Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto
This Time Around
By Crimson Skies
Chapter One – Nightmare
The clashing chakra of two powerful techniques surrounded the combatants in an orb of light.
This just wouldn't do. For a creature over a millennia old, death was simply not a viable option. And currently, he was very concerned about his odds of survival. He couldn't possibly trust the idiot to get them out of this situation alive. He had no doubt that the Sharingan brat would kill them. It's certainly what he would do in the brat's position. If he was going to ensure his own survival he'd have to take matters into his own claws…
Red chakra bled into the white, distorting the orb. The two opponents looked on in confusion.
And then they were gone…
Sasuke sat up straight in bed, wide awake. He tried desperately to calm his hard breathing as he surveyed his room. Gingerly, he rubbed a phantom ache at the back of his neck. The morning light filtered in, illuminating his surroundings. Everything was exactly the same as it always was. He was still six years old. Had it been a nightmare? But it had been so real. Still…cursed seals, Itachi slaughtering the clan, living without his family, Sasuke himself trying to kill his best friend, actually being friends with someone like him, betraying Konoha…it was just so far-fetched.
Getting up, he approached the mirror on the wall. Tugging at his collar, he revealed the unmarked skin on his neck. No ugly black marks adorned his skin.
"Sasuke! Breakfast!" his mother's voice drifted through the walls. Smiling tentatively at his reflection, Sasuke pushed the disturbing dream to the back of his mind where they lingered uncomfortably.
That afternoon something occurred that further shook him. His brother returned from a mission. Upon seeing Itachi's face, an uncontrollable rage rushed through Sasuke. Scenes of his clan's death flashed before his eyes. And before he knew what he was doing his hands flashed through the seals for chidori. He abruptly stopped when Itachi gave him a weird look and asked what he was doing. The anger drained from him. None of that had happened, and chidori didn't really exist, right?
Since when did dreams act like memories?
It was the next day, when everything would change.
Sasuke eyed the setting sun critically. It was probably about time he should be getting home. Supper would be ready soon. Besides, all the other kids had already gone home. Climbing down from the tree he was perched in, he glanced around the park one last time. He stilled when he caught sight of a familiar blond boy he hadn't noticed previously. The boy was sitting sideways on a swing, staring at the shadows stretched across the ground from the bars of the swing set. He was all alone.
The Uchiha's heart nearly stopped. It was him. But he didn't exist. He was a figment of Sasuke's dream, a specter of a future that didn't exist. He had to know. With halting steps, he approached the other boy. At the sound of footsteps nearing, the blond looked up at him. Sasuke found himself staring into a familiar blue. The memories assaulted him.
My dream is to surpass all the previous Hokage!
It's not really a dream so much as an ambition…
Kage bunshin no jutsu!
Are you hurt, scaredy cat?
Because I'm the most improved!
You asked Sakura for tips. What did she tell you?
Why! I never asked for your help…
I want to fight you too.
You better save Sakura.
I will protect Sakura-chan.
But first, put on your forehead protector.
Don't get cocky.
If I have to I'll drag you back.
You won't even put a scratch on my forehead.
Sasuke found his feet carrying him until he stood a mere yard from the occupied swing. The other boy's face was carefully blank, lacking its ever-present grin. Looking into those eyes, it was just hunch, but he had to know. And he knew he had to make the first move.
"Dobe," he said, keeping his face equally blank. Those blue eyes widened slightly. Suddenly a grin lit the blond boy's face.
"Bastard," he retorted.
"So it wasn't a dream? It really happened?" Sasuke asked. His mind whirled at the implications.
"It did. It was all real," Naruto answered. "I didn't realize that you would…remember."
"Is this a genjutsu?" he wondered aloud.
"No, we're really here."
"And here is the past? How do you know for sure?" It seemed too strange to be real. Naruto shrugged and formed a hand seal.
"Kage bunshin no jutsu," he said calmly. A clone appeared beside him. "Two days ago I couldn't do this…" he explained.
"You're actually saying something intelligent." A surprising calm had washed over him. The person he thought he was really existed. He'd been on the verge of identity crisis with all the memories that had no obvious source.
"Bastard. I can be serious sometimes you know."
Sasuke thought back on their confrontation in the Valley of the End. "I know."
Sasuke claimed the swing next to Naruto's. They sat in silence for a moment, not sure what to say. As they sat, the sun slowly sank from the horizon. Stars began to appear in the sky. Where did they go from here?
"I tried to kill you…" Sasuke said finally. "I really meant to kill you."
"I know. Are you going to try again?" Naruto inquired.
"No." he responded without hesitation. "Why would I?"
"No cursed seal. No Orochimaru?"
"No Orochimaru," he agreed. "My family is still alive," he added.
"Itachi?" Naruto asked in surprise.
"Hasn't killed them yet. I can't avenge something that hasn't happened," Sasuke explained. "But I can prevent it," he said, a hard glint entering his eyes. Naruto looked at him in shock. Memories of what brought them to this point surfaced. Sasuke gave him a moment to catch on.
"There are a lot of things we could prevent," Naruto noted. Sasuke nodded in agreement.
"Yeah." Suddenly, Sasuke became aware of exactly what time it was. His eyes widened in panic. "Geez, Mom's going to kill me. She'll be worried sick!" He shot to his feet.
"That's just weird, coming from you!" Naruto whined. Never had he seen Sasuke this open. Probably something to do with his family still being alive.
"What were you still doing out here anyway?" he asked. "Everyone else has gone home."
"…I lost the key to my apartment…" Naruto admitted.
"You're kidding…" He smirked at Naruto's expression. "Baka."
"Bastard!" an enraged expression crossed his face.
Sasuke took a few steps before turning back. "…you could stay with me. Mom is always saying I should have friends over."
"What, like a sleepover?" Naruto asked, shell-shocked.
"COOL!" Naruto's face looked like Christmas come early. It was with a pang of sadness that Sasuke remembered. Unlike him, Naruto was still alone, even this far back in the past.
"I…I won't try to kill you again," Sasuke declared suddenly. "I promise." Naruto smiled at him.
"Good. Because we'll make sure you don't have a reason to. Besides, friends don't hurt friends. Right?"
And Naruto thought that maybe, this time around, he wouldn't have to be so alone.
"Oh, and dobe?"
"You better not snore…"
There you have it, the beginning on my take of a "Naruto goes to the past" fic. I promise you it will be somewhat different from the norm. Sasuke presence should be a dead giveaway. Please tell me what you think. And on another note, I'm deciding yet on pairings…if any. Feel free to give me your input (I promise to consider all suggestions) but be warned that this isn't a poll. The pairings will ultimately be my decision.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, and please review!