Disclaimer: As always, I own none of what exists in the Naruto or FullMetal Alchemist worlds. I only semi-own the girls brought in (and totally own the general plot). The girls are loosely based, and by now "loosely" is definitely the key word, on friends of mine, though considering how much they have changed over the course of the story, they are hardly who they are now.

Author's Note: Two chapters so close together? Miraculous, yes? Haha. Anyway, since this is, in a way, a continuation of the last chapter of Fangrlz II: Legends, I thought I might go ahead and start things off for Fangrlz III: Equivalence. Thus, you all know not only that I'm serious about continuing but also get to, in a way, help me with that continuing. Confused by that statement? No worries. Hopefully you'll see what I mean in the Important End Note of this chapter. Well, time for things to get a little crazy! I hope you enjoy!

Prologue

Change my attempt good intentions.

Should I? Could I?

Here we are with your obsession.

Should I? Could I?

-o-o-o-

White noise. My head feels as if a thousand bees have taken up residence. The buzz rings behind my eyes – my ears. My teeth ache, and I can taste the tang of iron on my tongue. I run the muscle over the inside of my mouth to check for any sores. I do not remember biting myself, but then again, my most recent memories are fuzzy. For some reason, I feel as if I should be angry – as if there is someone to blame for the dull throb of pain through my limbs and the ragged hole in my heart.

After a time, I force my eyes open despite the crust of salt and ash caked over them. I immediately regret the decision as white light assaults my retinas. A groan escapes my parched lips as my eyelids fall back shut. That definitely did nothing to help my headache.

A low chuckle echoes strangely from somewhere above – behind? – my head. "Take your time, little Kuromira. We have all of it."

The blinding light means nothing anymore. With strength I did not realize I still had a few moments ago, I roll over into a smooth crouch. One hand moves to the sword at my waist as my eyes lift to fix on the thing – person? – seated across from me in a realm of endless white. I freeze. I know this being, only defined by an outline of scattered black specks. It is female now, but I know It all the same.

"Truth." My stomach feels as if Rock Lee just punched me in the gut. If Truth is here, then here is within the Gate. Anyone who enters the Gate – who sees this place of endless white and the one that dwells within – sacrifices something – loses something. Equivalent Exchange. I cannot afford to lose anything, though by now, I do not know if I have anything else to lose.

A toothy grin splits It's head in two. "Ah, so you know me already. Good. Good. This will make things much simpler, yes."

Confusion slowly replaces my unease. What is an entity of the FullMetal Alchemist universe doing meddling with the Naruto world? How did I get here of all places? I thought I was—

"I brought you here, of course." It giggles when I jolt in surprise. "Oh, come now. You did not really think you could think anything in my domain without my knowing? I am—"

I straighten, and my mouth twists downward in slight irritation. "I know who you are. Please don't give me that whole 'I am' speech." It just grins. "So, are you going to answer my other question, then?"

"All worlds are connected."

"Let me guess. By the Gate? And you, its keeper?"

It tilts It's head to one side. "Testy, are we?"

I cross my arms over my chest and stare It down. "I know the rules of this place, and I refuse to pay a toll, especially if you brought me here yourself. There was no circle – no human transmutation – no summoning of the Gate. Nothing of the sort exists in the Naruto world, anyway, since you aren't part of it."

"That is where you are wrong." It leans back on one hand. It's grin turns more sinister. "You managed it several times, after all. Do you realize how difficult it is to mend a tear in the fabrics of space and time? Nasty business, that is. It throws everything out of balance."

I let out a sharp breath. "I'm aware of that. That's what we were trying to fix."

The ground ripples and sky rends into slashes of black. Lightning arches and tears through the line of shinobi. Stones rise from the earth – people, too – sucked up toward the rifts. Even Gaara's sand is slowly being leeched as he attempts to anchor himself and Kaitlyn to the ground. The battlefield dissolves into chaos. Both sides scatter toward any sign of safety. Trees become anchors, though the smaller ones uproot with ripping, snapping sounds.

My feet start to slide, despite my dug-in heels, and I yelp and twist around to scramble for any sort of handhold on the ridge. A thick blue hand grips my wrist and I find myself abruptly in a one-armed bear hug against Kisame's chest. He has burrowed Samehada into the stone, its scales spread for more purchase. "Hold on, shrimp!"

