The story is inspired by the recent 'Naruto' chapters... And I just had to write it. Takes place after Pein explanes Naruto his life, his history.
Writing this, I was listening Skunk Anansie "Infidelity (only you)"
If there is one right way, the one true path, if there is one right man, the one to see the truth…
Nagato finished his story and curiously watched the streams of tears on the face of the blond jinchuuriki. The blond child that was the last student under tutelage of a great man and ninja, that was his teacher too. The man he knew well too, and admired, in some way. It seemed that Jiraya not only let them grow strong, but also gave them a goal, a reason to fight. The fight for a peace, somewhat funny, isn't it? You kill someone to protect someone. You have to hurt someone to heal another. The peace has no meaning, and if it had, it lost it so long time ago, no one can remember if it ever existed… but somehow, we fight for it, we kill for it, we're looking for it…
The blond raised his head to look in the eyes of Pein. The blue eyes were shining because of the moisture that covered his cheeks. The rinnegan wielder stared back sadly, waiting for the Answer patiently. He wasn't surprised that this child cried, and he didn't blame him. Even if he was strong, he was still young, and didn't have to suffer so much yet, but had he seen the war, he wouldn't probably be as emotional, and wouldn't understand, so being innocent, let him face the pain and suffering with the same state of mind as Nagato, when he was young and had to face it too.
-"I understand… no, I said I understand earlier, but… I g-guess I lied… but I… I understand now."
As Nagato waited he felt his exhaustion, he knew he needed a rest, he used so much chakra there was barely anything left in him, but, he couldn't turn away or close his eyes even for a moment, because he wanted to hear, to hear that he was right, that his solution is the Only way for a Peace to exist. He wanted the blond to say it, to prove to him that everything he did, everything he sacrificed was worth it, was correct, and was a Right thing to do.
-"You had a reason to do… what you did… I understand Why y-you've chosen that path… And I…"
Pein stopped to breathe; he stared intently and strained his hearing.
The blond looked up.-"And I… think I found the answer. It's a chain of hatred and war, a chain of suffering, and… pain… Like in a circle, the history repeats… itself… And, it's impossible to start form the beginning, because we will never… forget… But it is our life, and… I always say we can change it."-The jinchuuriki smiled sadly looking on the ground for a moment. He then frowned and looked at Nagato again.-"We can't go back to beginning and change the chain of events, we can't forget our sins, defeats and victories, but… we can stop this wheel. And since I know your pain and reason, I don't hate you, Nagato… I… I guess… I forgive you."
That was not what he Wanted to hear. He frowned and tensed. "Forgive me? Why? He should hate me, say he wants to kill me, not cry here like a baby and pity our lives saying he's forgiving."
Standing to the side and observing the exchange, the woman with a paper flower in her hair, Konan, looked down, lost in thought. She didn't move, and didn't change her expression, she was… sad. She knew she would never be able to forgive her enemies, she would never forgive those who hurt what was important and special to her, those characters in her nightmares that she wanted so much to find and kill. But again, why would this last, Jiraya's student, think differently? Why would he come all the way here, just to Talk? Ask about their reason to destroy, listen to it, understand it, and finally, forgive for what happened that same day. Why would he cry for them? Didn't he himself say that he wants to kill Nagato? For destroying Konoha, for killing their teacher…?
Nagato coughed, the dark red blood was slowly flowing from his mouth down his chin.
-"You're sick… aren't you? You need help."-said the blond as he let his gaze fall on the strange construction that held the body of the rinnegan wielder. His body looked like he hadn't moved in many years, paralyzed. The black metallic sticks connected to his back were frightening. Did he feel it? His eyes were so sad, so tired… As if he was slowly dying… And as if Naruto himself took away one of his strengths, his believes, faith… and path.
-"You… cough, cough, think that if enemies forgive each other, the wars will stop…? You even think that they will consider it cough, cough, before killing?"-the man made a strange sound, close to laughing, and smiled.-"You're naïve…"
-"I am not killing you now… am I."-was a sad reply.
