STANDARD DISCLAIMER APPLIES. I do not, nor would I ever in this lifetime or any lifetime own any part of Naruto and all its affiliate characters. All that madness belongs lock, stock and exploding barrel to Kishimoto-Sensei.


Now, that being said, this madness however is all mine—yes, every insane bit of it. Now, before beginning this journey, let me set the stage and make sure that none of you lovely people get lost in navigating my clearly insane story. Point number one—the most important one—this story is set in a world where the war is finished so there will be no big, epic, worthy of Frank Miller type of fighting in here. I am a pacifist at heart and so I cannot condone violence nor write it effectively.

Two, only Jiraiya and Itachi are dead here. Let's assume for the sake of this story that no one of significance to Naruto perished in the war. I don't like character deaths and it's hard to weave an effective tale when half the cast you want is already dead. That said—Orochimaru, Danzo and all the other icky-wicked enemies are gone. This story will have its share of evils and heebie-jeebie villains but they will only be of my making.

Three—my pairings are not yet set in stone so any suggestions and reasons for such would be highly recommended and appreciated.

There! That's enough of an introduction, if I do say so myself. Go on and read now.



"Go on, prove me wrong. Destroy the fabric of the universe. See if I care."

Terry Pratchett

The morning started off just like any other day at work. The Tower was teeming with the usual bevy of bureaucrats and clients coming from different nations requesting for missions and delivering missives to the varied clans and officials of the Fire Nation. The mission desk workers were busy handing out scrolls for the day's work load to chagrin jounin-sensei and genin teams while the rest of the force were milling around waiting for their turn to get a mission or noting down last minute additions and adjustments to the reports they were about to turn in.

But in one corner of the large expansive space of the tower, sequestered behind both visible and invisible barriers, stood an odd collection of shinobi of varying ages, positions and specialties'.

The lady sitting at the head of the conference table didn't look a day over twenty-five. Pale ash-blonde locks tied back into two low pony tails, a green open jacket and an impressive physique that called the attention of everyone present. From the either side of her lounged four men in varying states of alertness, waiting for some heretofore unspoken signal to begin their impromptu briefing. To the casual outsider, the gathered group might've looked incongruous from the get-go: a silver-haired, masked figure clad in the standard jounin uniform hunched over the pages of a lurid orange book; a leather duster clad hulking figure of a man with eyes cold enough to induce nightmare and scars enough to stop traffic sitting stiffly upright and finally a pair of obviously blood-related men, the elder with large slash-like scar on the side of his face and the younger sporting an decidedly bored look on his face and an unusual spiky hairstyle, both slouched on their seat as if any moment from now they would succumb to their baser nature and fall asleep.

A beat passed and it was the youngest of the room's current occupant that decided to break the impasse by speaking first, raising his head from its earlier repose from the nest of his crossed arms that were placed on the desk, his drawling tones clearly unapologetic for their blatant lack of interest.

"What am I even doing here? Why do I need to be here again Hokage-sama?"

The blonde pinned the young man who was about to yawn her signature basilisk glare but the young man merely stared impassively back before yawning as if the threat she made was something he couldn't bother to acknowledge.

"You're here because I may have a need for the convoluted contents of your brain sometime today and I don't have the time or the luxury to wait until I have your lazy as dragged here by ANBU for my convenience."

Shikamaru gave the Hokage a penetrating look, then another short nod before slumping just a bit more against his seat before murmuring, "Right. Apologies, Hokage-sama."

Ibiki, sitting at the Hokage's immediate left with an impassive look on his scarred face glanced at the scroll that the Hokage showed them muttered, "The mission sounds simple enough. What do you think Kakashi?"

The silver-headed jounin, as if suddenly prodded by something sharp, spoke from behind the pages of his book, his eyes never leaving the page as if his speech was a token gesture to appease the illusion of paying attention.

"No mission is ever simple, Ibiki-taichou. And every time some says that it is it gets FUBAR in less time than it takes Anko to eat a stick of dango."

