Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or the Wheel of Time. This is a non-profit work of fanfiction meant only for entertainment.
by Lerris Smith
Authors Note: This story uses elements from the Wheel of Time, but does not use any characters or settings from the series, save in minor ways, and then only in the past tense. As such, it is primarily a Naruto story. (There are only a few stories in the crossover category.) Knowledge of the Wheel of Time is not required. This is partly based on a previously posted story, though more is new than old. This story is definitely not a rehash of canon. Romance is not a big issue in the story. This is primarily a Naruto Hinata story, featuring a strong Hinata. In this story demon chakra is toxic, with the stronger demons being more toxic. It is assumed that this toxicity is long term, but that it generally doesn't cause a jinchuriki symptoms until near the point where it kills them. There is some Sasuke bashing. This story has minimal editing and is up for adoption, should there be interest. The starting ages of the genin has been increased to fourteen. Naruto is fifteen because of failing previously.
Hinata sat before the simple tombstone. It said only, "Naruto Uzumaki, loyal friend."
He had saved them all. Many even finally appreciated how much he had done for them, yet not all. To many, he was still the demon incarnate, despite the fact that he had saved them time and time again. It had taken all her and her cousin's influence to get this small spot in the Branch families cemetery, yet it was better than the alternative. Here at least she could be fairly sure his grave would not be disturbed. The branch family guarded their own, and Naruto Uzumaki had done more for them than most, even if he had ultimately died before being able to remove their seal.
It galled that the kunochi that killed him had been impersonating her, and poor sweet Naruto had not suspected a thing. The kunochi's lips had a rare paralyzing poison on them. Normally his guest made him highly resistant to poisons, but, well, only a second was required. By the time she had arrived on the scene to ask Naruto out to lunch, the kunochi had already separated Naruto from his head. The unnamed kunochi died seconds later from a chakra laced palm strike to the heart. As the corpse was failing the solid Henge reverted and the granddaughter of the Third Tsuchikage was revealed. For a moment she wondered how she knew Naruto's solid Henge, but then Naruto had worked with her when they were eliminating Akatsuki, so that was little surprise. She was more surprised that she had been able to kill her so easily. No, what was more surprising was that Kurotsuchi had betrayed them. She had thought Kurotsuchi had become a true friend, but it seemed her grandfather had decided that the son of the fourth had to die, particularly since he was no longer needed to eliminate Akatsuki. Did Kurotsuchi allow herself to be killed after obeying that order? Hinata knew she owed both Naruto and herself her life several times over.
It didn't matter. His killer was dead and Naruto was dead. Nothing really seemed to matter anymore. What use was victory without him? There would be war now. She knew that. Even if they refused to make Naruto their Kage, Konoha was not about to accept his death by assassin without reprisal. For a moment she grimly considered being the one to kill the fence sitter, but no, what would be the point. It would be betraying all that her dear friend stood for. There would be no lasting peace. The endless cycle of hatred had began anew and there was nothing she could do to stop it. A part of her did not even really want to try.
It was all she could do to hold herself together when she noticed a small box had fallen out of Naruto's pants. With shaking hands she carefully flipped it open only to find her own initials on the band along with Naruto's. It was beautiful. It was also why Naruto's things were given to her and partially why she was allowed to choose where to bury him. His few things were precious to her, particularly the beat up old frog wallet she had given him so very long ago. The real surprise was when an ANBU brought her the deed to a piece of property. She had known Naruto's father was the Yondaime for years now, and suspected it for years more. It was never something she cared about one way or another, but when you study someone so intently for so long, you are bound to notice the similarity, particularly when there is a gigantic image to compare in the form of the Hokage mountain. Inspection of the deed showed that Tsunade had signed it over to her, as the closest thing Naruto had to a next of kin. In truth the piece of property was not much. The Yondaime had not been rich.
