Surreality: To Go Back
Summary: As a last attempt to save the war torn Allied Villages, Rokudaime Hokage Naruto Uzumaki and former Kazekage Gaara of Suna have just one last chance to save what remains of their villages. However time travel is a tricky thing and from every action they make something else in the timeline changes...can they get it right or are they simply dooming themselves to an even darker future?
A/N: This is a complete 2015 revamp of the original story which was posted in 2007. It has turned into basically a very different story so I would probably recommend that old readers re read, as a lot of things will no longer make sense.
Chapter One: Modoru
"This is futile, if we do not act soon we will lose our only chance." Gaara frowned, crossing his arms as he studied his companion carefully. The other man met his gaze easily, determination shining in his sapphire eyes.
"How do we even know it will work?" Naruto countered quickly. "We have no idea what it will do..." He trailed off, glancing down at his feet quickly. "There's just no way of knowing for sure." He said quietly before meeting Gaara's steady gaze once more. His eyes hardened as he drew himself up to his full height, using the few inches he had on Gaara to his advantage. "I will not just abandon this village."
"What if this is the only thing that will save it?" Gaara said quietly, effectively halting Naruto's anger in its tracks. Naruto fell back down into his seat, eyes glistening with tears that threatened to fall at any moment. One lone tear finally descended down his cheek, slicing a line of moisture through the grime on his face as it passed over the three whisker like scars on Naruto's cheeks.
A long minute passed in silence, before Naruto finally lifted his head to meet Gaara's steady gaze. "How can you be sure that this will work?" Naruto's voice was utterly defeated. His face was strong as his composure held, but his eyes betrayed the turmoil that bubbled just under the surface.
"As Kazekage, I had access to a number of forbidden scrolls. I managed to get some of them out before we lost Suna." Gaara began, taking the seat beside his friend. "On one of these such scrolls, there is a strange jutsu, it was kept with the forbidden jutsus for the simple reason that it is supposed to be impossible. To perform this jutsu you would require not only one person with an almost unlimited amount of chakra, but two. So yes, in almost all cases, this jutsu would be considered impossible. However you and I are not bound to just our own physical chakra. I believe it to be possible for two jinchuriki such as ourselves to perform this jutsu." A frown crossed Gaara's face as he considered for a moment. "I believe it should almost certainly be within the realm of possibility if we tap into Shukaku and Kyuubi's chakra." His voice trailed off once more as he glanced up to meet Naruto's gaze.
"I swore I would never use it again." Naruto whispered, shaking his head. "Not after..." He trailed off, frowning heavily.
"As did I." Gaara interrupted with a frown. "However I believe this to be the only way to end this war before we lose what's left of our people. Perhaps if we had just used the chakra in the beginning we may have avoided this war...but alas, we did not. I believe this to be our only chance at redemption."
"You would use it then?" Naruto said blankly, a chill running through his body.
Gaara paused for a long moment, before finally bowing his head slightly. "I would. However you are the Hokage of the Allied villages. This is your decision to make."
"Tell me everything you know about it." Naruto said finally, meeting his gaze.
Gaara nodded slowly before turning to the pile of scrolls behind him, pulling one out from the bottom. "What is written is all that I know."
Naruto studied the scroll carefully, frowning as he saw just a few words written. Modoru: Zetsubo-tekina jikan no tame ni. "To go back: for desperate times." He muttered, before glancing up to meet Gaara's searching gaze. "This is all you know?"
"Yes." Gaara inclined his head. "That, and what I was told by the former kazekage; to keep it secret at any costs. It is clear he saw some value in it, though I do not know that he ever intended for it to be used."
"To go back." Naruto whispered. "You don't think it means to go back in time?"
Gaara paused for a long moment before meeting his gaze. "I believe that it exactly what it means." He said finally.
Naruto's eyes widened slightly. "Could that be possible? To go back to before this war started?"
Gaara's lip curled into a tight smile. "Shall we find out?"
And that was the best thing about having nothing left to lose, Naruto supposed as their gazes met over the table, excitement building between them at the possibilities. It meant you were a whole lot more willing to try downright crazy things.
Naruto immediately found himself searching for a pair of dark eyes as the group of clan leaders entered the meeting room, finding them quickly as their gazes locked. Sasuke gave him a minute nod as he took his seat to Naruto's left, indicating to him that his mission had been completed. Naruto nodded back at him with a sigh before turning back to the table at large.
"Clan leaders." He nodded formally and rose as they took their seats around the circular table. "Thank you for joining me here today. We are, of course, to be discussing the imminent invasion by Otogakure." Many of the clan leaders nodded solemnly at this news, a few grunting in displeasure.
"I now have it on good authority that Orochimaru will be at our gates with his forces by morning. There is nothing to do now but prepare. All of Konohagakure's forces above Genin level will be expected to be assembled and ready by morning. You all know what to do; we have been preparing for this for months. All our intelligence suggests that this should be a manageable force. The Kazekage has already sent reinforcements from Suna, we merely must hold them off until Gaara's forces arrive. All ANBU have been recalled from their missions as of today, and they will be returned to Konoha within a few hours. I thank you all again for your continued support during these times, and I hope that we shall all remain to meet again once this invasion has been dealt with." With a final nod he took his seat once more.
One by one the clan leaders rose, each nodding to him respectfully as they took their leave. "Hokage-sama," Naruto glanced up to see Shikamaru Nara standing before him. "Do try to relax," the other man said with a lazy grin. "As you said, we have been ready for this for months. You have done all you can to prepare Konoha for this fight. Sit back and relax and let your forces take care of it."
