Author's Note: Hm, my first attempt at a Naruto fic, and I think I chose a doosey of a subject. I'm sticking to canon (at least trying hard to) so let me know if I screwed something up – like a technique name, someone's age or similar. Know though, that certain events will be altered due to the nature of the story.
Rating: Rated T for the natural violence of ninjas and also for language. Naruto's mouth can be a bit crude, and he's not the only one, either.
Disclaimer: Naruto and etc. aren't mine, but there is a growing collection of original characters that will undoubtedly make their appearances.
Namikaze Brothers Arc One : Magirekomu Bettenchi(to be lost in another world)
Chapter 01 – Jikangire (being out of time)
Naruto woke suddenly, as most Shinobi tended to, though his body didn't otherwise react to his quick conscious shift into wakefulness. He breathed evenly, deeply, as if he was still asleep, listening for the sound or motion that had woken him with such suddenness. The area was quiet with the sound of the wind through leaves, and the distinct absence of birdsong, that made the distant sounds of destruction echo through the trees.
Naruto's eyes opened suddenly, seeing the branches of the tall Konoha trees above him. The forest was cast in shadow, like late evening. There was a wide swath of uprooted trees and trenches of dirt around him. Naruto sat up and groaned as his body protested the movement. He felt slow and worn out, and struggled to feel his own chakra, weakly pulsing beneath his skin. Pushing a few stray branches off of him, Naruto got to his feet, feeling drained and weak.
He looked over himself, looking for unfelt wounds. His clothes were ragged, one dark pant leg tattered at the ends, the other still tucked into the bindings around his calves. His shirtsleeves were dirty and one of the swirled patches on his arms had been torn, and his black and orange coat had deep gashes across his chest, leaving it flapping in the breeze. He was a bit worse for wear and he knew he looked like he just came out of the bad end of a good fight, but he wasn't wounded. At least not anymore.
'What happened?' he thought, taking in the surrounding area. He knew the location, though he barely recognized it with the uprooted trees. It was one of Konoha's outside training grounds, one of the furthest from the village's walls. He could see the top edge of the Hokage Monument in the distance through the trees. Battle sounds echoed through the trees again and Naruto scaled a tree, trying to figure out the direction of the sounds. He perched on a high branch, taking in the view of the village and its walls and the mountain beside it. The sun was low over the horizon, casting long shadows. He turned and stared, motionless in shock.
Crouched low over the forest in the distance stood the Kyubi, its nine tails sweeping in great arcs over its body. Naruto could hear its growls and calls vibrating through the trees. He couldn't believe his eyes. The Kyubi was supposed to be sealed within him, not loose to wreak havoc on Konoha again.
Naruto stared at the sight. He could barely make out the shapes of Shinobi attempting to battle it, desperately trying to turn it away from its path towards the hidden village. Shock and anger and confusion swirled through him and he suddenly felt something that made his anger disappear in an instant and feed his confusion twice-fold.
The Kyubi's chakra was not inside of him.
Naruto frantically looked down at his stomach, pulling his shirt up to stare at his bare stomach. He could see faint traces of the once-there seals, the lines faded like old scars. The Kyubi was not sealed within him like it should have been. Its absence sent Naruto reeling, and not just from the shock, but from the sudden realization of the feeling of emptiness – a great expanse of himself that had once been full to bursting with barely restrained power and rage was no longer there.
"What the hell?" he whispered staring back at the sight before him. The nine-tailed fox swung its tails violently, toppling a great swath of trees and sending a cloud of dust and debris into the air. "How did it get out?"
'Impossible.' Naruto thought, still too shocked to really react. 'What the hell happened?'
Flashes of memory surfaced slowly, then more rapidly as he wracked his brain for some explanation to what was going on and he wondered if he was dead. 'I should be dead.' Scenes of Konoha's distant training grounds in ruins, black flames, a swirled mask and a taunting voice echoed through his head. Madara. Uchiha Madara and the bastard's annoying time jutsus (1) which made a battle with the guy aggravating enough to pull out the nine-tail's chakra so early; too early. Naruto didn't have the strength otherwise to face him, or the speed. But he also remembered, vaguely through the haze that was his mind behind the Kyubi's shroud and tails, that Madara had found him terribly annoying in return; enough to do something about it. Something that Naruto had no idea was possible, but Madara had calmly stood before him and told him exactly what he was going to do – and when.
Naruto knew where he thought he was, but he wasn't sure he believed it.
Naruto twisted his head back around to look at the village, his eyes immediately went to the monument, the faces of the Hokages carved in stone above the village. There were only four. Naruto felt his eyes widen at the sight. The Fifth's face was not there, leaving the space it had – would – take a rough, uneven lump of cliff and stone. Naruto's eyes slowly tracked back to the Kyubi raging in the distance as his mind was locked in a state between absolute numbness and complete chaos.
He had traveled back in time.
"Madara." He growled, watching the fox in the distance with growing anger. He looked around him, trying to find the man responsible for his situation. He couldn't sense him anywhere, but that didn't mean he wasn't near. Naruto looked back to the village, wondering where the man would head to first. Naruto wasn't sure, he couldn't predict the Uchiha.
"Kushina." Naruto whispered, suddenly remembering. Madara was going to go after his infant self and his mother, killing the child before the fox could be sealed. Naruto looked around again, wondering where he would find her. He didn't know where she had lived, or how she had died this night. He could scour the entire village and miss her. The fox in the distance took down another swatch of forest, growling into the darkening sky. Naruto could see its eyes glowing slightly, reflecting the sinking light of the sun. He could feel the malice and anger of the fox's nature from his distance, rolling over and through the forest in near tangible waves of power and rage and killing intent so potent that it took his breath away.
