"Don't be afraid to live life, to allow love to grow because it is what makes this harsh life tolerable."
The doors were ancient and carved of weathered limestone. Strange, half known carvings ran along the stone and Naruto had the distinct feeling that the carvings on the stone doors were depicting something…a warning perhaps? Yasuhiro's trembling voice filled his mind with their clarity as if it were only a moment before that he heard them when in reality Yasuhiro's words of spiraling descent to darkness were spoken a week prior. Chihaya had remembered.
Blue eyes widened in recognition…it was a poorly created imitation of the gates that had been opened years past.
Naruto grit his teeth as his eyes tool a steely glint before he reached out to touch the rough stone beneath his hands. The texture was grainy; rough and if enough pressure was applied he would bleed. He almost rashly ran his hands through the rough surface of the doors just to feel pain run along his palms.
He wanted to see the crimson red of blood sweep across the sandy surface.
This was what he had been looking for even though the price was high. Nothing was new about that fact. He would always pay the price no matter the fact that it was high-exceedingly so.
It didn't surprise him when the gigantic doors swung open on their own accord and into darkness.
He had been here so many times before that the gods forbid- he was getting used to it.
Smiling bitterly, Naruto stepped across the threshold as cold winds from inside tore at his formal attire and his blonde hair. Only his glowing blue eyes were left as the doors shut behind him. Bracing himself his bitter smile only grew more brittle when the interior suddenly blazed with lights. Standing before him were the remaining members of Akatsuki in all of their glory. However there was one more presence that hid itself in the shadows. A presence that he- no…Chihaya knew well.
"So you finally came Uzumaki Naruto…or should I say…Sasuno Chihaya!"
Like puppets with their strings cut, the visible members began to come at him with gusto.
Pity really…the battle would end so soon; however he was short on time and this was his only chance to end things for good. He was pleased to note that Orochimaru had also joined the rest of the rabble.
Naruto took a deep breath before releasing it. "From the darkness came light and from that light born all things in the universe…The gods of the old had deemed it time to create life and take pleasure from their work…I take the dark and the light and unify them as one. I accept the other part of me that I have held away. I accept myself for who I am for I am both Chihaya and Naruto, yet at the same time am neither. I am who I am." He intoned solemnly as he felt chakra boil in his veins and the walls between his soul and Chihaya's vanish.
A vortex of wind surrounded him, pushing the attackers away for a moment. The smell of ozone filled the air as it grew heavy and humid. Sounds akin to electrical sparks filled the cavernous chambers.
In the epicenter was Naruto whose hair turned ghastly white.
The gathered watched in mixed fascination and horror as entire area was saturated with chakra and for the first time in ages…the world had been graced with the sight of…
Twelve blood red angelic wings made of pure light and energy.
They could only vaguely, on an instinctual level realize that what stood before them wasn't a demon vessel but something else.
The world raged and Konoha wasn't spared from the sudden change in weather. Winds howled, rattling windows and blowing everything in its path away. People vanished to the warmth and security of their homes, peering out of the windows wondering what would bring about such as storm. The older generation muttered amongst themselves as news came from other parts of the world reporting the similar effects. They began to go to the shrines and buy protective charms though the younger generation scoffed at such acts.
However, as the storms continued their onslaught day after day, tension began to build up and the older generation began to tell stories.
Stories of ages past and of gods.
Tsunade herself knew of the stories, having listened to them in her grandfather's lap as a child. They were terrifying stories and not told often due to the amount of disturbing themes and symbolism littered all over them. Her parents threw a fit when her grandfathers told her the stories. Orochimaru being an orphan didn't know them but Jiraiya did. He had a high fascination with arcane things so it wasn't much of a surprise. She shivered as she glanced out of her window as beads of rain ran down the panes in small rivulets. It was depressingly dark grey outside and the sounds of pouring rain prevailed. Yet, she could feel a hint of malice in the weather.
Fairytales weren't as happy as they were painted as. They were based off of stories that were darker, more disturbing and never had happy endings.
Just as the demons became focal points of the world, so did the stories that surrounded them and the gods.
