Mornings were always a nuisance. Half asleep, Naruto rolled over in the grasp of a dream, and found himself sailing right over the side of his bed, the sheets still coiled around his legs and stopping him from making any effort to catch himself. Not that he was awake enough to actually do anything, mind.
Blinking sleepily up at the ceiling and wondering where his swimming pool of miso ramen had gone, it took his brain at least a few minutes to kick-start enough to notice that he was laid out on the floor. Another minute or so to actually untangle himself enough to actually free himself from the sheets that were doing their level best to either molest him within an inch of his life or eat him alive. And a grand total of five minutes to stumble his way towards his bathroom.
Ten minutes later, still shivering and cursing from the cold shower he’d been forced to take – fucking landlord taking too fucking long to fix the fucking pipes, fuck – and on his way to the kitchen to be reunited with his one true love, he tripped over something that most certainly hadn’t been there the previous night. And found the floor rising up to greet him with open arms again.
At least this time he could actually do something about it. Though it didn’t amount to more than twisting and rolling straight into the wall. Sitting up with a groan, rubbing the back of his head, and gearing up to yell at whatever the hell he’d tripped over, he found himself freezing in shock. Because whatever the fuck he’d been expecting to see, it hadn’t been a man laid out cold on top of the ratty old carpet he had spread in front of his couch.
Gingerly crawling forward to poke the guy in the shoulder – though how that was supposed to help, he didn’t know, the guy hadn’t woken up even when he’d tripped over him – he suddenly noticed that there was someone else in the room. Two someones, to be precise. A boy and a girl. One of whom looked his age. And both wrapped up in the man’s arms. It would almost have looked sweet, if it weren’t for the fact that they looked badly hurt.
All covered in dust and blood. And the girl was still bleeding, her dress was soaked the worst. Horrified, he wrapped his fingers tight around the man’s shoulder and shook as hard as he could.
“Oi. Oi! Wake up-tebayyo! OI!”
The man didn’t do more than grunt, but the shift allowed Naruto to actually catch sight of his face. And that one glimpse had his breath catching hard in his throat.
He’d noticed the blond hair when he’d crawled up to him, but now that he could see it a bit more clearly, the face looked frighteningly like his own. Come to think of it, the boy looked a bit him too.
…he couldn’t see the girl clearly. He could at least make out that she wasn’t blond, though.
This time, his shaking managed to wake the boy up. A little, at least. He peered muzzily up at Naruto, clearly confused, but the confusion was quickly shelved in favour of shock and horror when he noticed the amount of blood on himself. And on his sister, or at least, Naruto thought it was his sister.
“Hina! Hina!” he didn’t actually try to shake her, thankfully. And Naruto stopped him the one time he did reach out. He looked back at Naruto, scared, and Naruto realised that even if they looked roughly the same age, the boy had to be younger than him.
“Why isn’t she waking up?” he asked hysterically.
Naruto shook his head, speechless. He hadn’t expected to wake up to something like this-tebayyo!
It was only then that the boy seemed to notice that there was actually someone else in the room, and the relief that coloured his face had Naruto shifting awkwardly.
“Oyaji, wake up. Oi, baka-oyaji...” The boy bit his lip, staring down at his father when his shaking didn’t do much to actually wake the man. Naruto also started shaking him, trying to help. Finally, actually exasperated enough to actually give the man a hard whack on the arm, he jolted back with a yelp when the man sat up with a start, face going from unconsciousness to alert within the space of a split second.
“Tou-chan!” the boy cried out, and Naruto heaved a sigh of relief when the man slowly seemed to calm down, staring down at his son with tired eyes. The tiresomeness was switched out for fear when he noticed the state his daughter was in, though.
“Himawari… Himawari-chan – fuck, where’s Sakura when you actually need her-”
“Tou-chan, mom’s going to wash your mouth out with soap if she catches you swearing around us again.” The boy muttered at him, giggling slightly. Naruto had to cringe at how frightened he sounded, despite the momentary hilarity in his voice. He opened his mouth to call out, when things when from mildly unreal to downright surreal in the span of a second. The three were suddenly surrounded by sparkly fucking fairy lights. Actually shining and shit. And, just. What. What.
