38 Chapter 37
The five Kages waited patiently for any recent news regarding the battle at the border of Fire and Lightning. They first caught wind of this battle when a team of Konoha TNI reported in the Kumogakure that they had been ordered to report directly to the Hokage by the ROOT Director about their findings. Tsunade was just finishing healing Anko that was knocked out by said Director, she was noticeably on edge at that moment. Honestly, who wouldn't, the Director was only in his teens despite being technically thousands of old. The Kages had finished gathering and briefing their forces about the upcoming war. The shinobi world was prepared to back the Director up if he should require one. However, due to the information from the Intel corps, they will only be a hindrance for the Director right then as the fight was out worldly by any shinobi standard--one boy against an Uchiha with the control of seven Bijuus and a vile snake-freak with a limitless amount of soldiers at their disposal. They were left blinded when the chakra spikes had finally died down a few hours ago.
"He taking too much time," the Hokage gritted as she interlocks her fingers, her eyes were sharp and of deep concern of her junior, "he's a reckless kid. I am really worried right now."
"What do you mean? Hikari-kun seems like a nice, handsome boy," the Mizukage commented in an attempt to make small talk with the Hokage, hoping that she would calm down the Hokage's nerves. As one lady to another, she knew what the Slug Sannin was feeling--worried for a child she loved.
"He places no value of his life when it comes to achieving peace, in general, that is. Regardless whether it was a friend who strayed from a path or a trapped comrade who needed saving, he'd give his life away without hesitation," Tsunade said.
"Hmph, sounds like the makings of a true shinobi to me!" The Tsuchikage grouched and the Hokage snorted.
"He is much more than that," Tsunade gritted yet again. It was just then a flock of crows appeared at the balcony and it bonded together to form three-person and one was cradling a lifeless body that was covered in an Akatsuki robe. All of the shinobi that was present immediately recoiled defensively and ready to attack.
"Shinobi, hold your ground! Ni-san?" Sasuke immediately shunshinned to the front of the group.
"Hello, Otouto. I would prefer to meet you again in a much desirable condition. I need to see Hokage-sama now, it is urgent," the man said and the Hokage walked forward through the crowd.
"What's the meaning of this Itachi? How're you alive?" Tsunade asked but she noted his eyes. "Edo Tensei? Who?"
"Yakushi Kabuto was going to use the jutsu against the shinobi world but before you jump to a conclusion, these two had been changed by me and Hikari through Izanami," Itachi said and the companion of his revealed themselves to be Uchiha Obito and Yakushi Kabuto. "If you understood how permanent the Izanami is, you will understand me right now. The war is over and they surrendered to me, former ROOT Captain which makes it our jurisdiction, Hokage-sama. Otouto, would you please?"
"Torune, Fu," Sasuke called and two ROOT operatives immediately appeared behind the two major enemies of the Shinobi Allied Forces and bind their movements with seals. "Where's our leader, Ni-san?"
Itachi proceeded to lay the body on the floor and then tossed a scroll to Tsunade who immediately felt the weight of said scroll--it felt like there was a heavy metaphorical boulder inside.
"I am regret to informing you all that," Itachi began and Tsunade yelled in disbelief. "Otsutsuki Hyuuga Hikari had perished in battle from Shiki Fujin and Ura Shisho Fuin to permanently seal his brother, the Kurozetsu so that he will not be manipulating the hatred of shinobi anymore."
Disbelieving, Sasuke hastily grabbed the robe on the body revealing a pale, bloodied figure of his friend.
"No," the Uchiha could only say as the robe fell on the ground, soaked in blood and the Hokage immediately went to her junior, hands glowing in Mystic Palm technique hoping to heal the boy. Tears were falling like a waterfall as did her cry for despair. The younger Uchiha could only stare at his hands that were caked in his friend's blood, his eyes didn't look anywhere but his friend's face. Curiously enough, his friend was finally at peace.
"War on the Akatsuki and Kurozetsu is the war against hatred. This boy shouldered all those hatreds by himself in hopes to spare the people of this world from the stains of war, fulfilling his life purpose. He died in hope that the peace attained today with the Shinobi Alliance would remain strong and unbreakable. I urge all the Kages to honour his wishes in the honour of his death," Itachi said. "Now, I understand that the Akatsuki had caused quite an upheaval on the five major shinobi nations, so, to bring back the balance of power of the villages, Uchiha Obito here are more than willing to return all of the taken bijuu to their respective home. I implore you all, do not let this boy die in vain."
"Wake up!" Tsunade yelled as she tried to resuscitate the boy. The scene was unbearable to watch even for an emotionless Uchiha. Sasuke could be seen wiping out his tears. Surprisingly, Raikage immediately stopped the Hokage's action.
