Disclaimer: All Naruto characters are the copyright of Masashi Kishimoto. I'm just borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. That's all. :) No copying of my story is allowed. That's stealing if anyone copies my story into his/her own story. Write your own story without taking others' works! (angry glare)
Story rating: T (PG-13)(for minor sexual themes)
Written: November 2008 - present
Summary: Shion visits Konoha to request Naruto to 'help' her again, but not without changes and consequences. Spoilers. NaruShion, NaruSaku, Naru?.
Whatever It Takes II
Chapter 4 – Tales at the Academy
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)
Walking through the front doors of the hotel, Konoha's newest Toad Sennin has a grin on his face, feeling the world was going right. Ever since he had made a big difference in bringing down the Akatsuki and defeated the remaining forces of Oto, a great percentage of Konoha's population had come to have high esteem for him, not just as a shinobi but also a person. It had warmed him heart to had learned that most of the Konoha shinobi respected him even before Pein's invasion, thus why they all hadn't bother to tell Pein anything when had been asked where Naruto was, even if telling the truth would have spared Konoha.
So after so long, it truly felt good to finally earned most of the population's approval. Oh, there were still a very few people who still saw him as the Kyuubi, but as far as Naruto was concern, he paid them no attention.
Looking around the large lobby, the teenage shinobi gazed at the small comfortable lounge, which was situated to the left of the front registration desk that was on the lobby's left side, and spotted the small group he was looking for. Shion had said they would meet him in the lobby, and now he saw them, Naruto made way toward his guests.
"Shion-chan!" he called out as he entered the lounge and headed toward the teenage priestess, who sat in cushioned lounge chair. His blue eyes easily made out Shinobu in a similar chair to Shion's right and Miyako to Shinobu's right, and both were positioned in a half-circle alignment with their young mistress.
Upon hearing Naruto's voice, Shion had stopped talking with her personal guard and turned to face her approaching love. A warm grin came to her face as she rose with an occupied baby sling secured over her right shoulder. "Morning, Naruto-kun," she greeted. She didn't need her eyes to know Shinobu and Miyako has also risen from their seats. It was a common curtsey that most would do anyway.
Making a quick observation of the three, Naruto noticed that with the exception of Miyako, their outfits were different from yesterday.
Shion's outfit reminded Naruto of the getup she wore to the Sealing Shrine 11 months ago. With her hair in a braid with forehead and side-burn bangs freed, the beautiful blonde currently was wearing a red, tied-down kahaki pants that ended just past the knees; a white, midriff-bearing halter-top which exposed a bit of cleavage; peach forearm covers; and simple sandals.
Shinobu donned a simple long-sleeved shirt over black slacks with his usual shinobi sandals, yet the Konoha teen spotted the leg-strapped and waist pouches, which no doubt contained kunai, shuriken, and other things.
"Morning, Shion-chan," Naruto grinned in return as he stopped in front of her before greeting the other two. "Morning, Miyako, Shinobu."
"Good morning, Naruto-sama," Miyako bowed her head with a grin. Shinobu simply did the same thing without bowing his head and adding the suffix.
The Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi frowned a bit at the older woman. "Did I tell you last night before I left that you don't have to call me by the Sama suffix? I'm not your superior, Miyako."
"It is true that you are not my direct superior," the strawberry-blonde conceded the point, "yet you are Shion-sama's significant other, thus you are in some ways my superior." She chuckled upon seeing him frown some more. "Besides, from what Shion-sama told me, you are aiming to become Hokage someday, correct?" Seeing Naruto nodded an affirmative, her grin widened some more. "Then as a leader, you better get use to people calling you by the Sama suffix… Naruto-sama." She and Shion softly laughed as Naruto groaned at being outwitted.
Shinobu chuckled at the younger man's expression. "As Miyako said, Naruto, you better get used to it. I don't mind dropping the suffix for you, for you're a fellow warrior and protector."
"Yeah, yeah," Naruto responded with a tiny reluctant grin as he scratched his head. "Many children in the village are calling me that now, just it's somewhat weird to hear it coming from people older than me. Yet you're right," he lowered his hand, "that I better get used to it."
Shion, warmly grinning, sighed at what he said. She was raised almost like royalty given her status, thus she was used to such formalities all the time. Naruto, she was reminded just now, grew-up as a commoner, thus he was not ever used to being formal or having people being proper toward him. The priestess mentally giggled at the memory of Naruto being quite informal when he had first introduced himself to her 11 months ago. Not even being elbowed by his pink-haired female teammate deterred him from continuing being rude.
Coming out of her brief visit down Memory Lane, Shion took a look down at Haruki, who was gazing up at her, before returning her sight on her son's father. "Do you want to hold him again, Naruto-kun?"
Naruto, at first, blinked, being caught off guard, but he immediately warmly grinned and gave a nod of consent. "You know I don't mind holding him, Shion-chan." With that said, he reached over to pick up his son out of the baby sling to hold the infant in his arms.
Last night, before he had left Shion's hotel room, he had asked whether he could hold Haruki. It had been somewhat awkward at first, given he had not ever held a baby before, but after being given some pointers from Shion and Miyako, he had been holding his son properly and at ease. He had found it was simple to hold a baby, and to his pleasant surprise, he had come to enjoy the physical connection between him and his son.
As he looked down onto Haruki's small face, Naruto couldn't help but to be drawn into those piercing blue eyes that were looking up right into his own same colored eyes. The hair was fine and smooth and a shade darker than Shion's platinum blonde. It was obvious that the kid had taken physical traits from both parents, making the father felt proud that he was a part in bringing this little miracle into the living world.
"You're quite a cute little guy, right?" Naruto beamed down at his son. "You're going to grow-up to be tall and attractive, just like your Otousan, right?" he added while gently tickling the infant's shirted stomach, producing a baby squeal of laughter. "Yeah! You're going to be a great ninja! Dattebayo!" Shion and Miyako softly laughed at the silly display Naruto was making, while Shinobu grinned.
Laughter dying off, the young priestess shook her head, light-violet eyes twinkling. "He's only two months old, Naruto-kun. Don't you think it's way too early to tell what he'll be when he grows-up?"
Naruto smiled widely into his trademark foxy expression as he chuckled. "Haruki can become anything he wants to be, Shion-chan. Yet I have a hunch he'll be taking after his father more than his mother."
Shion's eyes narrowed as she smirked. "Don't count on it, Future Hokage. We'll see when our son grows older to how much of each of us he'll be taking after." Naruto chuckled at that.
