Warning, if you want to read the continued adopted version of this which I currently have a offer for then you shouldn't read this because it will spoil it. Also, to imagine the end of the Naruto world as I imagined it a year ago when we knew less, you're going to have to forget some things and imagine Sasuke as an actual 3d character who can shut up about revenge for a few minutes. Carry on.
The first thing he felt was cold, the damp kind where it feels like you've been drenched in ice water. His eyes fluttered open revealing cerulean orbs before they squeezed shut again with a groan. After a minute more of lying on the ground, dead to the world, he cautiously opened his eyes again and blinked a few times to get used to the light before surveying his current location.
He was in the dirty back alley of some city. It was just his luck to be positioned in the only place where he would get sun in his eyes in the otherwise dark alley. He glared at the sun even though it was a pointless gesture and winced from the overload of light on his eyes once more.
He pushed himself up into a sitting position but it felt a little strange. He brushed it off for being cramps from lying on the ground before focusing on the more important problem. How did he get here? On second thought, where was here?
He tried to recall what he had been doing that could have possibly landed him in this situation but drew a blank. In fact, he couldn't seem to remember where he should be. With a small amount of panic, he tried to remember anything at all, a name, a face, a past, but ended up with the same answer as before.
Now let's rewind a bit...
Blood sprayed Naruto's clothes, dying the tattered shreds of once orange clothing stiff with dried blood a fresh red. Madara clutched his side, trying futilely to stop the bleeding from the obviously fatal wound.
They were finally reaching a conclusion to the three daylong, nonstop battle between the two of them. All around them the Forth Shinobi War raged. Ninjas of all villages fought against the white Zetsu clones that never seemed to end. Undead ninjas who were legends during their lifetime were sending one mass destruction jutsu after another as the shinobi army struggled to seal them away.
But none of this seemed to touch Madara and Naruto. It was like there was a barrier around them. Not even the ninjas raised by Kabuto's forbidden jutsu attempted to interfere with the two.
For three days they had fought against each other. Madara's space-time jutsu had given out on the second day. Even he couldn't outlast a jinchuuriki's chakra reserves. Once he couldn't avoid attacks by using his jutsu, Naruto had started to go all out against him. Before they had started fighting he prepared fifty senjutsu clones but they had run out half way through the second day. From that moment on he used _mode. (Okay, I'm not sure what I originally meant to put here)
Back and forth they shot deadly jutsu at each other, but by the third day even Naruto's almost unlimited chakra was barely even there. Madara would have collapsed a day ago if it weren't for his Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan. Both had sustained injuries that would have knocked an average man unconscious and unable to move. They were so caught up in fighting each other with barely enough time to move that they paid almost no mind to the life threatening injuries, but now they had finally caught up with them.
"Y-you," Madara said pausing to cough up blood. "It is obvious that I shall die but there is no way that you won't either. Both of us will breathe our last breath on this battlefield! Even without me the Zetsu clones will keep attacking! The United Shinobi Army will be annihilated!" He began to laugh, a crazed look in his eyes and practically frothing at the mouth.
Blood flowed even faster from his wounds as all of the air that he had been struggling to breathe earlier left his body. His laughter seemed to block out all other noises and to Naruto in the climax of war it felt like all the other noises ceased to exist. Nothing seemed to matter at the moment. He couldn't hear anything but Madara's echoing laughter and his own feeble heartbeat.
Madara made one last choking noise before falling over to lay face first in the bloodied soil. His newest mask, a white one with three tomoe like markings, slipped off and rolled to a stop a few feet away from him. A small, childish voice in Naruto wanted to finally see what the man's face looked like but the general struggle of breathing pushed it away.
"Naruto!" From out of nowhere, Naruto's friends appeared. Shikamaru, Choji, and Ino came first, having been the closest to where Madara and Naruto were fighting. Shikamaru only paused to check Madara's pulse before joining his teammates to where Naruto was sitting on the ground. That's weird… I don't remember sitting down… Naruto thought sluggishly, barely even hearing his friends talking franticly to him or noticing Ino trying to heal some of his wounds with her meager medic skills.
