Warning: Canon reference, Extremely Colourful Language, children. (Background: Yes mummy... *groans*)
Disclaimer: Meh, this poor soul stuck on the internet does not own the fictional work of Naruto. I'm just a random entity that decided to twist my own interests in.
A/N: Just a short timeline, from Naruto wikia I found online, the destruction of Kannabi bridge occurs one year after Itachi is born, and everyone in Team Minato is already at least Chunin. Which means... SOON. WAHAHAHAHA... *wink*
FYI, this will be the same year that the Third Shinobi War ends, Minato becomes Hokage, and Sasori kills the Sandaime Kazekage. Now none of you can accuse me of not doing research! *cackles evilly*
Dum dum dum dummmm... Upping the ante now.
"Baka!" Pissed, I swung my fist, earning a yelp from my older cousin.
"Itte! Nozomi-chan! Why are you hurting me?" Shisui cried waterfall tears while the trio quickly ran down the hill using the shaded path.
"One does not use Katon jutsus near the flour windmill. You'll make a dust explosion!" Nozomi huffed, still unable to fully catch her breath by the time they reached the abandoned warehouse near the Hokage mountain.
"So?" He sniffled, clearly trying to gain pity points.
"Which part of explosion do you not get?!" I almost screeched into his ear, waving the small bag of flour. "We'll die!" Fuck, I'm not paid to do this.
"B-but... its an explosion!" Cue dramatic hand waves. "And explosions are COOL." He turned all starry eyed at me, obviously not seeing the point.
"So? You'll die." I spat.
Shisui sniffled, rubbing his head bump earned from his idiocy. "Everyone likes explosions..."
I groaned, rubbing the bridge of my nose. I can totally feel a migraine coming on soon at this rate. I'm NOT a babysitter.
Seriously, what's with Uchiha's and their explosions? Ergh.
"I'm gonna tell mum!"
"Yeah, yeah whatever." I gave a dismissal wave, totally not paying attention to the stomping brat beside me. "I have better things to do. Kekeke..." I grinned evilly, rubbing my hands together in glee.
Shisui ducked back in fear, wrapping himself around my poor, traumatised-for-life brother while I started mixing chemicals, cackling like an evil scientist all the while.
"N-ne 'Tachi, aren't you gonna stop her?"
Frightened wide doe eyes blinked up at him in fear, shaking his head. "Nee-chan scary." He whispered to no one in particular.
"Aww 'Tachi, Nee-chan will never hurt you~" I cooed, spinning around happily while the bottle of unidentified liquid sloshed nicely in my hands. "I just need to get this done for the day and we'll be off."
Both toddlers shivered in the corner, giving each other meaningful glances all the while dreading the day that the red-haired prankster met the black-haired one.
"Okay, let's go!"
"Ahhh, it's finally time for a break!" One random paperwork Chunin stepped into the breakroom, giving a wave to his colleague.
"Tsk. And look at you, what would those kids and ninja wannabes think when they see a ninja as lazy as you?" His companion snarked, rummaging the sparsely stocked cupboard for the essentials.
"Military Police have been giving issues man. Imagine having to re-arrange 2 week's worth of rotations just to fill the slots."
"Shut up Uchiha. Won't your Clan Head take your head for that?"
The man gulped, realising the inappropriateness of his comment. "Ah, I hope no one else heard that. Wait. You heard anything?" He pointed directly to the other person's nose.
"No, was that a bee?" The other Chunin lightly swatted his finger away, making his nice, steaming hot cup of coffee. "Want some?"
Both men paid homage to the God of Coffee for a moment, taking the time off to praise every Kami they could think of for the invention of the caffeine beverage.
Taking a nice, big breath, they inhaled the heavenly dr-
"PFFFF..." "ERKKK" *choke*
*Cough cough cough*
"Bleurgh. What in the name of kami?-" *Cough cough*
His companion patted on his back miserably, still trying to clear his airways. "What the hell?"
Both shinobi glared at their cups, minds going haywire. "Tsubaki's gonna be mad. That guy needs his caffeine fix every hour, that addict. And I think he's gonna come in about... now."
"Hey guys! Still got any coffee left?" The non-descript worker from the Hokage's Tower strolled in, happily making himself a cup.
"Do you wanna break the news to him?"
"...Nah, not worth it. Besides, I think his reaction will be hilarious."
"Blurgh! What in the name of Amaterasu is this?! This shit ain't coffee!" Tsubaki shouted to the heavens, the brown not-coffee spilling out of his nose.
"Wahahahahaha... Ahahaha..." The black-haired toddler laughed uncontrollably, eventually dropping the binoculars down into a kunoichi's lap.
"That was fun, -ttebane!" She grinned foxily, bouncing the girl curled up in her lap on one of the rooftops of Konoha. Placing a simple smell Genjutsu over the not-coffee before the prank had to be one of her best improvisations ever!
