A/N: Just aanother what if story to pass the time while I have another nasty bout of health issues...hope you enjoy the One Piece humor!
Impel Down was burning.
Battles raged on the lower levels, sweeping toward the upper floors in a swathe of destruction that spared none. Those still locked within their cells; the prisoners that were either too weak or beaten into such submission that the thought of escape had become outright irreleveant, remained. Unable to escape the roiling inferno that devoured prisoner and guard alike, these cowards perished where they lay, curled into a defenseless fetal position in their cells, still others, screaming their defiance in their last moments.
From levels one to six, chaos reigned supreme, save for one.
He had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the stairway.
His arms spread wide, were weighted with links so heavy, he could barely drag his wrists off the ground. His ankles were tangled in a slithering mass of metal, bolted through a ring in the pavement, and as if that wasn't enough, a thick harness had been affixed to his neck, leaving his gaze almost affixed to the floor. He couldn't raise his chest to get enough air, even though he no longer had an indefatigable need for oxygen anymore. Nonetheless, he lay exhausted, the stone icy against his cheek.
A silent tear of blood rolled down his cheek.
How long had he been here? There was no window, no source of light or sound in this cell, but he was certain that it had been a terribly long time since he had last laid eye on the light of day or been blessed by the sight of the surface. How long had it been? How long since he breathed the fresh mountain air of his homeland? Confined, quarrantined indefinitely from the rest of the world, from his fellow prisoners and bretheren in captivity, he could only lay there, sleeping when his body would allow it, when the flash of manic hunger and insanity would subside enough to bring him sanity. Left here, left to rot with the pitiful facade known as peace, he closed her eyes and grimaced as another tear rolled down his cheek, carving a bloody trail across his visage.
He felt them before he heard them; vibrations in the ground, starting tiny and growing until they shivered in his teeth and nerves. An explosion? Then noises in the darkness, the rumble of ancient machinery, signaled the beginning of a procedure that was anything other than routine. Impossible. No one came down here anymore. Not after what he'd done to that guard. Perplexed by this sudden -but very much welcome- intrustion upon his privacy, blue eyes creaked open for the first time in nearly a decade, scrutinizing the heavy iron door and the steady thump-thump-thump that resonated from just beyond the confines of his cell block.
"If that's you Magellan, you can go fuck yourself." he cursed the words even as they left his lips; because only silence answered. "I ain't no shitty shichibukai. I'm not coming out of here just to help you assholes clean up your own mess."
Chains rattled harshly against the darkness, the thick gauntlets of steel and iron snapping taut as their victim tested his strength against the hardened locks of seastone and steel. Trapped within this bondage, chin scraping off the dust-ridden floor for the first time in a long time, the gaunt figure forced himself into a kneeling position. He didn't want to be lying face down on the floor when that door opened; he wanted them to see that he was alive. Alive and kicking, even after all they'd done to make it otherwise. Whomever they were -surely if it was the warden he would've said something by now- it was growing closer.
They, the sounds, grew with a steady pitch, drawing closer, closer...then nothing.
The opening of the gate shattered the deafening silence. He silently counted the clicks, leading up to ten, that would end when the gate would be raised, only to slam shut again. He counted past ten and reached fifteen, and still, there sentry he supposed checking on his condition nearly every day, ensuring that he was still among the living, still able to ingest food, despite having lost all sensation of feeling and movement in his extremities.
In the beginning he had shouted at them. Demanded that they free him from his bonds, screaming and shouting and snarling until his lungs collapsed. When that didn't work, the door slammed in his face and he was alone, left to linger in the darkness of isolation. Time after time he shrieked, and time after time, they refused to comply with his demand. Soon, demanding had become pleading, but pleading never melted into begging; that fierce fire of defiance always roaring high in his eyes whenever he was presented with the brief light of a guard's torch, whenver their constant beating didn't so much as break his will but his body instead.
As always, that furious fighing spirit remained intact.
Sweat slicked his forehead as the burning began, this time in earnest. Gripping the frosted links with one glove, he hauled his chest up and gasped in a desperate breath. A key rattled within a lock, it was that distinctive click-click-clack that alerted him to the coolant pipes that flooded his chamber with cold air, being deactivated. Almost immediately, he felt his blood begin to boil. Removed from that implacable chill, he shook his head slowly, like a bear emerging emaciated after months of hibernation.
He rolled his tongue between his teeth and tasted blood.
'Well now,' He wondered silently. 'Who on earth would be fool enough to come down to this level...and open my door?'
