Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
The battle in the Valley of the End was coming to a close. The fight had been hard, bitter and merciless, starting with two normal-looking boys duking it out and had gradually turned into a clash of demons, one gray with giant hands growing out of his back, the other one covered in a cloak of demonic energy which took a shape somewhere between a fox and a man.
Neither Naruto nor Sasuke would last much longer, and both knew it. So, without a single word needing to be spoken, they both charged their strongest attack, before rushing at each other, intending to end it, once and for all.
"CHIDORI!" Sasuke cried out.
"RASENGAN!" Naruto echoed his cry.
The attacks clashed, with a result nobody could have expected or reproduced. At first the powers seemed to be fighting for dominance, but then they merged together, forming what an outsider would have described as a purple orb of destruction that steadily grew.
Inside the orb, Naruto and Sasuke were suddenly floating in empty space. For a timeless second, both were simply too baffled to do anything, but then they realized that now would probably be their last exchange of blows, before whatever the hell was going on decided to end their lives.
Naruto's first thought was to aim at Sasuke's headband, just to prove that he in fact could scratch the arrogant asshole's forehead, but then he realized that he probably only had one shot, and that Sasuke was not likely to pull any punches, so he instead balled his hand to a fist and slammed it into the point where Sasuke's chest met his abdomen.
Sasuke had his hand flat, intending to pierce, but ready to form a fist should it not be possible. He aimed at Naruto's guts, and felt his fingers easily slip through his former best friend's flesh. However, Naruto had been just a tick faster, so instead of the knuckles, his fingers only sank in enough to leave only the last joint visible.
When the commotion died down, both were lying on the ground. Slowly, one figure stood up and dragged itself to the other one.
"Told you I would bring you back, even if I had to break all of your bones, teme." Naruto said, grinning despite his injuries.
"Dobe...!" Sasuke growled.
Naruto smiled. "Let's get you home, teme." Naruto muttered, before crouching down to pick up his traitorous teammate, when he noticed a blur to his left. He managed to raise his arms before a sandal-clad foot could hit his skull, but he was still knocked back, landing in water. He quickly grabbed a rock to prevent being swept away, before looking at his attacker, expecting Orochimaru, or at least Kabuto. He found Kakashi.
"Wha...?" He muttered.
"Kakashi, what are you doing?" Pakkun demanded, upset with his master. Instead of answering, Kakashi shook him off his shoulder and gave him a blow, just strong enough to dispel the summon.
Even Sasuke was shocked. "Why?" he asked.
Kakashi's eye never left Naruto. "I've tried to hold it in, but it was not an option. Because of you I lost my sensei, and Rin, who died in your attack, demon!"
Naruto's gaze grew cold. "I see." Contrary to belief, he was not an idiot. Starved for attention yes, but not an idiot. He knew that he was a scapegoat for many, although he had not expected his so-called sensei to be one of them. 'Then again, why am I surprised? He never taught me anything, and the one time I really would have needed him, he pawned me off to someone who a few months prior had hated my guts. He probably hoped Neji would kill me.' He was incredibly disappointed.
Kakashi walked until he was in front of him. "Go back to hell demon."
Naruto remained silent, but in his mind, he granted a request. His eyes turned crimson, and his pupils became slits. "What do you know of hell, mortal?"
Kakashi sneered. "So the demon shows his true colors."
Kyuubi shook Naruto's head. "Not at all. My host simply does not talk to things lower than trash."
Kakashi twitched at having one of his sayings thrown into his face, but quickly regained his calm. "You are not my comrade, demon! Return to whatever hell you spawned from and leave us alone!"
Kyuubi laughed. "You have no idea what you are talking about. You know nothing of hell, but you will. After all, its lowest level is reserved for traitors."
Kakashi's eye narrowed. "I have not betrayed anyone." He declared.
Kyuubi's smile widened. "Do you want to hear a secret?"
Kakashi didn't trust the demon. "What?"
Kyuubi looked at him. "When a human who is not destined for hell dies, he normally immediately passes on. However, there are many who choose to wait, to watch over one or more loved ones and wait until they die so that they can pass on together. A spirit that has made this decision will stick with it as long as possible, meaning that the only way to lose such company would be to do something that makes their wait pointless, namely doing something that damns you to hell, which makes reuniting impossible. You have three spirits waiting for you, I can see them right now."
