I'm sorry that this took so long. My dad got a hold of my computer and wiped all of my stuff because of an experimental story. He also wiped the original chapter fourteen so I had to completely rewrite.
I do not own Naruto or HOTD. And I don't need a disclaimer for Left 4 Dead because I haven't used any of their stuff. Read the descriptions for my creatures and then look at theirs, mine are different and their names are totally different.
Naruto appeared in his mindscape and he was genuinely surprised when he saw the state of it. The grass was beginning to grow back, though it kept its sickly hue, and the sky was only gray instead of pure black. The trees were still dead and the bodies still hung down from their branches, but overall things were starting to look better. He looked around and saw Alter sitting cross-legged beside the eternally bloody river. He walked over and sat beside him, placing Shukketsu Souru beside him. "How are you doing right now, Alter?"
The dark spirit shrugged his shoulders and gave a dry chuckle. "Except for the fact that I'm disappointed because I only got a tiny bit of freedom to kill those fuckers...I guess I'm pretty good for now." Naruto nodded as he looked out to the wide, current-driven river. "Well...we're going to be heading to some place that Takagi-sama mentioned. When we get there I should be able to kill off an infected and have enough time to perform the jutsu seals. You'll be out, Alter...I made you a promise and I intend to keep it."
Alter smirked and nodded. "Well that's just about the best news I've had all day! But..." Naruto looked over to him and saw that Alter's eyes were narrowed in his moment of seriousness. "Things are starting to become very troublesome..." Naruto nodded and looked back to the river. "They definitely are going that way, aren't they? If what you told me was true then I think it won't be long until I run into that one that can fight me on equal ground..."
Alter growled as he heard this and stood before starting to storm off, pissed about something. Naruto hopped up and grabbed his blade before following him. "Where are you going? What's wrong?" Alter growled again before spinning to face him, pointing off in no particular direction as he roared his opinion. "THAT FUCKING WHORE FOX LED US ON! WE'RE NO FUCKING WILDCARD IN THIS GOD DAMN WAR! YOU'RE BARELY MORE POWERFUL THAN THESE DAMN THINGS! YOUR CHAKRA LEVELS AREN'T ANYWHERE FUCKING NEAR WHAT THEY USED TO BE WITHOUT KYUUBI! WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING, SOON WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ANY BETTER THAN THE OTHERS AND THOSE FUCKING MUTATIONS WILL BE ABLE TO SLAUGHTER US WITHOUT A FUCKING PROBLEM! SHE FUCKING LIED! SHE SHOULD'VE BEEN ABLE TO SEE AN ALTERNATE FUTURE WITH US!"
Naruto sighed as he strapped Shukketsu Souru to his waist. "I understand that you're angered at the developments and you are distraught of what's happening on the outside...but we have a mission to complete here, Alter. When I get you out, things are going to be easier for the group. I'll admit, Kyuubi going back into my mind left me seriously lacking in the chakra department, but I'm not relying on that..."
Alter growled again, but he didn't yell out. "Without the Kyuubi's addition to your chakra pools you can't do what you used to do! Your Kage Bushin no Jutsu is nearly useless at this point! You've only used the Rasengan in here and you wouldn't have enough chakra to be able to pull of your Rasen-Shuriken without seriously losing your bearings! With your normal chakra levels you've only been able to pull of your little Nin-Kenjutsu combo techniques and even those are draining you! Face it...without Kyuubi you can't do what you used to be able to do!"
Naruto turned with a frown on his face. "I don't need flashy jutsu or a grand technique to help me win this war, Alter. I don't need a monstrous chakra pool to become powerful...I just need experience and skill. I've fought people with chakra levels that would crush my own, like Pain's were. When he had me in that headlock and was sucking out my chakra, it wasn't a flashy jutsu that saved me; it was me using my head!" Naruto spun back around with his fists clenched. "I'LL STAY STRONG WITH OR WITHOUT KYUUBI! I DON'T NEED HER CHAKRA TO WIN THIS WAR!"
