Actions

Work Header

If Naruto Were Me

Chapter Text

It was a weird nightmare, all in all. Of course, I’d had nightmares about dying pretty often, they didn’t bother me much. I’m fairly sure they’re normal as far as psychology is concerned.

And I mean; household accidents are a fairly common way to die- most deaths in the united states happened in the home- electrocutions, falls- this one was tripping over a toy car belonging to my little cousin and braining myself; my poor grandmother’s horrified face as I gurgled my last farewell- kinda morbid but that’s what makes it a nightmare I think.

But I’m rambling- how I died- or the dream sequence that led to this madness, or the reason I was in such a weird coma doesn’t matter much.

It was just the last thing I remember from before, so I wonder a little. No use stressing about it. Death, dream or Coma- I was here now.

Time is what tipped me off at first- the fourth dimension is kinda hard to grasp with the dreaming mind. And having dreams between bouts of maddening though thankfully short warm blackness made it hard to believe I was just dreaming.
You can’t dream within a dream can you? At least- I never had before, and I don’t think you can dream during a coma. I had brain activity at least, though the blackouts scared me- my greatest fear was being a vegetable- I had a living will that specifically stated that I’d rather not come back with half my head missing, but my grandma had it stashed away, and who knows when the last time she’d looked at it was.

Dear god- please don’t let me be on life support, paraplegic and in a coma. Please- please- please. My family deserves more than that- though grandma was probably going to throw out all her toy cars. She was superstitious like that.

I came up with the option of reincarnation as more of a hope than a real option. I was sure I was dying in a hospital somewhere, with my nerves relaying bad data- the reason I couldn’t feel anyone holding my hand or anything really but the warm constricting blackness. Oh God- I’d heard about a book a while back that had a guy kept alive though blind, deaf, and without limbs- not knowing what he was feeling. At least sensation was muted. Kinda like I was underwater actually, or maybe in a womb? I’d gotten one of those baby-belly sound systems for a friend of mine when she got pregnant- it altered the sound waves to make them easier for baby to hear right through the womb. So you could jam to your favorite song with your unborn child. Totally cheesy, but she’ d loved it.

The thing about reincarnation- which isn’t against my beliefs per-se, but I found unlikely- even if you were reincarnated, that whole – you only using 10% of your brain is actually total bullshit, you use your whole brain, just not all at once, and you can recover, it’s just that the space for memory storage is kind of a hardrive right? When you get your head caved in, you just lose capacity, like instead of 12Terabytes, you only have 6 or something (the brain is like so many more Terabytes, I don’t even know)- so your brain is just like- yeah, I’ll move this important stuff like mouth breathing over here. So to get back to the point- a baby brain can’t hold everything. But here’s the main thing, and this got me super excited- I did remember stuff later, which is like- okay, meta here, but the brain gives off it’s own electronic field, and there are theories about shared public consciousness and stuff- so I was re-learning memories as my brain grew to support it (probably supported by Chakra)- but that was later. Waaaaaay later.

My first day was kinda hectic, as you can imagine- I was Naruto.

I’d hoped for a female body thing at first- before I’d figured out who I was, you know- not looking forward to gender confusion and that held on till I was old enough to lift my head during a diaper change a few months into my new life.

First day was crazy- Hirashin kind of feels like how I imagine Harry Potter Apparition is described, only super gentle? That might have been because Dad was scared of hurting me- or ‘Yellow Blob’ at the time, because no way I knew what was what at first.

I figured out the miracle of birth part pretty quick when my head caved in/collapsed/compressed coming out- super squicky- ugh, my face being pushed out of a vagina, gross. I kept my eyes closed and held my breath until after I was cleaned off- not actually hard, with all the blah in my lungs still. ‘Red Blob/Mom’ was sticky and exhausted, and the loud noises were just- so annoying and super scary. I probably remember the Sandaime’s wife dying, but I’m not sure, so I’m not going to try to- no use really, when I’m not sure. I just ignored it all- I figured as a baby my parents would take care of whatever it was.

I didn’t really get any of a clue until I was getting sealed. It was cold dirt under my back (I was pretty annoyed about that, even if there was a blanket or something under me)- and the radiating warmth from Kurama- the same pulsing warmth that I’d experienced in vitro. Which calmed me down at the time, funny enough.
So it was there I cultivated a love of the color orange- My parents- brief red and yellow/white blobs hovering above me, surrounded by warmth and the effusive orange glow of the 9 tailed beast they were skewered on. They babbled at me in Japanese- low and gentle and loving, before suddenly the warmth was gone, and I was burning up on the inside. It hurt, and I’m not surprised I was bawling my eyes out- not the ahhhh ahhh ahhh that was in the Anime- but the snotty gross, red faced kind that’s indicative of real pain.

Also, I couldn’t blow my own nose (this day was so gross- I couldn’t wait for my first diaper change), or control my arms and legs- all my spinal cord muscle memory was totally gone, and just- ugh.

And then Sandaime (not that I knew it) picked me up and I was out- just, too emotional, naptime blah. I was done with it. I want to wake up now, though I was at the point I was coming to terms with the fact that this was my life now.

Chapter Text

A/N: Sorry- this is more of the same; The next chapter is out of the orphanage though and then Academy, so Hang in there! A few things might seem weird to think about- that’s just my head. I’m not stopping to edit through what I think I might think about in these circumstances. I’m putting my mind frame there and letting the story just write itself. I’m surprised myself how it’s developing. Constructive Criticism quite welcome.

Chapter Two: Childhood

I remember the first time I saw my reflection- it’s kind of a traumatic memory- like all prophesized children, no one called me by my name at first- I’d tried asking once, with the little Japanese I knew at about 7 months? Still early for my first words- all that came out was a vaguely growly garbled mess. I think I freaked out the caretaker that was changing my diaper (I’d long ago figured out I was male- and as such had such a ridiculously small penis- Despair/ that shit better grow during puberty/ WTF!!!) and like- the caretaker just left. I never even saw him again.

So I pulled my new diaper closed- a little sloppy, but geeze motor control was hard- and rolled a little- (good thing he changed me on the floor) and rolled right in front of a mirror. A wide-eyed whiskered blond stared back at me. And like- I’m not usually super dramatic, I just- reached out and touched my reflection and it was just- crap. You know? Or rather a bunch of internal cussing- I’d been a sailor in my previous life, I knew a few good ones. I sat up and you know- those whiskers were actually black? Like a tattoo- Smooth as the rest of my cheeks, but a little more sensitive than the rest of the skin. Almost like there was something solid under the surface, but I couldn’t feel anything even when I poked and pushed my face all over the place.

Eventually my unimpressed bitch face stared back at me. It was dramatically epic. I huffed a little. At least I knew why I’d gone through so many caretakers. And where yellow/white and red blobs had gone- or ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ (Kaa & Tou-san? Haha & ChiChi?) whatever- I was an orphan, which sucked balls okay, my parents weren’t all that great my last life, and I figured the new ones had given me up for adoption or something- eyesight isn’t great the first couple months, but I’d assumed they were too young or something but at least they’d been alive (figuratively, in my imagination). Ha- I’d seen them die I think. That was kinda cool? At least I could remember them. Was it bad I thought that was cool? Oh- they sealed themselves inside me- that’s- really creepy actually.

So Freudian.

Can’t cry over someone that isn’t really gone I suppose? Or miss what you never had. Some such shit. Ugh. I was the prophecy child- most probably. This whole world is dependent on me from saving it from Kaguya and Pein (Nagato!) Tobito and Orochimaru (Totally Voldemort, snake pedophiles bent on immortality unite!). I am not freaking out. No- really, my increased heart rate was just gas. My narrowing vision was just… Deep Breath Back up. Take another breath. What do I know?

My name for one thing. (yay) Uzumaki Naruto ;(last name first) progress! My parents names- Uzumaki Kushina (was she actually Uzumaki Royalty, or just a political power piece sent over to Konoha for the treaty?) oh! The name of my town- Village? My Hidden Village. Konohagakure no Sato. Wonder if seals were involved in that- probably not so hidden if civilians could find it- My dad’s name! Namikaze Minato- Yondaime Hokage, student of Jiraiya, student of the Sandaime, all the way the first Hokage.

Pretty prestigious heritage there. – the Naruto from the series never used the fact that EVERY Konoha ninja EVER wore the Uzumaki spiral in remembrance/debt to them after not being able to come to their aid when their village was destroyed. And there was like an avoidance? Sorta? Of mentioning knowledge of Naruto’s dad between the different villages, even during the 4th Ninja War- wonder why. Huh. (maybe he didn’t need to…).

Kurama. The name of my tenant, and general homicidal grumpy cat (sorry- fox). We’d probably get along. I’m a big believer of faking it till you make it with the warm fuzzies- I knew from an old physiology teacher in college that smiling, even if you didn’t mean it could trick your brain into releasing endorphins. I figured philosophy could work that way too- after all, why not? And it seemed to work for The old Naruto. I wasn’t as dumb though- the old Naruto (and that was going to get old- I WAS NARUTO, that identity was mine now, and I don’t want to share it, but it’s obvious I wouldn’t be like the old one, since I was so….me.)I’d rather push a little on the obvious likeness to my dad (and yeah- I was totally okay calling him that, he was dumb, but he was my dad okay, and boys are dumb anyway) and I’m fairly sure the relationship there to my dad would make my life harder if I pushed it with the public, but being a kid was going to be BORING.

Also I was kind of a little shit. Bwahaha.

The Uchiha were alive right now. Not touching that with a 20 ft pole. If my being Naruto changed anything- yay? It seemed like the sharingan were evil from the outside perspective, and involved in the whole Kaguya thing, plus- they were traitors. As someone who’d served in the US Military, I had a stick up my ass when it came to traitors. I’d never liked Sasuke in the series- he was just so so dumb.

A different caretaker came into the room with a bottle (hey- I’d seen this one before!). Well- he came in with three. He grabbed one at random- so probably not specifically poisoned for me (unless he kept track without visuals somehow, or they were all poisoned- yes, I am a paranoid little shit now that I knew I was the village pariah). I paused when he handed it to me for a second to gauge him a little anyway before I drank it- cuddled it a bit actually, but he just huffed and rolled his eyes and muttered something that I think might have been about a girl- (Mori-Chan? Maybe his girlfriend) and how ‘troublesome’ she was and how much I reminded him of her. I eyed him a little and decided he could be a Nara- his ponytail went to the back of his head, but the tight, scritchy looking curls were consistent along with the dark coloring. I latched on and started eating, satisfied. He was gentle enough, if a little bored. If clan kids were doing this, there was probably a rotation for off-duty or light-duty ninja.

