Warning: Possibly gorish (there are zombies duh), violence, weakened OP characters, character development.
Notes: How Naruto is already a developed character thanks to the manga/anime he won't appear until later. I'll use the first chapters to do the same with Sasuke and Naruto, so... yeah. Btw, this story was born thanks to 'A single flame in a dying world' written by FelixEcho. Amazing fic.
PS. I suck at titles. If someone has something better, please, I'm all ears. (There's a second author note at the end, so have fun with that one)
Disclaimer: I don't own nothing but reviews are much appreciated.
Kurama has been inside a jinchuriki for so long, he can't recall with clarity how does it feel to be free. That's why he forces himself to not forget each time he achieved freedom, as few as those times were. The main emotion in each occasion was different, accompanied with others, but the feeling has always been overwhelming and the same every time.
Except the last one.
He remembers the first time, when Mito was too old and her body couldn't take more of his chakra. It only lasted a couple of minutes, the transition between his former jinchuriki and the new one, but he was able to taste the air, watch the light through his own sharper senses and no longer through a human's. The process made it difficult, the seal preventing him of much even if he was struggling, but it was enough for him to feel joy.
Then he was inside another body and the anger; the deep, deep hatred returned.
Kurama's tails were impaled and even if others may scoff because he's made of chakra and thus should not feel the pain—well, it still hurt. Her chakra impaling his own. She didn't let him watch through her eyes, hear through her ears. Everything was muted. He barely catched a few glimpses from now and then. It wasn't until he felt Naruto forming inside her that he realized how long had it really passed. It made him hopeful. He knew the seal weakened when one gave birth and unlike with Mito, he knew for a fact that few seal masters remained.
Uzushiogakure was destroyed. There wasn't a Mito to guide the novices.
So, that gave him his second chance.
He doesn't remember much of that time. He was controlled, after all. But, like the first time, before he went on rampage, he remembers the feeling of air through his fur. The chakra of nature around him. It was overpowering and even if there was dizziness, hatred and some sort of numbness, the freedom he felt as his paws touched the earth was exhilarating.
'Freedom' his mind screamed.
The third time, was in the middle of war and with his brethren next to him, chains around his neck. The sense of freedom he felt at not being inside a human, even if he respected the brat, was still there. More faint, laced with determination and faith, but still there. Even as he was dragged into forming the Ten Tails. He knew they had a plan. Naruto promised them, so he didn't worry.
So why, he now wonders, if he felt the lightness of freedom in previous times, in different measures and next to other emotions… why he doesn't feel the same now.
He doesn't feel any of it as he's yanked away from Naruto. There's desperation, instead. Desperation and fear and grief and no, stop! It'll kill him!
Freedom doesn't seem to matter. Naruto is moving away even as he extends his arms forwards. But he's weak. The seal deteriorating quick. He can't reach him.
Naruto is looking at the sharingan brat as he also flies away, but finally seems to notice something's missing. He turns towards him and sees him. Panic and pain twists his features. He also starts to extend his hand towards him but he stops midway and chokes. Everything moves slowly as the blood that came from his mouth trails in the air, suspended. And he knows Naruto won't survive the extraction. He almost died the first time. There's no Gaara to catch him. No Sakura or comrades. Not here.
Naruto will die and… And Kurama is not going to let that happen.
The seal is open and broken but there's still a link between them. It's slowly fading but still there. He pushes as much of his chakra as he can, hoping the energy left by his old man is enough to make Naruto survive.
The power that seems to have maintained them together, now looks ready to snap them away. Kurama can see the energy strung tight and by Naruto's face, he guesses he can feel it, too.
"I'll kill you if you die, you brat!" he shouts as the power releases him. He's being launched now, but for a second he sees it.
The smile the brat gives him as a farewell clearly says 'everything will be alright, believe it.' It's bloody and weak, but still filled with the usual determination.
Kurama tries to grin back, even as he's being flung away into who knows where. The portal Kaguya opened to escape before being sealed away is closing. It only managed to affect the three beings closest to her. They sealed her. His siblings and Naruto's friends are going to be okay and he trusts Naruto. If he promises he'll be fine, then he will.