The malevolent entity sighed as he turned back to the river with a straight face, having time to calm down before he spoke. "It doesn't matter if your resolve is stronger than you physically are anymore, Naruto. With how things are shifting away from our control...strength is all we need at this point. We can't survive on your determination alone, anymore." Naruto felt his eyes burning as he looked away and kept his fists clenched while Alter continued. "You've overcome quite a bit in your life...that's for damn sure, Naruto. I've had a lot of free time and I've reminisced quite a bit over that time. Your life used to be simpler for you when you were able to throw people of when you got back up and kept on fighting...but these things don't care. If you get back up they won't be surprised and give you an opening...they'll just do everything they can to push you right back down and then kill you..."
Naruto sighed as he sat down with his legs spread towards the river, his heels resting an inch from the blood. He kept himself propped as he looked up. "I know that...but it all just happened so fast. We fought those things for eight years back home and then when it was finally over I was sent here to fight even stronger infected ones. I just...is it so bad that I want to go back to how things were? Is it bad to want to go back to being to carefree?" Alter looked over to the blonde and his lips were in a small frown. "It's not bad to want for the times of the past...but if you don't look to the future then you are not going to move forward. The real world doesn't do what we all want it to...it does what it sees fit."
He sighed and closed his eyes. "I know...that this all is just getting to be too much for me to handle. I can't fight these things like I didn't back in the Elemental Nations...they are just too strong and their numbers are practically limitless." Alter shrugged and sat down beside his other, less evil half. "They are stronger...that's definitely true. But you need to fight them with all you can like you did before. I guess I jumped when I said that we can't win on determination alone...because it's with determination and perseverance that we've even gotten as far as we have." Naruto smirked as he remembered the day it all went to hell. "But..."
"Butts are only good for three things, Naruto, and that's kissin', shittin' and kickin'. You can't make an excuse for this one, kid." As he finished,Alter looked at Naruto with inspecting eyes as he watched Naruto's every move. He curled his legs closer to his chest and held them there with his arms. His eyes were lidded softly in thought as he looked at the blood that flowed in the river. Alter smirked at the sight but his eyes softened a little as he spoke. "You're afraid...aren't you?"
Naruto scoffed and he spread his legs once more. "What the hell are you talking about? Me? Afraid? Haha! That's pretty damn funny, Alter!" Alter kept his eyes leveled with Naruto's as his eyes narrowed, making Naruto nervous, causing him to look away. "It's...it's that obvious...huh?" The darker side nodded and looked out to the bloody river. "You may not think about this sort of thing much, Naruto, but you are probably one of the easiest people to read. It also helps that I'm literally a part of you!"
The blonde curled up again and sighed, ignoring the lame attempt at lightening the mood. "I didn't want to lose them... They've accepted me for who I am and I've only known them for a few days...I don't want them to die..." "Then you need to show them that feeling, Naruto. Show that you don't want to lose them. By staying on the ground when you thought that all hope was lost, you were only showing a willingness to give up and not that you wanted them to stay around. You've preached from day one that you would never give up...well where was it when you were down and about to die?"
Naruto sighed again and spoke. "I was going to lose anyway...I couldn't fight that thing. It was just too stro..." He wasn't able to finish as he heard Alter growl and he turned his head just in time to see the fist connect to the dead center of his face, sending him down a short length of the infinite river. He looked up to see Alter with a frightening look of rage covering his pale and already scary face.
"ENOUGH! I WANTED AN ANSWER! I DID NOT WANT YOU'RE BOOHOO TEENAGE ANGST BULLSHIT! GROW A SET OF FUCKING BALLS BECAUSE IF I COULD TAKE THAT DAMN THING THEN YOU COULD'VE TOO!" Naruto held the side of his face and then looked down. Alter calmed himself as he walked over while talking. "I'm as strong as you are and you know what I did to those things. What you lack is the will to use all of your power. Why didn't you use your true power when you knew that things were starting to decline?"
Still looking away, Naruto spoke. "I don't want them to push me away. They accept me...they actually want me around...as a person..." He looked up and saw another fist hit him in the face, sending him sliding over the ground. He didn't bother to get himself up as Alter lectured. "There you go...letting your little teenage angst run your thoughts. This is war, Naruto. This is not the time to be a pathetic teenager! We cannot worry about who accepts us or not! The only concern right now is survival until we can find the ones who released the virus!"
