This is a response to the Challenge set out by The Infamous Man, details of which can be found at his Profile.
Hope it reaches everyones approval and for those who are eagerly awaiting updated for my other stories. I ask for patience. I have a lot going on at home with my 6 month old boy and don't have a lot of free time to write anymore. But I do intend to continue.
"Cero" Jutsu/Hollow Techniques/ Demon talk.
"Cero" Regular Speaking
'Cero' Flashback thoughts.
"Cero" Flashback Jutsu/Hollow Techniques/ Demon Talk.
"Uzumaki Naruto, for crimes against Konohagakure no Sato and the attempted murder of the Uchiha Clan head, Uchiha Sasuke. You are sentenced to death. Your execution is to be carried out in three days time. Do you have anything to say?"
A bloody and bruised thirteen year old boy with matted yellow hair and cerulean eyes looked up lifelessly at the speaker, his face blank and emotionless in face of his situation.
"I completed my mission to the letter. I kept my promise. I did everything to bring Sasuke back, and succeeded. And this is my reward? You're going to kill me?" The blonde turned his head, the sound of chains rattling from the action as his body shifted the heavy shackles binding his hands and feet to the podium on which he stood. "All of you. This is all I am to you? A traitor? A monster?"
The surrounding Shinobi didn't answer but Naruto could see the conviction in their eyes. All of them, Kakashi-sensei, Sakura, Shikamaru, Choji, Ino, Asuma, Kiba, Shino, Kurenai, even team Ten (A.K.A team YOUTH) were looking at him with the same contempt, disappointment and relief.
They were all in support of this it was apparent.
"And you." Naruto turned his head back to the one who had sentence him. "Oji-san would be twisting in his grave if he saw you now Ba-chan. Is this the Will of Fire you have inherited? Do you execute loyal shinobi because they completed a mission that went beyond your predictions?"
the blonde haired woman shook her head sadly and looked down to Naruto. "this matter has been decided Uzumaki Naruto. Eye witness accounts confirm that the Uchiha surrendered before you attacked."
Tsunade looked away from him and nodded to a masked ANBU guard, gesturing for the shinobi to take Naruto away. "You're Chakra will be sealed and you will be kept in a maximum security cell until your execution. I pray you find some measure of penitence in the time given to you."
"Betrayer they called me..."
"I am disappointed Naruto. I thought I taught you better than this."
Naruto narrowed his eyes and looked through the bars to his cell, restraining the urge to pointedly glare at the silver haired Jounin standing there. "Come to gloat have you sensei? You always did like to show how pathetic I was."
Kakashi shook his head. "Gloat? Now, there is nothing to gloat about here. What you have done is too serious to disregard with gloating and humor. Do you understand what you almost did?" The silver haired man leaned against the bars and lowered the green covered book he had been reading. "You tried to kill your teammate. Not only that but you used ninjutsu designed only to be used on enemies on a fellow Konoha shinobi. I thought you better than that."
"And never mind the fact that Sasuke not only stabbed me with his Chidori, a jutsu you taught him mind you. But tried to do so multiple times as well as set me on fire." Naruto retorted.
Kakashi shrugged. "Sasuke knew you were in no danger. He was defending himself."
Naruto growled under his breath. "Well then say what you came here to say and be done with it."
Kakashi nodded. "Very well. The Council has allowed Sasuke the right to execute you. As he was the one who you tried to kill, it is only fitting he be allowed to personally meet out justice."
Naruto rubbed his eyes tiredly and shifted on the floor of his cell. How long had he been waiting, two days, three? When would they put an end to him.
"Kukuku, now isn't this fitting Dobe?"
Naruto's eyes narrowed and he sprung to his feet. "Sasuke!"
The source of Naruto's anger, a bandaged but still smirking Uchiha Sasuke let out another laugh as he rapped his knuckles along the bars that separated them. "Finally, Konoha finds a place for you. Don't you find it interesting that you are the one behind these bars and to be put to death while I am out here, free as a bird and praised as a hero?"
Naruto ground his teeth together and advanced on the Uchiha, stopping only when the chains connecting him to the wall pulled him to the floor.
"Kukuku, still a slow learner then. Let me explain." Sasuke's eyes shifted and Naruto watched as a fully mature Sharingan lit up the otherwise dark room. "I am the last loyal Uchiha. My eyes promise the continued authority for Konoha over the rest of the world. When you dragged me back here the Council came to me with an interesting proposal. I help them kill you and remain loyal to Konoha, and they will give me all the power I could ask for. Which they already have started to do mind you." Sasuke pointed out. "I have been inducted into a program made just for me that puts me on the fast track to become an ANBU officer and when I kill you I will be granted the Mangekyo Sharingan and become even more powerful than you."
