A/N: EDIT: Flames will be flames I suppose. Also added in some extra content, not that anyone noticed. T_T
Sorry if this seems short; gottago to work, work, work...
As ever, the Embers rule still persists. If folks don't like this story? Poof! Gone!
Awaaaaay to the void it goes. Gone once and for all. Forever. Completely. That's no joke.
So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter! Really, they do! I'm literally working every day now, so I have less and less time to write. Daily updates might...slow down for a bit, but I know that would upset a lot of people. Its just hard with two jobs.
Now for your questions!
Q: Did...did Naruto just nuke a mountain?
A: Two, actually. It was a tribute a favorite story of mine "Knight of Salem" by Couer Al'Aran, in which Salem herself performs a similar feat. The difference here being, that Naruto's very much secluded to Menagerie for the moment, and has no real desire to leave. Why would he? He's still trying to get his bearings...and convince everyone he isn't a god.
Good luck with that, buddy.
Q: I smell a harem! Let it be so, my liege!
A: Liege...? I'm not really king of anything-AHEM! Come now, you know I can't spoil the direct pairings early. Blake will have siblings, but that's all I'm going to say.
Q: Where's Ghira?
A: Out and about. Rest assured, when all is said and done he'll end up with quite the lovely lady of his own.
And a rather familiar face at that~!
Q: How powerful is Naruto in this story?
Alright, I think I've kept you long enough.
And if you laugh while reading this, well, all the better. Hopefully it bring a smile to your face.
As ever, I own no references, quotes, themes or memes. Not a wit or a one! Really, they're just tributes...
"Love is a dagger. Its a weapon to be wielded far away or up close.
You can see yourself in it. Its beautiful. Until it makes you bleed. But ultimately, when you reach for it...
"What, are you going to say its not there? Bull! It is there. I know it. You know it. But now you want to run away. Because you're scared. Because you think feeling something for someone beyond mere lust is weakness, and weakness gets you killed. That's where you're wrong. There's nothing wrong with a little fear. I'm scared, too! So very afraid! Absolutely terrified! I've never felt anything like this before.
And you know what?
I'm going to face it. So the question remains...
...will you? Go on. Give me your answer. I'm right here."
~A Future Scene.
A Sentimental Monster
They were worshiping him now.
Truly there was nothing that rankled Naruto more.
After that stunt he'd pulled yesterday with Kurama, nearly every man, woman and child on this island -bar Kali!- thought him a god; some mad union of the Brother Gods come back to Remnant to lead them unto destiny and glory. Shouting did nothing to convince them. Pleading availed him naught. Even his brief attempt to leave had been curtailed by the sheer mass of Faunus currently on his doorstep. They couldn't stop him of course, but they all looked so damn sad when he mentioned it...
"Well," Kurama jibed, "We did put on quite a show for them. Its only natural they'd act like this. Our very own island. Feels nice."
"Natural, he says." Naruto growled as he lounged atop his throne. "This ain't natural. How the hell do I get out of this mess?"
"Well, you could always run. Not like they'd be able to stop you if you really wanted to."
"I meant making them see sense, not dodging them for the rest of my days!"
In the span of only twenty-four-hours they'd ushered him from Kali's humble home...into the Chieftain's seat. There hadn't been any resistance on that front. The fellow in charge was more than happy to give it up to him when that mob hauled him up here. Cheeky bastard probably waned nothing to do with the coming storm.
Naruto Uzumaki was many things, but he wasn't a coward; certainly not the sort to abandon people in need.
On a fundamental level he knew that he might "appear" divine to some, but really, he wasn't. Sure he possessed incredible powers, could run terribly fast, survive being impaled, and wield destruction on a scale hereinto unseen before in the World of Remnant but...
...alright, he could see why the Faunus thought he was their god reborn. But he didn't like it!
"Don't look at me. This is one is entirely on you." Kurama poked another hole in his defenses. "One does not simply turn into a giant fox, butcher a massive Grimm and annihilate several mountains without attracting attention to oneself. I did warn you...
Naruto buried his head in his hands.
Hopefully no one else in the world had noticed...oh, who was he kidding?! The entire world was probably aware of him now, if not necessarily his exact location. No, in the eyes of Menagerie, he must be a god, and nothing short of equally divine intervention would sway them. Pity Sasuke or Sakura weren't here. He would've flung the title at them and bolted. Instead he found himself looking down on Menagerie with no idea what to do next.
"Well done." Kali clapped slowly at his side. "What's next on the agenda? Gonna throw a wild orgy?"
Naruto flung a cushioned pillow at her. "Not helping!"
