Disclaimer: If you recognize it, I don't own it. It probably belongs to Kishimoto.
Chapter 1- The Cause. And Also, The Effect.
There are a million billion different universes out there, all at least slightly different from the last. Every decision ever made creates a new splinter universe, while some decisions cause splintered realities to recombine.
What if something changed?
Some variations are quite small, and don't survive long on their own. "Should I cut my sandwich in half? Should I have peanut butter or jelly? Or both?"
What if something BIG changed?
Some variations are quite large. "Should I eat my sandwich, or go torment the neighborhood hobo with the fact that I HAVE a sandwich? Should I run as he chases me with a broken malt liquor bottle? Should I run into the local gun store, steal a gun, and shoot him? What happens if I miss?"
What if something incredibly ridiculous changed?
For every possible choice, there is a reality.
Some are less explored then others.
'Now that I have slain my best friend, I have attained the power of the Mangekyo Sharingan! But what is left for me to do… What limits are left for me to test? I must know…'
Most of us are familiar with Uzumaki Naruto, ramen-freak and ninja extraordinaire. Most of us have our own ideas on how his childhood went. And, by some horrible twist of reality, we all technically are right. Yes, in some realities he is abused. Yes, in some realities he develops some unholy lust for some random dude. In most, he is simply ignored by everyone, who refuse to acknowledge him.
This universe falls (thankfully) into the last category.
Naruto tries his best to get people to pay attention him. He really does! He hasn't gotten into his serious pranking stage, yet. Right now, he is rather bitter about the whole thing… he hasn't had his revelation of Hokage-hood yet, thus leaving him without a goal to work for.
Ya see, Naruto is one of those people with a Destiny. No matter how he acts, or what his goal is, he will inevitably reach it, touching and altering everyone's life around him.
Some could call him a nexus of chaos. Some could call him a beacon of order. He's worked for both sides, and done essentially everything anyone could imagine. He's been a ninja, a prankster, a priest, you name it, he's been there.
But those were other realities. This one… something different was going to happen.
Naruto was the catalyst, unknowingly.
He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
All because he was bored. Bored bored bored.
And as most will tell you, a bored Naruto is a bad thing.
'I know… the next thing I must do is slay my family. For only another Uchiha could rival my power… Therefore, fighting Uchiha's would tell me where my limitations lie.'
So there we have it. A bored, bitter little boy, out looking for mischief. With no direction at the moment, he wanders around town, aimlessly looking for SOMEONE to give him the time of day.
Because that's all the boy wants.
Someone to care.
Unfortunately, that reality was the next one over.
Naruto's gonna get screwed.
'They all die so easily… perhaps they don't have enough reason to fight? Or perhaps I'm just that much more superior then them? Well… the only one left is Sasuke, and that's only because he's not home. But perhaps… perhaps he could be the tool to judge my potential?'
Naruto's aimless wandering led him near the Uchiha district, which was really just a group of houses that surrounded the Police Headquarters that the Uchiha's ran.
Seeing that whiny Sasuke kid ('He's that kid who always talks about his brother, right?') enter the place, Naruto decided that he would be the perfect target for a prank he just thought up. Pranking was quickly becoming quite the hobby for the young ninja, and he was seriously entertaining the notion of becoming a professional prankster.
Unfortunately, the Sandaime would pop that dream relatively soon, only to replace it with the dream of being Hokage.
This would lead Naruto down the central path of most universes, that of dedicating himself to becoming the Hokage. Naruto needed a direction to follow, and would always find one, no matter how ridiculous, stupid, or dangerous it was.
Sadly, the Sandaime would never have the chance to have THAT conversation with Naruto. He'd be too busy dealing with the headaches Naruto would soon bring him.
Poor, poor Sandaime.
"Sasuke… You must hate me.
"And live in an unsightly manner!"
In most dimensions, that's the end of it.
Sasuke goes on to become an avenger, Itachi gets the heck out of dodge, and that's that.
This Itachi is having second thoughts.
