Disclaimer: Do I really need to say it? I don't own Naruto! I will NEVER own Naruto!
Warning: Fighting? Language?
I reappeared on the back wall, behind and above Sasori. I moved my tanto to one hand, bringing up my free hand up to my mouth. With my mouth, I bit down on part of my glove, the palm side, pulling off a thin layer of cloth over it and discarding it. Twisting the tanto in my hand, I lurched myself off the wall and towards Sasori. It would have been impossible for the Kazekage puppet to intercept me in time—even if Sasori noticed me right away—due to the position Sasori placed it in and the distance.
From Chiyos gasp—no doubt wondering where the hell I went—Sasori stiffened. And probably through sheer gut-instinct alone did he manage to see me coming and dodge, narrowly from my attack. My tanto, blazing lightning now, slammed into the ground, where it left a crater. I immediately swung back out with it, aiming to stab at Sasori, but he deftly evaded me. His eyes were widened and annoyance and curiosity was clear in them.
Despite being a puppet-user, Sasori's taijutsu wasn't too bad, or at least his evasion. However, his taijutsu was still sorely lacking when in comparison to mine or Naruto's and I managed for my tanto to deftly slice off his left arm, where it fell to the ground. Twisting my body, as fast as I could, with the palm that I had ripped off the cloth, I slammed it into Sasori's discarded arm's bare skin.
That was before I felt Chiyo's chakra strings attach themselves to me once again and I was yanked back and away from Sasori just as the Kazekage puppet came crashing down where I once was.
"I must say… that was surprising," Sasori said, bending down and picking up his arm before reattaching it to himself.
"M-Miwako-san… what happened?" Chiyo asked, confusion clear in her voice.
I smiled. "I suppose it was bound to come out eventually in this battle. After all, it's technically not an S-Ranked secret anymore, now that both of us have been Chūnin for so long."
"What do you mean?" Chiyo inquired.
"Let me introduce myself," I said, facing Sasori. "Reintroduce myself, I suppose for you, Chiyo-sama. I am Uzumaki-Namikage Miwako, second jinchūriki of Konoha."
"Nami…? Oh-ho," Sasori chuckled. "Now I see. Flying Thunder God, right? How interesting. And you're a jinchūriki as well? Most interesting."
Chiyo gave me an odd look, before she smiled. "I see. I have only ever once seen that technique, which would explain why your brother had the Rasengan. You two are his legacy, aren't you?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes," I said.
What a wasted teleportation.
It was not.
While I had successfully used the (in)famous technique, I definitely wasn't a master. It took my father years to master it to his point of usage and skill, and he was a prodigy. I definitely wasn't a prodigy by a long shot so I had to rely on a more bastardize version. I had extremely limited range, roughly five hundred meters—and that was if I was risking it—and I could not transport more than one person with me. And if I did, my range was cut in half. I couldn't take anything or anyone that was more than twice my mass, and it took an outrageous amount of chakra to use the technique.
Like Naruto's Rasenshuriken amount of chakra.
It wasn't that it was a chakra expensive move in of itself, it was just I was still so new to it. Even after over two years of working on it… From what Jiraiya and I have discussed over the technique, it would take even longer to really master, and when I did, I should, in theory, be able to utilize it as well as my father, but it would be years before I did that.
If I was being an optimist, then I could say that it would be most useful in the upcoming events.
And in a way, it would be.
But… While I could rely on Kurama's chakra and thus considerably expand how many times I could teleport, it was still Kurama's chakra. It was still that volatile stuff that unless I had to have absolutely perfect control of my emotions—that I had to have 'conquered my dark side'—I couldn't, wouldn't, use it. The risk of losing control was too strong. Even Kurama had trouble snapping sanity back into me after a set amount of tails. I was too resentful towards Konoha in general, still sore about a lot of things, actually. I was better, immensely so, and I was willing to move past it. But you don't just get over something like that so easily. Unless you were Naruto.
Yeah. Unless you were Naruto or had Naruto's Therapy Jutsu used on you.
So, I had a limited amount of teleportations I could use in battle before I had to start relying on Kurama. It varied mostly on the range, and thankfully this would (hopefully) remain a short-ranged battle so I had a good chunk of them to use up.
