Yamada Ichiro sighed as he trudged down the street. Not being one of the Big Five, Tanigakure tended to either get the shit jobs or jobs from the sort who couldn't afford to pay Konoha's prices. Because they weren't part of the Big Five, ninja from Tanigakure were generally considered bottom of the barrel, when the truth was, they had to be just as good as or better than ninja from the main five villages in order to compete. Despite the fact that he was a fully-fledged Jounin who was just as skilled as the top tier Jounin of the larger villages, the only work Ichiro had managed to get was in this little shit town in the middle of nowhere.
Up until a few years ago, the closing of the mill had resulted in gangs of unemployed youth wandering the town getting up to all sorts of mischief. The town had come up with a novel solution to this problem called "Compulsory Public Education", and Ichiro had been hired on as a "Truancy Officer", which basically meant that he had to spend his days wandering the village gathering up loose children and herding them to the schoolhouse where they were bored out of their tiny skulls for eight hours of the day, and sent home with work that was ment to keep the little bratlings occupied until they were supposed to sleep at night.
As he was passing a cafe he was considering stopping at for lunch, Ichiro spotted a small boy with long, unruly, spiky hair sitting at a table as bold as brass. Considering the length of the boy's hair, and the fact that he wasn't wearing a school uniform, it was obvious that he was from out of town.
"Hello young man, where are your parents?" Ichiro asked the boy, wondering why the idiots had left the boy unattended despite the sign posted on the road coming into town.
"Dead." the boy grumbled.
Ichiro sighed. While he wouldn't be the one stuck filling out all of the paperwork, he would be the one stuck dragging the screaming kid in to be enrolled at the school, which involved a lengthy process that included an intake exam, several vaccinations, and the boy being photographed and marked for later identification. He almost didn't know which was worse.
"Sorry about this..." he said as he grabbed the boy's arm.
Madara, who had been hired by the local children, smiled. Phase one of his plan was complete.
The sound of a thousand birds filled the air as desperation gripped him. He leapt on the enemy, his fist glowing white. Then, she was there. He could feel the blood on his hands and smell the burning of flesh as she opened her mouth ans said "Hatake-san, where do you keep the Wasabi?" in a voice that sounded just like Obito's.
"I don't." Kakashi said as he came fully awake and saw Obito digging through the miniature fridge in the apartment's minuscule kitchen. "Why do you want it?"
"That man who said he used to be our sensei is dropping by for lunch today, and I thought I'd make something nice." Obito said. He was wearing a different mask from the one he'd arrived in the village in. That had been because of the interesting incident that had happened the first time Minato had spotted Obito. Minato was still repairing the wide swathe of destruction that had resulted from his and Obito's little chase through the village since he hadn't had the money to pay for it all.
"You don't need to fix anything. Minato-sensei doesn't eat." Kakashi said.
"Why not?" asked Obito, who had been hanging around the apartment draining Kakashi's already dwindling resources since nobody wanted to hire a highly clumsy and potentially dangerous amnesiac who was convinced he belonged to an evil organization and therefore must be evil. If it wasn't for Obito's constant headaches, a great deal more damage and destruction would've been done to the village. He'd already received angry visits from several elderly ladies who had thought that he had put "Dear sweet Obito" up to his misbehaviour, and from the Genin team that had been forced to retrieve all of the black cats from that tree on Life Street.
"Minato-sensei's dead." he said, not wanting to go into things, and all of the bad memories it brought up.
"Why's he running around the village then?" Obito - who still insisted on being called Tobi - asked.
"That's a very long story." Kakashi sighed, not wanting to launch into the story again since it seemed that Obito had forgotten yet again.
Zetsu sighed as he wandered through the woods leading to Konoha. His plans had looked like they would finally come to fruition during this generation, but everything had gone to hell in a handbasket and he didn't even have Obito around to amuse him. He'd planned on killing off Madara in an accident that couldn't be tied to him and giving Obito "all of his memories" back about six months from now, but that was not going to be happening anytime soon. First of all, Madara was nowhere to be found no matter how hard he looked, and second of all, Obito had been seen by far too many people, making him useless.
