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Old 01-15-2009, 07:19 AM   #1
thegodfather2450
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Everything

His head felt like it was about to split in two. His cerulean eyes refused to open and he was powerless to move, powerless to think, powerless to speak. All he could feel and think was pain and there was no escaping it.

Was that screaming he could hear? He strained to listen but even that seemed too difficult a task for him. Agony distracted him and he felt his entire body clench in protest. Gritting his teeth he tried to focus, focus, focus.

Was that Sakura-chan screaming? He tried to picture her in his mind but the lines were blurred and the colours bled into one another like a wet painting. Her face finally cleared but trembled like an age old movie screen with every renewed wave of pain.

He held onto her image and thought of her eyes, eyes like emerald, eyes like sea foam, eyes that never failed to captivate him. He almost believed that the pain was slowly ebbing away but as his back arched and he began to fight to breathe, he realized darkly that even Sakura couldn’t save him now.

Her name slipped out of his mouth before he could control himself. He reached out with a trembling hand for someone he wasn’t even sure was there before a loud scream of pain cut him short. It was only moments later he realized the sound had come from him.

A smooth, husky voice murmured to him in his head, trying to calm him down. Naruto, you can control this. You still have to become Hokage and protect Sakura. Focus Naruto. Focus

He was trying to focus but it was so damn difficult. His image of Sakura shattered into a thousand pieces he tried to put back together in vain. As he scrabbled to find them, the scattered shards were instantaneously replaced with a dimly lit sewer that was too foreboding to be real. He could hear snarling and metal rattling as small papers fluttered onto the surface of the ankle deep water.

Frustration was beginning to seep in through the pain. He scrabbled desperately to find his focus again but every time he did it slipped through his fingers like water until the sewer dragged him back into a world he wasn’t even sure existed. He was growing so tired, he wanted to stop fighting but he had to keep going-
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:20 AM   #2
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Re: Everything

He heard the hum of the machines at his bedside first and the steady beep of a heart rate monitor. His eyelids fluttered open reluctantly and his vision blurred with tears as the bright light bested him. Fingers twitched as feeling returned to them very gradually and a chair screeched beside him as it dragged across the scratched linoleum tiles.

“I…” he tried to speak but his voice rasped with the lack of use.

“Naruto,” a familiar voice cursed him partly in relief and partly in annoyance.

His body was sore and he turned his head slowly to his side so as to get a better look at the person whom had spoken. He smiled but his muscles strained with the effort to hold it in place and could only manage a small, soft smile. Thoughts swam around in his mind like koi in a pond; evasive when he wanted them and present when there was no need for them.

Realization dawned on him. He shot up and began in a rush, “Sakura-the mission-what happened-are the others-”

He burst into a fit of coughs at the strain he had put on his voice and his chest heaved with pain. A pair of firm, petite hands forced him back down onto the iron cast, sterile hospital bed. The expression in the medic’s sea foam eyes silenced him immediately and he let his body fall against the mattress; though his mind felt as though it had been hurled into an abyss and was still falling.

“The mission was a success,” she managed in a quiet whisper and a bemused expression flitted across his boyish features.

Something had gone wrong, he was certain of it. Why else would he be lying in a hospital bed, incapacitated with a red eyed medic by his side? The mission was something they had both worked towards for little less than half of their lives and if it was a success, why did she look like somebody had died?

He tried to sit up again but the slight pressure Sakura added to his chest made him back down. She looked as though she was on the verge of tears and all he wanted to do was comfort her as nothing could make her cry now. Something really awful must have happened but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

“Sakura-chan…” he trailed off uncertainly. Maybe he would be pushing it if he asked and maybe he didn’t want to know what had happened.

Suddenly, he remembered something. He demanded, “Sasuke-bastard, Sakura, where’s Sasuke?”

A painful silence reigned over the room. Naruto tried to capture Sakura’s jade eyes but she avoided his demanding gaze. He saw her shoulders shake as she tried to restrain her tears and waited for her to answer.

“Sasuke-kun didn’t come back, Naruto,” she told him, her heart breaking all over again with every single word.

Naruto’s brow furrowed for a few moments. Then, a relieved smile flitted across his face and he nudged her slightly, “Haha, very funny, Sakura-chan. Seriously, where’s teme?”

“No, Naruto, Sasuke didn’t come back,” She repeated again more firmly this time. It was harder to say it the second time around and even she hadn’t fully accepted the truth. Naruto straightened up and this time, Sakura didn’t push him down.

The world stopped.

Naruto’s voice took on a pleading tone as he begged Sakura, “But you said the mission was a success and how could that be if…”

“Retrieving Sasuke wasn’t the mission objective, Naruto. It was to kill Orochimaru,” she reminded him bitterly and suddenly, all the pieces clicked into place.

“No…” Naruto began, his cerulean eyes widening.

He couldn’t think clearly, his mind was an endless string of denial that refused to let the truth in. He could have sworn he had seen Sasuke on the mission and the name caused long lost memories to surface in an abyssal pool of doubt.

Sasuke, sitting on a pier, Sasuke, leaning against the bridge, Sasuke, smirking at Ichiraku’s, Sasuke, glaring back at him with blood red Sharingan, Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke*-

“Teme,” he called the nickname.

Where was the bastard’s answer? Where was the annoying ‘dobe’ he would have given his heart to hear? Naruto waited and waited for an answer, repeating the name over and over again in case Sasuke hadn’t heard. The answer he so desperately longed for never came.

“Sasuke!” he screamed until his voice broke.

His voice made Sakura’s resolve shatter and the windows shake with emotion. His screams were loud enough for the entire hospital to hear but no one came running into his room to check what was wrong. The dream Team 7 had been lost in an endless ocean of revenge and ambition till it hit the ocean floor and was washed away by waves of regret.

