The Scandal in Konoha

Chapter Eight

It was silent and tense in the Hokage tower, Naruto, Hinata and Ino were seated in front of Tsunade, who was sitting stiffly in her chair, biting her lip nervously. Her unusual behavior was beginning to put everyone on edge.

Finally unable to stand the silence anymore, Hinata spoke quietly, "Lady Tsunade why have you asked us here?"

Tsunade seemed to pull herself together and stared at the three in front of her seriously. "The council is demanding that you be punished for injuring the Uchiha" She said.

"Punished?" Naruto frowned.

Tsunade fiddled with the papers on her desk, eyes downcast, she didn't want to see the reactions to what she was about to say. She gave a deep sigh, bracing herself. "They want me to banish you."

"No way!" They exclaimed loudly. "Can they even do that?"

"Koharu and Homura will certainly try to force me to." Tsunade said.

"And would you do it?" Naruto asked uncertainty shining in his eyes.

Tsunade gave him a stern look. "No! I wouldn't ever do that to you. You aren't safe in this village at the present time, with the Uchiha in critical condition, however."

Dread crept into him as he stared at the woman he had come to love as a mother. "What are you telling me Tsunade?"

On either side of Naruto, Ino and Hinata saw Tsunade flinch when he called her by her name. They both knew Naruto always affectionately called the older blond 'Granny Tsunade' and for him to not do so now meant he was being serious.

"I think it would be best for you if I reassigned you to an allied village for a while." Tsunade looked tearfully at the young man. "Just until Uchiha heals and things calm down. Think of it as a paid vacation."

"How long would I be gone?" Naruto hung his head. Just when he thought the village had finally accepted him, something happened to pull that from under him.

"Six months to a year. And you won't be going alone, Hinata and Ino have agreed to go with you."

Naruto lifted his head to stare, surprised, at the two sitting on either side of him. "You didn't have to. I would've been fine going alone."

Hinata smiled gently at him. "No we don't have to go with you but we want to Naruto. We want you to be happy and I think some time in Suna will make that happen."

"I've already talked to Gaara and he's agreed to letting you stay in his family compound. Pack up, you leave tomorrow morning."

"Wait what about Hiromi? I can't leave her here." 'With Sakura…alone.' He added in his head.

Ino rolled her eyes at him. "We're taking her with us of course. At least there, she'll have someone to play with whose her age."

Naruto nodded. A little over a year ago, Gaara had, at the insisting of his sister Temari, adopted a little boy who was only a year older than Hiromi. He was also a mute. Temari figured it would make him more popular as Kazekage if the villagers saw him adopting a special needs child.

She was right of course. Since the adoption, Gaara's popularity with the villagers had skyrocketed, especially among the single young women.

Naruto stood as did Ino and Hinata, saying their goodbyes to Tsunade and Shizune, who returned Hiromi to Naruto's arms. The little girl was only to happy to be back in Naruto's arms, she wrapped her pudgy little arms around his neck and giggled happily when he poked her playfully in the side.

The young adults made there way down the stairs, nodding politely to the ANBU guarding the entrance of the building. The three went their separate ways, each of them needing to pack.

Naruto sighed softly, shutting the door behind him and set Hiromi down as she started to wriggle. As soon as her slippered feet touched the carpeted floor she toddled toward her small pile of toys. She plopped onto her behind and pulled a stuffed fox to her and stuffed the toy into her mouth.

Naruto pulled out several scrolls from the desk drawer in the corner of the room and proceeded into his and Hiromi's rooms, bringing out piles of clothes and other necessities they would need. Diapers (Naruto couldn't wait until he had Hiromi potty trained), wipes, baby powder, lotions and many other things were sealed into one scroll while all their clothes went into another. Hiromi's toys were sealed into a third (Naruto left the ones she played with the most alone). Within the hour everything they would need was sealed into scrolls and they were put into a bag.

"Daddy?" Hiromi asked pulling the fox plushy out of her mouth. "I'm hungry."

Naruto leaned down and swung Hiromi onto his hip and walked into the large kitchen, setting her in the highchair before turning around and pulled the fridge doors open and pulled out the cup of freshly cut strawberries he knew was just for Hiromi. The little girl loved the sweet tasting fruit.

Naruto dumped the strawberries onto the highchair table and watched as Hiromi seized a fistful of the fruit and stuffed them into her open mouth, chewing nosily. The red juice of the strawberries dribbled down Hiromi's chin, dripping down onto her white t-shirt, staining the material pink.

Naruto stared at his young daughter. "Sweetie?" He said.

Hiromi looked up when she heard her daddy's voice, strawberry juice still dripping down her chin.

He was silent for a moment before speaking up, "Baby we're going on a little vacation tomorrow. To Suna."

"Is mommy coming too?"

Naruto's heart clenched at Hiromi's hopeful look and silently cursed Sakura and Sasuke for causing this. He shook his head gently. "Mommy is too busy working at the hospital to come. But Auntie Ino and Auntie Hinata are going to be coming. You like them remember?"

"But I want mommy to come too!" Hiromi protested loudly.

"She can't come Baby." Naruto said softly to the toddler.

"I want mommy to come with us!" She screamed furiously.

