Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
Warning: This story will be written in First Person!
If you don't like that, you probably won't enjoy this story.
Since it seems to be some kind of rite of passage to write a Naruto fanfic, here is my attempt at it. Namely, this is a Naruto time-travel fic with Naruto as the time-traveler, in which he ends up in a time before the start of the second shinobi world war.
The story will be similar to "Die Another Day" by NeonZangetsu, in my opinion, a time-travel fic with an interesting premise and course of the story. Other interesting time-travel fics in this fandom include "Rewritten" by Jasticus and "Lest you fade here all alone" by Syluk; there are other good ones, but those three IMHO stand out for one reason or another.
Then there is "Whirlpool Chronicles" by Kiege, which also takes place during the second shinobi world war and has some semblance to this story ... mostly owed to the fact that we occasionally bounce ideas off each other.
First of all, you really should check out my profile page, there are certain things in the Naruto setting I greatly dislike, and in a sense, my collected thoughts on a lot of those things can be found there. I wouldn't want you to go into this with false expectations of what awaits you...
...You have returned from taking the time to look at my profile page?
Good, there are a few things I have got to mention that are relevant to this story. This Naruto doesn't exactly come from canon timeline: many events played out the same, but there were differences; the most important one Naruto is the holder of a bloodline unique to him, the result of a carefully planned breeding program conducted by an unknown group of people existing for ages, who manipulated events throughout the centuries to get their desired result – specific men and females to have offspring with each other – their goal was to recreate the power wielded by the Progenitor of the Shinobi world Kaguya and by mixing certain bloodlines with each other they thought this could be done.
They were successful with Naruto, something they never knew before they died thinking, Naruto a(nother) failure. The reason for this is mostly owed to the expression of his bloodline. Which is, let's go with saying different.
In essence, it can be summed up as: he is able to copy bloodlines by assimilating DNA to accommodate them. There is a limit to how many of those he can hold at any given time. (Making him from a genetic standpoint the ultimate DNA donor – strengthening what is already there.)
This "bloodline" won't play a big role for quite some time – and won't be the main focus of this story.
So yes, this will be a Godlike Naruto story.
The pairing will eventually be [Naruto Uzumaki, Mikoto Uchiha, Mei Terumi, Tsunade Senju, Kushina Uzumaki, Akiko Hyuuga (Hinatas Mom)]
Another word of warning – This isn't the main project I'm working on – there are some unpublished works my focus is on ... so at a certain point (after I burned through my backlog) updates will be sparse.
This Story will be crossposted on Fanfiction . online
This chapter was edited by Illuminated.
Chapter 01: Arrival (03.10.36 AFoK)
I slowly stood up from my crouched position in the middle of a huge crater. My clothes were smoking from the heat, the means of my travel exposed them to, the water I soaked them in barely enough to prevent them from burning up. I would have no doubt shared their fate without the assortment of jutsu at my disposal.
Well, I am confident it wouldn't have been enough to kill me; not much is capable of that nowadays, especially since I got a handle on my bloodline. Still, recovering from third-degree burns across your whole body is anything but fun. The pain from suffering those injuries and then from healing from them was something I could do without.
I gave my surroundings a short glance and was able to ascertain, that yes, I arrived where I planned to. Seeing healthy trees alone was a strong indication I succeded. It had been years since I came across healthy plant life and the damage done to this forest was by my hands.
I couldn't suppress my elation at that, and a smirk sneaked on my features. This was a rarity nowadays. Considering that where or rather when I was coming from there weren't many appropriate occasions for displaying such an emotion.
But now, that I have arrived, I can prevent it all from happening. `Hey partner, we succeeded. We have got another chance, and this time we won't waste it. We will protect your siblings together,´ I thought. But instead of a grumpy response of how he could see that for himself, I was met with silence. No, No, No, this couldn't be, I worried.
Without wasting any time, I retreated to the sanctum of my mind, and what I found there was the confirmation of my worst fears: the clearing of the huge forest we designed together was empty. All trace of Kurama was gone. I couldn't even sense any hint of residual chakra.
He was just gone. I dropped to my knees.
I couldn't shake the feeling he knew exactly what would await him when we attempted this journey. I recalled how he tried to disperse my fears of what toll using his chakra in the sealing array would have on him. How he distracted me from the problem, always insisting that as the strongest of the Bijū there was nothing that could hurt him, least of all a seal designed by me, his dumb human partner.
Damn it Kurama, Damn it, didn't we promise each other we would save the world together or die trying? How could you just abandon me and leave me hanging like this?
Deep down, I knew this was unfair, as his sacrifice was what allowed me to come here. Still, he could have told me - I know we could have found another way.
My eyes started to moisten. Another friend lost forever. I was surprised that I was still capable of crying. Given how many times I shed tears standing at another grave of a dear friend. One would think the human body could ever hope to produce so many of them.
I wiped away my tears with the crook of my arm, and silently I vowed that these will be the last tears I shed for a dead friend, ever again.
