A soul can only be destroyed so many times before it stops believing in miracles.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)
Book by Jenny Lawson
“I believed you,” Malfoy had said, in his blank voice. “That day when I was arrested, when you said that I could change. I believed it, and I tried.”
“I know,” said Harry.
“But I wasn’t good at anything that could make up for what I'd done. It doesn't occur to me to think of other people. It's not instinctive for me to be . . . nice.”
Harry thought that Malfoy had been quite nice to him, when he’d been trying to start over with him. But Harry didn't say anything. He just drank his coffee.
“I had to find something where I could use the things I am good at—except this time, I was going to be on the right side.”
“I don't care what you do,” Harry said.
Malfoy was staring at the table. Looking up, he said, “Don't you?”
“You don't have to change,” Harry said, and drank his coffee. Eventually he asked Malfoy if he wanted breakfast. Then he fried Malfoy up some eggs, and made toast.
Kanaya, it's hard.
Being a kid and growing up.
It's hard and nobody understands.
"Every author has their eccentricities, mine is putting characters in horrible situations to break them down and then building a story around the aftermath. Some people would call it satisfying a sadistic nature, I call it creating a story difficult to forget."
–Trave Heath Lien
Reading Homestuck is like walking through a desert, promised there would be water, after you see none for a few miles, you blink and you're drowning in an ocean. It's worth going through the desert.
"How long the night seems to one kept awake by pain." - Bernard Joseph Saurin
“Consider the Sunflora of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say to you, that even Ho-oh in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
"The humans who created him, intended him to be a weapon. They raised him to be a blade with no hilt, a bomb with a trigger they could not diffuse. And when they realized that they cannot wield their weapon, they sought to destroy it."
Did you know…?
…Luffy's from Fuchsia, because Fuchsia is bold.
…Usopp's from Syrup because syrup is sweet!
…Sanji's from North Blue because North Blue is cool.
…Zoro's from who-knows-where because that place is lost… --;;
…Nami's from Cocoyashi because Cocoyashi is free.
"Don't you touch him!" Itachi shouted, clutching Sasuke protectively to his chest, his fear suddenly forgotten – all that mattered was protecting his baby brother.
"We do have a lot in common - the same Earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what's the same, instead of what's different... well, who knows?" Meowth, Pokémon The Movie",
If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it’s probably a fucking murder clown.
$$$ .$$$*$$ $$$"$$ $$..$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$" $$$$$$"$$... $$$$$$$$$$$.. $$$$.$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$'$$"$$.$$$$
Note to self: REMEMBER!!!
Page 1: A young man stands in his bedroom.
Page 163738451437413413: The author is engaged in a conversation with his surrogate son, who is actually a demon and the younger form of the main villain, on the desolate ruins of future earth. They are arguing over whether or not Mario has a soul.
Monochrome Factor, Sukisho, Gakuen Heaven, Marginal Prince, Antique Bakery, Gravitation, Princess Princess,
Possessiveness is an art of cruelty.
"This is all your fault." Prime Minister Harper said, looking somewhat frazzled. "Fair enough." President Obama replied with a diplomatic nod. - Preggers, by IlluminatedShadow
"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us," - 6 year old philosopher Calvin
"Why do we drive on a parkway but park in the driveway?" -- no source
"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it." -- Said by Gaara, Shades of Gray, Grimm Gray
"You know you should get some sleep when the sheep you're counting start to hit the fence." -- Duo Maxwell
"If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?" -- no source
"Strangers have the best candy." -- Duo Maxwell
"Keep smiling, it makes everyone wonder what you're up to." -- Naruto Uzumaki
There stood a scarecrow a few feet away from them. "Look, It's your father, Kakuzu!" -- Hidan
"I love Naruto. I’m going to found a religion off of him. The members will worship ramen stands and foxes will be considered holy. Everyone will be required to wear orange jumpsuits and have scars on their faces…Hmm…This is beginning to sound like prision…" --AthenaAlpha
"Who does he think he is…? God? Wait… he does" -- Kisame, about Pein (Cursed Salvation)
"I'm psychotic and traumatized, don't mess with me, don't try to make me like you, don't touch me... oh yeah, don't get me any presents," -- Gaara, Who owns Who?
"Naruto stayed for dinner, though it wasn’t so much staying as it was raiding Sasuke’s fridge with all the gracious tact of a crazed squirrel, stuffing half a dozen apricots into his mouth for later" -- Second Chances
“You are a disappointment to your kind and a disgrace to your manufacturer, soldier” -- a friend
"Don't try to sympathize with me Iruka-sensei. You are not the one that's going to be stuck with them, I am! Besides, you need to be recommended to be in the chunin exams. Our sensei could be some kind of lazy pervert who only reads porn and comes late to every single freaking meeting only to teach nothing!" Naruto nearly screamed.--To be Blunt, Sarcastic and Psychotic.
“GIVE ME SOME FUCKING COFFEE WITH EXTRA BACON.” -- America, Tim Hortons
"America was very displeased with the situation. He got out his cell phone, because it was all wireless and shit, and called the next three most American men he knew. Stephen Colbert, Bandit Keith and Obama. He told them how Canadian hamburgers sucked SALMONELLA and how he had killed Canada completely on purpose, and caused a cashier to quit his job rendering him financially unstable." -- Tim Hortons
“GODDAMNIT AMERICA, I’M GOING TO FUCKING THROW BRICKS AT YOUR HOUSE, YOU HEAR ME?” -- Cuba, Bring on the Maple Syrup!
“Aw right! I love that stuff! It's like, instant cavities.” -- America, In the Cards
“Nice, but you look too stiff. Give me something that says ‘Come here, you naughty boy, and let me punish—’ OW! I wasn’t doing anything, you bitch!” -- Prussia, Leunung
"We have health care and syrup and low violence rates and A LOT OF PRETTY LOOKING SCENERY." -- Canada, Cheeseburger vs Eh
"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.'" --George Carlin (1937-2008)
and now for the Max Spamming that is also known as copy pasting.
A figure stirred.
His first sensation was the slight breeze in the air, bringing an almost imperceptible chill. Next was the feel of rough, knotty bark against the back of his head and coarse dirt beneath his back. He opened eyes slowly to see a thick canopy of leaves above him. No light was permitted through the swaying green blanket, but it seemed to be either dawn or late evening, judging by the dim sunlight streaming at a sharp angle out of the tree's reach.
With a soft groan, he pushed himself up into a sitting position, blinking drearily in his post-slumber stupor. The strangeness of the situation floated into his fuzzy consciousness like a stream of bubbles in water. Odd. What exactly am I doing in a forest? He glanced at the root where his head had previously lain, rubbing his head with a paw. And how did I fall asleep here? Not exactly a prime napping spot. He slowly got to his feet. Might as well figure out… I… have… paws…
He was also apparently a buizel.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?"
Welcome to the world of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.
Ages ago, a catastrophe shook the world to its very core, tearing at the very strands of reality and bringing all of civilization to its knees.
Time has passed. The world has steadily recovered from the apocalypse; tribes, empires, nations rising to fill in the voids created. Built on the ruins of the dead civilizations, the new flourished. Not as civilizations of humans, but of pokémon.
A lombre paced nervously around a covered wagon.
"Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear," he muttered, wringing his hands continuously, fearfully glancing at the towering statuesque trees that washed their surroundings away in deep shadows that contrasted sharply with the golden sunlight sweeping out from under a thick bank of clouds. A rhyhorn harnessed to the wagon ignored him, lying still for the most part except to bend down to sniff and nibble at the sparse blades of grass.
The pokémon were the ones to pick up the reins of the world, having somehow gaining the full measure of the gifts of Uxie, Azelf, and Mespirit like the humans have. With their newfound intelligence, they took the task of repairing the world into their own hands (, paws, appendages), ruling themselves, no longer bound by the actions of humans. They were now their own masters.
Not all of them have actually advanced in this manner. Many still exist in the wilderness as simple beasts, no brighter than the majority that existed before the cataclysm, to the point that civilized pokémon can't recognize any semblance of language from them. Some of these have actually become domesticated – or tamed, as they are called – living as beasts of burden, trained battlers, or even pets. It seems that they aren't wholly devoid of the three gifts, as they have shown themselves to be capable of learning and over time, joining the ranks of society.
"Oh dear, oh dear," he said again. The dull purple cloak he wore rustled as he turned around to continue his pacing. "Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh–"
"Shut up! We're trying to work here!" a voice from the other side of the wagon shouted. The rhyhorn's eyes lazily glanced over to the source for a brief moment.
The lombre jumped, and quickly turned to the source of the outburst. "'Trying to work here'? 'Trying to work here'?" he repeated after moving into the sunlit side of the wagon the others were on. "Your job is to escort me and my cargo safely to Jigsaw! And now look where we are! On the edge of a mystery dungeon!" he shouted, gesturing to the dark, encircling trees.
A forest of tall, massive trees with spreading branches and myriads of needle-leaves; trees of gray and black rather than green, an eerie lifelessness set against the burning sky of sunset.
Trees made of noting but solid stone.
Despite their perseverance, the recovering civilizations are threatened by the phenomena known as mystery dungeons.
The cause of the cataclysm remains a mystery, assumed to be only known by the gods themselves, but the effects of it today are immediate and inescapable. The land is scarred with pools of chaos that spilled from the shattered fragments of reality left behind. Like massive, intangible glaciers, the chaos slowly worms across the world, spanning between settlements and plaguing travelers.
It's not quite as horrifying as it initially sounds. The chaos itself is usually extremely diluted. The most anyone would notice of it would an occasional creek that flows upstream, or one's tendency to easily walk in circles if one was not on a marked pathway. Furthermore, this chaos will stop wherever one sets down and makes a home, a village, a city. However, knots of much more obvious – much more dangerous – chaotic energy may form.
These are mystery dungeons. Places where the very fabric of reality just isn't. It unravels into a system where order breaks down and partially succumbs to the chaos. Trees grown out of stone, active volcanoes frozen over, bottomless ravines, waterfalls climbing out of the sea… They are dangerous – in many ways. They are seemingly malevolent, ever-shifting mazes that snatch at any prey they can get and dooms them to wander hopelessly. If the victim is fortunate, this will be all that happens. If the victim is not so fortunate, the chaos will break into their minds, clawing at their sanity, until they become a nothing more than a drone of the chaos. Mystery dungeons are an omnipresent terror, but there exists a defense.
"And whose fault is that?" another one of them dryly asked. There were several of them gathered around a map and a compass. The ones nearest the wagon were casually leaning back against it. (Casually! Didn't they have any idea what situation they were in?) In the previous town, the lombre had been fortunate enough to stumble on a troupe of them who were travelling in his direction anyways and offered a very cheap price for such a large escort. Of course, he wasn't feeling fortunate at the moment.
"'And whose fault is that?' Yours of course! You are the guides here, aren't you?" he said as he moved in front of the group, so that he casted a shadow onto them.
One of them, a mawile began to mutter something in a foreign babble to the one beside her. The cloaked monferno, looking rather sheepish (he ought to be, he was the one who told the lombre to shut up), chuckled at her words.
"That's hardly a fair argument," another piped up from right by the map. "You kept whining at us about 'wasting time' and 'the profits were wasting' and pretty much forced us to cut the shortest path around as possible."
"We did recommend you play this round safe and stick to the marked path. It's not smart to bet against our advice," a sableye said.
"They're right, you know."
"Don't blame us."
"Not our fault."
"The sunset is pretty."
At the non-sequitur comment, all the heads jerked to the drifloon floating above them. He didn't respond to this or add anything at all for a while, so they turned back to looking at the lombre.
He sighed unhappily and cursed his dependency on explorers.
Sometimes, pokémon are somehow "touched" by the chaos of mystery dungeons, making them more or less immune, or at least resistant to their confounding effects. The cause of this condition is completely unknown: some have had it since birth, others find it activating while they're trapped in a mystery dungeon, or even after multiple such trips with no sign of it beforehand.
Regardless, the touched are capable of finding their way wherever they are in any mystery dungeon and are safe from the threat of becoming trapped or corrupted. Some wielders of this talent only use it for their own ends; they commit whatever crimes and thefts they please and flee into mystery dungeons, free from any sort of retribution by authorities.
Others will use their touch for generally more noble purposes. They form crews that will act as peacekeepers of the lands. They will take the jobs that no one else can perform and fulfill them. From guiding merchants through the chaotic fields to hunting down the more dangerous denizens of mystery dungeons, from capturing elusive rouges to rescuing lost victims within the dungeons. These guardians, known as explorers, do what they can to serve, to mend, to protect the world they live in.
"Well, regardless of whom to blame," the larvitar, an odd paper tag over his right eye, suddenly said, standing up and rolling up the map that he had laid out, "We should get moving. The longer we remain in the mystery dungeon, the greater our risk of getting caught by the rule of six. I'm surprised we haven't felt it yet."
"I cannot agree more," the kirlia said, adjusting the denim jacket he was wearing.
"Came up with that on the spot, did you?" the larvitar muttered, smoothly shouldering the humongous backpack he had been carrying.
"I did, in fact," the kirlia said in a terse reply, offended.
"Well, I liked it," a young dratini told him.
"Ah, what a blessing it is for one to appreciate the artistry of words–"
"Wait a minute!" the lombre cried out, partially to keep the kirlia from talking anymore. "We're heading to the sun? That's in the west! We're in the northeast edge of the mystery dungeon, aren't we? It's common sense that we should be moving away from the sunset, isn't it?"
"Didn't we tell you already?" the sableye grinned at him. "Try not to bet against us. Not even for such a thing as common sense."
The lombre began to reply, but suddenly, the rhyhorn let out a startled cry from in front of the wagon, rattling its contents.
A loud crash came from one of the trees surrounding the wagon. With audible cracks and a low grumble, one of stone trees began to tilt, lean, and fall ponderously towards the wagon.
Of course, the chaos alone is not the only threat presented by mystery dungeons.
The dungeons are inhabited by pokémon that are even more devoid of the three gifts than natural wild pokémon. These ferals, as they are known, are mere constructs of the mystery dungeons, not even of flesh and blood, but of the chaotic energy. They are artificial copies of real pokémon with no purpose but to destroy and to spread the chaos.
Individually, they are relatively weak: a few relatively mnor blows is enough to dispatch most of them, and even without counting that weakness, any trained fighter could hold their own against a single one. Unfortunately, ferals don't come in single ones. They come in swarms.
The buizel flinched from the vine whip that slapped him across the face. "Damn it," he growled, stumbling back and clutching at his muzzle. "Where did all of you come from?"
The wall of bellsprout didn't respond in any way. Instead, they began throwing more vine whips at him. He grimaced and dropped down to all fours, avoiding the first few, and then sprang to the side as loud snaps hit the ground where he had previously been crouching. When he landed, he suddenly looked backwards, realizing some had snuck up on him. The bellsprout behind him reared their heads back. He took the opportunity to dash right between them. By the time they had released a cloud of noxious purple poison powder, the buizel had managed to get a good distance between himself and the group.