"Pessimistic as ever Inu?"

"Just calling them as I see them Ibiki-taichou."

Ibiki snorted in derision before his eyes sought his blonde-haired leader, "Speaking of Anko, where is the girl Hokage-sama? I had an assignment for her and no one could seem to find her."

Tsunade grimaced before waving towards a stack of mission scrolls lying innocuously on a table behind her. "Where else? I sent her on a mission to Grass and told her that they're having their annual Dango festival and if she finishes her mission, she can go and indulge herself."

"I wish you would tell me when you sequester one of my subordinates Hokage-sama. She is after all, under my command."

Ibiki's tone never changed from its customary monotone but the note of censure was felt by all the room's occupant. His leader however felt no compunction to quibble over niceties, smirking as she reminded him, "Last time I checked, I'm your boss, so that makes me even more of Anko's boss. Besides, believe me, she needs to be on that mission."

"How long will the actual mission last?"

"Two weeks."

"And the festival?"

"Another two weeks."

At this, Kakashi finally looked up from the pages of his book, and pinned his leader with an inquisitive look from his unveiled eye. "Why are we making sure Anko is hundreds of miles away from Konoha for a month Hokage-sama?"

"Because if she finds out what the mission parameters involve, we would be charged with creating an international incident of epic proportions. According to her personnel files Anko has three things that she wants more than anything else in the world."

Shikamaru cocked an eyebrow inquiringly at his father. The man sighed as if highly put upon by the implied question and held out one hand ticking off a finger after every statement.

"Dango. Torturing people. Having a mission to play princess."

Shikamaru took a full minute to process this new information. He blinked. And then blinked some more. He straightened from his slouched seat on the conference table and shook his head for good measure before conceding and simply allowing his head to fall forward into his crossed arms.

"That doesn't even compute in my head. Troublesome. That's it, for the record, I'm going to forget I ever heard that."

Shikaku simply nodded in agreement with his son's pronouncement. He stared contemplatively at the mission scroll placed in the middle of the conference table like it might suddenly come to life and take a bite out of their proverbial collective behind. He sat back against his seat and steepled his fingers in thought and when he spoke once more, he already outlining the mission parameters.

"The Lake Country is finally opening its doors to trade and possible political alliances after nearly three decades of silence. The daimyo have graciously conceded to give us letters of introductions for our village. We will be sending an envoy to a foreign court to negotiate missions for the Fire Nation and to show our might as a hidden village. Now the only question remains—who will be our decoy."

To anyone else, Shikamaru appeared half asleep but an astute observer might note that despite his thick,dark lashes remaining at half-mast, the look in his ebony eyes was alive with speculation and interest.

"A shinobi village shows its strength based on the kind of clientele that places their trust with them. A mere member of the minor nobility would not do. A rich merchant has no prestige. But a member of a ruling house travelling for political and economic gains is a prime candidate. Such a client would command a retinue of the finest shinobi's a hidden village could offer. A client that is chosen to be accompanied by clan heirs would send an extremely strong message of not just unity and trust but of power and influence."

Tsunade flashed a grin at Shikamaru. "And that's the reason I need your lazy ass in here. Every once in a while you prove yourself worth the aggravation of keeping the title laziest shinobi in all the five elemental nations."

Shikaku grinned and ruffled his son's head much to the young man's chagrin. They paid no mind to his muffled "Troublesome" as they turned back to the matter at hand.

Tsunade gave a nod towards Ibiki who whipped out thick folder and slapped it noisily on the desk. Opening to the first page, he read out the name of the first candidate.


Kakashi gave a nod. "Uzuki Yugao? She's skilled, an utter professional and she's pretty to look out to boot. Good with swords which should be a plus."

Kakashi noticed the sudden silence that gripped the room. The room's occupants were all staring at him, their eyes looking down at his empty hand in perfect synchronicity before looking up at him in varying levels of disgust, despair and detachment.