Though he had been freed from the frost, he knew there was no use in yelling yet. They were too far off and wouldn't hear him over the clamoring. Still, that burning, unquenchable thirst clawed at his throat, demanding release, insisting upon satisfaction. He gnashed his teeth and swallowed, the saliva doing little to placate the desert in his throat; the great and terrible desire for sustenance could be dulled, but never quenched by food and drink. He ached now, and so too did the thrit, aching against the hollow emptiness of his stomach. He smacked his lips, running his tongue over his parched mouth as his senses began to return.
Now, when the iron lock did NOT slam back into place, his breathing took on an almost fevered pitch. Dragging his head around, he slowly shook dirty hair out of his eyes and saw how three parallel grooves in the floor arrowed towards the door. So it opened toward him. How the hell did it operate? A pulley system perhaps? But before he could marvel at it further, the slab of sea stone he'd been lashed down to decided it wanted to lurch forward.
Then he was dragged out of the darkness and into the light.
The light hit him with such force that for a moment, he forgot herself. The sweating panic, burgeoned by the thirst, erupted from within him. He heaved himself up and roared, a terrible, wordless howl that shook him to the very core. Vast halls and invisible galleries swallowed it up. Fog hung in the metallic air. The gears that pulled his body forward clanged and groaned. Still he swore, the muscles of his neck, arms, legs, anything and everything bulging as he strained against his restraints and bucked.
"You...you are the he who devoured that accursed Devil Fruit, no?" A flat, monotone of voice inquired with sudden inquisition. "You are also the man who currently has a bounty of 500,000,000 berri on his head, correct?"
The voice that cut through the agony was familair. It gave him pause. There were few voices that he remembered from his captivity, but this one struck a chord. Somewhere deep within the foggy web of shadow and mist that had become his mind over the many months of his incarceration, he knew this voice. He'd heard it somewhere before...where was it exactly? Try as he might, he could not put a face to the silhouette standing above him, the shadowy figure appearing content to await an answer of some sort.
"If I am?" His voice was weak; it was a raspy, choking wheeze.
"Then destiny has need of you." his rescuer answered curtly. "Surely you know this?"
"Destiny? Has need of me?" The prisoner cackled softly. "Oh, that is rich."
He shifted, testing his weight against the bonds, squinting with eyes hidden behind a jagged curtain of sandy blond. Peering through the matted tresses of his hair, up at the speaker, blue became the most intense shade of scarlet, hidden beneath the crimson flush of his coat and harness. Shackled to the slab, unable to stand, he found himself staring into a pair of black obsidian eyes. Framed by an expression that was neither kind nor malevolent, he peered upward into an inperturpable visage. His rescuer returned the stare, as if he were inspecting a lump of worthless garbage, not a dangerous pirate who'd made a name for himself in the worst ways imaginable.
The silence stretched between them before the latter yielded at last.
"Oh alright, I'll bite." He spoke softly, painting a smile onto his face as he willed his body to relax. "Just who the hell are you, eh, teme?"
"My name is of no importance." The shadow replied; exposing a small glint of pearly white teeth in the otherwise imperturpable gloom. "Even were I to tell you it, that information is irrelevant. However while we are speaking of names, surely you remember your own, this is correct, yes?"
"You have an annoying habit of finishing your sentences with questions." The blond snapped back. "Yeah, I remember my name. But since you seem to know everything, why don't you just go out and say that, too?"
"Mockery is not a suitable tone for this discussion, wouldn't you agree?" The cowled figure was quick to abandon the smile, the smirk slipping ever-so-slightly as the cowl shifted to the right. "Very well then, grandson of Edward Newgate. Shall we speak in a tone appropriate more appropriate for our audience?" For a moment, just a moment the face could be seen. Midnight black hair flung itself across a face in which twin tear troughs marred his features, nestled against those strange eyes of pure coal black. Slicked back to expose an angelic face, the man, was clad in all white, an unmistakeable but all too recognizeable crest emblazoned into his cowl, furthering the suspicion that was staring at a deity, of sorts.
"Newgate?" Smoldering sapphire flashed in the darkness. "That name...I discarded that name a long time ago." Was that a hint of strain in the voice just now? "Besides, I'm not all that fond of this big battles everyone seems to be ranting on and on about as of late." Scraping his gaze across the floor, he offered his bound wrists. "Let gramps fight this damned battle of his. Besides, its not like this is any of my concern anymore, not while I'm wearing these."
He rattled his shackles uselessly.
"Then I will remove them." The cloaked man countered. "If you would promise to leave Impel down, understand?"
