Thank you for the support. Hope you continue it.

Music Recommendation (Listen to it if only during the second half of chapter as a favor to me): Epic Soul Factory- Awaking Hearts (Youtube)

Chapter 64

The Young Wolf


(Tiger Hill)

The Spartans had been horrified when the blasted Tsuchikage had again managed to land a dangerous blow upon their leader. When Naruto had teleported to their side moments later, many were worried for his life and could not help but be surprised when the mortal wound was quickly healing with some added assistance as if it was nothing.

"The Sage's power?" asked Nagato sharply, earning a painful nod from his brother as he drank some water even as the battle continued in earnest with most Spartans returning to man their positions knowing that their leader would not die.

"He gave me his lifeforce which is truly powerful. Before such blows would have killed me, now they just hurt like a bitch" said Naruto with a wince, glaring at the Spartan medic Matsuri who was expediting healing of his injuries and none too gently adding to Naruto's glare becoming more intense.

In return, the medic simply bonked him on the head and called him a 'damn fool' for always rushing in like that for the sake of his men.

Nagato chuckled but soon sobered up to ask the more important question.

"Then what can kill you, Elder Brother? I need to know so we can prevent that from happening, you may not realize it but as long as you live, we will not be defeated"

"No man except the Senju brothers are strong enough to kill me the way I am now. That midget Ohnoki will pay dearly for this minor irritation!" swore Naruto furiously, as his wounds were now on the verge of healing with the added assistance of the expert Spartan field medic.

"Elder Brother, promise me something" whispered Nagato hesitantly, making Naruto look at him carefully but give a nod regardless to continue.

"Unlike our enemy and their leaders, you truly care for the lives of our men. So much that you would risk death to save anyone of us, be they Spartan or Zetsu. Tobirama and any sane commander in his ranks would have seen that by now..." said Nagato worriedly,

"I'm your Commander, any leader worth his salt should be willing to defend their men with all their strength. Even die if needed, I am with everyone of you no matter how bad the situation is" refuted Naruto stubbornly,

And the Allies wondered why so many would want to follow this man to the gates of hell itself? Nagato sighed knowing his brother lived by those words and it made his men love him truly. But it was also a great weakness...

"Elder Brother, the enemy will try to trap some of our men soon. Tobirama knows you, he understands you will rush to save your men regardless of danger to yourself and that will be the perfect trap. If you keep this up, you will die. You may be godly strong thanks to the Sage's power, but not immortal" warned Nagato,

"So I should abandon my men in their direst moments? Like the Allies have done so far?" asked Naruto furiously,

"Yes if that keeps you alive and the battle in our favor. The men will not hate you for it" consoled Nagato, earning a murderous glare from his sibling.

"But I will hate myself. I left my men once to die...I am not doing that again, no matter what happens" swore Naruto fiercely,

In that instance, Nagato saw the true scars Battle of Rezang La had left upon his brother till this day. Even after everything that happened, Naruto Namikaze had not been able to forget the moment when he had to leave the Spartans to die to win the war.

It gave them victory but took everything from the man who achieved it.

And it was his brother's greatest fear as well as a credible weakness.

It explained as to why in every battle afterwards in his life, Naruto had put his life in danger countless times to protect his men. It had costed him but never once had he shied away from paying that price, it was as if he was still trying to make up for the guilt of Rezang La.

"Elder Brother..."

"I understand the truth behind your explanation and it is very logical, but that is not who I am or want to be. If death comes for me tonight for doing what is right, then I am prepared and shall die smiling. I won't be Naruto if I pretend to be the man you want me to be" explained Naruto patiently, even as he dismissed Matsuri with a grateful nod.

Nagato wanted to argue further as his sibling got back on his feet and placed a comforting hand upon his shoulder before walking away to rejoin the frontline eliciting a wild cheer from their remaining forces.

He didn't know whether to be angry or hug the brave fool that was his brother.

Regardless of what happened tonight, whether they lived or died, were victorious or defeated...everyone of their fighters could not deny that they had the finest Commander and a true leader fighting for them.

His brother may not consider himself as such, but when Nagato looked at the proud warrior...

He knew he was lucky to be led by a truly good man, one who had made mistakes but had his heart in the right place.

