A/N: I know, this is yet another attempt by me to do a time-travel story. I have been reading a lot of time-travel stories lately, and I've really been enjoying them, so I really want to do this. Also, full disclosure, this is NOT a serious or dramatic story. It will be completely nonsensical at times, and the main point is just to be funny. I hope you enjoy it with that in mind.
Naruto Uzumaki, Seventh Hokage, rested his elbows on his desk, his fingers laced together in front of his face, and looked around his office at the small group of people who were there with him. His advisor, Shikamaru Nara, was there, of course; Naruto was seldom without him. His old teammates, Sakura and Sasuke Uchiha, were there, as was Naruto's own wife, Hinata. He wouldn't even consider making a decision of this magnitude without those three. Hinata's teammates, Kiba Inuzuka and Shino Aburame, had been asked to attend as well, and they were standing near Hinata. The two boys were like older brothers to Hinata, and Naruto respected them deeply, despite Kiba being a bit rowdy and Shino being hard to understand at times. Shikamaru's teammates, Choji Akimichi, the kindest man Naruto knew, and Ino Yamanaka, whose name had not changed with marriage due to her husband not having a last name, were also in the room. Rounding out this rather odd crowd were Rock Lee and Tenten, the former teammates of Hinata's deceased cousin, Neji. Within this group were Naruto's closest friends, best advisors, closest confidantes, and, in general, most precious people. These were Naruto's most trusted and important people, and this decision, the knucklehead Hokage believed, required their input and opinions for him to make it safely, logically, fairly, and with the least backlash possible.
Shikamaru sighed when Naruto just looked around the room for what felt like a full minute. "All right, Naruto, we're all here. You asked for us to come here and wouldn't tell us what was going on until we were here. We're here now, so, spill it. What's going on?" The lazy man could tell Naruto wasn't quite sure how to start, but he was tired of waiting on the Hokage. He did enough of that on a daily basis, thank you very much.
Naruto chuckled at his advisor. "Yeah, I know. I was just thinking about everything we've all been through together," he said with a nod to his advisor. Naruto opened a drawer on his desk and pulled out a scroll. Laying it on the desk, he continued, "I found this scroll the other day while going through the archives. I thought you should all know about it, and we should all decide together what to do with it."
After silence reigned for a moment, Sasuke spoke up, "I assume it's what's in the scroll that matters, not the scroll itself, so why don't you tell us what's in it." The words were a question. The voice said otherwise.
Naruto nodded to concede Sasuke's point. "Yes, that's true enough, it is. This scroll claims to contain a time-travel jutsu."
No one said a word about this for a solid minute. Then Kiba laughed. "Good one, Naruto! I thought this was something serious!" the boy said. His dog, Akamaru, barked what sounded like a laugh as well.
Naruto snorted. "I'm not joking, Kiba. That's what it says," he said simply.
Naruto unrolled the scroll across his desk to allow anyone who wanted proof of his words to come and examine it for themselves. Sasuke, Kiba, and Shikamaru stepped forward first. Sasuke used both of his eyes, Sharingan and Rinnegan, to check for any kind of genjutsu or any other trick that could make it appear to say this when in fact it didn't. He found nothing.
Shikamaru examined the writing itself, looking for any kind of indication that the scroll had been tampered with at some point, altering an inconsequential scroll to seem more important than it was. He also found nothing. The writing seemed to have all been done by one person, and the characters were written well and steadily. There seemed to be nothing wrong with it, except that what it said seemed impossible.
Kiba was...smelling the scroll? Naruto knew the dog-ninja could use his chakra to make his sense of smell...was it 100 times stronger than a normal human's? Naruto thought that number sounded right, but regardless, what the hell did Kiba think he was going to find by smelling the damn thing?
Naruto never got a chance to ask his question, because after a silent moment of smelling the scroll, Kiba reared his head back and unleashed a mighty sneeze. When his chakra-infused expellation landed on the scroll, the scroll began to glow a weird blue. The glow grew quickly to engulf the entire room. Naruto put his hands in front of his eyes and closed his eyes out of fear of being blinded by the insanely bright light.
