Hello to anyone still reading this, and a thank you for bearing with me this far. School is finally over, which means less homework and more writing! However, notice I say less homework, not no homework. Because I insisted on taking Advanced Language Arts for my first year of high school, I have summer homework (woohoo). Of course, I still have to restrain myself from getting caught up in some of the great stories I've been finding here... and then there's drivers ed... uh-oh... (I almost destroyed the bushes in my yard with Mom's mini-van). But who wants to hear about that? Finally, it's Natsu's turn in the cycle! His point of view, compared to most characters, is certainly... different.
Also, not really sure who would be interested in this, but I found a song that I feel fits the characters in this story: Monster, by Imagine Dragons. I think the lyrics are amazing.
Results from the vote: You can still make suggestions, since it can take me a while sometimes to get new stories going. If nothing new comes up, however, then I will proceed with a Bleach/Avengers crossover. While the Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles is a good suggestion (which is why I had the option on the list in the first place), I am sorry to say that I am largely disappointed with the quality of existing B/A crossovers (or maybe disgusted is a better word), so I will take it upon myself to make something readable, with a story almost everyone likes, not just a certain crowd (sorry, romance people, but I don't do that).
So, anyways, enough of me. On with the story!
Natsu was floating in a black abyss, blissfully unaware of the discussion happening in reality.
Until something blew up.
All he really registered was the presence of fire and adrenaline in the air around him, and next thing he knew, he was awake, alert, and really, really hungry. To his disappointment, however, by the time he stood up, the fire had disappeared.
"Aw, come on! Did I miss the action already? I need to fight something!" And so he started ranting about his terrible misfortune to just miss the action, until someone whacked him on the back of his head. "Hey!"
Ichigo just looked down on him, thunderous scowl in place. "In case you haven't noticed, you're not the only one here! I can hear you just fine, thanks, without the constant yelling in my ear!"
Natsu crossed his arms and put his best pouting face on, but it didn't affect the Soul Reaper one bit.
"Oi, yinas, not to break up your little staring match there, but we really should be leaving. Like, before the portal closes?" Kajin's voice rose from where he was helping Ben up.
Ichigo sent one more warning glare at Natsu before following Edward towards the other two. Natsu scoffed and went after them.
One of Ben's arms was slung over Kajin's shoulders as they started to move towards the portal, Ichigo stopping and taking the other one, the two of them all but lifting Ben off the ground, not that he was complaining. The poor guy had skin lacerations covering his back and shoulders, plus a few on the bottom of his right leg and foot, which had apparently been exposed when he kneeled over that weird blue-skinned guy. Natsu felt a small stab of guilt at the sight of Ben's injuries, despite not knowing anything about the guy. Ben had put his life before someone else's, odd looking as they might be, whereas Natsu had thrown a fit about a lack of battle. The Jedi might fit in well with Fairy Tail.
Edward led the way, jumping through with no hesitation. The other three followed at a slower pace, with Natsu bringing up the rear.
Natsu had just been thinking about how hungry he was again, until he entered the portal. Now, confronted by dizzying, swirling colors, the sensation of being taken apart and put together again (almost like his battle with Gildarts on Tenrou Island), and odd smells reaching his sensitive nose, he was starting to rethink how hungry he was.
It felt like forever but at the same time it felt like a split second, and then they were out. Natsu found himself landing gracelessly on something hard and hot, accompanied by a shout of, "Get the krik off me!"
Senses immediately on alert, Natsu leaped to his feet, fist on fire, looking for something to hit, only to find himself standing in a forest clearing. The only light came from his burning fist, a spread of stars visible above.
Looking back down, he caught sight of Kajin, who he had apparently landed on, pushing himself painfully to his feet, cursing in some obscure language.
Natsu smirked. "You okay?"
Kajin just glared back, before igniting fire of his own. Only, instead of engulfing his fist, steam-like wisps flowed from his fingers and created a fireball that floated above his palm. Natsu stared, entranced by the dancing flame and the strange scent it emitted. He felt drawn to it, and it almost seemed like his flames were leaning towards Kajin's.
"What kind of magic is that?" Natsu asked, finally dragging his eyes from the flame.
Kajin snorted. "Not magic. Just fire. In my universe, when you bond with an Iri, you gain control of an elemental power." He tilted his head for a moment, looking lost in thought. "Although, I guess I'm kind of different. Most Azkiar have to carry around a bit of their element to use it. Me and a few others have the ability to create the element whenever we want. Mine is fire."
Natsu nodded, but Kajin's explanation left him with more questions. What were Iri? Who were these others who could create elements out of thin air?
Any further musing was interrupted by the sound of something crashing through the brush surrounding the clearing. Natsu immediately went on alert, igniting both fists, while Kajin reached his non-flame producing hand into his jacket and pulled out a small gun, red eyes never straying from the direction of the sound.
The brush rustled again, and a small whine could be heard coming from Kajin's gun as he held it extended in front of him, finger brushing the trigger.
Then, just when Natsu couldn't stand the suspense any longer, two boys fell out of the brush, limbs tangled together, one with unmistakable orange hair and the other in an equally familiar red coat.
"Hey! Get off!"
"No, you get off!"
"Listen here, pipsqueak-"
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A PINT-SIZED MIDGET WHO'S SO SHOR-"
"That's not what he said."
