Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Summary: Time-Travel Story. Naruto died in the Fourth Shinobi War. Kami granted him a boon, returned him to his body with his and Kurama's memories of the future intact. This time, Naruto vowed to do things differently. Powerful Naruto, Powerful Team 7, No Bashing, Not Yaoi, No ships as of yet. Slight AU.
Round Two: A Naruto Time-Travel Story
Return, Re-Learn, and Reunion
Naruto was floating. He didn't know where he was or what he was doing floating around without a care in the world but he knew one irrefutable fact – he died.
That's right; he, Uzumaki Naruto, died. He couldn't fully stop Madara and Obito's plan. Not because he was killed, not because his skill wasn't up to snuff. No, he died because he overestimated his body in using Kurama's chakra. As he was about to deal the final blow using an overpowered, oversized Kyuubi-powered Rasenshuriken, his body simply shut down allowing Obito to command the Juubi to obliterate his body in a single Imari while in mid-air.
Naruto knew that even with his unshakable determination, there was no way to escape death. He was dead and he left his friends behind to defeat the Juubi. He believed in their success but he knew that lives would be lost in the process.
He didn't know how long he was floating around in the darkness. He tried to delve into his mindscape to see if Kurama was still there but couldn't because he could no longer feel his partner. That thought made him sad since that was another promise he didn't fulfill.
"What would you do if you were offered a chance to do it all over again?"
Naruto was startled when a voice spoke in his head.
"What would you do if you were offered a chance to do it all over again, Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto?" the voice asked again.
"If I am given another chance to save my precious people then I'll take it." Naruto answered without a second thought, his determination behind his voice.
"I see, along with this offer, if you were offered a boon, anything from powers to a favor, what would you ask to aid you in this task?" the voice asked, this time with a hint of humor.
Naruto was silent as he pondered the question. What gift would he ask for? What favor would be important enough to help him? A grin appeared on his face as he answered.
"I would ask for Kurama and my memories of the future."
The voice didn't answer for a few minutes before a bright light engulfed him.
"Done. Good luck, Child of Prophecy. Good luck, Naruto." the voice boomed but Naruto sensed the underlying love and kindness that made him feel warm and wanted. Naruto knew then that he was offered a chance by Kami, and this time around, he wasn't going to fail. He was going to make sure that everything turns out good for everyone.
He was Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto. He was going to succeed, believe it!
Kami gave herself a mental pat on the back for a job well done. The first part of the prophecy she gave to the toads was complete. It was part of her game plan that the Child of Prophecy, her chosen one, would return because he lacked the mental aptitude and training to achieve what she wanted in the previous timeline. Now, the second part of the prophecy was in play and she couldn't help but give out a giddy laugh at the thought of all the chaos her little blonde jinchuuriki would do on this timeline.
Realizing that she could make this better and ensure that her child would succeed in the task she laid out in front of him, she released a pulse of power to give the blonde a helping hand.
All over the Elemental Nations, eight beasts of power were startled when a stream of memories flowed into their minds. They recognized the energy signature that came with the memories and they all instinctive knew what to do.
The Wheel of Destiny turns for one Namikaze Uzumaki Naruto.
Naruto woke up with a groan, trying to remember what happened to him. One moment he was floating in nothingness, spoken to by a melodious voice that he knew came from Kami, then engulfed in a really bright light and nothing. He opened his eyes to see the ceiling of his run-down apartment. He mentally cheered that he was back to set things right but he wasn't prepared when a gruff voice interrupted him.
"Would you mind toning it down, kit. You're giving me a migraine."
Naruto paused when he recognized the voice in his head. He did the only thing he could. He immediately went into his mindscape, appearing in front of a large cage, ran in between the bars, and jumped with all of his strength into the face of one startled bijuu.
Kurama chuckled before plucking out a happy Naruto from his face and placed him down on the watery ground. He was quite surprised that he was still alive since the last thing he remembered was him and Naruto being vaporized by the Juubi's potent Imari. He didn't know why he was still alive; judging from the boy in front of him, they were in the past. Was it all a dream or did they really travel back in time?
"You know, kit, you can't just seem to stop from doing the impossible." Kurama said in an awed tone before chuckling in amusement.
