The battle was nearing its end. Sasuke in his cursed seal level two form stared at Naruto as he was covered with the red chakra. The two of them had been like brothers. They had fought together, trained together, and argued with each other. Naruto would not let Sasuke throw all of it away just for the sake of his revenge and he would not break his promise to Sakura. Sasuke would not let anyone stand in the way of his revenge. In the end, their desires clashed and only one could survive.
Kakashi was racing towards his two students. It wasn't until he had finished his mission and reported back that he learned of Sasuke's betrayal. His dogs had located where the two were fighting and he raced to stop them before they did something that they would regret. His mission was to bring back Sasuke and he would do just that.
Naruto and Sasuke began to power up their best attacks. They could have said something; however the time for words had come and gone. Now this was their only choice. They leapt into the air and launched their attacks.
The two attacks clash for a second and then they hit their targets. Sasuke's attack pierces threw Naruto's chest. The rasengan hits Sasuke in the chest a moment later and he was sent flying into the wall. Naruto fell down into the water and began to be washed down the stream. With his last ounce of strength, he was able to grab a hold on a rock. A moment later Kakashi arrive.
He was now faced with a choice, who to save? If he saved Naruto he would most likely die, judging by the huge hole in his chest, on the way back to the village. If he saved Sasuke, Orochimaru would not have his next host body and the mission would be a success. He could try to save both of them, but their might be more Sound-nins coming and he couldn't move fast enough with the extra weight.
"K-Kakashi…sensei," muttered Naruto. He reached out his free hand for a moment before it fell down. He knew his sensei would help him. After all, he was the one who said that 'those who disobey the rule were trash and those who abandon their comrades are less than trash'. Sure, in the past he had always ignored him for Sasuke, but this was different.
Kakashi looked at his blond student for a second with a look of pity in his eyes. He then turned and picked up Sasuke. He turned back to Naruto.
"You did well Naruto," he said. "I'm sorry but it looks like you will die here."
At the sound of those words, Naruto let go of the rock he was holding and was washed down the river. Soon, he was face down in the water, drifting towards the ocean.
'No!' shouted the Kyuubi. 'I will not go out like this! Wake up kit! WAKE UP!' Kyuubi got no response. Inside the Spirit Room, Naruto lay in front of the large kitsune face down as well.
"Let me see. Lack of oxygen, loss of blood, damaged lung, and body temperature is getting dangerously low. I doubt I can save us both but I'll do my best!"
Some time later Kakashi arrived at the Village Hidden in the Leaves with Sasuke. He quickly made his way to the hospital and made sure the doctors treated him right away. Once everything was taken care of, he exited the room and ran into Tsunade.
"Ah Kakashi," she said with a smile. She was happy that so far there had been no deaths and it looked like the mission had been a success. "I heard from the guards that you just returned. Good work. So, what happened?"
"When I arrived the battle was over," he replied. "My best guess would be that Naruto fought with Sasuke and knocked him out with the Rasengan."
"That's very impressive," she said. "I'll have to congratulate him later. Right now I have to…" She stopped when she saw Kakashi hold up his hand.
"I'm not done," he said. "Sasuke also used his own trump card on Naruto. When I got there, Naruto looked like he was on Deaths door. He had a huge whole in his chest and was bleeding very badly."
Tsunade's eyes went wide. She then began to shake her head. This couldn't be happening. He had to be alright! He had to be!
"I was faced with a choice," continued Kakashi. "I chose to save the one who had the most likely chance to survive. Naruto is dead. I watched him as his body floated down the river in the Valley of Ends." At that, Tsunade fell down on her hands and knees. This couldn't be true. How could that loudmouth boy be dead? She began to do the only thing that she could do, cry.
That night the village had a celebration. News of Naruto's death spread like wild fire. Very few in any didn't attend for many different reasons. Choji and Neji were both in critical condition. Shikamaru was busy checking on his teammate and blaming himself for Naruto's death. Ino was lashing out at everyone who came close to her and started saying that they were glad the demon brat was gone. She didn't know the blond well enough, but it tore her up inside to see so many people happy about his death. Tenten refused to go outside and join the party for the same reason. Lee and Gai were crying that someone as youthful as Naruto had died. Hinata was in her bedroom crying her eyes out. Shino and Kiba just sat in their old class room, staring at nothing. This was where they had the most interaction with Naruto. Kakashi just stood by the Memorial Stone. And Sakura, well…
Sakura was sitting next to Sasuke's bed. She had a mix of emotions. She was happy that Sasuke was alright. However, the priced seemed too high. Naruto had gone this far for her, just to make her happy. Was that what love was? To go to the ends of the earth just to make that one person happy? Naruto had given everything for her, and how did she repay him? By hitting him and calling him an idiot. She felt low, very low.
Tsunade had tried to send a search party to retrieve Naruto, however…
"What do you mean no? He could still be alive," she shouted at the council.
"We do not have the manpower," said Homura. "Also, from what Kakashi has reported, it would be a waste of time. The beast is dead."
"If he was alive, who would want to save him," said Koharu. "We are better off without him."
It took everything Tsunade had not to kill them both. It became harder when they decided to pardon Sasuke. The claimed that since Naruto was a demon and murder only counts when it is a human killing another human that Sasuke didn't murder Naruto. They then claimed that since he was under the influence of the cursed seal that he could he held responsible for his actions.
