Author's notes at the bottom.

Disclaimer Dance: Naruto characters = Not mine, never will be belongs to Kishimoto Sensei and the nice people at Shounen Jump. I'm just playing. I'll dust 'em off and put 'em back on the shelf once I'm done.


Somewhere deep within the mountainous area far north of Konoha Village, there was a small cabin. Within this cabin, lived a man. He was closer to a boy, in all reality, but still a young man nonetheless. The cabin was under frequent surveillance by Konoha Jounin and Chuunin, frequent instead of constant due to the chakra warding that surrounded a significant radius of the area that would alert the konoha shinobi and Hokage if the young man left.

There was a small village just within the range of the wards and the young man went there perhaps once every three months or so. The cabin was surrounded by a large dense forest and the young man knew how to provide for himself. He had had ten long years to learn after all.

About a year and half ago, a recently promoted Chuunin had reported something interesting. The young man, who lived alone and as a rule generally had no visitors, was approached by another young man of similar age. The two appeared to know each other and so the visitor had stayed with the young man. The chuunin alerted Hokage-sama, as was his duty, and Hokage-sama had given the matter a moment of thought. She then smiled slightly, and concluded that it was quite alright for the young man to have his visitor stay. After all, the exile verdict was limited only to Konoha citizens. And no, the elders were not to hear of this development unless she was the one reporting it.

And so the young man and his long term visitor lived peacefully.

At least for a while.

Sometimes, Tsunade thought as she walked up the path to the cabin, it really sucks to be Hokage.

How would he react she wondered. Would he do as he should and tell them to fuck off? Or would he yet again offer his life, heart, and soul to the village? Would he even still be himself? It was the last thought that worried her more than anything else. What had exile done to him? Guilt ate away at her, as it had daily for ten years. Sighing, she shook her head to clear away unpleasant thoughts and paused.

Looking up, she waved jauntily to the floating sphere of sand above her.

A few minutes later, the front of the cabin came into view and with it a familiar golden head.  He was taller than the last time she had checked up on him with her crystal, but that was to be expected. He'd never be truly tall, but he was tall enough and certainly of equal height with the young man standing next to him. A bit more muscular and angular, but that came with maturity. No, the biggest difference was there and it hit her like a kunai to the heart.

Naruto had lost his smile.

No cheeky, squinty eyed fox grin greeted her. No, long gone was the smiling hyper active boy. He was gone and left this closed off, anguished young man. Blue eyes regarded her with an almost feral look. Pain and hatred and darkness lurked within those eyes, and then he blinked and it was all gone.

"Saaa…it's been awhile, Baachan. To what do I owe the pleasure?" He stepped forward to greet her, the familiar smile plastered so incredibly fake over his face. She felt the old sadness creeping up and over her again. Better to make this quick. "Naruto. And…Gaara of the Desert, correct?"

The pale young male with fiery hair standing behind her fallen prodigy nodded silently. She attempted some small talk until Naruto cocked his head, looking at her with those squinted eyes. "Who's attacking?" he said bluntly.

Tsunade blinked. "Now, how did you…" "Baachan…I'm blonde but I'm not stupid. There's only one reason the elders would ever agree to let the 'too powerful monstrosity' back into the village and that's the only reason they'd allow you to come visit the outcast." No, he wasn't bitter at all.

Rubbing the bridge of her nose, Tsunade sighed. She had known this wasn't going to be easy. "One of our scouts recently discovered movement against Konoha. The Sound is gathering forces." Naruto was not impressed. "The Sound has gathered forces for the past fourteen years. You never hauled out the Village's dirty little secret until now. What's different?"

He wanted it hard and straightforward. Fine then.


The boy literally hissed, blue eyes flashing red. The other boy…Gaara was it? Stepped forward and placed a restraining hand on the blonde.

"Sasuke deflected soon after…" she broke off looking for a delicate way of putting it. Naruto supplied one. "After the elders ripped apart my dreams and kicked me out on my ass, yeah, please continue."

" He killed every hunter nin sent after him and went straight to Orochimaru. We worried…but he had never attacked the village offensively before. Until two months ago. One of our best ANBU teams was wiped out; the survivor was stuck in a Sharingan induced coma for a week. He'd been left as a message, apparently."

"Orochimaru's butt monkey has finally returned home and since master dearest says trash the place, I as his snakeyness's official ass kisser will gladly do so." He snorted.

"Perhaps not quite so crudely."

"Ya want polite? Go talk to Sakura-chan."

"…………" Tsunade couldn't bring herself to meet his eyes.

"Baachan…what is it? What happened to Sakura-chan?" Genuine concern filled those baby blue eyes.

"She followed him, Naruto. Followed him straight to Orochimaru. We…we haven't seen her since. Sasuke we've at least had a few reports of over the years but…there's been no sign of Sakura."

Blue eyes widened in disbelief. "No…" He then screamed. Loudly. "That snake fuckin' sonufvabitch!!!! He never loved her, why the hell would she do that? Why did she just…just…" He fell on his knees, the momentary display of emotion over.

