Foreword: I don't own Naruto or any other characters. All of it belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
Destiny Rebirth – Chapter One: A Second Chance
"It's about time we finished this, once and for all, don't you agree Kurama-nii?" a tall, young man said.
With hair shining as bright as the sun itself, the young man had roguish, spiky blonde hair that was messy and twin bangs that reached his jawline, framing his angular face. His shining azure orbs did nothing to hide his devilishly handsome appearance, and most distinctive of all were his exotic, birthmark-like whisker marks; three on each cheek, making him appear more mature than his age suggested and also more akin to a feline or canine.
He was wearing a battered and torn orange and black jumpsuit which was torn open at the front, exposing a fishnet body suit underneath which did little to hide his toned and well-muscled form. His azure orbs stared ahead, unwavering as he tightened his grip on a kunai knife in his hand.
A deep rumbling voice spoke into the young man's mind.
"I couldn't agree more," the voice said, "Considering what she did to your friends and father."
"I know," the young man replied, sorrow seeping out in waves, "That is why ... it ends here!"
"I have already assimilated the memories from your father," Kurama, the greatest and most fearsome of the Bijū (Tailed Beasts), the Kyūbi no Kitsune, said, "Put them to good use — do not let him down."
"Got it Kurama," the blonde replied, "Uzumaki Naruto never goes back on his word."
"That's the spirit — now kick her ass from here to Sunday."
"That's the plan!"
And the woman in question was suspended in the air, her three cold Dōjutsu enhanced eyes staring at everything before her, her expression blank and emotionless. The Goddess of Destruction, Ōtsutsuki Kaguya, truly lived up to her namesake, as the landscape around her resembled an apocalyptic graveyard of gargantuan proportions. Dead shinobi and countless destroyed wildlife littered the scene, multiple craters decorating the land for miles around, and the sky was a dull grey, as if the gods were weeping from the death and destruction. After the traitorous Uchiha Madara sealed the Jūbi into himself, thus inadvertently releasing her, she had been on a rampage ever since.
For countless hours, the remaining shinobi of the battered Alliance who were not under the Infinite Tsukuyomi, slugged it out with the Goddess, but they soon realized that no amount of planning, strategizing, ninjutsu, booby traps, kinjutsu, genjutsu much less taijutsu of any kind could even put a scratch on her, much less kill her outright. Hatake Kakashi had already exhausted his chakra reserves and was recuperating with Haruno Sakura's help, and Uchiha Obito, the traitor-turned-ally was unconscious due to fatigue and severe chakra exhaustion. The reincarnated Hokages, the Shodai, Nidaime, Sandaime and Yondaime were also powerless as seen when the Nidaime's soul was forcibly pulled out of him, turning his body into ash, leaving behind a White Zetsu clone.
Uzumaki Naruto had come a long way since then. He was no longer the dense idiot that everyone knew anymore. After the merging with Asura's potent chakra, his mind had become clearer, and he was finally able to think maturely and rationally for once in his life. He knew this was a losing battle, even with Indra's successor, Uchiha Sasuke's help. He also knew that the only way to win this battle was to forcibly seal the Goddess back to her realm with the strongest fūinjutsu technique ever created, and can only be done in collaboration with Sasuke.
And there was also another reason: his father entrusted him with his own memories, and with that his 'Will of Fire'.
The Yondaime Hokage, Namikaze Minato, sacrificed his soul to protect his son when Kaguya tried to come at him from behind, resulting in Minato acting quickly by teleporting to his son and push him out of the way, but not before transferring his memories through the Shindenshin no Jutsu (Mind Transfer Technique) – a technique he learned from Yamanaka Inoichi. With one last tearful smile, Minato faded away like the Nidaime before him.
That was where Naruto found himself now, staring up at the Ōtsutsuki with a hint of hatred in his cerulean eyes.
Hearing footsteps from beside him, Naruto smirked. "Took you long enough, teme."
"Shut up, dobe," Uchiha Sasuke replied with a small smirk. He opened his eyes, revealing a fully matured Sharingan in his right eye and a Rinnegan in his left. "I was just letting you rest. Shouldn't you be thanking me?"
