A/N: So. The Election. That happened yesterday. Wasn't even AWARE of it until almost ten o' clock in the evening. AND I forgot to vote!
Anywho, I'm back! LONG LIVE REQUEST YEAR! WARNING! NAUGHTY BITS IN THIS CHAPTER! NOT SAFE FOR WORK!
On another note, I WAS going to take a hiatus from writing for awhile after this due to health issues and the like. I have since decided NOT to do so, despite these attacks. To the flamers that are issues death threats and the lot, you and YOUR MANY sock puppet accounts can fuck right off. So, one last time:
I will live and let live and I will be the better person for it. Go bother someone else. This is the last acknowledgement you'll get out of me; I simply don't have the time or energy to stress out over your vicious attacks.
I've also given thought to training a successor of sorts, so there's that. I mean with my health, I won't be around forever and one day, like it or not, my heart's going to give out. Hence the idea of an apprentice of sorts. Or two. Or three. Its kinda funny, really. Once I mentioned the idea of mentoring others, people were really perceptive to it. I've even picked out a handful of guys and girls who were receptive to taking up mantle, and more flock to the idea by the day.
Interested? Hit me up with a PM.
After all, is it not the duty of a man to help his fellow man? I like to think that it is, so in helping others, I'm giving back to this community. And in aiding writers, training others, I leave behind a new generation to carry on my work.
Not going to name names or anything at this time, but I'm fairly certain you know some of them. You'll see who they are when you see their works. And when that person or persons step forward and I fade into the background, you'll know that they have my blessing.
But hey, enough about me and passing away! I'm still alive for now!
And I promised you guys a chapter, did I not?
Here you go~!
Somebody loses their miiiiiind~!
"I want lots of children."
Wrath of the Ancients
She was going to find them.
Just the thought of it nearly caused Anna to lose control of her element, creating a fine mist around her as she walked. None had dared to question her on the road, and now that she'd finally reached the forest itself she felt eerily at ease. Almost calkm, even. Animals shied away from her presence, and if anyone dwelt in these woods, then they were inclined to let her be. All the better!
Foreign nations really weren't so bad, she decided.
At first she'd been terrified of leaving Arendelle at all; new powers or no, the idea of leaving her homeland was still a foreign one and she knew next to nothing of the lands beyond the great sea. She knew next to nothing when it came to sailing, so she couldn't venture out that way herself. In the end she'd been forced to "convince" a captain to take her there. It had been...an enlightening experience, to say the least. Very enlightening indeed. She hadn't truly understood the extent of her abilities until that moment. Funny how a man responded to having the very water in his body bent against his will. Anna had never know that the human form was comprised of so very much of it, all just awaiting her will.
His crew proved most pliable once they saw what was left of him.
Naruto would forgive her for it, of course.
Those fine sailors certainly had!
They'd ferried her to the Elemental Nations in near record time, at that! It hadn't even taken a week! Of course, she hadn't left any of them alive. Word would spread of her deeds, people would talk, and she couldn't have that. They wouldn't understand. They'd think her cruel. Mad. Derranged. It never occurred to her that she might genuinely be losing her mind. Not a once. To Anna, it all seemed perfectly reasonable. Her sister was being terribly selfish, hoarding Naruto all too herself. She needed to learn to share. Hadn't they shared everything since they were girls?
Nothing could be further from the truth, but in her state of derangement, Anna didn't realize this. Didn't even recognize it. Her mind coming unhinged like a rusty door in good need of an oiling. She paid no heed to it, just as she ignored the fading light of the setting sun. It didn't matter. Day or not, night or morning, she would continue her search until she found them.
Still, she deemed her reasoning sound and pressed onward.
She'd spend days tracking the envoy from Konoha.
And now her moment was nearly at hand.
She had only to follow the river.
She would find them.
And when she did...
...everything would be set right.
(...Deep Within the Forest...)
Kiba wasn't at all surprised to find Deidara's near the riverbank.
What was left of him, at any rate.
"Well," he sighed shortly, "Why am I not surprised?"
Thrown to the wayside like so much refuse, the once proud bomber's body was little more than a shriveled up dust. If not for the wisps of blond hair and tattered cloth amidst the many markings peppering the trail, he wouldn't have recognized him at all. The Inuzuka felt no pity for him. The explosives expert had willingly gone up against two elemental, near gods in their own right. Fire and Ice. Who in their right mind would do that? It was like jumping into a hurricane and opening a parachute.
The only result could be chaos and a messy death.
