Final Chapter

Kage


July 30th of the Smoldering Ashes

The windows shattered and the ground cracked, signaling my arrival in the Hokage's Office. I'll admit that this was theatrics, as I could have just as easily arrived without any fanfare. What can I say, as an Uzumaki, perhaps I am a showman at heart. Anyway, the glass from the windows was still falling, and the dust from the floor and shelves still rising as I locked eyes with Tsunade. Hers were wide with surprise and just a little bit of fear. Even as her hand reached for a kunai, I straightened, a deadly silence now settling over the AnBu and Hokage.

There was no reason to raise an alarm. I hadn't been subtle. The entire building would know, from the shaking and the concussion, that something was happening. Holding with the theme of my visit, I allowed demonic chakra to light the very floor aflame, small embers flickering with light at my feet.

"Naruto." Her voice was even, calm. As if I hadn't killed Kakashi, or kidnapped her heir. As if I was just stopping by.

"Tsunade."

"This was supposed to be a good day." Her muscles were tense, but her face was carefully relaxed. It amused me that I could put even a Kage on edge. "One of my most dangerous enemies has been killed."

I remained silent. Let her guess why I had come. I'm sure on some level, she already knew. She noted my silence with what appeared to be resignation.

"Can we not do this here?" She gestured lightly at the office in general. "I don't want to - "

She cut herself off, clutching my wrist in her hand, stopping it short from plunging the obsidian kunai into her throat. I had moved faster than even an Uchiha's eyes could track, and yet Tsunade, with apparent ease, had kept me from ending her life.

The bones in my wrist crumbled as she flexed, and in a whirl of office and sky, she tossed me through the wall like a rag doll, sending me careening out into the open air adjacent to her office.

While I spun, an incredible force hit me from above and caused me to impact the ground without any grace whatsoever, shattering the cobblestone pathway, and drawing the attention of all nearby ninja. The Hokage landed on my back, her hand grabbing in my hair.

"I said not in my office, you little punk."

Her voice no longer had the wistful air she had previously been speaking with. What affected her speech now was a baritone of authority, and not just a bit of anger. How quickly this formidable woman had turned me from predator to prey. That thought incensed me. I am many things; cruel, romantically inept, lethal, egotistical, but I am not prey.

I arched my back and pushed off with my fingers and toes, unbalancing her and causing me to regain my footing. Immediately I lashed out with foot and blade, the deadly whistle of my kunai playing the sweetest music.

Looking back, I don't know what I was thinking, allowing a Kage to prepare herself for my assault. I should have arrived with my blades already singing, not taking a minute and a half for theatrics and looking cool.

Then a bone cracked as one of her fists hit its mark. I fled the broken remnants of some building as the furious woman came after me. Already tired of running, I turned and planted my feet, grabbing her by the throat as she pursued. Having not expected this, Tsunade choked on my hand as it tightened.

"What…would…the…Yondaime…think…" She asked, fighting for every word.

"Not sure." I tilted my head as she slowly asphyxiated. "He's dead."

Suddenly I was on the ground, in a crater, looking up at the face of my godfather, contorted in rage.

"NOT TSUNADE YOU BASTARD!"

I evaded his next strike, getting to my feet and twirling into a butterfly kick. I landed, only to come face to face with Tsunade, her fist cocked back to strike.

Before she could, however, Karin was next to her, elbow locked with the Hokage's, keeping her from hitting me. My foot took Tsunade in the jaw, and while the two Sannin regrouped, Karin and I stood side by side, facing them.

The ninja in the surrounding area did not interfere, held back by a hand of their leader. Tsunade glanced around that the destruction we had already caused warming up, and then at Jiraiya. He was literally shaking with rage and chakra, ready to end my life. I understood Tsunade's reservations. It was her village after all. She'd want to lure me outside so I wouldn't cause any undue damage. Cute.

