A/N So this is a drabble that had been nagging at me to be written. It's all in Nagato's point of view, and the you who is referred to is Konan. It's my first time trying out this style, so let me know how it goes, okay?
When I watched my parents die, I was only sure of one thing – it had been my fault.
I fled through the war-torn country, trying my best to survive. Chibi had found me after some time, so I was no longer alone.
When I believed that I just couldn't go on, you were what had saved me. You picked me up off the storm-battered grounds and took me to shelter. I'm sure that you had saved my life. My first impression of you and Yahiko was that Yahiko was a little brat and you… You were an angel. You were perfect – even the origami that you so loved to create was perfect.
I watched as you made origami models of Chibi and played with that dog like there was no tomorrow. I'm sure that you loved him just as much as I did. But it doesn't matter – Chibi died a long time ago, struck down by the horrors of war. I wonder if Master Jiraiya even had any idea of what he had done to our dog – no… To our friend.
Yahiko kept us together, encouraging us with his hopes and dreams of a world that we would rule together – a world without suffering. I knew that you loved Yahiko and would follow him to the ends of the earth – that's why you were always agreeing with whatever he said, no matter how ludicrous it seemed at the time. Maybe he was what had kept us alive.
Sometimes I wonder if you had fallen for him already.
"This world is all about war," Yahiko had said. "I will rule this world and make it stop."
That's when his dream became mine.
"Nagato, quit crying!" He had scolded as you and I cried over Chibi. I wonder if he even cared that our dog had just been killed. "When you get beat down, crying over it won't change anything. Just like this land's rain. I'll change this land!"
We started searching for Shinobi to help us achieve our goal. We found Master Jiraiya and his two teammates, the ones who had been fighting Hanzo and had killed Chibi. I hid behind a pillar of stone because I was too scared of them to make my presence known. I was afraid that the Shinobi would kill us, just as they had done to my parents. Right then, I remember hearing my parents' screams in my head the night they had been killed.
Yahiko had been the one to run up and beg for their help. I don't even know where you had hidden yourself, but I'm sure you were just as scared as I had been.
I remember that filthy snake, Orochimaru. I didn't like him then, and I certainly hated him even more when he was in the Akatsuki. He didn't want us around just because we were war orphans. He only furthered my distrust of Leaf Shinobi. But Jiraiya… He was different. And Lady Tsunade… She didn't seem to like the idea of him taking care of us and teaching us Ninjutsu.
I'm not sure if you even trusted him at first, but Yahiko was enraptured by the idea of being trained by one of the three legendary Shinobi – one of the Sannin. I realised – over time, of course – that Jiraiya was different from the Shinobi who had killed my parents. I think that was proven after that incident where Yahiko had almost been killed and my Rinnegan had activated, saving his life.
Master Jiraiya believed in me. He was serious about training us. But my power… I feared it. Hate had ruined me. I was sure that I had done the wrong thing and guilt had consumed me – I killed a human to save my friend without even meaning to. But Jiraiya pulled me out of that dark place.
Master Jiraiya wasn't sure if what I had done was right or not, but he believed I had done the right thing by saving my friend. He said that no one could fault me for saving Yahiko.
"Once you have been hurt," Master Jiraiya had told me, "you learn what it is to hate. If you hurt another, you become hated in addition to shouldering a sense of guilt. But it is because one understands such pain that generosity towards others becomes second nature. A person matures, grows up, because of that pain. And growing up means being able to think and make your own decisions. To know and reflect on pain and come up with your own answer."
Master Jiraiya hadn't figured out an answer to stop all of the hate and fighting in this world. But back then, I was able to come up with my own answer right away.
"I just want to protect them…" I said. "…No matter how much pain befalls me."
Master Jiraiya hated all of the conflict, and he would've given anything to put an end to it. He just wanted to know what peace was like… Just like you. He thought that I was a reincarnation of the Sage of Six Paths. He gave me the quest for peace and left the rest up to us.
