Those were the only thoughts that went through his head as he fell backwards, his self-imposed task finally completed after more years than he ever imagined. He knew his time was short, but surprisingly he felt no pain. As if his mind had realized that allowing the sense to reach his mind would do nothing at this point as he felt his life-force fading, just like how the blood that was covering his final battlefield dripped freely from the branches.
Oh yeah... thats probably mine... and that snake bastard's. It was a numbing experience, realizing that all that he had worked for in the last ten years was finally completed. Or at least as much as 'could be' completed. Konoha was destroyed after all. His little band of misfit remnants could never rebuild the village from scratch.
Speaking of his little band, he pondered how they were doing. It seems an odd direction for his thoughts to travel in, but then again he had always been an odd shinobi. Why on Earth should that change at this point, even if he was on his deathbed? For real this time it seems. At least the knowledge of this technique dies with me. Heh, snake-face's Dual Snake Destroyer skill has got nothing on this one. Not even I can get up from this one...
His internal musing were cut short as he felt others surround his fallen form. He didn't need to see their faces; despite dying from both chakra exhaustion and the effects of his self-created suicide technique, he would be able to pick their chakra out anywhere. "Boss!" He heard the youngest of their little band of misfits say. That's odd... I've never heard such panic from Konohamaru before. Will wonders never cease...
"Holy shit..." Came the voice from the one of the remaining females of the group. He couldn't help but chuckle at her shocked words; it was so unlike Shizune to curse like that. He instantly regretted it as the action seemed to stop whatever was holding back the pain and he was flooded with agony. He felt his back arching but hands instantly grabbed his body and held him done, preventing him from thrashing out from the agony. He finally opened his sapphire blue eyes to look towards the woman who was now at his side, desperately trying to heal him.
"Shi..." He tried to say, but he was instantly halted as he twisted his head to the side and began hacking out copious amounts of blood. He could feel the unease in the air, although the way his senses were starting to go, that easily could've been the scent of all the blood in the area. Finally after regaining control, he forced out. "Shizune... report."
The words exhausted him in a way he never expected, and he could already feel darkness encroaching in on his vision. He couldn't let himself go into the darkness, at least not yet. "Shut up you idiot. Why do you always do this to yourself?" The voice of his group's medic cracking, and even someone as close to the grave as he was at the moment could tell that she was trying incredibly hard to not cry. He could only imagine what he actually looked like at the moment. He couldn't feel anything below his shoulders, and idly wondered if his legs were even still attached to his body. There's probably a lot of blood...
"They're all dead boss. We've finally finished this. Even snake-face is dead, thanks to whatever the hell you did." The voice of the purple-haired ex-ANBU shinobi complied with his original request.
It's finally over then. Only one thing left to do then... He reached upwards, hoping someone would understand his action and forced a weak smile as he felt someone, he could no longer tell who, grab his hand and clasp it tightly as if it would bring the blond haired shinobi back from where he was now heading. He rasped out his words, hoping he could be understood. "Konoha prevails."
The medic beside him interrupted him before he could keep going. "Just save your strength. Don't talk."
"Shaddup big sister. You can't save me. Not even the damn fox could survive what I just did." The words were said softly, and even with all the agony he was feeling an the increasing darkness. he was still able to make his tone drip with restrained amusement.
The silence that followed was disturbing. The fallen shinobi could practically feel the sorrow that his comrades felt at that moment and he didn't know whether or not he should be glad that they could still feel, despite everything that had happened to them. He weakly shook his head, dispelling some of the darkness from his vision but began to speak again. "My final orders to you: head underground for a few months. After the locus point is shattered, it will take at least that long for the world to right itself. Then... live."
"Boss..." He fought the urge to look towards his little brother, knowing if he did so that he would never finish what he wanted to say. And the world is damned if Uzumaki Naruto doesn't finish what he sets out to do.
