AN: Wow, I am so sorry guys. This is an hour later than the "due" date. But alas, I am not perfect. (I also woke up super late and then went to the Hobbit with some friends. It was pretty great.) Anyway, happy um...5th day of Ficmas! Today's gift is a Fallout update. I make so promises for the date of the next one, but hopefully it'll be out before the new year (I have too much to do in the remaining 7 days of Ficmas to focus on this right now).
This next section of the story is the backstory of what happened in my version of the Fourth Shinobi War. Leading up to this chapter, the following canon events have occurred: Hashirama finished telling Sasuke his story, Kakashi and Obito are in the alternate dimension, and Madara defeated the Kages (leaving them unconscious and possibly dead) and is now fighting against Naruto and co.
If there are any inconsistencies in those particular canon events, please let me know and I will fix it.
The Great Ninja War part I
The room went silent as the first Hokage finished telling his story. Everyone was waiting to hear his response, and Sasuke knew it. His mind was a whir. He'd always thought it was the Uchihas and everyone else, but Hashirama made it sound like "everyone else" was pretty much the same.
"Keep an eye on them," he directed Juugo, before walking out. He needed air.
On the one hand, he'd vowed to destroy the Leaf and everyone inside it. On the other, he'd been wrong before. How many years had he been obsessed with getting revenge on Itachi? And then in the end…
Anyway, it had turned out to be all Konoha's fault. Naturally, Sasuke had changed his revenge to the entirety of the Leaf. He'd already achieved his first goal and was left with no purpose, no reason to keep living. Knowing someone else was behind the genocide of his clan gave him something.
But what if he was wrong again? Maybe Madara had been messing around with their lives the entire time. He couldn't handle it. Not again.
Sasuke wasn't even sure he completely believed the Hokage anyway. It was his word against…well nothing. But there was still no evidence to support him.
He could just leave.
The idea struck him suddenly. During the entire time Hashirama was talking, he'd thought there were only two options: believe him and join the fight alongside the village he'd abandoned or think the Hokage was lying and take them down with Madara. The concept of a third option – not caring who was lying and not fighting at all – had never occurred to him before.
But it was the coward's way out, and Uchiha Sasuke was no coward. He'd never run from anything in his life.
Konoha didn't count. He left the village so he could train with someone who could actually help him become strong enough to fight Itachi. It had nothing to do with Naruto becoming as strong as him in a short time. The idiot had never focused or tried at anything in his life, and he had a lot of untapped talent. He was bound to do well the moment he actually did.
Destroying the village had nothing to do with showing that loser he was still stronger. They'd used his brother as a spy against his own clan, and made him kill them all when the clan and the leaders of the village couldn't come to an agreement. And no matter what Hashirama said, that fact didn't change. Itachi had still been used, even if Konoha was founded with the best of intentions.
No matter how good of friends Madara and Hashirama had been back then, more than a few corrupt individuals had taken over since then. They'd given the Uchihas claim over the police force and then proceeded to ignore their existence, utilizing them only if necessary.
No. The best thing to do would be to get rid of them; destroy all the people who were corrupt. And then Sasuke could start anew.
Well, not Sasuke, per say. He wasn't a particularly good leader, at least in his eyes. He was more of a loner. But he could advise whoever was chosen, help them so no one would ever make the same mistakes as the ones made in the past.
But who would be a good enough leader? He thought of the people he was with now. Not Suigetsu; that guy was too high strung. In fact, none of the members of Taka would be good candidates. Juugo was calm and didn't like conflict, and Karin was smart but overly sensitive. Not to mention, none of them would be easily accepted by those he let live, since they'd all been considered criminals for such a long time.
It would need to be someone the villagers already loved. Someone who would listen to him and take his advice. A ninja with the good of everyone in mind; not someone who just cared about what was best for them. An orphan would be good; they knew what it was like to grow up without parents in a society as fucked up as Konoha was.