Nagato looked down. He was so tired, but he couldn't show it. He blinked away the sleep. He noticed that the blue eyes were ready to cry again. He didn't feel the demon's chakra, and jinchuuriki himself didn't prepare to fight, he just stood in front of him, almost pleadingly asking him to consider this, new and… heart-full option. "Forgive unforgivable? How? Isn't it an instinct, to hurt those who hurt you? To kill your enemies, before they kill your friends and family? Isn't it what every ninja exists for? "
-"Someone's coming."-Said the woman looking at the wall of paper.
The jinchuuriki looked behind too and frowned. He felt people he knew. Why were they here? He said he wanted to go alone. How did they know where he was? His eyes widened, as he remembered the small slug in his jacket. He turned to face Pein.
-"I'll talk to them."
Unable to reply, because of the dryness of his throat, Nagato slightly nodded. He wanted a bit more time to think over the matter. He needed a time to compare his answer and Naruto's. He had to concentrate. He blinked again, starting to feel dizzy… Was it just exhaustion? He wasn't injured… But he felt so strange without the bodies that he fed with his chakra… He felt vulnerable without his weapons, his paths.
Konan let the wall of paper make an opening and observed every move Naruto made. Naruto walked out and saw the same ninja as before, Shikamaru's dad, Shikaku, Inoichi, and some Hyuuga. But now with them were Gai, Lee, Sakura and Tsunade, who stood on the front, daring him to say something she won't like. He faced them silently, with a serious expression, and didn't step away from the opening, showing that he won't let them get inside.
-"Shikaku said, that you 'talk' with the enemy, Naruto."-Said the legendary medic carefully. And at the blond nodding, she narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth.-"What happened, he has a hostage?"
-"No, he needs help."
Shikaku scratched his nose quietly and the rest had their eyes widened in shock. Sakura raised her right palm to her mouth to cover it, while she couldn't comprehend what her teammate meant.
-"Good, will be easier to kill him, now step away, Naruto."
-"No. I don't want you to kill him."
-"Is he under genjutsu?"-Quietly asked Inoichi the Hyuuga nin that accompanied them.
-"No, I don't see any."
-"I guess you won't agree to heal him… Let us finish, don't interfere, please."-He said and turned around to see and hear Nagato cough again, but this time with more blood and shaking of his body.
When he made a step inside, his eyes were filled with sorrow, and he saw the woman try to use a healing technique pressing her palms to Nagato's chest desperately.
-"I don't know any healing jutsu, I am sorry."
The paper mistress pushed all of her chakra, begging her friend to keep breathing, repeating that it was not the right time and that it was not over yet.
Naruto made a few steps forward, and spoke quietly, almost whispering.
-"Destruction will only lead to destruction, as hatred leads to hatred, but together, we could change that, Nagato. Someone has to start the new chain of events. A chain of Peace."
Hearing those words, the man was surprised to notice the tear, that wanted to escape his left eye. As if this was more than he wanted to hear, as if this was what he wanted the most, searched for, and fought for. As if he unconsciously already knew that this was what he really needed…
But he also knew now that he didn't even feel the chakra that was supposed to heal him. He couldn't clearly see, and his head started to spin. He was pained to know how it hurt Konan though… She didn't want to lose him, she wasn't ready for this, but, she wasn't blind. And just like him, she felt that she can't help. Overexertion was the reason he barely felt that he was still alive, he fought so recklessly…
He glanced at the teen that still stood with his back to the entrance, blocking the way for the other leaf shinobi. In his dizziness, and exhaustion, his sight was weak, unclear, and picture was a blur. The teen had the blond hair, and blue eyes, his skin was tan, but why did he look so much like Yahiko… Was it his imagination? His friend is dead. He remembered the tears in those blue eyes, determination in the fight, desperation and understanding. How didn't he notice it earlier… they are so alike. As if Naruto was Yahiko's reincarnation. Fate can be so merciful… and cruel. It let him take a look at this person, that had a heart of his friend, pure and strong, and it forced him to fight against him, and do everything to kill him, because their paths crossed.