Nodding with a slight scoff, Naruto turned his attention towards the demon in front of him. "Let's do this Sasuke ... one last time." And at that moment his entire body was engulfed in a brilliant yellow light. When it died down, Naruto was standing there with his Rikudō Sennin Mōdo (Six Paths Sage Mode), azure eyes turning bright yellow as he glared at the woman who wanted to kill everyone he held dear. "Are you with me?"
Sasuke just smirked. "Do you even have to ask?" he said as he drew his katana, and they began their final assault.
In a space of a few seconds, Sasuke had already teleported right beside Kaguya and had his left arm extended in a seal, while Naruto appeared on the left with his right arm extended with the same seal. Both of them had almost touched the woman, when suddenly she vanished. Before they even had time to react to her disappearance, she reappeared behind them, palms extended outwards.
"Foolish children," the woman muttered before launching her Ash-Killing Bones from her palms, quickly skewering both men on them. "You stood no chance, from the very beginning."
And with that final parting, she went on her way to kill off the rest of the surviving shinobi.
Naruto couldn't believe it as his body was slowly dissolving into ash. They literally didn't have the time to react, much less defend against her attacks. They were outmaneuvered and outclassed since the start, even with their newfound powers. Tears welled in Naruto's eyes as he cursed silently, cursing himself for being so weak, for being unable to save his friends, for failing his father and mother's wishes.
He felt utterly and completely useless.
As his body slowly cracked and his vision slowly succumbed to darkness, the last thing he saw was Sasuke, lying next to him in a similar state, mouthing "Thank you, brother." to him, before he closed his eyes and let the darkness take over.
Naruto opened his eyes and was expecting to see something akin to flames and eternal suffering ... for failing to save his world from the merciless clutches of Kaguya. But instead he found himself in an ethereal, white plain, where unknown to him, time and space were practically non-existent. The sore feeling of his muscles — long hours of non-stop fighting did that to people — were gone as well as any fatigue he had accumulated. In fact, he finally noticed that he wasn't even breathing!
Naruto sighed as he found the situation he was in to be increasingly confusing and, as Shikamaru would put it, troublesome. He tested his arms and legs, finding out that he could move them which relieved him greatly — he didn't like staying in one place for too long. Although his patience tolerance was increased during his years of training, he still had a shorter fuse than most people and it still irked him greatly if he was kept waiting or couldn't do anything for long periods of time, but he was getting it under control at least.
Or at least trying to...
Pushing himself up to sit, Naruto looked around him to see if there was anything out of the usual white, which he found none. He took a deep breath, even though he couldn't breathe, and spoke out loud, "Hello! Anyone there?!"
The silence was his answer, and he asked again. "Hello! Someone? Anyone?" and was greeted again by the deafening silence.
Naruto shivered as a cold chill ran through him. If he was to spend the rest of his days here, alone, without friends, family or even enemies, he would've preferred to be thrown into the Shinigami's stomach and forced to fight for all eternity. At least that was better than slowly going insane in this realm…
"Ah, you're finally here, my child," a melodious voice said through the deafening silence, and Naruto immediately turned to look at the owner of the new voice, and he couldn't help but be slack-jawed.
The owner of the voice was a beautiful woman of average height, her angelic features and long flowing midnight black hair didn't do her justice as she was far beyond the epitome of true beauty. Her grey orbs shone with wisdom and compassion, and her flowing blue kimono with a red obi sash was swaying with the breeze, but to Naruto's surprise and slight shock, he couldn't feel any kind wind anywhere.
The woman smiled warmly at Naruto. "It's good to see you well, my Child of Prophecy."
Naruto looked at the woman in shock. "Y-You knew I was the Child of Prophecy?"
The woman nodded, the smile never leaving her features. "I was the one who bestowed upon you that title after all, long before you were brought into this world." She explained, and Naruto was floored. Putting all the pieces together in his head, from the prophecy told to him by the Elder Toad Sage, along with the notes left by Jiraiya of the Sannin, and the fact that he was currently well and truly dead…
Then it all clicked, and his jaw fell again.
