*I DON'T OWN NARUTO*
Ino and Naruto stormed into Konoha's hospital, startling the nurse behind the receptionist desk.
"Ino what in the world is the meaning of this?"
"Tami where is Shikamaru?"
"Yes, he just arrived in critical condition," said Naruto.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you two are talking about."
"I know he's here Tami! He was reversed summoned and he's really hurt!"
"Okay, Ino relax. I'll look into this for you," said Tami.
She picked up the receptionist's phone and began to punch in the extension to the second information desk that was in a different part of the hospital. She held the receiver as she waited for someone to answer, but the hospital's intercom system had her pull the phone back from her ear.
"Attention all medical personnel code blue. I repeat code blue."
"Shikamaru!" Yelled Ino and she ran towards the hallway that held an array of hospital rooms.
Wait!" Yelled Tami.
Ino wasn't in the mood to listen. All she wanted to do was be by Shikamaru's side. A male nurse was running towards the south end of the hospital when Ino crashed into young man began apologizing but Ino wasn't listening. Instead, she continued to run down the hall when the young man grabbed her wrist.
"Ma'am we have a situation going on back there and nonmedical personnel are not allowed. Please wait in the waiting room."
"That situation is my boyfriend! Don't you dare tell me I can't be back there!"
"Ma'am please settle down."
"Sorry about that you can let her go,' said Naruto as he quickly grabbed Ino by the arm. I'll take her to the waiting room,"
The young man nodded in thanks and then he continued to run back down the hallway.
"They just called a code blue Naruto. You know what that means don't you?"
"Yes I know, it's a cardiac arrest alarm, but it's not Shikamaru."
"No, I mean he's still in pretty bad shape, but his heart hasn't given out."
"Oh thank god," sighed Ino as she placed her head against Naruto's chest.
"Don't worry, he's being treated as we speak," said Naruto as he looked down at Ino who was now nervously playing with the fabric of his shirt.
"How could this happen to Shikamaru Naruto? He's smart, he always has a plan for everything. He isn't the type to go and get mortally wounded."
"What if he dies? I know you said his heart is still beating, but what if he takes a turn for the worst? What if the others are hurt as well?! Oh my god, Sakura…"
Naruto wrapped his arms around Ino, resting his chin on her shoulder as he hugged her.
"I'm sure they're fine..."
Things weren't looking good, and Ino couldn't even fathom what
she would do if anything happened to Sakura and Shikamaru. Suddenly a familiar voice caught her their attention.
"Hey, what are you guys doing here?" Asked Tenten.
"Yeah what's going on you two?" Asked Neji as he pushed his teammate's wheelchair into the waiting room.
"Oh guys it's horrible Shikamaru just arrived and things aren't looking good," whimpered Ino.
She pulled away from Naruto and knelt down next to Tenten. She then wrapped her arms around her friend's neck and began to softly sob.
"How can that be? I thought he was in Suna with the others," said Neji.
"I'm not sure exactly what happened. All I know is that he was reversed summoned her by one of Sakura-chan's slug summons."
"The mission must have been compromised," whispered Tenten.
"It would seem so," sighed Naruto.
"Is he the only one that was reversed summoned?" Asked Neji.
"Yeah, Ino and I rushed here as soon as I sensed him enter the village."
"What about the summon? Is it still here?" Asked Tenten.
"No, I have no idea where the summon went."
"Neji you can leave me here with Ino. I think you and Naruto need to talk."
"Sure thing Tenten," said Neji.
He and Naruto walked a little further away from the waiting room. As soon as they were out of hearing range they began to talk.
"Things have really taken a turn for the worst Neji. I never thought Shikamaru would be taken out. He's what was ensuring the mission would be a success but now I'm afraid to think what everyone else is facing. We need to make sure that we're prepared for anything."
"Alright then, what do you need me to do?"
"Well, for starters get everyone over here. Update them about Shikamaru's condition. I'm sure Chouji will make the perfect support system Ino needs right now, what with them being on the same team and all."
"Right, are there any specific orders you want me to give everyone?"
"No, at least not yet, for now just bring them here. I'll probably have a better idea of what's going on once you get back. Besides, Baa-chan should be arriving soon. I'm sure Sakura-chan's summon made its way to her with news of Shikamaru's condition. If anyone can bring me up to speed it's her."
