A/N: Well then, this is my newest story. Enjoy, this is action-packed, more so than I would've liked, but I just wrote and wrote and this is what happened. So well shit. I would've added song links, but I'm tired and lazy and don't have time to search youtube for the perfect song. Sorry, maybe later.

Well, please vote on the survey on my profile on who to send to Fiore. I'm trying not to make this one NaruHina if I can, but they're winning in the poll.


Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End

Uzumaki Naruto blinked his eyes rapidly, trying to restore his vision and looked across at the ruined landscape in front of him. His ears still rung from the explosion and his eyes still danced with black spots wherever he looked. He raised a hand to shield himself from the falling rain of blood and debris and slowly made himself to the lip of the crater. 'I have to see this to the end. It's not over until I've seen the results myself.' Still though, Naruto stumbled, his equilibrium shot because of the gargantuan crater, but before he fell to his knees onto the unforgiving rocks he felt two strong arms supporting him. He looked up gratefully at the eyes of his father, who smiled back. His father. He still couldn't believe it. His dead father had been resurrected through the Edo Tensei (Impure World Reincarnation) by his best friend, who had betrayed the village. He still didn't understand what had brought Sasuke's change of heart, but he wasn't about to question it now. On his other side, Sasuke strode up next to him and offered Naruto his shoulder, which the blond gratefully accepted. He smiled at the Uchiha who smirked back. The trio strode to the lip of the crater.

Naruto blinked his eyes rapidly again and gazed into the center of the crater. His breath hitched painfully in his lungs. There was nothing left, save for the charred remains of the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path and the now unrecognizably marred body of Uchiha Obito. The corpse's mouth was locked in a silent eternal scream, cursing the cruel world that had taken his one love away from him. Beside him, Minato let one lone tear slide down his ashen cheeks in grievance for his former student before setting his lips in a thin line and turning away from the gruesome sight. It was finally over. The battleground was strangely silent. There were no cheers, no celebration. They had won, but the price had been far too high.

A slow clap brought Naruto out of his reverie. The Uzumaki stared at Uchiha Madara, who had begun to clap slowing with mocking emphasis, and a sense of despair began to settle in him. The battle was not over, he realized with a start. There was still one more threat, arguably the biggest one, which he had to take care of. How were they to beat him? All of the Shinobi Forces were exhausted and both Naruto and Sasuke were no exception. The resurrected Hokages had spent all their chakra in an attempt seal the Jubi and Obito away and had been incinerated in the resulting explosion when Obito had fought back with rabid ferocity. It was a miracle in itself that Minato had survived with his extreme speed and had not dissolved back into the void like the other Fire Shadows of old. He had no chance. Madara was still fresh; he had not done anything for the length of the whole battle save for using his chakra to force Obito to resurrect him using the Rinne Tensei. "It's impossible...," he whispered. How was he supposed to match this fearsome shinobi.

A smack on the back of his head brought him out of his negative thoughts. He looked in surprise to his left to find Sasuke giving him a small nod and a smirk, the Uchiha's equivalent of a fist pump and a yell to get his act together. Naruto blinked in surprise. Since when did he begin to think that it was his responsibility to do everything? Since when had he begun to act alone without relying on his friends? That's right, he wasn't alone. He had Sasuke. He had his friends, his comrades, the whole of the Shinobi world behind his back. Suddenly, the threat of Madara didn't seem so daunting.

Without warning, Minato rushed towards Madara, startling the Uchiha out of his mocking applause. Drawing a Hiraishin Kunai, the Fourth Hokage swung at the raven haired man, who easily parried the blow on the elbow guard of his armor. Madara sneered and moved to draw his war fan, but before the primordial Uchiha could retaliate, he disappeared in a flash of golden light and Minato crumpled to his knees, panting heavily.

"Dad!" Naruto cried, rushing over to the fallen form of his father, his own bruised body still being supported by the sturdy arms of Sasuke. "Are you alright?" the blond yelled, already flapping his arms around fretfully, not knowing what to do.

Minato chuckled weakly at his son's distress. "I'm fine Naruto, just a small case of chakra exhaustion. I've sent Madara as far off as I could using the Hiraishin (this is possible, Minato did it with the Kyubi's Bijudama, so why not with a human). I'm going to have to send you and Sasuke off towards the same place. I don't expect the two of you to beat him, just hold him off and stall for time until I can recover enough chakra to send some backup." Suddenly, the older blonde cut off from his monologue to grab Naruto in a tight hug.

"D-dad!" Naruto cried out in embarrassment, his cheeks flushing a deep red. The blond's eyes shot towards Sasuke, who was watching silently with a measure of amusement and envy. 'To hell with it.' he thought and slowly brought his arms up to return the hug.

"I'm so proud of you, son." The Fourth Hokage said. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when things got hard, but I knew you could get through. After all, you're your mother's son, and she was as stubborn as it gets." he chuckled and he patted Naruto's shaking back as the jinchuriki began to cry. "I know you can get through this too. You're more powerful that you believe, Naruto. You're a hero, more than I ever was. I was just some poor fool who was at the right place at the right time. You're the hope of the Shinobi World, the Child of the Prophecy, and you can bring peace to the world. You've already made me proud, and you only make me prouder, Naruto. Kushina and Jiraiya would be too. You're a real maelstrom, Naruto."

"Oh, Dad." Naruto trembled. He broke off the hug to swipe his eyes angrily, wiping the tears out of his eyes. He gave his father a thumbs up and a wide grin, which the older blonde returned. "You make this sound like a drama, dad. I already know all of this, old man. Just trust me. I'll get it done. After all, I'm your son."

Minato smiled proudly and brought his hands together in a series of hand seals. "Hiraishin no Jutsu (Flying Thunder God Technique)!" he cried out. And the two disappeared in a flash of golden light.

0o0o0

(Miles Away- The Valley of the End)

This was it. The Beginning of the End. The Final Stand. The forces of Light and Dark were at a standstill at the Valley of the End. How fitting.

Madara sneered down at the two shinobi who dared defy him: Uzumaki Naruto and Sasuke Uchiha. "Why do you two continue fighting?" he asked. "Resistance is futile. Both of you are centuries apart from reaching my strength. Just give up. The two of you are destined to fall by my hand, to die alone. Just Give Up."

Naruto stepped forward, his determined eyes blazing, "You should give up... on me giving up! I'm not giving in, I'm not alone! All of my friends, I can hear them, their hearts... they're all there cheering me on... They give me will to stand and fight! You, you have no companions, no one that stands beside you, YOU will be the one to die alone."

Sasuke smirked, "Hmph, the dobe says it all.".

"So be it."

