How long have I been doing this? It's kind of hard to tell. Months go by so... slow? How
should I remember, when the dates change and no mark I can put on this world will
ever last? I like sunsets. Sunsets are always the same, and at the same time so very
completely different from every sunset that ever happened before. Time just screams.
Trying to stop, the day fighting to the last... and then there's just darkness. Tomorrow
will be there, sure it will, but it takes so long...

Shut up, Sasuke. This is the first time I've ever gotten this far. I've been shouting and
shouting, and all your life your slightest whisper commands attention. Now you listen
to me, damn it, and you'll know... why am I so strong? Or is it that you're just that
weak? I don't know. Both at once, maybe.

I'm explaining it to you now, because I think I might get in the habit of it. Maybe it
will work out this time. I'm not that confident, but so what? This is for your own good
anyway. Damn it. In the end it's always all about you, isn't it? It's not fair. Not fair! I
don't care anymore...!

Crack.

Look, I figured it out. You can't do the Chidori without any fingers, isn't that funny?

Oh, stop it. You'll be all right by tomorrow anyway. You stabbed me so many times with
that damn thing, I should have the right to be annoyed.

Insane? Excuse me? You tried to kill me! Hell, you succeeded at killing me! Isn't that
the Magenkyo in your eyes...? It just sucks that you already used up all your chakra.

Glurk. Okay. I'll have to regrow that. What? Yes. I don't NEED lungs to talk. NO, YOU
SHUT UP! Rasengan! That's better.

Let me sit down a bit... urgh.

How should I say...? Ah. Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a boy, named Uzumaki Naruto. He had the oddest seal on
his belly, and inside somehow lived a big nasty old fox. People hated him because of
this, thinking he was a monster hiding inside a boy, and he had to take care of himself
because no one else would dare. Sure, they turned out to be right in the end, but they
wanted it to be believe it so much why should they be surprised when it turns out to
be true?

But that's not important right now. The boy, growing up, could not make friends so
easily. The few that he eventually made, he treasured beyond all things. There was
the old man Hokage, who couldn't really pay that much attention to the boy, but gave
the support that he needed to live. There was the teacher Iruka, who tried to teach
the boy right and wrong and not to be bitter about life, and then the great ramen man
Ichiraku and his daughter, who introduced the boy to the wonders of ramen and the
first and only merchants to really welcome his patronage...

Hey, fuck you too, Sasuke. At least you knew your parents. When did you ever have
to work hard just for the right to survive...?

Yeah. Yeah. I suppose. I can't really blame you for being you, you know? At least I
didn't see my family murdered over and over again. Can you still hear their screams,
each time you close your eyes?

Whoops. I guess that answers that question.

So what? We're all suffering here! You want power to avenge your family...! Power is
bought through suffering!

... but it doesn't have to be your own suffering. Damn it, bastard, you're right about
that too.

Leaf Rising In the Wind!

Right. Sorry. I was telling about the source of my power, right? And it's not this damn
fox. Believe me, if it was the fox coming out, you'd know. It's the only thing that can
hate the Uchiha even more than I can.

But let's get back to the story, shall we?

The boy had his first true friend a broody, stuck-up, pole-in-the-ass, power-hungry
other orphan boy. The avenger, who acknowledged the boy in his own rights as a
person and a comrade. They shouted, they competed, but they were friends. They
fought and bled together, and were willing to give their lives for each other. The truth
of their friendship was made certain, when that boy tried to kill him for the sake of
loathsome eyes.

In the Valley of the End, they fought, and for friendship... one died.

You killed me, Sasuke. Not just a few minutes ago, but oh so many times. I also killed
you a lot. But the first time it happened, you won. I held back. You were my friend. I
wanted to take you back! I didn't want to kill you...

What, don't look at me like that. See this hole? You CAN'T kill me like that. It's healed
already. I can't blame the fox for this. It's not the fox that's keeping me here. You are.

Hm... how should I say this...