I wake up in the middle of a forest, I'm somehow a buizel, and I'm suddenly assaulted by bellsprout. Don't I at least get the opportunity to contemplate the sheer absurdity of the situation? The bellsprout apparently had no plans to let him do anything, because the half dozen or so of the aggressors suddenly began to dash at him, their tiny roots flying through the air as they sped forwards along the ground.
There was plenty of opportunity to flee at that point. There was still a lot of ground the swarm had to cover to reach him, which would give him enough time to turn and run for it. As a buizel, which were known for their exceptional speed, he certainly was capable of outrunning them any day. On the other hand, as a buizel…
He instinctively flicked a paw, and a globe of water began to form in front of it. I can fight back.
He suddenly dove forward, past the front-runners, right into the middle of the swarm. Before any of them could react, he rolled onto his hind feet, brought his paw up, and gave one of them a mighty punch to the head, slamming the mass of water into it just as it burst. The bellsprout's head then exploded into a mass of static.
The stone tree continued to fall over, creating an ominous rumbling from its base. It was a tall, thick one, easily capable of crushing the covered wagon irreparably the moment it hit. The rhyhorn started to cry out unintelligibly and try to move away, seeing the shadowy pillar fall in its direction. Unfortunately, the wagon was parked facing the tree and the best the rhyhorn could do was to maneuver itself out of the way, leaving the wagon vulnerable.
"Oh noooo!" the lombre cried, holding his head in panic as he realized this. "My cargo! It's doomed! We're doomed!"
The tree was now at a 45-degree angle, a massive, growing black slab in the orange sky. Suddenly, it exploded.
A flash of fire and light suddenly burst from the center of the tree, shoving it up slightly with the force, and splitting it into two parts. The surge of pressure hit the ground, ruffling the lombre's leaf-hat in the wave of heat. "Wh– What?" he mumbled weakly as a rain of small rock fragments from the tree branches also fell.
"Nice shot, Haru!"
The monferno's mouth could be seen grinning under the heavy black goggles he had on as he set down some kind of bronze pipe. Yet, the tree, even in two pieces, was still falling, the explosion having only bought them a few scant seconds.
"Clay! Get me up!" the mawile suddenly shouted to the larvitar behind her.
"On it," he grunted, suddenly digging his hands into the ground. With a yell, he suddenly pulled them up. A block of dirt suddenly came up with his hands, forming a tower right underneath the mawile, which sent her flying into the air.
As she sped towards the bottom half of the tree, the giant false jaw hanging off the back of her head suddenly began to gleam. Upon meeting the extending branches of the tree, she crossed her arms in front of herself, guarding against the prodding stones. Her momentum carried her to the trunk easily as the rocky twigs cracked impotently against her armor and iron skin. With a quick shout, she deftly spun her head around, slamming the gleaming, massive jaw through the branches into the dark stone. The blowpulverized the tree where it hit, splitting it into two pieces again, but this time, both pieces were actually flying sideways, finally landing a safe distance from the wagon and everyone else.
Meanwhile, a slight glow was surrounding the upper half of the blown-up tree. The kirlia gritted his teeth, shifting his legs for a better stance as he held his arms out with the same glow. The tree's fall was slowing down as his Psychic tried to push it away. Unfortunately, big stone logs were heavy, and stopping it completely before it crushed the wagon was out of his ability. Fortunately, he didn't have to.
The drifloon suddenly dove underneath the falling tree, instantaneously inflating to ten times his size. The expansion also caused his rubber-like body to slam into the falling stone, bringing it to a stop against the indent it made on the drifloom's body just before he touched the wagon below him. After a moment of stillness, the stone tree, half of its branches crushed against his body, bounced away. The drifloon suddenly deflated into his original miniscule size, releasing all that extra mass in a beam of white energy, which smashed through the tree, obliterating it in midair.
The lombre stood amongst the raining rock shards from all of the incidents, gawking as the remaining fragments of the stone tree crashed into the ground or the other surrounding trees. "They… they actually blew the whole thing up…" He was suddenly feeling very fortunate having hired these explorers.
"Ha hah! Great job, everyone!" the last of the explorers shouted out, as the mawile landed smoothly on her feet, the kirlia bent over panting from the exertion, and the drifloon floated lazily down. The shaymin, flying through the air, circled around all of them. "Ha hah! Yuzuki! That was awesome! You just slammed that thing to bits like it was nothing! Clay, you too! Hah hah, and –"
"Um, Jaden?" the dratini said in a small voice, interrupting him.
"Yeah, Lyn?" the shaymin answered, looking down at her while floating upside-down.
"Over there…" She pointed to the original base of the tree. On top of it stood a tall kabutops, its scythe claws shining in the golden sunset. Around it was an assortment of feral sudowoodo and cranidos, all obviously picking for a fight.
And ferals aren't the only hostiles in mystery dungeons. As mentioned before, civilized pokémon lost within mystery dungeons may become corrupted to the point where their minds are nothing more than hosts for the chaos. This process will also happen to wild pokémon as well. The strongest of these corrupted ones become agents of the mystery dungeons, either striking at any intruders alone, or leading swarms of inferior ferals on raids outside and within mystery dungeons.
The corruption isn't purely mental. Extended exposure to the chaos of mystery dungeons will develop odd … mutations. It isn't unusual to find corrupted with lopsided armor-like plates, gangly limbs where they should be short and stout, claws the size and shape of sickles… The corrupted are horrors to look upon. Yet, as stated, any being that stays in mystery dungeons for too long are also vulnerable. This includes wandering innocents, rouges, and explorers. The mutations they experience aren't usually as extreme, but they exist. Sometimes, the only thing that separates these pokémon from the corrupted is their possession of their own minds.
The corrupted kabutops stood hunched over, the spikes on its back creating ominous clicking noises as they rattled against each other. It raised its pair of wicked serrated scythes threateningly.
"Oh ho," the sableye grinned. "I know this one. Got a nice bounty over its head, it does."
"Ooh, a bounty?" the shaymin said, looking at the corrupted with a grin. "Well, what is it, Hobbes?"
"It's not Hobbes, it's Obsidian," he said gruffly, then quickly returned to his sly tone. "The 'Granite Carpenter,' for eight hundred and fifty coins. A nice find. Seems our coming here was in fact a fortunate turn of events."
"'Granite Carpenter'?" the kirlia repeated with a chuckle, still slightly panting from earlier. "Heh, I can see where the name comes from, seeing as how it cut that stone tree down," he said, gesturing to the remains of the tree they had destroyed, "but it's lacking a certain something in the threat department. Heh heh."
"It could be worse," the monferno said. "Could you imagine something like, the 'Granite Lumberjack'?" This raised a few chuckles.
"Or 'Timber Rock'?" the larvitar suggested with a snicker.
"Try this one!" the sableye shouted, doubling over in laughter. "'Woody the Stoney'!"
"Um," the lombre muttered as the group broke into hysterics. "Aren't you guys forgetting something?"
The ignored kabutops suddenly let out a piercing shriek, interrupting all them. It thrust out a scythe, and the ferals began to run at the group.
"Oh yeah, we didn't we?" the shaymin said, still grinning. "Okay! Everyone! Yuzuki, Clay, and I go for the bounty! Everyone else cover us and the wagon!"
"Okay!" they all responded, dropping everything and rushing into battle.
"Let's do this!"
The buizel panted as the last of the bellsprout fell to the grassy ground, its leafy body vanishing into sparks, jagged lines, and distorted colors. The small clearing was now completely empty except for the buizel himself, all traces of the bellsprout swarm nonexistent, as if they never were.
All of them were like that? Just what were those things? The orbs of water he had spinning on either paw vanished as he bent over, sucking mouthfuls of air into his lungs. He suddenly clutched at his chest in pain. Damn it, I must've accidently breathed in some of that poison powder during the fight. He glanced around the forest. It shouldn't take too long to find pecha berries here. I can count myself lucky for that.
He took another look around the forest, realizing something was very wrong. Then it hit him: the tree he had woken up on was gone. None of the surrounding trees had the same bark and roots. It was as if it had simply vanished while he was fighting.
What the hell? What is this place? What am I even doing here? Last night, I…
I can't remember anything.
Many tales exist in this world.
A flareon padded through a darkening forest, a leafeon bouncing happily behind her.
A gabite, a sudowoodo, and a poliwhirl laughed heartily as they bumped frothing mugs in a bar.
A poochyena wearing a blindfold dragged a skull across a dirt road.
A scyther, a glaceon, an ariados, and a gliscor packed up their camp at the edge of a forest.
A cubone and a hoothoot frantically argued, pointing at a small, crude map they held.
A mismagius floated above the edge of a building, watching the sunset.
A charmeleon dunked a glowing red vambrace into a tub of water, releasing a heavy cloud of steam.
Each story is interwoven with those around it.
The air in the room was cold, damp, and stifling. It was completely dark, except for a sliver of light jutting out of a crack near the ceiling, far above. The scarce light only allowed mere outlines of objects to be visible. Most of the objects were chains. Long lengths of chains spread across the room, from the edges of the ceiling and the floor to a central point, where they latched on to a thin malnourished body covered in ragged clumps of fur.
There was a rattle that echoed around the room as the chains briefly clanked with movement. The lucario's eyes opened. "Soon…"
This is the story you will be reading.
The kabutops, unconscious and wrapped up in glowing bands of energy, was tossed into the back of the wagon.
"Well that's taken care of," the shaymin said with satisfaction, as the mawile dusted her hands after the task. Remains of the battle now scarred the clearing: scorched craters left by explosions, blocks of earth that jutted up, and other such happenings. The lombre guided the rhyhorn back to the wagon. It had grown restless during the battle, prompting him to release it so it could join. Being used as a beast of burden hadn't diminished its fighting capabilities much.
"The bounty is really 850?" the mawile asked. "It was very weak for that amount, I think."
"That was just the circumstances," the larvitar told her. "Alone, you're already ridiculously powerful, and then there's the fact that we outnumbered it to consider."
She shrugged after a moment. "Soudesunee."
"Then let's be off, shall we?" the kirlia said. "The bands I put on our 'carpenter' aren't going to hold forever, you know."
"Yeah," the shaymin nodded. "Now, let's–" Suddenly, his body shrank from the reindeer-like shape into a hedgehog, causing him to fall onto the ground from where he was floating. "Ow!"
"Jaden! Are you okay?" the dratini asked, sliding up to him.
"Yeah, ha hah, looks like I run out of sun," he said, getting back on his feet with a smirk.
"It's that late? All the more reason to hurry," the kirlia said.
"Indeed. Everyone, gather around and put your hands in."
As one, all of the explorers moved to do so, forming a circle, and placed whatever hand they could into the center.
This is the story of a lost soul.
No… I do remember something…
My name is Pace.
This is the story of a guild.
"Let's do this! All together! One! Two! Three!"
This is a story of a legend.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Joutei
Now that I'm done max spamming THAT piece of sh!tty awesomeness, read ma OTHER max spammed sh!tty awesomeness.
I think I love you mooore then the, Japanese love tentacle pooorn
20 years later, we find Sasuke as a drunken bum on the streets, Sakura as a prostitute, (who later dies from AIDS,) and Naruto long-since dead from some horrific ramen-related incident...
And Itachi is a gay billionaire.
One step forward for the wing tip
Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
If you believe that the Akatsuki is one of the BEST things about Naruto Shippuden, copy this onto your profile!!
Screw cookies - the Dark Side has COLA AND YAOI!
24 Things I owe to my Mother
1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
2. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
3. My mother taught me LOGIC.
4. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
5. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
6. My mother taught IRONY.
7. My mother taught me about THE SCIENCE OF OSMOSIS.
8. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
9. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
10. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
11. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
12. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
13. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
14. My mother taught me about ENVY.
15. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
16. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
17. My mother taught me about MEDICAL SCIENCE.
18. My mother taught me about ESP.
19. My mother taught me HUMOR.
20. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
21. My mother taught me GENETICS.
22. My mother taught me about MY ROOTS.
23. My mother taught me WISDOM.
24. My mother taught me JUSTICE.
"Maybe, just maybe, there is no purpose in life. But if you linger a while longer in this world, you might discover something of value in it."
'Stop for Handelalee. Stop for Handelalee.' Yugito gently tugged on Naruto's hand, the boy rubbing his eyes as he stood up and followed her, the guard not too far behind. They made their way through Schumannplatz Street until they stood before the beautiful pillar of Siegessaule, the golden angel in all her glory above them with wings spread wide. Yugito smiled brightly as Naruto laughed in delight and tugged her forward. Since it was so late only a few tourists wondered around them. Naruto stared at the angel for several minutes, his eyes dimming a bit as he looked back at Yugito. "Yugito, do you think mommy and Sana are angels now?" Naruto asked quietly. It took her by surprise and the words caused her to look away from his eyes before they consumed her with guilt. For several minutes they stood there, just silently staring up at the golden angel above them, large lights illuminating her emotionless face.
"Look up!" Yugito commanded. Naruto stared back at her confused. "I am looking up." Yugito shook her head though. "No look higher. Look up! Do you see the stars Naruto? They shine so brightly and it's nearly impossible to extinguish one… and even when you do a new one is born from the pieces, sort of like people. We can't even comprehend how many unheard stories are out there. How many lives have lived without a single person witnessing their spirits light. It's depressing yet exciting to think about. A person's soul is like a star. Even though your Mom and sister are gone you are the pieces that are left of them. I believe that the love that they gave you will never disappear and that out there somewhere they're watching over you." A few tears slid down Naruto's face, his fingers intertwined with hers and they watched as the tourists oooed and awed the sight of the angel, her wings spread wide as if to shield the two from the harsh world around them a little longer.--
You want him, Kuzu…? You want him and your photo album of old months back? Go right on ahead, baby. I couldn't stop you.
He and the miser might have had something going on at one point, but… What of it? Hidan simply couldn't be sure if he hadn't been imagining it the entire blissful time. It was a longstanding fact that he was a fool, an idiot, a downright clueless idiot when it came to trying to keep a romance.
(Was that because he wasn't destined for one, or because he always ran away 'just in case'? Trying to 'protect' himself and the other person?"
I always ruin it in the end.
Wasn't that true?
Say yes and make it easy.
Say yes and make the pit in his stomach whispering to him that he was making a huge mistake go away, please, Jashin.
He made heavy footsteps towards the opening that led outside, where the sun was shining brightly. He was not in a hurry. But he had to do something important.
He walked along the decoration of the building, which appeared to be in the shape of a tongue. He was high above the ground, above the city, above human kind. He was closer to the sky. The sky that could hear him.
Today was the day.