I flexed my fingers, shifting my body. "Chiyo-sama, I'm sorry for worrying you."
"It's quite alright, dear," Chiyo said softly. "I'm just glad you're alright."
From the sincerity in her tone and her surprisingly warm gaze, I felt myself growing affectionate towards the older woman. I gave her the warmest smile I could muster up.
"Sasori-san," I said sharply, "You won't win. No matter what you do, no matter what trick you have up your sleeve, I will defeat you. I cannot afford to die here; I must protect my precious person against a foe that far outmatches you. I mean no offense; but you will lose this battle."
Sasori didn't reply for a long while, just twitched his thumb. Faster than I could process, kunai hurtled themselves towards me and before I could respond, Chiyo did. In a plume of smoke and quick thinking, she summoned the Mother and Father puppets where she deftly and effectively used them to block the attacks.
"Now, now," Chiyo said, her voice rough and harsh, "have you no manners? A man should be attentive and listen when a lady speaks."
I stared at the puppets a long while, carefully thinking through the next course of action.
I knew the iron sand would be coming up next, and no matter how many scenarios I went through in my hand, that damned sand was always the biggest issue. Well, that and his whole one-hundred puppet army. But seriously. That sand. So annoying. It wasn't so much the sand itself, so much as the sheer versatile he could use it for. Anything. From blocks to a forest. And worse of all, they were fast. Something that big wasn't allowed to be fast; it just wasn't fair, at all.
I knew the biggest issue with the sand would be how it would irreparably damage Chiyo's puppets, and if it got close enough to her, her right arm—as it was a puppet arm as well—and I didn't have Sakura's healing capabilities so I couldn't risk Chiyo suffering any damage during this battle. If worse really came to it, I would have to teleport both of us as far away as possible.
I flexed my fingers again, finding a sort of obsessive comfort in the sound the glove made when I did.
I had a general idea on what to do, but I didn't dare to formulate an exact plan. If I had, I would have more than likely relied solely on it and real battle has a drastic way of spinning as far away from the actual plan. It would have been more harmful than beneficial in the long run.
"So… you brought those two," Sasori noted, no inflection whatsoever in his tone and face.
"You remember these, don't you?" Chiyo asked, her previous anger dying down as her face took on a more melancholy and bitter expression.
"Yeah… I suppose I do."
"That's right… these are the very first puppets you've ever crafted."
I closed my eyes, really not wanting to get into that subject.
I had to be prepared to kill Sasori. I knew his backstory thoroughly; enough that I could retell it quote by quote, picture by picture to anyone who could ask. But it was still muffled, in the sense that I still saw Sasori as the Sasori I read about and watched. The Sasori standing before me was a wholly other Sasori. One that I hadn't come to appreciate and adore.
I couldn't afford to make that connection, not unless I was sure I could capture and not kill him. And I wasn't.
The two puppets spread their arms out, inching closer to one another. Their left hand and right hand respectively touched, and when they pulled apart, wire presented itself. Thick, hard wire.
"Miwako, clear out of the way," Chiyo said.
"As you wish," I demurred, stepping back and a little behind Chiyo.
Chiyo sent the puppets moving forward and Sasori began to retract his wooden-hand forest, manipulating his Kazekage puppet and sending the forest straight towards the Mother and Father puppets. The wire wrapped around the giant mass of wood and the duo puppets pulled, completely cutting it in half before proceeding to completely destroy the mass of wooden-hands.
Sasori had his Kazekage puppet disarm himself from the wooden-hands in time to effectively dodge their first assault. In the process, where his arm once controlled the wooden-hands, a whirling saw came into place instead. The Mother and Father puppets discarded the wire, the Father pulling out a sort of wooden sort with spikes jutting out all over it, and the Mother bringing out a katana with jagged edges.
The three puppets engaged in a fierce bout, both puppet-users moving at rapid speeds. The effects were the puppets being just a blur of flashes and sparks flying where the metal met. After a while the Mother and Father puppets returned to float before Chiyo and the Kazekage puppet floated before Sasori. The Kazekage puppet's curved blades were completely broken and his saw was worn down to a dull thing. However, the Mother and Father puppets respectively lost their weapons, as well.
"This is starting to get messy," Sasori said. "Better to play my next hand, then."
