It had been two and a half years. The Hidden Village of the Leaves had grown to become even more powerful. With the new Godaime Hokage, Tsunade, things were running smoothly and everyone was very happy. Well, almost everyone. Tsunade pinched the bridge of her nose as she looked at the team in front of her. Team Ebisu, which consisted of Konohamaru Sarutobi, Udon, Moegi and their jōnin sensei Ebisu, stood in front of her. She looked at them and only three of them looked sorry. Konohamaru looked very defiant in her presence. She just sighed.

"I can understand why 'Tora' gave you so much trouble but you had a simple painting job to do. How did you mess that up?" Tsunade asked.

"We're sorry lady Hokage. I take full responsibility for my team's actions." Ebisu said.

"Not this time. This time, Konohamaru is going to take responsibility. This is the fifth simple D-rank that he's messed up." Tsunade said. Konohamaru looked at her with surprise but he quickly gave her a challenging look.

"Well, maybe I'm not being challenged enough!" Konohamaru exclaimed. Iruka pinched the bridge of his nose. "We've been genin for a month and all we have done are these chores. When the boss was a genin, he got a C-rank within a month. Just give us a chance to prove that we're ready."

"That might have worked with Sarutobi sensei but I'm a lot different than he was. If you want me to give you a higher ranked mission then show me that you can do these missions well." Tsunade said with authority. Konohamaru looked like he wanted to argue but a hand on his shoulder from Moegi made him stop. He sighed and nodded at Tsunade. Feeling a little bad for him, she gave him a friendly smile. "I'll tell you what, you do the next ten D-rank missions really well and I'll hand you a good C-rank mission." Konohamaru gave Tsunade a smile.

"Thanks a lot big sister!" Konohamaru exclaimed. Tsunade smiled at him and was glad for the title. She then looked at her calendar and saw the date that was circled. Her smile got wider and she turned to the team.

"You guys can start now. I need an escort to the front of the village. We are welcoming back one of our own today."

XXX

Two males entered the village, one an old man, the other a young teen. The old man was wearing a green short shirt kimono and matching pants; under which he wore mesh armor that showed out of the sleeves and legs of his outfit. He also wore hand guards, a simple black belt, traditional Japanese wooden sandals, a red haori with two simple yellow circles on each side, and a scroll on his back. On his head was horned forehead protector with the symbol for 'oil' on it. The teen next to him wore something similar to that. He wore pale grey robes with a design of red flames on the edges, with a green ribbon showing a curled gold design tied in a loose bow around his waist. He also wore the standard black mesh shirt with red lining, and wore puffy black pants that are tighter around the ankles. He wore a pair of black sandals to complete the outfit.

After some time walking, the blonde haired, blue-eyes teenager ran up a pole to get a good look at the village that was his home. The white-haired man just smiled at him as he threw his arm out like he wanted to hug the village.

"Hey Leaf Village, your future Hokage has returned!" he exclaimed. Naruto had a huge grin and let out a long breathe. He then observed the village and saw that some things had changed, including the addition to the Hokage Monument. "Ha, hey Pervy Sage, Granny Tsunade got her face on the monument."

"The more things change, the more things stay the same." A voice said. Naruto looked to his left to see Kakashi sitting on the roof. "Yo."

"Kakashi-sensei!" he greeted and jumped off the pole to see his old sensei. The man hadn't changed at all, still in the same clothes and same style. "How have you been sensei?"

"I've been good Naruto. I like the new clothes." Kakashi said.

"Oh thanks, these are my training and out-going clothes. Oh, I've got a surprise for you." Naruto said and dug into his pack. He pulled out a green colored book and handed it to him. Kakashi was surprised and in awe at the book that he was given.

"Naruto, this… is…" Kakashi said in shock.

"Yeah, it's the new book that the Pervy Sage wrote. It's pretty boring if you ask me so you can have it. Truth be told, he should do a sequel to his first book but he's too much of an old fool to do so." Naruto commented.

"Shut up brat! What the hell do you know about literature?!" Jiraiya spat.

"I think he has a good grasp of literature." A voice said. Everyone turned to see Tsunade flanked by team Ebisu and Shizune. Naruto smiled and jumped off the roof. He dashed and caught Tsunade in a hug. The woman returned to hug, which she did not have to bend down to do. He released her and gave Shizune a hug too. Moegi was next and he gave Udon and Konohamaru a hi-five each. He shook Ebisu's hand before turning his attention back to Tsunade.

"So, how's being Hokage been for you Granny Tsunade?" Naruto asked. Ignoring the twitch, Tsunade just sighed.

"It's a little stressful kid. Too much work to do." She answered.

"Well, I hope that this helps." Naruto said as he dug into his bag and pulled out a scroll. He handed her the scroll and a small note. He pulled out another scroll and handed it to Shizune. He then pulled out a scroll each for his little friends. They each thank him for the gifts.

"Hey, don't I get a welcome back?" Jiraiya asked with a pout.

"Yeah, I missed your antics too." Tsunade said dryly. "However, I do have something for you."

"Oh, is it soft, big and creamy?" Jiraiya asked with a perverted grin. Tsunade looked at her escort. They each nodded and charged. Moegi hit Jiraiya in the balls hard while Udon and Konoha kept Jiraiya from falling. They were able to hold him up long enough for Tsunade to finger flick Jiraiya and send him tumbling along the road. He laid in a heap as team Ebisu got back into position. Naruto looked at Tsunade.