“My brain wants to check out right now. This has got to be a dream,” he muttered. But it wasn’t. It couldn’t be that easy, right. Not when the girl woke up in the middle of the lights and started to scream, all but wailing for her father. And going transparent.
Couldn’t be a fucking dream if her old man sounded that fucking scared, right?
“Tou-ch-” her voice cut off midway through, and suddenly, there were only three people in his apartment. The girl was gone. Along with the fairy lights.
“…shit.” The man hissed after a beat, curling an arm around his son when the boy burrowed into his chest. Not actually crying, but clearly in shock. Naruto slowly levered himself up, still speechless. What exactly was he supposed to say when crazy shit like this happened in his apartment this early in the morning? He hadn’t even gotten to have his daily dose of ramen yet!
Thankfully, he didn’t need to say anything. When the man caught sight of him, he suddenly went still. Staring at him incredulously.
“What the ever-loving fuck.”
Well, that was a bit unfair.
“Hey! This is my apartment you’re in – I should be the one saying that!”
“No, really. What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck.”
“Tou-chan!” snapped the boy, ducking back to glare up at him. The man winced, and patted him apologetically on the head, smoothing his hair back.
“This isn’t where we’re supposed to be, though. It was a space-time jutsu, but spatial displacement enough to shift us halfway across the country… We’re supposed to be on the borders of Fire, not in Konoha, let alone in here…” he muttered to himself distractedly. Which, just. What.
And, of course, that was when the ANBU chose to break his fucking door down.
Sitting silently within the Hokage’s office while watching more and more people pile in wasn’t particularly fun. Especially not when the man from his room was in the process of walking back and forth impatiently, pausing every few minutes to turn and scowl at Jiji before he turned around to return to his pacing. Kakashi was leaning against the wall beside him, watching the man with a single, narrowed eye. Naruto still didn’t get what was going on, but at least the lack of a Sharingan being focused on the man and his kid told him that things weren’t falling to pieces. Yet.
There were still a few last stragglers stepping in when the boy finally seemed to have enough. He stood up, and with a very exasperated “Baka-oyaji, just sit down already!” proceeded to drag his dad back to one of the two chairs that had been set out in front of jiji’s desk. And then promptly dropped down beside him, shrugging uncomfortably at the looks his outburst brought him. More than one person actually looked startled – and no, Naruto really wasn’t imagining the way everyone was looking back and forth between him and the two mystery men that had turned up in his apartment.
The way Kakashi chortled under his breath did not help matters. Enough was fucking enough.
“Okay, mind telling me who the fu-heck, heck, you two clowns are? And what you were doing in my apartment today morning?” Naruto demanded, quickly editing his words when he noticed the disapproving look jiji was shooting at him. And the hand that Kakashi was surreptitiously reaching towards him with. To whack him around the head, no doubt.
The brat shot him a look, one that all but screamed ‘are you serious?’ while the man gave a bone-deep sigh and lifted his a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose with his index finger and thumb. Trying to stave off a headache.
Which was when the door swung open one last time, letting in a man with long blond hair. Closely followed by a kid about his age, also with bright blond hair, though he looked almost unhealthily pale.
“Apologies, Hokage-sama, I had a situation at home and I thought I should bring him in as soon as possible…” the man slowly trailed away, staring at the two intruders with what very much looked like disbelief. And, to Naruto’s surprise, his face whipped around to stare at him right after. And kept staring until Kakashi pointedly cleared his throat, straightening very slowly from his slouch. Naruto tried very hard not to reflexively lean towards him – the man’s eyes had been unnervingly cold and sharp.
“Naruto-sama, thank goodness. I didn’t think anyone else got through.”
Naruto blinked, and for a split second, he actually thought the kid was talking to him. Which, no, of course not, who would refer to him with that honorific of all things, but-
And the man was straightening up in his seat, looking strangely relieved.
