Warnings: Major spoiler alert through chapter 412, crude language, no pairing, major fucking about with the timeline, mild Super!Naruto, not completely canon, angst, clichés, AU, violence, mild gore
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. It (and he) belongs to Kishimoto Masashi, Shounen Jump, and various other companies that I don't know the names of. I don't own most of the mini-plotlines that will be used in this story either. They are toys in the play box of the internet, however, and I can play with them if I so please. So nyah.
Featuring: Minato!Yondai, Semi-Canon!MildlySuper-ish!Naruto, Ickle!Kakashi, and more
He really should have paid attention to the old frog, Naruto decided immediately. It was the middle of the night, Myobokuzan was deep in sleep, and he had been stupid. He was supposed to ONLY attempt to mold sage chakra when the old frog was there. Needless to say, he wasn't.
To make matters worse, Naruto had tripped over a loose... well, something. The fact of the matter was, he had tripped straight into the frog oil pond, and he couldn't swim in it.
As he felt his skin moving, he cursed himself. How could he bring Sasuke back like this? How could he avenge his teacher? He was going to be a stone toad at the bottom of a frog oil pond, and there was nothing that could change that fact.
The last thought he had before blanking out was a simple, Damn...
Conversely, the first thing he thought upon opening his eyes to a bright midsummer sky and familiar trees was, Thank the gods...
And he was certain that some god truly was responsible. Wasn't he supposed to be dead, turned into a stone toad totem to decorate the yard for training humans to mold sage chakra? The fact that he was seeing a sky and could feel the gentle breeze on his skin was enough to convince him that something had happened to prevent it. He knew those trees so well, too. They were the trees of Hi no Kuni, and most particularly they were the trees surrounding Konohagakure no sato, his home.
Why he was in Konoha anyway? Did the toads reject him for disobeying and trying to train on his own? It could be, but they could have given him some warning.
He'd always been impatient; it was part of who Uzumaki Naruto had crafted himself to be. The villagers didn't care if he was mean or kind, polite or rude, or even if he was purple with yellow polka-dots and green hair – he had certainly tried. So he had made himself at least seem to deserve a small amount of the punishment they dished out, for his own peace of mind. He'd always known his father had been a hero of the Kyuubi attack, and his mother died giving birth to him. He couldn't stand the thought that he could possibly be punished for some fault in the parents; if he deserved it, he couldn't blame them even in the back of his mind.
Sighing, Naruto hefted his arms to get into a sitting position... and noticed something very disturbing. Well, it was something he realized he should have noticed right off the bat if he hadn't been so relieved to be alive. His arms were short, and his clothes were feeling very much baggy about him. On the bright side, he could tell that he hadn't been turned into a frog, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to bend his arms quite that way.
Taking a quick stock of his body, visually, Naruto was horrified to find that his size was on par with that of a small child. Like, say, himself at age six, seven tops, which was the size of a normal child at age five if he was lucky. Grimacing, he pulled himself to his feet, not bothering to try and stop the large orange pants from falling off of his body, not even the boxers since his shirt went down past his knees anyway. Instead, he was practical as he tried to be when possible, and ripped the pants off at the knee. At his current size, they would make good pants, if very baggy on his small frame, and the ripped material could easily be ripped further to make a tied belt. His jacket had to be lost, but the t-shirt... he'd manage. His hitai-ate, unfortunately, was nowhere to be found, but he could get a new one from Tsunade easily enough.
Heaving a sigh, Naruto took his first step – barefoot given that his sandals were about a dozen sizes to large – he noticed an interesting turn of events; he was very unbalanced. That wasn't to say he was totally uncoordinated, just that he felt like a stranger in his own skin. He hadn't been this short in... how long had it been? Eight, maybe nine years. He just needed to adjust, that was all.
Before he'd even gotten away from the clearing, he was already getting the rhythm of it. The young genin (when would he ever take another chuunin exam?) was confident that he could make his way to Konoha in mere minutes at this pace; he knew the clearing well, had often escaped to it as a child when the village was too much. It was just outside the training areas and within what was technically still Konoha, so he knew precisely where he was. He could find Tsunade and get her to fix it.
Except that when the village proper came into view, Naruto immediately noticed something was very off. The Hokage Monument was missing two very important faces.