Well, if anyone asked, she can always claim innocence that those ninja lack observational skills. Kushina mentally whistled at her carefully crafted plans. But somehow, Minato ALWAYS starts suspecting her for these kind of things.
Eh, nobody ever said she couldn't take revenge for that one time her blond idiot went out with one of his fangirls to a restaurant she happened to be walking by. And that civilian maid that worked part-time at the Uchiha compounds was smart enough to choose a table seat, as if to flaunt what a bitch she was to steal someone else's boyfriend. Kushina seethed.
And well, Minato is an idiot sometimes, even if he only lets his guard down enough in the village around close companions he trusts to watch his back. There's a reason why his head is still there after all.
Glitter might be a good enough deterrent for him to figure it out. Otherwise she's gonna start roping in his even more idiotic brats and that Hatake narcissist. Genius or not. She isn't termed the Red-Hot Habanero for nothing you know.
Kushina grumbled under her breath while waiting for her companion to subside her laughter.
"Ahahaha... y-yeah... hehehe..." The little girl managed to calm down enough to snicker, wiping off her tears carefully. "Those expressions were totally worth it."
"Heh. But seriously, how in the world did you think of that? Though I must say, its damn good."
Tilting her chin up to blink innocently at the adult before grinning cheekily, she spoke, "A little birdy told me."
Giving Nozomi a who-the-hell-are-you-trying-to-fool look, the Jinchuuriki smirked. "Well, I don't think anyone can think of using natto to replace coffee. Except me."
Faced with the mild Uchiha stare, she quickly amended. "And you."
"Eh, natto tastes wierd. And not nice. And its brown!" Nozomi waved her hands in the air for emphasis. "And I don't like coffee."
Odd Uchiha brat. "But how did you know to use flour?"
"Flour and water is thick n' white." She scrunched her face up. "Natto paste is too dark. So if we have one plus one..." Nozomi wiggled her eyebrows and fingers meaningfully. "Brown 'coffee'!"
Good thing the boys were long gone once they walked past the Clan houses. Even more undue trauma might induce childhood heart attacks with how emotionally fragile the both of them are.
Kushina snorted. Retarded her ass. No wonder Mikoto asked to keep a close eye on Nozomi while she's shielding Itachi.
Ever since the twin's first birthday, more and more councilmen and village elders have been putting pressure on Fugaku and Mikoto to finalize who the Clan Heir should be on official documentation, with Itachi showing signs of genius with the speed he picks up things and Nozomi's random logic and verbal bullshit despite the lack of age gap.
Well, the main thing is the bullshit. Sometimes, even Minato had a hard time trying to comprehend half the shit she spouted when verbally cornered by either Mikoto or herself, despite being certified as one of the smartest ninja's in Konoha itself which is no mean feat. In fact, ever since the both of them were carted off by Fugaku for a psyche evaluation and intelligence ratings, Nozomi started speaking in full lesser and lesser every time she saw her.
Itachi, that kid, managed to score well above average, but whether he is truly a genius requires more tests to be done once he reaches the Academy. As for his sister... well. Either that girl is also another genius or a true retard. Kushina would totally bet all her money on the former though.
Quickly bringing her mind back to the present, Kushina grinned widely at the little girl. "So, watcha say about ramen?"
"Ehhhh?" Nozomi sulked. "Me want dango. And rice."
Kushina snorted, hooking her hand beneath the toddler before jumping back to street level. "You ate that yesterday."
"You too!" She huffed.
"Did too!" Ah, her cheeks are red. Let's try this...
"HA!" Nozomi crowed loudly. "You suck!"
"..." Kushina was momentarily stunned speechless before she started to splutter. "You were supposed to fall for that!" And she's one?
"Blegh!" Nozomi stuck her tongue out, "You suck~" She giggled.
"Hmph. Brat. Fine, I'm bringing you home." Kushina huffed with rather red cheeks that matched her hair, pivotting sharply on her heel to trek back to the Clan compound.
"Awww..." Nozomi pouted on her shoulder. "Me wants sweets..." She whined, shaking her head in the process.
Quickly readjusting her goddaughter, Kushina slung her over her shoulder. "Tsk. Don't come crying to me complaining you got fat next time brat."
"Old hag." Nozomi muttered under her breath.
Pricking her ears, Kushina bristled while growling lowly, "No one's an old hag dammit. I'm telling Mikoto-chan!"
The toddler casually leaned backwards, smirking like the cat that got the canary. "Kaa-san!."
Kushina blanched bone-white. "Er. Wait, no. No one speaks of this, okay?"
"Deal." Nozomi smirked over her shoulder the entire while, giving Kushina infinite creeps worse than facing Kurama.
