Hello readers, welcome to my first fan fiction. Before you go any further into the story I would like to make something clear. As you can see this project has gone on for quite some time. The whole point of this story is to improve my creative writing abilities, and while I appreciate feedback of any kind, telling me that chapter 5 is terrible does not do much for me at this point, as there are over 40 chapters in the story and my writing has improved by leaps and bounds since then. Admittedly the first part of the story is rough, even with some small edits, but keep in mind it is my first fiction work ever, and it took some time to get my bearings. If you would like to get a better glimpse of something more current and gauge my skills for yourself, please feel free to check out the one-shot story found in my profile. Hope you all enjoy,


I don't own Naruto, what don't believe me?

At first glance nothing seemed to be amiss in Nami no Kuni. The morning fog was rolling through and everything was peaceful except for the clanging from Tazuna's bridge. However if someone happened to look underneath the underneath it would become obvious that it wasn't an average morning. The fog at sunrise, which usually added a surreal quality to the morning, was thick and oppressive making it hard to breath. On top of that the mist was like being in a white out, people taking their morning walks or doing errands found themselves lost and were unable to see beyond their noses, and even though mornings were usually the most peaceful time of the day it was far too quiet on the coastline. The animals made no sound and the forest was completely still. It seemed all signs of life were gone except for the racket on the bridge, but that was queer as well. Usually the echo of metal striking metal was accompanied by a cacophony of sounds created by the construction crew. No sounds other than the cold ringing of steel was heard creating a deadly harmony that periodically broke the stillness of that eerie morning.

If by some chance you were able to navigate the fog and end up at the bridge a strange sight awaited. Bodies lay scattered on the bridge, most knocked unconscious with senbon protruding from parts of their bodies, but some met their end by dismemberment or decapitation making parts of the stone slick with blood. Seven people stood tall on the bridge that morning and at the epicenter stood two men, and the air was at its heaviest around them. The taller one had silver hair that defied gravity and stood straight up making him seem that much bigger. He was wearing blue pants and a black shirt with orange swirls on the shoulder underneath a thick green vest. A black mask covered his lower face from prying eyes and a headband rested on his forehead adorned with a swirling leaf. His posture appeared relaxed but his muscles were tense as his mismatched red and charcoal eyes stared coldly at the assassin across from him.

The man was shorter than his counterpart, but more muscular, and it wasn't for show as he casually rested a massive zanbato across his shoulders. He too had cold eyes, black in color, and his lower face was covered, except instead of a mask he had bandages wrapped around his face only leaving those bloodthirsty eyes exposed. He had short brown hair that stuck up randomly and his forehead was also covered with a headband, though his was adorned with four squiggly lines forming a square with a horizontal slash across the middle of it. The sword wielding shinobi wore pinstriped grey pants with a leather strap going diagonally across his chest and had grey camouflage sleeves covering his forearm. About fifty feet behind the two there was a young pink haired girl with emerald green eyes standing in front of a man old enough to be her grandfather with a kunai drawn like she was protecting him from the danger created by the two men.

As absurd as that was it still wasn't the most outlandish thing on the bridge on that eerie day. Farther down the bridge from the four figures was a dome of mirrors floating in midair while rays of sunlight flitting through the fog and reflecting off the polished surfaces. The tension was as thick as the fog and bloodlust permeated the air, all in all a perfect for the deadly dance taking place, "OWW! What the fuck was that? God dammit that hurts"… never mind.

Uzumaki Naruto was in a lot of pain, perhaps the worst of his young life. You couldn't blame him for crying out because it's not every day a senbon needle gets lodged in your left eye rendering it useless. Knowing now wasn't the time to complain the blonde covered his eye and dodged the next wave of needles, "Suck it up dobe, we've got bigger things to worry about right now."

Turning his head Naruto gave his dark haired teammate an angry glare with his remaining eye, "Let me take this needle out of my eye and shove it into yours teme. Then you can tell me how you like it."

The scoffing black haired youth tried to dodge the next barrage of needles and block as many as he could, though many still managed to get through his guard and pierced his body, though none hit a vital point. The two boys once again ended up back to back after the assault and got a small reprieve from dodging needles, taking advantage of it Sasuke whispered to his blonde teammate, "Listen Naruto, I'm starting to see that guy better as he goes from mirror to mirror. I think he might be slowing down."