I wanted to make sure of that – but I didn't have the best track record of keeping promises at this point. The only promise I seemed to always able to fulfill, no matter how much I rushed headfirst into a fight, was to come back.
I always came back. And every time I did, it was with the corpse of another of my friends carried within a storage seal to be burned, to prevent our enemies from desecrating them.
I balled my hands into fists. Not this time, I promised myself; this time, all of my enemies will have to weep for their friends and their families if they dare to stand in my way.
I expanded my senses more than dozens of kilometers in every direction and was hit with the presence of a countless number of people living within my range. My focus immediately turned to the small village housing several ten thousand people; there was no doubt this was home.
Given those numbers, I was at a time where it was still strong, perhaps stronger than I remembered it ever being. Good – and as if to validate my thoughts, I sensed five full squads of shinobi, who had been dispatched and were nearing my current location at a fast pace.
This meant that it was time to make myself scarce. I was far enough away not needing to fear already being in the focus of Konoha's `All-Seeing eyes´, but that wouldn't be the case for long. With no time to dally, I set a foot forward only to lose my balance. I was able to right myself just in time to prevent myself from planting my face into the dirt. Damn.
I took stock of my body and realized that my chakra coils had barely avoided being shredded by the ordeal that got me here, and it was a condition the rest of my body shared. It felt sore all over. I was exhausted, my reserves nearly spent, and by losing Kurama my chakra control was ruined. I was probably back at the level I had around the time I learned the Rasengan.
Woah, I really hoped this was just a temporary setback. I wouldn't want to spend months with an army of clones doing nothing other than increasingly more difficult chakra exercises to get it back to a level where I could use iryōjutsu and genjutsu again.
I would hate for all the time invested it took me to get it to a level that had allowed Sakura to beat her knowledge and jutsu into my head to have been wasted.
Well, that was a problem for another time; at least the seals adorning my body were still there and functioning. Even with a Byakugan wielder part of those squads, it wouldn't be an easy task to find me. Since one of my seals blurs the energy running through my body in such a way, that they have to look hard to be able to see me.
I wouldn't look like a beacon of light in the darkest of nights for them, like a shinobi with such vast reserves like myself normally would; instead, they would see me faded to near background levels.
Despite my best efforts to attain the absolute pinnacle of concealing seals, the Byakugan still had it beat. That just shows how fearsome it is and its reputation as the `All-Seeing eyes´ was more than just deserved.
The best I could hope for, If I had the misfortune to cross paths with one of them, was for the Byakugan user to be inexperienced. To not be a stickler for detail, those were the only ones that could be fooled with my little work of art.
Of course, I didn't intend to let it come to that. An experienced average wielder of the Dojutsu has a range of around 20km with it. Consequently, I just had to stay out of this range and circle around them to avoid detection. Well, I also had to hope for there to be none of those Hyuuga prodigies like Neji with them, because, in that instance, 20km wouldn't cut it.
By carefully moving my body, I was able to prevent a repeat stumbling over my own feet. After taking a few steps in which no further problem befell me, I slowly started to increase my speed, moving away from the point of my arrival.
It took me a good portion of the day to circle and evade them, as there was not only the standard Konoha searching pattern employed by those sent to check the phenomenon that accompanied my arrival, but also the numerous ranging patrols close to the village.
Aside from the Byakugan, there wasn't much I had to fear in the detection department. You couldn't be taught by one of Konoha's foremost tracking specialists without picking up the trade - especially how to avoid detection yourself.
My scent was easier to mask than chakra circulating in one's body; with the extensive use of seals, neither the Inuzuka nor the Aburame could track me.
When I finally neared the 20km perimeter around Konoha, I partly deactivated my suppression seals to give myself the presence of an average jōnin. My attire helped, being a long, black, hooded coat that extended to my ankles, and as the Rokudaime, I was carrying an enormous amount of ANBU animal mask with me.
There was no shortage of death in the latter days of our resistance, especially in the ranks of Konoha's finest. So for every mask, I handed out, I had received five back, taken from the dead bodies of their previous owners.
It had gone so far that being nominated for ANBU and bestowed with a mask was no longer seen as an honor, an award, to count yourselves among the elite for having become a shadow protector of Konoha. But was rather seen as a curse that only allowed for one outcome — death — the question being: how long until it was carried out?
I hated it, every part of it. My younger self couldn't hope to fathom what it would mean to be Hokage even at the best of times, let alone during a war in which humanity fought against extinction.
I chose to wear the fox mask. It was fitting, for more than just one reason. Historically, it was the mask given to the only ANBU operative who was always said to be working alone, the Hunter, the metaphorical fox in the henhouse.
At this point, I had no clue exactly what year I returned to, sensing the third Hokage didn't help as he was the longest-reigning Hokage of Konoha, having held office for more than 40 years only interrupted by the short reign of my father.
What I could be sure of, was the fact that I must be in a time before the Kyūbi attack. It was the only thing that would explain the high population. Furthermore, I could sense all of the Sannin within the village. Their chakra presences were mature, but still quite a ways off from their primes. This narrowed it down some, but it still wasn't as precise as I wished it to be before, I would set a foot in the village.
