Chapter 19: Fourteen

"So many interesting memories, memories that aren't my own and yet are mine," the beast rolled his neck, eyes wide as more memories flashed across his sight. He no longer felt like himself, the bitterness in his heart from his imprisonment was still there, however new feelings masked it. He could feel his Yin and Yang chakra merging together again, a piece of himself missing now reunited. A piece of himself he both missed and didn't really know he'd been missing.

He wasn't entirely sure how he felt anymore, he had been free, his mind crazed from the sharingan and the forceful removal from his host…jail? Or host? It was a place he'd been a long time, however he had finally been free. Though now, now he was in a cell again, a cell that he remembered vividly yet not at all.

He growled at the indecisive ramblings within his skull, he knew who and what he was, but the mixing of information pained him. Sometimes he felt like himself, he felt Naruto's presence and being as if she were a part of him as well, confusing him again due to how right and wrong it felt. Other times however, he felt wrong, like this isn't how he should be. He wasn't quite sure what to do with himself anymore.

Beyond his cell he could see her as she rested, her serene face staring back at him with closed lids. The fondness the beast felt for her infuriated him, however he couldn't deny his affection for the young woman. He sneered at the thought, his Yin chakra bubbling within his chest with disgust, the yang chakra washing over it with peace.

Kurama couldn't help the draw he felt towards her, he knew she deserved his trust and favour, she was the only one to accept him for what he was instead of oppressing him. She had been the same as any other at the beginning of her life, however she had grown, they had established a companionship over the course of many years and what could be two lifetimes. He felt disgusted with his own disgust towards her, his Yang chakra burning bright to convince his Yin.

He feared what this imbalance would do to her, and he feared what this imbalance would do to him.


"Why can't we graduate early anymore? Now I've gotta wait 'til I'm twelve!" the boy whined, speaking with his hand raised before his teacher called on him.

"You'll have to wait 'til you're forty with your lack of skills Hachio!" another boy yelled, his voice high with laughter as Hachio grew red at the jab.

"Yeah well you'll be fifty Takahiro!" Itachi hated this, every day he was forced to sit between Tsukuda Takahiro and Ueda Hachio and every day they bantered like this across Itachi. He assumed it was his teacher testing his patience, otherwise it was just a cruel and unusual torture to be seated between the two. If it were the latter, he wasn't sure as to what he had done to deserve such punishment.

"Tsukuda, Ueda, if you don't be quiet now, I will assign you to clean up duty for the next week with no help," their Sensei, a young woman of twenty that had been promoted to Chūnin when the war began. Once the war had ended, she had asked to be transferred to the academy, the life in the field had not been for her. Students like these two however made her feel like this was a whole different battlefield of its own, a battlefield where a kunai to the throat was frowned upon and highly illegal. She loved her job, but she almost wished she could reach for her weapons at times.

The two boys thankfully shut their mouths, her heart sighing with relief at the almost silence that followed.

"Why don't we have a discussion? Who wants to guess as to why the Yondaime Hokage banned the early graduation of academy students?" there was silence throughout the classroom. Itachi opted to stay quiet, he had an idea however he didn't want to say anything.

"Okay then," their sensei continued, "why do you think students graduated early?"

"Because they were awesome!" a young girl at the front of the class replied with enthusiasm, the other children agreeing immediately.

"I suppose so, any other ideas?" the woman asked as she wrote 'talented' on the board behind her. Looking around the room her eyes landed on Itachi, she could see that he had an answer, though sometimes she felt as if he were too shy to speak up.

"Uchiha Itachi, do you have an idea?" Itachi's eyes widened slightly at the call, he'd seen her look at him though she had never directly called on him before.

"War," he stated quickly and factually. His sensei nodded, vocalising a quick praise before writing 'war' on the board.

"Any others?" she waited for someone to reply, though no-one did.

"Okay, what about things like 'clan favouritism' and 'social ostracising from less talented peers'?" she wrote them on the board as well, kicking herself for not using simpler words that five year olds would most likely understand. Rubbing out the words on the board, she replaced them with 'powerful clans' and 'as powerful as a genin', deeming them more understandable for young children.

"Now using these ideas, what reasons would the Yondaime Hokage have for stopping advanced graduation?" she asked again, thinking in her mind that she couldn't wait for a few more years when she would be teaching these students when they were older. She would enjoy this conversation so much more with students that could have a much more insightful conversation.

"The war is over?" one boy near the back of the room replied. Their sensei smiled and nodded a confirmation, writing 'SWWIII ended'. She didn't want to be optimistic and write that war was over in total, as she couldn't read the future, for all she knew another war could start next week.

"The Hokage doesn't want to show fav-our-it-ism?" the small girl stumbled over the last word, speaking each syllable slowly.

"Yes, good work," she turned and wrote 'Less favouritism/everyone treated the same' on the board. She looked back to her class and waited for another answer, this time however she didn't need to call on Itachi to get him to speak as he raised his hand. She was glad, she could see immense potential in the Uchiha boy and hoped to make him more social so as he could connect better with his peers.

