AN: So this definatly took a lot longer than I anticipated to post than I originally thought. Which is funny because about 90 of was written about less than a day after i finished the previous chapter.
But lets face it, when almost everyone sends you comments about the same thing over and over and over again...you tend to get sick of it and the story.
Now a few of you have given well balanced fair reviews. Some of them even said they would keep open minded and put faith in my direction. You guys have my deepest thanks. For everyone else who went into attack mode. Well thats not so much appreciated, but i understand your concerns.
So let me address them.
The Number one problem people seem to had was the copying of the Hiraishin technique. I got a lot of messages saying this was impossible. And you know what...you're absolutely right! So right that i already knew that. IF you read previous chapters, your will note that i said Naruto COULDN'T learn that technique because there was no one alive who knew how to do it! People seemed to know that a master/apprentice duo could do the rasengan, but only the fourth was acredited with doing that specific technique.
So if you look back, I said Naruto used basic principles to create his own technique which involves chakra manipulation and hand signals. As far as i know, this is very much copyable by the sharingan. Especially since he doesnt need Kunai or an outside element to perform the technique. He just needs to control chakra outflow (which i assume sharingan eyes can follow) and use hand signals to 'launch' him into the technique.
If anyone misread and though i had Naruto do the Hiraishin...i suggest you go back and reread. Or maybe i errored and mistyped something in earlier. If i did, please let me know.
The second problem people had was that Sasuke won and Naruto lost. Why this is a problem, im not sure but let me go into my train of thought. You dont have to like it, its just why i had MY fiction go the way it went. After training 2.5 years in the manga, Sasuke was too fast and too strong for Sakura or Naruto. Be it because of his eyes or because he was given ointments by Kabuto to help this along, i dunno. The fact was that he was stronger. So if 2.5 years became 7, i dont have too much reason to think otherwise.
As for Sasuke appearing uninjured, that part may have been misleading, but it was supposed to. If a ninja goes to a village that is hunting him, he will at least fake being in top condition. If he showed he was injured or weak...dont you think people will try and catch him? Ninjas are supposed to be deceptive.
Anyways i think that takes care of the major issues. Once agian, some peoiple gave me fair and balanced looks and this was nice. Others decided to go into attack as if it would make me change my mind about something.
Doesnt matter in the end. Anyways, read what happens in this last chapter or not. Its really up to you. Im rethinking my next project in this series, but i think ill be focusing my efforts in ff8 for a while. I dunno. time will tell.
Enjoy the holiday season everyone.
I dont own Naruto
A figure collapsed in the forest as the exhaustion of his attempts finally bore down upon him with unrelenting fury. He had tried to do too much too soon. His little scene in Konoha was all he could muster before he was forced to make a hasty retreat.
Had they seen the blood soaked clothing underneath his cloak, the Konoha ninjas surely would have taken advantage of his weakened state. For a man who grew up decoding and predicting ninja techniques, he never saw the second Rasengan coming. In the end however it was a futile last ditch effort. He once again, had proven himself to be the victor. And his prize? The eyes that could defeat his brother.
The very same eyes that haunted his nightmares for years were now his own. A smirk came across his face as he realized that after 7 years of training, his mission was almost accomplished. The wounds he received, though painful, would be easy enough for Kabuto to heal once he returned. Hopefully they will find the messenger with Sasuke's location sooner rather than later.
Right now, right now Sasuke wanted to sample his prize. He summoned forth the sharingan eyes that he had grown quite fond of over the years and once again saw the world in a new way. A way reserved for the Uchiha.
But try as he might, he could not call forth the mangekyo eyes. Sweating in frustration he concentrated harder, hoping that maybe he wasn't forcing enough chakra to his pupils but it was to no avail. His eyes would evolve no further.
It couldn't be! He had killed Naruto! No chakra could be sensed from his lifeless body. Sasuke was sure of it! He had done everything he needed, everything his brother said was necessary to gain this power, but nothing!
It was then Sasuke understood that he had once again been deceived by his brother. The true power of the sharingan must have required an additional piece to the puzzle. With his prize stolen from him right in front of his eyes, Sasuke let forth a blood curdling scream that would have chilled the blood of even the most experienced ninjas. He would have his vengeance.
The hokage's office was grim and quiet as the acceptance of the news before them was slowly settling in. Tears slowly dribbled down the cheeks of the fifth hokage as she could only wonder at just how helpless she had been as a leader when her favorite ninja needed him most.
It didn't take long for her to realize the boy's chakra could not be sensed. She didn't have the heart to walk over to Sakura and pry her away from the motionless body of someone who had inspired fear to some, but given hope to many. Once again Tsunade had failed and the curse of that necklace she wore struck again.
But in truth Tsunade was the hokage. The most powerful and loyal ninja in the village of Konoha. And as such, she knew to look underneath the underneath.
