Safe and Sound
Boruto stared back at Ansei, his eyes wide and watering. He felt bile rise in his throat and his whole body shook. His only solace was that Himawari hadn’t been there to witness the brutality. For a moment, Ansei turned to him and their eyes locked. Boruto didn’t want to show fear, but he must have because he saw the other boy flinch away from his gaze. Ansei turned and went to leave. The crowd parted like the Red Sea and whispers surrounded him as he left. “Ansei!” Boruto called. He ran after him, and grabbed his arm.
Ansei pulled away violently. The two stared at each other. What am I doing? Boruto thought as he searched Ansei’s face for any hint of his thoughts. I don’t know this kid. I’ve only known him for a couple months… Why do I care so much? “Stay out of it,” Ansei growled.
Boruto shook his head. “Is this what you want?” he asked.
Ansei didn’t answer. He simply walked away, leaving the rest to clean up his mess. In all, it took the Uchiha three more, agonizing hours to die; and then everything went to hell.
The villagers heard about the method of attack and things went downhill very fast. Riots and protests broke out around the village for the injustice that had occurred. While the man did, by law, deserve to die, he didn’t deserve the torture that Ansei had done. Boruto paced his and his sister’s room as night fell; and with the night, came even more anger.
Boruto jumped as there was a knock on the door. He ran to it and opened it. “Sarada?!”He gasped, embracing her tightly. Himawari came as well to join the hug. Boruto felt tears fall down his cheeks as he held his teammate. “What are you doing here?” he managed after a moment.
“Itachi snuck me in,” she whispered. “It’s terrible out there! I think they’ll break in soon. We have to get out of here!” Boruto nodded and lifted his sister in his arms.
“You’re crying…” Himawari whimpered. She wiped the tears from her brother’s cheek. Boruto was at his breaking point. For a moment, he leaned into her small hand, allowing the tremors come that he had been trying to conceal. “What’s wrong?”
Boruto took a deep breath to steady himself. “I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong,” he said with a smile. He nodded to Sarada and they took off into the hallway. Itachi was waiting for them at the edge of the compound and they ran. Boruto held Himawari close to his body to protect her from the village. They were Hyuuga, after all.
The village, it seemed, had had enough. They were angry that the Hyuuga had raised their newest head of family to be so cruel and heartless. The group didn’t stop until they reached the Uchiha compound, which was mostly empty as the Uchiha had gone to join the protests outside. Itachi hurried to his home. “Naruto, Obito! I got them!” Naruto ran into the foyer and hugged the two kids with a smile. Obito sighed with relief and Sasuke also grinned as he entered the entranceway.
“We have to stop this,” Itachi snapped.
“We have to kill Ansei,” Obito muttered.
“What?!” Naruto and Boruto snapped at the suggestion.
“We have to!” Obito retorted. “The boy is dangerous! His time with the Kyuubi has warped his mind! We were fools to give him the fox in the first place.”
“Why does he have to be punished for your mistake?” Naruto snapped.
“He’s already being punished!” Obito growled. “We need to end his punishment!”
“You can’t give up on him!” Boruto said hotly. “There’s still good left in him!”
“It doesn’t matter,” Obito said, defeated. “Now that the village knows the monster he truly is, he’ll never be accepted…”
Boruto bowed his head. He knew that his version of Naruto had gained favor in his village, and had even become Hokage. Why couldn’t Ansei have the same chance? He sat down on the ground as thunder shook the ground. The adults continued arguing, trying to decide the fate of the Jinchuuriki. Why do they get to decide? He thought. That’s not fair! This was never fair to him! Boruto nodded. He and Himawari would go home… and he would take Ansei with them!
As silently as possible, Boruto ran out of the house and towards the compound. He had to get Ansei out of there and then they could come up with a plan. They had Sasuke now, so that had to be able to get out of there. We’ll handle having two foxes in our world when we get there!
There wasn’t much of a plan at that point, but he knew he had to try. Ansei didn’t deserve to live in this hell anymore. Boruto ran as fast as he could, but the compound was complete chaos by that point. Boruto dodged the fighting as he tore through the area towards Ansei’s tiny room. He flung the door open, but it was empty, save for a single board of shogi on a small table. Boruto looked at it for a moment and blinked. Any other time he wouldn’t have paused, but the board was untouched on one side, as if a player was playing by himself and imagining the other moves.
Boruto shook his head and crawled into the small door on the other side. He looked out at the small garden. The rock bed was trampled and the plants were stepped on and destroyed. Boruto ran back into the room and out the door. Where would he go?! He had nowhere to go!
