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Generated: Jul 17, 2019 2:14 AM
Post last updated: Jul 17, 2019 2:14 AM
yet each man does not die
alexander luthor reincarnates into naruto
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At the end of all things, there is a waiting room.

It's fairly typical, as these things go. Thin, scratchy carpet. Fish tank with still fish. Old gossip magazines. Incredibly uncomfortable chairs. The low buzz of a television or radio or something somewhere else, words indistinguishable. No windows, no clock, no door, and the receptionist's desk was shuttered.

This one's a bit special, though.

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Alexander comes to on an office chair, gasping with panic and fear and hands coming up to clutch at his head expecting to feel a hole in the side of it.

Not finding one confused Alexander, he was very much sure that he had been shot in the head before he passed out in shock. Not in a windowless doorless waiting room, and that he should be very very very dead because people do not generally walk away from headshots.

He looks around the waiting room warily and very confused! Alexander hates being confused.

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The waiting room isn't being very helpful, unfortunately.

Shortly, the door (which was definitely there before, really) opens, and a bored looking man reads off a clipboard, "Alexander Luthor?"

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Alexander's pretty sure he had just thought this room had no entrance, even though right there's a door that has to have been here the whole time. The incongruity makes him feel uneasy. He's also fairly certain he'd been shot in the head, despite his currently uninjured state.

So his current distress is completely understandable.

"Hey, you! What's going on here? Where am I? Are you with the police? The Lenneti family? Where is this?" he demands, fists clenched.

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"This is the afterlife, mister Alexander Luthor. My records indicate you died due to being shot in the head, yes?"

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"The... afterlife? you must be messing with me". Alexander says deadpan to the man with the clipboard. But he can't help but raise his hand to where the bullet hole should be and feel intact skin.

"Or I at some point went insane, imagined being shot, and you are taking advantage of the mentally ill" And a very disapproving stare is sent to the man in the clipboard.

This couldn't be the afterlife, he didn't feel dead at all.


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"I assure you. It's quite real." He recites a few facts from Alexander's life - things no one else could have known. Things that would have been hard to gather through spying alone.

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"Still more likely I have gone insane, but I suppose I can play along just in case, or at least to change the delusion from being alone in a waiting room".

Was he insane? he didn't feel insane, He didn't feel particularly dead either. Maybe he had been put into a coma and this was his dream? the coma dream always seemed like an unlikely trope in television to him. In any case, better treat it like it was real and, if he was wrong no harm done.

"So what do you want with me?"

 

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"We need to discuss your afterlife options."

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"If the choice is between what religions afterlife I go to I would like to apply for the greek one, standing in a field doesn't sound so bad, maybe a hero will summon me for my wisdom" Snarking at the man with the clipboard.

If Alexander didn't quip about this he might just start taking it seriously, and that wouldn't actually help if he freaked out because he was taking this scenario seriously, he had heard a lot of talk of hell in his Catholic family.


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"You don't have enough karma to leave the cycle of reincarnation for any afterlife, unfortunately, and you have throughout your lives maintained a positive enough balance to be in no danger of being removed by us."

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"Cycle of reincarnation? I would not have guessed Buddha and Hinduism to have been correct, huh" if this was a mental fabrication it wasn't what he had expected his brain to come up with.

"So guess I'm off to be a dog for the next decade? not like it matters, if I don't keep my memories I would just be a new person, the current me would be effectively dead, I hope that dog me is happy". Again hiding behind the snark, because this was starting to seem unlikely to just be a figment of his mind.

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"You don't have that poor of karma. But come, let's get you settled in my office to look over your options - one of which is keeping your memories, which your soul usually takes when your karmic balance is high enough. Right now, though, you'd need to take quite a few credits to get that..."

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"I would rather not die, I will take any option that involves getting to keep being me". Following the man with the clipboard into his office. "Must not be many people with good enough karma, never saw any confirmed cases of people having memories of past lives".

"What is your name anyway? you know mine already".

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"I'm Dan. And most people struggle to get that high, yes, or choose to save their credits more between lives - you can choose to regain all memories of all lives upon exiting the cycle."

The office looks rather normal. Large desk. Bookshelves full of files and leather tomes. Comfortable chairs. Dan gestures to one, and takes a seat himself.

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"Well, Dan nice to meet you I suppose". Taking a seat in one of the chairs, it really was comfortable compared to the waiting room.

"Isn't the whole point of exiting the cycle ceasing to exist as an individual? to achieve a state where you sort of blank out and join the universe?". He was becoming rather convinced that this wasn't just his mind now, he would have expected it to follow a more traditional religious narrative if it was.

"Did the Buddha lie to me too? where can you find a reliable prophet these days, should i ask the pastafarians?". Letting himself freak out internally a little now he was semi-convinced this was real and hiding it behind more snark.

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"Eternal bliss or nonexistence is a leaving option, but there's also options that preserve consciousness."

"Do you have more questions, or do you want to go over your options?"

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"Preserving consciousness sounds good, and if the options let me keep the current me from being wiped then sure let's go over them, if I don't have enough karma for that then....guess it doesn't really matter what happens".

Slumping in his seat, he was pretty sure he didn't have enough karma as he didn't live a particularly good life. Criminal activity is generally looked down upon after all.

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He starts to go through papers, hands them to Alexander - whose karmic balance is indeed too low for memories without taking a dramatic number of 'credits', which are effectively lifelong drawbacks - when the phone rings.

"Hold on, I have to take this."

He stands, turns his back, and answers the phone.

"Yes ma'am - really ma'am - of course ma'am - right away ma'am - "

He hangs up, and turns back to Alexander. "Well, you're being offered an opportunity - we're experiencing a critical shortage of souls in one particular world in one period. More births scheduled than people who want to live then. You wouldn't have a choice of time period... But this is a pretty big favor to us, and you'd have a large credit added to your account - equal to the cost of past life memories, in fact."

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"I know a racketeering scam when I see one bud, but it's not like I can say no anyway, not if I want to keep being me". He shrugs. "You know what I want, and this is how to get it, so fine ill go to a new world, my old one wasn't that great anyway". Leans forward elbows on the desk. "What's this world like anyway?".


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"The main region we're experiencing a shortage in has only recently started importing the technology you'd have been used to - two decades ago they had a culture and technology level much like feudal Japan - and the more wealthy have caught up to around the equivalent of the late 1960s, early 1970s of your world. The area is tightly controlled still by feudal warlords, and is prone to warfare, with a history of child soldiers among the warrior classes, though your childhood itself would be during a time of peace. There's a potential apocalypse that would hit when you would be about seventeen - you'd have the potential to avert or resolve it, which would be a tremendous karmic credit - and the world itself contains a form of magic, that's been mostly developed towards warfare but is one of the more flexible systems connected to our cycle."

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"Magic? well damn sign me up, and a technology base enough to get 1970s tech seems pretty good to me, and if I get killed by this apocalypse its not like I'm still not out ahead by existing an extra decade, sounds like a win to me" Maybe cheering up a bit, this doesn't seem so bad, he wasn't even being that snarky when he said sign me up.

"So I could cast 1d6 + my intelligence fireballs? I always liked the wizard class, what are my options in this new world Dan?".

 

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"You could breathe fireballs, if you trained."

He'll take out a different sheath of papers.

The choices are:

Benefits:

-memories of past life (100 points)
--perfect memories of past life (2 points)
-lifelong luck (50 points)
-shinobi start (10 points)
-noble start (25 points)
-good chakra control (2 points; incompatible with good chakra reserves)
--extreme chakra control (7 points; requires poor chakra reserves)
-good chakra reserves (2 points; incompatible with good chakra control)
--extreme chakra reserves (7 points; requires poor chakra control)
-good taijutsu skill (2 points)
--extreme taijutsu skill (5 points)
-eidetic memory (2 points)
-natural talent for inventing techniques (2 points)
-quick learner (2 points)
-lifelong companion (2 points)
-clan start, small (5 points)
--medium (5 points)
---bloodline (15 points)
----powerful bloodline (25 points)
--choice of clan or bloodline (10 points)

 

Credits:

-persecuted bloodline (-5 points)
-demon host, not useful (-5 points)
-demon host, useful (-1 point)
-poor chakra reserves (-2 points)
--extremely poor chakra reserves (-2 points)
-poor chakra control (-2 points)
--extremely poor chakra control (-2 points)
---cannot use chakra (--2 points)
-poor taijutsu skill (-2 points)
-extreme poverty (-3 points)
-born an orphan (-3 points)
--dead clan (-5 points) (requires a clan start)
-language disadvantage (-1 point)
-lack of memory of afterlife meeting (-1 point)
-fate entanglement (-2 points)
--fated enemies (-3 points)

Alexander currently, with the favor, has 125 points to spend.

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"Uhhhhh... I am suddenly convinced I've gone insane again, this is Naruto, this is a fictional setting! chakra, taijutsu, shinobi, bloodlines".

Seriously what the hell afterlife, this is ISEKAI! how does this make sense at all? "This is all stuff from a comic book! you can't expect me to believe its a real place".

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"Honestly, I think the boss upstairs gets bored sometimes. This happens a lot."

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"what the boss upstairs recreates fictional worlds where child soldiers frequently die or are ordered to kill their family!? because they were bored, well if that's whats just a bit of fun for them I would hate to see what the boss does when they are feeling extra whimsical". Letting out a choked and nervous half laugh.

That was NOT acceptable, not at all, he didn't realise someone was in charge of all this and created horrible worlds BECAUSE THEY GOT BORED.

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"You aren't the first to object. I think there's twenty plots to overthrow her in my jurisdiction alone... Never really work out."

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"Well at least someone in the system has some sense...if that many plots think its at least theoretically possible that's promising I guess..." Seriously though, the Naruto world, this is crazier than everything up to this point.

"Fuck it" Alexander Luthor takes the form, filling it out quickly taking as many advantages as he thought was useful and balancing with ones he thought he could work past easily enough.

Starting with 125 points and ending up with this result:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-memories of past life (100 points)

--perfect memories of past life (2 points)

-shinobi start (10 points)

-good chakra control (2 points; incompatible with good chakra reserves)

--extreme chakra control (7 points; requires poor chakra reserves)

-eidetic memory (2 points)

-natural talent for inventing techniques (2 points)

-quick learner (2 points)

-clan start, small (5 points)

--medium (5 points)

---bloodline (15 points)

--- dead clan (-5 points)

-persecuted bloodline (-5 points)

-poor chakra reserves (-2 points)

-poor taijutsu skill (-2 points)

-extreme poverty (-3 points)

-born an orphan (-3 points)

-fate entanglement (-2 points)

--fated enemies (-3 points)

-language disadvantage (-1 point)

-lack of memory of afterlife meeting (-1 point)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

with a clean 0 points left over. Handing the sheet back to Dan. "I still end up living a few extra years, and that universe needs someone with some sense in it".

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"Well, hopefully you'll be able to provide some."

And the world goes dark.

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Alexanders last memory was of being shot in the head and falling over before he passed out from shock, but he didn't feel hurt at all.

