Hey Guys, I'd like to make a shout out and a huge thank you to my beta reader bigbro56 who has been a big help in making this story. Without him I truly believe it wouldn't be worth reading.
I do not own Naruto
It's been nearly a year since the end of the war. The Leaf Village and the World have healed and are moving forward. But one lone Ninja is still trying to get over certain events that happened to him in the closing days of war. Even though he's the Hero of the world it feels as if he's let the world down by certain decisions and he feels that certain people he considered close to him have betrayed him. Now its Konoha and its Shinobi's turn to try save Naruto Uzumaki from the darkness created by him and those certain people!
The chirps of crickets and birds wrung across Konoha as the sun slowly began to rise, casting a blue glow over land. The vibrant village still dead quiet as people just started to awaken from there slumbers to begin their morning routine.
"Konoha... looks so beautiful," thought Naruto Uzumaki as he stood atop his father's head. In the past two years venturing up here before missions became a tradition. He found it a great way to calm and focus himself for the task at hand as well it was a reminder and a motivator for him to survive these missions. To take in Konoha's beauty and know he must live to defend it and the people who lived there.
With a reluctant sigh he took in the surroundings one last time before leaping from the Hokage Monument and setting off for the main gate. It was 5am and still over a half of Konoha lay in their bed, which puzzled the blond ninja. Another part off his pre mission ritual was to be up early that day so he could walk through Konoha's streets with nothing but the sound of his breathing filling his ears. As he passed certain homes and buildings, memories, both good and bad, entered his mind, reminding him of the reasons he calls this place home, fuelling him to succeed on his mission for not only his sake but for that of the village.
The Academy, true there were memories of being made fun of, there were good ones, like causing mischief with Kiba and Choji or lazing around with Shikamaru. But the thing Naruto most associated with the academy was Iruka-Sensei, his big brother and first precious person.
Yamanka Flower Shop, Ino and her soon to be husband Choji. A smiled dawned on the young Jōnins face, immediately after the war ended Choji walked right up to Ino and asked point blank to marry him. To many people's surprise she said 'Yes' without a second's hesitation. That was little over a year ago. "Man how time flies". It seemed like only yesterday he was standing face to face with Madara on the bloody, destroyed battlefield, the last day of the war.
Ichiraku Ramen, Naruto all but laughed out loud "That's an obvious one"
The Hospital . . . Naruto froze on the spot, his heart sped up slightly. He literally had to force himself to look at it and found easier then drawing breath to walk away. "Sakura-chan." Nearly a year, since he last saw or spoken to his favorite pink haired medic nin. Ever since...
He pushed it to the back off his mind, "Don't start thinking about it now! It'll ... it'll just anger and frustrate you. The mission is priority, and she'll affect your performance. You've worked too hard to put the past behind you to go digging it up again now."
Clearing his mind he pushed on, his smile gone by now, replaced by a small, almost unnoticeable, frown, his previous good mood nearly gone. Just before the gate he was distracted one more time. A newly constructed sign hung above the bridge that led to newly rebuilt homes that till recently were abandoned. The sign bore the proud emblem of the Uchiha Crest, shining in the small amount of light of the sun. The area once decimated by Itachi Uchiha was now been rebuilt in an effort to help the last member of the clan rebuild the once proud name.
"Sasuke . . . ."
Naruto walked on with new speed in his step his good mood officially gone.
"This is going to make the mission so much easier" he thought bitter,dripping in sarcasm.
On a building overlooking the gate to Konoha, a silver hair Shinobi looked on as his former student walked out the gate alone for his mission, bag on back, hair blowing in the breeze. Since the end of the war Kakashi had made it a point to keep an eye on Naruto. Though many could not see it besides a few off his close friends Naruto had changed. Although socially he had matured drastically in terms of his knuckle-headed antics and childish behaviour, which rarely made appearances, he also seemed to be isolating himself whenever possible from his friends, especially when a certain pink hair Kunoichi and dark haired Uchiha were meant to be around. On the rare occasion they were mentioned Naruto's mood instantly came like ice though no one seemed to notice... now that he thought about it the only ones who had noticed this bad part of the new Naruto was the old and new members of Squad 7.
