A/N: This has been sitting on my computer for a while. I was reading a few time-travel fics along with gender change fics and I guess I got a bit inspired even though I never thought I would write a gender change fic. I'm not sure if I am going to continue this but if I do I know the main idea of this fic would have been Naruto building his strength, trying to change minds and fix some things while going through the Third Shinobi War. Also in the midst of all that trying to come to terms with being a girl. Not beta'd even though I know it would fix a lot of my errors and plot holes if I did get some help.
When the Sage of Sixth Paths died there was very little that either Kurama or any of the other tailed beasts could do. Though his ultimate wish for peace was yet to be released he was content to leave his dream in the hands of the generations to follow. Though they wanted to believe in his words, in his assurance that someone will come and lead them on the right path, the years had not been kind to many of the tailed beasts and as the resentment over their treatment continued to fester so did the little hope in which remained began to diminish. That was until Naruto Uzumaki decided it wasn't enough to just save the world he needed to save them too.
"At least I'll get to see everyone again," the child who he'd witnessed grow into the man he had come to know and respect said, dying the same way he'd live most of his life – with a grin on his face and fighting in the name of everything he held dear. And just like the idiot he was, rather than fight the darkness threatening to overcome him he instead slowly allowed his eyes to close.
Frowning Naruto snapped his eyes open. In place of the decimated battle field that surrounded him only moments before he had opened his eyes to find himself surrounded by nine familiar faces. Realizing where he was he allowed his gaze to drift over each and every one of the tailed beasts before him. Shukaku. Matatabi. Isobu. Son Goku. Kokuo. Saiken. Chomei. Gyuki. Kurama. They were all there.
"What's going on?" he found himself asking.
"We now understand what the Sage of the Six Paths meant when he told us we will come to understand what true power is," Kurama spoke on behalf of them all. For once there was no bickering. No taunts. Nothing but a quiet agreement shared by all nine. "You have shown us this. Both through your words and actions you have made us regain the hope we thought was forever lost. There is no question in our minds of who you are. You are the Child of Prophecy we have been waiting for."
"Heh," Naruto laughed, running a hand through the mess of his spiky golden hair. An action so reminiscent of his younger self that Kurama couldn't help but think of the obnoxious twelve year old that would use to shout to anyone who would hear of it how he was going to become the Hokage and protect his precious people.
Back then no one would have imagined it possible. Even he, in all his infinite wisdom, did not believe the pathetic human serving as his container would ever amount to much. Yet like the mere mortals he often scoffed at he had also been proven wrong. Time and time again they had all been proven wrong, because even when nobody believed in him Naruto had always believed in himself and somehow through strength of will alone he was able to make others believe. Without even knowing it Naruto had begun to pave the way for the peace that the Sage of the Six Paths could only dream of.
"How are you all here?" Naruto questioned. The touch of regret and sadness in his eyes reaffirming for them all what they already knew and that was that their faith in him had not been misplaced. "I thought that when the Jubi was destroyed you were all destroyed along with it."
"Had the Jubi been completed you wouldn't have been able to stop us. The only way to be rid of us would have been to seal the ten tails within another vessel," Matatabi, the Nibi, politely explained. "Since that was not the case, as it had not yet achieved its final form, you were able to succeed in destroying the body and in turn freeing us once more."
Though at those words Naruto visibly brightened, his expression once more became grim as his gaze fell upon Gyuki. Unable to meet his eyes he turned away, the memory of Kirabi's death still fresh in his mind.
"As for the reason we are all able to appear before you is because at one point or another we all gave you some of our chakra and that chakra has remained with you," Matatabi continued to explain.
"Like my parents," Naruto whispered with a sad smile.
"Somewhat," Kurama agreed.
"So why are you all here? Why now?"
"We offer you a chance Naruto," he answered in a booming voice. "A chance to live the life you were meant to. To save those you weren't able in this time. To go back and rewrite your own legend."
At that Naruto frowned. Not quite sure what this was all supposed to mean.
"Alone we are nothing but a chakra, a force capable of unparalleled destruction," Kurama informed the blond. "But together we are more. Together we hold within us the power equal to that of a god and together we have the power to send you back."
Though he was still far from being the sharpest kunai in the box it did not take a genius to realize what it was Kurama was speaking of, what it was they were offering him. In spite of everything he has seen, everything he has witnessed, Naruto couldn't quite wrap his head around it. What they were offering should be impossible.
