Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
Kushina blinked. The last thing she remembered was dying on Kyuubi's claw, with the knowledge that her son was safe, and the beast that she had in the end failed to keep imprisoned would again be locked away where it couldn't hurt anyone. So she was more than surprised to find herself on hard earth in a forest. For a second she thought she was in heaven, before faint echos of what could be memories of sorts came to her and told her that it wasn't the case, and that the afterlife was different. It wasn't more than an odd hunch, but she was fairly sure that she was on the mark. She usually was.
"M-m-mom?" came a voice from behind.
She turned around, and saw a wounded Konoha-shinobi that looked faintly familiar, and a boy in an orange jumpsuit with sun-kissed blond hair, blue eyes and whisker-like birthmarks. 'He looks like a chibi-Minato with a rounder face.' Kushina thought to herself, the shape of his face actually reminding her of her own when she was young, which had temporarily brought her the nickname 'Tomato', until a brutal beating made them change it into 'The bloody Habanero'. And the whisker-like marks reminded her of those she had seen on her own... no way! "Naruto?" She asked.
The boy's eyes widened, he was seemingly unable to speak. "Are you Naruto? My sochi?" Kushina asked again.
The boy still stared, before he thew himself at her, hugging her and wetting her stomach with his tears. Kushina could occasionally make out the word "Mom."
Almost awkwardly, she patted the boy's head. How could he be so old? He looked to be around twelve! Then she noticed that her hand was grayish, and seemed to have a few cracks. Looking around, she saw a complex seal on the ground. While there were too many to analyze them with a glance, she slowly gained a suspicion, which hardened when she noticed the forbidden scroll on her sochi's back. "Naruto, what's going on?"
Naruto looked up at her, and realized she was looking at her hand. "Well...I...kinda...summonedyouheremom."
Kushina blinked, her suspicion confirmed. She could only hope that the injured man leaning on the tree wasn't meant to be the sacrifice to call Naruto's father. Her voice was deadly serious. "Naruto, who did you sacrifice to call me?" She had heard of the Edo Tensei, though she never saw it.
The man in the back spoke up. "A traitor who tricked Naruto into stealing the forbidden scroll, then tried to kill us both."
Kushina's face went from serious and accusing to relieved and happy. "Oh. In that case, it's wonderful to see you sochi." She called out as she pulled her son into a hug. She had wanted to do that since she became pregnant, and had never had enough opportunities to do so. Then she came to another topic. "The jutsu isn't complete yet, is it?" Her body was cold and felt unresponsive, like she was wearing a heavy armor in cold winter.
Naruto looked at her. "But I don't want you to be a mindless soldier!" He called out.
Kushina gently took the scroll from him, unrolled it until Naruto told her where the passage was, and took a look at the seal that completed the jutsu, and was placed into the summoned body. While the first part of the jutsu was pretty complex, the second version even more so, the final part was almost ridiculously easy for someone of Kushina's caliber with seals.
"Looks like simple works best for the last part. Let's see, if I change this, this and this, and add this, this and this as an improvement for the physical body, then... voila!" She held a new tag up, before putting it into her son's hands. "There. With this one, I will have my free will and be in control of my body."
Naruto looked at the tag. "Are you sure?"
Kushina rolled her eyes. "I'm an Uzumaki, of course I'm sure. Now do it."
Hesitantly, Naruto pressed the tag against his mother's head, quickly pulling his hand back when it sank into the head like a pebble into a lake.
Kushina sighed. A healthy rosy color spread over her body, the cracks vanishing, as her hair, which had seemed a little dull before, gained a new shine. The only indication that something was off were Kushina's eyes. While a new gleam of life had entered them once more, the sclera had turned black. Kushina smiled. "Ah, much better."
The man, who had looked at the scene in what laid somewhere between worry, confusion, and happiness for his secretly favorite student, spoke up. "Naruto, come here for a second."
Naruto obeyed. "Yes Iruka-sensei?"
Iruka smiled. "Close your eyes for a moment."
Naruto didn't know why, but he shut his eyes.
"You can open them now." Came Iruka's voice.