"Huh?" was all Naruto said with a tilt of his head in confusion.
"I don't know what happened but from the looks of it, we are back in the past. You look like a 10 year old." the bijuu said bluntly, speculatively eyeing his partner's rather diminutive form. "I think it would be safe to say that you ARE 10 years old, give or take a few months."
Naruto gave the fox a skeptic look before looking down at his body. The fox was right, he was definitely small and he recognized the clothes he was wearing. He clearly remembered that the orange shirt and blue pants he was wearing was given to him by the Sandaime on his 10th birthday but he lost it a few months later after making a mess of it during his pseudo-training. He saw his reflection on the water at his feet and could help but curse.
"So let me get this straight. You remember floating in the void and you heard a voice in your head asking what you would do if offered a second chance. You answered that you'd take it and do it right this time. The voice then asked what gift or favor you want. You answered by making sure that yours and mine's memories of the future are intact. The next thing you know, you find yourself alive in your apartment before coming into the mindscape when you heard my voice. Did I leave anything out?" Kurama asked with disbelief. It would seem that not only was his partner lucky, he was also blessed considering Kami herself granted him a second chance and a boon. He was also touched that the boy asked for nothing but their memories instead of ultimate power. The boy was definitely a fool to waste such a chance but he was a lovable and kind fool.
He was his fool and Kurama wouldn't have it any other way.
"Yep." Naruto said cheerfully before his face turned serious, one that Kurama recognized as the boy's 'Game Face'. "I think we need to plan this carefully. If we are going to beat Madara and Obito, and stopping the Juubi from being resurrected, we need to stick to the timeline and make sure that all preparations are in place."
"Agreed. The events leading up to before the Juubi must be maintained to ensure that we have full control. If we deviate from the timeline then you can be sure that something new will happen. I take it that you're not putting on your 'idiot mask' this time around?" Kurama asked mildly. He knew that Naruto only acted the knucklehead ninja because he knew what would happen if he showed everyone that his brains weren't just fluff. The civilians would practically have a field day over it. This time, however, the boy seemed to be deciding against it.
"I think it's time that Konoha learns of the real Uzumaki Naruto." Naruto declared with a glint in his eyes. "Kurama, can I rely on you to help me set things right? I know I'm not the smartest bloke on the block so I will need your input if we plan to make this right."
"I have your back, kit. You're my partner after all." Kurama said with a huge grin on his face.
"Thanks, partner." Naruto grinned. "Now all we need to do is to get you out of that cage."
"That's impossible at the moment." Kurama said with a grunt.
"You're currently 10 years old, kit, so you don't have the key to open the lock. The only way for you to acquire the key is to summon the toads. As it stands, the only way for you sign their contract is during the one-month break before the finals of the Chuunin Exam when you meet that perverted sensei of yours." Kurama answered, pointing out to the boy that he didn't signs the Toad Contract yet. Hell, the boy wasn't even a shinobi yet.
"Darn it. But I can still train using your chakra right?" Naruto asked, frowning as he tried to work around the training plans he had in his head. He already thought of using shadow clones to speed up his learning curve while he concentrates on improving his body's adaptability and resistance to Kurama's chakra. Oh well. He was always good at improvisation anyway so this wasn't anything new.
"Why do you need my chakra?" Kurama asked, confused. The boy already had chakra in spades so what in the world was the boy planning?
"The reason why we failed is because my body wasn't accustomed to using your chakra. My body simply shut down when I did the Rasenshuriken to destroy Obito, Madara, and the Juubi. I was thinking that if I trained with your chakra every day, my body would eventually get used to your energy so I can last longer with it without breaking down." explained Naruto to a rather intrigued bijuu. "Heck, with my healing factor, it's quite possible that I can stay in Tailed Beast Mode for hours without getting tired or my body shutting down on me. That's way better compared to the 5-minute limit in the previous timeline."
"Hm, that's a good idea but you don't need to open the gate in order to use my chakra. Well, you do if you plan to go Nine Tails Chakra Mode or the Tailed Beast Mode but anything lesser won't require releasing me from this prison." Kurama pointed out. Seeing the confused look on the boy's face, he decided to explain. "If you remember, the first time you used my chakra was during the Wave Mission when you encountered Haku. Granted, I was trying to control you that time so you succumbed to the bloodlust."