A familiar shinobi walked into the room with a solemn expression on their face, careful to only look at the floor least they reveal the sadness that too resided within their eyes.
"Are the preparations complete?"
"All the other items are ready I assume?"
"Yes Hokage-sama. As per the Fourth's instructions."
"Have you told…"
"I didn't want her to get her hopes up. I don't know if-"
"Naruto…Naruto would have wanted her to hope. She must be there. Timing will be crucial." Tsunade looked back down at the papers that lay on her desk and watched them ruin as her tears splattered down against them.
It was hope that refused to let her accept that Naruto was gone. It was the same hope she felt every time she saw the blond and his fearless smile that made her believe anything could be possible. And it was hope, with a little bit of help from her predecessors that convinced her to try something so foolish on the deceased.
"Rin…this will…this will work, won't it?" It was uncomfortable to be the one without the answers all the time, especially in the field of medicine. She was the most experienced medical ninja the world had ever seen yet such a technique was beyond her. It was too risky…it required too much time to master. But it was their only chance.
"I…I don't know Tsunade-sama. But my former sensei had me learn it because she knew she wouldn't live long enough to…to…." The boy had indeed lost everyone close to him. His father had died while burying a curse within him. He had no brothers and sisters to speak of. That left only one person in his life that should have been there to kiss the scraped knees when he fell down from the swing or give him his medicine whenever he felt sick.
But his mother too wasn't there. She needed to complete the Fourth's task. An apprentice like Rin would follow her to the ends of the earth learning medical technique after technique to restore the boy as she could feel her own life force being drained away with every passing day for years to come. The sealing technique the Fourth used had a backlash effect upon her as her child was born and had the monster sealed within. The Horse master was cursed to roam the earth as one of the living dead, but she would not waste what borrowed time she had. Naruto's mother would do everything in her power to give her boy the second chance she knew he would need eventually.
"Then let us prepare."
Because the truth was, Naruto was already dying. The demon was slowly eating away at the boy in order to gnaw its way free from its hellish prison and it would have consumed the child into his death.
Or rather…death was one way you could perceive it. The demon fox certainly couldn't kill his vessel without dooming his own existence, but he could trade places with him. The seal could be weakened just enough for the fox to entrap the foolish boy within while allowing him to reign predominantly over his body free to do whatever he desired with the power to back it up.
At least that was the plan. The Kyuubi hadn't counted on Naruto dying before he could complete the process. And he wouldn't let him either.
Just moments before the boy's spirit would be allowed to pass on to the next world, the nine-tailed fox pulled him within his cage through the weakening seal that still hung there.
The fourth and his bride had predicted something like this would happen to the boy. Yondaime knew the fallacies of his own technique when used against one of the infamous tailed beast. They, along with Rin and the Hokage, were counting on the demon fox's will and desire to live.
It didn't take long for Naruto to figure out what annoyed the Kyuubi so much about being confined within a small space like this prison for any length of time. After only minutes of his newfound captivity he found himself immensely bored, despite the nine-tailed monster that watched him like a morsel that was ready to be devoured.
And yet the Kyuubi would and could do nothing to him without putting its own safety at risk. For a greater demon, the Kyuubi sure could be a chicken at times. Doesn't help that it sometimes looked more like a feral bunny than a fox.
"Oye! Bastard! What when are you going to let me out of here!" The fox's eyes grew with anger as it focused a swirl of chakra around its body. "Send me back out! Are you listening to me! OYE!"
A howl accompanied by a strong gust of wind sent Naruto flying back against the bars of the cage to smack against them with Sakura-like ferocity. His body sunk down to the ground as the mysterious force of gravity seemed to extend itself to….wherever the hell this place actually was.
"What was that for you stupid fox!?" Naruto was angry. Angry because he lost the fight against his rival when everything was said and done. Angry that he was trapped in a dark cell that smelt of urine with a monstrous creature. And Angry that now more than ever, he couldn't have what he wanted most. Sakura.
"Bastard….!" Naruto began quickly molding chakra to attack his jailor for his insults, only to find his attempts were quite unsuccessful. All the power he released was slowly being absorbed into the walls of the cell and dissipated faster than he could generate it.
"What's..?" That's right…Naruto remembered now. No seal alone could possibly hold back the Kyuubi indefinitely. The fourth had certainly realized that much. But he could have a seal that in addition to binding the greater demon, have it eat away at any excess chakra it could produce. Despite what many people think, even Naruto knew when it was appropriate to do a bit of research.
"No wonder you lost." The giant fox wrapped its tail against itself as it laid down for some rest. Even he could take only so much of the boy's rantings before he too grew tired of it.
"You failed and died in the process. You are unworthy." That arrogant prick…
This was no time for foolish behavior. Naruto needed something. Badly enough that he would take it from the demon if necessary. His voice was flat and calm though a threat hung veiled underneath it. "Set me free and give me your power."
