Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. The 'time travel' idea is shared among many fanfiction authors and whoever came up with the orginial idea. I own nothing. Don't bug me about it.
What Began At the End
Chapter One: A New Beginning
(It All Falls Down/Shaken to Pieces)
"Here we are Kyuubi. Here at the end of all things.(1)" Naruto spoke aloud, even though the only one around to hear him was the demon in his head. Fire fell around him, and he watched the world die from inside his sphere of chakra that was both his own and not his own. He was suspended in the middle of the sphere, and the sphere itself was floating a few hundred meters above the blackened, bare ground. Lava crawled over the landscape, trees catching fire and falling to the ground before it even touched them, the superheated air plowing ahead of the lava's destructive path. Hurricanes blew ash around in the air while water evaporated and fell from dark grey thunderheads. Lightning struck without mercy, frying whatever hadn't been destroyed already.
Naruto watched with mixed emotions as the Akatsuki leader's last curse ravaged the land. He and Naruto had been locked in battle, the rest of the Akatsuki and Naruto's friends battling each other as the leaders of the opposing sides fought. Pein(2), the leader of the Akatsuki, was a fierce opponent. He had to be, to be able to order people like Uchiha Itachi to do his bidding. Naruto, however, had the power of the nine-tailed fox on his side, and the battle had been slowly tipping in his favor as Pein began to tire. Knowing he was losing, he unleashed his ultimate attack in an attempt to take Naruto down with him. He had used all of his chakra, and had died as soon as the jutsu was released. The technique was one that no one, not even the Kyuubi, had ever seen before. It called up a string of volcanoes out of the ground; volcanoes that, even as they rose, spewed forth hot lava and ash and blew out large boulders. The remaining Akatsuki and Naruto's friends (the few of them that had survived to participate in this last battle) were cooked by the superheated air before their bones blackened and crumbled and were consumed by lava. Naruto was only saved because the Kyuubi had created the chakra shield as soon as it saw the volcanoes rising out of the ground.
Everything was happening so fast; he couldn't even cry as he saw his friends die. He couldn't even speak. He floated in the sphere of chakra, watching in horror as the sudden creation of the volcanoes set the planet off balance. He could see more volcanoes rising in the distance, his vision enhanced by Kyuubi's chakra. He could hear the vibrations of the earth and smell the scent of burning things and wet air, even through his bubble of chakra. He hadn't been able to do anything as he saw the rubble that was left of Konoha burn to the ground, and it weighed heavily on his heart even though the all people had left long ago. He couldn't turn away from it, and it soon looked like the rest of the ravaged landscape.
"Kyuubi…" he said after a time. "What will I do?" He closed his eyes and curled into himself, trying to block out the horrors rampaging outside his protective bubble. "I'm…the last person in the world, aren't I?" he asked, sounding a little hysterical. "Even if others are still alive, they will soon be dead. What can I do?" He looked at his shaking hands, his slightly folded fingers covered in blisters and dirt and blood. He brought his hands up to his face and shut his eyes, bending his fingers weakly. He pressed his hands into his closed eyes as a cloud of ash came roaring at him, causing the sphere to shake.
"They're all gone Kyuubi. What's the point of staying alive if they're all gone?" he wailed.
"CALM YOURSELF, KIT." Naruto continued to curl into himself, moaning. "I KNOW A WAY TO FIX THIS." Naruto looked up hesitantly, almost as if he hardly dared to hope.
"YES. IT WILL BE PAINFUL, I MUST WARN YOU OF THAT. NOT ONLY IN THE PHYSICAL SENSE, ALTHOUGH THAT IS A FACTOR, TOO." Naruto merely had a confused, slightly hopeful expression. "I KNOW A JUTSU THAT WILL TAKE YOU BACK IN TIME."
"What?" Naruto said, shocked. "Does such a jutsu even exist?" 'How could it?' he thought. 'Everyone would want to go back in time to fix their mistakes…'
"THERE'S A REASON PEOPLE DON'T GO BACK IN TIME EVERYDAY, NARUTO." Kyuubi said. "YOUR MIND WILL MERGE WITH YOUR PAST SELF, AS I AND MY PAST SELF WILL MERGE. IT WILL BE AN INCREDIBLY PAINFUL PROCESS THAT MAY DRIVE YOU MAD. IT ALSO TAKES AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF CHAKRA, SO MUCH THAT FEW HUMANS WOULD EVEN ATTEMPT SUCH A FOOLISH ENDEAVOR."
