Hello, thar. Meinos Kaen here!
Well, it's been a while since the last one of these, hasn't it? I guess I just needed to lay down, have some time to myself and think about yet another exciting What If. Then I remembered that I'm preparing a special article with a friend from the forums and I thought that it would be nice to do a What If that at least partially tied in with it. I temporarily dropped the idea when I realized it would be quite difficult to do it without also spoiling the article. So, I had to think of something else. Then I remembered the latest fully translated Naruto movie, finding out that it contained a way. So today, I ask this of you, my dear fans...
What if Naruto had gone back in time and stayed there?
For those who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, there's gonna need to be a little plot exposition first, of course. The movie on exam is the fourth Naruto Shippuden Anime one, titled The Lost Tower. Of course, like most of the movies it suffers from a number of not brushed over details and some ridiculous stuff, but at least this one had a decent final boss fight and the villan's plot had some idiotic part but it made sense, and the power he wanted to possess was truly frightening. An army of puppets able to recombine and rebuild themselves at infinitum as long as they got chakra and an infinite chakra source. See the equation, here?
The whole movie starts when Naruto, upon breaking a seal placed on this source by the Fourth Hokage, ends up back some days before the sealing itself along with Yamato. In the end, the effect of the seal runs out and he goes back to his own time, with the Fourth erasing everyone's memories for safe-keeping seconds before that happens. Talk about convenience... Moving on, wanting to put logic into the damn thing, correct me if I'm wrong since I'm not that good at quantum physics: for something to keep supplying a time-shifting effect without the object/person completely being sent back in time... Well, that would necessarily need an ungodly amount of energy, right? Can't be that chakra source, since a seal is supposed to keep things locked and thanks to the beauty of time paradoxes, it stayed sealed.
So, let's say that the thing doesn't end and that both Naruto and Yamato stay back in time. How would something like that change things, I wonder?
I – It hurts, you know
So, diverting from the movie's finale, we have Naruto and Yamato stranded years before their time. Naruto hasn't even been born. The only one who might be able to help them find a way back, being an expert in time-space techniques, is the Fourth but even for him it's going to take time to create such a jutsu from scratch. Also, there are two small problems. One, Yamato has the First's genes and his Mokuton abilities but in this time Orochimaru has yet to turn traitor and crazy. Two, Naruto is Minato's son and they are now both aware of this. For all intent and purposes, the two cannot go back to that time's Konoha lest they change the future they're supposed to go back to.
So, our Naruto is stranded in another time and he finally knows who his parents were/are but he has to stay away from them and his home. That can't be healthy for a teenage mind. Still needing to know where to find them, Minato makes the proposition of the two joining princess Sarah and her people who are in the process of leaving Rouran, now a dead city without the sealing of the infinite energy which made it once prosperous. We have a young Jounin-to-be knowing about his future as a Hokage and that he will be a father, and two men from the future who can do nothing else but wait. If this can't make Naruto -who's always had at least the option of tackling his problems- go into a slump, I don't know what can. But we can't have that, can we?
II - My turn, now
The mood swings in the blonde shinobi would not be unnoticed by the latest one who he turned around to be a better person, alas princess Sarah. She owes him a wake-up call and through that the life of her people. She can't very well allow him to go moody on the world after that. Problem is, she has no experience nor ideas about how to do something like that. I see her uneasily asking for tips to her people and Yamato himself, being the one who's known Naruto the longest. We all know that the best way to distract Naruto is to give him something to do and we have lots of people in need of a new home and we have a Mokuton user and a Kage Bunshin prodigy. Meet the two-men Owlfox Carpenter Team!
That would do wonders for Naruto’s mood, since if working on a whole city would distract him, having people grateful to him and smiling and talking to him as casually as they would be with anyone else would make him happy. I can see Yamato's fitting in just fine, Mokuton apart his scary faces would be a hit with the kids. Regarding Sara, Naruto being her first friend, I can see her being happy for him but at the same time sad that his being busy with construction doesn't allow the two to spend much time together.
The Fourth first visits this quickly risen new Rouran to find two hopeful but still happy nins. Sadly, researching a time-travel technique takes a while and at this time Konoha is also smack in the middle of a ninja world war. So, that leaves the visits finding a sense in some good old father-son bonding only. Yeah, Naruto would be pissed about the sealing still but come on, his father is in front of him in flesh and blood, not as a ten minutes chakra ghost. Although this Minato is not that much older than Naruto, which would make the thing awkward for the older blond. No revealing future events on Naruto’s part, Minato is as adamant on that as Doc Brown, but getting to know the person his son has become. Finally, I can see him pointing out on his first visit that a certain princess may be feeling lonely. Having recently discovered about her mother's true fate, being betrayed and having to act like a real queen for the first time in her life, on her own, while he built things to get out of his slump.
Never one to keep making a mistake once it gets pointed out to him, our blonde promptly starts spending time with Sarah again. Eventually, I see Naruto suggesting Yamato to become her new advisor, being the only one who would have even an inkling of how to be a governor. A couple years pass. New Rouran becomes prosperous, father and son bond more with each visit, Yamato gets accustomed to his role and a blonde ninja and redhead princess become better and better acquainted. Rumours that the first king of New Rouran will have whiskers-like birthmarks start flying around. Then, something happens that starts taking this thing along for a real ride.
III - Well, I figured, what the hell?