The fox continued to remain there, unconcerned for the brat's demands. He already knew what destiny awaited the child. Well, any living being was a child compared to the Kyuubi.
The bray was to be set free and the seal would be reinforced. The man who defeated him so many years ago was clever, cleverer than the sly fox himself. Kyuubi had no false delusions that Naruto would remain here or that it would be granted a chance to escape…unless….the boy took a part of him with him. If a part of the Kyuubi's essence where to be given to the boy and escape along with him, it may give the beast the leverage it needed to break free from its prison. All he needed to do was fool an idiot hapless ninja.
"You desire power?" The Kyuubi could only send Naruto so much power through its jail before too much of it was eaten up by the seal itself. But now they were both on the same side. The Kyuubi could help ingrain it into Naruto's very being.
"You want to win?" If the Kyuubi merged a portion of himself to the boy, it might just give him the leverage he needed to be free, seal or not. Giving the boy untold amounts of strength would be a small price to pay for gaining the right to be its own master once again. Then there was also a small side benefit.
This tailed beast was anything but humble and commanded respect from all worthless humans. Those who did not bow down and submit to his might deserve only to be eaten or cast aside as trash. And then to think, the great and almighty Kyuubi was indirectly defeated by one of these lower organisms. Even demons sought revenge.
"Then you shall have it." Naruto was no fool. The gift would be a double-edged sword that would come back into the future to haunt him, but his options were limited and his passion burning with desire for a way to beat Sasuke. All he needed now was a way out of this prison.
The Kyuubi could feel the presence of outside chakra being enacted on the boys lifelessly body already. It seems the humans were quick to use the unsealing technique to free Naruto from his temporary confinement. The nine-tailed fox had to act quickly lest it lose its window of opportunity.
Summoning up much of the strength that had made dormant the past twenty years, the Kyuubi concentrated a portion and focused it into the boy. The massive swarm of chakra 'attacked' Naruto and lifted him up into the air as his body absorbed the wicked aura. And all through the procedure…there was silence. Not because it was a painless process…but because even his voice could not scream so high.
When Naruto accepted all that he could, his body fell limp against the sealed gate with his eyes looking as if they were about to bulge out of their sockets. His hands shock with power and fear and his skin was singed by the awesomeness of it all.
With the Kyuubi's part completed and its ultimate plan slowly being put into effect, it regained its curled position on the floor. The seal was breaking just enough for Naruto to be pulled out by familiar green chakra before it would recompose itself once again.
The demon fox was too wise to attempt an impossible escape just yet. Patience. His time will come soon enough.
He could see….His senses were brilliant and multiplied several times further than he ever thought possible for a ninja. As tired and beaten as Naruto's body was, he felt a new and constant surge of energy and chakra flowing through his system and revitalizing his broken physical self.
His nose picked up scents that must have been coming from an impossibly far distance as the familiar scent of ramen reminded him of his favorite shop. Yet it was clear enough that he was in the middle of the forest and no where near any food establishments.
However what truly entertained and tickled his fancy, was the smell of cherry blossoms that was so near and so thick that he could touch it. Oddly enough, it was the cherry blossom that was touching him with soft silky hands that cupped the side of his face as tears dribbled down her cheeks to splash against his nose.
Sakura's eyes were a rainforest of beauty as she lit up with hope of seeing Naruto start to move again with the strength rapidly returning to his limbs. But this strength was unlike any he had used before. He felt like he was on a constant high. Unlike the many times he had to borrow energy from the tailed-beast, this time the chakra showed no signs of needing to retreat. This time the energy felt to be a constant and active part of him.
"Sa…Sakura?" Alright, it was time to milk this experience for all it was worth. He may have been feeling stronger than ever before, but she certainly didn't need to know that, not just yet.
"Naruto….you….idiot." Naruto's body was leaning against her as she cuddled his head against her. She leaned down and planted a small kiss upon his forehead before focusing once again on his eyes. Those two bright blue orbs of hope continued to shine and prove to her that this wasn't some insane genjutsu. He was real. Nothing could imitate the Narutoness of that look in his eyes. "I told you not to…You shouldn't have….Why did you…."
In a sense it was great for Naruto to see Sakura worried about him so much, but this too was a double edged sword. When she regained her composure and Naruto had healed enough….something told him he would have a lot of pain in his near future.
"I'm sorry Sakura….but I had to leave….I just had to go and-" His talk was interrupted as the presence of two other ninjas had finally made them selves apparent. Naruto could only assume he was so infatuated with being alive and with being with Sakura that his senses had overlooked them. Or perhaps he felt no danger emanating from them.