Next came Team Gai, Sai and Kakashi. Sai's face was as blank as ever but there was a twitch of emotion on there, which was very extreme for Sai. Tenten and Lee looked worried and Neji had a serious expression on but Naruto could tell that he was concerned. Kakashi's face, or what he could see of it, was slightly desperate and the copy ninja was using his Sharingan to check Naruto's chakra system, even attempting to use a medic ninjutsu that he must have copied off of Sakura. Their voices also joined the loud hum as they tried to get him to respond to their words, but all Naruto could do was flicker his eyes against the suddenly harsh sunlight that seemed to be shining directly into his eyes.
The last ones to come were Team Kurenai, with Sakura running ahead of them and Gaara, who was also approaching as fast as he could with his nervousness making the sand ripple through the air around him. Sakura reached him first as she pushed everyone away from Naruto and started to try and heal him. A drop of saltwater, hot but at the same time cooling his skin, fell onto his cheek and left a line through the blood that coated it. Gaara reached him next, kneeling by Sakura and using his sand to try and stop the bleeding. Sakura, Gaara, Everyone… Why… Why do you look so sad?
There's only one person who's missing…Naruto thought as he looked at his friends surrounding him. All of their faces surrounding him, some tear stricken, others grimly serious, but all worried. He searched desperately through them, even though he knew that that person wouldn't come.
Finally he caught sight of something at the corner of his eyes. His vision had long since started to blur but he could recognize that person anywhere. Hair so black it seemed blue, pale skin. Naruto sighed and relaxed his body, watching as Sasuke pushed through the crowd of startled and now tense ninja. Permanently red eyes widened in a rare show of shock when he saw the extent of Naruto's injuries. He also kneeled by Naruto, in between Sakura and Gaara whose sand was poised to strike at the slightest sign of violence. Naruto was surprised when he saw something glimmering in Sasuke's eyes. "Dobe," Naruto could clearly hear Sasuke's voice, which was shaking slightly. "You stupid Dobe! It wasn't supposed to end this way!" Sasuke made a choking noise before saying in a much quieter tone. "You weren't supposed to die…"
"Hey Teme," Naruto said in a dry voice, startling the group around him. He struggled to focus on Sasuke's face while he drew in a long rattling breath. "Pr-promise me something." "Yes?" Sasuke said hesitantly.
"Promise me that you won't run away from your friends anymore."
Sasuke looked shocked for a second before lowering his his head, his face hidden in shadows and a sad smile on his face. "Yeah, Dobe. I promise." Sparkling drops of water seemed to fall in slow motion before splashing onto Naruto's face, joining the countless others there, both from the people around him and himself.
Naruto let out a relieved laugh, but had to stop himself when he choked on blood. His friends fidgeted around him and Sakura continued to try and heal him with renewed effort until he raised a shaking hand and put it on top of hers. Jade eyes overflowing with tears turned to stare at him with desperation and a hint of betrayal. He just smiled at her and shook his head softly. He lied his head back down on the ground feeling like he had been carrying the world on his shoulders and the weight was finally being lifted. The jinchuuriki lifted his eyes to stare at the red from the setting sun. "A red dawn. How ironic." He said absentmindedly, feeling his life leave him as the crimson color left the sky, leaving it a dark purple. Naruto smiled one last time, his eyes closing from the size of it. It was the smile he used to assure everyone that everything was going to be all right.
I kept my promise, Sakura-chan. All of my promises.
Yes, that's right. Even in my notes to give you closure, I am leaving you with a cliffhanger. Cue evil laughter!
This is actually Part One of my notes and Tadaa! It is actually a written scene. (Ouch, look at that younger me's writing. I cannot promise quality from this, sorry.) This was nearly the first chapter(minus those first three paragraphs I put there to set the mood.) You almost ended up reading Naruto's death scene before he woke up in the alley with no memories but while at the time I decided I would work out my plans for this story a bit more along the way then rewrite it, I did save it and I'm sure glad I did. I got to torture all of you so much more!
In Part Two, you will probably see some of my scrappy notes if I don't end up rewriting it all for coherency.