"What?" he asked.

Shikaku smirked at his former subordinate, "SO this is the kind of mission that would make Hatake Kakashi, infamous Copy-Nin and former ANBU Captain pay complete and absolute attention?"

"So?" kakashi asked simply, blinking innocently (or what passes for innocently when speaking of psychotic, borderline crazy ninjas) at the ones staring back at him.

Ibiki cleared his throat and waved aside whatever it was that Shikaku was about to say.

"Never mind it, Shikaku. That's an argument no one wants to elaborate on for any number of reasons. Let's get back to the selection. Still on the floor is Yugao."

Tsunade shook her head. "Much too skilled for a simple heir, much too seasoned already and no one would think she's pliable enough. Patient and professional but not convincing as a pampered princess. Stick to the ones closest to the Hyuuga clan heir's age."

Ibiki pulled a sheet of paper and gave a nod. "Speaking of which, what about Hinata?

"Pass." Shikaku gave a short wave.

Tsunade blinked and turned towards her Strategist. "Why not the Hyuuga? If nobility is what we're after wouldn't it be more suitable to send the hard-asses who behave like they shit rainbows and diamonds as being a princess?"


"Why not?" She persisted, "Physically, there is nothing wrong with the girl. She is refined, elegant, soft-spoken and trained in a noble house. She fits the profile as well as any we could hope for."

This time it was Shikamaru who gave a short dismissive wave before muttering, "She also stutters when flustered and or anywhere near the vicinity of one dense, oblivious orange clad idiot . Hinata can be so shy a shrinking violet is more outgoing than she is."

Kakashi nodded before asking, "What about Hanabi—she's also from that clan. She has a more pronounced presence and stronger personality. She's also skilled and young enough to pass muster."

Shikamaru snorted, "She is also abrasive and introverted and prone to threatening people. She's very much like Neji before that bright ball of sunshine of ours fixed him."

Tsunade sighed in dismay, her hands twitching as if reaching out for a cup that simply wasn't there. "All female clan heirs would've sufficed if not for the fact that they have a dossier on every noble clan in Konoha so none of the clan heirs could be used aside from being part of the noble retinue. That is also a stipulation—our lord decoy must be accompanied by no less than six heirs or would be heirs or heir-apparent as part of his noble retinue. Our hands are tied."

Ibiki nodded. He pulled aside everything else with the name Hyuuga and proceeded with the next name on the pile.

"Gai's Ten-Ten?"

"Possible. But please don't ever refer to her like that again." Kakashi shuddered, "I don't want anything or anyone other than Lee being referred to as Gai's ever again." The silver haired jounin gave another shuddering breath and tried to shake the feeling off.

Everyone looked at Ibiki who simply blinked back and gave a single short nod.


Tsunade snatched the paper Ibiki held out and quickly scanned the information sheet. "Since her last name's so seldom used, heck I don't even know anyone beyond Gai, Iruka, myself and the guy who does the shinobi payroll who knows of it so there won't be anything to be confused with. She is physically apt, coloring can be adapted and she is capable of defending herself should the situation ever arise."

Shikaku shook his head. "She is also kind of weapon-obsessed, all too comfortable around men, no womanly wiles—in short, she has no charm to speak of. In terms of creating and proposing alliances with other nations, she'll be an utter bore and she might easily display far too much expertise of weaponry than is admissible for a lady of the court."

The sheet was added to the steadily growing discard pile. Ibiki threw a glance at his Hokage before reading out the next name.

"Haruno Sakura."

Shikaku nodded his head and tapping his fingers across the data sheet. "Your apprentice is smart, decisive, physically appealing and can think on her feet. She is strong enough to defend herself without the aid of weapons so that would do much for our security concerns—and she was raised a civilian so etiquette training can easily be undertaken in the months before deployment—!"