Slowly pointing a shaky finger at the woman, who still wore that warm smile on her face, Naruto finally found his voice, "Y-You're K-Kami-sama!" he shouted a bit louder than usual. That was the only logical explanation he could come up with in this ridiculous situation, that the woman in front of him was in fact the Goddess of the Gods. His preposterous theory was proven true when the smile on the woman's face widened just a fraction.
"As expected of the champion of my choosing," Kami said, giggling when she saw that Naruto was still staring at her in disbelief. "And there is much more you don't know, so much more, but never mind that." She said as she gracefully sat down, gesturing for the young blonde to do the same, which he did, even if he was still confused. "So, tell me my child, what happened?"
Naruto broke himself out of his stupor, sighed and remained silent. After a moment, he spoke, his voice subdued and sad.
"Ōtsutsuki Kaguya ended the world, and I was in the thick of it, and I was powerless to stop it. That's it, plain and simple." It was obvious to everyone that the boy was extremely frustrated with himself for not being able to save his precious people, and he was blaming himself for it. "She was just ... too strong for us ... how do you fight someone like that?" he said the last part with as much venom as he could.
No matter what they did, be it ninjutsu or any other branches of the shinobi arts, the Rabbit Goddess had a counter for all of them, even their near-instantaneous teleportation techniques.
Kami nodded as she offered him a sad smile of her own. "I understand, I'm sorry for all the hardships you have to go through my child." She said, and Naruto looked into her grey eyes, "Ōtsutsuki Kaguya was once mortal — a kind and gentle soul, scarred by war and violence, but corrupted by power — a power which she couldn't even hope to contain and comprehend." The deity explained as Naruto listened intently, paying full attention. "With her newfound power, she ended all conflict by enslaving the world, ruled with fear and intimidation. She was considered an abomination the moment she ingested the Shinju's Chakra Fruit…"
Naruto had to agree with that sentiment. That woman's a monster.
"But that's not what I came here today for, a history lesson." Kami explained as Naruto looked bewildered, "No, because I have need of you once again my child. Help me save another world from the fate of your own."
At her words, Naruto's eyes widened in shock. He spluttered as he tried to speak, "B-But Kami-sama! I couldn't even save my own world and precious people, how am I going to save another world if couldn't even protect my own?" he asked, self-doubt gnawing at him from every corner of his consciousness.
How could someone be trusted with such an enormous responsibility I they can't even protect their own world from being destroyed? Even if he was the Child of Prophecy, his failures had to be taken into account right?
At his explanation, Kami merely shook her head. "That's where you are wrong, Naruto-kun." She said, sounding serious, making Naruto look up at her in confusion, "Ōtsutsuki Kaguya has been manipulating your world through her will. You know him as Black Zetsu."
Naruto nodded. He recalled seeing the sick plant like mass of evil that kept spouting about how his 'Okaa-sama' was going to reclaim her chakra, and proceeded to make a mockery out of the Uchiha Clan by manipulating them from the very beginning, starting the cycle of hate and suffering, the Curse of Hatred. He wanted nothing more than to shove a mountain sized Rasengan into the sick creature for messing with his best friend's life, even before he was born.
"Through him, he kept tabs on everything and everyone involved in her return to life, and used him to steer the course of history in her favor." Kami explained without missing a beat, "Madara, Obito, the Kyūbi's attack on your village, Sasuke, the Uchiha Clan Massacre… and the list goes on. Kaguya had been the one to pull the strings in your world, thus, she was able to subdue both you and Sasuke so effortlessly. She had predicted your actions and acted accordingly — call in precognition if you will — giving her an almost certain win, no matter how you change the situation, the result would always be the same: Ōtsutsuki Kaguya winning the Fourth Shinobi World War."
Naruto gritted his teeth in anger. So that's how the woman killed him. It was such a cheap way to win that Naruto couldn't help but feel even more disgusted by the Ōtsutsuki woman.
