I know…I know. This was a long wait and I am sorry, but let me give you a little insite as to why. My memory is falling apart on me. Some days it is hard to remember what I was doing five minutes before, and some days I will forget what I want to type, five minutes after I started typing it. I am trying really hard, but it has not been easy to play catch up. I have not read or reviewed any stories and my friends I am sure are very upset at me because of it…I will try and catch up though.
My health has been a big factor in this and I am afraid it might actually get worse than better. I have not forgotten any of my stories or any of my friends and fans so please…bare with me.
Naruto groaned miserably as he tried to find a comfortable position in his and Hinata's bed.
One thing he had to say for sure was that his dad could make you suffer if he really wanted to…and right now…he was suffering.
"I can't believe he used the one hundred twenty eight palms on me." He mumbled miserably as Hinata rubbed his shoulders while Ino poured oil on the many bruises that they could see.
"Well…you did disobey him Naru-kun." Hinata said with a slight shrug of her shoulders before Naruto slowly turned his head to gape at her in astonishment. "B..but you and Ino seduced me!"
Ino snickered and Hinata despite her best efforts couldn't help but giggle as well before she leaned down and kissed his pouting lip. "True…but being the man you were supposed to be stronger than us weak willed women." She said with a heavy trace of sarcasm. "Besides…you wouldn't go back and change it if you could."
Naruto still pouted a little before he huffed and turned back towards the wall as she continued attending to his sore muscles.
Ino snuck in a kiss as well even though he groused slightly at it afterwards. "Look on the bright side Ruto-kun…At least he didn't use the rock crusher technique on you."
Naruto's frown deepened before he huffed quietly. "Shows how much you know. He did use it, he just didn't hit me. They'll probably rebuild that wall by the Sakura cottage tomorrow."
Ino and Hinata exchanged an astonished glance and were thankful it wasn't either of them that got punished…although they both knew something similar was probably on the horizon during their next training sessions.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, they both realized that Naruto had suffered greatly in the last few days because of what all three of them had done, and despite the serious nature…he would have to be well rewarded by the two that loved him the most.
Since the cat was already out of the proverbial bag…it was agreed that Ino would be spending most of her time in the Hyuuga compound and they all three would spend some evenings at the Yamanaka household so that everyone would get more used to the different climates…although Naruto was still a bit worried he would be revisited by the "insane Inoichi".
While none of them wanted that, especially Naruto, they all agreed that they would honor their parents' wishes to the best of their abilities from this point on.
Thankfully, neither parent had forbidden them to continue having sex…if they had they would have had a hard time weaseling out of it, but as things were since no one had mentioned that little tidbit…all bets were off.
Of course…there would probably be no form of sex this night, but as all three of them thought, tomorrow was another day.
Danzo frowned deeply as he read the report and wondered if they would be prepared.
While he was impressed with the growth the boy and his fiancé had made, he was certain that it would need to be more if these reports were accurate.
Putting aside the one he was reading he picked up another that he had received from the toad sannin a few days prior.
Glancing at the beginning he read down until he reached the part that troubled him deeply.
'The organization seems to be composed of all S class missing nins from around the shinobi nations. Their purpose at this time is unknown, but they have expressed great interest in the tailed beasts and they have shown that they are willing to go to great lengths to get the information they seek. My sources have quoted as much as being paid tens of thousands of mixed currency or in some cases lives being completely snuffed out for what we would consider to be snippets of information.'
Naruto was nowhere near ready to face S class missing nins. From what his root operative reported he had lost to Inoichi, and the interrogator was nowhere near the caliber of one of these akatsuki members.
Looking at the report again he huffed his breath for a moment in thought.
'The word on the street is that Orochimaru was one of their members previously, but has left their service due to differences in views. What the true story is I have not been able to figure out, but I have discovered that it was not amicable and they may pursue him at a later date.
Others I have been advised about that are still in the organizations employ is Sasori of the red sands, Kisame one of the seven swordsman of mist, and a mysterious person who appears to be in charge named Pein who I have never heard of before but I will send information as I get it. There are other members who would be considered upper echelon I am sure, so no doubt there are other support personnel as well, but no other information is available at this time. I will dig deeper and hopefully have more information on my next report.'
It had taken some effort on Danzo's part to get the toad sage to do this for him, but in the end it was worth it as this intelligence was vital and crucial to future operations against this organization and the safety of Naruto if the plans Danzo had put into effect were to come to fruition.
In the meantime he would continue to look into things on his own with what resources he had as well.
Danzo snapped his fingers and one of his nin dropped next to him kneeling. "Yes Danzo Sama?"
Putting the report to the side he looked at his minion. "Has the team reported back as yet?"
The nin shook his head for a moment before he answered. "No Danzo Sama. They have yet to make it back from the mission you sent them on."
Danzo nodded once but did not worry as yet. He had only just sent them out, and they would not be back yet…still he had hoped. He gestured negligently and the nin disappeared into the shadows again as he chuckled at himself.
