Chapter 1: The Beginning
He's always remembered.
He had grown up with eyes too serious and a protective streak a mile wide.
... And he was completely alone.
His eyes drifted across the sea of people - people who didn't see who he was, nor who he is. Just the bijuu in his gut. And hated him for it.
Talking to said bijuu (his name was Kurama, he'd learned) was... Interesting. Exciting enough for a lifetime (or, rather, would have been had he been anyone else).
After his last life, though-
Well, he had much that he'd left undone.
Not to mention that some of his students were making mistakes. Sarutobi, in constantly bending to the other nations whims rather than risking war (Konoha was still the strongest Shinobi village, even without Ushizo backing them up). Danzo, in kidnapping and brainwashing children (something that he'd have to deal with soon).
Upon reflection, getting into the base for Danzo's illegal branch of ANBU had probably been too easy but-
It would stop. He had placed a seal on every entrance that would teleport new recruits back to their family, and had added a component on the ROOT agent's tongue seals that would make it reject being put on anyone else.
He would have to keep an eye on what Danzo was doing but-
He could rest. For now.
In the Academy, he fumed because teachers allowed their prejudice cloud their thinking - sabotaging his learning.
Honestly, if he hadn't remembered, then upon graduation the village would have had an incompetent shinobi on their hands, and whoever his sensei would have been would've had to fix the problem.
And the Fuuinjutsu barely touched on storage scrolls.
If he'd had any less self-control he would've unleashed his fury on his teachers for sabotaging his learning.
But, as he would be a shinobi alongside them, he limited his revenge to harmless pranks (And if Hashirama's face on the monument got hit more often than any other head, well, his brother deserved it). Stuff that only annoyed them (but could easily turn deadly, and the teachers knew it too).
When he was eight, almost every Uchiha in the village died. The only one that was left was one Uchiha Sasuke - who had been under genjutsu torture, likely from his brother, the one to have killed them all - and he sulked continuously and vowed revenge.
... It reminded him of Madara, if he was honest.
........ Which meant that he needed to interfere or else Sasuke would go nuts and abandon the village, possibly planning to destroy it in the process.
But it could wait while he read the Yondaime's notes on the Flying Thunder God. Really, the man was a genius. Sasuke wouldn't be able to go anywhere until he became a genin.
And he would know if he tried to leave anyway. He was perfectly capable of stopping a pre-genin.
"Couldn't make a clone." Pah! Just because his reserves were larger than what he'd been used to doesn't mean that he can't make a clone.
In fact, with the larger reserves, he could easily make Shadow Clones. Not that he'd have an excuse to know it now.
... Why was Mizuki telling him about a false secret graduation test?
The Forbidden Scroll? Wasn't that where he'd put most of his techniques? Including, say, the Shadow Clone?
Brilliant. And he could catch Konoha a traitor while he was at it.
It'd taken years to get to the level of sensory ability that he had in that first life. Now, though-
Now it was a different story, because he knew exactly what to do. No stumbling or guessing what he needed to do.
And it wasn't that he truly wanted to be Hokage - it was just that the level of hatred aimed at him made him want to prove to them that they were wrong. And the best, and the most extreme way of doing this was getting himself the Hat again.
He'd used his chakra to turn his whisker marks red, for something somewhat familiar that he could see when he looked himself in the mirror.
The village hated him all the more for it, but Saru thought that he'd chosen the Nidaime as his hero and he'd done it to look like the Nidaime (how ironic, to see how close Saru was, but at the same time, how far he was).
He accepted the headband from Ikura-sensei but-
He missed his faceguard, and he brought up the possibility of getting one made for him to Sarutobi.
As Naruto, he could not have possibly known the reason for Hiruzen's bittersweet smile.
But he knew it, and so he waited for his (once-) student to escape his thoughts and promise that one would be made for him.
And when it came, he put it on and looked at himself in the mirror.
And felt more like himself than he had for decades.
But it was still missing something. He frowned, looking down at his (horrible, practically worthless) jumpsuit, and resolved to get some practical shinobi-wear.
Which meant either going back to Hiruzen - which he didn't want - or using a henge to alter his appearance.
And he knew just who to look like to do it.
After all, what sensei would want their newly-graduated student get killed because of what he was wearing?
After he had bought himself shinobi-wear that was satisfactory, he frowned, thinking and-
Over his heart, he stitched in the symbol of the Senju clan, the clan he had been born into the first time around, and on the outside of each shoulder-
The spiral of the Uzumaki clan, which was now (as far as he knew) down to one member.
He may have been Uzumaki Naruto but-
First and foremost he was Senju Tobirama.
When he was put on a team with the Uchiha, he knew that he no longer had a reason to put off helping him get over the massacre.
When he was put on a team with a pink-haired girl with near perfect chakra control- well.
It was a powder keg, yes. But it was an interesting powder keg.
Their sensei tried to divide them up and it worked at first but-
He was good. A bit of showing off brought Sasuke out of the shadows to back him up.
And Sasuke coming out of the shadows brought Sakura out as well.
In the end, it was through a maneuver from his past life that got the bells. That he promptly gave to Sasuke and Sakura, saying that he'd just graduate with the next class and not get a crazy sensei.
They passed. All of them.
He had worked with Hashirama and he knew that his newfound sensei was messing with him. A team was three Genin and one Jounin sensei.
... And they got no real training. At all.
So he took it upon himself to make sure Sakura got training for her chakra control and taijutsu with Sasuke.
... And slowly teaching them some of his easier jutsu.
He knew the purpose of D-ranks. He understood that he had to complete them but-
That didn't mean he had to like it.
So when they finally got a C-rank - away from the village as well, as an added bonus - even though he was grateful, he was also wary.
Tazuna was hiding something.
So when they were attacked by a couple of Chunin, he wasn't really surprised. Nor was he surprised when Sakura instantly fell back to protect the client while he and Sasuke dispatched the so called 'demon brothers'.
Although he was surprised when he heard about what was happening in Wave.
When their lazy-sensei proposed that they go back to Konoha, all three of them stared at him as though he was insane.
And then promptly refused. They'd accepted the mission, they could simply renegotiate their pay once the mission was complete.
Their sensei looked at him strangely for that comment, but that night he cast a sleep genjutsu on Tazuna and turned to the three genin.
"Where did you learn to move like that?" He asked. "Because that's not how genin move. In fact, it's not even how most chunnin move." They stilled and refused to look anywhere than their sensei. "Nor do they propose a renegotiate they pay."
Kakashi-sensei's gaze still found it's way to him, and he sighed.
"I will find out what you three are truly capable of once we reach Wave." He said, voice firm. "From there, we will work out what I will teach you."
It turned out Kakashi-sensei was serious because after fighting Zabuza and recovering, he had them fighting shadow clones up in the treetops, under orders not to fall.
In fact, out of the three genin, he was the only one doing well.
But not so well he wouldn't notice his jounin-sensei suddenly joining the fight!!
In Kakashi's eyes, it was fairly obvious that Naruto could easily be jounin level.
And it scared him. He could remember what it had done to him to be promoted as young as he did, and he would do what he could to keep Naruto from the same fate.
In any case, he'd have to work hard to keep Naruto from being noticed, even with the boy disguising his skill level.
If he had noticed, then Sarutobi could as well.
But that didn't answer one question that was bugging the jounin-
How had Naruto gotten so good?
Chapter 2: Gaara
He knew the Chunnin Exams were coming up. He also knew that between lazy-sensei's training and his, all of Team Kakashi would pass.
With his sensory range, he felt the genin teams arriving in Konoha, several with the power level of actual chunnin.
And one team-
One of Suna's teams had a Jinchuuriki.