"Oh. You mean I can use your chakra now without me blacking out and you controlling my body?" Naruto said with a sly grin on his face mimicked by the bijuu.
"Nah, considering that I now know that Madara and Obito is out there with their evolved Sharingan, I definitely don't want to get out since they can easily control me. With me inside you, there is no way for them to do so. Besides, I like you and we both promised each other to be partners so I have no problems with you using my chakra. However, I will be limiting the chakra use since I don't want you to rely on it too much."
"You don't have to worry about that, partner. I will only use your chakra as a last resort. Besides, considering that I'm still 10 years old, I still have 5 more years to train before I graduate from the Academy. That was my original plan - train as hard as I can during the Academy years while masking what I can do to avoid suspicions." Naruto said seriously making Kurama nod in agreement.
"Good, I will also be doing the same thing myself but this time around, I'm going to give you something that I haven't done before."
"What's that?" Naruto asked curiously, not knowing what his partner was trying to say.
"Jinchuuriki's by nature acquire the traits of the bijuu they hold. For example, Shukaku allows Gaara to control sand. Matatabi allows her jinchuuriki to control intense flames. Chomei grants his jinchuuriki to manifest his wings to fly. Even the slug gave his container the ability to use bubbles. Each of my brothers can give their hosts a unique skill as part of the package of being containers. I didn't give you one because I was…um…unwilling at that time, refraining myself from modifying your body to grant you the ability. This time, however, I'm not going to make the same mistake. Since we have a mission, withholding a power that would prove useful to our survivable is just a recipe for disaster."
"Whoah! That's great. What ability are we talking about here?" Naruto asked excitedly. He was somewhat confused as to why he didn't display similar powers as with the other jinchuuriki. Now he knew why. A thought occurred to him. "Hey, isn't my advance healing factor already a jinchuuriki trait?"
Kurama shook his head in negative.
"No. Actually, your healing factor comes from the Yang Chakra sealed inside me as it continues to bleed into your system in small increments. As you know, Yang Chakra is called Light or Life Chakra since it is connected to the physical realm. The Yondaime used the Shiki Fuujin to separate my Yin and Yang chakra, sealing the Yin Chakra into the Shinigami but leaving the Yang Chakra since it is too much for the entity to consume. Because of the Yang Chakra's life giving properties, you acquired a fast healing factor as a side-effect."
"Oh! I didn't know that. That's cool, I guess." Naruto mused. "So what ability are you going to give me?"
"You already used this ability many times when using my chakra though I was the one controlling it at that time. This time, however, I will give you this ability so you can use it with your chakra. The ability is called the Chakra Shroud."
"Isn't that that the thing covering me when I'm using your chakra?" Naruto asked, remembering the times he used Kurama's energy.
"Yes, however, I'll tweak your DNA so you can use the shroud using your own chakra. Meaning, you can call it up anytime without needed my help. You will still need to train with it since it would be somewhat harder for you to manipulate your chakra to produce the shroud without me doing it for you. The shroud also comes with different abilities but we can talk about that later." Kurama explained to an excited Naruto. "Anyway, what's your plan? We might as well discuss it now since we have nothing better to do."
"Hm, my plan so far involves training myself, getting back the skills I have before we died." Naruto said with a frown. "I can use Kage Bunshin to get as much training as I could before the 5-year Academy period is up. I'll also train myself in your chakra and the Chakra Shroud while I'm at it. This time, however, I'm not going to limit myself to Sage Mode and my Rasengan variants. If I want to bring down Madara and Obito then I need to have a more flexible skill set to work with."
"Good. I think you can make use of the library beside the Academy to help you with your education. I remembered Mito talking about it while I was sealed inside her."
"Mito?" Naruto asked. This was the first time Kurama talked about his previous jinchuurikis.
"Uzumaki Mito, the wife of Senju Hashirama, the Shodaime Hokage. The seal she used to restrain me was more…loose compared to the one your mother had. I could hear and see everything through her senses unlike your mother's that blocked me off entirely from the physical world. I remember her talking to the Shodaime about the construction of a library and having it contain the basics of shinobi arts for those who are willing to learn and improve themselves, minus clan techniques of course. You can check it out if there are books there to help you in your training. If not then we can work around what you know and try to ask advice from your sensei later."
