Blu: After all this time, I'm gonna do a Naruto version of the 1000 Paper Birds and Memento stories. Though, it won't show as much, okay? Then I'd REALLY be spoiling things. No, I'll just describe three happenings: Hinata's death, Naruto's loss of control with Kyuubi, Naruto's death, and something at the end with to Ocs from Naruto X--to reveal what Naruto is seen as after his death.
May give you slight spoilers to the story, but, hey, you never know--I may just change things up. Because 1000 Paper Birds and Memento were all ideas for what could happen. So, I hope you enjoy "Like Spring." And please review at the end of the story to let me know if it's good!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Only Naruto X and this story and my OCs.
Pairings: NaruHina, NaruSaku.
"Optimism is the human personification of Spring."
He was there when she fell in battle. The Sound had attacked just a few short weeks after his old sensei Hatake Kakashi had died, he'd supposedly killed the snake Sannin Orochimaru, and forcefully brought his teammate Sasuke back to Konoha after almost 3 years. Apparently, Orochimaru had lived--and was furious about the fact that he had stolen his new vessel, thus leading to another battle between Oto and Konoha. It had been going on for days now. How many, Naruto didn't know. All he knew that some shinobi actually stayed on the battlefield and fought until they were either too tired or cut down. A few Sound nins managed to get past the walls of Konoha, planted a few explosives here and there. One was nearby Naruto's apartment, another was where one of the local blacksmiths and Tenten's family lived, and the Academy was blown with no one inside, thankfully.
So much blood had been shed and bodies could be found both in and out of Konoha. The blonde shinobi would've been shaken at the sight--had he not been fighting to make sure no more bodies would be added to the number count. But, when he saw Hinata, who had been fighting for hours on end and was now tired, surrounded by ninja from Oto, he wanted to help her. But those damn ninja seem to be so persistent, going to any lengths to make sure he won't run away.
'Bastards...! The whole lot of 'em!' One punch knocked out the last Sound ninja as Hinata was slashed in the chest. Naruto didn't know what happened afterwards. It was all a blur--the distorted sounds of his screaming in anger and their screaming from the pain of death. All he knew was that he was suddenly running through Konoha, trying to get to the hospital while carrying Hinata on piggyback. He narrowingly dodged an Oto ninja, but it was taken care of by Shikamaru's Kagemane. He saw Ino nearby, as he left the area, he swore he heard the man scream.
"Na...Naruto-kun..." The blonde ninja was glad to see she was still talking. "I...have something that...I want..."
"Don't talk, Hinata-chan! I'll get you to the hospital and then everything'll be okay!" Naruto told her.
The Hyuga heiress coughed up some blood, which made Naruto growl in persistence. Her lavender eyes were now half-lidded and she tried to speak again, "But...I have...something to tell...you..."
"We can talk later, can't we, Hinata-chan?"
"...B-but...I may not...have much time until--"
"Don't say that!" Naruto didn't mean to shout, but the thought of losing Hinata just after losing Kakashi...he couldn't stand the thought. He heard her cough again as he zoomed passed two ninja who were fighting nearby. He didn't have time to identify faces--all that was important was getting Hinata to the hospital.
"But I--" She stopped to cough again. Naruto ignored the red liquid that stained his right shoulder. He was too focused to care at the moment. "I...love you..."
He slowed down for a minute from shock, but kept on running. 'Did she just say what I think she said?'
"N-naruto-kun...I've had these...fe-feelings for you f-from the moment I saw you..." Hinata stuttered.
"Hinata-chan... Please, don't say anymore." 'You have to keep your strength up!' Naruto thought. He then saw the Konoha hospital coming up in sight. 'Finally!'
"She's going to die, you know." Kyuubi spoke in his head.
'Damn fox! Don't start speaking now!' The blonde shouted mentally. The last thing he needed was the demonic vulpine making him more upset. Besides, after he got Hinata to the hospital, Orochimaru died, and the war between Konoha and Oto was over, he would tell the indigo-haired girl how he felt about her.
...But she didn't live for very long, after he left to go back to the battlefield. She had suffered severe blood loss, a vital organ had been struck. Perhaps it was Hinata's own fault--she may have been saved if she had told Naruto before or after the battle about her feelings. Either way, Naruto thought that she would still be alive, and hoped that she would be alive so that they could talk a little more...
It was through anger that Naruto managed to untap all nine tails of the Kyuubi no Yoko, really. Seeing the bodies of his fellow shinobi killed by the enemy...then the thought of what he thought was simply a near-fatal injury of Hinata's...he just snapped into four tails and took out whoever was nearby. The number was unknown to him, but he swore that a bloody-red tail almost lash at a Leaf jonin. Then when he saw Orochimaru--the snake bastard who was responsible for taking Sasuke away from Konoha, who killed the Sandaime Hokage, and a lot more things that could--no, were considered inhumane...anger welled up in him, and before the blonde knew it, all nine tails were unleashed and several shinobi--both Leaf and Sound--were killed, including Orochimaru. And what was worst--and at the moment, Naruto hated to admit this--having his claw-like hand stretch and go through Orochimaru's chest, grabbing his heart and bursting it in one quick motion felt...good. It was scary, but maybe being this far in his transformation without having practiced it made him more demonic.
