Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto


Sasuke leant forward, watching the seal come together, Naruto's brow furrowed in concentration as he worked. It was insane and probably broke just about every law of nature there was…but what else did you expect from the number one unpredictable ninja? He couldn't follow any of it and after years together, he had more than a novices' knowledge of seals. Naruto had long surpassed his old sensei and even his Father in skill with seals, then again, apparently the Uzumaki had been known for their skills in sealing. The months they'd spent in the ruins of Uzushiogakure had helped with his education, the Village may have fallen before they were born but they had hidden their secrets beneath the Village, Sealed away until someone with the correct blood and at least some knowledge of Sealing returned.

Obito too had been a big help with the beginning stages of the scroll, he had been the Yondaimes' student and had known Kushina as well as all the years he'd spent learning as much as possible for Zetsus' plans. Unfortunately, he'd died not long after Kakashi-sensei when the plan was still in the earlier stages. Sasuke knew it had been grief, Kakashi-sensei had been Obito's last link, his only reason for living so when he'd died in battle Obito had died in the next one. He'd been a ghost for the week in between, only Naruto able to get a reaction from him.

He turned his head as a calloused hand slipped into his, smiling at Sakura as she shifted to lean against his side without overbalancing him. She tipped her head up and pressed a soft kiss to his jaw. If this worked, everything would change and he knew she was scared…he was too, loathe as he was to admit it. So much could go wrong, even with Naruto's skill and power levels.

Naruto looked back at them, utterly serious. He missed the wide grins and sunny attitude but after so much death…well, there wasn't much to smile about anymore. "It's ready."

"Are we really doing this?" Sakura asked softly.

"What else can we do?" he asked her in return. "Stay here? Three people can't exactly re-populate the world," Sasuke admitted, enjoying the way Naruto turned red, even as Sakura slapped his shoulder.

Itachi even chuckled as he stepped out of the trees to join them, sitting down across from them. Despite the years, he still found it difficult to meet Itachi's eyes, once it would have been out of fear but it wasn't anymore. He didn't like seeing the reminder that while Itachi was with them…he was still dead. It was the only reason Itachi had made it so long, the Edo Tensei making his body far more durable. Still, it had taken damage, thankfully most of it hidden by his cloak. Though at least he wasn't suffering from the disease that had helped kill him in the first place. But if they went back… it would only take the living.

What he'd said was true though, if they didn't try using the seal then whether in months or years they would die and leave the world a barren, uninhabited place. They were all that was all left, there'd been only a handful of survivors from the war and slowly that number had shrunk to them. So unless they just planned to live for however long the world could support them and then pass on, the seal was their only option to continue to live.

"How far?" he asked, even as Naruto rolled up the massive scroll, shifting to lean against Sasuke's other side.

Even after years, it still felt a little strange to have him right against his side, no arm there. He'd adjusted, he'd had no choice, but even now it sometimes caught him off guard. He tipped his head to the side to rest on top of Naruto's, smirking softly at the small huff he let out at the action. There was so much he would do differently, so much time wasted, and now…

"I…I wanted to go back to the attack, but we'd be babies, unable to change anything. Not to mention even with Kurama's chakra, transporting three people back so far is impossible. I tried to aim for before," Naruto's hand brushed his side, glancing towards Itachi, and Sasuke knew what he was talking about, unable to help sucking in a breath, seeing Itachi tense. "I'm sorry, but best guess is sometime around graduation, could be a few months, a year tops, either side of that date. We'd all prefer a year before considering what happened in our first year as genin, but I can't guarantee it."

"It's okay," Sasuke assured him, and it was.

As much as part of him longed to save his clan, he'd lived longer without them than he had with them. They had become distant, fond, memories and it was best they remain that way. Even if they had been pushed to it, they had been planning a coup that would have endangered the entire Village and left it open to Danzō and worse. Still, Itachi would be alive, could he save his brother? He met his eyes across the clearing, seeing the acceptance there. He would not let Itachi die with the title of traitor, not this time.