Since there was no helping it, I approached the village over the last five kilometers via an ANBU return corridor. It was used for long-term absentees who might not be in the know regarding current security protocols and approach vectors, and as far as I knew, dated back to the time of the First Hokage and was never changed since then.
To be honest, this was a great security risk to be so careless with something like this. The only reason I could think of for it to have never been changed in all this time had its origin in ANBU splintered off in Danzō's ROOT, and he made extensive use of this corridor. Because the Third never intended for them to have a fallout over his machinations, he closed his eyes to it.
Well, I couldn't complain about it now since I was now profiting from it. But inwardly I wondered if such sloppiness in this instance and other areas, stemming from the existence of ROOT was what ultimately allowed Orochimaru to infiltrate Konoha and bring his troops into a position around the village - or if he was actively supported from the inside.
This was a question that had never been answered to my full satisfaction even after I received the hat and possessed all the clearances to read the classified documents of the highest order.
I had no intention to allow the events to play out the same this time. If I even get a whiff of Orochimaru thinking about defecting or conducting any twisted experiments, I would put him six-foot under myself. And I was going to make sure that there was no way for him to return to the land of the living.
I reached the small cave, a good kilometer away from the outer village walls, that marked the entrance to the tunnel system leading right into the village. It was protected by a security seal that could only be trespassed by someone wearing Konoha ANBU-tattoo or by a sealmaster. Meaning, a real sealmaster, not one of those quacks calling themselves sealmaster who had trouble sealing a Bijū with a pre-drawn seal and instructions.
The seals in front of me had withstood the test of time and were still used to Konoha's second destruction. They had been crafted by no one less than Mito Uzumaki herself, the one and only Grand-Mistress of seals who ever set foot into Konoha. From what I was told, my mother never lived long enough to achieve Mito's prowess, but she had been well on her way to reach the same heights.
I expanded the seal written at the cave entrance to look at it, and it was once more made clear that Mito was the real deal. If I didn't already know this particular seal by heart, even I would have needed some time just to crack her seal encryption. To be fair, she didn't really make an effort here, and she had the right of it; this seal was nothing special. It was just a short stop-gap meant to dissuade all but the most determined from going any further.
The real protection measure was of a different nature, like the invisible sensing barrier she crafted for Konoha. It was a true piece of art, and if Konoha used it as it was intended, to notice and intercept any and all who disturbed the barrier no exception like the approach corridor, then I would have made the acquaintance of an ANBU-Squad by now.
Complacency, after all, is death to a shinobi. With a trained eye, I found the relevant line and added a small disruption seal between the detection properties and the ones activating the alarms.
By doing this, the seal would still detect my presence but wouldn't be able to trigger the countermeasures. My small addition was timed to only be active for the time it would take me to reach the village proper, after which it would dissolve as if it was never there to begin with.
With my modifications done, I entered the tunnels and followed them to the end. The whole time, I was dreading that someone decided to enter the tunnels while I was transversing them. The chances of it happening were slim, nevertheless existent.
I wasn't keen on meeting the Hokage and having to explain to him why I saw it necessary to take out his shinobi; convincing him about myself would be hard enough without such an accident occurring.
I was in luck and reached the exit unmolested. The tunnel led to the basement of a well-frequented shop that mostly sold food. Since it was a huge shop full of shelves that turned the ground level into a real maze, nobody would notice someone slip inside the store from underground and leave it, even though, said person never entered the shop from the street in the first place.
I removed my mask, put down my hood, and slipped into the store unseen. At the moment, there was no Shinobi present within, so I didn't bother to buy something to reinforce my cover as just another customer and simply left.
As I stepped out on the street, my first gaze fell onto the Hokage monument, the three faces carved in stone. It was a nostalgic sight even though I have never seen it with only three faces, and I had to admit I have never seen my face right next to Tsunade either.
By the time I was made Hokage, the mountain had been reduced to rubble for quite some time, and we had better things to do than cut someone's face in stone.
I enjoyed the atmosphere wandering through the streets: the people were happy; there was no despondency, deep-seated fear, or mourning present in the faces of the people.
I couldn't put it in words how I missed this, the children running circles around the people in the crowd trying to catch each other, the half-hearted reprimand when they ran into someone. I really enjoyed just allowing myself to float in a crowd of people not worn down by war and its effects, seeing people who still haven't lost hope and just continued to fight on because they knew nothing else.
This was why I returned, why Kurama sacrificed himself, and I will damn well make sure it wasn't in vain. I wouldn't waste my second chance to protect this way of life.
My determination strengthened further as I walked at an unhurried pace to the center with its tower overtopping all the other buildings.
I was contemplating resting up for a time until I faced the Hokage, but with my insurance in the form of a Hirashin tag in place, far outside the village, I saw no need to postpone it. If the conversation should turn sour, there was nothing that could prevent me from just leaving. Even at my worst, they wouldn't be able to subdue me; even with the help from the likes of the Professor, the village would have to pay a steep price for only attempting to do so.