He made a single seal before the Kazekage puppet's mouth opened up and iron sand began pouring out.
Chiyo stiffened and her eyes narrowed.
"Fuck," I summed up nicely for the both of us. "The Sandaime's legendary jutsu… I think… for now, it's time that you stood back, Chiyo-sama."
Chiyo glanced at me, her gaze questioning.
"That sand," I said, jerking my head in the direction the sand was pouring out of, "would get in all the cracks and joints of your puppets."
Chiyo closed her eyes, contemplating her next response. "We shall see how it goes, child. I will not hesitate to assist you, but I agree in that it would be a waste if I lost these puppets too early."
I nodded my head, moving forward and smiling. "Besides… I already have a plan of my own."
I considered, briefly, revealing my trump, but dismissed it immediately. It was too risky. I would only reveal it when I was certain that victory would be in our favor.
I gripped my left dagger, throwing it far to the right before moving closer to Chiyo.
The sand had finished presenting itself and Sasori smirked. "Iron Sand: Scattered Shower!"
In a flash of red light, we were gone just as the mass majority of the sand flickered, but we did not appear where I threw the last kunai. Instead we were once again behind Sasori, and before either of us could react, Sasori immediately changed the direction of the shower where I threw the last kunai.
I then bent down to my lower calf, grabbing the real last teleporting kunai I had and throwing it up into the ceiling. I grabbed Chiyo and we were gone a final time. Using chakra to grip to the ceiling, we stayed quiet while Sasori gave a snarl of frustration, turning where I had thrown my first kunai, where we were before.
My eyes landed on the Kazekage puppet. If I could take that out, the sand was as good as gone.
While his eyes were momentarily away, I hurtled myself down from the ceiling towards the puppet, my right hand thrown out. "Raiton: Lightning Beast Running!"
A flash of lightning surged from my hand, taking the form of a wild wolf and charging with a reverberating howl towards the Kazekage puppet. Sasori, quickly realizing what was going on, reacted far quicker than I would have liked and the puppet was yanked backwards, with the wolf still in hot pursuit.
"Annoying pest," Sasori hissed, his fingers flickering.
The sand rushed to form a hard wall in front of the puppet that the beast slammed into, effectively stopping the jutsu, just as I landed on the ground, charging forward, my tanto barred.
Instead of the iron sand reforming into bullets once again, it began to split off into two condensed forms—a triangle and a rectangle. A giant triangle and rectangle. My breath caught in my float as I scarcely managed to dodge the giant iron rectangle, leaping backwards and away.
I could feel an unnatural pull on me and I knew immediately that Chiyo had attached chakra strings to me, yanking me out of the way from the triangle as it slammed into another wall.
Time stretched on in my mind as I began to frantically and narrowly avoid the iron objects, and in doing so, had the entire cave become utterly destroyed. Soon enough light—sunlight—washed over us from above.
Sasori gave another frustrated grunt and the objects quickly began to dissolve, forming lines and lines and—
Aw… Aw… really?... Just… aww… fuck.
But… it was my chance.
"Chiyo-sama!" I shouted, turning towards the grandmother who was now on the ground and behind me. I wanted desperately to convey my plan to her, but didn't dare say it loud enough so he could hear.
However, she understood.
"Go for it, Miwako!"
With a burst of speed, I sprinted towards the puppet, and with Chiyo's help, I was able to dodge and evade the iron spikes. I flickered again and again, feeling my chakra drain away from the teleportation I had used earlier and the constant bursts of chakra I was pouring into my speed. But I had to finish this. I raised my hands into seals, and to their eyes I dissolved into petals. But Chiyo could still feel me, her chakra strings were still attached to me, but Sasori gave another hiss of frustration, his face never showing an inch of the emotion on his face.
I flickered, nearly reaching the puppet when I felt Chiyo's strings disappear. Glancing back, I noticed that she had to use her focus to control the Mother and Father puppets to defend herself from the sand.
Just a while longer, Chiyo-sama!
"Raiton: Lightning Beast Running!"
The beast erupted from my hand—thus breaking the genjutsu—and with such a close range, slammed into the Kazekage puppet, momentarily disabling it until I swung out my tanto and sliced its head off. I then proceeded to slice as quickly and as much as I could until I was damn sure it would be useless.
