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Thrown too far, stupid fucking Uzumaki.

Chapter Text

Kurama looked down at Naruto, where the Jinchuuriki was drawing a seal into the ground of the mindscape. "Kit, the hell is this for?"

"It's a failsafe." Naruto didn't stop in his drawing, and Kurama started to recognize space , time , body , and others in the matrix that was being built up. All centered on two small figurines of Naruto and Kurama. "Kaguya is only getting more powerful, and we're running out of Shinobi." Naruto looked up at Kurama. "It'll send you back to me as a Genin."

Kurama blinked. "Time travel. You made a time travel seal ." He shook his head. " Stupid fucking Uzumaki. "

Naruto grinned. "That's not all I made." He pulled out a paper with another seal, holding it out to the Bijuu. “This’ll let you bypass mini-me’s seal just enough for you to warn the other Bijuu about Zetsu.”

“Me? You’re the diplomat here.”

Naruto rolled his eyes. “Yes you , bastard fox. Bee and Gyuki were on friendly terms, plus they’re near Matatabi and her Jinchuuriki, if I remember correctly. Any ideas on the others?”

Kurama narrowed his eyes at Naruto, becoming more and more suspicious. “…They’ll at least try to tell their Jinchuuriki. Son Goku and Kokuo will probably succeed. Chomei is usually at least amicable with her hosts as well. Saiken is too much of a sap not to warn his.”

Naruto snorted. “Like you’re not a sap who’ll grab me into the mindscape as soon as you get there.”

Kurama whacked his Jinchuuriki over the head with a tail, earning an indignant yelp. “Stupid fucking kit.”

-

Kurama’s eyes snapped open; he’d been taking a nap and felt a disturbance in Naruto’s chakra. 

The seal was glowing, branching out to cover the mindscape. 

“NARUTO!!” Kurama roared, looking around. He was sure that even if this was technically in the Jinchuuriki’s body, being in the seal would be important, especially with how it was drawn.

Abruptly, the seal’s extending lines raced back in, climbing up Kurama’s body. Only then did Naruto appear, smiling sadly and bloody. 

“NARUTO!!”

“She found us, Kurama. There’s nobody left.” Naruto grinned, tears pouring down his face. “Fix the world before it’s broken for us.”

That was what had seemed off about Naruto’s words. Naruto wasn’t coming.

“You idiot ,” Kurama seethed, even as the mindscape started to shatter, revealing blackness.

“I wouldn’t survive. You will.” Naruto stepped onto the last part of the seal. “Give everyone a second chance, hm? Sasuke, Sakura, Kakashi…”

“NARUTO!!!”

Naruto grinned. “Sorry, Kurama. You’ve got some Genin exams to crash.”

“Asshole.”

“Love you too, bastard fox.”

And the world shattered.

-

Kurama opened his eyes to the dank sewer of Naruto’s pre-Kurama’s-freedom mindscape. Thank the Sage. He’d made it. But… Naruto- his Naruto, along with the remnants of the allied Shinobi forces- was still back in Kaguya’s hellscape world, dead, or at least drained of chakra.

Kurama sighed. First things first. Warn his siblings, part of what he’d been sent back to do. He lifted a claw and carefully drew the seal Naruto had made into the back of the cage’s lock, sending a filament of chakra out through it, reaching out for whichever of his siblings was nearest. Isobu was out, already under Obito-Madara’s control by this point. Matatabi and Chomei would be closest, and they could relay to the others if he didn’t manage to reach them. If he could get Saiken as well, then the other Bijuu would hopefully be able to knock Isobu out of the genjutsu, depending on host relations. Obito-Madara wouldn’t be expecting the second Kiri Jinchuuriki to have the information needed to do that. 

Enough thinking. Kurama growled to himself, reaching for Matatabi first, as the more likely of the two Kumo Bijuu to answer. “Hey, cat!”

The response was delayed, but not by nearly as much as he’d been expecting. Matatabi’s host was probably decent, then. “Kurama? Why are you wanting to talk?”  

“There is an organization on the loose that is being manipulated by Kaguya’s third kid, Zetsu.” He might hold no love for the Akatsuki, but they’d died once turning against Zetsu right as it was too late, so he’d give them a chance. ( Naruto you asshole, now I’m doing it. ) “The Akatsuki. More than likely some of them are keeping an eye on you and your host.”  

Matatabi snorted. “We’re Bijuu, and my Jinchuuriki is strong, if young. They can certainly try something!”  

“Zetsu is trying to bring back the Juubi and Kaguya.” That shut Matatabi up, the Nibi knowing what that required. “Be on guard. If anyone wearing black cloaks with red clouds shows up, provided they do not have a spiral mask, then talk them down and explain this before going for the kill. If they do have a spiral mask, fucking run. Got it?”  

“Got it.” Matatabi’s infuriated hiss was clear in the words. “Who else have you told?”  

“I’m going for Saiken and Chomei next. Shukaku if I can get them to listen. Son Goku and Kokuo are probably together, but I’m not sure which is more likely to talk.”  

“I’ll get them and Gyuki. Isobu?”

“Under a genjutsu by said spiral-masked bastard. Planning to get Saiken to free him; they’re both in Kiri.”  

“Good luck, brother.”

“You as well, sister.”  

Kurama grinned, glad that at least one of his siblings had responded at the first try. He’d try for Chomei next, and fast, not interested in pushing the seal for longer than he had to. “Chomei!”  

No response.

“Hey! Beetle! Seven!” Kurama was fairly sure that Chomei hadn’t been caught until after all Matatabi, Shukaku, and Saiken had…

“Brother!” Chomei sent joy through the connection. “What’s so urgent you need Lucky Seven?”  

Kurama quickly summarized the same he’d told Matatabi, reemphasizing to Chomei what needed to be done.

Chomei, apparently trying to lighten the mood, chuckled. “…This Zetsu character is rather dumb.”

“The opposite, unfortunately,” Kurama grumbled. “He’s a master of manipulation, and he plans so far in advance that his machinations go all the way back to Asura and Indra.”  

Chomei sighed before her voice hardened. “You talk to Saiken. I’ll talk to Shukaku. Sage knows we’ll need the luck to get them to listen, what with that terrible seal.”  

Another thing Kurama would have to get Naruto to fix at some point. At least he wouldn’t have to deal with Shukaku being a bastard, thanks to Chomei’s goodwill. “Right. Good luck with that, ‘Lucky Seven’.”  

Chomei laughed, earning a smirk from Kurama. “I’ll spare some for you and Isobu!”  

Kurama reached in the other direction from Chomei, seeking out Saiken.

“Kurama!” Saiken crowed upon the fox’s call. “How nice to hear from you!”  

“Not a courtesy call, Saiken. How good are you and your host at genjutsu, more specifically getting rid of it.”  

“We manage any we’ve encountered, especially if it’s in the environment!”

“Isobu is under one.”

Silence from the Rokubi.

“Can you break it?”

“Is that why he and his host have become so bloodthirsty recently?!”  

Recently? Kurama didn’t think that the Mizukage had been put under too long after Obito’s encounter with Rin, and certainly well before Naruto had become a Genin. “Yes. Can you break it?”

“Who even put it there?!” Saiken was clearly outraged at the thought of anyone trapping his brother any more than simply sealing him in a Jinchuuriki.

Kurama explained.

Saiken understood. “We’ll fix this. Sage willing.”

“We’d better,” Kurama snarled, remembering what would happen if they didn’t. “I’ll be out of contact for a bit, but I already talked to both Matatabi and Chomei, they’re spreading the word to the rest.”  

“Be safe, Kurama.”  

Kurama nodded grimly despite Saiken being unable to see him, knowing that with Zetsu on the loose and most of the Bijuu without a sibling near for backup, it was about the best to hope for. “Don’t get caught.”  

Kurama let the last of the communication seal fade out before reaching for Naruto. If the kit was asleep, this would be easy. If he were awake, he’d wait.

Naruto was asleep… but something wasn’t quite right.

Kurama went through with pulling Naruto into the sewer- hopefully Naruto would help fix that once the seal was off- ready to-

Naruto.

Clearly-not-a-Genin-Naruto.

Very, very much too-young-to-be-a-Genin Naruto blinked blearily. “Where am I?”

STUPID FUCKING UZUMAKI.  

Chapter Text

Kurama stared at the blatant child that was sitting in the shallow sewer water. He’d been expecting a preteen. Not a child.

“Woah, who are you? ” mini-Naruto asked, looking up at Kurama in awe.

It wasn’t Kurama’s Naruto, but the kid was still Naruto. “Name’s Kurama, kid. Sorry for dragging you down here like this, but it’s pretty important.” He needed more information. “How old are you?”

“Six!” mini-Naruto announced proudly. “Today’s my birthday! Are you gonna be my friend, Kurama-san?”

Kurama had been sent to before the Uchiha Massacre. “Sure kit.” Fine, I’ll save the damn Uchihas. At least then he wouldn’t have a majorly angsty mini-Uchiha to deal with, and Itachi wouldn’t be a problem at all. “I do need some help though. It’s top-secret.” Kurama grinned when the mini-Naruto’s eyes widened further.

“I can do secrets, ‘ttebayo!” 

I know you can, kit. Kurama smirked, plans building up in his mind. “Good.” He knew Hiruzen always visited on Naruto’s birthday, so the first steps of saving the Uchihas could be put into place almost immediately. “Then listen very, very carefully.”

-

Naruto waited eagerly for Hokage-jiji, repeating Kurama’s plan over in his head one more time. He was going to save a clan! And then Kurama was going to teach him some stuff!

Someone knocked on the door, and Naruto immediately jumped up, whipping it open. “Hokage-jiji!!”

“Hello, Naruto.” Hiruzen chuckled, stepping inside. “How has your birthday been so far?”

“Great!” Naruto lowered his voice to a whisper. “ I found a secret though…

“Oh?” Hiruzen signalled the ANBU to back away a bit, slowly crouching to Naruto's level. “What?”

I saw some weird people the other day! ” Naruto whispered, eyes bright. “ They had masks, like ANBU-san, but they were solid white!

Hiruzen’s stomach dropped. That was signature ROOT Shinobi garb. Danzo had promised they were all disbanded!

An’ they were saying they were gonna kill all the Uchiha! ” Naruto looked up at Hokage-jiji with the widest, most pleading eyes he could muster. “ Why would they do that!? Sasuke-kun is awesome!

Hiruzen had, clearly, let Danzo go unchecked for far too long, if ROOT was both still around and plotting to kill one of Konoha’s founding clans. “I don’t know, Naruto. I’ll look into it though, alright?”

Naruto nodded, grinning. Kurama’s plan had worked! “Yeah, dattebayo!”

Soon after, Hiruzen left, leaving Naruto to clean up a bit.

Naruto?  

Naruto stumbled, almost dropping the trash can. “ Kurama?!

Just think at me, kit. Then people won’t get suspicious.  

Naruto almost nodded before realizing that Kurama wouldn’t be able to see it. Dattebayo, Kurama! Did you see? I got him to save the Uchiha!  

Naruto got the impression of a snort from Kurama. Nah kit, you saved the Uchiha.

How can you talk to me right now? I thought you said you wouldn’t be able to until I took off that drawing!  

I’m using a temporary seal right now. It won’t last too long, but you did good, kit.

Seals were one of the things Kurama had mentioned teaching Naruto! Does that mean you’re gonna teach me stuff now?  

Tonight, kit. Promise. Naruto got the sense that Kurama was very amused. Can’t have you missing out on birthday ramen, after all. 

Naruto tossed the trash can back into its spot, grinning. What Kurama had said was true, after all! Birthday ramen was never to be missed!

-

Kurama pulled Naruto back down into the mindscape once again when the blonde lay down to ‘sleep’, Naruto as of yet unable to get there on his own. “Alright kit. What do you want to know?”

Naruto stared at Kurama, agape. Nobody ever asked him what he wanted to learn, except sometimes Iruka-sensei! “Where are we? What is this place?”

“This is your mindscape.” Kurama chuckled at the disgusted look on Naruto’s face. “With time, you’ll be able to change it.”

“Hmmm…” Naruto considered his other questions, trying to sort them into a reasonable order. “Why are you trapped?”

Kurama groaned. Of course Naruto picked that. “I’m the Kyuubi no Kitsune, kit.”

Naruto’s eyes widened. He knew of the Kyuubi, everyone in Konoha did! The Kyuubi had attacked, incidentally the same day of his birth, and had been defeated by Yondaime-sama! 

Kurama snorted. “I know what you’re thinking, kit. ‘If the Yondaime got rid of the Kyuubi, then why is Kurama in my mind?’, right?”

Naruto nodded.

“You’re a Jinchuuriki, kit. Means you hold a Bijuu, a Tailed Beast, and keep it safeguarded. Unfortunately ,” Kurama snarled, “the rest of Konoha is under the impression that, as you hold me, you are me. This is a gross misconception at best, and downright insulting otherwise. To both of us.”

“So… that’s why nobody likes me?” Naruto looked up at Kurama.

“Yep. They’re all idiots, and besides, when I attacked Konoha I was mind-controlled. After your parents sealed me and died, you were the only one left, and Hiruzen decided, at Danzo’s prodding, that you be kept completely in the dark.”

Naruto blinked, absorbing all the information. “My parents sealed you?”

Kurama smirked, watching the dots connect. Just because Naruto wasn’t book-smart at this stage didn’t mean he wasn’t intelligent by any means.

“But- Yondaime-sama was the one who sealed you!”

Kurama was grinning now. “Exactly, kit. You’re really Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze, the Yondaime Hokage’s son.”

Naruto was still half in shock over discovering that his hero was also his father, and nobody knew .

“Hey, kit, look up, there’s more.” Kurama chuckled at Naruto’s face, the blonde completely dumbstruck. He pointed at the seal stuck to the lock. “Take that off.”

“Wh- how am I supposed to get up there?”

Kurama flicked his tails through the bars, making a ladder of sorts to help Naruto up to the seal. “Go ahead.”

Naruto dug his fingernails under the seal, slowly tugging it off. 

“I- Naruto!?!?”

Naruto turned, seal fully off the lock and in his hands. “Dad?”

“Naruto, what are you doing?!”

“Taking off Kurama’s seal!”

“Hello, Mustard, Ketchup.” Kurama smirked at the completely flabbergasted Yondaime Hokage and Red-Hot Habanero. “I am sure you’ll be furious on Naruto’s behalf after you hear this, so calm the fuck down.”

Neither Konoha legend relaxed at all.

“Danzo did it.”

“Did what?” Minato demanded.

“Convinced Hiruzen to hide both Naruto’s Jinchuuriki status and his heritage, blocked him from staying with Mikoto or Kakashi, and is still working against Hiruzen and Konoha, though Hiruzen has only just started to realize this with an assist from Naruto and some mild trickery.” Kurama could see Naruto’s parents becoming more and more infuriated at each word. “Danzo had also leaked Naruto’s Jinchuuriki status to the village at large, with the implication that Naruto was in fact me in disguise.” He rolled his eyes at the implication. “Any questions?”

“Why the hell are you helping Naruto after you attacked Konoha!? ” Kushina hissed, glaring at her ex-charge.

“Rogue Uchiha, himself brainwashed, put me under a genjutsu and made me do it.” Kurama rolled his eyes, helping Naruto to the water of the sewer. “I know you two have limited time, however, so at least explain how you do your signature jutsus, then I can help teach Naruto later. And finish letting me out.”

“You knew we would show up?” Minato asked, stepping closer to the cage.

Kurama scoffed. “I spent two lifetimes in Fuuinjutsu masters and was actually conscious when you stuck me in the kit, what did you expect?” It was really three, considering the point that his Naruto had reached, but that would take too long to explain. 

“If we do let you out, what will you do?”

Chapter Text

“If we do let you out, what will you do?”  

Kurama snorted. “If you’re thinking I’ll take over Naruto, you are sorely mistaken. I’m safer in a Jinchuuriki.” He rolled his eyes at Ketchup and Mustard’s blatant confusion. “Short version so you can spend time with Naruto: The physical manifestation of Kaguya’s rage is trying to resurrect the Juubi and Kaguya, destroying the world as we know it. If I’m in a Jinchuuriki, then the plant has to go through the Jinchuuriki before getting to me, and because of Mustard’s sealwork, the only way to get me out is to kill Naruto, which I don’t want even if it wouldn’t eventually result in my own death. Capiche?” 

Kushina snorted with laughter, climbing the bars of the cage. “Fair enough, fox.” She stuck the second key into the lock, letting it fall away.

Kurama pushed the gate open, laying down. “Have fun with your kid, Ketchup. I’ll take care of him afterward.”

-

Kurama let Naruto relax for a bit after the chakra impressions of Kushina and Minato dissipated, himself having memorized explanations of both Minato’s Flying Raijin and Kushina’s Chakra Chains, for future use.

“Kurama?”

“Yeah, kit?”

“Are you still gonna teach me stuff?”

Kurama scoffed. “Wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t mean to. Now I can talk to you without dragging you down here, as well.”

Naruto looked up at Kurama hopefully. “Can you help me in school, then? The way they teach it doesn’t make sense, but what you’ve explained does, dattebayo!”

Kurama smirked, unsurprised. “I’ll teach you something else, first, and it’ll help you learn faster.”

“What is it? What is it?” Naruto grinned.

“Kage Bunshin. Shadow clones.”

“Huh?” Naruto tilted his head, confused. “We’re not learning any jutsu yet, though!”

They’re not. You, however, now have access to my chakra, and I can help your chakra coils develop. You can’t tell anyone though, I know your mother explained the potential consequences if anyone knows we’re communicating.”

Naruto grinned. “Dattebayo, Kurama!”

Kurama nodded. “We’ll start tomorrow, kit.”

-

Naruto woke up bright and early, overeager to get to learn how to make clones before the rest of the class had even started. He wasn’t Dead Last, not anymore! Even if nobody would know it, he would! And Kurama knew as well! Kurama! You said you’d teach me today!  

I did. Alright, kit. Close the blinds. 

Naruto did so before returning to the middle of his bedroom, bouncing in anticipation.

Here’s how it works…  

Naruto followed along with Kurama’s explanation easily, surprising to the blonde considering how hard it was to focus on Iruka-sensei’s teaching. He wasn’t arguing though, not when Kurama used his own chakra to show Naruto where his was and how to influence it! Can I try it yet, Kurama? Naruto begged, just waiting for the moment Kurama gave him the okay to try the Kage Bunshin.

You’re aiming for only one clone, remember that. You don’t want to overload your chaka coils, even with me protecting them.

I remember, dattebayo!  

Go for it.  

Naruto’s fingers snapped to the cross position Kurama had guided him to, pushing on his newly-activated chakra reserves.

Three clones popped into existence around him.

“DATTEBAYO!!” Naruto cheered out loud. His first successful jutsu, and it was one nobody else could do easily, Kurama had said! Kurama! I did it, Kurama!!  

Nice job, kit. Kurama chuckled. There’s one more thing about the Shadow Clones. Dispel one.  

Confused, Naruto followed Kurama’s instructions on how to do that, and got an influx of memories of him, looking at three other versions of himself! I get their memories?!?!  

Exactly, kit. See what I meant this would let you learn faster?  

Naruto grinned. Yeah! Thanks Kurama! You’re the best, ‘ttebayo!!  

Fuuinjutsu is next on my list, if you’re up for it.  

Fuu-what-now?  

Seals. Both your parents were masters, it’s in your blood twice over and we’ve got some time before you need to get going to school.  

I wanna learn, dattebayo!!  

Kurama huffed. Grab some paper, then. Your handwriting needs work before it’ll be safe for you to try Fuuinjutsu.  

Naruto groaned. Writing was so boring! And it took forever since nobody would teach him how to get better! He complained as such to Kurama, who chuckled.

One: I’m teaching you, and I have a decent idea of how you’ll learn. Two: You have shadow clones now. It’ll only take about a third as long as it would otherwise, because-  

Because I get their memories!! Naruto grinned, getting some mostly-blank paper and crayons with his new clones. He understood now. You’re so smart, Kurama!

I’d certainly hope so. Let’s do as much as we can before school, and then your clones can keep working, right?  

-

Naruto slid into this seat just before class started, grinning and secure in the knowledge that his clones were working on writing and drawing at home, while he and Kurama would be working at school. Kurama had been right in knowing how to make writing fun, explaining how each piece would go into Fuuinjutsu, and when writing got boring teaching him how to draw, which was much more fun.

After school, follow the mini-Uchiha back to the Uchiha compound.  

Why? He doesn’t like me!  

No, but his mother is Mikoto.

That’s one of the people Kaa-san said she was friends with!

Exactly.  

Naruto grinned as Iruka-sensei started the lesson. Kurama was the best!  

-

Not how that works at all.  

Huh?  

Iruka-sensei had been talking about Henges, how it was like a shell of chakra that made a disguise.

Henges. The chakra is gathered, yes, but it’s closer to… you’ve worked with clay, yes?  

Naruto confirmed Kurama’s assumption, and the Bijuu hummed.

You’re the clay. It’s closer to moving around the outer layer of clay than putting more clay on to change it. Make sense? That’s why complex Henges are harder; they need you to change deeper ‘layers’ of the clay if you want to change so much.  

Naruto’s eyes widened. That made perfect sense. Why don’t they teach it that way then?

Not sure. They might just straight up not know they’re wrong.  

-

Naruto snuck after Sasuke after school, always staying just out of sight. Kurama was tracking the Uchiha somehow, with the promise that he’d teach Naruto once he got used to using chakra.

Is that it?  

Yep. Ready for some stealth?  

Ready, dattebayo!  

Kurama directed Naruto to go around the wall of the compound, finding a place where the guards- of which there seemed to be a lot of- were just out of view. You’re going to run, climb that tree, and get onto the rooftops, got that, kit?  

Said tree didn’t have any branches, or at least none that Naruto could reach. What am I supposed to climb with?  

Look at your hands, kit.  

Naruto’s jaw dropped. Instead of fingernails, he had small claws tipping his fingers. How did you do that!?  

Very carefully as to not get caught. Ready to climb?  

Naruto hummed affirmation.

Go!  

Naruto leapt forward, scrabbling up the tree as fast as he could and leaping over the wall onto a conveniently-placed roof.

Let’s go find Mikoto, kit. Follow my lead.  

Naruto grinned, racing across the roof.

On the ground, go left.  

The Jinchuuriki slid down a second tree to the ground, ignoring the startled Uchiha he almost landed on in favor of sprinting to follow Kurama’s directions.

Straight, don’t get caught. Three houses, then right. Biggest house.  

Naruto saw the house Kurama was talking about almost immediately, leaping up onto the porch and running into the door. “Ow!”

Knock, don’t break the door down. Kurama was clearly amused, however.

A tall person with long dark hair opened the door. “Hello- what?”

Naruto grinned brightly. “Mikoto-san!! You were friends with Kushina-kaa-san, right?”

Kurama laughed. That’s one way to do it, kit. You never were one for subtlety.  

“So, Hiruzen told you about your heritage?” Mikoto asked the blonde, crouching to his level.

“Nope! I figured it out!” Naruto grinned proudly. “Did I get it right? Did I?”

Mikoto’s eyes widened. She’d figured, of course, that no kid of Kushina and Minato would be anything less than perceptive, but she also hadn’t expected Naruto to just… show up, having figured his parents’ identities out on his own. “You did, at least on Kushina’s part. Would you like to come in, Naruto-kun?”

“Sure!!”

“So, how did you figure it out?” 

Naruto grinned. “Well, my parents died the night the Kyuubi attacked, right?”

Mikoto nodded.

“And I was born that night as well!” Naruto was glad he and Kurama had come up with a cover story. “There was only one Uzumaki who died that night: Kushina! And she was pr… pregnant before that, dattebayo!”

Nice job, kit.

Thanks Kurama!  

“That does make sense, doesn’t it. Good deduction skills, Naruto!” Mikoto praised, wondering if Hiruzen had figured out that Naruto knew.

“Kaa-san?” Sasuke entered the front room. “Hey! Why are you here, Dead Last?”

“Sasuke!” Mikoto scolded. “Naruto is Kushina’s son, as he recently figured out, and came to find me after discovering that Kushina and I were good friends. If not for Kushina dying, he would essentially be family.”

Sasuke tilted his head. “Then why is he always in last place in class?”

Naruto shrugged.

-

Naruto.  

Huh? Naruto paused in the game he was playing with Sasuke, focusing on the severity in Kurama’s voice.

Hiruzen and Fugaku Uchiha, as well as some of your usual ANBU are on their way here.  

Oh.  

“Hey! Naruto!”

Naruto looked up at Sasuke, grinning. “Hokage-jiji is coming!”

Kit, you’re not supposed to know about Minato, remember?  

I know! I’ll take care of it, Kurama!  

“Naruto!” Hiruzen called, the blonde looking over from where he was playing with Sasuke and grinning.

“Hokage-jiji!” Naruto jumped up, running over to Hokage-jiji. “What are you doing here, ‘ttebayo?”

“I heard you’d jumped the wall, and it so happened that I needed to talk to Fugaku, so I decided I would come and pick you up.”

Fugaku nodded. “Naruto, I understand that it was you who heard the group plotting to kill my clan?”

Naruto nodded. “I didn’t want Sasuke-kun to be dead!! Plus they were really creepy!”

“Thank you very much, Naruto.” Fugaku bowed slightly. “Your suspicions were correct.”

“Otousan?” Sasuke asked, worried. “Someone was gonna try and kill the clan?!”

“Indeed.”

Ask if they found whoever was plotting it.  

Naruto turned to Hokage-jiji. “Did you stop the people?”

“We did, Naruto.” Hiruzen nodded. “They won’t be an issue anymore. You should probably head back to your apartment though.”

“But-”

Go along with it. Don’t forget to dispel your clones before they’re seen.  

“-Fine…” Naruto pouted. “Bye Sasuke-kun!” He raced off toward the entrance to the compound, grinning.

Chapter Text

Naruto dispelled the Shadow Clones the moment he shut the door, standing still for a minute as he was assaulted with memories. 

Looks like they got a lot done, Kurama praised, humming. 

Can you teach me another jutsu?  

Sure, kit. Do you need more food?

Nope! Mikoto-san’s a good cook! Naruto headed into his bedroom, the blinds still shut and drawings and sheets of transcribed stories scattered around. That was what Kurama had the clones working on: Writing down the stories Kaa-san and Tou-san had told, and when that got boring, drawing whatever came to mind. It helped that Kurama had no expectations on completion or quality, just enjoyment that happened to help Naruto get closer to working on Fuuinjutsu. Can I try a Henge? 

A good idea, Kurama nodded, thinking. His voice descended to a growl, half-wanting to go see if the objects of his ire would try and overcharge the Sage-damned Kyuubi . I imagine you could Henge into a nondescript citizen and then the shopkeepers would have no reason to overcharge you.  

Yeah! Naruto had always thought that he was paying more than the others at shops, and Kaa-san and Tou-san had confirmed it, at least from their lifetimes, furious on his behalf. How do I do a Henge?  

Kurama chuckled. These should be easy for you, considering my own skills, and he began explaining.

Naruto’s first attempt was simple, changing a few features as a test. 

The Jinchuuriki’s second attempt was a full-body transformation, based off none other than Sakura, who Kurama had chosen on purpose, considering the Team 7 from the previous timeline, and Shikamaru.

Naruto now had dull brown hair in a low ponytail that reached to just below his shoulders, black eyes, a red tank top, and thick black pants. Unique, but in no way eye-catching. Maybe a bit more Shinobi than civilian, but it was solid, and didn’t overly resemble any particular family.

Well done, Naruto. Kurama applauded, looking through Naruto’s eyes at the result. 

Naruto grinned, dropping the Henge. I have an idea!  

Hm?  

I can control the shadow clones, right?  

Yes.  

Can you control them too?

Kurama blinked. That was something he and his Naruto had never tried, never even really thought of. Possibly. I don’t know.  

Naruto grinned. We should try!

Tomorrow, kit. Remember what I said about overusing your chakra coils?  

Naruto pouted. Fine!

-

Hiruzen sighed, catching the eye of the Yondaime Hokage’s portrait on the wall. He’s a hero, Minato. Saved the Uchiha clan. He winced at the reminder of Danzo’s ROOT Shinobi, likely spread throughout the village. He’d sent Kakashi with the team that would look for evidence of other crimes Danzo had more than likely committed against the Tree, knowing that the last Hatake would be relentless, and the combination of dog summons and a Sharingan would be vital.

The man himself, Danzo, had disappeared, seemingly into thin air, while the Uchiha had begun hunting for any ROOT Shinobi they saw. The few successes so far had quickly been thwarted by the ROOT members activating suicide seals, so there was no evidence to track.

Hiruzen was too old for this.

-

Kurama reached out for Saiken. The Rokubi had the most dangerous mission, and it couldn’t hurt to check in. “Saiken!” Isobu was there as well, and no longer ‘muted’, so it seemed likely that Saiken had succeeded.

“Kurama! You were right, Isobu was under a Genjutsu.”  

“Hello, Kurama.”  

Kurama breathed a sigh of relief at the responses from both Kiri Bijuu. “Thank the fucking Sage. Isobu, Saiken told you what’s happening with Zetsu?”

“Yes. Yagura is already working to fix the whole ‘Bloody Mist’ issue with the new Godaime Mizukage, who was already planning to stage a coup with her friends.”  

Kurama snorted, remembering the reason Zabuza and Haku had left Kiri in the first place. “Mei whatshername is the Godaime, then?”  

Stunned silence from the two Kiri Bijuu.

“I’ll take that as a yes. If spiral-bastard shows up again, don’t get caught.”  

“Kurama?!!” Saiken was quite clearly bewildered.

“What.”

“Where are you!? You’ve never had a good relationship with your Jinchuuriki, much less able to reach out to us or know things outside your village!”

Kurama rolled his eyes, sending exasperation through the connection. “Things changed. ‘Things’ being an idiot Jinchuuriki who decided he would not leave me the hell alone until we were friends.”

Saiken laughed. “The big bad Kyuubi no Kitsune, brought down by friendship!”  

Kurama laughed, having already gone through one round of teasing by his siblings. “My Jinchuuriki is six years old, and within the past two days has saved a clan from being massacred, learned how to make Shadow Clones and Henge himself, and is figuring out how to let me run around unhindered. I’ll take it over Zetsu and Kaguya destroying the world.”  

Saiken was silent for a moment while Isobu chuckled at the instant shutdown. “…One question. Who the FUCK made a six-year-old into a Jinchuuriki?!”  

“A series of unfortunate events involving spiral-bastard made a newborn into a Jinchuuriki,” Kurama grumbled. “Have either of you checked in on the others?”  

“Chomei did,” Saiken confirmed. “She apparently managed to tell Shukaku about the insane-child-of-Kaguya deal, and was checking in on us after that ordeal. Haven’t told her Isobu’s free now, though. We haven’t gotten anything from Matatabi or Gyuki.”  

“Hopefully that means nothing’s gone wrong. Don’t get caught.” Kurama switched his attention to Matatabi and Gyuki. 

“Kurama!” Matatabi was the first of the two to answer. “Good news, I hope?”

“Saiken’s freed Isobu and the Bloody Mist is no more, by which I mean the new Godaime is fixing things. Did you get word to Son Goku and Kokuo?”

“I didn’t but Gyuki did. They’re both with Iwa missing-nin, watching each other’s backs. You weren’t gone for nearly as long as I expected!”

“My current Jinchuuriki decided to release my seal on account of being friends.” Kurama cut Matatabi off before she could try and tease him. “He immediately proceeded to come up with a way for me to run around unhindered.”

“HE WHAT?!” Matatabi shrieked. “Tell me how! That would be so much fun with Yugito!”

“No.” Kurama grinned at Matatabi’s infuriated hissing. “My Jinchuuriki did it on his own. Figure out your own way.”  

“I am going to beat you over the head with the evil plant.”  

“Fat chance, cat.”

-

Naruto woke up early again, eager to try giving Kurama a clone to use. He immediately made a few Shadow Clones and had one run around and close the rest of the curtains, the second starting some ramen while he himself changed into his signature orange jumpsuit. Kurama!

Morning, kit, Kurama grumbled.

I made some Shadow Clones to make breakfast and finish closing the curtains, so I can try and make you a clone!  

Well done, that’ll help your chakra coils get used to being used. Eat before you try and use any more chakra.  

Naruto grinned. It felt good to have someone watching over him, however gruff and not-human Kurama was. Food first, right, ‘ttebayo!  

Soon enough, Naruto had finished eating and regained the memories from the two Shadow Clones. Ready! How should I do it?

Kurama chuckled. Your idea, kit. If it’ll harm you, I’ll stop you. He sent some of his chakra to Naruto. There’s my chakra. Go ahead.  

Naruto crossed his fingers, summoning a Shadow Clone. He ended up with two, but dispelled one. There!  

Kurama hummed, reaching out for his chakra that had gone into the clone. I do believe… That you have succeeded.” The red-eyed clone grinned, teeth sharp.

“IT WORKED, ‘TTEBAYO!!” Naruto cheered. “What are you gonna look like?”

“Hm…” Clone-Kurama smirked, activating a Henge in a puff of smoke. “I think this’ll do fine.” He’d given the clone medium-length Uzumaki-red hair, gotten rid of Naruto’s whisker marks, and changed the clone’s clothes to a slightly-tattered black and red mimicry of Naruto’s jumpsuit, keeping the Uzushio spiral on the back. The whole Henge was a good few feet taller than Naruto.

“You look like Kaa-san, dattebayo!” Naruto grinned.

Clone-Kurama snorted, fluffing Naruto’s hair. “That’s on purpose, kit. If I get caught, my parents were escapees from Uzushio who stayed in hiding to keep me safe. They were recently killed, so I snuck into Konoha because I heard rumors of there being Uzumaki here. Sound good?”

Naruto nodded, grinning. Then his face fell. “Are you still gonna be able to help me at school?”

“I can multitask, kit. If it’s an emergency and I’m not paying attention, you should still be able to dispel the clone to get my attention, alright?”

Naruto nodded, grinning. “Right, ‘ttebayo!” He made a few new Shadow Clones to work more on writing and drawing while he was at school. 

“Go have fun at school, kit.” Clone-Kurama growled, turning toward a window. “I’ve got stuff to do.”

“Bye Kurama!” Naruto darted out the door, clattering away.

Clone-Kurama turned to the still-closed blinds. Naruto might not be able to make seals safely yet, but he could. One to muffle any sounds, one to block entrance without Uzumaki chakra, and several others, copied and connected across the entire perimeter of the small apartment. 

Clone-Kurama grinned. Hiruzen still had Naruto’s Uzushio scrolls sealed by Uzumaki blood in the Hokage tower. Currently, he fulfilled that requirement. He grabbed a knife and carefully scanned his surroundings for any ANBU who would be watching Naruto’s apartment, and found one. Shinshun it is, then. He was fairly sure that his chakra in Naruto’s clone would be able to handle it, especially since he wouldn’t be going far, and also not bothering with any of the showy bits that often accompanied it.

Kurama chuckled when his puppeteered clone landed in the alley without drawing any attention from the ANBU, directing it to make a new Henge of a nondescript black-haired Shinobi before hopping to the rooftops and making an unhurried beeline for Hokage tower. He cast his attention ahead, noting that Hiruzen was in his office, with a lot of very- for lack of a better word- icky chakra pockets, and three ANBU with seals. He groaned. Knowing his luck, they were ROOT. Knowing Naruto’s luck and what he’d done yesterday, the disgusting chakra mass was probably Danzo. Well shit.  

Naruto, I’m going to blow my cover.  

Huh? What’s happened?  

Danzo appears to be trying to take over. I am warning you because the clone may go poof.  

Alright, Kurama!  

Clone-Kurama sped up, climbing Hokage tower and stopping beside the window. 

“I will make Konoha strong , Hiruzen.” Danzo snarled. “Like you were never able to.”

Kurama shook his head, mapping out a plan. Why do the crazy ones always monologue. The good news was that he wouldn’t be outnumbered if he used Shadow Clones, and he had a decent chance of throwing Danzo off by appearing as an Uzumaki. The bad news was that the ROOT ANBU were pretty clearly ready to kill Hiruzen at a moment’s notice. Alright, am I the damn Kyuubi no Kitsune or not. He rolled his eyes.

Clone-Kurama Shinshuned in front of Danzo, dropping the second Henge to his Uzumaki disguise and summoning himself a few Shadow Clones to take out the ROOT Shinobi. “Yeah, I don’t think so. You already destroyed one Hidden Village, you’re not fucking getting Konoha too.”

Danzo’s eyes- both, due to Shisui Uchiha not yet being killed- widened minutely. “Uzumaki.”

“No shit ,” Clone-Kurama snarled, lamenting that the clone wouldn’t be able to support shoving a Bijudama down Danzo’s throat. He was glad he’d gotten a knife.

Clone-Kurama lunged forward, ducking past Danzo’s wind jutsu and tearing his claws through the traitor’s gut. “Die, you piece of shit.” He turned, slamming into Danzo’s back and sending the Sharingan thief to the ground, planting the knife in his stolen-arm’s shoulder and snapping his neck. “Hiruzen, call the Hatake and any other ANBU you know are not ROOT. Get Tenzo as well. Anyone who’s paralyzed is ROOT.” He stood, wiping his bloody hand on Danzo’s robes.

Meanwhile, the clones had knocked out the ROOT ANBU who had been pinning Hiruzen and drawn paralysis seals on them.

“Who are you?”

“Kurama Uzumaki. I suggest you take care of the ROOT Shinobi before the truly brainwashed ones break out of their paralysis.” He flipped Danzo over, slicing the bandages off the stolen arm. “Call the Uchiha as well.” He held up the arm, disgusted. “I think they’ll want these back.”

Good news, Danzo is dead and Hiruzen is alive.  

Is there bad news?!

No, other than the ROOT-related news you already know about.  

Okay!  

Clone-Kurama helped Hiruzen back to the chair while Kurama updated Naruto on the situation, explaining what Iruka was going over as he did. 

“How did you get here?” Hiruzen asked, suspicious.

“Snuck in.” Clone-Kurama smirked. “I fixed the barrier after I got through, don’t worry.”

“Why?”

“Heard there were other Uzumaki here.” Clone-Kurama shrugged, dispelling the Shadow Clones except one, directing that one to go get Fugaku. “Figured I’d come find my family.” He’d have to get Naruto’s scrolls from the photo later. 

“Where is that clone going?”

“To get the Uchiha head. They’ll have the manpower to get the others.” Clone-Kurama leaned the three ROOT ANBU against a wall, making a point to step on Danzo at least a few times. He sat on the desk, scraping the rapidly-drying blood off his hand. “They’ll be here in…”

Fugaku, Mikoto, and conveniently enough, Itachi were the ones who showed up, mere moments after the memories of the fetching clone appeared.

“…I was going to say a few seconds, but they’re already here.” Clone-Kurama pointed to Danzo’s bastardized arm. “One of you is gonna want to take a look at that.”

Chapter Text

“One of you is gonna want to take a look at that.”

Fugaku caught sight of what Clone-Kurama meant almost immediately, face twisting in disgust. “What is this?!”

“‘This’ is Danzo constantly rigging missions to make himself more powerful.” Clone-Kurama rolled his eyes, twirling the knife in his hand. “Do with him what you will, and get a medic-nin for Hiruzen over here, I don't know what might have been used on him. Get the Hatake and Tanzo too, they’ll want to know what I have to say.”

Itachi immediately leapt out the window with a nod, presumably to get the requested medic.

“And who are you?” Fugaku asked the ‘Uzumaki’, very much on guard.

“Kurama Uzumaki. I’ve been sneaking around Konoha for a while.” Clone-Kurama smirked. “Be glad I was, else Danzo would be Hokage, and I think we all know how well that would go.” 

Mikoto nodded, the stranger was correct. “Where did you even come from?”

“Uzushio.”

Kakashi and Tenzo Shinshuned into the office.

“Oh good, Hatake.” Clone-Kurama hopped off the desk, ignoring the complete shellshock coming from Kakashi. “Some of Danzo’s shit directly involves you. You’ll be horrified, don’t worry.”

“Uzumaki.”

This Henge is being more trouble than it’s worth. “No shit. Are you gonna stop being flabbergasted and let me explain Danzo’s crimes that are related to you or not?”

Hiruzen gestured stiffly for Clone-Kurama to continue.

“Great!” Clone-Kurama bared his teeth. “ROOT were the ones who took down Uzushio’s barrier, Danzo killed the messenger that was going to ask Konoha for assistance, he was the one who sabotaged Sakumo’s mission- yes, that mission- that resulted in his death, he’s got ROOT, obviously, he was the one who told the Uchiha to hang back at the Kyuubi attack and then started spreading rumors that it was them behind the attack- not really true, by the way- he falsely gave Orochimaru Hiruzen’s permission to do the experiments Tenzo was a part of and then ratted him out- I suggest you try and get him back, by the way- that’s all the main shit, other than…” Clone-Kurama gestured at the eye-imbedded arm that Fugaku was inspecting. “Can someone direct me to where the other Uzumakis in this village are, now? That’s what I came here for.”

“I don’t think so,” Kakashi hummed.

Clone-Kurama crossed his arms. “I already know where my cousin is; Uzumaki reserves are rather distinct. I am asking as a courtesy.”

“Maa, maa, calm down, Uzumaki.” Kakashi placated. “We don’t really know you, so we’re not inclined to take you to him, is all.”

Clone-Kurama smirked. “Have fun with Danzo, Copy-nin.” He ‘Shinshuned’ away: really just making a puff of smoke to disguise dispelling the clone.

Kurama cackled. Kakashi deserved a bit of panic for being a shitty teacher the first time around.

Kurama! I just got the memories back! 

Oh? Any questions, kit?

Who’s the silver-haired guy?

Kakashi Hatake.

The one my parents adopted, dattebayo!

Bingo, kit. Kurama chuckled, sending out a filament of chakra to see what was happening in Naruto’s classroom. How’s class?

I think I understood it without help this time! Naruto looked down at his admittedly-poor notes that had improved a bit since Kurama had started helping.

I agree, kit. Well done.  

Kakashi suddenly appeared in a Shinshun next to Iruka, zeroing in on Naruto before relaxing minutely and turning to Iruka.

Hey kit, wanna see something cool?  

Yeah!  

Kurama grinned, reaching out toward Naruto’s senses like he’d done for his Naruto, enhancing them. 

Naruto gasped, Kakashi and Iruka-sensei’s words drifting into his ears.

-there’s a what?! ” Iruka hissed.

Another Uzumaki. They said they were going to come find Naruto by tracking his chakra signature, but nobody’s sensed or seen them since.

Tracking my what?  

Kurama chuckled at Naruto’s confusion. The same way I tracked mini-Uchiha, kit. I’ll teach you later, as well as how to avoid being tracked like that.  

Okay, ‘ttebayo!!  

Message delivered, Kakashi disappeared again, and Kurama let Naruto’s hearing return to its natural state.

-

Kurama!  

What is it, kit?  

You were really cool when you fought for Hokage-jiji! 

Where are you going with this?

Teach me how you fight, ‘ttebayo! I can’t beat anyone in school yet with the regular Taijutsu. Naruto mentally pouted at Kurama.

Alright kit, I’ll teach you. Kurama smirked. Don’t go thinking I’ll go easy on you or let myself get caught, though.  

Dattebayo, Kurama!  

-

Naruto raced out of the academy and toward home the moment class let out, ready to learn how Kurama fought. It was so cool and he barely used any tools, only his claws and a kitchen knife!

Alright kit, I get you’re excited but first, get some food.  

Naruto screeched to a halt. But- learning!  

Can’t learn if you don’t have energy, kit. Go get some food.  

Fine! Naruto turned and ran toward Ichiraku.

Ramen… Kurama grumbled. Why do Uzumaki always want ramen…  

You were the one who said Birthday Ramen couldn't be missed! Naruto protested.

Kurama scoffed. Doesn't mean I like ramen, I just know you do.  

-

Kakashi froze at Shisui's words. " What do you mean he had claws?! "

Shisui nodded, face grave. "I tried to tell Hokage-sama yesterday, but he was dealing with trying to track down Danzo. He had claws. By the time he reached Fugaku's house, they were gone though."

Kakashi groaned. If the Kyuubi's seal was loosening, it needed to be fixed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the only (Konoha-affiliated, at least) person with enough knowledge in seals to be able to fix it was Jiraiya, who was out of village still. "And nobody's seen this other Uzumaki?"

"No. Last I heard, Naruto was heading for Ichiraku Ramen with no signs of Kurama Uzumaki anywhere, near him or otherwise."

"At least there's that."

-

Naruto shut the door and dispelled the clones he'd left working on drawing, waiting while the fresh memories sorted through his mind. You're gonna teach me how to fight now, right Kurama?  

Kurama chuckled. As promised, kit. Make me a clone. He fed a bit of his chakra to Naruto, and a moment later two clones popped into existence, one immediately dispelling and the other Henging into Kurama ‘Uzumaki’. 

"You're getting good at that, kit." Clone-Kurama smirked. "Before we go, I have something to show you." He led the way over to the window and crouched, beckoning Naruto over.

"Is that a seal, ‘ttebayo?!"

"Exactly, kit." Clone-Kurama ruffled the blonde's hair, pointing out the different pieces and individual seals. "It muffles any sound from inside, as well as blocks anyone outside telling when you use chakra. And this," he pointed to the barrier seal, "you can activate to block entry from anyone without Uzumaki chakra. Currently, in Konoha, that means you and your clones would be the only ones to enter."

“Wait- what about you!?”

“This is a clone under a Henge, remember?” Clone-Kurama poked Naruto’s forehead with a claw. “It’s made mostly of your chakra, puppeteered by mine. I’ll pass fine.”

“How do I activate it, then, ‘ttebayo?”

Clone-Kurama nicked Naruto’s palm and pressed Naruto’s hand against the seal. “Push a bit of chakra into it- barely any by your standards, got that, kit? I accounted for your reserves, but still.”

Naruto eagerly did as asked, and the seal glowed yellow, the connection lines tracing out to the other windows and the door. “Woah! Do all seals do that, dattebayo!?”

“Glow? Most do.” 

Kurama healed the small cut on Naruto’s hand before directing the clone to the door and speaking both through the clone and directly to Naruto. “Training time, kit.”  

Naruto leapt to his feet excitedly. “Dattebayo!”

-

Kakashi snapped his head toward Naruto’s apartment. A second, familiar chakra signature had just appeared. Kurama Uzumaki had appeared out of seemingly nowhere, holding the door for Naruto.

The mysterious Uzumaki grinned, plucking Naruto off the ground while saying something to the blonde.

Naruto’s face lit up, and Kurama Uzumaki leapt to the rooftops, racing away toward the edge of the village with Naruto on their back.

Kakashi sprang into action, hand signs flashing as he Shinshuned in front of Kurama Uzumaki.

Kurama rolled their eyes, not even hesitating before using a Fuuton Jutsu to launch both themself and Naruto forward at a speed likely unmatched by anything but a similar method or a Shinshun. Naruto was clearly cheering even while Kurama careened ahead.

Kakashi made a Shadow Clone, sending it ahead while he continued chasing, trying to herd Kurama toward said clone and trying to figure out just how Kurama had used a Wind Release like that.

Kurama made Shadow Clones. Five of them , and each with a Naruto on their back, and a burst of Katon made it impossible to tell which Kurama-and-Naruto was the real one.

Sage dammit. Thankfully, a few other ANBU had joined Kakashi on the rooftops, and one followed each clone.

Kakashi chose the second pair of Uzumaki from the left, and ended up losing sight of Kurama when they dropped into a street and abruptly disappeared completely , even from chakra-sensing. Naruto’s signature was still there, however.

Kakashi dropped down into the street and quickly found Naruto, who was walking through the street without a care in the world, despite the dirty looks the civilians were shooting him.

“Naruto.”

Naruto turned to Kakashi, grinning. “Hi ANBU-san!”

“Do you know who that was who was carrying you a moment ago?”

“Mhm!” Naruto grinned. “Kurama! He’s an Uzumaki too!”

“We’re looking for him. Where did he go?”

Naruto shrugged, flicking his fingers out in front of his face. “He went poof! It was really cool, ‘ttebayo!”

Chapter Text

Kurama laughed at Kakashi’s complete bewilderment, letting Naruto talk happily as he continued toward the training fields. Well done, kit.  

Are we still gonna train?

Yep. This way they’ll be expecting my clone to be escaping, not training you. Plus, the clone still smells exactly like you, so they won’t be able to track it that way either.  

Naruto grinned, racing ahead of Kakashi and toward an unoccupied training field. “Bye ANBU-san!!”

And… he’s gone. Kurama grinned. Alright kit. Go ahead, we’ve got training to get to.  

Naruto immediately made some Shadow Clones, Kurama Henging one into ‘Kurama Uzumaki’ in the same instant. “I’m ready, dattebayo!”

Clone-Kurama chuckled. “Alright. Have the others Henge into me as well, then it won’t be as suspicious.”

Naruto nodded, doing so. “Are you gonna teach me how to make wind and fire like you did, too?”

“Eventually.” Clone-Kurama darted in, slicing a very shallow line across Naruto’s throat with a claw. “Taijutsu first.”

Naruto’s eyes widened. “That was so fast!!

“Exactly.” Clone-Kurama grinned. “Uzushio Taijutsu was fast, to facilitate combat Fuuinjutsu. If you stick a paralysis seal on your opponent before they can do anything, then you’ve probably won.”

Naruto nodded excitedly. “That makes sense, ‘ttebayo!!”

Kurama grinned. He couldn’t wait to see how the Flying Raijin combined with Uzushio Taijutsu and Fuuinjutsu would fare against Kamui. Have the clones follow your movements, it’ll increase the experience you get just like they help you improve your writing.  

-

Kakashi dispelled his clone and met up with the other ANBU who had gone after the other Kurama Uzumakis, none of whom had gotten any luck either after the Narutos had poofed and the Kuramas had leapt over the walls and disappeared. ‘ Know Naruto safe?

Unknown.

Unknown.

Unknown.

Kakashi turned and leapt toward the training areas Naruto had been heading for, the other ANBU falling into step behind him.

Kurama Uzumaki’s chakra signature was there, oh-so-similar to Naruto’s. 

Shit. Kakashi redoubled his speed, alerting the rest of the ANBU squad to the Uzumaki signature.

Leaping over the final rooftops, Kakashi caught sight of… seven Kuramas, plus Naruto, going through familiar Taijutsu katas. Uzushio Taijutsu, similar to those Kushina had briefly taught him.

The ANBU squad spread out, surrounding the two Uzumaki in an effort to block off any escape attempts Kurama may attempt to mount.

Kakashi landed soundlessly at the edge of the training area Kurama seemed to have claimed, kunai in hand.

Naruto caught Kakashi's eye, and barely half a second later the seven Kurama Uzumakis disappeared in one massive puff of smoke, nothing but a few footprints betraying their presence just moments before, chakra and even scent completely gone, not that the second of those had been discernable at all regardless. 

Naruto stumbled half a step, distracted from the movement he'd been going through. "Hi ANBU-san!" Naruto had no claws.

"I see Kurama returned."

"Yep!" Naruto grinned. "He's teaching me Kaa-san's Taijutsu, dattebayo!"

Kakashi almost froze. Naruto technically wasn't supposed to know who his parents were, a decision Kakashi would never understand, but nobody else in the village was supposed to know either. "You know who your mother is?" He needed to confirm, and then he would probably keep it a secret.

"Yep!" Naruto grinned proudly, beckoning Kakashi down to whisper. " Kushina! She was the only Uzumaki in the village, and she died when the Kyuubi attacked, and she was pregnant!

Kakashi smirked under his two layers of mask. Naruto had figured out his own parentage, or at least maternal parentage.

" And so I went and saw Mikoto-san because she was friends with Kushina and she told me I was right, ‘ttebayo! "

That explained why Naruto had broken into the Uchiha compound. Mikoto would be one who had figured out Naruto’s heritage.

Kakashi shook his head, he'd gotten dragged off-track by Naruto's revelations. "Naruto, do you know where Kurama went?"

Naruto shrugged. “Poof! He promised to teach me that too, dattebayo!”

Kakashi blinked. He wasn’t the best at knowing what reasonable Jutsu for a six-year-old was, but even he hadn’t used Shadow Clones- clearly what Kurama had used, both to distract and to train Naruto- as ubiquitously as Kurama until he was eight.

Though, both Kurama and Naruto were Uzumaki, so they would have enough chakra for Kage Bunshin, probably much more than enough. That really only left the question of where Kurama learned Shadow Clones, and as he did seem to be from the ruins of Uzushio, he would have learned from there. Questions answered. Except those concerning to where and more importantly how Kurama kept vanishing so utterly and completely.

-

Kakashi returned to the training ground that night, Pakkun in tow.

“So, why are we out here, Boss?”

Kakashi crouched, scanning the ground. Nobody else had used this area since Naruto and Kurama, he could smell that, but Naruto’s scent was the only one he could discern. Absolutely nothing else . “Naruto and a new Uzumaki were training here in the late afternoon, for a significant amount of time.”

Pakkun sniffed around for half a moment before looking up, confused. “I only smell Naruto, Boss. What’s this new Uzumaki smell like? Nothing like Kushina, that’s for sure.”

Kakashi shook his head, picking out Kurama’s larger footprints and skid marks in the dust and still getting nothing. “I don’t know what he smells like, unfortunately. He appears out of seemingly nowhere, then disappears whenever it suits him while leaving not hide nor hair of scent, and almost as little of chakra.”

Pakkun passed over the area again. “What’s with his chakra, then? He’s Uzumaki; they’re not exactly subtle.”

“The size of his reserves aren’t why he’s hard to track.” Kakashi sniffed at a spot of dried blood- Naruto’s, he decided. Still nothing on Kurama. “It’s because his chakra is so uncannily similar to Naruto’s.”

-

Sasuke paused, turning to face Itachi-nii. “There’s another Uzumaki?!”

Itachi nodded. “He seems to be training Naruto in relative… not secrecy, but mischief, and so if you could keep an eye on Naruto while at school, it’d be very helpful. Naruto may even tell you about Kurama.”

Sasuke nodded, grinning. “I’ll help, Nii-san!”

Itachi nodded back, and Sasuke raced off to find Naruto.

Chapter Text

“Naruto!”

Naruto looked over at Sasuke, grinning. “Sasuke-kun!”

Sasuke grinned back. “Everyone’s saying you’re being trained by another Uzumaki! I didn’t know there were any others left.”

Naruto brightened. “Yeah! Kurama! I might be able to beat you in Taijutsu soon!”

Sasuke crossed his arms with a snort, glaring teasingly at Naruto. “No way. I bet I’d be able to beat Kurama!” He really, really didn’t think that, but he was trying to get information.

Naruto tilted his head, seemingly thinking. “No, you really wouldn’t! Kurama’s really powerful! And he’s fast!”

“Well, if he’s teaching you Taijutsu that can beat mine and we’re friends, then can he teach me too?”

Naruto grinned. “Maybe!”

-

Why kit. Just why.  

Why not? You didn’t say anything! Why were you laughing anyway?  

Kurama scoffed. Sasuke properly beat me exactly once, and there were extenuating factors: One, you and I were still at odds. Two, I only had half my chakra. Three, Sasuke was being powered up by a cursed seal, and was going for the kill while you weren’t. He won’t be able to beat me ever again.  

Naruto trailed off in his conversation with Sasuke. Huh?

…I’ll explain later. For now, I suggest you duck before mini-Uchiha whacks you.  

Naruto yelped, bringing his arms up to block the hand slowly swinging toward his face. “Hey!”

Sasuke smirked. “Spaced out there, Naruto?”

Naruto chuckled sheepishly. “Guilty!” He pouted. “You didn’t have to hit me though!”

Meanwhile, Kurama started trying to figure out how the fuck he was going to explain the previous timeline to Naruto. In all honesty, he hadn’t planned on telling Naruto until… some point , simply because of how outrageous it was, but also, telling Naruto was probably a much better idea than not, due to Zetsu. Kurama groaned. He should probably tell his siblings too. Fuck.  

-

Kurama left Naruto to talking with mini-Uchiha during lunch, taking the opportunity to send out a message to all his siblings: "Everyone answer right the fuck now, Sage dammit."  

Thankfully, Chomei was prompt in answering, then Isobu and Saiken, Son Goku, Shukaku, Matatabi and Gyuki, and Kokuo.

"What's the emergency?" Gyuki asked, the message slightly muffled- Bee was probably fighting, and seemingly not Akatsuki if the lack of alarm was any indication.

"I owe you all an explanation."  

That caught the other Bijuu's attention: Kurama didn't usually explain things, much less out of the blue.

"What does that mean?" Matatabi hummed, suspicious.

"In a manner of speaking, I am not 'your' Kurama." Kurama waited for the befuddled statements of increased suspicion to die down before continuing. "I am from a future where Zetsu succeeded in bringing Kaguya back. My Jinchuuriki threw me back to this time as a last-ditch effort to stop that."  

"So that's why you know stuff outside your village…" Isobu muttered.

"Exactly."  

"What else can you tell us?" Son Goku asked, voice hard.

"At this point, nothing other than what you already know: Don't try and fight spiral-bastard- oh, he can fucking teleport , by the way- and I don't mean a Shinshun- just run and get backup before you're captured."

"We can face him, Kurama!" Shukaku's voice sounded like sand being ground together, probably a combination of the shitty seal they were in and their unstable state. "We're Bijuu! And if you won't fight him, then I fucking will !"

"You were the first to get sealed precisely because you kept up that attitude," Kurama deadpanned, shifting to a snarl. "So I am warning you now, if you end up like that again, I will drag you out of the Gedo Mazo myself and beat you over the head with the evil plant."  

"That's my threat…" Matatabi grumbled, even while Shukaku shut up.

“Get over to Konoha sooner rather than later and I’ll fix that seal of yours, too,” Kurama snapped at Shukaku. “Sage knows it’ll let Gaara be more amicable toward you.”  

