Summary: Twelve years after becoming a Genin, he finally became Hokage. He had everything: a good life, wonderful friends and a gorgeous Sasuke. However, an encounter with a strange Jutsu happened and had the both of them crashing back into time, twelve years earlier.
A pair of blue eyes scanned the afternoon horizon.
"Oi Naruto," a woman with pink hair called up at the blonde seated on top of a branch, "you're wandering off again. Konahamaru was ready to tear his hair out when he realized that you left without finishing state reports today."
The blonde looked down at the woman and grinned a little, his feet dangling playfully off the branch, "Saa, he keeps worrying too much." He scooted a little to the side of the branch to allow some space beside him which he patted gently, "Come Sakura, care to join me? The sunset looks magnificent as usual."
Sakura shook her head, smiling a little, "I can't believe you still have time to do things like these." She remained on the ground but leaned against the trunk instead. Even if she didn't join the blonde on top of the branch, she looked ahead anyway to stare at the afternoon sky. "You could have just created a kage-bunshin and left him there to do the dirty work!"
"Then I wouldn't technically be 'escaping' my report-work, would I?"
That's true. Leave it Naruto to properly play hooky from work. "True. But you have to accept that it's part of your job, Hokage-sama."
The blonde looked down at her from the branch, giving her a sour look, "Sakura-chan! I hate being called like that by my close friends." He whined.
True, it was his life-long dream to become the Hokage. On the day that he finally earned the name, he thought that he could never be happier. Well, maybe not happier than the time he and the last Uchiha finally decided to live together. Nor the time when he earned the trust of the village, nor the time when he made a strong friendship with the demon fox inside him.
Still, the feeling of being a Hokage was larger than life for Naruto. All of the people close to him shared his victory. After all, they have been with him since the beginning and until now. Nowadays, few people get to call him with his first name and that was only reserved for less than a dozen people in his life.
He was now the Hokage and everybody accepted, respected and loved him. It seemed that the village finally realized the difference between the monster inside their Hokage and the blonde young man who decided to become its tamer.
"Ne, Sakura-chan," Naruto called, "would you and Lee like to come by later for dinner?"Sasuke was still on his mission tonight. So on nights when Naruto would be left alone in the house, he would often invite his close friends over. Once he got used to the feeling of having people around him and caring for him, he didn't want to feel being alone again. "I feel kind of lonely. It's been days since I last saw Sasuke."
Lee and Sakura had been spending most of their time together, now that Naruto had been become busier. Not that Sakura herself was not busy, in fact, she had her hands full of work in the local Shinobi hospital. There were times when she had to visit Suna to attend conferences and sometimes to give some. She was known in several villages and Naruto could bet that even outside of the Fire Country, her name was respected. Haruno Sakura, the woman who inherited the strength and wisdom of the Great Tsunade.
"I'm sorry, Naruto. But we already made plans tonight." Sakura replied, then looked up at the Hokage, expecting to see evident disappointment on his face.
"Oh, meh. Maybe I'll ask Ino and Sai…"
"Naruto, don't worry. I'm certain you won't be alone tonight." With that last statement, she prepared to leave.
Leaves on the branch rustled as Naruto asked confusedly, "What do you mean I won't be alone?" He traced the whiskers marks on his face unconsciously while thinking out loud, "Sasuke is away on his mission, won't be coming back for at least two days … Iruka-sensei will go out to dinner tonight with Kakashi-sensei…" He called after the already departing woman, "Oi! Sakura-chan, what are you talking about!"
"Well," She looked back at the Hokage, with her eyes twinkling. Naruto was reminded of Kakashi-sensei's expression when he was telling them a secret, "My real intention in going here was to let you know that Sasuke just came back from his mission. Apparently, his team seemed to have finished it earlier than expected." Then Sakura left with a knowing smile.
Chapter 1: The Hokage and the ANBU Captain
Sasuke was finally home! Oh joy of joys! It has been so long since he last saw that ANBU captain. Well, technically it's only been 6 days – but for Naruto that's like forever. It just sucked to be alone in a big house! Thanks to these stupid S-class missions, he had no choice but to send the strongest ANBU team and be separated from Sasuke, yet again. He didn't intend to be selfish, but he never had much time anymore with Sasuke when he assumed office as Hokage. Even if they were finally together, they were still apart because of their work. It doesn't help either that Sasuke was a workaholic.
'Good thing Sasuke cannot bring his work home – I mean, what will he do? Bring home the subjects of his surveillance missions? Heh.'
Naruto rushed immediately to the office, his long, white coat billowing behind him in his haste. The guards on his doorway bowed to him as he passed by the Kage's office door. He gave them a small nod in recognition and reminded himself that he should give them some time off soon – why would the strongest ninja in the village need guards anyway? The doors somehow opened on their own, expecting him already.
