A Simple Change: The Sharingan

By: James Fawkes

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Chapter One: And So It Shall Begin Again

A tall man stood with his head down, spiky gray hair flopping over his concealed left eye. His gaze fell onto boy at his feet, whose broken body lay bleeding on the shore of an infamous waterfall. The crimson liquid flowed steadily from the boy's chest, seeping into the grass and dirt.

The boy's torso still rose and fell, signaling to all that he wouldn't go without a fight, but the tall man knew his pupil wouldn't last much longer. How could he, when a great, big hole had replaced his right lung? No, the boy would die within the hour, and the tall man's last link to his past would disappear. The legacy, the son of the great Fourth Fire Shadow, who had been the tall man's teacher, was faced with a horrible fate which he could not escape. Death.

Kakashi felt something prickle at the edge of his eyes. It was a sensation that he had not felt for a while; a sensation he had hoped to never feel again.

Salty tears soon joined the rain streaming down Kakashi's masked face. Even his forehead protector could not conceal his weeping eyes, for a spot of wetness grew at its edge, beneath his Sharingan eye.

The tall man soon fell to his knees, crying for the first time in a long time. He collapsed in upon himself, thighs in his stomach, shins in the dirt. His face was buried in his arms, and Kakashi of the Sharingan looked truly pathetic for the first time in his life.

The thunder above his head hid his anguished cries, but Kakashi paid it no mind. He had lost one of the most precious people he had ever had. His last link to his old team, save his Sharingan, would soon be gone for good.

Kakashi suddenly reared up, face towards the weeping clouds. He took a deep breath, then showed the world how upset he was.

He screamed to the sky, releasing pent up angers and sorrows. His scream echoed across the forest, scaring animals from their hiding places.

But nobody heard it.

A hyperactive blonde lay on his back, his spiky hair dripping with water, and his orange jumpsuit in tatters around his chest. Blood coated his body, both his own, and another's. His sapphire blue eyes, previously hidden behind tan eyelids, were slowly beginning to open. The whisker marks on his cheeks stretched momentarily as his nose twitched.

In a sudden blur of motion, he sat straight up, his eyes wide open, "What? Where the Hell am I?"

Now conscious, he looked at his surroundings to find a large, sewer like hall with a wall of bars directly in front of him…or rather, a battered and frayed wall of bars that were half broken.

A rumble suddenly shook the room he was in, and a large piece of what appeared to be concrete dropped from the ceiling to splash into the water around him. "What the hell?"

A huge, hulking figure seemed to materialize out of the shadows behind the bars, a snarl on its vulpine muzzle. Its crimson fur glistened with the same water that soaked the blonde's hair, and even in the crumbling landscape, it seemed to possess an air of power and arrogance.

The blonde named Naruto pointed his finger at the giant fox, an angry look stretched across his face, "This is your fault! What are you doing?!"

"My fault?!" the fox growled, baring its shiny fangs. "I'll admit that some of the blame belongs to me, but a fair portion of it falls on your ass, too!

"If you had actually tried your best against that spiky haired lunatic, we wouldn't even be in this mess! Now we're dying, and even if I send one or both of us back in time, we wouldn't be able to change anything important enough!"

"What are you talking about now, stupid fox? What do you mean, 'sending us back in time'?"

"Pipe down, brat, it doesn't matter! There's only two things that could have changed the outcome of that battle, and you can't use either of them…" the demon fox suddenly gained a thoughtful look (which seemed quite weird on its animalistic face). "Unless…Yes, that just might work."

Naruto looked confused, "What are you mumbling about now?"

"Quiet!" it hissed. "We don't have much time, so I'll have to give you the short explanation."

Naruto sat down, ignoring the debris falling around him, "Go ahead."

"Now, believe it or not, you have a bloodline," it began, but it scarcely got that much in before Naruto interrupted.

"What?" he asked, teetering on his heels. "A bloodline? Are you serious? Yes! Take that, Sasuke-teme!"

"Shut up!" Kyubi roared. "Now don't interrupt me a second time! Okay, so you have a bloodline. But the unfortunate thing is, you'll never activate it…so long as I'm here. Your Fourth Hokage didn't realize that the seal he used would not only seal me, but your bloodline limit as well. Or that me and my chakra helping you in dire situations would interfere with its activation."

"Which bloodline do I have?" Naruto couldn't help himself; he was dying to know.

The Kyubi leered at him, "As much as I hate it, the accursed Sharingan is very powerful, and is indeed dormant within you. But, as I said, with me here, you'll never awaken it."

Naruto's face fell.

"However," the Kyubi paused for dramatic effect, "There is a way to activate it, and then send you back in time, thus allowing you to keep the activated Sharingan and activate and deactivate it at your will."

"How? How?" Naruto asked, excited but also wary of his tenant.

"It's quite simple," the Kyubi said. "First, we have to shatter the seal. Then, a burst of my chakra directly to your eyes immediately after the seal is gone will activate your Sharingan. And as soon as I'm free, I'll have a scant few seconds to send you back before I pass on permanently."

Naruto gave it a funny look, "But how is that benefiting you? You're still dying, so I don't see what your motivation is."

"Brat," the Kyubi growled. "Think of the big picture. Sending you back with your Sharingan should prevent me from needing to do this, so it's like this version of your life will have never happened, despite you having memories of it. In the end, if this is a success, I still live."

"Oh," Naruto said. "So if I prevent Sasuke from killing us, then you won't die."

"Exactly," Kyubi said. "Now, on the count of three, you destroy the seal. Ready?"

Naruto nodded, "I don't really trust you, but that's the better of my options."

"Understandable. Now, we have little time. We must hurry. One."



Naruto awoke to the sound of a battle. Gingerly, he opened his eyes and, if he had been capable of it, would have let out a large gasp. He could see things in much better clarity than he ever thought possible. He could see the individual stitches in the white cloak of the man carrying him. He could see the delicate craftsmanship of the green jacket. If he turned his head to the side, he could easily see the trees pass him one by one instead of the blur they normally were. Surprised, he whispered a low "Wow!"

But all that escaped his mouth was an excited gurgle. The man carrying him heard, and turned his own sapphire orbs towards Naruto's face, spiky blonde hair trailing down his cheeks. His gaze shot towards Naruto's eyes, then a prideful smile twitched onto his mouth.

"Oh? Only a few hours old and you're already setting records, eh Naruto-kun? No one's ever activated the Sharingan at such a young age! Your mother would be proud."

The Fourth Hokage's tone dropped into a melancholy one, his face downtrodden, "If only she could be here to see it."

Naruto barely noticed the sorrowful side of the man carrying him before the smile returned, though it was forced, and his enthusiastic voice made an encore presentation, "Well, Naruto-kun, you're about to go from being my son, Kazama Naruto, to being the hero of the village."

Naruto felt his world shake and managed to catch of glimpse of orangish-red beneath his father's feet. It felt strange to him, calling the man he respected above all others "Father". But that's what the Fourth Hokage, Kazama Arashi, was. He was Naruto's father, and nothing could ever change that.