"What about extra security? I heard that the council wanted you to be protecting all the outskirts of our borders."
"Yeah I have that covered. I have all my clones in position and they are all linked to the intelligence team. They have all been alerted about Shikamaru's sudden arrival and condition by Inoichi, so they know what's going on."
"When were you able to get into contact with Ino's father?"
"I was able to get her to contact him telepathically before we made our way over here."
"Alright then, I'll leave and get Chouji and the others here as fast as I can. What are you going to do?"
"I need to stay here in case…. Sakura-chan comes," replied Naruto.
"Shikamaru may be here Naruto, but you and I both know that he'd make sure everyone else was safe. You know he takes his roles as team captain seriously. I'm sure he kept Sakura out of harm's way."
"Naruto? What is it?"
"No," whispered Naruto.
"What do you feel?" Asked Neji as he looked his friend over.
Naruto didn't say a word, instead, he quickly ran out of the hospital. Neji looked on as Naruto frantically made his way towards the hospital's front door.
"This can't be good," whispered Neji.
Sakura coughed, as a mixture of dirt and ash filled her lungs. She waved her hand around to get a better look at her surroundings. At first, she couldn't tell where she was, but she knew it wasn't the hospital. Another sharp contraction swept over her and she held her stomach and she waited for it to pass.
"Mei where are...we?"
"I'm sorry Sakura I wasn't able to get to you the hospital. Your vitals weren't stable so we ended up somewhere else."
"Well, where is somewhere else?"
"From what I gather we should be in Konoha, but everything around us is destroyed. Were you thinking about anything in particular before I reversed summoned us?"
"I was thinking about Naruto."
"Hmmm, perhaps your thoughts influenced where we were taken. Does this place look at all familiar to you?"
Sakura looked around, all she saw was a tattered building that was filled with busted furniture and rubble. She had no idea where she was, that is, until something crumbled on the floor caught her attention. She reached for it and just by touch alone she could tell it was a photo. Sakura spread it open and gasped, it was the photo of Team 7, the same one that Naruto kept in his room. It was then that Sakura knew exactly where she was. Her labor pains were pushed to the back of her mind as she looked around the room one last time. Tears filled her eyes as she realized just where they were.
"Sakura are you alright?"
"I'm home Mei. This is mine and Naruto's apartment."
"Oh, my god. How could this be?" Asked Mei as she freely slid across the floor.
Sakura's heart fluttered when she heard that familiar voice call her name. She turned around just in time to see Naruto burst through what was left of the front door. He quickly spotted his pregnant wife on the floor and without haste he ran towards her so that he could be by her side. Naruto slid onto the floor and pulled Sakura close to him. He couldn't believe she was really home, and in his arms. Sakura hugged him so hard that she was sure she was crushing him, but she couldn't help herself. Time seemed to stop as they held one another for a few moments. Finally, Sakura loosened her grip around Naruto's neck so that she could look at him. He looked really banged up, perhaps his condition was connected to the mess that use to be their home.
"Are you hurt Sakura..." Naruto began to say, but his sentence was cut short when Sakura's mouth tightly pressed against his.
Naruto wasted no time in returning his longing for her.
"Thank god you're okay," he whispered between kisses.
"I missed you so much Naruto."
"I missed you too Sakura-chan. Now, what the hell is going?"
Sakura reeled in pain, the contractions were getting worse.
"What's the matter? Are you hurt?"
Sakura held her breath as she felt the contraction reach its peak.
"The baby is coming Naruto!"
"What!? You're going to have the baby now?!"
"Much has happened to Sakura, Naruto, that's why need to leave now!" Said Mei as she inched her way up Naruto's arm. "I can explain everything later, but for now, we need to move fast! Sakura needs to get to the hospital immediately!"
Naruto gulped nervously as he looked at Sakura. Nothing he had encountered thus far in his life could prepare him for this. Fear was something he was used to feeling since he had fought countless powerful enemies. Many of whom had threatened to end the world, but the fear he felt during those battles was nothing compared to the fear he was feeling at this very moment.
"Naruto!" Snapped Mei.
Right," said Naruto as he shook his head.