She spent days carefully going over the little two bedroom house before she found the concealed entrance to the basement. It was well hidden with seals that concealed it even from her own sight. She spent weeks going over the scrolls she found in the work area and even learned a little fuinjutsu in the progress. It was at the end of the fifth week when she found the scroll that interested her. It had at first looked like a minor scroll on an Earth Jutsu, however her Byakugan had noticed the seals embedded in the scroll. It had taken her another weak to release the protection and even then a small portion of the document was now illegible, due to a mistake on her part.
It had scratched on it the words, "dangerous, unpredictable, forbidden, probably won't even work," yet the title interested her. It said, "A treatise on the shinigami." She read:
"The shinigami are minor gods that are willing to contract with humans for a price, with the typical price being the user's own soul. Rarely they may take other things depending on the nature of the request, and whether it aligns with the spirit's own goals. This is where they are most dangerous, since they may appear to be doing what you want, but unless there is a very large price attached, then what they are doing is almost certainly what they want. Summoning a higher power and expecting it to do your bidding is foolhardy at best. Even when they appear to agree to help, it is very rare that the request is without a great cost. Be vary wary if that happens, for that means you are acting as their agent, likely in a way quite different from what you had in mind. Shinigami may be considered agents of order, but it is their definition of order and not yours. When dealing with shinigami you are the ant and are at their mercy. Think very carefully before trying it. Your own soul may be the least of the costs paid, yet if you are willing to pay the price, much is possible."
Hinata caring little for her own life at this point thought this was very interesting. The real question was whether or not they could bring back Naruto and not in some cursed state. She kept reading. The next writing was in a different hand.
"The shinigami could theoretically be used to aid in sealing a tailed beast. The main thing to remember here is the results depend highly on the quality of the seal they start with. If they are given crap to work with, they will of course improve it, but only to a point, so if anyone is desperate enough to give up their soul to create such a seal, then they may want to be very sure the basic seal structure is good. The Uzumaki design used for the Kyuubi is probably the best choice in this case, yet I worry how the Shinigami's efforts would change it. The Uzumaki design, for all its power could be vague in some areas and anything not specified in a seal means the shinigami can and will do whatever they want. Of course one must also be wary of over specialization, as this dilutes the power of the seal, and may open up other avenues of escape. I just pray no one ever has to test this idea. The seal on Kushina is strong, yet not even an Uzumaki can accept that corrupt chakra without cost. My dear wife could have lived to be a hundred and fifty, if not for Kurama. With Kurama, she will be lucky to make fifty, but then ninja seldom live past middle age, so it likely is a moot point."
The writing color changed subtly towards a more blue color indicating a new entry.
"Shinigami do not resurrect humans. End of story. It would be a bit like asking a ninja to do his job in reverse. They don't do it. It has been tried time and time again. It simply results in a dead summoner. Shinigami may help with any number of tasks or even in Jutsu creation, but very few are willing to pay with their very soul for such things. One rumored ability is that they can send a living soul back in time to the soul's younger body, which might be a way around the resurrection limit. Of course, this ability is only rumored. If it does exist, the Shinigami will likely have total control of all the details. There is no clear information available on if such an ability really exists or of the cost for such a service, but it is very likely that if such a thing is possible, it will not be the Shinigami doing your will, but you doing it's will, and if your lucky, you can accomplish your own tasks as well. It is probably more likely for a summoner to lose their soul and gain nothing but eternal torment, or worse, for their request to be delivered in some twisted way that just makes things worse."
Hinata was not deterred. The scroll itself had the precise seal work required to summon the Shinigami, although a few of the details were burned from her earlier mistake in opening it. Still, she was fairly sure she could piece together what had to go in there.
She grabbed the tools she needed from the house then slipped out of Konoha and traveled a few miles to a barren clearing. The clearing looked like it had been burned down to the bedrock, perhaps from some jutsu battle that had gone out of control. It didn't matter. It suited her purposes.
