Naruto: Sand Shinobi
By: Hugo Reed
Chapter 28: The Afterlife
Darkness. All he could see, was darkness. There may have been light somewhere at some point, but it wasn't in that place. He tried to remember the name he had been given as to address himself. Naruto… he was Naruto. He looked around, squinting as hard as he could, while memories of his life came back to him as though in a haze. Time didn't exist in this place, it would've been meaningless if it had. What good would a twelve-hour clock do him in a place where there was no sun?
Naruto was eventually able to determine that he was, indeed, laying down, though on what he knew not. He wearily stretched to assure himself that he did indeed still have limbs. He finally could remember everything and knew not what to do. If this was death, what was he supposed to do? Was this what happened after death after all? Just a long black endless nothing stretched forever around him. Suddenly a steady sound reached his ears.
Crunch, click, crunch, click. It went on for a steady time, what would've been minutes if they existed. Then whatever was clicking clicked twice in quick succession, and a light came on. It wasn't an electric light, rather a floating orb that flashed with an angry light of it's own. Naruto stared at it. Terrible as it may have been, it held a wonder and beauty to him. The light suddenly flashed harder then ever and dispersed.
Naruto was completely blinded for a moment, forced to shut his eyes from the pain pounding through his blood vessels. When he could finally will himself to try again, he opened his eyes a fraction of an inch. At first all he could see was a bright white. It was so bright that it turned his own body to a pure black for a moment. Then he could see a little. He opened his eyes fully and saw what was clearly, a tile floor. Naruto blinked again and he could see several pure black pillars extending into the nothingness that was pure white sky.
He looked around again and saw another figure. It was hooded and cloaked. Naruto tried with all his might, even using chakra to enhance his vision, to see beneath the hood of the figure. All his attempts failed. Naruto wearily stood up, finding that he was lying down and looked at himself. The first thing he noticed was that he was unclothed. Then he saw that he seal was gone, and not only that mark, but his six whisker marks were gone as well.
For the first time, Naruto wished he were clothed. Almost at once, a set of white robes fluttered to his side. He pulled them on calmly before addressing the hooded figure. Naruto's was the low, demanding voice he often used against foes or unknown quantities.
"Who are you?"
"I go by many names, Naruto Uzamaki," said the figure. "You, however, probably know me first and foremost, as death or the death god."
The voice was almost hollow in and of itself. It was cold with hate, and warm with rage.
The figure point at Naruto, and he saw that the finger was a long bleach-white bone. Naruto felt his limbs grow heavy and his heart grow cold. Then a large flash of light went off and a long, golden blade appeared within the skeleton's hand. Naruto felt his resolve harden and stood calmly, robes swaying slightly from the enormous chakra flowing from death.
"You will not run, Uzamaki?"
"Why ought I?"
"Do you not fear death, the end of your life?" asked the death god. "Here you will appear in the form you most prefer, but you are still able to die! Do you fear me?!"
"No," said Naruto. "I have nothing to live for, my entire family and friends have been killed. I have no more reason to want to live. I have no one left dear to me to protect. They have all found you in one way or another."
"Is that so?" asked death. "Then if threat will not make you battle, perhaps anger or fear will."
Death flipped one hand over and a circle swirled around in the floor before a figure slowly amassed from it's depths. Kyuubi stood in front of Naruto in his humanoid form. Nine tails swung slowly behind him back and forth.
"If you will not fight, Uzamaki," said death flipping his other hand over. "All your loved ones suffer in the afterlife."
A large steel cage rose up and Naruto looked over. All his friends, every single one he had ever known that had died, were before him. They were behind bars that held a shiny silver lock on it. Kyuubi turned to them with a hungry expression. Naruto felt his own blue chakra flood and overflow his system. He was releasing large blasts of chakra without being able to contain them or stop himself.
"KYUUBI-NO-KITSUNE!" he shouted. "I AM GOING TO KILL YOU ONCE AND FOR ALL!"
Naruto ran up to the cage, faster then the speed of sound, and smashed the lock off with his elbow. He felt no pain and hurriedly pulled everyone out. He had no time to greet anyone or remember anything. However, he locked eyes for a spilt second with only six. Temari, Xilic, Sakura, Hinata and his mother and father. They were all just as he remembered and loved them. The only large difference was the little Xilic was much, much older, at least fifteen.
