Demon/Summon/inner Sakura speech
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the characters created by Kishimoto, but all OC's are my own creation.
Author's note: I bet many of you didn't expect to see this story updated again. Well I've gotten around to dusting it off the shelf and I do plan on finishing this story. Don't know how long it will take but I will finish it.
Now on with the story
Chapter 32: The Hokage's Wrath Part 2: The real wrath begins!
The air around the Chunin exam stadium was thick with tension as Orochimaru and The Shodai Hokage stared down Jiraiya and the recently freed Nidaime Hokage. After what seemed like an eternity to the on looking Anbu, Orochimaru finally broke the stare down. "Ku, Ku, Ku, Ku If you think getting the Nidaime on your side has changed the tide of this battle, you're an even greater fool than I took you for Jiraiya."
"We'll see about that." Jiraiya's curtly replied as he shifted his weight ever so slightly in preparation for his upcoming attack. But as fate would have it just before either group launched their attack a bright yellow flash blinded them, and when it died down none other than Namikaze Minato was standing between them.
In the blink of an eye he blurred out of sight and appeared directly behind the Shodai Hokage before he violently shoved his hand into the back of the Shodai's head and ripped out the kunai with the seal, that had the Shodai under Orochimaru's control. As the former Hokage started to crumble to dust the faintest of smiles graced his lips as he mouth 'thank you' and then just a few seconds later he was dust in the wind. However before the first flakes of ash even came off the Shodai, Minato was already behind the Nidaime and quickly pulled off the seal tag that Jiraiya had placed on him earlier and as the Nidaime crumbled to ash Minato mumbled to himself "The dead deserve to rest in peace."
With the departure of the two revived Hokage's Minato turned his attention to the true object of his anger, Orochimaru. "Now it's your turn Orochimaru."
The pale skinned snake Sannin actually took a step back when he heard the pure hatred in Minato's voice, but his moment of panic was fleeting as he quickly regained his composure. "What the hell do you think you're doing Namikaze!? I resurrected you! I control you! You're nothing but my puppet and you are to do as you're told!"
"Not anymore." replied Minato before he disappeared in a flash of yellow. He suddenly reappeared in front of Orochimaru, thanks to the seal he placed on him just a few moments ago, and slamming his chakra infused palm into the Snake Sannin's stomach. Immense pain erupted throughout Orochimaru's body before he felt his strength leave him and he dropped to his hands and knees.
The downed Sannin took several deep ragged breaths as he tried to recover from the pain, before he looked up at the object of his torment. "W-What the hell did you do to me?!"
The Yondaime Hokage just stared down at his opponent with an impassive glare as he said "I've sealed your charka. You'll never be able to perform jutsu again."
"Damn you! Damn you! Damn you!" screamed Orochimaru as he stared at Minato with nothing but utter hate in his eyes. Then before anyone could blink the barrier that surrounded the fight dissolved and the four Oto shinobi that had created it appeared between Minato and the injured Orochimaru.
The Red-haired girl known as Tayuya dropped down into her taijutsu stance as she snarled "Back off you fuckers. We won't let you anywhere near Orochimaru-sama."
As the others prepared to defend themselves Minato sprang into action effortlessly knocking out the other three members of the sound four. With the riffraff taken care of he then turned toward Tayuya and raised his tri-pronged kunai. "Care to rephrase that?"
The red-haired kunoichi narrowed her eyes as she took in the situation before she relaxed her stance and raised her hands. "Fine dickhead I know when there's no chance."
After the ANBU carted off their captives Jiraiya turned to his former student "M-Minato is that really you?"
Minato ignored his former mentor's words as his Gazed trailed off into the distance, and after he found what he was looking for he turned to Jiraiya and said "Sorry Jiraiya-sensei but I'm needed elsewhere."
Then before any more words could be said a bright yellow flash encompassed the area, by the time it had faded Minato was gone. Jiraiya just stared at the spot the former Hokage had stood, the beginnings of a smile on his face. "Huh he left without even saying goodbye. That's so like him." He then turned his gaze in the direction that Minato had looked earlier before he muttered "Good luck out there brat."
