Hello all, CrimsonxAEGIS here, and this is my first attempt at a Crossover Fan-fiction of any kind. This idea has been stewing about in my head for quite some time now, but I was just never able to figure out exactly where to start. So I decided to start off with the first chapter outlining Naruto's relationship with both Yoruichi and Sui-Feng, two of my quartet of favourite female Bleach Characters. The Story itself will be AU, focusing almost entirely on the Arc's in which Aizen is the main Antagonist, and continuing on from there. The main Protagonist will be Naruto, and this story will focus almost entirely on his life/after-life and his relationships with the various women in it. He will be God-Like... like... Uber God-like; so Aizen will barely make him sweat, only barely managing to escape his encounters with him when they do fight, all the while preaching his non-existent superiority to make himself feel better. Some other things will be twisted around and changed for the benefit of my planned out plot, but I will attempt to stick to the Official Bleach Terms and Lore as much as I can. I'll also try not to make any of the characters too OOC, but Sui-Feng will be tricky, at least until we reach the Soul Society Arc.
The First chapter is... long... to say the very least, and will cover most of the details of Naruto's time in Soul Society and the Seireitei up until he is forced to leave. While this does not actually include up to the time where Yoruichi, Urahara, and the Visoreds are forced to flee Soul Society, that particular event will follow Canon, so I do not feel the need to cover it here.
This will undoubtedly be a Naruto/Harem and Ichigo/Rukia, or something. The harem shall be as follows: Shihouin Yoruichi, Sui-Feng, Shiba Kukaku, and Tier Harribel, (Maybe) Unagiya Ikumi cuz let's face it... she's hawt, and I might add a girl or two from the Naruto-verse. Whether or not I add more later... well, I'll need to re-read the Manga before deciding for sure. You can even make suggestions, but let me be clear right neow... I absolutely will not be adding Orihime to either pairing... I don't like her... at all... No matter the size of your breasts, there's a limit to how ditzy a girl can be before she becomes just plain annoying. I won't be bashing, except on Aizen, and I'll be repeatedly bashing him over the head with a ten foot long solid steel support that I ripped out of a warehouse down the street—did I mention I would be doing so repeatedly? Marechiyo Omaeda will also be getting bashed, and maybe even more so. He proved himself later on in the series, but I'd much rather just leave him an idiotic slobbering glutton who constantly lusts after his Taichou and plots to make her his while believing that if he defeats and humiliates Naruto(the object of her desire) she will fall head over heels for him(Omaeda) and become his (un)willing bride. I like that one; so much fun to humiliate.
So in short, I absolutely refuse to add Orihime to either pairing without a serious personality overhaul. Maybe make her into a total bad-ass All Female Biker Gang leader or something, and maybe then I could stand the ditz; while both Aizen and Omaeda will be getting bashed quite severely.
Two more characters that I will not be adding to the harem or to either of the Pairings period, would be Hinata(since it's done waaaaaay to often already, talk about your over-done pairings) or Sakura. Never liked her all that much. Way too bitchy for my tastes.
Other than that you all know what to do, read on at your own risk, because I guarantee you'll be sitting there for a while.
As for the disclaimer, well, I'm Irish... nuff said.
I'm kidding; I don't own Bleach, Naruto or any of the Characters depicted in either series. I'm just using them for my own amusement without permission.
Now, On with the Show.
Episode One: Shifts in Life
Uzumaki Naruto was a simple boy, he liked ramen, enjoyed the odd prank, and would do anything to protect those precious to him. His precious people as he called them were what drove him, what gave him the will to live and keep fighting to see another day.
At least they were; because no amount of will, or drive seemed to be able to bring him back to life.
Standing in the middle of what used to be a lush green mountain valley but was now a barren waste filled with smouldering craters and charred earth, Naruto stared at the lifeless corpse in front of him, his body numbed by shock and disbelief, yet his mind strangely at peace. He knew what had happened, but the war had been won, and those that had survived would be free to live their lives in peace, so he wasn't as distraught as he thought he would be.
The body in front of him was adorned in a red haori wreathed in black flames, the tattered orange and black jumpsuit being the most identifying article of clothing one would ever see on a Shinobi. Well, other than the golden blonde hair of course. There was a peaceful expression on its' face, and a small serene smile on it's lips.
This was the body of Uzumaki Naruto, his body.
Naruto looked down at his chest, where a small chain hung down to about his knees, connected to his sternum. He looked unhurt, as if he hadn't just fought in a battle of epic proportions against a resurrected primordial god and the lunatic responsible for every moment of suffering he'd endured in his admittedly short life. When he looked back up and brushed a hand through his hair, he couldn't help but notice that ever movement was sluggish, his body feeling as if he were trying to move underwater, like it would if he was suffering from chakra exhaustion. Then again, he was dead, and even though he wasn't as smart as Sakura, Naruto was well aware of the fact that one needed to have a physical presence to wield chakra even in it's base form.
He was a soul now, with no physical body with which to house and produce chakra.
With another sigh, Naruto sat down in the dirt and crossed his legs beneath him in an attempt meditate. He needed to stay calm, freaking out would do him no favours, and it's not like it would change anything.
The Shinigami himself would be coming for him soon, he could feel it in every fibre of his being. Where would he go? Would the shinigami devour his soul like he had his fathers? Would he go to heaven, or hell?
There were so many questions that Naruto wanted answered, but alas it was not to be. He could feel a presence behind him, powerful, and serene. It was a nearly overwhelming feeling, yet he could also sense an underlying layer of, mischief? Playfulness?
The shinigami was supposed to be the embodiment of all the negative feelings the world had to offer, yet he sensed nothing malicious in the presence behind him at all.
For the longest time, there was no sound, not the whisper of the breeze or even the sound of a breath. When no words were forthcoming, and the presence behind him remained completely still, Naruto sighed and opened his eyes. "You're late, Shinigami-sama. After all, I've been waiting for some time now you know."
There was no vocal reply, but the presence moved until it was right next to him. Looking out the corner of his eye Naruto caught a flash of white cloth fluttering in the breeze, and shinobi style tabi.
Turning his head to take in the appearance of the person next to him, Naruto was met by the grim visage of a dark skinned woman with short purple hair, reminiscent of a late friend of his. Her narrow eyes directed her solemn golden gaze over the field as she stood next to the sitting Shinobi. She was over a half a foot shorter than he was, he having hit a growth spurt during the war to stand at an imposing five foot nine inches, while she stood at around five feet. Maybe a couple inches taller, Five foot two maybe?
She was wearing a white long sleeved haori over a black kimono with a white sash around her waist instead of the more traditional obi, with a small wakizashi strapped horizontally across her lower back, and a black choker around her neck to top it all off.
She was very beautiful, Naruto thought idly, taking in her slender form and topaz coloured eyes for several long moments. When he was finished with his observation, he turned his head back to the field in front of him and chuckled dryly. "This never should have happened, none of it, all these people never had to die. Yet we couldn't stop it in time, and so many people lost their lives to protect this world. I'm just relieved to know that it's over, and those that survived can live there lives with some semblance of peace now. That all our sacrifices won't be in vain."
Still the woman said nothing, but her gaze had shifted until she was looking at him. So, he continued to talk, trying to comfort himself really as he realized all of the things he'd never accomplish, that some of his fondest dreams, would never come true. It was all hitting him in a rush now, his dream of becoming Hokage was now out of reach. He had been named as Tsunade's successor and all but been given the hat, but it would never be.
Most of all though, was his greatest wish. His wish of one day starting a family of his own; being able to witness his kids first steps and hear their first words. Shion would be a mess when she found out he'd died, he realized sadly.
He'd agreed to give her children not long before the war had really started to heat up, and their first try had been successful. They were going to have twins, but he wouldn't be there for them.
All of this and more he spoke into the wind. The woman next to him simply listening, her expression stoic, but not unkind or cold. If he was feeling her right, she was simply trying to put up a strong front; she didn't want him to see what she was feeling, but didn't know that he could feel it.
"Gomen... I shouldn't be rambling like this." Naruto sighed, something he seemed to be doing a lot of since he died only a few short hours ago. "Before you do whatever it is you're going to do to me, like send me to hell or whatever, can I ask you something?"
When the woman looked down at him and nodded Naruto offered her a small smile in thanks. "There was a man, wearing an orange spiral mask somewhere around here, is he still here?"
The woman shook her head before speaking. "No, his soul was already Konso'd, and the gates of hell appeared to claim him; he's gone for good, so you have nothing to worry about."
Naruto nodded. "That's good I guess, I mean, I wouldn't wish hell on anybody since it sounds pretty horrible, but as long as he can't do anything more to harm the Elemental Nations or those I fought so hard to protect, then I'm not gonna complain."
The woman nodded before moving to stand in front of him, yet he didn't move, merely following her with his eyes. Turning to face him, the woman reached behind her and drew her sword, thus Naruto smiled and closed his eyes. "I'm going to send you to Soul Society, I guess you would refer to it as Heaven." Naruto noticed her rather odd way of speaking, referring to herself with the more masculine 'washi', instead of 'watashi', yet didn't comment. He was rather confused though. Why would the Shinigami send him to heaven, and why would the shinigami be a beautiful woman? Was it to make him more comfortable in it's presence? Or had the shinigami really been a she all this time?
He didn't have much time to think on it though, as the next thing he knew the woman had tapped the hilt of her sword against his forehead and soft blue light appeared before his eyes. Looking down, he noticed a circle of light beneath him and his body beginning to vanish as he sank into the earth.
When he looked back up he smiled a little bit wider than before, his first genuine smile in what felt to him like ages. "My name is Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto, Former Shinobi of Konohagakure. What's yours, Shinigami-San?"
The woman smiled for the first time since he'd seen her and sheathed her sword before placing her hand on her hip and cocking it out to the side in a teasing manner. "Quite the long name there handsome, and it's Yoruichi. Shihouin Yoruichi, Niban-tai Taichou of the Goteijusantai. See you soon, Naruto-kun."
When the light finally vanished and everything had gone dark, only a single thing passed through his mind before even thought was lost to him. 'What a pretty name.' (Yoruichi's name in kanji translates to; Shihouin "Four Tree Imperial Palace", and Yoruichi "One Evening". Took me forever to work that out, tell me if I'm wrong, though it still sounds nice)
When Shihouin Yoruichi returned to Squad Two's barracks she immediately went to her room and tossed her haori on her desk before flopping down onto her futon face first. Her report to the Sou-Taichou had been long and emotionally trying; having to detail the events of a war between the forces of man and an endless army of what appeared to be white plants, the resurgence of a Primordial God that even The Goteijusantai feared from long ago, it's subsequent defeat at the hands of a young man no older than seventeen, and the death of said teen that Yoruichi had been watching over since his birth.
It was the original deal between the Sou-Taichou and the man known as Namikaze Minato, to have someone competent keep their eyes on his son and make sure he didn't become a target for the more opportunistic hollows, or anything thing else of a more supernatural nature that would want to take advantage of such a powerful demon being sealed within a human child. Minato had long since reincarnated, as he was not allowed to enter the Seireitei for another six hundred years at the least if he was still eligible to do so when that time came.
That's what happens when you summon a Shinigami to the land of the living after all, a price had to be paid to wield such an ability.
She'd watched over young Naruto since he was only hours old, through all the good times and bad, his first steps, his first words, his first beating at the hands of a drunken villager, and the day he'd finally earned the respect of the village he'd sworn to protect; and over the years the little knucklehead had grown on her. To watch him die had nearly broken her, and to be completely honest, all she wanted right now was to curl up in her futon and cry.
She knew he was here in the Soul Society, somewhere out in the Rukongai, but they might never find him before he re-entered the cycle of reincarnation. She might never see that little ball of sunshine ever again, and that tore her up inside.
A knock on the door went unnoticed, and the following voice that announced the arrival of her protege, personal guard, and servant from the Feng Clan along with it, before someone entered her room. Finally taking notice of the new arrival, Yoruichi reached a hand out towards the younger woman and waved her over. "Come 'ere Sui-Feng."
The young woman timidly approached her mentor and idol before kneeling down next to the futon, she was about to ask what was bothering the older woman when the front of her training clothes were snagged in Yoruichi's iron grip and Sui-Feng was dragged into a rather tight embrace. "Yoruichi-sama! What is..." She trailed off when she realized something odd, her mentor was doing something she'd never seen her do before.
She was crying silently, holding onto Sui-Feng like a child would a stuffed animal and burying her face into the younger woman's chest. "Sui-Feng, I'll answer your questions later... just let me stay like this for a bit alright?"
Sui-Feng nodded dumbly and like that Yoruichi eventually drifted off to sleep. It had been a long day for her, and she'd been more tired than she'd thought.
Sui-Feng meanwhile just frowned in thought. Her mentor's current emotional state must have something to do with her last mission. Over the last sixteen or so years Yoruichi had been disappearing rather often, stating that it was on orders from the Sou-Taichou and that she had things to check up on in District Thirteen. Which was cause enough for concern in Sui-Feng's eyes.
