Disclaimer: I don't own crap. Not Naruto, not any anime, nothing.
The Way Things Were
A young man looked out over the small caravan of people traveling through the woods. He was dictated as the protector due to his younger age and skill.
They had all left their home almost 13 years ago, not that they had any choice in the matter. The sudden grouped attack of four full fledged shinobi nations was enough to destroy almost any semblance of peace or calmness…not to mention any life.
He had been amongst the lucky ones to escape. Not that he had a choice in the matter. His adopted grandmother had grabbed him and ran, along with anyone in the near vicinity.
Seishou Ryuuki had been 5 when he was forced to leave his home village. He was lucky to have his only surviving relatives make it with him, to comfort and watch over him. And to train him.
Now that 12 years had passed, the young man was soon to see his 18th birthday. It was in just another four days.
The black haired teen was brought out of his revere by a rustling sound off to the right. He quickly activated his ranged eyesight and scanned the area. After a few good sweeps of the entire range surrounding their little group of misfits, he was satisfied enough to turn off his Byakugan.
His uncle had trained him in the art of his dark bloodline when he was old enough to understand the concept. He told Ryuuki that it was a means to defend himself from attackers if he were able to sense them or see them before they even got close.
It was no surprise that the boy had mastered bringing forth his abilities at an extremely young age. After all, he had the blood of a genius as well.
Ryuuki brought his black eyes to stare at the people in front of him. He was trying to do his best to please them, as well as keep any and all of them alive. He didn't want to lose anyone else.
He'd lost his mother at the age of 3, and he never knew his father. By what the others described him as, he didn't think he'd ever want to know the crazed man. His darkened aura was clearly present in the boy's appearance, but no one minded. They accepted him for who he was: himself.
The quiet and stoic voice startled the teen into looking over his shoulder. His uncle, Neji, was seen with a slightly amused face as he looked at his nephew.
"Sorry, I was just thinking."
Neji nodded. It wasn't uncommon to find Ryuuki thinking of his past. That was one of the main reasons he was placed as the rear guard and not the rear defense guard. Neji held the latter position, his skills and prowess in combat easily allowing him to see and hunt down any enemy that might follow.
"It looks like they're setting up." When the boy looked over, he could see the small line slowly halt and begin to shuffle about. They were unpacking their things and setting up camp for the night. Then they would move again tomorrow.
No where was safe.
They had to constantly keep on the move to avoid conflict, but that didn't even work all the time.
It was the same routine, day after day. Morning training for the shinobi, breakfast, packing up and leaving to find a new area.
Ryuu could see his aunt moving towards the caravan as her position as the scout. He had heard stories from his uncle about how the Hyuuga line used to be a powerful, yet extremely misguided clan.
The Main and Branch houses were constantly in silent conflict with each other. He heard that his mother and aunt used to be extremely spoiled. Until certain events came to pass, events that made his grandfather a harsh and unforgiving man.
"Neji-kyoshi…Is oba-san alright?"
Neji looked past the youth and stared at his youngest cousin. She had grown a lot more humble over the years. One of the reasons for that was the loss of all her immediate family. All she had left were Neji and Ryuuki.
When Ryuuki was born, although it was a time of chaos and pain, many people rejoiced. That was how he received his name. Although many people usually called him Ryuu or Shou-kun.
The second reason she was more humble was due to the fact that none of them had much claim to anything. They were each barely surviving off the land and made the journey day by day.
"She'll be fine, Ryuu. We should rest up for tomorrow."
The teen nodded and followed his uncle slowly to the caravan. As the two approached, many people turned to smile at them. All three of the remaining Hyuuga were treated with the greatest respect, due to their role in the survival of everyone in the caravan.
They were the scouts and defenders of the party. The only other person that still had the necessary skills to help defend the small party was Iruka. He was the sole surviving Chuunin instructor of the group.
The number of surviving shinobi in the caravan could be counted on one hand. Even then, Tsunade was getting very old. The elder woman was now in her mid 80s. Although she still looked about the age of 40, she moved rather slowly and wasn't able to perform very many physical duties for extended periods of time.
That didn't, however, stop her from helping out in the group. She was still the most renowned medic in the shinobi world after all. She helped with colds, injuries, and anything else that might require her attention.
