Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Kishimoto-sama. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Pairings: Kakashi/Naruto, Itachi/Gaara, Sasuke/Haku, Asuma/Shikamaru, and others that aren't important.
Summary: AU: When the seal broke, Naruto expected to be consumed by the Kyuubi, but what if the power Itachi had given Naruto ensured his safety and survival? The eighteen-year-old woke up six years in the past with a twist.
Warnings: Yaoi: male/male, alternate universe, underage sex (15/16?), language, mild violence, drama, Spoilers? I may pull aspects from the Manga, so please be aware of that. Time-travel! Slightly OOC (Naruto's maturity level for one, but I will keep him cheerful and sweet as he is.)
Thanks to Kamerreon for being my best friend and Beta Reader. –glomps–
Until it Sleeps
It had been so unearthly painful; it was like lava crawling over his skin and consuming his mind and body. He could feel the mental crack inside of his gut and the fiery unleashing of the demon sealed deep within him. Death was coming; surely his whole body would burst into a thousand disgusting pieces as the Kyuubi no Kitsune thrust its way out of him. It was a gruesome aspect that Namikaze Naruto never wanted to think about again.
He waited for death to consume him and he could only hope that Sasuke could control it with his Sharingan. If not, the entire village was done for. Naruto had been the only Seal Master left in Konoha after the legendary Jiraiya had fallen to the hands of his former student.
Death was a strange thing, was it not? The way it haunted a person day in and day out just waiting for the time to strike. It was kind of like the grim reaper with his silver bladed scythe that collected the souls from the inanimate bodies.
One swipe and it was gone.
The lava sensation that had drenched him was gone and he felt as though he was falling into a black abyss, leaving him with no idea of where he might land. Would he go to Hell? Or would it be Heaven? Did either of them even exist? He'd probably be well on his way to Hell for asking such a question.
Naruto inwardly snorted. Sins, he certainly had plenty of those. He didn't think he'd wind up in Heaven anyway; enjoying sex with a man was perhaps an even bigger offense than questioning God.
He laughed. He was dying and he was thinking about sex with men.
Typical. Hatake Kakashi had certainly rubbed off on him. As he waited for some sort of end to come he felt excruciatingly tired. His whole body, whether it was physical or mental, lagged with a sudden pressure. He would guess that he was at the end now; his life was ending and his soul must be quivering to leave his corpse.
Naruto didn't fight it and he gave in, letting the blackness swallow him whole.
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz
Naruto could have sworn he was supposed to have died. In fact, he had been positive about that fact. Death was never wrong and so why was it that Naruto could hear the familiar buzzing of his alarm clock?
Sapphire eyes snapped opened to the light of the day; his forehead wrinkled as his thin blond brows knitted together in confusion. Why did that ceiling look so familiar? He shifted, feeling no aches or pains in his body and he gasped when his eyes fell on an old alarm clock that he had thrown away two years ago.
Was this a dream? Naruto wasn't sure but as he sat up and gazed around the room, his eyes widened. His heart was racing viciously when he realized that he was in his old one bedroom apartment.
How very odd, Naruto thought rubbing his eyes in the hope that this wasn't real. He pushed the orange covers down to his feet and frowned. God, had he really liked orange that much? He wondered and tugged on pieces of his shoulder length blond hair. After he found out the truth about his father, a man he had looked up to for so long, Naruto had decided to grow his hair out in honor of both him and Jiraiya. The jagged ends resembled the front of Jiraiya's hair without the long winding ponytail in the back. Instead, the ponytail barely passed his shoulders and was usually pinned back by a band.
Alright, what was his eighteen-year-old body doing in his old apartment? He was supposed to be dead.
Deftly, Naruto kicked his slender legs off the bed and touched the hardwood floor. They creaked with his light weight as he reached his hand out to stop the insistent buzzing. "Thanks Gama-stop," he said, reciting his old words to his trusty alarm. He'd really loved that alarm clock, even if it was childish.
He stood and passed by the full-length mirror; Naruto frowned when he backed up and stared at his reflection. Okay, everything was still in place except for the fact that he was wearing pajamas that were way too little on his frame. A tight white t-shirt rode up his slender but well-toned chest and the pants were like glue and bright orange with a ramen cup print.
