Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used in this fic.
General Warnings: Rated T for Moderate Language
Author Notes: Hey guys, I know it's been a while since the last update, and feel really bad about that. Things just got kinda crazy, (as well as some other roadblocks that were an absolutely bitch to get over, ugh, you'll see what I mean at the bottom of the page) but ohmygosh guys the support for both me and the story has just been phenomenal! I can't say it enough, you guys inspire me so much! I have to warn you guys tho, shit's about to hit the fan over where I am right now, so it's safe to say you guys won't get a chapter for a bit. Sorry bout that :( But hey, at least this time I gave y'all a warning? Right? …right? Also, this chapter has a little surprise in it that I think (just guessing here) that you guys'll like, and will hopefully tide you guys over until things calm down a little bit for me in the crazy shitstorm called life. Yay.
Just a quick note before you guys jump to the chapter (even if you aren't specifically named, everyone might want to read these since they might answer a couple of your own questions)- To address some of the concerns/questions brought up in the reviews:
DemonDragonQueen: Unfortunately, you did not in fact see me soon. All I can do is apologize. Profusely.
Pixie07: I'm sorry if things seem a little confusing, I'm leaving out their history on purpose b/c that will be revealed later in the story, so just hang tight! Of course, if you do have any questions about any of my chapters, feel free to ask! You might've spotted something I missed that's confusing for the reader but not for me b/c I know the story and forget you guys don't... heh heh... *(｡ŏ﹏ŏ)*
EquusNanashi: Very astute of you. I applaud you from behind my computer screen. I promise I actually applauded. No srsly, I actually clapped for you X)
EmptySurface: EVERYONE PLEASE READ!
Sorry bout that, had to be done. EmptySurface, you asked if the last chapter was inspired by your fic Thicker than Blood, (and to everyone else, you probably recognized the similarities if ur also a hardcore Naruto fanfic reader like I am) and the answer is kinda. So the deal was that I had been reading a lot of Naruto, canon and fan fiction, to get myself in the mindset before ever even writing the prologue of this story, and I think what happened was I unconsciously remembered and used some of your stuff. I'm so sorry. I was so surprised when I went back and checked it over. I really respect your fic and your characters, and as one of the better Naruto fanfics out the ones I've read that have given me the inspiration for the story and the characters for R4R, I really respect your story. I will be happy to go back and edit it if you want me too. But, if it's alright with you, could I possibly keep it in? I don't want to delay the story anymore than I already have. I'm also pretty much a lazy bum most of the time, so there's that too. Again, I have so much respect for you and your fic, it's been a great inspiration for me to become a fanfiction writer. It's this inspiration that lead me to decide major in English and Creative Writing. So I would like to take this time and page space to thank you. Thank you so much!
SpilledInk82: First of all, you're lovely. Thank you for those wonderful reviews (you did review twice but they were just absolutely lovely, so it was a happy moment for me when I got the second one :) and don't worry I fangirl over so many things it's hilarious). So I planned to have the prologue (I assume you meant the prologue by the first chapter?) "disjointed" b/c Naruto was disoriented. For him he would've gone right for his time to the hospital bed. And omg, your little imagined scenario is just absolutely adorable! With your permission, can I pleeeeeeeeeaaaaase use it? Pretty please? (psst I'm not above revealing some plot points for bribery XD 'tis a deal?) Also my justification for the character being a little OOC is that they aren't actually canon. This Team 7 is from a timeline that I have as originally canon, but splits off the canon storyline due to an "event" which will for now remain unnamed (as will the team's history after the "event") so that's why they're a bit different than the canon characters we all know and love. But if I wanted to write a totally canon Team 7, I wouldn't be writing this kind of time travel fic, yeah? Once again, your reviews were lovely. Hope you enjoy the update!
...Okay that wasn't short per say but meh you guys already know by now I'm basically a compulsive liar. Enjoy!
Return for Redemption
For Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi, you only live once. Or twice, apparently. After a devastating war, they are the only ones remaining. Together, they travel to the past to save the lives of their lost friends. But not only must Team 7 confront the faces of their dead loved ones, but also the dangers found within themselves. Will their desperate bid for redemption succeed? Time-Travel AU
CHAPTER 4 – EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
"Oh you have got to be shitting me."
