Chapter Eleven: A Marriage and a Court Martial
Two days after the Hokage's announcement that Hinata and Naruto were to be married, a very disparate group were assembled in the office of the Hokage. There were six people. The Hokage was dour as usual, Hiashi was as gleeful as possible, Jiraiya was indifferent, Anko was irritated, Hinata was nervous, and Naruto, well, it was impossible to determine how Naruto felt. There was a paper on the Hokage's desk that awaited several signatures. It the reason that everyone had been assembled this bright and cheery morning. "Sign the marriage contract," Hiashi said. Hinata slowly took the pen and signed her name to the paper and then offered the pen to Naruto.
He took the pen from Hinata's fingers and lowered it to the paper. He finished signing his name and sighed. He took the smaller of the two golden rings resting on a small pillow beside the contract and took Hinata's hand in his. He put her ring on her finger, keeping eye contact all the while. Then Hinata did the same. There. It was done. He was officially a Hyuuga now. He sighed at his new father-in-law when he broke out in a very un-Hyuuga grin.
"Very good. I will arrange to have your possessions moved into the complex later today."
"Hold the fuck up. What are you talking about?" Anko had uncrossed her arms and pushed off the wall that she was leaning up against.
Hiashi frowned. "Your son is a Hyuuga now. He shall be removed from your residence to somewhere more appropriate to his new station."
"Listen you little-"
"Anko!" the Hokage barked sharply, cutting her off before she could dig herself into more trouble than she could deal with.
Anko snarled incomprehensibly as she whirled on her heel and stalked out. "Well, if that is all..."
"With your permission, I shall take my leave." Hiashi's voice was perfectly level, yet Sarutobi could hear the smug undertones to his words. Hiruzen gestured airily towards the door and nodded towards it. Hiashi nodded back and swept out of the room, quickly followed by the newlyweds, leaving Hiruzen alone with Jiraiya. He doubted that there was going to be a honeymoon, or much celebration going on tonight.
"Well," the Sandaime Hokage said as he leaned back in his chair, "that could have gone better."
"For once, old man, I completely agree."
Anko was leaning against the wall opposite the entrance to the Hokage's office when Naruto led Hinata out. It took Naruto a moment to notice that Tenten was there as well. Glancing down at his beringed hand, he self-consciously covered the golden band up with the other and averted his gaze. Tenten approached him and took his hands in hers. "It's alright Naruto-kun. I knew that this was going to happen, and have accepted it." This was whispered at a volume so that only the pair of them would hear her words. Tenten dearly wished to kiss him, but refrained. For the time being, she and Naruto were going to keep their relationship on the down-low, at least until Naruto's new position was a bit more secure and not to antagonize Hiashi unduly. Hinata, Naruto noted out of the corner of his eye had ducked her head and had also covered her marriage band up.
Anko had never approved of this whole venture and let Naruto know it. She wasn't particularly fond of the Hyuuga in the first place, and was even less fond of Naruto's reasons for joining them. "Well, you all have the day off. You two," she said pointing at Naruto and Hinata, "need to get him," pointing at Naruto, "settled into your," back to Hinata, "home. Meanwhile," now pointing at Tenten, "you and I are going to get so drunk that we will piss alcohol." Tenten looked out a window, noting that it probably was not much past ten.
"You know, that sounds like an idea worthy of some sort of medal." Naruto and Hinata looked on as Anko and Tenten hooked arms and proceeded to the nearest bar, God help the barkeep if his tried to turn that pair away.
"There is no way that is going to end well."
"That is the understatement of the century." The silence stretched between the two, neither one able to think of something to say.
"So, um, wanna come help me move out?"
"Sure, Naruto-kun." Naruto led Hinata out of the Hokage's Tower to his home. Naruto stopped dead after the third time that he had to pull Hinata up beside him after she would fall back to walk behind him, hands folded and head ducked submissively.
"Okay, we are going to have to lay down some ground rules here. We just got married... God that sounds weird... anyways, we just got married, but that does not have to mean that everything has to be weird between us. I would like to stay friends with you if I could Hinata, but I can't do that if you are constantly walking in my shadow. Just... act normal. Okay?"
"I-i will try Naruto-kun."
"Great!" Naruto exclaimed. A few minutes later found them staring at Anko house, which had been overrun with Hyuuga branch house members. With neat precision and efficiency, Naruto watched as half a dozen Hyuugas quickly package his room up and roof hop their way to his new living quarters. Naruto picked up his ninja tools and followed Hinata out.
They returned to ground level as they approached the main gates of the Hyuuga complex. He stopped as the two guards opened the gate to admit them, bowing low and saying, "Welcome back, Hinata-sama. Welcome home, Naruto-sama." That froze him in his tracks, only to be tugged forward.
"Okay, that was the single weirdest experience in my life, being called Naruto-sama by Hyuugas of all people."
"Better get used to it Naruto-kun. You are a member of the main house of the First Clan. You are an important person. And husband to the heiress to the Hyuugas. The only people who outrank you now, socially, are my father, the Sannin and the Hokage."
"Make that double weird. This is going to take some getting used to."
"I am sure that you will adjust fine."
"I wish I was as sure of that as you are."