"Kami-sama! What the hell is going on?" he asked only just noticing the stiffness under his armpits from the fabric. He continued to stare at his matured, tan reflection before something in the mirror caught his attention and he whirled around and gasped, horrified, at the calendar on the wall.
"No, no, no!" Naruto declared to the silent air. "No," he repeated quietly. "No…" He rushed over to it and ripped it off the wall and glared at it. It couldn't have been November 12, 2002.
That was impossible! A flurry of curse words left his mouth as he dropped the destroyed calendar to the ground.
When he backed up he nearly shrieked like a girl when his back touched a hard chest. He whirled around and lost his balance. "Holy shit!" Naruto yelled instead.
As pale arms reacted to his predestined fall, a hint of a smirk actually displayed upon the S-Class Nin's usually apathetic face.
"Good morning, Naruto-kun. You grew up well," Uchiha Itachi greeted. Blood-red eyes with black spinning commas seemed to gently pierce his own.
"I-Itachi-san?" Naruto breathed out.
"The seal broke."
Naruto swallowed. "Madara."
"Yes, I expected we would fail the first time."
"We?" the blond queried. "Itachi-san, what in the hell is going on?" he demanded. "Why do you seem to know what the hell is happening to me? Why am I in my twelve-year-old pajamas, in my baby apartment, with my baby Gama-stop clock and why the fuck is it November 12, 2002?" His voice unconsciously rose.
Another flicker of amusement caused Naruto to scowl and wiggle out of the man's arms. "You damn Missing Nin! Tell me what's going on?"
"Hn." Itachi didn't answer and instead he turned and gracefully walked out of the small bedroom; his Akatsuki cloak with the red clouds brushed along the hardwood floors as he left.
Naruto's eyes narrowed. Uchihas were all a pain in the ass! He thought. "Uchiha Itachi! Don't you dare walk away from me! I see your amusement, zombie boy!" He rushed out of the room and gasped as he collided with Itachi's tall form.
Even with Naruto being eighteen, he still hadn't gained much height. He was five foot six and would probably never see the pretty number seven in his lifetime. Personally, Naruto blamed the Kyuubi seal for his height. He had studied it long enough to know what side effects he'd receive besides whisker markings and acute hearing.
Itachi looked over his shoulder, face expressionless but those eyes spoke volumes. "Breakfast, Naruto-kun," were his only two words before heading into the kitchen.
"Hey! At least give me your damn cloak!" he whined. "I'm uncomfortable here!"
Itachi stopped at the end of the hall and eloquently tugged the tie of his cloak, undoing it to reveal relaxed black leather pants, a black belt, and a black tank top with a gray fishnet shirt over the top of it. He tossed it to Naruto, who caught it.
"Thank you," Naruto mumbled rushing into the room to take off the painted on pajamas. He wrapped himself in the cloak, relieved that it was big enough to wrap around him twice. When he came out, Itachi was already pulling food out of the refrigerator.
Naruto frowned, wondering when the Uchiha would speak. He knew now that Itachi was not a bad guy. In fact, he was a good brother.
"I'm sorry," Naruto said standing behind the counter.
Itachi gazed at him briefly before pulling some bread toward him.
"You know what I'm sorry about, don't you? Saying those things about how I'd be a better brother and stuff." He felt embarrassed even recalling it. Itachi had done all that he could.
"They were true," Itachi said emotionlessly.
"No they weren't," Naruto said opening his refrigerator to find some orange juice. "I was an overly emotional brat and I think I still am. But I've gotten better. I don't jump to as many conclusions as I used to." He eyed the orange juice distrustfully and all of his senses screamed to put it down when the date said drink by: November 25, 2002.
He turned the cap and smelled it. His sense of smell had always been a big part of his instincts. He felt Itachi's eyes on him but refused to look back. "Good, I guess."
He pulled a watermelon decorated glass from the cupboard and eyed it like the orange juice, but for an entirely different reason. "I had bad taste as a kid."
"Hn," the Uchiha agreed.