However, the fear and sadness are still there. It doesn't leave. He's worried and that annoys him.
"I'm so glad I'm a being made of chakra," Kurama mumbles, watching upside down the tip of one tail that managed to come unscathed from the whole ordeal.
After crashing several trees with his body, he has landed with his ass literally on his face. He has tried using his tails as a way to lessen the impact, and it worked, for the first couple of trees. Not so much after the fourth.
Now, he's sore and so fucking tired he could sleep for a couple of months, but there's a rustle of leaves coming from his left that makes his ears twitch so he guesses now is not the time to rest. He flops his body until his paws rest against the ground and goes into a stance prepared to attack. And just that action hurts. He wonders how that's possible. He doesn't even have a body.
From what he has learn of Kaguya's ability, he's most likely in another dimension. The plants looks familiar and the smell of the atmosphere is almost the same. He's glad they didn't end in one of those previous dimensions with drastic temperatures. He's sure he'd survive easily, but Naruto needs food and water. This dimension is similar enough for it to provide what a human needs to survive. Or that's what he hopes.
The thing making the noise finally comes through the bushes and… is that a human torso crawling towards him?
Okay, perhaps not similar as his own.
He sniffs the air and yeah, that half human look-alike is completely dead. Its brain seems to be working though, if that can be considered 'working', of course.
Kurama takes a step forward before stopping mid-action.
Or this dimension has big beings in it, or his height has been reduced. Dramatically.
Crap. Perhaps he has given Naruto a bit too much.
Kurama watches as the being seems lost for a moment, moaning and groaning, looking aimlessly around.
Kicking a rock towards some bushes, Kurama watches as the attention of the being snaps to that direction.
So it reacts to sound then.
He doesn't know if the smell affects them as he doesn't smell at anything, so he has nothing to test it, but he has been inside a hidden village for so long, stealth is something easy to achieve. The noise he made thanks to his fall may cause him problems so he needs to leave. He's weak and doesn't know how strong they are. Don't seem to be much but he's not going to risk it. His body feels ready to fall apart; he really needs to rest.
Because the truth is that he aches all over.
Weird considering he's energy with a conscience.
He has never been truly defeated to the point he has need to be reformed, but he guesses it must feel like how he feels at the moment. His chakra is unstable, as if the briefest moment without concentration is be enough to make him disappear in the air and force him into hibernation.
But that will probably take years. He's quite fond of that blond brat, even if he loathes to admit it, and he's a magnet for troubles. Kurama needs to find him before he screws things over. Or befriends some enemy he shouldn't. He doesn't have those years.
Reaching all the chakra in the air and compressing it closer to himself as to avoid it from leaking out, Kurama shrinks even more. His body's no longer the height of a big horse but of a large dog. Is the only thing he can do to conserve energy until he recovers.
He takes a deep unnecessary breath and launches at the thing crawling, biting its neck and separating its head from the shoulders to then use the last of his energy to run and search for a place where he can rest enough to not end unconscious on the grass. Maybe a cavern or such.
Ten minutes later, he finds nothing that could serve as a hideout and he doesn't want to run anymore. He's seen more of those dead walking beings but avoided them as to save energy. Kurama's too tired to fight. However, he's now afraid he'll fall off and succumb into sleep, feels a weight settle onto his body, carrying him down and he can't fight it anymore. He needs to sleep at least for an entire day, possibly two, to gain a fair amount of energy.
He looks up and sees a tree with thick branches a couple meters ahead and yeah, that could work.
A sudden explosion is what wakes him up. His mind is already alert and in search of danger thanks to the loud 'bang'. He first looks down and is glad to see his position has not been compromised. There are no beings near the tree, but he can still hear some groans near. Naruto had once told him how lucky he's that Kurama can feel presences, that that way he can always warn him whenever an enemy is near. Though not matter how many times he has explained that what he feels are emotions and not the actual presence of humans, as how a tracker can, Naruto never gets it. He grins, that annoying and carefree grin and says 'but we all have emotions'.