Two years ago, he made the main step closer to his own dream. Two years ago, he made a step closer to HIS dream too.
I hate this pathetic village with its never ending rain… I will stop it one day… So that this village, this little girl… will stop crying…
…I will become the God of this world, and stop its never ending war…
He became a God. God in the people's eyes, God in his own eyes. He could finally control the skies… But today - today the sun would not shine brightly. Today, this place had to mourn.
He raised his arms and looked up. His eyes did not reflect the clouds in the sky; his face was not the face of a deity. Sad, but wise; it was pierced with black objects. His spiky hair was a bright orange colour, and the strands were shifting in the wind. Slowly, everything around him darkened, and previously light sky became covered with dark clouds, with which the first raindrops started to fall.
Below, people stopped and observed the rain. It was a sign for them, that today their God was sad. They almost felt his pain, so they stopped smiling and became quiet. If their God had a reason to be sad that day, it was their reason too. They couldn't be happy if he wasn't.
He let the water soak him. He let it flow down his skin. It made him feel right. That same day, not too long ago, his friend, his most important person, died. He took it upon himself to continue fighting for their dreams. He was ready to sacrifice almost anything.
He felt the presence behind his back. He didn't need to turn around to see it was her. First, she was one of the reasons their friend died. Now, she's one of the reasons he is still alive.
Yahiko loved her.
That was why he gave up his life for her.
He himself needed and cared for her.
That was why he let her stay.
Today she was quiet too.
Every time that day came, she stayed soundless, like she was keeping a vow. And when she looked at him, she tried to hide what she felt. And he knew what she felt, because he almost felt the same when he looked at himself.
She didn't step into the rain. She stayed under shelter, not joining him in his tearful grieving.
She blamed herself. That was why she didn't let water wash her pain away. She felt she didn't deserve it.
They were so different, and so alike.
It was all about revenge.
Everything in this world is done out of love. Love made people do stupid, beautiful; terrifying and ugly things. Things like revenge.
There was no man out there closer to him than his own brother. He was the only one who understood him, was equal to him and shared his views with him. They were unbeatable. So why was he standing here alone?
It was so long ago.
He lost his sight. He was so powerless that he could not walk around the compound without stumbling. He relied on his eyes so much that his sight betrayed him. But he had his pride; he wouldn't admit that he realized his life as shinobi was over. He tried to learn to live without it, to fight and see without it, but it was in vain. His own clansmen treated him with pity. Like he was a dead man...
He didn't show it. He maintained his dignity, attending meetings and giving his advice. He refused to have someone help him when he blindly was looking for a way through the maze of corridors.
In the end, he chose to die by enemy's hand. Death in fight was an honour for a warrior.
But it wasn't meant to be so.
When their clan received a mission they couldn't refuse, it was obvious that his brother would never fulfil it even if he had the whole clan behind him. It was well known, that to kill one clan, you had to use another. Elders of the clan came to conclusion that he was needed on the battlefield, but for him to be useful, he had to have ability to see.
It was later that he found out that Izuna wanted to give him his eyes. That he couldn't bear to see his older brother struggling with the curse. And that the reason for why he himself had not suggested it, was that he knew Madara would refuse. So when the elders ordered him to give one eye to his older brother, he obeyed implicitly.
They were briefed of the mission together, and planned every move. They gathered the strongest of their men, and put their plans and strategies in motion. Fighting on unnamed land lasted for hours, but in the end, they were victorious.
The clan they were ordered to eliminate possessed the ability to camouflage themselves in every terrain. It was logical that they couldn't hide from eyes that could see chakra. With their mission complete, he felt that for him it was new beginning, and he was right, but guilty for that was not the clan they destroyed, but the clans that came after them, and fought to avenge them. It was gruesome, horrible and unfair as their numbers massacred tired and weakened Uchiha.
And he had to see his brother die.
Despite having eyes that see everything, Hyuga often possess exceedingly peculiar blind spots.
Neji remembered how Hanabi ran her tongue over the edges of her teeth when she looked at her sister and surprised himself that this – upon waking up from his first experience with the cursed jinjutsu – was the first time he realized that there are things aside from cages that can imprison a man.
Blinking slowly, Neji noticed an odd quality to the light and he realized that some thoughtful soul had placed a green shade on the window. Legend held that a green filter helped mitigate the migraine headaches that often occurred as a result of the cursed jinjutsu.
So when Hinata entered the room, the wash of green light and the blurriness of his vision made it seem like he was looking at her through sea glass.
Twenty-five years of instinct screamed for him to stand up when the Heir entered the room, but his legs refused to cooperate. She walked toward him slowly and it was like she was swimming.
There on the edge of the bed, clutching the edge of the mattress to stop the spinning in his head, Neji sat as still and silent as if the eighth bird had just landed on his outstretched finger. Her pale hands came up and encircled his neck. With no hesitation, she untied the knot on the band that held his hair away from his eyes, removed it and sat it on the bed behind them as gently as if it were made of glass. Neji couldn't have felt more exposed if he had been naked in front of her and he had to stifle the impulse to grab her wrist when she reached for him again. Instead, he remained motionless as she ran the pad of her thumb over the jinjutsu. He watched the near imperceptible movement of her wrist as she used the tip of one finger to trace each fork of the hated symbol.
If it hadn't been branded into his forehead before, it was now.
Despite having eyes that see everything, Hyuga often possess exceedingly peculiar blind spots.
Her cousin looked up at her in an unguarded moment and there it was, written in silver in his eyes.
He stood, pulling Naruto with him. There was nothing more they could do here.
And they left Hiroko Nii there, weeping in the little ramshackle house on the edge of the village, haunted by a husband that killed a daughter, a daughter that killed a husband, and a demon that had slain her world.
There was a small, leather bound notebook shoved under a stack of old papers that drew the medic's attention. Kabuto snatched it out and flipped it open, surprised to see that it was a journal from when his master was still with the Leaf. Flipping it open, Kabuto scanned the first few pages that were mostly complaints about a mission to the Hidden Village of the Grass. Then things got interesting.
Gods! There is a Kunoichi here that's going to drive me insane! Her name is Xian Si and everytime I come out of a building she's there! EVERY FREAKING TIME! I think she's stalking me. I just wish the stupid woman in charge of this place finds that scroll the Old Man asked for fast.
Kabuto skipped forward several pages, annoyed that he was pressed for time. He would have liked to take the book with him, but if Orochimaru saw it was missing he would not be pleased.
The old bat of Grass finally gave me the stupid scroll. I don't see what's so special about it, other than it's ridiculously huge for a technique scroll. I would compare it to my Snake Summons, but that would disrespect Manda. Apparently this scroll is top secret and was put in the Hidden Grass for safe keeping, but I... The medic's eyes widened at the information, but he once again skipped ahead. Xian. I hate that woman with all my heart. Her stupid blue hair and purple eyes will haunt me every night. Literally. The bitch volunteered to escort me back as a show of good will. Imagine. Escort. Me. The day I need an escort is the day some old geezer chops off my arms.
Kabuto snickered and continued, noticing that the ink was different. Orochimaru must have started the next entry some time later. I SWEAR IF THAT WENCH CALLS ME OROCHI-KUN ONE MORE TIME I CAN'T BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT I'M GOING TO DO TO HER! I am certain she was watching me sleep. I summoned a snake and had it watch her all night. The woman is insane. War or no, I really want to kill her. If we don't get back tomorrow I will. She's looking at me right now... oh gods. I think she's trying to flirt with me.
I did it. I finally did it. Now I wish I hadn't. It was wonderful seeing the red ribbons trickle out her mouth, until she said those fearful words. "Orochi-kun, why didn't you want to be my snake in the grass? We could have had a... wonderful time. I'll be waiting for you, always." Then she died, and I know I am condemned. When I die, that thing will be waiting for me in all her mini-skirt glory. There is really only one choice, for which I know the Old Man won't approve of, but I refuse to meet that trollop again. So I commit myself to the search-
At the sound of approaching footsteps, Kabuto replaced the book and rushed out of the hidden room. He was surprised to find it was not Orochimaru who entered the office but a lowly chunin, who looked like he had just run ten miles. The man panted and looked up at Kabuto, "Urgent news from Konoha. Where is Orochimaru-sama?"
"I don't know... try the training field." Kabuto replied as the man rushed off. He shook his head. Whatever it was could wait, he had new information to fit into the jigsaw that was Orochimaru. Plus, he could now blame the pickle spill on that chunin that just came in.
As Kabuto left with his hands in his pockets, everything was coming clear. Orochimaru hated Konoha because it sent him on the mission to Grass. He sought immortality because he never wanted to see that Xian girl again, and he had no sex life because it made him think of her...
Sakura joined them near the end of the explanation, so he recapped it for her benefit, before telling her that he and Sasuke were having a friendly conversation, to which Sasuke grunted derisively.
"I find that a bit hard to believe," Sakura commented. Sasuke-kun didn't have 'friendly conversations' with anyone. Not even her or Kakashi-sensei...
"Ya just gotta listen the right way," Naruto replied. "He's just like a pokemon."
"Gngh," Sasuke scoffed.
"I think you're right," Sakura exclaimed. "I clearly heard 'Shut up Dobe' in that one."
"Finally, we've cracked the secret Uchiha language!" Naruto cheered. "We can now understand Sasukese!"
"Let's just get in there and start the stupid exam," Sasuke said in an exasperated tone.
Naruto shook his head to clear his thoughts and faced the crouched ANBU. "It is as Jiraiya-sensei," Jiraiya tensed at this, being suddenly reminded of the last time he had heard that title, "said, um...ANBU-san."
The man reached up and removed his mask, revealing a craggy face still lined with sweat from the prior exertion. But the only thing in Naruto's field of view were two massive hairy things which began to wiggle, dance and shift about. Though a part of him (Akamu) was deeply appalled and disgusted, the rest was drawn like a moth to flame, unable to tear his eyes away.
"Uzumaki-san, may I call you Naruto?" He got an absent nod. "Naruto...kun?" Another absent nod. At this point, since Gai was using certain muscles to their maximum effect, Naruto could have been asked if he wanted to be set on fire, and he would have given his assent. "It seems you have noticed my eyebrows."
"Naruto-kun, I am inspired by you, though I sense the darkness within. Let not your growth be stunted! Let not your light be covered! The flame of your youth, fueled by your sacrifice, burns brightly." Something ignited within Gai, as near-forgotten impulses quickened. "Let not your FLAMES OF YOUTH be hidden! Let them BLAZE upon the hillside, giving LIGHT and DIRECTION to the LOST and FORLORN! You are my HERO and inspiration, Naruto-kun. I beg of you. let not your LIGHT be hid!"
Maito Gai, odd but devoted former leader of Team Romeo, was reborn.
Naruto was overwhelmed. Never had anyone said such to him before. He was an inspiration? He didn't know what to think. Couple that with Gai's sheer vitality and enthusiasm and someone could have asked if he wanted to be dunked in gravy and tossed into a kennel, and he would have agreed. Regardless, he had gained another important person. He knew that beggars couldn't be choosers.
Jiraiya and Sarutobi both wore expressions of abject horror, which increased when Gai's meaty hand descended and rested on Naruto's shoulder, causing the boy's knees to buckle.
"Thank you, Naruto-kun, for reminding me of my true purpose. Let not the darkness within you hide your Sun with Clouds of Deceit! Today is indeed a Beautiful Day!" Maito Gai proceeded to break down in tears. Naruto did the first thing that came to mind, reminded of a time with Anko, and hugged him. Unbidden, a beautiful sunset sprang into being behind them. Jiraiya's attempts at dispelling it failed. For the first time in his long career, he was helpless against a technique as the ocean waves crashed against the rocky headland, causing a rainbow to appear in the spray.--
Ero-sennin watched him leave for a moment, then turned back to us. "Alright, Lazy, Broody, and..." he eyed me for a second, then nodded with a grin, "the other one. Let's get moving."
"The other one?" I yelped. "How come I'm 'the other one'?"
"Because 'Blondie' is too obvious."
"That's bullshit! I am not the other one! The teme should be the other one!"
"Nope. He's obviously Broody."
"But- you- argh!"
"Is it always like this?" I heard Sasuke ask Shika.
"Pretty much," Shika replied with a yawn.
"Maybe I should have gone back with Gai..."--Naruto: Ramen Days
"Team Seven," Minato greeted them as they stood in front of him to receive their next mission. "You have managed to fail every single D-Rank mission we have. What do you have to say for yourself?"
"That takes talent?" Naruto volunteered.
"Naruto," Minato said sternly.
"What? Have you ever tried to fail at some of those?" Naruto shot back.
"How did we manage to fail at finding Tora?" Sakura asked. "Since we did, in fact, find Tora."
"That cat hasn't been the same since you brought it back and, from what I hear, practically has a panic attack every time it spots one of you," Minato pointed out.
"That's very strange," Sasuke said neutrally.
"I'm sure it is. You can't babysit because the children invariably insist on throwing stick 'kunai' at the people around them for 'moving target practice.' You can't go shopping in a neighboring village because you compete to see who can get the cheapest deals and so end up haggling all day. You can't help with farming because Naruto's clones eat all the food. You can't help paint fences or buildings because that would start another paint war," Minato recited. "Kakashi, shouldn't you be, I don't know, trying to get them to pass? They currently hold the record for most D-ranks failed ever."
Kakashi beamed. "I knew they had it in them. Besides, if you think about it, it really takes far more effort and creativity to manage to fail so many consecutive D-rank missions."
Minato sighed. "But there aren't actually any more D-rank missions they are eligible for."
"Then I guess that means it's time to graduate to C-rank missions," Kakashi said brightly.
"Failing C-rank missions are a bit more serious than failing D-ranks," Minato told them seriously. "As their Jounin instructor, you have the right to request they move up to C-ranks, but I need to know that you all will take these seriously."
Sakura nodded. "Absolutely."
"Hn," Sasuke grunted in agreement.
"What's this?" Tazuna asked, taking a swig of his bottle. "They're all just a bunch of super brats. Especially the short one with the stupid face."
"That's my son, you know," Minato informed him, sounding amused.
"And my cute little grandson will swear vengeance…" Tazuna tried again.
"We'll do it," Naruto said practically before he finished that sentence.
"That LAST thing this world needs is more people out for vengeance," Kakashi concurred.
"Agreed," Sakura nodded.
"Inari, say hello to these people. They are the ninjas who protected your Grandpa," Inari's mother, Tsunami, told him when he got back home. Team 7 had already been there for an hour or so.
"But mom, these people are all going to die," Inari protested, pouting.
"That's no reason to be rude," Sakura told him sternly. "Everyone dies. We've known lots of people who have died. In fact, a good friend of ours died once. Of course, he got better, but that usually doesn't happen…"
"There's no way you can win against Gatou," Inari insisted.