This last comment came from Ben, who was leaning heavily on a tree behind Ichigo and Ed, also the only person there that wasn't on edge. Looking up from the chaos at his feet, his eyes widened fractionally at the sight of a gun barrel pointed in his direction and three separate fireballs ready to launch. "Whoa there! Friendly! We're on the same team, remember?"
Natsu extinguished his flames, feeling much more at ease. Kajin seemed a bit hesitant, but put his gun away, keeping his fireball out as a source of light.
Ed and Ichigo finally managed to untangle themselves, glaring at each other the whole time, when Ben seemed to remember he was injured and slowly started to slide to the ground in exhaustion before Kajin caught him and lowered him the rest of the way, doing his best to avoid touching the lacerations on his back. Up close, Natsu could see just how tired Ben was, from his heavy breathing to the layer of sweat covering his face and neck. At least most of the bleeding had stopped, but he needed medical treatment soon.
Once Ben was settled, everyone except Ichigo let themselves fall to the ground, somewhat overwhelmed by the realization that they had just traversed dimensions.
"So where the hell are we now?" Ichigo asked, arms crossed over his chest as he surveyed the edges of the clearing, before seeming to reach a decision and joining them on the ground.
Ed didn't move from his spread-eagled position as he raised his hand. "If what I'm feeling is right, I think it's safe to say we landed in my universe. Where, exactly, I don't know, but it definitely feels like home."
Ben raised his head slightly from his slouched posture. "Hang on. When we were on Csilla, everything felt normal to me, like it could just be any mission I might have been assigned to. But ever since we got here..."
"You've been feeling out of place?" Kajin asked, finishing his sentence. Then he looked at everyone else. "I've been wondering about that. Ever since this whole thing started, I've been feeling like I don't belong, that I shouldn't exist. If I had to guess, I would say that we're anomalies in other universes. By leaving our original dimension, we've violated the boundaries." He looked at Ed. "If you feel ordinary, like you've come home, I think it's safe to say this is your universe, unless anyone else has a similar feeling." He looked around, silently asking if anyone disagreed. When no one did, he smiled, satisfied that his theory had been accepted.
They lapsed into silence again, taking the chance to catch their breath before they had to move again. Natsu found his gaze being drawn back to Kajin, who was absentmindedly twirling a fireball around his fingers, lost in thought. The other boy perplexed him, more than the others. Ed seemed pretty normal, besides having less-than-average height and a particularly metallic scent. Ben was even more average, his only obvious oddity being unusually calm and levelheaded. Natsu was cautious of Ichigo. The Soul Reaper practically reeked of death and animalistic instinct, leaving Natsu with the constant sensation of having a dangerous predator following him, which was new, considering that he was used to being at the top of the food chain.
But Kajin stood out.
He only smelled of fire and ash, with only a small trace of human. His red eyes were unnatural. And for an instant, Natsu had thought he saw a tattoo of a strange symbol on his collarbone, underneath his jacket. His fire was more primal than any Natsu had ever encountered before, even that Fire God Slayer he took out before the seven year gap. But what really got to him was how much Kajin reminded Natsu of Igneel.
Not his personality, though that was just as unique in it's own way. It was his aura. Something about it reminded him of a dragon.
Natsu was brought out of his musing by Ed sitting up with a sigh. "Well, we aren't going to accomplish anything by sitting around here."
No sooner had he said it that the group found themselves surrounded by a group of thirteen cloaked figures, melting out of the shadows. One of the men stepped forward, face shadowed by his hood. "No, you won't. But you made the mistake of venturing into our land, so you won't be accomplishing anything in the near future."
All five of them jumped up, ready to fight, especially Natsu. He had gone too long without a fight, and the last thing any of them wanted was to end up as prisoners again.
Ed walked towards the assumed leader, tensed but unafraid. The others let him. It was his world, he knew best how things worked here. "Just curious, but would you happen to know what country we're in?"
One of the thugs sneered. "Amestris, where else? You got a screw loose?"
Ed just nodded and ignored the insult. "And what part of Amestris might we be in?"
The same guy looked slightly taken aback before answering. "East. Why-"
The leader held up his hand, halting whatever the man was going to say. "You mean to tell us you have no idea where you are?"
Ed just smiled and crossed his arms. "Nope, no clue!"
The thugs were starting to look either very annoyed or very confused, if not a mixture of both. Ed kept smiling and reached into his pocket, pulling out a silver pocket watch engraved with a serpent-like design. "You said Amestris, right? So I would hope you know what this means."
Several of the thugs stepped back, muttering among themselves. Obviously, the pocket watch meant something if it was getting these guys so riled up. The leader seemed to think for a second, before taking another step forward and lowering his hood, revealing dark skin, white hair, and red eyes. Not flame-red like Kajin's. Natsu thought the color looked closer to blood.
"So, a young man with a red coat who happens to be carrying around the symbol of a dog of the military." He said. "What are the odds that your right arm and left leg are automail?" He narrowed his eyes. "Though, given recent developments, I understand your arm has been returned to you. Right, Fullmetal?"
At this point, Natsu had no idea what was going on, and judging by the expressions on everyone else's faces, they didn't, either. But Ed's smile just grew bigger. "Yeah, that's me alright."