When Naruto opened his eyes, he immediately noticed Iruka was not wearing his forehead-protector. Touching his own forehead, instead of his goggles, he felt a plate of metal with an engraving. Tears once again rolled down his cheeks. Iruka smiled. "Congratulations, Naruto. What do you say we celebrate this with some ramen?" The boy jumped into his arms, giving him a hug.
While Naruto jumped around in joy, Kushina approached Iruka. "So, you're not going to give him trouble about learning a forbidden technique of questionable moral integrity?"
Iruka shrugged. "He is a good kid, and he defeated a chunin-level opponent. For that I awarded him the title of genin. The rest is up to the Sandaime."
Kushina raised a brow. "So the old man took the mantle of Hokage back up, huh? This should be fun."
Sarutobi sighed as he looked at the picture before him. Kushina, who had been buried twelve years ago, was currently holding her son on her lap, said boy snuggling into the mother he had missed for so long, while the woman gave him a calculating look. "It's been a while, Sarutobi."
The old leader nodded. "Indeed Kushina. Twelve years. I never would have thought I'd see you again."
Kushina gave him a smile, her black eyes making the gesture slightly threatening. "Well, you thought wrong. I'm back."
Sarutobi frowned. "Yes, regarding that. Naruto, I'm sorry, but I believe it's best we end the jutsu, and you hand over the scrolls with the jutsu, and the notes you took."
Naruto's eyes widened, and his grip on his mother tightened. "What? No! I just got her back! And I know how to make more scrolls." He firmly declared.
Sarutobi gave him a look. "Naruto, are you saying that you memorized the seal-sequence for the Edo Tensei, in a few hours?"
Kushina snorted. "Why are you surprised? He's an Uzumaki, seals come as natural and easy to us as breathing fire comes to the Uchiha, and considering who his father was, how can he be anything but a prodigy?"
Naruto seemingly remembered something. "Mom, whose my father?"
Kushina stared at him, completely baffled. "You don't know?" Her eyes wandered to Sarutobi, and now anger was burning in them. "He doesn't know?" She demanded.
Sarutobi sighed. "With all the enemies you two made, I thought it safer that he doesn't know. He can't brag with secrets he doesn't know, which in turn reduces the risk of the information leaking to enemies."
Kushina frowned. "I see your point. But now I'm back, and I'll protect him. Also, I'll give him some of the training he seems to lack." She nodded to herself, satisfied with the decision.
Sarutobi shook his head. "I'm sorry Kushina, but it's for the best that you return. The dead should rest in peace, and that jutsu is too dangerous."
Kushina's eyes narrowed. "Are you suggesting to erase it from Naruto's mind?"
Sarutobi shrugged sadly. "Kushina, you have to understand, that jutsu was sealed away for a very good reason."
Kushina growled. "Sarutobi, you will get to Naruto only after you send me back to the afterlife, and honestly, I don't think you can. Do remember, I'm not just a shinobi, I'm a seal-mistress."
Sarutobi sighed deeply. He knew that in a normal fight, he would beat Kushina ninety-nine out of a hundred times, but now, things were slightly different. She would not tire, nor would she be bothered by any injury for more than a few seconds, and a real seal-master generally didn't need more than one hit to end a fight. It seemed that for now, he'd have to back down. On the bright side, Naruto was an honest and honorable child, and if Sarutobi got him to promise not to use the jutsu again, then the boy would keep that promise. Still, it was a headache. "Naruto, of all the jutsu in the scroll, why did you pick that one?" He asked.
Naruto looked at him, relaxing more now that the tension had passed. "Well, it caught my eye because someone else had made corrections after it was written down. I thought that it might be a hint which one I was supposed to learn, and that if someone went to the trouble to improve it, it had to be a good jutsu."
Sarutobi stared at Naruto, for the first few seconds not understanding what the boy was saying. Then he grabbed the forbidden scroll, practically tore it open, and looked for the Edo Tensei. When he saw the corrections, the color left his face. "Oh no."
Naruto blinked. "What's wrong jiji?"