"Why not just revive me then?" Naruto found himself asking. "Why not just allow me to return to this time?"
Even as the words left his mouth Kurama knew how much the thought pained his vessel. While the Allied Forces managed to destroy the Jubi and defeat both Tobi and Madara it was not without its losses. Save for Naruto himself every last one of the Konoha 12 had perished. Even Kakashi and Gai were gone. Despite the fact Konohagakure still stood he knew it wouldn't be the same for the teen before him. Not without them. Not without his friends, all his precious people. A stronger man would go back, would return to pick up the pieces and help rebuild. But for once in his life it seemed Naruto did not want to be the stronger man.
"If that is your wish then it is within our every power to do so," Kurama conceded. "But think about what we are offering you Naruto. We are offering you the chance to be reborn, to know your parents and grow up with the love and support denied to you in this life. You can save them all. You can make sure what happened today will never happen ever."
"My parents," Naruto repeated with more than a hint of longing. With renewed hope in his eyes he added, "Everyone."
"Do not think of it as abandoning your remaining comrades Naruto," Matatabi assured him. "Think of it as the chance to build a better future. Not only for yourself but for everybody you cared about."
At those words the possibilities raced through Naruto's mind. Given the chance there was so much he could do, so many people he could save. Only this time he could do it with both his parents by his side. The thought alone brought a lump to his throat. It was almost too much to hope for, too much to bear. Had he been given such an offer before the Fourth Shinobi World War Naruto would have immediately dismissed it as nothing more than a malicious trick. Not now. Not when he trusted Kurama with his life.
With determined eyes he lifted his head and asked, "What do you need me to do?"
In reply Kurama grinned. "Just one thing. You need to make a choice."
"Didn't I just do that?" Naruto asked in confusion.
"You have one more choice to make," Kurama informed him with a touch of impatience. "You can go back to the day you were born, or you can go back further. We can take you back before Obito turned into Tobi, before Nagato turned into Pain."
"What do you mean?"
"Ten years before you were born your mother had been pregnant once before," replied Kurama to his great shock. "Your parents were young and since it was neither expected nor planned your mother did not have any reason to think she was with child at the time." He paused, allowing a moment for Naruto to process the words before continuing. "There was a mission. Your mother was hurt. And since I did not care for anything other than my own survival I did only what was necessary to ensure she lived. Because of that the child did not survive."
At that Naruto felt his breath catch at the revelation. Though the thought of having to wait so long to see them all again, to see Sakura-chan and every one of the friends he practically grew up with pained him, this wasn't something he could just turn down. So he thought about it. About the possibilities of being born before Madara managed to get his hands on Obito. He thought about the Obito that existed before he was manipulated him into the twisted shell he would become. Thought about the Obito who taught Kakashi the principles he would follow to his dying day. Tobi may not deserve nor want a second chance but the boy he once was certainly did. Maybe if he could save Obito, save Rin, things would be different this time. Could he prevent Nagato from ever having to lose himself to pain? Would he be able to save Itachi from ever having to lose all those he loved? Could he save the Uchiha Clan from themselves? The list went on.
The thought of his friends living long enough to get the chance to get married and even have kids of their own was not something he could easily let go of. Not when nearly every one of them died for him, died to just give him a chance to end this senseless war. When it came down to it, it was a small sacrifice on his part, to not be able to grow up alongside them if it only meant they all lived.
"Take me back," he found himself saying. Taking comfort in the fact that although he would not grow up with them it did not mean he would not be a part of their lives.
"When?" Kurama demanded.
Decision made Naruto resolved, "To before my birth."
At that Kurama grinned, "Done."
One by one each of the biju began to vibrate with chakra – expanding, widening, merging together, until there was nothing but one – until they were surrounded only by a single concentration of pure chakra. A perfect mix of all nine combined. So similar to the chakra emitted by the Jubi but different, less malevolent but no less strong.
Like a wave it poured over him.
As the world began to disappear around him Naruto faintly heard a loud booming laugh.
"What did you do?" he heard one of the others ask.
"There may be one tiny detail I forgot to inform him of."
Kurama. His hazy mind supplied.
"Just think of it as a little payback for all the years I had to deal with his constant yelling and idiocy."
Then there was nothing, only darkness.
