I Don't Own Naruto or Highschool DxD!
Split the Skies Asunder
Story by Kyoka Suigetsu Totsuka
Chapter 1: Just Like Old Times
Kuoh Town, a small but bustling town of fifty thousand. Located on the edge of the Seto Inland Sea, Kuoh had the mountains in the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions block the seasonal winds, giving Kuoh many fine days in the year. It was spring, so stretching rows of Sakura trees lined the streets and a pink glow paved the town. Soft winds carried petals of pink down to the ground, carried the sweet scent of spring.
This was the scene that greeted a man who was finally home.
Stepping away from the private jet the Vatican assigned to him, Naruto welcomed the scene before him. It had been nearly a decade since the Kiroi Senko returned to his humble beginning, and it still felt familiar. Unlike the many other cities he had visited, Kuoh had a distinct feeling to it – something that reminded Naruto that it was his real home. He felt comfortable in Kuoh; it wasn't like the divine protection he had in Vatican City, but more of a calming and soothing presence.
'Hmm, this is a good idea.'
Quickly sending his pilot back to Italy, Naruto hoisted his travel bag over his shoulders and jogged out into town. He abandoned his usual Italian-tailored suits and armors, and only sported a simple pair of blue jeans and a black silk shirt with a pair of runners. It had been a while since Naruto had a chance to not follow the dress code of high-level exorcists of the Church; casual wear really had their own appeal and comfort.
Just as Naruto was about to leave the airport area, his phone rang in his pocket. "Hello."
"Don't try to act casual, Naruto!" Griselda's yell made Naruto cringe. "Why are you in Japan?! Michael-sama and Gabriel-sama specifically ordered you to take a break! You better teleport your ass back here right now, or so help me Lord, I will fly over there myself and drag you back, you brat!"
Calmly breathing out, Naruto replied, "Relax, Oba-chan. I'm not here to interfere with Xenovia-chan or Irina-chan's mission or anything. After hearing you guys talk about Kuoh Town yesterday made me homesick, so I flew back for a visit."
"Don't lie to me, kid." Griselda huffed, "I know you – you're there to monitor the girls! For Heaven's sake, Naruto, Xenovia and Irina are full-fledged Holy Swordswomen, so stop worrying like an annoying big brother already!"
"I'm not worried," he answered immediately, "I already marked Irina-chan and Xenovia-chan with my Hiraishin: Jutsu Shiki, so if they're in trouble, they can instantly call me there." Naruto sighed with a small smile on his face, "I'm just here to visit my old town, and…and maybe visit my old house."
Griselda was silent for a few moments, "Really?"
"Yeah. It has been a long time, and I want to see if the house is still in good condition." Naruto bit his lip, "I haven't been back since the…you know, since Kaa-chan and Tou-chan passed away."
"Are you sure you want to?"
"I'm sure – it's been a long time."
His foster mother sighed and he could see her massaging her temples, "Okay then, good for you." Naruto smiled and nodded to himself, "But remember, Naruto, you are on vacation and you are to relax. You are not to think about any missions or problems related to the Church. If you have any concerns or problems, you should talk to Gabriel-sama for counsel."
"I will." Stepping out of the airport, Naruto made his way to a car rental. "Thank you, oba-chan."
"Take care of yourself, boy."
Naruto made his way into town, wondering if he could still remember where his old home was.
Kuoh Academy was an oddity of the town. Unlike the modern and sleek design of most other offices and housing in Kuoh Town, its architecture was gothic and regal. Standing as one of the tallest buildings in the town, the main academy building was a beacon at the heart of Kuoh, classic and proud. Within a decade, Kuoh Academy grew from a simple private school to a nationally acclaimed escalation school. From grade school to university, Kuoh Academy was among the best in Japan.
One might wonder how such a small town could fund such a prestigious and technologically advanced school, and most people would never even imagine that it was because the school was sponsored by two major families of the Underworld.
