Mizu: Hey~! It's been awhile, hasn't? Sorry that I've been gone for so long. I know that a lot of you guys are probably really looking forward to whenever I get around to updating/finishing my multitude of other stories. Well, I hate to say it but those may take a while simply because I have been trying to work on my real life and that a lot of them have been ongoing for so long that I have forgotten their original plot lines. Don't worry though! I will finish them~!...Eventually…
Anyway, I have actually had this one started for a long time now, but because I had so many other stories that needed to be finished, I decided to wait until I either finished another or was certain that I could finish this one within a reasonable time frame. Since, while it is not fully complete, I have this one all planned out with a massive outline so I WON'T forget what I was trying to achieve, I am hoping that the latter will be the case~! I do have several chapters all finished and plan to update this one weekly until I run out (So…maybe a month of consistent updates?). Outside of this starting chapter, I am planning on updating Friday evenings or Saturday mornings, whichever is more convenient. However, I do have to warn ALL of you guys that I am starting classes (Woot! I'm a Senior in college! Boo! I have to take at least an extra semester to get all my credit hours in!) next week Monday…grrrr…But this normally is a good thing because in between classes are when I normally get all my really good and flowing ideas since it is what I do to relax.
Okay. Now that all of that rambling is out of the way, why don't I let you all get to what you actually clicked on this link for? I should mention that I started writing this story literally a week before Kishimoto killed off Neiji, which I was not happy about. Soooo…yeah…Neiji no dead here~! Also, the majority of this chapter is in the past/a flashback to set up the rest of the story. Just thought I'd tell you guys.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or anything associated with it. Heck, I haven't read the actual manga or watched the anime in months (mostly due to the fact that it has become too frustrating for my tastes).
Chapter One: Death
"…I heard that you ran into Sasuke again while you were out on a mission," Kakashi sounded as he slowly approached the blonde young man standing in front of the memorial stone, "…How was he doing?"
"Same as always, Kakashi-sensei," the blonde sighed, cold blue eyes never leaving the stone, "He still regrets what he's done and refuses to come back…He told me that he might come back to see his kid being born though…"
"That's good…Sakura will be relieved to see him," Kakashi nodded, "…So…will you forgive him one day, Naruto?"
"…In time, sensei…" Naruto sighed, rubbing his whiskered face, "In time…"
"…How much longer till you go after Tsunade-sama's hat?" Kakashi asked, trying to change the subject.
"The day that she stops giving teme fake long term missions," Naruto snorted, "Why does it seem that everything I do hinges on him returning to the village?"
"Why are you waiting for him to return?" Kakashi questioned.
"Because I haven't forgiven him," Naruto nearly growled, "If I became Hokage right now, I would either order him back or, if he refused, declare him a missing nin myself and send my best Anbu after his head…"
"Naruto…I know that you know this but it was an accident," Kakashi stated solemnly.
"Would you forgive Gai if he accidentally had been the one to "kill" Obito or Rin?" Naruto glared at his old sensei.
"…probably not," Kakashi admitted, the idea of it making him to fill with anger and sorrow for a moment.
"…He kept saying that he was alone," Naruto said, turning his attention back to the stone, "That ever since the massacre, he had always been alone. Even this last time I ran into him, he just kept telling me that he was alone and would always be alone…"
"Naruto…" Kakashi sounded as the blonde traced several names on the stone with two fingers.
"Heh," Naruto bitterly chuckled, "What the hell does that bastard know about being alone? He actually had parents…He had a brother who loved him so much that he literally gave him his life to keep him living. Twice. He had fan girls that would gladly cut out their still beating hearts for his happiness. He has a loving wife who is pregnant with what will hopefully one day be the start of a new Uchiha clan. He didn't lose many of those that he loved in that damn war…He has friends that have always been ready to become missing nin to join him for crying out loud….How can he still think that he's alone?
"I honestly would have killed to have had not even a quarter of everything he threw away, sensei," Naruto admitted, shaking his head angrily, "Even if it meant that I would lose them later, I would gladly pick to grow up with my parents. But I didn't and I never complained. I never complained as I was beat daily for years for things I didn't know about. I never had any friends. The entire village hated me either for the Kyuubi or for my stunts. The old man was always busy so I never got to be around the only guy that treated me decently. Iruka-sensei didn't come in till just before I went crazy.
