The Path We Once Walked
Summary: Shikamaru, Naruto and Gaara are the last remaining Shinobi fighting against the rule of Madara Uchiha. All seems lost, but between a shadow genius, an ex-Rokudaime and a former Jinchuuriki, they might just be able to start the game all over again.
Warning: This story will contain yaoi (ShikaNaru) and if it really bothers you so much
Don't read the story
This is my first story so don't be too hard on me.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, Kishimoto does… But if I did own it, that would be really cool. I own all OC mentioned the story though! Enjoy ^_^v
Chapter One: Their Last Move
Shikamaru knew it was too troublesome to let his mind wander, but it was times like these you really couldn't help it. He remembered a long time ago, although his heard a whisper in his voice saying that it was that long ago, he was in his first year in the Academy. His Chunin teacher had gone on an over- night mission and hadn't come back yet. Needless to say, the Sandaime had dropped an unfortunate Chunin into the class to fill in for him. Shikamaru thought that the sub had either been really stupid or didn't care because he had no problem in explaining the situation, even if he was somewhat vague about it. It was a complete drag, since the Shinobi had no idea what to do with them, and the Academy training fields were already taken by the older Pre-Genin. He decided to tell the class a story. Shikamaru couldn't recall what exactly the story was about considering he was asleep most the class, but the Chunin's last words sprung to the Genius's mind.
"…People don't realize that your first kill as a Shinobi doesn't hurt as much as your twentieth or fiftieth. The first time it hurts because you just took a life, and your safe little childhood has really started to end, but by the twentieth or the fiftieth, the pain is twice as hard to handle because its not that you took a life that bothers you. It's that it doesn't bother you so much anymore. Almost like it happens just as much as eating a meal, or buying new equipment. That's when you start to see in red…"
Snapping out of his thoughts, he shifted his gaze back to the landscape before him. The sky was dark and cloudy, and it looked as if it was going to rain any minute, but it hadn't rained in quite some time. Shikamaru wasn't one for being delusional and naïve. He knew the clouds were from the smoke and ashes that plagued the air since Madara had brought down Konoha. The land was no different, either. A barren wasteland. Everything was dead, lifeless and completely covered in red. Shikamaru never thought he'd have to take the Chunin's words literally instead of a figure of speech when you get upset or mad. " I guess Ino was right when she said blood was impossible to wash out…" The shadow genius's heartstrings pulled harshly as he thought about his friends and family. They were all dead, having fought and dies for the people they loved. He had not cried for any of them. For as each friend fell, there were still others that needed support. As a leader, he had to stay strong. It was a cruel thought that he never got to shed tears for his friends and comrades, but then again, neither had Naruto and Gaara. They both held strong too, and even in private Naruto refused to cry, often joking that he didn't want to waste the remaining fluids in his body. And they were all he had left.
Naruto… his Naruto. He'd never thought in his wildest dreams that Naruto would become his life force. He knew for a fact that he had dearly cared for Ino, but when all of Shikamaru's friends started to die, he couldn't help but develop a strong bond between the person constantly by his side. If there still were a Konoha, this kind of relationship would be looked down on by society, but strangely enough, it wasn't exactly an uncommon thing among Shinobi. You'd think the civilians and counsel would have accepted the strange quirks of active shinobi. And even if he ever got to see Ino again, he didn't think that he would feel the same. He had changed. And he knew that he would never be able to change back. The same could be said about Naruto. But Naruto was everything now. His hair was the sun which had not shined in years, his eyes that sparkled a brilliant blue was the sky that was hidden away and his voice, although slightly hoarse, still reminded Shikamaru of a babbling brook. The shorter male was his world in a human form, but even that was starting to fade. He only hoped that Gaara, Naruto and himself would be able to pull through…
Getting up from his uncomfortable crouch, Shikamaru stretched his limbs out, popping all the joints in his back. Rubbing his eyes, the twenty two year old pulled a loose strand of graying hair back behind his ear and yawned. Needless to say, none of them were aging that well.
"What a drag. You'd think with no one around it'd be peaceful…" It was a pathetic try at humor and if anything, it made Shikamaru more irritated. Trying to shake off the deep frown that now marred his face, the Shadow genius murmured a quick "Shadokuroru Gijutsu" (Shadow Crawl Technique) and melted in to the shadows, speeding back to base, and where, hopefully, Naruto and Gaara were making progress.