The dust cloud that had engulfed the area had dispersed enough to reveal a massive crater about 100 yards wide, a crater that just a short time ago was populated with store fronts and houses. Asuma felt a pang in his heart at all the devastation and destruction, but he quickly reigned in those feelings to focus on the task at hand. He scanned the area looking for any sign of the two combatants only to have the dust clear enough to reveal Naruto, his cloths torn and shredded and his bloodied right arm hung lifelessly against his body, standing over the prone form of the Suna Jinchuriki.
Once Asuma saw the weakened state of the enemy shinobi he signaled for his team to move in, but before they could even move a muscle they were stopped in their tracks by a massive amount of K.I.
"Don't interfere!" snapped Naruto as he turned to glare at the Konoha shinobi. "This fight is between me and him!"
"You're in no condition to continue this fight Naruto!" Asuma countered, "Just let us handle this."
"Never!" Naruto shot back clearly angered by their interference, "I'll never let Konoha get their hands on a fellow Jinchuriki. So back the hell off!"
Thankfully cooler heads prevailed as Asuma's years of shinobi training allowed him to quell not only his anger at the insult to the integrity to his village, and with a stern gaze to his subordinates he had their anger tempered as well. However before he or his team could do anything to try and persuade Naruto to change his mind four giant walls of ice appeared around the surprised Konoha team.
"Honestly Naruto-kun I leave you alone for a few minutes and look what happens to you." Haku said as she gracefully landed beside him.
A smile form on Naruto's face as he was happy to see that his friend was still alive. "What can I say? Stuff like this never happened to me before Wave."
"If you weren't hurt…" Haku left her threat open for Naruto's own imagination as she looked over at the wall she had created. "Now finish this up before they interfere."
"Thanks Haku-chan." Naruto said as he gave her a grateful smile before he turned his attention back towards Gaara. "Looks like my jutsu… took a lot out of both of us… huh? So why don't you just surrender… so we can put an end to this pointless battle?"
The battered and bruised Gaara just stared at the injured and exhausted Naruto as he thought 'How… how is he so strong…?'
A sudden rage built up within Gaara as he narrowed his eyes at Naruto and with all his remaining strength shouted "I will not cease to exist! I won't! I REFUSE!"
"Very well then." Naruto said resigned to having to finish this the hard way, but as he placed his hand on the handle of his Kudachi and began to draw the blade, Gaara was overcome by a paralyzing panic and a strong desire to keep Naruto as far away from him as possible. Since Gaara had never felt anything like this before, he had no way to control such emotions. The terror coursed through his veins, and his eyes widened as far as they would go as he shouted "St-stay away from me!"
Startled by the fear in Gaara's voice Naruto stopped dead in his tracks, confused at the sudden change. So he searched for any indication of deception or trickery on Gaara's part, but when he reached his eyes Naruto noticed something, something he had only seen when he looked into a mirror. He noticed that aside from the fear, anger, and hatred that was present there was also a dark void, a cold dark void that our blonde Uzumaki knew all too well…
Lightening flashed and thunder roared just outside of a small cracked window that was in an old and rotten wooden frame. As rain mercilessly beat against the window a four year old Naruto was in a far off corner of this rundown apartment that had trash and debris littered all over the floor, curled up into a ball and cradling his fractured right arm between his knees and chest, a fracture that he had just received from a beating earlier that day. He rocked back and forth while he thought about all the things the villagers had said to him.
'Why don't you just go to hell! That's where you belong anyway!'
'I don't want you to go anywhere near that thing sweaty. It'll bite your head off without a second thought.'
Those voices continued to echo through Naruto's head, as tears started to well up in his eyes. When they reached the point that the eyes could no longer contain them, the tears spilled over and ran down Naruto's cheeks as he sniffled "W-what (hic) did I ever do to deserve this? (Hic) Why do so many people (hic) want me to 'Die'?"
Naruto then tilted his heard downwards and through tear stained eyes examined his battered and bruised right arm as the voice of one villager in particular echoed in his head.
