Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. All characters, techniques, and places described herein that are taken from the anime/manga Naruto are the creative property of Kishimoto Masashi. This fanfiction has been written solely for the purpose of entertainment and I do not seek to acquire any profit from it whatsoever.
Summary: (AU) Using a forbidden jutsu over five hundred years old, Kakashi sends himself back through time to prevent Sasuke from killing Naruto at the Valley of the End. Will Kakashi be able to succeed as a teacher where once he failed? Pairings will be decided by vote.
Author's Preface: This was an idea that slammed into my brain at one million miles per hour and refused to leave until I acknowledged it in some way. For those of you who are currently reading my story Naruto: Engoku no Kodomo, and may be wondering why I have not updated in so long, I have a job now and a bad case of the 'wow, this is turning out really crappy' bug. Every time I go to write a new chapter in Naruto: Engoku no Kodomo I start thinking about how incredibly retarded the good idea I had for it (or perhaps not-so-good idea) has become. So, though I absolutely HAVE NOT stopped writing it, and WILL NOT let it die, I urge you to bear with me as I write this as a means of getting through writer's block whilst I also go about the revamping of Naruto: Engoku no Kodomo.
Once again, all pairings will be decided BY VOTE. I'm open to all pairings, crack or otherwise, so long as they are heterosexual pairings. I have nothing against yaoi/yuri, I just can't write it.
"Blah" Normal speech.
'BLAH' Loud thinking, or Inner Sakura.
"BLAH" Loud shouting.
"BLAH" Speech of the Greater Beings (such as Kyuubi or Shinigami) or enraged shouting.
The rain fell in mighty torrents, crashing into the river below in such rapid and powerful succession that all of the Valley of the End seemed to echo with a cacophony of deep roaring similar to what one might imagine would come from the throat of a hell-born demon. From within this mighty howl, one with enough talent and imagination might pick out the very emotions that the nature of this vast valley was feeling at this very moment. That is, of course, if one believed that nature could express emotion. Upon first thought, Anger would surely seem the most prominent, the powerful rain and fierce winds pounding against anything within a three mile radius with such fury that it seemed the very valley that had stood as a monument of strength and endurance in tribulation for little over a century would be wiped off the face of the planet before the night was done.
The true emotion, however, was not Anger. The feeling that ached within the heart of the earth, once more if one could assume the earth had a 'heart' capable of feeling anything, was Grief. The storm was the Grief of the world, unleashed in all its terrible splendor. Even the statues of the Kage of old, their eyes once icy cold and their expressions utterly emotionless, appeared to be grieving on this night. The rain hit their faces in just such a way that it appeared the statues of the ancient leaders were shedding impossible tears, the Shodaime Hokage's own especially clear. On this night, Konohagakure no Sato...no, all of Hi no Kuni...no, all the world even, had lost something very important, very special, very strong. On this night, a beacon of hope had been smite by that which would have been its brother.
Uzumaki Naruto was dead.
He lay in a pool of his own blood, a swiftly vanishing pool due to the rains mighty downpour. His clothes were in tatters, the worst of the damage an enormous hole in the center of the shirt beneath his bright orange jacket. Beyond the hole, where smooth white skin covering internal muscle and a healthy, beating heart should have been...there was nothing. A gaping hole slightly larger than the diameter of a twelve year-old boy's arm allowed a clear view of the surface of the rock that the blonde boy lay atop of. The demon within Uzumaki Naruto's body had not even been given a chance to filter his healing chakra into the boy's system, for the blonde's heart had been almost instantaneously disintegrated by the dark Chidori wielded by Uchiha Sasuke. The Uchiha would remember the look of utter shock upon his best friend's face just before his death, that look that seemed to turn to disappointment and even guilt (for so many promises would go unfulfilled) for all eternity. Not daring to look at his best friend's broken form any longer, lest he be driven mad by it, he fled from the scene, a brand new Mangekyou Sharingan kaleidoscope spinning in his red eyes for a brief moment.