District Thirteen was home to some of the most terrifying beings Sui-Feng had ever heard of; humans with supernatural powers that defied the laws of physics, and demons the size of small mountains with powers beyond even Captain Class Shinigami. These humans had strength enough to shatter concrete with their bare hands and speed even greater than Yoruichi—the goddess of flash!—in some cases. She had never quite known what business Yoruichi could have had in such a place, as hollows were far too weary of the place to set foot upon the soil to hunt for souls. It was a rather simple matter for the Shinigami of the Hachiban-tai to Konso the souls of those that died in that pocket dimension, since any hollows that did appear there were disposed of by the residents before long.
So she opted to stop thinking too hard on it and just stroked Yoruichi's hair soothingly as the woman slept. Before long Yoruichi had woken up, and almost immediately set into her story. What she had been sent to do in District Thirteen, and what she had witnessed over the past several months since she'd left for District thirteen up until her return only that morning. Needless to say, Sui-Feng was shocked, and after hearing about this young man whom Yoruichi had been looking after for so long, she too felt her mentor's pain and heartbreak. It would almost be like watching your own child die.
So Sui-Feng made her mentor a promise, she would search the Rukongai high and low whenever she had the chance. She would find this boy and bring him to the Seireitei for her, and she would protect him with her life just as she would Yoruichi.
Yoruichi was touched and proved it by drawing her protégé into a warm embrace, whispering her thanks into the younger woman's ear and revelling in the bright blush the action brought to the young woman's face. When she released her she held her at arms length and smiled. "Thank you Sui-Feng, that means a lot to me; I'll be searching as well, a person who was as powerful as he was in life is bound to have staggering strength now that his soul is unbound from it's physical shell. It would do the whole of Soul Society some good to see that he's properly trained."
Sui-Feng nodded before kneeling at the foot of Yoruichi's futon, her head bowed submissively. "I promise you again Yoruichi-sama, I will find this boy, this I vow upon my very life."
When Naruto opened his eyes to the world, the first thing he had noticed was that his normal clothing was gone, replaced by a plain beige kimono with white underclothing and a pair of straw sandals. He had also been standing in some sort of room with plain white walls at the back of a long line of similarly dressed individuals. Now though, after travelling for the past three days, he had gone to sleep in the centre of a large forest clearing at the edge of a wide lake. Bird-song filled the air, having been what woke him, and a soft breeze carried through and gently ruffled his hair like a doting father.
Pushing himself into a sitting position, he looked out over the clearing and took in the sight of the large lake that dominated over half of the clearing, it's crystal clear water affording him a view straight to the sandy lake-bed and dozens of schools of fish. Surrounding this clearing was a dense corpse of trees and shrubs, and beyond that his sharp ears could just barely make out the sound of a large mass of people; likely the village he'd entered upon first arriving in Soul Society.
Slowly dragging himself to his feet, Naruto moved into the shade of the trees before leaning against one and sliding back down to the grass. He was tired, and hungry, but he'd felt worse. He just needed to rest a little bit more and make his way back into the town before dark.
Thinking back on what had happened, Naruto rested his head on his knees and wrapped his arms around his legs. He'd died, and the shinigami had performed a 'konso' as she'd called it. Sending his soul to heaven or something. When he'd arrived he'd been greeted by another person wearing similar clothing and handed a ticket of some sort, it had simply said W3. He'd been directed to what they had called West Rukongai District Three or Hokutan. When he'd arrived, he opted to stay out of the village for the time being and made his way into the woods.
Now here he was sitting about in some woodland area alone, his memories before that particular instance being a little foggy, which came to him with more than a little concern.
He needed to come up with a plan of action, he may be dead, but he was still the same person he was before that. First, he needed food, then he needed to find some proper attire. There was far too little orange in this kimono for his liking, and a haori like the one the toads made for him would be nice too.
How he was going to get all of this he had no idea, but he would find a way. He was a Shinobi after all.
Six Months Later; Rukongai, Hokutan District
Six months had seen Naruto employing all the tools of his former trade that he was able to. Since chakra was now beyond his reach as a spirit, he'd had to meditate for several long days before finally coming into contact with another energy source, an energy source that felt familiar yet completely different. When out amongst the town-folk, he'd heard it referred to as Reiryoku, and he'd immediately set about attempting to harness this energy. It had taken him several weeks before he'd managed to actually access this power and then train a sufficient level of control over what he'd learned to classify as an immense amount of this particular energy.
Over the past six months he'd learned to reduce his reiatsu, or the ambient Reiryoku that flowed from a pair of 'vents' on his wrists, to the point that he was nearly undetectable, as was the way of the Shinobi to strike unseen. He'd used this ability along with others to—ahem—steal what he would need to survive, before he'd decided to build himself a house outside the village. That forest clearing sounded like a good place.
And so, there went a good four months of his time in Hokutan, without the use of Kage Bunshin it had taken much longer than it normally would have, but he'd increased his muscle definition a great deal. He'd built himself a traditional-style manor house reminiscent of one he'd seen during his genin days that he'd taken a liking to. It was a single floor surrounded by high walls with a large yard for training, the main building was a good sixty meters long and thirty meters wide, containing several bedrooms and a small kitchen with a large sitting room dominating most of the interior. The sitting room opened out into the yard, with a long deck framing that entire side of the house beneath the roof awning.
All in all, he was pleased with his work.
The next order of business had been learning how to use seals with this new energy. Which wasn't as difficult as he'd thought it would be. He'd simply needed to remove some kanji here, and add some kanji there, and the seals worked like they would when he was alive. Of course, he'd had a few close calls when he was trying to get the revised formula's right, but he wasn't a Level Ten Seals Master for nothing. As soon as he'd been sure of the results, he'd set about covering his body in seals for various purposes, from storage seals, to seals that were designed to absorb the reiatsu he couldn't safely suppress; this made him virtually impossible to detect unless you were looking right at him.
After five months, his new home was finished, the walls ringing what could be considered a small compound were lined with seals of varying effects. It was a veritable fortress, just how he wanted it. While inside the home, his energy and the energy of anyone inside would be completely undetectable, and the walls themselves would repel anyone who got too close that wasn't keyed into the master seal located inside the house. So unless he let them in, they wouldn't be getting inside no matter how powerful they were or how hard they tried.
He'd been unable to find any orange clothing, which shocked him a great deal, but he had managed to get himself a haori much like the one he'd worn when he was alive. He'd had it specially made by a tailor in the district, and frankly it was the finest piece of clothing he'd ever worn. It was identical to his sage cloak, crimson red with black flames lining the hem, which he wore open over a simple black hakama and mesh undershirt.
He'd had to fashion the mesh shirt himself, since no one seemed to know what he was talking about when he'd asked about them.
It wasn't orange, but it would suffice.
His hair had grown to shoulder length, and he'd decided not to cut it as his hair style was now more reminiscent of his fathers, just not quite as long. His bangs fell to frame his face, while what remained was pulled back and tied behind his head in a blaze styled tail. His whiskers, which had defined him in his life had slowly faded until they no longer adorned his cheeks, and his eyes had started getting even narrower than they'd been at the time of his death.
He was eighteen now after all and he finally looked his age; or at least he would have been had he still been alive. He didn't know how they defined a persons age in the after life, but he'd decided to draw up a calendar and count the days as they went by, starting from the day he'd died which had been the Thirteenth of September. It was now February the Fifteenth, almost six months exactly since he'd arrived in Hokutan, and he'd become known as the Hermit Sage by the people of the village. It was amusing actually, at least it was in the beginning; now he just wanted them to stop calling him Sage-sama whenever he dropped by to see how things were going with the few people he knew in the district.
Another thing he noticed was the rather large amount of traffic. Shinobi traffic that is. He'd seen them bounding about, looking for something or someone and his paranoia had almost immediately kicked into overdrive.
He'd made doubly sure to completely hide his reiryoku whenever he left his home at the lakeside, and kept to the shadows whenever he sensed them coming. He was an S-Ranked shinobi, so he wasn't too worried that they would find him even on his worst day, but there was no such thing as being too careful.
Like this particular instance; Naruto peeked out from the shadows of the alley he'd hidden himself in as several men and women dressed in black shinobi gear dashed overhead towards the outer districts, some dropping into the street to question the townsfolk, while others simply kept going on their paths and searching the village below with keen eyes.
Not keen enough though if Naruto had been who they were looking for. He'd never once had to speak with one of them, and he didn't much feel like doing so either. Death had made him rather weary of his old way of life and anything associated with it. He didn't know how things were run here, though he knew if he really wanted he could find out everything there was to know about this place in a couple of months.
He just didn't have that same drive he did while he was alive; he had no precious people here. At least, he didn't think so. He was certain at least some of his old friends from the Elemental Nations were out and about some place, but from what he'd already gathered from the townsfolk, Soul Society was immense in scale and it would take him hundreds of years to search it all.
So he didn't; he already had a reputation in the small town after all, so if anyone from the Elemental Nations really was here then they would be able to find him soon if word traveled far enough.
Checking to see if the coast was clear and not seeing any of the shinobi from earlier, Naruto ghosted out of the alleyway and blended with the crowds so that he didn't appear suspicious to any passersby, before heading over to a particular stall he'd had his eye on for a few weeks now.
Simple; because they had something there that reminded him of someone that was very dear to him. Walking up to the stall, the elderly man manning the small shop offered him a kindly smile before gesturing to his wares.
Lucky for the both of them, Naruto already knew what he wanted. It was a small ornate wooden pipe with an oaken finish, just like the pipe Old Man Sarutobi used regularly before he'd died. He picked it up, and dropped a small but heavy pouch of kan into the man's waiting hands before reaching into his haori where a seal was located and discreetly pulling out a small piece of paper with a single line of kanji. "I'll take the pipe and what's on this paper old man."
The old man looked at the paper and nodded, kind smile never once leaving his face, before he turned and pulled a tarp off of the cart he had positioned behind him, he double checked how much Naruto had paid before pulling a rather large bag almost as long as Naruto was tall and probably weighing about as much off of the cart and dragging it over to Naruto who took it from the man much to said vendor's relief and slung it over his shoulder without difficulty. He nodded to the vendor and turned on his heel, feeling anxious to get home due to all the shinobi he'd seen rushing about already. This wasn't even counting the men and women in the black kimono's he'd seen. They were really active today for some reason, and he was in no hurry to find out why.
About half an hour later Naruto found himself back home, using a minute amount of his reiryoku to unlock the seal on his door before entering and sliding it shut behind him. Moving out to the yard, Naruto made his way to a small shed he'd built for storage and opened the small door.
Lining the sides of the shed, there were a number of bags identical to the one he now carried, all full of pipe tobacco and filling the air inside the shed with a gentle cherry fragrance. Seals on the walls kept the contents fresh and prevented the shredded tobacco leaves from drying out. At the far back end of the shed stacked up to the ceiling, were over a dozen large barrels of sake. Or they would be sake when it was finished; seals on the barrels were doing most of the work, he'd merely prepared them and then stored them away.
It was the recipe for Myuboukuzan Firebrand Sake that he'd remembered from his time training with the toads, as their favourite summoner they'd given it to him as a sign of eternal friendship and to show their loyalty to him and any children he might have in the future.
Alas, Summoning contracts were for the living, and it was impossible for Naruto to summon them again. He only hoped that his children back in the Elemental Nations who he had never had the chance to meet before he'd died would sign the contract like he'd asked so that any questions they might have about their father could be answered by those who knew him best.
Tossing the bag into the shed, Naruto moved to one of the other large sacks and untied the ribbon keeping it closed before taking a smaller bag from within his haori and filling it. He then closed the sack and left the shed, closing the door behind him before making his way back into his home. He'd had time to gather furnishings for the place this last month, and he could finally feel comfortable calling it home.
Sitting down in a pile of cushions that he'd set to one side of the large sitting room, Naruto pulled out his new pipe and filled it before igniting a small flame on his finger. Lighting the contents of the pipe, he took a tentative puff and nearly coughed up a lung. It had to have been one of the most painful experiences of his young life, but he would get the hang of it.
Anything to keep the memory of at least one of his precious people alive in his heart.
After several tries, he was finally able to inhale the smoke and appreciate it's subtle flavour. He could understand why the old man Hokage had liked the stuff. He was relaxed for the first time since he'd come to Soul Society, even if he was a little light headed.
Sitting there in the almost deafening silence, Naruto finally let his memories come to the surface, as he reminisced about all the good times he had in his life. His death was one of many in that accursed war, but he was content in the knowledge that he'd managed to end the war before he'd died, and before all had been lost forever.
No one else would have to die because of Obito's mad plan for the world. The biju were free again just like he'd promised, and the souls of those Jinchuuriki that had died were able to pass on peacefully. He'd fulfilled his promises.
He could finally just... rest.
Several moments later Naruto sighed. "This is gonna be a long after-life."
