-Uzumaki Naruto's Special A-Ranked Mission:
Hinata's Birthday Present-
The sunrise created a majestic golden glow as it flooded the forest and swept over the various buildings that made up the Hidden Village of Konoha. The dazzling sunrise was enough to blind the guards on the walls and to elicit more than one muttered curse from a child wishing to sleep just a little longer. This was not the case for the older village members or the various Shinobi already moving and working.
Amazingly enough this included one blond-haired, blue eyed, energetic boy dressed in an orange jumpsuit with black shoulders. The boy in question was unlike his fellow ninjas who were quite content to stroll down the streets in a subdued manner, he preferred instead to leap from building to building and shout his enthusiasm. One would almost think he was twelve or thirteen instead of fifteen.
Naruto himself gave it all very little thought; this was just how it was suppose to be. He had missed this village more than he would have believed for the last two-and-some-odd years; he had acted even sillier two nights ago when Sakura-Chan had stopped by to tell him that she was heading on a mission to the Grass Country.
She had been rather serious and while he had been to, the rain had called to him. He had told her to be careful and the instant she had left, Naruto ran out into the night and splashed around like a little kid. He hadn't been able to help himself; the kid in him had demanded to play in the rain.
Landing he planted a foot on the top of the Yamanaka flower shop and then smiling gazed out over the village spotting the towering Hokage Tower. Smile widening he pushed off, waving at Ino who was just emerging from the shop.
It took him only another ten minutes to reach the trees near the tower where he dropped to the ground, next to three fresh Genins. They almost scattered at his appearance but held strong and he smiled waving at them. The girl made the brave effort of returning the gesture. "Just graduated?"
"No," one of the boys managed. "Our Sensei is sick and we're supposed to be waiting for his friend."
"Really?" Naruto managed, glancing up at the building and then back at them. The Hokage had ordered him here for a mission where he had been asked for by name; but he just had to find out about this. Squatting down so that he was eye-level with them he smiled. "Who is it?"
"Mitarashi Anko." The girl stated and Naruto grinned. He remembered that sadistic woman, both from his only Chūnin exam and from only last night when she had annoyed Shizune. Maybe he could get Tsunade to switch the assigned Jōnin but that was doubtful.
Then he had a much better idea.
"Hey! You!" a gray uniformed man with rectangular markings on his chin and cheek and a piece cloth over his nose shouted, pointing at him. "The Hokage wants to see you. She's not happy."
Naruto raised his hand casually, not too long ago he'd have probably blown up on the man. Not right now though, but maybe next time. He grinned at the now quiet Genins then looked left and right -with them mirroring him- before telling them a terrifying tale about a she-witch that wore a brown coat, body netting, a skirt and liked to drink the blood of Genins.
Then when they looked about ready to scream he let the other shoe drop, his voice just the right tone of seriousness. "That she-witch is still in this village...her name is Mitarashi Anko."
"You're just making that up." one of them said bravely and Naruto smiled.
"Hmmm, maybe..." Then he paused, a feeling of trepidation washing over him. "AH! She's behind me isn't she?" The three Genins nodded fearfully and he smiled speaking as he stood and turned. "Anko-san, didn't see you there..." She narrowed her eyes and at this the three Genin scattered screaming 'She-Witch!' much to Naruto's amusement.
Seeing her dark look, he waved, struggling to keep his humor in check. "Well have fun. I gotta go see Tsuande-hime, so later!" That said he rushed up the stairs ignoring the glare of the man at the door and the one from Anko.
Once safely inside Naruto mused about why he had been asked for, and by whom. He didn't come up with much in the way of answers. However, the disgruntled looks he received from the Jōnins he was passing hinted that it was probably something extremely important. Smiling he climbed the spiraling staircase heading for the Hokage's office. Maybe that old bat was finally going to hand over the title of Hokage to him!
Knowing better, he put his hands behind his head, an old habit he couldn't quite shake. Tsunade wasn't going to be doing that anytime soon and to be honest now that he had a better idea of what a Hokage was required to, he knew that he wasn't exactly ready for that responsibility just yet. He could still dream however.
