This oneshot has been on my mind for a while now, so I decided to take a break from my other fic, Redemption of Brothers (you should go read it) (I'm serious, go now!) (and don't forget to review!). This oneshot is about the reason why the Kage Bunshin is a forbidden jutsu, I know, I know, a lot of people do it, but I just had to write this.
Why is the Kage Bunshin a forbidden jutsu? Does it have to do with the amount of chakra it needs? Or is it something completely different?
On with the story!
Shadow Clone Technique
Similar to the Clone Technique, this jutsu creates clones of the user. Unlike the Clone Technique, these clones are actual copies, not illusions. The user's chakra is evenly distributed among every clone, giving each clone an equal fraction of the user's overall power. The clones are capable of performing jutsu on their own and can even bleed, but will usually disperse after one or two solid blows. They can also disperse on their own. Unlike other clones, they can't be detected by the Byakugan because the clones have the exact same amount of chakra and aren't made from any other substance, making them indistinguishable from the actual person. Sasuke Uchiha claims that the Sharingan can tell the difference during his battle with Naruto at the Valley of the End.
Any experience the clones gain during their existence is transferred to the user once they are dispersed. This makes the technique ideal for spying, since the user can simply send a clone to spy on a target, then have the clone disperse itself without returning to pass the information back to the user. It's also useful for training purposes, since the total amount of experience the user gains is multiplied by the total number of clones being used to train. Using it in this manner is far more difficult, however, since a large number of clones are needed to make a significant difference in the training time. It's unclear if other types of clones possess this advantage.
This technique is considered dangerous because of the manner in which the clones are created. Because the user divides their chakra among the clones, the user could potentially use up all their chakra fairly quickly if the user is low on chakra or makes too many clones, such as Naruto does with Multiple Shadow Clone Technique, this jutsu's enhanced (and forbidden) form. Naruto is able to use this technique to the extremes that he does because of his tailed beast, the nine-tailed demon fox, which gives him an abnormally high chakra level. Even without the demon fox's chakra, Naruto can make quite a few clones, but nowhere near on the level he can when he has access to the demon fox's chakra. The technique can also be dangerous if the user is injured or has some otherwise debilitating physical condition at the time of the cloning, since all of the clones will be created in roughly the same state.
Just a little article from Wikipedia about the shadow clone technique, sets up the story.
Uchiha Sasuke sat on his bed in Otogakure, staring down at the floor. This day held a special importance to the Uchiha. It was the three anniversary of Naruto's last attempt to get him back. His fourth attempt, actually. Why wouldn't he just give up? Sasuke didn't understand. Something about promises and special people, Naruto always sounded the same to him. Behind him, the door opened, yet Sasuke stayed completely motionless.
"Sasuke-san, Orochimaru wants to see you in two hours at the training center."
Sasuke tilted his head slightly so that the silver headed man could see his face partially. "Understood."
Kabuto nodded and closed the door softly. He knew better than to disturb Sasuke more than he had to.
Sasuke resumed his silent brooding. The anniversary of the last attempt. Why did he care so much? Sasuke pushed his memory to remember that day.
"Kuso!" yelled Naruto, as he jumped backwards, partially dodging Sasuke's horizontal sword swipe. While he hadn't disemboweled the blonde as he had wanted, Sasuke still found some solace that he had caused some damage to the jinchuuriki. Naruto touched the long red cut on his stomach, wincing a bit. Soon, however, the cut began to hiss and close, and before Sasuke knew it, there was no trace that Sasuke had ever even touched him.
Sasuke's smirk faded after that, and he rushed forward again.
"Sasuke! Come back to Konoha!"
"Hn. I can't get the power I need there, so it's pointless to try and make me. You can't defeat me, so that just proves that I can only get the power I need in Oto."
"Orochimaru only wants your body! Are you blind to this?"
"I only need to kill my brother, after that, what happens to me is of no consequence."
"What about your other dream? To rebuild the Uchiha clan? Are you going to be the one to wipe out your clan? Is that what you've become? Another Itachi?"
Sasuke's eyes narrowed. "Don't ever call me that."
"You have to hear the truth Sasuke! You're so wrapped up in your revenge that you've become blind to what has happened to you! Look at yourself!"
Sasuke froze. Could what Naruto said be true? No, there was no way. Once he killed his brother, everything would be right in the world. But Sasuke couldn't shake the feeling that Naruto's words held some truth.
"I'm tired of listening to your mindless babble. It's time to end this."
"Sasuke!" cried Naruto, tears running down his cheeks as he powered up his ultimate attack. A bunshin appeared next to him without Naruto forming seals and began to spin chakra in Naruto's hand.
Sasuke held his hand down, lightning crackling in his palm. He began to pump more and more chakra into it, until his hand was almost impossible to look at straight on due to the brightness.
