I do not own any aspect of the Naruto franchise. However, this alternative plot is my creation. All characters not originally from the Naruto series are my creations. Additionally,any unfamiliar events were my idea. All original aspects of this story are owned by me. Enjoy the story.

This is an alternate story that occurs right after Sakura, Team 10, and Team Guy surround the three Sound shinobi that were ordered to kill Sasuke, who has recently been implanted with the Curse Seal of the Heaven. The first chapter takes place at the end of manga chapter 55 and in the anime episode 33.

Managing Along

Chapter 1: A Change in Odds

"Letting go doesn't mean giving up... it means moving on. It is one of the hardest things a person can do. Starting at birth, we grasp on to anything we can get our hands on, and hold on as if we will cease to exist when we let go. We feel that letting go is giving up, quitting, and that as we all know is cowardly. But as we grow older we are forced to change our way of thinking. We are forced to realize that letting go means accepting things that cannot be. It means maturing and moving on, no matter how hard you have to fight yourself to do so."


Sasuke Uchiha, one of the few remaining users of the Sharingan, was struggling to endure the pain engulfing his body. The powerful curse seal placed on his neck was forcefully and unnaturally pulling out his chakra. The strain it brought on his body would be enough to kill most people. Even great shinobi were likely fall victim to this curse seal. Sasuke had a grim chance of surviving this. The odds against him had even increased due to the three Sound genin attempting to kill him. They were sent by Orochimaru, the one who originally planted the curse seal on him.

Naruto had also been knocked out by Orochimaru. The snake sanin planted a chakra seal on Naruto. It was only limiting his chakra but he would not be regaining consciousness to help anytime soon.

Sakura was tired and wounded, having withstood the Sound genin's onslaught. She had been attempting to stop them from hurting her teammates. But she was outnumbered and overpowered.

The only thing delaying any outside influence from ruining Sasuke's slim chance of surviving was the six other hidden leaf ninja surrounding the enemies. But even they were having issues holding the sound ninjas back.

Purple vapor was leaking from Sasuke's body. His face was tensing up, expressing the pain the curse seal was causing. His temperature was dangerously increasing. It had just hit 103 degrees Fahrenheit and was still rising. Sasuke was using all his willpower to stay alive. He kept subconsciously reminding himself that he was an avenger, he could not die until he killed the man who took away his clan. Itachi needed to die before Sasuke.

Neji was standing on the branch of a tall tree. He had just made his presence known. Tenten was right behind him, readying herself for whatever might occur. The two older genin looked down at the situation. They noticed four of their allies were either unconscious or beaten up. Neji felt a little disappointed that everyone else failed to beat these three ninja. Even his teammate Lee couldn't stop them.

Zaku, one of the sound ninjas, complained. "They keep coming out like cockroaches."

Zaku's comment only brought Neji's attention to him. In an annoyed tone Neji said, "You've made a mistake. That knocked out guy in the green right there is from our team and…." Neji activated his Byakugan. This gave an intimidating feel to the rest of his statement "… You're going to pay for that!"

Chills went down the sound genins' spine when he said that. They ever felt like he was looking right through them with his Byakugan.

Neji continued on speaking. But this time he made a threat. "If you are going to go any farther then I'm going all out."

Suddenly Neji felt a spike in charkra. It seemed to be coming from Sasuke. Neji could easily see and feel the dark, powerful chakra being emitted by the Uchiha. He was amazed a simple genin could possess anything like it. He would wait to see what would occur with the Uchiha. He was a bit curious.

Confident in his abilities ,the leader of the sound team, Dosu, chuckled. "If you hate it so much then stop acting cool and come down here."

Neji noticed the chakra from Sasuke was becoming more violent. It was moving extremely quickly and in larger streams. By now Sasuke's charkra was reaching a critical stage, if he would awaken now then the Sound Team would be facing a powerful force. But the power comes at a price; his body was at risk.

The Byakugan wielder was about to respond to Dosu when loud screams interrupted him.

