Chapter 48

The rain began to pour as Anko and Kakashi arrived at the valley. Anko frantically looked for Naruto while Kakashi did the same, but he was observing the area of battle. The two boys must have really gone at it from the damage that he saw and the chakra that he felt.

"There he is!" Anko shouted and flew toward Naruto. They appeared next to the blond who was holding his side. Anko knelt to see the severity of the wound. It was bad and she applied more pressure to stop the bleeding.

"Ow damn it, that hurts!" Naruto exclaimed.

"Shut up! I need to stop the damn bleeding!" Anko shouted. She kept applying the pressure and the bleeding slowed. Kakashi observed the wound too. "Damn it, why isn't that stupid fox within not doing its' job?"

"Because of the chakra used, it might not be able to. We need to stop this bleeding before we can move him." Kakashi said.

"What do you think I'm doing?!" Anko spat. Kakashi ignored her and was preparing to do something when Naruto gripped his wrist. He looked at the blond who was giving him a hard look.

"You need to get Sasuke. You need to retrieve the body." Naruto hissed out.

"We need to deal with you first." Kakashi said.

"No! If snake-face gets… Sasuke's body… who knows… what," Naruto said before passing out. The jonin were frantic and quickly checked for a pulse. Luckily the pulse was strong, and he must have passed out from the pain. Kakashi then noticed a blood trail that the rain was washing away. It must have been Sasuke and by the words Naruto said, he wouldn't have look for a live person. He turned to Anko.

"Cauterize the wound and get him ready to move." Kakashi ordered before leaping off after his former student. Not too far away, Sasuke was using one arm to drag himself toward the border. His other hand was holding the neck wound that was spraying out blood. He was dying. He could feel his energy leave him and it angered him more. He kept dragging himself, his hate giving him strength.

'I will not be denied! I will complete my ambition!' Sasuke thought viciously. That's when he heard the howls of dogs. He knew those howls and he tried to drag himself faster. However, he was losing strength fast and he couldn't keep going. 'No… I will not… stop. I… will... not…' With that last thought, Sasuke stopped moving. Blood leaked out of his neck and began to pool. That's when the area around him began to swirl into itself. After a few moments, a figure appeared. He was wearing a black robe with red clouds and an orange, swirl mask.

He looked at the body for a while. That's when he heard the howls getting closer. He looked at Sasuke's body again before doing something. Sasuke began to swirl until his body just disappeared. Once that was done, he did the same, vanishing completely. It was then that Kakashi arrived to find a small pool of blood but no Sasuke's. He ordered his hounds to find him, but it would be for nothing. Sasuke was now in enemy hands.


Tsunade was working on the wound that Naruto received. She was being very careful and made sure that the nurses with her were doing their job. The boy was out and hooked up to various machines that would keep him alive. Outside, Anko and Kakashi watched as their Hokage worked on him. They did not talk to each other and were just waiting for the results. The silence was uncomfortable between the two.

"I blame you Kakashi." Anko said finally. She turned to glare at the one-eyed jonin. "I blame you for what happened to my otoutu (little brother). If you had just done your damn job as a sensei, we wouldn't be in this position. If you had just put that little asshole in his place, we wouldn't be in this position. You failed in your job and Naruto is paying the price."

"What do you want me to say Anko? If I apologize, you'll only get angry." Kakashi said.

"You're damn right! I have a reason to be! I took care of him when everyone ignored him! I trained him, I worried about him, I listened to him when he had issues! What the hell did you or anyone else do?!" Anko spat.

"That's enough." A voice said. They both turned to see Tsunade. "You're in a hospital. Act like it."

"Sorry Hokage-sama, how is Naruto?" Anko asked.

"He'll be fine. Cauterizing the wound was a good idea. Lucky for him, Sasuke's hand missed his stomach and liver but only by inches. It was not too difficult of a fix, but he will be out for a while." She turned to Anko. "You can keep watch over him if you want but I need you, Kakashi, to tell me what you know about what you found. Depending on what you saw, we might have to declare this mission a failure."

"Yes Hokage-sama." Kakashi said. The two turned to leave while Anko followed the staff that was transporting Naruto to his room.


Naruto looked out his window to look at the village. He was a little restless because he had been cooped in this room for three days. He never liked hospitals and he was looking for an escape. However, he couldn't get out because his onee-san (big sister) was being a worry-wort. His attention was taken away by a knock on his door. He turned and saw that it was Shikamaru.

"Hey Shikamaru, you're still in hospital?" Naruto asked.