But their cruel world was prone to bestow a miserable fate upon such human beings.


(Half an Hour Later)

Naruto could feel the fight inside his brother's heart and truly felt for him, if only the redhead boy knew what the Sage had shown him. It had made things very clear for him...

It was why he would keep moving forward until his enemies were destroyed and his comrades and family were safe.

He looked at the battlefield to see his Spartans using the last of their kunai launcher reserve rounds to keep the enemy at bay. While he recovered from his injuries, the enemies had tried to press forward quite hard leading to more heavy losses in thousands among his forces despite the best effort of his Spartans.

"Status report" he asked calmly,

"Eastern flank is nearly gone, Naruto. Most of my Zetsu's died in the enemies last charge, it's just us 30 Spartans and a thousand Zetsu left" reported Kasumi grimly over their communication link,

"Western flank has suffered fifty percent casualties as well. We will be in serious trouble if the enemy attacks once again in force" answered Kushina worriedly over the line,

"Our center has also suffered thirty percent casualties in the battle against the summoning creatures and other forces" clarified Nagato, standing grimly by his side.

"Aerial Unit is intact so far, we have also witnessed Hashirama Senju joining the enemy ranks. They are amassing in full force" warned Hayate, from his position atop Tiger Hill's peaks.

Naruto fought hard to hide his flinch in front of his men, he barely had 9,000 Zetsu left and 124 Spartans including himself. The enemy still had more than 50,000 in front of them and whatever thousands of reserves Tobirama must have left to guard his rear.

If his father decided to launch an all out attack with every man he had alongside Hashirama...

He didn't have enough men to hold the center against those many, let alone defend his eastern and western flanks.

"Our explosives are still available?" he asked quickly,

"Yes, most of them. What do you have in mind?" asked Kasumi, his munitions and logistics incharge.

"Use majority of them to completely flatten both flanks and pull all remaining forces to the center. Hayate, you join us too for there will be little use of Aerial troops since Hashirama has joined the battle" commanded Naruto,

"Are you sure?" asked all four of his sub-commanders in unison,

"Very. We simply do not have enough men left to defend our flanks, cause a landslide with the thousands of explosives and sealing traps. We need to hold them for another day to give Madara any real chance of completing the Sealing of tailed beasts. It is time for the Phalanx" explained Naruto honestly,

The lone Zetsu representing his kind in the command bunker didn't understand the smirk that arrived upon the faces of Spartans nearby and looked at Naruto who nodded and beckoned him towards the wall where a piece of paper was attached.

The Zetsu watched as Naruto demonstrated a landslide completing flattening both their flanks making the terrain almost impossible to climb. That left a ^ shaped area in the center extending outwards leaving the enemy a very narrow but straight path to retake Tiger Hill.

At the tip of the simple shaped area would be the entire Spartan force led by Naruto himself, making the Vanguard with whom the massive enemy army shall clash head on.

The remaining 9,000 Zetsu shall be in the middle and rear to support, even push back any enemies that managed to breach the Spartan wall.

"Phalanx formation, I have no doubt about your resolve or bravery but for your own safety and the sake of this battle- your remaining brothers must support us. Share your chakra with the Spartans, bolster any gaps in our lines if the enemy resistance becomes too strong for a breach. Most importantly, those of you in the rear must use the bows and arrows we had stolen from previous battles. Deal as much damage to the enemy reinforcements while we hold whatever they throw at us with the Spartans at the front" explained Naruto patiently, using the most simple signs and language making the Zetsu nod in understanding.

"I will convey this to my brothers" agreed the Zetsu, earning a thankful nod from his leader before he went out to carry out those orders.

"Have you retrieved the shields of the Fire Daimyo's guard unit that was killed sometime ago in the previous charges?" asked Naruto frankly,

"Yes, we didn't know what good they would do but now they can be really useful. Good idea, Nagato" said Kasumi with a thankful nod, earning a nod from the younger redhead.

"I had a feeling it would come down to this and sent them all towards Kushina for them to be outfitted with Seals" explained Nagato, as he presented one such large shield -enough to cover almost the entire form of the teenaged Spartans even if most of them were as developed and more stronger than grown men and women thanks to their augmentations and brutal training.