She grabbed a fistful of mashed up strawberries and lobbed them at Naruto, hitting him in the face.

"Hiromi you do not throw food when your upset." Naruto chided her wiping away the sticky mess on his face with his hand. He leaned forward and detached the table from the highchair and lifted her easily into his arms.

"I want mommy tah come with us!" Hiromi wailed fat tears rolling down her cheeks.

"I know you do Baby. So do I." He lied grimacing lightly, trying to reason with her. "But she simply cannot come with us. We'll have fun with Ino and Hinata, I promise."

"Buh…Buh…I want mommy!" She continued to wail, her little tantrum showing no signs of letting up anytime soon.

Naruto rubbed his head with his free hand, sighing. "You need a nap." He said carrying the struggling girl down the hall.


"Hiromi! Don't say no to me!"

A half an hour later an extremely tired Naruto collapsed onto the sofa, closing his eyes. He could still hear Hiromi's cries, muffled from the door, and knew she would be at it for several hours at most. If he had been paying any attention at all, he would have heard the front door squeak open and closed or heard the footsteps coming toward him, pausing only to take in Hiromi's wails.

Ino grinned innocently as she stood in front of the oblivious Naruto. It wasn't very often when she or their other friends could get the jump on Naruto but they took it when the opportunity came by and it didn't come very often because Kyuubi warned him most of the time. She opened her mouth, her eyes shining in innocent mischief.

"Kit. The mind-walker girl is trying to surprise you." The giant fox growled softly.

Naruto's eyes snapped open and focused upon Ino. "Hi Ino!" He said cheerfully.

Ino squeaked in surprise and jumped. "H…Hi Naruto." She said.

"What are you doing here? We're not leaving until tomorrow morning."

"I know that but I'm finished packing and was bored with staying home alone. So I decided to come see you and Hiromi." Ino said. "She doesn't sound very happy though. What did she do?"

Naruto spent the next couple of minutes explaining what had happened barely thirty minutes ago. At the end of his explanation Ino winced in sympathy.

Sakura shifted restlessly in the uncomfortable hospital chair and glanced up at her lover's bruised and battered face, trying to stifle a sob. She brushed away the stray tears on her cheeks and grasped his hand, squeezing gently. She wanted to hate Naruto for hurting Sasuke the way he did but she couldn't find it in herself to do so. Sakura still held some love for the blonde and she would always love the child they had together. She hoped he would forgive her someday.

"S…Sakura?" Sasuke moaned unexpectedly from the bed, a grimace of pain etched on his pale face.

"Sasuke!" Sakura yelped. "How are you feeling baby?"

"I feel like I've been mauled by a wild animal. And keep your voice down, my head is killing me!" He glared sideways at her briefly before closing his eyes again.

"I'm sorry!" She whispered franticly. "Can I get you anything?"

"I'm fine. Maybe you should go home Sakura and get some sleep. You're looking a little tired."

Sakura's eyes flashed in indignation. "It's your fault that I stayed up nearly the entire night!" She said.

"You didn't exactly tell me to stop though." He smirked smugly. "If I recall right I had you screaming 'Don't stop' the entire night."

Sakura flushed crimson. "Oh shut up."

"I only speak the truth."

Sakura smacked him gently in the arm. "Shut up." She said again.

"Make me."

Sakura leaned down and captured his lips with her own, opening her mouth slightly and allowing his tongue to enter and explore. Sakura felt a light tugging on the bottom of her shirt.

"We can't do it here, Sasuke." Sakura said softly as Sasuke sat up and started nibbling and kissing her neck. "You're supposed to be resting."

"Oh come on." He muttered against her neck. "Please? I'll rest later. I promise."

Sakura bit her lip. "I could lose my job here if we got caught." She whispered. "And you really do need to be resting, you're lucky Naruto didn't kill you earlier."

"I could've beaten him. I did it before."

Sakura raise her eyebrows. "You didn't touch him, even with the aid of Manda." She said. "How can you beat someone you can't even lay a hand on?"

Sasuke laid back against his pillows, trying to hide a wince when his broken ribs protested the slight movement. Sakura caught the expression on his face and frowned.

"Does anything hurt?" She asked leaning over him slightly.

Sasuke shook his head.

"Is it your ribs?" His pink haired lover asked. "I couldn't do very much for them and the more experienced doctors and nurses refused point blank to help you so I had to do everything myself."

Sasuke narrowed his eyes. "Why won't anyone else help you?"

"Well they helped carry you here but that was about it. As to why, I don't really know."

Sasuke frowned for a moment before paling.

"Sasuke what's wrong? Is it your ribs?" Sakura asked looking alarmed.

"I had a sudden thought. What's going to happen when Naruto's friends find out about this?" He asked.

Sakura buried her head into Sasuke's shoulder, allowing him to wrap his arms around her slim body. She didn't want to think about what any of their reactions were going to be when they found out. She shuddered and gave a little moan at the thought of what Gaara would do to them when and if he ever found out. The red haired Kazekage was fiercely protective of Naruto and thought of him as a brother.

"We're both dead." Sakura whimpered her voice was muffled since her face was still buried in Sasuke's shoulder.