Now now…people are getting rather…should I say up in arms about me killing Alter. First of all, Naruto never even went to go and check to see if he was truly dead. Also, even things in this story that made no sense, I made sense of it later on. Think about it, would I do something without having a plan for it? Hell, I've done shit with things that I never even intended! Remember the flying zombie? No? Oh…okay then!

Enjoy!

Outbreak

Chapter Eighteen

The nighttime sky was shining bright, stars filling the darkness above and giving a sense of serenity in the midst of insanity to the survivors who had made it through their many sleepless nights since the start of the outbreak of the undead, as if nature itself was trying to ease their hardships. While the air itself was chilled in the absence of the sun, the Humvee in which the blonde maelstrom and the violet haired beauty still jostled every so often from the latter's excitement. Surprisingly enough, the girl's uncharacteristic squeals of joy had not attracted any unwanted hostility, though…something dark overlooked them…unknown to them within an alley not too far off.

As she calmed down, Saeko was taking multiple breaths before speaking, amusing the blonde with her very uncharacteristic behavior. "I'm so happy, Naruto-kun! If you let me come with you, I'll never let you down!" At this, the blonde swordsman raised his brow with a smirk. "Is that supposed to insinuate that you would ever let me down, Saeko-chan?" Her eyes widening slightly, Saeko shook her head with a renewed vigor. "No, Naruto-kun! I would never let you down!"

Naruto couldn't help but chuckle as he cupped her face in his hands before giving her a quick peck on the lips. Saeko was slightly calmed by this as her eyes lidded themselves into a state of calmness. As she was about to get back to him for another kiss, Naruto simply chuckled and pulled his head back, showing he did not want one. Whimpering slightly from the action, Saeko could only listen as the blonde spoke to her. "I'm sorry, Saeko-chan, but I need you to do something for me and go get Saya-chan. I need to speak with her about something."

Saeko, still sad about losing her kiss from her blonde leader and lover, nodded and got off from on top of him before leaving to go in to grab the bubblegum haired genius that was a part of their group of lovers. Naruto sat alone for a time and his thoughts were his own. 'She didn't even look at me…now I have to fix whatever is in her head from what that god damned virus said. I'm going to fix Saeko-chan's condition, but I need to tell Saya-chan just how I'm going to do that and figure out if she'll want to come with me like Saeko-chan does.'

As he thought to himself, he was soon brought from his mind by the slamming of the metal door. Opening his subconsciously closed eyes, Naruto saw Saya sitting across from him with her legs and arms crossed with a scowl on her face and her brow furrowed. Her hair was down though and to him it gave her a sexy look. Fidgeting in his seat, the blonde powerhouse chuckled nervously as he waved to her slightly. "Uh…hey, Saya-chan. Um…heh…you look…um…kinda angry. What's wrong?"

Now the blonde knew it was time to fear for his life as her brow furrowed further and she let loose a torrent of angered words. After the first word, he quickly put up a sound dampening jutsu to keep the noise to a minimum so as to not attract any attention to them. "What The Hell Do You Mean 'What's wrong?'? Saeko-Chan Told Me Everything Before I Came Out But I'm Not Convinced Just Yet! What Did He Mean When He Said That You Were The Cause Of Her Pain!"

Naruto held up his hands to his face, slightly fearing that the assault would soon turn very physical, but he was lucky as he felt nothing come. Opening his fingers to look through the cracks, he saw her seething and decided to try his best to calm her down. "Well, the story itself is a rather complicated thing to really get into, but I can always give you the quick version?" Saya simply crossed her legs and arms, waiting for his explanation.

Sighing, the blonde put his arms down and straightened himself up before he began to speak. "As you know, I'm not from this time. That much has been clear to everyone for the longest time now. But, and this is where the whole thing comes in with the virus saying that it was all my fault, I am also the ancestor of Saeko-chan. Her line descended from my own line of the Uzumaki clan. By coming to this time, I removed myself from my own time and caused my line to become erased from the world. But it is a slow process."

