When Old Dreams Shatter, New Ones Emerge
Okay everyone! I don't feel like writing how Sasuke was taken from Orochimaru so I'm just going to do a brief overview. Sasuke was training with Orochimaru for two and a half years getting stronger, a lot of stuff happened and somehow Naruto met up with them again and a lot of drama took place and Naruto ended up beating Sasuke before turning on Orochimaru. He had to go into the state where Kyuubi takes him over, so he doesn't remember too much but he beat Orochimaru. Somewhere during the fight, Naruto talked some sense into Sasuke. He wasn't really honoring his family by taking what Orochimaru had to offer and killing his brother. It wouldn't mean anything because it wasn't his own power he was using. He even insulted Sasuke by saying that he was worse than his brother. At least Itachi achieved his power on his own. Sasuke was just a lazy bum willing to sell his soul to the devil to get strong, not work for it like everyone else had to. It was no wonder that Itachi always beat him and said that he wasn't worth killing. Everything got really sappy in Sasuke's mind and he even tried to help Naruto beat Orochimaru by using Chidori on him, critically injuring him before Naruto lost control of Kyuubi and finished him off. Let's just assume that even after all this, Sasuke and the rest of their former classmates still have no idea that Naruto is Kyuubi's container and the only people who know are the ones that are old enough to remember what happened. Let's just assume that everyone is dense and Naruto never told anyone and nobody noticed anything. Not that any of this matters. The only thing that you need to know is that Naruto saved Sasuke from Orochimaru and they are now back in Konoha. I didn't feel like writing all this in story form. Too tedious. Damn, I sound like Shikamaru now.
WARNING: OOC characters abound in this story. It is also a slight crossover with Inuyasha. You don't really have to be familiar with it to understand this story though. It doesn't have many of the characters, but I took one just because I liked him and he fits in this story. I'm not going to put Sai in this story. I just don't want another character to keep up with. This is going to eventually be a Sasuke/Naruto YAOI pairing. There will be instances of slight Sakura/Lee. All my stories are rated the way they are for a reason. There will be occasional strong language and there will be a lemon or some sort of citrusy goodness (or badness, depending on how well it goes) in later chapters. But, again, I warn you that I am not very good at them and have never actually written a male on male lemon before. I usually do not like male on male pairings but for some reason I like them with Naruto. I have no idea why. Be kind…or not, I don't really care. I've never really had a flame before so I can't tell you how they would make me feel. But you chose to read this story and could stop at any time if you don't like it so I really think that if you are offended you have only yourself to blame.
Summary: Eventual Sasuke/Naruto yaoi. Sasuke and Naruto have an argument after Naruto brings Sasuke back from Orochimaru. Sasuke mocks Naruto's dream to become Hokage, and for some reason, this time Naruto listens. He leaves the village to pursue a new dream. His friends think that he is dead, but try to go on with their lives. Eight years later, he's back but will anyone recognize him? And what will happen between him and Sasuke?
So for the blanket disclaimer: I do not own Naruto because Mashashi Kishimoto does. Nor do own Inuyasha because I am not brilliant enough to come up with something that good. I also can't draw to save my life. Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takashi. This applies to the entire story and any future stories I write. It is true now, it will still be true a hundred years from now and longer. Unless I become really, really rich and they sell them to me, but that is extremely unlikely.
Additional Information: Naruto and gang are 15 in part one of the story. And there will be a little surprise at the end of the story; not a very original surprise, but a surprise none-the-less.
Part One: Shattered Dreams
"Sasuke, will you stop feeling sorry for yourself already! You're back home; quit sulking!"
Sasuke couldn't stand it. He couldn't believe that Naruto had to be the one to rescue him. It was unacceptable. Sasuke hid his anger and humiliation beneath a smirk. "You're right. You should be the one feeling sorry for yourself. You think that you have a chance in hell at becoming Hokage? It's laughable really. You have no leadership skills, you're clumsy, and you fail to grasp even the simplest of concepts. You were dead last in the academy and you will always be that, no matter how strong you get."
All of Sasuke's words were hitting hard with deadly accuracy all of Naruto's deepest insecurities. But there was no way that he would allow anyone to see them. He had heard it all before. "Ha, Sasuke, you forget that I'm the one that saved you. And it has been a long time. I have improved a lot since you disappeared. I beat Orochimaru when you could not."
