Tsunade groaned as her eyes opened a second time. She'd fallen back asleep almost immediately after she'd awoken the first time. She had vague impressions of worried faces that hadn't belonged to Shizune and worried voices from when she'd awoken the first time. Now there was a different face worriedly hovering at the edges of her vision.

The face vanished as the person it belonged to turned and left the hospital room she was in. Soon, a Iryo-nin who she vaguely remembered working with during the Second War appeared by her bedside.

"Glad to see you're awake Hokage-Sama." the Iryo-nin said as he examined her.

Tsunade frowned. She couldn't possibly have heard what she thought she heard.

"Your wound appears to be healing nicely, and you seem to be well on your way to recovering from your severe Chakra Exhaustion." the Iryo-nin continued. "You should be able to undertake your duties in three to five days."

Her duties? She didn't have any duties, unless one counted her self-appointed mission to kick the asses of anyone who thought to undermine her grandfather's legacy by pushing her grandmother's people out of the village.

As Tsunade was puzzling through what she was hearing, wondering if she was actually asleep and dreaming or possibly even hallucinating due to blood loss and Chakra Exhaustion or possibly even in Hell considering the number of horrible things she'd done over the course of her lifetime, three very unwelcome visitors walked into the room. What her former sensei's council of advisors was doing here, she didn't know, and she didn't want to know. Especially in light of the greeting she'd received from the Iryo-nin who'd examined her.

"Let us be the first to congratulate you on your ascension to the position of Hokage." Utatane Koharu said in a tone that was just about anything but congratulatory.

"Excuse me, but what?" Tsunade said, wondering exactly when her sensei's teammates and rival who had been brought in for his opposing viewpoint that kept his advisors from becoming Yes Men had grown senses of humor and had ill-advisedly decided to display their newfound senses of humor by pranking her.

"After the invasion, it was decided that it would be best to prevent the sort of chaos which had resulted from the death of the Yondaime twelve years ago from taking place while we were vulnerable" Koharu, who seemed to be the spokeswoman for the group this time, stated. "Rather than waffling over Hiruzen's successor the way we had over the Yondaime's, it was decided that a strong and above all acceptable successor would immediately be named. Due to your heritage, the fact that you are one of the Legendary Sannin and your impressive showing during the invasion, it had been decided that you would be that successor, even if it was only on paper."

"Your survival and your impending recovery has placed us in an interesting position." Homura said, nervously wiping his glasses on his robes. "Especially since the decision had been ratified and the announcements had been made before you were consulted. Unfortunately, the village is still vulnerable and the only reason we haven't been invaded while we are still weak is the illusion that we have a functioning government."

"Knowing your inclinations, your stated feelings for Konoha, and the amount of license that Hiruzen had foolishly given you, we thought it would be best to prevent you from leaving the village until a suitable successor has been named and placed in office." Danzo said in an even emotionless tone, as if he'd just made a comment on the weather rather than announced something that would've had Tsunade leaping out of bed and slaughtering him, had she been able to do so at the moment.

"WHAT?!" Tsunade roared, immediately regretting it as she was almost immediately bent double under the covers due to a horrendous stabbing pain in her gut.

"Make a hole!" Sasuke yelled as he tried to run crowd control at Konoha's hospital where half the village had gathered to both celebrate the Godaime Hokage's return to consciousness and to be amongst the first to receive any new news on the Hokage's condition.

His yelling had little effect, but generations of conditioning regarding the respecting of a certain uniform had people automatically stepping back to get out of the KMPF officer's way despite the five years during which that conditioning had been allowed to slacken. There were times that Sasuke felt like a fraud when he went out in the uniform, considering the fact that he had not gone through police training nor done anything that would cause anyone to respect the person in the uniform.

Once a hole was made in the crowd, the Inuzuka officer who had come with him to assist with crowd control started setting up barriers so people could get into and out of the hospital if they needed it. While he wanted to be part of the team that was protecting the Hokage and have the prestige that came with it, that was the ANBU's job. His job was to keep the crowd around the hospital from becoming a disorderly mob and to keep law and order amongst them, and he would make sure that he would do such a good job that those sodding ANBU that had taken work from his family back when they were still alive wouldn't have to interfere like they used to.

Hoshigaki Kisame wasn't sure what to make of the Uzumaki or their clan head who had run off, leaving Leader-sama's letter sitting on the table in front of him next to an unattended cup ramen.

"Would Uzumaki-sama's guests like some refreshment?" Zabuza asked sarcastically when he poked his head into the room following the Jinchurriki's departure, apparently making sure that he and Itachi didn't cause any trouble while they were left alone in the Clan Head's apartment. "We're short on some things, but I can offer you a fine selection of water, water, or water."

"I'll take the water." Itachi said, and Kisame wasn't sure whether the Uchiha who had a rather droll and understated sense of humor was joking or not. While exceedingly rare, the Uchiha could and did tell the occasional joke, and it never failed to catch him completely by surprise when he did so.

Zabuza turned from the room, and came back a little later with a glass that looked ice cold containing water that had a rime of frost on the surface, obviously courtesy of Zabuza's little tagalong.

"You're not seriously going to drink that ?!" Kisame said as Itachi took the glass from Zabuza and thanked him.

Seemingly ignoring Kisame's statement, Itachi took a sip of water from the glass he'd been given. Itachi didn't immediately drop dead, but there was always the possibility that there was a longer acting poison in the glass.

Kisame knew that Itachi was suicidal, but he didn't realize that he was THAT suicidal.

Itachi wondered what Kisame was so worked up over. Back when he was a child and was being groomed to take his father's place as Clan Head, he'd been forced to learn about the history and customs of each clan that either belonged to Konoha or was allied to Konoha, even the defunct ones. As well as being strongly family oriented, the Uzumaki had strict traditions regarding guests and the treatment thereof.

There was very little that Zabuza could do to his water if Zabuza wanted to stay with and therefore consequently under the protection of his clan.

If he was all that squeamish about spit, he wouldn't have become a ninja. He'd encontered worse in the way of bodily fluids out in the field. That, and he'd drunk far worse than water with a little spit in it over the course of his career.

At least it was cold.