5 minutes earlier
Naruto's mindscape had changed a lot since his days as a genin. For one thing, when Naruto was young, he and the furball hadn't gotten along with each other at all, mixing together like oil and water and thus producing that godawful sewer environment. After a while thought, Kurama (the big softie, Naruto snorted) had eventually warmed up to him after a while and things had gradually begun to change. As Naruto grew and he and Kurama learned to work together, the sewer slowly started to disappear. First the hall turned light and warm, the dankness of the sewer water receding and clearing into a small pool as grass sprouted into a green meadow, a gentle breeze always blowing across the field. Trees native to Konoha grew, sprinkled in small patches across the meadow. Flowers grew around their roots, and birds chirped quietly near the pond, where Naruto had often meditated. Kurama had a nearby hill that he would almost always be found sleeping in.
Naruto smiled at the sight of the green grass and tiny budding trees. It's good to see it all growing back. For a time after Konoha had fallen, the meadow of his mind had been torn up by a raging hurricane, trees uprooted and strewn across the space of his mind. Kurama hadn't been very pleased with him. Actually, the stupid furball had sulked for weeks, staring mournfully at his old hill that had not survived the fall out, constantly complaining and interrupting Naruto's life for a whole month! Actually, Naruto was pretty glad Kurama had been incessant and unrelenting in his assault against Naruto's apparently "brainless idiotic stupidity to have destroyed my favorite napping spot, you dumbass kit." It had kept him from falling too deep into despair over the lives he had been unable to save, and those lives whose escape had been too close for any sort of comfort. Naruto had a sneaking suspicion that Kurama did it on purpose, but when confronted about the issue Kurama had merely scoffed, called him a stupid kit, and avoided any attempts at furthering the conversation on Naruto's part by promptly (and rudely) falling asleep.
Naruto glanced over at his old friend. And snorted with a wistful sort of amusement. That lazy furball always did like to nap for weeks on end.
Kurama lay curled up on his hill, head resting on his paws as he slept and nine tails curled around him like a cat's, the grass around him brighter and thicker than the rest in the valley as his inherent natural energy seeped into the ground. Naruto walked up to his partner's long snout, a rueful smile on his lips as he placed a hand on Kurama's head. Thank you, old friend. Naruto looked sadly at his partners closed yet tired eyes, and concentrated on sensing the fox's low energy. Looks like Kurama's gonna be outta the game for a while. He chuckled. At least he's getting that long nap that he always complained he never had any time for.
Naruto dropped gracefully down into a meditative pose on the cushion of grass, resting against Kurama's paw as he prepared to descend into the shared bijuu mind space.
Breathing in deeply, he slowly opened his eyes.
A strange sight greeted him. Yes, a very strange sight indeed. Naruto blinked. And then blinked again.
" Yo Naruto, wassup bro! It's nice to see ya again alive and kickin', but we all seem to be doing some mighty trippin'. Care to do some explanation about this inexplicable situation, and tell us what's going on with our apparent re-animation? "
Naruto blinked once more, face devoid of any emotion.
"Oh you have got to be shitting me."
My life has got to be the most insane series of unexplainable, absolutely crazy-ass events in the history of shinobi everywhere. Naruto didn't even think he was surprised anymore. However, as I'm sure we might all agree, the abrupt and sudden appearance of a dead man would faze anyone.
Naruto's hand clutched at his shirt over his heart as he tried to comprehend what just happened.
"How in the world...is octopops there?!" Sakura did a double take.
"What do you mean Naruto?" Sasuke moved to Naruto's other side as Kakashi swiftly moved to crouch in front of the small blond, gently and subtly moving Sakura over to the left now that he was fairly sure Naruto wasn't injured in any way, shape, form or fashion.
"Naruto, do you mean you saw Bee-san in your shared mindscape?" Kakashi questioned him. Naruto nodded tentatively, hesitant to confirm what should have been impossible (then again, they came back in time by power of bijuu, so the impossible is sort of relative), before raising his eyes from where they had been staring blankly at his hands, their shaking imperceptible to the common eye. But the team saw just how shaken Naruto was.
