Time and Again
He could smell it everywhere. On him, on the burning buildings around him, leaking out of the body of the last of his childhood friends not far from him, it was even in the mud that he was lying in. Something cold and wet hit his face, causing him to stir and beginning to bring him back to his senses. Was it raining too? He couldn't remember when it had started
Time and Again, Opening words, Prologue.
, and its sequel
, is a masterful re-telling of Naruto. With a twist.
The future has gone bad, very bad. Konoha has been destroyed and Orochimaru-as-Sasuke stands on the threshold of complete and final victory. Then, in the last moments, his life leaking away, Naruto lands a decisive blow before losing consciousness.
Then he wakes up—twenty years in the past.
At first Naruto suspects a really awful hangover, then genjutsu, of being the cause of the strangeness surrounding him. Then the possibilities hit him...
With powerful, poignant characterization, excellent pacing, humor, drama, suspense, Time and Again is the epitome of Peggy Sue
fanfic; with a tendency towards nail-biting tension and generous helpings of awesome
. An examination of the Peggy Sue
and God-Mode Sue
plot devices that plays straight, deconstructs, inverts, averts, and turns 'em every way but loose!
The recipe is heavily Original Flavour
, amazingly so: the author has repeatedly guessed upcoming canon plot twists, sometimes months before they happened (...well, with a few notable exceptions, but nobody's omniscient)!
In addition, unlike most Peggy Sue
stories, as time passes the plot leans towards Darker and Edgier
Now it has a fan vid
Also worth reading is Tsuki no Kage
, a one-shot Tear Jerker
by a different author retelling the flashback between Future Naruto and Future Hinata from her perspective instead
This story provides examples of:
- Angst: Naruto falls into a brief funk after he fails to stop Haku's suicide, and thinks he may have inadvertently gotten Akamaru killed.
- Later, he falls into a more serious one after he is captured and tortured by Orochimaru for two years!
- He also nearly breaks down after Hinata rejects him to make her own decisions and he realises he's been manipulating his friends even though they're trying to live their own lives.
- Adaptation Distillation: Debatable - Some aspects/arcs are glossed over, others are greatly expanded.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "The real question was: what actions did love excuse?"
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Some interpretations of the Sasuke/Sakura romance and Ship Tease. Which is which is open to debate.
- Big Bad: Orochimaru, in the first story. Danzo is showing symptoms in the second.
- Big Damn Heroes: Kabuto's team takes the place of the Sand Siblings saving the heroes from the Sound Five in canon. Unlike in canon, they pay for it badly, with Tsurugi and Yoroi dying hideous deaths.
- Brainwashed coupled with Mind Rape: The mind-control jutsu from the future. May actually be People Puppets. The mind-controlled victim is entirely aware of what's happening to them.
- Brick Joke: Cutting people's hair while they sleep, almost a Book End since Naruto mentions how twisted it would be in the beginning, and Temari wonders what would happen if she does it at the end of the Time and Again.
- Non-humorous example- when Naruto tells Jiraiya the truth about him being the "temporary Hokage" in the Bad Future, Jiraiya objects that there's no such thing, you either are or you aren't. After Danzo is elected Hokage by the council in Here and Now, Homura expresses doubts about his suitability to Koharu, who reassures him that Danzo is only "temporary", causing Homura to respond "There's no such thing as a 'temporary' Hokage."
- Cats Are Mean: The Two-Tailed Monster Cat in Here and Now.
- Clear My Name: This is a major plot point resulting from both Orochimaru and Danzo's mechinations.
- Contrived Coincidence: Orochimaru convinces Rin that Naruto is really the Kyuubi rather than being the person it's sealed inside by taking her to witness Naruto use the Kyuubi's power. Fridge Logic would normally be the case, but he took her apparently right before Naruto decided to change a B rank mission to a C rank mission to put the team in some trouble so they could bond, but which should have been an A rank mission, during which he is required for the first time in the entire story, to use the Kyuubi's power visibly.
- Cute Mute: After Ino barely survives having her throat slashed, Kabuto grimly thinks that her voice may not be able to be saved.
- Darker and Edgier: The series is increasingly leaning towards this. Most notable are the graphic torture scenes orchestrated by Orochimaru.
- Daughter of a Whore: Karin, whose mother had the same healing powers as her. Sometimes clients forced her to stay in the room and watch them ravish her mother in front of her.
- Dead Fic: Here and Now hasn't updated in over four years.