"No, there's no way you, as civilians, can win against Gatou," Sasuke corrected. "We're trained ninja and can take on any half-rate mercenary he's cheap enough to throw at us."
"Zabuza and Haku are a little harder," Kakashi added, "but nothing we can't handle."
"Seriously, trained ninja here," Naruto pointed out. "We'll save Wave, I promise!"
"What, are you stupid?" Inari scoffed.
"Yes," Sasuke replied automatically.
Naruto glared at him but said nothing.
"There's no such thing as heroes," Inari insisted.
"You could actually make an argument for half of the people I know being heroes," Naruto said idly.
"If you don't want to die, just leave," Inari said impassively before storming off.
"I like him," Sasuke decided.
Sakura snorted. "Yeah, because he's like the spitting image of what you used to be."
"So? I turned out fine," Sasuke claimed.
There was an awkward silence.
"Let me get this straight…" Kankuro said finally. "You're possessed by a demon but you're scared of my puppets?"
"Your evil, soulless puppets," Naruto corrected.
"And everyone's fine with having a demon container in their midst," Kankuro continued, ignoring him.
"We've been surrounded by worse," Sasuke replied casually.
"Yeah, demon possession really doesn't compare to the Flames of Youth," Sakura agreed.
"What, exactly, is the 'minimum sanity requirement'?" Gaara spoke up.
"I left the room for something – I don't even remember what – and when I got back all of the ANBU guards were dead and Orochimaru was gone," Ibiki recounted.
"Orochimaru managed to escape?" Jiraiya asked, alarmed.
Ibiki shook his head. "Not alone," he said grimly.
"What do you mean?" Minato asked.
"I found this note on the interrogation table," Ibiki said, handing said note to Minato.
"Dear shinobi-san," Minato read aloud, "Tobi is needing Ero-Hebi-Sempai so Tobi went and got him. Sorry if you need him too, but this does not mean Tobi is not a good boy! –Tobi."
Why would Ichiraku's have plates?
He looked around, paying attention to the tables more than the customers this time and grew steadily more worried.
He couldn't spot a single ramen bowl in the room.
Gyoza and tempura. Yakitori and tonkatsu, and a host of apparently stir fried dishes as far as the eye could see.
In a blink he was across the room and on his knees, hands fisted in Ayame's apron.
"Ayame-neechan! Say it isn't so!" he cried.
The young woman rocked dangerously from the unexpected assault, but long years of practice helped her save the couple's dishes from disaster involving a neighboring ninja's head.
She set the now staring couple's dishes in front of them, and apologized politely, before turning her attention to the boy.
"What's wrong, Naruto?" she asked kindly, crouching down and looking the boy in the eye. He looked near to tears for some reason. "Did something go wrong on the mission?"
In a display that was both creepy and endearing, Ralts mirrored his expression perfectly, and Ayame had to resist the urge to grab both of her upset friends in a comforting hug... but she knew Naruto was a cuddler when he was upset, and she wouldn't get any answers if he was talking into her apron.
"The.. The ramen!" Naruto replied, distraught.
"Yes? What about it?" Ayame prompted patiently.
"Where did it go!" Naruto asked loudly, on the verge of frustrated panic.
As he tried to slip past the table with the rude ninja who'd laughed at him, the man flagged him down.
"Hey kid, sorry about earlier," he said. "It's just that you reminded me of the first time I had a long mission and came back to a similar situation. You just got back yourself, right?"
Naruto nodded, a puzzled expression on his face.
"Thought so," the man replied. "I once spent six months tracking a traitor down in Swamp Country. Lived on rats, snakes, and ration bars for most of it, and by the end I was literally dreaming of a big juicy steak from Aburu's."
"I get back to Konoha, and what do I find? Place totally gone. Got completely gutted by a kitchen fire a couple months before. And Old Man Aburu decided to retire rather than try to rebuild, not that I can blame him, considering his age and all."
"But I tell ya, it got me down bad."
"You shoulda seen him," the kunoichi at his table added. "He cried like Gai at a chick flick."
"Hey, don't diss the manly tears," the first argued. "Especially over Aburu's steaks."
"Here here!" agreed the entire Akimichi table, and a smattering of other diners.
"Then one day I got called to the tower," the man continued. "When I get there, you know who's waiting for me? Old Man Aburu himself! Turns out Hokage-sama personally asked him to come out of retirement for a day. Called it a reward for my faithful service."
He sighed in happy remembrance and held up his glass. "To the Hokage!" he called, and the whole room responded, toasting their beloved leader.
"I'm sure we all have stories like that," the man saved, gesturing to the ninja in the room. "But yours has a happy ending, so that makes it funnier than most."
"Yo's Sushi," one of the now solemn Akimichi called out.
"Konpa," another patron said, remembering a Karaoke bar that had closed a few years before.
"Jimaku," a third added, naming the theater that had been run by a group of foreign film enthusiasts, for the short time it had been able to remain in business.
"Aidoku's!" a man called out, before yelping in pain as his date kicked him for naming the now closed store, known for carrying lewd and scandalous merchandise.
"See's Candy shop," a kunoichi added mournfully. She had just discovered it's absence a few days before.
"They're still around," someone piped up."They just moved to a new location over on koujou street. It's bigger now, and they have more equipment, so they're making more of their candy in-house."
"Changed their sign too," another added.
The kunoichi grabbed the last few skewers from her plate, threw down some money, and practically ran from the shop with a shout of gratitude.
'At least Haku is gone," Hinata thought with some relief.
'For now,' Ralts interjected. 'She did promise to see him again, and as Naruto said, she will write...'
'Why are you doing this to me?' Hinata thought angrily at the pokemon who'd barged into her mind yet again. 'Why can't you just leave me alone!'
'I do what I must to protect Naruto,' the little pokemon replied. 'You care for him deeply, yet you fear him in equal measure. This makes you very dangerous to him.'
'Haku wanted to kill him!' Hinata protested.
'She didn't. But you have the potential to kill Naruto's heart, if you were to claim to love him while your fear still rules you. Such a thing might cost him his humanity. I will not permit that." Ralts replied calmly.
'Then you do hate me...' Hinata thought sadly.
'No,' Ralts replied. 'I wish only for Naruto's happiness, and so long as you remain as you are, you cannot be that.'
'But I'm not afraid of Naruto-kun!' Hinata objected.
'Then should I tell him how you feel?' Ralts asked sharply, glaring at Hinata, but tightly leashing her feelings so that Naruto's wouldn't sense them through their bond.
Hinata couldn't help the gasp of worry and chill that touched her spine at that thought. The secret that she'd guarded so long being stolen from her and revealed to Naruto.
'I thought not,' Ralts said when Hinata looked away sadly.
'He knows you are afraid of him. He doesn't know why, but he has been aware for some time,' Ralts pointed out. 'I felt you should know that.'
Hinata flinched severely at this knowledge, a movement only Naruto missed of those at the table, and only because his face was hidden by the bowl he was drinking from.
'Will Haku make him happy?' Hinata thought, and her mind-voice sounded defeated. 'Does she... Does she love Naruto-kun?'
'I don't know,' Ralts admitted. 'Her feelings were unfocused, after all she went through...'
Hinata remained silent, if thoughtful after that.
Naruto ate three bowls of ramen, and the plates of varied foods that Ayame chose to accompany them, which he admitted to be tasty only at Ayame's prompting, before deciding to take his leave.
As team eight and Naruto went their separate ways, Ralts offered one last thought to Hinata...
'Naruto would never give up so easily.'
The words hung in the Hyuuga maiden's mind for a long time, and she knew they were true. How long had Naruto been trying to get a date from Sakura without success? Could she really surrender without really trying at all?
Shameful as it was to admit, the lack of competition was the only reason she felt she'd had a chance with the sunny boy in the first place. She was too plain, too weak, to really earn the special boy's attentions.
But she was no longer the only one with her eyes set on Naruto-kun...
There was another kunoichi who wanted his affections...
Stronger than Sasuke...
Prettier than Sakura...
And almost certainly, more determined than herself...
And Naruto-kun wouldn't stay in Konoha forever. He was too strong, too driven, to be wasted in that way.
He would leave again, and go into the world where women not blinded by the Uchiha heir waited.
If she were to have any chance to claim the man she loved as her own, she might actually have to fight for him, physically and figuratively, against Haku and others.
When Kurenai asked her team if they wanted to try for a C-rank mission, she was second only to Kiba in agreement.
Seeing the pride in Kurenai-sensei's eyes, Hinata knew she made the right choice.
She just hoped she didn't have to fight monsters like Naruto-kun had to get there... well, not yet anyway... And who knows? Maybe after a few easy bandit fights she might feel brave enough to tackle the really scary stuff...
"Before you make your decision... there is one more penalty to consider..." Ibiki said. "The final question is the most important for any ninja to understand, not like those esoteric questions you had to answer for the first nine."
"In fact, it is my firm belief, that a ninja who is incapable of answering it correctly doesn't even deserve to be a ninja. The Hokage refused my choice of expulsion from the ninja program for the first penalty, so I added this second one, and got approval from someone else..."
"Any ninja who chooses to take the final question and fails, will not only be forbidden from attending promotion exams, but they will also be have their pokemon unbonded... permanently."
Shouts of denial filled the room, as almost every ninja argued against his ability to do something so extreme.
Silence fell when a tornado of flame taller than the building exploded into being in the center of the training field where the pokemon were waiting.
After a long moment, it cleared to reveal the full majesty of Moltres, towering above them like a golliath.
"I said I got approval," Ibiki remarked. "Suffice to say, the Legendary aligned with Konoha agrees with me as to this matter's importance."
"But there is some good news... I am now finished explaining the special circumstances for the tenth question. Any of you who aren't confident enough to continue, raise your hand and you will be marked off as the failures you are, after which, you may leave," Ibiki concluded.
"I... I don't wanna risk it," Said one depressed sounding shinobi, standing with his arm raised. "I just can't take that chance!"
"Number fifty, failed! Numbers seventy-three and ninety-two, also failed!" A sentry called out, sending the quitter and his teammates away.
"What do I do?" Naruto thought in a panic. "What do I do? What do I do?" Ralts had retracted the greater portion of her mental link after the team had finished their deliberations, but she could still speak with Naruto easily.
"What is wrong?" She asked, trying to comfort her partner.
"This jerk's gonna try takin' you away!" Naruto said in the mental equivalent of a near wail. "He says the last questions so important that if anyone misses it, he'll take their pokemon away!"
"Is that why Moltres-sama is here?" Ralts asked curiously. It was strange that she didn't sense anything of the sort from the Legendary firebird.
"I think so..." Naruto replied. "Kakashi-sensei did say that it's almost impossible to break a bond... Maybe it's so important that he convinced Moltres to do it for him?"
"What could be that important to both ninja and pokemon?" Ralts wondered.
"I... don't know..." Naruto admitted. "I don't wanna risk losing you, but I can't just let everybody down... Sakura-chan an' Sasuke are counting on me... and Iruka-sensei an' Kakashi-sensei both said we were as ready as we'd ever be..."
"Then you can do it," Ralts replied comfortingly.
"Then... I guess we got no choice," Naruto sighed. "Even if I quit, there's no guarantee it wouldn't be worse next time... but what if I fail?"
"Then we'll just have to fix things," Ralts replied, sending Naruto a mental collage of the other nearly impossible things he'd done.
Because really, what was a proctor and his stupid rules in comparison to Konoha's Anbu, a quartet of ninja assassins and a guy with pockets deeper than the Valley of the End? Heck, even Tora was scarier than Scarface there... In fact, she's probably what gave him those scars, now that he considered it...
He came back to himself and noticed that more than half the room had emptied, and to his shock, he could see Sakura-chan's arm creeping up...
"Why would she do that?" He wondered? "She's a genius, no way she'd fail... could she be worried about me?" He found that thought pleasant before it clicked that she was trying to give up, and the reason was largely irrelevant... he had to stop her! But how, when she couldn't see him behind her?
"Tell Sakura-chan not to quit... unless she really is worried about herself," Naruto asked of Ralts, who began trying to reestablish the connection with the pink-haired girl.
Not wanting to leave everything to Ralts, he decided it would be well advised to make some noise... One Uzumaki Special comin' up!
"You can take your rules and choke on 'em!" Naruto shouted, leaping onto his desk and pointing an accusing finger at the proctor. Never let it be said that Naruto Uzumaki ever did things halfway.
"I'm gonna take your stupid question, pass it and win this stupid exam! Ralts-chan is my family, and there ain't an Arceus-damned thing you can do to take her away! Dattebayo!"
Even if Ralts-chan hadn't gotten the message to Sakura yet, she and every other person in the room was staring at him like he'd grown another head.
"Are you certain about that?" Ibiki asked mildly. "You don't know what the question is, or even how difficult it can be. You might still fail, and then 'Ralts-chan' won't be with you anymore."
"That won't happen," Naruto swore, glaring at the man.
"You'd be surprised at the things that can happen in a ninja's life," Ibiki replied confidently. "What will you do if it does?"
"Then I'll get her back," Naruto promised. "Whatever it takes, I'll do it. An' when I do, we'll come back an' kick your ass for making me."
Ibiki let out a bark of laughter. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a single pokemon in the entire world?" He asked, ignoring the threat as the useless barking it seemed to be.
"Doesn't matter," Naruto replied with finality. "I made a promise, an' I never go back on my word. Ralts-chan's family lives on an island, an' I know where it is...""More or less... how hard can it be to find though?" Naruto added silently.
"Ah, an island..." And how will you reach this island?" Ibiki asked tauntingly.
"Water walking," Naruto replied.
"I think you underestimate the size of the ocean. You can't just walk across it like a river," Ibiki remarked, to a chorus of laughter from the people in the room who had a similar opinion.
"Then I'll build a bridge instead!" Naruto replied forcefully. What did it matter how he did it, as long as he did?
"That's even worse!" Ibiki replied, pointless though this argument was, it was entertaining. "You'd never be able to make one tall or long enough to cross the ocean."
Naruto growled in anger, this jerk was just trying to humiliate him... "Then if I can't do that I'll... I'll..."
"If he cannot do that, the he will swim! And I shall join him in his most youthful quest!" Shouted the green-clad weirdo from the stairwell, leaping to his feet and flashing a thumbs up and giant grin.
"Damn right, Bushy brows!" Naruto replied, glad for both the save and the vote of confidence.
"Have either of you even seen the ocean?" Ibiki asked incredulously. Seriously? Their ideas were simply impossible.
"B-boat!" Hinata squeaked, forcing herself to her feet, though she kept her eyes shut tight and her face lit up in embarrassment, but she couldn't just sit and watch Naruto-kun stand up to the bully. "W-we can b-buy a b-boat... and..."
"And we'll come too!" Kiba added, trying to help. "Shino was just tellin' me how much he needs to work on his tan!"
