A/N: K this is my first fanfic, so don't be harsh, but I'm always open for constructive criticism. I plan for lots of drama, action, comedy, some lemons, and an overall (hopefully) engaging storyline. This is sort of branching off from manga chapter 344 (I've read 345 and loved it, but I had this story written in my head last week just posting it now) This won't be apparent until a few chapters in I just felt like metioning it.

Disclaimer: I don't own rights to anything dealing with Naruto.

Summary: It's a complicated world out there filled with danger, love, sadness and happiness. Through each other, The Kohona ninja learn just what comes with experiencing all that is life. Naruto finds love, Sakura finds peace, Hinata finds her voice, and Sasuke finds his home? Plz R&R. M for violence and lemons. Pairs will be revealed Later, Though there is already a way to figure out the first pair, but I'm not telling you have to read to find out.

Key: "talking" 'thinking' 'kyubi' (funny little side stuff)

Chapter 1: Mission

The early morning sun rose slowly over the horizon, spreading thin rays of orange light through the leaves of the forest. The tranquility of the morning was enhanced by the relative silence that permeated the landscape, the only sounds being crickets, and a few other wild animals. The grandeur of the forest was marvelous, and then it was suddenly shattered by 50 loud poof noises followed by 51 loud "HAH"s. Naruto's morning training had begun.

The first part of his training was a physical and chakra warm up. He did this by creating 50 clones and having each of them pummel a nearby tree. Once he each felt they were fully awake, he canceled out the jutsu, tied several weights to his ankles and wrists, and began using body flicker to rush back ad forth across the training field, until he could not go the entire distance in one movement. This could go on for hours at a time, but when he finally tired out, he would take a break, and eat his special takeout ramen.

With his ramen devoured in a matter of minutes, it was time for the most crucial, and most boring in his opinion, part of training. He sat cross legged on the ground, and concentrated. He had been trying for some time now to learn how he could enter his mind and speak with he kyubi, even ask it for some power, when not in life threatening or enraged position. So far he failed, but Yamato had insisted that this was an important part of Naruto's growth, especially with the discovery that the seal on the demon was weakening. Naruto knew that he had to find a way back into that room, and after that, discover a method for controlling the demon inside of him.

Time passed, and Naruto deemed the meditation session a failure, just as always. The sun had risen considerably in this time, and he could already hear the sounds of activity drifting from the village. The people of kohona were rising to go through another day. In some ways Naruto envied them, their whole path lain out before them, no surprises, no challenges, no murderous missing Nin trying to steal your soul. But Naruto mostly pitied them, how many of them had the kind of excitement in their life he had? Besides, all the hardships were worth it, because eventually he would be hokage, it would all be worth it then. But first he had a promise to keep a promise with the woman he loved… Sakura…

"Naruto!" That gentle feminine voice rang out, shaking the ninja from his trance. He turned and saw the very woman he had been thinking of running towards him waving and calling out his name.

"Hey Sakura! What's going on?" He waved back, and then put his hands behind his back in his classic position.

"Naruto, We've got a mission!" Sakura said.

Hearing this cheered Naruto up immediately it meant two things, one: more of that excitement he loved about his life, two: It meant that Yamato and Sai had finally returned from wherever it was they had disappeared to two weeks ago. "That's great news! So what's the mission? And when did they get back?"

"When did who get…oh, no Yamato and Sai are still AWOL, even Tsunade-sensei says she hasn't a clue where they've gotten off to." There was a hint of worry in her voice as she finished saying this.

'damn' "wait, is it really safe for me to go on a mission without Yamato to… you know…" He placed a hand on his gut where the demon seal was located.

Sakura gave a quick glance down to his hand, and was visibly saddened for a moment but she snapped up wards and faked a smile to stop thinking about that. "She said it wouldn't be a tough mission, we're just to track down a recently escaped criminal ninja from Kumogakure as a sign of good faith to the lightning country. He's only chunin so we and our teammates should be able to take him no prob."

"Teammates? But I thought…"

"Tsunade-sensei said she was going to assign two additional chunin to our squad, to help us in tracking the criminal down and to replace Yamato and Sai." Sakura cut him off.