As he watched, suddenly a large summoning grew out of the depths of the forest. Naruto felt his eyes widen at the sight of Gamabunta, the boss toad, standing between the rampaging nine-tailed fox and the village's walls. Atop the toad's head stood the tall figure of a man. Naruto knew who he was. Even from his distance, he could see the features of the Fourth Hokage staring down the visage of the angry fox.
The nine-tails screamed its fury, slashing its clawed hands toward the toad. Gamabunta hopped out of the way, drawing his blade and spitting out great balls of water bombs. The water struck the fox harshly, exploding in great waves of chakra and water. The fox screamed again, but didn't retaliate. Instead it jumped back away from the boss toad. Naruto stared, shocked again as the fox retreated, still screaming and growling in anger and rage as it distanced itself from the toad and the village.
'Why is it retreating?'
"That's not right." Naruto said, standing as he watched the fox's retreat. "What's going on?"
Gamabunta and the Fourth didn't follow far, keeping close to the village's surrounding forest. Naruto watched as the fox screamed one last time before disappearing in a splash of chakra and smoke.
It had left.
"What the hell?" Naruto looked around the area again, wondering if it had just changed locations to attack from a new direction. But he couldn't even feel the lingering traces of the nine-tails's chakra in the area. It had completely left, as if it had been unsummoned. Naruto blinked.
"Madara." Naruto growled, and jumped from his perch, propelling himself forward through the trees, keeping Gamabunta and the Fourth Hokage on his head in his sights. He had to warn him. He cringed as his muscles ached at the forced motion. He wouldn't be able to do much, his body was too worn out and tired.
'Damn Madara.' He snarled to himself, 'He actually wore me out. Forced me to use the stupid fox's chakra. I don't even have the strength to activate my bloodline limit.' It was unusual that Naruto's stamina gave out enough that he didn't have the strength to hold onto the low-chakra-consuming bloodline limit. He wondered if his severe weariness had anything to do with the time-jump, the sudden lack of the Kyubi, or if Madara was actually that difficult. Naruto wasn't sure, he didn't remember much of the last bit of his battle with Madara before he woke up. He recalled only Madara's threat and his own reaction – releasing the sixth tail of the Kyubi sealed within him. He had never done so before. He honestly hadn't thought he would survive it.
Naruto closed the distance to the Fourth quickly, racing through the trees and dodging a couple Shinobi. The Fourth was looking away from him, addressing a team of Shinobi perched in the trees near him, gesturing towards the swath of destruction left by the fox.
Naruto jumped high into the trees and launched himself into the air over Gamabunta's back. The Fourth turned towards him, a kunai in his hand and his coat flapping around him. Naruto landed a few paces away, crouched in his landing. He felt the boss toad shift and move ender him, grumbling.
"Eh, who is that?" Gamabunta said, his voice vibrating threateningly through Naruto's feet. The Fourth watched him carefully, his eyes narrowed. Naruto watched him in return, not moving as he stared at the man. He had spent a lifetime looking up at this man's face carved in stone, claiming his greatness and dreams to surpass the great Namikaze Minato, the man who had sealed the nine-tailed beast within him, his own son.
The Fourth watched him, his eyes narrowed slightly. Naruto remained still, letting the man look him over, trying not to look like he had just impertinently perched himself atop the toad boss's head in order to attack the Hokage. He would be lucky if Gamabunta didn't swallow him whole for his audacity alone.
"Who are you?" The Fourth asked, his voice steady and even and laced with threat. Naruto blinked and stood slowly.
Naruto didn't respond right away, knowing that by his silence he was letting the Fourth know that he was about to say something untruthful, or in the least, not the whole truth. Naruto wanted him to know he was going to give him a false name.
"Kodora." Naruto said, watching as the Fourth's eyes narrowed slightly. Naruto didn't want to lie to him, but he wasn't sure if he should reveal who he really was or not. On one hand, he was sure there were rules regarding the whole time-travel process, rules that had to do with not messing up the timeline and creating things like paradoxes.
"Hokage-sama," one of the Shinobi in the nearby trees said, gaining their attention.
"Satou," Minato said, turning slightly to them, "Make sure the wounded get to the hospital for treatment, set up a secondary defense barrier in a perimeter around the village and make sure there is a rotating guard on all the walls. If the Kyubi is sighted again, notify me immediately!"
"Hai (2)! Hokage-sama!" Satou called and shot off into the forest, taking his team with him. Naruto glanced at them as they left before turning his eyes back to the man across from him. They had been left mostly alone, and Naruto knew that there was no longer anyone close enough to hear their words except for the toad beneath their feet.
"Small tiger?" the Fourth asked, translating the name with a slight raise of a brow.
Naruto felt a mixing of aggravation and long-suffering amusement at the name, and he let it show. "A name a friend gave to me." Naruto said, seeing Sai's face in his mind. "When someone said that I fight as if I was a caged tiger. He found it amusing, and called me 'small tiger' because of my – well, he thought it was funny anyways. It stuck, regrettably."
The Fourth didn't respond, but Naruto thought he saw some amusement in the man's subtle shift of expression. Naruto pondered his unique position again, weighing the pros and cons of what and how much to say to the man in front of him. He knew that the Fourth had no reason to trust him, but Naruto didn't have the time nor energy to deal with Madara on his own. He needed the Yondaime's help. Naruto decided to throw caution to the wind. His more reckless, insane plans tended to work better anyways.