She had almost forgotten the stories until Naruto left Konoha to put an end to everything.
It all fell into place once Yasuhiro Sato began to recite them with chilling clarity.
These were stories that had stretched for hundreds of years from mouth to mouth and surprisingly enough, very little had changed from their original counterparts. It had been seven days since Naruto had left. Seven days since the world plunged into eerie darkness.
Two conflicting identities…
Tsunade closed her eyes, trying to prevent the haunting words from surfacing but failed. Soon people would not even attempt to come out and even the shinobi could feel the acrid taste of maliciousness hidden in the storm.
"The stories of old hold some truth to them after all."
The blonde haired woman merely sighed as she shuffled her papers. She wasn't going to get much done today, not with this kind of mood hanging over her head. Shizune was taking her time in bringing the tea.
"All stories hold a hint of truth in them. You should know. Those rags of yours most certainly do from what I've heard." She muttered as her eyes glanced to the side at the framed photo on her desk. It had been taken shortly after she had agreed to become the Hokage. He had been such a cute kid back then. It only seemed like yesterday.
"True. However these stories are hundreds of years old. To retain their originality…is almost unheard of." Jiraiya replied.
"Time is a funny thing and that Sato kid confirmed them. Funny to think that all those bloodlines were all failures in the path towards godhood; though the stories say that the clans married minor gods. It's a wonder that the gods haven't destroyed all of us yet. Though I must say that they're system is rather- inconvenient and Naruto…he shouldn't be so accepting."
She idly traced a finger over Naruto's face, feeling the cold glass under her finger. It really wasn't fair.
Those words were spoken so bitterly that Tsunade looked up to see Jiraiya stare out of the windows with a deep set frown on his face. She could see that his hands were clenched into fists. She understood his words well. There was nothing they could do at this point any longer. The gods had willed it and so it would remain with Naruto to choose what he needed to- knowing him…it wasn't hard to see what the outcome would end up as.
Thunder roared as the windows rattled and muted the sound of the office door being flung open. The power went out leaving the office plunged in semi darkness. Even with the sudden loss of light Tsunade had abruptly stood up and faced the door and saw Sakura standing there panting harshly, her entire form drenched with water.
In the sudden flash of lightening Tsunade could see emerald eyes filled with fear and pain gaze back at her.
Her words came out as a choked sob.
It keeps coming back to three.
Tsunade reached over to her drawer and withdrew a package. Naruto had given it to her before he had left.
'If Sakura comes…or doesn't come- give this to her. It was never meant to be I know, however even denying all these years…I still can't forget.'
She tossed it to Sakura who caught the package.
"Sakura go home."
Tsunade closed her eyes as the skies continued with its mourning. Yes, that was it. Mourning.
Nothing more needed to be said. Jiraiya had come because he knew. He had always known and been there to support her when reality closed in on her. Sakura had no one but she was young and she would overcome it eventually. It was what Naruto had wanted. The world was a cruel place and the gods were crueler.
A rattled breath was inhaled; it sounded like a dry sob before the pink haired woman whirled around and fled the dark office.
Tsunade was more than aware of the tears that were running down her face.
It was too late…all too late.
Sakura had lost her chance and Naruto had given up but never forgot. It was never meant to be.
Ironic really; Tsunade could recall that it was the same way between Jiraiya and herself.
Sasuke had come to the complex once again. He couldn't let the vision of what he saw in Naruto's complex escape his mind's eye. He had braved the storm to get here. Against the dark grey backdrop, the entire place seemed to take an ominous and almost hostile stance. The structures loomed protectively as if to conceal what was inside. He had already seen all that he wanted to know. His traditional clothes were soaked but he didn't mind in the least when he took off his geta and made his way towards the paper screen doors. Pushing them back he stepped into the building.
Pulling everything from memory he soon came upon the laboratories that Naruto had kept hidden from the rest of the world. He pushed his way into the secondary room to stare at the medical bed and the dome of glass that covered it. He looked up to stare at the columns of glass cylinders that lined the back wall with only the blue back lighting illuminating them. Unlike the dome in front of him, the strange glass cylinders were completely frosted over.