The world grieved for the loss of its iron-willed, proud failure. No less than ten minutes after the raven-haired Uchiha had run away from the site of his heinous deed, his former teacher, Hatake Kakashi, arrived at the Valley.
Never before had the silver-haired Jounin been privy to the witnessing of such a horrible storm as that which wracked the area around and within the Valley of the End. He brought up his arm as a shield to ward off the wind and the rain the stung at his unprotected right eye. His ninken, a small brown pug by the name of Pakkun, looked up at him from the ground as his master lifted his hitai-ate to reveal his Sharingan. From his current vantage point, Kakashi attempted to see if his two students were still battling, though it was unlikely, given as there was no chakra signature anywhere. Given the enormous reserves possessed by both Naruto and Sasuke, and the fact that Pakkun said the trail ended in this Valley, that was an incredibly bad sign.
"The rain is too fierce for me to remain here!" Pakkun shouted at the Copy-nin over the roar of the wind and rain. "Call me again later if my assistance is needed!"
And with that, the dog puffed away in a small cloud of smoke.
Kakashi barely even registered the fact that his loyal summoning beast had been dismissed on account of the storm. He was too busy trying to spot something orange. Soon enough, thanks to the keen sight of his Sharingan, he found what he was looking for: an orange blotch upon the head of the farthest statue. Feeling a slight joy that he'd managed to find Naruto, though Sasuke had apparently escaped, the Copy-nin immediately gathered his chakra to his feet and bounded in long ninja strides to his blonde student's side. The sight that greeted him, however, stole all the energy that he'd possessed, and the silver-haired Jounin collapsed to his knees.
Checking for a pulse was useless, but part of Kakashi's brain had already shut down from the sight of his student looking like a doughnut, so he did it anyway, placing two fingers on the blonde's icy cold neck. Nothing. Almost all of the boy's blood had drained from his body by this point, and Kakashi took note of the paleness of his student's (former student's) visage, the completely glazed-over eyes and, last but not least, the Copy-nin's detail-catching Sharingan came to rest once more on the hole in Naruto's chest that stared at him like the void. Immediately upon seeing it, Kakashi knew exactly what had caused it and felt a powerful need to vomit. He held it in as best he could.
The Copy-nin had sworn he would never let another comrade die after Obito's own untimely demise. This resolve to protect his precious people had been reinforced once Rin left Konoha, and again after his sensei, the Yondaime Hokage, had sacrificed himself to seal the Kyuubi no Youko within the blonde boy on the ground before Kakashi. The seal had worked perfectly, at least, having linked the very souls of Naruto and the Kyuubi closely enough that the demon was now just as dead as the boy. But that didn't matter. What mattered was that the boy, Kakashi's student, his comrade, lay dead before him. And more than that...
'By my own jutsu...'
The Chidori had caused this damage. Kakashi's Sharingan, with it's better-than-photographic memory, recognized the form of the wound immediately. The Chidori. He'd taught it to Sasuke to defend himself against enemies like Orochimaru, but even more importantly, to protect his teammates, his friends, with the jutsu's power. Instead, Fate had decided to deal him an incredible slap to the face. The Chidori had been used in this battle, not to defend a teammate, but to kill a teammate. In the end, the situation was a terrible irony. The Chidori was never designed to defend in the first place, and had actually been listed as an assassination technique in the Bingo Book - it had been used, in essence, exactly the way it was made to. Sasuke knew how to perform it, knew what its power was, and with it he'd slain Naruto.
Kakashi's body shook and he clenched his teeth as tears began to run down his face. He could not close his burning eyes, however, for they refused to look away from the hole, the void that dominated Naruto's chest.
In a gruesome sort of way, Kakashi was correct. Kakashi had taught Sasuke the Chidori, and Sasuke had used it to kill his best friend, Kakashi's other student. By not seeing Sasuke's lust for power taint him sooner, and by teaching the raven-haired Uchiha the only original technique of Sharingan no Kakashi, the infamous Chidori, the Copy-nin had inadvertently sentenced his blonde student to death. Kakashi's mind went into overdrive.
'It's my fault...all of it...Obito...I have failed in my nindo...Naruto...I killed him...I killed him...I killed him...'
