I don't own Naruto. Not trying to make any money here.

Alright, I'm going to keep it real here. I chose too many girls for this fic, so some of them are gonna have to go, or rather, not be romantically involved with Naruto. Inuzuka Hana for sure. Fubuki is out too. Maybe Tsubaki and Matsuri and Suzumebachi. I don't know. I'm also not sure about adding any others like Shion.

And since I've got countless comments about character names, I'll just say it here. In terms of Ran and Nan, I went by their voice actors. The person who voiced Ran is female and the person who voice Nan is male. If you hear their voices, it's pretty clear which one is the male and which is the female. Also: Kyaku/Kujaku. I initially had it as the former, but I think I will change this one. I only saw it as Kyaku on a single fansub so it's really no problem.

An Unexpected Return

Chapter 4: Village Tour

By Big-Babidi


A word with several definitions, one consisted of a condition or situation of hostility, suspense or uneasiness. A perfect fit, all three terms accurately described what Uzumaki Naruto walked into upon entering his apartment.

He tried to make sense of it all. Observing and critically analyzing one's surroundings had been an important piece of training Jiraiya and nee-chan drilled into his psyche. But try as he might, he failed to think of a single reason that some girl with an incredibly athletic figure would be in his apartment, naked after recently using his shower and acting like she owned the place. The properly functioning key proved the apartment belong to him. If he'd any doubts, he already would've flung tall but frail Yakumo over his shoulder like a bag of potatoes and ran for it while apologizing profusely.

Speaking of the pale girl, she appeared far from pleased. "Naruto-kun?" Silent all the way until now, Yakumo seemed determined for an answer to the first question she asked since Kurenai left. That they literally encountered him as he returned to the village after a three year absence was ignored.

"I'm… not really sure." He said, eyes still glued to the other girl. Did someone sell the place during his absence? Considering there were empty apartments nearby, that seemed like a particularly malicious dick move by the landlord.

Ever since she moved in his apartment, Hokoto had often thought of her reunion with Naruto. Of various fantasies, from a romantic arrival with a beautiful love confession to a daring rescue from a dangerous shinobi, to a random encounter in the training fields, sweaty and exhausted along with many other scenarios.

She'd never imagined this type of… well actually she did, but those fantasies unsurprisingly didn't involve Naruto bringing another girl home with him. The former Star kunoichi could easily say she'd never dreamed about anything intimate with a female.

'Why is Naruto-san in my apartment?' She asked herself. 'Better yet, why does Naruto-san have keys to my apartment?' She felt like dodging the obvious answer. That she'd spent her time in Konoha living in his apartment. That she'd sat on his furniture. That she'd been sleeping so close to his room. That she'd just finished bathing herself in his shower.

And found herself with the sudden urge to masturbate. Excluding the towel, she was already naked too. Convenient!

Naruto noticed the strange girl's blush continue to grow. She seemed familiar, but Naruto had a hard time placing it. "Uh… have we met somewhere?" He noticed Yakumo relaxing quite a bit at that. Weird.

Her urge swiftly killed, Hokuto gasped. "You don't remember me, Naruto-san?" She did her best to hide the sadness.

Tilting his head and placing a hand on top of it, he thought of her appearance. He knew plenty of brunettes. Her skin color was even more common. 'But she does look familiar from somewherethat's it! Her freckles!' A rarity among people he knew, he factored in other pieces of the puzzle. Her hairstyle. Amagakura youken. Even the way she addressed him.

The addition of all parts equaled one possibility.

"Hokuto? That you?"

Her freckled face now sported an enormous smile, "Yeah that's right! I'm so glad you remembered after all, Naruto-san!"

"Who is this?" Back on guard, Yakumo seemed proportionately enthused.

"Ah! Yakumo, I gotta introduce you. This girl is Hokuto, a ninja from Hidden Star village. And Hokuto, this is Kurama Yakumo, my new pupil and teammate. She's really quiet." He stepped to the side, expecting them to give a nod or a bow or a handshake.

"Hello." Hokuto greeted, before returning her attention to the only male in the room. "So… this is your apartment too huh?"