Saiken laughed. “Didn’t think you were the caring type, Kurama!”

“Yeah, well,” Kurama grit his teeth, bitterly sarcastic sarcasm painting his words. “Seeing a few of you get ripped out of your Jinchuuriki and the others never seen again certainly did wonders for that sentiment.”

“Do you know all of our Jinchuuriki?” Isobu asked.

“Yep. I only ever really met Shukaku’s and Gyuki’s, but I know all their names and affiliations at the least, and who they were for some.”  

“The future was probably pretty fucked, then,” Kokuo sighed.

Kurama laughed bitterly. “With any luck, noone will have to do what my Jinchuuriki did for me again. Any other questions?”  

When no response came, Kurama huffed.

"Don't try to fight spiral-bastard," Kurama reiterated. "Especially not alone. If anyone else wearing black cloaks with red clouds shows up, however, tell them what I told you about Zetsu's real plan before going for the kill. Until my Jinchuuriki becomes a Genin, nothing else interesting happens, or at least nothing that hasn't already been fixed."  

“When’s that?”

“Five years.”  

Silent disbelief. 

“That makes sense,” Saiken hummed. “This also explains how you knew who the Godaime Mizukage is.”  

“Can you tell us who the other Kage end up being?” Matatabi asked.

Kurama snorted, remembering who the Godaime Kazekage ended up being and knowing that, if he told, Shukaku would never let anyone forget it. “I’ll tell you one: My Jinchuuriki.”  

“BRAGGART!!” Son Goku shouted.

Kurama cackled, backing out of the connection and returning his focus to helping translate Iruka’s lessons to Naruto-speak.

-

Kakashi sorted through the information he had on Kurama.

Kurama was proficient in Shadow Clone Jutsu, barely needed hand signs to use semi-complex Fuuton or Katon, Shinshun was similar and used smoke instead of Konoha leaves, able to use Henges without issue going by how he’d made his clones look like Naruto, and likely from Uzushio, or at least his parents were. His chakra was exceedingly similar to Naruto’s, whether on purpose or not, and he had absolutely no discernable scent.

Kakashi groaned. If not for the fact that he’d seen Kurama interacting with people and with clear evidence of tearing Danzo’s guts out on his hands, he’d almost think the Uzumaki was some sort of mass hallucination.

What Kakashi needed was something Kurama had made contact with, not just a dusty training ground. Where else had Kurama been? Naruto’s apartment, that was clear, but Kakashi wasn’t inclined to break in.

The Hokage office. Kakashi stood, finally he had somewhere solid to start looking.

One Shinshun later, and he was inspecting the Hokage office for any trace of Kurama. “Pakkun.”

“Boss.”

“We’re looking for Kurama Uzumaki again.”

Any blood had been cleaned up after Danzo had been removed, but even if there was any left, Kurama hadn’t looked injured at all. The sole weapon Kurama had held, according to all witnesses, was a single kitchen knife, and Kurama had taken it with him.

That left anywhere that Kurama may have come into contact with as Kakashi’s only chances at getting something. Meaning, the floor, and Hokage-sama’s desk were his options.

Kakashi sighed, heading over to where Kurama had been sitting on the desk. He froze. No scent was unfamiliar, but one was much too fresh to be reasonable. Kurama- or, the scent he was fairly sure pertained to Kurama- smelled exactly like Naruto. No changes, except the pitch of Danzo’s blood. “Pakkun. Tell me I’m wrong, but this is Naruto’s scent.”

“Mm… smells like Naruto, Boss.”

Kakashi groaned. That’s what he was afraid of. “We’re going back to the training area.”

-

Naruto raced through the trees, following Sasuke toward a training area while trying to figure out how he would slip away long enough to make Kurama’s clone.

Kit. You’re behind Sasuke. We’re moving fast enough that it’s unlikely any of the ANBU following us will be able to tell any hand signs you make, and any chakra surge will be written off as me showing up.

Oh. Naruto huffed, preparing to make a Shadow Clone- only one, he didn’t want to risk anything else to bring attention to Kurama appearing. Ready?  

Kurama sent some of his chakra up to Naruto, smirking. Just do it, kit. I’ll make it work.  

Right! Naruto made the Kage Bunshin cross with his fingers for barely a moment, pushing out his chakra into a single puff of smoke that puffed again half a second later, clearing to reveal Kurama’s human disguise. I did it! I only made one clone!

Kurama chuckled. That you did, kit. We’ll need to get you doing some chakra control exercises soon.  

Naruto deflated slightly. Those are exactly what they sound like, aren’t they?  

Yep. Kurama smirked. They’re not nearly as boring as you’re thinking they are. Watch your step, looks like we’re here.  

Sasuke had stopped in a training ground half-surrounded by forest and with a stone floor, a few training dummies stacked on the side.

“Nice spot you’ve got here, mini-Uchiha.”

Sasuke startled, whirling. “Who are you!?”

“Kurama Uzumaki.” Kurama smirked. “You have a Katon nature, right?”

Sasuke nodded warily. “Why?”

“Naruto’s got Fuuton. Wanna learn how to make a fire tornado?”

“A WHAT?!! ” Naruto shrieked, grinning.

“Fire tornado.” Kurama grinned. “It needs both a Katon Jutsu and a Fuuton Jutsu.”

Naruto turned pleadingly to Sasuke. “Please, Sasuke-kun?? A fire tornado would be so cool, ‘ttebayo!!”

After a moment, Sasuke shrugged. “Okay. I don’t know any actual Jutsu yet, though.”

Kurama smirked. “It’s a good thing I have both Katon and Fuuton natures, then.”

-

Kakashi had finished his inspection of the training ground, and found exactly what he was expecting: Naruto’s (now faded) scent, and the only thing different from the scent in the Hokage office was the lack of Danzo’s blood. Kurama just smelled exactly like Naruto, and it didn’t seem to be any sort of masking either. It made absolutely no sense .

He needed more information. Kurama was an enigma, and constantly becoming more so: At first, he was an Uzumaki who had appeared and snuck to the Hokage tower to get information about Naruto, apparently his relative. In the process, he’d uncovered Danzo’s many schemes, killed Danzo, as a side effect established new communication between the Uchiha and the other clans, and disappeared without a trace. Then he’d appeared in Naruto’s apartment, outmaneuvered four ANBU at once, and still managed to start teaching Naruto Uzushio Taijutsu. Through all that, Kurama hadn’t left a single traceable clue, unless one considered the fact that he was an Uzumaki, which didn’t help due to the fact that Uzushio records were completely out of reach.

The only constant seemed to be Kurama looking for, and then helping Naruto.

Kakashi stood, annoyed at the mystery that posed potential danger to Naruto.

“AAAHH!!!” someone screamed, and Kakashi looked at where they were pointing.

A spinning column of fire was rising into the sky near the Hokage monument, twisting back and forth and very, very obvious.

Chapter Text

Kurama laughed, carefully monitoring the medium-sized fire tornado. “NICE JOB!!!”

Naruto cheered, Sasuke smirking around the stream of fire he was spitting.

This was a great idea for Naruto’s first Fuuton and Sasuke’s first Katon. Eat shit, Great Fireball Jutsu.  

“THIS IS SO COOL, DATTEBAYO!!” Naruto shouted over the roar of the flames, and the wind kicked up, causing the fire tornado to lengthen into the sky and over the treetops.

"HOW YOU DOING, MINI-UCHIHA?"

Sasuke shot Kurama a dirty look, but was still smiling and clearly doing fine, taking another breath and refreshing the fire without issue.

Kurama nodded to mini-Uchiha before tossing out his senses, just to make sure nobody dangerous was approaching. He smirked. Kakashi had just entered his range that he could sense specifics, and was fast approaching, while the ANBU that followed Naruto was keeping their distance. So you know, kit, Kakashi's en route.

Should I stop?

No. Mini-Uchiha'll need to stop first to be safe, then you, but we don't need to stop yet as long as you're still comfortable.

I'm doing great, 'ttebayo!

Kurama chuckled, half-turning toward where Kakashi was approaching from while the fire tornado spun on under the two six-year-old's control. "HELLO, HATAKE!" he called over the flames. "GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN!"

Kakashi narrowed his eyes at Kurama, however casually he strolled around the fire tornado. "WHAT'S THIS, UZUMAKI?"

"FIRE TORNADO." Kurama shrugged, easily picking up on Kakashi’s suspicion. "NOT LIKE MINI-UCHIHA WASN'T GOING TO LEARN A KATON SOON, AND I MIGHT AS WELL TEACH NARUTO SOME FUUTON WHILE I'M AT IT."

"Answer me this, 'Uzumaki'," Kakashi snarled, just loud enough for Kurama to hear over the flames. "Who or what are you."

Kurama snickered, answering in kind. "What, worried I'll endanger your brother-in-all-but-blood?"

Kakashi's visible eye widened minutely.

"If I had it my way, Kakashi , he'd have been with you from the beginning. Hell, he'd never have been an orphan." Kurama huffed sadly. "But we don't all get what we want, and if Hiruzen says you can't interact with Naruto, then I will ." Kurama smirked, tilting his head up at the dying fire tornado. "He can't stop me anyways. By law or anything else."

Naruto almost laughed, Kurama relaying the gist of the conversation to him. 

Kakashi glanced sidelong at the redheaded Uzumaki. "And what does that mean?"

Kurama grinned. "If you can figure it out before Naruto becomes a Genin, then I'll drag your crazy boyfriend back here before I planned to. Capiche?"

Kakashi stared at Kurama, completely befuddled. He'd never been involved with anyone, romantically or otherwise.

"That gives you five years or less, Hatake," Kurama headed over to Naruto and Sasuke, only the Uchiha looking anywhere near drained. "Good luck." He paused for half a second, glancing back at Kakashi. “And, you can talk to Naruto here. Shisui won’t rat us out.”

Kakashi watched, still baffled, as Kurama checked over both six-year-olds before nodding and disappearing in a now-familiar puff of smoke, leaving no trace, as usual.

Naruto immediately turned to Sasuke, who, upon Kurama’s disappearance, had flopped down onto his back. “Are you okay?”

“Gimme a minute…” Sasuke breathed. “That was a lot of chakra and breath. How the hell would he do that alone!?

Naruto laughed brightly. “He’s Kurama!! I told you you wouldn’t be able to beat him!”

Sasuke scrunched his nose, apparently annoyed. “That’s just his Ninjutsu, not Taijutsu!”

“Mmm… you’d still be beat,” Naruto giggled, holding out a hand to Sasuke. 

Sasuke took the offer, pulling himself upright. “How are you not as tired as I am?”

Naruto shrugged, though Kakashi knew the answer: Uzumaki reserves. “Maybe I just have more chakra than you!”

Sasuke laughed. “I’d believe it, Uzumaki!” And of course Mikoto knew Naruto’s heritage, and Sasuke apparently did as well.

“Naruto.”

Naruto looked over at Kakashi, recognition flashing in his eyes. “Hi Kakashi-nii!”

Kakashi blinked. If there was anything he’d been expecting, it wasn’t immediate recognition and being called brother . “I- you know who I am?”

Naruto scoffed happily. “Course I do! Kurama told me all about you, ‘ttebayo! I can call you Kakashi-nii, right?”

“Uh… sure, but not in public. I’m not supposed to have contact with you.”

Naruto pouted. “It’s such a stupid rule!”

Sasuke snorted. “Won’t argue with that. Come on, Naru-kun, Kaa-san’s making ramen as a late birthday dinner for you!”

Naruto lit up immediately, turning in the direction of the Uchiha compound. “What are we waiting for, then!? You should meet us there, Kaka-nii! Bye!”

Without even waiting for a response, Naruto and Sasuke raced off, Naruto’s ANBU guard- Shisui, apparently- following.

Kakashi slowly turned to look at the spiral mark of scorched stone that marked the fire tornado. He had only one consideration, after he got past being called- by Naruto , no less- Naruto’s brother, as it should have been. “ What the HELL is up with Kurama Uzumaki?

-

Shisui knocked on Fugaku-sama’s door after putting his ANBU mask into a storage scroll. He’d heard what Kurama Uzumaki had said to Kakashi, and had no doubt that the redhead would have told Sasuke and Naruto exactly who was watching them as well. “Hello, Mikoto-sama. Are Naruto and Sasuke there?”

Mikoto smiled. “Are you here about the fire tornado?”

“Yes!?”

“Come in. Naruto and Sasuke said you might stop by.”

Shisui entered, following Mikoto-sama to the sounds of eating and cackling joy.

Sasuke was showing off spits of flame while Naruto somehow conversed while stuffing his face with ramen, and Kakashi looked like he’d rather be anywhere else, possibly due to the fact that he was seated next to the two fire-tornado-makers. Itachi was laughing, and Fugaku was looking appraisingly at Naruto and Sasuke.

“YOU!!”

Naruto immediately turned to look at Shisui, face breaking into a grin. “Shisui-san!! Did you like our tornado?!”

“‘Did I like your tornado’, he asks.” Shisui rolled their eyes. “That thing was fucking awesome, and you’re teaching me how to make it!!”

“Okay!” Naruto shoved more ramen into his mouth. “Do yoof haf bofth Kathon an’ Fuuthon?”

Shisui blinked. “What?”

Sasuke rolled his eyes, translating for Shisui. “You need both Katon and Fuuton natures to be able to do it, which you do have.”

“Ohh, that makes sense.” Shisui nodded.

-

Naruto flopped onto his bed after double-checking that all his seals were in place and dispelling his clones, Kurama chuckling.

Long day, kit?

Mhm.

Kurama grinned. Kit, you and mini-Uchiha made a fire tornado about half the size of one of mine, and you did it without dipping into my chakra. You deserve a ‘long day’ status.  

Naruto grinned as well, flipping over on his flimsy mattress. Are you gonna explain what you meant by Sasuke-kun fighting you?  

Kurama hummed, considering. Your choice. I don’t know how long it’ll take to explain.  

Tell me!  

Alright, kit. Kurama pulled Naruto down into the blonde’s mindscape- recently, it had become closer to nighttime than a sewer- and let Naruto settle where he willed.

Naruto chose one of Kurama’s tails, looking up at the fox eagerly.

“First things first, I’m from the future: about twelve years in the future.”

Naruto’s jaw dropped.

“In that timeline, there were a lot of differences. To count off those that you’ll recognize: Danzo’s plotting was still happening, Itachi killed the Uchiha clan in exchange for Sasuke’s life being spared, I was asleep and you were alone, and anything that I’ve told you, you didn’t know.”

“Why did you get sent back? How did you get sent back?! Was Sasuke-kun okay?!!”

Kurama huffed, bopping Naruto on the head. “I’ll get to that. You remember I briefly mentioned Zetsu?”

Naruto nodded.

“He’s Kaguya’s- that’s the Moon Goddess- he’s her third kid, made of her rage at humanity. He wants to, in no particular order, bring Kaguya back, rip all the Bijuu out of their Jinchuurikis, resurrect the Juubi- the Ten-Tails- and destroy all chakra, meaning everything in the world .”

Naruto nodded. “Does… is that why you were sent back?”

Kurama nodded. “You- that future’s you- sent me back because Kaguya got everyone, and I’d much rather live in a world that exists . So now I’m here. Thankfully, nothing else I haven’t preempted happened in that timeline until you became a Genin, but the point stands: Zetsu’s a bastard, and needs to be sealed before he brings back the Juubi and Kaguya.”

Naruto’s eyes brightened. “I made Genin? When? Who was my team?”

Kurama smirked. “And that brings me to another important part of being in this time: Getting the ‘Cursed Team 7s’ back in a group.”

“What’s that mean?”

“The short version: the previous Team 7 was Mustard’s- yes, your dad- and on it was Rin Nohara, Obito Uchiha, and Kakashi. In a mission gone wrong- by Zetsu’s influence, no less- Obito was crushed half to death, ‘rescued’ by Madara- yes, that Madara - and Zetsu. Six months later, Rin was unwillingly made Isobu’s- he's the Three-Tails- Jinchuuriki with a poor seal and killed herself on Kakashi’s Jutsu to stop Isobu from wreaking havoc on Konoha.” Kurama checked to make sure Naruto was following, and, finding the young Jinchuuriki just as attentive as he’d been before, continued. “Zetsu and Madara released Obito just in time to watch, pushing him over the edge and making him want Zetsu’s plan to come to fruition.”

“Fru-whatnow?”

“Be completed.”

Naruto tilted his head. “But- that’s the plan that results in the death of everything?”

“Obito was under the impression that that plan- called the Ultimate Tsukuyomi- would put everyone into a world without hardship and conflict. Really, it means it would be a living nightmare without free will.”

Naruto wrinkled his nose. “That doesn’t sound like a good idea.”

Kurama snorted. “Tell that to the insane plant. Anyways, that was the end of the first Cursed Team 7. Yours was the second.”

Concern colored Naruto’s features.

“First: Sasuke was living in the aftermath of being the sole survivor of the Uchiha Massacre, and was dead-set on killing Itachi as retribution. Second: you were still Dead Last and I was asleep and also an absolute asshole. Third: Kakashi was your Sensei.”

Naruto was extremely concerned. “That… doesn’t sound like a good combination. Also, who was our third Genin member?”

Kurama barked a laugh. “‘Not a good combination’ is an understatement, kit. Your third was a frontline medic able to rival the Sannin Tsunade.”

Naruto’s eyes widened. “Who? Who?!”

“Sakura Haruno.”

Kurama laughed at Naruto’s blatant disbelief. “Figure it out, kit: your chakra is extremely hard to control, why?”

Naruto blinked. “Because… I have so much?”

“Right. Sakura’s chakra reserves are very small, especially in comparison. What will that change?”

“They’ll be really easy for her to control!”

Kurama nodded. “Medical Jutsu requires very fine chakra control. You’ll probably never be able to do it, not that you’ll need it for yourself with both Uzumaki genes and me working to heal you, but the point stands.”

Naruto jumped to his feet, sinking slightly into Kurama’s fur. “We should teach her like we’re teaching Sasuke-kun!”

“I can’t teach medical Jutsu, kit, just the offense.”

Naruto grinned. “Then we’ll go get Tsunade-Sannin to teach her, dattebayo!”

Kurama waited half a second to make sure Naruto was being serious before bursting out laughing.

“Hey! What are you laughing at, Kurama?!”

“Oh, nothing.” Kurama smirked. “You just had a similar plan the last time around, if a few years into the future.”

“Did it work?”

“Yes.” Kurama flicked Naruto’s face with a tail. “Sit down. There’s a few other things you need to know.”

Naruto complied, still grinning.

“Obito is still alive and most definitely can be knocked back into his senses, you managed once already. He’s the leader- manipulated by Zetsu, but the leader nonetheless- of the Akatsuki, an organization dedicated to, ideally, keep the Jinchuuriki safe.”

“But Zetsu?”

“But Zetsu,” Kurama chuckled. “Except for Obito, he’ll be harder because Uchiha , the rest are effectively guaranteed to turn on Zetsu once they are convinced of the Ultimate Tsukuyomi’s true purpose, which is something I’ve already set my siblings and their Jinchuuriki to doing if any Akatsuki happen to show up.”

Naruto nodded.

“I think that’s about it. Any questions, kit?”

“Is the future why you chose to teach me the Kage Bunshin?”

Kurama chuckled. “It was the Jutsu that got you to Genin-level. I knew you’d take to it.”

“Huh?”

“You can’t do Academy Standard clones. You’ve got too much chakra. So, you failed the graduation exam.”

Naruto deflated.

Kurama snorted. “Let me finish the story before you decide to be sad, kit. Mizuki, a false friend of Iruka’s, manipulated you into stealing the scroll containing the Kage Bunshin. You then beat him up using said Jutsu when he tried to kill Iruka, and got a field promotion as a result. I should probably track down Mizuki, actually.”

Naruto nodded, yawning. “Alright…”

“Go to sleep, kit.” Kurama smirked. “You can ask me more in the morning.”

Naruto hummed, rolling over in the tail he’d claimed. “Okay…”

-

Kakashi’s investigation had come to a screeching halt, Kurama’s ‘deal’ only throwing another mystery into the ring.

What. The. Hell . was Kurama talking about. For any of it .

The good news was this: Kurama was of no threat to Naruto, or, it could be implied, anyone Naruto cared for. Kurama also clearly knew things that implied other information. He was confident in his abilities, to the point that he claimed Hokage-sama wouldn’t be able to stop him. He was able to teach both Fuuton and Katon Jutsus, implying that he could use both himself, and had also told Naruto that he’d be able to teach the Kage Bunshin. On top of all that, the issue with his scent and unpredictable appearances and disappearances painted a highly confusing picture that wasn’t helped by the absence of Uzushio records.

Actually, Kurama being from Uzushio implied sealing knowledge. The Nine-Tails’ seal!  

Kakashi’s eyes widened. Jiraiya was out of reach, but Kurama, for all that he kept disappearing , was regularly in Konoha. Kakashi could ask Kurama to check on the Nine-Tails’ seal.

No. Kakashi groaned. As much as he wanted to make sure the Kyuubi would stay sealed, Kurama was still an outsider and (hopefully) did not know about Naruto’s Jinchuuriki status, and Kakashi wasn’t about to let him know.

That suspicion of Kurama increased tenfold when Kakashi remembered something else: Naruto had recently grown temporary claws, just before Kurama had made his first appearance. And if Kurama was from Uzushio, he would have sealing knowledge. Knowledge that, theoretically, would allow him to loosen the Kyuubi’s seal.

Two likely extremes, one beneficial, the other dangerous as hell. Thankfully, the second option seemed the less likely of the two.

Kakashi needed to figure out what Kurama’s deal was, and fast .

“Kakashi.”

“Itachi.” Kakashi nodded to the Uchiha he’d recruited to this investigation. “Have you found anything new?”

Itachi shrugged. “Kurama Uzumaki appears and disappears without noticeable hand signs, has both Katon and Fuuton natures and can apparently use both at once, isn’t half-bad at sensing; right down to chakra natures, and extremely protective of Naruto, like an older brother. They’re clearly close.”

Kakashi nodded. “Fuuinjutsu?”

“Naruto says he’s gonna teach him once his handwriting improves.”

“Any mention of the Kyuubi?”

Itachi met Kakashi’s visible eye. “Kurama calls Naruto ‘kit’. It’s possible it’s because of his whiskers, but with everything else going on? I wouldn’t be surprised if Kurama knows.”

Kakashi groaned.

But ,” Itachi continued, “Kurama also knows who Naruto’s mother is, and seemingly implied that he was to protect Naruto in her place?”

Kakashi stared at Itachi. “How’d you figure that out?”

Itachi smirked. “I asked Sasuke.”

“Right.” Kakashi sighed. “So, Kurama isn’t a threat to Naruto, wouldn’t have tried to free the Kyuubi, and apparently prioritizes keeping Naruto safe and teaching Naruto about Uzushio’s legacy. Is that right?”

Itachi nodded. “As far as I can tell.”

Kakashi narrowed his eyes. He couldn’t shake the feeling that this was not at all what Kurama had meant by his challenge, but he didn’t know what else it could be.

Chapter Text

Naruto bounced excitedly while he explained his (and Kurama's) plan to Sasuke-kun. "-and so with the two of us as mainly combat, we could finish a team with a medic-nin!"

Sasuke nodded along, a smile slowly spreading across his face. "That's a good idea. Who would we get, though? We barely touch on medical Jutsu in class, so we don't know who would be good at it, or even interested."

Naruto grinned. "We wouldn't , except that Kurama's been teaching me how to sense chakra! And he told me that those with smaller chakra pools are better because they have better and easier control!"

Sasuke scanned the classroom, not settling on anyone. "Still, who?"

"Sakura!" Naruto announced proudly.

"But… she's a civilian?"

"Exactly!" Naruto grinned. "She'll have smaller chakra reserves so she can control them really easily! Plus, Kurama mentioned frontline medics like the Sannin Tsunade, so she'd be really powerful herself as well!"

Sasuke grinned. "Alright!"

Kurama chuckled. Nice job, kit.  

Naruto darted over to Sakura and Ino, grinning. “Sakura-san! Are you any good at medical Jutsu?”

Sakura glared at Naruto. “Leave us alone, Dead Last!” she snorted, turning away. “How would I know anyways.”

“Well, Kurama says that you’d be a really good frontline medic, like one of the Sannin!” Naruto grinned, ignoring the hostility as he’d gotten used to doing.

Kurama snarled. You shouldn’t have had to ‘get used to it’, kit.  

Naruto had succeeded in getting Sakura’s attention, however. “Who?”

“Kurama? He’s been teaching me stuff about my clan! He’s super strong, dattebayo!!”

“Not what I- you have a clan?!! ” Sakura stared at Naturo in disbelief.

Really nobody knows Kushina-kaa-san was my mom…  

Kurama growled. Unfortunately.  

“Course I do!” Naruto grinned. “I’m an Uzumaki! Are you gonna come train with Sasuke-kun and I?”

Sakura shook her head. “My parents want me home unless I’m at school.”

“Kurama can make a clone to disguise as you!” Naruto grinned. “Then you won’t have to worry about it and your parents won’t know!”

Good plan, kit.  

Sakura brightened. “Only if Ino can come too!”

Kurama’s eyes widened. He had a very good plan , however much it would mean dealing with even more children. Kit! Tell them to get the rest of Ino-Shika-Cho!  

Who?  

Ino’s Genin team. There’s only nine in your class that make it to Genin, and they’re all powerful groups. Get them all in your circle, and you’ll have more allies to fight Zetsu.

And friends , Kurama?  

Kurama laughed. And friends.  

Naruto grinned, returning to his real-world conversation. “Sure! Bring the rest of Ino-Shika-Cho too!”

Ino nodded, grinning at the Jinchuuriki. “Will do!”

Naruto headed off back to Sasuke, grinning. Who’s the third Genin team? You said nine people passed!

The Rookie Nine, yep. The third was Hinata, Kiba, and Shino.  

Oh, are we gonna get them too?

Knowing you? Yes.  

Hey!  

“So, what’d she say?”

“She’s coming!” Naruto grinned. “And she’s gonna bring the new Ino-Shika-Cho team as well!”

“More people? ” Sasuke huffed. “Is Kurama even going to be able to teach everyone?”

“Yep! He can make clones, ‘ttebayo!” Naruto grinned. “He can have as many as he needs!”

-

“Kurama!!”

Kurama’s head snapped up at Chomei’s call. “Chomei! What’s happening?!”

“Akatsuki!! One who looks like a shark, alone! Any information??”

Kurama grinned. “Kisame, Kiri missing-nin, don’t get hit by his freaky sword, and they’ll definitely want to fight. Known as the Tailless Tailed Beast, that’ll give you an idea of how powerful he is. They should listen, and I’d suggest explaining the changes in Kiri if you can.”  

“Sounds good!”  

“Good luck.”

“I’m Lucky Seven, Kurama! I always do!”

Kurama chuckled. “Get back to fighting, Chomei. Fu’s too reckless on her own.”  

“You would know,” Chomei’s voice faded out with a laugh, and Kurama smirked.

Kurama? What’s happening?

Chomei is fighting an Akatsuki member. Kurama kept half an eye on Chomei’s chakra, making sure it didn’t have any major drops. She knows who it is now, she’s prepared.

Okay!  

-

Kakashi sighed. While he would have liked to keep the investigation into Kurama Uzumaki to just him, Itachi, and, apparently, Shisui, in order to avoid any rumors spreading too far, he did need information. 

And that meant Kakashi needed to visit the Nara. If he knew Shikaku at all, the Nara head would have already begun his own investigation into Kurama as well.

“Shikaku.”

“Kakashi.” Shikaku nodded to Kakashi. “Don’t see you often here, much less using the door.”

Kakashi ignored that comment, holding up a notebook. “Do you have any information on Kurama Uzumaki?”

“Very little, though I am assigned to it.” Shukaku gestured to the notebook Kakashi held. “Am I to assume that is your own investigation?”

Kakashi nodded once. “I do not believe him to be a danger, however, he did issue me a challenge: By his own words, it is impossible for even Hiruzen to stop him from interacting with Naruto. He told me to figure out how that is before Naruto becomes a Genin. Five years or less, and seeing what Kurama’s been teaching Naruto and Sasuke Uchiha, I’d say sooner.”

“What’s so special about Naruto making Genin?”

Kakashi shrugged. “The way he worded it made it seem like it was a finish line instead of an ultimatum. I doubt it’s anything more than that, seeing how loose it is as a limit.”

“Where’s ‘five years’ from?”

“Kurama’s words.” Kakashi shook his head, preempting Shikaku’s likely next question. “I don’t know where he pulled that number from.”

“May I?”

Kakashi slid the notebook across to Shikaku, opening the seal as he did. “By all means. The only other who has seen this is Itachi Uchiha.”

Shikaku nodded. “Mitigating the risk of more rumors, understood.”

Kakashi waited while Shikaku read through the notebook. Nothing had been added or negated, which was both reassuring as it meant Kakashi hadn’t missed anything, but also concerning because it meant that Shikaku had no more information than Kakashi.

“Kakashi. What is this.”

Kakashi looked up at Shikaku, finding the man holding open the notebook to the pages on Kakashi’s failed attempts at tracking Kurama. “Which part.”

“He doesn’t have his own scent?! What kind of entry is that!?

Kakashi met Shikaku’s unimpressed glare. “Exactly what it says. No matter where he goes, what he does, his base scent is an exact match to Naruto’s.”

“That’s impossible.” Shikaku turned the notebook back around, brow furrowing. “It has to be some sort of masking Jutsu, but none I’ve ever heard of is that thorough.”

“I haven’t either, except for seals, and again, none I’ve heard of can do a mask that solid without the person being inside the seal.”

Shikaku hummed, directing his attention back to the notebook. “He’s from Uzushio, isn’t he?”

Kakashi groaned. He’d completely forgotten about that. “ Yes . He is .” Kurama absolutely could have a mobile version of a masking seal.

Shikaku nodded, reading on. “But he does have Fuuinjutsu training.”

“Supposedly, though none has been seen. He’s planning to teach Naruto.”

“The Kyuubi?”

“Knows of it, I’m certain.”

Shikaku turned a page, narrowing his eyes. “He doesn’t have Suiton nature? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that was the second most common in Uzushio next to Fuuton, while Katon was the least common.”

“You’re correct, but he’s never even mentioned Suiton, while he’s used and spoken knowledgeably on both Fuuton and Katon with barely any hand signs, and also can apparently use them in conjunction to make a fire tornado . So for the time being, I only noted the two.”

Shikaku paused. “Is he the reason for yesterday’s panic, then?”

“Tangentially. He taught Naruto and Sasuke how to work together to do that. According to Sasuke… apparently Kurama’s are at least double that one’s size, and he can keep  them going for far longer.”

Shikaku looked up at Kakashi, mouth half-open as if to speak, but nothing came out.

“I would not be surprised if this is true, as he made eight Shadow Clones at once with no apparent issues, half of which were Henged before the smoke of the clones appearing disappeared, and then proceeded to use them to outmaneuver me and three other ANBU,” Kakashi sighed, “and still taught Naruto some of Uzushio’s Taijutsu with six more Shadow Clones active, and Shinshuned away without use of hand signs.”

Shikaku groaned. “There is no way he’s not Uzumaki, with that size chakra reserves.”

“There’s good reason I’m not doubting that.”

“Where is he living?”

“I don’t know. He disappears and reappears in Shinshuns, or on one occasion was completely unseen and unsensed until he exited Naruto’s apartment. And no, I haven’t sensed him anywhere either.”

Shisui appeared in a whirl of leaves, laughing. “Oh Sage- Kakashi, grab that notebook and come on you’re gonna love this.”

“What.”

Shisui grinned, darting over and snatching the notebook from Shikaku’s hands, shoving it into Kakashi's. “Get.” He leapt out the window, still grinning.

“Thank you for your help, Shikaku.” Kakashi turned, resealing the notebook and tucking it away before following Shisui out. “What is this about?”

Shisui was crouched on a roof, still grinning . “I found Kurama.” He turned and ran off, forcing Kakashi to catch up.

“What do you mean you found Kurama?!”

“Exactly that!” Shisui changed course slightly, making a beeline for the Uchiha compound. “Like I said: You’re gonna love this .”

Kakashi got a very good idea of where Kurama was when four earthen spires shot up from the general area of the Uchiha training grounds, followed by four small red-tinged figures appearing, one on the top of each.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

“It was Sasuke’s idea.”

You have got to be kidding me .”

Shisui grinned. “Getting you was my payment for Kurama teaching me how to make a fire tornado. I kid not.”

“Why?”

“You have more knowledge of medical Jutsu than Kurama, and one of Naruto’s classmates wants to be a frontline medic.”

“…Kurama wants me to teach a child medical Jutsu.” 

“To quote Kurama, ‘I haven’t figured out how to drag Tsunade back yet, so get the Copy-nin.’” 

Kurama appeared in his usual puff-of-smoke Shinshun. “Thank you very much, Shisui! Hatake, good to see you! Come on, Sakura’s already figured out vertical walking and water walking.” Kurama abruptly cackled, shaking his head.

“What.”

Shisui grinned. “I got him, teach me the fire tornado!”

Kurama grinned back as he leapt off a rooftop into a large training ground occupied by the four spires and their clones, plus four other Kuramas and six children. “I don’t break my promises. Sakura!”

A pinkette with a red knee-length dress turned to face Kurama, running over and slightly out of breath. “Kurama-sensei!”

“Stop that.” Kurama poked Sakura’s forehead with a… claw? “I am not a sensei. Meet Kakashi Hatake, Konoha’s Copy-nin, and the best currently available to teach you field medical Jutsu.”

Sakura brightened, bowing to Kakashi. “Hello! I’m Sakura Haruno!”

“Have fun you two. Shisui, you’re with me.” Kurama headed over to a more open area, flexing his hands.

Shisui wished Kakashi luck before following the Uzumaki. 

Kurama turned to face Shisui. “I suggest you do not try and overexert yourself with this, because if you lose control of it, it has a tendency to run amok instead of immediately dissipating.”

Shisui’s eyebrows rose. That wasn’t usual behavior for any Jutsu.

Kurama’s hand flashed Bird seal, and he breathed out flames, which were immediately caught by a swirling wind no taller than the man himself. “There. That’s your demonstration.”

Shisui stared at the burning vortex, jaw dropped. “How is it still on fire!?”

Kurama rolled his eyes, one hand still holding the Bird seal. “Practice. I suggest ,” he snarled, “that you use both seals and do not try and hold it like I am. Release the Katon first, then the Fuuton, otherwise you end up with fire everywhere, which, while it is an absolutely fucking amazing area attack, is not a good idea in the middle of a bunch of children.” Kurama rolled his eyes again.

Shisui stared at Kurama. Throughout that whole conversation, Kurama’s fire tornado had not faltered. “How big can you make that thing?”

Kurama leveled a flat stare at Shisui. “If I really wanted to and nobody tried to stop it, I could burn Konoha to the ground with just one fire tornado, and then send it to Suna and burn there too.”

Shisui choked.

“You asked!” Kurama laughed at the look on Shisui’s face. “Don’t ask if you don’t want the answer.”

Chapter Text

“Chomei, anything interesting happen?”

Chomei laughed, a good thing in Kurama’s book. “Kisame was very confused as to why we knew exactly who he was and worked for. Last we heard, he was going back to Akatsuki but not interested in Zetsu's plan.”  

“Good.” Kurama grinned. “And Fu?”

“Safe! I ended up giving her my wings to help evade Kisame.” Chomei chuckled. “She definitely had fun!”

Kurama snorted. “Knowing her reputation, I’m not surprised. Stay safe.”

“Will do!”  

-

Within three days, Naruto had gotten the final three of the Rookie Nine to join up in training sessions, and Kakashi had been ‘convinced’ to train Kiba and Akamaru in the Hatake style, on top of Sakura's medical Jutsu training.

Kurama had also reduced the amount of clones he had hanging around, allowing for Naruto to use more clones without straining his information influx as much. Due to that, Naruto had quickly gotten the hang (ha) of vertical and upside-down walking, and had also begun practicing his Fuuton Jutsus more.

Sasuke had a Katon Wave Jutsu figured out, building off how Kurama had taught him to light the fire tornado to do it, and had also begun lighting his Shiruken and Kunai on fire.

Shikamaru was lazy as always, and spent most of his time stuck to the bottom of one of the 'branches' Kurama had added to the earthen spires, or sleeping (or pretending to sleep) on top of said ‘branch’.

Ino and, when she wasn't working on medical Jutsu or resting, Sakura, had begun working on Doton Jutsus with the help of either Kurama or Kakashi, and the occasional Suiton thrown into the mix if it was Kakashi.

Shino had immediately gone to Kurama and thanked him for taking care of ROOT, as their younger brother was a part of it and now freed. Kurama had just grinned and taught the insect-user how to let his bugs use small bursts of fire without harm.

Hinata had joined Sakura in medical Jutsu, and Kurama had quite literally tossed Shisui at her and Choji for Katon and (in Hinata’s case) Raiton, as well as joining in himself for Doton (for Choji). Both came out of their shells fairly quickly, especially once they both started protesting to the other that the other was the better and then tried to prove it to each other , something Kurama found absolutely hilarious, as well as it resulting in the two causing an explosion.

And at some point, Shisui had started calling the training ground that Kurama always overtook 'Training Ground K', especially within the Uchiha clan.

It was five days after that, eight days after the training had started, when something went wrong.

Of course, the whole Uchiha compound knew of Training Ground K and most kept their distance, what with the presence of one clear Uzumaki, one Shinobi with an honorably donated Sharingan, an Uchiha renowned for his speed, and one, if not both of the clan head's sons present, none were particularly concerned, and if anything were happy that clan relations were being fostered, as well as wary of the massive Jutsus they knew that group could pull off.

That was not the problem.

The problem came in the form of Hiruzen finally fully disbanding the 'Civilian Council', resulting in the Academy lessons shifting back to what they had been before: more actual training for Shinobi work.

A direct side effect of that was more than a few civilian children deciding not to be Shinobi (and both Kakashi and Kurama were relieved at that, both knowing what usually happened to civilian-based Genin teams) and dropping out, or, in the case of one very unwilling Sakura, pulled out .

Let it never be said that Uzumaki (and those influenced by them) take things lying down.

-

Sakura glared at her mother, sore from the previous day of training but not nearly as much as she'd been at the beginning. 

Sure, it might have been her parents that enrolled her in the Academy to begin with, and sure, maybe she hadn't been too interested in being a Kunoichi then, but now? After she'd been training for over a week with clan kids who she could almost keep up with sometimes (Naruto notwithstanding, everyone knew by now that the two Uzumaki were just insane) and was learning Jutsu and actual skills?! She wanted to be a Kunoichi with her friends.

"What are you so upset about, Sakura?" Her mother snapped. "You were never going to be a Kunoichi anyways, you're not missing out on anything. Besides, haven't you been hanging out with the Uchiha's second heir? He'll do just fine."

Sakura didn't meet her mother's eyes, gaze fixed on the ground. She could do it. The earth was just beneath the floor. It would be a somewhat easy Jutsu as well: a single spire, straight up.

Or, Sakura realized, I can think like Kurama-sensei. The elder Uzumaki used misdirection like it was second nature, even showing one hand sign and then using a completely different Jutsu if he wanted to.

Sakura nodded, forcing her gaze to the side. "I understand." She really hoped she could pull this off before the Academy finished for the day. Kurama-sensei had gotten a vicious grin at the end of the previous day's training and told her to bring some money to the next day. It boded especially well that Naruto's grin had matched Kurama-sensei's. 

Sakura took a deep breath. "I had planned to go shopping with Ino after school today though. Can I still go?"

Her mother huffed. "I suppose so. Help your father in the shop first."

Sakura nodded, internally hissing a mild curse that Kurama-sensei seemed particularly fond of. She wouldn't be able to sneak out and alert Kurama-sensei and the rest of the group if she was stuck in the shop all day, and she didn't know how to make Shadow Clones- not that she would be able to anyways (yet), with her chakra reserves as small as they were.

Sakura fumed all morning, her exterior completely calm and friendly as she'd always been taught, but constantly looking for an opening to sneak off.

It wasn't until the Academy’s lunchtime that Sakura got her chance, and what a chance it was.

"Hello, welcome to Haruno's grocery!" Sakura called when the bell hooked to the door rang lightly.

"Thanks."

Sakura faltered at the familiar voice. Kurama-sensei couldn't be that good at tracking people, could he? She glanced over at the door, and her luck wasn't that good. It was someone she'd never met before, with long blonde hair and violently violet eyes… with slit pupils . Maybe her luck was that good?

The stranger grinned at Sakura, showing familiar fangs.

Sakura's luck really was that good . "Tell me if there's anything you need help with!" She crossed her fingers that Kurama-sensei would pick up on the code.

"Yeah, can you direct me to the strawberries? I usually have them with tomatoes and ramen, but I couldn't find any."

What kind of- Sakura's eyes widened minutely. Kurama-sensei was using some of hers, Sasuke's, and Naruto's favorite foods to let her explain. "Strawberries aren't available, sorry! They were blocked."

Kurama-sensei's eyes flashed. "Can you substitute something for them?"

Sakura nodded. "Over here." She led the way to a corner of the shop behind a few shelves where there was raspberries, a possible legitimate substitute for strawberries. " Thank the Sage you showed up! " She whispered. " I was planning to meet you at K after school let out, but this is so much better! "

Kurama-sensei nodded. " We figured as much. Why aren't you at school? "

Sakura's face twisted in anger. " Parents pulled me out. They only had me in there to have me get a Shinobi husband, and now that class is becoming actual-" a clawed hand covered her mouth, rage pouring off of Kurama-sensei.

" Shht. Finish explaining later. " Kurama removed his hand and made two clones. " What are your chores, quickly. "

Sakura nodded, rattling off her chores- mostly just sit at the front and greet people, help if they ask for it- while one of Kurama-sensei's clones Henged into her and the other Henged into Kurama-sensei's current disguise and picked up a bag of raspberries.

The fake Sakura smiled, leading the false Kurama back to the front.

Kurama turned and crouched in front of Sakura. " Get on, don't barf. "

" Huh? "

" Shinshuns tend to be pretty disorienting for passengers and those unused to them. You are both. Don't barf. "

Sakura gulped, hopping onto Kurama-sensei's back and wrapping her arms around his neck as he stood. " Don't barf. Got it. "

The world blurred around Sakura, abruptly stopping on a rooftop next to the Academy and her guts catching up a moment later. She immediately felt nauseous… but she'd been expecting to immediately be puking. Though, she also hadn't had lunch and only a small breakfast (she hadn’t managed to convince her parents she needed bigger servings), and she was now acutely aware of that. "Merf."

Kurama chuckled. “You good back there?”

“Hungry.”

Kurama facepalmed. “Fucking- forgot about that. Naruto’ll share, and I'm sure a few others will as well.”

Sakura nodded, wiggling until Kurama-sensei let her down. “Thanks for getting me, Kurama-sensei.”

Kurama rolled his eyes- he’d never managed to convince Sakura to stop calling him sensei, and it had fucking spread as well, so now everyone except for Naruto, Sasuke, Shino, and Shikamaru was doing it. He’d given up trying to stop them by day six. “Yeah yeah, get going and I’ll be back with some more food. Sage knows you’ll all need it.”

Sakura nodded and wall-walked down the building, breaking into a run as soon as she was perpendicular to the ground again and racing around the Academy to the back yard, where the other eight Training Ground K students were eating.

Naruto was already looking in Sakura’s direction. “I told you guys she was here!!”

Sakura grinned, sitting down in her usual spot between Naruto and Ino. “Sorry I’m late!”

“Where were you!?” Kiba huffed, holding a stick of jerky up to Akamaru, who was laying on eir head. “We made Iruka-sensei hold off on class as long as we could!”

Sakura grunted, still mad. “My parents pulled me out.”

The group fell completely silent.

Naruto grinned, and it looked like Kurama-sensei’s grins when he was about to do something crazier than usual.

Kurama dropped a large box that smelled really good in the middle of the circle. “Kit. No. Eat first. Then you can prank the hell out of ‘em, and I’ll ask my siblings if they have any ideas. Deal?”

Naruto nodded, grin not fading in the slightest, if anything widening. “Deal!”

Sakura’s eyes widened, remembering some of Naruto’s more ambitious pranks. Add actual Jutsu and Kurama-sensei and the fact that Sakura knew her parents despised Naruto with a passion (and Naruto knew, which meant Kurama knew) painted a very dangerous picture.

“Hey, you two aren’t leaving us out of this!” Sasuke protested, biting into a tomato. “We’re a groof, armft we?”

“I’m with Sasuke-kun,” Hinata nodded to the Uchiha. “We’re a group. We’ll all help. Um… if you want help, Sakura-san.”

Sakura smiled. “Gladly!” Her stomach rumbled. “Uh… maybe some food first though.”

“No arguments there!” Choji opened the box, revealing many, many boxes of ramen, the top of each box labeled with what kind it was. “Woah! Where’d you get all this?!”

“Ichiraku.” Kurama grinned, ruffling Naruto’s hair. “Have fun, and don’t give Iruka any more grief.”

“We don’t have a reason to, now!”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “I’m sure. Have fun.”

Chapter Text

Iruka kept an extra eye on the classroom at large after Sakura appeared after lunch, as not only was the whole room eerily silent (the opposite of what he’d been expecting with the ninth Kurama-trainee showing up), but nobody was paying attention, even those who were usually the most diligent like Sasuke and Sakura.

“Alright,” Iruka sighed, putting down the chalk he’d been using and turning to face the classroom at large. “Clearly none of you are paying attention, so is someone going to explain?

Everyone glanced at Sakura, except for Naruto, who didn’t open his eyes or otherwise react, and Shikamaru, who was his usual unreactive self.

Sakura smiled icily. “My parents tried to make me quit the Academy, Sensei. We are… unamused.”

“So you snuck out.” Iruka groaned. “Am I to expect them to show up and be absolutely furious?”

Sakura grinned. “Nope! Kurama-sensei made a clone of me so they won’t know.”

“Uh…huh.” Iruka narrowed his eyes, assessing the likelihood of that. “That does not answer my first question.”

Everyone (except Shikamaru) turned to Naruto, who was still just sitting there with his eyes shut, completely unreactive.

Sasuke groaned. “He does this. Gimme a sec.” He leaned away from the blonde in his seat, lifting his hands and making a… a Tiger seal!?!

“SASUKE!!”

A small burst of flames shot at Naruto’s face, and the blonde wheeled back with a screech, falling out of his chair. “HEY!!”

Sasuke grinned, looking down at Naruto. “You were stuck again. Iruka wants to know why we weren’t paying attention.”

Naruto rolled his eyes, fluffing soot out of his hair and returning to his seat.

Iruka stared at Naruto, who was inexplicably unharmed. “Wh- what??”

“Oh!” Naruto grinned. “We’re all plotting pranks, Iruka-sensei! We have priorities!”

“You just got torched in the face, forgive me if I’m focused on that.”

Naruto cackled. “I’m almost completely fireproof from Katon Jutsus! So if I get stuck thinking, Sasuke does that to wake me up! It’s that or nobody knows how long I’ll be out.” Naruto shrugged.

“Right…” Iruka slowly nodded, attempting to process the strange interactions on top of Naruto’s recent strangeness otherwise that seemed to be connected to Kurama. “You have someone set you on fire in order to focus on something other than your thoughts. Right.”

Naruto shrugged. “Sure!”

Iruka left that as it was. “So, you’re all not paying attention because you’re all coming up with ideas on how to prank Sakura’s parents. Yes?”

The eight who were awake nodded.

“All of us, Iruka-sensei!” Ino confirmed, grinning and slinging an arm around Sakura’s shoulders. “They won’t split us up! We won’t let them!”

“Um… what she said,” Hinata agreed.

Iruka groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. This group was going to be terrifying once they made Genin, if they were all this close and chaotic after little over a week of really knowing each other. “If you all can focus and pay attention for twenty minutes , I will help you plan. Deal?”

DEAL!!

Iruka was pleasantly surprised when the students’ end of the deal was actually upheld.

-

Kakashi leapt over the rooftops toward Sakura's house, a bit concerned (though he would never admit it) for the Kunoichi-in-training. Kurama had told him about the swap that was pulled each day after the Academy let out in order for Sakura to train with the rest, and when Kakashi had noticed that Sakura had never shown up to school, he'd tagged in Shisui for Naruto-guarding the first chance he got.

The first thing Kakashi noticed was that Sakura's chakra signature was not anywhere in or around her parents' grocery store, though Kurama's chakra was sitting just inside the door.

The second thing was the barely-there sliver of a civilian's chakra next to Kurama's signature.

Kakashi dropped to the ground, Henging himself into Iruka. Kurama would know it was Kakashi, what with being able to sense chakra himself, after all. 

Kakashi pushed the door open, a small dinging sound coming from a bell. "Hello!"

'Sakura', really Kurama under a Henge, brightened upon seeing Kakashi. "Iruka-sensei!" Kurama was a good actor, it seemed.

"And who are you supposed to be?" someone who was presumably Sakura's mother sneered.

Kakashi hummed. "I'm one of Sakura's teachers. She didn't show up to school today, and her friends asked me to check in on her."

“Sakura will no longer be attending the Academy.” Sakura’s mother smiled coldly. “Please leave.”

Kakashi narrowed his eyes. “I don’t believe I understand what you are saying. Sakura is one of my top students and a promising Kunoichi and medic-nin. Why not?”

Kurama, positioned slightly behind Sakura’s mother, started flashing Konoha ANBU sign language . It was patchy and the message a bit muddy, but the signs themselves were clear. ‘ Not good think Shinobi. Unlikely free. ’ 

Where Kurama had learned Konoha ANBU sign was yet another mystery to add to the pile, but the message was cleared up when Sakura’s mother snorted. “I am not letting my daughter become one of you!” Sakura’s parents apparently didn’t like Shinobi much. “Besides, she’ll be taking over the shop when she’s older!”

Kurama was signing again. ‘ Retreat. Children false attack later. Sensei helping. ’ 

False attack!? Kakashi was suddenly very concerned for the fate of this corner of Konoha.

Thankfully, Kurama seemed to pick up on Kakashi’s concern. ‘ Or distraction. Illusion. Ambush. Ruse. Trick. Violent trick. Choose one. ’ Kurama-Sakura shrugged. 

Those synonyms were not reassuring, especially that last one.

Kakashi nodded to Sakura’s mother, choosing to end this conversation rather than keep trying to figure out Kurama’s signing and not leave Sakura’s mother hanging. “I’ll hope you change your mind.”

Kurama flashed a few more signs. ‘ Meet in back. ’ That was clear enough.

Kakashi nodded to ‘Sakura’, turning and leaving the small shop and making his way out of sight before dropping the Henge and Shinshuning back to the general vicinity of the back of the shop-house.

Kurama- well, probably a clone of Kurama- was already waiting there in a side alley, arms crossed.

“I see you’ve already done something here.”

“Yeah, obviously ,” Kurama hissed. “What the hell are you doing here!?”

“Looking for Sakura.”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “Already busted her and dropped her at the Academy. Her parents are none the wiser.”

“Somehow, I do not believe that you can keep up that charade much longer.”

Kurama met Kakashi’s gaze. “Give me any Konoha Shinobi since Mito Uzumaki became a Jinchuuriki.”

Kakashi chose the first name that came to mind. “Sakumo Hatake.”

Kurama laughed once, sharp and bitter. “No. I’m not a fool to think that would go over well. Try someone else, trauma train.”

Kakashi narrowed his eyes, considering who Kurama had likely never met, at least not well. May as well go for the obvious, since Kurama had chosen the Kyuubi's first Jinchuuriki as a starting point. “Kushina.”

Kurama slowly grinned, raising one eyebrow. “Really? Alright, you couldn’t have chosen almost anyone easier.” His hands snapped to a Henge seal, and in a puff of smoke Kushina was staring at Kakashi.

Right down to the clothes, the only things allowing Kakashi to differentiate this disguise from Kushina were the chakra signature (somewhat, it still was quite a bit like Kushina’s) and the scent. “What are you staring at, Kashi?” ‘Kushina’ smirked. “Thought you would’ve learned by now not to underestimate anyone, ‘ttebane!”

“Point proven.”

Kurama dropped the Henge, still smirking. “So, you leave the impersonating of Sakura up to me, and go remind Hiruzen to drag the Sannin back. Knowing the Rookie Nine, he’ll need Tsunade to take over sooner rather than later, and she’ll want Snake Shithead and Pervert-Frog by her side.”

“Excuse you?” Kakashi raised his visible eyebrow at Kurama. “Do explain why, exactly, you want Orochimaru back in-village?”

“Other than the fact that if we don’t he’ll start hunting Naruto and the Kyuubi? Did you forget the bit where Danzo set him up? He’ll be a massive asset, you dumbass.” Kurama paused, making a so-so motion after a moment. “…Provided we knock some sense into him first, at least. Probably leave that up to Naruto and Tenzo.”

Well, Kakashi now had confirmation that Kurama knew of Naruto’s Junchuuriki status, but that was not a current point of concern. “Did you not just say that Ororchimaru is hunting Naruto?”

“I did,” Kurama deadpanned. “He’s not hunting Naruto yet, first of all, and second of all, if you knew who I am you’d figure out exactly why I say send Naruto.”

Kakashi scrutinized Kurama, assessing the new information. “How do you know what will happen like that?”

Kurama smiled, flashing fangs. “Crazy boyfriend deal, Copy-nin. Same shit. You figure out why I know what I know before Naruto becomes a Genin, and I explain the rest.”

Kakashi's eyes narrowed further at the living mystery in front of him. Every time he thought he got close to figuring Kurama out, something would change.

Kurama's face split into a wide grin of mischief. "I'll be seeing you, Copy-nin. Tell Hiruzen to get the Sannin, hm?"

“Kura-”

Kurama poofed. A clone. Or a Shinshun. They were almost indistinguishable from each other when it came to Kurama, especially because the Uzumaki only sometimes used hand seals for Shinshuns. Regardless, Kurama was gone.

“-ma.” Kakashi groaned. He had more information, none of which was straightforward unless he counted the confirmation of Kurama’s knowledge of the three Kyuubi Jinchuuriki, both past and present.

Kakashi needed to regroup and review with Itachi.

Chapter Text

Kurama growled at Shukaku attempting to suggest ‘MURDER THEM’ as the prank on Sakura’s parents for one final time. “Warned you once, idiot tanuki. It’s your head if your kid shows up anything less than sane.”  

“Yeah, yeah.”  

“You want freedom, don’t fucking antagonize him.” Kurama rolled his eyes. “We are not killing them.”  

Naruto grinned, lugging two buckets of glitter along with a Henged clone as Kurama grumbled about Shukaku trying to murder Sakura’s parents again. Aren’t you the one who asked for ideas?

I asked Chomei and Kokuo . The others just joined in.  

“Hey! Earth to Naruto!”

Naruto blinked twice, pulling himself out of his conversation with Kurama. “Kiba! Did you get your stuff?”

Kiba grinned, holding up a large bag with a fluffy head sticking out the top; presumably tha bag held copious amounts of smoke bombs as well as the dog. “Yep! Akamaru got a bunch of ‘em for us!”

Naruto carefully shook one of his glitter containers. “And we’ll have four more of these soon!” Sasuke and Hinata were each following a clone to some of his other secret pranking stores to collect the other containers. 

“I left before everything was set, who else is getting what?”

“I set Shikamaru and Shino to doing the paint, and I’m not sure what Ino and Sakura are organizing.” Naruto shrugged.

Kurama grinned. Future knowledge was great, and knowing which Shinobi would ask few questions and express less worry was something it was good for. Plus, it seemed Sakura might be considering adding senbon and possibly poison to her repertoire. A frontline medic who uses Tsunade’s strength, plus senbon and poisons on top of that? Kurama was fairly sure that the other Sakura would be laughing madly.

“Why would you put Shikamaru on the paint!?” Kiba waved a hand around wildly. “He’ll probably just fall asleep and leave it for too long!”

“It won’t take us four days to set this up,” Naruto dismissed.

“Four days?”

“That’s how long it takes the paint to explode if I don’t stabilize it!”

EXPLODE!?!?

“Yep! I dunno why, but if I don’t stabilize it before four days are up, it explodes!”

Kiba realized something. “Is that why you showed up to class for weeks with green hair and skin a few years ago!?”

“Yep! It’s the same mixture, so it won’t be coming out!”

“A few weeks doesn’t seem very long…”

“I made a thing that gets it out of stuff!” Naruto smiled. “They don’t have it.”

“Oh, that makes more sense. Wait, what’s Kurama and his siblings doing?”

Naruto grinned. “How did you think Sakura’s parents haven’t gone looking for her yet? Kurama’s infiltrating.”

It took Kiba a moment to parse what Naruto was saying. “He’s keeping up a Henge all day!?

“Yeah!” Naruto grinned. “His are really solid!”

Yours could last the whole day and longer as well, kit. I’d guess triply or more so if I assist.  

I could?!?!

Kurama snorted. Yep. Henges are dependent on how much chakra you can feed into keeping the ‘clay’ in the changed position without it reverting to its natural shape. Lots of chakra, lots of time. Both of us working together? Potentially limitless.  

That makes sense!  

“What about his siblings? Are they helping?”

“Nope! They’re busy.” Naruto turned toward a side alley, where two Henged clones held his first successful seals.

“Hey, where are you-” Kiba cut off when the two clones grinned and poofed after handing Naruto the seals. “Who were they?”

“Clones!” Naruto inspected the seals carefully, making extra-sure they had everything they were supposed to. Kurama?

Looks good to me, kit, Kurama growled. If they blow up too much, it’s their fault for messing with us.  

Naruto giggled, dropping a third of the seals evenly into his buckets of glitter.

Sasuke and a clone joined up with the group, Sasuke staring worriedly at the buckets of glitter. “Why are you laughing.”