"H-How…" Naruto muttered angrily, making Kami look at him sadly. "How can someone fight against something like that? It's impossible!"
No matter how hard he fought to protect his precious people, they would still end up dead and Kaguya still wins. The world seemed to crash down around him as Naruto wallowed deeper and deeper into depression.
"There is one way."
Naruto's head shot up at that, azure eyes brimming with slight hope. "There is?"
There was a way? It all seemed impossible for him to beat something like someone predicting and basically programming your death. But so was standing here talking to a deity.
"Yes there is. Kaguya didn't take into account outside interference: me." Kami said with a smile, with was slowly mirrored by the young blonde, "I have watched countless of my worshippers live and die, prosper and suffer. But you my child, you have endured the harshest of them all. A kind young man such as yourself doesn't deserve such torment." Kami explained sadly, tears brimming in her eyes, making Naruto look at her in shock. "I'm sorry. If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have suffered ... but you were my only hope, my champion."
Naruto was completely speechless. Here he was — perhaps the only one — to be apologized to, by Kami herself. He felt honored in some twisted way, but he was too kind a person to receive such endearment, even if it was from a deity that made his early life a living hell.
He wasn't that kind of person — he held no grudges.
"Don't worry Kami-sama, I don't blame you!" Naruto said with a bright grin, "I don't like holding grudges, even against my enemies, but Kaguya's an exception." He struck a thinking pose, and smiled. "You could pay me back by helping me kick her ass though! I would appreciate that very much! Like giving me an extra strong bloodline! Oh! Oh! Like the Mokuton, or Meiton, that would be so cool if I did ..."
Kami giggled as Naruto went on about how he would rub it in Sasuke's face if he did have Mokuton, or any other bloodlines for that matter. He was acting like the Naruto she knew, not the Naruto that the reality of war had produced. Naruto may not even have noticed that fact himself, but he was slowly becoming the embodiment of a battle-hardened shinobi — a cold, calculating and cynical individual, who always watches his back and ties up loose ends.
Kami giggled again. "Slow down Naruto-kun, I'm not done yet." She said, and Naruto had the decency to look sheepish as he rubbed the back of his head. "I'm going to throw a wrench in Kaguya's plans — I am sending you to a parallel dimension."
Naruto could only blink. "A what?"
Kami giggled again. "Don't worry. Everything is the same as your reality, only a few bits and pieces and minor details that changed, but nothing too major." She said the last word with a small sense of mischief that Naruto easily picked up, and he narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
Noticing the look, Kami asked with a flustered face, "What?"
He looked at her emotionlessly. "I'd recognize that tone anywhere." He deadpanned, a smile slowly making its way onto his face, "It's the way I talk when I wanted to prank somebody when I was younger."
Lesson one in dealing with him: never prank a professional prankster, or he would be honor bound to prank you back, even if you were a deity.
Kami laughed awkwardly, making Naruto sweatdrop at her behavior. Was it a requirement for extremely powerful people to have their individual quirks? Jiraiya and Kakashi's perverted tendencies immediately came to mind.
"I guess you're right." She said before continuing, changing topics quickly, "The only important thing that's changed is that Kaguya no longer holds an advantage over you. She can't predict what you will do next, but you know all her cards. But be careful," Kami said seriously, "Think about what you're about to change and act accordingly. Don't deviate too much from the original timeline, or Kaguya's will might suspect something — or worse, the entire fabric of reality might collapse in and onto itself."
Naruto nodded seriously in response. No way he was screwing up on this once in a lifetime chance to save his friends, so he kept her words to heart.
"I think that's all really," Kami said with a nod.
Naruto nodded. He bowed deeply, "Thank you Kami-sama ... for this second chance."
"Think nothing of it, my champion." She replied with a graceful bow of her own, slightly shocking the blonde man. "Think of it as ... an apology, for making your life as difficult and deploring as it was."
"Hai," He nodded, "I won't let you down."
"I know you won't," Kami said as a glowing red circle with multiple different sealing arrays appeared under Naruto, "Be strong Uzumaki-Namikaze Naruto. Find strength and courage along the way. Also, love is always right around the corner and in arms reach."