"Thanks for the advice, Kurama. Now, let's plan." Naruto said with a determined glint in his eyes mirror by the bijuu in front of him.
Naruto spent most of the day planning with Kurama and making sure that there were no holes in their strategy to avoid putting a win on Madara and Obito's plot. They both decided that no one should know of their status as time travelers since that would only complicate the timeline if that person's action deviates from the norm. However, they would nudge key people to make things more advantageous for them.
The first thing they added to their to-do-list was to make sure that Haku and Zabuza survives during the Wave Mission - Haku for being Naruto's friend and Zabuza as Haku's master and precious person. Both would be a great help to Konoha, and Naruto was sure that the Sandaime wouldn't mind adding the two to the village's shinobi ranks if he asked.
The next would be Sasuke and Sakura. With his knowledge of the future, Naruto knew that both would become powerful with their innate abilities in the shinobi arts – Sasuke in Ninjutsu and Kenjutsu, while Sakura excelled in Taijutsu and Medical Jutsu. Nudging the two would be complicated but Naruto could work around that if necessary. Both were smart enough to see logic if he pointed them out.
Such was the case; Naruto decided to stay as the class idiot so he would end up being in their team. Kurama was a bit hard to convince regarding Sasuke but the bijuu couldn't deny the fact that an Uchiha in their camp would make things better in the long run.
In order to get this working, he needed to befriend the two during the Academy and get them to train with him. Naruto knew that this would be a challenge, a challenge he had no problems diving into.
The Chuunin Exam was also important; but this time around, Naruto would make sure that his team would pass in flying colors. He also needed to prepare for Orochimaru and to make sure that the snake wouldn't be able to mark Sasuke since that was the reason why the person he considered a brother went down the dark path.
He also needed to work with Jiraiya. He and Kurama realized that they needed to reveal what they know to the Toad Sage in order to access the key to release Kurama from the seal and giving Naruto the ability to access Kyuubi Chakra Mode and Tailed Beast Mode. Thankfully, because of him and Kurama's partnership, he could go up to seven-tails without succumbing to the bloodlust.
Speaking of the snake, Naruto would make sure that the Sandaime survives the invasion. Since there was no way to stop it without revealing his knowledge of the future, he would have to prepare so he could bail out his surrogate grandfather before he ended up doing the Shiki Fuujin and sacrificing his life just to get rid of Orochimaru's arms.
He also needed to deal with Gaara but he was sure that he could get it done easily thanks to his partnership with Kurama and knowing the boy's weakness in breaking him out of Shukaku's grip. He was playing with the idea of possibly recruiting Jiraiya to make a better seal for Gaara to minimize Shukaku's influence so his Jinchuuriki brother could sleep.
He didn't need to plan for Tsunade since, if his assumption was correct, the Sandaime would still bring her back as the Godaime since he was getting too old to keep his position. He was way due for a retirement after all.
Naruto and Kurama decided to end their planning for now since they had too much on their plate at the moment. If there was one thing both learned during the battle in the future, having too much in their mind would just cause them to miss important details that would give them a headache in the long run.
Naruto woke up sometime around dawn. The sun wasn't up yet but from the light on the horizon, it would be an hour or two away when the sun finally shows itself to the world. He was quite thankful that Kami had the foresight to return him to a time and place conducive to acclimating to a new surrounding after experiencing his death.
He was also thankful that Kami returned him at the start of the summer after his first Academy year. He frowned upon realizing that he would have to fail twice to be in the same class as his friends in the previous timeline. It might be humiliating considering what he was capable of but if he wanted this to work then he would have to suck his pride and deal with it.
Since it was already morning, he decided to take a bath and grab something to eat before his training– which ended up being ramen since he didn't have anything in stock for a healthy meal. That was one of the things he needed to change. Ramen was good and all but it ended up stunting his growth and power. If he wanted to excel in his training the he needed to eat well and eat right. He didn't have problems acquiring food since he could buy some with his orphan allowance, under Henge of course, since some stores always kick him out, or hunt for some meat in the forest thanks to his survival training with Jiraiya in the wilderness. He also made a mental note to clean his apartment since it didn't suit his 18 year old mind living in a dirty place.