Since it seemed like the Akatsuki was Hemorrhaging members, he wondered if maybe it wouldn't be more prudent to pull back and wait a few more generations. There were a couple of living Uchiha who could rebuild their clan and pass on the genes for their special eyes after-all, and the Rinnegan occasionally cropped up in the Uzumaki clan which wasn't completely dead naturally, though it was exceedingly rare. About once in thirty generations rare.
He had waited thousands of years to get to this point, but if he absolutely had to, he could wait thousands more. It was just the fact that he had been thisclose to succeeding that frustrated him the most though. His mother would be back one day however. It was just a matter of time. Time during which he could create another Madara clone with the blood he'd gathered when Madara had been defeated by Senju Hashirama. A Madara clone that wouldn't bring an idiot like Obito in because it had a death-wish like the last one which Obito had accidentally ripped up by its roots had.
It was night. It had been a long day. Not the worst he'd experienced by far, but long. Practically the instant his head hit the pillow of the cot he'd been given, his world went black.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself standing by a river. The river. As the water flowed by making watery noises, he felt an uncontrollable urge to pee. Running to a nearby tree, he tried to relieve himself only to have his bladder stop up on him and refuse to release a drop. Eventually, after struggling and struggling, his bladder finally started to empty itself. As he started getting a good stream going, he heard the sound of a rock skipping across the river. A rock that jumped off of the water and whacked him in the head.
"Oi! Wake up!" that damnable Senju yelled.
His eyes snapped open to see several giggling children surrounding his bed. His Left hand rested in a dish of warm water, and the scent of urine that was wafting up from the wet patch beneath him tickled his nose.
"Are you sure he's a ninja?" one of the kids said.
That was it. Those kid's were so dead! When he burned this school down, he'd be locking these brats inside and burning them with it.
"Right here Naruto!" Iruka said as he helped Naruto hold the stamp. Naruto had woken up an hour earlier, and had had far too much energy to get back to sleep anytime soon. Being Hokage, Iruka had tons of paperwork to do, but Kisame had needed some sleep, having not gotten any over the last several days. It had been up to Iruka to find a way to get his paperwork done and keep Naruto occupied at the same time though.
It had been down to either handing Naruto off to his literal predecessor or getting Naruto to "help" him do his paperwork, and hope he didn't destroy too much of it or see anything that might be disturbing to him lurking amongst it. Since he wasn't going to hand Naruto off tho that irresponsible idiot Minato even if the world were ending, it was no choice really.
It was strange. Only the Hokage was supposed to be able to use the Hokage's stamp, and there were several seals that were supposed to keep others from even touching it. Naruto had been able to pick it up without any problem though.
Come to think of it, Naruto had been able to open the Forbidden Scroll which he'd been informed was also keyed only to the Hokage as well...
The answer, it would seem, was obvious. Hiruzen-sama who had planned on having Naruto succeed him before the Fountain of Youth incident had recklessly put Naruto in danger by keying him into both objects several years early.
The Sandaime was going to pay.
After he finished stamping papers with little Naruto who was clearly enjoying the task that was. He hadn't had nearly as much time to spend with the boy since he'd been made Hokage, and every moment he did have with him was all the more precious because of it.
"Alley oop!" Tobi said as he slung another cat into the tree. The hand on his intact side was scratched up by the cats that had tried to escape him, but he persisted, determined to get things right this time. He was supposed to be evil, that meant doing evil things. Evil things like putting cats into trees. He wasn't supposed to be helping old ladies with their groceries no matter how much they and the little voice in the back of his head which came with the memory of the taste of candy told him otherwise.
"Was that Tora?" one of the men in animal masks who he occasionally saw wandering around the village asked the other who was traveling with him.
"I didn't see anything and, if you know what's good for you, you didn't either." the other man in an animal mask said.