Welcome back to the End of Innocence. As always I like to begin by stating I do not own Naruto. All hail Kishimoto-san!
A special thanks to those who reviewed my previous chapter: NarutoBigFreak; Shauni2420; Mudcake; happy everyday life; Velandir; Codegeauslulu; MyHikari; airnaruto45; stryker4narusaku; Kushina's Hell; ZeroTail29; charles cdv; FoxSage19; Ben Vilhaven; saveme57; The Flying Lion; Cloud Ex-SOLDIER; Samiibee; perfect beauty; imboredhelpmeh; AnonLegion19; tdwtfan1899; Raistlin99; Kisho-suru & KOSKAORU.
NarutoBigFreak - Thank you
Shauni2420 - The truth is Sasuke is...hmmm...I...don't... this chapter for a final answer.
Mudcake - Well, I'm happy you've enjoyed this story so much. It's been a long, fun ride and its been a pleasure entertaining you. Read this chapter to read Sasuke's final fate.
happy everyday life - Yes, all jutsu does have a price and I'm glad you enjoyed Naruto's fight. Sakura has only just unlocked the full potential of her kekkei genkai I'm sure in the future she'll master it.
Velandir - Well, I thank you for the high praise. Yes i do feel said that this is coming to an end but I'm happy to have seen this whole thing through.
Codegeasslulu - Thanx. So am I.
MyHikari - Well, did you finish Guitar Hero or what? I'm glad you loved the Naruto/Sasuke team up. I really wanted to show that no matter what has happened that when they team up it is still pretty awesome and natural. So this final chapter will be released on your birthday huh? Interesting.
airnaruto45 - Yep. And so is my story.
stryker4narusaku - I wanted Sakura to be more confident in herself and Naruto. I'm glad that has come across. Glad you've enjoyed the story.
Kushina's Hell - Glad I could make you're day darlin! ;) I hope this last chapter works out for you too.
ZeroTail29 - Thanks.
charles cdv - Thank you.
FoxSage19 - Thank you.
Ben Vilhaven - Well, I am so glad you found the chapter to be so entertaining. And who knows, maybe I have another surprise up my sleeve.
saveme57 - LMAO! That story is so awesome! No worries dude, I'm not a great player either so I can relate. Glad you liked the chapter BTW.
The Flying Lion - Thanks.
Cloud Ex-SOLDIER - I wanted Sakura's role to be extremely important to the success of Team 7 while it wasn't a big one. My thinking was that it wouldn't be believavle if I had her actually fight as she had very little chakra left. I'm glad Sasuke's redemption came across well for you. The chapter would have fallen apart if it hadn't.
Samibee - Sasuke's final fate will be revealed in this final chapter. I'm happy you enjoyed the read.
perfect beauty - Heheheh! Read this chapter for a final reveal of Sasuke's fate.
imboredhelpmeh - Well, I'm glad you have such high praise. BTW, according to AnonLegion19 your review was #666. OMINOUS!
AnonLegion19 - LMAO! Nice one. I'm glad you've been following the story and I too am sad to see it end. Many of you guys have been so great supporting this story and I'm gonna miss reading your thoughts and views. It's your enjoyment that has pushed me to finish this story or get a chapter out on time. And it's reactions such as yours that made me want to get a chapter out as early on Sunday as possible.
I hope you give canon sakura a greater chance. i believe this war is helping her to grow as a person and she is becoming more like the peron in my story. Glad you enjoyed.
tdwtfan1899 - Me neither. This has been a long project for me. Kinda sad to see it end.
Raistlin99 - I know. In my story Madara gave him EMS just to trick him into gaining the Rinnegan. However Sasuke can still go blind. By using Izanagi he has permanently blinded his MS. Once Rinnegan wears off he will lose his eye sight permanently. I always love hearing from someone who has read alot of fics, especially when that person is a NH fan. So does that mean I've made a NS fan out of you?
TorrieB - Lol! I've always wondered how my story would look if it were animated. But that's just a dream. Until I become a billionaire and pay for it myself. I'm happy to see you found my story so enjoyable.
Kisho-suru - Three days? DAMN! Even i don't think i could have done that! Glad you enjoyed it.
KOSKAORU - Actually I plan to re-write the first two books to remove any spelling errors and to make sure all 3 books have the same format. I'm glad you enjoyed the first Book. Sasuke looked sad at that moment because unlike the canon Naruto, my Naruto actually still cared about his former teammates. Sasuke's fate will be revealed in this final chapter and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR
For every beginning, so too is there an end. And it seems we have finally come to the end of my story. Haveing to press the send on this final chapter is the happiest and saddest thing I've had to do as an author. But I'm proud of how things turned out. I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you who have read and enjoyed my story. It's because of you, who placed me on thier author and story alerts, who placed me on your favorites list and wrote kind words of praise and encouragement that pushed me to finish every chapter on time. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Seriously.
Whew! Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way here is the final chapter of End of Innocence. I hope you guys enjoy as I have found that writing ending are difficult. BTW, after the chapter ends feel free to read previews of my upcoming work. Please remember the the approximate dates I have stated are subject to change. Also please remember to leave a little review of my work (hopefully I can still get to 700) and i will respond on my home page. Thanks!
The following chapter is dedicated to MyHikari. It's her birthday today and I want this to be a gift to you. Hope you enjoy!
Naruto Chronicles of the Seventh
Book III: End of Innocence
Chapter XXXIX: The Seventh Hokage
Naruto remained quiet as he listed to low wind as it blew threw the now desolate valley. The battle with Madara had turned what was once a lush, picturesque portion of forest into an arid wasteland. It was as if someone had taken a massive section of the forest and turned it into a desert. Naruto took a deep breath as he could feel the hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives destroyed by Madara and his machinations surround him.
It was as if the wind itself was in fact a collective sigh as all these people could finally rest in peace, knowing that their deaths were no longer in vain. Naruto looked up and shaded his eyes from the sun as it shown down upon him from a cloudless sky. "Mother, father," he whispered. "It's done."
Just then he heard a weak laugh come from his right. Looking over he saw Sasuke's bloodied and pale body sitting propped against a half broken tree. All the leaves had been burnt away and it was snapped nearly cleanly in half. At first Naruto swore he was just hearing thing when he saw Sasuke's hands move and his eyes open. A small smile was on his face. "Sasuke," Naruto said. "Sasuke!" Naruto crawled over to Sasuke and kneeled next to him. "Sasuke," he yelled.
