So anyone who isn't on my FB will probably be wondering about the delay especially since I've been updating fairly regularly lately. Well, I had to go on hiatus when I was put on bed rest after a severe car accident. I was reasonably fine, just heavily bruised and swollen. Both my arms were suffering from damage. But I'm getting better now, and I hope the man who hit me has become a lot wiser on the road. My poor car took most of the damage for me though, I miss it. ),:

I'm currently doing a Q&A and Suggestions on the Facebook page. If there is a one shot you were hoping to see you can suggest it and if it sparks an idea in me I'll write it up. It might take some time but if I say I'll do it, I will.

To the reviewer who reviewed every chapter with the Children of Iron in it commenting on how stupid they thought it was blah blah blah, thanks, it was nice waking up from a painful sleep to read those back to back reviews basically calling me a bad and lazy writer. I don't mind criticism but fuck, why didn't you just read all the chapters and review in one lump instead of a number of times? I get it, you like to bitch, but guess what? All your 'issues' were always planned to be covered in this chapter, but hey, thanks for making my crappy week crappier.

Also, yes I know there are spelling mistakes in the italic section down further that aren't struck out. That was on purpose. I know I do spell some things wrong, and I don't mind people politely pointing them out, I just want you to know it's on purpose this time… in that section at least, so I don't get a heap of reviews about it.

Shikamaru was on his way to one of the food warehouses to transport supplies to the food preparation bays when he noticed that people were staring at him. He shrugged it off at first, believing he must be mistaken. He was assured that this was not the case when Genma appeared beside him, slinging an arm over Shikamaru's shoulders. One look at the man's grin made the Nara cringe.

"I had you pegged all wrong!"

"Oh, how so?" Shikamaru asked dryly, brushing the man's arm off and trying to not yelp when Genma's hand brushed his behind. He could tell by Genma's cackle that a reaction would simply encourage him.

"Well, I thought that you would choose a woman who was maybe a bit feisty but over all someone who would just let you do whatever you wanted. But nope." Genma grinned widely at him. "You're a bit of a masochist, aren't you?"

"I'm still talking to you, so maybe I am," Shikamaru retorted, rolling his eyes.

The man sniggered, falling into step with Shikamaru. "But seriously, never did I think you'd go for the most energetic, driven, and mischievous person in the village. Granted, I can see a bonus in dating someone who likes looking like a male and a female, though I didn't think you'd be into that sort of things."

"I'm a man of mystery." He sighed, wondering if the Jonin was going to leave him alone any time soon.

"Still, you should be proud of yourself. You are dating the village's current number one bachelor slash bachelorette. There are a few people in the village who now hate you."

"Please tell me you're one of them and you will never talk to me again after this."

Genma laughed, clapping him on the back. "Naruto is hot and all, and so are you, and you might both be of age buuuut I'm older than you… by a lot."

"How much exactly?" Shikamaru asked with a snigger.

"That's not important," Genma waved off.

"Funny, cause I could have sworn Asuma-Sensei commented that you're over twice my age."

"Well then it's a good thing I don't want to date you," Genma snapped. "Don't remind a man of his age."

"Funny, my mum says something similar, but without the whine in her voice." The Nara was smart enough to duck when the other man swung at him.

"Not nice. But half the village is trying to find out if you really are dating Naruto, or if it's just a rumour."

"So that's why you're here. You want confirmation."

"Nope. Either way I'm entertained, but I've seen how you two interact, and Anko was able to find out Naruto's gender after turning into you and feeling Naruto up-"


"Not important. So it's not that surprising that you two are dating. Hell, I've known for ages that Naruto likes you." At Shikamaru's surprised look, Genma laughed. "I've been Naruto's drinking buddy since she got back. She might not get drunk but she does get a bit loose lipped when the rest of us are drunk. She obviously thought none of us would remember, but she mentions you a lot, and has even admitted that she thought you were attractive."

"You know, this is information that would have been helpful a few days ago," Shikamaru grumbled.

