Making Waves

- A Naruto Fanfic -

Chapter I: Time for a Change

Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto sat back in his chair and slowly rocked back and forth from his place on the front porch of his home. He languidly watched as citizens of Konoha walked though the crowded streets. Occasionally one of them would wave to him or nod their head—usually one of the older citizens. Few recognized his withered features as those gracing the Hokage monument.

Naruto was old, retired, and content with his life. Shortly after his 19th birthday he had been named the Rokudaime Hokage, and he had served his village faithfully as its leader for over seventy years, handily beating Sarutobi's record, much to his amusement. Today was his One hundred forty sixth birthday. He had been retired for just over fifty-six years, having grown tired of being a ninja after unifying all of the ninja villages under Konoha and converting thousands of trained assassins into elite combat troops. It had taken a lot of work.

The old man smiled as he thought back to the days when he had been just a dumb kid, before he had truly understood just how the world worked. He reminisced fondly over memories of his Team 7, and while thinking about their first mission, an escort to the Land of Waves, he drifted off into sleep, and then beyond.

Later that day the body of Namikaze Naruto was found by a child who had come around for some sweets—Naruto had always been fond of children—and later that week a massive funeral service was held. Thousands arrived to bid farewell and pay tribute to the greatest hero that the Elemental Nations had ever known. The man who had brought true peace to the world.

&-&-&-&

Naruto awoke, the sun shining on his face. Slowly, carefully, he began to move around. He frowned as he rubbed the sleep out of his still-closed eyes. Something was off. His movements were coming easier than they had in decades, and the small aches and pains that come with old age—even if you had a demon fox to heal you—were absent. He threw open his eyes, and sat up quickly.

He stared down at his hands. Unwrinkled, unblemished, liver-spot free hands. Smooth hands. Hands that had never seen a day's work in their entire existence. Not understanding what was happening, Naruto began to replay the last several memories that he had. He remembered sitting in his rocking chair, thinking about old times, and now he was her. Silently, he disrupted his chakra flow. That accomplished nothing, so he used the dispel technique several times in quick succession. No noticing any changes, he silently sent a message to the demon fox in his belly, asking it to cancel the genjutsu he was obviously under. Not getting a reply, he frowned.

Ever since their truce over one hundred years ago, the fox had always responded to his requests, as that was part of their deal. Even genjutsu could not stop his connection with the fox; the nine-tailed bijuu was literally intertwined with his soul.

Frowning, because nothing was right, Naruto quickly projected himself into his mindscape. He raced down the corridors of the castle that the sewer his mind had once been had changed into long ago, finally reaching the seal room.

It was completely empty. No cage, no seal… No Kyuubi. Naruto stared at the ground, dumbstruck. He had never conceived of not having the beast sealed within him. It was as much a part of him as his blonde hair, or his love of ramen. Sighing in weariness, he left his mindscape.

Back in reality, Naruto stood up. He looked around him, surveying his surroundings. That was really the first thing he should have done, but his ninja skills had deteriorated over the years. He hadn't taken a mission in over half a century, after all, even if he did still practice his ninjutsu. He quickly assessed the strange body he found himself in, and quickly realized that it was his own body after all… The body that he had possessed when he was sixteen years old or so. He could feel his muscles pulsing with energy, his chakra raring to go… and he decided then and there that no matter where he was or what was happening, he was going to try his best to enjoy it. Perhaps, he thought, this might even be the afterlife. If it was he had many, many friends to find and say 'hello' to.

&-&-&-&

Three days had passed since Naruto had awoken in a strange forest in his younger body. He had used that time to search for other people, and signs of where he was. He had come upon a small fishing village on the first day, the smell of saltwater and fresh fish leading him there. The first person he spoke to, a young woman who couldn't quit blushing when she looked at him, had told him that he was in the Land of Waves. She had believed his story of being shipwrecked and being washed ashore despite his excellent health and perfect clothing—another mystery—and had even given him some rice. Smiling, Naruto had repaid her by performing an earth jutsu that he had invented in his eight-fifth year that pulled all the precious metals in the ground in a particular area to the surface. The poor peasant woman loaded him down with food and supplies after that, quite shocked and incredibly pleased with the five or six pounds of silver that he had produced from the dirt for her.

Smiling, Naruto had left the tiny village after getting the direction to the capital of the country, Unabara, the city he had rescued from Gatou all those years ago. He planned to take the 'Great Naruto Bridge' and from there head to Fire Country.

Moving at his fastest speed, he arrived in Unabara in less than two hours. The town was buzzing with industry, and throngs of people moved happily through the marketplace, trading for goods and services. Naruto smiled, he still remembered the first time he had been here, back when the best produce to be had was little more than garbage, and the people had no hope. He turned his gaze to the shore, to admire the symbol that had given a broken people hope once more. The bridge…wasn't there.

Naruto goggled. He wandered to the shore, looking for signs of its destruction. He found none. The earth where the bridge met land wasn't even level, and several trees grew there. It was as if the bridge had never been. He stared out into the waters of the channel between wave and the mainland. Dozens or hundreds of ships, sloops, rowboats, and skiffs sailed back and forth, their hulls brimming with cargo.

Naruto sat down hard. Despite his many years as a ninja, the blond former Hokage had never been the sharpest kunai in the pouch. He was immensely creative, had more determination than a sack full of badgers, and as much courage as a whole pride of lions… But analyzing complex problems from an intellectual standpoint was still his weak point. He decided to do what he always did in such situations; Use brute force.