He was getting antsy it seemed. It had been many years where he let anxiety of any kind into his being and he found himself surprised by it. While not necessarily a bad thing, he would have to be careful to not let it cloud his judgment. "There is something about the boy that makes me behave differently than I am used to. He is more like his father than I originally thought."
With a soft smile, Danzo went back to the reports in front of him and made plans and preparations for the future and what it might bring.
Sarutobi frowned at the silver haired man in front of his desk. He tried to be neutral on this, but his change of heart towards the Uzumaki, now Hyuuga boy would not allow the original plan to go as it was without major alterations…alterations he did not have time to make before his graduation. "Mizuki I am glad that you have come before me. It seems that while I was ready to move forward with this, I am no longer able to support you on this particular issue."
Mizuki's face fell for a moment before it was cast in rage as he lurched to his feet. "Hokage sama I strongly protest! Surely you see the need to eliminate the beast while it is weak…"
The old hokage waved his hand nonchalantly at the nin as he nodded his head wearily. "Yes, yes I am well aware of your thoughts on the boy and the threat you think he imposes, but I am no longer convinced that eliminating him is the best possible choice. While people vilify him and look at him as if he was evil incarnate, the same boy has recreated a style that has been lost, from nothing, do you hear what I am saying? Nothing! According to Iruka he soaks up knowledge like a sponge, he trains harder than anyone else his age, almost as much as Maito Gai and his protégé and he has mastered some jutsus that some Jonin have not the strength to attempt. Surely even you in your hate can see how important that could be?"
Mizuki glowered at the elder in front of him before he slashed his hand in a dismissing motion. "I don't care if he eats lead and shits gold! The Kyuubi brat needs to die!"
The elder Sarutobi nodded and waved his hand at the man again before he shrugged his shoulders. "While I understand your fear, you have to understand that the boy may be a prodigy. He has abilities and knowledge that no child his age should, and he is also right now the only thing that keeps our enemies at bay with just his presence. How would you hold Iwa or Cumo at bay without him?"
Mizuki's fist slammed on the desk making Sarutobi raise an eyebrow at him. "Iwa and Cumo can be damned! We let a demon walk among us in human form and now you want to let him continue? I was on the line when the Kyuubi rampaged through our nin, I saw the look of horror on their faces, heard their screams of agony and death...their wails haunt me to this day. I am no genius, but I know for sure the beast must die. As you sit their glowing about the brat and his abilities it occurs to me that maybe the demon isn't the only thing that needs to be killed in this village!"
While the council had taken many liberties since the fourth died, and Hiruzen let them in the interest of avoiding conflict, he was not ready to have his chunnin walk all over him as well as the council. "Take care Mizuki! I have given you leeway to talk to me but you go too far! Do not think for a moment that I cannot and will not end you here if I have to! The answer is no. No action will be taken by you against Hyuuga Naruto and if I discover that you have tried anything even as small as sneezing in his direction I will make an example of you in the public square that will make the Kyuubi's attack pale in comparison!" Sarutobi leaned forward, hands flat on his desk as he glared at the ninja in front of him. "Do I make myself clear?"
The old hokage finished his statement with a healthy dose of KI, immediately making Mizuki to shiver before he nodded hurriedly. "Y..Yes hokage sama." He said as he bowed.
Having enough excitement Hiruzen waved to his door. "Now get out. I have work to finish and I have had more than enough of you to last me the rest of the week."
Mizuki nodded but as he turned to leave he spied the forbidden scroll in its display case and a wicked idea came to him with a smirk.
Fine, if I cannot kill him with your permission, there are always other ways and your weak will be damned. I will kill the demon without you and perhaps find acceptance with another kage...what was that boys name again...Kabuto...
Deidara glowered at the simpleton that stood next to him before he looked at Pein again with disbelief on his face. "You're joking right? I mean what is so cool about," and here he casually raised an arm and stabbed his index finger at Tobi with a sneer. "him that I should drag him around with me? I'm sure he'll just get in the way."
Pein's facial expression hadn't changed an Iota as his eyes bore down on Deidara's form, but the oppressive atmosphere of the room became more obvious as the "leader" of Akatsuki addressed him in a deadpan voice. "The fact that I say he goes with you is all you need to know. His abilities are impressive despite his child like mentality, and his loyalty is without question."
As these words were said Deidara looked at Tobi who was now sitting cross legged on the floor playing jacks and was completely engrossed in the activity. "Twosies…gotta make twosies. Tobi is a good boy!"
Deidara rolled his eyes and looked pleadingly at Pein, but his lack of emotion pretty much told the explosive nin that any argument he would put up, would amount to nothing. "You have your assignment, or would you rather talk to all of me about this?"
Pein raised his hand and his other paths stepped menacingly from the shadows, all eyes locked on the explosive user.
With a quick wave of his hands Deidara grinned as he backed towards the door. "No no! not necessary Pein-sama! I see the wisdom in your words now…we will be successful."
