Naruto smiled happily as he ran outside onto the lawn where the surprise Daddy Iruka had for him was waiting. The blue fish was back! The blue fish was back!
"Up you go!" the big blue fish said with a sharp toothed grin as he picked him up and whirled him around.
"Whee." the big blue fish said as he tossed him high into the air, throwing him so he spun around on his way up and on his way down.
This was fun!
The big blue fish did it again and again.
It wasn't so fun anymore.
The big blue fish did it again.
His tummy felt funny.
The big blue fish did it again.
He threw up.
"ACK! He barfed on me!"
"They do that sometimes."
"Oh, hi Itachi. Thanks for leaving me in the lurch, not that you remember or anything..."
"I know it's really small, but you can stay here as long as you like." Kakashi said as he led Obito into his apartment.
After a check-up at the hospital which revealed that his teammate had amnesia, Obito's status had been legally changed from dead to alive. Such things were surprisingly easy in ninja villages, mostly because there had been identification errors and suchlike before, especially in times of war and other times of conflict where the bodies that were left behind could only barely be identified as human, much less have a name attached to them. There had been a few incidents where escaped prisoners of war had come home and discovered that their name was on the Memorial and that their spouses had remarried in their absence. Usually what it took to get their lives back was a once-over by a medic in which their blood was checked against the profile on file using an identity seal. If the person in question wanted to return to duty however, that's when things got more complicated and probationary periods and trips to the Yamanaka got involved.
Once Obito had been declared fit enough to leave the hospital, the matter of where he would go from there came up. There was no way in hell he'd be leaving Obito all alone in that empty Uchiha district, especially since his old home had gotten destroyed in the Kyuubi Attack. Minato-sensei had agreed, but he didn't have anywhere for Obito to stay, since he'd been hanging around the Hokage tower because his own home had been destroyed in the Kyuubi Attack as well. In the end, they'd decided that his apartment would be the best option even if it would be rather cramped for two people, considering the fact that it barely fit one, and occasionally some dogs who usually stayed outside.
"I'm afraid I won't be staying long mister," Obito said as soon as he moved aside to let the other man into the apartment. "I have orders to bring Kisame back to base. And besides, Konoha gives me a headache."
Sai looked around the apartment he would be sharing with Shin as soon as the other boy got out of the hospital. It wasn't the best, and it wasn't the worst either and the neighborhood seemed to range to just above the poverty line to lower middle-class. From the looks of things, the furniture that had come with the apartment to which he had been assigned had been at least second hand when its previous owner who'd been a bit rambunctious and semi-destructive had gotten their hands on it and subsequently left it behind, choosing to take only their personal effects with them when they had moved out.
Things would be rather lonely until Shin who'd been hiding an illness that had nearly reached the point where it would have been terminal returned from the hospital, but he would find a way to manage in his brother's absence. And, when his brother returned, they both could figure out a way to live in this strange new world that didn't have Danzo-sama in it. Danzo-sama who'd literally been skinned alive by the Hokage who'd objected to the fact that he'd been hiding village resources from him, and running what was apparently an illegal and unsanctioned Black-Ops program. A Black-Ops program of which he and Shin had been a part.
Crossing over to the kitchen table which was covered by a plain white cloth, he sat down for lack of something better to do. As he looked down, contemplating what he should be doing next since he wasn't particularly hungry, and he was running low on art supplies, he noticed that the tablecloth was dirty. Sighing, he pulled the cloth off the table in order to clean it. As soon as the cloth was clear of the table, he noticed that someone had carved something into the table. Setting the cloth aside, he went over to inspect the carving.
Carved into the wood of the table in rather sloppy hiragana was "Property of Uzumaki Naruto".
"You want to be what?!" Baki said, sure that he'd misheard Gaara.
"I want to be an Academy Instructor, then Kazekage. Godaime Kazekage if that is at all possible." Gaara stated flatly.
Apparently he'd heard correctly the first time.
He didn't know what Konoha had done to the boy, but he'd been acting strange ever since he'd arrived in that village to take and attack the Chunin Exams. He'd half expected Gaara to return to normal when he returned to more familiar surroundings, but that had apparently not been the case. Instead, he had found Gaara setting a strip of photo booth photos of him and that small blond toddler in a frame and setting it on his dresser, and now this...
"So, what brought this on?" he asked.
"While I was in Konoha, I was given time to think over my life and the direction in which it was headed, and the directions it could be headed in if I modified my behavior. After a great deal of thought I realized that I would like to emulate Umino Iruka." Gaara replied in that same flat tone he was rather familiar with, as it was the tone the boy usually used when "Mother" wasn't acting up.
Come to think of it, the Ichibi hadn't acted up even once since the failed invasion. He'd rather thought that the creature would have been screaming for the blood it had been denied or something, seeing as things had most definitely not gone to plan in that area. After Shukaku's sand form had collapsed in Konoha, there hadn't seemed to be a single peep out of the creature whom Gaara could only ignore for so long before he went all "Mother wants your blood!" and "Shut up or I'll kill you!" on everybody.
Come to think of it, he hadn't heard a single death threat out of the boy since Konoha either...
Taking his life into his own hands, he turned to question the boy.
"Gaara, are you feeling alright?" he asked.
"Never better." Gaara replied. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a nap."
"You're going to go take a WHAT?!"