"It was an honor to fight alongside you my friends. I love you all..." He said, his eyes now drifting to a full shutdown. "Go." He then let his eyes close and let the darkness embrace him. The pain faded and he felt a smile cover his face as he drifted into eternal slumber.
Any thoughts of peace or anything else were shattered when a familiar voice spoke to him, the rage and anger present making an exploding volcano seem tame by comparison.
"IMPUDENT MORTAL! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHAT YOU'VE DONE?"
And the familiarity of the insult, the rage and hate made him laugh within the darkness. "Yeah, I know. See you in hell fox."
The roar was deafening but at this point, Naruto could really care less. It's not like any pain he was feeling now would matter in a few seconds. "I WILL NOT DIE IN SUCH A HUMILIATING FASHION YOU FOOL!"
Naruto only chuckled again. "Sure you will. You can't do shit about it either. I bet that really pisses you off too, doesn't it?" The roar returned but then was suddenly silenced. Naruto opened his eyes to find himself back in his familiar mindscape before the Kyubi's cage. The cage seemed to be glowing brightly, along with the paper tag that held it shut and it was easy to see that the giant fox was not enjoying the effects.
The fox however was for once not glaring at the cage that held it captive. It was now looking at the young man on the other side. And for once, the demon's eyes weren't full of hate and rage. No, they were filled with something far more disturbing to the blond.
"YOU THINK I WILL ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN? TO ALLOW SOME FOOLISH HUMAN TO MAKE A MOCKERY OF ME? I THINK NOT, UZUMAKI NARUTO." Naruto's eyes widened at the address; Kyubi had never addressed him by name before. It was then that the fox roared once again and the cage between the two shattered as a large burst of demonic chakra flew towards the blond who was still frozen in disbelief. The red miasma surrounded the blond and all Naruto felt was pain.
The last thing he heard before blacking out was the Kyubi's words. "YOU WENT THERE TO SEEK AN END. A FITTING PUNISHMENT THEN; YOU WILL RELIVE YOUR NIGHTMARE AGAIN. BE SURE TO ENTERTAIN THE ME IN THAT WORLD, LITTLE HUMAN."
The first thing that came to Naruto's mind was pain. However, his instincts honed since Konoha's fall in the war allowed him to suppress anything that would give the fact he had awoken away. I... survived? Someone was able to save my life? Shizune maybe? It was then that a voice cut into his thoughts. "Ah, I see you've awakened."
That voice cut off the blond's thought processes completely. Gears of rationality were rusted and shattered in a moment when he heard that familiar voice. That old, kind voice. The voice of a grandfather, a brother, an idol, and a hero. Naruto forced himself to open his eyes and turn towards the source, ignoring the horrible pain and cracking sounds involved in said action.
Sitting before him in a chair as a face that Naruto thought that he would never see again. He shouldn't be seeing him again. That's impossible. He's been dead for thirteen years. No. Sitting before the blond shinobi was indeed Sarutobi Sasuke. The third Hokage of Konohagakure.
And that was the only thing that he was able to process before blacking out again.
This is an experimental idea I've had in my head for a while. I'm also using it as a way to break back into writing after taking such a long hiatus. This is going to be a different take on the whole 'Naruto going back to right the wrongs of the past' idea. In most of those stories, Naruto returns to being his child-self; needless to say, I am not taking that approach. I'm going to see how far I can play with this idea for the time being.
As for Clans, I apologize to those who have been waiting for the third installment but its come to my attention that with the nature of the changes that affect the characters in that story, I really would need to write an account of the Sound-Leaf war in that continuum. I actually plan to do that eventually, mostly through a series of one-shots. At that point I'll probably redo the existing chapters of clans and clean those up before finally finishing it up.
Final Note before reading: I will try to use as little Japanese as possible, as I do not speak it or am able to translate it. As such, most jutsus will be in English, along with certain expressions. I know this is an odd break from most stories in this section, but I don't want to be using half and half, and I have no way of translating any new technique names I come up with.