Pein nodded as his paths stepped back into the shadows. "See that you are."
Deidara frowned as he looked but the mask wearing fool was nowhere to be seen until he felt a tap on his shoulder. "Here I am Deidara sempai!"
Said nin jumped then smacked Tobi in the side of the head with a shout. "Don't do that! Kami you are an annoying little twit aren't you?"
Tobi looked down and scuffed one of his feet at the scolding and Deidara could swear he thought he saw a tear fall. "I'm sorry Sempai…Tobi wants to be a good boy…"
The eccentric ninja frowned and shook his head before he walked through the door. "Come on…let's go make some art."
Tobi perked up at this and clapped his hands as he turned to follow Deidara. "Tobi likes art! Art is fun!"
Deidara quirked an eyebrow for a moment then smirked. Maybe this won't be so bad after all. "Really Tobi? Well I tell you what, art can be a blast!"
As the two left the base Pein looked slightly over his left shoulder. "All is going as you wish Madara Sama."
Madara Uchiha stepped from the shadows and nodded at Pein. "Good. Remember, no one is to take the tailed beasts at this time. I only want them scouted to gauge their power levels and how well they are defended before we make our first move."
Pein nodded once before his head turned back to the front and nothing more was said between the two.
The next morning Naruto smiled as he blinked his eyes open and felt the two familiar weights of Ino on one side hugging him, and Hinata on the other side.
They hadn't had many opportunities to wake up like this, but Naruto found that if he had a choice this is the way he would do it from now on.
A few moments later Ino's eyes fluttered and she looked at him before she kissed him with a slight blush. "Good morning Ruto kun."
Naruto grinned back at her before he returned the kiss. "Good morning Ino chan. Did you sleep well?"
Ino nodded as she started to stretch. "Very well. I hadn't realized how nice it would be to sleep with someone I love."
Naruto nodded in agreement just as Hinata sat up and stretched also. "It must be Naru-kun. I can't get enough of sleeping with him. I always wake up feeling refreshed and happy."
Naruto blushed before he leaned over and kissed Hinata. "Good morning to you too Hina chan. I guess you slept well too?"
Hinata nodded with a smirk before she hopped out of bed. "Of course, I always do when we are together."
Ino eeped and covered her mouth with her hands as Hinata and Naruto looked at her. "What?"
Ino pointed at Hinata's lack of clothing and blushed deeply unable to say anything.
Hinata looked at herself then back at Ino with a shrug. "What? I always sleep like this."
Naruto nodded as he got more comfortable in the bed. "Yeah what's the big deal Ino?"
Ino took a deep breath and let it out before she put her arms at her sides again. "I know…I'm just not used to seeing you walk around naked is all Hinata."
Hinata snickered before she grabbed some clothes from the closet and her dresser. "Get used to it. I like sleeping like this…I'm not changing now."
After a few seconds Hinata stopped and looked at Ino. "Hey…maybe you should start sleeping naked? I mean it is more comfy…" Hinata said before she got a mischievous grin and nudged Ino with her hand. "And it would make having sex easier…"
Ino blushed purple just before she hopped out of bed and chased a laughing Hinata into the bathroom.
Naruto just shrugged at their antics before he closed his eyes again…until he heard their bedroom door open.
With a frown he opened his eyes just in time to see Inoichi grab the edge of the bed and flip it over on top of him!
"Why are you still in bed? It's early morning, time to train! Get up before I take my swords back and make you into sushi!"
Naruto blinked in surprise from under the bed until he felt a hand grasp his leg and pulled him out from under the bed. "Come on daylights burning! Hup two three four!"
Naruto was drug halfway to the door before he shouted out, "Let me put some clothes on!"
Inoichi stopped and looked at the boy who he now noticed was completely naked before he grumbled. "Fine. Two minutes gaki, and then I drag you out naked!" as he left the room, Naruto blinked in bewilderment before he looked at the bathroom door and Ino peeked out with a confused look on her face. "Did I just hear my dad's voice?"
Naruto just shook his head and got dressed before the deranged man came back to make good on his threat.
"I swear everyday my life just gets stranger…" he grumbled.
Itachi knelt down on the hill overlooking the leaf village and wondered for the second time what his target might be doing. Surely he would be training. It was said that Naruto had gotten very strong in a short time and he had some of the best teachers possible.
While not thinking much of the academy training regimen, The story Akatsuki got from it's spies was that the old warhawk Danzo himself was seeing to the boys training, and Itachi was well aware of the things that the man could do with his root Anbu and all of the resources at his disposal.
Itachi was disturbed from his thoughts as his "partner" once again made himself known. "Come on Itachi…this sucks balls! I got to hurt someone or I'm gonna go crazy!"