Naruto dispelled his clone, the large blue ball spinning in his hand. "Sasuke…don't make me do this."
"Hn. You really think you can defeat me? You've tried three times already, and each time you've failed. Why should this time be any different?"
"Maybe not this time, but I swear to you, if you don't come back to Konoha, I will continue coming back over and over, until I defeat you."
"Then I will just have to kill you here, won't I?"
"Sasuke!!" yelled Naruto, as he began to run forward, his ultimate attack behind him ready to strike.
Sasuke too dashed towards the blonde, lightning trailing behind him.
And the two clashed. "RAIKIRI!"
The two attacks clashed, but Sasuke knew he had the upper hand. "Sasuke…there's no way I'll let you leave!" yelled Naruto over the roar of their techniques. As he said this, Sasuke's eyes widened at the sudden increase in power of Naruto's attack. The orb suddenly began to grow even larger, and a purplish tint began to incorporate itself into the pure blue center of the Odama Rasengan. Sasuke quickly unleashed his cursed seal, allowing himself to go up to level two in order to match Naruto's sudden increase in strength.
The two stood there, for what seemed like an eternity, their attacks locked in a deadly embrace, neither side willing to ease up. Until the unspeakable happened. Naruto's eyes widened in shock as a silver blade suddenly protruded from his stomach. Sasuke looked down at the blade, his eyes also wide. Looking over Naruto's shoulder, he saw Orochimaru, holding his blade through the young blonde's chest.
"No!" yelled Sasuke, looking into Naruto's face. Naruto's eyes began to flutter and fade, the Rasengan slowly slipping from the conflict, sliding down towards Sasuke's heart. Sasuke fell forward, his Raikiri shooting forward over Naruto's opposite shoulder, and time seemed to slow down. Sasuke watched in horror as the blue orb came within inches from his body before he felt his body jolt from an impact on his right.
Falling to the ground, Sasuke looked up at Kabuto, who had tackled Sasuke to the ground, but could not avoid the attack himself. Naruto's hand connected with Kabuto's shoulder, grinding Kabuto's flesh and bones before it exploded in a flash of white light. After the light died down, Sasuke saw the unconscious form of Naruto on the ground, sword still stabbed in the back. Looking to the right, he saw Kabuto, or what was left of him. His right arm was completely ripped off, and his chest was also shredded to bits. His regenerative powers were going on all cylinders, but even Sasuke knew that Kabuto was already at his limit.
Orochimaru walked over to Naruto and pulled his sword out. Sasuke looked at the snake sannin, anger in his eyes. "Why did you interfere? I had him!"
Orochimaru looked down in disdain at the Uchiha kneeling on the ground. "Hn. Ungrateful brat, aren't you. That's why I like you Sasuke, you're confident. In this case, too confident. The Kyuubi brat would have overpowered you there, there's no way you can stand up to the chakra power of a jinchuuriki, curse seal or no curse seal."
"I would have won" said Sasuke, partially trying to convince Orochimaru and partially trying to convince himself.
Orochimaru ignored him, instead opting to check on his right-hand man. "Kabuto? Will you be alright?"
Kabuto winced, and said in a strained voice. "I'm trying to regenerate the critical damage, but I don't even know if I can do that…there's just too much damage, I may have to just focus on my heart and forget my arm."
"Yes, I'm afraid I won't be able to regenerate that…"
Orochimaru's eyes became filled with fury. "That Kyuubi-brat! I'll kill him!" He spun around to deliver the death blow to the blonde only to find that his body had disappeared. There was a blood stain on the ground, but no Naruto. Orochimaru's tongue whipped out, tasting the air. "Mmmm, Jiraiya…once again you meddle in my plans…one day, you will pay."
Sasuke sat there, brooding. Three years…three years since Naruto had come, three years since Kabuto had lost his arm, and three years since Sasuke had started training his body to its limit. He would not lose to Naruto this time. Come on dobe, where are you. This time, I won't let you escape. This time, you die.
Suddenly, he heard some commotion outside. "Hn. Right on time. Time to kill my best friend" he said with a smirk. Sasuke tied the rope around his waste a little tighter and strapped his sword onto the belt.
Walking to the door, he heard a crash and suddenly, the door fell down. Naruto bounded in, he too holding a sword. "Sasuke…" he said, as his eyes glued themselves on the Uchiha.
"Surprised Naruto? You shouldn't be. I AM the reason you even came."
"Yes, you are. It's time to go."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Yes, you are."
Sasuke's mind was spinning. This Naruto didn't seem right. He was…darker. As if he had killed millions of people. As if…as if he had died on the inside.
"Naruto…my friend, I am not going to leave, and you should know that."
"Friend? I'm not your friend."
"Then why are you here?"