"Allow me to set your mind at ease." I addressed her, and released a buffeting wind that both Sannin avoided. With the deft speed of blood and practice, Karin unleashed a white-hot torrent of fire at the ground just as I teleported us both about a hundred meters up. Before the technique even left her lips I had begun my own, a wicked, cutting wind element technique that caught her fire and intensified it, incinerating everything on the ground below us.

What remained was a large charred crater, perhaps three hundred meters in diameter. On the perimeter of this technique, fires lit and raged through wooden houses. Both Sannin recovered after a moment of horror. Two humongous pillars of smoke erupted below us, and as Gamabunta launched himself at us, Jiraiya on his head, Rasengan at the ready, I used the Hiraishin to teleport back to the waiting kunai.

The massive slug split apart, miniature versions cascading down and enveloping injured and uninjured ninja alike, keeping them from participating in this battle.

I have written in the past that it is a terrible idea for someone like me to go up against a Sannin. While Black Ops are invariably powerful, we fight in a different manner than that massive Konoha Legends before us. While they crush their foes with shows of skill and massive techniques, we prefer a quick knife in the shadows, or the poisoned lips of a lover pressed against an enemy's throat.

I was no ordinary Operative, however. I allowed my wolves to take form, charging them with chakra and feeling it naturally take the nature of wind. Always in tune with my actions, Karin immediately ignited them, doubling their lethality. Without the usual pause between bouts, my wolves and we engaged Jiraiya, as Tsunade had for the moment, vanished.

Instead of attempting to fight us straight on, Gamabunta launched straight into the air and out of range of my wolves. I was hindered in no such manner however, launching several special kunai at and around the toad. Grabbing Karin, I started teleporting, each jump meaning a different set of super-charged techniques for the toad to dodge.

On the first jump, Karin sent a large lash of water at the toad, which I charged with lightning. On the second, a fireball combined with gale force winds. On the third, lightning and fire both, and on the fourth, alternating scythes of water and wind.

Without even a breath of warning, the ridiculous strength of a Sannin forced us into the earth once more. As the ground crunched around me, I noted that it had been an enraged Jiraiya, not Tsunade, that had hit me. I rose from my crater as Jiraiya descended onto Karin, striking her with all the anger of a toad sage.

Now, while Karin can match me in a nonlethal spar three times out of ten, there is no training program in existence that can surpass someone like Jiraiya in so short a time. I moved to intervene, but as I did, my senses screamed at me and I reflexively whirled left and out of the path of Tsunade, who cracked the earth where I had stood. Swinging at me with deceptively frail arms, Tsunade growled at me,

"You were going to be Hokage!"

Her technique was simple enough: gather chakra into your fists and compress it. When the energy strikes a surface, the pressure will release, causing, for lack of a better term, an explosion of kinetic energy. Well, that was easy enough to defend against.

She lashed out at me, but instead of dodging this time, I deflected her hand by striking her wrist. As I had so many times before in my life, I broke it with the speed of easy repetition, then went to work on her left arm, cracking her wrist, forearm, and elbow. While she was reeling from those strikes, I curled into her midsection, facing away from her, and rammed one elbow into her floating ribs. Blood splattered over my shoulder as her breath was expelled.

My body flickered and all at once my Hiraishin activated, sending me directly above Jiraiya. I hit him in the back of the neck with enough force to shatter a boulder, or at least that's what I thought I did. He had noticed me instantly and turned with such insane speed that I didn't notice until it was over and my face was pressed into the earth. I felt searing pain as his hair technique pierced my body in several places, pinning me to the earth.

In front of me was a narrow view of a Konoha street. In the background was a smoking building, courtesy of an enraged Hokage, but more importantly, here was Karin, laying broken in a pool of her own blood. Her arm jutted out at an odd angle, and she was pressing the other against her thigh, attempting to stop the blood loss.