'When you're gone, we'll have a party to celebrate the demise of the demon.'
As a blot of lightening streaked across the cracked window, Naruto hugged his right arm even closer to his chest and meekly said "Would they… (sniffle) would they really celebrate my d-death?"
When the small child realized the answer to his own question he curled himself up into an even tighter ball and let his tears flow freely as he sobbed into his knees…
Naruto lowered his head and let his hair fall in front of his eyes so that they were completely draped in shadow. Then with a melancholy tone in his voice that spoke of untold pain and suffering he said "It's unbearable at times… isn't it? That cold, dark, and lonely place, it's where you slowly drown in your own pain, and sorrow. It's in that place where you start to wonder… just how many would actually cheer when you were finally killed."
The area became deathly silent after Naruto's little statement, while Haku narrowed her eyes dangerously and glared in the direction of the only Konoha shinobi present. 'How dare they treat Naruto-kun like that!'
Little did the ice user know she wasn't the only one to have thoughts along this line, 'I knew he had a rough life, Asuma-kun and I watched him enough times to see that, but I never realized that our village had pushed him so far as to think we would actually celebrate his death. How? How could the village that I've held so dear for all my life have done that to a mere child?'
Gaara however had a completely different reaction. Instead of the feeling of terror that had flooded his body earlier it was replaced with a feeling of confusion and a strange kind of astonishment that someone else was like him. "How…"
Naruto lifted his head to reveal a face that reflected the pain and anguish of a harsh past. Then after a moment of silence a single tear ran down Naruto's left cheek before his lips curled into a weak smile as he softly spoke. "What? Did you think you were the only one to experience such pain and loneliness? I understand that pain all too well… all too well."
Right after this comment Naruto's pained and anguished face softened and got a more reflective expression as he thought about all the important people in his life before he said "But now… I have people who care about me. Precious people who understand me and they have become very important to me."
"Why…" muttered Gaara completely baffled at this prospect, he just couldn't wrap his brain around Naruto's attitude towards other people. They were the reason for all the pain they had felt after all, but after several moments of unresolved contemplation he couldn't stand it anymore. "… After everything they've done to you. Why would you even care about others?"
"Because…" Naruto started to answer before a sharp pain shot through his immobile right arm which caused him to grunt in pain. Haku was on him immediately and after she looked over his arm she applied some healing balm she had made earlier. Once she was finished Naruto took a couple of deep breaths and reveled in the soothing feeling the healing balm caused before he got a faint smile on his face. "Thanks Haku-chan."
"You're welcome Naruto-kun." Haku replied, "But we need to get that arm looked at soon before any damaged becomes permanent."
He gave her a small nod of understanding before he turned back towards Gaara and used his good arm to gesture towards Haku. "This is the reason; they're the ones who saved me from that dark abyss. They validated my existence. I love them and I can't imagine my life without them."
"Naruto-kun… I feel that same way" Haku said with a slight shade of pink in her cheeks before she gently placed her hand on his uninjured shoulder. "And I wouldn't have it any other way."
Upon seeing the interaction between Naruto and Haku, Gaara was reminded of something his caretaker told him long ago. "Love… it's the feeling that makes you want to strive for and protect those who are precious to you…"
He then turned his head to look up at the clear blue sky and quietly muttered "…Love… is that what makes him so strong…."
When Naruto saw Gaara's muscles relax it became clear to him that he'd given up that fight. "It's over." He muttered as he released a breath he didn't know he was holding.
"Then let's go and get you healed up Naruto-kun." Haku said as she gently placed his good arm on her shoulders to help support his weight.
"I afraid that won't be possible."
The callous and emotionless tone of the voice sent a shiver down Naruto's spine and as his eyes widen in surprise he grumbled "Oh…there's no freaking way my luck could be this bad."
Fortune however was not on his side as Itachi and Kisame landed about thirty feet from Naruto and Haku. The traitorous Uchiha then fixed his gaze upon the injured Jinchuriki. "This is an unexpected surprise isn't it… Naruto-kun?"