When Naruto finally came to terms with Sakura’s painful words a half hour later, he let his blonde head drop dejectedly into his hands. The pink haired medic beside him felt the despair that was almost as bad as her own, felt the pain that flowed through both of their veins and felt the crack in her heart where one more person should have been.

She sat down on the edge of his hospital bed and he felt the taut springs sink with the added weight. Although Naruto’s screams had been almost too difficult to bear, his stony silence was twice as heart wrenching. Sakura’s shoulders began to tremble very slowly as she tried to control her breathing. She became self conscious of the pastel curtain that covered her face and hid behind it so that Naruto wouldn’t see the soft pearls trickle down her face like rivulets of blood.

“I-I’m so sorry Naruto,” she whispered shakily. She didn’t trust herself to speak any louder because if she did, she knew he would hear her tears.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he told her in an empty voice.

“No, I’m sorry I wasn’t with you…on the mission,” she was finding it harder and harder to keep on talking. Naruto’s head lifted from his calloused hands and his cerulean eyes bore through the curtain of pink to meet her avoiding gaze.

“If I had gone maybe I could have helped-” her voice broke at the end of her sentence and she gasped loudly for air in the choking and incriminating silence.

A large hand tentatively touched her shoulder and she met a pair of watery cyan eyes.

As she threw herself into Naruto’s waiting embrace, a flood of pain and acceptance broke through her crumbling walls. Sasuke was gone, gone, and for now they were all that was left of the original Team 7. Her fingers gripped the front of his hospital gown until her knuckles turned white and his arms crushed her to his muscular frame, the both of them holding onto each other as if they were drowning and were each other’s only hope to survive.

And all heroes fell.

Sometimes they fell in a blaze of long sought after glory and sometimes they fell like dominoes but sometimes, they slipped through the cracks unnoticed and unbidden until it was too late to bring them back.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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Re: Everything

“Shouldn’t you be at the graveyard and not at the memorial stone?” an uncharacteristically quiet voice asked the silver haired figure.

His mismatched eyes never left the surface of the jet black tablet. Even in the afternoon rain, the memorial stone was still shiny and onyx - onyx like his eyes - and he kept on staring at a name that should have been there. Even though his silver hair was plastered to his pale face and he could feel the cold seep into his bones, he couldn’t bring himself to move away.

“No,” Kakashi’s voice sounded hollow to even his own ears but he couldn’t care anymore.

Scuffed black shoes squelched in the rainwater as they made their painfully slow progress towards the copy-nin. Sai came to a halt beside him and he too began to stare at the heroes’ legacy. Kakashi had half a mind to tell him to go away but he only had half a mind and let it go.

“Sasuke-san’s name isn’t on here though. Shouldn’t you be mourning at his grave instead? That’s what people do when their friends die, isn’t it?” Sai inquired curiously.

Kakashi shrugged. His work worn hands were tucked deep inside his smoky grey pants that had been stained black in the afternoon rain - black like his hair - and let the shattering rain drops fill his tired ears with the sound of temporary innocence.

Temporary innocence, he mused. Could innocence purify a tainted heart before corruption won out in the end and stained it black with dishonour? Or was innocence really only temporary and fleeting, like a glimpse of hope or despair?

“There’s no need to go to his grave,” Kakashi answered with the fatigue of a world weary man.

“His body isn’t here though, and neither is his name,” the artist interrupted his train of thought, confusion laced skilfully into the lulling tones of his beautiful voice.

The head of silver hair lowered ever so slightly as a humourless smile formed and his navy blue - navy clothes, navy like a shirt emblazoned with a once proud emblem - mask pulled taut. Sai’s eyes flicked to the subtle movement underneath the mask, underneath the man.

“Sai, do you honestly believe those things really matter?” his words lingered on the silver streaked air but his enigmatic eyes never changed.

Sai’s dark eyebrows knitted together as his puzzled brown eyes tried to make sense of things. He confessed uncertainly, “I don’t understand.”

“I don’t understand,” a boy who always will be just a boy confesses, his Sharingan eyes furrowing in confusion-

“A name or a body doesn’t make a person. It’s the impression they’ve left on the rest of the world and how they’re remembered that does,” the tired jounin explained with the wisdom of a sage.

Something in the copy-nin’s voice alerted Sai that he had no intention of furthering the conversation, as confusing as it may have been. However, Sai was content to stand in silence beside his team leader and Kakashi let him stay because this time he didn’t want to suffer alone.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
Proud member of The Three Legandary Sannin Fanclub.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: Everything

Does Naruto remember anything?” a question erupted from Jiraiya’s pale, chapped lips.

It seemed as though he had had as much sleep as the blonde woman sitting across from him. The dark circles underneath his solemn brown eyes told a story of sleepless nights beside an almost grandchild’s bedside.

“Jiraiya, he hasn’t woken up in days and I wouldn’t have asked him anything even if he had. There are other things he needs to think about right now,” she told him in a voice soaked with sympathy and annoyance.

“I know but if Naruto remembers it’ll kill him. Sasuke meant so much to him and especially after that fight with-” Jiraiya protested hurriedly but Tsunade’s intense amber gaze silenced him immediately.

She began quietly, “You can’t protect Naruto all the time, Jiraiya. You can’t make up for Minato by insisting you hold Naruto’s hand every waking second. Naruto is not Minato and you have to realize-”

“I know they’re two different people, damn it,” Jiraiya snapped, his already crumbling self control shattering with the reality of her words.

Tsunade retorted heatedly, “I don’t think you do, Jiraiya. You’ve replaced Minato with Naruto and he deserves so much better than that-”

“I haven’t replaced anyone, Tsunade! Why do you always presume you know everything when you don’t?” he argued and her eyes flashed.

