Youthful Ninja From the Future

Summary: When a seal-wielding savant vows revenge, it is best to pay attention. Sometimes revenge is best served with a side of Youth... Or: In which revenge is had and Naruto spends an inordinate amount of time passing out.

Note: In this AU, Naruto grew an interest in seals and used them to bring Sasuke back to Konoha (Pre-Shippuden).

Chapter One: The Plan

Sasuke flipped through a series of hand seals, sharingan whirling as he dodged Kakashi's attack. He spewed a large fireball at the silver-haired jounin and smirked. A brace of kunai shot from the flames, forcing him to retreat several yards. Sweat beaded on the young man's face as he strained his senses for the next attack.

His eyes widened in horror and he tensed to spring from the trap, but it was too late. Kakashi snatched his ankle and dragged him neck deep underground.

"Maa, Sasuke. I didn't think you'd fall for that one again!" Kakashi mused as he emerged from the ground a few feet from the defeated Uchiha. He giggled and turned a page in his book.

"Ah, so that's how it works," Naruto hummed, averting Sasuke's wrathful response. The blond sat by team seven's training logs smiling at something on the paper in his hands. He scribbled some notes on a seal-laden sheet of paper and added it to a large stack at his side.

Kakashi's eyes narrowed slightly at the loss of his entertainment but swiftly disguised the emotion with another happy smile. "How what works Naruto?"

Behind Kakashi, Sakura performed a minor earth jutsu to dig out the raven-haired boy.

"Huh?" Naruto looked up at his teacher, his brush poised over another sheet of seals.

"It sounds like you figured something out Naruto. What is it?" His eye darted over the papers, hunting for something familiar. Sakura grabbed Sasuke's arms and started pulling him free of the rather large pit.

"Oh, that!" Naruto chuckled, and waved his brush as he spoke. "I just used my new seal array to analyze and break down the jutsu you both used. I should be able to recreate and improve on them now!"

"Oh really?" Kakashi raised an eyebrow and lowered his book slightly.

Sasuke shook off Sakura's hands and crawled the rest of the way from his pit. He brushed off clumps of soil with an ill-concealed grimace and shifted his shorts muttering about dirt in unmentionable places.

"Yeah!" Naruto grinned and studied one of the pages a moment. He made a few hand seals and sunk from view.

Kakashi blinked at the suddenly empty patch of ground and then his eye widened. "Sasuke-"

His warning came too late. A pair of hands grasped the avenger's ankles and dragged him to his eyebrows beneath the soil.

"Sasuke-kun!" Sakura screamed, rushing to re-excavate her crush before he suffocated.

Naruto scratched the back of his head when he popped back up in his original spot. "Oops, guess I pulled too hard."

Kakashi pocketed his book and thrust his fist into the earth pulling the furious young man out by his collar. Only that grip prevented him from throttling the sheepish blond. He swiftly snatched the back of Sakura's dress before she could throttle her teammate.

"Despite your miscalculation, it seems you were able to copy my technique," Kakashi's calm praise belied the effort he put into restraining the thrashing boy and his fangirl.

Sasuke froze, finally hearing the discussion. "He copied your technique? Impossible, he doesn't have a sharingan." Sakura stopped struggling and looked between her teammates, her green eyes clouded with confusion.

"I believe he used seals to mimic the jutsu-copying ability of the sharingan." Kakashi hummed, putting the calmed Uchiha back on his feet and releasing Sakura. "You know Naruto, you shouldn't use your seal arrays to copy our attacks. It isn't honest."

Naruto raised an eyebrow and tapped under his left eye with an ink-stained forefinger. Kakashi coughed into his fist and averted his eye a moment. "Is this copying seal the only thing you're working on today?"

"So far, and now that I got it to work," Naruto patted the stack of paper. "I think I'll start another-"

Kakashi whisked the pile away and tucked it under his arm.

"Hey!" Naruto bellowed, rising to his knees.

"I don't think this one is safe for you to use Naruto. I'll just take these for now."

"Those are mine! Give them back!"

Kakashi dodged the boy's attacks lazily and leaped onto the rails of the nearby bridge.

"I swear Sensei, if you don't give my work back I'll make you regret it!" Naruto declared, his knuckles whitening. The handle of his brush audibly creaked under the strain.

"If you say so Naruto, but you're not getting them back." Kakashi waved the sheaf of paper merrily and vanished in a swirl of leaves. Sasuke snorted at the furious boy and scratched absently at the ring of seals around his neck.

"He's right Dobe, you won't get those back." Sasuke smirked and leaned his hip against one of the training stumps. "You'll have to give up on your new seal."

Naruto whirled and glared at his male teammate. "I don't need them back to remember my seal, I designed it after all. I'm just mad he stole my work. I'm going to teach him a lesson he won't forget!"

"Naruto! He's our teacher! If he says they're too dangerous, you should listen!" Sakura cried, "Besides, I thought you stopped pranking people!" She folded her arms and glared at him.