When I entered the building, none of the gazes that lingered onto me for any meaningful amounts of time escaped my notice, nor the stiffening of the more experienced shinobi in my presence, who no doubt recognized the subtle tells, that clearly spoke of my proficiency in the art of taking someone's life. The lack of a Konoha headband on my person did the rest.
I had made the conscious decision not to wear one. Neither did I want to be approached by shinobi enquiring about not knowing me, nor did I want to make my affiliation public before I got the concession I would need to fulfill my goal.
After all, for a long time by now, my fealty was not only to Konoha, and I wouldn't want to give away the only real advantage I had in my free-agent status to the Hokage by wearing anything tying me to Konoha. If I couldn't get him to fear that I might take what I know elsewhere, he would hold all the cards, well, most of them.
The 3rd Hokage needed a few years of retirement and a constant reminder of his failures from looking at my face, the spitting image of his successor, to mellow out to the Jiji I knew during my childhood. Accordingly, the Sarutobi Hiruzen of this time would be another person entirely. The faster I acknowledged that fact, the less it would hurt to confront him.
I neared the chūnin-manned mission desk, and sitting in front of me was a man, who was the spitting image of a younger Iruka, sans the scars. His cheekbones, hair, everything was the same. There was no doubt in my mind that this must be his father, naturally, I was shocked.
I expected to run into some people I knew in my time or their close relatives and parents, but I never would have thought to meet him. I winced when my mind drifted to the last moments of my first teacher and had to suppress that particular gruesome memory.
"Is everything alright?" he asked concerned.
"Yeah, sorry," I said. "I was just somewhere else with my thoughts. What did you say? Could you repeat it?"
"I asked how might Konoha be able to help you?"
"I'm not here to hire Konoha Shinobi," I clarified. "I'm here to offer vital information and my services to the village."
He was speechless at my answer and was struggling to formulate a proper response. "That is irregular and something we can't help you with," he finally managed to get out.
"I'm very much aware, which is why I'd greatly appreciate it if you could escort me to meet your Hokage. He, after all, is qualified to make such decisions," I pointed out.
There was some hesitation, but ultimately he decided to humor me; since it was above his paygrade, it was better for someone else to take care of it.
He escorted me out of the room and up the stairs directly to the Hokage's office, one of the greatest shinobi of his time. The Hokage's secretary, a young, good-looking, auburn-haired woman no doubt as a civilian disguised ANBU operative going by her chakra, greeted him. "Umino-san, shouldn't you be at the mission desk?"
"We come from downstairs. This man," he explained as he pointed behind himself at me, "claims to have vital information and wants to offer it to Konoha."
"I see," she said while she scrutinized me with the gaze and experience of a seasoned shinobi, "allow me to announce you, Mister...?"
"Naruto," was my curt answer.
She stood up from her chair, and after softly knocking at the large double door, slipped past the barely-opening doors.
We waited a lot longer than just announcing someone's presence should have taken; my best guess was that she was a sensor and more than likely an expert in gathering clues through body language. I wondered what she was able to glean from me.
My musings were interrupted when the doors opened again, and the woman said with a fake smile. "The Hokage is awaiting you."
I turned to Iruka's father; "Thank you, Umino-san," I said to him and gave her a curt nod before I walked towards the still opened doors, passing the secretary who remained standing next to the door frame eyeing me warily the whole way. After I fully entered the room, she closed the double doors behind me.
It was nostalgic, standing in here, in front of the imposing desk with the Hokage sitting behind it. I could clearly remember the times I was summoned, after I pulled one of my pranks, to be reprimanded for it, during all of which Jiji, most of the time, was fighting an internal battle to keep up his stoic expression and not give in to smirking at my antics.
A short roam of my eyes across the room confirmed that nothing changed in all this time he held office. The room stayed virtually the same. No additional effects were added from now to the time I first entered this room as a child in the arms of the man now scrutinizing me.
However, the same couldn't be said about him. He was decades younger than I was used to, lacking the wrinkles of old age and the physical traces of a long and hard life. He was at the very peak of his prime and radiated strength with every pore of his being.
Not many could hope to compare with him, the man I admired throughout my whole childhood, and it was a new experience to be looked at by the man with anything else than love and poorly hidden regret.
I met his eyes, and the staring contest began. More than once, I had been at the receiving end of such a look trying to weigh my worth, to measure me, trying to uncover my inner-self; most thought me wanting, well until the moment I educated them differently.
After all, I wasn't the duped Konoha most surprising Ninja for nothing.
I ended our proverbial dick-measuring contest by simply smiling at him. I could see how it left him flustered. Good, I needed him to take me seriously.
I strode forward, my every step measured and exuding confidence, and I sensed the ANBU hidden throughout the room readying themselves to intervene - because they had finally started to perceive me as what I was, a potential threat to the life of their Kage. Not that they could do anything about me if I were serious about killing him, but they didn't know that.
I stopped my march a few steps away from his desk. "We have to talk, Hokage-sama."
"Do we?" He shot back, leaning back ever so slightly in his chair, playing up his fake mindlessness underneath things were different, "I wonder about that, but humor me, would you."
