Because Time Travel is an overdone but still extremely awesome plotline.

Naruto stared into the mirror, running his hand through his hair to make sure that it was neat. Then, picking up his razor, he trimmed the few fuzzes of hair that'd sprouted on his chin and over his upper lips.

Eyes still on his own reflection, he composed his face with an expression he oft wore as a child. Once, that expression would have gained him the favor of the Third Hokage, Sarutobi Hiruzen. In fact, it was that expression which had convinced Hiruzen to visit more often, making his childhood a little less lonely; he was a very cute kid.

Now that he was thirty-two, his wide pleading eyes had long lost that childish charm. In turn, it had picked up a different sort of charm, the sort of charm that made his wife smile even in some of the most tense situations - the sort of charm he reserved for occasions like tonight.

"Hinata. I love you." He said to himself in the mirror. With a self-assured nod, he stepped out of the restroom.

Naruto walked with a spring in his step down the apartment hallway. He was excited. His children, Himawari and Boruto, had gone on a sleepover over at the Yamanaka residence; it was something he would've wished to have been able to do in his youth. Alas, kid Naruto had no friends, and not for lack of trying either. The mythical Nine-tailed beast that had been sealed inside him had been the cause of the contempt of many villagers. He didn't blame them or the Nine-tails; they couldn't help who they were at the time. His childhood misery had been the result of ignorance and hatred. It was a fact he'd long grown accustomed to.

No one was ever intentionally ignorant or hateful. Such vices were created by chance, not by choice.

Outside his bedroom, he could hear his wife's soft voice humming low. Naruto paused in front of the door. He'd never heard that tune before. It was a sad tune, one which didn't match the mood he was in, but it was very beautiful, especially when sung in her voice.

The humming stopped, replaced suddenly by a speaking voice. "I can see you, Naruto."

Naruto felt a pleasant simmering in his chest at the sound of his own name. Of course, his wife's Byakugan eyes allowed her to see through any physical objects up to massive radiuses which spanned many kilometers if she so wished. It also meant that she had probably been watching him while he was preparing himself for her.

"I've never heard you hum that tune before, Hinata. I like it."

"Oh. Umm. Thank you."

Even through the walls, Naruto could practically see his wife shifting in place. His project of helping her overcome her shyness had been largely successful - his love, their children, her motherhood, and her own personal persistence had all contributed to the more confident woman she was now, but it was moments like these which reminded him of the awkward child she had been: the shy stuttering girl that she hated so much. Unfortunately, after all these years, she was still having trouble dealing with straightforward compliments. It never got in the way of her performance both in the fields and at home, but it saddened him a little, especially when she still became embarrassed at compliments from her own husband.

"Well are you going to just stand there?"

Naruto snapped out of his thoughts and slid the door open.

His attention immediately centered on the woman inside. She had laid herself on her back, and wore a simple white T-shirt. Her hair was brushed to a glossy hue of black.

The woman let the bulging veins around her eyes fade and visibly trained her pupils toward the doorway under which he stood.

"With my beautiful wife waiting for me on the other side? I'd be an idiot to do that!"

"You're not an idiot." Hinata said kindly. "But if you keep me waiting any longer, I might start to believe that you were dysfunctional and trying to hide it."

With a laugh, Naruto walked toward his wife with deliberate care, his eyes never leaving her.

"Uzumaki Naruto, what took you so long?"

"Well tonight is special. I want everything to be perfect."

"If you were so diligent, Shikamaru wouldn't be complaining to me about how much trouble you cause him." The woman jested skeptically.

"Yeah well.." Naruto knelt to the side of her head, noting the way her eyes followed him. "Shikamaru thinks everything is trouble." He gently lifted a handful of dark hair into his fingers, letting them fall rippling strand by strand back onto the cushion below. "You must've spent a lot of time to get your hair to be so soft. I love it."

"Do you?"

"I do." With his knees still folded under him, Naruto leaned forward and planted a brief kiss on the woman's lips.

Just as he was lifting himself away, however, Hinata trapped his neck around her arms, pulling him down and forcing his lips to fall once more upon hers.

Naruto hummed with pleasure as he felt a hand run carefully around the back of his head, riffling through his blonde spikes.