What he knew for sure was that it made her unhappy to have him do this and that it was apparently an enviable mission. Maybe he was going to escort a beautiful princess to a ball or something. At the thought of a beautiful princess -accompanied by images of a certain girl- he began to have some rather perverted thoughts.
Sighing he reached her office and without knocking walked into the room. He was taken aback slightly by the mounds of paper work that sat all over the place, but more so by the fact that his sensei Kakashi was already there and reading the book that Naruto had given him not too long ago. Then he noticed the overly sweet smile on Tsunade's face as she peered at him.
Gulping he hurried into the room, deciding to get this over with quickly. "You wanted to see me?"
Silence settled over them and Naruto scowled, well if she was going to shout at him she could at least start. He opened his mouth to say something when she cut him off. "I have a mission for you and Kakashi-san."
Interest piqued Naruto glanced at his former teacher who in turn pointed absently at a four-person group that he had so far overlooked. Each one was dressed in traditional white kimonos with black hair and pearl colored eyes, Hinata seemed to flush at his attention and Hanabi seemed to be weighing him up while Neji merely inclined his head and the tallest of them, who he took to be Hiashi, continued to gaze at him levelly.
Eyes widening he turned back to Tsunade who nodded, her eyes hard, then seeing he wasn't about to back talk her she continued. "This mission is very important to Konoha and is considered by many to be a very privileged assignment." The blond Hokage leaned back lacing her fingers together. "It of course carries an A-ranking, due to the fact that because of the clients there are enemies willing to go to any length to gain their goal."
Naruto nodded, looking serious then tilted his head slightly. "So, uhmm...er...why me?"
"Ask the person that hired you." Tsunade snapped glaring at the corner and then looked back at Naruto. "Listen carefully to these details. Kakashi-san suggested that you be put in charge of this mission and since Neji-san has no objections I've reluctantly agreed."
"I'm in charge?" Naruto almost whispered and he just about exploded into a whooping dance but managed to keep himself under control. Tsunade seemed to give this an approving glance and most of her tension seemed to leave her.
"Now then. This mission seems easy enough at first glance, you must escort Hyūga Hanabi and Hyūga Hinata to the family shrines finishing with the last one on the Northern border, between the Country of Waterfall and the Country of Sound."
"Beh, Easy enough."
Tsunade closed her eyes sighing. "Kumo Village would have no problems getting a select number of Ninja across the borders of the Sound, for reasons that should be obvious to even you. Even if Cloud ninja are not present, you will probably face missing-nins from other villages hired for this job especially."
"Bah, Hinata could handle them and if Neji's going with her there shouldn't be a problem." Naruto said clearly confused and Tsunade sighed rubbing her temples. "I mean, not like anyone other than me could beat one if they were expecting a fight."
"Be that as it may." Tsunade said slowly. "This pilgrimage is strictly non-violent."
"While on this pilgrimage." Hiashi said evenly. "None of the Hyūga present save for the single Branch Family member, that must accompany them, may act violently at all. Not to defend, not to attack, not to even hunt. In the past the Main family would rely solely on the Branch for protection but there are...unique circumstances this time."
Naruto blinked turning to stare at the imposing figure. "That's just...stupid! Why would you have something like that?"
The muscles in the man's jaw tightened a fraction but he remained utterly composed otherwise. "It is an attempt to remind ourselves what it is like to be without protection. To ensure that future generations of Hyūga's can truly understand why we are the noblest family in Konoha. We must help keep this village strong and to do so we must never forget that we too are weak at times."
Naruto blinked again, he had understood everything that had been said. It sounded believable even, but he remembered Neji during the exams and wondered just how effective it was. He didn't say a word of that aloud because he had caught Hinata's blushing gaze, as if she was trying to beg him to accept the mission.
Turning back, he smiled adjusting his forehead protector "We'll get them there and back safe! I promise."