His morning routine done, Naruto exited his apartment and ran all the way to a secret training ground he knew behind the Hokage Monument. Since he wanted to hide his training then the usual grounds were off limits until he became Genin. Of course, Training Ground 7 was off limits even if he wanted to go there.
While running, Naruto noticed that he was a bit clumsy with his movements.
"That's because your 18 year old mind is not used to your 10 year old body. This is the reason why you need to train so you can move like you used to." Kurama told him while relaxing behind his cage.
"I thought as much." Naruto replied. "Anyway, we're here."
"Not much to work with if you ask me." Kurama noted as he used his connection with Naruto to see through the boy's eyes. Naruto's secret training ground was a simple forest clearing behind the Hokage Monument. It was quite a distance from the village so it was hidden and he could train in peace. Thankfully, there were plenty of trees and a small river for chakra control exercises, and some boulders for strength and taijutsu training. All-in-all, it was enough to help the boy get things started. "So what are you going to work on first?"
"I'll work on my coordination first. Physical exercise and doing some laps would be a great way to get back the control I have on my body. When that's done, let's see if I can still bring out the usual amount of Kage Bunshins to help me with chakra control." said Naruto while taking off his shirt since he didn't want to get it sweaty from his work out. He made a mental note to purchase some training gears to add to his closet. Civilian clothes wouldn't last a day of hardcore training so shinobi gears were in his list to buy.
"Carry on then. I'm going to take a nap. Wake me up if you need my help or something." said Kurama before Naruto felt the mental link go down.
Naruto chuckled before starting his work out. The clearing was sizable, comparable to half of the Konoha Stadium, so he started with 20 laps of light jogging to get his mind used to working with his 10 year old self. It took him 2 hours to finish before starting with 10 laps of running at full speed. He was panting like a maniac after the last lap. He still had his legendary stamina but it was limited now thanks to how young he was. He wasn't worried though since training could fix that in a few years, if not months considering who he was carrying in his gut to speed up the process.
He took a 10 minute break to meditate before spending an hour going through the Gama Ken since it was a good workout to get his muscle control back. After 5 hours of constant movement, he finally achieved full control over his body. He was sad that he lost his previous power and speed, vowing to continue his training to reach his previous strength and then some since he had an early start. He caught a few fish in the river for lunch and cooked them over a small fire as he relaxed on the soft grass. After lunch, he decided to see if his chakra was enough to perform his favorite technique.
"Kurama, you up?" Naruto asked his tenant as he put out the fire on his make-shift stove.
"I am now. What do you need, kit?"the bijuu asked with a yawn.
"I got full control of my body and I'm going to see if I have enough chakra for Kage Bunshin. Can you monitor my chakra levels and give me a bit of a boost just in case it dangerously low? I don't want to suffer chakra exhaustion just because I overdid it."
"Sure. Go for it." Kurama assured him.
"Here we go." Naruto clasped his hand together and started channeling his chakra. Nothing happened at first before waves of blue energy escape his body forming a small shroud around him, not noticing that the shroud was taking on a fox-like appearance. Kurama noticed it but decided against informing his host for now. "What's the verdict?"
"You have a fifth of the chakra reserve you had from your future self. If what I sensed is correct, you have slightly below when you first did the Kage Bunshin against Mizuki. Check your control over your chakra before performing the jutsu." Kurama suggested as he continued to observing Naruto's chakra from within, ready to replenish just in case the boy overdid it.
"Gotcha." Naruto agreed before bringing his chakra under control. He walked over to a tree and placed a foot on the trunk as he channeled his chakra to make it stick. He tested it a few times until he found the right amount for the exercise. He decided to walk instead of running up the tree unlike the first time he was taught by Kakashi-sensei. He wobbled a bit as he felt his control slip from time to time but he got it under control quickly so he didn't fall. He walked up and down a few times until he was confident that he had average control over his chakra. He'll have his clones work on the exercise later to fully master it again.
