Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, even if I did want too.

This story is based on a challenge put forth by 'The Perfect Lionheart' dealing with Naruto being banished, Tsunade, Shizune and Hinata all joining him. For all the details that he required you should see his profile. He is the author of Chunin day, a neat take off of Ground hog day a really good read.

Other notes: I will be taking a hiatus for the month of November to work on another writing challenge. 50K+ word story in a month. I am hoping I can do it and actually write something that is a good story would be nice. I hope you enjoy the chapter, I will admit it is a little on the cannon side at first. I do have a plot line and how things are going to play out. Some characters will OOC but still stick to the basics of their original personality, some will not.

The Missing Hokage

Chapter 1 – Retrieval… and consequences…

"What am I to you Sasuke?" Naruto asked while yelling at him questioningly.

Sasuke sadly looked down at the water they both stood on. "You, you are my friend, my best friend." Sasuke immediately looked back up at Naruto his Sharingan blazed. "I have to leave that weak village and that is why I have to kill you. To get the power to kill my brother, you wouldn't understand."

"That is bull! You could be so much better than that Sasuke! I won't let you go to that bastard, even if I have to break your arms and legs!" Naruto retorted as he coughed up some blood into the water from his still healing chest. Naruto shifted his stance to all four of his limbs as the chakra cloak surrounded him. The chakra formed a single tail and a pair of fox ears jutting from Naruto's head.

"You said that before and look where it got you, a Chidori in the chest. I don't know how you heal so quickly but I will gain power from killing you." 'What is this power I feel? How does he have such power? He should be dead.' Sasuke's thoughts wandered over what had happened so far.

They had been fighting for over twenty minutes now. Sasuke was at first winning the battle with ease. But Sasuke finally started to understand that Naruto while fighting seriously was not putting his whole heart into the fight. To Sasuke Naruto prattled on and on about how Sasuke was important to him because he thought of him as a brother. 'Brother? Ha! Naruto had never had anyone in his life, I am of the Uchiha and we are the elite. He is nothing and will continue to be nothing. Naruto… but I do feel a connection as you are the one who has been able to push me past my limits where others could not. For that you are my one and only best friend.' Sasuke's musing continued as he contemplated what was happening to Naruto.

Naruto's tail wagged from side to side as the pressure of the chakra increase subsided and only left the vileness of the chakra that had encompassed Naruto. Sasuke watched with his fully developed Sharingan. It had done so only a little while ago in this fight while it might not be enough to win and he needed more to seal his victory and Naruto's death. The curse seal on Sasuke's neck moved across his body and covered him with black patches. "You maybe special but I am more special than you Naruto. I am an Uchiha and you are just a pathetic loser! You always have been and you always will be." Sasuke taunted Naruto.

Naruto disappeared suddenly and reappeared ten meters away he then ran towards Sasuke. "Teme!" Naruto yelled in aggravation. Naruto's features had already gone from normal to feral and now they went to completely wild, his nails had become claws, his canines had elongated, his hair became wilder, his whisker marks became darker, and his eyes had turned from deep cerulean blue to red with slits for pupils.

"Fire Style: Fire ball jutsu!" Sasuke yelled as he sent yet another fireball at Naruto, not unlike the last five had sent at him had done anything more than singe some of his clothes. And the Chidori wound appeared to be nearly healed. Only the hole and the blood on his jacket bore witness that the attack had even hit Naruto.

Naruto swung his arm towards Sasuke and the chakra arm flowed at Sasuke. It slammed into Sasuke from over five meters away, sending Sasuke careening into the canyon wall. Sasuke began to laugh manically. "What is so funny teme?" Naruto yelled asking for an answer.

The dust began to clear and Naruto began to see a sight that shocked and sent a shiver down his spine. Sasuke's curse seal again spread and this time it covered his entire exposed skin turning his pale complexion completely black for a few seconds. Sasuke's hair turned gray, a gray four point star appeared on his face around the nose area. Sasuke's skin turned a putrid shade of gray and then star mark turned black. Sasuke's eyes were now black where the whites should have been, his Sharingan continued to blaze. His chakra became twisted and evil. "You see I am better than you." Sasuke again taunted Naruto.