Madara charged in, Sharingan eyes spinning wildly. He shot an armored leg toward Sasuke, who drew his kodachi to block the blow, while simultaneously whipping his Gunbai (War Fan) at Naruto , who clapped both of his hands together in front of himself in an attempt to catch the fan. While his hands managed to slow the fan's descent, the wind chakra pumped into it cut deep into Naruto's shoulder. Naruto hissed in pain and fell to his knees.

"Naruto!" Sasuke kicked Madara's leg away from himself and slashed upwards with his blade in order to dislodge the Gunbai. Naruto let out another grunt but the raven-haired Uchiha had not time to dote on his best friend's injury. This was a war.

"Weak, Weak WEAK!" Madara sneered. His leg caught Sasuke square in the chest and sent him flying to the wall of the valley. He swung his gaze to Naruto, who had done naught but hold his injured shoulder. "Do you understand now? How outclassed you are? Perhaps you need some more help comprehending our difference. Amaterasu (Heavenly Illumination)."

Black Flames sprung to life on Naruto's shoulder. The blond screamed in agony as the blaze began to eat away at his skin. To Madara's surprise however, he grit is teeth raised his hand and gripped the arm of Madara's that was holding the Gunbai. Giving a strained smirk through the pain, Naruto looked Madara in the eye.

"Boom."

The injured clone exploded, and combined with the hellfire of the Amaterasu, turned a larger than average explosion into a roaring mess from hell... literally. Madara's eyes widened and he jumped into the air, curling into a ball to reduce the amount of surface area exposed to the firestorm. Kage Bunshin, how he hated the jutsu. It was one of the most basic of jutsus, as long as the recipient had the required chakra, requiring only one hand seal. The created clone would then be a identical replica of the original body, down to the tenketsus and the chakra pathway system. Even the color of the chakra was the same, so the Sharingan was useless in differentiating them. He landed harshly on a branch protruding from the Valley of the End and winced at the burns on his back. However, he had no time to nurse his wounds and he quickly jumped of the branch and onto the water below just as Sasuke destroyed the platform he had been standing on before.

"Tch, almost had him that time." Sasuke spat. He pointed his Blade of Kusanagi at Madara and focused his chakra at the tip of it. "This time I won't miss. Chidori Eiso (One Thousand Birds Sharp Spear)!"

A concentrated beam of lightning formed on Sasuke's chokuto and shot toward Madara, who deflected it on his Gunbai and backpedalled a few steps.

"Fool, did you really think such a basic move would pierce me?" Madara gloated.

To his surprise, Sasuke smirked back at him, "No, but it served well to place you in position... fool."

Madara's enhanced eyes quickly scanned the area. 'Left, nothing. Right, nothing. Behind, no. Not even above. Where? Wait, fuc-'

Sasuke smiled sadistically as a voice called from under Madara, "Below."

Madara looked under the surface of the water to see Naruto waving cheerfully up at him with a Fuuton: Rasengan (Wind Release: Spiraling Sphere) at the ready. "Arrogant, giving me a chance to escape. A rookie mistake." He tensed his legs, intent on jumping over the poorly prepared trap and attacking the Uchiha, when a great weight seemed to be placed on his right arm. "What?!" he cried out.

Seeing Madara temporarily immobilized, Naruto rushed upwards and drilled the Rasengan into Madara's torso. As Madara went flying, Naruto jumped after him and created about four clones. "Ha! You fell for it! Ready for a beatdown, Uzumaki style?"

The Uzumaki created four clones and each one kicked Madara upwards, exploding as their foot connected with the Uchiha. "U! Zu! Ma! Ki!" The final blow went to the original Naruto, who crashed his heel onto Madara's stomach and sending him crashing into the waters below. "HAHA Take that! Uzumaki Bakurendan (Uzumaki Explosion Combo)! How do you like them apples!?"

Unfortunately for Naruto, he got an answer. "They were a bit weak in taste, really. Suiton: Suiryudan no Jutsu (Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique)."

A blue dragon with topaz eyes rose out of the water, with Madara at its head. The dragon rushed towards Naruto, who raised a readymade Rasengan to dispel the jutsu, but then made a sharp turn to rocket towards Sasuke. Cursing himself for being taken off-guard, Sasuke barely dodged the draconic bullet, with the dragon still taking a good chuck of his shirt.

Madara frowned down at Naruto and glanced at his wrist. Sure enough, there was a seal on his wrist. "Inryoku Fuin (Gravity Seal). When did yo- ah, I see, when the clone grabbed the wrist holding the gunbai. Ingenious, but how? I was under the impression that you were the only Uzumaki inproficient in Fuinjutsu (Sealing Techniques)."

Naruto grinned and closed his eyes giving himself a vulpine look, and scratched his head. "Just a little tidbit of what Ero-Sennin taught me for training." He cracked open his eyes, revealing cerulean irises and called to the demon inside him. 'Kurama, can you hear me? How's your chakra holding up? I know it took a lot out of you to fuel the members of the Allied Forces but I need your help.'

Deep within Naruto's mindscape, the Kyuubi stood up, raring to go. 'Tch, don't group me together with you stamina-less humans, I'm more than ready! Hurry, I have a score to settle with this bastard.'

'Sorry, I forgot. We need to connect. Tailed Beast mode?'

'Hmph.'

Madara frowned, the Uzumaki had grown still and the battle had come to a standstill. Even the younger Uchiha had stopped to gather his chakra. Ignorant saplings, this was a war. He would not give them the time to recover. Who did they think he was, Hashirama? Honor had no place in this war. Forming the water together into a Mizu Bunshin (Water Clone), the Uchiha clan founder rushed towards the larger of the two threats, the Kyubi Jinchuriki, and the clone went after Sasuke. Madara cocked a fist back to crash into the Uzumaki's chin.

It was not to be.

Naruto disappeared in a golden blur and reappeared behind an unsuspecting Madara. He crashed a fist into the Uchiha's stomach and quickly kneed his face when the Uchiha doubled forward from the face. He went flying into the wall of the valley, creating another dent into the eroded wall. Similarly, Sasuke vanished in a flash of blue light and with one swift move, bifurcated the clone of Madara. The Uchiha flicked the water off the blade and sheathed it. He was cloaked in a layer of blue, crackling chakra. "Raiton no Yoroi (Lightning Release Armor). Che, if only that was the real body."

Naruto flashed next to the stoic Uchiha. He was cloaked in layer of golden chakra, even his skin glowed with a golden pallor. He had materialized a coat unlike his sage coat, but this was made purely of chakra. He was covered in marking from head to toe that were eerily reminiscent of the late Rikudo Sennin. He scowled and faced the dent in the wall that Madara was surely buried in. It wasn't over. Far from it.

"Doton: Moguragakure no Jutsu (Earth Release: Hiding Like a Mole Technique)!"