"Yeah right I already know you're hunting me..." Naruto scoffed as he rolled his eyes and shook his head in disbelief, before he waved his hand dismissively "But I'm busy right now, so go pester someone else for a while… unless of course you want to get your ass kicked out of my head again."
"Your bravado is unwarranted Naruto-kun. It's quite obvious that you barely have the chakra to stand, let alone put up any kind of resistance. So why don't you come along quietly. I don't want to damage the Yondaime's legacy any further." Itachi replied.
Naruto narrowed his eyes and let out a low growl, but before he could issue any kind of verbal response his knees gave out and if it wasn't for Haku he would have fallen face first into the ground. Thankfully just as Haku got Naruto seated on the floor of the crater they stood in Asuma and Kurenai landed in front of them, having finally gotten through Haku's ice walls, Asuma then pulled out his trench knives and shifted into a defensive stance. "You'll have to go through us first Itachi."
"Asuma, Kurenai… it's been a long time." Itachi replied as his face gave away no sign that he considered these two a threat.
Kisame having gotten tired of being ignored put his hand on his sword and got a shark like smile on his face before he said "Let me handle them Itachi. I could use the workout with all the sneaking around we've been doing lately."
However just when Itachi was about to answer, a loud booming voice filled with hatred and malice reverberated all around them. "Uchiha Itachi!"
Everyone turned their attention in the direction of that voice and saw Sasuke land on what remained of the street directly behind Itachi. The young Uchiha glared at his brother with such intensity that if looks could kill Itachi would have been struck down. After only a moment of silence Sasuke growled "I've been waiting for this day all my life! Today is the day I finally kill you and avenge my clan!"
Itachi, who still had his back to Sasuke, merely closed his eyes and calmly said "Go away. You don't interest me at the moment."
Kisame got a curious look on his face as he observed the new comer, before he tilted his head to the left and said, "Who's this brat? He kind of looks like you Itachi."
The older Uchiha opened his eyes and looked over at Kisame. "He's… my little brother."
"Oh…? That's funny, cuz the way I heard it. The whole Uchiha clan was wiped out… by you." replied Kisame as he looked over his shoulder at the younger Uchiha.
"Don't be a fool Sasuke! He's way out of your league! Just leave this to me and my team." Asuma shouted in a despite attempt to dissuade Sasuke from his present course of action.
"NEVER! I've waited long enough!" Sasuke screamed as a faint blue electrical charge started to build around his right hand. Then as the charge continued to build in intensity and the sounds of birds chirping filled the entire area, Sasuke glared at Itachi with all of his hatred before he snarled "Just like you told me to, I've filled myself with resentment and hate, and lived solely for the purpose of … killing you!"
As Sasuke charged forward Asuma just shook his head in disbelief. 'What is it with these kids? They have no respect for their elders.'
Itachi however just passively looked at the electricity surging around Sasuke's hand before he said "Chidori…?"
Sasuke didn't answer his brother's question instead he charged forward an action that caused Asuma glanced over at Kurenai. "Let's move!"
However just when they were about to move Kisame appeared before them and swung his sword in a horizontal motion decapitating two Chunin's that moved in with Asuma. Kisame then shifted his weight and jabbed his sword forward and impaled the last remaining Chunin of the team. Once he flung that corpse off of his sword he moved at lightning speed and did a downward slash in an attempt to slice Asuma in half. However Asuma brought up his knives just in time to block Kisame's strike.
As Kisame applied more pressure to his blade he got a smile on his scaly face and said "Now, now we can't have you interrupting their fun, can we?"
Asuma grunted in frustration as he did all he could to keep Kisame's sword from cutting into his flesh but when his sword was practically touching Asuma's shoulder Kisame suddenly jerked his sword backwards. This motion tore off the bindings that were wrapped around his sword to reveal that it was covered with dark grey, razor sharp shark scales that ripped into Asuma's flesh, and as the tattered remains of the bindings scattered to the four winds Asuma gritted his teeth and painfully mumbled "Damn it…"
Meanwhile Sasuke had gotten within range of Itachi, but just as he was about to put his Chidori through his brothers chest, Itachi reached out with his right hand grabbed a hold of Sasuke's wrist before he diverted the energy of the jutsu into what remained of a building wall.