"This can be problematic," A young woman who was far too beautiful to be human whispered as she faced her childhood friend, "Something must be going on between the Church and the Fallen Angels, but I thought we already eliminated the Fallen Angels in this town." Brushing flowing crimson hair back, she sighed and crossed her arms in thought, "What could they be after?"
At the outskirts of Kuoh Academy, an old gothic house still stood. True to its mysterious appearance, it housed the Occult Research Club of Kuoh Academy, operated by one of the two Devil Families stationed in Kuoh Town, the Gremory Family, more specifically, Rias Gremory and her peerage.
"That is the question." Across from Rias was her rival of equal standing, Sona Sitiri, the heiress apparent of the Sitiri Family. "But nonetheless, they've asked for our neutrality and I see no problem with it. We must maintain the status-quo between us and the other two factions, so it is best that we let them resolve this on their own."
"I agree, but two holy sword users visited my Issei's home last night."
Standing behind Rias were her peerage. At the forefront was Akeno Himejima, Rias' Queen. Possessing the same breathtaking beauty as her King, Akeno was a sight to behold, and was known as one of the two Great Ladies of Kuoh Academy. Next to her were two young women, Asia Argento and Koneko Toujou, Rias' Bishop and Rook respectively – two beautiful young devils. Then there were two men, Issei Hyoudou and Kiba Yuuto. The latter of the two was handsome and regal, and had a certain grace to him – a gentleman. The former, on the other hand, was an average looking young man, and could be considered lecherous by many.
Sona glanced over at Issei, "Is it because he is the Seikeiryutei?"
Issei, the wielder of the infamous Boosted Gear, the sealed spirit of Welsh Dragon, added in. "I don't think so, but I still have no idea why they came to my house." He sighed, "One of the people from the Church is actually my childhood friend, Irina Shidou."
Akeno was a little surprised, "Really, your childhood friend?"
"Yeah, I was surprised too."
"Regardless, we must act accordingly to our promise." Sona stood and gave a curt nod to her friend, "We'll monitor them, but unless we have to, we'll maintain neutrality."
Rias nodded, "Agreed. Thank you, Sona."
"Good night, Rias." With that, the Sitiri Heiress vanished within a magic circle.
Rias sighed and turned to face her peerage, "We're done here for today; you can all go home." Since the subject of Holy Swords had come up, Kiba Yuuto had been acting odd, and Rias clearly noticed. "Yuuto, go home and get some rest; do not think any deeper into this matter, okay?"
The Knight merely gave a curt nod, "Hai, Buchou."
The King watched as Kiba teleported from the room before turning to her housemates, "Issei and Asia, you're going to have to go home without me today." She smiled at the dejected look on her Pawn's face, "I have to contact Onii-sama about this and see how we should prepare for something unexpected."
"Okay, good luck, Buchou."
Akeno sat down next to Rias when they were left alone, "Issei-kun seems a little worried, doesn't he?"
Rias nodded at her best friend, "Yes, but who wouldn't be when two Holy Swordsmen from the Church suddenly shows up at their home, especially since one of them is their childhood friend."
"That is true."
The Gremory looked over at her Queen after a brief moment of silence, "You had a childhood friend too, didn't you?"
Unconsciously, Akeno reached up to play with the orange ribbon that tied her hair together, "Yes, I did."
"What was his name again?" asked Rias with a smile, leaning back against the couch.
"Naruto," Akeno smiled fondly at the thought of her old best friend, "His name was Naruto."
Flashback – 11 years ago
"Naru-chan, hurry up!"
"I'm coming," whispered a young boy no older than seven years as he struggled with a heavy backpack, "This is heavy!"
A small hand came and playfully slapped his forehead, "Why did you bring so many things?!"
"I'm hungry!" Naruto gave his friend a pout, "And you're being mean, Akeno-chan!"
Hiding from their parents, the two children snuck out of their homes and met at the shared front yards of their houses. Each carrying a backpack, they did their best to remain as quiet as possible and tippy-toed away from their homes. It was a beautiful summer day, and after watching some people having a picnic on TV, they snuck out and decided to have one of their own. So after packing food away from their parents' pantries, they ran to the park in their neighborhood.