Fifty Years Later(Approximately One Hundred and Fifty years Before Start of Bleach Cannon, and roughly Fifty Years before Yoruichi abandons her duties and flees Soul Society with Urahara and the Visoreds)
Location: Niban-tai Barracks
Yoruichi sat in her luxurious armchair, or more like sprawled across the arms and seat in what would appear to most as a feline fashion. She was currently counting off the reported sightings of a blonde haired man who'd been spotted numerous times in Hokutan, the third district of West Rukongai. Every time she'd tried sending a team to make an attempt at a retrieval, he would simply vanish, and wouldn't reappear for weeks, sometimes months. He was definitely living up to his talents and former occupation. Fifty years had passed in Soul Society since she'd konso'd the quite obviously depressed young man, and from what little information she had been able to gather so far, the man hadn't gone out of his way to form lasting bonds with anyone in Hokutan.
They called him the Hermit Sage. Strange name for a person living in the Rukongai; Hermit she could understand, but why a sage? He wasn't that old by Spiritual Standards, no he was quite young. Sages were powerful beings of unlimited wisdom and uncanny ability to do what would normally be impossible for the average individual, and were usually very old.
Was he able to use his reiryoku? Did he even have more than the average plus? If so none of her scouts had reported sensing anything of the sort when they'd managed to actually locate him on his rare journeys into the town.
They hadn't even managed to follow him and learn of where he was living. Every time they tried he would employ masterful misdirection tactics against them and leave them in the middle of the district alone and terribly confused.
If he was able to do that to the Executive Militia, Shinigami that she had trained personally, then he had a much better grasp of what it meant to be part of the Onmitsukidou than many of the current members.
A Shinobi through and through, even in death.
Sighing Yoruichi sent out a pulse of reiatsu, and almost immediately her young protege Sui-Feng appeared in front of her, already kneeling with her fist to the floor and her head bowed. "You called Yoruichi-sama?"
Yoruichi rolled her eyes, she'd always hated those stuffy honorifics, yet she hadn't been able to get Sui-Feng to budge. With a quick look to the door, Yoruichi sat upright in her seat and folded her legs beneath her. "I need you to go to Hokutan and look for a man with long blonde hair tied in a long ponytail wearing a crimson haori with black flame pattern. He's usually smoking a pipe and simply wandering around aimlessly, or visiting a merchant in the area who sells his favourite brand of tobacco by the pound. When you find him, I want you to follow him, and absolutely do not allow him to become aware of your presence. Find out where he lives and gather any additional information that could prove useful; once this is done you may visit with him if you like once you've found out where his home is located, but return here and hand in your report as soon as possible."
Sui-Feng looked up at the beautiful woman before her and nodded, though she was slightly confused. Why would she want to visit with a target? It was rather unorthodox to be completely honest—then she remembered. "It's him isn't it, Yoruichi-sama? We found him?"
Yoruichi smiled. "Yeah it is him, and we haven't actually found him yet. All we know is that he is seen within Hokutan every few months to shop for supplies. Most of it varies from food, vegetable seeds, ingredients for what appears to be sake, tobacco and other necessities for living. We don't know if he has any more reiryoku than the average spirit even with these food purchases he's been making, simply because every time he's spotted my men can't sense anything out of the ordinary. Every time I try to send a team in for retrieval he gives them the slip with almost laughable ease and completely disappears." Yoruichi leaned back into her chair and sighed. "That's why I'm sending you Sui-Feng, out of all the members within the Executive Militia, you are by far my best agent, I'm sending you in alone so that you draw less attention. Try to blend in with the civilians, that means wearing a normal kimono in place of your shihakushou. Hopefully this will prevent him from spotting you. Once you've seen him, don't make contact until you've found out where he lives."
Sui-Feng nodded. "When do I leave."
"Immediately, as I said before he usually enters the town of Hokutan every few months for supplies, following his usual time table, he should be there soon. Within the next few days even." Yoruichi leaned down and put a gentle hand on Sui-Feng's head, making the younger woman blush near crimson. "You do this for me Sui-Feng, and I will be forever grateful to you my little bee. That young man is very important to me, and I would do anything to let him know that face to face."
Sui-Feng nodded meekly before standing and making her way from the room to prepare. This was a mission from her idol Yoruichi-sama, she would not fail; and perhaps, she could talk to this man when she found him and get a feel for his character. If Yoruichi was fond of him, then he must be an amazing individual. Then again, she didn't have very many nice things to say about Urahara. If that proved to not be the case, then she would do as her mentor asked but only out of respect for her and the promise she made her all those years ago.
Only the best would suit her Yoruichi-sama after all.
Around five hours later found Sui-Feng in Hokutan, or West Rukon District Three, in a small secluded corner of the market across from the small vendor her latest gathered Intel indicated as her target's most frequented place of business. She decided to set up shop here, dressed in a simple blue kimono she had purchased before leaving the seireitei. It was of a higher quality material, but in a district so close to the Seireitei it was more common to be well dressed. She had to leave her Zanpakutou behind, simply because this man would most likely be on the look-out for armed individuals, not just those wearing the identifying shihakushou.
She found herself thinking back on many of the stories that Yoruichi had told her about this man's life in District Thirteen as she waited for any sign of the man in question. From what Yoruichi-sama had told her, towards the end of his life he had actually been counted as one of the most powerful Shinobi to ever live, with strength comparable to that of the world's pseudo-deity known as the Rikudou Sennin; and that he'd died after defeating a Primordial God that even Yamamoto Sou-Taichou would have great difficulty simply matching.
This lead her to the conclusion, that had Yamamoto ever faced off against this young man before he'd died, Yamamoto would surely lose. Which was an almost ridiculous prospect. Coming from Yoruichi-sama however, it was actually believable.
The descriptions of the Juubi, and all of the limited information within the Archives, clearly stated that this was a beast capable of wiping entire nations off the map in the blink of an eye; a literal destroyer and creator of worlds. It was in league with the Spirit King itself, so it made sense that even Yamamoto would not wish to face such a beast even with an army standing behind him. To think that a boy, barely seventeen years of age had fought and defeated such a monster was incredible.
His entire life was full of what would normally be classed as impossible achievements; defeating enemies far above his calibre by utilizing an uncanny wit and the ability to come up with on the move tactics and employ them near instantaneously. It was a talent that would and should make any halfway decent tactician extremely weary of facing him on the field of battle. Even the most battle hardened tacticians needed to take time to think on their stratagems before employing them in the field, yet Naruto had the ability to come up with similar and even superior tactics on the fly.
From what she'd deduced from these stories, Naruto had spent his entire life honing this skill to a razors edge, while simultaneously growing stronger and stronger and subconsciously revising his tactics to accommodate his increase in power. He had grown so strong that a single attack could devastate entire landscapes, obliterate whole mountains, and actually disintegrate a human being by attacking them on a molecular level. Leaving nothing behind, not even dust.
He was a master of what they called Wind Manipulation, and was known as the Toad Sage of Mount Myuboku. He possessed startling control over the element of wind, to the point that it allowed him the ability of flight, and this Sage Mode she had been told about actually gave her chills thinking of the possibilities.
So lost in her thoughts, she almost didn't notice the flutter of cloth or the tall man wearing the sleeveless crimson haori until he'd made it to the vendor. Her head almost snapped up, but she restrained herself; if he was really as masterful as Yoruichi-sama had said, then he would definitely notice such a movement. Even if he were to put it off as simple shock at his size, it was a mistake she could not afford to make.
Speaking of size, Yoruichi hadn't told her that the man was so tall. From what she could see, he stood a foot and a half taller than her at the least standing at roughly 192 centimetres, with long blonde hair tied into a wild ponytail trailing down his back to his waist, with two long bangs framing a masculine face with an angular jaw and high cheekbones. Narrow oceanic blue eyes gazed out from underneath a low brow-line looking almost bored. His arms were covered in thick corded muscle, the result of years of training and actual combat experience, and his shoulders were broad, wide and squared. He was powerfully built, his torso forming the powerful 'V' shape that most men would kill for and allowing for a build that allowed for both explosive speed, endurance, and incredible strength.
With only a single look, Sui-Feng could tell this man was extremely dangerous. Like Yoruichi had said, she could not sense any reiryoku at all from the man, which in itself didn't make any sense no matter how you looked at it. Every soul had at least some reiryoku, extremely small amounts mind you, but it should be there. This didn't matter though, even without reiryoku, this man walked and moved like a trained warrior; every step he took was measured and there were no wasted movements. His breathing was perfectly regulated, obviously utilizing an advanced breathing technique that was difficult to master even while in meditation.
Sui-Feng watched from beneath her bangs, making sure to keep her reiryoku down to the level of a normal plus to avoid detection as Naruto made his purchases and waved to a few young women who were busy ogling him like a piece of meat, giggling away in their little huddle as he did so.
After that he turned, slinging the large sack of what she assumed was tobacco over his shoulder, and made his way towards the edge of the village. His pace was sedated and slow, and Sui-Feng had some difficulty making it look as if she were a normal young woman living in the district who was simply out to do some shopping of her own.
She stopped at several stands and shops as they made their way closer to the edge of the village, sometimes even moving ahead of him to enter a shop in his line of sight. When they finally reached the outer edge of the town Sui-Feng walked into a shop before walking out the back entrance, completely ignoring the rather disgruntled shop-keeper, and then blended with the shadows. Quickly moving to get Naruto back into her line of sight, she only just barely noticed him moving into a thick corpse of trees before vanishing into the shadows cast by the canopy overhead.
She quickly made after him, keeping low to the ground as she made her way through the alleys and across the small clearing before leaping into the high branches of the trees.
After that she could only ever catch small glimpses of the man, and worried that he'd caught on to her. If he was employing the same tactics he'd used against the Onmitsukidou against her then there was a good chance she would be lost inside the forest and forced to return the the town to try again another day.
Just when she was starting to think that she'd lost him, she came to a halt when she suddenly realized that there were no more trees in front of her. She was now looking out over a beautiful forest clearing, dominated on one side by a large crystal clear lake, and on another by a sprawling manor house surrounded by high walls, with a large training yard and a small shed nestled in one corner of the grounds.
This place was almost as large as the Niban-tai Barracks! And there at the door was the man whom she'd been following all this time. He did something to the door, and unless her eyes were playing tricks on her she was positive that the entire compound had just shimmered, once the phenomena had passed Naruto opened the door and disappeared within the large home.
Sui-Feng almost cheered out loud, she'd done it! She had accomplished what seasoned members of the Onmitsukidou could not do even with the help of several others keeping track of the same target. She found the home of someone important to her mentor whom they'd been searching for over the last fifty years. Yoruichi-sama was going to be thrilled!
After her little mental victory dance, Sui-Feng paused, placed a small locator beacon in the bark of the tree she was standing in and turned to leave before a thought struck her.
'Yoruichi-sama did say it would be alright if I decided to visit for a little bit, and I'm honestly curious about this man.' Turning back to the house, Sui-Feng dropped down to the ground silently and stood to her full height in an attempt to gather up her courage. 'Just for a little bit, I won't stay long since I have to get back to Yoruichi-sama quickly.' This man may not have any reiryoku, but his body and movements were those of an experienced warrior. She was not as strong as her mentor, and thus she had to be extremely careful in case he turned out to be a threat to her.
Walking up to the door she didn't even make it halfway before a shadow fell over her, quickly growing larger with every moment. Looking up, she only caught the silhouette of the attacker, before realizing it wasn't an attacker at all. With a dull sounding thump, a large man landed just five steps in front of her in a kneeling position, the man was tall and lean with dark brown hair falling about his head messily. When he looked up she was met by brown eyes and a stern expression, and when he stood she realized that he was standing at around Yoruichi'sama's height, roughly five foot four inches.
For a few moments they simply stared at each other, before the man straightened his back, puffin gout his chest in an attempt to look threatening. "What business have you in this place, the home of Hokutan's Hermit Sage?"
Sui-Feng blinked. Then blinked again. She had been expecting an attack from this individual, but it turns out he's simply the doorman? Breathing a discreet sigh of relief, Sui-Feng opened her mouth to speak, before another beat her to it.
"Let her in Jinzo, I wouldn't have brought her here if I didn't want her to come inside."
The voice had come from everywhere, yet seemingly nowhere. The fact that it had said he had brought her here made Sui-Feng sweat nervously. He had known she had been following him the whole time? Just how skilled was this man?
Looking about herself in a none to discreet way in search of the mysterious voice her eyes finally landed on a series of kanji on the wall not too far from where they were standing that were glowing with a faint reiatsu, but that made nearly no sense. Sure there were kido that allowed for instantaneous transmission of speech, but this looked like no kido she'd ever seen before.
The man in front of her looked sheepishly at the kanji on the wall and chuckled. "Sorry Saeji-sama, I didn't know you brought her here." Turning back to Sui-Feng, he gestured with his hand towards the door and Sui-Feng nodded before moving passed him. A sudden sniffle caught her attention as she reached the door, and when she turned back to Jinzo, she bore witness the the man bawling his eyes out. Streams of tears running down his cheeks comically. "To be able to enter the house of the sage... if only he would let me just take a peek inside. Such an honour that you have received little miss."
Sweat drop forming at the back of her head, Sui-Feng decided to ignore the strange man and pushed open the sliding shoji door with little difficulty. Taking a step inside, she was startled when the door closed behind her with a soft click, moving of it's own volition, as the entire doorway seemed to glow with a faint blue light before fading after a few seconds and all was well again.
