Author's Notes: So I won't eat up space, please refer to the Author's Note in Timeserver for information regarding Timespan's age and intentions; remember that the triad is based on things that were in 2007 only rumors, not fact, so all the new info as of 2013 doesn't apply here. Enjoy!
Title: Timekeeper (part three of the Timespan triad from the Timesaver quadrilogy)
Author: Reaper Nanashi (Lady Shinigami)
Pairing: MinaKushi (in passing)
Word Count: 9,760 (Total: 21,015)
Type: One-shot (Complete)
Rating: T (bad words, blood, violence)
Date Submitted: 8/4/07 (Cleanup: 1/14/13)
Disclaimer: I can dream, can't I?
Claimer: The Time-related stuff.
Summary: Kakashi wakes up to a normal day in his life and at first it all seems to be the same old thing. Naruto, as he soon discovers, is not acting normally, and he has every intention of finding out why. He's about to be very surprised. Time chooses no one's side.
The Reasoning Behind It: This was actually the second one I wrote, under the assumption that people might want to know if the Fourth's trip to the past did any good for Naruto and Kakashi, and if so, what. It's the longest of the triad by far, and would have been longer had I not clipped some stuff for Time Frame later.
Timekeeper – noun – someone recording time elapsed: a recorder of the time elapsed during an event
Kakashi stretched as he slid out of his bed. He glanced at his clock and groaned. It was still far better than waking up to such an awful row, at the very least, which was enough to give him congestive heart failure even at his age. He was actually starting to wake a few minutes earlier for that reason exactly—to avoid the pain. "Three . . . two . . . one . . ."
At exactly six forty-five a.m., as it had every morning for years, did the most horrific noise Kakashi had ever been unfortunate enough to be a victim to begin: the ungodly tumult of a steel spatula banging on a steel skillet. Exactly fifteen seconds later, also as it had occurred every morning for many so happy years, the usually pleasant kunoichi who lived next door could be heard shouting over the din, "Oh my god, will somebody please kill that asshole?" It was a wonder she had never moved away.
Kakashi did not dare remind her—at least not so early in the morning—that it had been her idea in the first place. It was his cue, though, to stop the racket. He opened his bedroom door, a regrettable necessity, and recoiled sleepily as the sound only increased in volume. "Okay, okay, you insensitive jerk! I'm awake!"
"Good morning!" his roommate chirped, and obediently silenced his affectionately-titled 'Daybreak Ditty.' "I have scrambled eggs and these cool little sugar-coated wheat squares you can have for breakfast!"
Kakashi scratched his head. "Sounds great. I think. I'll be out in a minute." Despite the fact that they were co-leasees of a typical bachelor pad, the one thing they always made sure they had was food. Even so, his roommate was constantly experimenting with unusual food pairings, so eggs and cold wheat cereal was actually a very tame combination. More so than the gummi bears and barbecued steak they had eaten last night for supper, at any rate.
Kakashi pulled on a uniform, but he had to sniff it cautiously to make sure it was clean and not a dirty one he had originally put in the laundry, or a clean one that had been rubbed in horse urine—it was the other's turn to prank him, so he had to be super careful—and meandered down the hall to the kitchen. He pulled out his chair and flopped into it sleepily, only to feel something very soft give easily beneath his weight. ". . . Damn."
His roommate giggled like a hyena and turned from his place at the sink. "Owned!" He then followed the proud declaration with his favored 'victory dance,' which Kakashi had always thought looked more like death throes than anything else. Maybe it was just wishful thinking.
He did not bother to get up and change his clothes—it was too late to save either them or his dignity—and only looked to make sure it was something that would wash out. Fortunately, it was merely a pie tin loaded with whipped cream. He could deal with that. "You dance like a cat having a seizure," he noted as he resettled and tried to ignore the squelch of whipped cream as it squirted out onto his chair.
His roommate poked out his tongue and wiggled it at Kakashi pointedly. "You sleep like a dead man." He slid a plate in front of Kakashi, who saw that mercifully, the main components of breakfast were kept separated and the wheat squares had not been added into the eggs before they had finished cooking, which was something that had happened before. His roommate flopped into his own chair cheerfully. "Let's have our teams fight!"
"Yeah right," Kakashi replied, immediately falling into the almost daily argument about whose team was the better. It was an old, old disagreement. "You know how well Sasuke and Naruto work together, and with Sakura's tactical skills your brats won't be able to lay a finger on any of my kids."
"Sasuke's a pussy," his roommate gloated. "My kids can wipe him off the map easy. And Naruto is way in need of an education in mêlée strategy."
Kakashi shot his roommate a look. "You sure you want to say that?"
Kakashi smirked. He loved not blithering about how his team had improved, because it made for such an egotistically satisfying response from the other when his team crushed his roommate's. "Then you're on. I'll let you pick where and when."
Two hours later came the traditional team greeting.
"Why are you late?" Sakura demanded.
"Because you can't stand it," Kakashi replied, knowing it would throw her off, "and I love annoying you."
"LI— Oh, wait, you were telling the truth. Is there a term for that kind of person?"
Sasuke snorted. "Too strong a word to apply to just one instance."
Kakashi grimaced mentally. Teaching young shinobi to survive for longer than ten months after graduation required teaching them to think quickly and, depending on the circumstances, act on their own meager experiences and judgments. This led straight, unfortunately, to considerable backtalking, but he would much rather have them talk back to him than die, so he accepted it—was even relieved by it. Not that he would ever tell them that.
With that in mind, he decided to ignore the jab and looked about. "Where's Naruto?"
Sasuke shifted, his amusement fading. "He told me last night that he was going to visit the upper cemetery this morning."
Kakashi frowned faintly behind his mask and gazed at the sky without actually seeing any of it. Naruto really had only one reason to go to any cemetery. ". . . Is it that time already . . .?"
"Ahoy!" his roommate called out cheerfully, three kids trailing behind. They were a bit younger than Kakashi's 'brood,' but that was mostly because Kakashi was a ruthless instructor. He did not waste time playing the getting-to-know-each-other games that his roommate enjoyed so, and that intimidated the new batches of academy graduates from the outset. They all thought he was a slave driver. Which he was, but he thought it said something that his fresh-faced Team Six had been one of the undisputed top three genin teams their rookie year.
He had also gotten rather embarrassingly attached to 'his' kids—quite fortunately, it was not something that his roommate could make fun of him for without being a hypocrite—because they were the first to stand up to his hard-nosed introductory image, which earned big points, and so he was happy to keep them under his wings in any capacity they allowed him. That was an unusually big capacity, upon reflection, but their affection for him was not half the secret that his affection for them was. It was really a little sad, he thought, that Team Six technically no longer existed because one of his students had recently . . . 'aced' was too strong a word, but . . . passed the chuunin exam with considerably less effort than he probably should have. The usefulness of a kekkei genkai, he supposed.