"Hey dumbass, you trying to deafen me," Sasuke asked weakly. "Quit calling…my name."
"Right," Naruto said happily. For a brief moment there was silence between the two. There was so much Naruto wanted to say, yet the words wouldn't come.
"So," Sasuke said. "Did….we get him?"
"Yes," Naruto said. "We got him. Madara is dead."
"And the moon," Sasuke asked. "Has the eclipse ended?"
"Yes," Naruto said. "But wait, can't you tell?"
"Nope," Sasuke said. "I….can't see Naruto. Izanagi remember?"
Naruto remembered. Sasuke used it on Madara and before that, he used it to save his life. "Was that the technique you were saving to use against me," Naruto asked.
Sasuke nodded. "I forced Karin to use some of Hashirama's DNA I had stolen from Madara on me," Sasuke said. "I was prepared to sacrifice one of my eyes to destroy you. Didn't expect to use it twice. Ahh, but I guess it's just as well."
Naruto gritted his teeth. "We need to get you medical attention," Naruto said as he looked around. Damn it, he thought. If only I had better medical training. I can't heal him. And I don't have the chakra left to teleport myself let alone the two of us. "Sasuke," Naruto said as he reached out to pick him up. "C'mon, if we hurry we can…"
Sasuke brushed away his hand. "No, Naruto," Sasuke said. "You know I don't have the time. It's….over."
"No," Naruto yelled. "We can still do something! Don't give up! We…!"
"Naruto," Sasuke said with a smile. "It's ok. What I've learned is that a man must sometimes accept reality instead of creating a false one. And I have accepted my reality."
Naruto gritted his teeth and clenched his fist in frustration. "This…isn't fair," he said as he choked on his tears. "After all this time, Sakura-chan and I have fought to bring you back. For it…to end…like this. DAMN IT!"
"Actually….it's ok," Sasuke said. "To be honest, I feel as if a heavy burden has been taken off my shoulders. I'm just glad…..that at the end…..I was able to do something for this world. It was the least I could do. At least I left behind a little something. A little mark of good that the Uchiha name can be proud of. At least now I can die with fewer regrets."
Naruto took a deep breath and then said some words to Sasuke he never would have dreamed he'd hear. Words that, for the first time in years, brought tears to his eyes. "A-Are you sure," Sasuke asked. "Are you…..certain?"
Naruto nodded with a smile. Sasuke bit his lip as he looked up into the sky. He could feel the tears running down his face. "Then there is another regret I have now. That I can't see the future of the Uchiha." Sasuke reached out and grasped for Naruto, he was able to clench his arm. Naruto was momentarily shocked at how cold his friend felt. "Naruto," Sasuke said. "You have to promise me…swear to me…."
Naruto placed his hand on top of Sasuke's reassuringly and said "You don't even need to ask, Sasuke."
Sasuke closed his eyes and smiled. Naruto looked upon his dying friend, his whole body trembling. All his memories of his time with Sasuke danced in his head. He could suddenly remember every smile, every argument, every fight. "Sasuke," Naruto said as he lost all composure. "I wish I could do something! Damn it! We were supposed to live on together! To be Team Seven again! Why…why….?"
To Naruto's surprise Sasuke raised his bloody hand up and using two fingers poked him in his forehead right between the eyes. The blood that was on his fingers trickled down Naruto's face and mingled with his tears. With a smile on his face Sasuke said, "I'm sorry little brother. Maybe next time."
Naruto stared dumbfounded at Sasuke for a moment before the tears again began to flow. "Sasuke…..you…"
"Heh," Sasuke said as he closed his eyes. His hand began to slip and fall. "Its funny…..I…..feel…better….already…."Sasuke's hand fell from Naruto's face and Naruto caught it in mid air. Sasuke's hand was cold and lifeless. He looked at Sasuke's smiling face and then slowly placed his hand down on his chest. He could feel no heart beat or breathing. For what seemed like forever Naruto remained kneeling over his fallen friend, his rival…..his brother. And he knew that there was now a hole in his heart that could never be filled. Uchiha Sasuke was gone.
******Some time later******
Sakura's eyes slowly opened as she looked around. "She's awake," she heard someone say excitedly. As her vision cleared the first face she saw was of her master Tsunade, smiling down on her. "Master," she said.
"Hello Sakura," she said as she helped her sit up. "You really gave me a bit of a scare there. You pushed your body and chakra to he brink."
Sakura gasped as she looked around to see hundreds of ninja surrounding her. Many were smiling at her. "What's going on," she asked.
"You didn't think we'd leave you and Naruto to fight alone did you," Neji said as he stood nearby. Looking about, Sakura also saw Shino, Shikamaru, Ino, Kiba, Konohamaru, Gaara, Temari, Omoi, Karui, The Raikage and Lady Konan. They were all standing about as if waiting.
"Madara's technique hit us all pretty hard," Shikamaru said. "But once we were able to shake the effects we rushed right over."
"What are you all doing then," Sakura asked.
"We're waiting of course," Ino said as she walked up and kneeled next to Sakura. "We're waiting for Naruto. He did it Sakura. He beat that damned monster."
Sakura smiled and waited contentedly as Ino continued heeling her. A few more minutes passed when the Raikage said impatiently, "Enough of this! Waiting around here like a bunch of damned school girls isn't what I'm about! You fools can do that if you like but I'm headed down there to see what's going on!"
"Look," a Neji yelled and pointed into the evening mist. Just then everyone saw the silhouette of a man come into view and a moment later Naruto staggered out of the mist and collapsed to his knees in exhaustion.
"Naruto," Kiba yelled as he and everyone began to run over to him. Ino helped Sakura to her feet and braced her as they made their way over. Tsunade was kneeling next to Naruto as he fought to catch his breath. People were crying in happiness and everyone was thanking Naruto and saying how they believed in him.
Shikamaru smiled as he looked at his friend. "Damn I can't believe he did it," he said. "It'll be impossible to keep his ego in check now. What do you think Temari?" Shikamaru looked over to see Temari was blushing was trying to hide as she wiped her eyes. "Were you crying," Shikamaru asked.
