Disclaimer: don't own.
'Damn, what's going to happen?' I wondered impatiently, all the anxiety and nerves in my stomach not decreasing in the slightest. It's been at least six hours since we heard anything or seen our future selves. I glanced over at Sasuke, who had remained as silent as the grave since our last conversation.
I didn't like having all this time to think. I crossed my arms, leaning up against the cool stone of the wall in back of me. Many things had been running through my head ever since I arrived in this time, one blow after another. Each time, things got more and more shocking and complicated.
'But if he was telling the truth… Come on, what reason would he have to lie?' My older self had said that the Akatsuki leader was my father… I shook my head numbly, wondering whether or not it was real.
'He doesn't have any reason to lie.' The stubborn voice whispered again. I knew it was true… why would he? The older Naruto didn't seem the type to just make something up for the fun of it.
Then the Yondaime betrayed Konoha and created Akatsuki? 'But didn't the Yondaime seal the Kyubbi in me?' I thought, biting my lower lip so hard I tasted blood. Why would my own father do that to me, and then leave to lead a terrorist organization?
'He… he was the Hokage, dammit! This doesn't make any sense!' Why would a father leave his son and village, create Akatsuki, and then send murderers after his own son later on? In my time, the Akatsuki are after me because of the Kyubbi.
'Why did he seal the demon inside me in the first place?' I ran a hand through my hair, aggravated and confused… who would do such a thing? What kind of Hokage, of a man was he? Most of all, why didn't anyone tell me my own father was the fucking Yondaime?!
I guess it was another law people had just left me out of.
Bastards. 'I don't understand any of this.' I thought, inwardly seething; gripping my black shirt where underneath the seal lay. None of it made sense. If it was the truth, then everything was a lie. Everything people had told me was a lie from the start.
I thought I was just an orphan in the beginning. I didn't know why everyone hated me and always looked at me with disgust written across their face. I was lost. Alone and didn't even know why. All I knew is that I was not wanted.
Then when I was twelve I learned I had a demon sealed within me. The Nine Tails that had tried to destroy Konoha all those years ago. Things began to make more sense, the reason why everyone in the village hated me started to make more sense. But things were slowly getting better when I became a part of Team 7.
I always wondered why the Yondaime sealed the Nine Tails in me; I just never bothered to ask anyone. People seemed to get really on edge and guarded whenever the subject of the Kyubbi was mentioned. I just learned not to talk about it.
Not that I myself wanted anyone to find out.
But now I just learned he was my father. Now, all the stupid, childish dreams I used to have when I was a kid went up in flames. I used to imagine that my parents would suddenly appear one day saying they had just returned from a top secret elite ninja mission to save Konoha. I would actually have parents, then. I wouldn't be the only one on graduation day who didn't have family congratulating them. I wouldn't be the one who didn't have anyone waiting for them at home.
'Stop thinking about this!' I ordered myself sternly, not wanting to contemplate this for the millionth time. 'But why didn't anyone tell me..?' I thought, an icy sinking feeling plummeting to the bottom of my stomach.
"Naruto… stop straining yourself."
I blinked in surprise, looking over to my teammate who now retained a calm, impassive expression once more. I instantly glared at him for the insult, but the anger left me pretty quickly as I just sighed heavily and stared at the dirty cell floor.
"We'll see if it's true or not when we return to the past." Sasuke said further, his voice emotionless.
"If the Yondaime really was my father… he sealed the Kyubbi in me. Then, he sent his men out and tried to kill me. Why would he do that to his own son?" I asked lowly.
'Not to mention that I killed my own father in my future…' I could feel my insides uncomfortably clench. I didn't even know how to feel about that.
"…Maybe he did that because you are his son." The Uchiha answered unexpectedly.
"What?!" I exclaimed, my gaze returning to him.
"Maybe he intended to use the Kyubbi's powers later. The safest, closest place would probably be his kid, ne?"
I glared coldly, "But he left Konoha, and everyone believes he's dead!"
Sasuke shrugged, "I don't know what he was thinking. I can only assume."
I steamed, punching the ground so hard I made a crack in the jagged stone. Sasuke said nothing as I crossed my arms again, the pain in my right hand proving to be a good deterrent for my muddled thoughts. I could absently feel tiny droplets of blood pour down my knuckles. I nodded to myself after a moment, coming up with my decision.
When I return to the past, I'll train really hard and get strong. When I'm strong enough I'll face the entire Akatsuki… and go head to head with the leader. I won't stop until I know I've defeated that man. I ask questions and demand answers.
'Whether I kill him or not…' I narrowed my eyes on my bloody fist.
"Right now, we need to focus on escaping. I've come up with a few plans that might work." Sasuke responded to my silence.
"Okay." I replied seriously.
"Hn. So here's my first idea…"
"Well, do you two have anything to say for yourselves?"
Scowling, I stared at my Hokage as her stern gaze fell on both me and Kenji standing beside me. 'Those bastards knocked us out.' I held back a growl, angry and frustrated that just when we actually had a clue they decided we couldn't go. They just left without us…
I shouldn't be so surprised. Dammit, I actually should have kept my guard up around those two more. Needless to say, I knew what happened when I woke up in Konoha, being carried by Shikamaru. Neji was carrying a still sleeping Kenji as well.
'Damn that asshole…' I'm nothing like Uchiha Sasuke.
"No." I finally answered dully.
"We just went so we could find out what happened to our time's Naruto and Sasuke." Kenji responded, throwing me a heated glare.
I ignored him. "We obviously don't know where they went."
"Why did they leave you two?" Shikamaru asked detachedly from behind me.
Tsunade's heavy gaze lingered on the ANBU in back of us whom had not been dismissed yet. Neji and Shikamaru stood there beside the wall calmly, awaiting their Hokage's orders. I could see that Shikamaru was slightly anxious under his cool exterior because his eyes kept darting towards the door.