It would explain why my caretakers cycled through so much, without all the personal angsting, which I preferred- nobody was actually the center of the universe.

Except me. I was the actual center of the Narutoverse. I choked a little in my hilarity and some milk came out my nose. Gross. Maybe-Nara just sighed at me and wiped it up. Must suck to be him.

But really, it made a lot of sense to try to force injured ninja to care for infants- give them some buffer before you set them among the civilians after a bad mission, while still getting work out of the ninja that would be otherwise temporarily worthless. They’d done similar in the Navy my previous life- when we came back from a 8 month deployment in the war, we’d stop at Hawai’i and pick up civilians related to the people on board for a weeklong ferry back to the US. They called it ‘Tiger Cruise’. It was so annoying- the Civilians got everywhere they weren’t supposed to be, and we had to drop or put off things to accommodate them all week. Like herding cats. But it helped- by the time we got stateside, we could function like normal people again, without expecting everyone else to be with the program.

Also- they put pregnant women in working parties to clean up parking lots when they got to the light-duty stage. Not allowed to be on a boat when you’re pregnant at all, too many hazardous chemicals for the kid. But cleaning up cigarette buts is like the worst job next to Naval Plumber/shit maintenance because it was so boring- and literally took hours- military base commanders were really anal about how clean the parking lots were. But hey- if they couldn’t do anything else, the military puts them to work where they need them- as sweepers, or Janitors, painters, dock men- non discriminatory. The Military just doesn’t waste money like that. Your body and life belongs to service, and it makes a girl humble that goes from advanced electronic manipulation to scrubbing toilets or dusting an hour every morning.

Where was I? I paused a bit, and elegantly choked on my bottle again. A sigh had me looking up as my face got another pass, and I tried to vomit rainbows and fluffy feelings through my eyes at Maybe-Nara. It got me a sort-of smile as he pulled back- mission accomplished. If he was here to reduce PTSD and help keep him a functioning human with real emotions, I’d have to be nicer to my caretakers.

I was almost full, but took the bottle back with no fuss, and curled my hand around one of his fingers while looking soulfully into his eyes as I gave a few more half-hearted sucks. I carefully locked away the evil cackle in my head into a little box so it wouldn’t show up on my face. He was almost cooing at me now.

Humans are genetically predisposed to find big eyes in a kid irresistible, and I was going to milk it. I pulled up a couple emotions like trust and curiosity to add to my epic eye-feelings. Likely as not, over the next 4 years (Canon was I was going to see most of the active ninja force, and it wouldn’t hurt to be nice to them now. Plus- if I helped calm them down, they’d be better soldiers on the outside once they got back onto active duty, and a refreshed soul at home was an unburdened one in the field. Also more likely I’d have more comrades to help protect my village. A rested ninja is a more alert ninja. (yes- I was totally willing to manipulate people into being happier and better rested- I’m not sorry)

I got burped, and cutely curled my fist into the front of his fishnet undershirt while I tucked my head under his. He kinda swayed in place- totally Zen. I was out in minutes listening to the gentle beating of his heart.

 

Over the following months, it became obvious that my caretakers were in fact shinobi on light duty. A few had visible injuries- splints and casts (usually lasted at the orphanage a few days before the cast came off- they usually came in for one last day afterwards. Accelerated but probably initially shattered bone or something- iryonin rocked my socks). I got a few lingering looks as my blond hair started to reach past my ears. One of them – a furtive looking brunette with a senbon in his mouth-(Kami- what was his name? he’s canon I think…) and a cast on his right leg cut my hair up short over my ears and the back of the head with a kunai after staring at me for almost half an hour. I figured this would happen sooner or later, but I stared wide eyed at him with teary eyes the whole time. He almost started crying himself.

I sniffled pathetically when he was done and scrunched up my nose a bit, and got lots of apologies and cuddles. I kept the pathetic-ness at the same level so he didn’t try to bounce me or anything, but hugged just so that it was a tad tight. Perfection.

Nothing I could do at this age to keep my hair like Minato’s- but if I changed it subtly over a longer period of time once I was on my own (Canon Naruto was free at 5 yeah?), I could probably manage to establish it as my official hairstyle before anyone could do something without making it weird. The overcoat would come later I decided.

I was a little upset I hadn’t seen Kakashi yet- I was hoping to get to him young enough I could start off with calling him Nii-chan. That guy needed hugs. He was just such a sad sack of awesome-socially-inept-ninja. (also- he was my favorite Naruto Character- thus the sexiest, and god that was going to be so awkward.)

Genma? Raido? I think he’s Raido- he’s not coughing so probably not Hayate (I am such a dork, how do I remember these names? Probably the 600$ I spent on Naruto trading cards once upon a time- obviously it was a good investment of time and money).

Anyway, I pulled a sleepy awesomely cute yawn on him. He practically melted. I saw him a few more days- he helped me with my kana blocks- that’s the Japanese version of an alphabet- probably out of guilt.

The adorableness was already wielding returns in the form of cuddles, story-time (language arts/reading & writing), and a few weapons throwing demos (ha-ha- that one guy got in so much trouble- or at least, an ANBU dropped out of nowhere and stared him into a blushing guilty mess until he stowed them and picked up some pink fluffy stuffed animal. And proceeded to make up a convoluted and bloody backstory for the sparkly unicorn in a tutu. Ninja imagination is so weird).

So- I was being watched over by not only light duty ninja, but also ANBU, which makes sense.

 

By the time I could reasonably talk, I started off in full sentences.

And with walking. Between caretakers I went from babbling and crawling to asking questions and talking. Since the turnover was so fast, the only one that might have noticed at all was my ANBU watcher- and I’d assume he put that in his report. Or her report. Blah. The new gimpy-nin just assumed I’d been doing it all before.
I was a year old or so- it was fall, and I knew the Kyuubi attack had been in October- the 10th? It was getting into fall again. So my first words were “Ninja-san, I need the bathroom”.
Priorities.

 

I practiced language diligently- I found a notebook and binder under my bed, new and pristine and still (bizarrely) in the corner-store packaging it came in sometime near my 2nd birthday (I was 3 ¼ now- so it was winter sort of, or as close as it got in the land of fire). I’d been practicing before that on loose pages, some of which might have been the back of official documents from the orphanage office, so it might have just been self motivation from the official staff. All the Kana Alphabets were written in the fist couple pages of the notebook in neat, legible characters including Romaji pronunciation, and all the loose pages I’d been using to practice were gone. I wasn’t worried- I’d borrowed a Kana book or two from the main playroom a while back so it wouldn’t be suspicious; When I began to walk, I was allowed to play with the other children during the day- though I remained the only child with their own room, and slept alone. It was nice to know that the Ninja at least weren’t worried about me ‘infecting’ the other orphans.

Probably a security concern. I entertained thoughts while I practiced simple sentences about how I was guarded better than the President or the Queen of England- a luxury shared by fairly few people in the village. Hey- I was pretty important politically! Son of the Yondaime, only known survivor of the Uzumaki Massacre in the 2nd? Shinobi war- Only Jinchuriki of the Kyuubi no Yoko; that is pretty badass.

I made a mental note to look for Karin, Juugo, and any other Uzumaki that I could find- maybe I could get a letter to Nagato? When I get out on my own, Maybe I could write a letter to him in Amegakure. If he got it, it’d serve as an introduction if nothing else. Best case, he’ll become emotionally invested in me enough to shake off Tobito’s crazy ‘Moon Eye Plan’ which we all now know was nothing but a ‘Use Tobito To Resurrect Kaguya Plan’.

I mentally made up a few Harry Potter Themed come-backs for Tobito’s inevitable monologue in the future- maybe a direct Dumbledore quote- “ It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Or maybe I’d use that one on Kakashi. He deserved nice things (or both? Redundancy seemed to be a Naruto plotline staple).

Speaking of Kakashi- I totally want a Kakashi Doll. I bet if I made one, I could pretend an ANBU gave it to me. If I was sneaky- and made a generic ‘Ninja’ doll with Silver-grey hair and a mask, I could probably get someone to make it more like Kakashi- actually involve the guard through head games. I’d make it too much to resist. Make it too easy to get away with. – Unless my watcher was Kakashi.

I paused in my diligent Language studies to think about Kakashi being one of my ANBU regulars. He was pretty young now- ~maybe~ double digits bot not totally teenager. Or barely. He’d gotten caught up in Root around now, before getting into ANBU regulars. I knew that from Kakashi Gaiden. Him being my guard would explain how he lived so long in ANBU- and why he quit just a few years before I became a Genin in Canon- I probably lose my ANBU tail when I join the Academy. I tapped my pencil to my lips and contemplated my almost completed work page. Wouldn’t need it when I was surrounded by Chunin and other Genin hopefuls all day- come to think about it, the Academy was probably right next to the Administrative building, if not incorporated into it.

I sighed. I should probably go play. The other children weren’t the best source of conversation practice, but they were a good measure of mental development. Nobody here really interesting besides the caretakers-and a few adoptions. Pretty sure TenTen was here for a few weeks last month, though her hair had been more generic, the man that’d adopted her looked like he could have been a blacksmith no problem.

That was another thing- there weren’t any requirements for adoption as far as I could tell. It seemed like all the background checks were a routine thing in the village- anyone that came to adopt just flashed ID and walked away with a kid and a stack of paperwork, no take backsies. No idea where all the paperwork was getting generated from- there were messenger birds, but I’d never seen them actually deliver anything- they seemed to be used more for summons. The paper just seemed to show up out of nowhere- like it self-generated. Curious, I’d sorta poked my head into a desk once to the amusement of the ninja on duty, only to get a head poke for my troubles.

Ugh. Outside at last, I stretched a bit while I side eyed the creepo old dude staking out a corner of the play area. He showed up sometimes in the afternoons on nice days like today. I’d never talked to him, but nobody seemed to care he was there. The ninja sometimes talked to him, and they almost always smiled afterwards, so probably not a pedophile.