"Just checking in on everybody. You're the last person that I'm coming to see." Shikamaru said. He then looked around looking for someone. "Wasn't that crazy woman here? I figured that she wouldn't let you out of her sight?" Naruto sighed before intimidating footsteps. That's when a huge snake head peered into the room. The serpent narrowed its' eyes at Naruto before leaving. Naruto turned to Shikamaru with annoyance. Shikamaru looked at the blond with wide eyes.

"That onee-san of yours is nuts."

"Tell me something I don't know." Naruto said. Shikamaru took a seat and faced his comrade. Naruto got serious and looked at him. "What do you know?" Shikamaru sighed and looked at Naruto.

"The mission is considered a failure and a success. The failure is that we did not receive Sasuke's body. Either Orochimaru got his body, or the wildlife got him. The success is due to the wound that you gave him. Even if Orochimaru got to him, he wouldn't survive. That's all I have." Shikamaru explained. Naruto turned away and looked up at the ceiling.

"He's still alive." He mumbled.

"What?" He asked.

"Sasuke, he's still alive. I don't know how but that bastard is still alive." The blond said.

"There's no way Naruto. The blond they found, you cut an artery. He would have bled out in moments." The Nara said.

"I just have a feeling. I trust my gut on this and because I do, I need to get stronger." Naruto said.

"What are you talking about?" Shikamaru asked.

"I should have stopped Sasuke easy. Kakashi might not have trained me as much, but Anko-onee-san trained me better. I even learned something from Ero-Sennin (Pervy Sage), but I need more. It isn't just my Sasuke feeling. There are some strong shinobi that are planning something bad. I need to be ready for it." Naruto explained seriously. Shikamaru had never seen the blond this serious. Maybe he should consider taking his words serious as well.


Tsunade rubbed her temples and was begging for a drink. She glared at Jiraiya who did not look happy either.

"I swear to God Jiraiya," Tsunade growled.

"I don't get why we are having this conversation either. The kid needs to get stronger, and I am asking permission to take him out of the village to do that. Why is this such a big deal?" Jiraiya argued.

"Because you are refusing to tell me what you are planning to teach the boy. For some reason, Anko believes that your focus will be training Naruto in using the Kyubi (Nine Tails) chakra." Tsunade explained.

"Well yeah, he needs to be able to use its' chakra." He stated.

"Do you even know how?" Tsunade asked. Jiraiya scratched his cheek and chuckled nervously. "Do you ever think first? You have no knowledge of how to train a jinchuriki. The only ones who have succeeded in fully controlling their jinchuriki are from Kirigakure (Hidden Mist) and Kumogakure (Hidden Cloud). Do you have access to their training methods? Is Ay willing to help you?"

"Why are you judging me about this? Do you not trust me to make the brat strong enough to face the Akatsuki?" Jiraiya demanded with a hard tone.

"I trust you, but you are being reckless. You have no understanding of how to train him with something that he is unwilling to use. You trained the Yondaime (Fourth). He might have been a prodigy, but he needed help. Are you telling me that you can't do so with Naruto?"

"Naruto is much different that the Yondaime."

"That's a weak excuse because Anko certainly didn't have a problem in training him to the current level." Hearing that, Jiraiya's eyes narrowed.

"So, it's Anko who is complaining about me? So, you're just going to take her worries and not see the bigger picture?" It was now Tsunade turn to narrow her eyes.

"I am because she has a point. If you cannot train Naruto in anything else but the Kyubi's chakra, then I will not allow you to have him. That's the deal Jiraiya. You teach Naruto to be a shinobi, or I will find someone who will." The two teammates looked at each other with hard looks. Jiraiya let out a frustrated huff before nodding at her. He took his leave, vanishing in a puff of smoke. Tsunade let out a sigh and cut her thumb. She smeared her blood and did the seals for the Kuchiyose no Jutsu (Summoning Technique). A blue and white slug appeared before her.

"Tsunade-sama, how may I be of service?"

"I need you to get in touch with Gamabunta, Katsuyu. I have a message to deliver." Tsunade said.


It took a week for Naruto to leave the hospital. While he was in there, Tsunade and Jiraiya had come to him to tell him about his training mission. They said that he would have to leave the village for two and a half years to be ready for the Akatsuki. Based on what Ero-Sennin said, the group were going silent for a while. He agreed to go but he did notice that there was tension between the two and couldn't help but wonder why.

He was packing his things and getting stuff in order when he hear a knock at his door. He made his way to the front and opened the door. He was surprised to see Kakashi.

"Oh, hey Kakashi. Can I help you with something?" he asked.

"No, I just came to give you something for your trip. The truth is, I am not worthy of it, and I think that it would help you better than me." Kakashi said and pulled out a kunai that made Naruto look at it with wonder. It had three blades on it, and it looked cool. Kakashi handed him the kunai, which Naruto began to twirl it around.