Hinata led the way past the courtyard and into the house proper. They took off their sandals to see a branch member waiting for them. "Hinata-sama, Naruto-sama, if you would follow me?"
Waiting for them to nod the man made a small bow and turned to lead them away. "Your possessions have been moved to your new room Hinata-sama." Hinata was feeling acutely nervous. She was Naruto's wife, but she did not feel it. She hoped that she would not have to share a bed with him immediately. She was sure that she would be unable to sleep if that was the case. She was instantly ashamed of her thoughts. Naruto was her husband, whether it felt like they were married or not. She should be eagerly awaiting his bed, not secretly dreading it.
Regardless, she let out a small sigh of relief when the branch house member stopped at an unoccupied two bedroom suite. The sitting room was about average size, thirty feet from front to back long and forty feet form left to right. There were several overstuffed armchairs and coffee tables between them, all circling a large rug. On the opposite wall were two widely spaced doors. The one to the left was Naruto's, the handful of boxes containing his meager possessions in the process of being unpacked. There was a very thick futon in the middle of the back wall and a small and sturdy cabinet next to it. Upon closer inspection, he saw that there was a kunai-sized slot on the side the futon was on. Inside were two shelves, made to hold kunai on the top, and shuriken on the bottom.
On the other side of the futon was a medium wardrobe, all his clothes neatly folded or hung as appropriate. The branch Hyuugas soon finished unpacking and with a "by your leave, Naruto-sama," departed. Naruto followed them out and entered Hinata's room.
"Hey Hinata-chan," he greeted. The woman he was addressing was being assisted by another Hyuuga servant in moving her far more numerous belongings in. To her embarrassment, Hinata squeaked and whirled to face the voice, holding and article of clothing to her ample bosom.
Naruto grinned at the rosy red coloring her cheeks and the very thin white nightie, that judging by the way that it draped itself over her front, might or might not cover her naughty bits. When Hinata realized what she was holding to her chest, as if testing it on for size, she squeaked again, stuffing it behind her back, blush expanding twofold.
"Naru... I wasn't... that is... it's not..." As she realized that she was stuttering, she clamped her mouth shut and took several deep calming breaths. When she opened her eyes again, she had regained a measure of control over her flaming features. "This isn't what it looks like Naruto-kun."
Still grinning, she shook his head. "I don't know that. And you look so cute when you are embarrassed." Of course, that comment only set her to increasing her blush and stammering again.
"Stop that! Hinata is a good girl!" That remark was punctuated by a sharp smack to the back of his head.
Sakura stepped past Naruto to greet Hinata. "Good morning Sakura-san, Ino-san."
Naruto turned around to look at the older blond."Hey there Ino-san. What are you doing here?"
"Sakura wanted to see Hinata. She dragged me along."
"What are you doing here anyways?" Sakura broke off her conversation to look over at Naruto.
"Hinata and I were just married. I just finished moving my stuff in."
Sakura stood there silently for a moment before she broke out laughing. "Seriously? Naruto, you need to work on your pranks. You seem to be slipping."
"I am serious. See, marriage band," he said, raising his left hand and pointing at the golden metal encircling his second to last finger."
That cut off Sakura's laughter pretty quick. She stared incredulously at his hand before looking to Hinata. Without saying a word, Hinata showed her ring to Sakura. Ino was leaning against a wall, well away from the burgeoning conflict, slightly amused.
"What the hell Naruto? You were dating Tenten-san just last week and now you are married to your other teammate?"
"It's complicated," Naruto answered shortly.
"That is no answer! How could you do this to poor Tenten?" Taking a breath she turned away from Naruto to start in on Hinata. "And here I thought that you were a nice girl. How could you steal Naruto away from Tenten like that?"
"Sakura-san!" Naruto barked, cutting her off, shocking her by his tone and form of address. "This is not something that concerns you. Hinata and I have good reasons for going into this, as well as Tenten. I do not appreciate you barging in here and accusing me of anything when you know nothing."
That shut Sakura up very quickly. "Oh, um, I, uh, I'm sorry."
Naruto sighed. "I know Sakura-chan. You weren't being deliberately hurtful. It's just that this is an awkward situation for everyone involved. Your barging in here and starting yelling at us isn't helpful."
"Well, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you."
Naruto rolled his eyes. "Yes you did, but it is the thought that counts I suppose."
An awkward silence fell over the group, everyone shifting nervously, Hyuuga servants working in the background.
"So," Ino gushed, artificially cheery, "what are you doing moving all your belongings? You already live here."
"These are to be our rooms. Naruto-kun's room is the other one connected to the sitting room."
"You two really are married?"
"Yeah, I even had my surname legally changed to Hyuuga," Naruto grunted.
"If you don't mind my asking, how long have you two been married?"
Naruto glanced up at a clock on the wall. "About an hour," he said, somewhat sourly. "There was no ceremony, just a signing of a marriage contract and an exchanging of rings."
Both Sakura's and Ino's faces fell a bit at this. "But you will have a proper ceremony and reception later." Sakura's tone made it clear that it was not a question.
"Listen Naruto, there is no 'maybe' about it. Every woman dreams of the day that they get married, and has her dream wedding planned out for years. There is zero possibility for you marrying Hinata and not having a proper ceremony."