Naruto prided himself on being reasonable in the weirdest of situations. When Mizuki had chased him, only a few minutes after being informed that he, Uzumaki Naruto, was hated not by his own virtue or any one person's but because he had the most powerful demon sealed into his gut, he had stayed behind to help Iruka instead of running off for a second time. Upon seeing Myobokuzan, he hadn't wigged out like Sakura probably would have (well, he thought she would, but Sakura had never been entirely predictable in the best of circumstances) and had instead been properly amazed, but still ready to train.
That pride, however, wasn't doing him much good, because the idea of the Monument without the faces of the man who had cursed him with the fox and the woman he had come to think of as a mother of sorts (even if he had only seen her face up there for a little while) was... well, it pretty much stopped all thought process then and there.
After several minutes' worth of panicking, Naruto calmed slightly, enough to know that, whatever was happening, he had to get to the Hokage Tower, especially if it was a genjutsu. Going to where he would be most expected to would mean an earlier release. If it wasn't a genjutsu... well, he really didn't want to think of what that might mean, both for him and the world at large. However, being a shinobi, he did keep that possibility in the back of his mind, just in case he found out that that was the case so he wouldn't be running around like a headless chicken.
The gates to the village proper were open, as was normal for midday, and Naruto managed to slip in behind some merchants without getting noticed. He barely noticed that the shinobi guarding the gates seemed terribly weary, and there seemed to be more of Konoha's forces hopping from rooftop to rooftop going places than usual. Whoever set up the genjutsu had apparently only seen it at it's most chaotic.
Well, maybe not MOST chaotic since the attack by Sound and Sand was far worse.
Naruto ran through the city as fast as his small body would go, which was actually pretty fast since he charged each leap with chakra. It had taken all of five seconds to realize how the size and lack of physical strength of his current state would affect his chakra reserves, but he could easily reason that, even if he didn't have the Kyuubi to draw on, he figured he still had enough chakra for maybe the average jounin, simply because he was Naruto. There was this sort of tingle, though, in the air around him that made him feel like he could go on for quite a while.
When a hand grabbed him by the collar of his too-large shirt, Naruto had to top abruptly before he choked himself... or ripped said shirt and had to go topless. That would be stupid. He was promptly dropped back onto the rooftop he had been about to leap from and turned quickly on his heel, leaping back several steps to eye his illusory opponent. The white eyes with bulging veins screamed Hyuuga, but it wasn't one that he knew, though if he looked, Naruto figured he looked sort of like a less girly version of Neji, like most of the male Hyuuga in their teens did. The chuunin vest was a nice touch.
"A bit young to be jumping on rooftops, kid," the Hyuuga snorted, turning his Byakugan off. "You aren't even old enough to be in the academy yet; you can't be more than five years old! Shouldn't you be walking with the civilians? Rooftops are restricted access, shinobi only."
Naruto scowled, which he knew would look utterly ridiculous on his childish face. "I can use the roofs just as well as you can, bastard," he snapped irritably. The guy's attitude definitely reminded him of Neji, pre-ass-whooping. He turned to leave and sensed that the hand was coming back and ducked under it, rolling away between the guy's legs. "Stop that!"
White eyes locked with cerulean, the former holding a sort of curiosity. He thought he heard the word "henge" but he couldn't be sure. So the illusion was thinking that he was under an illusion? No, that made no sense what-so-ever. Some shinobi of the genjutsu had stopped running and were watching the scene with thinly veiled interest. If this weren't an illusion, Naruto could understand that interest; he was, after all, child-sized and standing up to a Hyuuga. He had also dodged said bastard's attempt to grab him, which had been very quick. But it was a genjutsu, and Naruto wanted to get whatever was supposed to happen over with before...
Before what? And why would he be under a genjutsu in the first place? He sighed internally, but kept his senses open. The slight hum in the air that seemed to flow straight through him buzzed suddenly and he jerked in surprise, finding that the Hyuuga flew by him from behind and through who he thought was the Hyuuga. Now that he looked Naruto could sort of see through the simple academy-style clone.