His lips curled up in a grin.
He had also sensed a powerful chakra signature heading towards Konoha, full and anger and the feeling of sweet vengence.
And instantly knew that he would need his sword - soon.
Now he was glad he hadn't taken it on his last mission - it had been a run of the mill mission, but his sword needed work that he couldn't complete, and he hadn't thought they would encounter shinobi dangerous enough to send them away so that they'd have a chance to survive.
So he shot through the village - nothing more than a blur - until he landed beside his house, easily making his way through the traps he'd had in place.
He came to a stop in the centermost room - his room - and walked calmly to the sword on his wall, taking it down.
Then he sat down on the floor, calling up his chakra.
In his mind, there were two different versions of himself, based off of how he saw himself.
One, Senju Tobirama, Nidaime Hokage, one of the most deadly people to have ever lived. Nearly six feet tall, his almost Sharingan-red eyes had been intimidating, even without taking into account his armor, facial tattoos, or faceguard (or his utterly unintimidating short white hair that had been so soft that his students never let him live it down).
The other, Uzumaki Naruto, Sandaime Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, Kurama, and one of most dangerous people to have ever lived, even though he was just over four and three-quarters of a foot tall. His spiky blond hair was around (probably) half a foot tall, with sky-blue eyes and whisker-like marks on his cheeks, with a (new) faceguard framing his face like a picture.
Standing side by side, they were so impossibly different and yet-
The similarities were there, drawing his eye more and more.
He was done here.
He stood in the room and unsheathed the sword, a smile on his face as he put a touch of chakra into it and it came to like, lightning chakra arcing off of it until he pulled his chakra back, and reluctantly put the sword back into its sheath.
He slung the sheath onto his back, and make it way outside where he encountered a few surprises.
The first was that the sun was setting - making him later for training than lazy-sensei had ever been.
The second was Danzo and a handful of ROOT operatives waiting for him as he exited the house.
Both of these realizations made him want to curse, but he kept his mouth shut as he watched Danzo, mind working quickly.
He reached out as only a sensor could, trying to discern if Danzo had hidden more nearby and found-
Traces of foreign chakra,
familiar, centered on Danzo's arm. He instantly saw red.
"Give me the sword, Naruto-kun." His former student ordered.
"You bastard." He growled, things becoming clearer and-
How he wished he was still in the dark.
"I don't know what you mean." Danzo tilted his head, chakra flaring up in suspicion. If Naruto were anyone else - if he had been anyone else he would not recognize the foreign traces of chakra on Danzo's arm but-
"You." He growled, forcing the words out. "You- you- The Massacre." He unsheathed the sword. "You set the whole thing up - and for what? Seven Sharingan eyes." He put a touch of chakra into the sword, and Danzo stilled.
"You can't possibly think that." He protested, remaining calm. "I am an honorable Councilor of Konoha. A war hero. I would not have. I could not have."
"After everything you were taught." Came the snarl. "You betrayed Konoha like this?!? What else have you done behind Saru's back?"
Since he had been reborn as Naruto, he had not referred to Sarutobi as Saru. That had only happened as Tobirama, and Danzo knew this, beyond a doubt. He could see the realization dawn in Danzo's eyes.
"No." He whispered, before raising his voice. "Kill him!" He spun on his heel and was gone in a heartbeat.
A few minutes later Kakashi-sensei arrived with ANBU in tow.
And what a sight he made, furious, surrounded by dead ROOT agents, covered in blood, and wielding the Nidaime's legendary sword, the Raijin no Ken.
He offered no explanation for what had happened, only that if Sarutobi wanted answers, he could ask the questions.
He wouldn't know it, but his eyes had turned red briefly during the encounter.
They were babysitting Konohamaru and his friends when Konohamaru runs - literally - into the team that Suna's Jinchuuriki on it.
More specficially, into the puppet-nin on the team.
"I suggest you put him down." Naruto didn't bother to waste time on pleasantries. "You're worrying the ANBU."
"What ANBU?" The puppet-nin scoffed, and the girl with the fan smirked.
"His ANBU guards." He said. "Though I think they used to be mine." The girl frowned in confusion, and the puppet-nin's grip on Konohamaru loosened. "First things first though, I'm Uzumaki Naruto, and these are my teammates, Uchiha Sasuke and Haruno Sakura. Our Jounin-sensei, Hakate Kakashi, is over there and as of now he's one of our strongest jounin. The kids you're holding is Sarutobi Konohamaru, the grandson of the Sandaime Hokage. Who are you guys?"
"I'm Temari." Said the girl. "This -" She motioned to the puppet-nin "- is Kankuro, and this-" She motioned up to where their Jinchuuriki teammate was standing upside down on the tree, "-is our brother, Gaara. We're the children of the Yondaime Kazekage."
"We have so much in common, Gaara." Naruto purred, feeling like Tobirama more and more. "I'm the Sandaime Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi." Kankuro dropped Konohamaru like he was made of hot iron, shooting back a few feet before Naruto even shot forward and caught Konohamaru. Naruto's grin was sharp, like that of a predators, as he spoke again. "Don't worry, as long as you don't go after me or anyone I care about, we should get along just fine."
Temari and Kankuro were backing away wearily, but Naruto couldn't bring himself to care.
Danzo knew. Danzo was a threat to Konoha.
... This could not be allowed to go on any longer.
Chapter 3: The Forest of Death
What the title says - oh, hey, is that Orochi-
For the first part of the Chunnin Exams, he left a shadow clone with his team. They'd notice (of course), but they would forgive him, in time.
He landed silently in Danzo's base, concealing his presence with a seal, his chakra so thin any sensors wouldn't notice it.
He slipped easily past Danzo's illegal ANBU - his sensory skills were unparalleled, they had no chance of noticing him if he didn't want them to - tracking Danzo's chakra presence.
"What were you doing?" Sasuke hissed when he got back, switching flawlessly with his shadow clone. "Do you have any idea how nerve-wracking that was for me and Sakura? We thought for sure that your clone would be noticed at any second!"
"There was something else I needed to do, and it couldn't wait." Naruto/Tobirama replied. "I - I'm sorry." Sakura sighed as a rush of memories arrived from his clone.
"Next time fill us in beforehand." She ordered, glancing back at the jounin in charge of this part of the exam. "Anyways, your clone dispell yet?" He nodded, and she turned away from them. "Then you know what we need to do."
"Yes." He replied. "I'll guide us to a team who's not from Konoha when we take off." Sasuke nodded, turning his attention away from Naruto.
He avoided Gaara's team - in a fight he would defeat Gaara, he had no doubt about that - and took them to another of Suna's teams.
Within a handful of minutes, the scroll was theirs and, luckily, found an Earth scroll.
Naruto allowed himself a grin, though the malicious chakra signature was coming for them, having apparently decided that they'd wasted enough time, and Naruto's hand flew to the sword on his back.
He hadn't needed it, not against the Suna team but-
He would definitely need it soon.
Sasuke and Sakura noted his unease, and quickly put the scroll away before taking out their weapons.
He recognized the shinobi in front of them, attacking them, though he was relentlessly targeting Sasuke.
Naruto was (with Sasuke and Sakura's help) holding his ground, keeping Orochimaru from his teammates.
What had changed over the decades he'd been dead? Had Hiruzen really been such a terrible sensei to him that he left the village?
This was the highest-paced fight since he went up against the Kakazu squad, and he needed to be at the top of his game for it.
Sakura successfully lands a hit on Orochimaru, and Naruto can't help but feel a burst of pride. He and Lazy-sensei had taught her well but-
Orochimaru recovered quickly, and was already launching a deadly jutsu at her and Naruto couldn't call up the wind or the sea quickly enough-
The jutsu hit wood, and Naruto's brain stalls.