"It was a bitch to outfit them with Seals for all Spartans, but it is done" replied Kushina with a sheepish smile,

Naruto was intrigued and watched as his brother asked another Spartan to hold the shield in front of himself. The Spartan warrior adopted a battle stance by holding the shield with his left hand and their traditional chakra sword in the right.

He was quite surprised when Nagato flung a decent sized fireball at the Spartan making the Uzu fighter use his chakra inside the shield making the runes and Fuinjutsu markings on it glow brightly. The attack clashed but the shield held firm and protected its wielder quite brilliantly.

Nagato and a few other Spartans demonstrated all the remaining elemental ninjutsu also against the modified weapon.

The Shield held even if the Spartan looked a little strained bearing so many attacks.

"Nagato, this is brilliant. This might truly give us a good chance" said Naruto in awe, making his brother blush.

"It won't hold out against holy weapons or Hashirama Senju's attacks" replied Nagato modestly,

"I know that! Our Chakra Armor already makes us a deadly force but this gives much added protection" answered Naruto proudly,

"Naruto, I also have a suggestion" said Hayate seriously,

"I'm all ears"

"The ground beneath our feet should also be reinforced by multiple barriers. That way Hashirama or any of the Allies can't easily use Earth Style or Wood Style to attack us from below to cause losses or disorient our formation. The Phalanx is only strong if not just the Vanguard, but also those in the middle and rear can do their job safely" pointed Hayate,

"Some of our best Spartan marksmen can create a decent unit of clones who can maintain position at the hilltop. We still have a thousand or little more kunai rounds left, they can provide precise fire support. Take out the enemy commanders directing the attack causing further chaos among their ranks, or deal with pests like Ohnoki if they try to get too close. I suggest a barrier be setup around their positions for protection in case they come under attack" suggested Kasumi,

"I can also rig the mountains edges of both flanks once they are destroyed with Repulsion Seals and remaining paper bombs. That way anybody who tries to climb the cliffs will die a brutal death making that route completely impossible to exploit" said Kushina with determination,

Naruto relished the feeling of fighting alongside warriors who were not just capable commanders but also true masters of the battlefield terrain and had the ability to make even the most basic weapons deadly.

Their wisdom in warfare was being clearly displayed for they were bred and trained harder than most shinobi across the entire ninja world for war.

He was proud of his conquests with Kirigakure commanders and fighters, but even that highly trained army of his would struggle and take many losses if put against the battle hardened Spartan company.

It was not just the Spartan inside of him that came to the conclusion, for even before directly entering into close combat the Spartans with their Zetsu allies had inflicted nearly 25,000 enemy losses while suffering a little less than half in return in the form of Zetsu.

But not a single Spartan.

He wondered how much longer could they prevent that now with the battle entering its final and most deadly stage. The optimist in him wanted to hope, but the battle commander inside of him knew many Spartans would fall one after another as the hours stretched. Even so, the enemy would pay in blood dearly for each of that sacrifice.

"I trust your judgement. Implement all your ideas quickly" agreed Naruto, earning shit eating grins from all his four sub-commanders.

For a moment, he smiled in return knowing it was the few moments they had left to share that priceless emotion.


(One Hour Later)

He watched the Allies pick up their thousands of fallen comrades littered across the battlefield under a banner of peace. Many Spartans wanted to continue the battle, but were truly surprised when Naruto ordered them to ceasefire.

What shocked them more were the tears that arrived in his eyes as he saw several hundred young chunin and even genin corpses be carried away.

"Elder Brother..." said Nagato hesitantly,

"I know, Nagato. It's war and I have killed so many that I have no right left to regret anything. But I'm tired...brother" confessed Naruto sadly,

"We are fighting so the ones after us do not bear such fate, Elder Brother" reminded Nagato patiently, eliciting a bitter laugh from his sibling.

"And how many more must die for that? To achieve that wishful future, how many- sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and comrades must die on both sides? It will not stop me from doing what must be done, but makes me really wonder whether I am a hero that so many of you say I am or the Villain that they claim to be?" asked Naruto earnestly, as he pointed at the Allied army.

Nagato looked at his brother for a long moment before looking at the Allied army carrying away their fallen under the eery silence on the battlefield.