'But what if he's not enough? What if he doesn't live in an unsightly enough manner? How can I be sure that he'll be the one to test my potential? Sure, he has the sharingan… but perhaps I should have another failsafe… Perhaps there's another reason that I'm as strong as I am…'
And, like a walking plot device, Naruto entered onto the scene.
The Sharingan is known to whip out new powers as its user currently sees fit. It can do everything from predict their opponents moves, to seeing the color of chakra of bombs buried a foot or so beneath the earth.
Itachi decided to combine the power of Tsukiyomi with its lesser known brainwashing capabilities.
He would now have two tools to measure his potential.
One would do so by developing his sharingan, and growing stronger in hate.
The other one… would be Itachi himself. Or as close as he could make a 7 year old kid act like Itachi, with the same drives, goals, and personality. Maybe it wasn't the sharingan that made him so incredibly powerful… maybe it was just how he was. Itachi wanted all of his bases covered.
So he brainwashed Naruto. He brainwashed Naruto into thinking and acting like Itachi himself.
Fortunately, he happened to choose the one random kid in all of Konoha who stood a chance of actually pulling it off.
Unfortunately, he happened to choose the one random kid in all of Konoha who stood a chance of actually pulling it off.
Thus Naruto was changed overnight.
In that 72 hour period, Itachi imparted all of the necessary personality changes onto Naruto. He now acted and thought just like Itachi himself did.
Fear, Konoha. Fear the terror of a Naruto who is motivated enough to become an S-class ninja as soon as possible, who THINKS like an S-class criminal. Itachi left his name untouched… but that was about it.
He imparted everything… from combat techniques to one-liners to fashion advice. Everything that made Itachi, Itachi, was imparted onto the pliable young mind of Naruto.
Naruto knew everything about fighting that Itachi knew. Every technique, attack, and skill that Itachi knew, Naruto knew. He just needed to train it into himself, a compulsion that Itachi added so that Naruto did that first after waking up.
Everything Itachi knew about social interaction became everything Naruto knew about social interaction.
Everything Itachi knew about being Itachi became everything Naruto knew about being Naruto.
And when Naruto awoke in the mess that was the Uchiha district, surrounded by loyal Konoha-nin investigating the massacre, he thought only one thing.
'I must… train.'
I'm going to go hide in the bomb shelter under Ichiraku's… it's the only safe place remaining.
'I must... train.'
As a dozen or so ninja administrators were running around the scene panicking, Naruto stood up.
'I must become stronger.'
As Naruto began to walk away, as if nothing had happened, only one person saw him.
The Hokage, already concerned that somehow Naruto was involved with this terrible massacre, saw the boy get up. So naturally, he went over to talk to the rascal.
"Naruto... perhaps you can tell me what happened here?"
While the Hokage spoke in a very grave voice... he didn't expect Naruto to as well.
Nor drop down into a kneel.
"Hokage-sama, I don't remember anything that happened here. I must go train."
'What the... I didn't know Naruto could speak emotionlessly even he tried! Or in a monotone...'
"Are you sure, Naruto-kun? Nothing at all?"
"Negative, Hokage-sama. I remember following after Uchiha Sasuke... To prank him? But then I arrived here, and just passed out. Now I must train."
And with an unnecessarily large flare of chakra, Naruto shunshined away.
'When the hell did Naruto learn shunshin? Or refer to me as 'Hokage-sama'? Or not speak like he was an ADD child on crack? This doesn't bode well...'
'My control... why is it so bad? Why can I not activate my sharingan? Perhaps I'm just not trying hard enough...'
As Naruto stood alone in the most private training ground he could find, puzzling over the inconsistencies of his, he began to meditate, attempting to force his power to the surface. It was something Itachi did regularly, under the assumption that every time he flexed his power, it would grow stronger, just like a muscle would.
Unfortunately, Naruto's constant pulling and draining of his own chakra, especially while attempting to pseudo-meditate, was enough to awaken something else in Naruto...
'Yaawwwnnn... jeez, what the heck is the brat doing? Hasn't that stupid academy of his told him how stupid it was to constantly use up all of his chakra? Might as well lend him a little, before he passes out-WOAH!'