"Naruto . . . What happened that day, what changed you so drastically from the Shinobi we all know and care about," thought Kakashi as his mind began to scan over the day in question.
One Year Ago.
Kakashi walked in quick strides towards the Hokage's tent which was uncommon for the lazy, and perverted, Kakashi Hatake. As he entered the tent the only person present, was Yamato. He turned and smiled happily at him.
"If you're looking for the Hokage-sama I'm afraid she's not here, I believe she is gone to examine Sasuke." Yamato said smile growing.
"So... it's true that Naruto managed to drag him back," said Kakashi a smile of his own growing on his face, "that boy, he never seizes to amaze me. First he manages to defeat Kabuto single handily and get too reverse his EDO Tensei, but then only hours later he takes on Sasuke as well and manages to defeat him too. If I was Madara I would start worrying." His lone eye curled unnaturally into a smile, the pride he felt for his student seemed to pour from him.
"I know what you mean Sempai, that Naruto really is something else. I believe Lady Hokage wished to examine him personally but he refused saying that Sasuke needed her attention more than him. They came back nearly six hours ago and Lady Hokage and Sakura still haven't left Sasuke's tent since. Naruto must have really done a number on him. Still Naruto should get looked at, Kabuto and Sasuke together in the same day he must be in as more pain than Sasuke. Come to think of it, since the moment Naruto put Sasuke on the stretcher, nobody has seen him." Yamato sighed fatigue showing on his face.
Kakashi turned to Yamato "Don't worry Yamato knowing Naruto he's probably just-"
"Kakashi Sensei, Caption Yamato, can I speak to you." Said an oddly toneless voice from the entrance.
Turning, they found Naruto in the tent entrance. Looking him over Kakashi had to admit he had never seen the boy so tired and looking so beat up. His shirt had been removed, uneven and poorly placed bandages, mostly on his left side, covered his upper body. From the look of bandages, they were soaked in the burn treating agent, "Sasuke's Fire Style must have hit target a few times," thought Kakashi and looking over the rest off him, his pants were tore, revealing bits of scratched up skin. His face held many dark purple bruises along with deep cuts.
"Sure Naruto, but can't it wait you should really let Lady Hokage or Sakura look at you. I know Sai's First Aid when I see it." Kakashi smiled.
"I'm sorry sensei but this can't wait. This is... this is really important, I need both yours and Caption Yamato's help" Naruto said quickly and calmly.
Kakashi a little taken back by how direct Naruto was and studied him for a second before concluding whatever Naruto had on his mind, he wasn't going to like. "OK Naruto... what do you need from Yamato and I?" asked Kakashi confusion evident in his tone.
"I . . . I need you to create a distraction for me . . . at the north side of the camp, while I sneak out through the south exit," replied Naruto.
"Why would we do that Naruto?" asked Kakashi immediately cutting of Yamato before he could retort, his voice almost challenging him to respond correctly.
Naruto looked at them for nearly a full minute clearly deciding how best to word what he was going to say. "With your distraction I'll be able to leave from the south unopposed. From there I'm heading south-west towards the Land of Rivers. I'm... ending Madara," Naruto's eyes darkened, "for good."
Before Kakashi could even digest what his young student was saying Yamato interjected "What . . . are crazy or have you taken to many blows to the head. You're... going to leave on your own to face Madara after what's happened to you today! Even if you'd spent the last year solely training to fight him I'd still call you a baka."
Naruto's response again this time cutting off Kakashi who was quiet calm despite the situation. "Caption Yamato, Kakashi-Sensei, I don't have time for this so I'll be blunt. Madara's plan has failed the last of his army is falling as we speak its only a matter of time before he cuts his ties and runs. We can't risk that, he'll just go underground and start all over again. We have Sasuke to thank for the location of Madara, maybe he felt like repaying me for all the trouble I went through to get him, or maybe it was his concussion, but he told the location before passing out. All three of us know Madara makes decisions quick so I need to go, now, Narutos ending words held a firm tone that made both Kakashi and Yamato relize he was dead set on following through with his plan.