"But I don't have that kind of power, and most of your power was sealed to my spirit a long time ago! I can't merge that chakra to my own to use it unless – no… you can't be thinking to – "
The fox chuckled, but it was dry, with little humor in it. "YOU CERTAINLY AREN'T THE FOOL YOU ONCE WERE, KIT. YES, WE WILL DIE." Naruto could only sit there in shock, suspended in the chakra sphere as the chaos around him grew. "YOU WOULD DIE ANYWAY, IF WE DID NOTHING. YOU WOULD DIE OF THIRST OR HUNGER OR A LACK OF AIR, AND I WOULD DIE WITH YOU. WE WOULD ONLY BE WAITING FOR THE END AS WE WATCHED THE WORLD END ALL AROUND US. THE CHAKRA NEEDED FOR THIS IS SO GREAT THAT EVEN A BEING SUCH AS I COULDN'T HOPE TO SEND BACK A PHYSICAL BODY. IT WILL USE EVERY BIT OF CHAKRA WE HAVE—INCLUDING OUR LIFE FORCES—FALLING JUST SHORT OF USING OUR SOULS."
"No, no…Kyuubi, we can't!" Naruto protested. "I refuse to take a coward's way out!"
"KIT!" Kyuubi roared. Naruto flinched. "HOW DARE YOU SAY THIS A COWARD'S WAY OUT!" he bellowed, a snarl creeping into his words. "THIS IS NOT SUICIDE! THIS IS ONE OF TWO OPTIONS. EITHER WE SIT HERE AND WAIT TO DIE, OR WE DIE ON OUR OWN TERMS AND MAKE SOME USE OF IT!
"DON'T WASTE THIS CHANCE TO SAVE YOUR FRIENDS," Kyuubi admonished more quietly. "YOU'LL HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE CHANGES YOU MAKE, BUT YOU AREN'T THE LAST BEING ALIVE FOR NOTHING."
"Hey…you said 'I'll have to be careful'…aren't you coming back with me?" Naruto asked suspiciously, silently cursing the shaking in his voice.
"YES, KIT, BUT I WON'T BE ABLE TO SPEAK TO YOU UNTIL I FULLY MERGE WITH MY PAST SELF. I WILL BE ABLE TO HEAL YOU AND POSSIBLY LEND YOU A LITTLE CHAKRA, BUT I WILL BE MOSTLY CUT OFF FROM YOU UNTIL I HAVE FULLY MERGED."
"But what about me? Will it take a shorter time for me to merge?" Naruto asked dubiously, and Kyuubi chuckled darkly.
"YES. THAT IS THE REASON IT WILL BE SO PAINFUL FOR YOU. YOU WILL MERGE WITH YOUR PAST SELF ALMOST INSTANTLY, AND IT WILL TAKE UP AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF CHAKRA. AFTER YOU REGAIN IT HOWEVER, YOU WILL HAVE BOTH YOUR CURRENT LEVEL OF CHAKRA AND THE AMOUNT YOU HAD BEFORE THE MERGING, AND THAT IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY ON YOUR BODY." Naruto made a face, remembering the disturbing pictures Tsunade had once shown him in an attempt to make him more cautious with his chakra. The pictures showed people who had channeled too much chakra into one area of their body, with disastrous results. Tsunade had shown him pictures of people who had blown their own leg off, more who had blown off most of their arms, and even one poor bastard who had tried to channel extra chakra into his ears in an attempt to rid himself of his deafness. The picture Tsunade had shown him had shown a head that looked like someone had taken a spoon and carved out a section, like an ice cream scoop. The rounded 'bowl' of skull that was left was blackened and fragile, barely containing the soup of brains and blood left in it.
"What you I do, then??" Naruto asked, very unsettled. Those people had just channeled too much chakra into one part of their bodies – what would it look like if his entire body was overloaded with chakra?!
"YOU SEAL YOUR CHAKRA," Kyuubi said as if it was the simplest thing in the world. Naruto did his best to glare at the fox, but it was a hard thing to do considering Kyuubi didn't have a physical body to glare at.
"And how do you suggest I do that?" Naruto said fiercely. His moods were changing quickly, although he was nearly in a state of shock. The quick changes were helping to keep him stable, a little.