Naruto stuck out his tongue at the raven-haired man before pouring a glass. "Okay so it's 2002 and I'm in my little apartment; where's my twelve-year-old self?"
"He was consumed by you," Itachi answered.
Naruto swallowed the tangy liquid and frowned at Itachi. "Excuse me?"
"A combination of Genjutsu and Sealing. I used the Chakra I collected from the Kyuubi no Kitsune and manipulated it with Pein's Rinnegan."
"Pein knows?" Naruto asked with a deep frown.
"I don't think so." But for once Naruto saw the uncertainty in his eyes.
"Good. So, we're in the past to change the future?" Itachi nodded and even if Naruto didn't see him, he could feel it. "Good, perhaps this time I can save Jiraiya."
Itachi paused and stared up at him with a question in his eyes. Naruto saw the question. "Pein killed Jiraiya right before you died. I fought Pein and nearly killed him, but I refused."
"I didn't want the hatred to live on, so I spared his life. He somehow felt remorse and he revived all the people he had killed in Konoha when he was hunting for me; he died after that. Konan quit Akatsuki."
Itachi didn't respond to Naruto's explanation and instead finished breakfast, which was French toast with cinnamon and sugar.
"What do you drink?" Naruto asked trying to ignore the stab of pain in his chest.
"Juice is fine."
Naruto nodded and pulled out a strawberry decorated cup. "I need new cups."
"Hn." Another agreeing Uchiha noise.
"Thank you, Itachi-san."
They ate. Naruto talked while Itachi simply listened. Naruto wasn't fond of silence considering when he was younger he lived in it for a very long time.
They were halfway through breakfast when a thought occurred to Naruto. "Uhm, if I'm supposed to be twelve what are we going to say when people see that I've suddenly grown up?"
Naruto sulked. "I like the way I look now," he whined. "I finally feel like me and Kami-sama, I do not want to wear that damn orange jumpsuit."
"I don't have much else," Naruto said tugging on a strand of his hair once more. "When I was little, I did all I could to get the villagers to see me as something other than the Kyuubi Vessel. Even before I knew what I had in me, I was an outsider. So I did things to get noticed. That's where my idiot acting became a part of my personality. I didn't grow out of it until after Jiraiya died. That's when I started changing." He didn't know why he was talking about it, but Itachi didn't seem to mind. Instead, he was staring at Naruto intently.
When they finished their breakfast, Naruto took both of their plates.
"I will return in an hour," Itachi said and before Naruto could turn back around, Itachi had used Shunshin to leave.
Naruto had some time to ponder everything alone and it was a good thing he did, because all of the information Itachi had given him came back in full force. Call him a dumbass but he really hadn't let it sink in until now.
He nearly dropped the plates as he gripped the counter. Shit! What time was it? He checked the clock and found that it was just past seven in the morning. Good, he had two hours before he had to actually meet up with Team Seven and Kakashi.
"Ah, damn!" Naruto moaned and bowed his head. Did he have to go through that shit again? There was no way that Naruto could act like the overactive child that he once had. He still had the energy and cheer from his childhood, but Naruto was pretty certain that he'd shaved off the whole obnoxious factor… unless he got to talking.
He left the kitchen and went to the bathroom to wash up. He peered into the mirror at the prominent fox whiskers that lined across his cheek. He looked identical to his father, except he was tanner, smaller, and the obvious whiskers. His face, however, was sharper, resembling his mother when it came to the jaw line. He obviously didn't have his father's build, which would have been nice.
Naruto didn't question how Itachi got in and out of Konoha; the man was a master at disguise.
When Itachi did return, Naruto was brushing his teeth at the time and followed Itachi to his bedroom to see that the man had eight bulging bags which were placed on his bed.
"Hn?" He modeled the famous Uchiha word considering his mouth was stuffed with an orange toothbrush.
"Yours," he answered without blinking.
Naruto rolled his eyes good-naturedly. One word sentences really sucked, he thought going back to the bathroom to spit the toothpaste out. His tongue was going numb.
Itachi stood in the doorway and handed him a gray and black outfit.
"Thanks," Naruto said taking them in his arms.
Naruto groaned at that, but Itachi didn't say anything more and walked out so that he could close the door.