"Your last brat run in fear?" his roommate teased.
Kakashi gave him a sharp look to silence the big-mouthed fool, but reined in the worst of his anger. One of the things about the other that he both loved and hated passionately was the tendency to forget depressing things. "It's the anniversary of Sensei's death."
His roommate looked stricken, then wilted slightly. ". . . Oh, yeah, er . . . Do you think he'll be up for this?"
"He'll be fine once he remembers we're waiting for him," Sakura promised. "He doesn't let private stuff irreconcilably affect his professional behavior."
As if cued, Naruto exited the trees surrounding the training field and moved toward them. Kakashi noted immediately that he held a folded piece of paper in his hand and had an odd look on his face—confused rather than saddened. Sakura waited until he had reached them before hugging his shoulders and kissing his cheek. It was something she did with both her teammates for birthdays and anniversaries, and Kakashi got more entertainment than he likely should have out of teasing her for trying to either start a threesome or dismantle the team's important core structure by inspiring jealousy between her teammates.
"Good morning, Mister Chuunin," Sakura greeted with a smile.
Naruto's face changed swiftly from 'confused' to 'floored' and his blue eyes glazed over slightly, though whether it was over the little kiss or the reminder of his new rank was unclear. He looked at himself and examined his uniform closely, as if to make sure it was real, then responded vaguely, ". . . Um . . . Morning . . .?"
Sasuke was next. He grabbed Naruto, who was slightly taller than him, in a headlock and ground his knuckles into blond hair. "It's time to train, Hokage-to-be."
Naruto yanked away from his best friend, face twisted with fury, and opened his mouth to let out what was clearly going to be an incredibly scathing lexicon of curses from various cultures and languages—one of the perks, if it could be called that, of being the previous Hokage's only child—only to stop and stare blankly over at his male teammate. ". . . Sasuke . . .?"
"Why . . .?" Naruto paused, blinked in shock, and then his whole expression darkened. His hand tightened around the paper he held. "Never mind." He looked up at Kakashi. "Shouldn't you not be doing that?"
Naruto tapped just behind his own left eye. "Don't you usually keep it covered?"
Thanks to his roommate's helpful and involved lessons on how to deal with the chakra-consumption of the Sharingan, which Kakashi knew he never would have gotten from any other Uchiha—including Sasuke, the little tight-lip—he only had to cover it after using it for an extended period of time. Average non-combat use barely caused him any trouble unless there was a lot of activity going on all at once. Even so, he had a sudden image in his mind of himself having to compensate for skewed depth perception because he had just one eye that he used at any given moment. He wondered where the idea had come from, because he had never thought of it before when someone suggested covering either of his eyes. ". . . I don't usually have to."
"Oh," Naruto said, and nodded vaguely in response, though his tone indicated he was thinking something vastly different. He looked over at the Roommate From Hell, narrowed his eyes as if he did not recognize him, then shifted his gaze to Kakashi. "Oh," he said again, and Kakashi had a burning urge to find out what the blond was thinking, knowing that the little idiot on the surface was concealing the sharp mind inside. He was not a genius like Itachi or the Nara boy—not that Kakashi could tell, anyway—but not much got past him, particularly when it might work to his advantage to know more about something than those around him.
As a cadet, Naruto had been the very last student in his class. He had failed every test that had not involved a 'hands-on' lesson and was terrible at Kawarimi no Jutsu—Kakashi suspected that was because his kekkei genkai meant he did not really need that particular technique rather than not learning it out of laziness—which was what the ninjutsu portion of the final exam had been on that year. Kakashi had been properly flabbergasted at his teacher's composure about the whole thing.
"You're not worried?"
The Fourth Hokage had merely smiled serenely in answer and said, "He's the same type of learner his mother is, that's all. I'm going to assign his team to you."
"Sensei, that's just it! He's not going to graduate this year with his grades, whether or not he's your son!"
The simple response had been: "Watch."
Naruto had passed the exam, including the ninjutsu portion. Kakashi, bewildered that he had really ended up with the team with the year's absolute dead last student, had been unable to contain himself and asked how the blond had accomplished it. Naruto had admitted that he had increased his own time by two, slowed the time in the exam room, subtly marked his place on the floor, jumped out the window, cut off part of a tree from the surrounding forest, rushed it back to the classroom, used a henge on it, and then gone back out the window before letting time resume normally. The chuunin instructors claimed even so many years later that at the very last instant the Naruto the shuriken hit had not been the Naruto the shuriken had been thrown at, but there were no cameras to back them up while a log on the exam room floor had silently held up Naruto's end of the argument.
"That's cheating," Sakura had pointed out sometime afterward.
"Except that you can't cheat with a kekkei genkai," Sasuke had countered, in defense of his best friend. "That's the whole point of them. There's no rule that says a kekkei genkai can't be used to assist in a jutsu."
"That wasn't an assist—it was a replacement."
"Exactly," Sasuke had said pointedly. "Hence, it was still a kawarimi."
Sakura had messed up her hair in frustration. "Boys . . ."
His teacher's explanation for Naruto's effort? "Failure breeds ingenuity. I'd discipline him for cheating and then lying—and I still will if someone can prove he did either—but that's the kind of thing he'll have to be able to do as a field agent. I already told him that ages ago." He had shrugged and sighed as he shuffled through his papers. "I'd rather have him lie and survive than bury him because he told the truth. Might as well get him started before he needs to be truly convincing about it."
Naruto's mother's thoughts had been even less concerned. "Since when were shinobi ever that honorable? It's our job to deceive those around us—civilians and ninja alike. Isn't that the whole concept behind ninjutsu and especially genjutsu?"
They were both right, but it had still been strange. It had not been so for Sasuke, though, who—rather than being jealous and annoyed—had appeared to think it was all a matter of course and defended Naruto staunchly whenever Sakura brought it up. That reminded him . . .
"Naruto, how's your mother today?"
Naruto frowned. "I don't h—" He caught himself, was quiet a moment, and then his hand crushed the folded paper he held even more violently. "How the hell should I know? She's out on an assignment."
Kakashi tilted his head. It sounded like he had been about to claim that he did not have a mother—which was ridiculous, as everyone knew. Naruto's mother was a top jounin and in the eyes of many shinobi had apparently been selected to be the Fourth's spouse specifically for her shocking ability to be irreverent and both verbally and physically abusive to the man himself, who had happily promised that it was merely because she was hot-blooded and that she really was very docile out of her uniform. It seemed to be true—or at least only ever aimed at him—because she was extremely sweet and patient with Naruto unless he had done something very wrong. If she had not wept so piteously both when she heard about the Hokage's mutual death at the hands of Orochimaru and then again at the funeral four days later, Kakashi would have been totally convinced the relationship had simply been one of selective breeding rather than love.