“Inojin. It’s good to see you, did anyone else come through with you- No, wait. Weren’t you supposed to be with your team? What the fuck are you doing here on your own?!” the man’s voice ratcheted right back to tense midway through, standing up, but that was about as far as he could get before he was suddenly surrounded by ANBU, their kunai pointed at several fatal points from his throat to his groin. The abrupt appearance of the Hokage’s guard had Naruto stiffening in shock – he was familiar with nearly all the masks he was seeing, but he’d never seen them in this avatar, prepared to cut down a possible threat to the Sandaime. The only thing more chilling than seeing a familiar childhood scene abruptly growing fangs was the fact that the man looked completely uncaring of the danger he was in. His son and the new boy, Inojin, weren’t nearly as unaffected. The boy (did the man call him Bolt in his apartment? Boruto?) stood up with a yelp while Inojin came to a jerky stop, still in the process of walking forward, the smile wiped off his face.
“Naruto, was it?” the Hokage asked mildly, not having moved an inch during his scrutiny of the strangers in their midst.
(And, just. What. Naruto? Naruto?)
The man, the stranger who’d stolen his looks and his fucking name, sighed loudly, and carefully looked over his shoulder, ignoring the way the kunai shifted menacingly closer to his skin.
“You don’t look all that surprised, Jiji.”
Naruto couldn’t quite make himself tear his eyes away from the scene playing out in front of him. It was like watching two merchant carts crashing into each other in the market space, when neither of the merchants were paying attention. He could nearly hear the cabbages and apples bouncing and rolling in the dust, with the merchants screaming loudly at each other. It helped him ignore the way Kakashi-sensei had gone still beside him.
And there was that sharingan eye being unveiled. Did that mean things were falling to pieces now, then?
The other man with the long blond hair suddenly cleared his throat, and stepped forward, reaching a hand out to close around Inojin’s shoulder.
“I’ve examined this one’s memories at least, Hokage-sama. He isn’t lying when he says he’s a Yamanaka by blood.” He said.
The name took a few moments to penetrate the fog that had filled Naruto’s head. Yamanaka? Wasn’t that one of the teme’s fangirls back in the Academy? Not that he’d run into her anywhere since, but yeah, the hair was at least recognisable. And the eyes too, with their creepy lack of pupils.
“Can we verify this one’s claim as well, then? Are there any memories to correlate to their appearance here?” jiji asked, at which point Bolt suddenly reached out to curl his fingers into the vest of one of the ANBU surrounding his father.
(He wasn’t going to think about that. Because, fuck, it was bad enough that there was one guy who looked so much like him being called Naruto. He didn’t want to think about a man who looked like him having a son named Boruto. Even if that play on sounds was damn cool.)
“Hey, what’re you doing? Let go of my tou-chan!”
Naruto jerked forward, wide-eyed, but the man had shifted fast enough to catch the ANBU by the wrist before he could get anywhere near retaliating against the little kid – intruder – clinging to his vest. The only mark he had to show for the sudden blurring of his form was the line of red that had appeared on his throat. The rest of the kunai had pressed closer, but they hadn’t yet cut through his clothes.
The Hokage’s office was completely silent. Naruto could clearly feel the lump in his throat as he watched Bolt freeze in place, eyes wide and angry. Not teary, though, and there was something amazing about that. The man, Naruto-the-second, looked surprisingly blank for someone who’d managed to stop a nin from ANBU from lashing out against his kid.
“I’d appreciate it if you could find it in yourself to not touch my son,” he said, voice utterly still. And, then, Naruto felt the slow curl of killing intent sliding through the room. It wasn’t sudden and terrifying, not like when Zabuza had hit all of them with killing intent strong enough to make Sasuke want to kill himself back in Wave, but there was something insidious about it. Naruto could feel it like heat building below his skin, a sick feeling rising up from his gut. When he looked around, nearly everyone else seemed to be similarly or worse affected. Except for the Sandaime, who looked completely unaffected. And the ANBU that the man was actually focusing on, who slowly started to tremble in place.
