So, here's a piece that I decided to try out. It's been sitting on my computer for a while, and I have a fair number of chapters planned.
Basically, it's a comedy/adventure/parody type of fic with timetravel and all sorts of weird things, I guess. It'll follow canon (for the most part), but it will be written full of chapters that could basically be seen as 'filler'. Many times there will seem to be no plot, but there is one. It's just going to take a long time to appear properly, is all, and the actual plot (or hints to what's really going on) may not become fully clear until much, much later. It will take a slight twist at the end, that people may see coming or may not.
I have already completed eight full chapters, and will be starting the ninth soon. If I can keep up a good chapter writing schedule, this shall be updated once a week.
Let's see how this turns out, then.
Disclaimer: Naruto is the full property of Masashi Kishimoto, and Shounen Jump magazine, Japan. This is a non-profit piece of fanwork.
18/8/12: Thank you to 'the DragonBard' for pointing out that Tobi and Madara are not the same person. I will keep his identity as Madara (for this fic) until his real name is revealed, so that I can change it.
8/9/12: With chapter 600 out, and Tobi confirming that he is who he is, names have now been changed.
The Wrongness in Konoha
From the moment that he woke up, Naruto knew that there was something very wrong. He made his bed for a change and searched through the small fridge for breakfast, all while the strange 'off' feeling of wrongness clouded around him in a thick haze. He pulled out a carton of milk and checked the expiry date, just in case that was what was very wrong. Unfortunately, the milk was good for almost another four days, or so, so that was not the problem. He drank out of the carton and shut the fridge door.
Naruto stared around his small apartment, still thinking hard. His apartment was small, messy, but very homely at the same time. He glanced over at the sink and his mouth opened in slight surprise before smiling wide.
"I know!" he called. "I didn't wash the dishes last night! That's what's wrong!" He paused and touched his throat. His voice had sounded strangely very high-pitched. "Hmm? A cold?"
No, somehow the feeling of wrongness did not fade. Whatever it was, it was not the dishes, nor was it a cold. Naruto placed the now-empty carton on his small wooden table and left to dress. He performed his morning activities vacantly, and he almost flooded his bathroom by filling the sink with too much water and letting it overflow.
He searched for his forehead protector, but could not find heads-nor-tails of the damn thing, so he just shrugged and left without it. It was unlike him to do so, but he was too busy thinking to care. Outside was warm too, very warm, and it brought an unexpected smile to his whiskered face. Then, the smile dropped completely as a stronger feeling of wrong swept over him.
What was it? He looked around frantically as he sped walked through his village. Konoha looked the same as it ever did, if not just a little 'newer' than he last remembered. Buildings were still there, a little less worn than normal, the forests of trees were still alive and growing incredibly strong, and, over in the distance, Naruto could see that the Hokage Monument still existed, though slightly 'fresher' and lacking something, something important that he should not have forgotten, but could not recall. Still, everything looked to be perfectly fine.
But something was still very wrong.
Perhaps it was the way that the sun shone strangely much warmer on an early winter's day, or maybe it was just how the birds, large flocks of them, had changed their tunes to a calmer call and whistle. Was it the way that the people in the village all appeared to be grumpier than normal for no obvious reasons, or was it how Kakashi seemed young, fit and healthy while walking down another street carrying a sweet and bouncy tune in his whistle.
Naruto blinked; he could never recall Kakashi ever being that happy.
Strangely, though, the thought of a super jovial Kakashi did not disturb Naruto as much as it probably should have. No, Naruto still needed to figure out what was off about his wonderful village.
He decided that it would do him no harm to ask someone.
Naruto spied Ichiraku Ramen and approached it immediately. He took a seat at the bench and called out to the old chef behind the counter.
"Hey old chef!"
Teuchi, the old chef, turned around and his wrinkled face lit up with a grin. "Oh, Naruto! Care for a meal? Want the usual?"
Naruto smiled. Talking over a bowl of steaming hot noodles and broth sounded like an excellent idea to him. "Yes please!" he called happily. "Also, I've come to ask you something."
"Hmm? What is it?" Teuchi asked, setting immediately to work on his favourite customer's meal.
