Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Naruto or characters therin.
Chapter 26 – Coming Home…
The Fuuma clan walked with Kikiyo's team until they came to the village that belonged to the Tsuchi clan. They found a lot Oto shinobi activity. Apparently the Tsuchi clan bore a lot of female children and there was a fence around the village. Naruto gritted his teeth, as they heard the screams of desperate women.
Kikiyo and Naruto snuck in that night to find the elders of the clan. They found them alright, as they were all chained in the village square. After a little while of reconnoitering the guard patrols, Naruto and Kikiyo ambushed several patrols at once. All the guards were tied up, but Naruto had to restrain himself from killing each and every one he ran into. After releasing the elders Naruto and Kikiyo were able to get the clan to agree to leave Rice Field country for Whirlpool country and join the village. With the help of the Fuuma clan they were able to capture all the Oto shinobi and then proceeded to clean the town out and then make a trail that led North instead of West towards Uzu no Kunai.
It took several days to reach the border and along with the prisoners, which slowed progress some, they were able to get to the border in a week's time. A few days afterwards they were in Uzu proper with about one-hundred-fifty new residents for Uzugakure no Sato.
Fū woke up in an unfamiliar place, a hospital, and to a smiling face. A red headed boy just smiled at her and she couldn't tell why. He suddenly noticed she was awake and leaned near her.
"I see you're awake now. I'll get the doctors now, and welcome to Uzu, pretty lady," he said quietly, as he then got up and left the room.
She looked around and saw no restraints or seal upon her. She did feel her insects moving happily about her body. They filled her in on what was going on. Apparently the team from Uzu had saved her and brought her to Uzu for medical attention. While she couldn't get all the details, she was able to glean some of the information, as her ability to talk to the insect had come slowly over the years. She had heard of a clan in Konoha that worked with insects, but hers didn't inhabit her body, they preferred to stay in her pack and help her when they could.
The door opened and blonde woman in her late twenties or early thirties entered the room along with the red haired boy from earlier and a boy with long brown hair that she recognized, as trying to heal her when her team betrayed her.
The woman grabbed a chart at the foot of her bed and looked it over. "So how do you feel sleeping beauty? I hear that Daichi-kun here hasn't left your side for two days, just to make sure that you're all right. My name is Tsunade Senju, by the way. Haku-kun, here was able to remove the metal piece from your chest and start you on the road to recovery. He is quite talented and I'm sure that any embarrassment you may have had will stay between you and him," Tsunade said with a glare at Haku, who just nodded.
"So will she be okay, Tsunade-sama?" Daichi asked in a worried tone.
"Yes she will, also are the bugs yours?" Tsunade asked.
Fū nodded and replied, "They are my friends and they help me from time to time. I'm sorry if they have caused any inconvenience."
Tsunade waved her concern away. "I've worked with the Aburame before, so your friends weren't a problem. So you're the jinchuuriki of the Shichibi, or the Seven-tailed Beetle, right?" she asked, as she sat next to Fū.
Fū looked around to gauge the expressions of the other occupants and found that Haku held indifference to the information that was given. Daichi was still excited, but also didn't seem to be phased by having a jinchuuriki in the hospital. Seeing a kind smile coming from Tsunade she nodded.
"That is fine dear, we have a couple of them here in the village right now, so you don't have to be afraid," Tsunade said in a reassuring tone. "Would you like to meet someone like yourself? He's a nice boy, kind of goofy at times, but nice," she said in a motherly tone.
Fū nodded and began to relax a little bit. She wasn't sure what was going on, but if they had protected her from Waterfall then she might just be safe for now.
Tsunade moved her hand and brushed away a few stray strands of hair from her face and smiled warmly. "Please tell me your story. I want to hear it, so I can try to help you. My grandnephew was also driven from his village for the same reasons, as you were from yours," she said looking out the window. She smiled with a faraway look in her eyes.
