The Paths We Walk



A hand slowly got up from beneath the blue bed cover and switched the clock off. The man lying in the bed, however, made no other motion than that other than opening his eyes. He stared at the wooden ceiling for a few minutes. He never did like to get up early. The sun was shining through the windows and reflecting off the wooden ceiling. He finally decided it was time to get up. He pulled the covers off his body and sat up.

He had blond hair that was spiky at the tips. It didn't have spikes on top because it fell down around his head. Two black bangs fell on the sides of his face, overshadowed by his golden blonde hair. It had spikes on the ends, slightly covering his shining blue eyes, with some spikes springing up in random places, and some hair falling around the rest of his head. He had three whisker marks on each cheek, making him look slightly foxy. He had slightly tanned skin and a body, while lacking an extreme build, that was nonetheless powerful and agile. He was wearing nothing but a pair of black boxers with orange spirals randomly placed over them. He looked over to the other half of the bed, and noticed that it was empty. Sighing, he decided to go find his wife.

He went to get changed in the closet, which was fifteen feet from the bed. He slid open the door and walked in. As he looked for suitable clothing, his eyes fell upon an old orange jumpsuit. He smiled slightly remembering his carefree years of innocence, before this whole war started. He continued looking, and then noticed his current shinobi garb. The black and orange battle suit made him remember of his duty. Years ago he said he'd never go back on his word. Boy, did he regret those words now.

His eyes landed on a blue shirt with a green leaf on the back and a pair of black pants. He pulled them off and put them on, not tucking in the shirt. He walked out of the closet and closed the door. He looked at the clock for the first time that morning, to find that it read 9:30. The man knew his wife wasn't on duty yet, so he knew where she was. She'd been going there a lot lately. He walked across the tatami mat to the sliding door across the room, opened it, and walked into the hall.

The hall was traditional, with some flowers in vases on small tables along the halls. 'She sure does have a thing for flowers.' he thought. Well, he couldn't complain; he liked plants too. He turned left and walked down the hall. After walking about thirty feet, he came to the stairs on his left, and walked down them. He stepped into the entrance of the house and looked down to where the weapons were. He didn't touch them for now, he had no need. He walked forward and sat down on the entrance step to put his black sandals on. Opening the door, he stepped out into the sun.

He walked past the Hyuuga clan house on his way to the secondary market, and past that was his destination. He didn't have to walk, but he felt it enjoyable to walk in the sunlight. The villagers he passed gave him looks. However, they were not the same looks as before when he was young. From those who were lucky and ignorant of catastrophe, he received greetings or smiles, or nothing by some as they went about their daily business. For the few who did know of what was coming, he only saw fear. Several people from far-away lands had come to push back the enemy, but even with all of them, it seemed hopeless. He continued to walk through the market until he came to a group of his closest friends.

The seventeen of them turned their heads to him and noticed his face. From the looks on their faces, they had been talking about a serious topic. They turned to him and he stopped. They came to him and greeted him in a less than cheery way. They did what they could to give him comfort, whether it in the form of a hug or a pat on the shoulder. Finally, the sand-wielding Kazekage Gaara gave him a one-armed hug and told him "she's in the training field, the usual one, but I'm sure you knew that, didn't you." he said knowingly. The man nodded and walked past them, waving a good-bye. He met up with several others he knew from various places, but then he met up with more of his oldest friends.

He was almost out of the market when he encountered a group of Jonin and a young child headed towards him. When they met up, they all gave him a greeting in their own way, each with a slightly sad look in their eyes. Finally, Kakashi went to him with the young boy and they hugged him, and Kakashi with Jiraiya told his former student to take care and enjoy himself. The boy just said "nii-san." Naruto gave a small smile and nodded, ruffling the boy's brown hair. Walking past them, he jumped into the forest and the training areas. The wind was blowing.

He was walking into one of the training areas, and felt the wind rustle his blond hair. He wanted nothing more to be free of this curse. He wondered why it had to be him. He was cursed since childhood, and yet even after everyone slowly saw him as human and a hero, he became forced to walk this path. Now, it was all coming to an end. Konoha would fall, along with everything else. All those years of training will have been for nothing after this.

