The Grand Finale

The village of Konoha was hidden away behind a myriad of forests, the likes of which were seen nowhere else in the world. The trees were lush with greenery, and birds, squirrels, deer, bunnies, and the like frolicked freely and feasted upon the berries and nuts that grew aplenty. Tigers, giant caterpillars, bears, and snakes also lurked in the undergrowth of the woods, but those were not mentioned outside of events like the Chuunin Exams, and besides, jounin were regularly sent on missions to contain the beasts. It was great for retraining your muscles after an extended stay in the hospital.

It was through this environment that Jiraiya of the Three Sannin and Uzumaki Naruto trekked. The Fire Country was a lively place, and they were both glad to be home. After two years away, Naruto was ready for some Ichiraku ramen and a date with Sakura.

"As if," Jiraiya said, snorting.

Naruto glared up at him. "What do you mean, 'as if'? Of course she'll say yes! I've gotten stronger! And I've been gone so long!"

Jiraiya merely shook his head at the younger ninja.

"Look!" Naruto said excitedly, pointing ahead. "We're almost there!"

Indeed, the village gates were beginning to show through the small gaps in the trees, wide open and welcoming to weary travelers such as themselves.

Jiraiya grinned in spite of himself, and picked up his pace a little. Sure, no one was actually waiting for them as none were aware today was the day they would return, but he was still eager to spend a night in his own bed for a change.

With Hinata, Ino, Shino, and Kiba

"All right, now where the heck are they?" Kiba grumbled.

"Patience," Ino said sagely. "Patience, my friend."

Hinata stared toward the gate, waiting for a sight of anyone. "At least we're all set up," she said, trying to cover her nervousness.

Shino nodded. "This is good. Why? Because we will save time when Lee-kun and Naruto-san show up."

"I still don't really get why you guys are all so certain they'll show up now, of all times, but okay," Kiba said.

"Well," Ino began in a lecturing tone.

Kiba groaned to himself, putting his head in his hands, but not quite as literally as you may be imagining. It was still, of course, attached to his neck, attached to his shoulders, attached to his arms, attached to his torso, extending to his legs, attached to his feet, and wearing his shoes.

"If you think about it, Lee promised Gai-sensei he would hug everyone. And if there is one thing we all know about Lee, it is that he will never go back on his promises. With that in mind, we've been following him around pretty much all day long—at least since he left Konoha, at any rate—and we've yet to see him come across Jiraiya-sama and Naruto-kun. Since that's the case, it's a pretty reasonable assumption to make that they are also currently traveling and just haven't crossed paths with him yet. Also, it's been two years? How freaking long do you think Naruto needs to train anyway?" she wondered.

"You make an excellent argument," Kiba told her.

Ino beamed proudly.

"Um," a new voice said. "What exactly are you guys doing?"

"Sakura-san!" Hinata yelped. She looked around in a panic, uncertain how to explain or even if they should.

"We're setting up the stage for Lee to hug Naruto when he gets back," Ino said.

Sakura blinked.

"Because this way we will be prepared," Shino explained.

"Um. I think I left a needle in a patient back at the hospital," Sakura said, turning quickly to leave. Sometimes, in this village, it was easier to not understand.

"Well, okay then," Kiba said.

With Orochimaru, Kabuto, and Sasuke

"Well now, where were we with this?" Orochimaru asked, picking up his deck of cards and moving some around.

"Um, we weren't even playing cards. We're playing Ninja Monopoly," Kabuto said, sniffling into a hanky.

"Oh, right… where did all my money go?" the paler man wondered.

The other ninja whistled innocently as Sasuke rolled his eyes.

With Deidara and Sasori

"We'll probably get to Suna by next week!" Deidara said cheerfully as he blew random trees, squirrels, and rocks up.

Sasori snorted. "Such an optimist. Guess that hug really did work."

Deidara glared, but secretly smiled to himself. He was sure karma would resolve this one for him. If not, he could just blow Sasori-danna up himself.

In Konoha

"All right! Places, everyone!" Kiba yelled authoritatively.

Hinata dodged behind a fence, Kiba, Shino, and Akamaru walked around the corner, and Ino peered creepily through binoculars at the gate, hoping to gain some sight of Naruto before the kid left the forest and arrived home.

"So exciting!" Ino squealed.

A blur appeared on the horizon. She gasped and held tighter to the binoculars, twisting the ends to try and get the blur into focus. It was moving so quickly.