His words only flamed Sasuke's anger at the real target of his anger, himself. This drove him to say something to Naruto that he would have never considered saying to him otherwise. "Be that as it may, even if all that I said was not true and you were half as good as you think you are, you still wouldn't ever be Hokage. Do you think that I never noticed the way that everyone looks at you? I may not know why, but they look at you with hatred. Do you think they will let someone they hate become Hokage? It doesn't matter how good a shinobi you become. You will still be dead last in the running for the title Hokage just as you are dead last at everything you do!" With this Sasuke turned his back on Naruto and went to bed.
Naruto's eyes went to the floor. With those words, Sasuke managed to do what no other person, no matter how strong and insightful, had managed to do. He broke Naruto's spirit. Sasuke was his best friend. If he didn't believe in him, what was the point? Sasuke was right: who in their right mind would follow someone they hated and distrusted? Unlike Sasuke, Naruto knew why the villagers hated him. They considered Kyuubi a threat. And they thought Naruto was the fox, even if he was just its container. They didn't trust that the seal would hold and not break, releasing the nine-tailed fox to roam and kill again. Kyuubi had killed their family and friends, as well as their beloved leader and hero, the legendary Fourth Hokage. There was no one that hadn't lost someone to the fox. Even though the younger villagers and his friends didn't know the truth, there was no way it would remain a secret, and then he would lose what little respect that they had for him and would hate and fear him like the rest of the village. He had been kidding himself all along. There was no way for him to ever become Hokage.
Naruto turned away from Sasuke and headed for the door. He needed to leave, to go somewhere and think. He didn't know what he had to live for now that his dream was gone.
Sasuke sat on his bed wondering what had possessed him to be that cruel to Naruto. For a moment before he turned away, he thought he might have seen something inside Naruto's eyes break, but that was impossible. There was no way Naruto would take his words to heart, not when he had been told the same thing Sasuke had said millions of times when others heard his intent to become Hokage. It wasn't like any of it was true anyway. The villagers had gradually come to accept Naruto. They didn't have the same look in their eyes they had had before he took the Chuunin examination. Well, most of the villagers seemed to be changing their opinions of him. He had been gone a long time, but even before he left he had noticed the changes. He still had no idea why the villagers had hated Naruto, even from the time he was just a little kid. He speculated it was either because of the pranks or because of his family. It was probably because of his family, although no one really talked about whom Naruto's parents were. The only explanation was they were a disgrace to the village, and now they viewed Naruto as a disgrace. And that stuff he had said about Naruto having no leadership skills was wrong, too. He had something about him that inspired others to do their best. He may be goofy and uncool, but he worked hard and with determination to reach his goals. He had never doubted himself and that confidence inspired others, including Sasuke. He saw the best in people and could make even his enemies acknowledge and respect him. He went all out for his friends and would die for them. The only thing keeping him from being the ultimate shinobi was the fact that he cared too much. But maybe that wasn't a weakness, but his greatest strength. Sasuke was certainly grateful that Naruto had made it his responsibility to bring Sasuke back, even if he was angry that it had been necessary in the first place. He still couldn't believe he had been stupid enough to join Orochimaru. He probably should have thanked Naruto instead of yelling at him. Good thing Naruto is so hard-headed that nothing I said will get to him. I'll apologize in the morning when we all meet to train. Sasuke frowned. He was so not looking forward to swallowing his pride and admitting Naruto had saved him.
Naruto was still reeling from Sasuke's words. Now that becoming Hokage was out of the question, he had no idea what he was going to do for the rest of his life. Sure he was a shinobi, but what did he have to work toward now? Would he just go on missions and become a mindless killing machine? Would they allow him to be in any position of power? He didn't think so. He knew that Tsunade was fond of him…well, as fond of him as she was of anyone. But even she would have to bow to the pressure of the majority of the village. He didn't want to become like some of the shinobi, just following orders with no regard for what was right. He didn't want to not be in a position to change things for the better. He wanted to make this village better so that no one had to suffer as he did. He wanted to fix the priorities that some people had. He wanted to defend the weak and protect this village. He wanted to keep his word to Neji that he would change the Hyuga family when he became Hokage and release him from his curse. He couldn't do all this if he was just following orders without regard to his own code. He remembered the way Zabuza had described the shinobi way when they were defending the bridge builder from him. He didn't want to be a tool for whoever was in power. He wanted to help people!
