Disclaimer: I don´t own Naruto
Chapter 07: Team Uzumaki (12.10.36 AfoK)
I had to say, I was impressed. It took the Hokage mere hours to send Tsunade herself to me with the deed of ownership of a huge chunk of land near the center of the village. Land that has been in the hands of the village since its founding and never was used for anything.
In my timeline, it ended up as a housing district after the Kyuubi attack because it was the only part of the village not built-up beforehand. Therefore it turned out to be ideal to start immediate construction to house all the people who lost their homes in the attack. Since nearly every other part of the village was in a state of disrepair or littered with debris that would have to be removed before they could start with a reconstruction.
A time-intensive endeavor, which was why it was decided to forego clearing up those parts and just start on new housing to save time and return the people to have a roof over their heads.
The original intent probably was that the land at some point might be needed for some important infrastructure, which until now never came to pass.
The price the village demanded, all things considered, was fair given the premier location. I accepted and handed over a copy of the accumulated knowledge of my Tsunade and Sakura over to her. Including the vastly improved regeneration jutsu, Sakura used at the end of her life, without any of the disadvantages Tsunades original jutsu possessed.
No doubt it will be a great boon to her, I just hoped she wouldn´t be able to identify her own hand in compiling those scrolls I handed her. Despite my efforts, making sure everything in them was written by Sakura and furthermore created a copy of it via seals, I couldn´t be sure it would be enough to avoid raising her suspicions.
Not that it really should matter with those seals I placed on the scrolls preventing anyone besides her from being able to open let alone read them, she has no one, she can show this to.
Therefore any potential suspicions she might have would go nowhere and since I have yet to meet her again after having handed the scrolls over to her the evidence suggest that my fears were just me overreacting.
On the very same day, I handed over the blueprints of the `Dream´ hospital to the construction crew I hired to make it a reality. I even went as far as to double the salary of the workers for this project including full pay for their overtime work and offered an additional bonus should they manage to complete ahead of schedule.
The faster the village had access to those facilities the better it would be for the upcoming war and the Uzumaki clan could easily afford it and should it be necessary I could always dip into my own financial means I brought with me, means that were nothing to scoff at. One of the few advantages of the future I came from was that the only thing that had any worth to us was food. Things like gold and gems were more worthless than the ashes of our civilization so gathering a substantial amount of it before coming back in time was rather easy.
The rest of the week was rather unremarkable after my body fully healed the effects of having first lost Kurama and the stress put on my body by getting him back. I slowly reacquainted myself with being a Jinchuriki and what that meant for my chakra.
Even though my condition barely lasted for two days the effects were noticeable as someone whose character control was on par with the late Sakuras.
It took me a few days and a high number of clones to get my chakra control back to the same level it used to be before my departure. To my surprise being made a jinchuriki a second time brought with it the same advantages, it did the first, forcefully enlarging my tenketsu and with it the chakra pool at my disposal. The effect wasn´t as pronounced, perhaps because I was older but noticeable.
From there it was child's play to relearn and enter Sage-mode without turning to stone.
I started small only allowing small deliberate doses of nature energy into my system with a tight grip on this energy ready to flush my system of it in a heartbeat if necessary. The risk, after all, was considerable, and without Fukasa and his stick around I took every precaution to not end up a statue. As it turned out I was overcautious, Sage-mode came to me with such an incredible ease that it felt like breathing.
The greatest change overall was the speed in which I could now enter it was hardly noticeable, a single moment of concentration. This rekindled the hopes that I might be close to replicating the feat of legends becoming a perfect sage absorbing nature energy while moving.
Meanwhile, I polished Kushina skills, her Taijutsu and throwing techniques weren´t quite up to what they should have been.
I refrained from teaching her any advanced chakra control since those exercises are usually intended as team-building measures employed by the Jonin-sensei. I thought it best not to mess with that and draw the ire of Kushina future sensei.
Still, I knew from experience how important those are for every shinobi even though it took a long time for me to realize it and what Kakashi had in mind when he handed me to Ebisu.
My musing was interrupted by the kids wearing newly acquired forehead protector stormed out of the academy-building to their waiting families.