Saya kept her eyes on him as she spoke, still not convinced. "If you removed yourself in a flash, then shouldn't everyone else just disappear in a flash?" Naruto shook his head as he readied the next part. "I'm not exactly sure on the details, but I only know that, while time is moving ever onward, it is rather slow. Time is catching up with them all. Everyone from my line is being erased. I can save them all and this future world as well, but I will have to kill the virus before I return. My duty was originally to protect you, but now my mission has changed and it is my priority alongside everyone's safety."

As the blonde fidgeted in his seat, Saya stared at him with a heavy intensity. She was calculating everything from the words he had said to the tones in his voice with each word. She compared them with what she had heard from Saeko and everything matched. She smirked and Naruto flinched as he tried to crawl back through the door, but it was locked for some odd reason. As she started to uncross her arms, the blonde readied himself for whatever was coming and he slammed his eyes shut tighter than he ever had. But the pain never came. What came confused him to no end.

When Saya leaned forward to plant a kiss onto Naruto's lips, the blonde was caught off guard and he couldn't react the way that he normally would've. Unable to fully react, he sat like an idiot in shock as she placed herself on his lap, never leaving his lips until she was perfectly situated on top of him. Eyebrows cocked both fully in confusion; Naruto spoke in a tone that betrayed his confusion as well. "Uh…Saya-chan…not that I'm complaining…but what was that for?"

Saya giggled as her eyes slightly closed while she spoke in a soft voice to the blonde maelstrom of power. "I already told you, Saeko-chan told me everything while she brought me out here to talk to you. I only said that I wasn't convinced yet and that was true. I wanted to hear it all from you. When the virus was talking at the mall before we left, I'll admit that I was scared but I never once thought that you were purposely hurting her. When she told me everything about her being from your line, it all started to make sense to me. You have created a paradox and now you have a limited time to fix it or things cannot be changed. I understand…but…it also means…"

Naruto, while still shocked, knew what she was talking about and his eyes nearly fell as his gaze upon her waivered. "Yeah…It means that when this is all over then I'm leaving you all, but I've already made an offer to Saeko-chan that I would like to make to you." Saya raised her eyebrow at this and kept looking at him, waiting for his words to come to her. After he cleared his throat of a little phlegm, Naruto spoke. "I wanted to ask you if you wanted to come back with me. I asked her, now I ask you would come back to the Elemental Nations and live with me?"

Saya's eyes widened a considerable amount at the question that he was giving her. She was about to answer him with a yes until she remembered everyone else. "But…what about the others? What about my parents? What about our friends?" Naruto smiled as he closed his eyes and leaned his head back on the door before opening them to look at her with his smile still on his face. "I was going to make the same offer to them. If I can keep the portal open long enough, I can stabilize the inter-time platform that keeps us on the right path with my chakra and we can practically walk three thousand years into the past. By doing this, I can also speed up the process by using my chakra to pinpoint the day after I left and basically pick the exact date that we want to go to!"

Saya's eyes widened slightly when she heard him speak. "Naruto-kun, what exactly are you talking about? I'm a genius and I still have no idea what you are talking about." Naruto was about to continue talking until a sudden migraine cut into his head. Saya, still on his lap, was going to help him but then his eyes opened and he began to sweat. "I…I don't know…I just felt like I knew it! It…gah…it must've been from when Kyu-chan merged with me. Her knowledge must've been transferred as well as her power and soul. When you asked me the question, everything that she must've figured out about the jutsu must've surfaced and I used it."

The bubblegum-haired girl made an understanding face, but she was still confused and her next words expressed it. "That's what I don't get. I remember you telling me that you had a demon sealed inside of you when we were back at the apartment, but what exactly was this demon?" Naruto chuckled and grinned before putting his hands behind his head as a support against the metal door of the Humvee. "Well, when I really think about it, calling Kyu-chan a demon is really harsh. In all honesty, she is the closest thing that I have had to a mother in my life."