I felt a pressure as Jiraiya broke off his hair, leaving the spikes in me, and then watched as he knelt over me. He wasn't even breathing hard, the bastard. He reached down to my face and roughly grabbed it, turning it one way, then the other.

"I thought you looked like Minato once." He dropped my face and stood. "But you're nothing like him."

Tsunade entered my vision as she walked towards us. Her injuries seemed to slow her, but it had appeared that she had healed them at least partially. The aged Kage stood taller, the afternoon sun throwing her shadow into an elongated spike of black, and making her eyes nearly shine. Her clothing was tattered, this was true. Slugs began to withdraw from the ninja and civilians that I could see. The Hokage of Konoha reached into the air, and with impossible gravitas, caught the white hat of her office, which appeared to have blown down with the wind. She placed it on her head as the wind picked up, sending her clothes fluttering.

That was when the first wolf ripped into her back, sending her stumbling forward just in time for the second to rip out her throat. Both arms immediately pressed to her neck as the third disemboweled her, and the fourth tore into her femoral artery. A white haired powerhouse was suddenly clutching one by the nape of the neck, but being made from aught but wind, it simply phased through his hand. He rushed instead to Tsunade, who was still being attacked by wolves.

The mighty toad Sannin stood with his back to her and arms spread, defending her from my apparitions. I found it darkly amusing that my wolves, a product of a psychosis developed following the orders of Konoha, were the ones killing the Hokage. If Karin hadn't been so pale, I would have laughed. The amount of blood she was losing was starting to scare me, but I could not move with these spikes of hair pinning me to the ground. Preforming the Hiraishin wasn't an option, because due to the nature of my improved technique, I had to be in motion to do it. Even a crouching of the knees would be sufficient, but seeing as I was completely immobilized, I couldn't teleport.

And then an explosive chakra enveloped the area as Tsunade lit her seal, black lines etching her body. The amount of agitated energy was impressive, and even Jiraiya paused in his frenzied defense. A defense, mind you, that had won him nothing but bloody arms. Tsunade targeted me, hitting me hard enough to make me bounce. Mistake. I used the movement of the bounce to teleport. Even as my molecules destabilized to fold through the upper dimension, I mentally wrote the seal in midair next to Jiraiya, and in the same moment I was in that space, my foot hitting his neck.

It was like kicking a steel pole. The Sage chakra had hardened his body and I was rewarded with a bruised instep. I activated my Hiraishin again, attempting to stab him in the spine, but even as I moved, I saw Tsunade backhand Karin. Karin…had been out of the fight. I had been distracted by this, leaving a small opening that Jiraiya took advantage of. He grabbed my wrist and slammed me into the ground repeatedly. Stones flew around me as cold fury crept into my chest. My entire being hurt from being abused, but I was NOT about watch another one of my important people die! A deep rumbling laugh sounded somewhere in my head, and I felt my body hit the ground again. A menacing chakra took me, and I watched the Sannin strain to lift me. He failed. The energy condensed around me and my skin blackened, burning off my frame. I could only see a red haze as an otherworldly scream split the air around me. I realized belatedly that it had been me screaming as the red haze darkened.

Uzumaki Naruto, Reaper of the Leaf


July 30th of the Smoldering Ashes

It'll probably be obvious from the change in handwriting, but from here until noted later, it'll be me, Karin, writing this. Naruto's memory fails when he transforms into that…thing…so the best description you're going to get is what I remember.

Anyway, the roar that came from him was terrifying. It was nothing like anything I had ever heard, and I spent time in Orochimaru's laboratory. As soon as he roared, bones erupted from what I assumed was his body. Where Naruto had lay in the crater was a black and crimson creature that could not be identified. The bones created a makeshift armor, and the wicked tips of his claws cut into the Sannin as Jiraiya attempted to escape him.

