Disclaimer: All Naruto characters are the copyright of Masashi Kishimoto. I'm just borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. That's all. :)
A/N: Sometimes my muse strikes me with ideas for stories at crazy times. I was reading Naruto fics one day when my mind came up with this question… What would the Naruto world be like if Uzumaki Naruto did not exist? In other words, if he was not born at all, would history be quite different? Of course, the answer is a definite "Yes". With this thought in mind, my brain thought about the movie It's a Wonderful Life, and I said to myself, "Hmm… I have yet to read a Naruto fic around this concept." Let's just say my muse has been working in overdrive to bring this idea into written form to share with everyone out there. It's a completely different take to create an AU world with a plot device well known in the entertainment world.
So thus this fic has been born. This chapter will begin the journey, and each chapter afterward will deal with certain places or people and what it would be like in this different world. I want to say that in such a world, many different possibilities can exist, thus this fic is what I view what could happen. Therefore, I know fellow Naruto fans might have different viewpoints and ideas on what could happen in a world where Naruto has not been born. You're welcome to share them in your reviews, but please I'm not going to change anything regardless how many people may disagree with me.
With this said, I also want to say that I'm not that well verse in canon. I'm going to be taking some things from the anime fillers, but mostly I will focus on the story arcs that are both in the anime and the manga. So I appreciate no whining or complaining that I'm not following canon to the letter or the characters will not react this way or that, etc. etc. It's just a fanfic for crying out loud!
1) I rated this fic T (PG-13) for certain dark themes. I'm playing it safe given some themes are not meant for the kiddies, yet if I and others think this will rate a higher rating in the future, it might change.
2) This fic contains spoilers up to Chapter 383 of the manga. If you do not want to be spoiled, please do not read this fic. And yes, please understand that this story takes place after Chapter 383, so if you did read the manga up to Chapter 383, you'll be able to better understand this fic.
BTW, if the idea for this fic already has been written, I apologize, given I have not read a Naruto fic with this plot. So please, do not excuse me of plagiarism, because I truly have written up everything in my own words.
To my fellow Kim Possible fans, rest assures I'm not abandoning writing up my KP fics. I'm still writing them up, just this idea for a Naruto fic came up and I like to get it out of the way before I return to writing KP.
Story rating: Rated T (PG-13)
Written: January 2008
Summary: Through a guardian angel, Naruto saw the world, as it was if he was not born.
A World without You
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)
Chapter 1: Wishing to Die
Numb. If anyone in the Hidden Village in the Leaves could describe the Number One Most Unpredictable Ninja, 'numb' would not be a word they would use. Yet as the blond teen strolled through the streets of Konoha, numb was exactly how he was feeling at the moment.
For Uzumaki Naruto, the past several days were nothing more than a world-altering event in his life. Not since he was told that the Kyuubi was sealed inside him did anything could have made a profound influence in his life.
After returning from another failed mission to retrieve Uchiha Sasuke, he and his teammates had been met by a sad Tsunade and Shizune in the Hokage office. A sense of dread had come over the group upon seeing the somber expressions, and upon seeing Pa Toad hopping onto the desk from behind Tsunade, Naruto knew something has gone wrong. It was only after Pa Toad did a few quick hand signs to summoned a familiar large scroll did the blue-eyed boy realized what had happened.
With sad eyes focused on Naruto, Pa Toad had gestured to the scroll. "Naruto-chan… I'm sorry. You're now the only person left who can summon us Toads. The Toad Summoning Contract is now yours to take care and pass on to others you deem worthy to summon us. I know Jiraiya-chan have deep confidence in you to carry on the legacy."
Eyes wide in shock, Naruto couldn't able to stand, thus he fell to his knees, his mind unable to believe what Pa Toad was actually telling him. Ero-sennin… Dead. Focusing from the Toad Contract to the sad hazel eyes of Tsuande's, the blond genin softly spoke only one word. "How?"
With a voice interlaced with some sorrow, Tsunade told both Team 7 and 8 regarding Jiraiya's mission to infiltrate Rain Country's hidden village, which Jiraiya found out was the headquarters of Akatsuki. From Pa Toad's words, it was there that Jiraiya met the Akatsuki's leader, who went by the name of Pein, and a great battle had begun between the two. Unfortunately, Pein had won in the end, killing the Toad Sannin, but not before writing a coded message on Pa Toad's back to the identity of Pein just prior before passing away.
After hearing how Jiraiya died, Naruto couldn't able to listen to anything else his adopted mother figure was saying. Heart shattering, knowing he has lost an important precious person in his life, the young man looked down to the floor as tears began to uncontrollably rolled down his whiskered cheeks from his eyes. "Ero-sennin," he whispered just enough for everyone to hear before he broke down in sobs.