Naruto immediately recognized the orangish-red beneath his father's feet as Gamabunta, the boss toad. And he felt a bit of dread slide like ice down his throat and into his stomach. This was the night. The 'Hero' comment his father had made should have been a good enough clue, but the sounds of battle and the large summoned creature had finally solidified the date into his mind.

It was October the tenth, his birthday, and the day that the legendary demon, Kyubi no Youko, had been defeated.

And as they came upon the wretched beast, Naruto suddenly wished the ride could have lasted longer. It would have only prolonged the inevitable, but it would have made him feel a heck of a lot better. His fate was being decided, and there was nothing he could do about it.

As his father began a set of seals, Naruto began to cry, completely on infantile impulse. The Fourth Hokage gave his son a pained look, as though wishing he had another option, then returned to his duty, tears shining in his deep blue eyes.

"I'm sorry, son, but it has to be done. There's no other way. This is your story now!"

Then, for a second, as the Shinigami ripped the Kyubi's soul from its body and stuffed it into Naruto's, there was silence. There was a long pause in everything. Kyubi's corpse stood stalk still, the Yondaime, the Fourth Hokage, only watched his son in the last moments of his life. The ninja of Konoha held their breath.

Then it all came crashing back down as the Fourth's body collapsed and an overwhelming pain wracked Naruto's body. He could sense his Sharingan fade as the nerve endings in his stomach lit on fire, fueling the agonized cries bursting from his mouth.

Then, everything went black.

For the first five years after the Kyubi's attack on Konoha, many of the villagers called for Naruto's death. On multiple occasions, drunken civilians had attacked him, ranting about ridding the village of the demon once and for all. The Third Hokage, though he would never grant their wishes, could do nothing to protect the blonde haired demon vessel.

Konoha ninja that had witnessed the attacks had never interfered, simply because they had never had to. Every attack was foiled and turned out to be a complete failure. Naruto was still treated poorly, and still could only afford Ramen, but his injuries had been avoided simply by not being there. For the most part, his life was going as it had originally, with only a few major differences.

One, Naruto had the Sharingan, and would often watch other ninjas, including Hatake Kakashi and the Uchihas, as they practiced. With his Sharingan, he could copy some of the moves and Jutsu they used. His repertoire of ninjutsu had vastly increased compared to his previous life, and he had new moves and Jutsu that he could use in the more difficult parts of his life. Shunshin (Body Flicker) was a particular favorite of his; it made an excellent escape, even if it was very draining.

Second, he knew the future, so he could prevent the more horrible events from happening (ones that he had the power to change and influence, anyway). This would come especially in handy with such things as his graduation and the Chuunin Exams. He knew he couldn't do anything about the Uchiha massacre or Sasuke receiving the curse mark that Orochimaru called the "Heaven Seal" or the Third Hokage's death. But he could prevent Sasuke from running away and the death of the mist duo known as Haku and Zabuza.

Third, he knew about the Kyubi, so he had even more reasons to prank the villagers. Many of the more vocal death callers (in other words, the people who had appealed for his execution) were already on the receiving end of almost malicious pranks. And he foresaw many more humiliating pranks in Konoha's future. Not to mention the level of training it gave him. Outrunning Jounin was an amazing stealth exercise and a magnificent way to practice underhanded tactics.

On December twenty seventh, though, Naruto was suddenly reminded of an attempted kidnapping he had heard about (he couldn't remember who had originally told him; he thought it might have been Neji). Supposedly, one of the cloud ninja that had just arrived would try to kidnap Hinata. Hinata's dad, Hyuga Hiashi would catch them, and Cloud village would demand the clan head's body as retribution for their ninja's murder. The Hyuga clan would give over Hizashi, Hiashi's twin, instead, and the Bird-in-a-Cage Seal on Hizashi's head would keep the famous Byakugan in Konoha.

But as a result, Hinata's confidence in herself would be brutally shattered, and Neji would hate her and the main family for the incident that killed his father, believing it their fault.

Naruto, being the kind of person that he is, decided that he would attempt to stop the kidnapping, even if all he could do was boost Hinata's confidence.

So, that night, he grabbed a sleeping bag, a package of instant Ramen, a flashlight, and some firewood, and set up camp right outside the Hyuga Compound. And he waited. He set up the firewood, lit a fire, boiled some instant Ramen, ate it, then sat back down and waited.

Naruto was never particularly fond of the Hyuga clan, considering what he had seen of it. Sure, he liked Hinata well enough, but the rest of the Hyuga were on his "Black List". Neji was particularly high up on Naruto's list of people he disliked, mainly for how he had treated Hinata, who had become a good friend of Naruto's.

Now that he had sat down to think, Naruto found that he really liked Hinata. Sure, she was shy and quiet. She often stuttered and blushed a lot. She even fainted from time to time, especially when Naruto was around. But Hinata had done something that made Naruto proud of her, and that had made her one of Naruto's best friends. She had stood up against an opponent that was clearly stronger, and hadn't flinched, even when faced with death. To Naruto, that made her okay, and he happily welcomed her into his circle of friends.

Thinking about Hinata put a smile on his face, and Naruto suddenly regretted not getting to know her earlier in his previous life. He had definitely missed out on a great sparring partner and a good friend…and maybe even…(Naruto blushed) a girlfriend.

Finally, around two in the morning, he could hear someone dashing out of the Hyuga Compound. Setting his face with grim determination (he knew he wouldn't beat this guy), he activated his Sharingan and ran as fast as he could towards the noise.

What he found was a shinobi dressed all in black leaping across the roofs of Konoha. Quickly shoving chakra to his feet, he followed, pushing himself to catch up. His enemy was most certainly a fast one. It took a good while, at least five minutes, and he was nearing the walls of Konoha's defense. But with his dark clad enemy in his sights, he set his hands in a cross-shaped seal, and mimed one of his favorite Jutsu.

His doppelganger attacked the Shinobi with a hard punch to the skull, as if out of nowhere, forcing him to let go of the captive Hyuga princess. The real Naruto slid under the Cloud nin and caught the girl with minimal ease, standing her on her own two legs. With a large amount of haste, he undid her bindings and pushed her away, towards her home. "Go!"

"You shouldn't have done that," the shinobi growled, free of the clone, forcing Naruto to turn and dodge a punch to the skull. The ninja scoffed, as if insulted, "A five year old? That's all they send to stop me?"

He lashed out with a kick that hit Naruto in the stomach, forcing him backwards. A follow up blow with his elbow sent the blonde's chin upwards and the shinobi grinned with satisfaction. He was beating the snot out of the little brat.

Naruto jumped back slightly to avoid another much lazier kick. He took advantage of his opponent's lax guard and rushed forward, punching him. Or at least trying to. The Shinobi, whomever it was, batted it away as if it was nothing, retaliating with a harsh punch to Naruto's stomach.

Suddenly, the Naruto that the Cloud ninja was fighting puffed into smoke, and he very well dreaded the words that reached his ears from behind him. The pit of his stomach nearly dropped out.

"Konoha's Secret Taijutsu Technique: A Thousand Years of Pain!"