"Have you noticed anything that seemed, you know, kinda off about today?"
Teuchi gave a small chuckle. "What? You actually saying 'please' was strange enough on its own."
"Old chef, I'm serious."
"So am I," Teuchi said, chuckling again. "So, what have you been up to, then?"
Naruto frowned at the change of subject, but he just had to pass it off as the old chef knowing nothing. "I've been training quite a lot," he said. "There's been a lot of fighting lately. Even I've put my all in to fight."
"Training's good . . . but fighting, Naruto? What's up there?"
"The Great Ninja War."
"War?" Teuchi stared over, stunned. He then laughed and placed a dragon-print bowl plus a pair of fused wooden chopsticks down in front of Naruto. "You have one heck of an imagination, kiddo."
Naruto frowned and broke the chopsticks. "Time to eat," he said, but did not attack his noodles at all. "I didn't imagine it." It bugged him, he remembered not planning to return to Konoha once the war was over, but, for the life of him, he could not remember his reasons why. He thought again, why was he back in Konoha, anyway?
"So, did your side win the war?" Teuchi asked, obviously just humouring Naruto.
Naruto sighed; he knew that Teuchi did not believe him for some reason. "If I'm still alive, then we obviously did win." He glanced down at his noodles. "Why haven't you heard of it, yet? It was against some crazy old guy named Tobi. I thought that it had become all common knowledge by now."
Suddenly, it hit him. The reason why Naruto was not planning to return back to Konoha was because he could not return.
'Wait, why does Konoha still exist. . .?'
"Yo, a bowl of Ginger Pork for me please!"
"Coming right up, sir," Teuchi greeted the newcomer.
Naruto's breath caught in his throat as he stared over to the man beside him. The man looked familiar, very familiar and very sickly; he had the same cough and same dark eye-rings as a certain exam proctor that Naruto could remember from some time ago. Naruto's face paled several shades as he stood up and backed away.
"N-no way! Y-y-you're d-dead!" he stuttered, gaining both the attentions of Hayate and Teuchi. "You're dead!"
Naruto took another step backwards, before turning around to run as fast as he could. He did not plan to stick around and share lunch with a dead man; in fact, he did not even want to be in a village that was no longer standing. His ramen was left forgotten on the counter, broken wooden chopsticks no longer by its side.
"What's up with him?" Hayate asked, mostly unfazed. He had seen many strange things in his lifetime, and most of them he would rather not remember. Not for anyone or for any prize.
"I'm not really sure, but apparently you're dead," Teuchi answered, slightly shocked.
They waited for a moment longer, as if waiting for Naruto to return and laugh at them for falling for an exaggerated fear prank, before shrugging and starting up a casual conversation. The weather was lovely and the economy was good, so there was plenty to talk about to help take their minds off the very imaginative blonde boy.
Naruto stopped running as soon as he reached the base of the Hokage Monument. His face, though still very pale, was slightly flushed on the cheeks, and there was sweat beading on his forehead. It was not because he was tired, oh no he was far from tired, it was from his fear of his discovery.
Oh, how he wished to the gods that he was wrong.
Somehow, Naruto had managed to travel back in time, but how he did and why he did were both completely unknown to him. All that mattered was that it had somehow really happened, most of the people that were dead would now be back alive, and he was back in his twelve-year old body. He was surprised that he had not managed to notice that little detail back when he was getting dressed.
"I really need to get back to my own time," he said, gripping the sides of his head as he stared at his feet. He could not go back through everything again, that would all be pointless, and he had to help everyone defeat Obito back in his time. They were in the very middle of a crucial war, and they needed him.
But what if he could not return? What then? He would have to survive through everything all over again, Sasuke's betrayal, Orochimaru being alive, the Akatsuki still formed and at large, everything. He did not believe that he would be able to do that; he would surely go mad.
All those missions set by the Daimyo's wife. . .
He would definitely go mad.