Kakashi stared. "And who would be waiting for me?" He asked.
Kyuubi shrugged. "I do not know them. One is an older man with short white hair, one is a woman with brown hair and purple squares on her cheeks, and the last one is a black-haired boy with broken goggles and only one eye." When Kyuubi saw Kakashi's shocked expression, he laughed. "It seems you recognize them. Do you know why I'm telling you this?" Kyuubi's expression was evil glee. "Because they are turning away from you! They have forsaken you! If you do not accept this, then never sleep again, for your next dream will be their final message to you. Perhaps I can come visit you when you die, although that level was always too cold for my liking."
"Y-you lie!" Kakashi shouted out.
Kyuubi laughed. "Your next dream will shatter that hope. And before I leave this body to die and be reborn in hell..." One hand was lifted from grabbing the rock and slowly rose, the index-finger extended as if to point accusingly at the traitor. Slowly, a small amount of youki gathered.
Kakashi stared at the display, before jumping back as the youki jumped off Naruto's finger and slammed into his face, without doing anything. "What did you do, demon?"
Kyuubi once again let Naruto's face smile an evil smile. "You'll see." With that, he let go of the rock, the current carrying him away immediately.
Kakashi pondered following him, but he deemed Sasuke more important, and lifted the young Uchiha up. "Time to return home, Sasuke." He muttered as he carried him back towards Konoha.
The black-haired boy didn't answer. He stared at the river that had swept away his hope of becoming Itachi's equal. Without the Mangekyo, he was too weak to take on his brother, and now he was brought back to the village that had already proven that it couldn't give him the strength to beat Itachi. For that, Sasuke needed Orochimaru.
Sakura walked up and down in front of Konoha's hospital. She had seen Chouji, Neji and Kiba being carried past her on a stretcher, Shikamaru, Lee and the Sand-siblings having the strength to walk by themselves. The latter were also around, patiently waiting for the last member of the recovery-team to arrive. She had wanted to wait at the gate, but Ino had convinced her that they would be here anyways, and at least one of them would be injured in the struggle, not to mention that Sasuke would probably need to be checked out, so they had set up camp here.
Tsunade stepped out of the hospital, waiting. She had worked miracles, but all members of the squad were going to live. Shizune was taking care of the rest. Now, she just wanted to see Naruto.
Finally, Kakashi appeared before them, Sasuke on his back. Suddenly there was life in the scenery. The last Uchiha was put in chakra-cuffs, then on a stretcher to get his worst injuries healed. Tsunade looked at the Copy-nin.
"Where is Naruto?" She asked.
Kakashi shook his head. "I'm sorry, Hokage-sama."
Tsunade stumbled back, hand covering her mouth. No, not again. She steeled herself, then she extended her hand, waiting for the scroll that contained his body.
Kakashi sighed. "When I arrived, I found Sasuke barely conscious, but the only trace of Naruto was a large smear of blood leading to the river. There was no trace of his body, and I decided that completing the mission had a higher priority, as I didn't want to risk one of Orochimaru's men to arrive and take Sasuke while I was searching the river."
Tsunade nodded, tears welling in her eyes.
"Sabaku Kyuu!" Before anyone had time to blink, Kakashi was wrapped up in sand. Up to his chest he was completely encased, though his head and lower arms were still free.
Tsunade stared at the display. "What is the meaning of this?" She demanded.
Gaara looked at his prisoner. "You lie."
Kakashi's eye widened. How could he know? Tsunade was also confused. "What do you mean, Gaara?"
Gaara's stare was cold as ice. "I do not know what happened, but he definitely encountered Naruto before he left with Sasuke."
Kakashi stared. "Wrong! On what basis do you make this ridiculous accusa-aargh?" The pressure had increased.
Gaara looked at him with disgust. "Bijuu can see things that mortals cannot. As a result of that, jinchuuriki can see things that normal humans can't. You don't know it's there, but I can see the sign of your treachery as clearly as if it were branded into your flesh."
Reflexively, Kakashi's hand shot to his forehead. So that was it, the damned demon had marked him with something that he couldn't see, but was clearly visible to others of its kind. Gaara's eyes narrowed. "So you know where it is."