"When I finally started making friends, I tried to keep them as close to me as I possibly could. Even my best friend and brother like figure when he ran away from my village. I gave up my dream to try and keep my strongest bond. I lost friends because of him. Gained scars for him," Naruto growled, clenching his fists, "He's nearly killed me more times than I can count. Because of him, I put my life on hold just to try and keep that thrice damned promise of a life time…"
Naruto sighed heavily as tired blue eyes fought to hold back his unshed tears, "Even now, just when I finally began to move on with my life…He's still the reason that I can't…"
"…We did all we could, Naruto," Kakashi whispered, eye locked on the stone as well.
"No…" Naruto growled, "He could have saved them…If he had just done what I had said that one time…Just that one bloody time…They would still be here…"
Trembling fingers rested upon one name on the stone.
"Hinata…" Naruto whispered, voice strained with pain, sorrow, and rage, "Why did I have to lose you of all people…?"
How many months ago had it been? Naruto slowly turned his head up to the sky. Every time he returned to the village and stood before the stone, the sky cried. The farmers all rejoiced with plentiful crops, the traders enjoyed slightly increased wealth, and the road crews despised the increased work. But the ninja all felt a heavy weight fall upon them. No one spoke of it out of respect but there was not one that did not feel it. Parents told their children to bow their heads for the very same respect, to never question the abnormal rain. When the rain that seemed so much like tears came, silence reigned over the village. Silence and sorrow.
Naruto didn't twitch as the raindrops collided with the skin of his face. The cold didn't faze him and the wind could not move him. Unflinching and unfeeling eyes just stared up at the sky above them. The tears silently slid out of his eyes, no sound coming from the deeply wounded man. Kakashi watched, his own heart feeling as if it was being ripped out from just watching. He reached out to place a hand on the blonde's shoulder but stopped himself just before he touched. No…That would just make it worse.
Dull blue eyes returned to the names on the stone. How many months ago had it truly been? How many months had it been since his life had been torn to shreds? Since he lost the greatest love of his life? Lost the one person that had never hated or feared him?...Lost that one person to the one person he saw as a brother and best friend…?
After the war for the biju had ended, Naruto was severely wounded and exhausted. Even so, he raced after Sasuke, fought, and finally defeated the man. Nobody ever knew how he did it and no one ever would if the blonde had any say about it. His victory over his traitorous teammate was not something which he held any pride in…He then dragged the sorry excuse for a man back to the village. Handing the man over to his teammate and old crush, he promptly passed out. For the next three months, the teenager who had never been sick, never been kept down for more than a week, lied deathly still in an almost comatose state. While he was out, his ex-teammate was tried and punished for his actions against the village. All of his friends and fellow ninja made it their mission to untwist Sasuke's mind just enough so that he would feel guilty when Naruto came to and punched him out for all that he had done for him.
For those three months, the only person to ever visit him every day was Hinata. She went out in the morning to train but she was always there and sitting beside his bed from the moment she was done until long after sunset. Tsunade came in when she could but the responsibilities of being a Hokage kept her away far more than she would have liked. Kakashi was forced to take on high ranking missions while Sakura was too focused on Sasuke's progress in untwisting his mind to visit often. So when Naruto finally awoke three months later weak and confused, Hinata was the first and only person he saw.
The shy girl instantly noticed him as he groaned before opening glazed over blue eyes. He had to blink a couple dozen times to get his vision to clear enough to see her. His throat was dry and his voice hoarse from inactivity as he tried to say her name. She just smiled happily and relieved at him before starting to leave to fetch someone. For some reason, something commanded Naruto to stop her. Something clenched at his heart as he weakly grabbed her hand to stop her. He didn't want her to leave. He wanted her to stay by his side. Normally, he would have done anything to keep anyone from seeing him so weak, but for some reason, he didn't care that Hinata saw. He was completely at ease with her.
Hinata's face had flushed to a dark red instantly before she sat back down beside Naruto. She shakily pushed the call button for a nurse, Naruto weakly smiling at the trembling girl beside him. He couldn't find the energy to speak nor move any muscle in his body but he refused to let go of her hand. Even when Tsunade flew into the room and tackled him to the bed with a rib crushing, suffocating bear hug, the blonde refused to let go of her hand. He didn't let go of her hand when Sakura came in, leading a bruised up Sasuke behind her. He held firm even when Hiashi, Hanabi, and Neiji came to pick her up. He simply refused to let her go.
