Authors Note - She lives!Hi everyone, I'm so sorry this update took so long. This chapter was a nightmare (and not just from Kakashi's point of view) and I tried it from many different angles before choosing this one. I hope it doesn't disappoint.
Big thanks to those who favourited/followed the story and to xXxKimikoxXx, Akajust1, Mindy, steena112, Diablo Snowblind, ya-aburnee and Helen delia for their reviews. I really appreciate it when people take the time to review, especially when they give me detailed feedback. Not only is it a massive encouragement, but it also really helps me to feel like I'm on the right track with the characters and story.
Special thanks to xXxKimikoxXx for always offering supportive advice and talking through some of my crackpot theories – this update is dedicated to you.
Usual disclaimers apply – The Naruto story and characters are the property of Masashi Kishimoto. I am writing this story for not for profit, entertainment purposes only.
Chapter 3 – Sacrifice
'Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.'
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kakashi was left dumbstruck by Obito's horrifying revelation as the boulder he was on crashed to the ground. The vortex swirled, closing around his old friend, with his face being the final thing to disappear. At the last moment the Akatsuki's leader's lips twisted in a small, satisfied smirk that sliced into Kakashi's very core.
The valleys and fissures of broken rocks faded into darkness, lit only by the affect image of that poisonous expression. It burnt onto his retina as Obito's last words echoed in the Copy Nin's mind.
"Foolish move, Kakashi, letting Guy die, but then, as I recall, you are good at that."
They reverberated louder and louder, until they were a chorus of judgment ringing down at him from all sides.
Guy…no… it can't be…
He simply could not accept it. It had to be a lie.
He forced a lid on the yawning pain that opened up in his gut and threatened to suck him down in to it. There was no time for self-loathing or recrimination. He had to find Guy - he had to know for sure.
Instincts taking over, the jonin leapt to his feet, ignoring the jarring pain from his battered limbs. The smoke had cleared, leaving only the smell of charcoal from where Obito's last Katon had caught the Mokuton branches.
Tremors shook the earth under his sandaled feet as Kakashi scanned the area.
He saw Naruto and Killer Bee almost immediately through the huge root system. They were performing well against the Konoha Founder, but Madara didn't even seem fazed. He was handling them both easily and as time wore on the Jinchuriki would tire and then they would all be doomed.
Kakashi was torn with conflicting needs as he leapt up onto the roots and tried to formulate a plan. The priority was of course the Jinchuriki, but if there was any hope, any chance he could still save his oldest comrade, he must do it.
You can't abandon your comrades!
Naruto needs you now, without him, it's all over!
The Gedo will awaken any minute - we have to hurry!
But what if Obito was lying?
The doubt and desperate hope warred in him, leaving him shaking with indecision as he frantically searched the battlefield.
And then he caught sight of his valiant, energetic friend, hanging out of a mess of vines like a broken puppet.
Kakashi began to run. On seeing the root piercing Guy's broad chest, dripping quarts of blood down the green jumpsuit he was so ridiculously proud of, the silver haired jonin had let out a roar that made even Madara and the Jinchuriki turn.
He severed the vines with his lightning blade and ripped out the offending branch, cauterizing the damage with heat of his electricity. Guy's body shuddered and his rolled up eyes relaxed, broken out of whatever horrible genjutsu he had been put under.
"Guy?" Kakashi asked, desperate for his closest friend to survive the appalling assault.
But after a pained inhalation and a coarse question - "My riv..al?" - his eyelids fluttered closed and Konoha's Beautiful Green Beast of Prey grew still.
Kakashi stared at his friend's body numbly. His clone dispelled itself in his shock and there were distant shouts, but he didn't take any of it in. It was as if he had been suddenly dropped into dark water, stretching down endlessly. The outside world registered only as incoherent impressions, flitting across the surface of his mind. His stare was vacant as his brain finally gave up and allowed him to drift deeper and deeper.
The voice was muffed, unable to break through the fathoms of darkness that Kakashi was lost in. He realized dimly that he didn't want it to. He wanted the darkness to take him before the pain began.
Sensei… That word took him back.
"Starting from today, I'll be your new sensei. My name is Namikaze Minato."
Minato-sensei – another precious person he had failed to save.
The pain was going to reach him, he couldn't face it. Not again.
Naruto's voice… His mind noted in a detached way. Minato-sensei's son….
His son! The thought pierced through the depths as Kakashi came back painfully to his senses.