Tsunade's brow twitched. "What is going on here?"
Gaara raised a single finger, and the Ichibi's chakra flickered on it. "We jinchuuriki have the ability to place marks invisible to normal humans. It was originally used by the bijuu to mark things like property or enemies that escaped. Kakashi has such a mark on his head, and Shushaku tells me that it was made by the Kyuubi. I know he has not had that mark in the chunin-exams, and since I doubt he has had contact with other jinchuuriki, I have no reason to doubt Shushaku's word. To those that can read it, the mark on Kakashi spells 'TRAITOR'. Naruto did not know that I was here, but that mark would sooner or later be noticed."
Tsunade stared. Then, slowly, she turned at Kakashi, her eyes burning with an ominous fire. "Kakashi, lying to the Hokage is a major offense. I will ask you one more time, where is Naruto?"
Kakashi mentally swore. And things had been going so well! The rain would have washed away the blood Kakashi had mentioned, and all scents were long since washed off his foot, so his story had been perfect. But that demon had branded him with something that was now bringing the truth to light. Still, the boy was known to be slightly insane, so maybe he could discredit him and get out of this. "I have no idea what that insane boy is talking about? I have done no wrong, and do you really take the word of a child driven to madness by its prisoner over mine?"
Tsunade's look flickered, before she seemed to make a decision. She turned to Ino. "Call your father, I have need for his service. Tell him to wait in my office." Ino nodded and ran off, her father should be home by now. Then she turned to Gaara. "If this is some sort of joke, there will be consequences."
Gaara nodded. "I have nothing to fear."
Kakashi on the other hand had paled remarkably.
Tsunade nodded. "We will take this elsewhere, this place it too public."
Inoichi bowed before his leader. "What can I do for you, Hokage-sama?"
Tsunade nodded to the imprisoned Kakashi. "Certain discrepancies have come up with a report given by Kakashi Hatake. I'd like you to take a look, and report your findings to me."
Inoichi nodded and turned to Kakashi, who seemed to try to squirm his way out of the sand-coffin, a futile effort. "Kakashi, with you squirming like that, one could think that you have something to hide." With that, he placed his palm on Kakashi's head.
A few seconds later, he pulled it back. He had learned of Kakashi's actions, of Kyuubi's words, and of the dark mind Kakashi possessed. "I will give a detailed written report later, but the summary would be that Gaara has spoken the truth. Kakashi has attacked his student, throwing him into the river, and did nothing as he was swept away."
Gaara seemed completely calm. "Hokage-sama, I request permission to complete my technique." Everybody knew what that would mean, Kiba being quite the gossip when he wanted to.
Tsunade sighed. "Tempting as it is, I'm afraid that there would be a lot of political upheaval if I allowed an outsider to perform an execution. No Gaara, I'm afraid you have to release him into the comforts of a Konoha holding-cell, after we cuff him, of course. I'll personally deal with him later."
Gaara waited until Kakashi was secured before releasing the man. He nodded towards Tsunade. "I know that it is not your fault, but you will soon have to deal with a lot of political upheaval in any case. My siblings and I will return to to Suna now Hokage-sama, by your leave?"
Tsunade nodded, not entirely focused. "What? Oh yes, have a safe journey." She knew that the news of what happened here would be spread, and that the next days would be, to use the words of the male half of the Nara-clan, troublesome.
And she was right. Most of the village celebrated when they heard that the demon was gone, the old law about keeping Naruto's state secret being broken, seeing that with the boy in question most likely dead. While the what was now the Rookie 7 plus Team Guy and a few selective others were upset, the general opinion was 'Goodbye and good riddance.' At least until the news leaked out to other nations...
The only other noteworthy event was that a week after the retrieval-mission, Sasuke, who had been let off with a slap to the wrist by claiming that the Cursed Seal had controlled him, escaped Konoha and defected to Oto, using his new Level 2-form to glide and on some parts fly from high elevation unnoticed.
The last thing of that deserves a look at the moment is the first dream Kakashi Hatake had after his confinement.
Kakashi looked around. Everything was dark and foggy. "Where am I?" He called out. Then, three figures appeared before him. Three figures that had all died years ago. "Rin? Obito? Father? Impossible."