A quick, unexpected, and very hard poke in the ass sent the foreign ninja flying. He landed on the ground about ten yards away, rubbing the offended body part. His ire was most definitely rising, and there was only one thing to take it out on.

The cloud ninja scurried to his feet, massaging his hurt ass and his wounded ego. He was distracted, and it was the perfect opportunity for Naruto to take advantage of.

"Katon," he whispered, flashing through hand seals. He stopped abruptly on tiger and put his index finger and thumb to his lips, as he had seen Sasuke do many a time, "Goukakyuu no Jutsu!"

Naruto's torso jerked forward and a large fireball burst forth, charging towards his enemy with amazing speed.

The cloud Nin seemed to understand the danger this technique presented and dodged out of the way, landing a few feet from the scorching flames. Naruto was suddenly in front of him, a grin plastered on his face.

The Kumo shinobi was too shocked to dodge the kick delivered to his chin and went soaring upwards. With another amazing burst of speed, Naruto was behind him. Using his enemy's body, Naruto flipped around in midair, sending a kick to the ninja's stomach. It was blocked easily.

"You're gonna have to do better than that, kid."

Naruto used the block to add speed and power to his twist, turning 180 degrees. His fist came crashing down into his opponent's face. With only a few feet between them and solid earth, Naruto brought his right heel down onto the ninja's stomach with a devastating kick, sending him straight to the ground. He rolled onto his stomach, groaning.

Naruto landed not too far away and tried to dive onto the man's back, but was too slow, and got a kick in the stomach in return. It was hard enough to send him soaring, until he collided with the wall of a random house, forcing a crater into the brick. He was extremely lucky that he had thrown up a wall of chakra in his back to prevent damaged bones, but it still hurt like hell, and he knew that he had lost. All he could do was wait for the end as his Sharingan faded.

He distinctly heard a cry of pain and a dull thud as something heavy hit the ground. Someone was panting, out of breath from a sudden spontaneous exertion. It was deep and low, so it had to be a man.

He looked up to see his opponent on the ground, dead, with a pissed looking Hyuga Hiashi standing above the corpse. Naruto felt a smirk stretch across his lips, then laughed and shot a victorious grin at the fallen form of his enemy, "It was never about stopping you, jackass, it was about stalling until the pissed Hyugas came and whipped your ass!"

Naruto felt his muscles protest as his limited chakra settled down again. Hiashi pulled him from the rubble and helped him stand, a grateful look on his face. Naruto winced as a few of his joints cracked.

"It seems we have you to thank for my daughter's rescue. O namae wa (What is your name)?"

Naruto grinned foxily, "Boku no namae wa Uzumaki Naruto desu (My name is Uzumaki Naruto). And it was nothing. Couldn't let Hinata-san get kidnapped, could I?"

Hiashi gave him a once over when he heard the name, then smiled and declared, "No, I guess you couldn't. But how did you know?"

Naruto blushed, "Ah, well…you see…um…"

Hiashi smirked, "So it was your sleeping bag outside the Compound? Whatever for?"

"Well, I didn't completely trust the foreign ninja," he scratched the back of his head awkwardly. Hiashi seemed skeptical of his story, "Especially around Hinata-chan…"

"Oh, so it's Hinata-chan now, is it?" Hiashi grinned a sly grin.

"Ah, well…um…" Naruto stuttered, his blush darkening. "I was kind of…watching her birthday party…she just seemed like a really nice person…so…"

"Well," Hiashi said, "If you think so highly of my daughter, how about I introduce you? Say hi, Hinata-chan."

Hinata peeked out from behind her father, buried her face in his pants leg, and uttered a meek, "Konnichi wa, Naruto-kun."

Naruto grinned, despite the bruises, "Konban wa, Hinata-chan. (Good Evening)"

An awkward silence befell the group, and Naruto suddenly wished he could disappear. But he knew that the Hyuga clan was very formal, and that him disappearing would be very suspicious.

Hiashi was the one who finally broke the silence, "Well, Naruto-san, what do you say we take you to the Hyuga infirmary to get patched up?"

Naruto did a short bow, "Arigatou, demo (thank you, but)…I heal very quickly. These bruises will be gone by morning. Truly, I am very grateful for the offer, Hiashi-sama, but I must decline."

"Well, if you insist…" As Hyuga clan branch members flooded the area, Hiashi turned around and prepared to walk home, "I hope to see you again, Naruto-san. Oyasumi nasai (Good Night)."

Hiashi started walking. Hinata, whose gaze was still on Naruto, stayed where she was. A blush spread across her face, and she suddenly dashed forward, planting a soft kiss on Naruto's cheek.

With a soft, "Oyasumi nasai, Naruto-kun!" she rushed to catch up with her father.

A goofy grin spread across his face as Naruto waved. Then, before the branch members' eyes, he disappeared in a flicker of yellow (Shunshin no Jutsu, people, not Hiraishin).

The aftereffects of his meddling soon became obvious to Naruto. With his father dead, Neji loathed the main branch even more. And this time, he loathed Naruto for his part in the Cloud ninja's death. Hinata was slightly bolder, but she still blushed and stuttered around Naruto. He had no idea why.

Hiashi treated Naruto with the utmost respect every time Naruto visited Hinata. Naruto and Hinata were probably the only ones keeping Hiashi sane after his wife died giving birth to Hinata's little sister, Hanabi. With his wife and brother dead, his nephew Neji thirsty for his blood, and the clan council trying to dictate his every move, Hiashi found it difficult to keep a lid on his quickly shortening temper. But with Hinata's kindness, and Naruto's happy and easy-going attitude, he managed to keep himself in check.

On his sixth birthday, Naruto received three gifts in all. Two were from the Third Hokage, and the third was from Hinata, which Hiashi had taken upon himself to deliver. It had been quite a pleasant surprise to find the ever-busy Hyuga Hiashi standing on his doorstep with a neatly wrapped gift in his hand and happy smile on his face.

The Third's first gift had been a note telling him that he had been accepted to the Ninja Academy. He had kind of expected it. He had gotten the same gift the first time around. It was the Third's second gift that had surprised him. Weights. The Sandaime had gotten him wrist and ankle weights. They were black and looked like simple two-inch wide wrist/ankle bands. They were adjustable, so Naruto could easily change the weight of them.

Hinata's gift had been very unexpected. Or rather, Hinata's gifts had been rather unexpected. She had gotten him a pair of black goggles, very similar to the green ones he had worn in his original life. In the same box, there were a few sets of the same clothes. Five black tee-shirts, all with a the Sharingan tomoe design stitched into the back with white silk, and five pairs of ANBU style pants, which included the ankle wraps. Two ninja utility belts joined the rest of the clothing. A couple hundred thousand yen and a note were packed neatly beneath it all. The note briefly explained that he could use the yen to buy larger clothes when he grew out of them. All packed in the same box.

After shortly worrying about the Sharingan design, he hid it with a Genjutsu, and packed all but one set into his closet.