Naruto's face swum around in his head. He squashed the image immediately. That idiot was a terrible choice; he'd only managed to gain everyone's acknowledgement by screaming at them that he'd become the strongest and then somehow managing to follow through.
Damn. Isn't that a good quality, though? Sasuke ignored his thoughts. He would just have to wait until a better candidate than Naruto showed up.
But in order for that to happen, Madara's plan couldn't succeed. If the world disappeared into a genjutsu, none of the problems could be solved. Sure, everyone would think they were happy, but deep down Sasuke knew he could never forget how he felt when Itachi died. That hole would be there for a long, long time.
So he had to stop them. He had to stop Kabuto and Madara. But he wasn't joining the Ninja Alliance or whatever they called themselves. He would work with them temporarily to ensure the world wasn't destroyed, and then he would turn on them and destroy those who had wronged him and his clan.
It was a brilliant plan.
He started to walk back inside, ready to tell the others his decision when he heard a faint rumble, as if the earth were cracking. What was that?
Kakashi had been in the other dimension for a while. Naruto wasn't even sure if he was still alive. And despite Obito, Kakashi's former friend and controller of the Juubi, being gone too, the beast was still attacking everyone ruthlessly under Madara's control. He'd managed to protect everyone from the Tenpenchii it had released, but now he was left powerless on the ground.
Sakura was by his side in an instant. "Just stay still, Naruto. I'm going to heal you." He couldn't sit and stay still though; the beast was already preparing for its next attack.
Kurama, he thought desperately. Kurama, I need more.
I'm almost drained, Naruto. And even if I weren't, you can't maintain it. It'll kill you.
That doesn't matter. Come on! It's already preparing a Tailed Beast Ball!
Naruto, the fox managed to sound simultaneously exhausted and angry, you will die.
If you won't give it to me, then I'll take it! And he tried, but it was harder to steal chakara than to borrow it.
"Naruto, stay still." Sakura spoke from somewhere behind him. "Shikamaru and Ino are already working on it."
Almost as soon as she'd spoken, another voice spoke in his head. "Naruto, I need you to concentrate on healing. Killer B is going to handle this, but if the plan doesn't work, I need you to be ready to fight again." It was Shikamaru. Despite himself, Naruto relaxed. Shikamaru was a genius; if anyone could come up with a plan that would save everyone, it was him.
"Ok." He thought back, unsure if it would work. "I trust you."
The Chakara moving into his back increased. It was as if Sakura were trying to heal him as quickly as possible so he could help them. "Sakura." She grunted, concentrating. "Don't hurt yourself. You're going to need to help heal everyone else too, ok?" But the stream didn't decrease. Instead, he was positive it increased.
Meanwhile, the Juubi's Tailed Beast Ball was ready. A shout rang through the troops, followed by several large earthen walls appearing. A rushing of air deafened him, and the next thing he knew the Ball was released.
A rush of chakara flew into him, filling him with energy, and Sakura's hands dropped from his back. Naruto jumped up, the nine-tails' chakara covering his body. The walls were being broken down like they weren't even there.
A roar filled the air, wind rushing around the ninjas, and by the time the smoke cleared there was no more Ball. Konoha still stood, as did all the ninjas in the area. The only sign anything had happened was the large fox standing, nine tails flipping behind it. The Kyuubi stood there for a second longer, before it dissolved into Naruto standing on the ground faintly glowing gold.
He glanced around as Kurama returned his body to him. Everything looked ok. It seemed as though his plan had worked. Fuck yeah! That's what I'm talking about! He exclaimed internally, congratulating the fox.
A sort of grumbling was the only response he got, before all the chakara from the Kyuubi disappeared. Kurama had somehow swallowed all the chakara from the Juubi's chakara ball, absorbing it into his body. Just before he'd implemented the plan, he'd flooded Naruto with information. Now that he was able to focus, the blond processed it.