Madara's snarling visage broke the ground underneath their face and grabbed Naruto's leg. The blond winced as Madara strengthened his grip on the boy to allow no chance of escape. His bones creaked as the vice-like grip threatened to snap the ossein. Slowly, malevolent blue chakra enveloped Naruto's body and formed in the shape of a skeletal hand. Madara climbed out of his self-made hole and raised the blond up, choking him in the cocoon that was the Susano'o's fist. Madara smirked and raised his other hand, it too being wreathed with chakra. It began to crackled with black flames. The flames of the Amaterasu. Out of the corner of his eye, Madara saw Sasuke rushing to complete his own Susano'o (He With the Ability to Help by All Means) but there was no danger from him. The Uzumaki boy would be dead before he could retaliate. Perhaps the death of this one would weaken the Uchiha boy's mind enough for Madara to control him. He tilted his head minutely at a sudden influx of chakra to his right, but paid it no mind. It wasn't like anything could really hurt the great Madara. The Primordial Uchiha pounded the ethereal fist of Amaterasu his other hand, the one that held the Uzumaki captive, intent on vaporizing the annoying fly for good. The triumphant smirk on Madara's face lasted until right before the Susanoo's fist pounded Naruto into dust, where the blond gave a painful smirk, stuck his tongue out at the Uchiha, and burst into a puff of smoke.

"No!" Madara whirled around to face Sasuke and his complete Susano'o. Damn that Uzumaki. It was an ingenious plan to kawarimi with his own clone right before his own demise. His clone was an exact copy of him, right down the chakra pathway system, so it was a simple matter for the blonde to enact an escape. The Kawarimi was a basic technique used to switched places with another body of matter of similar mass as long as the object being switched was not alive, and a clone was the perfect body to do so with, seeing as it could act just like its creator but was not technically alive, being a construct of chakra. And now Madara had to deal with a charging Sasuke, fully clad in ethereal armor. Damnit, he had gotten cocky, ignoring the young Uchiha until the very end. Well, no matter, the grasshopper's Susano'o couldn't even compare to his own, fully formed or not. The Uchiha focused chakra to the skeletal chakra arms of the Susano'o, splitting them into four and creating skin. Azure flames seemed to envelop the hands and slowly began to form what looked like to be armor not unlike Madara's own. The older Uchiha smirked and clasped his hands into the Mi seal, his other four chakra arms forming theTori and the Hitsuji seal respectively, in order to activate one of Madara's strongest jutsus. "Tengai Shinsei (Heavenly Obstacle Quaking Star)!"

The clouds above Madara rumbled and began to disperse and a steadily increasing roar began to be heard. Sasuke grimaced, he had heard about the technique and it's unique ability to bring down a meteor from the heavens. He raised the chakra constructed arms of the Susano'o and created a chakra crossbow. Whatever Madara's gambit was, it would fail, his Kagutsuchi (Added Tool Earth Lord) would reach its intended target long before Madara's jutsu would reach its own. He took aim an arrow made of the purest, most concentrated flame he could create, the Amaterasu, and fired a barrage of them. "Here we go. Enton: Susanoo Cho Kagutsuchi (Blaze Release: He With the Ability to Help by All Means with the Ultra Added Tool Earth Lord)!" (what a funky translation, it's 100% correct though)

Madara sneered and crossed all four of his ethereal arms over his body to protect him from the oncoming rain of arrows. "Tch, fool, do you think such a basic techniques will ever pierce my Susano'o?"

Sasuke smirked back at his ancient ancestor, "Who said I was aiming for you?"

Madara gasped in surprise when the hail of black flame arrows all passed above his head, leaving him completely unharmed. The Uchiha whirled around, intent on destroying this new threat, but the cocooning of himself inside his own chakra dulled his movements.

"Futon: Rasenshurikan Rendan (Wind Release: Spiraling Shuriken Combo)!"

A flurry of Narutos sprang up from underneath the water, all wielding the chakra constructed shuriken. The air was filled with a buzzing noise as the volatile wind chakra clashed against each other in the densely packed spheres. As one, the Naruto clones threw the orbs of wind. Madara cursed, there was nothing he could do. He couldn't stop the barrage, the most he could do was minimize the damage done by concentrating his Susano'o as far as it would allow. The barrage of Rasenshurikans met the oncoming hail of Amaterasu Arrows with a roar. To Madara's surprise, instead of one overcoming the other and canceling each other out, the Rasenshuriken drew on violent flames of the Amaterasu and began to glow a dull black. If he wasn't locked in battle, he would've have been impressed by the synchronicity of the two attacks. With dull booms drumming a beat in the desolate valley, each arrow met their partner and was absorbed to amplify the attack. And each one was headed toward Madara. Shit.

Madara growled, he couldn't let it end now. He had things to do, worlds to conquer! His scarlet eyes rippled into the pale indigo of the Rinnegan and he reached out both hands towards the heavens. "Bansho Ten'in (Heavenly Attraction of All Creation)!"

With a thunderous roar, the clouds in the sky parted to let through the two giant Meteorites. Two giant meteorites that Madara had pulled down from the vast reaches of space with his fearsome chakra. The projectile began to ignite with a glowing red flame as its entrance into the atmosphere, coupled with Madara's hastening of its fall through the Bansho Ten'in, caused the meteorite to heat up to an unearthly degree. Madara threw his head back and laughed, an insane gleam in his eye. It wasn't like he would die, he was Uchiha Madara, the perfect shinobi, second to only the Sage of Six Paths.

Naruto fell to his knees, his chakra exhausted by the awesome display of Rasenshurikens. "Sasuke!" He screamed. "Say the name of the jutsu!"

Sasuke's face burnt a light red, "I-I'm not saying such a stupid name!"

"Do it!"

"No!"

"It'll make the jutsu stronger!"

"Complete bullshit!"

"Together?"

"F-fine!"

His face blushing in embarrassment, Sasuke yelled, "Shakuton: Korin Shippu Shikkoku no Ya Zeroshiki Rendan (Scorch Release: Halo Gale Jet Black Arrow Style Zero Combo)!"

Naruto smiled and remained silent. A final prank, if you will. 'I'm not about to say such a stupid name.'

0o0o0

(Miles Away – The Last Encampment of the Allied Shinobi Forces)

Minato sneezed.

"Are you alright sir?" one of the shinobi of the Alliance asked. He didn't recognize the young fellow as a Konoha nin, but then again, he was dead for the latter part of two decades.

"No, I'm fine. Someone must be talking about my incredible naming prowess."

0o0o0

The flaming meteorites met the salvo of black shurikens with a resounding crash. The stars didn't explode in a ball of wind natured chakra like normal, but just exploded in a maelstrom of hellfire and heat. Each one crashed into the meteors, surrounding the three combatants in a deluge of debris. Madara shielded his eyes out of sheer habit to protect the eyes that his brother had entrusted him, unnecessary as it was due to the Susano'o's protection.

