Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Or a car. Yet.
In the most simple and basic explanation, everything can be said to be sculpted around one variable – 'choice'. Every action has a consequence of either an equal or opposite reaction. Every time a choice is about to be made, a reality, unbeknownst to its inhabitants, begins to split into multiple other realities, each reflecting the consequences of each choice.
In this case, in a split-second decision from one of the many battles of the Third Great Shinobi War, a Shinobi from the Village Hidden in the Rocks decides to attack the black-haired child over the white-haired one.
This is what resulted.
15 years ago…
"OBITO!" A voice yelled, as Obito suddenly became alarmed by the loud yell. His Sharingan eyes had just helped him intercept and defeat an enemy, but the voice calling to him suggested he wasn't done yet. He turned and the last thing he saw was a white blur, as he felt a hard nudge hit his side, throwing him across the ground. When Obito landed he could only look in shock, as a boulder began to drop down right to where he was standing moments ago before he was pushed. His body suddenly froze itself, as the boulder fell from the top of a cliff to collapse on his friend and teammate – Hatake Kakashi.
The twelve-year-old neither screamed, cried or made any noise as the boulder descended on him. Perhaps it was his silence that spoke the volumes it took to alert Obito to begin moving again.
"One down, two to go." The enemy Shinobi declared, the sole survivor of his team, finishing his jutsu. He began reciting handseals once more, only to find the black-haired child he had just tried to attack running straight towards him.
"I'LL KILL YOU!" Obito yelled out, as his Sharingan began spinning, changing from the one-tomoe in each eye to become two. His Sharingan automatically recalled the last jutsu he managed to completely see with both his eyes and he sub-consciously began forming the handseals, finally calling out the name of the jutsu – "CHIDORI!"
Sparks danced around Obito's hand, as they grew more and more as he ran, eventually forming a shining ball of lightning and eerily bearing the sound of thousands of chirping birds. Quicker than the Rock-nin's eyes could catch, Obito was right in front of him before he could even complete his jutsu. The enemy's arms fell to his side and his posture slumped, as he found the black-haired child thrusting his arm straight through his chest, creating a clean hole.
"Well I'll be damned…" And then the once Shinobi, once man, collapsed.
Obito withdrew his arm from the chest of the enemy, as the sparks in his hand died down. He turned back to where Kakashi was to see half his body intact, while the other half was completely covered by the boulder. Obito's body was tingling in shock, as if the static from the Chidori hadn't left him yet.
Obito took solace as he realized that yes, this was his first kill in cold blood. He couldn't help but stare at the vacant eyes of the fallen enemy, and before he could lose himself looking into them, a voice called him out of it.
"Hey, Obito?" The voice was quiet and hoarse, but Obito could hear it. He looked to see half of Kakashi's body moving. Obito immediately ran over to Kakashi as fast as he could – there was hope.
"Kakashi!" Obito yelled, standing over his friend, inspecting the boulder covering the other half of his body.
"I just wanted to tell you –"
"Save your energy!" Obito scolded, as he continued making his way around the boulder, looking for someway to lift it up. "You'll need it for the walk back!"
"Obito…" Kakashi tried to get to him, but Obito ignored him, as tears began welling up in his eyes, still trying to search around the boulder.
"Listen to me Kakashi!" Obito yelled, rather firmly. "You, me, Rin – we're all going to get back!"
"Obito!" Kakashi managed to yell, coughing meagerly, and Obito stopped. "It's alright."
"But… But!" Obito collapsed to his knees, landing next to his friends limp body. "No it's not."
"You know, Obito, after all this I've come to a conclusion." Kakashi spoke softly, and the half of his mouth Obito could see smiled. "You're not that bad of a ninja. You're still rubbish, but not too bad."
"You're not that bad of a friend. You're still rubbish, but not too bad." Obito replied, and Kakashi grinned, laughing, whilst coughing out blood. Kakashi stopped Obito from moving his mask and raised a hand to ask a question.
"Rin?" Kakashi asked.
"We got to her in time." Obito said. "She's fine."
"Good." Kakashi breathed a sigh of relief. "Don't ever change, Obito."
To Team 10, the word 'training' was synonymous to the word 'torture'. They were the first team their Jonin sensei had ever passed and they found out why after the grueling first test and the even more difficult training sessions to follow.
Outside of training, their sensei was kind, outgoing, and loved as practical joke as much as any of them, but during training he was ruthless and relentless, training them until he was satisfied. Surprisingly, though, he was working them especially harder today, and was very agitated –the former which they thought was impossible.
"On the battlefield, a weak team is a dead team." Uchiha Obito announced, as he lectured his team, all the while sparring against all three of them at the same time. "One slip-up and that's the end of you. Just like this!" Obito intercepted one of Naruto's punches, twisting his wrist and drawing Naruto closer to him, slamming his knee into his chest and tossing him to the side. Whilst doing so, he dodged a punch from Ino, side-stepping her and kicking her in her side. He turned around to see Shikamaru behind him, who attempted to strike him only to be grabbed and tossed overhead.