Itachi rolled his eyes before he turned his head slightly and looked at Kisame. "The one thing that has eluded you since I have met you is patience. For the last time we will not move until I say it is time. Right now there are still too many ninja in the village that are close to us in power. If we strike now while the Inoshikacho for example is still in the village, there is a good chance we will fail. While I do not fear any of them individually, combined they could stop either or both of us before we could even capture Naruto and as loathe as I am to do it we are on an assessment mission only Kisame. We were told specifically to NOT capture or kill the subject. We do not want to release the beast prematurely, nor do we want to send it back to its plane of existence. While it may not seem likely to you, I refuse to throw my life away for one battle when I can live to fight so many more than that. Now be silent, your voice irritates me."
Kisame frowned and grumbled loudly to himself before he sat back against the tree he was under and tried to meditate.
Normally to burn off extra energy he would train, but being so close to the leaf could bring attention that neither he nor Itachi wanted.
"Alright Itachi…you win…have it your way, but I hope we actually do something soon."
Itachi said nothing but nodded his head. Yes soon…soon I may have an opponent worthy of my effort since my brother is still surprisingly so weak. While he has improved…he is nowhere near my level, but then Naruto shouldn't be either. Still…Naruto trains night and day, while my simple minded brother only trains after he is done with classes. Pathetic. He still has no idea what it means to be an Uchiha. I had hoped his eyes would be opened as mine were…but it looks like circumstances are forcing me to do what is right yet again.
While Itachi thought of his brother in disappointing terms, Naruto was not having fun.
Inoichi had shown Naruto the basic forms for fighting with butterfly swords and discovered that he was naturally ambidextrous.
Most people have to "force" their minds and bodies to adapt to fighting with two weapons, Naruto seemed to flow right into it even faster than Inoichi expected and had a good grasp of the basic forms by lunch time. At this rate, I could start showing him the more advanced forms by tomorrow afternoon. I will admit, despite what happened between him and Ino, he really does impress me. I better lay into him though… The mind walker thought before he cleared his throat.
"Come on! You can do better than that! You barely make it through the kata I showed you this morning and now you can't even do this one simple thing? Make your element go through the blades! That's what they are designed for!"
Naruto was concentrating (or trying to) on pushing his wind affinity through the swords that Inoichi had given him to get it to surround the blade, but was not getting very far. After a few seconds Naruto was panting and let both sword points dip towards the ground. "I'm trying, but I can't get it to go past my hands!"
Naruto had been straining for over four hours now but this seemed to be a stumbling block that as of yet he could not find a way around it.
Inoichi of course…didn't want to hear that. "Bullshit! You get your little ass in gear and shove that wind into the blade! I know you can do it…if you could shove your tiny pecker in my daughter than you can shove your wind into that sword!"
Naruto blushed crimson at the foul words, but before he could say anything Inoichi flinched at the indignant screech he heard from the left of him and he closed his eyes in a pained expression before he turned and saw Ino standing there, face also crimson, but her fists clenched at her side.
Inoichi found himself unable to breathe for a second as Ino stomped over to him and he remembered her fist burying itself in his stomach and he immediately took the offensive. "Young lady if you hit me again I will put you over my knee and show your future husband what to do if you start acting like a brat!"
Ino stopped in mid stride as she knew for a fact her father would indeed do that, in fact the memory of him blistering her backside before was still very fresh in her mind and would probably be there for years to come. But Ino was a Yamanaka, and one of the most stubborn in her family next to her mother as she glowered at him before she screamed impotently and walked back to the door she had been standing at.
Inoichi looked at Naruto with a smirk before he tapped the side of his head as if to say, "See…I got the brains."
Unfortunately for him he had forgotten how crafty Ino was as she opened the door and with a smirk on her face pinched her leg hard enough to make tears come to her eyes and Inoichi's eyes went wide as she yelled, "MOMMY!" and ran out of the training area.
Inoichi had all the poise of a crippled duck as he stepped, fell, waddled, fell, than crawled as fast as he could after his daughter. "Princess wait, I'M SORRY!"
Naruto snickered as he began practicing a kata that Inoichi taught him earlier before he laughed.
"Well like Ino says…he may wear the pants, but Mari wears the panties."
Later that night Inoichi sat at the table with two tissues stuffed up his nose, and a lump the size of the hokage monument on his head as they all ate in the Hyuuga dining room.
Mari looked calm as usual, and everyone tried to not look at the suffering jonin. Even Ino felt bad as she didn't expect her mother to hit him that hard…Or with a frying pan! She still wasn't sure how her mother fit the thing in her purse or how she took it out so fast once Ino told her what happened, but she also knew that her mother would more than likely make it up to her father when they got home that night. Honestly she thought, They're like rabbits or something!
At least her father would temper what he said in the future about whose private parts went where!
Hinata said nothing as her training day while not as painful was still pretty rough as she was left training with her uncle and her father when Inoichi had drug Naruto off for his training on the sword.
Hiashi was lecturing his daughter and walking around her in a circle and while what was being done might appear barbaric to outsiders, whenever he paused in his speech, Hizashi would strike his niece on a part of her body with a kendo stick. It was not hard enough to break bones, but it was hard enough to cause pain. Hinata was not being punished as some would believe, but this was a form of training that toughened not only the body but the mind, as it taught said person to be able to shrug off and ignore most pain…all but the most critical. At each strike Hinata would only grunt loudly than expel her breath as she slowly moved through a kata.
