Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or the Wheel of Time. This is a non-profit work of fanfiction meant only for entertainment.
by Lerris Smith
It took several days until everyone was recovered. Thankfully the trios chakra seemed to almost have a mind of its own now, as it did not fight them when they tried to use it. They could all work at nearly their top abilities. Hinata and Samui could even use lightning chakra in place of Saidar. Samui was something of an expert before, and Hinata had learned a fair amount before being sent back. It seemed more than that though. It seemed that their practice with Saidar somehow carried over. It didn't matter. It worked, and neither could even think of touching Saidar without remembering the loss. It depressed them both, even as their still strangely existing bonds kept them together.
It was the night before the likely battle. Naruto was off with Jiraiya and Tsunade, taking a break and spending a little time with the last link to his parents. They were all resting to let their chakra coils recover. Running out of chakra seemed unlikely now, though burning out their coils seemed a greater risk. Not even Naruto had his own chakra anymore. It seemed to be all one large pool shared between them that all drew from and all contributed back to. Naruto may have had the much larger reserves, but the links between them made that almost irrelevant, save that the women could not perform quite as large of jutsu.
Samui said, "Before Naruto-kun returns, I wanted to tell you. I don't regret anything, but should we survive tomorrow, I intend not to waste the time I have left."
"You want a child, his child," said Hinata softly.
"Yes. His genetics give the best chance for my child to be strong, to survive the burden put upon them that we expect to pass down." She paused for a bit, seemingly searching for words, "I do not wish to come between you. A medic could surely help with the details."
"You do not wish him to be yours?" asked Hinata in surprise.
"I have never wished to take him from you. Do not worry. I will be okay. I have been okay for a long time. My team and my village will support me."
"You do not play fair Samui-san."
"No. I suppose I do not, but then neither do you. Should I die tomorrow, Tsunade-sama has saved several of my eggs. I am the last of my clan. I wish to give it a chance to continue."
"You wish me to be the mother?" asked a surprised Hinata.
"I would be honored if you would, but I have written Karui. Should I pass, the letter will be sent."
Hinata walked over to her, enfolded the taller girl in her arms, and held on for all she was worth. She said softly, "I was right. You were the best choice. You were always so strong." Tears fell from her lavender eyes for several minutes as they just held each other. Eventually, Hinata composed herself and said, "I will agree, if you will do the same."
"Of course, it would hardly be cool to do less than I myself ask for. Tsunade is waiting in her home."
Hinata said softly, "I do not own Naruto-kun. His choices are his own. When all this is over we will talk, okay?"
Samui replied softly, "Thank you."
Hinata said softly, "No, thank you," before beginning to roof hop to Tsunade's home.
Naruto walked up a few minutes later and asked, "What was up with that? She seemed so sad and then a bit happy."
Samui smiled a small smile, saying nothing, even as she absently picked up a leaf before incinerating it with lightning chakra. A bit more practice never hurt.
The battle began, but not as they expected. They didn't even wait for them to start fixing Gaara's seal. Forces from Kumo, Sand, and Konoha went up against the best the Snake Sannin could field, along with Orochimaru himself. Oddly missing were more of Orochimaru's cursed seal forces.
Hinata, Samui and Naruto cut loose on the canon fodder each unleashing shadow clones, even as the rest of the forces did the same. Naruto unleashed a couple dozen, while Samui and Hinata managed a dozen each. The former and her copies simply manuevering her opponent where she could stop their heart with electricity. That actually made her clones the most frightening, since they could kill several enemies each before dispelling.
Things got interesting when Kimimaro begin to get serious. No one particularly wanted to fight him up close if it could be avoided. The trio's clones charged him. Naruto had ten clones left. Hinata had seven, while Samui had two. All but two of Naruto's clones and one of Hinata's were killed by bone projectiles just trying to get near. The remaining two Naruto's clones slashed through Kimimaro, one going high, while the other went low. The wind chakra flow from each clone, backed by purified Kyuubi chakra combined with Natural energy, sliced right slicing him into three, even as Hinata's clone slashed him with an overhead strike from the back. The lightning chakra flow through the duplicated sword did not last long before the clone went up in smoke, but it still removed half of his head while cauterizing both pieces. Naruto's last two clones went up in smoke an instant later as a result of being destabilized by the chakra flow.
They each created more clones. Samui's clones continued to slash at the canon fodder, while Naruto's switched to rasengans. They were not as effective as wind chakra flow in pure destructive power, but they also didn't cause the clone to blow up. Their originals continued flowing either air or lightning chakra with every cut. Occasionally a clone would be pressed and switch to chakra flow, but that was the exception. Pure power was seldom needed against lower level enemies.