Naurto chuckled, shaking his head. "Aah, Shikamaru-kun. You know me well after all these years, do you not?" He raised an eyebrow. "When have I ever been known to sit back and relax?"
Shikamaru shook his head with a laugh. "You are right, Hokage-sama. What was I thinking? Shall I see you on the battlefield in the morning then?"
"Dattebayo!" Naruto winked. Shikamaru left with a chuckle, leaving just Sasuke and Naruto at the table. His amusement quickly faded as he met Sasuke's gaze, both of the frowning heavily.
"Something doesn't feel right." Naruto said finally.
"Mmm." Sasuke nodded. "Something hasn't felt right about this for a long time." He agreed softly.
"You'll have my back out there?" Naruto asked, meeting his closest friend's steady gaze. "Just like old times?"
"Hai." Sasuke agreed. "Just like old times."
They held each other's gaze for a long moment, before finally standing up to leave. "I'll see you in the morning Sasuke, try and get some sleep, that's an order." Naruto joked, clasping his shoulder warmly - it was the last time Naruto would ever see his ANBU captain and closest friend again.
Naruto woke with a jerk, glancing wildly around the empty room. He sat up slowly, his heart thumping in his chest. "Just a dream." He muttered, shaking his head. The door creaked open as Gaara stuck his head in, raising an eyebrow at his disheveled appearance. "Come Naruto," he said, refraining for asking about it. "It is time."
Naruto nodded quickly, following him into the central room with a frown. As he entered he met the eyes of his two remaining clan leaders who were seated around the once full table. His dream came back to him with a shock as he met Shikamaru's eyes, sending a shiver down his spine. This Shikamaru looked almost a decade older than the one from his dream, lines worn into his face as he frowned. Naruto shook his head as he took his seat, four years of war had taken its toll. "Shikamaru, Neji." He nodded at his two friends as Gaara took his seat next to Naruto. "I trust Gaara has filled you in already?"
Neji scowled, crossing his arms. "If you mean has he told us about this harebrained scheme the two of you have cooked up?" He snapped.
"I'll take that as a yes." Naruto sighed, running his hands through his hair. "I wasn't too convinced at first either." He admitted, ignoring the glare Gaara shot in his direction. "If you have a better idea, now would be the perfect time to share it." He said seriously, meeting the eyes of first Neji and then Shikamaru.
"You know that we don't." Shikamaru said, shrugging slightly. "This war has been lost since the day it started."
Naruto frowned as his words sent a shock of anger through him. "That isn't true. We have fought hard for this, and lasted a hell of a lot longer than anyone ever through we would." He snapped angrily. "You of all people know how hard we have fought." Naruto regretted the words almost immediately, an image of Temari's lifeless corpse imprinting in his mind.
Shikamaru flinched slightly, his expression darkening. "We have all lost people." He said shortly, "not one man at this table has anything left but each other."
"That isn't true." Naruto argued weakly. "There are still almost a hundred people out there that we should still be fighting for." He gestured to the window, outside of which the remaining members of the Allied villages were camped in refugee tents.
"Naruto." Gaara said simply, meeting his gaze. "You had agreed to this. Have you changed your mind?"
Naruto paused for a long moment before shaking his head. "No. You are right, we have nothing left. The next wave will be on us within days, two thirds of our remaining population are civilians. We will all be dead within the week."
"You could use the demon chakra against Orochimaru." Neji said quietly. "Shukaku and Kyuubi's power combined, it could be enough."
"It could be." Gaara nodded. "We may even stay in control and save the hundred we have left, maybe get far enough away for a little while at last. We may last a year or two, before we are found again. Or, we could lose control again and finish off the rest of our people ourselves." His eyes hardened as he gazed back at Neji.
Naruto shuddered, his eyes falling closed at his words. We could lose control again. Lose control again...again. "No." He interrupted. "This is the only way. If this works, we save everyone. Tamari," he glanced at Gaara and then Shikamaru. "Hinata," He glanced to Neji. "Kakashi, Sakura, Jiraiya...Sasuke." He shook his head. "Everyone we have lost, we can save."
They all fell silent for a moment as they considered his words. "You are the Hokage Naruto," Shikamaru said finally. "This is your decision and we will support whatever you decide." He said firmly, sending a quelling glance in Neji's direction.
Neji sighed loudly before shaking his head. "If you think this is the only way..."
"It is." Gaara nodded, placing the scroll in the middle of the table.
"Will we know?" Shikamaru wondered as he stared at the scroll carefully. "If it works, will we know what happened?"
"We have no way of knowing." Naruto answered slowly. "However if it unlikely. "I believe that if successful only Gaara and I will ever remember this timeline."
"What will happen to us?" Neji asked. "Will this timeline continue, or will we just...disappear?"
"I don't know." Naruto repeated. "We don't know anything else other than what is written here. Anything is possible."
"We will continue to fight." Shikamaru said suddenly. "If this timeline remains, we will fight until the end. That I will promise you." Neji nodded slowly in agreement.
"Then it is decided." Gaara said softly. "We will use the jutsu."
That night they said their final goodbyes, Naruto formally swearing in Shikamaru as the Nidaime Hokage of the Allied villages. He gave Shikamaru and Neji one final crushing hug before he and Gaara sealed themselves inside the room, never to leave it in this timeline again.
They shared one long gaze as they stood before the scroll, uncertainty flickering across Naruto's face. "Are you certain we are doing the right thing?"
"Doesn't it feel right?" Gaara asked simply, raising an eyebrow.
Naruto thought for a long moment, before nodding. "It does." he admitted. "This feels like the right thing, like nothing has since before this war started."
"Then let's finish it." Gaara said strongly, making the first hand seal.
"Dattebayo." Naruto whispered, before following suit.