Naruto took this chance to charge into the fray. As he ran, he summoned up the last of the chakra he could manage and flashed golden with the Tailed Beast Mode. With the dull drone of the Rasenshuriken enveloping the air around him. The Child of the prophecy rushed at Madara. Screaming at the top of his lungs, Naruto rushed in, hands firmly gripped on the Rasenshuriken as to allow Madara no chance to dodge. "IF THIS KILLS ME, I'M TAKING YOU WITH ME!"

And then everything went white.

0o0o0

(Miles Away – The Last Encampment of the Allied Shinobi Forces)

For a moment, everyone stopped what they had been doing, healing injured soldiers, mourning dead ones, as an ear-splitting pop of a blast engulfed everyone's senses for a heartbeat. To those that felt that one horrible blast, it seemed as if an exploding tag had gone off right next to their ears and eyes and miles away the sky exploded in flash of white.

It took several beats, but a horrid, sweltering wind blew downwind towards the Shinobi Encampment that brought dust and all sorts of earthly debris down on the weary soldiers. But that too, lasted just a moment, like some sort of nightmare, and the sky returned back into its normal gray. As the blast faded, the clouds began to gather overhead, and it began to rain all around, as if the heavens themselves were mourning some inexplicable sorrow.

The shinobi forces shook their heads and returned to their duties, wondering what that horrid feeling had been.

Minato looked up at the dreary sky, towards the Valley of the End, where he knew his son was fighting to end all fighting. To fulfill Jiraiya's ideal and end the Cycle of Hatred. He wished he could help, and it tore at his heart to admit it, but there was little he could do. "Son, just hold on a little bit longer. Help is on the way."

0o0o0

(Miles Away – Back at the Valley of the End)

Naruto was flung against the wall of the Valley, just as Madara was flung against the other wall. The only one left relatively unharmed in the monstrous blast was Uchiha Sasuke, who had retreated under the request of Naruto, who had wished for his friend's well-being more that his own. The Uchiha rushed towards the fallen Uzumaki. He was in a bad way, but even then, the blond was healing rapidly. The charred, black remains of the arm that held the last Rasenshurikan began to pale to a dull brown, to an angry red, and finally back to the light skinned tan that he had had. Sasuke smiled lightly and grasped Naruto's arm, propping the Uzumaki against his shoulder for support.

Naruto coughed harshly, dislodging the particles of dust that had been blocking his airway and rasped, "That was a bad idea… Hell, that was the worst idea in my whole life…"

Sasuke smirked and patted the Uzumaki on the shoulder with uncharacteristic warmth. "Hey, you're Konoha's Number One Unpredictable Ninja, What'd you expect?"

"AHAHAHA. That was the greatest thing I've seen a human do in ages!" The Kyubi cacked madly from inside Naruto's mindscape. "Hashirama's thousand handed wood statue? BAH! Minato's Hiraishin? UGWAA! Not quite at the level of my own Bijudama, but hell gaki, damn nice try! As the blast faded, the clouds began to gather overhead, and it began to rain all around, as if the sky itself was crying.

Naruto grunted painfully as he leaned in more towards Sasuke's shoulder to prop himself up. "What are you so excited about? No, you know what, don't tell me. I'd rather not know." He limped towards the depression in the Valley wall where Madara was imbedded. He smiled. It was over. The blond smiled and made to give Sasuke a fist bump when,

"Bansho Ten'in (Heavenly Attraction of All Creation)!"

Both he and Sasuke found themselves pulled, no hurled toward the direction of the crater, where Madara had his arms outstretched. His eyes had changed into the ripple-patterned ones of the Rinnegan. The Uchiha was in just as bad a shape as Naruto, even worse. The Uchiha's armor was gone now, and there was only a black cloth shirt that clung to Madara's form, and even that was ripped, revealing the face of Hashirama protruding from the Uchiha's chest. His body was mottled with burns and lacerations, and blood caked every surface of his skin. But even as the two watched, the injuries began to heal. Madara used Hashirama's legendary healing abilities for his own twisted cause. It took a lot out of the Uchiha, as it was not his own jutsu. In fact, this would be the only time he would properly be able to use it, or risk chakra exhaustion and be in the hands of these maggots. But this would have to do for now.

Thoroughly healed, The Uchiha punched both shinobi in the stomach and held each of them up by the throat. He slammed each of them into the wall even as his hands began to glow blue and began to drain their chakra. Both the Tailed Beast Mode and the Raiton no Yoroi began to flicker and then vanished as the two found themselves unable to maintain it due to a lack of chakra and a lack of oxygen. Naruto grasped Madara's arm and grappled with it weakly in an attempt to escape from the Uchiha's grip.

Damnit. All that he had done, was this how it was going to end? He had finally managed to unite the Shinobi Nations and the reconcile with his best friend. The former was more because of the threat of war, but still... Damnit. All his work, all of Jiraiya-sensei's work, and the world was always full of hatred, full of death. Damnit. The world began to dance with black spots and slowly, so very slowly, Naruto's vision began to darken. The last Uzumaki closed his eyes and let out a tired sigh, resigning himself to his fate. Maybe he'll even see his parents again.

"Gatenga! (Fang Rotating Fang!)"

Two buzzsaw-like shapes crashed into an unsuspecting Madara, forcing him to let go of his grip on Naruto and Sasuke. The buzzsaws unraveled and the two nins quickly picked up the two bodies and moved them to safety. "Are you two alright?!" Kiba shouted over the crashing of the waterfall, "The two of you look like you've gone through the grinder." The Kiba carrying Sasuke barked in agreement. Akamaru. He dropped the two of them off next to a fretting Sakura and Hinata, both of whom immediately began to channel medical chakra to their hands to heal the wounded shinobi. While the two recovered, Team Asuma stepped to the fore to combat the slightly disorientated and extremely furious Madara.

"Right, Ino-Shika-Cho!" Shikamaru shouted over to his teammates. "Formation 44!"

Choji grimaced. It seemed that Shikamaru was hellbent on using this Formation, no matter the end. "Baika no Jutsu (Multi-Size Technique)!" The big-boned Akimichi suddenly grew to near thrice his size and gave a giant thumbs up to Shikamaru.

Shikamaru nodded up to his companions and clasped his hands in a variation of the Tora seal. "Kage Tsukami no Jutsu (Shadow Clutch Technique)!" Shikamaru's shadow slid out from under him and connected with Choji's now gargantuan shadow.

Ino grinned sadly and turned back to look at Naruto. "Now just stay there, Naruto. I'll show you how just how much better we are now." She clasped her hands in the Hitsuji seal. "Kanchi Denden (Sensing Transmission)." She tapped Shikamaru in the back of the head in order for the three of them to share awareness' through the jutsu. Choji let out a short battle cry before crunching into a ball and barreling towards Madara, his normally uncontrolled ball of destruction now being controlled through the combined efforts of Shikamaru and Ino. "Nikudan Yōyō (Human Bullet Yoyo)!" the two cried out, the last of the trio being otherwise occupied. After all, he was literally a rolling ball of destruction.

