The pain was unimaginable. Really, he'd never felt anything so terrible in his life. He clung to the walls around him, the only thing stopping him from tumbling into the lava below. He turned his tired blue eyes to the figure before him.
She'd always been able to find them. Always. Naruto supposed it wasn't hard, seeing as every other living person was locked away in the Eternal Tsukiyomi. They probably weren't even human anymore, just white Zetsu's dreaming. It had been ten years. Ten long years on the run with Team Seven, minus Sai and Yamato. Ten years with his kinda dead but not father (whose arms they'd managed to awkwardly sew back on), and the other Hokage's.
He had his dad.
He had his great, great, great long distance relatives, Hashirama and Tobirama.
He had his Jiji.
Naruto also had his sworn brother, his sworn sister.
And Kakashi. And Obito.
Really, truly, he was so glad he had them. All of them. They'd become his family over these years and he wouldn't give them up for anything.
But they weren't enough. What they were doing wasn't living. It was surviving, it was running.
Running while the world burned around them. And everyone faded away.
Naruto grew strong. So strong, under the tutelage of the Hokage's, of his father, of even Obito.
He liked Obito, he really did. With all his heart, even if he had indirectly-but-sorta-directly killed Neji. It took about four years for their relationships to slide into place, for all of them to feel like a family, then the remaining six were pretty decent.
Except for Sasuke.
Sasuke was harder. Tobirama still had trouble being near either Uchiha's, and neither Obito or Sasuke appreciated his comments. Sasuke especially.
He was rude, and harsh, and downright arrogant. And he was mean. To Sakura, to Kakashi, to Naruto himself.
Mind you, Sasuke never said a rude word to Naruto when Minato was around. He did all of once, and the experience wasn't pleasant.
Sasuke distanced himself. He was unpleasant and full of himself.
One day Naruto realized that he no longer pictured Sasuke when he thought of family.
It was then that he saw how far Sasuke really had fallen.
Naruto wasted years of his life trying to pull Sasuke out of the darkness, but it was no use. There wasn't any bit of Sasuke left to save, or rather there was nothing worth saving. And after he'd come to this conclusion, he'd sat for a long time by himself at the slowly flickering flames of their campfire, and told Sakura he was sorry. She had frozen and looked at him long and hard before carefully asking what for. He'd looked her straight in the eyes and told her he was sorry he wasn't able to save Sasuke.
She'd looked at him for a minute, because while Sasuke was still very much alive, he was also very much dead, and perhaps she finally understood that. A tired smile graced her face.
"Oh, Naruto…" she'd said. "Perhaps I am worse then, because I gave up a long time ago."
Back to the situation at hand, Naruto was currently sticking to crumbling walls surrounded by lava.
He was alone. And the pain was unimaginable. Oh, but they'd planned for this moment. Planned everything down to the last detail.
His father was a seal master, and they'd had ten years to work with. Hashirama, Tobirama, Kakashi and Obito, they were all brilliant. They had skills and minds that rivaled a Nara's.
So it wasn't a surprise that together they had created a plan like this. One that could actually work.
Naruto had helped too, well on his way to becoming a seal master.
So together with those five, they'd done what brilliant minds and sealer's do best.
They'd made a seal.
Oh, and not just any seal, a bloody fantastic one, one that could make it all better.
A time travel seal.
Which Naruto was going to use right now.
He glanced down at the boiling lava, tears welling up in his battle-weary azure eyes. One by one they'd fallen into the lava. One by one, his family, and Sasuke had dropped and been swallowed in the sea of flames. A horrible death.
"I love you." Minato had said, his father had said. And then he'd jerked a finger at Kakashi and spoke words Naruto had never imagined he'd hear. "He loves you too, well, more like he's in love with you."
Kakashi had let out a strangled, "Sensei!" Before Minato merely smiled once more and dropped, his chakra finally leaving him. "I approve." he'd said, before hitting the lava.
And Kakashi and Naruto were alone.
"Did he mean it." Naruto had spoken before Kakashi could begin his denial. He'd looked straight into Kakashi's two (matching) grey eyes, "Do you love me?"
Kakashi only nodded, swallowing tightly, "It doesn't matter. You're young, 26. I'm old...already 40. I was never going to say anything."
"You should have." Naruto said, halting Kakashi in his ramble. "You definitely…should have."
Kakashi only smiled, his eyes lighting up with something Naruto now identified as love. He couldn't believe he hadn't seen it before.
"I love you."
"I know." Naruto replied softly. "I know now."
Naruto had never thought about love. Who would think about it in a time of war? In a time of survival. He'd never thought about Kakashi that way. Never really thought of loving anyone in more of a platonic way the last ten years.
If they weren't running for their lives, if they weren't in the middle of a one-sided war that was about to end. Maybe he could have loved Kakashi as well.
He told Kakashi this, and the man only nodded, his grip becoming weak. He started to slide.
"Hey." Kakashi had spoken up, and Naruto listened attently, because no matter how much it pained him to admit, these were most likely Kakashi's last words. "Make me fall in love with you again, okay?"
Naruto made a strangled choking sound, his eyes wide and his chest burning. No, no, no, no. Don't say that, please, it only hurts more. Don't- Don't make it sound like you're dying.
But he was.
Kakashi chuckled. Naruto cried.
"In another life, maybe we would-"
He was alone.
Naruto shook his head of the events that happened minutes before, placing his attention back onto Kaguya.
"Yeah, I am." Naruto agreed, his voice steady, even though his eyes continued to cry.
Kaguya reached a hand out towards him, her voice still soft and quiet, annoyingly, forever unchanging in tone. Her hand crept closer.
"This is the end."
"Yeah, it is." he agreed with her once again. "This life is over." Naruto placed a hand over his heart. Kurama sighed from within his head, This is it, Naruto. Do it.
Naruto smiled at his friend's words. He pumped chakra into his hand, onto the seal that rested on the skin above his heart. It pulsed and spiralled, growing until his entire body was covered in complex symbols and seals.
In another life, maybe we would be together...
And the world, the future, ceased to exist.