Reality Is Just A Perception.
Chapter 1: Yin and Yang.
If you asked her what had happened to find herself in this situation, she'd tell you to draw you own conclusions. Mostly because she wasn't exactly sure what had happened, but she wasn't about to admit that. What she did know? There had been a collision between two powerful attacks, and everything had changed. Hotaru knew this the moment she woke up in a familiar training ground, and sat up only to find she wasn't alone.
There were a few things wrong with what was happening. First, Sasuke stood above her with his sword place point first at the hollow of her throat, forcing her to tilt her head back a little or be cut. Two, behind him were four very familiar shocked people. Very familiar.
One looked exactly like Sakura at thirteen, and a boy who looked exactly like Sasuke at that age. There was even a Kakashi look-alike, and for some reason the last was a boy with a hair style similar to the one she'd worn as a small child but with shorter side bangs, before she began growing it out.
Cerulean blue eyes, whisker marks, there facial shapes were similar even if the boys was a little rounder and masculine in shape, Hell, if the boy had been a girl it would be her at that age, minus the blonde hair seeing as hers was a striking shade of red like her mothers.
"Sasu-ke?" Look-alike Sakura's stuttering voice said, and Sasuke's onyx eyes widened as he half turned to see the group of anomalies.
His Sharingan red eyes widened so slightly she barely even noticed. Hotaru breathed deeply, her hands behind her on the ground. Glancing at the blade pressed against her throat she groaned.
"What is this? Who are you two, why do you look like an Uchiha?" Kakashi-alike demanded, his visible eye narrowed and cold.
"Kakashi-sensei! Why does that guy look like the bastard!" the blonde boy yelled out.
Hotaru blinked in surprise and Sasuke – younger and older – twitched, though her version more visibly.
"I didn't realize you had a brother, Hotaru," Sasuke said, grinding his teeth.
Hotaru glared, and raised on of her hands to attempt pushing the sword away from her, and said, "Oi, teme, get your sword away from my throat!"
Turning back to her, the last Uchiha smirked.
"And why should I do that, Taru-chan?" he said the last bit more mockingly than the rest, and she hissed.
"Because, I can think of a few things I can do to make sure the Uchiha line ends with you if you don't."
It was faint, but Sasuke paled a little and he sneered momentarily before he removed his blade from her throat and sheathed it back at his side.
"Hey, you do look kind of like me!" the blonde boy finally said, his eyes wide as he came closer to look at her.
Hotaru did indeed look like the boy, but of course female. Her features were softer, but also a tiny bit more sharp. Her chin wasn't quite as round as his, but not quite as pointed as her father – Namikaze Minato. They had the same skin tone, a light tan, and messy hair.
Though his was by far spikier and messier than hers, which fell relatively straight to her mid-back (she'd had to get it cut after a fight with Sasuke where he'd cut off the cafe length locks to her shoulders a few months ago). Her bangs were the most unruly part of her hair, and that might have been because they were shorter except for the side bangs. Shorter hair always tended to be messier for her. It was almost windswept in the way it naturally fell around her face and on her forehead.
The color of her hair differed the most from the boys bright blonde hair, which reminded her so much of her father. As far as she knew her father had been the only one in Konoha with that shade of blonde hair. Her hair was as red as any Uzumaki. They both shared the same bright blue eyes and whisker marks.
"Naruto, don't. We don't know who they are, they could be from another village," Kakashi said, walking forward with both eyes visible after he's raised his forehead protector.
"I think I asked you both a question," Kakashi said. "Who are you? Why do you appear to be related to my two students?"
Sasuke narrowed his eyes, which seemed to lack even more emotion than the younger version of himself.
"I don't answer to pretenders."
"Are you seriously an Uchiha, bastard?" she demanded. "Look at them, and around us. This can't be a genjutsu. I've already tried disrupting it anyways. Not to mention if they were going to use a genjutsu on us to make us see the past, why would they replace me with a boy?"
"You can't be an Uchiha," the younger Sasuke snapped, glaring at them – or more like Sasuke. "I'm the last one, besides that man."
She saw Sasuke's eyes spark in recognition and surprise for a matter of moments, and he turned back to Kakashi as if to ignore his younger self. After a moment he looked to her. She'd stood up and was slightly behind him at his side.
"It's not a genjutsu," he said, frowning. "What did you do, dead last?"
"Hey!" Naruto yelled, thinking the older looking version of his friend meant him.
