Alfred Pennyworth was a proud butler. He had been serving the Wayne family for decades, he was one of the people that had literally changed his current masters diapers back when he was just a baby.
He was also one of only three people in the world that Bruce Wayne had allowed knowledge of his true face, the face of Batman. Alfred had always known that Bruce Wayne had died back that night his parents had been murdered, what was left was a mere shadow of a man, the masked vigilante Batman.
That was his masters true face, the one that lay under the mask was his true mask, it was what he wore to blend in with a society that he didn't belong to, while the cowl he wore when fighting crime was what truly reflected what was on the inside.
But still, he had promised the man's parents that he would look after the boy before they had been murdered and his loyalty towards them was unquestionable. So here he was, dusting within Wayne manner, making sure that the mansion would pass as being lived in despite his current employers obsession with the caves beneath the building.
His ears perked up as a certain chime rang through the house, indicating that someone had just rung the front doorbell. It was with a despondent sigh that the old butler made his way towards the front door, ready to turn back anyone that wasn't actually important, his master was currently working in the batcave after all.
Opening the door he took a breath to prepare himself to shoo the visitor away before he was interrupted by a cold and calm voice.
"Hello Mr Pennyworth, I'm here to see Batman," instantly the butler could do nothing more than stare in shock at the strangely designed mask that stood before him, one that he had become familiar with due to his masters regular adjustments to the database.
"I am sorry but this is the Wayne residence, Batman does not live here," the older of the two stated in the dullest tone he could manage in an attempt to make the stranger leave.
"Really? I never knew," the hooded hero said with sarcasm dripping from his tone, "I always expected a middle aged man with that body and enough money to pay for all those gadgets lived here."
Silence reigned for several seconds as the Wayne family butler processed what this strange hero had said.
"Come on, it really isn't that hard to figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman when you put your mind to it, hell I'm sure the only reason commissioner Gordon doesn't know is because he doesn't want to know," the masked ninja stated lightly before sighing in annoyance at the butlers refusal to move, "fine… I'll just let myself in."
In an instant the cloaked figure had quite literally vanished from Alfred's sight as he performed a simple gymnastic manoeuvre to jump through the gap and over the man, completely negating the butlers attempt to block his way.
"So are you going to show me down or do I have to break through the floor?" Naruto asked the old man calmly after processing the fact that Batman was currently underneath the mansion, honestly the only reason he had gone via the front door was due to manners as opposed to anything else.
"I don't know what you are trying to do but if you don't leave right now I will call the police," the nearly bald butler stated sternly, earning a blank stare off the blond shinobi, though it wasn't possible to see it through the mask.
"(sigh) fine," and with that the young blond proceeded to gather a large quantity of chakra into the palm of his hand to create a spiralling ball that was famous back home, the rasengan.
"W-what are you doing?" the Wayne family butler asked in shock upon seeing the strange, violent, glowing ball in the cloaked hero's hand.
"I told you, I'm going to break through the floor since you are being a stubborn old goat and refusing to let me speak with Batsy," and with that said the young man proceeded to slam his hand to the floor, only to stop before the impact due to a certain old man's next words.
"Fine, stop and I'll call master Bruce," the old Pennyworth said before continuing when the intruder stopped, "however I believe you'll find that you are wrong about master Bruce being Batman."
"Sure, sure, just get him up here already," the blue eyed ninja said in a rather hurried manner, "hell the only reason I even bothered to ring the doorbell was manners."
Now Alfred really didn't enjoy situations like this, the mere thought of some random psycho showing up and asking for Batman was completely different from some perfectly normal person up and asking for Bruce Wayne.
It didn't help that this person refused to believe that Bruce Wayne wasn't Batman.
Naruto had to admit that following the butler wasn't exactly difficult, especially when he was using the Tōton Jutsu to remain practically invisible.
So it wasn't hard for him to note the pattern Alfred played on the piano to open the elevator to the batcave, or for him to silently slip into the box with him.
It took a surprisingly short amount of time for the elevator to reach the subterranean base of operations, where the butler proceeded to inform his master of what had happened.
"So he does know," the dark knight said with a slight amount of concern in his tone as he thought about anything he had done to give it away. His mind quickly focused on something the other hero had said back when he had busted him out of the bank during Fugate's attempt on the mayor, 'Because I have a way of tracking you but I don't have a way of tracking the mayor so I decided to see if you did'.