Oh! Like the way I saw it. Henge!

o

o

So, this is it. The end, Uzumaki Naruto. Your best friend shoved lightning straight into
your heart, and not even the fox can repair what isn't there. Some child of destiny you
turned out to be.

All your life you've been called a failure, a loser, an unwanted eyesore. You wanted to
be Hokage to prove them wrong. Here, you die. In the most important moment of your
life, you failed. You couldn't protect anyone, you couldn't save anyone. Dying in the
same pathetic manner you lived, clinging and begging for every scrap of attention. He
looks at your corpse, and perhaps for the first time ever really SEES you. He sees you
more clearly than anyone ever has. With his eyes of the Magenkyo Sharingan.

Ah, fox, I hear you. What is the power of an eye, of a man no matter how great and
wise, compared to yours? Men, in their little lives and fleshy prisons. You were a power
of the world, and only I could ever bring you down. Pathetic, fox. Dying for your pride.

I could take you now, but I will not. Since the day your father shoved that fox into
your belly, you were mine. Mine to take, mine to throw away. I have seen stars fade
into the night, even now I wait over a golden throne, and of all the countless lives I've
seen and taken and brought to where they must be... let it be known, that none of
them was ever without meaning. I wait even yet for even the universe to die.

This world, these lives, searching for that measure of power and immortality. A dance
repeated all across the cosmos. Uzumaki, it is nothing to me. Do you want to live,
Uzumaki? Do you want to save your friend?

Yes?

Even if he killed you? Even if he was willing to throw all that aside just for fleeting,
worthless power?

In the end, Uzumaki, you are nothing special. And because of that, I will give you this
favor. Go. Save him. Take as long as you need. But at the end of it, you are mine. For
I am Death, and no one escapes me. No one. I shall stand at the end of time, and you
will know the finality of my touch.

Awaken, Uzumaki Naruto, your life begins here. I refuse to take you yet. Go and do as
your mortal yearnings demand. Awaken... and live. Again and again and again until you
pay up that value you have assigned to your life.

I have spoken. So let it be done.

o

o

Yeah. That was the Death God. The very same being that sealed the Kyuubi, most
powerful of all the Tailed Beasts, into my belly.

Fucking bastard. He's an even worse sadistic dick that you can ever hope to be. Look,
Itachi's powerful. The Akatsuki's powerful. Orochimaru is powerful and can give you
the power you want...

... but no one. Can beat. Death!

We're all like... just colors in a river to it. To him? Garrrgh! Stupid Yondaime! Making up
a jutsu like that! Attracting the notice of Death is NEVER a good thing! It owns me. It
owns you. I have felt the Nightbringer, and even THAT is just a pale imitation of the
thing waiting for us all to just cool down and die. When something that big and so
great takes a look at things like us so small... just observing us... changes things.

Power? That's not power. It's something... unimaginable.

That thing we saw was just the barest sliver of what it is. The Death waiting for this
world to end. My power doesn't come from the Death God. It comes from refusing to
give that... thing... any satisfaction.

Damn you, Sasuke. Damn you, for being my friend. Damn you, for actually being such
a good person inside. Damn you for putting that aside.

I am damned right now.

What, you want proof? Here.

Want some water? You've been screaming for an hour now.

That, was the knowing nothing we do ever really matters. All our little ambitions and
our little struggles... nothing. You. Me. This battle. Nothing.

But we have to fight it out anyway.

I thought it was a dream, at first. I couldn't believe it. You? You killed me. It's not...
not possible! Not real! I woke up, and ran out, and you were there at the usual place
where we waited for Kakashi. You said 'hey, dobe.' I punched you in the face. Boy, did
Sakura beat me up right there. You were even kinda impressed by her.

It had to be a dream.

But which one? The things playing out in front of me, or that knowledge I had of a
future that should not be? Ahahahahaha!