It was as he was nearing his seventh birthday that Naruto was feeling a bit nervous and on the edge. The Uchiha massacre was set to happen soon, and he knew he couldn't do anything about it. Regardless of that, he had taken to following Sasuke home every day. He knew he couldn't defeat Itachi or stop the massacre, but he would be there to pick up the pieces when it happened.

It was a dark, Halloween night when the devastating bloodbath occurred. Upon sighting the first body, Naruto had found the best hiding spot he could, and waited for the events to unfold.

He cringed with every scream, knowing that Sasuke was suffering at Itachi's hands. He winced at Itachi's cold voice and flinched when an agonized cry tore through the night sky. He stiffened as he saw Itachi dash by, headed for Konoha's outer walls. He waited, and as soon as he was sure the Uchiha murderer had left and was far enough away, he moved from his hiding place and canceled the Genjutsu hiding the design on the back of his shirt.

Very carefully, he crept towards the sound of pitiful crying. The bodies littering the ground made it hard for him to walk around, and his nose stung with the coppery scent of blood, but he walked on, careful not to disturb the corpses beneath his feet.

He found the source of the weeping curled up in front of an Uchiha home, soaked with blood not his own. Seven year old Sasuke was leaning up against the wall, tear filled eyes wide and peaking out above his knees. His arms were wrapped tightly around his shins, and his arched back heaved with every strained breath. His black shirt was rumpled and wrinkled, clinging to his form with sweat and the unending river of crimson liquid. His lean, young arms trembled and his obsidian eyes stared straight ahead, unseeing.

As Naruto slowly approached him, he activated his incomplete Sharingan, and held back the bile that rose in his throat. He concluded, quite decisively, that he didn't want to be looking at the scene of a massacre in such detail.

He knelt down, placing a gentle hand on Sasuke's shaking shoulder. Sasuke's head whipped around, and his eyes focused on Naruto with light speed. Naruto noticed the frightened look in Sasuke's eyes and quickly turned off his Sharingan. He sighed in relief as the darkness hid the majority of the massacre.

"Hey," Naruto whispered, shaking Sasuke lightly, "Let's get out of here."

Sasuke didn't move.

"A-are you…U-Uchiha?" He asked timidly. "I-I thought I was th-the last one."

"Yeah," Naruto said, "But you're not alone anymore. We're the last ones alive, but at least we've got each other. Your cousin Naruto won't leave you alone in all this."

Sasuke smiled weakly, "Th-thank you."

"You're not alone, Sasuke. And you never will be ever again," Naruto smiled, "Now let's get out of here. Hokage-sama will know what to do."

Sasuke nodded, and tried to stand. His knees trembled for a few seconds, then he collapsed back onto his butt. Naruto sighed and helped him up, slinging the boy's right arm over his shoulders. With a one-handed seal, they disappeared in a flicker of black.

Sandaime's breath caught in his throat as a mass of black, red, and yellow landed in his office with a thud and two loud "Ouch!"

He stood from his chair as a crimson liquid seeped onto the pristine floors of his office. The mass, or maybe masses would be more appropriate, that had appeared in his office sat up with a groan.

A blonde haired boy rubbed his head, grinning at the old man, "Hey, Ojisan."

"H-hokage-sama," Sasuke stuttered.

Sandaime sighed, "Naruto. What brings you here?"

Naruto pulled up two chairs. He sat Sasuke down in one and sat in the other himself, "The rest of the Uchiha are dead. I witnessed Uchiha Itachi leaving the scene of the crime. When I heard the sounds of distress, I investigated and found Sasuke-kun suffering from severe mental trauma."

Sandaime blinked as his mind registered the information. Then it sunk in just what he had said, and his face turned serious, "Where?"

"The Uchiha Compound," Naruto said, suppressing a shudder. "There are bodies everywhere."

Sandaime turned on the intercom and spoke to his secretary, "Send in Kakashi."

The Third sat down again and waited, his hands folded in front of his mouth. Sasuke drifted off to sleep, still covered in blood, but comforted by his cousin's presence. Naruto fidgeted, impatient.

Finally, after fifteen minutes, a dog-masked ANBU walked through the door. He strode up to the Third's desk and bent forward at his midsection, "You called, Hokage-sama?"

Sandaime nodded, "Yes, Kakashi. Naruto-kun here," he motioned towards Naruto, "has just brought me the most disturbing news. It seems that Uchiha Itachi has massacred his clan. Sasuke-kun," his hand pointed at the sleeping boy, "is reported to be the only survivor…"

"No, he's not," Naruto said, his eyes closed. They opened slowly, revealing two red orbs swirling with the Sharingan, "My mother's heritage marks me as an Uchiha as well. I am the second survivor of this genocide."

"W-when?" Sandaime stuttered.

"How?" Kakashi asked.

Naruto sighed, dredging up the lie he had prepared, "The…events of my mother's death caused me emotional stress. Even at such a young age, I seemed to understand the…depth of the situation. The addition of the burden my father placed on me on the same day, mere minutes later, forced me into a sort of panic. My Sharingan activated as a result of that stress, and, until that overwhelming pain of the seal knocked me out, I could see with much more clarity. It's…why I can remember that night so well."

"How often did you use it?" Sandaime asked, leaning forward.

"Everyday, when no one was noticing. I'd watch ninja spars until I ran low on chakra. I can't use most of them, though. Don't have enough chakra."

Kakashi snapped his fingers in an 'I get it!' way, "So that's why the villagers had such a hard time catching you! You evaded them using the Sharingan. It also explains your knowledge of Jutsu as well as your developed vocabulary."

"Back to the matter at hand," Sandaime said, reigning Kakashi's moment of discovery. "The Uchiha clan has been murdered and I want you and your team to investigate the scene. Dismissed."

Kakashi bowed quickly, "Hai, Hokage-sama." And swiftly left the room.

"Old man," Sandaime turned his attention back to Naruto. "I want you to keep my bloodline quiet for now. And I'm going to need a bigger apartment for Sasuke and I."

The Third blinked, "What do you mean?"

Naruto glanced at the raven haired Uchiha, "Sasuke's…unstable right now. He needs someone from his family to support him. And I'm the only one left. As for the apartment…us living in the Uchiha compound would only make things worse for Sasuke. It would imprint bad memories in his mind and he'd relive this horrible event everyday. It'd be better if we just found a big enough apartment."

Sandaime nodded, "I understand. I'll have one for you tomorrow. For now…you can sleep here. I'll stay all night to watch over you."

Naruto nodded as the old Hokage buzzed his intercom, "I'm going to need a few futons in here. I'll also need three blankets and two small yukata."

"Hai, Hokage-sama," the secretary replied.

The old man shook his head, a smile twitching on his lips, despite the situation, "You'll make a great Hokage someday, Naruto."

Naruto grinned foxily, "I know."

The next five years went by in a flash for Naruto, and as he looked back on it, he found he was quite content with the results of his 'meddling'. Granted, Neji was worse off this time, and the Uchiha clan was still down to three members, but, over all, things had taken a turn for the better.