Shaking his head slightly at the display of these two adolescents behaving sort-of like a married couple, Shinobu spoke what was on the forefront of his mind. "So, where are we going today, Naruto? Shion-sama has waited for the past several days for you to return to venture out. She has not seen anything of Konoha yet."
"Really?" blinked Naruto before looking at the woman he loved. "You waited for me?"
The Priestess of Demon Country nodded sheepishly, her cheeks turned a bit shade of pink. "I really didn't feel like taking on the sites alone," she grinned. "Tsunade had offered someone to be a guide, but I said I want to wait for you to be our guide. As I said, Naruto-kun, I want to know your village, and that includes the people you know. Only you can do this for me, and no one else."
Naruto couldn't help but smile with warmth and pride. Shion has placed her deepest trust with him, and knowing how much she loved him, it shouldn't have come as a revelation to him. Yet it still was a touching gesture nevertheless on her part to wait for him to return to Konoha first, for she had wanted him to be her Konoha guide.
"Thanks, Shion-chan," replied Naruto with a grin, which she matched. After a minute of staring at each other's eyes, the young father gestured to the baby sling that Shion still has. "I'll carry Haruki." Understanding what he meant, the young mother handed over the sling, which quickly went around Naruto's right shoulder before he gently placed the baby boy into the clothed sling.
With his son secured, Naruto made a simple signal with his left hand to follow him. He began talking as Shion strolled on his right side with Miyako, who has shouldered the carrying-on pack full of baby stuff, just behind and Shinobu picking up the rear. "There are not many places I can show you. Other than the Hokage Monument, the new Hokage Tower, and Chuunin Exam stadium, Konoha is not much of a tourist place." His face became a thoughtful one. "Yet I can introduce first to you someone special to me. He was one of the first people to ever acknowledge me as a person, and I very much want him to meet you, Shion-chan, both you and Haruki."
Intrigued to who this special person was, the three Demon Country citizens followed their guide out of the hotel toward whatever destination they were heading now.
Chaos ruled. Every shinobi knew this, for being a shinobi meant being prepare for the unexpected, and this obvious was represented by the calamity of Chaos bringing disorder to order.
So it was not uncommon for a particular group of Konoha shinobi to experience Chaos doing its thing everyday in their line of work. Screams and grunts could be heard. The loud voices of talking between individuals were everywhere. The occasional lazy bum was sleeping on the job. Total madness.
"QUIET!" a booming voice was heard, causing immediate silence to come about and even woke the lazy bum.
Chaos may rule, but Chaos certainly has not ever met Umino Iruka, Chuunin Head Instructor of the Konoha Ninja Academy. With a single thunderous command, the room full of second-year students paid attention to their sensei, who walked through the bottom door of the amphitheater-style classroom, his eyes scanning every youngster with precision to spot the signs of mischief. After many years as an academy teacher, Chaos has been mostly curbed to a minimum in Iruka's domain.
A loud belch was heard; making everyone eyed an Akimichi boy eating a bag of chips in the middle of the room. Letting out a puff of air, Iruka sighed. Well, Chaos certainly maybe curbed, but that didn't meant Fate wouldn't throw in a ringer or two occasionally.
"Okay, now," the scar-faced man began. "We'll be going over your homework reading assignment on the Hokages and their important affects they have on Konoha history." A few groans, moans, and whiny complaints were heard from some of the boys, prompting Iruka to raise an eyebrow. "You may not like it, but knowing some of your history will make you understand the significance of being a shinobi. Being a shinobi is not just fighting, you know."
After a few more reluctant moans and groans were heard, Iruka commenced with the history lesson as he went through a question-and-answer session with his students regarding each Hokage, starting with the First. By the time he started talking about the Fourth Hokage, already a couple of the boys were asleep on their desks.
"Can anyone of you tell me a historical event that involved the Yondaime?" Iruka asked the classroom.
A blond girl raised her hand before speaking after being noticed by Iruka. "I know the Yondaime single-handedly won the Third Great War for Konoha against Iwa. He used a great jutsu that made him super fast."
"That's right," Iruka grinned to praise the girl, who grinned back with pride. "The technique he used is known as the Hiraishin no Jutsu. Not only he had invented the technique, but he is also the only one to ever have used it. No one has ever yet able to duplicate it."
After going through a minute or two talking more about the Fourth Hokage's role in defeating Iwa, the pony-tailed man gestured with both his hands to the classroom. "Any other important events the Yondaime were involved?"
A boy spoke out without raising his hand. "Well, he did seal the Kyuubi, right? The Godiame announced it months ago."
Iruka nodded in affirmative, yet he knew quite personally what was to follow. "That's right." He chuckled with a knowing grin. "I'm sure you all know who he sealed the Kyuubi into, right?"
"That would be me!" a male voice called out suddenly, making everyone in the classroom quickly swiveled their heads toward the bottom entrance, where a tall, blond, young man stood with whisker marks on his cheeks. "Uzumaki Naruto!" With that said, he strolled into the room toward Iruka, followed by three people the entire room have not seen before.
"Naruto-sama!" a couple of girls, sitting next to each other, crowed with hearts in their eyes. Some of the nearby boys rolled their eyes at hearing the two girls acting like a pair of love struck fans, but there were no denials that it was exciting to see one of Konoha's heroes in person.
For the three Demon Country people, it was an amazing and somewhat amusing sight to see a whole classroom of pre-teens seemed to be idolizing Naruto, but out of the three, none has more pride and heart at the display than Shion.
Months ago after the Akatsuki and Oto Wars, Naruto had told her through one of his letters that he had insisted to Tsuande that it was time to lift the ban regarding the knowledge of him being the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi. Agreeing, the Godiame had announced to the village the truth. With the ban lifted, those few, who still hated Naruto, were freed to spew forth their anger, trying to ignite anyone to join them against Naruto. Yet the opposite had occurred, for a great deal of the younger generations held no ill will toward their newest hero. Matter of fact, hearing Naruto was the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi made the blond even more fascinated in the younger generations' eyes.
Now Shion was seeing it for real, instead of imagining it. These young students truly did idolize Naruto, and she couldn't help but feel her heart going out to her love. It had broken her heart when he had told her 11 months ago his secret burden of carrying the Kyuubi inside him. His confession and story of his lonesome childhood had cemented her love for him quite strongly, knowing he truly did understand what it meant to be alone, like she did. Yet her heart was currently swelling, now that she could see those dark clouds have been lifted off his shoulders. Naruto, after so many years of being an outcast, was now fully accepted by his village with pride. Knowing this was almost enough to bring Shion on the brink of releasing happy tears.
