Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
A/N: The beginning of this story is based on what happens in chapter 614 in the manga. If you are for some reason not caught up to that point and wish to avoid some spoilers, then I suggest you get caught up so you can enjoy my story as well!
Chapter 1: The Alpha and the Omega
Naruto was exhausted, as were Hinata, Neji, and Hiashi, from defending against the numerous wooden spears being fired at them from the Juubi; Naruto from using multiple Rasenshuriken, and the Hyuuga from using their Rotation and Vacuum Palms. All of them were short on chakra, and Kurama needed more time before his chakra could be used by Naruto again. The timing could not be worse, however, as they found that the next volley of spears was focused solely on Naruto. With none of them able to properly defend him from the attack, Naruto thought his life was about to end.
And yet, what Naruto saw next was far more horrifying than his own death. Before anyone could stop her, Hinata used her own body as a shield in order to keep the love of her life alive. And in her mind, why should she not? Without him, this war would be over. Without him, they were all as good as dead. Without him, she had no desire to continue on. For her, this was the only possible choice.
Seeing Hinata impaled by the spears forced Naruto to relive his treasured memories of Hinata in a single instant. He remembered how she was during the Chuunin Exams: how she had wanted him to cheat off of her during the written portion, how she had faced a superior opponent in Neji during the preliminaries and refused to give in, how she had encouraged him before his own fight with Neji in the final round. He remembered how she had faced down Pain when it seemed he could no longer fight on his own and confessed her love and admiration for him. And finally he remembered what she had just done; how she had thrown herself in the way of an attack meant for him and now stood on Death's doorstep in his place.
Naruto was watching as Hinata, one of the only people who had ever been unconditionally good to him from the time he had known them, began to die.
It was too much for him.
In another instant Naruto found himself silently crying inside his own mind, with no one save for the Nine-tailed Fox to keep him company. He began to speak aloud for Kurama to listen to his anguish.
"Another precious person that I wasn't able to save. Hinata had always been kind to me, even from the start when so many others saw nothing but a demon in human skin; she had only ever seen me for me. And now she's going to die because I wasn't strong enough to protect her. She even l-loved me." Naruto found his tears coming quicker and his breathing more labored. "W-why did she h-have to d-d-die!? It sh-should have been m-me! I'm tired o-of people d-d-dying for me! Maybe I-I should let Madara's M-Moon's Eye Plan c-come to pass, and s-stop the endless s-slaughter..."
"Get a hold of yourself, Naruto!" bellowed Kurama as he tried to bring Naruto back to his senses. "You know as well as I do how that bastard Madara's plan will work. None will have true happiness or peace, save for perhaps Madara himself. What he wants is something fake: pretty words with no substance, with no one truly in control of themselves. Is that what you want now Naruto? To be controlled?"
"All I want now is to be with Hinata" Naruto said as he began to calm down a bit. "But she's about to die and I've realized far too late just how much I care about her, so now there's no more time for that. Maybe if I were to die here I could join with her in another life or the afterlife or whatever the hell happens to you after you die. I know Madara's stupid plan won't bring anything real to anybody, but at least more people will be left alive."
"... Very well. I didn't want to have to do this but perhaps it will be for the best."
"What do you mean, Kurama? What can you possibly do to fix this!?"
"I told you to get a hold of yourself! Now keep quiet and listen. I possess a certain jutsu that no human could possibly do that will save her without fail." Naruto went completely still at this statement and listened intently; whatever it took to save Hinata at this point, Naruto wanted it done. "However, know that I can only use it once every few hundred years, so if you screw up like this again I won't be able to fix it. You only get once chance to do this."
"Whatever it is Kurama, I'm ready for it! I don't care what it takes to save Hinata, please, just please, do it!"
"I'm glad to see you've regained your conviction. The jutsu is basically time travel." Naruto's eyes went wide and his mouth hung open at this. "I see you understand the power behind such a thing. But we have little time to ponder; it would be best if I started as soon as possible. Now tell me: how far back do you want to go?"