"Yeah. Always has been." Trying not to stare inappropriately, he noticed water sliding down her bare shoulders. Looking away was harder than he thought. His growing erection agreed. "It's a little surprising to come back to a roommate."

She flushed. "Yeah I know what you mean. This whole time I thought the last owner of this place died in a fire. At least that's what some of the neighbors said."

"Of course they did," Naruto muttered, rolling his eyes. Eyes that didn't roll for long, returning to roaming every inch of Hokoto's body. He shook his head, snapping himself out of it. Last thing he wanted was a new nickname of Jiraiya Lite.

"Uh… ya think you could put on a little clothes before anything else?" He asked. She didn't have to come back wearing a hazmat suit, just enough to kill the awkwardness.

Looking down, she panicked. "Oh crap I'm so sorry Naruto-san! Of course! Of course!" She did her best to disappear without losing dignity, power-walking into her room with towel intact.

Naruto placed his belongings on a corner, then turned to Yakumo. "So… you want to sit down or something?"

"That is acceptable. Thank you," She softly replied. Removing her sandals, she found a comfortable spot on the couch and started absentmindedly rubbing her toes together. She loved going barefoot whenever possible, enjoying the cold feel of tile on her white soles. Another instance of the indoors kicking outside ass. Yakumo looked up at Naruto, wanting to request he join her.

He didn't get it, smiling at her pleading eyes before looking around his apartment and taking in the changes. The dining room table was in a vertical position compared to its usual horizontal, making less width in between it and the same refrigerator from before. His 12 inch television had been replaced with another over twice its size, and his VCR and gaming console had also been switched for better equipment.

Yakumo sighed. It was often said that a home was a reflection of oneself. Sadly for her, this altered décor would provide her little insight on Uzumaki Naruto's life.

He checked out the kitchen cabinets, curious about possibilities for dinner. Luckily, there was still plenty of instant ramen from before. One of the perks of a ninja village were the ones who prepared meals. He didn't know the jutsu they used, but whatever they did to increase shelf life of many food products was awesome. Snatching a cup for himself, he reached inside for a second before looking over his shoulder.

"Hey Yakumo, you like ramen?"

She nodded. "It's pretty good." It wouldn't be the same without getting some peanut butter in there, but she didn't feel required to bring it up.

"Glad to hear it!" An enthusiastic thumbs up was sent her way. "Ramen's been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember!"

She smiled back.

"Hopefully we can get Hokuto to feel the same in no time." Turned around, Naruto missed her smile turning upside down. Cups placed on the counter, he pulled out a pot to boil water. Minutes later, he sat beside Yakumo with two cups in hand filled with steamy ramen and chopsticks between his fingers. "I wonder what's taking her so long. Oh well, here ya go."

"Thank you." She blew into the cup before taking a bite.

Naruto slurped up noodles with an overenthusiastic smile. It had been far too long since he eat this delicacy. "Oh sweet sweet ramen. Even if you aren't Teuchi-level, you're always good enough for me."

The door opened and Hokuto emerged, towel exchanged for white t-shirt and blue sweatpants. Grabbing a chair from the table, she placed it across from the couch and sat down. "Sorry about earlier."

"Don't sweat it." Naruto waved his hand. "We didn't."

Yakumo raised an eyebrow before quickly shoving it back down.

"Good. I was worried you guys would think less of me." Hokuto breathed a sigh of relief.

He crossed his arms and leaned back against a soft cushion. "Nah, I'm more surprised than anything else. Both at having a roommate and that you're living in Konoha."

A dark look crossed her face momentarily. "There's a reason for that. Let's say that the Hidden Star Village isn't the safest place to be right now."

"Ah." Clearly he stumbled upon a subject she didn't want to discuss. "Well enough about that. So how you been? Are you a still a ninja?"

She beamed, grateful for the change in subject. "I'm good and yes. I've gotta watch my chakra output because of the star, but Gai-sensei and Lee-san have been really good in teaching me taijutsu."

"You've been training with the fuzzy brow team?" Naruto asked with wide eyes, sitting up straight. It was nice to hear about those knuckleheads. Knowing them, he guessed their training regimen stayed as intense as ever.