His body felt strange and warmth was all around him and his limbs were hard to move, and this dark was not letting up even when he opened his eyes. was he dead? was this what death was like?

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And - 

He's born.

His eyes don't really work yet, not at any distance, but a woman with pale white-blue hair leans close enough to him that he can make out a face, and she smiles and says a name ("Kouji"), and then laughs weakly a bit, and there's people talking, but it's tiring, his body hardly has any energy - 

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He screams as he is torn out of the warmth and into the cold cold air, weak eyes struggling to focus on anything. AH! A GIANT LADY! this is terrifying!

Then Alexander realises that the screaming voice is that of a baby, his limbs are that of a baby, he is a baby.
The Laughing lady was probably his mother...what is going on here? why is he a newborn? these questions will have to wait until after he's slept because he feels suddenly very tired...

And the newly dubbed Kouji the baby has the first of many naps.

 

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Naptime is a common feature of being a baby! Giant lady singing, and moving colorful things in front of him, and cooing, is also a common feature! The food, once he's weaned, is mushy and colorful and probably fifty kinds of fruit and vegetable! The lady doesn't seem to have many friends and spends a lot of time reading, but there's also a man who plays with him too, and he has many friends and contacts, who're polite enough to the lady.

There's a shop, too! It sells farmer's market type stuff. The lady mans the counter a lot, and takes him with her, and the customers sometimes are cold to her until they see the adorable baby, when they warm up a bit.

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Kouji glares adorably grumpy baby glares at pretty much everyone who isn't his mother and sometimes rarely doesn't glare at his father, everyone glared at finds this adorable or funny to the everlasting frustration of young Kouji.
Remembering being an adult and eating real food and sleeping when he wanted to he usually puts up a bit of a fuss when he has to eat baby food or during naptime, until his mother comes and calms him down.

Being a baby is terrible, but Alexander/Kouji never had a mother figure before...its nice...he thinks he loves his mom, and his dad seems nice enough.

Baby food is still disgusting and naptime is still tyranny though.

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It's a very pleasant family scene indeed!

Be a shame if something were to happen to it.

Oh.

Look.

Something's happening to it.

Sirens go off, while his mother's home alone with him, and there's a feeling on the air, like liquid fear, like fire forcing its way into his lungs and choking him - 

His mother cries. She puts on clothes he's never seen before. Takes a sword out of the closet.

She gives him to a neighbor, who also cries, but who takes him away, to the shelters being watched over and guarded by crimson eyed, serious adults - 

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A sword?! why would mom need a sword? are we being invaded? is it a war? he starts to cry his little baby lungs out as mom leaves him to presumably go fight. This oppressive feeling of fear, fire, and the ice cold of despair filling him, his years of experience make it easier to push back against the feelings but it still leaves him fearful.

This is all very scary! And he wants his mommy!

He quiets down a bit when one of the adults with red eyes looks at him, it's very spooky.

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The feeling's a bit less, in the shelter, though there's a lot of scared adults and kids here. A lot of crying. The woman holding him tries to soothe him, but, well - she's clearly terrified, too.

It calms down, eventually. The feeling goes away. The sirens stop, though they aren't let out of the shelter just yet. One of the red-eyed women outside does come in, though, and explain something calmly and clearly that has a lot of people nodding.

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it's at times like these that he wishes he could just have been born somewhere they spoke English, baby Kouji wasn't that great at picking out sounds either, being undeveloped was terrible!

Everything seems to have calmed down at least. whatever was going on didn't last long enough for it to be some sort of invasion probably. He sure hopes his mom is okay...his dad too but especially his mom...

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They're eventually let go. Neighbor lady carries him to her house, after checking on his house and discovering no one home.

Neither of his parents come back in the night. Neighbor lady frets, gets Kouji's things from the house.

They don't come back the next day, either. Neighbor lady starts having serious conversations with her probably-husband.

Then a harried looking man stops at their door, comes in to talk. Neighbor lady starts crying. Says something.

The harried man leaves, and it's apparently time for The Most Serious Conversation between neighbor lady and her husband.

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Where is his mom? He wants his family, baby Kouji cries a lot of the time in the first two days.
But he realises deep down they probably aren't coming back what with having been gone so long and the cues he is picking up from the neighbour's actions... He is convinced his parents are dead now.


Suddenly he stops putting up a fuss during mealtimes, he doesn't complain about naptime, in fact, he's perfectly behaved...

Because he stops emotionally reacting to people altogether. he doesn't smile at them, he doesn't make any faces at them when annoyed, he stops fussing during naptime or when the food is gross, he refuses to cry or react emotionally if anyone is in the room.  

He just sits there quiet and stone-faced all day and only when he thinks he is alone does he let himself cry.

It is very unsettling for the neighbours to deal with.

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They're a young couple, with poor jobs - and they agreed on their second date they'd never, ever have kids, she had an uphill battle to get her tubes tied - and they want to do their best by Kouji, they do, but their house doesn't even have a second bedroom and they can't afford to move...

They keep him until things settle down a bit, they fight to get his family's assets sealed away for him, until the many, many dead have been sorted and the funerals have been held, and then they take him and everything that they're allowed to bring along to the orphanage.

Yakushi Nono is supposed to be a kind woman, at least.

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Kouji continues to be emotionally unreactive as he is taken to the orphanage. He is just staring around blankly as the neighbour couple bring him inside. There is a throng of children of ages from infant to about 8 years old inside. A few look very sad and Kouji guesses that they are newly orphaned like him, what happened that night? how many people died?.

Here comes who he assumes is who is running the orphanage now. On the outside, he keeps his blank expression going but on the inside misses his mother and doesn't want to be here.

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The woman is probably in her late twenties, early thirties, and looks thoroughly exhausted. She talks to the neighbor couple for a while, then takes him, bouncing him and cooing. She asks the neighbor couple a bunch of questions, has an even younger assistant get his stuff from them, then takes him into what looks like a very pleasant little clinic. Posters hang on the wall with cute cartoon characters explaining basic health concepts with as few words as possible. There's colorful bubbles painted on the creamy walls. An older man works there, and his hands glow slightly when he brushes Kouji's hand. An odd tingling goes through the baby, and the man smiles and says something apparently relieving to the orphanage woman.

She keeps him with her for a little bit - there's apparently a lot of intake stuff, his weight is taken and his temperature recorded... 

Right when he'll be starting to get exhausted the orphanage woman puts him in a crib - it seems to be the one from his house, with his blanket and his toys and mobile - and says something cheerily to another girl, who's maybe a teenager.

His isn't the only crib - there's a total of three others in the room. One's undecorated and empty. One has a blue blanket with white cartoon rabbits and a mobile with stars and moons. It's empty of any kids. One has an orange blanket with blue spirals, and a newborn with a fine crown of bright blond hair who starts to fuss when the people enter. The teenager hesitates, but after a sharp word from the older woman she goes to pick up the other baby and see what he needs.

There's some getting him settled, and a third child is brought in and put in the rabbit crib, but after a bit some calming white noise music is put on and both women leave, turning the lights on low.

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Kouji looks at the posters trying to identify the words, well that doesn't look like any alphabet he knows...more like Chinese logograms, was he in Asia?. He actually reacts when the old man's HAND GLOWS!, Did he imagine that? peoples hands do not suddenly glow!. a look of shock appearing on his little chubby face breaking the statue impression he had had going on since he realised his family was dead.

He goes back to being nonreactive when he is handed back to the woman and gotten over his shock of seeing glowing limbs.

He feels sad at being placed in his crib from home...it reminds him of his mother. He spends the rest of the day using what he now realises is much better memory than he had as Alexander to remember her face and the way she acted and just small loving moments with her until he falls asleep.

He spends a lot of time in the orphanage waiting to grow a useful body that can move itself just remembering his family or his past life, "watching" movies and TV shows he remembers, "listening" to music he had heard.




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He's allowed to play with blocks a lot, and usually put in a room with other babies during the day, watching over generally by the orphanage lady (who's probably named Nono? A lot of people call her Nono-san or Nono-chan, it's unclear if the -san or -chan is actually part of her name), who's followed around a lot by a very serious six year old named Kabuto-kun, even when she's doing boring stuff like playing with babies.

No one seems to think much of his seriousness or reluctance to play with other kids - the other babies are hardly interested in him, either - though by the time he's been there a year there's a lot of concern that he's not really engaging in group play, or talking, or showing age-typical understanding of words.

Kabuto-kun, now eight, sits down with him when he's very almost two with a cloth picture book and a serious expression, points to the book, says a word very seriously, then starts going, word by word, through the pictures. (This kid isn't picking up language just by listening, so Kabuto's decided to do this methodologically. One word at a time.) A lot of the words have little words under them, which seem to represent individual syllables. A dog is i-nu. A cat is ne-ko. A ball is ta-ma...

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Kouji very much appreciates actually being taught to read! Kabuto-kun is now his new favourite person and will go up to him holding the book when he doesn't look too busy and point to it meaningfully. He reviews what he learns mentally during naptime using his memory to better place the words and pictures together in his mind. He is taught the word for book, he uses this word a lot around Kabuto-kun or any other older kids who have the patience to deal with him.

He still does not talk very much or use very many words when he does, self-conscious about his lack of skill he just avoids it and uses hand gestures where possible. And his expression rarely changes at all even when he does talk to someone, he just looks blank and unemotional at them. He rarely interacts with the kids his own age. This probably worries the adults quite a bit.

When he isn't going through picture books practising the words, he is doing laps of the room working out his legs because walking is so underrated! you do not miss walking until you cannot do it. He isn't running around joyfully as a child might, he is doing laps, being serious and exercising.

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Oh how cute he wants to be a shinobi, is the general consensus. (Nono is worried. She doesn't really approve of children being shinobi...)

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And Kouji is apparently a certain toddler's favorite person too! His roommate, Naruto, is a cheerful, friendly child, who follows Kouji around repeating words. He's good at this spoken language thing! And he'll gladly take over the talking to people! Once he figures out the book is important to Kouji, he somehow cajoles an older girl into joining the reading-teaching rotation (which Naruto doesn't sit still for. There's people to talk to! Places to run! Chaos to cause!).

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Kouji tolerates the blonde child following him around, Which is more than he does for anyone else, actually slowly talking back to Naruto when talked to. When he notices Naruto talk to one of the older girls and she starts reading him more picture books he puts two and two together.

He toddles up to Naruto and does an adorable little bow "thank...you..." and gives him a quick hug, literally the only child he has hugged at the orphanage. Learning the language is very important to Kouji and this is a big favour Naruto did for him.

Kouji now interacts with two people now, and one his own age even! Nono-san has less to worry about now, but the people who don't like naruto probably worry even more.

Kouji spends his days walking laps and reading and just sort of being near Naruto when he's around, He hasn't made the connection that this Naruto is THE Naruto, a real-life blond toddler doesn't look anything like the manga.

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Friend hugs!

It's okay that Kouji doesn't make friends easily! Naruto will make all the friends for him!