Thankfully for the kids, their neighborhood was quite a ways from the business district of town, so there was hardly any traffic. They cross the few roads that led them to the park without any cars coming their way. Ignoring the parents of the other children giving them odd looks, Akeno and Naruto ran over to the large oak tree at the corner of the park, giggling and laughing as they did.
"I brought this!" Naruto puffed out his chest as he unpacked his bag, laying a large tarp on the grass for them to settle. "Kaa-chan bought this last week for the dining room table, but I think we can use it like this too." Akeno giggled as Naruto excitedly jumped down on the tarp, "I also brought potato chips, chocolate bars, candy, and most importantly, this!" Naruto grinned as he held a bunch of instant ramen cup in his arms, "Ramen!"
"Naru-chan, we don't even have hot water!"
"We don't need hot water!" Naruto stuck his tongue out at his friend, "It's still good when it is crunchy, like chips!"
Akeno sighed and crossed her arms, "No, you are not eating that, it's gross!" She smiled and reached into her own bag and took out a large sealed plate. "I made us sandwiches! It is your favorite, too!"
Naruto's mouth watered and dropped his ramen, "Really?"
"Yep, with extra cheese and soy sauce mayo!"
Akeno laughed as Naruto hugged her, "You're the best, Akeno-chan!"
For the children, it was easier for them to remember the times when they weren't together. Even in their oldest memories, they were always together. Ever since they were born they had been neighbors, and their parents loved when they played together. From learning to walk and speak to the first days of preschool, Akeno and Naruto did everything together – play in the morning, eat lunch, learning to ride bikes, baths in the afternoon.
"You're so messy!" Akeno sighed as she wiped her friend's mouth with a napkin, shaking her head all the while.
Naruto gave her a sheepish grin, "Sorry. Your sandwiches are just that good!"
"You can't just eat; you have to drink some water." The girl poured them both a cup of water from the thermos she brought, "Drink."
Naruto washed down the rest of his sandwich with a big gulp, "Mmm, so good!" Akeno smiled and looked proud, "I can eat what you cook every day for the rest of my life!"
Akeno giggled, "Sure, I'll make you something every day!"
"Okay, you said it!" cried the boy loudly, "No take-backs!"
"Yep, I promise!"
"You don't talk about him much." Rias' voice brought Akeno from her memories. "You two were pretty close back then, weren't you? Whatever happened to him?"
"Yes, we were very close." Akeno sipped on her tea with a soft smile, "We were born in the same year and we lived next to each other, so our families were close. We were basically raised together. Kaa-sama would always invite Naruto and his mother over to our house. They were quite close friends themselves. Naruto and I played together every day for as long as I can remember."
Rias sat closer to her friend, "That sounds nice."
"I was home-schooled as a child, as you know." Rias nodded at that, "And Naruto was also there with me. Back then there weren't many good school in our neighborhood, so Kaa-sama decided to teach the both of us. It saves time for both families. So back then, Naruto was really my only friend; he was basically family." Akeno frowned when she remembered what happened soon after, "But then everything changed."
"One afternoon, Naruto's parents passed away in a tragic car accident." Rias frowned, but remained silent. "We were only eight years old, and Naruto was left an orphan. Kaa-sama wanted to adopt Naruto and had formally asked the police for that right, but Naruto had living relatives overseas and they wanted to take care of him. He left very quickly after that, and I haven't seen him since."
"Do you still miss him?"
"I do still think of him at times, and I would like to see him again, but I doubt it would ever happen." Akeno gladly held her current best friend's hands for comfort, "I have no idea where he went. I don't know if he even remembers me."
'Here we are…'
Stepping from his car, Naruto stared at his childhood home. It still looked the same as he remembered. The Namikaze name was still written on the front fence, and still looked clean. The front porch was missing his father's handmade bench, but the front door was still bright orange, the color he had begged his parents to choose when they repainted. The garden had none of his mother's flowers or plants, but was kept well groomed. The grass was green and the small walkway was left spotless. His money spend toward home-care was proved to be worth every penny.