The apartment was clean. Yes, there were pots of instant food in the kitchen, but they were recent additions. In truth, Naruto had not been home very much recently. He'd come back after two years -give or take- to almost instantly get sent out on a mission. Thus, the apartment was clean in the same way that unused rooms were clean. At least he could take comfort that not everything was covered in dust.
Sakura-Chan had admitted to him after their mission to the Sand that she had dusted the place whenever she had the chance. Thankfully, she had resisted the urge to discard any of his furniture, because despite its battered and worn status, it was very comfortable and Naruto loved comfort. Unfortunately, it looked as if that comfort was being denied to him for just a little bit longer.
He wasn't entirely sure about why this whole pilgrimage deal couldn't be handled by a few branch family members -especially if just he and Kakashi were enough protection- but he supposed he couldn't deny that he was excited. This was going to be his first time in command; even Ero-Sennin hadn't let him run a mission. He wished he could share this with somebody, he might have been tempted to share with Hinata but she already knew and Sakura-Chan, the only one that would truly appreciate this development, was out in the field.
Then inspiration struck him! He could just send her a message, a very quick message. Smiling he searched the house before finding the paper and pen, scribbling out 'Sakura-Chan! I've got a mission and I'm in charge!' and that was it. He wasn't about to risk messing up and letting word out that he was in escorting the Hyūga's to their family shrines.
He was probably taking a bit of a risk with this message what with the Atakashi after him, but he had to share this news with someone that would respond just as enthusiastically as he felt. Sealing the message with both wax and chakra as he had been taught, he set it aside and bit his thumb flashing through the boar, dog, bird, monkey and sheep hand seals.
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
Slamming his hand down on the counter a circle of black lines and a puff of smoke appeared. Smiling Naruto stared down at a bright yellow frog that was looking around excitedly, as if it was nothing more than a ball of energy. "Yousummonedme?Greatnobodyeversummonsme!" The frog said almost too fast to be understood, which prompted Naruto to smile a little more. "Sowhatyawanttodo?Playspyordelieveramessage?"
Holding up the sealed message, he smiled slipping it into the pouch the frog wore for such a job. "Ok Chisoku, deliver that to Sakura-Chan in the Country of Grass."
"Nah, just be careful." The frog saluted before hopping away out the open window so quickly that he appeared as little more than a blur. Sighing Naruto glanced at the clock, he had just enough time to double check he'd packed everything and then to eat a quick dinner before crashing for the night. Stretching he slipped off his jacket before walking over to trip and flip over the back of the couch into a perfect sleeping position. On the other hand, he could sleep now and check everything in the morning.
Sadly, this plan of action was vetoed by the sound of polite, though insistent, knocking on his door. Grumbling the fifteen year old climbed off the couch to answer the door only to find a twelve-year old boy bearing all the markings of a Hyūga dressed in an outfit similar to Neji's old mission clothes.
"Uzumaki Naruto, I am Hyūga Denrei." At this the young boy bowed, almost as if he was extremely nervous and had only been practicing such a formal greeting in the last few seconds. When the boy straightened himself up, he handed over a sealed scroll bearing the Hyūga Clan seal.
Blinking Naruto took the offered scroll and broke the seal finding a message written in a very formal style. Blinking again, he glanced at the curious looking Hyūga, raising an eyebrow. "Are you sure they want me..."
"Unquestioned Naruto-dono," Denrei responded formally. "Both Hinata-sama and Hiashi-Sama have given me very specific instructions that I am to relay only to you."
Scratching the back of his head the blond looked back at the scroll, this was an unusual situation, that was for sure. Sighing he resealed he scroll and motioned the boy inside while moving to the counter where he could study the scrolls message a bit better. "So what'd they say?"
Denrei turned from his inspection of the entire apartment, his posture relaxing. "Hinata-Sama asked me to help you since this is such a formal dinner. There's going to be at least twenty people from the Branch and Head Family present." Seeing the surprised look on Naruto's face the boy continued. "I would suggest a kimono if you...er...have one."