Moving deeper into the house, Sui-Feng soon found herself admiring the traditional decor, this man definitely had good taste at the very least. When she found herself standing in a large sitting room, Sui-Feng immediately took notice of the man she'd been following before, Naruto, sitting upon a pile of cushions, pipe in hand and smoke drifting through parted lips. He was looking straight into her eyes with the most piercing gaze she'd ever seen, his eyes a shade of azure blue so brilliant it was almost like looking into the depths of the sea's themselves.
"Have a seat."
Sui-Feng started at the sound of his voice; since she was so close to him now, she could actually hear his voice without a filter like she had earlier. It was a smooth baritone, deep and soothing to the ear. When she did as instructed and took a seat in a pile of cushions only a few paces from the man, Naruto inhaled another lungful of smoke before slowly exhaling to the side.
"So, a shinigami graces my humble abode with their presence. You're quite skilled, but you need to be careful not to be so jumpy." Naruto stated curtly. "Tea?"
Sui-Feng blinked in confusion at the sudden change in his demeanour from that of a serious master giving a lecture to a student to that of an accommodating host, but nodded dumbly without thinking. In an instant, she had a steaming cup of what appeared to be black tea in her hands. It was hot, but not unbearably so, and taking a sip she found she very much liked the flavour.
"What brings you here?"
Sui-Feng mulled over her next choice of words carefully, there was a good chance he might not remember Yoruichi after living in Soul Society as long as he had already, and if she insulted him somehow there wasn't much she could do to stop him from attacking her, so she had to be careful. "I made a promise to Shihouin-hime, the twenty second generational head of the Shihouin Noble Family, that I would find you for her. I made this promise over fifty years ago now, and we've been looking for you ever since."
Naruto nodded, taking a sip of what appeared to be sake from the dish settled on a tray next to him. "I see, any particular reason why this person has been looking for me in particular?"
Sui-Feng sipped her tea, sitting in seiza upon the cushions and idly noting how much easier they made sieza. They were soft, very much so, and almost as large as she was. Though that wasn't saying much as she was admittedly quite the petite woman. "My mentor and Master, Yoruichi-sama, was the one who konso'd you when you died, Namikaze-sama."
Rather abruptly, Naruto waved his hand dismissively, trailing smoke from his pipe as he took another swig of sake. "Please, Naruto or Naruto-san are fine but please, Namikaze-sama is a bit much. Makes me feel old, and far more important than I really am."
Sui-Feng internally groaned, he was already starting to remind her of Yoruichi-sama. They both apparently had the same distaste for honorifics, but looking at this incredibly handsome, almost regal man in front of her, she could not suffer anything less. Just like Yoruichi-sama, she could tell this man was at least deserving of that much, and she would not show him any such disrespect. Perhaps a compromise then? Like what she had done with Yoruichi-sama?
Frowning slightly, Naruto thought back to fifty years ago, to the beautiful woman whom had been his last sight of the Elemental Nations. He had to admit, there were far worse ways to be sent off to the after life. He'd been expecting some grotesque and horrifying skeletal figure with a blood stained scythe after all. "Shihouin Yoruichi huh." He paused, taking a pull from his pipe before sipping his sake at a leisurely pace. "I knew I recognized that name, been a long time since I've heard it though. However, you still didn't answer my question, what does she want with a simple Hermit like me?"
Sui-Feng nodded, ignoring for now the lack of appropriate suffix, and set her now empty teacup onto her lap. "I am not quite certain that I am the best person to answer that question. I actually came simply to find you and inform her of your location. I believe she wants to visit you herself once I have submitted my report on my findings." Sui-Feng took a breath and scooted closer to the man who simply watched her calmly from where he sat. "I was also curious, as to the type of man whom could attract my mistress' attention and affection so completely."
Naruto raised a brow at the rather blunt declaration, but said nothing as he continued to puff away on his pipe. After a brief moment of thought, he finally sighed tiredly and looked out into the yard through the open shoji door. "What would you like to know?"
Sui-Feng had spent several hours in the home of Namikaze Naruto, and had learned far more than she had possibly bargained for. He had lived a tortured life of poverty and suffering, with pain enough to drive a hundred men to suicide. Yet he was still kind, and much like Yoruichi-sama he enjoyed teasing her all for the simple sake of eliciting a reaction from her.
He had her blushing beat red for almost the entirety of her visit, chuckling merrily all the while as he teased her mercilessly.
He had quite literally saved District Thirteen from absolute destruction, all because of a mad man's plot to enslave the entire world with a powerful illusion the likes of which she had never dreamed possible, even in her nightmares. He was also the subject of his own people's prejudice for much of his young life because of something far outside of his own control.
Sui-Feng nodded to herself as she walked the halls of the Niban-tai Barracks, on her way to Yoruichi-sama's personal quarters where she would likely be resting. He was a good man, with strong morals and a stronger sense of justice. She herself had learned much in only that single sitting; and she was glad that he had not unknowingly betrayed her expectations.
With a small blush that did not go unnoticed by a certain Taichou who had just opened the door of her room, Sui-Feng thought back on his appearance. He was definitely well trained and took very good care of his health, and his musculature attested to many long years of endlessly bettering himself. How strong he was however was still a mystery; as even though she were sitting right in front of him only a few short feet away, she had not been able to feel any reiryoku from him at all.
Then again, at the back of her mind she was having thoughts of an entirely different sort. Incredibly lustful thoughts she thought idly; she was young and had never been with a man before, her nightly escapades with Yoruichi being the only real form of 'sex' she had ever indulged in. The thought of his large masculine arms completely engulfing her tiny body as his mouth ravaged her own and his hands explored her every bump and crevice.
Her blush deepened as her thoughts took her even further into her lustful fantasy, trying to imagine what it would be like to have what was certain to be a massive cock spreading her open and plunging into her small body repeatedly turning her small blush into one that covered the entirety of her body.
She was knocked out of her thoughts though at the sound of a teasing laugh. "Having some dirty thoughts are we, Sui-Feng?"
Spluttering at being caught, even if she had no idea how her mentor and mistress was capable of reading her thoughts, Sui-Feng immediately bowed her head and coughed while trying and failing to hide her cherry red full-body blush. "Yoruichi-sama, I—what I mean to say is... uuuu."
Yoruichi laughed heartily and took Sui-Feng's hand, dragging the young woman into her room and then closing the door behind them. "I admit Sui-Feng, after the other night I was certain you would be fine for another few days, but you just can't get enough of me eh?"
Her blush darkened and Yoruichi raised an amused eyebrow. "Or did he really leave that much of an impression on you?" When no response came other than a large amount of steam bursting from the younger woman's ears, Yoruichi grinned. "Well lookie here; my little bee has herself a crush."
Immediately, Sui-Feng denied the accusation vehemently, but the full body blush that refused to die down was not helping in her case. "I only have eyes for you Yoruichi-sama! He may be incredibly, tall, and handsome, and smart, and kind and—and... yummy... uuuu." Once again she devolved into a groan as she realized she had only played further into her mentors hands.
Yoruichi laughed heartily, pulling the stuttering girl into a hug and patting her on the head. "Don't you worry my little Sui-Feng, it's perfectly natural. If his looks when he were a teenager were anything to go by, then I'm not gonna blame you for falling to that unwitting charm of his. He's a natural when it comes to attracting people, women especially, and he has been all his life. I highly doubt that's going to change now that he's dead."
Sui-Feng sighed, the feeling of bliss that overcame her every time she felt Yoruichi's arms fold her up in an embrace was almost too much to ignore. Thankfully her blush had receded, though her cheeks were still dusted with a light pink, so she started telling Yoruichi of everything she had learned. Her report on his physical features so that Yoruichi would be more easily capable of identifying him, where he lived in Hokutan, his self-proclaimed doorman; and even about the conversation she'd had with him over tea.
When all was said and done, Yoruichi had pulled the two of them onto her couch where they were now lying, with Sui-Feng cuddled up into her mentor's large bosom, and quickly losing her grasp on her consciousness.
Yoruichi smiled, her hand gently stroking the younger woman's head as the girl faded off the sleep. "You did well Sui-Feng, thank you for doing this for me. We'll go together and see him again tomorrow ne?"
A slight nod was her answer before Sui-Feng's gentle breath into her cleavage was the only sound to be heard. Yoruichi chuckled, the sensation being more than just a little ticklish, but continued affectionately stroking her proteges soft hair. "I'll get to see you again tomorrow Naruto, and then I can tell you everything that I've wanted to say since I first saw you all those years ago."
All through the night Naruto didn't sleep. His mind was a whirling tide of thoughts and emotions, things he hadn't felt in a long time. Fifty years since he'd entered Soul Society and he'd never once allowed anyone into his home before yesterday. The petite young Shinigami was such a pretty little thing, with a heart of gold yet a countenance of iron. Too bad she was so stiff though, she wouldn't stop calling him 'Naruto-sama' no matter how much he asked; seeming to think that to call him otherwise would be an insult, which couldn't be farther from the truth.
So he'd reluctantly relented after a time, and when the morning sun broke over the tree line, bathing the lake in a golden hue that he never tired of, he prepared to receive his guests for the day. He'd sent Jinzo home, the young man meant well, but his idol worship was kind of annoying. It was the reason he'd never actually let him inside the compound.
That didn't seem to stop him though, almost the very next day Naruto had walked outside with his fishing pole in hand and seen a small house built into one of the larger trees not far from his compound.
His experience with the war had mellowed him considerably, and considering the most he could do in this after life was meditate and go fishing or train, he had become a much calmer individual than he had been in his younger days. Back then, things had been simpler, but he was coming to enjoy these little activities. Fishing for instance served several purposes.
It taught him patience, and to be ever attentive even when the waters were calm. To never let himself be caught off guard lest his catch get away from him. In a way, it had helped him keep his skills sharp, yet his paranoia had stuck with him. He often found himself with stiff shoulders, and muscles that ached from the strain of constant readiness.
Fifty years of always being ready for anyone stupid enough to jump him was doing a number on his body and his psyche.
With a sigh, Naruto checked his fishing line and went back to his thoughts when he'd noticed no activity on the surface of lake.
He'd already caught several fish since he'd started the night before and over the course of the day; several salmon, twelve mackerel, and a few sweet fish. He'd been fishing all night after he discovered that sleep wasn't coming to him. He'd already prepared several dishes, from ramen topped with grilled pork, radish, red onion, and a single egg; to oden and sukiyaki nabe(hot pot) dishes, the oden still simmering away inside. Taiyaki(grilled meat dish), Sashimi(raw fish dish), and Yakizakana(grilled fish) dishes had also been prepared over the course of the night and were being preserved in seals; all in all it was a feast fit for the Soul King himself. There was still more to be prepared, he had several rice dishes in mind after all, chahan(fried rice), some simple steamed rice for the rice bowls and maybe even some sushi(this is technically classified as a rice dish) if he had the time.
He had nothing better to do with his time, and he'd be damned if he didn't at least accommodate his first real guests in five decades properly.
Some of the fish he'd caught in the last hour or so would be going into his shed in special storage seals for later use, while the rest would be brought inside and added to the current dinner menu. He didn't know how much time he had until they arrived, but he had deactivated the security seals on the doors so that they wouldn't be repulsed or violently shocked on contact.
Hey, so he valued his privacy, he had the right to booby trap his front door if he wanted to.
A flicker of movement in the corner of his eye drew his attention to his fishing rod, and slowly, he moved into a proper sitting position, squatting down next to the rod but not touching it yet. He watched as the rod vibrated gently several times, before suddenly it was nearly yanked out of the ground. With lightning fast reflexes, Naruto snagged the rod and pulled hard.
The fish caught on his line, and came flying out of the water so fast it likely had no idea that it wasn't in the water anymore. Reaching up, he caught the fish in his free hand, before placing it under his arm so he could remove the hook.
Once that was done, he chucked the fish into one of the water buckets he had with him that still had space, before coiling up the fishing line and making his way to his front step. Leaning the rod against the wall, he was about to go back to the shore to collect his catch when he realized that he wasn't alone.
Looking over his shoulder, he took in a sight he hadn't seen in over fifty years. A beautiful woman with a slender body, wide hips and a generous bust, and legs that seemed to go on forever with short purplish hair and golden eyes looking at him with an impish grin. She was wearing something different this time though. She had foregone the white haori and black kimono, instead opting for a golden formal kimono with elegant purple patterns strewn about the fabric tied shut with an orange obi.
Next to her was the young woman from the other day, wearing a simple black kimono that he vaguely recognized as the uniform of those shinobi he'd seen all these years. She had a large blush on her face and was trying desperately to look anywhere but at him, which he found absolutely adorable.
Then there was the rather large man standing with them. He was a tall man standing at least over 200 centimetres, which surprised Naruto since he hadn't met anyone larger than himself before now; the man possessed a rather... bulbous build, and curly brown hair and a large chin. God that chin was huge. He was wearing a black kimono as well, but also had what appeared to be a badge of some sort on his left arm and a plush purple collar. He was looking about the clearing in what could almost be construed as disdain, his leering eyes passing over Naruto as if he wasn't even there.