Yet for the Priestess of Demon Country, she was more interest in meeting Naruto's special people, especially those who made up the Konoha 12. She had already met Sakura, Neji, Lee, and Tenten, and they had showed no qualms about Naruto being a Jinchuuriki. According to Naruto's letters, after the announcement of him being the jailer of the Kyuubi, some of the Konoha 12 had been surprised and even held a bit of fear, but they all had accepted him as who he was, not what he was. It had warmed Naruto's spirits that his friends had accepted him fully, and in turn, it had warmed hers as well.
"Naruto!" Iruka greeted his most favorite student as the blond approached. Oh, he would not ever admit it to anyone outright, since, as a teacher, he did not like to play favoritism. Yet those, who knew the long-time Academy sensei, knew Naruto would always be Iruka's favorite.
"It has been a long two months, since I last saw you, Iruka-sensei," Naruto returned the welcome as he finally stood in front of the Academy instructor. "I hope you don't mind I interrupting your class, Iruka-sensei, but I like very much to introduce you to some people."
Before Iruka could answer, a boy spoke out from the top of the classroom. "We certainly do not mind," he said cheekily, referring to the entire class. "Better to meet you, Naruto-sama, than being bored hearing a history lecture."
A vein popped on Iruka's forehead with a ticking eye as he narrow-eyed the joker, while Naruto sweatdropped and chuckled, some of the students snickered, and Shion, Miyako, and Shinobu simply sweatdropped. "Knowing your history is important, brat!" the scar-faced chuunin pointed to the sly-grinning boy. "Mark my words!"
Feeling the need to get his former sensei back on track, Naruto cleared his throat, prompting Iruka to look back on his former student. It was only then did the pineapple-headed chuunin notice the bundle the blond was holding. "Naruto, is this…" he trailed off in awe, gazing down into a small face with the same blue eyes as the teenager before him.
"Yeah," Naruto confessed proudly. "I like you to meet my son, Uzumaki Haruki. Shion-chan named him after she gave birth to him born two months ago." The young father turned his head to look at his son's mother, who came forward, causing the Academy teacher to look as the beautiful blonde woman standing next to Naruto. "Iruka-sensei, I want you to meet Shion, Priestess of Demon Country." He smiled at his love. "Shion-chan, this is Umino Iruka, my Academy sensei, and one of a few that first acknowledged me as a person when I was younger."
Iruka gave a friendly and warm smile at the young woman, who done the same in return. He had months ago been shown a picture of a pregnant Shion by Naruto, so he knew immediately who she was before Naruto introduced her just now. Besides, Iruka was the first to been told by the blond that he was going to be a father, so it really was not much of a surprise to finally able to meet Naruto's child. "Shion-sama," he began, "it's an honor to meet your acquaintance. Naruto have told me much about you."
Shion bowed her head. "And it's an honor to meet you as well, Iruka-san. Naruto-kun has nothing but glowing praise for you in his letters he has written to me over the past 11 months. It's great to finally meet the man who meant so much to Naruto during a great time of change for him."
The older man didn't have to be a mind reader to know what she was referring. That night of Mizuki's betrayal was certainly one to remember for both he and Naruto. He had no idea that Naruto had been listening to the conversation between Mizuki and him, but only after Naruto took care of Mizuki did Iruka was told by his favorite student how much that speech of acknowledgment had moved the blond enough to prompt him to fight. They had been close ever since.
Yet before Iruka could utter a word to continue the conversation with the priestess, a small girlish squeal was heard. "Oh, my Kami!" came from one of the two Naruto fangirls. "That's Shion-sama of Demon Country, Naruto-sama's wife just as mom told me!" The rest of the young students burst with chatter with some supporting the girl, while others were flat out denying it.
"Whoa, whoa!" Naruto called out to bring silence to the room, before he nervously chuckled. He glanced at Shion, who wore an amused grin with slight tinted pink cheeks, and then he turned back to his young audience. "Sorry, but Shion-chan and I are not married." A few aww's of disappointment were heard along with a few smug retorts from some boys, who knew the truth anyway. "We do though love each other very much." This caused the two fangirls to squeal again, making Naruto winced for a moment. "She wanted to have a child, so since I gave her my word, I had helped her in that." His body twisted slight to show the entire class the baby in his arms. "As you can see, she and I are parents now." This time a number of girls gave some happy aww's at the notion of their hero and the priestess were parents now.
The blond girl, who had answered Iruka's earlier history question, raised her hand before speaking. "Shion-sama, is it true that you and Naruto-sama fell in love on first sight?" She smiled with dreamy eyes. "That's so romantic!"
Snickering, as he looked at his former student, who was sheepishly chuckling while looking at his son's mother, Iruka had known about the real story from Naruto, and seeing Shion shaking her head with a gentle, chastening grin aimed at the blonde girl, the Academy teacher knew what the priestess was going to say. "To be honest, Naruto-kun and my first meeting didn't start off like that at all. When I first met him, I thought he was rude and quite obnoxious."
Naruto snorted a laugh. "Well, I thought you were cold, aloof, and spoiled." Shion's gentle chuckles showed she took what he had said in stride, for it was the truth after all.
Seeing the baffled looks on his young students' faces, especially the disappointed one from the blond girl, Iruka spoke out before anyone else could. "Naruto, Shion-sama, since you were both there during the Mouryou War, you can tell the class exactly what had happened during your mission, from when you met to the time you defeated Mouryou. Since my class is currently covering history, I'm sure they will want to hear from your perspectives about the war."
Eager nods and voices of approvals rang out from the Academy students, making Naruto grinned as he turned his head toward Shion. "You don't mind we tell them our story, Shion-chan?"
Shion shook her head, matching his expression. "Not at all." With that said, she began the tale of how she and Naruto met and the mission to the Sealing Shrine that had followed.
For a better part of an hour, the pair told their story to their attentive audience. They almost included everything from their memorable first meeting to the final battle against Mouryou. Both even told, in respect and honor, about Taruho and how he had sacrificed his life so Shion could live to reach the Sealing Shrine. By the time they had reached the end of the tale, some of the girls had starry-eyes, which showed no doubts that they thought it must have been quite romantic for Shion to have fallen for Naruto by the end of the war.