"No I wasn't," Temari yelled defensively. "I just have something in my eye, that's all!" Shikamaru smiled but chose to say nothing.
Tsunade was kneeling behind Naruto and had her hands on his back as she healed his wounds. Slowly the crowd parted and Sakura, was guided through by Ino. Tsunade got to her feet, smiled and nodded at Sakura as she stepped back. Ino gently helped Sakura kneel in front of Naruto.
Solemnly Naruto held out his clenched hand and opened it, revealing a bloodied blue forehead protector. His voice cracking Naruto seemed on the verge of tears as he said, "I-I'm sorry Sakura-chan. I-I failed to bring him back. I…."
Naruto's eyes grew wide when he felt Sakura's hand enclose around his as they held the headband together. Looking up he was surprised to see her smiling at him. "You didn't fail Naruto," she said. "He's with us. He's here with us forever." Naruto and Sakura closed their eyes in silent prayer and Naruto swore he could feel Sasuke there between them, hugging them, and they both knew he was smiling with them. They were Team Seven. Now and forever.
After a few moments Naruto and Sakura opened their eyes and Naruto looked at all of the smiling faces that surrounded them. "Everyone," he said "Thank you for all of your efforts in this. Where is Danzo? He needs to answer for….."
Tsunade raised her hand and said, "There is no need. Danzo has already paid a price it seems."
"What are you talking about," Naruto asked.
"We received word from Konoha," Shikamaru said. "Danzo's body was found at the exit of one of the escape tunnels. His body was horribly mutilated. His right arm and eye were missing, as well as all of his guards slaughtered. They're trying to locate any suspects but at this time, with the war and all, it's hard to figure who did this."
"No matter," The Raikage yelled. "That conniving bastard got what was coming to him! Imagine, associating with Akatsuki like that! Disgraceful!"
"Hmm," Naruto said as he considered things. Then with a smile he looked at Tsunade and said, "Well Granny, it looks like you can take over again and get this village back to where it belongs. You'll have my support of course!"
Tsunade smiled and then gave a deep sigh. "Yep, I have to admit becoming Hokage again has been something I wanted," she said. "But if there is one thing this war has taught me is that I'm to old to running after you young brats anymore. I think retirement is something I can't give up."
"B-But who will be Hokage," Naruto asked with a look of concern on his face.
"Who indeed," Tsunade said with a smile. Suddenly the smile disappeared as she looked at him sternly. "Namikaze Naruto….rise." Before he could answer Naruto felt someone grab him under his arm to lift him. It was Shikamaru who was looking at Tsunade. Shikamaru lifted Naruto to his feet. "After speaking with the other elders of the village and receiving a vote of confidence from the other Kage in attendance, we have decided that you, Namikaze Naruto will be the Seventh Hokage of Konoha. Do you accept the position?"
Naruto looked at Tsunade slack-jawed. He looked around at the all of the smiling faces. All of the friends he'd made along the way. Gaara was smiling and nodded his approval, as did the Raikage, Konan, Shikamaru, Choji, Neji, Ino and Shino. Looking down, Naruto saw Sakura was crying. He bent down and helped her to her feet. "I'm okay Naruto," she said. "I'm just so….happy. This is it. The dream you've held on to for so many years. I'm just so proud of you."
"Well," Tsunade said. "Do you accept?"
With tears in his eyes Naruto nodded. "Yes," he said. "I accept."
"Good," Tsunade said as she wiped a tear from her eye. "Because you didn't really have a choice kiddo." Tsunade then turned to face the crowd and said, "Let it be known to all that as of tomorrow, Namikaze Naruto is the Seventh Hokage of Konohagakure!"
"Yatta," Kiba yelled as cheers rang through the valley. The Seventh Hokage, Konoha's Shield, has been chosen.
******Several Days Later – Just Before Dawn******
Naruto stood on the small rise looking down at the thousands of pairs of eyes that looked back in rapt attention. On Naruto's right was Tsunade and Gaara. On his left was Konan, Ao representing Kirigakure and the Raikage. And four of the Feudal Lords stood next to them.
The thousands that watched them consisted of citizens of Konoha and their shinobi, as well as the joint Alliance Shinobi of Suna, Kumo and Ame. Even the civilians from all of the villages and surrounding villages came out to see this. It was, as they all believed, a turning point in the world. This was a moment in time that would forever stay with them. A moment that years from now they would tell their grand children about in front of a roaring fire. This was a moment of great historical significance. They all knew it. They could all feel it. So despite the thousands that were in attendance, everyone remained so quiet you could here a pin drop.
This was something the older generations never thought they would ever see; the leaders of four of the five Great Villages standing united together to address an equally united world. And among them was the Konan, the self proclaimed ArashiKage. There were whispers of rumors that the four other great nations were going to recognize Amegakure as a Great Nation, despite its size, and thus recognize Konan as a Kage. This was a movement being pushed by Namikaze Naruto, the newly elected Seventh Hokage and hero of the Fourth Great Ninja War.
Namikaze Naruto, who everyone had come to hear speak. Oh, they all wanted to hear what everyone else had to say but it was Naruto the people talked about excitedly. It was Naruto who people fought to get a better view of. Naruto's name was quickly becoming legend. Like a flame quickly spreading across a dry forest, Naruto's name and legend grew. In all parts of the world Naruto was the eight foot tall hero of the free world who single handedly defeated a demon with but a finger and smile.
Children played games pretending to be Naruto fighting demonic enemies. Old men and women referred to him as the new Sage of the world. Women gushed over his beautiful blue eyes and golden blond hair. No one, it seemed could get enough of talking about or listening to stories of Naruto, The Crimson Tornado of Konoha.
Everyone had already addressed the crowd and they were all waiting for Naruto, who it had been agreed, would speak last. After his speech there would be a moment of prayer and then celebration. A celebration that would engulf all five countries. This entire week, as agreed, would be a national holiday for prayer, remembrance and celebration from this day forth.
Naruto, dressed in a pair of black pants with a red stripe on each pant leg, a red and black shirt and a short sleeved, red coat with black flames at the edge. Written vertically down the back of the coat was the words "Seventh Hokage". And just as the other Kages he wore the white and red hat on his head.