"The Toad Boss didn't want us to come," Kenji answered stiffly. "He… he said that…"
But then suddenly Kenji's mother Hinata ran through the door, eyes locking on her son as relief passed through her white gaze. Walking up to Kenji quickly, it all happened in an instant as her pale hand flew swiftly across his cheek.
'The jerk finally got what he deserves…' I had to fight to keep the haughty smirk off my face.
"How dare you, Kenji. How could you even think to leave Konoha without any word? Did - Did you know how worried sick I was?! We're in a war, Kenji. Do you know how it feels when I heard my only son went off into enemy territory with only kids?! You could have died…"
"Kaa-san…" Kenji muttered, rubbing his reddened cheek in half shock. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to know what happened… I thought maybe I could get revenge, or…"
"You thought wrong. We're going to have a serious talk about this later." Hinata said sternly, but her strong visage melted into a teary, overwhelmed smile as she threw her arms around her son, "Thank God you're all right…"
Kenji patted her back consolingly, shifting a sideways glance over to me and glaring. I rolled my eyes, looking back over to the blonde Hokage who was currently wearing a satisfied smirk on her young features.
"Where's my Kaa-san?" I asked after a moment, confused as to where she would be. Right now, she would have been tearing up the office in a fit of anger at my leaving the village.
"She was on the rescue mission with us," Neji responded to my question. "Sakura and Kakashi went to investigate where Naruto and Sasuke ran off to. They were tracking down their scents."
I blinked, stiffening. 'Kaa-san went too?' Worry began to fester in my mind as I turned to Neji. 'That toad said it was dangerous… what if Kaa-san got mixed up in something bad?' I frowned, clenching my fists tightly.
"Why isn't she back yet?" I demanded, impatient.
"That's something we still have to figure out." Tsunade said clearly with a hint of authority as every gaze in the room was directed on her. "Now boys, do you have any clue as to what Naruto and Sasuke found out?"
"Yes," I said, glancing over to Kenji whose face hardened.
"What is it?" the Hokage retorted not amused, arching a blonde brow.
Kenji spoke up. "My father… from this time… is still alive."
The room went deathly quiet.
"Impossible." The Hokage said immediately, "He was practically the Hokage himself. Naruto would have never just left Konoha for no good reason. This is pure nonsense."
"It's what we heard the toad Gamabunta say," I said evenly.
"…Naruto-kun. Naruto-kun couldn't be…" Hinata looked very pale and I noted that her balance was growing unsteady. She shook her head stubbornly, "No, Naruto-kun… he's dead… he has been for a long time. He, he wouldn't…"
"Kaa-san, Gamabunta was going to take only Sasuke and Tou-san to where the Naruto from this time was. He said that it would be dangerous if he took us… he also said he couldn't say much because he was sworn by his master." Kenji went on uneasily.
"But Jiraiya is dead," Tsunade stated, "He doesn't have a master anymore!"
"Not unless it was Naruto that made him swear." Neji replied, white eyes sharpening.
"He said for certain that Sasuke did not kill Naruto," I added as everyone's gaze rested on me.
"I don't understand, why - why would Naruto-kun do this? I don't… this is wrong, it must be… he, Naruto-kun…" Hinata's eyes closed as she began to fall, Kenji cursed in alarm as Neji adeptly caught his cousin before she hit the floor.
"Kaa-san! Are you okay?" Kenji asked his mother gently, shaking her arm to see if it would make her wake up.
"She passed out. The shock must have hit her too hard," Neji responded coolly, "Even if this is the truth, this was not the correct way for Hinata-sama to hear."
The white eyed ANBU captain set Hinata on an abandoned chair in the corner of the room, making sure she wouldn't fall as he turned his attention back on to the others. Shikamaru stepped forward, his dark eyes narrowing on his Hokage.
"Hokage-sama," the lazy ninja drawled, "I think its best to first return to where we found Satoshi and Kenji and track down Kakashi and Sakura. If my instincts are right, we'll need to devise a well suited team for combat purposes."
"You think there'll be a fight?" Tsunade said tiredly, her brown eyes turning to silts.
"I don't want to be unprepared… there must be a reason why Sakura and Kakashi have been detained." He replied carefully.
"Here are my orders…" the Hokage began commandingly, "Shikamaru; you are now the leader of this mission. As captain you are to retrieve the twelve year old Naruto and Sasuke, along with Kakashi and Sakura…"
She cleared her throat, "Verify if what Satoshi and Kenji say is true. I have a hard time believing that our Naruto is alive… but I'm not taking any chances. If he is, he must have a damn good explanation that I'm waiting to hear.
"I've known the Toad Boss Gamabunta since before all of you were born, and he never came across as a liar. He served Jiraiya respectfully and always had a good sense of morals on him. If he claims that Naruto isn't dead, it warrants investigation.
Shikamaru, I want you to bring all the materials you have to send Sasuke and Naruto back to the past. After you complete the mission and retrieve the boys, take them back to the Valley of the End and send them on their way. They have been here too long, regardless…"
"WHAT?!" Kenji started, taking a step forward, "What do ya mean, send them back? They're leaving already?!"
I stilled, shocked at this new information as I gritted my teeth. 'Good riddance,' I thought, but angered myself by feeling a tiny seed of regret. I only met my father once – if that even counted since it was his twelve year old form. Now, he's going to leave and that's it… nothing more, nothing less.
I suddenly wished I never went with him to Cloud in the first place.
"Of course!" Tsunade snapped, miffed about being interrupted. "There are many consequences that we aren't even aware of with this time travel. It's best to send them back now before we reap what they sow."
"But… do you even know how to send them back?" I asked after a pause.
"Yes," Shikamaru answered, "It's sketchy but I think I've figured it out. I agree though, it's best to send them back now before they can't ever return."