Within the next day, Naruto's normal healing speed returned and he was up and ready to be released. As Tsunade was working through his paperwork, Naruto waited anxiously by the doors to the hospital for Hinata. No sooner did Tsunade finish them to release the blonde did she show up. And the second she did, Naruto grabbed her and quickly carried her away to the top of the Hokage Monument. He didn't say a word as he clung to the Hyuuga heiress once they arrived. He just held her close to him for what seemed like hours, leaving the stunned girl no choice but to sit there and wait for him to release her.
"Hinata," Naruto whispered, his voice barely heard, "…d-did you really mean what you said to me when you fought against Pein?"
Hinata stuttered for a minute or two before finally managing to collect her nerves, "…Y-Y-Y-Yes…"
Naruto was silent before he let go of the kunoichi a bit, "H-Hinata…I-I…I-I really can't say that I can return your feelings…I-I like you, but not on the same level…"
Hinata's lilac eyes instantly filled with tears before Naruto pulled her back into a tight embrace, "But I would like to give us a try…"
"wh-What?" Hinata stuttered.
Naruto fully pulled away to laugh weakly, "I-I…I-I want to get to know you more, Hinata-chan…I-I want to try and find the love that you seem to have for me…I want to find that love with you."
Hinata stared at him for what seemed like an eternity before shaking her head slightly, "N-No…"
"Wh-Why not?" Naruto gasped, a sudden fear rising up inside him.
"Y-You're in love with Sakura-chan…" she whimpered.
Naruto sighed a little, shaking his head before a sad smile appeared, "…I came to terms with that love a long time ago, Hinata-chan…That love…that love will remain unrequited for the rest of my life…"
"N-Naruto-kun," Hinata whispered.
"Ever since I promised her that I'd bring back Sasuke, I knew that she'd never love me," Naruto said sadly, "She only loves Sasuke and…I'm okay with that. I've always been okay with that. So long as she was happy and healthy, I will always be okay with it…"
"…that's why when she confessed to you before going after Sasuke you knew she was lying," Hinata stated.
Naruto nodded slightly, sad and tired blue eyes staring into her stunned lilac ones, "…Hinata-chan…please…Just give me a chance…I know that I don't love you the way that you love me right now but…but I want to…I want to share that love, no a greater love than I felt for Sakura with someone who will love me back. Someone who has always loved me, never once fearing or hating me like everyone else in this village…"
"N-Naruto-kun," Hinata stuttered.
"I think that was why I always smiled a little more whenever I looked at you in the academy," Naruto admitted, shocking the Hyuuga.
"Wh-What did you say?" she asked.
"Whenever I saw you back then, when you didn't look away instantly that is, you never looked at me with disgust or anger like all the other kids did…" Naruto explained, "You never looked at me with fear and hatred like the adults, despite how your aide always told you to never come near me…I don't know why but whenever I happened to see you looking at me with eyes that didn't hurt…I was so happy…"
Tears were streaming down Hinata's face as she tackled the blonde onto his back.
"H-Hinata-chan!?" Naruto gasped, worry rising.
"Y-You noticed me…all the way back then?" she asked in a hushed voice.
"Yeah," Naruto shrugged a little, "When no one wants you around and no one thinks that you're looking, you'd be surprised what you can see."
Hinata laughed a bit, startling the blonde before she smiled happily at him, "Actually, I think I have a pretty good idea on that one."
"So what do you say, Hinata-chan?" Naruto asked, "C-Can I at least take you out on a date and then see where it goes from there?"
"Yes~!" Hinata beamed.
After that, the two became nearly inseparable. Sakura was actually a little jealous with how Naruto was no longer paying any attention to her but she never said so to his face thanks to a talk from Kakashi about how Naruto deserved a chance to find his happiness. For about three years, the two dated, the blonde going over to spend time with the Hyuuga heiress's family in hopes of getting on their good side. Hiashi actually seemed to like the boy, once he warmed up to him that is. During these three years, everything seemed to be going great. Sasuke had finally been allowed to rejoin the ranks of the ninja, though he had to go in for psyche screenings almost once a week still. Naruto was finally promoted up to his rightful rank of Jounin (come on, we all know that that's where he should be).
Then, after those three years, Naruto popped the question to Hinata and she of course said yes. He had finally found the love that he so desired. He loved Hinata more than anything in the entire world. She was the only person he would allow to see him break, to see him weak. She was the only person that he could lean on. She was also the person that completed him. He was rash and stubborn while she was patient and kind. Hinata made him feel as if he was on top of the world. She was his most important person.