"My name is Uzumaki Naruto." He said.
The Fourth's eyes widened then narrowed, crouching slightly into a more ready stance. Naruto shifted a foot backwards before stopping himself.
"Look, it's a long story, but I'm not here to fight you." Naruto said, "I'm here to warn you. Kushina's in danger. The guy who summoned the fox is here to kill m- her son before you get the chance to seal the Kyubi inside of him. He's going to kill her! Where is she?"
"Who is going to kill her?" Minato asked darkly.
Naruto sucked in a breath. "Uchiha Madara."
"Yes, look, I know it sounds crazy, but he's got some crazy time jutsu thing and he's come back here to kill her and m- eh." Naruto stopped and rubbed a hand over the back of his neck.
"He's come back here?" Minato asked, standing straight again. "Exactly what do you mean?"
"He came from the future." Naruto said. "Well, so did I. But that's besides the point. He came back to- "
"You're from the future?"
Naruto stared at him, not sure if Minato was taking him seriously or if he was trying to decide if he had a crazy person on his hands. Naruto wasn't too sure himself. The whole situation was crazy and he barely believed it himself. He had no idea that jumping through time was even possible to a small scale until he had faced Madara for the first time. Then Kakashi had tried to explain the Fourth's use of time and space jutsus, which had just confused him for ages. But Naruto had seen Madara's space and time jutsus first hand, had tried to fight against him and failed, though even then, Naruto had a hard time believing that he had traveled nearly two decades into the past.
Naruto sucked in a deep breath, "Madara can manipulate time with some sort of jutsu that I can't explain and just confuses the hell out of me, but he does it and it's annoying and he managed to drag me along, though-" Naruto paused, "I wonder if he realizes I got dragged along with him." Naruto shook his head, "Anyways, he's here to get rid of me before I get annoying, he said, so he's going to-" he stopped again, looking back into the bright blue eyes of his father.
Minato was watching him with a blank look, hiding any of his thoughts or emotions. Naruto wasn't sure what else to say to the man. He didn't think they had a lot of time. Kushina and his infant self were in serious danger and Naruto was pretty sure that Madara wouldn't just fiddle around in going after them.
'Why did he call off the Kyubi from attacking Konoha?' Naruto wondered, looking back to the destruction that the fox had left in its wake.
"Oh!" Naruto said, turning his attention back to the man across from him, "That's it!" Naruto took a few steps forward, pulling up his shirt to bare his stomach. Minato watched him carefully, not moving to either raise his weapon or keep the distance between them.
Minato's eyes flickered down to his abdomen and widened slightly. Naruto held the hem of his shirt up so the Fourth could see the faint, scarring traces of the seals that once held the Kyubi within him. Even if the Kyubi was gone, and the seals were barren, they could still be seen. Naruto knew that the Fourth would recognize his own work, even if they were now dead seals, and the man would know what they had been created for.
"It used to house the Kyubi." Naruto said, "I don't know what happened to it, when I woke up here – now – it was gone, but the seals are still there."
Minato remained silent, his blue eyes piercing as he looked into Naruto's own. Naruto had no idea what he was thinking, but he felt only minimal amounts of threat from the man. He seemed to be more curious than threatened, for which Naruto was grateful, but they still didn't have a lot of time.
"It's a long story, but we don't have time for it right now." Naruto said, holding his father's blue gaze. "Madara is going after mom. Now."
"Hey, Minato!" Gamabunta said. Naruto shifted as the toad's voice vibrated through his feet, looking down over the edge of his head. Gamabunta moved, sheathing his sword and pulling his long pipe out of his clothing. "Who is this kid, eh?"
Minato looked at Naruto before turning his attention to the toad below him. "Gamabunta," Minato said, "Can you take us to the village?"
"Eh?" the toad said, puffing on his pipe. "I'm pretty big, you sure you want me to get that close?"
"Just jump in that direction and we'll jump off when we're close." Minato said.
"Well alright." Gamabunta said, "But I want an explanation later. I don't just let anyone sit on my head, Minato!"
"Hey boss!" Naruto called, grinning and rapping on the toad's head with his foot. The toad moved under him, and the two rode the motions out. Minato raised an eyebrow at him, but said nothing.
"Boss, is it?" Gamabunta said. Naruto could see the toad's eyes rolling to look up at them. The toad chuckled, the sound and motion rolling under their feet. "Ha, haha! Minato, I like this kid! I could use another subordinate. Alright, then, kid. I'll give you a chance to prove yourself to be my subordinate."
Naruto scowled and crossed his arms, grumbling under his breath about ungrateful toad bosses.
"What was that, kid?" the toad said, his pipe letting out a puff of smoke.
"I said I ain't doing that again!" Naruto said. "Once was enough for me."
"Oooh?" Gamabunta said, his eyes rolling again as he pulled on his pipe.
"Gamabunta," Minato said, "We are short on time."
"Very well." The toad said. "Hang on then."
Naruto staggered his feet as the toad shifted below him, noticing Minato barely moving at Gamabunta's motions. Gamabunta crouched low, folding his legs under him, and Naruto braced himself for the force of the toad's impending jump. A second later the toad jumped. Naruto sucked in a sharp breath at the jump, forced to crouch low atop the toad's head as they soared over the short span of forest towards the village. Just before the toad would have landed atop the walls and nearby buildings Gamabunta disappeared in a puff of smoke with an echoing, "Call me later, Minato."