"Humph…" Kenji crossed his arms, looking away stubbornly.
"Well, whatever… who cares anyway?" I muttered darkly, mostly to myself.
"Yes, but what about their memories?" Neji questioned wisely, "The council wishes for them to be erased, Hokage-sama."
The blonde Hokage smirked, "I guess there's just no time, eh? Too bad…"
'Crafty Hokage probably planned something like this all along,' I thought knowingly as all the people in the room nodded in agreement.
"Anyway…" Tsunade went on, "Assemble a suitable team, Shikamaru. I also need you to give something to Naruto and Sasuke," she picked up a scroll on her desk, motioning for the shadow nin to take it. "This is very important. It grants complete amnesty to Naruto and Sasuke to the village of Konoha… no matter any circumstances…"
Shikamaru took it, stashing it away. "Amnesty..? For both Naruto and Sasuke? Don't you think…?"
"I know what I think." She replied shrewdly. "I believe that Naruto and Sasuke can change our future for the better from the moment I saw them. They may have to do things that I won't understand in the past, so I need to make sure they can act as freely as possible. This will help, I'm sure of it."
"You place a lot of faith on two would-be traitors." Neji cut in, his tone, though respectful had a hint of disregard.
"My father is not a traitor!" Kenji retorted hotly.
I scoffed, "Are you so sure?"
Furious white orbs met my obsidian ones. "This is neither the time nor place, Satoshi, Kenji! Try for once to act like you are part of the same cell!" ordered Tsunade. We dropped our guards but I kept a watchful eye on the Uzumaki.
"I cannot vouch for the Uchiha. But for Naruto, I can and I will. Once that boy gets an idea into his head there's no way he'll stop until he's reached that goal. Uzumaki Naruto was destined, no, born to be Hokage. That was his dream and I will not stain his memory by calling him a traitor or anything else…" Tsunade said sharply.
"Naruto will change our present. I believe in him more than I believe in anyone. That twelve year old boy has got what it takes to change everything, and I know he will. And yes, I will stake Konoha on that."
Everyone's silence deafened the room as the Hokage's amber eyes grew teary and reminiscent of a time that seemed like ages ago. She smiled, a steely glint of utmost confidence shining through.
"Naruto is that one that taught me how special dreams are. I know that when you send them back, Naruto is going to be the one in this chair, not me. This Akatsuki war and everything will fade into a future long forgotten to a future that was meant to be. I know this… they'll set things right."
I could see Kenji beaming proudly at his Hokage as I just glanced away, frowning. '…A future that was meant to be?' I wondered what this future would look like. Everything seemed to be riding on Naruto and Sasuke… would they be able to pull it off?
"From this point on at the age I am now, I do not regret any decisions I have made… But I will change the ones I have made in the future."
Sasuke had promised that to me.
'But would he keep his word?' I thought, closing my eyes.
…I think so.
"Now, have you chosen a team, Shikamaru?" the Hokage asked.
"I'll go," Neji said immediately.
"Right," Shikamaru gave a nod in return. "I was also thinking about the other member of Team 7. Do you have any idea where"-
A poof of black smoke appeared in the middle of the room.
"Yo. I have just returned from my mission." Sai gave his Hokage a fake smile. "Here's the mission report." He handed over a scroll to Tsunade, completely ignoring everyone else in the room.
"Sai! You're late, you know. You were supposed to arrive back two days ago!" Tsunade growled at the Root ANBU.
"Was I? Gomen, I was distracted by the dozen of Akatsuki ninja after my hide. You see, they were quite displeased when I stole their strategies for their upcoming battle against Sand."
"Quit the sarcasm." She replied, glaring.
"Hai, Hokage-sama." He said easily with a pleasant smile.
"Humph, well Sai. I have another mission for you, so it seems." The Hokage continued haughtily. "How would you feel retrieving your fellow twelve year old teammate Uzumaki Naruto?"
He blinked, his cheery mask crumbling for a second. "What?"
"Not to mention Uchiha Sasuke…" Shikamaru said with a smirk, catching on.
"What the hell's going on? The traitor too?!" Sai questioned, now staring at everyone in the room. "And where's the Hag?"
"My Kaa-san is not a Hag!" I retorted, annoyed.
"Naruto is here? What do you mean twelve?!" Sai repeated clueless, disregarding my comment.
'Ugh, I hate this guy…' I glared at him coolly.
"I'll explain everything on the way, Sai." Shikamaru said lazily. "Okay… I'll probably need one more…"
"I'm going!" we all turned to see Hinata stand up, fully awake.
"Hinata-sama…" Neji started but she lightly glared at him.
"No. This time I will go. Besides, I deserve more than anyone to find out what happened to Naruto-kun… and if he's still alive." Her soft voice grew firm in resolve.
"That's not a problem, Hinata. They need a medic, anyway." Tsunade said in understanding, giving her a small smile.
"All right, team." The shadow ninja said as Neji, Hinata, and Sai looked over to him once more. "Pack and meet me at the gates in exactly fifteen minutes. We leave now."
"Hai." The three ninja chorused in unison.
It's been two damn days.
Nothing worked - nothing. We tried everything I could think of. I tried burning the seals with my fire, but they appeared to be inflammable. Naruto tried summoning animals but found that none- not even Gamabunta – were coming. Every damn technique proved useless. When we even tried to dig underground we found out there had to be miles and miles of rock hard stone underneath.
'There's no way out of here…' I realized grimly. All my suggestions were shot. Hours and hours of work with no results whatsoever.
"Argh! Isn't there anything else we can try?!" Naruto complained, restless.
"Why don't you think of something?" I snapped.
'I haven't seen our future selves all day. How is Sakura doing?' Damn, is she still even alive? 'No, they need her. They wouldn't kill her if they want her to join Akatsuki…' I couldn't rip my mind away from crying green eyes…
Sakura… If anything happens it's all my fault.
