Disclaimer: I do not own any wrights to Naruto or Shadow Skill. I merely use their characters and themes for entertainment purposes.
A top the colossal main gates that lead to Kohona a chunin guard watches as three individuals walk down the path. From the way they move, he can tell that they are shinobi. Gesturing to his fellow guards the chunin called attention to the three. After brief nods he jumps down in front of them as the come with in ten meters of the gates.
"Halt!" the guard called, "Who are you and what is your business?"
The tallest one, a man with silver hair steps forward, "Team Seven returning from a mission to Wave Country."
The guard then noticed the Kohana forehead protector covering the left eye of the speaker and immediately recognized him, "Oh sorry Kakashi, I didn't recognize you for a moment." The chunin paused and looked at the only visible eye and noted that the normal lazy expression was absent. He then glanced at Kakashi's companions and noticed a lack of a third member, "Where is your other team member?" The look from the two gennins was all it took for him to understand, "You should go to the Hokaga and report."
Without a word the three tired looking shinobi entered their home. The chunin guard watched them go feeling sympathy for the team. He had lost a member on his team when he was a gennin as well. His thoughts were interrupted by his fellow guard landing next to him, "Hey who was that?"
"Gennin Team Seven," the first guard stated, "They lost a member on their mission."
"Which member?" the second asked.
"Don't know," the first answered.
"Did you see a boy with black hair?" a third asked.
"Yeah," the first responded, "Followed by a girl with pink hair."
"Good," the second said with a sadistic smile.
"Good?" the first asked angered, "What's so good about it!"
"Team Seven consisted of the last Uchiha, some no name girl and Him," the third guard said the last part with venom in his speech.
"Him?" the first asked, "Him who?" The others to gave him a look and it dawned on the guard who 'Him' was. "And to think I was feeling sorry for him a moment ago. Good riddance, he should have been killed years ago."
"Your telling me," the second agreed. "To think the last Uchiha had to be teamed up with it."
"At least now it's gone," the third said, "And the Uchiha won't be dragged down by it." The others nodded in agreement and went back to their posts.
There was a knock on the Hokage's door. For a moment the old leader smiled, he hated doing paper work and some one wanting to see him was a good excuse to stop. "Come in!" he called. The people that entered surprised him, Team Seven. Only Team seven was not complete. Waiting patiently for the report he already knew what the most important part was.
"Hokaga-sama," Kakashi began, "We have just come back from the C Rank mission to Wave Country that was assigned to us. The mission turned out to be an A Rank, which involved missing-nin from Hidden Mist. And as a result of the Missing-nin's former employer the third member of Team Seven, Uzumaki Naruto, is dead."
The Third Hokage glanced at the two remaining gennins and saw their pain. Sakura was barely holding back the tears after the mention of her blond teammate. Sasuke held a placid look on his face but his eyes showed a mix of fury and sadness. The Third had seen this look on him before, when he had to ask him about the death of his clan. He had hoped to never see the look on the heir ever again. "Thank you Kakashi," he finally said. Turning to the two gennins he continued, "You two may leave now. We will make arrangements for a funeral soon." Sasuke nodded and pulled the now crying Sakura out of the room, as they left the Hokage thought, "I'm afraid that those two may be some of the very few that will come to his funeral." Turning his attention back to Kakashi he asked, "What happened?"
Kakashi took a deep breath and began, "A battle started on top of the bridge our client was constructing at the time…"
Sasuke squared off the masked boy from earlier now known as Haku. At first the battle between the two appeared to be even. Thanks to the training that Sasuke had gone through he was able to keep up with the Missing-nin. That was until the masked boy started performing one-handed hand seals, a feat that even Kakashi had never witnessed before. Suddenly the battle turned against the Leaf shinobi as needles made of ice began to fly at Sasuke.
For a brief moment it appeared that Haku had the upper hand but because of his recent chakra training Sasuke was able to match Haku's speed and able to dodge the needles. Now the situation was reversed as Sasuke soon gained the upper hand.