The blur resolved itself into two colors, orange… and… was that…

"Blue?!" Ino nearly fell from the tree. "I see him!" she yelled. "I see Naruto!" A solid thumping noise let her know everything was going according to plan… her plan, that is, as the thump was Hinata fainting to the ground. "Hehehe," the blonde chuckled.

"KONOHA!" Naruto yelled. "I'M HOO—"


Another blur collided with the first. Ino gasped again in excitement, abandoning the binoculars to just straight up ogle the sight. Shino worked the video camera as calmly as ever as Kiba tried to stick a microphone boom where the action was.

"YOU IDIOT!" the second blur cried. "You have to make your announcement more dramatic!"

"More dramatic than shouting 'I'm home' to the whole city?" Kiba wondered aloud.

The blurs ignored him, carrying on their argument—discussion. "You need music! You need dancing! You need ladies! You especially need ladies," the second blur clarified, drooling at the mere idea.

Naruto smacked his forehead in disgust. "I can't believe I put up with you for two years. If you'll excuse me," he said pointedly, stepping around his teacher and running up a pole using his chakra. "Attention Konoha!" he said calmly, arms spread wide. "Uzumaki Naruto is home."

"Okay," grumbled Jiraiya to himself (and the hidden cameras). "That was kind of cool."

Ino giggled to herself. All the Youtube views!

Until suddenly, something launched itself into the poor unsuspecting blonde and he toppled to the ground, helpless, and unable to defend himself.

With Lee

"I hope I return soon! The sun is beginning to sink!" worried our Green Beast of a Hero.

The forest was thick at this point, and he knew Konoha was close. Up ahead, though, what did he spy? Two figures walked through the woods, heading in the direction of his precious village. He squinted. They looked vaguely familiar, but he couldn't entirely place who they were… had he hugged them today?

As they grew closer, he spotted the white hair of the larger fellow on the left. No hug pins were present, however. Lee narrowed his eyes, and drew his Weapon… of Mass Hugstruction.

Hey, it'd been a long day. He'd hugged like seven billion people, for crying out loud.

Leaping up, Lee curled his legs around him and flipped into the tree tops. He knew where these fellows were going, and it just so happened that Gai-sensei had taught him a short cut.

Laughing to himself, Lee rubbed his hands together and—"Ouch," he said. "I stabbed myself with a pin."

Back with Naruto

"What the heck!?" Naruto shouted. He pulled whatever had attacked him off his face and blinked. "Oh my kami, what are you doing here?!" he cried.

A pitiful moan escaped his nemesis's lips.

"Tora, you evil little kitty. Get back to your dagnammed owner and stay there!" Naruto rebuked the feline. "Honestly, do you never learn? And don't just jump on people's faces."

Appropriately shamed, Tora mewed pathetically and turned his/her/its head away, tail between his/her/its legs as he/she/it wandered away.

Naruto dusted his hands off, looking about to say something before another blur tackled into him and they flopped to the ground.

Ino later described that moment on the director's cut version of KISH's Home Video: Lee Hugs the World as one of utmost hilarity. The look on Naruto's face was both perplexed and accepting, as if he was confused about what was occurring even as he expected it to happen because the irony was just too great for the Fates to pass up a moment like that one.

And when the smoke cleared, and Ino, Kiba, Shino, Hinata, and the camera and all the viewers could see who had tackled Naruto and why, it appeared that all expressions were justified and hugs completed.

Jiraiya, sideswiped with pins and a hug in the ambush, was dumbfounded at the sight before him for just slightly less than 0.00001 seconds before he burst into loud guffaws and whipped out a camera of his own.

Lee, complete with hug pins and a glowing smile, had his arms wrapped around a shell-shocked Uzumaki Naruto, and was curled close and snoring as Shino zoomed the camera in. Mission complete, it appeared the poor shinobi could stay awake no longer.

That is, until Naruto screamed some unforgivable profanities which shan't be repeated here into his ear until Lee's head started bleeding everywhere.

It was difficult convincing Ino to heal that one without letting Gai-sensei find out about it; after posting the first Hug Video online, she received so many views, fanmail, and love letters, the temptation to create another one was almost irresistible. Almost…

Luckily for all of Konoha, Tsunade stepped in.

"And seriously, Gai, stubbing your toe is not the end of the world. I can't believe you were so melodramatic about this that I had to throw your student out of a window and across the village."

Gai grinned sheepishly. "All in the name of Youth!" he declared.