"As if Naruto could make a jounin like Kakashi feel guilty with a prank." Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Are you going to drop another chalkboard eraser on his head?"

"You didn't even think I could pull that off and who was wrong?" Naruto slapped some grass from his behind and stooped to pack his brush and ink.

The Uchiha scowled at his back, fingers twitching towards his kunai holster. Sakura hissed, eyes darting between the two. The orange-clad boy dismissed them and gathered a few scraps of parchment that escaped Kakashi's theft.

Once finished, Naruto started walking away, back stiff. He paused at the apex of the small red bridge and stated, "I don't care whether you believe me. I already decided I'll pay him back, and I don't go back on my word. Sakura at least should remember that."

Sakura bit her lip and looked away from the raven-haired boy. Naruto promised her he'd bring Sasuke back to the village when he tried to defect. Despite all expectations, Naruto and the retrieval team managed to bring the errant genin back.

Stiffening at the reminder of his probation, Sasuke pulled the tall collar of his navy shirt up to cover the binding seals around his throat. The avenger glared at the retreating boy and then at the clearly visible ANBU tailing him. Scowling, he punched a hole in the ANBU's tree and stalked away.

Sakura did not follow.

Naruto slammed the door of his apartment and reactivated his security seals with a scowl. One of several kage bunshin looked up from the scroll it was studying. "You're back early Boss; did the seal array not work?"

Three other clones studying scrolls looked up, two paused in making explosive tags and another peeked in from the kitchen.

Naruto's scowl lightened slightly, "No, it worked perfectly. I copied Kakashi-sensei's headhunter technique and one of Sasuke's fireball techniques."

"Sweet!" One of the clones drawing tags cheered and waved a partially drawn tag. "Think we can make a contained version like these?"

"Ooh, good idea!" the other clones breathed in excitement.

"We're finished in here," The clone in the kitchen called. "Send us the info and we'll get started on it."

A toothy grin spread across Naruto's face. "You're going to love how I used the jutsu I tested out!" He crowed, making and swiftly dispelling a shadow clone. Within moments, the small apartment rocked with hilarity. Even the original couldn't help but grin at the memory of Sasuke's indignity. Their humor soon turned to fury at Kakashi's actions.

"Boss, you want us to switch to brainstorming mode?" The first clone asked setting his scroll aside.

"Maybe later, I'm going to clear my thoughts before I start considering ideas."

"Oh, Kakashi sensei is in trou-ble," an out-of-sight clone sang from the kitchen. Dark chuckles rang out in agreement. Whenever Naruto "cleared his thoughts" before a prank, the results were exponentially more spectacular and typically irreversible. The blond shook his head with a small smile. Weaving around the others, he slipped past the kitchen and into his bedroom.

After dropping the few scraps of notes that escaped Kakashi's theft on his dresser, he flopped face down on his bed. While a portion of his anger had cooled, a burning lump of resentment filled his chest. He didn't want Kakashi to hate him, but he wanted to pull something strong enough to relay his extreme displeasure. He needed something solid that would provoke a reaction from the usually unflappable man.

Yet what could he do?

The blond sighed and turned his head so he could breathe easier and stared sightlessly at the other side of the room. Few things outside of Jiraiya's perverted books elicited a reaction from Kakashi. Even Gai-sensei crowing about their 150th challenge this morning was only enough to prompt a "hip" head shake. He couldn't help a feeling of awe at the "Green Beast's" perseverance after all these years of challenges.

Naruto snorted when his gaze landed on the first sealing scroll he made on his trip to find Tsunade. Forcing Naruto to make one sealing scroll opened the floodgates of the genin's unquenchable curiosity. Jiraiya taught Naruto kage-bunshin's memory ability just to convince him to practice the Rasengan while his clones studied sealing.

The corner of Naruto's mouth quirked up at the irony. Jiraiya insisted he learn the jutsu, and Naruto did. The Hermit never realized the dead-last saw the bigger picture.

If rasengan was a keen weapon, then seals were a personal smithy.

The possibilities seemed endless. He admitted openly that flashy jutsu were awesome but it wasn't a jutsu that finally decreased the three-minute wait time for ramen. The ability to give Sharingan users a taste of their own medicine only added to the triumph.

His gaze sharpened, and he pushed himself to a cross-legged position on his faded orange coverlet. All joking aside, he and the other genin on the Sasuke retrieval team owed their safety, if not their lives to seals. The packet of paralyzing seals he'd designed for future encounters with Akatsuki worked perfectly on the team from Sound... and Sasuke.

Shaking his head like a dog, Naruto pulled his thoughts back in line. This wasn't the time for woolgathering. He had a revenge prank to plan. His eyes refocused on his first sealing scroll. A fragment of an idea formed, and he laughed. Not a happy laugh, but the darker laugh of a prankster on the hunt.

Grinning madly, he formed and dispelled a clone to pass the word. Mentally thanking Jiraiya yet again for teaching him that trick, he jumped off his bed and snatched the dusty scroll. He had a prank to plan and a seal to create.