To his surprise the redheaded girl had spoke up as well.
"I don't think we're anywhere near our home," she said. "It reminds me of the technique Madara used to send me and Sakura into an alternate reality or genjutsu reality – I was never really clear on that. I suppose if that one really existed, more exist. As for how?"
Hotaru shrugged, throwing her hands up to show her puzzlement, and answered, "I guess it could have been the power of our Rasengan and Chidori colliding, possibly the leaking of Kurama's power as well."
Kakashi nearly took a step back at the two strangers conversation. They were hardly trying to conceal it, and It had struck him the moment they arrived how much the dark haired boy, who looked seconds from killing the girl, looked like Sasuke – only a few years older. He knew it couldn't be real, but the boy also had a Sharingan, and there was no faking that.
There was also the fact the girl looked so much like someone he'd never thought he'd see again – Uzumaki Kushina, yet at the same time he saw his sensei, Minato, in her. She truly did look like Naruto, with obvious differences. Now they were talking about different realities, and two techniques he knew only he and Jiraiya of the Sannin knew how to preform, much less put into a conversation like that.
"It's impossible," he said.
Hotaru and Sasuke both scoffed.
"We're ninja," Hotaru said. "Nothing is impossible, it just hasn't been done yet."
Sasuke nodded, and deactivated his Sharingan to prove that they were his true eyes in case the supposedly alternate version of his old sensei thought they might be transplants. He saw the silver haired man flinch at this, and his younger self stiffen.
He didn't blame him exactly, he probably reminded the boy a little of Itachi – the two had always shared a striking resemblance. So much so Hotaru had mistaken Itachi for Sasuke at their first meeting after so many years, back when Itachi had first tried to take Hotaru for the Kyūbi to be extracted. The biggest difference was Sasuke had always looked a little more like their mother than Itachi did.
"Who are you?" Sakura asked.
She looked between them with some fear, but mostly curiosity. The day had started out normally, they had met at the bridge, taken a simple D-rank, before heading to the training field to train for a few hours. They hadn't expected two battered and bloody individuals to come crashing into their training grounds like meteorites. Much less for them to be what looked like an older Sasuke and a girl somehow related to Naruto.
"Sakura," Sasuke began, "still annoying even in this reality."
Sakura was struck by the words, and thought back a few months before to when they'd first became a team.
'You're annoying' Sasuke had told her before leaving.
"Sasuke?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"Hn," Sasuke said. "I am Uchiha Sasuke, you can already guess we're not from this... reality."
"How do you know that? Couldn't it just be your past, if this is true that is?" the younger Sasuke asked.
Hotaru snorted, drawing attention to her as she tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, showing them to be pierced twice at the ear lob and twice at the cartilage. She had simple studs in at the moment, the most practical for a kunoichi while on duty.
"If the blonde boy is who I think he is, then it's pretty obvious it's a different reality from our own," she said, and than smiled. "I'm Uzumaki Hotaru, by the way."
Naruto wasn't the only one shocked, eyes wide.
"Are... are you related to me somehow?" he asked, looking at her and tilting his head to the side. She didn't look older than this alternate Sasuke, both about sixteen or seventeen. Unless she came from another time period, unlike the boy who was supposed to be an older Sasuke, he doubted she was his mother.
Maybe a sister? The hopeful look in his wide eyes was not unnoticed by any of them, and Hotaru looked at him sadly before grinning.
"Sort of. I'm you, or at least the possibility of you if you'd been born a girl," she said.
Naruto's mouth fell open, and chuckling she began to unbuckle the wide black obi-like belt over-top her form fitting sleeveless dark red coat. Under the coat she wore a black sleeveless shirt with a high collar, which showed a little of her midriff. If they could see the back of her coat they would find a large Uzumaki spiral. She had on a burnt orange, thigh length skirt, and under it was black form fitting shorts.
On her right leg was a red leather pouch with more than one compartment that connected to her leg with multiple straps, and to the left side of her waist, so it appeared to sit off her hip despite it not being a hip pouch. A black hip pouch sat on her right side, towards the back of her waist.
Her hands were covered with dark fingerless gloves, which had metal plates on the back. The gloves stopped a few inches above her wrist, and under the gloves were black leather arm warmers that went up a few inches past the elbow. Her feet were covered by shinobi boots, that were black with buckles and reinforced metal shin guards. Once she'd unbuckled the belt that buckled under her breast (which had to be a large C-cup or low d-cup) she lifted her black shirt up to a few inches below her bust.