Alter now loomed over Naruto as the boy spoke. "You don't understand me at all, Alt..." Another fist...and Naruto wasn't going to let it connect. He rolled into the bloody river and under the surface to dodge the earth shattering blow. He rose from the blood with it coating his entire body and the surface coming up to about mid-calf. His face was twisted with anger as he roared. "YOU DON'T GET IT! THEY ACCEPT ME! THIS ISN'T SOME TRICK TO GET ME TO PROTECT THEM! THEY TRULY ACCEPT ME!"
Alter was upon him in the blink of an eye with his fist ready to ram into him. "THEN WHERE'S YOUR DETERMINATION! WHY DON'T YOU PROTECT WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU?" He brought his fist down but Naruto, with a deadly look on his face, simply pulled his hand up and caught it with ease, stopping the malevolent entity dead in his tracks. Alter splashed into the blood and was hit with a shock of pain as Naruto began to crush his fist.
With a dark voice, Naruto spoke. "You don't...understand...Alter. To protect them...I cannot go all out. My abilities are far too dangerous to use constantly around them. If you think for one second that I will put them in danger, then you are a fucking idiot! And even now you contradict yourself, because most of my truly powerful techniques are too draining! SO FUCK OFF!" He reared back his fist and clocked him dead in the face, sending him barreling into a tree. Alter stayed in the splintered remains of the tree as he rubbed his pained cheek with a smirk. "See, Naruto? Where is that power? Where is that ferocity when you fight outside? You had it before you and Saya got together at the apartment...but after that...it's as if you began to purposely numb your strength. Even when you were torn from the car by that Behemoth you told them to leave so that you could access me. At first I found it kind of flattering, thinking that you didn't want to overwhelm them with the presence of my power...but then it was pretty damn clear that you were scared to show them what you are truly capable of..."
As Alter spoke, Naruto had walked from the river as the blood dripped off of him and he stood over the dark spirit with a glare fixated on his face. His voice was still low and as cold as before. "I get what you're saying Alter...but it doesn't matter. Unless the situation calls for it, I'm not going to unleash myself...so stop..."
He turned and was about to walk away, but was stopped when he heard Alter struggling to get up. He turned and found the dark entity forcing himself to stand as he spoke. "Naruto...I know that you're scared...but there is far more at stake here than some petty relations with a group of people! You need to focus...you said it yourself that you had a mission to protect them and you have begun to falter by holding back what you can really do. You have no choice right now Naruto...if you want to make sure that they survive...you have to let the relationships go...and you cannot see them as anything more than an objective to protect."
Naruto's eyes narrowed. "If that's how I must see them, then that is now your mission." Alter looked up at him with a confused look as he held the side of his face. "What the hell are you talking about?" Naruto turned and began to fade as he spoke. "When we get to that mall and I get you out of here, it is your duty to protect them and it will be mine to lead. There will be no discussion over this decision."
As Naruto faded completely, Alter smirked as he stood straighter and let his hand fall from his face. 'He doesn't even know it...and he's becoming just what he must in order for them to survive. He has the ability to make a harsh decision but he has his emotions and he can endure through anything. He didn't back down even when I told him to give up on them...you're becoming just what they need, Naruto...and you don't even know it...'
Naruto awoke to the feeling of the Humvee lurching to a stop and he heard the people inside start to move around and get out. He had to squint his eyes as he saw the sun breaking through the hole in the roof. He opened his eyes when he was used to the light and grabbed his sword, jumping out with the rest of them. When he came out of the top, he saw everyone crowded in a circle and he saw a large building not very far off in the distance. Naruto pointed to it and spoke. "Is that where we are supposed to be going?"
Saya looked up at him with a smile and nodded. "Yes it is. We think that there are people inside because we saw someone at the door and they left. We are getting ready to go in but we need to make sure that our stuff is safe so we are going to hide them except for a few small weapons." Naruto just shrugged and pulled out the scroll that held the weapons and rolled it open. He stood and spoke. "Just put them with the others. There's no use in hiding them inside because someone might find them."
Saya and the others nodded as they put their larger weapons on the seal and Naruto pumped a small amount of chakra into the scroll, making the weapons disappear in a puff of smoke. He rolled the scroll back up and stood while placing it back on his belt. "Okay...so I guess we go in now?" Souichiro nodded at this and turned his back to start walking through the spaced out horde of the infected that were randomly placed here and there.