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Kouji prefers just having Naruto as a friend really, Naruto is...A lot, he uses all his social energy just dealing with Naruto anyone more would be exhausting.

He is technically 19-ish now, it is really hard to be interested in what toddlers are doing. But Naruto did something nice for him so he puts in the effort.

Socializing slowly improves, he gains a bit more confidence in some words if he takes his time, Kouji makes sure to thank every older kid who reads to him.

Kouji has gotten very good at walking! He will now try climbing things for practice, maybe Naruto would have fun climbing furniture with him?.



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Naruto's in general an excitable kid who bounces back easily from problems.

But then as kids get adopted, the temporary staff leave, and that's sad - 

And when they're three Miss Nono quits. She doesn't say why. Her expression's stony as she packs, and Kabuto spends the whole month upset, even though she tells him he shouldn't be.

And sometime between three and five, kids start noticing that the adults don't really like Naruto. That the kids at the playgrounds outside the orphanage are told by their parents not to trust Naruto. That, really, Naruto's charming, but people don't like him - 

Their friend circle gets a lot smaller, very quickly. Most of the older kids keep helping them, though a few will be entering apprenticeships or graduating the Academy soon...

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Once the other kids stop playing with Naruto and Kouji hears about how parents would tell kids to stay away...this all seems very familiar to him...if not for his perfect recall of his past life he might not even have picked up on it.

Even if the other kids tell him to stay away he continues to hang out with Naruto and his suspicion of Naruto's identity grows, the coincidences keep piling on.

When Kouji is four and a half years old and Naruto is four years old he goes up to Naruto and very carefully asks him "Naruto what is your family name?" though he already suspects the answer, even if it feels crazy to believe that his friend Naruto might be THE Naruto Uzumaki.


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"Uzumaki!" Naruto says. "I don't know any others, but it's a fun name!"

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Kouji sits there stunned, he was reborn into a fictional universe, just in time for the main character to become his friend. it takes a few minutes for him to process this, though Kouji taking a few minutes in the middle of a conversation is not out of character.

This is Naruto, the hero of Konoha, the saviour of the ninja world. it is hard to reconcile this with Naruto the silly giggling child who pushes him to socialize and who he shares his afternoon snacks with and who is his best and only friend.

"Naruto...people are...be mean to you...and be more mean after" struggling to find the words and taking his time to find the right ones to say. "Is not because you have ever be anything bad or that you deserve it, And I not stop being your friend like the other did".

The isolation of Naruto isn't too bad right now, but Kouji knows it will get much worse and he can't do anything to stop it as just a kid.

Hugs for his friend and more emotion on his face than he's ever shown him before.

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Hugs!

"It's 'kay. You're the bestest friend!"

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Kouji smiles at his friend.

After that conversation and the realisation of who his friend really is, Kouji starts trying to get Naruto interested in new games, mostly playing ninja and samurai. Practising punching and kicking outside and asking Naruto to talk older kids into taking them down to the training fields to watch the Academy kids practice, trying to copy their movements as they watch.

Kouji knows what is in store for his best friend in the future, and he is going to make sure they are prepared. There is no such thing as over-preparing.

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Playing ninja is fun! He wants to be a ninja when he gets older, he thinks, it looks really cool! And ninja get to leave the village and Naruto wants to go everywhere!

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After coming home tired and dirty from playing ninja one day(Naruto is so much better at it! Kouji feels so clumsy trying to play fight when comparing himself to Naruto), Kouji remembers reading about famous ninja doing ninja arts as young as 4, well he is almost 5 now physically and he is sort of an adult mentally. He uses the mandated naptime to meditate and try and feel out his chakra.

 

What is Chakra even supposed to feel like? and then he remembers the night his mother died and realized that must have been the night the ninetails fox was released, maybe if he looks for that same feeling that night imposed on him?. He searches for that Fire and Ice that seared his soul that night.

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It's findable - there's a warmth of sorts in his belly, that spreads in tendrils and waves out into the rest of his body. An almost liquid feeling, that he can poke and move around, that energizes when he moves and curls when he focuses on a hard problem.

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Well, Kouji knows what he will be doing during naptime and before bed from now on, He is going to try moving his chakra around or using it up somehow, just pushing it to extremities or curl and swirl inside him faster.

He really has no idea if this is actually training anything but it can't hurt to have some practice right?.

Kouji also starts practising his drawing skills when he's not training, drawing Uzumaki swirls and the manga representations of the people he knows to see how well they match.

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Depending on how well he remembers the manga, Kabuto is probably baby Yakushi Kabuto, and Nono is probably the orphanage lady who was noted as raising Kabuto.

He doesn't know many other people yet, but there's pictures of the past Hokage in one of the rooms that look very familiar - Hashirama, Tobirama, Hiruzen, Minato...

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Kabuto ends up one of the biggest instigators in the apocalypse...but he's a nice kid right now, how can Kouji save him? he probably won't listen if he is just told not to be a ninja.

Kouji walks up to Kabuto to try anyway. "Kabuto-kun...you can keep secret?".

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"Yeah, of course. What's up?"

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A very serious expression on Kouji's face, grabbing the hem of Kabuto's shirt. "Very serious secret, life risk type secret, Is place to talk where no-one hear?".

 

 

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"Uh. Yeah. Come on, I know a place."

He'll lead the way to a very-out-of-the-way spot in the attic, sort of wedged into the rafters, where he's clearly started his own little nest.

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"I....Know secret things...future things..., you train in shinobi school but you live bad life as shinobi, very sad life, many people hurt" wringing his hands, its a lot to trust this with someone even if it is relatively low risk.

"You probably not listen and train as shinobi anyway, so at least listen to this" Begging with eyes at Kabuto to listen. "Sannin Orochimaru evil man, stay away from Orochimaru, Or elder Danzo, find other shinobi to work for, is safer and you happier".

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"How do you know those names? Why are they - bad?"

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"Future knowledge, you probably not believe me for everything but maybe you be careful?" The little five-year-old looking much too serious for his age. "Sannin Orochimaru hurt you and twist you into bad person in future, and also hurt physically, he make bad Kinjutsu" Kouji looks resigned to not being believed because it is pretty crazy what he is saying, but if Kabuto is just that little bit more wary...it could help.

"Danzo just treat servants bad, get them killed, more than regular shinobi, orders bad orders, safer joining other factions if still be shinobi" Kouji hugs Kabuto around the waist. "You probably leave soon, not get hurt please, be careful".

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He'll hug back.

"That's - very dangerous stuff to know. Like fire. Knowing it is like fire. You - be careful who you talk to, okay?"

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"Thank you for believing, right now I only tell you because you in danger soon sorta, maybe next 2 year, you important person to me, is nakama right word? you teach me words, is a very big deal to me".

"I will be very careful, already worried secret anbu maybe hear me and take for interrogation". Kouji thought the risk was worth it, if he dies it'll probably just be another reincarnation like this one right? he got a few extra years anyway and maybe this will save a lot of lives later on. "We should go back downstairs now".

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Kabuto ruffles his hair. "Yeah. Thanks for the warning."

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Kouji spends the next six months making plans and preparing, he needs to be READY.


So he drags Naruto off to watch the practising Genin at the training field as often as he can, trying to copy their moves and sparring with Naruto. He spends an hour every single day moving and sensing his Chakra. He eats all his food and asks for seconds to fuel his growing body.
During one of his visits to the training fields he begs every genin he meets if he can hold their kunai or shuriken until one of them says yes, to feel out the weight and balance of them. He uses his perfect memory to make wooden replicas to practice with that have a similar balance and weight.
Kouji has much more trouble with moving his body in the right ways to do fighting moves than Naruto does, but he practices hard and Naruto doesn't seem to mind the difference in skill between them.

By the time Kouji is almost 6 years old the staff at the orphanage start being a little less understanding of his loud silly friend, a little more ready to punish him for things other children would get away with. Naruto gets sent to bed without dinner sometimes so Kouji very carefully hides part of his dinner at mealtimes to give to Naruto when that happens, because Kouji almost always asks for seconds anyway its a lot easier to get away with getting a full meal in and also something to give to Naruto.

Naruto eats a lot of food when he can and Kouji thinks he knows why, honestly with a demonic god fox inside him fueling all sorts of chakra nonsense Naruto should be getting as much food as he wants, the excuse of eating a lot being a shonen trope doesn't hold water in a real-life world like this one.

So Kouji gives naruto food when he is punished to be without dinner, tries to keep Naruto occupied so his mind is not on the growing isolation that is happening to him, and plans for future events.


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Academy recruiters eventually start talking to their age group directly, too - they can take the entrance exams as young as five, though they're told most people wait until they're six or seven. The other five year olds talk a lot about being shinobi someday - it's seen as the only way out, with apprenticeships in other trades hard to come by for orphans.

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Kouji puts off joining the academy this year, he wants to be in the same grades as the rookie 9 since that is where his information will give him the most advantages.

Now he is 6 years old he gets a little more freedom to wander the village unsupervised, so he heads off to the library. He has long since finished all the picture books at the orphanage.

Naruto gets bored and goes off to do his own thing while Kouji trawls the stacks for books in hiragana (kanji are still too difficult to learn). While looking for books with new words in the fiction section Kouji finds a certain title he recognizes: "The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi" by Jiraiya. This is the book Naruto is named after!.

Kouji checks out the book and a few others and runs outside to show Naruto. when he finds Naruto he will show off the book the way kids show things off presenting it proudly in front of him. "Look Naruto, its a book about a Naruto being a gutsy ninja who never gives up, just like you" Smiling a rare smile at Naruto "should get Kabuto or another older kid to read it to us".

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"Cool! Books are kinda boring but that sounds neat."

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Well Kouji was sort of expecting a bigger reaction, but its not like naruto knows he was named after this book and telling him how that occured would be this whole mess of explanations.

 

Kouji however must defend the honour of books. “Books are great! Its like they have a whole world inside them, you can go on adventures to new places that dont even exist just by reading”.

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"The words don't stay where they're supposed to."

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Ah, well that explains things. “i could read you the words then? Not this book it is hard but other books”.

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"Maybe?"

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Okay yeah naruto has attention problems, how to solve this. “What if when im a ninja I make it like a movie with genjutsu, then you can watch whats happening while I read the words”.

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"Movies are fun!" He's snuck into one exactly once, though he got in a lot of trouble when he got caught because he shouted at the screen.

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So Kouji promises to do that for him once he learns Genjutsu, immersive VR books can be a thing for Naruto.

Time passes until the ninja academy entrance exams.

Kouji wants to be as prepared as possible so he reads and borrows every book from the library he can understand and starts learning kanji characters, it's very slow going but if he has a head start on his classmates maybe he won't be behind. He continues taijutsu practice with Naruto but knows this will be another thing he is slower to learn so getting a head start is a good idea. He shapes his chakra every day for an hour before bed, the chakra isn't doing anything but it has to be good practice for something. He spends more time with Naruto as more and more children and caretakers start to shun the blonde boy, he wishes he could tell naruto why people are shunning him but Kouji is worried that naruto right now can't keep a secret that big.