"FINE," Kyuubi grumbled. "WHAT I MEANT, REALLY, WAS TO SEAL YOUR CHAKRA IN AN OBJECT." Naruto was silent, urging him to explain. "LIKE THAT OLD WOMAN'S NECKLACE OR SOMETHING. YOU CAN DRAIN OFF YOUR EXTRA CHAKRA AND STORE IT."
"But wouldn't it keep coming back?"
"YES. BUT IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME TO COME BACK, AND FOR A WHILE AFTER THIS JUTSU YOU'LL HARDLY HAVE ANY CHAKRA—BY YOUR STANDARDS, ANYWAY. BUT I THINK YOU'LL BE NEEDING TO USE SOME PRETTY HIGH-LEVEL JUTSU TO…OH, SAY…KILL OROCHIMARU. AT THE RATE YOU USE UP CHAKRA, YOU MIGHT EVEN HAVE TOO LITTLE."
"I think…I get what you're saying."
"GOOD," Kyuubi said. "NOW COME ON. WE'VE SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN THIS HELL-HOLE." (3)
Naruto stood up in the ball of chakra, ignoring everything around him and focusing only on the jutsu he was about to do. The handsigns appeared in his mind's eye, courtesy of Kyuubi, and he gaped. It had to be the longest and most complex jutsu he had ever seen in all his thirty-five years of life. He started to form the seals with a practiced ease, his eyes screwed up in concentration as he dug inside himself. Finally, he found what he was looking for. In his mind's eye he saw a pulsing blue light laced with thick veins of brilliant red and many thin tendrils of mesmerizing violet. It was suspended in an infinite dark space, emitting a soft, pearly white glow that barely pierced the shadows around it. Naruto felt himself reach out, though not in a physical sense. A small hot-yet-cold sensation brushed at the edge of his consciousness. He reached out again, and this time was overtaken by the feeling. He pulled, hard, despite the growing sensation going from a dull ache to a fierce, stabbing pain. He felt a strange tug in his chest, allowing a gasp to escape his lips even as his hands still wove the handsigns. He pulled again with all the strength he could find within him, not even pausing to wonder how he knew what he was doing.
The mass of energy gave a little, but did not budge. It was like trying to pry a bottle of sake from Tsunade's hands when she was drunk. He yanked again, feeling a little more give this time. He readied himself, gathering all the strength he never new had had in him. He had to hurry—his body had almost finished the handsigns. With a final, almighty tug just as the last handsign was formed, the strange globe of colored light gave a last, flickering flare of protest before it came loose and shot out of the white space within the realm of shadow, streaking through the dark world faster than physically possible. Naruto's mouth fell open in a silent scream as he lost control of his body and fell limp. The chakra sphere around his body dissipated, and his corpse began its long fall to the chaos below.
He felt a warm, tremendous presence in the back of his mind step up into his place and firmly guide the mass of energy out of the black world. Naruto was startled to feel himself be pulled along with it. The warm, firm presence (that gave Naruto the distinct impression of the color red) approached him even as it called him to itself, and soon he was wrapped in warmth. Only when he was warm again did he realize how terribly, awfully cold he had been as he had soared through the seemingly infinite black space. He was now barely aware of what was going on around him, but he was able to hear a rumbling, magnificent voice echo through the world.
"HIJITSU: KOKONTOUZII NO ARUKI! (SECRET ART: TIME WALK!)" the Kyuubi bellowed.
Naruto was aware of a vast, blinding whiteness, and he heard the Kyuubi's voice one last time before the world disappeared.
"HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?"
When it was aware again, it couldn't do anything. There were so many conflicting sensations at once; no human could possibly even hope to scrape the surface of it in their wildest dreams. It felt absolutely nothing at all, and felt everything at the same time.
It could see nothing, yet it could see all the colors that had been named and thousands that hadn't; it could see shapes and blinding light and consuming darkness, so much it couldn't even comprehend.
It could hear nothing; it could hear the most beautiful and musical voices and sounds that if they spoke, it would obey whatever they told it with no question. It heard the most awful, terrible, frightening sounds and shrieks and screams that made it want to rebel against them with every single existing fiber of its being. There were sounds of loud explosions and what it could only described as something that in another universe could be compared to metal scraping against glass.