"You are doing very well Hinata and I am very pleased with your progress, but as I have told your koishii, you will have to be much stronger, much faster, and much more dangerous. Because you are a woman you will be looked down upon as the weaker sex, and will have to overcome years of stereo typical behavior. From your enemies and even your own team mates you will be regarded as some piece of delicate china that must be protected from everything. While in some cases it can be chivalrous and noble, in most cases it will be just another man seeing you as helpless."
Hinata grunted at the next strike but then shouted out, "Not Naruto-kun!"
Hiashi grinned as his brother smiled and nodded before he continued. "Yes but only because your koishii knows you and knows how you are a capable and efficient kunoichii, so he is the exception to the rule, however, not everyone is as advanced as my son. You will have to overcome almost everyone else you meet and face in order for them to understand the truth…you are their equal!" Hinata practically hummed with pride radiating off of her at such praise from her father, until the kendo stick cracked against her backside making her eep in surprise and pain before she made her stance rigid again. Hiashi continued as if nothing had happened. "Foes you will probably face in the future will not care about what family you are from, who your parents are or how much money you have. They will only be interested in stopping you from completing your mission. In some cases you will unfortunately have to deal with this and the worst cases…rapists. You will have to be prepared for anything and be willing to do what it takes for you to survive…do you understand?"
Hinata nodded once, before she shouted, "Hai!"
Her father nodded with a concealed smile of pride before his brother laid the kendo stick back on the training rack then without words he charged at Hinata, throwing multiple strikes at her torso. With a duck then no hand cartwheel she avoided her uncle and her father's rear attack before she turned and faced both with a look of determination. "I will not fall!" she shouted as the men charged her again, and Hinata began to attack back as she moved through the primary form of the gentle fist.
While an outsider would think that nothing was happening, one with experience with the clan's martial art form would have been very impressed. Hizashi and Hiashi were launching juken strikes at Hinata who was diverting each attack from her and returning one of her own whenever she got an opening from the two.
After ten minutes of continual sparring, all three suddenly stopped then bowed inward to each other.
Hizashi had eight of his tenketsu blocked, mostly in the left side that had been facing Hinata, while Hiashi had six of his closed, four in his right arm, one in his left, and one in his sternum which caused him to breathe a little heavier than normal.
Hinata surprising both only had three of hers closed and even though she was breathing heavily it was obvious that she was still very ready to fight. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view or who you asked they had agreed earlier that they would only spar for the allotted ten minutes because there was much that they still wanted to go over with Hinata, but Hiashi was very pleased with her progress. Now however, it was Hinata's turn to be punished for her part in Ino's condition…and her father's sudden familiar smile made her realize that her time had now come.
"But MOM!" Ino cried out impotently as Mari pointed to the wall with her stern frown. "March young lady, you owe me fifty more back flips, five more laps around the Hyuuga compound AND you still have to show me if you have gotten that new jutsu down. Honestly did you really think just because you're pregnant I was going to go easy on you? You're not dealing with your father today missy! You may be able to weasel what you want from him, but I'm cracking the whip!"
Ino stomped her foot but it wasn't long before she was back flipping against the wall again. While she really wasn't that upset, she had to keep up appearances. After all…it took a lot of pouting and whining to get what you want in her household, and what she wanted was to get stronger especially now that she was expecting a little Naruto. (she hoped it would be a boy) But if she didn't at least show a little of her old self to her parents, they might start thinking they lost their little girl, and they would become despondent and god knows what else…at least her dad would.
But in all honesty her parents were both happy and looking forward to the coming of a grandchild and would more than likely spoil the crap out of it no matter what it was…of course that Ino would no longer be the center of attention or as her mother put it one day, "You can't be the baby if you have a baby."
While she did enjoy her dad treating her as a princess, she also knew that to continue down that path was a sure way to failure as a ninja, and that she didn't want to be. No that would be a huge disappointment to not only Naruto, but Hinata as well and she had vowed she would not disappoint them.
With a grin Ino finished the last back flip but when she turned triumphantly to her mother the raised eyebrow was all she got then Mari pointing off to the track that ran around the compound. "Let's make it six laps instead since you still have so much energy to be prideful."
Ino pouted, but dutifully took off on her run. While most would have thought it was Ino's will of fire that got her moving so quickly, only a few knew that it was that Mari flashing the wide back hair brush that was reserved for Ino's wide bottom when she was unruly that got her moving so quickly.
Naruto ducked a knife edge strike from Neji, (As his father now got Naruto's cousin involved in constantly attacking him too) before he leaned over and grabbed a bowl of rice and handed it to Neji. "Thank you cousin." He said with a grin as Naruto blocked a strike under the table from his uncle with one of his legs then returned it with the other. "No problem. I can't wait to taste mother Izumi's pork roast tonight. The smell has been driving me crazy all day with hunger!"