The ground shook as Naruto and I locked stunned gazes, wondering what the hell caused an explosion this time. We heard running footsteps down the corridor and angry yells from the guards. But then, it grew quiet as the person approached.
I stared up at her, shocked and so relieved it must have shown on my face. "Sakura…" I said, fighting to keep the surmounting emotion clear from my voice. I couldn't believe she was standing there.
"Sakura-chan! You're okay!" Naruto exclaimed happily
I noticed she was covered in old and new blood, staining her clothes. Sakura was panting slightly, but didn't seem to be dangerously harmed, save for a few scratches and bruises. Her green gaze stared at us quickly, looking down the hall and then moving back a few feet.
"Move back, I'm going to break down the bars." She said while pulling back a fist that was already glowing with green chakra.
Acting fast, I grabbed Naruto by the back of his black shirt and moved as far away as I could. Sakura's fist connected with the steel bars, cracking the metal into pieces with a loud bang. She reared inside, taking the two of us by the arms and started running at a remarkable pace down the hall.
Trying to run at her pace, I stared up at her. "Sakura, how did you manage to escape?"
"No time," she panted, "Hurry, before they come..!"
Blaring alarms sounded through the entire base, so loud they could make eardrums bleed. A group of henchmen gathered at the end of the hall, over a dozen in total. Sakura dropped us as we fell back on the ground, never stopping as she rammed into the men with her juggernaut-like fist.
The sounds of crunching bones and screams filled the air. The men were obviously no match for a neo-sannin. Naruto and I scrambled to our feet once more as Sakura went right through the wall with another massive explosion, debris falling everywhere.
Sakura turned back to us, moving past the fallen bodies and grasped our arms once again. "We need to go, now! Hurry!" she yelled, running with us out of the hole she had just created and out into the woods surrounding the base.
Not pausing for an instant, we tore through the forest. Ignoring the loud yells from behind, the base quickly faded into the distance as we made our way past many trees, following down the same river we used to find the base before.
"Sakura, how did you escape?" I repeated anxiously.
She absently pointed up to her forehead. I noticed it had a strange green mark on its center, sticking out oddly from her pale skin. "For emergencies, I stored chakra into that point in my forehead. It's a trick Tsunade-shishou taught me. I never thought I'd had to use it… but it was just enough to break out of my binds. I had to wait until the right time to escape though; they could have been near…"
"What about our future selves?" Naruto asked hesitantly, glancing back over his shoulder fearfully.
As if on cue, we heard a thundering rumble from behind us. I looked back, a reply dying on my lips as I saw a twister embedded with flames about a mile away from us. It was huge… at least thirty feet tall and rapidly approaching.
"Oh God… Not now…" Sakura whispered frantically, pushing harder so we moved faster.
Trepidation and raw nerves ate away at my insides, effectively killing off any calm I had attained by the fact we had just barely escaped. I activated my sharingan, narrowing my eyes at the bottom of the massive twisting storm of angry winds and flames.
Our future selves stared right ahead, crimson gazes fixed on us. Naruto had an almost gleeful, predatory expression on his manic face while there was just a deadly anger set on my older self. Turning back in front of me, I centered all my chakra on my legs and pushed as hard and fast as I could.
'They'll catch up to us in no time…' To them, this is just some sort of sick game.
"Sasuke-kun…" Sakura said suddenly with a soft tone. I gazed up at her, noting her green eyes were shining with unshed tears. "That time… it was March 18th, exactly two months after I last saw you at the Sound base. That night… is the reason for Satoshi. Make sure it still is."
My heart pounded in my ears. "Why… why are you saying this now?" I asked, my throat growing dry.
I looked back ahead to see to my amazement, Leaf ninja. Shikamaru, Hyuga Neji, Hinata, and a raven haired man I didn't recognize. They were on top of the trees above us as they jumped down instantly, looking over to Sakura with evident concern.
"What's going on?! Where's Kakashi?" Shikamaru said at once.
"Take them and run!" Sakura's determined gaze locked with the Nara's. "Please… run. I'll try and hold them off. I'm the only one who has a chance to stop them."
"Sakura…" Shikamaru started, but the thrashing sounds of wind and fire grew louder.
"GO!" she yelled, turning back and running towards the furious inferno.
Without any further hesitation, Shikamaru grabbed me and ordered Neji to do the same to Naruto. Before I could yell a protest, we were running away in the opposite direction of Sakura. 'No, she'll die…!' I thought, struggling in the shadow ninja's tight hold of my arm.
"Wait, we can't leave Sakura to fight them alone!" I yelled angrily.
"Let us go, dammit!" Naruto shouted in return, many colorful curses coming from his mouth.
"Wow… you really are back, Dickless!" the unknown ninja remarked, amused and shocked at the same time.
"Who the hell are you?!" Naruto demanded, glaring. "Did you just insult me?!"
"Oh, right. You meet me when you're fifteen. My name is Sai." He responded cordially to us.
"I don't give a fuck who you are," I said furiously, "Sakura's going to die if we don't turn back!"
"Explain the situation, then." Shikamaru said sternly as the group of us ran, yanking my bruising arm harder. "Who the hell is behind that chakra exploding twister?"
"Our future selves, both of them!" Naruto shouted, "We're both the leaders of Akatsuki and we're evil! Way evil! We have to save Sakura-chan!"
"So, it's true then, Naruto-kun…" Hinata started as Naruto looked at her imploringly with even guilt shining through his blue eyes.
"Hinata-chan, you shouldn't be here! You have to run away… the Naruto in this time isn't right! He's… not me." He fought for words as her white gaze fell waveringly to ground. "The Kyubbi took over his mind, he went completely insane!"
"My older self killed Kakashi." I stated seriously, as shocked ninja's paused briefly in their rapid pace to stare at us, aghast at all this information.