Sakura was part Senju? She had Mokoton? The only person Tobirama/Naruto had met with Mokoton (until now) had been Hashirama (he could sense the ANBU guy but he's had no excuse to meet him).
As he lands, he already calling out instructions for Sakura - telling her how to use his brother's Mokoton (he feels her chakra changing - it feels more plantlike now).
It's a testament to how much she trusts him that she listens without hesitation.
Sasuke takes it in a stride as well and is covering him as he instructs Sakura.
Then Orochimaru's neck stretches, and Naruto is already calling up a substitution jutsu and in the instant before he would bite Sasuke-
Naruto uses the jutsu, and fangs bite into his neck.
He can feel Orochimaru's anger tainting the air around them, and in the rage, on Orochimaru's face, he sees the exact moment Orochimaru cuts off his access to Kurama's chakra and then-
The Raiton jutsu plunges into his stomach.
The strange shinobi had left, and Sasuke and Sakura had taken Naruto to a more secure location where he could hopefully survive the night.
"Except we both know he won't unless we manage to heal him," Sasuke said, dismayed. "I've seen him use healing jutsu before, with my Sharingan. It's our best option."
"He's healed on his own before!" Sakura protested. "Why isn't he now?"
"I don't know!" Sasuke shot back. "Maybe it's got something to do with the thing on his neck, or on his seal!"
"Seal?" Sakura asked, peeking over Sasuke's shoulder to see the most complicated seal she'd ever seen glowing a light blue but-
Black tomoe - it looked like - were in the center of the seal, clearly throwing the whole thing off.
She bit her lip, before taking Naruto's sword out of his hand. It didn't sit well, not that she'd expected it to, and she turned to Sasuke and nodded.
"Do it." She said.
When Naruto's eyes opened, he sees wood above him. He tried to sit up, and he hisses at the pain, but he looks around.
Sakura, he sees, is holding the Raijin no Ken at the only way into the - He sees that they are under a tree, and sees the sweat running down her brow and knows she must have been the cause.
Sasuke, he sees a moment later, is asleep beside him with his reserves low.
"What'd I miss?" He asked, and Sakura straightened.
"Um, Sasuke healed you." She replied. "All I did was fill in the area between the roots. I'm sorry that I have your sword but-"
"It's not like I can use it." Naruto brushed it off. "The shinobi who attacked us?"
"After he hit you with the Raiton he left," Sakura said. "Haven't seen hide nor hair of him since." Naruto reached out with his senses searching for Orochimaru and-
He was still in the village. He needed to inform Hiruzen as soon as they got out of the forest.
Chapter 4: The Prelims
They made it to the tower almost without anything happening.
They had been ambushed by a team from Otokagure, but they'd been driven off relatively easily by Sasuke and Sakura.
Iruka-sensei had been concerned about Naruto's injuries, but he'd let them go in, on the condition that Naruto would let a medic-nin see him.
So, of course, they did.
Only the medic-nin who saw to his wounds was vastly incompetent and could do nothing about them so...
Plan B then. Have Sasuke and Sakura heal the wounds the best they could and then recover until the prelims.
Which, admittedly, wasn't a great plan, but without Kurama or the oppurtunity to reverse whatever Orochimaru had done to his seal was the best they had.
So that's what they did.
Naruto's wounds had refused to heal except with the direct application of chakra. More chakra than he or either of his teammates could afford at the moment, so as they called down Sasuke and Yoroi Akado to fight, Naruto leaned against the wall, forcing himself to ignore the pain from the barely-scabbed over wounds running all over his body, and the remains of Orochimaru's lightning running through it.
The fight picked up quickly, and Naruto frowned as he watched the fight- it was going badly for Sasuke, but why? He seemed to be tiring incredibly fast with every blocked punch or kick and-
He reached out with the senses and raised his eyebrows. Yoroi Akado oculd absorb chakra... Interesting.
"What's going on Sasuke?" He raised his voice enough for it to be heard over the sounds of the battle. "I thought you were better than this." Sasuke's gaze flickered up to him, and then his eye widened, before he nodded.
"What is going on Naruto?" Sakura asked.
"He's been absorbing Sasuke's chakra." Came the reply. "And now that he took a moment to think about it he realizes too." It was true, Sasuke had shifted from the clone-range ninjutsu that allowed Yoroi Akado to be close enough to grab him, to taijutsu.
Taijutsu that had been taught to him by Naruto personally. It's focus was more on speed than anything else, and Sasuke excelled at it.
And Yoroi Akaso couldn't keep up, and the match went to Sasuke.
The second fight was between one of Naruto's fellow 'Rookie Nine' and a member of the Oto team that'd ambushed them. Shino had quietly won with the aid of his bugs, and Naruto allowed himself a grin.
The third fight Kankuro fought and won with the aid of his puppet, to no one's surprise.
The next fight of interest was the fourth one, with Sakura and Ino going head to head. Even with Ino employing her family jutsu, the fight quickly went to Sakura.
Next was Tenten, a fello Konoha-nin, versus Temari. With her fan and Fuuton, Temari escaped unharmed while Tenten was battered and cut. Lee, her teammate, was angry and tried to avenge her, but thankfully his jounin sensei intervened.
After that was Shikamaru versus Kiba, and while Shikamaru would've won, he ensured that Kiba had shown off what he knew, and dragged it on and on until the proctor decided to just allow the both of them to move on.
Then Hinata and Neji. Neji, having the benefit of experience, and was willing to go all out on his cousin, won.
But while fighting someone from your own village, from your own clan, you shouldn't break so many bones that they wound up coughing up blood!
"I'm going to beat some sense into him," Naruto muttered darkly as Neji returned to his team.
Then Naruto was called down against Kin Tsuchi, another member of the team that had ambushed them in the woods.
He would be told to forfeit, but so long as there was a chance of success, Naruto would push on.
"Look, you're badly enough injured that you shouldn't even be trying." She said, and Naruto raised an eyebrow.
"Trying to be nice?" He asked, "Or do you not want to admit that you lost to someone who can barely see straight?"
"What?" He heard Sakura hiss before she raised her voice. "Naruto?"
"If you can't see straight, then why try?" Kin taunted, and Naruto grinned.
"I'm one of the most dangerous people here, Kin." He said. "And I've spent years learning to pay attention to my head, not my eyes." He tapped his head, grin widening. "Maybe I'll even tell you why."
The proctor seemed torn about letting the match happen to teach him and lesson and forcing him off the field but then he sighed.
Kin threw senbon, which missed him though Naruto hadn't even tried to dodge. He frowned.
"Maybe you're the one who can't see straight." he commented as she prepared to throw more senbon. He heard her growl of fustration, and she threw more and then-
He heard bells. He blinked because bells were an Uzu thing and it felt like he was Nidaime Hokage again visiting Ushizokagure.
And the appearance of the room shifted.
Logically, he knew he was in the middle of a fight in the chunnin exams but-
When he looked around, all he saw was Ushizo.
There was nothing that he could see that explained the senbon hitting him, and he gritted his teeth and closed his eyes, reaching out with his senses.
Then he shot forward and rammed Kin into the wall, holding a kunai at her throat.
"It didn't work." She whispered, sounding horrified. Then, louder, "I forfeit."
"Victor, Uzumaki Naruto!" He could feel the shock of almost everyone around them.
"Oh, no. It did." Naruto replied opening his eyes to Ushizo again. "The thing is, I'm a sensor." He let go of her as her bells stopped and he saw the arena appear again.