"But...that's not what startled me." Naruto said softly. "I'm pretty sure Octopops was in contact with Gyuuki for a while, so it's possible he could venture into the shared mindscape at this point in the timeline. Especially when he had Yugito as a fellow jinchuuriki to help him figure it all out." Here Naruto paused. "...Octopops recognized me."
Kakashi's eye widened. "Naruto, do you mean that…. he remembered?" Naruto hesitated, his fists clenching.
"I guess we'll see."
The next time Naruto opened his eyes, all he saw was a hand. Which was conveniently poised to flick him on the forehead. Which it then did.
"Oww!" Naruto yelped, jumping back as his hands flew up to rub his forehead to alleviate the sudden pain. He glared at the offender, but his expression softened as he fondly gazed at the familiar man standing in front of him.
"It's been a long time, Octopops." Naruto smiled wistfully. Bee snorted.
" It's been a while sure, but it seems we both endure. " Bee grinned. " It's good to see ya my brother and I'm bein' real sincere, but how come you skipped out as soon as you appeared? "
"Hey, Naruto!" A loud voice spoke up from behind Bee. "Sorry about him, death didn't exactly mellow that odd habit of his." Gyuuki sighed.
Bee leaned forward slightly, regaining Naruto's attention, poking an accusing finger into the blond's chest. " None of us like to be put on hold, and not knowing what's going on is gettin' pretty old. "
Naruto's face scrunched up in confusion. "What d'ya mean Octopops, all of us?"
A chuckle came from Naruto's right.
"Naruto, it's good to see you never change." Naruto's eyes widened, as he finally looked up and took in all of his surroundings.
His head turned in a slow circle, taking in the astounding sight.
"Gaara.." he breathed. Gaara stood tall and arms crossed in front of Shukaku, a small smile alight on his stern features. He walked forward, and clapped a hand on Naruto's shoulder.
"I'm glad to see you once more, Naruto." Gaara said. Naruto's confused look slowly faded from his face as he heard the voice of his old friend.
"Yeah," he said. "Me too." Naruto choked a little on the words.
"Hey don't forget us too!" Yugito's indignant but teasing voice interrupted. The lighter blonde jumped down from her spot on Matatabi's shoulder to join the three on the ground.
"Yeah! Don't ignore us, baka!"
"Yes, I quite concur." A voice spoke up from behind them. No, Naruto thought, eyes widening, it couldn't be...Yagura?! Naruto couldn't believe what he was hearing. Then he couldn't believe what he was seeing. His gaze traveled the room, alighting on not four or five of his fellow jinchuuriki-bijuu pairs, but all eight of them.
Naruto was lost for words. "Wha- how..?" He looked from one person to the next, face slack and eyes wide in shocked wonder.
Roushi let out a hearty laugh as he walked closer to the odd group assembling in the middle of the space. "We were wondering that too!" Rousi frowned, eyebrows furrowing, and raised his hand up to Naruto's head. "Hmm.." Roushi said, peering at him curiously, "did you get taller?"
Naruto snorted, and brushed Roushi's hand away. "Whaddya mean old man? Of course I got taller, I got older." But Naruto paused. "Hey wait...you guys look exactly the same as when I first met you!"
It was Yugito's turn to frown, her deceivingly delicate features twisting slightly in confusion.
"Why wouldn't we look any different?" She asked. "That's when we died, it's not like we aged when we were dead."
Naruto stared at her. "Wait a minute." He said, his brain rapidly taking in all that had happened in the past few minutes. "You guys...remember the war?"
"Of course we do, Naruto." Gaara told him. "Why wouldn't we?"
"I don't know, maybe because we're in the freaking past?!" Naruto asked with a touch of desperate sarcasm. "You guys, shouldn't remember me. How can you remember me? It was only me, Kakashi, Sakura and Sasuke that Kurama transported back to the past, not to mention the fact that you were all kind of dead at the time!" Here Naruto paused minutely, but forged ahead. "From what I know, you guys shouldn't have any future knowledge at all."
