(A/N: Hello and well met. This is my second fic, after the Rurouni Kenshin-based "Second Chances". This time, I chose Naruto.

The premise of the story is simple, yet the result was complex beyond my expectations. Basically... as you recall, in the beginning Naruto stole a scroll which contained several forbidden jutsu, including the Kage Bunshin. However, in the story he only had time to master the Kage Bunshin.

But, what if... he had time to master one more technique?

This fic deals with such a possibility. Starting from Naruto's talk with Mizuki and continuing through several key points in his life, this fic and the future chapters will show you just how much such a simple thing can change Naruto's future...

Now, on with the story!)


Naruto and all its characters are property of Kishimoto Masashi, and I don't claim ownership of them, though I sure as hell would LIKE to ^_^. The character of Basara, however, is an original creation of mine. Other OCs in the future will also be mine. There ya go...


Many thanks to:

**Hunter Sopko from GameFAQs for suggestions on the story;

**TheCerebralAssasin from GameFAQs for more suggestions;

**And thanks to YOU for reading! ^__^

(Italics indicates thought. Words in {brackets} indicate Basara speaking.)


********PROLOGUE: A Different Road********

"But I would've liked to pass the exam..." the blonde-haired boy called Naruto murmured. He was sitting on a roof along with Mizuki-sensei, one of the Konoha Academy's teachers, and was looking down with an unhappy expression.

It had been a bad day for Naruto Uzumaki. Not only had he flunked the Genin graduation exam for the third time, but he did so in a rather humiliating way. Now he sat on the roof, depressed, after having a chat with Mizuki-sensei.

The older man next to him glanced at him with an odd expression, his hair blowing in the wind, and appeared to make up his mind about something.

"All right then," he said to the boy near him. Naruto looked up in confusion.

"I'll tell you a very special secret..."


That night, the moon shone over Konoha. Had anyone paid attention to the roofs, they would have seen a young boy dressed in an orange jumpsuit quietly creeping along the wall of the Third Hokage's house, moving towards a nearby window...

As Naruto opened the window and quickly slid in, a voice from behind startled him.

"What are you doing in my house at night?"

Naruto slowly turned around, a fake grin plastered to his face. Before him stood the Third Hokage himself, Sarutobi - the most revered man in all of Konoha.

As he faced the Hokage, Naruto desperately started thinking of some way to get out of trouble. Finding only one way, he quickly drew his hands together, performing a series of seals.

"Sexy no Jutsu!!"


Minutes later, the Third Hokage lay twitching in a pool of his own blood, passed out from... a massive nosebleed. Meanwhile, Naruto had found what he was looking for - a forbidden ninja scroll in the Third Hokage's personal library...

And outside, a familiar figure watched the Hokage's residence - and grinned.

Everything's going the way I thought...

Still grinning, Mizuki disappeared behind a wall.


As he escaped from the Third Hokage's house, Naruto decided that the nearby forest was the perfect place for him to read the scroll undisturbed. Shortly after, he reached a small clearing inside the forest. It looked perfect for settling down and reading.

Hm, I could stop here, Naruto thought while surveying the area. Then he looked the way he had come and frowned. But it is still too close. I'd better go deeper in...

As he resumed jumping from branch to branch, he unconsciously set in motion a series of events that would forever change his life - and that of those near him. For this was where he was originally meant to stop and study - and by going deeper in, he had chosen a different road...


Minutes later, Naruto came to a stop in yet another clearing. Looking around, he nodded with a satisfied look and sat on the ground. Then he eagerly unraveled the scroll and started reading.

"Let's see... the first technique is... the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu?" he said with a frown. "What, I must start with the technique I'm worst at?!"


Meanwhile, back in Konoha, the scroll's theft had been discovered. After recovering, the Third Hokage sent his ninja out to find Naruto and retrieve the scroll.

Among these ninja were Iruka and Mizuki. Both headed towards the forest - but with very different goals in their minds...


Deep in the forest, Naruto lay hunched over and panting on the ground. He had finally mastered the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. He grinned to himself - THIS was guaranteed to surprise Iruka-sensei!