Naruto leaned away from Sakura, who had leaned in close to him, shaking a finger under his nose. The berated blond tilted his head to peer past Sakura's angry features, pleading for Ino to rescue him. The other blond just shook her head and smirked, clearly saying 'you're on your own on this one buster,' far too amused to help him out.
"Um... Sakura-san, I really don't need a wedding celebration. I am fine with the way the things are now. Sakura whirled, shock splayed across her features, missing the relief evident in Naruto's face and sagging shoulders.
"What do you mean you are fine with the way things are? You are forced into a political marriage, married by signing a contract, never got to cut your cake, and you say you are fine? This is completely unacceptable. You are the heiress of the Hyuuga Clan, your father should be begging to be able to hold your wedding ceremony. It is not every day that something like this happens, you got to enjoy it,-"
"Alright Sakura, I think they get the point." Ino had decided that Sakura was getting a little out of hand here.
Naruto never thought he would be more glad to see the face of a Hyuuga (other then Hinata of course,) than he did right at that moment as a servant opened the door and knelt before them.
"Hinata-sama, Naruto-sama, Hiashi-sama requests your presence in his office when you are done settling in."
Sakura and Ino both looked at Naruto with a measure of surprise, simultaneously uttering, "Naruto-sama?"
Hinata nodded at the servant and dismissed him while Naruto answered the other two girls. "Tell me about it. If you think it is weird for you, it applies doubly for me."
"Well, I think it is time for us to be going. Hinata needs to finish moving in and then they have to speak with her father. We can come again later," Ino told Sakura. Naruto could have kissed the girl.
"Alright. See you around you two," Sakura waved as the and Ino left the room.
"Holy crap. I could have sworn that was Ibiki under a genjutsu there for a minute." Hinata giggled. She had no idea who Ibiki was, but from Naruto's comparison, he had to be an intimidating individual. Naruto sat down on Hinata's futon as she went back to work helping load up her wardrobe. Hinata sure had a lot of clothes. The servants had been at it for twenty minutes and they were only two thirds done.
"Hey Hinata-chan, do you want a wedding ceremony?"
Hinata's hands slowed at folding some clothes and put them onto a shelf before turning to face her husband.
"Um... I know that you don't l-love me Naruto-kun, and possibly never will. I wouldn't want to put you in a position that would force you to say s-something that you did not truly f-feel. If the day ever came that you did l-love me, then I would be happy to have one. But until that day, I am s-satisfied without one."
Naruto didn't know what to say to that, so he said nothing. When he was silent for a few seconds, Hinata turned back to her clothes. Internally, Naruto was in turmoil. He didn't know a lot about women, but what little he did know told him that, like Sakura said, women liked to be primped, prettied, and at the center of attention. So, as a good husband, he should hold his wife's happiness above his own. Sure he could say three words to her if it would make her happy. He was sure that if approached in the proper way, that Hiashi wouldn't have too much trouble with paying for his daughter's wedding. The Hyuugas were loaded after all.
He shelved his musing to continue at a later date when the last of Hinata's clothes were hung up in the wardrobe. The servants bowed to them both and left the two alone. "Well, time to talk to your father I suppose."
Hinata nodded silently and wiped invisible dust from her knees, gesturing for Naruto to follow her. She had been thinking hard while finishing with her clothes. It was clear to her that Naruto was troubled about what Sakura had said about not having a wedding. But, as his wife, was it not her duty, her obligation, to put his needs and welfare, both physical and emotional above her own? He readily acknowledged the fact he did not love her as a spouse should, and that he was still held Tenten as closest to his heart. She would have to speak to him again about having a wedding ceremony, making sure that he did not feel obligated to give her one, even if he did not love her.
However, she was forced to shelve her thoughts as they approached the door that separated them from her father. Naruto offered her a weak smile as she looked at him for courage before opening the door. She knelt to open the door and allowed Naruto to enter before her, and then closed it behind her. There were two cushions for them to sit on across the desk from Hiashi.
"You summoned us Father." Hiashi ignored his daughter as he continued to write on a piece of paper. He signed his name with a flourish and handed it to a nearby branch Hyuuga, dismissing every one but his daughter and son-in-law.
Hiashi stared sternly at the pair for a handful of seconds before speaking. "There are several reasons I have called you here. Hinata, in light of your recent successful completion of both a C-rank mission and an A-rank mission, along with other considerations, I am going to publicly announce you as my heir."
"What of Hanabi Father?"
"She will be marked with the Caged Bird Seal and removed to the branch house."
"I see," she said softly, ducking her head.
"None of that now," Hiashi barked. "You are to lead the Hyuuga. We are the greatest clan in Konoha, and cannot afford to show weakness. If the clan head is weak, then the clan is weak. And the Hyuuga are not weak. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes Father," she replied in the same tone.
"Is speaking to her in that tone really necessary?" Naruto was rather incensed at the derogatory tone of the words Hiashi had directed at his wife. He may have found Hiashi to be rather reasonable while they were working all of this out, but that did not mean he was going to be under his thumb. Hiashi had come to him after all. "Hinata-chan is many things, kind, gentle, and beautiful among them, but she is not weak. She is one of the strongest people I know. Just because she dislikes harming her family, despite the distaste and disgust you clearly show for her, does not mean she is weak. There are kinds of strength other than physical might."