Taking a deep breath Naruto took a step forward and looked at all the faces looking at him. All of his friends were there. Standing in front was Sakura and Iruka, followed by Ino, Neji, Hinata, Sai, Kiba, Shino, Choji, Shikamaru, Temari, Kankuro, Konohamaru, Moegi, Guy, Kurenai, Yamato, Omoi, Karui, Darui, Shikaku and Yoshino Nara, Inoichi, Choza, Ayame of Ichiraku Ramen, Anko, Ozuru, Ibiki and so many more.
"Peace," Naruto said. "For generations it's always been just a dream. Something time and again many have fought and died for. For centuries mankind has asked how does a person attain peace. Years ago my master once told me that he believed peace could only be attained when people are able to truly understand each other. But how do two people, from different worlds, come to truly understand one another?"
"A few years back Konoha was attacked by an Akatsuki member by the name of Pain. In time I came to learn that Nagato, the ninja who called himself Pain, was my brother disciple. He believed that the way for people to understand each other was through shared pain. And now, years later, I believe they were both right."
"I have come to believe that the truest way to piece is for people to not just understand each other. Because understanding alone does not lead to peace. Nor is the threat of feeling pain the way to peace. I believe that Nagato focused on the wrong thing. He believed that if we all feared the horrors of our past that we would reach peace. But in reality, the path to peace is fighting for the hope of our future. Working together for that goal is what leads to peace."
"I believe peace comes from people understanding each other through the struggle of fighting for hope. To fight for peace, for the hope of peace, that is something we all know all to well. Look around you, what do you see? Do you see people from Suna, from Konoha, from Kumo? I don't. Right here today I see one people. People who all live and breathe. People who all know fear, sorrow and joy. People who fought side by side for the hope of a brighter future for themselves, for their friends, for their brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. We fought for our children and our children's children. And we will always fight for that purpose. That is what binds humanity."
"For the last three days I have heard many of you call me a hero. I have heard you call me a legend. I am no hero. I am no legend. You are not heroes. You are not legends." Sweeping his hand behind him Naruto said, "They are the heroes. They are the legends. Because despite their fears, despite their weaknesses, they fought, bled and died, not just for their village, but for us all. They sacrificed and gave their all for the hope of the future we would bring. Our enemy, Madara of the Akatsuki, believed that he would bring about a New Dawn for this world. And I believe he was right. Because now we stand on the precipice of a fundamental change for this world. But only if we all make the effort to reach for it."
"If we never forget the sacrifices our brothers and sisters made for our future," Naruto said. "Then we are on the path to peace. If we live our lives dedicated to honoring the sacrifices these heroes made, then we are on the path to peace. If we never forget, if we dedicate ourselves to bring about the bright future they died to protect, then we are on the path to peace. And if we maintain that belief, and pass that belief on to all those we meet in this world regardless of where they come from, the color of their skin or the religion they believe, then we will truly understand each others hearts, and will find peace."
Naruto turned and looked at the large white marble stone that was carved into a perfect block. It was about eight feet high and six feet wide. On it was marked an inscription detailing the name of the location and just to the left was stairs heading down into a large canyon. It was the location of his final battle with Madara. It was where Sasuke died. Throughout the entire canyon there were thousands of fresh graves. On each headstone was inscribed two kanji. The first read "shinobi", indicating that they were all of the Allied Force. The second kanji on each gravestone highlighted which village the person was from. Below the Kanji was the person's name and the statement that read, "Hero Who Died For Peace."
Looking over the massive cemetery, Naruto sighed and said, "From this day on, this place, that was once known as the Valley of the End will now be known as the Valley of Heroes. And on this week, every year people from all over the world can come here to pay their respects to those who gave their lives fighting for freedom, for peace, for hope." Looking back Naruto said, "Never forget. Please, let us all give a prayer for our brothers and sisters."
Everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes as they gave a private prayer and thank you to all those who had given their lives. For what seemed an eternity Naruto thought of all of the smiling faces that he had seen in his brief moment in the other world. Mother, Father, Kakashi-sensei, Ero-sennin, Fukasaku-sensei, Lee, Nagato, I promise you I will never forget the sacrifice you made and for what you made it for, Naruto thought. I will dedicate all that I am to achieving the peace you died to help us achieve. This I promise you.
Just then Naruto felt someone's hand slip into his own. Opening his eyes he saw Sakura standing next to him holding his hand, her eyes closed in prayer. Naruto gave her hand a little squeeze as he saw the sun rising over the horizon. It was a new day, a new era, a new dawn.
******Konoha – Office of the Hokage – Several Days Later – Midday******
The celebrations lasted for many days and nights but finally had stopped. The people from Kumo, Ame and Suna had begun to return to their homes. The music had stopped playing and the seemingly endless feasting had come to an end. The people of Konoha began to rebuild and by order of the Hokage, to tear down their militaristic homes and walls and return Konoha to what it once was, the warm and inviting village of years gone by.
Gone was the grey oppressive feel of the village. Now there was happiness, now there was warmth. Fear of the unknown had been replaced with the optimism of the undiscovered. Naruto sat behind his desk with a mountain of paper work sitting in front of him. He sighed deeply as he rested his head on one hand. "Why didn't someone tell me that being Hokage meant being a damned pencil pusher," he said.
Naruto got up and went to the window behind his desk and looked outside. He could see children playing and men working on repairing the buildings and roads. People were happily talking or simply greeting each other as they went on their way. Just then Naruto heard a knock on the door. "Come in," he said.
The door opened and Shikamaru entered. "Hey," he said as he walked in. "Just wanted to say good bye you know."
Naruto took a deep breath and smiled as he turned to face his friend. "So, you're ready to go then," he said. "Are you sure about this?"
Shikamaru nodded. "Hmm-mmm," he said. "This is something I've been thinking a long time about. It was something I wanted to do. But I couldn't leave because I'd be too worried about the future of Konoha. But with you here now, I feel calm."
Naruto shook his head as he smiled and said, "I never thought someone like you would volunteer to join the Twelve Guardian Ninja."
Shikamaru smiled and said, "I know. I've never really been the type to volunteer for troublesome work like that." Shikamaru looked at the loincloth he had recently placed around his waist. It had the kanji symbol for fire, identifying him as a member of the Twelve Guardians. "But, Asuma-sensei said that joining the Twelve Guardians allowed him to really see the world and helped make him into the ninja he became. He said it helped him become stronger and wiser and a better ninja for Konoha. So, I guess it's what I should do."