"I think a prodigy would be more likely to be ostracised by older Shinobi over people their own age. They could be seen as inexperienced and not connect to anyone because no-one would be their age, but if they're in the academy, they can make friends and form bonds with people their age," she paused and looked at Itachi, not having expected such a thoughtful (or eloquent) answer from the five year old.

"Yes, so either way it is hard for a prodigy to fit in," she sat on her desk and faced her class, each of them deep in thought. She was glad, she wanted them to grow up thinking like this, to think critically and see all sides of a situation.

"Who was the youngest to ever graduate the academy?" Takahiro asked, his eyes wide in wonder.

"I am not sure about the other nations, however the youngest to ever graduate the academy here was only five years old. His name was Hatake Kakashi, you might know him as the Yondaime Hokage's apprentice, he is also the creator of the Raikiri which I am all sure you heard the story of when he cut lightning whilst fighting, after he led a team to destroy Kannabi bridge," her students eyes were fixated on her, she only ever got this kind of attention when she spoke about the more well-known or amazing ninja of Konoha.

One reaction in particular that interested her was that of Uchiha Itachi's. Itachi always paid attention to her lessons, always taking her words in stride. However this time, she finally saw Itachi's interest actually peak, a shine in his eyes of recognition or curiosity.

"Hatake Kakashi started the academy at the age of four, but he didn't complete a year of pre-academy, he went straight into the program. After one year he completed his studies enough to be competent enough to pass the final exam by the time he was your age.

At the age of six he completed the Chūnin exams in Iwagakure and was promoted to Chūnin level. Then at the age of thirteen he was promoted to Jōnin and led his own teammates into battle, the Kannabi bridge was his first mission as a Jōnin and it was the one to kickstart finishing the war!" oh she loved all this attention.

"What do you mean 'his own team'? Wasn't he the Yondaime's apprentice?" a small boy from the front asked, his hand raised excitedly in the air. She smiled, she'd never had them participate so much in her life, she almost feared the happiness was going to overtake her.

"Yes, he was the Yondaime Hokage's apprentice, however when he was ten, the Yondaime took on three more students. This brings us back to the point Itachi made, why do you think a Jōnin with an apprentice would be assigned to a full team of three Genin? Wouldn't this unbalance the usual four person team? What do you think was different in this case?" she waited, half expecting for Itachi to answer her question. Instead, a girl shot her hand into the air. She wasn't surprised as Uchiha Yuina had always been an amazing student, one of the top girls in her class. She was one of the girls she always liked to pair with boys in her class, speculating who would get together and who wouldn't. The teachers sometimes really had nothing better to do. It was always agreed upon however that she would have a fling with Itachi, though with clan politics, they had no idea where she stood in relations to marrying the next head of the clan.

"The Sandaime Hokage was trying not to leave out Hatake Kakashi!" she replied cheerily, her smile almost contagious, her inevitable beauty showing when she showed such emotion.

"Very good, it was explained that Hatake Kakashi needed to get to know people his own age, this is because he actually didn't know anyone his age at all. So by putting him into a team, he learned to get along and work with people that he would have to work with in the future," she erased the board of her previous lists and wrote Kakashi's name.

This wasn't meant to be a part of her lecture, but she honestly found this more fun than throwing practice. The kids hadn't even noticed that it was time for practicals, she needed to seize the opportunity to show the children that lectures could be fun too.

"Does anyone else know anything about Hatake Kakashi?" she hadn't planned for this, she had no idea what she should say. She considered talking about the other people on his team, however besides the Jinchūriki, she really only knew the basic knowledge of the other team members. The thought of the Jinchūriki gave her an idea for a topic considering the girl had saved them only a week before now.

"My parents said he makes pretty statues," she raised her eyebrows at the comment, her mind thinking of the giant Kyūbi that dominated the shopping district. That beast had practically become the mascot of Konoha, she really didn't know what to think of that fact.

"He is actually the person that made the sculpture of the Kyūbi in the middle of the shopping square," Itachi's eyes widened at the news, he had suspected that Kakashi had been behind the statue, but it was another thing to actually have it confirmed.

"Why would he do that? That has nothing to do with being a ninja!" she sighed as Ueda Hachio spoke up, his voice almost grating into her skull.

"Ueda, what does a Shinobi do for a living?" she crossed her arms and waited, watching as the boy thought.

"Shinobi protect Konoha," she was surprised by the answer, she'd half expected the boy to shout something about Shinobi kicking ass and being cool.

"Yes, but to protect Konoha, what do they have to do?" no-one in the class replied, most likely not understanding what she was asking.

"If a Shinobi makes it pass Genin level, it is practically guaranteed that they will have to kill someone in their life. During times of war like the one we just had, our Shinobi have to kill dozens to hundreds of other people. Some of the more experienced and skilled Shinobi have been known to kill over one-hundred people in one battle of war.

You cannot be a Shinobi of Konoha because you think it is cool, you must go into this field knowing that you may have to kill someone some time. That is another reason you graduate no younger than twelve, because even then a lot of you won't understand the effect it would have on you and your teammates to kill," the room was silent, she felt like she had traumatised the poor children. This wasn't a conversation they were supposed to have until they were older and more capable of understanding. However she decided that this is her class, and her class will be educated from their first year of the program. She will make them understand.