Comfort, Naruto thought as he sighed and gazed at himself in the mirror. He was wearing a set of pants identical to Itachi's, except they buttoned while Itachi's zipped and tied. The shirt was long-sleeved, black and gray and the shoes were black Shinobi sandals to be worn with wraps rather than socks. He would have to remember to use a seal to make the clothes shrink with his body. It would take a bit of Chakra, but Naruto had enough.
Naruto came out with Itachi's cloak on his arm and found the man piling a small black pouch full of Shuriken.
"Better," Itachi said.
Naruto handed him his cloak back. "Thanks for the cloak." He took the offered black band and slipped his hair back, leaving the tails by his ear.
"You are only required to look twelve. Speculation will get them nowhere," Itachi told him.
"Can I keep my hair?" Naruto asked looking hopeful.
Itachi inclined his head. "I need to create the seal."
"I can do it," Naruto said smirking and reaching under his bed to pull out a box of scrolls, ink, and a brush.
Itachi watched him and Naruto couldn't hide the smug smirk as he elegantly twirled the soaked brush creating perfect calligraphic seals. "I didn't learn to be a Seal Master for nothing," he said happily. "I was just about to receive the mastery when that bastard relative of yours attacked. I would have had it sooner, but the old bastards on the council kept refusing me until Baa-chan, Kakashi-sensei, and Sasuke stood up for me."
Itachi placed down a black bracelet. "Use this as the Henge holder."
Once the seals were in place on paper, Itachi took the brush and ink and observed Naruto making the seals in a flash: Tiger, Lion, Sun, Rebirth. A flash of white light erupted from the room. The black bracelet had turned white; it shuddered and then went back to black.
Naruto sighed and slipped it on and at the same time he redid the hand signs, causing his entire body to transform. He became a lot shorter, but his hair remained and his bright eyes were the same. Though he was tiny and this brought a very small smirk to the Uchiha's face.
Naruto glared up at him. "This is so degrading," he said and rolled his eyes when he realized how young he sounded. No puberty yet obviously.
"You remembered your voice."
"Yes, it would be a little fucked up if a twelve-year-old sounded like an eighteen-year-old," he said sighing and then glancing over his shoulder at the mirror. Naruto had added the clothing into the seal which would have been almost impossible had it not been for Naruto's Shadow Clones having researched Henge Sealing for exhaustible hours on end. When Naruto had stated he was a Seal Master, he wasn't being the least bit arrogant.
Itachi eyed him appreciatively before handing him his belt. "I must leave now, Naruto-kun," he then said taking his cloak.
"Are you coming back?" Naruto asked suddenly.
Itachi paused and tilted his head. "Soon. Check your music box later," he said and with a pop his body turned into a hundred cawing crows before darting out the open window.
Naruto was left alone to the tender mercy of being a twelve-year-old.
He eyed himself critically; well at least he didn't look like a dead last and he didn't have to act it. If anyone asked, he would chalk it up as the world's largest prank, done by the famous Uzumaki Naruto! His hair and some of the maturity may have remained, because of Naruto skipping purposely over those bits, but he could pass off as twelve considering his voice and height.
It would do. Naruto eyed the frog music box that sat innocently on his dresser. He walked over to it and flipped it open and gasped when he saw multiple cash rolls with rubber bands snaked tightly around them.
"That idiot," Naruto growled and closed the music box. Why did all Uchihas try to support him or use their money like this? Even Sasuke did it! He rolled his eyes and walked out of the house. He had Team Seven to deal with and it caused him to groan.
How would this day turn out? He didn't know exactly, but he did know one thing: he was not going to be the one tied to the pole this time and he was not going to be the one that Kakashi despised most.
He frowned deeply as he thought about how Kakashi had treated him for a long time. It was painful and he dreaded going through that again. It was bad enough to make him cry. No one could ever understand what it had been like to be the twelve-year-old Naruto trapped in a town who hated him.
Hopefully this time Naruto could make a decent impression.