Enough time has passed that Kouji gets better at talking and doesn't seem so emotionally stunted, he smiles sometimes even, he can follow most conversations unless people talk very quickly. The orphanage carers were worried Kouji had Aspergers or some other social impediment but he seems like a typical if quiet kid now.

Just before Kouji and Naruto start the academy Kabuto leaves and there is a very sad goodbye with lots of hugs and even some tears.

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It's kind of exciting Kabuto's graduating from the Academy but really sad he's not helping out anymore - 

And super exciting, that Naruto passed the Academy entrance exam! He gets the offer of his own apartment, starting in it a week before the Academy, and rushes to Kouji.

"Kouji! Are you in the Academy too? Let's share an apartment!" he says all in a rush. They're not the only orphanage kids entering, but the others don't like Naruto.

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Kouji knows Naruto passed the entrance exam in the original timeline, and with Kouji and Naruto practising taijutsu since they were very little there was really never any doubt Naruto would pass.

He is still very proud of his best friend though. Kouji also passed pretty easily, it was a test meant for 7-year-olds after all.

"Sure! it'll be easier to split the food costs and have more space for things, also its a lot less lonely sharing an apartment" Kouji says sagely, pulling on previous life experience. "You have to clean up after yourself though" Very serious look from Kouji, messy roommates are the worst.

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"Cleaning's boring."

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“Cleaning is boring for me too! So it’s unfair if I’m the only one who has to clean, if you make a mess clean it up” serious faces are being made at Naruto. As much as Kouji loves his friend he will not be his maid.

”will you clean up after yourself if Im the one who cooks?”.

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"I guess that's fair." Getting away from chores had been one of his dreams about getting his own place, but he guesses putting up with cleaning's worth getting to live with Kouji.

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Kouji being a responsible adult (at least in mind) buys the essentials for the new shared apartment, rice cooker, electric kettle, instant foods and sauce pouches for rice and other things like that. Sharing an apartment means they have two rooms instead of just one, the smaller room is designated laundry/storage/kitchen and the main room is divided between them as sleeping/living quarters.

Kouji tries to encourage Naruto to clean up after himself but Kouji does end up doing most other domestic tasks like cooking and laundry.
Independence from the orphanage carers and being able to live like an adult is amazing to Kouji, he missed the freedom and responsibility and he only had to wait until he was 7 to do it.

He can't wait for the first day at the academy and learning how to actually use his chakra rather than just move it around his body as practice. He never would have expected to be excited for school again!.

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Naruto goes a bit wild with his first taste of freedom but quickly settles, and is very enthused about doing his portion of the chores (though not always well) so he has time to go play and watch the shinobi.

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Kouji also keeps up his routine of watching the practising ninja at the training fields, sometimes play sparring with Naruto for practice trying to copy the moves he sees. just the usual routine that he had at the orphanage outside of having to take care of domestic chores.

Now he is officially an academy student he tries to see if he can check anything out of the ninja scroll library, maybe read his textbooks early?.

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There's a few things available to Academy students, yes, including textbooks. He's not allowed to take things from the library until they've observed him with the books a few times.

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Well, Kouji now has less time to play with Naruto, sorry Naruto!. He spends a lot of the time leading up to the academy starting in the library reading his textbooks and whatever else looks like a primer on ninja skills.

The major focus is on figuring out how to use chakra, he's felt it inside himself for years and it is driving him crazy that he is not able to do anything with it.

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Figuring out how to use chakra with only what's available is difficult, but there's a very overly simplified description in the textbook, which describes a few meditation exercises to do...

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One day when he goes to get it, another small hand reaches the book before his can.

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Kouji's hand impacts theirs before he can pull it back. "Sorry!" pulling back his hand and looking up to see who he made contact with.

That shade of pink hair is very familiar.

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She eeps a bit, then retracts her hand and looks down, biting her lip.

"Uh. Sorry... You can have the book... If you want..."

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"You got to it first...I have other books I can research..." Come on Kouji lets be normal social human beings for once in our lives, Sakura is important. "You are looking up how to use chakra too?...". Being careful with his words, talking is just so hard sometimes and he doesn't want to come off as stupid for messing up the words.

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"Yeah! I got into the Academy, but my parents are really busy and said I'd learn it when we got to the material but it's really interesting..." she says all in a rush, appearing to perk up.

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"Did you find any other useful books on the subject?...I've not had much luck finding any" Kouji highly approves of self-study! Sakura was always portrayed as really smart in the manga and if she has an attitude like this one it makes a lot of sense.

"I am Kouji by the way, Kajitsu Kouji" holding out his hand politely.

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She takes his hand. "I'm Haruno Sakura! And yeah, I've found some stuff. The librarian likes me, I think 'cause I asked a bunch of questions about how to take care of the books."

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Handshakes are had. "Nice to meet you Sakura, I already knew how to take care of books...but maybe I should ask them anyway so they like me sooner?" He wonders if the librarian assumes he is baseline bad with books like a lot of children are, he should reassure them he is not. "I would like to be able to check books out soon, I want to learn how to use my chakra a lot".

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"Yeah! Same! There's so much cool stuff, too... I found some history books, and some theory books, and some botany books..."

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"That's neat, I have a list of priorities to study so I don't get distracted, Chakra, Ninjutsu, Seals, and then recipe books because I have to cook at home".

Kouji looks a little irritated. "Been a bit stuck on how to use chakra, the most promising thing I've found was that book on meditation but I already know how to sense my chakra, I want to do things with it, stick to trees or make clones or Genjutsu." Kouji seems a lot more animated than usual talking about the cool things you can do with chakra.

 

 

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"I can ask my dad! He's a retired shinobi, so he's gotta know."

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"That would be great! clan kids get all sorts of tutors for this kind of thing, I don't want to have to wait for school to learn it". Kouji does a polite little bow to Sakura. "It would be so great if you could ask your dad".

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"Heh. Mom probably knows more but she's on missions a bunch."

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"I don't need your dad to know everything, pretty much anything he can teach me is good!. Are you gonna go ask him and tell me what you learn next time you see me? or can we go ask him now?."

Eeeee ninja magic!.

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"He's not at home right now. So I'll have to ask him when he gets back. That's this afternoon."

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"Should we share what we've found so far until then?. Unless...you have something else to do...then it's fine if you tell me when I see you at school I guess." He very much hopes sakura isn't busy today!.

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"I'm not busy. Was just gonna read."

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"Great! I will be here reading also so when you think your dads gonna be home just poke me out of whatever book I am reading?."

Kouji finds a desk and reads the very basic and not very useful primers he has found. By the time Sakura is ready to go he will be reading a book on how ninja tools are forged, so much for keeping to his study list.

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She'll giggle and point that out.

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Kouji has an embarrased look and puts down the book. “I got distracted by reading about chakra weapons and then reading about how ninja tools like those are forged...”.

 

“Is it time to go?”. Kouji can’t wait to learn how to use Chakra!.

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"Yeah!"

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Time to follow the tiny Sakura to her dad's house to talk with him. Sakura is nice he hopes she doesn't get all annoyed at Naruto at the academy like in canon so they can all be friends together.

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Her dad's the only one home when they arrive, and he seems delighted Sakura's made a new friend. He introduces himself as Haruno Kizashi and asks Kouji if he wants anything to eat or drink. "All that studying's thirsty work, after all!" he declares, laughing.

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"Anything sweet to drink is fine with me please." Does a very polite little bow to Sakura's dad, he seems nice.

"Sakura told me you were a shinobi mister Haruno? could you teach me how to use my Chakra? I start at the academy soon."

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"Juice it is. And I can give you some pointers - have more time on my hands these days," he says.

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“Thank you very much mister Haruno.”

 

And Kouji hopefully learns how to do something with his Chakra.

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Mister Haruno teaches him how to stick a leaf to his forehead - it's an early exercise, and he warns them it can be dangerous to try to do much more without supervision, since it's easy to exhaust yourself.

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Sakura gets it on the first try, then starts giggling and sticking random flowers to herself.

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He also gets it on the first try, he can feel how the energy is leaving his skin and tugging at the leaf.

Kouji starts giggling maniaclly, if he was an adult it would be the greatest maniacal villian laugh but he is 7 so it is just adorable instead.

”This is great! Im doing real magic! Take that physics I will bend you to my will!” getting a little over excited with all this.

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She giggles. "Physics is no match for us!"

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“Can i push things away too mister Haruno? Or should I have more practice first?.” As impatient as he is to start exprimenting with chakra, he knows it is dangerous and listening to the experts is the safe thing to do.

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"Pushing's a bit easier to overdo, but is possible."

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Kouji starts making leaves shoot away from the top of his hand, this is great fun! Giggly times are had until it is time to go home.

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He'll get some flower petals and leaves stuck in his hair courtesy of Sakura.

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Naruto's waiting at home, pouting.

"Where were you?" he whines after welcoming Kouji home.

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“I met someone at the library and then I went to her house afterwards to ask her dad how to do chakra! Look!” And Kouji keeps a leaf stuck to his hand when it is upside down, then sends it flying off when its is right side up.

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"Cool! Teach me!"

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And so Kouji sits down and teaches him as best he can, Naruto has a lot of chakra so he might not have good enough control, or he might just blow up the leaf who knows what will happen!?.

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Naruto sets the first leaf on fire.

Flings the second across the room.

Fails to stick the third.

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“Thats okay Naruto! Doing anything at all with Chakra is really cool! Maybe try and practice setting things on fire or flinging them on purpose? That could be super useful, like making a campfire or shooting kunai. Fire practice stays outside though.”

 

Kouji hopes by encouraging him he can get Naruto to not be dissuaded from practicing so he does better at controlling Chakra by graduation than he does in the manga.

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"But I'm still really bad at this," he says, pouting.

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“I heard that if you have lots and lots of Chakra that small things like this are really hard, but you can do really big things easier, maybe you have a lot of Chakra?”.

 

Kouji knows Naruto does, but there is no reasonable way to explain How he knows that, so has to be all misleading about it. He doesn’t want to mislead naruto.

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"Maybe..." Still, he seems pretty annoyed.

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“I am sure youll find some jutsu that suits you well, or just practice alot to make your control of little tiny things better”.

Kouji wants to keep shooting leaves until bedtime but doesnt want to make Naruto feel bad. “Plus you are way better than me at fighting, we can cover each others weaknesses.”

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"Maybe..."

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Well...Kouji tried to cheer Naruto up, time to go to bed.

Kouji adds practising with Chakra and trying to teach Naruto how to control it to his usual schedule. He sometimes sees sakura in the library and enjoys chatting to her about what they've read. He buys more appliances for the apartment and gets better at cooking for two with unfamiliar pseudo-Japanese recipes.

He waits for the first day of school.

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School's pretty soon, luckily.

The entrance ceremony is long and boring and it'll be a challenge keeping Naruto from disrupting it, but then class starts!