Tsunade's eyes flickered towards the silver-haired jounin and the man gave a sigh and a short nod. She turned towards Shikamaru who gave the sheet a cursory look before tossing it towards the 'maybe' pile, his voice when it came was guarded if a bit apathetic.

"She also impetuous, temperamental and prone to violence. At the first sign of insult or conflict she might decide to punt a courtier who oversteps his place to the stratosphere or cave in some presumptuous lord's head for thinking that a grope or two is permissible."

Another sheet was passed around and this time it was Ibiki who reacted first,

"Moegi? Carrot-haired girl-child? That friend of Konohamaru's that's always running around with him and his ilk?"

Shikaku glanced at Tsunade. "Isn't she a bit young—?"

Tsunade tsked and held out a sheet for her data. "She's a shinobi. By rights, considered adults—"

Shikamaru cleared his throat and murmured sotto voce: "Iruka-sensei's law."

"As I mentioned, much too young." Tsunade immediately gathered Moegi's files and dumped it in the discard pile, clucking indignantly to her companions, "Whoever proposed such a preposterous idea? Seriously, you men, what could you possibly be thinking of?" She cast a look at around her and cleared her throat. "Moving on. The next candidate is Inuzuka Hana?"

Ibiki shook his head even before her file was given to the rest. "Clan heir. Also, much too Alpha to be docile in court."

Everyone sighed but they nodded in agreement. Another sheet was passed and Kakashi read out the next name.

"Yamanaka Ino?"

Shikamaru was already shaking his head even before Tsunade could ask for her data. Ibiki read out what he was written on the margins of the Yamanaka clan heir.

"Clan heir. Already considered as part of royal retinue. What's your argument against this one squirt? She isn't too recognizable nor is her family features distinctive enough to be a deterrent to the mission."

Shikamaru snorted in derision. Pinning the usually apathetic lazy jounin with an imperious arch of her eyebrow, the lazy clan heir shook his head and muttered sullenly, "This is Ino we are talking about. Former President of one Uchiha Sasuke's fan club. Gossip-mongering Queen extraordinaire. Dubbed the most fashion-conscious Kunoichi this side of the border. Will enjoy being a princess far too much given half a chance. Frankly Hokage-sama, we don't have enough funds for her probable wardrobe demands should she take the assignment and I for one would sooner turn missing-nin than call her my lady or some such nonsense."

"Shika—!" Shikaku stared at his son in surprise but Kakashi and Ibiki noticed that he said no words to belie what his son stated.

Shikamaru glared at his father with uncharacteristic fierceness. "Dad, take it from me, any mission that allows Ino to play princess would bankrupt Konoha faster than any invasion. She'll demand that we provide her with 'suitable clothes and accessories' and that would cost more than your annual budget Hokage-sama. Ino's fashion cravings can only be matched by your need to drink sale and gamble. Realize that and then raise that by the power of ten and you'll have an idea of what chaos I'm trying to prevent here."

Collectively the room's occupant quivered in trepidation. The Great Sucker couldn't even imagine any girl giving her a run for her expenditure with regards to booze and gambling. Just the image of any single female having the desire—nay—the proclivities to spend that much—tens of thousands of ryou on clothing and varied fripperies sent a cold shiver down their spine.

Ibiki cleared his throat and looked down at his rapidly thinning profile sheet. "Then how about someone from the Nara clan?"

Tsunade snorted even before both Nara men could speak. "Too troublesome for words. Much too much lazy to be trained with such time constraints. Like their male counterparts they are smart enough to understand and manipulate political machinations—the quandary lies in the fact that they are too lazy to do anything about it."

Kakashi threw out another name. "Aburame?"

Shikaku stared at his former ANBU captain with an incredulous look on his face. "Really? That's your proposal?"

Kakashi reached up and tugged at the fabric of lying against his face, adjusting the edge of his mask self-consciously, "Well—!"

Shikamaru waved a languid hand before mumbling, "Two words: too weird. So just—no."

"Akimichi?" Ibiki read out. Shikaku shook his head.