"…Sasuke kicked the Haku back," Kakashi told, "There was an exchange between Zabuza and Haku, and Haku activated his bloodlimit." The Hokage listened intrigued as the jounin told the story of the demise of his favorite loudmouth. "Haku was able to create a prison of ice mirrors and trapped Sasuke. The fight continued for several minutes and it appeared that Sasuke was about to lose, then Naruto showed up as only he could," Kakashi paused a sad smile forming under his mask. "After his entrance Naruto entered Mirror Prison and the two of them became trapped. During this time I was in a battle with Zabuza and was and was unable to assist them. Zubuza then thickened the mist and I lost track of them."
"Then what happened?" the Hokage urged.
"This comes from Sasuke," Kakashi continued, "The two of them were trapped and were losing badly. Naruto after creating several waves of Kage Bushin was beginning to tire. And at this point Sasuke was able to activate the Sharingan but that did not help. He was not fast enough to be able to dodge the senbon needles Haku was hurling at them." Another brief pause, "Haku then targeted Naruto alone and drew Sasuke towards Naruto hitting him with the needles in pressure point places making him appear to have died."
"And you don't know what happened after that," the Hokage guessed.
"No, I know," Kakashi said.
"I was still fighting Zabuza when a felt a sudden surge of Chakra…"
Naruto knelt down as Sasuke's eyes closed and his breathing stopped. "S…Sasuke?" he asked. When he got no response Naruto felt unrestrained aguish, grief and rage. Seeing his friend lying there lifeless caused an unimaginable level of Chakra to irrupt from his body.
Further down on the bridge Kakashi paused in his fight against Zabuza, "OH NO!" he thought, "The Fourth's seal, it's breaking!" After an intense few seconds Kakashi thought again, "No not yet, but it's close and unless I end this soon it will break." Reaching into his vest Kakashi pulled out his dog summoning scroll and announced, "I'm sorry I have to end this so soon Zabuza! But I can't let this fight continue." Gathering the blood from the wounds Zabuza had given him Kakashi performed the hand seals required to summon his nin dogs.
After he performed the seals and slammed his hand unto the ground he noticed that the Chakra Naruto was producing suddenly disappeared. "What happened?" Kakashi thought, "One moment he seems to be using the Kyuubi and then the Chakra is suddenly gone. No matter I have to end this now." Just as his dogs found and capture the Missing-nin Kakashi then begins the seals for his most powerful jutsu, "LIGHTING EGDE!" He begins to dash to the immobilized Zabuza when the screech of the female member of his team stops him.
A few moments earlier back at the fight between Naruto and Haku, Naruto is about to finish off Haku when the mask breaks. Naruto is brought out of his rage when he sees the familiar face of the girl-like-boy he met in the forest. "Why did you stop?" Haku asked, "You had the advantage you should have killed me."
"But…but why?" Naruto demands gesturing to Sasuke.
"To protect my precious person," Haku answers.
Naruto is about to respond when he catches a glint rushing towards them. Acting on pure instinct he pushes Haku out of the way and is impaled on an arrow that was shot from further down the bridge.
Standing in front of Tanzuna, Sakura notices that the fog has become a little less thick and begins to search for her teammates. While searching she catches a glint of an object traveling and follows its path until she sees Naruto push the boy that he and Sasuke were fighting and take a hit from an arrow. "NARUTO!"
Haku cannot believe his eyes, the boy he was fighting pushed him out of the way took an arrow for him. The boy drops to the ground, the arrow pierced the middle of his back. A part of him knew that it was a fatal wound, but that did not resistor as the boy began to stand the stumbled to the edge of the bridge and fell off.
"I turned just as Naruto fell and saw Haku turn to the source of the arrow," Kakashi explained. "Zabuza and I both followed Haku's gaze to a large group of men holding various weapons. After an exchange of words the men attacked Haku and he fought back. Zabuza broke free and rushed to Haku and I pursued. By the time I got there he joined the battle and soon the men were all killed or driven off when the village citizens showed up. After that Sasuke revived and then Haku and Zabuza left. I did not feel the need to pursue them any longer. They were only our enemy because Gatto paid them." The Hokage nodded in understanding, "After the battle the entire village helped us search for Naruto's body. We searched for four days but we found no trace."
"Thank you Kakashi," the Hokage said. "You may leave now, tell your team that the funeral will be in one week's time."