Gaara, who had been a silent pillar of support for the blonde man clasped the other's shoulder and said softly. "Naruto." The blonde looked up at him, lost for a minute. "She was innocent…out of all of us…she was still the most innocent…" The sand nin looked on. "I'm sorry, Naruto. Really, but…you've got other things to worry about right now." His green eyes flickered quickly to the window of the cabin. That seemed to snap the fox boy back into the here and now.

There was something in the way the man had said 'other things' that set off Tsunade's mental alarms, coupled with the flicker of his eyes, there was something she was quite sure these two were hiding from her. It could wait. There were more pressing matters.

"Sorry to go all official, but this is what I came here for unfortunately. Uzumaki Naruto, as of this day your exile from Konoha Village will be revoked and status as a Chuunin will be reinstated upon claiming that you will assist in the coming battle against Hidden Sound Village and the Missing Nin Uchiha Sasuke. As Hokage, and on behalf of the council of elders I issue this request."

The young man in front of her chuckled bitterly as he returned to his feet. His spikey blonde hair obscured his eyes, making it impossible to tell what he was thinking. "Let me get this straight. You kicked me out of the village ten years ago to save the Pretty Boy's ass and now that he's run off to join the Snake, you're calling me back to fight him?" His laugh was once more bitter, but there was a slight edge of hysteria in there as well. "Like I've got a fuckin' choice? Konoha's got me by the balls either way. Sure. Why not? I'd like to kick Sasuke's ass once and for all."

Tsunade sighed. There. That was over at least.

"However, Hokage-sama, I have two conditions."

Internally, she groaned. She really should have seen this coming.

"Very well. It depends upon what they are."

He smirked. "Oh, nothing too terribly costly for a fine village like Hidden Leaf. Simply that, One: Where I go, Gaara goes."  Tsunade's eyes slid towards the silent young man. The silent young man who was standing protectively behind Naruto and could almost be considered hovering. Oh ho…so that's how it is, is it? Good for you, Naruto.

"That should not be too much difficulty. The second?" Here it comes. She thought.

Much to her surprise, Naruto turned towards the cabin and spoke. "It's okay, Kitling. You can come out now." So that's what they've been hiding. She smiled slightly. What is it? A dog? Kitten? Fox cub, perhaps? She nearly snickered at the last thought.

A small head sporting blonde pigtails, big blue eyes, and faint whisker marks peeked around the corner. It looked at Naruto, then to Gaara who nodded, and then cautiously at Tsunade herself.  Tsunade felt her jaw drop as a little girl of about six made a bee line to the exiled chuunin.

She was rather cute once Tsunade's brain worked past its confusion. The top layer of her hair was in two pigtails with the rest flowing down around her shoulders. She wore Naruto's old orange and blue jacket which was obviously several sizes too large for her and dragged a reddish brown stuffed fox in her right hand. Naruto scooped her up and smiled. His smile hasn't completely disappeared. The thought was random and somehow fought its way past the utter confusion she was feeling at the moment. "Kitling, this is Tsunade-sama. She wants Papa and Gaara to go with her to fight some bad people who are trying to hurt her village."

Her village, not my village. Ouch. That hurt, even though she supposed she should have expected it. The little girl looked at her curiously, and then turned back to her Papa. "Is Kizuko coming?" Naruto nodded, giving Tsunade a significant look. "Of course, if Kizuko isn't coming then Papa and Gaara aren't going." Something told her that this was condition number two.

She smiled at the little one. "Yes, Kizuko is welcome to come." She then gave Naruto an expression that clearly said 'We are having a very long, very serious talk later'. Naruto merely smile a smart ass smile in return that said 'Whatever Hokage-sama wishes'.  "Ne, Papa…can Kon Kon come too?" Kizuko held up the stuffed fox. Naruto nodded. "Yup. After all, what good is Kizuko-chan going if Kon Kon can't come with her?" The little girl giggled happily, then slid down and ran back inside the cabin. "Kizuko is going to pack!"

"Two Uzumakis plus a Sand nin? Konoha will never recover."

Gaara smirked. Naruto grinned ferally. "That's the general idea, Baachan."


Ack…this probably could have been done better.  Hell, I'm not even sure if I'll continue it. What do you folks think? Is it worth it? Or should I chunk it?

And while my deranged yaoi fangirl brain still claims SasuNaru as the One True Pairing, I find myself with this immense fascination of GaaNaru.

Kizuko has been running around in my head for awhile now. She sort of is and isn't the result of mpreg. (it's rather complicated) Needless to say, don't let the cuteness fool you. She originally started off as innocent evil incarnate, but has since mellowed. I mean, her name was derived from the two kanji of 'Kizu' (wound) and 'ko' (child)…so…yah.

Oh, and Kon Kon. Kon is the Japanese sound of a fox barking, so basically Kizuko chan's stuffed animal is named 'bark bark'. ^^;;;;;