Samui, Naruto, and Hinata were standing side by side even as they saw a mob of hundreds of ninja head their way. After a couple of hand signs between them, Naruto created a dozen more clones while Hinata and Samui created a half dozen. Each Naruto clone moved next to either a Hinata or Samui clone and began forming a rasengan. The Samui clones were at first hesitant, but quickly copied Hinata's in carefully feeding in lightning natured chakra into into each Rasengan. The clones held the resulting disc of barely stable energy above their heads even as they charged the oncoming mob. The mob was devastated in the resulting carnage.
Naruto scratched the back of his head. "Need to practice that. The clones are more durable because of the natural energy, but that was pushing it."
Samui looked onto the devastation of that particular clones technique and asked sweetly, "Teach me the core part?"
"Sure, why not, but only you okay?" said Naruto.
Samui said, "I promise."
They moved on to look for more targets.
Neji looked on at the trail of devastation the trio left. The devastation of that combined jutsu was without a doubt impressive, but he was more interested in Hinata's skills. She brought Jyuken to a higher form, slipping in and around defenses, using only a trickle of her now enormous chakra reserves to stop her enemies heart's. Her two teammates were angels of carnage in themselves of course. Their clones could do as much or more, but not nearly so efficiently. For every shadow clone Hinata made Samui and Naruto made at least three. It didn't seem to matter to them. They had the chakra for it.
Hinata's style was interesting in that it didn't require massive reserves. He wondered if he could learn. The precise nature of her specialized Jyuken combined with lightning chakra was extremely effective, particularly when her clones could do it dozens of times before dispelling. It also wasn't just the lightning chakra. If was a very precise application of it at the right time, and was that a certain vibration in her chakra flow? Whatever it was, it worked.
There, the original stopped a chunin's heart, but falling seemed to have started it up again. He didn't last but moments before his cousin swiftly pulled her sword out and swiped the glowing blade through his throat. Blood didn't even stick to the blade. In the blink of an eye she had it sheathed again and was moving on, moving to catch up with the others, without even blinking.
Neji absently closed several of the tenketsu of some low life trash that was approaching him. Before he could finish him, Anko threw a kunai and ended the idiot. He nodded at her and stepped over the corpse before going to look for his next target. Anko retrieved her kunai.
Danzo, Hiruzen, the Raikage, the Kazekage, and Shikaku looked on the carnage from their vantage point high on the cliff. They each had spy glasses. Danzo said, "The trio is doing remarkably well. I particularly like the vicious little Hyuga. There is something to be said about killing an enemy without leaving a mark. I wonder if even an autopsy would show anything."
"She is certainly remarkably efficient with her chakra, even if she no longer needs to be," the Third said,
The Raikage said, "I liked the crowd removal combo, though I'm a bit surprised Samui was taught it, or part of it at least."
The Hokage said, "I would appreciate it, if you didn't press her to teach it." The Raikage gave him a small nod, conceding the point.
Sarutobi said, "Either way, I don't want them physically or mentally exhausted before the real enemy gets here. Call them back. Let the rest of our forces handle it for now and leave our special assets for the real monsters."
"Agreed," said the Raikage.
"Agreed," said the Kazekage. "If possible, I'd rather not send Gaara at all. His seal is paper thin right now."
"It should not be required," said Sarutobi.
Shikaku press his comlink, "All special assets are to fall back orderly to staging positions. Regular forces are to continue to eliminate the remaining enemy forces while being alert of their stage two targets. Any special problems are to be reported ASAP for priority elimination. This is only the beginning."
The Raikage said, "I believe I will be promoting Samui after this battle. Though she has lost the ability to use this new power, she has done much for Kumo. I could only wish her life wasn't shortened for it."
The Hokage said, "Tsunade is investigating."
"I know. As are my people, but how do you fix what has been burned away? Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that eventually the power of the Kyuubi will end as it fades through the generations, but it is a very difficult set of circumstances to duplicate, and I'm still not sure it was worth it."
"I just wish the main event would hurry up and get here," said the Kazekage. "If not for this trash, we might have helped my son. If not for this trash, the people we needed to help my son might not have done what they did. At least the bastards won't get the Kyuubi. That much is assured."
The Raikage asked, "Does it matter that the Kyuubi is technically dead? The chakra is still there, and possibly in a more useful form."
"That I do not know," admitted the Hokage.
Kakashi said, "Well that sucks."