"So that's your angle, huh?" He croaked, wincing as his voice cracked under the strain. How long had it been since he'd last spoken to another? Had a decent, humane conversation? The last time that he spoke civilly to someone was...when, exactly? Again, the memories of a life without bars escaped him, turning to mist between clenched fingers as he tried to grasp at it. "Huh." He repeated, slowly, carefully pouring over each word, dissecting every possible meaning they could give, before speaking them aloud.
"Very well." The man nodded, and in one swift movement, bent to a knee. "Another high-priced bounty can be found on this level as well."His hand cupped the chained face, nudging it into the light. It was then that a lone chuckle escaped the prisoner, his whiskered cheeks becoming visible in the dim light. His eyes went wide with recgonition. This man who looked, sounded, and acted as if he were kami himself offered only a smug smile as the key turned in hs shackles, the gears grating against one another as they were unlocked.
"He should be in the cell opposite yours, I think?"
The blond dragged a low throaty chuckle out of his throat.
"Well then, that's wonderful. It's been awhile since I've had a good fight."
"You truly are bloodthirsty, aren't you?" The cowled figure indulged itself with another eerie smile of reverence, banishing an errant thought in an instant. "Yes-yes-yes, gather as many nakama as you see fit, then hasten to the Marine Headquarters, won't you?" Half a question, half a command, the irreverent smile was met much scowling and skepticism. But if the blond had any thoughts other than his own, he did little to express them.
Leering up at his saviour-to-be, gauging the reaction of that slate-grey face lurking just beyond the cowl, he chose his next words with the utmost of care.
"You actually want me...to form a crew?" He deadpanned. "No way. Not gonna happen."
The man smiled and broke the key off in the last lock.
"Surely you didn't think I'd release you for anything less." the man answered.
"I was hoping you'd released me just for the hell of it." the as-of-yet unamed blond countered.
That earned a laugh from the masked man, who, having bent to tousle his hair, abruptly lurched to his feet. There was another sound now, the sound of footsteps descending the staircase that would ultimately lead them to the lowest level of Impel Down. Accompanied by much shouting and hee-hawing, the blond grimaced lightly as the intruder tapped his head. Somehow, the gesture of didn't feel at all condescending.
"Eh?"the blond blinked.
"You wanted to know my name, didn't you?" The mysteriously cloaked individual smiled softly. "Here, I'll leave you a change of clothes. That, and the fighting chance I've just given you, is all I'm capable of at the moment. We'll meet again soon enough, when the time is right."
"Fare thee well then, Uzumaki Naruto."
In an instant, the coils of frozen chains burst apart, their tangled locks flying in every direction, skidding across the pristine white floor. Deprived of his restraints, the blond flopped abruptly forward, his eyes glazing over with surprise and shock. But his body, quick to recover, was already in motion. Before the shattered steel could even touch the floor, a viscious gale swept across the floor of level six, scouring the walls ands floors with a mindless shriek as a veritable hurricane erupted within the spacious confines of Level Six and spattered against the walls and ceiling.
Satisfied with the level of destruction he'd wrought, the former practitioner permitted himself a wide grin as he closed a hand into a fist.
"Say, old man-
But he was already gone.
All that remained of him were his garments; the white cloak, a simple pair of trousers, and the red vested shirt that eerily reminded him a little of Akainu. Both proved to be empty when he nudged the pile of cloth them with the heel of his boot. Slightly perturbed that he'd been so easily ousted, Naruto bent at the knees, only to inexplicably straighten in a second, scooping up the garments. He eyed them for anothet instant, before he shifted; the tattered rags of his shirt slipping from his shoulders, removing his prison garb.
"It was worth a try." He scoffed. "Oh well. Whoever he is, I'll deal with him later."
Shedding the hideous black and white prison attire, it took only a matter of minutes to change clothes. By then the footsteps had grown all but deafening, the sounds of soldiers screaming and guards groveling bouncing off the walls within a series of voices. Replacing his prison garb with the red vested shirt, white cloak, and grey trousers of his mysterious rescuer, the individual known simply as an infamous pirate by the name of Naruto, exhaled heavily.
"Well, that ought to do it." He mused aloud. "Now then, I think its about time I reminded those marines...just who the fuck they're dealing with!"
Scrubbing at a wrist with one hand, a harsh gale abruptly shrieked into existence. Even as the winds raged, as his body blustered within the breeze, his boots scraped across the floor. He paused after the second step, peering into a cell that was, indeed, adjacent to his own. Still the sounds of strife and success grew louder overhead and still the scuffing of boots shuffled towards the cell. At the fifth step, his body inexplicably shimmered.
