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Kakashi gave an unamused chuckle, the sound low and throaty and laced with a sadistic intent to kill that had made lesser men run for fear of their lives. "The question you should be asking is not where, but when. And if you're so upset because of that, why don't you call your sensei a fucking bastard? He's the one responsible for this."

Naruto glowered at the silver-haired man in the fading light, fists clenched so tight his fingernails cut into his palm. They bled, staining the ropes, and Kakashi just continued to stare at him.

"If you," he whispered, voice low and shaking with indescribable anger, "insult Obito-sensei, I will kill you. You never say one bad word about him, you hear?!"

His words were icy cold and his eyes burned with hate, but Kakashi remained bored and indifferent through it all. "You are not in any situation to be making threats, Godaime Hokage," he murmured, lightly brushing a strand of thick hair away from his mismatched eyes. "Certainly not idle ones. But anyway, I was under the impression you were already going to kill me. What are you going to do to me if I don't let you go? Kill me twice?"

Kakashi's words were dripping with sarcasm and Naruto snarled, a low, guttural sound from his throat, and his heart thrummed with hatred. He had never hated anyone as much as he hated Kakashi in that moment, and being this close to him and seeing him still breathe was almost too much.

Naruto took a breath and bit down on his lip, trying not to scream. "Why," he managed, "am I alive?! Why did you not kill me?!"

Kakashi raised one pale eyebrow and hummed thoughtfully. "That is a good question," he said at length, then shrugged. "Maa, I suppose I thought you might be amusing to listen to. I have some time until my injuries heal up and I can leave, so until then, I might as well have some company. If you want me to kill you now, by all means, tell me- I'm not adverse to that either." His two eyes curved upwards in a wicked approximation of a smile, and Naruto thrashed against his bindings again.

"I will kill you," he promised, voice trembling under the weight of repressed fury. "I will kill you for what you have done."

"Really?" Kakashi didn't even appeal remotely interested, not even twitching from his spot of lounging against a tree. "What have I done to you, Naruto?" His voice seemed morbidly curious, like he knew exactly what Naruto's problem was with him but just wanted to hear him say it.

Naruto hated himself for answering the bastard's question, but he hated Kakashi far more. "You sick fuck, you know what you've done. You ruined Sasuke's life- you killed him! Obito-sensei and Rin-oneechan and Tou-san, do you have any idea what you put them through?! You killed Lee and Neji and Kiba and Sai and you destroyed my village! You have hurt everyone I have ever loved! There is no form of punishment painful enough for the likes of you, but I swear that you will pay for what you've done!"

Kakashi just kept staring at him throughout his screaming outburst. His two eyes were narrow and tired, and he hadn't even flinched once throughout the accusations, or even tried to deny it. Naruto was panting by the end of it and shaking with unrestrained rage and hatred and Kakashi just sat there, untouched and bored by it all.

The man was so infuriating and Naruto gritted his teeth, eyes straying down to his covered throat. He thought of how nice it would be to tear through his skin and strangle him to death, watch what little of his pathetic face he could see turn blue.

He wanted him to die.

"Hmm… all things I have done to those close to you, then. That is why you hate me?" Kakashi paused, then shook his head in disgust. "Your sensei preached what he did not practice, I see. And your father-"

"Don't you dare insult them!"

Kakashi fell silent, and his eyes finally betrayed a hint of anger, emotion. He stared at Naruto for a long moment, the blond so furious he was seeing red. He strained again against the ropes, wishing nothing more than to carve that bastard's heart out of his chest just to see it stop beating. "Don't you dare talk about my sensei and my father!" His enraged scream echoed about the clearing, startling a flight of birds into flapping up and away in a flutter of wings. "You… you have no idea…" His heart throbbed painfully, and suddenly he felt so betrayed, so betrayed and hurt and furious and he found himself having to blink back tears. So much of what he'd been told felt like a lie, now, a horrid lie-

"Are you crying?"

Naruto stiffened, then blinked abruptly dry eyes and glared at the Akatsuki leader. "Go to hell."

Kakashi laughed quietly. "I see Obito taught his students his crybaby ways, too. How pathetic."

"Stop talking about him!"