"The handle is a little thicker than I'm use to. What's the markings for?" Naruto asked.

"Oh, it's just a special seal. Anyway, good luck on your training." Kakashi said and turned to leave.

"Hey Kakashi," Naruto said. The jonin stopped to look at him. "Thanks. I know that things didn't work out with us as teacher and student, but I hope that we will can still be comrades." Naruto gave him a wide grin. Kakashi's lone eye widen but it turned into an eye smile.

"That sounds like a plan. Later Naruto." Kakashi vanished from the apartment. Naruto re-entered his apartment and looked at his cool new weapon.


Naruto flew through the trees to get to the meeting spot. He had been contacted by Hinata's bodyguard to meet her near the river. After a tense stare promising pain, he grabbed his stuff and headed over. He was curious what this was about. He saw her standing by the river.

"Hey Hinata!" Naruto called out. The girl in question turned to face him as he landed. She smiled at him and jogged up. "So, what did you need to see me for?"

"I just wanted to get you something before you went on your mission." Hinata said and produced an orange-colored rope bracelet with a swirl charm dangling.

"Wow, I'm getting all type of gifts today." Naruto said with a small smile. "I guess that I should be giving you your present now too." Naruto sat before pulling out the same bracelet he got. The rope was lavender in color, and it had a pressed flower as a charm. Hinata took the bracelet and was very happy. Her smile made the blond blush a little.

"So, how long will you be gone for?" Hinata asked.

"At least two and a half years. I hope to get really strong during that time." Naruto answered. Hinata looked at him in thought before looking at the bracelet she was given.

"Then I will get stronger too." She said, gaining Naruto's attention. Sher looked at him with a smile. "In two in a half year, when you get back, I will be stronger too. We will be stronger together." Naruto looked at her in surprise. She had come a long way from the timid girl he remembered. He gave her a smile too.

"Yeah, we will get stronger together." Naruto stated boldly.

"Oh, come on!" a voice shouted. The two genin snapped to the voice to see Anko step out. "Enough of this sappy stuff! Just grab his face and stick your tongue down his throat!"

"Anko!" Kurenai exclaimed. Her reveal also revealed Sakura, Ino, Kiba, Shino, Shikamaru, Choji and Akamaru. Naruto was red in the face in embarrassment and anger. Hinata whole head was red, and smoke was coming out of her ears. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she fainted. Naruto caught her and tried to cool her down. Anko just cackled while Kurenai went to help and the genin just watched with wonder.


Eyes opened to a dim lit room. It took a while for the eyes to adjust to the light, but it soon did. He looked around the room they were in and wondered where he was.

"So, you're finally awake." The person turned to the voice to see a masked man. They kept their eyes on the man who took a seat. They looked at each other and tried to speak but the masked man stopped him. "I wouldn't speak yet. You are still critical even if you're stable. I managed to save you, but I could not save your voice. Naruto destroyed your voice box. You can not longer speak." This made their eyes widen and fist clench.

"Yeah, I would be mad too but like I said, take it easy. It will be months before you can move around." He spoke. It took a while, but they did calm down and looked at the ceiling. The masked man scoffed at the dismissal, but he stayed. "You know, I considered letting you die that day. You did not fit into what I am planning but I decided not to. Do you know why? I didn't think that you should die without knowing the truth. The truth about that day you lost your clan. I would know because I was there." They looked at the man with surprise.

"Yes, I did participate in the slaughter of your clan but only because I was asked to help. Itachi knew about me in the day and asked for my help for the sanctioned elimination of the Uchiha." The eyes narrowed in confusion. "Yes, I said sanctioned. Come now, a whole clan eliminated and not one Konoha shinobi arrived. Don't you find that strange? I know the reason for the death of your clan as does Itachi. If you want, I can tell that truth and who was responsible. You're going to be here for a while. Might as well learn the truth of your former village. So, what do you say Sasuke?"

The young Uchiha looked at the masked man with hard eyes, them changing into the Sharingan. He nodded and the masked man could only smile.

"Very well, I will tell you the truth. However, I think that we should be introduced. My name is Uchiha Madara."


Authors' Notes

So, this is the end of the story. When I re-wrote this story, I was really enjoying it. I felt that I did better from the first path and now I can focus on the sequel. I definitely like the different things I did, with shortening the Sasuke Retrival Arc and including Tobi. I read a lot of fan fiction and I never saw this as an option. I figured, 'Hey, why not?' I does give me some ideas for the sequel. Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed the story and the last chapter and I will let you know when the sequel is up. Enjoy everybody!