He didn't slow his pace.
Wavering, fading, becoming incorpereal, his body disintegrated. Without any rhyme or reason, he simply vanished, dissolving into the raging hurricane that continued to rock Impel Down to its very foundations. Felt even in the upper levels, he smiled as those imprisoned around him yelped and whined in fear as the winds slashed and ripped at the steel, gouging and tearing into the murkiness that had defined his existence for so very long.
"Kamataichi." He hissed through clenched teeth, sound emerging from the nothingness.
Suddenly, he vanished into the wind. Rather, he became the wind, a series of invisible sickles and destruction sweeping across the floor of the undersea ghaol. Battering back at the bars with a bestial intensity, the cage stood no chance before the forced that besieged it. Creaking against the strain and the years upon years of rust it had accumulated, the iron was simply unable to stand against the sheer pressure of the vortex as it pressed against it and pushed it inward; harder, better, faster, stronger...
In short, the iron bars stood absolutely no chance at all.
In a second, the shattered steel crashed to the ground around the frame that had once been the door. Materializing into human form once more, the newly-equipped blond rapped harshly against the door with the remnants of a steel rod. A harsh clang-clang-clang reverberated across the floor of level six, earning fearful whimpers from those who lay still imprisoned here. When the incessant racket earned no response, he cast the pole aside, thrusting it into the gloom that surrounded the inmates cell.
"Oi, bastard!" He barked, shouting into the darkness. "You alive in there?"
"...you're noisy." An unamused growl greeted him from the darkness.
Wedged into the deepest darkest corner of the undersea ghaol, walled off from the other inmates, he heard the sounds of crashing thunder and smiled. Smiled as a series of blood curdling screams did the silence justice; those who were damned and dying, filling the prison with a cacophony of mourning and wailing amidst the terrible battle being raged just above the upper levels. Slouched over what little remained of his cufflings, he offered a mute blink as the latter thrust a key into the lock and opened the shackle on his wrist.
"The Kaze Kaze no Mi." He spoke suddenly, regarding him through beady slits. "You're a Logia type, then."
Naruto grinned beatifically.
"Why, then who am I to lie to you, nii-chan?"
"Don't call me that ever again, you piece of shit."
This was exactly how the two most powerful men in the world would act. They wouldn't be surrounded by bodygaurds in some iron fortress, they'd be completely relaxed in the world's most infamous prison, an iron ghaol from which no prisoner had ever escaped since its founding. Suddenly, the scene was no longer peaceful, the area of their own choosing. They were both weakened from years of captivtity; they had no defenses, because they didn't need any.
"Then what should I call you?"
Naruto stared at the man. He said nothing. For a moment he let the beast rise within. He had not lived through hell to be stopped by one man's impertinence. He would not be stopped. The feeling flew past determination to rage. The tattoo on his arm pulsated and he felt his arm tingle.
The man stepped back, testing his weight against the wall for a hairsbreadth of a second.
Sprawled amongst the rust and rotten dust; tickling his nose with ivory tresses of death, a lone youth could just barely be seen. He lay there, content to watch, to observe and remember, to carve the torchlight into the anals of his memory and life after death; here within the prison of Impel Down. Smoldering scarlet seethed at the one who'd broken the lock, the one thing confining him to this place alongst the light; and what little remained of his patience, now stretched dangerously thin. Observing the aforementioned spectalce from the safety and shelter that his cell provided, he schleupped to his feet and tried to stand.
Naruto stared at him and the words dried up.
His clothing was plain; the featurless white garb bearing only the slightest stain, a flecking of crimson across the collar. Frowing at this sole and singular blemish, the black haired inmate reached for the scarlet spittle and dabed at it with a finger, the digit coming away bloody. Clanking uselessly on his right wrist, the broken cuffs swung lazily back and forth as he dabbed his hands amongst the dew soaked stone and dried his palm, diverting his attention from the quarry before his eyes.
"I will remember that name." He murmured, the twin spots of crimson a veritable flare in the darkness, identifying themselves as some sort of stigmata or such. Three tomoe hung within those scalding sclera of crimson and he made no effort whatsoever to blink before this implacable opponent. Pausing only to yawn, he reached for the broken manacle adjourning his right wrist, and snapped it in half as though it weighed no more than a leaf. He held little love for the cumbersome restraint; requested or not, they'd already proven their ineffectiveness when it came to combat.
