Fanfic: Time and Again

Blood.

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.
Prologue

Time and Again, 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, and 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: One that Naruto asks himself: "The real question was: what actions did love excuse?"
  • Arranged Marriage: Hinata was forced into one in the Bad Future.
  • Bad Future: The future seen in the prologue is one.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The prologue is set right when Orochimaru is about to achieve complete victory.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Some interpretations of the Sasuke/Sakura romance and Ship Tease. Which is which is open to debate.
  • Big Bad: Orochimaru is the main villain. Akatsuki start to act in Here And Now, but they play a very minor role before the fic dies.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Kabuto's team take 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.
    • Gaara (and his siblings, but mostly Gaara) save the Hidden Sand village (Suna) from being conquered.
  • Brainwashed / Mind Rape: The mind-control jutsu from the future turns people into sleeper agents who can be activated with a passphrase to attack their comrades. 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 machinations. Gaara gets set up to look like he planned a coup against his father for the position of Kazekage.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Naruto's Sarcastic Confession to Kakashi about having run to the Land of Waves and back becomes instrumental in convincing Kakashi and Sarutobi he's from the future because he couldn't have known about the mission otherwise.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Orochimaru convinces Rin that Naruto is really the Kyuubi rather than being the person it's sealed inside of by taking her to witness Naruto using 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 in the first place, during which he is required for the first time in the story to use the Kyuubi's power visibly.
  • Crapsack World: The Bad Future that Naruto comes from is one in the prologue.
  • 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 increasingly leans 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 five years as of April, 2015.
  • Delaying Action: Naruto creates nearly a thousand shadow clones just to kee Kamui occupied untiKakashi gets back.
  • Domestic Abuser: Hinata's arranged husband in the future, Hyuuga Hiroshi, abused her, something Naruto will never forgive him for.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Kakashi confronts Naruto after he thinks he's deduced the reason for the latter's suspicious behavior: he can somehow see the future. Naruto finds the idea hilarious, probably because Kakashi's guess is 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 future, but Hinata's presence 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 original timeline diverges from canon as a direct result of Sasuke's fight with Itachi having a different outcome: namely, Orochimaru successfully took over Sasuke's body during the fight and killed Itachi, after which he proceeded to take over the ninja world.
  • Frame-Up: Gaara is framed for a supposed attempted coup to usurp his father as Kazekage.
  • 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 seemingly against Kumogakure in Here And Now.
  • 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.
  • Internal Reveal: Naruto tells Kakashi and the Third Hokage about the future he's from after Kakashi finally confronts him about his odd behavior. He tells Jiraiya right off the bat, and in the sequel he tells Sasuke (who doesn't believe him before the fic's death point) when Sasuke confronts him about him knowing Uchiha family secrets and accuses him of not being his friend.
  • 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 alcohol, grief, and the need for comfort. Although 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, inciting two countries to go to war on two others and framing Gaara to prevent him from eventually becoming Kazekage.
  • Mercy Kill: Apparently the only way to stop those affected by the mind control jutsu. Naruto was forced to kill Kakashi in the 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 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 from 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 lived an entire lifetime without noticing that Hinata was in love with him all along. He would have gone another except Sakura and Sasuke spell it out for him.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Konoha Council in the future refused to let Naruto have the ttle of Hokage, but also refused to appoint anyone else since Naruto was already doing the work. The Hyuuga Elders in the future refused to let Hinata be the Clan Head and forced her to marry someone so he could be Clan Head.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Sakura is trying to confirm that Naruto is trying to go out with Hinata. Naruto thinks she realized he has the Kyuubi in him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Opponent Switch: Naruto switches with Kakashi when he realizes Kakashi's lightning jutsu are needed to beat Naruto's opponent's earth-elemental armor.
  • 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 is one to Sakura.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Naruto does this twice: once to Kakashi (about running to the Land of Waves to save Team 8 from Zabuza and Haku) and once to Shikamaru (about being from the future).
  • Secret Keeper: Naruto tells the truth about him being from the future to Kakashi, the Third Hokage, and Jiraiya in Time and Again and to Sasuke in Here and Now. He also tells Shikamaru, but it's so random he thinks Naruto is 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:
  • Something Only They Would Say: Hinata's suggestion for Naruto on how to prove he's not in a genjutsu is to find someone he knows really well and ask them questions a genjutsu caster wouldn't know the answers to.
  • 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 invoke 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 a tiny bit of 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:
    Sakura: 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?
    Hinata: Please.
  • 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: Naruto has mastered wind chakra nature manipulation and can use loads of jutsu from at least three elemental natures, and was Hokage in all but official title in the future.
    • Bad Future: A major motive for Naruto's attempts to change the timeline.
    • Older Than They Look: When he first comes back, Naruto is physically twelve years old but is mentally over thirty.
    • Peggy Sue: Naruto, later we find out Orochimaru is also one.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: Naruto doesn't recognize the ceiling or anything else from his 12-year-old self's apartment when he first wakes up.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Hiashi tried to invoke this in Hinata, 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 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 extreme lengths with Naruto's shadow clones against Kamui.