He hadn't forgotten those words however he had checked all of his gear and even destroyed it all before returning later that night, so any tracking devices should've been removed… right?
A loud whistle broke the caped crusader out of his thoughts and made both him and his butler turn to face the batmobile, only to see a familiar masked vigilante crouching next to it and prodding the vehicle with a single finger.
"Nice place you got here, how much did it cost? One, two billion?" Naruto asked calmly before facing the duo.
"I have to admit, I wasn't expecting to see you here, how did you find me?" the 'playboy billionaire' asked in a hope to get some idea of how this stranger had managed to discover his identity and hideout.
"Oh that, that's simple, every person has a unique… let's just call it life signature, I can sense these life signatures and therefore as long as I've already met a person I'm capable of tracking them down quite easily," the masked teen stated calmly as he tried to figure out how to open the car next to him.
"I see…" the dark hero stated with narrowed eyes as he watched the stranger examining his car, he wasn't too worried, the batmobile was the most advanced car around and breaking into it was practically impossible.
"Now that I've answered your question, you can answer one of mine right?" Naruto said with a cheerful tone that made the dark knight nervous.
"That depends on what you want to ask," the older superhero stated as calmly as he could while knowing that he was facing someone that he lacked any real knowledge of.
"Is there any way to get the Gotham Times to stop calling Shadow and call me Zero?" that question made Bruce blink in surprise as he processed that this other hero had quite literally broken into his base just to ask about public relations… something he didn't really bother with as Batman, sure he had to deal with stuff like that as Bruce Wayne but that was completely different.
"You broke into here just to ask that?" Alfred asked in disbelief earning a thoughtful look off the ninja, not that either of them could see it, though they certainly did get the impression by the tilting of his head.
"Yeah pretty much," he finally admitted, earning a small chuckle off the older hero.
"You really aren't sane are you?" the playboy asked the ninja.
"Of course not, I wouldn't be a superhero if I was," the teen replied calmly before trying to get back on topic, "but that's not important, what's important is whether or not you have a way to get that reporter to start calling me by my proper name."
"Honestly the only way I could imagine that happening is if you gave them an exclusive interview but I doubt you'd want to do that," the last Wayne said before staring in disbelief as the young man started muttering to himself and eliciting an evil chuckle, "is there a problem?"
"How do I arrange an interview with miss Vale?" Naruto asked as calmly as he could, earning several blinks of surprise from the dark knight.
"You would have to go to either phone or go to the Gotham Times directly and arrange one with her in person," Batman said as calmly as he could manage, "however do you really think it's a good idea to do that?"
"Yep, I'll get my actual name used in the papers and I'll be able to deter kids from becoming vigilantes," the spiky haired blond said calmly, earning a narrowing of the well-established hero's eyes.
"And how do you plan on deterring children from becoming vigilantes?" Bruce asked seriously, earning a noncommittal shrug off the ninja.
"That's… a secret," the blue eyed ninja stated in a manner that failed to be mysterious.
"I assume I don't have to tell you to keep quiet about my identity," the billionaire stated seriously, earning a nod of confirmation from the masked vigilante.
"Don't worry, I'm not an enemy… otherwise I'd have killed you before you even knew I was here," the blond stated calmly, earning a narrowing of Batman's eyes.
"Are you saying you're a murderer?" the frigid tone that the caped crusader said that question with made it quite clear that he was not happy with the intruders statement.
"Nah, I'm not, but if I was your enemy then I'd be a villain and therefore I probably wouldn't value life like I currently do, which would probably result in me killing you," the whiskered shinobi explained to the dark knight.
"And what makes you so certain you could kill me?" the world's greatest detective asked seriously, earning a non-committal shrug off the other vigilante.
"Because I have a large array of skills, am physically stronger than you, was literally raised to have a full working knowledge of traps and was even taught the most efficient ways to end a person's life," the cloaked ninja listed off calmly, earning a further narrowing of Bruce's eyes.
"So you're saying you were literally raised to kill," it was more of a statement than a question and the nod of confirmation he received from the super-powered ninja simply made him even more concerned about the situation.
"Yeah, though I'll admit I've only really killed one person," that statement made the billionaires eyes widen before he continued, "and even then it was my teacher that finished him off."
"Still, since then I've decided to believe in humanity, I will not be an executioner because I've seen so many situations when people that seem like hopeless cases hell bent on destruction have sacrificed their own lives to undo the damage they've caused," the blue eyed ninja stated seriously, "anyway, sorry for taking up so much of your time Batsy, I'll show myself out 'kay?"
