A/N: WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
First, by the time you read this, I'll be in surgery...
Secondly, this story is one told from multiple perspectives.
That's right, this particular tale isn't solely about Naruto's adventures in Remnant. This story has a broader vision than that. I always focus on him, much to the exclusion of all else. This time, me and my crew are changing that. The story tag may well be adventure/romance, but its got its fair bits of humor as well, and Remnant's never going to be the same. You've been warned.
Still here? Wonderful!
As to the why I'm writing this, well...I'm about to undergo a surprise surgery in a few hours. There's a chance I could lose my leg. So, yeah. Ha. Hahaha. Panicking a little bit right now. Panicking hard, and this is the only way I can think to cope at the moment. Otherwise? I think I'm going to go mad.
I hate, hate, HATE surgeries and I'm scared out of my mind right now.
It may sound selfish, but if I'm about to go through that hell again let alone be crippled for awhile, I wanted to do something to take my mind off things. And this time around? I'm not speaking of the pairing this time around. Oh, there is one, but for once? I'm staying mum on it. I'll leave it to you all to figure out what it is.
Now then...I proudly present, Gods of Remnant. Or New Gods of Remnant. Whichever you prefer.
As ever, I own no references, themes, or memes.
Good luck, Salem. And good luck, Ozma.
YOU'RE BOTH GONNA NEED IT.
"Wait a minute! How did this happen?! We're smarter than this!"
"Apparently not. Kaguya WAS a Goddess, after all. We should've expected it."
"Expected what? For her to be a vindictive little bitch?! To screw us with her last gasp?!"
"Are you kidding meeeeeee~?!"
Naruto did not shriek.
Shrieking implied terror. Terror implied fear. And he wasn't afraid. Nope. Not at all. Not in the least. Even as he tumbled through the sky, crashed through the clouds, and hurtled toward certain doom -also known as the ground below!- the jinchuuriki didn't experience so much as a lick of fear towards his fate. If anything he felt rage. Not just for himself, not solely for those who had been lost, but rather what they'd failed to accomplish. Righteous anger burned hot and heady through his veins, coloring his every thought as he experienced his final moments.
Because they'd been so close!
Only a few seconds more, and they would've sealed Kaguya away! They should have! She'd been trapped!
Some say a cornered rat often bites the cat, but they'd been ill-prepared all the same.
Kaguya's final act of vengeance had proven both vicious and inspired; they'd had her pinned. Dead to rights and somehow, someway, she'd managed to wriggle out from under them. Before the final blow was struck, she tore open a portal in space-time and flung the three of them through. That had been...minutes ago? Hours? It felt like he'd been falling for forever, now, and the ground seemed no closer than before. Naruto wasn't even aware of where or when he was. Or when! Nevermind getting home!
Worse, he had no way of knowing where Sasuke or Sakura had wound up. Nor Kakashi, for that matter.
Stop, stop, stop! Bad brain! Don't think about that, he told himself. They're alright. They must be. They have to be.
Wherever they'd gone, wherever they were, he had faith in them. He believed in them. Surely they could fend for themselves. At the very least, they'd put up one hell of a fight. No! Stop! Doubting his old teammates and teacher did nothing to save him from his imminent doom right now!
Ground. Bad. Splat. Also bad.
Alright, calm down. Sense reasserted itself as the ground rushed up to greet him like an long lost friend. Think. There's no need to panic. I can still fly. Just have to focus...! FOCUS!
Willing his three remaining Truth-Seeking-Orbs into existence over his shoulders, the blond dragged his momentum down to nonlethal levels with a jarring lurch. His stomach flip-flopped violently but he held fast. He didn't so much fall now as he did glide, gently arresting his terminal velocity to cruise toward the earth below.
And as Naruto glided, he saw.
Framed in the light of the setting sun, a great countryside lay sprawled out beneath him, stretching as far as the eye could see. Rolling plains, a lush forest, a few cottages, and there on the horizon, just barely glimpsed by his keen eye,s what might be a city. He couldn't be sure. It was too far away and he wouldn't be reaching it anytime soon. He'd be hitting the ground long before he made it there. Still. It was beautiful to behold, and the sight of it took his breath away.
In the end, he settled on a worn dirt road, cresting a hill.
For that alone, the wayward shinobi counted himself luckier than most. Kaguya was a vindictive creature. For all he knew, she could've sent him to a world filled with lava. Knowing her, she'd probably intended to. Either she'd mucked her portal up, or he'd well and truly lucked out here. This place looked peaceful...but even he knew appearances could be deceiving.
Moreover, there was one last ally he needed to check up on.
"Kurama?" he ventured tentatively. "You there?"
A gravely groan greeted him.
"Ugh, my head. Did anyone get the number of that bitch?"
"Kaguya." he informed him primly. "She...sent us somewhere. No idea where."
"Lovely." came the growl. "Remind me to tear out her spine and flay her with it."