"And that is why you still need more training." Obito summed up, dusting off his hands, looking over his groaning Genin team. "Five minute break, then some chakra-control exercises. I know you all want to do your first C-Rank mission sooner than later, but it doesn't look like you're ready to me."
"Maybe you just have high standards?" Naruto challenged.
"Maybe. But I'm still the Jonin sensei, and your still the Genin student, so we'll discuss whether I had high standards in about 160 years." Obito replied.
"160?" Ino asked.
"Yeah. That's about how long it'll take for any of you to make it to Jonin at this rate." Obito said, turning to Shikamaru who was laying on the ground, muttering something that sounded like 'troublesome'. "Okay, five minutes is up!"
"That was hardly five minutes!" Ino complained, but before she could complain further, Naruto put a hand over his mouth, knowing if she complained any more she would gain them a lot more unwanted punishment.
"We'll get right to it sensei!" Shikamaru said, as they all tiredly got up. Whilst Team 10 may not have been the best team ever incarnated in the Land of Fire, they had some of the greatest bonds between each other. The usually lazy Shikamaru, as they had discovered, was actually an genius, which made it surprising that his best friend since the age of five was Naruto, the former dead last, but now apparent chakra powerhouse. Ino, though initially not as friendly with the two of them as they were with each other, later grew to respect both boys and hold them as friends, as the past four months of training together, taking missions together and spending a lot of team with each other had created strong bonds.
"I want all of you standing over the water. First one to fall does ten laps of the training grounds." Obito announced, as Team 10 grudgingly obliged. Taking their places over the small lake, they all walked over the water to the middle. They had only done this exercise a few times, but they attributed this rarity to his strange mood.
Naruto fell in the water after a minute, his record.
"Ten laps, Uzumaki." Obito declared, and Naruto did so. Disagreeing led to 100 push-ups, and disagreeing to that led to 1000 sit-ups, and disagreeing to that led to one hell of a Genjutsu. While the Team often spoke spiteful insults during training and cursed him as often as they could, they truly did respect their Jonin sensei. They all would quickly admit he had improved each of them ever since they first became a team, even if his methods may have been a little crude. It was often that he would take them out after a rather hard training session of training, and he would bestow words of advice that would serve as both an incentive and a motivational tool.
"Finished." Naruto breathed.
"Good, now get back on the water. Every time you fall in, that's another 10 laps. And that goes for the rest of you, too!" Obito announced, as Naruto took his place with no complaints. Naruto was the only one on the team who never complained when it came to training. He was the one that was always willing to train the most, no matter how hard Obito made it for him, something with Shikamaru guessed stemmed from the private conversation Obito and Naruto had after their first test.
45 seconds passed and Naruto fell in again
"You're not getting any better Naruto, your goal is two minutes for today!" Obito said, as Naruto set off for another set of 10 laps. 10 seconds after Naruto had fallen in, Obito's eyes caught Shikamaru's foot dipping into the water. "Go after him Shikamaru, 10 laps."
As Shikamaru began his laps at a slow, but steady pace, Naruto was beginning to overtake him. "Naruto, when you stand on the water, focus on the flow of chakra through your entire body, not just your feet." Shikamaru whispered to Naruto, as Naruto passed him, grunting to acknowledge that he heard him.
Just before Naruto rounded off his eighth lap, he heard Obito call out, rather jubilantly, "Ino-chan, I guess it's your turn, now!"
Naruto pushed himself to catch-up with Ino. "You know Ino, when you stand on the water, focus on the flow of chakra –"
"Through your entire body, not just your feet." Ino finished, turning to Naruto, and raising an eyebrow to a very embarrassed Genin. "Even geniuses need help sometimes."
"Oh, okay, I'm glad you know then…" Naruto replied meekly.
"And don't push yourself too hard on the laps, otherwise you'll be tired and unfocused when you go back to the water." Ino continued lecturing Naruto, who, like a sponge, absorbed every single word.
"Right, I'll hold back now then." Naruto replied, as Ino smiled.
It wasn't long till Shikamaru caught up with Naruto, and asked in his surprise, "why are you going so slowly? You've got half a lap left."
"You shouldn't push yourself too hard on the laps, Shikamaru." Naruto began. "Otherwise, you'll be tired and –"
"Unfocused when you go back to the water." Shikamaru finished for him, and Naruto, rather than question why he seemed like the only clueless one on the team, finished his lap quietly and went back to the water.
"I saw you talking as you were running." Obito said as Naruto walked passed him. "This isn't an afternoon stroll. Three minutes on the water, or no one goes home."
