The blond girl panted crouching down with her hands on her knees. She huffed trying to get the hair out of her eyes as it got in the way of the stare she was directing at her opponent.
They’d been at it for quite some time, and they were both getting tired and unnerved.
Sasuke, try as he might ignore it, was getting affected by her presence. The mere fact that she was standing before him and he could actually see her not just dream or hallucinate about her was messing with his mind. His goals were set, his mind was made, his choices were irreparable… yet… here he was, acting unaffected while little slithers of doubt warmed their way into his mind.
They had both paused for a second from their deadly fight. They stood on opposite sides of the clearing as they tried to regain their breaths. Sasuke’s traitorous eyes ran over her figure and he couldn’t help but be reminded of just how much she had changed over the past five years. Her hair was extremely long and silky and instead of the pigtails she’d had when she was younger it was up in a high ponytail with bangs falling over her sky blue eyes since her forehead protector was instead tied loosely around her neck. Her body was lean and lithe, elegant and deadly, and she had definitely grown out in all the right places. In short she looked pretty much like the figure of her sexy no jutsu except with a sharper face with less baby fat and a different hairdo. She had on a black and orange half open jacket that almost completely covered her short black shorts. A black bra with a fishnet over it could be seen from underneath and a long sleeveless black cape with a hood and red flames eating at the hem was thrown over her attire. Long black socks that reached mid-thigh were covering her long legs and scrolls and pouches were strapped around her waist. She was so very changed from her tomboyish days back in Konoha, where life was not so complicated and they were still innocent. Where they would goof around… well, she would goof around and he’d simply be annoyed, or fondly annoyed if there is even such a thing… Where there was still a possibility of something happening between them. Where they could’ve– he could’ve– No… He was not going there… He had enough of his mind going there every single fuckin time he saw her!!
She, on the other hand, was hesitating to take the next step of her plan. “Kyuu-chan... Are you sure this is a good idea...? He is going to be so mad when he finds out…” She thought to the demon worriedly.
“That was the deal, Kit!! Don’t go back on your word!!” Kurama snapped back still a bit irritated at what she’d made him promise to do.
Naru was sitting under a tree hugging her knees to her chest as she gazed up at the sky and tried to keep her tears at bay to no avail.
Everyone was dying and there was nothing she could do about it. She’d never had a family in the first place and now the friends she had gained after years and years of solitude were quickly perishing one by one. It was horrible. The times were horrible. Her godfather was dead. Her friends were dying. And the one man she had ever loved was lost never to return… yes, she had finally come to that conclusion even as she refused to give up and succumb to the inevitable.
Silent tears streamed down her cheeks on their own accord and against her will as her heart drowned in grief over everything she had lost, everything she was yet to lose, and everything she never even had so she could lose.
Her thought were filled with Sasuke then and a fresh stab of pain pierced her already beyond broken heart at the thought of him. Her best friend. The one man who would forever own said broken heart. She never loved another and never will. He never accepted her offer of friendship so who was to say he’ll ever accept any pathetic romantic feelings she might have developed. And yet... she couldn't bear to hold anyone else even close to the high regard she held him in. No one compared and no one even got close. She had also grown beyond feeling guilty over having fallen for her other best friend’s romantic interest. First of all, the idea of anything more coming out of her one sided feelings and affections was highly doubtful nay impossible. Secondly, in the impossible scenario of him actually wanting her back she did not think she had the heart or the strength to give him up after having been forever alone and unwanted. All she could do in that case was to pray that her medic friend was able to get out of it alive and as undamaged as possible. Of course, these thoughts rarely even crossed her mind nowadays. She had thought about that when she started to realize that the pain and desperate feeling in her heart to get him back was beyond the feelings of a mere friend or sister. It had been a constant source of motivation to her while she had been training to get him back in her three years of traveling. In a time where she had been clueless and naive enough to ever think that there might be a minuscule possibility of him and her ever having a future. To believe he might someday come to care for her even half as much as she cared for him.
She looked down at herself and sighed. Sure, she looked desirable and knew how to use her status as a kunoichi to her advantage courtesy of Akemi-sensei who was a beautiful kunoichi she had met on her travels and had taken a liking to her. The woman was one of the flirtiest she had ever met yet whenever the Ero-Sennin tried to get closer to her she would fake being pleased till she got him where she wanted and beat him up into the next week. Akemi had decided that the brash and tomboyish attitude on a body like hers was beyond a waste so she had taught her everything she needed to be a perfect lady with a flirty disposition and an iron fist. But then again, Sasuke was not the type of man to fall for that. He was an avenger, the importance of his goals was absolute and something like seduction could never sway him from them.