Shinobi might be able to use jutsu to bend the elements, but they couldn't control-command?-it at a whim. There were limits. A ninja could not snap their fingers and obliterate a swathe of forest, nor could they use that flame to fly. A ninja could not create a blade of ice, nor force an entire country into a desolate winter wasteland in a fit of rage. Elsa and Naruto knew no such limits. They scoffed at them and pushed them aside with sly ease. Their feats stretched the imagination and boggled the mind. They were living incarnations of their element, near godlike in terms of raw power, and together they were near unbeatable.
Should they ever realize their true potential, Kiba was certain the Elemental Nations, no, the very world itself would tremble before them. Granted, Naruto and Else did not seem the conquering sort, but one never knew these days. The same had been thought of Itachi before his deep cover mission. And look how that turned out! He'd massacred his entire clan! Lacking that, the two elementals were all the more like to destroy someone if they were provoked. As such, he'd been assigned to them to make sure they didn't go mad and start blasting things.
Hence the reason he'd taken it upon himself to stay in their good graces. No fool, he!
Even without his memories Naruto still held a great of power, after all.
So, no, Deidara's death didn't surprise him, not a bit.
What did surprise him was Hinata's insistence.
Why had she followed him out here at all?
Was she trying to make things worse?!
"I want to state for the record that this is a horrible idea." he sighed, palming his face as they climbed over a frozen log. "You do know Elsa's likely to kill you, right?" risking a dark glower over his shoulder, he absently brushed aside the remains of a charred tree. " After what you did-nearly fucking up her relationship just in case you forgot-she isn't going to be happy with you. It'd be best if you just apologize and beg forgiveness." a horrible realization dawned on him then, and he gave a small start, turning to face the steely-eyed Hyuuga.
"You are going to apologize, right?" he ventured, frowning.
"N-No." she stammered out, flinching slightly beneath his incredulous stare. "I'm not."
Akamaru whined at his side, as if to say:
"I...I'm not apologizing."
Kiba's jaw dropped.
"Idiot! "What are you thinking?!" grabbing her by the shoulders, he gave the impressionable girl a shake. "Have you lost your mind?! You have, haven't you, ya lovesick puppy!" Words tumbled out of him as he thrashed her from side to side, sending her head lolling wildly to and fro. Maybe if he shook her hard enough he could knock some sense back into her. Anything was better than leading her to the Naruto now. If she did and tried something like that again...!
"I had him first!" Hinata cried between shakes! "She can't just swoop in and take him!"
"That doesn't matter! He doesn't even remember you for crying out loud! It's been years!"
"Then I'll make him remember!" her voice rose, becoming frantic.
"No, you'll make its worse!"
"I will not!"
Kiba's hand arced out seemingly of its own accord, crunching into a nearby tree with a dull thud. Pain flared up his palm but he ignored it; the alternative was giving Hinata a good smack and that was something he very much wished to avoid. Still, his violent outburst appeared to have caught her off guard for the time at least; because she'd ceased her rambling for the moment. Pivoting to face the now very wide-eyed kunoichi he gave her one final, firm shake, desperate to make her see reason. He was entirely unprepared for the waterworks that followed.
Tears welled up in her eyes and Hinata broke down, collapsing into Kiba's arms.
Her mind was a riot of emotion; anger sorrow pain and suffering all balled up into one tangled mess. A knot she couldn't untie. Try as she might these feelings wouldn't fade. They'd only grown stronger. Its said that the heart grows fonder through absence and they had done just that. But the absence was only compounded by the fact that Naruto was here and yet wasn't at the same time. The man in his body was a stranger to her; he might have his laugh, his smile, all his abilities and more, though he couldn't have been more different. With his memories gone it was almost as if they'd never had anything at all and...and...
Spirits, it hurt!
"I...I just miss him." she sobbed, clutching at his jacket. "Its not right! Its not fair!"
"Listen, Hinata." he spoke the words slowly, choosing each one with great care. "I know you're hurting inside. I know you're angry. Hell, I'm angry, too! Naruto was more than a friend to you. He was your everything, an ally, a friend, a reason to live. He was my friend too. But we need to accept that he's moved on and now fuss over him like a couple of idiots.
"Who's an idiot, now?"
The Inuzuka froze.
Don't turn around, his mind warned. If you value your life, do not, turn, around!
His body, however, decided against that sound reasoning.
Turning on his good leg, he could only look on in silent horror as the brush near the bank of the river stirred and parted before the passage of the one who had spoken. Moments later a familiar mop of wild, messy blond hair emerged, followed by the rest of Naruto. Elsa wasn't far behind, her freshly-darkened dress shimmering in the waning light of the evening. Judging by the way she didn't cling to him, and the aura of confidence she radiated, they seemed to have made up. Kiba's silent fears found themselves realized.