"I'm sorry Naruto…but you do….you do have to go." The Fifth Hokage dropped several packs containing most of Naruto's personal belongings just a few feet in front of him. Rin was close behind holding most of Sakura's prized possessions, though the only thing that truly mattered to her was already within her arms.
"Granny?" Alive again for only minutes and he was already cracking jokes towards the only senior there. A person's spirit truly does always live on.
"Naruto…I'm sorry but there is no time. You must leave Konoha for now, while everyone still believes your dead, while Sasuke still believes your dead." The tears that were trickling down her eyes gave the blond ninja a feeling that this leave from Konoha might just be a permanent thing. "Get stronger Naruto…get stronger. One day…One day you will be able to come home again. That's a promise of a lifetime." Tsunada turned around and started walking away from the only other family she had allowed into her life. Long goodbyes would only be more painful. Besides, she would keep her promise and that meant Naruto would be coming home again.
At the thought of his last bit of family leaving Naruto tried to jump up and stop her but found Sakura's hold upon him to be too strong too simply let him go. She needed him here with her now…now and always. Nothing could tear them apart from one another now that the gift of life has been bestowed upon him. Time was something he would not waste.
He continued to hear her muffled sobs as she continued to cry into him, still battling with her own disbelief that he was walking the earth once again. Yet here he was in the flesh, acting more like himself than she ever knew possible.
Rin slowly stepped forward and bowed while offering a slip of paper. She had spent years of separation from her home village and from the man she had fallen in love with to follow the one she would call master in hopes of accomplishing her dreams. Now after all that time her work was finally completed. Her master could forever rest in piece and Rin could continue with the life she had cherished and developed. Rin had finally finished. She could actually move on. "Take this. Gaara of the sand is awaiting your arrival. You should be able to stay there, at least for a little while."
Her voice continued to shake with each passing word, knowing what she had to ask of Naruto. It was the same sacrifice she made when following his mother in trying to perfect that medical technique. Leaving the only home you loved for an unknown amount of time was a painful task to ask of anyone. "Naruto….I'm…I'm sooo-"
"It's ok Rin-san…Its Ok" Sakura looked up towards her new found friend with a smile upon her face equaling the joy in her heart. "As long as Naruto and I are together…its ok." She continued to cuddle and hold him like her life depended on it, just relishing in the fact that his body wasn't cold anymore.
"I'll try to keep you updated about what's happening in Konoha. But please Naruto…stay safe….grow stronger…" Again she was interrupted. It was getting harder by the minute to make any of these thoughtful speeches.
"He will Rin-san. We both will." Rin smiled at the couple and felt it was time to take her leave of them. They would have a long journey ahead of them filled with peril and mischief. But in the end they would be fine so long as they had each other's strength to draw upon.
Rin vanished into the emptiness of the forest, leaving the two former Konoha-shinobi alone to start a new life together. A perfect beginning.
"You're sure you want to come with me?" Sakura had a life in that village, she had attachments and people she cared about. Leaving and joining Naruto as a forever wandering ninja would mean to abandon all that.
"You won't get rid of me so easily." It was already getting late and they had much distance to cover, but what real hurry did either have?
"It won't be so bad. We should be able to spend a lot of time with Gaara there. We could get a nice apartment. Practice having a few kids. Take up some new identities. Practice having a few kids. Make some new friends. Practice having a few kids." He truly did have a one track mind.
"And what about actually having some kids?" Sakura was no fool. She knew just what was racing through his thoughts.
"Well if you insist." He reached up to kiss her, only to have the top of his head quickly meet with her fist. "Baka! Not here!" Good, that implied that all they needed was a change of location.
Sakura finally let go of Naruto and saw him stand up with relative ease given his former injuries. This wasn't the time to ask, but she had a sneaking suspicion who was responsible for his rapid recovery.
"I mean it though Sakura. One day….I don't know when….But we will come home again. It's a promise of a li-" The blond ninja immediately found his ear was being yanked by the overly pushy and bossy pink haired one.
"Don't you dare say 'Promise of a Lifetime'!" She pulled him around and cooed playfully into his ear. "Why don't we just save this lifetime for us?"
So the question comes around again. Can you ever really come home again? Do the people change, or is it the person who left that changes? Will the home you carry so many memories be the same one that you return to? Is it one you want to return to?
Regardless of what the answer may be for you, Naruto is quickly learning that home, home is where the heart is and his heart is with Sakura. His home is now always with him.
Whatever may come, one thing remains for certain. Sakura and Naruto's adventures have just begun.
Review, dont review. Its up to you. The stories over and the potential sequel wont be up anytime soon. The alternate story i was planning on may or may not come up sometime this month. Depends.
Why end this story here if i may continue the storyline? Its called home again. The whole point was about if one could truly come home or not, and if they did, what would happen. I feel that has accomplished, and thus this story has played itself out though it did leave a few things open so i could continue along the same plotline later if i liked.
Until next time, take care.