So, here it is, my first fanfiction on fanfictionnet. :D *excited* I know, everyone else is excited, too.
I obviously don't own Naruto, but I swear, if Kishimoto would only read ONE text message I sent him, the manga would end in NaruSasu and lots of drama. xD
Uh, warnings... actually, none, so far, hehe.
Either way, enjoy the story! :3
Naruto was no friend of fate.
He didn't like to believe that everything he did and would do was already laid out before him by some invisible, capricious force; it bothered him to think that the path he walked was the path he was meant to walk, not the one he chose to walk. And if he thought further than that, when he thought about Sasuke and himself and what they both had been through, then he refused to accept that it all had been fate. If so, then everything was useless, everything he did and everything he had fought for so desperately was just as much worth as a small corn of sand falling through the hourglass.
But those thoughts had to be prepared for a heavy battle against something else – and it was the doubt rising up in his heart, something he rarely felt, and if he did, tried to force back to where it came from.
However, in this very moment, while playing with a medium-sized scroll in his hands, wiping the last bits of dust away, revealing a colorful ornament lining it all the way on the back, he started to feel exactly what he hated to feel – the doubt rising in his heart, biting it like some poisonous insect.
He had found the scroll in a shack a few kilometers away from the still damaged Konoha; he had found the shack on pure coincidence actually, when he had only walked around restlessly to clear his head of all thoughts bothering him. He couldn't resist, he had to give in to his curiosity and sneak inside. On first glance, he thought it was just some abandoned little cottage, but when he looked closer, he saw things that made his heart skip a beat.
An open closet with white, flame-covered coats stood by the door, a collection of sealed kunai lined the wall, a small, messed-up bed stood in the center and by its side was a nightstand on which stood a photograph of the two people he would do anything to see once again.
Being in a shack his parents had been in a long time ago made his feelings turn around and double over multiple times until he could've sworn his heart had jumped out of his chest, simply because its mortal cage hadn't served enough space to handle all the bliss he felt.
Even though the interior of the small cottage was covered in dust and dirt, even though the air he breathed was moist and stale, and even though nobody had cared for it in the past sixteen years, Naruto could feel the presence of both his father and his mother in here, he saw them hanging out in relaxed times, saw them fuzzing around in bad times, saw them both utterly desperate and beyond happy in the night of his birth. Something he felt choked him, made his throat feel narrow and his heart fill with regret and loss at the same time.
There was no way he could keep himself from exploring the room, let his hand glide over dusty surfaces, rummage through the shelves and cupboards, find what they had left, retrieve things of a past he probably would've lived and loved. Bittersweet happiness filled him, and before he knew, time flew by. He felt like part of a family more than ever, having found something he could call his own now, having found something he thought had been lost before he had even known it existed.
And then he had found a scroll.
The very one he was holding now, and he wondered why he had taken that particular scroll, and not one of the many, many others. Because he liked the color? Because he had found the size was big enough to contain important information, but not large enough to confuse him?
Why had he taken the scroll? Why had he left the photograph of his parents back where it stood, and had picked a ninjutsu scroll of all things to keep? Why would he leave the house as it was, why wouldn't he clean it up and turn it back to an enjoyable small house for him to live in?
Why had he taken the scroll?
In time, Naruto would find the answer.
For now, he wondered if it had been fate.
"So, Iet's say, my Dad wanted me to learn some awesome jutsu,", Naruto stood before Tsunade, who had all the reason to look back at him with annoyance; not only was he keeping her from work, but also was he getting on her nerves.
"And, let's say, he left something behind for me, what would it be?"
"Besides a pack of intelligence?", she retorted, glancing back to the documents she was reading while listening to the young shinobi, "Probably nothing. Your father thought he'd live to see you grow up, I doubt he kept some things in a shoebox called 'for Naruto, because I will be dead' or whatever."
He pouted at her and crossed his arms in front of his chest, "Don't you underestimate my Dad!", he defended himself, "I bet he was smarter than anybody, so he was prepared for everything. Like, look at the Rasengan."
Tsunade's eyebrow twitched, and it was only a subtle sign for the fury rising up inside her, "What about it, he just wasn't able to finish it because, Naruto, just in case you failed to notice, he died at a very young age. Which might happen to you as well if you continue pissing me off like that."
"Oh, you are so wrong!", he accused her, pointing an angry finger her, "He knew he couldn't ever finish Rasengan, because he lacked the chakra and all, and he knew if I had the Kyuubi and stuff that I could and-,"
"Naruto!", she cut him off – with no success, though.