Suddenly, the Copy-nin began to feel incredibly suffocated, and tore his mask from his face. Incapable of holding in his emotions any longer, Kakashi craned his neck upward to glare at the heavens and let out a wail of agony. The wail was so terrible, so full of anger, guilt, pain, misery, sadness, and self-loathing that for an entire minute it could be heard not only over the roar of the storm, but all the way back in Konohagakure, where the people turned their heads wondering what kind of terrible beast was dying. And, after that minute of wailing, the Copy-nin, though he'd seen far more than his fair share of death before, broke down and tossed his lunch, unconsciously making sure that his vomit would not touch Naruto.
After taking a few precious moments to regain what little composure he could, Kakashi replaced his mask on his face and looked at Naruto again.
'That damn hole...'
The ninja slowly reached out and grasped each of the ends of Naruto's jacket and pulled them closely together, zipping the bright orange coat up to hide the terrible void in Naruto's chest. But Kakashi knew it was still there. He steeled himself against his emotions as best he could, for he was still a very capable ninja when it came to maintaining his mental composure, and he closed Naruto's eyes and proceeded to ever-so-slowly work Naruto's body into a piggyback position on his back. Looking in the direction of Konohagakure, one thought had the audacity to cross the Copy-nin's mind.
'Many people will be happy that the "Demon-child" is finally dead...'
Kakashi snarled as he gathered chakra to his feet and began his trek back to his village.
'I will make things right, Naruto. I should have done it right the first time, but I was too stupid. Sensei would be ashamed. Somehow, I will make things right.'
And, as Kakashi disappeared from the Valley of the End, the corpse of his student in tow, the earth continued to cry and howl for the loss of its proud failure.
With the coming of night, the earth cried for Uzumaki Naruto.
Umino Iruka prided himself on being a man who could handle insane stress. After all, he had the stones to be an academy teacher, something that even made Tokubetsu Jounin Morino Ibiki shake in his size twelve combat boots. But when he'd been informed of the mission to retrieve the defector, Uchiha Sasuke, and that Uzumaki Naruto would be amongst the group of shinobi sent to retrieve said defector, he found himself incapable of controlling the worry he felt for his surrogate younger brother. He'd been pacing by the North Gate for hours, silently praying that nothing would go wrong. That was when the first member of the team sent out to recover Sasuke arrived. Upon seeing the state of the first of his former students to return, Iruka's heart fell.
Akimichi Chouji was in a terrible state on arrival, to say the least. He had overdosed on Akimichi Clan Signature Food Pills in a desperate attempt to defeat Jiroubou of the Sound Four, and teetered dangerously upon the very brink of death. His chakra coils suffered from terrible burn-out due to the massive output caused by the Food Pills, the Curry Pill especially, and he'd burned so much of the fat in his body that his internal organs and muscles were going into shock from the sudden change. In addition to that, his body possessed absolutely no chakra left to sustain even the most basic of functions, and his organs would start rotting within minutes if he was not treated immediately. Fortunately, the ANBU that had retrieved the young Genin rushed him to the hospital, where he was swiftly worked upon by the best medics Konoha had to offer at the moment, including the Godaime Hokage, Sannin no Tsunade. Had he arrived only minutes later, he would undoubtedly have died.
The second of those sent to return Sasuke to Konohagakure arrived in a state better than Chouji's, as it was not fatal, but the wounds still caused Iruka to wince. Apparently, Inuzuka Kiba had the misfortune of facing off against Sakon and Ukon of the Sound Four, the latter of which utilized a strange ability to merge with the bodies of other people. Kiba and his ninken familiar, a puppy by the name of Akamaru, put up a valiant fight but were unable to best Sakon and Ukon by themselves, especially after Kiba was forced to wound himself to drive the parasitic Ukon out of his body. Kiba and Akamaru were saved by Sabaku no Kankurou, the brother of the newly elected Kazekage of Sunagakure no Sato, Sabaku no Gaara. Iruka learned from Kankurou that Tsunade had sent for Hidden Sand Village, now allies with the Leaf, to aid in the retrieval of Uchiha Sasuke. When the Godaime Kazekage learned that Uzumaki Naruto was part of the group sent to return Sasuke to Hidden Leaf Village, he immediately took it upon himself and his siblings to personally assist the person who gave him back his humanity.