Naruto felt so proud of the boy. Though he quickly shoved his emotions aside. Duty, then joy.
Both ninja jumped to his side, more than willing to follow his orders. Naruto formed the ox, hare, monkey and dog seals twice in quick succession and both hands crackled to life with a chidori. Sasuke and Kakashi leapt into action, both performing the same move, but with one hand. They each smashed their own blast into one of Naruto's and ran right at Kyuubi. The fox tried to dodge and found himself held still by both a shadow possession and a large fist.
"We got your back Naruto!" shouted Shikamaru and Choji.
Naruto and Sasuke attacked first, slamming their chidori into Kyuubi's hip, then Kakashi and Naruto hit the breastbone. Kyuubi howled and healed himself. Naruto swore and called to Hinata, Neji and Tsunade. They came running, Hinata just as ready to do as he asked of her as she always had been.
"Hinata! Neji! Block Kyuubi's chakra points! Tsunade, try and find out if he heals in a different way, and if he does, end it!"
They rushed forward to do their jobs as Naruto gave orders again.
"Team up! Kakashi-sensei with Sasuke! Gaara with Kankuro! Jiyria-sensei with Xilic! Iruka-sensei with Sakura! Mother, you're with Konahamaru and the third! Father, you're with me! MOVE!"
When he said move, they moved. No questions asked. It was a mark of how deep they all loved and trusted him that no one even began to object to their partner. Naruto and the fourth Hokage moved forward in a blur. When he could, Naruto kept stealing glances at his father. They did look a lot alike, and Naruto could tell that he was proud of his son. Naruto smiled and ran at Kyuubi, determined to destroy the beast who had stolen a life with his family from him.
Both Hokages formed a resengan and ran at the Kyuubi, leaving a large, spun crater into his side. Naruto smiled and called for the groups to break. Then he called out the others in groups. Once again, they all obeyed him.
Tsunade, Sarutobi, Kakashi, Naruto's father and Naruto himself all stood in a V shaped formation. Naruto threw his open hand forward and both the fourth and seventh Hokages vanished with Hiraishin at the same time. Tsunade ran forward, fist drawn back to kill. Sarutobi was forming quick summoning seals. Kakashi ran up to the demon, with Chidori in hand. Kakashi struck first, chidori hitting Kyuubi's head.
The electric blast barely damaged the beast and Kakashi slid back as Kyuubi managed to fling Choji and Shikamaru off of him. Then Sarutobi hit with a great fire blast in the chest. Kyuubi smirked as the burn mark simply healed and vanished. Tsunade quickly hit Kyuubi dead-center in the head. Kyuubi was sent flying and healed himself again just in time for Naruto and the fourth to appear. Both blue-eyed Hokages struck at the demon with a resengan, and were thrust aside. Naruto ordered them back.
"Squad seven formation!"
Kakashi stayed put, and while the others ran back, Sakura and Sasuke ran forward.
"SASUKE!" called Naruto, forming resengan.
Sasuke nodded and ran forward with his chidori in hand, smashing the two together they called the attack name proudly.
Naruto guided the blow to hit the Kyuubi in the side and the beast grabbed and turned Sasuke's arm, causing the bone to snap in two. Naruto hit the thing in the left arm and Kyuubi jumped back holding an angry wheel on his arm.
"Quick, Sakura, before he heals!"
Naruto turned to Sakura to see her sitting and holding her head, moaning his name again and again.
"Great," he moaned. "I turned her into a vegetable."
Naruto looked back and saw Kyuubi healing himself again. Then death moved quickly, now standing behind Kyuubi, great golden sword in hand.
"Your pathetic," said death.
"But sensei—" Kyuubi began.
However, he never spoke again after that, for death rammed him through the middle with his golden gleaming blade. Then he turned to Naruto.
"Uzamaki, you avert me too often, for too long. Goodbye."