He got to his feet and gently scooped Sakura up into his arms. Every movement he did was done with care so that he wouldn't harm his delicate wife.
"Run Naruto…" panted Sakura as she braced herself for another contraction.
With that said Naruto ran towards the hole in the wall he had made when fighting the seibutsu. He jumped out and landed on the balcony of the apartment below him. Without even thinking he swiftly maneuvered his way back down to the ground. He ran as fast as he could to the hospital, but despite his speed time itself stopped and Naruto couldn't help but feel lost.
The next thing Sakura knew she and Naruto were in front of the receptionist desk inside the hospital. Before Naruto could say anything Tami motioned him to follow her. She abandoned her post without a second glance and she quickly ushered Naruto towards the back of the hospital. Ino and Tenten watched in disbelief as they saw Naruto follow the receptionist with Sakura in his arms. Tami led Naruto into a room that was already bustling with other nurses who were taking orders from Tsunade and Shizune. The busty Hokage looked over at Naruto and motioned him over towards her.
"Bring her over here to the bed Naruto."
Naruto did as he was told. Several nurses swarmed her and began undressing her. Shizune quickly made her way towards Tsunade to await instructions.
"I need for her to have an IV placed stat! Also, prepare her for an emergency c-section Shizune."
"Yes Tsunade-sama," replied Shizune.
Her words might have said one thing but Naruto could tell by the expression on her face that she was shocked by Tsunade's instructions.
He helplessly watched as Shizune began giving orders to the nurses that were hovering over his wife. He tried to catch a glance of Sakura but he could no longer see her due to the many other women in the room. Before he could say anything Tsunade placed her hand on his shoulder. She slowly guided him towards the entrance of the room.
"It's alright you can stay with her for the delivery. We just need to get her ready and comfortable is all. Until then we need to talk."
"Delivery," replied Naruto nervously.
Sakura going into labor had taken everything he had on his mind and thrown it out the window. All he had now was adrenaline and pure fear coursing through his veins.
"Yes Naruto, Sakura is having this baby so I suggest you get a hold of yourself."
Tsunade looked over at him with a watchful eye. She could tell that he was scared to death, but there wasn't any time to console him. Before she could speak the tiny slug on Naruto's shoulder spoke to her.
"I see one of my replicas was successful in bringing you up to date Tsunade-sama."
"Yes Mei, you and Sakura worked very well as a team. Thanks to Sakura's quick thinking I was able to get Shikamaru into surgery. I've also requested a room to be prepared for her delivery."
"Is Shikamaru going to be alright Baa-chan?"
"Yes, Sakura did the best she could to heal him but she wasn't able to complete the surgery due to the hazardous condition she was working in."
"Hazardous conditions? Asked Naruto.
"Yes Naruto, Suna is under attack," answered Mei. "By the time Sakura summoned me it seemed that all was lost, but with her quick thinking, she was able to devise a plan to make sure that everyone fighting for Suna had their health replenished. She gave me that task since she was already feeling exhausted. She started showing signs of pre-labor shortly after I was summoned. After I examined her I learned that her contractions were due to her using her medical jutsu to heal Shikamaru. Her body can no longer hold the baby since his Yang chakra is overpowering her own."
Naruto winced at those words. Thanks to his unique chakra his beloved Sakura was going into labor before her due date.
"Luckily I was able to heal everyone and get Sakura out of there before he could do anything to her."
"Yes Naruto, he, as in Uchiha Sasuke."
"I knew it, that son of bitch attacked just like Karin said he would."
"I know unfortunately I wasn't able to warn Gaara in time. The connection over telecast was unresponsive. I had a bad feeling, but I was hopeful it was just technical problems," said Tsunade.
"No, it would seem the connect was lost due to the attack," Tsunade-sama."
"You saw him, Mei?"
"We all did Naruto, Sakura summoned your clone. He was protecting us the entire time Sasuke was talking. Unfortunately, he saw Sakura's condition, but it seems he and Kabuto already had their suspicions that she was with child."
"I'm sure you still have replicas in Suna Mei," said Tsunade.
"Yes, I do Tsunade-sama."
"What is everyone's current status then?"
"Everyone is fighting against Kabuto and Sasuke. All other threats have been eliminated. What replica's I have left are latched on to everyone ensuring they receive healing if needed, but I'm running low on chakra so once that happens they will be on their own."