Naruto sighed and said, "A four year commitment is a long time. Things won't be the same with you gone."
Shikamaru laughed. "Something tells me you'll keep things rather interesting while I'm away," he said.
"By the way, what did Temari say about that," Naruto said. "I'm sure she won't be happy with having to wait four more years for you to marry her."
"Tch," Shikamaru said. "As if I'd be afraid of what a woman would have to say. I'm a man and I make my own decisions. Temari will just have to understand."
Naruto looked at Shikamaru suspiciously and said, "You didn't tell her did you?"
"Nope," Shikamaru said with a smile. "I gave her a letter and asked her not read it until she got home. By the time she does I'll be safe behind the Daimyo's castle." Both men laughed and then Shikamaru asked, "So how are things with you and Sakura?"
"We've decided to take things slowly for now," Naruto said with a smile.
"Ha, good luck with that," Shikamaru said.
"What's that supposed to mean," Naruto asked as he picked up a glass of water from his desk and began to drink.
"Naruto," Shikamaru said. "Do you know where Neji is right now?" Naruto shook his head. "Neither do I," Shikamaru answered. "No one's seen the man since he and Ino began planning their wedding. Ino has been driving him so ragged that all he can do is sleep when he is able to sneak away. It's pretty pathetic."
"So what does that have to do with me," Naruto asked as he took another sip.
Shikamaru sighed and said, "Have you forgotten how fiercely competitive Sakura and Ino are? Especially when it comes to love? What do you think Sakura's reaction will be when she's sitting watching Ino get married before her?"
Naruto began choking on his water and spat it out as the vision of that moment horrified him. He could just envision Ino sticking her tongue out and taunting Sakura, angering her to the point where she painfully snapped him up by the neck and dragged him up the isle just so she could get married at the same time as Ino. Naruto turned pale and his face was lifeless like a zombie as he thought of that possibility. "The horror," he mumbled as he gently rubbed his neck as though it was in pain.
"You're a dead man walking," Shikamaru said gleefully.
Naruto wiped the sweat from his forehead and quickly drank up the remaining water. "So how are things as Hokage," Shikamaru asked.
"Fine," Naruto said. "Gaara volunteered to lead some Alliance forces into Amegakure to help Konan stabilize the country. And the Raikage, through some prodding, agreed to escort Ao to Kirigakure to free the Mizukage and get things back in order. Hopefully with the help of your father we can get that country up and running soon."
"As for here," Naruto continued. "Sakura is busy leading the rebuilding of the medical facilities. But she has Moegi and that kid Ozuru helping her out. We had a lot of injured including the remnants of Danzo's ROOT."
"How are things going with ferreting out the last of that organization," Shikamaru said.
"Difficult," Naruto said. "Sai has been leading the effort to find them but many of the members remained masked at all times. And we haven't been able to find Danzo's notes regarding the group. But Sai is capable. He's formed a small task force including Shino, Kiba and Hinata to help him."
"Speaking of which, have you noticed how much time Hinata and Sai have been spending together," Shikamaru asked. "What's going on there?"
"Nothing I think," Naruto said as he shrugged. "They seem like friends to me. Anyway, while we were checking out ROOT headquarters we found the cells where they kept young children who were to become members. There were about fifteen little children there. Choji has offered to help them. He's taken the lead on trying to rehabilitate them. He's good with kids so I think it was a good choice."
Shikamaru folded his arms and thought things over and after a moment he smiled and said, "Like I said, you've got things under control." Shikamaru lifted his back pack and threw it over his shoulders and said, "Walk me out?"
The two men walked in silence until they reached the main gates that Naruto had immediately ordered re-opened to all. "Hey I have one question," Shikamaru said as he stuck out his hand. "When the ninja tasked to retrieve the bodies of the fallen ninja went out to where you and Sasuke fought Madara, they said they couldn't find Sasuke's body anywhere. Any idea what happened to it?"
"Well," Naruto said with a little smile. "We were close to the river. Perhaps his body was swept away."
With a knowing smile Shikamaru said, "Yeah, perhaps." Shikamaru looked up at the blue sky and then back at the village he was about to leave behind. Extending his hand he said, "Well, this is it."
Naruto shook Shikamaru's hand and said, "Take care Shikamaru. See you in four years."
"Right," Shikamaru said and he turned to leave. He walked a few steps when someone leapt out of the bushes, high in the sky and came crashing down on him. "What the hell," Shikamaru yelled when he finally saw the pissed off face of Temari as she grabbed him by the collar.
"Rrrrraagghh! How dare you make a four year commitment without telling me," Temari screamed as she shook Shikamaru violently. "Have you any idea how long a time that is! Do you expect me to wait forever! You dumb asshole! Why should I have to wait four years for you to marry me! Do you have any clue how man men are beating down my door for my hand! You should be grateful I'm even interested in a lazy good for nothing like you! After all the crap you've put me through and you do something like this! I should have Gaara come here and shove sand up your ass!"
Terrified, Shikamaru looked over to Naruto and said, "Umm a little help here Naruto?" To Shikamaru's amazement an equally fearful Naruto was slowly turning and sneaking away. "Naruto," Shikamaru yelled as Naruto ran. "Naruto! Naruto, help me out! Naruto? Naaaaaruuuuutooooo!"
******Several Months Later******
Naruto stood in the middle of the dense forest in a desolate area. He silently prayed as he stood before the lone grave. When he heard the rustle of leaves behind him he opened his eyes but did not turn around. "Do you know how dangerous it is to follow the Hokage," he said. "You could get hurt Karin."
Out of the bushes Karin, wearing a black cloak, stepped out. "You've been following me for the last few weeks," Naruto said. "You were even in the crowd during my speech."
"If you knew that why didn't you do anything," Karin asked. "Why would you come here alone? Are you really that arrogant?"
"Something tells me the reason you followed me all this time was because you were hoping I'd lead you here," Naruto said as he looked down at the unmarked grave. "I just decided that I should reward you for your efforts."
Karin gritted her teeth as her hands began to shake. She clenched her fists as she glared at Naruto. "Why would you do that," she asked. "Why would you do anything for me!"
Naruto sighed as he looked up at the sky. The sun was beginning to fade and he could see the feint light from a few stars. "I think I did it because you deserved to be here at least once."