It could taste nothing. It could taste the most heavenly things it'd never experienced in its life, and the most awful and putrid substances that made its nonexistent mouth burn and water.
It wasn't aware of any scent of anything at all. It smelled the most beautiful aromas that made every other beautiful thing it'd ever smelled before seem like the devil's brew in comparison; it smelled what made it stop dead and try its best to block it out but it couldn't because it was so horribly, wretchedly awful.
Numbness overtook it, and it felt nothing at all. It felt the most exquisitely wonderful sensations through a body it no longer had, and it wanted to scream with just the immense pleasure. It was soft and warm and cool and every wonderful feeling it had experienced coupled with everything it hadn't. It felt the most intense pain it had ever felt in the entire world, a burning, shooting, stinging, aching, freezing, mind-numbing agony.
It could feel nothing in its heart or soul. It could feel everything it'd ever felt magnified hundreds of thousands of times and so much more. It felt an immense sense of belonging, that it was so right in its place in the world that to leave would be a sin worthy of hell. It felt an immense sense of relief that threatened to smother it. There was tremendous joy and happiness welling up within it that even the most wicked of hearts would drown in. It felt a sense of pride, confidence and hope that it would've faced the entire world without fear. It felt peace of such depth and intensity that it wouldn't have moved an inch if the entirety of existence were crumbling down around it. It felt an intense sadness that would've made the world weep for eternity if it were shared among all its people. It felt a fury unparalled by that felt by any mortal, a fury whose very existence should have reigned down fire from the heavens. It felt despair, such an immense lack of hope that it was paralyzed by it. It felt guilt, like the blame for every single negative thing that had, was, and ever would occur was resting entirely on its shoulders. It felt grief; a sense of loss so wretchedly awful that it seemed nothing could ever possibly be close to as horrible as it felt now. It felt a loneliness of such magnitude it seemed that the whole of the universe was completely and utterly empty and everything was filled to the brim with an infinity of dense nothingness except for it…and there was so much more it would never be able to name.
It felt everything in between the extremes. Every single sensation, sight and sound; every single smell, taste and emotion. There was light disappointment, the smell and rich taste of chocolate, a mild tone of yellow. There was a slight chill, a dimly lit corridor, the sound of bells; the cool, hard feel of metal beneath callused fingers. Rough, rowdy laughter and the smell of alcohol; the fresh smell that came during rain, and the crinkle of paper as it burned in dancing orange, red, and blue flames. It felt everything.
It did not move. It simply was there, feeling all the tastes and hearing the smells and seeing all the emotions. It was merely a conduit for all these things, feeling them all and by experiencing them proving their existence. Its own existence was merely to confirm the existence of all this, this…sensation. It was the only purpose of this being which it was barely conscious of as being separate and infinity lesser than the world of sensation it inhabited.
"STOP." He stopped. In faster than an instant everything was gone as if it was never there, ripped from him by this terribly strange yet familiar voice that was beautiful and awful in it's own way. He was now 'he', not just a barely conscious presence meant to feel the weight of everything and nothing and powers beyond…his…comprehension. He felt absolutely nothing at all, could only hear this voice throughout him and echoing in the very core of his soul, and was inexplicably drawn to it…unable to do anything but obey it…
All he knew was pain. It had gone past numbing a long ways back, and was now agony of such intensity that even primal instinct shrank and died in its presence. It felt as if all the torture experts in the world were doing their worst on him at the same time, and then the fires of hell were summoned up to do their bit. It tore through all his nerves and set his blood on fire; it was as if pain itself was being branded into his skull, and all his bones were being broken and ground to powder and melted into a whole again and pulled out of his body and shoved back in. It was as if all his blood had been replaced by acid. He felt absolutely nothing but pain. All he could do…was scream.
Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage was in his office, meeting with the two Academy teachers of this year's graduating class. Even though the genin test was still several days away, it didn't hurt to plan ahead. He and the two teachers – Umino Iruka and Kakuyo(4) Mizuki – were going over a list of the students, trying to decide what the team arrangements should be. That is, until they felt an enormous wave of chakra pass over them. They all froze, even the Hokage. They had felt this chakra once before…but it couldn't be. The seal couldn't have broken, could it?