"What's your goal?" The one known as Sasuke began warily. "Power? Fame? Fortune?"
"Oh, heavens no." Pretending to be charigned, the blond raise his hands in weak irreverence. "I'm an introvert after all, I'm not interested in any of those things. But," He paused, steeping both hands before his chin for what felt like an eternity to the brooding occupant of the ruined cellblock. "If I had to name a goal...it'd be the utter collapse of the hideous infrastructure of corruption that both you and I know to be the World Government."
The silence was eerie.
"Don't you have one?" Naruto asked, forcing joviality into his voice. "A goal? A dream, maybe?" If this guy was going to be his nakama, then he had to know his motives and aspirations at least. For a moment Sasuke didn't seem very forthcoming in that aspect; because the silence continued to stretch between the shade and the revolutionary until it outright suffocated. Naruto silently counted the seconds until the intruders would arrive on this level, reaching nearly thirty paces before Sasuke finally acquiesced, loosing an exasperated hiss.
"I don't have a dream." He began slowly. "I have a goal. Because I will make that goal a reality. There's a certain person I want to kill. That I'm going to kill. He's my older brother. He killed my family, he took my dreams and aspirations, and he crushed them beneath his heel, all in one night. That man...I will kill him! My family will be avenged." Peering through steepled hands, he glared across the void that separated him from the wind-user, the blond squinting at him, his arms folded across his chest.
"Alright." Sasuke announced suddenly, refusing to give Naruto pause. "I'll join your crew. I'll lend you my strength, my power, my support. But know this. If you do anything to distract me, if you ever try to take me away from my vengeance, then I will kill you without hesitation. Do you understand me, Naruto?" He paused, pushing emphasis into the final syllable as he awaited the inevitable reply from his former enemy turned potential jailor.
"Heh!" Naruto grinned and offered a hand, his fingers just dipping into the expanse that separated the light from the darkness. "Fine by me, Uchiha Sasuke!" There was not so much as a trace of false hood or deception in his voice as he smiled genially in answerment. It was at that very moment that a boy with a straw hat came barrelling down the staircase. Naruto whipped around, confusion flying across his features for a moment, his attention misplaced, his hand still outstretched at the sudden commotion the lad and his two...odd allies brought with them.
'Is this guy for real?'
Sasuke blinked stupidly, unable to believe his eyes, let alone his ears. Naruto, huh? Was this guy serious? He'd been expecting a flat refusal. Iinstead, the pirate had extended his hand in friendship an aspect of himself that Uchiha Sasuke had discarded long ago, and even now, felt strange in accepting. Well, it was natural for a pirate to distrust another pirate. But Sasuke wasn't a pirate. Leading up to the day of his wrongful imprisonment at the hands of the World Government, he'd been a simple blacksmith, who just so happened to have a unnatural skill with the blade.
Then everything had spiraled out of control once he'd eaten that damn fruit...
"Wow, what a strange bunch." Naruto's murmu merficully pulled him from his memories as he came back to himself. "Well, whatever!"
Abruptly his attention locked upon Sasuke once more.
"Do we have a deal, then?" He asked pleasantly. "First Mate Sasuke?"
"Fine." Dusting himself off, the emaciated prisoner stepped out from the darkness, into the light, and clasped the hand that was offered. Having revealed himself, Naruto realized that Sasuke wasn't all that old as he'd initially suspected. He couldn't be no more than twenty, though his guess could have been off by a few paces at least. Regardless, the most interesting feature of him, other than those baleful black eyes that could flare into strange scarlet at a moments notice, was that he seemed to be already clothed.
Garbed in loose fitting slacks and the more traditional cloak that most pirates had taken a tendency to wearing, Sasuke didn't look all that impressive. But for that, his chest lay bare beneath the loose sleeves, tracing across the square hilt of a strangely shaped sword and sheathe. Now that piqued Naruto's interest indeed. Why on earth hadn't they taken his weapon? Or his clothes, for that matter, when they could have easily done the latter?
It was almost as if the guards had been too afraid to strip him of his garments beforehand.
'I'll have to watch myself around him...just in case.'
Regardless, he'd just taken the first step to making a crew. Not bad, considering he'd only just been released from the sixth level of hell. Scooping his jaw off the floor, he returned his attention to what was quickly becoming a commotion at the far end of the prison. Sasuke followed his gaze for a moment and then dropped it, finding little to no significance in the boy who was screaming at the top of his lungs for someone named Ace.
Naruto, however, blinked.