A week later those that were to attend Naruto's funeral gathered. A total of six people, including the remaining members of Team Seven, the Hokage, Iruka-sensei, and surprisingly Hyuuga Hinata, showed to pay their respects to the Kyuubi container. While the lack people confused the gennins, the three adults were disgusted that so few people showed. Shaking his head the Hokage stepped forward, "I guess this is all that are going to show up." He paused to collect himself and began again, "We are here to pay our last respects to a shinobi of Kohona. As all of us know Naruto had one dream, to become the Hokage." He paused again noticing the tears from the gennins and sorrow of the two other men, "I believe he died living up to that dream. He sacrificed himself for others, that is the true mark a someone great, some that would be worthy of the title." The Hokage stepped up to the memorial picture and placed a white rose next to it.
The next that followed was Iruka-sensei, the one that best knew the boy. He place his white rose along side the Hokage's and spoke, "I hope you find the peace and friendship in the next life that you could not find in this one." He stepped back to let the next come forward.
Sakura was next, she placed the third white rose next to the picture. "I'm sorry I didn't treat you better Naruto. If I knew this was going to happen I would have gotten to know you better maybe even let you have taken me out on a date. I hope you can forgive me for any pain I caused you." She backed away with a fresh set of tears.
Kakashi was next and placed his flower, all he said was, "I'm sorry," and left.
Sasuke came next, though he did not have a flower he did have a set of custom made shuriken, "Thanks for trying to be my friend after my family died. And I'm sorry."
The last to come up was Hinata, unlike the rest she carried a red rose and placed it on next to the others. Through her sobs she said, "I'm sorry Naruto-kun I wish I could have told you how much you meant to me. I promise to never give up just like you."
After everyone else left the Hokage approached Kakashi, "I will have to place your team on the reserve list until another can fill Naruto's spot."
Kakashi nodded, "Just don't let it be too soon, they need time." The Hokage nodded. "By the way where's your grandson?"
"He's still not feeling well after hearing the news," the Hokage answered. "The hole village should have been here morning, not celebrating." The Hokage frowned once again. Kakashi nodded in agreement and the two left.
Several days travel away from Kohona just outside of Wave Country's border a man wearing a black cape, with blond hair and his eyes are closed moves through a small forest near the ocean. The way he moves makes it seem like he is not even touching the ground. He enters a small cave on a mountainside. When he enters he comes across a boy lying on straw, covered with blacks with small pieces of parchment hovering around him.
The boy lying on straw has blond hair and whisker like marks on his cheeks. The man with closed eyes comes to a sudden stop and speaks, "You are an interesting boy."
The boy stirs for a moment and his eyes begin to open. "W…Where a…am I?" the boy's voice is horse, from his long rest.
"You are far from your home," the black caped man answers.
"Who are you?" the boy asks.
"You may call me Darkness."
"I…I'm Uzu…maki Nar…uto," he barely gets out before falling back into unconsciousness.
Darkness moves closer and opens his cape the pieces of parchment fly into it and he shuts it again. "Sleep well Uzumaki Naruto, you have a long journey coming soon."
The next day Naruto wakes fully healed though still tire. Looking around the cave his eyes come across a man standing to his side wearing a black cape. Naruto feels he knows this man and thinks for a moment, "Darkness right?"
"Yes Uzumaki Naruto," Darkness answers. "The Youma Kyuubi gives you fast healing."
Naruto freezes, "H…how do you know about Kyuubi?" he manages to squeeze out.
"I could sense it when I found you," Darkness responses. Naruto tries to stand but Darkness interrupts him, "You are still weak should not try to stand yet."
Naruto looks at Darkness for a moment and notices that his eyes are closed, "Hey how did you know I was trying to stand if your eyes are closed?" Darkness does not respond making Naruto angry, "HEY ANSWER ME!" still nothing. "OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!"
"As you wish," Darkness slowly opens his eyes.
Naruto becomes shocked when he sees nothing but blackness as Darkness opens his eyes. It takes several minutes for Naruto to find his voice again, "Who, what are you?"
"An observer and to some a teacher," Darkness replies.