Naruto stumbled at the sudden lack of support under his feet before somersaulting in the air and landing only slightly awkward atop the edge of a roof. Looking around he spotted Minato not far, balanced on the peak of the roofline above him.
"This way." Minato said, jumping to the next roof. Naruto followed, their speed picking up quickly as Minato gauged Naruto's ability to keep pace. They crossed half the village and Naruto followed him down into the street outside of the hospital. Minato looked at him again, his blue eyes piercing as Naruto forced himself not to shift or fidget. Naruto wasn't sure what the other man was thinking, but a moment later Minato turned and headed towards the doors. Naruto followed him silently.
Rin fidgeted slightly, her eyes looking over Kushina's sweat-drenched body in a mixture of concern and support. She rinsed a wet rag in the bowl of cold water next to her before using it to wipe the woman's face. Kushina breathed quickly but deeply and gave her a smile.
"He sure is impatient, eh, Rin-chan?" she said.
Rin smiled. "He'll be strong, I'm sure."
"Of course he will be." The nurse across from her said. The woman fussed a bit with the bedding, her old hands sure and precise in their movements.
Kushina nodded, her body sinking into the sheets around her. Her contractions were growing more intense and closer together. Rin knew that the baby would be birthed soon, within hours, likely. He was already two weeks early, and Kushina's labor pains were increasing fast.
If only it was any other day. Rin glanced out of window, but saw nothing but the village and the darkening sky above it. It seemed peaceful, too much so. The nine-tails was making its way to Konoha and the Hokage had been forced to chose between being there for the birth of his son, or facing down the Kyubi. Rin knew that her Sensei would give his life for the village, but she did wish that he could have been there for Kushina, not that either of the girls would begrudge the man his choice. He was the Hokage after all, and it was his nature to put others before himself, and his village before anything else.
Kushina cried out again, and Rin turned at the sound, watching the wave of pain pass through the pregnant woman's body. She reached out and brushed Kushina's hair to the side, and made a soothing sound in her throat. A moment later the contraction passed and Kushina sagged back to the bed.
"Just breathe, dear." The nurse said. Kushina cracked one eye open to give the woman a tired glare, but it went ignored. Rin smiled slightly and patted Kushina's hand.
"Oh good," a dark voice said from the window, "I'm not late."
Rin spun at the sound and sucked in a breath at the sight of a darkly dressed man perched on the widow sill. He wore an orange, spiraled mask that was cracked, revealing his eyes and a part of his left cheek. The man slipped to the floor with barely a sound, his red eyes – his sharingan eyes – fixed on the pregnant woman lying on the bed. Rin could barely move. The man sent out a steady wall of killer intent that caused the air to freeze in her lungs. She couldn't even breathe as she stared in shock and horror at the man.
"Wh- who are you?" Kushina ground out.
"Me?" the man said, "It's not important, I'm afraid."
Kushina grunted as another contraction hit her and Rin wished that she could move to comfort her, but the terror and intensity in the air had frozen her to the spot. All she could do was stare at the sharingan eyes of the man as he slowly took a few steps forward, his hand raising towards them.
"What do you want?" Kushina asked, her voice strained.
The man glanced at her. "You and that child within you dead."
Something flickered and Rin heard a sharp gasp and pained gurgle from behind her. She finally found the strength to move and looked behind her to see the nurse clutching her throat and staggering backwards. Blood streamed down from behind her hands and the old woman stumbled awkwardly against the wall. Rin watched in growing horror as she slid down the wall, her eyes glassing over.
Rin had fought in a war. She had killed and healed and seen many of the horrible things that shinobi could do to each other, but she had never felt anything like the solid darkness of killing intent the man gave off. She hadn't even seen him move. She had no idea what he had done to kill the nurse so quickly. Rin's eyes slowly tracked back to the man to find the sharingan staring back at her. His expression was bored and uninterested, but the three tomoes twirled lazily as he focused on her. She knew that she was next, and she wasn't sure there was anything she could do about it. Rin screamed, some part of her desperately hoping that someone would hear and come running to help.
They traversed the halls with little delay, Minato greeting a few of those they passed. Naruto took in the minor disorder of the main lobby, wondering how many Shinobi had been injured or killed from the short attack by the fox. He wondered, then, how many hadn't been killed since the nine-tailed fox had retreated before it reached the walls of the village.
A distant scream echoed down the halls and was suddenly muffled. Minato seemed to stop in mid step, frozen for a moment before disappearing, his form flickering down the hall in his speed. Naruto blinked once and chased after him, his body protesting and barely able to keep up with the man's incredible speed. He saw him flicker around a corner at the end of the hall and out of sight and Naruto tried to pull more speed out of his limbs to follow him. He dashed down the hallway and skidded around the corner, crashing into the wall opposite in his wild attempt to change directions in a dead sprint on a slick floor. His heavily drained reserves of chakra flared at the motion, aiding his movements as he charged down the new hallway, spotting a door hanging from its hinges ahead of him.
Another pained shout echoed down the hall, and Naruto skidded across the opening of the door, grabbing onto the frame in order to stop. The small hospital room was a bit crowded, a woman was laying on the bed, bloodied, a girl standing over her with chakra laced through her fingers. A woman was slumped against the wall nearby, her eyes staring off and blood coating her chest from her throat. Minato stood between the girls and a darkly dressed man whom Naruto recognized immediately.
