"It's funny," Naruto laughed, but stopped to cough up blood into the rag Sasuke had given him, he winced when Sasuke touched his chin then his chest with a cold rag as if it had stung him to clean the blood that he had missed with his now extremely slow reflexes.
"What's so funny?" Sasuke asked eyeing Naruto with a caring, and critical eye.
"I've always wanted to be normal, and get sick like everybody else, and the first time I do get sick it happens to be with a disease that's going to kill me, and is causing too much damage for Kyuubi to handle. He hasn't given up on trying to heal me, but he said I should say my goodbyes," Naruto said closing his eyes missing the face Sasuke had made.
"I wish I could go where you were going," Sasuke whispered rubbing the hand he was holding of Naruto's.
"Not me. I want you to live your life to the fullest, and have lots of little Uchiha bastards to torment the village. I just hope they don't have the same amount emo-ness that you have," Naruto said smiling a pained smile. He didn't like the thought of Sasuke with someone else, and didn't want to, but how else would Sasuke fulfill his second goal? There wasn't any other way.
"Naruto," Sasuke began in a slight desperate tone.
"Sasuke, when I leave if you become a suicidal idiot I'll come back and haunt the stupid out of you. There's only room enough for one idiot in any of your relationships, and that spot is happily taken by me, whoever you decide to date when I'm gone, and whoever will be the Uchiha baby mama. Got that?" Naruto asked angrily squeezing Sasuke's hand in a hopefully manner, but he didn't doubt that it was lacking the power that he used to have. He'd be thankful if Sasuke could even feel the anger in his action no matter how weak.
"Sure," Sasuke reluctantly agreed halfheartedly. He didn't want Sasuke spending his last days arguing that he find someone knew to fulfill a dream he had given up a long time ago. He didn't even care about reconstructing the Uchiha clan anymore. He was trying to live his life to the fullest, and he ad been hoping that he could do it with Naruto at his side, but it didn't seem possible now.
Naruto sighed. That was good enough. For now. These were the times he was glad that he wasn't contagious. In actuality no one else could ever get what he had since it was made especially for him. Not in the history of man could someone or their family and friends suffer this much, and he was happy for that. The disease was painful, though he told no one, because they would only worry more, and he couldn't have that. He knew Tsunade knew, though. She wouldn't be the legendary medic nin if she didn't
Naruto tried to move his legs to get rid of the restless feeling riding through his bones, but when he couldn't he became a little scared. The disease was moving fast.
"Sasuke?" he whispered holding his breath. He was afraid that he had been left alone.
"Yeah?" Sasuke whispered. He was trying to find a way where he could change Naruto's mind, because he honestly couldn't imagine himself with anyone other than Naruto much less a woman.
"I'm cold. Can you turn off the AC? And can you cover me with a blanket? Please, I can't go to sleep with it turned on, and you know I hate the cold, right?" Naruto asked.
Sasuke blinked. Konoha was in the midst of a heat wave accompanied by drought. It was said that this was the worst heat wave of all time. Also Sasuke had turned off the air conditioner last night when the air had gotten unbearably cold.
"Okay, yeah. Naruto I know," he said moving around as if he was fulfilling the tasks given.
He pressed the button that was near Naruto's hand, and didn't have to wait long before Tsunade was rushing into the room.
She looked to see that Naruto was asleep, and Sasuke was distressed.
"Tsunade-sama, he says it's cold, but he's sweating more than any of us combined. He asked for blankets but they're already there," Sasuke said gesturing to the white sheets covering Naruto. "I don't think he can feel them."
Tsunade threw the sheets off of Naruto's sleeping body, stopping herself from gasping at the drastic change in Naruto's body, and onto the floor. She passed a glowing hand over his body trying to ignore that annoying persistent drop of hope that thought maybe this was, Kyuubi's, and Naruto's body way of making sure he couldn't feel the pain of it repairing what the disease had destroyed, and later when he was recovering they would be prepared. It had been crushed as soon as she started. Everything was worse, but when she reached those slim pale legs that showed pronounced veins, and nerves destroyed she wanted to break down.