Something yellow and shouting slides past and I snap out a blind arm. Deidara catches my hand, his eyes wide in alarm. "What is this, yeah?!"

"I don't know!"

The sky roars and cracks shut. For a moment, everything hangs silent in the air. Then the screams start up again as those that were not swallowed start the long tumble to the cold, hard ground.

It grins. "Not very successful, were you?"

"We were trying. We couldn't find the source – what tore the first hole. We thought that maybe if we found what started it all, we could fix it. Maybe even stop it from happening in the first place." I hug myself and stuff my hands under my armpits to stop them from shaking. "What did you expect of us? We're only human."

"Are you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

It wobbles to It's feet, It's movements disturbingly reminiscent of a rag doll. "You are – all of you were – Kuromira. Some might say that means you hardly count as human. Not always, at least."

I shift back a step as It ambles toward me. "That is the second time you've called me that. What does it mean?"

It snickers. "Do you really want to know?" It's too-white head rocks to one side as if It finds me fascinating. If It's face was not split by a maniacal grin, It might have been reminiscent of a dog. "It might cost you."

Equivalent Exchange. My jaw tightens, along with my hands. "Your price?"

Truth laughs. "Oh, I chose well, yes. Do not worry, Kuromira. You will be paying no more than you already are."

"Which is?" My stomach sinks and twists, but I refuse to retreat any further, even as It rocks forward so our faces are inches apart.

"Your existence belongs to me now."

"What?"

Someone shakes my shoulders. I can tell that much through the shattered haze of my thoughts. Whoever it is shouts something, though I cannot make out the words. Irritation rises from somewhere in my chest, and my body moves independent of my will. One hand snatches the wrist of the unknown assailant while the other snaps up to deliver a firm punch to his chest. The movement carries almost too easily through, and when I open my eyes, I find myself perched on top of a blonde man with alarmed eyes.

His alarm is certainly warranted, considering my knee jams firmly in his gut and I have a kunai to his throat. Some part of me recognizes Deidara beneath me, but I find that I cannot bring myself to care. He should not have startled me. He should have known better.

"K-Koneko?" His voice is breathless and careful. I do not see any need to answer.

A deep voice I have come to recognize sounds from somewhere over my left shoulder. "That is no longer her name." Tobi – turned Madara – turned It-Doesn't-Really-Matter-Anymore. I keep my eyes focused on my prey, an action that has become instinct thanks to Him.

"She is no longer your Koneko. She is my Yaiba." He pauses, no doubt for effect. "Release him."

I remove the kunai Deidara's throat and shift smoothly to my feet and to His side. I feel wired, restless, and my thoughts flicker through several disturbingly possible ways to teach Deidara a permanent lesson. Some small voice in my mind rails against those thoughts. Deidara is my friend, not my enemy! The look he gives me should have made my heart whither with guilt, but I feel nothing. Nothing at all.

"Very good. You are ready."

It pokes the center of my chest. "You. Belong. To me." Truth turns and wanders away with a leer and a wave of one hand. "You see, I've fixed your little problem. Stitched up the fabric of space-time. It was rather simple once I found you, which I have you and your friends to thank, which is why you're here and not dead."

"How kind of you."

"But there is more to the problem than just the Veil. You see, your interactions with what you call the Naruto world has caused an imbalance in the universal tree."

My brow knits together. "Come again?"

It folds Itself back to a seat on the floor, It's smile abruptly gone. "Every world is a branch on the tree of the Universe, all born from a single seed. The choices that people make split and expand each branch to smaller and smaller branches, weaving together and growing steadily onward to the future. Some choices do little to alter the path of the branch. Some create strong, thick shoots." It lifts a hand and points at me. "You and your friends did not belong on the Naruto branch, and your actions have caused massive shoots that have made that branch heavier than the others – have made the tree lopsided. Not that this is the first time Kuromira have meddled with the tree, but before they were dispersed and the balance remained. Now, however, that is not the case."

"I'm not sure I follow."

It waves a hand. "You will understand in time. For now, all you need to know is that you will be helping me rectify this imbalance."

I shift from one foot to another, not certain I like where this is going. Truth's leer returns. "Yes, you realize what your task is now, don't you." It laughs. "You will be my agent of change. You will travel to worlds of my choosing and cause that branch to grow in different directions."

"How do you expect me to do that?"

