Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. This is just for fun.
Summary: Sequel to Dream Big. Naruto prepares his village and his family for Orochimaru. Future Fic NaruSaku
Dreams Live On
Timeskip: 100 years after defeat of Orochimaru, Uzumaki residence
Sitting by the bedside of his dear wife, Uzumaki Naruto could be seen gazing at her now wrinkled face. Her gray hair lay limply on the large, white pillow supporting her head, as she looked right back at him.
"It's time, Naruto. You still have to keep your deal with Ed, you know," Sakura's green eyes held tears as she told her love that the inevitable had come. She trembled under the thin floral print sheet that covered her withered body.
The former Hokage smiled sadly at the woman who had been his constant companion for over a hundred years of life. Due to the constant mingling of their chakra, Sakura had lived an extremely long life, and she might have lived longer if a lung disease hadn't sapped her strength.
"Don't worry so much, Sakura. If I had known you'd worry this much about it, I might not have said anyting."
"Well, we have Kiba to thank for that. He was the only one tactless enough to actually ask you about it."
With the turn of conversation, memories of a much happier day visited the aged pair.
Konoha two days after Orochimaru's death
Naruto looked over his Village and smiled. Using his considerable lung capacity (and a special Wind Jutsu), the Hokage's voice carried to almost all the villagers; "Welcome everyone to this celebration of the defeat of our old enemy, Orochimaru. If you're expecting a rousing speech, well tough, I want to have fun, so LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!"
Music started playing through numerous speakers set up throughout the Village, so everyone could join the festivities wherever they were. Food and drink were freely passed around as the villagers got into the spirit of the occasion.
Inuzuka Kiba made his way to Naruto and poked him in the shoulder. Naruto's face showed his confusion as Kiba motioned for him to follow the beastly ninja to a quieter, more private location.
"So Kiba, there a reason you dragged me over here? And it better not be because you're scared to talk to Hiashi about Hanabi." Naruto's annoyance at being away from the party showed in his voice.
"What? No, man, that's got nothing to do with this . . . why, is he looking for me?" Kiba's eyes grew wide at the thought of facing the Hyuuga clan head. Kiba shook himself and asked his original question. "Naruto, buddy, I got this feeling that the way we took Orochimaru down was too easy. Once you caught him in that cocoon thing, he couldn't do anything. Just seems like he's going to pop up at any second, ya know?"
Naruto looked at the ground and picked up a couple pieces of wood off the ground. He looked at his Inuzuka friend, "Kiba watch closely, I'm only going to show you this once."
Naruto held out his empty right hand palm up and with a bit of concentration had it producing flames of chakra. "This represents my raw power, strong and chaotic. It flows everywhere without direction and much of it is wasted." He held a one piece of wood over the chakra flames and after a few seconds, Kiba could see it begin to smolder and blacken with heat. "Now this is what happens when I focus my power to a single point." All the blue flames dancing around his hand flowed to the tip of his index finger and turned into a single solid white flame. The second piece of wood was retrieved from under Naruto's armpit and he slowly brought it closer to the white chakra fire on his fingertip, where it promptly ignited and turned to dust in Naruto's hand.
Kiba just watched the demonstration and looked at his old buddy and could only shrug and wonder what the point of it all was.
Naruto was downcast that Kiba wasn't amazed by the little show. 'I got a much better reaction from the Academy students when I did that.' The Rokudaime sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Kiba, do you know how long it took me make that cocoon?"
"Um . . . no."
"Five years, with kage bushins to help speed up the process. Before that I was training with Shikamaru, Ino, and Sakura to get my brain up to where my body was. You'd be surprised what a stubborn will and a focused mind can do. It took ten years of training, planning, and trial and error to beat Orochimaru. I wouldn't call that easy Kiba."
Kiba grinned sheepishly, "Guess ya got a point there, man, but you have to admit that it seemed a bit too easy at the end."
Naruto looked at Kiba with a smug grin on his face. "Well, that's what happens when great preparation meets excellent execution- an easy finish. That's one of the things I learned during my training with Shikamaru. He's beaten opponents stronger than he is through tactics and preparations, and I have a lot more toys and jutsus to work with than he ever did."
Kiba seemed to remember something at this point and Naruto could see the curious gleam in his eye, "What was the deal that the Shinigami mentioned? Do you have to give up your soul like your Dad did?"
"No Kiba, that wasn't the deal. You don't need to worry; I'll still be alive and kicking tail long after you're six feet under."
