Summary: Naruto isn't a moron. Jiraiya isn't a pathetic loser. Kyuubi doesn't intend to die. Three simple facts that will change the course of history.
Author's Note: I've never understood why so many people think they need to give Naruto a bunch of new bloodlines and artifacts to write a Super!Naruto story. After all, the regular canon Naruto already has everything he needs to reach godlike levels of power. All you have to do is take away the crippling character defects that keep him from actually using his abilities, and have him properly develop them just like any other high-level ninja.
A/N 2: Revised and corrected in preparation for actually finishing this story at last. Also, if you want to see what I've been doing in the last year check out Fimbulwinter, my original novel now available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon (just got to www_amazon_com/dp/B00KZ41LHM , or go to the main page and search books for "Fimbulwinter, by E. William Brown").
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Northern Fire Country, three weeks into the training trip with Jiraiya
"So, you're saying that for ninja every conversation is like a battle?" Naruto frowned in thought as he trudged up the steep mountain road. "That can't be right. What about friends and stuff?"
The clone behind him was too busy trying to make a Rasengan to join the conversation. He was finally getting the hang of doing it with two hands instead of four, but it still took all his concentration.
Jiraiya chuckled, and adjusted his pack. "You spar with your friends, don't you? Besides, half your friends are girls, and a conversation with them is always a battle. Or haven't you figured out yet that when a girl starts talking to you about nothing in particular, she's challenging you to make her like you?"
"You really are obsessed with that perverted stuff, aren't you?"
"Yeah, and everyone knows it, kid. So you know what foreign kages do when they want to manipulate me? They send their hottest kunoichi babes to seduce me into going along with their plans. Oh, the horror! The agony! Maybe I should learn to overcome my weakness, so they'll send assassins after me instead?"
Naruto peered up at the Sannin suspiciously. "You're saying it's all an act? I don't think I'm buying that."
"Heh. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Maybe I'm just a hopeless lecher, but sometimes I manage to control my impulses. Maybe it's all an act, and I let them get their way on little things so they'll be surprised when it doesn't work on something important. Oh, here's a good one: maybe I'm secretly a master of perverted mind control techniques, and I lure Konoha's enemies into sending me their best kunoichi so I can turn them to my side!"
"My point, kid, is that elite ninja are constantly playing mind games like that about everything. Of course we all know about the game, so we're always trying to figure out what the other guy is really up to without giving away our own ploys. Among friends it's just another kind of practice, but when foreign ninja are involved it can be deadly serious."
"So when someone from Konoha waves an obvious weakness or mystery or inconsistency in front of your face, that's like inviting you to spar with them. It takes a lot of work to get good enough to fool other ninja for long, and the best way to get there is to practice with your comrades."
"Wow!" Naruto dashed in front of the older ninja, hopping excitedly. "So, you're saying if Kakashi-sensei is always late it's like he's inviting us to try to spy on him, or get him in trouble for it?"
"Yep. Good luck finding him, though, and he's usually got his ass covered."
"What about when Hinata turns red and does that weird fainting thing?"
Jiraiya snickered. "She's got a secret you should be trying to figure out."
"What about when Sakura hits me for asking her out?"
"Ah, that's the greatest game of all. Think of it this way: trying to get a girl to like you is like challenging her to a duel. If you lose she rejects you. Fight to a draw and you get to go on dates, kiss, hold hands, that kind of thing. Win and she'll fall for you. On that scale, what you do with Sakura is like challenging Sasuke to a grudge match and then knocking yourself out on a tree branch before you even step in the ring."
"Ouch." The genin replied.
"Brutal, but true." commented the clone. "She won't even talk to us."
"Well, who knows, maybe one of these days you'll find an expert on women who's willing to train you. Now, I've told you all this straight out because it's pretty obvious you didn't have a clue what was going on, but don't expect me to be so obvious next time. You're supposed to be learning to figure this stuff out on your own, you know."
"I am? Huh. Well, ok, I just never thought about it like that before. Ok pervy sensei, I'll try to pay more attention to this verbal sparring stuff."
The trio continued up the trail for some miles, both lost in thought. Finally the trail leveled out, and they stopped for lunch. "Hey, Jiraiya, can you show me another move to practice while we walk? The Rasengan is cool, but doing the same thing all day gets old after awhile."
