The light was so bright and powerful that he did not see the Chidori. He did not even notice the pain of the powerful attack hitting his chest. All he was focused on was the promise. The promise of a lifetime. He would fulfill that promise.
He reached with the last of his fading strength. Reached for that promise, reached with all the willpower he had always boasted he had, reached and was stopped by something hard. At the end, when it all came down, when the promises he always made, the sacrifices others have given, the moment had come to prove to the world who he was, he was stopped. He had failed.
The realization hit him harder than any attack ever could. The rest of his fading strength left him so fast, the shock was too overwhelming. He had no strength left, and the inner power that use to consume him, was now beyond his reach. He had tried, and he had failed.
He felt them coming, he felt them fall, he felt them hit his face, his hands, and the wound in his chest. As each one fell, the images burned their way into his mind with white-hot intensity.
The first time he noticed the looks, the eyes, was after his first day in the Academy. He was excited because he had performed the days activities well. Iruka-sensei had said that if he kept going at this rate, he would be Geninn by the age of nine. He walked out into the sunshine and toward the crowd of excited students and parents. As he continued toward the crowd, he noticed the parents all look at him and one by one their eyes turned cold and full of hatred. Naruto froze in shock and fear. What had he done that was so wrong that they would hate him so. He couldn't stand it. The eyes bore into him, made him feel so alone. He did the only thing he could. He ran. He ran as far and as fast as he could. Even when they were long gone, even when Naruto fell in exhaustion the eyes where still there. It began to rain and as the water hit his face a realization came so strong it would be the first step in his dream. They must hate him because he is alone, no parents, no family, so they must expect him to be weak and undisciplined. Then and there he decided he would show them, rove to them that he would be a great shinobi. Not only a great shinobi but the best, the Hokage. Then everyone would respect him and he would no longer have to see those eyes. It was a promise. A promise of a lifetime.
As days went by the eyes did not cease. They continued to shun him and make him feel so alone. The eyes distracted him in class, making him seem the class idiot. He failed the exam twice. Soon the children noticed their parent's hostility toward him and soon they copied it. Friends were something he couldn't have. He felt so alone, so ignored; he did the only thing that would give him attention. He became the class clown. People soon perceived him as untalented and dense. He wasn't dense, he just wanted to be in his own reality, a reality where he wasn't alone, where there was no hostile eyes centered on him. So he ignored the obvious. Obvious things like people's comments and the peculiar behavior of a certain Hyuuga girl.
But one thing grabbed his attention every time. He could never really say why he always liked Haruno Sakura. Of course she was very pretty and wicked smart, but that wasn't enough. Maybe it was because she was the first girl to say six words to him, even if those words were, "Get out of my way, Naruto!" Always met with refusal or a punch now and then, Naruto pursued her like he would a difficult jutsu, he never gave up. But like all girls, it seemed, Sakura was too obsessed with the local heartthrob Uciha Sasuke to even say one nice word to Naruto. As time went by and Sakura's punches became stronger by the year, and her love for Sasuke never died, Naruto soon came to realize that he would always try his best to make her happy, but he would never have her that way. Naruto came to realize that was the way he always wanted it.
So when she broke down in front of him, crying from fear, pleading with all she had for him to bring Sasuke back to her, he couldn't imagine any thing else that would make him happier than to make her happy, so he promised her. He even went as far as giving her Rock Lee's "good guy pose". He promised her with all he had that he would bring Sasuke back to her. It was a promise of a lifetime.
If Naruto could put his academy years in one word, it would be Sasuke. All the teachers admired his skill, the girls admired his looks and bad guy attitude. He was all that Naruto heard about for years, "Why can't you be more like Sasuke?" or "Sasuke is the best!" He had skill, a bloodline, a respectable clan, good looks, and the heart of everyone around him. And he didn't even try when Naruto worked so hard for so long. But Naruto saw something that everyone else overlooked. Sasuke was alone. Alone as he was. Through many insults, rough hits, and saving of the life here and there, Naruto and Sasuke formed a bond that Naruto had longed for his whole life. A bond of mutual respect.
Naruto never had a family, he was never allowed even to ask about the one he supposedly use to have, but he would have guessed the bond between him and Sasuke was very much a brotherly one. Sure they fought here and there, but Naruto worried about him, especially when a certain seal and black flames suddenly started to show up on his skin. When Sasuke finally snapped and ran toward his destruction, toward Orochimaru, Naruto could not let him go. After barely escaping the Sound ninjas and finally finding Sasuke, Naruto saw his deformed body and knew he could not let him go. So he made a promise to himself. Even if he had to break every bone in Sasuke's body, Naruto would bring him back. It was a promise of a lifetime.
He had made promises, the sacrifices, and he had tried so very hard, but when the moment came to prove those promises, to prove to everyone and himself, to help a friend, to save a brother, when that moment came, he had failed. The rain continued to come, hitting his face, hands, and chest. Naruto could not see, could not move, all he heard was the rain. It did not matter anymore. He had given up. He heard something fall beside him and splash as it landed in the water. It took a while and the rest of the little strength that he had to move his left arm. The pain was so intense, Naruto had to stop and retry so many times. Finally in what seems an eternity, his hand finally hit something hard and...metal. His eyes were too filled with pain to clearly see the object, but what he could make out was a leaf, a leaf with three parallel scratches. So he had not failed, he had been stopped. Stopped from destroying his friend.
The rain continued to fall, and Naruto came to a realization even stronger than the one that had come to him in the rain so long ago. From now on he would never give up, never again let anything stop him, never again stray from the path of a great shinobi.
He soon heard rapid footsteps coming toward him. He would show them all, prove to everyone he was Uzamaki Naruto. A real shinobi, a great Hokage. Before the last of his strength left him he thought of only one thing. That is a promise of eternity.
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Chapter notes: My first fanfic. It was inspired by boredom. Please review, I would like constructive comments so I can improve. Thanx.
All flames will be used to burn my school textbooks.