After some time of silence, the same boy that asked about the Yondaime's team raised his hand.

"Yes?" their sensei answered quietly, her voice sounding loud in the near speechless room.

"What does that have to do with Kakashi making statues?" she stood suddenly at the question, her quick movement making all the children flinch.

"Okay spontaneous excursion, everyone up! Follow me,"


It was late afternoon as Itachi stood in the centre of Konoha's shopping square, watching as the lights played with the glistening glass shards. He waited for one person only, hoping that today would be the day that he showed. Itachi had been coming to this very spot every morning and night since he first met Hatake Kakashi, however not yet has he run into the older boy again. The Uchiha didn't necessarily fault him, he had to be a very busy Shinobi after all.

"Itachi," he jumped, not recognising nor expecting the voice over his shoulder. He whirled to face the culprit, freezing when he saw the blonde in front of him. He had seen her face many times before, both in his cousin's team photo and in his newly published textbook, one detailing information about Bijou's and some of the more well-known Jinchūriki.

Uzumi Naruto was one of the most notorious.

"Pleasure to meet you Uzumi Naruto," he said with a swift bow, looking over her shoulder to see Kakashi standing with an imposing presence behind her. While Naruto was like a shining sun of raw power, Kakashi was the deadly shadow that lurked nearby. Despite Naruto's dishevelled and tired appearance, Itachi couldn't deny the strength that he could almost feel inside of her. She was too weak to depress her chakra signature, but even weakened, it was like a beacon that warmed everyone nearby.

The teens both smiled at the young Uchiha's politeness.

"That's not very fair, you didn't greet me at all last week," Kakashi playfully jabbed at the younger boy before Naruto could reply.

"I'm sorry, but I had to answer your question about why I was out early," Kakashi smiled at his answer, thinking back to their last meeting.

"If I recall, it wasn't a question and merely a statement about your being out early," Itachi watched as Naruto whacked her teammate in the chest, telling him to be nice. It was slow enough that Itachi would have been able to avoid it, so he didn't doubt that Kakashi had just allowed the hit. He also didn't doubt that the two of them could move much, much faster.

"We learned about you today, in the academy," Kakashi assumed at first he was speaking to Naruto, however when he looked to the young boy he realised he was staring right at him.

"Did you now, why would the teacher subject you guys to such a boring lecture?" he joked, not sure whether or not he liked the idea of the academy students learning about his life, he was anything but the best role model.

"On the contrary, it is one of the more interesting lessons we've had," Itachi said, a small smile on his lips as he saw Kakashi's scepticism.

"Ooh do tell me what you spoke about. What kind of crap do people say about him?" Naruto was too excited, making Kakashi wish he had told her that she had also been spoken about.

"We spoke about a lot of things, we got into Hatake-san when we started speaking about why the Yondaime doesn't allow early graduation anymore. One of my classmates asked who the youngest to graduate was," Kakashi's expression had darkened at the topic, not bothering to hide his emotions.

"What else?" Naruto's voice was softer now, sensing Kakashi's unease she grabbed her teammates wrist, his skin cold compared to her dying fever.

Itachi looked between the two, unsure as to whether or not he should continue.

"Well, she started listing what you've done and then we had to discuss why a prodigy Chūnin would be put with a Genin team. When we were asked if we knew anything else about you, one girl mentioned that her parents said 'Hatake Kakashi makes pretty statues'" he finished with an almost deadpan expression, fingers raised in air quotes when he imitated his classmate with a girly voice.

Naruto laughed, never did she expect to see the Uchiha Itachi imitate a female classmate's voice with air quotes. Kakashi chuckled beside her and shook his head.

"I told you most people would just say it was pretty, I liked your interpretation more," Itachi smiled at the compliment, allowing Naruto to see a missing top tooth. Everything about this boy was so different from the shunned Itachi of her time, she loved it, never wanting to see him like that again.

"When Nakamura Sensei mentioned that you'd made this, one of my classmates asked why a Shinobi would waste their time on non-shinobi things. So she explained to us what Shinobi really do, then she brought us here to see the monument," Naruto and Kakashi looked at each other, a guarded expression on his face and a beaming smile on hers.

"Oh yeah? Now why would she bring you here?" Naruto asked.

. . .

"Now kids, you're probably wondering why we are here. I want you to really look at this sculpture, someone tell me about it," she looked around, smiling with amusement as the children actively avoided her gaze, all bar one of course.

"Itachi, what do you see?" Itachi looked at the monument, taking in all the details he had memorised over the past week.

"I see a monument that a Shinobi made for his two missing teammates, coping with their loss and the loss Hatake-san must feel throughout his life. It can't be easy killing numerous people, and it can't be easy losing people you've made bonds with due to another nation doing the same thing. Killing.

The effort put into this, I would say Hatake-san was giving his teammates the recognition he believed they deserved, as well as a memory of them that would always be present. I believe this is a way for him to cope with their deaths, as well as a memorial to two people he thought deserved it most." Nakamura stared at the boy, amazed by the understanding he had of the statue. She had taken them here to explain that they all needed something in their life non-ninja related, anything to escape the harshness of life at times. She didn't expect for a boy so young to understand such a concept.