"Teach me this, show me that, nag, nag, nag. We don't have time for training today kid, I've got to get to that hot spring resort before the bikini festival starts. You never know, they might need another judge…" The toad sage drifted off into daydreams while rummaging around in his pack.
Naruto opened his mouth to complain…and stopped, frozen, as an expression of dawning realization appeared on his face. He looked at the clone, who shrugged. Looked back at the toad sage, who was now flipping through a black-bound notebook. Blinked.
A moment later a half-dozen buxom blond kunoichi filled the clearing, dressed in a considerably abbreviated version of Naruto's usual orange jumpsuit. "Oh, Jiraiya-sama!" they chorused. "Please teach us something!"
"Ha! Now that's what I'm talking about, kiddo!"
Wave Country coastline, four months on the road
A dozen orange-clad clones of both sexes darted among the moonlit breakers in an endless game of Rasengan tag, dodging and striking with the lighting speed of the Heavenly Fist taijutsu style. Two more observed their antics, occasionally calling up fresh clones to replace the inevitable casualties. The original sat under a tree twenty yards inland, apparently meditating, while ominous wisps of deadly red chakra wove lazily through the air around him.
"If the seal breaks, I die. If I die, you get dragged to hell with me. So I guess we're stuck with each other."
In a dank cave that existed only in Naruto's mind, the nine-tailed fox peered down through the bars of its prison. "I was old before your kind came down from the trees, idiot child, and I have no intention of dying in this irritating little trap."
"Yeah yeah, whatever." The young ninja crossed his arms and glared up at the demonic beast. "If you're so anxious to live, don't be so stingy when I need to use your chakra."
"Use too much and it will poison you, little fool. Human bodies aren't made to channel youki. You've only survived this long because of your little healing talent, and it has its limits."
"Yeah, what's up with that, anyway? I always wondered if it was something you were doing, or if I had some kind of bloodline power."
"Of course it's a bloodline, idiot. A remnant of the perfect health of the elder kami, in fact. No doubt some distance ancestor of yours was one of their playthings."
The fox chuckled. "You should be grateful, brat. Without that power my youki would have burned you to ash the first time you called on it. As it is most of your power is consumed merely surviving the contamination that leaks through the seal."
"Really? So, if I quit using your chakra I'd heal even faster? How fast are we talking here?"
"Fast enough to give you perfect health, and repair any injury that isn't instantly lethal in a matter of minutes. Who knows, it might even cure whatever affliction makes you so stupid." The Kyuubi replied. "But it isn't that easy. The seal constantly steals bits of my power and forces them into your chakra circulatory system. You'd have to modify the seal, or block the energy flow somehow."
"Hmm. I bet I could talk pervy-sensei into doing that if I work at it." Naruto gazed up at the bars of the prison speculatively. "Yeah, let him think I came up with this myself, and just want to test it out. Then when it works we'll just leave it running…"
Yes! The Kyuubi thought to itself. Perfect health includes old age, silly monkey, so no natural death for you. Give me a century to work at it without my chakra being stolen and even this seal will eventually break.
A hotel in Wind Country, eight months on the road
Naruto marshaled his chakra, carefully forming the odd seal Jiraiya had described earlier that day, and pressed home his attack. But his clone met him head-on, resisting the allegedly devastating technique without apparent effort.
Maybe he wasn't doing it right?
He adjusted his technique as he grappled with her, trying to find the right pattern. This jutsu wasn't nearly as complicated as Rasengan, but getting it right based on just a verbal description was tough. Should he use less chakra? More? Maybe a lot more?
The clone shuddered, and for a second he thought he'd gotten it. Then she took advantage of his distraction to flip him over on the bed and straddle him.
"Mmmmp!" He was so startled he dropped the technique.
She broke the kiss and pulled away, but she was still sitting on him. Her breasts shifted beneath her loose nightgown as she moved, and Naruto suddenly found himself noticing just how beautiful his "sexy" form was.
"Kissing a guy is really weird." She commented. "I feel like I should hate it, but I don't think I do, but I think I'd be freaking out if I was a guy right now. Are you sure you won't go girl for this?"