Which was not all that uncommon a thing among shinobi, to be sure, but Kakashi was a closet romantic and liked to see people in happy, sappy relationships.
"Are you feeling okay?" the Roommate From Hell asked.
Naruto threw a half-glare at the speaker. "Spectacular, Uncle Obito."
Obito scowled. "Do not call me 'uncle'!"
"Why?" Sasuke prompted. "You tell my sister to."
Naruto's head whipped around to look, wide-eyed, at his best friend, but then he nodded in agreement.
"How?" Sasuke challenged. "Same generation."
"Your sister is a hell of a lot cuter than you."
"Why? Because she kisses up to you?"
"Because being a clan reject means I need love, not mockery."
"Then what the hell am I supposed to call you?"
"I'm your cousin once removed—figure it out."
Sasuke started to respond, but Naruto grabbed his sleeve and said quickly, "Fine." For a moment Sasuke resisted Naruto's insistent behavior as the blond whispered to him, but then he barked out a laugh and smiled far too benignly over his shoulder at Obito for the behavior to mean anything good.
Obito cringed when they rejoined Sakura and could not see his display of fear. "Now what have I done?"
"Something I know that you deserve with every cell of your being," Kakashi replied. "Doesn't Rin put you down enough that you know that now?"
"How come she got to be Hokage?" Obito complained. "She's the weakest of us!"
Kakashi flicked his roommate's nose. "Because you're too dumb and I'm too lazy."
Obito rubbed his 'wound' and started to protest, paused, and shrugged. "I guess so."
"Besides," Kakashi added, only vaguely interested in the discussion as it was easily as old as the one about whose team was better, "it's probably not her weakness in battle he was thinking of. As an iryounin, she can save thousands of lives and cause a hell of a lot of injury to an enemy because she knows where she can do the most good or the most damage."
"Are you talking about Godaime-sama?" Sakura asked. When Kakashi nodded, her eyes became starry with admiration. "She's the whole reason I decided to become a shinobi! She's so beautiful and I wanted to help people just like she does!"
Kakashi, having originally believed Sakura's reasons for being a shinobi had been, as for many other silly girls her age, to get her closer to Konoha's 'twin' heartthrobs—who both just so happened to be legitimate heirs to two rather prominent and influential village clans as well—was impressed to hear it. "I thought you did it out of admiration for Tsunade-sama."
"Oh, well, learning about Tsunade-sama's skill did introduce me to the idea of being an iryounin," Sakura acknowledged, "but since there aren't that many book on being an iryounin and Tsunade-sama gave her life to save those of others out on the battlefield, I didn't have a living example to show me how wonderful it is to help others in that way. But then Rin-sama—before she became Hokage—did a demonstration on first-aid for my primary school class, and that was when I knew that I wanted to be a ninja!"
Kakashi was touched by her passionate feelings on the matter—it tended to make good shinobi—until Obito started laughing. Annoyed, Kakashi snapped, "What are you so tickled about, moron?"
"Ahahahaha! Rin, beautiful?! Ahahahaha!"
Sakura scowled at him, also annoyed, and Kakashi said, "You shouldn't say that about your own girlfriend, dumbass. She's going to hear about it."
"Hey, I don't love her because of her face, okay?" Obito blinked, then said, "All right, well, her face would have to be pretty enough that I noticed her, right? So maybe that accounts for twenty percent of my feelings for her. But anyway, I didn't say that she's ugly, just that she isn't beautiful."
"Oh yeah?" Sakura demanded. "Then what is beautiful?"
A true charmer, Obito smiled and answered, "You."
Sakura drew her arms up to her chest, startled, and her scowl faded. ". . . Oh . . . Er . . . Excuse me . . .!"
Obito was supremely pleased with himself as he watched her scurry away, until Kakashi said mildly, "If you're not careful and hit on any of my students—especially Sakura—ever again, I will tell Rin and then help her hide what's left of your body. I can assure you that no one will miss you."
Unfortunately, Obito's fear was momentary. "Aw, is Mama-kashi still not letting her fledglings grow up?"
"If you're not more careful," Kakashi advised, "Rin will only hear about your behavior after your body washes up on the shore of Waves Country."
Obito blew a brief, rebellious raspberry at him before turning to his team, who had been given enough time to get over the fear brought on by the realization that their opponents would be two older genin and a chuunin, each with considerably more experience than what they had collectively. It was good training for reality, Kakashi had to admit, to face off with a group whose skill level was unequal to one's own. He suspected that was why Obito constantly suggested that their teams do battle every other month.
He waited until Obito finished giving his team an inspiring pep talk, and then promptly crushed their renewed spirit by casually lifting his hand and flicking his first two fingers out. The motion had been silent and even Sasuke, who had been standing with his back to Kakashi, did not hesitate to leap away immediately. Usually, Kakashi would gloat at the fresh fear on his roommate's students' faces, but he instead watched Naruto, who was heading toward the creek and the village rather than the trees. The blond jumped the brook and disappeared into the brush on the other side, clearly on a roundabout path to his teammates, but Kakashi's attention had refocused on the piece of paper that was fluttering into the water. Nosy as always, he quickly sent a shadow clone to retrieve it.
"Okay!" Obito cheered. "You can do this! Remember what we've been practicing and stick to it! I'll be guiding you from here! Go!"
The kids hurried into the trees, looking far less enthused than they had been originally.
Safe in a tree, pleased to laze about while Obito shouted unnecessarily at all six students, Kakashi unfolded the paper his shadow clone had recovered. The words had faded badly and bled in the water, but they were just barely decipherable. In his teacher's looping script were the simple words, Time alters all wounds. There was no further explanation for the odd concept and no indication that such a thing had washed away. Curious—for it was strange that Naruto would not only carry a note like that years after his father's death, but then apparently care so little for it that he would throw it away—Kakashi tucked the note into his pocket for later.
'Later' was fewer than six hours ahead, as it turned out.
The blond paused as his peers wandered away in varying stages of fatigue. "Huh?"
Kakashi waited until they were out of earshot before holding up the piece of paper. He did not miss how Naruto narrowed his eyes. "Care to explain?"
"I could find out from your mother."
"I seriously doubt that."
Kakashi quirked his mouth to the side beneath his mask, slightly stumped by the hard response. Naruto had become something of a momma's boy after his father's death, most likely out of fear that his mother would go next, so it was strange that threatening to seek answers from his mother had not urged him to tell the truth.
Obito, who had admittedly always been a better negotiator than Kakashi was, leaned his scarred and pocked face—the empty socket of his missing left eye concealed under a cock-eyed headband—nearer and made an absurdly simple counter-protest. "Please?"