Naruto grinned, pulling out another third of the seals and splitting them between the second set of buckets. “The glitter bombs might overexplode!”

“The whatnows are going to what .”

Naruto pouted. “I said might! And why did you think we were getting half my glitter stores? Kurama taught me how to make bomb seals and I changed them a bit!”

Kiba choked. “This is HALF your glitter stores!?!?!”

“No, Hinata’s getting two more buckets with another clone, then it’ll be half!”

Sasuke quickly mentally counted the clones. “That’s three Shadow Clones at once!?”

“Five,” Kiba corrected.

“How are you still standing?! Kakashi-sensei refuses to even teach the rest of us how to do it because we’d pass out!”

“Well, Kurama taught me!”

You could make close to a thousand and still be on your feet if you wanted to, and more since you’ve got access to my chakra. Those… what was it before those two went poof, seven? Those ones are nothing.  

“And because we’re Uzumaki we’ve got giant chakra reserves, so we can make a lot!” Naruto grinned, turning to Hinata and clone #3. 

-

Sakura grinned, carefully keeping a hand covering the ten senbon the Tokubetsu Jounin Kurama had taken her and Ino to had given her. She didn’t know how Kurama-sensei had known what the Tokubetsu Jounin (Genma?) would have, but she wasn’t arguing! Not when Genma had taken a few seconds to consider the explanation of the prank, grinned, and disappeared then reappeared a moment later with a small container. “I knew this would come in handy.”  

Sakura had then asked Genma (she was sure that was ir name) to demonstrate the senbon. So sue her, Kurama-sensei made them sound really interesting.

Genma had shrugged, spun, and nailed a leaf into a wall with a single one of the needle-like weapons.

Ino had opted to just avoid the senbon altogether after Sakura tried throwing one, carrying the bottle of Genma’s failed poison instead.

“So, senbon now?” Kurama asked, grinning.

“They’re cool!” Sakura protested.

“Wasn’t arguing, just checking,” Kurama smirked. “Just thinking how medical knowledge combined with potentially poisoned super-strength flying needles is going to be absolutely fucking terrifying.”

Sakura’s eyes widened. She hadn’t even considered her (admittedly limited) medical knowledge! She would eventually know exactly where the senbon could do the most damage, maybe even in places most Shinobi wouldn’t think of. And poison! If she could learn to both heal poison and administer it… 

Kurama cackled. “I’ll drag Genma over to K, then.”

“Hey, Kurama-sensei!” Ino skipped around the Uzumaki, glancing at Sakura. “If Sakura’s gonna be getting senbon and poison, do I get some cool weapon?”

Kurama shrugged. “Sure. Not sure what you’d want, though.”

Sakura smiled at Ino. “Well, if I’ve got these,” she held up two senbon for a moment. “Then maybe you should have something that’s the opposite so we can cover each other’s weaknesses!” She glanced at Kurama-sensei to see if he thought it was a good idea, finding the Uzumaki with a sharp grin on his face.

“Glad someone’s been listening to strategy. Sage knows the others are too reckless to ever do it.”

-

Kurama grinned as the Rookie Nine spread out around Sakura’s house, each holding a few glitter bombs and paint bombs, a smoke bomb or two, and Sakura had all the ‘poisoned’ senbon. Naruto’s best prank in the other timeline might have been graffitiing the Hokage monument, but Kurama was fairly sure that this was going to be this timeline’s best.

Sakura and Ino snuck to the door and opened it barely any, tossing one paint bomb and one glitter bomb inside.

Naruto pulsed his chakra, activating the attuned seals of the thrown bombs. 

Neon pink paint and multiplied glitter blasted the windows, prompting everyone to drop smoke bombs surrounding the house/store.

Yes, the previous timeline may have had Naruto’s top prank be vandalism, but this time it was revenge vandalism . Kurama laughed as paint and glitter flew.

In this timeline, the day the Haruno grocery store became an eyesore was legendary among the Genin and Chuunin who tried to take it on as a D-rank.

Chapter Text

Kurama, Ino, Naruto, and Sakura chose a weapon shop that Kurama’s Naruto had liked. It sold general ninja weapons, as well as some extras. Sakura immediately made a beeline for the senbon while Ino headed for the heavier weapons and Naruto stuck right next to Kurama.

Kurama chuckled, fluffing Naruto’s hair. What? I can tell you’re worried.

…I don’t want to get kicked out. Plus, I can’t afford anything here.

First, nobody’s going to overcharge me . Second, I’ve been here before. 

What?! When!?

Kurama rolled his eyes, heading for a rack of kunai. Time travel, remember? I wouldn’t choose anyplace that’s an asshole to you unless I intend to put said asshole in their place.

Naruto grinned, beginning to riffle through the stock. Dattebayo!!  

Ino, meanwhile, was staring in awe at a massive aisle filled with nothing but heavy weaponry. Well, heavy for a single nin, at least. The biggest thing Ino saw at a first glance was a sword nearly as tall as she. The entire aisle was beautiful , and all she had to do was pick something that would compliment Sakura’s senbon.

Ino had absolutely no idea where to start.

“Looking for something, little?”

Ino looked up at a tall brown-haired Shinobi.

“I think these might be a bit big for you.”

“No, I need something big to match Sakura!” Ino pointed at her friend who was selecting a wide variety of senbon with the help of Kurama-sensei’s clone. “She’s using senbon, so I need a heavy weapon so we can watch each other’s weaknesses! I can handle a big one!” And she was pretty sure she could, what with Kurama-sensei teaching both her and Sakura how to enhance their physical prowess with chakra, enough to break the ground and cause EARTHQUAKES , he’d promised.

The brown-haired Shinobi smirked. “Alright then. You lift the weapon you want, and I’ll train you with it if I know how.”

Ino’s grin sharpened at the challenge, and she turned back to the aisle, heading in. She ignored swords easily, not wanting what was, in her mind, the equivalent of an oversized kunai. Anything long-range was dismissed as well, same for anything smaller than Ino herself. If she was doing this challenge, she was doing it right .

Something dull stuck out among all the flashy metal, and Ino zeroed in on it, curious. It was a leather-wrapped pole, a bit big for Ino’s hands. She followed it up with her eyes, and, three or four feet above her head, was the large head of a battleaxe affixed to the end of the pole. The metal was swirled with some sort of periwinkle color.

“Little…”

Ino wrapped her left hand as high up around the shaft of the axe as she could, running chakra through her limbs as she tugged the battleaxe sideways, following it and catching it near the head with her right hand. The edge thunked into the floor, but Ino lifted it up again a moment later, limbs glowing a slight blue. “You said if I could lift it, you’d train me with it?” She tilted the weapon back and forth in her hands a few times, testing her limits for how much chakra she needed to hold it. The answer was a lot . That would change; Ino would make sure she eventually needed none at all.

“Alright, why is-” one of Kurama’s clones cut off when he turned into the heavy-weaponry aisle to find Ino grinning up at Yahiro, holding a battleaxe about double her height in both hands and flooding her body with chakra. “I was going to ask why Yahiro was so scared, but never mind.” He nodded to Ino. “Strength training for you, got it. I presume this is your weapon of choice?”

Ino nodded, letting the dull end of the axe drop to the floor to point at Yahiro. “They promised to train me on any weapon I could lift!”

“I don’t know how to fight with that thing , though!” Yahiro protested, gesturing desperately at the massive weapon.

Ino’s face fell.

Kurama cackled. “You underestimate us, Yahiro.” He turned to Ino, who was hopeful again. “Battleaxe?”

Ino nodded, hefting the weapon with a grin. “ Battleaxe .”

Kurama turned, heading back to Sakura and Naruto, who were debating over kunai pouches with the other puppeteered clone. “Battleaxe it is, then. We’ll get you a seal so you can carry it secretly.”

Sakura turned at the clone’s words. “What about a battleaxe?”

Ino chose that moment to step out from the aisle, battleaxe hefted over her shoulder.

“THAT’S AWESOME, DATTEBAYO!!” Naruto shouted, abandoning the kuani pouch he’d been inspecting in favor of bounding around Ino.

“How are you going to fight with it!?” Sakura stared at her friend, who was glowing with chakra just carrying the battleaxe.

Ino huffed. “I will!”

“Don’t underestimate the Rookie Nine,” Kurama grinned wryly. “And don’t underestimate stubbornness.”

-

Kakashi’s jaw nearly hit the floor when he saw why Ino, Sakura, and Naruto were late. Sakura and Naruto had new ninja gear, Sakura with great numbers of senbon and Naruto with a bit of everything. Reasonable. 

Ino, on the other hand, was carrying a positively gigantic battleaxe.

“What the fuck ,” Shisui deadpanned, “is that .”

“Ino’s weapon of choice,” one of the Kuramas in Training Ground K grinned, having just hopped down from one of the spires. “Ino!”

Ino headed over to the Kurama, subtly glowing blue. “Kurama-sensei!”

“Here.” Kurama held out a slip of paper to Ino, and Kakashi glimpsed a seal written on the paper. “Once you activate this, it will only activate and release for you. I designed it specifically for your battleaxe, and with your father’s permission, I would suggest getting it done permanently.”

“Aww, senpai, showing responsibility for once?” Shisui grinned. “Figured you’d just do it like you did with Naruto!”

“Inoichi is someone I somehow respect,” Kurama said flatly. “Unlike Hiruzen.”

-

“Hey, senpai!!” Shisui flipped upside-down, hanging off an earth branch in front of who they thought was the real Kurama.

“What.”

“Why do you call Sasuke ‘mini-Uchiha’ when there’s me and Itachi as well?”

Kurama smirked a bit sadly. “I was somewhat friendly acquaintances with another Uchiha a while back. Sasuke is rather similar. Thus, mini-Uchiha.”

“Oooh, that makes-” Shisui almost fell off his branch when he realized something very important : Kurama had (well, at least to anyone’s knowledge) never been in Konoha before. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU KNEW AN UCHIHA!??!”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “Exactly that. What, figured I’d be too much of a bastard to tolerate one?”

“I resent that, but as far as I know, there is no Uchiha missing-nin!! Where would you have met any Uchiha who wouldn’t have mentioned a rogue Uzumaki upon returning to Konoha?!!?”

Kurama barked a laugh. “I know of two Uchiha missing-nin, one of whom is dead for now, the other of whom is pretending to be the dead one, both of whom are bastards, and one of whom I intend to knock back to his senses.” He grinned at Shisui, more of a threat than anything else. “The third war was chaotic, don’t you know?”

-

Kakashi Shunshined in front of a mostly-unoccupied Kurama, scrutinizing the Uzumaki. “How do you know Konoha ANBU sign language?”

Kurama chuckled sadly. “I picked it up off my best friend.”

“You- you picked it up .”

“You heard me.”

“Off a friend who is a Konoha nin .”

“Was.”

“And said friend never mentioned a rogue Uzumaki to anyone .”

“Nope.”

Kakashi narrowed his eyes at Kurama. The only people who wouldn’t have mentioned a rogue Uzumaki would be those wanting to protect the Uzumaki over bringing them to Konoha. And there were few people who would have done that and not been on the other end of the spectrum; killing any Uzumaki they came across. “How did you know Kushina .”

Kurama cackled, the earlier melancholy dissipating somewhat. “And that’s the best question you’ve asked so far, Copy-nin!” Kurama met Kakashi’s eyes. “I knew her since before she became a Jinchuuriki, and she knew me. How? We happened to be in proximity for a while.”

-

Shikamaru had been keeping an eye on Kurama Uzumaki for two weeks now, ever since Naruto had gotten Ino to bring em to these training sessions. He’d gotten little to nothing, and then in the second week his father had asked him to specifically watch Kurama, prompting Shikamaru to look at the file on Kurama Uzumaki.

Shikamaru had learned one thing, though: Kurama always answered direct questions. When they pertained to himself or anyone he apparently knew they were answered somewhat cryptically, yes, but Shikamaru wasn’t a Nara for nothing.

“So, Kurama.”

“Shikamaru, finally interested in something?” Kurama smirked. “Took you long enough.”

“I have a question for you.”

“Ask away.”

“How do you know the people and things that you do?”

“Time and an idiot.”

Shikamaru narrowed his eyes at the answer that was much too broad to be satisfying. “Will you ever answer questions without a riddle?”

“You want an answer without a riddle, then?” Kurama grinned, standing and stretching. “I’ll make you a deal, little Nara: if and when you manage to trap me with your little shadow tricks, I will answer one question, no riddles.”

Chapter Text

Ino ran through the streets toward home as the sun began to set, glowing slightly with her battleaxe gripped in both hands. Kurama-sensei had suggested that she place it in her new seal, but she'd decided against it. She would use that seal once it was hers and hers alone!

Ino slowed as she approached her house, shifting the head of the axe so that the shaft was settled on her left shoulder for the remainder of the walk. She rolled it off her shoulder and stood it upright next to her as she opened the door. "Dad!"

Inoichi entered the front room, looking toward the front door where his daughter was carrying a battleaxe that was twice her height inside.

"Look what Kurama-sensei's gonna teach me how to use!" Ino announced proudly, lifting the axe above her head with a pulse of blue chakra.

Inoichi gaped. "Ino, what on earth." He knew, of course, about Kurama Uzumaki- most of the Shinobi populace did, at this point- and the training that Kurama had apparently roped the remaining nine members of Ino's Academy class into. That did not mean he expected Ino to come home carrying a giant battleaxe. "I'm not saying no, but what on earth are you going to do with it? How are you going to use it??"

"Kurama-Sensei's gonna teach me!" Ino hefted the battleaxe upright, leaning it against the wall. "He also made me this!" She pulled out the piece of paper, holding it out to her father. "It'll only work for me once I activate it, and he suggested making it permanent on my hand!"

Inoichi took the paper, finding the smallest storage seal he'd ever seen, only about two by three inches. He didn't think he'd be able to replicate it to scale at all, given how delicate some of the lines were. "I can't say that's not a good idea, though I'd like to speak to Kurama first."

"Alright!"

-

"Tou-san," Shikamaru entered his father's office without waiting for a response. "I made a deal with Kurama."

"A deal? " Shikaku asked, setting aside his papers. "What kind of deal?"

"I need access to the clan techniques," Shikamaru responded, moving to stand next to the locked cabinet that held the required box. "When I trap Kurama in a shadow, he will answer one question in full with no tricks. I need the techniques."

"You think he'll really keep that agreement?" Shikaku stood, reaching out and unlocking the seals on the cabinet.

Shikamaru took the box of the Nara clan Jutsus from his father. "He always answers direct questions and follows through on his promises. I have no reason to think he won't keep his word."

-

Kurama snuck up on Genma the day after Ino got her battleaxe, having snuck out as usual to avoid being tracked. “Genma.”

Genma whirled, three senbon already ready in ir hand. “Kurama?!”

“Are you busy today?”

“Not to my knowledge,” Genma relaxed, putting ir senbon away. “Why?”

Kurama smirked. “Sakura needs senbon and poison training. You’re better at both than I. You in?”

Genma shrugged. “Sure. Anyplace I should meet her?”

Kurama grinned. “After the Academy lets out, go to the Uchiha compound and tell the guards I’m waiting for you at K. They'll let you in.”

“What is ‘K’?”

“Ask someone to take you. They all know where it is,” Kurama chuckled. “Don’t be late.” He poofed away, leaving Genma to try and figure out what the hell ‘K’ meant in the several hours before the Academy let out for the day.

-

Kurama grinned when he sensed both Genma's and Inoichi's chakra at K. It would seem that our guests are waiting for us.

Naruto squinted, tilting his head as he reached out with his own chakra sensing. It had been steadily improving with the use of Shadow Clones, and each morning he would try to figure out who was on his ANBU guard for the day. I think I feel them, dattebayo!

Let's not leave them waiting, hm, kit?  

Naruto responded by picking up the pace, leaping past Kurama's puppeteered clone with a cheer. "Genma and Inoichi are there already!!”

The rest of the Rookie Nine, with the exception of Shikamaru, who was neck-deep in a scroll, quickly joined Naruto, Sakura and Ino especially running forward.

“Pick up the pace, little Nara,” Kurama smirked, preparing to shift to jog after the other eight if Shikamaru decided to speed up. (When exactly had he become the chaperone? Right, Naruto, and being a Sakura replacement.) “We might end up leaving you behind.”

Shikamaru hummed, not changing his pace at all.

Kurama rolled his eyes, keeping an eye on Shikamaru with the clone, and on the rest of the Rookie Nine through Naruto’s eyes. The clone and Shikamaru reached Training Ground K a minute or two after the other eight, who had already mostly split up to start training with Itachi and Shisui, or on their own or in pairs, and Sakura was with Genma.

“Kurama Uzumaki, was it?” Inoichi asked, pushing off the tree he’d been leaning against and walking over to Kurama.

“Inoichi Yamanaka, hello,” Clone-Kurama nodded. “Give me a moment.” He made another clone, directing it to Ino. “There. You were saying?”

Inochi’s eyes followed the clone Kurama had made as it headed over to Ino and started… instructing her on how to use the giant battleaxe. Trying to instruct her? Experimenting. “You’re the one who’s orchestrating… all this?” He gestured to ‘Training Ground K’ as a whole, looking back at Kurama.

“I am.” Watch your feet, kit. “What of it?”

Inoichi pulled out the upsized copy- well, the best he could do- of the seal Kurama had given Ino. “This is a storage seal, but it does other things I can’t figure out. Mind explaining before it gets put on my daughter’s skin?”

Kurama grinned, chuckling. “Storage seal built for the battleaxe, plus a few other small things. Only Ino will be able to use it, and ‘hard to break’ is an understatement.”

Inoichi raised an eyebrow, inspecting the seal again. “What does that mean?”

Kurama’s grin widened. “It would take just about Bijuu-level chakra to overload that thing, especially once Ino links it to her chakra systems.” Inoichi’s eyes widened with each word, even as Kurama continued to speak. “Plus there’s some extra fluff that looks like it does stuff but really is just there as a distraction.”

“Where did you get this thing??” Inoichi knew as well as anyone that nobody in Konoha had Fuuinjutsu knowledge to this extent.

“I made it.”

“Wh- how?!”

Kurama cackled, stepping toward Choji and spinning all the way around on his heel, raising his arms to either side. “I’m an Uzumaki, am I not?” He finished the spin, raising his hands to make the unneeded seals for Fuuton. “CHOJI!”

Choji whirled, slamming his foot backwards and levering up an earthen wall that Kurama’s winds used all their power to slice through. 

“Good reaction time,” Kurama grinned.

Choji grinned back. “I looked at my own clan’s Jutsu, like you suggested to Shikamaru! I can’t use the full Multi-Size technique yet, but I will!”

Kurama knew exactly where Choji could reach with those techniques. “Good idea. Don’t forget to keep food on yourself so you don’t end up with nothing in your reserves.”

-

Naruto tilted his head, zeroing in on a powerful chakra signature that had just entered his long-range chakra sensing. Kurama, do you know who that is?

Hm? Kurama found the signature easily, recognizing it immediately. That would be Hiruzen. You should probably deactivate the Uzumaki wards, in case he wants to come in, but the others should be fine.  

Dattebayo! Naruto jumped up, his chakra sensing snapping back to his direct vicinity as he ducked down underneath the windowsill. How do I turn them off?  

A bit of blood and chakra, just like what you did to activate them.  

Can I use my claws?

Sure.  

Naruto grinned, watching as his fingernails thickened and sharpened. He made a nick in his palm, setting his hand against the seal and pulsing his chakra just a bit. 

The seals glowed briefly before fading, and the light sting of the cut faded with it. Thanks Kurama!

Kurama pulled back his chakra, shrinking Naruto’s claws back to their normal fingernails. Go open the door, kit.  

Naruto reached the door just as a knock sounded from it. He ripped the door open, already knowing who it was. “Hokage-jiji!! Hi!!” 

“Hello, Naruto.” Hiruzen nodded to the blonde, entering the apartment.

“Why are you here? It hasn’t been a month yet!” Naruto asked eagerly.

“I heard you had been practicing Jutsu, and wanted to check in on you.”

“Yeah! Kurama’s been teaching me how to do stuff, ‘ttebayo!!” Naruto grinned.

“And I hear you have manifested claws?”

Kurama????

Calm down, kit. You did. No point in denying it.

“Yep! They’re really cool!!”

“Can I see them?”

KURAMA!??!!

Kurama chuckled. Show him. He’ll be calmer if you seem to have full, independent control of them, right?  

Dattebayo! Naruto raised his hand as the claws grew, smiling brightly. “Kurama’s got ‘em too and he’s been teaching me how to fight with them, ‘ttebayo!!”

Hiruzen stared at the claws. He had, of course, noted the small pulse of exceedingly powerful chakra that heralded the change, but it had not changed, nor felt malicious or tried to take Naruto over. He didn’t know how seals worked nearly as well as he wished he did, but this was something he knew wasn’t supposed to happen. Wait… “Kurama what?”

Naruto nodded, grinning as he flicked at the claws. “Kurama’s got claws too! He’s the one who taught me how to make them!”

Hiruzen almost choked. 

Kit… Kurama narrowed his eyes warily.

“I think he said it was a Kekkai Genkey or something?”

“A Kekkei Genkai?”

“Yeah, ‘ttebayo!”

I take it back. Good job.  

Hiruzen blinked. He wasn’t aware of any Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai that involved physical transformations, though the claws were rather… minor. But that was ignoring the fact that he had felt the Kyuubi’s chakra shift. He'd see if he could get any more information. "Do you know where this Kekkei Genkai comes from?"

Naruto shrugged. "Kurama said it’s something the other Uzumaki he knew had!”

Kurama laughed at the look on Hiruzen's face. Well done kit. Very well done indeed!  

-

Tsunade stared at the newt that had scrambled into her room. It was a very familiar newt: one of Hiruzen’s summons. “I will not be returning to Konoha.”

The newt just stared at Tsunade, lifting its chin to reveal a small storage seal on the underside. A message, then, and not another request to return?

Tsunade activated the seal, a small scroll dropping into her hand. The letter was concise, without any of the fluff Hiruzen was sometimes so fond of.

“Tsunade-hime. Kurama Uzumaki has requested to meet with you in Konoha. We suspect him to be related to Kushina somehow. He has also requested the presence of Jiraiya.”  

Tsunade snorted. She wasn’t about to return to Konoha just because some random Uzumaki wanted to talk.

“Kakashi Hatake: in Kurama’s own words, ‘tell Tsunade she’s a fucking idiot for thinking that anyone would have actually kept up the hospital’. He then told me to tell you ‘she has a protege plus poisons’, as well as ‘damn fool if she thinks Dan and Nawaki would be happy with this’.”  

Tsunade stared at the paper. She didn’t want to return to Konoha, but this ‘Kurama’ person was talking of things he knew nothing of. She crumpled the paper in her fist, setting it on fire. “SHIZUNE!!”

-

Jiraiya scanned the letter, shooting to his feet the moment he saw the quoted words from Kurama Uzumaki. Among other things, Kurama Uzumaki had mentioned Jiraiya’s status as Naruto’s godfather, which was not common knowledge by any stretch, much less the fact that he was fairly sure that Kushina didn’t have any surviving relatives after Uzushio’s fall.

Kurama Uzumaki was either an imposter or a secret, and Jiraiya didn't know which he'd rather have it be.

That was all beside the fact that Naruto could call upon claws whenever he wished, ‘supposedly’ due to an Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai of which Jiraiya KNEW there were none like that , and Hiruzen-sama wanted Jiraiya to look at the Kyuubi’s seal, as it was apparently the Kyuubi’s chakra that seemed to have stimulated the claws forming.

Jiraiya started packing.

Chapter Text

Kakashi, Itachi, Inoichi, and Shikaku all met up in Shikaku’s office, his the one with the best security of the four and least likely to be intruded upon.

“What’s new?”

Kakashi set down his notebook. “He used to have a friend in a Konoha nin and ‘picked up’ our ANBU sign language off of them. It’s possible that this nin was Kushina, due to him mentioning that they knew each other.”

“Or an Uchiha,” Itachi added. Everyone looked at Itachi, and he continued. “Shisui asked Kurama why he calls Sasuke ‘mini-Uchiha’, to which Kurama said he knew an Uchiha in the past and was somewhat friendly with them, and then…” Itachi cleared his throat, mimicking Kurama. “‘I know of two Uchiha missing-nin, one of whom is dead for now, the other of whom is pretending to be the dead one, both of whom are bastards, and one of whom I intend to knock back to his senses.’ This was immediately followed by a mention of the Third War.”

“What does ‘dead for now’ mean!?

Inoichi’s eyes widened. “Edo Tensei. Kurama could perform the Edo Tensei.”

Kakashi groaned. There was no denying that if that was Kurama’s intent, he definitely had enough chakra, and presumably the Fuuinjutsu knowledge to do it as well.

“That still leaves the question of which one he intends to… what was it? ‘Knock back to his senses’?” Shikaku asked. “He gave no indication as to which that was.”

“I’d guess the one he said he was friendly with, who, since nothing was mentioned to Konoha about a rogue Uzumaki, much less one as distinct as Kurama, I’d guess is the dead one,” Kakashi spoke as he added the information to his notebook.

“But if he’s going to ‘knock someone back to his senses’, then wouldn’t that be the person who’s impersonating someone else?” Itachi pointed out.

Kakashi led his head thunk onto the desk. Sage dammit. Itachi was right.

“I have information, but it’s more confirming than new,” Inoichi said. “I visited Training Ground K earlier today. Kurama gave Ino a storage seal within inches that will attune to the user’s chakra and has extra bits as a distraction, and confirmed it was him who made it. I also looked at his chakra,” he sighed, “and I looked at Naruto’s . Almost an exact match.”

Itachi groaned. “And we still don’t know why .”

Shikaku shrugged. “We have confirmation he’s got Fuuinjutsu skills. We already considered that he’s using a seal to manipulate his scent, what’s to say he’s not doing the same with his chakra?” He turned to Kakashi, as the one with the most Fuuinjutsu knowledge.

Kakashi shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s possible. Inoichi?”

“I was looking at his chakra, not for any signs of an active seal,” Inoichi sighed. “I think there was something on his stomach, but I couldn’t be sure.”

Kakashi’s head snapped up. “Jiraiya!” 

“The Sannin?”

“Exactly! Both Jiraiya and Tsunade should be arriving in Konoha within the next few days, partially because Kurama wants to talk to them!

“So if you follow the Sannin, then you’ll see Kurama again at some point!!” Itachi finished, grinning.

Shikaku dropped his head into his palm. “You’re all overcomplicating this. Have you all forgotten why Inoichi went to K? Kurama is training Ino . It’s perfectly reasonable that Inoichi would check in on her in a day or two, especially with her new battleaxe training.”

-

Shisui delved into the library for the tenth time since the fire tornado incident. Kurama's way of combining Katon and Fuuton without use of a Kekkei Genkai had planted the idea in his mind of combining other natures, which led him to seeing if anyone had done it before in different ways. So far, they'd had no luck, but he wasn't giving up.

As usual, Shisui made a single Shadow Clone and sent it to pick up where they'd left off last time, continuing on his own row themself.

-

"Original! Think I found something!"

Shisui marked where he was in the scroll (combining same-release Jutsus, not helpful) just in time for the clone to plop down an old scroll that was so far from the original topic that Shisui almost didn't want to know how he had gotten so off-track. "What the…"

The clone pointed to a stylized drawing of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, and the words next to it.

"The Kyuubi no Kitsune is known to have the ability to combine its Fire and Wind natures to create massive, flaming tornadoes able to decimate whole armies with ease, though this has only been displayed against those that try to attack it. No Shinobi is known to have replicated this without three others assisting, and never on the scale the Kyuubi has displayed."  

Shisui blinked, and read the words again. And again. He activated his Sharingan and read it again. 

The words refused to change, and a single, outrageous-if-not-for-how- plausible -it-seemed, idea started to take root. 

Kurama had called the fire tornadoes ‘ his ’, after all, and even though Shisui could use the Sharingan to follow along with the chakra more easily it had taken them nearly two weeks to make one on his own, and way too much effort for it to be reasonable in an allyless fight, while being too destructive to be useful with allies. The Kyuubi wouldn’t need to worry about any allies, and Kurama quite clearly had no issues making a tornado with half a hand sign and a breath.

Shisui’s eyes widened as more things that Kurama did and knew made just a bit more sense in this possibly-not-hypothetical scenario. "Where did you find this?!?"

The clone shrugged. "It was wedged behind some Kumo scrolls, but I think it's from Uzushio," he pointed to the dull orange spiral marking the casing. 

Shisui dispelled the clone, grabbing the Uzushio scroll and carefully rolling it up as the new memories whipped through his mind before quickly checking out with the nin at the desk. They Shunshined away the moment they stepped outside, landing just outside of the Academy, where it seemed lunchtime was almost over.

There was no time to waste, not with this possibility, so Shisui ran around the building to the somewhat-busy yard, finding Naruto (and the rest of the ‘Rookie Nine’, wherever possibly-the-Kyuubi Kurama had pulled that name from) easily, even among the older, taller students. 

Shisui Shunshined again, landing a bit away from the ‘Rookie Nine’. “Naruto!!”

Naruto looked over at Shisui, grinning brightly. “Shisui-san!!”

Shisui darted over to Naruto, crouching and whispering into the blonde’s ear. “ Where is Kurama? I need to talk to him.

Naruto shrugged, whispering back. “ He disappears! What do you need to talk to him about, ‘ttebayo?

There was zero chance of Naruto not knowing that (if) Kurama was the Kyuubi, but Shisui wasn’t inclined to risk his suspicions being overheard at all.

Well, there was always more than one way to a solution.

Shisui unrolled the scroll to the section he’d found on the Kyuubi’s fire tornadoes. “ I was wondering his thoughts on this.

Naruto’s eyes narrowed as he read, Shisui waiting to see what was said. “ I think he’d want to talk to you about it later! Meet us in my apartment tonight?

That was coded confirmation and don’t-tell-anyone if Shisui had ever heard it. “ I’ll be there.

Kurama groaned, deciding what he would actually tell Shisui. Clearly, hiding the fact that he was ‘Kurama Uzumaki’- or rather, ‘Kurama Uzumaki’ was him- was pointless.

Kurama?

I’m fine, kit. Wondering what we’ll explain to Shisui.

I think we should answer whatever we can! Wasn’t it you who said having friends to fight Zetsu was a good thing?

You said friends. I said allies.

You agreed with me!

Kurama absolutely had.

-

Kurama cocked his head at the chakra signature that was following him and the Rookie Nine. it wasn’t only the chakra signature that had caught his attention, though. It was also the massive levels of annoyance and anger, and he recognized the distinct sense of a Byakugan. Neji. Naruto. Who’s following us?

Umm… Naruto slowed his pace slightly to focus. They feel a bit like Hinata? Why are they so mad?

Correct. That’s Neji Hyuuga, I believe. Go on ahead, I’ll see what he wants.

Dattebayo!  

Kurama had his clone slow, the Rookie Nine pulling ahead. “Well, mini-Asshole Hyuuga? Gonna talk, or just be there mad?”

Neji snorted. “Why are you wasting your time on a weakling like Hinata?”

“You haven't been keeping up on affairs, have you?” Kurama smirked. 

“I know you’ve been training her and the rest of her class. Why are you wasting your time?”

“Why are you mad about it?” Kurama taunted. 

“You can’t change her fate of being weak,” Neji growled. “You can’t change any fate.”

Kurama started laughing, both his clone and in the mindscape. “That’s the best thing I've heard all DAY, mini-Hyuuga!” Telling a time-traveller fate can’t be changed? When he’s already changed quite a bit? Hilarious.  

“Why are you laughing?!? Fates are sealed.”

Kurama shook his head, still chuckling at both the earlier statement and the likely-unintentional pun. “Alright, Asshole Hyuuga. Tomorrow, I will meet you at the Academy during your training session. If you can beat me in a spar, no holds barred, then I will stop training Hinata.”

Neji scoffed. “Only weaklings train weaklings.”

“And if I win,” Kurama continued, “I will show you exactly how fickle your little ‘fate’ is.”

“My fate is caged,” Neji narrowed his eyes.

“Oh no, woe is us, a cage,” Kurama mocked. “Spoiler alert, Asshole Hyuuga, there’s always a way out of a cage.” Kurama glared down at Neji. “It so happens that I have a low opinion of cages, and lower of those that just accept a place in one.”

-

Naruto deactivated the Uzumaki wards once he got home, collecting his memories from the single clone he’d left behind. Is Shisui-san close?  

I’d expect them to Shunshin here to preserve secrecy.

Oh yeah… Naruto yawned, pulling out a plate of leftovers that Mikoto-san had given him. Are you really gonna fight that Neji guy?

If he’s still being an asshole.

What’s with him anyways?

He’s from a branch Hyuuga family, so his Byakugan will be destroyed when he dies due to a seal, and he’ll always be ‘in service’ to the main branch, which Hinata is a part of. He’s quite resentful over it.

Oh. What are you going to-

Shisui chose that moment to appear in a whirl of leaves, interrupting Kurama and Naruto’s conversation. “I WAS RIGHT?!!?”

Be glad I put silencing seals everywhere, idiot, Kurama snapped at Shisui. Think you’ve got enough to make a clone for me, kit?  

Naruto smiled. “Hi Shisui-san!” He crossed his fingers, and a puff of smoke had a clone popping up.

Kurama smirked, not bothering to Henge into his usual disguise. “Honestly, thought Kakashi would’ve figured it out first. Hello, Shisui.”

“You’re actually the Kyuubi, and Naruto’s your Jinchuuriki,” Shisui stated numbly.

“Yep.”

How .”

“How what?”

“How is-” Shisui gestured wildly to Kurama’s clone. “ How .”

Kurama chuckled. “Remember when Danzo died?”

Shisui nodded.

“That was my doing. Naruto makes me a Shadow Clone, I puppeteer it and put it under a Henge.”

Shisui processed for a moment. “Ok, ok, fine, but what I don’t understand is why . Why are you doing all this?”

Are we going to tell him?

I think we’ll let him decide. “The answer to that depends on how much secondhand trauma you think you can take,” Kurama deadpanned.

Shisui responded by briefly activating their Mangekyo.

“Right. Uchiha.” Kurama rolled his eyes before locking eyes with Shisui. “I’m stopping the end of the world.”

Shisui blinked. “What.”

If there’s one reason I resent not being able to do Genjutsu, it’s this, Kurama grumbled to Naruto, who giggled.

Shisui glanced back and forth between the two, confused. “Uh- Kyuubi, are you going to explain?”

“First off, my name is actually Kurama, and I’d appreciate it if you used it.”

Shisui was quick to nod.

“Second, I’m from a future where the Moon Goddess was brought back by the manifestation of her rage, among other things, and I was sent back to stop it, as well as various other events that, among other things, lead to a Fourth Shinobi War.”

“Ok, now I know you’re kidding me.”

Kurama’s gaze bore into Shisui. “Two words: Uchiha Massacre.”

What .”

“I’m not sure of the exact timeline, but somewhere around this time, the Uchiha elders started throwing around the idea of a coup.”

Shisui’s eyes widened. He’d heard whispers of that briefly, but they had died down after Danzo’s death.

“Danzo wanted to kill the whole clan to stop this.”

“What the fuck.”

Kurama snorted. “You offered using Kotoamatsukami to make them abandon the idea, but Danzo shot it down, killed you, and ordered the massacre behind Hiruzen's back.”

Shisui gulped. “So what happened?”

“Itachi intercepted Danzo, and agreed to do the deed himself in exchange for Sasuke’s life being spared. He took your other eye and worked with a rogue Uchiha to do it.”

“MY OTHER EYE!?!!”

“Danzo.”

“Right.” Shisui paused. “Rogue Uchiha? Is this the one you know, the one you’re gonna knock back to his senses, or the temporarily-dead one?”

“Hopefully only the first two of those are going to be viable. The second one.”

“Then, who’s the one you know?”

“Sasuke.”

Shisui paused. “You’re calling Sasuke mini- himself!!

“Yep.”

-

Shisui collapsed directly onto his bed upon returning to his house, screaming silently into the pillow. Kurama-who-is-actually-the-Kyuubi had left them with a seemingly lighthearted threat to not tell anyone about… everything , but Shisui was no idiot to think that it wasn't real.

Among other things, Kurama had told Shisui about, oh yeah, fucking MADARA might come back to life , Orochimaru is going to be dragged back to Konoha whether Hiruzen likes it or not , and there was also the ever-important observation of the Kyuubi has been free for a month now .

Upon asking Kurama what the plan was for keeping the Kyuubi part of that from the Sannin, Kurama had laughed. "Please. Three lifetimes sealed in Fuuinjutsu masters and two trying to break out and I'd be disappointed if I didn't know how to fool Tsunade and Pervert-Frog."  

So now Shisui was burdened with the knowledge that Kurama was the Kyuubi from the future and fully intended to trick no less than four legendary Shinobi. At once.

And Shisui was an accomplice now.

Shisui screamed again.

Chapter Text

Mizuki crossed his arms, watching the various spars of the second-youngest Academy class. Only three were actually any good, and one of those had knocked out his opponent and was glaring out at the wall. 

“Hello, Mizuki,” a calm, somehow threatening voice hummed from behind Mizuki.

Mizuki whirled, finding a redhead wearing a long-sleeved tight black shirt and thick black pants with an orange-red spiral on the thigh. Whoever it was wore no shoes, and their hair fell loose about halfway down their back.

Kurama grinned, narrowing his eyes at Mizuki. “Not sorry for interrupting.” He strode past Mizuki without another glance. “ASSHOLE HYUUGA!!”

Neji whirled even as the other spars in the training area came to a cacophonous halt. “You actually showed up.”

“I actually showed up,” Kurama smirked. “Anything goes except for death and permanent injury. Unconsciousness or a pin marks the end. One round. No leaving this training area, and no hostages. Capiche?” 

Capiche ,” Neji snarled, shifting his feet to a ready stance.

Kurama glanced over, scanning the rest of the very confused class. “I suggest you back up. I certainly won’t be holding back… much.” He turned calmly back to Neji, recalling Naruto’s fight with the Asshole Hyuuga. “Go ahead.”

Neji immediately rushed forward, not bothering to activate his Byakugan.

Kurama made a pile of Shadow Clones, splitting up across the whole training area and letting Neji hit the original clone and poof it, hiding the second one behind it. “Aww, too bad so sad.”

Neji whirled, Byakugan now active. Each clone had the same chakra pathways, right down to the odd whirl on their stomachs.

Kurama’s clones all raised their hands in unison, calling up fire and wind.

Neji leapt backward, only for a kick to land right in his blind spot and launch him back into the middle, and fire spun up on all sides. He carefully stalked in a circle, watching the many identical chakra signatures circle him as well.

“Now this, this is a cage!” Kurama shouted, noticing Neji spin to face the direction of the clones that had spoken. He stepped forward, through the spinning flames and completely unharmed, right in Neji’s direct line of sight without the Byakugan. “You could walk through yours just as easily if you really tried to.”

Five clones appeared around Neji, immobilizing him as one slapped a seal onto Neji’s forehead before all five were chakra-blocked and poofed.

Kurama Shunshined another clone inside the whirling flames, holding up the other end of the seal. A chakra transfer seal, adapted from pieces of both the Flying Raijin and his own Bijuu seal. 

Kurama ran corrosive Bijuu chakra through the seal, and Neji screamed, deactivating his Byakugan as he fell and the Caged Bird seal disintegrated.

It only took seconds, and Kurama shut off the fire tornado, having a clone lift Neji back up as he gave the semi-unconscious Hyuuga some of Naruto’s chakra.

Did it work?  

Kurama chuckled as Neji began to stand under his own power again. It worked. Thanks for the help, kit.  

Kurama’s clone removed the transfer seal, carefully keeping Neji facing away from Mizuki and the rest of the class, who were all frozen in shock. “And there you have it, Asshole Hyuuga.”

“What did you do ,” Neji grunted weakly.

Kurama snorted. “See for yourself.” He brought over another clone, Henging it into a small mirror. 

Neji caught sight of his reflection, and his eyes widened. 

Kurama grinned. “I told you. Figure out another ‘fate’, or don’t.” He dispelled all the clones, including the mirror, except for one who was tucked behind the watching class.

Neji reached up and pulled his headband down, covering the slight burn on his forehead that marked where his Caged Bird seal used to sit before he slowly turned to face the class.

“THAT WAS GREAT!!!” Lee shouted joyfully, running forward. “THEY WERE SO STRONG AND YOU STILL FOUGHT THEM!!”

Kurama grinned, watching as the rest of the class also crowded Neji. 

“Who the hell are you.” Mizuki hissed.

Kurama rolled his head over to lock eyes with Mizuki. “Kurama Uzumaki.”

-

Kakashi sighed, looking at the three junior medics he’d been mentoring for the past month. He was sure that, had the three not been doing combat training on top of the medical training, that they all would have learned what he had to teach within a week instead of a month. 

Kakashi would have to send them to the hospital, or to Tsunade once she arrived. Actually, knowing Kurama, he’d drag Tsunade over here himself.

-

Sakura switched spots with Kurama-sensei’s clone of her as she always did, smiling brightly. She, Hinata, and Ino had all been told that day by Kakashi-sensei that “Maa, maa, I can't teach you anything else. You’ll have to go to the hospital, or find a true medic nin” and all three had immediately begged- well, they had barely looked at Kurama-sensei and he’d made a clone- to go to the hospital.

Kurama had introduced the trio of Academy students to a medic-nin named Kabuto (who ALSO knew how to use and make poisons, much to Sakura’s joy) and had decided that once a week, they would train with Kabuto. (Kabuto themself was extremely confused, but willing.)

-

Everyone looked to Inoichi.

“There’s a seal on his stomach.”

-

Both Kurama and Naruto left clones at the apartment, preparing the false Bijuu seal to disguise Naruto’s now-open seal and chakra, and a mild chakra tweaking seal for Kurama’s clone to ‘use’. With the Sannin due to arrive in two days or less, it was becoming dangerous to leave it any longer.

“How’s yours going?”

“Uhh…” Naruto’s clone narrowed his eyes at the tweaking seal he’d been trusted to come up with. “I think it’s right?”

“I’ll trade you, kit.” Kurama held out the Bijuu seal to clone-Naruto, smirking.

Clone-Naruto handed over the chakra seal, taking the Bijuu seal and starting to compare it to his own. “It looks right to me?”

Kurama’s grin widened as he traced the lines of the chakra seal. Well done, kit. The other things to make were a pair of stasis seals. They would only have to last a few minutes at most for the two kidnappings that would be performed, so the more important thing would be making sure that Snake Shithead’s representatives couldn’t break out.

-

Shisui was suddenly very glad he was on gate duty when none other than Jiraiya and Tsunade-hime appeared around the corner, accompanied by a pig(?) and a third Shinobi who Shisui could guess from Kurama’s information was Shizune. Kurama, you’d better have those seals done by now.  

Tsunade looked absolutely pissed, stalking up to Shisui. “Where is Hiruzen and where is Kurama Uzumaki ,” she growled. 

Shisui answered calmly, already preparing to leave Gai at the gate the moment the two Sannin were out of sight. “Hokage-sama is expecting you both, and as for Kurama, all I can guarantee is that he’ll find you.”

“What’s that supposed to-”

“LET’S GET MOVING PLEASE TSUNADE!!!” Jiraiya shouted, already through the gates.

Tsunade narrowed her eyes at Shisui, who had been regularly training and sparring with the Sage-damned KYUUBI for a solid month, barely blinked at. Yeah, Shisui’s sense of danger was probably a little skewed now.

Tsunade backed off, stalking ahead of Jiraiya with Shizune at her back.

Shisui apologized to Gai before Shunshining away to the Academy, quickly tracking down Naruto’s chakra signature. He positioned himself next to a window in Naruto’s line of sight before activating his Mangekyo and putting Naruto, and thus, Kurama, under a half-second Genjutsu of Tsunade and Jiraiya arriving.

The Genjutsu was broken as soon as it landed, Naruto zeroing in on Shisui and nodding slightly.

Shisui nodded back, deactivating his Sharingan and Shunshining back to the gate.

Kurama growled. Despite Shisui’s Genjutsu only being a brief image, it didn’t mean he had to like it. He had other things to worry about though, such as the fact that only one stasis seal was completed.

Kurama would do Mizuki the old-fashioned way, then: a paralysis seal, and then lug the oaf all the way to the Hokage office before Tsunade and Pervert-Frog left.

The clone Kurama’d left at Naruto’s apartment made its way to the hospital, not even bothering to sneak and just tracking down Kabuto. Thankfully, it seemed that the spy wasn’t particularly busy, just wandering the halls.

Kurama grinned, climbing the wall to the second floor with ease and stepping inside next to Kabuto, slapping the makeshift sealing scroll onto his head. “Gotta borrow you, Snake Version Two.”

Meanwhile, the new clone Naruto had ‘gone to the bathroom’ to make strolled along the outside of the academy until it found Mizuki’s classroom.

Mizuki, as per usual, was being pretentious. ( Why did Kurama know that? His Naruto only ever mentioned Mizuki once as ‘the guy who told me to get the Kage Bunshin scroll’. )

Kurama rolled his eyes, Shunshining inside and whacking Mizuki upside the head with a paralysis seal. “Not sorry for borrowing this shithead, have a free day!” He hefted Mizuki over his shoulder with ease and a bit of chakra, Shunshining away in short bursts toward the Hokage office.

The two clones met up on the rooftops, handing off the Kabuto scroll and leaving one ‘Kurama Uzumaki’ to continue to the Hokage office, where Pervert-Frog and Tsunade’s chakra signatures were, as well as Hiruzen’s.

Kurama grinned, climbing the wall of the Hokage tower with his seal in place and two Snake Shithead contacts in tow. He made a Shunshin for the last bit, landing on the windowsill with ease. “I noticed you didn’t send anything to Snake Shithead, so I did that myself.” 

“Wh-”

Kurama tossed Mizuki onto the floor, unsealing a very disgruntled Kabuto from the scroll. “These two are going to be representing him.”

“Beg your fuck?!” Jiraiya said, staring at Kurama.

Kurama smirked. “Hello, Pervert-Frog, Tsunade.”

“Wh- hey, why doesn’t she get an insulting nickname!?”

Kurama stared flatly at Jiraiya. “I respect her.”

“I’m the Toad Sage, you oaf!!”

Kurama snorted. “Only thing you’ve got over her is sealing knowledge, and I’m better. So no, I don’t respect you. Pervert-Frog .”

“So you’re Kurama Uzumaki.” Tsunade glared at Kurama, debating whether to punch him now or let him explain himself.

“Yes.” Kurama’s arm snapped out, tossing Kabuto back into the room. “I will paralyze you too if that’s what it takes.”

“Why am I here?”

Kurama stared at Kabuto, unamused. “True or false, you work for Orochimaru. Because since he’s clearly not here, someone’s gonna be representing him before I go out there myself and drag him back here by force.”

Kabuto twitched. “Message heard, Uzumaki.”

“And, why is an Academy teacher paralyzed?” Hiruzen asked.

“Oh, he’s got one of Snake Shithead’s prototype cursed seals on him. Also he’s plotting to steal the Scroll of Seals to earn Snake Shithead’s favor.”

Hiruzen sighed. “And why is Orochimaru being represented here?”

“I’m sure none of us want him deciding to hunt my cousin, do we?” Kurama rolled his eyes. “I don’t know about you, but having a highly-skilled scientist, who, might I add, was set up by Danzo to make a Mokuton user for ROOT, in Konoha instead of plotting against it seems like a good idea.” Kurama made a point to glare pointedly at Kabuto.

“What I want to know,” Tsunade interrupted, glaring at Kurama, “is what business you think you have talking about Dan and Nawaki.”

“I needed you back in Konoha, didn’t I?” Kurama smirked. “ I’m sure as hell no good at medical Jutsu, and I’ve got three kids who’re now being taught by that idiot,” he pointed at Kabuto, “But seeing as two out of the three are not Hyuuga, they’re learning your super-strength, and I only know so much from observation. I also don’t know how to actually stock the Strength of a Hundred seal, just how to activate it.”

“And how do you know that?”

Kurama smirked. “A good acquaintance of mine showed me once.”

“Nobody but me has this seal,” Tsunade growled, pointing at the diamond on her forehead. “So your explanation is impossible.”

Kurama stared flatly at Tsunade. “Something to know about me: I don’t lie.”

“So this story about an Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai?” Jiraiya asked, crossing his arms.

“Oh, these?” Kurama raised a hand, flexing his claws. “Yes. I believe it started soon after Mito became the Kyuubi’s Jinchuuriki.”

Jiraiya narrowed his eyes at Kurama. “And about how I know there was never any Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai that involved a physical change?”

Kurama smiled pleasantly. “Oh, like how you ‘know’ that Konan and Nagato are dead? How you ‘know’ that the Akatsuki are still a peacekeeping organization? How you ‘know’ that Uzushio’s fall was a fluke?” He snorted. “There’s a lot you don’t know, Pervert-Frog.”

WHAT ABOUT KONAN AND NAGATO!?!?!?”

Kurama laughed. “They’re alive and being manipulated by someone who’s impersonating Madara, who, in turn, is being manipulated by an evil plant. Take out the plant, knock spiral-bastard back to his senses, and the Akatsuki will actually be peacekeepers again.”

Kabuto’s eyes widened. “By ‘spiral-bastard Madara’, do you mean a rogue Uchiha with an orange spiral mask!?”

“I assume he’s already visited Snake Shithead, then?”

“Yes, with an offer to join the Akatsuki.” Kabuto shrugged. “Lord Orochimaru declined.”

Jiraiya watched and half-listened as Kurama answered a few more of Kabuto’s questions, often with commentary on Orochimaru being, among other things, ‘a fool’, ‘asshole’, and ‘eventually sensible’. 

“Kurama.”

Kurama glanced over at Jiraiya from where he was sitting on Hiruzen’s desk. “Hm?”

“How did you know that I’m Naruto’s godfather?”

Kurama snorted. “Pretty shitty one, you are.” Jiraiya flinched guiltily. Kurama shrugged. “Mustard’s teacher writes a book, main character named Naruto, Mustard and Ketchup get together, their kid’s named Naruto. Not a far leap. Also, Kushina told me.”

“So you are related to Kushina.”

Kurama shrugged. “I may as well be with how close we were.”

“Then where were you this whole time!?”

“In hiding.” Kurama rolled his eyes. “What, you think I’d be anywhere findable after Uzushio’s destruction? Hilarious.” 

Kurama!!

Kit? What’s happening?

Iruka’s letting us out early because you kidnapped Mizuki and we need a Sakura replacement!!

Thirty seconds. Kurama shook his head, turning toward the window. “Someone’s gonna want to return Mizuki and Kabuto to their places, I’ve got shit to do.” He glanced back at Tsunade and Pervert-Frog. “You want to find me, then find any Uchiha and tell them to take you to K.” He Shunshined away to the Academy in one leap, much easier without Mizuki weighing him down.

Chapter Text

Hiruzen stared tiredly at where Kurama Uzumaki had disappeared from, without the usual puff of smoke that Kakashi consistently reported.

“Well then.” Tsunade clapped her hands, turning to the window as well. “I am going to go find an Uchiha so I can punch that asshole in the fucking face .”

“It seems I have a letter to draft to Lord Orochimaru,” Kabuto muttered, looking down at Mizuki, whose eyes were flicking around in annoyance. “I don’t suppose there’ll be an issue with leaving him with you, Hokage-sama?”

Hiruzen sighed, ready to pull out a cigarette once he was alone. “I’ll have him kept an eye on.” He'd have Inoichi verify Kurama's claims of plotted theft as well.

“…Did he call Minato and Kushina Mustard and Ketchup?!?!!!? ” Jiraiya asked.

Hiruzen was more concerned with the fact that Kurama knew who Naruto’s father was. At the very least, Kurama didn’t seem inclined to tell anyone else.

Tsuande disappeared in a Shunshin of her own, leaving some leaves behind and landing next to the gate. “UCHIHA!!!”

Shisui’s eyes widened as Tsunade-hime stalked up to them for the second time that day. “What?”

“Where’s ‘K’, whatever the fuck that is.” Tsunade flared her chakra. “That Uzumaki asshole is due for a beating.”

Shisui made a clone, leaving it at his post with Gai. “Do you know where the entrance to the Uchiha compound is?”

Tsunade nodded.

“Meet me there.” Shisui left in a Shunshin, and a moment after Tsunade landed next to him at the entrance to the Uchiha compound, where Kurama was already waiting.

Kurama grinned. “How’s gate duty, Shisui?”

Shisui rolled his eyes at Kurama. Yeah, his danger meter (especially while in Konoha) was never going to be normal again. “You are so lucky you’re not a Konoha nin, today is the most excitement there almost ever is.”

“Good!” Kurama Shunshined directly in front of Shisui, glaring directly into his eyes.

Shisui was suddenly doubly aware that, despite his human disguise, Kurama was still very much THE Kyuubi-no-fucking-Kitsune .

Then we won’t have any issues with me being put under a Genjutsu again, hear? ” Kurama grinned, all teeth and threat. “ Because you know what happened the last time someone did that.

“UNDERSTOOD!!!!” Shisui left directly back to the gate before Kurama could decide that he was worth clawing. Or stabbing. Or setting on fire.

“Coward.” Kurama turned to Tsunade. “Care to join us?”

Tsunade responded by hauling off and punching Kurama in the face, only for the clone to go poof. “ALRIGHT SHITHEAD!!”

“If you wanted a spar, you only had to ask!” Kurama laughed, a new clone crouched on the wall of the Uchiha compound. “Let’s try and avoid destroying the Uchiha compound, yeah? It deserves a bit longer than a six-year life!” Kit, you ready for this?

Yeah, ‘ttebayo!! All seals ready, Kurama!  

Kurama flipped backward away from Tsunade, twisting and shifting into a dead sprint through the streets of the Uchiha compound, weaving around Shinobi as he raced toward Training Ground K.

Tsunade followed the blur of red and black through the compound, sandals pounding on the hard-packed dirt. (Was Kurama Uzumaki even wearing shoes?? She didn’t think so.)

Kurama skidded and spun to a halt in the middle of K, where the other clone he’d left had already herded Kakashi, Genma, and the Rookie Nine to the edges and helped Naruto set up a barrier around the whole of K- he was no fool, a Sannin fighting the most powerful of the Bijuu (however much the latter would only be using a fraction of his power and partly relying on his Jinchuuriki) was going to cause some collateral, and he’d rather said collateral be material instead of human, if any.

Tsunade resumed the fight by slamming a fist into the ground, sending cracks and bits of rubble flying toward Kurama’s main clone.

Kurama just grinned, throwing up an earthen wall and leaping on top of it in the next instant, preparing to throw quite a few things at Tsunade, depending on what she did. These are going to be at least some of your old favorites, it seems, Naruto. And knowing you, you’ll try and copy them.  

Naruto cheered at Kurama in his mind, grinning eagerly. Kurama was right. He was definitely going to try and copy them.

Kurama made a pile of Shadow Clones, letting Tsunade poof a few of them including the original as the rest split up. He cackled. “NOT THOSE ONES, TSUNADE!!” He threw wind at Tsunade from either side, the Sannin dodging.

Tsunade spun, kicking out a blade of fire that brushed through about half the clones.

Kurama laughed, using two very-much- not -incinerated clones to make a Rasengan, plunging it into the ground and making it erupt. More clones used shockwaves to throw the rubble at Tsunade, who caught, redirected, and reversed it all, poofing another few clones.

The rubble had served its purpose, however, giving Kurama enough time to use another three clones to make a Rasenshuriken and pitch it at Tsunade, closely chased by a fire tornado that half-melded with the already-spinning Rasenshuriken, tossing fire everywhere. Now that’s interesting.  

Tsunade threw up an earth wall of her own, leaping sideways as the flaming Rasengan-thing dug through the wall, directly into the path of another fucking fire tornado , which was counteracted by a Suiton Jutsu- Or NOT, Tsunade snarled, leaping away from both only-diminished attacks as rubble scattered from the now-shattered earth wall and annoyingly hard-to-extinguish fire abounded. 

What was that spinny thing!?!?

The Rasenshuriken? It’s one of your custom Jutsus, by infusing your father’s Rasengan with wind nature. Kurama chuckled, preempting Naruto’s next question. I will teach you how to use it, and you’re only allowed to throw it, hear? I am not dealing with regrowing nerves every time you use the thing.  

Another row of clones went down, this time to Raiton. “GET OUT HERE AND FACE ME PROPERLY, KURAMA!!”

“I THINK I’LL KEEP MY RIBS, THANKS!!” Kurama threw a clone up, making three more and raining fire upon Tsunade with a cackle.

-

Shisui stared blankly across Konoha at the large, barely-visible shimmering gold barrier that marked Training Ground K. Kurama and Tsunade were not being subtle, with fire, wind, dirt, and electricity flying everywhere within the dome. At least Kurama seemed to be mainly using Naruto’s chakra?

Shisui was glad he’d left. 

“Are you alright, Shisui?” Gai asked. Since Shisui had returned and dispelled the Shadow Clone, he’d been completely on edge.

“Oh yes. Just got reminded of how fucking INSANE Kurama is. Presumably he’ll delay my murder until it benefits him. How nice of him.” Shisui turned toward Hokage tower. "I am going to beg for a long mission now."

-

Kurama’s clones and Tsunade faced each other across the torn ground, neither bearing any injuries nor anywhere close to running out of chakra.

Kurama’s point clone laughed, tilting back on its heels. “Thanks for the exercise, Tsunade!”

Tsunade glared at the twenty or so clones. “Who the hell are you?”

“Kurama Uzumaki, I thought we established that.” 

“What the hell is your business speaking of Dan and Nawaki?”

Kurama snorted. “I’m not Naruto, so I figured I’d piss you off enough to come try and beat my ass!”