Madara snarled and batted the ball away with naught but his fist, and quickly sent a Katon jutsu to incinerate the annoying pest. Unfortunately for the Uchiha patriarch, the sphere didn't stop its onslaught and began to turn around to hit him again, only this time, the ball was alight with scarlet flames. Madara cursed and jumped out of the way just before the ball imbedded itself inside the wall of the valley. Madara took the small window of opportunity he had while Choji was busy trying to dislodge himself from the wall to rush towards a defenseless Shikamaru and Ino. He smirked maliciously and his arm began to crackle with compressed electricity, the Chidori (One Thousand Birds).

With a strangled gasp, Naruto rushed forward. He had been watching the battle helplessly as Hinata was healing him. He was torn between two emotions: pride and worry. Pride at the growth of his fellow ninja, his friends, and worry about their safety. And it seemed that he had been right to worry. Hinata and Sakura turned away, unable to watch their best of friends be cut down. It would not do for a kunoichi to lose her composure in battle, that was one of the Academy's basic lessons. Next to him, Sasuke growled in anger at the use of his jutsu for such a twisted cause, but he did not move. No, he could not move and he knew it, so he remained still, his gaze locked on the final stand of the second Ino-Shika-Cho Trio. It was his method of paying his respects, he would watch this final scene to the bitter end. Naruto had no such qualms. He stumbled forward, limping as he did so, hoping against hope that he would be in time, that he would be able to save them.

But he was too slow, and he knew it.

With a wet squelch, Madara's arms impaled themselves into the chests of Shikamaru and Ino. Both coughed out blood and under them, their legs gave out, unable to hold the weight of their bodies any longer. Only the blood-caked hands of Uchiha Madara held them aloft. Behind the twisted Uchiha, Choji cried out, his tears streaming down his face as he stumbled toward the direction of his dearest friends, unwilling to believe this horrible situation. He shouldn't have been surprised. After all, this was the whole point of this final plan, but that didn't make the pain any more bearable. He tripped and stumbled to his knees, still reaching out towards the impaled bodies of his comrades.

Shikamaru coughed, more blood spilling out from his lips before he smirked weakly. "Just as planned." he said weakly. He shakily put his hands together in the Ne seal to release the first jutsu he had learned as a Nara, and the last jutsu he would ever complete. "K-Kagemane no Jutsu (Shadow Possession Technique)." The young Nara's shadow stretched towards Madara's own, holding the primordial Uchiha in place.

Ino smiled as well, her tears now falling freely down her pale face. She let out a weak laugh and looked down at the Uchiha's hand impaled in her breast. "Madara, y-you pervert, t-touching a girl's boob like that. Y-you b-better take responsibility." she let out weakly, still attempting to lighten the crushingly depressing mood for the other shinobi. She, like Shikamaru, clasped her hands together for her final jutsu. "H-here we go... S-Shinranshin no Jutsu (Mind Body Disturbance Technique)." Madara's body stiffened as Ino's technique layered over Shikamaru's own, effectively paralyzing him. The Yamanaka wet her lips and with great effort, shouted, "Formation 44 complete! Kiba, Shino, now!"

"Jinjū Kongō Henge: Santōrō (Human Beast Mixture Transformation: Three-Headed Wolf)! This is for you guys! Ooiga Gatenga (Tail Chasing Fang, Fang Rotating Fang)!" Kiba created a kage bunshin to join his own form and Akamaru's transformed one. The three burst into a giant cloud of smoke. A roar broke through the valley and a giant three-headed wolf rushed at the paralyzed Uchiha. The giant wolf began to twist its body in what looked like an attempt to chase its own tail. As it did so, the hair of the wolf began to harden into lethal spikes and the wolf took on a buzzsaw-like shape.

A giant buzzsaw slammed into Madara's paralyzed body, ripping apart his armor and mauling the Uchiha's skin. As the giant three headed wolf continued to lacerate the primordial Uchiha, Shino ran up in front of the Uchiha and quickly but gently removed Ino's and Shikamaru's bodies, who had somehow survived Kiba's onslaught without any major marring. Bodies secure, Shino clapped his hands together and slammed it against the ground, his face twisted in pain and tears streaming down his face, an uncharacteristic display of emotion. "Kidaichu Mushikui (Parasitic Giant Insect Bug Bite)!" A torrent of kikaichu rushed towards Madara and began to cover his body. The Uchiha began to scream as the Kikaichu began to grow inside of his body while devouring both his flesh and his chakra. Shino let out a bitter chuckle when he remembering Ino's disgusted expression the first time he used the jutsu in front of her. After what seemed like ages, the kikaichu returned to Shino's body and the three-headed wolf dispersed to reveal a panting Kiba and Akamaru. Madara's body was naught but a splotch of blood on the ground. The absence of his armor and the protection given by the ethereal Susano'o left Madara relatively useless as far as defense went, given that he couldn't even defend himself, because of Shikamaru's and Ino's final jutsus.

Shikamaru watched with blurred eyes. It was over. Finally over.

Shino looked down at Shikamaru's tearstained face. Why? It was illogical for someone to kill themselves. It wasn't worth it. The sorrow on the survivors wasn't worth it. "Was it worth it? Sacrificing yourself? Why? Who was it for?" Shino vaguely felt a spark of chakra to his right, but he paid it no mind.

"The king." Shikamaru rasped, his breath coming in shallow heaves now.

"The king? Who's that?"

0o0o0

Shikamaru stared at Sarutobi Asuma's grave, his fingers limply holding a pair of white chrysanthemums. It was at times like these that he thought about his late teacher and the final lesson that he had taught him.

(Years before - Nara Compound)

"Ah Damnit, you beat me again!" Asuma said, scratching the back of his head in mild embarrassment and confusion at being beat so soundly by his pupil. "How do you do that anyway?"

Shikamaru shrugged and yawned.

Asuma pouted, he doubted he would ever get an answer. He suddenly smiled widely and pointed to the pieces on the shogi board, cause Shikamaru to crack and eye open in mild surprise. "Ne, Shikamaru. Let me ask you a question."

"Shoot."

"What would you be if you were a shogi piece?"

Shikamaru frowned. The knights were knights. The pawns were pawns. That was that. No questions asked.

Asuma laughed at Shikamaru's stumped expression. He didn't get to see that often. "Let me tell you." He pointed to a knight on the board. "You would be a knight. Your keen intellect and your adaptability is like the knight's unique ability to jump over other pieces to move forward."

Shikamaru nodded. That made sense. "Then what would you be Asuma-sensei?"