Her voice steadily began to rise, “Why do you always ignore everyone? If somebody says something you don’t want to hear even if they’re right, you’ll block them out and if things become too hard to bear you’ll run away from them.”

He scoffed at her and said sarcastically, “This is coming from the woman who ran away from Konoha because she couldn’t save her fiancé.”

“Dan has nothing to do with this,” She hissed at him, her chair shrieking as she stood up abruptly.

“Neither does Minato,” he retorted, brown eyes flashing angrily.

She snapped at him, “Minato has everything to do with this, Jiraiya. You should know that better than everyone else, after the fight between Orochimaru and Naruto. Naruto isn’t so stupid he won’t figure out what really happened and what if he still remembers anyways? He’ll have to know sometime.”

Something in Jiraiya’s eyes changed. “I don’t want Naruto to know about Minato because-”

“Because what? Because you’re scared he’ll realize that he did have a family at some point? Because he’s not old enough? Well, wake up all fucking ready, you aren’t Naruto’s dad and he’s old enough to face the facts!” Tsunade shouted.

“I don’t want him to know because I’m scared he’ll follow in Minato’s footsteps!” Jiraiya yelled at her.

Silence.

It filled the room with unvoiced regrets and surfacing fears. It made Jiraiya collapse into a chair and drop his head of white hair into his rough hands and Tsunade’s hazel eyes widen with the knowledge that she had pushed him too far.

Then she realized Jiraiya was right. She didn’t know everything
.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:24 AM   #5
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Re: Everything

When his cerulean eyes opened again, his surroundings had morphed completely. The sound of painfully slow dripping water reached his sensitive ears, echoing off of the damp circular walls and causing ripples to spread across the murky green water. There was no light source and yet, there was light dim as it was.

Drip…drip…drip…

He had been here before, he realized. This was the inside of the wretched seal, where Kyuubi was currently housed against his own free will. Something small and white floated past him on the sewer channel and his sharp eyes instantly darted to it. It was a paper seal. A chill ran throughout his entire body.

Drip…drip…drip…

His feet began to move subconsciously in the direction that the broken seal had come from. The narrow path looked blacker than midnight the further down he looked but as he took a step into it, failing light lit his path. He wondered if maybe the light was coming from him but instantly shook off that ridiculous theory.

Drip…drip…

Was that metal rattling he could hear? The humid air smelled of thick smoke and tantalizing power and his footsteps quickened, leather slapping against the wet surface of the floor. A sound akin to that of someone dragging their nail across the bars of a prison cell began, growing more and more agitated with each pause and repeat.

He hadn’t noticed that the spine tingling drip had come to a halt; his shoes were the loudest thing in the sewers now. The faint metal sound continued and he was drawn towards it as if in a trance. The beginnings of a low rumble sounded throughout the tunnels, rebounding off the walls and echoing back and forth until it was no more but a whisper in the nonexistent wind.

“…Konoha…” a deep, bass voice growled. After hearing his village’s name, Naruto came to a halt listening intently for more.

He could hear nothing anymore and began to sprint towards the sound, something was wrong. He knew it was the Kyuubi and, after seeing the broken seal, cold dread had lodged itself deep inside his heart. As water lapped over the edges of his navy sandals and drenched his large feet, he knew he was getting closer. The restless swish of a gigantic tail and a loud growl caused the ground to tremble and the water to ripple.

“I’m going to destroy Konoha!” A devastating roar travelled throughout the sewers, rebounding and reverberating. It seemed to grow louder with every repeat until it felt like Naruto’s head was going to split in half.

His feet came to a halt. His cerulean gaze slowly travelled up the length of the thick bars, covered with multitudes of complex seals. His eyes met the bloody crimson ones of the Kyuubi’s and almost instantaneously, Naruto was thrown to the floor twenty feet away. Waves of corrupted red chakra had forced him back and he was struggling to catch his breath in the intensity of it all.

“Minato, I’ll kill you! You and that stupid village!” the anguished screams of the Kyuubi continued, his ivory fangs snapping at the door that caged him.

Three metre long claws were forced through the spaces in between the rusting bars. They came close to stabbing Naruto but he managed to roll away just in time. The Kyuubi let out a roar of frustration and slammed itself against its prison in an unreasonable frenzy.

“I’m not Minato!” Naruto yelled at the Kyuubi in an attempt to make him understand that he meant no harm.

“Are lies the only things that come out of your mouth?” the Kyuubi demanded, his accusing evil eyes glared at Naruto.

“I’m Naruto, Uzumaki Naruto!” he tried to make the Kyuubi see but it let out another thunderous roar, trying to spear Naruto onto one of its razor sharp claws.

“Shut up! I’ll kill you!” It screamed, slamming itself against the bars repeatedly.

The metal shuddered and Naruto could only watch in horror as more of the seals began to fall away. He could hear the prison straining to hold back the tainted chakra and blinding fear raced throughout his entire body.

He saw the claws race towards him but was powerless to move. His mind was screaming at him to get out of the way but his body refused to obey and he shut his eyes, waiting for his impending death.

A pair of strong arms hauled him out of the way. He was suddenly forced to his feet and it felt as though his wrist was going to be yanked from its socket. He stumbled along behind a saviour he could only dimly see and if possible, the Kyuubi’s screams escalated in pitch and volume until his ears were ringing painfully.

“I haven’t got much time so listen carefully. You’re going to wake up in a few minutes in the hospital again with Sakura,” a warm, enrapturing voice told him and Naruto nodded dumbly, even though the person wasn’t looking back at him.

As they turned a corner, the man’s clothes cracked impressively with the force of their momentum. He continued urgently, “Your seal is breaking. If it breaks, you will die and the Kyuubi will destroy Konoha and everyone in it.”

Almost as if in on cue, the Kyuubi let out another frustrated roar. The walls trembled and the water rippled as the powerful elemental threw himself against the bars again.