The man shrugged unapologetically. "What is said over drinks is not allowed to be used against someone. If it was I would be screwed." Genma leant back, clear looking at Shikamaru's ass. When the Nara turned sharply to stop his staring Genma laughed. "You know, however your relationship with Naruto goes, it'll still be entertaining for me, but be careful, cause if you break her heart the village is gonna be pissed."

"Yeah, yeah," Shikamaru muttered as Genma walked off. Watching the man leave he realised that the Jonin hadn't said how he found out about Shikamaru and Naruto. It took him most of the day to find out how the village discovered the relationship that most of their friends didn't even know about.

Naruto had mentioned her interaction with Sakura the day before in which she not only told Sakura about Shikamaru but also about her gender. Apparently Sakura was kind enough to keep Naruto's gender a secret, which was surprising, though the pink haired girl had no clue why Naruto hid her gender, so she was probably being careful. However, the fact that Naruto, the village hero, was dating Shikamaru was not something that Sakura was apparently able to keep to herself. Only a few people were actually brave enough to ask Shikamaru if it was true.

On his way home he couldn't help but hope that the village gained a way to entertain themselves so they would leave Shikamaru and Naruto to work out their relationship in private. Although he had no experience with dating he had noticed through Ryota and Airi that the first few months of a relationship often determined whether it would survive to the long term. Having their relationship stared at and evaluated by the entire village would only make it worse. Sighing, he decided to push those thoughts to the back of his mind, especially when he noticed his fingers twitching around the stem of the sunflower he held. A reward for helping Aunt Momiji tend to her garden. Well… as much as a reward can be when he literally swiped it and noticed Aunt Momiji turning away as though she didn't notice with a smile on her face.

He went to Naruto's and Ino's room, knowing the Genin liked to spend a portion of her free time in there even if she was back to sleeping in his room. He knocked, receiving no answer. With a shrug, Shikamaru figured he would leave the sunflower on Naruto's nightstand to surprise her. It was as he turned to leave that he spotted the notebook Naruto had pinched off Shikamaru's father weeks before. Shikaku had happily let Naruto have it and some writing utensils even if no one had a clue why she wanted them. Although the blonde was much smarter than many first believed and could now read adequately, her writing was still lacking. She had taken to randomly asking people how to spell various words. Some of the words had peaked Shikamaru's interest.

With only a moment of hesitation Shikamaru picked up the notebook. He flicked through the first few pages that appeared to be lists of things he didn't understand. Finally he reached pages that were filled with a more coherent structure.

I like to think that the village really didn't know what was happening. Unfourtunitely Unfortunately that gets hard to believe at times. Even thogh we were always told not to talk about it there had been villagers who saw what was happened. I never saw them myself, but those who did said they gave no rection reaction. I can understand people not caring about me cause I'm a monster they see me as a monster. But really, Mrs Huruma is the real monster. Even the Nine-Tails thinks the things she did were twisted.

Even thogh I was only in the orfanage orphanage for five years I still had to pay her over half the allowance I was given when I left the orphanage. It wasn't until I was a Genin and had gone on a heep heap of missions was I able to pay her back. She makes us do that. Pay her, as though we are greatful grateful that she 'raised' us and abused us for years.

But I supose that's the stuff I should be talking about writing about: the abuse. One of the main things she did was not give us food. She would give us enough to survive, but only after we had done our 'dudise' 'duties'. We had to clean the entire orphanage, select children cooked for her, we did all the laundrey, and often had to get into the roof to get the dead rats. That was just the regular stuff.

Whenever she felt like, even if we didn't do anything, she would go nuts. She would make orphans fight each other to see who would get an extra meal… a lot of the vicios vicious fighters disappeared during the night. We were never sure where they went. She also liked making orphans sufer through different stress technices. One of the main ones forced us onto our knees, our hands tied behind our backs and connected to a pipe, making us lean back so that a drop of water repeatedly dropped on our foreheads. It sounds silly but after a while your muscles hurt and all you can focus on is the drip, drip, drip. Again, those that did well disappeared, but only the best. The ones who didn't cry, break down, and especially not those who wet themselves. Those ones got at least a night in The Box, still smelling and wet.