"Where have you be…" Konohamaru was cut off when he noticed the blonde searching frantically for something on his desk. "Are you looking for something?"
Naruto continued scanning the papers on his desk, "No, I'm trying to see if my table has grown some flowers while I was gone." Then he grinned as he sensed Konohamaru's annoyance, "I'm looking for that recent mission summary report that …"
"It's right there, on the TO-READ file box – which by the way, you *rarely* read." The teenage boy's expression changed and he smiled at him. The younger boy stared at the Hokage while the latter clumsily searched for a stack of papers, knocking some books off and empty ramen cups from the table in the process. Naruto was still as easy to read as an open book. Once the blonde finally got hold of the report and began reading it, Konohamaru spoke again. "Yes, he's back… and you just missed him a few minutes ago. He was just here to submit that report."
Naruto tried to hide the overwhelming excitement running through him at the knowledge that Sasuke was finally here. At the same time, he was feeling slightly disappointed that he missed seeing Sasuke the moment he returned to Konoha. He was also feeling a little guilty because Sasuke had found out that he was sneaking out of office... again. He just had to see him now. "Konohamaru, I'm sorry but I have to go…"
"Yeah, yeah. I'll tell them you have gone off early today. Personal matters, of course. I'll take care of it… Naruto-nisan." The boy gave him a mock-salute and a small smile. "Remember you owe me!"
Naruto returned the smile, "Thanks, Konohamaru, and yes, I owe you big for this."
The sun has already set and the village was silently glowing with its tiny country lights. Above the cliff, the silhouette of towering city began to stand out in contrast with the sunset sky. Soon, the city lights filled the dark silhouettes of the city skyline.
The view from the top of a tall tree was something to behold had Naruto been paying attention to it. But right now, he was rushing to get to their house – the house that he had been sharing with Sasuke for years. He was done with sight-seeing for today, he only wanted to see a certain pair of obsidian eyes. He didn't know how fast he was running. He jumped from branch to roof, excitement was filling his heart. Finally! He landed in front of the house and noticed that the lights inside were already on. YAY!
His heart was still beating furiously. It could be because he was running so fast! He tried to calm himself down, wiped some cold sweat from his brow, and ran a hand nervously through his hair. He noticed that the front door was open and he decided to step quietly inside. He looked around their living room. The lamp on the corner was on and the windows were open. But there was no sign of any presence. Without physically moving from where he was, Naruto tried to feel the area around him, extending his senses to find a certain aura, a certain chakra.
There was no chakra here at all. He didn't need to go into sage mode to feel that there was nothing here. Naruto let his guard down and felt a little disappointed. Where was Sasuke?
Without warning, a presence suddenly materialized just behind Naruto. Instantly without hesitation, the blonde spun around to deliver a tenketsu pressure point to the new presence. But the new-comer swiftly avoided any contact and shifted so quickly, that Naruto only saw a blur move behind him.
"Oi dobe." A familiar, deep voice called. Naruto swore that no matter how many times he heard this voice, it still made his heart stop beating every time. "Is this how you welcome me home?" The newcomer wrapped strong arms around Naruto's waist and pulled him close.
Naruto gasped and turned to face him, the hold of the hands around his waist were loosened a little but still didn't let go. Blue eyes stared into obsidian ones, "Sasuke..." was all Naruto got to say as Sasuke claimed the blonde's lips in an urgent kiss.
Not letting him go… not letting him go… was running through Naruto's mind as his arms climbed on Sasuke's shoulders and behind his neck. Sasuke pulled him closer, closing any tiny gap between their bodies, even if there was already none. Even with his eyes closed, Naruto could feel that the ANBU captain was still wearing his uniform. So, the blonde got here not long after the arrival of the brunette.
Naruto broke the kiss after a while, and he stared back at the ANBU captain. Sasuke was finally here and he was being held by him at this moment. Naruto ran his hand through Sasuke's black hair which had gotten longer. He made a mental note to tell Sasuke to get a haircut. "Sasuke, you're getting better with hiding your chakra from me! I didn't even feel you even when I got inside the house!"
"Oh, that means I'm getting better than you at this, Hokage-sama." Sasuke rested his forehead against Naruto's.
The blonde's stare never left Sasuke's eyes and neither did Sasuke, until Naruto gave a little laugh. "You don't tire of this staring contest, ne Sasuke?"
Sasuke smirked, "Not when it's you I'm starting at, dobe." He was still holding Naruto in his arms, which the blonde found to be very comforting.
Sasuke was slightly taller than him, Naruto noticed this as they were growing up. The Uchiha had always been taller, ever since they were genins. Now, Naruto had grown some height, but so did Sasuke. Their faces may have lost the traces of childhood, but their eyes never lost that passion for each other. Naruto thought while he was playing with a lock of Sasuke's hair on his hand, while the other hand was still on Sasuke's shoulder.