Whether it was Shikamaru's or Ino's advice, it paid off, as an hour later, they all found themselves standing together in the middle of a lake, grinning like idiots as they won their sensei's approval.
"Good." Obito smiled to all of them. "Tomorrow we'll be climbing trees."
"Thank you, sensei." Ino managed to say between breaths, as the three of them, drenched in water, rested in front of him.
"What are you thanking me for? I'm rather disappointed in myself." Obito said. "You're all still quite pathetic excuses for Genin. You took too long for my liking."
"Sorry, sensei." The three Genin chorused.
"No worries, we shall train harder over the next two weeks, and then we will take that C-Rank mission." Obito grinned. "But now let's get some ramen!"
As Naruto scoffed down his fifth bowl, Shikamaru slowly went through his second and Ino yelled at Naruto for being rude, Obito couldn't help but smile at his team.
"You're eating too much, too fast, Naruto!" Ino yelled. "You know sensei has to pay for this, right?"
"It's fine, Ino." Obito said, bearing one of his many strange smiles. "He'll make up for it in laps tomorrow."
"That's one way to look at it." Shikamaru sighed, slurping his noodles.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Team 10!" A voice behind them announced, as Team 10 turned to see another Team from their Rookie 9.
"Team 7, nice to see you." Obito said welcomingly, as he gestured for Gai and his team to join them. The other members of the Rookie 9, TenTen, Lee and Sai, sat next to them.
"We just came back from our second C-Rank." TenTen smiled proudly.
"We met little difficulty, as foreseen." Sai added nonchalantly, while Naruto and Shikamaru watched Ino stare wistfully at him, much to their annoyance.
"You should've seen them, Obito!" Gai announced, slapping a hand rather hard on his fellow Jonin's back. "I was very proud of their performance. I guess I can count this as a victory, seeing as the burning flames of youth in my Genin seem to overcome yours!"
"Not while we're still tied at 64." Obito replied through gritted teeth.
"No worries though, I'm sure the Hokage will give your team a mission when they seem fit enough!" Gai continued grinning, not knowing that Obito was growing more and more agitated with every syllable. "Maybe if you're team was as good as mine you'd get more high-ranked missions too!"
"Maybe." Obito muttered, taking a deep slurp of his ramen.
"When was the last time you went on your own high-ranked mission, Obito? You should ask the Hokage to give you some time off from your team." Gai suggested. "Though it might be the fact that they'd get even worse if you're not around."
"Maybe." Obito repeated again.
"But sadly, I cannot stay with you here and talk about the success of my great students, as we are going to celebrate!" Gai cheered, and as quickly as they had arrived, Team 7 left them, while Team 10 watched in horror as Obito put his ramen bowl down firmly. An annoyed sensei meant a whole lot more training for them.
"I guess that calls for more training tomorrow." Obito announced, an agitated expression on his face. "And then we'll head on for our C-Rank mission the day after that."
"How troublesome…" Shikamaru groaned, having been quiet for most of the time.
"This doesn't sound good at all…" Ino echoed Shikamaru's thoughts, though Naruto was feeling the polar opposite.
Shikamaru thought, a lot, unlike most people thought of him. Very few people knew of his genius – his team and his parents belonging to that exclusive group. As such, he enjoyed staring at clouds and playing Shougi, since both were great ways to do nothing but think.
Lying on the grass next to him was Uzumaki Naruto, as they both stared at the clouds, seeing as Naruto was a terrible Shougi player. They would sit there for the many hours that they weren't training, staring up into the clouds above, having short conversations. The two best friends straight from childhood had done this ever since they first met – it was sort of an unspoken deal between the two of them, as Shikamaru had his company, and Naruto never, ever failed a prank.
"Don't you think sensei was acting weird yesterday?" Naruto asked Shikamaru.
"Yeah, definitely." Shikamaru replied. "Did you see the look on his face when Gai started gloating around him?"
"He looked like he was going to smash the bowl in his hands." Naruto replied. "Do you know why?" Naruto asked, before stopping himself. "Wait, of course you know why!"
"It's an 'anniversary' for him, so to speak." Shikamaru said. "You remember that 'day' over in the Uchiha area, right?"
"Yeah. The one day when everyone else wasn't directing all their hate to me." Naruto remembered bitterly. "They found someone else more worthy, and the next day it was back to normal. Was one of the happiest day of my life."
"I know, Naruto." Shikamaru said, in all his years of knowing Naruto, he knew there were few days he really treasured. "But you remember what they said about the survivors, right? Only two?"
"Two of the last three Uchiha. One scarred for life, and the other, our sensei." Naruto recited.
"They say Obito-sensei was the only one who could've probably stopped him, which was why it happened when he was out on a mission." Shikamaru finished. "When Obito-sensei came back, he blamed himself for the countless deaths, feeling that maybe if he was there, he could've made a difference."