When I decided to come here, I didn't expect this to be easy, but this is way beyond the most difficult scenario I imagined. I was about to retort to get him to give up his overly guarded stance when the doors to his office opened, and inside stepped none other than the first jinchūriki of the Kyūbi, Uzumaki Mito.
I had no need to turn my head to know it was her. Even in her old age, her presence had an overwhelming strength dwarfing anyone else's in the village aside from my own. Even if I couldn't identify her by this alone, the faint presence of Kurama coming off from her would allow me to know exactly who she was.
No matter how good she was able to conceal his chakra within her seal, I would always be able to sense him, and I had to say she did a really good job at that. I doubted there were more than a handful of sensors in the elemental nations who could spot her being a jinchūriki, and this was an optimistic estimate, another attest to her skill.
What I really didn't expect to see was how her presence rattled Sarutobi; the previously displayed confidence was replaced with uncertainty and his authority with subserviency. I was baffled until I remembered that this was the wife of the First Hokage, and if she was anything like my mother, she would have made sure to get the pupils of her husband and his brother to submit to her authority one way or the other.
He stood up to show her the respect she was due. "Mito-sama, what can I do for you?"
"I was on my daily stroll when the most unusual thing happened. I sensed the presence of an Uzumaki arriving on the outskirts of the village. It was faint, hidden, and disguised, but undoubtedly the real deal. So you might be able to imagine my surprise when this presence entered the village through a secret entrance and made his way here. This piqued my curiosity because I did not expect another messenger or delegation of Uzushiogakure to arrive during my lifetime."
Well, so much for trying to hide my ancestry, but this might work out in my favor. However, seeing the narrowed eyes from the Hokage dissuaded me from that notion.
He rounded the table and fetched one of the few chairs placed alongside the wall, to put it alongside his own behind the desk and offered it up for Mito to sit upon.
Without a word, as if expecting it, she made her way to the chair. Because I chose not to show my back to Hiruzen, it took her stepping into my field of view to get my first glance at her from the corner of my eyes. She wore a milk-white high-collared Kimono with a purple obi around her waist, with her long, bright red hair arranged in buns held together by hairpins and hair clips.
She was old, far older than she had any right to be as an Uzumaki. She should have only reached the mid-point or less of her life when she transferred the Kyūbi to my mother at the age of 64, and since she was here, alive, she had to be younger.
Was it the Kyūbi's presence taking a toll on her life force? After all, she became a Jinchūriki as an adult. As a result, her body didn't have sufficient time to adapt to it. This is why only children no older than twelve are used as bijū containers. The earlier they become a Jinchūriki, the better to guarantee the stability of the seal and survival of the host.
But if that was the case and Kurama had detrimental effects on her, no non-adult Uzumaki would have ever had a chance to survive it at all. It was, therefore, no wonder they only ever dared to use Uzumaki and then only those with the strongest and densest chakra to contain the mightiest of the bijū.
Walking ever so slightly hunched over, relying upon a cane to walk. She reached her destination. Only then it struck me what it was that felt out of place as I watched the scene. Her cane, made no sound whenever it touched the ground.
"Thank you, Saru-chan," speaking those words, she took place on the chair and rested her cane on her lap. She used the time it took the Third to return to his seat to look at me with a smile on her lips.
I nodded my head at her and silently had my lips form the words Uzumaki-sama. When the Hokage once more sat in his chair he asked.
"So where were we, Uzumaki Naruto?"
I entertained the idea to object to the last name he decided to bestow upon me but decided against it, and my silence served to confirm Mito's assumption.
"I was about to tell you, why I'm here, but before we continue. Could you please take the necessary precaution to ensure my words will only be heard by you two?" I requested.
I could see how the Hokage was about to deny my request when a raised hand of Mito was enough to still his intended protest.
"Of course, Naruto-san."
She used the cane held in her right hand to touch the ground right next to her feet with its tip, and a black half-translucent liquid-like mass started to emerge from the point of contact. Within a few seconds, it spread in a circular fashion on the floor around us three, flowing unimpeded below even my feet. The propagation came to a stop with only us three standing on top of it.
The edges of the liquid then began to form walls that rose up to the ceiling and then propagated towards the center-right above its point of origin. Hence we ended up inside a cylindrically shaped barrier. Allowing us on the inside free, slightly distorted sight of the outside.
"Astonishing." I couldn't help myself from commenting.
"Please, no false humility, if any of those seals I can sense on your body originates from your brush I might be able to learn a thing or two from you." she complimented.
The narrowing of the Hokage's eyes at her statement made it clear he had to reevaluate me. Inwardly, I grinned, getting the confirmation that I could even surprise the current holder of the moniker `God of Shinobi´.
"You flatter me, Uzumaki-sama." my humble self replied. "Would one of you please be so kind tell me what day it is?"
"Today is the 3rd of October," she said.
"Which year?" I asked.
That question got both of them to raise their eyebrows. "It has been thirty-six years since the founding of Konoha," the Hokage answered.