Finally, his wife released him. "I like your hair too. I like your whiskers, your chest, your lips.. your tongue.."

Naruto answered with another kiss, this time hovering himself directly above his wife's prone form. After an even longer moment than before, Naruto let his head rise, this time without interruption. "Me too, Hinata. I love your skin, your soft voice, your shyness, your confidence. I love your quiet strength, your beautiful hair, your gentle hands.."

As Naruto spoke, he could feel the hands that were in his hair trail across and down his back, causing him to almost shiver. "I love you, Hinata."

With a feeling of satisfaction, Naruto watched as his wife's face went from its usual pale shade to a healthy shade of pink; it told him that he'd timed his words perfectly.

"I love you too." Hinata replied earnestly, and Naruto waited no further. He let his body fall gently, let his lips onto his wife's soft skin, let his hands fall across the places she loved.

She in turn, gripped his upper arms tightly, trapping them. "Wait."

Naruto stopped.

"Do we want another child?"

"I'd love another child. Do you want another child?"

Feeling a little impatient, Hinata's lips pulled down in a slight frown as she fought off her visceral instincts. "Boruto and Himawari are amazing. I.. I think I would love to have another addition to our family."

"Then it's settled!" Naruto beamed.

Hinata, for her part, couldn't restrain herself any longer. She bolted up, pushing Naruto onto his back and positioning herself on top. "Naruto-kun.. you talk too much. Fuck me already."

Naruto-kun.. now that was an address he hadn't heard in a long time. He giggled. "Hinata-chan! I didn't know you were like this.."

"Naruto-kun.." Hinata panted in response. Even at thirty, her husband was still so fit.

Naruto flipped forward, pushing Hinata onto her back and returning to his position above her. Gods she was so cute. It made him want to bite something. And he did.

Hinata gasped.

"Hmmm.. my first impression is.. I don't like you."

Naruto stared dumbly at the head of silver hair covered in clouds of chalk. His face was still flushed. In fact, he could still feel the lingering touches on his person, touches which had been gentle and very sensual. What.

A single eye peeked out from its masked covering, its voice speaking in monotone. "Meet me at the rooftop and don't be late."

The man placed his hand in a single seal and vanished in a puff of smoke and swirling leaves.

There was a space of silence during which Naruto simply sat in place, refusing to believe what he felt of his surroundings.

"I can't believe he fell for that." Said a girlish voice, breaking the silent tension

Another voice followed in grudging distemper. "So the Jonin being assigned to us is a fool."

"OY Naruto!" The girl screeched. "I thought you'd be happy that your prank worked!"
Naruto stood with a tremble. No. This couldn't be happening. "No.."

"Dobe. What's wrong with you?"

He stared at his short arms and at his patchy orange jumpsuit. "What the fuck is this?!"

"Naruto?" The pink haired girl asked with concern. That's right Thirteen year old Sakura probably never heard him swear before. For all his loud-mouthed tomfoolery, twelve year old Naruto actually had a very clean vocabulary. Except he wasn't actually twelve year old Naruto.

"He's being his stupid self as usual." A suave voice spoke, filling in the second void. "Let's go to the rooftop to meet our new mentor. Even if he's a fool, he's still the one who's been assigned to us.." The boy stood up. "Naruto, are you coming or are you giving up being a ninja?"

"Sasuke.." Naruto swallowed. "I'll be right behind you. You go on ahead for now."

His best friend gave him a strange look.

The pink-haired girl pulled at his arm. "You can't. You're coming with us. What if our Jonin is expecting for all three of us to arrive at the same time? Naruto.. what in the world is wrong with you?"

"Aha." Naruto forced himself to grin. "Well.. I couldn't believe he fell for my trap. I seriously didn't expect that to work so uh.. I'm a bit miffed."


Sakura furrowed her eyes in disbelief. Naruto gave her a look that he hoped looked to be genuine surprise.

Sasuke shook his head. "Whatever. Ignore him. Let's go Sakura."

The two teens picked their way out from the desk aisles and left, leaving Naruto to stand alone in the otherwise empty classroom.

"I've gone back in time.."