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Is it useful class? Or class for 7 year olds who know nothing? Kouji might rest his head on his desk if it is boring and remember earth movies or practice sticking paper to his hand with chakra. 

 

If it is useful and interesting he will pay attention and seem like a good student.

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It's currently just going over the syllabus. They seem to assume students can already read, write, and do math to a certain level.

The eight classes are:

-Home room. Mostly learning more math, reading, and writing at first, and assorted random skills like ciphers as time goes on.

-First aid. Basic safety things first.

-Survival. They'll be starting with identification of plants and animals.

-Civics. This seems to cover history, government, geography, and social studies, all in one.

-Infiltration. They'll learn how to act, assorted skills for different professions, how to read people... At first it'll mostly be more of a mixture of 'crafts' and 'theatre' though.

-Weapons. They'll be starting with safety, but moving on fairly quickly to throwing shuriken and sparring with staves.

-Physical education. This covers taijutsu, running, rope courses, moving over unstable ground...

-Chakra. This will be mostly meditation exercises and theory at first.

Classes are split into two blocks of four each, held on alternating days. They have Saturdays off, and are in school Sunday through Friday. Block one, today, is home room, first aid, survival, and physical education. Block two, starting tomorrow, is civics, infiltration, chakra, and weapons. 

The syllabus has them moving pretty quickly, for seven year olds.

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This all seems very useful! Except home room for now, he was in a top tier boarding school until he ran away at 16, he has got math down, and is probably ahead of other kids in reading for now.

First aid seems very important and is a model student in first aid class, and he makes Naruto pay attention in this class in particular, this could save someones life!.

He tries to be a good student in infiltration but acting is very hard when he has to work at talking clearly and looking like he actually cares about people he doesnt care about.

Weapon safety, very important, hangs onto the teachers every word.

He is far ahead of the other children in Taijutsu besides Naruto and the clan trained kids due to his practice from a young age, but the other kids will catch up since he learns physical things more slowly.

Meditating in Chakra class is boring! He agrees with Naruto on this one, he would rather actually use his chakra to do things like sneakily stick paper to himself or shoot paper notes at Naruto with chakra when the teachers arent looking.

Kouji wonders when he will meet Iruka sensei, maybe he only teaches the older classes?.

 

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Most students aren't good at acting, or meditating, and a lot of the other stuff. Even the clan kids are notably better, but not amazing.

The kids here are recognizable - Sakura will quickly worm her way in to their study groups, and is clearly being bullied, Ino is friends with a gaggle of girls, Chouji and Shikamaru hang out a long, Kiba doesn't have his dog yet, Shino and Hinata both sit off on their own, and Sasuke...

Is actually a shy, somewhat cheerful, somewhat gentle child. Not the cold, stand-offish jerk memorable from the anime.

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And when he sees sasuke he totally remembers why sasuke was a cold standoffish jerk in the anime.

 

Oh shit, oh fucking christ on a christmas cracker, SASUKE. THE UCHIHA MASSACRE.

Fuck Fuck Fuck I am in time to stop it, I have to stop it now I know it hasnt happened yet. I cant just let it happen.

No. Calm down Kouji you have time to fix this, you have a while before it happens. Do not freak out.

 

And now he just has to stop Danzo, The Uchiha elders, and Itachi the child prodigy that makes anbu team leader at 13 from fucking everything to hell, great...just great.

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"Is something wrong?" Naruto asks after class that day.

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“Something bad is going to happen...and until I learn genjutsu I can’t safely tell you what...And I have to figure out how to stop it and I’m only 7!” All his ideas seem dangerous or stupid or half baked and it is stressing him out.

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"Old Man Hokage knows a lot, maybe you can tell him?"

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Kouji is pretty sure the hokage wouldnt act against Danzo for something he might not even have planned yet, and would be an incredible risk of getting thrown into interrogation and torture.

”I really cant tell him, he might make things worse...adults always want to meddle.”

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"I guess? He seems pretty cool..."

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“Im not going to ask for help unless I really have to.”

And Kouji spends the next few days very distracted, going over his past life memories of the manga and kids at school talking about the anime. He will tell Naruto he is fine if asked.

 

And then at recess one day he walks up to sasuke. “Hello Sasuke, It is really really really important I talk to Shisui Uchiha, your older brother knows him right?.” And Kouji is looking around super nervous and paranoid as he does it.

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"Uh, yeah? He's my cousin. He's busy a lot though, but he might be home... Why?"

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“I need to tell him something super super important, I will be in your debt as a ninja if you bring me to him its that important.” Does a low bow to sasuke to convey extra importance!.

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"Huh? That's really not necessary!" He waves his hands. "Big brother will know where he is even if I don't. Do you wanna come home with me after class today?"

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“Yes please, Thank you Sasuke.” And Kouji goes back to sit with Naruto at lunch like usual. He will be fidgety and anxious all day until the end of school.

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Sasuke comes to find him after school. "Hi Kouji! Ready to go?"

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“Yes sasuke.” Shouldering his schoolbag and looking very serious, trying not to freak out and back out of trying to fix the uchiha massacre.

 

And Kouji will follow Sasuke to the uchiha compound, them still having a compound and being segregated was another strike against the hokage in his eyes. 

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Sasuke doesn't seem to think anything's weird with his family living pretty far from the rest of the village. He says hi to a few of his relatives as he runs down the main street, Kouji in tow, then darts past the main house and to a much smaller one a few streets down, more secluded in the cool woods. "This is Shisui's house!" Sasuke explains. "If he's not here we'll go find big brother."

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“Thanks for bringing me.” And trying to contain a tremble he knocks on the door, he knows Shisui is very loyal to konoha maybe this will backfire horribly.

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There's a shout of "One minute!"

After a short pause, the door opens, revealing a guy in his late teens, who doesn't actually look that much like Sasuke other than coloration. He leans against the door frame, says, "Hey you two. What's up?"

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“Uhmm sorry sasuke could you leave? I kind of need to talk to Shisui alone...its kind of a big important secret.” And Kouji bows to Shisui looking not much like a 7 year old at all with his serious determined look on his face.

“I need to tell you something very important, any operational security you can think of to stop this from getting out would be appreciated, you should probably just put me under genjutsu so nobody else can hear it also.”

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"...Sasuke, why don't you go bother Itachi, okay? Tell him I said he needs to spend some time with you, captain's orders."

After a roll of his eyes and a concerned glance at Kouji, the kid obeys.

Shisui then gestures Kouji in, says, "Safer to talk in here. Got some privacy seals up - don't mention stuff's secret outside, okay?"

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“Thank you for taking me seriously...and I think I could play it off as just a 7 year old being silly and wanting to play ninja if anyone asks...” Coming inside behind Shisui, oh by all the powers that exist he hopes this doesnt backfire. But at least he isn’t being blown off like he worried.

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"I was out fighting at your age. Kids these days are a bit sillier than they used to be, but... Well, it's believable something's up."

And his eyes will spin red, and his gaze meets Kouji's, and then they're elsewhere, on the banks of a river. It feels real, certainly, but Shisui says, "Okay, we're in the genjutsu now."

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“I...dont really know where to start...I...Know things, things that havent happened yet and things that already happened...you dont even need to believe any of it just as long as you are more wary in the future...” Shifting nervously and wringing his hands, Shisui could do anything to him in this genjutsu, he doesnt know how to dispell it yet, this was a lot of trust to put on a stranger.

”I guess i will just list the most important things first...Obito Uchiha lives and is masquerading as Madara. Madara is dead. Danzo is helping Sannin Orochimaru do Kinjutsu experiments on people from the village, Danzo will kill and take one of your mangekyo sharingan. Itachi will wipe out the Uchiha living in the village under orders of Danzo because he sees no other way to stop the coup, and yes I know about the coup planning.” He flinches when he says that because of the possible implications.

“I swear I am not a root agent! I couldn’t tell you about Danzo if i was! I-if you have to torture me to believe me I accept that but please dont?.”

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"Hey, kid, breathe, okay? I'm not going to hurt you." He puts a hand on Kouji's shoulder. "That's... A lot, and a lot of it's important." He sighs. "Well, your knowledge base indicates a lot, and pre- and post-cognition isn't out of the realm of possible. I guess - filling me in on what you know that's already happened is better, since I can confirm that more easily."

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Kouji takes a few deep breathes and tries to stop imagining being carted off to interrogation and torture. “I uhhh saw all this on the night of the ninetails attack so I’m not actually sure wether some of this is future knowledge or stuff that’s already happened by now...” Making a maybe believable excuse for his manga knowledge.

He collects his thoughts and tries to map out a rough timeline, it really sucks that the manga wasnt very clear on all this.

”If Orochimaru hasn’t been kicked out of the village yet then he is doing experiments on villagers right now with the help of root bringing him victims, If danzo has his arm all bandaged he has the cloned tissue of first hokage Harashima as an arm, it can do wood release.

He might already have sharingan planted into his arm that let him do a jutsu that lets him become immaterial for ten seconds when “killed” effectively granting him extra lives, or he might have gotten those eyes after the uchiha massacre.

If Akatsuki are well known then find out wether its leader Yahiko is dead or not, Danzo has or will have betrayed Akatsuki to have Yahiko killed by teaming up with Hanzo from Ame. If it hasn’t happened yet it should be stopped, the grief of losing Yahiko turns Nagato mad and he has the Rinnegan eyes of the real Madara.

Oh Oh Oh! The hidden mist kage is controlled by Obito posing as Madara by now I am pretty sure. Don’t go fight Obito he has space time jutsu and has Harashima cells making him stronger.

Obito as Madara caused the ninetales attack and killed the Fourth hokage that is how tough he is.

Naruto is the son of the fourth Hokage and is the ninetails vessel, that one isn’t that useful since it’s not hard to figure out, Root has an agent about my age that can bring to life whatever he draws? I can’t think of that many things I couldn’t have found out in other ways from the past that proves my claim.”

Saying all that was a huge relief, that should be enough to make Shisui at least wary enough to not be killed by Danzo, maybe he can prevent an awful lot of bad future paths right here even if he does get taken to interogation. It will have been worth it, The world will have a much better chance against Kaguya now. He didnt actually mention Kaguya because that might be too much to believe.

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Well this is a shitstorm. Still, better to have intel.

"I'll confirm as much of that as I can - but some of it I'll need to act quickly on." He drags a hand down his face. "Actually, of things you couldn't have known without precognition or mind reading - do you know what my plan for dealing with the coup originally was?"

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“Oh Oh I know that one too! You were going to use your mangekyo sharingan that can mind control or do perfect genjutsu? Its not clear, but you were going to control the Uchiha elders into not doing the coup, your power to do that is why Danzo wants to steal your eyes, he only gets one by the way Itachi gets the other and uses it to save Sasuke.”

He thinks for a bit about wether the risks are worth bringing Itachi into this conspiracy. “I think it’s safe to tell Itachi this? He only wipes out the Uchiha under Danzos orders and threats of Danzo hurting Sasuke and Obito pretending to be Madara offering to help him influencing him, and I think grief from losing you actually you are very important to him I think, The future knowledge only involved stuff I could see and hear no mental intrusion but it sure looked like he cared about you alot.”