Naruto reached out with his chakra arm and slammed Sasuke into the leg of the Madara statue at the edge of the waterfall. Naruto was surprised when he looked at Sasuke only to find what looked like clawed and webbed hand protruding from Sasuke's back as if to protect him, Sasuke had grown a grotesque wing. Naruto was suddenly flung across the face of the waterfall into the leg of the First Hokage statue on the other side of the waterfall. When the dust cleared Naruto had started to form a single handed rasengan using both his and the Kyuubi's chakra.

Sasuke grimaced in pain as a second hand came out of his back to give him a pair of grotesque wings. Sasuke then looked at Naruto and saw his left arm hung lifeless and that Naruto was winching in pain. "It seems that this power of yours comes at a price. Time to end this! Chidori!" Sasuke ran through the three familiar seals and then produced a standard Chidori. He then pushed the vile chakra from the seal into the chidori turning it into a sickly black lighting. "One last chance, Naruto do me a favor and just die so that I can have my revenge on Itachi." Sasuke almost pleaded with Naruto.

"No! I promised Sakura-chan I would bring you back and that is what I am going to do! I will not die for you, I have my own dreams. I have been alone too long and I am not going to die here! Not when I have found some people that mean so much to me!" Naruto yelled his reply which only angered the Uchiha even more.

Both jumped in front of the waterfalls and flew towards each other. The attacks connected as 'Chidori' and 'Rasengan' was heard. Both were encompassed by the release of energy from both of the attacks while that release pushed the waterfall back upon itself and up into the air.

Naruto reached forward and scratched Sasuke's hitai-ate, while Sasuke's clawed hand minus the chidori hit Naruto right above the heart. Sasuke smirked as he felt Naruto's sternum break and his hand start to enter Naruto's body. That was until he felt a fist hit him in the right side directly in the ribs, he felt several of his own ribs break as he and Naruto flew apart. Naruto landed on the river bank, rolling onto his back as blood began to pool in the wound in the center of his chest. Naruto's breathing was shallow but still there. Sasuke had bounced off the back of the waterfalls only to land near Naruto only further injuring to his ribs. The sun was slowly being blocked out by the clouds that made a ray of sun that bathed Naruto in an almost angelic light. Sasuke slowly crawled over towards Naruto as he did the ray of sun slowly shrunk to be only a small beam centered on Naruto's face. Sasuke pulled himself towards Naruto as the ray of sun at last disappeared.

Sasuke's bloody hand reached up and touched Naruto's neck as pain wracked Sasuke and thus caused him to collapse. Sasuke's hitai-ate fell as he did this only to land on Naruto's open hand. The rain began to fall and soaked both the boys. A few minutes later Kakashi and Pakun entered 'The Valley of the End.' Both jumped down the walls as the forms of Naruto and Sasuke came into sight.

Kakashi surveyed the two boys. Naruto still bled from the wound in the center of his chest. Sasuke had his hand at Naruto's throat and was dripping blood from his hand and his opened mouth. There were two holes in both of the boy's shirts, Naruto had two in the chest, one filled with bloody water, and Sasuke had two in the back where his wings had sprouted but now they were gone.

"Looks like Naruto accomplished the mission of stopping him. All we need to do now is bring them back to Konoha." Pakun stated.

"I am rather low on chakra and am not sure if I can bring them both back." Kakashi stated bluntly to his canine friend.

"Do I have to drag the Uchiha brat or are you going to take a soldier pill and make a Kage Bunshin?" Pakun inquired, almost annoyed at Kakashi's laziness.

Kakashi finally nodded as the rain subsided and popped a pill in his mouth, he then pulled his mask back into position over his nose and mouth. He then crossed his fingers and stated. "Kage Bunshin." A second Kakashi appeared and picked up Naruto as the original picked up Sasuke. All three leapt back up towards the cliff side and headed back towards Konoha.


Kakashi, his clone and Pakun were jumping back through the trees and were suddenly joined by several medical shinobi. "What is the status of Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha?" Mitate inquired.

"Sasuke appears to have broken ribs and possible internal injuries. Naruto will be fine." Kakashi stated bluntly. "How are the others?"

"The rest of the team are all back in Konoha having all sustained injuries. Akamichi and Hyuuga are in the most serious condition, while Inazuka sustained serious but not life threatening injuries and Nara sustained the lightest injuries." Mitate stated and then surprise came over his face. "Kakashi-san, you are covered in blood and trailing quite a bit. Did you injure yourself?"