According to what Kurama had told him before, absorbing another Bijuu's chakara was incredibly difficult and required all of their strength. Depending how much the Juubi had expelled – and how well Sakura had healed them – the fox would be out of commission for a while. At least until he was able to completely absorb the Juubi's chakara.
Naruto was on his own for now.
Bee landed next to him. "Hey, yo, Naruto. Gyuuki was sayin' you stopped that Ball. That's insane, don't you know."
"Yeah. It's pretty crazy. Hey, the Juubi is still alive though and I'm not going to have Kurama's help for a little bit. Do you have any ideas?"
"Naruto." Shikamaru was back. "Is there any way you and Bee can do an attack just like the one Juubi did, but as a joint attack? I think it might work."
"Sorry, Shika, Kurama needs a break. If you buy us some time we might be able to do that."
He heard Shikamaru curse internally. "How much time?"
"I don't know."
Naruto wanted to tell the other that he was sorry; that he didn't know how to make Kurama recover faster, so they could be ready for the next counter attack. He wanted Shikamaru to realize he was aware the Juubi was still alive and a problem that was being controlled by another problem. He just wasn't sure how to word it.
"Thanks Naruto." A pause. "I can hear your thoughts right now. We'll figure out something ok? Just do what you can for now, ok?" And he left, Naruto's mind silent again.
From what it looked like, Madara and the Juubi were both preparing to attack again. It didn't look good. Without Kurama's power at his disposal, Naruto wasn't strong enough to fight off both of them. He would need to go into Sage Mode to gain the power necessary to help Bee while the fox healed. But for that he needed time and a place to concentrate. The battle field was a dangerous place to sit and meditate.
Just as he was thinking that, there was a crack and two people exploded out of thin air. One of them – now identifiable as Obito – landed almost smoothly atop the Juubi's head alongside Madara. Which meant the other one must be…
"Kakashi!" Sakura ran to their former teacher, who was lying on the ground, unmoving. Shit. Naruto followed her, crouching alongside his teammate.
Sakura's hands were glowing green, a sign she was trying to heal him. With a groan, Kakashi opened his eyes. "Sakura? Naruto?"
The blond exhaled in relief. Good, so he was alive. The chakara flow to Sakura's hands stopped. But when he turned to look at her, her face was filled in horror. "I'm out of chakara."
Naruto's mouth dropped. "He's ok though, right?"
"He's exhausted himself more than normal. I don't even know if I could heal him alone at my full strength."
"There has to be something." Naruto wasn't going to lose anyone else to this war.
Sakura shook her head. "There's something that might work back at the hospital in the village, but I'd need chakara to use it and –"
"Bee," Naruto interrupted, turning to the man who was standing guard near them. "Can you give people Gyuuki's chakara like I did with Kurama's?"
"I don't know, but if Kurama can then Gyuuki thinks so." The large man approached them, his body starting to glow with the Hachibi's chakara.
It took a few seconds, but Sakura started to glow the same color as the Bijuu's chakara restored her own. The chakara stayed for a moment, then disappeared. Naruto looked to Bee, who just shrugged.
"All I can spare Naruto, yo."
"It'll do," Sakura promised.
Naruto nearly fainted in relief. "Good. Get him back to Konoha, ok? I don't want to lose anyone else."
"I am right here you know. And I just want to say that I'm fine." Kakashi spoke with his eyes closed, face paler than Naruto had ever seen it. His former mentor was a lot of things right now, but 'fine' was not one of them. The blond had never seen him this exhausted before. What had happened in the other dimension?
"I'll get him there as fast as I can." Sakura leaned down, wrapping one of Kakshi's arms around her neck while she looped hers around his waist.
Kakashi's head rolled to the side, unsupported by his neck. "Hurry," Naruto begged. The pink haired girl nodded, then leapt away.
The two Jinchuriki's returned their attentions to the Juubi and the two Uchiha's standing atop its head. They hadn't attacked the ninjas for a while. Whatever was going on, it wasn't going to be good.
