So, riffing off the current question on the Naruto Agree/Disagree thread, would Boruto have been better if set in the future? Well I took that little idea and fleshed it out a bit. What if Boruto was set 90 years in the future? (like Legend of Korra after ATLA) And the Konoha and story of Naruto we all knew had been dramatically changed over time? So much so that the ninja way of life has been completely wiped away, the city is thoroughly modernized, and Naruto's was the dedicated administrator who single-handedly one the war and ushered in an age of change?
But all the while he was hiding a terrible secret from his past, waiting till the time was right to pass it on....
Naruto is the benevolent Kage statue overlooking the city that prospered under his rule, ushering in an age of peace and modernity. His children and the families of his friends have flourished over the years. The ninja ways have been forgotten, replaced with a focus on gadgets and physical skill rather than inherited traits.
Naruto's progeny are perfect examples of this new way of life...all except for Naruto's great grandson, Boruto. With his shaggy blond hair, petulant attitude and messy ways, Boruto couldn’t be more different than his illustrious great grandfather. Where Naruto looked over the city as a shining example of how to be an exemplary Konoha citizen, Boruto always had a knack for getting into trouble. He had occasional flare ups of raw talent, but more often it was just frustrated anger that burst out at his bullying or preening classmates.
But in a city where prowess is valued more than potential, Boruto was cast aside as an outsider and black sheep. Stores closed to him, students turned their backs, and parents looked the other way. He may have been from the famed Uzumaki family, but he was treated as no more than a common criminal. After flunking out of his classes he fell in with a street gang who showed him another side of Konoha life: the underbelly of the modern city. Gambling dens, illicit tea houses, bars and strip joints.
But there was more to be uncovered than just pleasure….
Everywhere there were whispers of a powerful secret history of Konoha. Broken remnants of old weapons long forbidden within the city walls. Secret skills, power channeled through your fingertips, that no one is even allowed to talk about, let alone teach or use. Rumors of nasty methods of torture and murder, by a look or a gesture, known only to a certain few. And then the worst, the things that you can do to a person...creatures that you can attach to their very soul...that can twist them into a weapon forever.
Boruto had a creeping feeling then, of being different, of knowing all too well what they were talking. He understood what it was like to have something hiding in your soul. He saw it in the sideways glances of older family members. The heard it in the whispered words of the city elders. And saw it in his dreams…the red eyes and scalding heat that have plagued his nightmares for as long as he can remember.
Boruto asked more and more questions, to anyone who would talk to him. Especially about trapping a demon inside another person. No one wanted to say much, and there was no one alive who could even verify if that was true. But it didn’t matter to Boruto. He had heard enough to confirm that his great grandfather was not the wonderful leader he was praised for in the history books. If Konoha held such magical ninja skills, then it was Naruto who stamped them out. He must have been the one to outlaw ninja arts in the city, forced the clans to extinguish their powers, and turned the academy into a sleepy day school, where children were forced to memorize the dry old history of Konoha that only celebrated his many victories.
Boruto’s anger grew inside him. None of it mattered. What was the truth or what was one of Naruto’s lies…because the truth burned inside him now, eating him alive…. An ancient ninja weapon, a powerful demon…trapped inside his very soul….
His father all but confirmed it, saying that yes there was a ceremony by Naruto, but it had something to do with naming. He couldn’t remember it but it was a Konoha ritual. And it was vitally important to Naruto— But that was all Boruto needed to hear. The door slammed shut on the rest of the words and Boruto was gone.
Boruto would never forgive his great grandfather. Or the city that he gave up everything for. Including his great grandson. Leaving the gates that night, old a decrepit and propped open, and nothing but peeling concert posters glued to the old gatehouse, he vowed he’d never come back to Konoha again.
Boruto’s questioning didn’t escape the attention of other people in the bars, including the shadowy ring leader of Konoha's underbelly, the Dragon. Dressed in black, he is the one person who is supposedly still carries the almost unheard of art of chakra control. Several patrons swear they’ve seen it, although they can never remember when or where. But still the legend persists. It’s supported by the shadowy gang members who work for the dragon, hell bent on hunting down the ancient ninja arts that were stamped out so long ago.
A few days later, a shy black-haired delivery girl arrived at the Uzumaki household, holding out an arrangement of flowers. “These are for Bo-Boru-to?” she said, reading from a card. The housekeeper accepted them with some surprise. And a little agitation. The girl watched the response with sharp eyes, as if reading the very thoughts behind the carefully worded response. “Thank You. I will see that he gets these. He is…out…just at the moment. But he’ll be back soon I’m sure.” The girl smiled and the door closed. But as she stepped away, the smile dropped to a scowl. Her fist closed tight, and at the right angle a faint green light could be seen.
Leaving Konoha behind, Boruto learns there's another side of Konoha's history that wasn't taught in their school books. Especially surprising is that other countries considered Sasuke Uchiha one of the most powerful and dangerous ninjas to have every lived. Boruto always thought that was funny — and patently wrong: Sasuke Uchiha was a mere footnote in their history books. The last member of a now-extinct clan, Sasuke Uchiha was just another ninja who fought in the last ninja war. He wasn’t even sure the great Uzumaki leader knew him. Sure, Sasuke fought well enough to warrant a mention in the old scrolls, but after that he didn't amount to much. History had forgotten him and his clan completely.
Boruto dismissed all the fanciful stories until he saw a girl reading horoscopes at a city fair. He was certain he saw her eyes swirl as she read her customer’s palm. Just then, something in his gut churned, in fear and, impossibly, recognition…it something he’d known before, calling out to him from down the ages…. But before he could get to the table to get a closer look. She was gone.
He looked for her the rest of the night, but never found her again. However at a smoky bar he did come across another name he didn’t expect to hear again. Konoha’s Dragon gang were in the city, and they were looking for someone. He set his unfinished drink down and slipped out of the bar quickly.
With the Dragon gang closing in on him, Boruto has to work fast to uncover the truth about Konoha's past…and the truth about his great-grandfather. It tipped over everything Boruto thought he knew about life. Naruto the benevolent, Naruto the beloved, so revered that there are statues dedicated to him in almost every town Boruto has visited, was nothing like he was in the textbooks. He came to power through marriage, turned his back on best friend...and of course, carried the secret of a powerful demon imprisoned inside him.
Boruto should know. He carried the same curse. Naruto had put it there, sealing it in his great-grandson on the day he was born, swearing it was for the benefit of Konoha. In a life bound up in secrets and lies, that would be his last and final act.
Boruto didn’t know where to begin unraveling them, but he knew he must uncover the truth if he wanted to learn how to control the demon before it escaped and destroyed him. Or fell into the hands of an enemy nation, a rogue army or the fearsome Dragon’s gang. More than just a band of street toughs from Konoha, digging around for moldy old ninja weapons, the gang’s network of spies proved more extensive than he ever thought possible.
With their connections everywhere, in every city, they are steadily closing in. And now he’s certain he knows what they want. It can't be anything else. They've found their ultimate ninja weapon.... Him.
If they catch him, he knows they will drag him back to their headquarters in Konoha. Then he'll be forced to choose: either protect the place of his birth, the one thing his great grandfather ever loved and the only reason he has a demon locked in his very soul.… Or take hold of his power and burn it that city to the ground.
(great little warm-up creative writing exercise - I'll post more if anyone's interested)