"That is a Kage Bunshin, and no I am not injured." Kakashi replied.

"Then Kakashi stop now! Naruto appears to need immediate medical attention, we will field treat them both now so that we can insure that both your students survive." Mitate demanded as Kakashi and his clone dropped to the ground.

Setting both boys down Kakashi noticed that Naruto's wound had not healed much at all. 'He is healing more slowly than I thought he would.' Kakashi thought as Sasuke coughed up some blood but otherwise was breathing fine. "How are they?" Kakashi asked with worry in his voice.

Mitate had looked over Naruto and continued to shake his head. Migaki spoke up after examining Sasuke. "Uchiha-san should be fine for transport he has broken ribs and a concussion. He has a bruised lung and spleen but otherwise is just suffering from chakra exhaustion."

"Uzumaki-san is suffering from a partial lung, a heart murmur, blood loss and is bleeding internally. I was able to stop the bleeding for now but we need to get him back to Konoha immediately." Mitate stated as he picked up Naruto and jumped off. Migaki picked up Sasuke, Kakashi, Pakun and the last medic all followed them back to Konoha.


Back in the Konoha hospital Shikamaru had just been insulted by Temari and his father as Tsunade left the operating room where she had just stabilized Choji condition. "Choji will make it, he is out of the woods now. Shikaku your book on Akamichi medicines was quite impressive. I would not have been able to figure out how to save Choji without it." Tsunade said to Shikaku as she sighed and then sat down.

Everyone turned to a hallway where Shizune appeared. "Tsunade-sama, Tsunade-sama, Kakashi and the second medical team have returned with both Sasuke and Naruto-kun. Naruto-kun is in bad shape and we need to hurry. Also Neji Hyuuga is out of danger and should make a full recovery." Shizune said as she hurried back the way she came.

Tsunade cleared her throat. "Shikamaru… you have successfully completed your first mission as leader, congratulations. I will debrief you after we get Naruto out of danger." Tsunade said as she ran off towards her newest waiting patient. 'If Shizune says that Naruto is in bad shape then it must be bad.'


Naruto woke up to the smell of antiseptic and bleach. He recognized it as one of the place he hated most, and Naruto did hate this place, he was in the hospital yet again. He opened his eyes and noticed Shikamaru sitting on the bed as he played shogi with himself. "Hey Shika…" Naruto barked out as he startled Shikamaru.

"So you are finally awake. It has only been three days. Man you are troublesome." Shikamaru said with a smile as he handed Naruto a glass of water to quench his parched throat. Naruto graciously accepted the glass and drank it down.

Naruto was brought up to speed with the mission and how he had saved it from failure, but the really good news was that no one in the group had died. Naruto apparently was the closest to death of the team, Choji and Neji were close seconds. Naruto began to plot a prank with Shikamaru on Choji as the door slid open and slammed against the braces. Sakura appeared in the doorway and she appeared to not be pleased. She looked ready to kill, if you were to read the look on her face.

She walked straight over to Naruto and slapped him on the side of the face. She had hit him so hard he went barreling through the window breaking it in the process. Naruto continued out the window and landed on the pavement walkway outside the building.

Naruto landed face first skidding to a halt in front of Kurenai and Hinata. Hinata looked down in fear but was not sure what to do, either pass out or help Naruto. She opted to help Naruto and bent down to help roll him into a laying position. "Naruto-kun, are you okay?"

Naruto was lucky he landed on his head so the injury was lessened at least that was Sakura's opinion as she looked out the window to survey her work. Kurenai looked angrily at the pink haired girl and gently picked up Naruto with the help of Hinata. They proceeded to take him back to his room, quickly.

"What the hell do you think you are doing Sakura? He is severely injured you know!" Shikamaru demanded angrily, yelling at Sakura. Kurenai and Hinata had brought Naruto to the doorway as Shikamaru started his questioning.

Naruto had woke up to Shikamaru's voice and looked to see Hinata with a concerned look on her face and that he was being carried by Kurenai.

"I was getting even with Naruto!" Sakura spat out with so much venom that Naruto winced in phantom pain.

"What the hell are you talking about? He brought back your precious Sasuke! What else did you want from him?" Shikamaru demanded with even more vigor.

"He promised to bring him back! But not in pieces!" Sakura yelled at Shikamaru.

