40: Mission Accomplished
It was just another peaceful day in Konoha. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the people were happily going about their daily routines as if nothing in world could go wrong. As such, inside the Hokage's Mansion, Tsunade sat with a much diminished pile of paperwork thanks to her use of Shadow Clones, and her threats of bodily harm to Koharu and Homura to get their own paperwork done on their time.
Being Hokage was better now that she had those advantages, which is what led to her spending a little time that morning with a few of her favorite female companions. Kurenai, Anko, and Shizune were all seated around her, smiling and chatting happily as two of the women discussed names for Anko's growing child.
"I like Rin," Anko said, smiling as she stroked the small lump in her stomach, "I know Kakashi would approve, and the name suits a boy." She was now nearly two months along since Kakashi had left little over a month ago to aid in Oni no Kuni, while Kurenai was showing a great deal more.
"It's a good name," Kurenai agreed, smiling, "At least you knew yours was a boy before you started thinking about names, though. Asuma and I argued horribly for a time until we found out I was having a little girl."
Shizune sighed, "You're both so lucky!" She said, "Iruka and I've been trying for so long now, but we can't seem to get anywhere!"
Tsunade chuckled at her apprentice, "Pregnancies always hit when you least expect them," the blonde Kage smiled, "Kurenai came bumbling into my office half out of her mind with worry when she thought she was pregnant, and fainted when I confirmed it!"
Kurenai blushed, "I was better off than Asuma was. That man almost had a heart attack when I told him."
"Speaking of our boys," Anko said, "Is there any word from Kakashi, yet?"
Tsunade nodded, reaching for a drawer on her desk, "As a matter of fact there is, but I wanted to wait until you came in to read it." She said, producing a scroll, "It has the mission cleared seal on it, but I doubt that's all there is to it."
Anko gave out a small sigh, "That's a relief, I was getting worried for a little while."
Tsunade chuckled as she unsealed the scroll. "Let's see here...eh?"
"What?" Shizune, Anko and Kurenai asked at once.
"He says...I should be sitting down, and probably should down a few cups of my strongest Sake?"
Shizune grimaced, "This doesn't sound good," she said, and moved toward the closet where Tsunade kept her strong liquor. Tsunade took a long drink, giving an appreciative sigh before reading on.
As I'm hoping you've followed my instructions for this letter, I have no easy way of breaking this to you. While joining Team's Gai and Eleven, I also encountered one Uzumaki Naruto, alive and well."
"What?!" The four women shouted, Tsunade spilling the bottle of Sake as she stood in shock.
"Alive?!" Tsunade gasped out. "But...How?!"
"Keep reading!" Shizune urged, eager to hear more.
"As I'm sure you're wondering how this happened, and why, it was explained to me that Jiraiya made a detailed Mud Clone, and substituted it for Naruto, who was heavily injured at the time, and whisked him away so that Iwa would halt their advance and pursuit of him. Although Naruto claims that he did not wish for this to happen, he say's that he can't argue the results of the stunt. He's grown more powerful as a shinobi than ever. In fact, he was the one the fought and defeated Moryo as he rose.
More to the point, he is repentant about leaving us all like that. Tayuya and Sakura made sure that he knew of that with a few good smacks, though I'm willing to bet he's in for more than that when we return."
"Damned right he is!" Tsunade snarled, angry tears springing to her eyes, "How could he do this to me!? I was so damned sure that I'd lost him!"
Kurenai took the scroll form the emotional Kage, and continued reading.
"There are a few things you'll need to prepare for when we arrive, probably a day or so after this letter reaches you. First of all, we have Itachi with us, and he is in need of extreme medical assistance. He has a terminal illness, and it seems you could be the only one that stands a chance of saving him. We also have a young Uzumaki girl with us, as well as a Kiri native, and a young man that has the unique ability to naturally use Senjutsu in a raw, beast-like state. He will need to be put under watch so that his chakra doesn't cause him to run wild. Also, it would be advisable to register Naruto and Tayuya as a married couple as they have tied the knot in Oni no Kuni."
"They didn't!" Shizune squealed happily.
Tsunade growled, "Just great, she'll probably be pregnant as well!"
Shizune swatted her arm, "Don't be so cynical! This is Naruto we're talking about, I'm sure he's been careful with her!"
The blonde scoffed, crossing her arms under her breasts, "Ha, Naruto? Careful? That's like saying Jiraiya isn't a pervert!"
"Is there more?" Anko asked, hoping to hear more details over the mission.