Hinata spent hours cleaning the area so that she had a pristine rock surface large enough to draw the seal required. She held the section of scroll in her left hand, while she drew in blood with the forefinger of her right hand. She was rapidly getting weaker. She stopped once to drink the fruit juice she had brought, along with a pill to help with blood loss, only to quickly resume after opening the cut again. Finally, after being severely weakened from blood loss, she flooded the seal with all the chakra she could force into it. She had nearly died right then, yet held onto consciousness by shear force of will. A middle aged man with white hair cascading down to his waist and obvious traces of an elven ancestry appeared. He wore a spotless set of gray robes and simple wooden sandals. Hinata's expression changed to one of despair before passing out, for the figure before her was certainly not the Shinigami outlined in the scroll. Had she done something wrong? Had she soled her soul only to make matters worse?
The man looked at Hinata in surprise as he saw her collapse into unconsciousness. He stepped over and sat down behind her and gently brought her head to rest in his lap. He gently held onto her head with both hands. A soft green glow enveloped the young woman.
Hinata woke, jumped up and looked around. She asked, "What happened? Are you the Shinigami?" The seeming man stood as well.
"You powered the seal work with only your own blood and almost all of your spiritual energy. Most would use only a small portion of their blood mixed with ink. You lack the spiritual energy reserves required to summon a true Shinigami or me for that matter, assuming I were to permit such things. On top of that the seal is wrong in key ways. It was more of a nice beacon saying there was a foolish yet quite desperate mortal here. I am also sad to say you are very nearly dead. Either the blood loss or the energy loss will be more than enough to finish you save that you caught my interest."
He continued, "Why would anyone would do this? My power holds you in this world so we may talk. Your seal work is very good, except of course where it is wrong, but you failed to focus your mind correctly on the task when you called and sent only thoughts of desperation and sorrow. Those thoughts caught my interest. Now, will you tell me why you just committed suicide? Speak child."
Disgusted with herself Hinata said, "It seems I screwed that up too. I just wanted to do something to be able to help Naruto-kun. I read that a Shinigami could send my spirit back in time. I thought maybe if I had another chance I wouldn't screw up this time and Naruto would live, but I failed. I always seem to fail when it matters. I have gotten stronger, but I never seem to be strong enough."
The spirit held up his hands and suddenly a transparent image of Naruto Uzumaki appeared on top of them. He asked, "This is him correct?"
Hinata said, "Yes. He was killed a couple months ago by an assassin. Naruto always did have a soft spot for girls, and the girl had used a jutsu to look like me. I just hope he knows that it wasn't me. I couldn't bear it if he went to the afterlife thinking I had killed him."
"Do you seek to join him in the afterlife?"
Hinata looked hopeful as she said, "If I can be with him, then yes, I suppose I do, yet I know he would be disappointed in me."
The spirit said, "Well, I can't help you with dying. You are doing that quite well on your own. Of course if I were to step aside and simply allow your death it would be decades before you would be allowed to be with your beloved. If you choose to live though, I may be able to help, though the debt on your soul could grow..."
"What do you mean?"
"I can send you back in time, back to before your teams were chosen, but there is a price. You would in the year you returned lose all access to your spiritual energy save for a civilian amount, which of course means no chakra molding. In compensation I would make you the first person in many thousand years to have access to Saidar. Saidar is the female half of the power that some say turns the Wheel of Time. That is not true. It is a power at the heart of creation left behind at the moment of creation. It can be used for both evil and good. It is neither. If you accept my offer the seal that keeps Saidar from the world will be shattered and over time others will learn to use it."
Hinata said, "I don't understand. Why unseal this Saidar and why give it to me? What about my eyes? For that matter, why send me at all?"
"I am old. I remember worlds based on the one power. They were generally impressive, yet could also be very bloody. The thought of what could happen when the one power is added to a world like this one intrigues me. The one power does not grant wisdom or clarity. That takes experience. The reason I need you, or someone like you, is that you will be the pebble that erodes the wall that was placed to block off Saidar. I could do it without your help, but it would take significantly longer, and be less entertaining."
