Everything Remains in Memory
‘It’s that day again,’ thought Tsunade gloomily as she took a sip of her sake. She gazed somberly out at the awakening ninja village of Konohagakure no Sato. She always dreaded this day, not only because it was on a Tuesday, her least favorite day of the week, but because today was the day that the two people that cared most for her had died; March 15th.
‘Nawaki, Dan, I’m sorry,’ she thought morosely as she absentmindedly swirled around the rice wine in her tray before slowly enveloping it between her lips, the warm alcohol sliding down her throat and lifting a little of the remorse from her shoulders. ‘Sake, the panacea of ninja,’ thought Tsunade as she poured herself some more of the sweet, sweet, liquor.
It was then that Shizune burst into the office, looking frazzled and disturbed; her clothes wrinkled, her hair in a mess, and her eyes were welled up with tears.
“Tsunade-sama….we…we…just…received word…that…that…Naruto-kun…he’s…he’s…he’s dead,” sobbed Shizune. “He died, Tsunade-sama, Uzumaki Naruto died!” she sobbed grievously. Tsunade seemed to be deep in thought, however, as she once again shifted her gaze to the sight of the village, her village, being greeted by the pastel dawn.
“I know, Shizune. I know,” Tsunade said quietly. “I’m the one who signed the warrant for his death.”
“No…no…you couldn’t have…you loved him…you loved him like a brother…you loved him like you loved Nawaki! I don’t believe you!” retorted Shizune angrily as she tried wiping her tears away with the sleeve of her kimono as Tsunade rose up from behind her desk, her genjutsu faltering slightly, allowing some wrinkles and gray hairs to show through.
“I’m leaving here tomorrow, Shizune. You can come with me if you choose, but I won’t hold it against you if you instead choose to stay here,” announced Tsunade as she walked past her distraught apprentice and out of the office. As she walked through the hallway of the Hokage Tower, her footsteps echoed off of the walls, and with each echo a memory of her adopted younger brother smashing into her mind.
They all spoke a message. They told her “you killed him without a second thought, a second doubt, a second tear. Is that all he meant to you? Is that all?”
Tsunade tried her hardest to keep back her tears; she was done crying. She was done mourning her losses and looking down on life. She had made mistakes in her past, and she acknowledged them. But tomorrow she would a start a new life, not as twenty fiveyear old Godaime Hokage, but as fifty two year old Ishimatsu Tsunade.
As she exited the massive tower, she felt a pulse of chakra, a pulse all too familiar to her.
‘It couldn’t be,’ thought the Godaime Hokage in awe. ‘He can’t be alive…Naruto’s dead. The Kyūbi no Kitsune should be dead,’ thought Tsunade forcefully.
“So you feel it too?” asked an apathetic voice behind her.
“Hatake-san, you were actually here when it attacked; how strong was its pulse?” asked Tsunade.
“Stronger than this,” answered Kakashi, as he walked next to Tsunade. “It’s probably still in the stage of regaining its power,” stated Kakashi.
“You don’t seem to be fazed by any of this,” Tsunade deadpanned.
“When you live as a ninja you should always keep a cool head, right Tsunade-san?” asked Kakashi.
“Correct,” affirmed Tsunade. After several seconds of awkward silence, Tsunade resumed the conversation. “He’s dead you know.”
“I guessed by Shizune’s appearance,” said Kakashi. “It’s a shame though, he showed much promise, even at the ripe age of sixteen,” Kakashi stated.
“Is that the only thing that you can care about right now Hatake-san; that he may have been a good weapon to be used at our disposal?” Tsunade angrily demanded.
“No, but it would be too difficult to think of anything else but that right now,” enlightened Kakashi. “I always thought that I could’ve made it up to him though; for always excluding him and treating him more as a nuisance than as a student.”
The conversation between the two seasoned ninja stopped there, as it was going in a direction that neither person wanted to visit.
After what seemed like an eternity, Kakashi began to walk away from the Godaime Hokage, but stopped.
“Don’t even bother sending any troops,” suggested Kakashi. “The only person that can stop that monster is long dead.” He then walked off towards the training grounds, his face buried in one of the Icha Icha books.
Naruto stood still. It’s not that he didn’t want to move, but his arms and legs were completely obliterated by Chōji’s enlarged limbs and he was being kept in place, despite the fact that he couldn’t move, by the kage mane no jutsu (shadow imitation technique).
“Naruto, I believe I speak in the words of all five of us when I say that we are truly sorry for what we are about to do, and that we do not wish to have to eliminate you,” explained Neji,
“Why?” Naruto croaked, in wracking pain from having to stand on his destroyed legs and only barely conscious. “I thought…I thought...I thought that we…we were…friends.”