"Now let's see how many clones I can bring out." said Naruto as he made the hand sign for his trademark jutsu. "KAGE BUNSHIN NO JUTSU!"
Smoke materialized around him before dispersing to reveal fifty smirking clones.
"What's the damage?" Naruto asked his partner, panting slightly from the effort of the technique and controlling his chakra. He definitely need to master Tree Climbing and Water Walking again if he wanted his proficiency with the technique to return.
"Fifty percent chakra loss but I'm already refilling it now as we speak. I noticed that refilling is slow compared to when the seal was unlocked but we can get by." Kurama reported, sending his chakra out in increments towards Naruto's coils to replenish the blonde's reserves without damaging his body.
"Great. It worked then. I was aiming for something lower but I guess this is good enough with what control I have over my chakra." Naruto mused before turning to his expectant clones. "Alright guys, time to get our chakra control up. Half of you pick a tree and start climbing using chakra until you run out while the rest of you trying out Water Walking. Let's get to it, boys!"
"Hai!" the clones shouted before going to their respective tasks. Naruto could help but be amused at their antics before joining the tree climbing clones.
Naruto used the three months of break from the Academy to train himself physically. He took a page out of Rock Lee's book and used weights to augment his strength and speed. Kurama assured him that using weights early wouldn't hinder his growth since his healing factor would take care of it.
Trusting his partner, Naruto used Henge to disguise himself and bought two pairs of weights – one for his hands and the other for his legs. This way, he was training his upper and lower body at the same time, getting twice the results he aimed for. He also purchased kunais and shurikens with what's left of his allowance since he needed to work on his accuracy as well.
Naruto planned his training program with a little help from Kurama. Morning would be for strength and speed training, first half of the afternoon for his accuracy with kunai and shuriken, and followed by Rasengan training. Of course, his clones worked overtime in chakra control to supplement the re-learning of his father's signature move. This time, however, Naruto decided to re-train himself with the Rasengan without a clone to help him produce the correct shape transformation.
Since he wasn't on a time limit, he trained himself with each step of the Rasengan until he could do it in less than a minute and later try to bring it out instantly if possible. He didn't worry about the latter though since he won't be going to battle anytime soon.
Kurama pointed out, much to Naruto's delight, that the steps of the Rasengan were chakra control exercise all by itself since it was purely shape transformation.
The first step was controlling and manipulating his chakra to produce different rotations within the space of his palm. The second step was controlling his chakra to produce the optimal power for the jutsu. The third step was using every focus and control he had to produce a dense coat of chakra around the spinning construct, thus completing the Rasengan.
With this discovery, Naruto's determination to master the technique shot through the roof since he now had another reason to get his father's jutsu mastered.
Naruto stood in the center of the clearing, his eyes closed and hands relaxed on his side. He was currently in a cocoon of potent red chakra that formed the shape of a fox, with the ears and tail being the most prominent feature. He grunted as his body twitched when a second tail started to form beside the first one. However, before it could fully take shape, the shroud dissipated before Naruto fell kneeling on the ground, gasping for air.
"That…was hard." murmured Naruto as he panted. He had no problem controlling Kurama's chakra in one-tail mode. However, going into two-tails was another matter. He was thankful that he and Kurama were in sync or the bloodlust would end up controlling him. As it was, it took all of his focus and willpower to manifest the second tail while controlling the raging inferno that was a bijuu's potent energy. It was difficult.
"Despite not being able to go into two-tails, you still did good, kit." Kurama quipped from behind his cage, his voice sounding pleased at the result of the boy's training.
At Kurama's prompting during the second month of his training, Naruto started training with the bijuu's chakra so his body would adapt to it. Unlike the times that Naruto brought out Kurama's chakra to the fore in the previous timeline, the bijuu was controlling the output and ensuring that both of them were in proper sync so the inherent bloodlust of his energy wouldn't control his host. They had been doing so for a month now, and according to Kurama, Naruto was improving at an astounding rate thanks to his regenerative abilities and willpower.
"Not really. I still can't form the second tail completely." Naruto said in a dejected tone.