Iruka's spirit was lifted slightly when he saw how little damage Nara Shikamaru had taken in his fight against Tayuya of the Sound Four, the recently promoted Chuunin possessing only a broken finger, many thanks owed to Sabaku no Temari, who'd shown up to kill Tayuya herself when Shikamaru's situation looked its bleakest. Whatever hope he'd gotten from Shikamaru's arrival was dashed, however, upon seeing the bruised, broken, and bleeding form of Hyuuga Neji.
The Branch House prodigy of the Hyuuga Clan fought against the highly skilled and intelligent Kidoumaru of the Sound Four, and the reason he survived the encounter was thanks in no small part to the three-hundred and fifty-nine degree vision granted to him by his Kekkei Genkai, the Byakugan. Neji's body was full of holes and possessed an astronomical amount of superficial lacerations, blood oozing out from just about everywhere on his body other than his face, but his ability to see had given the edge he needed to dodge a great majority of Kidoumaru's strikes, and manipulate those that did hit him into a non-fatal region of his body. Neji, like Chouji, was rushed to the hospital with tremendous speed and given the absolute best of care. Thanks to the magnificent work of Konoha medical specialists, he was brought to a stable condition in no time flat.
The last of Iruka's former students to come through the gate was Rock Lee, who'd actually been instructed not to leave the infirmary, as he still needed to recover from intensive surgery. The very person whom made it necessary for Lee to undergo any kind of surgery in the first place turned out to be his savior. Sabaku no Gaara, Godaime Kazekage and youngest of the siblings from Sunagakure no Sato, had arrived in the nick of time to assist Lee against the near-unstoppable power of Kimimaro of the Bone Pulse. Regardless of the fact that Kimimaro had been killed (though it was admittedly more due to his disease than either Lee's or Gaara's attempts to subdue him), the Godaime (who had finished with patients in the hospital and was awaiting Naruto's return) promptly berated Lee both for both his disobeying of her orders and his accidental consumption of her sake. Iruka's own worry was lifted at the light-hearted scenes of Tsunade scolding Lee, and Maito Gai declaring how the 'flames of youth still burned brighter than ever' in his beloved student. Yet, even with the joviality that was restored when Lee arrived, Iruka had a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that something horrible had happened to Naruto.
An hour after Lee and Gaara had arrived in Konohagakure, Iruka' eyes were finally greeted by the sight of Hatake Kakashi carrying an orange bundle on his back. Iruka immediately ran towards the Copy-nin, going into 'concerned parent mode' at the sight of the seemingly unconscious Naruto, though he had every notion that as soon as he went to ask if Naruto was alright, the blonde boy would look up at him with a foxy grin and give some kind of nervous apology for overexerting himself while rubbing the back of his head. As Iruka drew closer to the masked Jounin that carried his former student, however, Iruka began to notice how incredibly pale Naruto looked, how his body did not rise and fall with steady intakes of breath, and the look of utter tiredness (rather than the usual look of boredom) in Sharingan no Kakashi's lone eye. Quickly, he stepped in front Kakashi's path and looked the silver-haired Jounin in the eye. Kakashi could not lock eye(s) with the academy teacher for long, and soon he averted his gaze.
As if he had gleaned the entire story from that gaze alone, but could not bear the truth, Iruka rushed over to the unmoving Naruto's side and removed him from Kakashi's back. Kakashi did not bother to stop him from doing so. Tears beginning to form in his eyes at what might have happened, Iruka lay Naruto on the ground, lightly shaking his surrogate brother's lifeless form in a fruitless attempt to wake him.
"Naruto, wake up," he quietly spoke. "Wake up, you brat. Naruto, get your lazy ass up or I'll never treat you to ramen again."