"So," he managed at length, "Looks like the two of you made up...?"
Naruto's laughter surprised him. "Loudly and at great length!"
Elsa colored to the very roots of her hair!
"What?" the blond blinked. "Should I not have said that?"
"I'm going to get you for this." she muttered.
"Long as you're on top."
Something in those words must've triggered her, for the ice wielder grabbed Naruto by his coat and mashed her lips against his. Naruto didn't resist; on the contrary. Strong arms locked around her waist and gripped at her gown, pulling Elsa close eve as her full lips sought his own in a frantic kiss. Hinata made a soft, squelching sound, but the two elementals utterly ignored her, wrapped up in one another as they were.
In the end Naruto was the one to break contact, leaving the queen mewling softly as they pulled away.
It took ever ounce of willpower Kiba possessed not to burst out into laughter right then and there. Even then his will nearly faltered at the slightly glazed look in the ruler's eyes. Under any other circumstance he would have been a little jealous. Now? Now he was more focused on keeping his hide-and that of Konoha-in one piece. A task that seemed to grow more and more daunting as the aura of gloom around Hinata deepened. This situation was going to explode soon as he'd always known it would and once it did...
"So," Naruto yawned, "I take it you're here to escort us back to the village."
"We did want to keep you there for a reason, you know." Kiba offered weakly. "Akatsuki's presence is strong here, and Tsunade-sama wanted to keep you safe."
"Yes," the blond replied flatly, "Because that worked so well for you guys thus far."
"Dead is dead," Elsa answered. "You took him out in an instant, remember?"
"Aw, flattery! That's why I love ya!"
Regardless, Elsa seemed to preen at those unflinching remark and shifted her right hand just so to catch the light. When she saw Hinata, her quiet languor became visibly pronounced. She stood straighter, proudly gripping the blond's hand in her own for the Hyuuga to see. It didn't take a genius to see why. Kiba scented the pleasant smell rising from her. Saw the ring. A ring that hadn't been there before. He didn't think to question how or when it had gotten there.
Because Hinata saw it too.
The Hyugga felt her heart leap into her throat.
"W-W-What is that?!"
"Oh, this?" The Queen hummed, feigning confusion. "Whatever do you mean?" She wasn't being cruel, no, this was worse than that. Elsa's word's didn't just stab her, now she was deliberately twisting that knife in the wound; paying her back for kissing Naruto at the village gates. It hurt, and in her pain, her emotions slipped their leash.
"I hate you!" the words exploded out of her before she could think to hold them back. "You have no right to wear that ring!"
An awful silence fell over the group, broken only by the sound of the rushing river.
This was the absolute worst outcome.
Hinata might be his teammate and a good friend but damnit this newfound attitude of hers was going to get her killed if she opened her mouth now! Worse, he knew there was nothing he could do about it. If Naruto or Elsa got it into their head that she was a threat then that was that. One had no memories of his former village, the other simply didn't know them. It was an abysmal situation and for the life of him, he couldn't think of a way to force Hinata to retreat without shattering her utterly.
In the end, the choice was snatched from him.
Something in Elsa's gentle gaze changed.
"You can't have him. He's mine."
That last word snaked between clenched teeth, encapsulating the moment.
Something had changed in her. Kiba saw that now. Well, perhaps not so much changed as...hardened. Though Elsa was still very much herself, like the frigid element she'd wielded so too had she become colder, more realistic, less naive in the ways of the world and its cruel expectations. Realizing Naruto would only be hers if she fought for him, the Queen of Arendelle had decided to do just that. Strove to eradicate all semblance of weakness. There would be no more running away. Not now, not ever. Something in her had...broken, and not quite come back together properly.
"H-He isn't yours." Hinata challenged, shaking slightly. "He'll never be."
"Oh?" A golden brow rose archly. "Is that your final answer?"
Realizing she'd just signed her own death warrant, the Inuzuka spun in a circle and flailed his arms madly.
"No, wait, she didn't mean it like-
A wave of her hand and the meddling Hyuuga found herself encased in ice. Physically frozen in a thick block of frigid water from head to toe. An awkward beat of silence pervaded the riverbank as both Naruto and Kiba turned to gape at the freshly formed ice sculpture. Each balked. Looked at the frozen figure that, mere moments ago had been very much human and was now little more than an ice sculpture. Pure, unmelting ice, raw winter in its purest form, her mouth frozen in her last moments of shock. Then reality caught up to Kiba.
"What did you do?!"
"Don't worry," Elsa soothed, "She isn't dead. I've merely immobilized her."
Naruto scratched the back of his head sheepishly at all of this.
"Well," he muttered, "that could have gone over better."
"Really?" Elsa tilted her head. "She deserved it."