Hinata was still quite shy around Naruto, and she blushed and stuttered very often. But being friends with Naruto had made Hinata a stronger person, and Naruto easily noticed how much more powerful she was during their spars. She had come very far with her Juken, and had started working on the Kaiten when she turned eleven. Naruto was very eager to train with her so that he could eliminate her chances of losing to Neji. They were the best of friends, though Naruto felt oddly happy and light headed every time she smiled at him. He was still trying to figure out why.

After merely a year of living together with Sasuke, Naruto immediately saw some of himself rubbing off on the dark haired Uchiha. He really should have guessed it would happen, considering they were practically inseparable, but it still surprised him. Sasuke, the original Sasuke, had been broody and sulking and often stayed quiet, except for the occasional insult and such. This new Sasuke, who was carefree and happy, could be found pulling pranks with Naruto. Many of the victims had taken to calling them "Densetsu-teki na Uzumaki Kyodai" or the "Legendary Uzumaki Brothers".

Naruto had never realize how useful two pairs of Sharingan eyes would be in pulling pranks until Sasuke had started participating in the all out "war" against the hateful villagers. Iruka had punished them countless times for innumerable pranks, especially when he wound up with lipstick, blush, and eyeliner on his face, and a blonde wig on his head. Hinata never participated in their pranks, and she was never a target of them, but Naruto could often hear her giggling at them.

For his seventh birthday, Hinata had gotten him a few D-ranked Jutsu scrolls, with techniques like Kawarimi and Henge on them. Hiashi had thrown in a few free Ichiraku Ramen coupons. The Third Hokage had given him kunai and Shuriken.

Hinata gave Naruto several scrolls on stealth for his eighth birthday, and the Third had given him higher settings for his weights, explaining how a Genjutsu-Ninjutsu hybrid melded the metal weights into the little black bands. Needless to say, Naruto was a little confused.

For his ninth birthday, Sasuke had taken Naruto into the Uchiha Compound to find the traditional Jutsu scrolls. They had been most successful. Hinata had given him more scrolls on Genin level Jutsu, and the Third had continued to give him weights.

On his ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth birthdays, Hinata, Hiashi, Sasuke, and the Sandaime had run out of things to give him (besides Ichiraku coupons), so they had simply thrown him a huge party, inviting everyone who treated Naruto the way he deserved to be treated. That meant that Kakashi, Sasuke, Sarutobi, Hinata, and Hiashi were the only ones that attended. The parties had been small, but Naruto had loved them nonetheless.

Naruto panted as he ran from the scene of his crime, a can of black paint swinging from his left hand. Sasuke was running behind him, a can of red paint sloshing beneath his fingers.

"Get back here, Naruto!"

"Stop now, Sasuke!"

Naruto and Sasuke laughed excitedly, letting the paint cans fly behind them, where they collided with and spilled over two of the Chuunin chasing them. The trouble-making duo rounded a fence and flew down the alleyway. The remaining Chuunin followed, dashing past the yellow wooden walls of the fence around them.

An outline suddenly appeared on a section of the fence and a piece of cloth painted to look like a fence fell forward, revealing a grinning Naruto and Sasuke.

"Idiots," Naruto and Sasuke chuckled quietly. They turned around, still staring at the disappearing backs of their pursuers. Then they whipped their heads around and ran in the opposite direction…

But they barely made it three inches before they collided with a green clothed chest. Both fell backwards, landing on their posteriors with their heads down, staring at the dirt street. Naruto swallowed the lump in his throat and looked up, mirrored by Sasuke.

Iruka stood in front of them, a disapproving glare set about his stern face. His mouth was twisted upside down in a disappointed frown, and his eyebrows were nit together at the center of his forehead, right above his nose. His hands rested on his hips in a reprimanding sort of way, and his nostrils seemed to flare.

"Iruka-sensei, we can explain…" Sasuke stuttered. Naruto nodded.

"Yeah, it was all in the name of good fun…" the blonde's head was bobbing up and down.

Iruka bent forward and opened his mouth, "FOOLS!!"

Naruto and Sasuke were tied up in front of the class, and everyone was staring at them. Many members of the Sasuke fan club would tell you what a bad influence Naruto had been on Sasuke. And the very minute Naruto fan club would argue that Naruto's influence had been a good thing for Sasuke.

"Tomorrow is the Academy's graduation exam. You, Naruto, have failed the last two times!" Iruka shouted, jabbing his finger into the blonde's chest. "This is no time to be causing trouble, you morons!"

Both Naruto and Sasuke scoffed, as they had many a time before, "Yeah, yeah."

Iruka's eyebrow twitched and he turned to the class, "Time for a review of the Henge no Jutsu! Line up, and transform perfectly into me!"

The class groaned, but did as they were told and lined up. Everyone, including Sasuke, pulled it off without trouble, but it was not to be so when Naruto took his turn.

With a hand seal and a puff of smoke, Naruto disappeared, revealing a perfect image of Iruka standing in his place. Naruto grinned and turned around to wave at the class. Immediately, Iruka noticed a 'Kick me' sign on Naruto's back, and felt a vein throb in his temple.

"NA-RU-TO!" A fist came down and whacked Naruto atop the head, releasing the transformation.

"Ow!" Naruto cried, rubbing the developing bump on his cranium. He turned around and pouted at Iruka, "But Iruka-sensei, it was perfect! Go ahead and look at your back!"

Iruka reached behind him with his free hand and pulled off the piece of paper he felt there. He brought it in front of him, examining the words written on it.

…'Kick me'…

Iruka and his supersensitive 'teacher's hearing' heard a snicker, and his head whipped around to focus on Sasuke, whose hands were plastered in front of his mouth to hide the giggling that threatened to burst from his lips.

Iruka felt his eyebrow twitch again.

Iruka smirked at the two boys below him, "You two aren't going home till its all clean."

"Don't care," Naruto grumbled.

Sasuke scowled, "It's not like we have much to go home to."

Iruka's smirk melted into a frown and he contemplated something for a second, "Hey guys…clean this up quick, and I'll take you out for Ramen."

Naruto and Sasuke turned to each other and grinned secretly. They had conned Iruka into buying them Ramen again.

Naruto sped through the forest. Things were going almost exactly as he remembered them to be. At least, on this night. Sasuke had gone home after learning of his 'failure'. He knew that Naruto needed his space when he got upset. Right after Sasuke had left, Mizuki had joined him on his swing and told him of the 'alternate' way to graduate. Naruto had played along. Hook, line, and sinker.

He had easily stolen the Scroll of Forbidden Seals. All he had had to do was use the old man's perverseness against him. It only took a hand seal, a puff of smoke, and a little of forbidden flesh to knock the aged Hokage out cold. The entirety of the security around the scroll was quickly bypassed, and Naruto had left before anyone could figure out what had happened.

The most interesting thing he had found was something called the "Hiraishin no Jutsu", and he had quickly found out that it was his father's most powerful Ninjutsu. That alone was reason enough to read about it.

"This Jutsu was created by the fourth Hokage. To activate it, the user needs a special seal or "Jutsu formula" (Jutsu-shiki) to mark the destination. After this is done, the user can travel almost instantaneously to that location. The Fourth applied this Jutsu-shiki in advance to small weapons such as kunai. It is possible to leave a formula on an area touched by the user."