Naruto barely registered Sakura's arms hugging him, hearing her crying with him, and the next thing he knew, he'd felt the gentle hands of Hinata joining in giving him comfort, her eyes pouring out tears. No one in the room was spared the feelings of sorrow hanging in the air...
Shizune allowed her tears to flow upon seeing Naruto, her adopted otousan, in pain, while Tsuande only let a few tears left her eyes, trying to be strong for everyone, knowing she would grieve later.
Pa Toad, Kakashi, and Yamato hung their heads in sorrow, yet out of the three, Kakashi was the only one to shed some tears. He knew the man who had trained his sensei was gone; feeling like a member of his family has passed away.
Kiba closed his eyes, hung his head, clenched a fist, and growled softly. He did not know Jiraiya as well as Naruto did, but to see his friend in pain, the Inuzuka wanted very much to make the Akatsuki pay dearly. Sitting next to his master, Akamaru whined softly, joining in the grieving.
Sai, however, did not feel any pain or sadness regarding the situation. He still was confused to how he should feel when it comes to emotions in general. Yet the impassive young man did feel some compassion for his teammate's lost even though he could not feel anything regarding the lost of one of the Legendary Sannin.
Shino seemed to be the least affected next to Sai, yet the aloof Aburame did feel unhappiness as he hung his head slightly. His heart was sympathetic to his blond comrade and friend in his loss, but he knew the village has lost one of their greatest shinobi. He has no doubts that all of Konoha would be in mourning.
Surely as Shino predicted, two days later, a day of mourning was observed with all businesses and public offices closed as the village paid their respects to Jiraiya. With no body to bury until they could recover it from enemy territory, the funeral was held on top of the Hokage office in the same service that was held for The Third after the Sand-Sound Invasion.
It was a solemn affair under gloomy overcast skies with every person wearing their black shinobi funeral attires. Naruto had very much wanted to stand by his adopted mother figure's side, yet it was not his place to be. Yet he was not alone as he stood in front, surrounded by his friends and classmates with Sakura on one side and Kakashi on the other. They all knew their lovable knucklehead was heartbroken, and those who knew this more than any were Shikamaru, Ino, and Chouji who knew first hand how the blond really felt given it was not long ago they'd lost their own sensei - Sarutobi Asuma.
Yet after the funeral, Tsunade had asked Naruto, along with Kakashi and Sakura to accompany him, to her office, where she had dropped another bombshell on the already shellshock Jinchuuriki. Feeling the time was right for the young man to know, the Godiame Hokage told Naruto about his heritage, and it came as shock for him to find out that he was the son of The Fourth Hokage, Namikaze Minato, and his wife, Uzumaki Kushina. It explained much to why he looked so much like The Fourth as well as why he was chosen to carry the Kyuubi, for the legendary Yellow Flash would not had asked anyone else to sacrifice their children if he one to do the job.
At first, Naruto felt anger that no one had told him about his parents, for even Kakashi knew, given he was The Fourth's student. Yet after telling the bitter teenager that Minato had many enemies, both inside and outside Konoha who would had sought revenge by killing any children of The Fourth's, Naruto slowly understood the reasoning – to keep him safe until he was old enough to defend himself. It was indeed a bitter pill to swallow, but in the end, the young Hokage-wannabe had accepted the motive with grace.
Afterward, Tsunade had given Team 7 several days off, given she knew Naruto would need the time to accept what had happened and moved on. Thus the following morning Naruto had joined his teammates for morning training, but no matter how much he'd tried, he just couldn't put himself into it like he had before. So after lunch at Ichiraku's, the blonde genin told his team that he was going home and left, leaving behind four sets of concerned eyes watching him go. Teuchi and Ayame, father and daughter owners of Ichiraku's, knew their favorite customer was not himself, given he had only ate one bowl of ramen.
So thus, it was how Naruto was now wandering down the streets, feeling numb from the knowledge that he would not ever see and hear from his sannin sensei ever again. No more would he catch the old man peeping into women's bath houses. No more would he hear the white-haired perv boasted how great he was as the Toad Sannin. No more would he enjoy teasing the Icha Icha author by calling him 'Ero-sennin'. It was just not the same anymore without him.
As Naruto strolled along, he couldn't help but overhear the conversations being murmured by the villagers, especially by those who were eying him with hate. He may not have acute sense of hearing like an Inusuka or any of their dogs, but thanks to the Kyuubi, his hearing was better than a normal human's.
"There goes the demon brat," spoke one elderly woman to another. "I can't believe he's still alive after so long."
"It's hard to believe Jiraiya-sama would teach the Kyuubi monster powerful techniques," a middle-aged man said to woman, who might be his wife.
"Why can't you just die, demon," whispered a passing man around Kakashi's age.