When he first discovered he was going to be a father Minato Namikaze wasn't quite sure how to react. To go from nearly losing the woman he loved to finding out she was pregnant with their child was not exactly the normal way to go about things. Then again it shouldn't really surprise him. Because when it came down to it there was nothing about Kushina that could ever be considered anywhere near normal. Besides from being one of the last surviving members of the Uzumaki clan she was just about the most unorthodox kunoichi he has ever known. To see her in battle was as mesmerising as it was frightening. In the face of her enemies she was unstoppable – an unforgiving force all on her own. To the point he was almost certain there was nothing that could harm her, nothing that could ever bring her down. So when it happened, when he returned from a mission and was waylaid with the news she had been brought in a week before, bloodied and barely breathing and still yet to regain consciousness, he felt as if his world was about to shatter. Having known her since the academy it was a shock to discover that her injuries had not been healed, to find that an operation has been necessary. With his knowledge of the Kyubi and what it was capable of Minato couldn't help but worry.
In all the time he has known her Kushina couldn't even suffer a small cut without it being healed almost instantly. There was no way she would be allowed to veer so close to death. Not without the timely interference of the tailed beast she contained. From her interactions with the beast it was clear the Kyubi was far too concerned with its own survival to allow something like this to happen, to allow its existence to be compromised in such a way.
Worried by what it might mean Minato had immediately checked the seal. As soon as he did it was to find the Kyubi's chakra being concentrated in one place. Well away from any of her visible injuries. Instead he could feel it vibrating around her abdomen. Not exactly sure what to make of it but suddenly hit with the fear of a worst injury possibly going undetected he immediately alerted the doctors to the anomaly. To say that the answer he received was not what he was expecting would be a gross understatement. It seemed that rather than completely heal Kushina's injuries the Kyubi had instead directed most of its power towards healing something else entirely – their unborn child.
It was something he did not understand. At least not until Kushina awoke and was able to explain that the seal would be at its weakest during childbirth, that there was a possibility the Kyubi could escape its containment if she was to proceed with the pregnancy. In spite of the gravity of the situation, of the fact it was the result of the Kyubi's manipulations, when he asked her what it was she wanted to do and he was greeted with a simple but happy, "I'm going to be a mom dattabane," Minato set all worry aside and simply smiled.
As shinobis there was no certainty in life. Kushina's close call had showed him exactly how fragile their existence was. Not wanting to waste another moment Minato immediately proposed. While he had to convince her he was not only doing so just because of her pregnancy in the end Kushina happily agreed. With only the Hokage and a few close friends in attendance they had married in a quiet ceremony two months later.
While he never imagined being married let alone a father at barely eighteen it was always Kushina he dreamed of by his side. Kushina he dreamed of marrying, of having a child with. Though in those dreams they were always a little older he was happy. As scared as he was he wanted this.
A soft grunt suddenly brought him out of his musings. Turning to the source Minato couldn't help but notice the strain on his sensei's face as he stood over Kushina, hands held out over her stomach as she screamed in pain.
As if sensing his gaze Jiraiya assured with a confident grin, "Don't worry kid, I've got this."
Although he was a seal master in his own right Minato decided to err on the side of caution by having the legendary sannin present for the birth. In light of what happened all those months ago he was determined to take every precaution necessary. Ever since the news of Kushina's pregnancy broke they have been almost obsessively planning for Naruto's birth.
"Naruto, please come out quickly," he found himself yelling as Kushina gave one final scream.
When the first cry sounded Minato wasn't quite sure where it was coming from. He barely heard Biwako's order of 'Hot water' or her assistant's reply. All he could concentrate on was the beautiful sound of their child's first loud wail. With wide eyes he watched as the Hokage's wife wrapped up the small fragile body in a warm blanket.
Wiping away the tears burning in his eyes Minato couldn't help but let out a happy, "I'm a father today."
With a relieved sigh Jiraiya brought an arm up to wipe away the sweat on his brow before turning to him with a grin and a congratulatory pat.
As Biwako carried the still crying child towards him Minato reached out a hand with a call of, "Naruto!"
"Don't touch the child," the stern woman instantly rebuked. "The mother gets to see first."
Suitably chastised he dropped his hand and couldn't help the pout that came to his lips as Naruto was brought to Kushina's side. Upon hearing her gently whisper, "I finally get to see you," his pout quickly morphed into a warm smile.