He stopped suddenly as he passed Hiashi’s room. He listened intently and his eyes widened. He flung the door open. “Ansei!” he gasped. Sure enough, the boy was there with his grandfather. Hiashi was bound to where he couldn’t use the Dark Phoenix Jutsu and anyone else that could use it was too busy dealing with the mess outside.
Ansei turned to Boruto. “Stay out of this,” he snapped. Boruto looked between Ansei and Hiashi and sighed. “Don’t pretend he doesn’t deserve this!” Ansei shouted. He took the kunai in his hand and slammed it into Hiashi’s arm.
Boruto’s shoulders dropped as he tried to come up with something to say. He stepped towards Ansei, but the other child spun around, hurling him through the walls with a loud thud. Boruto was left on the ground, shaking from the shock of the impact.
When he came back to his senses, all he was aware of was the screaming. He could hear Ansei shouting angrily at Hiashi and the man’s tortured screams as the boy released thirteen years of hatred and frustration on his grandfather. Boruto stood shakily. “Stop!” he shouted.
Ansei stopped in mid-swing and turned to Boruto. Blood covered half his face. “I told you to stay out of this!” he growled.
“What will killing him do?” Boruto asked shakily. “Will it get you all those years back? You don’t have to do this, Ansei!”
“I know I don’t… And that’s why I’m doing it! You can’t pretend to sit here and know me!” Ansei retorted. Another gasp at the door made Ansei snarl. He hurled his kunai at the new person, but jumped when he realized who he had just attacked. “M-mom…!” Ansei blinked slowly. The kunai had found its mark in her flesh, but nowhere vital.
For a moment, everyone in the room dared not move. Ansei slowly looked down at his shaking hands, covered in blood. He screamed suddenly. Ansei tore out of the room, shoving Boruto out of the way. Hinata took a step towards her child, but fell to her knees as she did. Boruto took one look at her before taking off after Ansei.
“Stop!” Boruto called, but Ansei wouldn’t stop. Boruto sighed and did a couple handsigns, teleporting in front of Ansei, grabbing his shirt. “Where are you going?!”
“Away from here!” Ansei snapped, shoving Boruto out of his way.
“You’re just going to leave?”
“What else is there to do?” Ansei reasoned angrily. “I can’t stay here! Not after that!” He pointed a shaking finger towards the way he had come.
“Come with me!” Boruto offered.
“To where?! Where are you going to go?” Boruto bowed his head. How am I going to explain this…? “And why do you care so much?!”
“I… Don’t know,” Boruto admitted. “But you can’t just run from this! Where are you going to go?”
“Anywhere but here! I have to go somewhere where I can train without being held down by the Hyuuga, so I can come back and burn this god-forsaken place to the ground!” Ansei snapped.
“What will that accomplish?!” Boruto shouted. “What will any of this accomplish?”
“Why does this village deserve to exist?” Ansei responded. “Look at this mess! This place is as screwed up as I am!”
“Yes it is!” Boruto retorted, tears streaming down his face. “It’s flawed, and it makes mistakes, and sometimes people fall through the cracks, but they don’t all deserve to be punished!”
Ansei rushed at Boruto and grabbed his shirt, holding him in the air. His other hand began to glow and he reached towards Boruto’s head, ready to dissect his brain. The attack never came, however. Boruto blinked as a white and red cloak fell around him. He was thrown to the ground, but not in anger. “What in the hell is going on here?!”
Boruto was stunned into silence as he stared up at the cloaked figure in front of him. The newcomer had Ansei’s arm in a death grip and a bandaged hand was at his side, holding Boruto back.
“Dad…?” Boruto whimpered. His eyes widened as he realized that this was his father. “Daddy!” Boruto called. He ran to the man and hugged him from the back. Naruto blinked and looked down at his son, not quite registering what was happening. Ansei tore out of this Naruto’s grip and looked over the man that had come. Boruto knew he must be confused. This wasn’t the sensei that he knew. Ansei shook his head and took off running, disappearing in the chaos.
Naruto looked like he wanted to go after the boy that had dared to hurt his son, but he had bigger problems to deal with. He turned to Boruto and knelt in front of him, only to be tackled in a tight hug. “You came…” Boruto whimpered, gripping his father with such vigor that he thought he might choke him.
Naruto was, undoubtedly, confused, but he hugged his son tightly and comfortingly, rubbing his back. “Of course I came,” he whispered.
“I’m sorry!” Boruto cried. He buried his face in his father’s orange jacket. “I’m so sorry!”
“Shh...” Naruto whispered. “Don’t worry about that now…”
“I don’t hate you!” the boy continued, gripping his father tighter.
“I love you too,” Naruto responded with a light chuckle. “Now… What is this place?” He stood, holding Boruto protectively. “Where’s your sister and Sarada?”