Tsunade gaped. She’d been completely duped. “Neither of us can actually beat the other, can we?”

“Not without significantly more time!” Kurama grinned. Naruto?

On it, ‘ttebayo!! Naruto headed over to one of the perimeter seals, deactivating it and making the whole barrier fizzle out before racing to one of Kurama’s clones and force-dispelling the others. He tripped as the whole fight from nineteen perspectives at once slammed into him, Kurama catching him easily. 

Kurama shook his head, holding the back of Naruto’s jumpsuit in one hand. “You’re an idiot, kit.”

“You taught me!”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “Fair enough. Gimme a hand fixing the ground?”

Naruto grinned, wiggling until Kurama dropped him. “Dattebayo!!” 

“DOTON USERS!!” Kurama called to the Rookie Nine. “LET’S GET GOING!!”

Tsunade watched, half in awe, as five additional children, plus the White Fang’s kid and another Shinobi with a senbon in their mouth, started reshaping the shattered ground into a flat surface with Kurama and the blonde.

Jiraiya stumbled to an abrupt halt next to Tsunade. “What’s- huh!?”

“Fought Kurama. We tied. The children are fixing the training area.”

Jiraiya choked. “ TIED!?!? Kurama tied with a Sannin!?

“Oh yes.”

Jiraiya whirled at a clone of Kurama appearing directly behind him.

“Are you both going to hang around, then?” Kurama smirked. “I assume Hiruzen also wants you to check Naruto’s seal, Jiraiya?”

Tsunade turned, marching back toward the main part of Konoha. “I have a hospital to rip to pieces, if that also wasn’t just an attempt to rile me up.”

“Oh, that’s both!” Kurama laughed. “I wonder if Shizune’s warned them yet.”

Within minutes, the training ground was smoothed out with the exception of a pile of boulders off to the side, and most of the kids who had helped were at least a bit tired.

Naruto, with Uzumaki reserves and Kurama boosting them, was not very tired at all, and he ran over to Kurama, clearly wary of Jiraiya. Are you gonna teach me the Rasen-whatsit now??  

Only if you’re willing to scare this nutcase. Kurama’s clone tilted its head slightly toward Jiraiya.

Pervert-frog?

Pervert-Frog.

Let’s scare him!!  

Kurama laughed, out loud and in the mindscape as he headed toward an unoccupied area. “Observe for a while, Pervert-Frog. We’ll all be staying around here, and depending on how much I’ve scared Shisui they may or may not show.” 

Naruto grinned brightly, sticking his tongue out at Jiraiya before following the clone happily.

Kurama made a Rasengan, grinning. "Remember how you made the fire tornado spin?"

Naruto nodded, eyes fixed on the Rasengan.

"This is similar, just on a much smaller scale and in sphere form." Kurama held out the ball to Naruto. "Both hands, makes it easier to control."

Naruto held his hands on either side of the Rasengan, grinning as Kurama's description of it being similar to the fire tornado held true.

"IS THAT A RASENGAN??!!"

Naruto jumped, losing his tentative shared hold on the ball and relinquishing it to Kurama again.

Kurama rolled his eyes, not turning to Pervert-Frog. "Good observation, Pervert-Frog. It is. Want it in your guts? We’re busy."

"Where did you learn that?!!?"

"I picked it up off my best friend."

Naruto wrapped his hands around the Rasengan again, ignoring the now-occupied Jiraiya. So I just keep it spinning like you're doing?

Exactly.

"You really think Naruto will be able to do it?"

Jiraiya's comment (however it sounded more concerned than condescending) cut straight through Naruto's concentration, and the Rasengan disappeared.

Kurama laughed cruelly, previously unamused with Jiraiya’s intrusion and now mad. He rounded on Jiraiya. "Within three days, Naruto learned how to make Shadow Clones as his first Jutsu, a Henge his second, and a damn fire tornado as his third. Also, might I add, Naruto stopped the fucking MASSACRE of the Uchiha clan ," Kurama growled at Jiraiya, stepping forward with fire in his mouth. Pervert-Frog deserved it. " Also , I never asked for your input, tutelage, or anything of the sort. Either apologize or run. Preferably both, in short order. Don’t talk about people as if they’re not there, especially if they happen to be under my protection. Capiche?

Sasuke reached up, standing on Shino’s shoulders to get the needed height to tap Jiraiya on the shoulder. “Sannin, do you need us to show you what we could have done instead of just covering a grocery store in paint?”

Ino, Hinata, and Sakura were next to appear, on Jiraiya’s left. Ino’s battleaxe, Hinata’s Byakugan, and Sakura’s many senbon were very apparent.

“Think he’d like to be my test subject?” Shikamaru deadpanned, strolling over, still reading a scroll and with Choji eating chips threateningly. “A slap to the face seems like a good test.”

“Oh nooo…” Kiba lilted, baring eir teeth. “Akamaru seems to think that Frog tastes good today.”

Akamaru growled, stomping toward Jiraiya with small puffs of dust, and Kurama matched him.

Jiraiya disappeared in a Shunshin.

You alright, kit?

Mhm… 

Kurama chuckled, shifting back out of his stance. “I can see intimidation tactics are going to be natural, at least.” I can tell you’re lying.

I didn’t think they’d all show up and just defend me like that.

“OH SAGE WE JUST THREATENED A SANNIN!!!” Hinata abruptly realized, deactivating her Byakugan.

Kiba cackled. “Yeah we did! And it worked!!”

Remind me who I’m talking to, Uzumaki-Namikaze? You’ve got both your parents’ charisma, even if nobody knows who they are yet.  

Naruto brightened. Do they all do this in the last timeline?

Most definitely, Kurama grinned. “I think we all deserve a break, what about you all?”

“RAMEN!!” Naruto shouted.

You’re doing this on purpose.

Maybe…  

“Any objections?” Kurama looked around at the Rookie Nine, and past to where Kakashi and Genma were blatantly staring.

“RAMEN IT IS!!” Choji cheered, dumping the last of his chips into his mouth.

-

Jiraiya landed in front of the Hokage tower, severely regretting at least a few choices.

“Jiraiya?”

Jiraiya looked up to find the Uchiha who’d been at the gate earlier and a brunette with a scar across their nose. “Don’t believe I got your name, Uchiha!”

“Shisui. I take it you visited K?”

Jiraiya’s eyebrows rose. Shisui was the person Kurama had mentioned stopping by. “You’re the same Shisui that knows Kurama, then?”

“Yeesss?” Shisui drew out the word, wary. “Whyyy?”

“I think I pissed him off.”

“GOOD FUCKING LUCK, KONOHA!!” Shisui threw their hands up before Shunshining away, leaving the brunette.

“So, you pissed off Naruto’s cousin and ran away,” The brunette observed calmly.

“Is that just common knowledge?? Kurama and Naruto being cousins?!”

“To anyone who knows one of them, yep. Name’s Iruka Umino. I’m Naruto’s teacher, though I haven’t met Kurama outside of when he picks my class up from school.”

“So you would know my chances of talking to Naruto and apologizing?” Jiraiya asked hopefully.

Iruka’s demeanor instantly darkened. “That would depend on what you’d be apologizing for.”

Jiraiya recounted what had happened.

Iruka laughed once, dry and unyielding. “You managed piss off not only Kurama, but the majority of the Rookie Nine on the behalf of the one you insulted? Not only that, but the one who brought them all together? You’ll be lucky if they let you off without permanently making your hair…” Iruka narrowed his eyes, considering. “Probably neon orange, maybe yellow. Expect to find yourself regularly thwarted.”

“What?”

“Ask any Shinobi about the Haruno grocery store’s paint job.” Iruka responded in a deadpan.

Jiraiya’s jaw dropped. That was the second time a grocery store had been mentioned in the context of paint.

A small beetle flew down, hovering in front of Iruka.

“Hello, Shino.” Iruka held up a hand to let the beetle land, unsurprised when the beetle began flashing morse code. It was a very handy trick that Kakashi had apparently suggested.

“I-C-H-I-R-A-K-U”  

“Good luck, Toad Sage. the Rookie Nine don’t respect you, and if there’s anything I would know, it’s that if they don’t respect you then there’s no way they won’t act on their dislike of you.” Iruka tucked the beetle against his body before Shunshining to Ichiraku, where the Rookie Nine, Kurama, Genma, and someone (probably Naruto) had convinced Kakashi to join as well, were crowding the counter. Iruka released the beetle back to Shino, joining the group.

Chapter Text

“You all saw the fight at K?”

Inoichi sighed. “No offense Kakashi, but I’m pretty sure everyone saw it. How likely is Tsunade-hime to track down and kill Kurama in his sleep?”

“Extremely unlikely.” Kakashi groaned. “I am much more concerned about Jiraiya’s fate.”

“Why are we concerned about Jiraiya?” Shikaku raised an eyebrow, confused.

“He insulted Naruto. Don’t know if he intended it that way, but Kurama and the rest of the Rookie Nine definitely took it that way.” Kakashi looked up at Inoichi and Shikaku. “The ten of them proceeded to threaten Jiraiya enough so that he left and showed up at the Hokage tower, where he talked to Iruka.” Kakashi sighed. “Iruka was also supremely unimpressed with Jiraiya’s conduct.”

“So that makes eleven people mad at Jiraiya, and they’re all allied with each other,” Shikaku summarized, already pulling out his sake.

“In other news,” Inoichi announced. “Orochimaru’s returning.”

WHAT!?!?? ” Shikaku spluttered. “Why!?!?!!”

“I think you already know the answer,” Inoichi sighed.

Kakashi and Shikaku responded in unison, resigned. “ Kurama.

-

Kabuto returned to the Hokage office, with Lord Orochimaru’s response letter clutched in hand. “Hokage-sama. Lord Orochimaru has a request if he is to return.”

“Continue,” Hiruzen sighed.

“He has some children he’s rescued that will be returning with him, else he will stay away.” Kabuto was watering down the words slightly, but it was true enough.

Kurama would drag Orochimaru back regardless, so it may as well be done as peacefully as possible. Hiruzen sighed again. “They will be accommodated.”

-

Iruka stared at the Rookie Nine. His class was crazy, and he could already tell that whatever ideas they had would keep all nine of them completely distracted. "I am not even going to attempt to teach you all until you've pranked Jiraiya. So." Iruka turned to the board, dispelling the Genjutsu he'd placed over it to reveal the words, "Agenda Against Frog" . "Instead I'm going over how to plot and successfully execute a plan. Start listing what you have so far."

"Paint and glitter!" Kiba called, emphasized by a bark from Akamaru.

"Make one of his sandals slightly shorter than the other!" Sakura chirped.

"A bug down his shirt, preferably a centipede," Shino said calmly.

"Food poisoning." Iruka had never expected Choji of all people to suggest ruining food.

“Ruin his spying.”

“Explain that one?” Iruka glanced back at Shikamaru.

“Jiraiya is famous for being a pervert and never getting caught. I say we ruin it.”

Iruka added it to the list.

“Make combination code he can only partially decipher and make him panic with what he can read!” Ino called.

Hinata spoke up next. “I can try and disrupt his chakra?”

Naruto’s suggestion was the most interesting, at least to Iruka: “We all Henge into him, and he sees no more than one of us at a time!”

“Put him under a Genjutsu at the same time!” Sasuke added.

“All of the above, while doing those last two!” Kiba shouted, making everyone start to cheer.

Iruka turned around to face the class. “QUIET!!”

Everyone shut up.

“Who here thinks they can make a Henge?” Iruka had gone over them in class, but had not yet had anyone try one.

All hands went up, with Hinata and Choji a bit more hesitantly. 

“And, if you think you can make a Henge of Jiraiya that is convincing.”

Naruto, Sasuke, and Ino all left their hands raised high, with Sakura, Hinata, and Shikamaru leaving theirs up about halfway.

“If you think you can keep it up long enough to do this idea.”

Naruto’s hand stayed up, completely unwavering while everyone else’s dropped.

Iruka’s eyebrows raised. He wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if Naruto could, but that sort of confidence was either reckless or with full knowledge of skill. “Naruto, you think you could do this?”

“I could do it a month ago, Sensei!” Naruto responded cheerfully. “Kurama taught me!”

“Show me.”

Naruto stood and made the hand seal, one puff of smoke later appeared as what was honestly a very, very good Henge of the Toad Sage.

“Woah!!” Kiba grinned. “Do me!” 

Naruto obliged, this Henge even better than the previous.

“Do Kurama-sensei!”

If Kiba was near-perfect, then Kurama was indistinguishable. 

“Tsunade-hime!!”

Similar to Jiraiya in terms of a match.

“Itachi-nii in a skirt!!” Sasuke cackled when Naruto obliged with ease.

“Kakashi-sensei!!!” Also near-perfect.

Iruka let it go on for a minute before calling attention back to the board. (Naruto was in a Henge of himself ‘but with long hair!!’, and apparently content) “So, that idea is, unfortunately, out because you don’t yet have the skills to do it.” He went to cross it off. “And, all your other plans are good ideas even on their own.”

“Actually, Iruka-sensei, we can do it and all those other things!”

Iruka paused, turning back to the classroom at large. Naruto was grinning. “Alright, how?”

Naruto made a cross with his fingers, and eight clones popped into existence around him. “Kurama taught me how to make Shadow Clones!”

Iruka was speechless. If not for the new rule of no peacetime graduations until the age of eleven, he’d say to stick Naruto on a Genin team immediately (though he doubted Naruto would split up from the rest of the Rookie Nine).

“So my clones and I will do the Pervert-Frogs, and everyone else does the other things!” The Narutos all grinned brightly.

Iruka un-crossed-out the kanji. “Alright. Which of these are you putting first?”

-

Tsunade and Shizune had already taken the hospital (Kurama was correct; all that Tsunade had set up before leaving was in absolute shambles) by storm, and Kabuto had joined them soon enough.

Progress was abruptly interrupted when Jiraiya entered with a bright grin. “Tsunade! Can you help us prank Pervert-Frog?”

Tsunade blinked. “What?”

Naruto huffed. “Yesterday he underestimated me, so we’re all pranking him and I’ve got a bunch of clones running around who look like him! Can you play dumb if he asks about the multiples of him?"

Tsinade's eyes widened. This was Naruto , wearing a Henge, and doing well in it despite the height disparity. She grinned. “Sure.”

"Thanks Baa-chan!!" Naruto left immediately, hearing Tsunade's shout of rage recede behind him as Kurama laughed in his mind.

-

Tsunade was not necessarily surprised when, about three hours after Naruto had requested her help, a neon orange, glitter-covered, bruised-up Toad Sage entered the hospital. "What did you do, then?"

Jiraiya narrowed his eyes at Tsunade. "You had better actually be Tsunade instead of one of those crazy children again."

"I barely interacted with them and I know better than to cross them, so, I repeat: What the hell did you do."

"I was just going to apologize to Naruto!!" Jiraiya complained. "But then I came out of nowhere and punched me with a PAINT SEAL!!!

“Repeat that and make sense this time!” Tsunade snapped. 

EXACTLY!!! ” Jiraiya flopped down onto a chair, orange paint not rubbing off. “There’s at least three copies of me running around and they’re never around long enough for me to get a read on their chakra!! On top of that, they all seem determined to ruin my day!!”

Tsunade wasted no time in punching Jiraiya in the head. “You’re just mad you won’t get to perv while you’re bright orange!!

“I CAN’T GET IT OFF EITHER!!!”

Tsunade punched Jiraiya again.

-

Kurama took the opportunity of Hiruzen being distracted by Tsunade, Shizune, and Kabuto overhauling the medical system and Kabuto preparing for Snake Shithead’s arrival to sneak into the Hokage office. He had a few inheritances, seals, and a key to a certain Uzumaki compound to collect. He pushed Mustard’s portrait aside, nicking his own thumb and pressing it to the locked storage seal hidden behind.

The seal glowed blue, depositing two large storage seals into Kurama’s hand.

Kurama grinned, wiping the blood from the seal and repositioning the portrait. Oh, this was going to be fun . Plus, if he remembered correctly, he now wouldn’t need to try and recreate the Hiraishin seal from memory. 

Kakashi was definitely going to be the first to know about that particular Jutsu, if Kurama knew Naruto at all.

How is the pranking of Pervert-Frog going?

He’s taken refuge in the hospital, Naruto pouted. I think Tsunade is trying to chase him out, though. Kiba agrees, from what we can hear!

Kurama snorted, Shunshining back to Naruto’s apartment as he tuned back into Naruto’s view. I can see how that might happen. Indeed, right at the edge of Naruto’s chakra-enhanced hearing was the sounds of a furious Tsunade with Jiraiya on the receiving end.

What were you doing?

Stealing your birthright from the Hokage tower.

Naruto mentally stumbled. What!?

Behind your father’s portrait there’s a seal. I was getting what it held; two storage seals, one from each of your parents.

What’s in them!??!

Among other things, a Flying Raijin seal, the key to the Uzumaki compound, and I know there’s something for Kakashi too but I don’t remember what. That’s all I remember from the last time you looked through the whole thing, so you’ll have to look through it yourself.  

AWESOME, ‘TTEBAYO!!

Kurama chuckled, watching Pervert-Frog's chakra. Watch the world, kit. Pervert-Frog's being ejected.

Naruto grinned, readying a combination paint/glitter seal. Seeing this, the other present members of the Rookie Nine (Shikamaru; making good on his promise to test out shadow Jutsu on Jiraiya, Kiba and Akamaru; with more glitter and paint, Ino; to distract Jiraiya) also tensed.

Jiraiya ran out of the hospital, distinctly orange still.

Ino leapt out, drawing her battleaxe out and slamming the blunt end into the ground in front of Jiraiya, cackling.

Jiraiya jumped back with a yelp, right into the shadow of the hospital as Ino pushed off the business end, hauling the whole thing along behind herself and back into the seal, a move Kurama had insisted on for mobility.

Naruto and Kiba wasted no time in springing toward Jiraiya, claws and fangs bared and paint seals at the ready.

Jiraiya didn't move until the last moment, when he was thrown sideways; not nearly fast enough to avoid neon green, neon orange, and glitter flash seals hitting him full across  the face even as claws missed.

Jiraiya, now blinded, did not see Hinata sneaking out of the bushes with Choji. The two moved at the same time, Choji going low and chopping through the bottom section of Jiraiya's sandal while Hinata jabbed Jiraiya's shoulders and went on past, both going right back into hiding with the entire group minus Ino (who had gone the other direction), Shikamaru releasing his Jutsu as well.

Jiraiya wiped paint from his eyes again , able to move freely once more. He looked around wildly, but none of the kids or other-hims (who he now considered were probably Kurama in disguise) who had been tormenting him were anywhere in sight.

Chapter Text

Naruto returned to his apartment after pranking Jiraiya, immediately darting to the table (recently replaced by Mikoto-ba-san) where two large scrolls sat. Which one’s which?  

The spiral is Uzushio, Kushina’s, and the lightning bolt is Minato, as the Yellow Flash. They’ll both open to your blood, but I’m not sure what all’s in them since you didn’t manage to get through it all last time.  

Naruto decided on the Uzushio-marked scroll first, nicking his thumb and pressing it to the seal. It glowed gold, and the scroll unrolled to reveal a series of storage seals, each labeled with things like ‘clothes’, ‘Fuuinjutsu’, ‘recipes’, and the one that caught Naruto’s attention the most, ‘letters’.

The first thing that came from the seal was a scroll titled “Uzumaki” , and unrolling and then unfolding it with the help of a few clones revealed a massive diagram of something Kurama recognized.

Ketchup would. Kit, that’s your family.  

Naruto’s eyes widened, following the lines up from his name to where they branched out. Tsunade’s actually related to me!??!  

Yep. Kurama directed Naruto to Mito’s name. Through my first Jinchuuriki, no less.  

Naruto and his clones rolled the scroll back up, resolving to put it up somewhere.

You could put it in the Uzumaki compound.

Oh yeah!! Where is it?

Not sure. You never visited it, but Mikoto will know.  

Naruto pulled out the next thing from the seal, getting a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it revealed a seal that Naruto quickly recognized as similar to the one on his stomach.

Kurama laughed once he recognized it himself and deciphered it. I do believe that that would have let you use my chakra temporarily without risking me taking over.  

Don’t need that, then! Naruto giggled, setting the seal aside.

It may be useful if we wish to keep my freedom a secret but you need a boost, however. If only as a decoy.  

Naruto nodded, pulling out the next thing. A scroll addressed to him. Huh? Kurama?

Not sure, you didn’t go through this section much last time. The end of the world didn’t leave much time for sentimentality.  

Oh yeah… Naruto unrolled the scroll. 

“Naruto, if you’re reading this, it means Minato and I didn’t survive. We were attacked by a rogue nin who…”  

Naruto skipped the recounted events of October tenth, already knowing the story and knowing he could read it again later if he wanted to. 

“…You should be living with Mikoto and Fugaku, or Kakashi. If you’re not, it means I’ve gotta break out of the Pure Lands and kill someone, ‘ttebane!”  

Naruto and Kurama chuckled at that, knowing that the chakra impression of Kushina had said the exact same thing, or something to that effect. You already killed who needs to be killed, ‘ttebayo!!

Kushina would go after Hiruzen too.  

Naruto kept reading.

“If you’re not for whatever reason, then Minato’s got some documents that can solve that :).”  

What’s that mean?

Not sure. Guess we’ll find out when we get to it.  

“You’d better learn my Fuuinjutsu as well. It’s also in this big scroll, and also your birthright even if I won’t be able to teach you.”  

Kurama tilted his head. I’m surprised I wasn’t mentioned.  

Huh, yeah… Naruto skimmed the letter again- Found you! He pointed to the section on October tenth that he’d skipped on his first read, right at the end.

“You’ve gotten the Kyuubi sealed into you, though you might know that already. I’ll tell you the same thing that Mito, the Kyuubi’s first Jinchuuriki, told me: you need love to overcome the Kyuubi’s hatred. I doubt that the non-Shinobi citizens of Konoha (maybe some of the Shinobi too) will understand this, let alone the sacrifice you make to imprison the Kyuubi, so you’ve got my complete permission to threaten them if they mistreat you, ‘ttebane :).”

Kurama cackled. Ketchup had the right idea.

I can’t though, I’m not even supposed to know who they were!

Quite clearly, Kushina thought differently.  

Naruto set aside the scroll, pulling out the next things. A scroll for Mikoto, for Kakashi, for Jiraiya, for Tsunade, and that was it. He decided to see what was in Tou-san’s scroll, more specifically those documents Kaa-san had mentioned.

Naruto grinned when a similarly laid-out scroll was displayed, pulling the first thing out of the ‘letters’ section: a scroll addressed to Naruto. It was just as hastily-written as Kaa-san’s, but no less legible. 

It repeated the general message of Kushina’s letter, with fewer threats of murder upon those that may have (did) mistreat Naruto and more on Kurama’s seal. The last thing in the letter was the most interesting, however.

“If you’re not already with Mikoto/Fugaku or Kakashi, then I also wrote up official papers for all of them to keep you safe. (Danzo already tried to make me mess with the Uchiha clan, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to pull something.)”  

Well, can’t say he wasn’t wrong.  

Naruto put the scroll with Kaa-san’s letter, pulling out the next thing.

Another scroll, with- Kurama started laughing. Adoption papers, not for Naruto to Kakashi, Naruto to Mikoto and Fugaku, not Naruto to anyone. 

“Kakashi Hatake is, from this point forward, a member of Kushina Uzumaki and Minato Namikaze’s family, with all that entails.”  

What are you laughing so much about!?!? Naruto read the paper as well, but wasn’t sure why Kurama found it so hilarious.

With this, Kakashi is, one: your legal guardian. Two: your older brother. Three: able to act on it. Four: able to access the Uzumaki and Namikaze inheritances. Five: Hiruzen can’t stop him .  

Naruto’s jaw dropped. He set the scroll with the letter to Kakashi before reaching for the storage seal again, pulling out a similar document for Mikoto-ba-san and Fugaku-ji-san, and for Pervert-Frog, and for Tsunade-baa-chan, each of which went with their respective letters from Kaa-san’s scroll (and Tsunade got a nomination for being Godaime Hokage).

Naruto moved onto the ‘Fuuinjutsu’ sections of the scrolls, quickly finding the Flying Raijin seal (Tou-san), the key to the Uzumaki compound (Kaa-san), and scrolls full of information that he and three clones started pouring over (both), only stopping to make another clone to go to school and one to make food before diving right back in.

-

Kurama chuckled, hidden on a rooftop near the gates. He probably wouldn’t have noticed it was Snake Shithead approaching for a bit longer had the fucker not decided to use fucking MANDA to travel.

Kabuto had apparently also noticed Orochimaru’s approach and gone to collect Tsunade, Jiraiya (still orange and green and an eyesore, even after four days), Hiruzen, Tenzo, and, hilariously enough, Anko, and Kakashi had also joined.

Yeah, Orochimaru was probably going to end up with more than a few threats by the end of the day, most likely from Tsunade, Tenzo, Anko, and Kurama.

Kurama leapt off the rooftop, rolling to his feet next to Tsunade. “Hello, Tsunade.”

“Kurama.” Tsunade nodded to Kurama, keeping one eye on the end of the path. “Kabuto got you as well?”

Kurama snorted. “Manda is rather obvious. I’ve been waiting for a while.”

"What's Manda?"

Manda slithered around the corner, Jugo, Orochimaru, and Kimimaro on her head, and the rest of the Sound Five further back. The giant purple snake slowed and curled, glaring at the gathered Konoha nin. “ Pitifulllll…

Kurama grinned up at Snake Shithead, the rest of the group either waiting for someone else to speak or too startled by Manda. “Hello, fuckwit.”

Jiraiya spluttered as Anko snorted, clearly holding back laughter.

Orochimaru tilted his head completely sideways, analyzing the redhead. Uzumaki, to be sure. Presumably the one Kabuto had mentioned wanting to speak to him, though there was something Else there. "Hello, missing-nin."

Kurama snorted. "You think I'm a missing-nin? Funny, I thought that used to be you."

"You mean to say you are not a missing-nin?" Orochimaru countered, continuing to twist his head until it was almost completely upside down.

Kurama was unfazed. "I am affiliated with no village and never have been, and at least until Uzushio is revived, I definitely won't be. Therefore, I cannot be a missing-nin."

"You are an Uzumaki, though."

"Yes."

Orochimaru twisted his head completely upright again. "Then it seems I should have said 'hello, false nin.'"

Kurama's grin widened. "And I repeat: Hello, fuckwit."

Manda disappeared in a massive puff of summoning smoke, and her passengers walked calmly out of it.

Jiraiya gaped. "What the fuck was that ."

"Why, whatever do you mean?" Orochimaru asked, smiling. "I don't even know who you are, seeing as I have never met anyone so obnoxiously orange."

Kurama cackled, sidling over to Tsunade, who was similarly flabbergasted but hid it better. " You'll want to take a look at Kimimaro, mir Kekkei Genkai is causing issues. "

" I thought you said you weren't a medic? "

" Oh, I'm not, " Kurama smirked. " I am, however, smart enough to know that morphing Kekkei Genkai generally do not meld well with experimentation. "

Tsunade's eyes locked onto Orochimaru, who was being snarked at and threatened by Anko and Tenzo. “ Piece of- fine, I’ll check on… which one’s Kimimaro?

Kurama pointed out the white-haired bone-wielder before slipping over to Kakashi. “ Tonight, you are meeting me and Naruto in the Uzumaki compound.

Kakashi slowly turned to stare at Kurama. “ The LOCKED Uzumaki compound?

Kurama laughed, heading over to Jugo and pulling out a new seal from his pocket. “ You’ll be there, Copy-nin. Jugo!”

Jugo faced the Uzumaki who had yet to introduce themself, wary. “Uzumaki.”

“Name’s Kurama. Heard you’ve got a little issue with nature chakra?”

Jugo stepped back, raising an arm to defend or attack if needed.

“Made you this.” Kurama held out the seal. “It won’t stop it entirely because I know better than to completely cut off something like that, but you’ll be able to control the intake, to some level, and expel it safely.”

Jugo stared at the unassuming piece of paper. “What?”

“Up to you if you use it or not, but I mean what I said.” Kurama shrugged. He and Naruto had finished the seal the previous night, after which Naruto had passed out, only leaving one clone for school and one for Kurama. 

Jugo took the seal, inspecting it. “How do I use it?”

“Stick it on somewhere, and it should be fairly intuitive.” Kurama turned away, noticing Naruto beginning to stir.

Whasbeenhappen??  

Snake Shithead’s arrived, I gave Jugo our seal, Tsunade’s dragging Kimimaro to the hospital, Kakashi knows to meet us in the compound, and Hiruzen is welcoming Snake Shithead to Konoha.

Alright! I’m gonna go meet up with everyone else so we can glitter bomb Jiraiya again!  

Kurama chuckled, clone following the group. We’ll be at the hospital, it seems.  

Should I bring Baa-chan’s things, then?

We’ll drop everything off tonight or tomorrow night. Less chance of Snake Shithead intruding.  

The group reached the hospital a few minutes later, and Kimimaro was immediately dragged inside by Tsunade, leaving the rest of the group outside to be ogled at by anyone who passed.

“I wasn’t aware that there were any Uzumaki left, except for Kushina’s kid,” Orochimaru stated.

Kurama grinned. “There’s more than you would think.”

“NOT AGAIN!!!” Jiraiya ran past, chased by two Narutos, the rest of the Rookie Nine, and copious amounts of paint and glitter. “KURAMA!!!”

“YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELF, PERVERT-FROG!!” Kurama laughed, stray seals splattering over much of the group. “DON’T FUCKING UNDERESTIMATE THE ROOKIE NINE!!” 

Orochimaru stepped back from a paint bomb that came a bit too close, watching the group of children torment Jiraiya. “Interesting.” He sent a snake over, tripping Jiraiya and allowing the children to surround and bombard him.

Kurama laughed. “I knew it was a good idea to drag you back here.”

Chapter Text

Kurama and Naruto snuck out unnoticed from the apartment, weaving across Konoha to the Uchiha compound. Key?

Check!

Scrolls?

Check! Naruto climbed the wall easily with claws and surface-sticking, Kurama following him up. 

The Uchiha compound was more active than the rest of Konoha, simply by virtue of being populated solely by Uchiha, but it was still rather easy for the two dark-clothed Uzumakis to steal across the top of the wall unnoticed. 

Naruto knocked on the side door to Mikoto-ba-san’s room, waiting for her to open it.

“I- Naruto!?” Mikoto crouched, looking up at Kurama. “What are you doing here, and, hello, Kurama.”

“We need the location of the Uzumaki compound.”

“What?”

Kurama nodded to the storage scroll Naruto held. “I finally found Kushina’s seals, among which is the key. I don’t remember where the compound is, however.”

“Oh.” Mikoto blinked. “It’s around toward the back of the Hokage monument somewhere, this side.”

“Thanks Ba-san!!” Naruto grinned.

Mikoto nodded. “Be careful. I know Danzo’s dead, but still.”

Kurama grinned. “We will be, thanks again.” He and Naruto left, sneaking back over the wall and through the very outskirts of Konoha, to the forest.

It’s so dark in there…  

This should help. Kurama enhanced Naruto’s eyesight, the forest sharpening in the starlight.

Awesome, dattebayo! Naruto headed into the forest, following the overgrown cliff of the Hokage monument around until he ran into something invisible. Huh?

And this would be the barrier. We’ll need to find one of the lock seals. Kurama set his hand on the barrier, looking both ways. There used to be a path leading to the main entrance, I remember. The remains of it are probably somewhere.  

You go that way, I’ll check this way! Naruto went right along the barrier, Kurama going left.

It only took a few minutes for Kurama to find the now-overgrown path. Kit, I’ve got it.

Gimme a second, ‘ttebayo! Naruto turned, running through the forest as fast as he could without excessive noise, reaching Kurama’s clone quickly in the small area Kurama had cleared next to the barrier. What do I do?

Blood and a bit of chakra on the seal and the keyseal, I would guess. Kurama crouched, tapping the edge of the seal that sat just inside the barrier.

Naruto nodded, pulling the keyseal out of his storage scroll. He nicked his thumb and pressed it into the seam of the barrier and the ground, pushing chakra into the two seals. 

Beyond the barrier, the seal glowed gold, then blue, then the barrier fell away, revealing a clearly not-overgrown path through the woods.

Kurama grinned at the line of now-slightly-glowing-gold seals along the path. Nobody could ever say that Uzumaki seals didn’t last. Shall we?

Naruto grinned, running along the path unhindered by foliage. Let’s go, dattebayo!!  

Kurama snorted, following the short distance to the line of seals that hid and bordered the actual compound, where Naruto had halted. Oh right, this thing. It should let you in, you’re Uzumaki.  

What about Kashi-nii?

He’ll be able to pass as well, these should recognize his chakra signature.

Naruto carefully stepped across the line, grinning when he met no resistance. Kurama followed with just as much ease, chuckling. Naruto was looking around at the tall houses and training areas and huts that were painted in bright gold, red, white, and all had the lines of seals running through them. This is so cool, dattebayo!!

Look up.  

Naruto’s eyes drifted to the only ‘up’ there was other than the buildings: the cliffside, where ladders and paths led to dwellings built directly onto the face.

Kurama grinned. He had few memories of this place due to how he’d been sealed into Ketchup and Mito, but he knew where some things were.

How has nobody found this place yet?!

The same seals that block entrance to the compound itself distract from it, and disguise it from all directions. Kurama headed for the middle of the compound, where a large seal was drawn over the center circle. Want to wake it up?

Huh?

The light seals. Kurama stepped onto the circle seal, Naruto joining him a moment later. Put chakra into this, and it’ll light the whole compound up.  

Naruto quickly found the siphon point of the seal, pressing a hand onto it.

The seal glowed gold, then the light ran along the lines etched into the ground, climbing the walls of the buildings and gathering in the seal pockets along the roofs and edges of the streets and terraces, eventually making it to the cliff and climbing along the paths and ladders to the elevated buildings.

Woooahhhh… Naruto stood, looking around in awe at the well-lit compound. What else is here?

Somewhere there’s a Hiraishin seal, I’m sure, and I know at least some of the storage buildings. Kakashi should know the rest.  

Where??!!!  

Kurama chuckled, pointing toward a large building he was fairly sure was the library. I know this one has various Jutsu stored.  

-

Kakashi stepped across the threshold to the Uzumaki compound, squinting against the bright light that lit the compound until his eyes got used to it. Clearly, Kurama and Naruto had reactivated the light seal.

Naruto waved down from one of the terraces of the library, grinning. Hi Kashi-nii!!!

Kit… you’ve gotta speak out loud.

Oh… Naruto giggled at himself. “Kashi-nii!”

Kakashi looked up, quickly catching sight of Naruto. “Maa, maa, hello, Naruto.”

Naruto hopped over the railing, climbing down the wall easily, and Kurama followed a minute later.

“Kakashi, took you long enough.”

“Kurama. Mind explaining how you got in here?”

“Found Ketchup’s storage seals.” Kurama grinned. “There’s some stuff for you, from both her and Mustard.”

Naruto grinned as well, pulling out the storage scroll and unrolling it on the ground. 

Kakashi stared as Naruto pulled two scrolls out of the storage seal, holding them out. 

“Here you go, Kashi-nii!”

“What are these?”

Kurama chuckled. “A letter, and a document that I think you will find very interesting.”

Kakashi opened the red scroll first. 

“If you’re reading this, Kashi, then Minato and I are both dead. Minato made you officially our son, so you can take Naruto without being contested. Mikoto and Fugaku are next on that list, then Jiraiya and Tsunade.”

Kakashi skipped the recounting of October tenth; he didn’t need to relive that tonight, and instead opened the second scroll. After all the legal jargon, the statement was summarized simply:

“Kakashi Hatake is, from this point forward, a member of Kushina Uzumaki and Minato Namikaze’s family, with all that entails.”  

Kakashi’s jaw dropped, looking up at Naruto and Kurama, who seemed to be working on the Rasengan again.

Kurama removed his hands from the Rasengan, grinning. Nice job, kit.

Can I try and use it?

I don’t see why not. Kurama glanced around, thinking. I believe there’s a training area that way, he pointed down a street. Just don’t blow up any buildings.

Dattebayo!! Naruto turned, carefully keeping the Rasengan between his hands as he jogged toward the training area.

Kakashi watched Naruto go, the spinning shape of a Rasengan unmistakable in his hands. “What?”

“He’s going to test that thing. Did you finish reading?”

“Maa, maa, I did.” Kakashi looked at the two scrolls again, blindsided. “What am I supposed to do with this?!”

Kurama turned around, facing Kakashi. “I don’t particularly trust Hiruzen to honor that, so you might want to wait until the Godaime Hokage takes the hat to reveal it.”

“The what .”

The ground rumbled, and crashing noises came from the direction Naruto had gone.

Kurama grinned. “One of the other things that was left was Mustard’s order for the Godaime Hokage. Conveniently enough, she’s recently returned to Konoha.”

Kakashi’s eyes widened. “Tsunade-hime.”

“Precisely!” Kurama grinned.

Another shake and crash sound.

“Where were these hidden?” Kakashi tapped the scrolls, indicating what he meant.

“Behind Mustard’s portrait in the Hokage office.”

It took Kakashi a minute to figure out who Kurama meant. “ Minato!?

“Obviously.”

Naruto ran back, slightly dusty and grinning. “I made one on my own!!”

Kurama chuckled, fluffing Naruto’s hair. “Nice job, kit. Care to update Kakashi on the rest of our plan?”

Rest of your plan?”

“Yep!” Naruto grinned. “Kaa-san and Tou-san had a buncha things for people, so we’re gonna secretly hand them out in a few days once Snake-san and his friends settle in! Wanna help?”

“Who did they leave things for?”

Naruto started listing. “Tsunade-baa-chan, you, Mikoto-ba-san, Fugaku-ji-san, and Pervert-Frog!”

Kakashi put his two scrolls away. “Maa, maa, sure.”

-

Orochimaru eventually managed to slip away from Tsunade after revealing the experiments he’d done with Kimimaro (apparently mir disease would have eventually resulted in death, especially since mis was the leader of the Sound Five) so that Tsunade could ‘fix this fucking mess before you fuck mim up even further’ and discovered that it was laughably easy for him to slip into the Uchiha compound and find Kurama Uzumaki. He stopped at the edge of a training area, watching the nine children who had attacked Jiraiya train.

One of the Kuramas strolled over. “I see you’ve escaped from Tsunade.”

“As if she could keep me captive.”

Kurama laughed. “Just don’t underestimate or insult anyone and you’re probably clear to hang around.”

“I heard that is why Jiraiya is bright orange?”

“Yep,” Kurama grinned. “He did both to Naruto, and we were unamused, to say the least.”

“I am curious as to how he is still orange, seeing as paint is rather easy to get off.”

“Yeah, you’d just shed your skin to remove it,” Kurama rolled his eyes. “It doesn’t come off. At all. Pervert-Frog is going to be orange until either he grows out of the paint or Naruto gives him the solvent.”

Curious…  

Kurama glanced sideways at Orochimaru. “What do you know about spiral-bastard and the Akatsuki?”

“Why do you want to know?”

“For one thing, they’re trying to destroy the world as we know it, and before you attempt to pass it off as not affecting you, I know for a fact that whatever immortality you might ever be able to gain wouldn’t protect you.”

“I doubt that.”

Kurama turned to fully face Orochimaru, glaring directly into his face. “You can’t stand up to the literal fucking Moon Goddess and the combined power of all nine fucking Bijuu as the Juubi , you cave-dwelling beanpole fuckwit. What information do you have.”

Orochimaru tilted his head calmly, filing that information away for later use. “Not nearly as much as you seem to be hoping. ‘Spiral-bastard’, as you seem to call him, attempted to convince me with his plant friend, left a contact, and left.”

AND YOU DIDN’T THINK TO FUCKING MENTION YOU HAD A CONTACT!?!?!! ” Kurama screeched. “THIS is the reason I wonder if you’re really as smart as you seem. What contact?”

Why would I tell you my information unprompted? “Amegakure.”

“Know about that. Anything else?”

“No, he was rather boring.”

Kurama groaned. “Right. Of course.”

-

Kakashi took his place on Naruto’s ANBU guard, waiting for the relieved guard to completely leave the area and for night to finish falling before Shunshining inside the apartme- trying to Shunshin inside the apartment. He ended up clinging to the wall outside the window instead. Alright what the hell. He dropped to the ground, Shunshining in front of Naruto’s door instead and knocking.

Naruto opened the door with a grin. “Hi Kashi-nii! Come on, you’re getting Tsunade-baa-chan.” He stepped back from the door, picking up Baa-chan’s storage scroll of things.

Kakashi pressed his hand against the invisible barrier just inside Naruto’s door, confused. Naruto had clearly spoken, but he hadn’t heard anything.

Kurama laughed, grabbing Jiraiya’s scroll before crouching and deactivating the Uzumaki wards, beckoning Kakashi in. “Kit, you forgot the wards.”

Kakashi entered without resistance, raising an eyebrow at Kurama, who had also been completely silent.

“Oops,” Naruto chuckled sheepishly. “Sorry Kashi-nii. Here!” He held out Baa-chan’s scroll. 

“Silencing seals and a barrier?”

“Pretty much,” Kurama shrugged, tucking Jiraiya’s scroll into his pocket. “You’ve got Tsunade’s stuff, I’m doing Jiraiya, and Naruto’s doing Fugaku and Mikoto.”

Kakashi nodded, taking the offered scroll. “And we’re trying to not get caught?”

“Yep!” Naruto grinned, sticking Fugaku-ji-san and Mikoto-ba-san’s scroll into his pocket. “And we’re not gonna get caught!”

Kakashi didn’t doubt it.

Naruto snuck through Konoha in the same route he’d taken the previous night, claws already tipping his fingers. He climbed the wall, the same as he had before, but instead of going to the side door, he found a window. He… hadn’t considered how to actually get the scroll inside .

Hmm… Naruto snuck around the outside of the house, finding more windows and a door or two, but none that would grant him access. Kurama, do you have any ideas?

Toss it in and run? As long as we’re not caught it’ll be fine. Or Henge into ‘me’, then if you are caught you won’t get in trouble.  

But then you’ll get in trouble?

I think they’ll forgive me, besides, Hiruzen can’t do anything, remember? And which is more suspicious: my clone sneaking around as they already know I do, or you sneaking around having somehow ditched your ANBU guard in the middle of the night?  

Right! Naruto tucked himself completely out of sight before Henging into Kurama’s human disguise and heading back to one of the windows. He dug his claws under the edge, shoving the window up a bit, just enough to slide the scroll through. He grinned. 

Itachi entered the room, and Naruto froze. It took Itachi a moment to recognize that it was Kurama shoving a scroll through the window. What the…  

Naruto waved, quickly ducking away and racing toward the wall, glad for how Kurama-clones’ memories came to him so it was easy to move. Did it! Itachi-nii saw me-as-you though.  

Itachi ran for the window as Kurama ran off, just catching sight of red hair before Kurama rounded a corner and disappeared from sight. He picked up the scroll, closing the window again and inspecting the scroll. It was marked rather clearly with an Uzushio spiral, and unrolling it revealed a storage seal. He tapped it, and got another scroll, addressed to Okaasan and Otousan, which he set aside in favor of checking the seal again, getting another scroll addressed the same, and then a folded piece of paper.

“I went and got Kushina and Minato’s things. These are for you.
-Kurama”  

Now much too curious and too tired to care about waiting, Itachi opened the first scroll.

-

Tsunade awoke to find a strange scroll set on the side table of the room she’d been given, marked with an Uzushio spiral. She opened the scroll to find a storage seal, and upon activating it was given two scrolls and a folded note. She chose one scroll at random.

“By nomination of Minato Namikaze, the Yondaime Hokage, Tsunade Senju has authority to take the hat as the Godaime Hokage, until another has the willing ability.”  

What, ” Tsunade hissed, glaring at the note. Absolutely the fuck not. She opened the other scroll, finding it in Kushina’s hand, as well as with her signature biting sincerity.

“Yeah, we both know how unlikely you are to take the hat, especially if Minato and I are dead. But it’s either that, or Danzo will keep fucking up Konoha. So please, Tsunade-hime. Take the Sage-damned hat until, I don’t know, Kakashi or Itachi or someone can.”  

Tsunade grit her teeth, unfolding the final paper.

“I do hope that you accept this, due to the fact that I am fairly certain that Hiruzen will not be willing to allow Naruto to publicly claim or know of his birthright. I have full confidence, however, that you will.
Yes, that does mean that, if not for me, Naruto would have no clue that he has a clan, a family, know who his parents were, that he is the Kyuubi’s Jinchuuriki, or anything else.
-Kurama
P.S. Naruto will more than likely gladly take the hat and do well with it once he’s old enough, so there’s your successor, should you still be Hokage at that point.” 

Tsunade needed to go get drunk.

Chapter Text

“KURAMA!!!”

Kurama startled, the combined voice of Saiken reaching him easily. “What!?”

Isobu sighed. “Why does this random Uchiha know who we are and our names?”

“Random Uchih-” Kurama started laughing. 

-

“GOOD FUCKING LUCK, KONOHA!!” Shisui glanced over in the direction of Training Ground K once he landed at the gates. With any luck, Kurama would limit his revenge to only Jiraiya instead of the whole of Konoha.

“Shisui! Did you get your mission?” Gai asked enthusiastically. 

“Yep. Peace envoy in response to Kiri getting a new Mizukage and stopping the Bloody Mist.” Shisui much preferred it to being on the dangerous side of the Kyuubi.

“Have fun!” Gai waved, grinning brightly.

Shisui smirked and nodded, leaping into the trees and making toward Kiri. They did have a mission to complete, after all, and maybe some interesting Jutsus to make up. 

-

Shisui made camp in the woods, a bit after nightfall. While it probably wasn’t a good idea to try and combine Katon Jutsus in the somewhat flammable environment without a Suiton user on hand, he did have three other natures to play with, and seeing as he already knew how to work with Fire and Wind release to make a fire tornado, it stood to reason that Wind and something else would be easiest. 

Lightning it was.

Shisui pulled out a notebook and started figuring out how he would do it. He wasn’t a literal force of nature like Kurama, so he wasn’t going to go about chucking chakra around willy-nilly and trying to combine natures without at least some semblance of a plan. 

-

A day later, and Shisui had decided on a blade of tanto-assisted Fuuton, edged with Raiton. Theoretically, it would make a deep cut that would also be electrified, without the need for direct contact.

Shisui double-checked his notes again before putting the small notebook away and choosing a tree at their target. If this worked, he would have invented the first combination Jutsu to be documented, discounting the ones that the various Bijuu had come up with.

One hand on the base of the blade, the other just on the handle, and Shisui started flicking back and forth between Bird and Snake seals- as Kurama had explained, ‘combining stuff like this is easier in raw form’- though granted, it was unlikely Kurama had ever done it any other way, but Shisui wasn’t about to question a Bijuu on their custom Jutsu-, twisting his tanto and flicking it out. A slicing breeze barely nicked the tree, while electricity briefly crashed over Shisui’s tanto. 

Hm… Shisui narrowed his eyes, considering. There was both Raiton and Fuuton natures there, but separate. No combination (though it might still be interesting if he put more chakra into it).

Well, Shisui was nothing if not persistent.

-

A full day on the boat, four days after leaving Konoha, and Shisui had FINALLY figured out why he couldn't figure out how to combine the two natures. They had been forgetting to use their Sage-damned Sharingan.  

Of course, Shisui realized this WHILE FIGHTING OFF A KUMO SHIP, so he didn’t have any time to facepalm over it. He Shunshined down the ship, un-surrounding himself as he mixed and kept mixing chakra on his tanto, grinning when it started to look somewhat similar to the combined chakra of a fire tornado.

It chopped straight through the mast, charring the edges. Welp. Shisui Shunshined back to his transport ship; with the Kumo ship now crippled there was no point in killing the rest of the knocked-out nin.

-

Shisui was met at the entrance to Kirigakure by a young dark-haired nin wearing a short blue kimono and a dark grey skirt, who smiled. “Hello, Konoha nin. May I ask your business and name?”

“Shisui Uchiha. I’m here on a peace mission on the behalf of the Sandaime Hokage, here to speak to the Godaime Mizukage.”

The Kiri nin nodded cooly. “Of course. Follow me.”

Shisui nodded, following the nin through Kiri. Behind the wall of mist, the air cleared somewhat.

The whole village seemed tense, but not murder-tense like Shisui was sure it used to be, it was more what-the-fuck-is-happening-this-is-new tense. A lot like Konoha when Kurama had first started screwing around, honestly, just more intense.

Rather quickly, Shisui and the Kiri nin reached a large, cylinder-shaped buildinig, and the Kiri nin led the way up a staircase to the top level, which was open to the air on all sides.

"Konoha envoy!" the Kiri nin called, walking over to stand beside Zabuza Momochi.

"Thank you, Haku," a tall nin with long, orange-red hair wearing a blue dress and with an armband marking them clearly as the Mizukage who stood in the middle of the line of five nodded to the Kiri-nin who had led Shisui to the building.

Shisui bowed to the Mizukage. "Shisui Uchiha, Mizukage-sama."

Immediately, hostilities rose, and the Mizukage spoke again. "I believe we are justified in being wary, Uchiha , as it was one of yours who placed the previous Mizukage under the Genjutsu that caused the Bloody Mist to be enacted."

"I know of the nin of whom you speak, and he is not allied with Konoha or the Uchiha clan, nor is his life known to most."

"And how do you know that?" a new voice asked, laced with caution.

Time to bullshit. "A friend of mine encountered this nin, who briefly bragged about the feat. I was entrusted with the information so that I would be prepared, were I to encounter him."

"Rise," the Mizukage ordered.

Shisui stood, facing the Kiri quintet.

The nin that Shisui recognized as the previous Mizukage, Yagura Karatachi, stepped forward, eyes narrowed. (Wait, why was he still alive if it was releasing Isobu and his Jinchuuriki that had stopped the Bloody Mist? That implied that Isobu and his Jinchuuriki had taken out the Mizukage.) "And this 'friend' of yours thinks I was killed instead of freed, I suppose?"

Shisui's jaw dropped, the final pieces falling into place. "Holy shit you're Isobu ."

Yagura immediately brought his hooked staff around to lever beneath Shisui's chin. His voice was doubled over, and Shisui had a rather good idea of why. " Why do you know that? "

"Kurama told me!!"

Yagura considered that before cocking his head slightly back at the seemingly-younger brown-haired nin who had been standing next to him, and the nin nodded.

After a minute where both Yagura and the other nin seemed to become confused, then exasperated, Yagura nodded again, pulling back. “You speak the truth. Welcome to Kirigakure, Shisui.” He returned to his place between the brown-haired nin and the Mizukage.

“Thanks.” Shisui would have to remember that apparently the Jinchuuriki- or maybe it was the Bijuu?- could all apparently communicate across sea and continent, seeing as he was fairly sure that Kurama had just saved his skin in real-time. He’d asked for a mission for a break from Kurama’s insanity! (Granted it had been a week, but who was counting?)

“Would someone care to explain, kudasai?” the Mizukage asked, arms crossed.

“Shisui is a trusted friend of one of mine and Yagura’s, Mizukage-sama,” the brown-haired nin next to Yagura stated. “He is an ally.”

The Mizukage nodded. “Understood, thank you, Utakata.”

“Proper introductions are in order,” Zabuza stated, glancing to the Mizukage.

The Mizukage nodded agreement. “Mei Terumi, Godaime Mizukage, feminine.” She gestured to Zabuza, then the young nin at Zabuza’s side: “Zabuza Momochi, wielder of the Kubikiribocho, masculine, and Haku, his apprentice, varying.” She then gestured to the other side. “Yagura Karatachi, the previous Mizukage, masculine, and Utakata, his apprentice, masculine and neither.”

“I hold the Sanbi, and Utakata holds the Rokubi,” Yagura added. “Though I presume you already knew that.”

“At some level.” Shisui nodded to the two Jinchuuriki. “A pleasure.”

-

Shisui ended up being recruited to help drive off a Kumo force that was trying to take advantage of the uncertainty in Kumo to cause havoc on the northern islands. He couldn’t say he wasn’t surprised when the majority of the two day’s travel was done through water-running, but he was definitely unprepared. So they ended up getting a crash-course (literally) on ocean-walking on the way to one of the reported camps.

Zabuza’s teaching style was rather similar to Kurama’s: throw you off the tree with a rope and two kunai, either faceplant and get laughed at before corrected, or figure it out and get a grin.

Shisui followed Zabuza and Haku’s lead, weaving through the rocks of the shore toward the Kumo group.

“We’re spotted!” Haku leapt back, just dodging a Raiton Jutsu.

Zabuza leapt forward, intercepting a second Raiton Jutsu with the Kubikiribocho (oh, Ino would have a field day should she ever meet Zabuza) (note to self: do not let Ino meet Zabuza without a prior bolt hole being established) and chopping a Kumo nin in half.

Shisui went low around a rock, already preparing to Shunshin through the Kumo group. Oh. There were a lot more nin than they were expecting.

Shisui wasted no time in darting through in a series of Shunshins, taking out no small amount of nin.

Someone shouted, “I THOUGHT HE USED COMBINATION JUTSU THE FUCK??!?!”

Shisui spun, darting through again. 

“WHY IS HE FAST!?!? HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE FAST?!?!!!!”

Shisui realized a moment later that the Kumo nin were talking about them . Oh, you want combination Jutsu? He darted back to Zabuza. “Cover me!” He started flickering his hand seals for the Lightning Air Slicer, ducking past Zabuza fucking THROWING the Kubikiribocho at the Kumo nin to launch his Jutsu.

“THE HELL WAS THAT!?” 

“They asked for combination Jutsu, I gave them combination Jutsu!”

“THAT’S NOT A FUCKING-” Zabuza Shunshined to the Kubikiribocho, grabbing it and returning to Shisui. “-KEKKEI GENKAI SO HOW THE FUCK!

“Blame Kurama and me being too fucking curious,” Shisui grumbled as a few shuriken took out the last up Kumo nin.

Haku had a small pile of nin that were very much unconscious, needles of ice sticking out of them. “That was very impressive, Shisui-san.”

“Says the one with the progress part of this operation.”

“Shisui is correct,” Zabuza nodded, hefting two of the Kumo nin. “We have a message to send.”

Shisui took one of the nin, and Haku took the final one. They were all to be dropped off at the next nearest Kumo camp, Kiri was still strong, and now allied with Konoha.

Chapter Text

Tsunade woke up again mid-afternoon the day Kurama had given her the letters from Minato and Kushina. Immediately, she healed her remaining drunkenness, standing. She had a few people to track down, and she knew where at least one could be found.

“OROCHIMARU!!” She landed in the middle of Training Ground K, finding Orochimaru talking with the young Kunoichi she was fairly sure was Sakura, from Jiraiya's terrified explanations. “Get your scaly ass over here.”

“I am busy , but fine, interrupt my work,” Orochimaru drawled, flipping his head backward.

Tsunade grabbed Orochimaru. “The faster you find Jiraiya the faster you come back.”

“He’s at the Hokage tower.”

Good, ” Tsunade snarled, leaping toward the tower with Orochimaru in literal tow. “JIRAIYA!!”

Jiraiya turned from where he was reordering some of his files, finding Tsunade standing there with the back of Orochimaru’s robes clutched in one hand. “Tsunade? Orochimaru?”

Tsunade marched for the stairs. “Get up. We have business with Hiruzen.”

Not interested in getting in the way of a furious Tsunade or being dragged along like Orochimaru was, Jiraiya shoved his things away and raced after the two.

Tsunade kicked open the door to Hiruzen’s office, finding the Nara head giving a report. “HIRUZEN GIVE ME THAT SAGE-DAMNED HAT!!!”

Hiruzen coughed, staring at the three Sannin, one of whom was clearly on a mission and the other two who looked just along for the ride and were rather surprised (though Orochimaru barely showed it). “What?”

Tsunade slammed Minato’s scroll on the desk, making the wood creak slightly. “ GIVE. ME. THAT. SAGE. DAMNED. HAT. HIRUZEN.

Hiruzen slowly reached out, opening the scroll.

“And would you mind explaining WHY , if not for Kurama, ‘Naruto would have no clue that he has a clan, a family, know who his parents were, or anything else’?” Tsunade glared at Hiruzen. “Because I also have this ,” she slammed down Kushina’s scroll, “which orders that Naruto not be kept in the dark about anything.”

“Tsunadeeee…” Jiraiya said warily.

“Where did you get this?”

“I think you know.” 

The Nara head groaned. “I will chop my ponytail off if it wasn’t somehow Kurama.”

Tsunade rolled her eyes. “Oh good, someone's smart. Yes, he gave both to me.”

Hiruzen stood, walking to the past Hokages’ portraits. “Lend me your blood, Tsunade-hime?”

“Why?”

“You’re descended from Uzumaki, and this seal requires Uzumaki blood to open.” Hiruzen pushed Minato’s portrait aside, revealing the storage seal he had placed to safeguard Minato and Kushina’s messages and belongings ( at Danzo’s suggestion , he reminded himself). And a small smear of blood across the seal.

Hiruzen already knew that the seal would be empty, even before Tsunade wiped her finger across the seal.

“…I assume that was supposed to do something?” Orochimaru asked, having stood from where Tsunade had deposited him and brushed himself off.

“Looking for these, Hiruzen?”

Everyone whirled, finding Kurama crouched on the windowsill, tossing two large scrolls in his hand.

“You knew where those were.” It was a statement, not a question.

Kurama snorted, folding the two large scrolls into a single storage scroll, tucking it away in his sleeve. “Please. Ketchup and Mustard wouldn’t not leave anything to Naruto. Other than the Uzumaki compound, the Hokage tower is considered one of the most well-guarded places in Konoha. Clearly not well enough, but I don’t count.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Shikaku asked, eyes narrowed.