Naruto scowled in thought then snapped his fingers, brightening. He had the perfect thing! Sakura-Chan had bought it for him the same day that she had left. She had claimed that she could not see anybody else wearing it for it was purely Naruto. Setting the scroll down Naruto rushed out of the room calling behind him. "What about the other message?"
"Hiashi-Sama has asked me to insure that you know the proper titles for everyone and to ensure that you use them at all times."
Seconds later Naruto was back, dressed in the kimono that he had been given as a gift and smiling widely. This was going to be great! Naruto adjusted the cloth around him not entirely used to this style of dressing, but it at least was comfortable and he would blend in now.
"N-Naruto-dono are you...sure that-"
"Come on, we'll be late if we don't get going." Naruto said excitedly bounding out of his apartment, with Denrei behind him who was looking torn between saying something and laughing his ass off.
Dark hair, pearl-white eyes, pale skin. All the trade marks of a Hyūga, all combined to give them an allure, but even as Hinata stared at her reflection in the ornate mirror she couldn't see why she ever hoped to have Naruto notice her. There was nothing to her that would bring attention, not even her personality. She was still quiet and rather shy. Yet she struggled to get stronger and change.
She even had hope that he was noticing because of today in the Hokage's office, when he had looked at them all he had stared at her most. Had noticed her and had said 'I think Hinata could handle them easily', he had seen the pleading in her eyes and had agreed instantly to protect them.
So Hinata had hope, now if only she could figure out why her father had pulled such an under handed tactic as inviting Naruto to a formal Hyūga Clan dinner.
Hinata wondered if it was his way of getting to know the boy that his daughter had insisted on for this mission. It had been her birthday wish to her father and after much arguing with the Hokage, he had managed it. She sincerely hoped that her father didn't suspect the real reason why she had asked that Naruto be the one to escort them on the pilgrimage; she would never be able to bare the scowl or the words 'He is not fit'.
A sudden, though polite, knock on her door snapped her out of her thoughts and she turned standing while smoothing out the silk kimono that her father had insisted she wear tonight. "Yes?"
"May I enter?" Her father called back through the door and Hinata felt a moment of panic before she quelled it.
Seconds later the door eased open to reveal the towering and imposing figure of her father. His face was set into his always-present seriousness, yet when he spoke, his voice was surprisingly soft. "You look beautiful, like your mother."
"Thank you," Hinata managed, proud that she was finally able to speak with her father without freaking out.
Her father seemed proud of this fact as well and then he asked the one question she dreaded more than anything. "Why did you ask me to ensure that Naruto-San was involved in this pilgrimage?"
"Anou...Otou-sama I-I just thought-" Hinata paused cursing herself for loosing her confidence like this whenever Naruto was even mentioned. Hardening her resolve, she started again. "Otou-sama, Naruto-Kun needs the experience."
Her father was quiet for a moment as if considering this fact and for a moment, Hinata would have sworn he was smiling. He never smiled though and when she concentrated; there was no hint of that smile. She did however blush brightly at his next comment.
"Romances are common on this pilgrimage."
Hinata averted her gaze, aware that he had cut straight through to the matter and all without using the Byakugan. After a few minutes, she looked back at him, unwilling to allow her shyness to get the better of her. Her father nodded slightly, as if pleased with her resolve to meet his gaze once more.
"I've heard that you and mother met on this pilgrimage." Hinata managed and was pleased to see her father's startled look, but it was quickly hidden.
"Denrei-San should be back soon with him and the others are getting restless."
"Yes." Hinata breathed fighting to keep her face passive under her fathers gaze, but once he had retreated she put her hands to her cheeks feeling them burning. She had grown up, changed herself; yet the mere thought of him made her blush and retreat inwards. Kami help her, she was starting fear that Naruto would always reduce her to this.
Sighing she adjusted her hair and then strode to the door and outside, heading for the large room used only for the most formal of gatherings. It was magnificently designed, with ornate designs and several paper lanterns -stemming from a tradition that no one could remember- overhead. Situated along the floor, set in a staggered pattern, were low-level lacquered tables for each family member.