The number of Konoha civilians that survived was surprising, considering that the village had been ambushed by Sound, Rock, Cloud and Rain.
Ryuuki stopped next to a sheltered wagon and opened the door.
When the boy didn't get a response, he arched an eyebrow and peeked inside. He cringed when he saw the elder woman sleeping with her head leaning against one of panels next to the door on the opposite side. His worst fear was realized.
He sighed and slowly closed the door to let her sleep.
He turned around and set out to find his next source of entertainment. After a few minutes he managed to find the spiky haired Jounin talking to his aunt. The two had started an informal form of a relationship slightly before the attack occurred that forced everyone out of their homes.
He walked up behind the two only to notice that they were locked in an embrace. After a few moments, they parted and shared a short kiss before his aunt left after flashing him a slight smile.
The brown haired man turned around and blinked his single eye in surprise as he noticed Ryuuki standing there.
"Hey Ryuu, what's up?"
The teen grinned slightly, "Well…obaa-san is asleep , and I was going to ask her to help me with a few things I was having problems understanding with a few of her techniques." He lifted his head to look at the taller man, "So do you think you could help me out, Konohamaru-sensei?"
The only benefit that seemed to come from this disfigured way of life was that Ryuuki had several private tutors. His uncle and aunt helped him with the family style of close range combat, he learned everything a normal student would from the academy from Iruka, he learned several different techniques and weapon tactics from Konohamaru, and learned how to perform various medical techniques from Tsuande. Of course, the older woman also taught Ryuuki how to use, control and benefit from the monstrous strength boosts he received under her training as well.
His secondary doujutsu allowed him to pick things up far more quickly. With the combination of the two legendary blood limits, he was able to see almost everything involved in the use of any technique. The chakra flow, chakra manipulation, memorizing the hand seals immediately and the actual use of the technique.
Some didn't even think it was possible to possess two bloodline limits, but the three blood red tomoe marks that would appear in the teen's eyes when he went to train or was fighting off an enemy combined with the pulsing veins next to each of his eyes proved them wrong.
That was the only thing Ryuuki was thankful that his father gave him, since he seemed to take everything else. His family, his friends, even his life were destroyed by the black haired lunatic.
"Sure. What did you need help with Shou-kun?"
The teen motioned for his elder to follow him away from the gathering of people so they could work in a bit peace before dinner.
The routine continued on as normal for the next four days. However, there were always exceptions made on special occasions.
The rule had been one of the basic ground rules that the 'leaders' of the caravan had set almost at the beginning of their journey.
And Ryuuki's birthday was marked as such. He was always treated with tenderness and care, as he was the youngest of the caravan by almost 15 years. The only people even close to his age were his aunt and Konohamaru.
As the small group of 34 people gathered in a small clearing, the festivities began. There was an overall feeling of happiness as music and laughter seemed to reign over the silence in the thick forest.
This didn't last long, however, as a dark figure appeared in the center of the clearing not more than half an hour later.
The demented looking figure looked around with blood red eyes that seemed to permeate malice and hate. They soon fixed on Tsunade, which caused the figure to sneer.
At the rise of his hand, five more figures flash out of the surrounding trees. And the sole fear that everyone had in the caravan came to be. They had been found.
Screams of pain and rage were heard ringing throughout the trees as the five figures instantly began to decimate any and all innocents around the area. The leader of the forces continued to step forward until Neji slid in front of him, blocking his path to Tsunade.
The eldest of the Hyuuga quickly turned to his nephew, "Get Tsunade-sama away from here! Now!"
The young boy was frozen in shock and anger as he stared at the dark haired figure before his uncle. He was the reason for their current predicament. He was the reason why he even existed to feel this pain.
He was snapped out of his stare as his uncle yelled out an order, which he immediately obeyed.
He ran over to the elder woman and quickly pulled her into his arms and began to run as fast as he possibly could. He only moved forward for a few seconds before being cut off by one of the goons. The henchman ran toward Ryuuki, but was suddenly thrown off to the side as a flat palm connected with the side of his face.
The youngest Hyuuga turned to look at his aunt to see a look in her eyes he hadn't seen since he was a kid; pure and absolute rage.