Kurama scoffed. “None of you knew I existed until I clawed Dickzo’s guts out, and I’d been hanging around Konoha for a while before that. I can sneak in and out of here easily enough.”

Hiruzen was too old for this.

-

Kurama grinned when the announcement went out for all Shinobi and anyone else to gather in the center square of Konoha. Ready for this, kit?

Yep! Naruto grinned as well, racing through streets he almost never visited anymore, a clone-Kurama at his side.

Some civilian or another sneered. “Demon brat, shouldn’t even be allowed at these.”

Kurama, knowing exactly what this assembly was going to entail, wasted no time in getting right into the civilian’s face. “You ever insult Naruto again, and I might just show you who the real demon is, if Tsunade doesn’t get to you first.”

Naruto laughed, leaping for the rooftops as the crowds became denser, soon finding and calling the Rookie Nine (Sakura snuck away easily with a small Genjutsu from Sasuke) up to lead them toward one of his vantage points. Kashi-nii joined the group a moment later with a nod.

The group of eleven stopped at Naruto's signal, on the peak of a roof that overlooked the square and gave a full view of the area and the Hokage tower.

Soon after people stopped arriving en masse, Hiruzen stepped out to address the crowd. He gave a short speech on how he was stepping down, and with newly-revealed documents, would be honoring the Yondaime's request for Tsunade to be made the Godaime Hokage.

With that done and over with, Tsunade, in full Hokage gear, took Hiruzen's place. "After this ceremony, I will be meeting with the clan heads to see what is still needed in Konoha. But first, it has come to my attention that one of my relatives has not been given his due respect by this village."

Murmurs of confusion ran through the crowd, while those who already knew of both Naruto and Tsunade’s heritage buzzed with excitement.

Tsunade’s oppressive presence dropped over the crowd, though Kurama was barely affected. "I speak of NARUTO UZUMAKI-NAMIKAZE, THE ONLY CHILD OF KUSHINA UZUMAKI, KONOHA'S RED-HOT-BLOODED HABANERO AND THE LAST UZUMAKI PRINCESS, AND MINATO NAMIKAZE, KONOHA'S YELLOW FLASH AND THE YONDAIME HOKAGE!!" Tsunade roared, silencing the small audible remainder of the crowd. "I SPEAK OF THE CHILD THAT NO SMALL AMOUNT OF YOU SHUNNED AT THE LEAST , PURELY DUE TO THE BEAST HE GUARDS!!!"

Kurama and Naruto grinned in unison as uncomfortable realization permeated especially the civilian parts of the crowd.

"I will not tolerate the stunting of new leaves," Tsunade growled. "Any who choose to attempt to stop a good new leaf in bad faith will fail to do so and be ejected ."

Is Baa-chan really going to do that?

Kurama snorted. She's fucking pissed, kit. She'll do it.  

With that, Tsunade turned into the tower, leaving the crowd in stunned silence.

Then a voice distinctly Mikoto’s shouted. "HELL YEAH!!" and most of the Shinobi started cheering.

Kurama laughed, clone standing. "Well, Kakashi? Care to go file some adoption paperwork?"

" What?! " most of the Rookie Nine shouted in unison.

"No, you do NOT get to drop Naruto's freaking parents being THE FLASH and THE HABANERO and then ditch!" Kiba protested.

"Ohhhhggghhhhh this makes so much sense ," Sakura groaned, burying her face in her hands. “Of course my parents would hate the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki on principle. Of fucking course .”

“No swearing,” Kakashi admonished offhandedly. “Who taught you that.”

Sakura wasted no time in placing blame. “Shisui-san and Itachi-kun.”

“Huh. Figured it would’ve been Kurama,” Kakashi muttered.

“The only person I’ve taught to curse- on purpose- is Naruto.”

“Were both these facts not obvious?” Shikamaru asked, raising an unimpressed eyebrow. “By which I mean, Naruto’s parentage and Jinchuuriki status?”

Kiba shrugged. “Jinchuuriki yes, parentage no.”

“How’d you figure it out?” Naruto asked.

Sasuke grinned. “Itachi-nii told me!” 

“It was obvious,” Shikamaru reiterated.

“Akamaru says you smell like fox under the warm-ramen-wind,” Kiba deadpanned. “And there’s only one not-summons-related reason for that.”

“Ooh, I wonder if I could get fox summons!!” Naruto grinned, already settling back into calm with nobody making a big deal about him being a Jinchuuriki. “Kashi-nii, do you know where I could find some?”

Have you forgotten who I am, kit?

No?

“Maa, maa, I’ve never heard of fox summons, Naruto. I wouldn’t know.”

You are talking to arguably the king of foxes.  

You’re bragging!

And I’m right. We’ll find some, I’m sure. Plus, you got fucking Pervert-Frog’s FROGS last time. Foxes seem a much better option.

“So, adoption?” Ino asked, grinning. 

“Oh, yeah.” Kurama pointed at Kakashi. “Ketchup and Mustard adopted dog boy over here at the last second, but it was never actually run through. He’s gotta go get Tsunade to approve it.”

“WHICH HE IS GOING TO BE LATE FOR!!! ” Mikoto shouted, leaping up onto the roof. “You too, Uzumakis,” she flicked her head in the direction of the Hokage tower. “Get.”

“Going, Ba-san!!” Naruto grinned, heading toward the side of the roof.

Kurama grinned. “What say we skip the crowd?” 

“Yeah!!” Naruto brightened, leaping onto clone-Kurama’s back. “Let’s go, dattebayo!!”

Kurama grinned, racing for the roof’s edge and leaping off with a boost of chakra, pulling wind along behind to push himself to the side of the tower and grab on. “Ha!”

Kakashi sighed. Kurama was crazy.

Mikoto blinked at the strange, sealless use of what seemed to be a Fuuton Jutsu. “…Could he always do that?”

Kurama quickly deposited Naruto on the wall next to him, and the two raced up the wall with ease, through the window of the Hokage office.

“Yep.” Kakashi opted to simply Shunshin to the meeting room, where Tsunade and the rest of the clan heads waited.

“Hatake is being represented for once,” Hiashi Hyuuga muttered. 

“The Uzumakis will be here as well, I assume?”

Kakashi nodded to Tsunade-hime. “Yes, they opted to… jump across the square and then climb up the outside of the tower.”

“Please, stairs are boring.” Kurama grinned, walking in with Naruto half-tucked behind his clone.

It was only then that Kakashi realized that, for the majority of the clan heads, it would be their first time encountering Kurama in the flesh.

“Hokage-sama, may Fugaku, Kurama, and I begin this meeting?” Kakashi asked, hand already moving to his pocket even as Tsunade-hime nodded assent.

Two scrolls hit the table in unison, each clearly marked with a yellow lightning bolt, which the older clan heads immediately recognized.

“Yondaime’s official scrolls,” Inoichi stated.

Kakashi smirked. “Yes. and the orders that they entail.”

“Such as?” Shibi Aburame asked, leaning forward.

Kurama pointed at Kakashi’s scroll. “The formal adoption of Kakashi Hatake by Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki.” To Fugaku’s. “Naming Fugaku and Mikoto Uchiha as Naruto and Kakashi’s caretakers, should Kakashi wish it.” To Jiraiya's. “Naming Pervert-Frog Naruto’s godfather.” To Tsunade’s. “Naming Tsunade Hokage and Naruto’s godmother.” Kurama grinned, pulling out a fifth scroll, Kushina’s to Naruto, from his sleeve. “And this is a mandate that Naruto be told of his birthright and Jinchuuriki status, from Kushina. And it’s directly addressed to Naruto .”

Tsunade nodded, smiling. “I will honor these. Thank you, Kurama.”

Kurama grinned. “My pleasure, Hokage. Enjoy your new allyship with Kirigakure, by the way.”

-

Shisui returned to Kirigakure with Haku and Zabuza, the worst things some mild electricity burns and a few bandaged cuts. The last thing he was expecting was to be pulled aside by Yagura.

“Your mission has changed. You’re a peace envoy for the Godaime Hokage now.”

Shisui blinked. “ What.

Yagura’s left sclera turned red, the iris to gold. Isobu. Kurama says Tsunade is Hokage now, and awaiting your return with news. Kurama suggested sending a Kiri nin with you to Konoha.

“…That makes more sense,” Shisui nodded. “I think I can spin it. Thank you, Isobu.”

The Biju-puppeteered Yagura nodded once before the red and gold leeched away. “Being away for much longer would be poor form, and likely suspicious even with Kurama explaining your mission to the Godaime Hokage. I suggest you leave within the next day, if Mei will agree.”

“Thank you as well, Yagura.”

Chapter Text

Kurama and Naruto ended up leaving after the various documents from Minato were resolved, returning to the Rookie Nine, who were still waiting on the rooftop and apparently figuring out who had figured out which bits of Naruto’s heritage and Jinchuuriki status.

“-I figured he had a something because of the seal on his stomach,” Hinata was saying. “But I didn’t know what.”

“You can see my seal?” Naurto asked, grinning. “ Cool , ‘ttebayo!!”

Hinata nodded, startled. “If I- if I use my Byakugan I can see it.”

“So, did it work?” Sasuke hopped to his feet. 

“Yep!!” Naruto grinned. “We’re gonna move to the Uzumaki compound!”

“The what compound!?” Kiba asked. “There’s an Uzumaki compound!?

Kurama chuckled. “Of course there is. It’s been sealed since the Kyuubi attack, just waiting to be unlocked again.”

“Where is it?” Sasuke asked eagerly. “Itachi-nii says it was really cool and all lit up and stuff!!”

“It is!” Naruto grinned. “Kurama and I unlocked it a few days ago!”

-

Tsunade wished she was more surprised when a group of civilians barged their way into the meeting room, demanding to speak to her.

Shikaku Nara sighed. “Not again.”

“You know these civilians?”

Shikaku nodded. “The previous ‘civilian council’. They have a tendency to brute-force their way in, and Hiruzen would just listen and then escort them out.”

Tsunade narrowed her eyes at the group all shouting over each other. “Oro. Jiraiya. With me.” She stood, stepping around the desk. “SILENCE!!”

The civilians shut up.

"Konoha is a Shinobi village," Tsunade snarled. "I will not pander to civilians that benefit without supplying anything that Shinobi and merchants do not cover themselves."

"Hiruzen would never-"

"Tsunade is decidedly not Hiruzen ," Orochimaru stated blandly. "And besides, if I have been informed correctly, Hiruzen disbanded you all weeks ago. So I do not know what you are doing here at all ."

"Get out of my tower before I throw you out," Tsunade swept a glare across the civilians. "NOW!"

-

Naruto, clone-Kurama, and the rest of the Rookie Nine made it to the Uzumaki compound quickly, with the path's location now known to both Naruto and Kurama. The two entered the compound, and Kurama turned to the seal just inside the entrance. "Cut your thumb and press it to the seal at the edge, and run some chakra through it."

Naruto nodded, flicking his thumb with a claw.

Kurama left the barrier and became visible to the rest of the Rookie Nine again. 

"That is terrifying," Choji commented. "You just completely disappeared ."

Kurama chuckled as the seal activated, making the illusion dip slightly. "One at a time, put your hand on that spot and pulse your chakra slightly. Akamaru too. Then you'll be able to pass through."

Sasuke didn't hesitate, laying his palm on the dip and flaring his chakra a bit. His hand fell through the barrier a moment later as the seals did their work, and he sidestepped the dip to walk through. Sakura went next with the same result, then Shino, Shikamaru, and the rest of the Rookie Nine into the glowing Uzumaki compound.

Sasuke stared up at the buildings. It was just as bright and colorful as Itachi-nii had said, with gold, white, and red buildings on either side of the wide street lit by glowing seals.

Naruto grinned, thumb healing. "Isn't it awesome, dattebayo??"

Inko nodded, dumbstruck. "What kind of seals are those?!"

"The short answer is 'Uzushio ones'," Kurama grinned. "The simplified long answer because I do not want to explain literal years of Fuuinjutsu right now is 'light seals interconnected with embedded barrier and preservation seals, among others, to keep the complex strong'."

“Won’t any chakra use interfere with them though?” Sakura asked, running a hand along one of the nearby walls.

Kurama chuckled, leaping up and sticking to the wall. “I did say ‘among other things’. It’s difficult to interfere with them, and even then only certain points are really accessible. The whole compound is almost one huge, living seal.”

That only got Kurama confused stares, even from Naruto. How do you know?

I was there when this thing was made, and then lived in it through both Mito and Ketchup. I paid attention; that’s how they described it. “Hinata, Byakugan, if you please? I think you’ll see what I mean, if I understand this thing correctly.”

Hinata nodded, activating her Byakugan and gasping. It was as if she were standing inside someone’s chakra systems, with pathways running all around, and, if Kurama was to be believed, ‘tenketsu points’ would be in key places as well. Even up on the cliff and out of her range, she was sure the ‘pathways’ and ‘tenketsu points’ would be anchoring the system. “It’s beautiful… Like I’m standing in the middle of a massive chakra system…”

Kurama chuckled. “Told you.”

-

Kakashi entered the Uzumaki compound, knowing that since the Rookie Nine weren’t at K, this would be the other place that Naruto and Kurama would have brought them. He quickly found that he was right; all ten chakra signatures were over at one of the Uzumaki compound’s training areas. He sighed. At least he’d found Sakura.

Kurama noticed Kakashi as soon as he entered the vicinity of the training area. “Kakashi, how was the rest of that boring meeting?”

“Tsunade had to kick the ex-civilian-council out. Speaking of, Sakura, your parents are looking for you.”

Sakura’s eyes widened. She’d completely forgotten the lack of clone-replacement. “Oh no.”

“What are we waiting for!?” Ino leapt to her feet, grabbing Sakura. “Let’s go! You and I were hanging out because we were bored with the assembly!”

“Right!”

Kurama snagged the back of Ino’s shirt. “We’ll Shunshin there. Kakashi, where are they?”

“You’re going to what .” Kakashi stared at Kurama. “You’re going to Shunshin with two passengers!?

“Yes. What, never taken passengers before?” Kurama smirked.

“It’s not so bad!” Sakura grinned, leaping onto Kurama-sensei’s back. “I’ve done it before!”

Ino shrugged. “Alright!”

Kurama grinned, bracing himself as Ino also leapt into his back. “So, where are they, Kakashi?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Do you know who I am?”

“No, because you seem to find it amusing to have me figure it out.”

“Exactly,” Kurama tucked one arm under each of his passengers’ legs. “So, where are the Haruno parents?”

Kakashi sighed. “Still trying to garner a full search team at the Hokage tower, I imagine.”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “Of course they are. I’ll be back.” He Shunshined away, landing on a rooftop next to the no-longer-crowded center square. 

“That is so fun ,” Sakura whispered, dropping to the rooftop. 

“Nope, hate it, never doing that again,” Ino declared.

“It’s better when you’re not a passenger,” Kurama chuckled. “Now go lie to Sakura’s parents.”

“Thanks, Kurama-sensei!!” Sakura hopped off the roof, Ino following a moment later, and Kurama Shunshined back to the Uzumaki compound.

“WHERE WERE YOU!?” Kimiko Haruno shouted, quickly noticing the duo.

“We were bored so we left! What was the assembly for?”

Kimiko scoffed. “Hiruzen is no longer Hokage, instead it’s that Tsunade person. She has no respect for all the work us civilians do for Konoha!”

Ino and Sakura glanced sideways at each other as Kimiko continued to mutter about it being 'insulting' that Tsunade 'disregarded civilian input'.

"And on top of that," Kimiko added, marching through the streets toward the Haruno grocery store, Sakura and Ino tailing. (Had Kimiko forgotten they were there?) "She is apparently trying to placate the demon brat by saying it's the fourth Hokage's child! "

Sakura and Ino pulled out paint seals.

-

Iruka smiled when the Rookie Nine showed up as usual, no changed treatment to Naruto at all.

-

Teuchi grinned when the Rookie Nine, along with Kurama, Genma, and Itachi showed up the day after Tsunade-hime took the hat and revealed Naruto’s heritage and (officially) his role as the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki. “The usual for everyone, I assume?”

YEAH!!” the Rookie Nine choroused back as they always did, hopping into seats.

“Hey, Teuchi!!” Naruto grinned, leaning onto the counter. “Did you know who my parents were, ‘ttebayo?”

“As in, did I know them , or if you were their kid?”

“Both?”

“Yes and yes,” Teuchi chuckled. “You and your mother have similar taste in ramen, so it wasn’t hard to figure out, what with you having your father’s hair and eyes.”

-

“I FIGURED IT OUT YOU SHITHEAD!!” Matatabi shouted at Kurama, laughing.

“Why am I a shithead for you figuring something out?”

“What was it all those weeks ago you said you were able to run around? I FUCKING FIGURED IT OUT.”

Kurama smirked. “Well then, I’m glad Yugito figured it out.”

“Fucking fox. I figured it out. Yugito only did the Jutsu!”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “And yet. What are you then, a hairball?”

“Just for that I’m not gonna tell you.”

“You’re a hairball, aren’t you.”

“You’re probably no better!”

“I’m a human. I don’t even hide, they all think I’m an Uzumaki.”

“Sage dammit yours is better. Well, I came up with Fire Clones!”

“I taught a human how to make fire tornadoes.”

“SHITHEAD!!”

-

The next few days since Tsunade taking the hat passed with relative peace, the Sakura-swaps going off without a hitch as usual and Training Ground K continuing to be where the Rookie Nine trained.

The fourth day was when Saiken and Isobu reached out again.

"Shisui is apparently quite resilient," Saiken giggled.

"Do I want to know what he did?"

Isobu sighed. "I believe one of the ones who went with them mentioned something about a Fuuton-Raiton combination Jutsu."

Kurama chuckled. It would seem that Shisui had followed through on their plan to find other non-Kekkei-Genkai combination Jutsus. "Interesting. Anything else?"

"We're sending him back your way with two of our own. Think you'll know them?"

"It's possible."

"Zabuza Momochi and Haku."

Kurama started laughing. He'd forgotten that those two probably wouldn't have left Kiri yet. "Oh I know them. I definitely know them."

"INO!" clone-Kurama called. "I FOUND SOMEONE TO PROPERLY TEACH YOU HOW TO WIELD THAT AXE OF YOURS!"

Ino cheered.

Itachi glanced at Kurama. "Do I even want to know who?"

"I'll give you a hint: Shisui is returning from a successful peace mission to Kirigakure."

Itachi choked. "You got someone from the Bloody Mist?!!? "

"Well, it’s not that anymore. They recently got a new Mizukage who's repealing all that, thus the reason for the mission. But yes, a Kiri nin."

" HOW?!!? "

"Shisui."

"Wh- no, I meant how do you know they're coming?! "

"My siblings and I can all communicate across long distances, and the ones who live in Kiri just told me."

Itachi blinked. "As in, right now , while you were copying that extremely complex seal that I have zero clue what it does?"

"Yes."

" In complete silence and without hand seals?! "

"For your peace of mind, think of it like we each can use the Yamanaka's Mind whatsit- the telepathy one- at will, provided we have enough chakra. The further apart we are, the more chakra it takes for us to speak, and it goes both ways."

" ACROSS HALF A CONTINENT AND AN OCEAN?!!!?! "

"Yes."

Itachi narrowed his eyes. “So, how much chakra does it take?”

“Why?”

Itachi shrugged. “It would be useful if anyone got into trouble.”

Kurama laughed. “You want to try and do it? No. In essence, it’s a Kekkei Genkai that only works between me and my siblings. If you want to do something similar, ask the Yamanakas.”

“I know their technique requires proximity closer then, what was it, half a continent and an ocean , so clearly yours is better.”

“Mine is also quite literally unteachable.”

“Doubtful. Why?”

“One: it’s a Kekkei Genkai. Two: you don’t and will never, unless something goes very wrong, have nearly enough or the right chakra to do it. Three: I don’t know where the fuck I would begin even if you did meet those requirements, seeing as I and my siblings have always known how to do it.” Kurama directed a breeze at the altered Bijuu-chakra-leak seal he’d finished, letting it dry completely. While the original seal would only have properly worked with Naruto’s full seal intact, this version was changed to appear exactly the same without direct scrutinization of the original, but would simply glow red upon contact with Kurama’s chakra instead of trying to cut off the flow and becoming overloaded.

Itachi chuckled. “I am decidedly nowhere near Uzumaki levels, huh?”

“Nope.”

Chapter Text

Naruto grinned, racing toward the Academy. Kurama had told him that, with the false chakra limiter seal complete, he could start teaching him how to further use Kurama’s chakra without scaring anyone. But , Kurama had said, only once you manage to get to the mindscape on your own.  

So now Naruto was not going to be paying attention to Iruka-sensei at all in favor of getting to the mindscape.

-

“Alright, everyone in your seats!!” Iruka called, the Rookie Nine quickly complying. “We’re getting a few new students today. You all are aware of Danzo’s shadow Shinobi group that has since been disbanded?”

Everyone nodded.

“A few have decided to become Shinobi the normal way.” Iruka opened the door, and three kids entered, two more hesitantly than the third.

Oh look, Sai's here.

Who?

"This is Sai, Pika, and Fuki," Iruka gestured to each of the kids in turn. "They will be joining our class from now on."

A ROOTling that briefly joined Team 7 last time when Sasuke defected. He's interesting, or at least he was with however many more years of ROOT training.

"Hi!" the one who had been introduced as Pika grinned. "I chose Pika as my name, and I decided I don't like being referred to!"

"That's not how Tenzo-ji-san said it was said…" Sai muttered.

"Then you go!" Pika nudged Sai forward.

Sai shrugged. "My name's Sai, and I use masculine referrals."

"Ooh, right," Pika chuckled. "I use neutral referrals!"

Fuki lifted a hand and set a finger on the head of the large squirrel that sat on their shoulder.

The squirrel spoke. "I am Fuki, and my companion is Midi. I use Midi to speak. I use feminine referrals while in-village, and masculine while not."

Fuki removed her finger, and Midi continued to speak in a slightly deeper voice. "I'm Midi, I use masculine referrals, and I will bite you if you so much as scratch Fuki."

"As long as we're not training!" Fuki quickly added on.

"That's so cool, dattebayo!" Trying to get to the mindscape was going to be set aside for a bit. Did you know Pika and Midi and Fuki?

No, but ROOT also existed for a lot longer last time. I just never ran into them. Or it was that they didn't make it through ROOT's 'graduation exam'. One of the two.

"Hey Midi, can you do anything else other than talk?" Kiba asked, grinning.

"I'm not telling you!"

"Do you all know your chakra natures?" Ino asked.

"Yeah, all of us do." Sai paused a moment before continuing. "Pika has Lightning, I have Fire, and Fuki has Earth."

“Most of us can use at least one of those!”

“At least? ” Iruka raised an eyebrow, surveying the Rookie Nine. “Since when could any of you use more than one nature?”

“Since Kurama-sensei taught us!” Choji grinned. “Well… I haven’t managed my second one yet.”

“You’re close, Choji-san!” Naruto smiled brightly. “Plus you’re working on your clan Jutsus!”

Iruka sighed. “Alright, which of you can use two natures.”

Naruto, Hinata, Sasuke, Ino, Kiba, and Sakura all raised their hands.

Pika glanced amongst the Rookie Nine. “Who’s Kurama-sensei?”

“He teaches us stuff after school! It’s really fun!!”

Iruka sighed. “Kurama will show up after school, but right now you all have class with me. Introduce yourselves, Rookie Nine, and we’ll start class.”

-

Obito narrowed his eyes, watching the other Uchiha depart the Kiri ship with the two Kiri nin. He knew of this Uchiha: Shunshin no Shisui, known for his speed. He also knew that Shisui would probably be able to give Obito a run for his money even alone, and teamed up with the Demon of the Hidden Mist and apprentice may even defeat Obito, or at the absolute least force him to stay on the defense. It wasn’t worth revealing himself.

When had this all started again? Right, when Danzo had died. Obito hadn’t gotten anything other than one or two ravens into Konoha, but Danzo’s fucking death was hard to miss.

Almost the same time, the rumors of Kurama Uzumaki had begun, and the connection wasn’t hard to make that Kurama had killed Danzo, especially once Obito confirmed Kurama’s existence. (Training the youngest Academy class, assisted by Kakashi and varying other Konoha nin.) 

Kurama himself was clearly powerful, with a grasp on chakra that was odd , to say the least. Obito couldn’t put his finger on it, but it definitely seemed dangerous, plus the fact that the ravens had never managed to find Kurama’s residence, before the Uzumaki compound had been unlocked, and then it wasn’t a good idea to send in the ravens in case they were spotted. 

Not that the ravens couldn’t enter the barrier; they were Obito’s , after all, and Minato had keyed him into the seals, but there was no doubt in Obito’s mind that, should any of them be noticed, it would put Kurama on alert at the very least, and them entering the barrier would certainly do that.

And then there was the Sannin to deal with. All three had returned to Konoha, even Orochimaru, and Tsunade had quickly become the Godaime Hokage, directly due to Kurama having some documents from Minato.

So, I will warn you now, ” Shisui stated, just at the edge of Obito’s hearing. “ You will most likely be accosted by Kurama, and I intend to run.

The Uzumaki? ” Zabuza raised an eyebrow. “ What will he intend to do, teach us multi-nature Jutsus? Us from a rival village?

Shusui sighed. “ I don’t know, and I don’t WANT to know. Thus, why I will be running.

Multi-nature Jutsus? Obito tilted his head, eyes narrowed at the group. What sort of thing was that? He’d certainly never heard of them, except in the context of Kekkei Genkais.

Didn’t you say you’re friends with him? Why are you planning on running?

Shisui stared dryly at Haku. “ He is also fucking terrifying, and could rip my head off in an instant if he so chose. Seeing as the last time I saw him he was mad at me, I think I will be running.

Well. Obito made a note to generally try and avoid fighting Kurama, seeing as the damned Shunshin master didn’t think he could dodge a killblow. Kamui was good for a lot, but Kurama was intelligent as well as powerful.

-

“ROOK-IE TWELVE!!! ROOK-IE TWELVE!!!”

Kurama groaned. He’d nearly forgotten about the freed ROOTlings until these three had shown up, and, quite clearly, the Rookie Nine had no issues adding them to the group. Rookie Twelve it is. “Yeah, yeah, all you gremlins, let’s get going.”

“What does this training entail?” Fuki asked, in step with the other two ROOTlings, of whom Pika was chatting happily with Choji and Hinata, and Sai was drawing.

“Generally, whatever you want,” Kurama shrugged. “Usually there’s at least a few Konoha nin, and always some clones of myself, so there’s a decent chance that if you want to learn something, then someone can teach it.”

“Like what?”

“All five basic nature transformations, Genjutsu, Taijutsu, various Ninjutsu, most Bukijutsu, and Fuuinjutsu. There’s other things, of course, but that’s the basics.” Kurama grinned. “But then again, I don’t know what your skills are, so ‘the basics’ may differ.”

Fuki furrowed her brow. “Aren’t the basics always the basics, though?”

Kurama laughed. “Nah. Not with this group, at least! Hinata’s ‘basics’ is something along the lines of Raiton, strength enhancement, Byakugan, and healing. Kiba and Akamaru are working Doton, some adapted Uzumaki Taijutsu, and distraction-type Fuuinjutsu. Naruto’s basics consists of Henges, Shadow Clones, Fuuton Justus, and Fuuinjutsu. ‘The basics’ is a very loose term.”

Ino grinned, popping up beside Kurama-sensei. “If that’s what you define as our basics, then what would you say yours are?”

“Shadow clones, Fuuton and Katon, Fuuinjutsu, Henges.”

“Why Henges?”

Kurama grinned. “With enough imagination, Henges can do a lot. For example, I have enough chakra to pull off something like this ,” he Henged into a grown-up-Akamaru-sized (otherwise regular) fox with ease, continuing to walk along on four legs. "And most don't expect an animal to be a nin."

Fuki's jaw dropped. She only came up to about Kurama's ribs, and nobody else was much taller. "Do you know how to fight like that?!"

Kurama grinned. "Of course I do. Otherwise, I wouldn't have it ready in this size."

"TEACH ME THAT!!" Naruto shouted, grinning.

"Yeah, yeah." Kurama rolled his eyes. "I'll get the newbies going, then I will."

"YEAH, DATTEBAYO!!" 

Kakashi turned toward the signatures of the Rookie Nine- plus three, apparently they had picked some others up- and had to do a double take when a giant fox with Kurama's chakra signature was one of the first things that came into sight.

"Oh good, Kakashi's here," fox-Kurama said, easily loud enough for Kakashi's ears. "Pika, I suggest asking him about his Chidori, if what you've told me of your proficiency in Raiton is anything to say for it. Fuki, Midi, you may enjoy joining Sakura's poison work, and Sai, I imagine Fuuinjutsu will come naturally to you, with your existing drawing skill.”

Kakashi was completely dumbfounded as fox-Kurama made a Shadow Clone that was also a fox before picking up Naruto in his teeth by the back of the shirt, the clone poofing back into human-Kurama and heading over to the black-haired new child, who was assumedly ‘Sai’.

“What’s a Chidori?” 

Kakashi turned to the voice, finding another of the new children, this one with black eyes and near-black hair that looked almost red. Pika? “I am not teaching you it.”

“I WILL IF YOU WON’T, AND YOU KNOW RAITON ISN’T MY STRONG POINT!!” one of the Kuramas- it didn’t matter which- called over.

“HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT!?” Kakashi already knew what the answer would be.

“I WATCHED YOU DO THE THING ENOUGH TIMES!” Never mind.

“YOU WHAT!?

“I CAN AND WILL TRY AND TEACH THE THING BUT I GUARANTEE AT LEAST THREE EXPLOSIONS!!”

Kakashi groaned, turning back to Pika(?). “The Chidori is a ball of Lightning chakra.”

Kurama chuckled, fox-clone dropping Naruto. First figure out the Henge.  

Naruto responded by making three clones.

Chapter Text

Shikamaru had tried to get a shadow on Kurama for a week back when Hiruzen had been Hokage, but the Uzumaki was slippery in a way Shikamaru was sure wasn’t normal. He’d almost snag Kurama, and then Kurama would move. He’d try and get Kurama while he was sparring one of the others, but the shadow just wouldn’t hold.

So Shikamaru had gone back to the scrolls and figured out the Shadow Stitching Jutsu. Though he could only do it for a second or two, Kurama had never set a time needed to win the bet other than ‘trap’.

What a drag… Shikamaru narrowed his eyes at where Kurama was sitting still for once, going over Fuuinjutsu with a group of Narutos and Sai. Knowing how fast Kurama could be, Shikamaru waited until Kurama seemed to be in the middle of a long explanation before quickly flashing through the well-practiced hand seals and sending his shadow racing out to lash around Kurama’s arms and body.

Kurama went poof an instant after the Shadow Sewing tendrils hit. What. Shikamaru was certain that it was that Kurama who had shown up with Naruto.

Naruto giggled. “NOT THAT ONE, SHIKAMARU!!”

What an absolute drag. There was another question added to the list.

“Wanting to resolve your deal, then?” another Kurama smirked, walking over.

“Is this the real you?”

Kurama grinned. “Not like it’ll make a difference which one you face, with my clones as they are.”

“What about that one, then?” Shikamaru cocked his head toward the poofed-clone’s ex-location.

“The one who poofed on purpose?”

Shikamaru narrowed his eyes at this Kurama, suspicious. Kurama had made a deal with no beneficial result conditions for himself, and was now making it near-impossible for Shikamaru to fulfill the requirements either. “This is a stalemate. You replace yourself with clones that poof as soon as I try to catch them, and you gain nothing regardless if I manage to catch you or not.”

Kurama smirked. “True.”

“Then what was the point?”

Kurama considered. “What do you think the point was? Or even, what do you want the point to be?”

Shikamaru blinked. He’d gone in with the assumption that Kurama had something to hide, but that didn’t make any sense: there was no end limit, time limit, any limit to Shikamaru’s end of the deal, and Kurama stood to gain nothing… or at least, nothing from Shikamaru . “You wanted to test something. There wasn’t a point in reference to me , was there?”

Kurama grinned, waiting.

“This was all misdirection. A distraction.” Shikamaru started pacing back and forth, hands moving. “You wanted me to try and catch you so I wouldn’t notice something else. You’re so vague about everything regardless, and even those actually trying to figure you out haven’t gotten it.” He walked a bit toward Kurama, splitting his focus carefully and making sure to not falter in his words. “What a drag. You don’t know who you are, and you’re trying to get everyone else to figure it out for you.”

Kurama burst out laughing.

Shikamaru didn’t bother with the Shadow Sewing, carefully stretching his shadow to almost touch Kurama’s.

Kurama chuckled, then abruptly stiffened. Shikamaru had completely distracted him. 

“Shadow Imitation Technique: complete.”

Kurama grinned. “Ask your question, little Nara.”

Who are you?

Kit. You hear?  

Yep! No tricks, like you told him! 

Kurama nodded. Alright. “Not bad. Drop the Jutsu.”

Shikaku obliged, and Kurama crouched, pressing a privacy seal to the ground that bloomed to a dome not too much bigger than the space he and Shikamaru occupied.

“What-”

“I am the eldest child of Hagoromo Otsutsuki, the Kyuubi no Kitsune, and the most powerful of the nine Bijuu.”

“What a drag. You said no tricks.”

“I don’t lie, little Nara.” Kurama Henged into the fox again, making it appear as his true form. “Not unless there is no other choice.”

“…You’re not kidding.”

Kurama laughed. “No.”

How!? ” Shikamaru stared up at the large Bijuu he was currently trapped with.

“Shadow Clones and a Henge.” Kurama Henged back into his Uzumaki disguise. “You understand wanting to keep this on the down-low, yes?”

Shikamaru nodded. So much about Kurama made sense now, like how he always seemed extremely powerful but only used minimal power, knew so much, disappeared, fought Tsunade-hime to a standstill, kept track of everything… “What about Naruto?”

“What about him?”

“He’s still your Jinchuuriki.”

Kurama could tell Shikamaru was concerned. He snorted. “Of course he is. The best of them, in fact.”

“Does he know you’re telling me this?”

“All Bijuu can speak with their Jinchuuriki at will. He knows.”

-

“Well, that didn’t take nearly as long as I expected it to.”

Naruto’s eyes snapped open to the nighttime oceanscape of his mindscape, facing Kurama. “I DID IT!!” he leapt to his feet, grinning.

Kurama snorted. “No kidding, kit.” It had only been three days since the ROOTlings had joined the Rookie Nine to become the Rookie Twelve, all of whom had swiftly integrated into the group. “Tomorrow after training, we’ll start.”

Naruto whooped, hugging one of Kurama’s tails.

-

Alright, you ready?  

Naruto grinned. Yep!  

Kurama grinned, orange-red Bijuu chakra leaking out and whirling around Naruto, settling into a one-tailed Version One chakra cloak. Add your chakra to it, kit.  

Naruto obliged, laughing as he turned around, leaving light scorch marks on the ground with both his chakra tail and footsteps that diminished as his chakra melded with Kurama’s. This is so COOL, dattebayo!!!  

Won’t argue with that, Kurama chuckled. The chakra cloak will boost your reflexes, speed, strength, and defense, and can also interact with objects. Care to try a run of that obstacle course?  

Naruto turned to the earthen obstacles that he and Kurama had set up earlier. YEAH!! He ran forward, chakra claws giving him traction as he picked up speed and leapt for a wall, catching the edge. His chakra tail whipped back and forth as he pulled himself up to crouch on the wall, claws digging in. Did you say the chakra can touch stuff?

Yes, and you can move it as you would a limb.  

Hmm… Naruto brought his tail around, glancing back and forth from it to the obstacle course. He leapt to a ‘tree’, over a ‘branch’ and , treating his tail like an arm, wrapped it around it to swing underneath. It works!  

Kurama laughed. Only you, kit.  

Naruto grinned, dropping to a lower ‘branch’. Let’s go! He leapt forward in the obstacles, springing back and forth to become used to Kurama’s chakra cloak.

-

Kakashi smiled, brushing his fingers over Minato’s and Kushina’s gravestones. “ If only you could see him now…

-

Tsunade followed the partly-remembered path from her childhood toward the Uzumaki compound, soon reaching a point where the path cleared to reveal a line of light seals that led directly into a wall of forest. Kakashi had asked her to check in on Naruto occasionally while he was out on his mission, and she had agreed. She lifted her hand, hesitating just before the barrier, then pressing on to find Naruto.

The moment Tsunade was through, the weight of familiar malicious chakra was obvious. Shit- She leapt up the walls to the terraces and rooftops- Fuck- running toward the source of the Kyuubi’s chakra- Shit- calling up her likely-insufficient Fuuinjutsu knowledge- And she stopped.

Kurama and Naruto both wore fox-shaped chakra cloaks, apparently sparring, the only noises being those of their hits and their laughter.

Kurama noticed Tsunade’s chakra quickly, calling a halt to his and Naruto’s spar and pulling back the chakra cloaks. “HELLO, TSUNADE!!” 

“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!?”

“TRAINING WITH CHAKRA CLOAKS!!”

Tsunade snarled, jumping down into the training area. “Do not play me for a fool, Kurama. That was the Kyuubi’s chakra you both wielded, so I suggest you explain before I eject you from this plane.”

“I meant exactly what I said, Tsunade,” Kurama answered calmly. “I was training Naruto how to fight properly with a Version One chakra cloak. Naruto learns best by example and experience, so it made sense for us to spar.”

“It’s okay, Baa-chan!” Naruto grinned brightly. “I heal really fast even if I get hurt!”

“Absolutely none of that gives me any answers as to why and more importantly how you were using the Kyuubi’s chakra,” Tsunade glared at Kurama, pouring the full force of her chakra onto him.

Kurama met Tsunade’s gaze evenly, completely unaffected. 

Naruto stepped in front of Kurama after a moment. “You need to promise not to tell anyone, alright Baa-chan? We don’t want anyone else to know!”

“That depends on what it is.”

Kurama raised his hands and Henged into- Tsunade stepped back, staring up at the Kyuubi.

What is this…

“Hello, Tsunade,” Kurama rumbled. “Does this answer your question?”

“WHAT THE FUCK .”

“What the fuck indeed.”

Tsunade narrowed her eyes. “Minato only sealed half the Kyuubi’s chakra into Naruto. You got the other half.”

Kurama grinned. “Not quite.” he Henged back into his Uzumaki disguise, ruffling Naruto’s hair. “Naruto has the whole of my chakra.”

“You had better start explaining, Kyuubi , before I make my own conclusions.”

Kurama sighed. “Call me Kurama. Are you familiar with the concept of space-time Jutsus?”

“Of course.”

“I was sent through a space-time seal, ending up in Naruto’s seal a few months ago.”

Tsunade was disbelieving. 

“Twelve years in the future, the Moon Goddess returned and destroyed the world. That Naruto sent me back so I could stop it.”

“You expect me to believe that?”

Kurama tilted his head. “I don’t decide what you believe.” 

-

Shisui caught sight of the Konoha gates, breathing a sigh of relief. Kurama was thankfully not waiting at the gates, and it was Genma and Itachi on gate duty.

It was NOT reassuring when Itachi’s reaction upon apparently recognizing Shisui’s companions was to immediately facepalm and scream into his hand.

“Whaaat…”

“The Demon of the Hidden Mist? REALLY , Shisui?!!”

“I didn’t pick him!!” Shisui protested. “The Mizukage did! What’s the big deal anyways?”

“The ‘big deal’ , as you so eloquently put it, is that I’ve gathered that Kurama already knows EXACTLY who you’ve brought and fully intends to bring him to Ino!”

That definitely confirmed that the Bijuu could communicate across long distances. “ Please tell me you’ve planned a bolt hole!?”

Zabuza glanced back and forth between the two Uchihas. “What am I missing here?”

Shisui considered. “…Let’s go meet with the Hokage.”

“Go ahead,” Itachi sighed. “She’s already been told of your mission thanks to Kurama.”

“Right,” Shisui nodded, turning to Zabuza and Haku. “Follow me, and if a child accosts you, don’t panic.”

Zabuza and Haku could do little more than nod and follow Shisui into Konoha, soon reaching the large tower that seemed to fill the same or a similar role to the Mizukage building, verified when Shisui entered. “Is Tsunade-hime busy?”

Iruka looked up. “Welcome back, Shisui. She’s not busy, as far as I know.”

“Wonderful.” Shisui beckoned Zabuza and Haku up the stairs, soon finding the door to the Hokage office. They knocked.

“Enter!”

Shisui pushed the door open, nodding for Zabuza and Haku to enter. 

Tsunade sighed. “I see Kurama was correct, then, in stating that Kiri is open to an alliance.”

“Yes, Hokage-sama.” Zabuza and Haku bowed, Zabuza speaking. “The Godaime Mizukage sent us as a peace envoy with your own.”

Shisui mostly tuned out through the formalities and subsequent first negotiations, keeping an eye out the window to make sure that Kurama wasn’t approaching anywhere.

After a few minutes and the conversation beginning to wind down, a dark red-orange fox hopped up onto the windowsill, staring right at Shisui and grinning. “Hello, Shisui.”

Shisui jerked back with a shriek, tripping and crashing to the ground. “OW! YOU ASSHOLE!!!

Kurama- because honestly who else could the fox be?- cackled, leaping off the windowsill and poofing into human form, confirming Shisui’s assumption. “Says the one who ditched us.”

Shisui glared at Kurama, attempting to convey “Yeah, I ditched cuz I’m smart enough to avoid a mad Kyuubi, which you clearly were!” through their expression. “Why were you a fox!?!”

Kurama smirked. “As you so wonderfully demonstrated, noone expects a wild animal to be a person. Hello, Zabuza, Haku,” he nodded to the two Kiri-nin, who were staring at him and Shisui’s interaction with complete confusion.

“Kurama, what the fuck are you doing here?” Tsunade asked.

Kurama grinned. “I’m just here to pick up Ino’s new teacher, now that you’ve finished negotiations.”

Shisui groaned. “Knew it.”

Tsunade raised an eyebrow. “And who might that be? You already have a variety of skills available to be taught.” At least some of which were based in the Rookie Twelve’s future selves.

Kurama grinned, pointing at Zabuza. “Big sword, big axe. He’s coming with me.”

“I. Fucking. Knew. It.” Shisui thudded the back of his head into the floor with each word.

Tsunade smirked. “I understand.” She turned to Zabuza and Haku. “Zabuza, Haku, this is Kurama Uzumaki. He is in charge of specialized training for his cousin’s Academy class.”

Zabuza nodded greeting to Kurama. “Clearly, we don’t need to introduce ourselves.”

“Nah. Follow me.” Kurama turned toward the window, leaping out and pulling a gust of wind to land on the rooftops without breaking anything.

“Hokage-sama?” Zabuza asked.

“You may go.”

Zabuza and Haku bowed to Tsunade before following Kurama. 

“And what are you planning to do?”

“Hide until Ino is no longer swinging a battleaxe around.”

Chapter Text

Kurama grinned, leading Zabuza and Haku to Training Ground K without issue. “INO!!”

Zabuza paused at the edge of a rooftop, staring at the training ground full of children. Toddlers , almost. 

Ino hopped over. “Kurama-sensei! Where were you going?”

“Your teacher’s here.” Kurama beckoned Zabuza over, smirking. “Zabuza, this is Ino Yamanaka. She needs mentoring with her weapon, which I do not know how to properly use.”

“Kurama-san, that is a child.”

“Yes. Ino, have fun. Haku, feel free to hang around. Sakura’s our senbon person, if you want to compare.” he gestured to Sakura, who was engrossed in an anatomy textbook with Kabuto helping.

Ino unsealed her battleaxe, catching it easily now with only a bit of chakra to steady herself due to the strength training she’d been focusing on with Tsunade-hime’s help. “I’m ready, Zabuza-sensei!”

Zabuza’s thoughts stuttered to a halt. The child- Ino, apparently- was holding a battleaxe at least double her height, and additionally, said battleaxe had come from a seal on Ino’s hand. "I was under the impression that I would be training a near-Genin with the ability to move their weapon. I won't train you." He turned away, intending to find some place to keep an eye on Haku.

"Ino?" Kurama raised an eyebrow at the blonde, smirking.

Ino shifted her grip, spinning the axehead and flooding her arms with chakra so that the butt of the handle slapped hard against the side of Zabuza's knees, forcing him to stumble. It was the work of an instant to reseal and unseal the axe, spinning it like the staff it wasn't to hit the head against the ground and launch both girl and resealing axe over Zabuza with a Doton Jutsu. She slammed to the ground in front of Zabuza, unsealing her axe again as she swung her arms around, aiming the business end at Zabuza’s gut.

Ino’s axe clanged into the Kubikiribocho, sending vibrations up her arms before she resealed it and repositioned her hands on the shaft.

“Cute.” Zabuza swung the Kubikiribocho around, running a finger along the deep slice Ino’s axe had left as it healed.

Ino turned her axe upright, “I know how to use it to assist me in fights, but not how to fight with it.”

“Clearly.” I see why Shisui warned me now…  

Kurama chuckled as Zabuza began to instruct Ino, Haku sitting down a few feet away from Sakura.

"Kurama-sensei, do you have anything to teach me?"

Kurama looked down at Pika, the youngest of the three ROOTlings smiling brightly. "Such as?"

Pika shrugged, xier hair pushed up by a black headband to make a rather familiar silhouette. "The shockwaves you taught Naruto to make are cool!"

Kurama's first instinct was to deny; the shockwaves were a Bijuu thing- not that he would describe them to Pika as such- but just because he used Bijuu chakra to do them didn't necessarily mean that others couldn't, unlike Bijuu telepathy. "I'll try, sure."

-

Naruto grinned, leaping off a roof and into the Hokage tower. "Oro-ji-san!!"

Since the fuck when have you called him that.

Naruto mentally stuck his tongue out at Kurama. "Do you know where Pervert-Frog is?"

Orochimaru paused from where he was placing tracking seals on some documents. "Do I want to know why you called me that, Naruto?"

"You're almost a sibling to Tsunade-baa-chan! Where's Pervert-Frog?"

Kurama facepalmed.

"I believe Jiraiya is holed up in some office or another. Why?"

"I'm gonna fight him for the paint cleaner!"

Orochimaru grinned, summoning a not-lethally-venomous snake and sending it to fetch Jiraiya. "Now this I want to see."

Kurama chuckled. We'll set up barriers, then, hmm, kit?

Thanks Kurama!  

It was only a minute or two before there was a scream, and Jiraiya Shunshined into the room. "IS THIS YOURS?!?!" He had a small gray snake attached to his thumb.

Kurama cackled as Snake Shithead took the snake and sent it back to whence it came.

"Why, yes it is, thank you, Jiraiya."

Naruto pulled out an old water bottle that now contained the foggy whitish paint cleaner. “You’re fighting me for this!”

“Dirty water?”

“It’ll get the paint off!” Naruto grinned. “It’s the only thing that will!”

Jiraiya blinked. “And here I’ve been trying to scrub it off.”

“Like an idiot,” Orochimaru agreed with a grin.

Kurama laughed, clones adding chakra blockers to the barriers. You'd think he would have figured that out.

Naruto grinned, scampering out the door.

Orochimaru followed the Jinchuuriki, rather curious to see how this would end. It all depended on how much Jiraiya held back, he supposed, considering Naruto was seemingly unlikely to do so. Though, Naruto was also being trained by no small amount of rather capable nin, Kurama Uzumaki included. Combative Fuuinjutsu, perhaps? Or even those claws Naruto seemed to have most of the time. Did Naruto have access to the Kyuubi’s chakra? Would he use it? Though, Naruto could also use Shadow Clones to potentially overwhelm Jiraiya without the need for much else, if his prolific use of them in regular training was any indicator. What else had Kurama and potentially Kakashi been teaching Naruto in the Uzumaki compound? Time would tell, and potentially this fight too.

Zabuza and Haku were quite confused when, on their second day in Konoha, two of three of the Sannin (one of whom was bright orange??) and Naruto entered the training ground. “Is this why we were going to the sides?”

Kurama laughed. “You two are in for a show.”

Naruto skipped to the general middle of the training ground, tossing the bottle of paint remover to the Kurama-clone and turning to Pervert-Frog (Oro-ji-san had joined the rest of the Rookie Twelve and today’s teachers in watching). “Ready, Pervert-Frog?”

“You were serious about that fight.”

Obviously , dattebayo!!”

Kurama activated the seals, chuckling. All seals ready, kit. “GO!!”

Naruto crossed his fingers, making four Shadow Clones and a Rasenshuriken with three, tossing the Rasenshuriken at Pervert-Frog and following it up with a fire tornado from himself and clone #4, just like Kurama had done against Tsunade.

Jiraiya threw himself aside, avoiding the worst of the Rasenshuriken but taking burns from the thrown fire. “WHAT WAS THAT!?!

Naruto laughed, darting in with his clones, claws bared. “I said you were fighting me for the paint remover, ‘ttebayo! What did you think I meant?”

Jiraiya flipped over Naruto, purposefully holding back when he kicked two clones into the dirt, causing them to poof. 

Naruto didn’t even falter, well used to being bombarded by memories from Kurama-clones and his own. He rolled, Henging into the fox. So sue him, he kinda wanted to test his abilities!

Excuse you.

You know half the things I’m gonna do before I do them!! You don’t count!

Kurama snorted fondly. That goes both ways, kit.  

Jiraiya’s jaw dropped as a large fox and two human Narutos leapt at him, the fox not much clumsier than the humans, if at all.

Hey, this feels kinda like when I use your chakra cloak!

Obviously. They’re both foxes.  

Fox-Naruto grinned, snapping at Jiraiya, who dodged again, poofing the other two clones. He dropped the Henge. “It’s not a spar if you don’t fight back, ‘ttebayo!!” he made another clone, tossing a fire tornado at Pervert-Frog and immediately Henging both clones into oversized foxes.

“I DO NOT WANT TO HURT YOU!!” Jiraiya shouted, avoiding the two foxes but unwilling to try poofing either, seeing as he’d lost track of which fox was the real Naruto.

How hard is it to break through the chakra cloak?

Kurama grinned. He won’t easily be able to unless he really tries, or manages to seal it, which we can take care of.  

Dattebayo! Naruto got some distance, using the clone to distract Pervert-Frog while he retreated and dropped the Henge, pulling out the false chakra seal. “HEY PERVERT-FROG!!” he poofed the clone for good measure, waving the seal in the air.

Jiraiya, now sporting several burns, turned to Naruto. 

Naruto pulled up his jacket and shirt, slapping the seal on top of Kurama’s Bijuu seal and pulling his jacket back down. Ready!!  

“NARUTO WHAT ARE YOU DOING!???!!!?!!??!!

Kurama laughed, carefully not sending extra chakra to his puppeteered clone as he and Naruto wrapped Naruto in a one-tailed chakra cloak. Have fun, kit.  

Jiraiya stared as Naruto’s whisker marks deepened and his eyes shifted to red, pupils to slits, and a fox-shaped shroud of oppressive chakra wrapped him in orange-red. “NARUTO!!!”

Shikamaru sighed. If he didn’t know what he did about Kurama, he’d probably be a lot more concerned.

“NOW YOU DON’T NEED TO WORRY AT ALL!!” Naruto cheered, tail weaving back and forth.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!??!?!!!

“KAA-SAN AND TOU-SAN LEFT ME A SEAL SO I CAN USE THE KYUUBI’S CHAKRA WITHOUT BEING TAKEN OVER!!” Naruto leapt forward, grinning brightly. He threw shockwaves at Pervert-Frog, who took the hits and swung back, landing a fist on the cloak that covered Naruto’s shoulder. Naruto twisted with the hit like Kurama’d taught him even as the cloak took the hit for him, skidding across the ground and using his tail for balance.

Jiraiya spat flames at Naruto’s side in a bid to make the blonde forfeit before he got too injured.

Sasuke laughed, already knowing what Naruto would think of the fire.

Naruto dove headlong into the flames, much to Jiraiya’s horror, trusting Kurama’s chakra and his resistance to Katon Jutsus to protect him. He burst out, leaping at Jiraiya with claws leading.

Jiraiya caught Naruto’s attack, not letting the burning chakra dissuade him. “PUT THE KYUUBI CHAKRA AWAY!!”

“NO WAY!” Naruto’s tail whipped around, wrapping around Pervert-Frog’s arm.

May I?

Yeah!

Kurama grinned, lighting the chakra on fire.

WE CAN DO THAT!?!!?!!  

My chakra is wind and fire, of course we can do that.  

Jiraiya shouted in alarm, throwing Naruto on instinct.

Naruto grinned, landing on all fours easily due to the copious amounts of fox-shaped training he’d been doing, skidding backwards with his claws digging into the ground. He leapt sideways away from the Doton that Jiraiya directed at him, spinning and slashing his tail down, sending a blade of wind at Pervert-Frog. It works!!

Not bad, kit. Not bad at all.  

Jiraiya blocked the wind, turning the ground to swamp to take away Naruto’s footing.

Naruto splashed down, steam sizzling up around him. “RUDE!!” He made a pile of clones, spreading them out and slamming a series of Ransengans into the murky water, blowing it back.

-

Obito made his daily check-in with his Konoha ravens… and almost choked. One had chosen to circle above the Uchiha compound, where a barrier had been set up around a training area. Inside the barrier, Jiraiya and Naruto Uzumaki were fighting… sparring? It didn’t matter, what DID matter was that Naruto, who was no older than SEVEN, was racing around in a Kyuubi-shaped chakra cloak. 

Obito knew there was training happening in the Uzumaki compound, but he definitely hadn’t been expecting Naruto to be using the Kyuubi’s chakra with such ease. Zetsu was going to be mad; this would probably make it just that much more difficult to get the Kyuubi.

-

Kurama took down the barriers, chuckling as the Rookie Twelve started fixing the training ground. 

Naruto ran over, stuffing the false chakra seal back into his pocket. Where’s the paint remover?

Here. Kurama pulled the bottle out of the clone’s pocket, tossing it to Naruto. 

Thanks Kurama!! Naruto caught the bottle and turned around, running back to Pervert-Frog, who was tending to his wounds. “Pervert-Frog!”

Jiraiya looked up, just in time to whip his hand up and catch the bottle of paint cleaner flying at his head. “Wh-”

“Be de-oranged!”

“Naruto, wait a moment!

Naruto glanced over his shoulder at Pervert-Frog, waiting.

“What seal?”

“The one Kaa-san and Tou-san left me?”

Jiraiya nodded. “What does it do?

“Uhh…” Naruto pulled out the seal, scrutinizing it. “KURAMA! HOW’D YOU EXPLAIN THIS?” he waved the seal toward Kurama’s clone.

Kurama chuckled, clone walking over. “The seal draws out a small part of the Kyuubi’s chakra for Naruto to use, without risking the Kyuubi taking over.” or at least, that’s what the original seal would have done. “And even if the Kyuubi did try to take over, it is well within my abilities to fight and reseal it without causing undue harm to Naruto.”

Jiraiya nodded, tilting the bottle of paint remover in his hand. “What about that Rasengan-thing that Naruto used and then set on fire?”

Kurama nodded. “The Rasenshuriken, combined with a fire tornado.”

“What is the Rasenshuriken? I wasn’t able to figure it out before it impacted.”

“Rasengan plus Fuuton”

Jiraiya’s jaw dropped. “You figured it out!?”

I figured it out, dattebayo!” Naruto grinned proudly, not letting himself be talked over.

“How?! Even Minato never managed to do it!”

Kurama laughed. “Don’t try it, Pervert-Frog.”

“Why not?”

“It’s a Kinjutsu, idiot. Unless you figure out how to throw it or make it using only Shadow Clones, say goodbye to your nerves.”

Jiraiya blinked. “ WHAT?!?!!?!!

“You heard me.”

“You- Naruto- HOW!?”

“I’m an Uzumaki, and I’ve got Jinchuuriki healing!” Naruto explained. "Stop underestimating me, ‘ttebayo! Plus I always throw it!"

A half-sized sputtering Rasenshuriken flew past, digging into the ground. “Ow. Yes, I can see why both of those would be beneficial.” Orochimaru shook out his arm, annoyed even as he could feel the nerves regrowing. “The recoil most definitely gives it Kinjutsu status.”

Kurama cackled.

Zabuza stared across the newly-repaired training area, stunned. The blonde was quite clearly the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki (and thus, another Uzumaki) and had at least some mastery of his Bijuu, to the point of confidently sparring a Sannin (granted, said Sannin was doing his best to avoid injuring the Jinchuuriki, and (somewhat) vice versa, but the point stood) and using many other Jutsu at the same time.

There was also the slim chance that the Kyuubi had decided to be amicable, but the seal that the Jinchuuriki had used implied that assumption to be unlikely at best.

"EARTH TO ZABUZA-SENSEI!!" Ino shouted, balanced atop her axe.

Chapter Text

“Shikamaru.”

Shikamaru looked up at his father, eyebrow raising.

“How has your side of the Kurama investigation been going?”

Shikamaru considered the question, and his own knowledge of Kurama, moving a piece on the shogi board. “I captured him, but I believe he could have broken out of it. The only reason he didn’t is because he keeps his word.”

“What was your question?”

“I asked him who he is.”

“We know that already, do we not?”

No, you don’t, actually. “Well, now we know for certain.”

-

Three days after returning to Konoha, Shisui decided to go see what was happening at Training Ground K. He found twelve children in addition to Haku (who was talking with Sakura), Zabuza (training Ino, as expected), Itachi (sparring with two of the new children, one of whom had a squirrel?), OROCHIMARU (what the actual fuck) (talking with Shino), Tsunade (sparring with Hinata, whose Byakugan was active), someone with short orange hair and a second with long white hair (chatting with Choji and the third new child, who slightly resembled Kakashi), and Kurama-clones messing around with the remaining four. “What the actual fuck did I miss.”

“I FOUGHT PERVERT-FROG!!” Naruto shouted in apparent answer, though Shisui didn’t know how- right. Fox. Of course.  