- Domestic Abuser: Hinata's arranged husband in the future, Hyuuga Hiroshi, abused her, something Naruto would never forgive him for. This is why Naruto hates him when he meets him back in the past and why he panics when Hinata and Hiroshi begin to actually become close.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Kakashi confronts Naruto after he thinks he's deduced the reason for his suspicious behavior- he can somehow see the future. Naruto finds the idea hilarious, probably because Kakashi's guess was so near and yet so far.
- Erotic Dream: Naruto is apparently bothered by one after he's rescued from Orochimaru. He can excuse the presence of Sakura in it since they did have sex once in the Bad Future, but Hinata's bothers him considerably, although not nearly as much as the appearance of Karin which he just finds plain disturbing.
- Fighting from the Inside: Some people attempt this once captured by Orochimaru's mind Jutsu.
- First Kiss: Sakura gives hers to Sasuke at the same time she takes his before sending him after Tayuya while she stays to hold off Sakon/Ukon...
- Foreshadowing: The author disguises some blatant foreshadowing as a joke in one of his chapter end notes in Time and Again:
Hopefully you're all paying attention, there's going to be a test towards the end of the story and if enough people fail to get it right, I'm leaving you all with a horrible cliffhanger – something like Naruto being captured by Orochimaru and facing torture and execution
– and never updating again…
no, no, I wouldn't do that!
Not for failing a test… failing to review on the other hand… ;)
- For Want of a Nail: The timeline diverges as a direct result of Sasuke's fight with Itachi resulting in a different outcome- specifically Orochimaru successfully took over Sasuke's body during the fight and killed Itachi.
- Get a Hold of Yourself Man: After Naruto confesses to Sasuke that he's scared he can never defeat Orochimaru no matter how hard he tries Sasuke gives him an epic one of these.
Sasuke: You aren't Naruto, that much is obvious, and even if you and every other enemy out there is from the future, I don't care. You must have died during the last two years, because the Naruto I know would have laughed at you and then kicked your ass with both of his arms tied behind his back and all of his tenketsu sealed up by Hyuuga Hinata. If you don't have any resolve to keep fighting, why don't you just lie down and die!?
- Hopeless War: Against Orochimaru in the original timeline, and against Kumogakure after Time and Again.
- Idiot Hero: One of the few Naruto fanfics that remembers that Naruto is somewhat Book Dumb and often makes really dumb mistakes and oversights (like failing to notice that Sasuke hasn't yet awakened his Sharingan going into the Chunin Exams) because that's just how he is.
- Kissing Under the Influence: Future Naruto and Future Sakura (who otherwise had a close but platonic relationship) had a one-night stand exactly once, fuelled by alchohol, grief and the need for comfort. While it's a treasured memory for Naruto (quite likely the only time he ever had sex in his entire 30+ years of life) they both realised it was a mistake they promised not to repeat.
- Looks Like She Is Enjoying It: Here and Now runs with the fanon suspicion that healing someone by having them bite her is actually pleasant for Karin, described as "a very intimate thing". She attributes her growing feelings for Naruto to this, noting that he's the only person to have been healed this way by her more than once or twice.
- Manipulative Bastard: Naruto eventually realises he's become this to his friends. His question then becomes whether this is acceptable or not. Orochimaru is also this in SPADES.
- Mercy Kill: Apparently the only way to stop those affected by the mind control jutsu. Naruto was forced to kill Kakashi in the Bad Future while Kakashi was literally begging for death.
- Messianic Archetype: Naruto has shades of this. Unable to remember how he saved Gaara from himself the first time around, he's willing to allow Gaara to kill him to show him there can be more to life than killing.
- Mistaken for Gay: After Naruto fumbles his explanation to Sakura about why it'd be "wrong" for him to pursue Hinata romantically (because from his perspective it'd make him a paedophile) she assumes that he's gay instead, noting that "it does explain some things".
- More Than Mind Control: Apparently this was Orochimaru/Sasuke's relationship with Rin from before the rewind. Now, Orochimaru is up for a repeat performance.
- Not So Different: Naruto briefly wonders if his Manipulative Bastard tendancies have made him Not So Different to Orochimaru, but he quickly shrugs that off with the reasonable justification that he's trying to help his friends, not hurt them. However, a more serious one arises between him and Hiroshi- he believes that, even if Hiroshi has changed from the bastard he was in the Bad Future, if it took him a year of imprisonment and torture to do so then he's still not a man who is worthy of Hinata. Then he realises that his own obliviousness to Hinata's feelings combined with his uncertainty about what exactly she is to him means that he's not worthy of her either.
- Oblivious to Love: Naruto having lived an entire lifetime without noticing that Hinata was in love with him all along.