She nodded happily. Eccentric as they were, they were easily among the closest friends she had. "Yeah. Tenten comes over here a lot too. If you'd showed up yesterday you would've seen her."

"So that's why…" he concluded, taking note of her lean physique.

She blushed tremendously. "You… like-"

'Oh no you don't.' Yakumo cleared her throat.


"Naruto-san, um we should really get going. Our mission will begin soon." Anxiously, she was off the couch and on her feet, a now empty cup of ramen facing them in hand.

"Holy crap you eat fast!" Naruto exclaimed, Hokuto's potential question forgotten. "You should compete with Kakashi-sensei for fastest eater. Maybe we'll even see what's behind that mask!" His fist pumped and fire lit in his eyes.

Yakumo blinked at his behavior as her lips slightly curved upwards.

"You're preparing for a mission? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to talk your ear off with my life story." Hokoto couldn't stop blushing, no matter how hard she tried.

He laughed. "It's no problem Hokuto. We're roommates now so there's plenty of time. I'm glad to catch up."

"Is it dangerous? I heard you've been on some high-ranking missions before." Neji didn't speak kindly of others often, but Naruto was a clear exception. Among words of praise were several dangerous battles, such as the blond's role in a previous chuunin exam and the retrieval of an past teammate. She hoped he wasn't on his way to another A-rank.

"Not today. Just escort duty for an old friend. Piece of cake." And on top of that, it should be fun. His relationship with Toki may have started rough, but she eventually warmed up to him. He wondered how she and her country fared now.

"Oh. You're staying in Konoha right?" She asked, doing her utmost not to sound hopeful.

"Yeah. She's not from around here and just wants a tour of the village." He looked at Yakumo. "Ready to go?"

The pale girl nodded.

Naruto grinned. "Alright! Let's rock!"

Among hotels inside Konoha's walls, The Greatest Leaf had always been the most popular and luxurious. The largest in size and staff, they catered to every need of their customers. As a result, hotel employees had informed the feudal lord of Bird Country of her incoming appointment. While it proved unnecessary, Toki still appreciated their kindness as she made her way to the exit. Opening the door right on time, she quickly noticed a blond ninja in orange with cheeks full of whiskers. It could only be him. Just as she predicted, he'd grown from short boy to handsome man.

"Naruto!" She called, her face lit up with a smile as she waved. He looked over and a smile broke out.

"Toki!" She appeared just as he remembered, dark eyes and hair and a crown on top, as if the extravagant robes didn't get enough stares. He beckoned Yakumo to follow him.

Frowing, Toki took notice of the other girl beside him as they quickly caught up. She thought her request of Naruto and only Naruto made her intentions for alone time clear.

"Look at you! The last time I saw you, you were about this tall!" She raised her hand up to his previous height three years prior.

He chuckled. "That's feels like forever ago!"

"And you've gotten so handsome too." She added amusedly, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Yakumo rolled her eyes. This was starting to get ridiculous. Admittedly, she wasn't the most social person but she had been under the impression that Uzumaki Naruto was unpopular with women.

"And who is this? A friend of yours?" Toki gestured to Yakumo.

Yakumo jumped. Did her annoyance get noticed?

"She's my new student, Kurama Yakumo." Naruto said with pride. The more he thought about it, the cooler it sounded to have his own student, especially someone already familiar. "You don't mind if she tags along right?"

The pale girl bowed. "It is an honor Toki-sama."

"It's no problem." The feudal lord returned the gesture before turning back to Naruto. "So how have you been? I heard you were on a training trip of sorts?"

"Yeah I was! Ero-sennin taught me all sorts of stuff!" He rubbed the back of his head.

"A… perverted sage was your teacher?" She asked slowly. Maybe coming to Konoha wasn't such a good idea after all. 'This person better not have turned Naruto into some sex-crazed beast, I like him for more than that.'

He nodded. "That's what I call him, but he's actually one of the Legendary Sannin. Doesn't act like it though."

Toki breathed a sigh of relief. "You mean Jiraiya-sama? Oh thank goodness, for a moment I thought… never mind." She shook her head. Best not to dwell on the possibilities, even if a small part of her found it exciting.

"Enough about me, how about you two?" Naruto nodded towards her and Chishima.