“Kit...” The Kyuubi called out to her.
She startled a bit as his voice snapped her out of her thoughts and harshly brushed at her tears with the back of her sleeve.
“Not now, kyuu-chan. I don't feel so good...” She mumbled back at him.
“I have a plan, kit. I can fix this…” He said to her.
“Fix what?” She asked back confused.
“What’s bringing you grief…”
She frowned, “No one can fix that…”
She couldn’t help the little hope that bubbled up inside her.
“You can bring ero-sennin and the others back?!” She tested.
“You can stop the war?!”
“You can make Sasuke come back?!”
She gave a frustrated and angry huff.
“Then what can you fix?!!!!” She yelled.
“I can take you back to a time where things could change…”
“Huh..?” She said sounding clueless and confused.
*End of Flashback*
It had taken Kurama some time to explain to her everything and needless to say the fox had gotten out of that conversation with a major headache. Naru was smart, yes. A lot smarter than what she had been in the past at least since a lot of that dumbness of hers had come from her constant need for attention and her principle of ‘I learn with my fist’. But that did not mean that her brain wouldn’t get fried as Kurama tried to explain the minor details of the concept of time travel to her.
“It’s time. I’m ready.” Kurama informed her.
She swallowed and steeled herself for what she had to do.
Naruko grabbed one of the scrolls tied to her waist and with quick movements unwrapped it on the floor and pressed the palm of her hand in the middle of the seal.
The seal on her abdomen tickled as the other seal absorbed huge amounts of chakra from her. There was a poof of smoke and a fox the size of a horse with four tails appeared.
Sasuke startled at the sight of the fox and prepared to summon Susanoo if necessary.
“Waaaaa……” The fox said happily as it crouched down on its forelegs and stretched its back. “Ooooooh... It feels so good to be free...”
After snapping his joints to satisfaction and stomping on the floor the four tailed Kurama went back to regard the raven haired man before him with critically.
‘Does this boy really deserve the faith my kit is putting in him…? No matter, I will insure he’s worthy.” Kurama thought to himself.
“Hmmm…” The fox hummed thoughtfully as he regarded the Uchiha with calculating eyes. “So this is the man who’s ruined you for any other, huh, Naru? Well… I can’t fault your taste at least…”
Naru sucked in a breath at what the kyuubi had just bluntly declared.
Sasuke crushed the emotions that bubbled inside of him at what the demon had just implied and let his eyes flicker towards her for less than a second. The jinchuukiri’s face burned when she saw his eyes rest on her and she growled dangerously at the unaffected fox.
“Shut up, fur ball!!” She hissed at him.
Kurama simply ignored her, “Shall we?” He asked with a cock of his head.
She snapped back to attention at his words and crouched down preparing to attack.
“Hai!!” She cried and the kyuubi ran at full speed towards the Uchiha.
Sasuke let lightning coat his sword as he prepared for the attack and activated Susanoo as it covered his body.
The kyuubi however kept on forwards losing his solid form in the middle of his run and turning into a ghost like orange flame with the head of a fox as it charged towards the Uchiha.
Sasuke tried to dodge while slashing at the demon only for his sword to pass right through him and for the ghost like fox to swerve sharply as it continued to follow him. He strengthened his Susanoo and tried to outrun the persistent mass of chakra to no avail until the fox ended up crashing right into him and being absorbed by his body. Every single cell of Sasuke’s body burned when the fox penetrated his very skin. The pain was unbearable. It was even worse than the pain he got while using Susanoo and that was saying something.
He clutched at his chest which was the point of impact and panted as the feeling started there and spread towards the rest of his body. Removing his hand he stared at the seal that now painted his skin enraged as his mind tried to figure out what that jutsu was supposed to do to him.
His head snapped up and glared at the still crouching girl who was looking resigned and determined.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME!!?” He yelled with mad eyes as Susanoo grew and floated above him.
She didn’t say a word simply charged at him with a flurry of blows and kicks which he deflected easily. He countered her attacks in a rage as he was royally pissed off for not knowing what it was that she had done to him with that jutsu. He did not think she would use anything fatal against him, but then again it had been a long time since he could truthfully say he knew her and for all he knew she might have drastically changed during the time he had not been around.
They kept at it for a while, exchanging blows and blocking each other’s until there was a moment where their faces were too close to each other’s and their eyes met for a fraction of a second. Anguished azure stared into enraged onyx and she let her guard down. It was only for a millisecond, but alas, it was enough. His lightning laced katana penetrated her stomach and went out her back. Her blood painted the blade and gingerly crawled down to stain his hands and sully his white shirt. And he stood there frozen as the lightning dissipated and her eyes dimmed.
