I lean against a tree and take a deep breath. I need to think. Shortly after the war was over, Naruto disappeared. He just up and vanished. Numerous search parties from all the five great nations were sent out, but nothing turned up. After a while, everyone gave up. True, Naruto was really important to the war, but a lot of people found it hard to believe that someone was able to kidnap or kill him. No, he probably left for his own reasons. I was part of one of the last search parties to be sent out. Even after I was called back, I still couldn't get him off of my mind, so I finally just left to search for him alone.
To be honest, I have no idea how to start. Everyone in the Five Great Nations is looking for him, and no one has any clue where to find him, so how the heck am I supposed to find him looking alone?
Suddenly, I hear someone calling my name, startling me out of my thoughts. My eyes widen. I thought I left all the ninja searching for me behind a long time ago.
I sigh and ready a smoke bomb. I'm sorry. I think. I really don't want to do this, but I also don't want to return to the Leaf Village. I turn to throw but I freeze when I suddenly sense the presence of a very strange and powerful chakra. It's also familiar.
I glance at the other ninja just in time to see him taken down by a huge blue ball of energy. It's the rasengan.
Before I know what I're doing, I am running toward the fallen ninja. Something flashes at the edge of my vision. I skid to a jump and jump up right before another rasengan lands right where I were standing. I watch in horror and confusion as the ninja's head explodes with the force of the attack.
I don't move as I see him land gently in the middle of the smoking crater where that ninja used to be. I can't help it as tears slide slowly down my cheek.
"Naruto," I say quietly. He looks at me as I slowly and hesitantly turn my head and look at him, afraid of what I'll see. But he looks normal. Too normal. The Naruto I know would never have killed a comrade. What the heck is going on? I wonder. Our eyes meet and I shudder. His eyes are devoid of practically all emotion. Instead of the normal warm kindness that is usually there, there is a cold joy. An almost evil kind of joy. I inch back. Whoever this is, this can't be Naruto.
"Who are you?" I ask firmly. My voice comes out stronger than I feel. The Naruto lookalike just laughs.
"Oh, Blue. Your skill level must have dropped while I was away. Can't you sense the chakra?" Naruto laughs again gleefully and lazily sends a mini- rasengan my way. I quickly jump out of the way. I flinch as the tree that was behind me explodes, knowing full well that this so- called Naruto is just playing with me. He could easily kill me if he wanted to.
"You're still as quick on your feet as always," Naruto observes.
I want to believe that this is a fake, that Naruto would never do this. But I have to admit he is right. His chakra is exactly the same as the Naruto I knew. No transformation jutsu in the world could copy his, and even if it could, there is no way anyone could copy his attacks so perfectly.
I shudder again. What happened to him? I watch every move Naruto makes, trying my best to convince myself that I'll be quick enough to dodge his next attack. I blink, and Naruto is beside me. He swings his arm towards me, and I swiftly launch myself out of reach. I make the hand signs for a Fireball Jutsu, but Naruto just laughs and swats me away like a fly. I curse. I had forgotten about his chakra arms.
I roll as I land and find myself surrounded by Naruto's shadow clones.
"Fudgsicles," I mutter, annoyed. I launch myself at the nearest clone, engaging in a taijutsu match with it. The other clones just watch with a bored expression as I finally defeat the clone and face the next one. They each fight me one by one.
I defeat many of his clones, but they just keep on coming. I break away from the circle of clones and jump into the air.
"Fire Style, Dragon Fire jutsu," I yell. I spin in a circle as I do, lighting up the entire crowd surrounding me on fire.
When I land, there is only one Naruto left: the original one. He smiles at as ten more clones step out from the trees and surround me. I get into my fighting stance, though I know I can't possibly win.
A clone jumps me from behind and knocks me onto my back.
The last thing I see is a huge line of rasengans coming straight for my face. Then everything goes dark.
The first thing I notice after I wake up is the stillness. I hear nothing. No birds chirping. No branches swaying in the wind. Nothing. It's a terrible kind of stillness, like the calm before a storm. I pause and get my bearings as my eyes adjust to the darkness. After focusing for a few seconds, I realize that I'm lying in a cave somewhere facing the wall.
I slowly roll over so that I can get a better idea of my surroundings. It doesn't really help much. All I can see from looking out of the entrance is the sky, so that's not really much help.
I stiffen as I sense Naruto coming back. I remember the events of the day before. Actually, now that I think about it, I have no idea how long it's been. I can see the silhouette of someone in the entrance. Squinting, I think I recognize Naruto, but something's different: he has a long pair of wings. Wings like an angel's.