"I also see a lesson, the two plaques at the Kyūbi's feet explain things that every Shinobi should hear. Your teammates are people you will grow to care for, so don't let a rule get in the way of life, something Konoha has valued for a very long time–the bonds between our people.

The other explains following your heart, making sure that you fight for the better life of the future generations. We are Konoha's future, so we are learning to be Shinobi and shoulder the burden of death so our future generations will never have to," He stopped, unsure how to continue, he wasn't sure how to put this into words. He had had an entire week to think about the messages on the plaques, yet he was still unsure as to the full meanings. He felt like there was more behind these two people, that they were so wise for their age. These were the sort of people he aspired to be like. An inflation of pride swelled within his chest every time he saw his cousin's name on the plaque, wishing more and more each day that he could have spent more time with him.

Looking around, Nakamura felt as if all of the children had aged after today, each of them contemplative and ready for discussion. A swell of pride rose within her chest, she was going to be one proud sensei.

. . .

"You're very smart Itachi," Naruto said, her voice soft as she listened to the boy's interpretations. She watched as Itachi blushed, turning away to hide his warming face. She smiled and looked up to Kakashi, her smile disappearing as she took in his expression. He looked shaken, staring up at the Kyūbi with what almost looked like fear. Most others wouldn't be able to tell that he hadn't liked what he heard, she had known him for a very long time however and could read him well.

"Hey Itachi, if you can, meet me here again tomorrow morning when the sun rises. I want to hear more about your lessons, your sensei sounds like a very smart lady," Itachi smiled up at the two teens, excitement lighting his face.

"I will! I'll be here," he bowed to each of them before turning, running in the direction of the Uchiha Compound. Once he was gone Naruto looked back up to Kakashi, her hand resting on his shoulder. She felt his muscles tense beneath her hand, her thumb massaging it calmly, resisting the urge to share her Yang chakra with him to sooth his emotions. She couldn't bring herself to do it, feeling her own chakra as well as the Kyūbi's in turmoil within her, she didn't trust herself to not accidentally pump him full of Yin chakra.

"It's scary having people know so much about your inner thoughts isn't it?" Naruto's voice was soft. Kakashi cringed and stepped away from her, his hands clenching by his side.

"What would you know about that?" Naruto raised her eyebrows at the snap, crossing her arms around her skinny waist, the ribs grating into her arms. Kurama hadn't been able to recover her muscles as much as she would have liked in Uzushiogakure, but this skinny body was healthier than what she had been after months in the Kirigakure torture dongeons.

"Kakashi, my thoughts were recorded into a scroll each month since I was found. My every thought and action was then read and reviewed to prove I wasn't here to cause harm to Konoha. Everything from my birth until I disappeared is in that scroll, I know damn well what it feels like, more so than you," Kakashi's eye was wide as he took in the information. He knew Naruto had to go to the Hokage tower often, however he didn't expect that was why. He cringed at the news, feeling like a complete arse. He remembered a mention of memories all that time ago, when Naurto had come clean to their sensei about her past, but he didn't realise the extent of Konoha's probing into her mind.

"I'm sorry, I just didn't expect people to come to those kinds of conclusions with the sculpture. I don't like having my emotions on display in front of the whole of Konoha," Naruto smiled softly and turned to look see the Hokage monument, the four-faced mountain looming in front of the Kyūbi. She could feel Kurama's unbalanced chakra within her, writhing with agony within her coils, the confusion unsettling.

"I don't see it as such a bad thing Kakashi, you've taught a lot of people some important messages with this masterpiece…and I am so thankful that you did it for us. I'm sure Obito will love it, but he will love rubbing it into your face more so," she chuckled at the thought, moving to stand beside Kakashi. He let a single snicker escape his lips, quietened further by the mask that covered his jaw.

"I look forward to the day he sees it,"

"He definitely will Kakashi, I know he will," she stared into his charcoal eyes, the sadness and worry no doubt a reflection of her own.

"I know."


She waded through thick fog, water pushing and rising against her ankles. Naruto remembered lying down to sleep, but this all felt so real, this had to be real. She pushed forward a little faster, crying out as her foot snagged on a root, falling forward into the murky water that continued to rise around her.

She looked down to her hands, familiar, yet looking like such a distant memory. They were her hands, but not her hands, the hands of an older woman, a woman she no longer was. Looking to the rest of her body, she saw the age, obviously older than the fourteen-year-old body she'd grown into in the past six years in the past. Now however, she was back in the skin of an older woman, her chest and hips larger than she'd grown used to. She stood and looked down, only now noticing her height, unable to compare herself to any of her surroundings as she was alone.

No trees, nothing to gather her wits bar a black shadow that was approaching. Her chakra flared within her, instantly knowing the chakra signature that stalked towards her. Naruto surged forward, struggling to get close to the familiar warmth. She smiled a relieved sigh when she saw him, her breath leaving her in a hiss as she whispered his name, 'Kakashi'.

She breathed in when she saw him fully, unmasked face shadowed by dim light. He'd aged, at least in his mid to late-thirty's, reminding her so much of the Kakashi she had left behind. He didn't stop as he drew closer, a look of severe longing etched on his face and in the way his lithe body stalked towards her.