The sand stiffened, freezing in its movements before it slowly began to fall to the ground, harmless.
I was breathing heavily and I knew I had very limited chakra left before I would have to call on Kurama. Using Sasori's momentary stunned silence, I sprinted towards Chiyo, reaching her in a matter of seconds.
"Are you okay, Chiyo-sama?" I asked quickly, worry causing my heart to quicken as I took in her rather battered state.
"Tired, but fine, dearie," Chiyo said, straightening up.
I gave a single nod, too relieved that she hadn't been damaged to say anything.
"I think I can guess what comes next," I said slowly, "and I think now… now is the best time to bring out…" I rummaged through the pack I had strapped around my waist, just under where I normally kept my tanto. I presented Chiyo with a scroll and her eyes widened once she realized just what was written on it.
"Dearie… you intend to…"
"I'm going to try," I said softly, staring up at her. "Will you assist me, Chiyo-sama?"
Her eyes crinkled and she smiled at me. "I shall, dear… But why? You know it won't benefit you in the long run… if he truly has made himself into a puppet… he won't feel pain… there would be nothing to…"
I stopped her, knowing what she was implying. "I know. I know we have nothing to gain from it, but… he is a precious person to you, is he not, Chiyo-sama?"
She gave me a quiet laugh.
"I swear I will do everything and anything I can to…"
"I don't understand what exactly I have done to earn your admiration and what Sasori has done to earn it as well, but…" Chiyo paused, eying me. "I thank you nonetheless. I… I can rest easier knowing he would be in good hands."
I blinked, blushing slightly from that. "… Shall we begin, Chiyo-sama?"
"Mm, are you ready, grandson? We're reaching the end."
I clenched my hands into fists.
I have to make him as vulnerable as I can. I have to make sure he won't just reassemble as quickly, but first…
I had to preserve my chakra.
… I need to locate my daggers first. I know one of them is under the rubble to the right, and it should be the easiest to find as it is both nearest and my scent is still on it. I should be able to locate it quickly enough. The problem remains, however… I doubt Sasori would allow me easy access, but I had to try.
Shut up, you meanie. You're enjoying this.
It's been a while since I've seen a real fight from you.
Throwing a hissy fit. Honestly, he's so temperamental. Though I suppose it doesn't help that I've been whispering to him of how Gaara was so definitely dead and he was utterly helpless to do anything towards it.
My God, you're an asshole. You're a sadistic, evil little bastard. Quit taunting and baiting my brother.
No. It's fun.
Sasori lifted up his right hand toward the top of his Akatsuki cloak before he slowly, meticulously, began to unsnap the cloak.
Oh. He's stripping. That's… well, that's… Well, I'm just going back to mind-fucking your brother.
… I really don't know how to respond to that. How does a person respond to that?
"I haven't been forced to solve a problem this way since I joined the Akatsuki," Sasori said, dropping his cloak to the ground below. "I wonder how long it's been?"
Sasori stood on his own iron tail, the metal dripping with venomous purple poison. I could see the tail stretch all the way down to the floor and enter through his abdomen where I could see it had been wrapped tightly around something, reeling it in. His heart container was jutted out and I could see the vein-like chakra tendrils pulsing a few inches around it. Metal rotor blades were spread out from behind his back, looking like sharp and lethal wings.
"Oh yes, it's been a while indeed since I used myself," Sasori mused, his voice coming out in a long hiss, conveying just how irritated he was with the situation.
I tensed my body, my eyes darting towards the location of where I assumed the first dagger was. I could guess which attack would come next.
"Well, if you aren't going to attack me…" Sasori said slowly, carefully, his arms extending out as he held his hands out towards us, palm facing us where I could see a small black tube poking out in each of them. "… then I'll have to make the first move!"
Fire erupted from his palms, spreading out quickly and powerful and I sprinted towards the area the dagger was in, barely managing to make it behind a boulder in time. The fire intensified as I stayed behind the boulder. A quick glance back quickly assured me Chiyo had made it behind a boulder, as well. Taking this time, I inhaled deeply, trying to pinpoint exactly where my dagger was. It was difficult, I was shaky from adrenaline and that made it that much harder to concentrate.
