Misplaced Time, Misplaced Body
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. Obviously!
Chapter 2: Infiltration
Naruto frowned at the compound lying before him in frustration. The Uzumaki swirl stared back at him mockingly. Really, why did the woman have to live in a compound of all things, with three guards. Why couldn't she just live in an ordinary house! It made his job so much more difficult. Just be thankful she doesn't live with her husband, a small voice mocked him. Naruto shuddered. One Hashirama encounter per day was enough to bring anyone to the brink of their tolerance. He gritted his teeth and waited patiently. The night would be his ally in this. He could not afford to be detected and even a single guard noticing him would be the end of his plan.
The streets darkened and the shadows lengthened, one shadow detaching itself from the rest and quickly merging with that of the compound. Naruto released a tense breath. That had been the easy part, weaving the genjutsu just long enough to flit past the guard. He was just glad the genjutsu stuck. Even with the sharingan, he had been nervous about it. One down, two more to go. Then came the grand finale.
Naruto slipped inside the window he had landed upon and flitted over to crouch upside down on the ceiling like some overgrown bat. His senjutsu senses twinged, locating two muted chakra signatures hovering on the far side of the compound and one huge signature in what had to be the bedroom. He sighed in relief. No need to slip past any more of them and test the bounds of his newfound genjutsu talent. He never had trusted genjutsu so far as he could throw it. Deception was never his kind of thing. Marching on with a light show was far more impressive, not to mention trust worthy enough to stick around until he needed it no more.
He moved swiftly, landing beside the bedroom screen in moments. Then he extended a genjutsu ensnaring the huge chakra signature. The genjutsu was a powerful one, making the target think their previous surroundings were their reality and would continue to play over in a loop. Thus, Naruto would be entirely undetected, for a short while at least. He would have to move quickly to overlay the genjutsu.
With a quick shunshin, Naruto landed right in front of his target, meeting unseeing black eyes with spinning Mangekyo Sharingan, weaving a second layer of genjutsu, then activating his final technique.
The illusionary construct woven in his Tsukuyomi wasn't meant to torture. It would only reinforce his previous layers and keep the target safely out of the way while he conversed with her tenant. Naruto stepped back to stare at the frozen Uzumaki Mito, and leaped away, frantically covering his eyes, clutching a fierce nosebleed.
"I didn't mean to peep I swear!" He muttered standing as far from Mito as he could. "Why did you have to choose now to un...undress! I'm not a pervert I swear!" But you are, the snide voice in his head commented gleefully. Both your sensei and even Sandaime-jiji were pervs. "I'm not them!" Naruto hissed tortured. "It's hardly the same. She could be my grandmother!" She certainly doesn't look like a grandmother, does she? The voice commented insinuatingly.
A movement in his chakra sensing had him on high alert. One of the guards was coming in his direction. Oh hell, Naruto thought, miserably opening his eyes and focusing determinedly on Uzumaki Mito's own. If I'm caught like this...forget death, it will be endless torture at the hands of vicious females! Naruto shuddered at an image of Sakura-chan's fist connecting with his head vividly. Better to get on with it right now.
He focused on those black eyes, and pictured Kurama's cage in his mind. This was the part he had been most uncertain about, but he knew was possible. Sasuke had done something like it and Madara had something of a connection with Kurama, so it had to work. Pushing chakra into his eyes, Naruto let himself fall into the mental construct, and found himself abruptly thrust in front of a huge cage holding a gigantic fox, studying him sleepily, head resting on his paws.
"You sure took your own sweet time to get here brat."
Naruto stared at the fox. "You remember me!"
"Of course I do." Kurama eyed him lazily, tails swishing idly behind him. "Who could ever forget a hyperactive knuckleheaded orange clothed ninja. That is a picture that's been burned into my mind."
Naruto's face split into a wide smile, ignoring the half hearted attempt at an insult; it didn't matter, not when Kurama, his friend, his partner was here with him; he pumped his fist in the air. "Yeah! You remember me! I can't believe it. You came back as well!"
Kurama snorted. "Did you think I was just going to let you flounder around without me? As if you could manage anything on your own!"
"Heh you just wish!" Naruto couldn't stop smiling. "I thought you would hate me. You would think of me as Madara and hate me..." And he couldn't bear that right now. Not when he was all alone. Not when the loss of Kurama was so recent. "Speaking of Madara...why did you put me in his body! Damn fuzzball, you have no idea how confusing it was, waking up with a sword through the chest, and Hashirama all geared up to kill me." He frowned, thinking of the Shodai. Trying to kill Madara was the only sane action he could have taken...then why was he feeling so angry, so betrayed? "I can't believe he was actually trying to kill me...not him! He was always too soft. I thought..." Naruto stilled, his mind coming up with a blank. What had he been saying?