Sakura set down Kakashi as they neared the village. He wasn't unconscious, but his chakara had been greatly depleted in his fight with Obito. She knew he wanted to rejoin the battle, but after healing Naruto, she wasn't sure she could. Bee had managed to give her some of the Hachibi's chakara just before she'd left, but she wasn't sure it was enough for this.
"You're a terrible example, you know." She chastised. "You were supposed to be our sensei, and yet whenever you get in a fight you make it seem like it's ok to push yourself past the point of exhaustion. No wonder Naruto does that every time."
Her old teacher just grinned at her. "Giving less than 110% of your effort in a battle is weakness according to Gai."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah. But you aren't Gai, are you?" He didn't respond, so Sakura sighed and placed herself under his arms, ready to pick him up again. "Ready to keep going?"
They inched closer to the village, but right as they were about to enter, Sakura saw something that almost made her drop Kakashi.
Sasuke was approaching them.
She let out a loud gasp, before throwing herself and Kakashi behind the nearest tree. For some reason, Sasuke didn't notice her and walked right by. She set Kakshi down gently, making sure the raven still hadn't noticed her. So far, he hadn't. Taking advantage of this, Sakura concentrated all her chakara in her fist and hit the ground hard. She felt it tremble slightly but it didn't rumble, didn't break. When she felt her shockwave reach where Sasuke was now standing, she lifted her fist. The earth broke.
By the time Sasuke realized what was going on, Sakura was already above him. And the way she had him trapped, there was no possible way for him to move. His legs were pinned by the rocks.
"SHANNARO!" She screamed, falling toward him, fist bared. She slammed into the ground, causing it to erupt further still, but in that short time Sasuke had somehow managed to escape.
She spun around just in time to dodge the fire shooting her way. A shurinken came flying out of nowhere and landed pinning her skirt to the ground. Ha. He missed, she smirked inwardly for a moment.
A tiny paper dangled off the loop of the weapon revealing it for what it was and she jumped away, narrowly avoiding the explosion which soon followed. Some of the loose rocks she'd kicked up slammed into her and she hit the ground hard on her back.
Sasuke was there in a moment, lightning crackling off his barred sword. "This time I won't hesitate." She knew what he meant; he wouldn't let Naruto or anyone else save her like before. It was fine, she didn't need them.
Moving quickly, she replaced herself just as Sasuke struck. She mimicked his exploding tag technique from before and was unsurprised to discover he had replaced himself as well. He wasn't stupid after all; he was first in their class in the academy.
But Sakura had never quit studying, and a slight twitch of the leaves behind her alerted her to the approach of chakara blades, similar to those she'd seen Asuna use. She knew he wouldn't be behind the tree anymore and set her sights elsewhere.
There. A sign of white cloth. It had to be him. The only other person around was Kakashi and he was unable to move…
Kakashi! She realized suddenly. She ran toward the area and saw something disappear just as she reached her former leader. "Kakashi-sensei!" His eyes still weren't open. Had she returned in time? How could she have forgotten the most important rule of being a medical nin?
A noise from behind warned her but not soon enough. A crackle of electricity shot through her, causing her to fall to her knees. Sasuke approached.
He smirked. "Still so weak." He raised his sword.
Sakura grinned and threw a kunai at him. It was meant as a distraction, but Sasuke disappeared the moment it hit. Feeling confused and wary, she made to stand up. Damn the electricity had hit her hard.
"Sakura, behind you!" Kakashi yelled suddenly.
She turned and saw Sasuke falling rapidly toward her, chidori at the ready. She weakly raised her right fist in defense. But just before Sasuke could hit her, she jerked to her right, under his exposed arm and opened her fist, shooting all of her remaining chakara into her palm. Sasuke's entire body spasmed and he slumped onto her unconscious. She breathed out a sigh of relief before shoving him off. That was close. Too close. She glanced down at the boy she'd once been in love with.
His body lay crumpled at her side, all signs of ninjutsu gone.