He leaped to the railing, and -
The way Naruto had won his fight was - incredible. There was no other word for it.
Sarutobi was concerned about how he'd fallen unconscious as soon as he'd landed on the railing, but he'd fallen forward, and of his teammates, Uchiha Sasuke, was the one to catch him.
Given the attack that Orochimaru had used on Naruto, it was surprising he was alive at all, especially without the Kyubii (for Sarutobi knew that it'd kept him from so much as a cold before).
But perhaps it was the Uzumaki vitality that had allowed Uzumaki Kushina to survive the Kyubii's extraction and Naruto's birth, and then go on to fight the Kyubii alongside her husband until they could seal it into their newborn son.
He watches as Gaara fights Rock Lee, utterly decimating him, despite using his Front Lotus, and he feels regretful when he hears that Lee will never be able to serve as a ninja again.
When Lee wakes up, he tells himself, he will be the one to inform the boy unless-
Unless Tsaunde returns, if she does then Lee might have a chance of returning to the field.
And then Choji fought Dosu Kinuta, and despite going into the match with the knowledge that he used sound attacks, he lost.
They were all then paired up for the finals and dismissed for a month to train.
Chapter 5: Really, Naruto?
Naruto and Gaara talk, and plans get thrown out the window (not literally but...). Or, can this be reasonably called Jinchuuriki Bonding? (I don't think so)
When Naruto woke up, he was in a hospital room, alone.
With a groan he reached out with his senses - where were Sasuke and Sakura? Had something happened without him there?
And he quickly found them with their sensei and another jounin - whose identity Naruto couldn't place at the moment - in the Hokage's office.
With his senses out that far, Naruto could feel the snake who'd attacked them in the forest - Orochimaru - in the diplomatic rooms, and Suna's Jinchuuriki in the hospital, making a beeline for-
Without a second thought, Naruto pushed himself out of bed, launching himself onto the wall just above the door, only moments before Gaara would have been able to see him.
Naruto knew what had happened to the team that Gaara's team had come across, and he was sure it had to do with his Jinchuuriki seal. Gaara took a couple steps forward, looking around the room in confusion.
Naruto never realized he could feel so vulnerable without his sword. After all, Gaara had his sand and the best he could do is flee and hope he can outpace Gaara's sand. Without Kurama, he has no chance of success against him.
"Naruto?" Gaara asked without turning around, and Naruto dropped, landing behind Gaara, and placing his hand on the back of Gaara's neck where he could see the seal, and a quick pulse of chakra cut Gaara off from his bijuu. Now they were on... More even footing.
Gaara spun around, sand coming out of his gourd, but when he saw Naruto, the sand returned to its resting place.
"Gaara." Naruto said, making his way back to the bed and sitting down, keeping his focus on the other Jinchuuriki. "Why are you here?"
"Shukaku was concerned." Gaara said. "Kurama reached out to him because you were in pain and he could do nothing. He had no idea what was going on, if you were conscious or not, so he asked that we come and check on you."
"Ah." He sighed. "So, not here to rip me to shreds." Gaara's face twitched, something like anger rising up and then subsiding.
"How did you-" Gaara started, before stopping with a sigh.
"As though I wouldn't notice you using your bijuu's chakra to rip a team to shreds." He commented. "Though, to be fair, you almost timed it so that I wouldn't. Another few moments and I would've been unconscious." Gaara nodded. "Now, honestly, is that the only reason you came?"
Gaara frowned, and Naruto copied the expression. So that wasn't it then.
"I'm- I'm not sure I can trust you," Gaara admitted. "Even with what Kurama told Shukaku about you. I can't be sure that you won't tell-" He cut himself off and the Tobirama in Naruto rose to the surface. .. Interesting.
But there was only one way to convince Gaara that he could be trusted... He reached out with his chakra, forming a privacy seal around the two of them.
"My name." He said. "It is Uzumaki Naruto, this time around." Gaara turned to him, confused. "But... I... Remember another life. One before this." Realization dawned on Gaara's face. "Before I was Uzumaki Naruto, I was Senju Tobirama."
In light of what Gaara had just told him, Naruto could not be expected to sit back and do nothing. Nor could he wait to get his wounds healed. He needed to take action - now.
Gaara was sitting beside him still, waiting to learn what Naruto would do with the information.
"We need to find someone capable of healing me." He said, fingers twitching in anticipation. "I've been to the library and in the mission records department - both times under henge - and there's only one person who might be capable of healing me all the one in one treatment."
"And who would that be?" Gaara asked.
"Senju Tsunade , one of the Sannin." Naruto admitted. "She was my great-niece, before." Gaara nodded, before he frowned.
"Where is she?" He asked, and Naruto sighed.
"I'm not sure." He admitted. "Definately not in Konoha, and I need to be able to find her before the final stage of the exams, with enough time to get back."
"Is there a way back that's faster than running?" Gaara asked. "Like Hiraishin?"
"I- yes," Naruto said. "But, since the Nidaime, who else has used Hiraishin? And what did he look like?"
"The Yondaime." Gaara said. "He was tall and blond, with bright... Blue.... Eyes." His eyes widened. "They'll think that you're his son. He- he has many enemies."
"Yes." Naruto said, before admitting, "And I'm not completely sure they'd be wrong."
There was a long pause, before-
"Well, is there anyone we can ask where she might be?" Gaara asked.
"... Sensei's a good tracker, but I think our best bet is her teammate or sensei - Jiraiya of the Sannin or Sarutobi Hiruzen, respectively." Naruto admitted. Gaara frowned.
"Then let's get to the Sannin then." He said. "And then once we get the information we go and find her."
"I'll need to wear a Henge." Naruto said, "And I know just the one. Thanks for helping me think things out, Gaara. I'll see you when it's time for the final stage of the Exams!" He waved and turned to leave.
Gaara sighed. For having been a genius in another life, Naruto sure was clueless sometimes.
"I'll be going with you, idiot." He said. "You need someone who can watch your back, and Shukaku would kill me if I let you go off without Kurama to help you out." Naruto paused, before turning back to Gaara, surprise in his eyes.
"You'll get in trouble." He said. "I may not be able to make it back in time, even if I go straight there and come straight back after being healed." You would give up your chance at a promotion for me? Hung in the air.
"It's not like they actually care." Gaara countered. "As for the exams, I can always pass another time." Naruto frowned thoughtfully for a few minutes before he nodded.
"I need you to stay out of sight while I get the intel." He ordered. "Once I have it, I'll get you and we can leave." Gaara nodded, and they left the room in silence.
To anyone who might be looking for me,
I've gone looking for someone, but don't worry, I'll be back before the final stage of the Exams. And I'm not alone, so no need to worry about that either, I'll be fine.
Oh, and a quick suggestion? Check on the Kazekage sometime. Something about him doesn't... Feel quite right. His kids feel like sand - as do all the other members of the Suna teams - but he feels... Snakey and scaley.
P.S. And Jiji? Sakura-chan needs someone who can help with her gift from the Shodaime Hokage.
"What is he thinking?" Sakura hissed, reading the letter. "Taking off without warning, again? And who has he gone looking for?"
"You know, I want to know who he took with him." Sasuke commented. "After all, all the Konoha genin are still here." Kakashi frowned, looking out the window, as if he could gain the answers to every question in life that he had ever had, just by looking outside.
"You will still be going on a training trip." The Hokage told them, brow furrowed. "But Tenzo will be going with you as well, if Naruto was telling the truth about this 'gift' from the Shodaime."
Neither Sasuke nor Sakura spoke up, and Kakashi sighed.
"She used it in the Forest of Death." He said. "We'll take him with us."