Neji nodded enthusiastically before he struck at Naruto again but was blocked by a pair of chopsticks.
Hinata nodded as well as Hiashi buried two fingers into the floor where Hinata had sat her hand a second before. Ino watched astounded as did Inoichi as the three seemed to be more intent on maiming their relatives than anticipating the food. Mari smirked in amusement but otherwise said nothing.
After a few minutes, the door to the kitchen opened and in stepped Izumi rather gingerly followed by Ama and another of the household staff carrying a delicious looking roast pig.
While looking at a pig in general is usually not a pretty sight(and made Ino a little self conscious), this one with the apple stuffed in its mouth looked to be the most beautiful thing now present in the room…food wise.
As it was set on the table Izumi held her stomach and breathed deeply for a few seconds, but no one immediately noticed. Soon she was standing straight again and smiled as everyone looked at her. "Tonight we have a special dinner for special friends and family. It is not often that we roast the pig, so I hope everyone will enjoy…" she paused as she leaned forward and caught her breath again, and immediately Hiashi was at her side a concerned look on his face. As she stood straight again she smiled at him but spoke to everyone. "It seems the baby is eager to taste the meat also!"
Everyone shared in the laughter, and soon the atmosphere relaxed more as Hiashi was again gestured to sit down and Izumi tried to finish what she started. "Now as I was saying…NARUTO-KUN! NEJI_KUN! Wait until I am finished!"
Said boys looked sheepish as they sat the pilfered pork on the plates in front of them and mumbled, "Gomen Mother. Gomen Izumi-sama."
Mari only glared at her husband who had removed the tissues from his nose (as his nose had finally stopped bleeding) and also very sheepishly put the pork he stole on his plate.
Izumi huffed loudly at the men in general, but it was not missed by her that Hizashi was every so often moving his mouth as if he were chewing on something.
"As I was saying, it is with great pleasure that we share this meal as a family, now joined by those of the Yamanaka clan as soon my son and daughter will be married to their daughter, uniting both clans for the first time, making both stronger."
Everyone nodded in approval as the four males reached for the pig again, but again were interrupted as Izumi continued. "And even though there are some that do not agree with the decision, we know that it is with the best interests of the Hyuuga clan, and the Yamanaka clan that this unity is made and we are very pleased by it indeed."
Amongst the smiles and nods once again four males reached for the pig and were stopped simultaneously and Naruto put his head in his hand as he grumbled, "I'm never gonna get to eat." Neji could only shake his head in agreement as Izumi seemed to be exceptionally long winded today. "I think I speak for everyone here, as the matriarch of the Hyuuga clan when I say…" and the sound of water falling to the floor had immediately everyone looking around to see where it was coming from until Hiashi looked at his wife and her face was burning in embarrassment as she looked down and mumbled, "Either I have totally dishonored myself in front of everyone by urinating in public…or my WATER HAS BROKEN!" she screeched at the end causing everyone's head to snap towards her and all eyes to go wide.
Hiashi immediately jumped to his feet and scooped his wife up in his arms and began running, "To the clan hospital…we must waste no time! This is what we have been practicing for!"
Hinata and Ino jumped up to follow but saw Naruto looking at the door and the pig on the table in indecision and Neji already with a large portion on his plate before Hinata grabbed Naruto by his ear, and Ino grabbed Neji by his ear and drug both protesting boys out of the room. "But…Hinata chan! The pig!"
All Neji coulkd say was, "OW! OW! OW!" as they were removed from the vicinity.
Inoichi was about to dig in but a disapproving grunt from his wife made him sigh and put his chopsticks down. "Right. Off to the hospital!" he said as they stood and walked out of the room, his wife behind him to make sure he didn't get sidetracked.
With a smirk, Hizashi rubbed his hands and cut himself a generous portion from the flank, skin and all, and popped it in his mouth a piece at a time and moaned in bliss before he stood and followed the family. "That IS some good pork." He said aloud as he walked out licking his fingers.
Mizuki grinned as he looked at his handy work and knew it was his current crowning achievement. While not permanent, it would do its job perfectly for what he had planned and give him the opportunity to strike at the demon directly.
His training with the Hyuuga clan had made him stronger and in turn more of a threat, but he would make sure that the Kyuubi would be ended before it could gain any more of its strength back.
"The hokage's a fool. To think I thought he was the smartest man in the village. Well he has forced my hand…while I won't be welcome back in the village, I am sure that at the same time I will be seen as a hero for ending the threat of the Kyuubi again."
Visions of his face appearing alongside the Yondaime's on the hokage monument wade him grin maniacally before he settled down again and began to fuss over the seal he already thought of as perfect. "Just one more day…just one." He mumbled out loud before he began to laugh in an evil sounding way.
Naruto's stomach growled noisily as he held it and glared at Hinata and Ino. "Couldn't even let me get a small piece..." he grumbled as his stomach protested louder.