"Madara." Naruto snarled, feeling the sensation of fury that was oddly cold without the fox's fiery heat to push it. Madara turned sharply at his voice, his sharingan eyes widening slightly.
"You!" Madara hissed, "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Came along for the ride." Naruto said, crouching slightly with his hands on the doorframe to either side of him to hold himself up. "What? You didn't realize you had a passenger?"
"You are more trouble than you're worth, Jinchuriki." Madara said, sneering at him.
Naruto growled, the sound rumbling deep in his throat like it had when the Kyubi's fury had leaked into his own, even though he knew that the fox's chakra and emotions were no longer within him. He tensed then shot forward, barreling himself towards Madara. Madara's form flickered slightly, shifting to the side out of Naruto's path. Naruto snarled, and he saw Minato kick out sharply, hitting Madara in the side and sending the man back into Naruto's line of attack. Naruto tackled him, wrapping his arms around the man and digging his shoulder into his gut as the force of their movement took them both through the wall.
Naruto didn't release the man, digging his clawed hands into Madara's collar as they crashed to the pavement below. They rolled, Naruto holding the man to prevent him from flickering away and dragged him to his feet, pulling a kunai from his pouch.
Madara blocked it with his own, the weapons sparking at the contact. Madara shot out his free hand and wrapped it around Naruto's neck. Naruto didn't release him, grunting at the force constricting around his throat and slowly cutting off his air.
"You have proved to be a thorn in my side, Jinchuriki." Madara said, tightening his hold. Naruto ignored his body's need to gag, snarling silently at the man and letting his chakra flare around them. He didn't have much left, yet it swirled around him in harsh currents of wind that cut into both of their skin and clothes.
"This village is mine." Madara whispered with a sneer.
Naruto growled low in his throat despite the hand cutting off his ability to breath. "I. Won't. Let you." He said, struggling to get the words out.
Madara chuckled darkly, squeezing his hand tighter around his neck. Naruto gagged slightly and tried to suck in a breath that couldn't make it through to his lungs.
"You've already failed, Jinchuriki." Madara said with a smirk.
Naruto felt his eyes widen, and he glanced past the man to the gaping hole they had left in the side of the hospital building. Had Madara already killed her? Had he been too late?
He saw Minato standing in the hole, a three-pronged kunai in one hand with a growing Rasengan in the palm of the other. An expression of dark, sharp fury was etched onto his face as his eyes glowed with an icy fire, and Naruto had the fleeting thought that the man was unexpectedly, coldly vicious.
"I'll kill you." Naruto snarled, turning his attention back to the man in his grasp, tightening his hold on the man's clothing and twisting the kunai in his other hand. The two blades hissed against each other as Naruto turned it and plunged it deep into the man's shoulder. Madara sucked in a sharp breath and returned the attack. Naruto was unable to block it, turning his body in the limited range of motion he had and took the kunai attack in his ribs, feeling the blade plunge deep.
Naruto gasped, feeling the much needed air rush into his lungs before Madara's hand tightened its hold on his neck again. Naruto didn't let go of him as Minato's three-pronged kunai sailed through the air. Madara lurched as it lodged itself in his back. Naruto winced as the hand on his throat constricted painfully. A second later Minato appeared behind Madara with a flash of yellow light, the Rasengan already being pushed towards Madara's back. With they sudden closeness, Naruto could see flecks of cold throughout the icy blue of the Fourth's eyes.
Madara narrowed his eyes, the sharingan spinning dangerously as he twisted his body, pulling on Naruto to try to avoid the Fourth's attack. Naruto planted his feet, flaring what was left of his chakra and pulling sharply on the kunai imbedded in the man's shoulder, forcing Madara to take the Fourth's Rasengan directly in his back.
Naruto saw the flare of the Rasengan's attack from the corner of his eyes as he met the spinning tomoes of Madara's sharingan. The world around him melted like wax, the sky dripping onto the buildings and flowing to the ground, leaving behind a vast, unending horizon of blood red and swirling black clouds filled with dark lightning. Naruto sucked in a breath, staring around him at the illusionary world. The melted wax flowed to him, surrounding his feet and legs and crawling up his legs like many hands. Familiar faces and bodies formed from it, rising around him with angry looks and weapons in hand; his friends and team mates, and those of the village who he had befriended.
Naruto knew that it was an illusion. He knew that none of it was real and that it was all created by the torturous illusions of Madara's sharingan, but it felt real. Naruto couldn't move as the cold, waxy substance of the world wound around his limbs, holding him in place as the figures around him raised their weapons and blades to him. Naruto cringed and steeled himself as the blades stabbed towards him, the metal slicing through his body with a wet hiss. Naruto bit through his lip and cried out, throwing his head back as he screamed. The blades retreated, pulled from his body and Naruto felt himself sag in his bonds. He lifted his head enough to see the figures around him raise their blades again, the sharp edges of the swords and knives glinting in the eerie red light as they plunged towards him. The looks of hatred and disgust and cold indifference bit deeply into his heart as the faces of those he loved wielded weapons both physical and emotional.
Naruto gritted his teeth against the pain, trying not to scream as the scene replayed itself over and over again. He clenched his eyes shut to block out the faces of those he loved and those he called friends as they stabbed him. He tried to remind himself that it was all just an illusion, that it wasn't real. But it felt real, and he was struggling to endure the hours as he lost track of time and of reality.