This time, it wasn’t Bolt who called out to his father. Instead, Inojin pulled away from the Yamanaka behind him to step right up to the mass of men standing before jiji’s desk, and reached out to curl his fingers into the ragged black tank that the man had on. The man’s gaze shot down to meet him immediately, and the nausea that had been building in Naruto’s stomach abruptly cut off.
When the man let go of the ANBU in his grasp, the ANBU actually stumbled back a step or two before sagging down to the ground and shivering in place.
“Naruto-sama,” Inojin said, voice quiet. Ignoring the way the rest of the ANBU were bristling both at him and the man in his grasp.
“That’s enough. You’re all dismissed. Bear, get yourself to the infirmary.”
And that seemed to be that. The ANBU disappeared without another word, though Naruto got the sinking feeling that none of them looked very happy.
Leaning back in his seat with a sigh of relief, Naruto glanced up at Kakashi, only to stiffen when he noticed the way his sensei was staring at him, goggle eyed.
“The rest of you as well.”
Naruto’s head whipped back to stare at the jiji, much like nearly everyone else in the room.
The Sandaime looked about as forbidding as before when he glanced around. But he unbent enough to wave a single hand towards the door.
“You’re all dismissed. Out.”
Naruto’s jaw dropped in outrage, but Kakashi was steering him out the door before he could even consider demanding to stay back, closely followed by the rest of the jounin who had been in the room. Naruto hadn’t recognised even half of them when he’d been inside.
“Kakashi-sensei!” he snapped petulantly, craning his head to look back through the door, but he didn’t see much more than the older Naruto crouching down in front of Inojin and his son to receive a hug from both boys before another one of the jounin coming through blocked the way. When he looked up with a scowl, he was surprised to see a face that he actually recognised.
“Shikaku-ji!” he squawked, finally stopping in his struggling, much to the silent relief of his sensei.
Shikamaru’s dad’s lips curled up in a slow smile. Naruto hadn’t seen him in ages, not since the last time he’d actually been to Shikamaru’s place and that had been a really long time ago. Much before their final exams at the academy.
“Still getting into trouble then, Naruto-kun?” the man asked, eyes crinkling in amusement. Naruto laughed nervously, and tried very hard not to think about the pepper bombs he, Shikamaru, Choji and Kiba had been trying to engineer in the Nara head’s kitchen while Shikamaru’s parents were away. The ensuing explosion had had all of them banned from Shikamaru’s house till they hit sixteen at the least. His mom had been very insistent, though he couldn’t quite forget the way Shikaku-ji had been doubled up in laughter by the door that day, well out of the range of the clouds of pepper that had filled the kitchen and had had all of them coughing and hacking up their lungs.
“Not really, Shikaku-ji. This wasn’t my fault, anyway, I just woke up and tripped over that guy in my living room!” he declared loudly, catching the attention of nearly all the men who’d been inside the Hokage’s office with them. They did eventually clear away, though not before Kakashi had thrown an arm around his shoulders and dragged him into a particularly painful headlock. Naruto made sure to struggle and squawk noisily in dismay, though he was secretly relieved. He really didn’t like being stared at this much. And Kakashi-sensei could be an utter asshole about helping him out, but at least he helped somewhat.
“Sorry about this one, Shikaku. I’ll take care of him, we’re late enough for our team meeting as it is.”
Naruto stopped struggling immediately. Nothing could be more mortifying than being late enough that even Kakashi considered it late. Thankfully, Kakashi took him along for the ride when he used the Shunshin jutsu to blow out of the place.
Not so thankfully, piggybacking on Kakashi’s jutsu had him spending the whole of the first hour of training upchucking bile and saliva since he hadn’t actually gotten around to eating before the ANBU had dragged him, Naruto-the-second and Bolt off to the Hokage’s office. Much to the disgust of both the teme and Sakura-chan, who pointedly stayed well away from him.