Sarutobi nodded, before leaving with a sigh. He couldn't afford to declare Naruto a missing-nin, not after his show in the arena. He just hoped the boy knew what he was doing.
"Tea country?" Gaara broke the silence as they slipped out of Konoha. "Why would she be in Tea Country of all places? Why Tanzuka-Gai?"
"I'm not sure," Naruto admitted, and they launched into a careful run, cautious of Naruto's wounds. "But that's where Jiraiya said we'd find her, so that's where we're going."
Chapter 6: Senju Tsunade
"So, let me get this straight." Tsunade looked back and forth between the two boys. "You're both Jinchuuriki, and yet both of you managed to sneak out of Konoha after one of you was nearly killed by my former teammate's jutsu? In the middle of the Chunnin Exams?!"
"Sounds about right," Naruto said, wincing at the pain that shot through him. "So will you heal me or not, Tsaunde-san?" She stared at him for a few seconds, before she sighed.
"Why am I the one that has to do it?" She muttered. "Wasn't there someone in Konoha capable of handling it?"
"No," Gaara said bluntly. "And in order for the seal seperating him from the Kyubii to be taken off, he needs to be healthy enough that your teammate won't kill him while taking it off."
"So Jiraiya's back in Konoha then," Tsunade said, and Naruto nodded. She sighed and guided him to a chair. "Don't worry. I'll heal you, though no one's ever survived this jutsu from Orochimaru before."
"That's alright," Naruto said, closing his eyes for a second. "But, uh, while we're on the topic of Orochimaru, he's still in Konoha , masquerading as the Kazekage." Her hands turned green, and
Naruto closed his eyes as the healing chakra soothed his wounds and forced it back together.
Within an hour or two, all that was left of the once-life-threatening injuries were scars that ran up and down his whole body. She pulled back, looking at her handiwork.
"I can fix the scars if you want." She said. "But, somehow, I don't think you want me to."
"Correct," Naruto said. "They- they show that I actually lived through it where any other would have died." She sat back and thought to his previous statement.
"You want me to go back to Konoha." She said. "After everything I've already given. After everything I lost."
"Shouldn't you protect it all the more?" Naruto asked. "Did your uncle give up after he lost everything, or did he continue to teach his students, and make them stronger? After losing his brother, did he run away, or did he sit down and take the Hat in order to lead Konoha forward? Personally, I think he would be ashamed that you ran, and kept running for so long." Tsunade flinched back,
Naruto's words had struck true. "If you are not there, the chances of Orochimaru killing your sensei is higher than it would be otherwise."
She sighed, before standing up and - purely on principle Naruto was sure - punching him through the wall.
"Fine. I'll go back, but I refuse to take the Hat." Naruto nodded his acceptance as Gaara's sand pulled him back into the room. "And you two will be going back with me. Sage only knows where you two lovebirds would go otherwise."
There was a long pause as her words sunk in.
"We're not lovebirds!" The both of them snapped, turning away from her.
They made it back to Konoha with a couple days to spare. Gaara got dragged away by his sensei and siblings, and Naruto got dragged to the Hokage and lectured.
Jiraiya was there, as well. Kakashi-sensei and his teammates weren't in the village quite yet (they had run into them a couple of days previous and Naruto had gotten chewed out by all three of them for leaving without actually telling them anything), and, when the Hokage was done, Jiraiya lectured him on taking the appearance of a Kage to get information out of people.
Then he was sent away while they talked with Tsaunde, as though he was a naughty child!
Well... He was technically a child, but that was beside the point.
A couple days and a seal taken off later, Naruto was waiting for his turn in the finals, glad that when Sasuke and Sakura returned from their training trip with their sensei they had told him who he would be fighting.
He looked at Neji, who was studying him as well. After the prelims, he knew that Naruto was a threat, but he didn't know just how much of one.
Neji was good, but Naruto was better, especially since he knew the Byakugan's weakness - the one area where Neji wouldn't be able to see from - from his time as Tobirama.
And that wasn't even taking into account that Naruto had a whole other life's worth of knowledge and his sensory abilities at his disposal.
Chapter 7: The Third Stage
Naruto vs. Neji, Sakura vs Kiba, Shikamaru vs Temari, Shino vs Kankuro, Sasuke vs Gaara....
What could possibly go wring?
Friendly reminder that I am No Good at fight scenes. Still, I tried my best.
There was a moment where Naruto and Neji just stared at each other - as the crowd began to get bored - before Naruto shot forward, his kunai practically teleporting to his hand thanks to the speed his hand moved at.
Still, he wasn't running at Neji quite that fast, and the Hyuuga managed to dodge. A predatorial grin appeared on Naruto/Tobirama's face. He intended to teach him a lesson.
"Slow, Hyuuga?" He taunted, and a scowl appeared on Neji's face. He knew that Naruto wasn't really trying. Not yet. "Need your Byakugan to keep up with me?"
This time, Neji was the one to attack Naruto, though he kept a tight bottle on his anger. Whether or not he lost he was going to put on a good show, Naruto knew he would make it - so long as he convinced them he passed the minimum sanity requirements - it was Neji who was in danger here.
They clashed a few more times, and Naruto was slightly calmer - at least until Neji brought up the Caged Bird seal and how Naruto couldn't possibly know what it felt like to be judged because of a seal and a quirk of fate.
Right then and there was where Naruto laid the line.
"Bullshit." He interrupted Neji's monologue, and Neji opened his mouth, when Naruto continued. "Fun fact - no one outside of the Hyuuga even cares about the seal. And here's another one - a freebie. Ever since my birth the villagers have hated and feared me. And get this - it's because of a seal."
Neji frowned, but Naruto didn't let up there.
"Neji - I was born the day the Kyubii broke free of it's seal and attacked Kohona. The Yondaime and his wife - despite what has been said to the contrary - sealed the Kyubii inside of me. So actually - I do know what it is to be judged because of a seal. Far better than you, actually. So don't start this crap with me."
"Come on, Naruto!" Sasuke called down. "This is starting to get boring."
"Also this whole fate thing - I don't believe in it." Naruto said. "How would that explain the Uchiha Massacre? Or the destruction of Ushizo?" Then he ran through some hand seals - felt Saru's surprise as the biggest water dragon he had summoned in either life formed out of thin air- "Better luck next time Neji." He smirked. "How's this for fate, Suiton: Water Dragon."
The dragon roared, and plunged down onto Neji, hitting him into the wall with so much force that he was instantly knocked out.
"Um... Victor, Uzumaki Naruto!"
Next was Shikamaru's fight against Temari, which wasn't nearly as interesting as the grudge match between Naruto and Neji - once he'd gotten up Naruto had followed him to his team and jounin-sensei, lecturing him on unity and teamwork and why he definately should not be hurting his future clan head to the point where she's coughing up blood.
Sure, the whole caged bird seal thing was fucked up and shouldn't be a thing - not so long after Kohona's founding and during peacetime no less - but beating her up like that wouldn't endear him - or his cause - to Hinata.
Still, anyone who knew Shikamaru at all knew that he would fight as little as possible - whether in an attempt to remain a genin forever or just so he could cloudwatch no one would ever know - so it wasn't a surprise when after trapping Temari with his shadow, he gave up.
Next was Kiba and Sakura's fight. Naruto was sure Sakura would win, even though she didn't know much about Kiba's fighting style, or even how strong he was. Sure, Naruto might have an idea - thanks both to his ability to sense chakra and his time as Tobirama - but he hadn't been able to train with his team since -
Since the second stage. A whole month. Huh. He blinked, returning his attention to the fight-
Just in time to see Sakura punch Kiba into a wall. He winces, remembering how Tsaunde had done the same (sort of) before reluctantly accompanying himself and Gaara back to Kohona.
