"A Missing Leaf"

by Coded

Chapter 6: Calm Before the Storm

' ' Thoughts, " " Speech

7 Years Later

The Hokage of the Hidden Village of the Leaf smiled to himself as he strolled the streets of his beautiful village. He stopped and bent down to smile and ruffle the hair of a young academy student who gasped and wordlessly turned and hid his face behind his mother's skirt.

The village of Konoha had prospered, of late. The last several years had found the village at peace and without any conflict besides the minor run in with criminals and the anti-ninja organizations. The people of Konoha credited this success to their new Hokage. Some thought he was perhaps too young for the job, being the youngest ninja ever to be named Hokage in the history of the village, but many more cared nothing about his age so long as he kept them and their families safe and happy.

As the Hokage straightened and continued on his brow drew together and he frowned, deep in thought.

New intelligence reports had the leader of the strongest of all the ninja villages worried.

Orochimaru was on the move again, and with the snake man came the one time prodigy turned traitor, Uchiha Sasuke. The Hokage quickly slipped a smile on his face as he passed several more villagers and absent-mindedly patted a young girl on the head as he moved past, leaving behind a girl now filled with new dreams of becoming the next female hokage.

Onward walked the Hokage, making his way through the village more from memory than from actual attention he paid toward his surroundings. These new reports had him greatly worried. A hand settled on his shoulder and the Hokage turned with a smile on his face, ready to greet another villager and answer any questions they may have.

The robed man blinked as he stuck a hand up under his hat to rub his head. "Oh, Kiba, its you, what is it?"

The dog-like ninja shook his head and spit over his shoulder. "No good news, that's for sure. Me and my boys just got back from our mission. It's worse than just Orochimaru and Sasuke."

Kiba was the best tracker in the village and was made head of the intelligence department soon after making jounin. The Hokage frowned, his mind turned circles as he tried to figure out what would be worse than Orochimaru and Sasuke attacking the village.

Suddenly, a thought dawned on the Hokage and all color drained from his face as he shook his head in disbelief.

"No. Impossible." The Hokage's eyes pleaded with Kiba to agree.

Kiba looked grim as he nodded. "It's true, Hokage. Itachi has apparently joined forces with the snake-man and the traitor. I wouldn't think it possible, except that I saw him with my own two eyes in the Sound village, coordinating a section of the forces of ninja's we expect to be sent against our village. Apparently the Uchiha's have reconciled and that they're BOTH S-Class criminals."

The Hokage stared off into space, at a loss for words. Several minutes passed before Kiba finally broke the silence. "What are we going to do? They pose a much more serious threat with Itachi with them. Were it just Orochimaru and Sasuke I wouldn't worry that much, not with you around, you're the strongest Hokage in the history of the village..but Itachi, Orochimaru, AND Sasuke? There's nobody in the village other than you that can even take on one of them, and forgive my lack of faith but I don't know if you can best all three."

The Hokage grunted sourly at the jounin's lack of protocol. "Yes, well, keep in mind Kiba, that people still underestimate me."

Naruto drew back the hat that signified his office and ran a hand through his spikey blonde hair. "Well, this changes nothing in our major defense plans. I'll deal with them, whether Itachi is a part of the attack or not. I may just need some back up." Naruto thought for a moment. "Call together the council, we meet at the memorial in say, 10 minutes? Think you can gather everyone in time?"

Naruto smirked as Kiba nodded once and took off. 'Aw, he didn't take the bait this time, that's so boring' Naruto frowned again at not being given his fun before he set off towards the meeting he had called.

Naruto leaned against the Hero's memorial as the members of his personal, secret council entered the clearing in ones and twos. The young ninja smiled broadly at the first shin obi to show up.

"Ah, Tenten, I wasn't sure if you were back in the village yet or not. Its good to see you again, have you had any time to rest since you've gotten back?"

The dark haired female smiled warmly at the most powerful man she knew. Bowing her head slightly, she replied, "Hello again, Hokage-sama. I just returned from the mission, I haven't had time to rest yet, but I'll be alright."

Naruto made a disgusted face. "Please, Tenten, I have to put up with that Hokage-sama crap from everyone else in the village, not from you too." Naruto's face turned serious, causing Tenten a small amount of alarm. "New reports just came in that I feel the council needs to discuss. I'm afraid some orders are going to be changed. You saved me once, old friend, and I may just need your help to stay alive again here in the coming days."