But then, Sasuke arrived. And he looked upset. "Naruto..." Despite the fact that Naruto wasn't in control at the time, he could still hear. And the Uchiha's voice was practically dripping with venom.
What happened afterwards was sort of a blur, but he was surprised that his Sharingan hadn't suppressed the Kyuubi and reverted him back to normal. Of course, he wasn't looking into his eyes, more like thrashing around madly with all nine tails flailing about. He felt a sword dig him in his leg--or was it hind leg, now?--and heard the sound of a body falling to the ground. Naruto almost worried Sasuke was dead until he heard that raven-haired bastard curse, followed by the familiar sound of a thousand birds chirping.
'HE'S NOT GONNA TRY TO KILL ME, IS HE?' Naruto shouted mentally. In reality, the Kyuubi-Naruto was growling lowly as its nine tails moved around slowly in the air.
"He wouldn't be using that jutsu if he wasn't, now would he?"
'I WASN'T ASKING YOU, dammit!' There was no way Sasuke could kill Naruto! Sharingan or not...a demon vessel who had tapped into its full power and held the strongest bijuu in the world was not exactly easy to defeat all alone... 'WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE OTHER NINJA!'
"What are you complaining for? If you kill him, good. The last thing I want is another Madara!" The nine-tailed demon spoke in Naruto's mind.
'Who cares about what you think? I don't wanna kill Sasuke! That's why I brought him home--'
"And he hasn't spoken to you and claims to not want to be here. Not to mention the fact that he's jealous of us. Yes, it sounds like he doesn't have a reason to kill us."
'What's with all this "us" stuff, anyway?'
"Moron! If you die, so do I. That's the bad part of my being sealed in you."
Naruto ignored Kyuubi and simply thought about the matter at hand. He couldn't lose to Sasuke--he swore that would never happen! But in his current state...winning may also be killing his rival/best friend. 'But...something good has to happen in the end, right? I mean, it can't end for either of us... We still have goals that are unaccomplished...! There's no way I can die! And neither can Sasuke!'
He was wrong. One of them would die...and it was Naruto. He didn't know how, but somehow he managed to stop his Kyuubi-form. Unfortunately, it came a little late, as that moment of hesitation gave Sasuke the opportunity to drive his Raikiri through the transformed blonde's chest. What came afterward was a little fuzzy for Naruto to remember, but he thought that his tails thrashed about in pain and one sent Sasuke away from him before he turned back to normal and landed on his back, conked out.
"You...just had to stop..." The usual angry growl of the Kyuubi was now small and angry. The demon fox almost sounded like it was in pain. But then again, it was dying.
'I was just...thinking it. I didn't think I'd just stop...'
"Just like you didn't think...that your 'friend' would kill you?"
'. . .'Huh? What was that..? Naruto swore he'd felt something touch his face.
"Naruto..." A voice spoke softly as he felt something stroke his cheek.
'That voice...could it be...' "Sa...Sakura-chan..." He said softly as he opened his azure blue eyes. He looked up and saw joy appear in those familiar emerald greens and a look of relief on her face. He coughed up some blood, but nonetheless was he glad to see her face one last time.
"Naruto! You're alive! D-don't worry! I'll heal you and Sasuke, and then--"
"Heh..." The blonde shinobi smiled as he looked up at his ex-teammate, his childhood crush. "I...don't think I'll make it... So tired..." When he saw her eyes widened, he knew she'd get upset.
And he was right. "DON'T BE STUPID! Of course you'll make it! And we'll all be together--you, me and Sasuke!" She sobbed as tears began to brim in her eyes.
'That's just what I wanted too...' Naruto thought as she held her hands over his chest and over the large wound in it. "Sakura-chan... Where's...Sasuke...?" He managed to speak again, but it was sort of getting hard. That hole in his chest was not helping either.
"He's unconscious and badly injured," The pink-haired kunoichi spoke as she kept her eyes on the wound. "But I'll get to him after... Why isn't it working?" She probably knew as well as him that this was one wound nothing could heal. But neither of them wanted to admit it. Sakura didn't want to lose Naruto so soon after Kakashi, and Naruto didn't want to leave so soon without making his dreams come true or telling her how he felt about her. And Sasuke...hey, somebody had to push him to get stronger, right? And he had to talk to Hinata, too. He had so many friends now...and he couldn't even say goodbye to them all.
'Death seriously sucks...' "Sakura... Can you promise me something?" He whispered before coughing up some blood.
"Wh-what...? Though you could do whatever it is you have to do when you get better." She gave a small smile, but it was sad. Even the look in her eyes said she was sad. She knew he was going to die, but she was probably like her blonde teammate--neither one wanted to believe his life would end on this day..."
"P-promise me...you'll take care of...that bastard..." Naruto managed to give her a small smile, trying to ignore the fact that he was dying. "Heh... He might not deserve you...but...make him happy...somehow... Please?" A small part of his mind wondered how he could still be talking and dubbed the Kyuubi as the reason. For once, he was glad that damn fox was there. His following breaths became more labored and he coughed up some blood on her face. When she nodded, he closed his eyes, as he felt they were getting heavy. "Thanks..."
The jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Yoko felt his life beginning to slip away. He was getting to tired to sleep. 'If only I had more time... I wish I could tell you how I feel, Sakura-chan...' He then felt something wet hit his face. Rain? No...it was Sakura...and she was crying. 'Damn...I still made her sad...'
"You can't go yet. Naruto! I never got to tell that I...think I...love you!" He heard the medic-nin sob.
'She...loves me...? Now I feel really bad. That bastard Sasuke better not run off and make Sakura-chan any worse! Or I'll haunt him from beyond the grave!'
"Oh, please... Stop your talking..." The Kyuubi muttered. "Death is...bad enough without you...damn whining..."
'Who's whining? Once I'm dead, I won't have you in my head anymore! AND you aren't gonna be a threat to Konoha or Akatsuki anymore! Meaning the Leaf's two main problems are over!'
"Hmph... I never imagined I'd die listening to a fool."
As the last bit of his life went away, Naruto hoped his friends could find some form of happiness in each other. And that maybe, would learn how precious his friends are later on in life...
"Okay... Now, how did the Yondaime Hokage die?" An 11 year old boy with raven-black hair and dark brown eyes said as he sat on the edge of the bed. "And don't take half an hour for this one, Nataro--" He stopped talking as he saw the boy was eating ramen noodles from a cup. "NATARO!"
"What?" The blonde boy with sky blue eyes asked as he sat on the floor. He looked up at the dark-haired boy with squinted eyes. "Gimme a break, Hanzo. Studying this hard always makes me hungry!" After saying this, he slurped up some noodles with a satisfied look on his face.
"Do you want to fail and stay back?"
"No, but I can always cheat off of you."
Hanzo sweatdropped. "...Why can't you learn on your own, Nataro? Besides, the teacher said he was separating us for this test since it's about 30 percent of our final grade point average."
Nataro spat out his ramen in shock as his eyes became wide. "Wh-what? What are we waiting for! Let's study, study, study!"
The dark-haired boy shook his head and sighed. "Then answer the question. How did the Yondaime Hokage die."
"Oh, that one's easy! Um, he died during the battle with the Kyuubi no Yoko when he sealed it, right?"
Hanzo nodded his head. "That's right. Now, who became the Hokage after the Yondaime died?"
"Er...that's tough. The Sandaime became the Hokage again after the Yondaime died?"
"Quit makin' me feel unsure! It's right!"
"You're right." Hanzo turned another page in the book. "Now... Which one of the Sandaime's students became the Godaime Hokage after his passing?"
"I know this one! It's the lady! The one with the big breasts!" Nataro knocked himself on the head several times before he remembered the answer. "Tsunade?"
"The Godaime was related to two deceased Hokage. Which were they?"
"Er...the Shodai and Nidaime Hokage?" The blonde guessed again.
"Name the two countries that banded together to attack Konohagakure during a Chunin Exam that was held there."
"...Sunagakure and Otogakure!"
"Right again!" Hanzo gave a small laugh. "You just may pass after all. Now, who was Uzumaki Naruto?"
"Aha! I definitely know this one!" Nataro laughed as he stood up and placed his arms firmly at his sides. "Uzumaki Naruto was the one who the Yondaime Hokage sealed the fox bijuu Kyuubi into. He was hated by several shinobi and people who had their family killed by the Kyuubi and saw him as the demon itself. But when he died after killing Orochimaru, who was one of Konohagakure's most dangerous enemies, they recognized him as a hero."
Hanzo arched his eyebrows at this. "Long answer...for once."
The blonde laughed as he scratched the back of his head. "Yeah, well, I tend to get into stuff like that."
"If you give answers like that, then I'm sure you'll pass."
Nataro gave another grin. "Because I'm special, right, Hanzo?"
"Special in what way...?" The raven-haired boy sweatdropped.
Though he is sleeping for now, Uzumaki Naruto lives through this boy named Kazaki Nataro--a young Ninja Academy student with dreams of becoming a powerful shinobi. He doesn't know that he holds great potential or what dangers lie ahead in his life, or even what happened to him in another life yet. But with some hope and a lot of optimism, maybe...just maybe...he'll make it to where he wants to be.
Blu: Actually, there was GOING to be a scene between Nataro and Asura which was set in the time skip for Naruto X I was planning. But, I think I'll make all that drama come sooner in the story, and I didn't wanna spoil things for you people. "Like Spring", "1000 Paper Birds" and "Memento" describe what I probably plan to reveal later on in Naruto X in a bit more descriptive detail. Sort of like the Kakashi Gaiden in the manga tells you about Kakashi's genin team and how he got his Sharingan. (It's also here to help me remember what I wanted to happen. -.-) Anyways, I hope you nice people will review and tell me what you think! Because I totally LOVE reviews! I just hope no one says I made them cry again...I almost cried when most of them said that in their reviews for 1000 Paper Birds. Well, ja ne.