"To judge her by your plebeian standards she may not seem that way. But as a Hyuuga, and future clan head, she is held to a higher standard than a non-Hyuuga is."
Naruto snorted and looked away. Hinata winced. This was not going well at all. The way things were heading, Naruto might end up with the Caged Bird Seal himself. She had to defuse this fast. Thinking quickly she spoke into the tense silence that had settled between her father and her husband.
"Father, I know that I am not a proper Hyuuga, so why are you designating me as your heir? You have been favoring Hanabi-chan over me for years."
"Hanabi-chan has been deemed unfit to serve as clan head for several reasons, none of which are your concern." Hiashi chose to ignore the scowl that Naruto had on his face, who was attempting to burn a hole through the rice paper walls with his eyes.
Hiashi's expression, which had relaxed slightly hardened again. "We shall see. For now, you may leave. Return to the compound for dinner to begin your first social lessons."
Naruto rose and offered a hand to help Hinata up, giving a tiny nod of respect to his father-in-law as he closed the sliding door.
Hiashi waited a few moments before seallessly activating the lowest level of his Byakugan, extending his sight only a dozen meters to make sure he was alone before removing a framed picture of is deceased wife holding a newborn Hinata. He traced her face with a finger, nostalgia briefly overcoming him. "Hitomi, what would you have done in my position? Would you have raised our daughter to be a proper Hyuuga? I fear I have made a grave mistake and only hope that I can recover in time." Sighing softly, he turned the picture over and lay it face down in the bottom most drawer of his desk. 'Please, Hitomi, tell me what I should do.'
Naruto was feeling understandably tense and nervous that evening as he and Hinata returned to the Hyuuga mansion. The pair had spent most of the day doing nothing, just spending time with one another. They had eaten lunch at Ichiraku's, and were forced to endure Ayame's interrogation on why and how they were married. Unfortunately, it seemed that Ino, being the shameless gossip that she was, had wasted no time in telling every person that she came across of Naruto's new living arrangements. And of course, everyone knew where to find Naruto during lunch.
So, within relatively short order, the Ichiraku's Ramen Bar and been inundated with overly nosy former classmates and friends. Teuchi, being a businessman, also figured out a way to benefit from Naruto and Hinata's misery. He announced to the gathered crowd that anyone who wished to hang about to listen to Naruto's tale had to order something to eat. Naruto gave a sour eye to the old man, but he just grinned and spread his hands, as if to say, 'well, what else am I supposed to do?'
Naruto supposed that this was for the best, so he didn't have to answer the same questions dozens of times over, but it was annoying to be pestered over and over again about the details. Finally, he had enough and finished off his bowl of ramen in one huge mouthful, before sweeping Hinata from her feet bridal-style and fleeing the scene. That, of course did not help the rumors and speculation of a possible three-way that were already sprouting in some of the less, restrained, audience.
Naruto set a blushing Hinata down several miles away, and several hundred feet up.
Flashback no Jutsu
"This is beautiful Naruto-kun!"
"Yeah I like to come up here on the Hokage Rock to be alone and think sometimes."
"I can see why."
Naruto nodded and sat down, pulling Hinata between his spread legs, wrapping his arms around her stomach. "N-n-naruto-k-kun!"
"Sh. Be quiet Hinata-chan."
"But what about Tenten?"
"Hinata-chan, you are my wife now. I am sorry that I do not love you in the way that I should, and maybe, I eventually could. But I do not like seeing you in pain. I know that I cause you pain when you seem me and Tenten-chan together, so this is me trying to make up. You have been incredibly generous to give us your blessing, something that I had never expected to get. I like you Hinata-chan, and you are a precious person to me. So, please, let me hold you, and hopefully make you feel a little better."
Hinata didn't know what to say to that, so she said nothing, blinking back the tears that his kindness brought to her eyes. "Naruto-kun, did you mean what you said to my father?"
It was lucky for Naruto that he had been listening to Hinata's breathing, or else he might not have her her breathy question. "What part?"
"That I am beautiful."
"Of course I did Hinata-chan. You are one of the prettiest girls I know."
Hinata sat there silently, the unasked question tugging at her lips, 'am I more beautiful than Tenten?'
Flashback no Jutsu kai
Naruto was so lost in his own internal world that he blinked in surprise and refocused his gaze when he felt Hinata's hand on his arm. He jerked to a halt and looked down. Hinata had stopped him two steps from running over a small girl.
"Good evening Hanabi-chan."
"Good evening Hinata-onee-san. Who is this?"
This is Naruto, my husband, your brother-in-law." Neither Hanabi nor Naruto said anything for several long seconds.
"He looks like an idiot," Hanabi concluded in a haughty tone.
Naruto immediately took offense, putting fists on hips, leaning down aggressively and glaring. "And who are you brat?"
"I am Hyuuga Hanabi, idiot. Next Hyuuga Clan Head."
Naruto flicked his gaze to Hinata before return to the shorter sister. "What was that?"
"What was what?"
"That look you gave my sister, idiot."
"Nothing that I need to tell you brat. You will find out soon enough."
"My name is Hanabi. Use it."