After taking one last, deep breath, Naruto straightened himself and reopened the scroll. He began reading the next section.

"All right, next... what's this? 'Unleashing one's full potential: the Eight Celestial Inner Body Gates, Part One - the Initial Gate'..."


"Where did that stupid kid go?" Iruka muttered in frustration. He had been looking all over the forest for well over one hour now, and he began to wonder if perhaps Naruto could have gone somewhere else.

As he turned to leave, he noticed something hanging from a nearby branch. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be a piece of torn orange fabric. Iruka immediately realized it belonged to Naruto and smiled, satisfied. He had been right in heading to the forest, after all.


Naruto concentrated, trying once again to follow the directions the scroll gave him. Opening those 'Gates' was proving to be more complicated than he thought at first. In addition to this, his head was beginning to hurt...

Naruto pushed the thoughts of pain aside as he once again focused on his body. Carefully, he reached for what he supposed to be the chakra gate described in the scroll, and once again attempted to influence it.

This time, however, the result was considerably different. As he concentrated, he felt as if something in him clicked. Immediately afterwards, the young boy fell to his knees with a strangled scream, holding his head in his hands.

"Ka... my head! Why does it hurt so much? Is it supposed to...?" he murmured, clawing at his hair. He felt as if his head was going to split, and desperately tried to undo whatever damage he may have done.

As he instinctively fumbled around, he suddenly felt as if something had just split from his body. Immediately afterwards, everything went black and Naruto fell unconscious.


Had anyone been watching the scene, they would have seen Naruto collapse, his body flashing red and yellow, then fall to the ground unconscious as a vaguely human-like cloud of ethereal energy left his prone form. As Naruto lay on the forest's ground, the cloud began to shift ttowards a more human-like appearance, ultimately stabilizing itself in the form of a female-looking, transparent being.

This strange... presence... had long flowing white hair and her transparent skin appeared to be white with black tattoos all over it, forming mysterious shapes. Even more unsettling were her red-and-yellow eyes. They were the eyes of a being of great age and knowledge, who had seen many things, and were anything except human. Eyes almost like a fox's...

The apparition shifted again, as if her very essence was disturbed. Then a low, almost song-like murmur was heard coming from her.

{Where am I...} the creature said. {There was light, and I reached for it... and something else... another me... tried to come along, but could not...}

The apparition looked down at Naruto and her confused expression gave way to a spark of recognition.

{I remember now. This kid... he is the mortal vessel of the Kyuubi... I am the Kyuubi... or part of it? I feel as if I am it, but at the same time I am not. This is... too confusing.}

Another, stronger shift in the ethereal woman's appearance drew her attention.

{I need a body...} she murmured in her strange musical voice. {I cannot hold this form indefinitely in my weakened state. I need a material body to inhabit, until I will be strong enough to claim one of my own...}

As the apparition turned to leave, her eyes narrowed.

{If I am not the Kyuubi, then who am I? Do I have a name?}

And with this question, the otherworldly being left the unconscious Naruto and the Secret Scroll behind, seeking a new body to claim as her home.


As the apparition left, history apparently returned to its original track... or did it? Iruka-sensei later found Naruto's unconscious body, and from there on the revelations about the young boy's past and legacy and the running battle with the traitorous Mizuki took place as they did in another time.

But while all those events transpired, unseen changes were taking place. Changes brought about by the living will of the Kyuubi, which had escaped Naruto's body through the Initial Gate...


Everything was silent in the Haruno mansion. Sakura haruno slept peacefully in her bed. The house was empty, its grown-up inhabitants driven outside by the hunt for Naruto.

As Sakura lay in her bed peacefully, a shifting presence slowly seeped through the wall and hovered over to her sleeping form.

{Mmmm... this girl's chakra is not overly strong, but she feels promising...} the wraith-like woman murmured in the low, musical hum characteristic of her. Sakura slept on, blissfully unaware of the unearthly creature at her side.

With a slow, almost gentle motion, the creature brushed the sleeping girl's forehead - and instantly projected herself in Sakura's sleeping mind.