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...It's really not good that Itachi would get so upset over him dying that he could be backed into one of those spirals the kid gets into... And yeah it's totally believable Itachi'd get panicked and do something irreversible in his panic. The kid's not even twelve yet. He's allowed to be a bit of an idiot, except their planet kind of sucks.

Itachi also probably would have a panic attack if Shisui told him all this but Shisui knows how to manage those, so.

"I'll do a first pass check myself, but, yeah, I'd agree. If I get killed before I can loop him in - you approaching him might be my best dead man's switch. Though be a bit more subtle, okay?"

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“I didn’t know what to do! Ive known all this since I was 6 months old and perfectly aware since then! Being an academy student was the first hope someone would take me seriously and I fully expected someone to find out I knew something I shouldn’t and drag me to interrogation and torture, I’m a bit desperate okay? And I’m 7 and I have to balance being a kid so nobody gets suspicious and preparing for the future and I can see so so many people dying in the future its just...alot to deal with.”

Takes a few deep breaths, this was the first time he had told anyone anything close to the truth and how he felt.

”How should I contact itachi just in case? And besides your death we have a few years on a lot of other problems so don’t rush things?...you are a fulcrum for a lot of future events you just need to not die, seriously dont die if you die the future sucks because of how your eyes and the grief your death causes are used.

Sasuke cannot grow up as the only member of his clan in this future. Itll stop so many bad things from happening.”

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"I can take over a lot here - can't promise not to ever die, especially if someone like Danzo's after me, but I'll set up as many contingencies as I can."

"For contacting Itachi... There's a safe house he and I use sometimes, I'll give you access, and he'll know if you enter. That's probably best, reduces chances of information being intercepted like with a dead drop."

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“Genjutsu is scary but you have no idea how relieved I am it enables mind to mind secure information transfer, I’d never have contacted you if I had to say any of this out loud. So I should go to the safehouse only if you die? How would I even know they might not tell the village for a while.”

 

Kouji thinks about anything he might have missed.

 

”If it’s not too difficult, getting Naruto access to the shadow clone technique is a good future outcome, not neccesary but it helps, also uhh....this might be more unbelievable but...Sasuke is the reincarnation of Indra son of the sage of six paths? As was Madara? You could confirm this maybe if anyone was familiar with Madara or Indra’s chakra signature? Naruto is the reincarnation of Asura the other son, so most of this is just preventing events that hurt them, also a whole clan being wiped out offends my personal moral sensibilities irrelevant to wether it helps the future.”

 

Hoping he hasn’t strained Shisui’s incredulity too far.

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"I'll set up check-ins; if I miss the next one by more than a week with no indication, go to the safehouse."

"Usually people's past lives don't play a big role? Is it likely to come up in the future?"

 

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“Not for like...10 years, maybe later if we can stop some events happening, but eventually yes it will be critical to have the legacy of Indra and Asura on our side, Sasuke is going to make Madara at his height of power look like a genin, or at least he was going to.”

One thing to look forward to in the future, stomping Kaguya into the dirt and saving the world.

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"A late bloomer, huh? Itachi's going to be proud. I'll need more information soon - especially once I've put out some of these more pressing fires - and it wouldn't hurt for you to tell me everything now, but I understand being wary."

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“So I uhhh...I’ve trusted you more right now than I’ve ever trusted anyone, even Naruto and he’s my brother practically, also if you don’t die but get captured by any parties from a bigger scale than Konoha and the immediate threats...you can’t  tell them what you dont know? Sorry...I just...the end the scale of all this is really big world changing stuff.

 

Right now I just want to save konoha its future some troubles...save my friend and the people who will be his friends and their families. I think after some of the heavy hitters grow old enough to be the heavy hitters we need I can tell you? Though hopefully with you still alive and Itachi still on the side of konoha thatll be a few heavy hitters that wouldn’t otherwise have been in play.”

 

the fear and paranoia has faded a bit and now it was just kind of akward talking to this older boy...social instincts that make no sense in this situation are still rearing their ugly head.

 

”So uhmm...tell me the check ins and maybe some passwords so I know it’s you inside a genjutsu and not someone else and I’ll go home?...any longer and it won’t really be beleivable that I just came out to play with sasuke...”

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"That's a reasonable precaution."

He'll pass on locations, times (a week from now for the first), and passwords, and also - "There's a small time dilation effect here, like with most genjutsu. You'll have time to play with Sasuke, too. Boy could use some friends his own age..."

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“He seems nice so I will try, I guess out here isolated from the rest of the village that hates Naruto he might get along with Naruto also, so I should introduce them.” Kouji feels strange about not really being a kid sasuke’s own age...as much as sometimes he does feel 7 and can just let go and play like a child, a lot of the time he feels the 24 years of existence he has had wearing on his soul. If anyone else is getting reincarnated like he did how do they even deal with that feeling?

”Which way is Sasuke’s house?.”

So Kouji leaves Shisui’s house and heads over to Sasuke’s house, maybe he can get a few words in with Itachi also if he is there, not about the important stuff but about spending more time training with Sasuke like Sasuke wants him to, bond more with him. Just in case the massacre happens again maybe some more happy memories will help Sasuke. But otherwise just playing with Sasuke will still be a good outcome.

 

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Sasuke's curious what he talked with Shisui about, but is willing to be dissuaded from asking questions (he is used to shinobi), and is very energetic about wanting to run around and play hide-and-seek and practice chakra and throwing shuriken...

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When they've been playing a while, Sasuke's mom comes out, and smiles warmly at Kouji. "Hello!" she says. "I see you boys have been having fun. Do you want to stay for dinner, Kouji?"

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Gives a shy smile back at Sasuke’s mom, she reminds him of his mom Hiroko. “Sorry! I’d like to but I have to make dinner for Naruto, I cook at our place and I didn’t tell him I would be out late so he might get worried if I do, plus I have other chores to do, having an apartment is hard work. Thanks for the offer!”.

 

Kouji says goodbye to Sasuke and thanks him for everything today then goes home. The village looks very pretty at sunset on the walk home as the orange glow hits the mess of different types of rooftops, watching the scenery and just altogether pretty relieved about how today went.

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She understands, and tells him to come back anytime - and bring his friends, too.

(They're past the point of it being important people not suspect them for interacting with Naruto...)

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Naruto's bouncy (and hungry!) when he gets home, and has a lot of questions about Sasuke.

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He tells naruto all about how nice Sasuke is and how he has way better practice shuriken than the ones Kouji carved himself, and how he will ask next time if Naruto can come along.

All the while making dinner, It is special fried rice with bacon. Kouji seems so much more relaxed than he has been the past few days.

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That's good!

Naruto's excited to make more friends. They can bring Sakura along! Then he'll have an entire three friends!!!

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He tells Naruto to maybe tone it down around Sakura if she comes along, maybe let her get used to his exuberance first? She seems like a quiet girl.

Sasuke had enough energy to keep up with Naruto when Kouji played with him today though. So he plans to ask Sakura and Sasuke if they want to hang out with him and naruto tommorrow.

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"That sounds great! And I'll try to be a bit calmer..."

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“Just so you don’t scare her at first, I’m sure she will warm up to you okay?.”

And dinner is eaten and bedtimes are had and a new day begins, and after school Kouji finds Sakura and politely asks if she wants to hang out with him and Naruto.

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"Sure!" she says, brushing her hair out of her eyes. She seems a bit subdued today, maybe having to do with the girls who were whispering around her, but is perking back up pretty quickly.

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“I am also going to ask Sasuke, if he says yes mind if he comes too?.” Oh yeah...the bullying that was happening to Sakura, how different would Sakura be with friends that werent Ino and already being friends with Sasuke instead of being Ino’s romantic rival for him. Hopefully she still ends up the confident powerful woman she ended up being in the manga, Kouji is really hoping that stopping all this early life misery doesn’t weaken anyone, he doesn’t want to think that misery is the secret to strength in the Naruto universe.

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"Don't really know him but I guess it's fine?"

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So off Kouji goes to ask Sasuke if he wants to hang out and collects Naruto on the way. 

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Sasuke's fine with hanging out -

And it takes him about five seconds to get into a fist fight with Naruto.

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Does it look serious or just them being kids brought up in a warrior culture? Naruto has been training with Kouji since they were young he should know how to not hurt Sasuke on accident.

If it looks serious Kouji will step in between them.

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Looks like Naruto insulted Sasuke - or probably Sasuke's brother - and Sasuke got bristly. Kouji's prior experience with young boys suggests there's a decent chance they'll come out of this as friends-who-hit-each-other-with-sticks-for-fun, though they might also turn into sworn enemies. Or both! Hard to tell.

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Hopefully not sworn enemies, he hoped they’d be proper friends sooner if introduced earlier...hmmm...

 

Kouji climbs up on bench and points his fist to the sky. “Bet neither of you can beat me! You are both doomed to never graduate as I will become hokage!.” Common enemies for the win.

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He's going to get tackled by two very energetic six year old boys -

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And punched by a girl annoyed at all this squabbling.

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“Noooo Sakura not you too! How could you betray me!.” Squirming under Sasuke and Naruto trying to escape, Kouji is wily and pinches naruto to make him let go and scrambles away. “Mwahahaha I’m the invincible fourth sannin Kouji and youll never catch me.” Running away, Kouji is good at running.

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Naruto is very good at running, especially over distances! But Sasuke is cheatingly fast, and will probably catch up first.

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Duck dip dodge duck and weave! Kouji is good at evading for a while but the two boys are faster and do catch him. Panting and out of breath and giggling with Sasuke and Naruto pinning him down.

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Naruto starts a tickle fight!

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A tickle fight ensues between the boys, though kouji mostly just tries to squirm out of the way of attacking hands than actually tickling anyone.

“I will never surrender!”.

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"You're both idiots," is Sasuke's contribution as Naruto keeps tickling Kouji.

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Kouji shares a look with Naruto and then they both gang up on Sasuke. “Not an idiot if we win!”.

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Sasuke shouts, flails, and goes down.

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Sakura flips from mildly annoyed to giggling at the sight.

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High fives are had with Naruto at the win and then Kouji gets off Sasuke. Being a kid is fun! Especially now he doesn’t feel so alone with his problems and the anxiety that caused not getting in the way of having a good time anymore.

 

 

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"You guys are annoying..." Sasuke grumbles as he gets up, but he doesn't seem actually all that upset.

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Jeez friendship is easy, he remembered making friends being way harder in his past life. Experience probably helps things along.

 

”What should we do next? Throw practice shurikens? Make up cool jutsu? Try and blow up leaves by overcharging the leaf sticking excercise?.” Making that last thing that naruto did by accident seem like a cool goal instead.

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"I wanna do the exercise!" Sakura says. She's very proud of her control, and is more enthusiastic about that than running around, which she isn't as good at yet.

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"I like shuriken more..." Sasuke says.

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"Jutsu!" is Naruto's contribution.