"Let him go Tsunade. You are a Hokage, get a hold of yourself," he said seriously and the Hokage slumped down to her grief. "We, Kumogakure would honour his wishes, a true shinobi that we didn't deserve."
"Such an honourable death for a young shinobi. We, Iwagakure will also honour his wishes," Tsuchikage said.
"Kirigakure mourns for this boy and will honour his wishes," the Mizukage announced as she pulled the Hokage into a hug.
"Sunagakure is and always will be an ally to Konohagakure. We mourn for our friend," Gaara said.
"Very well. Hokage-sama, Otouto, the scroll is his last will and he requests that his body is burned by Amaterasu as a safety measure just in case to prevent his seal from failing. This is your responsibility, Otouto. This is the end for me at last, remember Sasuke, hatred will get us nowhere but death. Take good care of Konoha, Otouto," Itachi said before he dispelled the Edo Tensei leaving a mangled sacrifice upon dispersing in white light.
Afterwards, all of Konoha forces went home immediately under the direct order of the Hokage even Naruto that was just finished training with the Killer Bee in controlling the Kyuubi was ordered the same. Sasuke took the liberty to notify Naruto of Hikari's death as Sakura stayed by her master that refused to leave her junior alone, the rest of Konoha forces were greatly saddened by his death. Hinata couldn't bear to even look at her brother's lifeless body right then because to her, it's like it was only yesterday that he came home with Hitori and begged her for an Omurice for dinner. Hikari had always been their bridge with each other, always there to help a comrade, regardless if it was a hard demanding task or something as simple as an advice for the trouble-hearted. The peace-loving hero of Konoha who didn't even think twice to gave his life for the village, his Will of Fire burns brightly as ever. He had saved them all even when he was the one who needed saving like he always did.
Tsunade was silent as she went to the hospital morgue and stayed there for Hikari. Sakura was still in tears, fresh from remembering their times together, Hikari had saved her from her madness, he was there for her since their genin days. Naruto was crying on the ROOT Director's body, he yelled at his friend demanding to know why did he always do these things alone when they could do it together as a team, what's more, they now even have Sasuke back. The blonde cried that how will Hikari see his dream coming true someday and did he only satisfied just because Sasuke came back. Sasuke, well he was silent and occasionally wiped his tears from anyone to notice, Hikari was the one who pulled him back to the village, he knew that his dead teammate had played a major role on Itachi's change and sacrifice and here he was didn't know how to repay the kindness that his late teammate had gave to him. Sasuke felt a deep slicing pain in his heart because of the grief but determined to make his dead friend's wishes come true. Unknown to the Uchiha, his Sharingan was now evolved to the ultimate Kekkei Genkai ever--the Rinnegan. Kakashi who silently holding the boy's casket, couldn't bear to walk into the morgue instead, the Hokage could only eye the white-haired jounin that was always been the Hikari's elder brother while she decided to read the boy's last will to make sense of his sacrifice. It was full of dried-up tears that stained the pages, she brought a hand to her mouth to muffle any incoming despair.
"My dearest friends and family,
If you are reading this, it means that I had undoubtedly died by now. Do not be sad or despair over my death as it insults my sacrifice to reach peace for this world. My mission as an Otsutsuki had been to preserve this world's peace as it was the sole reason I was born here on this land. Do not falter from our Will of Fire, instead, spread them to the whole world so that every abandoned child like me out there could have a taste of having a family that cared for them. Okay, where do I begin? Tsunade-senpai, you will read this first, no doubt. So, thank you for being my senpai, my Hokage, my teacher, my elder sister, my friend, my confidant and admirably, my mother here in Konoha, there I admit it, satisfied? Take note that I am blushing as I write that. Yes, you had reminded me so much of my mother and couldn't help but love you as much as I love her. I am sorry for not being able to come back next to your side anymore. My dearest Mother, I know that you hid your pain well, it's okay to cry now and then senpai and don't give up on us younger generations. I am proud that my new mom is the Hokage of Konoha. To Kakashi-sensei, thank you for taking me into the village, you changed my life, sensei. I am sorry that I had to break our promise, I had to be reckless on this one, sensei, it is worth it. You are the first person who saw my pain and helped me immensely even though I didn't know about it at first and I thank you for that. Your lesson of teamwork had forever been my guidelines in this life of mine as a Konoha shinobi. Also, if all of this works out exactly as I had imagined before I write this scroll, you will have Obito back, sensei. He will be needing your support from now sensei, please guide him on the right path as you did with me. While I talk about him, if my Izanami works, he's a changed man by now, senpai. I trust that you will treat Obito without hatred, senpai, the man was manipulated, give him a break. Now, Sakura, my best friend, my comrade, my partner in crime, my mental health watcher as we always called it, my sister and I dare say, my soulmate next to