The world melted again, swirling around and away from him like thick smoke, or oil on water. Naruto staggered as he took in the sight of the hospital before him. He sucked in a sharp breath, feeling like his throat was raw and torn. He looked around, noticing that he was crouched low to the ground, his hands still fisted in Madara's clothing. The man was heavy in his grasp, dead weight.
"Are you alright?" Minato asked, leaning over him. Naruto looked up at the man, then back to Madara, nodding slightly and feeling his balance tip at the motion.
"Yeah. I'm fine." Naruto said as the world tipped sideways. He blinked up at the sky, seeing Minato's face enter his narrowing field of vision. The man's mouth moved and Naruto heard sound, but couldn't understand the words. Slowly his vision blackened and he fell into unconsciousness.
Naruto woke to the soft sounds of the village and the afternoon light streaming onto his face. The room around him was silent and still, and he could hear the distant muffled sounds of the Konoha streets drifting though the window. It smelled like the hospital.
Naruto suddenly opened his eyes and looked at the white-washed ceiling above him. He was in the hospital. He would know that ceiling anywhere. He felt inward, looking for his chakra and found it simmering lowly within him, traversing under his skin and through his muscles steadily, if a little sluggishly. He looked deeper and found the emptiness that the fox's absence had left; like some dark, black hole in the back of his mind and soul. His chakra otherwise seemed unaffected by the Kyubi's absence, which comforted him somewhat, though he wondered what sort of changes he could expect. He sighed and squeezed his eyes shut, shifting his fingers on one hand to form a simple seal.
"Hakinkage." His whispered. His chakra swirled within him and settled into a swifter pattern and he opened his eyes again. He knew that his eyes were now a different color, no longer the bright blue of his birth. They now reflected the golden color of his hair, a testament to the activation of his bloodline limit. He took a deep breath, holding it for a moment as he felt the subtle shifts of the Kekkai Genkai (3) on his body. It would help him to heal a little faster.
Naruto glanced around and sat up. Or rather, he tried to. He got far enough to pull his shoulders off the bed before his muscles spasmed and he fell back to the sheets with a resounding, "Ow! Ow! Ow!"
He curled around himself, throwing an arm or two out in retaliation to his body's stiff pains. His shouts and motions drew the attention of the medics in the hallway, and two white-hooded medic-nin came through the door, startling Naruto at their sudden entrance. He jumped off the bed to face them despite the pain. The sheets tangled around his legs from his thrashing and he crashed to the floor with a thud.
Naruto heaved a deep sigh and watched the relatively harmless medic-nins from his sprawled, undignified position on the floor next to his bed.
"Ehhh." He groaned out. It had been a while since the opening of a door had startled him enough to send him sprawling to the ground tangled in his own bed sheets.
"Ow." He grumbled, pushing himself off his face. His body protested the motion, but it wasn't as painful as it had been when he first tried to move. There was nothing like a good dumping to the floor to do a recently healing body good.
"You shouldn't be out of bed." One of the medics chastised.
Naruto ignored the comment, allowing the man to help him to his feet and disentangle the rogue bed sheets from his legs. As soon as he was on his feet he pulled his arm back from the man and stood on his own, glancing around the room before settling on the one medic-nin still left in the room.
"What happened?" Naruto asked.
"You don't remember?" the medic-nin asked.
Naruto thought about that, recalling his recent memories of the battle against Madara, the subsequent time-travel and his short fight with Madara with Minato's help.
"Is he dead?" Naruto asked.
"I don't know who Madara is." The medic-nin said as he tried to fix the bedsheets. "The intruder though was killed by the Hokage, though I think you helped in that, yes?"
Naruto shrugged as he watched the medic straighten the bedding. "So he's dead, then."
"The Hokage took care of the body." The medic-nin said. "And he said that he wanted to talk to you when you woke up."
"How long have I been out of it?" Naruto asked, watching the medic retreat to stand between him and the door.
"Eight!" Naruto looked around the room. That was unusual. "Where are my clothes?"
"They were thrown out." The medic-nin said, "They were beyond repair. What is left is there." He pointed to a small table near the bed. Naruto looked over the small pile of belongings before turning back to the other man with a slightly wild look.
"What am I supposed to wear if you threw away my clothes?"
The medic-nin looked at him sharply. "You can't leave yet! You just woke up!"
"Sure I can." Naruto said with a small grin, "I'm fine."
"You've been asleep for the past eight days! Do you have any idea how bad your wounds were?"
Naruto shrugged nonchalantly. "Don't remember." He said without bothering to hide that it was a lie. Truth was he wasn't sure. He was relatively unharmed when he woke up in the past, but his chakra levels were at the state of near exhaustion. Naruto remembered the kunai getting stabbed into his chest, and he remembered Madara trying to crush his throat, but he had no idea the side effects of Madara's sharingan-fueled illusions and torture. The Tsukuyomi (3) attack could be psychologically devastating, but otherwise he didn't know what damages it caused.
Naruto stood and stretched, feeling his muscles pull tightly at the action. He was sore and stiff, but he'd been worse. He looked over the table again. It held a handful of kunai and shurikan, his necklace, a couple sealed scrolls, a tool pouch and his sandals. His hitai-ate was sitting atop the pile. A folded stack of standard ninja dress – pants and shirt with a roll of tape – sat next to his personal affects.
Naruto heaved a sigh and plopped back on the bed, ruffling the sheets under him again. The medic-nin gave him a look, which Naruto ignored. He grabbed for his necklace, slipping the cord over his head, and following the motion with his hitai-ate. He wrapped the forehead protector around his head, feeling better with the comfortable weight of it above his eyes.