"Listen brat. I don't like how any of you treat my wife, so keep treating her as you have and your name will be face-in-mud. Also, if you don't use my name, I won't use yours." Naruto was going to say more, but he felt Hinata place her fingertips on his forearm lightly.
"Hmph. Lucky for you that Hinata-chan like you more than you like her." Hinata bowed slightly to Hanabi in apology before saying, "see you at dinner Hanabi-chan." Hanabi just snorted and looked away. Hinata saddened slightly as she hurried to catch up to Naruto.
Naruto had changed out of his dirty clothes that he had been wearing around town all day and into a fresh set for his first dinner with his father-in-law. Hiashi sat at the head of the table, legs folded under him, hands on knees, back ramrod straight, no expression on his face. Hinata was seated to his right, Hanabi on his left, and Naruto between Hiashi and Hinata.
He knew walking into this thing that it was not going to be a pleasant experience, no matter how well they seemed to gotten off that morning, and he was one hundred percent right. It wasn't as if he had absolutely no table manners, but it seemed that eating with the Hyuuga's was nothing at all like eating with anyone else.
For one, the food was of a significantly better quality than what he was used to, and two, it felt really weird to have people waiting on him hand and foot. As soon as he cleared a plate, it was immediately whisked away and replaced with a full one. Two, it was silent. Not just quiet, but silent. Other than the soft clatter of clinking dishes, you could have heard a senbon drop.
Now, Naruto was not accustomed to silence. He could understand times when he was supposed to be silent, like at a person's funeral, or when you were sneaking around on a mission, but other than that, he generally tried to avoid silence whenever possible. However, he could sense that this was a test of some sort, even if he could not understand what the purpose was. So he resigned himself to eating silently, trying to keep his discomfort as under control as possible.
To Hiashi, his level of discomfort might as well have been painted on a billboard for him to see. He as willing to admit that he seemed to have grasped that he was being tested, if he obviously did not understand why. Still, it said something about his self-control that he was able to keep his fidgeting as unobtrusive as he was. He had half expected the self-proclaimed Number One Knuckle Headed Ninja to be bouncing off the walls by now. Instead, he was on his best behavior, even if his manners were somewhat lacking. Then again, he was raised by Mitarashi Anko and she was not someone known for her spectacular manners, her minor obsession with tea ceremonies notwithstanding.
After an appropriate amount of time watching him squirm, Hiashi broke the silence. "How is the food, Naruto-kun?"
"Very good, Hiashi-sama." Hiashi nodded at his response. It was exactly the appropriate thing to say, so it was probably a result of Hinata's coaching. He didn't really mind if she had coached him. In the end, it was the results that counted, not how they were attained. Plus, expecting Hinata not to tell Naruto exactly what to do and what not to do was like asking Sakura to give up her love of Sasuke.
The rest of dinner passed in a somewhat more comfortably silence, Hiashi keeping a critical eye on Naruto. It was abundantly clear that he was following Hinata's lead, but again, it was the results that mattered, and right now, he was doing passably well. He could learn why something was done a particular way later, as long as he could show that he could imitate his betters when pressed.
Naruto for his part was showing spectacular restraint when it came to the food, in his opinion. Honestly speaking, this was the best meal that he had ever had in his life, ramen at Ichiraku's aside. Then again, it would have to be prepared by the gods themselves for a meal to ever overshadow Ichiraku's ramen to Naruto. Naruto managed to not grin widely when he saw the servants increasing astonishment when they kept bringing him food, and he kept putting it away. Towards the end of the meal, he caught Hiashi frowning at him when he saw Naruto continuing to eat at the same steady pantry clearing pace that he had begun the meal with. Internally, Naruto wondered if Hiashi was privately regretting marrying Hinata off now that he saw his appetite. Even he would admit that he ate an extraordinary amount of food, even for an Akamichi.
They were on the fourth dish of the meal when Hiashi finally started correcting Naruto's etiquette. Most of the stuff seemed to be pretty minor, but Hinata had impressed on him the importance of obeying Hiashi's every word during the meal. So he took equal portions of the food laid out, even if he would prefer to go through one dish at a time.
By the end of the meal, Hinata helped a very sleepy Naruto up and out of the dining room. Hinata blushed slightly as the looks the branch Hyuuga gave her when they saw her walking along with a staggering Naruto, one arm slung across her shoulders. She let him collapse onto his futon before proceeding to strip down to his undershirt and ramen boxers. The only way that she had managed was to keep reminding herself that she was performing her wifely duties, nothing more.
Back in the dining room Hiashi looked down at his younger daughter. "What do you think of your brother-in-law?"
"He's an idiot," she replied resolutely.
"Yes, I imagine that you would think so," he replied with a ghost of a smile on his lips.
"And what is that supposed to mean Father?"
"Just that there is more to that boy than one would think."
Naruto was awoken in a very alarming manner the next morning. He blearily opened one eye when he felt something jabbing into his stomach repeatedly. He blinked one before leaping out of bed and several paces away from an exceptionally old man. He and long white hair tied into a tail with lines of red paint extending from his eyes to under his jaw, making him appear that he was crying blood.
Naruto's eyes widened in horror when he realized that he was dressed in nothing but an undershirt and boxers. "Who the HELL are you old man!"
