Chapter 4

"No, no, no Shiro, that's Daddy's." Naruto snatched the pen from Shiro's tiny hands. The four month old giggled and kept grabbing for the shiny object he found so interesting. Yes, it was Naruto's turn to take Shiro to work today. They had bought a harness that would hang on his shoulders and rest on his chest. There Shiro would stay. Most of the time he was quiet and slept, but when he was awake and wanted to play, the world knew it.

"Neh, neh, Shiro, I need to get this done so we can go home early today."

"Why are you intent on getting home early?" Chouji asked. The Hokage's right hand sat across the room in his chair that Naruto had provided for him.

"Because, I've got to go buy a dress for Sakura, then I got to get home and cook."

Chouji quirked a brow at Naruto. He was still very confused.

"It's our anniversary."

"Oh! Aahahahaa I almost forgot. One year already, isn't it? Wow, time sure does pass by fast."

"I know," Naruto commented. "It's hard to believe that a year ago this village was in turmoil. . . It's been a year since Sasuke died, that many people. .died." A year since I sent Anko and Lee on that mission, and I'm still only receiving post cards.

"But we're recovering," Chouji assured. "By next year we should be able to send out more jounin for field missions. And we're looking at opening the academy back up in what six months?"

Naruto gave a nod. "I might have to do it sooner. The Feudal Lords are pressuring for a Chuunin Exam."

"You don't have to rush," Chouji said. "After all, there are quite a few genins that we can send. I know a few people are anxious in getting Hyuuga Hanabi as a Chuunin."

"I already told them there's no way in hell we have the resources to hold an exam here. Gaara is gracious enough and he offered Suna this time around."

"What date are they pushing for?"


"At least it won't be cold in Suna."

Naruto gave a laugh. "No, it wouldn't be. I suppose I should send letters out to see what genin we have should be elected for the exams. Then I'll need to contact Gaara to arrange a meeting to discuss things."

"I'm beginning to think you don't need an assistant anymore," Chouji commented with a grin on his face.

"Ack! Are you kidding me! You better not quit on me Chouji!" He waved his finger angrily at him. "You never know when I'm going to have to take another hiatus like I did when Sakura was eight and nine months pregnant."

"Yes, I suppose when number two comes around I'll have to fill in again."

Naruto's finger stopped waving and he settled back down. "I don't think we'll have to worry about that." He rubbed Shiro's head while the baby sucked attentively on his pacifier.

"It's still like that?" Chouji's expression softened.

Naruto shook his head. "I don't mind. I'm happy with the way things are. She's safe and he's safe. That's all the matters."

"Naruto, you really need to take a vacation."

"Hnnn. . ."

"You take the rest of the day off, I'll finish that. I'll get the letters out."

Naruto looked up from his papers at his friend. "Are you sure? I mean I can handle it."

Chouji got up from where he was sitting and walked over to the young Hokage. "Yes, I'm sure." He gave a friendly shove to get Naruto out of the chair. "It's your anniversary. Go put a smile on Sakura's face alright?"

"Yosh! I suppose you're right. I owe you one."

"You owe me a lot, but I won't hold it to you."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sleep, that's what Sakura longed for as she made her way back home. The day had been long. There were only a few jounin assigned for field missions, so they were always being constantly recycled. This meant for her and her medics they were constantly in the hospital, demanding treatment as quickly done as possible, so that they could get back on the field again as soon as possible.

The constant pumping of large amounts of healing chakra at such a fast rate was killing her. Well, it wasn't literally killing her, but she felt like she deserved to die. The bed is all that she wanted to see that evening. A meal could wait until later. An hour or two of sleep could be spared before a meal and a shower before she went back to bed. Naruto wouldn't be home just yet, so she could get to bed. And, if he saw her there, no matter what the cause he wouldn't bother her if was sleeping.

The medic opened the door to her home and found it dark. Naturally, no one would be home right now, so of course it would be dark. Then the lights flickered on suddenly. "Surprise!" Naruto's cheerful voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard. What on earth was he doing? Why was he home so early?

"What's all this?" Sakura questioned, trying to hide her annoyance at the moment. It wasn't Naruto's fault she was tired after all.

"What do you mean?" he teased, and walked to her. He took her hand and kissed her cheek. "Happy Anniversary, Sakura-chyan." He pulled away from her. "Oi, oi, come and see what Shiro and I did for you." He tugged at her wrist to have her follow him in the kitchen.

Sakura had forgotten. Naruto didn't. In a normal marriage is would be the other way around. This was not a normal marriage however. Sakura felt quite ill to the stomach for forgetting, if anything for Naruto's sake. Of course he would remember. Marrying her was the best thing that ever happened to him in his life. Even if I am the worst wife in the world, she told herself.

They entered the kitchen and Shiro was in his high chair, looking as if it was time for him to sleep as well. But, he was dressed nicely with his bib on, and once he saw his mother his eyes lit up with joy as he gurgled some.

"We made you beef stew today. And REAL beef stew," Naruto mused. "Not ramen beef stew. And we bought a cake. Cherry, your favorite. Oh and look, look!" He ran from the kitchen and came back with a little red dress. "I bought you this too."

Sakura didn't say anything at first. She just took the dress in her hands and looked at. Then she looked back up at Naruto. The look on his face was begging for some kind of approval. Oh, of all days to be tired out of her wits. "Thank you, Naruto," she finally complied, giving him the warmest smile she could handle.

"You really like it? I figure you can wear it next time we go out…or even tonight. Or whenever you want."

"I think I'll wait until next time we go out. It would be shame to wear it only for a little while and risk it getting dirty with beef stew."

Naruto chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his head. "Yea, I guess you're right on that part," he admitted, not realizing Sakura's dodge.

The pinked haired lovely looked at the kitchen and the meal he prepared. He ever went all the way to keep the room clean while he cooked. Turning back to him she said, "Thank you, Naruto, it's really all great. But…" She let it hang in the air for a moment. "But, I'm really tired tonight, Naruto. I'm sorry, but I think I'd fall face down in the food you made then it would be ruined."

Naruto's face faltered from its happy expression, but only for a moment. "Hey, don't worry about it," he said. "It can easily be put up and chilled for tomorrow instead. It's not a problem really."

Sakura gave a sigh of relief. She should've known better; Naruto wouldn't mind. At least he wouldn't admit to minding. "Thank you so much, Naruto. I promise to make this up to you tomorrow."

"Really, Sakura. You don't have to." He took the dress back from her. "I'll go put his in your closet. Then I'll but the food away and save it for later. I'll eat sandwiches tonight. I'll get Shiro ready for bed as well. It's your anniversary, rest as much as you'd like."

Sakura took a step forward and hugged her husband around his waist. Her head rested gently on his chest. "Thank you, Naruto." That seems to be the most of her vocabulary had been that night. She could feel his body relax and returned her embrace. After a few moments she parted from him and gave another reassuring smile.

Naruto watched as his wife disappeared from the kitchen. He gave a heavy sigh once she was gone and then commenced to putting the meal he prepared away. It probably wasn't that good anyway, he thought. His ears gave a twitch when he heard Shiro gurgle for is attention. "Neh, neh, Shiro?" he walked over and rubbed the little mess of pink hair. "What am I going to do?"

--- Author's Notes—

Short chapter I know, and it took so long. I'm sorry. ;;. College and anime conventions have been keeping me busy. Chapter five will be out a lot sooner than this one. I promise!