“With Itachi and Obito,” Boruto answered as nonchalantly as if it was normal.
“Itachi…? And Obito…?” Naruto asked. Boruto sighed. This was going to take a lot of explaining, it seemed. “It doesn’t matter. We don’t have a lot of time! This portal thing doesn’t stay open very long!”
“Right! Uchiha compound!” Naruto nodded and hurried through the Hyuuga compound, searching the riots.
“Who was that boy?” he asked.
“Just a friend,” Boruto muttered.
Naruto chuckled softly. “Looks like you inherited my taste in friends, hm?” Boruto nodded slowly. “What is this place, anyway?”
Boruto sighed. “That’s… a long story, dad…” he grumbled. “I’ll tell you when we get home…” Naruto nodded agreement and seemed to lock onto the girls’ chakra as he sped up faster. Boruto looked out at the village that was in a mess. Every time lighting illuminated the sky, he could see the damage. Maybe Ansei’s right… Maybe this place is just as screwed up as he is, the boy thought dismally. He rested his head on Naruto’s shoulder as they ran.
Naruto opened the door to Itachi’s house. “Himawari!” he called. His whole body froze when Itachi stepped into the foyer.
Boruto slid out of his dad’s arms and looked between Naruto and Itachi. “You’re alive?” Naruto breathed finally.
“Yeah… You saw me a few minutes ago. I thought you went out to find Ansei…” He looked up and down the newcomer, noting the difference between his Naruto and the one that stood before him; mainly the Hokage cloak.
“Ansei might not be very easy to find,” Boruto interjected. Itachi shook his head to turn to the kid.
“Daddy!” Himawari shouted. She ran to her father and tackled him.
“Seventh?” Sarada gasped.
Boruto turned to the Uchiha. “We’re going home!” he said.
Naruto turned to Itachi, obviously trying to accept all of this. “What’s happening?”
“You’re from wherever these kids are from… aren’t you?” Itachi asked. Naruto nodded. “Some riots have started. I assume this is not the case where you are from…”
Naruto shook his head. “It’s rather peaceful there.”
“Must be nice…” Itachi said. Boruto sighed. Itachi seemed rather easy going. The other Naruto probably explained all of this during the two months in the compound. He closed his eyes.
Naruto picked up his daughter and stared at Itachi for a long moment. Boruto knew the man’s debate; help this world, or get his kids to safety. The moment of debate didn’t last long, however. “Let’s go!” He turned and ran out the door. Sarada took a final look at her uncle before following the Hokage.
“If they find Ansei, they are going to kill him,” Itachi told Boruto.
“This isn’t my world…” Boruto reasoned. Could he truly escape all of this? Could he leave it all behind?
“Is it?” Itachi asked. “You were the first one to ever get a scrap of kindness out of that boy.”
“Why don’t you save him?” Boruto asked. Itachi sighed and shook his head.
“You have a connection to him that no one else has. Who exactly are you?” Boruto didn’t answer. He realized he couldn’t. “I see…”
“Boruto!” Naruto shouted from outside. “Let’s go!”
“Good luck, child,” Itachi whispered.
Boruto shook his head and took off after his father. He clenched his fists as they ran through the village and out of the gates. “Can you believe it?” Sarada asked Boruto with a smile. “We’re going home!”
“Y-yeah…” Boruto muttered.
“It’s Ansei,” Boruto admitted.
“He’s not your problem, Boruto! We don’t even belong here!”
Do we…? Boruto thought to himself, but out loud, he said “you’re right. I’m just going to miss him, is all, I guess.”
Sarada smiled. “Well, we’ll have a pretty weird story to tell Mitsuki when we get back!”
“He probably won’t believe us,” Boruto teased.
They ran to where the portal was. Boruto blinked. Inside the other side of that tear was home. It was bright and sunny while a storm continued to grow here. “Papa!” Sarada shouted. She ran through the portal and leapt at her father and mother as they waited. Boruto clenched his jacket, shaking slightly. Sarada was home safe…
Naruto walked through with Himawari as the tear began to mend itself slowly. Boruto took a step towards it. He could go through and forgot this whole thing. He could go home and never look back… How easy would it to be to just say good-bye to this forsaken world and never think about it again? It was just a world that he hadn’t even wanted to believe existed, even while they were in it.
Hima and Sarada are safe, he thought with a long sigh of relief. He could be safe too; away from this storm. He took another step towards the tear. If they find Ansei, they are going to kill him.
Boruto stopped and turned to look at the village gates. They would kill him… He didn’t deserve it.
“Why do you care?!” Ansei had asked him.
“Because we’re brothers…” Boruto answered quietly.