"Here. Brat no.2 is already in the shower with one of the aunts." Kushina grumbled softly to her childhood friend while handing the washed towels she borrowed before, having been invited over a couple of times since Mikoto's marriage.
Mikoto smiled, "You don't have to be so polite with me you know. I've seen you much worse. This behaviour might make me uncomfortable."
"Shaddup." Kushina flushed, scrambling to mimic her friend's formal sitting position.
"So how is she?" Mikoto took a leisurely sip of her tea, eyeing her friend carefully.
"Erm, well, how do I put this..." Kushina scratched her head, blinking at her own teacup on the table. "There's absolutely no way she's classified as a retard."
Mikoto hid a snort with the teacup. Kushina smirked. "I totally saw that. You can't hide from me."
"I concur." Mikoto lightly placed the teacup onto the low wooden table, answering both at once. "And so does Fugaku. That child is... almost scarily aware of everything."
At her friend's slightly confused expression, she hurried on to elaborate. "Fugaku noticed that even for her age, Nozomi was already speaking really well, even better than Itachi. There were days when we caught her teaching Itachi grammar and vocabulary during their art lessons."
This time was Kushina's turn to snort. "That brat hates art. I can tell you that for certain. She literally sleeps through them."
"Yes, I know." Mikoto sighed. "But the point is, she noticed that we noticed that we were observing her behaviour and speech and she eventually stopped talking at times."
"What do you mean?" Kushina sat up alerted.
"Do you know about the Hokage's recent order regarding the Academy?" Seeing her friend's nod, she continued. "Fugaku is placed in charge of compiling the list of possible early entrees from the Clan to submit to the Hokage. Itachi is in for sure, but we are still debating on whether to include Nozomi in as well."
Mikoto paused, and folded her hands into her lap, curling into herself to Kushina's concern. "I... I don't want to lose both of my children so early to the shinobi lifestyle. My own blood and flesh..."
Tightening her hands into fists, she spoke, "Nozomi doesn't seem to want attention either. The more we try to observe her, the more she closes up. Did you notice her speech patterns are changing?"
Kushina reached over the table, face slightly lax in realisation. "She's dumbing herself down."
"And fails at times."
"Yes." Mikoto chuckled slightly mirthlessly. "I noticed, right after the psyche nurses commented on how smart Itachi has to be to pick up simple words by mimicry and string them into phrases. Imagine at that same time Nozomi can already talk in full sentences."
"Oh kami." Kushina paled. "Does the Hokage know about this? Fugaku?"
Went unspoken was that Clan prodigies are often pushed to their limits as early and hard as possible, sometimes even past them. It is not unheard of for many to break within a couple of years unless they join the ANBU to smolder their emotions. Then again, Hatake's record still seems clean enough for the Hokage and the council to repeat this, especially during wartime. Like now.
Mikoto spoke in a slightly bitter tone, shaking her head. "Neither of them does, but my husband suspects something is amiss. What is your opinion, Kushina-chan?"
"Hmm..." Kushina scratched her cheek. "If you're worried your brat might one-up you-" "Kushina-chan." "-Might as well do this..."
The setting sun bore witness to a suggestion with the potential to change the world.
Having finished my bath with Itachi (Take that all fangirls! I'm awesome!) Mikoto quietly picked me up without my twin before a colourful swirl of vortex occurred before my eyes, making my head spin.
"Wha...?" I was really dizzy, hanging on to Mikoto like my life depended on it. 'Was that Shunshin?'
"We shall begin now." A voice echoed around the darkness, and the only light source were two distant orange lanterns.
"Gomen ne, Nozomi-chan. Kaa-chan can't protect both you and Itachi forever, so you need to learn everything as much as you can." Mikoto held me close, before I was pushed into an open ring circle of white chalk, surrounded by white Shinto priests that seriously scared the hell outta me.
"Huh?" Tears started welling up in my eyes, fear and guilt gnawing at me but unable to move. Flames burst forth from the candles surrounding us, making me flinch while adjusting to the sudden change in light intensity.
As the priests started chanting some mumble-jumble, Mikoto took my hand and led me into a shrine, bowing reverently at the base of the altar. Taking that as a cue, I quickly bowed my head as well.
"You don't have have to be so formal, Mikoto-chan. I did watch you grow up after all... Oya, is this part of your litter?" A slightly rusty voice enquired.
"Hai Neko-baa sama. This is my daughter Uchiha Nozomi, one of twins that I bring here to meet. Say hello to Neko-baa sama, Nozomi-chan."
N-neko baa?! Holy. "H-hajimemashite Neko-baa sama." I kept my head low.
A figure slowly stepped in front of us, and I could tell that it was smiling. "Don't be so shy child. Us Neko's are the summon contractors for the Uchiha clan for many generations."