My eyes snapped open and there was a small reprieve in the blast and I sprinted towards crack in the rocks, slamming my fist and channeling as much chakra as I dared into to further the hole. In a flash, I snapped my hand down in the hole, grabbed my dagger and ducked down in the hole, just in time for the fire to blast right over me.
I cringed at the intense heat, but managed to persevere.
There was another small pause and I took that chance to jump out from the hole. "Chiyo-sama!"
Chiyo's hands flickered in my direction and I felt her strings latch onto me and she yanked me behind a rock just as the high pressured water went soaring where I was, completely slicing through the rocks. I handed her my dagger and she threw it up her sleeve, letting it disappear from sight for the time being.
Sasori began running towards us and we were forced to separate, ducking behind boulders and scarcely managing to evade the attack.
"Just how long… do you plan to dance around?"
One more… send the tail… to me… send the tail… to me!
The water stopped and Sasori stared at us before his iron tail snapped out, faster than I could blink and heading towards me. The distance was there, closer… closer…
He can't know… he can't know yet about the antidote…
I twisted my body enough to allow the poisoned tail to slice through my side, crying out in pain from the immediate burning sensation that flared through my body, no doubt caused by the poison. I dropped to my knees.
Call me crazy, but I think you should have dodged that.
Hate you… so much…
I could feel the tainted poison running through my system, spread on by my fast heartbeat and adrenaline. My movements were slow, sluggish, and my side burned like crazy, but I could still think. Could still move. Could still react.
His tail wrapped around me and he threw me into the far wall, laughing all the while. I slumped to the ground, feigning unconsciousness.
"Miwako!" Chiyo cried out.
"Well… that takes care of that one. I suppose it's a good thing she's a jinchūriki, this way she'll only be immobilized instead of dead. Won't Leader-sama be so pleased?" Sasori laughed, his back to me.
My breath was coming out in shallow gasps and it hurt to move, but I had to.
Channeling my chakra, I disappeared in a bright flash of light, reappearing right behind Sasori.
My hand flew out and his tail was still too far away to reach us and before he could even turn around, could even react, my fist slammed into his heart container and his heart popped out. Without a constant supply of chakra, the puppet body fell apart.
I was shaking. "Ch-Chiyo-sama!"
"On it!" Chiyo shouted, pulling out the scroll I had given her earlier and unrolling it on the ground. I stumbled to Sasori's heart, grabbing it and ohIwasodizzydizzydizzy, with the last of my chakra I disappeared again, reappearing before Chiyo and placing the heart over the scroll.
Her hands moved in rapid seals and in a puff of smoke, the heart was gone and the scroll was rolled up.
I was breathing heavily and I felt mildly thankful and ashamed of myself. Thankful that I hadn't been hit with the poison before, and ashamed that I dared to assume I could handle Sasori's poison.
I fell to my knees. "An-Antidote… pack…"
Chiyo's eyes widened and she hurriedly turned me over, rummaging through my pack before producing the antidote.
"Hold on, Miwako," Chiyo said, quickly slamming the needle into my body.
Immediately, I could feel the soothing effects of the antidote counteracting the poison. A sort of warm numbness spread around me and I breathed a sigh of relief.
"Th-Thank you, Chiyo-sama," I whispered softly.
"Don't thank me, child," Chiyo murmured, pulling out some bandages from my back and moving to dress my wound. "You did an excellent job."
I smiled at her, feelings of affection and gratitude bubbling up in me. "I couldn't h-have done it without you, Chiyo-sama. Th-There's no way I could h-have dodged all those attacks. Th-Thank you."
Chiyo only smiled at me. "It's been a pleasure fighting alongside you, Miwako-chan."
"Y-You as well, Chiyo-sama…"
We fell into silence as Chiyo finished dressing my wounds. When she was done, I had felt my strength more or less stable enough to move and as such I had sat up, eventually managing to stand up on shaky legs. My chakra levels were precariously low, teetering on the edge of me being forced to rely on Kurama, and having enough of my own. I rummaged through my packet, pulling out another storage scroll and moving towards Sasori's favored body.
The silence continued until after I finished sealing away Sasori's body(I made sure to discard his Akatsuki ring).
"Ah… My daggers…"
Chiyo glanced around the cave, her lips twitching in bemusement. "Yes, I suppose it will be a bit of a hassle retrieving those."