This inspired him as to how he could escape. Molding his hands easily into a ram seal, he murmured, "Tajuu kage bunshin no jutsu," and smirked as quite a few plumes of smoke went up around him. He hadn't made too many, though more than he had meant to, and felt the humming grow in volume as he molded his chakra for some reason, but that didn't matter. What mattered was that the Hyuuga and surrounding shinobi (the group had increased by quite a bit) were gaping at the display for reason unknown. They were part of the illusion; they knew he wasn't really a little kid!
The clones scattered in all directions, the real Naruto going on a path to his right instead of heading directly to the Hokage's Tower. Several of the other ninjas jumped in and made grabs at the clones, and all were especially surprised when they actually grabbed something.
"They aren't illusions!" One of the shinobi gaped as he grasped the arm of a clone. Naruto watched as he clung to the wall using chakra. That seemed a lot easier than it should have been. "That kid... he used an A-ranked jutsu! Anyone know who he is?"
"Let go, you bastards!" The clones all shouted at once, all trying to wrench their grasps from the men in various manners. Naruto grinned. They would never be able to tell him apart from the clones even if they knew what to look for.
"Let's take them all to Hokage-sama," a kunoichi posited. "If we can't tell them from the original, we can't know which one to bring. He doesn't look like he'd tell us himself, either. Surely the Hokage will know who this kid is." Naruto furrowed his brow. If this was a genjutsu... no, he shouldn't even be thinking about the hows and the whys. He was supposed to be dead, but he wasn't. He was supposed to be 15, but he wasn't. He would let his clones go and do it, he knew they would come to the same conclusion (they were essentially him, after all) and when whatever was to happen happened, they could dismiss themselves and revert back to him.
Maybe all that training with Ero-sennin wasn't just a big waste like Sasuke had made it seem. While the toad sage had neglected to ever mention the best part of his favorite technique, he had helped Naruto cultivate the reality of the clones. They already looked like him, thought like him, and acted like him, but Naruto had gone beyond the usual and even managed to make it seem like his clones had chakra coils to even a Byakugan (which took a hell of a lot more effort and chakra control than most would be willing to go to when theirs was as bad as Naruto's).
The clones had also done him a favor beyond winning his escape and making it possible to scout out this weird genjutsu (he didn't dare question why he could use jutsu at all in it); he got to see just how intricate it was. Mind, he'd never find a way out on his own, but if a clone made it out, they could dismiss and tell him how... would it work like that? He didn't know, didn't care. Naruto just wanted to get back to training at Myobokuzan so he could kick the ass of whoever killed Jiraiya.
The assembled shinobi passed off clones to people who were either heading for the Hokage's tower or else had nothing to do, most carrying two pint-sized clones at a time. Meanwhile, Naruto walked the streets like a civilian before getting back to the gate and dashing out as fast as possible. He would keep away from the Tower for the moment and make sure that in his miniaturized form – he had a feeling that he really had become a kid, physically – wouldn't affect him overly much.
In the Hokage Tower, a crowd of twelve children sat in various positions on the floor, looking bored. All of the identical children had spiky blond hair, more yellow than anything else, that was sticking out in all directions. Bright blue eyes, sort of between sky and ocean blue, with horizontal slits for pupils shown brightly under the yellow fringe. Those eyes were deep-set and ringed thinly with red, set just above whisker-like scars on the cheeks, three pair.
A highly distinctive appearance, to be certain. The shinobi present couldn't help but think the brat had some sort of doujutsu, though what they didn't know. Not one of the three big ones, certainly.
They were all completely identical, and none of them were the real boy they mirrored. Not that the four ANBU, one Hyuuga, and one Hokage knew that; they figured they had captured all of the clones as well as the real boy.
"Very talented for a child," the Hokage nodded solemnly. When the group of children had seen him as they were carried in, they had gaped at the sight of the aging man in Hokage's robes. He was a older man, his hair thinning on top and his face starting to wrinkle a bit, but he exuded an aura of strength that made it apparent why he was Hokage. To Naruto, he was also very much dead. "And you are sure there are no illusions on him? Not even a simple henge?"
"I'm positive, Hokage-sama," the Hyuuga reported, the same Hyuuga who had initially caught the kid. "When I first saw a small child – not even old enough to start at the Academy – hopping over the rooftops like a seasoned shinobi, I activated my Byakugan immediately to make sure. He is indeed a child. Around perhaps five years, I would wager. I also cannot tell the difference between the real child and his clones; the chakra split must have been equal between them all. How any child can have such reserves is beyond me."