Naruto deep down knew they never had a good chance against Madara Uchiha. They still didn't. After the whole Pain disaster, Madara took advantage of Konoha's weakened state. What made it even worse was that Sasuke (that bastard) had no qualms about joining in and avenging is "clan and brother"… again. You'd think the bastard would get a clue and stop being so selfish. The first hit was devastating, and even when Sand teamed up with the Leaf, there was only so long two Hidden Villages could last. With Tsunade in a coma, and Danzou assassinated by Sasuke at the Kage Summit, Naruto was finally chosen as Rokudaime. But he wished he could've succeeded under better terms. In the end, although they had put up a fantastic fight, the Leaf and Sand fell under Madara's power. The loss was damaging. In a way, all three of them numbed their feeling for the dead and refused to think about their fallen comrades. You could almost even say that Shikamaru, Gaara and himself had gone slightly crazy. They smiled yet there really was little to smile about, the laughed, even when they felt like crying. It was all a jumble of feelings that only they understood in each other.
Most people would have thought that they had lost, but Naruto was too smart for that kind of thinking. And Shikamaru, the man he most dearly cherished, had said that they hadn't lost. Not until Gaara, Naruto and himself were dead. And Naruto held on to that belief. Shifting uneasily in the wooden chair, Naruto continued to review the seal markings on the table.
"Are you alright Naruto?' Gaara questioned.
Startled at the break in silence, Naruto looked up in surprise, "Yeah, just hoping that Shikamaru comes back soon… and that we figure out this whole mess! Kyuubi said that for time travel to be possible we need to implement all the base elements, a stable seal, a wholly amount of chakra, and of course Madara's Sharingan technigue on Space Manipulation. We've got the elements and chakra covered; you with earth, Shika with Fire, me with Wind, Water and Lightning and our fur ball with the chakra wave. The seal is pretty much top notch, but Madara wont fall for just any trap! So I…"
"Naruto. Calm. Down. I know all this. You forget that Uchihas are overconfident fools. And as much as Madara is smart, he has also assumed that we have lost hope. And even if he suspected something, now is not the time to start doubting yourself and our abilities. Naruto, you are the brother I will always cherish and I care for our bond deeply, so I need you to keep holding on. Also have faith in the strategy your lover boy has planned."
Deaths and battle had changed Naruto. If any one of their friends would see him now they would hardly recognize him. Heck, all three of them had changed drastically. Naruto had developed a fear of jumping into things without a plan, which was ironic since he used to be Konoha's Number One loudest, unpredictable, hyperactive knuckle headed ninja as once said by Kakashi. Shikamaru and Gaara had changed in a similar fashion. Shikamaru no longer slept, opting to keep watch and had developed a strong sense of paranoia, while Gaara would not walk into a battle without making sure that his two 'brothers' were completely fine. It was almost as if each of them had given a piece of themselves to each other as they grew closer.
"Thanks Gaara. I really needed that. You're right. I don't know what came over me. We can do this… right?"
Gaara blinked owlishly at Naruto's strange shift in mood before turning his attention elsewhere. "Shikas approaching from the West Wall this time…"
Naruto blinked and slowly a foxy grin grew on this weary face. He positioned himself right in front of the wall like countless times before, and moved his small and lithe body in the right angle as he waited.
"Naruto, I'm ba…" Shikamaru never got to finish as Naruto tackled him in a hug and snuck in a warm but slightly chapped kiss. "Welcome back!"
After they parted, Naruto led Shikamaru towards the table where Gaara sat. Looking up from the spread out scrolls, Gaara gave a warm smile towards Shikamaru.
"Anything new out there?" Gaara asked.
"Nope, it's all the same, but I set up some chakra alarms just in case Madara feels like playing cat and mouse with us anytime soon. How's the seal? I've already got our strategy figured out and its pretty much as perfect as perfect comes."
Snorting as the last comment Gaara looked back down at the scrolls "It's doing fine. It was kind of difficult rearranging Pain's chakra absorption technique, but Naruto and I have been able to figure out how to structure the new Jutsu to our needs."
It seemed as if they had all the time in the world do this. Everyone they cared for was dead and there was no one else to protect but themselves. But in truth, they were running out of time. While it is true that the three remaining Shinobi had learned an unbelievably vast amount of Jutsus, fighting styles, and techniques that should have put them on par with Madara, they weren't on equal playing fields. They hadn't eaten in quite some time and they barely got any rest, making their bodies feverish often more times then not. Naruto, out of the three was the strongest. You could say he was the sword. He had improved tremendously and showed a great amount of precision after deciding that his strange lack of style was not getting him anywhere and decided to actually learn a variety of fighting styles. Gaara was the shield. Protective and quick, he could get to the other two quick enough to impress a ray of sun traveling to Earth. Shikamaru was the brain. When Asuma said that his IQ was well over 200 and that he had the mind of a general he wasn't kidding. In fact, Shikamaru knew the 'game' Asuma set up for him so long ago was an IQ test. Just to settle his teacher's curiosity he had done it without question, but he had held back, just to keep the element of surprise.