Sarutobi's fingers trailed the lines of the kanji and kana that made up the corrections. "I'd recognize that handwriting anywhere. Orochimaru, one of the greatest traitors in the history of Konoha since Uchiha Madara, and one my students. That he knows the Edo Tensei, to the point that he actually improved it..." His eyes widened in horror as he realized something. Orochimaru had experimented with the Shodai's DNA, hoping to create Mokuton-soldiers. And while the only survivor of those experiments was loyal to Konoha, for him to have the ability to do such experiments, Orochimaru would need the DNA of the Shodai! And since he and his brother were laid to rest at the same place, then Orochimaru could possibly summon the first two Hokage!
A sly smile spread on Kushina's face. "Looks like circumstances just changed, didn't they? A traitor, in possession of a technique that allows him to call back the departed. I can hear the gears turning in your head Sarutobi, and softened up or not, you are a good leader. The situation may have demanded that the jutsu must be kept hidden if there is only one user, but with the enemy already having it, you're not willing to let them have a monopoly that will allow him to throw Konoha's own men against their comrades."
Without knowing it, Kushina had hit an even bigger nerve than she could have guessed, as the image of the first two Hokage attacking the village they gave their life for flashed before Sarutobi's eyes. Finally, he seemed to collapse into his chair. "You win Kushina. Naruto can keep the jutsu, on the condition that he never sacrifices an innocent for it, and uses it wisely. That means carefully and sparingly." He added, knowing that Kushina's definition of 'wisely' may be very different from his own.
Kushina triumphed. "Ha! I've missed twelve years of my son's life, no chance I'm just leaving now. I want to know my baby. On that note, how are Mikoto and Hikari?"
"Huh?" Sarutobi blinked, before nodding. "Oh yes, you don't know. I'm sorry to tell you this, but they're both dead."
Kushina stared in shock. "Dead? How? The three of us where the strongest Kunoichi since Tsunade! How did they die?"
Sarutobi sighed. "Hyuuga Hikari succumbed to a disease shortly after giving birth to her second daughter, Hanabi. Uchiha Mikoto died, together with the rest of her clan sans Sasuke, in the Uchiha-massacre that Uchiha Itachi caused."
Kushina turned slack. "Hikari..." She muttered, lost in thoughts. "Mikoto... I don't know how, but I know that her death is Fugaku's fault! If only..." She trailed off.
Sarutobi felt a pang of worry. "Kushina, what are you planning?"
Kushina looked up. "Who, me? Nothing, nothing. Either way, I'll bring Naruto home. He told me the address." She got up, picked up Naruto, who had fallen asleep, and walked away.
Sarutobi suddenly realized something. "Kushina, that's not a good..." But she was already gone. Sarutobi winced. He knew that once Kushina saw the apartment, she would be furious.
But right now, he sent out a message, stating that the teams would be decided not tomorrow, but next week, as there were too many things Sarutobi had to do right now.
Kushina was right, he was a good leader, and knew when morals had to be sacrificed for the greater good, namely the lives of those entrusted to him. There was work to be done.
Kushina's brow twitched as she looked at the apartment. From the outside the place was a dump, trash everywhere, filthy walls on which graffiti and mold were locked in a merciless struggle for dominance. She found the only door that wasn't halfway rotted, and opened it.
The inside was better, but not by much. Naruto apparently kept the place clean enough, neither mold nor dirt here, though the bare walls still didn't raise a homy atmosphere. "That's it, we're leaving." She muttered, before turning on the shower, half-amazed that it actually worked, and muttered "Mizu Bunshin no Jutsu." Three Kushinas stepped out of the shower, and began packing up everything, while the original carried Naruto to his new home, her old one.
When Naruto opened his eyes, he found himself in an unfamiliar room. It was nicer than all rooms he'd ever been in, the bed unbelievably soft, but he was still worried. Where was he?
Carefully sneaking through the house, which was almost as large as the entire apartment-complex, he tried to find out where he was. He heard a sound coming from a room, and carefully peaked around the corner, and looked into his mother's face. "Good morning sleepyhead. Your place was a dump, so I took you here. I must say, the seals me and your father put up did a great job at keeping away dust and dirt."
