See You Again
Boruto stared at Ansei, his eyes wide. How the heck am I supposed to fight that?! He thought. He did a mental check of his body. Despite the throbbing in his neck, he was otherwise uninjured; but he was running low on chakra. He had enough to last a while, but not enough to tire out a Jinchuuriki… and an angry one at that. Boruto hardly had time to make that thought before he was flying back and bouncing on the surface of the water. It was like rolling on concrete.
He bit down on his teeth and curled in a ball to roll with the punch. Add a split lip to those injuries, Boruto thought as he came to a stop in the water. He stared up at the darkening sky and closed his eyes as the rain started. Boruto stood, facing Ansei. The Jinchuuriki howled at him and Boruto nodded. He had no idea what to do. He clenched his shaking fists and smiled slightly. Guess there are worst ways to die, he thought.
As if he had heard Boruto’s thoughts, Ansei lunged forward. Boruto turned around and ran. Letting Ansei near him would mean the end of him. The Jinchuuriki’s speed had increased, keeping Boruto on his toes. He shook his head, trying to keep away from Ansei, but the Hyuuga wasn’t letting him get away with fleeing. What do I do?! Boruto thought frantically.
Using the fake out where he went under water would be stupid. Ansei would have learned that trick by now, and with his tails, Boruto could only imagine that ending with a lung full or water if it didn’t end with a broken spine. He had to end this quick or he wouldn’t survive. He spun around and threw his hands into the water, forming deadly water spouts underneath Ansei and also forming a large wall of water around him.
He heard Ansei scream, taken aback by the sudden attack. Suddenly, though, the screaming stopped and the water wall began to boil. Boruto’s eyes widened and he released the jutsu, jumping into the air to avoid the scalding water that Ansei had heated up for him. The Jinchuuriki howled and lunged into the air after his prey. Boruto did a successful round kick to Ansei’s face, sending him into the boiling inferno beneath them.
Boruto closed his eyes and did a series of hand signs. He felt the electricity above him and the water beneath him. He took a deep breath and channeled his chakra, raising a hand to channel the attack. He threw down his hand, pointing at Ansei just as natural lightning tore through the sky, adding to the attack. Boruto bit his lip as Ansei howled in pain. He was thrown into the waterfall. Boruto allowed himself to fall into the water, bouncing with the surface tension.
He looked at his hand that he had used to channel the lighting. It was burned. He winces as he tried to move it. Blood ran down his arm and disappeared in the water. He rolled over and stood on the water, swaying slightly. He looked to where Ansei had disappeared behind the waterfall and sighed. He turned and stumbled towards the shore, cradling his burned hand carefully. He didn’t know how he’d explain this to Hinata. Maybe this was better for him, anyway. He was never going to be truly happy here… or anywhere.
Boruto couldn’t convince himself of that, though. He still felt terrible about what he had done. I should have just let him go… Boruto stopped on the shore and took a deep, shaky breath in. He settled on his knees to catch him breath and to let the rain fall on him, washing his wounds.
Suddenly, Boruto felt the hair on his neck stand up. He stiffened and turned slowly. The waterfall was glowing bright red and Boruto’s heart sunk. Ansei stepped out from the fall. He had a hole in his shoulder and his right arm hung uselessly at his side as blood poured from the wound. Three tails whipped angrily behind him and he stumbled forward. Boruto stood slowly, looking down at his own burnt hand. His whole body shook. If that didn’t work… then what will?
“Dad, will you teach me something today?” Boruto asked. He was around six at the time. Naruto turned to his son and smiled before biting into the blue Popsicle.
“What do you want to learn?” Naruto asked with a chuckle. Boruto examined the stick in his hand before placing it in his mouth.
“Everything!” he answered after a few moments of pondering.
“Oh? Everything, hm?”
“Yeah!” Boruto said with a smile.
Naruto sighed. “That’s a big order, young man,” he said. “It’ll take a long time to teach you everything!”
“Well, can we get started?”
Naruto looked up at the night sky and smiled sweetly. “Not tonight.”
“But dad!” Boruto whined. Naruto picked up the child and smiled.