I giggled. "Mn. We should probably catch up with the others once I'm done. I-If that's alright with you, Chiyo-sama."
"It is. But, child, I must ask… however did you appear behind Sasori?"
I held up my gloved hand, the same hand I had used to peel away a cloth covering my palm previously. Chiyo's eyes lit up with understanding as she saw the seal array stitched onto it.
"The cloth i-is made of special material th-that cancels out the seal array," I explained. "W-When I take it off, and I t-touch someone with it and channel a little ch-chakra into it, the seal is stamped onto them. I-In that first bout with him, I m-managed to sever his arm and place the seal onto his arm then."
"Clever girl," Chiyo appraised.
I was breathing heavily, but so was Chiyo, and the two of us leaned on each other and used each other as support as I guided us to Naruto and the others. I had tuned into the radio after the battle with Sasori, checking in on the others.
It was Sasuke who responded, relaying he and the others were almost finished up and that they would meet us with Naruto. I relayed the information to Chiyo and we had set off. By the time we reached Naruto and Kakashi, the others had already beat us there due to our more relaxed pace and Deidara, the Akatsuki member, had 'blown himself up'.
Judging that everything within eight kilometers was still standing, I quickly came to the conclusion that it had only been a decoy and that the real Deidara was still alive. After regrouping, all of us went to a clearer zone so we could safely examine Gaara.
Sakura's hands that were once pressed against Gaara's chest, withdrew slowly. She shook her head mutely.
Naruto's hand that had been gripping mine, tightened as she shook. I held his hand just as tightly, trying hard squash the rising sense of guilt of—what if I prevented this? What could I have done? Why didn't I do something?—because no matter how many times I looked at it in the most logic and pragmatic view, it didn't change the fact that I felt just as guilty of Gaara's murder as if it I was who extracted his bijuu.
Silence crossed the field and I stared at the corpse another moment before I had to look away. I turned my head, burying it into Naruto's shoulder. A gesture I had not done in a long, long time. I found solace in it. Naruto shook and I could feel his arms wrap around me as he squeezed me tightly, still staring at Gaara.
"Why…? Why is it always Gaara? If he dies—l-like this…" Naruto's voice cracked and there was raw anger in it. "He's the Kazekage… He just became the Kazekage!"
"Try to calm yourself, Uzumaki Naruto," Chiyo said softly, her tone somber.
Naruto whirled around, snarling at her, "You shut up!"
I looked up at my brother, at his tears falling down his face and my eyes trailed to Chiyo's own surprised and sorrowful one. My own vision was blurred and my eyes were stinging as well.
"Just shut up," Naruto growled, his voice cracking. "If all of you Suna shinobi hadn't put a monster inside of him, then none of this would have ever happened to him!... Did you ever even consider how Gaara felt? Did you ever even ask?!"
Naruto's voice broke off and I squeezed him tightly.
"Calling us jinchūriki… What gives you the right to label us?... Who are you to decide someone else's fate?"
He broke off again, leaning heavily into me and this time it was him who buried his face into my neck and shoulders. I could feel his warm tears run down on me and I knew he was getting snot and tears all over me, but I couldn't care less because he was my brother and he was hurting and I was hurting and I hugging him tightly and he was hugging me tightly.
Sasuke seemed hesitant for a moment before he moved forward, just a step and placed a hand on Naruto's shoulder.
"I couldn't save Gaara… For three years, I've trained so hard, but n-nothing has changed…"
I squeezed him tightly, ignoring the fact that I was shaking as well.
Chiyo's face reflected that of one with pain before a decision seemed to cross her mind. She moved, rather slowly and shakily towards Gaara. She kneeled before him and stared at him for a long moment.
I pointed Naruto to her and he stared at her in confusion.
A long wind blew across the plane. Chiyo placed her right hand over Gaara's chest and took a deep breath. When she released, both of her hands were on Gaara's chest and they both glowed an electric blue. Energy radiated from them and my eyes widened.
"Chiyo-sama, that jutsu…" I whispered.
Naruto pulled away from me, taking a step towards Gaara.
Chiyo glanced back at me, her eyes closing to show me she was smiling warmly at me, like she had before. For a long while no one said a single word, and as the sun set, the sky turned a dusky blue-pink.