The sheer amount of energy released from the chidori was enough to create a massive circular hole in the wall with a diameter of three feet. As the remaining electrical energy dispersed with a few crackles here and there, Sasuke narrowed his eyes in anger and frustration before he growled "You…"
Itachi tightened his grip on Sasuke's wrist, and then with a swift motion of said hand he snapped the wrist with a sickening crunch as he said "Too slow…"
The searing pain the coursed through his arm caused Sasuke to drop to his knees and grabbed hold of his wrist. "AAARGH!"
As Sasuke cradled his broken wrist Itachi looked down at his little brother and said "No stamina…"
When Sasuke heard his brothers demeaning comments a powerful rage flowed through his body and with a fierce display of will he pushed the pain of his shattered wrist to the back of his mind and slowly got to his feet. Then as he narrowed his eyes at Itachi he huffed "No… stamina huh? Why don't I show you just how much stamina I really have!"
Itachi just stared down Sasuke with a placid look on his face before he suddenly moved at lightning speed and landed a vicious kick to Sasuke's rib cage with such force that it sent him flying backwards. Then when he finally made contact with the ground, he continued to tumble and roll until his back smashed up against a large chuck of debris that had landed in the middle of the street from the earlier battle.
As Sasuke laid up against the debris Itachi appeared beside him and just looked down at his little like he was a bug that could easily be squashed before he said "You're still too weak…"
Sasuke coughed up some blood and as a look of disbelief crossed his face he thought 'Why…?'
With that question rolling around in his head all he'd done to prepare for this day flashed through his mind before his physical condition got the better of him and he coughed up even more blood.
'After all this time the gap between us… hasn't shrunk at all.' Thought Sasuke as laid there completely immobile and wracked with pain, all he could do was just stare up at Itachi, who hadn't even broken a sweat. 'Just what have I been doing… all this time…?'
"Foolish brother… you've forgotten your true purpose." said Itachi as he picked up Sasuke and once he was at eye level the comma's in Itachi's eyes spun rapidly as he prepared for one final attack.
'My… true purpose?' Sasuke thought to himself as he just hung their helplessly in his brothers grip.
But before Itachi could even summon the chakra to perform his jutsu a bright yellow flash illuminated the area and when it was gone Namikaze Minato stood before them.
"Well that was a flashy entrance. Wouldn't you say Itachi?" Kisame mused before he turned to look at his partner only to stop in his tracks. Because when he actually got a good look at his partner, his amused expression turned to one of shock and awe as he saw something he never thought he'd see coming from Itachi… emotion.
Itachi's eyes had widened ever so slightly and his right foot moved back about a quarter of an inch as he muttered "Impossible…"
"What you know this guy?"
"Kisame, who do you know that's from Konoha, has blonde spikey hair, and can appear in a yellow flash?" Itachi replied as he collected himself and put his emotionless face back up.
The shark face Akatsuki pondered this for several moments before his eyes widened in shock. "You can't be serious Itachi he's dead! He died fifteen years ago when the Kyuubi attacked Konoha!"
"I did die." Minato interrupted as two tri-pronged kunai appeared in his hands. "But I'm back now, and if anyone lays a hand on my son… they will regret it."
"Son? Yondaime-sama had a son?" Kurenai muttered as her eyes flickered over to Naruto. 'How could we have missed that? The resemblance between the two is unmistakable.'
While Kurenai was lost in her own musings Minato saw Kisame edge into a defensive stance, this moved showed him that he needed to prove his point, he appeared in from of Kisame in the blink of an eye and delivered a vicious blow to the man's gut and knocked the wind out of his lungs. As Kisame dropped to his knees and gasped for air Minato grabbed him by the head and planted his knee right into the shark man's chin Kisame was sent flying backwards before he landed in front of Itachi. Minato then turned to the rest of those present. "Anyone else want to test their luck?"