Naruto looked over at him, then at Kakashi, then repeated the motion. After what had clearly been a long and intense internal debate—which was actually quite normal for a Namikaze who was deciding whether or not to discuss the clan's bloodline—he spoke to both even though his eyes were staring unflinchingly at his teacher. "Time is hot steel." He stopped there, and Kakashi successfully avoided muttering aloud about the vagueness of the statement while Obito was equally successful in not objecting to the not-explanation with something stupid.
The Uzumaki clan was known for spawning large mouths—mouths that, both purposefully and accidentally, revealed their hiding places in battle situations—but the Namikaze influence meant Naruto would almost instinctively clam up when it came to discussing his family's bloodline. It was no doubt something they were warned against while still in utero, and understandably so; being the guardians of Time, the only things standing between a normal life and chaos, the last thing they wanted to do was spill its secrets.
They would have to talk about it eventually, though, and they did so only with the trusted few who passed some kind of screening. It was one the Fourth had simply called 'rigorous,' even though Kakashi, Obito, and Rin could not recall ever going through any such test despite that they were apparently indeed trustworthy. Kakashi would have believed his teacher had been joking except he had witnessed his teacher, when speaking with strangers, routinely divert a conversation about controlling time away to something totally unrelated, in a manner so subtle as to make a performing geisha jealous. Thus Kakashi knew he was privileged, but since he was still not part of the clan in blood he had to figure out ways to swiftly translate all the metaphors and riddles Namikaze used to convey ideas regarding Time. If he took too long, as he had discovered from several instances while in a conversation with his teacher, the window of discussion closed and was virtually impossible to reopen, though not really through any deliberate effort.
Worse, on top of the Namikaze preference to simply not talk about Time at all, Uzumaki had brutally short attention spans—subjects including shinobi or jutsu notwithstanding—and somewhat abhorred long periods of quiet. So if Kakashi wanted an explanation, he had to figure out the opening riddle right away.
"Time is . . ." he murmured to himself. "Hot steel . . . can be folded . . . malleable . . ."
". . . Uh-oh," Obito mused.
"Someone from the clan has done something," Kakashi agreed.
"It's the First Law," Naruto confirmed.
Suddenly, Naruto's odd behavior began to make sense. As a Namikaze, he was naturally resistant to the changes that had taken place even though no one else had the slightest clue. He had doubtless been confused at first, but then slowly put the pieces together as new memories had started to take shape. Distantly, Kakashi wondered what that was like—to be the only person who knew the truth.
"The First Law?" Obito echoed.
"I believe the First Law says that none of the clan may ever alter past events for personal gain," Kakashi explained, and Naruto nodded.
"But somebody did it anyway," Obito concluded. "Is this bad?"
Kakashi, who did not know, looked at Naruto, who said, "Time happens for a reason."
There was quiet while the two jounin tried to decipher that. Kakashi watched Naruto, who he thought was being unusually patient and focused, watch them in turn as if he expected to wait them out.
"Of course time happens for a reason," Obito decided, "or else we wouldn't exist." He blinked at his own words. ". . . Oh."
"If somebody is supposed to die but doesn't, it could cause someone who's not supposed to die to die," Kakashi clarified. "Someone who's supposed to be born might not be born. Wars could be averted . . . or started. All because of a single, tiny change."
"Or more," Naruto offered.
"More?" Kakashi and Obito chorused.
Naruto started to answer, but all three picked up an approaching chakra signature. It was completely untamed so it was either an animal, a child, or an adult civilian who had no idea they were there yet. Even so, Naruto closed his mouth and started to walk away. Undeterred, Kakashi followed, and Obito hurried after them. Nothing was said on the way to the Namikaze compound, which was where they were all going even if Naruto did not want them to follow him. Though it would be easy for him to use his bloodline to get away from them, they also knew exactly where he was going, so he did not bother to try.
"Don't talk to anybody," Naruto advised as they stepped through the main gateway and into the compound proper. "They're all going to be kind of irritable about this."
In various portions of the yard, Namikaze not on assignment were practicing alone or with each other. There were virtually no servants to be seen running about, which was a slightly more common sight in the Hyuuga and Uchiha compounds for different reasons, both because the clan as a whole did not like any form of slavery—though they enjoyed spinning great yarns of having the entire world at their feet—and because they were leery of bringing non-family into their confidence.
They crossed the grounds to the main house and stepped inside. In the vestibule, so as to not keep Kakashi and Obito waiting, Naruto briefly exerted his bloodline to change from his chuunin uniform and into the traditional attire that made all Namikaze, as a still-unnamed Uchiha had once said, look smarter than they were. Which was the other big secret the Namikaze clan's affected disorderliness covered up, Kakashi knew—the naturally sharp mind that lurked just beneath the surface, more obvious in the always-serious Hyuuga and Uchiha clans. There was no telling how many people, both in play and in battle, had fallen to a Namikaze's trap, and the Uzumaki pranksters had been the first to effectively fight fire with fire. Not that such behavior was really unusual among ninja, but it just seemed that everyone consistently failed to take both clans seriously in battle.
Heaven help the poor fool who ever had to face more than one at a time.
Naruto stepped into the main hall and padded silently along it. He turned to the left at the intersection a short distance away and followed it to an apparently random doorway on the right. ". . . 'M back," he murmured.
"Welcome home, darling," Naruto's aunt greeted warmly. "You should have shouted—I could have gotten your afternoon snack ready."
"Didn't feel like it," he muttered.
"Oh, all right."
Though he was not the oldest, smartest, or fastest of the Namikaze children, Naruto was the clan's pride and joy by virtue of his father, who had been quite talented in time manipulation as well as being a ninja and was only half jokingly referred to as the clan's 'second founder.' He had never wanted or needed to exercise the power that he had, though against Orochimaru he had utilized much of it, and Naruto showed signs of having a power to match him. So Naruto got a bit of coddling, but—also like his father—was uncomfortable with being referred to as a 'genius.' When asked why, he had said in truly painfully honest Uzumaki fashion, "'Cause I'm dumb as a rock and it would be scary if that still made me a genius."
Not that Naruto was nearly as stupid as he claimed—Uzumaki tended to exaggerate the tiniest of faults into apocalyptic horrors—but two of his less-experienced cousins who were still in the academy had already both proven to be more adept shinobi, though their Time control was average. He was not self-conscious or in need of any confidence, merely realistic; leaning too heavily on his bloodline would eventually turn on him, so he worked that much harder in his training and it had slowly been paying off.
His aunt looked around at the doorway, where Kakashi and Obito were hovering. While not forbidden entry to the Namikaze grounds, efforts were made to keep all non-clan members as far from the bloodline as possible, and that meant having advanced warning of a visit so they might hide any dead giveaways that could be sitting out. "Hello, gentlemen."