It was fun, kinda, watching things play out. Knowing things about other people while
they know nothing about you. It was the first day of our Chuunin exam, and you know
what...? I wanted to pass it. The exam was the only thing important. Of course, I
didn't even want to entertain the notion you'd ever stab me with the chidori after
telling me I was your best friend. I mean, like, what the hell? Even to me back then,
that made no sense at all! Friends... don't do that...!

It was such a relief. You were there, Sakura-chan was there, and we were all happy
again. We were going to kick so much ass in the exam...!

There was that thing with Lee. Boy, you and Neji... it must have really annoyed you,
to be put behind a Hyuuga. Well, I like Lee. Who was your rival? I was. You two, so
much the examples of nobility, got on each other's nerves because you were just so
damn alike. Goddamn pretty boys.

We were gathering there. You have noo idea how much I wanted to just Rasengan
Kabuto when he approached us. And then, I realized... Rasengan! I can't dream up a
complete jutsu...! I had to get away to test... did I really know the Rasengan?

There was no time. The dream was fading, and that creepy Ibiki guy was leading us
into the examination. I barely paid any attention to the rules. I couldn't remember the
problems the first time around, but... the tenth question was blank.

If this was true, then it could be ALL true. Maybe a warning from the future? I looked
at you sitting there and not knowing the Chidori. Sakura was already halfway through
her test. You scowled at the sheer fear you saw in my face.

Hinata must have seen it too. She offered to let me copy her answers. I grinned back
at her, but it was probably more of a grimace since she shrank back... she was so
meek back then. I shook my head, no. The answers didn't mean anything. It was the
tenth question... if the tenth question was the same, then there was only one answer
I was looking for.

Why?

Why is it all the same?

Why am I standing up and shouting I'm gonna be Hokage...?

Sakura was ready to give up. Sasuke wanted to fight. I knew everything would be
going wrong after that, but I just had to know.

There was Neji, still an asshole. There was Gaara, still thinking he's a monster. Old man
Hokage was still alive. Would it really be all the same? Could I change it somehow? It
looked like I've been given a second chance at life, and even if I had no preparation for
it it was better than what I could ever have hoped for.

It was great! I could fix it all!

We were team 7. We could handle it. We lived through it the first time, and now all I
had to do was to keep you from being bitten. It was Orochimaru's power, it poisoned
your mind. That was all I had to do.

Ibiki did his little speech, then Anko broke through to give us her intimidation tactics.
Oh, Anko. Don't get me wrong, she IS crazy. Just not in the way we were expecting.

I tried to subtly warn them about being careful, really, but... I was dumb as a brick
back then.

"Hey, Sasuke..." I said. "This place is dangerous. We shouldn't split up." Of course I
took a piss before setting out; didn't want to get eaten by a snake again. "But you
shouldn't give in to enemies too easily. We're still just genin. There are sure to be
people stronger than us, and we'll have to fight them. If they're strong enough to take
our scroll, then it's kinda likely they won't spare us anyway..."

"What are you implying...?" Sakura said, frowning. "Sasuke-kun won't be beaten like
that! He's stronger than any other genin here...!"

'Stronger than Gaara? Like hell he is.' I didn't say.

"Don't project your fears unto me, dead last."

"Yeah, that's right!" Sakura mouthed off. She was really such a follower back then.
"He's not a coward, not like..." She shrugged and turned away, flipping her long pink
hair over her shoulder. "If you're afraid, then don't try to make us sink to your level."

My level? Being called a coward predictably set me off. What was that about my level?
I fought a Tailed Beast and won! I could call Gamabunta! I fought against Orochimaru!
I know the Rasengan! I've got chakra more than most jounin! What the hell was that
about my level?

But I couldn't say anything about that. She... they wouldn't believe me anyway...

So, yeah, there we were... walking along... singing as song... okay, so that was just
me. Every minute you were getting more and more pissed, I was giving our position
away. Eventually you were threatening me to stop it or else. Then as I expected,
Orochimaru shows up disguised as a grass nin. Kukukuku.

