Everyone was gone.
And he was the only one left.
He was alone.
That's how he had been for the past 10 years.
"Is... is this it?" his voice haggard from disuse. Who was there to talk to when you were alone?
His words were spoken in disbelief. Could he finally have found it after years of searching?
He unrolled the scroll. A vast and complex jutsu formula spanned the entirety of the scroll. He started at it intently. Looking at the lines in the seals that littered the scrolls surface, trying to find confirmation that this was what he had been looking for.
This was his last chance. His last try. If this wasn't it, he didn't know what he was going to do. He scanned the intricate lines, slowly loosing hope.
'This... This isn't it...' he began to think in defeat. What was he going to do now? He had nothing. No one. He was so alone. He wanted it to end, but it wouldn't. It couldn't. Death just could not take him.
And then he saw it. The line that identified the jutsu as the one he needed. That small line. That held so much intricacy. So much hope. And he had found it.
'Oh Orochimaru, you creepy snake bastard, I could kiss you right now! Actually, no, scratch that. I maybe alone, but I'm not that desperate...' he thought as he felt the long-forgotten feeling of hope creep through his body. Relighting the fire that had died so long ago.
He leapt to his feet, bundling up the scroll in his arms. He had to get this back 'home'. Or at least what had once been his home. All it held how was ghosts of the past, hauntings of his failures, and painful memories. But he needed to be there now. If the jutsu succeeds he did not want to be in the middle of one of Orochimaru's hideouts.
Using all the speed he could muster he sped off towards the village. He pushed himself to the absolute limit. He needed to try it now!
The village gates loomed in the distance. What had once been a marvelous and beautiful sight was now decrepit and sad. The gates falling off their hinges. Paint flaking away. Greenery slowing climbing the gates, pulling them to the earth.
But he barely spared them a glance. He raced straight through the gates. Not even looking at the depressing state of the village as he passed it. He had one place he needed to go.
He raced straight to the center of the roof of the Hokage's tower. That's where he stopped and finally looked at the village. The giant mass grave that held everyone he ever cared for. Every single one of his precious people was buried here, alongside every man, woman, and child of the village that swore to protect.
The haunting mass grave that sat as a reminder of his failure.
He snapped himself out of his depressing thoughts quickly. He had finally found the way to save everyone. To fix everything.
He unraveled the entire scroll and began pouring over the jutsu formula, committing it to memory. He could not make a mistake!
He knew the jutsu was going to take almost every ounce of chakra he had in his body, including that of the bijuu's.
But he didn't care.
The bijuu were gone, only their chakra remained. He didn't care if he died from chakra exhaustion. Just as long as it worked!
He had finally finished committing the scroll to memory.
He stood up and faced the village. The graveyard. Exhaling a large breath, he began to channel all his chakra into a series of hand signs that seemed to flow together. His hands never missing a beat even after years of not using hand signs. It was as if Kami herself was helping him through them.
His hands were continually shifting through hand signs. His chakra building, and building. And then he settled on the final hand sign and poured everything into it.
He felt as if his body was being pulled every which way all at once.
And with a blinding flash of white light he was gone from the world.