10 – Yari
I remember that day because there was not a cloud in the sky. Summer rains had drenched Konoha for weeks straight and I had almost lost it attempting to keep three children entertained. It in no way helped that they knew what was supposed to happen today.
I tried to get out of my part of the house before anyone woke up in the hopes of sneaking into the bath first. On the way, though, I came across the most prominent figure of our village wearing nothing but a towel.
"Hi nee-san!" Naruto chirped happily. I glared at him and he flinched. "What?"
"Hokage!" he replied, as if I needed to be reminded. Honestly, the entire world knew the day Uzumaki Naruto was made Hokage. It was seconded only by the day he got married and I got a brother in law.
"Naruto," I repeated, making sure he understood I wasn't playing his game.
"Maa, don't be mad at me," he whined. "It's not my fault this time! I swear, he volunteered."
That made me glare even more. Neji did not volunteer for a month long mission out of any sense of civic duty. He did it because he had cracked after a week of dealing with cabin fevered children.
"Besides," Naruto smiled, "they're coming back today."
My brow arched a bit upward. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah… Neji wrote ahead and told me they were coming and not to tell you so it would be a sur… oops."
I sighed and laughed. Even after all these years, he was in some ways still the same scattered brain Genin we had met during the Chuunin exams. I ruffled his hair once and pushed him out of the way of the bath door. He protested, loudly, and no doubt woke up the entire house hold but by then I was enjoying the warmth of the bath waters.
He was gone by the time I got out. I hadn't heard him leave which probably meant Hinata had collected him. I've come to learn that though she is quiet, she has a way of using words that make you know better than to disagree. I bet Naruto was groveling right now.
I got back to the room and found the kids were gone. I didn't panic, just made sure I watched my step as I crossed the room. Three wire traps and a few explosion tags on drawers. They were learning fast.
There was a giggle, followed by a hush and I turned towards the closet. Throwing the doors open, I found the three of them huddled and trying to hide.
"Gotcha," I said picking the youngest out of the pile. Hizashi squirmed to get free but at two years old I could still overpower him. The twins though… they took out my legs in an instant.
"I give up!" I cried, trying to get them to stop before they got real vicious and went after ticklish spots.
"Mom," Isamu whined. "You took forever!"
"Yeah, we're going to be late," Osamu added.
"Late?" I asked. "Late for what?"
I was rewarded with unison whining in perfect pitch. Hizashi attempted to join in, but he was too young to really understand.
"Oh! Is that today?" I stated. "I completely forgot."
At that point, the twins gave up on whining. Isamu pulled a yukata out of the closet and threw it at me, while Osamu got the obi. I took my time getting dressed, more as a joke then anything truly malicious. I knew what today was. I didn't blame them for being excited.
I spent time trying to straighten their clothes, which naturally resulted in more whining, and did my best to fix their hair but by then, they had resorted to pulling me out the door themselves. So, with Hizashi in my arms and the twin running circles around my legs, I followed the familiar path towards the Academy.
I lost the twins the second the building came into view. I called out once but they had already dived into the crowd of school children milling about. I heard a rather loud voice over the cacophony calling for order and I took Hizashi with me as I waited at the side.
The pink haired kunoichi got the kids in order in no time. She divided them up into classes and then sent them inside. As soon as she was done, she caught my eye and waved. Belly round and full, she almost waddled over to me.
"Good morning, Prinicpal," I sang.
Sakura glared. "Don't you start too. This is just temporary until I convince Shizune-san that working at the hospital is less stressful then this. Learning experience my…"
"Well you look like you're about to pop," I broke in. Hizashi took the chance to try to grab a pink lock of hair. I tried to bat him away, but Sakura reached out and took him instead.
"I feel like I'm about to pop," Sakura sighed. "This one is going to be a monster. You were this big with two!"
"True," I stated. "But then, I guess when you restart a clan, you have to start big."
Sakura smiled a bit. "Tell me about it. Do you know, he's already planning at least five more? Five without even having the first!"
I laughed. "Let him live through a few sleepless nights and we'll see."
Hizashi had managed to entangle himself in Sakura's hair. "My, but you seem to like my hair," she said working the tiny fingers free.
"Hey if it's a girl, she might have your hair and then…"
"Oh no you don't," Sakura stated. "I get it enough from Naruto. 'Ne ne, Sakura-chan, think about it, we'd really be family then'. Let the poor thing take a breath before we determine their entire future."
I took Hizashi back. "I think I can tell what their future will be," I replied. Sakura raised an eyebrow. "It will be a future of happiness and joy."
Sakura smiled a bit. "Thanks."
"Anytime. Now that I've buttered you up, I want to issue a pre-emptive apology for anything my boys do."
Sakura laughed. "Come on, what's the worst they can…"
One of the windows exploded behind her and smoke billowed out of it. She looked at me and I gave the most supportive look mixed with the most apologetic one I could muster. She mumbled something about having an only child and started back towards the school.
I took Hizashi to the Hokage's Tower and handed him off to his aunt and uncle while I went on duty. Naruto even let him wear the hat for a minute before telling him he had a lot of work to do before he earned it.
I left before Naruto attempted to take it away though I swear I heard Hizashi's cries even as I approached the front gate.
The guard there waved hello and handed over the watch to me, relieved to get home after an all night stay. I took the yari from him, tall and decorated with ribbons, with a bow. It was a beautiful weapon, the spear at the end sharpened and polished so it glittered in the morning sun. It was a ceremonial instrument mostly, a way of letting people who wandered to the gate know that they were entering a well guarded shinobi village.
It represented everything Konoha was. The blade was its strength, the decoration its beauty and the long staff that supported them, the people who worked to maintain the first two. It was given only to decorated jounin and I was proud to hold it.
As I started to make my way to the top of the gate, I felt my heart swell. This was it. This moment. That tender dream I held in my hands when I was young, the one my father nurtured, the one my mother helped. The one I had borne under the poster of Tsunade-sama and refined as I passed through the ranks of shinobi. The dream that rode on the strength of my teammates and my friends, this was it. This honor, this village, my family, it was what I had always wanted, all I ever dreamed of.
I took my position at the top of the gate and stared out at great forest expanse that surrounded my village. The birds were out in swarms, relishing the sun light and feasting on the delights the rain had given them. They circled the town with no fear and I smiled, letting in all the beauty around me.