An over both ears grinning redhead jumped into my waiting arms.
"I did it! I´m a full-fledged Shinobi Oni-chan." she happily informed me.
"See I told you so, with that you have taken your first step to greatness. So what does the future first female Hokage want for dinner ?" I asked her.
"Ramen!" was her predictable response.
Why did I even bother to ask?
A few minutes later we managed to worm our way through all the other people present and arrived at Ichiraku.
"Hello, Teuchi-san" I greeted the Ramen chef.
"Ah, my best costumers what can I get you two?" Teuchi asked.
"Two Miso Ramen for me," I said and gave Kushina a short glance prompting her to make her own order.
I took a slight nudge to return her to reality from staring at her new shiny forehead protector.
"What ... Oh ... three Miso Ramen please."
We both sat down on barstools right next to each other and she placed the forehead protector counter right in front of her splaying the band of cloth and tracing the village symbol with her fingers.
I was just about to reach for some chopsticks when an ANBU shunshined from the house across the street right next to us.
"Uzumaki-sama," the ANBU said "the Hokage requires your presence in his office."
"Really, now? Can it wait until after I have eaten?" I responded irritated.
The person wearing a white mask with some kind of greenish creature with big teeth painted on it, which probably ought to be a crocodile or alligator, remained silent.
With the words
"Here you can have mine, too you earned it" I pushed my steaming hot Ramen bowl over to Kushina. She immediately collected and shielded it from me while slurping Noodles from her bowl, clearly set on not releasing the bowl back into my custody should I be able to return in a timely manner.
I sighed – Those were my Noodles!
With my head bowed I stood up and made my way to the Hokage Tower. I didn´t even get the chance to take my mood out on the ANBU via a demonic glare before he disappeared.
Well, I just hoped the Hokage wanted to discuss something important for him to drag me away from my meal.
When I entered the building I noticed I wasn´t the only one on his way to the Hokage, because no small number of Shinobi took the same route I did. I was relatively certain that all of them without exception were jonin, curious. When I eventually reached the desk of the Hokage secretary Kana wasn´t there and the doors to the Hokage office were wide open with all the Jonin, including Jiraiya and Orochimaru, lining up in front of the Hokage desk.
I decided to join in, on my way to an unoccupied spot I got a glance in between the rows and saw Kana standing to Hiruzen right holding a clipboard clasped between her crossed arms in front of her breast.
Shortly after I arrived, the stream of newcomers ebbed and the door was closed behind the last one.
"As probably most of you know today the newest batch of genin hopefuls graduated and you all here in this room were picked as a Jonin sensei for one of the teams." the Hokage said.
Well, that answered the question of why we were all here. I was not entirely certain what to make of the fact that I was considered as a jonin sensei and wondered what he intended by doing this. After all, if the restraints of being bound by some genin-team would go against my plans I could always fail them, right?
A few high profile graduates from clan might get me to think twice about doing that antagonizing their parents and clan in the process. How I hated politics or was this something else. Guess I will know when I take a look at who will be assigned to me.
"When I call your name please step forward to receive the dossiers about your team. You have until tomorrow to familiarize yourself with their file."
"One-day Sensei? I was led to believe it is a week until the team placements." Jiraiya inquired.
"In the past, this was indeed the case." The Hokage replied "the idea was to give the graduates a little down-time until they are confronted with the harsh life of being a shinobi, but recent circumstances made this change necessary and it is not like the vacation we usually grant them is strictly necessary. Just consider this an opportunity, since you are granted a weeks worth more time to train them."
"What special circumstances?" Jiraiya asked.
"As some of you might know Mito Uzumaki the wife of the first Hokage Hashirama Senju and one of the founders of this village died and her Ward, a recent graduate of the academy wanted to attend the funeral of her in Uzu. Her absence would have fallen in the first week of the teams being formed and would have disrupted the team-building in the team she would have been placed.
We deemed the risk of her not being able to seamlessly reintegrate after being away for weeks, leaving her team a genin short, too high.
So instead of risking the integrity of a team, we decided to prepone the team placements. This should allow their team leader to complete enough D-rank mission to get his team eligible for C-ranks and therefore allow the whole team, to escort the ashen remains of Mito Uzumaki to Uzushiogakure and attend the funeral together."