"The humans who created him, intended him to be a weapon. They raised him to be a blade with no hilt, a bomb with a trigger they could not diffuse. And when they realized that they cannot wield their weapon, they sought to destroy it," Mewtwo said, and despite his monotone mind-voice, there was some empathy in him for the situation Gaara was born to.
"Their attacks were not merely physical. They stripped him of all comforts, all hope, all except that which they had given him in hopes of creating their ultimate being of destruction."
"And he struck back. Proved that their creation had surpassed all hopes of success. He crushed all who sought to harm him. Human or pokemon, all threats were eliminated with the same certainty."
"The decision we must make is not whether ot not he should receive a partner, but whether we will hold him to blame for what he was created to be. Should we blame the boy for what his experiences have made him, knowing the crimes against him that caused it?"
"Should we repeat the idiocy which his human peers have persisted in, since that first attempted murder so long ago?"
"I believe we owe this boy our support as much as we do any of their kind. But I also believe we must take care in the making of that decision."
"We should offer the boy our support, if for no more reason than to balance the betrayal of his kin. Partner the boy with one of the desert princes, the Larvitars. Their natural desert adaptations should protect it from Shukaku's machinations, as will their ability to eat the biju's weapon of choice."
"So it is decided, so shall it be," Arceus agreed.
The imprinting of the pokemon bond was the first physical pain Gaara had ever felt, but it was actually one of his few fond memories, and like Naruto, he kept Larvitar close, making a den of sorts for it in his gourd.--
"Its about the fucking blue creeper!"
The Uchiha glanced back at them and furrowed his brows.
The result of their gossiping had been quite terrifying indeed.
"So you're telling me… A man related to Kisame who just so happens to be a high priest of Jashin, is invisibly stalking Kakuzu and sending fake messages to hypnotize Itachi…?"
One by one, the rest of the Akatsuki gathered by the door and stood silently with Kisame.
By the time the water started gently flowing under the door and into the hallway, the entire organization had shown up, including the Senbon-Chewing-Shinobi, Kisames friend Jaws, Orochimaru, Kabuto and Sasuke.
Deidara couldn't tear his eyes away from the hunched form of Tobi.
After a really delicious dinner of pork with apple sauce, golden roasted potatoes, various servings of pan fried vegetables and a desert of home-made chocolate ice-cream, we kicked Orochimaru back out of the base, frilly pink apron and all.
I didn't think I would have to do this but I have resorted to do what I assume is some kind of Hidan Summoning Jutsu.
Well instead of Hidan being summoned after we insulted his god, Kisame and I just got struck by lightning.
Against my better judgement, I have allowed Deidara to look after my diary whilst I go on a mission.
Art is a superior thing that cannot be learnt through observation and practice.
I now declare Itachis diary a forum!
Dear Girly suicide bomber
Dear Deidara, who is a girl.
Dear Deidara, the girl ugly blonde who does shave his legs.
Never again will my diary be entrusted to Deidara…
I caught the senbon chewing shinobi ruffling through my things today.
I stumbled across Orochimaru today.
I am not a pet.
Later that night, Naruto was running towards the forest, a giant scroll on his back. He hopped into a clearing and opened the scroll.
"Lets see. Rasengan. Sure, why not. Edo Tensei. Raises the dead. Hell yes. Mokuton: impaling spike. Who knows, maybe I can pull it off. House of Mirrors? A genjutsu that makes the victim see random things the caster imagines. Oh, I'm definitely learning this one." --
"Stay away!" Naruto ran towards a tree and climbed up. Sasuke frowned and walked under the branch Naruto was sitting on.
"Come on, get down here, be mature!" He yelled up towards Naruto. Naruto shook his head. He picked an acorn off the tree and through it right at Sasuke. Sasuke, not seeing it, got hit dead center in the forehead. There was a plume of smoke where Sasuke was and in his place was young women the same height as Sasuke and with Sasuke's clothes on. She had black hair that reached down near her lower back and onyx black eyes to match.
"What the fuck! Your a girl! And to make it worse for my situation, a hot one at that!" Naruto yelled, shocked to find out that the person he once thought was his gay teammate turned out to be a woman. Naruto fell from the branch he was sitting on and landed right on Sasuke. He stood up, helped Sasuke up, and ran.
"Sorry, Naruto-kun."She said. Sasuke got off of Naruto and Naruto made a dash for freedom. He ended up running headfirst into a tree.
"Naruto, are you OK?" Ino asked as Sasuke and her ran towards Naruto.
"Pancake, flipper, alphabet soup." He mumbled.
"Well, that's my good deed for the day. See ya." He said before heading off to the bridge. When he got there, he sweat-dropped at the scene. Kakashi and Zabuza were playing chess while Ino, Haku, and Sasuke were all talking about, to his surprise, they were talking about clothes. Well he was surprised that Sasuke was.--
"Who's Gaara?" I just had to ask.
"My little brother. He's also here. But he's in the high security wing," she answered.
"High security?" She had killed three- four people and he was in high security?
She nodded. "Yeah. They've got him in a straitjacket and muzzle, because he really went over the edge and freaked out. On bad days they tend to feed him through an intravenous injection because if they take the muzzle off he tries to bite them. But he's really a great guy."
Hinata is an obedient girl. She always does what her father tells her. Even now, when he's not around. He told her not to tell, it's a secret. It's a secret; she's not allowed to tell. So she doesn't. No-one knows. She hasn't told anyone, so no-one knows. (Neji knows) Neji thinks he knows. He doesn't. Not everything. Only a little, only what her father saw fit to tell him. Now he hates her, hates her even though it wasn't her fault, she was just being an obedient girl and doing what her father said. She has to do what her father says, else she's worthless. Bile rises in her throat when she thinks of the secret, and she flinches instinctively when she thinks of sharing the secret. She is worthless without her father and how her father isn't around, but she was just doing what he told her to. Can she help it her father and her uncle were twins?
Gaara is in a room with padded walls. In this room, no-one can hear him scream (no-one will ever hear him scream). He can't hurt himself, they've made sure of that. They leave him in there for hours on end, alone, only himself for company. He can't sleep. He's afraid the anger inside of him will seep into his very bones should he let down his guard. When they give him the sleeping pills (do they think he's stupid? He knows when he's been drugged), that's when he's the most angry, when he wants to rip them to shreds, for allowing his thoughts to wander, his mind to go slack, allowing him to realize that they have locked him in hereand he can't get out. The idiots haven't noticed the correlation yet. Haven't realized it's their fault. He can't do anything, his hands are tied. They don't listen to him, dismissing his warnings as empty threats and lunatic ravings.
Naruto is roaring inside and everyone's none the wiser. He's always loud; always; whichever one he is. One's just more (logical sensible clever sarcastic sadistic cruel ruthless controlled bloodthirsty demonic destructive traitorous animalistic) violent. Luckily it's the other one who's dominant. Naruto tries to keep the 'violent' one, his little monster under control. He really, really does. But if he's threatened, attacked, he can't help himself fade into the background and the monster taking over (really, they deserved it). Nobody believes him, nobody takes him seriously when he says he can feel his monster, bubbling just under the surface, burning furiously orange, claws, fangs and glaring eyes. They think he's joking when he says he can see his monster, talk to his monster. His monster is persistent and persuasive, constantly coaxing Naruto to let him out, but Naruto knows better. Nobody likes him when he's his monster, and he doesn't like not being liked, doesn't like hurting people, destroying things. So he refuses as much as he can, making sure his monster knows he is in control, and he normally manages (and if he doesn't the sedatives he's shot full of work). He doesn't really like his monster, but it is part of him and always will be, so he can't bring himself to completely detest it.
"Organization XIII. We search for Kingdom Hearts. Yours?"
"We're called Akatsuki. We capture innocent people that had horrible childhoods and rip out their souls, along with any demons they have in them. They die in the process."
"Of course not!" she snapped. "What, do you think I could just waltz back to Konoha and say 'Oh, I think Orochimaru left this baby that looks like him on my doorstep and he told me to take care of it until he comes back from wherever he is. Here, take it!'?--
Sasuke had his hand at his mouth now, covering his smile. "I was just reminded, whenever I was bothering him to play with me or something, and he didn't have the time, he'd call me over. Like this, you see." He took the hand and waved it, palm-inward, towards himself. "And when I was right in front of him, he'd…"
But Sasuke pulled his hand back from where it had been drawing nearer and nearer to Yakata's face. He stared at it with an expression that Yakata couldn't quite read.
(Could grief be that shameful-looking?)
"What? Wha-what would he do…?" Yakata said softly. He leaned forward.
"…sorry. Maybe next time." Sasuke's voice was incredibly quiet, and coated with a strange bitterness.
"Huh? Oh, uh, okay," Yakata said, blinking. "If, if, if you… if you don't wanna… talk about it now then, um…"
And then Sasuke was laughing, just as quietly as he had been speaking. "No, no, that's just what he used to tell me," he said. "When he poked me on the forehead. See, like this." And with two fingers he reached out and gently pressed the middle of Yakata's brow. His hand crumpled into a fist of loose fingers as it fell away. "That was how he told me he was… sorry, I suppose. For being too busy."
Yakata rubbed the space where his fingers had been, closing one eye. "F-funny way of… saying you're sorry…"
Sasuke's laughter was even louder, this time. And because it was louder, Yakata finally noticed how it almost sounded like he was crying, at the same time.
"Sounds like he… like he really cared about you," Yakata said, smiling as he put his hands back down on the table. "I mean, I'm, I'm… I'm sure he cared about you, since you two were, um. Brothers, I guess…"
"He did," Sasuke said, simply, softly. "I don't think I ever realized how much he cared, though, until… after he was gone." He narrowed his eyes, and his mouth twitched, again, but this time into a frown. "I wish I could have thanked him, just once, before it was all over. For everything he did for me."
But the morning had been one of beautiful flowers and gentle words and.
Everything had been okay.
But when Sasuke came home, when Sasuke came home…
(Was it really that fragile, this happiness? Like a glass dream.)
(He'd cracked it.)
(It had been too good to be true.)
(Yakata ruined everything he touched.)
Yakata began crying again, and his sobs were hard and wet and anguished.
Before the match, Nadeshiko's father had told her one thing.
"Don't hold back. No matter what you do."
Her father's words were the truth and they could not be disobeyed.
Nadeshiko reached out her hand, and she shook Shusuke's with it.
"Yes," she said, "let's have a good fight. I won't hold back."
And she didn't.
She did not understand why it was that Shusuke was suddenly no longer moving.
She had only held him.
With her eyes. With her arms.
Tripped him. Kicked him. Kneed him.
Felt things cracking.
Lightning surging through her limbs.
She didn't understand why blood was oozing out of his mouth, why it stained his red shirt an even darker red.
All the others had gotten back up. Eventually.
In the Forest.
She had made sure. She had been practical. She had conserved her strength there.
She did not hold back here.
She did not understand why his eyes were rolling into the back of his head.
She had fought with her father, with her brothers before.
They had always gotten back up.
They had bled, yes.
(That one day, she had broken Hajime's nose. Hajime did not say anything about it.)
But they had always gotten back up.
She did not understand how Shusuke could have possibly been so.
When they were not.
There was a growing pool of redness beneath Shusuke's head.
The proctor was yelling. The match was over.
She stood still.
She had not meant to do.
Her hands had blood on them and it was not her own.
Medics were rushing onto the arena.
The watching crowd was very quiet.
The blood on her hands belonged to Shusuke.
They began carrying him away on a stretcher.
Much of him was still left on the ground.
On her hands.
He was not moving.
She did not understand.
Had she really hurt him that badly?
He was not moving.
But she could.
And she did. Even though there were many bodies and many hands in between them, she ran and she followed the medics, and Shusuke.
"Please," she said, with a little voice, "is he okay?"
"I'm sorry," she said, when they told her to leave, "I didn't mean to hurt him so badly."
They would not let her in when they took him into surgery. So she waited outside.
Eventually, her father caught up with her. He asked her what she was doing.
She told him.
"I need to see if he'll be all right."
She had not yet truly washed her hands. The blood had dried and turned brown, like rust.
"I didn't mean to hurt him so badly."
"But, you didn't hold back," her father said. "Your skill, Nadeshiko, they'll see that. Well done, little bird. I'm very proud of you."
He asked her to come back to the arena. There was another fight waiting for her, soon.
She refused. He asked why.
Again, she told him.
"I need to see if he'll be all right."
"I'm sure he'll be fine," her father said, "now let's go."
She did not move.
Her hands were covered in Shusuke.
She could still feel the crack of things within him in her thighs, in her wrists.
The next fight, if she were to participate, would be against another little boy. A foreign boy. One she didn't know.
"…will I do the same thing to that one?"
Her father tilted her head curiously, at that.
"If I fight the next one, will he end up here too? And the next?"
"Nadeshiko," her father said, "what are you talking about?"
When she had tried her best, before, they had always gotten up afterward. She had never hurt them.
When had she become so strong?
"Father, I didn't mean to hurt him so badly," she said. "I shouldn't have fought like that."
"Don't say things like that," her father said.
He grabbed her arm.
"You have another fight waiting for you. Your next opponent won't be as weak. It'll be a better fight."
Her father always spoke the truth. And she loved him too much.
She pulled her hand away. She wrapped her fingers around her palm.
"Let me stay here until I have to fight," she said. "Have someone get me when I have to go. I want to stay here for now."
It was with a great reluctance that her father finally left.
And all she had were her thoughts, and Shusuke.
She had only done her best.
But her best had never hurt her father so badly.
And she started remembering.
At the academy. When she had to be taught with older students because she kept surpassing her peers, moved up into higher and higher classes.
They were always less-skilled than she was. If she had kept with them.
Would they have ended up like Shusuke too?
For a year, for a year and a half, all she had was her father, her brothers.
Her father was legendary. She knew this. Anyone would look weak compared to him.
Anyone would feel normal compared to him.
Was she really that strong?
Even if her next opponent were stronger. If she did not hold back.
Just more blood on her hands.
Just more blood.
Her father had told her not to hold back.
He had praised her.
She was his little bird. She did not disappoint him.
A little red bird.
But birds did not hurt people. Not like this.
When they sent a chuunin to go pick her up, to inform her that her match was due to begin, she said that she would not go.
"Uchiha-san, we're already pushing it as it is... If you aren't in the arena in a half hour then your match is forfeit."
She looked up at him.
Shusuke had come to her without fear.
Look what she had done.
This child, barely older than him, was terrified of her. His eyes were trembling, resting anywhere but her face, her body.
Her hands, especially.
She had only ever been praised for her skills. Her strength.
Her father had said he would kill for such power.
Was such power really worth killing for?
(Shusuke had been in surgery for a very long time.)
In the academy she had been praised, also.
But other children.
Weren't so kind.
They wouldn't let her play with them. She had tried.
They whispered things about her.
"They're just jealous of you," her father had said, "pay them no mind."
Jealous, were they.
