The End

The world had changed a great deal in the past few months, the lives of the people of Konohagakure more so than most would never be the same. The casualties from the Nine Tails' rampage were even greater than when the village itself was obliterated in the battle between Naruto Uzumaki and the Akatsuki leader, Pain. Akatsuki had succeeded in capturing this boy, the Nine Tails' container, and extracted the beast from him after a long battle of wills. The Uzumaki child died when the final Tailed Beast was removed from his body, and with him, the hopes and dreams of those of the Land of Fire. He had been the embodiment of his villages' philosophy, and his sudden death had hit everyone equally hard. Sasuke Uchiha realised the error of his ways when he saw his friend and teammate killed before his eyes, and performed the Sōjasōsai no Jutsu (Twin Snakes Mutual Death Technique – a Murder-Suicide attack), on the last other surviving Uchiha, Madara. His lack of foresight actually led to yet more chaos; Pain had died when he ran completely out of chakra, and without Madara to control the Fox's chakra, the remaining Akatsuki members stood no chance of sealing it. The demon went on a rampage of untold destruction, wiping out everything that stood in its way; as for the first time in over a decade, a fully powered Tailed Beast was let loose upon the world. Without a Sharingan user to dominate the beast, all seemed lost. Yamato, the only "relative" of the First Hokage, and the only living ninja who would use the Wood element, attempted to stop the beast when it reached the ruins of Konoha. As the few remaining local ninja gave their lives to buy him time, Yamato tried again and a again to dominate the creature's spirit, but found that he lacked the power to do so. He was annihilated when the Kyuubi released a single solidified chakra blast in his general direction, and with that the last of the resistance was removed from the playing field.

It was then that something completely unexpected happened. Kakashi Hatake rose up rested and ready for action. Katsuyu had used all of Tsunade's remaining chakra to essentially swap her life for his. The final thoughts of the Fifth Hokage had been to pass on the mantle to one who could bring the Village Hidden in the Leaves back from the brink of demise. There was none better, as stated by Jiraya as well before his own untimely death, than Kakashi to lead as the Sixth. While he lacked the blood of the Uchiha running through his veins, he had plenty of chakra to spare when he activated his Mangekyou Sharingan and willed the Nine Tailed Fox to stop its rampage. The effect of the Kaleidoscope Eye was instantaneous; the chakra creature stood in a trance, having even stopped the waving of its tails. This left the newly appointed Sixth with a particularly difficult decision to make; whether to dispose or release the creature so as to balance the scales of power, or to seal it back within one of his ninja to topple them completely. The worst part of all was that he truly understood what Pain, Madara, and the rest of Akatsuki had wanted to accomplish, and he too wanted to make it so that everybody else understood the anguish that his village had seen. And so he decided to deal out this pain first hand. His realisation that everyone around him seemed to die almost without exception was the driving force in this decision; his father, Obito, Rin, Naruto, Sasuke, Jiraya, the Fourth, the Third, Yamato... the list seemed endless. As he looked out into the crowd of ninja and of Konoha civilians, he pointed out one person who, in his mind, would be the perfect asset in what he wanted to do.

"Sakura, come here please." He beckoned to his old student, and she clambered over the rubble to her master's side, expecting that she would be his aide, as Shizune to Tsunade before her. "I've realised something important, Sakura. It's the injustice of the world..." He looked out at the sunset with his eye and with Obito's, and beneath his mask, he smiled. "Naruto and Sasuke are dead. I can only assume that you're fairly upset about that." He looked down at her as though expecting an answer. She looked at him blankly, with tears forming at her eyes and made to speak, but was stifled by a hand gesture from Kakashi. "You don't get what I'm saying. You and I are the last members of Team Seven. Don't you think that's unfair? I mean, technically, I died for a little while back there. I died for Choji, by the way, and don't think I've forgotten that. But I digress; that, on a technicality, means that you are the sole surviving member of the team we formed four years ago." At this, the tears streamed down her face and she could no longer hold back the sobbing. She knew he was getting to some kind of point, some kind of life lesson that they would take away from this disaster, but she wished with all her heart that he'd hurry up and made this point rather than dwelling on the deaths of her teammates.