However, that would soon all change. Somehow, the day after their engagement had been announced, Naruto's true lineage had been revealed. Naruto had talked it over with Tsunade and the Hyuuga family that it would be best for everyone if no one but the family records ever knew of how Naruto was Namikaze Minato's son. At the same time, Naruto had truly wanted to build his clan back up seeing as he was the last of the name carrying Uzumaki. Hiashi agreed on the condition that their children still learned the Gentle Fist style first and chose later on whether or not to take on the Hyuuga or Uzumaki name permanently.
No one even to this day knows how his lineage was leaked out. It wasn't long before ninja craving revenge for whatever his father had done during the war swarmed him and Hinata's life. Luckily enough, Naruto had been strong enough to protect them from the idiots but at the same time, he began to fear what kind of life this would be. However, the threats soon died down. Ever since the war, no village was really in the position to fight with one another nor did they want to.
The couple was married a year after he proposed and for the next few years everything seemed perfect once more. Naruto was preparing to take over the title of Hokage from Tsunade, Sakura taking her place as one of the top healers in the world, Sasuke to become the Anbu captain. Team 7 had surpassed all of their expectations by far. All of their sensei were getting ready to retire within the next year, passing the torch onto the once young and youthful students. Many had students of their own and hatching plans to settle down. Naruto and Sasuke had regained most of their brotherly bond from years past. It was almost as if the man had never fled the village in the first place.
Then, on Naruto's twenty fifth birthday, the future Hokage was given the best present ever. He was going to be a father! Nobody had seen the man happier. He was racing up and down the streets, summoning clones unconsciously, and grabbing anyone he could see with tears shining in his eyes as he shouted to the world that he was going to be a dad. The whole village celebrated with the blonde. Everyone looked forward to welcoming their child into the world. Naruto seemed to float around the village for the nine months, never wanting to be very far from his wife and child. Unfortunately, about a week before Hinata's due date, a mission came in that only Naruto would be able to do. Bidding farewell to his beloved wife, the future Hokage rushed off in hopes of completing the mission as fast as possible.
That's when it happened. Someone kidnapped Hinata on her way home from a final doctor's visit and fled the village. No one realized until morning when Sakura went over to the Uzumaki residence to check up on her. Immediately, the entire village was in motion, every available ninja being sent out to find her and her soon-to-be born child. All search parties had at least one Inuzuka or Hyuuga. Tsunade sent both Gai and Lee to find Naruto and tell him to forget about his mission for the time being. Whoever it was that thought it smart to kidnap the woman would be as good as dead the second Naruto found out.
Everyone searched high and low for a week straight with no sign of the pregnant Hyuuga, while at the same time; neither Gai nor Lee could locate Naruto. Fearing the worst, they contacted the village and were ordered to join up with Sasuke, Kiba, and Neiji's search group, them being the closest to them. Together, the five scoured the country side, praying to find her. Praying to find any kind of sign of the missing Uzumaki.
On the ninth day of the search, they did find an Uzumaki, but not Hinata. They found an exhausted and heavily wounded Naruto laying half in/half out of a river. They wasted no time and retrieved the man. As soon as he was treated for the few wounds that the Kyuubi's chakra was taking longer to heal, Naruto explained that the entire mission had been a trap. He was ambushed by a large number of ninja wanting revenge on his father. He managed to defeat them all, but not before finding out that there were a lot more ready and waiting. His expression darkened before he growled out that they had told him that they had Hinata too. As soon as Naruto could move, no matter how stiffly and painfully, the group was off again. This time, Naruto sent out thousands of clones to try and find his wife.
On the tenth day, one of the clones finally found her. It had stumbled upon an old run down hut in the middle of the night. As it drew closer, it heard pain filled screams, screams that it knew well. It was Hinata. Carefully, the clone managed to get a look inside and was horrified to find her cuffed to the bed with her chakra sealed off, leaving her defenseless, and starting to go into labor. There were two ninja inside not lifting a finger to help and ten more were stationed outside, hidden. How they didn't notice the clone wearing bright orange is still a mystery. Silently, it poofed out of existence and informed the real Naruto of the situation.
Despite them all being now being exhausted and almost out of soldier pills to keep them going, the group quickly headed to the hut. They stopped just before they reached where the first enemy hid.
"Now what?" Kiba had asked, eyes reflecting his fatigue.
"From what I can tell, all of these men have high chakra reserves and seem to be at least Jounin level," Neiji analyzed.
Naruto looked around at all in the group before his eyes narrowed, "I'll distract them."