Fū looked at her in awe and fascination. 'Is her grandnephew a jinchuuriki like I am?' she thought to herself. The next few hours were spent telling her story to Tsunade, Haku and Daichi.
Naruto entered the village at the end of the caravan of the two families that had come with them to Uzu. His clones also guarded the prisoners they had captured on the way back and they totaled in the neighborhood of about thirty prisoners. Naruto knew that these people would have some information that Uzu could use to protect itself from Oto. Naruto just hoped Kikiyo-sensei would not get in trouble for capturing so many from Oto in their own territory.
Hinata understood Naruto's worries, not only because they could share thoughts, but because she was also worried that there would be retaliation for what they had done. She was glad that they had come to a decision about Sasame and how she would be treated. Arashi at this time could not give her the attention she wanted, but said that she would make him happy if she would try to integrate herself into Uzu. This made Hinata somewhat happy in that the man had not outright rejected the girl and smashed her dreams. He was either waiting for her to find someone else or until she was older to see if the feelings were real.
The Tsuchi and Fuuma clans settled quickly into their new homes and found a clan compound for each of them ready. Takashi had greeted them at the gate and showed each clan to their respective compounds, and had people ready to show the individual families their new homes around the village. He also informed Naruto that Oto wanted his head now. This brought a chuckle to both Naruto and Takashi, but a frown to the three women on his team and a certain fox spirit.
Naruto was informed that there was a girl that he should meet in the hospital and that Haku was going to get a team to work with, but they would have a retired Iwa shinobi as the sensei for the team. Naruto suggested that Sasame be on Haku's team, and Takashi agreed.
Naruto and Hinata entered the room with a sleeping girl around their age. She had lime green hair and a tanned complexion. They waited for about an hour for her to wake up. She smiled wearily at the pair. "Are you like me?" Fū asked at almost a whisper.
Naruto smiled warmly. "If you're asking if I'm a jinchuuriki. Then, yes I am one. This is Takara-chan my fiancé and I'm Akemi," he looked around and then smiled with a huge grin, "Or Naruto Uzumaki, jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi. Please don't let people know my name is Naruto, as it would cause... complications."
Fū looked at Naruto with a raised eyebrow. "What type of complications?" she asked.
"Well, my actual name is sort of a secret, but not a secret. Yeah, I know kind of confusing, but I assure you that it would be better to call me Akemi until the chuunin exams in Konoha are over. I have talked with my grandfather and he has already sent a courier to Taki to determine your status. No matter what they do, he has assured me that you will be an Uzu shinobi and respected. We have already set up a team for you and hoped you would like to participate in the chuunin exams with me and my team. Oh, and Daichi will be there too," Naruto said with a knowing grin.
Fū blushed, but then frowned. "He wouldn't like me, I'm a freak," she said in a derogatory tone.
Naruto shook his head. "Nah, Daichi-kun is a great guy and wouldn't care if you had a horn growing from your forehead. He can look into people's souls and see people for who they are. He likes you because of you, not because of what people think or what you carry. He told me that he would like to get to know you better. He isn't in love, but hey it's a start," he said with a smile.
"You're just saying that, so that I will stay here in your village," Fū said, as she looked down and away, as if in shame.
Hinata moved forward and pulled Fū into a hug. "Naruto-kun only lies when he needs too, and never about affairs of the heart. We know that you were mistreated. We were too, by Konoha. You see because of their attitude we share the seal of the Kyuubi. While Naruto-kun holds the lion's share of the seal, I still hold a portion of it," she said, as Fū felt a tear hit her shoulder.
Fū pulled Hinata back and saw that the girl was actually shedding tears, of both pain and despair. "You share the seal? How can that be?" she asked, as her eyes moved between Naruto and Hinata.