"I told you this might be how it would be, didn't I?" Shikamaru stated.

"Yes, but he hurt Sasuke-kun! And I won't forgive him for that!" Sakura yelled at Shikamaru, she finally noticed that Naruto was back in the room, she then stomped towards him.

"Sakura-chan… what are you doing?" Naruto asked timidly. "He fought me and I did all that I could to bring him back without killing him. I fulfilled my promise to you and brought him back for you…" Naruto stated and coughed up some blood. He then covered his head with his bandaged hands and arms as if knowing that she was going to hit him.

Sakura was moving in for the kill when her fist was intercepted by a hand. "You will leave Naruto-kun alone! He did as you asked you… you… nasty witch! How dare you attack an injured teammate!" Hinata yelled bright red with anger at Sakura.

"What, are you going to defend your lover?" Sakura asked in an annoyed tone.

Hinata immediately turned red, started to push her index fingers together and began to talk unintelligibly. Sakura slapped Hinata and then took aim again at Naruto as she ignored the killing intent rising from both Kurenai and Hinata.

"This is for hurting my Sasuke-kun, I love him and you should have brought him back without hurting him, you monster!" Sakura said as her fist traveled towards the blond.

The light went out in Naruto's eyes as he resigned himself to die at Sakura's hands. Just as Sakura's fist was about to connect Sakura was sent flying into the wall.

"And I love Naruto-kun and you will no longer hurt him!" Hinata yelled at Sakura. Suddenly Hinata realized what she had said she turned to Naruto who looked at her dumbfounded. Hinata turned bright red and promptly fainted. Kurenai raised an eyebrow and smiled warmly at both Naruto and Hinata.

"Troublesome…" Shikamaru stated as he moved out the way for Kurenai to set the stunned Naruto back into his bed.

"Yes young girls are that." Tsunade said as she entered the room, picked up Hinata and placed her in the other bed next to Naruto. "Shizune check out Sakura. And when she wakes up put her in lock-down for striking an injured patient."

"Hai Tsunade-sama." Shizune responded with an irritated voice.

"What just happened?" Naruto asked with a look of utter confusion upon his face.

"Well… which part do you want me to explain?" Tsunade asked as she started to examine to Naruto.

"Um… all of it…" Naruto replied.

Tsunade smiled warmly as she did a diagnostic jutsu on Naruto. "Let's see, Sakura is mad at you for doing your duty and hurting Sasuke. You brought him back like I ordered, injured yes but less so than any of you guys other than Shikamaru. Good job by the way. Let's see… Sakura cracked a couple vertebrae, your jaw and your skull. I wasn't even sure that was possible. And Hinata over there declared her love for you, kind of cute if you ask me. She then defended you from attack. So what are you going to about it?" Tsunade asked kindly.

"I don't know…" Naruto replied as he tried to assimilate all the information.

"Well let's start with your report then." Tsunade prodded Naruto gently.

"Well after bushy brows took over the fight with that bone guy for me, I chased Sasuke. The teme kept on taunting me. I tried to talk to him and get him to return but he just laughed at me and called me and the village weak. I punched him trying to knock some sense into him and he tried to kill me for just punching him. We fought and I had to use 'him'. Sasuke pushed a chidori right through my chest, here." Naruto explained as he pointed to his right chest where there was a patch of lighter colored skin. "It was aimed for my heart but I was able to divert it at the last moment. He really wanted to kill me saying that 'killing you will allow me to gain the power I need to kill Itachi' whatever that means. We fought for quite awhile. As the battle began to draw to a close…" Naruto looked down and swallowed hard.

"He called me his best and only friend and that was the reason he had to kill me. He ordered me to die. I got so angry I continued to pulled from my second chakra reserve and again we fought, he transformed into something hideous with wings and all. We made one last attack against each other. He powered up another chidori and I made a Rasengan. They hit and they destroyed each other. I scratched his hitai-tai, and I also got a good hit to his ribs while he dug his clawed hand into my chest."

"Interesting… sounds like the people we fought, they said they were fighting at their second level of their curse seal. Must be what Sasuke was doing." Shikamaru stated.

Kamizuki appeared in the doorway. "Hokage-sama, the council is demanding your presence. I'm sorry Hokage-sama"

Tsunade waves Kamizuki off. "That is okay, what do the old buzzards want now?"