“Come on, you, bed time. You have school tomorrow.”
Boruto struggled against his father, but not too hard. “Will you teach me something tonight?” he asked finally. Naruto thought about this request as he walked into the child’s room. He stayed silent even as he placed Boruto in his bed. Naruto settled down in the bed beside his son and sighed.
“There’s a lot to learn,” he said finally, pulling Boruto close to him. He looked up at the ceiling. “Never give up.”
“Hm?” Boruto asked. “That’s a stupid lesson. I’d never give up!”
Naruto hugged his son gently. “I know you won’t… but there might be a day when you want to,” he whispered.
“I’d never!” Boruto protested. Naruto stroked the boy’s blonde hair. Boruto groaned in annoyance, but settled against his father’s chest.
“Remember that attitude,” Naruto warned him softly. “Life isn’t always easy,” He kissed Boruto on the head. “Don’t lose that quality, Boruto.”
Boruto opened his eyes. I won’t, dad, was his answer that day. He would see his father and mother again. He would hold his sister again. This wasn’t going to be the end of him. He ran towards Ansei. He created four more shadow clones that all rushed the Jinchuuriki.
He thought about it as he sent one clone to the left. Ansei, as predicted, dodged right, right into the waiting kick of one shadow clone. He was thrown to the north where the third clone waited. Boruto had one shot at this. He visualized the chakra networks. He had to block Ansei’s chakra. His whole body shook violently. One wrong move and he was dead. Ansei would react in a second and he would be killed. Ansei spun at the fourth clone, howling angrily when he realized that it was just a clone, but it was too late. That spin to attack the final clone had positioned the real one behind him.
Boruto slammed the palm of his hand into Ansei’s back, directly above his heart, sending the Jinchuuriki flying forward. He rolled on the water before stopping himself, but the glow receded. Boruto smiled with triumph. “Y-you!” Ansei growled angrily, stumbling a little.
This isn’t over! Boruto thought. Ansei ran at him and the two engaged in a battle of kicks and punches. Both were at their chakra limits. Boruto hadn’t successfully blocked all of Ansei’s chakra, but it had been enough. Now they used what they had left to stay on top of the water.
The two fought like seasoned professionals. Both Hyuuga descendants had their own distinct style. While Ansei’s style was more traditional, he was a power house. He wasn’t as light on his feet as Boruto was. His attacks were broad and when he landed a hit, Boruto felt the years of muscle building behind them, often sending him stumbling backwards.
While Ansei was a power house, Boruto was as light of his feet as Ansei was powerful. Boruto, who had trained under his mother, knew the traditional forms, but he had modified them. While his attacks didn’t usually send Ansei stumbling back, his hits were far more subtle. He was whittling away at Ansei. Unlike Ansei’s attacks, which were designed to attempt to defeat the opponent in as little moves as possible, Boruto’s attacks were lighter; kinder. One wouldn’t even realize the damage he had done until it was too late.
At this point, that was his strategy. Ansei finally stumbled back, breaking their odd dance under the downpour rain. Boruto ran at him and they began again. The water was their stage as their movements perfectly complimented each other. The lightning lit their movements and the thunder and rain provided a soundtrack to their dance.
It was Boruto’s turn to break away. He ran through the sleet until he came to the shore. He spun around as Ansei ran up to him. Boruto lifted a palm and Ansei lifted two fingers. Boruto thrusted his palm forward as Ansei did the same with his attack, but it never connected. The Jinchuuriki was sent flying backwards. He rolled onto the shore, coming to a halt. He stood. The rain washed the blood out of his hair. Boruto smiled slightly. “Now…” he said as he took a step forward. “Can we please ta--“
He never finished the sentence.
Blood poured from his mouth instead of words.
Boruto’s eyes went wide and he dropped to his hands and knees. He gasped for air through the blood that worked its way into his airway. “H-how…?” he gasped. He could barely see through the tremors. “Y-you missed!”
“Sky Palms… Chakra Scalpel,” Ansei explained. “I sliced your lung and heart open.”
