Chapter One: Coming Back
A twenty-two year old man stood at the Konoha gates, smiling up at it. "Good old Konoha…same as always. Ah, I'd better go in and get my friends to know me again. But who knows what the outcome will be?"
"Stranger, who are you?!" said a familiar voice to the right of him.
Naruto glanced to the left, where jounin ninja Neji stood. "State your business here," Neji said.
"Long time no see, Neji," said Naruto, grinning.
"I asked you who you were and why you were here."
"I came back to reacquaint myself with everybody."
"Were you a–" Neji stopped his sentence midway when he spotted the hitai-ate on Naruto's forehead, engraved was the sign of Konoha!
"Were you a shinobi here?"
"Neji, you're still as talkative as ever aren't you? Now, I'll go find Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi-sensei."
"You know them? Just who are you?"
"Well, I'm not surprised you don't recognize me," said Naruto.
He instantly transformed into himself ten years ago. Neji's eyes went wide with surprise. "Naruto? But we all thought you were dead! Nobody could find you for ten years and now you finally came back?"
"Ha ha ha, good one, Neji! I was moving around a lot, so that's probably why. Now, back to the present." Naruto changed back into his present self.
"Welcome back, Naruto. I'll inform Hokage-sama this."
"Oh yeah, I bet Tsunade-baachan will be really surprised!" Naruto said gleefully.
He walked right into the old village, people started to glance at him weirdly, some were rubbing their eyes.
After he rounded the corner, he spotted his former team sitting in the Ichiraku ramen bar.
Sakura turned around at that moment and caught sight of the older blonde. She stared.
Kakashi asked her, "What's wrong, Sakura?" He too turned around to look at the older Naruto.
Sasuke said, "What's worth staring at around here? Ever since Naruto left, there's been nothing to do."
"Hiya, Sasuke," came a male voice.
Sasuke turned around, annoyed, but instantly froze upon seeing Naruto. "Who are you?"
"Ha, too bad you don't recognize me anymore. I'll just have to show you!"
Naruto once again turned into his twelve-year old self. "Naruto?!" the trio cried.
"Yep. The one and only," Naruto said, grinning.
"Where the hell have you been?! Sakura's been worried sick!" Sasuke yelled.
"Um, well, I was moving from one country to another, learning different techniques and stuff like that," Naruto said, a bit sheepishly.
"Anyways, welcome back, Naruto," said Kakashi.
"Neji's going to Tsunade-baachan to tell her the news. I met him at the gate."
"You saw Neji already? Come on, re-introduce yourself!" Sakura scolded.
"I plan on doing that. So what's everybody doing?"
"Gai and Lee are still babbling about their stupid 'Spring of Youth' thing. Shikamaru is now an academy teacher at the Ninja Academy. He assists Iruka-sensei. Ino is currently on a mission as a chuunin with jounin Shino and chuunin Kiba. Hinata is a chuunin and still living in the Hyuuga Manor. Choji went for a vacation. He's a chuunin. Um…we're chuunin and Naruto, what's your rank?"
"What?!" Kakashi said.
"You've got to be kidding me," muttered Sakura.
"No way you could be, dobe," said Sasuke.
"If you want, I could prove it to you," said Naruto.
"Fine. Training ground five," replied Kakashi, poofing into smoke.
Naruto grinned, and disappeared in a flash of yellow.
Sasuke looked at Sakura and they both raced to the training grounds.
"You're late, you two," said Naruto.
"Well, excuse us for not being able to disappear like you!" Sakura said sarcastically.
Naruto chuckled. "Well, come on. Do you want to see or not?"
All of them nodded and Kakashi said, "Naruto, how strong have you gotten?"
"A lot stronger. I made friends and allies in every village except the Sound."
Sakura's jaw dropped. "No way…"
Naruto smirked at Sasuke, who was glaring at him. "Hurry up, you want to face me, don't you?"
"Hell yeah!" screamed Sakura, running quickly towards Naruto.