As he continued to speak, his voice became warm, like how Saya remembered it as he asked her about the moon that night at the apartment. "She and I, Hmhm, we didn't get along very well during the first few years. When she was sealed into me, she was still under a genjutsu that a great enemy of my time had put her under and when she and I had first met, she wasn't exactly the nicest person to me. Then, as time passed, she and I started to talk. One day, the genjutsu finally snapped and I was able to see her humanoid form, though she kept her normal tails and a cute set of ears that I couldn't help but play with when I first saw them. I remember that look of indignation on her face so well…"

Saya felt the hint of love in his voice, but it wasn't the same kind that he showed her. It was something far stronger…the kind that a son would give his mother. "She helped train me after everyone began to abandon me when the outbreak started to come about. Few stayed with me, but they remained loyal to me. I never needed to distrust her loyalty to me, though. She never once abandoned me when I needed help. The way she acted…like I was one of her kits…it makes me happy…being able to truly KNOW that someone loved me as a son…"

As she listened to him, she enclosed his head in his arms as tears started to wet her shirt that came from his eyes. As they sat alone in the dim light of the Humvee interior, one would only be able to hear the occasional sniffle that came from Naruto. It was not pronounced, as it was barely audible. When Saya felt a vibration on her chest, she barely made out a small chuckle from Naruto, one that held slight lament. "Heh…I…I made her a promise that I wouldn't cry over her…but I can't help it!"

Saya cooed him softly as she rubbed his soft, untamed mat of hair. "Naruto-kun…you are only human. You can't beat your emotions forever. Eventually they will come… I know that we can't bring her back, but we will simply have to move forward and live our lives as best we can in her memory. I swear to you that we will me happy one day. We will live happily together in the Elemental Nations and we will help you rebuild your world. All of us…"

When Naruto heard this, he jerked slightly as he rose his head up to meet her eyes. His eyes were shiny from tears having inhabited them not long ago, but his face was the definition of happiness. "You mean…you mean you're coming?" Saya smiled and nodded, getting the desired reaction from the blonde powerhouse. He hugged her so tight, but didn't crush her, and buried his face in her hair. "Thank you, Saya-chan! Thank you!"

She smiled down to him and couldn't help the thought that came to her head. 'On the battlefield, he can be cold and heartless, but he still protects us. Outside, he is only someone who looks for love and companionship. No one truly gave it to him until Shizuka-chan, Saeko-chan and I came along. We are his lifelines. He needs us just as much as we need him. While he has us, he has a reason to stay sane. Well…I love him too much to let him go crazy. I'll always stay by you, Naruto-kun.'

Their lips had somehow come closer to each other, and Saya spoke in a low voice. "We will all stand beside you, Naruto-kun. For Kyu-chan and for Alter-san, we will help you keep their memory from harm. We will love you and we will do what we shall to make you happy…never forget that." As soon as Naruto heard Alter's name, his eyes darkened and his head lowered. "Saya-chan…please…don't mention Alter…"

Saya mentally cursed herself and was going to try to apologize for touching on the subject of him, knowing that even though he was severely attached to Kyuubi, losing a part of yourself is no easy task to overcome. As she searched for words, he interrupted her thoughts with his own words. "Just…please…I'm sorry, but I would like to be alone… After losing so much in only a single day…I want to have some time alone to think…to say a proper goodbye to Alter."

Saya, while saddened by the loss of her time with him, understood and nodded her head before getting off of him. Before she opened the door, though, she turned and gave him a small smile before she spoke. "Alter-san was a good person, Naruto-kun. He wasn't with us for very long, but he fought to the very end for what he wanted, just as you would do. He will always be a part of you and as much as he would probably deny it from what I determined from his attitude, he would've done what was needed to protect you the way that you do for us." Naruto gave her a smile of thanks and she then left the blonde to his own devices within the Humvee, allowing him to let out his sigh of depression.