And in an instant the cloaked hero had vanished, no disturbance in the air, no signs of movement, nothing, he was simply there one instant and gone the next.
"I'm sorry master Bruce, I never intended on leading that stranger down here, honestly I don't even know how he knew how to get down here," the old butler stated apologetically, earning a raised hand from his master.
"It's quite alright Alfred, he already knew so there wasn't much you could do," the dark haired man said calmly as he walked over to the Batmobile, "the real question is what is this mark he left on my car."
Immediately the old butler walked over to the high tech vehicle and inspected the mark left by the strange hero.
"It would appear to be some sort of Chinese," the balding man stated in a dreary tone.
"Japanese actually, almost like that new forensics kid they have in GCPD," the dark knight stated with a small grin.
"Yes, however didn't Master Richard say that he'd seen the two together?" the old Pennyworth asked the world's greatest detective calmly.
"Yes, but didn't Dick also say that this man claimed to be 'the number of infinite possibilities?' what's to say he can't create copies of himself?" the billionaire asked calmly before deciding to update his database on the hero.
Real Name: Naruto Uzumaki (speculated)
Age: 19 (speculated)
Height: 175cm (estimate)
Weight: 55kg (estimate)
Eye Colour: Blue (speculated)
Hair Colour: Blond (speculated)
Abilities: Teleportation, Air Manipulation (speculated), Illusions, defying gravity, super strength, replication(speculated), heightened awareness, specialised tracking
Threat Level: High (estimate)
XXX XXX XXX
Vicki Vale was an attractive young woman, with long, light red hair and bright green eyes, while her well-proportioned body was clothed in a well-fitting beige business suit with a green shirt underneath it. She opted to wear trousers that matched her jacket and regular shoes, leaving plenty to the imagination.
Around her neck was a professional quality camera with a large lens for those far away shots that she regularly took for her work. She was a talented reporter after all and took a lot of pride in the job she did.
However there was one thing that she was missing in her CV that she wanted to get on there, an interview with a superhero. Not many people could claim to have conducted an interview with a superhero, well, unless they lived in Central City, then it was pretty much a given that they'd get an interview with the Flash at some point.
Superman also occasionally gave interviews but that was a rarity, not as rare as an interview with Batman, but still rare nonetheless. Batman was pretty much impossible for anyone to interview since he never stuck around after stringing crooks up for the cops.
But now there was a new hero on the block and he had defeated The Joker himself. That alone was worth something, let alone the fact this guy had also caught the Scarecrow and saved the mayor despite the fact he had only recently shown up.
Honestly she could see Shadow becoming as big a name as Batman or Superman soon if he kept up his current actions and continued to imprison super villain's like that.
However the problem was getting any real information on the guy, he seemed to be like a super powered version of Batman from what she could tell, well, he was also apparently far more easy going and cheerful but that wasn't that important as far as the public was concerned.
She was happy to hear that but that was because he would probably be more inclined to give her an interview than someone like the dark knight.
Still, that didn't matter right now. What mattered right now was that she didn't know where to find her next story.
Her problem was quickly taken out of her hands.
In an instant she felt a pair of hands grab her before an immense pressure impacted her entire body, easily knocking the wind out of her and making her stomach turn enough that she found it difficult to keep her lunch down.
"We need to talk Ms Vale," came a cold voice that instantly sent shivers down the reporters spine as she noted she was no longer on the street like she was before, instead finding herself on top of a tall building not far from the ledge.
Regaining her bearings and ensuring her stomach was no longer going to empty itself, she turned to face her abductor, only to freeze in shock upon seeing a strange white mask with decorative swirls upon it. Another point that she made note of was that this stranger was also wearing a large black, hooded cloak with the hood up, while his hands were completely covered by a fine black material and his feet were protected by sandals of all things.
"W-who are you and what do you want?" she asked with fear clear in her voice, obviously aware that there was no one to save her if this person decided to end her life and she was sure that despite her moderate ability in self-defence, she was probably no match for this person that had managed to pluck her off the street and bring her up over twenty stories in an instant.
"My name is Zero… and I want you to stop calling me Shadow!" the darkly dressed ninja said childishly, making the reporter blink in surprise at his sudden change in demeanour, she was certain he was some sort of criminal from his first sentence to her.