Yet for Naruto and Shion, they definitely kept to themselves what had happened after Mouryou was defeated. They simply told the pre-teens that they had fallen in love after the war, no more than that. There was no need to give the details to how their 'first time' came to being. Nope, that part of their lives they definitely wanted to remain private.
As Shion was finishing off the story, Konoha's Jinchuuriki sniffed and scrunched up his nose. There was a foul smell coming from somewhere. After gazing down at Haruki, who began crying, the blond sniffed again and immediately discovered the origin of the stench. "Uh, Shion-chan?" he said, gaining everyone's attention from the crying baby. "I think Haruki needs to go to bathroom." Only after hearing what he just mentioned did all nearby the teenage boy smelled what he meant and scrunched up their noses.
"Ewww!" the smart-assed boy at the back row pointed at the small infant. "The baby pooped!"
"Well, duh!" the blonde girl replied, looking back sarcastically at the joker of the class. "All babies poop all the time! I know given I remember how many times a day my parents have to change the diapers off my baby brother and then later my baby sister."
Another boy, at the bottom of the classroom in front of the blonde girl, snorted. "Babies do not poop all the time. Maybe a few times a day at most. If they poop all the time, I doubt any parent will find a moments rest."
The blond girl trained her ire at the boy sitting in front and just below her. "I hate you and your nitpicking corrections. I know that, Mr. Know-It-All. Just because our clans are friends with each other does not mean we are." Finished, she huffed at him and turned her head away.
The boy rolled his eyes and sighed. "My cousin was right. Girls are troublesome."
Feeling a need to change the subject before the conversations from the students really get weird, Iruka glanced at the wall clock and sighed in relief. "Listen up!" he shouted, gaining everyone's attention. "It's time for you to go outside for your shuriken-and-kunai throwing session with Ringo-sensei and then lunch." Several cheers were heard among the youngsters. "After lunch, we'll be continuing our history review, and I'm going to give you a small pop-quiz at the end." The cheers were replaced by moans and groans, which brought a small amount of satisfaction to Iruka's being that he could make them suffer a bit for everything they done to him. "That's all. Dismissed!"
The room immediately started vacating of students, with most of the boys running out the doors first followed casually by the rest. Within a span of five minutes, the room was empty except for the three adults, two teenagers, and one infant.
"Come on," Iruka grinned assuredly, "we'll go to my office where you can change Haruki's diaper." He only took a few steps toward the exit when he paused and blinked at Shion's two attendants, before a tiny uneasy grin came to his face. "And you are…"
Naruto groaned and mentally slapped himself. "I'm sorry, Iruka-sensei. I forgot to introduce you to them." He grinned at the two Demon Country adults as he introduced them to the Academy teacher. The blond again apologized for not remembering, but Iruka, Shinobu, and Miyako told him not to worry, for they understood that the interaction after Shion's introduction just made everyone forgetful.
With the final introductions out of the way, the Head of the Konoha Ninja Academy led his guests out of the classroom, down one flight of stairs to the first floor, and into a small office before sliding the door shut.
It was a nice little office with a view of the grass, trees, and tall wall that surrounded the Academy. Yet instead of seeing one desk, there were two, facing the walls on opposite sides of the room from each other. There was a cubical partition separating the two desks into two separate small offices. The one on the left showed the clutter of paper, text books, scrolls, and several filing cabinets, and it was clear that it was Iruka's office, especially with the photos on the thumb-tack board on the wall with one showing a young Naruto and Iruka smiling together at the camera. The one on the right, however, was clean and neat with papers, books, and scrolls all organized. Yet what caught the four guests' attention was that next to the desk was a baby-changing table with baby changing stuff on the table and other baby stuff on the floor. There was also a small crib as well. It was clear whoever was sharing Iruka's office have an infant child to attend, unless all this stuff was for someone not related to whomever Iruka's office partner was.
Knowing what was on their minds given where they were looking; the scar-faced chuunin verified what they were thinking. "Close to a month ago, one of the village's kunoichi had given birth, and she, after 9 months of being pregnant, was eager to return to duty. She has not been clear to do any missions, but the Godiame, knowing I could use a hand here at the Academy, placed her as a temporary instructor. The job enables her to adjust her life to handle being a mother as well as give her time to get herself physically back into active-duty readiness to do missions."
"That's good to hear, Iruka-san," Miyako said as she grabbed Naruto's right arm and guided him to the baby-changing table, "but right now, Haruki needs to be change."
With a towel already on the table, Naruto did not waste time as he raised his crying son out of the sling and placed him onto the towel. "Okay, tell me what I need to do, Shion-chan, Miyako-neechan," he said, while Miyako was removing the necessary items from the carrying bag. Both women blinked at first but immediately figured out that Naruto wanted to learn in order to do this again in the future. He was taking his role as a father quite seriously.
Miyako prepared the needed articles on the table, and with her on Naruto's left and Shion on his right, the Demon Country medic began coaching the young father what to do. Under the guidance of the two women, the blond chuunin surely and steadily changed his son's diaper. He was a tad nervous as well as a bit queasy over the human mess and stench on the diaper, but, like he was on a mission, Naruto pulled through and did what his female instructors instructed.
Shinobu and Iruka watched everything from the sides, amused and impressed. They were amused at Naruto going through the messy process of changing a diaper. The look on the teen boy's face was priceless at times. Yet they were impressed the young father carried on through with determination to get the job done. It displayed the strength Naruto no doubt has in determining to be a parent.
It had taken several minutes, a few more than normal due to this being his first time changing a diaper, yet Naruto was finally done. He stood before his now-smiling son, a bit of a mess with baby powder on his hands and face. Of course, now that he knew how to do it, the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki vowed the next time would not be so chaotic.
"Congratulations, Naruto," Iruka teased, "you're now a first-rate diaper changer." Shinobu snickered.
"Very funny, Iruka-sensei," Naruto mock whined yet his voice was mirthful, as he watched Shion took her son into her arms. "What about you?" he locked his eyes with his former-teacher at the same time Miyako placed the dirty diaper in a bag and sealed it within a scroll. "Have you ever changed a diaper?" he challenged with a smirk.
"Matter of fact, I did." This caused Naruto to raise his eyebrows in surprise. Iruka gestured to the diaper-changing table. "My colleague occasionally brings her son to work, but only if she truly can't find anyone to look after the child. I think by now she might have finally arranged for daycare at a daycare center." He chuckled. "Those few days she did bring her son in were something. I swear her class was far more cooperative with the infant in the classroom than without him, and yet her class listens to her anyway with or without her son's presence in the room."