Really, she was making it worse!
"And stop smiling!"
"Nope!" she ducked it with a girlish grin. "Should see your face right now. You look like you bit into a lemon."
"This ain't funny!"
"Really, it is." she winked at him "And besides, if you're not a god, then what are you? A monster?" she winked at him. "Isn't it better to be loved than feared?"
Her words stilled the retort on his tongue. There was some logic in her words, loathe though he was to admit it. He could certainly blast his way out of Menagerie, harming hundreds in the process. Even if stealth failed him -and knowing his luck it would!-it was well within his power to kidnap a ship's captain and commandeer a vessel for himself. He could go anywhere he wanted.
And all it would cost him was a little fear.
"I just don't get it," he said instead. "Why is everyone here looking up to me? I haven't done all that much...
"In all honesty, the people here haven't had hope in a terribly long time." she ran her fingers along the length of his right arm, provoking a shiver in him. "Not since the Faunus Wars."
There it was again, the mention of that bloody war that he knew nothing about. He'd have to do some reading. Ugh. Books. He couldn't keep relying on Kali for every little thing, tempting though it might be. He needed to learn about this wild world he found himself in; just as he needed to discover if this really was another world, the past, or perhaps some far flung future.
"Do all the Faunus live here?" he asked instead. "The village seems...cramped."
"Not all, but most." Kali confided in him. "The world, well...how do I put this?" she looked away with a grimace. "Its not necessarily a bad place, but I wouldn't call it good, either." her hand left his arm, fingers trailing his as she moved to the balcony. "The memory of the war is still fresh in the minds of many. The war that we won, and yet...
A strange sensation sparked to life in Naruto's chest as he followed her. He didn't know what to make of it.
"I know you're not a god." she laid her arms down on the railing. "Gods are divine. All knowing...and cold." a golden eye flashed at him over her shoulder as she stole a glance back at him. "They left us a long a time ago. If they really cared about us, any of us, they would've come back a long time ago. Besides," and here she winked at him, "You're too warm to be a god."
There it was again; why did his face feel so damnably warm?
Right. That settled it, then. He needed some fresh air.
Naruto turned way. Kali's gaze snapped to him.
"Where are you going?"
...for a walk."
"That sounds nice." Kali shadowed him, her smile only a little anxious. "I'll go with you."
Naruto frowned. "I'd rather be alone right now."
She shook her head. "That's really not a good idea."
His brow furrowed. "Something you'd like to tell me, Kali?"
"Erm...maybe not so much tell as see?" Her ears twitched atop her head, flattening under the weight of his stare.
"You're gonna get mobbed, you daft boy!" she burst out before he could continue. "Think for a second!"
A blond brow rose. "Eh?"
"You take one step out those doors without an escort, and I GUARANTEE you're going to get swarmed." she stabbed a finger at the still-swelling crowd below. There's already a throng of people out there wanting to see you. If you just walk out there by yourself, all hell will break loose. Then what will you do?"
"Deal with it?"
She frowned. "Naruto!"
Now it was his turn to wince. "Fine, fine, have it your way."
"Praise be to you, m'lord!"
"Protect us from the Grimm, our lord!
Kali was right. Oh, how that burned. Her smile radiated smugness.
If the fervor of his arrival had been bad before, now it was at a fever pitch. People crowded around him the very moment he emerged; asking for his blessing, for his touch, for his words, as if such a thing mattered. If not for the guards she'd suggested, the two of them would've been buried straight away. Even then moving forward required a physical act of patience on his part; the people weren't keen to move. Everyone wanted to see his face, and even when faced with the blunt end of their halberds, they still persisted.
"See?" Kali all but preened. "Told you this would happen. Aren't you glad you listened to me?"
Naruto wanted to run and hide. Really, this was getting out of hand. Had every Faunus in Menagerie come to see him off?
Kali tugged at his wrist, forcing him to raise his right arm. The shouts that followed nearly left him deaf. Say what you would about her, but she knew how to please a crowd.
"Smile and wave, dear."
"Make way, blast you!" a new voice cried. "I'm late!"
A tan woman with striped shoulders and striking golden eyes thrashed her way to the front of the crowd, looking positively harassed. Idly Naruto noticed that she too wore the same sigil and black-on-white tabard of those tasked with protecting him. Right. Protection. Because he clearly needed that...
"Hey, Sienna." Kali dared a wave at the newcomer. "Why are you wearing that uniform...?"
"Don't read into it." the young woman huffed and planted a fist on her hip. "I'm just helping out the old man on patrol after last night. Why didn't you tell me you were taking him out?"
