Stepping back to the edge of the well, as Sango moved back next to Kagome he looked at Kyuubi, watching the Demoness with shrewd blue eyes.
"See something you like?" She asked at his insistent gaze.
"You know..." He drawled. "You still haven't told me why you're going through so much trouble to protect me."
He let his head tilt, an eyebrow raising as his lips pursed beneath his mask with an impatient utterance of "Kyuubi."
She circled him, her clawed finger going from his chest to his shoulder before she stopped.
"Don't you mortals know its irritating to keep asking questions?"
Then she shoved, the push of her delicate fingers pressing against his chest enough for him to step back, his foot catching at the lip of the well before he stumbled and fell back, down down into the dark.
He saw the blue sky as a backdrop to her shock of red hair before the light enveloped him.
He came to, his back hitting the soft ground of the well's floor before he realized that something was very very wrong.
"You think he'll be alright." She heard Kagome's voice, asking someone, probably the monk seeing as how he answered.
"Naruto-san will be just fine Kagome-chan, you know he can take care of himself."
"You don't need to worry about him." She says, placing her hand down, over the well. A red pulse of her power rippling through the wood and finding its way to the earth. "He'll be just fine."
"If you say so."
She straightened, her back going ramrod straight as she turned to look at the Miko. "I do."
It was an instinct in them. The entire taichi held a single, simultaneous moment of clarity as her bloody red eyes fixated themselves on the girl.
She moved, and one by one the three others were tossed aside like leaves in the face of a hurricane.
The girl had notched an arrow, pulling back on the string, she felt the hiss of holy magic burn at her skin like heated metal held up just an inch from her flesh. Uncomfortable but not unbearable.
The arrow vanished, her raw demonic force destroying it and the holy energy coiled around it. Like water breaking over rock.
She stepped closer, grabbing the girl by the throat, shattering the bow with her other hand.
She brought the little thing close, smiling, her long, inhuman fangs poking at her lower lip as her eyes gleamed. As though blood was just rushing under the surface of her iris.
Kagome's face grew slack with fright, the fear just brimming to the surface in an instant, bringing a heady scent to the Demon's senses as she laughed.
"Because I have bait."
Hello my loyal readers. The long awaited sequel to Naruto of the Shikon is here.
I would like to thank all of you who demonstrated support for the idea when it was first announced and all those that helped me start this work and provided their input and critique.
Now as many of you know, or were made aware of back during the original announcement. The Shikon sequel will be branching into an entirely new Anime Genre altogether called Ikki-Tousen.
It is to be perfectly frank, a fairly sub par anime but one that I find has a lot of potential. And with the fans of the original story offering their blessings for this proposed sequel I went ahead and did it.
So thank you all again and I hope I will be able to live up to your expectations for this story.