Wait. “YOU WHAT!?!!?

“Oh yeah, Naruto learned how to use the Kyuubi’s chakra!”

Shisui’s head snapped over to Kiba. “ WHAT.

“You missed a lot, where were you?” Kurama was grinning at Shisui.

“Avoiding that.” Shisui pointed to where Ino and Zabuza were fighting. “Can someone catch me up understandably??

“Orochimaru showed up, we pranked Jiraiya and he’s been bright orange essentially since you left, Tsunade’s Hokage, the Uzumaki compound’s been unlocked, Kakashi’s now Hatake-Namikaze-Uzumaki and Naruto’s legal caretaker, the village officially knows about Naruto’s Jinchuuriki status and his parentage, I’ve been keeping an eye on Naruto while he works with the Kyuubi’s chakra, the ROOTlings have joined up to make the Rookie Twelve, and I think that’s about it.”

Shisui stared blankly at Kurama. “Kakashi is what?”

“Mustard and Ketchup adopted him last-second, Tsunade made it official. He’s Hatake-Namikaze-Uzumaki now, and publicly Naruto’s older brother.”

“Oh yeah, right,” Shisui nodded, remembering when he’d been on Naruto duty for the fire tornado incident. Even then, they’d been all for Not Messing With Kurama. Yeah, how’d that turn out for me, huh?  

-

Haku narrowed their eyes at the blonde Kunoichi. They weren’t used to having Zabuza-sensei training anyone else, and it felt weird .

“Watcha glaring at Ino for?”

Haku jumped, turning to Naruto. Usually they wouldn’t say anything to someone as new as Naruto… but Naruto also seemed to always know what people were thinking. “…It’s weird seeing her be trained by Zabuza-sensei.”

“Mmm… go join them!”

Haku stared at Naruto, confused. “Why would I do that?”

“Why not?”

“Because they’re training!”

“Surprise attacks are training!”

He makes a good point… Haku’s hand was already drifting to their senbon pouch.

-

Ino laughed, carefully not jostling any of the many, MANY senbon Haku had stuck in her (both arms were completely limp). “You’d better have taught Sakura some of that stuff, Haku! It’s awesome!!”

Haku smiled back, nursing the deep slice on their arm and the various bruises everywhere else. “I did.”

Both of you are FUCKING insane, Zabuza thought, plucking a senbon from the Kubikiribocho. “Alright, now go to the hospital.”

“No need!” Ino grinned, walking haltingly over to her fallen axe and flopping her hand against it to recall it. (Was it possible to remotely recall it? She'd have to ask Kurama-sensei.) “HEY SAKURA, HINATA, FUKI!! WANNA PRACTICE YOUR MEDICAL JUTSUS!?!?”

WHAT??

Ino winced as Sakura pulled senbon out of her, healing the holes before they started bleeding any more. 

“You can keep the senbon, Sakura,” Haku called, having been healed by Fuki.

Haku ducked as a single senbon flew at their neck, embedding itself in the wall.

“INO IS NOT A PINCUSHION!!”

-

Shisui was no fool, and had noticed Zabuza’s growing despair after Haku had made friends with multiple members of the Rookie Twelve, and gained at least some of their completely chaotic attitude. “Regret taking this mission yet?”

“You warned me, and I did not listen,” Zabuza sighed. "Y'know, I knew as soon as I got here that Konoha children are absolutely nuts-"

"It's mostly these ones."

"-and then the Yellow Flash's kid challenged a Sannin to a fight over paint remover and used the Kyuubi's chakra with zero hesitation, so I'm not sure what to think."

And of course Zabuza had figured out who Naruto resembled. Shisui chuckled, "It's Kurama's fault."

“Kurama Uzumaki is absolutely batshit.”

Shisui laughed dryly. “Too bad for you, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna be the default one sent for missions here now!”

Zabuza sighed. “You mentioned making a bolt hole?”

"I suggest it."

"Any ideas where?"

-

Fugaku stared at Hiashi. “You truly wish for Kurama Uzumaki to move his base of operations to the enclosed , compact , Hyuuga compound?”

“Yes. He is training my daughter.” That, and the clearly quite powerful Uzumaki clan head training in the Uchiha compound instead of one of the regular training grounds was suspicious.

“And our son as well,” Fugaku responded.

Mikoto smiled pleasantly. “Hyuuga-sama, would you care to see what Kurama’s training actually entails?”

“I may as well.”

Mikoto’s smile widened, just short of completely mischievous. She may not usually be one for pranks and the like, but like hell was she going to risk the destruction of the Hyuuga compound get blamed on her family. “Then follow me, Hyuuga-sama.” She led the way in the straightest line possible to Training Ground K, saving the last left turn until the training ground was right there. Conveniently enough, an explosion went off just before she made the turn. “Welcome, Hyuuga-sama, to Training Ground K.”

Naruto was using a Fuuton Jutsu to blow away a massive cloud of black smoke, while Sai inspected the remains of the presumably-explosive seal.

“ALRIGHT WHAT DID YOU DO!?” Kurama- well, one of the Kuramas- shouted over.

“WE WERE TRYING TO MAKE A SEAL THAT WOULD PRESERVE SAI’S DRAWINGS SO WE COULD HAVE A TIGER EXPLOSION!!”

Naruto’s sentence was only about half-gibberish to Mikoto, but the absolute glee on Kurama’s face promised good things. 

“GOOD IDEA, BUT I THINK YOU NEED A BIT LESS EXPLOSION, OR A DIFFERENT WAY OF ACTIVATING THE TIGERS!!”

“HI MIKOTO!!” Kiba called, barely pausing in eir spar against Pika.

“HELLO, KIBA,” Mikoto called back.

Hinata seemed to be working on Genjutsu with Itachi, if the way they were staring at each other with their respective Dojutsus activated was any indicator.

Ino and Zabuza were also sparring, axe crashing against sword hard enough for Zabuza to visibly brace even as Ino never actually managed to break through Zabuza’s guard.

The crowning jewel of today, however, was Sasuke and another Naruto (under a fox Henge) (this one Mikoto assumed to be the original) sparring with Fuuton (Naruto), Katon (both), and Raiton (Sasuke) flying everywhere. Naruto, as usual, showed complete disregard for any Katon sent his way, and seemed to have figured out how to use simple, sealless Fuuton and Katon while in his fox Henge.

“Hyuuga-sama, are you quite sure you would like them to move to the Hyuuga compound for training?”

Request rescinded, Hiashi thought.

-

KURAMA-SENSEI!!

Kurama grinned, already knowing what the Rookie Twelve were going to ask. He had, after all, been listening in. “What, you gremlins.”

Sasuke grinned. “Teach us how to Henge and fight like Naruto does! With the fox and stuff!!”

“Alright. WHO’S WANTING TO LEARN?”

The Rookie Twelve all cheered, or at least expressed enthusiasm.

“And that’s that. MOVE OUT!!”

By the time the group had reached Training Ground K, Kurama had already come up with at least a few options he thought might work for each kid, though a few might require branching out to others. "Alright, who has an idea for what animal they want to use?"

"AKAMARU!!" Kiba shouted, Akamaru yipping agreement.

" Lions! " three of the four healers called.

Sasuke grinned hopefully. "A hawk?"

"A DOG!!" Pika announced.

"Giant squirrel," Fuki stated with an approving nod from Midi.

"A bear!" Choji.

"Snake." Shikamaru.

"Tiger." Sai.

"Rhino." Shino.

Well. That was that. "Naruto notwithstanding, who already knows how to do a full, convincing Henge?"

Sai, Sasuke, Kiba, Shikamaru, and Pika all claimed to be able to, and Kurama nodded. "Orochimaru, go."

Sai and Pika had the best, with Kiba and Shikamaru close behind, and Sasuke even closer behind them.

"Good," Kurama nodded, directing his attention to the whole of the Rookie Twelve. "Everyone's trying this: yourselves, but older."

That got him confused looks as the five Orochimarus poofed back into pre-Genin.

Naruto, care to demonstrate? Kurama did his best to send Naruto an image of what he'd looked like during Kaguya's War, though cleaned up a bit.

Dattebayo, Kurama! Naruto cheered, making the Henge. He ended up a few inches taller than Kurama's clone, wearing a Hokage coat around his shoulders, a dark red, black, and orange underlayer, and his hair was chopped roughly a bit below his shoulders, as spiky as ever, with a Konoha hitai-ate around his forehead in place of the Shinobi Alliance one.

Kurama chuckled at the indignant shouts from the rest of the Rookie Twelve. "If you can adapt to this, it'll be easier for you to adapt to an animal Henge because you'll already be used to a different perspective."

"Why aren't we just starting with the animals anyways?" Sakura called. "It'll still be a different perspective!"

Kurama rolled his eyes, making another clone and Henging it into a large fox. "This way all your limbs still work the same so you're only throwing one new experience in. And, a tip…" He proceeded to explain the clay analogy to the Rookie Twelve.

“That makes sense!” Kiba made eir own Henge, matching Naruto’s height, plus an inch. Eir hair was a spiky mass that reached halfway down eir back, and ey wore a Hokage coat with dark fluff at the neck and wrists, a gray underlayer with red accents, and eir hitai-ate was around eir arm. Ey immediately started wobbling, ending up tripping over Akamaru and splaying over the ground before the Henge poofed away. “ Ow.

“Now imagine how bad that would have been if you didn’t know how to move your limbs,” Kurama smirked. 

“Point proven,” Kiba muttered, sitting back up and scratching the worried Akamaru behind the ears.

Can we play tag so everyone can get used to being tall?

Good idea. “Everyone get yourselves a good Henge, we’re going to play a game.”

Sakura was the next to Henge herself, ending up at about Naruto’s new height, with her hair tied back in a medium-long ponytail using a hitai-ate, a long-sleeved mesh shirt under a dark green tank top, black armored gloves, and heavy green pants that fit snug to her legs. She also started wobbling, catching herself before she completely faceplanted. “Oof.” She turned, sitting down. “Alright, someone else do it!”

Soon enough, there were twelve adults splayed out and wobbling around at various levels of steadiness, and Kurama decided it was time to start the game. “ALRIGHT!!”

The Rookie Twelve all looked over at him, Naruto grinning and bouncing in place (and Sage, did Kurama wish that his Naruto had the time to do that more often).

“We’re playing tag. I’m it.” Kurama grinned at the various faces of are-you-fucking-serious that statement garnered. “The whole of the main village is on-limits, no leaving the walls, try not to destroy anything beyond repair because it’s my head if you do, and extra points if you get paint seals on nin or assholes. Everyone has some, right?” 

Everyone nodded. 

“Stay in your adult forms, and don’t kill yourselves. You get ten minutes to run!!”

Naruto immediately raced off, ditching his Hokage coat for the stealthier underlayer. “YAHOOOO!!!!”

Sakura was the next to move, closely followed by Pika, both figuring out an unsteady run before they were out of sight. Shikamaru didn’t move until Ino started dragging him across the ground, at which point he begrudgingly started stumbling away. Kiba had scrabbled eir way onto the roofs with Akamaru, Fuki, and Midi, Shino and Sasuke had left in a different direction while Kurama had been watching Sakura and Pika, Hinata was making a beeline for the far side of the training ground with Choji, and Sai was riding a large ink tiger.

Kurama chuckled as the last of the Rookie Twelve disappeared from his clone’s view (he’d stopped looking through Naruto’s eyes completely) within two minutes of the time limit being set. Oh, this was going to be absolutely wild .

Haku’s joining us too! Naruto projected an image to Kurama, the same as he’d done for him.

I see. Seven minutes remaining, kit.  

“KURAMA WHY THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE THE ROOKIE TWELVE TALL!?!!?? AND A BETTER QUESTION, WHY IS SASUKE TALLER THAN ME?!?!?!

Kurama smirked. “Good afternoon to you too, Itachi. They’re all going to learn how to fight Henged, and to do that, they need to know how to move while Henged. So, we’re playing tag, and they’ve Henged into adult versions of themselves for practice. Haku too, I believe.”

“What the fuck.”

“Practicing awkward Henges through tag.”

“I repeat: what the fuck .”

Kurama grinned, Henging into the fox. “It’s rather simple: the Rookie Twelve asked me to teach them how to Henge into and fight as animals. Three lions, a bear, a hawk, a snake, a rhino, a tiger, a squirrel, and two dogs, is what they’ve all chosen. Plus Naruto as a fox, of course.” he flicked his tail, smirking.

“Why do you Henge into a fox, anyways?”

“Tradition. Also, it’s hilarious to see what people think when the wild animal turns into a person. Plus, Uzumaki as a fox?”

“So it’s an intimidation tactic. Uzumaki plus fox makes people think Kyuubi.”

“I can fight like this too,” Kurama rolled his eyes at Itachi. “Perhaps more effectively than I can as a human.”

“And that is more terrifying.”

Kurama grinned. “You’ve been lucky to not fight me.”

“I will take that as a statement of fact and not a threat.”

“A good idea.” Kurama turned to the rooftops. “Have fun!” he leapt onto the roofs, picking up speed quickly until he launched off the wall and across the clearing in front of the Uchiha compound with a laugh, landing on another roof. “READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!!!”

Genma paused, looking up at the completely oversized reddish fox with Kurama’s voice. Well, I suppose that explains why Sakura was running away. Ie turned away from the Uzumaki compound, heading for the Hokage tower instead. Someone was sure to come with a report about a giant fox eventually.

Kurama ended up locking onto Kiba’s and Akamaru’s scents first, together as always. He grinned, pivoting and leaping over the wide street without issue, hearing a few startled shouts from behind as he picked up speed, racing after the scent. 

-

Iruka stared at the civilian who had just ran into the Hokage tower, out of breath. “ What about a giant fox?”

“It’s- running around- chasing- nin I don’t recognize-” the civilian gasped.

Iruka nodded confusedly, stepping outside to see- A blonde nin slammed into the ground- 

“HI IRUKA-SENSEI!!”

-and leapt off again, closely chased by who must be that fox the civilian had been talking about, who was laughing rather human-ly. 

“YOU’RE NEXT, KIT!!”

“BYEEE!!!” The blonde nin stuck their tongue out at the fox before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

“Well screw you too,” the fox muttered.

“KURAMA WHAT THE FUCK.”

“Oh, hello Iruka.” Kurama grinned, the expression slightly unsettling to Iruka, mostly due to the fact that Kurama was currently a fox .

“Mind explaining?”

“I’m teaching the Twelve how to do complex Henges, starting with themselves but older. That was Naruto.”

Iruka faltered. “That was Naruto!? Why were you chasing him!?”

“We’re playing tag so the Twelve can get used to their Henges. They lose if either I tag them or they drop the Henge.”

“And the reason as to why you’re a fox?”

Kurama grinned. “Fun.” He turned, bounding forward and leaping back up onto the rooftops. “I SEE YOU, SHIKAMARU!!”

Iruka stared at where the fox-Henged-Uzumaki had disappeared over the roof. He slowly turned around, walking back into the tower. “The fox is a Henged nin, playing tag with a group of his students. There is nothing to worry about.”

Genma walked in, green paint splattered over ir left leg. “So, how many reports of the game of fox-tag have there been so far?”

-

Kakashi made his way to the Hokage tower, taking note of the occasional neon paint splatter. Upon entering the tower, he found four nin that seemed familiar, but he didn’t recognize any of them.

“Hi Kakashi-sensei!” the one who looked like a Hyuuga smiled, waving.

Kakashi retracted his previous thought. “Maa, maa, Hinata, what is this?”

“Kurama-sensei’s teaching us how to use weird Henges, so we’re playing tag as grown-up versions of ourselves,” Hinata explained. “He’s already gotten the four of us.”

“FIVE!!” a clear Uchiha- Sasuke, probably- groaned, flopping into a chair and hitting his head on the wall behind it. “ OW!!!

“What. On. Earth.”

“Oh good, someone else responsible,” Iruka said, arms crossed. “We’ve had seven reports of fox-tag so far, and eighteen of paint seals. I expect more.”

“Fox-what?”

“Kurama’s chasing us under his fox Henge!” Kiba- and ey was rather clearly Kiba- explained. “Fox-tag!”

“SAKURA SACRIFICED ME!!! ” someone who could only be Pika complained.

“And she’s still out there,” obviously-Shikamaru said, not otherwise moving. “So clearly it worked.”

“You shut up, Tenzo-ji-san told us not to sacrifice people!”

“He’s right.”

By the time Kakashi finished claiming his mission pay, two others who were seemingly Sai and Shino had shown up, and everyone had agreed that Naruto was going to be the last to be caught.

“Why is Naruto going to be the last?”

Kiba started counting off on eir fingers. “One: he already knows how to foxfight. Two: he didn’t need to figure out how to move in his adult Henge because he’s done it before apparently. Three: HE’S GOT SHADOW CLONES!! Even Kurama-sensei can’t tell them apart!”

“I don’t think anyone can,” another new voice said, this one who Kakashi didn’t recognize at all .

“He got you too, Haku?” clearly-Sakura asked, following the new person over.

“He jumped off a roof onto me,” the unfamiliar one- Haku, apparently- nodded. 

“Oh yeah, Haku, this is Kakashi-nii!” Sasuke grabbed Kakashi’s hand, grinning. “He’s been on a mission, but he’s one of our other teachers, Naru’s older brother by law, and my older brother by not-law!”

Haku nodded in complete understanding, bowing to Kakashi. “Nice to meet you, Kakashi-san.”

Fuki and Midi were the next to show up. “Thirteen paint seals!”

“We only got nine!” Kiba complained.

“TEN!” Sakura cheered.

“Twenty,” Sai retorted, not looking up from his drawing. “I think Naruto will have the most.”

Every single one of the present Rookie Twelve spoke at once: “ Yep.

“Four bowls of my special ramen says Naruto gets more than a hundred people painted!” Kiba claimed, grinning.

“Five bowls says it's two hundred!” Pika countered.

“Six of tomato ramen says he gets all three of the Sannin, AND Shisui!” Sasuke added.

“That requires finding Shisui-san,” Haku pointed out. “And he hasn’t been anywhere since they met up with Zabuza-sensei.”

“It’s Naruto , who’s already using you-know-what,” Sakura retorted. “If anyone can find Shisui, it’s Naruto.”

“What is Naruto using?”

The present Rookie Twelve all turned to look at the highly-confused Kakashi, bursting into giggles a moment later.

“You’ll find out!” Kiba laughed.

“Who’s gonna find out what?” clearly-Ino asked, entering with her battleaxe slung over her shoulders and splattered with paint instead of sealed into her hand like usual.

“Kakashi about what Naruto used against Pervert-Frog.”

Ino joined in on the giggling, sitting down and taking the offered bottle of paint remover from Sasuke and beginning to clean her axe.

Most-definitely-Choji arrived next, grinning with a bowl of ramen in his hands. “I lasted the longest!”

“Naruto.”

“Naruto doesn’t count and you know it,” Ino smirked toward Sasuke, not pausing in her cleaning.

“Why does Naruto not count?” Kakashi glanced among the Rookie Twelve and Haku, waiting for an answer.

Hinata tilted her head, grinning. “Wait…”

Sasuke picked up on it a moment later, also grinning.

“YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME ALIIIIVVVVEEEEE!!!” Naruto shouted behind himself, bounding through the ground floor of the Hokage tower- “HI KASHI-NII!!!” -throwing a few paint seals and pushing off the wall to run up the stairs.

“Wh-” Kakashi barely had time to process the blur of black-orange-red-blonde that threw green paint at him before a very familiar fox appeared.

“GET BACK HERE, KIT!!!” Kurama roared, cackling as he followed Naruto up the stairs.

“And that is why Naruto doesn’t count,” Sakura chuckled. “He’s already got so much practice, it’s just not fair to the rest of us yet.”

A few minutes later, footsteps and cackling came back down the stairs, heralding a large fox not unlike Kurama, but a bit smaller and with Naruto’s chakra signature to come racing through, barely ahead of Kurama pouncing on him.

“HAH!!”

“Gotcha again!!” Naruto-fox crowed before poofing.

Kurama- still a fox- stood, shaking his head with a grin. “Fucking Shadow Clones.”

“And since when was Naruto a fox?” Iruka asked calmly.

“Since I taught him. Now, I’ve got a kit to go track down,” Kurama grinned, leaping for the swinging door. “EVERYONE’S AFTER NARUTO NOW!! LET’S GO!!!”

Kakashi watched as all the Henged-into-adults children leapt up (Ino resealing her now-clean axe) and followed Kurama out, splitting up. “What. The. Fuck.”

Chapter Text

Kurama grinned, splitting up some clones across the different animals he knew what to do with. Haku had decided on a snow leopard, and so joined the three lion-users, while Sasuke was accosting Itachi (who had also decided to try a bird Henge, choosing a crow) and Shisui for bird demonstrations and Pika and Kiba had grabbed Kakashi’s dogs and a Kurama-clone. Kurama had rather quickly tossed Shikamaru at Orochimaru, as the resident snake person, and the remaining three (Fuki, Shino, Choji) had each gotten a Kurama-clone, as the best available for their choices.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kiba was the first to successfully Henge into a convincing and complete Akamaru, though without Akamaru’s direct knowledge of how to move as a quadruped like the Fang-Wolf-whatsit granted, ey was very unsteady. Ey also did not know how to talk as a dog; something that fell to Kurama to attempt to teach.

The most interesting thing to Kurama, however, was Zabuza deciding to match Haku's choice.

Kurama chuckled, watching through Naruto's eyes as the Jinchuuriki left a clone behind and gave Training Ground K the slip, making for the Forest of Death. Going to find some foxes, kit?

Yep, dattebayo! Naruto grinned, sneaking through the outskirts of the village until he reached the line of trees that marked the Forest of Death.

-

Hey, Kurama! Naruto wove through the forest with relative ease in a small fox Henge.

Watch the flowers. What is it?

Are there any other Uzumaki left besides me and Nagato-ji-san?

Kurama facepalmed. He knew he'd forgotten something. Kit, make me a clone, I've gotta go get Karin.  

Huh?

Long story, but she's in Kusa, and her Kekkei Genkai allows her to transfer her chakra to others if they bite her, and if she doesn't get enough time to recharge… 

Then she gets chakra exhaustion, Naruto finished, stopping in a small clearing. He made a clone, which Kurama quickly took control of, Henged into a fox, and disappeared through the trees. What if you don't find her?

Kurama smirked. I will. And if I remember correctly, her mother will be there too. They're both Uzumaki as well, so easy for me to track, even through a remote clone and with their depleted chakra. It'll be easier for me to get them back if your Hiraishin is ready, care to start on that once we get your foxes?

Clones! Naruto responded with a grin, reaching out for the one he'd left at K and telling it what he needed done.

Good idea. Let's find some foxes now, hm?

Naruto answered by continuing through the underbrush, grinning. Now that he was further from the edge of the forest, he could smell more creatures- better smell was definitely the oddest of Kurama’s senses to Naruto’s used-to-human senses- around him, though none Kurama had yet picked out as fox .

Left.  

Naruto followed the instruction, picking up the scent that Kurama focused him on a moment later. Fox?

And fairly powerful ones at that.

Naruto wove through spined bushes with practiced ease from his training with Kurama, following the scent to a small, low clearing that he would just be able to stand in if he dropped the Henge. It was saturated with fox smell, but that wasn’t as important as the five large foxes that were growling at him. Oops…  

Drop the Henge, kit. Talk.  

Naruto did so, laying on his belly with his legs sticking back the way he’d come. “Um… hi? I want to make a summoning contract?”

“There is nothing for you here,” the leading fox stated. “Foxes make no contracts.”

“Why not?”

Nothing I’ve heard of before.  

“Your human conflicts are none of our trifles.”

“But foxes are awesome, ‘ttebayo! Kurama is, at least!!”

Kurama chuckled at the foxes’ reactions, which ranged from anger, to confusion, to blatant shock.

“And who are you, human, to use Kyuubi-sama’s name?”

…May I take control?

Sure?

Kurama grinned, reaching up and making red and black bleed into Naruto’s eyes, claws and teeth sharpening. “ He is my Jinchuuriki.

“Kyuubi-sama!!” The foxes bowed. “You are sealed in this child?”

Yes. ” 

“Willingly?”

Kurama laughed. “ You don’t know the half of it. I do hope you make a contract with him, it will be oh-so-amusing to see the village panic over the fox’s Jinchuuriki having fox summons.

“You support this!?” one of the other foxes asked, aghast.

Yes.

“We will consider it, Kyuubi-sama,” the apparent leader dipped their head once more.

Kurama grinned at the foxes, relinquishing control back to Naruto.

“Woah, did you actually know Kurama?”

“His worship is simply passed down.”

“Neat!” Naruto grinned brightly. “So are we gonna make a contract?”

“We will consider it.”

-

Naruto snuck back to K, only partly disappointed by the foxes' answer but looking forward to seeing how the clone had done on the Hiraishin so far. How's everyone doing with their Henges?

Sakura and Hinata have both been successful, Kakashi has been convinced to join in and is now a wolf along with Pika, Zabuza and Haku figured theirs out, and Choji has also been successful.  

What about Kiba?

Ran off to show eir family with Akamaru.  

Naruto giggled at that mental image, jumping the wall of the Uchiha compound with ease to sneakily join his clone(s) in working on the Hiraishin. It was hard.

-

“MY ETERNAL RIVAL!!”

Kakashi ducked Gai’s attempted tackle, resulting in Kurama being bowled over instead.

“Ow. Get off.”

“I AM DEEPLY SORRY, FRIEND UZUMAKI!!” Gai picked Kurama up, dropping him back on his feet.

Kurama grinned. “Make it up to me by meeting me in front of the Academy tomorrow when it lets out.”

Kakashi raised an eyebrow, searching for an explanation.

“GLADLY!!”

-

“Do I want to know why you want Gai?”

“I’m giving him a child, don’t worry about it. He’ll love ‘em.”

“…What.”

Kurama grinned, poofing away.

-

Gaara stared at their uncle, Kaku-nee’s sand whirling. He’s lying- lying lyingLYINGLYINGL̸̜̠̟͒̆͠Y̷͖̼̑I̷͓̮̒̚N̴͉̳̯̈́̈́͆G̶̮̯̞͋!!!!!  

“I always hated you…” Yashamaru whispered, staring forlornly at Gaara.

K̵͖͉͌̃͝į̸͈͗̚͜l̴͓̒͝l̶̟̍ ̷̧̭̉̑ḣ̶̺̓î̶̗̲̕m̷̪̲̗̍̿͘.̴̧̻̱̿ He tried to kill you.  

Gaara raised both hands, taking control of the sand for themself. He. Is. LYING!!! We know him!!  

We should still kill him!  

Gaara ran forward through the sand, seal burning as they fought Kaku-nee for the sands. No! You protect me, so protect him too!!  

And how do you expect me to do that, huh?  

Gaara wrapped their arms around Yasha-ji-san, pulling the sands in. Get us out!! Somewhere to hide!! Please , Kaku-nee!!!  

They’ll just track us anyways! We should kill them all, if we really want to be safe!!

Safe… “ TAKE US TO KONOHA!! ” Gaara shouted, both at Kaku-nee and to the spinning sands. 

Gaara, wh- ” Yashamaru’s vision blurred, fading in and out due to his injuries. Konoha? We could be hidden there… ” he muttered as the world faded completely.

-

Naruto stopped the moment he stepped outside the Uzumaki compound. A familiar fox was waiting there. “Hi!”

“Sign here.” the fox held out a summoning contract that was written on a large leaf.

Naruto took the contract, grinning. “Thanks!” Kurama!

I see it, kit. Read it first.  

Naruto scanned the contract and saw nothing out of the assumed ordinary except for a note about mischief participation being once-a-month mandatory, and with Kurama not seeing anything amiss either, nicked his finger and scribbled the tiny chakra anchor seal he’d made for his Hiraishin on the end, as Kurama instructed.

The fox dipped their head. “We look forward to your summons, Naruto.”

“Yeah, ‘ttebayo!!”

School, kit.  

“Bye, fox-san!!” Naruto headed off through the woods before stopping abruptly and turning back. “WHAT’S YOUR NAME???”

-

Kurama grinned, catching sight of Gai outside the Academy gate. I’ll be back in a minute, kit. He hopped out the window, heading toward Neji’s class. “Hey, Rock Lee!”

“The Uzumaki!” Lee grinned. “Hello!”

Kurama grinned. “You’re coming with me.” he grabbed Lee, carrying him to the Rookie Twelve. “Alright, let’s go!”

“Wait, I- um- I invited Neji!” Hinata called.

“Sure, why not,” Kurama shrugged, heading back along the wall while the Twelve made their way to the ground. I should get Tenten too, she’d do good with more Fuuinjutsu training… “Tenten, Neji, you’re coming too.”

“Huh- me?” Tenten pointed at herself, confused. 

“Yes you, hurry it up. Out the window!” Kurama jumped off the wall, twisting in the air to land on the ground. “HEY GAI!! TAKE YOUR CLONE!!!” He reared back, tossing Lee at the older Taijutsu user. 

Gai caught Lee on instinct, Kurama following the thrown child over. Kurama smirked. “Lee can’t use Nin- or Genjutsu. He’s yours now. Have fun!”

Gai immediately lit up. “I don’t use those either! Only Taijutsu!”

“TEACH ME!!” Lee demanded, grinning.

Kurama cackled as the Twelve headed for Training Ground K and Tenten and Neji scrambled their way down the wall. “Figured as much.”

“You’re the guy who fought Neji!”

Kurama smirked at Tenten. “Yep.”

“Where are you taking us? And why?”

“Training Ground K. HEY TWELVE!! WHAT ARE WE DOING TODAY??”

“AXE!!” “HENGE!!” “SEALS!!” and other answers all echoed back in a cacophonous cheer, the majority of which were ‘HENGE’.

“And there you have it.”

“That wasn’t really an answer,” Neji grumbled.

Kurama laughed. “What do you want to do; that’s what you’re doing.”

“Hinata can turn into a lion, I want to do that too,” Neji said.

“Have you done Henges yet?”

“No.”

“Well that’s what Hinata’s lion is: a Henge.” Kurama Henged his clone into the large fox, not missing a step. “Figure out Henges, pick an animal, figure out how the limbs work, and learn to fight like that.”

-

“Kurama, how did you… remove it?” Neji gestured to his forehead in indication.

Kurama smirked. “Corrosive chakra, shoved directly into the seal.”

“A corrosive Jutsu?”

“Not a Jutsu, just corrosive chakra .”

Itachi snapped around to stare at Kurama. WHAT!?!! There was only one place he could think of that sourced pure chakra that was corrosive, instead of a Jutsu with the ability to be corrosive.

“I used a chakra transfer seal reinforced against it, and stuck the other end on you.”

Neji lifted his hand, touching the headband that permanently covered his sealless forehead. “That’s what that paper was?”

“Yep. I knew you’d incapacitate me before I could do much if I did it directly, so I made it a transfer seal.” The seal was burned beyond repair, but it had worked for its intended purpose.

-

“Hey, Kurama , can I talk to you for a second?” Itachi smiled.

“Sure.”

“Alright, why the actual FUCK can you use Bijuu chakra?!?!

Kurama cackled, dropping a privacy seal. “Why do you think?”

“That’s the only kind of chakra I know of that’s corrosive by nature.”

“And you’d be right.”

Itachi looked around at the privacy seal barrier. “You’re a secret Jinchuuriki, aren’t you?”

“Depends on how you look at it.”

“What is that supposed to mean!?!?”

“I, technically , am a Jinchuuriki.”

TECHNICALLY!?!? ” 

“As I said, depends on how you look at it.”

Itachi’s face twisted in thought. Uzumaki, ‘technically’ a Jinchuuriki, fox intimid- “You have the Kyuubi’s chakra!!”

“I would certainly hope so,” Kurama snorted.

‘I would certainly- “You’re saying you’re the KYUUBI!!!!”

Kurama cackled at Itachi’s sudden realization. “Well done, Uchiha! I am indeed.”

How the actual fuck.

“Shadow Clone under a Henge.”

“Wh- I mean how have you not been caught?!

“Being careful.”

“YOU FOUGHT TSUNADE-HIME!!!”

“I pissed her off enough to return, I expected to fight her.”

HOW IS THAT CAREFUL!?!?

“I wasn’t fighting to beat her, I’m not stupid enough to think I could do that while keeping my cover.”

“You’re the Kyuubi .”

“We’ve been over this. Mind keeping it secret?” Kurama smirked. “It’s rather amusing seeing half of you run around like headless chickens.”

Itachi blinked. “Don’t spill the beans on the Kyuubi running around Konoha under an Uzumaki disguise, and training half the next generation, sure, why not.” He was fairly sure he wasn’t dreaming.

“Yeah, that’s about it!” Kurama grinned.

“Who else knows?”

“Tsunade, Shisui-”

“IS THAT WHY HE RAN AWAY!?”

“-yes, he decided to stick me under a Genjutsu, don’t do it or you’re dead- Naruto, obviously, Shikamaru, and I’d be surprised if Kiba hasn’t figured it out.”

“Kiba?”

“I quote: ‘Naruto smells like fox, and there’s only one not-summons-related reason for that’. If anything, this clone smells more like fox than Naruto does. So yeah, Kiba probably knows.”

“Right. Sure. Why not.” Itachi narrowed his eyes at Kurama. “And this isn’t some sort of ploy?”

“The only ploy is Konoha not knowing I’m the Kyuubi.”

“…You’re not at all like everyone says.”

“What, attacking Konoha?” Kurama snorted. “Both times I did that I was controlled, neither time was the fault of anyone in Konoha. I have better things to do than take revenge on someone who doesn’t deserve it.”

“Like train over a dozen kids?” Itachi asked, still half in disbelief.

“It’s better than having them unprepared for when the world goes to shit.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Kaguya’s third kid is trying to resurrect her and the Juubi. Put everyone under a worldwide Genjutsu blahblah, leech all the chakra out of the world blahblah, world goes to shit.”

Itachi stared at Kurama. “ What .”

“Look, I’m already working on stopping it, so just don’t do anything stupid or trust anyone wearing this-” Kurama briefly Henged his clone to wear Akatsuki robes “-at least not yet , and it’ll be fine.”

“How do you know that? You’ve been sealed in Naruto for the past six years.”

“Time and an idiot,” Kurama deadpanned.

“What does that mean?”

Kurama grinned. “Hi, I’m from twelve years in the future; after the Ultimate Tsukuyomi succeeded, and Naruto chucked me back in time to fix that shit.”

Itachi’s mind came to a screeching halt.

-

Kurama narrowed his eyes, clone skirting the edge of Ame’s rains. He was already here, and he couldn’t sense Zetsu near… Well, few expected the wild animal to be a nin. He had the clone make a Shadow Clone, also a fox (dark brown), the second one turning into the rains while the first continued on to Kusagakure.

The rain was annoying, chakra-saturated as it was, but Zetsu was distinct enough that Kurama was confident in his ability to poof the clone if needed. He slunk through the low shrubs until he reached the lake, picking up speed as he reached the waters. Using the mounting buildings for cover, he raced through the rains, avoiding any and all people, nin or otherwise. Muddy ground soon rose to make the main island, and Kurama continued onward, tracing his path carefully toward the main building. Five or so chakra signatures, none of which were Zetsu. Good.  

Kurama leapt up onto the metal pipes and terraces, now making a direct beeline for the main building. Now that he was close, it might even be more efficient to be noticed. He leapt onto the main balcony, whacking his claws heavily against the door.

Kisame opened it. “Wh-”

“Hello, Kisame. I am here to speak to Konan and Pein.” With that stated, Kurama shook his fur out, Henging back into the vibrant orange-red his fox Henges defaulted to. “I have a message about the Ultimate Tsukuyomi.”

Kisame’s eyes widened minutely. “Really?”

“Tailless Tailed Beast, let me in.”

Kisame stepped aside. “KONAN! PEIN! YOU’VE GOT A GUEST!!”

Kurama grinned, clone stepping inside and shaking water off again. “Thank you.”

Sasori was lounging in a puppet’s arms, while Kakuzu was sitting in a chair and glaring at the puppeteer. Both quickly caught sight of Kurama; a four to five foot tall orange fox wasn’t subtle.

Konan appeared at the top of some stairs. “Yes, Pein- a fox?

“Hello, Konan,” Kurama said, dipping his head. “I ask to speak to you and Pein, on the Eye of the Moon plan.”

Konan nodded, beckoning Kurama up.

Kurama smiled, heading up the stairs and through the metal door at the top. It slammed shut behind him, a paper blade held at his throat.

Who are you ,” Konan hissed lowly, glaring at Kurama.

“A messenger of the Uzumaki clan, who knows more about the Eye of the Moon plan. I will not lie.”

“Speak,” Nagato’s weak voice commanded.

“The Eye of the Moon plan will result in the end of the world. Zetsu is manipulating you, Tobi, the entire Akatsuki to bring about the return of the Juubi and Kaguya. Should he succeed, a Fourth Shinobi War is inevitable. Everyone and everything will die, drained by Kaguya and the God Tree.”

“How do you know this?”

“I watched it happen once, and I refuse to watch it happen again, Nagato Uzumaki .” Kurama locked onto the shadowed alcove where Nagato was positioned. “Do not trust Zetsu. Do not trust Tobi. Do not trust Madara. If you can, reseal the Gedo Mazo: it’s a core part of Zetsu’s plan. If you can’t, send a message to Konoha.”

“I hope you understand how hard it is to believe this,” Konan stated.

Kurama met Konan’s gaze. “What can I do to prove it?” 

Chapter Text

Orochimaru snuck up to Kurama, smiling.

“What now.”

“So, time travel, is it, Naruto?”

Kurama chuckled, dropping a privacy seal. “Somehow, I am not surprised. Yes, time travel.”

“Interesting. How?”

“I’m not completely sure myself, seeing as the one who sent me back had to manually stabilize the seal to send me back-” How do I know that? “-and I didn’t even end up at the target time. So no, I don’t know how he did it, but I don’t intend to waste it.”

“Is that why you started messing with everything?”

“Orochimaru, do you know why I was glad you refused the Akatsuki’s offer?” 

“Not particularly.”

Kurama turned to face Orochimaru. “The Akatsuki- or, more specifically, Zetsu- is planning to resurrect the Juubi and Kaguya. In the original timeline, he succeeded, leaving the Shinobi Alliance to resist to the death. Yes, I’m changing things, of which you, Tsunade, and Pervert-Frog returning is a large part of. I will not watch the world I swore to protect die again.”

-

"What can I do to prove it?"

Konan narrowed her eyes at the giant fox. The fox was clearly powerful; even without searching she could sense large pools of chakra at the fox's disposal, leaving one question: "Can you use chakra?"

"Easily." Kurama snapped his jaws, lighting a burst of fire in his mouth.

“You are an Uzumaki,” Nagato stated.

“Yes.” Kurama Henged back into his human disguise. “I am.”

Konan shifted her blade to follow Kurama’s neck, eyes narrowed. “Why the disguise, then?”

“Stealth. Nobody expects the wild animal to be a nin.” 

Nagato shifted slightly, leaning forward. “How do you know these things, fox-nin?”

“I watched it happen, as I said.” Kurama met Nagato’s gaze. “I was sent back to this time by my best friend, the last surviving Uzumaki as of twelve years in the future. I would attempt to show you my memories, Nagato, but you are connected to the Gedo Mazo as Zetsu is, and I will take no risks of him discovering my knowledge.”

“Then show me .” Konan held out her hand.

“It is because Nagato is connected to the Gedo Mazo that it would work in the first place,” Kurama grumbled. “So I can’t. What I can do is warn you. The Eye of the Moon plan will put the world under a Genjutsu called the Ultimate Tsukuyomi and allow the Juubi and Kaguya to drain the world of chakra, killing everything. Don't let Zetsu or Tobi get suspicious, else my knowledge has a decent chance of becoming moot.” He looked up at the two Ame leaders. “I can’t stay. Zetsu knows my chakra, and I won’t risk him sealing me. If you need me, find Training Ground K.”

“Thank you, Uzumaki,” Konan nodded. “We’ll be careful.”

“Kisame also knows the true purpose of the Ultimate Tsukuyomi, thanks to one of my siblings. Don’t. Get. Fucking. Caught.” Kurama waited a moment for anything else from Konan or Nagato before nodding in return. “Good luck, I’ll try to keep Pervert-Frog off your backs until Zetsu’s gone so it's less things to juggle.”

"Why did he never visit, do you know?"

Kurama chuckled. "A little thing called 'he thought you all were dead until I told him otherwise, due to a piece of shit who I killed' kept him occupied."

-

Itachi grabbed Shisui, pulling them to the side and Shunshining to the top of the Hokage monument. "How the fuck do you deal with it?!!?"

"Huh?"

"I know who Kurama is, what do you THINK I mean?!"

" OTHER PEOPLE KNOW?!! " Shisui hissed, grabbing Itachi's shoulders.

"Of course other people know??!"

"I beg of you, Itachi, who else knows ."

"Tsunade-"

Shisui choked.

"-Shikamaru, and maybe Kiba. As far as I know."

Shisui furrowed his brow. "Yeah, that makes sense."

"So I repeat: how do you deal with it ."

"I take solace in the fact that I'll live past the age of fifteen, provided I don't piss him off."

" Huh???

"Wait- do you know about Kurama or about Kurama and the Uchiha Massacre?"

"THE WHAT?!"

"You know about when Kurama is from?!"

"Twelve years in the future- WHY WOULD YOU DIE AT FIFTEEN??!!?"

"Alrightalrightalrightalrightalright…" Shisui groaned, sitting down. "What, specifically , do you know?"

Itachi sat as well. "Kurama is the Kyuubi, using a Henged clone- I assume from Naruto- to run around and fix things. Zetsu is trying to return the Moon Goddess and the Juubi to the world and destroy it as we know it. Kurama's from twelve years in the future, and he finds it funny that people are panicking over who he is."

Shisui waited. "…Nothing about the Uchiha Massacre?"

"No, that's why I said 'THE WHAT?'."

Shisui pressed his lips together into a line, avoiding Itachi's eyes. "Iiii'm not gonna tell you."

"It's clearly a massacre and involves our clan! If you tell me, I can help stop it!"

"It's already been stopped!" Shisui protested. "And believe me when I say that I wish I didn't know."

“…What does that mean.”

“Look, you got your Mangekyo because of it and I am NOT telling you.”

“Bet I could ask Kurama and he’d tell me.”

“Kurama would tell you because you asked, not because he thinks it’s a good idea.”

“Exactly my point. At least you’ll pull your punches.”

Shisui hissed through their teeth. Itachi wasn’t wrong, they’d certainly try. “Are. You. Sure?

“Absolutely. I want to know, even if it won’t come to pass.”

Shisui groaned. History nut. “You’re not allowed to say I didn’t warn you. You remember back before Kurama started running around there were rumors that the elders were planning a coup?"

"Yeeeessss…??" Itachi turned his head warily, keeping his eyes on Shusui.

"Danzo found out and ordered the murder of the whole clan. Hiruzen said no, but Danzo ordered it anyways."

"And… that’s when you died?"

Shisui laughed dryly. "Yeah, well, apparently I wanted to use Kotoamatsukami to make the elders abandon the plan. Danzo did not like that; he wanted the clan dead for the sake of being dead, and so that nobody would question the missing Sharingan."

Itachi’s eyes widened. "His arm. He wanted more."

"Exactly. He took one of my eyes for himself, and not long after, I found you."

Itachi was silent, dreading where this would go.

Shisui sighed. "I gave you my other eye, and you made a deal with Danzo to do the massacre yourself, in exchange for Sasuke's life being spared."

“…Nobody stopped me?”

“They tried, but a missing-nin recruited by Danzo helped. He can just avoid being hit.”

Itachi’s eyes widened. “An Uchiha missing-nin?”

“Yeah, I forgot you knew about those. It’s the one Kurama intends to knock back to his senses.”

“The dead one or the one impersonating that one?”

“The one impersonating.”

“HA! I told Kakashi it would be an impersonator being knocked back to their senses who was Kurama’s friend!”

“Oh, no, the friend is a different Uchiha.”

“Eh? Who?”

“Future-Sasuke.”

Itachi facepalmed. “Kurama… is constantly calling Sasuke… mini-himself, isn’t he?”

“EeeYEP!”

-

Kurama grinned, clone slipping unseen over the walls of Kusagakure. He’d found the two Uzumaki signatures; one healthy but young, the other weak. Karin, and, clearly, her mother. Good. Kit, I’ve found Karin and her mother. 

But the Hiraishin backseal isn’t ready yet!!

I know. I’ll get them out and toward Konoha. We’ll finish the thing, and then use it. Don’t worry. Kurama’s clone leapt over a street in the darkness, carefully unseen as he wove toward the Uzumaki signatures.

Soon, Kurama reached a small box shoved into a corner high up between two buildings. The only window was on the front and barred, and the door was clearly locked, guarded by two nin. Slinking around gave Kurama no way in but the front way, so he made another clone, sneaking so that he had two straight shots to the guards. Possible poof in a moment, kit.  

Dattebayo!

Kurama's clones lunged as one, teeth burying into the necks of the two guards, silencing them even as they bled out, falling to the ground. He released the guards, and a quick search of them revealed no key. Shit. Oh well. Kurama made a small Rasengan, shoving it into the lock.

The lock shattered, allowing Kurama to push the door open.

The room was tiny, barely enough for a small table, two chairs, a set of drawers, and the large bedroll that was occupied by Karin and her mother, the latter of whom was wide awake.

"Hello, Uzumaki-san," Kurama Henged one of the clones back into his human disguise, wiping his mouth as the other dragged the two bodies inside and shoved them beneath the table. "How are you tonight?"

Karin’s mother stared at Kurama in fear. "Who are you?"

"Kurama Uzumaki, masculine."

"Why are you here?"

"I'm here to take you to Konoha, preferably before I am found out."

Karin's mother relaxed, and she shook her head. "I'm not strong enough to make the journey, but you should take my daughter. She's strong enough."

Kurama chuckled. "The only thing you'll need to do is hold on, and I have more than enough chakra to share."

Karin's mother smiled. "Then I thank you, Kurama-sama. My name is Kamira, feminine referrals if you please."

"No need for the honorific," Kurama smirked. "Wake your daughter and gather any belongings you want, we should get going." His second clone was guarding the door, though thankfully nobody had come to investigate.

Kamira nodded, gently waking Karin. “Little light, wake up.”

“Mmh… Mama?” Karin scrubbed at her eyes, looking up at Kamira.

“We’re leaving, Kurama-san is taking us to Konoha.”

Karin turned, eyes widening as she focused on Kurama in the barely-there moonlight. “You’re gonna save us?”

“That’s the plan,” Kurama grinned. “Hop up, we want to be well away before sunrise.”

Kamira nodded, standing wobbily.

“And that’s about the end of that,” Kurama sighed, holding out his hand. “I’m giving you some of mine before you pass out.”

Kamira took the offered hand gladly, and Kurama channeled some of the clone’s chakra to her. “There. I’m no medic-nin, but that should keep you stable until we get to Konoha. Anything I can help with?”

“We don’t have much,” Kamira admitted, opening one of the drawers. “A book I saved from Uzushio, clothing, and Micchan.”

“Micchan?”

Karin proudly held up a small figurine, little bigger than her hand. It was a dolphin. “Micchan! She’s mine!”

“Well I see no reason not to bring Micchan. Clothing?”

“A few outfits each. We have no food.”

“Food won’t be an issue.” Kurama took the small clothing bundle that Kamira had made, slinging it over his shoulder. “Just bring what you have.”

“How are you planning on getting out?”

“The same way I got in.” Kurama stepped outside and Henged his human clone back into the fox, large enough for Kamira to sit comfortably. The clothing bundle had become crossed straps across his shoulders, and he brought the second fox over. “Give me the other bundle. Kamira, you’re on the larger one. Karin, you’re on the smaller one.”

“Wh- are you nuts!?”

Kurama chuckled. “Not to my knowledge. Listen, Kamira, we both know you’re not strong enough even with the boost I gave you to make it. Get on, hold on, and I’ll do the rest. With any luck, our space-time seal will be done within the day, as well.”

Kamira stared at the six-foot-tall fox outside the small room that was called her house. “Alright.” She scooped up Karin, bringing her over to the smaller of the two foxes who had already incorporated the clothing into crossed straps that were clearly meant to act as a sort of harness. “Little light, you’re going to hang on and not let go until Kurama says you can, alright?”

Karin nodded, in awe of the giant fox. “Okay Mama!”

Kamira tucked Karin under the crossed straps, making sure they weren’t shifting around before turning and stepping toward the larger fox, who laid down to let her climb on. She wiggled around until she was secured under the straps. “Thank you again, Kurama.”

Kurama snorted. “Please. Naruto would never forgive me if I didn’t get you. No thanks needed. Hold on tight.”

Kamira felt herself stick into the fox’s fur. He’s using Surface Sticking… on us! She gasped when Kurama lunged forward, speeding over the rooftops with the clone in stride despite the size difference, avoiding being spotted with apparent ease and leaping over the wall, plunging into the grass and forest with ease, darting through without issue.

Kamira glanced sideways at the smaller fox and Karin, finding both safe and sound. Kusa wasn’t even in sight anymore, and only got further away as Kurama raced through the forest unhindered.

“YOU GOOD BACK THERE, KARIN, KAMIRA??” Kurama called over the rushing wind.

Karin laughed, having lifted her face from the fox’s fur. “I’M FLYING!! MAMA, WE’RE FLYING!!!

-

Kurama had slowed the clones a bit once they’d crossed the border back into the Land of Fire, but didn’t stop. Kusa might not have a free pass into Konoha territory, but nin would be nin, and he expected to be tracked. Both Karin and Kamira had been dozing off and on since the sun rose, and breakfast had been some fruits that Kurama had snagged from trees.

What’s- oh dammit. Kurama growled, picking up speed once again. “We’ve got a tail. Hang on, and stay quiet.”

Kamira looked back, only glimpsing what Kurama had apparently sensed. “Right. Can you tell who it is?”

“Bad news,” Kurama snarled.

-

Shisui and Itachi were on gate duty. They’d decided that it was the place they were least likely to be accosted by Kurama’s batshittery, and Kakashi was as always all-too-willing to get out of gate duty.

Shisui narrowed his eyes at the end of the path. There was something there- oh you have GOT to be fucking kidding me.  

A child; red hair, dirty clothes, and with a much-too-big gourd on their back was all but dragging themself toward the gate.

The child was not the problem. The problem was the tendrils of sand that were carrying an adult.

Itachi didn’t know what to make of it either, and the child eventually stopped in front of the two Uchihas, looking up with one eye gold and black, the other blue.

Shisui sighed. “Hello Shukaku. What can we help you with.”

“Fucking get Kurama, you damn idiot!”

“Yeah, yeah, figured.” Shisui Shunshined to K, muttering to himself ‘do gate duty, Shisui, Kurama’ll be busy elsewhere, Shisui’ yeah, fuck that. “KURAMA SHUKAKU’S HERE AND I AM NOT DEALING WITH THEM!!”

“Wh- SAGE DAMMIT!!” Kurama- all the clones at once- facepalmed, one clone Shunshining away.

Shisui headed back to the gate, finding the Kurama clone glaring at Shukaku.

“The hell did you do?”

I didn’t do shit, you overgrown cat-coded dog!!” Shukaku snapped. “This was the kid’s idea and the idiot’s fault!!”

“Itachi, go get Tsunade and meet us at the Uzumaki compound.” Kit, we’ve got Gaara here. “Gaara, Shukaku, you’re coming with me.”

Within a few minutes, Gaara and their uncle- for that was who Kurama was certain the adult was- were both keyed into the Uzumaki compound. Gaara passed out about as soon as they laid down (at least it was possible for them to do that), and Shukaku snapped at anyone who got close using a small pile of sand on Gaara’s chest as an anchor.

“So, mind explaining what Gaara and ‘the idiot’ did?” Kurama raised an eyebrow at Shukaku.

“Oh, like you’re not the one from the future! The idiot over there tried to kill the kid!”

Yep. Figured it was that. “Yeah, that one’s on me, I completely forgot about it. If it makes you feel better, I do know who to kill.”

Shukaku grinned.

“Rasa ordered it, him and his little council.”

“Never liked him anyways!” Shukaku crowed.

“You and me both. He was always a piece of shit to Gaara, literally died and came back to life before he saw them as anything more than a weapon.” Kurama smirked. 

“Alright but can we… not kill the Kazekage?” Itachi asked. “Like… not cause an international incident?”

Kurama laughed. “I’ve negotiated a tentative secret allyship with Ame and stole a pair of Uzumaki from Kusa who are currently en route.”

“YOU WH-”

“We won’t kill the Kazekage-” Kurama shoved the clone’s foot into Shukaku’s face before the tanuki could protest “- yet , because the Godaime Kazekage in the last timeline was Gaara, and I have no clue who it would be if Rasa died now. At least I have some idea what Rasa’ll do.”

“Good news you pieces of shit, Yashamaru’ll live.” Tsunade tossed a blanket over Shukaku. “But if you try and kill the Kazekage then you won’t be, got it?”

“I’LL KILL WHO I DAMN WELL PLEASE!!”

Kurama rolled his eyes. “Already not planning on it.”

Kurama!! I think I finished it!!

Kurama immediately unfocused from the clone and whatever Tsunade was saying to check on Naruto, looking at the seal. Looks fine to me. Test it.  

Naruto stuck the paper to a kunai, tossing it across the room. He took a breath, reaching out for the anchor seal with both his and Kurama’s chakra and- I DID IT!!  

Kurama grinned, clone standing. Alright, kit. Let’s see if I can use it. He carefully mimicked what Naruto had done but with the clone, snagging the anchor seal, and in a flash of orange, he was there. 

“IT WORKS!! IT WORKS!! IT WORKS!!” Naruto cheered, jumping around with a bright grin.

Kurama cackled. Take it to an open space. We’ll have two giant foxes and two people inbound.  

Dattebayo!! Naruto grabbed the kunai, heading out to the courtyard as Kurama’s clone headed back to the medroom to get Tsunade.

Kurama’s clones leapt over a water blast, kicking fire and wind back to get a few seconds of respite. “KARIN!! KAMIRA!!! HOLD ON TIGHT, WE’RE GETTING OUT OF HERE!!”

“WHAT!?”

Kurama reached out with the clones, latching onto the anchor seal. The forest was left behind in a flash of orange, both clones landing with a paw on the kunai.

“Welcome to Konoha, Karin and Kamira Uzumaki.”

Kamira slowly opened her eyes, looking around at buildings that snagged familiarity in the back of her mind. “Uzushio?”

Kurama chuckled. “Nope, just the architecture. This is the Uzumaki compound, in Konoha.” A new human clone helped Karin out of her harness to let that clone deposit the clothes and poof, before directing his attention to the larger clone and helping Kamira down as well. Both Uzumakis were shaky on their feet, probably due to the hours of riding, and quickly sat down.

Back in the medroom, Tsunade was staring at the newly-rearrived clone. “Kurama, what the fuck was that?”

Kurama grinned. “I mentioned there were two Uzumakis en route, didn’t I? They’re here, and at least one needs attention.”

Tsunade threw her hands up, stomping off. “NOT WHAT I MEANT AND YOU FUCKING KNOW IT!!”

Kurama laughed, directing his attention back to the courtyard clone. Naruto had given some of his chakra to Kamira and had recollected his Hiraishin kunai, peeling the paper off carefully to copy it and make more. “Tsunade is on her way, Kamira. You’re not the only arrival today.”

“Tsunade- as in, the Sannin, Tsunade Senju?”

“The very same, she’s the Hokage at the moment.”

Chapter Text

Yashamaru groaned, slowly drifting back to consciousness. What happ- Gaara!! A hand pressed him down into the mattress(???) he was laying on, stopping him from moving around.

“Stop panicking, idiot. You’re on bedrest until we can get someone in here to finish healing you now that you’re awake. What do you want to know?”

Yashamaru opened his eyes again, focusing on the redhead who was holding him still. “Where-” he coughed, throat dry. “ Where am I?

“You’re in Konoha, the Uzumaki compound.” The redhead reached out of Yashamaru’s view, bringing a cup of water. “Drink slowly.”

Yashamaru didn’t open his mouth, scrutinizing the cup.

“It is literally just water. Drink.”

How did I get here?

“Gaara convinced Shukaku to take you here. They’re sleeping right now.” The redhead pointed to the side, and Yashamaru turned his head to see Gaara passed out in a pile of blankets and humming sand, sleeping soundly and clearly not on an Ichibi-induced rampage. “I’ll answer more questions, but you should probably drink. Dehydration is a bitch.”

Yashamaru turned back to face the redhead. “ Thank you.

“Thank me by surviving.” The redhead tipped the glass to Yashamaru’s lips, letting him drink.

“What happened?” The last thing Yashamaru remembered was a storm of sand impacting him after he followed the order to kill Gaara, and his mask being knocked off, followed by his own words to Gaara, then Gaara hugging him. Bits and pieces since, but barely.

“Like I said, Gaara convinced Shukaku to bring you to Konoha. Good thing they did, else you’d be dead.”

Shukaku? “You seem rather certain of that.”

The redhead snorted. “Tsunade worked on you for nearly an hour before declaring you’d survive and left one of her trainees to watch you, so yes, I am rather certain.”

Yashamaru narrowed his eyes at the redhead. “Who are you?”

“Kurama Uzumaki, masculine. And you?”

That made sense, if Yashamaru was really in the Uzumaki compound. “Yashamaru, masculine. What are you going to do with me?”

Kurama smirked. “Hopefully keep the three of you out of Rasa’s hands.”

“He’s a Kage, Uzumaki.” Three?

“And I’m the acting Uzumaki clan head, your point?”

“That’s not exactly equal footing…”

Kurama snorted. “Neither is a regular nin against a Jinchuuriki who has begun to make a friend of their Bijuu. Besides, I’d win long before he would, if it came down to it.”

