Greetings, my minions. As your master I have seen fit to throw you some more of my table scraps, shreds of the thoughts in my head.
In all serious though, here's the next chapter for you to enjoy. My loyal, awesome readers can skip the next part, as it's merely a message to the guests who read ANY of my stories.
Alright you dipshits, listen up!
If you're going to leave a review that asks a question, criticizes my work, or orders me to do something, at least have the balls to give me a way to contact you! I'm getting pretty damn sick of receiving these and having no way to clarify and explain myself, though I really shouldn't have to. I won't call using the internet a mask to hide behind, I will, however, call anyone hiding behind the safety of a anonymous review a pathetic excuses for a sentient being.
Where's your pride in your opinion? Are you so ashamed of your own thoughts? Stand up and proudly declare it, otherwise you shouldn't even speak. I don't care if you give me a steam account, a runescape username, a gamertag, an email, or maybe even, I don't know, a fucking fanfiction account, just so long as I can get a hold of you I'm fine. Hell, if you give me a way to contact you I don't mind you bashing on every chapter of every fic I have.
If you're one of the guests that have been giving me awesome, positive reviews then I apologize for this. I knew, however, that if I addressed this to negative reviews they would most likely ignore it completely.
Once again, this is for all my stories and all the reviewers too scared to claim their own thoughts.
Have a nice day.
Yelling filled the air as the sailors scurried about preparing for the upcoming journey. It had been roughly a month since they had been hired to bring a group here, to the land of snow, and they were more than happy to start heading back to their families and relative safety of their homes.
Hell, a blonde in Iwa was probably safer than they had been in the past few weeks.
They were almost ready to depart, too, only waiting on the last of the team to arrive, the one they didn't wait for last time. Did a feeling of guilt plague them all? Absolutely, but they weren't about to risk their own lives and the wellbeing (both emotional and financially) of their families for anyone, even a young, energetic, lovable boy whom you couldn't help but like.
He wasn't like that now, they had heard, he had changed into a stone-hearted warrior of metal and flesh, a twisted abomination that mocked nature every second it existed. Monster or machine, it didn't matter, they were only concerned about possible retribution for leaving him to die, even if it was his team- the ones who hired them- that had ordered them to do so.
Pushing it to the back of their minds, the seamen continued to work, the sooner they finished the sooner they departed and the sooner they could reach their loved ones.
But not everyone at the pier had loved ones to return to.
The first one without people to return to was Uchiha Sasuke, the last Uchiha still loyal to Konoha. He had had a family at one point, an entire clan of people who smiled and waved for no other reason then they all actually cared for each other. He had never realized how good it felt to have people acknowledge him for who he was rather than what he was.
And to think, the death of all those people, of his entire extended family, had been caused by the man he had looked at as a god, his brother Uchiha Itachi. His brother was a genius, his progress within the shinobi arts impossible, and maybe that was what caused it. No one could match up to the teen, no one could offer a challenge, he had nothing to compare himself to, and so he fought an entire clan of powerful warriors.
No, not fought.
He had slaughtered them, moving from living corpse to living corpse, and they hadn't stood a chance. The most powerful clan in Konoha reduced to a single boy by the son of the clan head, because he wished to test himself.
Nothing more, nothing less, it was a personal test, a challenge, and it hadn't met his standards. Itachi had simply walked away when it was over, probably in search of a way to test himself, leaving him with nothing more than an empty compound and a few parting words.
"There is no value in killing the likes of you… My foolish brother… If you want to kill me… curse me! Hate me! And live a long and unsightly life… Run away… run away… and cling to your pitiful life."
Even now, years later, the voice of his elder brother resonated within the depths of his mind. He had ended up closing himself off from everyone, both because they didn't actually care for him as a person and out of a fear of making bonds, bonds his brother might have used to make his life more miserable.
And still, despite his best efforts, he couldn't stop a bond from forming with his rival, a boy who became a brother to him;
The boy he had left to die.
It wasn't his fault, was it? He had just followed orders, did what was excepted of him as a Konoha shinobi, was that bad? Did it make him a terrible friend, a horrible brother? Yes, it probably did, but it made him a proper ninja.
Yeah, a hell of a lot that did for him, his brother was gone now, dead because of him, replaced by the monster made from his flesh and memories, a heartless machine filled with bitterness and a grudge that could last for eternity.
Honestly, Sasuke couldn't blame him;
But he could blame himself, and that's exactly what he did.
The next family-less person was team seven's sensei, Hatake Kakashi. His mother having died at a young age, Kakashi had been raised by his father, the White Fang of Konoha. All was fine until a single failed mission completely changed his life, and ended his father's.
His father had not fallen on the mission, rather he had committed suicide after purposely failing the mission in order to save his comrades. The shame of that failed mission had eventually driven his father to the ledge, and proceeded to push him off, leaving him without family. From that day forth he had sworn to follow the ninja code precisely, but that hadn't turned out as planned.
Both his teammates had died on a mission, sacrificing themselves for Konoha and, more importantly, the team. Following this event Kakashi had taken on himself some of Obito's beliefs, placing teamwork and trust before everything else, it had become his ninja way, the path he walked to honor the memories of those who had sacrificed themselves for others.
And now he had spit on it, dragged it through the mud and discarded it, for one, single reason.
He was scared.
Hatake Kakashi, the Copy Ninja, son of the White Fang, had been terrified. Not of his opponents, but of his student, and what that student contained.
The power of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, the strongest biju in existence and quite possible the strongest being on the planet, had been leaking from the seal his Sensei, the fourth Hokage, had placed on his student. As much as he hated to admit it, he had panicked, something no Jonin worth the effort to destroy their corpse should ever do.