She turned to look at him, blood limit active, and shifted her head to the left as to signal his continuation. He simply nodded and continued running.
Back in the clearing, Neji continued to stare down the red eyed man.
"Orochimaru," he hissed with considerable hate.
The man simply snickered, "Neji-kun, it's been a while."
The man shifted into his normal battle stance before activating his Byakugan. "Yes, yes it has. Far too long, if you ask me."
The man chuckled lightly to himself while Neji continued to stare at him.
"Now, you will pay for the crimes you committed against my family. And for violating one of the last few pure people on this earth."
The man snickered again in his annoying manner. It sounded more like his was choking on something than laughing.
"Ah, but you see…that was not me. Sasuke-kun was bored and wished to have a little…fun…"
Neji's glare hardened, "Then you shall die in his stead."
As Neji rushed forward, the battle began.
For life. And for the restoration of honor.
Ryuuki looked back as he heard the sounds of battle dim to almost nothing. He'd been running as fast as he could to get away. After all, Tsunade was their last chance for anything good to happen while she was still alive.
The elder woman looked up at the boy turned man and sighed. He had grown up in such harsh and unforgiving times…yet there was nothing that could be done. Unless of course she violated all sacred law and performed on of the many kinjutsu she knew.
She had resolved herself to stick it out as long as it took for their group to find peace, but now that would never happen.
She sighed as she looked up at Ryuuki's face once again. He deserved so much more than this meaningless lifestyle. And now she would give it to him, whether it would break the ancient laws or not.
"Ryuu, put me down."
Ryuuki looked at her like she was crazy before noticing the look in her eyes. That look was something he knew he wouldn't be able to argue with.
He slowly decelerated and stopped as he gently set down the woman. Tsunade closed her eyes for a moment, searching her memories for the long forgotten technique.
After he younger brother and her lover had died, she had down some research in various arts of revival and time travel to see if it were possible to bring either back. Yet, she found nothing that seemed to work without drastic consequences.
As she filed through the various forbidden arts in her mind, she finally began to remember the one she was thinking of. It was considered an extremely forbidden technique due to two reasons.
One, was that the person sent back in time could disrupt the normal flow of time and that could possibly distort or destroy the timeline. And the second reason…was that anyone who used the technique would be cursed. Cursed with the seal of immortality. Unable to die or live in complete peace. Being a recluse to avoid suspicions and hatred. And worst of all, watching all those you cared about die around you.
However, Tsunade now had nothing to live for. The sole reason she felt she existed was to give this second chance to Ryuuki, so he could live a normal life.
After a few minutes of silence, Ryuuki looked at the disguised woman in confusion, "Obaa-san?"
The blonde turned to look at him with a soft smile and gentle spark in her eyes.
"I don't like that look…obaa-san…"
"Ryuuki, there's nothing left for you here." The boy seemed to hesitate slightly before nodding, "And it has recently been brought back to my attention that there is a possible out for you."
The teen raised an eyebrow in confusion as he stared at the older woman. She began to look around and found a small stick lying on the ground. After grabbing it, she kneeled and began tracing odd looking shapes and figures in the ground.
After a short time, the figures and shapes turned into a medium sized seal drawn on the floor of the forest.
Ryuuki was now getting nervous, "What are you planning to do baa-san?"
She turned and smiled at him before wincing slightly as she stood, "Something relatively easy. And something that should help you live a better life."
The teen was confused. He simply stared at his adopted grandmother with confusion clear in his pupil-less black eyes and a frown on his face.
"I'm going to send you into the past Ryuu. There, not only will you have a better life, but you have a chance to change all of this before it even happens. If you manage that…everything will be just fine."
"What are you talking about? I can't simply abandon you!"
Tsunade frowned, "I'm not asking you to go, I'm telling you. Even if I have to knock your ass unconscious to do so, I'm still going to send you back."
The boy sighed, he knew there wasn't any arguing with her now. She had it engraved in her mind, and she wasn't going to let it go.
"Fine…but you better swear you'll be alright."
Tsunade grinned, "What are you talking about? I'll be just fine!"
The black haired youth rolled his eyes as she put a hand on her bicep and flexed slightly and mumbled, "Whatever."