His vision was still hazy, but that was good. That way he wouldn't have to focus on what lay just in front of him - something he could do nothing about. All he could do was focus on the mission before it claimed any more lives. And the mission involved killing the enemy.
Kakashi turned, focusing one blood red eye towards the distant form of the Uchiha. He didn't care how much chakra he had left, he didn't care how powerful Madara was or even that it was his former friend he was also facing. He could not longer allow himself to think that way. They were the enemy and they would die for what they had done. He would accomplish it.
He was so focused on his goal he didn't notice the Mokuton roots reacting with the last of Guy's faint residual energy and curl back around the Taijutsu Master's body.
On seeing Kakashi recover, Naruto screamed and launched himself at Madara, prompting a sarcastic laugh from the latter as he deflected the attack easily. The legendary ninja was just about to dispatch the Kyubi clone, when he saw a white bolt of lightning race towards him.
With unnatural speed, even for the Copy Nin, Kakashi leapt toward the Uchiha, and using a lightning enhanced kick, smashed through his fan and into the bones of Susanoo. Even with his visual prowess, Madara did not have the time to counter the attack.
"Way to go, Silver bro." Killer Bee sang as his octopus legs grappled with Madara's Mokuton.
"Impressive." Madara complimented him as both shinobi somersaulted back from each other. "Such is the effect of losing a treasured friend."
Kakashi was silent. He didn't even feel the pain in his leg from breaking the Gunbai. He allowed Madara's words to wash over him as he channeled his rage into cold calculation. He would destroy Madara, but even in his fury he knew it couldn't be accomplished via brute force alone. His opponent smiled cockily at him, daring him to try, but Kakashi knew another charge was exactly what the clan leader was after.
"Kakashi-sensei, I promise I'll avenge…" Naruto began heatedly before Kakashi interrupted him.
"Naruto." He said in a voice so glacial, the blonde clone doubted for a moment it had come from his respected teacher.
"You shouldn't have endangered yourself by teleporting to the other realm. I have no way of getting you out of there." He censured, as he watched the Hachibi fight off Madara's resumed onslaughts.
"I know, Sensei, but I knew he'd never suspe…"
"You are going to have to fight him until we can discover a way to get you out, Naruto." Kakashi cut him off. "The only thing I can do is send this clone in there too as back up. "
An idea was brewing in the jonin's mind as his anger was being steadily transmuted into ruthless determination. But first he needed to send the clone to delay the other Uchiha (for that was all Kakashi could allow himself to think of him as) and keep him away from the real Naruto. If he got hold of the Nine Tails and returned to back Madara up, it would be all over.
"But I'm needed here, Kakashi-sensei!"
"Just do it, Naruto." Kakashi said harshly. "And remember everything you saw here. Don't let your guard down!"
If it was possible for him to teleport things into the Kamui dimension, then it was theoretically possible he could take them out again, especially if he had put them there in the first place. He didn't yet have the chakra to test his idea, but if Bee made Samehada transfer some chakra to him, they might be on to something.
"Ok, but… we compromise." The hotheaded ninja replied and created another replica.
"Fine." Kakashi snapped. "We'll tag team him." Turning back to the dark figure of Madara, the silver haired man continued. "I want to send at least part of him with you into the other dimension."
"Let's do it!" The clones cried with a snarl and having activated Sage Mode they powered towards the armor-clad Uchiha.
"Oh this again." Madara said in a bored tone. "I truly expected more from a descendant of the mighty Uzumaki Clan."
Kakashi avoided the thrashing roots of the Mokuton by leaping onto the Hachibi's head. Bee was tiring he could tell, but things were far from over.
"You outta chakra, ya fool?" the rapper asked as Kakashi readied Kamui one last time.
"Almost, but one Kamui is all I need for this trick."
His Sharingan widened as he felt an infusion of energy coming from his foot.
"Yeah but it helps to have extra." The jinchuriki laughed as Samehada wrapped itself tightly round Kakashi's leg, chattering.
Indeed it does. Kakashi smiled grimly as he felt power flowing up through his legs and along his chakra network. Now he was free to try out his theory.
But first they had to take care of Madara…
"Thanks, Bee. Be ready to seal him after this, we will only have moments." He said, grasping his temple as he prepared Kamui.
Both of Naruto's clones were engaging in hit and run attacks against Madara, in combination with Bee's tentacles. The raven-haired man's brows drew down in disparagement as he saw the clones create a Rasenshuriken.