That was her favourite thing. Putting us in the box. It was how we got our names. But she doesn't know about the name. Scratched above the little door, where you can't see unless you're inside were the words 'WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF IRON!" Those were the only words I could read until a friend made sure I learnt how to read at age eight. I used to send my fingers bloody tracing those words. It was a comfort. We had iron in our blood. It hardened our hearts so that we didn't care about what Mrs Huruma did to us and so we didn't care about anyone. If she knew who you cared about, she would hurt them when you messed up instead of you. Feelings were bad.

Shikamaru hadn't noticed his hands were shaking until the messy words started becoming eligible. The sound of footsteps outside the door made him snap the book closed and drop it onto the bed. Seconds later Naruto walked in, smiling at the sight of Shikamaru. He noticed, however, that Naruto's eyes did slide worryingly to her notebook.

"Hi, why are you in my room?" Naruto asked, moving into his arms and kissing him.

"I see, you can come into my room whenever but I can't with yours?" Shikamaru teased. When Naruto replied by scrunching up her nose at him he laughed. "Close your eyes."

Giving an exaggerated sigh, Naruto did as he asked. He grabbed the sunflower off the nightstand and proceeded to run the petals over the blonde's nose, making her squirm. "You can open your eyes."

Naruto smiled at the sight of the flower. Taking it from Shikamaru's hand, she sniffed the flower before sitting down on the bed. "So, how much of my notebook did you read?"

Shikamaru stared at Naruto, wondering if he could deny his snooping. Although her mouth was hidden behind the sun flower the way she stared at him told him she was smirking, waiting to see what he would say in his defence. For a moment he simply blinked at the way her eyes shined so brightly against the contrast of the yellow petals. With a sigh, Shikamaru sat down heavily beside Naruto.

"You mad?"

"A little." Naruto shrugged, putting the sunflower on the nightstand and drawing her notebook into her lap. "I didn't want anyone to read it."

"Then why did you write it?" Shikamaru asked softly, his knee brushing hers as he reached out and took her hand.

"A historian wants to write a book on the Children of Iron, to bring us out for everyone to see, and to know what happened. I didn't want to do it at first, mainly cause I don't want you reading any of it, but I realised that continuing to be silent it gives the impression that what happened was alright an it's not. I want people to stop talking about her like she's a veteran that deserves respect. She's a horrible person and people need to know that."

"Yeah, I got that impression." He ran his hand down his face. "I only read about a page and a half and that was enough for me to want to see her dead."

Naruto started flicking through her note book until she reached the page she was looking for. She passed the note book to Shikamaru, pointing at the second paragraph. "This is the only section I would want you to read, if I had to have you read any."

It had clearly been written recently, perhaps within the last few days. The spelling mistakes had lessened compared to what Shikamaru had read earlier. Putting a hand on Naruto's knee, he looked down at the messy words.

I've had many fellow orphans ask me why I want to be Hokage for a village that let us suffer. It would be easy to say that I wanted to help change from within but that's not the case. It was one of the main reasons to begin with, as well as the fact that I wanted to earn the village's respect. But that's not the case anymore. I thought that most of the village was filled with taintevil some kind of hate, hate that led them to violence. Even those who had showed me kindness treated me poorly the next chance they got like my now friend Choji. But when I left the orphanage I had trouble getting any food at all. Mrs Huruma often stole my money to pay her stupid orphan 'bill' and I wasn't able to tell anyone. One night when my stomach felt like it was ripping itself apart with hunger a man found me, someone who had reason to hate the Nine-Tails, and instead of hurting me, like I expected, he looked after me, he fed me, and he showed me that people's hate could be killedstopped extinguished with compation with their desire to show compassion. Iruka-Sensei continued to look after me from then on.