Boruto struggled to his feet. He couldn’t believe it. He had calculated everything perfectly. He had timed it all! He lurched forward awkwardly.
“What else can you do, Boruto?” Ansei asked smugly. “You have a mere few minutes before you bleed out.” Boruto didn’t listen. This wasn’t over. If he was going to die here, then he wouldn’t die without saving Ansei from himself. “Just let yourself rest, kid.”
Boruto opened his mouth, but couldn’t speak for a moment. His knees buckled and he fell hard on the stone floor. He tried to answer, but whenever he opened his mouth, blood bubbled out before the words could. “You…” Boruto managed finally, struggling to his hands and knees. “You aren’t… the monster… you think you are…” He collapsed again. Ansei took a step back, his eyes wide. “I… won’t give up… on you.”
“What is wrong with you?” Ansei snarled. “Why are you doing this?”
Boruto turned his eyes to Ansei. He smiled slightly. “N-no one… deserves the hell… you’ve endured,” he gasped. He struggled to get on his hands and knees again, but his arms wouldn’t hold his weight. He fell with a sickening splash. “I wanted… to make a difference,” he whimpered. “Maybe it was selfish. I wanted you to realize that you weren’t alone…” He coughed and more blood came up. He clenched his fists, shaking violently.
Ansei shook his head. “You shouldn’t have cared about me!” he cried. “You should have given up like everyone else!”
“Probably,” Boruto admitted. “B-but… I just couldn’t.”
Ansei took another step back. “Why not?!” he screamed. “Why did you push yourself for me?! I’m not worth this!”
“Yes… you are,” Boruto whimpered. He closed his eyes and shuddered. “I lived a good life… I have a mother and father… who love me… a sister who I cherish… a village…” Boruto coughed and curled on the ground. “I took… it all for granted… And I saw you,” he continued, “and I realized how stupid I’ve been… I don’t deserve what I have.” He closed his eyes. “I never did… But you… you do… I wanted to give you a better life… a chance… to be… happy…”
Ansei blinked as his tears mingled with the rain on his face. “But…”
“No!” Boruto snapped his eyes open. “Stop! You deserve everything!”
“I’m a monster!” Ansei retorted.
“That they created,” Boruto retorted.
“You don’t know anything about what I’ve been through!”
“No… I don’t,” Boruto admitted. “I can’t imagine the pain you’ve endured… But you’re still here!”
Ansei stared down at Boruto, his eyes wide. Boruto smiled at him through the pain. “You… believe in me…?” he whimpered. “You don’t think I’m a monster?”
“Of course not,” Boruto assured him. “You are a good person, Ansei, with a bright future…” He closed his eyes and suddenly went into convulsions. Ansei’s eyes widened and he hurried to the boy’s side, pushing him onto his back. He quickly did hand signs to try and heal the damage he had done.
“I’ll make this right!” he promised the boy. Boruto smiled, but he had blocked Ansei’s chakra flow. He still could use some chakra, but not enough to stop the bleeding and then replace all the blood. Ansei seemed to have realized this, because after a moment, his eyes widened. He stumbled back.
“Go… and live your life,” Boruto whispered.
Ansei shook his head. He walked away from Boruto and stopped, turning back to the boy. “You made me realize something, Boruto.” He whispered. “I am a monster.” Boruto shook his head. “You were an innocent child… and I couldn’t let you in. I let my hatred control me.”
“Ansei…” Boruto gasped. He tried to roll over.
“You’re right about one thing. No one deserves the hell I’ve lived through, but I’m a hypocrite. I wanted to make the world worse. The only way the world can be better…” His hand began glowing a different color.
“Ansei!” Boruto shouted weakly.
“…Is without me.” He placed hand glowing hand over his heart. His eyes widened before his knees buckled and he crashed to the ground.