"You know that won't work, boy. If you insist on dragging this little game out, at least let it be with something actually threatening." Madara called, the blue light reflecting off of his crimson armor.
Naruto grinned as he charged forward.
"Just you wait and see!" The clones shouted as they attacked him from both sides.
Bingo. Kakashi thought as he activated his pinwheel eye and focused the vortex on Naruto's Rasenshuriken clone and the arm Madara was wielding to destroy it.
My timing will have to be perfect.
Madara moved to swat the brats surrounding him with Susanno when he felt the pull of Kakashi's Kamui. He focused his Rinnegan hatefully on Obito's former teammate and tried to absorb the power of this new jutsu.
It must be like Obito's Space-Time abilities. He reasoned quickly. Which means I can't stop it with the Preta Path. And it's even ripping through Susanoo!
He felt the pain of his arm and part of his upper body being torn off by the whirlwind and saw the Nine Tails clone in front of him disappear as well.
What a fool! The Uchiha reflected acidly, as the arm began to regenerate. You've revealed your technique without disabling me properly, and you got your ally in the process. You clearly aren't Obito's equal.
But before he could deal with the white headed upstart, clones of the Eight Tails jinchuriki appeared around the Uchiha leader, spewing ink over him. Madara's expression twisted in disgust before he found himself forcibly restrained by a double effort from both hosts.
They're trying to seal me, while my guard is down. Truly pathetic. Madara thought.
As if his guard was ever down. Did they truly think this was all it took to finish him?
Time to show these insects, who their master is!
And with speed that left the allies reeling, Madara blasted the clones and their noxious fluid away from him with Shinra Tensei. The force hurled Bee and Naruto into the air, smashing the clones back into the Eight Tails and making them explode.
Madara smirked as his hands flicked through seals.
This should finish it…
"We have to stop him!" Kakashi shouted as he picked himself off the ground.
"Already on it." The Eight Tails shouted, breaking free of his Mokuton restraints and forming a huge Biju Dama in front of his bull mouth. But before he could release it a vast dragon shaped being, made from trees, erupted from the earth and enveloped him.
"This is Hashirama's Wood Dragon, which he used to defeat my Kyubi. Although I doubt it will have as much trouble with you." Madara said dismissively to the Hachibi as more roots shot out and pinned Kakashi to the ground.
The Oshi-uni roared its defiance, its vast tentacles rending into the bark skin of the Wood Dragon. But the bizarre, forested serpent seemed only to grow stronger from their struggles as more boughs sprouted and replaced the ones that had fallen until a lush and deadly forest had grown, blocking the tailed beast from view.
It's absorbing the Eight Tails chakra while it grows, just like these roots are doing to me! Kakashi thought with a sinking heart. His techniques are just on a different scale.
He thrashed against his restraints as the scent of loam filled his nostrils, its sweet smell belying the dire threat these roots held. But it was no use, he could feel the bark absorbing the last of his energy and his hands were splayed out too far to make seals or reach any weapons.
Pull yourself together, Kakashi! This is not would I expect from my rival! Guy's voice echoed in his head.
But the words only brought back the reality Kakashi had tried so hard to repress. He saw the image of Guy's bloodied corpse - dead because of another of Kakashi's failings. It floated like a specter before his eyes until it was replaced by Rin's anguished face, spitting blood as he pierced her chest.
Another broken promise… Kakashi wept as he continued to fight against the inevitable.
Oh Rin…Guy…I'm so sorry…
Rin's brown eyes flowed into Minato's blue ones and before they changed into his father's.
You're too late, Kakashi. His father condemned. You couldn't save them and now you'll fail to save Naruto and Bee as well.
Finally, the basalt gray gaze of Sakumo Hatake morphed into Obito's coal black. For some reason the onyx eyes of Obito's boyish self were more condemning than any Kekki Genkai.
They were the eyes of a boy that had sacrificed everything to protect his friends. A boy that had inspired Kakashi more than anyone and who Kakashi had betrayed most of all. And now, because of him, what was left of that heroic boy could even now be destroying his own precious legacy as he tried to end the world.
Naruto, he thought as he began to slip into unconsciousness. The only good thing I ever did was teach you Obito's nindo. It's up to you now… You aren't trash like me… You're the son of the Fourth Hokage.
Maybe you can remind him of who he really is…
Madara stared at the pitiful fools in front of him as the white haired fool finally collapsed. It was all over for him and the Hachibi, as he had known it would be from the start.
Why do they fight so hard to save a dying world? He thought wryly to himself.