"Hashirama is it? Soft?" Kurama was suddenly very close to his prison's doors. "Hm the merge seems to be progressing smoothly. As expected of course, seeing as it was my jutsu." He sounded very smug.
"Merge? What do you mean?" Naruto stared at the fox trying to ignore that creeping feeling of horror coming over him. "You better not mean what I think you mean, idiot fuzzball! Are you saying...I'm merging with Madara?"
"Well not precisely merging with him really...more like your chakra is being integrated into his own chakra system. You should have noticed it already. You activated the Mangekyo Sharingan to get here, didn't you?"
Naruto stared at the fox in absolute horror. "I'm becoming...Madara! Baka fox, I'm going to kill you!"
"You're not becoming Madara, brat! Your chakra is just adapting to this body, which already had his chakra occupying it. Transporting a body through time is impossible, so you had to have a new body! All I did was place your soul in his body. He is dead. You just have his body and his abilities." Kurama looked annoyed. "In fact, you will end up with more chakra than you did before and you don't have to go through the trouble of killing him. You have no reason to complain."
"Is that so?" Naruto stared at the fox, accusingly. How could he be so casual about it? "Then what about all these strange instincts I have, huh? When I saw Hashirama in Konoha I nearly attacked him! I hated him so much! Even when that dark side of me existed, I've never felt such hatred."
"That was to be expected. It was a fresh trigger...and from what you said earlier, Madara didn't entirely expect the Shodai to actually try to kill him. He probably felt betrayed and that added fuel to his hatred."
"That doesn't make sense. Why would I...I mean Madara...not expect Hashirama to kill him? Weren't they enemies?"
Kurama snorted. "Apparently not. They were the best of friends. Senju Hashirama never stopped trying to convince Madara to stop fighting him even when they stood on opposite sides of the battlefield. The Uchiha-teme was like a brother to him before he turned against Konoha. In fact they were very much like you and your pathetic Uchiha."
"You mean Sasuke," Naruto frowned. "That is...unexpected."
"Not really...both of them were more than happy to lock me away." Kurama studied him darkly. "Naruto...you shouldn't put the Shodai on a pedestal. He was just the same as all those before him. He thought me too powerful and locked me away. He didn't care...just like all the others...everyone that came before toting their precious ideals for peace and locking away us biju, simply to use our power."
"I haven't put him on a pedestal!" Naruto said flatly. "I know what he is like...he tried to kill me as you know very well. He thought I was Madara, one akin to his brother, and tried to kill me! That is hardly the kind of person I would admire. Not to mention...with Senju Tobirama as a brother...there could be no peace between the Senju and the Uchiha, and Hashirama just ignores it all, like it will all go away if he just gives it time!"
Naruto studied Kurama thoughtfully. "I am not blind, fuzzball. I do see the flaws in Konoha. I know there isn't just one person who was the cause of all that went wrong. Madara's not entirely to blame...even if he certainly didn't help the situation. And that is what I can change. Though if you meant to dump me in Madara's body, why not in an earlier time? Why this time, when he had no allies?"
"I only have so much chakra brat," Kurama swished a tail close to the seal, which flared in response. "I put as much chakra into the jutsu as I could. Even so, now that you are not tied to a village, you have far more freedom to move across the elemental nations. Nobody will scrutinize you, dogging your every footstep. If you disguise yourself well enough, you can act as an impartial third party and reduce conflict."
Naruto frowned at that. "You want me to leave Konoha? Become a nuke-nin? It would be far better to stay, to work on reducing the distrust between the Uchiha and the Senju."
"It is practically impossible to disguise yourself in Konoha for long periods of time." Kurama looked exasperated."Think for a moment brat. Your chakra will soon feel the same as Madara's. Any sensor type worth the name that knew him will be able to tell who you are in an instant. Not to mention your reactions because of his chakra. You nearly attacked Hashirama. What will you do if you come across someone like the Nidaime? Madara hated him more than anyone and you might not be watchful enough to stop yourself from attacking him! And then what will your precious villagers think? All they will see is Uchiha Madara, the one who attacked Konoha, trying to worsen things. That will hardly build trust."
Kurama studied him intently. "I know you love this village, and even if I don't see why...I will help you protect it. At this time it would be better to leave, to study the other nations. You want to end the cycle of hatred, don't you? Then protect the village...even if you must do it from the shadows."
Naruto looked away from those intent eyes. It did seem like the best way. If Itachi could do it...then there was no reason he couldn't as well. He looked up at Kurama. "I suppose you are right."