He didn't stop when he reached her, she felt as one of Kakashi's strong and masculine hands snaked around to palm the small of her back, the other cradling her neck as he pulled her body flush against his own. A small gasp was pulled into her lips, her own fingers automatically twisting into the hair at the base of his skull.

His lips crashed into her own, open and moving as she responded with a hand gripping the hair atop his head and the other fisting his torn shirt at his shoulder. Kakashi breathed a moan into her lips, his right hand sliding from her back and down until it palmed the back of her thigh, coaxing her leg up around his hip.

She responded without thinking, her lips never leaving his as her legs wrapped around his body, his hands beneath her thighs to hold her as close to him as he could. They were all ragged breaths and groping hands, neither willing to let go of the other.

"Never leave me, please don't let me wake up," Naruto suddenly stopped, her clouded mind coming back to her as she stared down at the man in front of her. Her breath mixed with his, her lips so close to Kakashi's, a place she had dreamed of being for so long. So many years had she waited for this moment, for the man she loved to hold her like this, to make love to her, to show that he loved her as well.

"Wake up…?" she said, the confusion in her voice evident as she began to let go of him. As soon as he felt her body begin to slide and move away from his own he gripped her tighter, refusing to let her go.

Kakashi fell to the ground, forcing Naruto on top of him to straddle his hips. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her body close to his. She could feel his stubble scratch her neck, his warm and humid breath sending pleasant shivers across her skin.

"I can't keep losing you, stay with me, let me stay here with you. Please Kami let me stay in this heaven forever," her mind was reeling as this man she'd always respected and looked up to cried into the crook of her neck. She loved that he trusted her enough to show her these emotions, but what he was saying wasn't right, this was her dream, why was he talking about awaking from it?

She scratched her short fingernails across his scalp, her other hand wrapped around his shoulders and holding him to her breast. She knew it was futile to move away, the iron grip around her waist was not one she could escape easily.

"Kakashi?" she whispered, her mind travelling a mile a minute as she thought about what this could mean. She was in her original body, not her seventeen year old self from when she was transported back in time, no this was her true age, this was her twenty-three year old self. She was in her natural body.

"Kakashi…is it really you?" she loosened her arms and leaned back, staring into the deep grey and red eyes of the man she loved, not her teammate, but her sensei.

"Naruto?" he whispered, realisation that she wasn't a figment of his dreamscape caused his red-rimmed eyes to widen, a look of shock and glee gracing his handsome face. He watched as tears welled in her eyes, falling quickly down her face as a cheek splitting grin brightened her face.

"I can't believe it's really you," she leapt forward, her arms wrapping around his shoulders as her body crashed into his. Naruto's joy overwhelmed her as she felt his heart erratically beat against her own, his callused hand against the skin of her back where her shirt had ridden up.

"Naruto where have you been? Where are we? Is this where you've been trapped all this time, all these years?" his breathing quickened as the questions tumbled from his lips. Every bone in his body screamed at him to hold her tight and never let her go, screaming to steal her away from this dank hole and take her back to the hell of what was left of Konoha.

Naruto paused, unsure of how to answer him, unsure as to whether this was really her Kakashi or some sick joke of the mind, made up to torture her already tortured soul.

"Naruto, I see these…visions. They are like memories but not my own, I don't understand. I see you, but it is like we grew up together. It all feels like this amazing dream but I don't know where any of it comes from but it feels so good to have them that I don't care if I am going crazy. I just want you with me again, I…Naruto I…I need you" she'd never seen him ramble like this before. The words were a whirlwind within her mind, a cacophony of good and bad. Was he receiving past Kakashi's memories in dreams? Were they merging into one? Did the future all turn out exactly the same regardless of everything she is doing, and this Kakashi was her past Kakashi grown? She had no idea.

"I'm in the past Kakashi," she stopped, not sure how she should continue. Her mind racing, a headache resonating behind her eyes and steadily moving to encompass her entire head.

"No, no you are not a thing of the past, you will forever be my present, my future. Please Naruto, you must come back with me, I can't lose you, I need you," she shook her head, shocked and unsure. He hadn't understood her, she needed to elaborate, she needed to tell him everything. However, as she looked down into his pleading eyes, all she wanted to do was kiss him again, feel his entire body against hers, within hers. She wanted her chakra to mix with his and bond for the rest of her life, she wanted him and touch her and never let go.

The tears fell from her eyes as she leaned forward and placed a soft kiss against his forehead, her salty tears rolling onto his skin. Kakashi's eyes fluttered closed at the light touch, his chest swelling as his throat closed with happiness.

"I don't think I can come back with you Kakashi," she whispered sadly, his breath leaving him in a 'whoosh' of crushing disappointment.

"Don't say that, I'll get you out of here, I'll bring you home," Naruto's eyes slid shut, clamping tightly as her head hung low.

"No Kakashi, I am in the past. I'm not stuck here, I was transported back in time…" she didn't stop talking, pouring her heart and soul to the man she knows will understand the pain she's been going through. It was hours before she'd finished her skimming of her life for the past 6 years.

