Surprising Strangers

Chapter 1

Namikaze Minato was not having a good day. He had woken up to find that Kushina was still incensed with him and was trying to give him a cold shoulder, despite the fact that it was almost impossible for the fiery redhead to stay silent for long periods of time. He really could not understand why she was angry. Alright, so he may have handed off his young and impressionable son to a self-proclaimed super pervert, but in his defence, he was the Hokage and had to maintain some degree of impartiality in the chuunin exams. He was going to help judge the participants so it would be extremely unfair if he trained his son for the finals. Besides, Jiraiya-sensei had trained him when he was young, and he had turned out just fine.

He understood the point his lovely wife was trying to make. Naruto's Jounin sensei was already enough of a pervert and adding Jiraiya to the mix was simply asking for their son to grow up to be as lecherous as the two shinobi, but what could he do? His son would need Jiraiya-sensei's teachings in order to stand up to the unstable jinchuriki in the final round; Kushina's clan techniques would not help(Naruto would need to be a fuinjutsu master before he would be able to use seals to fight another jinchuriki and he had not inherited her special chakra, so chakra chains were out of the question). Really, Minato's sensei was the best option as a teacher. Kakashi was a prodigy and would probably find it harder to teach someone who needed a different teaching method than the one he usually employed with Sasuke (which basically equated to making him do physical exercises and letting him copy ninjutsu with the Sharingan). It made sense to pair off the two boys with the most compatible senseis before the chuunin exam finals.

He had to admit that he was starting to second-guess his decision to let his adorable little son train with his old sensei. This morning, he had received the news that Naruto was admitted in the hospital with chakra exhaustion. This made him wonder about the nature of the training that could deplete the chakra of his son, the container of the strongest bijuu. Unfortunately, he had not yet left home when the messenger had informed him of this news, hence he had been forced to endure Kushina's glare laced with killing intent, poking holes into the back of his skull with metaphorical kunai as he received an urgent message from the Kazekage requesting a private meeting.

Now, just a few hours after he had woken up, he could conclude that this day just kept getting worse. The Kazekage had just finished telling him a spectacular tale that had only served to increase his stress to colossal levels. Apparently Orochimaru had approached his fellow kage with an alliance offer with the objective to invade Konoha, which the other Yondaime had found so alarming that he only only pretend to support the missing-nin and was informing Minato of, at the first opportunity.

Minato was not naïve enough to think that his fellow kage had been motivated by the alliance between their villages to covertly betray the snake sannin. After all, everyone knew that most shinobi village alliances were tentative at best. It was natural for every village to look after its own interests. The strong alliance between Konoha and Uzushiogakure had been an exception to the norm, but even that had not been able to prevent the downfall of his wife's former village.

The most alarming part of the news that the Kazekage had given him was the tidbit that Orochimaru had revealed about his former allies, the Akatsuki. He had given hints to Suna's kage about the group's intentions that would affect the Kazekage when they came after his son. He had offered information about the group in exchange for the other Kage's aid in invading Konoha, which was widely acknowledged as one of the strongest villages under the leadership of the Yellow Flash, when the Kazekage had felt reluctant to turn on a powerful ally.

Minato, who already had an inkling of the group's existence due to Jiraiya's information network, was now quite worried about the threat they posed, if the snake sannin had worked for them, which would indicate that the leader was so strong that even Orochimaru had not dared to dispute his authority. He could not suppress his concern for his son, who would undoubtedly be a future target of the organization. The fact that the proud Kazekage, who was rumored to have sent assassins after his own son, felt threatened enough by the idea of the Akatsuki to share this information with Minato, meant that the situation was dire indeed. It showed that the other kage realized the magnitude of the global threat posed by a bunch of S-ranked missing-nin that were confident enough to take on jinchurikis. Who knew what nefarious deeds they could use the massive chakra of multiple bijuu for?

Minato really did not know what to do. The Kazekage had shared this information with him, and this was as close to a tacit agreement to jointly deal with this problem as he would recieve, but both Yondaimes were equally clueless about how to take the logical next step- that of gathering more information about the Akatsuki.

It was probably a testament to how stressed he was that Minato's mind jumped to the most unconventional solution to this problem; the kind of solution that was so out of the box that it could be credited to someone as unpredictable and surprising as Naruto. His mind drifted to the side project he had been working on for many years, ever since the Kyuubi attack. After witnessing the masked man's abilities, he had been wondering about the existence of parallel dimensions and the possibility of initiating contact across them.

He had used his signature time-space seal as a base when he had started his research and experimentation, which was probably why his attempt at establishing contact with their kage counterparts in another dimension failed so miserably that day and the situation spiraled out of control thereafter.

He really should have known better than to have powered an untested fuinjutsu scheme with the chakra of five kage-level ninjas on a day that was already proving to be governed by the law of Murphy. Perhaps, if he had not asked the Kazekage, Kushina, Kakashi and Jiraiya to add their chakra to his in the seal, despite their warnings, this catastrophe would not have occurred. However, he insisted on trying to contact other Kages from a different dimension and a more advanced timeline (even Kushina had not appreciated the ingenuity of the special seals he had added to select a time period corresponding to the future of this dimension, not to mention his brilliant use of the seals found on the Kage hat to ensure they got in touch with the right people). Thus the onus of everything that occurred henceforth was on him.

Minato had faced a very bad day. It became worse when all the chakra poured into the seal failed to have any effect. He had to face the glares of four murderous ninjas who had lost a large chunk of chakra on his failed experiment. Then the horrible day came to the peak of its abhorrence with a flash of light as five figures dressed in robes suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the sealing array.

A/N: There is a semi-canon world with a fem!naruto, and there is an AU world with many divergence. The mostly-canon characters will enter my AU where most of the story will take place.

Please note that this is an AU world. Changes cheate ripples etc, so:

1. Naruto-kun having parents resulted in him being properly taught by Jiraiya how to summon, and succeeding within a week or two after prelims.

2. The Kazekage is suspicious of Orochimaru and was not replaced/possessed

There will be lots of divergences in my AU verse, because this is NOT canon- even my semi-canon world will not be fully canon-compliant because Naruto is female and this does change things a lot. Only the basic plot in the semi-canon world regarding the villains is completely canon-compliant such as Tobi, Pein, Madara, Akatsuki, etc. I have not figured out how Minato being alive would effect the Uchiha massacre so I will avoid the Uchihas for now. Suggestions would be appreciated.