"I'm not sure I want to learn this stupid 'Kiss of Surrender' technique at all. What are you doing, anyway?"
She blushed. "I don't know. I just…at first it didn't do anything, but then you changed something, and bam! I couldn't help it, I just had to kiss you back."
"So instead of surrendering, it makes you attack me? That's stupid."
"Well, you know he isn't going to teach us that wind edge thing until we get this right, so we'd better give it another try." She let the boy up with a nervous grin.
"Ok, but I think I am gonna go girl. You're making me worry about what kind of memories you're gonna give me when this is done."
Another ten minutes of chakra-laced kisses brought them no closer to the "instant surrender" effect Jiraiya claimed this technique was for, but Naruto was discovering that kissing a sexy girl is a lot of fun even if she's really you. He also noted that the technique did seem to be having some kind of effect on his clone.
"Are you ok?" The original asked. "You look like Hinata did that time I checked her temperature with my forehead."
"If this is what Hinata was feeling, I'm sorry we ignored her all those years." The clone giggled. "I feel like that time we accidentally saw Sakura bathing, but about a hundred times stronger. Still more likely to pin you down and kiss you senseless than surrender, though."
Naruto stared at the clone. "Um, I have no idea what to say to that, so I'm just going to ignore it, ok?"
The clone giggled again.
"Huh. Anyway, this kinda sucks. I can feel my chakra going out, but it's like there's some kind of barrier stopping it and I can't push through."
"Push through?" The clone shot up, suddenly alert. "No, don't do that! I don't think that would work, and if it did you'd probably pop me. I think there's more a rhythm to it. Go soft at first, and kind of push and pull and swirl around the right way, and then I open up and you just push right into me and… oh god, I sound like one of pervo-sensei's books, don't I?"
She looked so dismayed that Naruto had to laugh. "Hey, no sweat. The cool thing about talking to yourself is you don't have to get embarrassed, right? But I've got no idea what you're trying to say."
"Damn. Sorry, I just can't figure out how to put it in words. Hey, I know. I'll just pop myself, and then I won't have to explain it because you'll already know!"
Naruto was momentarily stunned by the flood of memories she received as the clone dismissed herself. She also wasn't sure it was going to help, since it wasn't at all obvious what the connection was between her chakra manipulations and the sensations her 'victim' felt.
So she summoned a fresh clone, and tried again. She had more than enough chakra to dispel and re-form the clone after every experiment, which was almost as good as being able to feel both sides of the experience at once. It wasn't long before she started to get a handle on which sensation went with which kind of chakra flow. There was a subtle feedback in the interaction of their auras, and she was learning to read it. Her clone's chakra was definitely responding to the technique. Flowing, pulsing, pushing and pulling…
"Mmmmph!" The clone clutched frantically at her shoulders, pressing their firm breasts together as she trembled and moaned in her maker's arms. A moment later she collapsed, nearly falling off the bed before Naruto caught her.
"Hey, was that it? Did it work?" Naruto observed his clone's apparent helplessness excitedly.
"Oh, god. That was…that was…I don't know what the heck that was, but wow. Now I understand why he called this the knockout technique no kunoichi would want to resist. Do it again? Please?"
Naruto laughed. "What, you like being helpless?"
The clone squirmed. "No! But it feels so damned good. I never thought anything could feel like that! Please, do me again before you pop me."
"Ok, ok. I guess I do need to practice…"
Snow Country, twelve months on the road
The blonde jinchuuriki perched atop a rocky peak overlooking miles of desolate glacier. The howling blizzard had long since driven all sensible folk indoors for the night, but Naruto was never one to let a little weather get in the way of training. Chakra kept his feet firmly stuck to the massive bolder that formed the mountain's summit, while more chakra formed a visible aura of power around him that blunted the force of the wind and kept the bitter cold at bay.
"This time for sure!" He cried, once more forming a slight variation on the familiar set of seals. Hundreds of chakra tendrils leaked out into the storm, merging with the winds, forming a vortex of elemental power that swirled furiously around the young ninja.
"Wind Clone Technique!"
