Well, here's the first chapter of my first fic. It's a little shaky, so I might eventually rewrite it, but it'll do for now. Anyway, hope you like it.
Naruto sat in the Hokage's office in conference with the Godaime Hokage and Kakashi after finally recovering from his battle with Sasuke. Shizune and Sakura would have been there but with the Fourth Great Shinobi War nearing its height, their skills were needed elsewhere. He had sustained serious injuries in his "final" confrontation with Sasuke including a nasty hole through his liver courtesy of Sasuke's Chidori-covered katana and a pinky that he'd had to lop off when it got caught by shrapnel from a tree that'd been first set on fire by Amaterasu and then blown up by a Chidori...yeah, lame way to lose a finger. After that he'd had some trouble making hand-signs and had to rely on Sage Mode by summoning clone after clone from Myobokuzan. Sasuke then had no choice but to rely on Susano'o and it became a contest to see who could keep it up longer. In the end Sasuke had barely been able to survive Naruto's final Rasenshuriken and they both dropped their ultimate techniques in near exhaustion. Sasuke sought to use the last of his chakra for Kirin and Naruto, realizing that he had very little time, directly attacked Sasuke, hoping to get into range to knock Sasuke out before he got fried. Of course, Madara chose that moment to pop up and rescue his pawn before he could be captured or killed. After Madara escaped with Sasuke, Naruto had the dubious pleasure of learning first-hand that lightning will usually strike the highest thing in any given area. Which, after the surrounding forest had been completely demolished, happened to be Naruto. He did have a bit of luck on that disastrous day though, the lightning bolt chose to enter his right shoulder, thankfully not destroying his brain or coming into direct contact with his heart. Although he received severe burns along the lightning's path through his body and his heart stopped, he received no immediately fatal organ damage.
He was also fortunate that despite orders to the contrary, Sakura had stayed somewhat near the battlefield with Hinata keeping track of the battle's progress. The moment Madara took Sasuke, Sakura was moving and arrived just in time to restart Naruto's heart, keep him from bleeding to death from the wound in his side and even reattach his pinky which had somehow not been incinerated and announced its presence by bleeding through Naruto's pocket; all in all, not bad for a day's work. They took turns carrying him on the way back to Konoha where he remained unconscious for a week while Tsunade herself supervised his treatment. That's how he ended up in the Hokage's office giving a report of his clearly unsuccessful and nearly fatal attempt to beat some sense into Sasuke.
He had realized an important fact after his battle with Sasuke; Madara wouldn't let anything happen to his tool until he had served his purpose. Whether that turned out to be some weird possession jutsu like Orochimaru used or merely a disposable body to synch with Gedo Mazo, absorb the last of the tailed beasts and channel their chakra into Madara's ultimate genjutsu remained to be seen. But one thing was clear, as long as Madara lived it would be nearly impossible to recover or kill Sasuke and as long as Sasuke remained free there was always the chance that Madara's plans might eventually come to fruition. As a result of this observation, Naruto's new goal in life was to kill Madara. A worthy goal, but the question was how? This was the question the three strongest ninja in Konoha found themselves discussing on such a beautiful summer's day.
"The reason no-one can touch the bastard, literally, is because of that damned time-space ninjutsu, right? So all we have to do is disrupt his jutsu and then we'll pound his ass." Naruto suggested abruptly ceasing his pacing.
"Uh, Naruto, that's a little easier said than done. Do you even know how time-space ninjutsu work?" Kakashi said with a raised eyebrow.
"No, but you do, right? Can't you use that dimensional thingy you used on Deidara on Madara too?" Naruto said excitedly.
"His time-space ninjutsu is far more advanced than mine. By the time I could get a lock on him and activate the jutsu he'd be long gone. With time-space ninjutsu it's all about activation speed. If the opponent can escape before the jutsu is activated, then the jutsu becomes a pointless waste of chakra. Even Deidara managed to completely escape Kamui once. It'd be foolish to think that I could catch a master of time-space ninjutsu in it so easily." Kakashi pointed out.
"Well then what about a distraction?" Naruto sat down across from Kakashi looking at him intently.
Kakashi went on as if Naruto hadn't spoken, "Even if I could catch Madara in my jutsu somehow, his would easily overpower mine and he would escape. Besides, he wont let himself fall into a trap easily. He has decades of experience on us and has proven to be extremely cautious in revealing himself."
