A Zeppo’s Lot in Life
By Chyna Rose
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto and Viz Media. I am neither.
Warnings: AUness, bits of emo and angst, culture shock's a biggie, Gaara/Naruto/Shikamaru/Xander with age gap in place, ninjas
Author’s Note: So I saw this challenge on a mailing list I belong to for a Xander/Naruto/Shikamaru fic set right after the Glory arc in Buffy and during the tail end of the Sasuke Retrieval arc in Naruto. I tacked Gaara on to the ship because a) I'm a big fan of Gaara/Naruto and b) all the reasons Naruto would have for glomping onto Xander would also hold true for Gaara; if not more so. And of course big BtVS and Naruto fan that I am, I jumped all over it. And I finally managed to finish chapter one; go me. Non-conventional 'pairing', and there is a good deal of an age and culture gap that plays it's own little role in the story. Don't worry; I know what I'm doing (I hope). Praise and constructive criticism are always welcome. Questions will be answered and concerns addressed if you bother to give me a way to get back to you. Flames will be generally laughed at and possible shown around to those of my friends who could use the laugh. Flaming without bothering to read the fic will cause blank staring as my brain breaks trying to figure out the motivation for such a thing (why do it; what do you hope to achieve? do you honestly think it’s going to work? Seriously. I want to know).
It only takes a second for the world to end.
The battle against Glorificus had been the hardest battle to date. Joyce, Buffy’s mom was dead. They had nearly lost both Tara and Giles. Glory had not only managed to capture Dawn, but had even been able to begin the ritual to send herself home. They had eventually been able to kill Glory but the damage had been done. Glory had succeeded in opening the portal. Oh, she hadn’t killed Dawn; just a small cut that bled a bit. But those few drops of blood had been enough. With the big bad dead but the danger still present and the apocalypse changed but not abated, Buffy had heroically jumped in (literally) to close the portal and save the day; sacrificing her life for that of Dawn’s. Loosing Buffy had been as bad, if not worse, than losing Joyce. At least, Xander assumed that Buffy had died after the fall.
Once again, the Xander and the mojo were of the non-mixey. When Buffy – or rather her blood – had hit the portal, there had been an intense all consuming flash of white light. When Xander opened his eyes again he found to his displeasure that he wasn’t standing at the base of Glory’s junk tower anymore. Instead he was in the middle of some huge forest – probably in some other dimension – with absolutely no clue on how to get home, or even where home was in relation to wherever ‘here’ was. Luck of the Zeppo stepping in again to give him the short straw and all that.
Well, standing around feeling sorry for himself wasn’t going to get him home any faster. In fact, it was a good way for him to get dead – or worse, undead. And a dead Xander wasn’t going to help his friends any if – when – he got back home.
Ok. Survival in an unknown hell dimension with goddess-knows-what running around, surrounded by trees that seriously needed to lay off the fertilizer. Easy as pie. All he needed was a plan. A plan that involved not
getting squished by whatever was big and powerful enough to send the massive trees crashing to the ground. Like the ones he could hear off in the distance somewhere to the left of him.
Heading decidedly away
from the falling trees, Xander began to walk away from where he had first found himself.
--- BREAK ---
Pakkun and Kakashi rushed through the forest as rain began to fall from a cloudless sky. As he leapt from tree to tree, Kakashi prayed that he’d get there in time. Once again, he had failed his team. He had been so damn blind
. He should’ve seen the path that Sasuke was on; Sasuke had always been obsessed with gaining power – to the point where he would have nothing to do with others unless it involved him becoming powerful or being forced. Add to that the power of Orochimaru’s curse seal and the fact that Sasuke did not do the sensible thing and drop out of the chunin exam to have it properly sealed away (not to mention that it took a bit of struggle to get Sasuke to agree to having it sealed even after his fight in the preliminary matches)… No. The writing had been on the wall clear as day and he had refused to see it. And now he could lose one or both his students.
“Report” Kakashi barked out as they moved closer to the Valley. Already he could see the edge of the tree line at the edge of the border.
“I smell blood; lots of it – both boys’” Pakkun began. He took a deep sniff as Kakashi channeled more chakra to his legs and poured on a bit more speed. “Sasuke’s scent’s starting to fade – like he’s not there any longer – but Naruto’s scent’s still strong. And…” Pakkun took another deep sniff, “There’s another person there; someone who’s scent I don’t recognize”
Shit. Kakashi gave it everything he had to put on another burst of speed. And when he broke through the cover of the trees he was treated to the last sight he could’ve predicted. Sasuke was gone; there had been no doubt of that. The only traces of his wayward student left was the damage left from his epic battle and the lingering scent and chakra that was slowly dissipating. Naruto was still there though, and the stranger that Pakkun had smelt. But instead of the battle or opportunistic looting he half expected, the stranger was kneeling at the prone and obviously badly injured Naruto’s side doing what looked a hell of a lot like chest compressions while trying to press a blood soaked wad of cloth (which upon closer examination seemed to be Naruto’s not so stupid now orange jacket) against Naruto’s chest.
The man seemed to know what he was doing, which was a plus. And considering all the energy he was putting into trying to save Naruto, it was almost safe to assume that he wasn’t going to kill the kid. Unless he was one of those weird guys who was only healing Naruto up in order to kill him when he was at full health and power; something to do with a skewed sense of fairness or something. He didn’t look like he was a ninja though; Kakashi couldn’t see any evidence of a [headband] or weaponry on him. But his clothes looked serviceable enough (even if the shirt was a bit too loud to be used as effective camouflage), and he was using chakra to help him heal Naruto – albeit rather crudely. He also was able to sense Kakashi, as his head snapped up as soon as Kakashi had left the cover of the trees; so Kakashi wasn’t fully willing to fully toss out the ninja theory.
“I think I’ve managed to stop most of the bleeding,” the stranger began. His words were… strange, somehow off. Distorted almost. Kakashi’s eyes widened a fraction of a bit at the news that his student had come closer to death than ever before. Hell, he probably had actually been
dead for a moment or two there. “but he isn’t breathing yet” the stranger continued; only to be proven wrong as Naruto took a big gasping breath.
Kakashi relaxed an iota; Naruto was going to be alright. Or at the very least, he’d survive long enough to get proper medical attention (which was another issue altogether and surprisingly open to debate – at least in the underground medical circles. Since the Kyuubi healed any and every injury Naruto sustained eventually, there were those who questioned spending time and resources on doing anything to aid in Naruto’s healing – safely outside of Tsunade’s hearing of course). He gathered the still unconscious boy in his arms – confirming that, yes, Naruto’s jacket had been used as a stopgap bandage – and then turned to look at the stranger. “You. Follow me” he barked out, before he set off at a brisk pace that was fast enough for Naruto to get the help he needed in reasonable time but was also easy enough for someone who couldn’t use chakra enhanced speed or tree hop to keep up with. The stranger followed, managing to keep pace. Good boy.