Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or The Legend of Korra, both of which belong to their respective companies, and I am not writing this for profit...damnit.
The war was over.
Against the greatest threat that the Elemental Nations' had ever faced, they had won, and Madara Uchiha was dead.
Too bad he wouldn't be able to enjoy it.
The Akatsuki War had raged for only one full year, but in that year, most specifically on that final, terrible night the war had ended, more people lost their lives than on any other day in the history of the Elemental Nations.
And seventeen-year old Naruto Uzumaki, shinobi of Konoha, was dying.
It was odd, now that he thought about it. For so long he had resisted death, fought so hard to ensure his and his friends' survival, but now that it was actually happening to him, now that Naruto knew he was about to die -there was not cure for chakra depletion, after all- he did not feel fear or sorrow, instead he only felt... content.
He had fulfilled his mission; to put the Akatsuki in the grave. Madara Uchiha was finally, truly dead. His friends, his family, were alive. They would -hopefully- mourn his passing, but in time, they would move on. Naruto would never accomplish his goal of becoming Hokage, but he could make peace with that. As long as the others were safe, he could die content, if not quite happy.
His part in this was over. The other villages would endure, rebuild. What was lost could be regained. Naruto himself did not exactly want to die, but if he did, so be it. He was not a Jinchuuriki anymore; Kurama had ultimately sacrificed himself so that Naruto could land the killing blow to Madara. As such, his chakra would not replenish itself.
And lying there, under a clear moon and star-filled sky on the ground of some nameless snow-covered valley in a Country whose name he didn't even know, Naruto Uzumaki's only thought was, beautiful, before he closed his eyes, and let the darkness take him for the last time.
Naruto was confused; he knew that he was dying, but had not yet completely gone; he didn't even have enough strength left to move, so how was he standing upright? Better yet, since he was surrounded by nothing but darkness and couldn't even feel anything beneath his feet, how did Naruto know that he was standing? Or perhaps most important of all...
"Where the hell am I?"
As he tried to make out anything other than blackness, Naruto eventually caught sight of himself and had to fight back a gasp; he was healed! His clothes were still a mess; his dark shirt with orange trimming had numerous cuts all throughout is, his black pants were ripped and torn, his father's cloak absolutely ripped to shreds. But despite the damage to his clothes, his body was perfectly fine! No cuts, no bruises, no giant gaping holes where any of his major organs should be. His chakra supply had not recovered, but it had completely stabilized, at about one-fourth of his top strength.
As the war had raged, Naruto had sometimes wondered what death was like, if every person experienced their last moments in the same way or not. Normally, he would never be so insightful, but he felt that he could make an exception every now and then. But in all of his musings, Naruto never once thought that death would be like this...place.
"Where am I?" Naruto could hear an small echo-like effect to his words, nothing truly big, just enough to be noticed. Or maybe it was all in his head.
"You are at a crossroads, boy."
Okay, that was most definitely not in his head.
Turning to the direction that the unknown voice had come from, Naruto's eyes widened.
There, standing only a few feet away from him, was a man. The man was a little taller than Naruto, dressed in an odd, dark robe that covered his entire body. Strangely, the robe was somehow distinguishable in the darkness surrounding them; it appeared to be giving off an odd, otherworldly glow. However, this was not the feature of the man that stood out the most.
While the upper half of his face shrouded in darkness by his hood, the man's eyes were still clearly visible; two golden-yellow orbs, glowing in a way that could not be normal but still seemed somehow completely natural for this man, that seemed to bore into Naruto's very soul, that seemed to instantly understand his entire life.
Taking in the stranger's appearance fully, Naruto found himself wishing for a kunai, or a sword, or something that he could use to defend himself. While the man before him did not give off a threatening aura of any sort, Naruto had no doubt that he could hold his own in a fight, and with his own body still weak, and most of his chakra gone, Naruto wouldn't stand a chance.
"Who are you?"
The man seemed to smile at the question, and for some reason Naruto found himself relaxing slightly as he answered.
"Most know me as the Outsider, but you, my boy, may call me... Raven."
"Alright, then, what are you?" Perhaps not the most polite way to start of the conversation, but in Naruto's defense, he was pretty sure he was still dying.
To Naruto's irritation, the smile only seemed to widen, as if the man had known Naruto would ask that question.
"I am your salvation, Naruto Uzumaki."
Now Naruto's left eyebrow was beginning to twitch; he had never had much patience, and did not appreciate vagueness.
"Okay, so why am I here?" Now the man -Raven- was chuckling, in a way that implied he had dealt with situations like this before, that this was familiar.
"My, my, petulant and insightful at the same time."
Naruto barely suppressed the growl in his throat.
Still looking highly amused, Raven stopped chuckling and settled into the expression that he was wearing when Naruto first saw him; peaceful and content. However, this image was slightly bellied by Raven's next words: "You are dying."
Naruto snorted. "Nobody knows that better than me, pal."
Raven chuckled again. "I suppose so." Instantly dropping his smile along with all of his previous cheerfulness, he continued. "You are dying, but I can save you."
Naruto growled again. "And let me guess; the only thing that this will cost me is my soul?"
He was taken aback when Raven laughed loudly, before giving him an amused stare.
"Now how would I take your soul? Come to think of it, what would I do with your soul when I had it?"
Now feeling oddly embarrassed, Naruto snapped, "Would you please stop playing games and tell me?"
Smiling one last time, Raven apparently decided to start explaining.
"As I said, you are dying, and I can help. I have been watching you for a very long time, and have decided that at this point, I should Intervene. While I can heal you, I cannot send you back to your dimensional plane, but I can send you to another that will soon desperately need your help." Pausing at Naruto's blank look, Raven sighed. "I don't suppose I'm being very clear, am I?"