Shion grinned up at the older man as she sat onto the desk's chair, jiggling Haruki. "Your colleague sounds like she is a great teacher, if she holds her students' attention well."
Iruka grinned in agreement. "She does. She is quite good, that I even suggested that she can work here full-time, if she wants." The man turned a smirking expression on his ex-student. "I'm sure if she had been teaching at the Academy several years ago, she would have even held Naruto's attention, which was quite lacking under my supervision."
Naruto, cleaning his hands and face with a spar towel found on the side, sheepishly chuckled as the two women stared at him with raised eyebrows while Shinobu snickered. "Aw, come on, Iruka-sensei. I was not that bad."
Seeing Shion and her attendants have curious expressions, Iruka knew this was going to be fun ribbing Naruto in front of his son's mother. "Oh, you were quite bad, Naruto, especially with all the pranks you pulled on the village."
So begun Iruka's tales of Naruto the Most Unpridictable Notorious Prankster of Konoha. The Academy teacher didn't left any story untold, from the pranks the blond boy had pulled on him to the ones done on the village, like the cherry bombs in the public restrooms' toilets. It was fun watching Naruto get red-faced as Shion amusedly took in the fact that her lover has been quite a joker at the time. Yet Iruka mentally gave Naruto credit in taking the ribbing in stride, especially knowing Shion was enjoying the tales instead of berating him.
"You didn't!" Shion giggled at her beloved man, who was leaning against the desk right next to her.
"Yeah, I did," Naruto rubbed the back of his head with a bashful grin. "Painting the Hokage Monument was the best prank I pulled just before I'd graduated. I was chased by many ANBU, chuunin, and jounin around the village. No one was able to capture me, until Iruka-sensei did. He made me wash off the paint, but he had promised a meal at Ichiraku Ramen's, if I finish." A fond chuckle escaped the blond's lips. "I worked so fast to get the paint off in order to get that free ramen meal."
While Shion and Miyako softly laughed at imagining a 12-year-old Naruto washing the huge stone faces, Shinobu chuckled and pointed to the younger man. "You must have been really good in evasive tactics if you eluded so many highly-trained shinobi, Naruto. I'm surprised you, with hardly any ninja skills, managed such a feat." Naruto's response was to simply grin his foxy smile as he rubbed his head some more.
The door to the office slid open on its tracks, alerting the room's occupants to the newcomer. For the three Demon Country people, the raven-haired woman, who was standing in the doorframe looking at them, was a stranger to them, but for Iruka and Naruto, the woman was well known to them, for she was considered one of the most stunning kunoichi in the village, especially with those captivated red eyes of hers.
"Kurenai-sensei!" Naruto called out in delighted surprise in seeing the beautiful and smart jounin-sensei, who trained one of the three teams of his graduation class, the Rookie 9.
"Naruto?" the slim woman blinked at first, before a welcoming grin appeared on her face. "I see you're back from your mission with the Fire Daimyo. Visiting Iruka, I presume?"
Naruto smiled warmly back at her. Unless one happened to be at the receiving end of her ire, who wouldn't be affected by Yuuhi Kurenai's warm personality? "Yeah, I am. So what are you doing here, Kurenai-sensei?"
The beautiful kunoichi didn't miss a beat. "I work here, Naruto," she replied so simply.
"Eh?" Naruto was confused. "You work here?" Then it dawned at him. "Wait a minute!" he said before pointing to Iruka. "The kunoichi you mentioned before was Kurenai-sensei?"
Iruka nodded with an amused expression. He didn't intend to trick the younger man by not mentioning who he was referring before, but it was funny nevertheless he got one over the teenager, who was known then for his prankster ways. "Well, I might not have mentioned Kurenai by name, but yes, she is our new instructor. Besides, did you notice Kurenai is no longer pregnant?"
Now that was mentioned, Naruto looked at Kurenai again and saw immediately that she was indeed not swollen in the front with pregnancy. He also took in her outfit of a long-sleeved, red yukata top, which showed some cleavage, over black slacks and high-heeled kunoichi sandals. With her hitai-ate on her forehead, she looked exactly like she was before she became pregnant, thus unless one actually knew her, one couldn't even tell if she had ever been an expecting mother.
Bashfully chuckling, Naruto once again rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry, I didn't notice."
An amused Kurenai grinned reassuringly at the young chuunin. "That's okay," she said, before her expression became a soft chastening one. "Care to introduce me to our guests?" Stepping into the room and closing the door behind her, the Genjutsu specialist had a good hunch whom was the sitting blonde girl holding the infant, for she did recall seeing a color photo Naruto had shown her months ago.
With his usual, casual grin, the blond Hokage-wannabe introduced Kurenai first to Shion, Miyako, and Shinobu, and then did the same in reverse to the jounin kunoichi, who warmly greeted each of the Demon Country citizens, especially Shion, now that she knew the blonde girl was indeed the Demon Country priestess Naruto has been intimated 11 months ago. Yet after the two mothers exchanged polite and kind words, red eyes focused on the baby boy in the priestess's arms.
Naruto proudly did the final introduction as Kurenai stepped forward to bend down closer to examine the little tyke. "This is our son, Kurenai-sensei. His name is Uzumaki Haruki."
"His name suits him," Kurenai complimented with a grin. "With his hair a mix of both parents and having his father's eyes, he definitely looks like he radiates like the sun." She stood straight again to eye the teenage parents. "Congratulations, both of you."
"Thanks, Kurenai-sensei," Naruto beamed, while Shion nodded her gratitude. "What about you? Iruka-sensei told me you gave birth to a boy."
The beautiful kunoichi proudly smiled. "Yes, I did. His name is Sarutobi Hajime. He currently is being watch by Asuma's sister-in-law, who is Konohamaru's mother. I don't have any photos here, but I can tell you that he has black hair and red eyes just like mine. When you have a chance, Naruto, you're welcome to stop by my home to meet him. Everyone in the Konoha 12 has already met him, except for you, Sakura, and Sai."
"Will do, Kurenai-sensei," promised Naruto with a thankful nod. He then gazed down at his son just prior to making strange faces at the watchful boy. The results were small delightful sounds of childish laughter.