Or maybe he was. My eyebrows shot up as he grabbed one of the kids running past him and flipped her on her head, skirt flying up to expose her underwear. I BOILED , my eyes narrowing as I ran towards him as fast as a shot, more angry than I can remember, and seething in feminine fury –or sympathetic feminine fury, since I had a DICK now, and that just made me more angry. I was going to be a god damned awesome gentleman, and that included protecting the virtue of 3 year olds from God-Damn ancient pedophiles that stake out the local orphanage without anyone giving a damn!
I had her out of his hands and behind me right side up before I could blink, but so Angry that I couldn’t even be properly impressed with myself. Old man looked surprised, barely and I snapped “leave her alone!” coupled with my fiercest glare which was… admittedly adorable.
[It was the chubby cheeks- I ate pretty well, since I helped fetch things in the kitchen before most meals which endeared me to the civilian cook.]
I sniffed in angry disdain and backed up a little into the girl- (Akiko; I recognized her as one of the glue-eaters) so she’d move out of the way and I wouldn’t be open to retribution. I was surprised the ANBU wasn’t doing anything, since they showed up fairly often to stare with censure at the injured caretakers when they got too morbid.

“Naruto”. Said the old pervert, “What-“

“Nara-San!” I yelled, cutting him off, while hustling Akiko further away- and I’ll give him this, that Nara (the same I remember from when I was little) could hustle pretty well when he was needed, even if he got injured more than any other on duty ninja [ a chronic illness? I never saw bandages, or maybe he volunteered…] he was in the door of the orphanage in a flash “Naruto-!?”

“That Ero-JiJi was staring at Akiko’s underpants!” was my sudden contribution, and Nara- his face- (and this’ll be hilarious in a minute) and the old-man, he just went wide-eyed, and I swear, I saw an ANBU face-plant out of a tree…

…and that’s how I met the Sandaime Hokage for the first time (officially).

 

Apparently, there’d been a bee that I hadn’t seen chasing her, though I remained obviously and dramatically skeptical for hilarity purposes.

Almost a year and a half later, and I’d met with the Hokage several times. He was interested in my reading/writing book and kept me in puzzle and work books, which I went through pretty quickly.

• [I had a hilarious and solemn discussion with the civilian cook at the orphanage about taking things from the old-man and whether or not he expected anything in return; the cook (Mato-san), had been surprisingly serious about being able to come to him if the Sandaime ever tried anything. Technically, despite being a Jinchuriki, I was still a civilian until I entered the Academy, at which point I’d fall into a grey area- half shinobi, but not quite- so if I had any problems I was allowed to talk to Mato-san as the head of the Orphanage, or one of the Uchiha Police force. ]

We were currently on our way to Ichiraku Ramen, a favorite. I was all restrained bounce- sure that I was getting a new puzzle book this week.

As we walked, Sandaime-jiji pointed out civilians and shinobi alike; a ‘game’ we’d established on our first outing that was something like people watching. I’m fairly sure it had started off as a half-hearted way for the old man to teach me networking or politics by memorizing the people- he’d pointed to them, said their name, and then asked me to point something out about them. He probably expected me to mention obviously favorite scarves, or their large noses, or hair color; instead, these days he did that himself, and I offered a Sherlock-level deduction in exchange (that ninja was having trouble sleeping, this civilian was bored with his wife) and we talked about it.

I’d gotten a degree in Anthropology (professional level people watcher) my previous life, and it was a boon here- I can only imagine what the Sandaime was thinking as he took me on these outings- the training of his successor? Perhaps, though having a politically savvy Jinchuriki had to be a boon all on its own. He took me everywhere too- from the Academy, to the training grounds, from the Uchiha Police Station to the Red light district (OMG those ladies were so Gorgeous!) and everywhere in between. I got introduced to a lot of people. Not all of them- but the important ones.

It had another benefit that I was more than grateful for- being seen walking next to the Hokage so often helped my street cred a lot. It probably didn’t hurt that the one time someone had been brazen enough to spit at me and call me a demon on the street led to such a smack down either- just imagine:

***Flashback***

this was about a year ago- we’d been doing the walks for a few months already. It was a stall vendor- Kurisaki Morito that did it. He…. might have been a little drunk. I had reeled back from the sudden hate-fest surprised (I’d gotten to the point that I thought the village truly had hated Canon Naruto because of his pranks- which I didn’t do- they were normally nice or neutral so far, which I could live with). Only to be snatched back by the old-man. He swept us around in a graceful flourish which put Morito-san at our backs.

“Hound.” Said the Hokage, and oh Kami- that was Kakashi kneeling right in front of me! His hair is like a cloud! His mask is so cool! He’s so-! So-! …Skinny? Huh.
The old man flicking his hand to the side broke me from my wide-eyed fangirling, and seemed to catch the breath of everyone in a 200 yard radius- they’d all stopped stock still – though I hadn’t noticed till that moment. I tried to look back at Morito-san to see what was happening, but the Sandaime’s robes blocked my view, and his grip was tight on my shoulder as he led me away.
“But-“ I tried, only to be swiftly silenced with “No, Naruto”, and he sighed- tired, a little broken- “You are too young, yet.” And I looked up at his face- up, up – and conceded his point. He picked me up and as I tucked my face into his neck under the veil of his hat, I heard the beginning of an announcement on the wind as we walked away…”Kurisaki Morito; by the decree of the Hokage, for the breaking of an S-rank secr-“

wow. My hands tightened in the Third’s robes as I clung a little closer. More than a little awed and touched. I understood some- you couldn’t let that kind of breach go- that wasn’t just a whisper where no one but a village pariah had heard, that was witnessed by the Hokage himself; you had to keep order- but damn. Selfishly- I thought to myself- he’d done that for me.

***End Flashback***

My birthday after that I’d actually attended the Kyuubi festival. I’d sat with the Sandaime in full view of everyone. I suppose he’d decided the cat was out of the bag; it’s likely any spies in the village knew I was important after that, if they hadn’t seen the public execution. The Old-Man had gotten me a nice white Kimono with a dark orange Obi- and fall leaves on the bottom edge (I’d counted- there had been 9 big ones obvious; and 47 smaller ones that were outlined in white thread for the ninja that had died during the Kyuubi attack). During his speech, he’d mentioned the ‘sacrifices made and continued to be made to keep the village safe’ with an expansive arm gesture that just ‘happened’ to draw attention to me.

But that was ages ago. This was Ramen! True Divinity! And really- I am a convert- my taste buds seem to have been hardwired for the stuff. It was heavy, and the stuff was filling- which almost nothing was. I ate- so much, even at 4 years old. It’s actually lucky that I’d made friends with Mato-san, the cook, because I would have starved without him feeding me most the day. I may have reinvented Chicago-style Deeeeeep dish pizza as a way to help me not starve. Seriously.

Today I stepped up to the counter and onto my stool; beaming at Ayame. You can bet she was glad to see me. We chatted while the Old-Man looked on benevolently and Teuchi turned his efforts to the ‘Uzumaki Special’ that was a compromise between the actual ambrosia that was the ‘light’ broth based Miso, and my need for a bazillion more nutrients and calories than the normal person. It had a thicker miso base, twice the noodles, and every topping, vegetable and protein on the menu (as well as a few more I’m pretty sure he just added for taste). It was all arranged in an Uzumaki swirl, with a naruto in the center. And it was the single most delicious thing in the world- better than Italian, Thai, Mexican and In-n-Out deliciousness combined. Just- raptures.

As I was finishing up, the Old-Man shifted the way he does when he wants me to pay attention to him (he’s always pleased when I notice stuff like that). When we were settled and attentive he dropped the bombshell-

“Naruto- how would you like to be a Ninja?”
“Wha-?”

so eloquent. But- It was too early- I was only 4!

 

A/N: Yes, I know the Sandaime is politically against young admittance to the academy. That he fought tooth and nail to get the graduation age extended to 12 yrs. I KNOW. So there. I have reasons; sorta. Naruto as me is an- obvious Jinchuriki. Out and about, so to say. I’m not actually a toddler- my experiences would make me a pretty solemn toddler, emphasizing my relationship to Minato over Kushina in people’s eyes. I’d be seen as a genius- a prodigy (any 4 year old with a 20+ year old mentality would), and one that’s solemn, and quiet, but happy. With manners. Which are a sign of maturity- thinking of others. Also- as the Jinchuriki, I needed to both defend myself and be a show of strength to the other nations. It’s my job. Training early would only be prudent to keep me alive at this point- and yes I know I took a step with the Sandaime’s obvious parading around with Naruto- but adults are way more likely to invest time in intelligent kids than knuckleheads- and the game they play together is pretty advanced- as are puzzle books. Also Danzo. Just think on it.
So that’s what just poured out of my ears into a story. Review and I’ll send you a little omake about how Kakashi sees Naruto in my world.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Academy

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Only two months before Naruto’s 5th birthday, and there was nobody interesting anywhere (I was so Bored). I’d either forgotten or never known that Naruto had been admitted to the academy early- but then, the failing the final exam 3 times should have been a clue. I’d just assumed that he’d tried for early advancement or something. But the new school came with my own apartment, and a living stipend (given to all academy students without both parents) So I wasn’t exactly complaining.

The Academy was fairly simple. Subjects were taught to everyone- some only being shoved in during colloquial lectures, but most running the entirety of the Academy experience. History, basic maths (trajectory and chakra requirement equations), reading & writing (coding, cipher, writing reports neatly…), chakra (exercises, jutsu not covered in History such as the ones common to each village, the basic three in minute detail, and some theory) weapons (senbon, kunai, and shuriken were required, but specialty weapons and swords were not since we were all so short) geography (espionage), to name a few. Guest lecturers came in twice a week, but spoke to every class. The Curriculum was set for a standard 4 years, with a cumulative exam every three months. If you didn’t pass you got to do that 3 months (or quarter) over again, with the new speakers, so you weren’t completely bored.

Explains why Naruto skipped class so much, if he’d done the final year three times.