Trees swell up around Kiba, pinning both him and Akamaru in place, and Kiba reluctantly surrenders - not that he has much of a choice.
"Victor, um... Haruno Sakura!"
"Wanna bet that he wanted to say 'Senju' Sakura?" Sasuke asked from his side, and Naruto snorted, before shaking his head.
"Suckers bet." He replied, watching Sakura walk back up with a grin on her face. Once she got close enough to hear him, he grinned at her, before saying, "Nice work out there!"
"Thanks." She said. "Fighting Kiba was... An experience. One that I'm glad I got. I was starting to think everyone fought like you or Sasuke or sensei."
"That mindset can get you killed."
It wasn't a reproach, nor was he scolding her. He was simply stating a fact, so she nodded.
Next was Kankuro against Shino.
Between Kankuro's puppets and Shino's bugs, they could both replace themselves - though it would be easier for Shino. Still, Kankuro was stronger than Shino and with time and some planning, he could win.
Which is why he was surprised when Kankuro surrendered, saying that he was out of chakra (Naruto called bullshit. He could tell that Kankuro had only used about half of his chakra.)
"Victor... Aburame Shino!"
Then Sasuke went down to the arena to fight Gaara.
He didn't stand a chance, but he could put up a good fight, at least.
Of course, that was when all hell broke loose.
Chapter 8: Edo Tensei (part 1)
Happy New Years!
It's still New Years Eve for me, but it's close enough to wish you all a happy new years, I think
Within a heartbeat three things happened -
The first is that a genjutsu was cast, making (almost) everyone Chunnin and below to fall asleep.
The exceptions were, of course, Team 7 and Shikamaru.
Well, and the Suna and Oto nin too, since they were the ones to cast it.
The second is an impenetrable barrier formed around the Hokage's box.
The third is that half of Naruto's soul was ripped from his body.
He doubled over, gritting his teeth at the phantom pain. He could sense Kakashi-sensei and Sakura's confusion and worry, but he could sense the other half of himself in the Hokage's box being-Summoned or something? Without Tobirama everything that Naruto hadn't practiced that had belonged to him was gone. He knew that he should know what it was but... It was just gone.
"Naruto?" Sakura asked quietly and Naruto's attention returned to the situtation at hand. Gaara had told him that his fight with Sasuke was roughly when it would begin, and the sleep genjutsu would announce when it truly began.
There had been plenty of time for Naruto to modify Gaara's seal, and it showed. He wasn't struggling to control his bijuu had much as he would have had to.
Satified that Gaara wouldn't lose control of Shikaku for the time being, Naruto turned his attention to Sasuke, who's eyes flitted to him for a half-second before returning to his fight, and-
He could sense worry. The jounin were moving to deal with the intruders but there were three Kage-level shinobi facing his Jiji. He would no doubt be better if he stayed on this side of the barrier but it had been for the Sandaime that Tobirama had fought to his death, and Naruto had come to care just as much for him, despite his faults.
He took a step forward, remembering just why he shouldn't use Hiraishin, then dismissing it as he drew his sword and -
He appeared in front of Tobirama, and their swords met in a resounding clash.
"Jiji." He managed as Tobirama stepped backwards, eyes pitch black.
"Nar- how-" He could hear the confusion, but after a pause, the Hokage spoke. "Go. I'll hold of Tobirama-sensei and Hashirama-sama. Once he unsummons them - or dies - they'll die as well."
The Hokage was only telling him this because he didn't have a choice. Still, Naruto nodded, using Hiraishin to get around himself.
Except the Nidaime followed him.
Sasuke glanced up toward his team as he dodged Gaara's sand and-
Where did Naruto go??
Also, why the hell were shinobi fighting?
He returned his attention to Gaara, who was also looking up into the stands.
"We should go help." Gaara said quietly, and-
"What?" Sasuke asked. "But isn't Suna-"
"I'm siding with Naruto." Gaara interrupted. "And-" He nodded his head and Sasuke followed it to see-
Naruto. Being chased by the - the Nidaime Hokage. Who seemed intent on killing him.
Gaara, having gotten Sasuke's attention, turned and shot out of the arena - with Sasuke a half second behind him.
"How the hell am I supposed to decide this one?" The bitter proctor muttered under his breath as he, too, joined the fighting.
There was no way he could defeat himself, even if he could still remember the myraid of techniques that the Nidime (that he) had created.
There was no one as strong in Suiton as the Nidaime Hokage.
And it's not like Futon would do much to even slow the water, anyways.
Which left dodging. Which wasn't much fun, because more often than not, he was slower than his other- other self.
He's launching himself into the air when his eyes flit up to see the Nidaime Hokage - the other half of himself - shooting up, sword in hand aiming for-
For his throat.
Naruto throws his hands up in an attempt to save his life - unlikely, the Nidaime was more than strong enough to go through his arms and still take his head off, he knew this better than anyone-
Sand appeared in corner of his eye, moving and-
Blocking the sword.
Naruto twisted as he fell, and landed on his feet, looking at Gaara and Sasuke for a moment, a relieved grin on his face. At least he had two of his friends to watch his back.
Though under no circumstances would he let them get hurt. He would rather die.
Chapter 9: Against a Kage
Then Sasuke went down to the arena to fight Gaara.
He didn't stand a chance, but he could put up a good fight, at least.
Of course, that was when all hell broke loose.
A tearing pain-
In a body not his own-
No- not his - not anymore-
A blink - Saru is in front of him.
Behind him - he can sense - the Snake.
A pause - how can this be? - Then-
He remebers the technique and-
His eyes widen, and he moves but he's too slow.
Seal on the back of his neck and he can't do anything.
His eyes change color - he knows they do -
Black eyes, his sword unsheathed against his will-
Why had he made control seals a thing??
Charging for Saru-
He ducks- remembering when he was his sensei Hiruzen was good-
Not good enough. He moves again, aiming to kill but-
A flash, yellow hair - stubborn blue eyes - a sword blocking his-
Gritted teeth, it was costing him to hold him back-
The boy said something.
Saru says something in return, and the seal whispers Threat.
Naruto nods, and is gone-
But he is the Nidaime. The seal reaches and-
Moving - hopefully Saru can face his brother-
Naurto ducks, panic flitting through his eyes for a half second.
A jump - just enough to go over him - a land-
An attempt to escape - he's not fast enough-
Wind jutsu flying from his fingers-
Not effective- not enough-
Ducking, and dodging, and weaving-
Doing whatever possible to slow him down-
Suiton flys towards him -
A pause - considering -
A jump - A trap -
Sword out - shooting up fast -
Too fast - the boy is going to die -
He refuses to kill himself -
He doesn't have a choice -
Sword aimed for throat -
A redhead - Gaara - and a Uchiha land by himself - the other him -
A few words - relief from the other him -
Pink lands - Lazy-sensei lands -
Threat - whispers the seal, forcing him limbs to move. Other him says something -
Ichibi Jinchurrki agrees, sand returning to the gourd -
He moves forwards -
Uchiha intercepts - Sharingan spinning -
Eyes closed -
Senses stretch -
Kohona is fighting-
Kohona is losing -
He can't do anything -
Lazy-Sensei is annoyed - angry -
He leaves -
Four genin against a Kage -
Water shoots out -
Sand moves -
Wet sand - slower -
Tries to kill himself -
Mokoton - Uchiha there - counterattack -
Don't bother block - allow the kunai to hit its mark -
Instantly heal -
Send Uchiha flying - go for the throat while he's off the ground -
Other him appears - grabs Uchiha and gone -
Follow with Hiraishin -
Ichibi Junchurkii wounded - not lethal - not enough to keep him from being a Shinobi -
Twist- dodge sand - too easy now -
Water Dragon - all of them off balance -
Especially Uchiha -
Too fast - he can't stop -
About to hit but-
A flash - yellow hair - stubborn blue eyes -
Bloodstained shinobi armor -
Pierced lung -
Other him was dying -
A flare of chakra -
Edo Tensi dissolved -
He's in his own body again and he's dying -
And it's all his fault.