There could be no explaining the brief bolt of relief that coursed through Naruto in that moment. He'd almost thought Kaguya had done something to his old partner. He wouldn't put it past her. She was a spiteful creature like that. But no, he could sense the fox within him, hale and hearty as every, if a bit grumpy. Crisis averted. Which brought him to a less-than-pleasant question:
"Where the hell are we?"
"You're asking me?!" Kurama scoffed. "I'm just as lost as you are!"
"Yeah," Naruto sighed and scratched at one of his whiskered cheeks. "Guess that was a bit of a stretch...
He was still speaking when the faint scent of ash on the wind reached his nose.
Unbidden, he sniffed softly. Inhaled. Frowned. craned his head towards the strange scent.
There, miles away in the distance, he could see a towering plume of black smoke rising high into the air.
Looking back, Naruto couldn't rightfully say what it was about the haze that bothered him so. It was just a bit of smoke in the distance. People burned trash all the time. Could be nothing. It might even be a campfire in preparation for the coming night. Probably harmless for all that he knew. And yet, a strange pang of nameless dread shot through him all the same. He could see clouds in the distance swarming towards the setting sun; they were dark heavy things that promised rain. That should've set him at ease. If there was a fire, surely the rain would put it out. Right? There was no need to get involved. Right?
Without warning, the wind began to pick up; causing a cold shiver to steal over him.
Had he heard a scream just now? Or was it his imagination?
Kurama frowned. "Brat...
Naruto's body pulsed gold and he shot down the hill at a blistering space.
All the world flashed across his vision in mottled blurs of brown and green as he ran. Wildlife cried out at his passing, deer leaping out of his path, crows cawing angrily as he disturbed their rest. Naruto barely heard them. A peal of thunder echoed overhead and he redoubled his pace toward the treeline. When he reached the first oak he clamored up it and shot to another, leaping from branch to branch, bough to bough with every bit of raw speed he possessed. He didn't leap through the trees. He hurled himself through them, uncaring of the commotion he caused.
Until something moved below him.
For a fleeting instant, Naruto glimpsed someone running away from the smoke. Golden eyes leered up at him, accompanied by a cheeky grin, then vanished into the dark. A spike of negative emotion assailed his senses a heartbeat later, to confirm his suspicions. Why would they flee from the smoke? Had they caused it? Was there danger? Curiosity vied with concern and he almost hesitated. Almost. Then he flicked a quick shadow clone after them and pressed on. Whomever they were, he'd question them and-
Said clone "popped" not ten seconds later.
Kurama snarled. "What in the blue hell was that?!"
Naruto nearly missed a step at the tangled jumble of memories that followed, but forged on. He'd deal with them later.
For now the forest fell away before him, leaving him to stumbled into a clearing.
All thoughts of giving chase were forgotten as saw the burning house.
It couldn't even be called such; more a homely little cottage in the woods than any true abode. Not too large. Not too small. Whatever it had been, it was an utter ruin now. A complete and utter ruin wreathed by tongues of flaming licking at a thatched roof. That had been the cause of the smoke he realized. Someone's house had caught fire. Unfortunate, their were survivors, surely...
Then he beheld the beasts.
At first he thought they were simply large wolves; likely some stray pack drawn by the blaze, lurking near the homestead to assuage their curiosity. Half-blinded by the intense light against the coming dark, he gave them no heed at first. He had no quarrel with animals, after all. He thought it best to give them a wide berth.
Until he saw a body.
One stooped low over a woman's broken form as it gnawed halfheartedly on her arm. Anger coursed through him at the sight, blinding him to all else.
"GET AWAY FROM HER!"
At his shout the creatures turned and in the firelight he beheld them for the first time.
They weren't wolves as he'd first suspected. They were...something else. Something worse. Far worse.
All coarse black blur and white bone bearing ghastly red eyes, they weren't beasts at all, but monsters. Ghastly abominations straight out of a nightmare. They were large, too. Larger than any beast should've been. The biggest of them towered head and shoulders above the rest -and him!- as it rose onto its hind legs and howled at him with bloody jaws.
Naruto lunged and drove its face in with a Rasengan.
Another creature bounded at him as the alpha fell and he whirled on it with a roar, shattering its body with a golden claw. The rest fell upon him in a dark wave; writhing, twisting, slashing and snarling. Whatever they were, they had numbers on their side and little else. He met them with numbers of his own in the form of shadow clones. They fought like the mindless beasts they wore and his boys tore through them apart like the beasts they were. It wasn't even a fight, more a slaughter than anything else. He killed them quickly, frowned when they dissolved, and turned his gaze to the woman's prone form.
"I'm sorry." he muttered, easing her vacant eyes shut. "I wish I could've been there."
A panicked cry went up from within the burning cottage.
Red eyes snapped towards it and Naruto barreled inside, cloak blazing like a second sun.
A monstrous inferno greeted him as he wrenched the door open, briefly knocking him on his back foot. He grit his teeth before he stormed through, heedless of the heat. As ever, Kurama's cloak protected him from harm, but it didn't protected his ears. All around him he heard naught but the harsh crackle of burning wood, the ponderous creak of a faltering roof as it succumbed to flame. It might have been a nice home, once. Now shadow and flame obscured everything.