After Kisame got to his feet he wiped the blood from his chin and tightened his grip on his blade; before he got a very big grin on his face. "I see you're as good as the legends say. This is going to be fun."
However just as the Akatsuki member was about to move Minato appeared behind him in a yellow flash and placed a kunai at the shark man's throat. "You're out of your league."
But right when the resurrected Yondaime was about to end this man's life he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. To his surprise he saw the younger Uchiha charging at the injured Naruto at full speed a kunai in hand ready to strike. It took the former Kage only a moment to notice the glazed look in the kid's eyes. 'Genjutsu.'
His decision made for him Minato appeared in front of Sasuke and delivered a vicious hit to his gut, which had enough force to knock the young teen out, and he did this all before Haku was even able to muster any kind of defense.
However when he turned back towards where his previous opponent was he discovered much to his surprise that nobody was there. He scanned the area and found both Asuma and Kurenai were on the ground, dazed and disoriented but otherwise unharmed. It was then that he noticed Kisame's cloak, which he had tagged with his seal, discarded on the ground. As he picked up the piece of cloth he peered off into the distance. 'Itachi, have you fallen so far that you'd use your own brother as a means to cover your own escape?'
With the threat of the Akatsuki gone for the moment Minato let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding as he prepared to turn around and face his son. But before he could muster his courage he was granted a brief reprieve when Tsunade and Kushina arrived on the scene.
The two kunoichi quickly took notice of Naruto's state and Tsunade was on him in a flash her hands coated in green chakra as she checked to see just how bad it was. "Skin lacerations, the muscle tissue in your arm has been badly shredded and torn, not to mention the damage done to your chakra pathways. If that attack of yours had been any more powerful Naruto it could have destroyed your entire chakra pathway! You could have crippled yourself for life or worse yet you could have been killed!"
Without even waiting for a reply Tsunade continued her rant. "Do you have any idea how that makes me feel? Do you think I could have lived with myself knowing that the person I consider to be my son willfully put his life in danger because he had to use an incomplete jutsu that I had a hand in helping him learn!?"
Naruto lowered his head in shame as an immense guilt washed over him. He never intended to hurt the second person to ever truly give a damn about him. The weight of such an act was almost suffocating in its scope, it affected him so much that all he could muster in response was a weak "I'm sorry."
"Hey don't be so hard on yourself Naruto-kun." Kushina said as she tried to play the role of good cop to Tsunade's bad cop. This was her chance to repair some of the damage to their relationship that she had caused earlier, and by god she wasn't going to miss it. She lifted up his chin so that they could meet face to face before she said "You did really well out there today. You'd defeated a fellow Jinchuriki after all. That's no small feat. We just want you to promise us that you won't use it again until you have completely master it is all. We… I care about you, and I don't want to see you get hurt."
Naruto jerked his chin out of her grasp as he muttered "Like you actually care."
Kushina flinched from her son's actions, his words cutting her deeper than any physical blow ever could. "Naruto-kun I…"
"Don't… just don't." Interrupted Naruto "You showed how much you cared when he told us that he knew how I'd be treated and did nothing about it."
Kushina lowered her head in shame as she fought back tears and once again cursed herself for her actions.
"That's enough Naruto." Minato said as he approached his son. It hurt him greatly to see the poor relationship that Kushina had with Naruto and he would do his best to see that improved. "Your mother loves you very much… as do I."
"Shut up!" Naruto snapped at Minato as the pent up rage he'd bottled up since he learned that it was his own father's inaction that caused him so much suffering since he'd sealed Kyuubi into him. In a fit of anger he pulled up his shirt and channeled his chakra to reveal the seal on his navel. "You're the reason for this! You're the reason everyone hated me as a child!"
"Yes I sealed it into you because the man that was controlling it would be back and I trusted that you would keep the Kyuubi out of his reach" Minato said as he peered down at his injured son.
"That doesn't excuse you from not protecting me from the hell you condemned me too!" Naruto shouted back as he tried to stand and face the man that had been the center piece of his anger for so long, only the strong embrace of Haku kept him from doing so. The pain that flared through his body due Haku's grip caused his anger to fade a little and allowed the burning question that had been on his mind since he learned of his father to come to the surface.