He saw Konan take away her hands from his chest, not looking up at him, she was so upset…
-"Tsunade…"-Was a whispered call few long minutes later, at which Naruto frowned. But seeing the look in those eyes he didn't question that request, and reluctantly, he glanced behind him, and took a step aside, when the leader of destroyed village came closer, understanding that the enemy wanted to speak to her. She tried to look calm, strong and collected, but it was easy to see she was angry, no, furious. Her knuckles were white in the fists. Her steps slow, while she wanted to run, run and take her revenge. She stopped in front of the terribly looking man. He didn't look like she imagined, and despite her anger, she was hesitant in her actions.
-"I'm not going to heal you."
She said, thinking that he will ask her for her medic abilities. Also, in her mind was a thought that he may apologize for what he has done, judging from his looks, it was hard to think that he and his partner will try to attack her, and she felt no hostility.
The man slightly shook his head from side to side, making her understand that he didn't need her to save him, and at the same time, on his face appeared a smile of grief. Where did she see it before…?
-"I… want, cough, to make a… deal."
Even though he spoke in a whisper, the ninja outside heard it. They still waited not knowing and not having orders about what to do. And Naruto let in only Hokage, and his back was still protecting the entrance.
The leaf leader frowned, she didn't expect such a request. A fight, apologizes, threats or even bets she somehow could see, but deals? What the deal would be about with a dying man…?
-"I am listening."- She replied, getting a bit curious.
-"I want… you… to give, cough, my eyes, to… Naruto."
The three closest to him, who could hear him more clearly, had eyes the most widened.
-"No!"-Shouted the teen with a scowl.
Tsunade was shocked. Why would this powerful man, give his power to Naruto? Someone he came to defeat and kill, someone he fought, and lost to? Did it have something to do with them being Jiraya's students? But they have never met before, have they? And this… man, killed Jiraya, her teammate and the closest friend, whatever anyone could say. He killed his and Naruto's teacher! What happened while they fought? What the hell did they talk about? But… if Naruto had this power for himself… he would be unstoppable, he would be stronger… the strongest…
The dark blood slid down the pale neck and chest, slowly making its way to the lower ribs and the stomach.
-"What are your conditions?"
-"Don't you dare obaa-chan!"
The blonde woman ignored the shout from behind her. She waited for the reply, she wanted to know the costs of the deal.
-"The… answer, cough, cough, he… has to remember it… always…"
Hokage's face turned fully serious.
From behind, the angry teen stormed to her to stop her, and his steps startled the blue haired woman beside them, who for the past few minutes only stared at the scene. She raised her head, and in the corners of her eyes, the tears could be seen. And before the blond could get close to Tsunade, the blonde medic sharply turned and with her right hand, successfully pushed him back, resulting in him landing outside of the entrance, in front of the shinobi group.
-"Shikaku hold him!"-She ordered, and the jounin complied, quickly stopping the teen, using shadows. Though he questioned his leader's decision…
She turned back to the paralyzed man and realized that he was already dying, there was no point in transporting him anywhere, and there was no hospital anymore in the leaf too. She would have to…
-"Do it… now…"-The man whispered with the last strength he had.
She nodded and reached inside her pocket, to take out a scroll, which she opened with her blood. Then she turned to her right and kneeled, making hand seals. Afterwards, in the puff of smoke on the ground appeared the medical instruments.
-"What?! No, don't! Don't touch him!"-The blond was struggling, but he could barely move, while trapped in the jutsu.
-"Knock him out."-She said quietly, not looking at him. She believed, no, she knew, it was the best she could do now. Such power, they could not refuse in obtaining it, and it was the chance that she will take, and someday… Naruto will thank her for it…
Reluctantly, Inoichi pressed the point on Naruto's neck muttering 'sorry boy', and the teen fell silent.
The great medic didn't risk changing the body position of the man, his condition was bad already. She made the injection of anesthetic, and stood with her back to the rest, covering the sight of her actions. She was doing this unconsciously, probably, but the rest was grateful, they didn't want to see.
-"Sakura, come here and put Naruto down beside me."