We gathered comrades and made our organisation with Yahiko as leader. Everyone was loyal to Yahiko, but they were right to believe in him. After all, he had kept us alive, didn't he? He instilled us with hope, and the desire, to make this world a better place.
"Nagato is someone who is going to become the peace viaduct, our bridge to the end of all wars." Yahiko had said about me. "My role is to make sure that happens. I am a pillar that supports the viaduct span of that bridge to peace."
I didn't believe in what he had said. He was the peace viaduct. That was his will in itself.
However, you… You believed in yourself as well, thinking of yourself as the pillar that supports the two bridges: Yahiko and Nagato. You were the one who gave your life in an attempt to be the bridge to peace by trying to bring down Madara.
I remember after a fight where Yahiko had been so badly hurt… I remember standing outside of the room while he made love to you. I wasn't sure how I felt. I looked happy, but inside… I was in turmoil. I loved you, and I always had.
We agreed to cooperate with Hanzo's plan. And that was the beginning of all our misfortunes. Yahiko gave his life in order to save you. Hanzo would have killed you if he hadn't. I remember you screaming at us to leave and not worry about you, but… We both loved you – there was no way we could ever abandon you.
Yahiko's last words to me were about how he knew that I was the saviour of the world and how he knew that I could do it. Watching Yahiko fall onto the ground… dead… That was my second great pain. I thought that I had grown up, but I hadn't. Nothing had changed. It was the same situation with my parents. I realised that the answer that I had given Master Jiraiya meant nothing.
I had saved you, but at what cost? I had summoned the Gedo Statue – I had subjected myself to this way of living in exchange for the Six Paths of Pein. I just… couldn't bear to lose Yahiko and Konan… Hanzo had been finished.
Yahiko was dead, and I took over the organisation. Everyone kept dying… Just by living, people hurt others without even realising it. So long as humanity exists, hate will also exist. True peace cannot exist in this cursed world. Everything that Master Jiraiya had spoken about – about how the day will come when people will truly understand one another and live in harmony… It was all just wishful thinking.
I used Yahiko's body for my first path of Pain. Yahiko became the Deva path, my main path. I couldn't bear to lose him after so long together. But I know, deep down, I did it for you. You loved him, didn't you? It would hurt you more than me to have to leave him behind.
Years had passed. I had attacked Konohagakure in search of the Kyuubi. The Jinchuriki had attacked, destroying all paths but Deva. I knew that having Yahiko intact had brought you comfort. The Jinchuriki had asked why I was doing this once I had captured him, a crafty little blonde named Naruto. Those who do not know pain will never understand true peace.
"Why?" The Deva path had spoken. "How do I define why? Sometimes the why is only apparent later on… Even if I told you why, I doubt that it would change anything. But say I take the time to explain it to you… What would happen? My goal… is to achieve the peace that even Master Jiraiya couldn't achieve. As I said earlier… To create peace and bring about justice."
"Peace…?" Naruto had scoffed. "Justice…? Yeah, right… Give me a break…! You killed my master! And my teacher! Hurt my friends! Destroyed my village! You dare say peace… after all that you've done?"
I had to question this boy. He didn't understand anything. "What is your goal?"
"I'm taking you down!" The Jinchuriki had screamed. "And then I'll bring peace to the Shinobi world!"
"A lofty plan… And that would be justice… However… What then about my family… My friends… My village…? Is it fair that you, Konoha Shinobi, who once did the same to me as I have now done to you, be allowed to spout all of this drivel about peace and justice? You and I seek the same thing. We both want the peace that Master Jiraiya had envisioned. You and I are the same. Both motivated by justice. The justice I delivered against Konoha is no different than what you are trying to do to me."
I couldn't help but notice that Naruto had gone oddly silent.