my beloved Phoenix. I am sorry that I won't be able to join another session with Inoichi-sama, give my best to him, will you? Keep attending therapy, Sakura, it helped you more than it did to me. Do not cry for me, okay, Sakura? Besides, if you want to cry, you can cry on Sasuke's chest! Hahahaha! Speaking of our infamous Teme, Sasuke, I hereby entrusting ROOT to you, our long term mission is no doubt being the world's peace and we must the first to guide a lost friend back on the right path and not to forget, assisting the Hokage as a no-fuss, highly covert and most notorious but loyal as well as special shinobi forces of Konoha. Take good care of the village and Sakura, have a bunch of cute kids together, I remembered that back in our genin days, your dream of resurrecting the Uchiha clan, you can start by proposing to her and let me tell you something, Uchiha Hikari sounds good to me. Hahahaha! Naruto, oh Naruto where do I begin with you, well, you can start by stop crying, Baka! My best friend who is next in line to be the Hokage that surpassed all of the previous Hokage, you are still a long way from it but you will no doubt reach it in no time at all, learn by your way Naruto because, in my opinion, you are a genius too. The son of Yondaime Hokage and Uzushiogakure's heir--Uzumaki Namikaze Naruto. So, I am entrusting you with my dream of world peace seeing that how you easily attract people to yourself, do not falter my friend, we will see each other again eventually, just let me enjoy the quiet for a little while longer, will you? Also, I did a little digging at Uzushiogakure and found that Karin is your cousin so take care of her and tell her that I am sorry that we couldn't have the date that I had promised to her. Not to forget, take good care of my sister, Hinata, you guys were made for each other, cherish each other till the end of times. If you are still that dense, I am giving you my blessing to marry my sister, Baka! To my father, Hyuuga Hiashi, thank you for taking me in. I never knew how a father's love would feel or look like. Thanks to you, I had a chance to feel what it's like to have a father. Thank you, Tou-sama, our Hyuuga-Ryu had always cleared a path for my journey and I thank you for teaching me the ways also, tell our family that I loved them all to death. Everyone, there are a lot more I wanted to say in so little time. Take care of Karin for me, I feel guilty for leaving her so soon. We didn't have a chance to truly admit our feelings but know this, I love her even if we had an immensely little time together. Forgive me, Karin, the house is yours as well as any of my money, stay and don't leave Konoha, we are all your family here. To the people of Konoha, thank you for letting me stay here and call this place my home. I hope that you would do the same to the people who wanted to have the same sense of belonging as me and not abandon them. Thank you, thank you, for everything.
Otsutsuki Hyuuga Hikari."
"Come back, Hikari-kun!!!!" Naruto yelled. Tsunade had read it out loud in time for the Hyuuga to arrive to hear their part.
"What happened?" Hiashi demanded to hold Hanabi that was struggling to get to his Oni-Chan.
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"Hyuuga-sama, Hikari sacrifice himself to save humanity from war. He died of sealing the enemy of mankind. I had to be blunt about this, so bear with me, I would like you to know that Hikari had requested me to cremate his body by my dojutsu as a precaution," Sasuke said bowing to the clan head whose eyes softened as he saw his ward on the table, smiling. Tsunade and Sakura had already cleaned the boy's body before returning to the village. Hikari's face was glowing and smiling in bliss. Hinata immediately went to Naruto's side and hugged him tightly in which the blonde fell into her arms in despair. Hanabi then cried next to his brother's lifeless body, begging for him to come back.
"Very well, Sasuke. Whatever his wish, I had never refused it, so why should refuse him now? Do whatever you wish," Hiashi said before sitting down on the floor, trying to suppress his sadness to no avail. Kakashi had long since been crying silently next to him.
"Thank you, Hyuuga-sama," Sasuke bowed yet again.
"He died not seeing his dreams came true. Let us all work for it to be a reality," Tsunade suddenly said with a strained tone before she rose from her seat and hastily got out of the morgue with Shizune on her tail before she was falling on the ground in despair within the near bushes.
Hikari was cremated the day after at ROOT's old base. His memorial was held at the cemetery and his grave was placed next to his fiance's, Hitori. Every ninja in Konoha attended his memorial as the ROOTs substituting the patrol duty since they had said their goodbye the night before that. Karin was seen crying upon Hikari's grave along with Naruto, the Uzumakis were the most passionate clan in the shinobi world and these two were the proof of that statement. Also present were the other Kages from the other villages that went to Konoha immediately after sorting out their forces and sent them all back to their village. The world mourned for the loss of the only Otsutsuki in existence and with his death, the talk of peace was spread throughout the nations. It took a few years but the Kages could safely say that they had put all the past behind and struggle from that day forward in keeping the world peace with the help of the Treaty of Hikari that the newly appointed Hokage, Hatake Kakashi had so generously proposed. Hikari's dream had been achieved, three years after his death.
