Chapter One: Aftermath

I could not feel my legs, but my back was in pure agony. However, those were only trivial pains. The true pain was looking upon the slumped form of Konan, crying like I had never seen her cry before. Had I been my old self I would have been crying too, but Jiraiya Sensei had shown me that crying was for children. But I could not help staring at the body of Yahiko, who laid on the ground before Konan.
Yahiko and Konan, the two people I had sworn to protect. One dead, one mourning. Not since I watched the death of my parents had I felt such grief. My eyes shifted to the kunai. That cursed piece of steel. I remember it well. To this day I recognize the shape of the blood stain on the blade. Yahiko, in his efforts to save Konan, ran upon the kunai I held. I wanted to think of something; some way that I could save both of them. But Yahiko took the initiative.
After a few moments, Konan sat up straight and ran over to me.
"Nagato!" she yelled, "Are you okay Nagato? We have to get those out of your back"
"No Konan! I must take this pain... I deserve it. I failed both of you. The only thing I ever wanted to do was to protect you... and I failed." I returned, in pain. It hurt to speak. But, I would endure it. Though it pains me, I have seen the result it brings. With a sacrifice of my vitality, for a moment I was like a god. Could this be what Jiraiya Sensei saw in my eyes?
"What now?" Konan asked after a moment of silence. "What of Akatsuki? Of the fight against Hanzo? What of us?" I looked at her with sympathy. I tried to say something, but I could not find the words. I waited a moment, as the tears of Amegekure fell on my hair.
"We will live...just as we have always done. We will move on and accept this pain. I may have failed to keep my promise...but I will continue the dream of Yahiko. I shall become a god of the world. I will end the fighting. And I shall start by mastering this power I have. Master they eyes that Sensei looked so fondly upon." I worked up the strength to stand. I moved from my knees up to a hunched standing position.
"Nagat-" Konan muttered before I silenced her with a hand motion. I inched my way over to Yahiko. I stared down at his face. He was smiling. He died the way he lived. Optimistic, and in charge of his own fate. Thinking of him made me smile for a moment.
"We will need to return to base and inform the surviving members of the misfortunes," I informed.
"You are not fit to walk," Konan said as she split into thousands of pieces of paper, "I will be taking you both back to the base." Her paper wrapped around Yahiko's body. I listened to her words. Her tone was cold. Considering the context, this made sense, but I could already tell that this is not going away. In a way we all died that day. The little happy blue haired girl was dead, the naive child was dead, and the only one who needed to stay, was being taken home to be buried. Some of the paper returned and reformed Konan's body. She supported me as I walked. We moved with a slow, painful walk home.