"We've been doing great thanks to you." Toki smiled wide. "Everyone's working together to restore the nation to what it was before the Watari took control."

"It hasn't been easy," Chishima added. "But it's definitely worth it."

"Shall we keep talking on the way? I'm curious to see your home."

"Of course!" Naruto pointed a thumb at himself. "I never leave a mission unfinished!"

Reaching, her hand clasped his own, their fingers quickly entwined. She gave a satisfied look and lightly stepped forward, pulling Naruto along.

Taking the hint, he lead the four with Toki at his side. He looked down with raised eyebrows and wide eyes. Her hand-holding came as odd, but Naruto dismissed it as a difference in culture. He'd only known Toki for a week.

A few steps behind, Yakumo wanted to go home.

'What am I doing here?' She sighed. Kurenai-sensei devised a simple plan, but within less than a day it already seemed impossible. First Mummy McBandage Slut, then a muscle bound roommate and now a freakin' feudal lord all want in his pants. How could she, pale and sick and socially awkward Kurama Yakumo possibly hope to compete? 'Bitter? Me? Oh not at all.'

"Yakumo-san was it?"

The tall girl in question glanced aside as Chishima fell in line to walk alongside her.

"Yes." She replied nonchalantly.

Silence resumed before Chishima smiled at the pair chatting animatedly in front. "I'm glad we could meet Naruto-san so quickly. Toki-sama's been wanting to see him for a long time."

Yakumo kept her head down, hoping her panic remained hidden. Chishima continued making small talk, and Toki hadn't let go of Naruto. On top of that, conversations from random civilians filled the air and invaded her eardrums, along with a harsh gust of wind that made her cross her arms tightly. 'I hate being outside.'

Sadly for Yakumo, the crowd only increased in size at their destination. A ramen stand usually consisting of steady business, today seemed like a second grand opening. Not only had every stall been occupied, but the customer's numbers far exceeded the amount of seats. So much that the area was overwhelmed with consumers, and many ate outside standing with bowl in hand.

Staying near the group, Yakumo focused on her new instructor and tried drowning out so many loud noises.

"This is Ichiraku Ramen! My favorite place to eat since I was little!" Naruto grinned. Of everywhere in the village, this was easily one of the locations he missed the most.

"You must know the owners well then," Toki said.

"Yeah, they always treated me like an equal, even before I became a ninja." Naruto raised a hand to his forehead, blocking the sun. "Don't remember it being this busy though. Wonder what's up."

"Perhaps some kind of special?" Chishima wondered.

"Let's find out. I'd like to meet these people from your childhood."

"Sure." Hands still held, they walked together with the other pair following closely. With each approaching step, Yakumo's nervousness and anxiety grew to the point of visibly shaking.

"Are you alright Yakumo-san?" Chishima asked kindly. "Anything I can do to help?"

Naruto and Toki turned around.

"I'm sorry. I've never been good with crowds." She couldn't help hugging herself tightly. She wanted Naruto to feel impressed, yet her actions constantly seemed pitiful. 'God this is so embarrassing!'

"Hmm, I should of seen this coming." Naruto's other hand was placed under his chin before reaching out to her. "Don't worry I got you covered. Grab onto me if you want. I won't let ya go."

She took his offer without hesitation, wrapping both arms around his. Yakumo looked away in the process, hiding her blush from the other woman.

Toki narrowed her eyes at the exchange. Something wasn't right here. The tall girl clearly had issues and Naruto was her teacher. His quick aid made sense but still… she subconsciously squeezed Naruto's hand with extra force.

"Ow!" Naruto winced.

"I'm sorry Naruto. Someone bumped into me." She lied smoothly. Not a skill she held with pride, but one with its uses.

"That's alright. There are a bunch of people here aren't there?" He looked around. The number of others only increased further as they went inside. Customers stood nearly everywhere, and they'd been walking by the line for new orders before Yakumo displayed any problems. Behind the counter it seemed extra help had been hired during his three year absence. Two unfamiliar men tried to keep up with orders but seemed to fumble around on the most basic tasks. A smile formed when Ayame-nee-chan gave them hell.