"To fulfill a promise, that's all. Once I take you back, I hope they execute you, even though I know they won't."
"What…what happened to you Naruto?" whispered Sasuke to himself.
"For one thing, my hearing got better. Now let's go. Come willingly and I won't have to make you come."
Sasuke smirked. "Yeah? You and what army?" Naruto looked away suddenly. He walked towards Sasuke, who slowly backed away from the blonde. Naruto continued walking, even as Sasuke side stepped, allowing Naruto to reach the opposite wall. "This one."
Naruto reared back and punched a huge hole into the wall, allowing sunlight to enter the room. Sasuke shielded his eyes for a few seconds as they readjusted to the light. After they had done so, Sasuke too approached the hole and stood next to Naruto. His eyes widened as he saw smoke and fire all over Oto, people screaming and dying. Buildings were in ruins and bodies were strewn about the streets. Shinobi jumped from building top to building top, trying in vain to stop the enormous flood that was unstoppable.
But what had Sasuke so awestruck was that every single member of the vast army that was invading Oto was the same. They each had blonde hair, blue eyes, same sword, and were wearing the same thing. "No matter…" Sasuke started, a hint of uncertainty in his voice, "I'll just kill you and they'll all disappear."'
Sasuke unsheathed his sword, dashing forward and swiping the sword at Naruto's midsection. Naruto jumped back, forming a Rasengan in his hand as he dodged. As Sasuke followed through with his swing, Naruto dashed forward and slammed the glowing sphere into Sasuke's chest as he was vulnerable. A small explosion blasted both of the shinobi backwards, and when the dust cleared, both nin were left standing.
"Hn. That Rasengan was pretty weak Naruto. I thought you were supposed to improve, not get worse. How do you expect to defeat me with that pathetic attack?"
"With a lot of pathetic attacks," Naruto replied, forming nine clones around him in the small room. Sasuke remained calm, and jumped out the hole in the wall. "Follow me to the roof dobe! It just got a little crowded!"
Naruto walked over to the hole and climbed out, the nine replicas doing the same thing. The ten Naruto's climbed up the wall and onto the roof, only to see Sasuke standing there charging up his Raikiri. Immediately, all ten Naruto's began swirling chakra into their palms, each of them forming their own personal Rasengan.
"Here I come Naruto! I'll show you that quality is better than quantity!" Sasuke began running forward, his Raikiri pulled back and ready to stab.
"Hardly" muttered Naruto, his face still stoic and emotionless. As Sasuke neared and thrust his crackling hand forward, each of the ten Naruto's also threw their hands forward, clashing with the Sasuke's single attack. As the ten Rasengans met in the middle, they all began to combine, creating one massive sphere, easily pushing Sasuke back.
Sasuke slid back on his feet, finally gaining enough friction to stop. "Hn. Impressive for a dobe. I'll just eliminate your clones first then."
Naruto looked up at him sadly. "Sasuke, come back to Konoha and I won't have to hurt you."
"Hurt me? I'll kill you!" Sasuke screamed, his emotionless mask slipping a bit as he attacked in a furious rage.
He shot forward like a bullet, swinging his fists and lashing out with kicks. He was surprised that his taijutsu wasn't dispelling the clones, but from what he'd learned with Orochimaru, shadow clones could actually sustain multiple hits if infused with enough chakra.
Sasuke jumped back after giving the Narutos in front of him a sound thrashing. "Impressive dobe, that you can create clones so durable."
Naruto's eyes suddenly flashed with a look of sadness and horror, but it disappeared so quickly that Sasuke questioned if it had even happened.
"Sasuke, these years that I've been gone…do you know what I did? I trained myself to the ground. But I didn't train in taijutsu, or genjutsu, or kenjutsu, or even ninjutsu. I've got enough as it is. No, the only thing I did was expand my chakra capacity. See the fruits of my efforts!" he yelled, as he unleashed a pulse of chakra so large that it actually pushed Sasuke back a few feet. After the pulse subsided, Sasuke was shocked to see the rooftops were filled with Naruto's, each looking intently at him.
"So you made more, I don't care. I'll take you all on. Your little trick is just that, a cheap parlor trick and it won't stand up to a REAL shinobi."
Sasuke ran forward, shooting off fire jutsus, lightning jutsus, and taijutsu techniques, but every time he struck a Naruto, they didn't dispel. Instead, they took the hit, fell down, and got right back up. Several seemed to be knocked unconscious from some of Sasuke's more vicious attacks, but the flood of Narutos was tiring Sasuke out.