Looking away from them, though his curiosity burned in him, he turned his gaze to the dome.
He reached out to touch the cold glass pane.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." A childish voice said.
Sasuke retracted his hand as if he had been burned and whirled around.
Standing at a door way was a small girl wearing a layered kimono that was better suited for the Heian Era than today's current fashion trends. He figured her to be no older than six or so. She was pretty for a six year old with long crimson red hair, snowy white skin and ice blue eyes. A shiver ran up Sasuke's spine at the shading of those eyes. They were Naruto's exact shade.
"Who are you?" He asked.
She smiled at him before gesturing him to come out of the room.
He hesitated before following her back to the labs.
"I am Suzume. You must be Uchiha Sasuke." She said.
In the better lighting of the labs, Sasuke saw the freakish similarities between her and Naruto. His throat went dry as his mind raced.
"A-are…" Sasuke took a deep breath to steady himself, "Naruto's daughter?"
"In a way I suppose I am." Suzume answered with a grin.
"What's that supposed to mean? It's a yes or no question."
"Tou-san has a large reputation. A few shinobi in Cloud Country thought that they could create genetically superior shinobi. They sole his DNA possibly from hair and whatnot and impregnated my mother who destroyed the labs and fled Cloud to Konoha. She barely was able to hide her whereabouts and made it to Konoha safely to give birth to me. She died shortly afterwards after telling Tou-san what happened."
Sasuke stared at her in a mixture of horror and guilt.
Naruto had a daughter. He had never expected it- even though she was born out of unusual circumstances…but still! He had never known and yet…
"Father is a kind man; however he has always been in pain. He may seem like there's nothing wrong but deep down inside I know that he hurts. He's the saddest man in the world because everywhere he goes people hurt him. He never says anything but I can see it. You hurt him and he forgave you- but what you never realize and what very few do…is that it is because of his kindness that he's going to save us all."
He stared at the girl in confusion as guilt gripped him.
"Surely you know the stories Uchiha-san." She told him cheerfully.
Sasuke only managed to weakly shake his head.
Suzume graced him with a look that was a mixture of understanding and sorrow.
"Father was Chosen, but he still wants to live- to be alive."
Shivers ran up Sasuke's spine as the girl came closer to him with her sad smile.
His senses screamed at him of the truth, of what Naruto was going to do but he didn't want to acknowledge it.
"He would be no different than Orochimaru." Sasuke rasped as he took a slow stuttering breath. "Why would he? He's never been afraid of death."
"Father doesn't want me to be alone."
Something in Sasuke twisted in agony at her words. She was only six and Naruto didn't want her to be alone. Naruto grew up by himself and Sasuke did as well. To lose that warmth, that love was harsh to a child. Naruto had something to live for, he always did. Ironic really. To tell the truth Sasuke was a tad jealous that his friend had a child, even if conceived by unconventional means.
"Does the Hokage know that you're his daughter?" He asked.
Suzume giggled before shaking her head. "Dad never told anyone and swore the medic who oversaw my birth to secrecy. He won't let me leave the complex because he's afraid that the Cloud nins will want to kidnap me, that the Konoha Council want me killed and Iwa as well. He's been teaching me though so that I can fend for myself." She brought an arm up to flex her muscles in a childish manner.
Guilt ate away at Sasuke as he looked down at the linoleum floor. "I'm sorry." He said.
"There's no need to be sorry Uchiha-san. People make mistakes, what counts, is how you correct them."
It was exactly something Naruto would have said years ago in one of his rarer moments of seriousness.
"Life's like a spiral and father wants to break free from that spiral."
"I think- that he already has." Sasuke replied.
In the backdrop of a dark apartment with thunder roaring and lightening flashing Sakura sat on her couch in her living room staring at the slightly soggy package before her. Her hair dripped with the rainwater but she didn't care. Sitting beside the package was the delicate glass leaf that Naruto had given her all those years ago. It was broken in half and had been since the past half hour when the thunder began to roar.
Her hands were clenched into fists as her shoulders shook from her pain more than from the cold.
