A.N.: This has been sitting in my computer for a while, and recently I've been inspired to finish it so here we GO! Lol
Chapter One: The Naming
When Naruto woke up it felt as if the world had come into existence once more but there was a haze of confusion hanging over her. She couldn't remember where she was or how she had gotten there. In a terrifying moment she almost forgot herself entirely before bits and pieces of her memories started to settle into place. She remembered fighting Sasuke at the valley of the End, the pain of his hand piercing through her shoulder.
With dread she remembered the sensation of being carried on someone's back, with startling clarity Naruto remembered her first day in Otogakure. She remembered the excruciating hours, days, weeks, months that followed as if she was there once more. She remembered the experiments, the utter hopeless feeling of true despair and burning hatred of silver hair. Idly she remembered that it was because of what they had done to her that her hair was now blood red as opposed to her birth sunny blonde.
With shaking a shaking hand Naruto pressed against the closed eyelid of her right eye, the distinct feeling of a needle entering it as vivid as if it had just happened moments ago. The Rinnegan had been a 'gift' from the time she had spent with Orochimaru and Kabuto. It had been an experiment to see what the effects of Sasuke's genetic sequence would do to her. The Rinnegan had been an unplanned side effect.
Her memories were coming quicker now, jumbling up in no particular order only serving to confuse her more. Snippets of training with Jiraiya after her escape from 'hell'. Snap shots of fighting Pain and meeting her father. Then it was back to 'hell' and the feel of Kabuto's hand on her, touching her, violating her. Then it was killing Sasuke, the feel of the blood on her hands and the look of utter surprise in his eyes.
The hazy recollections of a desperate fight with Tobi, or Madara, or whoever that Uchiha is and then nothing. Vague feelings of pain, of fighting to keep herself together like suddenly her body wanted to just disintegrate along with everything Naruto ever was or could be. It was a disconcerting experience and the gaps in her memories didn't help her any.
Finally deciding that the only way to discover what had happened was to start with opening her eyes (suddenly realizing she had them closed) Naruto braced for anything. What she wasn't expecting was to see the brown color of the ceiling above her and the quiet that greeted her. Slowly she tried to sit up, but found her body to be terribly sore resisting any movement. Then came the feeling of being considerably smaller then she was used to. This of course made her start to panic and hyperventilate. Promptly she blacked out.
Waking up in Uzushiogakure over three years ago had been a shock to the system. Naruto had eventually accepted that she was either in the past or some alternate reality since she knew that Uzu had been destroyed before she had been born. Waking up in Uzu hadn't been as shocking as waking up in a six year olds body (a rough guess)…that of course had taken some adjustment since she remembered being considerably older before. At least twenty though with her shattered memory Naruto couldn't be sure.
She had been widely accepted as an Uzumaki from the start; which had surprised her somewhat. In the past three years she had learned a lot about her clan, their various abilities and even managed to become a genin of Uzu. Her sensei Aiko was everything she had hoped Kakashi would have been on her first genin team, kind, patient, and didn't favor any of her students more than the other. Aiko was an Uzumaki, so she had the famous red hair and pretty gray eyes that was typical in the clan. Her small slight build was deceptive making her seem weaker than she really was and she was an accomplished seal Master. Aiko had taught her things about seals that she would never had even dreamed of and had never touched with Jiraiya.
Her teammates Isamu Uyamau and Hiroshi Seijitsuna were everything she had hoped team seven would have been. They were the family that she had never had; they supported on another and helped each other. Both boys were actually physically older than her at thirteen and they were protective of her…often teasing her called her imouto (little sister). Isamu had dark navy blue hair and brown eyes; he was a chakra sensor so he was the scout of their team. Hiroshi had black hair and red eyes; he was something of a pretty boy. He actually reminded Naruto of Kurenai a lot since he had a similar appearance and also specialized in genjutsu.