With a magnificent grin, the old man puffed out his chest and exclaimed in a booming voice. "My name is the Gallant Jiraiya-sama, super pervert extraordinaire! Also the author of the acclaimed series of adult novels, Icha Icha."
It was only then that Naruto noticed his mother and Hinata in the room. "MOM! Why would you let a pedophile into my room while I am sleeping? Who knows what he could have done to me?"
"Hey you, I will have you know that I only have an interest in women, not scrawny boys like yourself."
"Naruto, this is Jiraiya of the Sannin. He has come to assist in your training."
Naruto turned back to Jiraiya, hands on hips. "Are you sure Mom. He sure doesn't look like any Sannin that I have seen."
"And how many Sannin have you seen?"
"Enough to spot a phony when I see him."
Both Anko and Hinata wince slightly at that. "Naruto, I assure you that he is the real thing."
Still peering suspiciously at the geezer, he relented. "Well, I suppose if you say so." Nobody spoke for several seconds. "So, you guys want to get out so I can change? Except you Hinata. You can stay of you want," he said winking mischievously at her.
Anko looked from Naruto to Hinata as the girl finally rolled her eyes up and fainted. "I think you broke her Naruto." Naruto grinned shamelessly.
"I'll make it up to her later."
"It had better be a hell of a gift brat." Anko dragged the comatose Hinata out with one arm and Jiraiya with the other. Naruto emerged from his room a minute later, blue shirt, black pants, bracers, greaves, geta and trench coat. "Where's Hinata?" Naruto asked.
"Recovering in her room," Anko replied.
"Alright. Well, I'm ready. Where are we going to go, pervert?"
"What did you call me brat?"
"You should call me Jiraiya-sensei. All my other students did."
"You sure about that? From what I hear, my father called you ero-sennin."
"And who was your father?"
"Namikaze Minato, the Yondaime Hokage, also the one who sealed the Kyuubi no Kitsune into me.
"Who told you that?"
"The Hokage did, several years ago."
"I see. It is helpful that you already know about your burden. It saves me from a lot of awkward explanations. Well, lets get going. I need to see how much you know before I can start teaching you."
"Lead on Ero-sennin." Jiraiya just growled.
Uchiha Sasuke, the Uchiha Heir was in a position he was unaccustomed to occupying. That was the position of the accused of a crime. He was seated in the defendants chair, facing the Hokage, flanked by Danzo and Hyuuga Hiashi. Kakashi had retrieved him from the Uchiha compound a couple of hours ago to meet with a shinobi lawyer that he had hired to argue his case. The silver haired man was now sitting behind him, along with Sakura and Kiba. Across the aisle was a middle aged kunoichi, in a conservative jounin uniform, bottle blond hair tied up into a professional bun. Behind her in the gallery were the four members of Team Nine. There were a double handful of shinobi and civilians seated there also, all the civilians on his side, shinobi on both. A few names of note was his old Academy instructor, Umino Iruka, Nara Shikaku and Aburame Shibi, along with their wives and sons. Also in attendance was Team Nine, having been retrieved by messenger hawk not twenty minutes ago. Behind him was his other Academy teacher, Touji Mizuki, Haruno Izumi, and her husband Hoki, both prominent merchants.
Sasuke reluctantly rose as the Hokage called the room to order. "Uchiha Sasuke, you are called before this court the charges being: dereliction of duty in the second degree, insubordination in the second degree, cooperating with an enemy of the state and attempted technique theft in the first degree. How do you plead?"
"Chunin Ketane Kagane for the defense, and not guilty on all counts, Hokage-sama," Sasuke's lawyer said.
"So noted," the Hokage replied, making a mark on a pad in front of him. "Prosecution, call your first witness."
Glancing down at the pad in front of her, she said "Jounin Murasame Kiho, for the prosecution calls Genin Higurashi Tenten to the stand." In the gallery the slim brunette stood up and sat down in the chair to the right of the judges podium. She was sworn in and looked to the kunoichi lawyer facing her. "Genin Higurashi, please state your name, rank, and identification number for the record please."
"Higurashi Tenten, genin, number 012573."
"Thank you. Could you please tell me what you were doing in Wave Country with Genin Cell Seven approximately ten days ago?"
"My genin squad was assigned a C-rank mission to escort a courier to Kirigakure. On the way back to Konoha, we were diverted to Wave to back up Team Seven, who had run into trouble."
And upon arrival, how was your team received?"
"Not very well. Sasuke-san and Kiba-san were particularly rude, at least until Hatake-san came and settled them down."
"After being briefed on the situation, Jounin Hatake-san lead both your teams outside for a demonstrative spar. What happened then?"
"Well, when my teammate, Hyuuga Hinata-san went to use a jutsu that neither Sasuke-san or Hatake-san had seen before, he activated his Sharingan to try to copy her technique."
"And your teammate had not given Uchiha-san permission, explicit or implied, to do so?"
"No ma'am. When Anko-sensei told him to deactivate it, he ignored her until Hatake-san whispered something in his ear."
"I see. What, if anything, did Hatake-san do?"
"He went to uncover his own Sharingan, at least until Anko-sensei threatened him."
"Let us skip forward to the next day. When you arrived to the bridge where Team Seven was engaged to the enemy, what did your jounin-sensei tell you to do?"