"I don't know but they said it was urgent." Kamizuki replied with a bow.

"Naruto you get to feeling better and keep an eye on that one, she might be a keeper." Tsunade said pointing at Hinata, smiled and ruffling his hair. "And forget about the pink one. She will not let go." Tsunade said with a gentle smile and left the room.

Shizune picked up Sakura and left right behind Tsunade. She deposited her on an empty gurney and followed Tsunade after whispering orders to one of the nurses.

Naruto's eyes moved back and forth between the door and the bed with Hinata. 'What do I do? Sasuke is all Sakura thinks about and wanted. I guess I understood that when I promised her that I would bring him back. Now she hates me for fulfilling my promise to her. She begged me to bring him back. I just figured if I did this she would at least be a little nicer to me.' Naruto thought to himself.

"Hey so what are you going to do? I mean you have the daughter of the Hiashi Hyuuga right there and she professed to be in love with you. I would say that you could do a lot worse. I mean a girl who says she loves you is a good start. Especially for a guy who kept on hitting on the 'Pink Banshee' and would get clobbered every time you ask her out." Shikamaru said with a gentle smile.

Naruto smiled and put his hand behind his head. "Yeah, Sakura can get a little violent. I think I am getting sort of tired of it." Naruto said cheerfully and then looked directly at Shikamaru who had a stunned look on Shikamaru's face. "What?"

Shikamaru shook his head. "What no chan?"

Naruto looked confused for a second and then looked like he was thinking. "Well, I have never had someone say they like me let alone say that they 'love' me. I mean almost the entire female population our age is after Sasuke-teme. I guess I am wondering what it is like to talk to a girl and not have her clobber me for once. Or if she does at least she would say it was because she cared about me."

Hinata had woken before Tsunade had left but feigned being asleep. 'Maybe Naruto-kun will give me a chance.' Were her thoughts as she contemplated what to do next.


Tsunade walked into the council chamber in a surprisingly good mood, first Naruto had survived being attacked by Sasuke and second Hinata Hyuuga of all people had stood up to one of the people who had been mean to her adopted son and professed her love for him. Tsunade sat in her chair. "Okay, what is so important that you have to pull me from treating patients and injured shinobi?" Tsunade asked with a sigh.

"Tsunade-hime, are we to understand that the demon-brat brought back the Uchiha boy?" Koharu asked in an angry tone.

Tsunade wore a confused look on her face. "Shikamaru Nara and his team were able to successfully retrieve the missing nin Sasuke Uchiha."

"On that point, the council has decided that Sasuke will not have been listed as missing ninja. A majority of the council feel that 'that' boy was the cause of him leaving in the first place. So no punishment will be put upon Sasuke Uchiha." Homura explained.

Tsunade stood and slammed her fist on the table cracking it. "What? I have five injured genin, and two injured jonin, who had to deal with the group that accompanied Sasuke on his little merry trip to go see Orochimaru. And you want to just set him free. He severely injured one of my genin personally, with the intention of killing him."

"His death would have been immaterial. The important fact is that Sasuke is back in the village." Koharu stated.

A large group of the clans grumbled at that statement but were outnumbered by the older shinobi and civilians on the council.

"You see Tsunade-hime. We know you favor the boy and are just making sure that the interests of the village are looked after before your own personal agenda is satisfied. It has also been decided that the 'demon-child' will either be exiled or if you prefer we could have him executed if he does not accept exile." Danzou stated.

"What are you thinking? He is Konoha's jinchuuriki. There is also Akatsuki to worry about. Aren't you worried about what they might do to Naruto?" Tsunade asked as her worry piled up.

"We are strong enough a village now that we can deal with a few missing nins." Danzou stated.

"They are all 'A' ranked or higher. One even slaughtered his own clan. Now why do you want to exile Naruto so badly?" Tsunade asked pointedly.

"He is guilty of stealing, making a general nuisance of himself and injuring a fellow shinobi." Homura stated.

"Which shinobi are we referring too?" Tsunade asked not liking where this was going.

"First we must point out Sasuke Uchiha, and second we point out Mizuki Touji." Koharu stated.

"Both were traitors. Mizuki was trying to steal the forbidden scroll and Sasuke left without permission and was traveling to a known enemy." Tsunade protested.