Naruto blinked. "Oh, okay." Then he remembered something. "Mom, you still didn't tell me who dad was. Maybe I can call him back too? I mean, if we find a really bad person?"
Kushina gave him a sad smile. "Sadly no, I analyzed the array while you were asleep, and I'm afraid it only calls souls from the normal afterlife. Your father used a jutsu that sent his soul elsewhere, so the Edo Tensei can't call him here. And I thought about what Sarutobi said, and in one point, he's sadly right. Your father made many enemies, and right now, you're not ready to face them. I'll tell you soon, promise."
Naruto grumbled, but he was too happy to have a mother to complain. "Fine." He grumbled, before his eyes widened in panic. "Oh crap, I'm late!"
He jumped up, but Kushina caught him before he even landed back on the ground. "Calm down Naruto. Sarutobi sent out a notice that due to special circumstances that allow no delay, the team-designations are moved by one week. So you don't have to worry about that for now. There are a few other things more pressing right now."
Naruto blinked. "Like what?"
Kushina raised a finger. "For one thing, we need to train you. I looked at your grades, and from what this Iruka, the only neutral source in the entire folder, wrote, it looks like you're still lacking in certain areas. Personally, I can work on your basic fitness, kenjutsu, though I'm not an expert, and on fuinjutsu. There are a few other people I want to call for the rest. Which brings us to the second matter." She grabbed into a drawer, a characteristic cloud of smoke showing something was being unsealed, and put it into Naruto's hand.
He looked at it. It was a ring, only that it seemed to have three accessories hanging from it, namely three strands of hair as thick as his pinky, one raven, one black with a bluish hue, and one red. There was a small metal wrapping which kept the hairs together, and connected them to the ring, and on each one was a small engraving, a spiral on the red hair, while the black ones where marked with a fan and what looked like a full-moon. "What is this?" Naruto asked.
Kushina smiled. "That is a ring of friendship. Only three exist in the entire world, since they were made with the hair of the three friends it was for. It should be enough DNA for the Edo Tensei. The red hair is mine, by the way."
Naruto blinked. "You want me to call back your friends?" He asked.
Kushina nodded. "Yes. Hikari is a taijutsu-expert like no other and the only one that might know more ninjutsu than Mikoto is the Sandaime. They can help you in aspects of your training that I'm not very good at. And I want to see them again."
Naruto nodded, the explanation making perfect sense to his young mind. "But I can't just call them back, I don't want to use it on innocents."
Kushina smiled happily and took Naruto to a large, empty room, with the exception of two tattered men in prison-clothing in front of Naruto's feet, each of them an open scroll placed before them. "I thought you might say that, so I borrowed these two from Konoha's prison, and prepared two Edo Tensei-scrolls. I put them there myself, so I know who they are. This one," she gave the left body a kick "is a bloodthirsty psychopath who murdered his own comrades, so he's as evil as they come."
Naruto nodded. "And the other one?"
Kushina's smile turned frighteningly cheerful. "Who, he? He's trash, the lowest type of scum that crawls this world." She waited a moment, before adding "He's a serial rapist."
Naruto blinked. "Oh." Then he walked to the scrolls, placed the hair on them, and formed the handsign, before a thought hit him. "Mom, if you can make more scrolls, couldn't you have just called them back yourself?"
Kushina nodded. "I probably could have, but it wouldn't feel right. You worked hard to learn this jutsu, so it's only fair you be the one to use it. I will merely work on a perfect version."
Naruto tilted his head. "So the technique is incomplete?"
Kushina smiled. "Oh, it's as complete as anyone would manage to do it. You have to respect Orochimaru for his work, and the Nidaime even more, for making it, but there was no way that a jutsu like this could be completed just with the living."
Naruto's face spoke his confusion. "What do you mean?"