Asuma laughed again and scratched the back of his head. "Me? I'd be a little pawn. I'm replaceable." His smile grew a little melancholy. Only a little bit, barely even perceptible, but enough for Shikamaru to take notice. "Then, Shika... What does the King represent?"

Shikamaru furrowed his brow in thought. Damn these philosophy questions, they were never his forte. "The Hokage? It's the most important piece."

Asuma shook his head. "Ah ah." He smiled when he saw Shikamaru about to ask the obvious question: 'Then who is it?' "You'll find out later on. It'll come to you".

0o0o0

(Months after Asuma's death - Nara Compound)

"Hey dad." Shikamaru asked. He moved a pawn of his own to counter his dad's silver general. "Do you know what the king represents?"

Shikaku frowned then moved a knight of his own to take the pawn behind the one Shikamaru had moved. "No. Enlighten me. But only after I win. Checkmate."

"Ah! Damnit, how troublesome.

Well, dad. The king is..."

0o0o0

"...the children. The unborn children who will one day take care of the leaf. The future of Konoha, of our world." Shikamaru let out a shuddering breath and grew still, his keen eyes staring out into the great void. Shino let out a sigh and closed Shikamaru's eyes for him.

'I understand.'

"It's over..." Kiba panted. "It's... it's finally over!" he cried. He jumped up and hugged Akamaru. It was finally over. The Fourth Shinobi War. It was like a dream.

"No!" Naruto ignored the screams of his muscles and forced his body into Tailed Beast Mode once more. He vanished in a flash of golden light just in time... to watch Shino jump in to block the sideways blow of the Gunbai.

"Izanagi."

The fan cut deep into Shino's shoulder and the Aburame let out a grunt of pain. The stoic bug-user grit his teeth even blood seeped from the grievous wound, staining the green of the flak jacket. He gripped Madara's wrist, the one that held the Gunbai fan, tightly, not letting go, even as the act of tensing his muscles caused another spray of blood to erupt from his side.

Madara sneered at the Aburame even as one of his eyes turned dull and lifeless, the cost of using Izanagi. Izanagi, the technique that allows one to change destiny, to even escape death. An completely hack and completely illogical jutsu, if Shino ever saw one. Still though, such was life, and if he was going to die now, he was going to go down fighting. Just like Ino and Shikamaru.

Shino growled and tightened his grip still on Madara, surreptitiously sending a kikaichu toward the devastated Kiba. It relayed Shino's final plans and his will to his best friend. He then sent a few kikaichu under the twisted Uchiha's skin and into the bloodstream, taking care not to garner attention.

Madara sneered in an Uchiha-like manner. "Why do you continue, Aburame? Your clan was always the most wise, the most logical. You did not rule by the emotions, but by the mind. This battle is futile, but I am not without mercy. Surrender and I will spare your life, boy."

Shino choked up some more blood as he stubbornly held on to consciousness. It wouldn't do for him to give in now. It was simply... illogical. "I continue because of my friendship with my fellow shinobi. Why you ask? Because that friendship pushes me to greater and greater heights. I will flawlessly support Naruto with my ninjutsu. Why you ask? Because... There is no need for a reason!" He drew Madara into a tight embrace, pinning the Uchiha's arm to his side. There would only be a split second's chance, but enough. "Now Kiba!

But Kiba didn't move.

Tears streaming down the Inuzuka's face, he shook his head violently. "No! I can't. How am I supposed to kill my best friend? Shikamaru's death was hard enough to bear, and I wasn't even the one that killed them. How can I? You can't die Shino! The times together with Hinata, the fireworks every year on New Years, the annual visit to the Sandaime's grave, daily visits to Kurenai-sensei to see her baby, are you going to throw that all away?" He shook his head, tears pouring down his face. "I can't."

Shino sighed and closed his eyes. He had miscalculated. It wasn't Kiba's fault he was so emotional. He was an Inuzuka and was loyal to a fault. A fatal fault. "This isn't for me. It's for the future. The kings of the future generation. The ones who will inherit the Will of F-"

A hand pierced through Shino's chest, stopping his monologue, and continued to pierce Madara's. The Aburame shakily turned his head to see Hinata's tearstreaked face staring back at him through his dark sunglasses. He smiled. "Thanks." She shook her head, her lavender eyes haunted with grief.

"Don't. This wasn't the way it should have ended. But I'll carry on your last wish." She moved into the tradition Juken(Gentle Fist) stance with her hands still buried in Shino's right breast (Since shino's hugging Madara, piercing the right breast would hit Madara's left, which is where the heart is.). The Hyuga had sealed the technique away and made it forbidden. They said it was forbidden, that it was twisted jutsu, used to torture instead of defeat, but there was no choice. "Juken Hijutsu: Hakke Sanbyakurokuju Isshiki (Gentle Fist Secret Technique: Eight Trigrams Three Hundred One Style."

The Hyuga heiress' hands began to move in a blur, slowly building up speed and methodically targeting each of Madara's tenketsu through the shield that was Shino's body.

"Two." She targeted the two beside each kidney, dehabilitating the Uchiha's movement. It wouldn't stop him, but it would cause him great pain.

"Four." Next were the four that lined the shoulder. That would stop him from making any jutsu to counter her onslaught. Tears fell through her lavender orbs, distorting her vision, but it made no difference. The Byakugan saw through chakra, and it wouldn't be distorted by tears.

"Eight." By this time, Hinata began to compress as much chakra she could into a single pressurized point. This wouldn't close the tenketsu. It would pulverize it. Shino grit his teeth in pain as each blow hit home. It didn't close his own tenketsu, everyone had different locations, but it sure as hell hurt. And he sure as hell wouldn't survive it either.

"Sixteen." She began to move down his body, destroying the tenketsus in the leg to stop the Uchiha from moving. The air began to be filled with buzzing as the kikaichu attempted to flee from the onslaught that had already killed dozens of their brethren, but there was no escape.

"Thirty-two." Sakura turned away even as Sasuke looked on, captivated and horrified by the Hyuga's final jutsu. Naruto couldn't believe it. Was this really Hinata? The shy, and soft-spoken girl from before? No. Not anymore. That girl had grown up. She was shinobi now, and a shinobi was a job that required blood-soaked hands. And blood flew as Hinata's shot to tenketsu to tenketsu, in desperate, grim hope that this would end it all. Madara couldn't use Izanagi, his love of his eyes wouldn't have allowed it. The fear of being blind was strongest in Uchiha and it held priorities over other fears. This would end it. Right?

"Sixty-four." Hinata's hands shook, and her legs creaked and threatened to break. This was her limit, she had never gotten as far before, and it was taking a toll on her body. She was hurting. Emotionally, Mentally, Physically. Such were the toils of war, and war held no mercy. And anyway, this wasn't for her. This was for the future and the past. The children to inherit the Will of Fire, and the dead who had fought to protect it. She couldn't fall now, she wouldn't allow it. She grit her teeth, and took another step, ignoring the screams of her muscles. She forced her mind into a calm, focusing only on the remaining 297 tenketsu. And struck once more.