Since he was a genjutsu specialist Hiroshi was the long-range fighter on the team, Isamu was mid range-support fighter, and that left Naruto being the heavy hitter. Exactly where she wanted to be since she had never really managed to stop her habit of rushing in head first into battle. Since she was something of a chakra monster and trained her body to an insane degree Naruto knew she had the strength to back up her brashness. Even with a war going on Uzu felt like more of a home to her than Konoha had ever managed to and that made her an odd mix of sad and happy.
However, the past had told her that the day would come when something would destroy her new home and she hoped she would be prepared enough to save Uzu. Still it was very hard for her to keep things straight and so she trained every day trying to regain the abilities she had lost getting here. However the disorientation hadn't left her completely since Naruto knew she couldn't rely on what she thought she knew. Naruto couldn't help her confusion since she had to get used to a lot of new things, and her new limitations.
When she had first awakened Naruto hadn't realized that Kurama had gone…or disappeared until she had tried to get in contact with him. All that was left was his power and a vague feeling of him…just not the demon himself. She had a few theories the leading one being that they had merged so completely as to become one. It would explain her now violet eye that had once been a stunning blue. Bitterly she touched her right eye feeling the cool plate of her headband, the Rinnegan was a powerful weapon but she refused to rely on it.
Getting used to her new life in Uzu had been really hard at first but Naruto had managed to do it. Living in the Uzumaki compound had been very surreal, being surrounded by family had helped her move on from the hurts of the past…or the future. It was hard to contemplate the future now, since she knew there very well might be another her running around soon. The ramifications of that she still hadn't completely worked out.
None of that mattered at the moment Isamu had sensed them, the army hot on their heels trying to keep them from warning the village. The look in Aiko-sensei's eyes told Naruto that they wouldn't make it, at least not together. Without a thought about the future Naruto dropped down to face the enemy yelling, "Warn the village I'll give you as much time as I can." They had no time to argue, no time to stop and no time to say goodbye. Naruto tensed ready to defend her new village, her new team, and ready to sacrifice her new life doing it.
She raised her hands in a cross sign, twenty copies spread out around her to set up traps to delay the enemy. She summoned another forty to work together with her to actively stop them. When the first party broke through the tree dread filled her stomach, there was twenty she could see, all were higher ranking then her. Naruto squared her shoulders though knowing that ranking didn't really matter anyway.
Not one to wait Naruto ran towards them meeting them head on with her kage bunshin, pops sounded around her and the sound of blood hitting the ground. She flashed between them using their numbers against them, and using her speed get to them before they could get to her. Wrapping her legs around one's neck, snapping it, using the motion to push the body into his teammate sliding her kunai across his throat on the way down. Repetition, repetition, a lifetime of experience kept her moving smoothly from one to the next killing with precision.
Panting, blood, the squish of something sharp impacting against something soft, the crack of bone, the soft pop of bunshin, and an overwhelming need to give her team time. In another time, another place, her team may have not seen the enemy coming and had died before ever reaching the village. That was not what happens this time, that was not what was going to happen, and as Naruto stood covered in blood surrounded by dead bodies she was surprised to find herself still alive.
Memories of dying by the hand of the enemy almost froze her, curtsey of her clones, and with a blink she was running after her team towards the village. Naruto tried not to think about the pile of bodies she left behind, and forced herself to go on. The village came into sight, a large force had already been gathered but with a sinking feeling Naruto knew it wouldn't be enough. She made it to Aiko-sensei panting slightly, "Is this it?" She asked. "We've gathered everyone, the genin are getting everyone else into the Uzumaki compound locking it down, you should join them." Aiko-sensei said vaguely as if she knew Naruto wouldn't do it.