Nara grabbed my shoulder, leaning down to look me dead in the eye. "Kakashi is dead. Are you certain?" At my nod he grabbed my arm roughly once more.
"Keep moving. We need to reach the Valley of the End and send these two back right away." He ordered as everyone snapped back into action and began running as fast as possible.
We moved from tree to tree in the forest, "What the hell?" I growled at the supposed leader Shikamaru, "What about Sakura?"
"She was right. Out of all of us, she has the best chance in stopping them. If anything, she was hoping to at least buy some time so we can get a better distance."
"Shikamaru…" Neji said with his Buykagan activated, "They are coming again. I can see Naruto and Sasuke vastly approaching… Sakura is nowhere in sight."
'What the hell did they do to Sakura…?'
"…I'll go make sure we have some time." Neji said to his captain, a steely hardened gaze set on his features. "I wanted for a long time to go up against the ones responsible for the death of Tenten."
Shikamaru nodded gravely. "Be careful."
"Don't do it you baka! You'll be killed!" Naruto yelled, outraged as Neji threw the fox boy over to Sai.
"Neji-nii-san..!" Hinata exclaimed frightfully, taking a step toward the ANBU captain but he just disappeared into wisps of white smoke.
"DAMN IT!" Naruto cursed loudly.
"Team, move on!" Nara commanded as once again, everyone ran through the blurring green forest in a straight line. No matter how much Naruto and I thrashed in their grips, we never got them to let up their relentless hold. "Hinata, keep aware and tell me if Naruto and Sasuke are within three miles of us."
"Hai." She answered dutifully.
"I want to turn back." I spat out coldly to the Nara, trying to get out of his iron-clad grip on my arm.
"Listen, Uchiha. As much as I hate you, you and Naruto are our last chance. I need to get you back in time right now or I'll only have one option left." The Nara's dark eyes glared intensely into my own.
'One option left?' Stricken, I suddenly know what it was by the deadly glint in the shadow ninja's eyes. 'He'll kill both me and Naruto.'
"Why do you think your future selves are so desperate to get you back? They know our back up plan, that's to be sure."
"Fine." I responded heatedly, "But Sakura…"
"Sakura, like Neji, is a shinobi who took a risk for the greater good. If we succeed in bringing you both back to the past, none of this will have to happen…" His grip on my arm increased threateningly, "…Right?"
I scowled darkly back at him as he returned his attention to what was in front of us. "Good, we made it out of Cloud… we should, if we keep up this pace, be able to reach the Valley by nightfall."
"How can we even get back to the past?!" Naruto asked, being dragged along by Sai. "Did you find out a way?"
"Essentially, you and Sasuke are going to have to reenact your fight to trigger the magnetic field. If my assumptions are correct, that should send you back… hopefully fifteen years." Shikamaru responded vaguely to the blonde.
"What do you mean HOPEFULLY?!"
"Jeez, Naruto… you're as loud as ever." Sai commented vacantly.
"Shut up! I don't even know you!"
"In your time, I will join Team 7 in three years."
"Hey! You're the replacement Sakura-chan was talking about…"
"I don't like the term replacement…"
"Shikamaru!" Hinata cut in, effectively stopping their annoying banter. Her white eyes were activated with her bloodline limit. "I see Uchiha Sasuke… and Nar- Naruto-kun less than 3.2 miles away. I cannot report any sight of Neji-nii-san or Sakura. In my calculations, they will reach us in ten minutes."
"Shit." Shikamaru cursed, looking back to see just the twister of angry, foreboding chakra in the distance, tearing up trees from the ground in its wake. "Neji barely bought us a half hour…"
'The Hyuga's dead.' I thought, the sounds of the rushing wind blowing past us. 'That much is certain… I just hope that Sakura… Would he kill her?' I bit down on the inside of my cheek hard, banishing all the overpowering voices in my head.
"Like I said before, they're too strong. You can't take one of them, never mind two." I replied lowly.
"It seems another man's got to take one for the team!" Sai said, sighing as he shrugged Naruto into the direction of Hinata who hastily grabbed him before he fell off the high tree. "I'll do it."
"Sai…" Shikamaru said seriously, "Are you sure?"
"Well, no. It's less dramatic now that the Hyuga did it first, but I might as well all the same. Besides, I never thought I'd get the chance to see my old teammate again." Sai smiled at Naruto, giving him a brief nod.
"Listen, you don't have a chance of beating those guys!" Naruto yelled, waving his arms in the air, frustrated.
"Don't worry, Dickless! I'll see you in a few years."
With that, Sai melted into black ink and I knew he was long gone.
"Damn it! Why the hell doesn't anyone listen to me?!" Naruto yelled as Hinata pulled him with her to match her running speed.
"Come on." Shikamaru yelled we went on without another member.
We passed through more forests, a river, and small plains, each landscape becoming a mere blur of color. By now, my chakra had long since expanded. With the (at least) three days in the cell with barely any food, I didn't have any energy left. The Nara had told Naruto and me to rely on them to take us to the Valley and conserve as much chakra as possible to make our techniques.
Even as the hours went by, I could feel that our older selves were trailing us closely. We didn't stop for even an instant as Hinata all the while tracked on how far they were. Right now, the older Naruto and Sasuke were 3.1 miles away.
Hinata stopped suddenly, "Wait."
We turned our gazes on her calculating, white one. "They are now less then two miles away… without any sign of fatigue." She panted, looking up to her captain. "I have to…"
"HELL NO!" Naruto shouted, grabbing onto Hinata's arm fiercely. "You are not going to save time for the rest of us, Hinata-chan!"
"I must, Naruto-kun. Shikamaru is the only one who knows how to send you back through time…" she smiled a weak, watery one.
"But, Hinata-chan, you don't understand. That man… he'll…" Naruto trailed off, shaking his head. I could guess what was running through his mind.