Gaara hummed in thought. "You say Kurama was the one who transported you four back in time?" He asked calmly. Naruto nodded. "And he also was transported back?" Naruto nodded again. Gaara's hand came to his chin as he continued to think, the others (surprisingly) letting him do so in silence. "Well, I would theorize that after the bijuu formed into the Ten Tails in the earlier half of the war, they retained some connection to each other after the Ten Tails was defeated." Gaara said. "Perhaps, because they are chakra constructs with no physical form, their minds were allowed to be carried back in time with you." Gaara looked up at Shukaku and the other bijuu, who had until this point remained silent, (letting the sentimental humans greet each other, honestly what a waste of time). "Do you think it is possible, old friend?" Shukaku hummed much like his partner as he considered the thought.
"I believe so," Shukaku growled out in a raspy voice. "I do not remember much of what happened after we parted ways, Gaara, but I do remember feeling some kind of bond with the others. Something we hadn't come close to since the days of the Sage of Six Paths."
The other bijuu nodded and murmured and buzzed in agreement, with the exception of Son Gokuu, who grumbled loudly and reluctantly about how he agreed, and then pouted at being ignored until now. Roushi just rolled his eyes at his ridiculous partner.
"And since we as their jinchuuriki are bonded so tightly to them, our residual consciousness' must have hung on for the ride." Yagura added.
"That makes sense," Naruto said, thinking back to when he had first discovered this place. "It also explains how you all knew about the war when we first met, even though you guys died beforehand at the hands of the Akatsuki." Naruto suddenly smirked. " Oh man, is Kurama gonna be surprised when he see you all here."
"Hey Naruto," Yugito suddenly asked him, "speaking of that obnoxious furball- where is he?"
"Oh yeah," Naruto said, realization dawning on his tanned features, "you guys don't know." Naruto sighed. "Basically, Kurama used up a lot of his energy getting us back here, and fell asleep." He snorted. "He isn't going to be up for a long while that lazy bag of bone - he really exhausted himself with this trip." Naruto smiled softly though, in contrast to his mocking tone.
"Well then," Utakata asked, his kimono rustling as he moved forward, footsteps silent. "What's our next move?" Everyone turned toward Naruto, who failed to notice as he once more retreated into his mind to think over what would be their next course of action.
"Okay." He said, looking up at them. "We all go back and blend. It's been too long already, people might become suspicious, and we absolutely can't have anyone find out who we are until everything is over. Make it so that no one can question what happened today. Settle back into your respective villages. We meet up here again next week, before the break of dawn, and figure out how we're going to proceed from there." Naruto looked at them, eyes steely with determination. "We won't fail. Not this time."
"Huh. So that's what happened."
Naruto stared. "Really? That's all you can say after all that?!"
Kakashi shrugged, eye half-lidded and ignoring him as he stared down reading his Icha Icha. Sasuke just hnned as he leaned against the tree. Sakura grinned, and if there was a touch of crazy in her smile, nobody said anything about it.
"Well what else do you expect?" She asked him rhetorically. "It makes sense, and even though we didn't expect it, we've all gone through too much crazy shit to question the universe now." She shrugged, blaise about the entire incident now that they knew what had happened.
Naruto just sighed at his team, before he rose from his sitting position against the tree. They all locked eyes.
"Everything starts now." Naruto said quietly, his unvoiced but not unspoken question of Are you ready? clear in the stillness of the night. They nodded, solemn and silent. Naruto grinned.
"The world better watch out," he declared, cracking his knuckles, his old devious smile making a triumphant return. "'Cuz Team 7 is back in the game!"
Holy moly guacamole, cucumbers tomatoes and sour cream, Bee I absolutely love you and adore youbut you're an absolute pain in the ass to write. Seriously. So much newfound respect for Kishimoto, and also them translators who have it maybe even worse cuz they have to figure out new rhymes that make sense, contains all of Bee's unique personality, AND that convey what Kishimoto originally wanted him to say. Hot damn that's hard.
Please leave a review on your way out!