"So at the first sign of trouble he'll cut and run." Naruto stated grimly.
"Hm, that about sums it up." Kakashi said in a bored tone.
"Then how are we going to kill the fucker?" Naruto leaned forward fiercely, eyes blazing. Kakashi merely looked back at him calmly.
"The only way would be to disrupt him in the performance of his jutsu, or better yet to subvert it in such a way that it backfires on him, but like I said, that's easier said than done."
"Urgh, so now we're back at square one?" Naruto jumped up from his chair and resumed his pacing. "Are you saying there's no way to kill this guy?"
"Enough, you two." Kakashi and Naruto turned to look at the Godaime, who had been sitting quietly for most of the conversation. "Sit down Naruto." Naruto complied, albeit somewhat sullenly. "Kakashi, you're the closest thing to an expert on time-space ninjutsu that we have, do you have any ideas?" She asked interestedly.
"Well, I really only know the basics needed in order to use my jutsu..." Kakashi said somewhat sheepishly, "The Yondaime was the real expert."
"So what are we gonna do?" Naruto groaned.
"Did Minato leave any notes on the subject Kakashi?" Tsunade asked, ignoring Naruto completely.
"Yes, I was planning to take a look at them later and see if I can come up with anything." Kakashi glanced at Naruto, "I think it would do Naruto some good to see them too."
"Ok, you heard him, Naruto. You two are to study the Yondaime's notes and try to find a way around Madara's jutsu." She looked at Naruto, "It'll be good practice. If you really want to be Hokage, you'll have to at least be able to get the jist of ninja research so that you can understand any problems that might arise with it. That's part of the reason why Sarutobi was such a good Hokage. His widespread knowledge allowed him to judge what the best options were in any given situation and act accordingly. You don't need to do the same, but you do need to at least be able to make sense of the knowledge your subordinates provide you with and use it properly. All right, get to work you two. Dismissed."
Naruto started to stomp out with Kakashi in tow grumbling about stupid lectures and only stopped when he heard the Hokage speak again, "And Naruto..." He turned around to look at her. "I know you're not good with this sort of thing, but we don't have a lot of time, so suck it up." Her face softened. "But there should be a few journal entries with your father's research and you're free to look at those as well."
Naruto brightened immediately. "Un!" He then took off out of the window only to pop back in a moment later. "So...which way?" Kakashi shook his head ruefully and they set out, Kakashi in the lead.
"Ano gaki..." Tsunade shook her head while chuckling. "Somehow I pity the ANBU guards he'll have after he takes office...their job will be closer to babysitting than anything else." She glanced at the paperwork and smiled at it for the first time, albeit a bit evilly. "Can't wait to see the brat's face once he finally realizes exactly how boring being Hokage is..." With that she sighed and reluctantly got back to work.-
Naruto shook his head vigorously to clear the cobwebs but only succeeded in getting slightly dizzy and even more confused. He didn't understand any of this, not one bit. He'd been going through his father's notes for a while and the novelty of reading things written by his dad was fading fast in the face of massive incomprehension. There was this stuff about the relevant seals used in various time-space ninjutsu and how each one molded the chakra in such a way as to "align" with the surrounding area, utilize chakra's "natural affinity" (not nature affinity, apparently, how goddamn confusing can a person be) for itself to establish an anchor at a chakra source at some other predetermined point and "pull" oneself along the segment of the "time-space line" that you've "sectioned off", all the while maintaining the correct angle on the "time-space graph" so you don't accidentally end up following one of the various other "lines" in space-time that connect you with your target. Because apparently doing that can land you in some really weird places. And if that crash course wasn't enough to blow a gasket in Naruto's head, there were other things to consider, like the chakra masses present in the vicinity of the "line" that could disrupt the process dangerously if they were close enough to "bend" ones trajectory and the possibility of running into a "pocket" dimensional space or getting pulled into another dimension that happens to have the same chakra target yours has. Naruto couldn't understand how something that he's done his entire life (namely moving through space-time) could be so difficult. Apparently even something as simple as existing for a while and moving around could get you into really treacherous territory if you strayed off the beaten path without a map. So considering the dangers involved, perhaps it's not surprising that his father's study was filled with notes on the relevant mechanisms and methods involved in this arcane area of ninjutsu. That's not including the notes on the complicated process of transcribing the hand-seals needed for the various time-space ninjutsu into flowing and functional seal arrays. Yeah. The place was a dusty mess as well.