Naruto's eyes swept around the gathered forces, the whirlpools at the water's edge ensured their enemy wouldn't come from the sea so they would come from the half that was facing land. The area was large enough that even with this force they barely had enough to cover all that ground, so many had been injured during the war and their numbers were way down. Naruto's eyes narrow, she had sworn to herself that she wouldn't allow this to happen again, not now, not this time. Before Aiko-sensei could stop her Naruto ran out in front of everyone hands raised in a familiar cross sign, "Tajuu kage bunshin no jutsu."
Thousands of Naruto poofed into existence, standing between the Shinobi of Uzushiogakure and the combined armies of Iwa, Kiri, and Kuma. Naruto could sense them in the trees, the Shinobi were just out of sight and she felt the smallness of her body. For all appearances she was only a nine-year-old girl, small, with wild red hair and just one eye. They were not very intimidated by an army of tiny girls, but Naruto was about to show them why she used to be the number one most surprising ninja.
She waited, patiently, for the perfect moment to strike because timing would be everything. Naruto clenched a kunai before her, her clones copying her movement, and waited. This moment was everything, she would protect her new precious people, she would protect her new home, because she refused to fail again! She waited, suddenly half of her clones were gone and cries began to ring out in the forest.
Some of the clones got popped but it was a delaying tactic anyways. Naruto had a squad running through a long sequence of hand signs and painting a large seal. They popped giving their chakra to the chakra barrier they created, separating the village from her and the enemy army. Naruto faintly heard Aiko-sensei screaming her name as she and her clone army charged the ones that had survived her first waves.
Naruto knew that now was not the time to hesitate and pushing her body to the very limit. She couldn't hold back now, she used everything, racing through the ranks using the seals on her wrists and ankles to imitate the effects of Hiraishin. It was something she had just started to develop when she had first arrived in this place and it still wasn't finished. But Naruto needed the speed, she needed to be fast enough that the Shinobi here today just didn't have time to defend.
She had to be fast enough that they couldn't get ahold of her because in this smaller body she was at a huge disadvantage. Naruto refused to back down, refused to give up, it was her ninja way and she hadn't let that go yet. Naruto became a bloody blur, to fast to be stopped, to slow to avoid getting covered in more and more blood. As the minutes ticked on, her barrier held, her clone army just kept replenishing and she didn't stop. That was when the invading armies began to learn to fear a small girl.
"What is she!"
"She's a demon!"
Shouts, screams, getting abruptly cut off as she made her way through them panting as her new jutsu, the Hakko no jutsu, began to take its toll on her. Naruto's body screamed in protest as she forced herself to keep going but there never seemed to be an end. For every wave she put down another came to take it's place, and she could only force herself to do this for so long. Naruto may have had the Chakra, the will, the experience, but her body was young. The three years she had spent retraining it to be what it once was hadn't been enough time to get her back to her pervious level.
Aiko stood in disbelief as she watched Naruto become a one-girl army trying to protect them from behind her hastily erected barrier. "You guys should be getting out of here, boss can only hold them off for so long, eventually her body will give out." A Naruto clone shouted out at the gathered forces. "I can't do that Naruto, you're my precious student and I will not leave you to face this alone!" Aiko said as she stood waiting for the Barrier to go down. "We're doing this for you! For this village to survive! We don't want everything that is Uzushiogakure to be blown away and all its people to scatter across the world!" Naruto's clone shouted at them trying to get them to leave while she fought.
The people of Uzushiogakure knew how to whirlpool walk, while the enemy would be committing suicide trying to get past the whirlpools it was easy for the natives. They could escape, they could leave, and it would be worth dying to make it so they got the chance to do just that. "We are out numbered, we have enough orphans already! We don't need any more, get these people out of here while you still have time!" The Clone shouted and was relieved to see a few Shinobi beginning to leave.
"This is foolish Naruto-chan! Why are you doing this?" Aiko shouted. "I lost precious people before, I couldn't save them, but I can do this, I can save this village! Let them destroy this land, let them take this place, but if we let them wipe us out then the village really will be gone! As long as the people are alive, as long as you stay together, then Uzushiogakure will never fall!" Naruto shouted as more and more of Shinobi left. The Uzushisho walked up to stand beside Aiko, "I will stay, if Naruto fails to soon I will buy us some more time." The Old Uzumaki head said. "I wont leave her!" Aiko said.