A massive surge of chakra flowed into the vortex as he completed the experimental technique, and it collapsed into a humanoid form. It wavered for a moment, and resolved into the unmistakable figure of his female alter-ego.
Naked, of course.
"It worked!" Naruto jumped in excitement, remembering too late where he was. A hurricane-force blast of snow-laden wind blew him right off the mountain peak.
The girl giggled.
Two knives sheathed in wind chakra flew out of the darkness to sink hilt-deep in the weathered granite, trailing combat wire that immediately went taut. A moment later Naruto reappeared, climbing hand-over-hand down the wires until he finally got within arm's reach of the ground. He slapped a hand down to stick to the stone, and pulled himself prone.
The girl broke into laughter, a clear sound like chiming bells. She stood lightly, unanchored, her long hair whipping furiously in the wind.
"Ok, that was dumb." Naruto admitted, climbing to his feet as he renewed his protective cocoon. He took his first real look at the clone, and frowned. "You aren't really me, are you?"
"Oh, is that what you were trying to do?" The girl replied. "Boy, did you mess that one up. No, silly, I'm Sirasa of the Biting Frost. That tickling you were doing earlier got my attention, and then you made this cool chakra wind chime thing and I just had to try it out." She looked at her hands curiously, curling her fingers as if trying to figure out what they were for.
The old Naruto would have been flummoxed. But the months of practice were finally teaching him how to pay attention, and he'd always been good at thinking on his feet. "I'm Naruto. Um…I don't know much about the spirit world. Are you saying you're some kind of wind spirit?"
She grinned. "You could say that. All this," she made a sweeping gesture taking in the whole of the sky, "is me. But I paint the mountains all the time. I've never been in a mortal form before." She looked down at herself, pushing her breasts aside for a better view. "It's strange, but kind of neat."
"Well, tell you what. If you can help me figure out what's wrong with my technique, I'll keep that body running for a few days so you can play around with it. It's probably pretty fragile, but I think I can re-form it for you if it gets dispelled."
"Really? That sounds like fun. But if you're a bargainer, don't you want a big contract written in blood with rules and penalties and stuff?"
Now Naruto laughed. "I'm not that kind of guy. I just like to do stuff for my friends, and sometimes they do things for me. Would you like to be friends, Sira-chan?"
She eyed him speculatively. There's something about this Man…he has the Spark! He might be a kami some day. And that grouchy old fox is sealed in him, how odd. I bet he'll have lots of interesting stories!
Wave Country, eighteen months on the road
Naruto surveyed the improvised training grounds with a satisfied smile. Normally he kept his clone use low-key to avoid attracting attention, but this island was remote enough that there wasn't much chance of visitors. So today, nearly a hundred clones swarmed over the area.
Some practiced taijutsu, both singly and in teams. Their movements were fast and precise, but the wind clones stood out from their shadow clone brothers by virtue of their inhuman speed. Some still practiced bare-handed, but these days most fought with combat knives sheathed in wind chakra.
Others drilled with thrown weapons. He'd long since mastered kunai and shuriken, and using combat wire to guide them wasn't much harder. But he'd found out about chakra strings a couple of months ago, and he was still mastering the art of directing his weapons with them.
A surprisingly large group studied seals, working their way through the scrolls on exploding tags and storage seals Jiraiya had lent him. A few adventurous clones played with ideas for original seals, but these were well away from the main training ground. There were a million ways to get a seal wrong, and his efforts were still more likely to explode than do anything useful.
The contingent doing ninjutsu drills were by far the biggest chakra drain, but he'd long since concluded that they were essential. Sparring with Jiraiya had taught him that any jutsu that takes more than a second is useless against a serious foe, and his growing jutsu repertoire was a big part of his fighting style. So he drilled relentlessly, working to make his new wind techniques as fast as his Rasengan and Shadow Clone.
A girl-clone wandered by with a Rasengan in each hand and a leaf balanced on her nose, and he grimaced. Chakra control drills were boring as heck, but even after all this time his control still needed work. Jiraiya called it "pretty good", but he needed to be a lot better if he was ever going to learn medical techniques.