Naruto finally gave up leaning over the desk looking through the papers Kakashi was reading and rocked back on his heels. "Kakashi-sensei, what the hell is with this wording? 'align...natural affinity?' Huh? Isn't this shit complicated enough without using such a weird-ass way of describing things? Do you have any idea what he's talking about? You said my dad was a genius, right? So how come nothing he's written makes any sense?"
Kakashi looked up, slightly annoyed, "You're one to talk, Fukasaku-sama mentioned that whole soft-serve/sage chakra analogy of yours."
Naruto looked offended, "Hey, that wasn't me, that was Gamakichi. Although it was a good analogy..." Naruto said thoughtfully.
Kakashi sighed, "Look, I know it's pointless to expect you to understand this, but can't you be quiet so that I can? Your dad's journals are in the top drawer. Take one and occupy yourself."
"No goddamnit, we have more important things to worry about, like figuring out how to kill Madara. Besides, are you saying you actually understand this stuff? Then explain it to me." Naruto said stubbornly.
"It's ok, I'll work out a way to stop Madara. Besides, whatever we do will probably rely on my eye..." Kakashi pondered. "So take the time to learn a bit about Minato."
"But what I need to understand him, what he left me is actually this stuff, right? I already know what kind of person he was, how much he loved my mom and me and Konoha. I wont let Madara ruin all of that. And the answer to stopping him is here somewhere. I'll help you find it." Naruto stated matter-of-factly while calmly looking into Kakashi's uncovered eye.
"Naruto..." Kakashi began warningly.
"Explain it to me, Kakashi-sensei, I'll help. I promise." Naruto said, a determined gleam in his eyes.
Kakashi sighed again, "Alright. First you need to understand about chakra and how it interacts with space-time. There was no need for him to reference or keep track of such basic information, so it isn't in his research notes. All chakra has a distinctive individual signature and that's what's used in chakra detection. One of the useful results of this fact is that chakra can be made to detect itself in much the same way that it can detect foreign chakra. So using that fact, as long as you know its location you can mold your chakra to detect and connect with another source of chakra with the same signature as yours and..."
"Wait, wait, I have questions." Naruto interrupted. Kakashi cocked his head, waiting. "Usually you can't detect chakra that far away, so how can you do it if you're far away? And does it work with different chakra; why does it have to have the same signature? Also, how does the connection work?"
"Umm, one question at a time. Let's see, because the chakra is doing the detecting with the aid of the jutsu; usually you're just using chakra-enhanced senses." Kakashi explained.
"So you can use jutsu to detect chakra far away?" Naruto asked.
"Ah, yah, why are you so surprised? Anyway, you have to know where the chakra is to use the jutsu outside of your sensing range, which is why people don't use it much. As to whether you could use someone else's chakra as your anchor, it wouldn't be advisable, because time-space ninjutsu sort of merges the target chakra with yours, that's how it works. It would also take a lot of chakra to perform the jutsu since the two different chakra would repel each other. As to how the connection works, it's because chakra is indivisible. It's your energy, so in a way you're already in both places at once, or a part of you is, anyway. The jutsu moves you from being in two places to only one. Well, forming the connection is difficult; chakra bends space-time, so if you can align your chakra to nature's chakra you can force you and your anchor to meet." Kakashi finished speaking and looked at Naruto, waiting for a response.
Naruto looked puzzled for a moment before quickly asking, "How does that work?"
"Hmm, one way to think of it is to view space-time as a fabric. You and your target both sink into it as a result of your chakra-mass. The more you align your chakra with the natural chakra around you the further you sink because of the extra weight attached to you. The fabric of space-time is actually very elastic, so you stretch it with your weight and then pull yourself to the anchor with your connection." Kakashi looked at Naruto calculatingly, wondering if he'd understood anything he'd just said.
Naruto thought for a few minutes about this, all the while with a slightly constipated look on his face. "Un, I think I understand, but then what's this line thingy about?"
"That's a little thing called a heuristic device..." Naruto scowled deeply and Kakashi chuckled. "It's just a way to describe the path you take, if you can call it that."
Naruto frowned and narrowed his eyes in concentration. "Oh. Then what about the time-space dia-thingy?"