Neither failed to notice that while they had been allowed on the grounds and in the house, they had not been welcomed. "Namikaze-sama," they chorused with quiet respect, bowing to the aunt and a set of grandparents at the table behind her.
"We're going to be in Dad's room," Naruto told his aunt.
"You may not go there," she responded firmly.
The look of venom Naruto shot her was shocking and completely uncharacteristic. "I'll do what I like."
"He broke the First Law," she reminded him.
Kakashi and Obito immediately looked at one another, silently exchanging questions and exclamations regarding the new information. Their teacher had not been one to break the rules. Bend them to the breaking point, yes, but not break them.
Naruto snarled. "Yeah, he did. For me. He did it for me because of what happened to me the last time."
Naruto's temper snapped visibly. "He saved this clan, you old hag! He and I were the only ones left and I didn't know anything! That fox killed you! You know that! And you don't have a snowball's chance of guessing what I went through while you were enjoying your little stay in purgatory! So you can take your posthumous condemnation and shove it!"
Naruto turned around and was promptly smacked across the face by his grandmother, who had risen from her place at the table. "You respect your elders, boy."
Naruto's eyes narrowed, darkened, and glittered dangerously in answer. "The same goes for you, Wrinkles." He swiftly sidestepped both her and the second smack she tried to aim at his face, and stormed out of the kitchen.
"He doesn't get supper," the old lady decided.
"Good," Naruto barked back from the hall. "I'd get sick all over the place if I had to eat at the same table as you anyway."
Kakashi and Obito ducked from the doorway and hurried after him, not daring to speak lest they be banished and never find out what had clearly divided the clan. As they crossed the intersection of two hallways, they heard young and excited voices chattering. "Naruto-niisama!" one called, and two sets of footsteps could be heard pattering after them in a rush.
Naruto came to a dead stop at the sound of the voice and his shoulders tightened, but then he let out a long breath and came about, a wide grin on his face just as the two children skidded around the corner and latched onto his waist. "Hey!" he greeted cheerfully, putting a hand on the back of each child. "Good afternoon!"
"Good afternoon!" they shouted back, giggling.
"Have you finished your lessons?"
"Yes!" one cried.
"Play with us!" whined the other.
The Namikaze clan was very tightly knit, and much of that was accomplished through clan 'apprenticeships,' wherein older members—ones who, if they were shinobi, had graduated from the academy and begun taking on assignments or, if not shinobi, had graduated from a secondary school and settled into a job—would be assigned part of the basic care and education of up to two younger members. All three were carefully selected so that they were cousins instead of siblings and thus usually more in need of getting acquainted. Not only did it increase relations in the clan and relieve the parents for some down time—a big requirement for the family—but it had the side benefit of making the Namikaze extremely good jounin-sensei, because they all walked into the role well aware of the proper methods to teach not only the highly intelligent students, but even the most inattentive, insufferable, and rebellious of children. It was something of a point of pride with the clan that all genin who had ever been under their watch became chuunin after three attempts, at most. And considering that they were often saddled with the delinquents who had barely scraped by in the academy, that was indeed something of note.
Naruto frowned. "I can't yet. I have to talk to my teachers."
"Give it a rest," Naruto admonished. "It'll only be an hour or so."
"No," was the truthful, if blunt, response.
The two children looked at each other, then drew back. "You better come play with us as soon as you're done!" They bobbed to Kakashi and Obito, then scurried off.
Naruto folded his hands into his sleeves and continued on his way. As they turned the corner that led to their teacher's room, they happened to catch someone else leaving the very room they intended to enter. Seeing that the man had dark hair—something no Namikaze had ever had—Kakashi and Obito both reached for weapons, thinking the man had somehow snuck into the compound, but Naruto extended an arm in a quelling motion.
The man turned, briefly surprised. "Oh, Naruto-sama."
"You really don't have to call me that."
"Yes, I do."
Kakashi recognized him immediately and nudged Obito's foot with the toe of his sandal to get him to relax. Yamato, the classified reports had at last revealed after Orochimaru's death, was the only victim to survive one of Orochimaru's most heavily researched experiments. He had been infused with DNA from the Shodai as a baby, and then later done a short stint with the ANBU division. After an accident involving his team—one described simply as 'devastating' in the final report—he, the only survivor of it, vanished from Konoha's radar completely. Family of the dead ANBU were furious, demanding answers and punishment, but the Fourth had refused to give anyone any more information on the matter. Kakashi, taking in the clan attire Yamato was wearing, had a sudden inkling as to why. Obito tapped the side of his foot with one heel urgently, clearly making the connection as well, and Kakashi dropped his chin in acknowledgement.
Naruto rolled his eyes and sighed. "Have it your way, then. What were you doing?"
"Just paying tribute. I owe your father a great deal."
Naruto lifted his hand absently and curled it over his headband, which he had tied around his neck that day—as he had every year—to mark the Fourth's death, but he stared at the floor and said nothing in return.
Yamato hesitated, then placed his hand on Naruto's shoulder. "I don't know exactly what has happened," he said after a moment. "I know there's been a change, but the blood doesn't run so thick in me that I know more than that. But . . . I trust he understood what he was doing and was ready to accept full responsibility for any new hardships he caused. Whatever his reason and whatever pain it has created, he made a choice he felt was right."
"And if I said it was to ease his shame for something he did to me?"
"Your father did not try to escape shame, Naruto-sama, and he loved you more than his own life. If he hurt you somehow he would have done anything in his power to make it up to you, and he would never have let clan law stand in his way."
Naruto tilted his head and nodded a little. "Thanks, Yamato."
Yamato inclined his own head and looked up to greet Kakashi and Obito, only to realize that they were not of the clan. He swallowed nervously. ". . . Oh."
Naruto diffused the situation quickly. "They'll understand. They know—Dad trusted them completely and I trust Kakashi-sensei."
"Not me?" Obito asked.
"I don't really know who the hell you even are," Naruto replied without turning around. "But if Dad and Kakashi and Sasuke trust you so much, then I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt."
Naruto looked back over his shoulder. "I could have you removed."
Obito held up his hands in placation. "Shutting up."
Kakashi stepped in then. "Understand, yes. Understand what? Is this about the incident?"
"It would have to be, wouldn't it?" Obito returned.
Kakashi hissed at him warningly.
"Misasagi," Naruto explained. "The clan's strongest offensive technique, most powerful of the three future timeseals, and one of our strongest techniques overall. It ages any given area by thousands of years. His team was surrounded and totally outnumbered. He was trying to help, but didn't have nearly the control necessary to shape the zone he wanted. It was an accident, and one of the clan's biggest errors—Sandaime-sama had told us of him and his link to the Shodai years before, but the Shodai didn't have quite the same dealings with Time that the Founder did, so we thought nothing would come of it if we let him continue to operate without instruction." He shook his head and concluded, "It's our fault those shinobi died, not his."