His friend tittered into a palm, smile gone brittle as the guardswoman slipped in between them. "Must've slipped my mind."
Something told Naruto it hadn't.
Still, he grimaced despite himself. "I really am sorry about that. My clones'll have the mess cleaned up in no time, I swear."
It was the wrong thing to say; because it immediately brought her attention to bear upon him. There was an edge to to her gaze, a rawness Kali lacked. Golden eyes flitted up and down the length of him, considering him as one might a fine cut of stake. He wasn't sure he liked the hunger lurking behind those eyes.
"You're the guy that slammed into the island?" Sienna's brow shot straight to her hairline. "And fought that giant sea-Grimm? I call dibs."
Naruto nearly choked and desperately thumped his chest with a fist. "What is WITH the women on this island...?!"
"Sienna," Kali cooed, "You're like a sister to me, but I WILL cut you. I saw him first."
The people pressed closer around them, muffling her reply.
"Just give a blessing to them and be done with it, already." Kurama's voice interposed itself over his thoughts. "Trust me, they'll never stop until you do."
Despite his discomfort, Naruto dared a smile. "Speaking from experience?"
With a long suffering sigh, Naruto raised a hand. All around him, the people went still, awaiting his words.
He failed for the words as the silence stretched on. 'Damnit! Say something!'
His tongue betrayed him spectacularly. "Um...eat ramen and be well?"
Everyone went mad.
"Our lord speaks!"
"Its the food of the gods!
"Someone fetch him a bowl! At once!"
Kali coughed into a fist. Sienna slapped a palm to her forehead.
Kurama was far less subtle. "DOLT!"
"I panicked, alright?!"
"Please, my lord!" a woman bulled her way through, startling him before he could think to sake another step. "My son! He's sick! You have to help him!"
Naruto recoiled. "What?"
He had all of an instant to take in brown hair framing dark eyes and a pale-if-scarred face, her body wrapped up in simple grey tunic off white breeches. Then she held out a mewling babe. That at least, he had more time to notice; if only because they were so small. With a soft crown of dark hair, wrapped in swaddling clothes, they couldn't have been more than three months old.
"He's ill, my lord! Please!"
The blond bridled, keenly aware of Kali's gaze on him.
"That's miss Belmont." she whispered quickly. "Her son's been sick for a while...
"Can't she take him to a doctor or something?!" Naruto hissed back. "Why give me to me?!"
"You think she hasn't tried?"
His right eye twitched. Damn her and her sense.
"If you do this, there will be no going back." Kurama's words were black on his heart. "The feats you've done so far might be explained away or blamed on someone else, but if you go around healing people in full view of others...well. You'll make a name for yourself."
Naruto knew that. It went without saying. But a baby...!
Screw it. He thrust his marked hand forward.
"Let me see him."
The woman shuffled forward, all but pushing the child into his arms. Naruto stumbled for a moment, but managed to write himself. The boy was light. Too light. Why was his skin grey...?
"Have you been feeding him?"
"He won't drink my lord. He barely even cries...
...don't call me that." he muttered, feeling a flush of shame." I'm no lord."
Shifting his grasp on the boy, he tucked them into the crook of one arm and brought another -his marked palm- to bear upon him. Carefully, delicately, he pushed a thread of chakra into the tiny body, unwilling to tax his already overburdened body. What he found there alarmed him. There was a darkness in the infants veins. Nasty stuff. Very nasty. It almost felt like...poison.
"Who would poison a baby?"
"And why?" he echoed Kurama's concerns.
Another mystery to solve. But later. For now he had work to do. He'd saved a man from the brink of death and regrown an eye. Surely he could this. It might...admittedly more difficult, but he felt himself equal to the task if nothing. And so he turned his attention inward.
To simply ignore a sick child...well. That wasn't his way.
His chakra crept through the tiny child, this little life, and suffused it with strength; bolstering his already faltering immune system From there it went to work on the toxins themselves, ruthlessly neutralizing them one by one. He wasn't sure how much time passed. Minutes? Hours? It felt like an eternity. The buzz of the crowd faded away, little more than an annoying bleat in the back of his brain.
Before his very eyes, the babe's pallid skin regained some semblance of color.
That little face screwed up, their nose wrinkled, and then...
Kurama rolled his eyes. "Here we go."
That was a healthy, lusty cry, the shriek of an infant who demanded to be fed, and fed now.
Naruto jolted in surprise, but the boy's mother was there, sweeping her child away into her arms.
It was the spark that started a fire in the hearts of those watching.
"Its a miracle!" someone cried.
"He has healing hands!"