“You have to hold back the Kyuubi at all costs. It will take a lot of mental strength to keep him sealed but I know you can do it. I’ll always be here to help you out along the way,” he finished.

Blinding white light took over the entire tunnel and before it could completely obscure Naruto’s vision, he glimpsed a flash of white teeth and a heartbreaking smile.
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: Everything

The creaking springs of Naruto’s hospital bed awoke her, along with the agitated sounds of rustling fabric. Her jade green eyes flashed open and she laid eyes upon the demon container’s writhing, pained figure. Instantly, her heart leapt to her throat and she laid a hand upon his exposed arm in an attempt to calm him down. She snatched her hand back almost immediately, the intense heat scalding her.

“Naruto, what’s wrong?” she asked him.

Naruto’s breaths were coming in short gasps and he managed shakily, “I...I feel like I’m-I’m burning.”

She laid her petite hand against his sweaty forehead and when she made to move it away, his calloused fingers kept it in place. His cerulean blue eyes were fogged over but at the same time as intense as sunlight on a clear summer day and held hers.

“No, k-keep your hand there…it’s cold,” he explained.

She said something in an attempt to comfort him but she couldn't remember what anymore. She had known that her voice shook slightly with worry as she spoke and her smile faltered but neither of them let on that they had noticed. He reluctantly let go of her hand and she sat on the side of his bed, pressing her fingertips against his burning temple. His eyes shut. She began to send a steady wave of cool, healing chakra throughout his body in an attempt to regulate his body temperature.

He gasped and his hand reached out blindly for something, anything, to soothe the fire that seethed inside of him. Her hand seemed to move of its own accord and gripped his much larger hand in her own, pressing it against her cool cheek. She found her vision blurring and felt blind unreasonable fear race through her.

What if he died? He couldn’t die, she had just lost Sasuke and she couldn’t bear to lose another team mate; especially him. He couldn’t, wouldn’t, die but he was scaring her so much and what would happen if she couldn’t help?

His erratic movements came to a slow but his breathing was still laboured. She wasn’t sure if he was improving or not but she was almost terrified to ask him. Her medic instincts had thrown themselves out of the window and onto the pavement some several stories down in her fight to save him.

“Silk,” his low voice startled her.

“What?” she asked incredulously. Maybe his fever made him delirious.

“Your chakra…it feels like silk,” he explained.

His ocean blue eyes opened with all the endlessness of an underwater crevasse. She let her hand drop from his back onto his temple and began to channel even more chakra throughout his entire body. His hand slipped slightly to her long, graceful neck and he watched her through captivating sapphire orbs.

The seconds ticked away as she sat at his bedside but they felt like hours to her. Her chakra was all but drained out of her from a long day’s hard work but Naruto’s eyes remained open, staring at her with the unfailing trust of a child or a comrade in arms. She pulled out a thermometer from within the folds of her medic uniform and began to check his temperature. It emitted a small beep after a little while and she took it out, her eyes widening in shock.

The thermometer read 50 degrees Celsius. He should have been dead.

She smashed her hand against the assistance button at his side, cursing herself for her stupidity. She spoke into the intercom urgently, “Have Tsunade-sama come to room 412 to assist Uzumaki Naruto. Immediately.”

Five long, difficult minutes later, the sound of high heels clacking against chipping linoleum reached her ears. Tsunade burst through the doors and all but threw Sakura away from Naruto, settling into the same position the pink haired med-nin had been in moments ago. As she tried to soothe Naruto’s high fever, she demanded details on Naruto’s condition.

“He’s been like this for ten minutes. I tried to regulate his body temperature and at the moment his temperature is fifty degrees Celsius,” She informed her former shishou and Tsunade’s hazel eyes darted to Sakura’s for a split second.

“Fifty degrees Celsius?” Tsunade repeated, waiting for Sakura’s confirmation. Sakura nodded wordlessly and the blonde haired woman’s jaw clenched.

Tsunade began, “Sakura, I want you to go find Jiraiya and Yamato.”

Sakura opened her mouth to protest and the Godaime interrupted her before she could manage anything, “Don’t ask why, just do it.”
__________________

Failures must be seen as amusements,they are trials which hone your skills.
The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
Feel pain,conteplate pain,accept pain and know pain.
Proud member of The Three Legandary Sannin Fanclub.
Proud member of the Jiraiya Fanclub.
proud to be a member of uzumaki narutu.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:03 AM   #7
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Re: Everything

Minato said nothing. He looked at his son and for a moment, he saw a flaming haired woman standing in his place with defiant amber eyes, arguing about something all too familiar. He was so scared of letting go, of losing his son, and it was almost laughable that something could scare him even in death.

His sapphire eyes were icy as he asked Naruto, “Do you want to die? Do you want to leave Sakura behind?”

Minato’s questions struck Naruto into silence. It felt as though Minato was playing dirty by bringing in the guilty factor, but he was right, Naruto realized. Did he really want to leave Sakura behind, after he was finally being given a chance to love her the way he had for so many years before, after she had finally returned his feelings?

“Sakura will crumble to pieces without you. She needs you,” Minato continued quietly.

“She won’t fall to pieces! Sakura’s strong,” Naruto insisted firmly.

Despite his strong words, doubt had begun to settle into the depths of his heart. Sakura had been so depressed and lifeless after Sasuke had left, and after Sasuke had died she had been even more so. He had seen her after she had lost a patient and seen her breakdown. He remembered the way she had acted after he had asked her what she’d do if he died and it had shocked him, shocked him that she would cry at the mere thought of losing him. What would she do if she really did lose him?

Minato’s voice was soft as he murmured, “Don’t be selfish, Naruto. Think about the people who need you before you make a rash decision.”

“Sakura will be fine, she has Kakashi and Sai to help her,” Naruto said weakly.