A FEW YEARS LATER
"Dobe, no slacking!" an older Sasuke knocked his blonde teammate's that fell asleep on his desk. The usual broody and oozing dark aura Uchiha was now mellowed out with age. The third Director of ROOT served as an advisor to the current Hokage, Nanadaime, Uzumaki Naruto, replacing the senile Koharu and Homura.
"You are being troublesome, Nanadaime-sama, the kids are being tested by Rokudaime-sama right now and the genin teams must be assigned at once." an older Shikamaru nagged the blonde Hokage. He was also an advisor of Naruto but he is specifically the Konoha Chief Strategist replacing his old man at the office. The Nara could be quite a mother hen sometimes and Naruto always was being at the end of the nagging beak.
"I wanna go home and sleep, dattebayyo!" the blonde whined in despair. He had been married to Hinata for a few years now and having kids of his own. Hokage's life had taken its toll on Hokage's family. Kakashi and Tsunade never faced this since they were single when the wore the hat. The only Hokages with a family were long since dead and that left Naruto with no way of dealing with these problems. He continued revising the list and his eyes fell onto the possible replacement of his time's Genin team.
1. Uzumaki Boruto
2. Uchiha Sarada
"Can our kids work together, Teme?" Naruto asked his best friend. Two legacies of the Otsutsuki in a team might be the best combination ever but both of the kids had a common problem and what's more, Naruto didn't know who to put into the list as the third teammate for their kids.
"I know they will. We worked it out eventually didn't we?" Sasuke said with a confident tone and Naruto just had to snort.
"Worked it out, my butt. You left us, Teme," Naruto said earning another knock from Shikamaru.
"Finish the list, Naruto," Shikamaru whined.
"I know, but it doesn't feel right, something is missing for sure, Dattebayyo!" Naruto said.
"You know, how about I assign his kid into their team? He did it with Sai, right?" Sasuke suggested and Naruto's eyes widened in revelation.
"Yeah, that is what's missing!" Naruto said as he smiled indulgently. "Oni!"
A pale-skinned red-headed teen appeared in the Hokage's office, kneeling.
"Hokage-sama, Director, Nara-sama," the ROOT greeted.
"I hereby demoted you from ROOT and you will be assigned to Team Konohamaru should our kids passed the Genin survival exam," Sasuke said as the redhead took off his mask, revealing a Byakugan wielder and smiled at the people in front of him.
"Thank you, Naruto-Oji, Sasuke-oji. Boruto keeps begging me to be my teammate last night. Kaa-san will be happy to hear about this. Oh, and by the way, Kaa-san is cooking with Hinata-obasan today to celebrate the new Konoha 12," the boy said.
"Or so they told if they passed the exam that is, Kakashi-sensei can be a little rough, Dattebayyo!" Naruto said, grimacing as Sasuke shuddered next to him.
"Since we didn't have a rank system in ROOT, I'll ask Shikamaru to review your test results in ROOT to determine your shinobi rank," Sasuke said and the redhead bowed.
"If I may, Sasuke-Oji, I would like to be a genin. Mirai-nee told me that her Genin days were memorable so I wanted to experience that too," the boy said.
"Well, if you say so. You're dismissed, I will notify Konohamaru myself later after the exam," Naruto said and the boy shunshinned from the office.
"Troublesome," Shikamaru said, sullenly. The atmosphere had gone sad for the briefest of moments.
"Yeah," Naruto said before he wrote down the final name on the list.
1. Uzumaki Boruto
2. Uchiha Sarada
3. Otsutsuki Yasuragi
Then he folded the papers and slid it into an envelope before giving it to his Chief Strategist. Naruto then blew a heavy breath.
"I am sure that he would be happy with how we're doing so far," Sasuke said and he saw his teammate looked out of the window onto Konoha City.
"Hope so. Come on, we need to to get to the Training Ground. I want to see how they are doing in action. Then maybe we should grab a bowl or two at Ichiraku's," Naruto said and the Uchiha grunted because they already had ramen yesterday. Sasuke then grabbed onto Naruto before they teleported to Kakashi. Unbeknownst to them, someone was silently watching over them, smiling proudly within the other side.
"Thank you, guys..." the voice said before it faded away. All three of them looked over to the source of it and it was nothing there. They, on the other hand, smiled widely like they never did and carry on with their tasks at hand.