He paused for a moment, and then noticing Hinata fading further gestured towards her. She was briefly surrounded by a soft golden glow that seemed to bolster her. He continued, "To be honest, I have seen the schemes of your people on this little corner of the multiverse time and time again, and wish to toss a pebble in the pond and see the result. I, however, will not help you should you fail. The outcome you have this day and in this place is one of the better ones. You could make things worse. That is a risk you must take if you accept my offer. As far as your eyes go, your eyes will not change per say, but you will not produce enough spiritual energy to use their special features. Still, Saidar will enhance your vision in a different way. Most likely you will consider it a considerable loss. The choice, however is yours. I do not guarantee it will turn out better, though short term the odds are good. All I promise is that Naruto Uzumaki will be alive. The rest is up to you and the people there."
Hinata said, "How will I learn this Saidar? Is it stronger than chakra?"
"You were a top Jounin. I'm willing to give you the equivalent knowledge for an Aes Sedai, but if I do that your lose access to chakra right away although you will keep your knowledge of fighting of course and could even teach others it. You simply will not be able to use chakra since you will have none. Also, some forms of chakra based healing won't work as easily on you, since you cannot supply any of the needed chakra. Saidar based healing, on the other hand will work better, although you cannot heal yourself, which is a difference. As to which is stronger, well, In general neither really, however as I don't particularly want you to fail, I'll grant you a potential greater than most. Reaching that potential will likely take years of effort."
"You could also keep your existing abilities and learn Saidar over the time in dreams. The downside is you would lose access to chakra over time, rather than just getting it over with. It would leave you weaker longer, but it might be easier in the short term."
Hinata said, "There will never be a good time to lose access to the Byakugan, but perhaps if I know this other ability and can demonstrate it to my father early on, it will prevent the worst consequences." She paused before asking, "What if my clan expels and seals me?"
"If you have no chakra, the seal will simply fall apart, so that is not much of a threat. They could still kill you with a Jyuken strike to your internal organs, but then they could kill you countless other ways as well. As long as you are not stupid, you should do reasonably well. It would not be entertaining if you simply died before my plan could make enough progress, and I greatly hate wasting time. Also, should you die then it is very likely that Naruto and the rest will fail and Akatsuki will win, so I rather doubt you will be careless."
Hinata nodded, somewhat disturbed in how honest he was being, or was there more that he was not saying? She asked, "If I had children, would they still have the potential of the Byakugan?"
"No. Part of the deal is to give you the potential to pass on the ability to access Saidar and at that level, chakra generation is suppressed. The Byakugan will not develop without exposure to chakra, and would be useless without it anyway. If you had boys, they likely would be without potential for either, although I can make it so you would only have girls if you want."
Hinata asked, "Could I defer that decision?"
Hinata asked, "Why could boys not use Saidar?"
"Males have been forbidden from using Saidar since the wheel first began to turn."
Hinata hesitated. He was leaving something out, and unless she missed her guess it was something very important. She said, "If I am fortunate enough to have Naruto's children someday, they would be potential targets and need to defend themselves, so yes, I can accept only giving birth to girls. At least they would be able to defend themselves."
"Agreed. I think that was a wise decision."
HInata gulped, knowing now that she was being left in the dark about something big, but not having a clue what it was. She said, "So my choices are to die and someday be with Naruto that way, or to live, and try to make things better. Is there anything else? Can I tell anyone about all this? What about my soul?"
"Your soul is your own. I am not a Shinigami, at least not as you think of them. You can tell anyone you want, though I will be greatly disappointed should you get yourself killed.
Gathering her courage Hinata asked, "Will you tell me what you have avoided? What calamity will befall the world if I do this?"
The man smiled a small smile. "Few would be brave enough to ask the question, yet I know that you will accept. I also know that you will not tell until it is too late, for if you did you would be put to death. Do you still wish to know?"
Barely audibly Hinata said, "Yes."
"I will change you such that you can draw upon Saidar. I will weaken the seal on Saidar enough for you to do so. Your use of Saidar will weaken the seal further. Over time the weakened seal will awake the abilities in others with the potential and their unconscious use will weaken it further until it fully shatters. Most that are untrained die. Some kill hundreds. Some gain a crude form of control."
He paused. Bravely Hinata asked, "And the males?"
"With the shattering of the seal on Saidar, the seal on Saiden will begin to fail. Males will be awoken to the power of the other half of the true source and there will be no one to train them. Most will die. Some may manager a crude control. Thousands may die in the process."