Death moved in the blink of an eye and struck at the young Hokage. Naruto dodged to left, only to find Hinata and Temari holding an arm of the god-like figure. It caused them great waves of pain through their own arms, but their love held them firm. Then Xilic ran up and struck the beast in the head with a kunai. No visible effect was made. Naruto swore and called out a new formation.
"Sasuke, Gaara, Neji, Brother formation!"
Naruto ran up to death alongside Neji, Sasuke and Gaara. Neji leapt atop Gaara's sand and both rushed forward, while Sasuke charged up a chidori. Naruto waited, motioning for Sasuke to go on ahead with the attack. Chidoresengan was a powerful attack, but where is failed a chidori followed by a resengan may help them a lot more, as it had on several adventures. The beauty was chidori was a jab-type move while resengan was a hard haymaker, so they were perfect team attacks.
"CHIDORI!" screamed Sasuke. "Naruto! You're up!"
Naruto ran up, making the blue chakra follow through his arms and into his right hand. He moved forward, his love for his friends pushing him onward. He shoved the pulsing attack into the chest of their foe. The blast effects sent all men spiraling backward. Then death stood, his cloak in tatters, and his breastbone in half.
"Uzamaki," he said in a weaker voice. "I surrender. You may pass unto the gates of heaven."
His figure slowly diminished and vanished, like dust in the wind. Naruto turned around, and gave a loud yell of triumph. Then, he ran to his friends and family, all of which wanted to speak to him. Finally it was calm enough to hear something.
First he found his father and mother.
"Son," said the fourth Hokage. "I am so proud of what you've become. You are far greater a man then I could've ever hoped to be. I love you. I know you can probably never forgive what I had to do to you by sealing the Kyuubi in you."
"No," said Naruto. "I never once thought you did it to hurt me. You were just defending who you loved. Besides, as Jiyria-sensei would say, what's done is done and can't be changed."
"I am sorry," said his mother. "For leaving you to face everything you went through. Remember, we did what we had to and no more then we had to. We both love you with all our hearts. We are very proud of you, Naruto-kun. You've become such a strong person."
"I missed you two the most of all… I love you both."
He embraced them quickly and moved on.
"Naruto," said Sarutobi. "You've grown so much. I am very proud to have known you."
"Old man, you watched over me from the beginning. I am so sorry I couldn't save you."
"You were a great joy in my life."
Naruto felt himself overflow with happiness. Yet it wasn't nearly over.
"You know how we feel about you Naruto," said Tsunade, indicating herself and Jiyria. "We both love you."
Jiyria nodded to Naruto, who smiled back.
"You were practically parents to me."
Tsunade had tears in her eyes.
"Uzamaki," said Neji. "You are the greatest man I could've ever hoped to have met. You taught me fate doesn't control any single man, nor need I bow to it."
Naruto stopped and looked at Sakura who was bailing in tears.
"Sakura," he said. "I can't forgive what you did to me, but I am glad you finally know what you did was wrong, and that I was right for what I did. Maybe, one day in the future, we could try, and again I say, try to be friends."
"Naruto," said Gaara and Kankuro. "Thank you."
Then Gaara alone added, "I am forever in your debt. You are my best and only true friend."
"Naruto," said Shikamaru and Choji. "You'll always be our friend. We are always here for you."
"Thanks," said Naruto smiling happily.
"Hmph," said Sasuke. "Don't go crying now dead last."
"Of course not," said Naruto. "Bastard."
"Dad," said Xilic. "I know I wasn't alive long enough to properly become a man, but I want you to know I do love you, and I was proud to call you my father!"
"Naruto-kun," said Temari, then she kissed him quickly. "You're always my husband and my lover. Thank you for everything."
"As I love you," he said, kissing her back.
"Naruto-kun," said a much smaller voice.
Naruto turned around in a quick circle to find little Hinata standing there, beautiful as ever.
"I understand that you love Temari-san, but um…"
"Hinata-hime," he said, cupping her chin. "I loved you truly. You were the one who open up my heart to true love. I will always love you alongside Temari-hime."
Then he kissed her lightly and turned. He went to Temari and put his free arm around her, walking off with his friends and family. He was finally just where he deserved to be, in a place where he could be happy forevermore.
I am sorry I didn't do the last poll. I ran out of time.