"I don't think so," Yamato said quietly. "I shouldn't have used a skill that I had never practiced with. It was extremely foolish."
"I do," Obito countered. "This clan does too good a job of isolating themselves in plain view. Unless they have to interact with non-family for at least nine hours every single day, they don't consider how their behavior affects others. Kakashi?"
Kakashi sighed to himself. Obito was probably expecting backup. "You're all right. It's incredibly stupid and extremely dangerous to use a new technique or part of a kekkei genkai's power when the user has no experience with it even in a controlled setting. With that said, though, if this clan knew then they should have assumed that there would be an incident and that it would be a huge one. If they had given even the most basic training in Time control, it's possible lives could have been saved." He looked at Yamato, then at Naruto. "I'd say it's both your fault and the fault of the clan."
Yamato seemed quite relieved that they did not blame him blindly for it and dipped his head in appreciation. "Thank you. I—"
"Yamato-kun!" someone called from somewhere else in the house.
Yamato raised his voice. "Just a moment!" He bowed to them swiftly—"Excuse me."—and they watched him disappear around the corner.
Naruto pushed open the door to his father's room.
"It's good that you all are protecting him," Obito decided as he entered.
"Dad was livid," Naruto explained, "when he found out that the elders had known about Yamato having a few skills with Time and yet hadn't done a thing—not even mentioned it. He felt it was something of an obligation. Not only had a good team been wiped out, but the only survivor had been scared out of his mind when he saw what had happened to his teammates."
"I would be, too, knowing how much they'd probably suffered. ANBU teams are closer than they really should be."
Naruto stopped and turned to him.
Obito stopped as well, blinked, then asked, "You mean he doesn't know that?"
"Unlike the other two future timeseals, Misasagi will affect the one performing the jutsu if that person is within the specified radius. In most cases, we distance ourselves from enemies to avoid that and because it takes more time and chakra to isolate people we don't want to harm. Yamato, in his case, was in a tree observing his team's pending annihilation while he sought for a way to at least allow his allies the opportunity to run. His reaction was desperate and quite instinctive; he probably would be dead himself, but was at enough of a distance to be just beyond the range he had eventually settled on. To him, everything within the misasagi happened instantaneously. He did not see or hear it as it occurred, only the aftermath. Dad forbid us from ever telling him otherwise, and if you do it, I'll kill you in his stead."
Obito frowned, unaffected by the threat both because he was a ninja and because if it was a rule his teacher had set down, he intended to obey it. "Oh. Sensitive type, isn't he?"
"One day I'll show you the Misasagi," Naruto told him. "You'll be 'sensitive,' too."
"You know it?"
Kakashi shoved him. "Don't—be—stupid. Of course he knows."
"I'm probably not supposed to," Naruto said, "but Dad thought I should. I had enough chakra control, so he taught me."
Kakashi stepped into his teacher's room and was nearly knocked down by the mild earthy scent of the cologne his teacher had started to wear more after becoming Hokage, which meant he could wear some stuff that was distinctly not natural and not have to worry too much if it would help get him killed. It was actually not very strong, but the memories were. He watched Naruto crawl under the covers of the bed and snuggle down into them like a child. It had been six years to the day since the Fourth's death, but the clan—and Naruto more so—still felt the loss acutely. It was one of the downsides to the whole clan being so close; they mourned deeply and for a long time in private, only covering the pain with cheer for the benefit of others.
The biggest upside to the Fourth's death was that he, rather than Naruto, had been the one to die. If it had been the latter, the former would have been devastated far beyond mere broken-heartedness. Second only to Time, the Namikaze worshipped children, and it was a terrible blow to the entire clan when one died—the only instances when they were ever quiet for more than three days in a row. Orochimaru had ambushed father and son while they were practicing, and Kakashi was easily able to envision his teacher's efforts to clear any possible escape route for Naruto. When that had failed, Kakashi had no doubt that the man's paternal instincts had kicked into overdrive. Even though Naruto had been skilled enough to hold his position—there had been signs that he had made a great deal of use of the one fire technique Sasuke had, at the time, taught him—that had been about the only thing he could do, aside from the occasional support maneuver.
Unfortunately, precisely how the mutual deaths of Orochimaru and the Fourth Hokage occurred was still a mystery years later. Naruto, the only witness, had been knocked unconscious by Orochimaru—quite likely would have been dead by that point had he not been utilizing his bloodline—near the end of the battle and did not remember being found by the team of ANBU sent to assist, who reported that he had been howling hoarsely over his father's broken body by the time they arrived. He had nearly killed them when they tried to peel him away from the cooling corpse, and to protect themselves they had been forced to render him unconscious a second time. Apparently, his mind had leaped at the opportunity to forget, and no one had blamed him.
Still, that was the recurring problem with strong and fast shinobi—their battles were done with so quickly. Toss in time manipulation and that shaved the duration that much more. It simply left too much room for blood to be lost, too much room for Death to saunter into the scene and take what he liked as casually as he desired, too much room for pain to take hold . . .
Obito sniffed lightly. "Why . . .?"
"Mom," Naruto answered quietly. "Whenever she comes to spend the night she sprays it all over the room. I don't know why," he murmured, scratching one fingernail absently against the pillow beneath his head, "because she doesn't cry any less if she does it."
Technically, since Naruto's mother was not of the clan, she was allowed to visit only and not stay. Despite her closeness to the family as the wife—and then widow—of the clan's most powerful member as well as being mother to his sole heir, she did not know much more about Time than Kakashi or Obito did. That was the clan's Fifth Law, that only blood knew anything substantial about Time, and the Fourth had held to it because he had known it would protect them all. Instead, he had bent the visitation rule by having her drop by in the evening, since that was the only time they had been able to see each other anyway, and had her spend the night. In the morning she would go to the apartment he had provided for her as an apology, bathe and get her clothes changed, and go the Hokage's office, where Naruto and the Fourth would be waiting with the breakfast that someone in the clan had put together for her. She was forbidden, but not out of hatred, so she probably drifted by often during the nights and slept either in the clan quarters with Naruto or—more likely, considering Naruto's age—in the bed in her husband's room rather than the one in her apartment, and everyone just looked the other way.
"She knows why she does it," Kakashi said as he closed the door to the room and pulled the chair away from the desk in the corner for himself. "Try not to worry so much."
Naruto nodded, and then sat up after a long stretch of silence. "Seihen."
Kakashi and Obito exchanged a look and then Obito echoed meekly, "'Seihen'?"
"Seihen is the Change of Times," Naruto explained. "It's the clan's most powerful skill and requires many years of study to understand it well enough to execute it without causing the universe to implode."
"That's an exaggeration," Obito said, "right?"
Naruto just looked at him.