"That's a bit more complicated. Basically it's a way to represent what path you follow to your target." Kakashi looked at the papers pensively. "Course?" Naruto asked. "Yeah, there are actually a lot of paths you can take through space time to arrive at one point." Kakashi looked back at Naruto with an amused expression on his face, knowing that what he was saying would cause confusion. "Huh? How?" Naruto said blankly. "Space-time's curved, so there are several ways to get from one point to another. However the paths aren't the same. A chakra mass can exist in several different dimensions at once since dimensions can overlap with each other or even contain each other. In the same way, because of the connection we discussed earlier, chakra can exist in several different places "at once" only in different points in time. Depending on whether your path is moving more through space or more through time, you could end up somewhere completely unexpected." Kakashi said warningly.
"...Umm, could you give me an example?" Naruto said with his brows knit together and his mouth slightly agape.
"Hmm. Sure. One path will move you through space and nearly keep time static. That's the path the Fourth took when he used his Hiraishin and involves moving at the speed of light. Another path would bring you to the same point in another dimension although it's hard to compare the change in time because time often flows different in other dimensions. Yet another path wouldn't move you from your current location but would move you into the future a bit... The possibilities are nearly endless, which is why it's important to take the right path." Kakashi shrugged.
"Doesn't that mean that you could travel back in time, too?" Naruto asked excitedly.
"Sure, but there's resistance since time doesn't travel that way naturally. Sort of like trying to make your blood flow backward. Well, it would take an impossible amount of chakra, which is why no-body's tried it before." Kakashi sighed. "Now, I've taught you the basics, why don't you go to Ichiraku while I work on a way to defeat Madara?"
Naruto nodded distractedly and walked out. Kakashi sighed, 'finally some peace' he thought and got back to the scroll he's been reading.-
Naruto only made it to Ichiraku's after nearly running into a pole, knocking over a granny and tripping over his feet several times. It'd be fair to say that he'd never been so abstracted before, but he'd had an idea and didn't want to lose it. When Kakashi told him that going back in time couldn't be done because of an insufficient amount of chakra he'd immediately thought that he could do it. After all, the only source of chakra in the world greater than Kyuubi would be Juubi.
Even with only half of Kyuubi his chakra was still more potent than Hachibi. It seemed that due to the difficulty of splitting up Juubi's chakra, Kyuubi originally ended up with the most malevolent chakra, with the rest of the creature's malice spread out between the other bijuu. Despite Madara's efforts, without the Kyuubi he'd never be able to recreate a creature as powerful as the Juubi, especially considering that the yin half of the Kyuubi's chakra was still sealed inside the death god. Although it would undoubtedly be enough for his purposes. The point, of course, being that if anyone could do it, it would be him. Maybe he'd ask Kakashi what he thought about it later.
Naruto greeted Teuchi and Ayame in their temporary ramen stand and as he was starting his third bowl of beef miso ramen, he looked up to see Sakura sitting down next to him. She looked unusually weary, with bags under her eyes and her pink hair hanging lank down to her shoulders. She ordered chicken soy ramen and watched him hurriedly slurp up the noodles that were still hanging part-way out of his mouth. "What's up, Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked.
"I'm taking a lunch break from my shift at the hospital. It's so busy, though, I wasn't sure I'd be able to get away." She said tiredly.
"Wow, you're working really hard, Sakura-chan. Make sure to rest every once in awhile." Naruto glanced at her worriedly.
"Don't worry, I do, besides with the war on, everyone else is working just as hard. And you're one to talk. You were still in the ICU in critical condition a few days ago, but now you're jumping around like nothing happened. You're recovery is amazing and I'm sure only part of it is due to Kyuubi, the rest is sheer stubbornness." She laughed. "Geez, have a little shame will you, you really scared us there for awhile! I thought I was gonna have a heart attack when I saw you lying in the middle of all that destruction..." She trailed off with a strained and slightly pained look on her face.
"Sorry I worried you so much Sakura-chan." Naruto said somewhat solemnly.
"You should be, baka..." She started on her normal tirade and then suddenly sighed and deflated a bit. "It's not your fault Naruto, " She began seriously, "I know you gave it your best out there, it isn't your fault things didn't get resolved, I'm just glad you're still alive." She ended kindly.
Naruto stared at her with slightly wide eyes for a second. For Sakura to not lecture him like that meant she was extremely tired and although she clearly didn't blame him for the situation it had gotten to the point where she just wanted things to be finished with Sasuke. The idea of him still out there threatening the safety of her loved ones was clearly haunting her and she just wanted it to be over and done with already so she could mourn and move on.