Today we were receiving the results for the first exam. The first year text were almost unbearably easy- meant for 8 year olds. With my work in my language and puzzle books, the curriculum became laughable, despite the extra language and accelerated pace. You could request the next books up whenever you wanted, so I’d picked up all 4 for the year. I was looking forward to fourth quarter, where we’d go over Chakra theory and the few jutsu they’re willing to teach academy students. Naruto had problems with the regular bunshin, but I was going to totally own that jutsu (after requesting the shadow clone jutsu- of course).

 

As far as the test, I’d answered every question except 3 or so which had seemed to be on advanced trigonometry, which we hadn’t gone over at all near the end of the test. There had been quite a few trig questions that I had managed- based on geometry and physics which though it wasn’t in the curriculum seemed to be more logic than anything. The history was so dry here- the village had only been around for about 80 years so they tried to remember everything. If I had to read anything else about how the different Kage summits were decided on and the political ramifications of each possible choice I might puke. There’d hardly been any history questions at all- I’d decided straight after the test to never memorize history again outside political treaties that actually happened –(maybe I could get the old man to have someone in intelligence draw up a timeline of all our treaties and armistice agreements and catalog them in a binder for me! That’d be sweet).

Hopefully all that studying would be enough to shift forward a few classes. I was already above average in the P.E. portion- we weren’t actually learning hand-to-hand Taijutsu yet, but one thing about being male- or even not having humongous Tsunade-level breasts- was that I could move! It was glorious. I could run, and my legs just stretched out in front of me. And this body recovered so fast- either the Uzumaki vitality, or the benefit of being a Jinchuriki made it so that if I ran until I was about to drop, then walked while regulating my breathing for 2 seconds!! I could start off again as new. It made me hungrier (and Sandaime-jiji had wised up and increased my food stipend to include vouchers for certain restaurants- huzzah) but totes worth it.

Kami knows I wouldn’t be here for any extra time if I could help it- if this world really was dependent on me for its salvation, I could use the extra connections outside the village being a Chunin would give me- politics was the ideal avenue of peace- the sooner I made a name for myself, the sooner I could become Hokage. I had mad skills with paperwork (which seemed to seriously be the only downside)- and I had all the know-how of my 21st century education and experience to bring to the table. There would be charts. There would be graphs. There would be color-coded maps of each district of Konoha as well as each major village. There would be Bingo book playing cards for every active duty team in the village so that everyone from Genin to the Kage knew who were the heavy hitters of the other major villages as well as their strengths, specializations, and weaknesses.

I planned as Hokage to have cards on each of the Konoha ninja, but I didn’t plan on so much as whispering about them to anyone else ever- though they’d be useful in assigning missions (putting names to faces and abilities), they were a very big liability in a world that used information as currency- (literally- most of the trade Sandaime made with Suna and Hot Water country was information) it would be best if no one knew about it. I could probably secure them like Kabuto does, but there was a seal technique I’d been reading about that was kind of like hacking- where you could only access the information if you were at certain coordinates- so cards that literally only worked if they were on the Hokage’s desk (ideal).

The plans were ever changing. I kept them in a notebook written in English that I kept with my school notes. Putting them under the bed was the surest way to making my ANBU guard think I was hiding something. Jiji had asked me about the notebook once- or rather the mess of Romaji (roman /English letters) that it was filled with. I told him I’d created my own language out of Romaji, and he’d been very impressed. Especially since it was a spoken language too. I was writing out a few primers so that it could be used as a Konoha specific code. Like the Native Americans during the war, it’d be used as a new layer for relaying information to specific people. With my permission, copies of the primer and lessons would be given to 20 people. 4 of them civilians, like the Madame of the red-light district, and half of the remaining 16 Intelligence division. The other half were ‘need to know’ including agent ‘Hound’ or rather Kakashi. He’d taken to leaving me notes in rudimentary English so that he could be sure I was operating under proper disposal protocol more than anything- though it never hurt to be in practice.

I have to tell you how delighted I am at how seriously everyone is taking my ascension to Hokage. I spent a great deal of my free time after academy these last few months helping the Sandaime shuffle paperwork. He was pretty young himself when he became Kage-

Cut from daydreaming as the door slammed shut behind our Chunin-sensei, I sat a little straighter.

“If I call your name, you passed and you’ll be in classroom A4 next Monday”,
explained the sensei (Chunin Ryuuga Aoiru- brunette, sort of short, water affiliate low ambition).

Well, I won’t bore you with the names, and I’d written out profiles of them in the first three days. I knew vaguely which ones would pass- it was kind of easy to tell. Though most of them were clan kids, there were a few civilian born that were pretty good.

Aoiru-sensei stopped calling names. I felt dread- the same kind I couldn’t help as a teacher’s pet my first time around grip my heart. I knew I’d done very well- I was fairly sure the test was seeded for advancement, and I’d studied the math portions religiously since it was my weakest subject- there’s no way that all those other children had gone ahead without me.

 

“Uzumaki- the Hokage will see you about your test; the rest of you- if you still think you can be ninja you’re going to have to try a lot harder. Being a protector of this village and the respect and esteem associated with it requires hard work, dedication, loyalty and a lot of blood and sweat. If you can handle it, I’ll see you here Monday half an hour early to pass you off to your new sensei. If you work hard, I might see some of you again. Dismissed.”

Huh. I packed up and made to leave. As I passed Aoiru-sensei, I paused and bowed. He smiled at me, still rare these days despite the Old-Man’s show of strength and I smiled back.

“It was a pleasure, Naruto-Kun”. He said, as his smile grew.

“ah. The Pleasure was mine. Please excuse my rudeness.” I responded as I bowed again.
“go” he waived me off “He’s waiting for you.”

I hadn’t been allowed anything to release my chakra yet- three guesses why- so I ran on the streets and let out an envious sigh when I caught the ANBU roof-hopping at my 5 O’clock. I was seeing them more often now- some part of me knowing they were there before I even heard them. It could be chakra sense, but I wasn’t sure. I’d had this body for so long now, and though I knew I had chakra, I couldn’t feel it.

It was a shame- I knew I’d end up with a lot of chakra, so I’d been hoping to get a handle of chakra control exercises early. I’d even mentioned it to the Sandaime a time or two, but I think I’d only impressed him with how little I cared for flashy Jutsu. I told him I’d need flashy jutsu starting off, but that it was my general awesomeness that would win people over. He’d laughed so hard then- patted me on the head and said something about “youthful ambitions”. I was stubborn about making friends though- the concept of friends seemed foreign to shinobi, but I knew that friends would back you up and support you beyond the mere boundaries of what could be expected of allies.

Skidding to a slower run as I reached the door of the Hokage tower, I swerved between Genin teams and other admin Chunin that were on the first floor. One of my ANBU guards swept through and ended up in front of me, beating me to the stairs, while the rest entered through the special ANBU entrance on the outside of the building.

I swept passed a bored looking Chunin on desk duty with purple hair (the natural color spectrum of hair here was ridiculous- there was a guy in my academy class that had eyebrows the color of Mint ice cream), and knocked briefly on the Sandaime’s office door. If he’d been busy, the guard would have stopped me, but I spent so much time here that everyone was pretty much used to me. Old-man had forgotten I was in there a few times while he debriefed teams. I read all the reports coming in anyway, since I organized the paperwork- so it’s not like it mattered-

I stopped short. Jiraiya was here. I blinked in surprise and turned to Sandaime-jiji in question. My ANBU follower melted into the shadows- probably a genjutsu- while Jiraiya eyed me up.

The Sandaime looked on in amusement. “Naruto-kun, meet my student Jiraiya no Gama-Sennin; Jiraiya- Uzumaki Naruto; Genin of Konoha.”

My eyes widened a tad with shock at my abrupt promotion, but otherwise my expression was perfectly deadpan and Jiraiya burst into bellows of laughter (just- his laugh seemed to take up his whole body- it was slightly mesmerizing; and he was so young!).

“you were right- kid’s as serious as his father!” he opined, only to turn sheepish as I drolly asked ”So you’re finally going to tell me his name …?” and watched in amusement as Jiji glared in frustrated fury at his student.

“Naruto, you must understand,” and-really? I wasn’t even 5-“your father’s name holds certain complications within-“
“I already know Jiji” I interrupted, which made Jiraiya snort and say “So you found out Arashi-“ “is not my father- whoever he is.” I said, throwing him an amused look; “Even if I hadn’t remembered the day I was born, I think that last Kyuubi festival might have tipped me off with that –“

Jiraiya was in my face in a flash-“what do you mean you remember?” and Kami- his breath was rank! When was the last time he brushed his teeth?!

I frowned and stepped back a little, only for the white-haired biohazard to follow “Its blurry, but I definitely remember.” I spoke in self defense and almost gagged on my next inhale- his breath was a sesspit. “It was kind of traumatic, though my eyes weren’t so good. But there’s only so few blonds that were in the village at that time, and unless you want to try to tell me that I’m secretly a Yamanaka bastard child, I’ll ask why my ANBU are so particular about my hair not going long in the front.”

I felt triumph in the awkward and sheepish silence emanating from the ANBU in the left corner. It was weird, but to blend in to your environment, you couldn’t be totally –sage mode still- you had to shift a bit if only to keep from fainting ‘cause you locked your knees. Utter stillness sets off the senses. Don’t know if it’s an accumulation of natural energy, or-

 

“Sensei”, Jiraiya turned to the Saindaime with a grim face-“if it’s influencing him, we’ll need to have a look.”

The Hokage sighed, “Chakra manipulation at this age might disturb the seal- we’ve observed no worrying…”, he glanced at me “tendencies. At least, nothing like Suna.”

“Nor have I felt any general and unfounded urges to maim and/or kill members of the populous” I mumbled, a little offended. “If the Kyuubi is influencing me at all, it’s probably my diet- I’m always starving.” And my stomach clenched and growled; emphasizing my statement.

“so you know that as well?” the Hokage frowned “who told you?”

I snorted, “Jiji- you are not subtle. You sentenced a man to death in the middle of the street for calling me a demon brat, and you put me in that Kimono at the festival that paid tribute – it’s embarrassing really, “ I started to grow emphatic; “that the head of such a great military should be so lacking in the most universally revered of Ninja arts!” and he was smiling again at the old argument.

