Semi-AU. Set in both Naruto's world and that of World of Warcraft - Wrath of the Lich King.
For those who aren't familiar with WoW lore, Death Knights are people who have died and are resurrected. They are infected with the plague, which sets their body up for death and then reanimation into slaves of the Lich King. They are resurrected to believe the Lich King is their savior and remember very little of humanity, but certain people or events can help them remember what it's like to be "human".
five years prior
A terrible, heartbroken howl raced throughout the destroyed village, the mourn of rage and desperate loss emanating from the blonde's chest, head thrown back, eyes scarlet, whiskers marks on his face prominent and darker, fangs lengthened and claws for hands. His throat fell exposed to any enemy that could have been lurking in the trees, but at the moment, he didn't care. One of his most important people had left the world, without a chance of survival or a fleeting glimpse of life in those dulled emerald orbs. She'd been dead long before he reached her.
He knew. Upon reaching her spread-eagled body, broken and strewn amongst the carnage, he'd immediately began forcing air into her lungs, forcibly expanding and deflating tissue, hands at her heart, pumping furiously, trying to revive the girl he cared for and loved. He let a scream of despair reverberate around the remains of his village, blind with tears and deaf to anything but his loss and fury. With another heartbroken howl, he tore away from the lifeless girl, spinning into Kyuubi form, destroying everything and everyone in his path.
Blinded by his fury and pain, he did not hear the pleads and screams of solace shouted to him from afar. All that remained in his mind was the simple, devastating, horrible, terrible fact: He had not been able to fulfill his promise. His promise to her. The promise to bring him back. With that fresh thought in mind, the seal began to weaken. Consumed by his rage and agony, he lost control.
A red tail materialized. He crouched, snarling angrily and tearing at the forest floor. He threw his head back and screamed a chilling, mournful howl that struck everyone to the core.
"Naruto…" trailed off Tsunade, her honey irises overflowing with tears. She rushed to her fallen student's side, desperately trying to awaken her from her eternal slumber, wracking her mind for anything—anything that would bring her back to life, even if meant sacrificing her own for it.
But she could only sit in the bloodied earth, a terrible hollow ache in her chest. Haruno Sakura was gone. There was nothing in the world that could bring her back, no one left to perform the life-transfer technique, or even teach it do the Godaime. The ones who could had all passed away, or already given up their life to revive another.
The demon form of the Kyuubi stiffened, betrayal and utter emotion flashing in his eyes. Sasuke. He disappeared, lunging out at the Uchiha in utter hatred, screaming out his fury and nearly murdering his once best friend. Just as a raw orb of power could demolish the boy in an instant, the blond slumped over, a seal slapped onto his back, the tails receding, claws returning to hands, scarlet irises dulling and melding back to blue, prominent whiskers fading to light whisper marks.
"Sasuke…" began their silver haired sensei sadly, tears gathering in his onyx eye. "There's something you should see. There's someone you have to say goodbye to. Someone who died shortly before you arrived. Under different circumstances, we would kill you on the spot for aiding the attack against Konoha… but… now… there is someone who wanted to see you. Someone, all because of you, will never see her promise fulfilled, nor her dreams." Said boy stiffened, ice in his eyes. Confused, he followed the heartbroken Jounin closely, heart stuttering at the sight. A very familiar Kunoichi lay carefully placed upon a white sheet, eyes closed, wounds dressed and made as prettily as possible. Eyes wide, he froze as he approached the unmoving woman. It couldn't be. He choked, clear liquid pooling in his eyes. He was alone, moving towards the fallen girl of his past. A trembling hand reached out and gently caressed her face, touching the limp locks cautiously.
"No… it can't be Sakura, it can't be," he choked out, tears running down his face, unbidden. Unbelieving, he flicked the Sharingan and searched her body. No Chakra. Her life force had vanished, leaving an empty shell behind. He let a roar of agony, lightning flickering around him. The Sharingan whirled, and he collapsed on her still body, pain in his eyes and silent sobs wracking his frame. His fingers clasped around her hitai-ate, and he pressed his lips to her temple, then finally to her corpse-cold lips. Stiff, unmoving. He kissed her lightly, kissing her with all he had, but it was not enough. For hours he lay there, clutching onto her, refusing to let go. She meant everything to him, even if he did not fully realize it yet. Guards came and went, reporting he 'refused to leave her side'. None of them had tried to force him away, seeing the terrible hollowness in his eyes, the pain that would never go away or fade with time. Uchiha Sasuke had lost the person he thought he never would. He could deal with losing Naruto. Or Kakashi. And his brother. But… Sakura. The mere thought of her dying was incredulous; impossible. Or so he'd thought.