When Naruto opened his eyes after a moment, he was in a room that he knew for a fact didn't exist anymore. It was his bedroom when he was 12 years old! This room, along with the rest of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, had been destroyed several years earlier when the fake Leader of the Akatsuki, Pain, had attacked in an attempt to capture Naruto himself. It was after defeating said leader that Naruto was first considered a hero. If he was in this room, that could only mean that Pain's attack...hadn't happened yet.
"Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!" Naruto yelled out. In his irritation, Naruto pulsed his chakra. To his surprise, he still had it. As in, all of it. He wasn't anywhere near this powerful when he was 12, but now...he was. Going into his mindscape, the blond found the cage he had also not seen in some time. "Kurama?" he said uncertainly.
"I'm here, Naruto," the fox responded. This chakra beast, the Nine-Tailed Fox, also known as Kurama, was the reason why the Akatsuki had been after Naruto. He had hated the fox then, but some time later, he had made friends with the beast. "I don't know why this cage is here again, but I'm here."
Naruto sighed in relief. "Thank God, you're here too," Naruto said. Using the chakra all around him, Naruto raised himself up and ripped the paper off the cage door, made an unlocking motion on his stomach, and watched in relief as the cage dismantled itself. "I was afraid for a minute you might be...your past self."
Kurama looked at Naruto. Actually looked at him for the first time since the boy had arrived. He hadn't really been paying attention until just now. "You're...younger," he rumbled. "What in the hell happened?"
Naruto snorted. "Kiba sneezed on that time-travel scroll I found. Next thing I know, I'm here," he said.
Kurama raised an eyebrow. "Sneezed on it? Seriously?" he asked. When Naruto nodded, the fox continued, "So you're telling me, because a dog boy couldn't control his snot, we're now several years in the past with no idea how we actually got here or how we can even begin to get back?"
Naruto chuckled ruefully. "Yeah, that about sums it up," he said. "And since we're in the past, and we have no idea when that scroll was made or where it might be right now, we don't even know when or if it may or may not be possible to get back."
Kurama snorted. "This is ridiculous," he said. He turned away from Naruto and curled up in a ball. "Wake me when we're back to the future."
Naruto rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah," he said, then vanished from his mindscape as he reawoke back in his bedroom. When Naruto opened his eyes, he did a massive double take. His bedroom had been empty when he went into his mindscape. Now it was...far less empty. There were no less than 15 people in his room now. After a moment, the blond relaxed; he recognized everyone who was in the room, and none of them was likely to attempt to harm him.
The first person Naruto saw was such a huge relief, he didn't even know what to think. The Third Hokage, alive and well, was directly in front of the young boy. "Hey, Old Man," the boy said, taken somewhat aback at how young he sounded to his own ears in that moment. He tried not to show his surprise, however, knowing that if he showed it, some – if not all – of the people in his room would wonder why.
The Hokage smiled at the young boy he thought of as a surrogate grandson of sorts, despite his own worries. He, among others, had felt the chakra pulse that had originated from this apartment a short time ago, and he wasn't sure what it was. He had seen, however, before Naruto was aware of him, that the seal on Naruto's stomach was gone. He didn't know what to make of this, but the boy didn't seem to be affected negatively at the moment.
The next person Naruto saw was his own teacher, Kakashi Hatake. The man's ridiculous gravity-defying silver hair and single visible eye were unmistakable to the blond. Since he was there, Naruto wasn't surprised in the slightest to also find the bushy-browed, bowl-cut-sporting Might Guy there as well. Naruto was a little bit more surprised to find both Asuma Sarutobi and Kurenai Yuhi also in his room. He wasn't that surprised by this, but he couldn't say it was entirely expected.
The rest of the occupants of his room were the group known as the Konoha 12, namely the 10 people who were in his office when The Sneeze Incident occurred, plus Neji...and Iruka Umino. Naruto wasn't sure exactly why this last one was in his room, but he really couldn't say the man's presence was shocking. Naruto grinned and rubbed the back of his head. "Hey guys, what's up?" he asked in what he hoped was a blasé tone.
