Chapter 1: Changing Fate
The Hidden Leaf Village was in chaos. Orochimaru's invasion had left them weakened and almost defenseless, so each and every ninja in the village was working extra hard. However, Lady Tsunade had an even bigger problem to worry about. Sasuke Uchiha had defected from the village, and only a group of Genin had been sent to retrieve him. She soon realized that this would not be enough and had already sent word to the Hidden Sand Village to provide support.
"Shizune!" Tsunade yelled, looking to grab the attention of her assistant. "Have the Sand Village replied yet?"
"Yes Lady Tsunade" Shizune replied, looking completely exhausted and overwhelmed. Her hair was knotted and frayed and she appeared to have aged years over the past day. "They said that they've dispatched a team of Chunnin, who are on their way to provide back up."
Tsunade frowned at this, not trying to hide her disappointment.
"Chunnin?" she asked, not expecting any kind of answer. "I requested Jonin at least, with ANBU if they could spare it. They owe us for the way we forgave them for their betrayal!"
"I know" Shizune replied, "but it's all they could spare. They suffered heavy losses as well; they don't even have a Kage at the helm. Chunnin is all they could give us and by the sounds of the message they gave us, it's probably more than they would have given anyone else."
Tsunade sighed and pressed her fingers against her forehead. She had only just become Hokage and already had this to deal with. A delicate balancing act such as this wasn't something that she was used to, or particularly good at. Still, it was her duty to remain calm and make tough decisions. She couldn't let everyone down.
"That'll have to do then," she said, reluctantly giving up. She got up from her desk and stared out towards the distance, thinking about what could possibly be going on out there.
Sasuke walked across the statue of the ancient Shinobi that stood at the Valley of the End. For a moment, he wondered just who this man was. Of course, it was common knowledge that the First Hokage defeated him, but his name appeared to have been lost in history.
Not like it even matters Sasuke thought, as he even allowed himself a small chuckle. All that matters now is power. Once I reach Orochimaru, I'll be able to surpass Itachi and finally end this nightmare.
"Sasuke!" a high-pitched scream came from behind him.
Of course, things can't always go so smoothly. I wonder who this could be.
Sasuke slowly turned around to see who could have been following him. He saw a small, blond boy wearing an orange jumpsuit and a panicked expression on his face. Sasuke particularly enjoyed seeing Naruto's expression change once he saw Sasuke's cursed face. It was all confirmation of his supreme power and superiority over him.
"Hey, dumbass" Sasuke said condescendingly. "So, it's you this time."
Naruto's face scrunched up in anger. His hands shook as he tried to contain his rage over this entire situation. He had a promise to keep to Sakura and he would not let her down.
"I've already told Sakura and now I'll tell you as well," Sasuke continued, loving every second. "Forget about me and leave me alone."
Naruto continued to glare.
"What's with that face?" Sasuke teased, feigning surprise.
"Why?" Naruto cried out, desperate for an answer. "Why are you being like this, Sasuke?"
"What does this, have to do with you?" Sasuke asked, beginning to get annoyed at Naruto's constant questioning. "I'm following my own path and won't let you or anyone else drag me from that. Let me make this clear to you. I'm done playing ninja with you fools in the Leaf Village, so go home Naruto."
"Choji, Neji, Kiba, Shikamaru, Bushy Brows, they all risked their lives to come and save you!" Naruto yelled, trying to make his friend see sense.
"Good for them" Sasuke responded, his sarcasm obvious.
At this point, Naruto lost any composure he may have had and launched himself over the valley towards Sasuke. His eyes were red and the whisker marks on his face were enflamed. He landed on top of Sasuke and forced him into the ground. Naruto sat on top of him and stared down at his face. His eyes were so cold and uncaring. He wasn't even looking at Naruto so much as he was looking through him. He didn't care that Naruto was trying to save him or about the lives of the others.