"Stop that right now!" Kurama shouted. "You're still 10 years old, kit. Don't expect your body to completely adapt to my chakra even with the hours of training you put yourself through. Remember the first time you accessed my chakra when you fought Haku? You went berserk! This time, you can bring out the first tail while in full control of your mental faculties. If you keep up with this training, I'm sure that you can achieve the fifth or sixth tail when you graduate from the Academy."
"But it was so easy before!" Naruto whined. Kurama rolled his eyes and huffed.
"Duh, it was easy before since your body was already mature enough to handle my chakra and thanks to the pervert's training, you were able to handle more. However, you're currently in your 10, almost 11 year old body so don't expect it to be the same as last time. Keep in mind that you're currently using the chakra of the most powerful bijuu. If you were handling Shukaku or Matatabi's chakra then you would have reached mastery already. However, since I am your bijuu…well, don't expect it to be easy as last time." Kurama pointed out with a smirk on his face.
"Fine fine." Naruto agreed, inwardly wincing at his whining. He was Uzumaki Naruto. Whining was beneath him, damn it. "Anyway, when are you going to train me with the Chakra Shroud?"
"When you can channel three tails of my chakra for an hour non-stop, then you can train with your Chakra Shroud." Kurama replied immediately. The revelation surprised Naruto a bit.
"Why do I have to wait until I master three tails to train the ability you gave me?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Despite the ability using your chakra instead of mine, the focus and willpower needed to maintain and use the shroud is similar to channeling three to four tails worth of my chakra. That's how powerful the ability is. Imagine Gaara's ultimate defense. Your shroud is of the same caliber and potency but not as sentient as your sand-using friend."
"Ah. I guess that explains it." Naruto nodded in understand. "So, should I continue training to achieve two tails since it's still early or take a break? How's my body coming along anyway?"
"So far so good. No damage while maintaining a tail of my chakra for one hour. You didn't manifest the second tail because the surge of chakra that came with the increase in power destroyed your focus. I suggest that you slowly adjust to the surge until you get used to it by channeling small bits of my energy after one tail. That would solve your two-tail problem." Kurama suggested while letting his chakra lose into his container's coils. "I suggest that you go into one-tail mode then slowly bring out two tails bit by bit. There's no rush. If you think that it's too much, stop the flow and maintain the current output. When you're accustomed to the power, give it a bit more juice. I'll give you control this time so you'll get used to it. Thank to your physical training, your body is getting used to the strain. Couple that with your healing; you won't have to worry about your body deteriorating anytime soon even if you manage to bring out three or four of the tails."
"Thanks for the advice, Kurama. I'm going into one-tail mode now." Naruto said before a shroud of potent red chakra manifested around his body before turning into a fox cloak with one tail. Slowly, he started gathering more of Kurama's chakra for two tails. But instead of doing it one go, he did it bit by bit, observing and analyzing the surge of power that came with his partner's energy. He didn't know how long he was standing there concentrating with the energy as it surged through his body like an inferno but it was around midnight when he stopped his training and opened his eyes.
Naruto couldn't believe it; he spent eight hours in one-tail mode and an additional 25% of going into two-tails without his body breaking down on him. Kurama was grinning smugly from behind his cage at the boy's achievement.
A 12-year old Naruto yawned as he pushed himself off the bed. He was successful in failing his first two years in the Academy instead of just failing at the graduation. Now, he would be starting his first year for the third and last time since he had no intentions of failing anymore. He was now classmates with the future Rookie 9 so he was happy.
Naruto didn't waste his two years in failing the Academy. Thanks to his judicious use of clones, he would create around a hundred of them every morning, deploy ten of them to the library to read on various subjects under disguise, especially those related to the shinobi arts, while the rest would go back into the clearing to practice chakra control and hunt for some furs to be sold to the merchants that usually trades in the village once a month. He discovered the convoy by accident while returning to the village from his training ground and couldn't help but overhear some of them talking. His curiosity was peaked when one of them mentioned expecting high-quality furs and pelts to accommodate his orders from other countries.
