Rewritten - Prologue

Uzumaki Naruto looked up as the door to the workroom was opened and a tall, dark-skinned man stepped through the threshold. He looked rather weary and had several noticeable scrapes that the blond didn't recall seeing when they last spoke earlier. Closing the door behind him, followed by a quick hand-sign, the door flashed a dull gray for a moment before returning to its original color.

"I take it from your appearance, we've been located again?" Naruto queried.

"We both knew it was only a matter of time. We're holding our own for now, as usual. It won't last for long though... it never does." The other man was moving quickly towards him, his eyes now glued to the floor near where the blond was working. "Are you sure that you know what you have to do?"

Naruto sighed for what felt like the hundredth time in the short span he had been setting up and replicating their... re-discovered technique. "Yes, Darui, I know what I have to do. I wish we didn't have to resort to something like this... but I'm a shinobi. I'll get it done."

His dark-skinned compatriot offered a solemn nod before moving a few steps away from the platform on which Naruto was prepping the seal. If all went according to plan, they could stop the horrors of their current world and make a damn good attempt at righting various wrongs that had happened, especially events in recent memory. The only problem was that even with the power of the last of the 'free' bijuu behind them, they would only be able to send one person.

Darui shifted slightly as he stared at Naruto, "I can try to go get the others out there and drag them in here if you'd like... to say goodbye?"

The blond scowled for a moment before closing his eyes and letting his head hang. "It's not a good idea. I'd rather remember everyone as they were when I talked with them last. There aren't many of us left and I'm sure they would all understand." Naruto's expression became more solemn as he put the finishing touches on the seal. "Besides, if this is successful, none of you will exist as you are anymore."

Darui grunted at that – they had been over this many times before. This seal was a secret project of theirs which had taken them nearly a full year to complete. During that time their forces had gone from being a majority of shinobi from all the combined nations, to a brave few who refused to give up. Scouring the ruins of Uzushiogakure had only yielded this one useful-looking technique that was buried in a labyrinth beneath tons of rubble, and would need more chakra than they had available, even considering all the shinobi still with them. As a result, using their limited fuuinjutsu knowledge, they had to adjust it to be able to use the chakra of a bijuu. Fuuinjutsu was truly a lost art, Naruto believed, since he was widely considered to be the most skilled practitioner among all the shinobi still fighting. He had only briefly studied it under Jiraiya, and to a lesser extent, Kakashi for maybe a total of a year.

Unfortunately they were coming down to the wire, and everyone in their camp knew they likely wouldn't last another year before attrition wore them down to nothing. Hence the seal they had been working on – it was to be a last ditch attempt at completely altering the timeline. Of course they had no idea if it would work or not, but if they were all going to be captured or killed anyway it didn't really matter.

"Let's do this, Kurama," Naruto mumbled to the air.

Darui looked up at his blond friend again as the teenager muttered under his breath, realizing that it was finally time. Before Naruto did anything else, however, he held out a fist towards his companion. Naruto stared at the clenched hand for a moment before grinning, bumping his own fist against the outstretched one.

"I didn't really want to say anything, but if you get a chance, try to help out those of us who stuck with you until the bitter end, eh?"

"You have to ask?" Naruto grinned at his friend, and Darui suddenly looked a bit sheepish.

"Sorry, it's just-"

"It's fine, it's fine." Naruto waved off the apology, though not just because Darui used the word habitually. "Of course I'll try – though it will suck because none of you will remember me, and I'll be an old man by the time I could help anyone individually."

"You're an Uzumaki. Don't they have really long lifespans or something like that?"

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean I won't look old. You will be young, I doubt you'll want to hang around with an old geezer."

"You worry too much, Naruto. I'm just joking." Darui chuckled as he lowered his fist. "Give 'em hell, yeah?"

Naruto didn't say anything further, but kept a small smile on his face as he watched his friend walk back to the door, deactivate the seal, and leave the room without turning to look back. Taking a deep breath as the door flashed a light gray once again, Naruto began to focus his chakra into his feet, and then out below him into the seal he was standing on.

"Ready when you are, Kurama."

"Very well. Hang on, I have a feeling this is going to hurt."

"If it does, then it does. I'm used to pain."

Ignoring Kurama's snort in the back of his mind, he began to concentrate. Focusing on purifying the Kyuubi's chakra, his entire body to light up with an ethereal golden glow with the sage seals showing clearly. The power output would be massive, as he would need to use his own chakra as well as all of the bijuu's to power the seal they had.

Shortly after calling upon Kurama's chakra, he felt the telltale signs of their bond start to show – flashes of blue and red chakra flashed in the air, creating a golden glow rather than what many might have expected to be a purple one. He suddenly felt exhausted as there was a bright light that began glowing at his feet. It kept getting brighter until it fully encompassed the room he was in, even closing his eyes did not block the light. Suddenly it faded to black, then he knew no more.

Updated Jan 15 2013

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