Naruto's eyebrow twitched; was that a scoff he heard just then?
Yoruichi strode forward confidently, taking in his state of dress, which was more suited to working outdoors than his haori and usual garments. His mesh shirt was still in place, revealing his toned, muscular torso, and his legs were adorned with a pair of simple brown trousers instead of his hakama.
'Very nice Naruto-kun. The years have definitely been kind to you.' Yoruichi thought with an almost perverse inner chuckle. "It's been quite some time, ne Naruto?"
Naruto turned to face the woman who'd sent him off and nodded. "That it has, Yoruichi. I was just catching dinner, if you could wait for just a moment I'll go and bring it inside." He then turned to continue what he'd been doing, making his way over to the shore to gather up the several buckets of fish he'd caught that morning.
Yoruichi nodded, her impish grin never once leaving her face as Sui-Feng and the as of yet unidentified man walked up beside her.
"Taichou, is there a particular reason we are here? Visiting a commoner such as this should not have necessitated such fine dress." The large man stated rather loudly, and Yoruichi's grin disappeared.
"Omaeda, shut up."
Once Naruto had made his way back over to them he gestured with his head towards the door and the three followed him inside. When the door closed behind them on it's own volition, Yoruichi raised an eyebrow and Omeada jumped while Sui-Feng, having seen it before, didn't show a reaction.
The three of them removed their footwear as Naruto disappeared into the house, leaving Sui-Feng to show them the way to the sitting room where a large table had been set up in the centre of the room, lined with cushions and place settings already adorning the surface.
Walking back in through the door from the yard after depositing several of the full buckets into the shed, Naruto carried the bucket he was still holding into the kitchen next to the sitting room. "Dinner should be ready soon, you all can take a seat wherever you like, I'll be with you shortly."
Yoruichi stated her affirmation and took a seat at one end of the table, the large pile of cushions at the other end reminding her of another friend of hers, while Sui-Feng sat at the side of the table to her left and Omaeda to her right, still looking about at the surroundings, though with less disdain since the house they were currently lounging in seemed more fit for a noble.
When Naruto returned once again he was holding a large tray bearing four small sake bottles and a tea pot with four cups and an equal number of sake dishes; he'd also somehow managed to change back into his usual attire, his red haori and black hakama, while he'd been out of sight. Setting the tray down on the table he took a bottle of sake and a dish before moving to the head of the table and setting himself down in the pile of cushions.
"Help yourselves, the sake's my own personal recipe and the tea was blended just this morning." Naruto poured some sake into his dish before setting the bottle on the table in front of him and settling back into his seat with a sigh, rolling his shoulders in an attempt to alleviate some of the tension.
Yoruichi took a bottle of sake and a dish before following Naruto's example, once she'd poured some sake into her own dish and placed the bottle back on the table, she took a tentative sip and her eyes went wide. She pulled back and looked at the dish in surprise before placing it back to her lips and tipping it back. "Damn, racking up some serious brownie points here mister. That is some damn good sake."
Sui-Feng, remembering how much she liked the tea from her previous visit simply poured herself a cup and took a sip, before smiling in delight with a sigh. Omaeda himself had taken some sake and had tried it himself before nodding, seemingly satisfied.
Naruto chuckled. "You can't have the recipe." He said it in a joking manner but they could tell he was serious, he had told Sui-Feng and Yoruichi had already known that it was a secret recipe handed down through the Toad Sages of Myubokuzan. "So, I heard you wanted to talk to me Yoruichi and here we are. Might as well get the serious stuff out of the way before dinner."
Yoruichi nodded, filling her dish with more sake before she spoke. "Do you remember how your father died? How he sealed the Kyuubi inside of you that day?"
Naruto nodded. "Ah, I do. He summoned a shinigami to aid him in powering the seal; since I highly doubt one of you ate him, with the exception of tubby over there, then that must mean the actual deal was a bit different then the one I know of."
Yoruichi sighed, ignoring Omaeda's scandalized expression. "It was. He will be unable to enter Soul Society for the next six hundred years, which means he will be instantly reincarnated upon death until that time is up. The full deal included another two clauses as well, the first was that a competent shinigami be sent to watch over his son and ensure that he didn't die before his time." At that Naruto raised an eyebrow. He hadn't expected that, but he could make the connection pretty easily. "As you have probably just figured out, I was that Shinigami. It was my mission to keep you safe from the more supernatural elements. Demons, spirits and the like who would want to absorb your power and that of the demon who had been sealed inside of you. It was a relatively easy gig, since hollows don't actually enter District Thirteen because the inhabitants are so dangerous." Yoruichi paused to sip her sake and Naruto nodded, having figured as much; before he could ask what the second clause was however, Yoruichi reached into her kimono and pulled something from within the many folds, most likely from her cleavage. "This is the second clause of the agreement." What she had pulled out from within her kimono was a small piece of paper, it was coloured a bright gold and had writing on one side. "Congratulations Naruto, by Order of Central 46 and Yamamoto Sou-Taichou you are hereby the First Generational Head of the Namikaze lesser Noble House." Tossing the rigid tag over towards him, it landed on his end of the table with a dull thump to accompany the sound of Omaeda choking on his sake.
Naruto wasn't much better off, he had literally just been handed a golden ticket. Named as Nobility when he'd done nothing to deserve the title... well, at least he didn't think so anyway.
Many others would have looked at Naruto at this point in a full out dead-pan. Stupid Naruto, never changes.
Yoruichi wasn't finished though. "I've asked the Hachiban-tai-Taichou to have his men keep a close eye on your family in District Thirteen as well." At this Naruto's head snapped up, and he locked eyes with her. She was wearing a gentle smile now, and her golden eyes filled with warmth. "They're doing well; last I heard your kids had children of their own and have made it their mission to restore the Uzumaki and Namikaze Clans in District Thirteen. You are now the Grandfather of four girls and three boys, most of them look like you. Carbon copies almost." Reaching into her Kimono again, Yoruichi pulled out a small folder before picking up her sake, bottle and all, and moving around the table until she was sitting on his left. She set the folder down between them along with her sake, and opened it.
Naruto immediately reached down and picked up the first item that caught his eye. It was a photograph of an elderly woman whom he assumed to be Shion standing with four adults, two on either side. He recognized two of them immediately.
To her left, was a beautiful woman with short blonde hair a shade lighter than his own but just as wild, with eyes a shade of blue so clear they resembled the cloudless sky. She had his nose, but her mothers face, and standing next to her was a man who looked a great deal like Shikamaru. He even had the same lazy expression on his face and a similar pineapple styled hair-do. To her right there was a blonde man with purple eyes like Naruto's mother Kushina, he was tall, maybe about as tall as Naruto himself, and he was standing next to a slender young woman with short black hair and gentle green eyes.
Sitting at their feet and posing rather childishly for the camera were seven children only about six or seven years old at the most; four of them girls and three boys, three of them possessing black hair in various styles and the others all blonde haired and blue eyed. In the centre of them all was an old photo of Naruto from just before the war. He had a charming smile on his face and was giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
Kami he looked so young in that picture.
When his vision began to blur, he raised a hand and wiped at his eyes, his fingers coming away moist. He sniffed and set the photo back down on the folder and picked up the handkerchief next to a bowl in front of him. "Sorry bout this, must have something in my eye."
Omaeda scoffed, receiving a harsh glare from Sui-Feng who had at some point moved over to Naruto's other side and was now looking at the various photographs attached to the folder. There were papers within as well, all with various information about his children; occupations, education, bank accounts, everything they could possibly want to know.
"They're beautiful Naruto-sama; is that your wife?" Sui-Feng asked, indicating the elderly woman in the photo standing next to his photograph.
Naruto swallowed the lump in his throat, dabbing at the corner of his eye with a cloth. "We never married, though we were going to when the war ended. Mind you, I had probably close to six fiances before I died." Yoruichi merely chuckled, while Sui-Feng looked scandalized at that admission. Seeing her look Naruto waved his hand dismissively. "There are certain laws about restoring clans in the Elemental Nations that are shared throughout the villages. As the last living member of two clans it was my responsibility to repopulate them. This usually meant marrying more than one woman in an attempt to sire as many offspring as possible. Shion and I were successful, but I never had a chance to settle down with her and the others before the war started in earnest."
Sifting through the photo's on the table he saw a variety of different things. His son and daughter playing in a large sand-box in a park at five years old or so. Another picture of them training in the yard; and two pictures of them, one for each, which looked as if they'd come from their Shinobi Licenses. There were so many it was hard to count them all; their entire lives had been documented so that he, their father, could in a way watch them grow up. Turning over one of the photos of both his children who were simply standing in their shinobi gear looking seriously at the camera, Naruto choked.
Namikaze Uzumaki Kushina, 17; and Namikaze Uzumaki Minato, 17; First A-Rank Mission.
Setting the picture down on the table, Naruto closed the folder before bringing up one of his hands to cover his eyes, the other simply resting in his lap. That had really hit him hard, Shion had named their children after his parents, something that he'd always wanted to do when he'd been alive. Even after his death she had remembered that wish and honoured it, maybe it was because of his death that she had honoured it. He'd even noticed that one of their children was named after him, a little blonde boy with a grin so large it forced his eyes closed, much like his own when he was that age.
He felt like crying, and the tears were really building up; after so long thinking about them every day of his existence, to finally see some proof that they were all doing well had filled him with some pretty intense emotions. Mainly relief at seeing them doing so well; and happiness to see his lifelong dream fulfilled, even if he couldn't be there with them.
Feeling a pair of arms wrapping about his shoulders comfortingly, Naruto looked out from beneath his bangs to see a pair of warm golden eyes gazing back at him. "We can look at them later, we don't need to do this now." She said quietly. "I'd like to take a good look at them too, after looking after you for so long they're practically my family too after all."
Naruto nodded, taking a moment to compose himself as Yoruichi sat beside him, simply holding him comfortingly even if her arms could barely fit around his large frame.
When he'd finally composed himself, Naruto picked up his bottle of sake and looked out over the yard, a peaceful expression on his face. "At least I know they're doing well, that's all I ever could truly ask." Taking note of the setting sun, Naruto brought the bottle to his lips and tipped it back, draining half the bottle in one go. When he set it back on the table he cleared his throat and stood up, gently brushing Yoruichi's arms from his shoulders. "Well, I think dinner should be about ready. Hold on here a moment while I go get it."
When Naruto had disappeared around the corner into the kitchen, Yoruichi settled herself in her new seat and took a long drink of her own sake. Turning to Sui-Feng, who looked as if she were about to cry herself, she smiled. "What a ride ne?"
Sui-Feng nodded, offering her own small smile. "My apologies Yoruichi-sama, I need a moment to compose myself."
Yoruichi smirked. Her little bee was getting pretty attached to Naruto, which was a good thing of course. She wanted the two of them to be close, Naruto was wise beyond his years and could help Sui-Feng deal with things that were beyond her own experience. It also helped that he was a complete stud, perhaps he could help Sui-Feng out with a little problem now that he too was a Noble. A certain problem called a cherry in more vulgar terms.
When Naruto walked back into the room, he was carrying a large pot in his hands that he set down in the centre of the table. Taking his seat once again Yoruichi raised an eyebrow as both Sui-Feng and Omaeda looked at the pot in confusion.
"Ano, Naruto-sama; is that it?" Sui-Feng asked timidly, afraid to overstep her boundaries.
Naruto smacked his forehead in mock exasperation. "I knew I was forgetting something." Placing the middle and index fingers of his right hand on the surface of the table over a strange circular symbol filled with tiny kanji, there was a pulse of reiatsu that they could barely feel, followed by a flash of light and the table was suddenly full of what appeared to be at least a dozen different dishes. Sui-Feng's eyes were sparkling, since there were so many of her favourite dishes sitting in front of her; while Yoruichi was shocked and a little confused and Omaeda was salivating.
Naruto chuckled and waved his left arm over the table. "Go ahead and dig in, there's more than enough to go around."
Dinner was a rather noisy affair; after getting over his short emotional outburst, Naruto had started joking and even flirting with Yoruichi, much to Omaeda's dismay and Sui-Feng's eternal embarrassment since more often then not they turned their attention on her. The both of them teasing her mercilessly as they ate.
Yoruichi however was in a slight quandary; for fifty years she had wanted to tell him just what he'd been to her. She had thought she felt something along the lines of motherly affection for him. Now though she realized that she had actually fallen in love with him; his cheerful outlook on life while he was alive, his magnetic personality, his fox-like grin, and his dazzling blue eyes that seemingly reflected his every emotion like twin crystalline pools. His ability to draw others to him had seemingly ensnared her as well.
Deciding that it wasn't worth fretting over, Yoruichi simply fell into her normal rhythm, and was pleased when he seemed to be able to keep up. Teasing and flirting like an old pro.
Then again he was technically a father, such things came with experience; and while he was not as experienced in the ways of lust and love as Yoruichi herself was, he was learning quickly.