“I wouldn’t worry about it Jiji- with all the meditating (and wasn’t that a trip) I do, I haven’t come across anything that suggests outside influence.” I hesitated here- rather obviously- “I am…smarter than; er- some of the kids my own age…” and sheepishly I rubbed the back of my head. Humble perhaps for a normal almost 5 year old prodigy, but for me it was true embarrassment- I was literally up-staging children with the advanced knowledge and mind of an adult.

And I hadn’t either- my mind was a far cry from Canon Naruto- it resembled the floating island forest of my mental meditations of my last life, a far cry from the sewers that his were. I did have my suspicions about a far off copse of trees on a specific island, but it was too far away from my other mental islands to do anything about, or reach.

The Sandaime coughed- alarmingly and obviously. I startled a bit- Jiraiya was frowning slightly. “Where did you go gaki?” “ah- just… thinking. Sorry” I blushed, even more embarrassed than before. “So- um- Genin huh? I’ll grab the paperwork from the front office but-“ and I hesitated, since it sounded like they weren’t likely to let me unlock my chakra anytime soonish, and I’d helped assign the current graduating class Genin teams, so I knew there weren’t any teams for me- in fact, only one was slated for passing the second exam. “Who’ll be my sensei?-“ I asked frowning, ”and my team? There aren’t any this class that would suit me at all, especially without a founding in the basic three.”

For the first time, the Old-man smiled. “don’t worry about that Naruto. You’ll have a few sessions with Jiraiya here for Sealing” and Jiraiya side-eyed his sensei and huffed- obviously unamused while the Old-man’s smile widened, “and you’ve been slated for an apprenticeship, of which I’ll expect you here Monday morning early.” Which was 4 days away- usually the old man asked me in sooner than that, if only to help him keep up with paperwork- “though if you could come in tomorrow sometime to help me sort things?” ah- of course. I bowed with a smile at the dismissal and left the room, the door shutting itself behind me as my ANBU guard flit from one shadow to the next.

Chapter Text

As I walked into Sandaime-Jiji’s office at 6am the next morning, I was a little apprehensive. Kakashi was currently a member of my ANBU guard- though he (along with all my other Guard) went out on other missions often as they were requested for certain tasks or because of their specialties. Because of my work in the Hokage’s office, I actually knew the names of all the ninja on the active duty roster, including ANBU. I needed to, to know how to file things the way Jiji liked them.

He’d taken a liking to the concept of using maps for tracking where our ninja were. There were even new statistics ninja.

Anyway- since Kakashi was still in ANBU, either he was getting pulled off duty, or he was staying, and I was getting a different teacher. I- had always had a thing for Kakashi in my previous life- and I wanted him as my sensei. To be close to him, even if as a women I wouldn’t have liked him after meeting him in person –(he was too skinny! And shorter than his hair would have you believe) I still looked up to him as a shinobi. And maybe- fangirl’d – a little(a lot).

I could try to get it out of him today- but it wasn’t likely. Sarutobi-jiji was as slippery as an eel when he had information you knew he wanted.

I sighed. Walked over to the side desk with the piles for civilian complaints against civilians, and the other against ninja. Most of the paperwork scattered around the room actually shouldn’t even be in here. It’s just that Jiji took too much on himself, and people knew it. Adding what was in my hands to the stack- 4 related complaints about Gai training too close to the market district, and a dispute between rival bakeries – I put them in envelopes, and marked them for the Uchiha police (Ninja related complaints) and the civilian business council (the Bakery and other civilian disputes).

All the paperwork that made it to the office was first taken down by the intelligence department. Technology was scarce, but we did have a computer in T&I. it took up half a room, but had a lot of storage. I made a mental note to assign some young civilians to the computer development program. Currently ninja assigned there considered it a dead end job instead of one of innovation.

All this paperwork would be a synch if we had a working database.

I flipped on the coffee maker, and opened the door in time for an ANBU to hand me the Hokage’s breakfast scroll. Why thermal entropy messed up normal storage seals so bad, I hadn’t a clue. Something to do with chaos interacting with order. It only took a few changes to account for- otherwise heated items (even just extremely warm ones) would light a storage seal on fire if sealed within. The same thing happened with living humans (as well as recently dead ones), which is why standard sealing scrolls weren’t used to transport prisoners (and why bounty hunters were only required to bring back heads). Altered seals that allowed the movement of living bodies, warm bodies, and warm food were specialized- meaning you had to pay out the nose for a seal master to make them for you.

I’d made this one. It opened only to the cook’s blood and the Hokage’s blood- and had ANBU protocols the whole way through. Only 4 people knew who the Hokage’s cook even was- the cook himself, the Hokage, ANBU Bear, and me. The cook didn’t even tell his wife.

Sarutobi-jiji stumbled in around 7:30, yawning. He’d been sleeping a lot more these days, and coming in later- when I’d started coming in, he’d been here at 5am. Somehow, with the new filing system I’d wormed into place, and coming in myself to sort everything gave the Hokage several hours a day. From what I could tell, he was just really bad at speed reading through things. Also- for some reason, decisions in city planning had been completely reliant on the Hokage’s approval- I’d asked why we didn’t have a monthly meeting for stuff like that instead- and now we did. Most of it went through Danzo actually- with the caveat that he submitted all his alterations to construction to the intelligence department.

“the most important stuff you’ve got today is Maito-san. He’s been too close to the market district again- I’m suggesting giving agent Hound the day off- I think he’s upset from his last mission, and Hound should be able to knock some sense into him.” I squinted at the categorized and enveloped files, “Also, you’ve gotten a few new proposals for the market district- Yamada-san sent in another revision- it’s even worse than before.”

“Thank you Naruto”, and his face was pleased as he surveyed his reduced paperwork pile. He made a gesture and agent Hound dropped from the ceiling, stowed his mask in it’s scroll (stowed in his Jounin vest) and exited out the window to track down Maito Gai.

“That’s mostly budgetary stuff- the generally reoccurring monthly expenses and the two civilians involved in that scuffle with team 5 last week.” I spoke gesturing towards the pile as he took a sip of coffee- all sugar and milk with a dash of espresso- and sighed blissfully.

“Any chance you’ll tell me who I’m apprenticing with?” I asked (in his moment of weakness as he melted into his office chair).

He opened a single eye and looked beyond amused. “I’m rather surprised you haven’t figured it out yet, myself.”

I scowled and huffed out a breath.

A “Naruto” had me looking up- questioning-“Go get your paperwork finished.”.

“Hai, hai.”

As I moved to exit the room I was stopped once more-

“and Naruto-“ I paused- “I have a gift for you- I left it on your bed.”

“thanks Ero-jiji.” I smirked as he feigned affront (I always called him a pervert when he mentioned being near my bed- since the incident). Shaking my head as I left the office, I wondered what my present was. Jiji didn’t get me stuff all that often.

I took my picture- three of them actually- one with my face in a dead-fish stare; one projecting bloodlust and showing just enough teeth (to look like fangs); and one where I looked sweat and naiive.

I had a thought waiting for my turn at photos that maybe we could have different photo books for clients based on their requirements. Plus- it’d help intelligence figure out where our leaks were- when Bingo books came up with new profiles, the pictures mostly came from copies of the client data books (they made me laugh- like adverts for call girls- and some of them in seduction specialties almost were- hired to be a pretty bodyguard most of the time- and never taken advantage of[ hah- who could?] it made me proud to have been a woman at one point).

The photographer was hesitant- since he got paid by photo I was a higher commission. But he was paid by the missions office. Luckily, I had a greater allowance as the ‘Jinchuriki’. An ANBU had dropped out of nowhere when he tried to protest and had nodded like a total majestic dork.

Sigh ANBU were so dorky-cool.

I came back to myself as I bumped into someone small, sending them sprawling.

Awwwwz. I smiled. It was one of the Uchiha kids. They were really adorable. This one had chubby cheeks and the signature dark coloring- and his hair stuck up in the back ..like.. a duck…

Blinking, I looked up from the kid (Sasuke?) to see Uchiha Mikoto and bowed as she did, lower as was required of my age.

“Mikoto-Sama” I greeted.

“Naruto-Kun! How are you today?”

we exchanged pleasantries as Sasuke pouted and brushed himself off. He was such a pleasant and happy child. I dealt more with Itachi, who had graduated the academy last year. I’d really pushed for him to be on team 5, under a seduction specialist. He was still fast tracked- (a Chunin at 10!) and still very deadly, but the only kill orders he was given were pedophiles and human traffickers at the moment, which seemed to make him a lot more accepting of his role. His father seemed to be slightly embarrassed to have a son so gifted at seduction – but Itachi was still pure in body as the freshly fallen snow, so he couldn’t actually complain.

There’d been some noise, but though the whole village seemed to know his specialty, (and it may have reduced some tensions around the village for pure amusement factor) none could deny how well Itachi did his job- and he was beautiful.

His father had put in 7 requests to move Itachi to ANBU. They all got misfiled somewhere around the Hokage’s desk. He’d never seen them, though I’m sure Jiji knew I was losing them on purpose. I’d seen him waffle about never having seen the paperwork before last month when Fugaku had stormed the office wanting to know why they were bing ignored.

Speak of the Devil.

“Ohayo Itachi-sempai”, I smiled- all gentle mouth and eyes- and demurely Itachi covered his mouth as if to stifle amusement.

“Ohayo Naruto-Kun” Oh he was good. I could feel myself relax just a little in my spine. A Ninja that made people at ease-(despite themselves) I practically crowed in delight in my head. We needed more of him.

For a second, I briefly contemplated asking Danzo to ask Orochimaru if personality profiles could be instilled people. If Orochimaru had linked himself to all his clones in each curse seal somehow, surely it was possible?

Nah. too much trouble.

“How was your trip to mist Itachi-sempai?” I asked, genuinely curious- He’d been there for the Chunin exams (and obviously had made an impression enough to advance).

Itachi regaled me for a few minutes about Mist’s local culture and foods (mainly their sweets).

“And you Naruto-Kun? How is the Academy?”. Umm. I blinked, wrong-footed. Itachi had just came back from mist, but I’d only made Genin yesterday. I told him so.

“Ahh- I’d meant to pace myself, but they told me each book was meant for the quarter, instead of the year. I studied to advance to the next year, and accidently passed the first Academy Exit Exam.” Which was true- the first test was actually meant just for those like me that didn’t need any classroom instruction. Something Jiji had failed to mention, the sly old monkey.