My Jinchuuriki fell upon the white haired man, and ripped him apart. It was so sudden, so brutal…that I couldn't look away. Even when Tsunade came after him, he simply tagged her with one oversized claw, slamming her like a ragdoll into the bloody corpse that had been Jiraiya. She managed somehow to roll away, and then lay completely flat as the massive, unbelievably large blade of Gamabunta crashed into Naruto.

He crumpled against the blade, but it was not able to pierce the demonic cloak of energy surrounding him. Strangely colored cords were winding around the bones of the Jinchuuriki now, and the metal of the blade where it touched him was beginning to glow a merry red. The toad crashed the ruined knife into Naruto again and again, but it did nothing except stun him momentarily. Without warning, on one such swipe, Naruto clapped both of his clawed appendages together, stopping the blade, before wrenching it out of Gamabunta's hands. The thing that had been Naruto, as I should call it, leapt at the great toad, and left him with a ragged line of ruined flesh down both lips. The toad roared in pain and fell backwards.

As if the situation weren't confusing and hectic enough, dark shapes started to descend around us, including five who landed in a star formation around the Jinchuuriki. All of them wore black armor with darkened masks. They took turns distracting Naruto as the rest sealed, and after several seconds and one dead man, roots broke out form the ground and encircled him, somehow restraining the desperate beast.

Itachi, it seemed, had arrived. I watched the technique that held Naruto begin to lift the murderous haze from his mind, and saw when his eyes cleared. He glanced around briefly, and then seemed to get his bearings.

Something above me cracked, the sound echoing off the street and buildings. Far above our heads was a strange thing, floating suspended in the air. White mist was falling from the rectangular thing gently, and dark shapes were moving in its body. I looked back to Itachi in time to see the dark figure standing next to him fall to one knee, heaving for breath. The thing above me cracked again, drawing my attention. I, however, looked at Naruto before I looked up. He was looking at Itachi intently, and seemed to be waiting for something.

Then I glanced up at what now was clearly a gigantic mirror. In its depths, a red eye swirled, ensnaring us all in an unbreakable Genjutsu. I felt my senses warp before stabilizing, and realized that the plan had entered Phase Two.

I watched the ninja surrounding us start to slump to the ground lifelessly. First the short forms of the young Genin fell, almost instantly. Following them, the older and slightly more experienced Chuunin started to fall, and then came the Jounin. I recognized several faces out of my bingo book, and noted that the green clad monster of a man was still standing, when most of his compatriots were not. Several AnBu died all at once, then a single Operative. The pink haired girl fell over.

Then the green clad men fell. Several more Operatives swayed and hit the ground. Eventually, only a few figures were left standing: a blond haired girl clutching what appeared to be her daughter to her chest with tears streaming down both their faces, the majority of the Operatives, and a purple haired girl. I recognized Sasuke immediately, and definitely recognized the grim expression on his face.

The technique holding Naruto turned to dust and he landed ungracefully on the ground. His body flickered, and with a small release of energy, he appeared next to me. His eyes were on mine, expression intense. I breathed out and realized how dizzy I was. I saw the blonde girl running towards me, wiping her eyes as her child looked after her. Naruto noticed, too.

He looked at Itachi and spoke three words before falling forward, unconscious.

"Burn it down."

Uzumaki Karin


January 4th of the Embers

It's been a while. I have not been idle the last six months, however. In that time, we have stabilized the defenses, drafted and signed a village charter, notified the Fire Daimyo of the paradigm shift, defended against two small scale attacks, and notified the rest of the major villages of our intent. We still have a lot left to accomplish, but as of now we have a working military government, headed of course by myself in conjunction with Itachi.

Through my Uzumaki heritage, I am related to the Senju bloodline. Much like a phoenix rises from the ashes of its own demise, Hisakigakure has risen from the ashes of Konoha. A second Uchiha, a second Senju, and a second Uzumaki have founded this village with true equality. The Uchiha are not my enemy, they are my closest ally. The Uzumaki name will never again be dishonored. We will not make the same mistakes as our ancestors.