"Good." It was not ideal, I would have wished for a little more time to prepare myself and the village for the events to come, but I knew better than anyone beggars can't be choosers. "Then, I'm not too late."
"Late for what? You better start to make sense soon and stop wasting our time." the Hokage barked.
"To make the second Shinobi world war a short one, with Konoha as the ultimate winner," I simply stated.
"War? What are you talking about? The elemental nations never were so peaceful the last border dispute was years ago. Our alliances are steady. There is no shortage of anything vital. There is absolutely nothing that would indicate we are facing another war," The Hokage lectured incredulously.
"Nevertheless, you are," I said, "Am I right to assume Kushina is already in the village?"
"That's classified information," The Hokage retorted.
An amused Mito remarked, "please, as if you would not already know the answer to that question."
"Touche." It would be exceedingly hard to get anything past her considering her proficiency in reading emotions. However, there were a few secrets I had to keep even from them.
"Then, the events leading to the start of the second shinobi world war are already in motion."
"If this really is true, how do you know all this, and why don't you stop it?" Sarutobi inquired.
"Because I can't, there are forces at work who want for the war to happen. If I were to stop this attempt of theirs, the next one or the one after that will succeed. But at the moment, we're in the prime position to be aware it is coming, and if we play our cards right, we can capitalize on it and cripple the manipulated attacking nations, for decades to come, giving us time to take out the real threat." I explained.
"Why would anybody want a war? What is their objective?" Mito wondered.
"This time, the complete annihilation of the Uzumaki-clan," I told her.
"That can't be." She slipped in her formal speech in her outrage. "Why would anybody attack us? My kin are peaceful people, not engaging in any conflicts for years. Most of our shinobi and civilian alike never left the Island," she lamented.
"Simple, they grew too powerful. Their very existence makes the use of their strongest weapons a risky gamble on the best of days. In addition, the bloodlines that can be attained, the accumulated knowledge, make it into a too enticing target, for some, to ignore. Of course, robbing Konoha, the winner of the first world war, of a loyal ally is just the icing on the cake," I said.
An angered Hokage demanded, "Stop this farce, now! As if you could make us believe anybody could overcome Uzushiogakure's defenses. I've been there. The Island is an unassailable fortress, their defenses impregnable. No army could hope to overcome that and not be crushed with their soldier's blood coloring the whirlpools surrounding the Island in red."
"Are they truly impregnable? You especially should know there is no such thing as impossible in the world we live in. So what if you can't hope to overcome them from the outside. What about from within? As we're speaking, the enemy has already infiltrated Uzushiogakure and is sabotaging the defensive seals of the village." I gave them a moment to process that statement before I continued.
"In a little over a month, during the full moon of 23 November, a combined force of Mizu and Kumo will penetrate Uzushiogakure's barriers. Outgunned ten to one, their Leader, neither wanting to see all the clan's knowledge in the wrong hands nor his kin captured and breed for their bloodlines, will take drastic measures and attempts to summon the Shinigami himself." A gasp escaped Mito at that point in my narrative.
"The Uzushiogakure forces will be sent to buy him the required time, with the Seven Swordsmen leading the charge at the invading troops. The Invaders will pay dearly for their audacity, but their numbers, with the elite of the Kumo and Kiri in the vanguard under the command of the second Raikage, just couldn't be stopped. Their eventual death won't be in vain. The Shinigami called forth in a ritual that took the lives of all those summoning him; upon seeing his chosen clan being brought to the brink of extinction. He accepted the spilled blood of the Uzumaki as payment to exact bloody vengeance on their attackers."
An unbelieving scoff escaped the Hokage a glance of Mito's was enough to silence whatever retort might have been on his tongue allowing me to proceed uninterrupted.
"This resulted in the majority of the Invading forces, those who made landfall to be killed, and the Island was cursed to kill every instance of life on it until the day the Uzumaki will one day return. The few survivors, armed with the seven swords they took from Uzu fiercest defenders, will meet up with the remaining Kumo and Kiri forces, who gathered in Hot Water country right at borders of Fire country to invade it."
Mito blanched at my recollection of events I read in a history book about the downfall of Uzushiogakure.
"What about Konoha?" A worried Mito sitting tensely in the front of her seat stammered.
"By the time Konoha will be informed of the attack, it will already have been in progress, and the fall of Uzu was deemed inevitable. Therefore Konoha decided to send a fast-formed relief contingent to reinforce its borders. The history books will later note that there were no Uzumaki survivors, only the handful who were away from the Island at that time survived it," I dryly informed them.
"That is preposterous. Konoha would never abandon an ally!" Sarutobi scoffed.
"Not even after being told by a trusted source, there's nothing to be done? After all, with Kushina already in the village, the Uzumaki had nothing else of value left to offer, isn't that right, Hokage? And a Jinchūriki with split loyalties is a dangerous thing for any village to have, better to take out the competition and ensure unquestionable allegiance." I noted accusatorily.