Normally in the past Branch and Main family members would be sorted away from each other during dinners, but Hiashi had started intermixing the two. Some of the older Main family members grumbled about it, but he paid them no mind and they had no real power to affect the situation.
Hinata moved quietly and quickly among the tables, head bowed to avoid eye contact with the various members of the Clan -not everyone was pleased to see her back as a possible heir-. Bowing to her now impassive father, she took her seat on his right hand side, across from Hanabi. Arranging her kimono she paused and looked around, trying to decide where exactly Naruto would be sitting.
That was when she realized that out of all lacquered tables the only one that wasn't staggered and set a little closer than it should be was the one directly beside her. Realizing what this meant she looked up and over at Neji who was sitting next to Hanabi. When he saw her looking at him, he allowed a faint smirk to appear.
Realizing that her father had to know the truth behind her feelings and the fact that Neji was smiling and even Hanabi was looking smug, Hinata felt like sinking into the floor. How could he do this to her? If he honestly knew what she felt for the blond, then he also knew just how pathetic she became when he was nearby.
Minutes later the doors opened and Denrei came hurrying down the rows, kneeling beside her father handing a message to him. Her father took whatever was on the paper with stoic silence, before speaking. "That's fine." The messenger stood and bowing respectfully retreated from the room, but didn't bother to slide the door shut.
She heard a hurried conversation, the voices low and then the boy returned and Hinata wanted to hide her face. The boy bowed as if in apology of Naruto who was standing beside him, dressed in a bright orange and yellow kimono and looking proud. Smiling as if nothing was wrong he gave the room a polite bow -almost as if he had been prepped for such an event- then in an even pace moved among the lacquered tables and family members as if searching for his seat.
When he saw the table next to her, he smiled in appreciation and sat down. He was practically beaming as he looked around and then noticing her fathers reproving look bowed slightly speaking as if he was eating dinner with Kiba. "Oi, sorry for being late."
Hinata glanced at her Naruto, expecting at any moment for her father to explode. Then she heard her father chuckle, which was such an odd event that she looked back at him.
"Perfectly alright Naruto-san." Her father paused, glancing at the others before raising his voice. "Our family's pilgrimage shall begin tomorrow. Please a moment of silence and then the meal shall begin."
Hinata looked down at the table, noticing that her fingers were poking at each other in her old nervous habit. She was unbelievable aware of how close Naruto was to her, she could hear his breathing as if he was shouting. Blushing she closed her eyes praying that her ancestors looked favorably on this situation. Then she felt someone poking her and opening her eyes she found his face close to hers, chopsticks pointing at the plate in front of him and his voice a mockery of a whisper.
"Hinata...ummm...how do I eat this? It's all green and stuff..."
"Anou..." Was all that Hinata could mumble.
Gods help her!
"How could you!" Hinata demanded -which was something she rarely did- of her cousin and self-proclaimed protector Neji. The boy in question smirked at her briefly then turned his attention back to the garden as it was prepared for the dance for those heading on the pilgrimage. "Neji-Niisan!"
"Hinata-sama," the genius finally said, with what sounded like weariness in his tone. "I only confirmed what he had guessed." Neji said as he finally glanced at his cousin a small frown forming. "He is strong and unique, but I think you might be too blinded."
"I am not blind!" Hinata said hotly, then ignoring the raised eyebrow she shifted her gaze to the object of her affections, who was talking animatedly with a few of the younger family members. "D-does father..."
"He's letting you have your birthday wish still isn't he?" Neji said by way of answer, smirking once more at her blush.
"Oh Neji-Niisan how could yo-"
"How could he what Hinata?" Naruto suddenly said from behind her and the Hyūga heir nearly screamed, blushing so brightly she resembled an apple.
"Anou...nothing Naruto-Kun..." Hinata managed much to Neji's obvious amusement. Before Naruto could inquire if she was all right, her father called for silence while Hanabi, looking lovely in her white kimono, started making the rounds of the gathered members searching for her dance partner.