They were all ripped from their thoughts when, not even a moment after the enormous wave of chakra, a long, blood-chilling scream was heard throughout Konoha; it was a scream made only by those who were feeling the epitome of true suffering. They all leapt into action, blurring out of normal sight as they raced out the room. The Hokage was shouting orders and calling for the Anbu as he ran, and soon a huge mass of shinobi were converging on the source of the chakra and the scream; Naruto's apartment.
The Anbu entered first, and confusedly summoned the Hokage in as they confirmed there was no danger. There, sprawled on the floor, was a twelve-year-old Naruto. His eyes were wide and unseeing, and a small trail of drool ran from the corner of his open mouth onto the floor. He was lying in a large pool of blood, and there was blood all over him. He was drenched in it, and it was beginning to dry on his clothes and skin. Several Anbu were standing around the boy in a circle, some pointing their swords at him and some with their hands poised in a handsign, ready to release jutsu at the first sign of trouble. The old Hokage crouched near Naruto, body tense. One of his wrinkled hands grasped the bottom of Naruto's bloody once-orange jacket, pulling it and his damp black undershirt up to look at the Kyuubi seal. It was visible, but nothing other than that. What was really interesting was the circle of pale scar tissue on the left side of Naruto's chest, standing out even underneath the blood that had soaked through the boy's clothes. Small, jagged lines of scar tissue extend out from the circle like a child's drawing of the sun. Everyone who could see it tensed; what could have given the child a scar like that?
"Naruto?" the Sandaime said. "Naruto, can you hear me?" Naruto remained motionless. The Hokage ordered one of the Anbu to pick up the blond and carry him to the hospital.
"What's his condition?" was the first thing Naruto heard, though it barely registered. His eyelids felt heavy, and his body was one gigantic ache. He couldn't find the strength to move. So he didn't, listening dazedly to the conversation being held a few feet from him.
Naruto heard some sounds of rustling paper, and then, "His chakra system was damaged rather badly, but the…fox is taking care of that with a little help from one of our experts. Our expert identified a foreign chakra in his system, but we will be unable to tell whether it is only the Kyuubi's or something else until his chakra system has healed sufficiently. There is also that strange scar on his chest, the origins of which we were unable to determine. There was a matching scar on his back, only larger. It was directly aligned with the scar on his front, which leads us to believe whatever gave him that scar went all the way through." More shuffling of paper. "There was also a strange sort of tattoo on the back of his neck. It greatly resembles a handprint. It's very strange…it appears black at first sight, but on closer inspection and at different angles and lights it holds all the colors of the known spectrum. We were unsure what to make of it." There was some more rustling and then a soft thump. The person murmured an apology and began to speak again after Naruto heard the rustle of clothes.
"He has suffered severe mental stress, the origins of which are also unknown. The fox is healing that, too. None of us are seal masters though, so you will need to check to make sure seal is fully intact."
From the way the woman talked, Naruto figured he was in a medical facility. That explained why he was on a comfortable bed at least. And the position he was in; he was lying on his back, his legs straight and his arms lying palm down at his sides. "All right, thank you." Naruto's eyes widened as he heard a familiar voice. Was that…Sandaime?!
He didn't have time to ponder this new revelation, as he felt cloth move up over his stomach and chest. Naruto felt a warm hand press flat on his stomach, and his body involuntarily spasm as chakra was pushed into the seal. He felt the chakra flow lessen, then increase at a far slower pace than before. After a moment the chakra flow stopped altogether, and he heard a voice he hadn't heard in years before now say, "The seal is completely intact. Nothing's wrong with it." There was a relieved sigh. "When do you think he'll be waking up?"
The woman answered, still sounding rather relieved, "Fairly soon, Hokage-sama. Normally, the type of mental stress he was subjected to might drive him insane, but…that thing is helping his recovery greatly. It probably helped protect him from a bit of the damage as it happened, as well."
"You said earlier that you couldn't determine what happened to him. Do you at least have some idea?" the Hokage asked.
"You'll have to ask Dr. Sanada. She's the one in charge of him," the woman replied, and he heard more rustling paper.
"Could you please fetch the doctor for me, Kisa-san?" the old Hokage asked kindly.
Naruto heard a, "Yes, Hokage-sama," before the sounds of soft footsteps and a door being opened and closed quietly. Then more rustling as the Hokage sat down heavily in a chair. He heard a sigh before relative quiet took over, interrupted only by the Hokage's occasional movements and a loud bang that sounded like it was in a different part of the building.