Naruto shook his head. "Idiot. You will never be stronger than me."
Sasuke flared his chakra and blasted a massive amount of killer intent at Naruto, which, because the blonde was currently sealed, caused him to start to hyperventilate. "What was that dobe!"
Naruto coughed and turned around, walking back over to the wall and sliding down it to sit down on the floor once more. "You will never be stronger than me Sasuke. Do you know why?"
Sasuke said nothing, waiting for Naruto's answer.
Naruto allowed a small smile to flicker across his face. "You lack hatred."
"In truth it was I who was Betrayed..."
"Who is it this time? I'm getting tired of these visits. I'm starting to feel like I'm on display in a Zoo rather than on Death Row." Naruto called.
The blonde raised his head to his latest visitor and blinked when he saw the unmistakable figure of Hyuga Hinata standing there.
"You as well Hinata-chan. What words of hatred have you for me? I've already had Kakashi and Sasuke express themselves. Even Sakura had a few choice phrases."
Hinata's body flinched and a hiccup shot out of her causing Naruto to frown in confusion.
"N-Naruto-kun... f-forgive m-me."
Naruto's eyes widened at this phrase. He hadn't heard that from any of the people he had once counted as friends. And honestly had never thought to hear it from a Hyuga of all people. "Pardon?"
"F-forgive me Naruto-kun." Hinata looked up and Naruto flinched back when he saw that her cheeks were stained with tears. "I-I should have been stronger. I should have fought for you. And now you're going to die."
Naruto let out a long breath and forced a smile on his face, trying to comfort the only person who seemed to be saddened even the slightest at his coming demise. "Hey don't look so down Hinata-chan. It's not that bad really."
"How!" Hinata almost screamed, fresh tears pouring. "They're going to have you executed because you had to hurt that asshole Uchiha to bring him back. How could it possibly get worse?"
Now Naruto was completely shocked. He had never expected to hear Hinata say things like that, let alone in a loud voice. It was almost funny to hear her swear.
"Well." Naruto scratched the back of his head, trying to think of a way it could have been worse. 'They could have made the punishment torture until death.'He briefly thought drearily. "Um, they could have made the execution to be carried out by the villagers. That would have been a really bad way to die since those ones usually involve stoning. At least this way I get to go out as a Shinobi and rather quickly I guess."
Hinata shook her head. "It's not fair. Uchiha Sasuke should be getting this punishment not you. Tsunade was furious when the Council put forward this."
Naruto blinked. "Hang on, Ba-chan was angry? She was the one who sentenced me."
Hinata blinked owlishly. "That's not right. T-Tsunade-sama wanted you rewarded and promoted for bringing the Uchiha back alive, despite his injuries."
Naruto frowned. "Well she sure seemed professional about the decision."
Hinata frowned as if trying to piece together what had happened to Tsunade and her loyalty to Naruto when the blonde spoke up and brought her out of her musings.
"Say Hinata-chan. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I mean it means a lot to me to know that I haven't been completely abandoned, but why are you even here? Fair enough you are upset that Konoha is going to have me killed and all, but this is a really depressing place to be. You didn't have to come here."
Hinata shook her head and gripped the bars as if she was afraid that the entire room would suddenly disappear, Naruto included. "I had to Naruto-kun. I had to see you one last time at least."
"Because..." Hinata looked down sadly, more tears flowing. "Because, I-L-love you Naruto-kun. I always have. And I wanted you to know that. To know that even if everyone else has abandoned you. I'm always by your side."
"...I was abandoned by all bar one..."
"We are gathered here to bear witness to the execution of former Konoha Shinobi and S-class Traitor, Uzumaki Naruto for the crimes of High Treason and the attempted assassination of a Clan leader." Tsunade declared, standing before the large gathering of people who had come to witness the 'event.'
Naruto was standing in the middle of the main square of Konoha, his arms and legs spread out wide by steel chains connecting his wrists and ankles to two large wooden posts on either side of him. With the addition of several chakra draining seals applied to him, he was completely immobile and defenseless.