Then she spotted Naruto and the smug look returned to her face. Bypassing several eager looking younger Branch family members she strode over to the blond, stopping with all the arrogance of a princess. The blond blinked looking down at her and Hanabi spoke her voice surprisingly confident and sure for a ten year old. "This is the Keimei no Kasei Dance and I Hyūga Hanabi ask that you Uzumaki Naruto dance with me."
Naruto was silent for a moment, then glancing around to see how everyone was reacting, smiled. "Sure Hanabi, I'd-"
"-Hime!" The younger girl said forcefully cutting him off, with a look daring him to contradict her.
"Excuse me?" Naruto managed, his voice showing just how confused he was. People started muttering about his apparent lack of manners.
"You call me." the girl said slowly and evenly. "Hanabi-hime."
Naruto was silent for several long moments, eyes narrowing obviously in thought before he crossed his arms. "Oi! You're nothing but a brat."
"Excuse me?" Hanabi asked, even as the older Main branch members started grumbling loudly.
"You're deaf too!" Naruto said, snorting. "Besides I'm only dancing with Hinata-Hime!"
"He can't!" Someone said loudly and several people agreed. "Tradition says that he has to dance with Hanabi-sama!" Someone else said, but Naruto was resolute and not breaking eye contact with the furious looking young girl.
"Enough!" Hiashi's voice said cutting across the grumbling, his tone of absolute authority. "Hanabi-Ojousan, Naruto-San is an honored guest. What have you been told about honored guests?"
Hanabi's fury abated quickly. "Honored guests must always be given the first choice. I am sorry Naruto-dono, you may have Hinata-Oneesan for the first dance. I will follow with Neji-San."
Hinata thought she was going to die, literally. How could her family be doing this to her? First, the dinner and now they had tricked Naruto forcing them into the first dance. She wanted to flee from the room, knowing that all those eyes would be focused on them and everyone would see how much he was unaware and how much she loved him
Naruto however had no clue about her fears and took her hand, guiding her toward the floor. This was a dream of hers, to dance with him...but this was reality! Then a horrible notion struck her as he led them toward the center of the garden, what if Naruto couldn't dance? She couldn't meet his gaze as he turned to stare at her with that reassuring smile of his.
"I'll try not to step on your feet too much." he joked softly and Hinata kept her gaze averted managing only a stammering sound. She couldn't believe how hot her face felt! Then she felt his hands touching her and Hinata nearly passed out, what kind of dance was he doing? This was not how...
All thoughts were driven out of her mind as he swept her off into a twirling and whirling dance, only rarely stepping on her toes. Hinata didn't care though, because of the hand on her waist and the other clasping hers as he led them through this strange dance. Hinata was only vaguely aware that the music had begun, she was acutely aware however of Naruto's breath against her cheek and of the blush gracing her features.
The dance was over quickly -much to Hinata's disappointment despite the awkwardness she had felt- and there was a scattering of applause but obviously, they didn't approve of the dance. Naruto smiling and talking energetically led her off the floor and she stammered at every question he asked her.
Anou...what she wouldn't give for his hand to be on her waist yet again.
"I never actually thought that dance would come in handy." Naruto said happily standing beside Hinata clueless watching Neji and Hanabi who were going through a very formal dance with no physical contact.
"N-Naruto...where did you?" Hinata finally managed to ask, keeping her gaze averted from him. If he saw how deeply she was blushing, he'd create a ruckus over it and embarrass her even further.
"Oh, Ero-Sennin taught me...but you're a much better dance partner than him." Grinning Naruto turned to look at her. "I'm sorry about it not being the right type of dance but it's the only one I know..."
"Anou...i-it was fine Naru-" she brought to an abrupt silence as she felt a pair of lips suddenly touching her cheek. HE WOULDN'T! She mentally shrieked, knowing of course that Naruto had indeed just kissed her cheek.
It took all off her will to keep from passing out but she was already tittering and then she heard what he said so casually.
Hinata promptly passed out.