“You… intend to fight a Kage?”

“If it comes to it, I can and will. It’d probably be easier if you made the decision, though.”

“What?”

“True or false, Rasa put you in charge of Gaara.”

Yashamaru blinked. “…True?”

“Good, that’ll make this easier to do legally.”

“Wait, what?”

“Do you want to go back to Suna, or, more specifically, Rasa’s authority?”

Yashamaru didn’t answer, turning to look at Gaara again. “…He’d just try and kill Gaara again, wouldn’t he?”

“Most definitely.”

“I will stay with Gaara, whatever they decide.”

“Good!”

“Kurama! I got Baa-chan, ‘ttebayo!”

Yashamaru blinked when a blonde kid who seemed around Gaara’s age skipped into the room, followed by the Sannin Tsunade.

“Thanks, kit.”

Yashamaru watched as the kid hopped up onto the cot that Gaara was curled up in and poked at the sands, completely fearless.

“Hey, Shukaku! Can you wake Gaara up? I think we properly fixed your seal, dattebayo! Or at least have a start on it? And their uncle's awake!”

“Took you long enough,” a vaguely-familiar growl came from the pile, the whole thing shifting. What…  

“It’s been one day, idiot tanuki,” Kurama snapped at the pile. “Be glad I already did this secondhand once, or it’d’ve taken a lot longer.”

“Kaku-nee, leave Naru alone,” Gaara’s voice muttered as the pile of blankets fell apart. “He’s doing us a favor!”

Yashamaru stared at the sand tendrils that sprouted off of Gaara’s shoulder and made the head of the Ichibi. “What the hell.”

“Idiot,” the Ichibi snapped.

“Leave Yasha-ji-san alone, Kaku-nee!” Gaara poked the sand construct. “He didn’t want to do it.”

What the hell.

Kurama laughed. “You didn’t tell him, did you?”

“Shut up, stupid fox!”

Gaara giggled. “Yasha-ji-san, this is Shukaku-nee! They’re the Ichibi.”

Yashamaru blinked. “What.” The Ichibi… was using… a pile of sand… partially calmly… freely … and Gaara was comfortable… as was the rest of the room. “ What. What kind of a Genjutsu is this??” It was a pitiful question, even with his injuries and still-beaten chakra stores he could tell that there was no Genjutsu anywhere in the room.

Kurama cackled. “None, if there was I would have already gotten rid of it."

"Why are you doing this? Why is the Ichibi free?"

"We're doing this because Rasa's a piece of shit who tried to have Gaara killed because they weren't becoming a weapon fast enough," Kurama stated bluntly. "Jinchuuriki are not jailors or 'just weapons', or at least they shouldn't be."

"Says the one teaching his how to use his chakra!" the Ichibi snapped.

"Oh, so are we telling him or not?" Kurama snarked right back, arms crossed. "And, says the one who used their chakra to get their own Jinchuuriki and their uncle across two nations in three and a half days."

The Ichibi hissed at Kurama, sand buzzing.

The blonde kid- Naru?- laughed. "That's fast, Shukaku! Can I see if this seal will work now though?"

Gaara nodded, shifting around until their back was to the blonde, lifting their hair from the back of their neck to reveal a paper stuck over their Bijuu seal.

"What are you doing?!"

The blonde lifted the paper that, upon closer inspection, had a seal on it, not completely removing it, looking back and forth between the paper they held and the seal.

"Fixing that seal, or rather, seeing if that version will fix it."

Yashamaru turned to Tsunade, who was healing him. "Can you explain, please?"

"Ask Kurama about Kurama's shit," Tsunade growled. "Also, you're free to move around carefully , and no exercise or chakra usage until I say so."

"Thank you, Hokage-sama," Yashamaru said gratefully.

"Thank the kid and their Bijuu," Tsunade huffed, standing. 

"You've done this thing before, just recreate it!" the Ichibi snapped at Kurama.

"I only watched it be done and also wasn't planning on having to do it again, idiot," Kurama growled back. "Not my fault Kaguya's a bitch."

"Not my fault you've got shitty sealwork!"

Yashamaru pushed himself into a sitting position. " What are you doing again?! And what about the Moon Goddess??!!"

The three people and one Bijuu turned to face Yashamaru.

"Well, how would you like to be let in on something you will never be able to unlearn?" Kurama asked, smirking.

"Seeing as it seems to affect Gaara's well-being, I think I'd like to know."

Kurama grinned, and in a puff of smoke, turned into a nine-tailed fox.

Yashamaru's jaw dropped. There was only one nine-tailed fox that would make any sense in this context, and that was the Ninetails; the Kyuubi no Kitsune. 

"I am exactly who you think I am, Yashamaru," Kurama- the Kyuubi - chuckled, tails weaving.

"Wh- the Kyuubi?! You're free?!!"

"Yes, I am the Kyuubi, though it is generally a secret. No, I am not free in the way of I do not have a Jinchuuriki; Naruto is mine." Kurama nodded to the blonde.

Yashamaru blinked. "I… see."

Kurama snorted. "No, you don't. But I'll explain." smoke puffed again, and Kurama appeared human again. “I am indeed the Kyuubi no Kitsune, though I am not from this time. I am instead from twelve years into the future, when Kaguya returned, along with the Juubi, and laid waste to the world. That time’s Naruto made a seal to send me back and fix it.”

“Yeah, and then you FORGOT half the important shit!!” the Ichibi shouted.

“You shut up,” Kurama poked at the sand construct before continuing. “Since I got here, about two and a half, three months ago, I’ve already fixed a lot of what may have happened, and, of course, told the rest of the Bijuu about what was happening.”

“Not after you’d already been back for WEEKS!!”

“Is this my story or yours, Shukaku?”

The Ichibi- Shukaku screeched.

“Point being, I had completely forgotten about Rasa’s order for you to ‘test’ Gaara, for which I apologize. However, seeing as someone clearly told their Jinchuuriki everything,” Kurama rolled his eyes at the Ichibi, “Gaara stopped the attack before it actually killed you, and brought you here. Any questions?”

“Why are you telling me?”

“You already heard half of it from our conversation, and asking questions won’t get you any answers from most you could ask. It’s easier to just explain it concisely.”

Yashamaru took a minute to process all that he’d learned within minutes.
“Rasa will show up.”

Kurama grinned sharply. “Oh, most definitely.”

“What do you plan to do about that?”

“I think you mean, which plan do you and Gaara want us to do!” Naruto grinned. “We have a few we’ve come up with!”

“Like what?” Gaara asked, looking between the Bijuu-human and Jinchuuriki.

“Plan one: we say you were never seen, and you hide here. Upsides: probably the easiest way to get Rasa off our backs and out of Konoha. Downsides: at least some people will have seen the both of you while I brought you here from the gate, and it’s unlikely that this incident will be forgotten anytime soon, meaning you and Gaara would essentially be stuck in the Uzumaki compound until you can mask yourselves and your chakra to be unrecognizable, which will be difficult, and may take a while, especially with Gaara and Shukaku’s sand defense needing to be disguised or go unused entirely outside the compound. Also, we might get caught.”

“FUCK THAT!” the Ichibi- Shukaku , right- declared.

“I don’t like it either. Plan two: the both of you are snuck away to a different village. Also comes with the caveat of not using your known Jutsus, or becoming missing-nin, but carries no risk of being directly discovered here.”

“FUCK! THAT!”

“And that’s why there’s plan three,” Kurama grinned. “Both of you look enough like existing Uzumakis, and of course you both have access to the clan compound, which nobody except Uzumaki do unless keyed in by an Uzumaki, which Rasa will never be. So we make the both of you Uzumaki, or at least Uzumaki-related by law, which, Yashamaru, as Gaara’s guardian, you can do.”

“What?”

“This one has the highest chance of you not getting dragged back to Suna, being safe, and being unconfined in one go.”

Yashamaru turned to Gaara, avoiding their eyes. He still remembered what he’d told Gaara before he’d passed out. “It’s up to you.”

“I like plan three.”

Yashamaru nodded.

Kurama grinned, Shunshining away and returning within minutes with two scrolls. “Sign these, both of you.”

Yashamaru read the scroll handed to him quickly, finding a… well, it seemed to be some sort of Uzumaki citizenship or adoption scroll, lined with seals that did things he couldn’t even guess.

Kurama grinned once it was signed, pressing blood and chakra into the corners of the paper, and thus the seals, gesturing for Yashamaru to do the same. The seals glowed yellow-orange, and the process was repeated with Gaara, to Shukaku’s grumbling.

“Welcome to the Uzumaki clan.”

“KURAMA thank the Sage you’re here. Tsunade-hime told me that it's time to uphold your end of the deal, whatever that means.”

Yashamaru looked over at the door, finding a nin he thought to be an Uchiha standing there.

Kurama smiled, handing the scrolls to Naruto. “Thank you very much, Itachi. Am I to assume that Rasa has arrived?”

“Yep.”

“Tell Tsunade that option three has been chosen, I’ll be there soon.”

The Uchiha nodded, disappearing in a whirl of leaves.

“Tsunade is in on this? The Hokage is in on this!?” Yashamaru clarified.

“Yep. She keeps my stuff quiet, and if my shit messes with her level of authority then I take care of it.” Kurama grinned. “If I need you, Naruto will take you.”

“Oh, Kurama, give this to Baa-chan!” Naruto pulled out a kunai with a seal paper wrapped around it. “Then it’ll be faster!”

“Sure, kit. Don’t forget to finish the permanent anchor here.”

“Dattebayo!”

-

~One Day Earlier~  

Obito stared down through his raven’s eyes. There was no mistaking the Kazekage’s Jinchuuriki kid, nor the resignation on Shisui’s face as the other Uchiha- this one Obito didn’t recognize- disappeared in a Shunshin and returned moments later, just behind Kurama Uzumaki.

If nothing else, the Kazekage’s kid showing up at the gates of Konoha explained the half army of Suna nin that had been storming toward Konoha for the past two days.

Obito tracked the Kazekage’s kid, the guy they were carrying, and Kurama across Konoha until they disappeared into the Uzumaki compound. Ugh. Was it worth the risk yet to take a pass into the wards? Probably not. Obito would certainly keep an eye on the situation, however. Anything involving Kurama tended to be interesting at the least, and dangerous for future plans otherwise.

-

Obito had one of the ravens swoop down, alighting on the edge of a small ledge outside the Hokage office, just right to see inside. This was a shitshow he was not about to miss, and he was not disappointed.

The Kazekage was glaring at Tsunade, absolutely incandescent with rage as Tsunade glared right back with Orochimaru and Jiraiya at her sides. 

“As I told you, Kazekage-sama, I am not the one you want to speak to. He should be here soon, as I have already told you .”

“And I see nobody except for the three of you,” Rasa retorted.

The unknown Uchiha who had helped let the Kazekage’s kid in Shunshined to the side of Tsunade’s desk, bowing to Tsunade. “Kurama will be here soon, once three is finished signing.”

“Thank you, Itachi,” Tsunade nodded to the Uchiha- Itachi, apparently- dismissing them.

Within minutes, a pulse of chakra appeared on the opposite side of the Hokage tower to Obito’s raven. “Aww, looking for me?” Kurama Uzumaki vaulted over the edge of the windows on the other side of the office, grinning. “Hello, Rasa.”

“Show some respect!” one of Rasa’s apparent advisors puffed up in indignation.

“I don’t respect him, so I won’t, actually,” Kurama stated, completely unruffled. 

“Your shit, you deal with it, Kurama,” Tsunade stated, leaning back in her chair. “Kazekage-sama, this is who you will want to talk to.”

Kurama smiled. “What can I help you with, Rasa?”

“I want to talk to whoever let my child into Konoha,” Rasa snarled.

Kurama was twirling a tagged kunai in one hand, completely calm. “Speaking. I would like to know why you ordered a hit on Gaara.”

Gaara was likely the Kazekage’s kid. Interesting.

Two of the three Sannin reacted at those words, Tsunade not at all, and Orochimaru only in the slight fluctuation of his chakra, while Jiraiya blinked, chakra flickering.

What, ” Rasa hissed, “ do you know about that.

Kurama hummed, nails- no, claws clicking against the blade of the kunai. “Or maybe I should ask why you made my cousin’s seal so shitty that Shukaku is packed in with their mind with absolutely no barrier or space? Why it causes the both of them physical pain?”

Who? ” Rasa growled, eyes narrowed.

“Please, do clarify, I have mentioned quite a few people.”

“What does your cousin have to do with my kid?!

“Gaara Uzumaki, Jinchuuriki of Shukaku, the Ichibi. Do you have answers to my questions?”

Obito could almost see the gears in Rasa’s head come to a screeching halt. To be fair, he himself wasn’t doing much better. Uzumaki? Since when were any Uzumaki in Suna? Wait…  

UZUMAKI!?

“Correct, Gaara Uzumaki is my cousin.”

Rasa was clearly holding himself back from simply jumping Kurama. “You intend to tell me that my kid is of Uzumaki descent?”

“Wrong relation, idiot,” Kurama rolled his eyes. 

Obito started laughing, the pieces falling into place in his mind even as Kurama spoke again.

“Gaara is a Jinchuuriki, however much of a shitty seal you stuck Shukaku in, thus related to my cousin. Do. You. Have. Answers for me?”

“Control your nin, Hokage,” Rasa snapped.

Kurama burst into laughter. “You think I’m a Konoha nin!? Hilarious . I’m not even really a Shinobi , you absolute fuck.”

The hell!?  

Rasa’s eyes immediately went to Tsunade.

“Kurama is no nin of mine,” Tsunade affirmed. “He holds no official rank in any village, nor has he ever.”

“ON WHAT AUTHORITY-”

Kurama interrupted Rasa, voice betraying no leniency. “On that of the young Uzumaki clan head, who also happens to be a Jinchuuriki with little patience for those who hurt his family. Due to the Bijuu being siblings, Gaara and Shukaku are as such, and Gaara has the authority from his guardian, who you appointed , by the way, to officially become an Uzumaki, along with said guardian. By all rights, you are Gaara’s father by blood, but blood does not mean family .”

Obito was speechless. Kurama had no patience for any bullshit, clearly: a far cry from how he trained and taught the pre-Genin group, when he screwed around and tossed seemingly whatever came to mind about.

“If you would like to speak to them, it is completely up to them .” Kurama stepped once toward Rasa, eyes narrowed. “And before they do that, you should know some things. One: Bijuu are not to be controlled . Respected and allied with, to be sure, but not controlled, or do you not remember the last time that Shukaku wasn’t insane was when their Jinchuuriki showed them the smallest modicum of respect? Two: Jinchuuriki are not weapons . They are chakra users with an extra boost and a friend who is always at their back. Three: If you won’t fucking respect the guardian status that Gaara holds, then I fucking will . Capiche?”

Guardian status? Obito didn’t know what to make of that way of describing a Jinchuuriki. It almost made it sound like the Jinchuuriki were supposed to protect the Bijuu from the outside world instead of the other way around.

Rasa glared at Kurama. “I don’t take orders from someone who isn’t even a nin.”

Kurama laughed cruelly. “And I don’t take orders from someone who disrespected my family.”

Rasa’s advisor- the same one who had spoken earlier- snorted. “What ‘guardian status’, the child is a failure.”

Obito didn’t even have time to consider how much of a Bad Idea that was to say before, instead of Kurama, a giant fox was looming over the three Suna nin, absolutely boiling with Killing Intent.

The Bijuu are being hunted, you absolute pile of shit-covered flesh, ” Kurama snarled and how the fuck does he know that!? And beside that point, Gaara is making a friend of Shukaku. The opposite of failure.

“The Bijuu are what!? ” Rasa asked. 

Yeah, please do explain that.  

Kurama growled. “Being hunted by the last child of Kaguya-” what “-whose goal is to revive her and the Juubi using all nine Bijuu. With the Bijuu in their Jinchuuriki, it requires that Zetsu go through the Jinchuuriki before he reaches the Bijuu. ‘Guardian’ is one of the best descriptors for the Jinchuuriki, due to the fact that should Zetsu’s plan come to fruition , THE FUCKING WORLD WILL DIE! WHAT.

The Suna nin stared up at the fox, aghast.

“Explain that one?” Jiraiya asked warily.

“The short version is that Zetsu wants Kaguya back, which will result in the God Tree draining the entire world of chakra while everyone gets put under a mass Genjutsu; the Ultimate Tsukuyomi. Tah-dah, everyone dies,” Kurama snapped. 

Obito shut down his connection with the raven. He was fairly sure that Kurama wasn’t supposed to know anything about Madara-sama’s- and thus, Zetsu’s- plan, which was the only thing Obito knew of that Zetsu had any plans about, and it certainly wasn’t the kind of plan that Kurama had described.

Obito could go to Zetsu to try and get answers; presumably a Very Bad Idea, if Kurama’s version of the plan was correct. Clearly, Zetsu hadn’t told Obito anything about that plan, and Kurama was rather obviously not on board. (Obito wasn’t either, he needed to be alive to bring Rin back, but the Eye of the Moon plan was supposed to do that , and since the Moon Goddess was going to result in destroying the world, that seemed to be a connection.)

Or Obito could go to Kurama and demand answers, which was probably also a Bad Idea, if Kurama found out about Obito’s involvement with Zetsu. (But Kurama also didn’t know about Rin, and that would get rid of any chance to get her back.)

Obito resolved to watch, and pay attention to both Kurama and Zetsu’s plans. Underneath the underneath.  

Maybe he should send a raven into the Uzumaki compound while Kurama was otherwise occupied.

-

“Naruto, could I talk to Gaara and th- and Shukaku alone, please?”

Naruto nodded, hopping off the cot with the seal paper- now with notes along the sides- in hand. He shut the door behind himself, leaving the two new Uzumakis and the Bijuu alone.

Yashamaru waited a moment before speaking. “Gaara, I- I’m sorry I said what I said about y-” he cut off, Gaara and their sands wrapped around him.

“Kurama explained everything,” Gaara muttered into Yasha-ji-san’s stomach. “I know it was Rasa who told you to say it. It’s okay.”

It’s not… but Yashamaru still returned the hug, much to the annoyance of the Ic- Shukaku. That would take some getting used to.

“I’m glad I knew so you’re alive.”

“What?”

Chapter Text

Itachi zoned out as the other members of the what-the-fuck-is-up-with-Kurama-Uzumaki group shot ideas around- none were correct, of course- and apparently Shikaku was completely convinced due to Shikamaru that Kurama was exactly who he said he was, which apparently meant ‘Kurama Uzumaki, from Uzushio’s direction, and Naruto’s cousin’.

“-tachi, ITACHI!!”

“Ack!” Itachi focused on Inoichi. “What?”

“Got anything to add to the pile?”

I mean… yes, but also absolutely the hell no. “Maybe Karin and Kamira’ll know something? They’re Uzumaki as well, after all.”

“Already asked,” Kakashi sighed. “They only know that he’s an Uzumaki and tracked down their chakra signatures because he heard Kusa was abusing their Kekkei Genkai. They believe him.”

“Think any of us could make a deal with him like Shikamaru did?”

“He’s the one who proposed that deal, not little Shika,” Inoichi pointed out. “He’d know something was up.”

Kakashi shrugged. “Maa, maa, he already knows we’re trying to figure out his deal, if anything he’d be amused.”

Itachi snorted, remembering Kurama’s statement of it’s amusing to watch you guys run around like headless chickens . “Yeah, that’s probably about right.”

“I vote Kakashi does it.”

Kakashi turned to Shikaku, confused.

“You’re in contact with him the most out of the four of us, and you already have that deal about Naruto making Genin.”

"I second this motion!" Itachi grinned. He didn't know what Kurama might come up with, but it was sure to be interesting.

-

Rasa had refused to leave until he spoke to Gaara and Yashamaru, and so he and his entourage had been set up in a hotel, with a Kurama clone watching over them with a few ANBU until morning, at which point the two advisors and Rasa returned to the Hokage office.

Gaara and Yashamaru had already been flashed in by Naruto and Kurama, and could be flashed out again at any moment, should Rasa or his advisors try anything. (And preferably before Shukaku actually went through with killing Rasa.)

Yashamaru met Rasa’s eyes evenly. He wasn’t yet cleared for chakra use, but he was pretty sure that that wouldn’t matter, what with Gaara’s new seal and the sands spinning around their feet and shoulders, as well as a second Bijuu/Jinchuuriki duo backing him and Gaara.

“I am sorry.”

Yashamaru blanked. Rasa was bowing almost to the floor. The advisors were similarly shocked, staring at Rasa in horror.

“I wronged you both, Gaara, Yashamaru. I do not expect forgiveness, but know that Suna will always be open to you, should you ever wish to return.”

Shukaku’s construct-head formed over Gaara’s shoulder. “I still say we kill him.”

Kurama slapped the construct. “No.”

Ichibi ,” one of the advisors hissed, both backing up in fear.

Rasa snapped upright, eyes locking onto the sand construct in the next instant.

Kurama laughed. “I did say Gaara was making friends with Shukaku, did I not?”

Rasa kept one eye on the Ichibi, wary of the insane Bijuu but hesitant to break the truce. “…I suppose you did…”

“It’s called a half-decent seal, Rasa,” Kurama rolled his eyes. “We fixed it, so now they aren’t in pain the whole damn time.”

One of the advisors snorted. “It deserved it.”

“Let’s kill that one,” Shukaku growled, sands kicking up.

Yashamaru silently agreed with the Bijuu, who had turned out to be rather… not amicable , but engaging.

“No killing, Kaku-nee,” Gaara stated firmly, wrestling the sands back under their own control.

Naruto leaned past the sands and whispered to Gaara before grinning and pulling out one of those tagged kunai he'd been making. “Rasa! Here!” he held out the kunai. “Give this to Temari and Kankuro!”

Rasa carefully took the kunai, wisely not questioning why the blonde knew the names of Gaara’s siblings. “…Very well.”

-

“Kurama, I want to make a deal.”

Kurama slowly turned to face Kakashi and Itachi, the latter of whom seemed to just be observing gleefully. “Whaaaat… sort… of deal?”

“Like what you did with Shikamaru.”

A grin slowly spread across Kurama’s face. “A skill for a question?”

“Maa, maa, sure.”

“One question answered in full with no tricks, when you figure out Kamui .”

“What?”

Kurama tapped below his left eye. “Your Mangekyo ability. It’s a space-time Jutsu, not entirely dissimilar to Mustard’s Flying Raijin in terms of travel, but also gives you access to a pocket dimension. Left eye; you get the long-range variant, so it’ll be easier for you to do things other than yourself, and make sure it’s not important, until you figure out how to get stuff out again. Do not fucking overuse the thing, but you should know how to use it.” Again, things I know that I know I was never told…  

Kakashi stared at Kurama. “How do you know so much about an ability that I don’t know about?”

Kurama smirked. “I watched you use the thing enough times.”

Kakashi took a breath. “You have watched me use something that, until you told me about it, I didn’t know I had, nor have I ever used it before, and now you want me to learn how to do it, because I currently do not know how to do something you have watched me do.”

“Yes.”

Itachi burst out laughing.

-

Sage dammit I knew I forgot something. Kurama poked at Naruto’s consciousness. Hey kit, gimme a clone, I’ve gotta go drag Itachi to Tsunade.

Wh- huuuh? Why?

Lung disease something whatsit- point is he needs healing before it gets worse.

Dattebayo, Kurama… Naruto yawned, making a Shadow Clone and then falling asleep again. 

Kurama’s clone smirked to Naruto, ruffling his hair before racing off toward the Uchiha compound- dead of night be damned, he wasn’t letting himself forget this. He dropped down next to the window that hid Itachi’s chakra signature, tapping on the glass.

A few minutes of tapping later, and Itachi shoved open the window. “ It is the middle of the fucking night WHY ARE YOU HERE.

“Hello, mister lung disease, we’re going to find Tsunade now.”

“What.”

“Future, you fuckwit. You die due to it. Now scoot.”

“Not dying, good plan,” Itachi muttered, slipping out the window. “Couldn’t you have done this in the morning!?”

“Mmm… no.” Kurama jumped the wall, racing over roofs toward the apartment that Tsunade had claimed. Conveniently, it was next to the hospital.

Itachi ran after Kurama, following the Bijuu’s lead until he stopped, abruptly switching directions. “Where are you going!?

“Finding Tsunade.” Kurama dropped into the street, making a beeline for a bar.

Itachi followed.

Kurama shoved the door open, quickly finding Tsunade and Shizune. “TSUNADE!!”

“NOT FUCKING DEALING WITH IT, KURAMA!!!” Tsunade shouted back.

Kurama grabbed Itachi’s arm, pulling him in front of Tsunade. “Lung disease. It will kill him eventually. Fix.”

“Tomorrow, give him to the kids to study.”

“Fair enough.” Kurama dropped Itachi’s arm, clone poofing.

Oh suuure, just leave me here why don’t you, Itachi rolled his eyes, Shunshining back to his room.

-

Itachi woke up. “FUCK!!!”

-

Gaara peeked out from behind Yasha-ji-san, looking at Naru and Naru's friends, who were playing some sort of game where some of them were blindfolded and trying to catch the others.

"GAARA!!!" Naruto shouted, dodging Neji's blunted kunai. "COME PLAY!!!"

Gaara rapidly shook their head, knowing Kaku-nee always defended them when they tried to play.

Naruto's eyes widened, Kurama filling him in, and he left a clone in his place before heading over to Gaara. "You don't need to worry, Gaara! The new seal is working, right?"

Gaara nodded. Kaku-nee had been a lot calmer since their new seal had been placed and also the seal didn't hurt anymore, but they had also never really played with anyone before. "I know. I just don't want to hurt anyone."

"Stay close to me, then!" Naruto grinned. "Then I can keep you from getting hurt and Shukaku won't need to defend you! All these kunai aren't sharp anyways, and we've got a bunch of medic-nin even if anyone gets hurt!"

Chapter Text

Obito stepped out of Kamui’s dimension into the cavern that held the Gedo Mazo, finding Pein’s Deva Path standing in front of it. “Pein!”

The Deva Path turned to face Obito, nodding once. “Tobi. How are you?”

“Bo~ored,” Obito singsonged as his ‘Tobi’ facade. “What’re you doing with the statue?”

“Thinking.”

“Mmm… that’s fair!” Nagato was the one who had summoned the thing… “Bout what?”

“Hm.”

Obito skipped around the statue-tree, considering. “This thing’s weird, right? You know anything about it?”

“No.”

Well then. Nagato was most definitely hiding something. Obito stepped through Kamui back to the Deva Path. “C’mooonnnn, you’ve gotta know something!

The Deva Path turned, walking away from the Gedo Mazo. “No.”

That yielded nothing other than Nagato did know something , but at least Obito was now free to poke around at the Gedo Mazo. 

-

Kakashi was the last to the Kurama Uzumaki investigation meeting, and the room was quiet when he entered, though Itachi was seemingly holding back a grin.

"Itachi tells us that you got a deal?" Inoichi asked hopefully. 

"Maa, maa, I did get a deal." Kakashi turned to Itachi. "Now, do explain what exactly was and apparently is so funny."

"I may have had my Sharingan active for the whole of your deal-making," Itachi admitted, smirking. "I don't think you understand how rare it is that you display complete incredulity and confusion as gloriously as you did."

"So what's the deal, then?" Shikaku asked.

"I figure out my Mangekyo ability, and he answers a question with the same conditions as Shikamaru."

Inoichi balked. "How are you supposed to do that? You don't even know what it is , as far as I know."

"Kurama does." Itachi activated his Sharingan, putting both Shikaku and Inoichi under a Genjutsu that would show the deal.

A moment later, Inoichi groaned, standing. "That’s it." He slammed the door on his way out, making for Training Ground K in a Shunshin, hand seals flashing as soon as he landed. He picked the closest Kurama he saw, forcing the Jutsu to work without contact. For only an instant, he saw three areas, mashed and spliced together to make a confusing meld of night sky, ocean, doorways, tails of all things, massive scrolls, and a glowing seal, then the Jutsu collapsed.

“Here’s a suggestion, Yamanaka,” Kurama chuckled, clone supporting Inoichi. “Don’t try that again.”

What the actual HELL is with your mind ,” Inoichi grit out, blinking black from his vision.

“Not sure what you saw, so I wouldn’t know what you mean.”

Inoichi licked blood off his lip, pulling his feet underneath him again. “That is the most disorganized mess of bullshit I have ever seen.”

“Well now I’m curious, I generally think I have shit organized.”

“And yet you immediately knew it wasn’t a good idea.”

Kurama snorted. “Yeah, because I know some of what you would actually find in my mind, and you wouldn’t have a great time of it.”

“What, the hell , does that mean?”

“You’d wish you didn’t know,” Kurama deadpanned.

“Try me.”

“Nah.”

-

Tsunade sighed once, staring at the Kusakage. She turned to the general direction of Training Ground K, where she could tell Kurama had at least one clone, or Naruto was there. “ KURAMA FUCKING UZUMAKI GET THE FUCK OVER HERE AND DEAL WITH YOUR SHIT!!!

Within minutes, Kurama was leaping off the rooftop to land in front of the gate. “What did I do this time, Tsunade?”

“Kusa.”

Kurama grinned. “But of course.”

“And who are you supposed to be?” Takito sneered at Kurama.

“Who are you supposed to be?” Kurama smirked.

“Kurama, the Kusakage. Kusakage, Kurama Uzumaki.”

Kurama's demeanor instantly darkened, and he bared his teeth at the Kusakage. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“Hokage-sama, what does this have to do with you keeping an eye out for my kidnapped nin?”

“There was no kidnapping involved, actually,” Kurama growled. “If you happen to be looking for the Uzumaki woman you were working to the death and her daughter, they willingly chose to accept the invitation of the Uzumaki clan head to the clan compound.”

Takito blanched. “Uzumaki what .”

Kurama smiled icily, letting a bit of his Killing Intent through. “Did you not hear me? The Uzumaki clan head."

"You?"

"Until the true head comes of age, it seems so."

"You intend to undermine a long-standing treaty between Kusa and Konoha, all for two Uzumaki when you're not even the real clan head, and when there's only tatters of the Uzumaki clan left?" Takito scoffed again. 

"If that's how you take removing two members of a legacy clan like the Uzumaki from your abuse, then yes, I do," Kurama growled.

"Hokage-sama, what are you going to do about this?" Takito snapped.

Tsunade glared at the Kusakage. "You forget that I am also an Uzumaki by blood, Kusakage. If reclaiming mistreated Uzumaki clanspeople who are originally from Konoha’s sister village causes you to break our treaty, then so. Be. It."

-

Zabuza sighed, facing Yagura, Mei, and Utakata. He and Haku had ended up staying in Konoha for far longer than expected, but due to their new ANIMAL HENGES the trip home had been faster. “What do you want to hear about first?”

“Peace treaty, kudasai.”

“Complete.” Zabuza briefly summed up the agreement that he and Tsunade-hime had come to, Mei smirking.

“Wonderful! Why did it take so long, then?”

“We got roped into training children by an Uzumaki.”

Yagura facepalmed. “It was Kurama, wasn’t it.”

“…Yes, how do you know that.”

“Isobu and Saiken told us, they got an update from the Kyuubi.”

“Right.”

Mei chuckled. “Well, what were you training with or for?”

Zabuza sighed. “A six-year-old is currently wielding a battleaxe that is double her height, a different six-year-old fought a Sannin and effectively tied by using the Kyuubi’s chakra, Orochimaru is back in Konoha and clearly an ally and training another six-year-old in poisons and multiple six-year-olds medical Jutsu, there’s multiple Uzumaki that arrived and were adopted into the clan while we were there among which number Shukaku’s Jinchuuriki and their uncle, the youngest academy class- which numbers twelve- plus some others are all being trained by Kurama Uzumaki and multiple other nin, the Kyuubi kid has fox summons now, I was given a recall seal for the Kubikiribocho… am I missing anything, Haku?”

“I got a multiplication seal for my senbon, and we learned how to use Henges!”

“Henges, as in, the basic Transformation Jutsu?” Utakata asked, a small version of what was clearly Saiken curled on his arm and shoulder.

“Ha- yeah, not quite…” Zabuza tilted his head at Haku. “Care to demonstrate?”

Haku smiled, activating her Henge and turning into a snow leopard that came up to about Zabuza’s hip.

“Henges.”

Mei started laughing. “This is going to be a wonderful alliance, I can feel it, kudasai!”

-

Kurama’s clone raced through the rains again, flaring chakra only once to make sure Nagato and Konan knew he was coming before dulling it back down to avoid notice. 

Zetsu was absent, though judging by the bitter tang of decay in the building he hadn’t left too long ago. Ugh.  

Kurama leapt up to the same balcony he’d arrived to on his previous visit, knocking.

Once more, it was Kisame who opened the door. “You’re back?”

“Yeah, got some stuff for you and the leaders.” Kurama shoved his way inside, shaking off water. Deidara was hanging upside-down off the back of a chair, and froze in bewilderment at Kurama. 

“Come up,” Konan called, and Kurama grinned.

“Kisame, you’re coming too. Tsukuyomi. Deidara, we might explain this later.”

Kisame grumbled, but followed the fox up the stairs. 

“Didn’t think we’d see you so soon after your… abrupt departure last time,” Nagato- speaking through the Deva Path- said.

Kurama snorted. “Yeah, well, the clan head finished something rather important.” He Henged into his Uzumaki disguise, startling Kisame.

“You’re a HUMAN!?

“Sometimes.” Kurama smirked. “How has the plant bastard been?”

“None the wiser as far as we can tell,” Konan answered.

"Tobi is hunting for information on the Gedo Mazo," Nagato revealed. "For what purpose I do not know, but he asked me what I knew of it."

"Odd." But not particularly concerning. Wonder what made him ask… "All three of you, I need a place on your body that is always covered or an object you always have on you."

"Why, exactly?" Kisame asked, hand moving to grip Samehada's hilt.

"Tag you." Kurama smirked. "Did I forget to mention that the current Uzumaki clan head is the son of the Yellow Flash, and can use his own version of that signature Jutsu, as can I?"

Kisame glared at Kurama. "Yes. You did forget that."

Konan chuckled, raising her hand and unfolding the paper rose in her hair. “Will this do?”

Kurama grinned. “Quite well.”

Konan held out the half-unfolded rose to a not-folded space she estimated to be large enough for the seal she’d once seen on Jiraiya’s back, and Kurama pressed his hand onto the paper.

“And that’s that. Don’t lose it, and if it’s an emergency you can push some chakra into it and it’ll alert the both of us.”

Konan nodded, refolding and replacing the flower. 

Kisame’s got placed on the inside of his forehead protector, and, after Kisame left, Nagato’s went under the bandages on his arm, as well as one hidden on the inside of the Deva Path’s sleeve.

"Oh, and one more thing…" Kurama grinned at Ame's ruling duo and their puppeteered third member. "If you can manage to swap out Yahiko's corpse with another without arousing suspicion and then get to Konoha, I just might have a way to bring him back."

Hope sparked in Konan and Nagato's eyes, flicking to Yahiko's corpse that was currently the Deva Path. "How?"

"The Rinnegan plus some help from a certain snake is what did it last time, I believe. I imagine it would work again."

" Orochimaru!??!

Kurama grinned. "Indeed."

“What would he be doing in Konoha!?”

“Remember how I mentioned the person who I killed who was the reason for Pervert-Frog thinking you were dead?”

Konan and Nagato nodded.

“He was also the one who set Snake Shithead up, so I dragged Snakey back to Konoha before his future of shittiness came to pass. Has there been any progress on the Gedo Mazo front?”

“No, it’s been rather uncooperative.”

“Not surprised. The Bijuu are all still safe though, so we’ll be fine.”

“How do you know that?”

“I’m friends with a Jinchuuriki who also knows about the future, and his Bijuu keeps an eye on the others.”

“That makes more sense.”

-

Kurama and Naruto had given Rasa one week to make it back to Suna and give the Hiraishin kunai to Temari and Kankuro, and that week was up.

Flash.  

They landed in the middle of a circular room, occupied by Temari and Kankuro, two beds, and a table, as well as various other accessories. Seemingly the siblings’ bedroom.

“It worked!!” Naruto cheered, grinning, crouched with one hand on the kunai.

Kurama chuckled. Told you, kit. 

Temari and Kakuro stared at the two who had just appeared in a flash of orange light. “Wh- what!?”

“H- hi Nee-san, Nii-san…” Gaara smiled, waving at their siblings.

“Gaara!? What are you doing here?? How are you here!?”

“Naru’s kunai.” Gaara pointed at the tagged kunai that Naru had picked up. “He can teleport to them. That’s why we had Rasa give you one.”

Naruto held the kunai out to Temari. “Here! Keep it, then we can visit whenever we want!!”

Temari took the kunai, pulling back. “What happened!? Tou-san’s been busy ever since he returned!! Where did you go!? What about Ji-san?!”

“We’re staying in Konoha now,” Gaara explained. “Yasha-ji-san’s fine. He just didn’t want to come today.”

Konoha!?

“Who are you? ” Kankuro asked, pointing at Naruto.

“Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze, dattebayo!!” Naruto grinned. “We’re also here to get some more sand for Gaara and Shukaku!”

“Who?” 

“Me, you little shits!”

Garra glared at Kaku-nee’s construct on their shoulder. “No insulting my siblings!!”

Little shit yourself, Kurama grumbled.

Naruto laughed. 

Temari and Kankuro stared at the Ichibi in horror and fear even as it and Gaara seemed to be arguing about who was appropriate to insult and who was appropriate to insult TO THEIR FACE .

“Kurama suggests we go insult that one advisor!” Naruto interrupted. 

“GREAT PLAN!!” Shukaku declared.

“What is that?!!!?! ” Kankuro pointed at the Ichibi.

“Oh, right…” Gaara smiled sheepishly. “Um… Naru and Kurama fixed Kaku-nee’s seal, so they have more space and it doesn’t hurt anymore.”

“Who and who?

"Kurama's another Uzumaki, and Shukaku's the Ichibi!" Naruto explained.

"Yeah yeah, let's go insult a bitch!" Shukaku had pulled more sand from Gaara's gourd and used it to open the door.

I second that.  

Naruto grinned. "Yeah!"

Gaara smiled, following Kaku-nee and Naru out. "You should come with us, Nee-san, Nii-san!"

Temari and Kankuro looked at each other, the kunai that Temari still held, at their sibling who seemed truly happy , and smiled. "We're coming, Gaara!" "Might as well keep an eye on you while you're here."

Naruto quickly found an open window, swinging out and sticking to the side of the building. Can you sense them?

I would guess them to be near Rasa. 

Alright! Naruto scanned Suna, locking onto Rasa's chakra signature as Gaara and Shukaku joined him on the wall and Temari and Kankuro stuck their heads out the window. "Found Rasa! Kurama says they'll probably be near there."

"Alright? Wait, why are we insulting one of Tou-san's advisors?"

"They insulted us first!"

Naruto laughed, leaping off the wall onto a lower roof. "Follow me!"

Gaara followed, sand rising to meet them, and Temari and Kankuro followed them.

-

Rasa inwardly sighed. His advisors were demanding the return of 'their Jinchuuriki', and had been since leaving Konoha, completely disregarding the multiple reasons why that demand would not only be rejected, but result in Gaara likely never returning to Suna, no matter how long or for what reason, and certainly not to be 'just a Jinchuuriki' again, much less allow Rasa to truly make amends for his choice. "For the last time," Sage, this is almost like toddlers all over again, except this time it's international relations on the line, "I will not be sending any such demands to Konoha or the Uzumakis, and anyone who DOES ," he paused long enough for any lingering mutters to die out, "can consider themself a traitor acting against Suna's interests, do I make that PERFECTLY CLEAR? "

"Who's a traitor now?"

Rasa almost jumped, turning to a high window to find a large orange fox crouched inside the sill. What.  

The fox laughed, and a… tanuki? hopped up next to it, speaking almost clumsily. "We both know you heard him."

The fox stared flatly at the tanuki, tail weaving around to push the tanuki off the sill.

The tanuki yelped, but never hit the ground, caught gently by sand. A puff of smoke covered the tanuki, and Gaara was sitting on the sand. “Hey!”

The fox laughed, and then Temari and Kankuro appeared in the window. “What the heck, Uzumaki!?” Temari asked. “Why can you turn into a fox!?”

“Kurama taught me!” the fox grinned.

Rasa blanked. The fox… was an Uzumaki … was taught by Kurama (presumably the Uzumaki one)… and the tanuki… was Gaara.

Kankuro pushed the fox off the windowsill, and the sand moved to purposely drop the fox onto the floor- not that the fox landed ungracefully at all.

“Ru~ude, Kankuro-kun!!” the fox stared up at Kankuro, seemingly pouting . “And you too, Shukaku!”

“Not like it made a difference!” the Ichibi cackled, construct-head coming off of Gaara’s shoulder like it had been in the Hokage’s office. “You landed just fine!”

The entire room was silent, watching the Ichibi, Gaara, and the fox banter back and forth until the fox abruptly stopped. “Hey, we came here to do something, remember?” 

The fox hopped up onto the wall, running up it and across the ceiling, stopping once it reached what seemed to be a spot picked on purpose. Then it dropped, directly onto Marame and causing Marame’s head to slam forward onto the table. “It was this one! They’re the idiot!!”

Rasa glanced at Temari and Kankuro for answers, but they seemed about as bewildered as he.

“BITCH!!” the Ichibi shouted.

-

By the time two minutes was up, the Ichibi, the fox, and, at some level, Gaara had insulted Marame to hell and back, and Temari and Kankura were both laughing from their perch in the window.

And the fox was hopping around everywhere, on the backs of chairs, the table, the sand tower that Gaara was still sitting atop, even on people . Then the fox paused, and giggled . “The clone’s’ve been found out!!”

Temari blinked, tilting her head at the fox. “Aren’t you like, five? What kind of clones wouldn’t have been found out long ago?”

“Shadow Clones!” the fox responded happily.

Gaara smiled, leaning over the edge of the sand platform to look down at the fox. “Naru, how long until they figure out where we went?”

Naru- was the fox NARUTO UZUMAKI!?!? Rasa stared at the fox in disbelief.

The fox- Naruto Uzumaki - shrugged. “Baa-chan and Oro-ji-san and Yasha-ji-san know Temari-chan and Kankuro-kun have the seal, so I guess we’ll see when they trigger the other ones!”

Gaara nodded, sand lowering them to the ground.

Naruto Uzumaki grinned, leaping up and stepping on Gaara’s head- or, trying to, instead he pushed off a shield of sand. “Tag! And sand counts for us to tag you, Shukaku!!”

“UNFAIR!!” the Ichibi shouted.

“NOT UNFAIR!! YOU HAVE SO MUCH SAND IT’D BE UNFAIR OTHERWISE!!” Naruto Uzumaki yelped, leaping away from Gaara as the Jinchuuriki climbed sand to another window. 

Gaara abruptly changed direction, hitting Temari’s foot on their way out the window. “Tag!”

“Wh- HEY!!” Temari slapped Kankuro before following her sibling. “TAG!!”

Rasa shot to his feet, Shunshining to the window as Kankuro gave chase to Temari. This could only end- poorly? He stared at the four shapes rapidly racing away over the rooftops, Naruto sticking near Gaara, Temari splitting from them at a slight angle, and Kankuro chasing after Temari.

He watched, too far away to do anything, as Temari was tagged and dove for Naruto, who dodged, causing Temari to crash instead into the Ichibi’s sand .

Gaara immediately skid to a halt, wheeling around and tagging Naruto, clearly fully in control - right, fixed seal, that was probably it- as they ran again.

Chapter Text

Inoichi slapped the drawing he’d finally finished on Shikaku’s desk. “ That , is what Kurama’s mind looks like.”

Itachi, Kakashi, Shisui, and Shikaku all lifted heads or leaned over to look at the paper. It was… 'a mess' was putting it lightly. There was a large seal hashed out in the sky- it was complex, and Inoichi hadn’t gotten to memorize the thing past the basic shape of a spiral and some triangles- behind what seemed to be a pile of massive scrolls. There was no roof, instead the night sky went from faded horizon to horizon, garishly smashed with sky blue and clouds and disguised by large, warped stone doorways and some giant teeth , the ground was instead pitch-blue water with the occasional twisted pillar sticking up, and a large tail was drifting in the corner. It was, all together, a mess .

“How does he even think in there!?” Shikaku asked, aghast. "There has to be some sort of organization…"

"What about that seal?" Shisui asked, pointing to the spiralling lines that were labeled 'seal of some sort'. "Why is that there? Kakashi?"

“Maybe that’s how he keeps track of everything in there,” Shikaku muttered, taking a swig of his sake.

Kakashi spun the picture around, scrutinizing the lines. "I wouldn’t be able to tell unless… we…" he stopped, tracing the five triangles that surrounded the visible two-thirds of the seal. If that pattern continued… He grabbed a piece of paper and a pen from Shikaku's desk, setting it over Inoichi's drawing and revealing his Sharingan. Tracing over the spiral first, then the five triangles around the edge… three more evenly-spaced triangles fit perfectly in the covered space. He pulled his headband back down, once more reducing the drain on his chakra. "I think it's the Eight Trigrams seal, or similar to it at least. Why is that a fixture in Kurama's mind?!"

"The what seal?" Shisui asked, scrutinizing the sun-shaped drawing. 

"The seal Yondaime-sama used to seal the Kyuubi into Naruto," Shikaku explained. “Not anything for organization or the like. Bothersome.”

Itachi and Shisui had the same thought: Pretty sure I know exactly why that’s in Kurama’s mind, actually.  

“Shisui, do you think you could put him under a Genjutsu long enough for me to get a better read?”

Shisui slowly turned his head to stare at Inoichi. “Fuck. No. I put that guy under a few seconds of a Genjutsu once , and he broke it immediately and proceeded to threaten me that if I ever did so again, and these are his words, he would ‘fucking make it so that even your Pure Lands death won’t be comfortable, and when I end up there it’ll be your head that I come for again’.” The words were tweaked slightly- ‘when’ instead of ‘if’- and it was technically a threat to Madara and Zetsu , but the point was clear enough with Kurama’s words to Shisui after said Genjutsu. “So yeah. No offense to your plan, Inoichi-sama, but I am not putting that guy under a Genjutsu.”

“Itachi?”

“No way in hell. And Kakashi-kun, don’t even think it. Please… just don’t . You do not want Kurama threatening you.”

Shisui shrugged. “To be fair, you could probably ask him. Make a deal. He does respect you, after all.”

Inoichi stared at Shisui. “What.”

“What?”

“Kurama Uzumaki. Who listens to literally nobody. Respects me.”

“Yes.” Shisui shrugged. “He said to me the words, ‘Inoichi is someone I somehow respect’.”

“Maa, maa, I can vouch for this,” Kakashi sighed. “Kurama respects people, he just doesn’t listen to them unless he wants to.”

Shisui chuckled. “Oh he listens to everything, he just doesn’t follow orders unless he wants to.” 

-

“Huh. Wasn’t expecting that to be what caught your attention…” Kurama shrugged. “Alright. I’ll explain why that was something in whatever you saw of my mind… if you teach me your telepathy Jutsu.”

“I will not teach you my clan’s Jutsu.”

Kurama snorted, waving away Inoichi’s glare. “Figured. Got a different term I might agree to?”

“I have nothing you might want, with the exception of, apparently, a Clan Jutsu.”

“Not my problem! You come up with something, find me, and we’ll see!”

-

“Kurama.”

Kurama waved a hand for Kakashi to continue, not stopping in altering Ino's seals that the girl was watching him work on.

“How exactly did you know Kushina, since I am fairly sure she never mentioned you.”

Kurama chuckled. “We knew each other since she was… oh, five or six? We were never friends , but we parted on good terms and my promise to both her and Mustard that I would look after Naruto. Of course, I was trapped for several years until a friend got me out, but I keep my promises.”

“Wait, you knew Kushina? Red-Hot Habanero Kushina!? NARUTO’S MOM Kushina?!??!” Ino asked, eyes widening. 

Kurama laughed, Henging into the woman herself. “Of course I did, dattebane!!” the Henge dropped. “She was absolutely nuts . Like I said, we weren’t friends, but we ended up on good terms the last time I saw her.”

Kakashi timed his head. "… Why weren't you friends?"

Kurama cackled. "Ooh there's a whole LIST of reasons why we weren't friends! I would constantly try- and partly succeed- in pissing her off, and she'd use her Chakra Chains to get me to back off, repeat cycle until she died, and I later met with a chakra impression of her, so we made amends and I agreed to look after Naruto, teach him about his family, et cetera."

"You are almost never around unless it's during training."

"I'm around a lot more than you think, Copy-nin." Kurama drew a final line into the seal on Ino's wrist and the seal on the axe. "Go ahead."

Ino set her hand on the axe’s seal, pushing chakra into it, and the axe disappeared. A moment later it reappeared in her hands, and she spun it a few times before tossing it up. 

The seal on the axe glowed, and a flash of bluish-purple had the axe disappearing, only for Ino to remanifest it in her hands a moment later. "Yes!"

Kurama chuckled. "Just don't try putting it on a living thing, alright? I did not design it for that. Some kunai should be fine though, or some other small things; I expanded the storage seal a bit."

"Maa, maa, what is that thing, Kurama?" It certainly wasn't like any seal Kakashi has seen before.

"In the simplest terms, it's a reverse Hiraishin seal. Brings the targeted seal to the chakra user instead of the user to the seal. Ino's has the extra piece of bringing it into the storage seal, which is already calibrated to release the axe into a comfortable grip."

"…You know how the Hiraishin works." It was a statement, not a question.

Kurama facepalmed. "KIT!!"

In an instant, Naruto darted over. "Sorry Kashi-nii! I forgot you were busy when we got Karin and Kamira-ba-san!" Naruto held out his hand. 

"What?"

"I need to put my Hiraishin seal on you!"

Kakashi blanked for a moment longer before pulling up his sleeve to the elbow and presenting his arm to Naruto.

Naruto focused, placing his hand on Kashi-nii's arm. "There!" He pulled his hand away, grinning.

Kakashi turned his arm to stare at the lotuslike shape. No, not a lotus , those were tails . Nine of them. “Interesting shape.”

“Do you not like it?” Naruto looked up at Kashi-nii worriedly.

“Maa, maa, wasn’t expecting it is all.”

Naruto grinned.

-

Fu’s head snapped around at the sound of an explosion, and she quickly zeroed in onto the rising smoke. Chomei?

Not sure!

Fu quickly checked to make sure Shibuki was paying attention to Kegon and Yoro instead, then leapt into the air and made for the explosion. She found a blonde wearing a teal kimono jacket and gray pants, who was laughing and fiddling with mud. “WAS THAT EXPLOSION YOURS!?!”

The blonde looked up. “YEAH!!”

“DO ANOTHER ONE!! IT WAS COOL!!”

The blonde grinned, forming the mud into a small ball and tossing it up. “ KATSU!! ” The mud ball exploded, blasting Fu back a bit.

Fu grinned. “HOW’D YOU DO THAT!?”

“IT’S MY ART!!” the blonde yelled back.

“YOUR ART IS AWESOME, SSU!!!”

“ART IS AN EXPLOSION , UN!!” the blonde cheered.

Fu laughed, gathering some Scale Powder in her hand and tossing it in a bright flash.

The blonde stared right into the flash, rubbing at their eyes as it disappeared. “CAN YOU ADD THAT TO MINE?!”

“MAYBE!” Fu landed easily, wings folding back into her skin as they skipped over to the blonde. “What’s your name?”

“Deidara, any referrals, un!”

“Well I’m Fu, feminine and neither! How do I add the Powder to your explosives?”

Deidara pulled a glob of mud- no, clay out of their palm. “Just mix it in?”

Fu shrugged, making another handful of low-powered Scale Powder and dropping it into the clay.

Deidara mixed the clay and Powder up into a ball of glittery clay, tossing it into the air. “Katsu!”

The explosion was bright white, not as bright as just Fu’s Scale Powder but definitely more powerful than Deidara’s previous explosions.

Deidara grinned. “Our art is amazing, un!”

Fu laughed. “Absolutely, ssu!!”

“Can you change the colors of it?”

“Um…” Chomei?

Not sure, I’ve never tried!  

“Maybe! Can you do anything interesting with yours?”

“Of course I can, un!” Deidara quickly made a small clay bird and tossed it into the air, where it grew until he shouted “katsu!” and it exploded.

“COOL!!”

-

Psst!! Hey, Kurama!!

Kurama glanced briefly down at Kiba. “Hm?”

Kiba grinned. “Can you teach me and Akamaru how to make a chakra cloak like you do for Naruto?”

Kurama snorted. “Knew you’d figured it out. I can certainly try.”

Kiba cheered, and Akamaru yipped in celebration.

-

“Why, on earth , would he want your clan’s telepathy technique?!” Shikaku sighed, already holding a bottle of sake.

Inoichi shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s a support Jutsu, not combative like what seems to be most of his usual skillset.”

“Makes sense he’d be good at it though, if he did learn it.”

Inoichi, Shikaku, and Kakashi looked at Itachi. “How do you figure that?”

Itachi glanced at the two clan heads and Kakashi (who was also a clan head, even if he barely showed up to meetings). “I didn’t tell you about his Kekkei Genkai?”

Three heads immediately turned to stare at Itachi.

“No. No you did not.”

Itachi shrugged. “He and his siblings are all spread out across the Nations, but they all have the same Kekkei Genkai, and it lets them telepathically communicate with each other at will, provided they have enough chakra. I’d say he wants the Yamanaka version so he can do it with people other than his siblings, if at a shorter range.”

Kakashi choked. “He’s got what!?

“I’m explaining it like how he explained it.”

“Do you know where in the Elemental Nations his siblings are?” Shikaku asked.

“More than one in Kiri, I think one, maybe two in Kumo, same for Iwa, but other than that I’m not sure.” and Shukaku was in Konoha now, but that would probably be edging a bit close to revealing Kurama’s identity for Itachi to be comfortable saying it.

“…He knew it was going to be the Demon of the Hidden Mist who would be training Ino, didn’t he?” Inoichi realized. Almost a full week before Zabuza Momochi and Haku had arrived, Ino had been proudly telling him that she would be getting training from someone who could actually teach her how to use her axe.

Itachi nodded. “Yeah.”

“His siblings in Kiri told him.”

“Yeah.”

Shikaku groaned. “I don’t even want to know how much chakra that must take.”

“How is that efficient at all?” Kakashi asked. 

Itachi shrugged. “It’s a Kekkei Genkai, those only make sense half the time anyways.”

“He’s apparently able to instantly communicate with his siblings over half a continent and an ocean.”

Itachi shrugged. Well, he’s also the fucking Kyuubi , so make of that what you will.

Chapter Text

Obito stepped through Kamui- and stopped. It was almost a full month since Kurama had- for lack of any other possible description- YELLED AT A KAGE and not gotten in seemingly any trouble for it, and now there were a few piles of Stuff in Kamui that Obito knew he hadn’t put there. What the… He carefully stepped around the edges of the fifty-foot-wide newly-cluttered space.

Most of the clutter was rubble, but there was the occasional tree branch, a ball of Katon Jutsu that was suspended not unlike how Obito’s various weaponry and spare Jutsu were scattered across the dimension, a kunai or two tossed on the ground… where-  

But there was only one answer. Kakashi was using Kamui. Why.  

Obito picked up one of the kunai, scrutinizing it. It was just that: a kunai. Nothing more, there was nothing attached to it, nothing to indicate a message or excuse, nothing.

Obito didn’t know why he’d almost expect anything else, if Kakashi was using Kamui. It was probably Kurama’s fault again, what with his track record, though once again the question was how the actual FUCK .

Obito’s brief excursion into the Uzumaki compound hadn’t yielded anything either, and he’d left the compound the moment that the three child Uzumaki- for yes, the Kazekage’s kid was apparently an Uzumaki now- had returned along with the other children that Kurama Uzumaki was training. There were a total of FIFTEEN now, the newest addition being someone with gray hair who seemed rather close to the little Uchiha lookalike from ROOT.

Come to think of it, why hadn’t anyone noticed how much that kid looked like an Uchiha? Obito would have thought that Kurama would’ve picked up on it, if only to tease Shisui and Itachi, as he seemed so wan to do whenever one or the other of them would be tripped up by (usually) a child doing something. To be fair, Kurama teased everyone, but the point stood.

Back to the pile of Stuff that Kakashi had sent to Kamui’s dimension. That was dangerous. If Kakashi managed to figure out that Kamui wasn’t just a dumping site, then Obito could very well be discovered, or worse, Kakashi might figure out how to use Kamui to travel, himself.

And where would Kakashi have activated his Mangekyo anyways!? The idiot never got close to anyone- ah. Minato. That might’ve done it.

-

“Kurama-sensei!!” Choji grinned, putting his chips into his storage/preservation seal. “I figured out how to use the Multi-Size Technique while under my Henge!”

“Oh?” Kurama chuckled. “Interesting.”

“Yep!” Choji grinned. “Since my own chakra is already occupied with the Henge, I couldn’t figure out how to use the Multi-Size Techniques the normal way, but Jugo-kun was explaining how he uses natural energy to transform and it’s different from when he usually uses chakra! It’s the same thing, the Henge uses a different kind of chakra from the Multi-Size Technique, so I just need to divide my attention when I mold the chakra instead of when I put it into effect!”

Kurama nodded. Non-elementally-molded chakra versus Yang-molded chakra, that made sense. Not entirely unlike fire tornadoes. “Not bad at all, Choji.”

-

Inoichi sighed, knocking on Jiraiya-sama’s door.

“Whoever it is, come in already!!”

Inoichi shoved the door open. “What do you know about the scattered Uzumaki remnants?”

Jiraiya blinked. “What?”

“Any Uzumaki who were left after Uzushio’s destruction, specifically any who may have gone to Kiri, Kumo, or Iwa. What do you know.”