"Stand in the middle of the seal." The boy nodded and slowly walked into the center, still hesitant over the entire idea. He knew things were bad, but he couldn't guess how bad they were if Tsunade was going to break the ancient laws by performing a forbidden technique.
As he made it to the center, he calmly turned around and stared at his grandmother. He noticed that she seemed weary and completely vulnerable. It was the first time he'd ever seen her in such a state.
"I just have one thing to ask of you before you go…" The teen nodded, "Take care of Naruto."
He blinked at the name. He hadn't heard that specific name ever since he was a little kid. It was taboo to say around Tsunade, as well as his aunt and Konohamaru. The name of his mother's lover.
He hadn't really known him all that well, since he was told that the man died when he was barely 2. Yet he could always sense a great deal of sadness whenever the name was mentioned around anyone that cared for him.
He had apparently been a great man…and Neji told him that he would've loved him.
His thoughts were broken as Tsunade continued, "Look out for him. I'm going to send you back far enough so that you can influence a greater part of his childhood. If you can take him in and shelter him from even the slightest bit of trouble…things may turn out for the better."
Ryuuki stared at her for a moment before nodding. Tsunade tossed him a decrepit looking wallet before biting her right thumb and smearing the red liquid produced from the wound on both her hands.
She ran through a long series of seals before finally ending on ryu.
She took a deep breath before stating, "Kinjutsu: Kouin Saihaichi no Jutsu."
She slowly placed both hands on the seal before looking up at Ryuuki one last time with a solemn and sad look.
The teen nodded before seeing the entire area around him morph and change into a black sea of nothingness.
It was disorienting to say the least. To be staring at his 'grandmother' one moment, and staring into a bleak, dark nothingness the next.
After an indeterminable amount of time, Ryuuki could see a few small lights in the sky above him. A few more moments, and he was standing in front of something large and black. After a few more moments, he noticed he was standing in what looked like a street in front of a massive mansion.
He could only stare at the large building for a few seconds before he heard a small shuffle to his left. He turned his head to notice a masked figure running off with a small bundle under his right arm. Almost immediately, he was at the figures side, holding his free arm with a trench knife at his neck.
"Let the child go, and you will live," he stated in a cold voice. He hated anyone who would harm children, even if they had a suitable reason. The masked figure seemed to hesitate slightly before getting the blunt end of another trench knife in the back of his head while the other hand hit his chin with the knuckles of his knife. The resulting blows cancelled out any movement of the man's head, but both were easily enough to knock him out.
As the figure slumped to the ground, he quickly grabbed the child from the masked man's arm and stared in surprise as another figure walked out of the gate to his right.
The robe clad man raised an eyebrow in slight interest at the sight before him. Apparently, the fiend had already been subdued by a passing shinobi. The white eyed man cleared his throat to gain the attentions of his daughter's rescuer, only to have his eyes widen in slight shock.
The boy had what looked like the Hyuuga family blood limit, but it was completely black. He stared at the man for a moment before walking over to him and handing him the small figure in his arms.
Hiashi nodded his head in thanks and moved back into the complex while the other male turned back to the figure.
Ryuuki stared at the masked figure with disgust clearly written on his features. This was something he'd never heard about from either his uncle or aunt.
Ryuuki walked over to the man and began to properly restrain him. After a few moments, the man no longer had any weapons and was completely defenseless while unconscious. He then grabbed the man by the arms, secured behind his back, and began to drag him towards the huge compound.
Within his first few minutes in this new time…he'd already been able to see a figure he recognized, even if it was images from certain pictures. And it was one of the last he'd expected to see.
On his first night in this current timeline…he'd rescued his mother.
A/N: Ok, so some of you may get the hints and everything…others may not. I honestly don't know why I'm writing this, but it seems like fun. Maybe I've been reading too many AU fictions.
But this is going to be dark for the first few chapters…as you can probably tell just by this.
The technique used was taken from a form of the same technique in Flame of Recca, only this one can be controlled.
Translations: The –kyoshi suffix is used for martial arts style instructors that have proven themselves to usually be the best…at last that's what I read.
Kinjutsu: Kouin Saihaichi no Jutsu – Forbidden Technique: Time Realignment Technique
Ryuuki Seishou – Rising Spirit