Hesitantly, he walked to the front door. He held the key in his hand, and he surprised himself when he swiftly opened the door and stepped into the house. It smelled nostalgic. The hardwood floors creaked under his feet and the walls still shared the same shade of red as his mother's hair. Naruto could still remember where everything was. The kitchen, the bathrooms, the bedrooms – everything was coming back to him. It was as if he had still been living in the house all these years.
He knew no one would answer back, but it was no less sad.
Shaking his head, Naruto stepped further into the home and down the hallway that led to the living room, and hesitantly looked at the hanging pictures that his mother had spent so many hours picking through and his father tried so hard to hang up under the directions of his mother. They were the same as he remembered. A walk down the hallway was a journey through time. From his parents' wedding portrait to his birth photo, then his first steps, his parents hugging him after his first word, even the first time he leaned how to ride a bike. At the very end was a picture of a young Naruto hugging his childhood best friend, Akeno Himejima.
'Wow, how many years have it been since I've seen Akeno?' The girl next door had been his very best friend, and he had the biggest crush on her. A few years after training in the Vatican, Naruto had tried to contact his old friend, only to find out that the family had moved away. 'I wonder if she's still in Kuoh Town.'
The kitchen was spotless and empty, but he could still see his mother cooking her famous miso ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His father's usual seat at the dinner table was still the same, only without his dad flipping through the paper on it. Naruto smiled as he reminisced the times he and Akeno hid under the dinner table and snacked on the fresh cookies Akeno's mother had made for later.
With Akeno in mind, Naruto couldn't help but flash back out to his car.
'The park should still be here.'
The neighborhood was still quite clear in his mind, and Naruto knew exactly where everything was all those years ago. Just a single block from his house was the neighborhood park, one of his absolute favourite places when he was a child. He couldn't remember how many times he and Akeno had snuck away from their homes and their homeschooling and found sanctuary at the park.
It was the same bright red slide and the same row of swings. Kids were running around and laughing, pushing each other around and down the monkey bars with their parents watching fondly on the sides.
'That tree!' Naruto ran over to the tall oak tree that was at the far field that was behind the park, 'It's still here!'
Flashback – 10 years
"What are you hiding?" demanded Akeno as she shoved Naruto against the tall oak tree at the park, their usual place to sit. "Let me see!"
The boy wrestled his way from under his friend and ran around the tree, hiding a small box in his pocket. But Akeno was no deterred and quickly caught up to him before she grabbed onto his shirt. Naruto had never kept anything from his friend, so Akeno was determined to force whatever it is out of him. But the boy was keen on keeping it a secret, and yanked his shirt from her grip and ran round and round the tree.
"Come back here!" Akeno was huffing, "Stop running!"
"Then stop chasing me!" Naruto turned back to the slowing Akeno with a grin, "This is a secret, so stop trying to find out what it is."
"I tell you all my secrets!" Akeno pointed a finger at the boy, glaring at him. "We don't keep secrets from each other, Naru-chan! Get over here and tell me your secret!"
Naruto pouted, "I don't want to!" He held onto the box through his pocket protectively, "I'll tell you tomorrow since it's your birthday!"
Akeno slowly walked up to Naruto and gave him her best puppy dog look, "But Naru-chan, I want to know now~"
The boy blushed to the roots of his hair. He didn't exactly know when, but lately he'd been finding his best friend to be very pretty and cute. He loved how her voice would go to a higher pitch when she tried to yell at him or how she'd pout her lips when she wanted something from him. He loved her long black hair and how soft it felt. He loved how she'd make him delicious bento boxes for lunch and sneak him some cookies her mom made for dessert. Overall, he loved everything about her.
"Don't do that," muttered the boy as he tried to look away, "You're being mean."
"Just show me!"
"Fine!" Naruto slumped back to the roots of the oak tree and sat down with Akeno giddily sitting down next to him. "This was supposed to be a surprise." He took the box from his pocket and held it in his hands, "I bought this with my own money at the store a few days ago with Tou-chan."