“In Kiri and Kumo!? ” Jiraiya stared at Inoichi. “The villages who went against Uzushio? You think Uzumakis went there?

“Do. You. Know. Anything.”

“Alright, alright, I’m going!” Jiraiya pulled out a storage scroll, flicking through it until he pulled out a second scroll, opening it and scanning through it. “Uh… maybe a few in Kiri, but very, very diluted, and been there since before hostilities rose and the fall happened. Nothing for Kumo. Iwa… again, only a few. Most stayed anonymous, so these are speculation at best, though we do now have an alliance with Kiri… maybe they’d know if any Uzumaki ever did live there.”

That didn’t help. Kurama seemed to be well over half-blooded Uzumaki, and Inoichi would place all his money on full-blooded. Siblings with the same Kekkei Genkai would be genetic siblings at least by half, so that ‘only severely diluted’ statement for Kiri made no sense for Kurama to have even one sibling there, let alone more than one.

Either Jiraiya was wrong, or Kurama was fucking with them. With Kurama’s frankly (for all that he threw tricks around) honorable reputation, Inoichi didn’t know which to go with. “Kurama claims to have at least one sibling in all those places, possibly two in Iwa and Kumo, and at least that many in Kiri.”

Jiraiya’s jaw dropped. “What!? How wouldn’t I have heard of that!?” He pulled out a fresh piece of paper, attaching it to his Uzumaki remains scroll. “What do you know?”

“Very little. What I’ve already told you, and they all share a Kekkei Genkai where they can communicate with each other at will, chakra-permitting.”

Jiraiya’s pen stopped on the paper. “… What Kekkei Genkai!?”

“I explained it how Itachi said Kurama explained it.”

“How does this communication work!?” Jiraiya pulled out a second scroll, pulling it through until he reached the section on Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai, and the newest addition of Kurama and Naruto’s claws and such. (Hey, could Tsunade have those? Mito Uzumaki was her grandmother…)

“As far as I can tell, It’s a mental link between Kurama and his siblings. Telepathy.”

Jiraiya froze, letting his head fall onto the desk. “WHAT THE FUCK.”

-

Shikaku was drunk. Not excruciatingly so and not enough to overly affect his abilities- he was a Shinobi , after all- but enough to get an absurdly, stupidly, wildly, bothersomely, good idea . So he went and got Inochi, Kakashi, Shisui, and Itachi, and explained nothing, heading to Tsunade-hime’s favored bar with a large whiteboard stuck under his arm.

A loud whistle called the whole bar’s attention to Shikaku, and he slapped the whiteboard up onto the wall with a kunai through the top to hold it up. “BETS FOR WHAT THE FUCK IS KURAMA UZUMAKI’S DEAL!!”

Shisui immediately collapsed laughing, clinging onto Itachi, who was holding back his own chuckling.

Kakashi’s gaze moved from Shikaku, to the whiteboard, to the two Uchiha. That was the second time that Itachi, by all counts the Resident Pokerface Uchiha, had found things involving Kurama amusing enough to laugh .

“For fucks sake…” Tsunade laughed. Fuck it. “A HUNDRED MILLION YEN HE’S NOT ACTUALLY AN UZUMAKI!!!”

Shizune’s jaw dropped. “H- Hime?!?!”

Inoichi’s eyes widened. This… might actually be a good idea, the Hokage’s poor gambling habits notwithstanding. (And wasn’t that a phrase he never thought he’d say.) Kurama already knew (and found it hilarious, apparently) that there was an investigation into him, so if anything he would find this even more amusing. As well as however many new perspectives being gained to help figure it out.

“Hm… hundred yen he’s got Bijuu chakra, somehow.”

And Genma’s comment was what sent Itachi crumbling into laughter alongside Shisui. Tsunade burst out laughing as well, nearly breaking the bar in her mirth.

-

Shisui ended up joining Fugaku-ji-san and Mikoto-ba-san’s family for dinner the night after Shikaku threw the Kurama bet at an entire bar. 

Yashamaru, Gaara, Shukaku, Karin, Kamira, Kakashi, and Naruto (and Naruto’s five main foxes) were there as well, as per usual, though Kurama hadn’t been seen all day, possibly due to it not being a Training Ground K day and Kurama not having need to directly cause chaos in Konoha. 

“Hey, Naruto, have you seen Kurama recently?”

“Today? Nope! Why?” 

“Well, Shikaku Nara decided that having more Shinobi trying to figure out his deal would be a good idea,” Itachi explained.

Shisui grinned, already holding back laughter. “He made a betting board for what Kurama’s deal might be. Tsunade-hime put a hundred million yen on him not being an Uzumaki, and Genma put a hundred yen on him having the Kyuubi’s chakra!

Naruto immediately burst out laughing, tumbling off his chair with both arms wrapped around his gut. “BAAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHAAAHAAHAHAAA- ow- AHAHAAHAHAAAHAA!!!!” Four out of five of the foxes were in similar predicaments and the fifth- Kaino, Kakashi thought- was shaking his head but grinning

Gaara was giggling, while Yashamaru huffed increasing amusement and Shukaku roared with laughter.

Shisui quickly followed suit, cackling wildly, and Itachi didn’t hold it together for much long after either. “IT- IT GETS BETTER!! IRUKA- IRUKA PUT TWO HUNDRED ON HIM BEING KUSHINA IN DISGUISE!!!!

Naruto wheezed in laughter, Kurama cackling along in his mind. I MIGHT AS WELL BE WITH MY COVER STORY!!!

Fugaku stared at the group, confused. Naruto’s, Shukaku’s, and Gaara’s reactions made some sort of sense, as did Yashamaru’s and, with all that he hung around K, Shisui’s. Itachi, however, was usually quite stoic, and was currently shaking with laughter, hunched over his food.

“Itachi, Shisui-san, Naruto, Gaara-san, Shukaku-san, Yashamaru-kun, would you please explain what is so wildly amusing?” Mikoto asked, quite amused with the trio’s amusement herself.

Itachi took a shaky breath, still grinning. “Me, Shisui, Kakashi, Inoichi, and Shikaku have been… investigating Kurama Uzumaki’s claims, skills, origins and the like. Shikaku- heh- Shikaku got drunk last night and found a whiteboard, labeled it ‘BETS FOR WHAT THE FUCK IS KURAMA UZUMAKI’S DEAL, exclamation point, exclamation point’, and stabbed it into the wall of Hari’s bar with a kunai, announcing-” Itachi collapsed into giggles again for a moment. “-announcing to the whole bar, including Tsunade-hime, that it was, well, what it was labeled as, and… yeah.”

Kakashi narrowed his eyes at the group, something finally clicking into place. “What do you all know that the rest of us don’t?”

Naruto, Gaara, Shukaku, Itachi, Shisui, and the foxes all locked eyes with each other before turning and staring into Kakashi’s open eye. 

Naruto grinned. “Crazy boyfriend deal, Kashi-nii!! You’ve gotta figure it out!!”

“What deal?” Sasuke asked, looking between the Bijuu and his brother, cousin, pseudo-cousin, pseudo-brother, and pseudo-brother’s foxes.

“If Kashi-nii figures out how and why Kurama knows what he knows before I become a Genin, then Kurama’ll bring back his crazy boyfriend sooner than planned!” Naruto recited, grinning.

Boyfriend? ” Mikoto asked, smiling at Kakashi.

“I don’t have any clue what he’s talking about.” Kakashi turned to Naruto. “Do you know what Kurama meant by that?”

Naruto grinned brightly. “‘Course I do! I’m not telling you though!! We gotta whack some sense back into ‘To-nii first!”

Kakashi glanced at Shisui and Itachi, the former of whom raised his hands in a ‘don’t look at me’ gesture and the latter just shrugged.

Kakashi then registered what Naruto had said. “‘ ‘To-nii!?! ’”

Naruto grinned innocently, but the pure mischief in his eyes made it clear to Kakashi that Naruto knew exactly what he’d said.

Chapter Text

Itachi slipped into the Uchiha archives, immediately heading for the population list. 

KIA and MIA.

Active during the Third War.

Two scrolls, totaling a bit under a hundred names.

Five had ‘To’ somewhere in them: Toriko, Obito, Kiyato, Matoka, Amato.

Itachi memorized his short list, putting the scrolls back away and heading for the Hokage tower.

Any past team lists that had Kakashi mentioned, because due to how Kurama spoke to Kakashi about it, Kakashi had once known ‘crazy boyfriend’.

Team Minato: Kakashi Hatake, Rin Nohara, Obito Uchiha .  

Found you.  

Itachi put everything back the way he found it.

-

“Why aren’t Itachi or Shisui here this time?”

Kakashi groaned. “They. Already fucking know. Who Kurama is. And what the hell he’s doing.”

“WHAT!?!” Inoichi shouted. “Why haven’t they said anything then!?”

“Kurama finds it amusing, I’m sure,” Kakashi deadpanned. “In other news, Kurama has someone he’s planning to bring back to Konoha, and I believe this to be the Uchiha he plans to ‘knock back to his senses’ due to the context it was revealed in.”

Shikaku groaned. “GREAT. Who.”

“Naruto is the one who gave me the name. ‘‘To-nii’. I am certain that he gave a nickname on complete purpose.”

Inoichi took a deep breath to sort his thoughts. And another. “Naruto knows whoever this nin is, this Uchiha missing-nin who apparently has yet to have the sense knocked back into him, knows him close enough to call him his older brother , this nin who is, as far as anyone can tell, registered either KIA or MIA. And both Itachi and Shisui know about this, and presumably who it is.”

Yes.” Also this same Uchiha missing-nin was APPARENT-FUCKING-LY Kakashi’s boyfriend. This Uchiha… missing-nin… ‘To-

And Kakashi shut that train of thought down with nary a blink. Nope. Not dealing with that. Not on this investigation. Nor ever, preferably.

-

Temari and Kankuro were waiting for Gaara, Shukaku, and Naruto when the three (plus Yashamaru under his Henge) flashed into the room. Naruto had placed a seal directly onto the floor, and Temari and Kankuro now each had a kunai with the seal.

“Hi Temari-san, Kankuro-kun!” Naruto grinned, clones dispelling.

“How do you have a sand cat when you came from Konoha?

Yashamaru chuckled- well, as well as he could yet- and hopped to the ground, dropping the Henge to speak. “I don’t want to deal with Rasa, but I wanted to see you two, so I’m going to be here as a cat.”

“Yashamaru-jisan!!”

“How do you do that?!” Kankuro asked. “Is it a Konoha thing?”

Gaara giggled at their brother’s confusion. “No, it’s just a Henge.”

Temari narrowed her eyes. Bijuu… fox… “Can you look like the Kyuubi instead of a regular fox, then?” she asked Naruto.

Naruto grinned, Henging into a small version of Kurama’s true form, no taller than himself. “Yep!”

Kankuro narrowed his eyes, making the hand seals and Henging into a jackal. He fell over as soon as he tried to walk, dropping the Henge to scramble to his feet and glare at Naruto, who was laughing. “Oh, like you’d do any better with nine tails!!

Yashamaru shook his head, smirking. “Naruto knows how to fight like that just as well as he does as a human, maybe better.”

“Yasha-jiii…” Naruto pouted. “You beat me like this and you know it!”

Yashamaru tugged one of Naruto’s tails playfully. “Only because you didn’t use your seal or your full size with this, and you know it.”

“Well obviously , we weren’t in chakra-disguise barriers or the compound!”

“Seal? Full size?”

Naruto giggled at Temari’s questions. “If I wanted to, I could be the size of the real Kyuubi!”

Temari blinked once, knowing how big Shukaku’s true form was supposed to be. The Kyuubi was certainly no smaller. “ Oh.

“Anyways!” Naruto grinned. “They’re actually really easy, you just need to get used to being a quad-ro-ped. Or how to use whatever limbs you end up with. And then you should probably learn to talk, but that’s harder.”

“Not for us!” Shukaku crowed.

“We get to skip most of the learning-to-talk part and you know it, Kaku-nee,” Gaara said, poking the sand construct.

“How long did it take you to… learn to talk?”

Naruto shrugged, nine tails still fanned out behind him. “Half a week, maybe.”

“Yeah, about that,” Gaara nodded. “A bit longer for me.”

Yashamaru Henged back into his slightly-oversized sand cat. “Mrit took mme abmout a weekss to be ableee to speahss asss well as I caaan nroww.”

“And you still sound like shit!”

Gaara and Naruto both glared at Shukaku.

Temari duplicated her uncle’s Henge but didn’t bother with shrinking herself beyond her changed posture, carefully getting used to her new balance.

“Don’t frrmet the earrss,” Yashamaru said, flicking one of his. “Iff you did it rihhht thenmm you shoulmmd havvve emhanssed hearrrinm.”

Temari looked up- and it wasn’t much up, even with her new stature- at Yashamaru-ji. What? “Mrowk?”

“Temari-san’s ears, if formed properly, should give her better hearing?” Naruto clarified, and Yasha-ji-san nodded.

“Thanss you, Narrruto.”

Temari nodded, almost falling over with the quick movement.

“Alright.” Kankuro Henged back into the jackal.

-

“We should do what Kurama did for our Henge training,” Naruto smirked, side-eyeing Gaara and Shukaku.

Gaara smiled brightly. “Good idea!”

“Wait, what is it?” Temari asked, both her and Kankuro having dropped their Henges for a break.

Naruto grinned. “Tag! All animal Henges and no extra Jutsu with the exception of Surface Sticking! Tagging defensive sand from Gaara and Shukaku counts as getting them.”

“Sure, I’m in,” Kankuro shrugged. “Boundaries?”

“How far do you have energy for?” Naruto countered, grinning. 

“Hmm… in and around the Kazekage building,” Temari stated. “And no going inside any rooms that aren’t public.”

“Does the council room count as public?” Gaara asked, eyes glinting.

“For this? Absolutely,” Kankuro grinned.

Naruto Henged into a regular fox- it was probably a bad idea to make Suna think the Kyuubi was somehow there (not that he wasn’t)- and headed for the door. “Henge and let’s go! Yasha-ji-san’s ‘It’ first!”

Gaara immediately Henged into their Tanuki form. At the same time, Temari Henged back into her sand cat and Kankuro into his jackal, making their way fairly steadily to the door.

Yashamaru shook his head, chuckling. He also Henged into his sand cat. “RRRUN!!”

Temari started counting her steps in her head to keep four limbs in order, going out the front door instead of the window.

Gaara and Naruto both dove out the window with no hesitation, turning toward the designated building the moment they left the opening.

Kankuro followed Gaara and Naruto out the window, tumbling across the roof he fell to and stumble-running across the rooftops toward the building and away from Yashamaru-jisan.

Yashamaru followed Gaara, taking a shortcut over a corner and plunging down onto his nephew. “You’rrre ‘It’!” he declared before racing ahead.

Gaara giggled, shooting to their feet. Who should we go for, Kaku-nee?

Kurama! Or the one who chose the weird dog.

Gaara raced out into the streets, already locked onto Kankuro-nii’s chakra signature a street away. They raced up a wall onto the roofs, making a straight line for Kankuro-nii and swiping past, slapping the back of Kankuro-nii’s head with their tail. “Tag!”

“BAOWK!!” Kankuro yelped, continuing on after Gaara, carefully watching how his sibling’s tanuki form moved. Hm… He caught sight of Temari and mimicked a move he’d seen Naruto do the first time he’d visited, leaping over Temari instead of onto her and- he slipped, but still landed the- albeit barely a tap- kick to Temari’s shoulder. “AUWK!!” He clawed his way up a small jump, finding the three experienced animal-Henge-users a few buildings ahead.

“MREEEE!!” 

Kankuro leapt forward, not wanting to find out if Temari knew how to work her claws.

Temari leapt up to the next roof, charging front-paw-front-paw-back-paw-back-paw-one-two-three-four across the clay and ignoring Kankuro in favor of tracing where the three Uzumaki went. Naruto and Gaara went directly up the side of the spherical top of the Kazekage building, tails disappearing into a window, while Yashamaru-jisan went in the front door. Alright then.  

Temari tripped.

-

“FU!!!” Deidara shouted, grinning.

“DARAAA!!!” Fu hovered above the blonde, grinning. “Arms up, ‘Dara!!

“Huh? Why?”

“This is just a clone because I couldn’t actually sneak away from Shibuki,” ‘Fu’ rolled her eyes. “So I’m taking you back to Fu!”

Deidara grinned, raising his arms over her head. “Alright, un!”

‘Fu’ laughed, they and Deidara clasping each other’s forearms. She lifted up, borrowing a bit more chakra from Chomei to soar over the trees.

Deidara whooped, looking down at the blur of trees. “THIS IS AMAZING, UN!!!”

‘Fu’ cackled, swooping around a tree and following the waterfall up the cliff, reveling in the spray. 

“HEY!! I’M GETTING ALL WET!!”

“I KNOW!! ISN’T IT GREAT, SSU!?” ‘Fu’ rose over the top of the cliff, weaving through the trees with practiced ease until she reached the training area they’d snuck away from. “I’M BA~ACK!!”

Deidara was dropped to the ground. “HEY!!”

“You’re fine , ‘Dara,” Fu grinned, elbowing their friend in the side. “Thanks, Cloney!”

‘Fu’ winked, disappearing in a puff of smoke.

“Fu, what on earth are you doing!?”

“Calm down, ‘Buki,” Fu giggled, hauling Deidara upright. “This is my friend!”

Deidara waved at the dark-haired probably-a-nin that was standing on top of a log. “Hello!”

“Wh- who are you?!”

“Deidara. Any referrals, un!”

“Fu, can I talk to you for a moment?”

Fu shrugged, skipping over to Shibuki. “What is it, ‘Buki?”

Shibuki sighed, keeping one eye on Deidara. “ Does he know who you are?

“What, a Jinchuuriki? I dunno.” Fu turned toward Deidara. “HEY ‘DARA!! DO YOU KNOW WHERE MY WINGS COME FROM?!!”

Deidara stared confusedly at Fu. “SHOULD I!?”

“THEY’RE WEIRD, RIGHT!?”

“I HAVE A MOUTH IN MY CHEST, I DON’T GIVE A SHIT, UN!!”

“See? It’s fine ,” Fu grinned.

A WHAT!?! ” Shibuki hissed.

“He can make explosives!” Fu grinned, gathering some Scale Powder in her hands. “‘DARA!!”

Deidara grinned, pulling out a ball of clay. “Hand it over!”

Fu dropped the Scale Powder into the clay ball, and Deidara squished it all together into a bird, tossing it up to fly around.

“Whaaattt…”

“Katsu!”

The bird exploded.

Shibuki squeaked. “ Oh. Yes. Explosives. I see.

-

Fu grinned. “I have. A very good idea.” 

Fu… This is a bad idea, not a good one!

“Oh?” Deidara grinned back, tossing a stick in one hand. “What?”

It’ll be fine! “Gimme some clay.”

Deidara handed over a ball of clay.

Fu mashed some Scale Powder into it… and then mashed a bit of Chomei’s chakra into it, making it darken. “A very, very good idea.” They handed the clay back to Deidara. 

Deidara inspected the clay ball, eyes narrowed. “What’d you do?”

“Added some chakra to it, along with the Powder! This thing is gonna be HUGE!!!

Deidara quickly turned the clay into a bird. “Up you go, un!”

The clay bird flew up a ways.

“Ready?”

“Ready!”

“KATSU!!”

The bird exploded , tearing into the trees and the ground, throwing Fu and Deidara away and into the ruined trees hand enough to knock the wind out of them.

FU!!

I’m fiiine, you worrywart!  

There are burns across your face and arms, and your ribs are bruised at the least.  

Fu could already feel Chomei’s chakra soothing the wounds and aches, and she pushed herself upright, gasping for breath.

Owwwwwww… SHIT.

“‘Dara!” Fu turned, finding her friend cradling their arm to his chest. 

“Kisame is going to KILL ME…” Deidara groaned.

Fu blinked. “You know Kisame?!”

You know Kisame!?”

“How do you know Kisame!?”

“He’s a friend in a group I’m-”

“AKATSUKI!?”

“Yeah, why-”

Fu narrowed her eyes at Deidara. “Do you know who- rather, what I am?”

Deidara stared at Fu. “I’m confused.”

“Never mind,” Fu sighed. “What’s your goal in Akatsuki?”

“Something something, protect the Jinchuuriki, why?”

Fu and Chomei both breathed sighs of relief. “Good.”

Deidara’s eyes widened. “YOU’RE-”

Fu slapped her hand over Deidara’s mouth. “Yes, I’m a Jinchuuriki. Kisame tried to capture me but he’d been lied to- long story. Is your arm alright?”

“I’m like… ninety percent sure it’s broken.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, Kurama!”

Kurama lifted the tail that Naruto had latched onto over to dangle in front of his face. “Am I a playground to you, then?”

Naruto wrinkled his nose at Kurama, dropping to land on the kitsune’s paws. “Do you know what Kashi-nii looked like when he was younger? He doesn’t have any pictures, dattebayo!”

“Hmm…” Ketchup’s time, then… “Quite possibly.” Kurama untucked his hand, folding it into a fist. “Tap me.”

Naruto looked down at his own fist before touching it to Kurama’s. Images flashed through his mind for a few moments until Kurama moved his hand. “What was that!?

“Memory sharing. Us Bijuu can do it with each other and our Jinchuurikis, and you Jinchuuriki can do it with each other as well. I don’t recommend trying it without a clear idea of what memories you want to transmit.”

“Uh huh…” Naruto nodded, now knowing what Kashi-nii looked like as a kid. “Are these from when Kaa-san was your Jinchuuriki?”

“Yes, your dad often roped her into training with his team.”

“Is the dark-haired one Obito, then?”

“Yep, and the one with purple marks on her cheeks is Rin.”

-

“So you’re saying that… at least half the Akatsuki… are tricking a several-hundred-years-old rage manifestation and his manipulated minion… to keep them from RIPPING THE SAGE-DAMNED BIJUU OUT OF ALL THE JINCHUURIKI!?!

Fu chuckled. “Yyyeah. That’s just about it, as far as Chomei’s explained it to me, ssu.”

“And we’re stopping the end of the world, because that’s what’ll happen if all the Bijuu are sealed into this Juubi-whatsit, un.”

“Yep.”

Great , un.”

-

Fu’s head snapped up, and they grinned. “Hey, he’s here!”

“Who?”

Fu didn’t answer Deidara’s question, darting out the door and taking to the air in the next instant. She plunged out of the sky, Kisame catching her on Samehada’s bandaged blade. “WHYYY DIDN’T YOU TELL ‘DARA ABOUT STUFF, SSU!??!”

“Fu, you wouldn’t happen to know where Deidara is? Blonde, obsessed with-”

“Yeah, ‘Dara, Deidara, I know them, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL HER ABOUT STUFF!?”

“We weren’t given the all-clear to do so.” Kisame tossed Fu aside, the young Kunoichi catching herself midair.

“By who, ssu? Also ‘Dara broke his arm.”

“Kurama Uzumaki.”

He’s got to be kidding…

You’re Lucky Seven, aren’t you? We’re lucky! “I know him! Also I told ‘Dara everything about planty boy’s plan.”

Kisame muttered something that was inaudible to Fu, bringing a hand up to the side of his hitai-ate and sending some chakra into the seal Kurama Uzumaki had placed there.

“What are you doing?”

A bright orange flash answered Fu’s question, disappearing as fast as it appeared to show a red-haired nin, crouched on Kisame’s shoulder. “Alright, why the hell- Fu?”

KURAMA!?!

“Kurama!”

“Kurama.”

Kurama rolled his eyes, hopping off Kisame’s shoulder. “What did you want, then?”

“Fu has brought Deidara in on the extent of Zetsu’s plans,” Kisame explained.

Kurama looked around, eyebrow raised. “Where is bomb kid, then?”

“Back in Taki with a broken arm,” Fu rolled her eyes. “In other news, I put Chomei’s chakra into one of his bombs and it was HUGE, ssu!!!”

Kisame groaned. “Why do you think I was sent up here?”

Kurama cackled. “Alright, I should tag Deidara now. And you, now that I think of it.”

“Tag me?”

Hiraishin seal, so he can teleport to us if needed! Chomei smiled, relaying Kurama’s explanation to Fu.

“Oh, sure!” Fu landed, pulling up her sleeve to reveal their shoulder. “Here you go, ssu!”

Kurama set the Hiraishin seal on Fu’s arm. “Alright, Deidara?”

“Goodbye, then,” Kisame sighed, turning back toward Ame. “Send Deidara back too. Zetsu should be gone.”

“Will do!” Fu waved, grinning. “Alright, follow me, if you can keep up!”

Kurama snorted, smirking. “Don’t taunt me, little Seven.” He Henged into a fox as Fu took to the air, racing after Fu.

-

“Sure, leave me here why don’t you, un,” Deidara grumbled, poking at her splint. “Not even telling me who’s coming…”

Fu dove inside, laughing. “We win!!”

“Win whaaAAAT THE HELL!?!!”

“Hello, Deidara.”

Deidara stared at the large fox that had followed Fu inside and then talked . “What the hell.”

The fox laughed, and in a puff of smoke became a human . “Fu explained plant bastard’s plans, then?”

“Yeah, who are you?”

“Kurama Uzumaki.”

“Wait a- you’re that fox that showed up back in Ame!!”

“Indeed,” Kurama grinned. “Gimme your arm or something, I’ve gotta tag you for emergencies. Make sure it can’t be seen normally.”

Deidara blinked. “Sure why not.” He shrugged her jacket off his shoulder. “Good enough, un?”

“FU WHY- WHO ARE YOU?!!”

Kurama turned, narrowing his eyes at the nin in the doorway. Who is…  

“Calm down, ‘Buki!” Fu grinned. “That’s just Kurama.”

Buki… Kurama knew his name now. He grinned. “Hello, Shibuki.”

“Where did the fox go!?”

“That was me,” Kurama chuckled. “Faster than human form, and Fu wanted a race.”

“Ooh, that’s what you won!” Deidara grinned.

Shibuki backed out of the room. “Yeah… sure… fox… human… right…”

-

Obito sat down on the spire above Kakashi’s dumping ground, watching. Usually every few days or so something new would show up, but it had been a week since anything showed up at all, and Obito was annoyed. He hadn’t heard anything from the ravens’ ears either. 

Had Kakashi broken his Sharingan somehow and Obito had lost his chance for easy revenge if Kakashi figured out how to get himself into Kamui’s dimension? No, that doesn’t make sense… Obito knew that Kakashi was too paranoid and careful for that to happen. 

So where’s the stuff, then, huh?  

-

“KASHIIII!!!”

Kakashi didn’t bother dodging Pika, instead letting the kid’s weight pull him sideways to the ground so he could pin them. “Maa, maa, Pika, how unexpected.”

“I figured out something cool!” Pika Henged into their wolf, grinning. “Grroff an’ll show you!”

Kakashi stood, tilting his head at Pika.

Lightning sparked under Pika’s paws, and they leapt up, swinging at Kashi.

Kakashi caught the attack on his arm, Pika’s nails digging in and jolting Kakashi. “Electrified claws?”

“I focused the Chidori into my nails!” Pika explained proudly. “I can make it way more powerful than I just did too, plus I don’t get tunnel vision as bad!”

“Oh?” Kakashi ignored Gai’s shouts of ‘MY YOUTHFUL RIVAL, HOW COULD YOU NOT INFORM ME OF HAVING A CHILD?!?!’ and Henged into his own wolf, quickly gathering Lightning chakra as Pika had described while keeping up the Henge. His nails crackled, small burns marking the ground. It was indeed similar to the Chidori. “How interesting. Have you tried it in a fight yet?”

“Yep! Kurama made some clones to be test dummies for me! I can poof one in two full-force hits with this!”

Kakashi nodded, smirking. Kurama Uzumaki’s clones were solid , so being able to force one to dispel in two hits was indeed powerful.

-

Sakura snarled inwardly, for once in absolute and full agreement with the (often quiet when at training) Inner that ‘WE SHOULD PUNCH THEM ALREADY, SHANNARO!!’ as her parents- well, really her mother- repeatedly badmouthed Naruto and Kurama. 

HAH! Like Kurama isn’t here every day! Inner cackled.

Sakura pushed her chair away from the table with slightly more force than necessary. “I’m going to bed.”

Sakura did not go to bed, instead locking the door and slipping out the window, Henging into her lion and racing away toward the Uzumaki compound. Thankfully, once she was out of the direct civilian area, she didn’t have to bother with stealth quite as much, as the Shinobi population was well used to the various animal Henges running around.

The Uzumaki compound barriers let Sakura in easily, and she followed the chakra signatures of the various Uzumaki and other chakra signatures.

Kurama met her halfway. “What’s got you so pissed?”

Sakura dropped her Henge. “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Not fucking punch my parents all the time!” Sakura threw her hands up, glaring at Kurama. “They’re horrible to Naruto and you in front of me , I can only imagine how bad it is the rest of the day!”

Kurama growled, eyes flashing with rage. “If I could get away with it, they wouldn’t talk about Naruto at all .”

“Then how do you resist it!? Why don’t you do something!?”

Kurama smirked. “For that second question, the answer is simple: I don’t want to hurt you. The first is slightly more complicated, but I’ve had many, many, many years dealing with both my own and others’ anger. I work with it a bit like your Inner Sakura.”

Sakura blinked. She’d never told anyone about Inner. “You… how do you know about her!?”

“You mentioned her once.”

“That’s a lie.”

“It’s not. The point is, I do absolutely want to claw their faces off. But if that happened, I don’t know what would happen to you .”

 

~~~

 

yall who like this one, i started writing a different Chaos Time Travel Naruto fic :)

Chapter Text

“Hey, Shisui!”

Shisui turned. “Naka! Naori!”

Naori smiled. “Listen, we need you to solve a bet.”

“Okayy…” Shisui narrowed his eyes at the duo. “What’s the bet?”

Naka smirked. “You and Kurama spar. We need to know who would win.”

Shisui laughed. “ Not me , not if Kurama was really trying.”

Naori elbowed Naka. “Pay up! I told you they’d refuse!”

“Hey, he refused because Kurama would win , YOU pay up!”

A slow grin spread across Shisui’s face. “You both fight him, whoever does better gets the money.”

-

Fugaku begrudgingly entered Hari’s bar, quickly finding a seat in the corner where he could easily see the whiteboard that Shikaku had put up. There were a lot of bets.

‘100¥ Bijuu chakra, somehow -Genma Shiranui
100,000,000¥ Not actually an Uzumaki -Tsunade Senju
200¥ Kushina didn’t actually die and Kurama is Kushina in disguise -Iruka Umino
3,000¥ Another of Orochimaru’s experiments -Anko Mitarashi
1¥ Jiraiya -Orochimaru
500¥ Kushina’s brother -Jiraiya
1,500¥ From the future -Anko Mitarashi
900¥ He’s a disguised Iwa nin trying to get at the Yellow Flash’s kid -Ibiki Morino
1¥ The Sage of Six Paths -Orochimaru
700,000¥ Literally a fox in disguise -Tsunade Senju
400¥ Naruto’s cousin on Kushina’s side -Raido Namiashi
1¥ Myself -Orochimaru
150¥ He has some sort of clairvoyance ability -Ibiki Morino
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Tenzo
1¥ Danzo -Orochimaru (not funny, snake bitch -Anko)
800¥ The Uzukage keeping track of all the remaining Uzumaki and trying not to bring an underpowered Uzushio under fire -Genma Shiranui
100,000¥ WAS PRESENT DURING THE NINE-TAILS’ ATTACK AND ASSISTED KONOHA, AS SUCH POWER OF YOUTH DECLARES -Maito Gai
50¥ A clone whose original has clones all across the Nations, and that’s why he knows things from everywhere -Iruka Umino
1¥ Anko -Orochimaru (i’ll kill you -Anko)
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Genma Shiranui
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Ibiki Morino
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Hana Inuzuka
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Tsunade Senju
10,000¥ Killed Danzo -Asuma Sarutobi
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Orochimaru
1¥ Madara -Orochimaru
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Iruka Umino
3,000¥ Killed Danzo, and someone go get him to verify because so many are betting on this -Kurenai Yuhi
3,000¥ Killed Danzo -Shibi Aburame
3,000¥ Killed Danzo, also who’s paying all this? -Jiraiya (whoever bet against it or me, but if any of mine win you all ARE paying me back -Tsunade) (no way are you winning with your track record -anonymous) (FUCK YOU ANON -Tsunade)
4,000¥ A plant from some other village -Teyaki Uchiha
500¥ Half Uzumaki half Uchiha and that’s why he’s got Fire nature despite being an Uzumaki -Inabi Uchiha
350¥ Is actually dead -Izumi Uchiha
800¥ Can use all basic nature transformations -Kagen Uchiha
700¥ Has talked to the Kyuubi -Yashiro Uchiha
1,500¥ Not an Uzumaki -Tekka Uchiha
250¥ Was an Uzushio missing-nin -Uruchi Uchiha
350¥ Could beat Shisui in a fight -Naka Uchiha
350¥ Could not beat Shisui in a fight, if only because one or both of them would refuse -Naori Uchiha
20,000¥ Killed Danzo -all above Uchihas
20¥ The spirit of Uzushio because why the hell not, also when’s the time up for putting these in? -Genma Shiranui (if I had to guess, whenever the thing disappears is when Kurama’s grading this -Inoichi)
350¥ Always has Kage Bunshin around to Substitute with and that’s why even if he’s hit he just goes poof -Raido Namiashi’

None of which Fugaku understood why they would be so hilarious to Itachi… unless Itachi knows which ones are right.  

Itachi and Shisui had specifically pointed out ‘not actually an Uzumaki’ ‘Kurama is Kushina’ and ‘Bijuu chakr-’ no, Kyuubi chakra.

Fugaku’s eyes narrowed. Why would Shisui and Itachi have changed the wording? It was a known fact that Uzumakis were the only ones able to hold the Kyuubi… but there was no reason that they couldn’t hold other Tailed Beasts aside… so why had Itachi and Shisui changed Shiranui’s words into Kyuubi chakra instead of Bijuu chakra?

Genma walked in, adding ‘250¥ Is just fucking immortal -Genma Shiranui’ to the list.

“HEY!! EXPLAIN THAT ONE!!” Raido shouted.

“NOPE!”

-

Fugaku calmly walked toward one of the Kuramas at the edge of Training Ground K, watching the various pre-Genin train and- for lack of a better descriptor- play in the area. “Uzumaki, may I speak to you?”

“Yeah sure- SASUKE NARUTO’S ONLY FIREPROOF NOT LIGHTNING-PROOF NO MATTER WHAT HE SAYS- what about?”

Fugaku blinked. “Do you mind putting up a privacy barrier? I am guessing that you do not want this conversation overheard.”

Kurama shrugged, a golden barrier blooming to life. He smirked. “So?”

“Are you the Kyuubi?”

Kurama laughed. “Three for three on Uchihas! Mind keeping that a secret, Fugaku?”

Fugaku had been wishing he was wrong, and was immediately on guard. “Why are you doing this?”

“What are you saying is ‘this’?”

“Tricking Konoha. Training them. Being human .”

Kurama shook his head, raising one finger at a time. “Because if Konoha knew I was the Kyuubi, then everyone would, and there’s certain people who I don’t want knowing that. Because I know what’s coming, and the sooner they’re prepared, the more likely they are to survive if I fail. Because it’s the easiest way to sneak around without drawing too much attention.”

“What ‘is coming’ that they need to be so prepared?”

Kurama met Fugaku’s eyes, and the slit pupils backed by red was now excruciatingly familiar. “Kaguya’s rage, Zetsu, is planning to round up all the Bijuu and seal them into the husk of the Juubi, reviving Kaguya in the same action and making the Shinju tree drain the world of chakra. Everyone and everything will die , and I won’t let it happen.”

“How do you know this.”

“Rephrase,” Kurama smirked, “I won’t let it happen… again . Naruto as of twelve years in the future sacrificed himself to send me back and stop it.”

Fugaku blanked. “The future.”

“Yes.”

“Who have you told?”

“Itachi and Shisui both know the whole story, as does Naruto, obviously. Tsunade knows, Nagato and Konan know, Gaara knows, Yashamaru knows, my siblings and presumably their Jinchuurikis all know, and Snake Shithead thinks I’m Naruto from the future. There are others who know of Zetsu’s plan but not my identity or when I’m from, such as Rasa and Jiraiya.”

Well, that certainly explained why Shisui and Itachi had found the various bets so amusing. “ Tsunade knows?”

“Yep. She stumbled across Naruto sparring with me with my chakra cloak.”

Fugaku nodded. That would certainly garner suspicion. Wait… “Do you know what would have happened had we gone through with the coup?”

Kurama smirked sadly. “It didn’t happen in the first timeline. Instead, Danzo ordered the Uchiha Massacre, leaving three Uchihas alive: mini-Uchiha, Itachi, and one who even Danzo didn’t know about… or at least, not yet in this timeline. I assume he didn’t know in the last one either. But Danzo’s dead, so we’re fine.”

Fugaku took a moment to come to terms with his own death, had Kurama not interfered. “The third Uchiha?”

“Registered KIA, Third War. Team Minato.”

“Obito.”

“Yep! Don’t tell Kakashi; Obito isn’t quite sane at the moment and I am not interested in chasing idiot Hatake across the world. Also start telling mini-Uchiha you’re proud of him and chill out a bit with Itachi because I don’t want to deal with that pile of issues at all .”

Chapter Text

Sakura marched right up the side of the Hokage tower, stepping into the office at the top. “Tsunade-hime, Orochimaru-sensei,” she bowed to the two Sannin who were her teachers. “What is the policy on children who want to become Shinobi whose parents are forced out of the village?”

Orochimaru immediately shot to his feet, smiling icily.

Tsunade narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

Sakura kept her voice as a monotone. “Well, seeing as my parents are persistent in making me and Kurama-sensei trick them on the daily in order for me to train, and they also are rather vocal in their displeasure with both Kurama-sensei and Naruto, I can only imagine it is a matter of time before they act unpleasantly.”

Orochimaru grinned. “Well.”

“I think we can come up with something,” Tsunade smirked.

“In the meantime, I imagine becoming an official student of one of the Sannin will do quite nicely,” Orochimaru chuckled.

Sakura grinned.

-

Obito’s raven carefully scanned the whole of the Uzumaki compound until he was sure that the only person there was Naruto. He had negative interest in encountering Kurama, and if Naruto was anything like Minato then he’d answer at least a few questions.

Kamui dropped Obito in the main courtyard of the compound, and he made his way toward Naruto.

“Hi ‘To-nii!”

Obito blinked, staring at Naruto. The blonde’s back was to the door, and he was working on some sort of seal (Obito was somewhat unsurprised). “What?”

Naruto turned, grinning. “‘To-nii! That’s who you are! You’re not here because of Zetsu, right?”

Obito blanked. What. Right. Kurama. Probably told Naruto about the plan he believed Zetsu to have. (And apparently Kurama knew who Obito was, and had told Naruto.)

“That’s a no, then!” Naruto chirped confidently. “Why are you here then, ‘ttebayo?”

“I have some questions I hope you can answer, Uzumaki-kun.”

“Like what? And hurry up before Kurama decides to show up, dattebayo!”

That was decidedly a threat. “How does he think he knows Zetsu’s plans?”

“I’m not supposed to tell you ‘til we get the seal off your heart, ‘ttebayo.”

“What?”

“Uh… Zetsu and Madara put a Seal of Hatred on your heart when they healed you… it also lets Zetsu control anything in you that’s made from his flesh. And if you betray Zetsu then he can make it kill you.” Naruto nodded decisively. “So we’re gonna get it offa you before we explain the rest, ‘ttebayo.”

Obito pressed his right arm into his side, suddenly acutely aware that the flesh was just-too-cold to be human. “Why does he think that.”

“Can’t tell you ‘til we get the seal off!”

“Why?”

“Zetsu!”

Knowing the plant and Kurama’s (and apparently Naruto’s) opposition to Zetsu’s supposed real plans, that was probably a fair reason from Naruto’s side. 

Obito turned away. “Tell noone I was here.”

“Alright! Don’t tell Zetsu anything either!”

-

“Ino. What is that .”

Ino grinned, rolling the large sack off her shoulders. “I want to try an experiment!”

Kurama could smell what was in that bag. Kurama did not want to be anywhere near this ‘experiment’.

Ino untied the bag, dragging it so that thirty or so pounds of catnip poured across the ground. “WHO WANTS TO SWIM IN THE NIP!!”

Shisui’s eyes widened. “I’ll be riiiight back…”

“I’m gonna go get Temari-san and Kankuro-kun!” Naruto disappeared in a flash.

Everyone slowly gathered around the carpet of catnip.

Itachi carefully poked the pile. “So… what is this?”

Kurama answered before Ino could even try. “Catnip. It’s catnip.”

Kiba was already Henged, backing up. “CANNONBAAAALLLL!!!!”

Karin laughed, quickly Henging into her tiger. “Smells good!”

One after the other, everyone Henged (or, in Lee’s case, activated their seal) into their animals, and Temari, Kankuro, and Naruto quickly joined the pile when they returned. Shisui dropped three cats upon his return as well, Henging into his black panther and joining the pile. 

Kurama was glad he had Naruto and the clone as buffers between himself and the catnip. 

First Shisui’s cats, then the people whose Henges were cats, then Naruto became more hyper than usual. 

Itachi noticed first, dropping his Henge to escape from Kiba-the-dog, who was just about passed out. “What the…!”

Kurama sighed, growling at the end. “How would you like to explain to half the major and a good amount of the minor Konoha clans that their heirs are either hyper and high as fuck or passing out due to being high as fuck?

“I think I’d rather… not . Why is Naruto affected? I thought the Kyuubi took care of anything toxic.” Itachi pulled Sasuke-the-hawk out of range of Shisui-the-panther, the hawk poofing back into Uchiha-heir form. “Come to think of it, why aren’t you affected?”

“Catnip works differently from anything the Kyuubi can filter out. And I’m a human right now.” and Kurama had also encountered catnip before. (And once used it and the tiny amount of influence he had over Ketchup to confuse a good amount of Konoha. That had been fun.)

Shikamaru-the-snake had escaped from the mess before being trampled, clawed, or otherwise unwittingly harmed. “That’s new.”

“Agreed.” Shino had also dropped their Henge and moved away.

“That’s catnip,” Kurama corrected. “Go get Genma, tell im we need some tranqs. With the possible exception of Naruto, they should all revert to human form once unconscious. Then they can sleep it off.”

“NOOOO DON'T TRANQ USSSS!!!!!” Ino-the-lioness wailed, rolling out from Choji-the-bear’s lazy hug.

“SCATTER!!!” Naruto-the-fox bellowed, disappearing in an orange flash and taking Hinata-the-lioness, Neji-the-lion, Gaara-the-tanuki, and Tenten-the-lynx with him.

“DAMMIT KIT!!”

The rest of the animals either scattered at speed or (in the case of the canines and Choji-the-bear) stumbled around sleepily.

Kurama snapped out some choice curse words upon realizing where Naruto had landed: FUCKING SUNA . “Itachi GO FUCKING GET GENMA AND ANKO, get them to help you tranq those guys. I’m going after Naruto. You three-” he pointed at Shikamaru, Shino, and Sasuke “-this is a C-rank capture mission on your wayward teammates in Konoha. MOVE!!”

Kurama landed in Temari and Kankuro’s bedroom to find it thoroughly abandoned and the door wide open. Fuuuuuck. The scent of catnip still clung to all five Henged children- and Shukaku was going nuts. DO THEY NOT FUCKING KNOW HOW TO DIVERT THIER SENSES FROM GA- Kurama mentally slapped himself, running out onto Suna’s rooftops. No they probably don’t. STUPID FUCKING TEA KETTLE. He made six Shadow Clones, one going after each non-Jinchuuriki child, one going to find Rasa, and the rest surrounding Gaara-and-Shukaku-the-high-as-fuck-sand-tanuki. 

At least Suna wouldn’t recognize Kurama’s chakra for what it was (meaning; Kyuubi) easily.

Kurama found Rasa charging along the edge of Suna’s walls to get the best position for subduing the large sand-tanuki that seemed to be playing swat-the-fox with Naruto-the-fox as the fox. “RASA!!”

“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS, UZUMAKI!?!”

“CATNIP!! WITH ANY LUCK SHUKAKU’LL SHUT THE FUCK UP BUT IF THEY DON’T THEN YOU’RE HELPING, CAPICHE!?” Kurama didn’t wait for a response before throwing the full force of his KI from his puppeteered clones down on Naruto-the-fox and Gaara-and-Shukaku-the-high-as-fuck-sand-tanuki.

Immediately, the sand collapsed, Naruto yelping as he was suddenly falling through the air.

Rasa was very glad that that wasn’t directed at him . The small taste of it he’d gotten in Konoha was nothing compared to this giant three-fox-shape of broiling red fury .

Kurama shook his head, clones closing in on Gaara-the-tanuki and Naruto-the-fox. Hinata and Neji the lions were already caught, and Tenten-the-lynx was attempting to employ evasive maneuvers. Attempting (and failing). 

“Ya done?”

Gaara-the-tanuki pouted. “But it was a fun gaaaaame…”

“Mhm. I’m sure.” Kurama tucked Naruto-the-fox under one arm and Gaara-the-tanuki under the other, collecting the lions and the lynx in similar fashions. “You’ll be explaining this to Rasa once you’re back on earth, and fixing anything you’ve destroyed. That goes for you too, Shukaku.”

The sand hissed, but didn’t try anything.

The clone with Rasa snorted. “Caught ‘em.”

CATNIP!?!

“Yes.”

-

Shisui dropped the henge. “Fuuuucking catnip .”

“Oh good, you’re back,” Itachi deadpanned. “Never make me chase a Shunshining, high, Shinobi panther around Konoha again. Even Anko didn’t manage to tranq you.”

“I think I can manage that.” Shisui narrowed his eyes, looking around at the passed-out children on his couch and laying on blankets. “Wait… Anko?”

“Yes. Anko. She and Genma were recruited to help catch and tranq you all. Because, might I remind you, catnip .”

-

“Is your curiosity fucking satisfied? ” Kurama glared at Ino and the bag of recollected catnip.

“Yes…”

“Wonderful. Never do that again.”

Chapter Text

Kurama snatched the small paper out of the air. 

“Spiral suspects something. I don’t know what or of whom, but he’s acting off. No sign of Plant anywhere. Red Sand’s in. Destroy the paper.
-Paper Angel”  

Kurama narrowed his eyes. Interesting. Mildly concerning, but interesting. He torched the paper.

-

Orochimaru smiled, knocking on the Haruno household door. “Hello, Kimiko. I am here for my student, if you please.”

Kimiko Haruno sneered. “There is nothing for you here! Go away!”

“Ah, that might be a problem,” Orochimaru twirled a snake between his fingers, still smiling. “You don’t mind directing me to Sakura-chan’s residence, do you?”

“There is no Sakura who is becoming a nin here! Go away!”

Orochimaru caught the slamming door on his foot easily. “I am simply looking for my student, Kimiko.”

“SAKURA QUIT MONTHS AGO!!” Kimiko screeched. “SHE WILL NOT BECOME A NIN!!”

“Hi Orochimaru-sensei!” Sakura slipped outside, dodging Kimiko’s grab at her with ease.

“Hello, Sakura-chan.”

“SAKURA!!”

-

Kimiko and the rest of the old ‘Civilian Council’ stormed into the Hokage office. “MY DAUGHTER WILL NOT BECOME ONE OF YOU GLORIFIED MEATHEADS!!”

Tsunade unrolled a scroll, smiling savagely. “Sakura Haruno, promising frontline medic-nin and poisons expert, top marks in theoretical knowledge and not much further behind in physical prowess. Predicted to make Genin the moment she turns twelve; in less than five years. Apprentice to Orochimaru of the Sannin.” She snapped the scroll shut, smile widening. 

“Thank you, Tsunade-hime,” Sakura smiled brightly, easily ducking out of the way of her mother. “I’ll be going to class now!”

-

Obito knew something was up with the Gedo Mazo and Zetsu’s plans now. A month and a half since he’d spoken with Naruto, and he’d managed to finish and secretly activate a sensor seal.

A seal on his heart. Hell. There was something wrong now, he knew.

Obito dropped into Kamui, staring at the pile of Kakashi’s stuff that still hadn’t gotten anything new added to it. 

Obito stepped out into Ame’s rains and called up a raven.

-

Naruto pulled the note off his door, unfolding it. 

"You were right. Get it off me."

It was signed with a small Kamui spiral.

"P.S. Put notes on Minato's head."

Naruto grinned.

Kurama facepalmed. 

So how do we get it off, 'ttebayo?

Kurama grumbled, well last time it was a Chidori to the heart, but I'm sure there's other ways.

We should ask Oro-ji-san! He knows how Cursed Seals work and this seems similar!

Good idea. Clone me.  

Naruto grinned, making Kurama a clone and flashing to Oro-ji-san. "Oro-ji-san! How do Cursed Seals work?"

Orochimaru blinked. "Why do you want to know?"

Kurama smirked. "Remember Tobi?"

"Of course."

"He's got something that I believe is similar to one of your Cursed Seals on his heart that he wants off. Care to help?"

"What worked last time?" Orochimaru was intrigued now.

"A Chidori through the heart," Kurama deadpanned. "I'm thinking of a less drastic solution this time around, however much I would love to toss a Bijudama at him and be done with it."

Orochimaru grinned. "I'm sure I can figure something out."

Kurama realized something. "Have you ever actually removed one of your Cursed Seals?"

"Hm…" Orochimaru summoned a snake. "Fetch Anko."

Kurama facepalmed. This was going to be a disaster.

-

Obiro's raven snatched the note off the Hokage monument, disappearing into Kamui a moment later.

"Naruto: Working on it! Oro-ji-san wants a scan of some sort of the seal?
Kurama: Trust Nagato."

Nagato? Obito tilted his head at the note. What did Nagato know about this? A scan seal… he could try, at the least. And who was 'Oro-ji-san'?

-

Kurama tossed a paper at Kakashi. “There, put that thing on.”

Kakashi caught the seal, inspecting it. A chakra blocker of some sort, but it seemed specialized in some way that Kakahsi didn’t recognize. “Maa, maa, what is this?”

Kurama tapped beside his left eye. “It’ll let you turn that thing off and on."

Kakashi blinked. "You expect me to put a seal on my eyeball!?

"No!" Kurama laughed. "Next to it, idiot. I already had Mikoto help with the mechanics so it won't interfere with regular use."

-

Kakashi placed the seal next to his left eye, smoothing it down over the edge of his socket. It was, unexpectedly, a perfect fit, and he tugged on the seal with his chakra, fusing the ink to his skin before removing the paper.

The lines of the seal were a faded gray color now, almost translucent. Kakashi hadn't noticed it before, but the body of the seal resembled a spiral inside the Hatake clan symbol.

Moment of truth. Kakashi activated the seal, and with a short stab of pain and the seal briefly darkening before returning to its previous color, the ever-spinning red of his left eye slowed, before fading to a dark red that was almost black, the chakra flow slowing to barely a drop.

And on. Kakashi pulsed his chakra at the seal again, and this time painlessly, the red brightened to show three tomoe, once more eating into his chakra.

And off. Once more painlessly, the Sharingan shifted to near-black, and stopped the drain on Kakashi's chakra.

How did I never think of this…  

-

Nagato’s eyes narrowed at Tobi, who had just morphed out of a spiral. The Uchiha’s body language was a far cry from what it usually was…

“Nagato. What do you know of Kurama Uzumaki and his plans?”

“I do not see how this is important.”

Tobi held out a paper. 

Nagato took it, unfolding it. Two short notes, one from ‘Naruto’, and one from Kurama. “What is this?”

“Zetsu would kill me if he knew I know what I know,” Tobi muttered. “They’re working on it. I’ll cover for you the best I can for the time being, though.”

-

“What the fuck did you tell Spiral?
-Rinnegan”

Kurama snorted. Naruto would always be Naruto, it seemed. He flipped the paper over, pulling out a pen.

“He showed up to try and get answers out of the Uzumaki Head a bit over a month ago. Long story. I’ll tell you when he’s fully trustworthy but for now he’s gotta be careful.
-Fox”  

-

‘BETS FOR WHAT THE FUCK IS KURAMA UZUMAKI’S DEAL!!



250¥ just fucking immortal -Genma Shiranui
10,000¥ actually an Uzumaki because Tsunade-hime always loses -Kira Uchiha
1¥ Kushina Uzumaki -Orochimaru
100¥ from Uzushio -Ibiki Morino
1¥ a Bijuu -Orochimaru
200,000¥ actually an Uzumaki because Kira’s reasoning -Anko Mitarashi
30,000¥ related to a Kage -Genma Shiranui
1¥ Ibiki Morino -Orochimaru
1¥ Mito Uzumaki -Orochimaru’

Chapter Text

Gai stared at Kakashi. “MY MOST YOUTHFUL RIVAL!!! WHERE DID YOU GET A NEW EYE?!?!!!”

“Maa, maa, Kurama made a seal, Gai.” Kakashi eye-smiled, reveling in the wonders of binocular vision. 

“He what?! ” Iruka hissed. “He made a seal that turns OFF YOUR SHARINGAN!?

“And on.”

Nuts ,” Iruka muttered. “Absolutely nuts .”

-

It took two weeks for Anko to agree to terms of seal-removal. Kurama had expected it to take either much shorter or much longer, and Anko had only been convinced by the prospect of learning which of her bets were correct (and getting paid for them).

Anko had also apparently gone on a betting spree in an effort to make the most of the deal. 

Kurama smirked, noting down Anko’s winning bets: thirteen hundred for guessing he was several hundred years old, twenty thousand for guessing he’d met Orochimaru before, and fifteen hundred yen for guessing he was from the future. Kurama hadn’t missed the many eyes on his clone from the rest of the semi-busy bar, and purposefully left the normal way instead of the Hiraishin or just poofing the clone.

-

Kurama smiled, handing Anko three stacks of money. “I am indeed several hundred years old, plus a few hundred. I had met Orochimaru before. And I am from the future.”

Anko stared at the pile of yen before her head jerked up to stare at Kurama. “ WHAT?!?!

Kurama grinned. “And that is all you’ve won.”

Anko stared at Kurama, knowing her biggest bet that Kurama hadn’t even acknowledged. “Tsunade’s fucking winning that bet. A hundred fucking million yen, and you’re not actually an Uzumaki.”

“Not really, and yes technically,” Kurama smirked. “Me, Kurama, am not an Uzumaki. Kurama Uzumaki , however, is an Uzumaki. Personally, I think Tsunade’s cheating, but I still say she wins because it’s fucking funny.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?!”

Kurama grinned. “Exactly what I said. Now, seal .”

-

“OI SNAKE SHITHEAD!!”

Orochimaru turned, only to be hit in the face by a… coin?

Kurama grinned. “That’s your winnings from me.”

Orochimaru looked down at the coin. A single yen. That could only mean one thing, as none of his throwaway bets were ‘Naruto’: Kurama Uzumaki is not Naruto.  

-

Inoichi wheeled back at the sudden appearance of Orochimaru. “AGH!”

Kakashi merely tilted his head at the Snake Sannin. “Maa, maa, to what do we owe the pleasure?”

Orochimaru tossed a single yen coin onto the desk. “Kurama is not Naruto.”

“…What.” Shikaku stared at Orochimaru. “When was that an option.”

“Unimportant.” Orochimaru took the yen back, flipping it between his fingers. “Kurama is one of the following, however: the Sage of Six Paths, myself, Danzo Shimura, Anko Mitarashi, Madara Uchiha, Kushina Uzumaki, a Bijuu, Ibiki Morino, Mito Uzumaki, Oonoki, Hanzo the Salamander, Sakumo Hatake, or Hashirama Senju.”

“I think we can safely cross both you and Danzo off that list,” Inoichi muttered.

“Anything’s possible,” Orochimaru speculated at the coin.

“Any reason why the possibilities you listed are all your little bets on the board?” Shikaku muttered.

“Why, Shikaku, I figured you would’ve figured it out!” Orochimaru smirked, flicking the coin to bounce off the Nara’s head and back into his hand. 

Kakashi groaned. “He tossed the coin at you and left, didn’t he.”

“Yes.”

“On-brand,” Inoichi sighed, sticking a list of Orochimaru’s bets- minus ‘Orochimaru’ or ‘Danzo’- onto the investigation board. 

“I highly doubt he’s Anko,” Orochimaru added calmly, tossing a shuriken to stick through the name and then flicking another, “or Madara.”

“I’ve trained on Ibiki, he’s not him either,” Inoichi crossed out the name of the T&I head.

“Why not?”

Kakashi pointed to Inoichi’s drawing of Kurama’s mind in answer. “Inoichi tried to take a look at Kurama’s mind. The result:”

Interesting… ” Orochimaru purred, inspecting the drawing. “I presume that this is nowhere near Ibiki’s mind?”

Inoichi laughed. “That man is so excruciatingly organized that a cactus planted on the moon could find its way to Kirigakure and know the way to the Seven Swords, provided it could actually break through the mental wards, which it could not get through even one .”

“So absolutely not Ibiki,” Shikaku muttered. “Got it.”

“Not Hanzo either,” Orochimaru threw another shuriken. 

“If he’s Oonoki, then Ibiki is going to have a field day ,” Inoichi muttered.

Kakashi stared flatly at Inoichi. “Oonoki. The Tsuchikage. Training the Yellow Flash’s kid.”

A fourth shuriken thunked into the board. “Not Oonoki.”

“Not Sakumo either,” Shikaku tossed a kunai next to Sakumo’s name.

“Yeah, if he were Sakumo then he wouldn’t have wasted any time in going to Kakashi,” Inoichi nodded.

Kakashi nodded, not looking at the board. “Not him.”

The remaining options were ‘the Sage of Six Paths’, ‘Kushina Uzumaki’, ‘a Bijuu’, ‘Mito Uzumaki’, and ‘Hashirama Senju’.