A year after graduation could be bad…he'd be waking up alone in the depths of Oto, not something he wanted at all. But hey, he could shock everyone by returning on his own. Depending how much of their current skills and power went back with them, he might even be able to drag Orochimaru back with him.

Naruto pulled him from his thoughts by nuzzling into him, seeking warmth and affection that they were both always happy to give. He'd had an entire clan for the first seven years of his life, Sakura's parents had been mostly there for her until she'd been fifteen, but Naruto had never truly had someone, not till their team. He'd been ostracised by the civilians, hated and scorned, even by many ninja. The clans had been indifferent to his suffering, though some had tried to reach out but had been stopped from doing more than keeping him from starving or living on the streets. Sasuke had a vague memory of his mother sewing orange cloth that he now knew had been Naruto's beloved orange outfit, she'd patched it for him without Naruto even knowing. It had been years before he'd found out his Mum had known Kushina, they'd been good friends, Naruto should have been raised with them. When he'd mentioned it to Naruto, the blond had teared up; someone had trashed his apartment and destroyed everything when he turned six, three days later his clothes had been repaired or replaced.

Once they'd become a team again, had come to trust him, Naruto had begun seeking physical touch without really realising it. It hadn't taken the rest of them long to work it out and strangely enough, Sasuke had never felt a second of hesitation. Naruto had been the one to never give up on him, even Sakura had tried to kill him once.

It had become more over the years between the three of them, as those they cared about gradually died off. They had clung all the tighter to each other, they were all they had now. Itachi was very good at vanishing to give them privacy but also being there to listen. Naruto even included him in the whole physical affection thing, which had been an obvious shock to his brother, no one really ever wanted to touch those brought back by the Edo Tensei because they were still technically dead. That had never stopped Naruto though, he'd given his Father such a tight hug before the Yondaime had been sent back.

And that was part of why he wasn't too upset about his clan, how could he ever have hidden all this from them? They would have known he was too different. Sakura should be able to fool her civilian parents easily enough, though Naruto would have to keep the Sandaime from realising…though he didn't think they'd seen each other much outside of the missions office once they'd graduated.

"So where and when are we doing this?" Sakura asked, reaching across Sasuke to take Naruto's hand.

"It's best to do it…in Konoha," Naruto admitted and they all tensed. They hadn't been back…not that there was anything left to really go back to. "The less the seal has to focus on space and the more power behind the time section, the further back we can go. If we're in Konoha then it only has to move us within the confines of the Village."

"And Konoha wasn't exactly small," Sasuke nodded, the more power given to the time element the better.

They could use the time in the Academy to work without being watched too closely. Though, if they wanted to be Team 7 again, some things had to remain the same…unless they could be put together for already showing potential as a team? He and Sakura would be fine, but it wasn't right for Naruto to be labelled the dead last again just to be on their team.


Itachi closed his eyes, leaning back against the tree, even as he sensed his little brother joining him. it still felt strange that Sasuke was now the older of them, physically at least since the dead didn't age. He knew his brother hated the fact he wouldn't be going with them, couldn't, and he understood. Sasuke as he was now would confuse his younger self greatly and he found himself amused by that thought. At least his younger self would never be able to torture Sasuke again, his brother now had far more powerful eyes than his own.

"Even if you could…you wouldn't come, would you?" Sasuke murmured.

"Three will travel further than four Sasuke, it must be this way." He was always leaving Sasuke, sometimes he wondered how his brother could still love him. "Even if it wouldn't affect the time, I cannot go with you," he reached out to brush some loose strands of hair back behind Sasuke's ear, avoiding touching his skin, but Sasuke shifted just enough that his fingers brushed against a warm cheek.