Naruto blasted his Chakra in an attempt to dispel whatever Illusion technique might have been cast on him. This was surreal.. impossible. This had to be a dream, but how could a dream feel so real? How could he be so.. aware?

With a concentration of Chakra and a careless flick of his little fists, Naruto shattered a space of desk in front of him. If this were real then..Naruto's fists tightened. His wife and children were gone, out of his reach forever and ever..

Still.. even if she wasn't the same woman that he'd married, Hyuuga Hinata was a living part of this universe.. this timeline. She was probably at home now, being raised in that horribly toxic environment. Just the thought made him feel weary. He didn't blame Hiashi. Once he'd gotten to know his father in law, he'd found that Hiashi wasn't actually that bad. The man had had his daughter's best interest at heart even if his methods came off as making him seem negligent and hurtful. True, Hinata's self-confidence had been damaged during this period, but in the end, she'd turned out alright.

When she'd first confessed her love to him, it had been while standing in front of a terrifyingly powerful enemy who had not only single-handedly wiped out the entire village, but had also incapacitated the Leaf's best Shinobi - himself included. He hadn't remembered much of that moment, but hearing it recounted to him had sent chills down his spine and his heart into a frenzy. Hinata - shy, finger-pushing Hinata - had stood up to an impossible enemy for his sake with a courage that many Shinobi would find difficult to outmatch. It was her apparent death during that encounter which had caused him to lose his mind completely to the Nine-tails. If Hinata hadn't stood between him and Nagato's Pain, Naruto would've been captured. If that had happened, everything that he'd managed to achieve would've fallen apart. Without Uzumaki Naruto in the picture, things would have looked very grim for those left behind; he'd been an integral part of the Fourth Shinobi war and in the defeat of the Goddess, Kaguya.

The point was, he loved his wife. He loved the girl who had stood up for him and pursued him for the better part of her life. He loved the woman who had borne his children, who made him feel happy and complete.

The girl of this universe who bore his wife's name was both the same and, at the same time, a completely different person as the one who he'd loved.

Ok. Even if he didn't hate Hiashi and even if the Hinata of this time wasn't his Hinata, he was still going to have to do something to make sure that the girl at least had someone to ease her suffering.

And then there was his children.

He knew, of course, that if he was truly trapped in this universe, then he would probably never see either Boruto or Himawari again. The odds of that happening were near nonexistent. He would have to fertilize her with just the right set of sperm at just the right time in order for them to reach just the right eggs. In other words, even if he married Hinata again, the odds of seeing the exact sperm and egg combination that made Boruto and Himawari were outrageously close to zero.

Thus, his children were practically dead, killed before they were even born.

Naruto swallowed that thought away. That was only true if his current condition were permanent.

Whatever had caused this strange situation, he'd guess that it was probably a very powerful Illusion on the level of the Infinite Tsukuyomi, though how or why anyone would do this to him was beyond his reckoning.

A voice in the back of his head cried 'Sasuke' in an accusing tone. He let the voice simmer against his other thoughts.

If he was simply in an Illusion, then Boruto and Himawari were still alive.

Yes. That's what he'd have to believe. They were still alive.

On the subject of the living, there were a lot of people still alive in this timeline, people who'd died prematurely; many of these were people who did not have to die, and now that he was here, Naruto would make sure that they didn't die.

Neji, Jiraiya, the old Third Hokage, the parents of many of his friends.. so many pointless casualties in the wars that he'd been forced to fight before he was even a legal adult.

Things were different now that he was in this universe. The resolutions to the many conflicts that had happened during his previous life had been undone in a single stroke.

Orochimaru was still a criminal. The Akatsuki had yet to be defeated and was controlled by the Rinnegan-wielding leader of the Hidden Rain, Nagato; the criminal organization should start terrorizing the Shinobi factions soon, collecting Bijuu for its insane project at peace. Uchiha Obito, Kakashi's former teammate, should still be hiding in the shadows of the Akatsuki. In Obito's own shadow was the legendary Uchiha Madara, who had been the one to have inculcated Obito's motives.

Finally, there was the self-proclaimed Goddess's child, black Zetsu, who was also a key factor.

He knew what he had to do. All the secret enemies, their motives, and the plots behind convoluted plots that they had hatched- he knew them all.