Smiling once more as Naruto silently shook his head, Raven started again. "I told you earlier that some call me 'the Outsider;' well, I can tell you now that is not just for the sake of being dramatic. I do not exist in the same way the you do. My existence is outside of linear space-time, in a dimension that is completely separate from any other. Within this separate dimension, I can observe others, as I have yours, or more specifically you. However, the only time I can actually interact with others is when they are very close to death, like you are now. I have been greatly impressed with what I have seen, and after witnessing what would have been your final sacrifice, I decided that you deserved another chance."
Most of this explanation still went right over Naruto's head, but he was able to get the gist of it. "What happens if I refuse?"
Raven shrugged. "Then you die, and move on to whatever it is that awaits us after death."
Raising an eyebrow, Naruto decided to ask about something Raven had said that had caught his interest. "You mentioned a place that would "need my help," what did you mean by that?"
Raven sombered once more. "There is a world I have been watching that is in a situation very similar to what your world has just been through, that you have just ended. In this world, people can manipulate the elements in a way that is similar to your people and your jutsu, only hand seals are not needed their control is infinitely more...precise than yours, in addition to having more advanced technology. In this world, a man with ambitions like your Madara's is planning to seize power. He is building an army, he is creating weapons, he is training soldiers. While the Avatar, the master of all four elements, may be able to stop him, she is in no way ready for a fight like this. And if something does not change, if something is not done, she will fail. This is why I have called for you. I believe that you have the skills necessary to help the Avatar realize her potential before it is too late. More than that, I believe that you are the only one who can help her. The choice is yours, Naruto Uzumaki."
Pausing for a bit, Naruto desperately tried to wrap his head around what was going on. An unknown period of time before, he had been certain that he was going to die. Now, he was in another...place being asked by a...person to go to a completely different world to help people he had never even met to fight against a man he didn't know. Okay, aside from the first part, that was pretty much Naruto's situation before he "died." Still, apparently the only alternative was death, and if this really would let him live, and he didn't take it, then he would be quitting, and Naruto Uzumaki was not a quitter. Still, he wasn't going to go into this thing completely blind.
"What would happen to me if I accepted?"
Smiling broadly, Raven replied, "Obviously, you would be going to a world with a culture and language that you would be completely unfamiliar with, but at the very least I can help you with that. In addition, I have been able to restore a small quarter of your full power, but could do no more, so while you will still be able to use all of your techniques with the perhaps a better level of control, you will not be able to do so as casually as before, you will have to conserve your chakra during a fight.
"As for what to do once you get there, simply find the Avatar, and do what you can to help prepare her."
"That's it?" Again that same infuriating smirk. "I said it would be simple, not easy."
"And what do I say when people ask me where I came from?" Raven smirked again, and Naruto felt that he had fully prepared for this already. "Say what you will, but I highly doubt many people would believe the truth." The man was definitely hiding something, but Naruto hadn't the slightest hint as to what, and was getting the feeling that any further questions about it wouldn't help. "Besides, once this is done, the only time you'll ever see me again would be if you do something incredibly stupid."
Steeling his face, Naruto made sure to look Raven straight in his glowing eyes and said, as clearly as possible, "So what do I do now?"
With a genuine smile, Raven held out his hand, as if to shake it. As he held it out, the hand began to glow, and began crackling with energy, to the point where it appeared as if lighting the same color as Raven's eyes was dancing across it. "Just take my hand, and I will do the rest."
Naruto didn't hesitate, doing just as he was told.
Suddenly, the darkness was replaced with a bright, blinding light, and Naruto heard a sudden roar as his world began spinning. Closing his eyes against the light, Naruto could do little more than prepare for whatever it was that would be waiting for him in this new world.
He was not prepared to land face-first in a large body of water.
He was so tired. Whatever it was that Raven had done to him had left him feeling completely drained. He was so exhausted, he didn't have enough energy to even try to swim for the rapidly vanishing surface. Just perfect; he had made what looked to be the biggest choice of his life, only to die a few seconds later. The irony absolutely killed him.
The next thing Naruto knew, an arm was grabbing his shoulder, and then the arm was wrapped around him in a tight embrace, and he could feel himself moving up, toward the surface. Seconds before it was broken though, Naruto blacked out.
When he opened his eyes again, he was laying down on solid ground, and he could hear the sound of people talking all around him.
"Hey, are you okay?" Naruto heard, and he glanced up to where the voice had come from.
Naruto saw the face of a young woman, who seemed to be kneeling over his body to talk to him. Naruto was rapidly losing consciousness, but he could see that she had brown hair which he now realized was soaked.
"Are you okay?"
Staring into her concerned blue eyes.
Then his eyes closed, and he slipped into darkness.
Author's Note: Hello, readers, and welcome to my first ever fanfic! I've been a long time reader, and have had a few story ideas floating around in my head, but this has been the first time I've ever actually followed through with any of them, and I am petrified. Ha.
Few things about this fic, I know that it may seem OOC for Naruto to just accept something like this without thinking about his friends, but as I pointed out, he was prepared for death, so I would hope this could be one small lapse. Second, yes, in the Naruto world, the main villain is Madara, not Tobi. This is because I had planned the opener of this story before the whole Madara/Tobi plot was introduced, and it won't have that much of an impact on this story if it weren't included.
IMPORTANT: While Naruto's story will be (mostly) cannon, the Legend of Korra universe WILL BE AU. Consider yourself warned.
Timeline wise this fic takes place somewhere around episode 4 in the Legend of Korra.