Somewhere in her heart she knew that something would happen to Naruto. He had known all along and she being the stupid foolish person she was had been too late in realizing that she loved him. If only there was some way she could turn back time to tell him that she loved him- that she reached out to him before he became withdrawn and so distant.
She had been so blind, so selfish and he so selfless.
Why? Why did he have to suffer?
The gods were cruel beings indeed.
Hot tears ran down her frozen cheeks, scalding in their descent.
She was just as cruel as them.
Ice blue eyes stared ahead into blood red eyes. Just two more to go and he would be finished. He would be free to return the demons back to where they belonged and move on to face the judgment of the other gods.
"I don't want to talk to the god but to Naruto my cousin. The leader can wait for you Chihaya." Itachi intoned as he approached the deity.
"If that is what you wish."
White hair turned blonde and the facial markings reappeared but the wings stayed.
"Itachi." Naruto said solemnly.
The dark haired man reached into his cloak and took off his necklace and pulled out a small bag. He tossed both items to Naruto who deftly caught them. There was no point on attempting to struggle against a god. He had seen his colleagues and Orochimaru flattened in a matter of moments.
"You have my permission to take over. Now, kill me."
Itachi ignored the angered shouts from the leader. He had known that his cousin would defeat him and had prepared for it. Violent winds filled the area once again as Uzumaki Naruto vanished to leave behind the unforgiving god.
His last vision on earth would be cold blue eyes before he departed to hell.
As the body of Uchiha Itachi sagged onto the ground lifeless, cold ice blue eyes stared up at the podium where a woman stood.
"Tsubaki." He growled in displeasure.
"Chihaya, it's been a long time." She smirked as her dark hair framed her face and purple eyes stared back at him. "I've waited-"
"So long to kill you." He whispered in her ear as her purple eyes widened in shock.
He pulled away from her as blood began to pour from her wound.
"I loved you…why?"
Bitterness filled his face as he gazed at her, unmoving.
"You made me this way. A god and poisoned my father's mind with your greed and I have atoned for our sins of ages past."
Tears ran down her face as life left her eyes and she slumped to the ground.
He moved past her corpse towards the back where he could feel the pulses of the sealed demons. They would be returned to their rightful place save for two. Cutting his palms he let the blood drip to the floor as his hands went through a sequence of hand seals and chants. The air tensed and he began to feel the strain. This body wouldn't last much longer after this. The gates appeared in their terrifying glory as he turned to the cages and released the sealed beasts. They didn't fight him knowing that he had power over them. Turning towards the gates he willed to open and began to direct the demons back to where they belonged. He paid no mind to the blood that was trailing from the corner of his mouth.
"That doesn't look so good."
He turned to see Kakashi, Gai and Kurenai. They had come with him to round up the bodies as proof of Akatsuki's demise.
"It's no matter. Are you ready?" He asked.
The Jounin looked at each other before nodding.
Without further explanation, he closed his eyes and began to chant as his hands moved into various seals. The wings grew larger and encased the gathered Jounin with their storage scroll. Moments later in a flash of light all four of them had left the ruins.
He staggered a bit when they appeared at the gates of Konoha, the wings vanishing. Forcing himself to move, he presented his papers and made his way into the gates, ignoring the stares of surprise and wariness that followed him. Naruto didn't go far when he was presented with Sasuke and Sakura standing before him.
"I'm back. It's over."
The rain came down on him, easing his weariness.
"We know Naruto." Sakura said with a sad smile.
A small smile graced his lips as he fell into oblivion and knew no more.
He never saw the tears that ran down her face nor the sudden sorrow that graced Sasuke's dark eyes.
That day the rain continued to pour and the inhabitants settled to digest the story's ending.
That day a dove made its way to Tsunade's office.
She read the message with a frown then cried.
At the complex Suzume made her way back to the labs where she pressed her hands on the glass dome and peered in.
A hand twitched and she smiled.
Part One End
AN: It's done, after so long. I finally finished it. Before you complain, I purposely made it end on a vague note because there's going to be a sequel in which a lot of things will be explained.
Thanks for putting up with me and my failure to update. Now go check out Millennia. XD