“We were ordered to, directly by the Hokage,” somberly said Sasuke, and for once his eyes were not filled with anger, but with sorrow.
“Baa-chan? No…she…she would never…do…that,” stammered Naruto. “She would never do that do you hear me!” yelled Naruto at the team of five elite Konoha jōnin that were sent to eliminate him. Surprisingly, it had been his own comrades that had been hired to do this: Shikamaru, Neji, Chōji, Sasuke, and Kiba.
“That is the truth, Naruto…my friend,” argued Neji in a soft voice, grief and sorrow laced heavily within every word. “You are in the realm of my eight trigrams,” somberly announced Neji as he got into the signature stance of the Gentle Fist’s signature move. He then charged Naruto and began his ruthless assault.
“Two palms…four palms…eight palms…sixteen palms…thirty two palms…sixty four palms…” Neji whispered. Naruto thought that the attack was over, but he was dead wrong.
“One hundred twenty palms…three hundred and sixty one palms,” panted Neji, having to use the majority of his chakra to pull off the Hyūga Clan’s most destructive, but costly, jutsu. He then sank down to his knees very uncharacteristically, completely drained.
Naruto stood still, his eyes the same bright azure that his companions had grown up knowing, but now they were empty, holding nothing but an empty vessel.
Shikamaru then released the kage mane no jutsu as Kiba caught Naruto’s crumpling form.
“Uchiha inform the Council that their mission is complete,” Shikamaru commanded, as he struggled to keep his composure, along with the other four.
Just as Sasuke relayed the message to the Council, Akamaru, who was now at least half of Kiba’s height, started shaking and quivering in submission. And then Kiba unbecomingly dropped Naruto onto the ground and quickly backed away from the corpse.
“Kiba, what’s wrong?” Chōji asked. “I’ve never seen you this…afraid before.”
“It’s Naruto…he…he’s not dead,” stammered Kiba.
“You must be mistaken Inuzuka, I’ve closed off all of the tenketsu in his body. There has not been even one person who has ever survived that technique, especially if they were standing still.
“Yes, and I must thank you for that,” a foreign voice said; a voice that came from Naruto’s body. Four loud popping sounds pierced the air as Naruto stood up on both of legs, his eyes closed. “I always did think you to be weak, Hyūga, but I must commend you on freeing me; no other mortal has been stupid enough to do that,” Naruto sneered as he opened his eyes, a sickly shade of crimson.
“You might be wondering who I am, correct?” asked Naruto. “You see, I’ve been sealed inside this…abomination…for the past sixteen years, and I’ll give you the privilege of knowing my name before I kill you and destroy your infernal village.
You know me as the Kyūbi no Yoko, or the Kyūbi no Kitsune. I’ll make sure you die a slow, torturous death,” promised the possessed Naruto as he grinned ferally and claws and fangs grew from his teeth and hands.
“Otou-sama, what is that?” fearfully asked a young, white eyed girl, who stood next to her older sister and their father.
“That, Hanabi, is the Kyūbi,” answered Hiashi stoically. “It is going to come and kill us.”
“He’s dead…Naruto-kun…” whimpered Hinata as tears rolled down her face.
‘Onee-san, why do you cry for some boy yet not for yourself, or for me? Why are you so sad now, yet when Otou-sama trains you to the bone, you show no sign of submission whatsoever? Why is he so special?’ Hanabi thought to herself. In actuality, the only time she ever remembered her sister crying was when the Sandaime had died, despite her fragile and meek disposition. “Otou-sama, who is this Naruto that Hinata speaks of?” Hanabi asked.
“He is the one that defeated Neji in the Chūnin Exams four years ago, and he is, was, the container of the Kyūbi no Yoko. Apparently, he has failed his mission, and now death is inevitable,” explained Hiashi, not a trace of fear in her voice.
“No…you can’t say that he failed,” protested Hinata through her sobs. “You can’t say that after sixteen years of dealing with abuse and still being so happy that he has failed. That, that does him no justice,” she said before bursting into even harder sobs.
‘Onee-san, why do you defend him, when you don’t even defend yourself? Why? Why is he so special to you if he makes you sad? Why didn’t you tell me? Why?’ furiously thought Hanabi. ‘Why didn’t you tell me that you loved him?’
Please don’t jump to conclusions because of the last scenario. As I said earlier, romance is not a given in this fic, and I only have a vague idea or two of what the pairing might be if I decide to put some romance in here.
Sorry for the short chapter, but I’ll try to make the next one longer.
Chapter notes: Don't own Naruto or its characters.