"So there is still hope that we can defeat them."
"Yes, however, Kabuto seemed very interested in Sakura and her unborn child. I wouldn't be surprised if they come here."
"He isn't getting anywhere near my family," growled Naruto.
"You're right Naruto we're making sure he doesn't get anywhere near Konoha. I've already alerted the Anbu about the attack on Suna. The village is currently shut down, and reinforcements from the shinobi alliance have been sent to aid Gaara. Luckily there is a base of Samurai, courtesy of Mifune, who are stationed just a few hours away from his village. There are a little over two thousand of them and that's not including forces sent by the Mizukage. They should both be arriving there shortly, that is if they haven't already. With both their aid Suna will be safe and secure."
"I'm relieved the alliance is lending a hand," said Naruto.
"Yes well, I made sure they were all notified after I held the council meeting here. Which reminds me, Kakashi told me he spoke to you earlier today."
"Yeah, he told me what the council wanted from me, and I've complied. My clones have been placed in all the areas the council wanted them and they are in constant contact with Inoichi and his intelligence team. There is no way in hell anyone is getting inside Konoha."
"Alright, then it seems all our bases are covered for now. So with that taken care of we can concentrate on delivering a baby," said Tsunade as she made her way back to Sakura's room.
Naruto reluctantly followed her back inside. He paused when he caught a glimpse of Sakura. She was still in bed only now she was wearing a hospital gown. Shizune was fixing some kind of monitor that was wrapped around her belly. Naruto walked over to her to bedside once Shizune was done.
"Are you okay Sakura-chan?"
"Yeah, it's just these contractions Naruto, they're getting stronger."
"Don't worry Sakura It'll all be over soon," replied Tsunade as she looked at the results the monitor on Sakura's belly was producing.
"You were right to just go ahead and prepare her for surgery Tsunade-sama. The baby's heart rate keeps dropping with each of her contractions."
"I'm not dilating am I?"
"No, I'm afraid not Sakura. Due to the baby's chakra, your delivery has progressed way too fast. Your body hasn't had a chance to catch up, and with the baby in distress we can't wait any longer."
"The baby's in trouble?" Asked Naruto.
"He will be the longer he stays inside Sakura. An operating room is being prepared, so we're just waiting for the okay to take Sakura in."
"Sakura-chan's going into surgery!?"
"Yes Naruto, we don't have the time to wait for Sakura to have this baby naturally. This is why she needs an emergency c-section.
"Well, what the hell is that?"
"A c-section is a normal procedure where a baby is surgically removed from the mother's lower abdomen instead of her pushing the baby out naturally, but this procedure is always a last resort."
Naruto felt extremely light headed at the sound of that, it was at that moment that he was happy he was a man.
"Now just sit tight you two. I need to get ready for surgery but Shizune won't be far from your room. When I'm ready she'll escort the two of to the operating room.
With that said Tsunade left the young couple alone with Shizune.
Naruto couldn't believe how calm and collective Tsunade was. Her cool-headed nature was something that Naruto needed to learn, especially if he was going to be Hokage.
"Here Naruto put these on," replied Shizune as she handed Naruto a bundle of clothing wrapped in plastic. "These are your scrubs, you need to have them on if you want to accompany Sakura in the operating room."
"Alright Shizue," replied Naruto.
"Okay, then I need to check up Shikamaru's status. It should just take me a few minutes. I'll be back to take you into the operating room Sakura."
Shizune walked out of the room and picked up a clipboard left on a desk near the entrance of the room. Everything felt so surreal and Naruto couldn't believe how fast things were progressing. Before he could dwell on his and Sakura's current situation her voice caught his attention.
"For the love of god, this hurts.."
Sakura inhaled deeply as another contraction washed over her. She grabbed Naruto's hand and squeezed it hard. The discomfort Naruto felt made him realize that he needed to be strong for the both of them.
"It's going to be alright Sakura-chan. Remember those classes you were taking? The special breathing ones?"
"Lamaze breathing," panted Sakura.
"Yeah, those! Just relax and breathe okay? We'll get through this together," said Naruto.