"Um... how far back can you go?"
"I can go back as far as 10 years but we certainly don't need to go back that far to save the girl."
"True enough..." Naruto said quietly, as he quickly thought about how much of the past he would change if given a chance. He could save so many lives and stop so many horrible things from happening. He could even do things differently with Hinata. "... But there's so much more we could do if we go back further! So much more that we could change for the better, not to mention how we could prepare more for everything that's happened, and is happening right this moment."
"I see where you're coming from and I understand your want to do this, but I must caution you. Time is not something to be trifled with, and with the information you have a lot of things can go awry depending on how your actions in that timeline will differ from this one. Trust me, I know from experience. And there is no going back. Make sure you want to do this, and then quickly tell me the time in your life you want to go back to."
"Like I said before Kurama, I'm ready" Naruto said with a slight smile on his face. "And the time I want to go to is the beginning of my last year at the academy when I was 11. That's fine, right?"
"Of course, now just let me tell you a few last minute things. First of all, keep in mind that although you're bringing with you all of your knowledge and techniques from this time, you'll still be in the body you had when you were 11, that means less chakra and less physical strength. Second, and I'm sure this is obvious but it's worth saying for emphasis, don't go running around telling everyone you're a time traveler or showing off abilities that you should not have, that would just open a nice big can of worms for us that neither of us would want to deal with. Last, but not least, while I, along with anyone else you are in physical contact with upon the jutsu's activation, will also retain memories of this timeline, know that I will be locked back up in that infernal prison. And while we will still be partners, we will need the key from Jiraiya to unlock the prison once more to get back to our full potential."
Naruto nodded his head in understanding and agreement of everything Kurama said, but one of the last things got him slightly excited. "So, once the jutsu activates, I just have to be touching someone and they'll also remember everything?"
Kurama smiled, showing off every single one of his unbelievably sharp teeth in mutual understanding. "So, you wish for the girl to accompany you through time? How sweet of you" Kurama said with a small chuckle and a smirk on his face. Naruto smirked right back and turned around to leave his mindscape, ready to do what needed to be done. As he walked he looked back and began to speak.
"You're damn right. Well, we've talked for long enough, so you go ahead and focus on what you need to do. Just keep an eye on me and you'll know when to activate your jutsu. And one last thing, Kurama." Naruto turned around completely to face him and smiled wide before bowing. "Thank you, from the bottom of my heart."
Naruto then faded from his mindscape, leaving Kurama to focus on his jutsu. "... No problem, kid."
While it seemed to Naruto that a great deal of time had passed in his own mind, only a moment or so passed in the physical world, and Naruto once again met with the terrible view of Hinata bleeding profusely from her wounds where wooden spikes stuck out from her. Naruto could not keep himself from letting a few tears stream down his face when he saw her again. And yet as she stumbled toward him, closing the distance of only a few feet between them, Naruto could see she had a small smile on her face.
"N-N-Naruto... I'm glad I-I was able t-to help you... e-e-even though it m-means I w-will die here" said the girl with the light lavender eyes, doing her best not to mar them with tears of her own as she felt her life slowly fading away.
Naruto stood up and carefully embraced her, whispering into her ear, "Don't worry Hinata, I'm going to fix this, I promise."
"H-how?" she asked, the pain evident in her voice as she spoke.
"You'll see. I always keep my promises, remember?" As he said this, he pulled his head back a small amount, so that sapphire eyes could look into light lavender. For a fraction of a second that seemed like many minutes they gazed into the eyes opposite them as if searching for something, though neither knew what for. And before either knew it their lips met for the first time, and for a few seconds that seemed like hours to them they kissed, oblivious to the horrors around them. For that short amount of time nothing else existed, and they wanted nothing more than to always be by the other, never wanting to leave.
And then before either knew it, everything faded into darkness.