Five years had passed since Haruno Sakura's death and the destruction of their beautiful village. The current Hokage stood alone in front of her grave, a large white marble tomb with her name neatly engraved in onyx letters. He gently tossed the flowers before her grave, deep sorrow embedded in his eyes. He watched as the bundle fell free, petals scattering across the grave. Tears ran silently down his cheeks, but he made no move to wipe them away.
He knelt, soiling the white Hokage robes with soil, and paid utmost respect to the girl he sorely missed, who'd taken a part of his heart with her when she died. A small, brief smile curled his lips as he silently told her everything.
"Sakura-chan…" he whispered, words falling and floating away on the wind. The leaves on the Sakura Blossom trees rustled. "The Haruno Sakura festival is coming up soon. In March. The night of your birthday, March 28th. I'm… I'm sorry, Sakura. We all miss you… even Sasuke. I think… I think he misses you the most." And with that, the man stood, robes swishing about him quietly as he left, tracing her name and disappearing.
It was now dusk, and a certain Uchiha stood before the tomb, silent as always. The pain and grief in his obsidian orbs had never faded, not even a tad. He swallowed hard, kneeling and placing the bouquet of crimson on her grave. It contrasted against the white beautifully. Uchiha Sasuke had paid for the grave himself, crafting it with his own hands. He'd refused to let anyone help him, not even Naruto. He toiled for days on end, carving the marble, engraving her name, and filling it with ink.
"Sakura…" he whispered, eyes lingering on the Katakana spelling out her name. "I'm sorry… " he murmured, sucking in a sharp, painful breath, dark eyes flicking to the white lilies Naruto had left for her. Around the grave was various other sorts of flowers, brought by friends and villagers. Uchiha Sasuke was no longer a missing-nin, but he didn't live in Konoha either. He merely visited once a year, for her birthday, stayed for her festival, and left once more.
"You've been forgotten… forgotten by all of your friends…" the woman frowned hesitantly at the voice, confusion marring her features. "They betrayed you… abandoned you…" she stiffened, fury coiling in her gut. Her eyes narrowed dangerously, hatred darkening her orbs. She concentrated on the icy, soothing tendril of alien thought in her mind, sighing in reassurance as his slithering, cold voice slipped around her ears. "This Village… they have committed betrayal. Kill them all. Spare no one." Drawing her large sword, covered in mystic, glowing runes and a frosty mist swirling from the length of the blade, she got ready to fight. Together they marched over the hill, bringing the winter with them.
Hardened with armor woven of bitterness, she marched with the wind and descended upon the living, blade glistening chillingly in the waning light and emerald gems icy with bloodlust.
"Please—PLEASE!" shrieked a woman, shielding her children as best as she could, "Spare my children, please! Kato isn't even five!" she screamed, shielding her sons with bloodied arms and torso, pleading for mercy even as the shining silver blade cut down in a whistling arc upon her neck.
Unfazed by the death of the mother and by the fact she was about to murder two children next, she carried on, turning deaf to the pleading and shrieks of pain. She said nothing, a hint of a smirk at the edge of her lips, sick satisfaction spreading from the tips of her fingertips and spreading throughout her body, and she was aching to do the same again to rekindle the icy warmth.
A small smile lifted her lips as she sliced through ranks of fragile civilians, ignoring the calls of 'monster' and insults, parrying curses with the simple stroke of her hand, silencing their annoying, insistent approaches. She frowned in annoyance; Why can't they just stay silent? She didn't get why they kept on trying when they knew it was futile.
Hope. She shook her head in disdain, wetting chapped lips and hefting the crimson-ribboned blade, stepping unashamedly through rivers of blood and water, ignoring the fact dismembered body parts and blood lay beneath her feet. No sense of guilt or despair gripped her; she was flying high above feeble human emotions, shoving away petty feelings and all else, for she was strengthened by their King, and nothing would dissuade her from her realm of sickening ecstasy.
An evil grin lit up her deadened, corpse-pale face as she slaughtered people left and right, regardless of sex or age. She frowned as one distinctly reminded her of something, but she couldn't figure out what. Her mind struggled to grasp around the memories that eluded her, but she fell behind. She shrugged. It was all meaningless. All she knew was her friends had betrayed her and now it was time to turn the tables and betray them.
She turned, deadened orbs roaming out over the now silent land, ears alert for any possible sound and eyes wary for movement that betrayed life to the death angel. Blood stained every part of her, splashed against her armor in a spray of mortal injury, crimson dye staining her hair. Blood lingered on her ivory hands, painting her nails streaks of blood-red.