It shrugs. "I don't care, really. Do what you want. Stir the pot. Save lives. End others. It matters not in the long run, so long as the world changes. You Kuromira are good at changing."

I run a hand through my hair and let out a frustrated sigh. "And what is a Kuromira exactly? You keep calling me this and I don't know what it means."

Truth chuckles and grins. "Kuromira. Black Mirror. You are empty and thus can be filled by anything – can be anything – can reflect any world in which you stand."

That does nothing to clear up my confusion, which only makes It laugh all the more. I scowl at It. "And what if I decline?"

Truth's laughter falls short. "You do not have that option."

"Our choices change the tree. There is always a choice, then. I can choose to do nothing. I can choose to kill myself as soon as I get the chance if I truly wanted to, and you would get nothing from me."

"But you will not."
"Oh?"

"If you die, you will just find yourself back here with me, and I will send you off again."

That makes me still. "Am I dead now?"

Truth's grin returns at full force. "Not quite, though your friends are and will remain such unless you cooperate with me."

"Katie? Where are we? I can't see a thi—"

I turn when her words cut short prematurely. "No . . . nonononono! No!" I rush to her as she falls forward through the swirling dust, barely able to catch her limp form in my arms. "Kaitlyn? Kaitlyn!" I sink to my knees and stare in horror at the kunai protruding from her back - her neck - her head. A low moan of despair escapes my lips. "Please, no. No! Kaitlyn! Oh, God. Kaitlyn!"

Tears stream down my cheeks as I receive no answer. Her eyes are blank - glazed - empty. I can feel no heartbeat through her chest pressed against mine. I clutch at the back of her shirt, my fingers slick now with her blood. Gone. Gone. In the blink of an eye, she was gone. Why? Why?! Why did everyone have to die? Why everyone but me?!

Something small but warm and bright flares in my chest. Is that hope? I have not felt anything like it for so long. "I thought it was impossible to bring back the dead. Your rules."

"Yes, that is usually fact, since the soul cannot be returned to the land of the living once lost, but they have not been lost yet, have they." That is not a statement, but it is no clearer to me than this Kuromira business.

"I don't . . ."

"Think on it, Kuromira. I am certain you will find the answer in time."

I unfold my arms to pinch the bridge of my nose. "I really don't appreciate the patronizing, Truth, and I really don't appreciate all of the riddling. Is it so hard to give me a straight answer?"

Truth smirks. "Perhaps this will answer your question." It crooks a finger, as if beckoning me forward.

A loud groan echoes behind me, and I turn. There, in the white void, the Gate drags slowly open to reveal inky black beyond. At first, when the doors stop, there is nothing but silence. Then, a giggle sounds. Two, three. A chorus of laughter preludes the opening of countless gray eyes and crescent grins. Black hands reach, and I stagger back.

"What are you doing?" I gasp as the hands pass straight through my chest, and for a moment, I am breathless – weightless – empty.

The arms moves sideways, out of me, as if they are made of nothing but shadows. More wrap around me, though none touch me again. The hands remain close, though, as if poised to grab me at any moment. I shudder and look back to Truth, who hums in thought.

"How lucky of you all to be drawn together. One of each. Truly curious."

The arms that passed through me hover near It now. Each hand holds a small sphere of glowing light. Orange. Green. Red. Blue. It touches each in turn and, with a flash, four massive glass cylinders appear in a semi-circle around him. My heart stops at what they hold.

Curled in loose fetal positions are my girls. Sam. Ashley. Jowan. Kaitlyn. Their skin seems to glow in the white light. They appear weightless, suspended within the glass. Their eyes are closed and expressions all too peaceful. I can almost fool myself into believing that they are only asleep.

I know better. I watched them die. I saw their lights snuff out. I felt—

My eyes widen as realization rushes through me. I felt their souls leave their bodies. I touch my chest, where the arms had pierced me. "They were . . . inside of me?"

Truth grins. "Kuromira."

My breath escapes my lungs in a sharp rush. I lurch toward the cylinders, but the shadow arms block my way. Truth lifts a finger and clucks It's tongue.

"Ah ah ah. Not yet. You have a job to do, remember? If you perform to my satisfaction, then, perhaps, they will be returned to you. If you do not, however . . ." Truth's grin twists into a leer. "Well, it would be so easy to hand them over to the denizens of the Gate. They do so long to get their hands on Kuromira. Those souls are always . . . more intense."

