Digi doesn't own Naruto which is exactly why the prospect of SOPA, however unlikely, terrifies him
"Understanding is a two-way street" – Eleanor Roosevelt
It was chaotic. The ground and everything else around Naruto was being ripped out of the earth, towards the pulsating black sphere that had quickly been covered by an increasingly thick layer of, well, everything. Trees, rocks, even massive chunks of the ground itself were pulled into the air and mercilessly crushed against the small singularity that only seemed to grow more powerful with each passing moment. As soon as Naruto felt his feet begun to leave the ground his eyes widened, chains shot out of his back to anchor him to the ground on nothing more than an instinctual self-preservation instinct.
Tendou Pein just stood there, seemingly unaffected by the enormity of his own technique as the ground around him began to buckle and contort between two conflicting gravitational fields. Desperately Naruto raised a hand, not even bothering to say the name of the technique as he silently willed himself closer to the earth. However all he achieved was some slack on the chains which was only disrupted a moment later when even the ground he was anchoring himself onto began to feel the draw of the miniature planetary body in the making.
"It is useless now Uzumaki, this is the Sage's strongest technique, the one he himself use to place the moon in the sky. There is no escape now, only capture; I'm sure you will live though." With that seemingly final remark Naruto felt the ground beneath him finally give, a huge slab of it slowly rising into the air and taking his with it, still dangling from his chains. He released them, finding no use in securing himself to a piece of earth that was actually rising faster than him. Instead he set his sights on the body of Pein still watching him impassively; surely if that was destroyed then it would disrupt the technique?
"Katon!" Naruto brought his hands around his mouth like a funnel, fanning and heating his Chakra until he could blow out a white-hot steam of much more concentrated flame than last time. However as an unfortunate side-effect of his brash thinking the attempted attack only succeeded in propelling himself closer to the sphere still growing in the sky. Pein himself was able to dash out of the way of the powerful, but ineffective stream of flames in a flicker of motion. Naruto attempted to right himself in the air by sending out tens of chains, grabbing onto whatever floating debris he could reach to try and steady himself.
Seeing the way Pein dodged though dredged up something in the blonde's mind, from the rarely touched section belonging to Yagura's memories. However as he prepared to use a technique known to most Jounin Shinobi, the body flicker, he noticed how far this technique had begun to reach in its hunger. He watched with mounting horror as rooftiles on the buildings in the outskirts of Konoha began to wobble and shake before violently being plucked from their perches, the actual stonework and masonry not far behind as it too began to crack and break apart. It quickly dawned on Naruto that he would not be the only one affected by this monstrosity of a Jutsu, but if Pein's claims were true then it could grow to unbelievable sizes, possibly taking the entirety of Konoha with it.
With that Naruto's eyes hardened, his features set in a cold mask of determination as he turned his body towards the growing second moon. Running from this was not an option, he had to destroy it by whatever means he could. He stopped struggling, actually propelling himself towards the earthen mass so he could halt it before it grew too dangerous. He grunted as his feet touched down on the strange body, fighting down his nausea at the conflicting feelings he was getting of being pulled between the technique and the earth. He pooled Chakra in his arm to an almost ludicrous degree, reaching a point where Tsunade would scold him for being reckless.
"Argghh!" With a great cry of effort the blonde crashed his Chakra-enhanced fist straight into the ground, causing a tremendous shockwave of displaced air to ripple outwards, actually diverting a few of the incoming slabs of rock and earth. His eyes widened when the entire spherical mass shook, large cracks breaking out over its surface, only for it to shortly stop. A moment later and the entire planetary mass just seemed to shudder as Naruto realised with irritation all he had done was help loosen the ground so it could become denser in turn. Already Naruto was having to reinforce his legs against the massive pull that threatened to crush his body; the gravity was a lot more concentrated than the earth's pull after all. The monk's eyes widened in sudden surprise as an ominously large shadow fell across his body.
Pein watched with some satisfaction as a particularly large chunk of earth crashed into the growing body of rock right on the spot his opponent had been desperately trying to destroy it. He was about ready to cancel the technique, not wanting to kill the Jinchuuriki, when he noticed that something was wrong, a frown appearing over his face. Instead of the expected crash he had been waiting for, the chunk of earth just seemed to meld with the Chibaku Tensei. He quickly realised why when the sand the rock had been converted into parted, revealing a head of spiky blonde hair.