And he wasn't the only one to show me kindness for no other reason than to be kind. Many of the people I care about deeply now started off as strangers who were people I had distrusted. I'm ashamed of that. Kiba was a force, and all I could think when seeing him was how much a punch from him would hurt, but instead of hurting me he uses that force to protect his friends. Anko is a sadistic bitch, but that's something I now love about her. And Shino was too quiet and too easily blends in the background, but instead of using that against me he mainly just makes me jump out of my skin. All I could see were possible threats when I looked at people. I think I realised how wrong that was and how much that held me back when I noticed a fellow student watching me. I instantly thought the worst and I was partly right. He knew a secret about me I had tried to hide. He had realised that I couldn't read but instead of using it to get me kicked out of school he told Iruka-Sensei so he could help me. That was actually the first time that someone had done something for me that was so simple and yet so helpful. I wasn't starving, I wasn't injured, I was just eliterete illiterate. I waited for it to bite me in the ass, but instead that same person bought me a gift, just because. Instead of wanting to just stop hate causing violence, I want to be Hokage to encourage compassion and kindness even in the simplest of ways.

"I know it's not great, and I'm not the best writer," Naruto admitted, squirming in her seat. "But I wanted you to see, after you read some of the other stuff, that I don't let it blind me to the good that outweighs what that woman did to me and the others. And I wanted you to know that even though I'm a dumby with emotions I have noticed how you've treated me over the years and what you've done for me."

Shikamaru looked at the blonde, who was still fidgeting in her seat. He dropped the notebook, reaching out and grabbing Naruto's hand. With a sharp tug, he pulled the blonde to him, kissing her. She slipped easily onto his lap, allowing him to wrap his arms tightly around her. Her knees pressed into his sides, keeping Naruto secure on her perch. It was a comfort to know that Naruto had noticed him and his affections over the years.

Pulling back, he searched Naruto's face, trying to decide if she was hiding something from him. There were so many pages in that notebook covered in her scribbling. He had seen only a small portion, making him wonder how much detail she went into about what she wouldn't say out loud. He felt a stab at the thought of her being willing to pour her secrets into a simple notebook but stayed silent with him. There wasn't really anything he wished to hide from her, but then, he hadn't gone through what she had. Looking at her blue eyes, the bright, unnatural colour still so captivating, he realised that whilst she might have hidden things in the past from lack of trust, now she had a vastly different reason. She hadn't yelled, or shut down at realising he had invaded her privacy because she wasn't worried about him discovering her secrets but about how he would handle her them. Naruto had shown him what she had so that he could have a glimpse into her mindset. It helped to remove the helplessness and anger he felt over Naruto's past trauma. He still wished that someone had been there to stop it, but at least he knew Naruto was doing everything she could to work through her past.

"You know, you still surprise me with how forgiving you can be," Shikamaru commented.

"I'm starting to think you're just really easy to surprise, almost as easy as you are to predict," teased Naruto before squealing at the man's wondering fingers. She tried to get up but that only gave him access to the back of her legs. When he started to tickle them she fell sideways onto the bed, trying to squirm away. "Shikamaru!" she tried to snap between bursts of laughter.

"I thought I was easy to predict," Shikamaru taunted, moving to pin her to the bed and continue his assault on her sides. "Maybe if you tell me what the hell Anko was doing in my form I'll stop?"

"Never!" Naruto tried to push Shikamaru off whilst laughing. All she succeeded in what getting her wrists pinned under one of the man's hands.

"So am I predictable?" Shikamaru nipped her neck as she shook beneath him.

"No, I take it back."

"Good. I'm not going to stop tickling you though."

Next moment Naruto had managed to throw herself to one side, rolling them both of the bed with a laugh. She loomed over Shikamaru, his hands now pinned either side of his head by Naruto's. She grinned in triumph down at him before kissing him deeply, eliciting a moan of surprise from the man beneath her. She let go of his hands, allowing him to lose one in her hair as the other pushed on her lower back, making her press into him. He could feel her heart beating rapidly against his chest. His hand slipped up the back of Naruto's shirt, feeling her warm, smooth skin. He felt her shutter as his rough palm scraped against her flesh. He smiled into the gasp she gave.