Gai said, "Cheer up my dear rival. It is more for us! I'm at seventeen!"
"Twenty," Kakashi said dryly.
"Curse you my hip rival. Eighteen." said Gai as he shook some guts from his right hand.
Shikaku said, "So where are their curse seal forces? I know they don't have many. We eliminated a few beyond the sound four, but shouldn't we be seeing some? Kimimaru didn't really get a chance to use it before the trio's clones ended him, but surely there were at least a few more?"
He pressed a different button on his com set, "Shikamaru. Status report. Where are the troublesome ones?
Temari's plan was simple, but genius in its own way. Koharu was establishing gateways as needed. That was her whole duty. She did a bit more than obvious though. She created and tied off dozens of little gateways, barely a few inches across that looked upon the battlefield. They were so small that their weaves could simply be tied and left in place for hours. This is where her plan was genius. When you paired those gateways with the right observers, you had complete knowledge of the battlefield.
Most of the gateways were positioned strategically above the island and ended in a large room below the Hokage tower. Behind each of those little gateways were now unmarked Hyuga with Byakugan active scanning their particular zone for trouble. They each wore headsets that linked to Shikamaru's own. His headset linked to his father's who was on the island. His father's headset linked not just to his sons, but to all the allied ninja on the island. The gateways allowed the signals to pass. Together the pair of Naras along with the Hyugas directed the battle.
Shikamaru said, "Coverage of the island remains complete. No information is available."
"What about underground?" asked his father.
"Checking." The link was quiet for a second before Shikamaru replied, "The observers can't see deeply into the ground with current points. Additional resources are being brought on-line."
"Status of Kiri?" asked his father.
"Current information is that the one ship and crew Kiri was willing to commit is six hours from the island. You do know they can't stop Akatsuki should they try to retreat."
Shikaku said, "They don't need to stop them. They need only slow them down."
The Hokage asked, "Shikaku, what is your best guess to explain the number of the forces we are facing?"
Shikaku said, "My guess is that Orochimaru has somehow learned to mass produce ninja. Quality seems lacking, but the quantity is troubling. We know he tried to mass produce test subjects before he turned to kidnapping. It seems he has succeeded in that much."
"Make sure someone collects enough prisoners so we can track this back to the source. Even if the snake is killed, I want the knowledge of how to do this destroyed."
Shikaku said, "Ibiki's group already has that as a secondary task. Given our progress, I see no need to add additional resources."
The slaughter those three began slowed as the trio fell back. The allied forces continued what they started, slowly churning through the surprising variety and more importantly quantity of forces the Snake Sannin had accumulated.
Casualties began to mount, albeit slowly. Those with significant injuries were quickly moved to a staging area for triage and to be shipped back with the next gateway. Those that died were moved as well, but stored in a separate area, to be shifted back when time permitted. The other channelers were held back entirely as were the other Jinchuriki, safe for Kirabi who was guarding Kumo. The channelers were currently under orders to do only needed gateways and healing what could not wait for a medic nin back in Konoha.
Near the western edge of his forces, Orochimaru tried to slink away, only to be frozen by a Tsukuyomi.
"Hello Orochimaru. It is good to see you." stated Itachi from his position inside the genjutsu as he observed Orochimaru tied to the cross.
"Release me!" demanded Orochimaru.
"You should know that I finished off the last few with your little hicky, well other than Kimimaru, and I believe Naruto-kun and his friends finished him earlier. My part was rather time consuming, but not particularly difficult."
"Why? What did I ever do to you?"
Itachi said quietly, "I had hoped Sasuke would redeem us. You took that from me. You ended all hope for the Uchiha and for that you will be ended."
Somehow the Snake Sannin broke out of Tsukuyomi before morphing into a giant snake that swallowed Itachi whole. It was a short lived victory as black fire shot from Itachi's sharingan burning them both to dust. After that the real battle began.
It was thanks to Shikamaru, that they also had some of the observation gateways pointing up, instead of all down. It was through one of those gateways that they got the warning.
One of the Hyuga women shouted, "Emergency: Pein is in the air above the middle of the island!" Shikimaru pressed the button to transmit the message directly to his father as soon as he heard emergency.
Shikaku jammed the transmit button and said, "Shizune stop the Pein above us before he kills us all!"
"Almighty Push!" was heard shouted throughout the island as the ground started to be blown away. It's first hit what was left of the Snake Sannin's forces, though it quickly began to spread to allied forces.