After a few moments of sitting there motionless, Naruto finally found the strength to open his eyes. Then he opened his mouth, and he managed to rasp, "O…jii…san…?" Almost instantly the Hokage was at his side, his dark brown eyes shining with concern.
"Ah, so you're awake, Naruto?" the Hokage said in a soft, soothing voice. "Are you feeling well?" he said, putting a wrinkled old hand on Naruto's arm. Naruto stared at the Hokage, analyzing him, almost as if he was afraid he wasn't real.
"What…happened to me?" 'It… worked? I can't believe it, it worked!' Naruto thought excitedly. Though it was a sort of hollow excitement, as that was all he felt. There was only one emotion running through him at a time along with his conscious thoughts, as if his subconscious decided he couldn't handle any more than that. The Sandaime gained a slightly puzzled look.
"I was hoping you could tell us, Naruto. The medics have been unable to figure out what happened to you." The Hokage paused. "Do you remember what happened before you became unconscious?" the Sandaime asked seriously. Naruto schooled his face into a slightly puzzled expression. His emotion switched to nervousness.
"I was just about to make myself some ramen, when suddenly…I got this really weird feeling." Naruto said, praying the Sandaime would buy his excuse. "It was kind of right here," he said as he lifted an arm and placed it on his belly, right where the seal was. "And then…I remember seeing black. That's it," he concluded, trying to keep the nervousness from his voice. He chanced a look at the Sandaime, and saw his face was showing relief and concern, with other emotions hidden underneath. He saw the fear, apprehension, confusion…Naruto was a shinobi, one who had managed to live to a ripe old age of thirty-six despite the dangers of the job and the fact that, on top of normal dangers, he had a whole organization of S-Class criminals out to get him. 'Nice try, ojiisan, but you're not gonna fool me. Not the new me…or…the old me. Or the new and the old me…whatever me I am now.' He gave up on identifying exactly what he was now, as it was just getting him confused. He went back to observing the Sandaime, who looked like he was about to say something.
"That's too bad," Sandaime said. Then he smiled. "I am glad you're all right, though, Naruto." At that moment, someone knocked on the door. "That must be Dr. Sanada." The Hokage slowly got up, then patted Naruto's arm and said, "I am going to go talk to the doctor now. You'll be all right on your own, I assume?" Naruto nodded weakly. The Sandaime smiled at him and went out the door, shutting it as he said, "You are Sanada-san, are you not?"
Naruto laid in his bed, not even bothering to listen to the conversation outside. 'Hey, Kyuubi…' he called out mentally. 'You there…?' He listened in growing worry for a moment, but no reply came. 'That's right!' he suddenly thought. 'I won't be able to talk to Kyuubi until he fully merges.' Naruto felt relief wash over him.
At that moment, the Hokage came back in, smiling in that grandfatherly way of his.
"Well, Naruto, it seems you're fairly lucky. You'll be kept overnight, and you'll most likely be able to attend classes tomorrow morning." Naruto turned his head a bit to the side so he could see the Sandaime better, and returned the old man's smile with one of his own. "Now, if there's anything you need, please tell one of the medics. Feel free to ask for me if you need me." And with that and a "Don't strain yourself," the old Hokage left. Naruto looked at the door for a moment with blank eyes. He turned his head back so he was looking at the ceiling, and his vision blurred as he started to cry joyful tears.
It was all so much to take in. Sarutobi was alive, and all his friends were alive, andSasuke could still be saved. Everyone…everyone… was alive, and Konoha was standing again, and he knew what to do this time, and he could fix everything. It was all too good to be true. He jaw hurt from smiling so much and tears were streaming down his face and his body ached, but none of it mattered because everything would be all right.