/ / / / /

He stretched, feeling his spine pop. He sighed as he looked at the stack of scrolls sitting on the desk. He and Shiho had been tasked with sorting the intact documents and rewriting any documents that had been damaged. There were obviously things that they couldn't salvage but apparently Shiho had a nearly perfect photographic memory and read boring documents in her free time in order to think of better codes. He was surprised at how many she had managed to remember so far. It was a long, annoying task that had made his wrist ache from all the writing. Shiho, even after he had turned her down, still took to staring at him with a wistful expression and blushing whenever he spoke to her or looked in her direction. Her 'affections' actually made him feel guilty whenever his shirt rubbed against the small bite mark Naruto had playfully left on his shoulder the night before.

With a grunt he tipped his head back, his hair that was in its now standard half up do fell over the chair. His eyes were closed as he tried to count how many hours he had left. He jumped when someone started kissing him. His eyes snapped open. The up close, blurry view of a tan ear, and a tan cheek with three whisker lines filled his vision. Closing his eyes and burying a hand into messy blonde hair, he kissed her back. When Naruto pulled away he gave a whine making her laugh.

"Having fun?" The blonde asked, sitting on Shikamaru's lap and putting plastic bag on her knee.

"I was until you stopped kissing me," Shikamaru admitted, burying his face into her neck, peppering her skin with small pecks. When the woman in his arms simply laughed he nipped at the flesh under his lips, grinning when Naruto gave a groan. "If we keep acting like this the entire village will know we're together in a matter of days. There's already speculation."

"So? Is that something that bothers you?" Naruto muttered, squirming on Shikamaru's lap.

He looked up at Naruto before snorting. He put his hand on her thigh, which was exposed thanks to her shorts. "Are you kidding? I want everyone to know. I'm pretty sure most of the village knows about my feelings for you, so it would be nice if they now knew that my pining wasn't for nothing." Naruto's laugh made him grin. "I'm serious. I'm thinking of spraying it on the Hokage faces."

"Taking a very me approach to it all."

"Well, I figured I should take you for inspiration. Though I do like having our privacy." He kissed her neck again, enjoying her squeak of surprise. "Not that I'm complaining, but what are you doing here? I thought you were visiting the Foundation members again."

"I did, but then I brought you lunch." She held up the plastic bag, letting the smell waft from it to Shikamaru's nose. His stomach gave a grumble in reply.

He pulled her closer. "Man, I love you!"

Naruto blushed as she pulled out two containers with stew and some utensils. She cleared her throat, looking over at Shiho who was staring intensely at the scroll in front of her. "Oh, I didn't realise you had company. You can have my stew."

"No, no," Shiho waved off. "I was planning to meet some friends for lunch anyway."

Bumping into the table and refusing to meet either of their eyes, Shiho jumped up, rushing from the tent. Shikamaru hadn't meant to flaunt his relationship in front of the woman like that, but the fact that he had simply forgotten that she was there made him feel worse.

"Did I do something?" Naruto asked, blinking like an owl.

"No… um… truthfully she showed interest in me before Pein's attack and I turned her down, telling her I loved someone else." He blushed, scratching his cheek.

"Oh… well I'll try to not to kiss you in front of her again, or at least until she gets over the rejection."

Shikamaru sighed, watching Naruto slide onto the table to sit in front of him. He knew what Naruto said was the kinder thing to do, he just didn't like the idea of not being able to kiss the blonde when ever and where ever he wanted. When Naruto laughed, leaning forward to kiss him he realised he had been pouting.

Letting his mouth form into a soft smile he took the container that Naruto held out to him. He told her what he had been doing all day whilst they ate, even though he knew her day would naturally be more entertaining.

"That would drive me nuts," Naruto admitted. "Lucky for me, I simply spent the day making more friends."

"How are they going with… learning feelings and stuff?" He honestly had no way of phrasing his question that didn't sound wrong to his ears. He hadn't met any of the members yet and had no idea what Naruto and Sai were doing to 'help' them with their mental state.