Naruto couldn't bear to see it and forced his fist into Sasuke's dark expression. Sasuke didn't appear fazed by it, so Naruto hit him again. His face was still left unaltered and Naruto's strikes appeared ineffective. He then pulled Sasuke up from the ground by his shirt and stared into his eyes.
"So, am I supposed to get stronger by staying with those so called comrades?" Sasuke asked, stunning Naruto as he did.
All he cares about is power Naruto thought, and he'll do anything to get it.
"I'm going to Orochimaru" Sasuke said, his tone unwavering.
"Orochimaru killed the Third Hokage and attacked our village" Naruto shouted, pulling himself closer to Sasuke. "You think he'll just give you power for free? He wants your body as a vessel Sasuke! You might not come back. You might be killed! I can't let you do something like that!"
Sasuke stared back with blood dripping from his face, wounds that Naruto himself had inflicted. The left side of his face was still marked with the curse that Orochimaru had placed on him.
"I don't care about that," Sasuke whispered to a shocked Naruto. "All I care about is accomplishing my goal and I can't help it if you're going to get in my way."
Sasuke's words sounded like a threat and Naruto could barely believe his ears. How far would Sasuke go to accomplish this goal of his?
"No, I won't let you do it" Naruto said, vocalizing his determination. "I'll bring you back with force if I have to!"
Sasuke began to laugh at this. It was a slow and quiet laugh but loud enough to have the desire affect.
"If I recall" he said, as he grabbed onto Naruto's shirt. "Our last fight was interrupted, wasn't it?"
Naruto thought back to that day on the hospital roof. Even then, Sasuke's eyes were full of malice. Back then; the fight was a chance for Naruto to prove himself to Sasuke, the person whose respect he wanted the most. This time, things were different and the situation was much more tense.
"That wasn't the kind of fight I wanted" Naruto cried, as he remembered how their battle had spun out of control and they came close to killing each other. "Even now, I-"
Naruto was cut off as he felt Sasuke start to push him off the ground. His sheer physical strength was astonishing and he overpowered Naruto with ease.
"Why should I care what you want?" Sasuke rasped, as he continued lifting Naruto up by the scruff of his neck. Eventually, Sasuke had stood up completely and he still had Naruto by his throat. Naruto struggled against Sasuke's stranglehold, but couldn't break out of it. He felt his clothes tighten around his neck and suddenly began to panic about his safety.
Then, Sasuke dropped Naruto from his grasp and freed him from the pain he was feeling. However, his relief was short lived as Sasuke hit him in the stomach with enough force to send Naruto into the lake below them. Sasuke watched Naruto crash into the water and then stared at his hands amazed.
What is this power coming from within me? Sasuke thought, as the curse mark receded and Sasuke's face returned to normal.
"So, this is the power that Orochimaru was talking about" Sasuke said, still staring at his hands. "If that's the power I can get now, imagine what I'll be able to do once I've fully released this seal."
Naruto crawled out of the water and gasped for air. Without wasting too much time, he then ran towards Sasuke and jumped into the air. Sasuke did likewise and their battle begun.
Kakashi jumped from tree to tree as he raced through the forest and headed back to the Leaf Village. His latest mission had been completed without any problems and he was even ahead of schedule. However, he still found himself rushing to get back to the village and he knew why.
I hope that the situation between Naruto and Sasuke hasn't got worse while I've been away he thought, as he picked up the pace. He was on edge while travelling as he pondered all the possible situations that could have emerged over the past few days. This tension was highlighted when he threw his Shiruken after seeing movement out of the corner of his eye. It turned out that it was nothing more than a butterfly.
I need to calm myself Kakashi thought as he stopped moving. What a stupid thing to react to.
As Kakashi stared at the butterfly, he heard noises ahead of him. He thought that it might be the sound of battle, but he couldn't be sure. It left him with a dilemma as he deliberated with what to do.
Do I go back to the village or should I investigate what the commotion is about?
After considering the options for another few moments, he realized there was only one thing he could do.