Since he needed money for the necessities, Naruto decided to learn the fine art of hunting. He already knew how to hunt but skinning the animals for their fur and pelt was alien to him. Thankfully, one of his clones was able to find a book on that in the library so all he needed to do was practice. He screwed up a dozen of times before he was able to do it perfectly. It helped that channeling chakra through a kunai made it so that slicing through the skin was as easy as letting a hot knife cut through butter. He made a killing in selling furs once a month but he spaced that out since he didn't want to depopulate the surrounding forest of Konoha of its wildlife. He needed money but he wasn't that greedy to wipe them all out in one swoop.
It also helped that the furs he sold were of high quality since most of them were from the predators in the Forest of Death. Not only were the furs huge and perfect quality, they were quite durable as well. The merchants were praising him for such items though he didn't tell them where he got the furs since he didn't want his activities to reach the Hokage.
After two years, Naruto could safely say that he was a veritable knowledge of civilian knowledge and on the basics of the shinobi arts. He didn't know that reading was quite fulfilling and knowledge was useful for the mundane things – he was able to improve his apartment by doing repairs thanks to learning from a carpentry book, improving his plants and herbs from an apothecary book, hunting, and so on.
He was now familiar with the basics of the different shinobi arts and helped him plan out his future training if he wanted to be stronger for the challenges ahead. He noted that he was not interested in kenjutsu and genjutsu – the latter of which was the amount of chakra in his body that it was impossible to achieve perfect control over it and the former for not having the right weapon. He learned some tips to improve his taijutsu that greatly enhanced his command over Gamaken.
Ninjutsu interested him very much and the various books he read on the subject opened up the idea of possibly creating techniques of his own since it was rare to find Wind jutsus in Konoha. Being a Wind-natured shinobi, his option was to go to Suna and barter a Wind jutsu or two if he had something good enough of equal value to trade or come up with his own techniques. He chose the latter which started his intense study on Jutsu Creation theory and Nature Transformation. He didn't have any new jutsus in his arsenal as of yet but he decided to stick with the basics so he wouldn't encounter any problems later.
After taking a bath, he donned a pair of black cargo pants, dark blue muscle shirt, and a pair of shinobi sandals. He knew that he was deviating from his usual orange jumpsuit but he didn't care. Sure, he loved orange but his death practically changed his mind set. He didn't know why he persisted in wearing a jumpsuit that screamed "HIT ME, I'M HERE!" every time he went out on a mission outside the village.
He shook his head at the thought before making the usual batch of clones for his daily training and studies. He made a healthy breakfast of eggs, rice, and meat, and topped it off with a glass of orange juice fresh from the forest. He found a bunch of fruit trees a few kilometers outside the village walls and made it a point to take care of them since fresh fruits were a welcome part of his healthy diet without having to buy it from the hateful villagers.
He settled down to eat his breakfast as his thoughts whirled on seeing his friends again. It would be weird to see them as 12 year olds though he immediately squashed that thought since he was the same age as them.
The years in the Academy was going to be fun.
Naruto tuned out Iruka's monologue of Konoha's history. Instead, he was busy thinking about the rest of the Rookie 9 and what he needed to do to make sure that the future where he died in wouldn't come to pass.
It was then that Naruto realized that aside from him, Sasuke, and Sakura, the rest of the Rookie 9 played a minor hand in things to come, more so at their current age. However, they would be a great help if they became stronger than they were in the previous timeline.
Instead of focusing on all of them, Naruto decided to stick to his team since the rest could be molded by their respective senseis. For now, he needed to decide what to do with Sasuke and Sakura.
Naruto turned his head to look at the last loyal Uchiha of Konoha. The Uchiha Massacre definitely scarred his soon-to-be brother and best friend. Thanks to Itachi's Tsukiyomi, Sasuke travelled the path of destruction just because his older brother wanted to die by his hand. However, Naruto couldn't deny the fact that Sasuke became stronger because of it though he was sure that Sasuke would be stronger if given the right advice and incentive.
Naruto couldn't help but compare Team 7 to the Sannin. Team 7 was definitely similar to Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru.
Of course, Naruto as the Toad Summoner was Jiraiya. Sakura with her perfect chakra control and talent in Medical Techniques was Tsunade. Sasuke turning traitor because of a traumatizing event was Orochimaru's counterpart.
Naruto knew that if he wanted to improve Team 7 then he would have to start early if he wanted thing to work in his favor.
End of Chapter 1
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