“Sandaime-Sama,” (because I actually showed him respect when he wasn’t around to know) “he says I’ll be apprenticed in a few days, with some side instruction.”

The Uchiha traded glances (or rather, Mikoto tried, but Itachi was too cool for that).

He smiled at me, “that is good to hear. You’re one step closer to your goal!”
And yeah – everyone knew I was trying for Hokage. Some people still grumbled about it, but graduating so early would help my case. At least nobody scoffed anymore to my face.

I bid the Uchiha goodbye and traced my way back home.

On my bed was a set of white over-robes. White with orange flames at the hems, and an Uzumaki spiral on the back.

And a note- ‘You’ll be keeping an ANBU rotation for a while’.

I smiled.

**line Break**

I showed up at the appointed hour as usual, the robes hanging from my shoulders, and my Hitai-ite sweeping my bangs out of the way. I was still a shrimp, so it wasn’t very effective at inspiring fear- but I was taller than Sasuke, and more dense if our run-in was any test of that.

I was probably adorable.

I sorted paperwork as usual, noting with a frown the straight up political assassination requests that Sandaime was making me ignore. As far as I could tell, he just binned them, since none of the active rotation was ever sent on them except in special circumstances.

“Ah- Naruto-Kun! Let me introduce you to your new master.” The Hokage said as he sat himself at his desk-

I looked around confused

“Myself.” He finished. And oh. But-

“Obviously I cannot instruct you always, and it would be overkill to have a Kage teaching you your basic Chakra exercises. You’ll get assigned temporary instructors in those cases. But you will learn all that the ‘God of Shinobi’ has to teach you. And- “ he trailed off, and he caught my eyes over the rim of his sugar/coffee concoction- “ though because of the delicacy of the seal you carry means that you cannot start unlock your early-“

and What?- that meant I had 3 years of no instruction!

“That does not mean you can be just sitting and twiddling your thumbs.” Ah. Well- good. “I have talked with my old teammate Shimura Danzo”, (and my alarm must have shown on my face for the one he gave me in return) “and we have come to an agreement. You shall for the next three years take instruction every other day with him, and learn the other side of Konoha.” “despite..” he trailed off, and sighed. He turned his back to me to look out the window. “you’ll be focusing on physical strength, speed, and Taijutsu fluidity when you are not learning Seals with Jiraiya.”

Wow.

“Your time with me will be focused on chakra theory and politics.”

“Politics?” I asked, surprised- and he turned to me with a smile.

“As we have been doing these many months- you still desire to be Hokage yes?”

And- well. There was only one answer really.

“When do we start?”

“Now.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Training

Seals were magic. I am seriously in love with the whole field. All the fanfiction in the world couldn’t prepare me for how amazingly awesome, diverse, and adaptable the things were. And Jiraiya – though lazy, was brilliant. I got the feeling most of his knowledge was hard won- he had trouble with development. I was helping.

“you’ve just got to think about- well, what kind of amazing power would you like to have? You like watching the women here right?” I asked my tutor.

“Ah- well….”

“Jaraiya-sama; We get complaints across Jiji’s desk from Water Country about your habits, I’m well aware.”

“Serious little gaki aren’t you?” he grumbled- obviously embarrassed. It’s funny- I thought all those things, like scratching one’s nose, or rubbing the back of one’s head in embarrassment were just to help kids understand what was going on that wasn’t said in cartoons, but they really do them here.

“So we’re going to make a viewing portal.” I continued- and wow- I couldn’t believe I was helping with this-

“There’s no one here gaki.”

“Perfect time to set it up.” I was – bouncy. This was going to be awesome.

“But they have to walk right past here to get in- they’ll see it.”

“It won’t be visible!” So. Awesome. Jiraiya was definitely confused now.

“you see- we’re going to set it up here, to take the image, and then transmit it to any location in the village with this stabilizer to keep the picture sharp, like a TV, and now you can’t get caught!”

Jiraiya was dubious. Apparently nobody had managed to transmit things like live TV here before (the horror of VHS). And definitely not using seals. But I’d been a technician in my previous life. I knew not just how TV’s and Cable worked, I knew the Science! behind them.

Well- technically Jiji had that crystal ball, but the technique was chakra intensive, and was a long distance extension of self that was taxing on the individual. This was easy. Absorb incoming light to a surface (in this case the wall of the Onsen where the seal was placed)- kind of like how a mirror reflects an image. Instead of storing the light, like some flash-bang tags, this one would transmit the light and project it on the surface that the sister seal was drawn on. (In this case- the one I drew in my extra notebook) bam. Instant spying technique. I paused a moment, and ran a parallel seal around the upper left quadrant and looped it into the matrix. There. Now it did sound as well. I drew the seal on the wall, and it’s recipient in my notebook before touching them together- (I couldn’t activate it with my chakra so it had a work around) and they faded into their respective mediums.

“How did you do that?”

“What?” I asked absently- did my hair really look like that in the back?

“Your chakra’s not unlocked. We’ve only been doing theory- but you activated this seal.”

“Well,” I paused to look at him “yeah- it doesn’t run off of chakra.”

Jiraiya looked alarmed and stern, both things I didn’t normally associate with him- “Natural energy isn’t something-“

“It’s not Natural Energy. Well- not really. It’s sunlight. See-photovoltaic and thermal energy. Heat is really active, and light is heat, so as long as one of the seals has some light touching it, it’ll keep charging the seal. See here, where I added the runoff so it doesn’t over-charge and explode? It’s set so as long as it gets 3 minutes of indirect sunlight it’ll stay running for 3 days, if I did the math right- based on Kagashi Morito’s principle of…”

**Line Break**

“Only when one truly kills his heart can he be a tool for his village.” Said Danzo in another of his impassioned speeches (as I lounged in my chair to the side of his desk half ignoring him). It’s like the guy liked the sound of his own voice or something.

“…for a heart is fallible and weak to the desires of the individual-“

“Exactly.” I interrupted, not looking up from my reading. “It is the individual that feels desire- for the protection of one’s precious people, for one’s village. It is from fear, or the desire not to feel loss, that all our protective instincts are born. Total loyalty is a selfish thing born of desire.”

“How so?”

“Purpose and moral rightness can be motivators for the …”

**line Break**

“…just doesn’t make sense to ignore it. There’s plausible deniability and then there’s negligence. I’ve seen Danzo’s paperwork, and he almost took an assassination mission for Kaguya Kinto last week.”

“Naruto- it has always been this way, for the leaves of the tree-“

“Oh Kami- forget the euphemisms Jiji! it’s a fallacy of tradition that the way we do things now is the only way to do things. If he’d actually killed Kinto-san, we’d have lost his Uncle in the Mist trade council elections next week, and it’d cost us twice as much to buy rice here in Konoha all next quarter. It’s basic math. It was all in the intelligence report Yamanaka-san submitted with the request. Taking the mission would have cost us more in the long run than we would have received, just in feeding ANBU on bedrest.”

The Sandaime scrunched his eyes contemplatively. “So you think the new review sheets should have a cost/benefit analysis on the front?”

I nodded my head. “With a color code here- yeah?” I showed him the template I’d been working on, and he bent over with studious interest. “Green for pure money benefit, Red for loss, with blue borders to indicate if there are political ramifications from…”

**Line Break**

=CrAsH!=

I turned my head from my meal at Ichiraku’s and took in the stunned Chunin that had just entered the stand. Ah. Iruka. He looked- distressed.

Forehead crinkling in thought, I surreptitiously checked our surroundings for what had upset him so much, but he seemed to be looking at me. Weird. I turned back to my ramen.

The thing was, as a Jinchuriki, my hearing was a lot better than most. So when Iruka breathed “Yondaime-sama” under his breath, I heard it. Hah. I looked up at Teuchi, who was watching the whole interaction. I twirled my new long-ish bangs around one finger, pulling them a bit and made suggestive eyebrows at him. He snorted and cracked a smile before coming forward to great Iruka.

People definitely noticed the new hairdo. My ANBU team had been getting more excitement than normal- but it could have easily have been the new long white Jacket that proclaimed “Godaime Hokage” down the back. The village didn’t know it yet, but as the Sandaime’s apprentice I’d been slotted for the position since I was 5. It’d been made official when we’d visited the Daimyo last month.

I’d only had my chakra unlocked for 4 months, (Finally 8 years old!) but I had gotten so much theoretical knowledge of chakra over the years that I’d busted out two of the basic three in a week. The Kage Bunshin I’d gotten on my 2nd try. I’d been training with them almost non-stop since (though in much smaller quantities than in Canon- I didn’t want an Aneurism).

I meditated 4 hours a day while doing chakra control exercises on top of the Naka river as part of my sage training. The ANBU kept everyone well away, and Tenzou was kept on standby in case the Kyuubi reared itself (I doubted it- in my mind, the island I thought contained Kurama was still too far for me to reach; whether he was sleeping, or I wasn’t ready to meet him yet, I wouldn’t worry- Naruto had originally met him at 12, so I had time).

Jiraiya had already had me sign the Toad summoning contract, and I was working on shape manipulation (it had potential – if I could drop seals like my father had with just my chakra!).

With my Taijutsu, speed, and solid founding in theory, not to mention my mastery of seals and politics, I’d received complete support from not only Jiji, but his council as well.

So I was confirmed as the Godaime Hokage- as long as I made a good strong showing in the Chunin exams next month.

…which were held in Iwa.

When the Daimyo had said that, I’d wanted to do a legitimate anime face-plant. I was going to have to convince the Tsuchikage that I deserved to go out in the world and be a thorn in his side- when I’d dedicated a significant amount of time into looking more like my father- whom he hated even 8 years after his death.

And I’d have to do it under my own name- which was thankfully not Namikaze- and live. Without an ANBU detail. For over a month. In Iwa.

If I was going to live through this, while still making a name for myself to validate my Kage candidacy, I was going to have to conceal all relation to my father for a month- then reveal my true self at the end of the tournament under my own terms, without being under duress, as well as- (though not stated but greatly implied-) winning the tournament. Without using the Rasengan, my re-imagined Hirashin, my new summons contract, or even looking anything like him.

No pressure.

