Author: Ms. Trick
Summary: It's another Tsunade-must-revive-Konoha-through-arranged-marriages fic. But marriages don't always mean love or friendship. Some will end well, others won't. This will not be a smooth ride: Sasuke has issues, Hinata's heart is twisted every which way, and most of the genin don't know what to do with themselves or their new spouses at all. Plus, complications arise when Orochimaru turns his eye to a different genin instead. There will be sex later, as this is going to be a long fic and they are currently 12.
Main Pairings: SasukeNaruto, LeeGaara, KibaHina, and a slew of others
Timeline: About Episode 108. After Sasuke gets the seal, before Sasuke leaves.
Disclaimer: Insert witty take on the I-don't-own-this statement here.
Note: Reviews make my life. No seriously.
Tsunade looked down at the village from the large open balcony. Patches of construction covered many of the buildings and she could see countless people running around, trying to repair their homes in the hot sunshine. Amidst the bustle in Konoha, an old memory fluttered Tsunade's mind unbidden: the image of a young and desperate Shizune, who had come to her the day she had lost her parents.
Shizune had been no older than eight or nine and Tsunade remembered the girl teary and on her knees, begging to be her apprentice. She had been hungry for a way to help, for a way to ward off the death that hovered around Konoha as it hovered over all ninja villages.
Opening her eyes, the Hokage took in the sight of her home. The recent battle's losses lingered. But she could also see the rebirth. She could see the strength that Shizune had had and the cooperation that between Konoha's citizens. Everyone was trying to fix everything.
Tsunade heaved a sigh. The problem with that was that a village's prosperity wasn't only measured in the power of its ninjas and the stability of its market. The amount of weddings a village could give was also a major factor countries used to evaluate one another's strength. And Konoha was in trouble.
Tsunade turned from the balcony railing and stretched as she walked back into her office. The reconstruction was taking longer than planned. If the sunlight was anything to go by, the height of spring would be coming early this year. Most villages had a string of wedding ceremonies beginning at the height of spring and ending in mid-summer. In the past, Konoha had never had a problem with such a thing; there was no shortage of young, healthy individuals.
But since Konoha had remained in such a state of exhausted recovery effort, with its people working all day and falling into a dead sleep at night, there hadn't been much of a chance for love to bloom.
A voice pulled Tsunade out of her thoughts.
"Tsunade-sama, are you ready? Most of the villagers are there already."
The Hokage stared at Shizune for a minute, contrasting her with the little girl who had come to her in tears all those years ago. Shizune blinked in confusion, Ton-Ton in her arms as usual, and Tsunade smiled.
"I know. I know. I'm ready."
She followed her assistant downstairs to a pair of large oak doors. Shizune stood to one side and Tsunade went through them by herself. She walked out onto the platform into the blaring sunshine. A cool breeze swept past her and the large crowd quieted.
She raised her arms and began to speak.
"Thank you for all the effort and hard work I've seen in the last few months. This cooperation is truly the spirit of Konoha. As you know, the season of weddings is approaching quickly. Unfortunately, our village seems to be at an all-time low this year. Only nine couples have registered for marriage."
A rustle of surprised chatter broke out and Tsunade raised her voice slightly.
"This is a great drop from last year's forty-seven couples. This decrease is certainly understandable, considering the circumstances. But the village's prosperity and its standing with other villages depends on these marriages. And so I'm announcing that all persons between the ages twelve and twenty-three are to be betrothed via means of the state."
There was an explosion of talk from the crowd. People were shouting for joy, people were shouting in disbelief, parents were sighing that they wouldn't have to endure the arduous task of making sure their child was taken care of, and some people weren't saying anything.
Eventually, Tsunade regained their attention. She then finished up her atomic-bomb of an announcement quickly, merely stating that if there were any particular issues that they should come talk to her directly and that the details would be released at a certain time and place tomorrow.
As she re-entered the building, she breathed a sigh of relief and slumped against the door, wishing fervently for some sake.