"Huh?" He frowned, abruptly noticing the straw hat the boy wore. "W-Wait a second, that couldn't possibly be...
"I take it you have a plan to get us out of here?" Sasuke asked, dragging him from his reverie with a cruel and merciless swiftness. "The stairwell's been blocked up." Naruto turned his attention to the south; eyes flying wide in disbelief as he saw that Sasuke indeed spoke the truth. Someone had layered section upon section of the floor upon the staircase and effectively walled up the only way that would lead upward from level six.
'Eh! When the hell did that happen!'
"Oi, do you have a plan or not, captain?" Sasuke persisted, stressing the word captain with a slow deliberateness. "Haven't you been paying attention to anything I've been saying?" Naruto swallowed as he realized what Sasuke hadn't; that they were effectively trapped on the lowest level of Impel Down. To open the grate would release the sleeping gas. Even if he did manage to blow all of it away with his wind, was there no guarantee that the guards wouldn't just pump more into the prison?
"Eehehe...actually...I was hoping you'd already come up with one."
"What!" Sasuke gawped. "Idiot! How on earth can you possibly be so-
"If you guys wanna get out of here, set me free."
"What?" Sasuke wirled, his hand instinctively flying to its sheathe upon his sword. "Who was that, just now?" The voice had come from one of the nearby cells, and now the rattling of chains beckoned both of them. Exchanging a wary glance, the duo approached the bars. Sasuke frowned, peering into the blackness as they awaited some sort of reply from the mysterious stranger. The steady sound of breathing could be heard from just beyond the bars, but putting that aside, virtually no sound was produced.
"And why should we do that?" The Uchiha frowned, heedless of Naruto's silence. "Freeing someone like you would only impede our progress."
"I can create a hole in the ceiling!" The voice cackled, its owner carefully hidden just behind the bars. "What do you think of that, brat?" Naruto remained silent for a moment, absentmindedly noting the straw-hat boy and his two companions had finally taken notice of them. Furthermore, the arrogant inmate's had captured their attention as well and now, they approached the bars of the cage. Naruto grimaced for a moment, trying not to recognize the lad; rather, his attention was focused on that gleaming golden hook that glinted in the darkness.
Only one man had that hook.
"Crocodile/Crocodile!" For the first time since his release, Naruto's face broke out into a wide grin. Unfortunately, the strawhat boy chose that very moment to say the exact same thing, and his was an all but murderous scowl that adjourned his face. Irked in turn by the sudden interruption, Naruto scowled anew, his attention fixated upon the boy. Blissfully unware of the other's identity, immediately a terse standoff resumed.
"Hey, I was talking!" Naruto growled dangerously. "Know your place, squirt!"
"Well, so was I!" The boy snapped back. "You know yours, idiot!"
"Who the hell are you, huh?" Naruto's left eye twitched. "Other than some damn kid with a deathwish, that is!"
"Name's Luffy!" Strawhat answered defiantly. "Who the hell are you?"
"Luffy?" Naruto repeated dumbly. "Wait a second, Luffy as in Strawhat Luffy? The kid with that big ol' bounty on his head?"
"What, your name is Luffy, too?" Luffy tilted his head in vehement protestation. "Hey! That's my name!"
"MY NAME ISN'T LUFFY!" Naruto roared, a sudden gust of wind ejecting Luffy from their standoff. Deprived of his balance, the captain of the Strawhat Pirates flew. Literally. He lost control of his already flailing form and was sent tumbling head over heels before he finally crashed into the southern wall. Rather, he would have, had he not rebounded at the last instant, his limbs stretching an impossible length as he riocheted across the hall and came flying forward at an obscene speed.
"Whoever you are I don't have time to wast on you!" He hollered! "If its a fight you want I'll finish you off in one blow!"
"Gomu Gomu no...
"Shit!" Naruto gawped, dumbstruck as the fist thundered toward him. "He is a rubber man after all! I didn't expect this...
Abruptly, Naruto's terror twisted into a sickening grin.
Luffy's punch sheared through the blond, shaving off the entirety of his face and leaving a headless corpse behind. His head simply dissolved, leaving his neck and shoulders intact as the streaming and unstoppable momentum sent the Rubber man sprawling across what remained of his inert body. Nonplussed at the sudden decapitation that had claimed his captain, Sasuke frowned. Then he blinked; because Naruto exhaled, lisping slightly as his mouth began to assume its proper shape and form. His chin soon followed suit, air streaming back into place and solidifying into flesh. As the ruined stump assumed the shape of his neck, as the neck regained physical form and sentinence, Naruto scowled.