The next thing she was denied was a funeral for him. They simply didn't want any remnant of the boy to exist in the village. In the end, all she was able to do was give the boy his wake that would be held in his apartment.
The next morning, Tsunade got up and began to prepare for the wake. This was her first time at Naruto's apartment and was shocked at what she saw. All over the door and wall on the outside was graffiti that called him a demon and wishing he would die soon. She opened the door and saw how he lived. The place was a mess. Some of the windows had been broken and several of his things had been stolen like his microwave. It took about an hour to clan up everything. During this time she found two pieces of paper near his bed. She decided to read them.
"I want to that everyone who is here today," read the first one. "I am happy to stand before you as the next Hokage. It has been a long road and I will do my very best for this village." The next part looked like it had been added to at different times. "I want to thank Iruka for being there for me. You're like the big brother I never had and always wanted. To Kakashi, thanks for teaching me how to walk up trees." After that there was a black spot, as if Naruto was waiting to fill it with more stuff. "To Sakura, I hope you have found what you are looking for and that you are happy. I also hope that you and Ino will stop fighting all the time. To Kiba, no hard feeling about of fight in the chunin exam. I mean alls fair in love and war. To Jiraiya, thank you for taking time out of your busy perverted schedule to teach me my best moves. Hinata and Neji, I will do all I can to help you with the problems in your clan. Sasuke, I hope you can put the past behind you and look to the future. You can never move forward if you are continuously looking behind you. Tsunade-baa-chan, I'm glad you came back to the Leaf village. I just want to say that you are the mother I never had. That is how I will always see you and know that you will always be in my heart. Now I hope you were listening because I'm not saying that again."
It ended there. Tsunade relieved that this was the speech Naruto was preparing for when he became Hokage. She then turned her attention to the other paper on the desk and was shocked by what she read.
"To who ever finds this note, I am assuming that I am now dead. I have two requests. The first is that everything I own goes to Teuchi and his daughter. It's the least I can do for all the meal I had there. My other request is that my speech is to be buried with me. If this village will just give me that, I can go to the next world happily, taking my dream with me. Well, that's all Mr. Looter or who ever you are. And please don't feel bad for me. If I haven't made Hokage then that means no one cares about me. I mean, who would cry for me?"
Tsunade stopped reading and began to cry. The note looked old, maybe a year or two. He had placed all his fears and doubts in this one piece of paper and left it here. It was his last request to this village and she could only fulfill half of it.
That night, only members of the rookie 9, the Sand Trio, Team Gai, and Jiraiya showed up for his wake. To many of them, this was a shock to see how he had lived. It made them feel spoiled. One by one they approached his picture and said a few words. For once, Shikamaru didn't say it was troublesome. When it was Gaara's turn, everyone was shocked to hear what he had to say.
"Naruto, you were the one person I considered my friend," he said. "When I heard that you were dead, I couldn't believe it. I-I just couldn't believe that someone like you could be stopped. You saved me from the darkness and yet I couldn't save you. Why couldn't I have been there for you? I will make it up to you. I will carry on your spirit and your dream in my village. I will try to love other and hold them close to my heart." With that, he got up and bowed before the picture of Naruto.
The next one who shocked everyone was a late comer. And it wasn't Kakashi. The man and his seven year old daughter went over to the picture and kneeled before it. Hiashi then spoke.
"I'm sorry I never thanked you while you were alive. What you did for Neji was something that I could never do. Thanks to you, my family has begun to heal. I also admire what you did for Sasuke. I tried to keep my brother from certain doom just like you did, but unlike you I failed. I would have gladly given up my life to spare him from death. I am glad that you succeeded were I failed."
One by one, the other said their goodbyes to the blond. Tsunade honored his wishes. She was able to sell everything in his apartment and gave the proceeds to Teuchi. A grave was set up for him in Wave Country, where he was seen as a hero and not a demon. Buried there was not a body, but a small box containing his speech.
Jiraiya moved to Wave country, refusing to step foot in the Leaf Village ever again. He kept in contact with Tsunade by mail and informed her and Gaara of Akatsuki's plans. It was rumored that he was giving up writing his porn books, feeling that he should have paid more attention to his student than naked women. Truly, he had taken Naruto's death hard.
A week later, Sasuke tried to escape to the Sound village once again. In the process, he wounded Sakura and killed a nurse, both who tried to stop him. This time, Tsunade sent ANBU to capture him and the mission was completed quickly. This time there was no escaping punishment. Tsunade thought about the death sentence, but didn't want to make Naruto's sacrifice seem meaningless. He was sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment. In front of his cell hung a picture of Naruto, smiling at him. Tsunade felt that that was the best punishment for him, to forever stare at the face of the boy he killed.
On the beach of another continent, a boy with blond hair and an ugly tore up orange jumpsuit washed to shore. However, there were a few things different about him. One was his ears had changed to resemble that of a dog, wolf, or fox (think Inuyasha and ya they are on the same spot as Inuasha's). Another thing was that he had a long tail that was the same color as his hair with a white tip. A girl, who was walking nearby, rushed over to him and checked his pulse.
"He's alive," she said.
What did Kyuubi do to him? Where is Naruto? What new challenges await him?
Please read and review.