"Okay, calm down Naruto, let's think clearly," he whispered to himself. "First thing's first, I need to figure out when this is. Let's see, Hayate's alive, so this is before the third part of the chuunin exams. . . But when is it before the exams? I'll check a calendar later." He ticked a finger. "Two: I need to try and remember how it was, exactly, that I wound up here." He ticked another finger. "And, three: I need to figure out how the hell that I'm going to get back to my time." He ticked his third finger and frowned. His hand fell to his side and he allowed a long groan to escape his lips. "So, how did I get here?"
A firm hand clamped down on Naruto's shoulder. "I don't know, how about you tell me."
Naruto let out a startled scream and jumped back. The offender had been Iruka, and the older man did not look very happy at all. Naruto calmed down and stared at Iruka curiously, partially wondering why he had not managed to sense the other approaching him at all. He also was not too sure as to why Iruka did not look very pleased, so he wondered if he, his past self, had done anything recently that could piss off his previous teacher. Cautiously, Naruto glanced up to the Hokage Monument, searching for any signs of graffiti, before sighing thankfully. That was not it. Then, Naruto shrugged as no answer seemed to come to mind.
"What's up, Master Iruka?"
Naruto seemed to have hit a point there, he figured, as he watched Iruka's face grow a shade darker than before. He watched as Iruka's shoulders also started to shake, and he bit down hard on his bottom lip. That reaction was never very good. He glanced back up to the monument again just in case he, for some reason, had yet to see the paint.
"Naruto, do you know where you're supposed to be right now?" Iruka asked, his voice also shaking.
Naruto frowned and folded his arms. 'On the battlefield!' was how he had wanted to answer, but he had to choose his words very carefully. "Not here, Master Iruka?"
Iruka twitched again, and Naruto knew that he had made a bad move. "That's right, Naruto, but where?"
"Okay, then, what day is it?"
". . .I was hoping that you would tell me," Naruto let slip out. His eyes widened and he slapped his hands over his mouth. Smooth move, Uzumaki, smooth move. Such smart-arsed comments had only proven to place him in much more trouble in the past, and he thought that he would have learned that by now.
He saw Iruka's eye twitch, and he took a step backwards.
"You're meant to be at the academy, Naruto," Iruka said in a scarily calm voice. "You haven't turned up for a good three days, so I decided to go and check on you, thinking that you may just be unwell, but I find you here. . ."
It finally clicked for Naruto, and his eyebrows rose as though he had been enlightened. "Oh!"
Iruka snapped. "Don't you 'oh' me!"
"It's not that, Master Iruka," Naruto assured him. "I was just trying to figure out what day it was, exactly." He stared upwards thoughtfully. "So that's when I am. Today was when I painted the Hokage Monument."
"You painted the what?" Iruka said, a layer of disbelief coating his voice, and stared up at the monument in question.
Naruto shook his head and held his hands up harmlessly. "No no no no no," he said. "I meant to say that today was when I was meant to paint it. . . or, once did paint it. . . uhh, should have. . ." He glanced over at Iruka's unamused face and folded-arms-pose. "You know what, I'll stop myself right there before I dig myself a deeper hole."
Iruka clamped his hands roughly around Naruto's middle and lifted him up to be carried under the arm. "So you should, so you should," he said as he started to walk back in the direction of the academy. "You're late for class, anyway."
Naruto found it odd, but he did not struggle. Oh, he knew the consequences that came with struggling; so, even if he did find it terribly embarrassing and strange with being carried like a piece of luggage at his age, he knew that he would just have to grin and bear it. He looked twelve again and no one else knew any better. It was also highly unlikely that anyone, especially Iruka, would believe him if he told them the truth.
There had to be a way around that, some way to convince them that he really was from the future.
They received many strange stares from the villagers as well as other ninja as they continued back towards the academy, Naruto still being carried. Even the Great Third Hokage was watching them from the tower window while on his short break. The hokage shifted his weight a little and stared over at the Hokage Monument, the pride of the village, all the previous hokage that came and went with time. His face was up there too, nestled comfortably between the second and the fourth.
Normally, staring at the monument filled him with pride and determination, the desire to perform his best as a leader to his village, but the only thing that he could think of today, while looking at it, was how strangely dull the monument seemed.
'Needs some kind of spiffing up,' he thought, before returning to his desk to continue his work.