Kakashi sat across from her as silent as the grave, listening intently as the words trembled from her lips. By the end, his eyes were closed and his head was cradled in his hands, the dread that had been creeping through him with each word she spoke had grown to an all-consuming black darkness within him.

"Please say something," Naruto couldn't stand his silence any longer, her hands shaking from the suspense of his deflating gaze.

"I was an arse as a child, wasn't I?" Naruto laughed, her eyes dry as she'd cried all of her tears.

"You wouldn't believe the sense I've been knocking into you," Kakashi smiled an almost pitying sneer, imagining the hell she would have put him through as a child.

"I feel like I am seeing things already, though I wonder if I'll wake up one day and see this beautiful world your creating…" he didn't need to continue, as his mere presence solidified Naruto's fears that her precious people from her time were still suffering. Such concepts surpassed her level of knowledge, unsure if everyone from her time would ever get to see the hopefully peaceful time she was creating. Dwelling on the topic would reduce her to nothing by a seething mess of frustration, knowing they were suffering.

Kakashi looked to her chest then, the lightning bolt necklace infused with past Kakashi's chakra pulsing, molten blues and gold whirling within the glass.

"I know this…I saw it in a dream. I can feel it, my own chakra…but, different. It feels…warmer" before she could reply, she felt a tug on her chest, a powerful rip that left her winded. She gasped for breath and looked up to Kakashi, her own fear reflected in his widened eyes. They both scrambled towards the other, hands outstretched, their fingers only inches apart.

"Kakashi!" she cried, her voice airy as she tried with all her might to hold onto him for just a second longer, to feel his warmth beneath the tips of her fingers. However she felt nothing but air as she was pulled away from him.

"Naruto! I lo-"

She woke up.


Naruto sat by the monument that morning, well before sunrise as she waited for the rays of warmth to shine across the village. Her arms were wrapped around her waist, the ridges of her ribs felt sickening, reminding her of the times of malnourishment as an orphan. It felt like eons ago, like two lifetimes.

She chuckled at the thought, nothing about her life seemed to be easy. Standing up felt like a struggle right now, the smallest of tasks were a pain. She blew out a sigh of humid air, shivering as the days began to grow colder, waiting for young Itachi to come and tell her about his time in the academy.


A family travelled through the thick forests surrounding the walls of Konoha, an older man leading the group of four, an aging woman with grey-white hair by his side. Behind them walked a young woman with a young, two-year-old child slung across her back. Her steps were sluggish and slow-moving as her tired and haggard body betrayed her, a large scar marring a once beautiful face. A Konoha Jōnin team with his Chūnin team of three guarded the group. The three-high ranking Chūnins had made a name for themselves during the war with their comradery and teamwork that Konoha, this recent mission they'd hoped would have been a walk in the park. Now that the war had finally come to a close, the team sensei officially wanted to nominate every single one of them to be Jōnin's like himself, considering they should have been promoted years ago during the war.

However, when a team made solely of people with kekkei genkai's were sent into Mizu no Kuni, regardless of rank, they were just asking for trouble. The Ino–Shika–Chō team were walking into a pit of hell for people like them, and they couldn't help but resent being given the gruelling mission.

They were all weary and beaten, eyes sunken as they approached the gates of Konohagakure with all the energy they had left in their bones.

"Identification," said the young Chūnin behind the northern gates booth.

"Sakamoto Goichi, 004510. Akimichi Chōza, 006490. Nara Shikaku, 006491. Yamanaka Inoichi, 006492." the Jōnin, Sakamoto, listed the names and registration numbers of their team before motioning for his students to continue through the gates, directing them to the hospital to tend to Shikaku's wounds. The young man now sporting 2 large gashes on the right side of his face.

"My name is Yuki Aoi, this is my wife Sayori, daughter Ayako, and my grandson Haku. We come seeking refuge under the guidance of Uzumi Naruto and Namikaze Minato. We wish to relocate to Konoha and start a new life."


Namikaze Minato and Nohara Rin walked down the darkly lit tunnels beneath the Hokage tower together, their skin had the feeling of grime in the humid air. Before long they reach a doorway where their surroundings completely changed, the air was cooler and clean, more light shining as the fire jutsu's lined the passages. It was more comfortable than the old dungeons they had just walked through, but they were still dungeons.

Rin's heart was racing as they moved ever closer to their destination, her palms clammy despite the now dry air they breathed. She was nearly as tall as their sensei now, her height skyrocketing in the last few months, her head stopping only 2 inches short of her mentor, standing at 5 feet, 8 inches. She felt older than ever before, the world no longer as bright as it used to be.

"Is it bad sensei?" she asked, eyes focused on the door ahead of them. Minato's own eyes were hardened, worry evident as he looked to his student.

"I am hoping we can do something," he replied eventually, fingering the seals in his hands. He'd been down here numerous times since the Kyūbi attack a week ago, wracking his brain for anything that could possibly help. He hadn't wanted to bring his young student down here, but he didn't feel he had a choice. They were all teammates.

