Chapter 31: Meaning

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A younger, brighter version of Naruto Uzumaki sat on top of the Fourth Hokage's head, smiling down at the village that he loved. It was peaceful. It was a good day.

Another Naruto, wearing a black poncho-like cloak that went down to his waist, revealing a pair of black Anbu-grade shinobi pants and casual brown shoes. He had a Rinnegan as his left eye and a dull blue for his right.  His blond hair was longer and hung in front of his eyes. 

"Who are you?" The younger version of Naruto asked cheerfully with a bright grin. He must've had a good day. The older Naruto looked over Konoha with an impassive gaze. 

"I remember this day. Kakashi actually trained us and then Sasuke and Sakura went to Ichiraku with me. I was so excited for the tiniest bit of acknowledgment from those two that I didn't even see the glares from the villagers."  His voice was empty. The younger Naruto only smiled. 

"Huh? What does that mean? You go to Ichiraku's too?" His stomach grumbled before his grin grew even wider. "Wanna go get a bowl? On me stranger!" His younger self was so clueless. Then again, if an older version of himself were to come talking to him he'd think that it was just a coincidence of looking alike. 

But still. . .

"I can't," Naruto replied looking at his older self, meeting his crystal blue eyes filled with hope, happiness, and determination, ready to take on anything that headed towards him head-on. "I have to do something." The younger Naruto tilted his head to the side, confused. 

"What do you mean?" He wasn't answered as he suddenly found the older Naruto's hand wrapped around his throat and push him down, pinning him by his neck against the stone head of the Fourth Hokage. 

"I have to kill the old me," The older Naruto replied in a monotone as he began increasing the grip on his younger self. He watched as his young face turned red from lack of oxygen as he struggled in vain.

"A-Are you s-su-sure this is t-the right p-path?" The younger Naruto choked out. 

"Yes," Naruto replied. "You must disappear so I can continue." 

"T-That sounds l-lonely." The younger Naruto whispered. The older Naruto's eyes hardened. 

"I'm going to keep moving forward." He whispered, his voice resolute. "Until I can be sure this world will be safe. In the end, I'm going to die. Holding onto you would only hinder me." 

"At least we got to be Hokage once," The younger Naruto said before dying in the grip of the older Naruto. Naruto stood up and surveyed the village one last time. Then, without a word, he turned around and walked away. 

Naruto's eyes opened as he awoke from his short slumber, bags under his eyes. He looked at the clouds above him through the leaves, having slept in a tree. 

It had been two months since he had attacked the Five Hokage. Two months since he had officially been a missing-nin. He shook his head. Thoughts like these were useless now. 

His old self was dead. He had killed him. 

He wondered what his next move should be. Gaara had died and been revived during his two months of isolation from the world, though the redhead no longer possessed the One-Tail. He let out a sigh.

Every single jinchuuriki besides himself was now dead. Kumo had been destroyed by Naruto only knew as the man in the mask. He had taken Yugito Nii and Killer Bee at the same time while crippling the Raikage by taking his right arm and slashing out his left eye. 

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