Naruto hadn’t noticed that his son hadn’t come as he, Hima and Hinata reunited. It had only been a few seconds. The tear got even smaller. This is something I have to do. Boruto concluded. This is only something I can do. I can’t… I can’t leave him, dad! I can’t. I understand now. He is our family… And I won’t leave him!
He took a step away from his home and his family. The gap was closing faster now. I’m sorry… But this is something I have to do…!
“I love you!” Boruto called into the portal. Naruto spun around just in time to see his son’s back as the portal faded out of existence.
“Boruto!” Naruto screamed, lunging at the fading tear in reality, but he was too late. His fists slammed into the wall where it had been. “Boruto!” he cried. He spun around to Sarada and her family. “Where is he going?!” he shouted. He wasn’t angry, just frantic.
Sarada blinked and shook her head. “Ansei,” she breathed. “He’s going after Ansei!”
“Who is Ansei?” Hinata asked.
Naruto waited impatiently, but he didn’t want to make the poor girl uncomfortable. “It’s… complicated,” Sarada muttered. “Ansei is your son.” She pointed to Hinata. “Or Hanabi’s… I don’t know, really. It’s so confusing. But he’s the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi in that world!”
I knew I had felt it, Naruto thought. “Is it that white and black haired kid?” Naruto asked. Sarada nodded. “But he was trying to KILL Boruto!”
“What?!” Hinata gasped.
“When I found him, he was about to Chakra Dissect Boruto’s head!”
Sarada sighed. “Ansei’s a bit… unstable.” She muttered. “From what I gathered, Ansei’s basically been treated like an object his whole life…”
Naruto closed his eyes, then turned to the inventor. “Get me back there! I can’t let him go through with this!”
“Naruto… we fought,” Sasuke reminded him.
“That’s different! You and I had years to build that bond that kept you from killing me! Boruto and this… whatever he is haven’t had that time! That boy was about to Kill Boruto! And neither one of us was crazy!”
“I beg to differ,” Sasuke muttered.
“Now’s not the time to argue!”
“It’s malfunctioning,” the inventor interjected. “It’s not meant to sustain a portal.”
“Then fix it!” Naruto screamed.
“Y-yes sir!” The man said quickly.
Naruto slammed his fist into the wall, cracking it. They were so close! “I should have carried him in!” he growled at himself.
Hinata rested a hand on Naruto’s shoulder. “Maybe… Maybe this is something he has to do, sweetie,” she whispered.
“If something happens to him, I’ll never forgive myself…” Naruto whispered. Himawari walked up to her parents and hugged her dad tightly. Naruto gripped her and smiled. He kissed the top of her head. At least one of this is home and safe. “How long will it take to fix it?” Naruto asked, calmer.
“I don’t know. An hour… maybe two.”
Naruto closed his eyes. Boruto… I hope you know what you’re doing…
Ansei ran from the village as rain began to fall around him Right now it was a drizzle, but if the thunder and lightning were any indication, it was be a torrential downpour soon. He wasn’t even looking where he was going. He had to escape before they found him! It didn’t matter where he went at that moment. All that he cared about was getting away.
A part of him wanted to get away because he didn’t want to hurt anyone else. He had hurt his mother… He couldn’t handle it anymore. The other, vast majority of him was more than willing to leave just to get out of there so he could train without the interference of the Hyuuga Clan. He wanted to destroy the Leaf Village and make them pay for what they had done to him. They had let this all happened. He had decided that they were responsible for this whole mess. They didn’t deserve to live anymore.
Ansei ran faster. The further he got away, the better if would be. They wouldn’t follow him for a while. They were too busy dealing with the riots in the village. They wouldn’t even know he was gone before he had crossed the border. By that point, they couldn’t go get him. He would be across the border and they wouldn’t be allowed to cross to get him back. All he had to do was cross.
He shook his head, trying to forget Boruto’s words. Come with me… He had told him that.
“But to where…?” Ansei thought. He didn’t know. There was nowhere that Boruto could take him where he would be free from the village forever. Boruto had nowhere to take him. He put chakra in his feet to run even faster.
He stopped suddenly, skidding to a halt. Beyond him was the Valley of the End, but before he got there, he spotted him. “Boruto?”
“You don’t have to run anymore,” Boruto said quietly. “You don’t have to be afraid, Ansei.”
“Shut up!” Ansei growled. “You know nothing! Step aside, Boruto!”
“I can’t let you do this,” he answered. “I can’t let you throw your life away. Is this really what you want?”
“Does it matter?! Who cares what I want?”
“I do… Please, come with me.”
Ansei pulled out a Kunai and fell into a ready stance. “Don’t do this, kid… I won’t hesitate to kill you.”
“I know.” Boruto pulled out his own weapon. Ansei smirked. “But this is something I have to do…”