"Do we have years to wait for anyone of them to diet?"

Tsunade finally reached the end of her tether and slammed her hands against the thick slab of wood that made up the conference room's table. Standing up abruptly, she stalked towards a small cupboard hidden in a nook and pulled out her 'emergency stash'. Bringing it back to the table he glared at the men staring at her, daring them to say anything but thankfully none of them so much as gave a squeak when she poured a generous cupful and downed it in one go.

"Gods don't we have any other girl of the right age around here? There must be someone!" she moaned in complaint. She poured herself another cup before pushing the bottle towards the others and gestured towards another set of cupboards that yielded the more traditional sake saucer.

The three older shinobi all opted to partake of the freely provided booze whilst Shikamaru promptly slumped on top of the table, head pillowed on his crossed arms once more and his eyes closed as if attempting to nap. He paid no mind to the names being bandied back and forth and was about to really sink into true slumber when his ears picked up the current name being discussed.

"Kurenai is good with genjutsu." Kakashi noted absently. "Maybe we can settle for someone who's got excellent genjutsu skills."


All eyes fell on the room's youngest occupant and they were all surprised to note that instead of a dazed, slumberous expression on his dark eyes there was piercing intensity displayed within. His voice was firm and forceful.

"You can't veto a proposal without merit Shika. Kurenai certainly has the talent and this mission is for the good of the village."

Tsunade gazed at the normally lazy young jounin whose back is now ramrod straight and head held high.

"They'll be there for days on end—two weeks at most—no matter how gifted she or anyone else is in genjutsu, if she agrees to this she'll be in a coma if she does it continuously for that long."

Ibiki grunted darkly at the young man,"This is a mission and should she accept Hokage-sama's orders, she will do so to the best of her abilities."

Shikamaru didn't flinch from Ibiki's glare. "I've no doubt, however, your point is immaterial since she's under special orders—or have you all forgotten one simple fact?"

"And what special order is that son?" Shikaku inquired, intrigued as always at how his son's lazy, uncaring façade banishes when confronted by the things and people that mattered greatly to him.

"She has a child less than a year old. That means according to the shinobi family code, she is deemed inactive until given a thorough physical assessment and upon the recommendation of the Hokage and an independent outside party that would determine her readiness to leave her offspring. Said law can only be rescinded during wartime efforts and last I checked—the last bloody war just ended. Kurenai is a mother now. And personally, I would not recommend anyone taking Kurenai away from Hikaru."

The four older shinobi would not admit it on pain of death but something icy and sharp slithered down their spines at the cold implacable look that pooled in Shikamaru's eyes. It shook them a bit to realize that as lazy and laid-back as the young genius might be 99 percent of the time—there still exists that one percent that proves that Shikamaru is still an individual trained to create the maximum damage with the most minimal of effort and that with his brain there is very little he couldn't accomplish should he put his mind to it.

Kakashi waved his book around to get Shikamaru's attention. "Oi, Shikamaru, there's no need to call out your shadows. A well stated argument works just as fine you know."

Shikamaru blinked , not realizing he had accidentally triggered his clan jutsu but instead of immediately canceling it, he gave the elder shinobi's a single nod and firm look, "I'm just saying Hikaru's mom will not be part of this discussion. And for the record—that's not negotiable no matter what you say to me now."

"Really?"Ibiki taunted. Shikamaru canceled his jutsu with a flick of his hand and resumed his slouched pose.

"Really. Unless you want to hear about the other one hundred and fifty arguments regarding shinobi code of conduct, ethics and clan rules that I could reel off at the top of my head right now."

Tsunade shook her head in resignation and wagged a finger at Shikamaru, using her other hand to take a quick sip of her sake. "Two words—over kill."

His eyes flickered towards the T&I captain and smirked at his village leader. "I am to please. Deal with it."