"So what is it then, come on, you can't just keep this to yourself. Everyone there wants to know what kind of deal you made," Kiba's curiosity grew with his friend's evasion.
"I'll tell everyone tomorrow at my house. Spread the word, I don't want this repeated after tomorrow. It might cause problems if this got out. Now, if you're satisfied, I have a party going and a beautiful woman to dance with." Naruto turned and quickly walked away from Kiba and the stupefied expression on his face.
"That's right, you missed seeing Temari and Kankuro's reaction to the picture we took of Gaara and Kora," Sakura said with a genuine smile. It had been worth nearly getting killed by Gaara to take that particular photo.
Sakura watched as Naruto was led away by Kiba for who-knows-what, and turned back to her conversation with Temari and Kankuro. "When Naruto and I went to pick the kids up from Gaara yesterday, we found this little scene." Sakura pulled a photograph from her vest pocket and showed it to the older two Sand Siblings.
Their reactions were as expected. After the initial jaw dropping, Temari started giggling insanely and Kankuro fell over clutching his sides in laughter. The picture in Sakura's hand showed the feared Kazekage in his official robes giving three year old Kora a horsy ride.
"Ga-Gaara actually did that?" Temari's disbelief and mirth colored her voice as the fan-wielding woman struggled to control herself. Kankuro was getting off of the ground, but he still had tears running down his face from laughing so hard.
"Yep, and Sasame said that he was enjoying his time with the kids since we sent them the messenger bird saying they could unseal them from the stasis scrolls," Sakura sighed when she remembered how Naruto had exhausted himself with the cocoon and couldn't make the trip to Suna. Knowing how much Gaara and Sasame loved the kids, she sent the all clear to Gaara.
Temari looked a bit freaked. "The idea of sealing your kids away and storing them in Gaara's sand just creeps me out. How do you handle stuff like that?"
"I married Naruto."
Kankuro lost it again and was nearly trampled by a score of academy students on a sugar high.
Naruto sighed. He had really wanted to see their reaction. Though he had to say that thexplanation he gave to their friends the next day got an even better, if different, reaction.
In a special chakra shielded room in the Uzumaki residence, eighteen people had gathered to hear just what deal their crazy friend had made with the incarnation of Death.
"So, what would you like to have explained first?" Naruto's question was met with hot glares from most of them, but cooler heads were able to get the question out.
"The deal, Naruto, we want to know about the deal you made with the Shinigami," Shino said.
After taking a deep breath, Naruto began, "In a nutshell, the deal was that Ed would release the first four Hokages, and in exchange, I am bound to 10,000 years of service to Ed."
That shocker gave Naruto five seconds of silence before he was bombarded with questions. Unable to distinguish one person from another, Naruto called for quiet.
"But Naruto, what's that got to do with Orochimaru and Kyuubi?" Ino asked.
"Oh, Orochimaru was sort of a discount I guess. By delivering him to Ed alive (I could have killed him easily inside of the cocoon), I got a thousand years taken off. It really ticked Ed off that Orochimaru kept dodging him. Kyuubi was just a bonus Ed threw in," Naruto said. He chuckled and thought, 'That's why you shouldn't mess with Death.'
"So when does this deal start?" Shikamaru asked.
Naruto face turned solemn and he looked at one particular face in the crowd. "When Sakura dies. Ed respected me enough to let me be with her until then."
"But why would a Shinigami even want you? No offense, but you'd think they're strong enough on their own that wouldn't need a human servant," Shikamaru said. Something wasn't adding up with Naruto's story and the shadow-user hated when he couldn't figure something out.
Naruto laughed at that and scratched the back of his head sheepishly. 'I guess it does sound a little farfetched if you don't know I'm practically immortal and could take down anything short of an elemental incarnation if I went all out,' Naruto thought. Out loud he told them, "On top of being very powerful, Ed's got lots of servants that take care of most of the work and he's largely an administrator. Shinigami like Ed and his servants prefer to overpower their targets like I did when I was a gennin. They are very powerful, but they lack in terms of stealth and deception. I have learned to move undetected in insane situations, and that's part of why Ed wants me."
He had barely finished speaking when Sakura jumped at him and started crying into his chest. Naruto just held her and let her release the emotions she'd been holding in ever since he had told her that he had made a deal with the Shinigami.
Their friends looked at each other and decided to give them some time to themselves. While the answers they'd gotten weren't a hundred percent satisfactory, they would do for now.