Ahh, I see – You sly fox Hiruzen. That was what three birds with one stone or was there even more to it?
This would also explain why Tsunade wasn´t present, she no doubt had her hands full and no time to spare for a few genins.
"Of course we entertained different options," he explained "like ignoring the ward for team placements which would have resulted in a three-man cell and her being sidelined without it being her fault. We could have postponed the funeral to a time where her team could take a C-rank mission delaying the ceremony and in the process potentially insult Uzu by not bestowing the honor upon Mito Uzumaki she was due. We also could have postponed the team-placements to after she would have returned, I think it is clear why we couldn´t do that. There were more suggestions on how to handle the situation I won´t bore you with them. Ultimately we decided the best course of action would be forming the teams early."
"I see," Jiraiya said amused, Hiruzen must have seen something in his face, because he added.
"Oh and don´t think just because you got a few genin to care for you are exempt from the training exercises."
Jiraiya shoulders slumped and a small smile formed on the lips of the third. The Hokage then started to call out the names of the Shinobi present and they all went to Kana to receive the file about their team. To my great displeasure, they went through the list alphabetically which meant I was the second to last to be named only a Yamanaka easy to identify by their light blonde hair would be called after me.
I allowed my mind to drift until
"Uzumaki Naruto." brought me back in reality.
I stepped forward and took the folder given to me. A short glance inside and I had to suppress a groan. An all-female team as if that wasn´t bad enough already they were all high profile. I got the strange feeling that sidelining Tsunade to build a medic-department backfired and I got saddled with the team originally intended for her. It would make sense to have the probably best kunoichi look after the ones deemed able to surpass her.
Mikoto Uchiha the very top of her class, according to this possessing no active Sharingan – I wonder why it shouldn´t be hard to bring it forth through a strong emotional response by some of her elders. And given how coveted those eyes were in the eyes of all the Uchiha I have met so far this was surprising. Could it be the Uchiha of this time were more sensible recognizing what an overreliance on their eyes might do to their shinobi or is the report false?
Well, I´m gonna know in a few days either way.
After all, if I read this right Mikotos father named Kagami Uchiha is the current Uchiha clan head, so he should have a vested interest to showcase the abilities of his daughter his only offspring, and heir.
Akiko Hyuuga, second-best of her class with the same amount of points overall as Mikoto only ranked second because of a head-to-head record, her having lost against Mikoto in a taijutsu sparring match.
Not surprising since the Hyuuga are forbidden to use the gentle fist in the academy due to the high risk of injury and death until they achieved a certain mastery over their art. In addition, it would be detrimental if it would be showcased in such a relatively easy to observe setting to be deconstructed by enemies of the village and other resident clans alike.
So this made them both the best of their class overall and the best kunoichi at the same time – no doubt the village expects great things from them. So no pressure at all for me, the guy who became Hokage without ever having trained a genin team. Sure I gave some pointers here or there and taught one or two jutsu in my time, but leading a team full-time is vastly different, team dynamic developing and polishing their strengths while covering up weaknesses is something else.
Browsing their records didn´t tell me much aside from them excelling at the academy some tidbits about their observed personality and conjecture about their potential the data presented in those files was rather lacking.
Looks like I would have to judge them for myself.
The last member of my team on the other hand was no surprise. A short glance over her file made it clear that Kushina easily made genin, but since she didn´t attend the whole year she ended at the bottom of her class. Since all the various tests the students take during the year make up the collective points used as the basis for the team placement. She therefore couldn´t help it that she ended up with a fraction of what her class-mates accumulated in that time.
The extra credit she got from knowing the advanced Kage-Bunshin didn´t change that fact.
I wondered how long it will take her to get rid of that stigma of being dead last and people start recognizing her as the dark horse she is, her situation was not so dissimilar from my own genin days.
So it seemed like I ended up with my own mother, Sasuke's mom who for some reason didn´t end up being clan-leader despite being the heiress only for her future husband to take that position for himself. There had to be a story there, unfortunately I never took the time to acquaint myself with the inner workings of an extinct Konoha clan. I had my hands more than full with keeping what Shinobi remained alive by the time I got the hat, so most I learned of clans and their tradition was over various campfire from those members still around reminiscing over the past.