Naruto grimaced as he pulled himself out of the sand that was quickly growing more and more dense, stealing away his control over it. It was a pretty idiotic move but it had been more on reflex than anything; he certainly knew he didn't want to try and control the entire floating mass this way. The only thing worse than being stuck in a floating, heavy sphere of rock would be being stuck on a floating, heavier sphere of tightly compressed sand he would be completely unable to move his body in; even with his impressive control of it. There would be no destroying it then as the sand would only absorb impacts.
He shook the sand out of his hair before reaffirming his features; already the wave of destruction rippling out from the floating sphere was making its way through the village. It was merciless and completely indiscriminate in its destruction, tearing through houses and streets, stone and metal, plants and glass alike. The monk tore himself out of the sand, gritting his teeth as much thicker than normal chains burst from his back, flying through long, curving routes as he stretched them out further than he had ever really tried before. The thick silvery chains eventually wrapped around the entirety of the still growing sphere, like some kind of strange ribbon on a large earthen present. However the exertion of stretching the manifestations of his Chakra that far has small rivulets of sweat dripping from his brow.
"G-Gedou: Kus-urg-Kusari!" The chains seemed to pulse once before constricting, digging in deep and scarring the dense orb even as they were covered up by more and more debris being piled on. Shakily, still maintaining his control, the blonde raised a hand, allowing another thick chain to fly forward, embedding itself deep in the ground below them. With visible effort in the bulging of his Chakra-enhanced muscles Naruto began to drag himself forward, taking the enormous sphere with him. However a moment later the chain snapped back, wrenched from the ground; when Naruto looked down he only saw the grim face of Pein looking right back up at him.
A new flash of anger and determination filled the blonde as he whispered a silent apology to his tenant, going perfectly still. A shadow clone burst into corporeal form beside him, catching a large slab of rock that had been heading towards them and using it as a make-shift shield against more debris piling on top. However it quickly became apparent the exertion of holding back such weight against such a strong gravitational force was too much. The clone dropped to a knew, its hair slowly drenching with sweat and the veins in its arms and neck pushing against its skin. All the while Naruto stayed perfectly still as he sought out the natural energies of the world amidst the storm of rock and earth.
"Naruto stop this; it will only result in your death. I have no idea how my energies within you will react to the Senjutsu Chakra." Naruto's face though remained serene, calm… resigned.
"It doesn't matter anymore; if I wait any longer hundreds will die because of this technique, all because of me. Even if it gives me just ten seconds I can at least try." Kurama growled lowly, frustrated and angry at being ignored; he was unable to understand why the human was doing this to himself.
"They aren't worth your life; you are more important than them." Naruto let out a small internal chuckle that sounded almost sad, making sure externally his body didn't move.
"It's like you don't know me at all Kurama." Again, another growl ripped from the fox's throat as it slammed a paw down within the seal.
"You promised that girl you would return to her." Kurama was sure the idea of abandoning Fuu would at least give Naruto pause and he was becoming desperate, already feeling the tentative strands of the powerful foreign energy brush against Naruto's coils. However to his surprise Naruto only let out a small, regretful sigh as he worked to welcome the energy, harmonizing his body with it.
"I love Fuu, but she will understand." With that statement Kurama went quiet, unable to think of anything to say; not that it would have mattered at this point. It was already too late. Glowing, golden Rinnegan eyes snapped open and the entire sphere, now almost a kilometre across, shuddered. Slowly Naruto spread out his hand, feeling his Chakra mould as easily as ever; the unrestrained energy of the world using his body as a conduit for its power. Then, suddenly and without warning, he closed it again.
Pein decided to wait this time as he saw the visage of his blonde opponent vanish beneath a few tens of feet of rubble stone and various masonry. Behind him Konoha continued to get torn up and ripped apart to fuel the monstrosity hanging in the air as though it was a part of some great play's set, hanging from invisible strings attached to the sky. In truth the self-proclaimed God had never used the technique to this extend before and the fact the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki would warrant its use without even drawing into the beast's power was staggering. Despite all his claims though, Pein could not keep this technique going on like this and he knew it would naturally come to a conclusion before the majority of Konoha was threatened.