"We're right here, you know," one clone snorted, adjusting its position to lay out on the floor at the same instant all its fellows did. "Asking each other questions won't tell you anything about us, will it?" Actually, Naruto was wondering what the creator of the genjutsu already did know. Obviously that he was from Konoha, but aside from that... Well, Naruto had never heard of any genjutsu like this one, but it wasn't saying much considering genjutsu were his worst techniques... discounting his version of the henge, though his way wasn't quite so illusory.
So that probably didn't count as a genjutsu anyway, but still!
The Hokage chuckled, smiling slightly at the crowd of clones, looking for all intents and purposes like a kindly grandfather or favorite uncle. "Forgive me for that. My, you are a spirited one, aren't you? A strong, talented boy," he said. Naruto knew the tactic, the "get the kid to loosen him up through compliments" trick, but it was still working on the clones, at least a little bit, much to their consternation. "Would you mind telling me which of you is the real one?"
A clone to the left sent an impish grin at the Hokage. "The number you are trying to reach is unavailable at the moment. Please leave your name and number after the beep," the clone informed him easily. "Beep."
The Hyuuga seemed angry. "You mean that you are all clones? That Konoha shinobi failed to catch a child?"
"Yup," a third clone replied. "Some kunoichi almost had him, but he swapped with one of the other clones and got away. That one 'popped'. It's pretty pathetic when you think about it; I mean, there aren't very many of us, and we suck at suppressing our chakra."
Before anyone in the room could blink, clone #3 had a kunai sticking out of its head, and then it blinked before poofing out of existence. The kunai clattered to the ground. After a moment, Hyuuga – who had been the one to throw said kunai in a fit of rage – stepped forward and picked the kunai up again, sending a withering glare at all of the clones who just grinned impishly at him. They had all learned the lesson of what a shadow clone could do long ago, so they all knew that the original copy had just downloaded the knowledge of the illusion containing a living (and at least twenty years younger) Sandaime Hokage.
"Hizashi, you will control yourself," the Hokage ordered with ease, his eyes sliding away from the young man to the cluster of clone-children before him. "How much longer will you all last? For a child to create so many, you must not have very much chakra remaining."
The clones looked pensive for a moment, all sitting again instead of lounging before one of them nodded and glanced up. "The boss split his chakra about thirty ways so that he couldn't be caught by the Byakugan, but his reserves would have replenished by the time we got here," clone #5 explained. "I'd say we all have enough chakra to last the rest of the day if we don't actually do anything." For Naruto it wasn't exactly an impressive amount, but even though his size had certainly effected his reserves, the clones found they had more chakra to mold than they had expected, and it didn't feel quite as blue as usual, nor did it feel purple or red like when the Kyuubi chakra in his system increased. Normally such a small quantity of clones could last at twice as long provided Naruto didn't go to sleep when doing an even split.
A few hours was still more than most could pass off – for the few who could use the technique was ease, the average was ten clones for ten minutes at an even split, fewer with less without it – and the shock was evident on the face of the Hokage. It was well known that Naruto was a chakra monster though, so his clones couldn't see why such surprise would be incorporated to the illusion.
"I see," the Professor turned to his large windows that overlooked Konoha. "Hizashi, leave if you would, and don't mention the boy to anyone. I will speak with him alone." Alone, as the clones knew, did not count the four ANBU members who were hiding in the room at strategic points to take out any threats to the safety of their Kage. "Hawk, Cat, Horse, Dragon, that means you as well." Or maybe it did.
In the space of ten seconds, the Naruto clones found themselves sitting on the floor of the Hokage's personal office (a place they were all intimately familiar with) with only the monkey summoner himself for company. They all fidgeted slightly; it was such a strange illusion! No one knew that the Sandaime had been in the habit of dismissing his ANBU guards when Naruto came to visit, not even Iruka. Of course, the Sandaime-genjutsu wouldn't know it either, but it was still an odd coincidence.