Kushina shrugged. "I'm not sure myself, but something changed after I was brought back. Even though I can't remember anything, I was in the afterlife, and this experience seems to have done something to me. I can work seals on a different perspective now, and while some more seal-masters like me would be nice to perfect it, as a deceased one, I can at the very least work out the basics of the half no living human could really understand, the connection from afterlife to life. But that's in the future, could you now call them, I'm itching for a reunion."
Naruto nodded, and sent his chakra into the scrolls. The seals spread, and the two criminals screamed through the silencing-seals as their bodies were changed. Kushina handed Naruto two of the 'Free-will'-tags, and as soon as the bodies had finished forming, Naruto placed them into the two resurrected women's heads.
The first woman had a slender built, her raven hair openly falling down her back. Her eyes looked like black marbles, it took a second look to spot the black iris. She was wearing what one could describe as normal, casual clothes.
The second woman had her bluish black hair bound together a few inches before the tips, which gave it a more orderly look. She was wearing a white kimono, and her eyes, which in life had been the typical Hyuuga-white, had shifted in color to black. Also, her body was much more curvy, her bust probably uncomfortably tight in a DD-cup bra, something only visible since the kimono was on too loose, as if the wearer had spent a longer time in bed. The woman reflexively corrected the garb's fit, which almost completely hid her figure.
The two women looked around in confusion, before they spotted Kushina.
They threw themselves at her. "Kushi-chan!" The Hyuuga exclaimed, while the other woman went for a "I thought I'd never see you again!"
After a few minutes of banter, Kushina explained to her two friends what had happened. The two women nodded, before looking at Naruto.
"So this is your son?" Mikoto asked.
Kushina nodded. "Yup, that's Naruto."
Hikari looked at him, before pulling him into a hug. "Kawai!" She exclaimed while pressing a squirming Naruto into her bosom until he started to turn blue.
The other two women shook their heads at their friend's antics. It looked like the future would be quite amusing. They could hardly wait to see the world once more.
Chapter 2 is done. Wow, I can honestly say that I didn't expect such a response. Over 100 Reviews, 2340 hits, 10 C2s, 117 Favorites, and 137 Alerts, all in roughly 48 hours. Looks like many were really waiting for a story like this. I do wonder if this story will stay unique, or if others will take up the idea after seeing that it can work if done correctly, like when I took up dracohalo117's Perfection-challenge, after which others started to use the idea, my personal favorite among them Arynia's Perfection. I sure as hell would like to see the direction other authors may take Naruto with that jutsu, as the possibilities are almost endless.
Now, as for the chapter itself, a few things have cleared up, and a few questions have been raised. For one thing, yes, Kushina will stay. She has missed twelve years of her son's life, an like any loving mother, she wants to make up for lost time. In my opinion, if the Kushina in Naruto's mind could, she would have stayed to watch her son's life, but she knew her time was limited, and accepted that. Now she doesn't have that problem. Also, someone argued that since Kushina was in Naruto's head, she couldn't be summoned by the Edo Tensei. In my opinion, what aided Naruto wasn't Kushina's soul, but more of a copy. In a translation I saw, Kushina referred to herself and the Minato that Naruto met as fragments of a soul, though personally I believe that they were imprints of memories and personality in the chakra rather than the actual souls. Minato's soul is in the shinigami's stomach, and Kushina's was in the Pure World, until Naruto called her back. As for the argument that Kushina doesn't reside in the Pure World because she said she could rejoin Minato, well, even in the Naruto-series the afterlife is not clearly discussed, which leads me to believe that Kushina said that more in the sense that they can pass on, though perhaps she herself was unsure, and to be honest, it kinda sounds like wishful thinking. There was never any indication that Kushina used the Shiki Fujin, in fact it is implied that a jinchuuriki cannot perform it, nor that it was the seal used to bind Kyuubi into Kushina, which looked completely different when shown in chapter 500. So there is no reason that Kushina would end up in the Shinigami's stomach, and in the entire manga there is nothing that even suggests otherwise, except one little phrase that when looking at it neutrally cannot be taken at face-value. It is Kushina's wish to reunite with Minato in the afterlife, it was never said that it actually happened.