Neko-baa then turned to address Mikoto. "I shall assume this would be your Clan Heir instead of the other?" Mikoto nodded. "Alright then. Nozomi-chan, would you please step forward?"
Feeling brave, I looked straight into Neko-baa's eyes, feeling the ever-growing distance between Mikoto and I.
"Come child." She turned and led me in deeper into the altar. Mikoto wasn't following, and the flickering shadows around me gave me a slight sense of unease as the scent of sandalwood incense grew stronger and thicker.
When we eventually reached a big pile of cushions and pillows, Neko-baa sat and motioned me over, which I readily compiled.
Curious, I traced her paw motions with my eyes, before dizziness suddenly consumed me and I simply collapsed sideways on the floor, breathing harshly.
"Whhaa?" The entire world distorted through my lens, leaving me near breathlessness.
"Child, a long and hard fate lies in front of you that you wish to cut. But I shall ask, do you still wish to protect them?"
An epiphany struck me. "I will protect all those I hold dear."
"No matter the cost?"
"Within my means."
"So mote it be." Neko-baa's voice resounded throughout me, leaving a searing pain on my back as proof of my oath.
Before the darkness of destiny consumed me, I only had one thought.
I wonder if Canon Itachi went through this?
You can run, but you can't hide.
"Mikoto-chan!" Kushina hurriedly ran over, careful to not jostle the sleeping Itachi in her arms. "How was it?"
"The gamble paid off." A rather pale Mikoto spoke in hushed tones, gently adjusting her unconscious daughter. "Neko-baa sama accepted her without much of a fuss." 'Barely any, in fact.'
"So is it a good thing?" The jinchuuriki peered over the sleeping child curiously. From a distance everything looks ordinary were it not for the fact that any passable chakra sensors can now see a symbol siphoning mild amounts of chakra on Nozomi's base of neck.
Mikoto eyed her friend like she is stupid. "The protection of the cat summons are now passed onto her. Until the day she receive and signs the summon scroll she is protected by the nine lives of the cats."
"Nine fatal injuries?"
Mikoto nodded grimly. "Just that. Minor wounds can still kill but... let's hope it doesn't come to that."
"At least now, my conscience can be at peace even though I'm sending the both of them to war." Mikoto took both children into her arms, hugging them like it was the last moment of their lives together.
"At least one of them will survive."
AnimeWriterFreak: well, if you noticed in the initial chapter, I have explained that Nozomi has kept the memory of a Japanese before she died. Well, when you have the knowledge of a language you used in a previous life being almost exactly the same as your new environment... things happen. *shrug* Don't get mindblown so fast hahaha
tyog56: Thank you!
lotrhpfan1234: Yes, soon we shall see. This chapter is almost like a prologue of an arc of sorts.
Uchiha Hatake Kimichan: See first, see first. Extremely unlikely that Obito will actually be saved before he falls into the hands of a madman. Nozomi is not a god, you know. How many people will listen to a one year old tell them their future?
anima: She did? Hmm, didn't remember seeing that part. Anyway, I still have not decided whether I will have a pairing or not. Maybe when I reach the chapters when Nozomi is at a respectable adolescent age I will consider dropping hints here and there for a pairing. I only take straight pairings to write though.
Eien no Ajisai: Yes,yes, I know right? Well, Obito's about 12/13 right now? His birthday may or may not have passed. Well essentially, my take is that Kushina is like the godmother of Mikoto's kids. I might explain my stand on shinobi's hierarchy sometime soon.
Blue Rubix-Cube: Thank you! Well, time flies, cos I drink Red Bull. Jk.
miaandB: Hehe welcome to the universe of non-stop fanfic addiction. I'm also part of the club ^^
Ryu Kitsune Bard84: Yeah, I will. Trying to fit in bits and pieces of the 'past' now is much harder than it looks if I want to keep the story cognizant to readers.
alemery: Wahahaha its just a prologue~
iluvfairytale: Andddd here's your fix!
I likes toast: Good idea, but I would need a small divergent in the story/ Academy arc to insert it into. I haven't caught up to main Canon plot either so I'm kinda feeling bad right now. Great ambitions, but shallow work is done.
Zana20: Thanks a lot for this!
10th Squad 3rd Seat: Hehe, Nozomi's just like that. I'm planning to do a character development, but by all acords I'm just a newbie writer with no experience whatsoever. Sigh. Trying my best tho ^^
UniCryin: Well, now, even if she doesn't want to she has no choice. *sadist laughs in the background*
SilverRider09: Itachi hasn't grown up to close his emotions...yet. Or will he? *hint hint*
yorushihe: You're more than welcome to follow! Hahahaha! Troll-zomi is about to be unleashed. Konoha never knew what hit it this time.
A/N: The pain of correction. Ouchie.