Kurenai smiled reflectively at the young father's antics. Naruto still viewed things in childlike wonder at times. In the past 10 months or so since Asuma's death, the teenage boy has matured as a shinobi, growing in strength & power and knowledge & wisdom. Such a combination of maturity and childlike humor & wonder would not only make him a good father in the long run, but also a fine Hokage.
Turning her head to gaze at her fellow Academy teacher, the seasoned kunoichi saw Iruka's expression was reflective with a small grin as he observed Naruto making strange faces at Haruki. Kurenai reasoned that he must be thinking along the same lines as she regarding the young man before them.
Catching her looking at him, Iruka grinned at her. "So what are you doing her, Kurenai?"
"It's lunch-time, Iruka," Kurenai slightly smirked at him. "Didn't you notice the time?"
Glancing at the small clock on Kurenai's desk, the Acedemy Head realized she was right, for it was several minutes past 12-noon. "Wow, I certainly was not aware of the time." He chuckled. "I guess I was so focus on telling the stories of all the pranks Naruto had pulled that time must have flown by, eh?"
Hearing that it was lunch-time, Naruto stopped making faces and perked up. "How about we go to Ichiraku's Ramen?"
Both teachers inwardly chuckled at the suggestion, for they were not surprise one bit that Naruto would immediately recommend going to Ichiraku's. The boy would be a ramen lover for the rest of his life.
"Sorry, Naruto," Kurenai spoke reluctantly with a tiny grin, "but I have to pass on that offer. I had already brought my lunch today," she pointed to the bag on the floor to her desk's left side, "and after I eat, I will immediately return to my class to prepare for the afternoon lesson."
Iruka matched his colleague's expression. "I too have to pass, Naruto. I as well brought my lunch in today, and I have to play catch-up with my class due to your arrival this morning." Seeing the look of disappointment on his ex-student's face, the ponytail-haired chuunin grinned reassuringly. "We'll eat together at Ichiraku's another day, Naurto. In the meantime, you can go there today with Shion and introduce her to your favorite restaurant."
Shion softly smirked. "If this is the restaurant Naruto-kun mentioned to me in his letters, Iruka-san, I certainly am interested to find out how he could consume so many bowls of ramen in one meal." Iruka snickered and Kurenai gently laughed as they watched a slight-blushing blond boy grinned down at his son's mother.
Shinobu leaned toward Miyako. "I certainly want to see this myself," he amusedly said.
"If Naruto-sama does eat that much ramen, I wonder if his brain has turned into ramen after long periods of ramen consummation," Miyako joked, her twinkling eyes set on her mistress's love.
"Very funny," Naruto took the ribbing in stride as everyone laughed.
After his mirth died down, Iruka thumbed toward the exit. "You better get going, Naruto." Naruto nodded in understanding to his ex-sensei's 'hint' that he and Kurenai wanted to eat their lunch now before the lunch period ends.
Getting the 'hint' as well, Shion stood up and asked for the baby sling from Naruto, and a few minutes later, with Haruki secured in the sling within his mother's arms, the Priestess of Demon Country smiled thankfully at the two Academy instructors. "Iruka-san, Kurenai-san, it has been a pleasure to meet you both. It's good to finally able to meet two of many important people in Naruto-kun's life."
A grinning Iruka courtesy bowed his head briefly with Kurenai following suit. "The pleasure is ours, Shion-sama. You're welcome to visit us during our off-hours, knowing you're now a part of Naruto's family."
Shion's smile broadened with warmth. "Thank you."
Iruka gave a nod in response to the young priestess before locking eyes with her two servants. "Shinobu-san, Miyako-san, it was a pleasure to meet you as well."
"Arigatou, Iruka-san," Miyako replied, while Shinobu nodded once with a grin.
After they said their final good-byes to the two teachers, Naruto, Shion with Haruki, Miyako, and Shinobu left the office and made their way out of the Academy building. There the whisker-faced young man led the way toward the area of Konoha, where was located his favorite restaurant in the entire world.
"Aw, man!" a masculine shout reverberated in the grassy clearing. "One of these days, Shino, Akamaru and I will find a way to defeat your bugs without resorting to fire or water jutsus! Now get them off us! You won again anyway!"
"Indeed," came the low monotone reply from a teenage boy, whose face was mostly hidden behind a high collar shirt, black eye shades, and a hoody gray jacket. "So far, no one has yet to even come close to defeating my clan's kikai bugs without resorting to fire or water jutsus. Kiba, your attempts to even try to find another way are pointless."
Wearing a black jacket, fish-net undershirt, and pants, Inuzuka Kiba smirked wolfishly, while the kikai bugs left his and his ninken's forms. "Hey, I'll find a way yet. Just you wait and see, Shino. I might even find a way to prevent your little friends from draining the chakra out of Akamaru and me."
Pushing his shades up further his nose with a finger, Aburame Shino responded to his teammate as his kikai bugs returned to his body. "I am doubtful of that. Only one person I know alive today has an immune affect against the kikai's chakra draining ability, and that person is Naruto. His usual high chakra reserves on top of Kyuubi's chakra make him a formidable opponent."
Kiba grunted in envy as he patted Akamaru's head after the big, white dog strolled over to stand by his side. "Well, that's Naruto for you. He may had the bad luck to be chosen to have the big, bad fox sealed inside him, but least he gotten some great benefits in return. Man, I wish I could have his healing ability. To enable to recover from chakra exhaustion in less than a day sure can benefit me."
A few barks alerted the young Inuzuka to his canine partner. "What do you mean Shion's bugs are still on you?" Kiba blinked in confusion, until it dawned to him on a good reason, making him groaned. "Don't tell me that--!"
"Akamaru has some parasites on him," Shion finished for his teammate, who growled upon hearing the confirmation to his thoughts. "My allies have informed me of the situation and are now currently sweeping Akamaru to destroy the intruders."
"AAARGH!" Kiba growled in frustration as he clenched his fists. "Are the fleas and ticks these days immune to my clan's repellent jutsus?! Kami, we hate those little bloodsuckers! HATE THEM, HATE THEM, HATE THEM! If there is one wish my entire clan agree to come true, it's the total annihilation of every flea and tick on the entire planet!" Akamaru growled his agreement, which his master nodded at him. "You said it, Akamaru. They're a real pain in the butt alright." He paused before raising a finger. "Mosquitoes too. All those bloodsucking parasites should be extinct."
"Agreed," Shino spoke out. "They benefit no one, and mostly cause harm to their victims."