'You have done well, my faithful angel,' whispered the voice on the wind and in the depths of her mind, healing the cracks and irritating cracks in her mind, hardening her undying resolve. A thrill of pleasure surged through her, a pride-filled smirk coating her lips.
'Yes, Master,' she thought, aching for approval and the soothing ice to calm her nerves and banish any traces of warmth. The cold made her numb. It destroyed her feelings and left her mind sharp and cool, undisturbed by weak naggings such as pain. She was free to think of only her improval and what move she would do next, and how to stay alive.
Swordsmen stared in horrified awe at the scene of utter destruction that the soldiers had left behind, bile rising in their throats at the picture of horrific carnage and the array of blood so wide it was a vast ocean of crimson, with broken bodies afloat on the sea of death.
Uchiha Sasuke looked up from his place under the Sakura Tree, deep onyx questioning as the man in front of him placed his hands on his knees, breathing heavily, a scroll clasped beneath his sweaty palms.
Wordlessly, he took it, unfurling the hastily shoved together letter and scanning the scrawled contents. His brow drew together as he read the Hokage's shaky writing. Eyes widened as he reached the end of the letter. Without further ado, he disappeared quickly, flames eating up his existence with the teleportation jutsu.
He appeared in front of the Hokage, calm and collected while on the inside he was shaken. Naruto raised his head, blond locks shadowing cerulean irises. He hadn't seen that much despair and hopelessness in him since the day Sakura had died. He swallowed painfully.
"Word arrived merely hours ago that a group of our Shinobi had stumbled across an entire village of, all murdered." The deeper part of Sasuke's conscious always traveled to the part that Naruto said 'We' every time he talked about the village with Sasuke, despite the fact they he technically wasn't a Leaf Shinobi. Yet the Hokage still considered him as one and welcomed him home. He shook away the thought as Naruto continued.
"It was a bloodbath. Everyone in the village was killed; no one was spared. They were all murdered mercilessly, by a large force. Unfortunately, the village had no Shinobi and the civilians had little fighting abilities, so none of the enemy were felled."
"An entire village?" he narrowed his eyes, mind racing. Naruto nodded solemnly, hands clenched tightly on the table. He blinked slowly, then spoke.
"Your mission is to head over and check it out. Do some surveillance. And try to figure out just who attacked. Be wary, teme. Our enemy is rather powerful." There it was again. Our. Although Sasuke would never admit, it gave him a sense of peace. Naruto considered him his brethren, and as silly as it sounded, it soothed him. His jaw tightened as his eyes caught a flicker of pink outside the window. Hope so strong it burned leapt inside him, flooding his senses in a rush of passion and fervor. However, he soon realized it was own mind playing tricks on him. Furious and yet empty at the same time, he nodded sharply to Naruto and left.
Naruto sighed heavily and brought a hand up to fist with sun-kissed locks, depression taking hold of him and pinning him down. He didn't look up as a familiar chakra prescence took its place beside him, soft, soothing hands placing themselves upon his shoulders and kneading softly, a kiss dropped to the top of his head. After several moments, he looked up, a hint of a smile touching his lips. He drew his pregnant wife to him and embraced her, mindful of the unborn child between them as they hugged. They stood like that for a while, wrapped so completely in each other they did not notice the sun sinking below the horizon and the moon coming up to hover in the night sky. Naruto was incredibly grateful Hinata was alive and well; the image haunted him in his dreams, Sasuke clutching onto Sakura's body, so irrevocably broken that Naruto feared he would commit suicide. And try he did. Sasuke'd tried to kill himself more than once, and it was not a thing Naruto liked or tried to remember.
But, finally, after months of suicide-watch (Naruto believed it was Itachi's spirit) something shook him and he returned to his glacier cold, extremely emotionless and bitter self, dropping the tries at suicide altogether. However, Naruto knew that Sasuke flew recklessly into battle, hoping to get himself killed in the line of duty someday. He pressed his lips together, placing his sleeping wife in bed and traveling to the rooftop. He tilted his head back to the heavens. Itachi… if you're up there… please… make Sasuke happy again. Give him strength. Give him hope. Bring Sakura-chan back from the dead. Anything. I'd give my life to ensure the happiness he deserves. I'd let myself become hated for the rest of my life, but be happy in knowing that the two are together, like the rightfully belong. Not like this. Sakura-chan wasn't supposed to die. Sasuke's already dead... he needs to be revived. Itachi… I know I'm not anything to you, or even associated with you, but you truly are the only one I can ask and turn to. Please. Anything… just make Sasuke whole again. Repair his broken soul, mend his broken heart. All that I ask is for Sasuke to really return home again.