"I don't get it… what's she trying to do?" Naruto whispered.
When she said rest earlier… Was this…? Did she really mean…?
"Leave him alone, what do you think you're doing?" Naruto demanded, taking a step forward before I grabbed his arm. He turned to look at me, his brow furrowed.
"… She's bringing him back," I said softly.
A wind blew across us.
"She's bringing him back?" Naruto echoed. "What are you talking about, how is that even possible?"
"It's a jutsu that only Chiyo-sama knows. It's a special jutsu," I answered, feeling torn.
I had grown fond of the older woman, but I was even more fond of Gaara. But still… One life… for another?
I took a step forward, kneeling beside her and Naruto mimicked my actions. I placed my hands over hers and Naruto followed suit.
I have… enough of my own chakra… Even if it's only a sliver. I don't want… I don't want Chiyo to die.
My hands flickered blue and I began transferring my chakra to her. I could see Naruto doing the same and her eyes widened as she looked up and stared at the both of us.
"What…?" Chiyo asked softly, breathing heavily.
The glow brightened from all of our applied efforts and I grimaced at the odd way my chakra moved and was sucked out of me.
"Gaara-kun is our… Nii-chan," I told her. "We are jinchūriki siblings."
"That's right," Naruto said softly. "Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to bring Gaara back."
I felt Naruto grimace and cringe alongside me.
Don't strain yourself.
"In this world of shinobi created by frivolous old people, it's a great comfort to know that new souls like yourselves have come along," Chiyo said softly. "Up 'til now, everything I have done in my life has been wrong. But at least now, in my final hour, I can finally do something right for a change. Sunagakure, and Konogakure…"
Chiyo looked up, smiling at the sky, "… may the future be different for them, then it was in our time. This special power of yours, Naruto-kun that Kakashi spoke of, that power will change the future dramatically. You will become a Hokage, the likes of which has never been seen. And as for you, Miwako-chan, in the future, help those closest to your heart, not some wayward man or an old grandmother with one foot in the grave. You're a lot like me, child, so few women possess such strong spirits. You will excel to greatness, I've little doubt."
I swallowed roughly, my eyes stung and I could taste the tangy saltiness of tears as they ran down the corner of my mouth.
"Naruto-kun, Miwako-chan do the old woman a favor, won't you? You two are the only people in the world who know Gaara's pain, and he also knows your pain. Please, look after Gaara," Chiyo's voice faltered on the end, softening to barely a whisper.
I held her body, softly brushing my fingers across her hair. Beside me, I could see Gaara opening his eyes as he sat up. Naruto was leaning down next to him on his feet, his left hand on his legs and his right hand on Gaara's shoulders.
Gaara's eyes were wide with disbelief and Naruto's soft with relief. "Gaara…"
"Welcome back, Nii-chan," I said softly, smiling warmly at him.
Gaara looked around, his eyes widening at the vast amount of Suna shinobi and kunoichi that had surrounded us. The sky was a pinkish-orange as the sun set behind us and the wind blew across the grassy plane.
"What is this…?" Gaara asked, clear disbelief still on his face.
"They all came running to help you," Naruto said, giving Gaara his trademark grin. "You've had everyone worried half to death."
"Gaara-sama! Sir, are you alright?" Matsuri asked, running closer towards him.
Gaara gave a small nod.
And the shinobi and kunoichi erupted into cheers. Some broke out crying and dancing and Temari kneeled down on Gaara's other side, her face soft.
"You sure had us worried there," Naruto told him.
"No kidding," Kankurō said, stepping before us and smirking. "You caused us a whole ton of grief there, little brother."
"Tch. Will you to quit putting on airs already?" Temari snapped. "Gaara's the Kazekage, remember? Show a little respect, you morons."
Naruto grave a groan of annoyance, before he gave a startled shout of surprise as Temari literally threw him away and leaned close to Gaara, her eyes and tone frantic, "Gaara, talk to me. How do you feel?"
With a groan, Gaara attempted to stand up.
"Easy, you shouldn't get up too quickly. You're body hasn't completely recovered yet from the rigimortis yet," Temari scolded gently. Gaara relaxed, sitting back down.