As for Kushina simply reverse-engineering that seal-tag, for one thing she's a seal-mistress equal to Minato (at least in this story, though I'm pretty sure she was on or close to that level in canon as well), and secondly the tag is not that complicated. In chapter 522 you see the tag, and while the signs can't be read, the tag only has two lines, so it can't be that complicated for an expert to figure it out. And the effects are not perfect. Kushina only looks like she's alive, but the 'regeneration' doesn't go deeper than the skin. It's essentially no different than a henge that fools the sense of sight and touch of those that come in contact with the resurrected.
What I did regarding Mikoto and Hinata's mom, which I decided to call Hikari since I couldn't find any info on her real name, my statement comes from a logical deduction. For one thing, in clans like the Hyuuga and the Uchiha blood is important, but to become wife of the leader, in other words matriarch of the clan, I do believe that something more is needed than just pure blood and a pretty face. There had to have been plenty in clans of that size. And what is the other quality that both clans valued? Strength. Both Fugaku and Hiashi were/are men that valued strength over fickle bonds, which is clearly shown in their behavior, and while Hiashi may have changed for the worst after the presumed death of his wife, and his brother's sacrifice, humans rarely change so drastically, so I assume that a certain mindset had to have been present beforehand. So it is only logical that both Hiashi and Fugaku chose the strongest of all possible candidates. So going along with that line of thought, I have decided that both women were in a team with Kushina, since at the very least Kushina and Mikoto seemed to be good friends, and that all three were incredibly strong. Some adaptions that are unlikely in canon may occur, but rest assured, they will have a proper and logical explanation.
Someone said that the summoning should be ended and that Naruto should respect the dead. While I agree that such values must be imparted, there are two reasons that speak against it. One, they know Orochimaru has that jutsu, and doing nothing is basically giving him an advantage that they know he won't hesitate to use against them, which is not likely in any military organization. Danzou is the best example that there are times where morals must take a back-seat. The second reason is that if Naruto won't use the jutsu because of too much respect, then there would have been no point in having him learn it in the first place!
A good warning given to me was that I have to be very careful not to overpower Naruto and make him invincible. While I will be careful, Kankuro and Omoi have proven that while the resurrected warriors might be nearly impossible to kill, they can be captured, as was done with Deidara. So the resurrected are not automatically an unstoppable force, they are simply very complicated enemies, and a pain to beat. I will do my best to keep the story interesting, and just a small spoiler, not every resurrected person must always be following Naruto like a ghost, and immediately jump between him and the enemy. And in my opinion, the indestructibility comes with the jutsu, not the tag in the heads of the resurrected.
Now the Q&A
Q: How loose are your morals?
A: To answer that bluntly, yes, resurrected people are a viable option for pairings. Not at the present moment, but as you have read in this chapter, the Edo Tensei is still a work in progress, and will be refined further. And to those that want NaruKushi, yes, I am willing to take that pairing into consideration, if the arguments are sound. That doesn't mean I'll use it as soon as someone can give a good reasoning, there are plenty of pairings in the air. Suggestions appreciated, with reasoning even more appreciated. And I said loose morals, not no morals. Naruto hates treason and betrayal, and even he was taught that rape is a very bad thing.
Q: How do the resurrected get chakra?
A: Since Kabuto clearly stated that the technique has no risks for the user, and sending chakra over miles would probably be very risky, the theory I'm going with is that they transform Nature-chakra into their chakra, which would also explain the 'they do not tire'-part, since the amount of it floating through the air is practically infinite. The user has to give loads of chakra to call the resurrected ones, but after that, the only chakra the user would need to spend is when he wants to enslave his summons, and Naruto will only do that in rare and very select cases.
Q: Will Minato be revived?
A: No. He is in the Shinigami's stomach, and until I find a realistic and logical way to get him out of there, he cannot and will not make an appearance.
Q: Who will be resurrected?
A: A very good question. Can you answer it for me? Tell me, who do you want to see resurrected?
Well, I've written another annoyingly long author's note. Just to see who stayed with me, please add a & to your reviews for this chapter, so I can make a mental statistic. Either way, there is only one thing left to do now, you all know it
A Happy New Year to You All