COLD PART 8- THE UNKNOWN FUTURE,
AU of Manga chapter 452 onwards- A very different meeting between Naruto and Team Samui creates a different reaction from Naruto.
Apologies for the extreme length between chapters for this story.
'This' means someone is thinking.
Italics alone means the name of something, i.e. Jinchuriki, Katon Jutsu.
Horizontal ruler (a line across the page) means a page break or timeskip, may be a few minutes, may be a few hours...
-X- means a scene change, i.e. we start with Kabuto and Madara/Tobi/whatever in the secret lair. Then we go to Naruto and Samui on turtle island- a scene change from a secret lair to an island.
Disclaimer; I do not own Naruto or any of the characters or ideas involved. This is non profit-I am making no money from this.
Hi No Kuni...
It was dusk, the sun was lowering in the sky and the formerly hot day was rapidly cooling as the night came.
In a clearing in the forest, Uzumaki Naruto crouched in solemn thought looking at something that filled him regret and sadness.
He had found the grave of Uzumaki Kushina- his mother.
"Mom... I'm sorry. I failed you... I failed my Nindo... I made a promise. I stopped them... Madara, Kabuto... Sasuke... I stopped them all... the fourth Shinobi World war ended and things..."
He took a long breath.
"I once thought I could bring peace to the world... but there is always division..."
"I am not your enemy!"
Dodging searing hot lava shaped like darts, Naruto yelled at Kurotsuchi, granddaughter of the current Tsuchikage. She and a team of Shinobi had broken into the Tailed Beast temple inside Shimagame with the intention of killing the Konoha Jinchuriki and any who stood in their way.
His cries fell on deaf ears as the stone Kunoichi continued the attack, mixing Earth, Fire, water and Lava Jutsu with amazing variety. With a burst of Senjutsu enhanced speed Naruto closed in and knocked her backwards across the stone floor, not using anything close to full strength for fear of killing what should have been an ally.
"What are you doing?" he yelled at the tumbling over enemy.
Kurotsuchi responded by hurling a lightning fast kunai superheated to the point of glowing white-hot.
"I'm doing this to save lives!" She yelled angrily. The kunai missed by a mile, it hit a stone wall behind Naruto, transferring the heat into the stone nearly liquefying the dense rock.
"Things have changed. Madara is targeting civilians to lure the two remaining Jinchuriki out and if he gets them-" "What do you mean targeting civilians?!" Naruto shouted fear rising within him.
"Armies of zombies- reanimated Shinobi and some kind of plant men are attacking civilian villages and killing all within, Honomeku, Gachin and half a dozen other towns and villages have been destroyed already!"
Her voice barely held its level as she shouted. The young woman had walked through tents full to bursting with dead and mutilated people, Shinobi, civilians, even children. It didn't matter to the hordes of the Akatsuki.
"While you and the walking fanservice over there are having fun, people are dying. Our comrades and families are dying!"
Naruto's eyes widened with horror as the Iwa ninja continued.
"As long as you live the slaughter will continue. So you must die." She strode forward while Naruto himself stood frozen in horror making no attempt to move.
"Naruto! Don't listen to her! You swore to stop the Akatsuki! Are you going to give up because of one conversation with a complete stranger?"
Naruto started at the outburst from the usually ice-cold Samui directed at him. A couple of renegade Shinobi from Kumo did as well. Emotion outbursts weren't in the ice queen's style. Naruto snapped out of his funk and sent Kurotsuchi flying like a pinwheel with a mini-Rasengan.
"Do you believe leading this idiot on is worth the risk?! The lives lost already?!" Another of the rogue Shinobi shouted.
The response she gave was all Naruto needed to fight on...
Naruto smiled as he thought of the Kunoichi. "Mom... what would you want for me? What would you think of my life, my friends, my..." He paused as he thought about Samui, about what the often seemingly remote and aloof young woman had become to him, when things had changed between them...
One year ago...
For days now, Naruto (in the containment of the underground Tailed Beast Temple) had been attempting to merge small amounts of nature chakra with low levels of Kyuubi chakra- the results were so explosive he doubted anywhere else on Earth other than the chakra absorbing cavern he was in right now could have withstood the stress.
What he was doing required higher levels of intuitive power manipulation than anything he had attempted previously. To accomplish this, Naruto had attempted meditation, shadow clones, even covered himself in a bewildering array of seals. He theorised that what was needed was a bridge- some kind of converter for differing energy types. There was progress. Frustratingly slow though it was.