His father spoke, “There are so many things you haven’t done yet and you’ll never be able to do them once you’re dead. Life is precious and you’ll never be able to get a second shot. I don’t want to see you making the same mistake I did and live every second in the afterlife worrying about Sakura or wanting to go back and change something you would have been able to when you were alive. Don’t take your life for granted.”

After a long time, Naruto and Minato had started talking again. The Fourth had acted as though the argument had never happened and they had started talking about the jutsu scroll.

Naruto wanted to do the jutsu in his own apartment. When Minato had pointed out that Sakura could walk in while he was performing the jutsu, Naruto had told him that Sakura had her hospital shift and wouldn’t come back until he went and picked her up from the hospital entrance. Minato grudgingly agreed and that was why Naruto was in the middle of his living room, on his knees, with a sealing scroll in front of him.

Naruto inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. His calloused fingers found the edges of the long scroll and he fumbled them nervously before opening his eyes once again.

Everything depended on him performing the jutsu correctly. The Kyuubi could break free and it could mean Naruto's death and destruction of Konoha. Or the jutsu could not work at all and Naruto would really...he would really have to die-

He began.

Rat ox tiger horse monkey dog rabbit, his fingers flashed like lightning, tiger rabbit rat monkey-

The chakra hummed through him like a lifeline, his heartbeat pounding in his ears to an irregular rhythm. He was trying hard to keep his hands from trembling and his hands were moving so fast, like a video in fast forward. His stomach began to glow an ominous crackling red as he formed the hand seals and he gritted his teeth as pain began to course throughout his body but continued, horse tiger rabbit tiger-

His hands slammed against the scroll, his blue eyes wide and sweat pouring from his forehead.

Deafening silence filled the room.

Had he done something wrong? Nothing was happening. Naruto swallowed nervously, glancing down at his stomach. Had it worked?

Then suddenly, something happened.

His head felt like it was about to split in two. His cerulean eyes refused to open and he was powerless to move, powerless to think, powerless to speak. All he could feel and think was pain and there was no escaping it.

Was that screaming he could hear? He strained to listen but even that seemed too difficult a task for him. Agony distracted him and he felt his entire body clench in protest. Gritting his teeth he tried to focus, focus, focus.

Was that Sakura-chan screaming? He tried to picture her in his mind but the lines were blurred and the colours bled into one another like a wet painting. Her face finally cleared but trembled like an age old movie screen with every renewed wave of pain.

He held onto her image and thought of her eyes, eyes like emerald, eyes like sea foam, eyes that never failed to captivate him. He almost believed that the pain was slowly ebbing away but as his back arched and he began to fight to breathe, he realized darkly that even Sakura couldn’t save him now.

Her name slipped out of his mouth before he could control himself. He reached out with a trembling hand for someone he wasn’t even sure was there before a loud scream of pain cut him short. It was only moments later he realized the sound had come from him.

A smooth, husky voice murmured to him in his head, trying to calm him down. Naruto, you can control this. You still have to become Hokage and protect Sakura. Focus Naruto. Focus

He was trying to focus but it was so damn difficult. His image of Sakura shattered into a thousand pieces he tried to put back together in vain. As he scrabbled to find them, the scattered shards were instantaneously replaced with a dimly lit sewer that was too foreboding to be real. He could hear snarling and metal rattling as small papers fluttered onto the surface of the ankle deep water.

Frustration was beginning to seep in through the pain. He scrabbled desperately to find his focus again but every time he did it slipped through his fingers like water until the sewer dragged him back into a world he wasn’t even sure existed. He was growing so tired, he wanted to stop fighting but he had to keep going-

I can’t do this! He screamed inwardly, his body trembling.

Naruto, Naruto, listen to me, Minato’s voice was becoming dimmer and dimmer in the back of his mind until he could hear the blood pounding in his ears, drowning out all else.

As he threw his head back in agony and fixed his eyes upon the ceiling, his world blurred between foreboding crimson and white, crimson and white. He couldn’t tell what was real anymore because every time he blinked he was in a different place and home was a half heartedly cleaned apartment a dark jail cell Konoha a seal Sakura Sakura Sakura-

“Give in to me, Naruto…let me take over…” a voice that trickled like molten lava whispered seductively into his ear.

Water splashed around him as he jerked wildly, shaking his head no. He couldn’t give in, he would never give in, because Sakura was still…Sakura was still…what?

“Naruto…I can make the pain go away…”

His mind had become an unending string of hurt. He couldn’t think anymore, couldn’t remember anything and all he knew was that he wanted to be rid of this pain. The voice crooned to him like music to his ears, telling him what he wanted to hear and it was so tempting to give in.

“Just let yourself fade away and stop fighting…”

A small smile played at the corners of Naruto’s lips as he began to let himself slip away into the recesses of his mind. He was seeing through a hazy gauze of bright red and even as the whiskers along his face grew and his eyes became narrow crimson slits, he couldn’t even register the changes. All he could hear was the voice in his head, murmuring to him, promising him, and he nodded dumbly, accepting everything word for word.

“I win, Minato.”
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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Re: Everything

When Naruto woke up again, he made no move to open his eyes or sit up. The familiar, steady sound of a heart rate monitor registered in the back of his mind and he became aware of two voices conversing in the background.

“…second time in a week he’s been sent to hospital! I don’t know what he’s doing but if it has something to do with the Kyuubi, we have to take action,” Tsunade’s harsh, no nonsense tone of voice reached his ears.

A calmer voice, Jiraiya’s, murmured, “I know you’re worried about him Tsunade, but once he wakes up I’ll ask him about what happened. From there we’ll be able to figure out what to do.”

“Naruto won’t tell anybody if anything is wrong with him because he hates having people worry about him. You should know that by now,” Tsunade snapped.

