Kakashi wondered at the strange feeling of deja vu he had gotten when Naruto threw a fit after they had finished capturing that mangy cat Tora who would be some other team's problem as soon as its owner's back was turned. Naruto rarely behaved like that this time around since he was actually getting positive attention and therefore didn't need to behave like a brat just to get people to interact with him, and he couldn't see why he was doing so now. He'd never really complained about the D ranks that the team had been placed on this time around, and seemed happy to be doing them as long as they didn't involve hunting felines that were on the lam.
When he pulled out of his musings on Naruto's odd behavior it was to find that Iruka was giving Naruto a rather familiar lecture on how missions were handed out and why he wasn't going to get anything better than a D rank for a while, somehow managing to glare at him as if he thought that he was the one to blame for Naruto's regression throughout the entire lecture. The lecture ended when the Hokage cut Iruka off by saying the team could have a C ranked mission.
He tried to push down the rising sense of dread that seemed to have come out of nowhere at the Hokage's declaration. A nice C-Ranked mission would give Naruto a chance to stretch his legs and test his skills a bit while exploring a new environment. There was no reason to think they would get the same C rank twice, even if the thrice-damned mission to Wave had begun sometime around this time of this particular month the last time.
Ruffling Naruto's hair fondly, he accepted the C rank. He stopped smiling behind his mask and his hand slid numbly to his side when the door slid open revealing the absolute last person he had wanted to see. The second that drunken old bastard Tazuna showed up, he knew he should have stayed in bed today, or at the very least locked Naruto in his apartment where he'd be safe.
"Oh shit." he said knowing that there was no way he and, more importantly, Naruto could get out of this now..
Unless he wanted to get into serious trouble, he could not reject a mission once accepted without giving a reasonable explanation. Telling the Hokage that the man was lying about the mission's ranking, and that he knew so because he had traveled through time would most likely result in a psych evaluation that would postpone the mission to Wave indefinitely since Time Travel was something that happened in crappy novels not real life but, it would also result in him getting his team taken away from him as well. Who knew what damage a new Jonin instructor would do to Naruto's progress, or how many more people besides Naruto would be killed by Sasuke when he decided to leave Konoha (probably much earlier this time around because his instructor didn't have a "neat" assassination technique to teach him or the knowledge of how to hold back the curse seal for the short time he had managed to do so when the kid had gotten it the last time around)?
He tried to console himself with the knowledge that Naruto had survived this mission the last time around even though there had more close calls than he could count along the way. Actually, come to think of it, it had been the traitor Uchiha who had been the closest to being killed. Even with that warm thought though, he ended up failing as a hundred doubts assailed him.
Who knew what could go differently this time, especially since a little knowledge could be a dangerous thing, and if you changed one thing, you could end up changing everything. Would he act based on his memories of a fight that was somewhat fuzzy in his recollection now that he looked back on it and change the outcome entirely causing things to spiral out of control? Would his teaching his students something different because he'd already taught them the tree climbing exercise cause events to spiral off on a tangent that he couldn't predict? Would his students do something different because he'd treated and trained them differently causing everything to go differently? Even if he did everything the same, there was no guarantee everything would turn out the same, and that worried him.
He had to keep his team to keep Naruto safe in the future though. Right now, keeping his team meant keeping his silence for now and taking this mission despite the number of ways it could go FUBAR while praying nothing went wrong this time the entire time they were gone, and turning back as soon as they faced the first of the enemy ninja despite whatever heart wrenching pleas the client - or former client rather - made.
Naruto smiled as he prepared for the mission to Wave. He would be able to tell Sasuke the truth about the Uchiha massacre after they arrived at the small island country. When he did, Sasuke wouldn't feel guilty for killing his brother this time around, because he either wouldn't kill his brother or would do so knowing that his brother wanted to die that way rather than slowly and painfully succumbing to an illness while he just as slowly went blind. If Sasuke didn't kill his brother, he wouldn't feel as angry at Konoha, and therefore probably wouldn't desire to destroy the place despite the fact that his brother had sacrificed everything to keep it standing. He would of course have to risk telling Sasuke about his time traveling to explain how he knew everything but, he was certain Sasuke could keep a secret better than most people as long as nobody got him drunk.
"So, you're going on your first C rank?" Jiraiya said, poking his head into his room and smiling rather fondly as if he were recalling a pleasant memory from his youth.
The slight wince that marred the Sannin's smile for a second was him undoubtedly reaching the point in the memory where Tsunade had most likely beaten the crap out of him. Either that, or the point at which Orochimaru had shown him up somehow. Jiraiya hadn't been able to catch a break with those two but, back before Tsunade broke and Orochimaru became a total headcase after the Second War, they had been an extremely close-knit team who'd loved each-other the way only family who had chosen each-other could.
"Yes Ero-Senin." he said as he continued packing extra weapons into a storage scroll.
This C rank was going to be turning into an A rank pretty quickly and, he was going to be prepared this time. Hopefully, he would still be able to do some of the S rank jutsus he'd learned before he went time traveling. His Chakra control wasn't nearly as good as it had been back then but, he still remembered how to do all of the Jutsu he'd learned over the years since he was last this age.
"Come back safe." Jiraiya said smiling, as he ruffled his hair before he turned to go back to writing his perverted book.
Jiraiya usually did that for about half the day before he went out to train. After training, he would go to a previously agreed upon bar to speak with one or more of his informants in order to gather intelligence on Orochimaru's movements. After staying at the bar gathering vital information for a while, he would usually either return or be dragged home in time for an exceedingly late dinner.