Seeing this boy here, Nadeshiko thought of this.
They were not jealous.
They were afraid.
…her father was wrong.
"If that is the case," she told the boy, "then I forfeit my match. Award the victory to my opponent. I want to stay here."
"…a-are you sure?"
She had never been so sure of anything in her life.
Power like hers was not worth killing for.
She scared people.
Power like hers truly wasn't worth killing for.
She had killed him.
She hadn't meant to hurt him so badly.
She had only been told to do her best.
For a week, she thought this over.
For a week, she stayed in her room.
(Her mother defended her. Keeping her father out. She was just upset.)
She didn't want to talk to him.
Him, the great liar. Who had told her that this strength was such a gift. Who had praised her so much.
Even though she loved him.
Her own body scared her.
And it scared her more, how he loved what she so hated.
But he was her father.
"It's suspicious as hell," Sasuke said. His voice was clipped. "Orochimaru? Cooperative? This whole thing reeks."
"Well, yeah, Sasuke, it's suspicious, but we might as well take advantage of it, y'know?" Naruto said. "If things start going sour then there's stuff we can doabout it later. I mean, y'don't take out the entire toolbox when it looks like you just need to use a hammer, right?"
"…what in the world are you even talking about," Sasuke said.
"I'm just saying that maybe he's mellowed out in his old age or something!" Naruto said, with a slight smile.
Sasuke did not often dream of things he had not experienced before.
(Somehow, he had fallen asleep.)
When he did dream, it was always clips of memories, flickering things that jumped from year to year, minute to minute, repeating, muted in color, vivid in color, repeating and flickering. But always memories.
That night, Sasuke dreamed of his brother, as he had done so many other nights before.
But that night, he was wearing Yakata's face.
It was—jarring, because he knew that… yes, they looked the same, they looked the same, just at different ages, that was what had set his mind so on edge originally, but.
Was there really, now, such a difference in their faces?
Had Itachi's eyes ever been so perpetually scared?
(Was that what that expression meant? Fear?)
There had to have been a difference because.
Yakata's wide eyes narrowed and grew very cold, and his mouth tightened into a hateful, thin line.
"Hello," he said, with Yakata's voice.
The corners of his mouth began turning upward, slightly. The brother wearing his boy's face closed his eyes.
And opened them.
And they were red and carried within them a pattern of scythe-like curving black within them.
They were no longer Yakata's eyes, they were-
"I'm here, Sasuke," Itachi said.
His body began dissolving into a storm of black feathers.
"Yes," she said eventually, sounding oddly composed. "He is."
There was a brief pause before she continued. "I shouldn't have lost my head back there. You were right to do what you did."
Itachi lingered behind her and said nothing. He felt compelled to walk away, then, to take his place in the opposite corner and resume another night's thinking on how to reverse an already hopeless situation. Instead, he took one of the chairs and sat next to her.
She didn't move. Her face remained calm, her breaths soft and even. She blinked every now and then. It was disheartening to look at.
She was still holding to the ideals drilled into her from childhood, tenuous and meaningless as they were. He looked at her and began to understand her feelings towards him when she'd talked about clan honour. There was a sense of bitterness overtaking him that he hadn't felt in a long time.
There were no shinobi anymore. There was no code of conduct. There was only him, her, and a sleeping infant lying blissfully unaware of the tumult overhead. A shinobi's life; a shinobi's honour; it meant nothing now. Adherence to such archaic notions was a way of blindly grasping for control in the dark.
He knew how pointless it was. The disease that had killed him when he'd been alive had been hastened by the torment he'd kept hidden inside. It had festered, taking away his sleep and leaving him weak and vulnerable to his affliction. Sitting by her and watching her make the same mistake was finally enough for him to break his silence, and tell her what he'd denied himself his entire life.
He would dress him up, and feed him, and whoa wait a second. He was Uchiha Madara, the most powerful and smart Uchiha of all time. Why the hell was he playing dolly with Itachi?
By little I mean that you could practically hear them screaming from the other side of the world. By the end of the second week everyone was fed up from having to listen to two leaders instead of them both working together.
Meanwhile, Tobi was just relaxing. Sure he could take control of the situation and force them to patch things up but this was just too much fun.
"JUST SHUT UP ALREADY!"
Pein and Konan turned to look at the person who had just yelled at them.
Madara stood in front of them without his mask on and then he said, "Now that I have your attention, I command you to forgive and forget!"
Pein and Konan glared at Madara and simultaneously said, "No." Madara face palmed and then after a long sigh he said, "Pein if you don't I will give you something worse then a stupid paper cut and Konan if you don't I will make out with Pein."--
"Thank God," he muttered, sipping his tea with a strained expression. "How the hell do people drink the bitter shit on its own?"
"Uh…Kankuro and I had a fight," she said hesitantly as his eyes wandered the havoc in the kitchen. He turned his gaze back to her, and suddenly glared. Temari gasped when he took as step forward.
"Don't do it again," he said, a hint of warning in his voice.
Temari bobbed her head earnestly, trying not to sigh in relief. Suddenly, Gaara stepped over the discarded tin tray and walked towards the cutlery drawer as Temari watched anxiously.
He's not going for a weapon, is he? She questioned herself in a panic as he started rummaging through the utensils.
She blinked when he pulled out a spoon and walked over to the fridge. Without a backwards glance, he opened the freezer door and dug out a box of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, which he tucked under his arm.--
In the other room, Kankuro was also sleeping, drooling a little as his subconscious mind wandered to what he had hidden under his pillow. Chortling a little in his sleep, the puppet master flopped onto his stomach.
If Temari ever found out about this hidden thing under his pillow…well, sometimes he shuddered to think.
If Gaara ever found out about this hidden thing under his pillow…well, that would be really weird.
And finally, in the last room, Gaara sat on his bed, leaning against the headboard as he contentedly ate his chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. It was the only sweet thing he cared for, and a whole carton would be especially reserved for him.
It had to be available at all times.
Meanwhile, Kankuro was enjoying himself immensely, as his sister struggled and his brother looked on in interest. And wouldn't you know it? Kankuro's been the underdog for the whole fic, so why stop now?
The games were old, and as a result of this, they had acquired a thick layer of an allergy provoking phenomenon know as…
It happened just as Temari reached for a piece, her hand trembling.
Kankuro sneezed, so violently and suddenly that his head collided with the table, sending the wooden blocks toppling moments before Temari's fingers touched it.
"Aaahhh!" Kankuro yelled in pain as his head hit the table, only to be pelted mercilessly by the raining Jenga blocks.
Temari started laughing.
Gaara looked annoyed, and the TINIEST, SMALLEST bit amused.
And Kankuro cried.
Itachi came to a decision, that night after a week of having to put up with those two gaylords. He was going to kill them both. Oh wait. Sasori couldn't die . . . well, not to Itachi's knowledge he could. So Orochimaru would die.
Oh wait. Again.
Leader-sama had already said that killing other Akatsuki members was a big no-no. He seemed to think of the evil organization as his family or something, and didn't want them dying off. Killing one of the older members would probably get Itachi kicked out. But really, what kind of evil mastermind calls his lackeys 'family'? Of course, Itachi reasoned the man was probably an orphan. Those little scummers did have a nasty whiff about them . . .
Oh wait. A third time.
Itachi was an orphan.
"Forgot about that." Itachi mumbled. It seemed that the important ritual of nail-painting had calmed things down next door, so the Uchiha could finally roll over and fall asleep.
Despite his late night, Itachi awoke at dawn, per usual. As he ambled down the hallway to get to the bathroom, he passed by Sasori and Orochimaru's room. The annoyances had left their door open, explaining why they were louder than normal last night. An evil plan formed in Itachi's mind, as he headed to the washroom for his daily shower, hair care and, of course, to get a cold bucket of water. His plan was quite obvious. "But, before all that . . ." Itachi sighed, as he closed his eyes, "I need to scrub my eyes clean."
After all, he really hadn't needed to see Orochimaru and Sasori, both wearing frilly nightgowns and cuddling in their sleep.
"No, I'm good," he said weakly, waving a hand. "Miracle of God, seriously."
"You've lost nearly two liters of blood!"
"You don't need to shower," Zetsu mumbled, growing out of the floor. "Personally, I like my food sweaty. It gives it a sort of salty taste."
"Get away, you fucking freak!"
"Ahhh, he's licking my leg! Hidan, help me, yeah!"
"Zetsu, stop it," Konan commanded quietly, walking towards the bathroom dressed in only an oversized t-shirt and panties. "Hidan, Deidara, stop fighting. You take longer in the bathroom than me, even when I put on my make up."
"Don't hate us 'cause we're beautiful," Hidan sneered.
Konan raised an eyebrow, looking the Jashinist up and down. "Beautiful…?" You see, most people would think that Hidan looked perfect, like an angel sent by God, a mix of pure testosterone and God's tears as he sculpted that sexy, sexy body –
Until they saw him in the morning with his hair wavy and unruly, stubble on his chest (Not that Konan had ever wanted this information, but Hidan shaved. Everywhere. Everywhere.), his eyes small and sleepy and his face pale as fuck from blood loss (He got up in the middle of the night to perform a ritual and then went back to sleep for two more hours or something).--
He had been at the table for roughly 30 seconds when the resident "good boy" had decided to sit across the table from him.
"We have plenty of jerry cans filled with fuel in the shed in the garden that need using because to be brutally honest, if they don't get used up soon Deidara will either blow us sky high, Tobi will drink it, Kakazu will sell it or Hidan will find a way to sacrifice it."
"I'm not letting Itachi anywhere near a vehicle until he kicks his drug habit and gets a pair of glasses."
Itachi had awoken and upon hearing this, activated his Sharingan and thrown a can of spray paint at Pein, who didn't need to duck because Itachi had thrown the can in the wrong direction.
He was not jealous. Most definitely not. But the kid had gotten along with Hidan well. A little too well for his liking. Why didn't he like it? Hidan was an insufferable, idiot who knew nothing of the value of anything save for his stupid religion.
Kakuzu was a logical man, he liked to organize things, sort them out neatly before going through anteing. That was the safest way to deal with numbers when you were counting money; and it was the most effective. He didn't just like to organize numbers or physical things for that matter (the neatness of his possessions whether traveling or just in the transit lair attesting to that quite effectively already); but he liked to also organize his thoughts.
As he walked, the night air was cooling and soothing; the silence of the trees was good company and a welcome exchange for Hidan's whining. But it had been quiet on the way back as well; so why hadn't he had enjoyed it?
He started thinking slowly. Hidan drove him nuts. But there were times when he was fighting that he found the way blood splattered on his body; and how he mercilessly killed his opponents a little….fun, to watch. If not, really entertaining. Despite that, it was messy and inefficient.
Then there was the new kid. He killed quickly, efficiently, sometimes so fast his enemies might not have even had the chance to feel the cold touch of fear's fingers against the very veins to their hearts. This was much more efficient; if time was money and Kakuzu wanted money, the kid was the better option as a partner.
He was impressed admittedly. Putting the fact that the agreement was valid for the duration of the mission, they could get things done quickly. The less time wasted, the more money earned.
…but for some reason, he just didn't like it.
He could hear Hidan's whoops and screams in his head. His obscenities and his evil cackles when he relished in the pain and torture of the living soul he was slowly destroying. And it was beautiful.
Death was beautiful. And HIdan made the performance even more so.
There was no way.
He stopped in the middle of a clearing where the starry night showed and groaned. He knew he had come to right conclusion. But he didn't like it either.
"Sei-kun at least-"
Kakuzu cut him off. "What's with the nickname? You're quite affectionate, getting soft?"
A red, angry blush rose to Hidan's cheeks. "I am not! You're really getting old aren't you Kakuzu? Getting jealous?"
Kakuzu was quiet.
Kakuzu went back to his book.
"Holy shit Kaku-"
"I love logs." Naruto sighed in bliss. "They're just… everywhere."
"Amen." Replied all the ninja in the room. It was somewhat of a fact of life that all ninjas of Konoha developed a sort of worship for logs by the time they reach chunin.
--Naruto clasped his hand around the other and smiled, saying, "Gaara, I don't need to die to validate your existence! I can do so as your friend, instead, and I acknowledge you! You are important to me! You are significant, and you can make the world a better place for everyone if you choose to do so!"
Gaara continued to stare at him for a very long time, before releasing his hand and not killing him.
His siblings were shocked speechless, to say the least. Kankuro dropped a fork since he was so stunned he'd forgotten to hold on to it.
Gaara didn't let Naruto leave his side for the rest of that reset.
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen!" Naruto cried out through his microphone to a stadium audience consisting of thousands of exact copies of him, some female, all cheering and stomping on the bleachers he'd also created around the glade in the forest where Sasuke and Gaara were about to fight. "And Welcome to tonight's Celebrity Death Match!"
The clones roared their approval, drowning out all other noise.
"In this corner," he waved to the Sand siblings, who were all looking more than slightly alarmed at suddenly being surrounded by approximately four thousand shadow clones on stadium seats that had all appeared mysteriously out of nowhere. "Gaara of the Desert!"
A surge of cheers came from the crowd.
"And in this corner," he waved back to his own team, where Sasuke was looking utterly disgusted with him. "The Amazing! The Stupendous! The Colossal!..." He bent over to speak to another one of his clones, this one is a stage manager's uniform. "Hey, what do you mean Orochimaru's not going to show? Use the substitute? That Uchiha kid? No way! He'd never last ten seconds against that guy from Sand. I mean we're talking Gaara here! The undefeated village champion! Slayer of thousands, winner of over a hundred private assassination matches. The Uchiha hasn't even killed a bug! It'd be a total slaughter to send him in against that trained killer! Do it anyway? Well, okay, but you've gotta switch all my bets around - everything on Gaara to win! Okay!" He turned back to the studio audience, finished with his 'private' conversation that everyone had heard. "Now where were we? Oh, yes! Now, representing Konoha! The one, the only, the Amazing Walking Ego, the Pretty Princess, and darling of Fire country's pedophilic circle, The Dweebmeister!"
Equally loud boos and jeers from the clones met this pronouncement.
"Man, that's harsh," Kiba whispered to the rest of Team 8 where they had hidden out in the forest, drawn by the noise.
"Gaara! Gaara! He's our man! He can't do it, no one can!" Shouted an entire line of buxom cheerleader Naruto-chans, bouncing around shaking pompoms.
Sasuke was grinding the knuckles of his fingers together. He was going to kill him. The dope was going to die! How DARE he mock him like this before an important fight?
"The winner of tonight's fight," Naruto announced. "Goes on to the finals for a chance to gain the coveted chunin grade!"
A roar of approval from the audience Narutos.
"And to the loser," he continued, once the volume had died down to a more bearable level, "a consolation prize. The fact that they will no longer have to put up with Sakura's whining, seeing as how they will be mercifully dead."
