Synopsis: One year after Akatsuki's defeat, Naruto and Sasuke end their epic struggle, but inadvertently send themselves and Team 7 into the past. Will they find what they lost as children and prevent the harbingers of pain from occurring?
A/N: This is a time-travel fic. Chapters will be much longer than this prologue; this is just, well, a prologue. Please Note: Due to there being a one-year timeskip between canon and this story, and the fact that time travel is involved, characters may act OOC a bit; this will not be illogical, however, and I will try and make it clear WHY they are OOC.
For those of you who read my other fic, They Were Legends, don't worry. I'm not giving up on that at all, and I will update it soon. This is just a project I've wanted to do as well.
PLEASE review, it means more to me than you could know. Enjoy!
Time Heals All Wounds
Chapter 1 (Prologue): In A Mirror, Darkly
Kakashi wanted nothing more than to jump into the battle and save his students. His decades of training as a shinobi and his own philosophy of taking care of one's friends being the highest priority screamed at him to intervene. And yet…he would not.
No, he would not, for the reason had become all too clear over the years. This fight was more than just a battle between friend and foe, more than a fight between friends. It was even more than just "personal." It was a battle of philosophies; a battle between Senju Will of Fire and Uchiha Hatred, a clash culminated over many decades of strife and conflict.
It was also the culmination of both of his students' efforts of almost their entire lives. Naruto was going to fulfill his life-long promise while Sasuke was going to fulfill his twisted ideals of revenge, once and for all. Or they would both die trying, as Naruto pointed out two years ago.
Which is why he now did nothing but watch as his students tried to kill each other with power on a level far above his own. Next to him were others who had become intertwined in this epic conflict of ideals and bonds: the remaining members of Team Kakashi, Sai and Sakura, and Naruto's new love, Hinata. The once-too-shy-for-her-own-good girl had insisted on coming, as she made it abundantly clear that even if she could not intervene in a battle that might kill her love, she would at least be there to witness it.
They had all grown a lot in the past year. Akatsuki had been defeated, and peace had been established between almost all nations. Naruto and Hinata had grown ever closer since her confession, and Naruto sought to follow in his father's footsteps by learning sealing jutsu. Even now, when Sasuke seemed to be beyond any hope of redemption, Naruto devised seals to give him a chance of forcing Sasuke to return to Konoha without being a threat to anyone. Sakura, of all people, was baffled by this, as she had long since given up hope of ever seeing the Sasuke she had cared for ever again. I suppose, she thought, that it is exactly like him to never give up on a person just like he never gives up in anything he does.
Beneath all of the emotions running through Kakashi's head was the guilt. Guilt that he had carried ever since the day that Obito had died in his place, guilt that had doubled when he failed to save Rin, and guilt that stung him all over again when he failed to save his own student, and might very well lose a second one. Naruto, he thought, you have no idea how much I wish I could be the one to die in either of your place.
Sasuke didn't know what he was doing anymore. Revenge and hatred had been so deeply ingrained in who he was that he couldn't even remember how to act any differently. He had dubbed himself an avenger many years ago, and now at the age of 17, he couldn't live for anything else. Setting the destruction of Konoha as his ultimate goal, he viewed this fight as the last true obstacle to the completion of that goal. He had spent a year preparing for it. While he abandoned 'Taka' long before, he had never stopped training. Using his fight with Danzo as inspiration, he devised a technique that would guarantee him victory when he faced the only person he would ever give the time of day to at this point. Instead of turning reality into an illusion for a brief time, he would be able to step into the past of a few seconds prior. Since reality itself was not rejected, the technique didn't carry the heavy price of permanently losing an eye, but there was a drawback: the technique required a large amount of chakra to perform. This was an acceptable cost, as using it at the right time would mean that Naruto would no longer be nagging him or his goals.
Naruto. The man had become such an enigma to him. At first, he was a friend, then he became a rival. At some point, however, he became something of a brother, in a weird, inexplicable way. Through their struggle and common understanding of pain and revenge, they had forged a bond that neither of them could describe. It transcended all else; it was a bond where they would eventually kill each other, but the entire time, neither could help but remember just how close they were. How they had both faced each other's path and chosen the opposite. How, even as they shoved a lethal technique into their brother's chest, they would feel as if they killed a huge part of themselves. They were the yin and yang, the light and the dark, where neither could exist without the other.
Knowing this, Naruto had told Sasuke one year ago that they would both die in this fated battle. And they both knew he was right.
As Naruto pushed Sasuke's Susano'o to the brink, Naruto prepared his most powerful technique, which Sasuke recognized as his improved version of the famed "Rasenshuriken." The technique before him was the completed version of the Rasengan taken to extremes, with the Kyuubi's chakra added en masse, giving it a power that could fell a bijuu. Sasuke recognized his opportunity immediately, and as Naruto neared, he prepared his Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan for his trump card, which he had dubbed as "Izanami."
With one final exchange, it was all about to end. Everything leading up to this moment, and everything following it…it was the end of a dispute that had truly lasted for generations.
There was no need for words. They had long since passed that point. For a fleeting moment, Naruto and Sasuke could have sworn they were hurling at each other, signature techniques in hand, appearing and feeling exactly as they had all those years ago.
Everyone's eyes were blinded by a strong, white light before everything went black.
A/N: With the prologue out of the way, things will get very interesting, I can assure you. I'm also open to suggestions and ideas, so if you want to let me know, please review or PM me. With the obligatory plot device to establish the time travel over with, I can really get creative and have fun. Hopefully it will be a fun ride for all of you.
Please let me know what you think!