He truly understood what his brother was feeling in this moment after living such a harsh life full of only war.

Behind every battle won or lost, behind every fallen for every flag, behind every casualty figure...

There was always a real person.

A family or friends who knew them, loved or liked them atleast.

The death of their father-Yahiko forced his sons to take up arms to avenge him. How many more such sons and daughters had they created in this war alone?

"You don't need to choose, Elder Brother"

Naruto looked at his brother and saw a somber acceptance upon his face as he stared back at him.

"There is a hero and a villain inside each of us. A few can be only one, but most people are a bit of both including all of us. It's what makes us human, for we are all imperfect in someway. In life we are not equals and end up taking different paths, but in death we are all one. The only thing any of us can try is to be a good person and stand up for what we believe is right. Let history and the gods if they exist judge whether we were heroes or villains"

The young Uzumaki saw not just his brother but almost every Spartan and most Zetsu listening to his words earnestly.

Naruto gave him a thankful nod and surprised everyone by unleashing his sword before slowly bending to one knee facing the fallen being carried away from the battlefield.

He was quite surprised when the rest of his army followed suit and wondered what their enemies would make of this.

It didn't matter for this was something he wanted to do for his own sake and that of his men if they felt the same way.

While there was still time...

"For all the wrongs and blood I have shed in my life so far, and more which shall follow tonight...I am truly sorry"

He could hear many of his Spartans gasp in surprise upon hearing that confession, but it didn't matter. Now that the end was at his doorstep, he had to make his peace as a warrior and a human being.

It was the only way he could face what was coming.

"For all the good and brief happiness I have experienced and shared, I am grateful"

A brief smile came upon his lips as that confession made him think of so many people he had lived those moments with.

Slowly, he turned to face his men and watched many whisper their own prayers, even quite a few Zetsu.

Soon, they all looked at him and he could not help but grin madly.

"For all these suicidal idiots who followed me into this hell, I am honored"

He could see the exact moment when the tension within his army faded upon hearing that witty remark which still held respect for their loyalty. So many laughed, some cried but everyone nodded back at him proudly.

Naruto slowly got back on his feet and walked towards the nearest Zetsu to offer him his hand which the creature took with a grateful nod to help him stand back, the Terran Commander's voice echoed across the rest of their army even as he went to do the same thing to a Spartan kneeling nearby.

"We were all born as slaves to something. All of us unequal in the eyes of this world, the same is the fate of those who fight us tonight. It's a curse this world and all its citizens have endured for a very long time. But tonight we end this!"

Nagato firmly grasped his brother's hand and got back on his feet with a newfound peace and determination in his eyes.

"We fight for everyone's freedom tonight!"

Hayate hugged his best friend tightly as he pulled him to his feet earning a firm pat on the back.

"We fight for the right to choose our own fate!"

Kasumi grinned and nodded at him fiercely, even offering a firm salute in return without any mockery.

"If we die..."

For once, Kushina had no hesitation in her eyes upon hearing those dreadful words as she looked into the eyes of the man she loved dearly.

"We'll die knowing that we did everything we could for a better future"

She went forward to press a fleeting kiss upon his lips, one which he returned with the same message which was in her heart. When they parted, she offered him a shield which he grabbed with a proud nod.

"Tonight, we die FREE!"

Naruto raised his infamous sword as Kushina set off the explosions causing both the flanks of Tiger Hill to collapse in a terrifying landslide across the entire battlefield making the Allied army take several steps back.

The former Mizukage's defiant and fearless roar echoed across the entire mountain and alongwith the destruction rekindled a flame inside every fighter of the remaining Terran forces even as they saw an enemy nearly six or seven times their numbers gathering in front of them.

They watched their Commander walk forward to stand at the tip of their defensive position as the very ground beneath their feet started to tremble as the entire allied army charged.

Naruto looked back at his smaller army with a proud and content smile upon his lips.

"Will you follow me...one last time?"


The Senju brothers had not been able to hear much of what Naruto said to his fighters, but even they could see the strength and courage that was growing among those warriors even as the entire Allied army of nearly 55,000 alongwith the 20,000 kept in reserves gathered for a final assault.