Chapter 10: What Would You Do If...?
"The answer came almost immediately - he would take Shukaku and unleash him on Otokagure. He would do everything in his power to raze it to the ground."
"Kakashi knows without a doubt that he wouldn't be able to live in Kohona anymore. Depending on how bad it gets, he might wind up becoming a missing-nin."
"I'd focus on poisons and... Fuuinjutsu. He has a lot of notes on it, and I think someone should pick it up, in his name."
"He saved your life!"
"At the price of his own! If that is the price of teamwork, I don't want it! I'll be strong enough on my own! Teamwork makes you weak!"
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
As Naruto was hurried to the hospital - and, more specifically, Tsaunde - and Hakate Kakashi checked over the other two members of the team, Gaara had a thought.
What would he do if Naruto died?
The answer came almost immediately - he would take Shukaku and unleash him on Otokagure. He would do everything in his power to raze it to the ground.
Or he would return to Suna and become Kazekage and then turn all of the strength of his village on Otokagure alongside the strength of the bijuu inside of him.
He clenched his fist and trailed along behind the Hakate and his genin (probably not genin anymore, not for long). After not only refusing to fight for Suna, but actively fighting alongside Naruto and his teammates, he wouldn't be welcomed alongside the Suna-nin.
"What would you do if Naruto died?"
Kakashi pauses mid-stride and glances over at the Jinchuuriki who is standing to his right.
He'd grown close to his other two students, but Naruto-
Naruto was the only thing he had left of his sensei.
"Maa, why do you care?" He asked, wondering if Gaara had any idea just how much he cared about Naruto-
After all, if he hadn't had a responsibility to Sasuke and Sakura he would've chased after his other student when he snuck out of the village.
"Curiosity, Hakate-san." Gaara replied. "I know what I would do, and I grew curious."
"I'm not sure." Kakashi lied, closing his eye as he pictured the result. He would put as much distance between himself and his other students as possible, possibly rejoining ANBU.
Or just stealing an ANBU mask and sneak out of Kohona to assassinate Orochimaru.
Or Naruto's death could be the one that breaks him. And if it does...
Kakashi knows without a doubt that he wouldn't be able to live in Kohona anymore. Depending on how bad it gets, he might wind up becoming a missing-nin.
... Or he might decide the best solution was death.
"What would you do if Naruto died?"
Sakura looked over at Gaara, still feeling a sting from the fact that Naruto had chosen Gaara to go after Tsaunde with, rather than her and Sasuke.
"I-" She started, before she shook her head. "No, that's not right. If he died, I think I would walk away from the medical profession. If I did... I'd focus on poisons and... Fuuinjutsu. He has a lot of notes on it, and I think someone should pick it up, in his name."
"So you would remain within Kohona?" Gaara asked, and Sakura had a thought - she'd seen how the other Suna-nin treated Gaara, was he planning on moving to Kohona to escape that? If Naruto died, would that be much of an option for him?
"I- I think so." Sakura said. "After all, if I left, where would I go? What village would take me? I - Naruto always hated missing-nin, and I wouldn't be honoring his memory if I left Kohona anyways."
"What would you do if Naruto died?"
"Well, first off, it would prove he's wrong." Sasuke bit out, refusing to look at the other shinobi.
"Wrong how?" Gaara asked.
"Wrong as in, teamwork doesn't make you stronger." Sasuke growled. "That the only way to get stronger is to trust someone else to cover your weaknesses. What use was his 'teamwork' when we faced down the Nidaime Hokage?"
"He saved your life!"
"At the price of his own! If that is the price of teamwork, I don't want it! I'll be strong enough on my own! Teamwork makes you weak!"
"Teamwork is what killed him the first time!"
"Now, Gaara." Kakashi said, watching the Jinchuuriki squirming under their gaze. "What, exactly, did you mean by 'killed him the first time'?"
"I- That's not what I meant to say." Gaara said, fidgeting uncomfortably. Kakahasi raised an eyebrow and waited patiently, with his students following his lead. After a minute, Gaara sighed. "Fine. Naruto wanted to tell you himself but everything's been so hectic, so don't tell him I told you?"
"Just tell us already!" Sasuke demanded.
"Ok, ok!" Gaara raised his hands, his sand following his movements. "I- I don't know how you faced down the Nidaime because Naruto is... Sort of... Him. Reincarnated." He waits a moment for that to sink in.
And, honestly? It makes sense. Kakashi had wondered how Naruto knew so much about Kohona's legislation - which hadn't changed much since the days before the Nidaime took the Hat - how Naruto ignored his pain in a way only seasoned shinobi can - most notably after his prelims fight, after facing down Orochimaru. How he had - according to Sasuke and Sakura - told her how to use Mokoton in the Forest of Death. How he had clearly known the weak point of the Baykugan.
How he knew of Ushizo, though Kakashi had it from a reliable source that it wasn't mentioned in the Academy. How he'd managed so well against ROOT-
Why he'd been so angry about Danzo and what he'd been doing. How he was so good at fuuinjutsu-
Kakashi paused as a new thought occurred to him - had Naruto been the one to kill Danzo? The only things that they'd gleaned from the crime scene was that the murderer had been good at Fuuinjutsu (and Naruto, if he had truly been the Nidaime, more than fit that), had some sort of grudge (based off the brutality of the scene) against him (which, if this was true, Naruto certainly fit. The Nidaime had trained a Uchiha and had only distrusted Madara), and had been incredibly powerful (which Naruto certainly was, between his own reserves and the Kyubii, though with the NIdaime's memories... He was so much more so) and good with a lighting-based chakra sword (one of which Naruto carried with him almost everywhere).
It had made him want to throw up, and he'd done his fair share of killing - sometimes brutally. Still, given the eight different Sharingan that Danzo had had, and the multitide of crimes, against Kohona and other villages... Kakashi wonders if he got off lightly.
So this is going to be my last update for about 6-7 months. I'm sorry about how long it's gonna be but I made the commitment and I'm not going to back out now.
Chapter 11: WTF Sasuke?
Apparently they learned their lesson, because someone is there when Naruto wakes up.
... Except it's only Sasuke. If he needed to escape, he could do it easily. He reaches out with his senses-
"Is it true?" Sasuke asked, and Naruto's brain stalled.
"Were you the Nidaime Hokage?" Sasuke pressed. "Allegedly one of the strongest shinobi to ever live?" Naruto sighed, dropping his head onto his pillow and closing his eyes. Of all the conversations he could have while in the hospital...
He wanted to run and yet...
"Yes." He replied, because he'd been avoiding this conversation for too long. "Yes, I was. The Kinkaku Force was a team of about twenty S-rank shinobi. And even then I managed to kill most of them. That sort of thing takes a combination of strength, speed, planning, and even luck. Your brother has those in spades, just as I did. At twelve, neither of us are quite strong enough to face him."
"I have the memories and chakra to perform the techniques of my past life, but my speed isn't up to snuff!" Came the relentless interruption. "Neither is yours. I am the greatest sensor to ever live, one of the few people to memorize chakra signatures and with the greatest range a sensor has ever had. I've caught your brother's chakra signature a few times, and he's not traveling alone. He's traveling with another S-rank shinobi. With the amount of chakra I have access to and Hiraishin alone I could be considered S-rank, even though my body's not nearly there yet."