"Uzumaki Naruto has been tried and found guilty of these crimes and as such with a betrayal of such magnitude his punishment is execution. As a Shinobi he is granted only a single honor, and That is a Shinobi's death at the hands of another Shinobi." Tsunade continued. "Will the appointed step forward."
At this Naruto watched as Sasuke stepped down from his place behind Tsunade's right and walked over and into position in front of Naruto fifty yards away. It almost made Naruto sick to hear the joyous cheers the other shinobi and villagers gave the Uchiha when they realized he would be the one to rid the world of the hated 'Demon.'
"Does the Traitor have any last words?"
Naruto clicked his tongue in thought before shaking his head.
Tsunade let out a deep breath before looking to Sasuke and nodding.
Sasuke grinned and flashed his hands together before holding his right hand out, his left holding it to support the Chakra growing on his hand. "Chidori."
Naruto didn't even pay attention to the Uchiha as he advanced on him, the blade of lightning flashing brightly. Instead he looked to the back of the crowd. Finding the one pair of tear filled eyes that belonged only to Hinata and smiled.
Then Sasuke struck.
Naruto bit back a scream as he felt Sasuke's entire arm stab through the middle of his chest, right below his collarbone. It was fatal and hurt like a bitch, not what he expected at all.
"Looks like you're done dobe." Sasuke sneered quietly as he twisted his wrist, causing more pain to flood the slowly dying body of Naruto. "You go out of this world as you came into it. Alone and hated."
Naruto's chest shook as he coughed out a pained laugh. "Hey, sasuke..."
The Uchiha blinked and looked to Naruto, surprised the blonde still possessed the strength to speak. "What."
Naruto flashed a grin at the Uchiha, one that held all the hatred and animosity he had felt about the whole ordeal and shook his head. "I expected more..."
With that Uzumaki Naruto died. And with him, he stole the one thing Sasuke wanted more than the Mangekyo Sharingan.
Naruto awoke and sat up easily, sighing. "It is not like me to behave so nostalgic. I cannot remember the last time I thought back to my previous life."
It had been several years since that day. From the moment of his death at the hands of Sasuke and Konoha, Naruto learned that there was more to life and death than simply a beginning and an end. In fact if one were to consider it, it would have been reasonable to state that life was simply a prelude, a mere footnote for the true existence that was to come.
Whether it had been the method of his death or the complete betrayal by all he had held dear, Naruto was unsure, but upon his death his soul had exploded into a shower of despair and light.
It was a very curious experience, to be spread out over such wide range as nothing more than mere consciousness. But it only lasted as brief few seconds. When he reassembled himself he was changed. His outwards appearance now revealing the emptiness he felt within. His new body stood at 5'10 and despite having a lanky frame, he appeared to have perfect muscle definition. Legs and waist were covered in thick black fur as well as his arms right up to just past his elbows and his fingers ended in razor sharp talons. From his back two large leathery bat like wings stretched and a long thin whip like take came out from his back. In the center of his chest, right where Sasuke had killed him, just below his collar bone, was a large hole that ran right through him with a black, blood like liquid dripping down his chest from it.
His face was covered by a bone white mask, appearing like a battle helmet with two horns coming out from the sides. The only part of his face that was visible were his eyes, no longer a bright and euphoric blue, but a cold, almost pitiless green with black slits.
Upon his transformation and taking in his new, more bestial appearance Naruto had spoken. "It seems that Uzumaki Naruto is well and truly dead after all. I am not Uzumaki Naruto. My name, is Ulquiorra Schiffer."
Since that day Naruto, no, Ulquiorra had learned quite a bit about who and what he now was. It appeared, from what others like him had told him, that he was a Hollow. And more than that, he was what the Hollow's referred to as a Menos Grande, apparently Menos Grande were Hollows with unimaginable power.
Ulquiorra managed to leave behind the world of the living and enter the world of the Hollows, a place called Hueco Mundo.
It was there that he was currently waking after dreams of the past.
Ulquiorra stood up and was about to find a hapless Hollow to devour to get him through the day when he felt an unbelievably strong Reitsu standing behind him. "Can I help you with something?"
Ulquiorra turned around and blinked in surprise when he saw that the source of the massive Reitsu was actually a Shinigami. "Shinigami? Aren't you a bit far from home?"
The Shinigami smiled as if he found the statement amusing. "One could presume as much." Was his answer. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Aizen Sousuke. I have a proposition for you. But first may I know your name?"
"Ulquiorra Schiffer." The former ninja answered. "Vasto Lorde."
"Perfect. I have been looking for someone like you Ulquiorra-san."