"No you don't!" Shizune exclaimed as she let Saidar consume her, falling deeper into it than she had ever fell before. Saidar was an endless ocean and she was the pebble that dared to guide its path.
Chiyo felt the source rage through her as it passed into her through the angreal that had originally been Samui's. There was little to do at this end of the link, other than to try to remain calm as the power threatened to sweep all that was her away into the abyss. She did not even have a choice in what power was sent. All that was given up once she accepted her place in the ring, and would remain out of her hands until Shizune released her. The need of a ring to safely buffer the source for safety was galling, but you could hardly expect perfection from a first attempt, and it seemed Hinata would never make another. With both her and Tenten surging power through to Shizune she glowed like the sun to those who could see it.
Shizune took that power and focused it into the growing storm clouds calling a massive burst of lightning that shot down near instantly into the Pein that was hovering, burning him out of the sky.
Near Shizune Hyuga Hiashi stood watch, with Tsunade herself only a few feet further away. Chiyo and Tenten were nearby. Hinata's voice was heard from the com system, "Good, now find and shield the rest of Pein's puppets. Block them from the real one. Cut their strings and break his toys!"
"Understood," said Shizune. "Targeting assistance is required."
Shikaku's voice said, "Targeting is in process. Information will be relayed as it is obtained."
After Shikaku finished speaking, he removed his thumb from the button and said to no one in particular, "As if we could ever get that lucky."
He pressed the other button and said, "Shikamaru, status of underground?"
"Three on-line and manned. Two more ready for eyes once they arrive. ETA is one minute."
Shikaku released the button on his microphone. He said, "The loss of that puppet should weaken them. From what Hinata said, most of Pein's power may have been in that one, at least temporarily. Perhaps we destroyed that chunk of his power."
"Let's not count on it," said Hiruzen. "Quite a few remain, not to mention Orochimaru's cursed seal holders wherever they are, plus however many of those cursed Zetsu clones."
The Raikage said, "At least we appear to have confirmation that your former student is dead."
"Agreed," said the Hokage.
Shikaku pressed his com button and said, "Deidera has been sighted in the far northeast."
Shizune didn't reply. The target wasn't nearly so obvious or so close this time. She focused her eyes through a small hand held site glass, using every bit of the enhancement Saidar could give her as she strained to find him. Not for the first time, she wished Hinata was here. She felt a tug on her arm as Hiashi gently shifted her till she saw her target. She drew on Saidar through both of the people linked to her, who were in turn linked to the near saangreal. A bolt of lightning lanced from the sky, flashing briefly as it struck him.
Hiashi said into his microphone, "Partial hit. He appears to be missing half his body. Likely dead, but I recommend verification."
"Understood. A team is in route."
The Hyuga doctor who was manning the gateway monitoring the underground of the middle area of the battle half shouted, "Emergency: Hundreds of figures are moving underground towards Shizune!"
Shikamaru immediately passed the message on as soon as he heard emergency.
Tsunade glanced at Hiashi who gave a grim nod. Shizune rapidly forced a skimming gateway into existence. "Get in," she shouted. "Let shisho work."
The others quickly rushed in even as Tsunade launched an extremely powerful chakra enhanced punch into the ground shattering the ground and creating a canyon. Shizune dropped the ring, letting each of them access the power as best they could, while she held the skimming gateway and thus the one section of ground they knew was safe from those moving underground.
Through their com links they heard, "That killed most of them. A couple dozen remain. More incoming."
"Ideas?" asked Chiyo.
Tenten said, "Once they appear, target them with lightning." Turning to the Hyuga she asked, " Hiashi-sama can you point where they will appear?"
"I can." He pointed not far from Tsunade. Tenten said, "I've got Tsunade," even as Tsunade lept into the air. "Chiyo, your up."
A bolt of lightning flashed out of the sky as the head started to appear. Tsunade looked annoyed as she waited to be put down.
Hiashi shouted, "Tsunade, wait until I say then strike. Three. Two." She began to fall, quickly righting herself and extending her right heal. "One." Her foot struct the ground again decimating it and sending shock waves that killed all nearby underground. Tsunade looked a bit winded at using two full power chakra enhanced strikes in rapid succession. She quickly stood back up and looked around warily.
Shizune said over her headset, "Tsunade. Hiashi. Evacuate and let them in. I've got a plan." Hiashi glanced at her then jumped out, only to be followed a second behind by a hesitant Tsunade.
Shizune said, "To me." The link reformed. The platform expanded to ten times its original size, with all of it in front of them, even as a barrier of air separated them from the rest of the platform.