- He actually manages to go one better in Here and Now, being apparently oblivious to his own developing feelings for Hinata- he thinks he still just loves her as a friend and wants to keep her away from Hiroshi for her own good, even as his feelings are clearly evolving beyond that.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Sakura trying to confirm Naruto is trying to go out with Hinata... Naruto thinks she realized he has the Kyuubi in him. Hilarity Ensues
- Red Herring Mole: Sort of. At the end of chapter 12 of Here and Now, Hinata and one of Naruto's shadow clones crash into a burning room at the Hyuuga compound to find Hyuuga Hiroshi and Hyuuga Ko standing over Hanabi and the stabbed body of Hiashi. The text implies that Hiroshi is under the mind control jutsu and stabbed Hiashi when someone takes out Naruto's shadow clone, trapping them in the burning building- but the next chapter reveals -eventually- that it was Ko who was under the jutsu instead.
- Sadist Teacher: Anko to Sakura.
- Sarcastic Confession: Naruto does this twice- once to Kakashi (about running to Wave to save Team 8 from Zabuza and Haku) and once to Shikamaru (about being from the future).
- Secret Keeper: Naruto tells the truth to Kakashi and the Third Hokage in Time and Again and Sasuke in Here and Now. He also told Shikamaru, but it's so random he thought Naruto was joking.
- Shout-Out: Repeatedly, of events pertaining to the 'canon'. Others deal with the altered timeline and the changes wrought by both Naruto and Orochimaru. Happens more often in the sequel.
- Ship Tease: The Author is unnecessarily cruel to Hinata...considering the irony.
- The Stations of the Canon: Played with. A lot of the major events from the series occur in the new timeline (the Wave Country mission, Hinata fighting Neji in the Chuunin exams, the Sasuke retrieval mission) but in a totally different way (Team 8 is sent on the Wave Country mission instead, Hinata fights Neji in the Chuunin exam finals and actually beats him before yielding, the Retrieve Sasuke mission is actually to rescue a kidnapped Naruto). After Haku dies despite Naruto's best efforts to save him Naruto begins to wonder if there isn't some kind of "fate" steering things towards a preordained conclusion.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Orochimaru attempts to use Karin to induce this in a captive Naruto by making her get close to him while healing his injuries. It very nearly works.
- Lima Syndrome: Karin actually finds herself developing genuine feelings for Naruto.
- Take That: To the copious Ass Pulls and instances of New Powers as the Plot Demands that show up in the manga:
Kidomaru: What the hell was that? A lightning clone? Random abilities popping up all over the place… seems kind of cheap if you ask me…
- That Came Out Wrong: When Sakura is talking to Hinata about Naruto's condition after 2 years of imprisonment and torture:
He seems to have a bit of sleep apnea… I don't remember him doing that before, but it's been a long time since I slept with Naru— <beat
> Uh… No, not like that, that was… I mean, I'd never… with him, you know… well, not that there's anything wrong with him,
I just… uh… <beat
> Can I stop now?
- Time Skip: Between Time and Again and Here and Now.
- Time Travel: Comes with several toppings-
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Most of Naruto's efforts are along this vein. He is moderately successful. And then again, sometimes he makes things worse. Several times his past/future/current mentors discourage this.
- Future Badass
- Bad Future: A major motive for Naruto's attempts to change the timeline.
- Really 700 Years Old: Naruto looks, and manages pull off the act of a twelve year old when he's actually over thirty.
- Peggy Sue: Naruto, later we find out Orochimaru is also one.
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Hiashi deliberately tried to make Hinata into this, being strict on her in the hopes that the desire to earn his praise would motivate her enough to make up for her lack of natural talent and become strong. However, he did it with her best interests in mind and was heartbroken when it apparently didn't work.
- Wham Episode: Chapter 24. Naruto finally confronts the disguised Orochimaru in the Forest of Death during the second stage of the Chuunin Exams. He kills him- way too easily. It's not Orochimaru. Things have gone completely Off the Rails.
- End of Chapter 36. Naruto is finally convinced he was wrong in suspecting Rin of working with Orochimaru- then she drugs him unconscious and delivers him to the Sound Four.
- What Were You Thinking?: A shocked Naruto quotes the trope verbatim when he realises that future!Hinata had loved him her entire life and never let him know, even when he could have saved her from a loveless and abusive Arranged Marriage by marrying her himself, which he would have done without a second thought.
- Zerg Rush: Taken to absurd limits when he calls Tajuu Kage Bunshin. They don't even attack, simply filling every available space to keep Neji, Lee, and Tenten from following them.