Author's notes:

This chapter is beyond late. While I rather not go into details, I am just happy to update it. Enjoy the update, and hopefully, I can resume my normal updating pace!

Chapter 04: Disclosure

"Sorry Naruto, but Sakura isn't on duty," Ino said as they entered the waiting room while Naruto pinched his eyes closed. He awakened before sunrise to get training out the way. Afterward, he wanted to find Sakura – or any other familiar face in Konoha. Although finding one in the Yamanaka girl was a nice surprise at this time of day, it's not what he expected.

"She'll be here in for the daytime shift in about two hours, but she may arrive earlier," Ino said after she grabbed a stack of papers from a desk and glanced at a schedule for medical shinobi. Opening her lab coat, she added, "If anything, she's probably inside her apartment. I can give you the directions—"

"Th-That's fine," Naruto said quickly as he shook his head. The last time he tried to visit Sakura at her home, he procured several bruises. Granted, they went away within a half-hour thanks to his tenant, but it was a testament to how hard his teammate struck back then.

"If you don't want to see her there," Ino said, breaking the brief silence, "you can visit the girl you brought in yesterday. It's better than waiting here and doing nothing."

"Wait," Naruto said as he folded his arms. "How do you know about—"

"I have my resources," Ino said as she winked. Between her morning shift overlooking the girl periodically, speaking to Sakura in the evening, and her father handling the memory scan, she knew more than everyone within Konoha aside from Tsunade. "Anyway, Hokage-sama gave you clearance to see Hinamori-san. Same room from yesterday evening."

"I'll go visit her again," Naruto said as he placed his hands in his pockets. "I did promise her that."

"My break is almost over," Ino said as she pinned her hair up again. As she walked to a door, she stopped Naruto and pointed at a sign that read "Medical Personnel Only Beyond This Point."

"Oh," Naruto said as he walked toward the direction of another door. "I'll go through this way."

"If I see Sakura," Ino added as a smile formed on her face. Naruto turned his head toward her as she added, "I'll tell her where to find you."

x X x

After the brief conversation with Ino, Naruto traveled upstairs and walked to the room where Hinamori was. Much to his surprise, two people were already inside the room with the patient. One of the people was Tsunade, the other was a man with a long blond ponytail. The man in some ways resembled Ino.

"Uh," Naruto said as he glanced at the two people, then at Hinamori. The man had his hand on Hinamori's forehead and his eyes closed in concentration. "Did I come at a wrong time?"

"Inoichi began the mind scan about twenty minutes ago," Tsunade said as she turned toward Naruto. "Since this is a classified interrogation, I should kick you out." Naruto was prepared to protest, but Tsunade put a finger to her lips and continued, "But you are immersed in this situation."

"Right," Naruto said as he eased down on a nearby chair as he glanced at Hinamori. "She agreed to this?"

"Without a problem," Tsunade said with a nod. "She told us she had nothing to hide."

At that moment, Inoichi opened his eyes wide, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Are you okay?" Tsunade said as her attention shifted toward the man, preparing to give him medical aid.

"I'm fine," Inoichi said as he waved the Hokage away. "Just surprised with what I discovered in her mind." Tsunade sat in a chair as he pinched his eyes closed. He opened them and turned toward Hinamori briefly before giving them his direct attention. "I checked for any genjutsu in her mind, and there were none to be found. That said, the girl told you the truth."

Naruto smiled in approval. While the story was farfetched, somehow, he believed that she was a shinigami. Something was unusual about the girl.

"How is that possible?" Tsunade said as her hands balled into fists. "The girl said she was a shinigami. There is no way that—"

"She is, and that surprised me too," Inoichi responded in a calm manner, interrupting the Hokage. "I scanned her memories, and there are many instances of her using the hilt of her blade to send souls to the afterlife. She is also from a town named Seireitei. Many of these 'shinigami' reside and train there."

"There is no place named Seireitei on this continent," Tsunade said. "I traveled everywhere, and I haven't heard it."

"There is another explanation for that, although people will believe it as much as her being a shinigami," Inoichi said as he glanced at Hinamori again. "She is not from this world." Tsunade and Naruto were about to protest, but Inoichi held his hand up. "One of her memories revealed that she received an assignment to lead a squad and investigate our world. It also confirmed what caused the explosion yesterday. A subordinate triggered one of our explosive traps shortly after they arrived."

"Everything makes sense," Tsunade said as she glanced at Hinamori. She turned away as her hand relaxed on her lap. "The problem is, the council will never believe this."

"So what can we do?" Naruto said as he rubbed the back of his neck. "She shouldn't be punished for telling the truth."