"Sir, you cannot leave yet." The medic-nin said, watching him with a frown.
"Course I can." Naruto quipped.
"The Hokage specifically requested that you not leave."
Naruto gave the man a look that clearly told the medic how much sanity Naruto thought the man had. The medic glowered down at him, crossing his arms over his chest. Naruto snarled silently at him, grabbing the tool pouch from the table and shoving the loose kunai and shuriken into its depths.
"The Hokage wants to speak with you." The medic-nin tried again as Naruto stood in order to pull on the pants over the shorts he wore. Not his normal color, but the dull navy would do until he could find something more suitable to his tastes.
"Yeah, yeah." Naruto said, grabbing the roll of bandages to wrap his feet and legs, tucking the hem of the pants into the top of the wraps. He slipped on his sandals, and tore off a short strip of the bandage-wrap, twisting it into a thin rope. He glowered back at the medic-nin, matching the man look for look as he pulled his hair into a tail behind his head, tying it with the strip of bandage. He felt the tips of the ponytail brush against his shoulder blades. He had no intention of remaining in the hospital as far as he could help it.
Naruto stretched again as he picked up the long sleeved shirt from the table, complete with the swirled marks on the sleeves and back. He felt better. His muscles weren't trying to seizure at his every movement, a further testament to his healing abilities despite the distinct lack of Kyubi. Naruto tied his hitai-ate around his head before turning towards the door only to find the medic-nin standing in his path.
"Oi!" Naruto said, "I'm outta here!"
The medic-nin moved his hands to his hips, looking down his nose at Naruto, though he wasn't much taller than the blonde. Naruto stuck his chin out and glared back up at him. Their staring contest was interrupted by the door opening again, the second medic-nin leading in a blonde Shinobi, both looking at the two in the room with interest. Naruto glanced at the two newcomers and returned his eyes to the medic-nin standing in front of him, before feeling his eyes widen and shoot back to the shinobi standing just inside the doorway.
Naruto stared at the other blonde, recognizing the man's face immediately. He had wondered if he had been dreaming. He was pretty sure he wasn't anymore. The Fourth Hokage looked back at him before motioning for the two medic-nin to leave. Naruto barely noticed as the door closed behind them.
"How are you feeling?" The Fourth asked as Naruto sunk back to sit on the bed.
"Never better." Naruto quipped, then smiled a bit sheepishly as the Fourth's eyebrow rose. "I'm fine."
Minato stood and watched him silently, and Naruto held his tongue under the scrutiny, watching the man in return. He hadn't really thought about it before, but he was now in the same room with his father. His father, alive and breathing and inspecting him with narrowed, calculating eyes.
"You have the Hakinkage." The Fourth said, and Naruto felt his eyes widen slightly in surprise. It was rare for anyone to recognize it. It had been generations since someone had been able to activate it. Kakashi had told Naruto that the Fourth had begun the process and would have likely activated the bloodline limit had he not died when he did. Naruto hadn't thought that the Fourth would recognize it. He hadn't thought about it at all, actually. He should have known better. Of course the Fourth would recognize the sign of the activated Kekkai Genkai from his own family.
"Yes." Naruto said. "I activated it a couple years ago. Kakashi-sensei told me about it and helped me to find a way to activate it. Or rather, he helped me to see if I even had the ability to do so."
Minato looked at him a moment longer before nodding, his features softening a bit at the motion. He dug into a pocket of his coat and pulled out a scrap of orange material, which he threw towards him. Naruto caught it, looking at it questioningly. It was a scarf, he saw; mostly orange with stripes of red and yellow at its ends.
"You should cover your face." Minato said. "You look far too much like me not to raise questions."
Naruto blinked and looked back at the face of his father. He supposed that they did look an awful lot alike. He hadn't really thought about it before. He had been told, but he hadn't ever considered it. Naruto nodded and stretched the scarf out in his hands. He wrapped it around his nose and chin, twisting it once as he pulled it back, and tied it in a knot behind his neck below his ponytail, letting the long ends of it stream down his back. He shifted it over his nose with his hand. It was a strange feeling to cover his face. He pictured Kakashi's mask and smiled.
"Good." Minato said, getting his attention again. "And you'll go by a codename."
"A codename?" Naruto asked, his voice only slightly muffled by the thin fabric over his face. Minato nodded.
"Yes. You will not tell anyone who you are or where you came from. You will especially not inform others of the time travel. If you think you ought to do so, you will ask for my permission first."
Naruto narrowed his eyes. "I will insist on informing a couple people."
"The Third, Jiraiya and later on, Tsunade and Kakashi."
If the Fourth was surprised by his list he didn't show it, merely nodding once after a moment of thought. "That is acceptable. I would like to be present when you do so if it is possible."
Naruto shrugged. "Sure. Ah, why am I hiding my identity anyways?"
Minato looked at him a moment. "Because of the time difference for one. Because I have more enemies than is particularly healthy and most of them would mistake you for me, or would take you simply because they had a decent look-alike for a target. Because you are not on the Konoha ninja registry yet even though you wear a hitai-ate and are clearly a trained shinobi. And because while it's not common knowledge, it's no secret that Kushina is an Uzumaki and was going to name her son Naruto."
Naruto blinked and nodded, not really having anything to say in response to any of his reasons. They all made sense and Naruto didn't really mind hiding his face and going under a codename. It had a sneaky aspect that gratified the prankster in him. He had never had the need to hide his identity or sneak around really before. It usually ended up being a moot point anyways. He was just too recognizable. But now, here, no one knew him. Few even knew of him.