The Japanese maples swayed in the morning breeze and the sun was like a thousand diamonds sparkling along the pavement. The gates to the seventh training area grounds came into view; Sasuke was already leaning against the metal fencing, his face just as blank and well-adjusted as Itachi's. The only difference was maturity and the fact that Sasuke had a more broody nature while Itachi's was a well-crafted art of no emotion at all.
When he looked up, he had a scowl prepared, but it was suddenly lost when he saw Naruto slowly heading his way.
Oh, priceless! Naruto thought, wanting to grin widely. Instead, he kept a sly smirk toned down and his blue eyes twinkled as he approached. "Morning Sasuke, fan girl show up yet?" he asked not missing a beat as Sasuke's left eye twitched.
"No," Sasuke answered raking his eyes over Naruto's frame. He pursed his lips together and it was obvious that he was having a hell of a lot of trouble trying to hold down the curiosity. When Naruto didn't offer anything of his own free will, the curiosity rose even greater.
Naruto stood at Sasuke's side imitating the youngest Uchiha, but instead of staring straight ahead like he was angry with the world, he gazed up at the blue sky and white clouds.
"I see a duck!" he announced as Sasuke followed his gaze and sneered.
"Figured you would."
Naruto merely smiled. "A ducky!"
Sasuke frowned at the offending sky and then after a minute said, "A Kunai."
"Ooh, could be a double-bladed one."
Sasuke stiffened when bright pink flashed before both of their vision and Sakura practically bowled Sasuke over as she tried to reach for him. Deftly, he stepped aside and Naruto had only just moved to keep her from falling on him.
She paused however when she saw Naruto and her green eyes narrowed. "What did you do, idiot?" she asked with a sneer as she flicked her long hair.
Naruto blinked once at her before breaking out into a bright grin. "Good morning, Sakura-san. How are you this morning? I hope you're doing well, I think our sensei is going to be late, like yesterday. What do you think?"
Her eyes went from narrowed to surprised, and then she began to goggle. "Huh?"
Sasuke snorted discreetly. "Idiot."
"Yes, Sasuke-kun, he is!" Sakura said turning her eyes on him and batting her lashes.
"I meant you," Sasuke said causing her well-groomed face to fall.
Naruto snickered behind his hand, plopped down on the ground, and went back to cloud watching.
Sasuke was now standing off to the side a little away from both Sakura and him. The pink-haired girl looked saddened and every topic she brought up to Sasuke was silenced with a lethal stare.
Ah, the good old days, Naruto thought dryly.
"A kitten!" he said suddenly causing Sakura to look at him and then up at the sky. "With a ribbon around its neck."
Sakura flashed Sasuke a tentative look and saw that he too was staring at the skies. "You sure it's a kitten?"
"It's what I see," Naruto said idly.
"What if it's a dog?"
"It's got pointed ears and a tail."
"Could be a fox," Sakura rebuked logically.
Naruto smiled at that and he wanted to chuckle. "Yes, it could be you're right."
She smirked smugly and Naruto realized it was the first half decent conversation he'd had with her. It was a good start, he thought. Naruto wondered how long it would last.
"So, uh, Naruto, what did you do to yourself?" Sakura asked, sounding a little bit nicer.
Naruto's smile became so wide it was mischievous and instead of making him look like he was mentally challenged, it made his entire face glow like an angel. At least this was what Sasuke thought.
"Well—" He was about to answer and almost laughed when Kakashi chose that particular moment to pop in.
"You're late!" Sakura shrieked turning her glare fully on him.
"Yeah, about that, I—"
"Got lost on the road of life," Naruto said causing Kakashi to turn and his one gray eye to widen when he saw his weakest student sitting on the ground with a calm, cool, and even cooler expression on his face. He had one knee propped up with his wrist dangling off it.
No orange… he was in black and gray and he looked much too startling for a twelve-year-old. His face even looked a little different than it had yesterday, which completely set Kakashi on his guard.
"Isn't that right, Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto asked cheerfully.
Kakashi's usual emotionless self had transformed into shock and the only thought that crossed his mind was, 'Minato-sensei in angelic form?'
"Yes, Naruto-kun," Kakashi said turning his gaze away from the cheerful stranger that he definitely had not meet yesterday. He could see the confusion on both Sakura and even the thoughtfully hidden expression on Sasuke's face. "Well, shall we get started?"