That was it. Naruto's eyes shot open and he stared up at the sky in wonder. That was the main reason why he really wanted to become Hokage. At first it was just because I wanted the people who shunned me to acknowledge me, but as I grew up my priorities changed. I saw all the injustice, all the things that was wrong with the world and I thought that I would fix it when I became Hokage. But now I see that I won't be. I don't have a chance. What will happen if I stay here? Eventually everyone will find out about Kyuubi and they will hate me too. I doubt that anyone will want me to go on any missions and then I won't even be able to do anything. I will be useless. Naruto's head sank to his chest. More than anything…I don't want them to look at me with hatred and fear.
Of course this opened up a whole new set of problems. If he just left, then he would become hunted as a missing-nin. He would have to constantly be on the lookout to evade capture and death. He would probably be so wrapped up in that that he wouldn't have time for anything else and he would be in a worse situation than he was now.
Naruto rolled over and put his head on his arms. He could just tell Tsunade he was going on a training mission and just never come back. But would she accept that? The supply of shinobi was extremely low and they needed all that were available to take missions. And after a while she would probably send people looking for him. Maybe he should just tell her the truth: he had given up on his dream to become Hokage.
Naruto looked down at the necklace Tsunade had given him. He would give this back to her so she would know he was serious. But he really didn't want to have to fight Tsunade if she decided she couldn't let him go. He looked at the moon and determined it was about the time she would be passed out. He would leave her a short letter with the necklace telling her he had given up his dream to become Hokage and was on a quest to realize a new dream. Hopefully, she wouldn't send anyone to look for him, but you never know. There was also the fact that the Akatsuki were still after him. He could come up with a disguise. He doubted he would recognize Kakashi without his mask. Maybe if Naruto added a mask like Kakashi's no one would recognize him. Most of the villagers and even some of the shinobi never looked past his whisker marks anyway. And he could hide his forehead protector. It would only blow his cover, but he knew he couldn't throw it away. It was too important to him even now. He wouldn't turn his back on his village, but he didn't think he could live here anymore. He couldn't do anything as he was now. But if he left and went where no one knew anything about him, he had a real chance at doing some good. Here no one would listen to him, but if he made a name for himself helping people, then maybe other people would. He didn't have to be Hokage to make a difference.
The villagers would probably be relieved when he was gone. It would take away some of their fears that the fox would somehow escape the seal and come after them. They might think that the farther away he was the better. His friends deserved a goodbye but he didn't want anyone to try to talk him out of this. Kakashi and Jiraiya would be just as bad as Tsunade if he confronted them. They would probably knock him out and lock him up until they thought he came to his senses and agreed to stay. Now that he had a course of action, he wanted to take it as soon as possible. He knew everyone's lives would go on without him. Sasuke and Sakura would be just fine. Sakura would finally be happy that she had Sasuke all to herself. Kakashi would go on as he always had, as would Tsunade and Jiraiya. Iruka-sensei…He would have other students to teach and other former students to lecture.
He sighed. He would really miss everyone, but he knew this was for the best. He couldn't be the person he wanted to be and stay in this village. He wouldn't be given the chance. As a goodbye, he would leave another letter to everyone saying he was going to travel to all the different countries and learn all the cool new jutsu he could. He even put in a taunt at Sasuke that when he came back to the village he would be sure to kick Sasuke's ass first thing. They didn't have to know he didn't intend to come back.
When he got to his small apartment, he pondered what to bring. He would have to leave most of his stuff behind and travel light. Not that he had many possessions besides the many boxes of ramen in his pantry. There was really no need to bring any of his orange jackets and pants; they were too recognizable. It would defeat his purpose. He sighed, depressed that he would probably never get to wear it again. He had one completely black outfit that would do for now. He had to buy a new wardrobe—well, two new outfits anyway—in the next village he came to. He would be traveling a lot so there wasn't going to be room for much. He knew he couldn't go without ramen so the majority of his pack was stuffed with it, as well as a pot to boil water. He counted the money saved from his missions; it would hold him for a while. He could take some odd jobs in different towns along the way when he needed more. He put the money in the pack and continued packing. All his scrolls and ninja equipment went in, along with a picture of team 7 back when they were all still genin. He stared at the picture for a long time before placing it in his pack. He would miss them all. He had worked so hard to get Sasuke back so they could be together again and now he was the one leaving. At least he had fulfilled his promise to Sakura to bring Sasuke back. He knew now she was not the one for him. She wouldn't ever feel for him what she did for Sasuke. He didn't think anyone could love him that way. Half the time he didn't think Sakura even liked him.