Minato opened the door with a touch of his hand, his chakra activating the numerous seals that kept Obito's chambers impenetrable to anyone other than himself. The large rectangular door encompassed a circular seal in it's centre, the dragons etch on it's outer edge menacing with their snarls. Their jaws began to open, releasing a serpentine coil that laced between their mighty maws. The coil unwound, a blue light emanating from the deep grooves that ebbed and swirled within the epicentre of the seal. Eventually the light dimmed, the dragons slowed until they looked to be in a deep slumber, and a low click ended the ominous dance.

The door began to open slowly, the dim light inside showing a lone figure, kneeling in the centre of the room. His breaths were deep and haggard, his head hunched down to rest in his hands. Rin noticed his hands then, his long and slender fingers were laced in black ink that moved in thin rings around each knuckle, until a thick, intricate band snaked around his wrists.

Rin looked at him in wonder, the man in front of her was not what she remembered. He looked tall, possibly as tall as their sensei…and he looked…whole, fit, muscled. He wasn't brawny, but he was undoubtedly strong and agile.

"Obito?" she whispered. His breathing hitched, his head snapping up to zone his swirling Sharingan onto the duo in front of him. The three tomoe of his one sharingan spun uncontrollably clockwise then anti-clockwise, over and over again in complete turmoil. His face morphed into one of complete rage, his snarl animalistic as he charged forward.

Rin's breath hitched within her chest, eyes wide as her teammate sored towards her. Minato stayed still, his eyes sad as he watched his former student crumple to the ground, the seals activating as he was wrenched backwards by his wrists. Obito collided with the wall behind him, an enraged growl erupting from his lips.

"I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" he ran forward again, the seal once again activating and pulling him backwards. This happened again, and again, and again.

"Obito please" she whispered again, tears springing to Rin's eyes, her throat sealing off as she watched her teammate destroy himself with animalistic rage.

"I just want to kill" he moaned out in sadistic glee, the words drawn out. A crooked smile morphed his once bright features into a terrifying mask, his battered and scarred skin across the right side of his face taut from the strain.

"Obito please" she said again, louder as he continued his insanity. Blood pouring from his nose where it had connected with the ground with a sickening crunch.

"Murder, murder, every day. Kill the fox, it's heart to slay," he broke off with maniacal laughter and charged forward again with his hands outstretched to his teammate, finger's curved like menacing claws.

"Obito STOP!" the man skidded to a halt, the tomoe finally resting within his irises. Terror replaced the sadistic look in his eye as he and Rin stared at one another. The seals began to shine blue, once again propelling him backwards. This time however, he didn't fight it as he careened across the room, stopping suddenly when his spine collided with the battered wall behind him, exposing the chakra bars that made up its foundation.

Obito looked at his surroundings, the rubble and blood from his rampage scattered around him. He didn't mean to do it, he didn't know what happened, but he knew it was his doing.

"Please," he whispered as tears flowed freely down his cheeks. He said it again, louder this time as his one red eye faded back to dark brown, the left eyelid hollowing into the empty socket within his skull.

"I'm so, so sorry. I don't mean it I swear," Rin went to move forward, her instinct willing her to protect her teammate as the pain threatened to overtake him. Minato's hand shot out and held her elbow with a vice grip, forcing her to stay where she was. She looked to her sensei, her own pain evident on her face as she looked into her sensei's hard and determined eyes.

"Obito…I want your permission for Inochi Yamanaka to look inside your head, just so as we can get to the bottom of these black outs. I want you back with us, your family. We miss you," Obito's eye was wide as the tears continued to ebb and flow haphazardly across his scarred skin.

"Please," he whispered again. Minato raised his hand then, welcoming Obito to come forward. The boy stood from his position then, towering his sensei. He stood over 6 feet tall, resembling more a man than a soon to be 15-year-old boy. He shuffled forward with caution, eyes fixated on his sensei's hand, his own outstretched. He shuffled closer, 3 metres…2 metres…1 metre. It was then he saw the terror in his teammates eyes that felt his world turn.

Terror. She's terrified of him. No, she is terrified for him, not of him. No, it is of him, she is so scarred of him. He is scarred. Disfigured. Pathetic. Weak. So Pitiful. A monster. Look at him, scared as a beaten kitten, looking to a man that wants to…harm him. Yes. This man doesn't want to help him, he wants to get inside his head, destroy him. Monster. Monster. Monster!

"Sensei," Rin's voice shook as she saw the tomoe begin to twitch erratically again in his eyes. Minato dived forward then and grabbed onto Obito's wrist, a seal beginning to erupt from his hand, travelling up Obito's forearm.

The boy screamed and animalistic howl as he wretched his arm away from his sensei's. His eye was deranged again, and that criminal grin twisted his face into one of madness. He jumped backwards and crouched, looking at his past sensei with a Cheshire smile.

"Come get me!" spit sprayed from his smiling lips, his tongue slowly sliding across his top lip, tasting the blood that flowed from his nose.

Minato's eyes hardened as he stepped forward into the ring of his containment seal. The black-haired boy shot forward with incredible speed, manic laughter roaring from his lips. Minato released his kunai across the room, the three-pronged blades securing themselves easily into the stone around them. The pair darted around the small room with quick flashes, Obito moving with incredible speed.