"Hello?!" he roared into the flames, hacking against the smoke. "Is anyone there?! Anyone at all!"
A tiny gasp answered him.
Sweeping aside a ruined couch, he spied someone trapped beneath a burning wooden beam. Kurama shouted something at him. He couldn't hear it over the roaring in his ears.
Firm wingers worked their way under the worn wood and pulled, wrenching it upright, then aside to reveal what lay beneath. He almost wished he hadn't. When he peeled it back, he saw the body. A man with greying hair lay hunched over a child, his back torn to bloody red ribbons, eyes distant and vacant in death. There could be no saving him. His hand still bore the Sage's mark, but he couldn't bring back the dead. He didn't even know how; in this moment, he'd happily trade his soul for such knowledge.
But the girl was alive! Even now her chest rose and fell with fitful breath.
Naruto didn't hesitate. Plucking her from what might well be her parent's dead arms, he stumbled upright and cast one final, desperate glance about for survivors. There was no one left inside that he could sense. The mere thought of it hurt him. And he lacked the ability to put out the flames. Even if he did, he'd just bring the house down. He strained his senses one last time, hoping, praying for any sign of life. Hoping that someone, somewhere, somehow, would prove him wrong.
There were none to be had.
Ferrying her outside, he quickly put the hut behind him, but didn't dare leave the clearing.
These people had been attacked.
Someone had set fire to their home, driven them out, and killed them. Then those...beasts had come. Drawn by the fire, or perhaps by the death, he didn't know, only that it happened. The knowledge burned angrily in the back of his brain, but he set it aside, willed himself to focus.
Only then did he dare take a knee and finally check on the limp child in his arms.
"C'mon kiddo, don't croak on me." he begged, fitfully patting her back. "Just hang in there...c'mon! Breathe!"
At a loss for what to do, he pressed his marked palm against her soot-streaked throat. He wasn't even sure how the old man's mark worked, only that it did. He'd healed Gai with it, given Kakashi back his eye. Surely he could save this child. Someone deserved to survive this disaster. They had to. Please let this work. Please, if there's any god out there...
A weak, fitful cough answered him. "Dad...?"
"No...not quite." His heart lurched. "What's your name?"
"S-Summer." she coughed, squinting at him with fearful, feverish eyes of silver. "My...my name is Summer."
Exhaustion overtook her a moment later and she sagged back in his arms.
A/N: Well, by the time you're reading this, I'll be in surgery. Yes, that was Tock running away from Summer's home.
I also want to state that this story WILL feature a Young!Maria Calavera in it. Pretty sure that fits, given the time period. There you have it.
If folks don't like this, I'll delete it when I get back, like always. Naruto just adopted Little!Summer and Remnant is not prepared for the chaos to come. Anyone sensing the theme we're going for here? Yes? No? Maybe so? I've been pretty blunt about it thus far. Cookie for you if you guess where this is going.
Lord knows I've dropped enough hints.
Meanwhile, we have the rest of Team Seven still very much unaccounted for and running around Remnant. Yes, that includes Kakashi. Gee, I wonder where they landed. Oh wait, there's no need to wonder. I'm going to tell you in a minute.
This story's easier to write, because we know jack all about Summer's past.
So...in the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...Review...Would You Kindly!
SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!
PLOT DETAILS AHOY!
YE BE WARNED!
Kakashi was not amused.
Atlas was entirely too cold, too stiff, too...everything!
And they didn't have any porn! Shame on them! For shame, he said!
"Mmf!" Summer grinned around the muffin. "Tastes gooth!"
"Don't talk with your mouth full." Naruto poked her cheek. "That's rude, you know."
"Grr." The silver-eyed child pouted slightly at his remark, but scarfed her treat down all the same. "Sowwy, papa...
"Ach, my heart!"
"Outsider! Filthy interloper...! "The Chieftain croaked out as he crawled away. "You can't just take over the Tribe! Its...mine! Not yours...! You have...no right...!"
"You said the strongest ruled this tribe." Sasuke paced after the bloodied man like a panther, trailing the edge of his blade against the ground. "I'm simply following your rules. And you lost." Pitiful. Was this the strongest warrior they had to offer? All brawn and no brains, this one. Naruto would've advocated mercy. Second chances and whatnot.
After the day he'd had, Sasuke wasn't feeling merciful.
His blade rose. His blade fell. And the the Chieftain lost his head.
A pair of children watched him from the shadows. His hear twisted. Just a little.
"You can come out, now" he called out, them grimaced when they flinched. "I'll not hurt you."
"Well, this bodes poorly."
No food, no resources to speak of, no idea where the hell she was.
By some manner of luck, she'd landed near civilization. That was good, right? Wrong.
No. Not it wasn't. This was an island. When she'd asked where she was...the looks she'd gotten were downright strange. Then there was the matter of her little tag-along.
"Are you lost?" The little girl tugged at her sleeve. "You look lost."
"Kali!" A new voice called down the street. "Don't talk to strangers!"
STAY TUNED! R&R! =D