Duty of the Hokage
Quick Note: This takes place post time skip, during the arc in which Naruto is training to learn how to fuse Form and Nature chakra. There aren't any real spoilers, though.
The paperwork never ends. My hands become cramped if I even think about all the writing I do every day. My eyes water if I think about reading just one more page of reports. My fingers twitch at the thought of another paper cut. It never ends.
Staring down at the mountain of pulped tree turned evil torture, I decided that I needed a drink. The Godaime might not sleep much but she damned well needs a break every once in a while. I pushed myself back from my desk and looked at the rising moon. I was sure there was a bar just a few blocks away. A drink or two and then I'd go home. The paperwork would still be here in the morning.
Locking the door to my office, I noticed that even loyal Shizune had gone home for the night... though more paperwork was on her desk as well. I moved past the desk and exited her office, locking it behind me as well. Izumo and Kotetsu had left their place outside my door as well, though I couldn't blame them: I had told them they could leave at sunset.
The offices of the council were empty as I walked through the hallways and I started to mumble curses under my breath. Was I really the last one here for the fourth day in a row? Didn't anyone else have work to do?
I wished, not for the first time, that I could get Shizune's help. I wished she could take half the papers, read the reports and sign what needed signing. The duty of a Hokage, however, demanded otherwise. It was the Hokage who had to sign the documents which sent ninja on potentially fatal missions. It was the Hokage who had to read the reports and know what every ninja in Konoha was doing and how well they were faring.
A double, I decided. A double-sized Sake and then I'd head home to bed. That bar wasn't far from the office or my home, so I'd have time for a few drinks before bed.
As I was entering the bar I heard the loud boisterous laughter of the last man I wanted to see, his equally loud and boisterous apprentice sitting right beside him with my necklace dangling out. Jiraiya was sipping a sake bowl and slapping Naruto on the back, while Naruto eyed the contents of his own sake bowl with some trepidation. The legal drinking age might be five or six years higher than Naruto's age but I didn't think that would stop Jiraiya... and nobody would turn away Jiraiya's business by refusing to supply his apprentice with drinks, even if that apprentice was underage.
I paused and turned it over in my mind. I didn't want to deal with Jiraiya's loud mouth and equally annoying apprentice because I was tired. On the other hand the next bar was six blocks away, directly away from my home. Perhaps I could go home and skip the drink? The choice was taken from me as Naruto turned his face away from the sake in front of him and towards me.
"Granny Tsunade!" Naruto called, waving with one hand and a smile on his face. Jiraiya turned and grinned as well, wordlessly patting the seat next to him.
"Don't call me Granny, brat," I growled, sitting beside Jiraiya and pouring some sake from his bottle into a sake bowl the bartender set in front of me. The warm rice wine burned nicely as it slid across my tongue and down my throat. I sighed, turning slightly to look at Naruto, "Besides, you should show more respect. Not everyone gets to drink with the Hokage."
"Bah! Who wants to drink this stuff? It smells nasty!" Naruto firmly moved the sake saucer away from himself, until it clinked against the steaming bottle. He grinned as he leaned towards me. "Besides, look what it's done to you, Granny. You don't look like you've got enough energy to stay sitting, let alone lift that cup!"
"I've got enough energy to give a repeat of our first encounter, brat," I growled, turning away from Naruto as I refilled my sake bowl and drained it in one tidal gulp. The nerve of that boy! He couldn't possibly know the amount of work it took to do my job!
"Oh please, Granny Tsunade! With the training I'm getting from Kakashi-sensei and Yamato-sensei I'd win for sure this time!" Naruto's usual bluster was especially grating tonight. So what if he was learning more about chakra manipulation? He was still miles beneath my ability.
"Leave Tsunade-chan alone, Naruto," Jiraiya cut in, to my surprise. Usually he'd take the opportunity to egg the kid on, given how impressed he was with the work he'd done on Naruto after their three year training journey. "Being Hokage is a lot of hard work."
"Feh! I could handle all of that work no problem! It'd be done in no time at all!" Naruto countered, crossing his arms and grinning.
That was it! There was no way I was putting up with this any more!
"Oh yeah? How would you do all that, Naruto? How would you quickly handle the hours and hours of paperwork the Hokage has to deal with every day? You can't just beat paperwork with Ninjutsu!" I grinned to myself as I poured another bowl of sake for myself. That would stump him. He couldn't get through this with all of his declarations.
Naruto sat stumped, his eyes widening as he thought, working through what I'd just said. That would keep him quiet. I had him beat.
Then he grinned. Not just any grin but a victorious smirk with his eyes narrowed just so. It made him look... feral. That was the look he got when he'd figured out a brilliant answer to a problem, one which took him in the direction you least expected.
The last time I'd seen that grin was during his fight with Kabuto. With a broken leg and next to no chakra, he'd won his bet with me by forming a Rasengan which defeated his foe in one blow.
"I'd use Kage bunshins!" Naruto countered, pointing one finger at me. "With enough Kage bushins I could read a hundred reports at once and know the contents of all of them in minutes! I could do all my work easily and get back to my training!"
My saucer slipped from my fingers as his words penetrated the pleasant buzz of the sake I'd consumed. There was no way the solution to my problems was so simple. My mind raced furiously as I considered it. A Kage bunshin would be able to hold pen and paper as easily as my real body and would transfer it's knowledge to me when it was released.
I'd know everything in the reports. All the decisions which needed to be made would be over and done with in minutes. I wouldn't have to worry because they'd be my own decisions and I'd know what had been decided.
Naruto's grin was infectious. I slowly got to my feet and walked over to him, enveloping him in a hug.
"Granny Tsunade?" Naruto asked, sounding nervous.
"Thank you, Naruto," I whispered, releasing the hug. It was time for me to go home. I needed my sleep but the pile of work on my desk no longer frightened me.
Tomorrow was going to be a wonderful day.
Alright, it's an expansive set-up for a pretty lame finish. It was just something which crept into my mind while I was watching some of the Naruto filler the other day. Kage bunshins being able to learn and write on your behalf seems to me like something useful for a Hokage, hence the setup.
I was planning on doing more with Jiraiya and Naruto here but in the end I felt that leaving them like that was for the best.