And then there was Akiko the name seemed familiar somehow, I have definitely heard it somewhere. I took a closer look at the picture of the girl belonging to the main-branch when it hit me. She looked like a mix of Hinata and Hanabi her facial structure far too similar to those two to be a coincidence even among the closely related Hyuuga, what clinched it for me were her eyes. They showed a kindness in them I only ever witnessed in Hinata made it clear to me this must be her mother.
Great, just great if they were anything like their children in personality, something I really couldn´t dismiss if Kushina and I were anything to go by, I´m gonna have my hands full. Sasuke entitlement, Hinatas introversion, and Kushina boisterous nature was a disaster waiting to happen and I thought my first team was a catastrophe.
On the other hand, if Akiko had the same steel beneath her soft exterior Hinata did, and found it earlier in life or was more like Hanabi it would change a lot. The same could be said about Mikoto if she is more Itachi than Sasuke, favoring love over hate, self-sacrifice over egoism then this team could go far.
"Sarutobi-Sensei is there a reason why my request of whom is placed in my team wasn´t granted in its entirety?" Orochimaru asked.
"It was a last-minute request of her parent to have her on another team. Besides I think you will have your hands full by dealing with the Senju Scion all on its own and his big sister should you don´t treat him well." Hiruzen warned Orochimaru.
Senju Scion, big apparently scary sister this could only mean Nawaki. Was Orochimaru interested in bloodlines this early? Does this mean the other genin he was after was an Uchiha ... of course Mikoto the daughter of the clan-head and Nawaki the grandchild of the first-Hokage.
I narrowed my eyes – Seems like I had to keep an even closer eye on Orochimaru than I already intended to. Worst of all there was this question nagging at me ... Could Orochimaru have had anything to do with Nawaki death to get his hands on his corpse was it even his corpse he was after – Tsunade once told me in a drunken stupor that even she couldn´t recognize what little was left of him and was presented to her as his remains.
Should this hunch turn out to be true, unlikely as it may seem, there would be hell to pay Orochimaru.
I didn´t linger around and left the office in the wake of the other Jonin, lest I was tempted to squash a snake.
By the time I left the Hokage tower, I sensed Kushina on her way back to the Uzumaki compound. I was about to accept having to eat on my own when I picked up Tsunade signature out of the thousands crammed together in my vicinity. She was clearly fatigued as if she hadn´t slept or eaten in days.
Still the workaholic I knew her for with the occasional interruption of gambling and drinking. Well, I better take care of her and make good of my promise to Mito, I´m haunted by enough ghost as it is no need to add an enraged Mito to the ones already following me around.
I walked across the street to a Sushi Restaurant and entered it. I was in luck all the customers present were seated with meals right in front of them. The delicious smell of Sushi in the air greeted me, I walked to the counter where an elderly Akimichi with a wooden leg stood and greeted me.
"Good day esteemed customer what would you like to order?"
A glance at the menu and I was at a loss for words the selection being extensive and I wasn´t knowledgable about Sushi by a long shot, I could count the number of times I had it with only my fingers, and ramen being my guilty pleasure didn´t help matters. I decided to go for the safe option.
"Give me one of everything to go." I said.
The smirking Akimichi said.
While I was waiting on the order to be prepared I took a look around and couldn´t help myself to notice that I barely recognized any of the customers and thinking back on it the same was true for all those people back in the Hokage office.
This meant that all of them were bound to die sometime between now and my youth; the result of two shinobi world wars.
I wondered how many of them my actions were going to safe without them ever knowing about.
The Akimichi placed it all on the counter
"That makes" I didn´t wait for him to end and only placed the pile of money I had in my pocket right next to the food consisting of several hundred ryo bills.
"Keep the change," I said to him as
I took the food and left a stumped Akimichi behind.
The Konoha hospital of this time was subpar and small, nothing in comparison to the building complex they built after the Kyuubi attack. I mean it made sense without proper medics on every team there weren´t many wounded that survived long enough to get back to the village, so there was no need to have beds for people that would never reach them in the first place.