"It is our understanding that Naruto Uzumaki stole the scroll." Homura replied.

"Only after being coerced into it, by being told that he could pass the genin exam if he delivered it to Mizuki, thus Mizuki is the guilty party." Tsunade protested.

"Naruto still stole the scroll and that in itself is a crime punishable by death." Koharu replied angrily.

"And he severely injured Sasuke Uchiha while he was supposed to retrieve him. We might have lost the Uchiha line permanently." Homura answered.

"Uchiha resisted and force was required to bring him back. I authorized force to be used if necessary. And why are you so worried about the Uchiha line?" Tsunade said.

Hiashi stood and yelled. "I have had enough of this witch hunt. I am leaving!" Hiashi got up and left taking along with him Shibi Aburame, Tsume Inuzuka, Choza Akimichi, Shikaku Nara and the Inoichi Yamanaka.

"Now we can actually some business done without them being here and in the way. We do have a quorum. And thus we can pass what is needed for this village. Also we know that the Fire Daimyo will sign off on the order to either exile Uzumaki or execute him. So it is up to you to decide. You have a week to have him prepared for his exile or his death." Danzou stated as he and the rest of the council left leaving Tsunade nearly in tears.

"I will not sign the order so you on the council will have to do your own dirty work. I will of course inform him. Mark my words others will not be pleased with what you are doing and Konoha will suffer." Tsunade walked out of the council chambers and into her office. She began to weep uncontrollably as she slumped into her chair.


Tsunade was sitting at her desk while Shizune continued to try to calm her down and not let her do anything rash. "They want to either kill Naruto, Shizune, or have him exiled." Tsunade said as tears ran down her face.

"It can't be that bad Lady Tsunade." Shizune tried to reassure Tsunade.

"No it is worse they want to put a deadline on his leaving and he isn't even out of the hospital yet. Those injuries he got would have killed even a Sannin. Sasuke's injuries are light compared to the others except for maybe Shikamaru. He maybe a dimwit but he is the reason I came back here. If they send him away I have no reason to be here, the village be damned." Tsunade said with conviction.

"Lady Tsunade! We can't abandon the village like that, it wouldn't be right." Shizune lectured Tsunade.

"This time the village is abandoning us, especially 'him'. It isn't his fault that the Kyuubi is stuck in him." Tsunade sobbed out.

"Yes it is fault of my student and his effort to protect this village. So when are we leaving with the gaki?" Jiraiya asked with a lecherous grin while he sat on the window sill.

Tsunade attitude changed and she got a gleam in her eyes. "You are not leaving but I have an idea. I need you to cover for me for a while so that I can do something with the Yondaime's legacy." Tsunade said with a wicked grin as she pulled out a picture of Hinata Hyuuga.

"What about the Hyuuga girl?" Jiraiya said with distain.

"She is quiet but powerful. She also showed me something that I like. She appears interested in our favorite gaki." Tsunade said with a grin. "Jiraiya seal up all of Naruto's stuff and have it here in the morning. Shizune find me Hinata Hyuuga, I have an apprentice to appoint and some paperwork to fill out."

"Aye-Eei! Are you feeling alright Lady Tsunade?" Shizune asked as Jiraiya slipped out the window towards Naruto's apartment.


Naruto was just waiting for the nurse to arrive thus bringing him his nightly dinner. The door opened and a dejected looking Jiraiya and a somber looking Iruka entered. "Yo gaki, want to go out to ramen our treat?" Jiraiya asked in a somber mood.

Naruto was not sure how to react. First Tsunade-obaachan had said he needed to stay in the hospital but now Jiraiya and Iruka-sensei were offering to have him go out to dinner with them. Naruto did not quite trust Jiraiya because of his training and leaving him with the bill. "What's the catch Ero-sennin?" Naruto asked with a questioning look.

"Can't I take my favorite gaki out to dinner?" Jiraiya asked innocently.

"Right, last time you said you would treat I ended up paying for it." Naruto said with a huff.

"It isn't my fault you misunderstood what I was talking about when I said we would go eat your favorite food." Jiraiya pleaded innocently.

"And then you had me get clobbered by Sakura as part of training. What was that all about?" Naruto replied angrily.

"What no chan for poor Sakura?" Jiraiya inquired playfully as Iruka had also noticed the missing chan suffix on Sakura's name also.