"What?!" the group gasped.
"Are you out of your mind, Naruto!?" Sasuke snapped.
"That is not very wise, Naruto-kun. We don't know how strong they are nor do we know if they are within the reach of reinforcements," Lee tried to reason.
"Look, Hinata has either had our child already or is in the process of having it," Naruto growled out, "I'm the only one that still has half of his chakra that wasn't created with aide of soldier pills right now. None of you would be able to fight for very long and we don't know how long it will take to get Hinata to safety! I want you and Gai to run around the rough perimeter and see if there are any more hiding."
Lee was about to argue some more before Gai placed a hand on his shoulder and nodded, "Understood."
"The rest of you are going to get in there and get Hinata out," Naruto ordered.
"Naruto," Sasuke hissed slightly, "Stop being so stupid. Let us help!"
"Sasuke!" Naruto snapped, angry and fear reflecting in his own exhausted eyes, "Getting Hinata out and away from here is helping me! So just do it!"
Nothing else was said. Naruto quickly moved into position before jumping out and instantly killing one guard. The two green beasts quickly ran around the area, finding a small base of more men, ready to jump on the hut when given the word. Neiji and Kiba made a direct bee-line for the hut, Hinata's screams of pain instantly filling their ears. However, Sasuke did not follow. His sharigan blazing, he charged some of the men outside. The two inside were easy enough to handle but soon the two men found them in a peculiar situation. Hinata's baby was literally just about to be born. As the two freaked out about what to do, a new man snuck up behind them and knocked both out.
Outside, Naruto had just about gotten rid of the enemy that came after him. Thinking that he was just about done, the blonde finally looked back toward the hut in hopes of seeing his friends running free with Hinata by now. What he saw made his heart sink. Out of the hut came a man, one that his clone hadn't seen earlier, and in his arms was a bloody and screaming baby boy. He felt his heart stop when he realized that there was a kunai at the babe's throat.
"Now, now, Namikaze-kun," the man almost purred, "You wouldn't want to end your son's life so soon, now would you?"
Naruto just glared at the man as he felt the presence of a few enemies behind him. His eyes locked on the screaming child in the man's arms, he allowed himself to be stabbed and beaten and pushed to the brink of death. All the while his eyes never left his child.
"Good boy," the man laughed before pointing over his shoulder to the still fighting Sasuke, "Now tell your lackey to stop before I kill this child of yours."
Naruto's eyes widened, "Sasuke! Stop! You have to stop fighting right now!"
No response. The Uchiha was in the zone, anger of someone trying to hurt his best friend and brother ruling his mind and body.
"Sasuke! Stop fighting already! That's an order, teme!" Naruto screamed. Gai and Lee had reappeared by the hut while Neiji and Kiba limped out, all freezing on spot, "Please! You have to stop, Sasuke!"
That seemed to get through to the Uchiha enough. The man stopped and looked at the man holding his best friend's child. Without another thought, he charged toward him. The rest of the group's screams for him to stop fell on deaf ears. Just before he reached the man, a different enemy jumped in front of him.
"What a shame," the man sighed a bit before a sick smile appeared on his face, "Say bye bye baby."
"NO!" every Leaf ninja screamed as loud as they could as they were forced to watch the kunai dive into the infant's chest, silencing his cries forever.
The man smiled cruelly as he tossed the babe's carcass at Naruto, it landing with a sickening thud before him. Naruto stared at it with wide, unbelieving eyes. Inside of him, Kurama roared to be let loose. The blonde had promised himself that he wouldn't ever use the Kyuubi's powers unless absolutely necessary. The two were on very good terms ever since the war and he would occasionally let him out to use a clone to go and hunt in the Forest of Death, but he just didn't want to expose his children with the same thing that caused him so much pain when he was younger. However, this was definitely a situation that Naruto couldn't care less about that promise. The fox wanted the blood of the man that killed Naruto's kit. Naruto would have gladly handed over control if his body wasn't near death already.
While Naruto fought to keep from killing himself by allowing the fur ball to take over, Sasuke recovered much faster. Before anyone could stop him, the Uchiha charged forward to try and kill the man. The man just smirked, standing completely still until he was within striking distance. Sasuke's chidori was ringing in their ears as he drew back his arm. Lunging forward with the deadly attack, no one could have foreseen what happened next.
Just before Sasuke's attack hit, the murderer replaced himself with Hinata.