The skin was muscular in a feminine way, showing she was active much like all ninja were, and had a navel piercing. There were shallow cuts, dirt, and blood from her fight with Sasuke. Seconds later they realized she was channeling chakra, and slowly a spiral seal appeared on her stomach around her navel. Kakashi and Naruto's eyes widened. They knew exactly what that was, and there was absolutely no way to fake one.
"I can't believe this," Kakashi muttered, looking from Hotaru who lowered her tattered black shirt back down over her stomach.
Actually, now that he actually looked at them, both of their clothes were torn and scuffed. Considering this older Sasuke had a sword at her throat, he'd bet they had been fighting each other. They had also mentioned a Rasengan and Chidori colliding, two attacks like that colliding along with bijū chakra – who knew what could happen.
Which made him question whether they had been sparing, or trying to kill each other?
"It's just like mine," Naruto muttered, though he'd only seen the seal once and that was when the Hokage had wanted to see it the night after the Mizuki incident.
"What is it?" Sasuke asked, though he was still glaring at his alternate self. The older Sasuke was simply ignoring his younger self. Which annoyed the young Sasuke even more.
"It's... a seal," Hotaru said hesitantly. "I've had it since I was born, it's unique to me. So it proves that I am who I claim to be, since no one else could possibly have the same seal."
Naruto nodded, and than grinned.
"Right, Nee-chan!" he exclaimed, and Hotaru blinked at the blondes exclamation and use of sister. She knew she'd been accepting at his age, but not that accepting. "But I do have one question. Why is your hair red?"
Sasuke – both of them – snorted, and Kakashi smiled a little under his mask. Sakura looked as if she were contemplating violence against the blonde. Hotaru just laughed.
"Genetics, I guess. You could have had red hair as well, it's a recessive gene. If you have kids there is a chance they'd have red hair, even if you or your wife don't. As for why... because Kaa-chan has red hair."
Hotaru shrugged but knew something was wrong when the boy gaped at her with wide eyes.
"Kaa-chan?" he stuttered out. "You know who our parents are?"
"You don't?" she asked.
Kakashi coughed, drawing attention back to him.
"I'm afraid that's something of a classified secret... uh Hotaru wasn't it?"
Naruto's eyes moved to him, eyes looking betrayed.
"Sensei, you know who my parents were as well!"
Hotaru glared at him, which for some reason made the silver-white haired man feel as if he'd treed on sensitive territory. It didn't help that it looked as if someone had combined Kushina and Minato's glares. She had Kushina's eye shape but Minato's eyes. The same could be said for Naruto.
A small part of him felt as if he'd failed his student, not only Naruto but Hotaru as well. It was strange, because Hotaru wasn't truly his student. She'd been trained by another Kakashi, and who knew how different or similar the two were but Hotaru and her Sasuke.
"Bullshit," Hotaru snapped, her eyes flashing red momentarily, which alarmed Kakashi. "It may be kept secret from Konoha in general, and the world for good reason, but he deserves to know who his parents were. It's sad, how people just don't seem to understand that our past is all we have to identify with. Then when you've finished scorning us and spitting on the ground we walk, you wonder why we become unstable."
Kakashi gulped as the girl before him spoke, and he knew she was right. He also knew who the we she spoke of was. His students might not, but he and the older Sasuke did (while Naruto had some idea what she was talking about) She meant the Jinchūriki. Thinking on it, it was a miracle Konoha hadn't turned Naruto into the very monster they claimed he was. He shouldn't be surprised Hotaru had it similar, if not worse if she'd been told who her parents were. She acted as if she'd been told when she was younger, probably around Naruto's age if her surprise was anything to go by.
Sasuke smirked, looking at his former teammate with what was almost amusement.
"Still a bleeding heart, Hotaru," he said, and Hotaru hissed back at him like an angry cat.
"I need to take you two to the Hokage," Kakashi said. "He'll decide if what you've said is true, and what to do after that."
Looking at the alternate version of their sensei, Sasuke and Hotaru nodded. Turning to Naruto, Hotaru smiled at him and promised she'd tell him about their parents once she had the time. Sasuke simply grunted as he followed Kakashi and Hotaru towards the Hokage tower.
As team seven was left behind, all three knew nothing would be the same.