They both have come a long way. Naruto remembered their first 'accidental' kiss, the countless times Sasuke saved him, their chakra control training in the wave country, their fight with Haku and Zabuza, the Chuunin selection exams, their fight with Gaara, their fight with each other and their reunion years after that.
There's so much happiness in Naruto's life now. Even if his past has been hard and painful, Naruto had overcome all that. He endured all the sadness and pain - not only his own, but others as well. Maybe it was because Naruto was a natural optimist. His impression of life in general was the same as his chakra - warm and bright.
"Oi dobe, say something." Sasuke said, "It's strange to see you just staring at me like that and not muttering anything." Sasuke kissed his nose. The blonde pouted at the action and Sasuke smiled, "What?"
"I feel like a kid when you kiss me on the nose." Naruto replied.
The Uchiha's smile never disappeared, "I'm glad to see you too, Naruto.
Near the outskirts of Konoha, just past the mountains, there stood a densely sinister forest. This forest was notorious. It was avoided travelers and locals alike, for it was too dark to pass through and it kept many demons that were stuff of nightmares. Although it was unpleasant, the Konaha village just left it there for they have no use of it. As long as they stay away from it, nothing in it would harm anybody.
This forest has trees that were so tall, that when you stare up at them it feels like they go on forever – past the clouds and into the sky. Once in a while, leaves from above would fall. As of now, the leaves were so many, there didn't seem to be any path to walk on.
The sounds heard inside this forest were also suspiciously indistinguishable. It will probably drive many to immediately kill themselves if they enter the forest with depression.
Although it was strange that this forest seemed so grim and malevolent, it was even stranger that there were humans – or maybe they're non-humans? - who dared to enter it. As if they were not affected at all by the unpleasant aura of the forest, four hooded figures swiftly hid into the shadows of the giant trees.
"By sunrise, we should be arriving finally at Konoha." One of the hooded figures said.
"You said that you could feel his chakra already."
"See? It's very strong! That boy possessed more power that he could ever control or at least appreciate! It shouldn't have belonged to him." One hissed.
"Quiet." The eldest didn't shout, but his voice had enough coldness to deliver his point. "By tomorrow, we would get the chance that we've been working on for years." He was the eldest of the four and he always felt it every time he glanced at his brothers. "All of us have managed to master the ritual. Our only problem is getting him into the trap. "
The second one never left his gaze from the fire that was burning silently to warm their camp. "I hear that he's being protected by many shinobi – one of them an Uchiha. They are mighty fire wielders and with their kekkei Genkai – the Sharingan… It would be difficult to defeat them."
"Brother, in this time, we're not here to defeat anyone. We will do that somewhere else in time." The tallest one said. "Once we manage to abduct him quietly, we proceed with the ritual. Then we could leave this place."
"What happens after the ritual, Aniki?" The youngest one asked as he made himself comfortable on the big branch. They will be spending the night here.
"Haven't you been listening to the plan?" The third brother snapped. "The Divine jutsu will take his consciousness and send it to another world and time that we wish."
"We will send him back through time?" The youngest looked confused.
"It may sound hard to believe, but at this moment, he is too strong for us – too strong that you couldn't even imagine." The second shuddered a little. Uzumaki Naruto was a legend. His name is heard of everywhere in their world. To think that he used to underestimate this man when he was just a child – how foolish! But for now, it didn't matter anymore because pretty soon, him and his brothers will execute this plan that has been in place for decades. "We need to take him back into a time when his physical body is still weak and his skills are new." The second explained patiently.
"It's still confusing." The youngest sat upright, "Don't you think he still would regain the memories of his present self even if we send him back?"
"Oh, he would definitely remember everything, but his body and his chakra won't. All of his knowledge is also for our gain because that's one of the things we must acquire."
With that, the second settled on his own blankets and told his little brother to go to sleep. They still have a lot to do tomorrow.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the southern area of Konoha, Naruto was sleeping peacefully against Sasuke's chest. The Uchiha was embracing him gently as he tried hard to get some sleep.
He was feeling something, at the back of his mind, but he couldn't place it at the moment. He knew Naruto felt it as well, but the blonde probably thought it was not dangerous – otherwise he wouldn't have fallen asleep so quickly.
Sasuke couldn't figure it out yet, but there's no use getting worried about it now when he's not even sure what it is to be worried about. He'll figure this thing bothering him by tomorrow.
After all, it's been days since he got a decent sleep. Sasuke gave in to the sweet arms of slumber.
Unfortunately, he didn't know that tomorrow was too late.
As of 31 January 2015: I am rewriting my chapters to make the writing style (almost) similar. It feels weird reading my old fics. :) I apologize for the long hiatus, but I'm back now and will continue writing.
Thank you for the patience!