"How would you know what I deserve," Karin yelled with tears in her eyes. "I-I want to kill you so bad it hurts! Just like back then! But you spared me then! Just like you're doing now! Why! Why!"
"Because I could see the despair in your heart then," Naruto said. "Just like I do now. And that despair you feel is because you think you failed to reach him, you allow it to become hate. And you are so desperate to rid yourself of it that you look to me."
Karin remained silent as she could feel all the tension leave her body. Namikaze Naruto, she thought as she looked at Naruto. You're chakra gives off as much light as Sasuke gave off darkness And yet, you so easily understood Sasuke. I think I understand now.
"Besides," Naruto said. "Do you really think I could easily kill a woman who is pregnant?" Karin gasped and placed her hand on her stomach. It had already been several months and there was a small bump. "The Uchiha clan wasn't cursed by destiny you know," Naruto said. "They simply could not let go of the pain of the past. They allowed it to shape their future and because they lacked the will to break the cycle they instead claimed it to be fate. That was Sasuke's mistake too."
"But Sasuke didn't learn until the very end what I have known for so long," Naruto said. "Fate is not inescapable. Fate….is what you make it."
Naruto looked back for the first time to Karin. There was a stern look in his eyes as he looked at her. "The fate of the Uchiha is now in your hands Karin. Choose wisely." Karin stared at Naruto in silence as she listened to those words that she knew acted as both a guide and a warning.
Naruto turned and began to leave when he said, "Take as much time as you need, but then I would suggest, for your own safety, that you leave the Land of Fire and never return."
"He loved you like a brother you know," Karin said causing Naruto to stop in his tracks. "I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice when the topic was you. No matter how hard he tried to convince himself. No matter how hard he tried to hide it, he loved you. He was able to separate every bond at a whim. But you? You were something else. I think in the end that's why I hated you. I was jealous of that. You could reach him in way no one could. He knew it. And that's why he hated you so much."
Naruto lowered his head and took a deep mournful sigh and looked at the gravestone. "If it's any consolation you should know that I was able to tell him about you at the end," Naruto said. "And he was happy. He was truly happy. I think all his hopes and dreams for the future went into that child at that moment."
"What….you," Karin said as tears began to flow from her eyes. She looked at the gravestone and said, "Naruto-kun…thank you…thank you so much."
Naruto looked back at her and smiled and said, "Don't underestimate yourself Karin. I wasn't the only one to reach him." Karin walked over to the grave and fell to her knees and cried openly as Naruto walked away with the sound of her grief echoing into the evening sky.
******Many Years Later******
Naruto stood on the roof of the Hokage mansion overlooking Konoha. As he always did he marveled at the sheer size of the village. He could remember as a youth when he could see the outer limits of the village from here. Now, despite the fact that the mansion had been rebuilt to be even taller he couldn't see the edge of the village. With the unprecedented peace had come a vast economic growth for the village.
But such prosperity was not easily attained. It was on days like this that he would recall all of the trials and tribulations he had to endure. The battles that had to be won. Even after becoming Hokage so many years ago things did not become any easier. Battles were fought. Enemies had to be defeated. Friends had to be buried.
Naruto took a deep breath of the crisp morning air as he thought of all the friends, no…the family he had lost over the years and it saddened him. Yet he knew they were all with him, guiding him, reminding him of why he wakes up every morning and of why he must remain forever vigilant.
Just then Naruto heard someone land on the ground behind him. Looking back he saw it was a young girl, no more than thirteen years old, wearing the standard ninja uniform with a flak jacket. She wore a forehead protector strapped around her left arm. She had short blonde hair, green eyes and fair skin. Her uniform was haggard and she appeared to be exhausted. Her hair was messy and she had scratches on her arms. She looked as though she's been in a prolonged fight.
Naruto looked away and down to the courtyard far below where he could see the people walking about. It was the first few people of the day and the first signs of another busy day in Konoha. "So you're back," Naruto said.
"Of course I am," the young girl said. "As if I'd have trouble with such a simple mission!"
"Simple huh," Naruto asked. "If it was so simple why did it take you and your brother all night? Far too long in my opinion for a D rank mission."
Clearly annoyed the girl said, "Tch! That's because Kenshin was holding me back! He'd rather have his nose buried in a book than to finish a mission! Besides what kind of mission was that anyway! Konohamaru-sensei shouldn't accept missions to find some old ladies cat! Team Seven is way too awesome for such a lame mission! We should be given B rank missions at least!"
Naruto sighed and turned to face the girl and said, "Kimiko, you and your brother only recently became Genin. I'm sure Konohamaru has told you that you are only authorized for D rank missions, no acceptions!"
"Tch," Kimiko said as she gritted her teeth. Leaping to her feet, Kimiko pointed at Naruto and yelled, "You're just jealous that I'm stronger than you were at my age! No matter what you do I will surpass you and become Hokage, Dattebane!" Just then Sakura opened the door leading back inside and walked out. Kimiko turned and walked away in a huff leaving the stunned Naruto looking on. As she walked away Naruto smiled to himself.
As Kimiko passed Sakura she stopped and said, "Can you please talk to him Mom?"
Sakura smiled and said, "I'll see what I can do. You should go pick up your little brother and take him to school."
"What," Kimiko said. "I'm exhausted! Why can't you make Ken do it!"
"What was that," Sakura asked as a look of pure doom spread across her face. Kimiko could see the vein pop out on Sakura's forehead and it suddenly seemed as though her mother were ten feet tall towering over her.
"Ummm I meant, I'm on my way mom," Kimiko said with a nervous smile before running through the door.
"Geez," Naruto said as he scratched the back of his head. "What did I do to deserve such a hard headed little girl?"
Sakura walked up to Naruto and laughed. "Are you kidding," she asked. "as bad as you were as a kid this is divine punishment. Besides, you should be grateful she's the only one that acts like that. Imagine if both the twins were so rebellious!"
Naruto laughed and said, "I guess you have a point!"
"Anyway," Sakura said, "I came up here to get you. You have a meeting to get to and Shikamaru, Hinata, Sai and Choji don't have all day."