A package of new memories surfaced, courtesy of a clone on the other side of the island, and his smile returned. New techniques were his favorite kind of training, and he had three of them in progress. The self-sustaining clone idea wasn't going very well, but his Memory Clone idea was working perfectly. Why waste chakra creating and dispelling a whole clone if all he wanted to do was send himself a message? Just clone the memories you want, and send them over the link directly.
The rumble of a distant detonation echoed through the trees, and the memories of a recently-exploded clone arrived.
"Ok, so combining Rasengan with wind chakra is going to be tough. That's ok, I've got plenty of time to work on in. Jiraiya said he'd need a week or two to infiltrate that kunoichi cell and pump them for information…"
"To much information!" One of his clones called. "Don't want to think about how the old pervert does it."
"Um, yeah." Old people naked. Ick.
Jiraiya claimed that his perverted techniques were the best, but Naruto wasn't too impressed. His girl-self always complained they were about as subtle as being hit on the head with a hammer. His own variants were a lot more fun, thanks to his liberal use of gender-switched clones to feel both sides of the experience while experimenting, but he wasn't about to admit to the old man that he was inventing new hentaijutsu techniques. Bad enough his girl-clones had such a tendency to sneak off and play with each other, but at least they were careful not to get caught. If word ever got back to Sakura or Tsunade they'd probably murder him for real.
Mind you, he wasn't scared enough to actually stop. He had a half-dozen girl-clones hidden discretely away at that very moment, trying to figure out how to turn Jiraiya's Seductive Massage technique into something that was actually fun. That was half the reason he wanted self-sustaining clones – so they could sneak off for long periods of time to look for information or practice secret techniques without anyone knowing.
He shook his head, and pulled his attention back to training. "Anyway. Call it ten days with the old pervert gone. With a hundred clones at a time that's three years of training. Plenty of time to get a couple of new techniques working, and get all this new wind stuff polished up right."
"Those Akatsuki guys will never know what hit them."
Somewhere in the deserts of Wind Country, two years on the road
Jiraiya was off on another 'research' mission, leaving his apprentice to his own devices for the evening. Most nights of late this would have been Naruto's cue to go girl and call up a few clones for his own private 'research', but not tonight. There was only one clone keeping the young jinchuuriki company at the moment, and although she was in 'sexy' form they were both fully clothed.
"Two years since we left Konoha." The real Naruto commented.
The desert winds howled through the rocks around them, carrying blasts of sand and grit. The clone huddled further into the sheltered hollow where they sat.
"We'll be ready soon." She replied. "We're already tougher than most jounin, even without the fox."
"I know. But we can't screw this up. Once we come back those Akatsuki guys will be able to find us, and they're monsters. If we're going to protect our precious people we need to be even stronger."
The girl-clone leaned back against his chest. "Who are our precious people, brother? Not the villagers, that's for sure. Sasuke? Not unless we're going to join the snake freak to be with him. Sakura? I love her as much as you do, but we both know now that she hates us."
"Hey, now, don't be like that." His arms went around the troubled girl in a gentle hug. "We've still got plenty of precious people left, and you know I'm not ready to give up on Team Seven. What's got you so down?"
"I don't know. Maybe that plan to keep me like this until I start thinking like a girl is working. It's been nearly a month now since you made me, and I have been feeling kind of weird lately. I just…I'm so lonely. Brother," she looked up at him with pleading eyes. "Promise me we won't be alone forever. That when we get back you'll find us a girl. I still think Hinata might really like us. Or if not her, or Sakura, there's got to be someone else. Promise me you'll keep looking until you find her?"
He sighed. "I'll try, sexy-chan. I'll try. But you know I can't just make a girl like us, no matter what pervo-sensei says."
"Maybe not, but I bet a lot of girls would put up with us for those S-rank massages of ours." She sniffed. "Look, I know it won't be easy, but we can't just give up. I…I can't go on like this forever."
"We won't have to. You're right, there's got to be a girl for us somewhere. I promise, I won't stop looking until I find her. Believe it!" The last was said with a cheesy grin and an exaggerated "nice-guy" pose.
The clone giggled. "Thanks. Sorry about getting so moody."
"No problem. Now, I was trying to figure out what else we need to learn before we can go home."
"Oh, yeah. Well, how about some kind of wide-area jutsu like Temari's wind blast…"