A/N: Next up! Chunin Exams in Iwa! I’ll not be able to just pull the whole chapter out my ear like usual- I’ll have to look up who all the names of the rock nin are. Dunno that stuff off the top of my head. I gots plans though- for the tournament. (insert Seymour Burns impression here)

Chapter Text

He was a ghost. Or maybe Kakashi was- but it was like Sensei was sitting there in miniature. Plodding away at a seals calligraphy primer the intelligence division had come up with to target future possible masters.

He was a genius, undeniably- and there were more than a few of the ANBU- the ones that had served the Yondaime as bodyguards specifically- that wondered if Minato hadn’t sealed more than the fox that day.

Kakashi could see where they were coming from. Naruto had quirks that couldn’t be explained by his 2 and ½ years of life. A caution that was bordering on paranoia, and a seriousness that did more than mimic an adult.

He tracked the ANBU that guarded him- maybe subconsciously, but there was a studious ignorance about it. Kakashi was guilty of trying to get the kids attention before- a rustle of leaves, an overturned stone- ‘Naruto’ noticed every time; and studiously ignored it directly after.

It was ridiculously adorable- He had his mother’s chubby cheeks and her chin, even if she gave him nothing else (except a 40ft tall chakra monster…) and when he ‘ignored’ his ANBU guards, those cheeks puffed up a bit as he froze. The whole action vaguely reminded Kakashi of a disgruntled bird- or maybe a toad.

He had good instincts. He’d inadvertently tipped off his guards to assassination attempts more than a few times.

**linebreak**

Kakashi sat in a tree snacking on the highly nutritious gummy candy that was issued to young ANBU. He’d complain, except that the ‘candy’ was delicious, and fit under his ANBU mask easily. As an added bonus, it kept the med-nin at bay (Kakashi was careful not to ask what was in it).

It was a beautiful day- Sandaime-sama was hanging out in the play yard again, though Naruto had avoided him so far with a wary eye. There were bets on how long it would take before Naruto talked to him. The Sandaime was disgracefully obvious about how upset he got about Naruto avoiding him.

One of the orphan girls- the clumsy one that ate glue Kakashi thought- fell in front of Sandaime who twirled her up out of the way of the table as she tried to avoid a bee, averting a crash.

Naruto ran over- he was kind of a mother hen really- calling for the current Jounin on duty.

“That Ero-JiJi was staring at Akiko’s underpants!”

Kakashi proceeded to choke on a gummy candy trying not to laugh and fell out of a tree.

(Genma hasn’t let him live it down since).

**Line Break**

Barring the Morrito incident, Naruto’s nay-sayers were generally few and far between. He was pleasant and happy- he smiled almost constantly.

It was a smile that knew things.

It was sensei’s smile. The one that had made Kakashi feel like-

That didn’t matter.

Naruto wandered around the village a lot these days, even without Sandaime following behind him introducing him to everyone. He did everything Obito used to say he’d been doing- helping old ladies with their groceries, though he could barely carry them himself (once he’d borrowed a child’s wagon so he could help with groceries all day. He put it back where he’d found it only after cleaning it and oiling the wheel spokes so it didn’t creak [the Kagura’s had never noticed their wagon missing]), helping cats from trees, getting lost in the red-light district.

He’d returned a week later and let the girls dress him up like a geisha (he’d been unnaturally graceful on those tall geta). He stopped for tea with the Madam every other week, and they gossiped and then had long philosophic discussions about the possible uses of technology; Who would try to use technology to fly? Who would want to box themselves into a tin can and sink to the bottom of the sea?

And he drew.

He drew, he painted. He sketched. Things he didn’t – couldn’t know, and things that couldn’t be real. Mountains made of metal and glass, contraptions that boggled the mind- whole villages that reminded him of Ame, though Kakashi had only seen the reports- he’d been too young to visit there.

It kind of freaked Kakashi out.

Except they were all –all of them- happy.

He’d drawn a gray dead-end alleyway once, but with a streaming sunrise in the backround full of color. It was Kakashi’s favorite.

Two days later, as Kakashi killed an assassin from Iwa- (likely one that had broke cover when he noticed the child’s resemblance to Sensei) he looked up from the dead carcass sitting in a dead-end alleyway to the sunset above and felt a shiver down the back of his neck.

(after looking through the watch logs for Naruto, Kakashi found that the resident Jinchuriki had paused in front of that exact alleyway a day before he started to paint it in order to sketch it out in his notebook. Probably a coincidence).

**Line Break**

Kakashi didn’t remember Kushina-san eating this much ramen.

Even when she was pregnant.
(and she’d eaten a lot)
The ‘Uzumaki Specials’ were downright obscene. Kakashi had heard that ANBU teams sometimes ordered them to share after a particularly hard mission. Usually when they were all suffering from mild chakra exhaustion. They were being reviewed by the Med-nin for recommendation on some extreme chakra exhaustion cases- several of the ingredients that were kept in the kitchen just for the Uzumaki special were used otherwise exclusively for Akimichi food pills. The use of the Miso base, somehow made the ingredients more mild on the system- invoking a regulated, safe, chakra boost without overtaxing even a Genin’s system.
Kakashi was glad they had agreed to share those ingredients with Teuchi- Naruto bled off chakra like no tomorrow- despite having not unlocked it (?). More than the Sandaime even.
He flared bright, and received a lot of foreign scrutiny. It didn’t help that Naruto looked so much like sensei- likely on purpose, the brat.
But if he didn’t eat so often-
Kakashi had read the reports- how the seal around Naruto’s stomach ate through three times the average Chunin’s chakra pool a day. How it taxed his blood, his bones. How he needed to eat 6 times the normal daily caloric intake.
That chakra cloak fed his seal mostly from outside his body. It seemed to inch along his skin to his stomach and into the seal, from every pore, or every cell rather than tenketsu.
And he seemed to be able to control it.
Despite flaring brighter than the sun to sensors all over Konoha, Naruto had never accidently set off a seal. Even when he touched an active seal, his chakra seemed to slough off his hands and away from the seal (according to the Hyuuga).
Jiraiya had had a conniption the first time he’d seen Naruto activate a seal. The resultant theory smackdown had been more than enlightening.
(Not that Kakashi was ever going to admit that he was rather good with sealing theory- copy-nin or not, he’d never see the outside world again- like Kigiro).
They’d assumed at first that it was Naruto’s chakra cloak activating the seal, but no Hyuuga- including the clan head Hiashi- had been able to see any chakra in the activated seal. A barely-there shimmer seemed to be the build-up of this ‘photovoltaic’ energy that Naruto used; but otherwise it was completely undetectable.
(Jiraiya had bet Kakashi one of his new books against it being light energy- Kakashi still refused to read it)

Kakashi looked back and saw Naruto half way through his second ‘Uzumaki Special’ and almost puked into his facemask. Thankfully he didn’t.
(He’d learned his lesson the first time he’d done that- so gross).
**Line Break**
They’d been very cautious about actually allowing Naruto to use chakra. If the kid hadn’t been so smart, and already knew how to unlock his chakra, they might have tried to keep him from even using chakra completely.
A chakra cloak had turned out to be something that a lot of Jinchuriki had access to. Tenzou had been on Naruto’s guard rotation for the last year, but since Naruto was now 8, he’d been promised Chakra.
He looked like a kid for once, bouncing around the hokage’s office with a giddy look on his face, causing minor chaos by upsetting his previously pilled paperwork.
The only reason the Sandaime was okay with it had to be all the paperwork the kid had saved him over the years.

Naruto already knew what to do- but when the Sandaime finally allowed it, the group didn’t stop running until they were at a training ground completely out of the village.
A mokuton stump sat in the middle of a clearing, brimming with Tenzou’s chakra. Naruto dusted his fingers across the surface before sitting down, totally serene, despite obviously knowing why it was there.
He sat on the stump in a meditative pose- ‘assuming the position’- (If that pervert Genma didn’t stop trying to signal him with his hands of the potential hilarity Kakashi was going to pour hair dye into his shampoo [itching powder being banned for the disastrous consequences it effected in the field when an affected teammate was distracted]).
Kakashi took back everything he said about the kid probably faking not having unlocked his chakra as his eyes widened in alarm as the stuff practically exploded from the kid. It pulsed with his heartbeat until he took a deep breath-
Then let it out.
and the chakra receded to a manageable level before Twisting.
Suddenly Kakashi was standing across the clearing from someone with his personal chakra signature- his own reacted in alarm, and a frown flitted across Naruto’s face before the kid’s chakra faded smoothly back into his own signature only greatly diminished.
(how had he done that? Copying someone’s exact signature was supposed to be impossible-howdidhedothat?)
After a few more deep breaths, the chakra became unnaturally smooth, before it started to show more common Genin chaos, though at about a Chunin-level.
“Naruto”, interrupted the Sandaime- ridiculously calm-“cut your output by half- you’re currently emitting at a mid-Chunin level”.
“Gomen.” Said sensei’s incredible son, before cutting his output by half exactly.
Kakashi’s skin erupted in goosebumps. He turned a panicked eye towards Tenzou, who, though wide-eyed himself, gave a small smile and shake of the head to show that Naruto wasn’t emitting any Bijuu chakra.
He looked entirely too happy about this. Kakashi was going to line his ANBU mask eyeholes with grease.
**Line Break**
Naruto was walking around like a mini-sensei.
It was adorable except for the fact that it was really creepy.
As far as Kakashi knew, Naruto had never seen a picture of his father. All the history books failed to really come across with enough of sensei’s personality that people could emulate it- mostly because Konoha was a little embarrassed about having such happy-go-lucky Kage.
When they’d finally revealed the stern face of Sensei on the Hokage monument, Kushina-san had laughed hard enough for a noodle to come out her nose.
(So graceful. Sometimes Kakashi wondered how such graceful people procreated before his mind cringed as it came up with some examples)
Naruto even walked the same. Sometimes, Kakashi felt like there was some truth behind the rumors- that perhaps- just maybe- some piece of sensei lived on in his son.
**Line Break**
Peaking down at the unmoving Naruto sitting on the Naka river, Kakashi tried to remember the last time the kid had acted like a kid at all.
He didn’t look at pretty girls- or boys for that matter (though he was still only 8). He didn’t ‘play ninja’ or start ridiculous arguments, throw temper tantrums or beg for sweets. Kakashi had only heard him cry once- when he was a few months old. He’d been left by the caretaker in a dirty diaper for over an hour before he’d started to cry.
Kami- Kakashi remembered that Nara, who’d most often been the nin on duty had once complained that the kid was too easy. He’d missed more than one meal because the caretaker on duty had missed him and Naruto hadn’t spoken up because he “didn’t want to be a bother.”
He trained constantly. He never let himself wander from his assigned chakra manipulation tasks. And though awe-inspiring, Kakashi was aware enough of Naruto’s limits that it no longer bothered him. Naruto had even apologized for copying his signature. Kakashi had given him permission.
These days Naruto cycled through each of his ANBU guards’ signatures before he settled down for meditation. Kinda like roll-call. It was probably a good habit even. No way that an imposter would infiltrate Naruto’s guard.
In fact, all of the security features had been upgraded around the village. Anywhere that a seal required blood, or chakra, it now required both.
(it’d taken so much blood to set the seals for Kakashi’s clearance level that he’d been woozy afterwards).
.
.
Kakashi fingered Icha-Icha in his weapons pouch. He shouldn’t have it on duty, but it was almost all he could bear to not pull it out right there. He’d given in out of boredom when Sandaime and Naruto had visited the Daimyo a few weeks ago. (the Daimyo’s guards were in charge of security, so he’d been left with almost three duty-free hours with nothing to do but sit and wait for them to come out again).
Kakashi wondered what they had talked about.
Genma swore they were instilling Naruto has the Godaime. But Genma was a lying liar that lies. And he had the pink hair to prove it. Kakashi had been inspired by a little civilian girl he’d seen Naruto talk to in the marketplace about his age. A pink haired ANBU was hilarious. He’d been getting disapproving looks from almost everyone that saw him.
Itachi said that Naruto was going to be in the Iwa Chunin exams. Kakashi had stolen his Pocky in retaliation. Itachi had pouted for a few minutes and Kakashi had somehow found himself lacking Pocky when he checked his pockets an hour later. Kid would have done well in ANBU.
Kakashi was pretty sure Naruto wouldn’t be sent to Iwa. That was- suicide. And what’s more, because of the treaty in place, Kakashi couldn’t follow him there.