Boruto closed his eyes. “Damn you!” he screamed, but not to Ansei, but to the Hyuuga clan that had brought them to this place. He struggled to his feet, holding his burning chest. He stumbled forward, lurching awkwardly towards Ansei’s body. Boruto stared down at the boy and cried. “You… idiot…”
He fell down beside the Hyuuga. He didn’t even feel his head crash into the stone. He rolled over to his back and stared up at the sky. Tears mixed with the rain. I failed… he thought sadly. At least I got to tell dad and mom I love them. He closed his eyes. At least… I tried. Are you proud, daddy? Did I do well? I don’t feel the pain anymore… He thought, for some reason, that dying without pain would make his dad feel better. He opened his eyes to look at the clouds as they passed over him. Lightning lit the sky up.
Boruto blinked slowly. Daddy… he thought.
“Come on, you…” a voice whispered; a distant memory. “Bed time…”
Boruto blinked again, forcing his eyes open, but only managing half-way. “But I’m not sleepy…” a child’s voice protested. There was a gentle, comforting chuckle. Boruto suddenly felt warmth spread through his body like a blanket. His eyes slid closed, unable to stay open any longer.
“Sure you aren’t…” Naruto’s voice whispered. Boruto thought he felt a kiss on his forehead. “I’ll see you in the morning, kiddo… Good night, Boruto…”
“I got it!” the inventor shouted, throwing his fist in the air. Naruto jumped up. He already had a clone building up Sage chakra so that he could get in there, find his son’s chakra, and get out without any more delay.
“I would like to come this time,” Sasuke said. “I may not be able to get to this world, but I can get us back, right?”
“Most likely,” the inventor said.
“I don’t care if he comes!” Naruto snapped. “Let’s go!”
Hinata looked like she wanted to go, but both the mothers had already decided to stay just in case the men didn’t come back for one reason or the other. The inventor nodded slowly and opened the portal. Naruto turned to Sasuke and the two jumped through, only to find themselves in the middle of Konoha as the rain ripped the sky. The riots had only gotten worse. Hyuuga and Uchiha were righting in the streets. Sasuke’s eyes widened. “We have to stop this!”
“We have to find my son!” Naruto snapped. “You can go find Itachi if you want!” His clone vanished and he took in the Sage chakra, casting out his senses. He gasped.
“What?” Sasuke asked.
Naruto shook his head. He couldn’t feel Boruto’s chakra… anywhere. He searched for it, spreading his reach outside the village and to its limits, but still, he didn’t feel the chakra. He felt a single trail leading out to the Valley, but he didn’t feel a source of the chakra. It just… ended. “I don’t feel him!” Naruto shouted over the rain.
Naruto didn’t want to answer. He jumped down into the streets and fled. He wasn’t looking where he was going and ran directly into someone. He lifted his head and blinked at the person he had run in to. “Hinata…?” he asked, his eyes wide. She looked so different here, especially in her monk’s clothes. He turned and blinked at the person beside her. “Neji…?”
“Naruto,” Hinata greeted. “Please tell me you’ve seen Ansei!”
Naruto blinked and shook his head. He looked down at her for a moment. “N-no. I was hoping you had,” he muttered, trying to come up with something to explain what was happening. “What’s going on?”
“The Uchiha are doing when they should have done a long time ago!” Hinata snapped.
“Naruto-san, why are you wearing a Hokage cloak…?” Neji asked. Naruto looked at his soaked cloak.
“No reason…” he muttered. “I-I have to find my son!”
“Last I saw, Tai was with Sakura.”
Not that son! Naruto thought, but he managed a smile. “Good. They’re safe, then! I… I gotta go!”
He pushed past the two Hyuuga. Sasuke hurried after him, nodding in greeting to both Hinata and Neji. “What kind of place is this?”
“Don’t know, don’t care,” Naruto snapped. He tore off out of the gates. He ran as fast as he could, even tapping into the fox’s chakra to boost his speed. There was only one way that he wouldn’t be able to feel his son’s chakra. Naruto shook his head. He refused to believe that!
It didn’t take him long to find himself at the top of the cliff. His eyes widened as he recognized the familiar head of hair on the bottom. Naruto leapt from the top, landing with a jarring thud, but he didn’t even skip a beat. He ran to his son and slid down to his knees. “Boruto…?” he whispered. Neither child was moving. Naruto reached down, to try and feel a pulse in his son, but his hand was shaking too much.