Naruto grinned, pulling out the marker he had brought specifically for the occasion. A blank scroll was slipped secretly from out of his kunai pouch and unrolled next to the Forbidden Scroll of Seals.

In what seemed to be no time at all, every detail concerning the Hiraishin was careful inscribed on the previously blank scroll, and Naruto held enough of an understanding of the technique to recite the most useful Jutsu-shiki by heart.

With both scrolls put away, Naruto eagerly pulled out kunai, inscribing a Jutsu-shiki on each of them. He left no single knife untouched and unaltered, and, in the end, probably had enough kunai to stop an army. Now, the only problem he had was chakra.

Naruto sighed. It was going to take a long time to get his reserves up so high again. He looked up to the large tree in front of him.

"Well," he told himself, "If you want to succeed, you have to try."

Naruto panted. It had taken the better part of the day, but he had done it. The large tree behind him had slash marks decorating its front, each a few inches apart. The distance between the marks quickly grew, and, about halfway up the tree, the marks were easily three feet apart from one another.

There was a funny prickling on the back of Naruto's head, and he quickly dropped into his act. He had to reenact his graduation almost perfectly, lest he change something vital. It would not do for something to go wrong so far into his second chance.

Naruto looked up as Iruka landed in front of him, a creepy look on his face; "I've found you."

Naruto scratched the back of his head, laughing nervously, "Heh heh, yeah, you found me. I only had a chance to learn one Jutsu!"

Iruka's eyes trailed over Naruto's form, noticing rips and frayed patches in the fabric of his black tee shirt, "You've been working hard. What have you been doing?"

Naruto giggled excitedly, "Never mind that! If I show you this really cool Jutsu, you'll let me graduate!"

Iruka blinked, "What gave you that idea?"

Naruto grinned, "Mizuki-sensei!" Naruto patted the large scroll on his back, "He also told me where to find this scroll! He said that if I mastered one Jutsu on here, you'd let me graduate!"

Iruka's mouth fell open, "Mizuki started this?"

A whooshing sound fell unto their ears, and a barrage of kunai fell upon them as if on cue. Naruto, as prepared as he was, could not prevent Iruka from pushing him away and taking the blow for himself. Iruka raised his arms to defend himself and was pushed against the hut by the rain of throwing knives.

A soft rustle of leaves brought everyone's attention to the other end of the clearing, where Mizuki sat on a branch. A smirk was plastered to his lips and two large shuriken were strapped to his back. The super sized throwing stars clanged lightly as he let out a dark chuckle. "Good job finding him, Iruka."

"I see," Iruka spat, tugging a kunai from his shoulder, "So that's what's going on…"

"Naruto," Mizuki's malicious smile disappeared, "Give me the scroll."

"No matter what," Iruka pulled another knife from his shoulder, "Naruto, don't give him the scroll! He used you to get his dirty hands on it!"

An evil grin stretched across the silver haired man's face.

"Naruto," Mizuki said in a singsong voice, "There's no point in you having the scroll…let me tell you the truth…"

"No, Mizuki!" Iruka shouted in protest. "Don't!"

Mizuki's smirk widened into a maniacal grin and his voice was slightly giddy, "Twelve years ago, the demon fox Kyubi was sealed. And ever since that event, a new rule was created…a rule that everyone knows but you…because, Naruto…you were never meant to know it."

"Oh?" Naruto asked, eyes icy blue. "What rule?"

"That no one is allowed to speak of the fact," Mizuki's eyes widened excitedly. "That you are the nine tailed demon fox that killed Iruka's parents and nearly destroyed the village!"

"You were sealed up by the Hokage you admire…" Mizuki's voice rose. "…And everybody hates you!"

Naruto snorted, ruining Mizuki's speech, "You're full of it. You think I didn't know about the demon?"

Mizuki face grew confused. "Huh?"

Naruto chuckled, "I've known about the demon fox since forever! I mean, it's kind of hard to ignore a seal stuck to your stomach, isn't it?"

"Bu-but…but…" Mizuki stuttered.

"No," Naruto shook his head, hands on his hips. "The question is, what do we do with you?"

"What?" Mizuki asked, alarmed.

Naruto snapped his fingers, "Ah! I know!"

A cross-shaped seal later, and a couple hundred shadow clones surrounded the clearing. Each of them was grinning, eyes closed mischievously. They were there to prevent Mizuki's escape.

The original blonde used the traitor's distraction with his doppelgangers to call upon a fraction of the Kyubi's youki. It sparked through his system, helping to replenish his own chakra. It helped restore his energy reserves and he felt much better than he had five minutes ago.

With most of his chakra back, Naruto's hands slipped through four hand seals. Chakra soon gathered around his right hand, and Naruto grasped his right forearm with his left hand. The chakra peeled off his skin in fiery waves.

"Taiyoushin Ittou Tansen," Naruto whispered. The chakra fluctuated, changing to a deep, burning red. The new flames crackled, but Naruto's body remained untouched by their intensity.

Mizuki backed away into the awaiting grasp of two Naruto clones. He could do nothing to stop them from grabbing his arms and keeping him pinned to his position.

Naruto's icy gaze bore into Mizuki's eyes, "You have endangered the life of a Konoha Shinobi. You have threatened the safety of the village itself. You have turned traitor and abandoned your country. Now I am your judge. I am your jury. I am…your executioner."

Fear crept onto the traitor's face, "N-no! Y-you're the D-dead last!"

Naruto's flaming fist crashed into Mizuki's chest, burning away his shirt and flak jacket. The flames exploded outward, burning skin and cloth away from the man's torso. In a matter of seconds, the only clothing on the rogue ninja's body were the sleeves of his shirt and his pants. Charred skin lay where the rest was supposed to be. Mizuki screamed and fell backwards, dead to the world.

Naruto wiped the sweat from his brow as the fire disappeared. In a disinterested tone, he added, "The damage to your skin isn't nearly as bad as it feels."

The blonde ninja turned and swaggered back to Iruka as his clones disappeared, a smile on his face, "Are you okay, Iruka-sensei?"

Iruka smiled back, "Close your eyes, Naruto."

Naruto closed his eyes and held his breath, his heart beating erratically. He could feel his goggles being pulled from his head, then a piece of cloth being tied above his eyebrows. He couldn't help the grin that stretched across his face.

"Okay," Iruka said, "You can open your eyes. And…Congratulations on graduating!"

Naruto felt his eyes water, despite knowing that he was going to graduate anyway. Tears trickled down his cheeks and he threw himself into Iruka's arms, "Iruka-sensei!"

Naruto was in a place he quite easily recognized. It is kind of hard to forget about it when it's the place where your inner demon lives, isn't it?

The blonde ninja waded quickly through the flood, water sloshing about his knees. He ignored each door and alternate hallway he passed; he knew where he was going, and could find his way even without the ominous red glow.

When he came upon his destination, he drew in a breath and passed into the large cavern, preparing himself to meet the great Kyubi for the 'first' time.

The sight that met his eyes wasn't any different than he remembered it. The walls were still dirty, the floor still one massive puddle, and the sturdy barrier of bars was just as strong and powerful as he first saw.