For his part, Naruto suddenly felt extremely guilty. He probably could have finished the fight with Sasuke much faster and killed him, but he had wanted to fight Sasuke to the end...not to mention that he was willing to kill both of them to show Sasuke that he was wrong. He finally realized what that would do to Sakura, though, she'd somehow manage to blame herself for the whole mess and never get over "failing" to help her two teammates or even one of them. She clearly understood that Sasuke was beyond any normal help, but she wanted to at least save Naruto and watching him risk his life against Sasuke over and over was taking its toll on her. That and being constantly surrounded by death and suffering as all medic-nin are.
His respect and sadness for Sakura went up considerably. Why hadn't he noticed before? That ridiculous confession and her attempt to kill Sasuke, as well as her resigned and yet desperate look ever since she realized that she wouldn't be able to take direct action to help with the situation between Naruto and Sasuke all made sense now. She was just doing anything in her power to hold onto what was left of her team, her family.
Naruto decide then and there that he was going to change things. He didn't want to watch the people he cared about suffering anymore. If he could pull out the roots of this war before it even started he would give anything in exchange. Suddenly he had the sinking feeling that he understood exactly how Itachi had felt.
He turned to Sakura, "Don't worry Sakura-chan, I'll find a way." He gave her a serene and gentle smile, not at all like his usually toothy grins. "I better get back to work. Later." With that he gave her a small wave and dashed off.
She looked after him with a small, slightly sad smile and a relaxed expression, thinking how much like a full-grown Shinobi he had seemed just then and how little like the immature boy she remembered. Then she blinked and gasped. She spun around and stared at Naruto's bowl wide-eyed. He'd put his money down without her realizing it, but that wasn't what caught her attention. He had left his bowl at least half full, something she'd seen him do only a handful of times, only when he was extremely depressed or the stakes were incredibly high and time was ticking. She could tell this was an example of the latter case and looked after him worriedly. 'I hope he's not planning anything stupid' she thought nervously.-
Naruto was meditating on one of the fourth's stone curls that were reasonably flat. Since mastering Sage Mode, he'd discovered that meditating was also a good way to speed up his (admittedly slow) thinking a bit. Kakashi-sensei had said that to perform a time-space ninjutsu, you need an anchor, so... his younger self? But there were a few problems with this idea. Going back in time to his weak younger body didn't seem like it would accomplish much. It wouldn't be early enough to stop some of the worse things that Madara had done and by the time he managed to regain enough strength to really put up a fight he'd find himself in the same situation he was currently in; not impossible, but pretty ugly. On the other hand, if he could find a way to go back to before he was born, then fighting wouldn't matter much. Strategically dropping hints could be enough to delay Madara's plan by another decade or more. There'd be the added difficulty of dealing with the Kyuubi attack, though. And if he wasn't careful then his friend's and him might never be born, especially him. Urgh. On the other hand, any of them would gladly give their lives to change things, and even if nobody else remembered them, he would. Yeah, he'd deal with the Kyuubi attack and his and the others' births when that became a problem, for now, he would just do what he knew to be right and hope that it would work out in the end.
The more pressing issue, however was what he could use as an anchor in the time before he was born. And even if he could think of a usable anchor, he'd have to choose a specific time somehow and invent a time-space ninjutsu when he'd never used one before. Right. No problem. Ok, he needed help, badly. The only one who knew enough to help him was Kakashi and he'd need convincing...wait. Kakashi. Kakashi had the knowledge and experience to come up with a jutsu and help Naruto perform it. On top of that he had that eye of his, which would undoubtedly help. Finally, Kakashi was born several years before Naruto, if they did the jutsu together, Kakashi's chakra could probably serve as an anchor. As for when... Kakashi had told him about how his father had committed suicide while he was at the academy on the day of team assignments. Kakashi said that Sakumo had probably intentionally waited until Kakashi was officially a ninja so that he could support himself as an adult. If he could go back to that time maybe he could save his sensei's father as well as have a few years to prepare for the Kyuubi's attack. It was worth a try, at least.-
"Absolutely not. Have you lost your mind?" Kakashi asked, his mouth visibly hanging open under his mask, his lone visible eye wide. "It can work, but I'll need your help." Naruto stated flatly. They were standing outside the Namikaze mansion, arguing. Naruto had gone to convince Kakashi and lured him out of the mansion with the promise of buying him dinner. Kakashi had realized something was up, but still been shocked when he heard Naruto's idea.