The deadly jutsu ripped through the woman's chest, tearing a heart wrenching cry from her as he fatally wounded her. Not a single one of the Leaf ninja could breathe as they watched the scene unfold. Sasuke cancelled out his jutsu as soon as he realized who it was that he had hit but it was too late. He pulled out his hand from her chest, her body then crumbling to the ground.
"HINATA!" Naruto screamed, forcing his body to crawl over to where his wife laid.
Her eyes fluttered a bit as he cupped her cheek, "N-N-Naruto…"
Tears freely fell out of petrified blue eyes as he pulled her close to him, "I-I'm here…"
"Wh-Where's our b-baby?" she weakly asked, eyes slowly losing their once brilliant light as her blood seeped out of her body, soaking his clothes.
Naruto cried, pulling her closer to him, his forehead pressed against hers, "Th-They killed him, Hinata…H-He's gone…"
Tears slid out of his wife's eyes but no sound escaped her, "I-I…I-I want to hold him."
Naruto stared at her for a moment before he weakly summoned a clone to bring them their dead baby. Placing it in her arms, Naruto finally took a good look at his son. He had two whisker-like marks on each cheek. His hair was a dark bluish purple like his wife's. He was tiny and completely still, a peaceful expression on his face. Naruto trembled as he stared down at the two biggest parts of his life.
"H-He's beautiful…" Hinata whispered, voice barely heard, "…Koichi…"
"What?" Naruto asked.
"I want to name him Koichi…" Hinata said weakly, fighting to hang on just a little longer, "M-My bright, shining Koichi…"
"H-Hinata," Naruto whimpered.
"I-I'm sorry, Naruto," she whispered, eyes searching for him, no longer able to see, "I-I have to g-go now…K-Koichi needs me t-to f-follow him…"
"N-No!" Naruto cried, holding her tighter, "Y-You can't leave me too, H-Hinata! I-I love you! I-I…I-I don't want to lose you!"
The dying woman just smiled weakly as the last bit of her life began to slip away, "I-I love you too…I-I'll be watching you w-with Koichi and y-your parents and J-Jiraiya-sama from now on…Goodbye my love…"
With that, the last of her beautiful light left her, leaving Naruto alone once more. The jinchuriki cried as he clung to his lifeless family before turning his head to the sky and letting out an earthshaking and heartbreaking wail. His fellow Leaf ninja had tears streaking down their cheeks before rushing the remaining men. They made quick work of them, leaving none alive or recognizable. Then they waited. They waited for Naruto's wails to die down. Sasuke was deathly quiet while Kiba raced back to the village to tell the Hokage just what had happened.
For the rest of the day and most of the night, Naruto held onto his dead family as he cried. When the morning came, he still had yet to move. He didn't even flinch when Kiba returned with Tsunade, Kakashi, Iruka, Hiashi, and Sakura. Tsunade knelt beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder in a way of comfort. Finally, he looked up and revealed his broken blue eyes to the Hokage. Unshed tears shone in his eyes. No one said anything as Sakura came forward and took his dead child from him followed by Hiashi taking his daughter. The blonde just sat there, unmoving. Unable to watch Naruto in this kind of state any longer, Tsunade gently put the jinchuriki to sleep. Then she carried him herself all the way back to the village.
No one said anything as they worked their way back. All ninja that could be were recalled to the village to mourn. When they entered the gates, there was not a single villager that was not stunned to see the Uzumaki family being carried in. All hearts broke when they realized that Naruto was the only one alive. There was not a single eye in the entire village that didn't shed a tear. Not a word was spoken on that day.
Naruto did not awaken again for a week. During that week, the funeral for his family was planned, all of his friends from various villages were contacted and had arrived, and two new names had been carved into the memorial stone. When Naruto did wake up, he didn't say a word to anyone. He was silent as he prepared himself for the funeral. On the day of the funeral, rain fell in a way that it reminded everyone of tears. He was dead silent through the service, standing beside Hiashi and Neiji with Gaara on his other side. Tears slid down his face as he stared at his wife's picture along with a picture of his dead child. No one even tried to speak to him, fearing that it would make him fully break. They watched in silence as he walked up to the altar with dead, broken blue eyes. He stood there for several minutes before laying down a large bouquet of white and pale lilac flowers with and a single rainflower to tell the world that he would never forget his precious family.
After the ceremony had finished, Naruto stayed behind, unmoving once more. He stood there, just staring at the altar. He didn't know how long he stood there. Rain continued to fall on him but he didn't care. Eventually, many of his friends came up to check on him. At first they didn't say anything. Then, with what sounded like a heavy sigh of frustration, Sasuke was the first to speak up.