He acted on fear, allowed emotion to cloud his judgment, broke the shinobi rules, and destroyed his sensei's legacy in one instant, with a single decision of a scared mind. His sensei, his father figure, entrusted him with Naruto's wellbeing before the child was even born, just incase he suddenly died-something common in the shinobi world- and had wanted Kakashi to be the brother, or the uncle, or anything for the young boy. And he had failed, horribly. He wasn't their for Naruto's childhood and when he was there as his teacher he abandoned him, left him to die.
Oh, how he wished he could take it back! How he wished he had trusted more in his sensei's sealwork and Naruto's ability to control himself while using the fox's power. But there was nothing he could do now, no way to change the sands of time that had already been swept away in the current of existence, never to be touched again.
He had hoped that he might be able to put himself back into Naruto's life, show the boy- no, man, that he really did care, that he regretted his actions with his very being. But that would not work, Naruto himself wouldn't allow it. And, truthfully, Kakashi wouldn't have in his place either. After all, what fool allows the one who betrayed them to come closer once more?
His student- though he was unworthy of claiming such- was definitely no fool.
So no matter how much he might want to, there was one thing Kakashi would never be able to do, the one thing he now hoped to accomplish before his death, even if it required that death;
Mournfully staring at the soon to depart ship, Koyuki thought that there was never a better time for spontaneous combustion. It seemed as she had just got him, her pillar of strength, and he was already leaving, back to the village that didn't deserve him.
She wanted nothing more than for him to stay with her, or, if possible, go with him. Sadly, neither of these options were available to her. He needed to go back to the village, the place he swore to serve no matter what, and she had to stay here, her duty to her people, her father, and now her lover keeping her here to oversee the country.
He had entrusted the droid factories to her, the source of his future armies, armies that would be used to defend both Yuki and Konoha. Such trust was endearing, make no mistake, but she would rather just have him. He had promised to visit, something she would hold him to, but the wait between would drive her crazy. Luckily, while he couldn't be there with her, he had given her a small device that she could use to contact him at any time, and he had mentioned something about almost being finished with an extremely fast method of travel which would allow her to see him more.
Her father, the last of her family, died many years ago, leaving her a kingdom and a mountain of responsibility, something she had run away from. Could you fault the young child? No, but that didn't stop her from regretting not returning when she was older. She had fame and money enough to rally a nice sized fore behind her, one that could have freed her country. Botsuraku came, however, and helped her become the ruler she needed to be for her people, and for that she was eternally grateful.
Perhaps this was for the best, so that she didn't simply use him as a crutch, and could continue to grow as a daimyo. It would be hard, of that she had no doubt, but she would pull through, if not for her people, then for her father, if not for her father than for herself, and if not for herself then for the man she loved, her new reason for living, the knight in shining armor that would always be there to treat her like the princess she was.
If not for anything else, she would remain strong for Botsuraku, the one who gave her life purpose once more.
For as long as she could remember she had been alone, there hadn't been anyone who had cared and in turn she cared for no one, closing off her heat from the outside world.
And that had suddenly changed.
With the force of a million trains he had broken into her life without warning, appearing as if he had always been there. He most certainly hadn't, that was for damn sure, but now that he was everything seemed to be just a bit brighter. She wasn't alone anymore, no longer struggling to stay alive in this cruel world. She had an ally, someone to support and look after her.
She had someone who cared, even if it was the slightest amount in the world, and that was all that mattered. Her master would not abandon her, would not forsake her to this vicious world and the monsters which inhabited it. No, he would always be there, ready to pick her up should she fall, to erase any mistakes she might make.
Many thought that Kakuyoku Fubuki didn't have a heart, and they were wrong, she had a heart and was certain that there was only one person in existence worthy of it;
Wet soil squelched under his feet as he walked sedately, a cold breeze washing over his metal body and bringing with it the sweet smell of spring.
The end of a season
The end of a tyrant's rule
The end of his humanity.
He gave a bitter, humorless chuckle. So much had changed in such a small amount of time. Brining his hand up to his face he pressed it into a fist, watching as metal plates effortlessly slid over each other, the strongest known material in existence- on this planet, anyway- and it had been used to reform his body, a broken body.
A body that by all means should have died.
Preserved in a frozen wasteland, cold and blue, his lifeless corpse should have remained there, undisturbed, eternally resting near the body of his killer. That was the way it was supposed to be, this existence of his was a mistake, a blunder of the universe.
Call it luck, if you will, it doesn't matter. He existed, he lived, and he would make use of that, for as long as this world deemed him worthy of this second chance. Soon enough he would be on his way back home-
Not home, it was never a home.
He'd be back in Konoha, the place he had sworn to serve until his last breath.
Would he rather leave and never turn back? Of course, why would he want to return? The only thing keeping him there was that oath, one he wouldn't ever break, no matter what the cost. He didn't break his word, he never made false promise, he had his honor, one of the few things he owned, and probably the most valuable.
A warrior without pride and honor is nothing, merely a man with a weapon. He wasn't a man with a weapon, no, he was a warrior, one that would serve his village, doing whatever's best for it, regardless of the feelings its inhabitants might have.
Had he sworn to serve the Hokage? No. Had he sworn to serve the council? No. Had he sworn to serve the civilians that loathed his entire existence? Oh hell no! He had sworn to serve the village, and serve it he would. He would protect her, his beautiful tree, and he would carefully remove anything that might harm her.
Even if that was the Hokage themself.
He was downfall, the end of his enemies, the end of Konoha's corruption, he was General Botsuraku, and nothing would stop the purifying fire that would sweep through Konoha;
The gods themselves would tremble in terror as he brought Konoha back to the glory she deserved.
He swore it on his humanity.
Whatever might be left.