Naruto panted, "Tajuu kage bunshin no jutsu," more clones came to take the place of the ones that had been lost. There was just so many of them, mostly chuunin and jounin, a few genin that she had felt bad about killing. Naruto knew it was necessary, if an enemy could get up then that was just one more you had to fight. In war, it was kill or be killed, that's it. Suddenly her left flank of Clones dispersed her eyes widened taking in the retreating forms of some of the remaining Shinobi.
She hadn't thought she would have to face him this early, Naruto knew her chances of survival just dropped down to almost no chance as she flipped into the air to avoid his punch. She spun over the chains behind him, and landed taking a millisecond to take in his appearance. Madara, Tobi, whoever he was this Uchiha was a great source of suffering for her entire world even before she came to this one.
He looked different Naruto noticed as she kept dodging, it was getting harder and harder by the minute. His mask was yellow, striped like a tiger, chained wrists, solid black cloak, and one eye, he looked very different then Naruto remembered. As he allowed her kunai to faze through his head, grabbing her wrist he kicked her in the back sending her flying. He was still a mayor pain in the ass though, Naruto decided as she forced herself to flip onto her feet.
Naruto knew she was outclassed, a few more years and maybe she might have stood the chance to put up a real fight. But not now, still she would do her best because if this man got through he would kill everyone. She dodged his fist and her Hakko no jutsu chose that moment to reach its limit putting her right in the way of his follow up kick. Naruto flew through the air; coughing blood she hit her barrier making it flare blue. She screamed as the barrier's power flowed through her forcefully and fought to remain conscious as she fell away from it.
Somehow she forced herself to flip in the air to land on her feet, Naruto knew that this very well could be her last battle. So she pushed up her headband up to reveal her right eye and stunned Madara enough that for a second he froze. Naruto took advantage of the opening using her control over gravity to smash him into the ground. Of course he only suffered minimal damage because he started to phase as he went down. The son of a bitch.
Naruto pumped more chakra into her seals to force her body to use Hakko no jutsu, and then it was a battle of more speed than anything. Madara or Tobi, was very fast and even with her Hakko no jutsu Naruto struggled to keep up with him. He came fast and hard; pressing his advantage it was all she could do to keep him from killing her. Her frustration was mounting, even with the Rinnegan, Hakko no jutsu, and all the training she had put into her body the last few years it was a struggle.
It would have been different if she had been only a little older; her body was too young to push as hard as she had been doing. Her reach wasn't what it had been before her arrival into this world, her body was so much smaller than his; her strongest punch was barely what it had been as an adult. If things continued on this way she wouldn't last much longer, so as he came in to finish her Naruto decided to put herself to the test, it was all or nothing.
Changing stances she met him head on, wind chakra dancing around her hands as she used that to make her blows more…cutting. It worked for a few blows, then he learned to phase quicker, still she smiled as he kicked her sending her flying. Naruto coughed up some blood, her ribs were all cracked, her Hakko no jutsu had demolished her body it hadn't been ready for use, and as she slipped into the blackness she felt a bit smug. She had managed to cut his shoulder….
Aiko was the first thing Naruto saw when she woke up, and she blinked a bit trying to clear her vision in disbelief. "I thought I was dead," Naruto mused. "You almost were, Uzushisho caught you before you could hit anything after that man kicked you. He gave you to me, and went to meet that man in battle. Your barrier had fallen but the rest had already managed to make it to Kitai Island by then." Aiko-sensei said.