"I think its time to hit the hay. We need to rest… Tomorrow we will execute our plan and we need to be at our best… well as best a couple of starved Shinobi can get anyway." Shikamaru stated.
Nodding their heads in agreement, Gaara and Naruto silently agreed with Shikamaru. Gaara moved to his room to meditate and sleep while Shikamaru walked to the room he shared with Naruto. Back when the war was at its peak, the base they were currently residing in was a secret headquarters for the leading Kage, Anbu and Jounin. It was underground and could only be accessed by the Shinobi who knew the barrier's seal combination. Closing the door quickly to their room, Shikamaru pushed Naruto against the wall and gave him a bruising kiss. Naruto, feeling the worry and desperation in his lover's movements, pressed himself against Shikamaru and kissed back just as passionately.
"It will all be fine Shika. I'm here and we can do this."
If we fail, I don't want you dieing without me. And if you did, then I'm telling you right now that I will not feel any regret in taking my life then and there."
Hearing the seriousness laced in Shikamaru's voice, Naruto pulled him into a soft hug, and led them to their small cot. Plopping both of them down onto it, Naruto took Shikamaru's arms, and wrapped them around his small waist.
"We won't fail. Just think of it this way… have you ever lost at Shogi?"
"Then this is a game of Shogi and tomorrow you have to make your last move. And Gaara and I will be there right beside you. Believe it."
Chuckling at Naruto's old catch phrase, one he hadn't used in quite a long time, Shikamaru kissed Naruto one last time before drifting off into a dreamless sleep.
"Come out, come out where ever you are! You can't hide forever!"
Naruto pressed his back against the large bolder between him and Madara. Not but an hour ago, Gaara, Shikamaru and Naruto had begun their plan. Naruto had been having an intense battle with Madara, when Gaara had given the ten-minute signal. In the next ten minutes, if he could get Madara to use his Sharingan Space Manipulation technique, then everything else would fall into line.
Going through the necessary hand seals, Naruto flashed through the movements and jumped from behind the boulder "Ninja āto! Kaze burēdo!" (Ninja Art! Wind Blades!)
Flipping back in surprise, Madara barely evaded the attack. Grinning madly he backed up quickly "Katon Karyuu Endan!" (Fire Dragon Flame Blast!)
Naruto feeling the scorching heat approaching him saw the opening from under the flame dragon speeding towards him and took a chance. "Please Kakashi, if you're watching me from wherever you are lend me your strength! Chidori!" (The Thousand Birds) Pushing himself from his previously crouched position, Naruto zoomed under the flames towards Madara, lightning chirping wildly. Not having enough time to completely get out of the way, Madara was punched in the side of the stomach.
"You may have landed a hit on me, but you'll never be able to kill me! I am Uchiha Madara and…!"
"And that's game, set and match!" Shikamaru yelled.
With a look of astonishment, Madara was wrapped in a swirl of sand and shadows. Grinning again he loudly exclaimed "As if you could hold me. I'll see you three again!" Slowly Madara started to disappear.
"Now we have you right where we want you!" Naruto yelled.
Quickly ripping off their shirts, an elaborate design of seals were drawn on the bodies. Without any hesitation Shikamaru, Naruto and Gaara yelled their designated Jutsu.
"Jutsu kōdo kyūshū-hō!" (Jutsu Code Absorption Technique)-Shikamaru
"Enerugī kyōkyū gijutsu!" (Energy Feeding Technique)- Naruto
"Toripuru yūgō gijutsu!" (Triple fusion Technique)- Gaara
"No what's happening!" Madara yelled in panic and fear. An emotion he had not felt in decades.
As the seals on their body started to glow and the chakra between them started to circulate, they yelled together and flashed through the necessary hand signs with a determination and skill that would impress a God. Adding in a surge of all five elements, and an extra wave of Kyuubi's chakra they roared
"Shizen parusu! Jikan sōsa-hō! (Nature Pulse! Time Manipulation Technique!)
The light was blinding and the pain was unbearable but in a matter of seconds Madara was laying unconscious on an empty battlefield as Naruto, Shikamaru, and Gaara were pulled into the glowing chakra and back where it all began. Game Start.
Chapter Two: Game Start-The Chunin Exams
Big thanks to Google Translator, since I do not know Japanese, and also because I didn't want to look up a specific Jutsu from the Naruto archives that was similar to the ideal technique I wanted to display.
I'll update again after I get a good chunk of reviews or five days pass… Cause it takes me a day or two to write it, and a day or two to type and edit it so you understand what I'm saying. Thanks for reading!