Actually, most of the clones had come to a conclusion, one that was very strange, but it was a conclusion none the less. Besides, Naruto had never been much for logic, common sense, and the like because quite simply they had never actually applied to him. Common sense dictated that newborn babies did not have demons sealed into them; logic dictated that small children were not ostracized by adults and children alike. They dictated that teenagers didn't die and wake up in a body that would fit the average five year old. Or that he have these weird rings around his eyes like Gaara, let alone that they were slit without Kyuubi chakra, and sideways at that! There was no logic to his situation, even the skewed Naruto-logic that applied only to him. If he had somehow been saved by the frogs, he would not have been captured by enemies unknown and placed in a Konoha genjutsu that was so weird.
And the circumstances were so unbelievable that, really, what other options remained?
"Hey, Ojii-san, are there are any jutsu that take you back in time?" One of the clones asked. Clone number five had "poofed" himself to give the conclusion to Naruto as it decided that it was thought out enough to share. Any clones thinking of something else were automatically updated to the situation and found the conclusion no stranger than anything else in the life of Uzumaki Naruto.
"Time travel techniques? None that I have heard of," the old man blinked. Obviously he hadn't expected to have that be the first thing the clones would state, but they merely deflated. So then there was – as of yet – no explanation. But time travel... it seemed the only way. And wasn't Neji's dad named Hyuuga Hizashi? That chuunin had rather looked like Neji after all. "What brought that on?"
Clone number two sent a look to his compatriots – if clones could be considered as such – before taking the helm. If the others thought of something, it would be mentioned. Naruto didn't hold much stock in social graces anyway.
"Just curious," Clone number two shrugged. "You weren't saying anything, you know? Wanted to break the ice and all that. What did you want to know?" It was better to be in this position in his opinion.
"Yes, yes, I was simply thinking," the old man laughed it off. His pipe was in his mouth for a puff before he continued. "You are quite remarkable; your chakra reserves must be immense. I'm afraid that I am at a loss as to your name as well; are you an Academy student?"
"No," not a lie. Naruto had graduated from the Academy going on three years ago. "He has never been to Konoha before today." If the quick conclusion was correct, this would also not be a lie. "But he is a really strong ninja anyway!" The clone that said this pumped his fist in the air. That could be taken as childish boasting, but given they had already revealed their individual life-spans, it should be little surprise.
"Yes, I'm sure he is," Sarutobi chuckled, getting into the "clones talking about their boss as a whole other person" thing. "Though I do still need your name young man."
Uzumaki Naruto was out of the question. Mostly because, in case this was a genjutsu (they thought not however), and whoever had done it didn't know who they were dealing with (it seemed they didn't, in the small likelihood that this was a genjutsu), then it would be stupid to let them know. But if he were in a genjutsu – again, unlikely – then the chances of the perpetrator not knowing him... well, anyway, he also couldn't say Uzumaki Naruto because that would raise alarms when he was born if he were right.
Of course, when he was a child he had asked the Hokage the name of his father, and the name he received was a lie. That person did not exist.
"Kazama Arashi," He replied. It was the false name that the Sandaime had given him for his father, and Naruto had found out very quickly that, not only was there no Kazama listed on the memorial stone, but there was not Kazama clan in Konoha or any Kazama Arashi who had been involved in anything to do with Konoha.
He realized, after a moment, that he had just... changed something, if this was real.
"Well, Arashi-kun," the Hokage smiled benevolently at him. "I think we can do something for you. I'm assuming you do not have a place to stay?" He paused to pick up a pen and two scrolls and wrote in them while the clones sat quietly on the floor, wondering what on earth he was doing. He finished one, scattered sand on the ink to increase the drying speed, and wrote out the other just as quickly before they were both rolled up. "We can have another talk later, but for now it's getting late. One of you give this blue scroll to the chuunin outside my door and lead her to your creator. Bring the green one to room 207 at the Academy tomorrow; I will send someone to show you the way."
"I already know the way Jii-san," clone #7 grumbled, but he pocketed the green scroll while all the rest vanished themselves. He then picked up the blue one and grinned. "Thanks Jii-san. I'll talk to you later then."
It did not occur to the clone that he was being let go too easily.
As the door was closed, the Hokage reclined in his chair, puffing slowly on his pipe. He didn't even twitch as a shadow jumped down from the ceiling. "Room 207, Hokage-sama?" The ANBU snickered. "I think he's a bit beyond the genin exam at this point. Why are you bothering?"