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“Okay!.” And Kouji puts the bag with the rough practice shuriken on the floor in front of Sasuke, grabs some leaves to go to Sakura, and motions Naruto to follow.

 

 “Sasuke can practice with shuriken, I will practice trying to do things with leaves with Saukra and switch to Shuriken on and off, and Naruto I will try and do all this while talking to you about jutsu, need to be able to do stuff while distracted!”.

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"That's not fun though, we should all play together."

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“But you all want to do different things?...” social dynamics is hard when you have had only a single friend for years.

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"Yeah, but we wanna do them together."

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“Trying to blow up leaves with the basic excercise first I guess? If you are okay with waiting for your favourite activity...” glancing at Naruto and Sasuke.

And so Kouji shoots off leaves into the air or tries to blow them up with his new friends. Maybe he will even learn something.

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They're not favorites just stuff they feel like doing right now?

Naruto has a lot of fun blowing up leaves, though! And he and Sasuke quickly discover the joys of launching leaves at each other at high speed!

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Kouji tries launching heavier things like pebbles, but not at anyone of course and never pointing his arm at anyone when holding a pebble. He still remembers gun safety lessons from his life as Alexander.

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That fails for all of them except Sakura, though mostly for balance reasons - pebbles aren't as responsive to the chakra, and are uneven in different ways.

Sakura's totally not hesitating to shoot pebbles at the boys. They're near a hospital anyways, it's fine!

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Hmmm what if he adds spin to the the pebbles like a bullet? Or uses very flat stones that spin sideways like a frisbee?.

And at least Naruto isn’t launching pebbles at people, he might have some dangerous speed behind his shots what with the massive chakra reserves.

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They spin off into the distance!

Sakura is now trying to juggle other things, shooting things in the air and catching them on their way back down. Several of the things she's juggling are sharp and pointy.

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“You really shouldn’t be doing that with real shuriken! Use the wooden practice ones! Didn’t you learn weapon safety in class?.” Very worried Kouji trying to come close to Sakura to stop her but also doesn’t want something pointy landing on him.

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She laughs. "It's fine, see? And mom said the hospital can reattach fingers just fine!"

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“Losing fingers is still bad! It hurts alot! Please put them away before someone gets hurt, I’m serious Sakura.” Holy shit she did not seem this carefree with the safety of extremities in the manga.

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"Okay." She de-juggles the sharp pointy things. 

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Literally the biggest sigh of relief ever when Sakura puts away the weapons, Kouji hands her some of his practice shuriken and teaches her his trick of imparting spin to pebbles and flat rocks to make them fly better.

 

Then he tries to teach Naruto and Sasuke how to add spin to things. Being able to launch rocks seems like a useful distraction tool to have so he puts in the effort to be extra patient with Narutos high chakra and poor control and to explain things carefully.

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Naruto can launch things fast and with great speed but not particularly accurately nor consistently.

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Sasuke gets the trick almost immediately.

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Kouji wonders if paintballs exist...this would be amazing for paintball fights. “If we found something soft to launch we could have tag with this! Whoevers gets hit is out, or put some paint on them so you can see who got tagged!” This seems like the best idea ever to Kouji. But they have spent a good while shooting pebbles and leaves.

 

”Time for shuriken practice? You wanted to do that at first Sasuke.”

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"Yeah! There's a good training ground this way!"

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And so off they go to spend the rest of their time together practicing and goofing off and having fun.

The next week is spent like this, hanging out after school with Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura when they arent busy, playing and training. And Kouji waits for news from Shisui.

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After a week, a small raven starts eating the little bits of crumbs children inevitably leave everywhere - and that Sasuke starts dropping intentionally when he sees the bird.

"Ravens are good luck," he whispers to the others, "And they're really smart. My cousin Akimi taught one to steal beads for her for treats."

(He doesn't say that might be a nin-bird. He knows not to tattle on Shisui and Itachi's friends.)

The raven hops up to them, caws, and turns its head side to side, eyeing their meals.

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Kouji knows itachi uses a raven, eyeing it a little. Kouji made sandwiches for lunch and throws the raven some bread crust.

”Hey there bird, you wouldn’t happen to be one of those ravens that can imitate speech would you?.” Birds are cool, plus he didnt like the crusts anyway.

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It croaks and steals his crust, fluttering off with it to a fence then looking at him back and forth with its beady little eyes - 

That might have a glint of red in them.

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Kouji sure hopes Itachi was brought in on this by Shisui and it is not just Itachi scoping him out on his own...

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He's pulled into a genjutsu - 

Itachi's seated at a small table, with a plate of small sweets and a pot of tea with two cups. The room's plain, but warm and well lit and homey.

"Hello," he says. "Shisui told me to talk to you."

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Kouji asks for one of the passwords he set up with Shisui. You can never be too careful. And if Shisui had the passwords tortured out of him then he was screwed anyway.

 

”What did he tell you about me exactly? I may not be trained as anbu but I understand the concept of informational security and need to know basis.”

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He has the passwords - and, "That you had visions of the future, where he was killed by Danzo, and I killed the clan, and you were very concerned about Sasuke somehow causing problems down the line if traumatized, and you believe Sasuke to be the reincarnation of Indra and Madara. Obito is posing as Madara and controlling the Mizukage. Orochimaru is conducting illegal experiments. A few other minor details, primarily what he observed about you."

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“Well guess he trusts you enough to tell you everything I told him...Did you confirm any of the information I gave him? Does Danzo have his harashima clone arm yet? Or any stolen uchiha eyes yet? Have you found any missing persons that could be linked to ROOT or Orochimaru?

I really really need you guys to believe me.”

If nothing he he knows from canon has happened yet and everything he says is as yet unverified... nobody should believe him, he really hopes that is not the case.

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"We've confirmed the Mizukage being controlled, and Orochimaru - we weren't able to confirm Danzo's participation in experiments."

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“Hah that Is great! I mean it isnt great that these things are happening...but my memories of what I saw might have been totally wrong, could have been false or implanted by someone, but now I know they are accurate. Also Orochimaru’s research needs to be taken intact if possible but also kept secret there is some dangerous stuff in there, and don’t let the hokage let Orochimaru escape just because he was Sarutobi’s pupil. That nepotism risks the whole village, Orochimaru comes back and kills the Third hokage later if this happens.

 

And Danzo doesn’t have a obviously bandaged arm yet? That is a relief...that harashima clone arm and implanted Sharingans made him near impossible to put down, Sasuke just ended up killing him over and over and over until he ran out of eyes to sacrifice in the timeline I saw.”

This is so much easier if Danzo is just a powerful ninja and can be assassinated like a mortal man. And maybe this time they can stop Orochimaru early.

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"He has a bandaged arm; he lost use of it in the Second War. It's unlikely he had the implantation done that far back - we haven't been able to confirm one way or another."

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“Shit shit then it could have happened already...It might have happened After Orochimaru was chased out of the village, the visions were not in sequential order! The timeline I have is rough.

 

I wouldn’t have wanted to take on Danzo this early anyway though. Besides the Uchiha massacre he doesn’t do much that is that harmful for the next 9-ish years to my knowledge besides training more children as ROOT, we had time to prepare.”

And then Kouji’s social instincts rear their ugly head and make him realise how akward it is talking to an older kid like this.

”ah...now that’s all out of the way...Hi I’m Kajitsu Kouji and I know way more about you probably than you would be comfortable with?.”

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Itachi's lips twitch into a small smile. "I'm Uchiha Itachi. And you probably then know that as long as it helps save Sasuke - information on me isn't something I like people having, but that's worth it."

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“You did....technically save Sasuke a lot of times in what I saw...but he did not have a happy life...I will leave out the details. You obviously love him a whole lot, you sacrificed a lot for him in what I saw.

You also looked really good in Akatsuki robes when you infiltrated them.” Weak smile at the weak joke he made, hiding how nervous he was.

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"The details won't hurt me, and might help me navigate going forwards," he says, voice gentle.

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“Growing up with no clan wasn’t...great, you encouraged him to hate you and to grow strong enough to kill him to act on that hate before you left so he could be the one to punish you for what you did.

And growing up believing you have to hate your own brother so much that the hate could let you catch up to him to defeat him... He was very angry all the time and never made friends, it was unhealthy and obssesive and in the end he betrayed the village once he found out the destruction of his clan was ordered by a village elder.

He went to Orochimaru after he promised the power to deafeat you, knowing Orochimaru wanted to take over his body as long as you died he was fine with it.

He was sorta rival friends with Naruto and Naruto tried real hard to get him to come back to the village, he did eventually after they defeated a threat to the whole ninja world together and broke the cycle of the Asura and Indra reincarnations fighting each other but it took years.

It all ended okay, he got married and had adorable kids to rebuild the uchiha and helped Naruto run the rebuilt Konoha, but too many people died and suffered to get there, so I want to change things early.” Sasuke had such a shit life in the manga, no wonder he was an angsty jerk all the time in that timeline.

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He goes silent for a short time, then, quietly: "That does sound like an unideal outcome."

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“He didnt kill you you know...you die from a disease...so be careful in three to five years for diseases...I know that isnt very helpful advice.” Looking down at the ground.

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"There's some things it might be... If I'm a shinobi of Konoha, and not a missing-nin, I'm more likely to have adequate health care. Still, I'll be on the lookout."

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“You probably wont even be in the country or town you catch it in now...Doubt you will end up in that town on that day even if you do travel there now. Time is chaotic that way...I gave up my information advantage of the future to stop less risky to the world as a whole but more sad outcomes early.” Kicks his foot and feels so damn awkward standing here with Itachi.

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"Hopefully it'll turn out for the better. And... If you could give me the details of my disease - there's some diseases that run in my family."

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“All I saw is you coughing up blood before you died and later a message you planted in a crow for Sasuke saying you kept yourself alive long enough to be able to face him, so he could take your eyes and have the mangekyo that doesnt degrade with use. Sorry that isnt very specific...you looked pale but you were spending lots of time underground so...yeah.”

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He hums. 

"If there's any more information about future threats - you're more vulnerable to having information extracted than either myself or Shisui, and if you die that information will be lost. Even if you don't feel comfortable now - it's important for you to share it before you become a genin."

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“I may be more vulnerable...but you two are more likely to be captured, more likely to be noticed and suspected if you moved against these threats beyond just those involving the safety of the village, and these small threats being stopped prevent the bigger threats from having tools later on.

 

This is bigger than the village, Literally the only reason I told anyone anything is because Genjutsu cannot be overheard, no matter how secure the place I would never say these things out loud. You win without me in the future I saw, and hopefully many of the threats have been headed off early so the risk is not catastrophic if i die.

 

The risk of you not hearing it vs the risk of someone extracting it from you is too skewed to not telling you the big stuff.” He wants to tell Itachi and Shisui...he really does...that way it wouldn’t be his problem anymore and they could deal with it instead...but Zetsu and Obito cannot find out he knows their plan.

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"That's a reasonable analysis. I do think you're - over estimating how likely it is for information Shisui and I know to escape, though."