Still, it left a bad taste in my mouth, the village considering its shinobi as disposable assets. It was a mindset I only thought to be found in Danzo to disregard life to such a degree and not in Hiruzen, who was always telling us about the will of fire.
I myself was no stranger to sending people to their deaths, but this was just wrong.
I knew from the stories that the Third was a lot harder and unforgiving before his retirement before age caught up to him but to what degree was only just really sinking in, that the man leading the village wasn´t the gentle old man from my memories but a battle-hardened war veteran. So it also just begun to sink in that his behavior towards me, for the most part, had nothing to do with him not liking me, but was normal for him.
I wondered what were the reasons for him to soften? Were the few years he spent in retirement responsible for the change in his demeanor or was there something else, an epiphany of some sort, or did he just lose his touch, after all, Danzo only really gained strength in his second tenure.
I stopped my line of thinking, with me being here now in the past I will never know and Danzo was about to be taken care of. So there really was no reason to muse on this any further.
I arrived in front of an unremarkable door my hand moved to the door handle and was about to press down on it when I stopped myself and reconsidered. My goal for being here was to befriend Tsunade and take care of her it wouldn´t do to antagonize her by disrespecting her privacy in what probably was her new workplace.
So reverting back to my young self, who didn´t give a shit about decorum, especially with people I thought part of my extended adopted family wouldn´t do. For one Tsunade and I weren´t that close this time around, we didn´t share some life-altering moments with each other, and with me no longer having access to my most devastating weapon my youth, cuddliness, and puppy-dog eyes I couldn´t hope to get away with any boisterous behavior without consequences.
Seemed like I had to start acting like an adult around her. With a deep sigh, I lifted my hand and softly knocked on her door.
With the absence of a response from the other side, I decided to open the door.
"Didn´t I say I don´t want to be disturbed for any reason short of an invasion. What is necessary for you to follow orders." she berated what she probably thought was her aide without lifting her head.
I cleared my throat, which finally caused her to look at me.
"You really shouldn´t let your guard down this much even in familiar surroundings."
"What do you want?" she barked at me.
"Woah, dial down the hostility. I hope I´m the only one you treat in such a manner otherwise I probably should reconsider placing you in charge of the new medical program. Because if this is anything like your bed-side manner your patients have to suffer, they are in for a ride.
Worse if this gets passed down to your students Konoha is gonna need another hospital just to cure the mental wounds inflicted upon the shinobi population who had the misfortune to be placed under your care." I said teasingly.
"If you are here to make fun of me, behind you is the door use it and leave me alone. I´m not in the mood for any games," she warned.
"Oh, I know, I just stepped through in case you haven´t noticed. But no as fun as it is to bicker with you, that is not why I´m here."
I took a step forward and placed the bags on a free spot on her table.
"I brought you something to eat. I had the suspicion you might lose yourself in the vast knowledge I provided you with and therefore the responsibility to take care of your wellbeing, falls to me. Since I didn´t know what you like so I brought a little from everything."
"I can take care of myself just fine. I´m a grown woman and no one's responsibility but my own."
She took a good look at the bags I put on her table.
"You can take this" she pointed the food in front of her "and get out of my office. I have work to do."
I took a deep breath.
"You can´t help yourself, don´t you?" I asked, "you have to make this complicated. Well, I intended to hold onto it for a while longer but you leave me no other choice."
"What the hell are you talking about?" she demanded to know.
"You owe me a meal, I´m calling it in," I said.
"Problems with your memory? I already paid that debt. You and your little red-headed shadow ate on my tab ..." she snapped.
"Oh, we sure did." I agreed, "but such a wager always implies the loser is present to endure the winner rubbing it in. Where is the fun in it if the loser just weasels her way out of it?"
"That wasn´t part of the agreement ..." she tried to argue against it.
Something I had no intention of allowing her to do which is why I interrupted her before she could get anywhere.
"Wasn´t it? Well with our two conflicting versions the only way to find out who misremembers the wager is to consult the only other person present and I already know what she is gonna say, so why don´t spare yourself the humiliation and just accept your fate and eat with me."
