No I don't own Naruto (though when that lottery money comes in ...)

Now Apart

"Hoakage are you certain that it's time?"

The busty blonde rubbed her temples from behind the her large desk breathing out deeply "Sakura chan must be allowed to practice her medical skills in the field, By babying her we allow her to become too dependent on others. If this behavior continues I will have no choice but to ban her from all future missions,"

Shizune nodded her head sadly in agreement, still not ready to give up "But she has been through so much and has only begun her training. Maybe if I were to shadow her just this once."

"Enough what's done is done. Sakura has already left with two Anbu. Other than that it's up to her."

Before Shizune could make another plead for Sakura the office door burst open as a short blonde ninja (dragging two guards back) runs to place himself in front of the Hokage "Granny Tsunade, I have had no missions for two weeks! Now give me a mission or let me search for Sasuke." To punctuate his request he sent one guard flying back through the door while flipping the other over his shoulder to sprawl out before him.

"Trying to force me to give you an answer by demolishing my guards again, Naruto."

Stepping on the back of the guard in front of him Naruto challenged "Sasuke or mission."

"Shizune do we have any low level missions left?" With fire blazing from his blue eyes he jumped on the desk intending to raise hell when Tsunade spoke up instead "Of course what higher level missions do we have?"

Noting the influx in her voice Shizune hid her smile finding a mission that sounded important enough to require Naruto's attention "A letter from Lord Goma to a relation in the Water nation or great disasters could occur."

"Like what, like what?"

"That is exactly what we don't want to discover so should leave at once to deliver this scroll" Shizune's eyes grew wide as she whispered something to Tsunade "Ahh of course, Naruto take a friend with you that doesn't have anything better…I mean that isn't already on a mission."

Tsunade turns to Shizune "No one is to tell him of Sakura's mission, he would only attempt to interrupt it or yell about not being able to go! While I do feel sorry for whoever he takes with him on this mission we cannot allow the scroll not to be delivered and with Naruto alone there are no guarantees that it will." Both heads drop in succession at the thought of it alone.

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(Sakura's group taking a water break)

Eyeing her two 'escorts' for the mission Sakura couldn't help but note how similar their builds were (though the masks hid their faces) the way each had painted their masks gave a certain feeling for their personalities. One had a tiger (fierce, protective, sleek.) while the other had an owl (wise, noble, mysterious.)

"How much farther till we reach Fukkatsu " an excited Sakura asks Akira (the Anbu with the tiger mask)

"Maybe an hour." Was the gruff response.

Lips puckering in annoyance at his dismissive attitude she walks over to lean against a tree Ryu moves to her side " Your doing great. Missions like this are more routine than exciting so as soon as you heal everyone we can all go home." Oddly comforted the young woman gave a rare smile musing to herself "I wonder what Naruto is doing now."

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"Chouji, Chouji we have a mission." "What?" sitting in the ramen shop he couldn't understand why Naruto was yelling in his usual way about a mission of all things.

"No time to finish we must leave now! Tsunade said it was a mission of extreme importance. I can't give any details but it could get bad." Naruto's serious expression seemed to get through to him as he swallowed the contents of the bowl in one gulp slamming it back on the counter "We leave now." Nodding to one another they left Ichiraku screaming about an unpaid tab.

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(The Fukkatsu village)

"Ahhh you must be the medics from Konoha please the hospital is right this way"

Mildly curious at being greeted so fast for a mild flu outbreak but upon seeing the whole town gathered at one location Sakura turned to Ryu saying "I hope I have enough chakara for all these people." He silently agreed.

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Covered in leaves from the bush that he had been hiding under Naruto signaled to Chouji to proceed to the next covered area. Doing his best ninja crawl to the small tree hiding behind it while Naruto jumped onto the branch above him. "'How long must we sneak around like this we're already half way there and we have yet to run into any problems."

"That's what they want us to believe. Traps could already be in place to block our way. We are going through the woods to stay out of sight."

' We would already be there if we used the main road' Chouji thought to himself

"Hey could we at least stop to eat. No sense traveling on an empty stomach."

"No we must keep going. They could be watching us already!"

"Naruto. Who are 'they' anyway?"

Standing up on the small branch to emphasize his point Naruto could only scream as it gave way landing him right on Chouji. (Both seemingly unconscious from the force of it)

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(Back with Sakura)

"Next please" smiling to herself as the small girl moved forward sticking her out her right arm so the small bruise could be seen along with the slight swelling around the wrist. Sakura could tell it was a sprain required very little chakara she healed it almost immediately. Looking over the crowd she could see that the end was near. While both Anbu guards sorted the patients she healed every ache they had, most so small that they required no medical attention at all but hey it was a good test of her endurance so why complain. Sending the small child back to her mother Sakura looked up and called out clearly "Next please."

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Naruto and Chouji each slink into town disappearing into the crowd before sneaking to a small opening between two buildings to talk. "The head house should be that big one at the other end of town. We just need to stay hidden till we get there." Said a breathless Naruto covered this time in scrapes and bruises catching the eye of a weak and slightly thinner Chouji who looked just as bad (if not worse) than the energetic blonde. Jumping to the top of the vendors store they continued to leap from one roof to the next until reaching their destination. Continuing to sneak around every corner to be sure that no one saw them they finally reached the main room were many guards were talking amongst themselves.

"Hey where's Goma Aira? We have an important message to give only to her." Raising an eyebrow the guard whispered to another to get the young lady of the house.

Both ninja's could not be any more surprised when a young girl no older than six appeared in the room "I'm told that you have something for me."

"What!? This must be a mistake. I was told this was an important mission who is this child? Granny Tsunade lied to me." While the blonde continued to scream about the injustice of it all Chouji handed the young girl the scroll hoping that soon he could eat, maybe even stop at one of the vendors in town.

"Daddy remembered my birthday!" seeing how happy the child was Naruto stopped his complaints, but noticed that the scroll had more than just a birthday wish on it he asked if he could read it as well

My little angel, I'm sorry that I cannot be here for this special day.

I'll be sure to bring you something nice on my way back home, so for now please enjoy the company of the messenger I asked to be sent to you. He or she will stay with you and obey your every command until I return.

Love Daddy

Naruto's eyes grew big and white as he handed the scroll to Chouji without a word. Looking back up with the same expression as Naruto they both slowly turned to look at the young child as her eyes lit up with glee giving her an almost demonic appearance.

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(In Fukkatsu)

Slowly walking away from the small town Sakura looked beat. Yet she couldn't stop smiling.

"What's with the sudden change? Before you were to scarred to do this now you are grinning like an idiot." Akira commented.

" I feel exhausted. My chakara is almost depleted and we still have a long way to go before we get home. But we did it!" she laughed and smiled even more by the end of her statement. Turning to explain why it was so important to her that she go alone there was no time to warn the guard about the throwing star flying directly at his throat.

" Go now" Ryu screams to her. So startled by this sudden attack Sakura moves to run toward the woods and trips on the body of her fallen guard. Slowly bracing herself on her arms as she begins lifting herself up to start running again as she finally sees the two stars coming directly for her.