Loudly gulping and breathing heavily because of the scene, the girl did as she was ordered to. She grabbed her teammate and strode to her master, there she put him on the ground near the instruments. She was trembling as and her heart was beating too fast and too loudly asshe stood up to leave, because this close even if she didn't see because she didn't look, she could still hear what her teacher was doing. On her pale now face was a shock and fear.
-"Stay, I need you to prepare Naruto."-Came another order.
The girl felt her knees shake and she fell, with a shock even more apparent in her expression. She stared up at her teacher.
-"What…?"-She managed to ask.
Tsunade raised some vessel with the water, and using an instrument that looked somewhat like a spoon, covered in blood, put the eye inside. Seeing that, the girl felt her stomach turn and she felt sick and ready to throw up, realizing that Tsunade wanted her to do the same to Naruto.
-"You heard me. Now clear your head and do it."
The girl looked down at the face of her teammate and she felt numb. The words left her mouth without her feeling it.
Unseen to others, the woman scowled, but she knew she couldn't blame the girl, she wasn't ready for these things, especially if it concerned her teammates.
From behind the girl, the woman who was silent until now, stepped closer to them.
-"I can."-She said, and knelt beside Sakura. Tsunade looked at her questioningly, but seeing that this woman wanted to do what she needed, she nodded. And calmly, Konan touched the instruments, she too, made the injection of anesthetic, in the neck of the teen, and started to work. Even before she started, the pink girl shakily stood up and left, not wishing to see what was happening… "Naruto didn't want this…" She repeated in her mind.
From farther away, the other shinobi winced when Tsunade knelt beside Naruto and they could see the body of the real Pein. Who now was known as Nagato. His appearance terrifying, face covered in blood. Both women were placing the eyes of the enemy in now empty sockets of the blond teenager, who defeated the same enemy.
Tsunade closed the eyes of the boy, covered in blood, and let her chakra heal them. She felt strange, she knew that she and… Konan, were first to see how Naruto looks with these eyes, and she couldn't answer the question that was in her head, 'will Naruto ever forgive her, for doing it to him, every time he looks in the mirror?' She carefully bandaged the eyes, with the help from Konan, who raised Naruto's head tenderly, holding it as Tsunade encircled it with a bandage.
They entered the village, that now was bare after serving as a battlefield. The blond teen was in the arms of Inoichi, behind him, followed Konan, who said that she will stay with Naruto, who she called Nagato, which worried and even alarmed the rest. And Nagato's body was sealed and taken with them, on Tsunade's orders.
Two days later
In the small room, with one window, through which could be seen the wall of rain, that started a day before, on the floor was a figure, tied up from head to toes, with the tape. The figure had the bandaged eyes, and wet, because of the sweat, hair and skin. Near a head of the figure, that slowly turned from side to side, sat a blonde girl in purple clothes, who spoke to her two teammates, who sat under the window.
-"I think that this is bad."
-"Me too."-Said a boy in the green vest, as he held his arms crossed.
-"I mean, he's restless, keeps mumbling something and sweats as if he's seriously sick! And Sakura says to do nothing!"
-"She says so because Tsunade-sama ordered that."-Quietly replied the boy in red armor, with the wild brown hair.
-"Yeah, and it's our turn to make sure he doesn't hurt himself."-Said the boy in a vest lazily waving with his hand.
-"OUR turn? If I remember correctly, Shikamaru, it is MY turn, while you two were supposed to help rebuild the village! Though, I don't mind some company, being alone here is creepy… Especially when this 'Konan' woman comes… You know what she does?"
The two under the window looked at her with a lazy question, and she sighed.
-"She calls him 'Nagato'… And she just sits by him, stroking his hair and repeating that she waits for him and all alike that freaky stuff… I mean… What if this guy really IS in Naruto now? You know, he wakes up, opens his freaky eyes, puts on the Akatsuki cloak and waves us 'goodbye'…"
Her teammates stared at her with dumb expressions, as if she was crazy.
Three days later
The pink haired girl stared out the window, watching the rain that poured for four days and nights. She slowly turned around hearing a pained moan. Her teammate was crying… She could see the tears sliding down his cheeks from under the bandages over his eyes. On his forehead was a small wet towel that she placed earlier. She noticed that time after time he was gritting his teeth and shaking.