He waited… and then waited a little more… but the ‘poof’ he was waiting for never came…
His eyes widened when her warm blood caressed his fingers and blinked when she gave a violent cough and blood spattered on his cheek.
No… this was too easy… she wasn’t supposed to be defeated by something so simple… she always gave him a run for his money… she couldn’t just fall this way... he just had to wait a little while more and she’d pop in a cloud of smoke and the real her would come at him from a different angle… she’d give him a cheeky smile and tell him she got him cause this was a joke… yes… this was a joke… the warm wet blood on his hands was a joke… her dimming blue eyes were also a joke… and the pain in his chest was most certainly a joke!!!
Trembling hands grabbed at his shoulders and bloody lips touched his frozen ones filling his mouth with a coppery taste that jolted him into awareness.
Naru then leaned back and stared at his face that finally showed some kind of emotion other that anger and rage after all this time. Shock, disbelief, worry, and desperation were clearly visible in his endless pools of black. She gave a weak blood smeared smile at him letting her eyes fill with every unsaid emotion she had ever forced back.
“I forgive you… My love…” She whispered brokenly as the strength left her till all that was keeping her upright was the sword imbedded in her that he still clutched and the arm that he had unconsciously wrapped around her waist.
He let out a stammering breath and with each blink of his eyes the world shifted around him till her dim haunting pools of blue disappeared and he was left standing in a dark room with his feet in the water and without her warm body in his arms.
He did not know where he was and he seriously couldn’t care less in that moment. He’d been sitting in what looked like the sewers for minutes maybe hours he didn’t care to count. He didn’t care that his clothes were getting wet, freezing him to the bone. He didn’t care that he might be trapped in some kind of genjutsu. He didn’t care that the place he was sitting in was vaguely familiar. He didn’t care that he might be currently targeted and whoever had produced this possible genjutsu might be trying to kill him. Actually, if that was the case, he might actually let them kill him. He didn’t even care that his eyes were killing him from excruciating pain, so excruciating in fact that had he bothered to give it a thought he would suspect them to have turned blind if he opened them. All he cared about was that her sky blue eyes that were usually so full of life looked glassy and dim the last time he saw them. That her smiling lips that had kissed his were smeared with blood. That her warm blood had coated his hands and seeped into his clothes. That his hands which now covered his face were still painted red and their smell was making him nauseous. That his mouth tasted like blood. That his clothes smelled like blood. That his skin was covered in blood. Her blood… All he cared about was that she was dead. Dead and gone because he had taken her life away. The one person left on this earth that even bothered to care for him was dead and gone. And she hadn’t just cared, she had loved–loved him. And she was dead and gone because of him. She was dead and gone. Simply dead and gone… and there was nothing he could do about it since he was the one that had forced this situation upon himself. Seek revenge? Wasn’t that the thing he was best at? He sought revenge for his clan, he sought revenge for his brother… and now what? He’ll seek revenge for her? How will he seek revenge for her since he was the one he would be seeking revenge from? Could one seek revenge from himself? Should he simply kill himself and be done with it? But he’d always hated people who did that! He was born to die fighting not offing himself by his own hands!
“Uchiha Sasuke…” An evil husky echo followed by a dark growl finally broke the silence.
Sasuke only removed his hands from his face once he felt a presence right before him and he opened his eyes to find himself staring at the fox that had attacked him previously. He was mildly surprised at the fact that his eyes, despite the excruciating pain they were in, were actually not blind after all.
“You. Killed. My. Kit!!” The fox growled out saying each word like a full sentence as his face contorted in rage.
Sasuke merely stared blankly back at the horse sized enraged fox with a blood smeared face and a tortured soul.
“What have you to say for yourself?!” The kyuubi yelled as he stalked towards him with his hair standing up in rage until his face was almost touching the Uchiha’s.
He did not get any visible reaction from the seated man as he stared at the demon with dead eyes.
“…Why haven’t you killed me yet…?” He asked impassively in a mumble.
The Kyuubi lifted an eyebrow at him.
“Kill you?! You think killing you will be enough for me?! Why take you out of your misery?? No, suffer it will do you good?!” Kurama exclaimed in rage. “Tell me, are you satisfied yet?! Has killing her satisfied your thirst for revenge?!”
There was an agonizing silence then as Sasuke stared at him with tortured eyes.
“…No…” He finally muttered in a hoarse voice.