Sasuke noticed the change in the Hokage, and winced. It was worse. What was it now?
"The nerves and veins in his legs are all severed. He won't be able to feel his legs," Tsunade said holding in the tears threatening to be released as she left the room. "I'll let the others know," she said as the door closed.
Five minutes later Iruka arrived with everyone else in tow.
Naruto opened his eyes to see all the worried eyes staring at him. They knew.
He smiled. "Hey guys. How's it going?"
Iruka-sensei was the first to hug him lifting his top half off the bed, and bringing it close to him. He never let go as the others did the same leaving Sasuke to just watch solemnly form the corner, and Gaara staring down at him as he stood next to his bed. He had been declared safe from the virus since it seemed that it was meant to only attack the Kyuubi's chakra.
"I think you guys are the ones that are sick," Naruto said laughing as he stared at them all and grabbed the bottom of Iruka's shirt in his fists unconsciously. "Seriously you're all so cold. Then again I've been feeling cold all day. How about you Iruka-sensei; today was cold right?" Naruto asked looking at his ex-sensei with hopeful eyes. He didn't want to be the only one again. He hated being alone in something. He didn't mind that he was the only one with the sickness, but when it came to everything else he didn't want to be alone. He had had enough of it in the beginning of his life. He didn't need it at the end also.
Iruka didn't say anything just hugged his adopted son closer to him.
Naruto yawned. "I'm tired. Again," he complained rubbing his eyes missing the worried stares.
"Do you want to go to sleep?" Iruka asked reluctantly letting go.
"Yeah, but Iruka-sensei, can you stay with me tonight, and you too Gaara? I-" Naruto paused as his eyes dropped suddenly to the floor as they became blank and dull as he scrunched up his eyebrows in frustration.
"What's wrong, Naruto?" Sakura asked when Naruto had suddenly stopped speaking.
Naruto blinked in surprise as he lifted his gaze from the floor.
"When did you guys get here? Gaara I thought you guys lived in Sand?" he asked smiling then looking at Sasuke. "Why didn't you tell me they were coming, teme?"
"It was a surprise visit," Sasuke answered not missing a beat.
"Oh, well, I'm tired. Iruka-sensei, can you stay with me tonight? And you too Gaara, can you guys stay with me?"
"Um, sure, Naruto," Iruka said rubbing Naruto's back.
"Thanks. Can I ask you something?"
"Who's the guy with his stomach hanging out, and looks like he could compete with Sasuke in an emo contest? And the woman with the brown hair, and holding a pig? And who's the woman with the blonde hair, and the little thing on her forehead?" Naruto asked smiling at both of the people he didn't know.
"My name is Sai, and we have a bond of friends," Sai answered solemnly.
"I am Shizune," the woman asked worried about Tsunade.
"I'm Tsunade, the Fifth Hokage," Tsunade said wanting to cry.
"The Fifth? What happened to Old Man Third?" Naruto asked perplexed. The Third Hokage had never told him, not that the old man had to, that he was going to retire. He was sure that the old man would have waited for him to become eligible to be the next Hokage.
"He died, Naruto. He died a long time ago," Iruka said in a gentle voice, and at this Naruto fainted from shock, and weariness.
"The memory loss was sudden," Tsunade said putting on her work face. "I want everyone to leave the room except for Sakura, Shizune, Iruka, Gaara, Sasuke, and Kakashi."
Sakura, Shizune, and Tsunade went over Naruto's body repeatedly with glowing hands inspecting the new damage that had occurred in such a short time.
Sasuke, Gaara, Iruka, and Kakashi were used to distract Naruto whenever he woke up for brief periods of time.
Everyone except Iruka, Gaara, and Sasuke, who flatly refused to leave, went home disappointed.
Over the next few days Iruka and Gaara had joined Sasuke in the constant watch of Naruto.
Naruto digressed in body, and mind until one day when everyone had come to see him again, and turned to Iruka-sensei, and asked, "Iruka-sensei who are all these people? Do I know them? Are they going to hurt me, because of Kyuubi, too?"