They couldn't use any ninjutsu in here, the chakra and seals impregnated into every fibre of the room interfering with their chakra. Minato darted forward again, reaching out and grabbing a kunai he'd placed on the ground and flinging it with expert precision at Obito's blind side. The boy twisted to see the kunai, moving directly into Minato's path and allowing him to place the necessary seal onto Obito's skin. He made contact with the boys right forearm, gripping tightly on the boy's skinf. The pale flesh began to bubble and morph, sliding off of his exposed musculature. Minato's eyes widened in surprise, parrying an attack from Obito's right leg.

It was then that Minato truly saw the difference in his student's right arm, the ashen skin stark white against his otherwise naturally tanned skin. Someone had replaced his right limb with some kind of organic material, the cells morphing as they wished. He needed to place the seal on the other arm, thankful that the tanned skin didn't seem capable of disrupting his containment seal.

The boy darted to the right, his now seal-less right hand reaching outside of the containment circle, his long fingers gripping the front of Rin's shirt tightly, dragging her into the array. He flipped her around until her body was flush with the front of his, using her as a human shield.

"Pretty, pretty lady," he said, drawing out the end of the sentence with a laugh. She could feel her chakra in turmoil inside her, the seal interfering with her normally precise control. She held onto his arms as Minato paused in front of the pair.

"Obito, you don't want to hurt her," Obito laughed.

"My. Name. Is. TOBI!" his new name ended with a high, pain induced scream as his right forearm suddenly snapped with a sickeningly loud cccrack! Rin twisted the broken left arm in her hands as she swivelled with the grace of a dancer, flipping until she was outside of his grasp. Obito twisted with blind rage and backhanded the girl across her cheek, missing her temple as she'd moved at the last minute to avoid the brunt of the blow.

She could feel her cheek throbbing as she collided with the ground, the arching bone of her cheek obviously broken. She flipped up onto her feet without delay, just as Obito's foot connected with the ground where her head has been. Minato dashed forward, using the distraction to his advantage. Grabbing the boys broken arm, he twisted, forcing him to whirl away from Rin. He activated his seal then, the ink spiralling up his arm once again.

He screamed into Minato's face, his morphing right arm slashing towards his old sensei. As Minato went to stop the blow, there was a spray of blood and the arm flailed off course. Rin threw her newly bloodied kunai to her sensei, the man catching it easily, spinning the hilt to collide with his student's head. The boy's eye rolled into the back of it's socket, collapsing into unconsciousness.

Minato caught the boy as well as he could, and lowered his body whilst keeping his hand planted on the boy's arm. The seal took time to contain the boy. They waited another 15 seconds before the ink black lines finally crawled up to Obito's head and created a halo around his temples, keeping the boy in a deep sleep.

"Thank you for your help Rin," he said softly, the girl's cheek swollen and bloodied. She sighed and shuddering breath and helped her sensei manoeuvre her teammate to the edge of the containment seal.

"Why'd you choose me sensei? I am not even close to being the strongest in our team, I am not even a Jonin, I don't have clearance for any of this," Minato stepped outside of the cell, pressing an intercom on the wall and asking for the T&I squad to come retrieve Uchiha Obito's body for mind mapping.

"Because Rin, Obito always loved you and I believe he still does. Somewhere in there is our teammate, and I needed…no, I wanted his permission to map his mind. I haven't been able to get him sentient enough until I brought you. That was the first time since he's been here that I've seen Obito, our Obito," the tears that had been in her eyes previously sprang forth again, her emotions swirling with as much turmoil as her chakra had been inside the cell. She too, loved her teammate, she'd never really realised it earlier, but she did. She wanted him back, she wanted Obito home.

"We'll get him back," she nodded, her resolve unbreakable as she watch the T&I department take away her teammate in a large container cell.

"We'll get him back," she mimicked, the pair looking at each other with pure determination.


Minato was exhausted as he finally came home that night. As he opened the door, the smells of Kushina's cooking was pungent and welcoming. He heard chatter throughout the house, and the crying laughter of a bubbly baby. His baby. He smiled widely as he walked further into the house to see his family in the living room: Kakashi, Rin, Naruto, Kushina and Menma.

The baby's hair was the lightest mop of strawberry blonde whisps, the red more prominent in this little one than his daughter's golden blonde. He smiled to his daughter then, his smile strained as he saw her ribs ripple beneath her shirt as she shook a little toad toy in front of her brother. Kakashi noticed his sensei's strained smile and nodded to the man as he sat beside Naruto, never wanting to leave the girls side until she was back to her normal strength. He didn't really think he wanted to leave her side then either.

Rin sat next to Kushina, her cheek horribly bruised but mended. The four of them stood as he walked into the room, Kushina picking up little Menma in her arms and handing him to her husband. He coddled the baby, flicking his son's nose with his finger until a brilliant laugh erupted into the air.

Another knock sounded at the door, Naruto moving forward before Kushina darted around her husband in her place. Roaring laughter sounded has Tsunade and Jirayia tumbled into the room.

Minato looked around with warmth at everyone around him. He felt so warm on this cold November evening as most of his precious people surrounded him, crammed within his home.

'We'll get him back' he thought as he pictured the one missing Shinobi in his life.

'We'll get him back'


Long time no see my lovely readers and reviewers. Long time no see.