Disclaimer: This one shot contains spoilers, so I am giving fair warning, if you are not up to date with the manga and you don't want one hell of a twist ruined, stop right here.
I neither own Naruto, nor do I receive any monetary compensation for this work of fanfic.
Naruto stood up slowly, he felt out of place in his own body. His sensations were dull and numb, and he tried to look around but there was nothing but blackness around him.
What had happened? He couldn't recall anything; the only thing he knew for certain was that his name was Naruto.
What was this place, and why was he here?
He could not answer these questions, but continued to glance around in the hope that it would come to him.
There was nothing there, Naruto took a hesitant step and felt something hard underfoot.
Naruto looked down and under his foot lay a headband. It was the only thing that was visible as it seemed to glow lightly. It was odd but the glow seemed to be coming directly from this small object, and the light it generated did not illuminate anything else.
He shifted his foot and saw that it consisted of a blue strip of fabric and a metal plate that had what appeared to be the image of a leaf engraved in the center.
He reached down to pick it up, and the moment his fingers brushed the cool metal his vision flashed white.
Naruto watched, as though from the outside, as a young version of himself sat beside an older brown haired man with a scar across is nose. The pair was seated at a ramen stand and being served by a very friendly looking and beautiful woman that Naruto suddenly remembered as Ayame.
There was an older man in an apron and chefs hat cooking up the delicious smelling ramen. He glanced over at the pair that was eating and smiled slightly to himself…Naruto knew him to be old man Ichiraku.
He looked again as the scarred man seated next to his younger self. Iruka-sensei.
Everything flashed white again, he watched as the best teacher in the world protected him from a murderous white haired man that he used to look up to named Mizuki. He wanted to call out a warning as a massive shuriken careened toward the pair on the ground, but he knew it was pointless.
He suddenly just knew how it would turn out. Naruto watched as Iruka took the headband from his own forehead and tied it around his younger self.
The vision was already starting to fade to black, just as the younger Naruto launched himself at Iruka and gave the poor injured man a rib-crushing hug.
Was this a dream?
The headband at his feet was gone; there was nothing but blackness around him once again.
He suddenly knew about events and people that he had no recollection of a moment ago. He knew that the people that he saw, Iruka-sensei, Ayame-neechan and old man Ichiraku were all important precious people to him.
But was that it? Why couldn't he remember any more? Surely he had other people in his life; he could feel them there, at the edge of his mind. They were covered in shadow though, and he just couldn't place them.
In his minds eye he saw a crowd of dark, shadowy figures. But now three of those figures were in full view, all three smiling happily at him…al three nodding encouragingly.
'Well, if I had any clue as to what to do now I would…'
As though in answer to his silent complaint, he heard a sound of running water. It was a small river and he made for the sound.
He walked for a short while, or it could have been ages…that was weird, his sense of time was completely out of whack.
Eventually he came across the stream or river that seemed to run through the woods. It was the only thing that he saw. The water seemed to glow a light blue and was the only thing that was visible in the surrounding darkness. And like the now vanished headband, it's light fell on nothing else.
He walked along the riverside, using it as a guide and eventually he came across three wooden posts standing side by side. He neared the posts and spotted something shining from atop the middle one.
When he got close enough, he saw that it was two small bells tied by a couple of short strings. The bells, like the river and headband, glowed.
Naruto reached out and his fingertips brushed the cold metal…
Though he thought he was prepared for it, the flash of light still disoriented him.
"I will never let a teammate die…"
Kakashi-sensei…he now remembered his team. He was a ninja; it came to him like he had known it all along. It just felt so natural. It was truth, he just knew it.
His teacher's voice came though before his vision cleared, as he blinked the fuzziness from his eyes he watched as Kakashi-sensei faced off against Zabuza and made his promise to his young team.
He looked around, and spotted Sasuke-teme and Sakura-chan, and though they were not there he recalled the names and faces of Sai and Yamato.
It all started with those bells, his journey had officially begun with them. nothing that had happened in his life would have gone that way if it wasn't for the bells.
He remembered fawning after Sakura, and the subsequent beatings yet friendship that followed.
Naruto recalled chasing after the teme, and beating some much needed sense into the asshole finally bringing him back to the village, at long last.
He saw the many times that Sai had questioned the existence of his manhood, with that damn smile plastered to the pale boys face.
He remembered completing the combination of nature chakra and his rasengan under Kakashi-sensei's and Yamato's watchful gazes.
All the events that took place with his team, the good and the bad, were forced into his head in a very overpowering way.
The river and the images were gone, there was now a small pond at the base of a waterfall.
Standing on top of the water was a figure…He only saw a silhouette of what appeared to be a female figure. He saw long hair and mouthwatering curves.
Her back was turned to him as she was twirling and stretching atop the water, she was very flexible…
He shook his head as this seemed extremely familiar, almost like déjà-vu. He knew that this woman was extremely important to him, but why had he not remembered her yet.
He attempted to call out to her, tried to walk toward her. But couldn't.
He tried for a very long time. Yet every single attempt at speaking was muted, every step he took brought him no closer.
This was important though, he didn't know how or why…but he could tell it was important.
Just when he was considering giving up, she turned around.
She was beautiful, her lavender eyes stared hungrily at him. Her perfect face, framed by her dark hair, gazed at him with concern.
Soon though, a smile lit up her face. She brought a delicate looking hand to her lips and stifled a giggle. She then placed her hands on her hips, and gave him a mock-stern look.