Naruto gave the boy an incredulous look, "Slowing down, are you blind Sasuke? If anything he's speeding up. I can't even follow him anymore."

Sasuke deadpanned at his partner, "Well I am a better shinobi than you. That's probably why." Deciding now was the perfect time to take advantage of one of life's little pleasures Sasuke took a moment to enjoy the sound of Naruto's teeth grinding in annoyance, "Or it might be because you just lost one of your eyes idiot, just shut up and distract him."

Seeing there was nothing to be gained from arguing with Sasuke the blonde shrugged and made his trademark seal, "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." Instantly the dome was filled with a sea of yellow and orange. Their battle cry broke the stillness of the air and the mob of clones rushed towards the gaps in the mirrors trying to escape the death trap.

They were dispelled in seconds leaving nothing but wisps of smoke before the hunter was once again in all the mirrors surrounding the duo, "Such tricks will not work on me. Surrender now and I promise your lives will be spared."

Naruto was boiling with rage and it all exploded at the masked nin, "I'll never give up and let scum like Gato control this island. You want to kill a good man, crush the hope of these people, and destroy the future of this country. I give you my word that I'll stop you and protect Tazuna's dream and bring Nami no Kuni a brighter future. Just remember that I never go back on my word, it's my nindo."

The hunter's voice was hollow but Naruto could still sense the regret hidden in it, "So be it. I gave you a chance to walk away, but now I will harden my heart for my master's dream. Tazuna hired you to protect his dream and I will do anything for Zabuza-sama's. Those two dreams will clash here on this bridge and only one shall continue, that is the true way of shinobi. I take no pleasure in it but I shall have to end your lives."

Having heard enough Sasuke butted in, "Stop chatting with the enemy and get to work dobe."

Naruto paid no attention to the insult and called forth even more Kage Bunshin and sent them forward only for them to be dispelled like the last batch. The blonde didn't give in and kept spamming clones and the masked boy continued decimating them with his senbon until he saw a fireball coming right for him. Abandoning his attack the masked boy tried to dodge but when he appeared in the mirrors once more the bottom of his robe was charred. The teen narrowed his eyes behind his mask as he took in the two trapped in his technique, the black haired one was by far the most dangerous and was the one who needed to be taken care of first. The shinobi stared at the two as they talked and formulated a plan.

Naruto turned to congratulate Sasuke when he gasped in surprise, "Eh teme what's with your eyes. They went all weird and now they look like Kaka-sensei's."

Sasuke stared at his friend in confusion before a cocky smirk formed on his face, "Hmph, I just unlocked the sharingan, now this battle is over."

Naruto felt his hope returning and with it came energy, "Good, you better get him this time bastard, unless those eyes aren't all they're cracked up to be."

Turning away from Sasuke, before he could take in what had to be a priceless expression, Naruto called forth a veritable army of clones, but they were taken out in an instant leaving behind a thick cloud of smoke. Usually the boy would retreat to his mirrors after but this time a wave of senbon burst through the smoke coming straight at Naruto. Knowing there was no way he could react in time the boy closed his eyes and waited for the end. The sound of metal piercing flesh reached the blonde's ears and he felt the warm splatter of blood on his skin, but the pain he expected to follow never came and the genin opened his eyes and gasped, "Sa-Sasuke… why? What did you do?"

Standing in front of the blonde was Sasuke looking like a human porcupine. It seemed like senbon covered every inch of his torso and stuck out in every direction. The last loyal Uchiha turned his head to look at Naruto, "I-I don't know… I used to hate you, but I saw what was happening and my body moved on its own. Just, just don't die Naruto, not before you reach your dream." Sasuke collapsed to his knees then fell face first pushing the needles deeper into his body, but he did not feel or care because he was in a dreamless sleep.

Naruto stood and looked at the body of his comrade and trembled violently. For the first time in his life he didn't know what to do or say. His rival, his begrudging friend, the only person he knew that could understand the pain of loneliness was killed in front of his eyes and all he could do was watch a lifeless corpse fall to the concrete. Part of him wanted to cry, part of him wanted to scream, and part of him wanted to rip the other boy to shreds. Unbeknownst to him that small part of him was being fed by the foul chakra sealed inside him.