"Everyone feels the same pain when losing what is precious. You and I have both experienced that pain. You strive for your justice, and I for mine! Ordinary men, driven to vengeance in the name of justice. And if one calls vengeance justice… such justice will just breed further vengeance and a vicious cycle of hatred will be set in motion. Right now, I live in that cycle. I know the past and can foretell the future. It is the same as our history. I do not see people as anything other than petty creatures that will never be able to understand one another. How would you confront this hatred in order to create peace?"
"…Dunno… Guess I hadn't thought that far…"
"I formed the Akatsuki to break the cycle of hatred. I am going to show this world true pain… Stop all wars with the terror that pain will inspire and lead it into stability and peace."
"But peace like that is a lie!" Naruto had screamed.
I couldn't help but think poorly of this misguided boy. What was false peace compared to the hatred and ferocity of this world? You had tried so hard to stop me from going this far, but I know, deep down, you wanted the peace we had been aiming for.
"Humans are not the most intelligent of creatures. You argue that my vision of peace is false, but in this cursed world, a peace where people truly understand one another is nothing but fiction. This is just like when you Konoha Shinobi had killed my parents in front of me. Because of the existence of love, sacrifice is born… As well as hate. And one comprehends pain. Do you hate me? In the end, you will find that my pain is greater than yours."
We had clashed. I had never been pushed so far before.
"Do you finally comprehend pain?" I had asked. "You cannot fully comprehend another person's motivations unless you know the same pain they do – and even then, you may never truly understand one another."
Naruto had defeated the last thing we had left of Yahiko. Before I knew it, he was standing in front of us. You had jumped to protect me, but I had to stop you. I needed to talk to him. I had told him my story.
That boy… Naruto… He was a fellow student of Jiraiya's. I had jokingly told him that we should understand one another… What was his response?
"Pervy Sage believed in me and had left me his quest," Naruto had said, holding the book that I had inspired our late Master to write. "So I gotta believe in Pervy Sage's belief! That's my answer."
I had told him about how peace can't exist so long as we live in this cursed world.
"In that case, I'll break the curse." Naruto had responded with. "If there's such a thing as peace, I'll find it! I'm not giving up!"
Those were the same words I had spoken to Jiraiya all those years ago – the same words that foolish man had quoted in his book.
"Pervy Sage was seriously trying to change the world with this book." Naruto continued on. "And in the back, he wrote about the student that helped provide him with inspiration. It was you, Nagato."
I remember when I said those words. I had said that it was even more important to have faith and believe in the methods than it was to know of them. I wonder if I still believe in those words today. Do you still believe in them?
Naruto had said he would bring peace to the world. He begged us to believe in him, didn't he?
"Why should I?" I had asked. "How can you vow that you will not change? Do you really trust yourself not to change, no matter much pain befalls you? Can you guarantee it? Can you, yourself, trust in that vow?"
Naruto was silent.
"…If the main character were to change, it would be a different story…" I couldn't believe that he was still on about that book that Master Jiraiya had left behind. "It would become something other than the book which our teacher left behind. And the main character wouldn't be Naruto! I can't write books like Master… So any sequel has to come from the life I live… Which is why no matter how much it hurts, I gotta keep walking… Because that's who Naruto is!"
What was it about this boy that had given me the courage to believe in him? To undo all of the destruction I had created in an attempt to bring peace to his world?
War inflicts death, injury, and pain to both sides… The more precious someone is to you, the harder it is to accept that they might die… In fact, you convince yourself… There's no way that they could die… And you might try and find meaning in death… But all there is… is pain… and unbearable… hatred… Wasteful death… Eternal hatred… And pain that does not heal… That's… what war is…
As I sit here, breathing my last breaths as I place all of my hope and dreams onto Naruto's shoulders and entrust him with our quest, I think about you. I am no longer Nagato, nor am I Yahiko. I am Pein. I am a God. I'm going to bring peace to this world… For you… Konan…
A/N As I was checking all of the red writing that my friend had sent back to me, I realised just how tired I was when writing this :o I had forgotten to put in so many random words and even mixed a few names up. Maybe I shouldn't be writing at one in the morning when I'm already exhausted XD