A/N – Happy New Year guys! Here is the long awaited Chapter 4 for your delectation.
Thanks as always to those of you who reviewed and favourited. A special shout out to my repeat reviewers – you make my day, you really do!
It may help to start the chapter playing Pain's Theme Extended ;)
Chapter 4 – The Wish
"You've seen reality, you should be able to understand… No wish can become true in this world. That's why I'm pursuing the dream of Infinite Tsukuyomi."
Obito Uchiha to Kakashi Hatake
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
Naruto's skin was on fire. Distantly he could hear a voice screaming and realised it was his own. His body writhed as it was distorted through the awesome flow of energy running within him.
But inside his inner space, he smiled because he did not feel the pain. Instead he felt ecstasy. The dripping walls and pipes of his inner consciousness stretched out until he felt limitless. Wave upon wave of natural energy flowed out of him and with his awareness expanded, he finally understood. This was what the Ten Tails was – pure, unadulterated power.
And through this intoxicating feeling it spoke to him, not in a voice but through his most visceral instincts. And those instincts, those base urges, were unanimous in their desire – to end the life of the man in front of him.
Suddenly the haggard face of a red-haired man floated before him. But in the tide of emotions Naruto was experiencing, he couldn't remember the shinobi's name.
"You and I are no different. We each act according to our own sense of justice. The justice I have meted out against Konoha is no different than what you are trying to mete out against me."
The words were familiar and damning. Naruto squirmed as the emaciated man continued remorselessly.
"Dying like trash… never ending hatred… pain that never heals… that is war… Naruto… this… is what you must face…
Nagato - the one who had killed Ero-sennin. Images flashed through the blond jinchuriki's mind as he again stood before the mechanical walker of the man known as Pain.
Guilt warred with furious anger as he forced himself to recall that time, remember facing the same pain, the same hatred. But this was different, this was a thousand times worse.
Back then the only thing that had stopped him was remembering his Master's will. His hand had closed around Jiraiya's precious book – a book that had given him both his name and influenced his Ninja Way. At the back was the dedication to Nagato – the pupil that had inspired their Master's vision.
To kill his fellow disciple, no matter how just, would have killed Jiraiya's spirit as surely as Nagato had destroyed his body. For if Naruto – Ero-sennin's prized student – could not resist the lure of hatred, then who could?
If there is such a thing as Peace I will find it. His own voice echoed back to him.
But Obito is different! Naruto thought, railing against himself. He's no Nagato! He gloated! The bastard gloated about what he'd done!
But then the Konoha ninja remembered the woman who had stood beside his most hated enemy. Whatever Obito had said, Naruto knew she was the reason behind this. Kurama's sensory ability, Sage Mode or just plain intuition told him that despite everything he'd done, Obito too, in his own way, was protecting something precious.
Is this freaky Eye of the Moon Plan a way to bring her back? Is he for real? …But that still doesn't make it right, dammit!
Naruto hung his head, racked with indecision, as the enormous power of the Juubi continued to pulse through him. His conscience was returning inexorably, but the malevolent energy still running through his veins was well nigh irresistible and he knew with Obito's conviction he would not stop until Naruto made him stop.
What are you waiting for! His emotions screamed at him.
This is Peace, this IS Justice. This is saving your friends.
And then Nagato's grim voice again – This is what you must face….
What do I do? Naruto thought desperately as his body convulsed again. Kami, help me, what do I do?
While Naruto was wrestling within himself, Obito's mind was working furiously to defeat this new threat. He was still crushed to his knees by Naruto's inexplicable new power, but his determination was unrelenting. The Gedo would be awakening at any minute and he needed to be there to make sure everything went according to plan. Teacher and ancestor he may be, but Obito didn't trust Madara in the slightest…
Naruto isn't connected to the Gedo…He thought, firmly repressing the fear that had momentarily gripped him. Can it be that the Nine Tails chakra and his bloodline have formed some sort of link with it anyway?
Whatever the explanation, Naruto needed to be defeated, regardless of what was happening in the outside realm. He had proven himself too powerful to be left unchecked. Even if they completed the Eye of the Moon Plan, in this state Naruto might even be able to break out of Kamui all together and disrupt the genjutsu.
