Well here's the last chapter of my story. Hope you all have enjoyed this ride as much as I have. I hope everyone will enjoy any future stories I have in store. Thank you all for all the love and reviews you've given me. They got me though seemingly endless writer's blocks. Also I've enjoyed all the critiques I've gotten. They've helped developed this story and many more to come.
*NEW* I have a new poll up now concerning this fic. Vote, let me know if you want to see a sequal to Paradise in the New Moon.
The fight had gone on from late afternoon to nightfall. Out of all of Orochimaru's men only he, Kabuto and a lone sound nin lackey remained. With a sudden bust of brilliant light, a bright red flair burst to life in the western sky. Deidara, Sasori and Zetsu all leapt away from their opponent a second after the flair went off. Sasori launched a poisonous smoke bomb as they three Akatsuki retreated. They took off towards the flair without a backwards glance.
"Do you think that flair was set off by either Itachi or Kiasme?" Kabuto said as he, Orochimaru and the other sound nin leapt clear of the deadly fog.
"Most likely" Orochimaru said his voice hard and cold as a glacier from fury. "Shall we investigate as to why they are retreating?"
"Yes, lord Orochimaru" Kabuto answered. The trio took off into the woods; following the path Itachi and Kiasme took earlier.
They came upon the clearing in time to witness the young Kiba Inuzuka grieving over the body of Toboe.
"What a nuisince, now I can't use him for a bargaining chip again." Orochimaru's voice held not an ounce of regret.
"Yes, I only wish I could have had more time to study him. He was such a fascinating specimen" Kabuto watched as Toboe's body dispersed into small fragments of light and floated away into the sky. "What a waste"
"Oh my dear Kabuto, don't be so disappointed, we've learned a great deal from young Toboe-kun."Orochimaru turned his back on the group of mourning leaf ninja and started for the closest lair that had yet to be discovered.
"All that we've learned from Toboe will come into play at one point in time or another." Orochimaru smiled a devilish smile "who knows maybe we'll discover a way to travel to different worlds. Maybe even to Toboe's 'paradise'"
Tsunade sighed. She was sitting in her office, it was late in the evening and she was trying to drown her sorrows in as much sake as possible. Even though her attempts were thwarted several times by a worried Shizune. The sanin looked out the large windows behind her desk. The weather was bleak and rainy. Tsunade sighed again as the memories of that afternoon's debriefing ran through her head again.
Kiba along with most of the Anbu who accompanied him, were standing before her in her office. Rain beat noisily against the glass as Kiba and the Anbu told Tsunade of the battle between Orochimaru and the Akatsuki. Then of the bloody match between Toboe and Darcia.
"So he died fighting his most hated enemy?" she inquired.
"Yes lady Tsunade, we believe the black wolf was the one who killed Toboe in his own world." Tsunade nodded. She felt bad for Kiba; he was the shinobi closest to the young wolf. She studied Kiba as he stood eyes downcast, retelling the death of a friend. Honestly he looked like hell. His eyes were red from crying. There were lines that ran from his eyes down to his chin where his tears had washed away the dirt accumulated from a week of searching. He held a bloody leaf headband in his right hand like a life line. It must've been Toboe's she though.
"Kiba you and Akamaru take a week off." Kiba looked at her like she'd grown a second head.
"But my team has a mission tomorrow"
Tsunade's eyes narrowed, "You took Toboe's loss pretty hard. I'm giving you a week to mourn. if you go on a mission in this condition, you will endanger the lives of your team mates and compromise the mission. I'm sending Asumas team in your team's stead. Your team mates will need time to mourn as well. Now any questions?"
"No ma'am" Kiba said in a monotone.
"Dismissed" she told the shinobi in a clipped tone. Once they left she fell back into her chair. A single tear rolled down her cheek.
Damn....I was fond of that little pup and now...her thoughts trailed off....
Tsunade was brought back to the present as Shizune opened the door. She was carrying a large stack of papers. Tsunade groaned, the last thing she wanted right now was paperwork.
Kiba had been locked in his room since his teammates had left. They came by to grieve and give their own condolences to Kiba. He skipped dinner, he wasn't hungry. He was lying on his back on his bed; Toboe's headband was draped across his chest. He wasn't crying anymore for the tears he wanted to shed would not come.
After a few hours of staring at his ceiling Kiba finally drifted off to sleep.
That was the first thing Kiba noticed. Everything was white. He was standing on a plane of white nothingness. Kiba knew at once he was dreaming. He looked down at himself, he was in his full ninja gear, Toboe's headband tightly clutched in his right hand.
"Kiba?" He turned at the sound of his name. As he turned he saw Toboe standing as a human before him.
"Toboe!" Kiba cried with joy, he leapt at his deceased friend. Toboe hugged him back.
"I thought you died!" Kiba said as he looked at Toboe. He was whole and uninjured.
"Well" Toboe said his cheeks reddening "I did. I was going to go to paradise but, I uh..."
"What?" Kiba asked.
"Well I wanted to give you a proper farewell. I mean you were so nice to me, I just didn't want to leave without saying goodbye." Toboe smiled.
"Well here I am! Um, where are we exactly?" Kiba asked, now that he got to thinking about it, he had no idea where or even when he was.
"Hmm, I think we're at the boarders between your world and paradise." Toboe looked around as if he were trying to get his bearings.
"Well that makes sense, I guess." Kiba went silent for a moment.
He noticed once again that he still had the headband tightly gripped in hand. Kiba was shocked to see all the blood stains had vanished.
"Toboe here, take this. So you'll remember me and the gang." Kiba held the headband out for Toboe to take. Toboe's eyes widened.
"But then you'll have nothing of mine to remember me by."
Kiba smiled "just take it. If you remember me then I'll be happy"
Toboe life up a hand to take the headband. His bangles jingled with the movement. His face lit up as inspiration struck. He removed one of his silver bangles and handed it to Kiba.
Understanding flooded into Kiba. Toboe was giving him something he cherished. Toboe tied the headband around his neck and Kiba placed the bangle on his right wrist.
After an awkward moment they hugged for the last time. "I'm going to miss you Toboe" Kiba felt tears stinging his eyes once again.
Toboe pulled back to look at Kiba, "I was once told 'when a loved one dies we should not mourn their death, but celebrate their life'. Kiba I don't want you to mourn for me. Be happy, I finally get to go to paradise!"
Kiba nodded as the two separated. "Goodbye" Toboe said as he regained his wolf form.
"Goodbye" Kiba said as Toboe turned and ran away from Kiba. In the distance Kiba could see a spot of green and blue against the white. Standing on the green hill, framed by a clear blue sky where four wolves and a pale maiden with pink hair.
Kiba watched as Toboe joined the wolves and girl. The doorway to paradise began to fade away. Before the door closed completely Kiba heard a voice emanate form one of the four other wolves: thank you for watching after Toboe. Kiba knew somehow that he was the only one who could hear the voice. As he watched the wolves fade, he knew the voice had emanated from the large grey wolf.
Kiba awoke with a gasp. Morning light shined through the gap in his bedroom curtains. Kiba felt something tickle his cheek. He touched his face; hot tears clung to his fingertips. He had been crying in his sleep. In a sudden burst of images he remembered the strange dream he had had. He reached out, fumbling with his right hand trying to find the headband. It was gone. And on Kiba's right wrist, glinting with morning light was a single silver bangle.