The genin kept shaking and started to embrace his growing rage and hatred as red chakra exploded out from his body and the blonde felt a rush of euphoria while the others on the bridge were almost overcome by an animalistic bloodlust. The needles were pushed from his body and his wounds healed as Naruto rose to his feet with a maelstrom of red chakra surrounding him. The blonde looked at his clawed hands with terrible red eyes and gave a menacing smile accentuated by his darkening whisker marks and growing canines. Naruto couldn't explain it but he's never felt better. He was faster and stronger than before, it felt like he could fight Kakashi and Zabuza at the same time and win easily. He was invincible, the avatar of a god. His vision began to bleed red until it was all he could see.

Naruto felt incredible, he was done playing with his prey and was about to finish the job. Grabbing the fool's sleeve he delivered a jaw shattering punch that sent him flying, and as the boy pushed himself to his feet the mask began to fall to pieces. Naruto began to advance with a smile, now he could see the despair on the wretch's face as he ends his miserable existence, maybe he should kill his precious master in front of him to cause him more pain first. Why stop there, after he finished those two why not go after the silver haired one. Deciding not to count his chickens the foxlike boy turned his attention back to his enemy's exposed face intent on savoring his fear and despair. 'Wait, why does it look so familiar? I can't remember but it seems important.' A part of his mind told him that it wasn't so he shrugged and started his slow advance to the stumbling boy, but as he got closer something started to penetrate the red haze that clouded his mind until a name formed and the haze vanished, "Haku?"

As the mist cleared Naruto looked up towards the shining sun and smiled, somehow it all managed to work out for his team. Gato was dead and his goons scattered leaving Tazuna to build the bridge without fearing for his life. The icing on the cake was Sakura proclaiming Sasuke was still breathing. Naruto gave Haku's prone form a small smile, 'You couldn't harden your heart after all Haku.' Putting on a foxy grin Naruto began to walk over to his team only for his mood to drop as he got closer and saw the look in his teacher's visible eye. After two months on Team Seven Naruto was confident in his ability to read their sensei based on his eye, and the lack of a celebratory eye-smile created g a feeling of dread formed in the genin's stomach. There was no proud glint or mysterious twinkle in Kakashi's teasing his students with hidden knowledge. No, Kakashi's eye was a hard black, and his brow knitted with concern as he watched Sakura cradle Sasuke's body. He reached into his vest and pulled out a scroll before unrolling it.

The jounin slid his thumb over the horizontal cut across his chest and wiped it down the length of the paper creating a puff of smoke. When it cleared a small bird was perched on Kakashi's shoulder with a blank scroll tied to its leg. The silver haired man undid the knot and unrolled the tiny scroll and wrote a short message in one of ANBU's many codes before sealing it once more. He retied it to the bird's leg and sent it flying towards Konoha. Once the bird was no longer visible Kakashi turned around and let out a long sigh, "Sasuke is in a near death state like Zabuza after our first fight." The copy-nin hesitated and looked like he was thinking on what to say and Naruto got the feeling he didn't want to hear it, "None of Sasuke's vital points were hit, but when he collapsed the senbon were pushed deeper into his body and some pierced his stomach and intestines. If it doesn't get treated quickly Sasuke will get an infection and most likely die."

Sakura stared at her sensei in disbelief, "Then we're going back to Konoha, right Sensei?"

Kakashi could only let out another sigh, "Unfortunately that would only make things worse Sakura. Moving him too much will cause more fluids to leak out and worsen his condition, which is why I sent that message to Konoha requesting medics to come to our location. Now let's make a stretcher and carefully move Sasuke's back to Tazuna's."

Naruto looked over his shoulder at the bodies of Zabuza and Haku as they lay next to one another, "Sensei… after we make the stretcher can I send some shadow clones back with you, I want to bury Zabuza and Haku."

His sensei managed a small smile, "Sure Naruto, but first get some sturdy branches. I have some rope and canvas so when you get back we'll make that stretcher."

After Naruto returned from his impromptu burial Kakashi set out claiming he had some loose ends to tie up. He returned a couple hours later and Team Seven started playing the waiting game. Kakashi assured his two conscious students that it wouldn't take more than two days for shinobi to arrive from Konohagakure, but it was the third day and the sun was getting lower in the sky and everybody was worrying about Sasuke. Naruto tried to train but his heart wasn't in it and he was just going through the motions. What would motivate him if Sasuke. He was waiting for the day that the Uchiha would acknowledge him as an equal, but he was worrying that it might never come.