Ten seconds passed, until the first Zetsu clone jumped up and in. This was immediately followed by hundreds more as they all surged through trying to push through the barrier Shizune held in place. Suddenly the way out stopped existing. This was followed by the floor underneath the Zetsu clones. The Zetsu clones fell into the abyss of nothingness. Shizune reopened the platform's connection to the real world.
She heard over her com set, "Shizune. Report."
"All targets eliminated. Status of underground."
"Clear for now. We have no idea if that is all of them."
Chiyo said, "Should the opportunity arise, I would like to save a few. They might be useful research subjects."
Tenten looked slightly green at the idea, but Shizune simply nodded sadly, even as Tsunade and Hiashi ran back to their previous positions.
Over the link they heard, "Team Tsunade. It is recommend that you abandon your fixed position."
Tsunade rolled her eyes even as she hopped onto the skimming platform with Hiashi jumping up a moment later. She said, "Shizune, can this thing open at different locations outside the island? We are missing something, or rather several someones. Hiashi-kun may be able to see them."
The portal to the real world vanished even as they began to move. Thirty seconds later it opened, but instead of the full sized opening, an area little more than a foot in size opened in front of Hiashi's face. It overlooked the island from a hundred fifty feet up along the southern edge.
"Good," Hiashi said even as he activated his eyes. "Now, if you can, move us around the island at about this distance."
The platform began to move and the small opening to reality moved with it. Shizune absently said, "This is tricky," before returning to her work. They began to move more quickly.
Hiashi continued to stare. They were nearly half way around the island when he said, "I found four of them. It looks like Sasori, Kisame, and Kakuzu." It looked like Sasori and Kisame were arguing with Kakuzu. Sasori pointed to a ship docked not too far away.
Tsunade said, "So the troublesome set are elsewhere."
Shizune said, "There are not enough clouds directly over the island to call lightning and it would take some time to change that."
"That will not be necessary," Tenten said as she removed a small bag from behind her back and pulled out a large sealing scroll. "I have here a scroll containing a lot of explosives."
Shizune asked, "Where did you get all that?"
"I sealed up everything explosive left in my dads shop, including his just delivered order of heavy duty demolitions seals."
Shizune gave her a flat look.
"Hey, you never can be too prepared. I know Saidar is risky for seals, but well, we still control it, and with this scroll..."
Shizune looked at her in shock. "If that had gone off."
"I put my armor on and attached it to my back."
Tsunade said bluntly, "The concussion damage would have still killed you, and us, and anyone nearby, and probably quite a few others beside." She shook her head. "Never mind. Just send the Hokage the bill." Turning to Shizune she said, "Move us quietly above them, best to go up a bit as well, but make sure you can see to open the scroll when it hits."
Shizune deftly maneuvered their skimming platform until the opening to the real world was directly over the four and the western corner of the island.
Tsunade casually tossed the scroll through the hole. A few seconds later Hiashi yelled, "Now!"
Shizune sent a torrent of lightning flavored Saidar into the scroll just as it hit the ground and kept sending. The outer seal instantly failed, followed quickly by all the inner seals. The sound, even limited by the small connection to the real world was deafening. The light was so bright that it force Hiashi to close his eyes. It looked like a new lake would fill in soon, assuming that the island didn't wear away the outer edges and make it a bay.
Hiashi said dryly, "I think that did it."
"Take us down," Tsunade said. "We have some bodies to incinerate, particularly the so called immortal."
Chiyo said, "I claim Sasori's body by right of kinship and ask for no bounty on any other."
"Agreed," said Tsunade.
Nagato did not understand, but he was determined to find out. His Deva Path had been destroyed. There was not enough left for even the Naraka Path to do anything with.
Obito asked, "What will you do now?"
His human path said, "This path can take the place of the Deva path. The skills will be weaker, but they will work. We will collect Hinata Hyuga, Naruto Uzumaki, and the other one and get some answers. When I attack, I want you to push them into the Kamui dimension. After that we will return to Ame and place them in the special cells. We will get our answers, particularly to this rumor that they killed the Kyubi. If nothing else, perhaps the statue will be able to digest them and get something out of it."
"For this to work, I'll have to place your paths into my dimension and then release you when we are already on top of them."
"Very well. Do it."
They came out of nowhere. Suddenly some fat guy was holding Samui in a hold, seemingly draining her. At the same time Naruto was shot across the yard by another guy who didn't even touch them. Hinata blurred as she tried to reach that one, only for him to repeatedly dodge her efforts.