Naruto blinked and caught her, then looked around at the surprised looking family members and scratched the back of his head. "Was it something I said?"
Naruto's eyes suddenly popped open and he stared balefully at the alarm clock beside his bed. Staring at the numbers his mind didn't fully click, he was lost in that wonderful state between sleep and wakefulness where nothing seemed to matter and everything seemed like a dream. Sitting up slowly pushed the blankets off him and smiled stretching; he would definitely have to remember to send a proper thank you to the Hyūga Clan for last nights party.
Then he glanced at the clock once more and his eyes went wide before he scrambled out of bed. "I can't be late!" Grabbing his orange clothes with black shoulders and the pack he'd prepared the night before -With his own copy of Icha Icha, just to annoy Kakashi- he rushed into the bathroom brushing his teeth quickly and washing his face.
Seconds later, he was hurrying out his apartment backpack in place and tying his black-clothed forehead protector in place. Then without any further ado, he raced through the streets of Konoha, leaping onto rooftops when the crowds became too large.
He couldn't be late! Everything was arranged so perfect and he couldn't risk messing things up, besides what would Hinata, Neji and Hanabi think if the team leader was late?
He skidded along a series of roofs, leaping as he went, almost removing the shingles. Then he saw it, the massive green East Gates. With one last burst of chakra, he leaped out into the void. Flipping he rebounded off a tree branch and landed in a crouch much to the surprise of the three present.
Looking up he grinned and then checked the time holding a hand up to forestall comments and begin a count down for everyone. Five...four...three...two...one…
"Yo." Kakashi said suddenly appearing from a puff of smoke, hands in his pockets and looking utterly bored. "Sorry I'm late but there was this old lady..."
Naruto however grinned. "But Kakashi-Sensei, you're not late at all." He saw the way that eye shifted from boredom to calculating and he was unable to hide his amusement as he explained that he had changed the time last night at the party, which was why Kakashi was right on time instead of tardy.
"You said five at the Hokage's office." Kakashi said simply afterwards, a hint of annoyance in his voice.
"So sorry I forgot to explain the change to you." Naruto said rubbing the back of his head and looking immensely smug at his own ingenuity. "But hey, at least you're not late!"
"You are definitely the number one surprising ninja." Kakashi said, resuming his bored tone.
Naruto however continued to grin. "Right! Well I think, Kakashi-Sensei should be up front cause well he's got the most experience...we'll put Hinata and Hanabi in the middle cause there not allowed to fight with me between them. Then Neji can bring up the rear cause of the Byakugan."
"Er..." Kakashi said before blinking. "Are we sure you're really Naruto?"
"OF COURSE I AM!" The blond shouted, in a very Naruto-ish fashion.
"But...that was actually a well thought out set of traveling plan." Kakashi added.
"Wait till we actually get going, I've got a great idea..." Naruto bragged and then seeing their looks frowned.
"M-maybe we should begin Naruto-Kun?" Hinata offered gently and the blond beamed at her before gesturing at the massive doors.
This fic is Manga based and takes place after Chapter 281 with these slight alterations:
1. Sakura was sent out on the mission meeting with the spy in Orochimaru's ranks with Sai and Yamato, minus Naruto, because of one change. Tsunade was forced into a different compromise In which Naruto would be kept to missions inside the borders of the Fire Nation and paired with Kakashi. Naruto just assumed it was because it was a mission for Tsunade invovling Medical things.
2. Naruto spent Chapters 282, 283, 284 wandering the village catching up with his old friends.
3. Kakashi's weakness after using his new eye is slightly lessened -though he still isn't at a hundred precent- so that he could be in this fic.
Also this is more of a happy-fun NaruxHina piece, which will lead into a larger story arch that might not be so light hearted.
Kuchiyose no Jutsu: Summoning Technique
-Dono: Respectful form of address, but not as high as the title Sama.
Otou-sama: Respectful form of Father.
Ojousan: Respectful form of Daughter
Finally thanks goes out to my readers and my beta. Couldn't do this without you.