"Good… ish. Haru, Sai, and Captain Yamato went through the reports and stuff at the headquarters the other day, I supervised with Ikue and Gina." Naruto grinned at the way she had avoided paperwork, unlike Shikamaru. "We were able to find out the names of some of the members, mainly those who were in the orphanage and are Children of Iron. I could tell that it hurt the others that they couldn't find their names. Sai and Captain Yamato were two of those people. So today we worked on thinking up names for the others. The idea that they get to choose their own names and have control over them helped them. Some who found out their real names changed their names anyway. Turns out Danzo had bought a couple of people off their parents and since their parents were the ones who named them they didn't want to keep them."

"I'm glad you're able to help them," Shikamaru admitted, "but the fact that they worked for Danzo makes me want to tell you to stay away from them. I know it's not fair, but I just want you to stay safe."

"I know. I want the same for you, but I don't feel in danger around the Foundation members. Actually, Haru found this for me." Putting her food to the side, she pulled a scroll out of her weapon's pouch. "I mentioned to him how some ninjas had seen orphans in the iron box at the orphanage. Varric said that Uncle Inoichi had seen him in it and done nothing."

"That's impossible."

"That's what I said to him. But the historian I told you about has had a number of cases with various people having seen the abuse and done nothing. I couldn't let the book be published and have Uncle's name, and even Iruka-Sensei's name be stained like that. That's the only moments others are willing to talk about. The moments others saw them and turned away. I need answers. So Haru got me Mrs Huruma's file. I'm hoping there are some answers in it, otherwise I'll ask them in person and see what their account is."

Shikamaru gave Naruto's leg a squeeze. "I'm positive that there is a reason behind what happened. There is no way that Uncle Inoichi and Iruka-Sensei would see anyone, especially children being abused and do nothing."

Naruto nodded, putting the scroll down and starting to eat her food again. However, Shikamaru noticed the looks she kept shooting it, as though afraid it would slip away before she got to read the answers it held. When she managed to miss her mouth all together and instead poke her cheek with her fork Shikamaru sighed. He wiped the food from her face, licking it off his thumb as Naruto looked at him questioningly. Putting his food down, he held out the scroll.

"Just read it. I promise I won't be mad if you choose to read this over eating lunch with me. I understand."

Instead of taking the scroll from his hands she slid off the table and onto his lap, her legs hanging down next to his hips. Gripping his hair in her hands, Naruto slowly leant forward, her eyes scanning his face before she kissed him. He had expected something soft, feather light, like Naruto had done a number of times before. Instead her kiss was hard, firm, and dominating. With a small moan of surprise he submitted to the sensation. His hands slid up her legs, the scroll dropping to the ground as he gripped her hips tightly.

When they finally separated he found himself short of breathe. Gasping for air he looked at the woman in his lap, noticing that her breathing was just as heavy. Her eyes were bright, her cheeks had a flushed look to them, and her lips were swollen and bitten. With a wave of satisfaction he realised he was the course for her appearance. Anyone who looked at her would be able to tell that he had kissed her, that she knew of his affections and encouraged them. Swallowing thickly, he had to fight the urge to see how flushed he could make her.

"What's all this for?" Shikamaru asked with a small smile as Naruto buried her face in his neck, hugging him close.

"I just wanted you to know I appreciate you," Naruto muttered.

Something told him that wasn't the whole truth, but he accepted it, knowing when not to push Naruto into admitting things she herself might not understand. Instead he chuckled. "And here I was thinking you were simply stalling."

Naruto sniggered. "Maybe a little." She sat back before heaving a sigh. "What will I do if there isn't a reason? What if they really did see it and didn't do anything? What about if their reasoning is that they didn't want to go up against Danzo?"

"You know that's not the case."

"But what if it is?"

"Then we'll deal with it," he promised, kissing Naruto's knuckles.