"I think I'll be a good distraction, at the very least."
The Hyuga placed her hand on Naruto's blonde head, shifting through his spikes in an affectionate manner that made tears sting Naruto's blue eyes. His hand reached up to brush her wrist as he stiffened visibly.
She bent down and whispered something in Naruto's ear that made his eyes widen. Hinata then straightened, turning to Shikamaru who had an uneasy scowl on his face. She gave him a small smile with a slight wave with her right hand.
"Take care of them, Shikamaru." She said firmly as he nodded in consent.
"Please don't go! You don't get it - that guy, he'll"- but Naruto was cut off by Hinata's soft, parting words.
"Remember what I said, Naruto-kun…Ja ne."
Her form disappeared in a puff of white smoke. Without missing a beat, Shikamaru grabbed onto Naruto's arm as well and continued running his fast trek through the trees. Naruto went uncharacteristically quiet, seemingly stunned into silence as we ran.
We pounded our feet on the branches at a pace ever faster than before, desperation making us achieve unforeseen speed. Now that we didn't have a lookout to know how close the enemy was progressing, we were blind to any attack. They could sneak up on us and we'd be done for.
Hinata wouldn't be able to fend them off for long. We were already on borrowed time and down to only Nara. We're not even completely sure that the time travel thing will work this time. Then what'll happen?
'They'll wipe our memories, send us back, and everything will turn out this way for good.' Nothing would change. Kakashi would stay dead and Sakura… she'll…
No. We have to make it back with our memories. We can't let it turn out this way… everything went so horribly wrong. I'll have to make sure this doesn't happen a second time around.
"We're nearing the Valley," Shikamaru said, breaking the tense silence. "We are at the edge of the Fire border right now."
I viewed the long expanse of forest, recognizing it instantly. 'We might make it after all…' I thought, as we entered the forest from the treetops. The Nara was in between Naruto and I, making sure we kept up a fast speed.
"All right, here's what you two will do. I only have time to say this once so listen closely…" the Nara began as we gave him our full attention. "Using all the chakra you have, put it all into both of your techniques, the Rasengan and Chidori."
At our nod in understanding he went on, "Clash the two attacks together at the exact same place as when you did it those few days ago. Make sure you use as much power as you did back them because that could affect the time you arrive in."
"But, what if we get thrown back twenty years into the past?! Or even fifty?!" Naruto exclaimed, worriedly.
"In my calculations, that won't happen. There has already been a rip in time from when you first came here. It activated the magnetic field in the Valley of the End. All you need to do is trigger the rift to open it again by using your techniques…"
"So basically you're saying the door to fifteen years into the past already exists from our first time trip, and that we just have to open it again." I stated, digesting the facts in my head.
"Correct." The shadow nin replied. He hastily dove into his pack at his side, "Before I forget, take this scroll. It will grant you complete amnesty in the past for any crime you've committed. Tsunade seemed to think it was best to give it to you."
Naruto reached for the scroll but I grabbed it instead. "You're just going to lose it." I said, realizing that this scroll would come in handy.
"No, I won't!" Naruto retorted, glaring.
"Eh, maybe it's better if you let Sasuke hold onto it, Naruto, just in case." Nara said knowingly as the fox container just huffed.
Shikamaru then whipped out a kunai from his holster, cutting a small slice on his index finger as he stopped running. We stopped as well as the shadow ninja turned to Naruto, grabbed his right arm and began drawing characters of kanji from his wrist all the way up to his shoulder in a rapid, unerring motion.
"Eh?! What gives, Shikamaru?!" Naruto asked shocked, frowning at the blood smeared on his arm.
"This is just a safety precaution that you do make it out of the time portal alive. It deals with the concentration of your chakra balancing with the electricity in the magnetic field." He explained in a rush, moving to do his left arm.
"Oh." Naruto supplied, his tone meaning, 'I have no clue what you just said but I'll go along with it.'
Finished with Naruto, he turned to me and cut the slice deeper to provide more blood. He grabbed my right arm without question and began drawing kanji, identical to the ones Naruto had. I could only recognize a few of them since they were such an old style.
Completely done, Shikamaru turned his sharp gaze in back of us, wary that we had wasted a good ten minutes without running. I could hear the steady thundering wind and tensed, knowing they must be just at our heels.
We took off again, racing through the forest that surrounded our home village. In just a few minutes the Valley of the End would come into sight and we could finally return to our own time… if we made it. Adrenaline began pumping through my veins, spurring me to go faster.
"Remember to change the future for the better. Don't fuck this up worse than it already is," Shikamaru said to us, his steady gaze set ahead.
"We will!" Naruto said immediately, leaning forward to quicken his stride. "It's a promise."
'There it is…' I thought relieved, seeing the first glimpse of the river that cut right through the Valley. 'We made it…' I could feel my heartbeat pound in anticipation of our trip back through time.
The forest died down as we jumped from the branches, seeing the two tall First and Second Hokage monuments. They stood proudly in ninjutsu stances, each on the other side of the river like twin pillars. We ran down the water's bank eagerly, staring up at our last battleground with suppressed anxiety.
'I hope this works…' I thought to myself, but stilled as I felt a strong shift in the wind. I looked back to see two figures walking out of the forest calmly, like they had all the time in the world. The treetops were set aflame and wind gusted forcibly in our direction, making us stagger. Their Akatsuki robes billowed behind them.
"Well… and then there was one. Hello, Shikamaru." The older Naruto said with a grin, all fangs showing.
"Naruto and Sasuke… so you really are Akatsuki." Shikamaru responded darkly, narrowing his eyes on them.
I pulled Naruto as we both took a step back.
"Don't even think about it." The older Sasuke replied coolly, "You can't get away, so don't bother trying."
"You still have to get past me first." Shikamaru reminded the Akatsuki leaders as his shadow lunged for them.