That was why the first icy tendrils of worry had begun to infect the Rinnegan user's mind as he saw Naruto struggle against the technique with varying levels of success. Had the blonde simply found some way to outlast the growing body or even worse accidentally destroyed its core in his desperate flailing it might have proven disastrous for him. The technique was trying for Amegakure's ruler and right now even the one surviving body of his Six Path's technique was operating with less than satisfactory efficiency.
He paid it no mind then when the sphere shuddered once; they were still just the blind groping of a being that had not yet accepted its fate in the face of a God. Even as he began to notice that some of the debris flying towards the sphere didn't quite make it, instead suddenly falling towards the ground as it got close, he passed it off as the technique slowly losing strength. However as Tendou began to feel his body becoming heavier, and the ground around him that was directly beneath the miniature moon stopped rising up; he finally took notice.
When he looked up he didn't do what one might have expected him to do in a situation like this. He didn't look shocked, or fearful, or surprised, or even blink; he simply stared up as the enormous kilometre-wide sphere of dense, gravity-compacted stone and rock fell from the sky, rushing towards him with the all the strength and power of a meteor. Just a brief moment before the impossible mass crushed him the very smallest hints of an amused smile flickered across the puppet's face; then, nothing.
Jiraiya found himself running much faster than he had in a long while; since he had learned that his prized student had fallen in battle with the Kyuubi and he had rushed back to the village in fact. Everyone in Konoha had seen the enormous sphere slowly form just outside of the village before it slowly began to encroach on their home. However where others had stood petrified in shock or fear or even simple awe, Jiraiya had immediately taken action. Not only was something of this magnitude beyond anybody else in this village beside Tsunade at this point but as it reached its zenith Jiraiya had felt the distinct felling of a fellow Sage tapping into the potent energies of the world.
It was the reason Jiraiya was running with his hands clasped firmly together, a grim expression on his face as he focused his Chakra delicately in preparation for summoning the two elder toads of Myobokuzan. They wouldn't be happy but when they realised it was another sage Jiraiya might be about to fight they would certainly understand, he hoped. However that concentration was instantly shattered as the great earthen sphere actually fell from the sky, accelerating downwards. The old Sage wasted absolutely no time he rushing through hand seals like there was no tomorrow; which if he failed there might not have been, at least for Konoha.
A lot of luck went into how little damage the village took from being crushed under a veritable tsunami of debris and rubble from the resulting impact of the kilometre-wide sphere impacting with the earth at staggering speed. For one the gentle slope of the side of the Hokage mountain did a lot to divert the brunt of the destructive wave. Second, Konoha was built in a vaguely circular shape so the rubble that did meet the edge of the wall was somewhat shunted and only a few houses and streets were crushed. However praises would be sung of Jiriaya and the enormous toad Gamaken who had used his equally large shield to take the major brunt of the impact.
When the smoke cleared and the dust settled though it became abundantly clear that the landscape of Konoha had been irrevocably changed. A field of rubble and broken, shattered stone lay to the southern edge of the shinobi village and the Hokage mountain had seemed to become a little smaller than the white-haired pervert remembered. That mattered little though as Jiraiya could still feel the presence of the other Sage. He hopped of Gamaken's back after a quick thanks to the thoroughly confused toad before dashing across the now barren section of what had once been forest, once again building up his Chakra to summon the two elders.
Once again though he was disrupted as he saw movement amongst the earth and stone. A moment later and there was a muffled grunt of exertion as a blonde mop of spiky, pony-tailed hair burst from the ground, the monk looking somewhat annoyed as he hefted a particularly large boulder off his body with the ease Jiraiya would have expected from Tsunade. For a moment the Toad sage looked on in shock, the two elders forgotten as Naruto brushed himself off almost casually, checking to see if the bell in his hair had survived the descent.
"Naruto?" Of course Jiraiya eventually overcame his shock, blinking in confusion at the young monk that was covered in dust. A moment later though and the dirt covering his body seemed to just float off him, becoming granular like sand with a simple motion of the boy's wrist; there would be no fixing the boy's torn robes with the same ease though. The monk looked up, smiling at the older sage as he finished pulling himself out of the boulders and rubble created in the impact.
"One moment please Jiriaya-san." The teen held up a finger, stumping the white-haired man as the boy looked around for a few moments before flickering in an unmistakable body flicker. Jiraiya was about to take off after him when he returned not a moment later, now holding his shakujou in hand which had surprisingly survived the impact without so much as a dent.