"-, don't you interrupt me! And then, look at what I did. Yeah! Say it! Saaa~y it! Huh? Huh? What did I do?"
She rolled her eyes, "You finished it."
Naruto was proud, "I finished it! Yeah, don't look at me like I'm only getting on your nerves, woman."
The Hokage cramped her fingers around her pencil and one clearly saw the strain she was suffering from trying to not kill the blonde teen, "Naruto. What's the effin' point of your visit?"
"I want to know how he would've stored any info for me!"
"How should I know? I hardly knew your Dad. Ask Kakashi. He'd know more and he has the patience to deal with you, and now leave me alone, I have work to do."
"Whatever.", he muttered, "You're no help at all, baa-chan."
While muttering curses under his breath, Naruto left the Godaime's tent and shoved his hands in his pants pockets. Needless to say, he had opened the scroll, and with the little knowledge about ninjustu that actually had managed to stay in his head, he could tell it was a scroll containing a time-space ninjutsu. Naruto knew his father had been famous for these kind of jutsu, he just had no idea what to do with the scroll. He wasn't the type to sit down and study a scroll, he even had no idea what to make out of all the signs and instructions he had read so far. All the info he had gained out of reading the parchment was that his father had the most girly and orderly handwriting he had ever seen, and that somewhat bothered him. Why that was the case, he wished he knew, but he had successfully convinced himself that his father had asked his mother to write it all down.
The jutsu's structure seemed easy enough to him – form the seals boar snake rat horse and then channel your chakra towards the seal on the kunai, and that was where the scroll stopped making sense. Naruto was wondering what kind of jutsu it was; he was certain it wasn't the famous Hiraishin, for he didn't need any seals for that. Also, the fact that there stood something like focus chakra on seal and memory confused him. Memory? Maybe he was wrong and it was a genjutsu or something like that. Considering the thought, it sounded even more plausible than the time-space explanation he had come up with. What if it was a manipulative jutsu, confusing the enemy with illusions of something?
"Argh, that sucks so bad! I wanna know! I wanna know what kind of jutsu that is!", Naruto ruffled his hair angrily, annoyed by the questions popping up in his mind.
But instead of talking to Kakashi like Tsunade has suggested, he walked straight to his own tent and searched the scroll from his backpack. He opened it, rolled it out on the floor and sat down in Indiana-style before it. Thinking hard, he tried to understand what he was seeing, but needless to say, he felt like reading a foreign language.
"Damn you, Dad. Why were you such a freakin' genius?", he muttered and rolled the scroll further open, "Form seals... channel chakra... have seal ready... blablabla...", he sighed deeply and leaned his head back, "I know why I suck at ninjutsu."
After two hours of staring at the paper like an idiot, Naruto decided to really ask for some advice. He wrapped the scroll back up and hurried towards Iruka's tent.
"Iruka-sensei?", he asked while entering, "Is it a bad time?"
The Chuunin turned around towards his former protégé and smiled warmly, "Oh, Naruto, No, not all, come on in!"
Naruto nodded and decided to not talk around the topic, "Listen, I found this scroll the other day and wondered if you could help me with it?"
Iruka frowned at the blonde while taking the scroll from his hand, "Huh? Why are you not asking Kakashi-san? I'm not as efficient with ninjutsu as he is."
"Yeah, yeah, but I had the feeling I should ask you first."
Seemingly proud and happy about those words, Iruka took the scroll, headed towards a table and rolled it open. After scanning the symbols and the text for a few minutes, his eyes narrowed and he looked at Naruto with dark features, "Naruto. Where did you find that?"
And the teenager suddenly felt nervous under his former sensei's stare, "Uh-uhm... in some... sort of... shack? Somewhere... outside?"
Iruka eyed him suspiciously for a few moments, "This clearly is the Yondaime's handwriting."
So much for his father writing like a girl.
"And as far as I can tell, it is some sort of unfinished time-space-ninjutsu. No wonder you're having problems with it. The Yondaime was a genius when it came to developing ninjutsu, if he couldn't finish it, it clearly is a hard jutsu to learn."
"Yeah, tell me about it.", Naruto muttered, remembering all the hard work and time it had cost him to perfect the Rasengan, "Ne, sensei, what kind of time-space-ninjutsu is it?"
Iruka rolled the scroll back and closed it before he handed it back to Naruto, "It doesn't matter, Naruto, it's unfinished. That actually makes it dangerous to use, we have no idea what it'll do. You better bring it back to where you found it."