Hiding in a copse of trees, Naruto created thirty shadow clones and henge'd them into average looking civilians. He sent them out into the population to question them about the bridge, and find out anything else they could. Naruto knew that the bridge had existed up until the last few weeks. After all, the brand of sake that he liked best came from Wave, and he spoke to the merchant who carted it to Konoha on a regular basis. He would have said something if the quarter-mile long, thousand-ton bridge had been destroyed or demolished, Naruto thought.

A few hours later, one of the shadow clones dispelled, giving Naruto his answer. It wasn't an answer he liked, or even something he would have considered without evidence to the contrary, but it seemed to be the only answer.

Naruto had traveled back in time. There was no bridge because Gatou hasn't taken over Wave yet. One of his doppelgangers had stumbled upon a book merchant selling calendars, and noticed that they were all for the wrong year. When asked why the man was selling incredibly outdated calendars, then man had been insulted, and replied that they were for the correct year. It had taken several minutes for the clone to accept it, but with the urging of several passerbies' he had finally been convinced. It was the Year of the Dog in the Kouji era, or 3866 by the old calendar. There were ten years before he would even be born.

Naruto had traveled one hundred fifty-six years into the past. If he remembered history correctly, this time period was somewhere between the second and third shinobi wars. His jounin instructor, Kakashi, would only be three years old! Naruto stifled a hysterical giggle. He dispelled the rest of his kage bunshins and sat down to think. He absently munched some of the food he had been given while deep in thought.

Hours later, he had finally decided what to do. Presumably things were happening the same here as they had the first time this history had happened, and if left alone they would eventually lead to things turning out as they did in his memory. If he altered events in any way then history might change… For better or worse. If he were to have any direct interaction with Konoha, say to help them fight their enemies or even bump into someone from there, he could end up changing everything. He had one horrible moment where he thought that things already may have been irreparably damaged due to the people he had talked to already…

But no, he reminded himself; Wave had not been allied with Konoha at any point until after his team's first C-Rank mission, and there had been almost no trade with Fire Country at all. Most of the trade goods that passed through Wave went east to Water Country, or North to Lightning. True, Wave was closest to Fire Country, but it was originally settled by people from Water and cultural differences kept them from mixing to heavily with the citizens of Fire.

It hadn't been until their economy was already collapsed and their country taken over by a tyrant that someone had even thought to build a bridge to the mainland. True, there was another port city on the other side of the channel, but it was mostly used as a staging area for the smaller ships of Wave to unload their cargo into large barges that would make the trips North and East. The port city of Natto was considered a part of Wave Country in all but name, and Fire Citizens were barely tolerated there.

As isolated as it was, Wave would be the perfect place to hole up until he decided it was safe to interact with the rest of the world. It would be years still before he and his friends were born, and Naruto had no desire to accidently cause the non-existence of anyone he cared about… Of course he couldn't take that to an extreme or he would be a hermit until the end of time.

He decided the next morning, after much consideration, that he would make his appearance after Konohamaru was born. He might cause other after that point not to be born, but truthfully, Naruto didn't know any of them as well as he knew his first friends, who all came before that date. Things might have been different if he had had a genin team as a Jounin, but he was never a Jounin in the first place… He had never gotten around to taking the chuunin exam again and had been made Hokage as a genin.

'Fourteen years,' thought Naruto. It would be fourteen long years before he would pull himself out of this self-imposed exile, fourteen years to while away until he could once more meet his old friends. He knew things would never be the same, but just seeing their faces would be more than enough. Oh, and he was totally going to murder those Akatsuki guys. Madara might be the strongest ninja at this point, barring possibly Sarutobi Hiruzen or Namikaze Minato, but Naruto was stronger than them all. If he still had the fuzzball in his guts, he would have been able to beat all them at once, but he didn't know his full capabilities now that the bijuu was taken out of the equation. He would have to spend part of his exile re-training himself to use only his normal human chakra, and coming up with a few additional trump cards that didn't rely on a super powered entity occupying his body.

Even without the Kyuubi powering his techniques or providing regeneration, he was still confident that he would be more than a match for any other ninja he came across. His reserves were still as large as before, equivalent to over half of what Kyuubi possessed, and he knew everyone's techniques, while no one knew his. He had moved beyond using flashy moves like rasengan and rasenshuriken long ago and could kill from one hundred meters away in less than a second. He actually knew four moves that could do that.

Despite everything, it would be hard to refrain from changing things even a little. There were so many tragedies that he could prevent with his foreknowledge. He could save so many lives that would be lost during the third ninja war, including Uchiha Obito and Inuzuka Rin, Kakashi's ill-fated teammates. He could prevent the Kyuubi from coming to Konoha in the first place, and save hundreds of lives, even those of his parents. He could crush Madara, Pein, and Orochimaru before they even had a chance to start plotting their nefarious misdeeds… But that would change the world so much that it was likely the people he knew and cared about would never exist at all. And Naruto always protected his precious people.

Speaking of precious people, there were a few souls in Wave that he did know…

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Author's Note: Shazzam! A new story. I needed something to break my writer's block, and this is it Kiddos. Yes indeedy, I made a TimeTraveler!Naruto story. I'm hoping to do something unique with it, so watch out! Yow!