Obito grimaced. "Er . . . What does it do?"
Kakashi dug his elbow into his best friend's ribs, not wanting to cause Naruto to close up after revealing a bloodskill that was clearly extremely dangerous. "It alters time, moron." Obito stuck his tongue out in response, but Kakashi did not notice. He had already looked down at the crinkled paper that was still folded in his hand the same way it had been in Naruto's before that and frowned.
Time alters all wounds.
"The Seihen allows someone to travel as far back into the past as he has chakra for and make modifications to any event he desires," Naruto clarified, "which in turn makes the appropriate adjustments in future events. It relies on Time alone, though; since we can't control people, it's considered a passive technique rather than an active offensive or defensive one."
"And Sensei did that?" Kakashi concluded. Naruto nodded again and he could not help but ask, "Why?"
Naruto flopped back onto the full-size bed and gazed at the ceiling with a faintly melancholic expression. "Imagine a world where your friend there died in that rock fall the Rock-nin caused. Imagine that not long after your friend's death, the kyuubi attacks Konoha and kills thousands of people. To stop it, the Fourth Hokage seals it away into a newborn child and also dies. Imagine that six years after that, Uchiha Itachi gets it into his head that the genocide of his clan is a good idea, tops it off with parricide, just barely decides to not add fratricide to the list, and scurries out of the village. Another six years later—after failing every other academy-prepared team that came your way—you get saddled with Team Seven, which is comprised of a conceited genius, a semi-ditzy fangirl, and a dead-last moron. You teach them a few things and toss them into the chuunin exams after a few D-rank assignments and one A-rank."
"A-rank?" Kakashi and Obito blurted simultaneously.
"The man who requested assistance lied about the danger level."
They nodded. Such things happened often.
Naruto sighed. "Anyway, the exam's third round is interrupted by Orochimaru, who has been lurking in the background for years and years, and his band of ugly and less-than-merry men. He kills the Third—and many others by association—and one of his spoils of war is the conceited genius, who's all about revenge and shit. The genius leaves, the moron tries to get him back, they have a big fight and nearly deal mutual deathblows before the genius gets in a lucky punch and staggers off while the moron is unconscious. Three years later, with the assistance of a far less semi-ditzy fangirl, the not-such-a-moron tries to get the genius back again. Nothing is resolved, though it's pretty much common knowledge that Uchiha Itachi didn't have the grace to drop dead while the moron was out training . . . Did I mention that he briefly showed himself between the third-round prelims and the third round itself?
"Well, after two long years of scrapes and bruises and many more failures to retrieve His Assholiness, the runaway genius, the not-such-a-moron—who, by the way, is the one the Fourth sealed the kyuubi in—is eventually lured to the den of the S-class oinin Uchiha Itachi has joined up with. This particular group is trying to take over the world by collecting the bijuu, and they naturally want the kyuubi, but until that point the not-such-a-moron had been behaving like he actually did have a brain. It slips away for just a moment and he's captured by the leader of the group, who is actually . . ." Naruto looked over at them and said in a low voice, almost as though he was telling a ghost story, ". . . the Fourth Hokage."
"WHAT?!" Obito screeched.
Kakashi watched Naruto carefully, confused but not daring to call the boy a liar.
"As for your friend, you think he's dead for . . . oh, about twenty years . . . and then find out that he is still alive, just disfigured, has near-total amnesia, and has become a brand new member of the strongest group of dickheads around. He assists in the capture of the not-such-a-moron as well as in the extraction of the kyuubi. Imagine a world like that."
Kakashi looked over at Obito, who had his head tilted and was peering back at him with his one good eye. He could not truly imagine a world without his idiot best friend. ". . . I can't."
"Well I can. I grew up there."
Obito snorted, but once again Kakashi remained quiet and gazed at his student. He had already noticed Naruto's unusual behavior and he thought the idea of a world like that was not so farfetched. Even right at that moment Naruto was watching him in turn, eyes sharp in a way they had not been just the day before, somehow both expectant and not expectant at the same time. It occurred to him suddenly that the young man sitting in front of him, despite the outward appearance, was a total stranger.
"Who are you?" he asked, and ignored the confused look Obito gave him.
Naruto smirked. "Turned around already?"
"If you're telling the truth about this," Kakashi replied, "and I tend to think you are because that's an odd story to make up, then I technically have no idea who you are."
The smirk widened, then faded into a sigh. "It's a shame I finally pull one over on you when I'm not actually trying to." He shook his head. "Listen, everything is true. Everything I said as well as everything you know about my childhood. They've both happened, but Dad using the Seihen has caused what you know to overwrite what I know. I can't show you what I know and prove that it happened because Time is linear and Dad has wiped it completely out of existence by changing history."
"That's convenient," Obito noted.
Kakashi turned to him. "Would you shut up and let the adults discuss this?"
"It just seems like he's trying to blow sunshine up your ass, okay?"
"Obito, please. Why would he bother? He knows better than to think I'd pity him and he can't be an imposter because his family would have already dealt with him."
"It's just too—"
"Plausible?" Kakashi inserted sharply, and Obito shifted uneasily. Bingo. "What, you think you wouldn't have become one of the bad guys if Sensei had been there? You're so sentimental I know you would have."
"How the hell would you know, you perfectionist bastard?"
"Because if I lost most of my memory, I would join him," Kakashi returned immediately.
Obito was silent in response to the admission.
"Don't think so highly of me," Kakashi told him. "I'm as much a sentimentalist."
"Guys," Naruto interrupted firmly. "Stop. It doesn't matter what either of you would do, because Dad is dead and that world no longer exists. You wanted to know, so I told you. I honestly don't care if you believe me or not—I know I'm telling the truth."
Knowing he would have plenty of time later to argue the topic with Obito, Kakashi held up the note Naruto had discarded. "And what does this mean, in the scope of things?"
"Common consensus has it that Time will heal all wounds," Naruto replied, "but that's not strictly true. Healing is not a part of Time's power. Time only distances you from an event that caused you pain and makes it seem as though the hurt has faded. If you continue to cling to that pain, however, the passage of Time does nothing; it's up to you to heal your own heart." He nodded at the note. "Dad was reminding me to not dwell on the timeline I came from and instead embrace the new one that was created for me. Only if I do that will I be able to appreciate this place and make his efforts worth anything."
"Are you going to do it?" Obito asked.
Naruto sat up and tilted his head at that. "Dad sacrificed himself four times—twice in the lost timeline and twice in this one—for my happiness. After sixteen years, it won't be easy for me to turn away from those memories even the slightest bit; they are what made me who I am and they are important to me. I will, however, find a way to accept this new timeline, whether or not I like it. Time, after all, is linear—there is only one existence for us to live at any given moment. Not even the clan has the ability to multiply Time."