In between orders, Teuchi looked up at the next customer and noticed his number one ramen buyer nearby. "Naruto? That you? I barely even recognized you!"

"Heh, good to see you too old man!" He grinned. Ayame mimicked his gesture and waved at him before berating her co-workers again.

Toki smiled at the man. He seemed like a good person, one with a constant smile that had no trouble guiding Naruto in the right direction.

Yakumo scooted a little closer to her new teacher.

At Naruto's name, another female employee dropped a bowl in shock, shattering the object and leaving noodles and beef scattered on the floor.

"Ran! Pay attention! We called you in to help serve this new recipe to the customers, not the floor!" Teuchi hollered. Hopefully her error was a onetime thing today. Everyone made mistakes, but he expected that sort of constant idiocy from Matsu and Nishi, not Ran.

Naruto raised an eyebrow. 'That's weird. I don't remember another girl working here but she does look familiar though. Eh, I'm probably just mixing things up.'

"My sincerest apologies Teuchi-san!" Ran restarted her order, ignoring Naruto's presence. For now. She would have to tell Sasame and Fuki about his return. The women at his side only upped its importance, for Sasame's sake much more than her own. She sighed, thinking of another personal matter. Hopefully this rush would end and she could return home. Class at the academy would finish soon, and she never liked it when Fuki came back to an empty apartment.

"It's good to see you back. Sorry but as you can see we can't give you a big welcome right now. Come back later for a bowl on the house like old times. Bring your girlfriend too. The more the merrier." Teuchi purposely refrained from guessing which girl held the title.

Both women smiled triumphantly.

"Huh?" Naruto's eyes went downward, noticing how their positions would look to anyone else. Those same eyes widened. "Whoa there! Toki's just being friendly and Yakumo's my student. It's not like that."

Both women frowned disappointedly.

"Whatever you say Naruto!" Teuchi chuckled, attention refocusing on someone's order.

Head down, no one noticed Ran's smile.

"Sorry about that. I hope he didn't upset you guys."

"That's quite alright," Toki replied. "I didn't bother me at all."

Yakumo nodded. "I feel the same."

As a customer retrieved his order, he nearly knocked into Yakumo on the way back. "Sorry about that."

"It's cool." Naruto nodded at his apology. "Guess we'll have to take the old man on his offer. Come on, I know some other places to show you."

A couple hours had passed since their trip to Ichiraku. After a few less attractive locations such as the hospital and the cemetery, a lengthy walk around the village put them atop of Konoha's most representative landmark. A mountain of stone, the faces of Konoha's most important leader throughout the years had been carved into it. Villagers only needed to look up for a sense of protection and remembrance of their Hokage.

"It's such a nice view!" Toki gasped in awe. Nearly the entire village was visible from their vantage point. The Hokage's office was easily recognizable, but even places like that little ramen stand could be found. To see this with Naruto at her side felt like a dream come true.

Away from the crowds, Yakumo's reason for holding Naruto diminished and she returned to walking near Chishima. She'd never been to the Hokage Monument before but standing there now made her have a little regret. 'Toki is right. It's beautiful.'

"You bet it is! This is what we call the Hokage Monument. It's our tribute to the Hokage, the strongest in the village who wouldn't hesitate to put their precious people above themselves. One day, my face will be carved in too. Becoming Hokage has always been my dream."

Yakumo stared at Naruto. Much like her own goal of recovering the Kurama Clan's prestige, Naruto had a driving force that pushed to excel to new heights. There was something to learn, something she felt was equally important to Kurenai-sensei's matchmaking. 'Naruto never gives up right? I have to emulate that or I'll never make it. Especially with this body.'

"I've no doubt you can accomplish that Naruto." Beaming, Toki leaned her head on his shoulder.

Naruto shrugged at her action, but paid it no mind. 'Wow. Bird Country's culture sure doesn't bother with personal space does it? I don't even remember it being that way. Weird.'

The group stayed put until the sun began to set, enjoying the lovely scene.

With class dismissed hours ago, Umino Iruka and his assistant sat in his empty classroom grading papers. This year's brat batch was a lot of fun, from loud troublemakers to brilliant schemers to quiet girls like Fuki to keep them in line. Their ninja abilities were only subpar, but they had far more skill in making him laugh. The door opened, and in came his favorite student of them all.