There was a creak of springs and a patter of footsteps against linoleum tiles. Jiraiya began speaking in the same soothing voice, “He’ll be fine, Tsunade.”

A long silence fell. Naruto felt slightly guilty for imposing on their very much private conversation, but couldn’t help but feel curious that he was the subject of it.

“Go back to the Hokage tower and do some work, or something. I’ll tell you immediately when he wakes up,” he told her.

She nodded and obeyed his orders. Although she was the Hokage and should not have been ordered around, it felt nice to be the follower after such a long time. There was a soft click as the door shut behind her and the springs on Naruto’s bed sank as Jiraiya sat at its foot.

“It’s not polite to eavesdrop on other people, brat,” Jiraiya commented offhandedly and Naruto’s eyes flickered open guiltily.

“How’d you know?” Naruto grumbled in annoyance.

Jiraiya chuckled before explaining, “You always sleep with your mouth wide open but it was closed while we were talking.”

Jiraiya patted Naruto’s blanket covered shin familiarly. Naruto tried to bring himself into a sitting position but pain stabbed through every inch of his body like sterilized needles, over and over again. He eventually managed to rest his back against the headboard of his bed, feeling horribly tired.

“There’s something wrong with you and – no, don’t try and deny it – you’re going to tell me what,” he demanded with stern golden eyes.

With a difficult swallow and long period of silence, Naruto’s cerulean eyes misted over with a deep inner struggle. Jiraiya’s gaze bore into him, through him, waiting for an answer. When Naruto finally brought his eyes to Jiraiya’s, they were darker than midnight with acceptance and a quiet revelation.

“If I tell you…you have to do something for me,” Naruto murmured.

Before Jiraiya could ask what the condition was, Naruto had already continued, “The seal is breaking. The Kyuubi could break free at any time and he’s tried to many times already. I’ve managed to hold him back, but it’s getting harder. Soon, I won’t be able to hold him back and he’ll destroy Konoha and anything he gets his hands on.”

“What can we do then?” Jiraiya questioned calmly.

There was another long silence. They held each other’s gazes, a battle of wills, and the answer that came chilled Jiraiya to the bone.

“I need you to kill me.”
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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Re: Everything

Silence.

Shock.

And the terrifying sense of déj* vu filled Jiraiya to the point he was brimming over with memories of a different story with a different hero, the same villain and a storyline far too similar to the one now.

"Jiraiya, please. You're the only person I trust enough with this," Naruto murmured.

"Jiraiya, you're the only person I trust enough to look after my child."

The toad sannin swallowed painfully and he closed his eyes. As much as he would have liked to force a smile and laugh, he knew Naruto was telling the truth- a truth that sought to rip another person out of his life.

Failure had made him a bitter man. He never hit it off with Tsunade, never brought back Orochimaru, never protected his student or teacher from a fate far too demanding of them and he had never turned around to fulfil the most important duty given to him by a person who was almost family. Here was another failure to smack him straight across the face, but this time he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to take another one at so high a cost.

"Are you absolutely sure there's no other way?" Jiraiya asked.

Naruto nodded grimly and said, "I know I'm being really selfish, asking you to do this. I'd do it myself if I could, but I don't…well, I don't really like being alone. I've been alone since the beginning and I was hoping it wouldn't end that way."

What could Jiraiya say to that? He wouldn't be able to live with himself if he killed Naruto but at the same time he wouldn't be able to live with himself if the Kyuubi destroyed his student and the people he loved.

He hated this. He couldn't protect another student and he had already said that he never wanted Naruto to follow in Minato's footsteps. What could he do?

For a second, Jiraiya was filled with utmost hate for Minato. Why did he have to seal the Kyuubi into his child, a child Jiraiya had taught, a child Jiraiya had named, a child who was now asking him if he could end his life? Minato had no sense of foresight and Jiraiya hated him for that.

But Jiraiya had always known from the very start what his answer would be.

"Alright, brat."

He couldn’t let somebody else kill Naruto. He would be betraying Minato and Naruto- and it scared him that if Jiraiya didn’t kill him, Naruto would go off and find some stranger who cared nothing for him to finish the deed. Jiraiya didn’t want Naruto to die at the mercy of someone who didn’t know or care about the sun-kissed ball of energy. Naruto deserved so much better.

Relief flooded through Naruto and he felt his eyes grow hot to the point he had to glance upwards at the ceiling to keep the liquid from boiling over. His tongue was thick and his throat even thicker but he didn’t trust himself to speak- at least not now. He was so relieved…he swallowed painfully, unsure of how to phrase his thanks and hoped that Jiraiya would understand since gratitude was emanating off of him in waves.

“Have you told Sakura?” Jiraiya questioned quietly.

Shaking his head, Naruto waited a moment before he answered, “No, I didn’t think she’d take it well.”

A dark humorous smile played at the corners of Jiraiya’s lips as he shot Naruto a look that read clearly and sarcastically no-you-don’t-say. Naruto let out a short, forced laugh, feigning a yawn to cover up the excess liquid in his eyes and rubbed at them with his knuckles.

“Well, I’ve come up with a plan. You and I are going to sneak out of Konoha to the Wave Country and I’m going to go about two kilometres into the ocean. You’re going to attach an exploding tag to me and set it off when I’m in position and then run for your life back to Konoha,” Naruto explained, trying to keep the tone light as if he wasn’t talking about the way Jiraiya was going to kill him.

A frown creased Jiraiya’s forehead as he pressed, “Why can’t I just stab you at close quarters?”

Ah, shit. Naruto glanced up again at the ceiling, his eyes boiling over with liquid and he felt like a complete and utter idiot. What was wrong with him? He knew that he was probably going to end up dead at the end of all of this, but the reality of it was only just starting to sink in. He didn’t want to know what Jiraiya was thinking (though it was probably along the lines of ‘that cry baby’) and had to wait a few moments again before he could speak.