"Now, now Naruto-kun. That's just not like you, you don't give up remember?"
And he redoubled his efforts. He just had to get to this woman, there was nothing else for it, this was the most important thing that he could do…
Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, he inched closer and closer to her. Finally he made it to her. His fingers reached out and brushed the silky hair.
And the subsequent flash of light almost knocked him on his back.
He had seen much in his life, and a very long life it had been.
Naruto had been told by his mother, the only time that he had gotten a chance to speak with her while attempting to subdue the Kyuubi many years ago, that people from the Uzumaki bloodline had incredible longevity.
And though he seemed to have inherited that long life, Uzumaki Naruto did not see it as a gift.
In a few days time, it would be October tenth, he would be turning one hundred years old. That was already far beyond the normal life expectancy of a shinobi, despite being retired, but his blood coupled with the Kyuubi's chakra that still continued to heal him, Naruto was convinced that he could last, at the very least, another twenty years.
But he did not want to.
He had lost so much, sure he was now the elder of a fairly large family that he helped create…but despite all he had gained and accomplished he had been growing weary of continuing.
He had outlived all of his friends.
Sakura and Sasuke had both passed on some fourty years ago. Baa-chan, Iruka-sensei, Kakashi sensei, Shizune-neechan, Ayame-neechan and old man Ichiraku all left him at various times.
Everyone else too, Chouji, Ino, Shikamaru, his former fellow kage Garra, Shino, Kiba, Lee, Neji, TenTen…
Even his successor, Sarutobi Konohamaru, had died while he held the position. And so did Konohamaru's successor, the Eighth.
And of course his loving wife, Hinata…she had gotten ill…that was almost thirty years ago.
But still he persevered, he needed to carry on because he knew that one day the one who would be able to take his burden would appear.
It had already happened, with his youngest child and daughter. She had inherited her grand mother's power. Naruto could feel it, the feeling he got from his daughter was the same feeling his mother gave off.
But it was, at that point in time, much too soon. He could not give up his life and place this on his child, not when there was a choice. Not to mention, he was finally happy, and didn't want to leave his family for no reason at all.
Not to mention that he had already come to the decision that no future Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi would be female. This was not a sexist decision, as he had explained to the council, but practical. Should they seal the damn demon into a girl, and should that girl decide to have a child…
He did not want a repeat of the past, he preferred to leave history where it was.
Then it started to become too much. A couple of years ago, he had to watch as his youngest child, of the four that he and Hinata had, was buried. He had once heard, no parent should have to bury their child, but he had to do so four times. He had survived all his friends and his children.
Thankfully the best person to become the next Jinchuriki had recently been decided. He was the first person that displayed the power that caused Uzumaki Kushina to be chosen as the host when she was a girl. The boy, who is his namesake, is his great-great grandson. Born to his firstborn sons youngest daughter on October tenth nearly 8 years ago, was the only person who has inherited his ancestors chakra.
The boy was named for his great-great grandfather as they shared a birthday, just as his mother was named for her great-grandmother, Hinata. The second female Hokage, Uchiha Hinata. And Naruto was striding to her office at the moment.
He grinned at the thought of Sasuke's reaction if he could see one of his descendants married to one of Naruto's. That just may be something that he would have to tell him just for a laugh when he finally saw his friend and brother again.
With that thought, he was ready.
The young Uchiha Naruto understood what was going to happen, and he was proud that he could be the one to shoulder this responsibility. He had just woken up and, though a little groggy, felt no different.
The small group made for a specially prepared cave far outside the village, where Hinata performed the sealing of the Kyuubi into her own son.
He looked over to the other table upon which lay the very still figure of his elder…and swore that he would make his namesake, and those who came before him, very proud.
The flash died down, Naruto understood.
He looked up at the smiling face of his wife, who like him was in the form of the age they married.
"I didn't just see the future did I?" he asked in a would-be joking voice, though he did sound a little raspy.
Hinata shook her head somewhat sadly, "would you have wanted to know the future and how things would work out?"
"Not really," Naruto conceded. "I was just asking cause of how you and I look."
"And how is that?" She asked in her sweet, soft voice.
"You look exactly like the day when I proposed to you."
Hinata smiled, "and what does age or time have to do with this place? You seem to see me how you remembered me, and I see you as the young boy who stole my heart." She said tenderly.
"So are you my Hinata, or my memory of her?"
"Both," she said simply.
A thought occurred to him, "Kakashi-sensei once told me of this type of place, where he met and spoke with his father. Have you been waiting for me for thirty years?"
"Has it been that long?" she asked quietly. "Well as I said, what is time here? And of course I waited for you…"
"Because we truly are soul mates huh?"
Hinata nodded, "are you ready?"
"For?" Naruto asked.
She took his hand, "you don't think that this is all there is do you?" she chided.
She began to fade from his sight as his vision started to fill with bright light again, "Are we moving on?"
Her voice responded, somewhat distantly, "Yes, don't let go." She finished, sounding more like her young self than before.
Naruto tightened his grip, "Never, not when I finally found you again."
Authors note: This was also a bit of a departure from the normal tread of my stories; I never really have done this type of bittersweet story, so I hope you like it. And yes, to those Lost fans out there, I did get the idea from the most phenomenal show to have ever graced the Television.
Also a bit from the Harry Potter version of moving on.
Oh and I know that Hinata is a bit OOC, but at this point they had been married for many years.
I hope you all liked it, please review.