Well, for one, those beings that walks, emanating the odor of death, doesn't have emotions. He's able to smell them, if faintly as the air is not in his favor, but he doesn't know their current position.
He sighs. It's easier to detect emotions than—
Kurama turns his head to where the sounds are coming. There's a yell among those grunts. A high pitched and terrified yell. And now that he concentrates, he can sense some emotions. There's fright and hopelessness there.
It is not his intention to come closer, his body still hurts and one look at the sky makes him know it hasn't been that long since he has fallen asleep; give it or take a few hours. But the sounds are near and he jumps onto another branch just in time to see a young girl with dark blond hair and blue shirt running away from those things. She's moving slowly, her breaths are heavy and there's a stuffed doll on the crook of her arm while the other holds some metal object which she tries to grab with a damaged hand. She aims at one near her and the loud 'bang' is there again, echoing loudly in the forest. Her shoulders sags with the force of the weapon and it escapes her hands next to the doll. She whimpers and looks at the side to see more of those beings behind her.
Kurama sees her blue eyes and they are the wrong shade, like her hair, but he senses a familiar determination and bravery. They're laced with fear and hopelessness instead of stubbornness and faith—in himself, in his comrades, in Kurama—, but is similar enough for him to jump and run. He no longer sees the young girl who just fell with tears staining her cheeks, monsters moving closer; he sees a young Naruto crying and he feels guilt.
Kurama attacks. He doesn't have the energy for a bijudama so he uses sharp claws and bites at everyone near until he's covered with coagulated blood and pieces of skin. He hobbles as he turns, sees the wide eyes directed at him. They're blue and that's enough for him to use what little energy he has to move forward and fall in front of the trembling human, close to her thin legs.
"Let me sleep for a while now, brat," he murmurs before falling asleep.
The thing about waking up when one's gotten used to being inside another being is that… well, it's strange, period. Not in the sense of it being uncomfortable, though it kind of is. He has been sealed almost a century. Never waking up to feel the real world around him. Most would think it'd be incredible. Is not. It's disconcerting.
Perhaps it feels like that because Naruto's chakra and his own had been so close that they've almost merged in the war. And even if it only lasted a couple of days, he's now used to the feeling of Naruto's calm chakra mixed to his own. The seal has been open for not long but it has been enough for him to get used to it. Heavy and powerful, sometimes too excited and full of many emotions, but even so, always calm. Reassuring in the way a warm coat would help when it's cold.
Kurama would never admit it out loud though.
In short, even if waking up without that feeling in a place he doesn't recognize with the scent of blood and dust thick in the air shouldn't be enough to left him aghast, it still leaves a sense of discomfort.
He hasn't got the chance to really think of the abrupt change he experienced when leaving his jinchuriki. Not giving him time to adjust. So… that gives him a good reason to momentarily freak out right?
It's not befitting of the most powerful of the tailed beasts, but there's no one to see him as he stands up only to fall, his paws covered with some cloth that seem to work as shoes. His face doesn't reach the ground but it's only thanks to some thing around his snout that makes him unable to open his mouth as he wants. He can't reach it with his paws because of the stupid shoes.
"You're up," a voice murmurs, surprise echoing the soft voice.
Kurama looks up. The girl he remembers helping because of her similarities with a younger Naruto is standing behind a door frame and looking cautiously at him. And now that he looks at her this close, he can notice that the similarities he found between her and his host are almost nonexistent.
He sighs. Yeah, he's losing it.
Looking down at the cloth tied with simple dirt laces around his ankles and the fact he can't sense no one near (Well, no one alive), he assumes the girl is the one who placed them on him.
It may be because of how his previous hosts treated him, but it doesn't affect him as it once would. They're easy to ignore.
He knows he should demand to be set free of these contraptions, but he has seen Naruto interact with kids to know that doing that will most likely scare her and then what will he do? He doesn't have the power to reduce them to ashes. At least not yet, if the soreness and lethargy he feels are something to go by.
He hates this.
"What's your name?" he stars, trying to not put too much gruff in his voice to make it less menacing.