The barely contained anger boiled over in my counterpart. A balled fist lashed out at my last insinuation, and a mighty blow descended upon the desk, separating us from each other and destroying it. With a speed, most jōnin wouldn't have been able to follow. He was on me a kunai drawn, moving in a straight line right for my throat.
The weapon never reached me, held back by chains conjured up from the sitting Mito stopping the Third in his tracks.
"Enough Saru-chan," Mito ordered. "This was just a test. He did not mean what he said."
The chain loosened its grip on his body and slowly withdrew back into Mito. I bowed my head. "I'm sorry Sarutobi-dono, but I had to be sure you weren't part of this conspiracy that will lead to the downfall of Uzu."
"Conspiracy, all I've heard are baseless accusations and the prediction of a made-up future, which has no basis in reality. If it should have escaped your notice, I'm the Hokage, and all the Shinobi of this village only answer to me, and I gave no such order to sabotage Uzushio nor to aid anybody in attempting it."
"Are you absolutely sure about that?" I probed, "every Shinobi in the village only answers to you?"
"Are you suggesting I don't know what's happening in my own village, that someone is working behind my back?"
"I'm not suggesting anything."
"No? Then let's stop playing games. You've something to say, then say it stop mincing words."
I really was contemplating doing exactly that, but I knew it would get me nowhere. On the contrary, given how this conversation went thus far, I'd be lucky if he doesn't warn Danzō about this. Should I name him as the one conspiring with Kiri and Kumo? No, this wasn't going to work. Jiji was still friends with Danzō I had to present irrevocable proof; nothing short of that will get him to believe me.
"I'd like to do nothing more, but I know the current you wouldn't believe a word I say, which is why I'll refrain from doing so. To be honest, in your position, I wouldn't believe me either; the only thing I can ask for is for you to keep an open mind and at least prepare for the eventuality that I'm right. You've over a month to get your shinobi in their peak condition, so I'd suggest you schedule training exercises. Should I be wrong, you lose nothing. But if I'm right, this might give you the edge in the upcoming war. Surely that can't be too much to ask."
"If you are right, training exercises alone will not be enough to safe Uzushiogakure, and do not think I did not notice you evaded answering the question of how you know about all of this," Mito stated.
"Where I'm from, this knowledge is ancient history."
Mito's eyes widened as she started connecting the dots; it was no wonder, in order to become a sealmaster, you needed a vivid imagination.
"I was born as Uzumaki Naruto October tenth, in the year 50th after Konoha's founding, and come from the year 68."
"That's impossible." The Hokage remarked dismissively.
"Wait, if all you said is true and you are born as an Uzumaki with the clan gone, who are your parents?" She barely asked the question when she connected another dot. "It is Kushi-chan. It has to be. She is your mother." with a nod, I confirmed her suspicion.
"I'm her firstborn son and was the third Jinchūriki of the nine-tailed demon fox."
"That can not be." She closed her eyes in meditation and spent a good minute in that position only to suddenly open them wide in surprise, only to utter the word, "impossible."
The third gave her a curious look, and only then she started to elaborate. "It is faint, barely noticeable in the process of dissipating, but there is no doubt this man was at one point the Jinchūriki of the Nine-tails- and throughout this whole conversation, he did not lie once. He omitted things, but never lied."
"You can't believe this made-up story about time travel," Hiruzen growled, doubt clearly written all over his face.
"Oh, but I do," She calmly announced, "Tell me, young man, you were not just a simple jōnin, and you certainly did not risk coming here just to prevent the extinction of a family you never even met, since you were born more than a decade from now."
"Has someone ever accused you of being far too smart for your own good?"
She smirked at me. "Once or twice for sure." There must be a story behind it.
"I'd rather not talk about it at this point. My story is unbelievable as it is. I wouldn't want to needlessly pile on top of it."
"Fair enough, but you still did not tell us why you sought us out. Surely there were better methods to get us to act in accordance with your goals?" The Sealmistress questioned. "Circulating rumors and warning Uzushiogakure directly are just two I came up with on the spot. Despite your young appearance, you do not strike me as somebody who would leave things to chance, therefore I reasonably sure you did not come here with no plan and contingencies in mind."
"While true, it isn't that easy. The method I used to get here was a one-time deal, and I couldn't be sure how far back in time I'd get sent. Arriving before the attack on Uzushiogakure takes place was just one of many possibilities. The further in the past I'd have arrived, the more secondary objectives there would have been to fulfill. This situation is not ideal, but far from the worst case. I will make it work either way."
She contemplated my words for a moment, without a doubt trying to put the pieces from my cryptic responses together in order to get the whole picture.
"But that is not all, is it? There is something you need, something only Konoha can provide you with, and I do not think it is the means to end this war faster. Definitely not armies, those you could have gotten from every major village, nor tools. A Sealmaster of your caliber can create anything you might need yourself given time, so what is it? What do you really need to fulfill your quest?" She wondered aloud with her head tilted. "After all, you can not make me believe it is about a simple war. You are not here for something trivial like that. You are trying to prevent something far worse, and to do that you need..."
"The Kyūbi," I said.