"We won't imprison her Naruto, but we must create a statement for the council, and give her comrades a proper burial," Tsunade said. She stopped when she noticed that Hinamori opened her eyes. "When she recovers fully from her injuries, I want her in my office to explain more, then I will decide the best course of action. Until then, she is not allowed to leave the village."

"I can't go home anyway," Hinamori said with a raspy voice. "The device I used to open the gate was destroyed in the explosion." She lowered her head as she continued, "I can send a message to Seireitei, but someone from there must open the gate for me."

"You can send messages between worlds?" Tsunade asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes," Hinamori said. "I couldn't do so earlier because my reiatsu level was low, and something blocked my attempts, but I may be able to do it now." The three blondes watched as she gathered her reiatsu and created what appeared to be a blue and black butterfly. The butterfly fluttered outside the window and disappeared in a flash of light.

Tsunade, Naruto, and Inoichi looked at the girl, surprised with what she managed to do with what appeared to be chakra.

"That was a hell butterfly," she said with a shrug. "Shinigami use them to communicate across worlds. I sent the status of my mission."

"I'd say based on that technique, your cha... reiatsu reserves are in good shape," Tsunade said. "Our medics will determine if you can leave the hospital later today, or if you need more time."

"Thank you Tsunade-sama," Hinamori said, realizing that she was the current leader of this village.

"We're done here," Tsunade said as she spoke to Inoichi. Her attention shifted to Naruto as she continued, "You staying?" When Naruto nodded, she nodded and the two blond adults left.

"I'm glad you're feeling better Momo," Naruto said with a grin. He leaned forward as he asked, "So what's it like being a shinigami?"

"It not that much different from being a normal soul," Hinamori said as she reclined in the bed. "We learn techniques and get different responsibilities, but other than that, everything is the same." Of course, she never mentioned the different techniques involve dozens of spells, hand-to-hand combat and the use of a unique weapon, while the responsibilities included slaying various monsters.

"So it's like being a ninja instead of a civilian," Naruto said aloud as Hinamori looked at him slightly confused. Realizing the scenario, he continued, "Our village has civilians, but some of us are ninja that protect the village and handle various missions. We learn the basics in an academy, then we train on our own."

"Really?" Hinamori said as she smiled. "Seireitei has an academy for shinigami!"

"When you're feeling better, I'll show you around Konoha," Naruto said. "Although I need to look around myself. I haven't returned in three years."

"I'd love to Naru—" Hinamori said as she folded her hands. However, she paused when she and Naruto saw a familiar pink-haired girl enter the room.

"Hey Sakura!" Naruto said with wide grin. "What brings you here?"

"First, I'm the medic in charge of Hinamori-san," she deadpanned. "Second, Ino said you were looking for me. Third, I passed by Tsunade, who told me what happened."

"Oh yeah," Naruto said, remembering that he spoke to Ino before he came here. "When you're done with medical duty today, want meet with Kakashi-sensei. I want to give him something I brought from my travels."

"That's fine by me," Sakura said as a smile began to form on her face while she checked Hinamori's charts. With an innocent tone, she added, "So what did you get me while you were away?"

"I left your gift at my apartment," Naruto said with a sheepish expression. "I'll bring it when we meet later." Sakura shook her head and focused her attention on Hinamori, knowing how forgetful the blond could be.

"How are you this morning Hinamori-san?" Sakura asked as she checked the girl's pulse.

"I'm feeling better," Hinamori said. Sakura's ability to heal reminded her of Retsu Unohana, although Sakura did not have the warm aura that the captain of the fourth division exhibited. "Thanks Sakura-san, and please feel free to call me Momo."

"Okay, Momo," Sakura said as she felt somewhat uneasy around the shinigami, knowing who she was. She had several questions, one of which was that could Hinamori take someone's life without a problem?

Then again, that would not make her much different from a shinobi.

"Well, I should go find a few other people," Naruto said as he left his seat. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a book while giving it to Hinamori. Before she could ask, he added, "That's a guide to Konoha. I used it to relearn certain places, but you probably need it more than I do."

"Thank you Naruto-kun," she said as she accepted the book, which caused Sakura to raise an eyebrow at the blond. However, she returned to a neutral face when his focus shifted back to her.

"I'll see ya later Sakura!" Naruto said. When she nodded, he turned on his heel and left the room, closing the door quietly.

x X x

That marks the end of this chapter.

Ugh, I had to split this chapter, as it broke the word limit by a lot. The second part of this chapter will be posted tomorrow, as I want to make a brief edit.

Next, Naruto and Sakura (finally) meet Kakashi, and Tsunade speaks with the council about Hinamori.

Until then, I ask that you reveal your thoughts, questions, and critique about the chapter (or story overall at this point) in a review, as I take the time to answer in a (usually) polite manner and make considerations.

Until then, have a good day ... or night.