The second that Kyuubi reached out with a small tendril of chakra, Naruto immediately latched out it, and yanked out as much as he could.
'Well... this is different. The brat doesn't even know I exist, and yet he draws on my chakra? This smells of opportunity to me... What the hell has he been up to lately?'
'... So he was mindfucked by some Uchiha, eh? Well... he's far less annoying this way. And he seems to have a lot more homicidal urges... Hehe, I might as well encourage such good behavior.'
Naruto had lucked out that his biju was originally descended from a species noted for their illusionary skills. Thus it was rather easy for him to twist the chakra into the genjutsu he was 'used to' fighting with, especially with the Kyuubi cooperating with him somewhat.
'Hmmm... though my eyes have turned red, I seem to lack the proper amount of tomoe, much less the mangekyo. That shall be rectified later... I have had sufficient progress for now, I must go resume my cover.'
Naruto, upon reviewing his own history, could come to no rationalization for why he acted so ridiculously stupid. The only explanation he could think of was that he was in some kind of deep under-cover work for the Hokage, and that acting like a prankster moron was part of his disguise.
Of course, with the new changes... Well, it's gonna take him a while to adjust.
'Now, I must go play a prank, before anyone gets suspicious.'
"Now, miss... if you can describe the attacker..."
"Well, he was short, and wore some kind of mask. He stated something about 'crimes against ramen', and then proceeded to blow up half the restaurant. Then he laughed some really freaky monotone laugh, and walked back out."
"That's the third time this week a cafe has been blown up. The only one left standing is Ichiraku's..."
'Yes, that was a good... prank. No one will suspect that I am not some kind of prankster after that.'
The Sandaime was having a bad week.
First, he lost one of the more renown member of the Military police to some kind of suicide.
Then he finds out that it wasn't suicide, but actually a psychotic member of the family, who then goes on to kill the rest of the family.
And even worse... he seemingly brainwashed the village's jinchuriki into acting just like him.
Who was now treating his earlier life like it was some kind of mission, and was attempting to maintain the 'mission' by attempting to 'continue it'... yet failing miserably because he now thought like a psychotic missing-nin.
'Even worse... the villagers won't even go near him anymore, because he constantly draws upon the Kyuubi somehow... They just see the fact that his eyes are red and run screaming... and its even worse for the ninjas, who can feel the malevolent chakra he's drawing upon constantly. I thought the seal he had was too strong for something like this to happen?
'And I still don't know how the lone Uchiha survivor is handling things...'
"Hokage-sama! Come quick! Naruto just pulled another prank!"
"Good Gods, not again!"
"Itachi... Brother... I must kill you, and avenge our family..."
Sasuke was poised in the psychiatric ward of Konoha General Hospital, just about to be released. It had been a grueling week for him, and the doctors thought he was as good as he was going to get.
"Hah... foolish little Sasuke, do you really think you can match him?"
At the sound of a very familiar voice, Sasuke spun around, ready to attack...
... Only to be stunned at the sight of one of his classmates dressed in what looked to be light ANBU armor of a black high collared shirt and black shorts.
Who then proceeded to poke him in the forehead.
Sasuke fell heavily on his ass, not expecting the poke. He couldn't do much more then stare, at what his senses were telling him was Itachi, and yet not.
And when Naruto's oddly red eyes flared again, Sasuke passed out.
Naruto was attempting to use Tsukiyomi on him... but of course, it didn't quite work as intended. After all, he only had the Kyuubi's chakra to work with... and the Kyuubi warped the techniques to what he wanted.
And the Fox was having the time of his life, as Naruto's Tsukiyomi attempts worked by drawing a person into the seal with the Kyuubi.
They weren't actually there, so the Kyuubi couldn't REALLY do anything to them... But he was still damn scary.
"So you just found him in his room, screaming and covered in his own urine?"
"Yeah... I guess he wasn't quite ready to be released yet."
And so it went.
Naruto continued to train, quickly mastering everything that had already been implanted into his head.
By the age of 9, he had managed to replicate every single one of Itachi's techniques.