"I don't care!" Sasuke protested. "You've taught me some techniques-"
"Most of those were officially B-ranked." Came the reply. "Two were A-ranked. You need bigger reserves for any higher techniques, with the exception of the Shadow Clone. You're getting there, but if you go off half-cocked you'll just get killed and you won't get justice for your clan! We couldn't even beat Orochimaru, what makes you think you can beat your brother like this?"
"The sooner I avenge my clan the sooner I can-"
"What if I tell you that your brother wasn't the only one responsible for what happened that night?"
"What're the odds that Sasuke decided to try to kill him?" Kakashi asked idly as he and Sakura walked to the hospital.
"No bet," Sakura said. "You didn't see how Naruto- I mean, how he antagonized Sasuke when the team first started. Especially while we were practicing. It was almost like - actually, I think he was testing our tempers, now that I think about it."
A flare of chakra - Sasuke's - and Kakashi and Sakura stop their idle walk, and shoot towards the hospital-
When they arrive, they see Naruto standing with a stiffness that indicates pain, with Sasuke pinned to the wall, a kunai sitting on the ground.
... And the Cursed Mark on his shoulder active.
"Now will you listen?" He snapped, and Sasuke, teeth gritted, nodded. Naruto held him there for another moment, before releasing him. "We have no chance as we are - would have no chance ever except your brother isn't doing much more than maintaining his current level. So for now -" His hand flew up to his shoulder, covering the seal.
When he removed it, there was a seal of pure chakra over it fading to black.
"...Naruto?" Sakura asked hesitantly, and he turned to look at her, slowly, someone they hadn't seen in his eyes yet.
Naruto was unsure.
"Yeah." He said, eyes flickering between the other three members of Team 7. "What's up?"
After watching Tenzo and Sakura practice Mokuton for an hour, he's fed up, and he is correcting them.
Not that they're at fault - he'd only helped Sakura with Mokuton for a few minutes when Orochimaru attacked them, and Tenzo had had to learn his entirely through trial and error.
After just a few minutes, Tenzo explodes.
"Who you you think you are?" He practically shouts. "I've had this my whole life! How could you possibly know more about it than me?!?"
"Maybe because I remember the first time I lived." Naruto replied, voice cold. "And my brother had it. Maybe because I helped him refine it. And, maybe, just maybe, because I'm the Nidaime Hokage reborn."
Tenzo stared for a second.
"Not a chance." He replied. "If you are - why's Hokage-sama in the hospital still recovering from fighting Shodaime-sama and Orochimaru?"
"Because Saru is moron who shouldn't blindly trust people." Naruto replied. "Case in point- Danzo. After my death he took some of my teachings to the highest extreme he could think of." Tenzo stared at him for a few moments, before-
"Naruto, why don't you go see him?" Kakashi interrupted, watching him carefully. "Explain to him how he messed up."
He turned and stared at his sensei but-
Kakashi might have phrased it as a suggestion, but it was really an order.
And while he was the Nidaime, he was also a genin. He was still Kakashi's student.
So he went.
Chapter 12: Sandaime, Godaime
Naruto finally tells Sarutobi the truth, the Hat gets passed down, and Kakashi gets a mission. Oh, and Team 7 gets a couple new members.
"Do you think that you could let people in here?" Sarutobi tried to convince Suna's Jinchuuriki to stand down but apparently someone had convinced him to stand guard and not allow anyone near.
And given that the boy had an alarming habit of killing people the Sandaime was rather surprised that none of his people had died.
Audible footsteps - a shinobi making their presence heard before he arrived - and sand rose from the Gourd until they saw Naruto come around the corner. He nodded towards the door, and the sand returned to the Gourd and the other Jinchuuriki calmly walked out of the room.
"I had hoped that it wouldn't get this bad," Naruto admitted, taking a seat beside him. He laughed dryly before he added, "You were never able to do what needed to be done. I had hoped that being Hokage would teach you which evils were necessary."
"What?" There was no reason for Naruto of all people to say anything like this. Naruto - the son of Minato and-
"Your willful ignorance." Naruto snapped. "You knew what Danzo was doing - not quite the extent of it, probably, but enough. I went and looked - you let Orochimaru escape. Not just this time either."
"Wh- Naruto?" He asked. "What's going on?" His brows were furrowed, and he was bewildered-
"Willful ignorance," Naruto repeated. "I should probably have told you, but you never would have believed me. It would've been a fruitless endeavor. Now though..." He placed a hand on Sarutobi's arm, and a green glow appeared.
When had Naruto learned-
"If I could have known you would have believed me I would've told you," Naruto emphasized. "But... It's time."
The Kohona genin who are promoted are Shikamaru, Sakura, Sasuke, and Naruto. When the Suna-nin leave, Gaara is left behind, with his sister promising to come back for him.
There was a debate on what to do with him - given how he'd fought against his home village they couldn't just throw him in a jail cell if they could even get close enough to grab him in the first place - until Naruto, of all people, suggested Gaara temporarily join their team.
Of course, the Council was against it, but given Naruto's... relationship with the Kyubii - no doubt formed out of boredom, or Sarutobi didn't know his sensei - Sasuke (and Kakashi's) Sharingan, and Sakura's Mokuton, there wasn't really a better option.
But they did come to a compromise. With Gaara's addition to the team, another member was officially added.
And then Sarutobi stepped down, saying he had been Hokage for long enough, appointing Tsuande as his successor.
"... And Naruto was once who again?" Tsunade demanded, desperately wishing for sake though she'd had the hat for less than an hour.
"Senju Tobirama." Her sensei readily answered. "But given who he is now it's not like I could have given it to him. And given Kakashi's position as the team leader of Team 7 I couldn't give it to him. Outside of them, you're the best choice."
"Fuck." She muttered. "Where do I start?"
"Kakashi, a mission for you," Tsunade informed him, eyes lingering on Naruto for a second. Then she grabbed the mission scroll and offered it to Kakashi. "You and one of your students are going to be our envoy to Suna. You'll be gone until Suna has a new Kage - get a new treaty with favorable terms for us! Anyways, while the two of you are gone Tenzo will take your place as the leader of Team 7."
"Understood," Kakashi said, taking the offered scroll, eye skimming the briefing before his eye widened. "Hokage-sama, are you sure this is the sort of mission I should be taking one of them on?"
"Each and every one of them will be sent on a mission like this at some point in their career," Tsaunde said. "I would have sent all of you had sensei not seen fit to add Tenzo and Gaara to your team. Given the relationship between Gaara and the Suna-nin it would be best if he were to remain behind. Aside from that, it is your choice, Kakashi."
Kakashi frowned before he turned and looked at his genin with a thoughtful expression. Sakura needed to learn everything she could about her Mokuton, Naruto needed to stay to teach Gaara about his tailed beast, and Sasuke-
Sasuke needed to learn about his Sharingan, but he could stay with Naruto and learn from him. The Nidaime had been the brightest mind of his generation and it stood to reason he had some idea of the Sharingan's possibilities.
Possibly better than Kakashi himself.
Still, Sasuke would be standoff-ish at even the best of times, and Naruto had already done missions like the one he was being sent on - he'd been the Hokage's brother and then Hokage himself - and Sakura -
Actually, Sakura might be the best of his students to take at the moment, needing to learn more Mokuton aside. Tenzo might be angry but-
"Mah, I'll take Sakura with me, Hokage-sama." Kakashi spoke. "Her brains and gentle nature would be the most benefical for the mission."