"I'll be frank, because you won't understand if I beat around the bush." She rubbed the tears from her eyes and made one final effort to silence herself and wait for him to divulge. He took a deep breath and continued. "That you are alive while Naruto, Asuma, Sasuke, Tsunade, Jiraya, and even Shizune have died... Is a travesty of justice. Did you never notice how when we fought the Sound Ninja, or Akatsuki, for instance, it was always the weaklings that died first? That should have been you. In fact, there are a couple of others who this applies to, but for the moment we're talking about you. I liked Sasuke. Heck, I taught him an A-Rank technique that I designed myself, and gave him help learning to use his Sharingan. He left the village, fine. He became an enemy for all intents and purposes, but like I said, that's fine. I liked Naruto. I confess I didn't to begin with; he was loud, annoying, did I mention loud or annoying? Anyway, he proved to have amazing potential, and not just because he was the container for the Kyuubi, but because he himself had the blood of two of the strongest ninja ever to live and breathe flowing through his veins and because he tried damn hard to get some recognition. I trained them both seriously. They're both dead now. In hindsight, with my track record for people dropping dead around me, I probably should have dedicated all my time to training you. Heck, now's a little late, but a brainwave I had a minute ago is helping me to rectify that little mistake right now."

The rant, the speech that he had thrown at her as calmly and as apathetically as anything he'd ever said took a few moments to hit home. It was a few moments longer before she realised that the whole time he had been talking, he had been doing hand seals. "Wh-" He cut her off again; "You really don't want to know, but since you asked I'll explain." He continued to do hand seals, too many for her to count and to listen, so she opted to listen, deciding that this was going somewhere. "I have the Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan, and am the last possible user of it; all Uchiha, pureblood or otherwise, are dead. Normally, this heightened Sharingan would basically allow the user to become immortal. But you see, I'm not an Uchiha, so the Sharingan actively uses up my chakra reserves. Since there's no way for me to gain the blood of an Uchiha, as a result of the minor issue of them all being dead, which, by the way, brings me back to the injustice of you being alive while Sasuke dies, I need to somehow increase my available chakra to something more, shall we say, godlike." He finished the long string of hand seals by clapping his hands as if in prayer. "Oh, by the way, this is going to hurt. Alot." He touched his left hand to Sakura's shoulder and said clearly: "Shiki Fuujin.", which meant "Dead Demon Consuming Seal". The Shinigami appeared above Sakura's head and drove its ethereal hand into her chest from behind. She screamed in agony, a loud shrieking sound which Kakashi chose to ignore.

"Of course, I couldn't very well give my own soul in payment for sealing the Kyuubi inside myself, or it'd be a pointless endeavour. But you see this way fair's fair; you die, like you should have long ago, and I become more powerful than any ninja before me. It just works, trust me." If it was possible, at this moment her scream became even louder as the Shinigami began to drag her soul from her body. She pulled her arm back to punch her former sensei square in the jaw, but was stopped when he activated Tsukuyomi, trapping her in a Genjutsu that further tortured her within her own mind for three days in three seconds of real time. Even a master of chakra control like Sakura could not act fast enough to dispel Tsukuyomi; by the time she'd have acted, even assuming she wasn't already in agony from the sealing, the jutsu was long since over. She fell to the floor, still quite in pain, but no longer able to vocalise it. He took this moment of silence to finish the sealing: "Hakke no Fūin Shiki (Eight Trigrams Sealing Style)!" With that, the arm of the Shinigami shot through the head of the still-paralysed Kyuubi, and then proceeded to twine back around and force the hand into the waiting stomach of Kakashi. One moment the Kyuubi was there, standing in the half light, and the next it had gone, buried within Kakashi's body. Sakura's soul was dragged from her lifeless body with little resistance, and the last thing anyone heard from her was a dull, annoying scream. On Kakashi's stomach sat the seal that once rested in the same place on Naruto. He felt that this was the legacy of his long-deceased sensei, and wished all of a sudden that it was him he had sealed the beast within way back then, as he was certain he could have put its powers to better use.

He was admittedly rather surprised that nobody had intervened and tried to save Sakura's life. It was amazing to think that everyone thought as little of her as he did. That, or the now-godlike Kakashi was simply someone that the village's populace did not fancy their chances against. He took a moment to test out the Kyuubi's power. He had used the seal in such a way that the beast could in fact burst out at will, and upon trying to call on its chakra, it attempted to do just that. There was the ecstasy of releasing such power that he knew he shouldn't have, followed by a sharp burning pain felt everywhere all over inside and out which threatened to make him keel over in agony. However, as the beast within him tried to release its Nine Tailed Transformation, bypassing the prerequisite stages, he activated his Mangekyou. It was like flipping a switch inside of himself; the Demon Fox's Cloak remained, in that he had a limitless supply of chakra, but the Fox itself had retreated from his eyes, down into the depths of the seal. It knew its place, and that was a good thing, for sure. He clapped his hands, using no hand seals (as there was no need to carefully regulate chakra when he had as much as he could ever want), and used a technique he never could have had the strength to before that day. "Doton: Daidoryūheki (Earth Release: Great Earth Wall)!" Whereas in the past he had used a smaller version of the technique, this time he poured his chakra in to rebuild the mountainside around which the village was built, and no sooner had Hokage rock been reformed than his own (masked) face had been added to it. However, he had not rebuilt the faces of the five that came before him, knowing that the village would now follow a different path to that of the old one started by the First.

