Disclaimer: I'll do this once and once only. The world and story of Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto. I am definitely not Masashi Kishimoto. Everything here is a fiction I have written based on the works of Masashi Kishimoto. I do not own Naruto.
Note: In this chapter, and this chapter alone, the italics represent the 'speech' of the powers that be.
Note 2: As of 26/05/2020, I have updated this chapter to make more sense. Updates of the other three chapters published so far will be on the way soon too.
Note 3: I apologise for the prologue and up to chapter 5 being in first person. I'm going to change them to third person like chapter 6 onward at some point soon.
Note 4: I've decided to leave this prologue chapter in the first person, feels more natural here.
It's always a shame when young talent die. It's usually inspiring to watch as a young up-and-comer with big dreams and the ability to make them come true go into the world and start making that change. I had those people cheering me on, and I had the grand dreams of educational reforms. Speaking frankly, it was just embarrassing that the industrial era still had such an influence on every school student. School should be about learning and growing, not getting good test grades. Still young, I was a bloody good teacher, and it hurt so much when cancer ripped me away from my career, stole my dreams so suddenly.
I suppose there was a silver lining, given what happened next. I was glad that I hadn't found a partner, settled down and had kids yet, because I would never recover from losing that.
What happened next, you ask?
After I 'went to sleep' for the last time in my hospital bed, I wasn't greeted by the nothingness I had expected. I was so sure that I would close my eyes and just simply cease to exist. But no, I opened my eyes and saw... a fucking glowing outline of a human. If this was what I thought it was, then at least it could have happened without the absurd cliche.
"So am I anywhere near justified in quoting the line 'Magic is just science we don't understand yet'?" I called out to this luminous apparition, which may well just be a dream or hallucination before I actually die.
A pretty fair call, but let's not go into the details. Let's just say that there is a tiny shred of truth in human theistic beliefs, but a good 90% of it was completely made up to justify the unknown. Any more questions, or can we get down to business? I didn't so much hear the response as become aware of it, which made sense but was still rather creepy. Even so, the confirmation made me laugh, feeling somewhat victorious.
"Just one question - a clarification, if you will. Is there a rational, empirically proven answer that we just don't yet have the knowledge and technology to prove? That explains the theistic beliefs that people still hold?"
Yes, but you were definitely pretty far away from finding the answer, as a species.
"So, now that cancer kicked my ass and crushed my dreams, what's next for me?"
Very well then. First things first, you're going to live another life.
"On the one hand, I do like living. On the other hand, I'm talking to a glowing being that I know absolutely nothing about, in a situation that all my prior knowledge says is unlikely enough to be called impossible - despite the fact you claim that there is a scientifically justifiable answer, this really could just be some weird pre-mortem hallucination. But, well, even if it is, I have nothing to lose playing ball. Do I get to ask what this other life will be, and do I get to choose whether to live it or just kick the bucket properly here?"
I mean, you have a choice. You can kick the bucket whenever you like in your new life if you dislike it so much, but you're definitely going to get reborn. Remember the world of Naruto?
If it was possible for a glowing human outline to grin evilly, it just did. I stopped for a moment, genuinely shocked by just how absurd this was.
"You're telling me that somehow a fictional world written about by some guy in Japan is actually real, and that I'm going to be reborn there, of all places, after already dealing with how ridiculously impossible life after death is?" Whilst expressing my outrage, I began to run through any tests I could come up with to confirm that this was all in my head. Usually I'd want to prove the opposite.
Prior to this weird-ass situation, I was definitely about to die. If this were a hallucination, it wouldn't last long - neurons can't fire fast enough for me to have a hallucination or dream that feels that much longer than it actually takes. Therefore, the best means of proving the reality of this situation I could come up with was to wait and see - either this was real and it kept going, or it wasn't and I would soon cease to exist anyway.
Alright, I'll give you a freebie. For reasons of our own, we're going to make that world into a reality. We'll make it a bit more sensible so you don't just up and have a spite aneurysm the moment you're reborn, because that would be too boring. Don't bother trying to pry out why we're doing this. After all, we're some strange beings that are nigh on impossible to understand or even conceive of in the first place, right?