He rested his head on Boruto’s chest and his heart dropped. It was silent. “Boruto!” Naruto shouted. Lightning tore through the sky and thunder drowned out his screams. “Oh god, no…” Naruto begged as he lifted the limp form of his child in his arms. His whole body shook violently and he screamed as he hugged the child, rocking back and forth.
His eyes snapped opened after a moment. “Give him back!” he shouted to the sky; to whatever was out there listening, but his only answer was the rolling thunder.
“Naruto…” Sasuke muttered, standing several meters away from his friend. Naruto ignored Sasuke in his grief. Sasuke walked up to Naruto and placed a hand on his shoulder. Sasuke looked down at the child in Naruto’s arms and bit his lip. He closed his eyes and then activated his Sharingan. If Naruto was going to be in hysterics, then perhaps knocking him out for a bit would be better for him.
Sasuke gasped. “Naruto!”
“Go away!” Naruto shouted.
“He’s still alive!” Sasuke snapped. Naruto’s eyes flew open. “He’s still alive. It’s faint, but it’s there.” Naruto had deactivated Sage mode upon finding his child. Boruto’s chakra was so faint that he hadn’t felt it at all. Naruto stood, cradling the child in his arms. “What about the other one?”
Naruto looked down at the black and whited haired child and sighed. Half of him, the selfish half, knew that this boy had done this to his child and he wanted him to be left here… But then he thought about Hinata in this world. This was her son. There was a chance he could be saved as well, if he wasn’t already dead. Sasuke didn’t report his condition. “Bring him” was all Naruto said as he took off with Boruto in his arms. He hugged the child tightly as he ran back towards Konoha.
The trip back felt like it took forever, even though he probably covered the distance in less time than he had leaving. Naruto didn’t even stop as he ran through the riot-torn village. He didn’t know who knew medical ninjutsu in this twisted reality, and he didn’t really care. He should have asked Sasuke to send them back, but they didn’t have time for a mistake that might have sent them to some desolate place without a hospital.
He ran into the hospital. “I need a doctor!” he shouted over to commotion. There was, of course, a large amount of people that were seeking medical attention.
“Yeah, you and everyone else,” an Uchiha snapped. He had a towel over a head wound as he waited for medical attention.
Naruto ran to a nurse. “My son is dying!” he snapped, ignoring to the Uchiha. Naruto longed for the brief time that he could heal with one touch. He had been trying to give Boruto chakra the entire run, but he wasn’t healing major cardiac arrest and a collapsed lung.
The nurse turned to the man and his son and nodded. She called for a gurney and Boruto was taken away. Naruto ran after them. He never wanted Boruto out of his sight again. He was stopped, however, at the operating room. “You need to wait out here, sir,” the woman snapped. Naruto narrowed his eyes and was about to protest, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him. Sasuke, who had dropped off his own package, was beside him.
“He’ll be fine, Naruto…” Sasuke muttered. Naruto pulled away from Sasuke and went back to the waiting room. He began pacing and didn’t stop until the storm outside had settled and the sun started to rise. Boruto was still in surgery.
“Sit down, Naruto…” Sasuke grumbled. Naruto glared at the Uchiha. Sasuke returned the glare. “Sit… down…” he repeated firmly.
Naruto complied. He was exhausted and his throat was raw from crying. He buried his head in his hands, crying softly in them. “Excuse me…” a voice whispered. Naruto froze. It sounded so familiar. He lifted his bloodshot eyes to the speaker and gasped. It was like staring at a shadow clone… only different. This one was less worn… “Are you… Boruto’s father?” the man asked. Naruto nodded slowly at his otherworldly counterpart. Sasuke blinked and looked between the two.
A doctor stepped between those two and looked at the Hokage. “You brought that boy in?” he asked. Naruto nodded, standing up. He had been prepared to meet his double. It didn’t interest him.
“Can I… see him…?”The doctor sighed deeply. Naruto’s heart dropped and he stiffened as the doctor sent dread through him with the next five words… words no person ever wanted to hear… “We did everything we could…”