"Aaah," Naruto said as he looked completely annoyed. "Another meeting so early? What's this meeting about? Is it a meeting about our last meeting, or a meeting about this afternoons meeting! No wait, is this the meeting about the meeting we had last month which was a meeting about the meeting we're supposed to have next week?" Naruto threw his hands up and yelled, "God I am so sick of meetings!"
Sakura wrapped her arms around Naruto and hugged him. "This was the life you always wanted right, Lord Hokage?"
Naruto took a deep breath and smiled as he quickly calmed down. It still amazed him how easily she could do that even after all these years. "I wouldn't have it any other way, Dattabayo," he said as he kissed her with the sun rising over the horizon.
And that's it. Hope you enjoyed the story. Now, please continue reading for previews of some of my upcoming works. Feel free to let me know what you think of them. Thanks.
Realizing he only had moments before the demon was free, Ichigo reached for the door and opened it. Which took him to the outside courtyard where it was now raining steadily. "Of course," Ichigo said as he ran out towards the middle of the darkened courtyard.
As he reached the center of the courtyard Ichigo found that he was completely turned around with no idea of which direction to go in. There were no lights to help him and the increasingly hard down pour began to further limit how far ahead he could see. Ichigo saw the faint outline of another building and quickly decided to head there as he heard the increasingly familiar howl of the demon.
Shit, Ichigo thought as he continued to run. It sounds like that son of a bitch has gotten free and is pissed. I gotta move! I'm way too exposed out here! Ichigo ran at the door and slammed into it with all his might. Despite hearing it crack in places it didn't break open. Several minutes ago he had ran up to this building only to find that it too was another abandoned warehouse.
Damn, he thought to himself as he leaned on the door. It feels like there's something up against the door. Shit, how do I get in?
In the distance Ichigo heard the demon howl and could tell it was getting closer. Shit, he thought, so much for losing that thing out here. I'd better keep moving. Ichigo ran along the side of the building looking for a window or door he could use. Yet he could see no doors and all the windows were too high up to jump to. Again he heard the howl of the demon and now he could hear it's movements as it got closer and closer.
As Ichigo desperately turned the corner he saw what he thought was his salvation: a fire escape with the ladder down. Ichigo sprinted towards the ladder and clambered up as quickly as he could. Once he reached the first landing he could hear the demon as it came around the corner.
Without breaking its stride the demon leapt up, jaws open, and clenched onto the metal bars of the first landing and ripped it down as it tumbled back to the ground. Ichigo fell back and held on to what was left of the railing then quickly scrambled up the steps to the second landing of the fire escape.
The beast looked up and growled before again attempting to leap up and drag down the entire structure. Ichigo kept running up the escape as fast as he could until finally he reached the top. Just as he was about to get to the roof the demon leapt to very top and clung to the side of the escape. It lunged forward and its fangs just caught hold of Ichigo's shirt, ripping a piece off it as Ichigo pulled free.
Ichigo tumbled forward and rolled before turning to see the demon struggling to get to the top of the escape when he heard the escape lurch and give way under the demons weight. The demon then tumbled eight stories, crashing through the fire escape as it fell, until it landed on the unforgiving concrete below.
My name is Ichigo Kurosaki, up until a few days ago I lived what you'd consider a normal life. I had loving parents and two great little sisters. I had a girlfriend and some great friends. One night my world was torn apart when all the people I cared for were killed right in front of my eyes. They were killed by demons. Now I find myself in a world I never imagined existed. A world of demons where death can happen at any time. But this is the world I need to be in. Because this is the world where I will find answers. I will find the truth. Even if that truth comes….at the tip…of my blade.
Blade of the Shinigami
Story Type: Ongoing bi-weekly series
Genre: Action, adventure, mystery, angst, drama, comedy, horror.
Contains: Graffic Violence; graffic language; sex; drug use.
Release date: November 2011
Naruto Namikaze and Sakura Haruno have experienced many hardships in their lives. But soon they'll have to face the greatest challenge they've ever faced….their wedding day. Can they finally say I do? Or does fate have something else in store for this star crossed couple?
Naruto: Chronicles of the Seventh: The Lost Chapter
Story Type: One Shot
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Couples: Shikatem and Narusaku
Contains: Nothing bad.
Release Date: January 2012
Many millennia ago, the elder gods created the Six Realms of Existence. There were Earth Realm, Nether Realm, Outworld, Seido, The Realm of Chaos and Edenia. The Elder Gods then decreed that the denizens of one realm could only conquer another realm by defeating the defending realm's greatest warriors in ten consecutive tournaments.
Five hundred years ago, Danzo warrior of Outworld was sent to Earth Realm in order to conquer it. Using the dark warriors of Outworld at his disposal, Danzo has won nine consecutive tournaments. Now the final tournament is at hand and a small group of Earths greatest warriors must fight to save our world from torment and death.
Many will be called. Few will survive. But only one will become champion of….
Story Type: 5 part mini series
Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance
Contains: Violence, Adult language, Sexual situations.
Release Date: April 2013
Raven gulped hard as he looked at the small device that was slowly ticking down to zero. "Are you sure you know what you're doing Fox," he said.
Fox smiled confidently and said, "Of course I do! I do this all the time!
Raven looked at FoxMan unconvincingly. Yeah right, he thought. Neither one of us had ever seen a device like this before.
"By my calculations if I cut the red wire that should stop the countdown," FoxMan said.
"Your calculations," Raven asked. "What method of calculations did you use?"
"Well," FaxMan said as he looked at the wires. "These wires are green. Green means go. This wire is red. Red means stop."
"What," Raven yelled. "You can't possibly think that!"
"Of course Raven my boy," FoxMan said. "When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
"But that's insane," Raven yelled.
"Shh," Foxman whispered as he placed his scissors on the wire. "Not while I'm cutting." FoxMan and Raven both held their breath as Foxman cut the wire. The bomb cut off and the two mean sighed in releif. "See," Naruto said. "No problem."
Suddenly the timer flared to life and began counting down incredibly fast. "Shit," Raven yelled. "What do we do now genius! Fox? Fox?" Raven turned to see Foxman was no longer kneeling next to him and was in fact running through the door and out of the room. Looking back at the bomb Raven whispered, "Oh bugger."
Raven leapt to his feet and sprinted out of the room. He was right behind Foxman as the two sprinted out of the deserted building just as the bomb went off, pulverizing the entire building and launching the two into the air.