Considering she hides behind the wall, it doesn't work.
Heavy breathing echoes in the house and Kurama decides to use the time to assess his surroundings while waiting for the girl to calm down.
The room where he's in is taller than what he has seen before in the Elemental Nation. He assumes that the beings in this world are taller than in his then. That would probably piss Naruto off as he has always leaned to the shorter side.
There's a layer of dust in everything and it looks as if whoever who lived there escaped hastily, only grabbing the essentials. That by itself says much about the situation this world lives in. Considering the 'things' that he has seen he can guess the cause easily enough.
"You can talk?"
Kurama directs his gaze to the girl peeking from the door frame.
"I just did, didn't I?"
She bites her lips. "I thought it was my imagination."
That means that there aren't talking animals in this world then. He's going to have to be silent from now on. It's not wise to attract attention to himself.
"My name's Sophia."
Half of her body is now visible and Kurama senses her fear withdrawing, giving away to curiosity.
Kurama blinks. He has never introduced himself to anyone but Naruto before. And after they teamed up, the one introducing him as his partner and a member of Konoha was Naruto. Kurama doesn't like how his name was easily given to others but Naruto always said 'If they are trusting you with their lives, trust them with your name' and that was it. He let him be but never had to give it. And he won't. Not to a kid who he doesn't know.
"Call me Nine," he finally answers. "So, you were the one who put me these… shoes?" After receiving a nod he adds, "Why?"
"You, um, bit the walkers. I thought you were infected. You only need to bite or scratch someone to infect them."
The kid's smart, he'll give her that.
"There's something else I need to know that they're infected? What are they?"
"You don't know?"
"I'm not from here."
"Uhm, well, it starts with the bite and then they get sick until they… die. Then they come back." She hesitates but it only takes her a second for her to walk forward until he can see her entirely. "I was with my mom and dad when they appeared a couple of months ago. We were with a group but I got separated and now I'm…"
She bites her lower lip and blinks quickly but she doesn't continue. He hasn't interacted with many humans and the only one he can call friend is the kind that bounces from sadness to happy determination with Kurama just saying 'Are you going to give up then?' in a mocking tone. Somehow he doesn't think it'll work with her.
It's not as if he cares either, so why bother?
"Now that we've concluded that I'm not infected, mind if you give me a hand? This thing bruises."
He points his snout with a paw and that makes her giggle. She walks towards him nervously and it only takes her a few moments to free him.
"I didn't know foxes could be this big."
He scoffs. "I was bigger. You were probably the same height my eye."
"Really? What happened then?"
"An idiotic friend."
It's obvious she wants to ask for more, but she goes quiet as she sits on the floor in front of him. It's unlike Naruto when he was younger. He'd have pestered him annoyingly until they had a heart to heart.
He sighs tiredly and stands in an attempt to search something to clean the blood from his fur because he is not going to use his tongue to clean himself.
As he walks he notices that there's an open can next to her. It smells of food. She catches his line of sight and offers timidly the can at him. "Want some?"
The food smells okay but he doesn't need it. Kurama appreciates the gesture, though. It's obvious that there isn't much food and she's offering him what little she has.
"You're the one who needs to eat, brat. You're too thin."
"…Thanks." She looks down at her food and starts eating. Kurama has already found a bigger cloth to clean himself when she asks, "What are you?"
He doesn't think 'biju' will answer her questions. 'Demonic entity' probably has the same meaning that has in the elemental nations. So he only says he's a 'fox spirit'.
It rubs him the wrong way but after mentioning how he's the strongest of all the spirits, it dwells.
"So how much this… thing has affected humanity? Is there some sort of order? Is someone dealing with the problem or is everything fucked?"
The girl frowns, clenching her can tighter. She explains what she knows. Tells him about the police and military. Everything the scientist her former group met explained to them and what she understood from it.
So… apparently this world is fucked.
Hopefully he can find Naruto quickly and they can search for a way to return. Knowing him, he'll try to help this world and fix it if he finds how fucked they are.