"He didn't just say that, did he?" Ino muttered in shocked awe, where her own team were hiding out in the woods overlooking this.
"Peanuts, popcorn, crackerjacks," Naruto clones dressed up as snack vendors were going up and down the aisles - and visiting all of the dozens of concealed teams hidden in the surrounding woods.
Choji bought a raft of snacks while he had the chance, causing Ino to drop her face into her hands in disgust.
"I'm sorry, miss," one of the vendor clones informed Anko, where she was also overlooking this, having heard the noise. "But I'm going to have to see some ID. You don't look over 18 to me."
Seeing it was nothing serious, she'd stopped a vendor to ask about some sake. Pulling a wallet out of who-knows-where, she flashed him her nin-ID card, and collected her bottle.
"And they're off!" The announcer Naruto shouted out suddenly. "The Uchiha leads with a glare to the left! A sneer to the right! Oh! It's brutal! But Gaara is staying calm in the face of this fierce disapproval!"
That was it. Sasuke decided. The dope was going to die! There was nothing that was going to save him from his wrath after he got through with this!
He'd live long enough to get the team to the tower, so that he wouldn't be disqualified and lose his own chances, but after that!
"And it's that patented Sasuke Scowl! You're seeing it yourself folks! A move that he's been practicing for the last half dozen years is now seeing its first appearance in a real death match! But Gaara seems unfazed by the blow!"
Slow and painful. Sasuke decided. It was going to be slow and painful.
"He feints with a pout! What will it be next, folks? Oh! I can't believe it! It's the dreaded eye twitch! Can it be that Gaara has gotten through to his ego already? Impossible! There's no creature on Earth more arrogant than an Uchiha! He can't be giving up yet, folks!"
"I can't believe that Sasuke hasn't already killed Naruto for this!" Ino said between mouthfuls of popcorn with extra butter.
"He would have if he could tell which was the real one." Nara sighed, reclining beside her with a bag full of peanuts. "So troublesome."
"And it's back to the scowl, folks! I haven't seen action this intense since Sasuke nearly killed himself out of sheer terror and hopelessness at his own weak and useless condition on facing his first real opponent on a C-rank mission!" Announcer Naruto shouted enthusiastically into his microphone.
"Did that really happen?" Kiba turned to Hinata who nodded, having heard the story through the kunoichi grapevine. Although the version the fangirls told was more sympathetic than that one.
The dog user enjoyed a laugh at that information.
"Oh! We've got a lip curl! The Uchiha is really pulling out the stops here, ladies and gentlemen! I wonder how Gaara of the Sands can stand it!"
Gaara of the Sands was actually enjoying himself immensely. He couldn't quite remember what approval felt like, but now he had a whole stadium audience pouring it off onto him.
And he liked it, even if they were all thousands of the same boy giving it.
"And the Uchiha takes it up to the next level by slipping into his 'I'm an angry pretty boy' stance that makes him so popular with disgusting old men and brainless fangirls!"
"Hey!" Ino cried out, still safely back in the woodlands. She'd always thought Sasuke looked cute like that!
Nara stifled a snort before he could break out laughing and offend Ino, who'd clobber him for it.
Off in his part of the woods, Kiba felt no need for any such restraint and howled openly, clutching his gut as it hurt from so much laughter.
Hinata was busy eating her footlong sausage on a bun, covered in mustard and relish, that a vendor Naruto had given her "Compliments of the house." With a silent glance to ask approval, Shino helped himself to one of the sodas out of the six pack by her side.
The energy of the sugar in the soda water would help aid his bugs if it came to a conflict.
Anko had spilled her sake, roaring with unexpected laughter as the arrogant little prick got taken down a peg, by his own teammate no less! Wiping her mouth off on her sleeve, she signaled a vendor for another round.
"Yes!" the announcer went on. "The Uchiha has slipped into his 'Feeling sorry for myself!' defense! There's nothing that Gaara can do to hurt his feelings now, folks! The Uchiha has preempted all attempts to make him feel bad by already inflicting misery on himself! This never fails to get the fangirls falling all over him! It's going to be over soon, now, ladies and gentlemen! And... YES! Gaara makes a move, instantly crushing Sasuke to death using the sand The Uchiha had been ignoring pooling up at his feet all along! It just goes to show, folks, that you should never play 'hurt feelings' in a real fight! He will have to be satisfied with our consolation prize. And our winner is GAARA!"
The clones went nuts in their cheering and applause. Several teams of female Naruto cheerleaders bounced around excitedly spelling out Gaara's name letter by letter while leaping and cavorting about waving pompoms.
The after game wrap up show was almost as much of a spectacle as the actual match, with thousands of Narutos marching around on parade. They even had a brass band!
Kakashi, when he found out, went so far beyond upset that angry didn't even begin to cover it. It was as though they'd done it to him instead of Sasuke.
The amazing copycat ninja got so intensely mad he actually pulled out his Thousand Birds assassination technique in front of the Hokage, and Naruto almost got it between the eyes.
No, he got it to the chest instead, and Naruto got the unpleasant knowledge that he could actually live through having his chest blown open by Kakashi's 'one hit kill' technique.
The problem with getting Tayuya into the resets came chiefly from the fact that, whenever she was in town, she came in the company of Orochimaru.
Thus, it fell to Naruto to come up with a plan so dastardly, so amazing...
"Oy! Orochimaru! I was wondering if I could trade this Uchiha for a chance to get sweaty and intimate with Tayuya here?" The blond boy dumped the well-wrapped package that was Sasuke Uchiha at the feet of what looked like the Kazekage and thumbed one of his two bodyguards.
"Ku ku ku ku ku!" Orochimaru chuckled, while his guards looked startled. As the False Face disguise melted away, revealing the Snake Sannin's features below those of Temari's father, the legendary missing ninja chuckled arrogantly. "Tell me, how did you penetrate my disguise?"
"Kabuto brags in his sleep," Naruto answered flippantly. "I think half of town knows you are coming today. They've got this really interesting trap where Tsunade and Jiraiya, the Hokage and half of ANBU are waiting for you to drop in so they can ambush you."
The Snake Sannin gave a nod to his two guards and they split into four and vanished off to check into that information. Which didn't matter, as it was true. Well, the trap was easy enough to arrange, that is.
While they were waiting for those bodyguards to come back with that confirmation, Naruto kicked back on his heels, sitting on the bound Uchiha, and crossed his arms casually behind his head. "Hey, Orochimaru! I'm having dinner with Anko later on today. You want to come?"
"Kukuku, that sounds... amusing."
The Sound Four reappeared, kneeling at the sannin's feet. "He speaks the truth, Lord Orochimaru. Your former teammates are arranged in ambush with what appears to be half of their ANBU forces! The Hokage is there, and his face is exceptionally grim!"
"Remind me later, Kabuto must die." The sannin quipped to his underlings, "I spent a great deal of time on this trap and he's gone and outed my disguise, spoiling the whole party! Bring the boys."
The Snake Sannin and his bodyguards began to rush off, heading away from Konoha and the forces prepared to meet them there. Naruto found he was slung under three arms of the spider-guy, while Sasuke was laying over the shoulder of the big guy with a mohawk.
"You know, I don't think we've been properly introduced," Naruto observed casually, just as if he were not in the custody of his enemies.
The six armed guy opened his mouth to make a crack, "You do not deserve our names."
"Hey! I'm not a prisoner! I'm going along willingly, and figured we could be polite about this!"
The group stopped, and the spider-guy sprayed Naruto over every inch with golden webbing, mummifying him and binding him fast. "So you aren't our prisoner? Prove it!" the guy laughed.
Naruto Body Switched out with the six armed guy, trapping him within his own webbing, then hit him with a Thousand Birds, blowing a bloody, gaping hole through his chest and killing him instantly.
Sasuke's eyes went round.
Naruto buffed his fingernails, and cockily declared, "Proof delivered. I can resist if I want to."
Even Orochimaru was impressed. Performing even so basic a technique while completely immobilized was no small feat, and to Body Switch with another ninja was the hardest form of that trick of all. It could be done, but it put the user's skill at the technique up against the Body Switching skill of the one resisting it, and it was not an even comparison, as ability canceled out ability and there still had to remain enough of an advantage on the user's side to pull off a successful Switch. So it could happen, but only when the contest was greatly unequal, or when the subject of the Switch was caught off guard.
They could freely assume the Sound ninja had been surprised by the jutsu, they all were, but to pull off such a Switch when both bound and immobilized?
That was impressive, even by Orochimaru's standards. He smiled. "The one you killed was called Kidoumaru. These others are Tayuya, whom you seem to have heard of, Jiroubou has the Uchiha, and the two-headed person behind you are the brothers Ukon and Sakon. I, as you know, am Orochimaru."
"Yeah, yeah, the guy who can insert himself into an opponent and manipulate cells as an assassination technique from within their own body is behind me, ready to attack." Naruto waved it off flippantly, then grinned. "But it might interest you to know that my chakra is toxic, destructive even to my own body. I can recover from it. Don't count on them being able to. And that goes for the chakra-draining earth dome of the big guy, too."
"Hmm, interesting," Orochimaru licked his lips with a freakishly long tongue and took a step forward. "Don't tell me Kabuto leaked that information, as he didn't know it. Who are you, really?"
Naruto grinned. They'd fallen for that lie? SWEET! Chakra was chakra and being his own, it didn't hurt him a bit. Neither did the Kyubi's, as the seal was designed to prevent that. Really, what moron would his dad have been NOT to take that precaution?
The boy posed. "I am Naruto Uzumaki, living container for the nine-tailed demon fox, most despised person in Konoha! And I'm tired of them holding me back and sabotaging my progress!"
Really, the best lie was ninety percent truth.
"Kukukuku," Orochimaru chuckled, stepping closer again, before gesturing to Tayuya.
"Tell me, why would you want a flat-chested tomboy like her? She's ugly and doesn't care for herself or her appearance. Her limp red hair is uninspiring and, sadly, her best feature. She has a foul mouth and curses constantly, as if completely unable to restrain herself. She is poorly mannered and crass, with no compassion for others. Why do you want her?"
Naruto stared the missing ninja straight in the eyes. "I was hoping I could convince her to change sides, turn traitor to you, and feed me information on all of your plans so that I, a genin, could defeat you personally."
"HAHAHAHAHA!" the Snake Sannin broke out in a full-on belly laugh for the first time in all the while Naruto had known him.
Naruto shrugged and crossed his arms behind his head, examining the sky. "You want to know? Fine. My first team had a girl on it who was pink haired, flat chested, and the rudest thing under the sun to me. I can take a little abuse, but frankly I was looking for a chance to break her in memory of the teammate I left behind, who deserved to suffer."
"What would daddy say if he knew I was instructing pedophiles?" Naruto shook his head sadly, before wriggling his warm fingers in Tayuya's direction, politely not mentioning that this 'Jutsu trade' was strictly one-way, as he'd get to keep the girl, but Orochimaru would forget this conversation ever happened over the next reset.
"Good job?" Orochimaru guessed.
Kiba was shaking his head. "I never thought I'd see the day when Gai and Lee were prizes in a chick fight."
Naruto grudgingly nodded. "Yeah. I gotta admit I never thought that we'd be hearing that mantra in a girl's voice."
"And Zabuza is going to be your experimental model for this?" Kin blinked in shock, then called out back over her shoulder. "You hear that, Demon-Boy! Anko here is working on a way to drag your sorry spirit out of hell. So you could be a mortal again!"
The body animated by the legendary swordsman's spirit was suddenly kneeling before Anko in a position of utmost humility. "Redeem my soul from hell, and I shall be your devoted servant! I shall live as Haku did, to be redeemed from my countless crimes!"
Seeing he finally had the boy's attention, Saruboti smiled and presented him with a rolled up scroll. "Congratulations, my boy. You are a chunin."
Naruto's reaction upon being presented with his certificate of promotion took the Hokage like a punch to the gut. Where he'd been expecting gleeful shouts and joyful capering about, the blond youth took it with a bored, "Che, Anko told me a long time ago I'd need to be at Kage strength before I'd make chunin rank in this town."
The Hokage's hopeful face sank down below his shoes as the newest chunin of Konoha wadded up the paper that was to most a cherished emblem and discarded it negligently with a casually toss over one shoulder. "Looks like she was right. So," he turned to the girls. "Where do we move?"
"Move? Naruto..." words failed the shocked old man.
The confident youngster gave him a dismissive, 'you're still here?' glance, before explaining (as it was the easiest way to get him to go away), "Listen, old man, there has never been a chunin exam where I haven't been forced to deal with two S-rank foes, at least: Orochimaru and Gaara, and fighting them never brought me promotion before - even though you'd think it would worth an automatic upgrade for a genin to seriously fight those two and live."
Sarutobi felt somewhat ashamed at the boy's words, because with anyone else it would be. But he could see how the civilian council...
Naruto drilled him with an unfriendly glance, as if sensing his thoughts. "Not even when you live was that worth the promotion it ought to be. Not even when I am right there visibly saving your life from Orochimaru's attack was that worth even the slightest recognition from you for the achievement."
Now Sarutobi felt doubly ashamed. He could only hope he'd become distracted by the aftermath. But promotions had to have been involved somewhere, and he had to admit if the council could play him well enough to not recognize the level of accomplishment Naruto talked about displaying... then he had to ask the very difficult and humiliating question of just how good were they at manipulating him? How much had they slipped by him in the past, and not only with regards to Naruto?
And the answer to that question was anything but pleasant. Because until now he'd have said he was entirely on top of the situation, when obviously he was anything but. And Sarutobi was enough of a ninja to recognize if he'd never noticed their manipulating him, then they'd played him very well indeed.
Naruto dismissed it all with a shrug. "There aren't enough S-rank ninja in the world for me to defeat in order to gain jonin rank in this place. I could defeat genocidal, immortal madmen by the dozen, then save every life in this village and not even come close. You holding my parentage secret for so long has ensured nothing blocked the hate they hold me in, and thus any promotion they can block, they will do so just to spite me; just like with Anko. You cave any time the civilian council puts you under the least pressure, so any theoretical protection you provide would be useless. So, if I want to move up in rank the only way is to go elsewhere. The only question is where."
Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, left that conversation a broken man.
He had never before realized just how much he'd relied upon Naruto's cheer, exuberance and limitless faith in their shared home village to get him through each day. Never realized, until one day it was gone, and the Hokage realized at last it had no firm basis to start with.
Naruto's faith in his village had all of the same emblems surrounding it as an abused spouse hoping that by loving her drunken husband more, he will stop beating her. Neither one carried any recommendations of the abuser, they were the desperate acts of a victim who doesn't know what else to do.
The shopkeeper ran with all of his might.
