Summary: 32-year old Uzumaki Naruto is a very different person from when he was 12. Death has made his life different. What will he do when he gets thrown back into the past with two of his last friends?
Warnings: May have blood and violence.
Disclaimers: I don't own Naruto.
Author's Notes: Naruto in this fic is strong and pretty much merciless. He's seen a lot and that changed him. Don't be mean to him.
Evening in Konoha. The people were doing their last business before going home to their families, and in the Hokage Tower did their Hokage, Sarutobi Konohamaru, watch them. He sighed slightly, turned away from the window and shifted his attention to the man sitting on the other side of his desk:
"Life is wonderful."
The man snorted and looked at the younger one.
"Life is nothing," he replied, his voice deep. Konohamaru shook his head from the sentimental feelings and took up the cup sitting on the desk.
"How's Shikamaru?" the Rokudaime finally asked.
"As fine as you can be in his situation," the man replied. "Talk to him yourself."
"I would if I could but he isn't talking to anyone in this village but you, Naruto-niisan."
Uzumaki Naruto shrugged gracefully and picked up the cup he had, filled with sake as opposite of Konohamaru's tea. The energetic blonde everyone had come to know was long gone at the age of 32. In fact, that person had perished when Naruto was 15 years old. The reason for that was the brutal death of Jiraiya that Naruto had witnessed. Now the blonde was a hardened shinobi with little respect for his enemies' lives. His bright blue eyes had faded into a frosty blue, they were cold most of the time but Konohamaru knew there was warmth left in them. Naruto's now long blonde hair was put up in a ponytail and ended somewhere around his waist.
His choice of clothing was something that stood out amongst shinobis, a complete white set. The trench-coat had wide arms and ended around his ankles, a fish-net shirt, white tight pants and knee-high, white combat boots with steel at the bottom. The only clothing that was not white beside the fish-net shirt was his elbow-long black gloves, mostly hidden by the arms of the coat. What had stood out the most at Naruto before was his birth-marks but they had faded with time, leaving smooth skin behind. As a child, he had been tanned but now his skin had taken a ghostly pale colour due to many missions and travels had been made by night over the years, and his eyes sometimes appeared as shining orbs in the darkness because of that. Shining orbs in the face of a corpse. Maybe not the most flattering comment, but at least it scared his enemies shitless.
Instead of kunais and other weapons Naruto wore ten scrolls around his waist, all carefully prepared by himself.
"Hmm?" Naruto looked up from his cup, and into Konohamaru's eyes.
"How did it feel when… Jiraiya-sama died?" the younger man asked.
"As it felt for you when Sandaime-sama died." Respect for his elders may have been slow, but better late then never.
"I hardly remember that," Konohamaru said quietly. "It's been so many years."
"Why are you getting all sentimental for?" Naruto said. "I don't have all day."
"Are you leaving again?"
"I'm free to travel wherever I want to."
"I know that," the younger male said. "It's just you've been gone for over a year, and you don't even want to stay overnight."
Naruto looked at him and said:
"It's not your fault if that's what you think." He took a sip of his cup.
"Then whose fault is it?" Konohamaru asked.
"Just the village in general," the blonde said with a shrug. "Too many bad memories."
"Too many deaths," the Hokage added.
"That too," Naruto agreed with a small tilt of his head and then drained the sake. The Hokage knew his friend was leaving.
"When will you be back?" Konohamaru asked.
"I don't know," Naruto replied as he rose up. "Say hello to everyone from me."
"Why don't you say hello yourself for once?" Konohamaru asked. "You haven't seen anyone except Shikamaru and me in almost six years."
"I don't want to see them. Whatever is left of them."
"At least say hi to Shikamaru yourself this time," the Rokudaime pleaded. "Knowing that someone still cares will keep him from doing something stupid."
"If it makes you feel better, fine," the blonde said. "I'll go and play some shougi with him."
Konohamaru rose up and walked up to the man. For a long time the brunette had admired this man. First it was a childish one, then it turned into real, almost hero-worship. He saw his idol grow up to be one of the best, only to say 'no' when he had the chance to become Hokage. He was fine with being nothing, but Tsunade had not allowed that. With the nickname of one of the Second Generation Sannins, and the forced-on title of Kage, Naruto had been free to leave whenever he wanted. And he had left, for years. By the time he came back for the first time, Konohamaru was about to be named Hokage in front of the whole village, one of the youngest Kages to be a leader over a village. When he had looked down at what was now his people, he had spotted a familiar blonde-headed man. Naruto had look up at him, and smiled for real.