"What?" was his intelligent response.
Kami giggled. "You'll find it soon enough. Both wonderful and golden." She cryptically said. "Be safe, my child. Now, I think someone's waiting for you on the other side."
Before Naruto can ask what she meant by that, he was engulfed by a bright flash of light and his world went dark.
It had been a long time since Naruto had been knocked unconscious by something. The last time had been when Sakura punched him through five apartment blocks, ten trees and a few thousand meters away from his apartment to training ground seven. That had been a painful experience, and he had been the dense idiot then, and thinking back on it, he deserved it for his insensitive remark of her small chest and forehead. He would always remember the odd feeling of a growing headache that would last the entire day.
Naruto groaned as he forced one of his eyes open, and the first thing he saw was the tree canopy, probably one of Hi no Kuni's (Land Of Fire) many forests, and also the blue sky. Managing to open both of his eyes, he craned his neck to scan his surroundings, and saw that he was in the forest of one of Konoha's training grounds. Taking a closer look at the trees, he noticed them to be ... younger and healthier in some weird way.
He groaned again when he tried to move his arms and legs; all his long hours of fatigue and wear all coming back to him at once. Deciding to check his chakra reserves, he found out that they were almost empty, much to his shock. His massive reserves of chakra, monstrously so even, depleted to just a small trickle — just enough for him to stay alive.
Naruto then sensed something strange.
He felt power coming from multiple points of his body, almost like small storage devices. Gathering enough strength to raise one of his arms, he finally noticed the source of the energy signatures: Chakra Storage Seals. He grinned weakly as he can only guess one person who could give it to him. 'Thank you Kami-sama.' Without wasting any more time Naruto activated all of them with a slight flare of his chakra — there were ten seals in total — and soon he felt his strength and chakra coming back to him, filling up his reserves gradually, and he felt much better.
"Ouch," Naruto muttered as he forced himself to sit up, and he started to chuckle weakly, "So this is what coming back to life feels like — honestly, it sucks."
The blonde looked down and saw that he was no longer in his standard choice of clothing anymore. He was currently wearing a white t-shirt with a red whirlpool design on the back, a pair of brown khaki pants held together by an orange belt, and a pair of clean open-toed blue sandals. The change in clothing didn't startle the young time and dimension traveler that much ... but it was the other change that shocked him. Quickly staggering to his feet, Naruto stretched out his sense — he was a damn good sensor when he wanted to be — he charted out a mental map of his surroundings, and smiled in relief when he sensed a small creek nearby.
"So ... thirsty," the young man said and he made his way towards the general direction of the creek, and sure enough, it was there, the sounds of running fresh water were music to his ears. Kneeling in front of it, Naruto moaned in relief as the cool water made its way down his dry throat. He can never forget the particular sweet taste of Hi no Kuni's fresh river water, which he missed dearly during the war, where fresh water was scarce and the land barren due to constant fighting. He proceeded to splash his face with water to refresh and was in the process of wiping it dry when he looked down at the water.
"W-What the hell?" the young blonde muttered, eyes wide in shock.
Staring back at him was his reflection, but it was not the face he was expecting to see. The Naruto who was staring back at him was very much younger than he was expecting — thirteen years old if he had to hazard a guess. But unlike when he was at that age, he looked more mature and his features were more pronounced. There was no baby fat left on his face, and most importantly, his trademark whisker-like birthmarks were gone, making him look like his father's clone.
He noticed that he was fairly tall, a reasonable five-foot-five… much taller than his midget height of four-foot-nine when he was thirteen back then. Naruto sighed as he started to chuckle. Time travel and dimension travel weren't his forte, but after melding with his father's memories, he better understood the basics of Space-Time and was obliged to believe that this was all true, no matter how unbelievable it was.
This was certainly unexpected. Maybe this was what Kami wanted, sending him back in time to save the future. And for that second chance, he wouldn't trade it for anything.
Naruto chuckled, "Well, I can't say I'm not happy about this."