"Yo! Iruka-sensei!"

A voice he'd never forget, Iruka quickly looked up. "Naruto! I didn't know you were back!" The blond shrimp had grown a lot. If Iruka guessed, he'd probably gotten taller than Sakura. Naruto wasn't alone, strolling in with some unusual company. Was he holding hands with a princess? And what was Kurama Yakumo doing here? Last he heard from Konohamaru, his "totally awesome nee-chan" tended to stay indoors.

"Yeah, I got back earlier today." His unoccupied arm flexed. "You should see how strong I've gotten!"

Iruka chuckled. "I wouldn't doubt that for a second, especially since you were training with Jiraiya-sama."

"Who is this Naruto?" Toki asked gently.

He smacked his forehead. "Oh, right. Everyone, this is Iruka-sensei, my teacher at the academy." His features softened, an earnest smile slowly spreading across his face. "Before anyone else, he was the first person in the world to acknowledge my existence."

Toki could easily see the affection. Where Teuchi had importance in Naruto's childhood, it paled in comparison to the man facing her. "Iruka-san, it's a pleasure to meet you. I am Toki, the feudal country of Bird Country, and this is Chishima, one of my closest friends."

The brunette nodded. "Nice to meet you."

Eyes nearly bulging out of their socket, Iruka gripped his desk tightly. "A feudal lord!"

'How odd. If it took as long as entering the academy for someone to acknowledge him, how was his life earlier?' Yakumo's thoughts took on a more serious turn. She thought back to his understanding of her situation with the Idou monster. 'Am I reading too much into this, or is there some kind of connection? I haven't forgotten how some of his neighbors turned away from him. Has he been going through that his entire life?'

"Yes," Toki said. "All thanks to Naruto. He gave me the courage for this job. Without him, my country would be facing much harder times now."

"So…" he looked at their hands. "Naruto is with a feudal lord?" He always believed greatness lied in store for the person he saw as a little brother, but to return after training with Jiraiya-sama and in some kind of relationship with a feudal lord at his age far exceeded anything he possibly imagined.

He felt a hand on his shoulder. "Relax Iruka. I'm sure Naruto-kun will have a valid explanation."

A deep breath taken and Iruka calmed down. "Yeah you're right. Thanks Tsubaki."

"Tsubaki-nee-chan works at the school now? I knew you were familiar!" Naruto proudly exclaimed, pointing a finger at the black-haired woman at his teacher's side.

"Don't point like that Naruto. It's rude." Toki admonished.

"It is?" He looked at his hand. "Uh sorry about that."

"That's quite alright Naruto-kun." Tsubaki gave a smile in his direction. "To answer your question, I've been working alongside Iruka for nearly a year now. Helping the children is so much more rewarding than I could've imagined."

"Oh, so you're an assistant like…?" Naruto's big mouth couldn't stop itself from opening.

"Like Mizuki, yes. I thought it was an appropriate part of my atonement." She closed her eyes momentarily before reopening them.

"And a good job you've done." Iruka approved quickly, eager to change the subject. Besides, other issues needed discussion. He'd looked after Naruto long before Kakashi and Jiraiya. He felt an obligation to ensure Toki only had good intentions with him. "But how about you guys? Where did you meet?"

"It was on a mission to protect Bird Country from a ghost, only it turned out the people hiring us were bad guys trying to use us to help them take over." Naruto shook his head, slightly annoyed at being played by people like Moso, even if the traitor was brought to justice.

"In hindsight, I'm slightly grateful to the Watari. Despite the atrocities committed, without his request for Konoha's aid, I'd have never met you." She peered down at him, eyes almost sparkling with adoration.

Yakumo grit her teeth.

Naruto blushed a little. "Heh, thanks. Anyway, Toki came to visit and asked me to help her see around the village." He then gestured to the only person seemingly out of place. "And since Yakumo's my student now, I asked her to come along and Toki's cool with it so everyone wins!"

'Neither of them seem to agree with the last statement.' Tsubaki noted.