Shikaku stared at his son and wondered if he should preen in pride or knock the boy upside on the head for being so damned unpredictable. He settled for ruffling his spiky hair, messing up the signature hairstyle before lightly slapping him upside on the head.

"Boy, you are too troublesome for words. Why is it that your motivation only rears its smart asinine head for very few reasons?"

"If I knew the answer to that Oyaji I would tell you. But then again it's too troublesome coming up with a reason so let's just settle and say I was born this way." came the dead-panned retort. Shaking his head, he gestured towards Ibiki to go on with a languid wave of his hand. "Sorry about that folks. Let's move on shall we? How about that code breaker of yours—the near-sighted blonde one—Shiho?"

This time it was Ibiki who looked pained. There was something not quite chagrin nor annoyance in the chief of the T&I department but an oddly placed combination of both. "Don't even go there. That girl might be smart enough to maybe get what Shikamaru is saying when he actually bothers to verbalize his thoughts for the rest of us lowly mortals without genius IQ's but I don't think I can find anyone to train the clumsiness out of her."

Tsunade nodded. She really couldn't find any reason not to trust Ibiki's declaration and as desperate as they are in finding a candidate—even she couldn't risk the success of a mission on a girl someone like Ibiki would call ditzy.

"Well then, keep looking. We need a potential or actual clan heir. Or at least someone affiliated with a noble house. There has to be someone, for god's sake—we have an entire village built on the backs of noble clans. There has to be one girl in their fold we can use."

Kakashi was back to reading his iconic porn but he conceded enough to point out helpfully, "Tsunade-sama, you might not like to hear this but we can't actually use a civilian or even an untrained clan member. The whole point is to find someone we didn't have to babysit so closely remember?"

Tsunade groaned in frustration and snatched back the nearly empty bottle of sake. Discarding courtesy or even any sense of delicateness, she tipped the bottle into her cup and filled it to near brimming. Slamming the now empty bottle, she took a healthy swig of liquor and cursed out load.

"Thrice damned restrictions! Why couldn't they just ask for any girl worth her salt so we can flood their stupid palace with competent kunoichis that could beat the shit out of those pompous, spoiled bastards the moment they don't toe the line?"

Kakashi couldn't help but grin at the absolutely livid picture his leader made and he pointed out rather deliberately, baiting her, "Ah that's why they're called politicians and nobles Hokage-sama. If they operated within the Shinobi Code of Conduct, we could've just jutsued their asses back to them."

"Damn straight we would! Argh! This is the other reason I hate my job. I have that dreadful paperwork to contend with and I have idiots to kowtow to. Bloody bastards."

Shikaku gave a discreet signal to the lazy copy-nin to stop aggravating their leader. The silver-head gave his Jounin Commander a two-fingered salute confirming his intentions to behave. Turning back to their now pouting and clearly sulking Hokage, Shikaku tried to rally their meeting back on course.

"So, just to make it clear, thus far we haven't secured a viable candidate for the mission. We cannot use any of the clans heirs because our would-be host already knows of them so the chances of slipping one past them is impossible. We must therefore either find a kunoichi that could be quickly trained, a clan member that won't be recognized or a civilian that will be compelled to act the part but require more protection than we can easily provide. Have I missed anything else Hokage-sama?"

"That's pretty much our current hell in its fucked up egg basket Shikaku."

Ibiki was nodding his head in agreement when Shikamaru in his atypical cognitively disruptive way pointed out an avenue those around him seemed to have missed.

"So if we can't find the right girl within the right age group—why can't we make do with someone disguised for the job?"

As one, the four adults pinned Shikamaru once more with their unblinking stares. Ibiki grunted before nodding once.

"That seems to me a distinct possibility. And for the sake of expediency I myself would raise the next probable question—who would that shinobi be?"

"Konoha has a lot of shinobi to offer."

"Neji is usually thought of as rather slightly." Kakashi murmured, grinning at Shikamaru. The young jounin pinned his friends' former sensei with a bored look and muttered a name.