Yamato still pressed on, "Your wounds, their horrible-"
"I know their bad," interrupted Naruto a small smile slowly spreading across his face, "But I've got the Kyuubi and plus, teme's shot was weak. I'll be fine, believe it!"
Naruto gave him small thumbs up, before returning to his more serious expression.
"What about the Biju Madara has at his disposal?" asked Kakashi calmly, though his head had a more aggressive response which was, no way baka!
Naruto smirked "He can't access the other tailed beasts until he has possession of the Kyuubi, and I'm not just brining the final piece of the puzzle to Madara. The captured Biju are not at this base again that info is thanks to Sasuke."
Slowly gathering his thoughts, Kakashi came up with a compromise that made him feel better, "Ok, but I'm going with you."
"No! Kakashi-Sensei it has to be me alone. Madara has killed and hurt the people of Konoha, all to get to me!" Naruto's eyes had darkened again, "I won't allow you to place yourself at risk and besides I have a task for you" Naruto said and handed him a scroll. "It's a map to Madara's base where he is holding the Tailed Beasts. After I'm gone show it to the Kages, they will know what to do." Naruto stopped clearly giving them one last opportunity to ask questions.
"And if we refuse to help?" Asked Yamato
Naruto turned and for the first time in the conversation gave his foxy grin. "I have another way out off the camp if need be. But I'd rather your help the other option requires me to use some chakra and I'd think you'd agree I better off saving as much as possible for my opponent."
Kakashi had to concede that it was in Naruto's best interest to help him out, attempting to restrain him would most likely end up with him leaving anyway as they were no longer a match for him, injuries or no injuries.
"Ok Naruto, leave it to us," before turning to Yamato who looked like he was having a stroke, Naruto spoke again.
"Thank you Kakashi Sensei, Caption Yamato I will not forget this" Naruto said warmly and turned to leave, "If anything happens... thank you for everything."
"Naruto I can understand keeping this from the other ninja, but what about Sasuke... and Sakura? Do you at least think you should tell them? They deserve to know and I'm sure you can trust them to keep it quiet if necessary?" asked Yamato.
"No!"replied Naruto so quickly and so coldly, he might have spat ice with that word, it took the two Jonin by surprise, "They don't need to know, they have been through enough in the past few years. Everything is finally getting better for them. They . . . they're finally together . . . and I know walking into that tent and telling them what I'm about to do it . . . It isn't fair to them" Naruto finished with a little more warmth in his voice.
"It isn't fair on you either Naruto just leaving like this" replied Kakashi, he didn't want to lose another person close to his heart.
Naruto turned to them one last time with a truly warm and understanding smile. "I learned a long time ago, Kakashi-Sensei, that life isn't fair, but I understand it needs to happened like this it's the only way things have a chance of working out" he then turned to leave the tent.
"Naruto . . ."
"Thanks again Kakashi Sensei, Caption Yamato give me about five minutes and I'll be ready to go" Naruto said cutting him off as he left.
"Good Luck Naruto," thought Kakashi and Yamato
Gripping the scroll tightly Kakashi turned to Yamato "Come on, Tenzo, let's do our part."
"Hai Kakashi-Sempai" Replied Yamato
Kakashi kept his eyes on the blond Ninja, watching him until he disappeared into the trees. Letting out a sigh, Kakashi opened his little orange book as an older Kunoichi with blonde pony tails joined him on the roof. He turned to the Hokage. "He's turned into a fine young man and Shinobi, he's saved this village and the world many times over and yet . . . and yet he never learned to save himself from his own demons," Kakashi said to the older women.
"Well then now it's our turn to save him for a change" Replied Tsunade with a small, excited, smile.
"I couldn't agree with you more." Kakashi answered with a smile.
"I take it you have a plan?" she asked smiling wider.
"Don't, I always,"retorted Kakashi still smiling as he turned his attention to his book.