Jeez, I could already tell why they were doing this. For fun. Reincarnating a person purely for the entertainment of the beings that apparently may have played some role in ancient human history. They were going to enjoy putting me in this an absurd situation and watching it unfold. Well, assuming my test results in this being proven real, the only thing I could really do was take it all as it comes. If I'm going to live another life, I may as well make the most of it.
"Alright, so what's the deal from here?"
Now, we talk about your memory. As a baseline, you'll remember who you were in your now past life. This will come with your sense of identity, and personality, a vague recollection of what happened through your life, and some specifics when it comes to formative experiences. Now, we know you're familiar with the world we're sending you into. It would be too boring to let you remember everything you knew about it, so you'll have to choose three things to remember about this world. We'll even be so kind as to help you out, with one freebie. You're going to be born into Konoha, and be the same age as Uzumaki Naruto. Given that, you may now choose three things to remember about this world.
Trying to take this all in stride as best I could, I stopped to think. I tried to consider everything important, so I could best equip myself for this new life - assuming this was, in fact, real. I guessed that I'd know by the time I was reborn, if that even happened. So if this was real, I'd be born into a dangerous world, into a village run by a military dictator, and death could come too easily for the weak. Presumably I'd grow up in circumstances that made me want to become a shinobi. Becoming a shinobi meant high risk of death in the line of duty if I didn't get strong enough. But, if I grew too strong too fast at a young age, depending on who I was reborn as, I was at risk of Danzo kidnapping me. While I might want to remember Danzo just in case, it did take up one of my three memories, and came with risks of its own. Given that Konoha was home to a clan of mind-readers, if I knew too much about matters like Danzo, or even the Uchiha Massacre, or the Akatsuki, or anything else, chances were that I would slip up and be taken in for interrogation. It seemed far more sensible to choose memories that would help me to become strong, and put me in a less suspicious position should my mind be read, or at least a more trustworthy one.
The first choice was obvious. I would want to remember how chakra works, so that I could get a running headstart on training. Chakra control seems like the most versatile skill I could develop and make use of, so I'd want to start with that early.
For another, I'd want some way of finding someone who I could trust to help me train when I become a shinobi, and actually do a good job of teaching. But they couldn't be someone too high profile like Tsunade, because that would land me in Torture & Interrogation. After a moment of running through my options, I came up with the perfect choice. Might Guy. Incredibly capable as a shinobi and one of the best teachers in the canon, in my opinion. On top of that, were I to be found out as someone who was reborn into this world, if I came clean about what I knew, the absurdity of knowing about Guy of all people would help me seem less like a threat and more like a trustworthy ally. Besides, I could think of a few people who would benefit from being introduced to him at an earlier age.
Finally, I'd want to know something that would help me navigate the dangers of this world, but again without landing me in T&I. Most of the big events would be off limits, I would just need to become capable enough to deal with them as they happened. And then, I had the perfect idea. Naruto himself was a highly capable shinobi who only started showing his real proclivity for the shinobi life late in the game. After suffering so much abuse and neglect as a child, he became a person who didn't understand what it took to be a great shinobi, and just sought attention. But not many people from my past life spoke about how impressive it is for a young child to pull of the pranks that Naruto did, successfully, and evade capture by ANBU operatives after the fact. This kid was definitely intelligent, and if I could help him have some emotional stability, he might actually get much stronger much more quickly. That way, he'd be more prepared for the crises to come, and we could pull through. Given his natural charisma, too, he'd probably bring plenty of friends along with him. And so, the third choice was settled.
"Alright, I know what I want. Firstly, I want to remember what I know about what chakra is and how it works. Second, I want to remember what I know about Might Guy. Third, I want to remember what I know about Uzumaki Naruto."
Very well, we'll give you those three - no objections.
Then there was darkness.
And then there was light.
And then there was the sound of screaming, and the vague sense of vibration in my now tiny little throat.
And then, even more screaming.