Knowing that, no matter what his condition, Naruto would have awoken from even the deepest of slumbers from such a threat, Iruka finally snapped, the volume of his crazed shouting reaching such a level that he'd actually beaten Gai's all-time record. Tears strolled down the Chuunin's face in mighty streams as he gripped the dead boy by each shoulder and increased the vigor of his shakes. Those around him could only watch, tears of their own slowly being shed as he began spiraling into a breakdown.
"NARUTO, WAKE UP! PLEASE WAKE UP! NARUTO, DON'T LEAVE ME! I'LL DO ANYTHING, JUST COME BACK! PLEASE, NARUTO, I HAVE NO ONE! YOU WERE THE ONLY SEMBLANCE OF FAMILY I HAD LEFT! NARUTO, WAKE UP! NARUTO! NARUTO!"
Fate seemed apt to drive Iruka into insanity for, in the fatal moment when Iruka clutched Naruto's head to his chest in the two's last sorrowful embrace, the blonde boy's zipper broke clean off his jacket, opening up to reveal the gaping hole in his chest. Iruka's eyes looked at the hole and, given his textbook knowledge of all jutsu in Konohagakure, he immediately knew what jutsu it was that had caused the damage.
Iruka's eyes widened, as did the eyes of everyone else who was present, as he stared at charred void where his student's heart should have been. Suddenly, his eyes narrowed and twitched with uncontrollable rage. As gently as possible, he lay Naruto back on the ground and sharply turned to face Kakashi.
With an almost god-like swiftness that nobody in the village knew Iruka possessed, the academy teacher was in front of the Jounin, sending him rocketing into the North Wall with such a fierce punch to the face that, under normal circumstances, Tsunade herself would have been impressed. The surprise on Kakashi's face was evident, even with his mask, but Iruka allowed no time for him to recover. In less than moments, Iruka was once more in front of Kakashi, holding the ninja by the collar of his vest with one arm and delivering an astounding flurry of punches to the silver-haired Jounin's body with the other, his eyes blazing with rage, his body pulsing with a sickly-looking green chakra. Maito Gai immediately realized that the Chuunin had unconsciously opened several of his body's Celestial Gates.
"IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" shouted the crazed Iruka, as he pummeled the Jounin (who would not fight back) with everything he had. "YOU TAUGHT THE TRAITOR THAT TECHNIQUE! IT SHOULD BE YOU LYING THERE WITH A HOLE IN YOUR CHEST, NOT NARUTO! NOT MY OTOUTOU! I'LL KILL YOU!!!"
Iruka would not be able to keep his word, as those who had at first been too shocked at the academy teacher's actions to do anything immediately regained their senses and sprung into action. It took every able body there to restrain him, however, as he had apparently opened a grand total of seven of the eight Celestial Gates in his rage. Only after Tsunade knocked him out with a chakra-enhanced chop did he go down, and still his body twitched madly, as if he was trying his absolute best to beat Hatake Kakashi to a bloody pulp, even in unconsciousness. Kakashi, though he was badly bruised and bleeding from several points on his body, waved off everyone who attempted to assist him. Silently, with varying degrees of pain and a terrible limp in his right leg, Kakashi moved over to Naruto's side and kneeled next to him. With a mighty heave, he lifted the boy of the ground.
Slowly, he looked over at the unconscious Iruka and then shifted his gaze to the Godaime (who was actually doing her best not to punch Kakashi at least once herself).
"Let's take -cough- Iruka to the infirmary," he said, a dark splotch forming on the front of his mask from the blood he'd just coughed up. "And..."
Everyone looked at him, waiting.
"...let's begin the arrangement's for Naruto's funeral."
So, what do you think? Time-travel has been done to death, but I haven't seen one where Kakashi is the one to go through time. I did my best to make it emotionally gripping. Please leave a review if you would like me to continue this story. My original intention for it was actually more of a two-part starter pack for other authors to use and continue on their own, but if I get enough positive feedback I may very well make it into a full-fledged story. That doesn't mean I'll drop Naruto: Engoku no Kodomo, so fans of that need not be worried. Anyways, please leave a review if you liked it.