Sometime later, Raven dug himself out of the rubble and sat up. He saw Foxman sitting next to him. Both men were ragged and dirty. "Well," Foxman said as he wiped dirt from his face. "That went better than expected didn't it?"
Raven just looked at him as he coughed out dirt. "Oh yeah," he said. "Just peachy."
Leaf City is home to some of the worlds most cunning and devious villains. In order to combat this menace the citizens need cunning and sophisticated heroes. Until they arrive….we'll just have to settle for these guys. Naruto Usumaki & Shikamaru Nara:
Foxman & Raven
"Saving the world one mistake at a time."
Story Type: 10 Part Series
Genre: Action, Adventure; Crime; Mystery, Romance, Friendship, Humor
Contains: Violence, Adult Language
Release Date: September 2012
The final war against Madara is over the Naruto was able to bring Sasuke home. Hurt and in need to rehabilitation Sakura has offered to allow Sasuke to remain at her home. It appears Sakura's life has become perfect. Or has it? Since Sasuke's return Naruto has been noticeably absent and acting strangely. Knowing that something is wrong and unable to get the answers from Naruto himself, Sakura is now on a mission to find answers. But will those answers save Team Seven or destroy it once and for all.
Ramen Studios Proudly presents….
Story Type: One Shot
Genre: Angst, Romance, Drama
Contains: Nothing Bad
Release Date: October 2011
Haruno Sakura is the most popular girl at Konoha High. She's got the looks.
Kiba: "Dude, there's Sakura Haruno."
Choji: "She is so hot!"
She's got the brains.
Ino: "How are you able to maintain straight A's!
Sakura: "Luck I guess!"
She's got the guy.
Choji: "You think she'd ever be interested in a guy like me?"
Kiba: "Are you kidding? She's dating Uchiha Sasuke! The guys a god around here!"
Naruto: "He's no God. God has the capability of being kind to people."
Her best friend, Naruto however is something else entirely.
Shikamaru: "It's not that you not a great guy and all. It's just that…..well…."
Naruto: "Well what?"
Temari: "He's trying to say you're a goof ball!"
Naruto: "I'm a goof ball!"
Temari: "Well, perverted moron is the term the other girls at school like to use. I prefer goof ball."
But when Sakura accidentally overhears Naruto's deepest secret…..
Naruto: "I'm in love with her. I've been in love with her for longer than I can even remember."
….Sakura will have to choose between the life she thought she needed …
Ino: "You can't possibly be considering going on a date with that guy? It'd be social suicide!"
Sakura: "He's one of my best friends, Ino. Besides, Naruto's not that bad."
Ino: I wouldn't date him unless he were the last guy on earth! And there were no goats! Wait….are there goats?"
…..and the life she thinks she may actually want.
Sasuke: "You think you're better for Sakura than I am?"
Naruto: "Damn right!"
Sasuke: "All right asshole, you've got yourself a bet!"
Ramen Studios proudly presents…..
Kiba: "Dude, you have to nail Sakura tonight! Not just for yourself, but for every outcast who'll never bang a model."
Shikamaru: "That's pretty stupid."
…A story for every guy who's ever wanted the impossible…..
Naruto: "If I could get just one kiss, I'd die a happy man."
Shikamaru: "Well you would die, that's for sure. Cuz forty five seconds later Sasuke would rip out your arm and beat you to death with it."
Naruto: "Well, at least those forty five second would be awesome!"
….every girl who's ever considered of the unbelievable ….
Naruto: "What should I do?"
Jiraiya: "Bang every chick that you can get your hands on because once you leave high school you'll never see them again anyway."
Naruto: "I was asking you, what I should do about my home work."
…and every person who's ever dreamed of the incredible.
Sakura: "Maybe I had the wrong idea about you."
Naruto: "Maybe you've got the wrong idea about everything."
Kiba: "Dude we're seniors! This is the year we give the crap instead of taking it!"
Shikamaru: "Lord knows you're full of a lot of crap."
Kiba: "Ha, ha, ha, damn right! Wait….what?"
Story Type: 3 part mini series
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Contains: Adult Language, Adult Situations
Release Date: January 2013
Naruto Uzumaki and his friends have just graduated high school and to celebrate have decided to rent out a large villa on the beach. It was supposed to be their dream vacation before college. But when he learns that his villa has been double booked with his school rival, will his dream summer become a nightmare?
Now if Naruto wants to enjoy his last summer with his friends, he'll have to spend it with his enemy. But perhaps he'll learn that though some bad situations are only temporary, the bonds they create, can last a lifetime.
Ramen Studios proudly presents….
Naruto's Summer Daze
Story Type: 5 part mini series
Genre: Humor, Romance, Friendship
Contains: Adult Launguage; Sexual Situations, Alchohol Use
Release Date: May 2012
"All men dream; but not equally." Shikamaru said as he read from the scroll. "Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. I did this." Shikamaru closed the scroll with a satisfied smile and looked at Naruto. "Well," he asked. "What do you think?"
"I think," Naruto said. "That I have no clue what any of that means. What was the point of reading to me a quote from some two hundred year old anonymous theologian?"
Shikamaru's expression grew dark and foreboding as he looked at Naruto. "Naruto I know you better than most," he said. "I know what you're planning to do. You're planning to search for the truth. I can't say I blame you. But you have also heard the warnings. The moral of that quote was simple. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."
Konoha. Four years have passed since the end of the Fourth Great Ninja War and a great peace has settled across the land. Naruto Namikaze, the Seventh Hokage has helped lead his people to unprecedented prosperity.
But when an old enemy returns in search of an ancient power, a power that will reveal the truth behind the Namikaze clan while at the same time destroy the world, Namikaze Naruto must once again stand up, to shield the world once again.
"Very well my young Lord," the old man said as the young man reached the door. "But know this. If you go, it will cost you much more than you may be willing to pay. And if you learn the truth you could unleash an evil far greater than the one you are trying to save it from. Heed my words, young lord. Some truths must never be known...Not even by you..."
Find the Clues….
Follow the Path…..
Learn the truth…
Ramen Studios Proudly presents a return to the Chronicles.
Naruto: Chronicles of the Seventh
Book IV: Curse of the Namikaze
"Some truths must never be known!"
Story Type: Ongoing Series
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Romance, Humor.
Release Date: July 2012