"Do I even want to know why you did that?" Naruto asked.

"Your idiot of a master was to keep me updated on your growth. The truth is, I don't know if I should keep you at chūnin-level or move you up to jōnin level. If he had kept me updated, I would have had an idea by now." Tsunade explained.

"Well, he might have had a reason but I'll let you and him talk. I'm going home to get some rest." Naruto said.

"Okay but be prepared to be called on tomorrow. I need to see just how strong you've become." Tsunade said. Naruto nodded and waved a good-bye to everyone. Tsunade watched him before smirking. Shizune saw that smirk and wondered why. That's when she remembered something that would greet Naruto when he reached home.

"That wasn't nice lady Tsunade. What if he walks in on her?" she asked.

"I'll miss the most hilarious thing to happen in a couple of months." Tsunade said. She walked up to Jiraiya and began to drag him back to her office for a proper talk.

XXX

Naruto unlocked his door to his apartment and entered. He was happy to be back in his old home and glad that it wasn't a mess. As he took a deeper step into his apartment, he began to notice a lot of different things. The most important thing was all his stuff had been replaced. His couch, his tables, everything that he brought was gone. Granted, the stuff he saw now was definitely better quality but it was his stuff. He also noticed that all his most important stuff was no in a case that was against his wall. He was thankful for that but he wished that Tsunade didn't get rid of his old furniture.

He entered his kitchen and found that most of his ramen was gone. It was replaced with other foods, healthy foods. Even his fridge was stocked up with stuff. He was a little frustrated but he ignored it for now. He decided to go to his room and get a few winks of sleep. He made his way to his room and opened the door. He threw it open to see some very surprising. It was a girl, a very sexy looking girl, a very sexy looking girl with no top on and a pair of panties. Admiring the pair that she had on her chest, he looked up and went white as a sheet when he saw who it was that he had just walked in on. He could never forget the angry green pupil-less eyes of Ino Yamanaka.

Naruto quickly shut the door and held it closed. What the hell was Ino doing in his apartment, changing her clothes? That's when a blade of a tanto pierced through the door, right next to his head. Naruto quickly moved out of the way and ran to the living room. He heard his room door open and a loud growl behind him. He now had to survive Ino's rage so that he could get him some answers.

XXX

Jiraiya rubbed the bump on his forehead. He gave Tsunade a dirty look but she ignored him for the sake that she was drinking. She could enjoy because of Naruto's note that told her how to beat that infernal paperwork.

"Was that really necessary? You heard what Naruto said. I was too busy to send you reports about his progress." Jiraiya said with a tone.

"What about after all your problems went away? Don't try to deny it. I got the reports of the attacks on Orochimaru by the Akatsuki. You could have continued to send me the information about Naruto." Tsunade said.

"Okay, I guess I forgot but the kid is doing fine. You don't trust me to make him strong?" Jiraiya asked.

"I'm just glad he's not as perverted as you are. So, how has he grown?" Tsunade asked.

"Well, Orochimaru did us a favor. His constant attacks on Naruto and I improved Naruto's ability to think, plan and observe. It also led him to learn about the Shadow Clones true purpose. It has explored many more avenues for the kid. He learned a bit of everything and improved on what he had in his arsenal. I guess the most improved thing he has done is his control of the nine-tails' chakra." Jiraiya said.

"Explain." Tsunade stated.

"Well, I was not onto that training. In fact, the relationship between the two has really improved. It isn't on the level of Killer Bee and the eight-tails but its get there. He is really in sync with his chakra. He can control up to four tails worth of his chakra." Tsunade was very surprised to hear that. That meant that he could go into a semi-transformed state and still have some control. Jiraiya, seeing her face, began again. "Don't worry about Naruto. He knows not to use that form unless he has any other choice. He rarely has to use it anyway. With just three tails worth, he's a match for most jōnin."

"Well, I prepare a test for him to see just how far he has gotten. Maybe a spar with Kakashi will show just how much he has grown." Tsunade said. That's when she got serious. "I'm assuming that you know about this new group that has popped up?"

"Yeah, I've heard of them. I don't have much information on them however. I attempted to get a spy inside but he was caught the second he entered. I found his body in the Land of Rivers. Whoever, these guys are, it seems that they have a grudge against us, Orochimaru and the Akatsuki." Jiraiya said.

"The Akatsuki as well huh? I know that they have disrupted several missions for us. Orochimaru is enraged and actively hunts them down. To poke the dragon, is kind of suicidal." Tsunade said.

"You're not kidding. I don't know who this group is but we need to be very careful about how we handle them." Jiraiya said. Tsunade nodded and took a sip of her sake. There was knock on the door and Tsunade gave the command to enter. Shizune entered with a nervous looking face.

"What's wrong?" Tsunade asked.

"Well, there is a disturbance at the apartment building where Naruto lives. Apparently, there are loud noises and the sounds of a battle going on. Should I send someone to stop it?" Shizune asked.

"Nah, she'll give up eventually. Just tell the landlord that it's his fault in the first place for not fixing Ino's pipes when he should have." Tsunade said. Shizune just sighed while Jiraiya gave her a questioning glance. The woman just kept her smile and took another sip of her sake.

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