He could change everything. Uzumaki Naruto was nothing if not a forward-looking person. Lamenting the loss of his family and the perfect evening he was about to spend with his wife wasn't going to help him out of his predicament.

Naruto examined the splintered chunk of wood torn out of the lecture desk, and tossed aside his already half-formulated plans. This was probably all just an Illusion anyway. It was the only reasonable explanation. There was only one person capable of casting this level of Tsukuyomi Illusion that he knew of in his time. In fact, the Sharinnegan that Sasuke possessed in his right eye was almost certainly capable of doing this.

Naruto rolled his eyes to no one's benefit.

If this was Sasuke's idea of a joke, then the bastard had better be ready to get his ass whooped when he got back. It wasn't a very funny joke.
Ever since taking on the Hokage position, he'd been at the forefront of every modern venture - of progress. Being so involved with international relations, administration, and an innumerable host of other projects had left him with little to no free time, let alone time with his wife when their kids weren't around; it was a rare day when Uzumaki Naruto wasn't everywhere in the village, his clones scattered about to perform various necessary duties in every faculty and every front. And now he was here, his one evening with his wife. Ruined.

Taking a breath, he yelled as loudly as he could. "Fuck you Sasuke! This isn't funny! You're away from the village all the time right? Getting to spend time with Sakura is rare RIGHT?! How would you feel if I made you suddenly go back in time right when you're about to fuck Sakura after waiting to do it for so long?! Yeah! That's how I'm feeling right now!"

There was a gasp, and Naruto let his temper cool. Standing at the doorway were his two teammates who had probably returned to collect him to the little meeting up at the roof. For the second time that day, Naruto stared dumbly at the space under the Academy's doorway.

"Dobe! What in the world are you talking about?!"

Naruto pointed a finger at the pretty-face 'last' Uchiha.. "You're a troll!"

Sasuke's eyes flared with anger. "I don't know why I even bothered. Sakura. We're not waiting for him."

The boy brushed past the mortified girl, leaving Sakura standing alone at the doorway. Naruto suddenly felt guilty. Of course, she had been the one to have suggested waiting for him, causing Sasuke to mistreat her.. well if he thought of it that way, then this was mostly Sasuke's fault. Gods 13-year old Sasuke was such an asshole. In fact, it seemed Sasuke had always been an asshole. This Illusion that the Uchiha had put him in, for example, was the epitome of assholery.

Naruto stepped over the desk, leaping to his teammate's side, and gave Sakura a smile, hoping it would make her feel better. "Let's go Sakura-chan." He said kindly.

On instinct, he stepped away from a punch to his head. As the girl screeched at him, Naruto took in her countenance, idly comparing her to the woman she'd become.

He'd never really thought about it much. Time travel wasn't something he did very often, and so he'd never had the privilege of making this comparison before. With how nice Sakura had become as she'd matured, he'd almost forgotten just how very immature she had been at this age.

Letting the small, pink-haired girl take the lead, he followed behind her toward the Academy rooftop.

Knowing this Sakura much better than he did the first time, he surmised her thoughts to be something along the lines of: 'I hate Naruto. He is the most horrible person in the world. Nothing like Sasuke.'



Well then.

He didn't quite dare call her an asshole. Uchiha Sakura's temper was legendary, and had left him scarred with some horrible memories. In some ways, she was even worse than Sasuke. Naruto sighed, prompting a quick glare from the girl as he climbed the stairs. Maybe that was why Sasuke had finally returned her affections.

"Sakura-chan. You're kind of mean you know that?"

Sakura turned another glare at him, but somehow this one didn't seem as scathing as the last. His words had struck home.. probably.

"That's your fault for being a complete IDIOT." The girl turned with a harumph and began stamping up the stairs even faster than before.

Or not.

Author's Note: As an aside, I intended to upload this as the prologue to my other story: Woes of Cynicism, but this turned out to be such a nice standalone that I'd decided against it.. it would be such a pity to segue what I've written here into WoC's plotline. This story will instead digress from the happenings of WoC. Major credit to Ally McNally for the inspiration. She wanted me to delve more into Naruto's side of the story. I took up her suggestion, and I'm very pleased with the result. Thanks Ally! I'm glad you pushed for this. ^-^