That was the last real smile Konohamaru had seen Naruto make in front of him, and that was ten years ago.
Nara Shikamaru was a lost cause according to most people. Having witnessed his best friend Choiji's brutal murder had made the famous Jounin shut down completely. He had resigned and locked himself up in his house, sitting in front of his shougi-board most of the time. Everyone felt sorry for him, not that he himself cared what they thought.
At the moment, he was doing what he almost always did when suddenly a white blur came and settled itself across the board. Naruto leaned his chin into his palm and said:
"What are you doing inside on such a nice evening?"
"Naruto," Shikamaru said, slightly surprised. He had not expected the man, as Naruto tended to show up at random times. Mostly those random years was once or twice a year.
"One and only," the blonde replied and looked at him. His blue eyes were glittering. "Come on, let's go star-watching."
"No one will see us, and I have the feeling Gaara will join us."
Shikamaru looked at him and said:
"Why do you care?"
"Why are you still asking that?" Naruto huffed. "If you continue with that, I will start hitting you at some point." Shikamaru's lips twitched into a small smile and he rose up. The blonde followed and continued: "Want anything with you?"
"No, I'm good," the brunette said.
The shadows twisted around Shikamaru's feet as he walked.
Gaara swept a piece of hair away from his eyes and continued to watch Konoha. The sun had gone down, giving way to darkness and bright stars.
"Did you wait long?"
A small smile crept up on his face as he heard his friend's voice. He turned around and shook his head. Naruto nodded and said:
"Brought Shikamaru with me."
The brunette raised a hand as a greeting and Gaara nodded to him.
"How did you know I was here?" the redhead asked.
"I saw with my inner eye," the blonde said and sat down, face straight. The redhead raised an eyebrow at him. "Kidding; felt your chakra."
"Thought so," Gaara muttered.
Shikamaru followed after Naruto, sitting down as well and the three men were quiet as they watched the sky or the village.
"Do you sometimes wish everything was different?" Gaara suddenly asked.
"Every day," Shikamaru said.
"Every second," Naruto continued. "Many people died. How many didn't have to?"
"Kankuro," Gaara whispered. "I still miss him, even if he's been dead for 19 years."
"Chouji," Shikamaru said, his eyes clouded. "Asuma… hell, I even miss that pervert to teacher Kakashi."
"Old good Kakashi," Naruto said. "I miss Iruka too. The academy teacher from hell."
"Man, even Tsunade was scared shitless when he was pissed off," the brunette said with a chuckle.
"He even made me shake in fear once he got started," Naruto said and smiled. Nowadays he only smiled in Gaara's and Shikamaru's presence. "I don't doubt if he comes here right this very instant, he would have me shaking as a leaf within minutes."
Gaara laughed softly at that.
"What would you give for a second chance?" he asked the blonde man.
"I dunno," Naruto said. "My life wouldn't do; then I can't do anything. But I could sacrifice this."
"This?" Shikamaru asked.
"My reputation I gained from the war, from the training with Tsunade," Naruto said. "The connections I have, my boring life-style."
"I could give everything in my life up," Gaara said. "What matters that I've been a Kage when those I love and want to protect are already dead?"
"I'm a good-for-nothing now," Shikamaru said. "Hell, I can't even fight without remembering all the times when my friends died. If I could just see them again, alive and well, I could fight even fucking Orochimaru or Akatsuki myself."
"Looks who's having too big confidence," Gaara said and Shikamaru chuckled.
"Well, I can't help it," he said with a shrug. They sat in comfortable silence for a long time, all content to just sit and watch whatever they wanted.
"What's the noise?" Naruto suddenly asked.
They looked around, and suddenly a blinding light surrounded them. Naruto felt Gaara's body pressed against his own and acted on instinct. His hands shot out and grabbed both of them. Shikamaru's hands gripped his arm tightly and Gaara fisted a hand into the white trench-coat.
Then it was all darkness.
Alright, classic cliffy but I'm not too picky.
So, what do you think about it? Sounds good?
Chapter two: What happened? (Nice summary right? The pure signs of my laziness shines through here.)