Naruto was searching through them all to try and find one that had a general build and size like him. He spotted one that was wearing an oddly colored plaid, button-up shirt with blue denim shorts. It had black, sleek hair that reached its shoulders and a lean muscular build much like Naruto's own. The aforementioned blonde turned to Saya as they walked and spoke while pointing at the undead person. "Hey, Saya-chan...would you say that that one is about the same size as me?"
Saya turned to where he was pointing and assessed the physique and size of the infected one. After about a minute when they had already passed it, she nodded with a smile. "I'd say that if it had blonde hair, blue eyes and your sexy smile it might pass as and undead you!" Naruto chuckled at this and spoke. "Thank you. That's what I hoped to hear."
Just as she was about to ask why he wanted to know, Naruto pulled out his sword and began to walk over to it. As if he were simply taking something off of a shelf, he shoved his blade through the center of its skull and watched it fall to the ground. He bent down and picked up the re-killed corpse, throwing it over his shoulder before he turned back to the confused group. When he joined back up in step with them he simple shrugged his free shoulder. "I need this one for something. Since we're here I think that I'll have time for what I need to do."
Saya nodded with her smile once more and they all kept on walking through the horde towards the mall. As they came closer, they noticed that there was a small wall to keep the infected ones out. They hopped it and kept on their tracks to get to the glass doors. As they came up to them, Naruto set the body of the infected one down before he pounded on the door. "HELLO? IS ANYONE IN THERE?"
He pounded for what felt like an hour until someone finally decided to show themselves. The person that showed up at the door was a woman with short brown hair and a cute face dressed in a policewoman's uniform. She worked through a bunch of makeshift locks and opened the door with a smile on her face. "Hello! Asami would like to welcome you! Please come inside! We can't have you all out here with these things running around!"
Everyone was taken by surprise at the instant trust that the policewoman threw their way, but they were thankful that she wasn't insane...at least they hoped she wasn't. The girls walked in first and Naruto was the last one in as he had to pick up the creature that he had killed for his jutsu. The group looked around and saw that there weren't many people in the mall. There were a few old people and maybe one or two teenagers here and there, but all in all it was pretty empty. Naruto couldn't help but nod in approval. 'They seem to have kept their group rather small if it were to be based on the sheer size of this place. That is a very smart idea since taking care of a large group would be too much of a hassle.'
"So if it's smart to have a small group then why have you taken two new people into the group?" Naruto sighed and his head dropped in annoyance. 'If I hear that fucking question again or anything relating to it then I will personally cut their balls or boobs off.' His head was quiet for a minute until he heard a small whistle. "Wow...that's harsh, man...oh...Naruto..." Naruto raised an eyebrow, wondering what Alter wanted. 'Yes Alter?'
He heard him sigh and he became even more confused until he heard him speak. "I'm sorry for everything...for being so harsh and cruel with my words..." Naruto sighed again and this one caught the attention of Souichiro. He turned to the blonde and spoke. "Is everything okay, Uzumaki-san?" Naruto quickly looked up and smiled. "Yes, Souichiro-sama! Everything is okay!"
The man nodded and Naruto returned to his conversation with Alter. 'I can't really put all of the blame on you, Alter...you were right about quite a few things. I need to stop holding back...because if I do like I did back at the estate then we will all eventually die. I really was lucky that you won over me...'
He heard the chuckle of amusement from Alter and then his voice. "I'll admit that a part of me really wanted to teach you a lesson by letting you die. But then I remembered that we're linked so I can't really do that because if you die then I die." Naruto had to keep himself from laughing so that he didn't draw too much attention to himself. 'Once again your only real worry is about yourself...why am I not surprised by that?'
He got no answer and simply smirked at the thought of actually having the psychotic soul fighting alongside him in battle. 'He'll be a handful...that's for damn sure...' As the policewoman, Asami, took them on a small tour of the mall, Naruto saw that there were plenty of people that he would have to watch out for. A few of them were giving him weird looks because of the corpse that he carried on his shoulder but there was one that really got Naruto on the defensive for the group. It was some guy that wore all black with a beanie on his head. The reason Naruto was watching him closer was because of the looks he was giving Shizuka as they walked past everyone.