Tenten bowed low, bursting with pride that one of the strongest men in the world was asking for her help. The two ninjas were still standing there grinning at one another when the second member of the council arrived. Neji threw a hand in front of his cousin, Hinata, stopping the younger Hyuuga just before entering the clearing. Neji surveyed the scene of Naruto and Tenten together and frowned slightly before continuing into the clearing and announcing the presence of him and his cousin.

"Hokage-sama, I'm sorry it took so long, me and Hinata-san were training, and I felt it appropriate to freshen up before the meeting."

Tenten straightened suddenly and blushed slightly as her former teammate walked over and took up station to her right.

Eyeing Tenten as the other members arrived, Neji again frowned to himself. His former teammate had the white-eyed ninjas confused. When the two were still teammates, it seemed they were destined to be together. However, everything changed the day the female Leaf-nin returned from a solo mission with a bruised and battered Naruto slung over one shoulder.

Neji's expression tightened as he thought of all the success Naruto had had over the years. "Where is Sakura, Hokage-sama?" Neji spoke up suddenly. He felt a strange need to pry apart Naruto and Tenten by bringing up the other woman in Naruto's life.

Naruto turned to Neji and grinned broadly. "Oh, Sakura-chan is back at our house, taking care of the children."

Naruto and Sakura had gotten married 4 years earlier, and had 2 children almost immediately after the ceremony. Twin boys, Naruto had high hopes for them as shin obis and had been training them since they turned 3, in cooperation with his wife.

"Ah," nodded Tenten, "How are the two young rascals?"

Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Sakura-chan says every day they become more and more like I was before we got together. Watashi seems to be coming along at a quicker pace than his brother, and Heero is furious about it." Naruto grinned again.

"Ah," asked a tired, lazy sounding voice, "are we here for a council meeting, or for gossip?" Naruto shrugged and turned to the speaker. "Just gossip until you got here, Kakashi-sensei, now for the meeting."

Naruto glanced around and noticed everyone had arrived while he had been speaking of his family. Naruto passed his eyes over the members of his council and smiled proudly. Tenten, Neji, Hinata, Kiba, Shikamaru, Rock Lee, Ino and Kakashi stood at random around the clearing.

Naruto cleared his voice and spoke loud enough for all in the clearing to hear. "First things first, A moment of silent reflection for the memory of those no longer with us." Everyone in the clearing bowed their heads and remained silent as they reflected on the two members of the council that were no longer with them. Shino and Couji, two original members that had lost their lives in a mission not long ago, ment to scout out the village of Sound.

"Right, well down to business. I didn't call you all here to visit, I've just received some very important information. Itachi has joined forces with Orochimaru and his brother, the traitor. Any suggestions on how this should affect our defense plans?"

The council looked around at each other nervously. Itachi siding with the two sound-nins was potentially deadly, it was bad enough to deal with a legendary sannin and a prodigy like Sasuke.

Kakashi, being the eldest and most experienced of the council finally broke the silence. "I don't see why it should change our plans at all. If he shows up, we'll find a way to deal with him. You can handle him, possibly Gai as well, with a little help." Kakashi finished with a half-hearted shrug.

Naruto shook his head slightly. "No..Gai isn't as fast as he used to be, and we've heard no reports on Itachi for years, we have no way of knowing if he's grown in strength or not. And I can't fight all 3 of the leaders. My priority is Sasuke, then Orochimaru as the situation presents itself. Jiraiya is being sent for, and he will handle Orochimaru if I'm too busy. But that still leaves Itachi," Naruto turned to Tenten, "Tenten, that's where you come in, you're going to be my backup while I fight Sasuke and then Itachi. No actual fighting, I want you to stay to the side and come in only if I get in trouble and you have to save my ass."

Naruto grinned at the young ninja. "As to the rest, keep to the plan Shikamaru thought of, if something unexpected happens, just improvise, I trust all of your judgments."

Seeing nothing more was to be discussed, the ninja's nodded and disappeared one by one as Naruto turned and set off towards his house.

Author's Notes

Wow...so it's been awhile. Got tied up with life, and then lost internet. It's been awhile since I've written anything, and I lost my proof-reader, so I apologize if its rather sloppy. I'm really not too happy with the way this chapter came out, I think having gone for so long without writing for the story I may have lost my way alittle, but I thought I would post it and let the readers decide. As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.