Chapter Text

Every foreign team was required to meet the Tsuchikage before being assigned living quarters for the exams. This could be for a variety of reasons. First impressions, assigning guards on the sly, a traditional or Administrative requirement; but most likely it was for some reason related to our expected surveillance.

It was after all, the only time a village got to closely watch the competition. The ‘Viewing Portrait Seal Technique” that I’d created before I could activate chakra had been hushed up and then slated for the very use of spying on our foreign friends the next time we hosted.

Speaking of- it was our turn. I let my gaze slide across the Tsuchikage’s office as we entered, before bee-lining for a round pillar that would give a good view of the Kage’s desk. There was their version of ANBU not 8 inches from me, hidden in a genjutsu reliant in the shadow of the very pillar I was leaning against. I held the invisible first seal in chakra on the outside of my coat, which I carefully – well- ‘Peeled’ is probably the best descriptor- off my back and put on the pillar; being sure to angle it in order to get a good view. I shifted away a few millimeters from the newly placed seal before leaning back into it (just getting comfortable, nothing to see here), re-activating the sister seal inscribed on the inside of my jacket, covered with a black-out coat liner.

There was no way to tell how closely we were being watched, and I couldn’t chance anyone peeling my jacket apart because it was glowing(good thing it didn’t need chakra to activate).

It’d be the end of peace and the start of the 4th great Ninja war. Early.

This had been an impromptu test from the Council. The “Viewing Portrait Seal Technique” was by far the greatest thing I’d created in my admittedly young career. Yet, it was useless without proper application. It was also a spying technique, which meant that I couldn’t ever be known for it, nor could it ever come to light. It’s existence was an SS-rank secret. In order for it to be used to the greatest effect, it had to be set in ideal locations.

And no matter how many times I explained it to Jiraiya or Kigiro (the other seals master of Konoha[a well kept secret]), they couldn’t replicate it. Something in their heads told them that a seal couldn’t operate without chakra, nor could it be fueled by light. There was some speculation that what I was doing was actually a special Yin release seal, but I’d fought tooth and nail so that I wasn’t hit with a bloodlimit label- they had no proof; and I wasn’t going to get stuck with a wife at 15 if I didn’t have to.

I was only 8, so I’d yet to have to deal with those kinds of hormones.

(Naruto’s sexy-Jutsu technique was easy, and I’d passed it off as a henge a few times. A female Naruto was easiest, but my old body- that of my 20+ year old self from my old world was easy too. Familiar even. I’d spent an afternoon lounging around Jiji’s office during politics lessons just to see how long I could hold it. The Female version of Naruto I could hold about 3 hours- my old self? Rather indefinitely; as long as I was awake.)

 

Once I was sure the seal was active (70% sure). I settled into utter stillness. I kind of needed to, since I was using sage mode as most of my disguise.

(Natural Energy was really invigorating, as a juxto-position to how I had to act to get it. It made my heart sing- a little like marathoning Ke$ha when you’re feeling down- like, with the end result of being pumped, but feeling guilty/embarrassed about how much of a dork you are).

The whiskey colored eyes (a more controlled form of Naruto’s Frog-sage eyes) and orange facial tattoos would probably merit me a lot of attention as a possibly unknown clan kid, but it was the one disguise I could currently keep up without normal chakra through my sleep cycle.

(all the light based seal-techniques I came up with made my skin glow like Legolas in a dark cave. It made sense, being powered by light, but rather obvious at night).

Bandages covered my cheeks, and my hair was absolutely saturated with the special colored powder that was in all my hair products (of which there were many) turning it a dull flat brown. I’d braided my side-bangs back and spiked the rest to look kinda like Kakashi’s ridiculous mop. (My squad leader had almost choked laughing when I’d come out of the bathroom for the briefing).

Ōnoki sat behind the desk, looking over the Konoha Chunin hopefuls and their Jounin Sensei, His student Deidera at his back.

I looked at the bare-palmed future Akatsuki before me. He was young- just barely a teenager. I was surprised he didn’t have mouths on his hands, but didn’t dare ask about it. It must have been a body-modification technique (had to be come to think of it- hadn’t Deidera in the series had a mouth on his chest? Even in the Ninja world, that wasn’t normal).

“I have to say that Iwa was not expecting you this year.” Said the Tsuchikage- left unsaid was that it was because it was the first time They’d run the Chunin exams since the war, and we’d both slaughtered each other.

“Just because We live among the leaves, doesn’t mean we’ll tremble like them.” Tittered Itachi from behind the rest of us (a flirtatious smile on his lips).

Ōnoki reddened a bit- in anger or from the frank assessing glance Itachi had swept up and down his frame, I ‘d rather not know (Itachi would write which it was in the report anyway, he was ace at knowing stuff like that).

The two root members playing the part of my teammates sat at relaxed parade rest off to the side. The blonde one looked apprehensive (I silently applauded his acting).

I was glad Danzo was implementing my suggestions so readily. The Show had depicted a Danzo that was faithful to his own Konoha and not susceptible to change. I was glad that wasn’t the total case. After several months of discussion on psychology and ethics (which were very spare) not to mention patriotism, all Root members now were encouraged (ordered) to develop non-intrusive and productive hobbies that would give them a sense of accomplishment. Most had taken up knitting and writing/illustrating kids books (and one that actually snuck into the Nara compound to play Shogi. Shikaku loved him). The Orphanage and library were being steadily filled with blankets, scarves and ninja-appropriate and patriotic literature – which went a long way in ethnocentric brainwashing the general masses, which practically tickled Danzo pink, since he’d never thought he’d be able to effect the morals of the general population before. Hiruzen-shishou had some reservations, but I’d convinced him to let it play out a little while we checked out the effects (all positive so far) on the population.

There wasn’t much television coming out of Ninja nations yet, because of secrecy, but we’d started producing and exporting educational videos through a 3rd party for civilian kids that were terribly biased. Intelligence reports we’d gotten back from our spies across the nations showed a more positive viewing of Konoha that was more professional and less crazy-murderer than before. Our Root ninja were now the most televised Ninja in the whole of the Elemental nations, but only civilians watched the videos. It was likely that in about 4 years or so the civilian kids that became ninja would bring it up, but it would be way too late by then to undo the social conditioning we were doing. I was looking forward to reports of the first time a Root member was recognized in the field.

Ah. I’d drifted out.

Deidera was staring at me. I allowed myself to stiffen and widen my eyes in shock a bit, since I was supposed to be a Genin (I mean, I was- but if the Sandaime died tomorrow I’d be Hokage- booyah). He smirked at me. I narrowed my eyes, puffed out my chest and smirked back.

Itachi touched my elbow to lead me out of the office (I guess the dick measuring contest was over). He played with my hair a bit as we left the office to our accommodations. I rolled my eyes but allowed it- Itachi was really great at head rubs and massage. He was a little touchy-feely, but I enjoyed it, and it was hilarious. His father almost had aneurisms daily.

Since Itachi was the most visible member of the Uchiha around the world, and really obvious about his specialization (and being Heir to the clan), the whole clan was really more laid back than they were in the show. It was kinda hard to be really moody hard-asses about everything when at least half the police force were propositioned by the people they were arresting on a monthly basis. They seemed to enjoy the new Uchiha reputation as excellent lovers (maybe they were enjoying it carnally- they seemed to smile an awful lot).

Itachi caught me up once we were settled in the rooms. I hadn’t missed much. The exam started tomorrow- a whole week earlier than we’d been told to show up. Figures.

I settled into a meditative pose to gather sage energy for the night. Since it was so invigorating, I wouldn’t be sleeping except once a week my whole time here. I’d been worried about my mental health over the month, but I actually dreamed sort of if I fell into a deep enough meditation. I was hyper aware of our watchers regardless, so I couldn’t complain. Any stiffness from sitting so still would fade in a few seconds because of the Natural chakra and Uzumaki vitality.

Itachi was already asleep 5 minutes after settling down. He was the only ninja I knew that made sound as he slept- but then, he probably had to so he wouldn’t freak out his bedmates. The Root kids slept on Itachi like a really weird puppy pile. They would wake up if I pulsed my chakra, but they trusted me. I was their future Kage. It was a good feeling.