Moving to the rear of the tank-like vehicle, Naruto sat cross-legged with Shukketsu Souru sheathed across his lap. Closing his eyes, the blonde powerhouse's brow furrowed as he forced himself to keep his mind off of the face of Alter as he fell to the ground covered in his own blood. Remembering the rare and stoic face of the normally enraged soul, he tried to think of a good goodbye. 'Alter…I…I don't really know what to say. You were a part of me…you were a part that I didn't know about for the longest time. I guess that the only thing I can say is…goodbye…'

As he finished the lackluster goodbye, his mind suddenly flashed to the rotting and putrid face of the virus incarnate. Anger overtook him as he remembered Alter, but then forced the image out of his head. 'I refuse to allow my rage and lament to crush his memory. He had a bad reputation for being an asshole, but he helped me out and practically beat my backbone back into me along with the help of Kyu-chan. For killing him…I'll rip that fucking virus to shreds! I swear!'

"Now now, Naruto-san…there's no need to be so angry." Naruto's eyes snapped open as he heard the familiar voice and he looked up to see the dark and rotting face of the virus' personification sitting across from him in the same position. Growling to himself knowing that engaging the virus in such an enclosed space was not a good idea, the blonde settled for voicing his displeasure, which was the understatement of the century. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't cut your head from your shoulders this instant, you rotting piece of shit!"

The virus brought his only hand to his chest where his heart would be – though Naruto suggested he had none to begin with – in mock shock and pain as its tone took upon a pained one. "Oh, Naruto-san…you wound me with your words! I only wish to have one final civilized conversation with my greatest enemy across time before the world ends and the chance is lost forever. After all…I…" the tone in its voice was lost as it looked down and spoke, seemingly to itself. "…I never wanted your friend to die. At least not with my own hands…"

Naruto was about to lunge forward when he heard this, thinking that the virus was trying to play with his emotions, but he stopped himself when he heard the virus mumble something to himself. "…my brother…" This stopped the blonde before he could fulfill his purposeful actions. His face was easily read as it did everything possible to convey his confusion and his voice did the same. "What the hell are you talking about? What do you mean!" The virus' head snapped up and he glared a hole into the swordsman's eyes, making him flinch. "Do not think that your connection to him by soul, which he knew of, will ever defeat our connection of blood, Uzumaki!"

Naruto was still confused as he tried to understand just what it was that the virus spoke of…until it hit him like a ton of bricks falling from a mile in the sky. "Alter…was your blood brother?" Sighing, the virus nodded its head before speaking. "In a way, yes, he was. While he bore the darkness of you with your soul, he contained my DNA." Naruto shook his head and blinked rather harshly before furrowing his brow and spoke in confusion once more. "How in the hell is that even possible!"

The virus leaned back against the back of a seat, staring the blonde boy, who was his sworn enemy of the ages, down. "I find it rather amusing that, while you claim he is a part of you, you only know the basics of what he truly was, young Uzumaki. You were never told his more advanced functions as a part of you, though this is not shocking, as I doubt that even he knew just what he was." As the virus started to try to explain it to him, Naruto was still very confused. "Alter told me that he was simply me! He was all of my negative emotions that tore my soul apart to store them so that I never went insane!"

The timeless, rotting being nodded as it continued. "That is true, but there is far more to it than that simple little tidbit. Think back far, young Naruto. Think back to all the times that you, had you been normal, would've died from being bitten by my army when your outbreak happened. Remember all of those times that you rushed in headfirst to battle, being bitten but continuing, knowing that it would heal up." The virus was right and Naruto knew it. He had been very hotheaded during his outbreak and would rush in and come out without a single scratch on him due to his healing factor from Kyuubi. While everyone around him turned to walking corpses when they were bitten, he was perfectly fine. "I did do that, but what does that have to do with Alter?"