I have to find out what's going on he decided, as he headed towards the source of the noise and away from the village, his original target. The noise was amplified as Kakashi moved closer and the sounds of battle became more obvious. The noise soon reached its peak, before suddenly stopping completely. Kakashi then increased his speed, knowing that the battle must have reached its conclusion. Finally, he came to a clearing that was once a field, but was now resembled a desert. In the middle of the sea of sand, Kakashi saw two boys sitting. They were clearly breathing heavily, indicating their involvement in the fight.
What on earth is going on here? Kakashi asked himself, as he approached the two figures. After reaching them, he was shocked to see who he found.
"Lee?" Kakashi asked, shocked at finding Gai's student in the midst of a battle. "I thought you were still injured, what are you doing out here?" He then noticed the red haired boy sitting next to him. "Gaara of the Sand Village? Why are you with each other?"
Kakashi looked at each of the young Shinobi and waited for answers. The answer he got, made him feel sick.
"Kakashi Sensei, you don't know?" Lee asked, as he winced from the pain. "Some of the Genin were sent on an urgent mission to-"
A searing pain in his arm interrupted Lee, which caused him to cry out. Gaara continued where he left off.
"The mission was to retrieve Sasuke Uchiha," he said, his dull tones doing nothing to ease Kakashi's fears.
"Retrieve Sasuke?" Kakashi asked, not wanting to believe it. "What happened to him?"
"Sasuke left to join Orochimaru" Lee said, rejoining the conversation. "The rest of the group were forced to hold off many different enemies while the others continued on. Only Naruto is still following Sasuke."
"Where direction did they go in?" Kakashi asked, as he began making hand seals.
"They went that way," Gaara said, as he pointed towards the opening that Naruto had disappeared down an hour or so before. Kakashi slapped the ground and summoned his faithful ninja hound Pakkun.
"Hey Kakashi, what's up?" the small dog asked.
"No time Pakkun, I need you to track Naruto and Sasuke's scent," he said, trying to rush things along. "We know that they went in this general direction so this is where we'll begin."
Kakashi and Pakkun set off in pursuit of the boys. Kakashi was moving faster than he had done in years and his partner was struggling to keep up.
Don't do anything stupid, you two Kakashi pleaded, knowing that his hopes would probably be dashed. Eventually, he broke through the trees and found himself in the Valley of the End. The majestic valley was created as a result of the battle between the First Hokage, Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha, his greatest rival. Two statues of the great warriors stood either side of a giant waterfall, which poured in to a lake. As Kakashi reached the lake, he looked around desperately.
"Where are they?" Kakashi asked, as he hoped that he wasn't too late.
Sasuke shuddered as he tried to stand back up, as he glared at Naruto, who was encased within a red cloak of chakra. His beast like movements and increase in raw power surprised Sasuke and offered much more of a challenge than expected. Sasuke groaned again as he began to feel pain all around his body, before he thought back to what one of the Sound Shinobi told him.
"If you hold the release state for too long, the seal will begin to corrode your body."
I don't have time to waste while using this body Sasuke thought, as he prepared to attack again.
"Do you know that this place is called the Valley of the End on the country border?" Sasuke said, his eyes gleaming in anticipation. "This is the perfect setting, isn't it Naruto?"
Naruto just continued to glare and didn't answer Sasuke.
"Your right, the time for talking is over. This battle ends now."
Sasuke made the necessary hand seals before pointing his left hand towards the ground and clenching his wrist with his other hand.
"Chidori" he rasped as his hand lit up with spark of black lightning. The power of this technique in this form astounded Sasuke, who savored the moment. Naruto responded by holding out his right arm and forming a ball of chakra. His Rasengan was much larger than normal and appeared much more powerful as well. Both of the boys scowled at each other for a few seconds before jumping through the air, their attacks poised to inflict damage. Just before they could connect, both of boys felt a hand grab their wrist and they were flung into the stone statues they had been standing on just moments before.
"I thought I had made myself clear on this issue earlier" Kakashi said, his expression conveying the pure anger he felt inside.