She was forced away from that one by a pair of giant rhinoceros summoned by another one. She drew her sword, lightning crackling on its edge and sliced off the foot of the rhino on her left, before jumping and slicing through the eyes of the one on the right and into its brain. Both went up in smoke.
Naruto had recovered and was returning when Hinata shouted, "Naruto, send her a burst of it."
Samui's eyes grew wider as her struggling continued. She started to turn to stone, starting with her foot, even as the one holding her was turning to stone faster. The flow of natural energy stopped and her chakra balanced, likely with Naruto's help. Their systems seemed less separate all the time. Her foot changed back. She surged chakra and burst out of her enemies grip before being pulled into nowhere.
Naruto charged in, only to be held by the Asura path, as its arms multiplied in number. He flowed chakra down his trench knives, pulling in natural energy at the same time. A second later that one was cut in half.
The first one again somehow knocked him way across the battlefield without touching him, though this time he didn't hit the ground. He felt hands catch him. Through the bond he knew who it was. "Samui?"
"Yes, I'm here. I don't know how to return. Do you?"
"No, but we have to hurry. Hinata needs our help."
"I'm sorry. I can't open a gateway back."
"It is not your fault."
Even as he said that, Hinata was throw into this strange realm that seemed to be made of large cubic columns. She said, "You don't know how glad I am to see you both."
Both Samui and Naruto smiled briefly. Samui asked, "Did you kill any of the others?"
"I got the one that summons, but it doesn't matter. His Naraka Path can revive them if we leave a body."
"That is so not cool," said Samui. She looked on. It looked around the endless field of stone blocks that was their new reality.
Naruto asked, "Is there any chance we can just blast our way out? Wait, I know, if I can summon a toad..." He quickly bit his thumb and smeared blood on his right hand before calling out, "Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" It fizzled. He tried again with a lot more chakra. It fizzled as well, but something else happened. The realm shook.
"You did something," noted Samui coolly.
Hinata said, "Everyone on three. Three. Two. One. Now!." All three performed the summoning jutsu with a enormous amount of what used to be the Kyubi's chakra. The ground began to split and twist as what felt like a magnitude ten earthquake began. They had to use all their ninja skills just to remain standing as the realm seemed to break up around them leaving them falling through the air right and splashing down into the ocean.
They plunged into the water before swimming to the surface. Land was no where in sight. They swam close together. The water was at least warm. Samui looked around carefully in all directions. She said, "I can usually sense the weak bond we still have to Tenten. It's gone. We are either too far away."
"Or she is dead," said Hinata quietly.
Naruto stepped up on the surface of the water and reached down to lift the other two up. He said, "What can you see Hinata?"
She switched on her eyes and did two complete turns. "Nothing. There is nothing within my range and my range is nearly twenty kilometers."
Samui said, "The island was east of the mainland. If they were going back to the mainland when we broke out, then logically the mainland should be west. We could try to go back east, but that island wasn't that big. It would be easy to miss."
Hinata said, "The sun should be roughly northwest now. If we assume that is correct and head west, we should hit something, eventually, assuming we can all water walk that long."
Naruto said, "I can carry everyone, including myself, with clones. That means that the only one that has to stay awake is me. You two can rest." Hinata blushed and even Samui pinked a bit.
Hinata said, "Thanks Naruto. We'll take turns. Wake me every hour or so so I can check for land."
Naruto created three extra durable clones. Each picked up one person and began running on the water towards the west.
After four hours of this Naruto decided to do something about food and drink. He had only woken Hinata once during the trip so far. She seemed happier when resting in his clone's arms. They both did. He whispered to his clones, "You'd better wake them. We need to try to find something to eat."
The clones gently shook them awake. Naruto said, "Evening himes." The sun was going to set soon.
"Good evening Naruto-kun," echoed from Samui and Hinata.
"I've already used a minor water jutsu for drinking water. It's tricky to make small enough, so you may want to practice." Both young women managed to get it to work after three or four tries. It was even easier when done for one another.
"Now, what about food?"
Hinata looked around with her Byakugan. She said, "Still nothing. I did find food. Wait here." She slipped out of the clones arms and dove into the sea. Several minute later she was pulling back a large fish about a third as big as she was.
Naruto made more clones. Two of them held the fish between them as Samui, also held by a clone, used a small fire jutsu to produce a steady fireball in her hands as she slowly cooked the fish.
Hinata said, "After we eat, my clones will carry us further west. I can see nearly as well in the night as day."