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Well this was a morbid subject, why didn’t they teach you how to talk about death and capture in school. This was so awkward.

“I am uhhh...glad you’ve been shifted from the path that leads to the massacre...wasn’t a very happy life for you either.”

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"I can imagine," he says, voice quiet.

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“Can I go back to the real world now? I don’t how heavy the time dilation is.”

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"It won't have been long enough for anyone to notice a pause, yet, but yes."

And the genjutsu ends.

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And Kouji tries to act like nothing happened and continues on with lunch.

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The others, fortunately, don't seem to notice anything at all.

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So Kouji spends time in the academy doing academy stuff, ignoring classes that teach him stuff he already knows and so gets a reputation as a lazy student from some teachers. It’s mostly a lot of basic info about the world that is useful to Kouji right now, filling in the huge gaps in knowledge the manga left. That and the physical eduction classes which he gives his all in.

 

He practices launching things with chakra ALOT, building up aim and projectile speed. He can bury a pebble deep into a tree right into a centimetre wide target now if he charges it up long enough. He also has good enough chakra control and stamina to walk up walls now without risking falling off and breaking his neck and that is neat.

 

He spends lots of time playing with the future team 7 and they become great friends so early on. Kouji hopes it helps Sakura with the bullying she is receiving from the other girls. They play and practice and become a lot further ahead in skill than a lot of the other kids.

 

Kouji breathes an enourmous sigh of relief when Itachi’s raven comes to tell Kouji that Shisui wasn’t killed by Danzo. Shisui just made himself hard to ambush for the predicted time in wich it happened, and Shisuis plan to stop the uchiha coup worked out fine.

 

The last few months worked out great! The timeline seems much improved and on the right track.

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Around the time when the Uchiha massacre was supposed to happen Kouji is at Sasuke’s house practicing with the real shuriken that Sasuke owns together with him, he has practiced enough with wooden ones to feel perfectly safe using the real ones now.

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"Sasuke, dear, can you go find your brother for dinner?" Mikoto asks, smiling.

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"Yes mom!" Sasuke scampers off after a quick, "Be right back!" to Kouji.

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"Careful you don't trip, your ankle's still injured!" she calls after him, then turns to Kouji, still smiling. "So, you're the one that's been friends with my boys, hm?"

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Kouji feels a bit akward talking to parents without their kids around as a social buffer. “Uhmm...yes ma’am”

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"Good. They could use a friend. Itachi and Shisui especially. Itachi always seems to be involving himself in what should be adult matters..."

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“With Shisui around to keep him grounded I think Itachi will be fine...he is almost an adult.” 13 years old and an anbu captain is an adult in the ninja world.

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"Well, yes, though Shisui has odd ideas sometimes, too, like who it's appropriate to use his illusions on."

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Kouji tilts his head acting innocent as best he can. “Shisui uses genjutsu on people without permission?.”

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"He is a shinobi. I suppose he asks for your permission?"

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Kouji looks sheepish. “I asked him to...he had permission when he used it on me, we just talked inside it with time dilation on to be efficient. Nothing to be worried about.”

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"It's strange," she says softly, "How the young always think they're smarter than the old."

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Mikoto was pretty young, Kouji might even be older than her if he counted his previous life as well. As far as he knew there really wasn’t anything to be worried about with Shisui using genjutsu on him. “What? are there side effects to using genjutsu like that I didn’t know about? I’ve read as much about the subject as I can but obviously I cant read everything.”

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"Oh, not much. Changing goals and personalities, for only the most powerful, but a lingering sense of unreality tends to be the worst that happens with weaker genjutsu. Of course, a weak genjutsu isn't what Shisui used on my husband, is it?"

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Kouji is very very still. “I don’t know what you are talking about.” Oh shit oh fuck she knows.

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"I think you do, Kouji."

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“Nope, no idea what that could mean” Very purposefully not meeting her gaze.

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"You've been conspiring with my son and his cousin. I am well aware of Shisui's powers. I do not think it's to your advantage to try and pretend you don't know."

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“Even if I did know anything, and I don’t. I wouldn’t be much of a ninja if I just told someone some supposed secret when they just asked me.” Very very pointedly not meeting her red eyed gaze. He is 7 and she wouldn’t do anything too bad to make him talk, right?.

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She crouches down next to him. "Kouji... I can help you," she says, softly. "I want what's best for my family, and for my nation."

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“Yup I have those exact same priorities so nothing to worry about at all whatsoever, If I do any conspiring it will be with those goals in mind. But I can honestly say I have not been involved in planning any conspiracies involving using genjutsu on your husband.” Technically true, the plan was made long before he came along, all he did was make sure it didn’t fail due to Shisui dying.

”So I do not know what you are talking about ma’am.”

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She sighs. "I'd rather you not make me read your mind, you know."

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“Mind reading isn’t a thing! Otherwise why would torture and interrogation be a whole division! Mind reading cannot be a thing!” Otherwise he already fucked and all his security precautions are totally useless and Zetsu could have read his mind at any time and still be able to re-awaken Kaguya by taking away Koujis advantage of suprise and undoing his plans. Kouji was starting to visibly panic even as he tries to mentally dismiss that claim.

“Look I also want whats best for the village and your family so can’t you just drop it? Reading my mind is really really bad for everyone.” So he starts thinking of things that couln’t possible have any use to anyone in this world from his past life, old movies and videogames and dinners with Luca’s family after a succesful job. Just in case the mind reading really exists and can only read currently thought memories.

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"Do not underestimate techniques. Do not underestimate me. You see a house-wife when you look at me, don't you? You three children, who have no idea what forces you're playing with."

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“You don’t know what YOU are dealing with! The information inside my head cannot get out! And it has nothing to do with anything Shisui has planned!” He shouldn’t have revealed any of that, but sometimes he just feels 7 and overwhelmed.

 

”If there is some secret information that Itachi or Shisui knows that you should know they would have told you! But It looks like youve already deduced the small time plot you are worried about so why ask me? Agghhh!”

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"I love Itachi but he's a stubborn idiot. And - if there's something bigger than this, then more people than one should know. Three's not a secret, but one's a risk of being lost."

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“Intel being lost is better than it being known in this case. I had to trust Shisui because I had no choice, ask him to come on board if you want and he can tell you what he knows, but I do not know you at all well enough to trust you. If you think what a child like me knows can be Important and you trust your son enough that him taking it seriously makes it serious enough for you to also take it seriously then no mindreading!

 

You obviously already know whats happened to your husband so fine yes that happened, to stop the coup that would have ended badly for everyone. Happy now? So back off from what else is in my head.”

 

Aggghhh this was too much to deal with! Too many people knew something was up now! He hoped being sasuke’s friend would be enough cover to meet with Shisui and Itachi but apparently not. “I really hope the mindreading is a your ability only kind of thing or I may as well fire a rock into my brain to stop anyone from knowing.”

 

It is the literal end of the world at stake here, and the safety of everyone he cares about. They cannot be made targets of because of their closeness to him if Zetsu or Akatsuki found out about what he knew somehow.

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"Mind reading techniques exist," she says, voice almost gentle. "The ANBU have a room which can reveal a target's memories. The Yamanaka can stride through your mind. It's possible to build barriers, to seal away knowledge, which can only slowly be weakened - and that's something I know how to do. Let me help."

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“You couldn’t  just point me to a primer in the library? I told you ask Shisui or Sasuke if you want in, I’ll trust their decision if they want to let you in, but for all I know you could be a sleeper agent for....a certain organization. They know you much better than I do.” Oops he almost said Root out loud to someone he didn’t know if they already knew about it.

 

”Look you already got what you wanted when you cornered me, why your husband was Genjutsu’d. Isn”t that enough?.”

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"There are no primers in the library. But I suppose we can wait for Sasuke to return with Itachi, then. My son is a fool at times, but he'll see sense eventually. And, no. I don't appreciate being treated like I'm no one of concern."

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Well Kouji will wait super awkwardly with Mikoto then for Itachi and sasuke to come back then.

This was the worst. He should have just denied and not let anything at all slip or told her what she wanted to know first, it’s not like her knowing about the coup prevention mattered in the large scale.

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Itachi pauses, eyeing his mother a bit warily, when Sasuke leads him in.

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Kouji looks incredibly guilty and does not meet Itachi's eyes at all as he walks in, he gave way too much away.

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Sasuke's shooed off to go do homework quickly enough. 

Itachi seems tense - and not like he's going to be the one to start this conversation.

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"Now, children," says Mikoto, "There's some things I'd like to know. Kouji?"

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“She guessed something bigger was up when she threatened me with mind reading! But I didn’t tell her anything specifc at all I promise. Sorry Itachi... She also knew about the genjutsu on your dad which is what she started grilling me about in the first place... I told her if she wants to know anything she should ask you. It’s up to you wether you let her in, I dont know her so I don’t know how big a risk that is...” He visibly squirms at saying things like not being able to trust a person when they were right there. And guilt at having given so much away that it led to this situation.

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"Well, my son? Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

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"I did what I must."

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"That's the thing with you, isn't it. What you must."

She steps closer to him. "You're my son. I know you. I do not wish you or your dreams harm - but you do not want me as an enemy."

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Something in her eyes seems to set him on edge.

"It was needed to prevent the deaths of everyone," he says, tightly.

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"So they would've killed us to stop us, then. Every last one. Did they tell you to wield the blade? Even onto your brother?"

There's a heavy feeling in the air. Still, her voice is pleasant, gentle.

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"That's not your concern."

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"My clan is my concern. My children are my concern."

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"You can't undo the illusion, and if you try to oppose the Leaf you will all be killed."

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She's smiling, for some reason.

"You think I don't know that? To rush ahead was my husband's idea. Unlike him, I know how to live in a cage. I will help you with managing the fallout of this - and there will be fallout. You and Shisui are not as clever as you think you are."

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Tightly: "Very well."

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Well, Kouji is just happy she isn't asking about his conspiracy. If she focuses on Shisui's plan that's fine with him. He is just trying very hard to be unnoticeable while they talk.

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"Though I am so very curious as to why you involved young Kouji."

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"I was telling the truth when I told you I wasn't involved with that plan." He whines.

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"And yet you seem to know an awful lot about what's going on."

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"I know lots of things! That doesn't mean I had anything to do with planning this plot. I told you the information I knew was bigger than any of this small-time plot and had nothing to do with the Uchiha Genjutsu plan." He pouts. "Why does nobody actually listen to me. You won't overlook me because I'm a child but then you don't take me seriously when I tell you things."

He did act to make sure it didn't fail and that the Uchiha massacre didn't occur by warning Shisui about the attempt on his life, but he did not plan any of it or carry it out. So all technically true.

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"So you involved yourself?"

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"I had nothing to do with the execution of the plan either! I just...happened to know about it." This is so incredibly awkward, he just wants the earth to swallow him up right now. "Shisui and Itachi are helping me with other things that aren't related." Okay, maybe that last one was actually a lie. It was sort of related since he did want Sasuke to keep having a clan for future plans.

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"And you happened to know... How?"