The last time, I couldn't even scratch Orochimaru. We were just genin, going against
a sannin. But things were different... my body, it was still raw and untrained, but that
pool of chakra inside. I just didn't know what was possible, back then. So there we
were, kicking around, he was playing with us. He was killing my kage bushin by the
droves, and then...

Rasengan!

Yep, that surprised old snake-face all right. That was Yondaime's prize jutsu, and one
that he didn't know. How could a mere genin pull that off? I think I pissed off snake-
face, too... because before I even knew it...

I was dead.

o

o

I woke up.

I feel it every time. The pain, the feeling of what makes me slipping away... and then
that contemptible refusal. It's cold beyond cold, it's completely degrading, that feeling.

Seriously, why did I expect things to remain the same? For example, if I decide to fail
our team, won't Orochimaru just find some other way to bite you? What made him
decide on that moment to attack? He didn't use a snake summon back then, I can't
predict his moves time after time. Every change I make brings something new to the
scene. I had to test it... are the clouds always the same?

But I wasn't so sure if the next time I died, it wouldn't be permanent. How can I really
be certain of that? Besides, dying hurts. Heh. Screw that. I'm not a masochist. Getting
my innards ripped to shreds? Hah. You don't KNOW pain, motherfucker. The soul hurts
in ways your meatbag mind can't even comprehend.

I need a cigarette. My left lung is one big lump of scar tissue, why should I care?

Oh, right. Put yourself in my skin, Sasuke. And by that I don't mean flay me and wear
my skin as a disguise... I tried that on you once, it didn't really work too well in trying
to date Sakura. Oh, here's a cigarette! How convenient for it to be lying on the ground
like that. Ahh. There we go. What would you have done? It's a second chance, to fix
everything that's wrong. What's the NINJA thing to do?

Yep, gather intelligence...!

In my case, probably literally. I really was a loudmouth moron back then. But still, no
matter what, there was one person I could count on to know what to do. Old Man
Hokage! Sarutobi, the Professor, the God of Shinobi!

I suppose I'm not really being fair to you, Sasuke. Sure, we're both orphans... but you
did know your parents, you are rich, you are respected. In knowing that too, you also
know just what it is that you lost and will never have again. Did you ever have anyone
afterwards who cared for you? At least I had old man Ichiraku and and Ayame-neesan.
Do you know anyone who didn't coo "Oh, that poor boy. The last of the Uchiha.." and
behind their kindness wasn't thinking of ways to advance their own prestige? Who
listened without judging? Who did you have to turn to...?

Contempt, Sasuke. The hate in those eyes. The villagers may hate me, but you seem
to hate them more. All their adoration can't compare, you'd rather have your family
back, won't you? Ahh. Yes. The truth shines on how much you want to kill me right
now. It's not like you won a prize. That respect is tainted. The village, it's not really
that hard to betray that which you already somehow loathe.

I SHOULD hate this village, you know? It's like we're both determined to prove them
wrong.

But first I had to check if it was the same day as the Chuunin Exam. Ah. It was. I only
stuck around long enough for you to confirm that. Kakashi appeared suddenly running
apace beside me, asking where I was going. I knew it, he was being late on purpose!

"Where are you off to in such a hurry, Naruto?" he asked, his voice so amused. As if
like all of life was one big joke. I won't pretend to really understand why Kakashi acts
like he does, even knowing his past. It's likely he doesn't even understand himself.
People who wear masks rarely do.

Of course, such thoughts weren't at my mind back then. "I've got to ask the old man
something important!" I answered, still running.

He was running so casually backwards, and rubbed at his chin. "Hmm..." He seemed to
grin. "Too important to tell even me? I am your jounin-sensei, after all. If there's
something you don't understand, then you may ask."

"It's not really about you or the team anyway, Kakashi-sensei..." Which was a blatant
lie. I didn't even give a pause in running over to the Hokage tower.