Sakura looked at him and now that she wasn't so caught up in her emotions she could see just how bad Naruto really was. He had a good amount of bandages wrapped around his head and left arm, yet he still had a faint smile on his face. Sakura's contraction began to pass and she loosened her grip on his hand. She slowly pulled her hand away and placed it on his cheek.
"Naruto, what in the world happened to you? What happened to our home?"
"Oh that, don't worry about it Sakura-chan. You need to relax and focus on your breathing. Shizune said she wouldn't be gone that long."
"Naruto I need to know, please."
"I was attacked by a creature early this morning. It ambushed Ino and me at our apartment. As you saw there isn't much left of our place, but I salvaged what I could and moved it to our new apartment."
"You were attacked?"
"Yeah, but there were more of those monsters. They were all over Konoha. Luckily with Ino and Tenten's help, I was able to learn who was actually controlling them from the shadows."
"Who was it?"
"It was that woman we took into custody a few months ago."
"The Taijutsu master with the yellow eyes is the one responsible?"
"Yeah her name is Fuyu. Tenten and I stopped her from causing further harm, but Konoha didn't just suffer structural damage. We lost a few people in the fray."
"Oh my god," replied Sakura as she covered her mouth in dismay.
"Yeah if I hadn't stopped her when I had we could have lost more people."
"I can't believe it. It seems like the odds are stacked up against us Naruto. Our apartment is totaled, the baby is coming early, Shikamaru is in bad shape, and worst of all Sasuke-kun not only attacked Suna, but he also knows I'm pregnant and that you're the father."
"Sakura-chan what in the world happened?"
"I was able to give everyone the antidote, but Shikamaru was still weary. He felt that things were going too smoothly. He gave me specific instructions on what to do if Suna was attacked. Sure enough, his hunch was right, and thanks to his thinking I was safe. I finally met up with him and Temari a few minutes later. By then he was badly hurt, I'm guessing it was the result of an explosion."
"Then things took a turn for the worst. I saw Sasuke-kun Naruto."
"He didn't hurt you did he?!"
"No, but he looked at me like I was nothing Naruto. He glared at me like he did the day I tried to kill him myself. The Sasuke-kun we knew is truly gone. It's hard to believe that we were once teammates."
"Kabuto made a comment about our son too."
"What did he say?"
"That he's pleased that a new Uzumaki is being born. I swear Naruto he relished in the thought of us having a child. I know he and Sasuke-kun want our son."
"Sakura-chan I swear I'll keep you both safe."
"I know Naruto, but I can't help but be scared for our son."
"I know Sakura-chan, but I will do whatever it takes to keep you two safe. Just like the Sasuke we knew is gone so is the Naruto he knew."
The scene in Shizuko's shop was unbelievable. Quick movements followed by the sound of weapons clashing echoed throughout the herb shop. Inked beasts roared, and gushes of wind mixed with the sound of puppets clattering filled the room. Temari, Kankuro, and Sai were dealing with Kabuto while Naruto, Gaara, Lee, and Hinata were fighting against Sasuke. Everyone was doing their best to give their enemies hell. Naruto yelled as he threw another punch at Sasuke. He tightly gripped the chakra blade in his right hand as the tips of his weapon grazed Sasuke's cheek. The raven haired Uchiha glared at Naruto and he swung his blade in retaliation. Naruto predicted Sasuke's counter attack with ease and he quickly deflected it with his another chakra blade. He pushed Sasuke back who was inhaling quite a bit of air.
"Katon Gōkakyū no Jutsu!"
A scalding hot stream of flames made it's way towards Naruto, but before it could hit him it was deflected.
"Hakkeshō Kaiten!" Yelled Hinata.
Her dome like attack deflected Sasuke's flame. Lee took advantage of this and darted towards Sasuke. The young Uchiha stopped his attack on Naruto but he wasn't fast enough to guard himself and Lee began to assault him with a barrage of punches and kicks. Sasuke's slow response alarmed Naruto.
"Somethings not right, Sasuke isn't moving as fast as I'd expect him too," whispered Naruto.
Hinata jumped back so that she was standing next to Naruto. She looked over at him for some kind instructions, but she received none. She silently watched as Naruto analyzed Sasuke's movements.
"Hinata something is off with Sasuke. Does he look different to you if use your Byakugan?"