"Now now Falcon," he turned a sly smile at the bird-faced ANBU. "I want to see how he acts around children his own age. A five year old child capable of an A-ranked kinjutsu... I'm curious. You'll look after him of course, won't you?"
The ANBU spluttered. "M-me? I though I was supposed to apprentice that Hatake kid! Now I'm taking on a team?" He sounded almost like he was pouting. "You're no fun Ojii-sama." He paused a moment. "But seriously, that kid... we'll he's obviously really a kid, but what sort of kid comes out of training at five with those skills? And who would have sent him? Plus his eyes... they look kinda like Gamabunta's, only more slitted like a cat's..."
"Yes, I saw," the Hokage nodded. "That's why I want you to take after him. It might need a seal for control, and who better to watch over two genius children with their own special bloodlines than Konoha's greatest genius?"
The ANBU shrugged under his black cloak in an almost embarrassed manner. "If that's what you want, Hokage-sama, I'll do my best I suppose. Still, something about that kid... it's strange. I've never heard of a Kazama clan, and the only doujutsu are the Sharingan and Byakugan. Unless you believe Jiraiya about that kid with the Rinnegan I mean."
The Hokage did not respond and instead puffed on his pipe, glancing out his window. Only time would tell the truth about Kazama Arashi.
Naruto almost fell off his tree when the first clone dispersed in the Hokage's office, informing him that, whatever was happening, the Sandaime was involved in some way (even if it was only his image). Luckily, he was a good thirty feet up and managed to catch a branch rather than fall all the way down. True, he wouldn't have died or anything, but he would still rather not have to heal up after that.
He had already seen his altered appearance in a shop window and had attempted to apply a henge to his eyes that didn't stick before putting one of his entire body. It tingled a bit as he manipulated the chakra into his special henge – the same process as oiroke no jutsu except that he wasn't trying to look like a naked woman – which took more chakra than the one he knew Konohamaru and everyone else used. It hid his eyes, but he'd made the rest of the henge him – just a year or so older.
The eyes... they were a bit freaky looking. It looked like his eyes had been rotated and he had started going Kyuubi or something and then taken some red eyeliner around his eyes. That, of course, was not the case. He hadn't really looked at himself until he'd found an empty training ground, dropped his henge, and taken a look in the small pond there.
Then he had started running up a tree and almost fallen off as the popped clone told him about the Sandaime's image. That was... unexpected. More so than being able to avoid his illusory captors. Already he was wondering if this were a genjutsu.
Still, he checked his chakra control and even formed a rasengan before the bigger shocker came. His clones thought he had gone back in time. It was unbelievable unless one applied Naruto-logic to the problem, which – as it just so happened – Naruto was an expert at doing. As a matter of fact, he had been doing just that ever since before he was kicked out of the orphanage to live in the streets. He became an expert in that month before the Sandaime finally caught up to him and set him up in an apartment.
So he had gone back in time, and whenever he used chakra the air buzzed for some reason. Fantastic.
The buzzing air around him didn't bother Naruto until he decided to try to run through the kata Jiraiya had drilled into him on the pond's surface (he would need it, especially if he was really stuck as a midget for a while). The first time he looked down – for the perverted hermit had set him up to try to read a person by the movements of their feet, even if he was bad at it – he had almost fallen through the water. The red around his eyes became more prominent and there was a spidery ring of yellow intruding in the calm blue of his irises.
His own eyes freaked him out. They were worse than how Gaara's looked when Shukaku had taken him over, and he wasn't even using any Kyuubi chakra! His chakra felt too... not red. Hell, it's wasn't even blue feeling, but more greenish. Well, maybe teal or aqua (spending so much time around women with Jiraiya, he had learned the names of colors that, really, could be called "green-ish blue". Not that the women agreed with him).
Luckily, his thoughts didn't have to make sense to anyone but himself, or else he might be in big trouble.
He had about two seconds beyond those thought before all but one clone dispersed and he found out that the remaining was bringing him a scroll and a chuunin who would take him to a place to stay the night before he had to go to the Academy for some reason. He also found out that the clones had given him another name.
Kazama Arashi... he didn't really care for the name, but he had to admit that Naruto sounded like it had been thought up on the spot as well. Really, who named their kid after something in ramen? Granted, it was a gift of the gods, but what reason was there for someone to name their child that? He suspected that the old man had picked the name, or perhaps the Yondaime had.