{Mm, this body feels slightly odd,} the ethereal woman mused. {It feels as if more than one personality inhabits it...}

"Who are YOU?" a shrill voice came from behind her. As the woman turned around, she found herself face to face with the pink-haired girl whose body she had just entered.

{What is this...?} she murmured in confusion. {You're supposed to be asleep...}

"This is private property! What are YOU doing here?!" the Inner-Sakura yelled threateningly. The spectral woman felt a strong pressure coming from the younger girl and realized she was being pushed out.

{Now wait a minu...} she attempted to protest, but her words were cut short by Inner-Sakura's ferocious psychic yell and a very powerful spiritual shove.


The woman found herself tossed outside Sakura's body and fought a sudden wave of dizziness - being booted in the middle of a possession was certainly not pleasant!

As she shook her head and regained control of herself, she looked down at the sleeping pink-haired girl and grimaced.

{Split personality...} she muttered. {What a crazy kid. I will not be able to possess her. I must hurry and find someone else...}

As she turned around, she scanned the village for chakra signatures that would be compatible with her own. In a few seconds, she completed the scan, finding only one adequately compatible host. Shifting through the wall again,, acutely aware of her fading strength, she headed for the next destination.

The Yamanaka house.


Ino Yamanaka restlessly shifted in her sleep. She was having a dream - an unpleasant one at that.

Sasuke had chosen Sakura, and she was witnessing their marriage. As she watched the two exchange their vows, she felt as if a knife had been shoved through her heart.

Sasuke-kun, she thought. Why her and not me? Am I not good enough? Please, look at me...

As Sasuke and Sakura closed in to kiss each other, she felt tears well up in her eyes. Just then, however, she felt a strane sensation, like both cold and heat, sweep over her forehead - and the scene froze in place. Then, a familiar ghostly figure materialized and took in the scene before her.

{Heh... puppy love at its finest, I see,} she chuckled, then looked around. {Funny, I feel as if I were at home in this body. It feels... right. As if it were meant for me...}

As she probed around, she found Ino's mind more and more to her liking - the girl was loud, obnoxious and arrogant, but basically good-natured. The ghostly woman smirked. Living inside her should not pose any problem.

Just then, a particular memory fragment in Ino's mind caught her attention. It was a paragraph from a book on the creatures known as Shikigami, which Ino had recently read. She was familiar with the Shikigami - being a mystical creature herself, she had an instinctive understanding of their nature.

What caught her attention, however, was the part about the Shikigami called 'Basara'. This Shikigami, also called 'The Executioner', was an avatar of destruction, and its only goal in battle was to crush all that stood in its way. Born from the darkness and without a goal, it lived only to annihilate, in hope that one day, the field of battle would give its existence a purpose other than destroying.

{So much like me, that one is,} the creature mused. {I too was born from the darkness, without a purpose. Will my destiny be the same? Or will I find my answer?}

As she thought about her future, she reached a decision. From now on, she would claim the name 'Basara' for her own. She would fight in the battles of the humans, and at the same time observe them.

And perhaps someday, by doing so, she would finally understand how and why she came to be... and would finally find her true destiny.

With this decision made, the tired will of the Kyuubi settled herself in her new home, and fell asleep to recover her strength.

The dream resumed. An imaginary marriage was sealed. A pair of lips met each other. Ino Yamanaka cried in her troubled sleep.

And the Kitsune who claimed the name of Basara slept deep whithin Ino's body, recovering.

Thus, History was changed.


(A/N: Prologue... COMPLETED! I hope you liked it. Now, for a couple important things...

I currently lack a proof-reader. If anyone is interested in helping, please let me know. Just leave a review or something. Emailing me and contacting me on AIM also works.

Feel free to point out inconsistencies in reviews.

Also... this fic is going to be Naruto/Ino eventually, but I haven't decided any minor pairings yet. I'm taking suggestions... but I will NOT do yaoi, and the pairings MUST NOT BE CANON. I like to be a bit original. ^_^;

And if you have the time, read my Rurouni Kenshin fic, 'Second Chances'. Who knows, you might like it.

Reviews are appreciated, especially if constructive. Flames will be used to warm my house when it is cold.

See you next time...)