Kurenai nodded and returned to reading. "Inside the seal at the bottom of this scroll, you find the documents to cement their marriage in the village, as well as a few pictures I took the liberty of taking for you to see. I think you would be proud of the man he's become, despite his short comings due to Jiraiya's interference. Although I'm sure he'll have to stand trial for 'Desertion', I'm willing to be lenient as he has cemented our relations with Oni no Kuni, and is far to power to simply waste away in a cell for the rest of his life.
Also, as it has been about a month since the wedding, and please keep in mind that this is what they've wanted, I'm happy to say that Naruto and Tayuya are already expecting."
"Oh you've got to be kidding me!" Tsunade roared as Shizune squealed in delight, "I knew it! That blond birdbrain just could keep his pride tied, and now I'll have to put a third kunoichi on maternity leave!" She sat back, palming her face in agitation. "This is just perfect!"
Shizune huffed as she came down from her excitement, "Oh, like you are picturing yourself spoiling their little one rotten?"
Tsunade harrumphed and grabbed the sake bottled, draining what little alcohol remained, "Is there anything else?"
Kurenai scanned the message and shook her head, "No, Kakashi-san just says not to upset Tayuya-chan too much, and not to be too hard on Naruto-kun," she said, sighing with a slightly pleased smile, "You know, Naruto-kun needs this more than I think even he realizes?"
"Come again?" Tsunade arched her brow at the woman.
Kurenai shrugged, "Well, think about it. Naruto's been alone for most of his life, and he's always wanted a family of his own, even from the time he was small. I remember hearing him say so in passing." She said, smiling at the older woman, "And now look at what he's accomplished. He's not only the apprentice of Kakashi Hatake, but also of Sannin no Jiraiya, and a Tokubetsu Jonin at sixteen."
"Don't forget about his sub-elemental Ninjutsu," Shizune put in, "Akira-san was adamant about keeping some of them inside the Uzumaki clan."
"And there's another thing," Anko smirked, "He found what was left of his own clan, rescued them, and helped bring down one of the worst SS-ranked traitors the village has ever seen, and I'll always owe the gaki for that one."
Tsunade sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, "I realize that all that he's done in the passed two years is...stunningly remarkable...but he'll still be branded a traitor in the eyes of the civilians...good gods it's going to be just as bad as it was when he was a child!"
Shizune hung her head, "And what's more...Tayuya-chan's having his child..."
"Which will make her a target for their blind hatred of the Kyuubi," Tsunade growled, shaking her head, "This is supposed to be the happiest I've been in two fucking years, and now all I can see is all the horrible things that this village is capable of..." She sat back with her hands steepled in front of her, her elbow resting on the desk. As she thought about what to do, something occurred to her as she did. "Shizune, get me Akira, and have him here as soon as he can. And I want a meeting of the shinobi clans as well, within the hour if possible, but leave those two old bats out of it. This is between active shinobi."
=|One day later, 1 mile from Konoha|=
Tayuya coughed and sputtered as she hunched over on the side of the road while Naruto held back her hair, "This fucking sucks!" The girl gasped, wiping her mouth. She looked back over her shoulder at her husband, "I blame you for this, you know? You are the horniest bastard I've ever met since that fucking horn-dog, Kiba!"
Naruto chuckled nervously as he helped her to her feet, "I'd say I'm sorry," he said, placing a gently hand over her flat stomach, "But I'm really not."
The redhead rolled her eyes as she leaned into him, "This is ridiculous...I've worked my ass off to become the most bad ass kunoichi in the damned village since your mom, and here I am, just a month after our marriage, pregnant and puking my guts out!"
Sakura came over to check her out, her palms glowing as she checked the growth of the fetus. "Honestly, Tayuya, you're doing fine. This is the lightest case of morning sickness I've ever seen."
"This is fucking light?"
Sakura giggled as she stood back up, dusting off her hands, "Just think, the village is in sight, and you'll be able to rest at home without anyone bothering you."
"Except my soon-to-be-dead husband," she sighed, rubbing her gurgling stomach, "gods I feel sick...how long does this last?"
"Not long for some, a month, tops, but you're only a few weeks along as it is." Sakura said, smiling as the girl groaned in dismay. "But come on, aren't you excited?"
Tayuya looked at her, "About the baby?" Sakura nodded, smiling, "Well...maybe...just a little." She admitted with a blush. "I really don't think it's sunk in yet. I mean, Shithead-kun threw a fit when I told him, and he still brags about it - "
"No I don't," the blond pouted, though he had a small smirk on his face.
Sasame came up to her with a canteen, letting her wash the taste out of her mouth, "Don't worry, it will, and when it does you'll be so happy about it you won't know what to do."