Kakashi, Tsunade, and Shukaku blanched at the idea of telling Gai that his student was chosen to pretend to be a princess because he looked the part. As one, the experience ninjas in the room imagined the infamous green-clad jounin's response and promptly banged their heads to dispel the resulting image.

"That's just—! No, that is—just—no!" Kakashi spluttered.

"Shi-ka-ma-ru!" Tsunade growled, "You have a vile imagination you bastard."

Even Shikaku was considerably paler after contemplating such a vision. "Son, please, I deal with madness and death and crazy people and I'm fine with it. Just don't drag THAT into the discussion okay?"

"As you wish." Shikamaru paused for a bit and then added as if absently, "Uchiha is definitely pretty enough isn't he?"

Ibiki scoffed, "Not to put too blunt a spin on it—but despite his probationary release and the fact that he has proven his rehabilitation, he is still clan heir—or head, to be technical. So he is also part of the pact and part of the retinue and thus ineligible. He's actually one of the few clans that were specifically requested to be part of the retinue."

Kakashi looked at Shikamaru as he tapped his book thoughtfully against the side of his thigh, "What if he could actually be convinced?"

Shikamaru grinned at the man, "What do you think?"

Kakashi blinked before giving his patented eye-smile, "That would be a miracle—or a sign of the apocalypse."

Ibiki snorted in disgust before reaching down and pulling out a different set of folder from the bag he had placed on the flood beside his feet when he came in. "What about that pale sub on Team Seven—Sai was it? What about him. A clever mask or skillful application of prosthetic's would be effective since we cannot even consider the use of genjutsu."

Tsunade grunted, "The boy would be like the exact opposite of Shikamaru's concern for Sakura. The boy has no discernible emotions to speak of. All he has is that offbeat—and I use the term loosely—sense of humor that couldn't be mistaken for anything else except for blatant unforgiving bluntness."

Shikamaru smirked at his clearly aggravated leader before slouching back and placing the laced fingers of his hands atop his stomach. Eyes gleaming with speculation, he spoke quietly, "Ideally this would fall under the Senju Clan's jurisdiction wouldn't it seeing as it is the founding family of Konoha and therefore the leading noble house in the village but since you are the Hokage, Tsunade-sama, that privilege cannot be extended to you. However, don't you have any living heirs here?"

Tsunade frowned at her youngest advisor, "What do you think? If I had a living heir, do you think we would be brainstorming and arguing back and forth like this?"

"Are you positive that you do not have a living heir in Konoha, Tsunade-sama? One that may not be of blood, but maybe other filial ties?" Shikamaru persisted, eyes staring intently at his leader.

"Yes I'm sure! Why the hell do you keep asking me that? I think I would know better than anyone if I have someone here who shares my family tree and therefore make them my—make h—oh my god! You don't mean—Shikamaru you bloody genius!"Tsunade crowed in glee.

Meanwhile Ibiki, Kakashi and Shukaku could only stare uncomprehendingly at Shikamaru who shrugged his shoulders dismissively.

"Shika, care to explain why our famed leader seemed to have lost her marbles?"

When his father's stare intensified and Ibiki finally shifted from his seat, even the laziest jounin in Konoha was not proof against it. Shikamaru took one last look at his cackling leader and sighed.

"She's cackling like a loon because she finally figured out that the Noble house of Senju does have a representative it could send—a legal one at that."

"That's great," Kakashi nodded his head, "but that doesn't explain the lunatic gleam in her eyes."

Shikamaru released a very deep, long and put upon sigh as if the entire matter was as troublesome as he had feared and muttered, "That's because she finally figured out that her heir apparent—the inheritor of the Noble House of Senju, heir to the Founding Clan of Konoha happens to be the loudest, most unpredictable, most obnoxiously dressed shinobi in all the elemental nations who distinctly likes orange jumpsuits and who would most likely decimate anyone near him if and when he finds out that he would need to be a girl to claim that title."