"Let me take a look," replied Hinata.
She activated her Byakugan and focused as best she could on her moving target. Lee's movements were so fast and Sasuke was darting around in an attempt to dodge them. After a few moments, Hinata had an answer.
"His chakra flow seems normal, but there is something different about him, I just can't pinpoint what exactly."
"Thanks, Hinata. Keep your guard up, your defensive techniques are really helping!"
Naruto quickly made his way towards Sasuke again with Hinata right behind him. Lee knocked Sasuke high up into the air and then swiftly jumped up to meet him. Lee raised his right leg up till it was right in front of his face. He slammed it down and it hit the back of Sasuke's skull. This swift attack sent Sasuke towards the floor, but before he could slam into the ground whips of sand flew up toward him and he was completely immobilized. Gaara had his sand turned into shackles that were clasped tightly around Sasuke's neck, wrists, and legs. Sasuke slowly looked up at Naruto. His pitch black eyes glared at him with disdain and hatred.
"It's not him!" Roared Naruto.
Everyone quickly stopped their fighting. All of Naruto's comrades looked at one another. Neither one of them knew what Naruto meant. Kabuto began to laugh maniacally and everyone quickly snapped their attention towards him.
"You! This is your doing!" Screamed Naruto.
He swiftly passed his friends and before they knew it Kabuto was roughly grabbed both cuff of his cloak. Naruto jerked him violently towards him, a low growl began to rumble in his throat.
"Naruto what's going on?!" Yelled Gaara as he kept his focus on Sasuke.
"I can't believe I almost fell for this stupid charade of yours!"
"Charade? I'm afraid I have no clue what you're talking about. You'll have to be more specific."
"That isn't Sasuke!"
"Now, what in the world would make you think that Naruto-kun?"
"No one knows Sasuke better than I do. He would never let himself be hit that many times. His reaction time is even faster than mine! Not just that but he would have used his Sharingan by now. We've been wasting our time fighting a fake."
"Naruto kun?" Asked Hinata.
"Kabuto used Shōten no Jutsu in an attempted to trick us!"
"Ah yes Shōten no Jutsu, I forgot you're familiar with it Naruto kun, but don't you think it's fitting? I mean you yourself aren't the real Naruto now are you?"
"Shōten no Jutsu," whispered Gaara as he looked Sasuke over.
"What in the world is going on here?" Asked Kankuro.
"Don't you remember? One of our council members ultimately succumbed to this technique. He was a spy for Sasori, but his memory was tampered with and the seal on his mind wasn't released until the time was right. It was thanks to him that Deidara was able to slip into the village to captured me."
"Yūra," whispered Temari.
"Yes, he was under Sasori's control and none of us had a clue, not even he knew it was being used until it was too late. He was ultimately used as a decoy to fool Naruto and his team when they were trying to track my kidnapper down."
"Yeah, Yūra was disguised to look like Itachi. My team and I fought him but Kakashi-sensei felt that something was wrong. Sure enough when we defeated him his appearance change completely. It turned out that this technique can go beyond the effects of a shadow clone. The host that's being used has the same chakra flow, movements, and even the mannerisms of the original."
"Bravo Naruto, it would seem you aren't as stupid as you look."
"You're the stupid one for sending in a fake."
"Touche Naruto," chucked Kabuto. "Given I suspected that this individual's inability to use the Sharingan would be a dead giveaway, but both Sasuke and I agreed that Suna would easily fall since most of its shinobi were left unconscious due to Sasuke releasing the virus. Then again we weren't planning on your precious little Sakura summoning you. She has been quite a nuisance. It's because of her that Sasuke and I are in this predicament. However, I must say that I am most impressed with how cool headed she was even while in labor. That is a most impressive feat. Congratulations Naruto-kun. What are you two having, a boy or a girl?"
"Shut up Kabuto! Don't dare talk about my family! Now stop wasting my time and tell me where Sasuke is!"
"Now Naruto, you shouldn't act so surprised. If you yourself couldn't come here what made you think Sasuke would personally come to this wasteland? After all, he does have other pressing matter to attend too."
"Naruto you idiot I may not be here physically but I'm still linked to this body."
Naruto snapped his attention towards Sasuke.