He would just have to trust Madara a little longer. After all, the man needed his strength to help restrain the Juubi in the real world.
No matter, Obito thought as he wretched himself up. Destroying this whelp was always my original intention…
As he rose he noticed that Rin's apparition was nowhere to be seen.
So she was just an illusion after all. Obito thought bleakly, repressing the sudden pang of sadness that rose up in his chest.
Pushing Rin from his thoughts with difficulty, Obito looked up at the monster Naruto had become. Despite the jinchuriki's terrible appearance and palpable aura, Obito couldn't stop a sneer from twisting his features.
"It is so easy, isn't it, to talk of peace." He said to the red eye that glared down on him. "But where are your ideals now, Naruto?"
Broken out of his turmoil, Naruto answered with a deafening roar. Seismic waves flowed out, causing the ethereal dome to buckle and crack.
Obito resisted the force by flowing chakra to his feet. He couldn't believe the slight hint of disappointment that had awoken in him. At some level, had he actually wanted to believe Naruto was incorruptible?
"You, your father, Kakashi. You are all the same." He said bitterly. "In the end you always fail."
"Don't. You. Talk. ABOUT MY FATHER!" The beast raged as he raised his gigantic limbs to crush the scum in front of him.
But before he could strike, he felt a buzzing in his ear, like a gnat.
The Nine Tails! He realized.
No, Kurama. He thought viciously. This is my fight!
Naruto! Don't give in to this! The Fox's voice flickered in and out of his awareness like a guttering candle.
But Naruto was beyond reasoning as the Ten Tails took hold of him fully.
This man had taken everything from him and now he threatened the whole world. This wasn't revenge - it was justice. And with the Ten Tails' strength, Naruto would end the cycle of hatred once and for all by wiping Obito, Madara and their evil off the face of the planet.
He pushed Kurama away, allowing him to melt off into the swarm of the Juubi's chakra.
But Obito was ready. His will formed like a physical sphere of Shinra Tensei as he focused the power of his eyes on the demon leering towards him.
The Juubi will obey me. He thought triumphantly as he finished the final hand seal. Everything you throw at me, Naruto, is dust before these eyes!
Shock laced through him as Naruto deflected his mental assault like it was nothing and using one of those enormous tails, smashed the stunned ninja through the dome and into Kamui.
Obito barely had time to taste the metallic tang of blood in his mouth before a dozen black arms leapt out and dragged him back.
How… is this possible? He thought wildly through the pain. The Juubi should respond… Madara said so!
Burning claws ripped into his flesh as the Ten Tails threw him like a rag doll. He saw stars as the blood rushed to his head. Obito tried to use the Mokuton to protect himself as he saw the dead white ground race towards him but suddenly realised his mistake. He cried out in agony as Hashirama's cells reacted to the Juubi's energy and burst out of his body in giant tree limbs.
The branches cushioned his fall, but as he smacked down to earth, dripping blood, he almost lost consciousness from the pain and chakra fatigue.
Was it only a few moments ago he had stood bathed in light with Rin finally at his side?
Rin…but isn't she dead? Have I been hallucinating? He thought groggily as the Juubi's murderous intent again crushed him into the ground.
Despite all his schemes, all his knowledge, it had come to this. Obito didn't know if he felt bitter defeat or a small masochistic sense of rightness – a final spit in the eye from this world where everything he did always ended in failure.
Time seemed to slow as bits of his memory broke off like pieces of a shattered mirror.
The deadness of Nagato's eyes, matching Yahiko's corpse, when he finally met Obito again under the weeping sky…
Itachi trembling and retching after the massacre when he thought Obito couldn't see…
The tortured faces of the Jinchuriki as their tailed beasts were extracted…
And Rin… smiling and laughing and then coughing blood on Kakashi's rigid arm.
This cannot be the end. Obito thought, as his vision darkened.
Rin's voice broke through the haze, penetrating straight into his heart as the Juubi's claws began to rend through the sprouting branches.