Tayuya smiled at her teammate, "Thanks, Sasame, that kinda helps...but man what I wouldn't give for a cure for this shit!" She groaned as her stomach gave a slight heave.
Sakura and Sasame giggled as their friend leaned against the blond for support before he smiled and lifted her into his arms with a small yelp. Normally, Tayuya would have protested, but the sickness had taken too much fight out of her and soon relaxed into his arms. Naruto smiled down at her tenderly, "Just like old times, eh?"
That brought a smile back to her face as she tucked her head under his chin, "Yeah, just like old times."
Further ahead of them, Sora and Ranmaru stood watching the pair, "Ugh, you two are giving me the willies, ya know that?" Sora complained, looking at Sasame wistfully, "Couldn't you wait until we get home toget all mushy?"
Suigetsu grinned back at him from ahead, "Sounds like someone's jealous."
"Shut up, Waterboy!" Sora snapped just as a large grey fist impacted against the Kiri-nin's head, bursting it into water. "Thank you, Jugo, even though I know it wasn't intentional." He grinned as Jugo scratched the back of his head while Suigetsu reshaped his head into place.
"Sorry, Suigetsu," Jugo mumbled, "without Sasuke around, it's harder to control myself."
Suigetsu shrugged, "Hey, better me than the pregnant lady back there, right?" He said, jerking his thumb at Tayuya, "Besides, it's not like I can feel it when you hit me like that."
Karin, who was walking at the forefront of the little troupe alongside Itachi, Kakashi and Jiraiya, look back at the white-haired teen, "But you always complain when I hit you."
"That's because you do it because you want to," Suigetsu grumbled, jerking his thumb at the lumbering young man beside him, "Jugo doesn't have much of a choice, and you know that."
Jugo blushed in embarrassment, "Thanks for being so understanding."
Suigetsu grinned and patted his arm, "No problem, big guy...but seriously, try to rein it in when we get to the village, huh? Konoha's a real classy place, I hear, so I'd like the chance to get in with a few home grown ladies, it you know what I mean?" He said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively, much to Karin's disgust, and Jugo's confusion.
"Uh, I...guess so?"
Suigetsu just chuckled, "Don't worry, Jugo, there's probably some bodacious babe just waiting for ya in that village, and who knows? She might be able to keep you in check, huh?"
Jugo sighed, "Someone's gonna have to...I don't wanna hurt anyone anymore."
Sasuke's absence from the group had happened early on. Not wanting to get drawn back into the village, or even anywhere near it, the youngest Uchiha had taken off as soon as they made it back to Hi no Kuni soil, saying a fairly quick farewell to his old teams, and brother before disappearing. Jugo hadn't lasted long before he had started swinging.
Being around Ranmaru seemed to help the giant, but not by much. Though that didn't stop the youngest shinobi of the team from trying. Ranmaru's friendliness won Jugo over quick enough, as often seen when the large teen would carry him on his shoulder at times, much to his delight. Naruto himself was curious about Jugo's abilities, promising to look into creating a special seal for him to safely use them without fear of running wild.
Currently, the young Byakugan user was walking alongside Neji and his teammate happily. "I can't wait to see home again." He chirped, "It feels like it's been ages!"
Neji chuckled at his pupil, "That it does, Ran-chan, and I'm sure Hanabi-sama will be happy to see you as well."
Naruto heard this and grinned, "What's that? Does my sweet little otouto have himself a girlfriend already?"
Ranmaru blushed bashfully while scratching the back of his head, a habit he picked up from Naruto. "Hanabi-chan's really nice, Onii-san. I think you'd like her a lot."
Naruto chuckled at his first memory of the younger Hyuuga sister of Hinata. when he first met her, it was the day of the Chunin exam finals. She had been a cute little thing back then, and somewhat shy, like her sister, but boy did she have a temper! If Hiashi was planning to have Ranmaru and Hanabi become close, he couldn't think of a nicer girl for it to happen with.
Tayuya sighed against him as she settled into his arms, "Hey, Shithead?" Naruto looked down at her, smiling. "We're...we're gonna be parents!"
Naruto nearly laughed when she said, then but managed to contain himself and kissed her on the forehead, "Yeah, and I'm gonna be there for you through everything...for both of you. Everything I didn't have as a child, ours will have. She'll lack for nothing."
Tayuya laughed softly, "It's a boy."
Naruto arched an eyebrow at her, "How do you know?"
She closed her eyes and leaned against him, half asleep. "I know...because it's my baby, too."