"Do you think the pairings you've created will be accepted by the people?" Shizune asked.
"I know most of Konoha's youth well enough by now. And if I don't know them, I know their parents. They'll have to trust me."
Tsunade walked down the hallway as she spoke, Shizune keeping up with her.
"If they can trust me to form the ninja cells, which seems more difficult seeing as those involve life or death situations consisting of three people. How bad can marriages be?"
Shizune nodded, though on the inside she was glad she wouldn't be required to marry; she had turned twenty-four a few months ago.
"Right. What bothersome thing does this job call for me to do next?" Tsunade said with a resigned sigh.
"You have your meeting with the feudal lords of Sand to create another treaty."
"Right, right. One less likely to cause a war than the previous one..." Tsunade sighed again and rubbed her eyes. "We'll probably need at least two marriages with the Sand to keep relations good."
"Do you have any candidates?" Shizune asked curiously.
"I have an idea or two."
The next day, Kakashi appeared in front of Tsunade's office promptly at 3:00 pm for a 12:00 appointment. Kotetsu and Izumo, standing at their usual posts, didn't look impressed.
"Yo," he said with a jaunty wave. "Is the Godaime ready t--"
He was cut off by the office doors opening and a harassed-looking Shizune escorting a man and a woman out.
"I'm truly very sorry but no, your daughter will not be able to get a divorce if her spouse is not wealthy enough."
She was practically pushing them down the hallway. "If you have any requests as to who your daughter should be paired with, like we've said, feel free to let Tsunade-sama know and we'll take them into consideration."
Kakashi took the opportunity to enter and was greeted with the sight of a yawning Hokage pouring herself a cup of sake. From the looks of it, it wasn't her first cup today.
"Ah...Kakashi. Here you are. Drink?"
He declined and she shrugged before downing hers.
"I needed to ask you something concerning one of your subordinates. Do you know of the--"
She stopped as Shizune re-entered the room and placed two scrolls on her desk.
"What are these?" The Hokage said exasperatedly.
"The one on the left is a list of obligations and traditions for the two Hyuuga weddings. And the one on the right is an updated list of requests from girls wishing to be paired with Uchiha Sasuke."
Tsunade glared balefully at the two scrolls for a moment and then turned back to the masked ninja in front of her. Shizune stood off to the side, her mind running a mile a minute listing the things still needed to be done.
"As I was saying, do you know of the Uchiha tradition concerning betrothal?"
"I don't," Kakashi said puzzled.
"According to the family scrolls, a betrothal is determined by the first kiss. I've talked to Iruka, who said he couldn't recall Sasuke ever being remotely intimate while in the academy. As his current sensei, I was hoping you would know whether Sasuke had kissed anyone."
"Hmm..." Kakashi thought for a minute, staring into the ceiling.
He could count the number of people Sasuke talked to on a regular basis on one hand. He doubted his student had ever willingly kissed another person. A memory wiggled up from the depths of Kakashi's mind. He had been standing in this very office, observing the class of possible students in the Hokage's crystal with the rest of the jounin. He remembered watching the orb just long enough to witness Sasuke accidentally locking lips with...
"Eh? Naruto?" Tsunade asked. She looked considerably more awake now.
"It was an unexpected one to be sure but Sasuke's first kiss was with Naruto."
She smirked with amused glee that probably shouldn't have been on a Hokage's face, and marked this piece of information down on a piece of paper.
"Thank you, Kakashi."
He gave her a small bow before vanishing. As he hopped over rooftops towards the hospital he ran the conversation over again in his head. Naruto and Sasuke were undoubtedly some of the strongest genin.
Tie them together forever and you've got one of the most unbeatable pairs Konoha had to offer, Kakashi thought as he arrived at the hospital. He was just in time to catch each of them by the wrist and--avoiding Sasuke's Chidori and Naruto's Rasengan--hurl them both towards the water containers.
That is, Kakashi thought, if they don't kill each other first.