Still fairly uncertain, but knowing their place, the villagers and the ninja in the crowd cheered for the new Hokage, for the Sixth, watched in awe as he rebuilt Konoha street by street. Only a few stood looking on in disgust at what they had seen, but the village's new leader could see all, and had plans for them, already. He had expected any opposition to come later, but Konohamaru had never been one to wait. The boy jumped up the newly formed rooftops to face Kakashi, and screamed his challenge right to his face. "You're not Hokage! Your actions aren't like a Hokage should act! The Hokage is-" Kakashi glared at him and trapped him momentarily within a Tsukuyomi. However, the shadow clone disappeared right away, and a moment later the real Konohamaru, Great Ball Rasengan and all, came down on him from up above, and slammed into him with all the force of a stampeding rhino. The resulting explosion blew the fixed Hokage's Residence roof apart and sent rubble flying in all directions. When the dust settled, the last surviving Sarutobi stood in a battle stance facing the somehow unharmed Sixth Hokage. Thinking moments back, he had not felt the attack make contact with anything until it reached the ground, and it disturbed the boy that somehow this man had let the attack pass right through him. "What can a single boy do against the will of the Hokage?" The 'boy' screamed another challenge at the man twice his senior; "I always said I'd be the Seventh. It was supposed to be after Naruto-Niichan, but I'll still be the Seventh if I take over from you!" He charged at him with a kunai knife in each hand, and felt nothing as the world suddenly spun before his eyes and he was erased from existence. "No." Was Kakashi's characteristically sarcastic answer to the dead boy's goading.

Very few onlookers could comprehend what had just happened, but those who had seen Kakashi's Kumoi attack in action back when he relied on his own chakra supply knew of his ability to phase things out of existence by way of a miniature black hole. Yet, none of them had expected that he now had enough force behind the attack to absorb an entire person without so much as a deep breath to show fatigue. For some reason it was Ino who was next to attack him. She tried to use the Mind-Body Switch Technique to take control and would then rely on her teammates to take down the rogue ninja that had somehow become born of the latent ambition within Kakashi. However, he saw the attack coming, and called "Choji. I believe you owe me a debt." At which point, Choji dutifully jumped into the slow-moving projectile that was Ino's consciousness. Ino was then all of a sudden in control of Choji's body. Kakashi then said, without emotion, "I told Sakura I hadn't forgotten. But you've paid your debt now, so right at this point, you're back to being useless. Amaterasu." Everyone seemed to think it was some kind of ending to the latest of his speeches, like how Naruto used to add "Dattebayo" to the end of pretty much everything he ever said, but it was in fact an attack. There was a rush of black flames that seemed to spout from nowhere on Choji's samurai-like armour and on Ino's clothes. Both were completely engulfed and incinerated within seconds. The Sharingan user then blinked to dispel the fire. "Anyone else?" He sighed.

It was Iruka to stand against him, next. Kakashi would remember in the days to come how ridiculous the thought of actually fighting someone that pathetic was, and how the thought alone made him want to set light to a kitten or three. He figured he held back the laughter fairly well as he asked "And what's your reason, then?" Iruka tightened his hands into fists and shouted "I don't need to explain myself to someone who would destroy the foundations on which our village should rest!" That was that, then. Iruka didn't understand. That was a shame, but he knew right from the start that this was inevitable, and was suitably prepared to enjoy himself to the fullest before finally killing the pretentious little bastard. He remembered thinking about what a mockery of justice it was that Iruka was allowed to live while the likes of Jiraya and Asuma died. It just... wasn't right. Kakashi was not completely insane; he knew that what he was doing was "wrong", based on technicalities, but also that the ninja world was ruled by the strongest, and he was the strongest. Thus, people would follow him, and if fear was what he needed to keep the masses in line, then dear Iruka would become fear incarnate. But not quite in the manner that the pathetic Chunin probably would have liked. "Fine", Kakashi muttered as he tore his Leaf Headband from his forehead and threw it to the wind. "Come", he beckoned.

So I'll go as far as to say that the first paragraph is a perfectly possible, albeilt a dark and disturbing, route to end the series. Let's be honest, Kishimoto isn't going to be killing off Naruto or Sasuke any time soon, but alas, things look equally good for our friends Konohamaru and Iruka, don't they? The rest is purely for fun. It was an idea sparked from a phone call, and within moments, the joy of Iruka's timely execution was a solid fixture in my mind. Thank you Vic, for that one. That's all to say about it, really. I hope you all enjoyed my first attempt at a somewhat tongue-in-cheek oneshot.