Hinata just rolled her eyes before she smacked Naruto playfully. "Come on it isn't all that bad. Besides we need to be here for mother."
Ino nodded before she tweaked Naruto's side making him jump. "Yeah Ruto-kun...don't be a big baby. You know this is more important than your grumbling stomach."
Neji's stomach and subsequent glare at Ino made her blush slightly before she shrugged in apology to him. "Well if your dad came then you should probably be here too."
Neji said nothing but huffed quietly at the blond girl before he looked up at Hiashi walking through the door. "Well...that was exciting!" he said while shaking his hand which appeared to be covered in scratches and bruises.
Everyone was excited to know what was going on and babbled questions at the man until he calmed them all down with a hand gesture. "Wait hold on...Izumi is fine, she is resting, and the baby is fine as well. Although she was born a bit premature, the doctors say she is in stable condition."
Naruto and Hinata both grinned at the same time before the shouted simultaneously. "So it's a girl?"
Hiashi grinned at the two then nodded his head. "Yes...I am proud to announce and we will welcome your new sister, Hanabi to our world."
The family continued to converse and celebrate through the evening and eventually went to the newborn section of the ward to see the little Hyuuga in her basinet curled up in a blanket.
While they couldn't hold her yet, they were glad that little Hanabi was born into their family with no problems.
Naruto Ino and Hinata were still abuzz about the birth of Hanabi and couldn't wait to go see her after class...but first thing being first, they had to take their exam to graduate from the academy.
While Ino was a little nervous, Naruto and Hinata showed no signs of panic. "Come on Ino...it'll be a breeze. You studied with us and you know the material, and your chakra control is almost as good as Hinata-chan's."
Ino nodded then grinned shyly at her fiancé. "Yeah I know...I just always get nervous before a test."
Before anything else could be said, Iruka walked in and Mizuki smirked as he began handing out the tests.
"Now...before you get started here are the ground rules...one, There will be no talking or exchanging information between you. This is an individual test so teamwork is not allowed. Two, If you are caught cheating, you will be given an automatic zero for the test, and it will be almost impossible to make up any points. The reason for this is the test is in four parts...written exam which is based on knowledge of the material you have learned the entire time you have been in school, the tai jutsu portion where you will demonstrate to myself or Mizuki how well you have learned either the academy or individual tai jutsu styles, targeting where you will throw kunai and shuriken at moving targets, and finally the nin jutsu portion. This will be where you will have to perform the academy basic nin jutsu, and you will get extra credit if you can do anything outside the norm. What I mean by that is if you henge into Naruto wearing a bright orange jumpsuit...I will just laugh and tell you to try again as everyone knows my favorite brat does not go for bright colors."
Everyone laughed at this and Naruto just chuckled slightly. He liked orange but an entire jumpsuit? NO WAY!
Iruka's smile was still on his face as he looked around the room. "You all have done well so far so make me proud...any questions?"
With a last look around Iruka walked to his desk and sat down. "You have one hour...you may begin."
Tests were flipped over, and pencils began to hum across the paper as Mizuki took up a post at the back of the room and scanned the students in the opposite direction that Iruka was.
Naruto frowned at his test, but was answering the questions as best he could. What the hell? He thought as he looked briefly around the room and noticed no one seemed to have any problems with the first three questions but he was having trouble on number two.
With an odd frown he read it again. What was the first hokage's theory on the creation of matter from nothing? We didn't go over that this year or any year...did we?
Naruto still frowning read the next question and frowned deeper. What is the theory behind the use of time space jutsu and its risks?
Naruto shook his head in bewilderment before he looked up at Iruka and raised his hand. "Iruka sensei...I have a question about the test."
Iruka looked at Naruto for a moment then frowned himself. "Do the best you can Naruto, I will answer whatever question you have at the end of the written portion."
Naruto still frowning put his hand down then went back to writing. While he wasn't sure why everyone else was having such an easy time of it, he was sure because of the funny feeling in his stomach that something wasn't right.
After the hour had passed, Iruka collected the tests and as the other students began to file outside he approached Naruto. "What was it you wanted to ask Naruto?"
Naruto still frowning shrugged. "The questions seemed a bit on the hard side Iruka sensei...in fact some of them I don't remember ever going over."
Iruka nodded but thought Naruto may be setting him up for a prank so he responded with little enthusiasm. "Well Naruto, the questions as well as the rest of the test is designed to weed out those who are unready and perhaps unsuited for the ninja life. While the questions seem harsh or unfair, the truth behind them is only the ones who are ready will be able to pass."
Sensing Iruka was giving him a formulaic response Naruto nodded back then painted on a smile. "Alright Iruka sensei...thanks."
Iruka watched the boy go before he handed the tests off to another teacher that was helping with the grading. Before he left he had an afterthought and turned back to the other teacher. "Check Naruto Hyuuga's test, and make no mistakes on it...I have a strange feeling."
The teacher nodded and Iruka continued out of the classroom in thought.