With a resolute sigh Naruto leant to the side, reaching down to grab the scroll. Straightening up, she opened it, scanning its surface slowly. Shikamaru watched as Naruto's expression shifted from fear, to disgust, to mortification, and finally settling on pure rage. As he went to ask her what was wrong her eyes took on a distant look and he felt her chakra scatter past him. His heart dropped into his stomach as he realised Naruto was searching for someone.

Her eyes came back into focus as she closed the scroll, jumping up from Shikamaru's lap and striding to the exit of the tent. Scrambling to his feet, the man went after her. He caught her just outside, grabbing her wrist to halt her steps.

"Naruto, what is in there?" he yelped.

"What's in here?" Naruto snapped, holding the scroll up. "An Uzumaki seal, that's what! I've been studying them since Eiji gave me the books on them. That bitch took one of my Clan's seals and used it so that anyone who stepped into the basement of the orphanage without her releasing the jutsu for them would see a nice, child friendly play room. She made us feel like we were scum, that no one cared what she did to us and she used my Clan to do it. And the binding she used on all of the orphans besides the first gen and me, the one that stopped them from being able to talk about what happened, that was also an Uzumaki seal. That's why it didn't work on me, because my chakra naturally broke it. Instead she threatened Yasu to keep me quiet."

"That monster used the Uzumakis to torment and gag the Children of Iron," Naruto spat, "And I'm going to kill her for it."

She turned, starting off in her previous direction. However, Shikamaru wrapped his arms around her waist, feeling her fight his hold.

"You can't, Naruto!"

"Watch me!"

"No! You'll regret it." He spun her around before holding onto her tightly. "You will become exactly what you don't want. You won against Pein because you didn't let revenge rule you."

"SHE DESERVES TO DIE!" Naruto screamed.

"Yes, yes she does. I'm not saying she doesn't. But if you go and murder her you will become everything you are against. Think clearly. If this was me, if I was the one in your position, what would you do?"

"I'd kill her for you because no one gets to hurt you like that!"

He gave her a soft smile, stroking her cheek and wiping away a tear. "Believe me, I want to kill her. The only thing stopping me is that I know it's not what you would want if you were in your right mind. Think! Use that heart that made me love you. The heart that made the village respect you. What is the right thing to do? What will help the Children of Iron heal?"

Naruto took a deep breath, her eyes closed. When she released it and opened her eyes they still held the same dark, coldness that sent a shiver down Shikamaru's spine. "Let me go, Shikamaru."

Slowly, he released her. He had no idea what she had planned and instead followed behind her, his heart pounding hard enough to make him feel nauseous. Dark chakra fell off Naruto in waves, making people move out of her way as she walked. When the blonde sharply turned into a tent, roughly throwing the tent flap to the side Shikamaru was close behind her. He stopped mid step, however, when he saw his father, Uncle Inoichi, Iruka-Sensei, Anko, and Lady Tsunade sitting at a table with maps around them. When they saw Naruto they rushed to cover some of the documents. They had obviously been planning for the coming battle or hiding Naruto away. Luckily for them Naruto's anger had blinded her to their guilty expressions.

"Arrest Huruma! Now!" Naruto slapped the scroll down in the middle of the table. "She has been hurting children for years and using the Uzumaki seals to hide it. According to Clan village alliances code five, section… something… a Clan member is allowed to see to the arrest of someone who has stolen or abused knowledge and jutsus that are exclusive to the Clan. I'm the last Uzumaki, so I say arrest her. When she's locked up I'm going to make sure the seal on the Children of Iron is removed and they will tell you how messed up she is!"

"You know Clan Alliance codes?" Iruka-Sensei muttered in surprise, only to shrink back at Naruto's glare.

"Of course. I am going to be Hokage one day. I have to know these things."

"What are the Children of Iron?" Uncle Inoichi asked as Shikaku took the scroll from under Naruto's hand.

"People who have been abused and tortured by Huruma whilst in her care. A historian by the name of Masako has gathered some accounts of Huruma's treatment from the first gens. Something tells me she'll have more to put in her book after I remove the gag."