Naruto, the number one unpredictable, knuckle-headed ninja of the Hidden Leaf village, was starting to stir. The initial effects of his chakra seal were beginning to wear off, he was regaining consciousness. He shook his head, his mind felt very foggy and part of him just wanted to go back asleep. But he kept trying to get up. He cracked open his eyes to see many ninjas several yards away from him. He shook his head again to keep away any drowsiness that remained. Naruto sat up groggily, wondering what was happening.

All of a sudden Naruto heard a loud scream coming from Sasuke. The Uchiha suddenly jerked up into a sitting position and began to scream while planting his palms into his eyes. Whatever pain he was experiencing seemed to have a strong impact on his eyes. The purple mist coming from his body was pouring out much thicker and rapidly than before. His arms fell to his side as the screaming abruptly stopped. The Uchiha swayed a little, and then fell back to the ground, unresponsive.

Sasuke Uchiha didn't survive from the Curse Seal of the Heaven.

All three Sound ninjas quickly turned their heads when they heard the scream. It was coming from their target. Sasuke appeared to be in great pain. Suddenly he stopped screaming and fell down, appearing dead.

Zazu whispered to Dosu; "What do we do now? I think that guy just died."

Dosu hesitated for a moment. He was taken by surprise and wasn't sure what was going on. He was wondering if Orochimaru had actually placed a curse seal on Sasuke. If he did then why? "Orochimaru didn't mention anything like this would happen. He probably assumed nothing else would kill him…. I say we retreat. The target is dead and we have nothing left to gain."

The other two Sound ninjas nodded to the plan and sprinted away. But the Hidden Leaf ninjas paid no attention to them. They were preoccupied with the tragic event in front of them.

Naruto was clutching the dead body of Sasuke. He had just picked up Sasuke's body and was holding it tight. Tears were falling down his cheeks. He had never experienced the death of a friend before. The pain felt like someone had removed his stomach. Part of him felt empty, cold, sick, and scared. He had never experienced anything like this before. It was the worst feeling of his life.

Sakura felt her whole world fall apart. She knew that curse mark was putting Sasuke's life in risk but she thought that he would be able to overcome it. She ran over to her teammates as she started to cry. When she reached Naruto and Sasuke she dropped down onto her knees and grabbed onto Sasuke's dangling arm. He felt cold, almost as if he has been lifeless for ages. She started to cry even harder as the full impact of Sasuke's death hit her. Neither Naruto nor Sakura were ready to see a teammate die. The event effected them pretty hard.

All the others Hidden Leaf ninjas remained quiet. Not one had felt they had anything enlightening or helpful to say. They all just remained still, almost as if they were all silently mourning their silent comrade.

Naruto was now shaking as he held onto his dead teammate, hoping and wishing some miracle would happen. "Come one, get up. You're stronger than this." Naruto pleaded hoping for a reply. Only a few moments of silence fallowed. Naruto started to cry harder.

"Sasuke." Naruto whispered. Only Sakura was able to hear it.

"Sasuke", he said a little louder. This time everyone was able to hear it clearly.

Naruto tightly shut his eyes. He was trembling very hard. He looked like he was about to have a mental breakdown. Instead he screamed at the top of his lungs, wishing that his teammate could still hear him. His last cry scared away all the nearby birds.


"Every tragedy contains the seeds of triumph."

-Scott Sorrell

A/N: This story is based on my idea of what might happened if Sasuke had fallen victim to the curse seal placed by Orochimaru. While this story does have a tragic beginning, I personally believe that even after the worst of tragedies we can always recover and move on to better times. All we have to do is manage along until we are strong enough to make things better.

I want to make clear that Sasuke will not be coming back. What is dead will stay dead. The story will now follow Naruto's journey of overcoming his tragic loss and moving on, the hardest thing to do when we all lose a loved one. In times like these we just have to manage along in our lives so we don't break down.

Before I finish this first chapter I would like to extend a thank you to my beat readers Herbblade and Brainiac 5. They were merciless with those much needed corrections and helped motivate me to make the first chapter better. Without them this chapter would have been much less enjoyable. I hope they can help me throughout the rest of this story. But I could still use a few more beta-readers. If you are interested in this story and you are an approved beta-reader then p.m. me about the offer. I welcome addition beta-readers for this story.