Naruto finished his packing and quickly wrote the two letters. The first, he wrote formally to the Hokage. The second it was to all his friends, including Tsunade. He examined the letter critically. It seemed cheerful enough to him given how grim he was. He put the letters and the necklace in a big envelope. He would leave it on the Hokage's desk.
There was only one more thing to do. He looked at the black shirt that he had laid aside on the bed and the scissors in his hand. He had to make his mask. He took the scissors to the shirt. When he was done he tried it on. It was a little ragged, but it would do for now. He put it in his pack with the rest of his stuff and shrugged the pack on his shoulder.
Naruto took one last look around his apartment before shutting the door. He would probably never see it again. Even if he did come back, he wouldn't stay for long. There was always a chance of someone recognizing him.
He dropped off the envelope in the Hokage's office before heading to the front gate. He made it out of the gate of the city with no problems. The guards were used to him leaving to train at all hours and thought nothing of it. He had disguised the pack to look like an ordinary scroll that he often carried with him.
As soon as he was far enough away from the village, Naruto discarded his orange clothes and changed into his black outfit and mask. He looked at his reflection in the water of a river and was astonished at how different he looked. He looked more grown up and serious. There was something else different that he couldn't quite place, but he guessed that it really wasn't important. The important thing was that he was sure that no one would recognize him now. The last thing he did was take off his forehead protector, staring at it for a while before putting it in a secret compartment in his pack with regret that he would probably never wear it again after he had worked so hard for it. But the actual forehead protector wasn't really important; it was what it represented. Naruto straightened.
I don't need a forehead protector to remind me of what I am and what I can do. I am a shinobi and no one can take that away from me, not even with my death!
Naruto should have remembered that he was supposed to train with Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi the next morning. Or maybe he did but figured that Kakashi would be late and they would just think he forgot until Tsunade found the letters. He may have thought Sasuke and Sakura wouldn't go looking for him until Kakashi got there (which probably would have been a couple hours at least) and he still hadn't shown up. Which would have probably been the case. But there was another mistake he made. He should have known that Kakashi would choose the day Naruto didn't want him to show up on time to show up on time.
He also should have been paying more attention to his surroundings as he was burying his clothes. Or he should have waited and threw them away in the next village. He definitely should have sensed the huge wolf-like monster behind him before it swiped his arm with its claw, slinging blood everywhere. As Naruto jumped away, he brought his jacket up to cover his wounded arm. It was soaked within a minute. Nothing life threatening, but it did leave him weakened from blood loss. The monster was currently in the process of tearing his pants to shreds. In less than a second it had swallowed the pants and turned back to Naruto and growled loudly. I have to get away, before I loose any more blood. Naruto threw the jacket at the beast to distract it for a moment and clasped his hands together and made the sign of his signature jutsu. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
Twenty Narutos leapt at the monster. It was confused to find so many enemies attacking him when he had thought he had only one prey. The clones got in many solid punches before he had disposed of them all, leaving the beast seriously injured and without any prey except for a lone, bloody, orange jacket.
Naruto swam down the river for a while to hide his scent from the monster. When he was far enough away, he jumped out of the water and leapt through the trees, hoping to further hide is trail. He was lucky that his pack was waterproof or his scrolls would be useless.
When he judged that he was far enough away, he dropped onto a high tree branch and rested his head against the bark.
Well, my first day on my own could have gone better.
Sasuke and Sakura were waiting at the bridge where they were supposed to meet the others at dawn. They were surprised that Naruto wasn't there yet but thought he must have slept late. However, they were extremely surprised when Kakashi popped up only about five minutes late.