All too soon, he'd finished packing to the sound of Jiraiya's perverted giggles. After he was reasonably certain that he had everything he needed and then some, he headed out to the gate where he was to meet the rest of his team and the old bridge-builder Tazuna. Rather unexpectedly, Yamato-taicho was waiting for him at the gate, and there was a rather familiar looking item in his hand.
How in the hell did he get Old Lady Tsunade's necklace, and for that matter, why?
Tenzo, who'd gotten a rather late start that morning after he'd fallen down a flight of stairs and hobbled to the hospital on a twisted ankle, had to practically kneel to put the First Hokage's necklace on Naruto because the boy was so short. Until now, he hadn't really realized it but, the kid had really shot up in the three years between now and when he first officially met him, as chasing him after some stupid prank because the police had been disbanded after the Massacre didn't really count, since he'd never been the one to catch him. As he gave the boy the necklace that was rightfully his, he ignored the odd stare he was getting from Kakashi-sempai and the curious whispers that were coming from Naruto's teammates.
"Now don't take this off, it's very special." he said when the boy started critically examining the necklace the instant he put it on him, most likely having serious doubts about whether or not he wanted to keep such a "girly gift".
He did his best not to be offended by this action though, Naruto had only started to learn proper manners rather late in life, and only then because the Fifth Hokage had practically beaten them into him.
"I'll tell you more abou..." he continued, before he was blindsided by an angry Umino Iruka.
"Stay away from Naruto!" the man yelled before he socked him a second time.
"Alright, fine, I'm leaving." he said, wanting to avoid a fight because he'd be unable to prevent Naruto from releasing the fox's power if he was put in the hospital by an overprotective Iruka.
That man could pack a punch when he wanted to. He'd learned that the hard way when Naruto had off-handedly mentioned to the Academy Instructor that he had threatened to stick him in a cage during that rather disastrous mission where they had tried and failed to capture Sasori's spy Kabuto who'd turned out to be a double-agent in Orochmaru's camp. After Naruto had said that, Iruka hadn't waited to hear the rest of the story which had involved him taking the team to an inn instead and had attacked him, giving him a black eye and a split lip before he could be subdued despite the fact that he outranked and was theoretically stronger and faster than the Umino.
As he left the area, he saw Iruka glaring at Kakashi-sempai who ignored the man in favor of glaring at him, as if he'd done something wrong. He would find out why after he doubled back and followed Team Kaka...er, Team 7 later. Kakashi-sempai could be pretty vicious at times, especially if you upset him for some unfathomable reason and he wanted to get off of that man's bad side as quickly as possible as well.
Tsunade watched as the young man who had tricked her into betting her necklace in a card game gave it to a boy who looked a little like a light blond Nawaki. She had been tempted to run over to the child and snatch the necklace away before he could be killed but hadn't. Instead, she had watched as the boy vanished into the distance with his team on their way to who knows where. She had briefly thought of following after them, of warning the child about what he possessed but, she didn't, she couldn't. She couldn't run the risk of seeing the boy die in front of her the way Dan had. Despite the fact that the child was only a few minutes away from the village, there were still numerous ways he could die.
Shizune placed her hand on her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her. She knew something of what she was going through, as Dan had been her uncle. She also knew that she hated being back in Konoha, and didn't know what had possessed her to return. She herself honestly didn't know why she had continued following the man after where he was heading became obvious. As she stood there basking in the comfort her student provided, she wondered what she would have done without Shizune.
Deciding to visit her former sensei before she went and got wasted so she could forget the face of the soon to be dead child who was making his way down the road from Konoha, she turned and made her way to the Hokage tower.
"The blonde boy that looks like Nawaki?" the Hokage asked, wondering what Tsunade wanted with the child in question.
He'd been both stunned and elated when Tsunade had shown up completely unannounced. The first question she asked once the pleasantries and small talk were over confused him briefly, as there were many young children in the village that may or may not have resembled Nawaki depending what characteristics one was looking for and several of them were blond.
"The one with the orange top with the Uzumaki clan symbol on it." Tsunade replied, clarifying who she had been indicating.
"Oh, you mean Naruto." he said wondering how she had run into the village prankster who'd apparently made some sort of an impression. "What about him?"
Moments after he answered her question, something seemed to click in Tsunade's mind. A brief look of horror crossed her face before it vanished. He would have to ask her about that later.
"What can you tell me about him?" Tsunade asked, trying to hide some sort of painful emotion.
"Besides what you already know? He's a lot like his mother was in personality and takes after her a bit in looks, despite having his father's coloring. He's hyperactive, likes pranks and ramen like his mother did, and is constantly telling everyone whether or not they want to hear it that he's going to be Hokage some day. I have a feeling that he might do it too. That boy never gives up when he sets his mind to something, which is both a good and a bad trait." he replied, wondering if that's what she wanted to hear.
Tsunade looked sick. Before he could ask her what was wrong, she started sobbing.
"Damn him. Damn him. Damn him. DAMN HIM!"Tsunade screamed.
"What is it Tsunade? What's wrong?" he asked.
"Some bastard tricked me into betting my necklace in a card game recently. He just gave it to Naruto less than two hours ago." Tsunade replied, looking both guilty and shaken at the same time.
He didn't know what to say to that. He knew that several people including Tsunade believed the necklace to be cursed. The last two people that Tsunade had given the necklace to had died soon after receiving it. Both had been close to Tsunade in some way, and both had wanted to be Hokage. If someone thought they could kill Naruto by giving him a "cursed" object, they had another think coming.
"Can you describe this man?" he asked as he prepared an order for an ANBU team to go out and detain this individual.