"Say, that actually tickled."
"D-Damnit!" Luffy winced as he rubbed at a bloodied fist. "I passed right through you!"
"Of course you did!" Naruto nearly facefaulted in the wake of such an obvious response. "My body isn't a solid! I ate the Kaze Kaze no mi, you dolt! I'm an air air man! Without haki behind your blows, someone like you has absolutely no chance against me! It's like swatting at a giant with a stick! You can't touch me no matter how hard you try!" Shaking his head, he scraped a single digit across his face fury flickering in and out of eyes that were sapphire one instant, and scarlet the next.
"Stupid, you rookies are so damn stupid."
Sasuke arched an eyebrow, an expression that Crocodile mirrored, his perpetual scowl deepening behind the bars as Luffy attemped to reclaim his footing. He wasn't fast enough. Even as he stumbled half a step, pivoted on his heel and turned, the wind was already whipping itself back into a frivolous frenzy. Wind. It was wind that swooped down behind Monkey D. Luffy, reassuming shape, form and all the solid strength of one Uzumaki Naruto; an arm cocked back and wrapped within a shroud of said element.
By the time Luffy thought to turn, it was already too late. Naruto's fist smashed across his face and he was sent sprawling. He slapped into the ground hard, his body flipping over as he skidded onto his back. His head kissed an iron-hard root and black spots swam before his eyes. Even with his rubber body absorb the brunt of the blow, white snarled across his vision and burned the world white. Cold fury burned his world white as Naruto raised a hand and spoke.
"Monkey D. Luffy." He began ponderously. "Do you have any idea who you're talking to?" He didn't give the boy the chance to finish. Instead, his fist crackled outward, slamming into the bars that held Crocodile and shattering them as though they were naught but glass. Five flicks of his right hand later, and the manacles dropped from the wrists of the former shichibukai. "You may have defeated my former comrade here, however, you can't hurt me, an Logia elemental. And I'm not even all that strong at the moment. That being said, just how on earth do you plan to deal with the other admirals at Marineford, strawhat?"
"I don't care!" Luffy shoved past him. "Get out of my way! I'm going to rescue Ace!"
Naruto pushed back and Luffy landed ungracefully on his ass.
"You're the one in the way." He breathed, glarind down at the paramecia type fruit user. "Leave the battles to the big boys, rookie. Follow us out of here, and you'll just be deadweight in the end."
"What was that?" Luffy stiffened, his skin prickling as Naruto loomed over him. "I'm in the way? You're in my way! I-
...have to save Ace, right?" Naruto interrupted harshly. "You don't want him to be executed, right?"
"O-Of course I don't want him to die! Ace is my...my...
Naruto wasn't having any of it.
"Strawhat!" He announced flatly. "I've no love for Portugas D. Ace, but I'll cooperate with you for the time being. However, Sasuke and I won't be taking any orders from any of you, so don't expect any favors from either of us, do you understand!" Sasuke looked as though he regretted that "dobe" remark, but made no comment, instead choosing to further Naruto's explanation, adding condition that caused even the great Queen of Queers to balk at in sheer trepidation.
"W-h-a-t!" Ikanov spluttered. "Naru-boy, you can't possibly think that's a good idea!"
"No, its quite the opposite." Naruto countered for his crewmate. "We need strong nakama for our crew; they don't come much stronger than the sixth level of Impel Down." Casting his gaze across the seemingly endless expanse of cells and smiled, a predator in the gloom. "Open each of the cells and then proceed ahead of us, this shouldn't take long at all. Seeking the stall in which Portugas D. Ace had locked himself away from the world, his garnet gaze locked upon the now sole occupant of the cell.
One flick of his blade later, and Jimbei found freedom.
"There, we've released you, too. But the other inmates on this level belong to us." He announced. "How does that sound, captain?"
"Sounds good." Naruto seconded, only to pause at the last instant.
Naruto's gaze cut across Monkey D. Luffy, practically passing him up as it fell upon Ivankov. He hoisted the boy higher, his gaze sliding to Sasuke for just a moment as the Uchiha unsheathed his sword and drew himself into a readied stance. A ways behind them, Crocodile waited patiently, a sinsiter smile adjourning the features of his face. Naruto gauged them all, gauging their reactions one by one, before he rudely released strawhat and cast him down.
"But...this is inconvenient." He frowned at the Queen of Queers, heedless of the boy gasping for breath at his feet. "Ivankov. Grandpa told me you were dead."