"What's going on here? What happened to your seal? Where is the invader? What was that technique just now? How are you even alive?" The rapid stream of questions from the befuddled man gave Naruto an opportunity to walk closer, desperately hiding the pain he was in. Doton Chakra, his Asura path and a healthy dose of Nature Chakra only went so far in reinforcing his body when he had a front-row seat to a meteor strike. After a moment Jiraiya finally took notice of something he had ignored in his surprise, gawking even more. "Is that you who is currently using Senjutsu?" Naruto wasn't sure why he was all that surprised that the man knew about the Sage arts; all the opponents he had fought with it seemed to know anyway.
"Give me a moment to gain my bearings first please Jiraiya." The toad sage nodded reluctantly but in that brief moment when he let his guard down Naruto lashed out, tapping the man firmly on the chest with the end of the staff. In an instant Jiraiya found his ability to both mould his Chakra and move his body stolen away in an instant; somewhere back in Konoha Gamaken suddenly poofed out of existence. "Good, now we can talk, at least for a short while; there are still things to do." Jiraiya frowned but quickly realised his could still speak despite whatever had been done to him.
"What did you just do?" Naruto sighed, cracking his neck as he sat down on a nearby boulder, very much conscious that he didn't have a lot of time to speak.
"It's not very nice having your Chakra taken away against your will is it?" Jiraiay narrowed his eyes for a moment before letting out an all too reluctant sigh.
"Point taken kid, now can you undo this?" Naruto lookd up for a moment and contrary to his usual nature decided to act just a little childish for once. Pein was dealt with, or at least the puppet bodies he operated through, obviously for some important reason.
"Eh, it will wear off in a few hours." Jiraiya's face grew serious at the flippant answer as the older Sage attempted to flex his Chakra and break whatever it was that was suppressing him to no avail.
"This is no time for jokes Naruto." The white-haired man was surprised then when Naruto's own expression darkened, gaining years that didn't belong there and subconsciously making the older man cringe slightly, not that he physically could.
"I agree, but there is also a point to be proven. I knew about the leader of the Akatsuki, I knew about his Rinnegan. In fact I was on my way to Amegakure to deal with the issue myself when Konoha decided that my safety was suddenly their concern." Again Jiraiya would have flinched from the icy tone in the blonde's voice if he could. "Many lives could have been prevented from dying today." With that last saddened statement Naruto got up and walked away, leaving Jiraiya alone to fruitlessly struggle against his invisible bonds and ponder the monk's words.
"Kurama, what's going on in there? What's the damage?" He was curious to know as ever since he had entered Sage mode he had felt no ill-effects. When the silence within his mind went on for a little too long he tried again. "Kurama?" A long, withdrawn sigh was his answer, making him almost pause for a moment in confusion.
"Naruto I am sorry." This time Naruto did pause, in fact he nearly fell over at the sudden apology before walking on more briskly, waiting for an explanation. "I didn't know; when you took in the Nature energy it… it calmed my Chakra somehow. Right now it is no more dangerous to you than your own Chakra." Naruto's face darkened momentarily, understanding the apology all of a sudden; if Naruto had entered Sage mode earlier he wouldn't have been at risk and he could have possibly ended the conflict much earlier, saving many lives. After a moment though a long breath escaped his lips before his continued on, his senses spread out for what he was looking for.
"It is fine Kurama, you didn't know. Anyway, if I had used Senjutsu that early maybe Pein would have used that technique in the middle of the village; who know how many lives could have been lost then?" Naruto knew the old Fox didn't actually care about the loss of human life, he had accepted that the Bijuu couldn't be change so quickly. However it at least showed that the creature respected the blonde enough to at least try to empathise, however insincere it was. Momentarily Naruto wondered jut what he had done to leap up to this level in the Fox's eyes but he wasn't complaining.
A few moments later and Naruto found what he was looking for in the half-crushed body of the last of Pein's puppets, his torso sticking up out of the rocks. Hesitantly, in case it was a trap, Naruto removed one of the Chakra receivers from the corpse's arm before shaking the blood off with a grimace. He got a good feel for the Chakra with his Sage-enhanced sense before crushing the small black rod, following the path the Chakra took until his eyes rested on a particularly large hill. He supposed it only made sense to be somewhere high when transmitting signals and with a look of determination he set off.