"Is it because you hate me?" Naruto wheezed out as he glared at his father as if daring him to lie about it. "Did you hate me so much that you would condemn me to a life of pain and suffering?"
Inside the seal Kyuubi let out a low growl as the memories of Naruto's childhood in Konoha flashed before her and for the first time she realized just how much they had affected him. She bared her fangs and banged up against the bars of her cell as she all but growled "If they ever try to do that to my kit again…I'll tear them apart. I'll never let that happen again… never again."
"I don't hate you Naruto. I never did." Minato replied "I did what I did to protect not only you but all the children of Konoha."
"Naruto… I'd just become a father myself that night. It was the proudest moment of my life, and when the attack happened I realized that if I didn't stop it many would die including children." Minato took a brief moment to look up into the sky but didn't fail to notice that even though it was a nice sunny day he couldn't feel the warmth of the sun on his face. It was yet another sign that he didn't belong here anymore. He shook those thoughts from his mind as he forced at the task at hand. "The Kyuubi was on a rampage and would have destroyed the village if I hadn't sealed it. I won't ask for your forgiveness Naruto, I know I don't have that right. All I want is… just your understanding."
"My understanding?" muttered Naruto; he just couldn't believe his so called father just didn't get it. "What's there to understand? When the time came you chose to just save the village and said to hell with your son!"
Kushina moved to say something but closed her mouth and said nothing when she saw her son look in her direction with an expression that dared her to defend his actions. Sufficiently cowed for now she chose the safer route and turned towards her former husband. "Minato-kun?"
"It wasn't like that." Minato said before he gestured towards Tsunade and Kushina. "As I told these two earlier, I truly believed that the people would live up to my ideals… and that's my greatest failing."
"Ever hear the saying 'Hope for the best but prepare for the worst'?" Tsunade interjected her hardened gaze a clear indication as to her own thoughts on his decision.
Minato let out a defeated sigh. "Well you know what they say… hindsight is twenty-twenty."
Naruto let out a growl at what he perceived as his father's callousness towards the whole situation. "Hindsight is twenty-twenty? That's all you've got to say?"
"I can't change the past Naruto… no matter if I wanted to or not." Minato said before he straightened his posture and gave off a presence that was befitting of a former Hokage. "Besides I don't have much time left in this world, and there is still one more thing I have to do."
"What do you mean Minato-kun? Has the effects of removing the tag starting to take effect?" Kushina asked concern for her former husband evident on her face.
"Nothing like that, it's just…" said the former Hokage as he shook his head in the negative before he cupped her cheek in his hand. "I no longer belong in the land of the living. I can't feel the sun on my face, the breeze in the air, or even the warmth of your cheek in my hand. I feel nothing."
He then pulled his hand away and stared into the piercing eyes of his wife. "Deep down we both knew it would come to this. This body is just a construct after all, just a shell to house my soul while I was back among the living, and now that I'm here I have something to tell all of you."
"Naruto on the night you were born I was called before the Great Toad Sage where he gave me a dire warning." The stunned silence that followed gave the former Hokage the time he needed to kneel down next to his son, and even though it hurt him to see such pain and anger in Naruto's eyes he held firm and continued. "Beware the carrion bird... in his wake, the world will burn, chaos and destruction is his craft, the order of things will be undone, and all will fall into shadow."
"Carrion bird?" muttered Naruto as he looked at his former father as if he were crazy. "What the hell are you talking about?
"I'm sorry Naruto, but I don't have all the answers." Minato replied before a small chuckled escaped his lips. "Besides it's not like I had the time to really delve into it after all right?"
Without even waiting for a response he tried to place his hand on Naruto's shoulder but immediately jerked his hand back when he saw the look in Naruto's eyes. "But there is one thing I know, and that is if anyone can figure this out it's you."
"How the hell can you even say that?!" Naruto shouted as he jammed his thumb into his chest. "You don't even know me!"