Surprisingly enough, her Fuku-Taichou whom had initially taken great lengths to show his dislike for their host, had warmed up to him and the two were sharing drinks and laughing together like old friends. Singing a collection drinking songs, while drowning themselves in sake.
Sui-Feng however was the most surprising, and had taken to sitting in his lap as she drank her tea, her much smaller form fitting in the dip in his crossed legs near perfectly, the crown of her head barely reaching his collar. She had been right when she'd teased Sui-Feng about her crush, because the girl hadn't stopped blushing since he'd pulled her there. She knew Naruto found it difficult not to tease the girl, but he seemed to genuinely like her, perhaps he even saw her as a second daughter, like the one he'd never had the chance to spoil before he'd died.
After dinner was finished, Naruto offered them a place to stay for the night since it had gotten late, and had offered to lug his new drinking buddy to a room to sleep it off, since Omaeda was currently an unconscious drooling mess on the floor.
Accepting the offer Yoruichi watched as Naruto hefted the large man onto his shoulder and led the two women to a room, since Yoruichi had told him they were fine with sharing. He then left down the hall with Marenoshin slung over his shoulder as Sui-Feng and Yoruichi got themselves settled in for the night.
"Yoruichi-sama, you seem much happier now." Sui-Feng stated calmly as she got herself settled in her futon. "I'm glad you got to see him again, you were so sad before."
Yoruichi smirked and looked Sui-Feng dead in the eye, intentionally making the girl quite nervous. "I am happier, I finally got to see someone I care about after fifty years not knowing how he was living or where; but it seems someone else got to indulge in her fantasies tonight as well, ne Sui-Feng. I think you looked so cute together."
Sui-Feng blushed scarlet and buried her head under the blankets, hiding herself from view. With a smirk Yoruichi tossed her kimono into the corner of the room, not all that fond of formal wear, but the Clan Elders had insisted since she was literally handing over the title of Nobility to a man who had slain a god in his lifetime. Thus, she needed to make a good first impression. Now bereft of the stifling kimono, Yoruichi was left in her Onmitsukidou Uniform; consisting of a black kimono that left her shoulders and back exposed, along with a good portion of her sides and the sides of her breasts, and a pair of black stretch pants and simple sandals.
The Namikaze Lesser Noble House was already being called the House of the God-slayer; and he'd only been a noble for a few hours; the elders of her clan were obviously planning something if they were trying to spread word of a new Noble so quickly. She wouldn't worry about it for now, since she already had an idea of just what their plans were. Honestly she wasn't bothered by it for once, but it would ultimately be up to Naruto.
An hour later, when she was certain that Sui-Feng had drifted off to sleep, she left their room and silently made her way back to the sitting room where she was certain she would find the person she was looking for. Sure enough, he was there on the deck overlooking the yard, smoking his pipe with the folder detailing the lives of his children and grandchildren sitting in his lap. Looking over the photographs with something akin to reverence.
Sitting down next to him, Yoruichi almost burst out laughing when he glanced over at her and his eyes immediately gravitated to the exposed sides of her breasts and an atomic blush lit up his face before he turned back to the photos, trying to play off the event as if nothing had happened.
"Mind if I join you Naruto? I haven't had much of a chance to go over these in anything but an official setting." Yoruichi asked quietly, seeing him nod and feeling a little devious, Yoruichi plucked the folder from his lap being careful not to send any of the loose pictures flying, before she rose to her feet and deposited herself in it's place.
Naruto blinked, this was the second time in one day he'd had a beautiful woman sitting in his lap, her legs crossed and her toned yet soft backside pressing almost painfully into his crotch, but it wasn't overly uncomfortable, to be totally honest with himself it actually felt nice.
For a few hours, as the moon rose overhead and offered them a pleasant view of the lakes waters bathed in it's silvery luminescence, the two sat there on the deck, Naruto having put his pipe away for the time being and having wrapped his arms about her waist so he could get at the photographs and articles in her lap. They spoke quietly with small smiles, going over the different information within the small folder and then looking at the pictures attached to a particular paragraph; laughing at particularly funny instances in the lives documented there, and crying at the sad times, like when their first family pet had died after having stuck it out with them for close to forty years.
Eventually the two had put the file to the side and simply sat there, Naruto's arms wrapped around Yoruichi's waist as they looked out over the crystal clear waters of the lake. Yoruichi frowned when a thought struck her. "Isn't there a wall around this compound?" Leaning her head back against his shoulder and tilting it back so she could see his face, she started running her hands up and down his forearm. Not in an attempt to get a reaction, she just felt an all encompassing need to touch him, to feel his skin beneath her hands.
Naruto grunted. "There are several seals laid into those walls, one particular set of seals is designed to make the walls transparent from the inside. That way I wouldn't rob myself of the view."
"Hmm." Humming in contentment and understanding, Yoruichi continued what she was doing, ignoring almost all else. It was nice, sitting with him like this, she almost didn't want to leave but they needed to get some sleep. They both needed to be in the Seireitei tomorrow, something she had told him during dinner, so that he could be assessed for ability and formally introduced to the Sou-Taichou. If he was accepted into the Goteijusantai, then Yoruichi had already offered to train him alongside Sui-Feng, and he would become a member of the Onmitsukidou. The Corps Commander if she had her way.
Patting him on the arm, Yoruichi made to stand, before turning and pulling Naruto to his own after he'd gathered up the file. "It's time we got some sleep, we have a lot to do tomorrow and you need to actually be awake to meet with the Sou-Taichou."
Naruto pouted childishly. "Do I have to? Can't he just talk to my unconscious body instead?"
Chuckling Yoruichi took his hand and pulled him along down the hall. Opening doors at random until she found the one she was looking for, completely failing to realize that the room she was looking for belonged to the very person she was dragging behind her.
She was eventually treated to the sight of a large bedroom, with a single futon already neatly laid out on the tatami. It was incredibly spartan, with only the bed and a desk at the far end littered with sheets of paper covered in scrawls, and a single candle set near the back of the desk. Pulling him into the room Yoruichi smirked back at him before taking hold of his shoulders and pulling him down. "Now get to bed, I'll see you in the morning." Then she did something not entirely out of character for her, but absolutely shocking for Naruto. She pulled him down even further until her lips pressed against his own in a gentle kiss. It was gentle, not meant to inspire lust but to show him the love she felt for him, it was soft yet confident, chaste yet full of passion. When she pulled away, her cheeks were lightly flushed and she could only smile at the dumbstruck expression on Naruto's face. "Good night Naruto."
Standing there, shocked out of his mind, Naruto's mind went blank. He didn't even notice that Yoruichi had left his room until the door behind him slid closed with a quiet click. Even then he didn't move for some time, simply brushing his fingers against his lips where she'd kissed him. Fifty years without substantial human interaction or affection of any kind had left him ill-prepared for such a thing, and from a woman he barely knew even more so.
Finally, after standing around in a daze for several long minutes that felt like hours, Naruto shrugged off his outerwear, placed the file he was holding on his desk, and then crawled into bed, determined to force himself to sleep if need be.
Alas that wasn't necessary, since almost the second his head touched his pillow, he was off to dreamland.
The next day, after a light breakfast of grilled fish and rice, served with iced tea and Miso soup, the group made their way out of Hokutan.
Yoruichi grumbled about having to wear such stuffy clothing for a good portion of their trip, and not being able to wait to get back into her Taichou Uniform. The sentiment made Naruto chuckle, as he himself had simply gone with what he was comfortable in. His red haori, fish-net shirt and hakama. He too wasn't much one for standing on ceremony, and he absolutely hated formal wear; so he didn't wear anything that was any more expensive than what he had on.
The group made good time, and Yoruichi and Sui-Feng were both pleasantly surprised that Naruto was capable of keeping up with them, even while using Shunpo. He was fast, almost unbelievably so, and only seemed to get faster as they travelled. Then again, Yoruichi realized suddenly that Naruto was a visual-kinetic learner; he learned best by watching someone demonstrate a technique he wanted to learn and then practising on his own. The fact he learned Shunpo just by watching a few Shinigami over the years was not so surprising when she thought of it that way.
It also confirmed her suspicion that Naruto did indeed have a larger than average well of reiryoku, but she couldn't feel his reiatsu at all. Knowing him though, he must have found a way to hide his presence in its' entirety somehow.
Deciding she might as well wait to ask her questions for some other time, Yoruichi held her tongue and continued on her way, with Sui-Feng directly behind her and Naruto beside her, with Omaeda bringing up the rear.
When they arrived in the Seireitei a few hours later, they had shown their passes to the Gate Guardian Jidanbo who greeted them with a large smile, before they made their way towards the Ichiban-tai Barracks and the Captains Meeting Room. First though, they had to make a small detour so that Yoruichi could change into Uniform.
Once the group arrived at the Niban-tai barracks, the group split off, with Omaeda offering Naruto a quick tour of what he was certain would be a place Naruto would be frequenting in the near future. When Naruto accepted, the large man immediately started off towards the training fields, and beckoned for Naruto follow after him.
When the two men were out of sight Yoruichi and Sui-Feng made their way to the Captains Quarters so that Yoruichi could change.
"This is our Squad Training Ground. We have regular training sessions here, and the Taichou often joins us in our sparring matches to offer personal instruction to those who need it." Omaeda stated proudly; and within the said training ground, several Shinobi were bounding about throwing punches and kicks at each other in what Omaeda described as pure 'Hakuda' matches to improve skill and endurance.
Moving on he showed him the actual barracks where the unseated and seated officers excluding himself and Sui-Feng slept, then directed their attention to the main building where the administrative offices were located. Their tour was cut a little short when Yoruichi reappeared in her shihakushou and white haori, though, but Naruto wasn't complaining. "Having fun you two?"
Omaeda saluted the woman as Sui-Feng appeared next to her, standing at her shoulder dutifully. "I was just giving Namikaze-sama a tour of the facilities Taichou."
Yoruichi smirked and turned her attention to Naruto, who had hung his head and placed a hand to his forehead in exasperation. "How do you like it Naruto?"
Naruto looked up again, dragging his hand down his face. "It's nice, but aren't we supposed to be somewhere Yoruichi?"
Yoruichi frowned, then pouted childishly. "Did you call call my amazing barracks, 'nice'? Not awesome, or amazing, or awe inspiring. Just nice?"
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, it's nice; and we have an appointment correct. We should get moving before we end up emulating an old friend of mine."
Yoruichi snorted after a moment of thought, knowing exactly who he was talking about. Kami-sama bless that man for providing her with endless hours of amusement at his expense.
After a moment or two quietly snickering to herself, Yoruichi nodded and ordered Omaeda along as well since this meeting would require the presence of both the Taichou's and their Fuku-Taichou's. Sui-Feng would have to remain behind as she wasn't even a seated officer yet, even though she was nearly as strong as Omaeda.
When the three of them were finished saying their goodbyes to Sui-Feng, leaving her to train in the yard with the other members of the Onmitsukidou, they left the Niban-tai barracks and made their way deeper into Seireitei.
It only took them another twenty minutes to arrive at the Ichiban-tai barracks, and when they did they were greeted by the Sasakibe Chojiro, the squad's Fuku-Taichou. He immediately directed Naruto through a set of shoji doors which Naruto quickly realized upon entry led into the office of a short old man with a very long white beard and large eyebrows. Looking back at Yoruichi, she nodded and then left for the far end of the hall with Chojiro following behind her.
Closing the door behind him, Naruto made his way over to the desk, standing in front of it and submitting himself to the older man's closed eyed scrutiny. After several moments, the old man opened one of his eyes only very slightly and spoke.
"Your reiatsu is being actively suppressed, masterfully as well if I might add Namikaze-san." Yamamoto stated calmly. "I believe it has something to do with those symbols on your wrists?"
Naruto raised an eyebrow, surprised by the elderly man's ability to see passed the seals he had placed on the 'vents' on his wrist, which were the source of the outward flow of reiryoku that produced a being's reiatsu. With a nod, Naruto remained silent, waiting for the older man to continue.
"Very interesting Namikaze-san, those symbols create some sort of extremely complicated kido unlike any I've seen. Derived from your time living in District Thirteen I presume?" Another nod, and Yamamoto's eye closed once more. "I would like to introduce you to the Captains in a moment, since you will undoubtedly be working with them in the near future; but first I would like to ask how you have been faring here in Soul Society."
Naruto brushed a hand through his hair, and sighed. "Better than can be expected actually, I've been to some of the outer districts of the Rukongai, and I'm lucky I was placed where I was. It took me quite a few weeks to adapt to using reiryoku after all, so for those first few weeks I was essentially powerless." Pausing for a moment and taking in the elderly man's lack of reaction, Naruto cleared his throat and continued on. "I managed to build myself a compound out in Hokutan, and have been living off the land for the most part ever since. Other than that, it hasn't been too bad... other than the boredom that quite regularly set in on me."
An odd sound, almost like chuckling met his ears then. "Perhaps we can fix that. You have quite the vast reserves of reiryoku, quite a bit greater than any I've sensed in my many years. Perhaps the title the Shihouin Clan Elders have bestowed upon you was more accurate than we had originally assumed."