He turned his head, despite the overwhelming pressure. What did it matter what she was, as long as he could see her again one final time. As he looked up blearily, he saw her standing there at a distance, reaching out to him. Her lovely face, so pure and ephemeral, was dripping with tears.
Don't cry for me, Rin. I'm a dead man already. I died the day I saw you killed.
Ironically she was going to be forced to watch his death as he had been forced to witness hers.
Why do we never catch each other before? He thought wistfully. In this wretched world…it always ends this way.
Her lips were moving with aching slowness but he could hear no sound. They formed the syllables of his former name – the name he had long ago stopped caring for. But such was the magic of her mouth, that every word that issued from it, to him was sacred.
What was he thinking? How could he let her down now, after so much sacrifice?
What a fool I am. Obito thought as he felt the beast above him rip through the tree limbs and reach for his body. So what if Naruto isn't like the Gedo? That does not mean he cannot be controlled.
With Rin's image as his talisman, he cried out and through sheer force of will took control of the Mokuton. Gritting his teeth, he grasped the Juubi's hands with the flowing branches and used the Senju's power to absorb its energy.
The beast reared back but not in time. The greater power it let out, the stronger the vines became and Obito could feel life-giving chakra flowing again through his body. He laughed as he felt it healing his wounds and restoring his reserves.
"You are not the only one with power, Naruto!" He called as he turned back to the thrashing form of his enemy. "I too am the descendant of Rikudo Sennin and although I do not yet possess the Juubi's powers as you do, I have something more important…" The Uchiha said as he activated his Rinnegan and found his Mangekyo changing to match Madara's.
"I possess the Sage's eyes!" He finished and with that he fully manifested the highest form of the exalted ocular jutsu.
"Rikudō no Jutsu – Ninigi!" Obito shouted as he channeled the full force of his chakra simultaneously through the Mokuton and towards the great scarlet eye of the Ten-Tails.
Naruto writhed in his bonds and let out a massive shockwave. The force ripped through the dome enveloping them, destroying it and smashed into the Kamui blocks beyond. The entire dimension started to shake as the forces unleashed within it began tearing it apart.
Normally Obito would have been worried but he was so focused on his goal that he didn't even notice. He was shielded from the blast by the jutsu, but it was taking all his concentration to maintain it. His hands were locked so tightly in a hand sign that his nails bit through his gloves and into the skin beneath. Blood flowed down his cheeks but his gaze was fixed on the flow of chakra he had created. The spirals and lines were so elaborate and complex his human mind could not begin to comprehend them. But he didn't need to. All he knew was that with his undefeatable will and bloodline, he was a gate through which this divine force was operating. And with that force, he would bring heaven itself down to earth with it.
The Mokuton vines destabilised, becoming pure life force that linked the two ninja together and combining with Obito's spiritual energy, formed a huge Yin-Yang seal. Such was the power of the jutsu, both parties were lifted up into the sky, air spinning around them.
In the vortex of chakra, Obito could see visions flickering in and out of being. The faces of the Shinobi Alliance, a bloody red moon, Naruto's parents calling out to their son…
Izanagi…He thought with wonder. Our dreams are manifesting…
He mustn't lose focus now. Any slip-up and Naruto could break free and interrupt the delicate balance of the jutsu. The Uchiha could feel him resisting, his own will and bloodline fighting for control.
Naruto came to suddenly as he felt the vestiges of the Ten Tails' influence being pulled from him.
What the hell is going! He thought, appalled and disorientated at the same time.
His memories were distorted. He couldn't recall anything much beyond the Juubi emerging and Obito's last malicious words. Finally back in his own form, he saw them both engulfed in a seal the like of which he'd never witnessed before.
What the hell is this thing? He thought with amazement. Whatever it is, I have to break free. I have to stop him!
But the seal's pull was inexorable like the current of a whirlpool, as it sucked in its prey. The more Naruto fought, the more he felt himself drained.
I can't lose this way! Kurama, help me!
But the Fox did not respond.