He was waiting at the shore when his clone and the chuunin – a young woman with deep purple hair and golden eyes – arrived. He took the green scroll and tucked it into his hip-pouch. Unlike everyone else he knew, he didn't keep anything interesting in it yet (Kakashi had porn, the Hokage had free ramen coupons, and Iruka had sweets), but it did make finding what he needed a lot easier.
The clone dispersed.
"Alright gaki," the women tossed her hair back, "my mission is to take you to dinner and then to a hotel for the night. I want you up at seven am sharp in the morning so I can take you to breakfast and then to the Academy. After that you're on your own to ask directions; I'm only in charge of you until you're dropped off, got it?" Naruto nodded. He was used to acerbic words.
And suddenly, she softened up. "Great! Now that that's over with, I'm Mitarashi Kasumi, but you can just call me Kasumi-nee-chan," she ruffled his wild hair (proportionally to his head, it was nearly twice as long as it had been and Naruto couldn't wait until he had a hitai-ate or something to help keep it from his eyes). It was a full one-eighty, and Naruto – no, Arashi – was too dumbfounded to even duck.
"Eto... alright, Kasumi-nee-chan" he blinked his large blue eyes up at her and he could almost see the women about to squee at him.
"Unofficially, you're free to talk to me whenever you like and I might unofficially pick you up after Academy tomorrow when I go in to grab my daughter," she wagged her finger knowingly. "I might also unofficially bring you a bento lunch for your first day at the Academy. Though from what the scroll said... well, you'll find out 'Rashi-kun!"
And so she led him at a regular pace, rather than the jog – for a shinobi that is – which she had followed his clone at back to Konoha. All the way she yammered on about various things from the cherry trees that had just come into bloom to a scouting mission she had been on last week that had been a false alarm to her husband (a special jounin) and daughter (an academy student). From her frosty manner with his clone and in informing him of her mission, he would not have expected her to be such a motherly person.
"You're such a dear, 'Rashi-kun," she sighed. "My daughter could learn a lesson in manners from you. Then again, she is only seven, but you have to figure... well, anyway, what do you want for dinner? It's the Hokage's treat for us both tonight. Kiyoshi," her husband, "was going to get take-out tonight anyway, so it's not like I'm missing anything. He'll probably get a bunch of dango for him and Anko-chan anyway."
Anko... as in Mitarashi Anko? Not that Naru- Arashi would have said it aloud, but he couldn't help but disbelieve that that complete and utter whack-a-doo had a mother like this, even if she did have Orochimaru as her sensei. Naruto would have given his right lung for a mother at all, but that was in the past (future, whatever).
"'Rashi-kun? Hello?" He jumped at finding a hand waving in his face. "You kinda spaced out there. Your pupils dilated; it was kinda weird to watch. So, dinner kiddo?"
"Wha- oh, right," he scratched the back of his head, embarrassed. Kasumi almost squealed again, but managed to refrain it seemed. "Um... could we go out for ramen? Please?"
He realized suddenly that seeming like a little kid with far too large of clothing was very helpful as suddenly he found himself engulfed in a hug and Kasumi was promising that she would take him to the best ramen shop and he could have as much ramen as he could eat.
All in all, he didn't much mind being short. For now.
Author's Note: Hey guys. This is not going to be as long as Harry Potter and the Host Club (as in not even 20 chapters more likely than not), and I've decided it's no pairing (there will be crushes of course, but no pairings). I should be done with it before the end of the school year if I can manage it – we'll see. I will try to be good about updating it and writing it.
Just a few notes - Naruto does not know about Jiraiya's book, so he doesn't know the origin of his name. Yes, I'm uncreative with naming Naruto, but I don't care. Yes, there is a reason behind his eyes and chakra. No, he will not be all powerful and he will be uncoordinated, but he's going to be mildly super.
I may or may not write any omake for this story; we'll see. Either way, I intend for it to be my second completed work :D
In other news, it's snowing! I don't have school tomorrow :D Meaning I'll have time to do my homework... ehheh...
Also, if I can get any help with genres, that'd be spectacular. Thanks. (I fail at them)