Naruto was standing around and waiting for the names to be called when Sasuke nudged him. "What's wrong dobe? You can't be afraid already...it's just a test."
Naruto just chuckled lightly. "Well I would be afraid if I was forced to see you naked, but since this is just me fighting a teacher..."
Sasuke just gave a trademark, "Hn." but his smirk showed that he didn't take Naruto's comment as a serious insult.
While Naruto was still thinking about the written test, he glossed over everything else...even the tai jutsu portion as while still thinking about the test he faced Mizuki and prevented the man from laying a hand on him until the time limit ran out.
A lot of the students were impressed that he could hold off a chunnin, and even Mizuki with what seemed to be a strained smile pat Naruto on the back. "Good job. Your skill is very impressive."
Naruto frowned but nodded in thanks. Didn't expect HIM to say anything like that to me. Naruto thought. Maybe he is coming around?
Those thoughts stayed hidden as Hinata and Ino came and congratulated him and they moved to the next section.
During the target portion, Naruto finally began to pay attention again and watched as the other students either did well, or in some cases did poorly, but no one expected what happened next.
Naruto Stepped up for his turn, and as he drew back to throw a twinge in his ear made his arm jerk, and he missed the target by a wide margin!
Naruto blinked in surprise, and Iruka dropped his clipboard.
Mizuki smirked slightly but covered it quickly as he clapped his hands. "Come on you got nine more tries...you can still do well!"
Naruto nodded and took up his next kunai, but as he swung forward to release his throw, his arm jerked and again he missed the target.
Now the entire class was looking at him as Naruto looked down at his hand in wonder. Not sure what to think Naruto didn't wait for anyone to say anything, he rapidly threw the rest of his kunai then rapid fired the shuriken, which seemed to help somehow but he wasn't sure how, but he was only able to hit half of what he was trying for.
Mizuki cursed that the blond had outsmarted the seal it seemed, but still knew that he didn't score high enough to pass this portion.
Iruka came over and asked Naruto if he was ok, but Naruto wasn't sure how to answer. "It...it was like a muscle spasm Iruka-sensei...I guess I pulled something during the tai jutsu?" he said sheepishly.
Iruka not sure if this was a set up for a prank or not only nodded before he rubbed Naruto's head. "Don't sweat it Naruto. I am sure you will still do well."
Naruto nodded as they proceeded into the classroom again, but he wasn't very confident now as he continued to look at his hand.
While Hinata and Ino asked him if he was ok and what happened, Naruto was called into the next portion and again just shrugged sheepishly at his friends, not even sure what was wrong.
As Naruto went into the next room where the two teachers waited Kiba felt it necessary to voice his opinion. "Well it just goes to show just because you are a show off all year doesn't mean you are good enough to make it when it counts."
Sasuke looked at Kiba with a slight frown, just before Ino tried to cave Kiba's skull in with her fist, leaving the boy dazed and confused at his desk.
Hinata looked to where Naruto went but as he walked through the door, she thought she saw a slight shimmer between his shoulder blades.
Iruka cleared his throat as he looked at the written scores before he looked at Naruto, a frown on his face. "Alright Naruto...show me the henge, then the substitution, then the clone and as extra credit show me something you have accomplished without being assigned to you."
Naruto nodded and brought his hands together for the henge, but as he released the energy, he felt an odd twisting inside of him as he changed into what could only be described as a horribly deformed version of the hokage.
Mizuki released his hand sign and giggled into his hand as Iruka frowned at Naruto. "Very funny brat...now do it right."
Naruto released the henge then tried again and again felt the same odd twisting and he was transformed into a horribly deformed Hiashi Hyuuga.
Mizuki could hardly contain his mirth as Iruka just frowned deeply at Naruto. "Is this a prank Naruto? If it is you have picked a poor time to pull it."
Naruto released the henge and looked imploringly at Iruka. "Iruka-sensei...I don't know what's going on! Every time I try and do something, it's like it gets all jumbled up!"
Iruka still frowning wondered what was going on and was going to call it when Mizuki broke his train of thought. "Give him another chance eh Iruka? It might just be nerves."
Iruka nodded before he turned back to Naruto. "Ok...one more chance. Don't let me down brat."
Naruto nodded and concentrated hard before he released just the bare minimum of chakra as he visualized mother Izumi, but as he enacted the henge again he felt that odd twist, and Iruka blew back with a nose bleed as a completely nude female stood where Naruto had been.
Naruto looked at himself and immediately cancelled the henge as Mizuki checked on Iruka.
After a few seconds Mizuki looked at Naruto and shook his head. "I'm sorry Naruto but with what happened on the target field, your written scores, and now this, I'm afraid you fail."
Naruto stepped back in shock as his world came crashing down around him.
Of all the things he envisioned, this was never one of them.
His face was pale, and he felt a cold sweat dripped down his back as he backed up, before turning and bolting out the door and out of the classroom, leaving Ino, Hinata, and the other students wondering what had happened.
Next episode: New discovery.