"Gaara send some more sand over here to keep Kabuto restrained. Everyone else keep your guard up."
Kabuto looked down at the floor. A wave of sand began to emerge. It grew in volume and soon it was off the floor making its way towards his body. Once he was held down Naruto released him . He then approached Sasuke; the anger he felt was overwhelming.
"You've always done everything you could to derail my plans Naruto. I should have just killed you when I had the chance."
"You don't know how many nights I've laid in bed thinking the same thing Sasuke."
"I highly doubt that."
"You don't know anything about me Sasuke."
"And you know nothing about me."
"So then what happened? I never thought you'd give up your stupid little crusade to save me."
"You lost your chance when you decided to give in to hate."
"Spare me the speech Naruto, I could care less what you or anyone else thinks of me."
"Exactly, you've never cared about anyone but yourself."
"You had everything you know that Sasuke! You were the star of our class, you had so much potential, but you were never able to see what you had. All you ever saw was revenge and without a second thought you went and just threw everything away!"
"I didn't throw anything away! The life I had in Konoha was all a lie! My real life was taken from me when your precious village decided my clan was a liability! The Third Hokage, Danzo, and that stupid council decided that my brother would be the perfect scapegoat for their twisted plan of action. Itachi took the fall for them! Their true nature was smeared all over my brother and he had to live a lie for Konoha! I shouldn't have lived but I was a bargaining tool. I was used to making sure my brother did what his superiors wanted."
"The Uchiha were planning a coup d'état Sasuke! They needed to be stopped!"
"So genocide was the correct answer right?"
"I never said that."
"But you're thinking it."
"All Konoha had my brother do that night was ensure that the rest of its inhabitants were kept in the dark. My people realized what was going on, but sadly they were too late. I want to fulfill my clan's wishes. The idea of all these powerful clans under the rule of one is ridiculous! All the great shinobi villages must fall. Only then will everyone be free, and those who don't accept this new order will be disposed of."
"I can't believe you're doing this. Your brother believed in the unity of all to become one. Teamwork and compassion are what the great shinobi villages are about. Itachi wouldn't want to see you fall so far Sasuke."
"My brother left me alive for a reason. He wanted me to fulfill the Uchiha's wishes. He took the fall as a fugitive so that I could ultimately avenge the cruel hand of fate our clan was dealt. Konoha might have found a way to stop the virus I had Kabuto create, but this is just a minor setback. The important thing was to bring down Suna so that it would ensure Konoha's demise. Losing it's biggest ally makes the village weak, and now I can personally bring down the village that destroyed my family, and life."
"That's not going to happen Sasuke. How can you have everything so mixed up? Your brother let you live so that you could make something of yourself."
"And I have Naruto. I will be the one to change everything."
"It's useless Naruto-kun Konoha and all the other great shinobi villages will fall."
"The both of you are wrong. I won't let any of this happen."
"Oh, and how can you do that Naruto-kun? Your original is in Konoha and he doesn't have a clue about what's going on here. Given Sakura has probably already told him, but she's having a baby so talking won't be so easy. Then there's you. I'm sure you are aren't thinking straight what with Sakura in labor. So that means you won't see us coming," replied Kabuto.
"He's right you know, we're much closer than you think Naruto," leered Sasuke.
"You have to be released in order for the real Naruto to learn everything that has conspired here. However, I'm directly connected to this host body. You're already behind when it comes to what's going on Naruto. You also can't leave Suna in the condition that it's in now can you?"
"That would be so selfish of you and we all know how much of a boy scout you are."
"Don't listen to him Naruto," replied Gaara.
"You know Naruto I'm tired of this petty cat and mouse game we've been playing this past year. The time has come for me to crush you, and it will be even more satisfying now because I can make sure your family is destroyed with you as well. Finally, you'll know what it's like to lose everything."
A plume of gray smoke came from Sasuke's body and a slight hissing noise followed it, Sasuke had released the technique. Naruto reached for him instinctively. A pitiful whimper came from in front him. The cloud of smoke disappeared and a completely different person was being held by Naruto.
"Please don't hurt me. I had no control of my actions," rambled the man Naruto was holding.