"How can you not be?" a voice said inside his head that made Naruto pause, and a small, tearful smile came on his face. "One would think that being alive was a happy occasion, kit."
Naruto shook his head slightly as he laughed at that. He'd recognize that voice anywhere. It belonged to his lifelong companion, partner and surrogate big brother: Kurama, the Kyūbi no Kitsune. He could still remember the day when the Bijū swore on his life that he would protect Naruto and be with him always, as a brother and partner.
Centering in on himself, Naruto was soon standing in the familiar surroundings of his mindscape, which was still a very damp sewer — he definitely needed to fix that sometime in the future. It's beyond degrading for one such as the Kyūbi no Kitsune to be living in such conditions.
Naruto smiled, "It's great to see you, Kurama."
The great fox nodded with a toothy grin, fox's sharp canines widening as he did. "Good to be back, kit. How are you feeling?"
Naruto groaned, but grinned nonetheless. "Like I've been through hell and back, and then challenged Rock Lee to a spar while he's drunk."
He could still remember that day when someone accidently spiked Lee's food with Sake, and Naruto had to resort to using his Sennin Mōdo (Sage Mode) to calm him down, destroying a few housing complexes and a training ground in the process. After that day, no one dared to let Lee near a sake bottle ever again.
Kurama's howling laughter was his reply. "Hah! I still remember that day" he chortled, "Broke an arm or two and a couple of ribs if I remembered correctly… had to heal your sorry ass from the ground up."
Naruto grimaced as he remembered the beating he took. "Yeah — that was embarrassing."
After sobering, Kurama became serious. "Joking aside, what are you going to do now? From what I can tell, you're near Konoha in one of the training grounds."
Coming out of his mindscape and into the real world, Naruto nodded as he started to walk in the direction of the village.
"I don't know Kurama, I really don't know. How can I explain it to them when I see them?" He admitted. He cleared his throat, and in an overly comical voice, continued. "'Hi, I'm from another dimension, and sort of time travelled and was sent here by Kami to save the future?'" He shook his head at that. "They'd label me as a lunatic and I'll be sent to the loony bin faster than one could say Rasengan."
"Well, at least your sense of humor is intact," Kurama replied, amusement tinging his tone. Naruto gave him a mental equivalent of sticking his tongue out at the beast. Kurama sighed from where he was. "Kit, it's a lot more complicated than that."
"What do you mean?"
The Bijū cleared his throat, before speaking. "I don't know how to explain this, but it seems a part of my chakra is somewhere in the village."
Naruto visibly looked shocked as he staggered, not believing what he was hearing.
"But it isn't like the feeling of my Ying and Yang chakras where we split into two entities." Kurama continued, "No, this feeling's different. Before coming here, I was suddenly bombarded with images of my early days — you know, all angry and hate and malice, the whole nine-yards. I managed to overpower it and I felt … whole, for lack of a better term, again. Now, I feel like my old self again, and it feels like I'm in two places at once," Naruto listened intently as he tried to let the information sink in, "The only conclusion I can give is this: there is another you in the village."
"Argh, that's just great!" Naruto cried out in frustration as his suspicions were right on the dot. "Kami-sama, I don't know where you are, but I'm so going to prank you for this mess!" he shouted up to the heavens. Now he finally knew what she meant by small changes. There were two of him in the world!
He slumped forward as he let that information sink in, "Can this get any worse?"
"Well there is some good news," Kurama said, gaining his container's attention, "If I'm reading the chakra signatures right," a chuckle escaped from the fox's snout, making Naruto slightly suspicious and wary. "He's a she."
"WHAT!?" Naruto's shout echoed throughout the forest, causing the birds to fly away in fright as the trees ruffled from the force of the shout. "You mean that other me ... is a girl?"
Naruto felt Kurama mentally nod. "I'm positive. No questions about it."
"But that means ..." Naruto started as a small, hopeful smile formed on his lips, "She's my sister?"
As long as he could remember, he always craved for a family he could call his own, like how the Sandaime became his surrogate grandfather and Jiraiya his Godfather. And now Kurama, the greatest of the Bijū, was now his surrogate brother. But having blood relative meant so much more than that — it meant that he was having a real family, and he was certain his counterpart felt the same way too.