"And what would I get out of that?" she asked him, no longer fearing for her life upon discovering that this person was in fact a hero… even if he didn't look like one.
"An exclusive interview," the blond shinobi deadpanned.
Instantly the red head found herself frozen on the spot. She had a chance at interviewing a superhero of all things and all she had to do was change the name she used to write about him in the paper. Honestly the only problem she had with that was that doing so would render the poll pointless and many of Gotham's citizen's would be bitter that their votes had been ignored.
If it wasn't for that then she'd be perfectly happy to give in to this hero's demands and call him Zero in exchange for an interview. However keeping the readership loyal was an important part of being a reporter and wasting their money on a phone poll and then ignoring it wasn't the best way to go about it.
"That's rather tempting, however I'll need to speak with my editor before making a decision, the people have already spent money on deciding on your name after all," the professional stated as calmly as she could manage, of course that was completely useless against a shinobi of Naruto's level.
"I see… that's… annoying," the blond said as a metaphorical rain cloud appeared above his head.
"Are you really that upset about being called shadow?" the reporter asked him with disbelief apparent in her tone.
"Yes," his answer was short, concise and something she had never truly expected to hear from a hero of all people, "honestly, I said I was a shadow, not that I was called shadow!"
Vicki really didn't know what to think as she watched a full grown man (and a superhero no less) throw a tantrum on top of a twenty story building, simply because she didn't use the name he had chosen.
Honestly the Flash had ended up being named by the city he lived in because he pretty much just went by in a Flash, Superman was called that because the citizen's had thought it suited his apparent invincibility, honestly the only hero she could think of that had created their own name was Batman himself but he did go with the theme of bats so that was to be expected.
And here this guy was throwing a fit because people called him Shadow instead of Zero. It didn't help that there were a lot of people that didn't like the idea of calling a hero a zero, then again most people didn't bother trying to understand tarot.
Sure she didn't fully understand it but she did know about the fools journey. That was why she accepted his name as having another meaning outside of being a nobody but most people she knew didn't realise that meaning.
"Look, like I said, I'll speak with my editor, do you have a contact number I could use?" she honestly hoped that the man had a phone number that she could trace, that way she'd be capable of discovering his real identity.
"I'm not giving you anything that can be trace Ms Vale, however if you want to contact me," he started only to pull out a three pronged kunai with a large cylindrical handle from his cloak, revealing the armour that lay beneath it to the attractive woman, "throw this and I'll be there in an instant."
"Does this have some sort of tracking device on it?" the young woman asked as she examined the weapon, wondering exactly how it worked.
"That's for me to know and you to scratch your pretty little head over," the blond shinobi said from behind his mask, "so until next time, adios!"
The young reporter was about to shout at him about leaving her on a random roof however she soon found herself experiencing the crushing sensation she did upon first being taken up to the roof once again, resulting in her nearly losing her lunch once again, only to note that she was back at street level and not far from where she had initially been taken from.
"Well that was unpleasant," she muttered as she decided to go back to the Gotham Times building, she really didn't feel like eating since her encounter with the masked super hero.
XXX XXX XXX
Naruto couldn't stop himself from letting out a sigh as he reappeared in his apartment via Hiraishin. Honestly he had found the day rather annoying, mainly because of the amount he had block Kurama out while speak with Vicki Vale.
Then there was the Batmobile, that was pretty awesome, he had actually ran a diagnostic jutsu Tenten had taught him in case he ever chose to start using proper weapons and the results were really impressive… honestly he was certain no other vehicle in the world had the same type of engine that car did, he had never seen anything like it before, though he was pretty sure that if Batman had used chakra metal it would've been even more efficient than it currently was.
However he didn't have enough chakra metal on him to make an engine, a Zanbatō yes, but something as big as an engine, no. Still, he probably could give the older vigilante a sample, just a small bit to see if the man could replicate it, it was unlikely but not impossible.
If the man managed to do that then he would probably end up with a whole new style of weapons, after all, it had been proven back home that chakra metal conducted nearly any form of energy far better than any other metal, even if it was mainly used for chakra flow specialists like Azuma-sensei and Sasuke.
Still, that was something for another day. He had done enough giving that reporter a Hiraishin Kunai to call him with when she had been given a decision about an exclusive interview.
So it was with a sigh of relief that he slumped down onto his sofa and turned the TV on, he could really do with a cheesy action movie right about now.