Kabuto laughed uncontrollably. His sadistic snicker filled the room with an eerie echo. Naruto turned his attention towards him but before he could do anything the reptilian shinobi dissolved into hundreds of snakes. They slithered all over the floor and when Gaara tried to capture them the tiny snakes dissolved into a purple sludge.
"Dammit!" Snapped Naruto.
"Well, that's just great what the hell are we going to do now?" Asked Kankuro.
"I don't know," whispered Naruto.
"Don't worry Naruto," reassured Mei as she slithered from underneath his cloak. She made herself comfortable on his shoulder. She looked at everyone before her. All eyes were now on the tiny slug.
"Sasuke and Kabuto were right about some things, but there's one little detail they forgot about, and that little detail is me. I'm directly connected to Konoha since two of my replicas
were sent there. One was with Shikamaru and the other with Sakura."
"She's in the hospital with your original. She's actually being taken into surgery so that the baby can be safely delivered."
"What about Nara!?" Asked Temari as she made her way towards Naruto.
Everyone turned towards her. The urgency in her voice caught her off guard and she blushed profusely when she realized all eyes were on her.
"He's currently under surgery Temari, but his condition is stable."
Temari felt an overwhelming wave of relief come over her. She felt her legs begin to buckle but before she fell to the ground a pair of hands grabbed the sides of her shoulders. She looked over to see her younger brother Kankuro supporting some of her weight.
"Well that's good news," replied Sai as he placed his tantō away.
"Indeed it is but there's still more. The Hokage and the rest of the shinobi alliance have sent reinforcements to Suna. A team from the Mizukage and general Mifune are just a little over an hour away from here. With both teams, Suna will be more than secure."
"Thank god," whispered Temari. "We'll be able to get back on our feet Gaara."
"Yes, and Naruto will be able to go home."
"What do you want us to do Naruto-kun?" Asked Sai.
"I want all of you to stay with Gaara until the reinforcements from the alliance get here. Once you know that the village is secured I need you all to come to Konoha. If what Sasuke said is true then our home is next on his list."
"It's going to take us some time to get there Naruto-kun," replied Lee.
"It's alright I've got you all covered. Kento you can come out now," replied Naruto.
The small toad appeared from behind a piece of broken furniture.
"The women you asked me to get to safety are in good hands now boss. What do you need me to do now?"
"I need you to stay with Sakura-chan's team. Once they are ready to leave please take them home."
"Gotcha boss, I'll see to it that everyone gets there safely," said Kento as he hopped over to Hinata. She bent down and scooped the tiny toad into her hands.
"Good, I'm going to go ahead and report back to my original, he needs to see what just happened here."
"Be careful Naruto-kun," whispered Hinata. "Please let Kiba-kun know I'm okay."
"I will, and guys, please be on your guard."
"Don't worry Naruto-kun we'll make sure the Kazekage and his village are fortified and secured," replied Sai.
"Once again I'm indebted to you Naruto. It was clever of you to send a clone with Sakura. If it hadn't been for you always thinking one step ahead my village would have fallen."
"It's no problem Gaara. Besides, we're friends and that's what friends do for one another."
"I guess you're right Naruto. Rest assured I will do my best to make sure my village is prepared for what awaits us all."
"Yeah, it looks like we're all in for one hell of a ride."
Naruto sat down on a bench that was right outside the entrance of the operating room. He was told that he had to wait outside until Sakura was prepped and ready for surgery. Naruto sat silently as he waited for the one moment that would change his and Sakura's lives forever. The palms of his hands were clammy, and he nervously moved his left leg up and down. He couldn't believe this was happening. In just a few minutes he would see his son. Part of him wished he could fully enjoy this moment, but terror was still in the back of his mind. He had no idea what was going in Suna.
All he knew for sure was that his clone was still there. He wondered if he fighting? Did he lose some of his friends, how was Gaara, and was Sasuke still there? Naruto buried his face in his hands. He breathed slowly so that he could concentrate on the birth of his child. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, new memories began to fill his mind. He slowly lifted his head up and after a few seconds, he knew everything. His clone had released himself and all the questions he was asking himself were now answered.
"Sasuke...how can you be so stupid?" Whispered Naruto.
Before he could dwell on his newly acquired memories the door next to him swung open and Shizune waved for Naruto to follower her.
"Naruto Sakura is ready. You can come in now."