Naruto was exhausted, but he couldn't sleep, not without nightmares. He went to the kitchen (or food hut to be more accurate) for something to boost his energy levels.
Inside he saw Samui in a plain white nightgown. Naruto realised this was the first time he had seen her in something other than her eye-catching, undeniably appealing yet drably coloured Ninja gear and was instantly struck by how lovely she looked.
The Kunoichi was holding a book in one hand and a glass of unknown liquid in the other. Naruto blinked at the cover; 'The Greatest Show On Earth.'
Naruto pointed at the book eager to have something to talk with the often remote Kunoichi about other than work and battle.
"I saw travelling shows and went to carnivals with the Pervy Sage, I like the food best." He blurted out hoping he didn't sound like a pathetically random idiot.
Samui responded flatly; "Actually this book chronicles the evolution of Ninjutsu from uncertain roots as a single, almost cult like organisation, to splinter into clans, to reunite as villages becoming a global phenomenon with no true leadership and open hostility against one another."
Naruto stood and stared, his expression one of frozen dumbness. Samui was afraid she'd lost him.
"That means-" "I know what it means. I just was hoping not to sound like an idiot in front of you. Seriously, is there anything around here I can ingest to kill myself painlessly?"
Samui smirked at that. "You're not that bad. I read when I can't sleep. Do you want to borrow something to read?"
Naruto shrugged. "Me and big, scary paper things with words on them don't get along."
"I'm sure it's not that bad, you're good with sealing."
They left the hut and were walking through the night.
"Yeah, but that's different."
They soon arrived at Samui's hut. Naruto's face had gone serious. "Does that book have Shinobi history in it?"
"It might tell me something about what we did wrong for the world to get so screwed up." He still remembered Pain's question about peace. He hadn't answered it yet.
"I haven't read it myself yet." Samui replied.
"Maybe you could read it to me. Might put me to sleep."
Samui turned to look at him, the expression in her blue eyes narrowing to annoyance.
"Not that you're boring! I mean you have a nice voice- I mean it sounds good... you have... good pronunciation?" He continued to babble. Samui smiled and opened her door. She ushered the embarrassed boy in.
She agreed to read to him- probably wasn't the smartest thing to do given their relationship but she couldn't remember the last time someone complimented her voice. Her breasts, backside, legs and 'grace' when running and jumping were commonly praised. But never her voice.
Naruto listened to her story; war, tragedy, betrayal, loss- but it sounded wonderful from her and he saw such emotions in her eyes as she spoke; sorrow, anger, horror. He didn't notice consciousness leave him as he drifted off to sleep on the coach.
Samui put an extra blanket over him and went to bed herself feeling satisfied, even weirdly happy.
"Getting turned on by her voice, not just her... other assets... I think you'd approve Mom. Course it hasn't always been touchy feely, sappy sweet romance. Besides the first time we met and she made me her bitch there was..."
Naruto walked through the unnamed, ruined, still smouldering village, his despair growing, feeling as helpless as when he saw Sakura's body in that river.
He remembered the funeral after Orochimaru's attack on Konoha, the destruction of the village three years later at the twisted, undead hands of Pain, Jiraiya's words to him about war and hatred.
Something grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him hard. He dimly saw Samui standing in front of him saying something.
Naruto stared at her.
He grabbed her roughly and kissed her. He wanted to feel something, anything besides pain and helplessness.
'It's all futile... the war and death never changes... so I might as well do what I want...'
At first Samui pushed him away, but he grabbed her again and held her tightly. Soon the pair were wrestling on the floor tearing off each other's clothes still stained with blood from fighting their fellow Shinobi...
"Screwing out in the open at the sight of a massacre... even the pervy Sage didn't write anything like that in his trashy novels..." He went red as he realised this really wasn't appropriate discussion for the grave of your mother. Or appropriate at any time or place really.
He shook his head and got back on track;
"The five Shinobi villages did unite- when we were all threatened with destruction by the Akatsuki..."
Naruto closed his eyes for a moment as he remembered flashes of the destruction of most of Iwagakure by Madara and the tailed beasts under his control, Kumo being hit and ravaged, thousands of civilians across the elemental nations being killed by Zetsu and zombie armies simply to draw two remaining jinchuriki out, his own final battle with Sasuke...