The son of Inuzuka Tsume grinned at his friend. "I'm glad to have you around, Shino. Your little friends sure make great parasite removers. Ever since we became Team 8, you provided this service for Akamaru, and once more, I can't say enough for the help at times."
The young Aburame nodded once in acceptance of the compliments. "It benefits us to have Akamaru performing at his best. The parasites will only reduce his performance if discomfort from being bitten distracts him. In return, the parasites provide my kikai bugs a snack to eat, so in the end, it benefits both of us for my allies to provide Akamaru this service."
"Akamaru and I certainly do not complain about that, my friend," Kiba grinned toothily at the bug user, and the big white dog barked happily in total concurrence.
Sitting under the shade of a tree near the edge of the clearing, gray-like violet eyes crinkled in amusement over the conversation the two male chuunins were having. In the years since joining Team 8, she had come to know her teammates well, thus she knew they had managed to grow a trust of each other's abilities as well as a good respect for each other's clans. A matter of fact, ever since Kiba and Shino had became friends, the Inuzukas had turned to the Aburames for help once in awhile in 'parasite' extermination from the Inuzuka Clan's kennels and households. Of course, it led to a big question to why the two clans had not ever had such a mutual collaboration before in the decades since Konoha's founding, but it came down to a simple fear of the kakai bugs from the Inuzukas.
Sighing with a grin for the two boys of her team, Hyuuga Hinata admitted to herself that she was glad things had turned out extremely well in the past 4 years since her and her classsmates' graduation from the Academy. With the many wars Konoha has fought, especially during the past year, it truly was a miracle that none of her close friends and family has died or suffered in any major ways. With the exception of Asuma-sensei and Jiraiya-sama, her large extended 'family' was intact.
Thinking of the late Toad Sannin made the young Hyuuga heir focused her thoughts on the Sannin's apprentice, who became the new Toad Sennin, Uzumaki Naruto. Her grin faded as she became forlorn, her eyes cast downward to the ground, for after many months since Naruto has returned to the village from his training trip with Jiraiya, Hinata still has not gotten to have a real conversation with her long-time crush. That first meeting with him after his return had been embarrassing, for she had fainted much as a weak girl instead of properly talking with him. She had not had little time to talk to him during that mission to search for Sasuke after the news of Orochimaru's death was heard. And since Pein's attack, everyone has been so busy with missions and other things to help repair the village that she has not seen much of Naruto at all.
"Naruto-kun," the young kunoichi sighed dejectedly to herself. "Why… Why can't I get the courage to talk to you how I feel? I have become a strong kunoichi and can face many tasks and enemies on missions, but when it comes down to you, Naruto-kun, I just fall apart." Hinata closed her eyes. "I know the longer I keep it to myself, the more you will slip away from me. Yet do I have anything that can compete with Sakura-san or even Shion-sama, who has your first child?"
Like everyone in the village, Hinata has heard the news of Priestess Shion's arrival several days ago and the small infant she has brought with her. Ever since it was confirmed that Naruto has been intimate with Shion 11 months ago, it has pained the young Hyuuga deeply in knowing another woman has gotten to be her crush's 'first time' first, and what really had drove a kunai into her heart was the news Sakura-san said that the priestess was expecting. Now that Shion was here with Naruto's first child, the Heir of the Hyuuga Clan knew it was a nearly impossible task to get Naruto to see her at all.
"When Naruto returns from his mission, he will have Shion-sama here waiting for him as well as his first-born child. Knowing he will be focus on them, what chance do I have to talk to him?" A sigh escaped her lips as pale-lavender eyes opened to gaze up at the tree braches and the beautiful way the sunlight filters through the leaves like it was dancing as the branches and leaves moved with the slight breeze. "Why do I feel like Fate is going against me? I want to talk to him and try to get beyond my shyness, but if the opportunity doesn't present itself, how can I know whether I have a chance with him?"
Yet despite these doubts, Hinata knew there was a small light of hope for her. Closing her eyes, she remembered the brief conversation she had with Naruto during the mission to track down Sasuke. It had been sometime before she, Naruto, and Yamato-taichou met Orochimaru's henchman, Kabuto…
Walking down the road, the trio of Konoha shinobi and their dog companion were on alert but not so much to be consider paranoid. Given whom they were tracking, they were not taking any chances.
Glancing at her long-time crush out of the corner of her eye, Hinata knew that this might be a good time to ask him a question that has been plaguing her mind since the end of the Mouryou War. She knew of Priestess Shion and her role in the war, and she had heard of the story involving Naruto's intimacy with the foreign priestess as well as Sakura's verification that Shion was pregnant with Naruto's child. Yet despite these two facts, they were not a foregone conclusion of what was on the forefront of her mind.
"N-Naruto-kun?" Hinata stuttered out to gain the blond genin's attention.
Turning his head to his right, Naruto locked his blue eyes with Hinata's gray-lavender ones. "Yeah, Hinata?"
Drawing up her courage, the young Hyuuga girl spoke out what was on her mind. "Is it true that you were intimate with the High Priestess Shion from Demon Country and she is now carrying your child?"
The pair of questions caught the attention of Yamato as he looked at the two teenagers sideways while maintaining a forward appearance. Naruto however blinked at the questions before letting a bashful grin come to his face.
"Yeah, it's true, Hinata," admitted the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki. "I made love to Shion-chan, and she told me in a letter that she is pregnant with our child. I made her a promise to help her with passing down her powers to the next generation of priestesses, so I can't back down on my word."
Hinata felt the cracks forming in her heart. It was painful, but she maintained her composure. Looking down at his moving feet, she knew she has to ask the question. "Are you in love with her?"
Naruto sadly grinned before facing forward to the road ahead. "In a way, I am in love with her." Hinata couldn't help but feel the cracks in her heart have expanded into giant ravines, so much that she felt like crying now. "Yet, in another way, we both know we can't."
This whipped up the young kunoichi's head in confusion and shock. "What do you mean, Naruto-kun?"
The young teen boy shrugged a bit. "As I told Sakura-chan, Shion-chan and I can't have a normal relationship. She lives in her village in Demon Country, and I live in Konoha. We each have our respective duties to our villages and countries. I'm planning to be Hokage someday, thus I can't leave Konoha, and she can't leave her village due that she helps run the place. So in the end, we agreed that if either of us found others to love, we're free to love them as much as we love each other."
Blinking at the revelation, Hinata's heart fluttered in revived hope. "Naruto-kun, are you s-s-saying you're free to date other women, and Shion-sama does not m-mind?"
