Chapter 26: Abandoned Again

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"What's wrong Naruto?" Sayuri yelled from atop of Madara Uchiha's stone head. "I'm only doing as you suggested!" She looked over to Naruto, her coal-colored eyes meeting his dull blue. Naruto looked down at his feet.

"I know," He said almost sadly. "A part of the old me is screaming to break every bone in your body and drag you back to the village. But whether for better or for worse," He looked up and met her gaze once again. "But the old me is dead, you found that out on the top of the hospital." 

Sayuri frowned, the curse mark that was across her face slowly receding. "I've asked this before and you gave me a cryptic answer, now I'm asking again: How strong are you really?" Naruto grabbed a stray leaf that was floating in the wind from the air and held it in the palm of his hand.

"With Kurama at my side, at the very least high Jounin. Sage of Six Paths mode? Kage easily. Myself?" He let go of the leaf and chuckled. "Probably high Chunin or low Jounin. I'm definitely not where I need nor want to be. I need to be prepared for the future." Sayuri laughed.

"I must be insane, but I believe you. You're one crazy bastard," Her smile disappeared. "Then that leaves more questions, why haven't you taken me back then? Why let the others fight those Sound shinobi? Why not finish them off and then speed blitz me and go back home?" 

In a flash, Naruto was right in front of her, standing just a few inches away from her. "Because I said that's what the old me would've done." His voice was just a whisper, but his voice echoed in her ears as she took a step back. "But I'm not that loud fool I once was, I've grown up. I'm not the boy I once was and. . ." He trailed off. 

The old Naruto truly was dead. The realization hit him like a Rasengan to the chest. He snorted. It was ironic. 

He was tasked to save the world, but, his old self died in the process. Maybe it was poetic. Everyone in his world is dead, wouldn't it be right for him to be dead as well? He laughed out loud, shocking Sayuri even further. 

"What are you laughing about?" She asked, confused and disturbed. 

"You were right," He said as tears gathered in his eyes. "I really am a fake. I'm not the Naruto you used to know. I'm the one who killed him too, but as long as I can breathe, I'll save this world even if my old self is gone. I know what needs to be done, and you going to Orochimaru is one of those things. He will get you stronger, but-"

He remembered Sasuke telling him the truth about Itachi. After Sasuke killed Itachi and found out that the elders of the village had ordered Itachi to kill the Uchiha. The truth had turned his vengeance to Konoha before he joined the war. It even caused his Mangekyou to activate. 

If Sayuri were to kill Itachi then. . .

He frowned. 

She wouldn't get as strong as Sasuke. And if she never got as strong as Sasuke. . .

He laughed mentally, he really was trash. 

"Go to Orochimaru, get stronger. Do what you think you need to do." Sayuri frowned but slowly nodded.

"So you're not going to stop me?" Naruto shook his head. "Why?" 

"Because," He began. "If this is what you think is best, then I'll secretly support you. When you've accomplished your goals, let's have a spar and see who's stronger." He grinned. "Now, go!" Sayuri blushed a little, the red dusting her cheeks. 

"Fine," She whispered timidly. "But," She suddenly punched him in the stomach, causing spit to fly out of his mouth as she suddenly yanked him up and placed her lips on his own. Naruto's eyes widened but as quickly as it happened, she disconnected their lips and pushed him off the head of Madara. 

"I'll see you later," She called out with a small smile. 'Goodbye, Naruto-kun.'

With that, she fled. 

Naruto, eyes still wide, fell through the air, rapidly closing in on the water. She kissed him? Why? 

"How can I like someone who isn't even real?!"

Oh. She liked him? Why? Why would she- His thoughts were interrupted when he crashed into the water and everything went black. 

Naruto's eyes fluttered open and he saw the white ceiling of the hospital room. He slowly sat up, thankful for not feeling even half as bad as when Sasuke had left the village all those years ago. He looked to the right and saw a vase of purple flowers on the nightstand, and to his left and he saw Jiraiya sitting there, a solemn expression on his face. 

"Sayuri ended up escaping to Orochimaru, there's no need to feel bad about what happened, though I'm sure in this timeline, as well as the lack of your injuries when Obito found you, you let her escape." Naruto was silent for a moment. 

"Are you going to tell them?" Jiraiya sighed and closed the book he was reading. 

"No, I won't." He replied. "You're from the future, a slightly different future, but the future nonetheless. If you did something, then it was for a reason. But for my own curiosity, why'd you let Sayuri go?" Naruto leaned his head on the wall behind him and closed his eyes. 

"In my timeline, Sayuri was Sasuke and she wasn't a she, but a guy. Back then, he fled to get stronger for Orochimaru and it worked. He got stronger and became a force to be reckoned with. I thought that if Sayuri were to go to Orochimaru like Sasuke did, the same thing would happen." 

"Is that what you think is for the best?" Jiraiya asked seriously. Naruto frowned and thought for a moment. Was it for the best? "What if Orochimaru gets to transfer his body in this timeline unlike the one in yours?" 

"No, she's strong, just like Sasuke was. She'll kill Orochimaru. Yes, I believe this was for the best." He said confidently. Jiraiya let out another long, tired sigh. 

"Then I'll trust you on this brat." He stood up with a small grunt. "Alright, time to go then." Naruto rose an eyebrow.

"We're already going on our training trip?" Jiraiya grinned and flashed him a thumbs up. 

"Yes we are! We gotta get you strong enough to save the world, right?" Naruto smiled.

"Yep!" He threw the blanket off of his legs and sprung up. "Let's get going pervy sage!" Jiraiya smiled as Naruto rushed out of the room to his apartment and gather his things.

It would be a long three years, but they'd endure it. If Naruto was telling the truth, and he had no reason to disbelieve the child of his former student, then he'd have to get as strong as possible to face off against the threats of the future. 

He would help him along the way as much as he could.

He owed Minato, and the world, that much at least. 

Naruto packed his bag with a small grin on his face. He would save this world. He would get stronger. The time where he would grow the most was now. He zipped up his back and slug it across his shoulder. 

He was ready. 

Nothing was going to happen to this world. He would save his friends. He would never let anyone he cared about die.

Never again. 

And done. That's the end for part one. Short I know, and I know I promised a longer chapter but motivation is at an all time low and I had to force myself to write this so I hope you enjoyed it. 

PART 2 COMES SOON! ish, i hope at least. 

Anyway ye

Til next time my lil demons! 

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