=|Konoha's North Gate|=
Akira paced back and forth nervously as he and his clan waited for the arrival of their proper clan head. His daughter stood off to the side, smiling indulgently at her father. "Otou-san, you really should calm down." She said, reaching out place a hand on his shoulder, "I'm sure Naruto-sama will be fine as will Tayuya-san."
"Ushio-chan, refer to her as Tayuya-sama, now, she is his wife after all," Akira said absently, but sighed as he realized his daughter was right. "I'm sorry, my dear, I must seem like a some mad fool the way I'm acting right now?"
Ushio shook her head, "No, just a man that finally has hope for the future again." She smiled, "News of Naruto-sama's death weighed heavily on all of us for a time, but to find that he's still alive after so long, and married to his love with a little one on the way," she clasped her hands together with a beaming smile on her face, "It's so much more than we could have ever hoped!"
"That it is," Akira agreed, glancing back at the fuming Godaime for a moment, "But I fear that Tsunade-sama won't be so lenient with him as we hope."
Tsunade was indeed angry, pissed actually. The meeting with the clans had gone off without a hitch...that is until Koharu and Homura barged their way into it, demanding that her favorite shinobi be charged with treason the moment they heard of his eventual return, but thankfully they had been removed by the Anbu, and were now sitting in a holding cell until Naruto's trial had come to pass.
"They're coming!" Hinata shouted joyfully.
A small band appeared over the rise, at the front, a large white-haired man, smiling ear to ear as he saw the crowd.
Next was her successor the Hokage seat, Kakashi. Beside her, Anko touched her stomach nervously. "This is...kinda scary...what if he doesn't - "
"Anko-chan, stop that," Kurenai chided her, "He'll love you all the more for something like this."
As the small procession neared, a mop of blond hair became visible as he carried a red-haired woman in his arms. There were shouts of joy and relief from friends and family within the Uzumaki clan, as well as Naruto's old classmates as he came into view, a serene smile on his face.
Tsunade, prepared to rake the boy over the coals of hell for what he'd put her through, felt all of her anger begin to melt away. Of course she had seen his wedding photo, but now, to see him in person... Tears began to form in her eyes as she took him in. If it weren't for the whisker marks on his face, he would have been the spitting image of his father, a fact that no one missed as he neared them.
Only a few feet from the gate, Jiraiya held up his hand for them to halt while he, Kakashi and Itachi approached.
Itachi took the lead then, and sank down to his knees in front of the blonde Kage. "Tsunade-sama," Itachi began, bowing his head, "I, disgraced Jonin of Konohagakure no Sato, humbly ask to rejoin her ranks, and beg to return home."
Tsunade sighed and gestured for Shizune to come forward, "Raise your head, Itachi Uchiha," she said kindly, "I have been briefed on your circumstances, as well as the illness that plagues you." She said, raising her voice so that she was heard, adding a bit of chakra to her vocal chords to make her louder, "As Godaime Hokage, I welcome Itachi Uchiha home!" There was a loud roar of approval, as Itachi's case had been made public knowledge a day before his arrival, as Shizune came forward, and lifted him to his feet.
"I'll escort you to the hospital, now, Itachi-san," she said, smiling gently, "Don't worry, you'll have our finest medics looking after you."
Itachi smiled weakly, "You have my thanks." He said, turning his head back to the girl that had been at his side until a few moments ago, "Karin Uzumaki," he said over the crowd, "Come meet your family."
Karin did as she was told, albeit nervously as she stepped into the village's boundaries. She looked over the gathered Uzumaki clansmen, all of whom were smiling at her, and gave a short bow, "I'm...I'm Karin Uzumaki, born in Kusa...is... there a chance that Shizuku Uzumaki is with you?"
The smiling Uzumaki slowly began to part, soon revealing a woman of their clan in her early forties standing within their ranks. Karin's hand flew to her throat as a sob racked her chest. Though time had changed her, her once vibrant red hair dusted with grey, Karin knew her...as she knew Karin.
"Karin-chan..." Hearing her name from the woman's lips broke her out of her trance, and soon her feet carried right into her arms. "I thought I'd never see you again!"
"I missed you," Karin sobbed, "I missed you so much, Kaa-chan!"
Itachi smiled at the mother and daughter before letting himself be led away by Shizune, happy for the girl.
Naruto set Tayuya down as hers and Neji's teams stepped forward. Kakashi went with them, moving to stand beside Tsunade as he did. Both Neji and Tayuya gave a short, respectful bow to the blonde Kage, "Jonin Tayuya Uzumaki and Neji Hyuuga, reporting, Godaime-sama," Neji said, smiling, "Our mission in Oni was a complete success. Mission accomplished."