"One Twenty- Eight." A lull came over her, as if she was in a trance. It was like she had a different perception of time. The powers of the Byakugan allowed her to see Kiba's devastated screams. In slow motion. She saw Shino's pain-filled face. And felt nothing. She reached out and destroyed another tenketsu. There was no time for emotions, she could mourn later.

"Two Fifty-Six." With a sickening snap, her right leg gave way to the stress and broke. It bent at an unnatural angle and hung uselessly. But Hinata didn't stop. She couldn't. To stop would mean to admit defeat. And here, against Madara, defeat meant death. She was almost there. She could taste victory. She could almost feel the taste of iron on her tongue as her enemy fell before here. Wait, what?

No!

NO!

With a shuddering gasp, she jerked away from Madara and fell to her knees, clutching her head in her hands. What had happened? What was she about to do? She recalled it all, in horrifying clarity. The mangled body of Shino, as unrecognizable as Madara's had been before the Izanagi. Her cold, emotionless look as she her hand sunk into the warm flesh of her comrade to destory another tenketsu. Her uncaring glance at Kiba as the Inuzuka screamed in unsuppressed horror. What was wrong with her? She threw up into the river, the bile mixing into the blue water in the Valley of the End.

Madara laughed. His body disappeared and reformed in front of the broken form of the Hyuga, completely unharmed. His other eye darkened and grew dull, but it was a necessary risk. After all, he could always tear the eyes from the other Uchiha in the end. He knelt down in front of the Hyuga Heiress and jerked her chin up for her to stare into his shattered eyes. "Foolish girl. You didn't know why that jutsu was forbidden was it? Why the Hyuga sealed it away?" He smiled madly, his dark eyes staring into nothing. "It was because it couldn't be controlled. The Hakke Sanbyakurokujū Isshiki requires full use and concentration on the Byakugan and forces the user to enter a state of nothingness. To destroy a person's life, one tenketsu by another, the user must enter a state of opposites. Where the victim is paralyzed, the user moves with ever growing speed. Where the victim is dying, the user feels more alive than ever." His smile grew. "Where the victim is full of desperate fear, the user is full of solemn elation. The Byakugan evolved from the Sharingan. It too continues the Cycle of Hatred, no matter how diluted." Hinata shuddered, and Madara laughed darkly. "Are you feeling the after effects? The cost of the jutsu is terrible, more so than the Izanagi. The cost is death or insanity. There is no third choice." He stood up and laughed uproariously. Hinata shuddered and slumped to the side. Her eyes rolled back to the back of her head, and her breaths came in labored pants. Until finally, they stopped.

"Do you understand now? How hopeless it is? How outmatched you are?"

Sasuke stood up and tread towards Madara, stepping over Hinata's corpse as the madman continued to rant. There was no reason to fear now. The great Madara had lost his Sharingan, so there was no Susano'o, no Amaterasu, no Tsukuyomi, and most importantly, no Izanagi. He raised his hands for his final attack, focusing his chakra.

Dense clouds had already gathered from the fluctuating temperatures of the battle. The cold rainy climate had clashed with the heat of the Amaterasu and created dense cumulonimbus clouds. This was his chance, and most likely his last one. He motioned for Naruto to join him and the blond did quietly. The last Uchiha told him his plan and the Uzumaki nodded grimly. At least this way, the two would go together.

Naruto formed seven clones and sent each in pairs to the North, the South, and the East. He and a clone stayed in the West with Sasuke. He nodded and simultaniously, all the clones began to create a Rasenshuriken in their hands. One clone holding it and forming the shape manipulation, and the other controlling the nature manipulation. The sound of buzzing filled the air, and Madara cut off his speech mid-rant. He whirled around, but without his eyes, he couldn't make out where the true attack was coming from. The buzzing came from all directions, and his sense of smell wasn't enough to differentiate them.

Naruto and all of his clones flashed into Tailed Beast Mode for the last time and raised his own Rasenshuriken. He allowed all of the chakra he could to cram into the jutsu and still have it remain stable and raised it above his. It was many times larger than its other three brothers, and its buzzing was much louder, but Naruto threw it quickly, much too quickly for the primordial Uchiha to locate him.

"Futon: Cho Oodama Rasenshuriken (Wind Release: Ultra Big-ball Spiraling Shuriken)!" all of the clones shouted together.

Sasuke raised his hands and brought down his strongest jutsu by far. The gaping maw of a dragon descended from the heavens. It was made completely of lightning and had red eyes with black sclera. It was many sizes bigger than even the Cho Oodama Rasenshuriken. And bigger was better. Sasuke directed it and it shot toward its target.

The Rasenshuriken.

The giant dragon took the Rasenshuriken in its mouth and swallowed mightily. It's form began to shift and change, and it began to shrink to barely the size of Gamakichi before his growth. It now resembled a Eastern Oriental Dragon, complete with a swirling, ethereal pearl it its maw. The pearl crackled compressed energy, and the dragon was made of pure plasma. Small sparks erupted from its body and slowly trailed down towards the water as it circled overhead Madara.

0o0o0

(Approximately two years after Sasuke's defection from Konoha - Orochimaru's Lair)

"Sasuke" the Snake Sannin hissed. "Do you know of elemental affinities?"

"Hn." the Uchiha grunted. Of course he did, who did the snake think he was.

The Sannin flicked a piece of paper at Sasuke, who swiftly caught it. "I am sure you have a Fire Affinity. Most Uchiha do. But you are special, I believe you have a second affinity. Your brother certainly did. His was water, which matched his cool and tranquil composure."

Sasuke grit his teeth and ignored the reminder of his hated brother and focused his chakra into the piece of paper, which promply crinkled itself into pieces. Orochimaru's eyes widened, if the boy had such potent chakra that the paper actually ripped, then he must have a powerful affinity to the element. "Excellent. Yours is lightning. The fastest element, the piercing element. It fits you."

"Hn."

Orochimaru smiled a little as he leaned in towards Sasuke. "You know Sasuke, The Naruto boy has a wind element, I hear."

The Uchiha raised his head a little. "And why does that matter? Lightning is weak against Wind, but my Fire affinity and break Naruto's wind."

The Snake Sannin shook his head. "You think too simply, too much like a loner, little Sasuke. The only element that can save a weakening gale and give it strength... is Lightning."

"Tch. As if I would want to help the dobe."

0o0o0

'I'm glad... that I was able to help you, Naruto.'

The dragon shot toward Madara, with a loud roar that belied its small size. Madara growled and jumped away from it. Only an idiot wouldn't have been able to sense the massive amounts of chakra contained in the small beast. He would just have to avoid it and that was that.