He would remain behind, would guard them as they activated the scroll, and eventually his body would crumple away to dust like the rest of the world. He didn't think it would take all that long once he had no reason to linger among the living. Itachi was pretty sure his will was all that kept the body going with the damage he'd taken over the years of battle. He knew if he asked, they would end the Edo Tensei before they left, but he would never ask them that, not when Sasuke already had his blood on his hands. He was just grateful that this time his brother would not have to carry that burden, even if the Sharingan ensured he would never forget Itachi's first death.

"I'll save you," Sasuke whispered, surprising Itachi with a fierce one-armed hug.

He carefully hugged him back before leaning back to gently poke his forehead, long hair getting in the way a little. He wanted to tell Sasuke to focus on the more important lives but he would not hurt him by doing so. He knew no matter what he said now, Sasuke would be determined to save his younger self and perhaps Sakura could heal him. He bit back a chuckle at the thought of a genin Sakura holding him down with one hand and force healing him with the other.

Sakura knew the seal would work how Naruto said it would, but she was still nervous. The idea of seeing everyone again, their friends…her parents… they had only let her join the Academy because they had never thought she'd actually become a ninja. She knew they hated Naruto and when they'd been put on a team together...well, they hadn't taken it well, especially once she began becoming comrades with him. By the time he'd returned from his training trip, she'd moved out and hadn't spoken to them in months. Now she'd be back under their roof, though not for long. Even as a genin, she could move out and she would be, either to Naruto's apartment or the Uchiha compound, whichever the boys preferred. They were not going to be separated!

She lit the small fire they would use to heat the water. They had learned to get creative with their rations over the years, supplementing them with various plants to improve the flavour. There were too few animals left to hunt reliably so meat was a rare treat. It might be silly but she was really looking forward to a long bath and a good hot meal. No dieting for her this time around! She knew now just how bad that had been for her, it was part of why she could never keep up with the boys when the team formed.

"Alright?" Naruto asked carefully, his hand resting gently against her hip, almost hesitantly, and she hated him retreating like that.

She turned and wrapped her arms around him, leaning in to kiss him softly. She grinned at the silly smile on his face, glad that Naruto could still be the goofy kid he'd been sometimes. "You know me Naruto, always thinking things through too much," she told him.

"You're worried," Sasuke stated as he dropped an armload of wood beside the fire.

She grimaced but nodded. "Not about the seal but once we're there. Until we graduate we'll be stuck being separated. The two of you might be able to get away with warming to each other enough to spend time together outside of class but I'll have parents."

"You never talk about them much," Sasuke offered, watching her, even as he moved to sit with them.

Sakura sighed, leaning against Naruto. "They thought the Academy was just a stage, that I wouldn't pass, and would find a good husband. I think my mother was even fine if I picked one of my classmates, especially with all the clan heirs. Looking back, she was very happy when I focused on you. Things just got more and more strained after we graduated, I moved out while you two were out of the Village."

"Well as soon as we graduate, you're both moving in with me," Sasuke stated firmly.

"You're sure?" Naruto asked, and Sasuke grimaced but nodded.

"It makes sense, we can't all live in your tiny apartment. Time to make new memories there, a new home."

"Sounds good to me!" Naruto grinned.

"We'll be in Konoha tomorrow," she pointed out. "We should eat and then get some sleep."

"Sleep or 'sleep'?" Naruto smirked, and she smacked him lightly. She'd like to blame his time with Jiraiya for that but considering Kakashi-sensei's habit of walking around reading porn…not to mention Naruto's first original jutsu…well. He was male. She shot Sasuke a glare when he chuckled.

"We are about to be pre-teens again Sakura," he pointed out, traitor. "It'll be a while till we can do anything physically," he smirked at her, and she rolled her eyes, giving in.

They didn't have a tent but it wasn't like there was anyone else left to look or comment. Itachi had already made himself scarce, likely knowing what they would spend their last night as adults doing. She felt sorry for him but he had told them all firmly that he was happy they had each other and that they were not to hold back on his account.