Eventually he stopped his half-hearted attempts at training and was now trying to distract himself by playing solitaire at the dining room table. Kakashi took one of the chairs from the table and sat in the corner of the room with his nose buried in the infamous orange book, however if someone paid close enough attention to the jounin they would see that he hadn't turned a page in almost a half hour. Sakura was taking it the worst though. She didn't eat at all the first day and only ate the second because her blonde teammate threatened to force-feed her using his own mouth. She also barely slept and even Naruto, who harbored a huge crush on her, would be hard pressed to say she looked good. The only time she spent away from Sasuke was when it was her turn to guard the house in case any bandits came looking for revenge.

A knock on the door broke everyone out of their melancholy, and before Naruto could even respond Sakura was at the door with a hopeful look on her tired face. The portal opened and behind it were two men wearing the standard yellow medical-nin suit. One had blue hair and green eyes and the other had silver hair with glasses. Naruto arrived just in time to hear Kakashi say, "You're late Yakushi-san."

The silver haired medic stopped fiddling with his pouch and looked up into Kakashi's lone eye, "I never thought I'd hear that from the legendary Kakashi." Seeing his attempt at levity wasn't appreciated he coughed into his hand, "Right, well all the scheduled boats didn't show up at port so we had to make our own and row until we reached the bridge. But we're here now so please show us to the patient."

Kakashi turned to face his female student, "Please show them to Sasuke's room Sakura."

The pinkette nodded her head and quickly led the two healers to her injured teammate before coming back downstairs to join the rest of her team and they waited in silence for any news.

Kakashi abruptly awoke when he heard footsteps coming down the stairs and looked to see Naruto and Sakura asleep on the couch cheek to cheek. He glanced outside to see the moon was out and the stars were shining bright before he looked back to the stairway to see the silver haired medic coming down the stairs. Kakashi woke his students up while scrutinizing the man's face trying to find out what happened, but all he got was a wave indicating they should follow and a blank face, if there was one thing medics were good at it was poker… well except Tsunade. Knowing there was nothing left to do but go upstairs and find out what happened Kakashi led his students up the stairs. They arrived in Sasuke's room to see that he was still asleep as well as the blue haired medic, which was worrying to the jounin. He didn't think the procedure would be that difficult and extensive. Looking towards the silver haired nin Kakashi bit the bullet, "Well doc?"

The eldest Yakushi sighed and faced the gloomy team, "If Tsunade-sama's policy of a medic-nin per team was implemented a tragedy could've been averted… even if we arrived early yesterday the chances of his survival would've been slim, there was too much stomach acid leaking out. We used all our chakra and ate as many soldier pills as we could without damaging our networks, but the infection would barely respond and it is too late for antibiotics. His organs are slowly failing and his body is shutting down. We put him under for the procedure, and we'll put him to sleep after you talk to him to make it as comfortable as possible, in my estimate he won't make it past noon tomorrow." He bent down and woke up his partner and handed Kakashi a syringe, "He should be waking up any minute, so when you're done talking inject this into one of his veins and he'll go to sleep… I'm sorry."

The two closed the door behind them and waited downstairs for team seven. As their footsteps faded Kakashi looked at his two students. Naruto was staring at the floorboards making it impossible to see his reaction, but Kakashi was an expert at reading body language and he could tell the blonde was in the process of blaming himself, after all he did the same thing when Obito died. Sakura however made no move to hide her tears and she let the salty streams cascade down her face and drop to the floor. Yes, it was Sakura he was most worried about.

Everything he saw up to this point indicated she was in the program for Sasuke and this might break her for good. It was then Kakashi realized that his students needed to learn the hard lessons now, to get their fairytale view of the world broken and leave their innocence behind if their was any left after this. "This is the life of a shinobi. Every time we go on a mission you put your lives on the line. We are tools used to complete missions for the good of the village. I wish I could say this will be the last time you will lose a friend or teammate, but I won't lie. I have had to bury many of my friends and family members over the years and it never gets easier, that is why shinobi must not show emotions."