"Naruto… thank you," Kankurō said.
Naruto stared at him a moment before laughing. "Aw, don't thank me. If you're going to thank anyone, thank granny over there. She saved Gaara with some incredible medical-ninjutsu… She tired herself out and fell asleep. But I'm sure she'll be fine once we get her back to the village."
"No," Kankurō interrupted. "She won't."
Gaara turned his head in our direction at Kankurō's voice.
"Chiyo-sama used that jutsu," Kankurō said.
"What are you talking about? Why won't she?" Naruto asked.
"She wasn't using medical-ninjutsu," Kankurou continued. "It was a reanimation ninjutsu. Chiyo-sama is… dead."
The clearing had fallen into silence.
Naruto's eyes widened and his face morphed into disbelief. "What are you saying? How can she be dead?"
The sky had turned to a pale blue violet.
"It's a ninjutsu that allows you to bring someone back from the dead, in exchange for your own life… Years ago in our puppet-master core, a jutsu was secretly developed to breathe life into actual puppets. Chiyo-sama lead that project. They did come up with a method for it, however midway they concluded there was too much risk involved to the user. It was classified as a forbidden jutsu before human testing could be involved, and sealed away."
Naruto stood up, his eyes fixated on Chiyo in my arms, her brother—Chiyo's brother—stood at my side, staring down at Chiyo and his expression unreadable.
"Look at her," he said softly. "I half expect her to burst out laughing, her face is so peaceful."
"Yes," I said quietly, petting her hair.
"Naruto," Temari murmured, drawing his attention towards her, "there really is something different about you. You really do have the power to change people. Chiyo-sama used to always say that she didn't care about the future of Sunagakure, she wasn't the kind of person who would do something like this for Gaara."
"Chiyo-sama entrusted the future to you and Gaara. It was a death befitting a shinobi," Kakashi said.
"Yeah… Just like Jiji," Naruto whispered and my heart clenched in reminder of Grandfather.
"… Hm. I get it now. I understand what she wished for."
Gaara stood up, shakily and nearly fell before Naruto caught his arm. Gaara straightened up, staring at Chiyo for another moment before he said quietly, "Everyone, pray for Chiyo and bid her farewell."
I closed my eyes.
Naruto and I carried Gaara back to Suna, the Kazekage leaning heavily on us where we were greeted with cheers and shouts and dances of joy by every member of Sunagakure. After our warm reception, I found myself slipping away from the crowd and heading towards Temari, Kankurō and Gaara's home.
I knew they wouldn't mind if I hid out there. Parties just weren't really my cup of tea, seeing how I had never been to one in either of my lifetimes and found that I didn't really care to amend that fact. I hid in the living room, sprawled out on the couch and promptly closed my eyes.
You didn't get the information you wanted on Orochimaru.
Perhaps. And I doubt they'll get anything more out of Sasori in interrogation.
It is highly improbable.
But… I want Orochimaru out of the game, and Kabuto, too if I can. I need them out of the game. Not only that, but I need to ensure that Madara cannot return. I'll have to find his body, somehow, and eliminate all traces of his DNA from this world so no one can ever bring him back.
I'm sure Tobi has something so he or Nagato can bring him back via Rinnegan. They can't just pull him out of thin air.
That's true, but…
I released a slow breath.
First things first. We need to get rid of Orochimaru and Kabuto. Without them, undoubtedly, the war will go infinitely smoother if it comes to that.
Indeed. But we have no other information on them, except…
You're disinclined to give her the information because you're afraid someone will die.
Don't let your heart in on the matter. It's one death, or the world.
Alright well, this A/N kinda goes for all my stories that I'm updating. The reason I haven't been on FF, Tumblr, deviantART or my gmail account is because 1.) my keyboard died 2.) my phone broke and 3.) I was broke. Now, though, I have a brand new phone, and two keyboards (an extra one in case this one dies).
To apologize for my techno troubles and lack of updates, I decided to update all of my Naruto stories at once, along with a bonus CHIPPED MASK after story in Fading Memories. :)
Answer: A basket on my bike.
Question: What is one thing you absolutely hated to do when you were a kid?
Reviews are love!
"We're glad to have you on our team, Haku-kun," Sakura demurred. Sasame nodded her head in agreement.