I turned my attention to Naruto as I hastily in a panic, began forming my seals. I started tapping into the cursed seal's chakra because I was almost run out of my own. Seeing what I was doing, Naruto summoned a Kage Bushin and started making a blue swirl of energy appear in his right palm.
In the background, I could hear Shikamaru and our future selves fight, knowing it wouldn't last for much longer. Nara was at a disadvantage, especially two against one. Naruto and I only had mere seconds to rip open the portal.
"Okay, this is our only chance." I said to Naruto.
"Damn, Sasuke! I hope this works…" My blonde teammate remarked shakily.
Blue met black as we nodded, separating on either side of the river. I looked up at the massive, crushing waterfall, knowing that this had to be the spot from where I charged at Naruto the first time. 'Okay, you can do this…' When the Chidori was screaming with its black and light blue energy, I looked back over to Naruto.
Our gazes locked and we nodded to each other in affirmation. His Bushin disappeared from his side as we backed up a few feet to prepare our previous powerful momentum. I knew it had to be just right, just like before. I barely noticed the black marks flitter across my skin or the burning sensation of the curse seal.
Hearing a yell, I looked back at Shikamaru quickly. The katana that my future self always had strapped to his back was now unsheathed, its blade heading right for Shikamaru as his knees hit the ground, blood spilling from his side. In that slow instant, the sword cut right through his neck, severing the Nara's head from his body.
I blinked in shock, staring as the blood splattered into the air. The head fell to the ground in a dull, sickening thud. They killed him… Our future selves' crimson stained gazes locked on us solely, anger gleaming in both of their eyes.
I turned back to Naruto who seemed to be frozen in shock, staring at Shikamaru's body which finally slumped to the ground. Putting another surge of chakra through my Chidori, I faced my teammate's direction.
"Naruto!" I yelled as his now red eyes snapped back to mine.
We lunged at that moment, aware that our future selves were just a breath away. We headed for each other, reaching out fully so our techniques were just about to clash. It would all be over in a second. Our red eyes met and we dove…
Our hands, charged with both a Rasengan and Chidori, clashed.
Everything exploded in our eyes.
Naruto and I grasped hands, the same ones we used for our techniques as the world fell into pieces like broken glass all around us. We were caught in a standstill of complete and utter blackness… I couldn't hear anything. I didn't know where I was… or even what was happening.
I looked over and stilled, seeing our older forms just a few feet away, caught in the effects of the world of darkness. 'They're here… what does that mean? What's going to happen now?' I couldn't ponder this any longer as time ran out.
The blackness shattered around us.
I groaned and opened my eyes but then shutting them instantly as the light was too bright to bear. Rolling over to my side, I decided to try again and started as all the memories from our trip into the future came flooding back like a tidal wave.
'Holy shit… we made it back!' I thought, grinning to myself as I stared over at the still body of Sasuke next to me.
I sat up excitedly, looking around the Valley of End and noticing that nothing was out of place. There was no Akatsuki leaders, no dead… 'Shikamaru…' I thought, fisting my hands. 'No! He's not dead. In this time, he's very much alive!'
Right, I had to keep my promise. Now, I'll bring back Sasuke to Konoha, just like my last mission, Rescue Sasuke, ordered me to do. We can see Sakura-chan and Hinata-chan… we can explain everything to Tsunade-baa-chan…
It won't turn out the way it did in the future. Now that Sasuke and I know what's going to happen, none of it will be the same. I sighed, inwardly grateful the whole thing was over. It seemed like a dream but I knew it wasn't. The blood written kanji on Sasuke-teme and I proved it.
'For a second there though in that portal or whatever… I could have sworn I saw our future selves.' I shrugged to myself, looking around. Well, they obviously weren't here… they must not have made it after all.
I heard the teme mutter something as I turned to him, grinning happily. He sat up instantly, eyes darting all over the place, on guard. His black eyes locked on me, blinking as he sighed, sagging slightly.
"We made it, then." He said emotionlessly as I jumped up to my feet.
"Yup! Isn't it great?! Now we can go back to Konoha. Wait till they hear-"
"You're not telling anyone anything, Naruto." Sasuke retorted.
"Eh? Why not? We could use help…"
"No. I don't want anyone to know… besides, it wouldn't look good if the so-called future Hokage was supposed to become an Akatsuki leader, right?" He had a faint smirk on his lips as I glared.
"Shut up, teme! You were too!"
"But it wouldn't be that surprising in my case, dobe."
Figuring he had a point, I nodded gruffly. "All right, I won't say anything… no one would probably believe us anyway."
"Hmm… I thought I saw our older selves in the portal with us." Sasuke said, glancing up at me for confirmation.
"Yeah me too, they must have not made it." I responded as Sasuke stood up as well, staring off into the distance quietly.
I looked down at the ground, starting with surprise to see Sasuke's bloody hitae-ate there. Then I remembered that during our fight I had nicked it, which caused the scratch that went right across the Konoha leaf symbol… like the sign for a missing nin.
I stared at it for a second before turning back to Sasuke. "Hey, you'll need your hitae-ate back. You can't be a leaf ninja without one." I said jokingly.
Sasuke's blank eyes faced mine slowly. He didn't make a move towards the fallen hitae-ate that lay on the ground below.
For some reason, my heart started pounding hard in my chest. I took a step towards my teammate, not liking how the creeping feeling of doubt starting to hang over my head. 'He couldn't still be thinking about…'
"I don't need it, Naruto." He replied, looking away.
"What…" I stared at him for a few still moments. "What do you mean, teme?!"
He closed his eyes. "The only way I ever defeated Itachi… was by going to Orochimaru. That path led to his death. I have to follow it, Naruto."
I couldn't keep the hurt and betrayal off my face. "After everything you saw… I can't believe this, Sasuke. After what you did to Sakura-chan"-
His eyes snapped open and then he was in front of me, gripping my shirt roughly. "Now that I know, I can prevent it from happening. I won't let it happen to me or Sakura."