"Not after what she did to me earlier today! She punched me out through a window, through a Window! Talk about adding insult to injury. And then Hinata-chan defended me…" Naruto replied with a blush, he was not sure why he was blushing. He knew he was blushing and it just seemed to come naturally.

"What's wrong with a little punch Tsunade-hime does it to me all the time." Jiraiya responded and he did notice the blush on Naruto's face at the mention of the Hyuuga girl.

"What? Sakura assaulted you while you were in the hospital? We are on the second floor. I know the Kyuubi heals you pretty quickly, but Naruto that just isn't right. With Jiraiya-sama, Lady Tsunade will heal him up after hitting him. I know that Sakura doesn't have those skills." Iruka stated as he shook his head. "So Hinata defended you? Was this before or after you were sent out the window. And why did Sakura send you out the window Naruto?"

Naruto took a minute to think then proceeded to explain what happened. "You see it is all Sasuke-teme's fault. Sakura loves him and hit me because I hurt that teme. That was the only way to bring him back, there was no other way. As for Hinata-chan defending me… well… Kurenai-sensei brought me back up to the room after Sakura sent me flying. When we got back into the room Sakura was going to hit me again but Hinata stopped her…" Naruto explained while his face turned red.

"What did she say gaki?" Jiraiya prodded with a lecherous look in his eyes.

"Sakura said that she loved Sasuke, and Hinata-chan… said…" Naruto gulped and turned even redder than before.

"Yes?" Jiraiya asked as he moved closer to Naruto and drew out the 'yes'.

Naruto closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "She said she loved me okay!" Naruto yelled out only to pull the covers over his head.

Iruka beamed with joy, Hinata seemed to have gotten over her shyness and admitted her affection to the blond he considered a son or a younger brother. "That is great Naruto. Now you will treat her right won't you?"

Naruto lowered the covers with a confused look on his face. "What do you mean, why wouldn't I? She is a friend." Naruto replied.

Iruka slammed his hand onto his forehead. "Naruto are you going to reject her right off the bat are you?" Iruka asked not sure if he wanted to know the answer.

"What do you mean? I like her but I don't know if I love her…" Naruto responded but it sound half hearted.

"Naruto get dressed and we will go out to eat. We will also have a talk. Actually we have a few things to discuss, including your new girlfriend and how to treat her." Jiraiya said throwing a fresh pair of clothes to the blond.

Naruto did as he was told but not sure if he wanted to know what this 'talk' was all about. Naruto, Iruka and Jiraiya left the hospital saying they would return the patient in an hour or two.


"Hinata-sama, you have a guest at the front gate. It is Shizune-san with a message from Hokage-sama." Neji said in a flat tone but with a gentle smile.

"Thank you Neji-niisan. I will be there in a few moments." Hinata responded as she pulled her jacket back on and headed towards the front gates of the Hyuuga complex. Hinata bowed as she passed several branch family members who smiled and returned the bow.

Shizune smiled warmly to Hinata and waited until she was standing right in front of her before addressing Hinata. "Hokage-sama requests your presence before her immediately."

"Hai." Hinata responded as she fell into step behind Shizune as they walked towards the Hokage's tower.


"Naruto before we begin I want to explain something to you." Jiraiya said in a serious voice as they sat down in their stools at Ichiraku ramen stand. Naruto nodded he understood he needed to listen.

Jiraiya sighed first then looked directly into Naruto's eyes. "Hurting a teammate when they are injured is not how you conduct a relationship, friendship, or teamwork. I know you have a thing for that pink haired girl. Sakura isn't it? A crush so to speak, but that is all it is. She has rejected you how many times?" Jiraiya inquired.

"I don't know, I haven't counted for years." Naruto replied with an annoyed tone.

"Let me ask you this then. Has she ever accepted your invite to lunch or dinner dates?" Jiraiya asked.

"Yeah, once right before Sasuke ran away." Naruto replied not sure what Jiraiya was getting at.

"Did you talk about each other? About say, what your plans for the future are? Did she seem interested in what you had to say?" Jiraiya asked.

Naruto's face saddened. "No I tried to talk about lots of things but she seemed distracted and all she wanted to talk about was Sasuke…" Naruto replied and drew out Sasuke's name.