Kakashi hmm'ed again, and seemed to accept that, though. Maybe my exertions had
managed to mask the cues. 'Geniuses' like Kakashi, Neji, or you... like to put things and
people into tidy boxes where they can be predictable and inoffensive. He just took in
it, and instantly processed it according to what he had in mind of Naruto. I was too
stupid, too unsubtle... since the Hokage seemed to have a soft spot of pity for me,
better to just defer to what the old man would do.

He left then, reminding me to show up in time for the exam.

The people at the tower don't like me. I pranked them all well and good many times.
It's not so simple to just walk in and talk to the most powerful person in Fire Country.
I know how to sneak in. With the Kage Bunshin, and their instant distaste towards my
person, they were all too easy to distract... ANBU included.

I bounded into the room, shouting "OLD MAN, I NEED YOUR HELP!"

"Egha? Naha? Bweh...?" I suppose with constant ANBU guards, the old guy could sleep
on the job. I suppose nobody likes it when he does that, though. "Naruto...? I've got
important work to do. Could you bother me some other time?"

Funny guy, our Hokage.

"It's not too important that you can actually force yourself to stay awake, neh?" I sat
desk and squinted at him. "Besides, what I want to ask is SUPER important. I really
need your advice..." And I supposed a little humility couldn't hurt. I clapped my palms
together and begged. "Hokage-sama!"

I was never really that respectful before. He took out his pipe and had say what's on
my mind.

So I told him. Everything. He was leaning on his chair, puffing away, smiling a little. If
it was a prank, and I really put that much thought into it then it would be interesting
to play along for a little while. The notion that I could come back to life, he was seeing
as symptomatic of my self-doubts, about my abilities, my friends, and the fox. It was
likely it was all just a dream...

Until I mentioned Orochimaru.

"Where did you hear that name...?" he asked, suddenly alert.

"From old snake-face's lips...!" I answered. "Come on, I'm not lying!"

"Sometimes you CAN go too far with a joke, Naruto. This is in very poor taste."

I told him about why you were being targeted, the alliance between Sand and Sound,
the attack on the village... Gaara... and him being killed by Orochimaru. As I talked, he
looked less and less amused. There was too much detail. For one thing, Morino Ibiki's
Chuunin test shouldn't be known to me. Orochimaru's name, I could have read or heard
somewhere... but not about the Curse Seal and its effects. Certainly not Itachi or the
Akatsuki.

Still, he wasn't convinced. Not yet.

I made a shadow clone. "Rasengan!"

His pipe dropped from his fingers. No way I could have learned that on my own. I was
fresh from Wave country, where in an A-class mission could I have found the time to
learn and practice that sealless attack jutsu?

He had me start over. He asked me how long I'd been going through this.

"Well, if we don't count the first time where Sasuke killed me, then I guess this is my
second try at it."

"Do you know WHY you are going through this...?"

Not really, but I knew somehow that I had made a promise to save Sasuke. I didn't
know how to keep him from being bitten by Orochimaru, so I went to him for help. He
smiled an all-knowing monkey smile at my helplessness and blew out a perfect smoke
ring.

"I do not think you can save Sasuke from Orochimaru just by keeping him from being
marked by the Curse Seal." the Hokage said to me. "Ah, my old student is persistent
and in his own way stupidly stubborn once he gets an idea of what he wants. You tell
me that Sasuke betrayed our village... all for the promise of power. To betray implies
choice... and as much as a plant grows from the roots up into the light, so must you
examine the smaller choices that lead up to that decision. It is the little concessions
that end up dooming us, I'm afraid."

"I have no idea what the hell you just said. Sure, I can hear words, but no meaning.
Could you try again in less 'old people speak'?"

He sighed. "You find a way to keep your friend in this village. I'll handle Orochimaru."

"Ooh..."

"By the way, Naruto-kun... don't you have an exam to get to?"

"Crap!"