Thought that Uchiha brat was with them, too. Naruto will want to find him, too. And Naruto is too much of a trouble magnet to avoid people for long. He's going to find the truth and that means they're going to stay for some time.
Looking mournfully at the state of his fur and the cloths that are already dirty, he glances at the kitchen. "Is the water working?"
She shakes her head. "There's a small lake not far away from where you found me. There are lots of walkers near, though."
He gives a tentative lick to the back of his paw before scrunching his nose in distaste. "I need to go there. I take pride on my fur, I can't leave it in this state."
He's still weak but it seems he has sleep at least a day. It's not enough to recover but it is to avoid those walkers. They can't transform him, anyways. Is not like he has an actual body to react to whatever infection they have. He can just go to that lake, clean himself, then walk on top of it until those beings are no longer near and he can search for a place to rest for some time, safe enough so Naruto can find him. The brat may be weak, like him, but he has most of his chakra in him so he'll be able to recover faster, even if he has just suffered through a biju extraction.
He's going to have enough chakra in a couple of weeks to attempt sage mode and search for him. Now he only hopes he will be able to remember he can use it.
"I won't see you then, Nine?"
Kurama is already ready to just turn around and walk away but Sophie's question stops him. He looks at her direction and sees her legs draw to her chest, arms hugging them protectively. Her chin is on top of her knees Kurama doesn't need to be able to sense emotions to know she's afraid and lonely.
Again, he no longer sees her. He sees a boy sitting on a swing, watching how parents hug their children as they take them home, ignoring him, whispering harsh words.
Her eyes and hair are a darker shade, her skin is pale and not tan, but…
"You can go with me if you want, brat. We can look out for your group while I wait for my friend. If we find him first and he gets to know you, he'll want to search for your group anyways so it's better to start now."
Looking up, eyes widen in hope. "Really?"
"Yeah. I'm weak now tough, so we better search for a place where we can stay and I can rest."
She stands up quickly and smiles.
Kurama sighs. He blames his weakness with blue eyed, blond haired brats on Naruto.
Far away from the place Kurama is, a man checks the pulse of teenager laid on a bed.
"Is amazing how stable he is. He fell from really high but there are only a couple of wounds on him caused from it."
"Do you think it was from a helicopter or an airplane he fell from?" asks another man, charisma and an air of power giving him the air of the one in charge.
"Hard to guess. I ain't saw anythin' on the sky," says a gruff man with a false hand. "Ye know what that purple thin' was?"
The doctor looks at him with apprehension but answers anyways. "No. But I didn't saw it, so I can't guess its origin either, you said it disappeared as soon as the guys went to where he fell?"
"Yeah. Kinda looked like bones. Weird shit."
"Just try to get as much info as you can from him. I want to know what that purple energy was. Perhaps the military is working in some weapon. If we can get it, it'll be beneficial to us."
"What? But I don't have the equipment to do any throughout research. It'll be impossible. Our safest bet would be to ask him…" he trails off, glancing at the young, pale teenager laid on the bed. He couldn't be more than eighteen.
"If the lil doc can't, do we kill him, Governor?"
The Governor sighs and shakes his head sadly. The doctor sees this action and offers weakly: "He's just a kid."
"A kid that fell from who knows where and still kicks it. That's crazy."
"I've to agree with Merle here. We can't have him. He'll destroy the peace we've fought hard to maintain."
He nods towards Merle and he smiles with his own, far too pleased smile as he takes a knife from the back of his pants. He's taking momentum so the weapon can get all the way down to the brain when the boy's eyes open, one red eye and another purple making its appearance.
Everything occurs fast from that point.
A/N 2. This won't be a total crossover with the walking dead even if it was inspired by one. I just wanted to put the three into a world where humans are trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, so there's no need to have watched/read the series. Everything will be explained. So it won't be about TWD characters but how Naruto, Sasuke and Kurama react to them and their situation as weakened as they will be at the start.
Though in case you're one who has watched it, then this takes about a month from when Sophia separated from the group. I'm using the timeline from TWD wikia so eighty five days after the outbreak.
Also, english isn't my first language so if you see some noticeable grammar error, please let me know.