"Ah, now I understand," Iruka said. Naruto teaching was yet another he hadn't expected, at least not so soon. "Ya know, if you ever need any advice on instructing… well you know where to find me. But back to your mission, have you taken her to Ichiraku's yet? We could have a bowl there, just like old times. That's probably the best way we can show someone around Konoha."

Teacher and student shared a chuckle there.

"I hear that! Sadly we checked earlier and they're really busy."

"Well that's too bad. Speaking of food." He looked at Tsubaki. "Weren't you about to grab something to eat?"

She nodded.

"Why don't you come with us? You don't mind do you Toki?" Naruto eagerly interjected.

"Not at all. I welcome the company," she replied. 'Might as well. I don't think Naruto would feel happy if I refused. Besides, my plan of alone time is already doomed thanks to his student.'

"Are you sure?" Tsubaki asked. "I don't mean to impose, and you are technically on a mission."

"If Naruto approves, then so do I," Toki said.

"Go on." Iruka urged. "I can handle the rest of this paperwork on my own. Have the rest of the evening off. Naruto and I can always get a bowl another day."

"I'm holding you to that Iruka-sensei!"

"Good." He laughed. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Very well. Thank you very much." Tsubaki stood up and bowed.

'Thank goodness for teachers. With Tsubaki around, hopefully Toki will back down some.' Yakumo's smile got a little larger. 'Ah, the wonders of cockblocking.'

A fast trip to Ichiraku showed its crowd had only increased, so they immediately began the pursuit of other restaurants. Their second choice Yakiniku Q shared a similar fate. Apparently an Akimichi eating contest was happening within alongside the usual dinner rush. Naruto noticed many among the clan gorging heavily and the males of Team Asuma cheering on Chouji as he devoured another beef tongue like a boss. With that out, the dango shop became their next option, but ended up rejected from a close democratic vote. Naruto and Toki voted in favor while the other three said otherwise, the feudal lord glaring at Chishima for his unintentional betrayal. The fact that Naruto let go of her hand to cast his vote didn't help matters in the slightest.

"What's this place?" Toki asked, gazing at a wooden building with windows on the side and red curtains at the entrance. A sign at the top said "Hashirama's Sanctuary".

"That's the Hashirama Sanctuary, named in honor of our Shodai Hokage. It's an old establishment, but still pretty popular." Tsubaki informed her. As an adult that didn't leave the village for three years, the teaching assistant proved herself a far better tour guide than Naruto, easily pointing out all sorts of common and obscure locations. Naruto and Yakumo found themselves learning as well.

"Come to think of it, I've never actually been here before." Naruto looked at the place in awe, wondering what they offered.

"How about we give it a try?" Chishima asked.

"Sounds good," Toki said. No one felt the urge to start up another vote.

Curtains pushed aside, they noticed a short line waiting for service. At the back, two girls turned around as Naruto and company entered. The hairs colors of pink and orange were all Naruto required to make an identification.

"Holy crap! Sakura? And… Sasame-chan!" Naruto exclaimed.

"Naruto?" "Naruto-san?" Both girls asked simultaneously.

"Did you say Naruto?" Before anything else, the group looked past Sasame and Sakura at the girl behind them. Blond hair and blue eyes, she wore a soft pink robe with red spots and brown pants, all in sizes much larger than the other girls present.

Unlike Hokuto, a fat Ino-clone was rather hard to forget. "Fuku-hime too? Wasn't expecting to run into you here."

"You're Naruto right? Uzumaki Naruto?" She asked, undisguised hope in her voice. Squeezing past the other two girls, she approached him.

"Yeah! I'm kinda surprised you actually remember me!" Naruto rubbed the back of his head. The mission aiding her had been short, and they hadn't parted on the kindest note.

"Don't be silly! Of course I remember!" She smiled.

'And now an actual princess?' Yakumo thought, crestfallen. 'Fuck my life.'

Naruto's thoughts were more surprised than morbid. 'Okay this makes whatlike seven girls I met since Ero-sennin was preparing for the trip that I've run into? All in less than a day?This is just getting weird.'


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I kind of want to update my other fics (all of which are way better than this one) before the end of the year, so the next update probably won't come around until after that.