"What is it?" asked Akeno as she inspected the small box.
"Your birthday present."
Akeno was surprised at looked at her friend, "Really?"
"I was going to wrap the box, but you found me playing with it!" Naruto frowned, "I wanted to wrap it in this gold wrapping paper Kaa-chan uses for Christmas." The boy grunted before holding the box out to Akeno with both hands, looking away shyly as he did. "But whatever, Happy Birthday."
Akeno accepted the gift silently. It was the first time Naruto had given her a gift personally from him; it was usually a gift picked out by her Kushina-obachan or Minato-ojisan. She didn't know how to feel about Naruto getting her a personal gift, but she was very happy and her heart couldn't stop pounding in her chest.
Naruto cleared his throat. "Y-You can open it now if you want."
The girl only nodded. The small red box was light, so Akeno couldn't guess what was inside. She gently wiggled the top of the box open, being very careful and tender to her first gift from her best friend. Then a small smile came onto her face when she saw a bright orange ribbon neatly rolled up into the box.
"It's like Shuri-obachan's ribbon, but this one is orange!" Naruto grinned when he yelled out orange. "Do you like it?"
The girl nodded happily, "I love it!"
"Your hair is getting really long, so I thought you might want to tie it into a ponytail like Oba-chan."
Akeno blushed at his smile and held the silk ribbon as she pulled her hair back. She had always wanted to style her hair like her beautiful mother – it was why she decided to grow her hair out to such lengths. Leaving her front bangs as they were, she wrapped her new ribbon around her long hair and tied a delicate knot, holding her long tresses in place. She fixed the sides and tightened the knot before she turned to face Naruto.
"Does it look good?"
Naruto had the largest grin on his face, "Of course you do! You're the most beautiful girl in the world, Akeno-chan!"
Akeno felt as if her heart was melting in her chest and her stomach was skydiving. Her face was burning red and she couldn't, for the life of her, look into his eyes. So while staring at the ground and ignoring Naruto's confusion with her behavior, she decided to return the favor.
"Thank you, Naru-chan." She bit her lip, "I'll give you your birthday present now too."
"Really?! My birthday is months away!" cried the boy before Akeno nodded, "Cool!"
"This is also a surprise, so close your eyes."
Naruto did as he was told and closed his eyes, grinning and bouncing in anticipation. He had no idea what Akeno would give him, and it was so exciting. He wanted some new playing cards, or the new Ultraman action figure. He wondered if Akeno really knew what to get him.
But then he felt it – the lightest touch on his cheek. He opened his eyes and was shocked to see Akeno kissing his cheek. It only lasted a second, but he would remember how her lips felt his entire life.
Akeno pulled back, but was still very close to him. "Happy Birthday, Naru-chan."
If Naruto wasn't overwhelmed by the moment, he would have said something better. "L-Lets go eat s-some ramen!"
Naruto laughed at the memory and traced his fingers on the thick bark of the tree. It had been so many years of training, hunting, and killing, he'd almost forgotten about the innocence and fun he had as a child. Despite loving his new friends and family, Naruto couldn't help but wonder of how he would have turned out if his parents hadn't passed away that one faithful day. It had been a while since he'd mulled over such useless thoughts, but he was compelled to think and imagine.
Sitting down on the roots of the tree, he wondered if he had grown up in Kuoh Town, if he had kept in touch with Akeno all these years, what would have happened.
He wondered how many years it would to take for him to gather his courage to do it, to ask Akeno to be his girlfriend.
Leaning against the tree, Naruto played with a loose leaf, looking up at the sun through the thick canopy of the tree.
"Akeno-chan…" he whispered to himself.
The winds turned silent as a shiver passed through his spine. His instinct told him that someone was looking at him, and slowly, he turned his head and saw her standing there, probably looking just as surprised and shocked as he did.
Sorry for the long wait, but I've been quite busy with work and university. I start my summer internship again this week, but I'll try to write as much as I can.
PLEASE LEAVE ME A REVIEW AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! XD