“Then why did you?!” The demon exploded at him. “Did you think it would make you happy to see her dying at your hands?! The one person left who actually cared was sacrificed to snap you out of your madness?! Was it necessary?! Was her blood necessary?!”
The raven had his eyes squeezed shut as his face contorted in agony more and more with every word the demon threw at him.
“What do you want?!” he finally snapped. “Kill me?! Do it! Torture me?! I’d take it, gladly!!”
“What do I want, huh?” The demon said with a mad chuckle. “I want to crush you, you brat!! I want to torture that cockiness out of you!! That’s what I’d like to say but she wouldn’t have wanted that, would she? No she sent me here to you as she prepared to die so that I can grant you a final wish!! She wants you to finally be free from this road bound by revenge you make yourself walk!!”
Sasuke frowned at the demon in morbid confusion and curiosity, and then only because he mentioned her in his words.
“…A wish…?” He repeated quietly.
The fox looked like he would rather die than grant him what he had to after what he had done but was forcing himself to not kill him and be done with it as it was his kit’s final wish after all.
“I can take you back in time to fix one thing of your choosing…” He forced out through gritted teeth and let the boy ponder on the meaning of what he was saying.
Take him back in time? Was that even possible…? He’d lived with Orochimnaru for a long time and he was pretty sure that if there was something of that kind the old snake would have already put his slimy hands on it.
“…What…?” He said in disbelief yet with mild surprise.
The fox grumbled distastefully, “Yes, I can take you back to prevent your blasted clan from perishing, ya damn brat…”
Sasuke swallowed and his mind reeled as full meaning of the fox’s words dawned on him yet didn’t let his guard down yet.
“…What’s the catch?” He asked distrustfully.
The Kyuubi smirked devilishly, “It seems Naru had not been exaggerating when she praised your intelligence, huh?”
Sasuke almost invisibly flinched at the sound of her name yet Kurama caught it and it only made his smirk turn wider.
“The catch, ya damn brat, is that you’ll have to choose… you have two options in both you win and you lose… In both choices, however, you’ll have to pay dearly… I can bring you Naru back…” The kyuubi trailed off purposely to get the Uchiha's hopes up before crushing him, and as expected the raven perked up at the demon’s words.
“And I can bring your clan back…” Kurama continued further grabbing the other’s attention, “But… I can’t bring both. Either you save your clan or you save her. Either you choose to stop your clan’s massacre and condemn Konoha to live through their rebellion while letting her body rot, or… you choose to prevent all the wrongs you’ve done her from happening and give yourself a second chance at happiness after the tragedy of your childhood… your choice, Uchiha!”
Sasuke stared at him with narrowed eyes.
“That was her final wish? For you to give me an impossible choice? For some reason I can’t see her coming up with such an elaborated and cruel plan like this.” He said skeptically.
Kurama chuckled evilly, “Of course not! She simply wished for the revival of your clan if you so choose but then again what are we demons if not the masters of loop holes and manipulation…? So I’m giving you a choice, the life of the woman you love through whom you can revive your precious clan against the lives of a rebellious clan that would ultimately cause a civil war and bring forth multiple deaths…”
Sasuke gave a bitter smirk at his words.
“The woman I love, huh? I hadn’t realized I was that transparent…” He said a bit lightly since he had already made his choice and he was feeling slightly better already.
The kyuubi smirked as he too could see that the raven’s decision was made. “If you weren’t, your choice would have been different. And if it makes you feel better, she never knew.”
“It makes me feel worse, so thank you and I haven’t made my choice yet.”
“That was the plan, so you’re welcome and I can see it clearly in your eyes.” Kurama smirked; he might be slightly, very very very slightly, starting to like the brat after all.
“You’re a master manipulator, alright…” Sasuke said bitterly, “Her life, of course…”
“Not your clan’s? Your mother’s, your father’s, your family’s?” The demon taunted.
“It’s my clan’s curse…” The Uchiha muttered, his bitter smirk never leaving his lips, “Our love is our downfall, and that girl is mine…”
“Is that your final choice? You may not change your mind afterward, you know?” Kurama said in an evil voice filled with amusement as his grin turned monstrous.
“It is.” He confirmed.
“You…” the fox started with a murderous expression before breaking out in a grin, “Pass…”
The demon laughed madly as the lights dimmed further then everything exploded in a blinding flash of light and Sasuke was left with a weird sense of deja-vu as he remembered his old days on team seven.
“Just know that I’m doing this for my kit’s own good not yours.” Was the last thing he heard before finding himself in a completely different place.