“When I…I die, some of the Kyuubi’s chakra will explode out of me and destroy anything near me so you’ll die if you’re too close,” Naruto explained, his voice breaking.

There was a tense silence in which Jiraiya nodded, hands gripped in front of him until the knuckles bled white. He said, “There’s a place in Wave Country where there’s a lot of rock cliffs, if you go there you won’t have to go as far out as two kilometres because the force of the explosion will be spent breaking down the cliffs. You’ll be able to see the shore from there.”

You’ll be able to see me when you die. You won’t die alone.

The meaning wasn’t lost on Naruto. He smiled through blurry eyes, letting out another awkward laugh while nodding dumbly and ignoring the pain in his throat. He managed, “Alright, then we’ll go there.”

“Tsunade and Sakura won’t buy it if you just disappear one day. They’ll send a search team after you quickly so unless you come up with a good excuse to leave, you might as well forget it,” Jiraiya pointed out.

“So…I have to lie to them?” Naruto asked in a whisper.

Jiraiya elaborated, “Lie like a fox.”

Naruto nodded absentmindedly, thoughts whirring through his head. He questioned, “Am I good to go out of the hospital?”

Jiraiya shrugged and said, “Tsunade said you’re perfectly fine, so I don’t see why not…”

Once Naruto was out the door, Jiraiya sank onto the bed with glazed eyes. For a few moments, he was completely still and silent. Then suddenly he lashed out with an arm in frustration and the bedpost he hit shattered into pieces. The shards scattered across the floor, like the hidden pieces of what could have become of a life.

Naruto left the hospital as quickly as he could with one objective in mind. The library loomed towards him and he pushed through the double doors, heading towards the foreign countries section. His fingertips traced the spines of books as he looked for the one he wanted and he hefted a great dark blue one that made the table shudder as he put it down and flicked through it.

His eyes fell upon the title at the top of the page and he knew immediately that it was the one he wanted.

List of Whirlpool Shinobi
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: Everything

The water was darker than ink, darker than midnight and darker than the thoughts running through Minato's head. The water splashed underfoot as he made his way towards a great, towering jail cell that held a crimson prisoner who had been expecting him since the first control lapse.

Minato had run out of ideas all except one. One that would definitely work, but one that he could never bring himself to accept. Time was running out, Naruto was right, but there had to be another way out. Death was never the answer, especially the death of his child.

"So…Minato. Why are you suddenly gracing me with your presence?" A tainted voice, smug with triumph asked.

His hands clenched tightly, half moon wounds forming in his palms as blood dribbled out of them like angry tears. The fox simply grinned with pride, knowing that he was the very cause of such frustration, and sickening glee raced through his veins like heroin. He wanted to see Minato suffer, see him suffer like he had for years on end. The man was still quiet but Kyuubi had been able to read him better than anyone else (he was, after all, immortal and had had all the time in the world).

He could see the anger in the way Minato avoided his gaze and kept his sapphire eyes trained to the floor, his broad chest rose fast with his quick breathing and the blood pinged as it dripped from his hands onto the water. But Minato wasn’t paying attention.

“What do you want from me, Kyuubi?” he asked, in a deadly whisper.

The grin widened and he dragged a gigantic claw against the bars of his cage languorously, taunting as the bars chimed, “I want to see you suffer.”

“Then why have you dragged my son into this? If you want to see me suffer, leave Naruto out of this.”

Kyuubi’s very presence filled him with disgust. “Oh, but it’s so fun toying with your son. What would you do if I were to suddenly take control of him one day and make him watch as I kill all of his friends and torture his precious little Sakura? He would be so overcome with his grief that he’d have no choice but to kill himself, and I’d love to see your reaction as he stabs a kunai into his chest as the light leaves his eyes.”

The teeth in his mouth glinted as his grin widened. Minato’s breathing was loud now, filling the chamber with its sharp inhales and exhales, and slowly, very slowly, he raised his head to meet Kyuubi’s eyes.

“…you sick fuck,” Minato growled.

Then suddenly, Kyuubi jerked with surprise as the Fourth pounded on the bars of his cage and made them tremble. The sewers shook with the force and Kyuubi’s upper lip twisted into a snarl, not nearly as vicious as the look on Minato’s face.

“Don’t you dare touch my son. If you do anything to harm Naruto, I’ll kill you,”he hissed, sapphire eyes wide with rage. He banged again on the bars of the cage and a dent formed in one, bending it in two with a horrendous crack.

“I’ll kill you!”

Kyuubi slammed a gigantic paw on the waterlogged floor of the sewer and the trembling that followed was twice as devastating as Minato’s. The look in his eyes was a mixture of pleasure and triumph as he shrieked, “You can’t kill me. Nobody can kill me!”

A gigantic claw was forced in between the bars of the jail cell at an astounding speed towards Minato. He didn’t so much as flinch as it approached and he merely blinked when a few strands of golden hair fell onto the floor and floated indecisively on the murky water skin.

“You’re wrong,” he said, eyes flashing blue steel.

The Kyuubi merely watched him, the grin dying on his face.

And Minato thought of his son, the Naruto who had been named after a hero in Jiraiya’s book who was selfless, caring and talented in more ways than one in the hopes he would grow to become like that- only to fulfil those hopes and so much more. Minato so desperately wished Kushina could have seen their son now.

“Naruto will definitely defeat you.”
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:45 AM   #11
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Re: Everything

When Sakura returned to the apartment, she was surprised to see Naruto’s navy blue travelling bag by the doorway. A strange shock and fear gripped her chest for the slightest of moments before she laughed it off inwardly; he was probably just going on a mission as all respectable ninja did. And he would come back.

He would definitely come back.

“What would you do if I died?”