As I said, the Rouran mission had to happen right smack or a small time before the Third Great Ninja War and in the movie, Kakashi was twelve and had both of his original eyes yet. Which means that when the fatal mission in Rock happens, Naruto is there. I can see Obito's death sending Minato's thoughts spiraling. Usually, people make peace with deaths because ultimately they cannot be avoided. But, in this case, there's a possibility he could have. Next time he meets Naruto, he asks him to answer a question of his with a Yes or No. He asks him if he knew about his subordinate's death. Well, in Canon, Naruto doesn't really know about Obito, but he knows that Kakashi lost his best friend and that he didn't always have the Sharingan. Put it together with the new information and the name Obito Uchiha, he would utter a big, fat, heavy (for Minato) Yes.
This confirms to Minato that he could have avoided Obito's death had he been willing to mess with time. That would haunt everyone. It's the whole basis of Spider-Man's career, after all. Now, I see this scene happening.
"... Naruto." His father still didn't raise his head, staring at the floor. At least the silence was now broken. "Are... Are other bad things going to happen, in the future?"
"... Yes." He could name a few. A few things, a few people. A few deaths.
"If you told me about them, could we avoid them?"
"Maybe." That wasn't a reply he had asked for. The eighteen years old sighed. "Sorry, but... Some are complicated stuff. It's not easy to give a reply."
"Ok." Minato gripped his hands together, hard. Knowledge wouldn't be a surefire way of preventing things but it damn sure would help. And yet, how could he ask something like that of his own son? There was the risk that-
"Dad, if you want to know... It's okay." He finally raised his head, eyes wide as he stared at the future fruit of his loins. "I'll tell you."
"Naruto, if you do it, there's the risk that-"
"No risk. We would be changing the future." Naruto grinned. "Fine by me. I don’t like most of the things that have happened either, you know."
"But if we do this, you may not go back, or better your future may not be there anymore! Ever! Neither you nor Yamato!" Minato stood up from his seat, bewildered. "You may never see-"
"No, I will. I will see everyone again, someday. They just won't know it's me." Those words brought a melancholic smile to the teen's face. "But at least I can make sure they will be happy." 'Especially Sasuke.' "Everybody wins. Yamato-taichou is also okay with this."
"... Are you sure?" Minato felt hope but at the same time dread, sadness.
"How's the time-travel jutsu coming along?" The Jounin winced at that. Naruto guwaffed. "Seriously! It's okay! But!" The genin raised an index finger. "There are some conditions."
"I want to see Konoha again. I mean, not move there. Visit. Moving in would be weird, the both of us looking alike and stuff. Also, I..." Minato raised an eyebrow at Naruto's sudden embarrassment. He was grinning sheepishly and flushing. "Well, I mean, I kinda like it here."
"... Oh." The father allowed himself a knowing smirk. "I see... Well, I'm happy for you, Naruto. Congratulations."
"H-Hey! It's not like we're getting married or-I mean, I don't know what you're talking about." Naruto blushed further, much to the future Hokage's amusement. "Hey! We're talking conditions here, remember?!"
So, Naruto starts changing the future with his dad. I see him coming to visit once in a while parading as a 'cousin' of Minato, make-up to hide the whiskers. Yeah. Ninja can detect henge, but I bet only a few would expect make-up. I think that the old Mito would be able to tell the truth or at least suspect when she felt the presence of another Kyuubi around. Regarding the Kyuubi, I see Naruto and the fox eventually becoming buddies all the same. For all intents and purposes, right now Naruto has no need to fight, and having the Kyuubi as a friend can give him insight that this Uzumaki, thrown back in time before even learning Sage Mode, could need. Exactly what gets stopped and how, is not that important. It's just important that it happens.
So that shit can start happening again.
IV - Butterfly Effect
|Although there would be the same amount of peeping.|
You may have liked or not liked the movie, but the point stands that whatever you do, you have to expect something else to matter. Let's say that, one way or another, Orochimaru never forms the Hidden Sound Village. What would that mean? Keep in mind that most of the guys in snakey's paybook are missing nins from all over the world that, when put together and with a few allies, have been able to bring to its knees the strongest ninja village of that time. And that was just an invading force, not the full strength of the village. These people would never be focused into one place, given orders, a chain of command. If you add Naruto's and the now Yondaime's efforts to prevent the formation of Akatsuki, you also have S-Class ninjas running around unchecked, accomplice the fact that with Jiraiya never leaving, there's also no spy network.
Think carefully about what that means. For how bad Akatsuki and Sound are, they still keep what amount to highly unstable loose cannons on a leash. Take it away and people like Deidara, Hidan and Sasori are free to act on their own inclinations. Now, Naruto is getting used to his new life. He's a young man, he's strengthening himself but sees no enemies in the future, he's been born a couple years before, and he's starting to put settling down for good in serious consideration. All seems well. That's when disaster strikes, for dramatic effect.
Zabuza has already happened. He's still on the run, but let's say that while on the run he meets other missing nins that'd like to get a Kage deposed or just cause some mayhem. Yeah, you see where I'm going with this? Naruto and the Yondaime avoided creating an enemy hidden village thriving on secrecy and a group of ten S-Class missing nins bent on world domination via contorted Xanathos Gambits only to get a bunch of dangerous people who agree to coordinate an attack on the five great villages all at the same time. Stupid, not likely to cause problems? Well, consider what Pein did to Konoha all on his own. Yeah. Naruto finds himself faced with a whole other crisis. One that he can't solve by secret future knowledge. It's time to fight, once again.
V – Conclusions
So, we've come to the end of this What If, centered on Time Travel. Precisely on the effects that changing the future can have that most of the authors challenging this translate in 'Let's fix everythingz!'. As Doc Brown said, it isn't safe because you can't possibly know what you're really doing. With no one able to clearly see the future, changing events has equal chances of going well and going oh so south. And after all, time travel stories should be all about that. You go back and fix bad events? Good. Here are some new ones, maybe worse than what you've solved. Have fun!
Meinos Kaen out!