He didn't expect Sasuke.

The younger Uchiha threw his chokuto at the elder Uchiha. Madara, in his attempt to escape the strange new jutsu, moved right into the path of the sword. With a wet squelch, the sword dug deep into the Uchiha's flesh, hindering any further movement.

With a loud battle cry, Naruto ran to the fore, his hands reached out to recieve the chakra dragon and direct it to its just target. Madara. Sasuke smirked and joined the blonde in the final rush. With a hand each, the Uzumaki with his right and the Uchiha with his left, the two guided the dragon toward Madara. With a shrill screech, as if sensing their master's determination, the dragon curled in on itself and bit its own tail. An ouroboros. The sign of cyclicality, the sign of rebirth. Only this Ouroboros was to break the cycle.

With a roar, the two shoved the ouroboros into Madara's stomach.

"Myoton: Enzo-ryu no Owaru (Miracle Release: Spiral Dragon of the End)."

The eyes of the ouroboros widened to almost comical sizes and it began to swell up. With a grunt, Sasuke gripped Naruto's wrist and kicked him away from the dragon. Naruto gasped as he felt himself flying through the air away from the oncoming blast. Flying away. And leaving Sasuke to his death.

"SASUKE!" The Uzumaki yelled, straining his arm desperately at the Uchiha. He struggled all he could, but he couldn't change trajectory in midair. He was forced to watch. Sasuke looked back at Naruto.

And smiled. His first real, true, heart-felt smile.

And the world exploded in a flash of white. Again.

0o0o0

(Miles Away - Allied Shinobi Forces Encampment)

Minato stood looking into the direction of the Valley of the End even as his form began to disperse into dust and ash. He paid no attention to his deteriorating form, only on the battle that was sure to be raging on in the Valley of the End.

Crack!

With wide eyes, the Yondaime Hokage looked at the Hiraishin Kunai that he held in his hand. There was a large crack running down the length of the three-pronged blade, splitting the wood of the handle and disfiguring the seal on it. Minato frowned. He wasn't one for superstitions, but the omen still worried him.

He wasn't going to around to worry though. With a clatter, the kunai fell to the rock floor as the deterioration moved upwards. Minato gave a weary sigh and smiled toward the direction of the Valley of the End. "There's no need to worry. I'll trust in you, my son."

Slowly, the decay reach his face and one eye was lost to the wind as the Edo Tensei Hokage began to be claimed by the earth again, leaving only his sun-kissed hair and one cerulean eye.

And then even that small piece of him disappeared.

0o0o0

And then the dragon exploded, sending blades of wind and crescents of lighting arcing away, slamming into the bodies of Sasuke and Madara. Where the blades of opposing elements met, they erupted in a fiery explosion far bigger than it should have been. A stray blade caught Naruto's side in a spray of blood, cutting deep into the boy's lung.

Then, the blades of wind and lightning imbedded in Sasuke and Madara erupted into an explosion as one.

Naruto was flung against the wall of the valley. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kiba dragging Sakura to safety, both of their visages stained with tears. He gave a grateful nod to Kiba -Thanks for saving her- who returned the nod shakily. Then, Naruto's world went black as unconsciousness claimed him.

0o0o0

Naruto blinked his eyes rapidly, trying to restore his vision and looked across at the ruined landscape in front of him. His ears still rang from the explosion and his eyes still danced with black spots wherever he looked. He hissed in pain and put a shaking hand on his side, which was stained with red. He couldn't bring himself to look at the injury but he knew it grievous, if the flesh he felt, or lack thereof, was any indication. Still though, the Child of the Prophecy stood up shakily, and began to walk towards the apex of the huge crater. He stumbled forward, almost losing his balance and tumbling into the unforgiving rocks, but righted himself. This was the end, and he was going to see it through, injury or not.

Naruto blinked his eyes rapidly again and looked into the center of the crater. His breath hitched painfully in his punctured lungs. There, imbedded in the center of the crater, was a twisted piece of melted metal, Sasuke's sword of Kusanagi.

He sighed heavily as his vision blurred, and he fell to his knees. There was no more. This was the end, but the cost had been far, far too high. The highest cost of all: the cost of blood. Naruto panned the ruined battlefield to spot his friends, or what remained of them. There was Ino and Shikamaru, their dead bodies protected by Choji's larger one, who had sacrificed his life from Naruto's final attack just to keep theirs from being defiled. There was Shino, his mangled body and blood slowly being washed away by the current of the river. There was Hinata, her death was possibly the most gruesome, dying through mental and emotional scars, being tortured by the guilt of killing a comrade. Then there was Sasuke. His best friend, his worst enemy. But he too had redeemed himself in the end.

Naruto heaved another sigh and made his way towards his prone body and clutched his lifeless hand. "It's alright." he said to his best friend, though he knew his words didn't reach him. They sounded hollow, even to himself. "There are so many things that I never got to tell you. You know Ero-Sennin once told me, 'Its not about the amount if time spent cherishing eachother that matters. No matter how long you two grow to hate eachother, despise one another, deep down, you're still best friends.' " A single tear slid down his whiskered cheeks and he looked up at the sky. "I'm glad we're friends."

He collapsed next to the dead Uchiha, his cerulean eyes looking up at the gloomy sky. "I'm going home, my friend... To the never-ending sky.

And he closed his eyes. Never to open them again.


Finé!

So vote on the poll. Sakura is already out, nobody voted on pinky... so right now it's any combo of the three. Go vote, I need your opinion for the next chapter.

I feel Sasuke was a bit OOC here, but well shit. It wasn't that much and we all wish Sasuke didn't have such a stick up his ass.

Madara was a bit more crazy towards the end then I would've liked. But that face he made in canon when he felt Hashirama's chakra was just freaky. And I think it suits the story better this way. Too bad we'll never see him again. Or will we?

I know I'll get flames for Hinata's final jutsu that killed her. And I deserve it. I don't even know how that came out, it just did (kindof a badass ending though... right?). Not much is known of the 361 Palms (its only ever shown in the game), so I gave it a backstory. It'll probably rear its head soon, as soon as I can communicate with my muse to strangle it and wrench the idea out of it. Cause I have no idea why I did it. I love Hinata. Honest!

Kudos the Evil Authorlord (S'tarkan) and Kenchi618 of whose stories I read over and over to get the battle scenes right.

I'll probably never have such a sad and drama packed chapter again until the climax of the story. Or maybe not, if I can get my mediocre writing up to scratch.

Check my Profile for more info on story.

For the Ino-Shika-Cho death four sounds similar to the kanji for death, for 44 is DeathDeath, symbolizing Inos and Shikamaru's sacrifice.

For those that have read before, I changed the ending paragraph without the NaruHina moment, cause y'all were complaining.

Review!