"By doing what?! Going to Sound, just like before?!" I yelled angrily, shaking him off.
"You don't understand. Everything will be for nothing of Itachi still lives. I'm an avenger, Naruto… he has to die. My whole life has been to end his. I have to do this, you know I have to do this…" he ranted on, his voice dropping lower in tone with every word he spoke.
'His path as an avenger?' is that all that matters to him? I glared as Sasuke stared me right in the eye with a vacant, reminiscent expression. It reminded me uneasily of how his fifteen year old self looked like in the genjutsu as his strange words replayed in my head.
"…This path was the one that lead to his death…no matter how much they whisper, no matter how much they scream – I did it. And that's all that matters."
Sasuke had said that he had understood what those words meant. At the time, I thought they didn't make any sense but now… I then remembered Sasuke's words on the day Team 7 was formed, even then…
"And there is a certain man I have sworn to kill…"
I didn't understand it back then, either. Sasuke was right, I didn't have a family. I didn't know what it was like to lose one. Ever since the beginning, Sasuke always had this set in stone. I just didn't realize it until now.
I made up my mind.
"Fine." I said as Sasuke's dark gaze narrowed on mine questioningly. He was probably thinking this would end up in another fight.
"I won't stop you from going to Sound…" Sasuke was about to reply but I cut him off.
"…Because I'm going with you." I finished as Sasuke stared at me, his black eyes widening for just a moment.
"No." he said, recovering from his lapse.
I glared, "Yes, I am! You can't stop me."
"Why would you coming to Sound solve anything?" he asked tonelessly, alert eyes shifting back to the forest then back at me.
"It would make things different, at the very least." I said determinedly. "Besides, we have a pact, remember, Sasuke?"
I won't forget our word: Nindo.
His strained gaze centered on mine, unmoving.
"We have to be close to make sure the other one isn't turning into our future selves, right Sasuke? That was our deal… we staked our lives on it."
"I won't turn into him." Sasuke replied scathingly, glaring at me intently.
"Are you sure?!" I took another step forward. "Sasuke, I made a promise to change the future… we have to make sure it doesn't end up that way. It can't end up that way. I meant what I said here, just a few days or seconds ago. You're like a brother to me, or the closest one I have to a real one…"
"Naruto…" Sasuke interrupted but I shook my head.
"We made that deal as best friends and brothers to keep an eye on each other. I won't go back on that… I don't trust you or myself enough to do that because if either of us really does become them… then only the other can finish the other off.
You said that if you have to die, it'd be by me. Well fine, Sasuke. If I lose my mind to the Kyubbi, then you have to kill me. The same goes for you if you are taken over by the curse seal. That's our pact, our promise. We can't go back on that or everything we learned will all be for nothing…"
I tore off the hitae-ate that Iruka gave me and held it out, staring at it for a few moments. This one symbol that meant so much to me, the one that I had strived endlessly for since I was a child. To me, it represented more than just being a Leaf Ninja. It was the first step to following my dreams…
I dropped it, watching it fall and hit the ground, ironically landing right next to Sasuke's. I had to keep my promise… because that was my ninja way. I don't want to be Hokage if it means sacrificing my friends. Sasuke and I have a responsibility now… we have to have to change our future.
Sasuke turned around and walked away. I stared for a few moments at his fan encrusted back until he stopped and glanced over his shoulder at me, his black eyes narrowing. "Well…" he said standing there, "Are you coming or not?"
Flashing him a fox grin, I ran to catch up to him. 'Now how will things turn out?' I wondered, knowing this would be a huge change in the turn of future events. We started to make our way into the forest of Fire as rain began to pour heavily on us, washing away the kanji that littered our skin. Now the future was fraught with other possibilities and new challenges.
All I know is that things won't be the same.
'I'm too late.'
Arriving at the Valley of the End with Pakkun, I stared down at the two abandoned hitae-ate on the ground. Pakkun padded over to them, sniffing each. He looked up at me gravely, his lips in a firm line.
"They are Naruto and Sasuke's." he confirmed. "With the rain, it will be impossible to track them now."
Naruto couldn't stop Sasuke. He went to Sound, even after everything. My words didn't do anything to change his mind. 'I should have kept a closer eye on him.' I thought, the familiar feeling of regret seeping its way through me.
'…But what about Naruto?' what would have happened to him?
"Where is Naruto?" Pakkun asked frowning, voicing the same question that had been running through my mind.
Bending down, I picked up the two headbands and stared down at them silently, watching as the drops of rain cleared away the blood stains. 'Did Sasuke kill Naruto..?' it was a possibility, but I don't believe Sasuke is capable of that yet. Why would he then even bother trying to hide the body?
No, it was quite possible that Naruto went with Sasuke to Sound. As to why, I couldn't even fathom a guess. It didn't make any sense at all.
'What am I supposed to say to Sakura?' In the worst case, one teammate was gone. Now instead, two are missing. I knew she was waiting right at the gates for both of her teammates to arrive.
I turned back towards the direction of Konoha, preparing my report that I would tell the Hokage in my head. I gripped the two hitae-ate tightly in my fist.
Naruto and Sasuke are gone.
That's the last chapter to Fast Forward! I hope you all have enjoyed yourselves as much as we have! Part 2- Pause, will be out in a week!!
Pause is going to be really exciting! Sasuke and Naruto must remember to keep their promises and impregnate Sakura and Hinata- they can't forget about Satoshi and Kenji!! Before you ask, yes we will do the lemons. XD
Also, Naruto and Sasuke have to make sure they don't turn into their future selves, which is going to be hard since they are with Sound. Interesting, ne? Hm… I wonder if they'll turn evil, anyway… XDD Tee hee! Find out!
Twitch and Spaz