"That's not gonna happen!" Sarutobi shouted, not being able to avoid noticing Mito not agreeing with his decision. "You can't seriously consider that."
"Why not?" She asked. "He freely offers to become a Jinchūriki to carry that burden. And make no mistake, it is one. I was one of the few lucky ones since barely anybody is aware of my status, but that does not mean that I am blind Saru-chan. I read the reports. I know how Jinchūriki are treated. And you can not be as naive to think the population of Konoha would be any different. Fear would be the driving force and, humans that fear, especially if they can fall back on a group that no longer requires them to think for themselves, are known to do the most stupid things."
"I can't be sure," He mumbled demurely. "But it will never come to that," He said, convinced. "We agreed to keep her status a secret as we did with yours."
"Yes, you did. But how often does reality bend to someone's wishes? There is always the possibility of the secret coming out, and it increases with the difficulty of the mission Kushina has to undertake. A weapon that gets never used is worthless and only starts to rust in its sheath." ´She paused with a sigh, and her voice softened as she continued.
"You, despite your best efforts, won't be able to protect her from this forever. If the situation becomes dire enough, and it will, if Naruto is to be believed, she will be deployed, forced to use her power, we both know that, and not even the Hokage will then be able to do anything about it. He is, after all, the one who has to protect the whole village, not just one citizen. It comes down to the numbers game every Hokage is familiar with, sacrifice one and in exchange save hundreds or thousands even, that is what your job is all about. Making the hard decision for the good of the whole village," she lectured.
"So why should I not entertain the possibility if it presents itself. To spare little Kushi-chan such a fate when there is a strong, capable, and most of all compatible shinobi standing right in front of us who wants to bear this burden?" she questioned Sarutobi.
"There is just one thing I need to know, I need to be sure of," She continued. "So excuse my straightforwardness." She focused on me with an intensity that sent shivers down my spine "Are you loyal to Konoha, to the Will of Fire?"
"Yes, I have been my whole life and will be to the end of my days. Konoha is my home, the place my parents sacrificed their lives to protect, the place my friends died protecting, as will I." I asserted.
"Good," she declared. "Let us get you something to eat you must be starving." She raised herself from the chair when the Sandaime interjected.
"You can't..." he got no further stopped by Mito's sharp retort.
"What? Make that decision by myself. Did you forget who it is you are speaking to?" her voice took a dangerous tone. "It is my prerogative to chose my successor, and the only concession I have to grant is that that he or she is a loyal Konoha shinobi. – Well, as far as I am concerned that stipulation also includes future Konoha shinobi. So on what grounds are you interfering, Saru-chan?"
She eased up on the stare Sarutobi was exposed to when it became clear that there would be no reply and continued in a nonthreatening manner.
"You should be grateful to this young man, for what he already did for this village and will no doubt continue to do so, if you allow him to. It would not set a great example for the rank and file if two people who both wore the hat would squabble about insignificant stuff, like some children."
My mind came to a complete stop. How did she figure that one out? What a scary old woman. Admittedly, I didn't expect anything less from Tsunade's grandmother - Ba-chan's fierceness had to come from somewhere.
I wasn't the only one at a loss for words. By the time the Sandaime had processed the information, Mito was already standing in front of me.
Her elbow raised prompting me to take it. She then ended the discussion bursting her barrier around us, forcing the Sandaime to swallow whatever words he had on the tip of his tongue.
She turned around one last time addressing the Hokage, "Can you or Konoha afford not to heed his warnings? Take your time and think about it Saru-chan."
I finally hooked my arm with hers, and escorted her out from the Hokages office; while we stepped through the door Mito said.
"You have got to meet Kushi-chan. She is such a whirlwind ..."
The attentive readers might have noticed I took some small liberties with the timeline – According to this wiki/User:Seelentau/Naruto_Timeline - the best timeline I could find.
Kushina comes to Konoha when she is 8 years old and attended the academy for over two years before Kurama was sealed in her. Two years after that, the Second Shinobi World War started. I changed that up some to make my take on the events of Uzu work out.
Meaning Kushina, at the age of twelve, was sent to Konoha to attend the final months of the academy to graduate with them. It was planned for Mito to transfer Kurama during that time... meaning roughly at the time this chapter takes place
There are two reasons for this – one, the team placement, and two, the pairings. With less exposure to Minato, she will only know him as a stranger and not harbor any feelings for him.
So Kushina is in Konoha for a few months at the most.
This means the year 36, After the Founding of Konoha (AfoK) is 14 years before Naruto's birth and therefore 26 years before the start of canon.
Further changes include Gyuuki has not been sealed in B yet. The former host of it an old man is still alive.
Furthermore, I noticed Kushina was abducted by Kumo when she was 14, presumably after she became a Jinchūriki - something that I found odd - wasn't there implied she was abducted because of her special chakra, not her Jinchūriki status – which would mean they did so in order to use her as a host for Gyuuki given the problems they had with creating a stable seal/jinchūriki... so something feels out of place here. Which I also intend to fix with this change ...
Last Edited: 29.08.2021