"No. Naruto they're your friends," Iruka said not looking at any of the people in the room. He didn't want to see what they looked like as they saw how they were wiped from Naruto's memory, and asked whether they were going to hurt their dearest friend. He didn't want to suffer with them, because he was selfishly happy that he was that he was the only one Naruto remembered.
Sasuke stayed even though he wasn't known and hurting terribly on the inside. Gaara stayed, because Naruto would always be his brother whether Naruto acknowledged it, or not. They'd always be connected: savior, and the saved.
Naruto had begun living with the use of machines, because the disease hadn't decided that everyone had suffered enough.
Gaara and Sasuke were awake. Sasuke was reading a book, and Gaara was staring at Naruto's outlined body when they heard a shifting thinking that it was Iruka who had gone to sleep when Sasuke started his shift they ignored it. Gaara had no shift due to the fact that he never slept.
They looked up, and saw Naruto looking at them with glowing blue eyes.
"Naruto, what's wrong?" he asked putting his book down. Gaara stood up, and immediately went over to Naruto's side. When he looked back at Sasuke, Sasuke knew something bad had happened.
"I feel wet."
Sasuke turned on a lamp, and noticed red all over Naruto pouring from his mouth.
"Iruka-sensei," Naruto said alerting Sasuke to the others awake presence, "why am I wet?"
"Done," Sasuke said making shadow clones to wake everyone from their slumber to alert them to what could be Naruto's last moments alive.
Tsunade was in the room before the clone that was sent for her could leave the room making Iruka, and Sasuke wonder where she was when they looked behind her, and noticed Gaara's sand clone. The others followed shortly after.
"Miss, do you know why I'm like this it won't stop, and it doesn't taste good," Naruto said crying reaching out to Tsunade with a bloody hand before retracting it as he remembered that people didn't like him, and then another bout of pouring blood came on.
Tsunade, who had known why Naruto had done what he had, and was saddened by it, Shizune, who would do anything to help the boy who had helped Tsunade-sama, and Sakura, who wished that she could have had another chance at being friends with Naruto, had placed healing hands on his body knowing that it was no use. They just wanted to try anyways hoping that maybe it would save him.
There was crying on each others shoulders as they watched Naruto die. Iruka was being held by Kakashi watching with blurry eyes as Naruto bled the life out of himself.
Sasuke and Gaara just stood solemnly watching the scene in front of him as if it was nothing new.
When it finally had seemed that Naruto was okay Iruka went over, and held a bloody, and sticky hand in his. He smiled Naruto's hand was still so much smaller than his.
"Iruka-sensei?" whispered so low that the man in question almost couldn't hear him.
"Can I call you dad? I've always wanted to, but I didn't know if you'd like it."
Iruka was shocked. "Yeah, of course you can," Iruka said smiling happily pulling his son into his arms.
"Dad, am I smiling? I can't feel my face."
"If I'm not than I want you to know that I am on the inside, and thanks for taking care of me."
"It's okay Naruto. That's what dad's do for their son's," Iruka said forgetting that they weren't alone as he hugged the boy closer dirtying himself with Naruto's blood.
"Dad, do you still have your hair in a tie, or did you take it out like you usually do when you're worried?"
"It's still there. Can't you see it? Your eyes are open."
"They are? I thought they were closed, because I couldn't see anything."
'He was worse off than before, but he was alive,' everyone in the room thought.
"I'm going to sleep, and if I wake up you better be here," Naruto said not noticing the 'if' he had used in his words that had changed the atmosphere in the room. "And tell that moody teme, that's always here to do what I had said before, and that red head guy to get with the guy that has long black hair, and big eyes. There's a voice inside my head that told me it was important. I don't know why, though."
Sasuke nodded when Iruka turned to him showing that he had heard, and Gaara just looked from the body to Neji who was staring at him.
Closing his eyes the monitor beeped long, and loud reverberating in their ears.
Naruto was gone.