"Naruto…It's time to leave," Sasuke sighed, standing in front of his best friend, "Tsunade-sama wants you to stop by for a check-up before you go home."
Naruto didn't say anything.
"Did you hear me?" Sasuke said, "You need to leave."
"I don't want to," Naruto whispered, the first thing he had said since he woke up.
"Well, you have to," Sasuke sighed again, "You need to move on now."
Something flashed in Naruto's eyes, startling many of those that were paying attention, "What was that, teme?"
"Hinata-chan wouldn't want you to be so depressed," Sasuke said before a fist collided with his face, sending him flying a bit, "W-What the hell!?"
"Don't you dare say her name!" Naruto snapped, eyes full of life and anger, "Don't you dare tell ME what she would and would not have wanted me to do! You don't know anything about her or me! You don't know anything about my family! You don't have a clue of what I'm feeling right now!"
"I don't know anything?" Sasuke gaped before getting up into Naruto's face, "I know exactly what you're going through! I lost my entire family just like you!"
"You didn't have to build your own family from scratch! You didn't have to struggle to make any friends! You didn't have to watch them die before your very bloody eyes! You didn't have to hold your dying wife in your arms!" Naruto screamed, his voice echoing through the village.
"Naruto!" Sakura shouted, "You know that Sasuke knows exactly what you're going through! Stop making him relive his past because you're upset!"
"No!" Naruto snapped, stunning his teammate, "It's his fault! It's his fault that I lost them!"
"How is it my fault!?" Sasuke snarled.
"You didn't listen to me!" Naruto shouted, "You went against what I told you to do! You attack those men when you should have been helping Kiba and Neiji! You didn't stop attacking them when I begged you to stop to save my child! You attacked the man and allowed him to replace himself with Hinata! It was YOUR chidori that killed Hinata! It's your fault!"
Sasuke was silent before his Sharigan roared to life. Naruto responded by instantly going into his fox cloak form, Kurama ready to rip the man to shreds. Before either could lay a finger on the other, Tsunade suddenly appeared and forced the men apart. And by forcing them apart, I mean she threw them to opposite areas of the village before going after Naruto.
"What is wrong with you!?" Tsunade demanded as she stomped over to where Naruto sat in the crater created when he landed, "I thought that you promised me that you wouldn't use the fox's power inside of the village unless you absolutely had to!"
"…baa-chan…give me a mission…" Naruto whispered, voice tainted with rage and pain.
"What?" Tsunade blanched.
"I need to get out of here…away from this all…away from memories that haunt me…Please…I just need to get out and away from…him…" Naruto growled out, hands holding his head.
Tsunade just stared at the broken man before her. With a heavy sigh, she smiled at him gently and agreed. He was to leave for an extended training trip to Mount Myoboku. Meanwhile, she ordered Sasuke out on missions to keep him busy and to cool his heels from the recent outburst.
Nobody saw Naruto for the next year. They would occasionally hear from a toad messenger to keep them updated and to complain about how Naruto was destroying part of the mountains in his rage. How he still felt the pain of his loss. When Sasuke found out, he began to question why Naruto was doing such a thing. Didn't he think that hatred and revenge to be pointless? At this, Tsunade herself smacked the man through the wall.
It wasn't that Naruto didn't want to take his revenge on the man that he felt was responsible. It was that he couldn't. He was furious with Sasuke for doing what he did but he couldn't bring himself to go against the answer to Nagato and Jiraiya he had found. He was so angry that he almost hated Sasuke but he would never allow himself to hurt him. So he had to suffer from his rage, unable to move on until it subsided, unable to forgive.
It was then that Sasuke finally realized what he had done to his best friend. Wanting to escape his own pain, the Uchiha fled the village once more. This time, Tsunade simply declared that he was out on long term missions. The day after Sasuke disappeared, Naruto finally returned. Everyone knew he was back because of the rain that was like tears had returned. His friends found him standing before the memorial stone with a rainflower bouquet. Sakura begged him to go after Sasuke and to bring him back once more.
Naruto refused, telling all that were there that he was glad that Sasuke wasn't there. He still didn't think he could face the man without losing the control over his pain that still filled his soul. Sakura begged her teammate for hours, screaming at him that she was pregnant with their first child and that they had all gone out to find his spouse. This ignited Naruto's rage once more, this time directed to the pink haired healer.