"God-Slayer huh." Naruto muttered distastefully.
Yamamoto nodded before standing from his seat and picking up his cane from where it had been leaning against his desk. "You did after all slay a primordial demon god known as the Juubi while you were alive, and barely seventeen years old, so the title itself holds truth to it." Walking around his desk, Yamamoto stood next to Naruto, his presence actually making the hair on the back of his next stand on end at the proximity. "Never-the-less, for the time being I see great potential in you Namikaze-san. Please do not betray the trust I am placing in you by allowing you to join the Goteijusantai."
Naruto nodded, and the two were off for the meeting hall where the Taichou of the Goteijusantai were waiting for them to arrive.
When they did arrive, the other Captains were standing in two rows on either side of the door, leading up to a raised platform where Naruto assumed Yamamoto would stand. When he was proven right, Naruto deigned to stand in the very centre of the room, with Captains on both sides and Yamamoto in front of him.
Tapping the bottom of his can on the floor, Yamamoto peered out at his Captains from beneath his brows. "I hereby call this meeting to Order; we are here to discuss the Official In-statement of the Namikaze Clan here in the Seireitei as one of the lesser Noble Houses, and what this could mean for Soul Society as a whole. We must also make a decision as to which Division the First Generation Head of the Family will be joining and representing in their Clan's colours."
This was something Naruto didn't see coming, but he was a Shinobi, so he already had an idea of his own. "My apologies Sou-Taichou, but based on my already existing skill-set, would it not be best to have me placed in the Niban-tai?"
Yamamoto frowned in thought before seeming to come to a quick decision. "As the Niban-tai is already represented by the Shihouin Royal Family, I am not so certain that would be wise."
Yoruichi stepped forward and turned her attention directly on the Sou-Taichou. "I've already discussed it with the Elders of Tenshiheisōban, and they have agreed to allow the Namikaze Clan Complete control of the Onmitsukidou; we already have enough on our plate as it is Sou-Taichou-sama, and it would be a great help, not only to myself but to the Omaeda Clan as well, as they have been a part of the Patrol Corps operations for some time and are unable to shoulder any additional burdens."
Yamamoto nodded appreciatively in Yoruichi's general direction as she stepped back in to place, before he turned his attention on Naruto. "Is this acceptable?"
Naruto turned his attention to Yoruichi for a moment with a raised eyebrow before nodding mutely. That was when the sweat-drop formed on the back of his head as Yoruichi pumped a fist in victory. The thoughts going through her head being rather joyous about how much paperwork she had been able to pawn off on someone else. This meant far less cramping in her wrists and hands from now on. Yay.
"Then it is decided, Namikaze-san will be inducted into the Niban-tai as the new head of the Onmitsukidou; Shihouin-Taichou, from here on you will be responsible for his training. There is much he still needs to learn about the duties of a Shinigami, not to mention his new duties as head of the Onmitsukidou. Until he is properly acclimated, he is your responsibility."
Yoruichi nodded and sent a wink his way, sending a strange shudder down his spine. Why did he suddenly feel like he'd just been thrown to the metaphorical wolves?
"Then with this, Welcome to the Goteijusantai, Namikaze Naruto-san."
(AN: Bad spot for a Time-Skip, but I wasn't entirely sure how to go with that. So, we're time skipping to around the time of the disaster known as the creation of the Visoreds, and from here, we'll see the real start of this story)
Forty two years later, Approximately One Hundred and Ten Years Before Start of Bleach Canon
Naruto sighed once again as he looked out over the last batch of new recruits. He could already tell that they were going to require a lot of work, and he honestly didn't know how to start. The last time he'd taken on new recruits they already had a good grasp of the basics for this particular profession, this time though, he had taken them fresh from the Academy instead of the the Detention Force or Patrol Corp.
These new recruits were fresh faced and thought they were ready for anything, but oh how wrong they were. Naruto had only been a member of the Goteijusantai for about forty years now, but he'd seen things that any normal person would have been greatly disturbed by. He wouldn't go over it in detail with anyone at any time, but he'd seen things. Things that refused to leave his memories, and by proxy him, in peace. Things that to this day still haunted his dreams.
Like that incident with Miyako and Kaien, of whom both were among his closest friends. He had been introduced to the Shiba Clan Members by Yoruichi and her friend Urahara, the Juniban-tai Taichou and head of the Gijutsukaihatsu Kyoku(Technological Development Department), about thirty some odd years back after Yoruichi had decided that he had acclimated to his position more quickly than she'd thought he would. Even after knowing him for as long as she had, some things still surprised her.
He had immediately hit it off with Kaien and his sister Kukaku; while Ganju saw him much like he did Kukaku, thanks to their similar styles of dress and propensity to beat the ever loving shit out of things that pissed them off. So Ganju was more terrified of him than anything else, when he'd punched the youngest Shiba straight in the face after he'd had told him to "Go jump off a cliff and die old man", probably didn't help much either.
Now, it wasn't the part about effectively telling him to go and commit suicide that had pissed him off. No, he just refused to be called 'Old Man'; he wasn't that old damn it, he was barely over a hundred, even including his seventeen years of living.
After meeting them he'd been introduced to Isshin, one of the Taichou from the meeting he'd attended roughly ten years prior, and like his Niece and Nephew though on a slightly different wavelength, the two had become fast friends.
It was a few years later after Kaien had taken the position as Lieutenant of the Jusanban-tai, that something terrible happened. Naruto had been out visiting his old home in Hokutan when he'd sensed the Hollow, but something about it had been off. Way off.
(Flashback: Attack of Metastacia)
Sitting on his deck, looking out over the lake set in front of his home, Naruto smoked his pipe while wondering about his current life. He could honestly say he enjoyed having friends again, having precious people. Ever since that night where Yoruichi had kissed him goodnight, she hadn't done anything like it again. Well, not exactly like it.
She would pinch his backside when passing him by in the barracks, or tease him by sneaking up on him and pressing her breasts against his back while he did paperwork. Relatively speaking, she had actually gotten bolder since that night.
He had to admit he was attracted to her, but what hot blooded male wouldn't be? The woman was gorgeous, blessed with a curvaceous and slender body, and mischievous golden eyes that reminded him of a feline. Graceful, powerful, athletic, flirtatious, and possessing an amazing sense of humour not so dissimilar from his own. She was a woman most men could only ever dream about. The perfect woman from any teenager's heated fantasies. Even though he wasn't a teenager anymore, she made him feel like one again. Was he in love with her? Perhaps, but to him it was still too soon to know for sure.
With a sigh, Naruto tipped his pipe and tapped the contents out onto the grass beneath his deck, it was then that he felt it. A familiar tingling at the edge of his senses a familiar yet strange reiatsu, both hollow and shinigami, and yet the reiatsu that felt more shinigami in nature was slowly fading. Eyes snapping wide open in shock when he recognized this particular shinigami's reiatsu, Naruto literally tore apart his deck as he leaped from from his yard and over the wall, splintering the wood and sending pieces of shattered mahogany flying about in frenzied flight.
He ran in her direction with bursts of repeated shunpo, blasting over the village of Hokutan so quickly not even the shinigami on duty had been able to make him out as a blur against the evening sky; and when he finally reached the area he'd sensed the strange reiatsu emanating from, he was met with a grisly sight.
Six corpses laid on the ground, slowly disintegrating as life left them, body parts strewn across the small forest clearing in a gory mess. Naruto grunted his displeasure, his sense of smell being quite a bit stronger than most, so this was bothering him more than such a sight usually would. It was always the smell that got to him.
Looking up at the sound of something moving, Naruto's eyes went wide in shock as a shadowy figure emerged from the underbrush.
Shiba Kaien was a nervous wreck as he and Ukitake Juushiro, his superior officer and Taichou of the Jusanban-tai, made their way towards the last known location of Miyako's squad. He knew there was something strange about that mission, ever since he first heard what it entailed, yet he didn't think even Miyako would fall prey to this strange hollow; but when a frantic survivor of this particular disaster had burst through the doors of the barracks screaming his head off for help, Kaien had known right then and there that he'd had good reason to worry.
His only relief was that he could still feel her reiatsu, it was faint but it was there. So he had set a frantic pace, his ill captain easily keeping up with him as he did so. It was when they arrived that they were treated to a surprise however.
There were two individuals standing in the forest clearing, one was unmistakably his Miyako, yet something was wrong with her. Most of her face was shadowed, yet there were two dark red glowing eyes leering out from beneath her messy bangs, and the most ghastly of smiles was on her face.
The other individual however, was someone who was supposedly on a short leave from his duties. Namikaze Naruto, the leader of the Onmitsukidou was standing across from Miyako, one of his hands resting on the hilt of his wakizashi Zanpakutou, while the other was holding what appeared to be a small square of rough parchment. His visage was calm and analyzing, yet his posture was simply menacing. The man was quite large after all, and when all of such a man's muscles were tensed in preparation to cut you down, you're damn right it was terrifying.
Dropping down into the clearing, both Ukitake-Taichou and Kaien took up position on either side of the young Noble, looking across at Miyako who hadn't budged an inch since they'd arrived.
"Naruto-kun, could you tell us what's going on, and most importantly what it is you're doing?" Juushiro was the first to speak and Naruto barely moved to acknowledge his presence. Simply grunting an affirmative before speaking quietly.
"I sensed something strange with Miyako's reiatsu while I was sitting at home enjoying my short vacation, and rushed straight here; this is what I found, six dead bodies and Miyako. She attacked me almost as soon as I'd acknowledged her presence, while her reiatsu is being suppressed and her reiryoku seemingly devoured by a Hollow of some kind, a Hollow which I believe is actually inside her body at the moment." Naruto answered calmly. "I managed to quickly subdue her with a stasis seal, which I'm holding the key for right now, and it seems to have also halted the Hollow in it's tracks. Her reiatsu hasn't been getting any weaker since I activated it, and the hollow has simply been staring at me the entire time since."
Juushiro nodded and Kaien took a step forward before coming to an abrupt stop at the sound of Naruto shouting.
"Do not go near her, Kaien.!" Naruto growled as he moved his right foot outwards and started dragging it through the dirt. "Not until I've finished; if you get too close there's a good chance you'll disrupt my stasis seal and the hollow will get loose." Kaien nodded numbly and stepped back, Juushiro simply looking confused at the use of the word seal so many times when he could not sense any active kido. When he asked, Naruto simply replied, "Trade secret." and went back to what he was doing.
Slowly, Naruto started moving around Miyako in a wide circle, using his feet to draw something in the dirt every few feet. He kept his eyes trained on Miyako's possessed body as he moved, not even blinking. When he finally made his way all the way around, he stamped his foot down on the first marking he'd made earlier and shouted, "FUIN!"
Blue light erupted from the earth all around Miyako, blocking her from view and shooting into the sky for miles. Kaien, fearing the worst almost made to jump into the light before his shihakushou was snagged by a strong grip and he was yanked away from the pillar of light and dropped on his ass by a disgruntled Shinobi.
"Don't be getting so stressed out Kaien." Naruto grumbled, having finally dropped the tag he'd been holding and drawing his sword. "It took me a while to figure something out to save Miyako, which is why I had her in the stasis seal in the first place; the seal that I just drew however is used to expel alien elements from the host body. It can be used for any manner of things, Healing, and Exorcisms being among the most common of uses since the seal is indiscriminate. It's not to be used on a pregnant woman though, especially when it's had this much reiryoku pumped into it. I just haven't figured out a name for it yet..." The last part of that statement was added as an inconsequential after thought, and almost made Kaien face palm at the poor timing.
After he'd finished explaining the uses of the seal, the light had begun to fade and the trio could just barely make out two forms within the fading light. One was humanoid and quite obviously the object of Kaien's worry, while the other was most definitely a hollow. It was large and almost spider-like, with dozens of strange tentacles all frozen in place by the stasis seal, seemingly being the last parts of the hollows body to be expelled from the young woman as they were all reaching towards her back and nearly touching her shihakushou.
Not wasting even a second, Naruto dashed forward, breaking through the boundary of the stasis seal and releasing those inside it. Miyako had fallen limply to the earth while the hollow went flying towards the tree line. Before it could right itself though, Naruto appeared above it in a burst of shunpo, his sword already driven into it's mask up to the hilt.
"Ja ne, Hollow-teme." Naruto growled angrily as the hollow screamed in pain and began disintigrating.
Landing on his feet after ripping his sword from what remained of the hollows face, Naruto swiped his sword, sending the hollow's blood splattering to the grass, before sliding it back into it's scabbard on his lower back just as the disintigrating corpse of the strange hollow crashed into the trees behind him.
Naruto scoffed over his shoulder before facing forward and making his way over to the limp body in the centre of charred earth that had been the result of such a massive release of pure reishi. Kneeling down so he could roll her onto her back, Naruto hoisted her torso into his arm and used his other hand to check for a pulse. Letting out a breath he'd been holding in relief, he turned to the stunned Captain and his Lieutenant with a serious expression on his face. "She's alive, but incredibly weak, she needs immediate medical attention Taichou."