"Well, she split us up, and sent someone to help each member of Team Seven. There was a thick fog over the bridge where they were fighting, so I carefully advanced, trying to find Sasuke-san. I heard two voices, one of Sasuke's, and another unfamiliar one."
"Objection!" Ketane leaped to his feet, directing his eyes to the Hokage. "Genin Higurashi is not an expert in voice recognition, nor does she have any sensory or memory enhancement techniques."
"Sustained. Ask another question, Murasame-san."
"When you arrived at the bridge, you were tasked to find and assist the defendant, correct?"
"When you found him, what was he doing?"
"He was standing in the middle of the bridge, talking to the leader of an unidentified squad of ninja that attacked us on the way to Kiri."
"Were you able to overhear any of their conversation?"
"Yes. I caught the end of them talking. The other ninja, who had identified himself as Takehiko to Anko-sensei on the way to Kiri, called mentioned Orochimaru, and how he had left Konoha to get stronger. They continued to converse on how Orochimaru was stronger than even the Hokage, and the stranger more than implied that Sasuke-san should leave Konoha to go to Orochimaru. That was all I was able to overhear before I was detected."
"What did the defendant say when you asked him about it."
"He claimed that it was a personal matter, and that he didn't have to answer me."
And when Uzumaki-san slew one of the mercenaries that were threatening the village of the client, while severely wounded, what, if any, reaction did the defendant show."
"Almost none. It was as if Naruto-kun barely existed."
"Thank you Higurashi-san."
Ketane stood as his counterpart for the prosecution sat. "Higurashi-san, what is your relationship with Hyuuga Naruto?"
"Objection, Hokage-sama, relevance!"
"I am going to prove bias against my client."
"I'll allow it, but get to the point quick."
"Thank you Hokage-sama."
"He is my teammate."
"And was he ever anything else?"
"We dated briefly."
"Before he married your other teammate, Hyuuga Hinata, correct?"
Tenten's mouth twisted into a grimace. "Yes."
"And did you break off your romantic relationship with him after his marriage?"
Tenten hesitated, unsure what to say. She knew that he and Hinata could get into serious trouble if she were to tell him that they were still dating. On the other hand, she was under oath, and if she lied, she could jeopardize the case against Sasuke. Tenten cut her eyes over to Naruto. He met hers, and nodded, letting her know that he was alright with any decision that she made.
"Hokage-sama, please instruct the witness to answer my question."
"Higurashi-san, you have to answer his question truthfully."
"No," Tenten muttered. The gallery erupted into a quiet roar as practically everyone started whispering about what she had said.
The Hokage picked up his gavel and slammed it down onto the podium several times trying to silence the whispers. After threatening to clear the gallery, order was restored.
"So you admit that you are an adulterer?"
"Hokage-sama!" Kiho leaped to her feet, chair scraping back noisily. Hinata quickly pulled Naruto back into his seat and weaved her fingers through his.
"Councilor, you have made your point. Move on or the witness will stand down."
"And how would you describe your boyfriend's relationship with the defendant?"
"They don't like each other."
"So would it be fair to say that you don't like the defendant either?"
"My personal opinion of Sasuke-san has nothing to do with my testimony."
"How impartial of you. I have nothing more for this witness." Tenten repressed a scowl at the smug tone of the lawyer's words.
"Redirect, Hokage-sama?" The Hokage nodded his head and motioned for Murasame to rise. "Genin Higurashi, prior to your interactions in Wave Country, how many times have you spoke to the defendant?"
"Only a handful of times."
"Were you not in the same Academy class as he was?"
"Yes ma'am," Tenten replied.
"And yet you claim that your interaction was minimal?"
"Yes ma'am. I have never been romantically interested in Sasuke-san, like many of my female classmates, so I was not well liked among his fan club. I never had a reason to seek him out."
"That is all I have for this witness, Hokage-sama."
"Next witness," Sarutobi called out.
Tenten descended from the witness's podium and slowly approached the gallery. She hesitated as she approached the row that Naruto was sitting in, but was not given a choice as Naruto reached over and pulled her down next to him.
"We will talk later," he whispered into her ear before turning his attention back to the court proceedings.
"I have no further witnesses, Hokage-sama."
"I call Uchiha Sasuke to the stand." Sasuke got up and sat down in the witness' booth, immediately being sworn in. "Uchiha-san, how are you doing today?"
"Fine," the sullen Uchiha grunted.
"Could you please tell us all the events the day that Genin Cell Nine arrived at your client's house, claiming that they were reinforcements sent to you?"
"Well, Kakashi-sensei was in the back room recovering from chakra exhaustion, while Sakura-san, Kiba-san and myself were in the front room talking with the client. A knock at the door sounded and we were not expecting anyone that day, so myself and my teammates each drew kunai. I cautiously answered the door, to find Team Nine there. I asked them why they were there and Naruto-san said that they had come to rescue us."
"I see. And what, if any, proof did they offer to show that they were there on orders?"
"None. It wasn't until Kakashi-sensei came out of the back room that we let them in."
"Later, when Jounin Mitarashi-san had assumed temporary control of your squad, what did she do?"
"She took us to a nearby clearing and told us to practice tree walking."