It was this precise foolishness that the Eye of the Moon Plan would put a stop to, although Madara did feel a pang of sorrow that he hadn't been able to test out his Edo Tensei body more thoroughly before the end.
Damn Obito for taking the Nine Tails. Despite being a brat, he was clearly the one to play with. The elder Uchiha noted with annoyance.
And where are they anyway? Madara thought tersely as he looked back towards the Gedo. I don't want my moment ruined by more tedious theatrics.
Madara signed as he noticed the Statue was almost past the point of no return. He had hoped to have the Juubi at full power but it seemed this Naruto was stronger than he looked. But even if Obito failed, there was still time to seal the Eight Tails before the complete transformation took place.
But as the Konoha Founder wove the signs to seal the imprisoned bijuu, the flaming barrier around the Gedo exploded outwards.
The Juubi! Madara thought with excitement coursing through his veins.
He felt the power radiating from the beast as the air itself became supercharged with chakra. Madara could taste it on his tongue as he took in the sight he had spent so many years envisaging. Even with half its body buried in the earth, the Ten Tails was enormous, easily dwarfing the mammoth Hachibi. Its huge tails reached up into the murky sky, casting a dark shadow across the ruined earth. Its vast eye was just as the tablet had recorded – a fusion of the Rinnegan and the Sharingan.
Madara's own eyes narrowed in anticipation as he sped towards the creature, intent on bringing it under his control.
This is it! He thought hungrily. Finally I will be able to fulfil my destiny and create the world as it was meant to be.
He could see it now – a shining new reality where everything he desired would finally be achieved. The ignominy of continual defeat and rejection would be washed away in the glory of his rise. Now at last the nations would be forced to acknowledge his power and accept his rule, which was exactly how it should have been in the beginning…
However, despite his reputation, Madara was not entirely unkind. No one could exult in the current cycle of perpetual suffering and he had no interest in continuing it in the next world by punishing the weak. However he would take great pleasure in exacting his vengeance on those who had so rudely thwarted him in the past and finally prove what the Uchiha had know all along - that only through proper governance could peace be achieved.
But as he leapt towards the behemoth that towered above him, he was hit by a sudden wall of force that sent him flying back down to the ground.
What happened? The Uchiha thought angrily. The Juubi shouldn't be fully conscious yet.
He then had to shield his eyes as a blinding light blazed out from the beast in a giant, spinning circle. It formed a vast Yin-yang seal ringed by tomoe like the Juubi's own eye. The seal solidified, nebulous yin chakra feeding into luminous yang before it contracted like a dying star and disappeared, taking the Ten Tails with it.
"NO!" Madara screamed. "No! This can't be!" He raced towards the place the Juubi had been, searching madly, unable to believe what had just occurred.
He ripped through the rocks with the Mokuton, desperately trying to sense the awesome presence that had elated him mere moments ago but it had completely vanished.
Madara resisted the urge to scream in frustration. Yet again fate had seen fit to draw defeat from the jaws of victory for him, but he would not endure it! He would not accept this, not after all he had sacrificed. His brilliant, analytical mind sped through all the possibilities until he lit upon an answer.
The ethereal armour of Susanoo formed in response to his hatred as the raven-haired man turned back to glare at Kakashi.
Him! If his space-time abilities did this then he will wish he had never been born! Madara thought, his rage growing into epic proportions.
Dark chakra, as black as the night around him, surrounded Madara as his rippled eyes reverted back to the Mangekyo Sharingan. The moon had risen, illuminated the Uchiha in a sickly light as he stalked back towards his defenceless prey.
Moonlight is fitting, after all, he thought, because while I may not be able to cast Infinite Tsukuyomi now, that doesn't mean I can't cast its lesser version.
And even if it isn't him, Madara smiled ominously. I will need that eye to find out what is happening to Obito…
AN – Duh Duh Durrr! Poor Kakashi! Someone really needs to give him a hug…and save him from Madara right about now. Damn I hate eye related stuff but it was necessary to the plot.
Sorry if you were hoping for Obito/Naruto's side of events. I had to split the chapter, as it was getting far too long. However you will get their perspective as soon as I complete Chapter 4. Process may be slow because of Christmas and work so I make no promises but I will try my best.
Your (gentle) constructive feedback is always appreciated. For all update news please keep checking my profile.
PS – Ah Madara, it's such a joy to write you! He is one of the main saving graces of the manga at the moment – best put-downs ever!