Of course that meeting had prompted Sakura to work with Ino to develop a certain jutsu to help with pregnancy, and the husband's understanding of it. That decision literally gave birth to their younger Sarutobi, to honor the Third Hokage. It also helped Sakura to come to a better understanding with her husband about not telling his wife about deals with powerful entities that could rip your soul out.
Speaking of which, Sakura could feel her heartbeats slow bit by bit. An educated guess gave her less than five more minutes of life. Her breathing was getting more difficult, a sign of the disease, and her vision had started blurring. The love of her life was still there, and though she could feel his warm hands in her cooling ones, she could just barely make out those wonderful blue eyes. Sakura stared intently at his face, and as the darkness crept across her vision, she whispered, "I'll miss you."
"Do you know what's like? Is it like traveling through dimensions like when you had to rescue the kids and me off those alternate worlds? Is that what dying's like?" her voice was quiet and strained with effort.
"I honestly don't know. The closest Death has come to touching me was when Ed sealed the Kyuubi in me." Naruto used his thumb to move a strand of hair out her eyes so his view wasn't obstructed. "Ed hasn't told me much on about the actual dying process, just what he wants me to do when I get there."
Sakura smiled and nodded and squeezed his hand lightly. Her time was up, and she felt her heart stop beating. Her eyes never left Naruto's. He saw the light in his wife's eyes fade and darken. The limp hand he held also told him that she was gone.
A lone tear fell from his eye, and he remembered the last time he had cried in pain, the funeral for his youngest daughter Tsunade. "I didn't think it would hurt this much to see her die. Now I know how she felt when that old Snake killed the clone." He gently placed her hand on her still form and pulled a scroll out from under the bed.
'Heh, this trick should still work since I haven't used it in so long.' Out of the scroll came a perfect replica of Naruto's body, with the exception of it being dead. It's purpose was to give the village some closure, so no one would wonder what happened to the body of a former Hokage. 'Well, time to go.'
Naruto closed his eyes and the genjutsu seal he had been using for decades was released, and a young and fit Uzumaki Naruto uncurled from his bent posture and stretched. Smiling one last time at Sakura's body, he formed a seal and faded from sight.
Sakura looked around the new and strangely familiar place where she now stood. She remembered watching Naruto and feeling her heart stop, then she was here. She now stood in front of a mansion that seemed a lot like the house Naruto had built when she agreed to marry him, except that this was much bigger and grander than that comfortable home.
The recently departed woman studied her surroundings and saw that everything was bright and cheerful. 'Kind of like Naruto.' That thought brought a smile to her face, since she knew that they would be together again. They had many conversations on the subject of the afterlife, and from Naruto's experience hopping through dimensions to find his family he knew that it was just another plane of existance that he could find if he needed to.
"Hey beautiful, how are you doing?" a familiar voice called from behind her. Sakura spun quickly around and saw her husband looking just as young and handsome as when they were married. Standing behind him was the still imposing form of Ed without his Shimigami robes. Sakura wondered if this all wasn't some cruel cosmic joke some deity wanted to play on her.
Naruto walked up to the spirit form of his dead wife and moved a hand through her shoulder. 'Guess it'll take some time for her physical body to make the transition.'
Sakura was now sporting a very spooked expression as Naruto had apparently moved his hand through her body. What was going on here?!
"Don't worry Sakura, I was just checking to see if your physical body had crossed over, but it seems that we'll have a bit of a wait. Just so you don't worry, this is the afterlife and that is our new house behind you," Naruto said.
Sakura calmed down a bit at that, but still looked a bit unsure. She turned back to the house and saw several familiar people exiting the building. Her family and friends that had died were here, and looking like they did in their prime. More confusion was evident on here face as a young man who she assumed to be her son Arashi spoke up.
"Hiya Mom, we thought we'd have a 'Welcome to the Afterlife' party for you to celebrate the family finally all being here. Though Dad has to go tomorrow to report for missions, we'll help you with any questions you might have," the near carbon-copy of his dad said.
Sakura looked at Naruto and asked quietly, "Is this real?"
"Very real. Don't worry Sakura-hime, this is just a new beginning for us." With a wave of his arm, Naruto motioned for her to go to the house. He saw her emerald eyes shining as they walked to a new future.
A/N: Well that's it for Dreams Live On. I'd like to thank all my reviewers for their encouragment and help. This was my first multi-chapter story and I hope it has been as enjoyable for the readers as its been for me.
I hope to continue writing an trying new things. This isn't the end of the Dream universe, and there are plenty of other stories to write.
Please tell me what you think.