"Naruto, Sakura has been chasing after Sasuke since before the academy. She, like a lot of the girls of your generation were and still are fans of Sasuke. Hinata was one of the only one who seemed immune to Sasuke's supposed charm, she on the other hand appears to have fixated on you, Naruto. While Sakura likes you at most as a friend, Hinata seems to be more interested in you than she is any of the other boys. She has kept an eye on you from afar for a long time." Iruka said quietly.

"Hinata, yeah that pale eyed Hyuuga girl? Yeah she only seems to hang around here when you are here Naruto-kun." Ayame commented. "You could do worse. That pink haired girl seems nice but she did not appear to have any interest in you at all."

Naruto brightened almost ready to defend Sakura but then became depressed. "But Sakura… Hinata… Could you guys be right? Ah!! I'm so confused…" Naruto yelled in a panic.

"That is a good place to start Naruto-kun." Ayame smiled as she began to talk and serve the guys their ramen.


Hinata knocked on the door of the Hokage's office only to hear a muffled 'Come in…'

Hinata bowed and looked at Tsunade. "You called for me Hokage-sama?"

Tsunade finished writing on the sheet of paper in front of her.

Tsunade smiled and looked at the young girl her eyes were red and puffy as if she had been crying recently. "Hinata Hyuuga I have a few questions for you and please answer the questions honestly."

"Hai, Hokage-sama." Hinata answered sharply but quietly.

"How would you like to become my apprentice?" Tsunade asked as she folded her hands in front of her chin.

Hinata blushed with surprised look on her face. "Me? Why me?"

"Well… between you and me I need someone with excellent chakra control. Being a Hyuuga you fit the bill. You also more than likely to have some knowledge of healing already. This will help me in my instruction of an apprentice." Tsunade pointed out.

"I would love to become your apprentice. I am not afraid of hard work Tsunade-sama. What are your other questions?" Hinata asked.

"Well… were you serious with your statement in Naruto's hospital room? I am sorry to be so blunt and put you on the spot like this but I need to know." Tsunade asked with a warm smile on her face. Hinata blushed and nodded. Tsunade smiled at her acknowledgement. "For my next question I have to make you swear to secrecy. What I am going to tell you is a secret and I need you to not spread it." Tsunade looked at Hinata closely.

Hinata contemplated what Tsunade had said to her. "You can trust me Hokage-sama. I can keep a secret Tsunade-sama."

"Good… Naruto has been exiled by the council." Tsunade stated bluntly. She then waited to gauge the girl's reaction.

Hinata became angry and tears welled in her eyes. "No! They can't do that! That is the Hokage's job. He has done nothing wrong! No… they can't do that to my Naruto-kun!" Hinata protested adamantly.

"Okay given that… What would you do for Naruto?" Tsunade asked with a smirk hoping for a certain reaction.

"I would do anything. I… I w… would…" Hinata's gulped and puts on a stern face. "I would even face my father to help Naruto-kun." Hinata said as she trembled with both frustration and anxiety, her fists clenched.

Tsunade smirked. "How would you feel about leaving the village with Naruto, Shizune, Tonton and me? If I were to say leave the village with Naruto. Would you come with us?" Tsunade watched the emotions play over Hinata's face.

"Hai, Hokage-sama, I would leave with you and Naruto-kun. If only to be near him." Hinata replied, the last comment was barely audible.

Tsunade smiled. "Good then pack up and we leave tomorrow morning at six am. Naruto and Shizune will be accompanying us. You are now officially my apprentice. Please sign here and make it official." Tsunade pointed to a paper which Hinata promptly signed. "Maybe we could work on getting our idiot to notice you…" Tsunade chided with a wink.

Hinata smiled and blushed. "I… I would like that…" Hinata began to press her index fingers together in a nervous habit.


A/N: I hope you liked the chapter. Please let me know how you like the story. Yes I know starting a new story is silly when I have at least 6 others to work on. I have new chapters for most of them but still need to do finishing touches on them. I look forward to your feedback. I will try to update all my stories by the end of the month.

This chapter hits a milestone, nearly 7k words in just story. If you see some items borrowed from my other stories I might have as there is a theme to this story. I have tried not to borrow from other authors but I might, but will try to ask them for permission to use their ideas. I have Chapter 2 completed just need to get the finishing touches before I post it, it is nearly 5k words.