"Yep, that's the agreement, Hinata," replied the blond genin. "She and I know we will each always be the other's first love, but that does not mean each of us will be the only loves in our lives."
Her heart beating with renewed love, the lavender-eyed teenager knew hope was not lost. If she could not be Naruto's first love, maybe she could his second.
The voice of their team captain brought both teenagers back to reality. "Keep on your guard, you two. Remember our mission." He didn't mind the break from routine, given it had provided a great insight to Naruto's relationship with Priestess Shion, but Yamato knew it was best to get his two charges' attention back on their mission.
"Hai!" both young shinobi responded, thus they pushed the private topic and thoughts out of the way to focus on the mission. It was a good thing too, because a few minutes later, the entire team felt someone following them.
Hinata sighed at the memories. It had been quite a mission, but other than that one moment with Naruto, she hadn't had any other opportunities to be with her favorite blond ninja. Once they had came back to Konoha, events had developed so rapidly that it seemed Naruto didn't had any free time anymore, especially after the Akatsuki War's end with all the missions to keep the revenue flowing in for the village.
"Maybe once Shion-sama leaves to return to her village after meeting Naruto-kun, I can find the opportunity to talk to him. I can finally able to admit my feelings to him," she mused to herself.
"Hey, Hinata!" the loud voice of Kiba startled the blue-tinted-haired girl out of her thoughts. "We're going now to get some lunch! Come on!" With that said, the teenage Inuzuka boy, with Akamaru besides him, followed his Aburame friend out of the training area back to the village.
Seeing her male colleagues leaving, the young Hyuuga heiress, dressed in her usual purple kunoichi outfit, quickly stood up and began trotting to catch up with them. "Wait for me!" she called out, her thoughts about Naruto momentarily forgotten in light of getting a good meal in the company of her team.
End of Chapter 4
1) If anyone wants to see what Shion looks like in this chapter with her outfit and hair, check out Highpriestess747's art of Shion at DeviantART. It can be found at highpriestess747 . deviantart . com / art / Shion-96052426 . If you're too lazy to copy-and-paste the URL and remove the spaces in between, I placed a link to the art in my author profile. ;p
And yes, credit goes to Highpriestess747 for the idea for Shion's outfit, which will be use from now on in all chapters unless mentioned otherwise. Given what Shion wore in the first Shippuuden Movie, this new outfit suits the feisty priestess well. I'm sure Naruto does not mind her wearing this attire. XD
Before anyone slams me in saying that Shion shouldn't be wearing such clothing now that she is a mother, for Kami's sake, Haruki is only two months old! It's not like she has to make an example this soon in her son's life. Besides, if she's going to be walking around Konoha, she might as well wear something more comfortable to walk in than a kimono. Her visit to Konoha is sort-of like a vacation, since she does not have to bother with the burden of running a village under her rule. :)
2) One thing I really do not like about the Shippuuden anime is the total ignorance of Naruto being the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki was supposed to be a secret according to the Third Hokage's law. Out of the blue, almost every member of the Rookie 9 knew about the secret, when I know canon-wise, Naruto did not ever tell them. Maybe Neji and Shikamaru would have figured it out, but unless Naruto told them, there was no way every single one of them would have known about his secret. Sakura and Temari were surprised when Naruto told them during the 'Rescue Gaara' arc, so it made me believe the rest of the Konoha 11 was not aware of the secret either.
So I ignored the anime (and some aspects of the manga) and went with the notion that the rest of the Konoha 12, sans Sakura, was not aware of Naruto's burden. It made sense to me in light of the Third Hokage's law.
As for Naruto being easily accepted, well, he is a hero, and given all he had done for the village, who could possible believe he is the Kyuubi after all that? Besides, Naruto's generation and those younger do not have any emotional attachments to the Kyuubi, given they have not ever experienced the attack first-hand. Only the die-hards still believe Naruto is the Kyuubi, due to their emotional experiences are perhaps too deep to accept the truth.
3) For those who figured it out, yes, there are a Yamanaka and Nara in the classroom besides the Akimichi. I can't accept that the Nara, Yamanaka, and Akimichi clans are just Ino, Shikamaru, Chouji, and their parents. They have to have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins or else they wouldn't be even considered as 'clans' to begin with. ;p
4) I really have no idea whether 'Ringo' is an actual Japanese name. I found the name on a Japanese Baby Name website. It stated the name means "Apple; Peace be with…" Odd, I know. It does make me wonder whether the name was taken from The Beatle's drummer, Ringo Starr.
Anyway, I needed a name for the other instructor, so I found this name and used it. Nothing significant was behind using this name.
Yet, when I found I needed a name for Kurenai's son, I found the name 'Hajime' to be fitting. It means 'beginning', and it fits well that it is the beginning of Kurenai's new life. And yes, I'm aware that the name is also an actual Japanese word with the same meaning. I guess that in Japanese, like in English, the context of the word in a sentence determines whether someone is speaking the actual word or the name.
5) Since I placed the first Shippuuden movie just before 'The Akatsuki Immortals' arc in the timeline according to my notes in "Whatever It Takes," it's clear that Kurenai's child would be born after Shion's. With Kurenai being pregnant, there was no doubt she had been taken off the active-duty roster, but as soon as she gave birth, knowing her, she very much wanted to help in any way in Konoha's recovery efforts. So I gave her a teaching job at the Academy, since I figured the position will give her the time and freedom to adjust her life to accommodate her child while at the same time give her a sense of pride that she would make a contribution in helping her village recover from Pein's attack. :)
Besides… with Kurenai just recently given birth, she can become one of several people for Shion to bond since both are new to motherhood for the first time in their lives. :)
6) Well, I original planned to have Naruto introduced Shion to another two 'precious' people in this chapter, but since my Muse has made me kept writing and writing for the Academy meeting and then added the Team 8 scene, I'd decided it will be best to put in the next chapter the next introduction, which has been hinted strongly at the end of this one. ;)
7) Last, I'm sure most readers have seen Chapter 431 of the manga. Naruto really kicked ass in that chapter. (Yeah!) Yet sadly, it seems the chapter has brought another 'hint' that Kakashi really has bit the bucket. It's not a real confirmation, so I'm still hoping for the best the Copy Nin has pulled through. Yet if Kishimoto really intend for Kakashi to die, then I'm sad to see it happen. I'll still keep Kakashi alive in "WIT II" though, no matter the final outcome in the manga.