"From now on you are Kinatsu." The Fourth said. Naruto tilted his head slightly, thinking about the name.
"Kinatsu." Naruto said, trying it out. "I like it."
Minato nodded. "Your file will be placed under high security access, and any background or origins will be left out. This should keep you safe, and prevent the possibility of anyone getting a hold of the paperwork figuring out who you are. There will be enough speculation as it is."
"What do I tell people?"
Minato raised an eyebrow, smirking slightly. "Nothing."
Naruto blinked. "Ok." How was he supposed to tell people nothing? He was going to have to really watch his mouth. He wasn't used to that sort of exercise in restraint. He sighed. At least he had learned to control his emotions most of the time. He figured he would be able to extend that sort of control to his words as well.
"If it comes down to it, we'll put something together." Minato said.
"What is your rank?" Minato asked.
"Genin." Naruto said, "Officially. I've been taking A-class missions since I was thirteen, though. Well," Naruto chuckled and raised his hand to adjust the knot of his forehead protector. "Well, it's more like the missions end up as A-class, really."
"Genin?" Minato said.
Naruto shrugged. "Yeah, my first Chunin exam got interrupted with an invasion, and I never had the time or desire to try again. It didn't matter. My rank didn't stop Tsunade-obaasan (4) from giving me high ranked missions, or putting me on teams of Chunin or Jonin. Though, that might have had to do with the nature of the missions."
"Hmm." Minato said, "How so?"
"Most missions I took on were kind of personal, or were a direct result of someone coming after me, or I going after them."
Minato's eyebrow rose again and he shook his head. "I'm going to put you down as a Chunin, though I'll test your skills when your health is back up to par."
"Tomorrow." Naruto said. "I'm pretty much set now if I needed to be, but tomorrow will be about perfect. Gives me time to eat and all."
Minato looked amused, but nodded all the same. "Tomorrow then."
Naruto looked back up at his father, and sighed.
"What happened?" he asked, seeing a mixture of emotions flicker through the Fourth's eyes. Minato glanced out the window for a moment before looking back at him.
"The Uchiha is dead." He said. Naruto nodded, feeling relief at the confirmation. "It isn't officially known to the village that he was an Uchiha, but the rumor is strong enough to cause a stir. The Uchiha clan especially."
Naruto scowled slightly at the thought but didn't say anything. No doubt the elite Uchiha's were demanding the body to keep their precious sharingan to themselves. He wondered if the Fourth gave it to them, or if he disposed of Madara's body himself. Naruto wasn't sure which would be better. If the Uchiha clan knew Madara's face, then maybe one of them wouldn't trust him enough to accept teaching from him. He was too torn on the thought of the Uchiha clan anyways. Part of him wanted to save them from their future slaughter and a part of him hoped that they would be killed if just to get rid of that annoying bloodline limit. Naruto sighed and shook his head. It didn't matter, not yet.
"What about mo – Kushina?" he asked quietly. He remembered Madara's threat that he had been too late.
"Kushina is fine." Minato said, his voice thick with some emotion. "But – "
Naruto looked up at him a bit fearfully, curling his fingers into a fist to try to contain his emotions.
"She miscarried." Minato said softly.
Naruto felt his eyes widen, his body frozen at the words. "What?"
"The child was still-born." Minato said. "He didn't survive the attack. Kushina barely did. She only left the hospital two days ago."
Naruto couldn't speak. He could barely think. His eyes lost focus as he tried to process what he had been told. Kushina was still alive. Madara was dead. But the baby had died. Naruto's young, infant self had died in childbirth. He had died.
Naruto sucked in a shaky breath, looking down at his own body to make sure he was still there and alive. How was it possible that he as a baby had died, but he was still there? Naruto shook his head, pulling air into his lungs and forcing himself to breathe. He looked up at his father, his eyes wide. Minato looked torn between sorrow and concern and something else entirely that Naruto couldn't identify at all.
"He – I." Naruto shook his head again and opened his mouth to try to speak but nothing came out. He let his head fall to hang between his shoulders, staring at the floor between his feet. He felt Minato move to stand near him, placing a hand on his shoulder. Naruto shuddered at the contact then stilled, thankful for the man's support and presence as his mind whirled.
Madara had killed the unborn Uzumaki Naruto.
Author's Note on the Japanese: I'm translating most things into English if simply because I'm writing this for an English audience, but there will still be things that remain in Japanese. One of those is the titles/honorifics that are tacked on to the end of names (ie: Sakura-chan, Kakashi-sensai, etc.) because there really isn't a decent English equivalent and because I figure that most people reading this know what they mean anyways. If you don't know, let me know, and I'll tack them onto the end of a chapter or get rid of it entirely.
1)Jutsu – technique or art used by a ninja (typically utilize chakra, which is spiritual energy).
2)Hai – yes, yes sir!
2)Kekkai Genkai – bloodline limit, cannot be copied (like w/ the Sharingan)
3)Tsukuyomi – one of the Kaleidoscope (Mangekyou) Sharingan's attacks; illusion used for torture
4)Obaasan – grandmother (Naruto calls Tsunade this. I think he also uses Baa-san.)
Kinatsu is a combination of two names: Kin – 'golden', and Hatsu – 'first son'
Hakinkage is a combination of: Ha – 'leaf', Kin – 'gold', and Kage – 'shadow', thus, I'd translate it to be 'shadow of the golden leaf', but that's just me…