Kakashi honestly didn't know why he'd decided to take that particular shortcut back to Konoha. If he'd taken another route, any other route, he wouldn't be dealing with the disaster he'd been stuck with. But then again, considering the nature of the Fountain of Youth, there had been no knowing that it would be in their path this time.
He had picked a different route home than the one they had taken to get to Wave, and ran his team at a much faster pace than normal for Genin of their skill level in case someone decided to take exception to the fact that they had defeated one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, namely Momochi Zabuza. There had been a number of extenuating circumstances surrounding the death of the Demon of the Mist, but he knew from experience that by the time word got out, all that anyone would hear was that Team 7 under Hatake Kakashi THE Copy Ninja had killed the rogue swordsman.
Running the Genin faster than he probably should have had been another factor in the disaster that occurred on the way back from the team's first C-Rank which had gone FUBAR on day one and gotten worse from there.
The incident in question had occurred when they had stopped for a short break when he had noticed that all three Genin - including Naruto who was usually a fountain of energy - were rapidly falling behind, too exhausted to continue. The team that had been running full tilt for Konoha had stopped near a clear pool of water, the source of which was flowing from a pile of rocks that stood in the middle of a rather peaceful looking clearing that seemed to be the perfect place to rest for a while before they resumed their harried pace back down the road. Next to this pool of water that looked deliciously cold was an old metal sign that said CAUTION!: PUBERTY! . A sign that Kakashi had been trained to look out for by his sensei and avoid.
Before Kakashi, who was tired himself as he was still recovering from the battle against the formerly legendary Momochi Zabuza, could react, all three twelve year-olds raced towards the water and started drinking greedily. He managed to pull the kids away after a few seconds, but by the time he had done so, the damage had already been done. All three children started rapidly shrinking before his eyes. When they finally stopped, there three two year-olds where his students had been.
After two long and arduous days he didn't even want to think about, during which he had to constantly send his Ninken out for food since Sakura and Sasuke refused to eat the ration bars that were all he had on him at the moment, clothes, and diapers and/or things that could be used as diapers Kakashi finally arrived at the gates of Konoha with Minato's son riding on his shoulders and Sasuke and Sakura under each arm.
"They should put a better warning sign on the Fountain of Youth. You're the second team in ten years that's happened to. Come to think of it, that pink haired one was on the last team who had a member fall victim to it if I remember correctly." The gatekeeper, who surprisingly enough wasn't Izumo or Kotetsu who seemed to have been given permanent gate-desk duty considering how often they manned the thing, said smirking.
Kakashi sighed as he signed in, dreading the confrontations that were to come. He just knew that Iruka was going to be a pain in the ass about this. The man hadn't let him hear the end of it when Naruto came back from one of his D ranks with a scratch that hadn't healed as fast as the others. Considering that extreme reaction, he just knew that Iruka would go ballistic once he found out that he had "let" Naruto get turned into a two year-old. After entering his team's check-in information, grabbing Sasuke from the sign-in table where he'd set him down so he could write, and getting a better grip on Sakura, he headed to the Hokage tower to make his report.
An hour after he arrived at the tower, while he was still giving his report to the Third Hokage who was cradling a sleeping Naruto while Sakura and Sasuke curled up at his feet, Shimura Danzo arrived.
"I heard that there was an accident with the Fountain of Youth." Danzo said after he hobbled over to stand by Kakashi.
"Yes there was, fortunately I have found appropriate guardians for all of those affected." The Hokage said with a sigh, immediately guessing what Danzo was getting at, since it had been the same thing he'd been trying to get at for the last twelve years.
"You're not entrusting Hatake Kakashi with the Jinchuriki are you?" Danzo said "Considering how well he did as the boy's instructor, I'd have to say that that's a bad idea."
"No, I'm giving him to Umino Iruka. Considering the fact that he's an instructor at the Academy and therefore less likely to be sent on dangerous missions, he would be better equipped to provide a more stable environment for the child." The Hokage replied.
"Why don't you just send him to the orphanage?" Danzo asked, obviously planning something.
"Considering his slightly malnourished condition, which is exactly as it was the last time he was this age, returning him to the orphanage would not be a good idea. Iruka has already agreed to take the child in, and has proven himself to be a reasonable and responsible person, especially when it comes to Naruto, several times over." The Hokage replied.
Danzo turned to leave, acknowledging that the Hokage had won this round. Sarutobi hadn't picked the boy's highly irresponsible Godfather or Minato's damaged pet, so he couldn't lodge a protest on the grounds that the jinchuriki would be ill cared for by people who would put him in danger due to their close ties to his father. Iruka was a responsible adult who was skilled with dealing with children, especially the child who contained the Kyuubi, and was therefore an exceedingly logical choice, a choice he couldn't object to without making it obvious that he was trying to "make another grab for power". There was some good that would come of Naruto being raised by the young Umino though, and that was that there would be little to no chance of the boy turning on his village for being "unloved" as some Jinchuriki have been wont to do.
As he'd headed towards the door, a memory struck him. Well, actually two memories. One of a pink haired toddler curled up at a slightly younger Third Hokage's feet, and another of an identical pink haired toddler running around a much younger Third Hokage playing with a six year old Asuma. Now that he thought about it, there were three memories, as he could vaguely recall being present when a rather familiar looking pink haired woman who was roughly the same age as Sarutobi's students made a report to the Hokage shortly before the start of the Second War.
"Is that Haruno girl cursed or something?" he asked nobody in particular as he left.
After Iruka came to pick up Naruto, glaring daggers at Kakashi as he left with the boy, Kakashi had been ordered to take his remaining two former students to their new homes. Dropping Sasuke off was easy, as he had simply dumped the child and the note from the Hokage into the arms of the first Hyuuga he came across when he'd reached the Hyuuga compound. With Sakura however...He'd gone to the address he'd been given, but when an elderly man answered the door, he was sure he was at the wrong house.
"Haruno Kinmaru?" Kakashi asked. That had been the name given for Sakura's father. Perhaps Sakura's grandfather was visiting.
The old man took one look at the child Kakashi was holding and groaned.
"Dear god, not again. At this rate, we'll never get any grandchildren." The man said.
Author's Note: I got the idea for the warning sign next to the Fountain of Youth from a quote in a Pirates of The Carribean fanfic where Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Turner, and someone else fall in and turn into kids and one of them says something along the lines of "They should put a warning sign up, Caution Puberty."