Sakura seemed to take it well enough, or she couldn't get any more upset than she was now, but Kakashi could feel Naruto's anger rising, "That's bullshit sensei. Shinobi aren't tools, we're human beings and people might look at us like that, but it doesn't make us what they think we are… I'll never embrace that. Maybe more of my friends will die, but it won't be because they were disposable. If that's the way the shinobi world is then I'll change it."

Kakashi was proud of Naruto's resolve and could only smile at his blonde student until he heard a weak groan, "Ugh shut up dobe."

Sasuke didn't know what to say when he looked up at the other members of team seven. He wasn't very good expressing himself before the massacre and it only got worse after… and the painkillers weren't exactly helping his cause. Ever since the person he loved most in the world took everything away from him Sasuke rejected the world at large and put all his effort and emotion into destroying that man, but these last two months were different. He found himself smiling and having fun for the first time since before the massacre. Sasuke woke up looking forward to the team meetings, even though Kakashi would be late, Naruto would be Naruto, and Sakura would constantly pester him… and he didn't really mind it anymore even if he pretended to be annoyed. Three of the strangest people he knew wormed their way into his icy heart and became his new family, but he was going to lose this one too.

The tear streaked face of his fellow genin and the solemn face on his sensei made Sasuke uncomfortable and he blurted out the first thing that came to mind, "I know I'm dying." Sakura cried harder when he said that, and drops of blood pooled at Naruto's feet as they fell from his hands, 'Damn painkillers.' "I-I know that I won't make it past tomorrow but I don't regret doing what I did. I wanted to protect all of you, if I didn't I would be no different than him."

The raven haired genuine paused for several moments to regain his composure before continuing, "I'm just glad that I can see you all before I go and say goodbye. I know that I'm not the nicest guy around and I can be very arrogant and inconsiderate." The raven haired teen smirked at Naruto's snort, but he did not let it bait him. "I've been alone for so long and kept the world at arms length after my brother killed my family, but I couldn't keep you guys out no matter how hard I tried. You became important people to me . Kakashi-sensei, you tried to teach me important lessons as a ninja and a person and even though I just ignored you, I still learned something. Thank you for guiding me forward despite me pushing backwards the whole time."

Sasuke looked at his pink haired teammate solemnly and she managed to fight back the tears before he addressed her, "Sakura… you're annoying, but in a good way, like my younger cousins used to be… I just wanted to protect you. I'm sorry I couldn't care for you the way you did me, but you were still one of the most precious people in my life." The pinkette could no longer contain her tears and fell to her knees before clutching onto her dying teammates sheets. The Uchiha tried to pat her back comfortingly, but it made the sobs harder so he looked towards the blonde.

"Dobe… Naruto, you were my rival, but more importantly, you were my best friend." Sasuke paused and looked at the usually cheerful genin with tears pouring down the whisker marks on his cheeks, "No you were more than that, you were a brother to me, my real brother. You understood the pain of loneliness too, and even though we never talked when we were younger, I would feel better when I looked at you because I knew there was somebody else like me. You helped pull me from the darkness that was engulfing my heart and helped me see, because of that I want you to take my left sharingan and use it to replace your eye so I can help you see too."

Sasuke weakly raised a hand to stall any of Naruto's protests, he knew the blonde would attempt to reject his offer and resolved to change his mind. The sharingan needed somebody to write a legacy that erased the evils committed by Itachi, "I already talked to the medics and they agreed to perform the procedure when you return to Konoha, so don't say you can't accept it. You were my brother Naruto, and I've got to protect you somehow. Please take my eye and use it to achieve your dream for both of us because I can no longer achieve mine. Become a great Hokage Naruto, open your eyes and find the path you need to walk, and since I always had better vision, I think my eye will help."

Sasuke saw the tears and snot running down Naruto's face as he lifted it to look at the bedridden shinobi, "Thank you Sasuke, I'll take your gift and when I become Hokage I'll make sure the Uchiha clan is never forgotten and their name said with honor." Naruto looked at his brother in all but blood, "It's not fair Sasuke, you're helping me reach my dream and I'm doing nothing to help you. What's your dream Sasuke? I promise to you that I'll try to achieve it in your stead."