Naruto was roughly dropped down onto the wooden floor, at the front of the class, and was tied with rope to keep him still. He glanced about at the other students and frowned, wondering how Iruka thought that this would be humiliating on any level other than pathetic, especially for the number one attention seeker in all of Konoha.
Well, Naruto liked to believe that that position belonged to Sasuke. It should not have been so difficult to give a small 'smile' on occasion instead of that stupid smug 'I am better than you' smirk. Even though he often would happily consider Sasuke to be his best friend, younger Sasuke still managed to get on his nerves something terrible. Quickly, he searched the sea of snoopy faces to see if he could find that same 'superior' face. He could also see many young faces that he could remember. There was Ino sitting beside Sakura; the girls were whispering to each other and were either failing to hide it or just did not care. Kiba was more to the left and was rocking back and forth on his chair. In a few minutes, Kiba's chair would slip and he would be on the ground swearing. Shino sat quietly in the corner, not doing much, and Hinata sat next to him, blushing and shifting nervously. As soon as the girl caught Naruto's eyes on her, she squeaked and stared down at her desk, almost the colour of a ripe tomato. Then there was Shikamaru, near passed out and snoring, sitting next to Chouji, who was hiding a packet of crisps under his desk and munching whenever the opportunity arose for him to do so.
Strangely, though, it appeared that Sasuke was absent; Naruto could not see the kid anywhere.
Had Sasuke been absent, on this same day, all of those years ago?
"—Do you understand, Naruto?"
Naruto quickly glanced up to Iruka and eyed the questioning stare that was on his teacher's face. If Naruto could recall correctly, he had managed to ignore the exact same speech before.
"What?" he asked.
Iruka's face darkened. "So, you weren't listening?"
"I was looking for someone," Naruto said, answering truthfully. Perhaps if he was honest, he would not get into as much trouble.
It turned out that he was wrong.
"Well, if you think that staring about amongst your peers would be more beneficial to you than actually listening to your teacher, you, and the rest of the class, may repeat today's lesson, the one which you so very kindly skipped. This way, we'll see just how popular you can really get."
Naruto involuntarily flinched. He was trying to avoid having this happen again. A quick glance back at the rest of the class proved that they were all angry with him as well, which was definitely not what he had been aiming for at all. If he had to re-do everything, he could have at least made himself much more well liked among his peers.
Everything really was repeating over for him, even if he did change the cause a little.
On Iruka's orders, one by one Naruto's classmates formed a line. Naruto tried to sneak in at the end, but he was pulled straight into line near the front by a very angry young boy whose name escaped him. Naruto did not remember everything from back then.
Their task was to use the transformation technique to turn into Iruka.
Naruto hated this task, and he hated how the class were all glaring at him. He wanted to scream that it was not his fault, that he did not know that he had been hurled a number of years back into the past only to encounter a patience lacking Iruka. It was not his fault, but no one would ever believe him.
Oh well, at least Sasuke was not in class to also mock him.
"Naruto, you're up!" Iruka called from the front of the class.
Naruto glanced around him only to notice that what Iruka had said had been the truth. He was now the first in line.
"Wait a minute . . . some of the people that were in front of me are now behind me. . ."
Naruto groaned and glared at the other students. They had all snuck around to the end.
Naruto clapped his hands together, formed the transformation jutsu sign, and then became Iruka. The class fell silent, and Naruto turned around to give the students, at the back, the bird. Finally pleased with himself, Naruto dispelled the jutsu and marched straight out of the classroom.
He had blown everyone away with his incredible skills that he had spent years honing, he thought. He would never be the dead-last again, and was now a prodigy, admittedly a cheating prodigy. Well, it did not matter to him; he was done with class and was off to figure out how to return to his own time.
Iruka and the class continued to stare at the doorway through which Naruto had exited. Something had seemed well off about what had just happened. So far off, in fact, that Iruka had not even bothered to either stop Naruto or bring him back to the class.
At last the silence was broken.
"Strange, for some reason I was expecting him to turn into a girl. . ." Iruka said, scratching his head lightly.
The rest of the class nodded in agreement.
Thank you greatly for reading. I hope that you enjoyed the first chapter.