Naruto braced himself as one huge, gigantic red eye opened behind the makeshift cage, zeroing in on his small form. He suppressed a shudder; being in Its presence could do that to anyone.

"Brat," a deep voice growled, coming from the general direction of the eye, "What do you want? You're disturbing my sleep."

Naruto crossed his arms and glared at the figure behind the bars, "You could have given me more Chakra, you know. I could barely stand after I used my new Jutsu!"

The voice chuckled, "So you noticed, did you? Congratulations, brat. You're not as dumb as I thought you were."

"Look, Fuzzy," Naruto ignored the warning growl, "If we're gonna survive this whole thing, you better give me all the Chakra I ask for. Because if I die, you die, and withholding your chakra could get us both killed!"

"You've got guts, brat," the beast admitted grudgingly, "And you've got a point too. So I'll go along with you, for now."

Two days later…

The sun shone brightly as Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke walked down the streets of Konoha together. Each had a happy smile on their face and a spring in their step as the Academy came into view.

Sasuke wore his usual attire (the clothes he originally wore in canon). Naruto was in something similar to what Itachi had worn daily. A bigger version of the black shirt Hinata had gotten him was tucked into his ANBU pants and a ninja utility belt hung around his waist. White ANBU armor was strapped tightly to his torso, stolen from Itachi's stash. On his right arm, he wore a strap-on sleeve like Sasuke (one of those things that was on Sasuke's arms in his original anime outfit). It disappeared into his right sleeve. His left arm was wrapped in bandages (much like Lee's). They too vanished into his sleeve. On the back of his shirt, hidden by Genjutsu and his new armor, was the Uchiha clan symbol, smack dab in the center of the white tome design.

As the duo reached their destination, Naruto slid the doors open and walked in, followed shortly by Sasuke. Many people crowded the desks, and quite a few waved to Sasuke and Naruto. But they weren't interested.

The Uchiha cousins walked through the aisles and stopped halfway down the classroom. They took a seat. Naruto was between Hinata and Sasuke. Sasuke sat at the last space on the desk. It served him best; no fan girls could sit next to him.

Out of the three of them, Hinata seemed to have changed the most. She still wore a coat over top of her ninja attire, and her pants were still black. But her deep indigo hair was long and cascaded over her shoulders and down across her back. Her bangs were still neatly cropped right above her eyebrows and she was still a bit shy and quiet, but she was more confident in herself and her abilities. Winning Naruto's love didn't seem impossible anymore.

Ino and Sakura's entrance went unnoticed, and then things quieted down. Iruka entered the room and everyone immediately shut up. Not a whisper escaped their mouths as the teacher began his graduation speech.

Naruto tuned out the speech. He had ignored it the first time; he could ignore it again. He was only half listening when Iruka called the teams, and he really didn't expect it to change.

But it had.

"…Team Seven: Hyuga Hinata; Uchiha Sasuke; Uzumaki Naruto…" Iruka shouted, his eyes traveling down the list. "…Team Eight: Inuzuka Kiba; Haruno Sakura; Aburame Shino…"

Naruto's cheek slipped off his palm and his chin collided with the desk. His eyes were wide open now, and even though it had hurt to hit his chin, he was totally ignorant of the pain.

His surprise soon vanished, replaced with elation. He let out a whoop of joy, hugging the two people next to him with a fervor unrivaled.

Hinata blushed and Sasuke scowled, though his lips would twitch every now and then. Many of Sasuke's fan girls squealed angrily, obviously upset they couldn't be with their "Sasuke-kun".

But to Naruto, none of those things mattered. His motivation behind the hug had been totally different.

Fate had changed. And this time, it was for the better.

Naruto hid a gulp as the killing intent of multiple fan girls rested onto him and Hinata.

Maybe, though, it was for the worst.

Three hours had passed since lunchtime, and only team Seven was left sitting in the lonely classroom. Naruto had his head resting on his arms, a bored look on his face. Hinata sat on his right, a light blush on her cheeks, sneaking glances when she thought Naruto wasn't looking. Sasuke sat on Naruto's left, eyes half closed with his chin resting in his right palm.

Naruto sighed, "There's only one person who could be anywhere near this late."

Sasuke nodded, "Yup."

"Kakashi," they said in unison. Then they both sighed. They had grown up knowing Kakashi and his tardiness. It had always been a pet peeve for them, and Kakashi delighted in angering them.

Twenty minutes later, Naruto and Sasuke were snoring lightly, drool trailing down their chins. The classroom door opened, but Hinata was the only one who noticed.

The silver haired man known as Kakashi peered in, his gaze settling on the two sleeping boys. Naruto, he noted, wore clothing that was disturbingly familiar. He smirked.

"Well, I guess I can see why people would call them the Legendary Uzumaki Brothers. They don't do anything alone, do they?"

Hinata blinked, "Ano, Sensei…you're late."

Kakashi chuckled beneath his mask, "Wake up those two and meet me on the roof."

Team Seven sat assembled on the roof of the Academy. Naruto and Sasuke yawned, rubbing their eyes.

"Alright," Kakashi said, leaning up against the railing, "Let's start off with some introductions. You know, likes, dislikes, dreams for the future…"

Naruto frowned sleepily, "Why don't you go first, sensei?"

Kakashi shrugged, "My name is Hatake Kakashi. My likes and dislikes are none of your business. Dreams for the future…? Well…I have a lot of hobbies."

The gray haired Jounin pointed to Naruto, "Your turn, Blondie."

Naruto yawned, scratching his stomach, "Name's Uzumaki Naruto. I like Ramen, Hinata-chan, my cousin Sasuke, and training. What I dislike are those who judge others unfairly. Dreams for the future…?"

He thought for a second, "Helping Sasuke take revenge for our clan, and to become the greatest Hokage ever.

"Hobbies," he grinned, "Pulling pranks with Sasuke and sparring with Hinata-chan."

Kakashi nodded, pointing to Sasuke, "Next."

Sasuke rubbed his right eye, "My name is (yawn!) Uchiha Sasuke. I like Ramen, fire Jutsu, my cousin Naruto, and training. (Yawn!) I dislike people who judge others based on face value."

"Hobbies?" Sasuke scratched his chin, "Pulling pranks on the ignorant villagers and training my Sharingan with Naruto.

"My dream…avenge my clan and revive it…And help my cousin reach the top."

Kakashi blinked, "That was…unexpected."

Slightly unnerved, Kakashi pointed to Hinata, "Your turn."

"Ano…" Hinata said, "My name is Hyuga Hinata. I l-like Naruto-kun, Sasuke-san, and sparring with Naruto-kun. I dislike others who judge people unjustly. My hobbies are pressing flowers, and training to become a medic-nin. My dreams for the future? Ano…" She blushed, staring at Naruto, "I-I can't say."

Kakashi resisted the urge to arch an eyebrow, "So she likes Naruto, eh?"

"Right then," Kakashi said, standing straight, his hands in his pockets, "Tomorrow we'll begin with some survival training."