Naruto wondered if Iruka was still as stupid as to believe he'd listen. He played the disappointed teenager and let his head hung low, "Oh. Okay."
Iruka ruffled his hair, "Hey. Don't be sad – your strong on your own already, you don't need any jutsu the Yondaime scribbled down on a scroll."
"Yeah. Thanks, sensei.", he said, "I'll see you around."
"See you, Naruto."
Of course Naruto headed back to shack where he sat down on the bed and started reading the scroll for the hundredth time. Something told him that he was supposed to understand what this jutsu consisted of, that he could do it, like he had completed the Rasengan.
And he'd find out what he had to do, no matter what.
"Alright.", Kakashi smiled, though it was hidden behind his mask, "Everyone ready for the mission?"
Sakura nodded while smiling, Sai was looking like he always did (indifferently) and now it actually was Naruto's part to throw his arms in the air and yell a motivated "Yasha!", but he had no energy for that. All his energy had been used the previous night to learn the stupid time-space ninjutsu. The only good thing that came out of it was sleeping in a real bed instead of a stupid sleeping bag. A second good thing – he had at least memorized what he needed to do for the jutsu. Wanting to practice after the mission, Naruto had snatched himself a sealed kunai as well, for he needed one of the special weapons his father had manufactured. The only problem was his sleep-deprivation, he felt as if he could drop down on the floor and sleep for years.
"Naruto? Everything alright?", Sakura asked with genuine worry in her voice while walking over to him "You look so pale."
"Uhh... I guess the cup-ramen I had for breakfast had expired...", which wasn't even lie, he had overslept and in his desperate hurry, he had eaten one of the cup-ramen stored in one of the cupboards in the shack. Sixteen years didn't lie after all.
"Well, let's head out, everyone!"
From the outside, Naruto probably looked like he was really concentrating on the mission to go smoothly. On the inside, however, he was running all the information he had memorized from the scroll through his brain. It nearly drove him insane that he just couldn't figure it out – when he had spent all night throwing sealed kunais and forming seals he had never been able to do in the first place.
At some point, he wondered why he was so eager to learn the jutsu anyway. Sometimes, he wished he was more like Shikamaru, so he could just let it be, but he was pumped with determination, and it forced him to just go on until he dropped dead on the floor because of exhaustion.
"Okay, everybody, we're on enemy territory.", Kakashi's voice was low and deep, causing Naruto to really feel alarmed about the situation. They stopped jumping from branch to branch and all scattered down on one each to listen to further orders from the gray-haired Jonin.
"We're gonna move in formation c.", he went on explaining, "Sai, you'll be backup. Naruto, remember to not let your guard down. Sakura, we'll need you for the final blow."
Sakura and Sai spoke as if they possessed one mouth, "Understood."
Naruto, on the other hand, only suppressed a yawn and nodded. He wasn't in the mood for a mission, he was almost obsessed with the scroll. Obsession, that was the word he had been searching for - God, if anyone had ever told him he'd become a geek in ninjutsu, he'd laughed himself to death.
The team moved on, and Naruto was falling behind without noticing it in the first place. Sakura glanced over her shoulder every now and then, scolding him with her glare, but he didn't realize anything at the moment. Whatever part of his brain wasn't sleep-deprived was thinking about how he could manage to exact the technique his father had planned years and years ago.
And before he knew, the inevitable had to happen; the enemy engulfed them in a heavy battle, which actually was more like an ambush for the blonde shinobi, since he had done what Kakashi had told him not to do – he had let his guard down.
The enemies fired kunai at them like rain, and Naruto tried to dodge every single one. Without thinking, he grabbed one from his kunai-sachet strapped around his thigh, not realizing it was the sealed one he had picked.
"Naruto! Watch out!", Kakashi yelled and the blonde spun around, sensing the danger from behind. His instincts kicked in and he almost automatically changed to Sennin Mode, thus was able to survive the Katon jutsu he was fired at without any harm done.
"Woah, that was close...", he muttered to himself and quickly jumped towards another branch to survey the situation. Five enemies were battling his comrades, he could sense five more in hiding, which meant they were ten against four. He quickly conjured seven Kage Bunshin and let them find the hidden shinobi while he contemplated to change to his tailed-beast mode, when-,
There was someone trying to ambush him from behind, he could sense the shinobi's chakra preparing for an attack. Naruto spun around and instinctively changed towards his tailed-beast cloak.
