A/N: They Were Legends

Synopsis: Team 7 seemed to be doomed from the start, but a strongly determined, more mature Naruto and Sakura are going to make sure that history does not repeat itself. As Akatsuki and Sasuke make their move, will Team 7 ever become the legends they should be?

To clarify, things you can expect to see in this FF are: A more mature, stronger Naruto; a more mature, stronger Sakura; more powerful villains; big deviations from canon; Team 7 kicking ass once again. Some of that stuff, especially the deviations from canon, while not immediately apparent, will be very prominent after the first few chapters. But trust me, things will get more intense and suspenseful as you continue reading, and chapter lengths will gradually increase as well.

"-if something only lasts for a second, how can you possibly call it art?"

They had had this argument before. More times than either of them could count. And despite the fact that both of them knew that neither could be persuaded, they continued the debate anyway.

"Because that fleeting existence is so beautiful, there is no other way to describe it!" replied a young, brash, blond, and explosively dangerous missing-nin.

Sasori couldn't help but give his characteristic grumble. 'Oh for the love of-'

A wispy holographic figure appeared right in front of the two, giving no pretense as it delivered the order. "Sasori, Deidara, it is time. You are to head to Sunagakure and capture the Ichibi Jinchuuriki as soon as possible. We will expect you at th epredetermined hideout within two days."

And just as abruptly as he appeared, the mysterious figure, known only as Leader, vanished.

'Thank Kami for that…I was about to kill him,' Sasori thought.

"Well, do we walk, or fly?" came the excited retort from the brash partner.

Seeing nothing but an icy glare in return, Deidara threw his hands up in defeat. "Fine, fine! But if Leader-sama rags on our asses, you're taking the blame!"

Donning their trademark straw-hats, two of the most powerful shinobi in the world set out.

A mere mile away from home, two shinobi were discussing their plans for their long-awaited return.

"Neh, Ero-sennin, you think I should give Kaka-sensei the new book as a gift, or make him work for it?"

"I'm surprised you asked, Naruto; after all, masterpieces are valuable items. Especially before they're even in stores." Jiraiya waited for a witty, cheerful reply, yet none came. Looking down at the boy who was not that much shorter than himself, the boy's expression said volumes more than any words could have. Two and a half years ago, such a thoughtful expression would have seemed completely out of place on the blond-haired, orange jumpsuit-wearing loudmouth. But that was the distant past, it seemed. Now the little squirt had grown to be pretty tall for his age, with a much more mature look to boot.

"You shouldn't worry so much, Naruto." 'Time for one of those stupid analogies.' "Just like your jumpsuit, some things always stay the same no matter how much other things change."

Naruto's only reply was a slightly more relaxed expression and a small smirk that told Jiraiya all he needed to know.



"First round at Ichiraku's is on you."

'Today's the day.'

After leaving a note on Tsunade-shishou's desk, Sakura walked towards the eastern gates as she pondered what Naruto would be like after all these years. Would he still be the obnoxiously loud, little runt that she had come to view as the brother she never had? Would he prank her right off the bat? Would he be as perverted as his sensei? Shudder.

"We're done for the day, Sasuke-kun."


As the door creaked shut, the "Last Uchiha" resumed his earlier thought process. He was going after Itachi sooner or later, and Orochimaru was nearing the time when he would have to transfer bodies. He had no intention of becoming a shell for such a disgusting creature of a man, regardless of his masquerade.

He needed to find Itachi. But the nagging feeling that, despite how far he had come, he was still not at his bastard-of-a-brother's level yet persisted in his mind. The Snake Sannin clearly had little, if anything, left to teach him now that the transfer ritual was less than a month away. 'Where can I get the power that I need? I know of no missing-nin that will train me that aren't part of the same organization that he belongs to. Unless…no, I'm not going back. Besides, they wouldn't let me go after Itachi. Nor would anyone there be able to make me stronger. I doubt anyone besides the Hokage could match me anyway.

However…there is someone who has something of value. Right now, more jutsu to copy sounds quite ideal. It seems fitting that a wielder of the Sharingan is the only one who has the potential to give me the power I need to take out the third and final bearer of the Sharingan. A team might be essential to have an uninterrupted fight. And if they hinder me in any way, none of them will be able to stop me from leaving this time.'

As the student and the master parted ways, both had a single thought on their minds.