"I'm always right." Kurama gave him a sharp toothed grin. "Now you had better go brat. You can always talk to me entering this mindscape like you did. It should be possible even when you are away from Mito now that you know where to come. Bet you are glad about that ne?"
"Ehh...I swear I didn't know she was like that! I wasn't peeping!" Naruto flushed crimson.
"No reason to be to embarrassed then. " Kurama snickered.
"I..I'm not! Its because of Madara-teme! He must be a pervert!" Naruto gasped out, relieved at his logic. Of course that had to be the case!
"Whatever you say brat." Kurama was definitely laughing at him now.
"Shut up fuzzball!" Naruto scowled. "It's your fault I'm all Uchiha-ish. I'm going to get back at you for that, you just wait!"
"Unlikely. Now go!" And just like that, Naruto's hold on the mindscape faded and he was back in reality, determinedly looking away from Uzumaki Mito. Damn Madara-teme, causing problems when he didn't even exist. Why did he have to be a pervert!
Naruto hurriedly shunshined himself out of the compound. He had to plan his next move and that definitely wasn't possible here.
Naruto stood upon the Shodai Hokage's head and stared down at the slumbering Konoha. From what Kurama had said about having that bastard's chakra...if Madara's chakra held something of his emotions, then it had to have some fragments of his memory as well. Those memories had to be useful in understanding this time at the very least. Now if he could only access those damn memories at will! Thinking about it certainly didn't seem to trigger anything! Up until now they had a tendency to pop out randomly.
He was so fixated on triggering something, anything, that he didn't notice the person creeping up on him until he flared his chakra. Naruto froze, then let out an exasperated sigh. Of course it had to be him! The man seemed to pop out everywhere.
"An interesting place to spend the night Uchiha-san." Senju Hashirama said cheerfully, coming to stop beside him. "Though the view is rather beautiful."
Naruto studied his face from the corner of his eye, glad to feel no irrational surge of hatred. He could handle Hashirama this time. He just had to. "I come here often. It helps remind me of all that I'm fighting to protect."
Hashirama seemed to still at his words, eyes narrowed. "Fighting to protect? An odd thing to say when you have tried your very best to destroy just that the past month!"
Naruto froze. He knew. Hashirama knew. The game was up before it had even started. He shunshined away from the man, panicked. It was too soon, and he had changed nothing till now! He could not let the Shodai kill him like this. He would not!
"Mangekyo Sharingan!" Naruto gasped out hurriedly, kneading chakra in his stomach as the world snapped into focus, and pressed his hands into the horse seal. He had to get away.
"Fire style: Great Fire Annihilation!" Huge amounts of chakra pooled out of his stomach and through his mouth contorting into a massive wall of flame flung straight at Hashirama. Even as he poured out the fire technique, he was moving, backwards and away. A single jutsu was hardly going to stop the Shodai, and he really didn't want to fight this man. He had lost, the first time, after all, and even the second and the third. Always, the bastard managed to defeat him. No matter what he did, how powerful he got, the Senju was always one step ahead! This technique was but a distraction, one to obscure his vision.
Sure enough, Hashirama's deep blue chakra signature remained steady behind a great wave of water. Fire and water collided, and huge clouds of steam emerged, shrouding their surroundings. Naruto backed away turning towards the trees. Suppressing his chakra as much as he could, he jumped towards a nearby tree. The branches curled toward him abruptly, his Sharingan foreshadowing their path and Naruto slammed his hands into the ram seal, switching places with a nearby rock. Damn it, I'm in a forest. He has an overwhelming advantage!
Naruto grabbed several kunai and flung them towards the oncoming blur, which deflected them with his own. Kunai clashed and littered the ground between them as Naruto dove forward in a furious clash of taijutsu, his opponent meeting every one of his blows.
"Stop this Madara!" Hashirama called out, a hand emerging to deflect a hard kick to his stomach. "I did not come to fight you!"
"Neither did I," Naruto snarled. "You brought this on yourself, calling out to me like that. If you think I'm going to let you kill me so easily, then think again! I have too much left to do." Another fast exchange of blows followed, with Naruto attacking and Hashirama on the defensive. These Sharingan really were something, helping him predict his opponent's every move. Still, from what he could see of the Shodai, they were evenly matched in taijutsu. "Why are you just defending yourself? Stop playing with me teme!"
"I didn't come to kill you!" Hashirama snapped, face hard. "Stop this and listen to me. I only want to talk."
Naruto scoffed. "Like you did before, stabbing me through the chest? I am not an idiot."
"That was different," Hashirama was still on the defensive, making no move to attack, even as Naruto left him several openings. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to kill you."
"You're sorry?! So you just go striking in vital spots for fun, do you?" Naruto snapped out a vicious punch, and Hashirama backed away, a tree extending forward, breaking as the punch landed. The audacity of this man; he was simply infuriating.
