A/N: Yes, this is short. Sorry for that.
Because I'm scared.
Tests didn't come back good and now I'm off to get a CT scan as well as bloodwork and all kinds of nasty stuff done to me that likely involves a hospital stay. I...have the feeling that something might be wrong. So. Here I am. Writing this just before I go in, because I am bloody TERRIFIED. The doctor took one look at me and all demanded I go the hospital. Appointment's in an hour or so. Probably going to be staying there for a few days at that, given how weak I am. My fingers got restless, and I wanted to at least say SOMETHING before I vanish off the face of the earth.
I think I'll stick to crossovers in the future. At least there I won't be eviscerated for saying hello.
This story...may or may not have a pairing. Its something unique.
And Naruto's role, for this IS the Naruto we all know...
...may not be what you expect.
"In all my lifetimes, I have discovered three powerful emotions in this world.
The first is joy. That unparalleled feeling of bliss and hope and strength. Brightest and sharpest of them all.
The second is sorrow. Misery and tears have often moved armies and nations alike, swayed the hears of bitter enemies.
The third would be hate. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; that there is no greater enemy than that of a former friend. They'd be right."
That single, solitary sound, stole Salem's soul.
It wasn't even a real word that finished her off; more a gurgle really, a tiny pitiful mewl begging for her undivided attention. That, or perhaps food. She couldn't be sure. Still the immortal woman found herself undone by it all the same. She was the Mother of All Things Grimm. Terror incarnate. Mortals feared her. Men and women alike wept when they heard her name. Grimm everywhere bowed to her. Ozpin and his Inner Circle feared her very presence. And yet, Salem had no more hope of vanquishing this menace than she did of defeating the Gods themselves.
The Mother of Grimm looked left.
The Mother of Grimm looked right.
Finally, the Mother of Grimm looked down.
Much to her chagrin, the blasted baby was still there.
Bright blue eyes gazed back at her from within a tiny, whiskered face.
"Where did you come from?" she muttered crossly, making a shooing motion as though to banish a bad dream. "Go on now, shoo."
Much to her chagrin, baby most assuredly did not "shoo." It stayed right where it was, transfixed by her. At least the blasted brat wasn't crying anymore. That was what had woken her in the first place. Salem scowled at it and the infant actually had the temerity to giggle. Giggle! At her! What manner of trickery was this? Ozpin's doing perhaps? No. Her lover had been many things in the past, but not even he would be so cruel as to leave a starving child on her doorstep wrapped in swaddling cloth and left for dead. Which begged the ancient question:
Did he come from?!
Who in their right mind would bring a child to her doorstep?! In the badlands no less! It was a miracle that he hadn't been eaten alive by some wild Grimm!
Upon further inspection, she realized the ground beneath the boy was scorched black Well. Blacker than usual. Curious. A ritual gone wrong perhaps. Or perhaps some other ghastly secret that she didn't understand? Nor was he unprotected. A pale blue cloth cocooned its body. There was even a name stitched into said blanket, one her keen eyes instantly discerned. Na~ru~to. She sounded it out, rolling the syllables around on her tongue. Not the name she'd have chosen for a child. Bah. Whatever the case, the origins of this tiny pink creature didn't matter, she supposed. His fate was still sealed.
She tentatively nudged the bundle with a boot; unfortunately, this startled the child and it began crying again.
No. Salem would have none of that noise.
"CEASE!" she snarled loudly.
To her disbelief, it did.
Unfortunately, the Mother of Grimm miscalculated in her anger; for the reprieve she received proved as brief as it was poignant. Then it cried even louder. She grit her teeth against the sound and weighed her options as she stared down at the squalling infant. The sensible thing to do would be to kill it. This was no place for a bawling brat. If she couldn't stomach doing the deed herself, then surely one of her many minions would be more than happy to do it for her. Tyrian perhaps. He would feel no guilt from such a fiendish act.
Or if she were feeling merciful, she could simply have Watts deposit him at an orphanage somewhere.
Yes, that sounded sensible. This was no place for a child.
And yet, the longer Salem stared at this tiny pink creature, the less certain she became. He was still crying and try as she might to ignore it, something in her dead heard twitched at the sound. Perhaps it was a shame to snuff out a life so young. He could be a useful pawn. She began telling herself such lies to soothe her conscience, to deceive herself. No one else knew of the boy. No one would dare to question her. She could do with him as she pleased...couldn't she?
