What was supposed to be an easy reconnaissance mission during the war turned into a battle for life as Shino Aburame's team was ambushed by what seemed like hundreds of Shinobi. The bug-master's teammate, Naruto Uzumaki, was further ahead, fighting off hordes of enemies.
The Jinchuriki, having sustained damage from a previous battle, was not as strong as he should have been, his reactions delayed and his blows weakened. It was clear enough that he was not going to last long in this fight, and Shino knew he could do nothing to help. Their other teammates had already either been slain or were barely alive, bleeding out on the ground as they twitched and whimpered.
Aburame moved forward as the slighter male fell, his loyalty towards his friend pushing his feet in the direction of Naruto, hoping that somehow, he could do something.
Bugs flew towards the enemies, cloaking the blond boy in a thick veil as Shino dropped to his side, needing no medical expertise to know that his friend wasn't going to make it – not this time.
"Naruto..." Shino reached out, putting a hand on a bloodied shoulder. His eyes, hidden behind black glasses, scanned the teenager's body, achingly aware of all the blood and injuries.
Naruto coughed as he glanced up at the boy, his eyes half lidded. He flinched as Kurama spoke to him, his biju's voice weak, calmer than it had ever been before.
"Send him back, Naruto," the nine-tailed fox hissed into his vessel's mind. "He can fix this."
Naruto, without conscious awareness of how, understood immediately what Kurama was saying. He nodded, turning his attention back to the bug master.
"Shino..." Naruto coughed again as blood dribbled down his chin. "...Shino, we can... We can..."
Shino leant in closer to hear what the other was saying, but it was too late; Naruto drifted off, his eyes slipping closed as all signs of life fled from him.
It hurt seeing his friend die before his eyes but, seconds later, all thoughts of Naruto were driven out of his mind as a black aura encased him, blinding him to his surroundings. A tug pulled at him and, once the shade was gone, he realised he was standing in one of Konoha's training fields – but why did something feel different?
Looking up at the Hokage faces carved into the mountain, he realised there were only four; Tsunade's face was missing, meaning only one thing. Had he... gone back in time...?