Just observing something changes something. The world you see is different from the
world I see. Our perceptions, our emotions, and our knowledge differ... and each of
those things determine the way the world reveals itself to us. We might see the same
things and assign different meanings. The same word, like say... power... might bring
to mind different things and different futures.

Case in point, Hyuuga Hinata. What is the world to her eyes? Let's not get into how
she really sees the world differently through her Byakugan. How is her world different
from how we see it? How is it different from Sakura?

Heh. You'd rather I kill you than to hear me blather on? But that means it's working. And
she is NOT my girlfriend.

Oh, that was not a nice thing to say about her, Sasuke. Not nice at all.

Kukukuku. You're not the only one that knows lightning jutsu. Watch what you say
about Hinata. Did you forget we're TWELVE? I might as well ask why you don't bang
your fangirls by the dozen. Other than that they're going to be blabbing about the
experience to everyone, parents would be screaming for you to take responsibility,
and other nasty rumors there... okay, I think I might get why you avoid them like the
plauge.

Zot. Zot. Well, this is fun and all, but we were talking, weren't we? Um... lemme think.

Ah! The world changes according to our perceptions.

Certainly, it seemed all bright and wonderful at the time. The Hokage was on my side.
My problems were over, all I had to concentrate on was the exam. The first test was
easy, I already knew it was about the tenth question. I didn't have anything else to
do, and so I started to notice things that I just didn't see the first time around. It
wasn't just the way they were cheating, but there were a lot of genin shinobi around.
I'm sure not all of them went home even after failing the test. What did they do while
Konoha was being attacked by Sound?

There's Sand, there's Sound... but there's also Mist, Rock and Cloud. Strange how in
the second phase of the exam it was just Sand, Sound and Leaf. Sure, a lot of teams
were cut from the competition by disqualification and in the Forest of Death... but
that's a pretty coincidence, isn't it?

I noticed how the other teams of Konoha were getting through. Hinata had offered to
share the answers with me, but I didn't want us both disqualified for nothing. It was
Tenten who reminded me, she lost completely against Temari. That was humiliating
for Konoha... well, there was plenty of time. The Forest of Death won't be such a big
problem with the Hokage taking steps to stop Orochimaru and his culling.

When the time that I had to stand up arrived, I shouted with all my might; "I'M GONNA
BE HOKAGE!"

Datte bayo, bitch!

So there we were again, in the Forest of Death. We didn't split up. You and Sakura
were getting creeped out by how happy I was. We were walking right into a trap and
I didn't care.

Eventually, Orochimaru showed up. Taunts were exchanged, then we tussled for a
while. Remember when you gave up and offered our scroll just so he would leave us
alone? I let you do that this time around. Bowing to a superior power. I wanted you
to learn that.

But you never gave up, back then. Apparently it doesn't count against your pride if
there's only Sakura there. But if I was watching, if I was fighting and getting up no
matter what abuse I'm going through... you won't either. We fight! We had some good
combos there. We even tried again that shuriken henge we used against Zabuza. If
I had used the Rasengan, it could have scratched snake-face... but he was just
playing with us. Taking us seriously, we'd be dead.

Blah, blah, vauge threatening comments about snakes, grass, and leaves... then he
made ready to bite you.

And I'm not kidding here, old man Hokage arrived on a fucking lightning bolt! Out of a
clear sky! His age has gotta be good for something, he at least knew how to make an
impressive entrance. I've been thinking about it. It's not the Hiraishin. I think it was a
modified Cloud shunshin. I think it was to remind Orochimaru of Yondaime's techniques,
which don't require gruesome experimentation and can't be copied with the Sharingan.

Orochimaru showed only an instant of surprise, then he was back to sneering and
being snarky. I don't really make a point of remembering pre-fight banter, but it was
about foolishness and paths to power and junk like that there. The Hokage asks for
Orochimaru to surrender, and of course he wouldn't take it. Why bother? That's what
separates us from the bad guys.