The dying Uchiha closed his eyes and gave Naruto a small smile, he figured his dream would die with him and he thought he was okay with it. The raven-haired genin convinced himself that he did not want to burden his teammate with that path, but hearing Naruto request it dashed those thoughts and made the avenger finally feel at peace, "Four years ago my entire clan was killed in one night by a single man. He was my brother, Uchiha Itachi. I vowed that I would avenge the Uchiha clan and restore it to honor, but be warned Naruto, he is incredibly strong."

The Uzumaki's eyes hardened and he thumped his chest with his fist, "Sasuke, I'm giving you the promise of my lifetime, I will find and kill Uchiha Itachi and restore your clans honor, or die trying." The youngest surviving Uchiha wouldn't admit this for the rest of his short life or to anyone in the afterlife, but he was in awe of Naruto at that moment. The usually goofy blonde's lone blue eye was steel and his voice hard and full of conviction. Sasuke had confidence that he would somehow be able to defeat that murderer. He was looking for the words to express himself but Naruto decided to continue, "Sasuke… you were the person I admired and respected most. I wanted for you to acknowledge me as an equal. You were the reason I pushed myself so hard since becoming a genin. I'll never forget you and always uphold your honor. I swear my descendants will always remember you and your sacrifice."

Sasuke's eyelids were drooping and he felt his consciousness slipping away, but he managed smile and say one last thing before darkness overtook his vision for the final time, "You sure are a dobe Naruto… I acknowledged you a long time ago."

Kakashi gave Sasuke the drug to ensure he would not wake up in pain before gently grabbing his student's shoulders to lead them out of Sasuke's room. Once they were outside he freed up his hands so he could try to enjoy his copy of Icha Icha, signed by Jiraiya-sama himself. Raising the book up to his face Kakashi got ready to address his remaining two students, 'Is this how you felt when Obito died Minato-sensei?' "Get some rest you two because we'll be returning to Konoha tomorrow after lunch. The mission was bumped up to A-rank, but I was talking with Tazuna and he thinks you guys deserve more so on top of the pay you will receive from the village, you shall also receive pay for two solo S-class missions."

His most adorable and intelligent little genin interrupted him, "But sensei, how will they pay? Tazuna said the entire village could barely afford a C-rank mission when we started."

Kakashi eye-smiled for the benefit of his students, "Ah, that was over a week ago Sakura-chan. Relying on outdated information can be fatal to a shinobi. After the ordeal on the bridge I sent some of my nin-dogs to follow the trail Gato and his thugs left behind, and I went to his mansion and cleaned it out before they could. All the money and other liquid funds were given to the people of Nami, minus the pay in your hands. I also managed to gain the codes for his illegitimate bank accounts and sent those back to the village, and most important of all I managed to find a large amount of information on Gato's more illicit business, some in Hi no Kuni. Now go to bed because we have a lot of running to do tomorrow. I'll teach you how to use the tree climbing method to hop through trees easier." Naruto and Sakura trudged to their room as Kakashi put his spare hand into his pouch to fiddle with the bell he used on the day Team Seven became his responsibility, and while he walked to his own room, Obito's eye shed tears for his fallen family from behind the hitai-ate.

Team seven stood at the bridge and waved farewell to the people of Nami no Kuni as they cheered in gratitude, but their smiles didn't reach their eyes and were for the benefit of the people as they were hurting on the inside because of Sasuke's death. The medics came to them before they left saying the operation was a success and Naruto could receive the eye as soon as he came back to the village. Inari burst through the crowd with tears streaming down his face, "Make sure you come back and visit when I'm bigger. I want to hear all about your adventures Naruto-niichan."

Naruto looked at the young boy with watery eyes of his own, "I will as long as you grow up into someone that protects his precious people instead of a whiny brat." Naruto didn't wait for Inari's answer and turned around to catch up with the retreating forms of his teammates. Naruto felt bad but he was lying to Inari because none of the members of team seven would return to this tragic place.

Yeah first chapter edited and I'm pretty happy, Sasuke's speech always bugged me and I think that I managed to make it more in character and believable. Before Naruto beat Gaara and Itachi came back Sasuke was on the road to redemption and cared about his team even if he never said it, but when someone is on their deathbed they are usually a little more forthcoming so I still made it kinda sappy, painkillers make you a little chatty too. Anyways onto chapter two

-Operaman Bye Bye