"You don't know that, you know practically nothing about time-space ninjutsu. What you're suggesting is too dangerous to even consider. Even you might die of chakra exhaustion attempting such a jutsu and we have no idea how your chakra would meld with mine even if the jutsu was successful. If anything went wrong we would both die and there'd be nobody left to deal with Madara. Not to mention the fact that your chakra and consciousness might just drain off after arriving. If anything went wrong and you ended up somewhere unexpected, you'd have no way of getting back. Also, you'd probably never get your body back, if your younger self was even born. And even if everything else worked out, you might just end up changing things for the worse. This is the stupidest idea you've ever had and that's saying something." Naruto didn't think he'd ever seen Kakashi so unhinged in his life but he was adamant.
"If you're worried about how the chakra would meld together then seal my consciousness and transfer the seal only. That should be easier anyway. As for your other worries, I wont tell anyone what's going on except your younger self, your father cause he'd realize something was going on anyway and Sandaime-jiji. That should be enough to start changing things. I wont tell my parents until I'm conceived, and I'll even promise not to keep my dad from sealing Kyuubi if it comes to that. I can probably get my father to transfer the seal to my body after I'm born and have my chakra merge with my younger self over time. I'll be careful and wont interfere with your younger self most of the time. I don't want to do anything obvious that will alert Madara, so I'll try not to change anything too major. At most I'll try to save a couple lives, get Tsunade back to the village to found her medic-nin school, give Jiraiya a few tips so he can better keep an eye on Atatsuki's activities, warn the Sandaime about the Kyuubi attack and make sure Orochimaru gets dealt with before he can join Akatsuki. And maybe, maybe if I can get involved without alerting Madara, I'll see if I can't do something about Nagato. But unfortunately that'll probably end up on the Do Not Change on Hazard of Death list." Naruto paused to catch his breath from his tirade and noticed Kakashi staring at him.
"You're really serious about this, aren't you?" He said in an unusually solemn voice. "Yeah, Kakashi-sensei. You feel it too, right? By the time this war comes to an end, there might not be anything left to protect. I don't want to watch my friend's suffer and die while I stand by and watch. We might win, but the cost will be high. And our chances of winning at this point aren't great, even if we do manage to stop Madara. If there's a chance that even a small part of this messed up situation can be changed for the better, then I'll take the risk. Besides, I don't know why, but even though it's so crazy, I've never been so sure in my life that I was doing the right thing. Weird, huh?"
"You've always been weird, Naruto, that's nothing new." Kakashi said off-handedly, eye still scrunched up in concentration. "Oi, I'm not weird!" Naruto said angrily. "Yeah, yeah, sure." Kakashi waved a hand at Naruto dismissively and then stared at him contemplatively for a moment. "You know," he began conversationally, "something like this would have to be cleared with Tsunade-sama, and she'll never let you do something so risky, not even if I can create a seal for you and complete such a difficult jutsu."
Naruto just smiled at him serenely, "I'll convince her, you just take care of the technical stuff."
"You're being awfully demanding considering I'm your superior, Naruto." Kakashi said mock-sternly.
"Very well, Kakashi-taichou, after dinner I'll go convince Tsunade-sama and I'll let you get to work." Naruto said teasingly.
Kakashi sighed in defeat, "While I appreciate your half-assed attempt to ingratiate yourself to me, I'm not exactly looking forward to this. You are at least going to keep your promise about paying for dinner, right? And no ramen." He said sternly. Naruto pouted, but for once didn't argue.
With that they set off in companionable silence and eventually parted ways after eating a pleasant meal at the Yakiniku restaurant, where they'd run into the remnants of the former Team 10, Sakura, and surprisingly enough, Sai. While he was walking off his free meal, enjoying the slight evening breeze softly whispering through the trees and then ruffling his hair, Kakashi reflected on Naruto's sudden change in behavior. While Naruto had taken things seriously in the past, he'd never before considered the consequences of his actions so thoroughly before even voicing his ideas. For the first time, Naruto was acting like a leader instead of a young Shinobi that (no matter how strong) still needed to be guided because of his inability to think things through properly. For that reason alone, Kakashi knew that the Godaime was going to place her faith in Naruto and let him follow through with this crazy plan, so Kakashi intended to make sure that, crazy or not, it didn't get his student killed. Still, he couldn't help but smile as he heard the sounds of a very violent argument echoing through the village from the Hokage's Tower.