The tour itself was short and there were a few rules that they would have to follow while they were there but all in all it was a nice setup that they had going for them. The group had found a small area that they were going to crash in and Asami said that it was okay. They set their stuff down and laid their claim in a clothing store. Takashi then spoke up. "I think that while we are here we should hide the rest of our guns just in case someone tries to take them from us."
Naruto looked over to him with a thoughtful look and nodded his head. "I agree with you, Takashi-san." He put down the body on the register counter and went behind it to open a small storage closet. He waved his arm in a way that told them that this was where they would be putting their stuff and they came over to him. While they put their guns up, all of the swordsmen and the swordswoman kept their blades by their sides and no one argued with their resolve. After all, a swordsman's blade was basically the embodiment of everything that they stood for. It was as much a part of them as their heart.
When everything was put up, Naruto then turned back to the body. He sighed and took it off of the counter before replacing it onto the floor. He sat cross-legged beside it and was about to get ready to begin his soul transference technique until he heard the small and innocent voice of Alice. "Naruto-onii-chan, what are you doing with that creepy thingy?"
Naruto smiled a bit and turned to her with his bright smile. "It's a surprise, Alice-chan!" She did a little mock pout with her arms crossed but before she could speak she then heard Saya. "You aren't doing anything stupid, are you Naruto-kun?" Naruto rubbed the back of his head and chucked before answering. "I don't think that it's stupid. I actually think that it's a pretty good idea because it is supposed to make us stronger as a group!"
She nodded her approval but the questions were not over as Souichiro came up to him with a question. "Uzumaki-san...you say that this will make us stronger. What exactly is it that you are doing?" Naruto smirked again and was about to say the same thing that he had said to Alice but before he could, Souichiro spoke again. "And do not think that I will back off because you say it's a surprise. I would like to make sure that what you are doing is not too dangerous."
Naruto sighed and turned himself on the ground to face everyone before he motioned for them to sit in front of him. They did as he said and he asked a question to Souichiro. "So...you want to know exactly what my plan is, eh?" The man nodded and Naruto prepared with a quick breath before speaking. "Well...basically I'm going to rip out half of my soul and implant it into the corpse behind me."
Everyone's eyes widened except for Souichiro who shook his head. "That is impossible, Uzumaki-san." Naruto then smirked as he leaned forward, holding himself up with his hand on his knee. "If you could only see half of the things that I have done before I came here...you would take back those words, Souichiro-sama. I have created armies with a single hand sign...I have taken down enemies where their power far exceeds my own...putting a piece of my soul in another body is just another challenge for me."
Souichiro raised an eyebrow at this. "Okay...for conversations sake...let's say that this is actually possible. What would you have to do to make this work?" Naruto sighed and readied another breath as he was about to try and explain the workings of a jutsu that he had only been able to glance at. "Well...the most that I truly know about the jutsu is that I will need a body with the generally same build as me, which is why I had to take this one. I've already figured out that I'd need to create a link between me and the body before I can transfer the soul into it. The initial process of getting the soul into the body is actually pretty simple. It's getting the body to accept the soul and mold to its shape that's the major problem. I would have to hold the link for, at the very least, twenty-four hours because I'm not proficient in Reiton, which is jutsu dealing with the soul."
Souichiro nodded at the explanation and Saeko spoke up. "So you'll have to be concentrated on this jutsu for a day with no sleep?" Naruto shook his head. "I'll be in a state of unconsciousness until the process in complete. The good thing is that since this uses the energy of the soul I will not be drained when I wake up from the jutsu."
Everyone nodded in understanding and soon he heard Shizuka speak up and Naruto looked over to her. "Is there anything that we can do to help you?" Naruto smiled but shook his head. "Within the jutsu there is little that I'll need you to help me with but I'll need my body to remain undisturbed so that I do no wake up until the jutsu is complete so I would like you all to leave and seal off this store so that no one else can get in here."
She nodded and everyone stood except for Naruto who turned back to the body that lay behind him. As the group left, Naruto heard a voice and turned to see Yuriko standing there while everyone else left. She smiled and spoke. "I hope that whatever you're doing works, Naruto-san...because Saya-chan really cares about you and would probably have a breakdown if anything happened to you."