So, a fight! Orochimaru knew that if the Hokage was there, then there would be ANBU
all over the place. They could slow him down long enough for the old man to pull off
something unexpected. He wasn't really prepared for that fight, but it was better to
see just how far he'd come. In an honorable one-on-one duel with the Hokage, the
ANBU wouldn't interfere. They had to... it was strange honor. The teacher has to take
responsibility for the student's misdeeds, and to punish him personally.

Orochimaru had to move quickly. His plans knocked all to hell, there's nothing else
to do except to go wild. Out comes Kusanagi, the blade that cuts through almost
anything. Sarutobi summoned Enma and has him turn into a diamond staff.

... I can't describe it to you. It's... awesome, even just the memory of it, after all this
time. They were all over the place, jutsu and kunai and wires and slashes flying. It
wasn't about power, but finesse. They kept a tight rein on their chakra, and of the
hundreds... the thousands of jutsu that they knew, instantly chose the quickest and
most effective, countering and cross-countering inside seconds. Layers upon layers of
combat strategy. Itachi has a certain brutal, yet elegant simplicity in the way he
fights. That fight was about mass destruction through the most efficient use of chakra.

And in the end, it wasn't because Orochimaru was more powerful, that he knew more
jutsu, or that he had prepared for it...

Just a slip, the slightest bit of delay...

The Sandaime was OLD. That was all there is to it. He was powerful ninja, but he was
way past his prime. Kusanagi plunged into his ribs, and the old man didn't even get
the chance to use a forbidden jutsu. The ANBU poured in, but it was too late.

Orochimaru was laughing as he faded away, in a substitution escape.

I saw the look in your eyes. He didn't even have to bite you. The glee in your eyes.

The power to kill a Kage...

Everything really went to hell after that. Without the Hokage, Orochimaru could go on
ahead with his plans. Sound and Sand attacked en masse a short time later. Gaara and
Shukaku were unstoppable. I remember numbly searching out Jiraiya and screaming at
him to give me the summoning contract. I attacked him with the Rasengan until he
gave in... it was the tears more than the threats, mostly. I summoned Gamabunta and
went off to fight; demon container against demon container.

I don't know what happened to you. I didn't even care.

o

o

I woke up screaming. I screamed and puked and screamed and puked some more.

That was the last time I ever asked the Hokage for help in my labors. If I needed
something done right, better to do it myself.

You hate Itachi. The Hokage... without him, I wouldn't even be alive. He protected me
when no one else would. He's all the family I really ever had. Orochimaru. I HATE him.
From the bottom of my being, I do. He killed the Hokage, he caused you to betray our
village. He will know an eternity of PAIN!

I made a second promise then. To save you from that lunatic, I needed to be strong
enough to kill said lunatic. So many deaths I can prevent just by getting rid of one
guy. I can't beat him with jutsu. But I had power, buckletloads of chakra that he can
never really match. I just needed the perfect moment, the perfect jutsu. Even if the
Hokage is still alive, I'll go out. BOOM! I remember. I will have my revenge too.

The Shinigami's an asshole. Sometimes he messes with the conditions of the reset.
But it can't lie. I can make it stop. I can make it right again. I have to... so much
and so many were already sacrificed...

I -will- save the Hokage. I -will- save you. I -will- save the village.

I don't care what I have to do or if you hate me for it. It's all for your own damn good.
Doing the same things over and over again, but I can't go back from this.

I can't stop. Are you listening? You stop and you burn. You stop and you remember.
Motion is life. Heh. It's weird, but even I can't really go back to the past. Maybe this
time, it'll stick.

Hahahah? What? I don't deserve this power? This chance? You really think this is
any -better- than that Curse Seal of yours? Huhh. Y'know what? We got time. My
shadow clones should still be keeping Kakashi busy.

o

And then it was morning. And there, I suppose, is where it all REALLY started...

o

-end prologue-


AFTER Shinji and Warhammer40k is done. ;) I think it works pretty well as a one-shot for now. I don't think anything I can write would actually match up to the possibilities.