"No! I healed you right after you collapsed. How do you think you survived after a wound like that? Damn it Madara, listen to me!" Naruto hesitated, wondering if this was a trick. Hashirama healed him. Why would he heal him when he had killed Madara in the original timeline? Or at least, he thought he had. Still, that wound had been too deep to simply have healed so easily, even with his senjutsu chakra. He had assumed it was his Uzumaki healing that had helped at the time...but he didn't have that anymore.
Naruto landed on the ground in front of the Senju, wood splinters drifting lazily between them, watching the man warily. Hashirama stopped as well, studying him with that same odd gaze, like he had as they met near the academy. "You wanted to talk. So start talking."
Hashirama nodded, looking relieved. "You were right about me after all. I am a softhearted fool. I could not kill you in the end. Even after all that you did...attacking Konoha like that, I could not just strike you down."
Naruto frowned. "You stabbed me in a fatal spot. You obviously meant to kill me."
Hashirama studied him intently, hands clenching beside him. "You put me in an impossible situation. Choosing between you and all that we dreamed to create together. I had to stop you. And it seemed like the best choice at the time...you were being irrational and relentless. By kami, you used the Kyuubi against me, against the village! You could have destroyed everything!"
"So you stabbed me," Naruto said dryly. Really, it was a perfectly rational thing to do, and yet the sting of betrayal didn't seem to receded. Hashirama had chosen the village, as expected. "Then why heal me? If you wanted to protect your precious village, you should have let me die." He might have died, if Hashirama hadn't intervened. He certainly didn't know what technique Madara had used to survive in the original timeline.
"You said my actions would only lead to darkness, and you were right. Killing you...it was not right, it didn't feel right. We created Konoha so that we could stop having to make such sacrifices. If I killed you, I would be no different than all those others who killed their own brothers because they were in the way. " Hashirama looked intent, serious, very unlike the joking lighthearted persona he had adopted earlier. "We created Konoha to protect those precious to us. And I intend to do so."
Naruto stared at the man, mesmerized. Hashirama looked determined, like Sakura,and Hinata and Neji and so many others who proudly bore the Will of Fire and fought to protect their precious people. He looked like the Hashirama-ojisan Naruto had known, and yet subtly different. He seemed more hopeful, like a fire that had faced a hurricane and yet burned brighter, instead of dimming in intensity, as he had been in a future that no longer existed. Naruto felt lighter, somehow, like a great burden had been lifted. That crushing feeling of betrayal was gone; Hashirama hadn't given up on him. He really was a delusional idiot.
"You live in an imaginary world, Hashirama." Naruto said flatly. "You think you see Konoha, but the Konoha you perceive does not exist. You are blind to its darkness."
"Then stay and help me see it! I will always listen to your council." Hashirama moved forward, clasping his arm earnestly.
"You are a fool. Do you think Konoha will accept me just like that? After I attacked the village? Don't be an idiot." Well, he himself hadn't attacked anyone, but Madara certainly had. And he had to leave the village to prevent war. 'Madara's' presence in Konoha would inflame too many parties and exacerbate the Senju-Uchiha situation. As much as he would have loved to stay, he had to admit that Kurama was right; being seen as an impartial party was the only way he could influence the villages and prevent the First Shinobi World War. Not to mention the Tobirama situation...
"They will accept it, when I tell them why it is wrong to kill you! You are different from what you were before. More rational. They will see it and agree with me!" Hashirama was still being an earnest idiot. Naruto hated to have to do this, but it was necessary. He could sense several bright chakra signatures moving towards them. "What makes you think...that I want to return? I left this village, and with good reason. I see no need to return now."
The hand on his arm tightened. "I won't let you leave."
"Oh? Do you intend to kill me then?" Naruto said flatly.
"No! If you would just listen..."
Naruto took hold of the hand clenched upon his own, and pulled the Shodai closer. A kunai flashed into sight and he stabbed down into Hashirama's chest, heart clenched into his throat.
"I'm sorry," Naruto said tightly, staring at the shocked face gazing up at him. "I can promise you this: I won't attack Konoha. But I cannot stay. Your shinobi are nearby, so you will be fine if you stay put." Naruto turned away, every instinct screaming at him to remain. It was necessary. Hashirama would be fine. He had to leave before anyone saw him.
Author's Note: Wow! So many follows and favs after just two chapters! That is just amazing :) Only thing to make me feel better would be reviews to match them no? Anyway, another question for you guys: What was Sarutobi Hiruzen's age when the First War started? I don't think it was ever explicitly stated.
As for those of you using guest status: just create an account so I can reply to you guys! Your reviews were awesome and make me feel really bad about not replying :(