Sasuke stood before over five-hundred Narutos, panting heavily and slumped over. He had taken quite a bit of damage in the battle. Suddenly, he heard commotion behind him. Spinning around, he saw Orochimaru and Kabuto jumping from rooftop to rooftop towards him. Orochimaru had his Kusanagi out and was swinging madly, hacking at the hundreds of Naruto's trying to keep him from reaching Sasuke. Watching this intently, Sasuke was again shocked that he didn't see any of the familiar white smoke that usually came from a shadow clone being killed.
"So it looks like you've noticed Sasuke," came the dull voice of Naruto. Sasuke turned to face the one who addressed him.
"What have you done Naruto?"
Naruto motioned for Sasuke to follow him. Sasuke slowly walked behind Naruto, following him to the edge of the roof. "Look down and tell me what you see."
Sasuke was repulsed at the scene below him. "There are so many bodies…how could you kill all of the Oto people Naruto? Most of them were innocent!"
"Look closer Sasuke."
Sasuke peered over the edge and looked intently at the earth below him. There were so many bodies strewn upon the earth, many in gruesome piles of flesh. Sasuke's eyes flew open suddenly. The bodies…were wearing the same thing…had the same hair…they were all Naruto. Sasuke gasped and threw himself back from the edge, falling on his back, yelping.
Naruto sighed, walking towards Sasuke who kept pushing himself backwards. "The kage bunshin is a forbidden technique. After our last encounter, I started increasing my chakra capacity for one purpose. I found the true reason kage bunshin is forbidden."
"There…there's no way…it's…it's impossible."
"I assure you, it's very possible."
"It can't be…these clones…they're…"
"Real." Naruto's voice was deep and hollow, chilling Sasuke to the core.
Behind him, Orochimaru was being attacked by hundreds of Narutos. Already, Kabuto had been skewered by over ten swords, and Orochimaru knew his fate would soon be the same. He was fighting impossible odds. "You blonde brat! I heard about this! I shouldn't have ignored the whispers!" Orochimaru yelled as he fought off the waves of shinobi. Every time he hacked one down, two more would take his place. What was even more horrifying was how the one that was hacked down would fall and start coughing blood, or just look down in horror at the arm that he lost.
"No, you shouldn't have ignored them. But now you're dead."
"You did this in Kiri! You're the one who destroyed a village with one jutsu! You monster! Don't you have a conscience?!"
A clone attacking Orochimaru suddenly shot forward, a Rasengan in his hand. "I lost a conscience a long time ago you snake bastard! It's time to pay! Rasengan!"
As Naruto connected, stunning Orochimaru, more Narutos began slamming Rasengans into Orochimaru, who was helpless from the onslaught. After the Narutos stopped, Orochimaru was nothing more than a red stain on the rooftop.
"N-naruto…you…are you the real one?" asked Sasuke, addressing the Naruto who he had lead him to the edge of the rooftop.
"The real one?" asked Naruto.
"We lost track of the real one ages ago," said a voice from behind Sasuke. Sasuke jumped and looked behind him, noticing that he was trapped in a ring of Narutos.
"We like to think…" started another Naruto from his right.
"That we're all real…" finished another on his left.
Sasuke looked back to the Naruto in front of him who he had been talking to the most. "I'm sorry Sasuke," he said.
And then Sasuke's world went black. The Naruto in front of Sasuke walked forward, silently nodding to the Naruto behind Sasuke who had chopped him in the neck. Naruto grabbed Sasuke by the back of his shirt and roughly pulled him up, jumping away. The Narutos remaining all stood around, as if waiting for a cue.
Naruto arrived at the outskirts of Oto and threw the unconscious form of Sasuke onto the ground. He tied an explosive note to the end of his kunai and threw it straight up into the air, exploding at the peak of its ascension.
Then, in complete unity, each and every Naruto in Oto reached up and slit their throats with a kunai, falling to the ground in one reverberating thud. Naruto fell to the ground, information shooting through his mind. Tears fell to the ground as he rocked back and forth on his knees, silently crying.
He could remember killing a Sound shinobi by shoving a kunai into his eye.
He could remember watching as his explosive note blew up an entire building, innocent people jumping out of the windows as fire engulfed it.
He could remember watching a Naruto running forward only to be decapitated.
He could remember running forward and being decapitated.
He could remember looking down in horror as his intestines fell out of the hole in his stomach.
He could remember seeing an explosion in the air and pulling out a kunai…and killing himself.
All these things he could remember in vivid clarity. Yes, he gained the experience of the Narutos, which is what he was known for doing in training, but he also gained the memories.
Naruto heaved himself back up into a standing position, grabbing Sasuke and throwing him over his shoulder.
Naruto began the long trek back to Konoha and began to think. Many people had noticed a change in him after his last attempt at saving Sasuke. They would say that he died on the inside. The truth was Naruto did die. Not figuratively, but literally. He had died hundreds of times, thousands of times, and he could only wish one thing:
That he had never learned the forbidden technique, KAGE BUNSHIN.