Kitai Island was an island about twenty miles out to sea from where Uzushiogakure once stood; it was completely uninhabited for the simple reason that getting access to it was suicide. The island was surrounded on all sides by whirlpools, the shores around it where filled with jagged slippery rocks and full of dangerous rip tides. It had been considered as the place to build Uzushiogakure once, as the island had abundant natural resources and was very defendable position.
However, it was nearly impossible to get to for potential clients so in the spirit of better business sense Uzu had been build on the mainland. However, Kitai was kept as a sort of last resort of Uzu as it was set up as a small safe house of them in times of war. It wasn't set up to hold the whole village though, it was going to take a lot of work to rebuild on Uzu on the island and it was going to be hard. Plus they would need to figure out what they where going to do about getting client's in without compromising security.
Aiko smiled and handed her a scroll, snapping Naruto out of musing. "Uzushisho gave this to me to give to you before he died facing that man," Aiko said as she pushed the scroll into her hands firmly. Naruto was somber as she unrolled it and sucked in a shocked breath. "I can't take this!" Naruto said trying to hand it back but Aiko only smiled refusing to take it. "You have earned this Naruto, you saved Uzushiogakure, and without you we would have been wiped out and scattered to the winds. There are even talks of making you Uzushisho." Aiko said teasingly.
"Sign it, Uzushisho wanted you to have it." Aiko said. Naruto stared at the summoning contract in her lap, and tried to process it all. The Summoning contract for the tigers had been a closely guarded secret in Uzu, usually only the Uzushisho ever signed it and it was an honor. With a shaking hand Naruto was about to sign when she paused, hesitating. "What's wrong?" Aiko asked. Naruto had known objectively that there was a large possibility that there would be another Naruto soon, and that meant her name was not her own anymore.
But Naruto knew it wouldn't be easy to just suddenly change her name, most people wouldn't accept that as easily as she would since they lacked her Naruto logic. So Naruto had to come up with a probable excuse to change her name…only her first name since there were plenty of Uzumaki…and then figure out what name to choose. Glancing at Aiko, seeing her worried face, Naruto had a sudden bout of inspiration and turned her attention to her sensei putting the scroll in her lap.
"I need a new name," Naruto said as she schooled her face into solemn sadness. "Why?" Aiko asked as she took her hand. "I've killed a lot of people to protect my home…my precious people…I don't feel very much like Naruto anymore…I need a new name. Will…will you name me sensei?" Naruto asked eyes firmly on her lap. Aiko sighed and squeezed her hand, "Noriko, your new name is Noriko." The newly dubbed Noriko looked up at Aiko and smiled softly. "Thank you," Noriko said as she bit her thumb and wrote her new name on the scroll.
When she had healed enough to leave the temporary hospital tent Noriko was amazed at the welcome she got from everyone she saw. People stopped her as she walked down the road to just shake her hand, people looked at her in respect, they had affection in their eyes, and Noriko felt almost as if she would cry. She managed to contain herself though it was a bit of a struggle. Never in Konoha had she had ever been looked at like this, even after Pain there was always hesitance in their eyes in Konoha. A wariness that had taken away from the respect they had given, and it was always been tainted with her memory of the hate from before.
Now, it almost overwhelmed her. Noriko knew that away from the bitterness she might have found a place like this in her old life but she had never tried to leave. It had seemed like a betrayal, now, it seemed to her that she was the one being betrayed by the people of Konoha. Still, Noriko knew she could not allow Tobi, or whoever that Uchiha was, roam free as it was a bad thing for everyone. Noriko also knew that she had roughly three years before the new Naruto would be born in Konoha.
If things went as they had in her timeline…or world…whichever…then Tobi would go after Kushina to get the Kyuubi to destroy Konoha. That meant she had a few years to help rebuild here, train, and get to Konoha to warn them about that man. Noriko knew she had to stop Tobi, it didn't matter what it took, and she would put an end to the man who wanted to destroy everything. First she had to push herself further then she ever has before, and then she had to see about working up the courage to face the parents that weren't her own…at least not anymore.