"That doesn't change the fact that I believe in you Naruto."
"Y-you believe in me?" Naruto said as he stared at the man before him as his brain was having trouble comprehending that the one to cause him so much pain had said that.
"It is a parent's duty to believe in their child." Minato replied as he used this chance to place his hand on his confused son's shoulder. "And know this that no matter what happens in the future I'm very proud of you."
And with those words spoken his complexion turned grey before his skin started to crumble, and just before his body disintegrated before their eyes the faintest of smiles flashed across his face.
Naruto for his part just stared down at the pile of ash that used to be the Yondaime Hokage before he muttered "How the hell can he just say something like that and then turn to dust?"
The moment was broken however when Kin landed right beside Haku looking a little worse for the wear. "Bad news Haku, thanks to that doll boy teammate of hers, Blondie managed to break out of that ice prison of yours."
The sound of Kin's voice managed to bring Naruto out of his thoughts. He whipped his head around so fast to look at her that many began to question if he had even looked at the pile of ash that was once his resurrected father. "Kin-san? But I thought…"
"Yeah, yeah, you didn't think I was going to come back. What say we save the pleasantries for later? That way I can finish what I was going to say." interrupted Kin as she waved her hand nonchalantly and then without even waiting for an answer from Naruto she continued "Well now where was I… oh yeah. After doll boy broke blondie out of the ice they headed off in this direction. I did manage to follow them for a couple of blocks, but when I saw them grab the red haired guy that looked like he was on death's door I thought it best to just let them go."
Once Kin finished talking a low chuckle escaped Naruto throat and as everyone turned their attention towards him he muttered "I see now. Looks like we were both wrong on this one eh Gaara?"
However before anyone could ask what Naruto he meant a crackled voice came over the ear coms they all had. "Oto and Suna forces are withdrawing. I repeat all Oto and Suna forces are withdrawing. All forces are to hold their positions and do not pursue the retreating forces. I repeat do not pursue. Victory is ours!"
Naruto's lips curled into a smile as relief flooded his pain riddled body. He then looked up into the bright blue sky and said, "Finally these meaningless battles are over"
But while all the others had stared to celebrate the end of the conflict the very last Uchiha of the village just laid in the same spot where the Yondaime Hokage had taken him down and stared at the blonde haired Uzumaki with only one thought running through his head. 'Why? Why is he so special?'
Deep below Konoha in a dark and dank area lite only by the faintest of torchlight a lone figure was carefully and methodically poring over each and every scroll that lined the walls. The sheer age and musky smell of the woodwork that made up the shelving of this storage room showed that this place had been in existence for a very long time.
"Come on where is it? Where is it? I know it's here somewhere. All my information points to it being it here." muttered Yugito as she grabbed another scroll of the shelf and skimmed the contents before she rolled it back up and placed it back on the shelf.
This process repeated itself for the next several minutes and just as she was started to doubt the validity of the information she had receive her eyes widened in surprise as she read what was on the scroll in her hands. A smile spread across her face as she placed the scroll on her hip pouch. 'This was more than I ever dreamed it would be. Naruto is going to owe me big for this.'
Her thoughts were interrupted however when a voice said "You shouldn't have come here."
Yugito turned around at breakneck speed and scanned the darkness for the source of the voice. Then out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of movement, but before she even had time to react she felt something slapped on her forehead. Her eyes widened in realization as all her strength left her and she collapsed to the group.
'Stupid, stupid, stupid!' she thought as she chastised herself for letting herself get caught so easily, and as she lay helpless of the cold stone floor she managed to get a glimpse of the one responsible for her current situation. The cold emotionless face of her attacker would fore be burned into her memory, but before she could put a name to her attacker everything faded to black…
Next chapter: Aftermath
Author's note 2: Well I hoped you liked it and will be here for the next chapter. Please leave a review and tell me what you think. Thanks in advance. Until next time…
Author-s note 3: Also like to add in a little shout out to a Harry Potter fic I'm reading. If you'd like to read a Harry story that is different from the standard fic I've read check out Heliosion's Industrial Magic.