Sorry that this chapter is shorter than last night's. Thankfully I'll be up all night for another EEG- so I'll be working on stuff here and there. And one of the things I've chosen to work on will be, What do you know- the other side.

So sit tight and let me redo some stuff so I'm not backed into a corner.

Later!

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Tsunade had said something about stepping down as Hokage, hadn't she?

But if she stepped down then who was supposed to take over as the Hokage? Naru wondered as Kakashi peeked into the bedroom to see if she was ready and found her standing in the middle of the room with an almost panicked look on her pale face and promptly erased the excited expression crossing his own as she started to hyperventilate. Damn. There goes my frigging outing. Kakashi thought, feeling almost irked that it would be now of all times that Naru recalled something that would send her into hysterics.

"Naru?" He said tentatively as he came further into the room and waited to see what was up.

Was she panicking because she wasn't sure how the people of the village would react to seeing her out and about since Sauske had posted those obscene photos of her all over the village? Because she needn't worry. He, her friends, and Tsunade had already held a meeting with the entire village about those. And anyone who stepped out of line or said anything to her when she was seen out and about- was going to get hurt.

No scratch that- they were going to be destroyed.

So again. Naru needn't worry. And yet she was worried about something.

Something was putting her under so much stress that if he didn't figure out what was going through her head soon... She'd probably wind up in the bathroom again puking up blood. And that was a prospect that made him feel just a tad green around the gills himself.

"Naru? W-What's wrong?"

Naru put a shakey hand over her mouth as he came over to her and grasped her hand and pulled it away just enough to hear her muttering to herself. "No. No. No. Tsunade can't step down. I'm next in line for the title of Hokage-"

"Naru?"

"But my reputation has taken too much of a blow- No one will follow someone they think is a whore. Even if that person is Hokage..."

Kakashi sighed and closed his eyes and counted to ten, slowly, then opened his eyes again and wrapped his arms around Naru's body and pulled it as tightly against his own as he could, "Naru. Calm. Down. Now." Kakashi said from between gritted teeth before taking a deep breath and then saying in a gentler tone, "Tsunade won't hand the job over to just anyone. She's been grooming you for this ever since she met you. You are the only person big enough, strong enough, and bad enough to fill her shoes. And if anyone ever gives you a hard time about shit, well you have me, Iruka, Ibiki, Anko, Sakura, Sai and everyone else who will kick some ass on you're behalf."

Naru's breathing slowly- very slowly- started to return to normal as he held her.

Sure his words made sense in theory, but like most things- it was nothing more than wishful thinking. Naru had this terrible feeling that the second Tsunade stepped down as Hokage and named her as her heir, that the village would fall into chaos. And it wasn't a feeling that Naru particularly liked since it meant she and Kakashi would be alienated from their friends and comrades for many, many years.

She doubted at this point that any of the rookie nine would be able to stay close to her as friends without suffering for it. And it was enough to make her cry. Really it was. Because she didn't want this for her friends or Kakashi or their soon to be family of three.

Because she just knew in her heart of hearts that something- no- someone was going to fuck up big and she wouldn't be able to protect everyone when that happened.