The blonde had a few images in his head of what to expect of Pein; a desiccated, red-haired man strapped into a machine that looked like it was the only thing keeping him alive was not one of them. The two Rinnegan users stared at one another, in person, for the first time and for a while both were silent. One was sizing the other up, trying to glimpse their intentions while wondering why they weren't dead yet. The other was simply taking in their fellow Doujutsu-bearer, wondering if somehow this was what they could have become.
"You weren't exactly what I was expecting." Naruto's voice finally broke the painfully deafening silence, snapping Pein out of his thoughtful trance, their eyes still firmly glued on one another.
"I could very well say the same thing." Pein's voice, his real voice, was raspy but deep and Naruto imagined had his body not been in such a frail, fragile state it would have been incredibly imposing, like it was through the puppets he used. "So what now Naruto Uzumaki, do you kill me?" Naruto's hand slowly opened and closed, balling into a fist before relaxing over and over.
"I don't know." In truth Naruto wasn't sure what he had been thinking; he had no idea of what he was going to do or say when he finally met the other Rinnegan user in person. The answer seemed to surprise Pein as well and once again the two were in silence. "What is your name?" Pein looked up, his eyebrows slightly raised at the odd question.
"My name…" He had not been asked his name in such a long time; even Konan had long since given up trying to call him anything other than Pein. "…Nagato." Naruto closed his eyes for a moment and Nagato considered firing the Chakra rod hidden inside his walking machine but stayed his hand for a reason he himself wasn't entirely sure of. He didn't expect it would have done much anyway.
"Nagato… I guess I just wanted to meet you, to try and understand how all of this happened; how you became this way." A dry, short laugh escaped the self-proclaimed God's lips; it rattled the many long Chakra receivers that were stuck into his back like some gruesome impersonation of a hedgehog.
"Understanding… is pointless, unless you share pain; that is the only way for two humans to truly understand one another." Naruto frowned, his hand still unconsciously flexing as he stood there.
"But why does it have to be that way? Why can't mankind understand one another through positive emotions? A shared understanding of the love as opposed to the loss, the happiness as opposed to the misery?" Nagato regarded the young idealistic boy for a while, seeing so much of his friend in the boy that it was almost painful.
"You are naïve, mankind will always know pain, it is the only common ground between us all. You cannot understand if you have never felt it but the greed and selfishness of those who have only suffered superficially will always lead to the greater misery of others. That is why people need to understand great hardship equally." Naruto frowned again before stepping forward.
"Help me understand." Nagato couldn't question what Naruto meant before the blonde walked over quickly, grabbing the redhead's hand and puling it out of the machine before he could utter so much as a protest. "Show me your pain Nagato." With that the blonde placed his hand over Nagato's forehead while doing the same with the other Rinnegan user's hand on his own. "Human path."
Naruto smiled brightly as his father bounced him up and down on his knee, happily giggling to himself while his mother watched on from nearby, a light smile on her face as she saw the two play with each other.
"Kaa-san, Kaa-san!" The woman walked over, bending over for her son with that same warm, comforting smile that always made Naruto feel better.
"Yes my little Na-chan?" Naruto just giggled and reached out to touch his mother's hair; he always loved the bright red colour of it even if the other kids in the village said it was a weird colour. It made him feel like he belonged because it was the same colour as his own; it was a sign of his family, that warm place that he could always return to. His mother just smiled softly, his father still bouncing him on his knee and Naruto knew this was where he would always be happy.
Nagato grinned brightly as another bowl of steaming Ramen was placed in front of him, just awaiting the fate of the six others that were stacked messily to the side. He looked up with that same shit-eating smile as he placed his hands together, nodding comically with his chopsticks eagerly clasped in his hands.
"Itadakimasu!" The girl behind the counter of the little Ramen shop giggled into her hand as the boy wolfed away at the food like he had never had a meal in his life.
"Slow down Naru-kun." Nagato looked up, cute confusion over his faced as a single noodle dangled from the corner of his mouth. Ayame reached over and wiped some sauce off his chin, making the young boy look away with a blush blooming brightly over his cheeks.
"Thank's Nee-chan." The girl just waved it off as she picked up the latest of Nagato's conquests, taking it into the back of the shop. For a moment Nagato just watched her go, recollecting the short months it had been since he found the little stand and they welcomed him in. He wondered if this was what having a family felt like.