"You bet!" Naruto said bouncing up and dusting his pants off elegantly. He skipped toward the grounds and was followed much slower by the rest of his team.
It certainly felt good to get the one up, Naruto thought childishly. Perhaps he would enjoy this more than he thought? Naruto bounced up onto the wooden pole that he had once been tied to; he balanced himself before coming down to sit, his legs swinging around him.
"Slowpokes," Naruto called out playfully.
Sakura scowled at him. "It's much too early to have that much energy!"
"Welcome to the seventh area training grounds; today we are going to do a Survival test—"
Naruto tuned the explanations out as he observed each of his teammates before homing in on Kakashi. Naruto could feel the man's shock when he saw him. He knew he looked like Minato and he wondered if Kakashi saw that considering Naruto's father had been his former Jounin-sensei.
"…these bells." The familiar tinkle of them drew Naruto out of his thoughts and he smiled gently at the two white abominations.
"That's it?" Sasuke asked in a sneer.
"Yep, that's all you've gotta do," Kakashi said tying them to his belt. "You capture them, you pass. Oh and the one who doesn't get one doesn't get to eat lunch."
Naruto tried not to roll his eyes at the dramatic words. Sakura whimpered, hand on her stomach. Sasuke didn't even flinch at Kakashi's words and Naruto decided to get their attention. "Say start already!"
Kakashi turned his one eye onto Naruto and it remained there for several seconds. Naruto didn't take his gaze away. "Start."
Pink, black, and yellow blurs were all Kakashi saw. "Good, they hid themselves," he whispered having expected Naruto to remain behind.
Naruto followed Sasuke and when the Uchiha had snuggled under the bushes, Naruto pounced on his back straddling Sasuke; his hand slapped over the boy's mouth to muffle his startled cry. He leaned in and whispered into his ear, "This is a loyalty test. It's not about the bells; it's about whether we can work together as a team."
Sasuke swallowed and Naruto took his hand away and rolled to the side, lying next to him on his back. Black eyes peered into blue.
"Who the hell are you, and what have you done with Naruto?" Sasuke asked sharply.
Naruto grinned. "Let's worry about that later and worry about our Jounin-sensei and those fuckin' bells, shall we?"
Sasuke couldn't help but stare at Naruto in shock. "Yeah, let's do this."
It was an hour later and Sakura was tied to the pole, but Naruto used his Kunai to slice her down the second she was pinned.
"What are you doing, Naruto-kun?" Kakashi demanded sharply.
Naruto didn't even flinch at Kakashi's false tone. Sasuke tugged the rope away from the girl's shoulders. She sniffed as the tears left her eyes. "She's our teammate. If you want to tie her up, you have to tie the both of us up too." He held out his hand and she didn't even hesitate. She latched onto Naruto and he helped her up.
"Thank you Naruto," Sakura said before turning to Sasuke, "Sasuke-kun."
"What say you, Kakashi-sensei? Pass or fail?" Naruto asked cocking his head to the side.
"You pass. Naruto-kun, you seem to understand this test."
"Of course," Naruto said, "it's not about the bells, and it's not about any fancy Jutsu that any of us can perform. It's about loyalty and teamwork. If we don't have that the whole team dies, right Kakashi-sensei?"
"That's right," Kakashi said. "You may leave now. Be here tomorrow at eight."
Sakura whooped. "We passed!" she squealed jumping up and down.
Sasuke gave the typical, 'Hn,' while Naruto chuckled softly.
"But I have to know, Naruto…" Kakashi stepped up to him.
Naruto grinned and released Sakura. "Uzumaki Naruto, the world's greatest prankster. The dead last, orange-wearing, ramen-loving idiot who screams about Hokage this and Hokage that," he summed up taking a step away from his teammates. "My, my, how could a vessel like me be seen as anything but a dead last?" he asked smile disappearing. It was replaced by a glacial expression.
Sakura and Sasuke frowned identically, because they didn't understand. However, Kakashi froze and from the wide circle indent in his mask, Naruto could bet that his mouth was open slightly.
Naruto didn't give anyone a chance to reply as he disappeared.