Naruto remembered the look of fury, horror and disbelief on the face of his former teammate as his latest Rasenshuriken variant, empowered by directly merging poisonous Kyubi chakra and explosive Nature energy and channelling the catastrophic result, penetrated Susanoo's seemingly impenetrable defences and blew the last Uchiha's arms and legs off. Naruto watched the limbless avenger horribly die from shock and bleed out wondering what Sakura would have thought of this.
He remembered being told of Madara himself dying at the hands of the five Kage; by the now late old man Onoki's final blow with his devastating Jinton: Genkai Hakuri no Jutsu after Tsunade used a ranged version of nervous disruption to anchor the masked madman to the world...
A year had passed since the war's end- new factions had emerged during the reconstruction of the Shinobi world; some remnants of Iwa sought the seven now loose tailed beasts- released after Naruto and Killer Bee destroyed the Gedo Mazo statue. Similar goals were followed by former citizens of the land of Water, enemies of Terumi Mei's progressive regime. Smaller nations like Kuma No Kuni and Yama No Kuni were becoming increasingly militant sensing a chance to rise to power in the confused world.
"I thought if I punched out enough people, fought hard enough, all war and hatred would end, that we could forget the past and create a better future. I thought by shouting loud enough I could make everyone believe. Some do. Are humans not meant to live in peace? Will there always be war and people like Madara, Kabuto and Sasuke- people so ruined by war and hatred that they now only exist to create more war and pain?"
He growled in frustration.
"Sometimes I think everything we fought for, all the good we did is being forgotten, twisted, ignored... I guess some people might say that was human nature..."
He looked up at the sky.
"Sasuke... would you laugh... or at least smirk at that? Hoping I'd admit I was wrong and you were right? That I'd validate you? Say that hate and vengeance was right all along?" He paused. He put his hand on his mothers weathered tombstone.
"I won't. Even now, as I see trouble starting up again I believe things can change again."
Naruto stood up. "I might never live to see true peace. Ninja might fight for a thousand years. But I won't stop."
"Peace takes time. The road ahead will be violent, hard and long but we will find true peace."
Naruto turned away from the grave to see Samui watching a few meters away. A benefit of the 'New World' was improved relations between Konoha and Kumo; Naruto and Samui were an official couple now and Naruto hoped to be more soon. They walked away hand in hand.
Naruto placed a hand into his jacket/bag rummaging around for something.
"Hey, Samui-chan... there's something I want to ask you..."
My sincere apologies if the sudden ending disappoints or angers but I've been spinning my wheels with this story for months and it's been frustrating to put it mildly.
The first draft had a war between allied shinobi and zombies and zetsu's (similar to canon but expanded upon), I rejected this because I realized I was making the same mistake as in the earlier fic Pain For Real, in that random battles weren't what attracted people to read this story. What interested people was the first couple of chapters tapping into genuine anger fans had over Naruto's irrational obsession with Sasuke and general delusion about the dark and violent world around him, if I couldn't carry on with that there was no point to this story. So I created a second version of this story chapter with the battles as an almost afterthought (Tsunade witnessed the battles via the Third Hokages crystal ball and basically listed them), while the chapters emphasis was on Naruto training and interacting with Samui. This didn't work for me either as it seemed to similar to the previous chapter (although I did salvage the book reading part). The THIRD version of the story was to primarily revolve around a conspiracy involving a group of rogue Shinobi led by Kurotsuchi hunting Naruto down to kill him (hoping to save lives at the expense of one), the moral here was that there would always be divisions amongst people (no quick easy answer to all of the world's problems), I decided to drop this as I have found it very difficult to draw up enthusiasm for Naruto fics lately, partially because I especially don't like were the series has gone recently.
I posted this chapter as while a lot of people won't like it I feel it is better than abandoning it or just dropping it without notice, and this ending feels a lot more realistic than a simple happily ever after.
Jinton: Genkai Hakuri no Jutsu (Dust Release: Detachment of the Primitive World Technique) - an example of the Jinton kekkei genkai that dismantles (or possibly simply destroys with a highly contained explosion) matter, this Jutsu can be precisely controlled and surgical or amazingly powerful and destructive.
Kuma No Kuni (Land of Bears) - country shown in anime filler, it is the location of Hoshigakure (village hidden in among stars).
Yama No Kuni (Land of Mountains) - another anime filler country, it was the location of Kagero village.
Honomeku (to be seen dimly, glimmer) Gachin (clash) - original villages I created in the rejected war drafts of this story- they existed to "show off" the power and skills of the reanimated Shinobi.
The Greatest Show On Earth was a book by Richard Dawkins on the subject of evolution.