Nodding at his confusion, the evil creature continued on. "You see, Alter was you and you were Alter, but he was the part of you that held anything and everything negative about you, including ailments and negative emotions. Whenever you were bitten, the virus should've quickly overridden your regenerative abilities, but before it could kill you, Alter's part of the soul you shared broke it down and absorbed it with both chakra and spiritual energy, making it a part of his biological makeup when his soul merged with a body. When this happened, he merged with an already infected body and his soul transferred the infection of the past to this one, making it even stronger in him. To simplify it, Alter was able to take two separate virus' and put them together, making him nearly my equal in raw strength and ability."

Naruto sat there for a moment as he let everything the virus had just said sink into his mind to saturate in thought. When it was all clear, the blonde sighed and spoke something that reminded him of his old friend. "Why does everything nowadays become so damn…troublesome?" The virus simply shrugged its shoulders. "You guess is as good as mine. Trouble has always plagued the universe, but as always, death is the most natural cure to any spark of trouble." Naruto heard these words and his eyes hardened almost immediately. "So now we come full circle back to this topic, I see. I suppose that trying to convince you that I'll kill you will simply be like me talking to a wall."

The virus nodded its head and looked ready to sigh before it spoke up in a voice that betrayed some form of…lament? "I have no doubt that I am a very cruel entity, Naruto-san, but this is not what I wished to happen. I sympathize with your luck, or lack thereof, in this situation. You survived once and now you go through it all again with no hopes of survival. When the time finally comes for our final battle, I will show you the mercy that you have earned and end your life quickly."

Naruto, while annoyed and angered at the condescending words of the virus, also realized that those words that he had just heard were the closest thing he would get to an apology from the thing for everything. So, with the words and their intended meaning fresh in his mind and in one final act of civilized activity towards the virus for their conversation, he held out his left hand towards the rotting figure before him. With a smirk and a shake of its head, the entity took Naruto's hand in a firm shake. As they broke it, the virus prepared to leave until it spoke one last time.

"I know that you wish to win but remember your own limits, young Uzumaki." With that said, the virus disappeared in a flicker, leaving Naruto to his own thoughts from that point on. The blonde sighed as he leaned back to think. 'That virus just makes things so…troublesome. God…I'm starting to sound like Shika now! But I can't help it. With that entire revelation put on top of what is happening out there, I can barely keep my head on straight right now. Hmmm…Kyu-chan…Alter…'

Pulling himself up, Naruto moved to get out of the Humvee as his mind turned to other things. 'Now I worry about the group. I get the feeling that the virus isn't going to play around anymore. The air around him seemed far more dangerous when he left. Even though it was a civilized conversation, I could feel that he was fighting the basic instinct of the virus itself to kill me immediately. He may have been nice this time, but next time, he is going to do whatever he can and whatever he has to do to kill me once and for all.'

As Naruto left the Humvee and prepared to go in, he never noticed the figure that still hid within the shadows of an alley not far off. Opening the door and going, he still didn't notice as the shadowy figure blurred out of sight from the alley, unknowingly clutching its stomach area and grunting in pain. Just as the door closed shut, it reappeared on top of the roof of the house and sat near the edge, letting its hand fall from its side, allowing blood to dribble from a wound that, to any normal person, should've been fatal. Hands glowing green, the figure started to press them against the wound as it spoke to himself.

"You know…for technically being my brother…he's gonna have hell to pay at the family reunion…"

END:

This was planned, people. I never killed the poor guy. Unfortunately a few people jumped to conclusions and left me some nasty PM's saying it was shit. Well, too bad for them I guess! The explanation comes at the next chapter.

Also, sorry for this being shorter than usual. But prepare. The end is coming.

Next chapter: The group and Alter meet back up. The final climax comes upon them.

Stay tuned for the Second-before-the-last chapter of Outbreak!

R&R

Elemental Shadow Out!