Naruto scratched his cheek and heaved a sigh as they continued to babble about him. Well, there was no stopping them now. He'd sealed his fate. A destroyer was one thing, but a healer? His name was going to be on everyone's lips for days. Was it wrong that he took a little pride in that? He'd healed that boy. That little one would live because of him.
"See that's he's fed." A rueful smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "What's his name?"
"Trevor." she murmured, holding the mewling boy to her breast. "His name is Trevor."
"Trevor Belmont, eh?" Naruto touched his forehead. "Sounds real special."
The babe cooed softly and his mother retreated, babbling her thanks.
Kali pressed into his side. "Well, look at you! Didn't realize you were such a softy."
His lips pursed into a thin line. "Not a word, Kali. I mean it."
Her eyes glittered. "Softy. You'd make a good father."
Naruto looked back, only to find Trevor his mother were long gone, lost in the sea of people.
"Blast it." he swore softly. "Forgot to ask her how he got sick."
"You can always asking later. I've got the measure of the boy, now. Shouldn't be too hard to find him again."
Should he? Strange as it might sound, he felt invested in little Trevor's well-being. What it fell ill again? No, this was something to investigate, not forget. If some lunatic was running around poisoning children -or worse!- he would put a stop to it. What kind of madman would do such a thing?
"Dunno, but whoever they are, they'll regret being born."
On that, they were in agreement.
"Yes, Yes, very touching." Sienna made a grab for his arm, snapping him back to reality. "You're holding up the line. Get moving!"
She turned to go, only to stop short ahead of him; he nearly walked into her back, bowling her over outright.
...not the time, Taurus." Naruto heard Kali growl over the crowd.
"This is precisely the time." a new voice inquired, speaking in a low contralto. "Move aside."
Naruto sighed. "Oh for the love of...! What now?!"
Craning his neck around Kali's shoulder, he found himself regarding at a fiery redheaded woman wrapped up in dark leather armor. Her eyes were sharp and keen, her skin pale, and though her face was dirty, she looked noble despite it all. The crimson swords hanging at her hips were decidedly less so. Worse, the emotions he sensed from her were nothing short of boiling.
"You're the one, then?' She considered him intently. "The god that fell out of heaven?
Kurama whistled. "Well, that's certainly a nice pair of-
Naruto coughed harshly to drown him out. "What's your name?"
"My name is Anna Taurus." The blades flashed free in the light. "I would have you prove your worth. Prepare yourself."
Naruto squinted. "Prepare myself for wha-yeow!"
His legs kicked backward as the twin blades flickered at his face.
And then he found himself quite preoccupied with trying to stay alive.
A/N: As ever, the Embers rule persists.
If folks don't like this? Poof! Gone! To the void it goes. Gone once and for all. Forever.
So by all means, speak up! Raise your voice! Make yourself heard! Your reviews matter! Really, they do!
So, in the Immortal words of Atlas...
...review, would you kindly?
And of course, enjoy the previews! Rough, though they are
"You've shown yourself to be a healer, but are you a warrior?"
"Hey!" The slight pricked at his pride.
"I keep saying!"
He parried furiously.
"I'm not a god! Get it through your thick skull!"
Blue eyes blazed gold. A fist snapped out, snaring one of her weapons it could cut out his eye.
"Good." much to his annoyance, the fiery-haired woman granted him a grin. "Maybe you're not all talk after all."
"You want to help?! Look at your people!" Sienna flung a hand out at the island below. "You see how they suffer. Do something about it!"
Kali quirked a brow. "And just how do you suggest he do that?"
Naruto thumbed his chin. "I have an idea...
"I am the envoy of a being beyond your comprehension."
"See, I can comprehend an awful lot." Naruto lounged on the throne, eyes narrowing with passing moment. "I've fought gods and monsters. Unless you're a freaking Ootsuki -unlikely!- you can buzz right off!"
"Ghira, I'm starting to think you're the only sane one here."
"There, there." the larger man clapped him on the back. "We all have bad days."
"Bad days?!" Naruto flung up his arm, sending the amber liquid sloshing within his tankard. "I'm having a bad month here! Honestly! Its like herding cats! And a chameleon! And a bull-why are you laughing?!"
"You say you answer to some sort of authority." He stood, dusting himself off, and growled as his wounds began to close. "They only want me dead because I'm an embarrassment." a hand reached up, cinching his headband back into place. "Because I do what they can't. What kind of authority is that? You'll need more an artillery barrage to keep me down."
"Who are you?"
"No one important." Naruto grimaced. "Don't suppose I could convince you to leave?"
Silenced reigned supreme.
"Right, then. I tried the easy way. Now get off my island."