Naruto trembled in fear, back pressed against the small cabinet next to the shattered remains of the vase he had knocked down. In front of him he heard his mother utter the last words she would ever say, telling him to run. Lightning flashed outside and he caught sight of the stylised leaf symbol on the man's forehead protector, the man who had his kunai buried in his mother's chest. He felt the tears slide down his cheeks as the two Shinobi walked closer, saying something that was drowned out in the maelstrom of his own thoughts.
One emotion stood out above all the others, above the fear and the sadness, the shock and the nausea; Anger. A blind, boiling rage ripped forth from the back of his mind as he screamed out his fury.
Then he knew nothing.
Nagato felt his hands shaking as he looked down at his blood-soaked fingers, covered in Ayame's blood. He looked up, the imprint of those three black tomoe on a red background forever imprinted in his memory as the two shinobi approached him, one with their kunai raised. His hand stopped trembling even as his nose was filled with the tangy scent of blood and for a moment he experienced a strange calm in his mind before it gave way to a white-hot, burning rage. A feeling of intense heat and energy welled up inside of him, like an pressure that was screaming to be released, so he just let it all out.
Then he knew nothing.
Naruto flinched as the door was slammed in his face, rain falling down on him and soaking him through to the bone with only his thin clothing to protect him. At least this house had actually bothered to open their door for him, the others had simply called out from behind the doors or from windows. His stomach growled pitifully and he did his best to ignore it but he just felt so weak, so hungry. He forced his tired, aching legs to go on, to walk those small steps to the next house, hoping he would find more luck there. That hope was fleeting at best.
Nagato ran down the streets, trying to keep his eyes on the dusty ground of one of Konoha's bustling streets. On either side of him he could practically feel the glares and harsh looks of the passers-by. He felt something warm on his face and brought a hand up to wipe it off only to be confused when he found tears. He shook his head, wiping away the rest of them with his forearm as he ran on. He would show them, he would make them stop looking at him like that, like he wasn't even human. He would prove his existence to them somehow.
Naruto looked on warily as Yahiko spoke to the three ninja, Konan stood beside him looking just as nervous. He fidgeted, looking down so that his hair covered his eyes like he had become so used to doing. When Yahiko came back though one of the Ninja had actually come with him; he was tall with long spiky white hair. Naruto could practically feel the power radiate off him and knew this man could easily get rid of them with a flick of his wrist like the black-haired one that looked like a snake had suggested. However when he managed to work up the courage to look up he only saw the man giving him a cheesy smile. Naruto wasn't even sure why he smiled back, it was like such a look just couldn't have gone unanswered. It was a small, pathetic smile, but it was still a smile.
Nagato trailed behind the elderly monk, shooting not so subtle glances out of the simple windows they passed. He saw various monks going about their day, a few even looked around and saw him, making him avert his gaze. He stopped when he realised Chukaku had stopped in front of him, the elderly man looking around at him with a mirth-filled smile. Slowly the man extended his hand and after a long moment of hesitation Nagato tentatively took it, returning the smile weakly. The hand was warm, it felt nice and Nagato felt a tiny sliver of the burden on his heart lighten.
Naruto's eyes became wide, his heart practically stopping as he heard felt warm liquid drip down his hands. It was so sudden, so fast, he hadn't even known what was going on before Yahiko had crossed the distance between them, letting the kunai in Naruto's shaking hands bury itself into his body.
"Keep on living… together with Konan." Yahiko's last words echoed in his mind as his friend finally slumped to the side, the light leaving his eyes and a smile on his face. Nagato stood there trembling for another few moments before an old, familiar sensation welled up inside of him. His hand clenched once as his mind became clouded by a primal, burning rage. His ringed, steel-grey eyes became murderous as he raised his hand up at the oncoming wall of steel.
Nagato froze as Shizuku leaned up and wiped off the tear that had been clutching onto his cheek. Her warm blood was covering his hands and he could do nothing to stop it; all the power he had and it was just useless.
"Please don't cry." His breath hitched as Shizuku gave him the best smile she could manage, blood still dripping from the corner of her mouth. Then Nagato watched in agonizing clarity as the light slowly left her beautiful violet eyes. Everything else became muffled as the image was permanently burned into his memory thanks to his Rinnegan. Absently he felt the hundreds of kunai being thrown his way and just didn't find it in him to care.
He didn't, until he found his apathy being replaced; the emptiness he felt began to fill with anger, rage, fury. He lifted an arm quickly towards the oncoming barrage of weapons and uttered a single phrase under his breath.