"I'll take my turn next," said Samui to which Hinata nodded. Things got a bit more complicated when Samui and Naruto had to use the restroom a bit later, but they managed. It took almost half an hour before they were reasonably confident the fish was done enough to eat. Their Kunai worked well to cut up sections of surprisingly tasty fish. They continued west with Hinata's clones carrying them, taking particular care not to let them get wet. It was getting cold and water would just make it worse. Four hours later Samui took over.
The cycle began again with Naruto in the morning. They continued to try to keep going west. They had no better idea. Day after day and night after night they continued, rotating between the three of them so they could rest. It worked well, except for the nights. It was hard to sleep in the bitter cold. Naruto had taken to transforming clones into blankets. It was better than nothing, even if he did have to replace those clones frequently due to the solid henge's chakra use. He has also taken to using the chakra blades to keep them full of natural energy. The cold mattered less with Sage chakra in your system.
Finally thirty days later they found a continent.
"Wind perhaps," suggested Samui. The others had no better idea. They just started following the shoreline north in the hopes of running into something. Several days later they found a small village and were able to confirm they were in Wind country. More importantly they were able to get supplies and a bearing for Suna.
It was hard travel, particularly for those not used to the desert, but they endured. Two weeks later the gates of Suna were in site when Samui said, "I can feel it again. Tenten is in Konoha I think."
Naruto said, "That is great."
Hinata said, "I'm really glad she is okay."
They picked up their pace, only to be met at the gates by Temari and Shikamaru.
"Hey," Shikamaru said. Temari punched him lightly in the side of the stomach. She said, "Welcome. We have been looking all over for you. Do you know what happened?"
Samui whined, "Could we eat first? I'm so tired of trail rations."
"Of course. Do any of you require medical attention?" They shook their heads. Temari led them into the Kazekage's office after sending Shikamaru off for food.
The Kage said, "So, what happened to you? You are quite tan." They walked him through their rather long journey to get here.
"Interesting. It seems that your destruction of the fake Madara's space time jutsu just threw you out randomly in the middle of the ocean."
Naruto said, "It beat whatever that creep had in mind."
"That I do not doubt. Though it was fortunate you were so resourceful. Very few teams could have survive that journey."
Shikamaru brought in a stack full of ramen that they all dug into.
Naruto asked, "So, what happened after we were abducted?"
Shikamaru said, "Jiraiya led a team to Ame to find you that included Tsunade's interim team from the island. It turns out that what you did to escape killed the fake Madara. Jiraiya and his team fought and incinerated the remaining puppets. The puppet master was a man named Nagato. He was already in very poor health. He didn't make it."
Hinata asked, "There was not another? A paper user?"
He shrugged. "If there was, it was not in the report." The Kazekage asked, "Are you well enough to attempt the sealing?"
Naruto said, "Sure, once Jiraiya gets here at least, or do we go back to the island?"
Temari said, "I'll go inform Konoha. You can go back with me for now if you want."
"Please?" asked Naruto.
Hinata and Samui looked sad for a moment before their faces fell back into a neutral expression.
They returned to the island to try to replace the seal. Naruto, Hinata, and Samui, fed medical chakra into Tenten, Chiyo, and Shizune, with Shizune once again leading the ring. She used that mix of chakra and Saidar to first to compress the Ichibi into a small ball of power. She then held onto it, even as Jiraiya quickly removed the existing seal.
She held as Jiraiya unfolded a detailed drawing of the new seal. She held as he slowly and painstakingly drew the new seal in place using a combination of all of their blood. She held for each and every precise brush stroke, but it was not just her. Six people's combined power along with the two angreal were being used to contain a demon with nothing more than raw power.
Finally, almost thirty minutes later Jiraiya gave his work one last look before saying, "It is finished. It just needs power."
Shizune split her attention. First she maintained what was held. Until the seal was ready, she had to keep the demon at bay. With everything she had left she fed all the rest into the seal and just kept feeding. She could barely see in front of her, so bright was the power. If Jiraiya was correct, there would be a resistance when the seal had absorbed enough. She kept pushing, even as she could feel Samui's incredibly dense chakra getting sucked into the weaves with Naruto and Hinata's coming in from the sides alongside the far more dense flows of Saidar from Tenten and Chiyo.
Minutes passed. Shizune was forced to release the initial weave that held the Ichibi. The new seal was beginning to block her from her own work. She could feel the Ichibi thrash against the beginnings of the new seal even as red chakra leaked out. She poured the power that was freed up into the task.
A half hour passed. Sweat poured from all their foreheads. Shizune glanced at Jiraiya. He looked worried. He asked softly, "How much longer can you guys last?"