"Hee-haw!" The infamous newkama bellowed boisterously at the baited insult. "You of all people should know Whitebeard often embelishes the truth, Naru-boy! Still, I didn't expect to find you here, of all places! Alive and kicking no less! I thought you would have escaped by now! After all you-
"NOT A FUCKING WORD ABOUT THAT!"
Naruto snarled, all venom and visciousness once more.
"Ivankov...I'm not interested in anything you have to say." He murmurred, softer now, and turned toward Sasuke, the latter offering only silence and contentment as Naruto composed himself. "That isn't your secret to tell anyone, do you hear me, Queen of Queers?" Before Ikanov bothered to answer, Naruto was already barking orders. "Oi, Crocodile! I won't force you into anything, but you're free now, so open up that hole! I've had enough of this eternal solitude for one lifetime, and I don't plan on having another!" Pivoting on his right heel, he seized the defiant Luffy; hauling the fuming captain to his feet and glared at the impertinent youth for a moment longer before finally releasing him.
"Get out of here."
"Are you deaf! I'm telling you to open the hole and go on ahead of us!" He swept an arm outward as the sound of explosions grew ever nearer. "You said you wanted to save your brother right? You'd do anything to save him, right? So don't just stand around here, you no good dolt! Get your ass moving! I can handle Magellan by myself!"
"But vyou know his poison vwill-
...do absolutely nothing. "Naruto tittered softly, his gaze sliding to Sasuke once more. "Compared to my abilities."
It was at that exact moment in which the staircase exploded.
"There they are!" A stern voice shouted! "Don't let them escape!"
"Well fuck me sideways." Naruto grinned into the smoke. "Seems we've got company."
Smoke sprayed across the stairwell, sweeping away the remnants of the sleeping gas. It wasn't long at all before the sounds of gunshots riocheted around the halls; the constant pitter-patter of hot lead and bullets serving as a fine excuse for Crocodile to re-double his efforts and offer a hand to the ceiling. Scarce had he done so than Inazuma began snipping, his scissor hands slicing through the hardened rock as though it were naught but paper, carving himself a spiraling staircase that lead up to the already decaying floor.
"Damnit!" Luffy snarled as Crocodile lowered his hand and hook, satisfaction twisting across his face for a moment. "We'll settle this later!"
Naruto"hmmphed" in silent agreement as the group of five skittered up the imrpomptu staircase.
"Sorry about that, Sasuke." He offered his shoulders in a shrug as several dozen barrels leveled themselves at them. "It seems I've already dragged you into an awkward situation." The Uchiha scoffed anew, his sword sliding from its scabbard moments later.
"Well, I suppose I could use a warm up...
Naruto's smile only grew as the approaching guards recognized him.
"Shit! That one's Logia class! He's-
Naruto flicked two fingers...
"Kaze no Yaiba."
...and the walls spattered with blood.
"Damn that windbag bastard!" Luffy grumbled as they hurriedly climbed the cavernous staircase. "I'll kick his ass for sure the next time I see him!"
"If you ever fought him at full strength, you'd be dead in an instant."
"What?" Luffy froze. It was as though his soul had been stripped naked and all the darts in the world had flown and sank into it at once. He struggled for breath. Hyperventilated. He looked as though it were the end of the world and he would , cry, scream and roar all at once. But he did neither, his visage upturned upward in nameless disbelief and confusion as Crocodile leered at him. Disgust etched into his every feature, he watched his words wrap themselves around the rookie's mind, twisting his confusion into disbelief, and his disbelief into mindless stupefication.
"W-What makes you say that?"
Crocodile didn't even flinch..
"This kid back there...was that Whitebeard's own flesh and blood."
Crococile offered his shoulders in a mute shrug.
"He's Whitebeard's grandson."
A/N: Well, I got this idea after I heard Magellan was severely beaten. After what happened to Bon Clay, I just couldn't help myself. Yup, Naruto and Sasuke are forming their own Pirate Crew, (some will be found in Impel Down and some won't) and then it is off to the Marine HQ to fight a battle amongst battles! Each of them will have their own little harem eventually, after all, these two are H-O-T HOT Commodities in ant universe they find themselves in! Naruto's Kaze Kaze fruit represents the element of the storm; pure destruction in the form of wind, rain and thunder. It isn't quite the most powerful of Logia, but it is a Logia and is deadly nonetheless.
Sasuke's curses fruit isn't quite explained, but Madara's appearance, (And likely that of Akatsuki) will soon be.
Review this chappy and my blood sweat and tears please as I battle against this confounded sickness of mine!