Naruto gave her his cocky grin and nodded as he turned his head back to the corpse. When he heard the metal gates of the store come down, his face turned serious and he started to flash through a series of hand seals. This went on for about ten minutes until he ended on an unrecognizable hand seal and his eyes began to waver as his body and the corpse began to glow. He fell over on his side with a small thud and he saw the room go blurry. As he fell under, he saw a small line, like a blue thread, connect him and the corpse and then all went black...
Naruto looked around and all he could see was a black expanse of absolute nothingness. It reminded him of the first time that he had met Alter after he fell out when he defended the bus, only this time he was on a flat surface that he could walk on. He walked on forward and tried to find some form of a solid wall but it was to no avail. He kept trying to find the nonexistent wall or person but he was stopped when he heard a voice echo around him. "You have a very memorable face, young Uzumaki..."
Naruto heard the voice and he froze instantly as a chill ran up his spine. He turned and tried to catch a sight of whatever had spoken but it was all the same utter darkness that he had seen since he had appeared in the world. He spoke with no stutter, trying to throw away the fear that threatened to swallow him. "Who are you?"
He heard a dark chuckle that sounded like claws on a chalkboard. "You know who I am...you've slaughtered thousands of those that I inhabit..." Naruto spun around, trying to still catch the voice while he put together what it was saying. When it finally clicked, he stopped moving and his eyes widened. "Y-y-you...you are...you are the virus..." He heard the same chuckle and he resumed his search for the voice. "You say it with such fear, child. Tell me...what about me is it that you fear? Is it the countless people that I slaughter without a second thought? Is it the fact that with a single bite you yourself would be under my control? Please...I wish to know what causes these feelings to take you...I wish to understand my enemy."
Naruto's face twisted in anger as he kept trying to find the voice. "I do not fear you! I know what you can do and despite the human fear the shivers in my heart, I fight against you! Not only do I fight but I am now turning your own against you with my soul!" The chuckle never came, but the voice came full force with a wave of freezing cold air accompanying it. "You...may have taken one of my soldiers...but you will ultimately fail in your mission! No one can kill or contain me!"
Naruto smirked and spoke. "What about the ones that brought you back from the Elemental Nations? They can obviously control you." The chuckle of the virus came back. "You think that I've been brought back? You honestly think that a few pathetic humans could've taken me? You truly are a stupid child, Uzumaki-san."
Naruto growled at the insult and yelled back at the voice. "YOU WERE DESTROYED! I KILLED OFF THE VIRUS MYSELF!" Naruto heard a grunt of annoyance come from the air around him and the voice spoke again. "You may have killed a variation of me, but just like the flu has many forms, I have many as well. As the world progresses with its technology, I progress with my evolution. I am able to completely change the genetic structure of anything that I inhabit now. The second evolution, the one that you fought over three thousand years ago, was nothing more than a simply act of reanimating dead cells. The very first evolution was a plague that wiped nearly every living creature from the face of the earth! Even at my weakest form you wouldn't stand even a ghost of a chance!"
As the virus kept on talking, Naruto could feel Alter's soul beginning to leave his physical body. He wasn't sure how he could feel it but he knew that the transfer was now taking place. When it finished, Naruto retaliated with his own words in a cocky attitude. "But I think that you forget, I was able to take down your second evolution! You failed in wiping us away completely!"
Instead of a snide comment, grunt or a chuckle, Naruto heard a sigh come from the darkness. He was confused until the voice spoke. "I guess that you don't understand just what is really going on here do you?" Naruto frowned and stopped trying to find the voice. "What are you talking about? I understand that I need to protect this group of people! They are the new leaders!"
The voice growled back at Naruto. "NO! That is not what I am talking about you insolent little child! The first evolution killed fifty percent of the primitives! The second evolution slaughtered nearly seventy-five percent! This is a system! This is the final evolution!" Naruto's eyes widened when he started to put the numbers together. "We didn't stop you...that leg of the race was simply finished..." He heard the dark chuckle permeate the air once more and the voice came back.
"Yes...and now...we have reached it...The End of Days. This is the end of the world...and there is no stopping it."
I hope that this was a good chapter considering how long it took me to get it up. I'm sorry that it took so long...
Elemental Shadow Out!