Naruto knelt on the barren ground, triple checking his work. He refused to look around, there was nothing left to see anymore, even the mountain carved with the faces of the Hokages was gone. He'd seen it once; he didn't need to see it again. Besides, soon everything would be back and they'd make sure this never happened again. There were no landmarks left to judge where Konoha had been, even the massive forests created by the Shodai were long gone but traces of the power that had created still lingered deep within the earth. That was how Naruto was navigating the area. Konoha had been large, so he had a good margin for error. No matter where he set up, travel in space would be involved, he and Sasuke had lived practically on opposite sides of the Village after all.

Everything looked perfect and ready. It had to be perfect, if anything went wrong he'd never forgive himself, if he survived anyway. If something did go wrong, he'd be the most likely to survive it, but he doubted he'd want to. He felt Kurama stir slightly, the fox had been quiet for months, gathering and conserving his strength for the seal. No one else would be able to use the seal, it would take all the chakra the two of them could muster to send them back so far. He'd tried to make it so the seal could accept Sasuke's as well at least, including Sakura would have been even better, but it wouldn't stabilise when he did, something about the Sage's power which was weird. No, this Seal preferred bijū power as its source or those tainted by it, which meant him and Kurama. Sasuke and Sakura had been exposed to so much of it over the years that he'd hoped it had shifted theirs enough to help but it hadn't. All three of them would have been enough to send them back to whenever they wanted.

"Stop it," Sasuke murmured, hand resting on his shoulder. "Not even you can do everything Naruto."

"Your family…"

"Are barely memories anymore," Sasuke promised, kneeling down behind him, wrapping his arm around Naruto's waist to pull him back against his chest. "As long as I have you two, I couldn't ask for more. The fact there might be a chance to save Itachi is more than I could have dreamed of."

"If anyone can heal him, it's Sakura," Naruto agreed.

They couldn't promise though, cause no one knew what Itachi had been sick with, there was a chance no one could heal him. Even Itachi didn't know exactly what his illness had been, though he had told Sakura everything he knew of his symptoms. Apparently that had narrowed it down to fifteen possible diseases and all of them had different treatments. "

"Even if…we'll clear his name so he can come home," that much Naruto felt able to promise. He deserved to be able to live in safety if they couldn't heal him. He smiled slightly as he felt Sasuke's lips press to the back of his head, silent thanks.

"We're ready whenever you are," Sasuke murmured.

"Right," Naruto closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

Part of him wanted to delay, to spend more time together without anyone there to judge or try and tear them apart, and he knew they'd go along with it. But it would be silly to do so, to take the risk of something happening that would stop them or kill one, or all, of them. No matter how powerful you were, accidents could still happen, that was how they'd lost a lot of people. Some had whispered that the world itself was killing them all off, done with humanity. Who knew, maybe they'd been right.

"Let's do this," Naruto told him.

"Okay," Sasuke agreed, standing, and then offering him a hand up.


Sasuke stood where Naruto directed him, the three of them standing in a triangle, very careful not to smudge anything. They had both suppressed their chakra as much as they could in order to keep from destabilising the whole thing, the same reason he hadn't been able to use their power to fuel it as well.

At Naruto's signal, they all cut their hands on kunai, allowing their blood to drip onto the script right in front of them. It was Naruto and Kurama's power, but their blood was needed to make sure it took them along and dumped them in the right bodies.

The building power was enough to choke on, Naruto shining brightly, almost blinding him, and then everything vanished in a flash of light.


Itachi watched the three as they stood in a triangle, memorising everything as they cut their hands, his senses tuned to the world around them, searching for anything that could interrupt what they were doing. The blinding light finally forced him to look away and when he could see again, he was alone. They'd done it.

He walked to where his little brother had last stood, seeing the marks literally burnt into the ground, the small traces of his blood left. Just to be safe, Itachi destroyed it all, on the off chance they weren't the last ones left. Kaguya had been sealed away but she'd been restored before, better to not risk anyone working out what they had done and trying to go back after them. He then lay on the ruined ground and stared up at the soot filled sky, it was time to let go. Everything was up to them now.