"You turned her into an icicle!"
"And your point is...?"
"Shutting up now."
Then, a pause.
Naruto looked down...
...and a strangled yelp pervaded the riverbank.
Anna wanted to scream.
She wanted to step out of her hiding place, seize her sister, take hold of her by the shoulders, and shake her until she saw sense. She wanted to make a scene and cause a ruckus, one that would never be forgotten. Yet she found she could do none of these things as she watched Elsa and Naruto bicker. Apparently she'd caught his armor in the last attack against the Hyuuga, accidentally shattering the hardened leather he wore. Naruto hadn't taken kindly to that and an argument had ensued, with Elsa desperately trying to reassure him of the damage.
Having gone to all the trouble to cross the sea to find them, she had. Now that she'd succeeded, she didn't rightly know what to do.
"Oh come on, the armor isn't that bad-
"This armor is no more!" A finger jabbed his chest, poking. "It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is late armor! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If it didn't LEAP off your body, it'd be pushing up the daisies! It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! THIS IS EX-ARMOR! You broke it! It was my favorite, I-
Words tumbled out of her all at once, her body betraying her in a fit of impatience. Shouting, she stepped forth from her hiding place in the hollow trunk of a ruined tree.
He caught sight of her and nearly started. Her hair was blue. Blue. A deep navy color, now matching those of her eyes. Her hair was short and unruly, what remained of it spilled raggedly just below her chin before tapering off. Vanishing in a curved slice that mirrored her own appearance. What was that style, they'd called it? A pixie cut? Even her own gown had not been spared; her winter robes now replaced by a slim, undulating gown of the purest black and blue, mirroring the briney depths of the oceans themselves.
But whereas Elsa's glittered with ice shards, this was more of a robe, exposing the slim expanse of her left leg and arm before tapering up to expose the tan expanse of her neck and collarbone, freckles, all. He almost didn't recognize the stranger staring back at her, this creature of the deep.
And yet he did.
An awkward beat of silenced passed between them.
"Hello." she managed shyly, sounding just as awkward. "Long time no see, huh?"
That finally jolted Elsa back to reality.
"Anna, what are you doing here?"
"Well, I came for-
Anna's words withered away when she saw the ring on her sister's finger.
Sense abandoned her.
The smile slipped from her face like so much water.
Elsa felt the fog shift in the air, registering as a surge in humidity. What? What was this? Naruto must have felt the change as well; because the once serene look in his eyes became wary, joy replaced by caution. Anna was still looking-gawping-at the blond in abject disbelief, her mouth working silently as she struggled to give voice to the turmoil rising within. She'd always been the calm one, but clearly something had changed whilst they were away...
...the question was..what?
"This is a joke, right?" her voice was little more than a whisper.
"A joke?" Elsa bristled, ice frosting at her fingertips. Naruto was hers and hers alone. She'd resolved this long ago. No one would take him from her. Not even her own blood. She was just about to say as much when she felt Naruto's hand on her shoulder.
"You lied to me! You LEFT me!"
Anna's stricken expression dissolved into absolute misery.
"That's not fair...not fair...NOT FAIR!"
That was Naruto's last thought before the tidal wave crashed down around them.
A/N: And there you have it! Happiness abounds! She said yes! Yes yes yes yes! Expect little blond-haired, blue-eyed kids running about in the future. Gah, all the angst here killed me to write, but I am proud to say that its well behind us now as the story continues onwards and upwards!
...The events of Frozen ought to be quite different with them involved...will Naruto and Elsa make it out of this one alive? But the story doesn't end here! Now... at long last... we see the Elemental Nations in this ficlet! Naruto is the LAST jinchuuriki remaining, and all bloody hell is about to break loose!
So...in the immortal words of Atlas...
...Would You Kindly Review the story of this humble man? And of course, enjoy the preview! Tis a shocker! But who?! WHO?!
Naruto stood among the ashes of the world and fought for control.
Flames flickered at his fingertips, longing to lash out.
More than anything.
Where had he gone wrong?
Stooping, he reached down for her, hoisting her body up gently, ever so gently. Then he started walking. A jounin tried to intercept him, to bar his path, and turned to ash for his efforts. He didn't so much scream as he did stiffen; his body physically crumbling apart before the blond's glower reduced him to a mound of dust. No one moved to stop him after that. Wise of them. A small groan rose from his arms and he hastened his pace, rapidly marching out of the village proper
Still, Itachi could have stopped him.
He did not.
"Where are you going?"
The blond shot him a bleak look.
"Fuck this." he declared emphatically. "I'm going home."
What will happen?! FIND OUT NEXT TIME! R&R! =D