I curl my hands into fists. "You wouldn't dare."

Truth rises. "You forget your place, Kuromira."

"I will not have you toying with their lives!"

"As if you haven't been?"

I recoil from his words with a shake of my head. "No. That's not what I've been—"

"Something else for you to think about." The arms part before Truth as if It is a boat passing through an ocean of black. "That is your problem, Kuromira. You seek control. You do not like being out of control of things."

I can do nothing but shake my head – attempt weakly to deny his words. "That's not why I did what I did. It's not control I want. I just want them to be safe."

"Hmm, yes, and what happened? Do tell."

My anger flares abruptly, and I surge forward to meet Truth halfway. "I did not cause the world to fall apart! I did not tear the first hole! I did not tip the first domino! Don't you dare try to blame this all on me! Go after whoever started this whole fucking fiasco! It's their fault that the girls are dead! Not mine!"

Truth laughs, turns away, and lifts It's hands as if in triumph. "Yes! That is what I'm looking for!" It whirls back around to point at me. "Take that anger. Harness it. Feed it and let it fuel you. You may yet find the one that started this avalanche. Remember that anger. Keep it close to you, and you will have your revenge."

I flinch back from It. Revenge? The fury that simmers in my gut seems to sputter. "No. No, I am not Sasuke. I'm not an avenger, and you won't make me one. Revenge is not what I want. Not anymore."

Truth's smile crumples into a confused scowl. "No? What do you want, then? What is it you desire?"

"I want your word that you will return the girls to life."

"You have it."

I hold up a finger. "On one condition."

It's lips press into a skeptical line. "Which is?"

My gaze drifts between my girls. "You were wrong. They do belong in the Naruto world – with those that love them there. We might not have been born of that world, but when they were there, I could see that they were home. I could feel it. Maybe that was why being there scared me so much. I did not want to accept the fact that they were home and I . . . I didn't think I was. I don't know if I was."

Truth tilts It's head to one side. "So, what is it you want?"

"When you wake the girls – when you bring them back – I want you to return them to the Naruto world – to the correct branch, at that. Each of them to the ones that know and love them, and I want those people to be the correct versions of themselves. Don't give Kaitlyn to a Gaara that does not know and love her, for example." I let out a breath. "That is what I want – for them to be happy."

Truth drums slender fingers against It's chin. An eternity of silence passes in a handful of heartbeats. Finally, It drops It's hand. "I will consider it."

"No, Truth. I want your word before I do this."

"When the girls awaken, they will be returned home."

"And where is home, Truth?"

My stomach sinks as Truth does not answer. It merely grins at me. I take a step toward him and repeat my question. "Where is home for them, Truth?"

Cold, inky hands grasp my wrists and ankles, halting my progress toward the empty being. I try to tug free, but they hold me tight. An arm loops my waist – another around my neck. They drag me backwards toward the open stone doors, seemingly oblivious to my struggles. "No. No! Truth, answer me!" I dig my toes in and throw my weight forward. My fingers scrabble against the white floor but find no purchase. "Answer me!"

Black surrounds me and the doors start to groan closed. Truth lifts a hand and waves, that crooked, crazed grin on It's face. Laughter fills my ears as the last sliver of light vanishes. Then I am weightless.

Cold.

Blind.

Empty.

Falling.

-o-o-o-

Change my attempt good intentions,

Limbs tied, skin tight.

Self-inflicted, his perdition.

Should I? Could I?

-10 Years ("Wasteland")

Important End Note: Not what you were expecting, eh? Yup, as the categories of this fiction suggests, this is going to be a crossoverof hopefully epic proportions. Can anyone say world hopping? That's where you all come in. There are so many possibilities of places to go out there, so I want to hear what you want to see. What worlds do you want to see tampered with – to experience a touch of insanity, so to speak? It can be any medium, from books to anime to video games, from Halo or Harry Potter to perhaps even Firefly or My Little Pony! Tell me in a review what you want to think might be fun to see! If I know it, who knows? It might appear. It's my way of getting you all involved and maybe you all might think of something or somewhere that I haven't even considered. The sky is the limit, my dear readers! Truth claims to be everyone, after all, so everyone should have a say. I look forward to hearing from you! -Destiny's Hand