Entering another training ground, he saw five friends who had become an extended family to him, along with his other friends, but these five were special. Together, they'd been to hell and back too many times to count on all their hands combined. They looked at him, and he at them, for several minutes in a comfortable silence. They were going through the same thing. Even if they weren't raised here, they still considered it a home. Finally, they went about their separate ways, each of them understood perfectly, and each to say what may be their good-by's. He continued on his way, and to each their own, and to his destination, where he knew she would be: the stone of the fallen shinobi.

There she was, in black ANBU attire, with the hood up and mask of a wolf behind her head. He walked past the old training posts to his wife, and she turned her head to greet him. She had deep blue eyes and hazel hair that shined in the sun. She had two bangs of light brown hair shining falling down the sides of her face in slight curves, but her hair wasn't curly. There was more a little above her eyebrows. She had the slightest tan on her skin, and a beautiful face, giving a backing to her name. He couldn't see her figure, but he knew what she was a beautiful woman.

"Hey, Michiko-chan" he said.

"Good morning, Naruto-kun" Michiko said.

Naruto gave a true smile to her. They never did outgrow those cute suffixes. He walked over to her, and she smiled at him. He took her hand and they stood there, looking at the memorial. They looked for names of loved ones and people they cared about, and thought about possible future names they never wanted added. Finally, after a half-hour of silence between the two, she looked at her watch and sighed. She had to report for duty.

"Naruto-kun, I have to report. I'll be back as soon as I'm done. You're not going to move from here, are you?" she asked, though she already knew her answer.

"No. I'll be waiting" he said, and kissed her for a few seconds. She smiled sadly and used shunshin no jutsu to vanish. Naruto just stood there, and looked at the stone. Fifteen minutes later, he felt a drop of water fall on him. He looked up as the rain got harder. The wind had blown clouds in. 'Typical' he thought. He just continued looking at the stone with sadness in his eyes.

'You know, it is said people always use their last days alive thinking about their lives and enjoying it before they die.'

He looked at one name in particular, the name of the Yondaime Hokage. No one knew his true fate at the time, and thus his name was carved in. Boy, the villagers were surprised to learn of the Yondaime's living state, and were even more surprised to learn of his connection with Naruto, and what he'd left for them.

'I chose to walk this path, and I have no one to blame but myself. Please, let me tell you of my journey. I doubt I'll get another chance to speak. The joy and pain, I'll tell you everything you'd ever want to know.'


Well, one down, countless more to go. I've got a lot to explain, so let me elaborate on some things


San- basically addressing someone of equal status, Mr. or Ms.

Kun- A way of referring to close males, can be used for male friends or boyfriends.

Chan- A way of referring to young children or close female companions or girlfriends

Sama- Referring to someone with the utmost respect.

Sensei- Referring to a teacher, and is also used in public, though it is sometimes used for superiors.

These are the main suffixes I will use. If I use any others, I'll define them. I may not always use suffixes.

Michiko, by the way, means beautiful wise child, which is why I said there is a backing to her name.

You'll find out about the man he has to fight later in the story, and also about the six men who are like a close family with him.

If anything confuses you, pay attention to the story. I put parts in that would describe the situation subtly, like the one where he said he hates mornings, but got up around 9:30, I put that there to show that now isn't a good time for him, because even then, he had trouble getting out of bed. If you got a feeling of sadness and worry coming from this chapter, then I did my job right. I try to leave nothing to waste.

This is my first fic, so cut me some slack. I will make more, so look at them too. I got some good, original ideas that haven't been done before. Look for them, I promise you won't regret it.

If you wanna flame, go ahead. If you like it, give a review. I like people to judge my work, but please respect this: I got the whole fic planned out in my head, so don't just give ideas, because they'll fall on deaf ears. This is gonna be good, so just watch my vision come to the net. If you have questions, go ahead and ask. I'll answer every question in these notes at the end of every chapter.

This is gonna be a naruXoc but don't worry even if you don't like the pairing you'll love the story, I guarantee it. Just give it a chance.

One more thing: I'll try not to leave notes this long again.

Well, that's it. R&R