This fic is entirely speculation based, with the belief that the Fourth is Naruto's papa. Because reading the manga just screamed that to me (if it does in the anime, all well and good, but I haven't seen it). Basically, this is a simple one-shot introspective piece about Yondaime and his last words to his son.

Comments and criticisms are always appreciated.


My Final Farewell


It's strange. How the littlest things always have more meaning than we think they do. How our decisions never affect just us, but continue on and on, never ending, creating more and more decisions as they go. A cycle of happenings. And we rage against these decisions, against the bad things that happen to us and say "If only I'd done this…" But even if we'd done something else, that decision will still create more decisions, and the cycle continues.

We don't escape it, and we don't want to.

And here I am thinking about this, knowing about it, but I'm no different, am I? I hold you in my arms, knowing this is the last time I ever will, knowing this is more than likely the last time you'll ever be given this type of affection, and yet I can't—and don't want to—escape what is coming. I chose this path and I'm going to keep walking it.

But still…

You're tiny. So tiny it scares me sometimes. And while right now you're quiet in sleep, I know you'll be a little hellion when you wake up. You're the type to give them hell and keep on going. I'd say you got that from your mother but we all know it's from me, so there's no point in me lying about it, now is there?

But you won't stay tiny for long. In just a little while you'll become the largest thing in the village, and it'll be my fault. I wonder if you'll hate me for it. Grow up cursing me, hating me for doing this to you? For putting you through a hell you never deserved and never asked for.

Heh, there go all those decisions I was talking about earlier. They just explode. But I don't want to think this is the bad one, that the alternative I threw away is what I should be doing. I believe this is the correct one.

If I don't, then I will deserve your hatred.

Strange of me, isn't it, telling all this to a baby who can't understand. Telling this to a child who looks so much like me that it's almost frightening. There are differences though. Your mother is in you too, although people seem to want to disregard that fact. I like to embrace it. Between the two of us, you've got everything you'll need to be strong and to survive. We don't have it anymore; it's all in you now.

You're my legacy, my immortality, the most precious thing I've ever had. And I'm going to steal everything from you before you even had it. And while you mean everything to me, I won't be anything more than a name and a face to you. Will you know, I wonder? Will they tell you? Will they say "Your father sacrificed his life for this village, along with many other strong shinobi," or will they try to forget the fact that you're my son? That the sacrifice wasn't my life, but yours?

The one they should call a hero shouldn't be me, but the child who gave up his own life to save everyone.

…It's time. I have to go and face the hardest enemy I've ever faced, and I have to lose. I hate to lose, it's just not my style. What's worse is that I'm going to have to lose my precious teammates as well, you first among them.

But I'll see your mother again, and that's worth something, right? We can watch you from wherever it is we're going, laugh at you when you mess up—and you will, believe me—and be proud of you when you achieve things. So you better achieve things, or I'll be pissed. No son of mine is going to be a loser.

You won't ever be a loser.

This is it. The final goodbye. Damn it, I hate farewells. I hate leaving, seeing people go and knowing they won't come back, or knowing that I won't, in this case. If my back is going to face anyone, it's because I'm leading them, showing them the way. Not because I'm leaving.

Don't turn your back on anyone, son. Even if they turn theirs on you, keep at it. Don't give up, don't abandon your principles. Don't ever lose to anyone, and never, never lose to yourself. Once you do that, it's all over.

I wish there was more I could tell you, more things I could teach you, but you're asleep and drooling a bit, and I'm going off to die and to imprison you into a life of loneliness. It'll be the hardest thing you'll ever face, but it'll make you strong, believe me. Because when you know loneliness, finding a way out of that makes you the strongest person of them all.

It has to.

…Let's go. Face our destinies like the proud shinobi we are. Even if you're scared, face it, don't back down. That's one of the strongest powers, the ability to face what you're afraid of. I know you'll be able to do it.

You're not my son for nothing, you know.

You know, you won't hear this very often, but… I'm proud of you. You haven't done anything yet and I'm proud of you. I don't know what's going to happen, and I don't pretend to know, but doesn't change a thing.

And while you won't ever know this, it'll still be true. And there is still so much more I want to say, want to tell you… But I can't. There's no time.

So, I'll give you what I can now. Bless you in the only way I know. The most important things you'll never know, but that will always be true.

You're my son.

I'm sorry.

I love you.