Sakura was in shock. "Sen-sensei! You're here!" She rushed over to check to see if he had a fever. "You don't feel like you have a fever. Did you hit your head? Are you really Kakashi-sensei? You can't be; you are NEVER on time!"
Kakashi ignored her and focused on Sasuke. "Do you know where Naruto is?"
Sasuke was starting to get a bad feeling. "Maybe we should go check Naruto's apartment. The blockhead probably just slept in or forgot we were supposed to be training today."
"I agree with Sasuke, we all know what an inconsiderate idiot Naruto can be sometimes." Sasuke shot Sakura an annoyed look before ignoring her completely.
They all went to the apartment but didn't find Naruto there.
"Maybe he went ahead to the training ground." Sakura suggested. As they turned to leave, they saw Neji and Kiba. "What are you two doing here?"
"Well, I wanted to see if Naruto wanted to get some ramen with me and Neji wanted to ask Naruto something about training with him. What's wrong? Isn't Naruto at home?" Kiba said.
Sakura told them of her suspicion that Naruto had gone ahead to the training grounds without them and the other two decided to go along for the ride. At the front gate they ran into Ino, Shikamaru, and Choji, who were on their way to train also. They all decided to walk to the training grounds together.
"Hey, are you all looking for Naruto?" One of the guards at the front gate asked.
Sakura answered him. "Yes, did he come this way?"
"Yes, he came through the gates about an hour ago, carrying a scroll."
Sakura turned to the others. "See, I told you that he went to the training grounds alone."
"But he didn't go towards the training grounds. He went towards the river." The guard corrected her.
"But why would Naruto go towards the river?" Just then they all felt a strong breeze blow past them and saw Tsunade looking mad as hell.
"Hokage-sama?" Kakashi inquired, uncharacteristically hesitant.
"There is no time to explain, Naruto has left the village!"
"We know, Hokage-sama, we were just on our way to look for him-" Sakura started.
"You don't understand. I mean Naruto has really left the village. I don't think he intends to come back. He left this." She held up the necklace that she had given Naruto.
Sasuke glanced at the necklace. "So? It's just a necklace."
Sakura stared at the necklace. "Naruto treasured that. He wouldn't just leave it."
Tsunade growled. "It is not just a necklace. I gave this to him when I acknowledged that I believed he could become Hokage someday. He also left a letter saying he had given up his dream of becoming Hokage. He said he was going to leave the village to search for a new dream." She held up the necklace again. "He told me to give it to the person I picked to succeed me. He said only the person who is to be Hokage should wear it." She growled again in frustration. "Doesn't that little punk know I intended for him to be the next Hokage?! Almost everyone else was aware of that fact; why wasn't he?" She pounded the gate with her fist, leaving a big dent. "Why did he give up? All this time, no matter who doubted him, he never once doubted himself. He beat Orochimaru! Didn't that prove he has what it takes?"
Sasuke looked shell-shocked. He honestly hadn't believed Naruto would listen to a word he said. It wasn't like he ever had before. Why did he pick now, when Sasuke really hadn't meant it? Sasuke came to a conclusion. There was no way that he would allow Naruto to give up on his dream, especially if he was doing it because of his words last night.
Sasuke shot towards the river, leaving the others in his dust. Tsunade quickly followed him, as did the others. They got to the river and found no sign of Naruto until Sasuke caught a flash of orange out of the corner of his eye on the edge of the river. He bent down and picked it up. It looked like a piece of Naruto's pants. What had caused them to rip?
Kiba closed his eyes to see if he could smell Naruto. His eyes flew back open and he started running upstream. He yelled over his shoulder. "I smell Naruto's blood! A lot of it!"
Everyone hurried to follow Kiba. They made it to the spot where Naruto had fought. Blood was everywhere and they couldn't imagine what it was that had done this to Naruto. They only hoped that he was still alive.
A demonic growl sounded from behind the trees and the monster stumbled from behind them. It was still chewing on Naruto's bloody jacket. All eyes immediately went to that all too recognizable jacket. They could all see the bloodstains even from as far away as they were.
"Neji, use Byakugan to see if Naruto was eaten by this beast." (AN: Don't know if it can do this really, but it will in my story.) Tsunade was the first to speak. She could tell that this monster was a demon. Not as strong as Kyuubi, but strong enough to give them a lot of trouble.
