Disclaimer: I never have, and never will own Naruto. Period.. The plot and any original characters are mine though.

This is an AU. Don't like, don't read.


"Minato, this is folly! Please, I beg of you, reconsider!"

"Sarutobi-ojii-san, you know I have no choice. This…has to be done, if Konoha is to be saved."

"Don't be a fool, I can perform the jutsu as well as you! Let me take your place!"

The other shook his head, a small, sad smile on his face. "Ie. This is my duty as Yondaime Hokage."


A raised hand, silently stopping the coming protest. "You have a family waiting for you. Loved ones. And you have more than earned your rest. It is my turn to protect the village."

Sarutobi looked at the young man, his successor, a man ready to throw all away to protect the village so precious to them…one of the reasons he'd chosen him. The blue eyes were full of regret, for not having more time to live, and fear, fear of the death he was running to so willingly. And yet…they were full of determination, the will of fire burning strong within their depths. And Sarutobi knew, knew that there was no turning back, no stopping him.

Nevertheless, he had to try, if at least one more time.

"What of Jiraiya? And Tsunade? You know she will break if you die tonight."

The man closed his eyes for a second, and took in a shuddering breath. "Sensei…will understand. And Hime-nee…my only hope is that she will forgive me, for leaving her." /alone, again/

The blue eyes opened, and Sarutobi sighed. It was a battle he could not win. "There is no guarantee that this will work," he said finally.

"I know."

"And you will die whether it succeeds of not."

"I know."

Another stare, steel grey to sky blue, a sigh.

"…I will miss you, my friend…"

Two arms wound around the old man's figure, a last embrace from a man he considered family. "…I know." And the next instant he was gone, to face his death, and defend the village he so loved.

A single tear fell, before Sarutobi Sasuke, Sandaime Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato, turned and headed out himself, determined to, at least, be there for his friend in his last moments of life.

Or so he thought.










Japanese translations - I will only put new words down here, no sense repeating what was already said. And before anyone starts saying that some of these are unnecessary, please keep in mind that some people have been watching the show entirely in english or french, or whatever other language, so they've never heard the japanese terms. Thank you.

Sandaime: the Third (Hokage)

Yondaime: the Fourth (Hokage)

Hokage: Fire Shadow

Ojii-san: Old man

Ie: No

Konohagakure no Sato: The Village Hidden in the Leaves

Hime-nee: literally, princess-sister (which makes a lot more sense in japanese). Yondaime's nickname for Tsunade. In my version of things, he picked the title 'Hime' from Jiraiya (who calls her Tsunade-hime). 'Nee' is short for 'onee-san' sister

-san: suffix signifying a certain degree of respect

Also, in Japanese the family name comes first, so Sarutobi Sasuke would be Sasuke Sarutobi if in Europe.

Author's notes: That's all for now. Provided someone shows interest in this, I'll continue the story. Right now this is just an experiment, as well as an attempt to get the plot bunnies to leave me alone .

Please keep in mind that this IS and WILL be an AU, so some things might not be as you remember them from the series – such as Sarutobi Asuma will still be alive, because I like him too much as a character.