Kakashi frowned at his student, then looked over at Obito, who was staring back at him. He refocused on Naruto. "This only just barely makes sense."
Naruto smiled grimly at that. "You don't have to know the truth to live in it. All you need to do is appreciate the life you have now, because once upon a time the life you were fortunate enough to forget was a hell you never want to revisit."
Timekeeper and the Timespan triad have concluded.
Timesaver quadrilogy to be (eventually) continued . . .
Answers To Questions You Didn't Even Know You Wanted To Ask:
Wait, Naruto's team is Team Six?
Well, as discussed above by Naruto, Kakashi, and Obito, changing one thing can alter many others. In this case, the Fourth's changing the past somehow caused Team Seven to become Team Six instead. Don't ask me how because I don't know—I only write the story.
How come Naruto's the only chuunin?
Mainly, I did it simply because everyone but Naruto (and Sasuke, but he voluntarily gave up on that as far as I'm concerned) is a chuunin by the time of Part II/Shippuuden, so it's something of a twist. Not that Sakura and Sasuke are idiots, they just don't have the same benefits as in canon. Sakura chose to be an iryounin right off, and not entirely to get close to Naruto and Sasuke; she would most likely let her taijutsu skills slip to apply the proper focus to healing. Sasuke, having his family still around, would probably not have learned Chidori and definitely would not have had Orochimaru's power to feed from; he would most certainly not be easy to beat, but it's entirely possible he could lose. And without Sasuke and Naruto pushing each other to succeed as impatiently and violently as in canon, Kakashi would probably be a bit less likely to offer them as exam fodder before he knew they were all ready.
Sasuke's not an asshole?
Nope. Damn shame, ain't it? Hard to hate him when he's half decent.
What about Itachi?
He didn't, presumably, decide to hack up his family tree this time around.
They have a sister?
Naruto's bad at Kawarimi no Jutsu? What about Bunshin no Jutsu?
This is something I built on from a discussion with someone (whose name I cannot recall, I'm afraid—I'm sorry) in the Door Number Two reviews. We came to the conclusion that Naruto is so bad with clones because they are pure illusion. In Japanese lore, kitsune illusions are actually of very high quality and completely tactile to both them and us, so a normal clone would clash with that, and it's possible that would be a trait Naruto would pick up from the kyuubi. Shadow clones, on the other hand, are physical forms, so the same does not apply to them and would help explain why he's so much better with them.
The application of that theory to the Kawarimi is as follows: Taking into account what the Time bloodlimit allows the user to do, such a replacement is totally unnecessary in comparison because slowing or increasing the passage of time is as good as or better than replacing oneself with something. Rather than taking the time to find something to replace yourself with, you can simply slow/increase time itself and move. As a result, Uzumakis in general are bad with Kawarimi no Jutsu, but some are worse than others.
"I'd discipline him for cheating and then lying—and I still will if someone can prove he did either—but that's the kind of thing he'll have to be able to do as a field agent."
Though I hadn't intended it, this reminds me of a quote that I believe I found on DeviantArt, but the one who came up with it is unknown to me: "If at first you don't succeed, cheat, repeat until caught, and then lie."
Okay, so if Sasuke and Obito are cousins once removed . . . what does that mean?
It means that Obito is first cousins with either Mikoto or Fugaku. Hell, since they're all inbred anyway, he might be first cousins with both of them (that doesn't necessarily mean Mikoto and Fugaku are also first cousins, I don't think, but try not to think about it either way). To clarify: Your first cousin is the child of your aunt/uncle. If your first cousin has a child, that child is your cousin once removed.
Shodai is 'founder' or 'first generation.' Though I have been told that at least one of the Naruto video games refers to the First Hokage as 'Shodaime,' I have never heard him referred to as anything but 'Shodai' in the anime. As far as I know, neither is dead wrong, but since the anime is all I can personally draw from at this point, I'm sticking with 'Shodai.'
Yamato is part of the Namikaze clan?
By virtue of his connection to the First Hokage, yes.
Who is 'the Founder'?
The Founder is, obviously, the one who started the Namikaze clan and was probably very good with Time manipulation. Exactly who he is will be covered in Time Frame, but there is a hint here in Timekeeper, implying a close connection between the Shodai and the Founder. If you want to guess it, I'll let you know whether you're right or wrong.
What is the 'Misasagi'?
Misasagi is 'emperor's tomb' or 'imperial tomb.' It is the third and strongest of the three "future timeseals" and permanently ages a given area by a thousand years. The chosen zone can be shaped to the user's preference, but it takes a lot of time and extra chakra. The user must stay outside the desired range or s/he will also be affected by the power of the skill. What occurs within the misasagi is instantaneous from the perspective of an outside party, including the user; studying the remains of victims has shown that the perspective from the inside is not as merciful. It is a powerful technique, but uses an amount of chakra proportionate to the size of the chosen zone. The zone cannot be moved once the user has begun to form the proper seals, so knowledgeable enemies can escape if they notice in time and the zone is small enough. Because of its permanence, Misasagi is an offensive S-rank technique that covers all ranges.
What's 'seihen' again?
Seihen is 'change of times.' This is a technique that allows the user to travel into the past and so influence the future. It only controls Time, however, and not the free will of people. As a result, there is no guarantee that using this technique will change the future in the way the user desires. It is most dangerous in that the user, if s/he is not concentrating on the date s/he desires, might possibly become lost in the flow of time. A similar lack of care could disturb the flow of time so badly that it becomes irreparable and causes mass deaths that could have a devastating effect on the existence of the future. Though actually a passive C-rank technique on its own, skill with chakra manipulation is heavily required for the user to safely achieve the specific date he/she wishes to arrive at. That requirement elevates Seihen to a passive A-rank technique with a range that cannot be physically measured but is proportionate to chakra expenditure.
Is there a sequel?
Several. Timeserver is part one of the Timespan triad and the Timesaver quadrilogy. The second part of the Timespan triad and Timesaver quadrilogy is Timescale. The final part of the Timespan triad and third part of the Timesaver quadrilogy is Timekeeper. The fourth and final part of the Timesaver quadrilogy is the multi-chapter Naruto/Okami crossover fic Time Frame.
What do you mean by 'eventually' concluded?
I mean that Time Frame has to be posted to complete the Timesaver quadrilogy. However, I haven't broken ground on Time Frame at all, so it's nowhere near even being partly done. I'm not going to be posting chapters for it for a very long time, so please don't ask or wait with baited breath—you will suffocate. The Timespan triad are standalone, so I feel no urgency to work on Time Frame at this moment, particularly since I have far older and more complete pieces to finish, clean up, and post. I'll get to Time Frame one of these days.
You know how good milk comes from happy cows, and happy cows come from California? Well, good stories come from happy authors, and happy authors come from reviews. So, please review.