Neji immediately did as he was told. He was too shocked to argue, not that he would have anyway. He activated his eyes and peered in the beast's stomach. He immediately deactivated it. He felt sick but knew that they needed an answer. "I can't tell if it's Naruto…but this monster has definitely eaten a human recently."
Sakura had tears streaming down her face. "What do you mean you can't tell?!"
Neji didn't want to answer. Kakashi beat him to it. "From the size of the monster's teeth, I think that the body would be unrecognizable. There is no way to tell who it is."
Sasuke refused to believe Naruto was dead. He activated his Sharingan. "Then we will tear his stomach open after we kill him!" He leapt toward the monster and was immediately hurled back into Kakashi.
He got up to go again, but Kakashi held him back. "It will not help Naruto if you get yourself killed. We will do this together."
In the end, it took all their special jutsu to defeat it. Shikamaru couldn't hold it for very long with his shadow technique but it still helped. Choji rammed it a few times. Sasuke and Kakashi both used Chidori on it and that slowed it down a little, but it was Tsunade who finished it off. They were all almost ready to pass out by the time the fight was over.
If Naruto hadn't fought it before we got here, even I would have had trouble beating it. Tsunade thought tiredly. Naruto…Please don't be dead.
Sasuke slowly got up and went over to the body of the dead demon. He reached into his pouch and grasped a kunai. The girls quickly averted their eyes as he slashed the stomach open and sorted through its contents. He closed his eyes in pain at what he found. The rest of Naruto's pants were there along with the extremely bloody jacket. The body that they found in the demon's stomach was human, although you could barely recognize it as such. It was almost completely ground up. Only a few of the bones were recognizable. Sasuke paused. "Kiba? Can you tell by the smell if this is Naruto?"
Kiba closed his eyes. "I can smell Naruto a little, but the stomach acid covers all the other smells. I can't tell you for sure if the body is Naruto's."
"Does this mean…" Ino started.
Sasuke's eyes snapped open. "Naruto is not dead! I would know if he was. We have to find him if he is injured. Everyone spread out!"
Kakashi laid a hand on Sasuke's shoulder. He too wanted to hope for the best, but he felt that the other boy should be prepared, just in case the worst happened. "Sasuke, we will continue to look for Naruto, but you should consider the possibility that he may be-"
"No! I will not accept that Naruto is dead! Because-" Sasuke stopped. Because that would mean it was my fault.
Kakashi squeezed his shoulder and instructed Kiba and Neji to check the surrounding area with their respective talents. Neither could find anything. Not a single sign that Naruto had escaped with his life, or that he had escaped at all. At the end of the day, the only person who had not accepted that Naruto was gone was Sasuke.
It took weeks for Sasuke to finally accept that Naruto was dead. He went out and searched every day. Some of the others came out to humor him when they didn't have missions.
Finally one night when he was coming back to the village, Tsunade was waiting for him at the gate. "What do you want?"
Tsunade stepped forward to fall into step beside him. "Come and sit with me for a while."
All Sasuke really wanted was to get home and get some rest so he could go out early tomorrow and continue his search, but you didn't tell the Hokage to get lost, so he did as she asked and leaned against the wall. "Did you want to talk about something?"
Tsunade was silent for a while. "You need to let Naruto go, Sasuke. He wouldn't want you to waste your life looking for him. He would want you to live life to the fullest. That is why he risked his life to save you from Orochimaru." She pulled out the second letter that Naruto had written. Sasuke hadn't wanted to read it when she had brought it to the other's attention. She handed it to Sasuke, now. "This is his final goodbye. It would be disrespectful of you not to read it." She straightened and left Sasuke alone with his thoughts.
Sasuke stared at the letter in his hands. He tightened his fists, crumpling the letter, and shut his eyes tight. Despite his efforts, tears trailed down his face with increasing frequency. He opened his eyes and smoothed out the letter. He read it and it was just like every one of their conversations before he had left to join Orochimaru. He felt like punching the little bastard even now. Instead he smiled, even through his tears. Then he crumpled and punched the wall, making another dent in it that would have to be fixed.
"Logically I know that he is dead. Why can't I accept it? Why do I still feel that he is alive?"