She wasn´t amused her gnashing her teeth made that clear.
"You are gonna regret that."
I took out the food from the bags and spread it out on the table to allow each of us easy access to all the delicacies.
"Oh, I do not doubt that I will, especially if your bad mood is not caused by your low blood sugar and I have to suffer through the whole meal with no improvement in sight. But hey what can I say I´m a hopeless optimistic, So eat up."
I took some chopsticks and started eating. Ignoring the hateful gaze she had for me.
With a stuffed mouth full of food I pressed a
"that´s really good" out in between bites.
"Don´t you have any manners, even my kid-brother knows not to talk with a full-mouth. You are worse than Jiraiya." she accused me.
She wasn´t wrong, I went out of my way to annoy her it is the only way I knew how to get to her. She had a problem with showing her feelings aside from anger and irritation even before Nawaki died, it wasn´t as distinct as would get in her later years with all the calamities she went through and bitterness ruling her being. Nonetheless, she wasn´t the easiest to deal with as a person.
"Tss" she put through gritted teeth and reached for some chopsticks herself. I raised my eyebrow at her since my full mouth prevented me from voicing my surprise.
"What?" she asked, "If I don´t help you eat this You are just gonna end up scattering the food over my work with those none existing table manners of yours."
I shrugged and resumed eating, and Tsunade finally decided to join in, and given how she wolfed down the food in front of her one might have thought she was about to starve nearly putting my ramen eating habits after a long time of abstinence to shame.
I took careful note of what food she preferred and which she shied away from to provide her with a better assortment the next time I get her something to eat.
We decimated the food in silence and when we were done. She took a long time to say something.
"You really care about that redheaded whirlwind."
"She has a name you know," I said, she just shrugged with her shoulders at the reprimand.
"Yes, yes I do care about her she is family."
"that still doesn´t explain why you are here."
"It doesn´t? You know for a person hailed as this genius doctor you happen to be quite dumb sometimes." her Anger was flaring and she was about to open her mouth to retort in some most likely unfriendly manner as I talked over her attempt to voice her dissent. "Mito was family too and as far as I´m concerned that means you and your brother are also part of my family. And what kind of family would it be if we don´t care for each other."
She just stared at me, mouth slightly open completely taken off guard by my words.
"You know, Kushina thinks the same." I said, "She of course would never admit to it, but she thinks of you as the big sister she never had." which made your attack on her even worse ... and you are lucky she wasn´t the vindictive kind of person.
She slowly closed her mouth.
"I see." she stammered and judging
by the emotions she displayed since our talk shifted to Kushina, she deeply regretted her actions and only her pride stood in her way to make real amends.
"Well, I think I took enough of your valuable time," I said as I grabbed the food cartoons and put them in the bag I brought them in. "Get some sleep, your work isn´t gonna run away. I´ll see you tomorrow same time."
She gave me a questioning look.
"If I don´t keep you feed, nobody will," I told her. I gathered the garbage and made my way to the door with the hand on the handle I turned back on last time.
"You should start with the section about poison and venoms and make sure you have enough of the ingredients to combat vast use of them at hand, you might need it." I cautioned her.
Without awaiting her response I left, hoping she would take my warning to heart. Life would depend on it.
Authors Note: I´m aware that it was more than unlikely that Tsunade would have been the original Jonin Sensei of Kushina. It is even unclear if she had a genin team at all. Speaking of Mikoto and Akiko it doesn´t make much sense for them to be on the same team, since we at least know (it is heavily implied) that Mikoto was a few years Kushina senior and for Akiko we don´t know anything really ... so it would actually be one hell of a coincidence. And then there was the one girl per team canon rule ... which to be honest never made much sense to me ... I mean what are the odds for every third child in the academy to be female ...gender probability by humans is 50/50 and canon hasn´t shown anything that would point at a gender-specific lower application rate for the shinobi careers ... on the contrary with the Hyuuga (a clan heavy influenced by tradition) obviously tolerating a female clan head – everything points to a more gender tolerate society ... probably because chakra is a great equalizer in power.
Nonetheless for the sake of this story – I forgo those irregularities and all three are the same age – put it down as an AU element of this story.