Ulquiorra frowned underneath his mask. "Explain."
"I am in the need of Menos Grande willing to follow me without question. In return I can promise power." Aizen proposed. "I am going to take the Seat of Heaven."
Ulquiorra shrugged. "I have no use for power. With all the power I already possess I have no use for it. No Vasto Lorde has any use for their power. It is a mundane existence. We sit here and simply continue to exist. Nothing more."
Aizen nodded. "I see. Would you prefer purpose as well then?"
Ulquiorra didn't say anything, simply looking at Aizen quietly.
"I said I was seeking Menos Grande to serve me in my quest to take the Seat of Heaven with that comes the purpose to follow me Ulquiorra-san." Aizen continued. "Follow me and I can give you power and a reason to use it."
Uliquiorra said nothing as he considered the proposal. Finally after what seemed like an age itself. The Vasto Lorde stepped forward and bent down to one knee. "I will follow you, Aizen-sama."
Several years leater.
Ulquiorra had followed Aizen loyally just as he had vowed. The Shinigami used a strange device and removed the Vasto Lorde's mask, and transforming him into an Arrancar. The newly turned Arrancar was surprised when he found that his more human appearing body looked nothing like his body when he had been alive. He did not have blonde hair, no whisker marks, not even any of the scars he had obtained as a Shinobi. In his Arrancar form and with his Hollow powers sealed into a sword called a Zanpakuto Ulquiorra had shoulder length black hair with a bang of hair that came down in between his eyes. He had the same green eyes with vertical slits as before with two green streaks running down from his eyes down to his chin like tears. His hollow mask fragment was a portion of his helmet on the left side of his face. He stood at 5-6 now and wore a white jacket with long coattails and a high collar, black sash, and a white hakama.
A lot had happened over the years of his service to Aizen-sama. Ulquiorra took his place as a member of the Espada. A group of Aizen's ten strongest Arrancar with himself as the fourth strongest.
Even so, Ulquiorra served Aizen-sama to the best of his abilities, doing everything he was ordered to do without question or hesitation.
He kidnapped a human girl by the name of Orihime Inoue. And even fought an annoying human by the name of Kurosaki Ichigo. An insect who seemed to think that he was worth standing on the same level as he.
As it turned out, perhaps this Ichigo had been right. He was powerful. As evidence of Ulquiorra's current state.
Ulquiorra shook his head and looked at the shinigami standing before him as he felt his body start to fade away. "Kill me."
Ichigo stepped back, his eyes wide and tense as he watched Ulquiorra's body start to dissolve into dust. He wasn't happy. He was disappointed. The human turned shinigami hadn't been the one to beat Ulquiorra. He hadn't even been able to land a meaningful blow on the Espada. The whole reason that Ulquiorra was dying now was because Ichigo had transformed into a Hollow midway through the battle and devastated the Espada with a series of Cero blasts. Ulquiorra's primary ability, High Speed Regeneration wasn't able to fully regenerate the injuries he had sustained. He was unable to replace the vital organs that had been obliterated.
"What was that?" Was the Espada's response, unable to do or say more than that.
"I won't do it." Ichigo said shakily before shouting. "I...I don't wanna win like this!"
Ulquiorra's eyes widened and his eyes shifted back to green as he faded out of his his Ressurecion form. He looked away and sighed woefully. "You never did as anticipated, up to the very end."
the Espada turned his head and looked over to the other human looking at him with remorse, something which surprised the Nihilistic Hollow. "Right as I was finally growing interested in you people."
Ulquiorra reached out a hand to Orihime, his expression as emotionless as ever. "Do I scare you, woman?"
"I am not afraid."
Ulquiorra looked at the orange haired woman for a moment, still reaching out to her. He had asked the same question as before, when Aizen-sama had said that Orihime Inoue no longer served any purpose. He had asked that question to her then, curious to know of the human felt fear for her impending death. Now he asked for a different reason. He was the one who was dying and yet she appeared upset as she looked back at him.
he pulled his hand back as he felt more of his body turn to dust and watched as the woman quickly reached out to grab his hand, as if trying to give him some anchor to the world and keep him in it.
"...Now I see." Ulquiorra thought as his arm dissolved and she still reached out to him, a sense of understanding flooding him. "Her heart was right..."
Ulquiorra closed his eyes and breathed out the last breath he would take in Hueco Mundo as his body completely dissolved to dust and ash and scattered in the wind.
"...In my hands."