Naruto pulled both chairs close to the bed and then began. "We were both mistreated also. You see, my training in Konoha was sabotaged at the academy, even in the first few years. We found a teacher that was going to help me, but because of some bigots. We were attacked, me first and then Hinata-chan, I mean Takara-chan here..." Naruto said with a wink. Fū seemed to understand, as Naruto continued, "You see, we were ambushed inside my apartment and then chased out of the village. We ran into a Kumo shinobi and he wanted Hinata's eyes, but we fought him and she was injured badly. I used the power of the Kyuubi to heal her, but by doing this I left a mark and it transferred part of the seal to her. My uncle found us and took us away from Konoha and you met him by the way."
He sighed, but then continued, "There is more to the story than I'm telling you, but I thought you should know that Uzu is a safe place for you Fū-chan. You don't have to trust me, but I do ask you to let us show you that we are worthy of your trust."
"Why don't you ask for my trust right off the bat?" Fū asked.
"Because we trust few people to begin with and thus understand that since you were hurt and betrayed by those you trusted, that you would not give it easily for fear of being hurt again. We only ask you to allow us to help you. Trust will come later. You might also like it here. You could always go back to Taki, but we would never allow Akatsuki to have you, for we don't wish for your death," Hinata said with a serious look. She then smiled and said, "Also I think that Daichi-kun might have a crush on you. If you play your cards right, you might have someone who will trust you with their life before you trust them. He is a nice boy and a cousin of my fiancé."
"But you don't know me and I might release the bijuu to rampage across your village," Fū said with tears ready to leave her eyes.
Naruto sighed, and replied, "Then I would lose a possible new friend and have to use the Kyuubi to stop you, and more than likely lose both Hinata-chan's and my own lives in the process. We want you to be happy and also be able to defend yourself. We know about your team betraying you. We're sorry that it happened, but we didn't do it and Haku-kun and Daichi-kun both helped make sure you made it to the village safely. Daichi-kun was even sporting an injury already, but even with that he pushed to make sure you made it here to my great-aunt Tsunade."
Fū looked down and then said in a somber voice, "I'm sorry, that I didn't trust you. I've just been treated, so bad for most of my life and had to make sure that you weren't trying to hurt me like the others."
Naruto stood and moved close to Fū. He then embraced her in a warm hug. "I reserve those usually for Hinata-chan, but you looked like you needed it," he said with a smile and Hinata nodded at his statement.
Fū for once felt something that she had never felt before, welcome. She felt like this could be home. She did feel wary of this feeling, but hoped she could go with this feeling.
Naruto looked at his grandfather with worry. "So the chuunin exams are in Konoha?" he asked, while Takashi nodded. "So are we going to send some teams and is my team going to be one of them?" Again Takashi nodded. "So old man, are you going to marry, old lady Hitomori or what?"
Takashi nodded then looked at Naruto with a raised eyebrow. "You asked that on purpose didn't you?" he asked with a wry grin.
Naruto nodded and then said, "Be nice, we both know that Hitomori-san has something for you."
"That may be the case, but it isn't something that I'm going to discuss with my grandson," Takashi replied.
"I approve," Naruto said with a huge grin.
"Why do you approve?" Takashi asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, if you think about it. She does like you, a lot. She is pretty for her age, and she wouldn't cause any problems with the clan or the village," Naruto explained.
"She wouldn't cause a problem with the clan because she is a member of the clan," Takashi countered.
"Thus the paperwork for the marriage would be less," Naruto said, barely able to contain his laughter.
Takashi scowled at the young Uzumaki and stood. "You know Naru-chan. If I didn't have this much paperwork to do I might take the time to discipline you like your sensei should be doing," Takashi said, as he approached Naruto slowly and methodically.
Naruto ran off quickly with a smile on his face, only to have his grandfather chasing after him with the same smile plastered of his face. They quickly jumped out the window. Laughter was heard all across the village.
Hinata sported a huge smirk on her face.
Hana noticed this and asked, "What is the smile for child?"
"Naruto-kun and Takashi-sama are having some bonding time," she replied happily.
