Chapter 29: Cycle

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"Are you sure you're still the hero of this story?"  That voice spoke in his head. "Are you sure you're still the hero of this story?"

Over and over again. 

"Are you sure you're still the hero of this story?"

Naruto looked down at his hands, shaking slightly. "Oh my god," He saw his hands turn red, stained with blood. "What have I done?" 

The Village Hidden in the Rain was no more, flattened and destroyed. 

Blood poured off of Naruto's hands and onto the wooden floor beneath him, pooling under his feet. "They were right," He whispered to himself. "The villagers were right about me." He sat on the floor, his hands grabbing at his hair as his bloodshot eyes widened uncontrollably. "I really am. . ." 

"A monster."

"You destroyed the entirety of the Hidden Rain," Tsunade began with a tone of disbelief, her eyes wide and filled with sadness as she met Naruto's dead eyes. They were surrounded on all sides by several council members as well as Team 7, Obito, Sakura, and Sai, who were to be witnesses. 

"Men, women, children, shinobi and civilian, do you know how much political face we just lost boy?" Koharu practically shouted. "This is against international law!" 

"Do you have anything to say for yourself Uzumaki?" Homura said as he closed his eyes, his face holding a permanent frown. 

"No," Naruto answered, drawing looks of surprise from the council members. "I don't really care. I did what I had to do in order to secure a better future for the Leaf." 

"Resulting in wiping an entire ninja village off the map?" Danzo asked the blond. Naruto didn't react nor answer Danzo's rhetorical question. He didn't need to.

"Naruto," Tsunade began grimly. "Do you know how serious this is? The Daimyo will ask for your head." 

"And?" Naruto asked lazily, his eyes half-lidded and his body slumping in his seat, the hood only resting atop of his head and revealing his face. 

"Quit the apathetic attitude brat!" Tsume Inuzuka barked. "I don't think you see the severity of the situation you're in right now! You committed war crimes! You killed thousands of innocent civilians when your only mission was to retrieve a pair of damn eyes that nobody has even seen yet!" 

"I did what I had to do." Naruto said as he lurched forward, propping his elbows up on the table and resting his chin in his palm. "And I will always keep doing what I have to do. What would have happened if I simply just killed their leader and stolen the power which had brought them safety and peace? It would have bred a hatred for Konoha almost like none other before. 

"That hatred would thrive and eventually they would strike and do what we did to them. They'd cripple us. And what will that do to Konoha? Our own people would then in turn feel that same hatred the Rain did to them but only reversed. What I did wasn't only the best option, but it was also a mercy. I ended the Hidden Rain's cycle of hatred by not leaving a single survivor." 

"And now you will reap what you sowed, that being your ultimate demise. We have to give you to the Daimyo as soon as he asks, you understand that right?" Koharu hissed. Naruto met the old woman's eyes and for the first time that day a smirk crawled upon his lips, unnerving everyone in the room as single canine was shown from the smile. 

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