Shikamaru sighed, but he didn't say anything. Naruto recognized that sigh. It wasn't the sigh the boy had used as a 12-year-old. It was the sigh the man had used when he was Naruto's advisor, and he was annoyed by something Naruto himself had done. It was everything Naruto could do not to yell out in shock at this, but somehow he restrained himself.
The Third Hokage was the first one to speak. "Naruto, what happened to your seal?" he asked in an uncertain voice.
Naruto winced. He really should have thought of this before he got rid of the cage! Of course someone would question where the seal had gone! "Oh, he's not a problem anymore," Naruto said. "I figured there wasn't much need for that when he wasn't planning on going anywhere anyway." He really hoped everyone would buy that. He forced himself to grin.
The Hokage sighed. He didn't really believe that that was all there was to Naruto's seal vanishing, but he didn't think there was any way he could question the boy more without outing him. "All right, but we'll be keeping an eye on things," he said. Naruto just nodded. The Hokage then said, "Jonin, you are dismissed; there is no emergency, nothing has happened." This was his way of telling the Jonin in the room that they were to tell no one what they had seen or heard here, and that they should be out there helping calm down any panic that might have started. The four Jonin left after a moment's consideration; they all knew better than to question their leader's orders when he was that serious.
Iruka looked at his leader. "Is there anything you need from me, Lord Hokage?" he asked.
The Hokage chuckled. "Very shrewd, Iruka. There might be. I need you to come with me for the moment," he said simply, then turned to Naruto and added, "I'll be back later, Naruto." Naruto nodded, and the Hokage and Iruka left the room.
Neji smirked once the authority figures were gone. "I don't know what's so special about a loser like you," he said to Naruto.
Naruto snorted. "Yeah, yeah," he said back. "I know I'm a loser, what of it?"
Neji stared in shock at the blond. He hadn't expected him to say that of all things. "Whatever," he said after a moment. "I don't have time for this." That said, he simply turned and walked out the door.
Once it was only the eleven people who had been in Naruto's office when this whole thing started, there was a brief deadlock. No one was sure if everyone else knew, so no one wanted to be the first one to break the silence. The silence stretched for a solid minute, after which Naruto groaned and said, "Okay, enough of this. I'm going to be Hokage!"
"Yeah, yeah, we know, Naruto," the others responded. The only one who didn't say that was Hinata, who instead just nodded.
Naruto snickered. "There. Now we know we're all here. Now what are we going to do about it?" he said.
Shikamaru groaned. "I have to woo Temari all over again," he said. "What a drag."
Choji grumbled, "Yeah, yeah, you've got it so hard. I have to find and woo Karui again. I don't even want to hear how much of a pain yours is." Shikamaru just shrugged in response to this.
Hinata came to Naruto's side and took his hand. Naruto smiled. Sakura and Sasuke stood beside one another. Kiba was petting Akamaru, who really wasn't sure what to make of all this. Being back in his tiny body was freaking the dog out but good. Ino groaned. "I don't even want to think about trying to woo Sai again...I don't know where he even is right now," the girl said, mostly to herself.
Naruto rolled his eyes. "Guys, come on, we're in the past, and all you guys can think about is your partners? What is wrong with you all?!"
"Oh, shut up, Naruto," Shikamaru said back. "You could never understand how we're feeling right now. Your partner is here, and even if she wasn't, you wouldn't have to even try to win her over. We're going to have some real trouble with that."
Naruto just shrugged and wrapped an arm around Hinata. He supposed his advisor was right, in a way, but he still didn't want to listen to his friends complain. "Regardless, we're here now. I'm sure some of you have considered the ramifications of that. We don't know when the scroll was made, or really even how it worked. All I had done was see what it was before. So...we have no way back, really."