"She took her own students and left us alone until she reappeared at lunch. She did this the entire five days that Kakashi-sensei was recovering."
"Did she teach you anything else?"
"Well, she also taught us water walking on the third day, but she again left us alone to instruct her own students."
"So, in your opinion, she was clearly showing favoritism to her own team?"
"Yes. In fact, she said that she did not have to teach me anything."
"So, in effect, she was leaving you and your teammates to fend for yourselves."
"During the three spars between your respective teams, who was Haruno Sakura set against?"
"And who won that spar?"
"How did she win?"
"Hinata-san drew her sword and used some technique to turn it into a black clawed gauntlet. She punched Sakura-san in the back of the head and then tried to eviscerate her."
"I have nothing more for this witness at this time."
Murasame got up and slowly strolled to the witness' podium, holding her hands behind her back. "Uchiha-san, I see your teammate sitting in the gallery in perfect health. What did Hyuuga-sama do immediately after wounding your teammate?"
"She healed her," Sasuke grunted.
"And this was done in spite of the fact that you attempted to steal her ability with her sword just a few minutes prior, correct?"
"Yes," he grunted again.
"And what was your reasoning behind activating your Sharingan on another Konoha shinobi outside of a spar?"
Sasuke remained silent.
"Hokage-sama, permission to treat the witness as hostile?"
"Is it true, Uchiha-san, that your words were," she looked down a a piece of paper in her hand, "and I quote, 'I don't care, I need as many jutsus as I can learn,' and when asked why, again I quote, 'Because I have to kill my brother and avenge my clan'?"
"Yes," Sasuke muttered, glowering at the kunoichi in front of him.
"What has your sensei taught you in the entire time that you have been assigned to him as a student?"
"I asked you, what, if anything, has Hatake-san taught you in the time that he has been your jounin-sensei?"
"We have been working extensively on D-rank missions and teamwork exercises."
"Has he taught you any ninjutsu?"
"Worked with you on taijutsu?"
"We have team spars."
"Shown you any genjutsu?"
"I am sure that it has just not come up yet."
"What about your Sharingan?"
"I only awakened it during the mission to Wave."
"So that would be a no?"
"No, he hasn't worked with me on my Sharingan."
"To your knowledge, Uchiha-san, has your sensei taught your teammates anything that he had not taught you?"
"So, wouldn't you say that Special Jounin Mitarashi-san was a better jounin-sensei to you and your teammates in the five days that she had command of your squad than Jounin Hatake-san did? After all, she did teach you two skills in three days."
"Hatake-sensei is a far more able ninja than Mitarashi-san ever will be."
"And why is that Uchiha-san? Was it not Genin Cell Nine that Jounin Hatake-san dispatched to assault the mercenary compound? And was it not members of Genin Cell Nine that enabled your sensei and teammate to kill two dangerous missing-nin? Finally, was it not Genin Hyuuga Naruto who rallied the villagers and scared off the remaining mercenaries at the bridge despite incapacitating wounds?"
Sasuke was silent for a few long seconds. "Genin Uchiha-san, answer her questions please."
"It is not necessary Hokage-sama. I am done with this witness."
"Defense?" the Hokage asked.
"The defense rests, Hokage-sama."
"Alright then, we are in recess until we are ready to render our decision." With that the Hokage rapped his gavel and the three ninja filed to the left into another room.
The gallery cleared, Naruto taking Tenten's and Hinata's hands and leading them well away from the crowd. "I'm sorry Naruto-kun, but I couldn't lie," Tenten murmured, hands folded and gaze averted.
"Nonsense, Tenten-chan. You did what you had to. There is no shame in telling the truth.." Naruto raised his hand and cupped her face, before kissing her on the forehead.
"Hiashi is not going to be pleased," Tenten said from where she was enfolded into Naruto's embrace.
"Hiashi can go screw himself. He is the one who forced this upon the three of us. If he doesn't like our arrangement, sucks for him. I am not going to stop loving you just because he says so."
Naruto glanced over to where Hinata was a pace away. "Come here," he said to her, pulling her close by wrapping an arm around her shoulders. They sat there on a nearby bench for twenty minutes, until the light outside the courtroom lit, signaling that the three judges were ready to give judgment.
Sasuke and his lawyer rose as The Hokage read out the verdict. "Uchiha Sasuke, you have been charged and convicted in a court of your superiors of the following offenses: dereliction of duty in the second degree, insubordination in the second degree, cooperation with an enemy of the state and attempted technique theft in the first degree. For your punishment, you will be fined one million ryo, have your Sharingan sealed when you are not training under the official guidance of your jounin-sensei or on a mission for a period of three months, required to submit to a psychological examination and interrogation and receive no mission pay for the next three C-rank or higher missions."
"WHAT! This is ridiculous! I am the Last Loyal Uchiha! You cannot do this to me!"
The Hokage rapped his gavel several times to silence both Sasuke and the whispering in the gallery. "Jiraiya, take him away and seal him. Court is adjourned."
Sasuke tried to resist when an elderly man with red face paint came over to him but was subdued in seconds and taken into another room over his shoulder.
Naruto turned to his mother who was seated behind him and gave her a small grin. Now all he had to do was survive the confrontation with Hiashi.