"I'm sorry if I went a little overboard yesterday." Obito admitted, scratching the back of his head, an unusual thing to see during a training session for Team 10. "But I already had made the arrangements with the Hokage, so it's pretty much set in stone."
"Good, at least all this training wasn't for nothing." Ino said, as all three members had collapsed on the ground after another exhausting round of their so called 'training'.
"But, just to be sure, we're going to finish off with a little 'final assessment' of your abilities before we head off." Obito said, as the three of them dragged themselves to their feet once more. "The object of this assessment is simple. All you have to do is hit me, once."
"What's the catch?" Shikamaru asked, and Obito smiled.
"No catch. I won't use many Ninjutsu or Genjutsu, mainly Taijutsu. You guys can use whatever." Obito said, and Shikamaru nodded. "You may begin. There'll be no time for planning, as you'll have no time on the battlefield!" Obito immediately rushed forward and targeted Shikamaru, who barely had the time to form a stance.
"Kage Bunshin No Jutsu!" A clone of Naruto sprang from his own body, jumping in front of Shikamaru and intercepting the attack. Shikamaru jumped back while the clone 'poofed' into smoke and Naruto rushed towards Obito. Naruto tried to punch Obito, but Obito ducked under his punch, laying his own punch into Naruto's chest.
Ino jumped back and threw shuriken towards Obito, who dodged all but one, expertly managing to pluck the last one from the air and quickly throw it back at her. Ino responded by blocking the shuriken with her own kunai, though this served as a distraction for Obito to appear before her quickly and silently, as he slammed his fist into her gut.
"Kagemane No Jutsu!" Shikamaru declared, as Obito suddenly became captured in Shikamaru's shadow, which locked itself around his ankles.
"Nice try." Obito smiled, appearing next to Shikamaru, revealing that Shikamaru had only caught a log instead.
"I knew this was going to happen." Shikamaru frowned, as Obito punched him to the ground. Shikamaru smiled as he fell, as half a dozen clones of Naruto descended onto the spot where Obito was standing.
"This is getting better!" Obito declared, as he engaged the six Naruto's in Taijutsu. The first one lunged straight for him, but Obito easily kicked him in the side of the head, forcing him out of existence. The second came from behind, but Obito ducked under his punch and hit his elbow straight into the clones chest. He then withdrew two kunai and destroyed the third and fourth, finally throwing one of the kunai at another clone. The real Naruto attacked Obito from his side, and after a short confrontation, he was tossed aside.
"Sucker." Naruto muttered to himself, as an exploding tag was immediately set off next to Obito, sending him flying back into where Ino was standing.
"Shintenshin No Jutsu." Ino announced, as she took over Obito's body. A weird expression crawled onto Obito's face, as he looked down into his hands. "Oh crap!" Ino yelled out through Obito's body, as it was evident there was an internal struggle.
"Kagemane No Jutsu!" Shikamaru quickly called out again, as Obito escaped Ino's mind control only to find himself trapped in Shikamaru's shadow again. And then, as annoying as it seemed, Obito's body disappeared in a puff of smoke, reappearing behind Shikamaru.
"Kawarimi No Jutsu!" Shikamaru turned around to see Obito try to strike him, switching his own body with that of a log. Obito growled in dissatisfaction, as he realized there was yet another exploding tag attached to the log. Obito foresaw this attack though, and immediately jumped back, landing next to a tree where yet another exploding tag was attached to.
"So I guess this is what you spend all your mission money on…" Obito spoke under his breath, until finally, he landed next to another tree, only to find his whole team had disappeared. Obito waited silently – he had taught his team this strategy, after all. He slowed his breath and tried breathing softer, looking cautiously around without making too much movement.
He barely had enough time to react to the flying Naruto's, the flurry of shuriken and the many kunai with exploding tags attached.
"Katon: Gokakyuu No Jutsu!" Obito called out, as he spun around releasing three fire balls in each direction, destroying them before they even got near him.
"Kagemane No Jutsu." Shikamaru called out for on final time, as he knew he had Obito caught for sure. The two blonds of Team 10, Ino and Naruto, both walked up to Obito and gave him a soft tap on each arm.
"I guess that means we pass then." Ino smiled, before looking at Naruto, and yelling in shock, "Naruto, you're on fire!"
"Sensei, quick, use a water jutsu!" Naruto pleaded, rolling on the ground. "Please! This is the last orange jumpsuit you haven't ruined yet!"
"Oh, really?" Obito replied, with a smile on his face. "I guess you won't be able to wear orange anymore."
A/N: A little idea that came to me while I was supposed to be studying for exams. Review and I'll be your best friend for the next two minutes.
Oh and before anyone asks any questions about Gai's team, and Sai or whatnot, remember "Alternate Reality".