Even though such words should no longer affect him, the words still hurt after all these years. It sickened him that there were still bigots who wanted him dead given they couldn't see that he and the Kyuubi were separate identities and not one-and-the-same.
Not wanting to be in such crowds anymore, Uzumaki took to the roofs to make a faster commute to his apartment, and upon arriving on the apartment building's rooftop, it was only a small jump down to the top floor's walkway and the door of his apartment. He proceeded to take out his keys to enter his home, and after opening the door and then shutting it behind him, the 15-year-old genin moved toward his bed where he collapsed, back first, onto it.
As he lay there, staring up at the ceiling, Naruto couldn't help but think of all the bad times he had in his life, especially some of the beatings he endured when he was a child, and despite he has become an official Konoha shinobi, the blue-eyed boy wondered whether it was really worth it. He'd failed to get back Sasuke… Twice! He was still a genin, while his classmates advanced ahead of him to the chuunin level. Furthermore, despite his single victory over the Akatsuki member Kakuzu, he knew that organization would not rest until they capture him and extract the Kyuubi from him. They would kill anyone who stood in their way to get the Nine-tails, and already one person… No, two people… paid with their lives – Asuma-sensei and Jiraiya.
'Ero-sennin.' A couple of tears rolled down his cheeks, before he closed his eyes, seeing the images of his sannin master before his eyes in his mind. 'Why did you have to die? Why?! I understand all about the need to die in protecting those who are precious, but from what Pa Toad-jiji said, you didn't have to die at all! You could have fled and live!' His right hand fisted and pounded the mattress.
A few moments later, his face twisted into a snarl. 'This is your entire fault… You baka fox!' Angry sapphire eyes shot open to glare down at his clothed stomach, where the seal laid. 'You caused all this pain and misery! If it weren't for you, Akatsuki wouldn't have targeted me and Ero-sennin would have lived!'
With quick reflexes, Naruto drew a kunai from his right-leg holder and held it over his heart. Closing his eyes once more, the teenager became relax as he held the kunai with both hands now. 'Maybe it's best this way. If I die, I'll take you with me. Akatsuki will be denied you, their plans will be thwarted, and every one of my precious people will be safe. I wish I can say good-bye properly to all of them, but knowing them, they will try to stop me. It's best this way.'
Raising the sharp weapon a bit to prepare for the plunge, Naruto spoke one last thought. 'Good-bye. I love you all.' With that mentally said, his hands began the kunai's downward descent.
"Ah, ah, ah," a gentle scolding voice spoke out, startling the member of Team 7 from his attempted suicide. Shooting up into a sitting position, shocked eyes whirled around to notice an elderly man with gray hair. He seemed to be a civilian with simple clothes, and his face, wrinkled from old age, held a small grin conveying warmth and wisdom. "You shouldn't think of ending your life like that, young man."
"Who are you?!" demanded Naruto as his right hand twirled the kunai to point at the intruder.
Rather than feeling threatened, the old man simply smiled and placed a hand on his chest. "You can call me Chikao," he said before his hand left his chest to point toward his listener. "As I was saying, you shouldn't end your life like that. After all, you have much to live for and to accomplish." His pointing hand came down to fold into the other. "I know the Boss will not be please if you took your life, Naruto."
Standing up from the bed, a confused Naruto raised an eyebrow. "The Boss?"
Chikao nodded with a smirk. "Hai. The Boss," he answered with a finger pointing upward, before his lips converted back to the typical warm grin. "To simply put, Naruto, I've been sent as your guardian angel to prevent you from making a terrible mistake."
Naruto blinked in stupefaction just prior to chortling. "He, he, he. Oh, this is a good one. I nearly fell for it. Okay, Sakura-chan, cancel the genjutsu!" he called out. When nothing happened, he tried again, growing a little more concerned. "Come on, Sakura-chan! This is not funny!" When again nothing happened, he placed his hands together into a familiar hand sign for jutsu cancellation. "Kai!" Seeing Chikao was still there, he again tried again and again.
Frowning, Chikao shook his head. "I assure you, young man, that I'm not a genjutsu." Seeing the blond boy stopped, the elderly angel continued. "When I was young, I was a shinobi for Iwa, until the war back then caused physical injuries that ended my shinobi career. I'm quite familiar with what genjutsu are, and this is not a genjutsu."
Blinking, Naruto pointed at his guest with his freed hand. "You're from Iwa? Are you not like…" He waved his hand about. "You know… angry at Konoha?"
Chikao chuckled. "No, I'm not angry or carry a grudge. The Boss takes in everyone as long as they didn't commit any actual unforgivable sins. I was a soldier and guardian of my village, thus I'd followed orders, anymore than you do with Konoha." Seeing the understanding expression on Naruto's face, the elderly angel frowned once more at the young man before him. "Now why would you want to commit suicide?"