'They're all alive…here…now…' he thought as his smile weakened. And with that thought came a horrible realization, one that made it seem impossible he had been so incredibly happy seconds before. 'Now…but what about in my past? This world's… future…?' he thought, and his tears changed to ones of sorrow as they poured down his cheeks. His friends…they did die. He hadn't been able to save them. The people they were, their personalities and who they had become…they were not the people that were alive now, and probably never would be. He cried silently, still having trouble taking in everything that had happened to him. His earlier joy had been the results of not thinking about the truth that he had to face. He was thinking that everyone was alive again…but everyone he had ever known or cared about was dead, and even though they were alive now, in this time, it wasn't the same. They weren't the same. He cried for what seemed like years, until he had no more tears left. His eyes burned, and his body ached, and he was still shaking from silent sobs. And what made this sadness even more awful was that there was absolutely no one to comfort him. He had gotten used to having the Kyuubi around, a constant presence in his mind that would remain when everyone else had faded or died. But now the fox was gone, merging with its past self and there was no human to comfort him in its stead…he couldn't exactly tell anyone that he had come from twenty-four years into the future where everyone was dead and the whole world was destroyed: they'd lock him in a mental institution. (And no doubt the villagers would have a party.)
He lay there on the disgustingly clean hospital bed in the sickeningly white hospital room in Konoha's horridly under-staffed hospital. More tears came to his eyes as he remembered Tsunade, who had organized a program to educate medic-nins and get more funds and supplies for the hospital. He remembered the woman who had been like a mother and a sister to him. He remembered how she had died proudly, fighting until the very last. She was the one who had given Orochimaru the final blow…but even as he fell, she fell with him, a sword plunged all the way through the top of her head by Kabuto, who had snuck up behind her. The grey-haired medic-nin was killed soon after by Jiraiya, who fought through his fatigue and slaughtered the traitor easily in his rage. In turn, Jiraiya collapsed not too long after, having used up every drop of chakra in his system to ensure Orochimaru's right-hand man couldn't possibly survive.
Naruto brought an unsteady hand up to his chest, laying it down on the spot where Tsunade's necklace has rested since the day he had won it from her. His eyes widened when his fingers were met with nothing but cloth, and he groped around for the necklace, slightly panicked. He froze when he realized he didn't have it anymore, and he wouldn't for a long time. He closed his eyes and silently (and fervently) apologized to the medic-nin-turned-Hokage. 'Speaking of medic-nins…' he thought. 'What did the one talking to Ojiisan mean about a scar?' He pulled up his shirt and felt around, freezing as he felt the all-too-familiar texture of scar tissue beneath his fingertips. It was on the left side of his chest, very close to his heart.
'It couldn't be…' he thought, horrified. 'It couldn't be…' he repeated in his head. '…Chidori?!' he realized in shock. How could the scar have possibly come with him? He had no idea…He had gotten the scar at the battle of the Valley of the End, when Sasuke had plunged the Chidori through his chest. The Kyuubi had started healing while Sasuke's arm was still in buried in his chest and charged with chakra, and somehow Sasuke's chakra had gotten into his system; Naruto's unique, slightly demonic chakra had had a strange reaction with Sasuke's (the Kyuubi had spent a good deal of time a few years later explaining all this to Naruto). The Kyuubi had healed him, but a scar had remained.
His eyes widened. He didn't have Tsunade's necklace anymore…When she had discovered his ailment, she had turned the Shodaime's necklace into a charm to control and isolate the foreign chakra in his body. He didn't have it anymore…but he still had the scar. Crap.
His eyebrow twitched, and he sighed. He'd just have to deal with it tomorrow…but tonight, he was tired. His eyelids had been drooping ever since the Sandaime left, and all the stress he was putting himself through wasn't helping. He'd just sleep, regain his strength…and face tomorrow when it came.
Chapter One: End
1. This quote kind of came from Lord of the Rings; it's not an exact quote (what with the fact it says Kyuubi), but this is what I remember Frodo saying to Sam on Mount Doom when they had just destroyed the One Ring (I capitalize that 'cause I felt like it).
2. I think this is the name of the leader of the Akatsuki, but I'm working with limited information. I am uninformed in some aspects of the Narutoverse, but that allows me to put more of my own stuff in rather than completely conforming to canon. I'm working with what I've got, so for those nit-picky people…find something else to pick at.
3. I know! All that was really cheesy and stuff and you guys are probably going "WTF??", but know that I tried to make it as painless as possible! I did my best to give you a good introduction without boring you too much, so I moved through it kind of quickly. I did my best to give it a good balance between not-too-boring and not-too-rushed, so I hope you can tolerate it. Also, I stole the 'kit' thing from other fanfics. I liked the sound of it.
4. I can't remember Mizuki's actual surname, sooo…I made one up. Which you were hopefully able to figure out. Hopefully.