Shaking her head to rid herself off the terrifying feeling of foreboding, she swallowed painfully and lay down on Naruto’s bed. It smelled of sweat and ramen, smells that belonged to Naruto, and she closed her eyes. She was barely aware of the bathroom door sliding open, or the footsteps that approached her, but rather felt Naruto coming towards her.

A strong arm pulled her gently into a broad chest and Naruto’s stubborn chin rested on her shoulder, his nose buried in her neck. He exhaled slowly, his warm breath spreading over her skin like trickling water and she lifted a hand to touch his whiskered cheek. Her fingertips traced the tattoos there and he closed his eyes, completely relaxed.

If he could take any one moment with him and keep it in his mind when he died, this wouldn’t be so bad a choice, he decided. Pushing those thoughts out of his head, his grip on her tightened slightly, as if to keep her with him for a little longer.

“You’re going on a mission?” she asked quietly, fingers twirling in his blonde hair.

He hummed at the back of his throat in confirmation and she twisted around to face him. Resting her cheek against his chest, she instinctively held him and he sighed, placing a hand on the small of her back. Kissing the top of her head, he turned to gaze out of the window at the burning red sunset. The corners of his mouth quirked upwards in a humourless smile as he mentally noted you couldn’t get better sunsets any damn where else.

Then it sank in it was probably the last one he’d ever see.

“Who’s going with you?” her voice ghosted across his bare arm.

He shook his head, running his fingers through her hair as he lied, “It’s a solo mission to Wave Country. A rank.”

“How long until you come back?” she asked.

Never his mind supplied, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it. He was scared of what she would do and even more scared that she’d convince him to stay alive, so he lied.

“Three days.”

“Any chance of cutting that down to two?” she teased lightly and he kissed her cheek.

“Maybe. Depends on what’s waiting for me back in Konoha,” he said evasively.

She grinned and told him, “Well, there’ll probably be a beautiful woman waiting for you inside your apartment.”

“Oh? And what will this beautiful woman do once I get back?” he questioned, moving so that he was on top of her. His hands sunk into the bed either side of her head and his knees at either side of her waist.

She met his gaze with a strange light in her eyes, saying, “This beautiful woman will probably have to force you to go to the hospital for your check up and then make you write up your mission report so you can give it to Tsunade-sama.”

Naruto let out a loud sigh, sitting up and moaning, “Damn, that’s no fun, I’ll just have to take my time…”

Sakura pulled him back down so that their foreheads touched. Her green eyes captivated Naruto’s blue ones and he somehow knew those eyes would always be the death of him.

She murmured against his lips, “And this beautiful woman will probably also be waiting to hold you in her arms again and tell you that she loves you so much that she wouldn’t be able to live without you.”

And Naruto’s heart broke.

She pulled him into a kiss but he kept his eyes closed the whole time. He knew that if he opened them she’d see his tears.
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:12 PM   #12
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Re: Everything

Dripping, warm water woke Sakura as it trickled down the side of her neck.

There was a tiny, tiny gasp as the body she was held close to convulsed slightly. She moved to touch Naruto’s hand where it was slung over her waist and she held it in the darkness, her slim fingers contrasting against his thick ones. His fingers tightened around hers as his lips kissed her neck and the top of her spine repeatedly as the liquid trickled across her skin.

“Sakura,” he said breathlessly.

“Is it your stomach again?” she asked in a murmur.

The pain was ripping through him like a tornado but it hurt so much more this time because this was the alarm he had been waiting for, this was the wake up call that told him his life was no longer his to control or enjoy. This was the end of his life as the Naruto who loved Sakura and the start of his new life as Naruto who died to save Konoha. He hated this and he pulled her closer, trying to hold onto his old life because he was scared of it slipping away when all he really wanted was more time.

“Sakura,” he repeated her name, desperately.

“Naruto?” her voice was a mere whisper.

“I love you, Sakura,” he began, his hand tightening around hers, his arms pulling her closer and his lips pressing against the back of her neck.

“I love you so much, I don’t want to lose you,” he said frantically and she turned to face him, unable to see him in the darkness.

“I’m going to go get you some water,” Sakura whispered but his arms pulled her back to his chest.

“No!” he yelled and then his voice softened, “No, not yet…I want you to stay, just a little longer.”

There’s not enough time, there’s never enough time, but why the fuck is it that everything seems to have a damn expiry date around here and it’s all gone before you blink-

“Don’t leave me, Sakura…don’t leave me…” he begged.

Her hands touched his wet cheeks and he put his hands over them, pressing them closer to him as he continued, “I don’t want you to die Sakura but I’m so scared, I don’t want you to die-”

“Naruto, calm down,” her voice trembled.

“Sakura, Sakura, I love you, you know that, and it hurts, but I don’t want to lose you, but I’m scared I’m scared
“I’m not going to die, Naruto,” she told him firmly.

“No – not you – never you, you’re meant to be invincible and I’d never let you die first. You’re meant to live so much longer than me since you’re not a monster, you’re not a demon and you’re beautiful- you’re beautiful, Sakura – and you need to live.”

By this point she was crying.

He continued, “But I would give anything to grow old with you and watch the sun set every day and make you laugh all the time because I love your laugh, and your smile and I don’t want to ever see you sad again-”

“But I don’t want to ever leave that all behind because I love you and I don’t want to leave you, never,” he pulled her close and she buried her eyes in her neck.

“I’m so scared,” he whispered, and he meant it.

“What are you talking about Naruto?”

“I love you, Sakura.”
__________________

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The frog in the well drifts into the great ocean.
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proud to be a member of uzumaki narutu.
proud to be member of the yondaime fc.
proud to be a kage member fc.
proud to be a sage naruto member.





Last edited by thegodfather2450; 01-15-2009 at 04:14 PM.
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