"In a way, yes kit, she's your sister." Kurama explained with a wistful sigh, "Now you have a real family again, that means you don't need me anymore. Heh, well, it was fun while it lasted …"
In an instant, Naruto was in his mindscape and he tackled the great fox in a hug, but his enormous size meant that Naruto was only able to hug one of his giant paws, but it was still the same to him.
"Don't you ever say that! You're family now, and nothing's going to change that!" Kurama looked down at Naruto, seeing the tears welling up in the young blonde's eyes, and he immediately felt guilty. "Please Kurama, don't say anything like that anymore. I lost my friends once, I don't want to go through that pain again!"
Kurama sighed as he nodded. "I'm sorry Naruto," he replied, "I promise I won't leave you ever again."
Naruto grinned as he wiped away his tears with the cuff of his arms. "You know you've mellowed out a lot more since becoming my brother,"
"Don't get too comfortable gaki, I'm not that mellow yet!" Kurama stated with a barking laugh, and Naruto just smiled, same old Kurama. "Now, you better get going kit — I think there's someone coming."
And with that, Naruto was pulled out of his mindscape and into the real world. He noticed that he had been walking for a long time while talking to Kurama, as he was nearing the edge of the forest, and soon was in a clearing of some sorts. A strong sense of nostalgia hit him as he gazed at the training grounds.
In all his life, Naruto had only acquainted himself with only three training grounds of Konoha, and these were the places he always trained in.
The first was Training Ground 7, the meeting place of Team 7.
The second was the 'unforgettable' Training Ground 44, or 'affectionately' known to the locals (Mitarashi Anko comes to mind) as 'the Forest of Death'.
And the last one was a bit more personal to the blonde, as it was at this training ground that he had found respite from the glares, jeers and mental-abuse from the villagers when he was younger — especially on his birthdays when the abuse was at its worst. It was the Hokage's Private Training Ground 3. He had received permission from the then ruling Sandaime Hokage to use this place as his safe-haven from the villagers, as well as a temporary home as his apartment would most likely be thrashed in the villager's 'celebration' of the 'defeat' of Kurama at the hands of his father.
Looking around the clearing, Naruto smiled as he breathed in the spring air whilst taking in his surroundings.
It was slightly smaller than the generic training grounds around Konoha, and it sported a standard ring of Konoha's famous forests around the clearing, as well as a pristine lake which formed from a river further away to train Water Release techniques in. There was also a waterfall at the source of the river flow, which further enhances nature's beauty in Naruto's eyes.
A sudden sound of footsteps made Naruto tense up as he pulled out a kunai from his pants pocket, where only a few kunai and shuriken were stored. He made a mental note to himself to stock up on basic supplies and shop for new clothing. The t-shirt and khaki pants weren't going to cut it.
Years of battle experience and the constant warfare made him act on reflex as he readied for whoever's coming out of the forest. He unconsciously channeled chakra into his kunai, and had unknowingly formed a seal of some sort on the hilt of the kunai. Naruto expected to see an ugly White Zetsu or an enemy missing-nin jumping out of the forest to attack him, but instead he was greeted by the sight of a cute young girl with the same shade of golden blonde hair as his own.
"Finally, I'm a kunoichi now!" the young girl said enthusiastically, "Now I'm going to show the world that I can be the Hokage, even if I am a girl! Dattebane!"
Naruto dropped his kunai in shock. The newcomer was a girl of average height and of same age as him. Her long flowing golden blonde hair was tied into twin pigtails by two black ribbons and she had purple eyes that shone with innocence and determination.
Refocusing his vision, he took notice of the girl's features, and he had to admit she was one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen in his life, and the whisker-like birthmarks which at one time they both shared made her look exotic and cute. Her face was quite angelic, and the outfit she wore was a form fitting black and orange t-shirt with whirlpool designs and knee-length pants which expressed her great figure, which was well-developed for her age. And judging by her abnormally large chakra reserves, this was his counterpart.