"Why not?" answered Naruto stubbornly. Realizing he still has the kunai in his hand, the Konha genin placed it back into his kunai holder before commencing with his explanation. "People are dying because of me… because of the Kyuubi inside me," he added with a snarl at the thought of the nine-tailed demon. "If I die, Kyuubi dies. Everyone will be safer in the process." Sighing, the fire in his blue eyes died off as those twin orbs stared down at the floor. "Knowing this, I think it would have been better off that I have not been born at all."
"Come again, child?" asked Chikao, blinking in confusion.
Gazing up to lock his eyes to the older man's, Naruto retold what he said. "It would have been better if I was not born. The world would have been better off without me." Sapphire eyes returned to look at the floor.
Frowning at the solemn choice of words and the dejected look on the young man's face, Chikao wondered if this boy could be save at all. Then suddenly the angel looked up and cocked his head to the side. "Really? You think so?" Looking back at Naruto, who was now looking at him when he had spoken, Chikao rubbed his chin in thought. "I think it might work." The elderly shinobi clapped his hands with a small grin. "The Boss has heard you, Naruto, and decided to grant you your wish."
Baffled, Naruto could only shake his head. "What are you talking about?"
A sudden boom of thunder with a flash of light startled Naruto out of his wits, and the next thing he knew, his apartment looked totally different than before. His bed was gone to be replaced with a double bed under the window. The kitchen has a bigger table with chairs around it. A sofa was situated in front of a TV set, next to a bookshelf full of books and stuff. Several potted plants were around the place.
On top of the changed apartment, the sky was dark with clouds, which he was able to see from not only the window but from a large hole in the ceiling that looked like it was caused by an explosion. From the hole, he finally noticed the debris of the roof was around the apartment, and that there was dust acuminated on every surface feature in the place, like it has not been cleaned up in a long time.
It was clear to Naruto that something was not right. "Kami! What is going on here?!"
"Kami, who is the Boss, has decided to grant you your wish, Naruto," Chikao spoke with calm which Naruto did not feel.
"Wish?" Naruto asked rhetorically, not really paying attention as his head whipped around frantically as he gazed at the place. It was then that he decided to leap through the hole in the roof, and when the young Konoha shinobi stood on the roof to gaze at his home village, what he saw brought an overwhelming shock to his being.
As far as he could see, buildings stood in shambles. Some were burned to the ground. Others have pockets of holes with broken windows. A few looked like they were blown apart. The Hokage Tower was totally destroyed. In the distance, he could make out two large sections of the village wall were gone, completely obliterated from the outside-in. From one very large missing wall, he made out vast areas of the village looked like they were blown away from something akin to a typhoon.
Yet what really stunned him was the fact there were no people at all anywhere. The streets were deserted instead of being bustled with activity. There was not a sign of a single human being, other than himself and Chikao, who managed to leap up onto the roof. The whole village looked like a ghost town.
Alarm at what he was seeing, Naruto spread out his fisted hands and shouted loudly to the heavens. "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!"
"It's really simple, Naruto," Chikao spoke, making the frustrated teen whirled his head to look at him. After a moment, the angel spread his open palms out to indicate not only the village but everything. "Welcome to the world… A world where you, Uzumaki Naruto, was not born… At all."
Overhead, a bolt of lightning flashed with a large thunderclap.
To Be Continue (End of Chapter 1)
1) I know this story have grammar and spelling mistakes. It's just that the betareader for my 'Kim Possible' fics has no intention to beta any fics outside of KP, so with no betareader at hand, this chapter (and possible future chapters) will have errors.
So if anyone like to become my betareader to catch and correct these errors before I post the chapters, please email me, for I will not respond by reviews or PMs. I appreciate my betareader is familiar with American English spelling & grammar and is willing to do the job and not just to get a head-start reading of future chapters.
2) Give yourself a pat on the back if you think Chikao's physical description is much like Clarence, the guardian angel from the movie It's a Wonderful Life. I thought it would be ideal to have Clarence as a reference model for Chikao given they're providing the same service for the people they're trying to save. :)
For anyone's information, 'Chikao' means 'clever, wise' in Japanese. I just happened to come across the name in my search for a Japanese name for this Clarence-like character, and I'd thought it seems appropriate. :)
3) I can hear that some fans might think I made Naruto OOC here, for he would not have let himself be drowned in sorrow like this and not let the villagers' 'demon' taunts get to him. Yet given how precious those he considered very close to him, I can see he would be hurt deeply to know Jiraiya has passed away, thus with his emotions unstable, it wouldn't take much to make his mind think unreasonable thoughts that things might be better off if he was dead, not thinking such actions would end up hurting his other precious people, like Iruka, Tsuande, and Sakura who are all very close to him. When people are heartbroken from the loss of those they love, they can tend to not think straight sometimes.