With a massive enemy army marching towards this battlefield, it was time to crush the defenders of Tiger Hill.

And for that they would need every available fighter.

Their thinking was proven correct when they saw both flanks of Tiger Hill being completely obliterated in a series of explosions as Naruto raised his sword as the Allies after a few initial moments of panic and retreat managed to reorganize their massive army.

Hashirama saw one of the rare moments of his life as he saw Tobirama openly smile when his son walked forward bravely to stand at the head of his army and look back at his own men with a proud and content smile even as the entire Allied army charged forward upon the narrow and steep battlefield.

They would never know what Naruto asked those outnumbered and doomed warriors...

But their reply would forever be etched into the everyone's hearts...

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"


Naruto was speechless.

He had been called by so many titles his entire life- Captain Fox, Commander, General, Fourth Mizukage, The Black Flash, Butcher of Iwa, The Demon and a Marshal in the end. Each carrying with it great pride or great shame, but also equal responsibility alongside deep regret.

This was to be his last battle and it was highly likely he would be remembered for it perhaps, a small part of his selfish heart wishing not to be known by any of those heavy titles for in the end...he wanted to be free, wanted to be the joyful boy he had once been, one who had been fascinated with heroes and doing good...before reality forced him to become cold.

It was why the moment when his younger brother raised his sword to point towards him with the greatest respect and gave him the title of his childhood hero was perhaps the most important of his life.

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"

His brother roared that declaration in front of the entire might of the shinobi world and marched forward to proudly stand by his side...

"Now you're free, Elder Brother" whispered Nagato happily, making Naruto envelop him in a firm hug.

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"

Naruto blinked in surprise and saw Kushina make that proclamation happily while marching forward to stand by his side.

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"

Hayate and Kasumi were equally fierce and happy in their roars as they joined the side of their closest friends.

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"

"THE YOUNG WOLF!"

The entire Spartan force marched proudly towards their leader with their swords clashing against their shields, and the last 9,000 Zetsu's following suit clashing their spears into the ground with every step or raising their swords victoriously in the air with the single war cry being roared by the entire Terran army.

"THE YOUNG WOLF!


Tobirama could not remember more than a handful moments of his life that had struck his heart truly. The death of his parents, the loss of his brothers, the first stone laid in Konoha's foundation, the sight of his precious village for the first time, the day he became Hokage and the discovery of having a child of his own.

Looking at the snowy tops of Tiger Hill where a tiny army stood in comparison to his massive one shouldn't evoke the same emotion.

The Young Wolf.

But he could not unhear the proud name given to his son by his fighters, could not forget the sheer happiness it brought into his boy's eyes and in that moment he saw a young version of his child that he had never seen before.

There were so many regrets in his life, but not being able to be there for his son would be his greatest one.

He saw Naruto's resolve be bolstered to immeasurable heights upon seeing the greatest honor being offered by his loyal army. With that strength, he took up position in front of them all and grinned fearlessly as the enemy army came rushing at them.

In Tobirama's eyes, this was perhaps the most glorious moment of his son's life.

For right now, Naruto Namikaze looked exactly like the heroes Tobirama had heard about in stories but only rarely seen in real life.

And he was proud of his son.


Author's Notes: Fuck the guy cutting onions near me, or the damn music composer of that recommended song!

Very rarely do writing anything make me tear up like this one has.

From now, I am not gonna say anything about how many more damn chapters it may take to reach the end, for I am not gonna restrict myself to meagre numbers, but write it as best as I can- something that will bring me and hopefully you guys a myriad of emotions.

I am going to enjoy writing this and have hope that once this tale ends, most if not all of my readers will be satisfied but for that you will need to have faith if possible.

I know this was a short one compared to earlier chapters, but it felt right. Next ones will be a lot larger with the final battle...

Reviews are always welcome! Not sure if I'll reach 3k by the end, been a while since I crossed that. Would be nice though...

Until Next Time,

Blackwolf501

PS: To the readers who did not listen to the recommended song while reading the second half of chapter, listen-will ya? Since I damn well don't have the budget or rights for an anime or series adaptation of this, these song recommendations are just my way making the experience as real as possible for you guys. Takes me a lot of time to chose a song that really fits...