Kurama? Damn it, where are you? Naruto shouted in their inner space. The blond shinobi was barely holding himself together, but he couldn't lose now, not after all he had promised. He had the fate of the world and all his friends riding on his shoulders. His voice echoed back at him, forlorn.
He had a sudden, sickening flashback – the Juubi – no – he – had pushed the Kyubi away, allowing the Ten Tails to absorb its energy. He had taken all of his partner's power and in so doing…
Oh Kami, have I killed Kurama? That's not possible!
"Kurama!" He screamed
Nothing. The sound faded into the void in his soul.
What have I done? Naruto thought. What have I done!
Flashes of the Bijuu came up before him, their hands together. The Jinchuriki smiling at him, saying he was the one. He had failed them. He had succumbed to hatred and now his partner – his only hope - was gone. Naruto had never felt so worthless.
The hollow feeling of loss and guilt was punctuated by a deeper, more frightening realisation, a feeling he had never experienced before. He was alone, truly alone for the first time. He had never registered it before but the Nine Tails' presence had always been a constant, even when he was unaware of it. Whether he loathed it or welcomed it, Kurama had always been there like his own shadow, but now he had vanished and Naruto was suddenly afraid.
But he had no time. All his memories and treasured experiences disintegrating in the wake of the jutsu Obito was creating between them.
Please…please…someone help me! Dad? Mum! It's not for me. I just want to save my friends.
Then he saw them - his parents, his Master, his friends. They stood like fireflies against the darkness of the other dimension. But all he could see was his own regret and pain reflected in their eyes. Despair curled into him as he began to lose consciousness and saw their images fade.
"No!" Naruto screamed. "I'm sorry!"
But there was nothing. No globe of light, no friend to save him. Instead there was only Obito standing before him victorious. In a bitter twist of fate, the Uchiha had taken on Naruto's Tailed Beast Shroud. His black hair stood up in spikes as his mantle became a nebulous version of the sacred high-necked haori. Six magatama encased his neck, matching the glowing purple of his Rinnegan.
My friends, Naruto thought wretchedly. My family…everyone… I failed everyone…
That was my only wish. He thought as his eyes closed. I only wanted to protect them…
Obito smiled as he felt Naruto's final struggles. The Juubi's chakra cloak had almost fully evaporated from him and integrated into the seal. Obito had never felt anything like it. The combined force of the Uchiha, the Senju and the Juubi was beyond imagining.
With this I might be able to create Infinite Tsukuyomi now…
In answer to his desire, a red moon formed over him in the darkness of Kamui, the rising cubes bathed in its crimson light.
The Uchiha smirked rapturously. But where was Rin? Now he was almost certain he knew what her spirit was and he wanted her to be here to witness his victory. Let her see the dawn of a new age.
Her spectre appeared quickly to his whim, but her expression was not one of joy. Instead she stared back at him with horror and revulsion.
Why is she looking at me like that? Obito thought disbelievingly. Can't she see how powerful I've become? That I'm about to save the world?
Rin was closing her eyes as if she could no longer bear to see him. She was turning away. Obito couldn't tolerate it, she had to see him, see his triumph.
"This is all for you!" He cried, despite himself.
But the momentary lapse in concentration was all it took. He turned back in astonishment to see Naruto break the connection.
But how? He was finished - I felt it! Obito thought, beside himself with rage.
Light ran around the circle like a snake and the overwhelming power turned in on itself, shattering the seal. With the balance broken, both men fell through the air, white blocks rearing up on all sides. The riptide winds caught them and after narrowly avoided one of his own prisms in the twisting currents, Obito realised with horror that Kamui was on the verge of collapse.
He needed to grab Naruto and teleport or they would both die. Leaving him was not an option, not since traces of the Juubi's power still clung to the boy. With Naruto's Uzumaki heritage and the Nine Tails, the connection had been even more potent and Obito could now understand Madara's insistence on sealing him. With the elder Uchiha he could definitely subdue the brat but first he had to find him. Using the threads of control he still possessed over the fractured dimension, Obito stabilised the atmosphere around him and landed on a floating block.