Abruptly, she realized the boy had stopped crying.
Oh, he was still whimpering, but he'd simply lost the strength to continue carrying on in such a state. The whimpering made it worse; made her feel as though she were the villain here. Well, she was, but still! Gods knew she was a touch out of practice these days, but Salem was no stranger to children nor the art of raising them. She'd reared four girls, after all. Before. In happier times. Her heart had been warmer then. Before his betrayal and all that had come after. Before-
"No." she hissed the word to herself as much as the dead air and clamped down on that thought before it could consume her.
But it would not be denied.
A whim wriggled to the forefront of her mind, blotting out all else until finally, her arms betrayed her. She looked left. Looked right. Made utterly certain that no one would see what she was about to do. After a moment's hesitation, she awkwardly reached down and plucked the infant off the blackened earth. His whimpers ceased immediately. Wide, wondering eyes gazed up at her until she pressed him into her shoulder and began to rub the small of his back. Right, then. She could do this. Small, quick steps, retreat swiftly to her quarters, then-
Then he started drooling on her.
Salem twitched. "Stop that. Right now."
The drooling only continued as it had before.
Salem absolute twitched. "I hate you. I really, truly do."
She didn't. Not really. Not truly. Nor did she know how much she'd changed her fate.
A/N: You aren't ready for the chaos I just unleashed.
As a future note, Salem's going to have her hair down in all future chapters. Just looks better. Trust me. Now then.
That just happened.
NOW BEFORE YOU START!
This isn't going to be one of those Naruto-raised-by Salem and he's pure evil stories. Nor will this be one of those stories where he defects and joins the good guys because of a moral crisis or some bloody bleeding heart. This is going to be a mad hybridization of the two. How, you ask? Well, I COULD explain it to you, tell you all bout the five chapters I've already written out and all...but I think I'll just let the previews do the talking for me.
Don't believe me?
The previews speaks for themselves.
Soooooo in the Immortal Words of Atlas...Review, Would You Kindly?
They keeps me alive. Without them, I'll just vanish into the void. Poof. Gone.
...what are you doing here, Ozpin?"
For that WAS Ozma standing in her door. At least, the latest incarnation of that cowardly bastard. His bespectacled gaze shifted to the tiny bundle in her arms while his own...carried a parcel of some sort. What the devil was he up to this time? Her surprise jumped up another notch when he pushed said parcel into her arms. It contained...diapers, of all things. And formula. Clothes, too. Aghast, she awkwardly accepted them with her free arm. Someone snickered in the background. She swore to kill whomever it was. Later. When she wasn't holding the boy.
"I'd heard the rumors, but I had to see it for myself." her heart lurched painfully at tenderness in her old lover's words. "You're actually taking care of a baby."
"How did you know?"
His eyes twinkled. "A little bird told me."
Qrow was dead. Oz was dead. THEY WERE ALL DEAD. Before she could absolutely EVISCERATE him, the headmaster hastened onward.
"I would like to propose a truce." Ozpin began delicately, choosing his words with great care as though his very life depended on it. "Regarding that boy."
"A truce. With Salem."
To his credit, Ozpin didn't bat an eyelash. "Albeit a temporary one."
Ironwood, however, all but roared and shook him like a tree. "HAVE YOU GONE MAD?!"
Cinder scoffed. "Bah! Weak, the lot of you! Look at him! Brat's not even five and half you're already wrapped around his little finger! Salem's swooning over him! Tyrian wants to teach him to MURDER people! Watts, you gave him a math book just this morning! Hazel was trying to unlock his aura earlier for crying out loud! Well! I for one will not be swayed by this little HELLSPAWN-
"Cin-duh." Naruto lisped, pointing in her direction.
Her head snapped around with an audible crack. "DID HE JUST SAY MY NAME?!"
Watts groaned and slapped five lien into Hazel's awaiting hand. "Take your damn money."
Neither man batted an eyelash when Cinder bolted back to the boy's side and crushed him against her bosom.
One of them did complain, however.
"Lucky little shit...
Yup. Oz realized he can't destroy Salem. So he's gonna do his darndest to save her.