Juushiro nodded and motioned for Kaien to take her. "We'll need to transport her to the barracks of the Yonban-tai, Unohana-Taichou can take much better care of her than anyone else in all of Seireitei."
Kaien nodded, leaning down to pick up the limp form of his wife before sending Naruto an appreciative nod. "Thank you, Naruto-dono. For what you've done for me today, I am honoured that I call you my friend, no; my brother."
Juushiro then turned to Naruto and smiled uneasily. "I know you were on a short holiday Namikaze-san, but I'll need you to hand in a report on what happened here to Yamamoto-sou-taichou immediately."
Naruto groaned and ran a hand through his hair at that particular statement, just the thing he needed to top off the night. "Damn it, yeah I get it. There goes my vacation."
He had been a little upset that his well deserved vacation was being interrupted, but considering one of his few precious people had been in danger, it was worth it to save her. She recovered quickly under Unohana's attentive care and was very thankful to him for saving her life; Naruto had been on very good terms with the entirety of the Shiba Clan ever since then, and was often invited for dinners and even the odd party. Kaien had even taken to calling him Aniki, while Isshin was calling him 'oi-kun' (nephew) whenever he went over to visit. It was nice having something like a family after so long.
Though he could do without Isshin practically demanding that he make it official and marry his niece immediately.
The two of them got a kick out of beating him to a pulp at every mention of marriage. Though again, Naruto wouldn't mind it all that much, Kukaku was a fun person to be around after all, and they both seemed to enjoy good tobacco and sake.
About two and a half years ago though, the talk of engagement had gone beyond being just a simple joke at their expense and had actually become official. Isshin had actually been surprised that they'd both agreed to it, and relented when they said they would be married only after they'd managed to get to know one another much better than they already had. Basically telling him that they wouldn't be getting married for at least another decade at the least.
Naruto smiled fondly in memory when Isshin had actually started crying in happiness, saying how happy he was that his Niece had found such a kind and powerful man to marry; yet how sad he was that she would someday soon be leaving his house and joining a different Clan entirely.
Then there was something else that had been brought to his attention. The hundreds of missing souls in the Rukongai, including a certain shop-keeper that Naruto had been a patron of for close to one hundred years. These disappearances had started a little over ten years prior, and Naruto had been personally looking into it after a certain part of the investigation had piqued Naruto's suspicion towards a particular shinigami.
Clearing his throat, Naruto left one of the senior members of the Onmitsukidou to watch over the new recruits and get them started on their training as he turned and left the training field. His suspicions concerning the decade long investigation had been proven mostly correct. He'd listened in on several meetings between the co-conspirators, a Fuku-Taichou and his subordinate actually, and had been able to discern just what it was they were doing; and that the leader had been the one who was responsible for the near death of his soon to be sister in law all those years ago.
He didn't have enough actual concrete evidence to bring it to the the Sou-Taichou's attention however, the Fuku-Taichou's record was spotless to begin with, so simply coming forward and stating his opinion on the matter would do nothing more than make the one responsible suspicious, and Naruto himself look like a fool.
With a sigh, Naruto entered his office and gathered up his files. He would need to take some time at home to go over everything again and try to make more sense of all this. What the young man's true goals were remained a mystery, and Naruto absolutely hated mysteries.
They made his head hurt.
Leaving his office with files in hand, he nearly bumped into Sui-Feng, who had been preparing to knock on his door. Smiling at her warmly as he closed the door behind him Naruto gestured with his head for her to walk with him before they both set off down the hall. "Is there something you needed, Sui-Feng?"
Sui-Feng nodded, falling into step with the much larger individual almost twice her height with hurried steps as he quickly made his way down the hall. "I wanted to catch you before you left on another vacation Naruto-sama. Yoruichi-sama was worried and wanted me to pass on a message to you."
Naruto raised an eyebrow and looked over at Sui-Feng out the corner of his eye. "Why would Yoruichi be worried? I'm going on vacation, not a mission."
Sui-Feng shook her head. "She wouldn't say more than that Naruto-sama, just that she was worried and for you to be careful out in the Rukongai. With all of the souls in the Rukongai that have gone missing lately, she must just want to be sure that you're not going to become part of that particular statistic. Though I'm sure she's worried for nothing, you are rumoured to be one of the strongest shinigami in the Goteijusantai after all. I even heard that Yoruichi was thinking of putting your name forward for a Promotion to Taichou."
Naruto laughed boisterously at that and turned to Sui-Feng as they stopped at the Tori-Gates leading into the compound. "Is she now, I would say that I was honoured, but with my upcoming marriage it would be more a hindrance than anything else." Placing a hand atop Sui-Feng's head and giving it a gentle pat, Naruto smiled down at her reassuringly before turning away and making his way down the stone steps. "Don't you worry Sui-Feng, nothing is going to happen to me; I'll be back in a week, so make sure that my new recruits are training hard ne?"
Unknown to either of them, they wouldn't see each other again for over a century.
Hokutan, three days later: Naruto's Lake-side Manor
Within a darkened room, lit only by the light of a single candle, Naruto sat at his desk pouring over the accumulated files related to his investigation. He'd already done so dozens of times, but he needed to be absolutely sure that there was nothing in these files to help him expose the current object of his most recent ire before he gave up.
This young Fuku-Taichou was much better at covering his tracks then he could have ever believed possible; being able to hide the majority of his activities from even someone like himself who was the best at what he did. After reading the last line on a particular report for the sixth time that night, Naruto closed the file and growled.
'Nothing, absolutely nothing here is useful.' Naruto thought heatedly. 'None of my men have been able to find anything concrete that would point to Aizen, and even I haven't been able to procure any solid evidence of his actions. Just vague conversations between him and his subordinates, that if used in the right context could implicate him in a variety of crimes or be construed as completely harmless conversations, yet not enough concrete proof. If I try to dig any further though, it could just drive him underground so to speak, and the trail would go cold.'
Returning the files to the storage seal on his left arm, Naruto blew out his candle and prepared to turn in for the night; at least until his entire house, yard and all, went up in a blazing fireball that reached into the sky, visible to everyone within twenty miles.
The inferno raged for several long minutes after that, the explosion dying down to reveal a smouldering crater and the remaining half of the house not caught in the initial blast covered in angry flames.
Naruto shoved a large piece of fallen timber off of himself from where he'd been thrown by the massive force of the explosion, through several walls and into the far end of his sitting room to be precise, of which only a quarter remained. More than half of his home, including the walls surrounding him had been consumed by flames, and even more of the building was simply gone; having been completely obliterated in the initial explosion and leaving nothing but a crater close to a kilometre in diameter, littered with the still burning remains of the home he'd built with his own two hands a hundred years ago.
Jumping from the burning wreckage, Naruto landed at the edge of the lake, getting out of the haze and smoke so that he could breath without slowly suffocating himself breathing in the noxious fumes. Looking about himself for any sign of his attacker, and finding none, Naruto examined himself to make sure he hadn't sustained any serious injuries.
When not even a scratch was found, Naruto flicked a piece of smouldering rubble from his shoulder before his attention was drawn to the area behind him by the sound of multiple bursts of static. There were four dull-thumps in total, and when he turned completely, his gaze was cold and intense, catching only a glimpse of his attackers before what he supposed was the leader swung their sword at him in a wide arc..
He didn't have a chance to do much else however, as a blast of bright yellow energy rushed towards him off the edge of that sword, disintegrating the earth along it's path as it passed and digging a deep trench along the shore of the lake.
Naruto's eyes went wide in shock, moments before his form was swallowed up by the bright yellow wave of energy, and another massive explosion rocked the clearing.
The alert sounding all throughout the Seireitei sounding from the sirens installed in the Juniban-tai Barracks, and the emergency Captains Meeting called almost immediately afterwards had Yoruichi on serious edge as she entered the Assembly Hall. She was the second to arrive excluding the Sou-Taichou himself, noticing Isshin already there as well, and the others arrived only moments later. The Sou-Taichou didn't waste any time once all were present and began informing them of the situation.
"I have just received a report from Urahara-Taichou that is most disturbing. Not five minutes ago, the reiatsu of a powerful hollow was detected in West Rukongai District Three-" Yoruichi's eyes widened, her heart feeling as if it had suddenly gone painfully still within her breast as she took an unconscious step towards the centre of the room. "It has been classified as being beyond Captain Class, and has been reported to be attacking someone within this area. As I know of only one prominent individual who calls this district his home and is currently residing within the area, we can be certain that it is not his reiatsu that drew the hollow to him. For now, I need three Captains to head to this district immediately; Shihouin-Taichou I am assigning you command for the time being as you are the only Taichou present who is aware of the location of the Namikaze Clan Estate."
Yoruichi nodded and pointed her thumb towards the door, Urahara already falling into step behind her as she made her way out, and Isshin following along less than a moment later all too eager to ensure that his soon to be nephew was alright. The three of them vanished from sight the second the doors had opened, meeting up with a waiting Sui-Feng along the way, who followed them out of Seireitei.
If only they knew what they were about to see, maybe then they would have been better prepared.
When they reached the clearing where Naruto's residence was located, they all stopped dead in complete and utter shock when they took in the sight of the once regal home, now a mass of blackened wood and raging flames. More than half of the house simply wasn't there anymore, the ground having been cratered by what must have been massive force. A Cero by the looks of it. Most of the home appearing to have been completely obliterated by the signature technique of the Menos Class hollows.
Beyond the house, what used to be a beautiful lake shore, was scarred by a massive trench in the earth, stretching along the shore of the lake for over one hundred yards before terminating in a burning pile of fallen trees. Blackened earth and smouldering debris strewn about the clearing, along with several more smaller craters, shattered earth and crushed timber telling the story of a fierce battle having taken place here.
The one thing that worried them the most though, was that there was no sign of Naruto anywhere in the clearing.
Yoruichi turned to the three behind her, her visage serious, a far sight different from her usual playful expressions. "Spread out and search the area, he might be in need of medical attention. If not, then we'll need to know exactly what happened here."
The three nodded and did just that, Sui-Feng making her way over to the woods to the far side of the clearing where a corpse of fallen trees had cleared an area of nearly fifty square meters, while Isshin turned to the pile of still burning lumber at the end of the huge trench in the lake-shore. Kisuke made his way towards the largest space in the clearing which was littered with craters and upturned earth, and Yoruichi made her way over to the burning remains of Naruto's home.
The group searched the area for over an hour, finding nothing of any great importance other than a charred piece of fabric from Naruto's hakama and the broken scabbard of his Zanpakutou, before a shout from Sui-Feng drew their attention to the Northern most edge of the clearing.
When they arrived at Sui-Feng's location, Yoruichi immediately went in search of her, calling her name worriedly. Using Sui-Feng's subdued replies as a guide, the trio of Captains finally found Sui-Feng on her knees on the ground, holding something in her arms, her shoulders trembling and her head bowed.
Yoruichi wearily approached the younger woman. "Sui-Feng what's wrong, what have you found?"
Sui-Feng sniffled weakly, turning slightly to reveal the item in her arms to the others, and when they caught sight of it they all froze in shock. There in Sui-Feng's arms, clutched tightly to her chest, was the torn and bloodied remnants of Naruto's prized Haori. The distinguishing item of clothing that he wore at all times, that had become recognized as the Signature dress of the Namikaze Clan Head.
There was very little of it left, the edges charred as if it had been burnt, and the red fabric darkened by a large bloodstain around a gaping hole with burnt edges in what would have been the part of the haori worn over his heart.
Yoruichi immediately dropped to her knees, her eyes wide and tears already streaming down her cheeks. She shook her head and spoke her denial repeatedly; but to the sombre Isshin and Urahara, both of whom wore grim expressions, it was more clear than they wanted to admit.
Namikaze Naruto, was gone.
AN: Phew, that chapter was long as all hell. Over twenty thousand words and yet I'm already working on the next instalment. Anyway, the next chapter is going to skip ahead to the canon time-line, and we're going to introduce Ichigo and Rukia as well as the other humans and a special character from later on in the Bleach Canon. If anyone can tell me who it was that attacked Naruto at the end of this chapter, you win a cookie, and the right to suggest a female character for the harem from either the Naruto or Bleach Universes. This does not mean they will definitely be added, but if I actually like the character and think they would make a good fit, then I will strongly consider it. That also doesn't mean the rest of you fine people can't make suggestions either, just that the person who guesses at the identity of our mysterious attacker correctly will be able to make a suggestion that I will give some very serious thought to, and the chances of my agreeing with said suggestion will be quite a bit higher than it normally would be.
Now, I re-read this chapter a few times and made some minor adjustments to spelling and grammar, but I may have missed some things; I truly value your feedback, be it good or bad, but outright flames will be ignored. If you don't like the story, that's too bad, but I'm not forcing you to read. It is physically impossible for me to tie you down to your chair and glue your eyes to your computer screens when I don't even know where you live, or possess the means to acquire that particular information to begin with.
Leave a like/favourite or whatever and review to tell me what you think and how you like the story thus far; until next time people, CrimsonxAEGIS signing off.