Shikamaru groaned. "Yeah, and even if we could get back, anything we do here could affect the future. I mean, you already undid your seal, and I don't even want to know what that would do if both you and Kurama went back to the future and the old you and him were left here without it," he said.
Naruto winced. He hadn't even considered that aspect of the whole seal thing. "Well, I guess it doesn't really matter, since we can't get back anyway," Naruto said.
Shikamaru chuckled. "That is true, and you've done quite the job of making sure that even if we could get back, we wouldn't be able to take advantage of it. Or at least, you couldn't, and I doubt anyone here would abandon you," he said back.
Naruto shrugged. "Sorry, guys. I didn't think about that. I just didn't think the seal was necessary when Kurama and I are friends."
Sasuke snorted. "Even if you weren't, you don't need the seal. I could hold him back if I needed to," he said, opening his eyes wide for the first time since they had all arrived in Naruto's room. His eyes were as they had been in the future; he had one Sharingan and one Rinnegan.
Naruto grinned. He hadn't been expecting Sasuke's eyes to come back with him, but he wasn't about to complain about it. "I'm starting to think this might be a good thing," he said.
Hinata gasped suddenly. "Neji!" she said. "We can save him this time!"
Naruto chuckled. "True, we can. Among others. We know what's coming before it happens this time. We can save Neji, Hayate, and Asuma, for sure. Plus, we can probably keep at least some of the Jinchuriki from being taken by Akatsuki this time."
Kiba perked up at this. "Was one of them a dog?" he asked.
Naruto chuckled. "No, but the Two-Tails is a cat," he said.
Kiba snorted. "I am not a cat person!" he said.
Naruto had to laugh at that. "I remember this one time where you were," he said. Kiba looked at Naruto like the blond had lost his mind. Naruto waved the dog boy away. "You never know, Kiba, meet the ones we manage to save, you might like one of them."
Kiba shrugged. "Yeah, maybe," he said uncertainly.
Rock Lee spoke up just then. "It is so wonderful to see Guy-sensei returned to his youthful self! May we all use our youth to better effect than ever!" he said.
Naruto took that in, translated it, then said, "You're right, Lee. Let's all make this time around go better than the first one. I don't think there's anything else we can all do right now, and we could probably all use some rest. Let's get that, then we'll figure out where exactly we are in time and start making things better tomorrow. See you guys around!"
With that said, pretty much everyone nodded and/or bowed to Naruto and left. Within moments, only Hinata was left. Naruto smiled. Hinata shyly spoke up. "I wanted to talk to you alone for a moment, Naruto."
Naruto smiled at his wife. Well, future wife anyway; he would have to get used to that. "Sure, Hinata. What's up?" he asked.
Hinata smiled. "Are we going to just be open about us...or are we going to keep it quiet for now?" she asked.
Naruto considered what she was asking. "Well, you know how I am with secrets. I think we should just be open about it, but if you want to keep it quiet, we'll manage somehow."
Hinata smiled. "I want to be open about it. Let me talk to my father, and we'll figure out the rest later." Naruto nodded, then gave Hinata a small hug. After separating from him, Hinata added, "You know I'll always love you, Naruto. That's never going to change."
Naruto chuckled. "I love you, too, Hinata. Let me know what your dad says," he said back. Hinata nodded, then Naruto stood and led her to the door. Opening it for her, he said, "I'll see you tomorrow."
Hinata smiled back, kissed Naruto on the cheek, and said, "See you tomorrow." With that, she headed home. It felt weird to think of the Hyuga Compound as home again, but, at least for the moment, that's what it was.
Now alone, Naruto sighed. "Guess I should get to bed myself," he said. He flopped into his bed and spent over an hour laying there thinking about the things he wanted to change about the future. When he finally fell asleep, he dreamed about the future. It was a weird feeling to know, and yet not know, exactly what was going to happen the next day, the next week, the next month, and the next several years.
The adventure of the future Konoha 11 had begun.
A/N: And there it is. A new time-travel story. I hope you guys like this chapter, and I really hope you'll come back for more of it. Let me know what you think!