"I don't care, Sakura!" Naruto shouted at the woman, "I'm not going after him and that's final!"
"Why not!" Sakura cried.
"…because I'm not sure that I won't kill him if I do find him," Naruto growled before leaving.
Nobody bothered the blonde for about Sasuke again. The word was once again taboo for the man. Naruto tried to hide behind a cheerful mask when talking to the rest of the village but whenever he returned home, just outside of the Hyuuga compound, he would break once more. He had refused to touch anything in his bedroom and his son's room. He slept in the guest room or the couch. He would walk into his bedroom and just sit on his side of the bed, looking around. Occasionally, he would enter his son's room and run his fingers over the unused furniture and the toys that sat in the crib. And every night, when he would lie down to sleep, he would listen to the quiet of the house and tears would slip out of his dulling eyes, crying himself to sleep every night without fail.
Naruto fell back to depending on ramen to survive, never wanting to spend too much time at home to cook. His friends would take him out and force him to eat other things but ramen was the only constant thing in his life. He tried to hold onto friends but he still seemed to drift away from them. Neiji was the one of the few more constant friends that forced him to take care of himself better. The entire Hyuuga clan still saw Naruto as family. Hiashi himself would often be seen dragging the man to their table to eat a home cooked meal. For all of this, Naruto was very thankful.
For a while, many feared that Naruto had lost the will to live. That wasn't the case. Naruto desperately wanted to keep living, if only for Hinata and Koichi to live on through him. That isn't to say that it wasn't hard to find that will to keep going. He somehow knew that he would never find another woman that he would love like Hinata. He would never have another child. There was absolutely no desire any longer to continue his clan or to move on. Every day when he woke up, he had to fight with himself to continue on. His dream of becoming Hokage was within reach but he no longer cared. The only thing that kept him going for the longest time was that he didn't want to see Hinata again and have her disappointed in him. Eventually though, his Will of Fire began to return and he started to truly live for the village. He went out of his way to make everyone smile, despite the pain that still filled his heart.
Tsunade slowly allowed him to go out on missions again. He was sent to other villages to help out. He was sent on rescue missions, retrievals, infiltration, and assassinations. Anything that would allow him to be out of the village for a few weeks. He was slowly beginning to open back up, often complaining about the assassinations until he was convinced that there was no other way. But, without fail, every time he came home and visited the memorial stone, the rain returned with him.
He also would always run into Sasuke on his missions without fail. How he managed to keep from attacking the Uchiha that first time, not even he knew. Now, whenever he ran across the man, the once proud and arrogant Sasuke begged for forgiveness and complained about being alone. About always being alone. It pissed Naruto off to no end. Because he didn't want to do something he would later regret, he never said anything to Sasuke except that he was slowly getting to the point that he could forgive the man. Then, when he got home, he would always demand to know when Tsunade was going to order the man back. He refused to allow himself to take the Hokage's hat until the one person he could still not forgive was back in the village. Back where he would be forced to face him and forgive him lest he ruin the village itself.
How long ago had it been since he had not felt so alone? How long ago was it that he could walk down the street with a real smile? Was there ever a time that his life did not hinge on Sasuke's? Anymore it didn't seem like he had ever been free of the damn Uchiha. But once upon a time, when he had been happy and about to start his own family, it had seemed like he was finally free. Free and loved…how long ago that was…
Naruto sighed heavily as he traced his son's name, "How long ago indeed…"
"N-Naruto-kun!" Lee's voice exclaimed from behind them.
"Yes?" Naruto sounded, eyes refusing to leave the stone.
"It's Sakura-chan! She's gone into labor!" Lee shouted.
"What?!" Kakashi gasped, "She's not due for another week!"
"I know!" Lee cried, "Naruto! You have to go find Sasuke and bring him back! Sakura needs him here!"
Naruto was silent before sighing angrily, "Always me…"
Without another word, Naruto left, heading towards the gates to once again chase after Uchiha Sasuke.
Mizu: Yay~! Dark tones and themes! Mizu's niche in writing~!
Naruto:…and you wonder why all of us hate you…please don't torture me like you did that Allen Walker person…
Mizu: No promises, Naru~! Anyway, thank you all so much for all the support you guys give me. Please remember that all reviews and suggestions are still greatly appreciated and loved. I really do love this story and will try my best to finish it before I run out of chapters. If not, then I will make sure to tell you all before just disappearing. Well, I'll see you all at the end of the week~! Ciao for now!