Trying to locate the jinchuriki in the colliding debris, the exhausted Uchiha noticed Rin clinging to an uprooted cube above him. She was shaking as her fingers dug into the smooth rock but it was clear she couldn't hold on for much longer.
She's just a spirit. A voice that sounded very much like Madara's whispered. A mere creation of your will…
The violent winds lashed at her and one hand fell free. He heard her angelic voice scream.
You will see her in the world we are about to create… The insidious voice continued. Now find Naruto!
Obito's scarred face contorted in anguish. It was right. To save the world he had no other choice.
Hating himself, the dark haired ninja cast about to find the jinchuriki.
There! He thought as he locked on to Naruto's chakra signature, trying in vain to ignore Rin's cries. The Uchiha's eyes widened as he felt Naruto's unconscious body being drawn away to some other location.
Kakashi? Obito thought with a snarl. Has he finally learnt to use that eye properly?
Ripples were forming all around the blond Uzumaki as his form began to melt away. It could be Kakashi or the remnants of Izanagi that still lingered in the air, but Obito had no time to analyse the situation. He had one chance – get Naruto and teleport them both back to the real world…
And leave Rin to die…
His morbid imagination was conjuring the vision of her fingernail marks on the unforgiving marble as gravity dragged her down. But why was she even falling? If she was an apparition then earthly forces should have no effect on her. Unless…
She's not real. His colder side replied remorselessly.
How does her form stand up to the Mangekyo's gaze then? He argued with himself, noting the new solidity of her limbs. That was no spirit...
It's Izanagi! She's real! I've brought her back! Obito thought with sickening realisation as he heard Rin scream his name.
Sweat poured down his bruised and bloodied face as he looked desperately between his two goals. He had never been so torn with indecision, but then he had never cared about anything apart from the dream of a new world. But now the centre of that world was hanging once again inches from death. What should he do? Sacrifice her for the peace he had promised in her name? Or betray himself and everyone else for the only one he had ever truly loved?
You can always revive her again. That hateful voice insisted.
Huge blocks continued to collided with each other, as the dimension ripped itself apart. As Obito steadied himself, eyes fixed back on his beloved, he could feel that Naruto was almost gone.
Leave her! She already cost you Infinite Tsukuyomi once! Be the Uchiha you were born to be and make the sacrifice.
He had to make the decision now. His features hardened. There had never been any doubt, not after all he had suffered.
Rin's scream echoed in his ears as he captured his prize and teleported them with the last of his strength back into the real world.
Forgive me, my love. I will make it up to you in the end…
A/N - No, Obito how could you!
Sorry to leave you on such a cliff-hanger (again). Most of your questions will be answered in the next chapter but not all. PS - should I change the story from Romance/Adventure to Romance/Angst? I think both are equally valid but I'm not sure.
Chapter 4 turned out this long because it was an important plot-moving chapter. I hope it didn't drag, wasn't too wordy etc. I just wanted to show the extremes of the decisions these characters have to face as well as some good old Obirin love/ angst. Naruto was particularly hard to write properly but he is human just like Obito. They both have their light and dark aspects as Kishi is depicting in the manga, although I really wanted to see what would happen if Naruto's halo slipped properly. I hope it worked and kept them both in character under the circumstances. Let me know what you think in any case.
Subsequent chapters may also feel a little different from the heavy action for a while. Hopefully now I have the difficult Ch 3/4 out of the way, I might and I say might be able to update a little sooner. No promises though with life being what it is.
And for those interested 'Rikudō no Jutsu' is a Six Paths Technique and 'Ninigi' is the name of a Japanese God who was the divine grandson of Amaterasu and was sent to bring order to Earth for the Gods. Researching him and the Sage (like a geek) I believe he may one of the inspirations for 'Child of Prophecy.' Incidentally he also married a Cherry Blossom Goddess and they produced a line of 'Hyugas' so make of that what you will!
Finally - shameless plug here. I have written a one-shot for another of my favorite pairings – Madara Uchiha and Mito Uzumaki! Crack it may be but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a hint of this from the manga at some point considering Madara's desire to best Hashirama in all things. Anyways if you want to – check it out!