The room was dark, and she felt lonely and scared. She was worried that he will refuse to forgive her for letting Tsunade do the operation; will hate her for letting him suffer.
The door opened, and in walked someone she hoped she won't see that day. That woman dared to walk around in her cloak as if nothing was wrong with it. She didn't speak if she didn't want to, and she as sure didn't help the leaf. She just waited for Naruto to wake up. That is all…. No. Not all. She dared to speak to Naruto. She dared to touch him and whisper to him to calm him in his sleep. She dared to say that she will dye his hair orange if he asks to! Because it's his favorite color! Nagato's favorite color!
Konan gracefully sat by the teen, and replaced the hot now towel with another, freshly dipped in cold water. She then patiently tried to soothe him with words and touches. Sakura didn't know what to do. She didn't want to tell this woman that she wants her to stop this, that she doesn't like the way she treats her friend, because she could see the devotion in her actions… The warmth she gave Naruto every time she was close, because when she was, he was calmer, peaceful even… How can you tell someone that you don't trust them with your friend, but at the same time you see that this person does so much for him…
-"I hope it stops raining soon, so we could rebuild the village faster…"-She said to start some conversation. She was tired of silence, and it made her sleepy, while she had to be on guard and keep an eye on Naruto.
The blue haired woman sadly smiled as her hands combed the blonde locks.
-"Pein is crying… so you'll have to wait."-She mysteriously replied.
One day later
He heard nothing except the slight tapping of the raindrops. It was too quiet. But he knew it was the early morning. He didn't see the light, so he raised his hands to his face, to find the bandages. He frowned, but then he remembered why these were there. He carefully uncovered his closed eyes and touched them with his fingertips. He took a deep and heavy breath, opening them. He saw the room he was in. He didn't have to adjust his sight, it was quite dark, because of the dark clouds covering the sky he could see through the window. He forced himself to raise to a sitting position, moving the white blanket aside and glanced at the door, that was closed. He frowned again, realizing that he was completely alone. He looked down on himself, to see that he had somewhat loose long black pants on, and his black mesh shirt. Beside the mat he laid on, was a leaf headband, his headband. He let the fingertips of his right hand trace the engraved symbol, before slowly tying it over his forehead. He blinked, and strained his hearing. Nothing, he has to walk outside. And so he did, putting on the sandals he spotted by the door. Slowly, he walked though a short corridor, down the few steps of the stairs and out of the hastily built wooden building.
His feet touched the ground, and he felt the warm raindrops on his skin. He looked up, wondering. To him, the rain was beautiful… but he had unpleasant memories about it. Every time the rain fell, he had a reason to be sad and upset. The rain said that there was a reason to cry.
He looked down on the ground and felt a presence of someone he knew. It was Tsunade, the legendary medic, who walked here and, stood now under the rain in front of him, her arms down, hands at her sides, eyes on him, not daring to approach him without a sign.
She was scared.
He wanted her to be scared. So he didn't give her a sign, he didn't look at her.
Beside him, appeared Konan, with unreadable look, but her chakra said she was… happy. She… smiled.
-"What do you want to do?"-She asked, expectantly.
He sighed slowly, and closed his eyes. A second later, the rain ceased, and after a few more, completely stopped. He opened his eyes, to stare on the ground and spoke.
-"We will travel to Rain."
She nodded and from the corner of his eye, he glanced at her.
-"Take it off."-He said, pointing with his look at her cloak, without moving. She just stared at him for a moment, and then without questions, did as was told, unzipping the cloak, letting it slide off her shoulders onto the wet ground, revealing her clothed in black sandals, black pants, mesh shirt over the blue top, and arm bracers.
She then reached into her pocket, and took out the black headband with the rain symbol, and raised it for him to take, which he did, with his left hand, and carefully tied it around his neck.
-"You need to eat first, you slept for six days, Nagato."-She said.
He slightly nodded, turned around and started to walk.
Done. Thanks for reading! As always, don't be greedy and feedback!