"Why?" Kakashi tilted his head to the side and stared at him, piercing, mismatched gaze light with a false amusement. "He sent us back in time together. He failed to kill me before I killed your friends. He… aah. Do you wonder, Naruto, why he sent us back together? He could have sent me back alone. Perhaps he wanted to abandon you, like he aban-"

"Don't. You. Dare. Finish that sentence."


Breathing heavily amidst his fury, Naruto shut his eyes tightly and thought of his sensei. His friends. His loved ones- all in another time. He pictured their smiling faces and refused to think of Kakashi's masked one, refused to picture what he wanted to smash and pulverize. If this fucking bastard tried to corrupt his memories of them-

No. He would not let Kakashi succeed. Naruto didn't know how, and he didn't know when, but this man would pay for what he had done.

"I'm done speaking to you," he announced, voice carefully flat with a fake stoicism his father had taught him to put on when he was so angry he couldn't think. "You're not worth anyone's time. All you're doing is spitting upon the names of my precious people. I'll kill you someday, but until that day comes, I won't speak to you."

"…Have it your way, then."

Kakashi's voice was oddly flat, almost just like Naruto's was. He ignored that. That bastard had learned nothing from his Minato.

One thing he had said, though, rang true.

Why had Obito sent them back in time together?

Go back, Naruto! Go back and save him!

Of all the times for Obito to be vague…

Save who, Sensei? Save who?

Naruto managed to keep true to his promise to not speak to Kakashi until well after night had fallen. The Akatsuki leader was possibly asleep, he couldn't tell- his silver hair had been hiding his eyes for sometime now. His thoughts had been determinedly focused on how he was going to free himself ever since he had fallen silent, and it had taken him about three seconds to come up with a solution.

But he remembered what his father and his sensei had taught him, and decided to bide his time. Escaping now would put him at the full mercy of the Akatsuki leader, the man who could attack with just one eye. They were both injured from that last fight before Obito had lifted them out of their time, and Naruto had no wish to fight Kakashi until he could do more than glare at him.

When Naruto had just decided to be content- barely- to wait to put his plan into action, the man that he had previously assumed to be asleep stiffly raised his right arm. It was the only part of him that moved, but it did so with a fluid grace and beams of wood exploded out from the hem of his baggy sleeve, twisting up and around them to form a makeshift house. It was plain as could be, though still furnished at least barely- for heaven's sake, a couch sprouted up directly underneath Kakashi's lounging form. It wasn't anywhere near as good as Yamato's work- but thoughts of Yamato made him remember the wood user as he had last seen him, eyes squeezed tight in agony as Sakura sobbed out apologies and sliced off his irrevocably damaged hand with a Chakra scalpel.

Naruto shuddered, and decided not to think about that.

He glowered at the Akatsuki member instead, who let his arm down easily and silently, still without moving any part of his body. The whole procedure had been eerily quiet; Kakashi hadn't made a sound throughout the whole thing. He remembered the tension in Yamato's face when he used Mokuton, the slight hissing sound as wood bent and molded to his will-

Stop thinking about him, Naruto!

Kakashi shifted at his glare, finally moving a part of his body other than his arm. He raised his head to stare right back at him, still trussed up firmly to the tree that stood in the middle of the house. "I smelled someone coming. it's a lot less suspicious to see a house in the middle of the woods than to see the likes of me and the fifth Hokage tied to a tree."

Naruto rolled his eyes, opened his mouth, then remembered his vow of silence and looked away. Not without one more venomous glare in the bastard's direction, though.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kakashi shift onto his side and pillow his head on his arm. His eyes were once again hidden by his hair, and Naruto was beginning to think that it was on purpose.

Shaking his head, Naruto focused on himself again. He breathed in and out, taking stock of his injuries. His Chakra was extremely low, and it would take even longer than usual for it to replenish itself with all those seals. That just meant the first five minutes after his escape would be crucial. He could also feel broken bones, vicious bruises- but he was nowhere near as badly hurt than when his sensei had used his eye to bring them back in time.

His kamui vortex must be laced with Chakra, he mused thoughtfully. Some of the energy had probably gone into him and healed a few of his worse, internal injuries.

That probably held true for Kakashi as well, though.

Naruto sent another dark look at the Akatsuki leader and frowned. If he was going to kill the bastard that had destroyed his village, he was going to have to be at the top of his game. He'd have to run to hide and recover his Chakra somewhere- then make his move.