They don't quite all work the same, especially the ones involving the sharingan. The Kyuubi, encouraged by Naruto acting like an emotionless killing machine instead of a ramen-happy kid, let Naruto have a better grasp of it's chakra, which Naruto used to twist into the Mangekyo Sharingan techniques. The Kitsune's chakra naturally leant itself to genjutsu, which Naruto used to replicate sharingan hypnosis, and Naruto hyper charged his body with so much chakra that his reflexes improved to almost sharingan level, anyway.
The only thing Naruto could not do was copy jutsus... not that it mattered, as Itachi had imparted tons of copied techniques, already.
However... all was not well for the village. Particularly not for its frustrated Hokage, who made a mistake in his dealings with Naruto.
One that it was too late for him to fix.
-3 days prior-
"Hokage-sama, you ordered my presence?"
"Yes, Naruto-kun... it's about your, uh, 'mission'."
"The mission is being completed successfully. No one has caught onto my deception as of yet, merely thinking me a foolish young boy. Though some of the instructors at the academy seem… suspicious."
'He keeps on going on about this mission... Maybe I can use that to my benefit?'
"Yes, about your... mission. Actually, there are numerous people who are becoming suspicious of you, seeing through your deception. You must not allow that to happen... some of them are rather dangerous, and would like nothing better then to use your actions against me. So, uh... Try to maintain your act better. Perhaps do more childish pranks? Just remember your cover, and don't get too, uh, out of character. Like using random genjutsu on people to cover your tracks. They all still remember that it was you who did it."
"It shall be as you command, Hokage-sama."
Luckily, not ALL of Itachi carried over, and Naruto's intense respect for the Hokage remained, thus causing him to listen to all of his orders just as the ANBU captain that Uchiha Itachi was had.
'Though I have to wonder, where he managed to get that light armor from.'
Unfortunately for the Hokage, the only thing that Naruto focused on in that talk was the fact that the Hokage had enemies, who were inconveniencing him.
And there was really only one way that Uchiha Itachi dealt with inconveniences.
"Ah, thank you for the reports, Sai. Go resume your training."
Deep in the hidden lair of ROOTS, Danzo was perusing documents pertaining to the Vessel's latest insanities.
"You fool, Sarutobi... Supporting the Vessel for all those years, saying he should get to live his own life. Now his pranks have turned sadistic... Killing that Yakitori vendor, and telling his son to do 'live in an unsightly manner'... Now I have the means to get you ousted from office, and take power on my own! Buwahahahaha!"
Unfortunately for Danzo, his stronghold had been rather easily penetrated by said Jinchuriki. Actually, if he had been paying any attention, he would have noticed the screams that abruptly ended coming from the entrance to his Villainous Lair.
Naruto didn't really believe in stealth, as he felt that there was nothing around that could stop him, anyway. After all, anything he had to make his missions harder just further tested his own potential, right?
So he was just walking through the base, staring everyone into unconsciousness. The fact that the Kyuubi was literally having a party inside the seal with all the people's minds who had been sucked into their with him was besides the point.
Naruto didn't know anything about that, yet.
And so, as Danzo was laughing evilly, Naruto walked into the room.
"... What the? What are you doing here-gurrk!"
Before Danzo could even lift up his single arm to defend himself, Naruto appeared next to him, and swiftly cut his throat.
Picking up all the nearby documents, Naruto swiftly removed Danzo's head, wrapped it up in a spare cloak, and disappeared.
The next morning, the Hokage would nearly have a heart attack when he unwrapped the package on his desk, accompanied only by a note.
- Mission Success-
The fact that it was written in crayon, on a page ripped from a coloring book that the Sandaime himself had bought for Naruto years ago, just made it all a little creepier.
Author's Notes: This idea was spawned on the "Imprint" thread over at TFF. Essentially, how would the world change if Naruto thought he was Itachi? What if he 'imprinted' onto Itachi, thinking, acting, doing everything like he would?
Hopefully, the crack will be strong in this fic.
The focus will be on Naruto going through life, with a heavy slant on how he views everything.
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