I had sent hawks to each of the major villages, notifying them of Konoha's destruction and warning them of my resolve to end this war. I called for a ceasefire, citing the events that Konoha had manipulated and even my own role in them. I have warned that any village not heeding this ceasefire will meet the same fate as Konoha.

Because of my prolific entrance and subsequent bout with both Kage's, the destruction of Konoha was credited to me alone, despite Itachi, Saiyu, and Karin being integral players. Because of this, my reputation is ominous indeed.

Hisaki is currently made up of the remnants of Konoha's forces, the ones that I trust with my cause, Karin, Itachi, Juugo and Suigetsu. The only Konoha ninja I left alive were Ino, Sasuke, Aburame Kaji (an Operative), Anko, Saiyu, Jin, and Itachi. This does not include the group of Operatives that Itachi leads. I listed Kaji separately because he expressed a desire to restart his family bloodline. This is more than acceptable, and thus I separated him from them.

As time wears on and missing ninja hear of my latest proclamation (That we would grant asylum and citizenship to any missing ninja deemed fit, past crimes unconsidered), ninja trickle in. Each one is subjected to both Ino and Itachi, who I have designated to mind walk and psychologically assess any hopeful.

The war has wound to a close, with the Western Alliance crushed by Storm, who gained the allegiance of Suna and lost the opposing force of Konoha. The warning was for Storm, namely Kiri and Kumo. Yagura and the Raikage have both heeded my advice for now, whether out of respect or fear, I do not know. I don't rightly care, either.

More importantly, I have demanded specific ninja from each major village as a show of faith and respect for Hisakigakure. The Village Hidden Amongst the Flames has already been called home by Yugito of Kumo, Mei of Kiri, and we await Kurotsuchi from Iwa and Maki from Suna.

Once the defenses are complete, we'll be opening the Ninja Academy, but for now we're still building. We're receiving many more people than expected, and turning away about a third. Everyone, especially ninja, is helping with the building and settling. Itachi had wisely told his Operatives to spare as much usable material such as pans, pots, established plumbing, drinking water, etc. They held to my orders and the symbolic gesture of burning down all standing structures, however. I had not needed to tell them to start building again.

It is here, at the end of this journal, that I will answer your pressing questions, because it is only here that I know to whom I am writing.

Your mother is a powerful Kunoichi and a fine woman. I do not, however, love your mother. I understand that this is a difficult thing, but as you grow you will start to understand. Or at least, that is my hope.

I formally acknowledge you, Yamanaka Kakera, as my daughter. You will inherit nothing from me except this journal. You will find your own path in this life.

I hope in time you come to stop hating me. I am sorry for the nightmares of flames and screams that I have given you. I am sorry for not being a father. I am sorry for many things, Kakera, but I am not an apologetic person. I have a village to run, and you have a life to live. Perhaps someday you will even replace me.

Never forget, my daughter, that we are Hisaki Shinobi. We are the flames that consume all darkness.

Uzumaki Naruto, Shodaime Kakage


End of Final Chapter

Author's Note:

Soft complete. I'm sorry for the ridiculous amount of time it took to finish this story, but some of you know that I work a very busy schedule, and I also try to juggle a social life in with that as well. Writing is frequently the last on my list of priorities. I hope you enjoyed the story. You may notice some strings left untied, and you can rest assured that they were not mistakes. From this fiction will stem two others. Since I can't write both at the same time, I shall leave it up to you. Dear audience, you have a choice between reading a sequel, told from the point of view of Yamanaka Kakera, Naruto/Ino's daughter, or a companion/sequel told from the point of view of Hyuuga Hanabi.

Both will eventually be written, but if I start two I won't be able to finish either. While I let you think on this, I'll be fleshing out the storylines of both and maybe even showing some of my incomplete works a bit of love. Thanks for reading, please leave your feedback, and don't forget: Kakera, or Hanabi?

Feral Smile