Naruto Uzumaki was without hope. The Pervy Sage was dead, killed by Pain in the Land of Rain, and there was nothing he could do about it. Even taking a cheap shot at Grandma Tsunade had only served to make him feel worse.

"Hey Naruto!", a voice called from down the almost abandoned street.

Naruto looked up from his intense inspection of the dirt below his feet to see who it was.

"Oh, hello Iruka Sensei…."

Walking forward, Iruka stopped in front of Naruto with a grin. 'You know, everyone's been talking about how much stronger you've gotten! "

Naruto's only response was to look down at his feet, his hands hanging limply at his sides. Iruka's smile fell a little, then brightened as an idea occurred to him.

"Hey, how'd you like to go over to Ichiraku's and get some ramen..? For old times sake?"

Naruto couldn't stand it anymore, couldn't be polite in his current frame of mind.

"No thanks, sensei.", he breathed as he walked by his first teacher, his first friend, without looking up.

If he had looked, the pain and confusion would have been glaringly evident on Iruka's face, only making him feel worse.

It is so cold in space, dark and endless. The small pyramid of red light and brass had not a care for the temperature, however. The cognitive remains of it's creator pushed it on through millions of miles of inky blackness and invisible radiation, searching for the perfect combination of fear and anger, hate and confusion.

After an almost timeless journey, the holocron traveled into a system with only one lone planet. The darkness within it reached out, searching the globe for some sign of it's objective. At that moment, if the pyramid could have whooped in delight it most assuredly would have. There on the floating rock was a presence so full of powerful, so ripe for the Dark Side, the Sith Holocron had no record for any such experience in it's 100,000 year memory.

With an imperceptible curve, the energy in the holocron latched onto the power it felt and pulled…bringing it ever closer to completion of its objective.

Naruto continued walking the streets of Konaha, dejected and cloaked in self pity. Luckily, no one else he knew personally walked with him; he just couldn't handle their sympathy.

'As if they could understand how I feel', he thought miserably.

As Naruto walked with no thought to where he was going, his feet carried him aimlessly. He did not even register that the sun descended behind the monument to the Hokages until the light of a corner store suddenly came on in front of him. The sudden flare stirred Naruto out of his reverie; Jiraiya peeking through the wooden slats into the women's bath, the long journey he had taken with Jiraiya during his period of training, sharing a popsicle….!

The last image spurred Naruto to action, as he increased his pace and entered the store. As luck would have it, an insulated cooler sat just inside the door, full to the brim with popsicles. He bought an orange one and went back outside, happier than he'd been all day. Finding a bench, Naruto sat down and suddenly felt his elation fading.

There was no one there to share his popsicle with. The Pervy Sage would never share anything with him again. Naruto's fist clenched involuntarily as he realized that even with everything he had learned from Jiraiya, he was still to weak to even avenge his death.

It was then that he realized that something was glowing beyond the bushes which lined the road opposite of where he sat. It was a strange, pulsating red light that pulled on him in a strange way, forcing him up from his seat and bringing him ever closer. When Naruto cleared the scant bushes and saw the source of the light, he was suddenly afraid. The thing pulsed with power, he sensed it almost in the same way a ninja could sense chakra; this was not chakra though, it felt cold and external.

The thing had strange writing carved into the almost-gold facings and supports, which held dull red glass in a pyramid shape. The light seemed to come from within the actual structure, fascinating Naruto enough that he disregarded his initial caution and reached out to touch the strange object. As soon as his fingers brushed its surface, it flared brighter than before and Naruto felt lightheaded. The feeling caused him to stumble forward until his whole hand made contact, the light grew to an unbearable intensity, and Naruto Uzumaki descended into darkness.