"Not long," Shizune gasped. "I can feel that Tenten and Chiyo are well past exhaustion. They need to stop. Hinata, Naruto, and Samui can't be any better. All of the chakra flowing from them has slowed." Indeed when she looked at them they were barely clinging to consciousness.
Tsunade said, "Temari make a skimming gateway and float Gaara inside it."
"Your giving up?" exclaimed his sister.
"No, just facing reality. They have to stop. It will either hold or it will not."
"Fine!" She wove the flows harshly. The skimming platform and portal fell into place with an audible snap before Gaara was gently floated in.
Jiraiya said, "Now, back off slowly. No sudden moves. Temari? How long can you hold that?"
"Hours if need be." Jiraiya nodded.
Shizune let the flow taper off. Ten seconds passed. It was down to less than half. Another ten seconds it was down to a quarter. The seal seemed to be pushing out. Ten more seconds it was down to barely a trickle and then none.
Naruto asked weakly, "Did it work?"
Jiraiya jumped up to the platform and gently picked up Gaara before jumping down. He said, "I don't sense any demon chakra, so that much is good. I don't dare use any chakra on his seal until it has time to settle."
The Kazekage looked on in mild concern but said nothing.
Kankuro said, "When will you know?"
"I'd like to just monitor it passively for a couple weeks. When Gaara wakes he should be directed to use no chakra whatsoever. Things should be pretty solid by then, if it is going to work. After that I can check it and give you some idea."
Temari said, "So everything is fine if the Ichibi remains quiet?"
"That is my hope. We are in uncharted territory here. As far as I know this is the first time someone has completely replaced a seal without killing the host," said Jiraiya. "You've also got to remember that the Ichibi is alive and sentient. He doesn't have to do what you expect."
Temari said, "I'll watch him. He is my brother."
Kankuro said, "I'll help."
"Do you need anything?" asked their father.
"Well, if someone could send along my lazy warder."
Shizune said, "I'll send him. Just make sure you get everyone out of here at the first sign of trouble okay?"
Naruto said, "I could stay, just in case..."
"Actually," Jiraiya said, "While you may not contain the Kyuubi anymore, it would probably be better if everyone else left. We don't want the Ichibi to feel anything threatening while the seal is settling."
Two weeks later Jiraiya pronounced the seal sound. It should last as long as Gaara did, which might be another twenty years in his case. The only down side was Gaara could not even sense the Ichibi, let along use its chakra. Tests by Jiraiya did show it to still be there. Gaara did, however, sense something else. It was something warm and light. He was not sure what to make of it, but he was quite sure it was not the Ichibi.
"So what did you want to talk about?" Naruto asked warily to the two beautiful young women.
Author's note: Well that wraps it up. The problem with future knowledge, is it can make things somewhat easier than normal and it makes no sense not to use it. Hopefully I kept it somewhat entertaining while avoiding anything that even vaguely resembled canon. Yes, Jiraiya let Konan go. Perhaps her and Haku will meet up sometime. The rest of the Konoha group will of course continue to get stronger. Knowledge of Saidar will spread. At the end, Gaara almost touched Saiden, which is the counterpart for males to Saidar. Needless to say, all that has recently happened to him has made him more sensitive to such things. At the time of writing it is assumed that the seal on Saiden is still mostly in place.
Overall, the peace that was recently won will have many new battles fought to preserve it, but what is built can endure. Samui and Hinata will have two or three children. Yes, Naruto is the father, though whether or not that is via an artificial means is up to the reader. The children will absorb large chunks of the remaining power from the Kyuubi such that over half of it goes into the children. This will be enough to buy the trio time to see their children reach adulthood, if not much more. After all, the purified Kyuubi's chakra may no longer be directly toxic, but it is still helpful to reduce the total quantity of it.
Finally, should someone want to try their hand at improving this particular story, they are welcome to do so without any formal permission or credit. I didn't spent much time working on this. The stories initial response did not seem to justify it, but at the same time I wanted to at least complete it. Still, if a complete version that contains notable improvements is put up and I'm told about it, I'll probably remove this one. Of course, if people don't like my ending, they are welcome to change it. There is precedent for healing stilling in the Wheel of Time. If Shizune could eventually manage that, then they might live considerably longer.
The key thing I'd like to see is more stories where the usual good guy isn't the key to saving everyone. There is nothing wrong with that, but at some point, it gets old.
As a final request, if anyone else has gotten this far, how about a review, follow or favorite? This is the last chapter. No future chapters are expected.