"Who's she assigning to our team?"

"Hinata Hyuga and Shino Aburame, and Shino is to act as temporary team leader. Any way we're leaving in 1 hour, so get packed and meet us by the north gate." With that they parted to head to their respective homes and prepare.

The three of them stood at the gate, practicing their time wasting routines.

Sakura tapped her foot on the ground, planning on smacking him hard in the head when he finally showed up.

Hinata touched the tips of her fingers together, repeating over and over again 'don't faint, don't pass out, just say 'hi' casually'.

Shino was patiently standing perfectly still, planning a two part action for the moment Naruto showed up, first he had to catch Hinata to prevent her getting a concussion when she collapsed, then he had to quickly shift and restrain Sakura so she couldn't give one to Naruto right before a mission. It wouldn't do good to start out with weakened teammates.

When Naruto finally showed up, loudly apologizing as he ran towards them, Shino was proven to be the one who had thought the situation out most clearly and was the only one among the three of them whose plan came to fruition.

As soon as they woke Hinata up the second time (making sure that unlike the first time Naruto was not the one holding her and shaking her), they were able to get moving toward where their reports told them the target would most likely be.

As they started jumping through the trees, Naruto spoke up, "so who exactly are we hunting down any way?"

Shino responded, "His name is Raikou Waiya, age 19, Ranked Chunin, they would not specify on his signiture jutsu, but as a cloud nin we can assume that he uses lightning and/or wind jutsu. They have a team following him, but since he's operating alone he could be traveling faster then them. Our job is to spread out in his projected path and attempt to cut him off, then either hold him until the cloud nin arrive to take im into custody, or if necesary kill him."

Naruto thought this over for a minute, then asked "so if we're supposed to spread out I guess will split up to cover more ground right? Alright then I'll partner with Sak-"

"No Naruto" Shino interupted. "It would defeat mine and Hinata's purpose if we were placed together with you and Sakura seperate. We are the tracking experts, we should be split up."

Naruto thought about this, 'well I guess it makes sense, but I wanted to get some alone time with Sakura-chan. Well, If I have to team up with either Shino or Hinata, which should I pick. Shino's so bossy, and creepy with all his bugs' With his mind made up Naruto voiced his choice "I'll Take Hinata then"

Hinata very nearly slipped on the branch she was on when she heard his, but righted herself, begining to chant her self control mantra in her mind once more 'stay calm, stay awake, you can do this Hinata, hes just going to be all alone with you in the depths of this forest...' She very nearly slipped again, and restarted her mantra, cutting out that last part.

Sakura choose this time to put in her own thoughts, "If we seperate, how will we know if the other team engages the enemy?"

Shino had an answer already prepared, and beckoned for them to stop for a moment. "Everyone touch my hand." He held out his right hand, palm up, and the others all reached out and placed their hand on his. Three small bugs appeared on his skin and each climbed onto one of the others in the group. "If Hinata and Naruto meet the enemy, crush the bug, it will release a scent that my bugs will imeadiately pick up on and follow. If Sakura and I meet the opponent, your bugs will bight you and point in our direction, leading you back to us." he explained in his usuall monotone voice. "lets continue to move"

An hour or so later, they reached the point where they would split up and begin their search for the criminal, Naruto and Hinata heading westward, with Sakura and Shino taking a eastward path.

Approaching them at high spped was the criminal, completly confidant he would out run his pursuers and reach the wind country, where finding anyone was nearly impossible in the vast stretches of desert. He also knew of course that he was getting close to Konoha. It wouldn't do good to run into any Leaf ninja during his journey, he would need to make a wide circle around the village. He paused for a moment, and looked into the sky, where the sun was already begining to lower itself after it's noon height, angling slowly down into the west. 'The sun's a good a guide as any' he thought to himself, as he adjusted paths and began a more westward arc to move around the leaf village.

A/N: This is a very innocent sort of setup chapter; this next one will not be so nice. Very soon this story will have earned it's M. I will update ASAP.