Sasuke and Naruto sighed, but Hinata spoke up for them, "Ano…Sensei, we already did that at the Academy."

Kakashi leaned against the railing and chuckled, his eye closed. His voice had an 'I know something you don't know' tone to it, "You guys are gonna flip. You see, the Academy test is just to see if you have what it takes to be Genin. The real test is administered by us Jounin sensei."

Kakashi leered at the newly formed Team Seven, an evil gleam in his eye, "And that test has a failure rate of 66.66 percent."

He turned, taking a small moment to enjoy the looks on their faces, "Bring your ninja gear tomorrow. And don't eat breakfast, you'll puke."

"Are you sure this wise, Hiashi-sama? They're only kids," Sandaime sat with his hands folded in front of his mouth, elbows propped up on his desk. He was in a conference with Hyuga Hiashi, Hinata's father.

Hiashi sighed, "As much as I hate to force this upon them, it must be done. Naruto-kun needs the protection of a clan, and the only clan capable of providing adequate protection for him is the Hyuga. If I could adopt him into the clan any other way, I would have, but this is the only method I could slip past the elders with. I don't need their approval to set up a marriage."

The Third Hokage sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, "Naruto-kun will not be happy about this. I don't think Hinata-san will be either."

"Naruto-kun and Hinata-chan are already good friends," Hiashi assured him, "They may find it awkward at first, but they will adapt to being married quite easily. They probably would have been engaged to one another in four years anyway."

"What do you mean?" The Third had a good idea what he meant, but he wanted confirmation.

Hiashi sat back, folding his hands in his lap, "I have noticed that Hinata-chan and Naruto-kun are very fond of one another—more so than any best friend ever is. In four years, they could legally marry without any of the repercussions they might have encountered earlier. I suspect they would have done so."

Sandaime sighed, "So that was why you wanted them on the same team?"

"Yes," Hiashi nodded, "It will help with their integration into marriage four years from now."

"I don't like it very much," Sandaime admitted, "But I will allow it. Just make sure to take care of any problems before you go through with it, Hiashi-sama."

Hiashi stood and bowed, "Thank you, Sarutobi-sama."

The three would-be Genin of Team Seven waited impatiently where their sensei had told them to wait. Normally, this might not have made much sense, since they would only be waiting a few minutes. But this team was different. This team had Hatake Kakashi for a teacher, and he was known to be chronically late to everything. So, naturally, they had been waiting for about three hours.

Kakashi walked into the clearing, a backpack strapped to his torso. He smiled at them, and waved, "Hey guys, good morning!"

"You're late!" Sasuke and Naruto shouted, pointing at the tall Jounin.

The gray haired man ignored them and set an alarm clock on one of the posts. He poked it and it dinged, then started ticking. Kakashi turned back to them, "It's set for noon."

He held up two bells, "You have until then to take these from me. That is your task for today."

"If you don't get a bell, say good bye to lunch," he continued, "I'll tie you up to one of those logs and eat in front of you. Those who get no bell fail and get sent back to the Academy. That will be at least one of you."

Kakashi tied the bells to his belt loop, "You'll have to come at me with the intent to kill."

"Ready," he paused, "Set…GO!"

The three Genin all jumped away, kicking up a cloud of dust…except Naruto. Kakashi sweat-dropped, "You're an odd one."

Naruto chuckled, "The only thing odd here is your hair!"

Kakashi looked at Naruto in a calculating way, "He has the Sharingan, as well as a large repertoire of Jutsu. I won't be able to read with him around."

Naruto stared at Kakashi, then grinned, unstrapping something on his forearms and ankles. Four black pieces of cloth fell to the earth, leaving meter wide craters in the earth. Kakashi sweat-dropped again, "Uh oh."

"Now," Naruto said, his grin widening, "I'm ready."

Kakashi had to double take when Naruto disappeared before him, his eye wide with surprise. "What?!"

A black tornado surrounded the Jounin, flecked with blonde and peach. A blur suddenly flew from the circular pattern, striking the distracted Kakashi in the jaw before rejoining the miniature cyclone.

Regaining his bearings, Kakashi pulled two figures from the whirlwind, forcing it to dissipate. He chuckled, "Not as great as you thought, huh?"

He slammed one of the Narutos into the ground, where it puffed into smoke. The second Naruto broke free from Kakashi's grasp while the elite ninja was concentrated on his other. He tried to send a roundhouse kick into the man's chin, only to have Kakashi duck at the last second.

With Naruto's back exposed to him, Kakashi set his hands into a seal, an evil gleam in his eyes.

"Konoha Secret Taijutsu Technique: A Thousand Years of Pain!"

A powerful ass poke sent Naruto flying, bursting into smoke a few yards from his sensei.

Kakashi's eyebrow rose, "A clone?"

"Got it?"

Sasuke and Hinata nodded. Naruto grinned, "Good."

"A-are you sure this will work, N-Naruto-kun?" Hinata was slightly apprehensive. Kakashi was a Jounin after all.

Sasuke smirked. He knew that none of Naruto's plans failed. The combination of Sharingan and Naruto's natural cunning assured victory.

Naruto grinned, "Of course, Hinata-chan!"

Kakashi looked up from his book as Hinata rushed from the trees, launching a palm strike towards his stomach. Kakashi easily dodged it, but was unprepared for punch that struck his head.

Sasuke giggled impishly, "Never let your guard down, Sensei."

"Well," the jounin said in an approving tone, "It appears you two have grasped the meaning of the exercise. But where's…?"

The three shinobi jumped out of the path of a large fireball as it barreled towards them, courtesy of Naruto. The blonde grinned at them.

"You okay? Sasuke? Hinata-chan?"

They both nodded.

"Oh," Kakashi said, "I see. But…"

The alarm sounded, dropping the smiles from the Genin's faces.

Kakashi grinned at them, "…Your time is up."

All three of his students sighed.

The three Genin were tied to the stumps, Naruto in the middle with Hinata and Sasuke to his right and left respectively. Kakashi stood in front of them, bent down to their level.

"You know, none of you got a bell, but you all understood the meaning of this exercise. Somehow, when I read the names of the three Genin assigned to be my students, I knew you guys would pass."

Naruto, Sasuke, and Hinata's heads rose. "You mean?"

Kakashi smiled at them, "Yup. Team Seven starts missions tomorrow."

A/N This is not a sequel to ASCTR. This doesn't have anything to do with ASCTR.

Taiyoushin Ittou Tansen — Sun God's Single Strike Edge
Naruto's first original Jutsu (during his second chance, anyway). A sort of mimicry of Kakashi's "Raikiri". Consumes an ungodly amount of chakra. It turns the chakra concentrated to one's fist into hot flames. The user remains unharmed, but anything else that touches it will feel as if they had been stricken by the sun. Thus its name. It is also very much advised that you have the Sharingan as well. If you miss and can't keep Taiyoushin Ittou Tansen active, you're a goner.

Updates will be slow for all my stories, due primarily to the new school year.

Steadfast, my friends, and good luck.

James Daniel Fawkes

James Daniel Fawkes (Signature best viewed in Wendy Medium font style)