Tsunade nodded, "Well done." She said shortly, and smiled at th young woman, "Congratulations, Mrs. Uzumaki," she said, making the girl blush. "But I'm afraid your husband has something to answer for."
Jiraiya looked back at his student, and sighed, "That's our cue, gaki." He said, gesturing him forward, "Come on."
Naruto sighed and stepped into the village for the first time in two years, and was rushed. Konohamaru Sarutobi bulldozed right into him, knocking his older brother figure to the ground with a joyful shout as Udon and Moegi soon followed. Naruto laughed loudly, despite the situation and hugged the three children.
"Gods above and below, look at you all!" Naruto laughed, ruffling Konohamaru's wild hair, "You all look so big now! And you're all Genin!"
"Jonin Uzumaki!" Tsunade roared, "Front and center! NOW!"
Naruto cringed, and got to his feet, placing the children back on the ground, "Sorry, guys...we'll catch up later, okay?"
"Good luck," Moegi whispered.
Naruto gulped, and nodded his thanks, knowing he was going to need it as he went to stand beside Jiraiya in front of the imposing woman. Tsunade was once again livid as the blond teen stood in front of her, almost taller than she was now, and growled. "Give me one good reason why, for your desertion of this village, I shouldn't have you locked away int the deepest, darkest cell available!"
Naruto bit his lip, and began to speak, but was surprised when Jiraiya held up a hand to stop him. "I will give you a very good reason for that, Tsunade." he said, dropping all honorifics, but grinning with a devious smirk that remind Kakashi of Naruto just before he pulled off one hell of a prank.
"And that would be..what?" Tsunade growled at the man, "Well? Spill it!"
Jiraiya kept grinning and snapped a mock salute, "Jonin Jiraiya, and Tokubetsu Jonin Naruto, returning from assigned two and a half year training trip, as promised, Godaime-sama," Tsunade was stunned, "In other words...mission accomplished, Hime!"
Tsunade felt her jaw beginning to drop, "That...no...no, no, no! That cannot be possible!"
Jiraiya grinned, "Oh, but it is, Hime-sama!" He laughed, "You assigned me two and a half years to train the gaki however I saw fit to help him become as strong as possible...and here we are, two and a half years later, as promised!" He cackled loudly, and the Senju heiress sank to her knees.
"That's...not...fair!" Tsunade cried, "I was worried to death about you after that fiasco with Iwa because you never came back, and now you're telling me that this was...there's no way you could have planned on all of this happening!"
"Nope," Jiraiya scratched the back of his head, "Circumstances aside, we have returned to the village as promised."
Naruto looked at Kakashi, "Is that...true?"
Kakashi shrugged, "Well, technically, Jiraiya, even as a retired shinobi, was named the leader of this mission, the team consisting of yourself and himself, as Tayuya and the rest of Team Eleven were additions along the way...and since Jiraiya never declared the mission a success or a failure..."
"Argh! Kami dammit all!" Tsunade roared, grabbing the old man by his robes, "I don't care! You two knuckleheads put me through hell!" She reached for Naruto and dragged him toward, her, "You're both going to be in the hospital with broken bones when I'm through with you!"
"Wait a minute!" Both men said.
"No!" She growled, shaking them violently, "I've had it up to here with you and your tricks! Now take your punishment like men!" But before she could do any real damage, both Naruto and Jiraiya vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving straw dolls in their places. "Wah! Oh, no you don't!" She yelled spotting the pair high-tailing it down the streets, "GET YOUR ASSES BACK HERE!"
As the irate woman gave chase, Kakashi sighed, smiling behind his mask, "Well...looks like things are finally back to normal."
"Hmm?" Kakashi looked down to find his wife standing beside him, "Ah, Anko-hime, how have you been since I was away?"
Anko smiled at him, "Busy...I had the Hatake compound cleaned up and rebuilt." This caused his visible eye to widen.
"Why would you do that?"
"Because," she said nervously, reaching for his hand and placing it on her growing stomach, "We're...gonna need the space."
Kakashi looked from her slightly flustered face to where she had put his hand two or three times before the dots began to connect. "You mean...I'm...we're...a baby...?!"
Anko nodded, smiling, "Yeah, we're gonna be parents."
Let it be know that Kakashi Hatake would be known for many things throughout his life, but most notable would be his reaction to his first child...he fainted dead away while his wife laughed at him.
The madness isn't done, yet, folks, because Naruto is still getting his ass chased!
Don't forget to review!