"Maybe it's because that is what you want to believe." Iruka stepped out of the shadows, looking more tired than Sasuke had ever seen him. "I think the same thing every day since he's been gone. I know he's dead, but I keep expecting him to pop into my class, interrupt my lesson, and ask me to go buy him some ramen. You don't know how many times I stopped my lesson just because of a noise in the hallway. But I catch myself and continue with class until the next time." Iruka gazed down at Sasuke. "But I've finally accepted that the only place Naruto is alive is in my heart. As long as I remember him, he will be alive for me. I suspect it is the same for you Sasuke. You two may have fought constantly, but I know that Naruto considered you…his best friend." Iruka turned away and continued back home.
Sasuke stayed in the same spot for a while, thinking about Iruka's words. His best friend…Iruka-sensei is right. Naruto, I will never forget you. But it is time to let you go. But it was so hard!
Sasuke pushed away from the wall and went to Tsunade. She was waiting in her office for him. "I know he's dead, but I didn't want to accept it." He turned his gaze to the floor. "When my clan was killed, I had a purpose, something to focus on. I had revenge. But I didn't have anything like that with Naruto. We killed the demon responsible for his death so I couldn't have revenge, but I didn't want to face the fact that I was the real person to blame for his death."
"Sasuke-" Tsunade began.
"No. The night before he died, we had a fight. I told him he would never be Hokage; it would never happen no matter how strong he got. I didn't mean it and I didn't think he would pay any attention to it. But before I turned away, I saw something in his eyes break. I thought it was just my imagination. Naruto's been told too many times to count he would never be Hokage. Why would this one be any different?" Sasuke slammed his fists on the desk. "Why did he choose now to listen to me, when I didn't mean anything I said?"
Tsunade was quiet, she didn't really know what to say to comfort him. "It was an accident. It was no one's fault. I don't know if your words had anything to do with his decision, but even if they did, you couldn't know what would happen. No one is at fault here."
Sasuke smiled sadly. "Logically, I know you're right, but that doesn't change how I feel." Sasuke turned and headed to the door. He paused, his back still to her. "When will you hold the memorial service?"
Tsunade's eyes got even sadder. "Jiraiya still hasn't been told. I sent some messengers to bring him back so I could tell him myself. I don't want to do it until he is able to be here. I think the boy was like a son to him. It will hurt him greatly."
The memorial service was bigger than expected. Sasuke and the rest of younger shinobi couldn't believe so many of the villagers had shown up. Sasuke doubted half of the people knew Naruto. As they all gathered in the front to pay their respects, Sasuke heard the last part of a conversation between two people not far behind him.
"—I'm relieved that kid is dead. Now we won't have to worry anymore about you-know-what. I feel a lot safer-"
Sasuke rose from his position quickly, as did Sakura, both intending to kill the person, but Tsunade and Jiraiya beat them to it. They both had the man by the throat.
"Jiraiya, let go. It's my job as Hokage to punish him for speaking ill of the dead."
"Naruto was my student, Tsunade. I'm the one who should teach this worthless jackass a lesson in the respect owed to the dead." He pulled the man closer to his face. "Naruto has saved this village many times in the past. He has done nothing to warrant your words."
"But he is-"
"SILENCE!" Tsunade yelled as Jiraiya pulled back his fist in preparation to punch. Tsunade grabbed his fist and pulled back her own. "I've already said that it is my duty to punish him, Jiraiya! I am Hokage! DO AS I SAY!" She punched Jiraiya, sending him back twenty yards into a pile of genin. She pulled back her fist to make good on her promise to punish the offender when Jiraiya grabbed her fist. "Let go of me you pig!"
"No!" They both pulled their fists back at the same time and punched the unfortunate man, knocking a few of his teeth loose in the process.
One academy student tugged at the bottom of Iruka's pants to get his attention, staring at the fight that had broken out between the two sannin. "Iruka-sensei, isn't it disrespectful to fight at a funeral?"
Iruka glanced down at the child. A smile slowly graced his face. "Actually, I think that this is just Naruto's style. Naruto didn't much care for propriety."
Naruto's former classmates smiled. It really did sound like Naruto.
Okay, that was Part I. I'm sorry if it was rushed, but this is not the main part of the story. Naruto is really OOC, but I had to get him to leave the village somehow.