I sit up and gape at him as he walks in. As he gets closer, I can see that it really is Naruto. I also realize that my hands aren't tied, not that it matters. At this point I know it would be hopeless to attempt an escape anyway. I just stare at those wings. They glitter silver as they reflect the light from outside. I can see little black dots on them, but when he gets closer I realize that they are not dots but little symbols. They look strangely familiar, and for some reason, my mind drifts to the Akatsuki, even though the symbol does not look at all like the red clouds of the Akatsuki.
Naruto stops in front of me and sits down. I watch as his wings disintegrate before my eyes, turning into individual feathers that drift to the ground and explode into tiny showers of dust as they hit the ground and disappear. Naruto's wings are soon gone, and he looks exactly the same as before. If I tried hard enough, I think I would almost be able to forget what happened before we fought. Almost. But I can't. My mind replays that moment when the Leaf ninja's head exploded. It replays over and over until I want to throw up. And to make it worse, my damn mind makes up little details, like how pieces of brain and little droplets of blood rain down on my head. Thanks a lot, mind. You suck, I think bitterly to myself.
My eyes meet Naruto's, and for a second they seem almost normal. I think I see a flash of something strangely... human there. And then it's gone, and I'm left wondering if my mind's playing tricks on me again.
Naruto is sitting across from me. "So..." he says casually as if he didn't just kidnap me and kill one of his our comrades in front of me. Though now that I think about it, if he killed the guy, he probably didn't consider him a comrade. I eye Naruto, wondering whose side he's been on this whole time. You push the thought aside. This is a different Naruto. He has to be. After all, that passionately kind Naruto I remember from back when we had all been new ninjas couldn't have been fake, could it?
"So..." I answer back, mimicking his lazy and bored tone. He smiles tightly at me, and I get the idea that he's troubled by something. I suddenly have so many questions to ask him. I just can't help it. I mean, this is just so weird. It would be strange if I didn't have any questions.
"Why?" I blurt out.
He looks at me as if I'm stupid. "Why what?" he asks mildly. I glare at him.
"Don't play stupid, Naruto. If you wanted to pretend like you were the Naruto we all knew back at the village, maybe you should have thought about that before you murdered that guy. Anyway, you may have acted like a clown back when you first passed the academy, but we all know that you're not that dumb. Not that you're the smartest person around here, but still," you say angrily. Naruto's eyes flash, but he doesn't say a word.
"What about Team 7, huh? What about all of that?" I shout, getting to my feet with a passionate anger I didn't even know I was capable of feeling until now. Naruto is up before I can even blink.
"That was all fake! All of it, okay? Everything I did was a lie!" His voice echoes throughout the cave. I stare at him numbly.
"It was all... fake?" I repeat stupidly. Naruto takes a deep breath and nods. I think about how kind and warm Naruto used to be. He always seemed to be confident and mostly cheerful. Even when everyone else hated him, he always wanted to help people. He always stood up to people. And the pain we all had sensed from him when Sasuke left. It was fake? It couldn't be. With that thought, my anger shoots back up again.
"We fought a whole war for you, Naruto! A whole war!" Your voice cracks. "All of our friends that died. Neji died. People you didn't even know died fighting to protect you. And for what? For a lie?"
"You don't get it, do you? They don't matter. I was meant to do this. I was destined for this. It is my job to bring pain to this world. You don't understand. You can never get it. Not a human like you. I was sent from the GODS!" Naruto yells at me. I glare at him. Reaching forward I grab him by his shirt, ignoring the warning bells going off in my head. Naruto's head snaps up to look at me, but he doesn't do anything yet.
"You're the one who doesn't understand. You're a hero. You have saved us countless times. We all trusted you. We gave everything we had for you. You can't just waltz in there now and say that it was all a lie. I won't let you!" I say. Naruto just laughs and rips away from me.
A tear makes its way out of the corner of my eye and slowly carves a path down my face (No, that is not a mistake. It carves a path :) Makes total sense).
Naruto glares at me, breathing heavily. "You wouldn't understand," he repeats.
I lean forward. "Then you tell me. Explain it to me."
Naruto hesitates for a second, then throws a small object at me. I instinctively catch it. Looking down, I see it is a book. It's a notebook. It enlarges in my hands and grows thicker.
By the time I look up, Naruto has flown away again. The only sign that he was even here is the book in my hands and a single feather floating gently in the air that hits the ground and shatters.
I look down at the book in my hands. It seems to be pulsing with a heartbeat in your hand, just urging me to open it and read what is inside. I take a deep breath and open it to the first page. God, I wish it was always this easy to get someone to spill all their secrets, I think as I begin to read.
What am I Really? by SongFlye