He unconsciously gulped, blatantly ignoring the howling laughter in his head. His very cute counterpart.
The girl finally took notice that she was not alone and turned to face him, a slight flush on her cheeks, "Huh? Who are you and why are you doing here?"
It was already embarrassing enough for her to shout out her verbal tic, but to let someone else hear it was even more so.
Naruto coughed a bit before speaking, "I'm new to this village, I just came here today." He lied smoothly. He had already thought of a backstory on the fly while walking to the village — this was a good time as any to use it. "I stumbled upon this training ground while walking around the village, but I didn't know this was a shinobi-only area. Sorry."
The girl's eyes narrowed in suspicion, and Naruto tensed ever so slightly. That was the look his mother Uzumaki Kushina would give when she was serious or that she was suspicious about something. Naruto mentally sweated at the intense stare the girl had while at the same time wondering just how different she was at that age compared to himself when he was the at same age.
"This is one of the Hokage's Private Training Grounds." The girl said, "You shouldn't have been able to sneak in without the ANBU apprehending you."
Naruto sighed in defeat. She was right as most normal civilians would've been apprehended by the ANBU by now. He had no choice but to be truthful with her now.
"Sorry about that," Naruto said with a bow, "I'm meant no disrespect, as I lied to you from the start." He became serious as his intense azure orbs locked onto the girl's purple ones, "But I assure you, I mean no harm to you or the village. This I can promise you."
"How can I be sure of that?" she asked again, her tone held hostility in it, and he noticed she was fingering her weapons pouch, "For all I know, you could be a foreign shinobi sent here to kill me or the Hokage or spy on the village."
Naruto smiled a little when she said that, silently praising her again for her caution. "How do you know I'm a shinobi?"
The girl pointed at the fallen kunai. "That kunai was my clue, and I'm an accomplished sensor, and I sense that your chakra coils are highly developed, meaning you had shinobi training." She explained casually.
Naruto then realized something: she was far more intelligent and mature than he ever was at her age. He was currently a seventeen-year-old with a mentality of a thirty-year-old in the body of a thirteen-year-old, so he could explain his ways. But the girl in front of him… she didn't take things at face value, she questioned everything he had said, she was still very cautious around him and she was even more skeptical about his excuses — in short, she was a true kunoichi.
That thought alone made Naruto very proud of his counterpart.
"Very perceptive, truly one worthy of her hitai-ate…" he complimented, making the girl's eyes widen in surprise, "Yes, it's true, but I assure you," he knelt down and picked up the kunai, making the girl tense up, "I mean no harm. After all, my family's in this village, so I couldn't and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize its safety," He said with conviction. He held the kunai to his palm, "And if it calms your thoughts…" he sliced it open, letting the blood drip from his palm, and onto the ground. "I swear, on my blood and my life, that I would never bring harm to your village."
Already, Kurama was already healing him up as the cut was all but gone in a few moments.
The girl stared at the boy in shock. "Okay… I'm convinced." Her posture relaxed as she moved her hand away from her weapon's pouch. "What are you really here for, stranger-kun?" she asked with a cute smile.
Naruto smiled back, "I wanted to meet the Hokage, if it's alright with you."
The girl nodded, suddenly serious again. "Alright, but no funny business or the Jōnins will have your head."
"Noted," Naruto replied as he extended a hand, "Name's Naruto, just Naruto."
After some careful consideration with Kurama, he decided to not use his first name just yet, not after he had cleared it up with the Sandaime.
The girl looked stunned for a moment, spluttering slightly before composing herself and shook the extended hand, "Uzumaki Naruko, Genin of Konohagakure, and future and first female Hokage!" she said with a smile.
Naruto's eyes widened a bit in shock. "Wow." was all he said, which basically summed up all his thoughts.
"Wow is right," Naruko stated with a giggle, "Come on, I'll take you to the Hokage Mansion!"
Naruto just nodded as he followed the eager girl, "Alright then, lead the way!"
How do you like the first chapter? Good? Bad?
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HEIROFROHAN signing off
Revised as of 13th August 2017