He threw the kunai he still held in his hand and heard Kakashi yell behind him to get out of the way – he was ready to attack with a Raikiri, but Naruto didn't move. Instead, he watched how the sealed kunai flew towards the enemy and he suddenly had the feeling as if he knew what he should do – his hands started to form seals boar snake rat horse, crap, that was tiger, what the hell am I doing-, and then he channeled his chakra towards the kunai, having his father's face before his inner eye, imagining him to perform the very same jutsu.
Something strange happened, then. He suddenly was in his subconscious, only for a very brief moment, not even second, where he saw the Kyuubi opening his eyes, clearly wanting to know what his host was doing right now, and Naruto could've sworn he saw him grin gleefully. Back in the real world, he heard the distant voices from his teammates as they yelled his name, and the world around him was blurring together to one colorful mess, his head felt funny, his heartbeat was deafening him and his body felt like it was crushed multiple times. Before he could do anything; let it be to yell, to move, to think, blackness swallowed him entirely.
"I think he's dead, otou-san."
There was the sound of wind ruffling through leaves. He knew that sound, because in summer he'd wake up to that sound every morning. Come to think of it, the wind felt really good on his face, so warm and gentle, like a hand stroking his cheek.
"I don't think so. If you look close enough, he's still breathing. He's just knocked-out."
"Look! He has a Konoha hitai-ate!"
Of course I have that, he thought lazily while trying to turn around, not really realizing he couldn't move properly. Come to think of it, his head felt like it was filled with brick stones, not to mention the rest of his body, which felt even worse.
A hand grabbed his hair and yanked his head up, intensifying the pain he felt and bringing it to a whole new level. He groaned and forced his eyes open. He saw only smeared colors, and blinked, and the colors cleared up a bit until he looked into a grim face.
"See. He's awake."
Whoever had lifted him up let him fall down not so gently again. Naruto moaned with pain and tried to support himself on his arms. Choking on a throbbing pain that made his head feel as if it was about to explode, he opened his eyes again. This time, he could see the world around him a bit more detailed.
Blinking the blurriness further away, Naruto sat down on his knees and brought a hand to the back of his head, rubbing the sore place. "Owww... owww, crap. What happened?"
"Otou-san and I returned from training. We found you laying here.", the voice clearly belonged to a child and when Naruto opened his eyes again he saw a young boy crouching on the floor before him, eying him curiously with big, dark orbs.
"What's your name, boy?", the deeper voice, probably the father of the kid, demanded sternly and Naruto turned around. Looking up, he saw the grim face from earlier, this time only with a sharp vision and it looked even more moody than before.
"Uhm-,", he swallowed, his throat felt as if it was barbed, his mind was a blank piece of paper, answering seemed somewhat out of question for the moment.
"What? Can't speak? I asked you a question!", the man barked and Naruto faintly noticed the boy by his side wincing at the deep, harsh voice of the older man, "You better answer.", he whispered quietly, "Father doesn't like to repeat himself."
"Itachi, be quiet.", the man snapped to shut his son up and it finally caused pieces of realization to make it through the veil of numbness of Naruto's mind – Itachi.
The boy's name – was Itachi?
"Your name... is Itachi?", he muttered and turned back to the kid. His raven hair reached his chin, his round face had a healthy, fair complexion. Under his dark eyes were two bruise-like lines, and he knew the face he was looking at was the same he knew from a certain twenty-year old male who-,
"Oh holy shit...", he slapped his face when the pieces slowly added up to a bigger picture, and it was a picture he really didn't like. In fact, this was a catastrophe. He looked back at the grim looking man, suddenly knowing it was the leader of the Uchiha clan, Uchiha Fugaku, the man who would years later plan Konoha's downfall.
"Damn. Damn, damn, damn."
Now he knew what the jutsu had been meant to accomplish, crystal clear before his eyes. He knew what his father had been working on, what he hadn't managed to finish. Everything suddenly made so much sense – think of a memory; it wasn't meant to create an illusion, but to give the user a spot in the past to teleport back to.
"Boy! Answer my question!"
Naruto ignored Fugaku; he had bigger problems than an angry Uchiha in his midlife crisis. He had landed in the goddamn past – and looking at Itachi, who couldn't be older than four or five, he had landed sixteen, seventeen years back. And the more he understood where he was, the more he noticed how shit-deep he was in trouble.
Damn. And that was a good word to describe this situation.
Ah, the first chapters ends here - I know, it was too short, right? So, did you like it? Hate it? You might as well tell me... :3 Review!