Like many who had heard of the Rise of The Former Hokage's, he had been filled with joy, and rushed out to greet his old friend, eager to tell him all the news of what had passed in the intervening years, and also eager to tell him of how loyal he had stayed to the man who'd saved them all, a loyalty he'd proved daily by doing everything he could to torture the brat to blame for his demise. He'd even offer to share the fortune he'd gotten from overcharging him! But, of course, Minato would turn him down. The man was generous like that.
Like countless other Konoha civilians, the shopkeeper ran to a meeting place, joining the crowds watching as Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, in the flesh, talked to the two Hokage's previous to Sarutobi before turning to address a sizable fraction of the Konoha population gathered around them.
And the first thing he did was hit them all with an illusion.
It was a memory technique, many of the ninja there could recognize it; and every eager face in that crowd, happy to have him back and so anxious to tell him of all they'd done in his name, found themselves transported back to that dreadful night of the Kyubi attack - but that was alright, it was from the Fourth Hokage's perspective and they knew who won in the end.
So they watched, anticipating their triumph, some few wincing at the faces of those since lost as they flashed passed. But the story was a new one to the village. It showed a man rolling up the complete the draft work on what was to be the new seal, shrug off the reports of his ANBU, and rush to the hospital, not to the trauma ward, but to the delivery department.
That was the first many of them learned their beloved Fourth had a wife. It had been kept a secret. They even saw she had delivered a beautiful baby boy and joy and gladness filled them all as the couple exchanged tender, heartfelt yet necessarily brief words confirming to all who witnessed their marriage and their pride in the birth of their son.
It was obvious the child had to be hidden, else they would have heard of him before now. Countless hearts within that crowd resolved that when the boy was revealed they'd treat him with all of the honor due his glorious family.
But instead of carrying the baby off, flashing to some remote location so the young child could be delivered into the hands of trusted servants, as most of the crowd expected (where the young heir would doubtless receive the best of all possible training, as due the only son of a Hokage) they saw instead their beloved young leader summon the boss toad and head to the front lines, where the fighting against the demon was at its worst.
They saw him explain to his infant son why it was necessary, and that he could not be prouder of the boy. They saw him tell Sarutobi that he wanted his son seen as the hero he was.
Then they watched in horrified realization as their beloved Fourth Hokage sacrificed himself and sealed the demon into his infant son and heir.
Worse, the illusion did not stop there. They saw, as if from beyond the grave, a town that hated and abused the boy at every opportunity. They saw their own faces as they cheated the child, ostracized him, told their children to hate and avoid him, beat him and treated the son of their beloved departed leader with all of the cruelty they could under the lax eyes of minders that were sympathetic to their cause, willing to allow anything that wouldn't end up with them on report from one of the few who cared anything for the lad.
Torture would be to kind for someone with such gull.
"WHA-?" Naruto yelped. "Sasuke…" he said weakly. "You wouldn't really…?" Sasuke looked thoughtful, as if contemplating it, and everyone sweatdropped.--
"YOSH! That would be a most youthful endeavor!"
"SHUT UP, GAI!"
"Yosh! Do not speak such unyouthful language to my youthful teacher!"
"SHUT UP, LEE!
He still was nowhere near as fast as Lee without his weights, but that was to be expected. The boy green wonder was probably at high Jonin level speeds without his weights on now and easily would only get faster as time went on. Ghost and Naruto wondered how fast the enthusiastic spandex lad would be when he grew up all the way. They decided that if Lee achieved a level of speed that only he could reach, they would create a new level named after him. Deciding on a decent name based off of Lee was proving to be a challenge though.
…So far Green Beast level, Tight Spandex level, Bushy Brows level, Scary level, and Shiny Hair level have all been considered and turned down. WTF level was still being considered.
You feel so lonely and ragged. You lay here broken and naked. My love is just waiting to clothe you in crimson roses.
Whispers in the dark by Skillet
All the world’s a stage,
Tobi is a good boy!
with sempai! :3
"Tell me a bedtime story."
It figured, he decided. The sun was high in the sky, he'd lost his home, main source of income and two daughters to the most despised person in all of Konoha and now he'd been pissed on by the Hokage's only grandchild. This really wasn't his day...
"I'm Gaara... of the Funk" inch inch inch inch Gaara of the funk!- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgbP-Xyebn
Naruto:Quick guys, lets beat him befor he has time for a character orgin flashback!
Gaara:Did you say flashback?I remember when i was little...
Naruto:Goddammit!!! --Naruto TAS
What separates sanity from delusion?
You’re still nowhere near my level though. I am a GOD.
The cult of Arceus is not amused.
The cult of Arceus can go die in a hole for all we care. Only one legendary can so much as tolerate that idiot’s existence.
Wait…can anyone even stand him anymore!? I thought they couldnt
I’m pretty sure Azelf tolerated him. Then again, Azelf was a total kissup to him, so it’s not really all that surprising.
You guys are all acting big now but I bet that when Arceus shows up you guys are total wimps.
"Polish horses never charged German tanks at the battle- oh right, Anime fans.Germany invaded Poland in 39- right American fans.Poland is a country...In Europe!"--Narrator Axis Powers Hetalia
England: "Am I catholic? Or protestant? God I don't know.."
America: "Winter can suck my jingle bells."
Romano: "This weatherman is predicting a 99% of shitstorm and it's coming right at ya!"
Italy: "Hey Germany check it cool! This is my big brother Romano, isn't he shizzy?"
Italy: Seriously, I'm a virgin! Where do you think they get virgin olive oil? You wouldn't want to shoot a virgin! We're pathetic enough as it is!!"
China: "China Take all"
Italy: "Hey Japan, Wanna see my butt?"
America: "for realz ya'll Japan and I are homiez."
England: "DumbleDora the Explore-a"
Switzerland and Japan: "Ya Ho Ho Tra La La"
Belarus: "Big Brother? Big Brother! Come on, let's become one! You know you vant to! Why do you have to be such a jerk all the time?! Open this damn door right this instant! You and I are going to get together whether you like it or not, open up, Brother! Let me iiiiiiiiiiinnn!"
England: "Hey, Italy. Germany told me he hates your guts and he thinks you're stupid. He says he's only pretending to be your friend because he thinks it's funny that you believe him. He even has this little doll of you at home, and sometimes he puts dresses on it!"
Italy: "I wonder why Germany is being such a big fat meany pants today..."
America: "Listen to me in my asome hero-voice, guys!"
America:"China,I choose you!
Italy: *to Egypt* "Hey there, funny man! Ready to get your butt kicked?!"
Belarus: "Now, big brother... marrymemarrymemarrymemarrymemarrymemarrymemarryme..."
Russia: "My home land is very big and very cold, and everyone hates each other quietly."
America:''you Frenchies just love to hate us, why can't you go back to making statues of hot green chicks.''
England:"You don't know me! I'm the United bloody Kingdom and I can hold my liquor better than you any day! Shut up! I felt bad for how old frog-face was treating you so I saved your ass! I thought we could be friends and bond over our mutual hatred toward France but, uh-uh. YOU DIDN'T WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH ME! YOU JUST WANTED TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO! AND YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYWAYS! I THINK THAT'S TOTAL BOLLOCKS!"
Italy: You can be my strong big brother! You can order me around and I'll disapoint you!
France: When you two are done releasing sexual tensions, we have got a meeting we need to finish!
France: We have more important things to worry about before settling on our war plans. Like what to do to with those tacky military clothes.
Britain and America: THIS IS WAR!! AND YOU'RE WEARING A CAPE!!!!
France: It's a cloak, no?
This is torture.
Plain and simple, oh so glorious, torture.
I'm not sure whether to glare at or thank Mylene for choosing this restaurant.
I decide to glare at her instead since my thanking her, like the length of Shadow's tongue, goes against the laws of nature.
What do you ask has gotten me such a mood?
'Master Spectra' and 'Spaghetti Bolognese'
Sinful, purely sinful!
Shield your eyes children, old people and the afflicted! Such a devastatingly sensual sight should not be viewed by mere mortals! SHIELD YOUR EYES!
How does he do it?
How in the world does he make eating one of the most universally unattractive foods look so, so…sinful!
Master Spectra has taken off his mask and delicately twirls the fork to catch a few spaghetti strands on the tines. He then smoothly brings the food to his mouth then does only what I can figuratively explain as molesting the food with his mouth. He chews (eight to twelve times, yes I counted) then swallows and I avidly watch the play of the cords and tendons under the velvety smooth skin in his neck move as the food goes on its way. The grip on my own fork tightens and a flicker of warmth runs down elsewhere as he removes the remains of tomato sauce from the corner of his lips with a flick of his tongue.
Oh how I envy that tongue.
A few tables across from us a few teenage girls are getting on my damn nerves. Every time he does the aforementioned act of food molestation, they turn bright red and start to giggle. Endlessly. I say, girls must be a whole separate species all together. They are so weird. The sound of those giggles grates on my hearing like nails, glass and steel being blended together with the sound of Earth creators called dolphins squeaking in the background.
I sigh for what must be the umpteenth time.
The only good thing that comes from this is that it seems that Mylene is also rather disturbed. Hey, any discomfort to her is pleasure to me. Me thinks the ice bitch is jealous of the attention bestowed upon Master Spectra? Though if those girls don't stop ogling his ass and stripping him with their eyes I'm gonna rip their heads off! Then shoot them for good measure. Or maybe a nice trip to the centre of a blazing hot supernova will be more to their liking.
Back off yah tramps! He's mine and only mine!
Gus Grav tossed his excessively curly cornflower blue locks over his shoulders and glared at the carrot-toped girl in front of him. "Alright, let's get one thing straight-"
"You're not?" Mira shrugged.
"I do not see what Master Spectra sees in you," Gus began, eyes still narrowed. "You maybe his sister but as far as I am concerned you and I do not essentially have to cooperate. Master Spectra is my everything - he and I will stand together on the edge of our new world. Not you! Us! He and I - JUST he and I, dammit!"
"Gus, that's just pathetic. Keith's my brother! Whatever, you two may have SOME history together but he and I have a special bond!" Mira sighed.
"So do we!" Gus insisted.
"A TWO-sided bond!"
"How dare you! Our love- I MEAN partnership is totally reciprical!"
Mira smirked. "Oh yeah? When'd the last time he's taken you out for dinner? Bought you some pretty new clothes?"
"How dare you- he- I- WE DRANK JUICE IN BOXES AND WATCHED BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN TOGETHER LAST WEEK."
"Seriously Gus, you're not even trying to hide your homosexuality..."
"How dare you? I - I'm totally straight. I... think girls are... cool and stuff..." Gus finished feebly.
"Right. Anyway, give it up. Accept that now that Keith and I are reunited, he's no longer to you what he once was... what WAS he to you, anyway?" She asked.
"...We were partners."
"I figured you were like his bitch or something..."
"SHUT UP YOU STUPID GINGER; YOU COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND!"
"You realize Keith's not actually blond, right? That he's naturally ginger too?"
"Well, strawberry blond. But it's easy to loose respect for people who claim to have that hair colour." Mira shrugged.
"But... he always takes such good care of his hair... I had no idea he used a product..." Gus' voice trailed off.
"Sorry to break it to you." Mira said.
"Yeah. Well. WHATEVER. It doesn't matter! I love him no matter what! ...In a totally platonic and manly way."
"Gus, you can't even think straight."
"WELL YOU'RE A WHINY LITTLE BRAT! YOU'RE MORE EMO THAN SHUN! AND THAT'S PRETTY EMO!"
Mira scoffed. "At least I'm not IN LOVE with a man I don't have a chance with!"
"I have more of a chance than you..." Gus muttered. "I mean OH MY GOD. EXCUSE ME WHILE I LAUGH. Much as I despise Kuso and Minthead you have no chance with either of them!"
"I don't need a relationship! I'm an independant woman!"
"Yeah. Right. You had SOLILOQUIES devoted to finding your brother and then with the wangsting when you discovered he was Master Spectra... how dumb can you get, the VIEWERS caught on after the third episode..."
"Shut up! You have no idea what I went through!" Mira growled.
"You have no idea what Master Spectra and I have been through!"
"He doesn't love you Gus! Just accept that!"
"I WILL MAKE YOU REGRET THE DAY YOU WERE BORN! MASTER SPECTRA AND I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL AND DELICATE RELATIONSHIP!"
Mustering up as much confidence as he possibly could Gus determindly approached his Master.
Meanwhile, Naga was parading around like a dipshit.
Then they wrote about their adventures in their Personal Development books, which allowed them to develop morally as people…
"Anyways," Hal-G dismissed the topic with a wave of his hand, "There's been some…problems."
"I meant to ask with what." Masquerade clarified, slightly annoyed. We don't need two idiots in this world.
"Yes, we're having problems with something," Masquerade tried to remind Hal-G of his first statement, something about a problem.
"With what?" Hal-G asked.
"That's what I'm asking you!"
"Well, Masquerade, I know you have a lot of issues, I understand that much. But what I don't understand is why you're quizzing me on your personal problems." Hal-G stated.
Masquerade slapped his forehead, "I'm asking about your problems!"
"I am here! I am your ruler! Look at me! I am cool, but I am also very warm! Woooo!"
"Sir, he's about as scary as musty styrofoam"- Redcloak, OOTS
"This little boy has saved me! Perhaps he is not as Jewish as I thought!"
"Now we're at the museum!"
"I kidnapped your grandpa, Yugi, then I dueled him into submission! So would you get over here and call an ambulance? I have far too much money to be expected to do it myself."
"Have you heard about the new kid? They say he's the sexiest thing since sex!"
"I still don't know what time it is!"
"I activate Dark Sanctuary. Now the duel will take place in a twisted and horrifying environment where only the bravest souls dare to venture."
"Quiet, you fool! Do you want the aliens to probe your anus!?"
"What a digital dummy!"
"Come over here Kaiba, and prepare to witness something incredible."
"What's that, Dark Magician Girl? You wanna make out? Well I- Ack!! ...How long have you been standing there?"
"And if Johnny Steps wins, Tea has to go on a date with him! I mean me."
"Okay, Tristan, now you can break his neck!"
"Oh no! It's the other Bakura! The one we don't like!"
"It allows me to steal your catch phrase... in America!"
"Ahaha, Ahahaha-! Oh hey, look, a bird! Isn't it just the cutest little guy? I- I mean NO! In my new world, all little birds shall be enslaved, especially this one! And he shall be named Mr. Tweetums, for it is very evil! Ahahahahaha! Now begone, Mr. Tweetums, I am trying to stalk my nemesis."
"Sorry, I was busy predicting the future."
"By the way, did you figure out what was wrong with Mokuba?"
-Yu-gi-oh the Abridged Series. In no real order. That sh!t is hilarious.
Please note: I will never use this site to make fanfics. I think. Well, I might, but I suck at sticking with one thing. I suppose I could fanfic my Headcannon, but...For now I'll just use this account to keep Fics I like etc. in mind for whenever...
|Community:||(insert name hear)|