Shikaku turned to Lady Tsunade who was staring at Naruto as though she had grown an extra head. "From the looks of this scroll it does seem that Naruto, as an Uzumaki, has the right to have Huruma arrested whilst we verify the accusations."

Shaking herself out of her daze Lady Tsunade nodded, giving Shikaku and Uncle Inoichi permission to track down the woman. Naruto told them exactly where to find them before releasing a breath that seemed to deflate her. Rushing forward, Shikamaru held Naruto to him.

"Are you alright?" he asked, staring at her face.

"I want to hurt her so much that it sickens me. But I honestly can't believe she's going to be punished for what she did. If this all falls apart I'm going to regret not killing her."

Shikamaru kissed her hair. "You did the right thing."

"If I wasn't so angry I might agree with you."

Anko, who had sat stunned from the moment Naruto started talking sat forward. "So it's a sealing that stops us from telling others the truth, huh?"

"Yeah. Only those with strong chakra would have been able to state the bare minimum." Naruto leant heavily into Shikamaru, clearly gaining purchase on her emotions around a fellow Child of Iron.

The purple haired woman grinned in a way that turned Shikamaru's stomach. "Then release me, cause I want to tell every last thing about that bitch!"

Iruka-Sensei looked between the two women, colour draining from his face as he realised how bad it must be for Naruto to be filled with so much hatred and Anko to look so gleeful at the thought of admitting everything. With a satisfied smirk like Anko's Naruto poked her in the forehead, chakra radiating from the tip of her finger.

Anko took a deep breath, her eyes closed. When she opened them she turned them on the Hokage. "I've got one hell of a story for you!"

Instantly Naruto grabbed Shikamaru's and Iruka-Sensei's arms, pulling them out of the tent, even as the older man protested that he had work to do. She ignored them as she marched them back to the tent Shikamaru had been working in. Throwing them both into chairs she paced.

"I don't want either of you hearing the accounts. You don't need that stuff in your heads!"

"Alright," Shikamaru agreed, sending Iruka-Sensei a look so that he nodded his head. "We will do our best to stay oblivious, as long as you promise to not do anything rash. Okay?"

Slowly, Naruto took breaths, her body relaxing inch by inch. Finally, she was able to give Shikamaru a grateful smile. "Yeah. As long as you remind me of who I am, I might be able to do that."

"Even if I have to wear earplugs whilst I do it, I will make sure this woman is punished for whatever she did," Iruka-Sensei swore. "I'll start by finding your historian friend and sending her to Lady Tsunade and getting a sealing team to find all the Children of Iron and breaking their… gags as you put it." He stood, pulling Naruto into a tight hug before looking between her and Shikamaru. "You two just keep looking out for each other, okay? It'll make me worry less."

When he left, Naruto dropped down into Shikamaru's lap, allowing him to wrap his arms around her waist and pulled her against his chest.

"Why do I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff?" Naruto sighed tiredly, dropping her head back onto Shikamaru's shoulder.

"Cause you're a drama queen?" When Naruto just glared at him he chuckled. "It will be fine. You told Sakura the truth and that ended well, you've been honest with yourself and that has helped you, and this is just another thing that will work out for the better. Just remember, you proved that you could take your thirst for vengeance and turn it into a need for justice, not just for yourself but everyone else Huruma hurt."

"Only because you got sense into me," Naruto muttered, staring blankly at the canopy above.

"So? You needed help. Everyone does. But not everyone would have let someone speak sense to them in that moment. Just remember that."

"Shikamaru," Naruto breathed.


"Tell me you love me still, even after what I almost did. Please."

"Of course I still do. I love you, Naruto. Nothing has changed."

Turning her head, Naruto gave him one of her feather light kisses before curling into him, tears falling down her face and soaking his vest. Whether she cried from stress, the release of tension, or her nightmare childhood being brought into the light he doubted even Naruto knew. All her could do was hug her, kissing her tears away as they fell.

Yes I do plan to write a Naruto POV chapter down the line.

R and R