The Kyuubi roared as it inexorably moved towards Konoha, tails waving like an enraged banner of war

The Kyuubi roared as it inexorably moved towards Konoha, tails waving like an enraged banner of war. No, not war, he corrected himself. That would imply that they at least had a chance to fight back. This was destruction, simple and absolute.

He almost imagined that he could hear the weeping of the civilians, fearing for their lives. Fearing for the lives of the shinobi who protected them.

How many had fallen now? Even one was one too many, and it surely numbered in the hundreds. Yet they continued to fight, even knowing the futility of it, buying time for a miracle that they did not expect to occur.

He paused for a moment to study the scroll one last time, knowing that delay was costly, but a mistake would doom them all, then turned and closed the door behind him, knowing it would be for the last time. Waiting for him stood the two men he most respected, anguish in their eyes at the knowledge of what he would do – and that it could not be any other way.

They were shinobi. They could be no other.

And they could not cry.