"You'll have lots of time later," Biwako assured her before turning to Naruto and gently cooing, "There, there."
Smiling widely he turned to Kushina. As he did so he felt the colour drain from his face.
"Sensei," he yelled as he ran to her side.
Upon realizing what was happening Jiraiya immediately brought his hands to Kushina's stomach and without a hint of hesitation began to seal the Kyubi. To both their horror instead of receding the seal continued to unravel, long tendrils reaching out to wind over Kushina's body as the familiar foul red chakra began to surround her.
"It's breaking Minato," Kushina gasped.
In a panic Minato quickly took his sensei's place and tried his hand at the seal. Just like with Jiraiya nothing happened.
"Minato, get me away from here. Get me away from Naruto," he heard her beg, just before a scream was torn from her lips.
Unwilling to give up he was about to try again when all of a sudden a dark mass began pouring from the seal. A dark swirl of chakra so strong he felt as if he was being weighed down by the sudden wave of malevolence it exuded. With a glance at the two clearly horrified women across from him, one of which was holding Naruto in her arms, Minato carefully lifted Kushina into his arms and in a blink teleported them both away.
Once at their destination, just outside his safe house on the outskirts of the village Minato was about to lower her down on the soft grass when he was suddenly forced away by a loud roar.
Ignoring the burns he could feel flicking at the skin of his arms and torso he lifted his head and felt his eyes widen at the sight before him. It was the Kyubi. Though not yet solid there was no mistaking the form of the red chakra that was spilling from Kushina's seal.
"Yondaime," the beast growled, turning to grin at him for a split second before propelling itself completely out – leaving nothing but the fallen body of his wife behind.
In an instant he was by her side, needing to make sure that she was alright before he could even begin to try and process what was going on. To his immense relief he found her not only alive but still fully conscious.
"W-what happened?" she weakly questioned.
As he gathered her back into his arms Minato frowned. For all his genius he found himself unable to answer her.
"I don't know," he replied somewhat shakily, the last few moments making absolutely no sense to him at all.
The seal had broken. The Kyubi had escaped. Yet there was absolutely no sign of it. Even at the distance they were there was no way they wouldn't be able to sense it. That foul chakra. There was no way it could just disappear.
"Naruto," she suddenly cried in alarm. "I want to see Naruto."
Holding her close Minato silently nodded and faster than a blink teleported back to the cave. Still on alert he immediately found his eyes drawn to where his sensei stood, face drawn with uneasiness as he hovered over a completely uncovered and bawling Naruto.
"What's wrong?" he demanded as he took in the scene before him. He was startled at the sight of the clearly shaken Biwako whose arms bore the same burn marks as his.
At his words Jiraiya spun around. Though his eyes held relief upon seeing that Kushina was for the most part unhurt the tension on his face remained.
"There was a sudden wave of chakra. The killer intent, it was like nothing I've ever experienced," the Sannin began to explain. "When I heard the roar and saw it come pouring in I was so sure it was the Kyubi coming to finish us off." There was a brief pause. "But then it just disappeared."
"Disappeared?" Minato repeated in disbelief. Unable to comprehend how such a thing was possible.
"It shot towards Naruto," Biwako interrupted shakily, the simple explanation perfectly explaining her current state. "It surrounded Naruto's body and then it was gone, just completely gone."
"But that's not the strangest part," Jiraiya added before waving him forward. "Look."
With Kushina still in his arms he approached the bed where Naruto was laid. As he did so Jiraiya held out a hand over Naruto's stomach and with a gentle pulse began channelling his chakra, an action in which seem to cause the small body before them some measure of discomfort if the loud cry the action managed to elicit was anything to go by. Frowning Minato was just about to demand his sensei put a stop to whatever it was he was doing when it appeared.
"Impossible," both he and Kushina breathed at the same time.
Gently placing her down beside Naruto he allowed his eyes to roam over the visible seal. The same seal he had been working on ever since he learnt of the pregnancy. A seal he could have only performed with the help of the Shinigami – the Eight Signed Seal.
Meanwhile, as the commotion around him continued Naruto let out a heartfelt wail and shook his tiny fists. Unable to form the words he desperately wanted to scream he mentally screeched, 'You bastard fox! I can't believe you made me a girl!'
"HAHAHAHA!" was the eloquent response.