Obito's last request niggled at the back of his mind again. Who did he want him to save?

…Sasuke. It had to be Sasuke.

Sasuke, who had died fighting against Kakashi, apologizing to his brother with his last breaths for failing to avenge him. Naruto closed his eyes and bowed his head, heart throbbing in protest at another pang of pain.

Sakura had been trying to save him, in vain. He was already dying. No one could've brought him back, not Rin, not even the famed Tsunade. Still, the pink-haired medic had been fighting to keep all of that blood inside his broken frame, keep him breathing, keep his heart beating. Sasuke had been coughing and straining and crying, fading eyesight focused on Obito, speaking to him as if he were Itachi. Apologizing to him. Saying over and over how sorry he was for failing to kill Kakashi. He just kept apologizing, and Obito had played along as Itachi- and wept all the while.

It's all right, Sasuke-niisan, he had whispered, voice shaking, silent tears trailing down dirty cheeks, tracking through the ash. It's going to be all right.

Itachi, I- oh, god, it hurts! ITACHI!

That cry, pierced with longing, onyx eyes wide with agony and filling with tears, and Sakura was sobbing and Obito's shoulders were shaking and a scream had been caught in Naruto's throat, a disbelieving scream filled with horror.

I know it hurts, Sasuke-niisan. Just hold on. It'll all be okay soon.

Ita…chi… I'm sor…

Naruto sucked in an agonized breath as his eyes shot open. Sasuke- Sasuke was-

Alive. They were in the past and Sasuke. Was. Alive.

Obito must have wanted him to save Sasuke. But how? Naruto didn't know how far in the past they were but Sasuke had died only a few days before their final clash against Kakashi. The only way to directly prevent his death would be to wait until the day of his death, then intervene- but that was ridiculous. To stand by and watch as the world erupted into war again, watch as his village fell and shinobi died, twiddling his thumbs until the right moment- that was not wrong, and not what his father and Obito had taught him to do. No, that couldn't be it.

Unless… he meant for him to save Itachi?

Yes- yes, that might work. If Itachi never died, then Sasuke never would have been so reckless against Kakashi- he never would've kept fighting until he couldn't be saved. Perhaps, if Itachi was kept alive, then Sasuke would stay that way, too.

Not only that, but Itachi was one of the strongest Uchiha there was. With him, Sasuke, and Obito in the fray against Kakashi's one lone, stolen Sharingan- the odds could be turned in their favor.

Naruto gave a slight nod, undeniably satisfied with what he had decided. Now, he just had to figure out how to save Itachi.

He thought back to that horrible day. It was soon after their graduation from the Academy, just a month before their chuunin exam. Naruto had only found out because he was the son of the Hokage, not because he was a ninja- the news that Itachi had been captured by criminals had been kept secret and silent. Obito, Shisui, and Fugaku had been sent out to retrieve him- they returned with a hitai-ate and one bloody bag. Naruto had only learned later that inside that bag were Itachi's Sharingan.

Obito had never been the same after that. Being forced to kill his closest friend- it changed him, and Naruto suppressed another wave of hatred towards Kakashi when he remembered just how broken his sensei had been in the weeks after the incident. The first time he'd used his newfound Mangekyou, he'd almost collapsed into tears, apologizing in whispered, shattered words for being unable to save Itachi.

I'm so sorry… you're saving me, even now, but I couldn't protect you. I'm so sorry, Itachi! I'm so sorry!

Naruto gritted his teeth and just barely managed to stay silent.

Remember, he told himself, for what was sure to be the first of many, remember that none of your loved ones are dead. Not now. Not anymore.

Obito had yet to kill Itachi, had yet to hold his student's hand as he died- had yet to find that his best friend from years past had betrayed him. He had yet to die with a broken heart. Sasuke had not yet rammed bleeding fist after bleeding fist into the hard earth, screaming out in a blind fury, wanting nothing more than his brother back. He had yet to die- still wanting nothing more than to avenge his brother. Sakura had yet to hold all her friends in her arms as they died, her skills more often than not used to simply ease pain so they passed from this world to the next with a smile instead of a scream.

And it was now his responsibility to ensure that none of that ever happened.

I won't fail, you all. I will not let you down.

He was the Hokage, after all. And the Hokage protected his village and his friends, even at the cost of his own life.