The three figures looked at him, their eyes filled with disappointment. His father spoke first. "I had prioritized my comrades above the mission, and all blamed me for it. Even though now I know that I did no wrong, I had wanted to see you again, and talk. But now I see the futility of that act." He turned away.
Rin looked at him. "I cared for you Kakashi, I really did. But you are not the Kakashi I knew. The Kakashi I knew would have never abandoned a comrade like that. I wanted to pass on with you, but now there is no point. You and I are going to different places. This will be the last time we ever see each other. I really wanted to spend eternity with you. Goodbye Kakashi."
Obito looked at him. "I don't understand Kakashi, why did you do it? You betrayed your comrades, you betrayed us all. Did I die in vain? Was the message that I gave you really that unimportant? I gave you my eye so that you could protect your comrades, but you choose to attack and leave them behind? And sensei's legacy, his son of all people? I'm sorry Kakashi, but I cannot condone what you have done." He smiled sadly. "I really had looked forward to spending some time with you and my other comrades. We're going to heaven now Kakashi, it's a real shame that you won't join us. You've made your choices, now you have to live with them. For what its worth, I enjoyed our time together. Farewell." With that, all three figures faded into the mist.
Kakashi clawed the air. "Father, Obito, Rin, wait! Where are you going?"
"To a place you will never see" Came the sad reply.
Kakashi shot up in his cell, soaked in sweat and out of breath. What a horrible nightmare. This was the demon's fault, he had given him this dream! But why had Obito called Naruto sensei's son? Sensei had no son, he had not even had a girlfriend! There was that Uzumaki-woman, but that never... Uzumaki! How had he not seen that? Naruto shared the last name with that woman! She was the only Uzumaki in Konoha, so she had to be his mother. But he looked nothing like her, which meant he had to have inherited his father's looks. Come to think of it, he looked a lot like... oh no. No! It couldn't be!
But what happened to Naruto?
After loosing his grip on the rock, he drifted through the water, weak and wounded, while Kyuubi tried to heal his injuries. But when Kyuubi already presumed the battle lost, it felt a tug.
"What the..." Kyuubi muttered, recognizing the feeling. "A summoning? But nobody in this world can summon... So from another world. But who could dare summoning something of my power? And how can he summon me when I'm sealed?"
Pondering the situation, Kyuubi figured that it probably could resist the summon, but why should it? It wasn't like its situation could get much worse. And he had been to a few other worlds in his time. There weren't many, but since they all shared the same heaven and hell, a demon could travel between them with little problem. Also, it was one of the most powerful demons in existence, and there were only few things besides sealing into a human that could phase it, and the only world that knew how to do that was the one it was in right now. Who knew, perhaps it would finally be freed from the human if it followed the call across the worlds. So it gave up all resistance to the call, and embraced it.
Any outsider observing Naruto would see that the boy suddenly glowed, turned into glittering dust, and vanished.
Chapter 1 is done. Another new story. I've recently developed a liking for stories that work like my favorite computer-games, namely that the battle is done by armies, rather than one single individual, not that those stories aren't good too. Will start a little slow, I'm new to this genre.
And I'm going with that overused twist that Naruto was wearing a figurative mask, and is much smarter and better in physical combat than he shown. Unlike many others, I won't have Naruto suddenly drop the mask and chew out all who wronged him. No, Naruto will decide in the new world that now that he has a blank slate, he will give all who meet him a different impression than that of a loud idiot.
This story will have a few elements in common with MadHat886's The Fox Lord, although I can promise that I am not copying any lines. I merely intend to use the basic layout, namely that Naruto will be pulled into a different world, which I will call Gaia, while Naruto's world is Terra, simple, but it gets the point across. There will be more of course, but I decided not to spoil everything. And yes, I asked MadHat886 for his permission, and got it. I also intend to bring a number of 'Lord of the Rings'- and original-elements into this, mainly those I find badass.
While I have the Light Races pretty much all figured out, as there will only be few races, but those in great number, the Dark Races are still fairly open, so I will take suggestions into consideration, since the Dark Races have more races, but less numbers.
As for magic, I will describe it when it actually makes a real appearance, probably Chapter 3 or 4.
Opinions please. Should I continue this story?
And one more thing, I put up an important notice in my profile, read it. I apologize in advance, but the matter is out of my hands.
Well, I think this is all for now, so