"But, I could train them."
"No, you could not. The very attempt would just make things worse."
Hinata said, "So in the short term these abilities and my own memory might help to avoid some of the bloodshed and horror that is our recent history, but in the medium term the additional of Saidar and eventually Saiden may cause more. In the long term I am assuming that men will eventually gain the ability to train each other, so it could turn out okay, plus you said Saidar provided another way to heal."
"With just the spiritual abilities your people have unlocked you have come to the point where extinction was a very real possibility. Should that insane infinity Tsukiyomi have come to pass it is very likely it would have eventually resulted in the death of everyone. Adding in the true source to the mix could very well bring about a new enlightened Age of Wonders, or it could be the final straw that leads to extinction. That is the truth you wished to know. The rules that govern even me forbid me making such a change without it being asked for. The one power was sealed millennia ago when foolish people very nearly led to this universe's destruction. No seal can last forever though. The one in place will fail in about a thousand years even if you choose not to aid in its destruction now."
Hinata was agape with wonder, not believing that such a decision could be placed in her own hands.
He said, "Hinata, the question is this. Will you be the one to unlock the door? Do you believe your people wise enough to survive the oncoming storm or will you ask for the cup to pass you by? Will you accept the victory your beloved has won and pay for your foolishness, or will you grab destiny by its hands and shape it to your will?"
"But what if"
He cut her off. "No, I will not leave anything behind that will help you teach the men. Your bravery inspired me to help that much. Ask for no more."
Hinata wondered what Naruto would do? She could screw up so much by accepting. No. Naruto would believe. He would believe that no matter the mountain they would climb it. No matter the obstacle they would scale it. Sure, she could not tell the Sandaime about the bad bits lest it end up with her dead just to head the hole thing off, but that doesn't mean she couldn't tell Naruto, well once he wised up a bit anyway. They would be prepared. They would make it right. What exactly was he waiting for. Did she still have to pledge her soul. No he has said she did not.
She said clearly, "I accept your terms."
He smiled and nodded as the world went white.
An elven woman's spirit appeared and embraced the now fading spirit. She said, "You great fool. You give so much of yourself just to try to save your own pet world where she could so easily fail. It will take you thousands of years to recover from this day. Why do you risk so much, and why her? Do you really believe that now will be so much better than a thousand years from now?"
He gave her a roguish grin and said, "Sometimes one feels responsibility to fix one's own mistakes, and I did not want them to end so soon. A new power is always a risk, yet if it must be, now is I think the best time with the best people. Remember the tailed beasts, or rather their progenitor, were of the darkness we failed to seal. They were born of the taint on Saidar and Saiden. Taint that it took millenia to cleanse."
He continued, 'And for why Hinata, well, to be honest I did not do it for her. It is true that she was part of saving this world, but only a small part. I did it because pebbles in the pond like Naruto come along so very rarely, and because he would move the universe to save one he believed in."
The woman looked at him as if questioning his words. Finally she said, "So you are betting on Naruto plus the knowledge you are giving her." She shrugged before saying, "I suppose the combination gives them a chance at least. We gave them knowledge of chakra, to still be able to protect themselves and in the hope that they would avoid the paths of destructions science eventually makes available, yet the endless waltz seems unchanged. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on. How does gaining back to Saidar change any of that, let alone the mess that will come when the seal on Saiden shatters?"
The man smiled a sad smile and said, "It is not that I want to stop the waltz. I fear that we are too weak for that, that humanity may never truly grow beyond it."
"The very attempt could see them extinct in less than a century."
"I have lit the fire, yet fire can burn or light the way. I have chosen to bet on these people in this time."
"Shall I help you with your task?"
"You know better. One of us must remain strong to protect our worlds. I am afraid I have left you an almost impossible job. I shall not leave you two. For better or worse, they are on their own while I recover."
The woman said quietly, "You would trust me so much, even after the mess I made of my own world?"
"Yes, because we both learned from it. I just hope this is not a greater mistake."
She said, "I understand."