"So that is the laughter I heard outside. Along with the blurs heading around the village," Kido said happily.
"So are you and your team ready for the upcoming chuunin exams?" Hana asked.
Hinata nodded and replied, "Yes, I believe we are ready for the exams. Naruto-kun isn't happy that they are in Konoha, but he will survive. We are still worried about the Uchiha boy, he isn't quite right in the head."
Hana chuckled and said, "From what you and Naruto-kun told us, we agree that he needs some help. I would watch out for him in the exams. More than likely they will push him into it because he is to be the head of the clan and will need the much needed prestige of either making chuunin or competing early."
Hinata opened a book on advanced healing techniques and replied to her grandmother, "We will be careful."
The next day Naruto and Hinata escorted Sasame to meet with his grandfather in Fū's room. Haku was also there. Sasame stood there with a blush on her face looking back and forth between Naruto and Hinata, not knowing what to do, so she waited for Takashi to speak.
Takashi cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. That being done he began to speak, "I've gathered three of you here today to form a team." He looked at Haku, Sasame and then Fū and then continued, "Haku-san, Sasame-san and Fū-san, I am asking you to form a new team for Uzu. As I see it, Haku has both medical and combat experience. Fū has similar experience working for Taki, and I have gotten a letter from the chief of that village. He releases you from all your duties and will make sure that you're compensated for what happened to you. Now Sasame, you're going to be the linchpin for this team. While you lack experience, I'm told that your knowledge of your clan jutsu and other academic materials is outstanding. Your new jounin sensei, Roushi of Iwa will be meeting with you tomorrow to figure out where he will need to train you, so that we can bring you up to speed with our other genin teams."
He raised his hand to forestall a question from Haku. "I know you have enough experience and skill to be a chuunin, heck most of our genin in this village do. Nori does a great job of teaching students. As it stands now we have several teams ready for the chuunin exams. Including yourselves, we will have about six teams go to the exams. Two teams are not ready just yet. Any questions?" he asked happily.
Haku nodded and said, "While I'm not opposed to either of them being on my team, I would like to get to know them better, so that we can better work together. I know something of Fū's skills, but I'm sorely lacking in knowledge of Sasame-san's capabilities."
Sasame bowed and replied happily, "I'm fairly good with thrown weapons and trap setting. I know a few earth jutsu and other jutsu that conceal your presence."
Haku nodded at this information. Naruto led Takashi and Hinata to the door and said, "Okay, we'll leave you guys to get to know each other later. Also Haku, Keiko wants you to go with her to lunch after your done here."
Haku nodded and blushed slightly, but otherwise continued his discussion with his new teammates.
As the trio left the lobby of the hospital Hinata asked, "Do you think they will be able to get enough D-ranked missions to qualify for the exams."
Takashi nodded, but said apprehensively, "The exams are in Konoha this time around and I'm not certain that you'll be able to keep your secret for long."
Naruto sighed and said, "Well, more than likely the secret is over and only Kumo and Kiri don't know." Hinata growled at the mention of Kumo.
A/N: Sorry for the short chapter, but was closing up the Oto arc and getting ready for the chuunin exam arc. Next chapter: Going to Konoha…
Thanks for all the support. Sometimes the story writes itself and others… well, you other authors know what I mean. Again I'm not sure of my update schedule. I will keep up writing and try to dust off some of my older stories and try to update them. Priestess is on that list, since I have the next chapter almost finished, but seems a little dry for my tastes, but people sometimes seem to like that. I'm working on a possible rewrite of Naruto's Happyness. The Missing Hokage is quite at the moment, but I'm hoping to get some inspiration on the next chapter. I've done most of the challenge and want to take it further, but I'm not sure what to do, PM me with some ideas and I consider them.
Again sorry for the wait for the smaller chapter, as time is a commodity that we have a finite reserve of. Personal issues have come up again, so I will update, as I can. I hope you enjoyed the wrap-up chapter.