They say that the last moments of a person's life are the longest. Until now, Kira had always thought that notion had been ridiculous. She had always believed someone's final moments were quick and short.
If she could, she'd laugh at how wrong she was.
Time seemed to slow down and freeze. All she could feel was the wetness that soaked her chest. Kira took this time to ponder this strange feeling. She had wondered what it would feel like when she died. She imagined pain, sadness, but also relief at the thought she would achieve everlasting peace. To tell the truth, she felt the exact opposite.
KIra felt regret.
Her life flashed like a slideshow in her head, from her harsh childhood, to getting her headband, to meeting her squad, to the mission in Wave, Raiden's departure, training with Aaron, fighting the Dark Souls...everything.
None of these things mattered at this point. Nothing did. Kira regretted everything. There had been so much she missed, so much time wasted. There was only one thing that mattered now, and the harsh truth was the one thing she truly regretted.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. Things were supposed to turn out differently. But no, destiny had seen fit to stomp on her efforts to save the world and keep her from fulfilling the numerous promises she made and in, her dying state, just broken. Kira could see the blackness crawling around the borders of her vision. She dropped to her knees.
Damnit...this was NOT happening...! This can't happen...!
Yet it had.
She had failed to stop Addam. She couldn't protect her friends, many of whom had been killed before and during the battle against the ancient Mahora. She failed in keeping Addam from acquiring the Jubbi. She didn't fulfill her promise to Naomi either. She didn't get through to Raiden, her former best friend's katana sticking out her chest and through her back.
Behind her she could hear Addam's crackling voice, though she couldn't see his unmasked face. The new host of the ten-tailed demon laughed as he projected his Sakurigan- a red eye with three white swirls where the center would be- onto the moon. Raiden stood in front of him with a triumphant smirk, looking up as the moon was starting to be consumed by Addam's eye. The Jubbi's roar sounded miles away, the demon now nothing more than a puppet for Addam; wrecking havoc on the united army of the shinobi villages. The other demons roared with the fox, slaughtering anyone who was fighting against Addam.
Scarlet drops fell, gathered, and pooled beneath her. Kira's mouth was salty with her own blood. Her vision got darker. Some prophecy child she turned out to be. She let everyone down. She had tried her hardest and failed when had promised to succeed.
Kira almost smiled as she remembered her dear friends. She remembered Ren's broken body after fighting Addam. She remembered the light fading from Naomi's eyes when Raiden punched a hole through her chest with the Chidori. She remembered witnessing Arina, Ryuu, Shane, and Lee's final moments as they held back the Dark Souls who had somehow been brought back from the dead. She remembered Aden giving his life to protect her from and undead Hitoru a second time. She remembered when each of her loved ones fell. Kira wondered if she'd catch a glimpse of them on her way to hell. There was no way she'd be forgiven for the amount of lives she had failed to protect.
Her knees failed as the longest moments of her life bled away. She closed her eyes, waiting for her body to settle itself in a pool of her blood and her soul to be taken by the Shingami- the Death God. The last thing she heard was Addam's maniacal, triumphant laughter. The last thing she saw was Raiden pulling his katana out of her chest. Kira closed her eyes and felt the last of her strength leave her body. She slowly fell until she hit the ground, succumbing to the dark abyss.
Her final words...
"It's over...?" Kira whispered, not believing the words she knew were true. It was all over...
...But then someone answered.
"Not yet, Kira."
Kira's eyes fluttered open. She weakly raised her head as she felt someone lift her up. She felt another hand on hers. It was soft and warm, its caress gentle and loving. Kira recognized the person holding her to her chest.
"...Mom...?" Kira said softly her eyes full of surprise and disbelief.
Rin Tamanaka gazed down at her daughter lovingly as she held her in her arms, a warm, motherly smile gracing her beautiful features.
"Don't worry, you're not dead." Rin smiled, puzzling her daughter.
"Not yet, anyway."
Another familiar voice resounded in her ears. Kira's eyes widened when her father's form materialized itself in front of them. Arashi Kazama smiled down at his daughter, a sympathetic look on his face.
"I'm sorry for all that's happened to you, Kira. Past and present." Arashi sighed wistfully.
"Mom, Dad...I...I failed." Kira whispered, lowering her head in shame. "I'm so sorry..."
"Kira, you have nothing to be sorry about." Rin smiled sadly as she hugged her daughter. "Everyone makes mistakes."
"Mom, this isn't just some mistake." Kira murmured. "I was killed...I couldn't stop Addam. I wasn't the hero everyone thought I was..."
"Kira, I know things didnt turn out the way you wanted to, but..." Arashi stood up. His eyes narrowed, determination flashing in them.
Kira recognized that determination.
"That's why I'm giving you a second chance."
Kira's eyes widened. She stared up at her father, confusion and wonder evident in her eyes. What did he mean by that?
The girl who had been killed suddenly noticed the Shingami hovering above them. Its hannaya mask staring down at the Tamanaka family, a bony finger pointing at the Fourth Lightning Shadow.
"Arashi..." It hissed.
"Rin, you know what to do." Arashi said solemnly to his wife. He smirked up at the death god. " This isn't the first time I've tangled with Shingami."
"Yes..." Rin nodded determinedly. She gently placed Kira's head on her lap then her hands on her chest. A green glow started to emanate from them, enveloping Kira in a soft, green light.
"Arashi...Arashi...!" The Shingami hissed angrily, clearly distressed by what was occurring. Arashi drew one of his special kunai from his back pocket. He turned toward his daughter and wife.
"Take care, daughter." Arashi smiled proudly at her, despite knowing she had failed. "I know you'll do things right this time."
"Dad...!" Kira called out, feeling her strength slowly returning to her. She reached out desperately as her father seemed to get farther and farther away, slowly rising into whatever blackness they were currently in. Her mother's presence slowly became fainter and fainter until she felt her gentle hands disappear.
"Good luck, Kira. Become the hero everyone wanted you to be. I know you can do it." Her parent's voices echoed around her.
The child of prophecy cried out and watched helplessly as the Shingami let out a furious cry and lunged towards her father. That was the last thing Kira saw before the light blinded her and then everything turned black.
"Kira, look out!"
Kira's eyes widened as her vision came back, Akuma's pained expression the first thing she saw. The man's back had a large shuriken sticking out of it, evidence of Akuma's effort to shield Kira from it. Behind her teacher she could see Mazurka laughing maniacally. The demon container also took notice of the familiar weight on her back, surprised that the Forbidden Arts Scroll was strapped to it. Akuma's moving mouth and the words coming from it were slowly becoming more coherent to her ears. Gone were her mother and father, but they were replaced by a familiar scene….
She couldn't believe it. Time had reset! She was back at the beginning! The night when everything had started for her….
"Don't listen to him, Kira! I never hated you!" Akuma cried, tears streaming down his face. "Please, don't let Mazurka have the scroll! Just run! I beg you!"
For now, Kira ignored her shock at experiencing the same scene twice and her sensei's words, gently pushing her teacher off of her and removing the shuriken from his back. She glared up at Mazurka, dropping the shuriken to the ground.
"Oh? Giving up, fox?" Mazurka sneered, reaching for the other shuriken on his back. "Or are you actually trying to fight back?"
Both Mazurka and Akuma were shocked when a smirk made its way to Kira's face.
"Would you be surprised if I said yes?" Kira smirked, making a familiar hand sign to perform her signature technique.
She didn't know what had happened in the netherworld or what became of her parents. She didn't know why she was back in the past or what her parents had done to make this possible. There was one thing she did know though…..
She had been given a second chance and there was no way in HELL she was going to waste it.