Big boobed old lady say wha?
Tsunade's eminent return to Konoha, and her assuming the title of Hokage, made huge ripples in the ninja world.
The assassination of a Kage was such a rare occurrence that very few left a designated heir. More often than not, the previous Kage either stepped down and passed the mantle to a chosen heir, or the heir was chosen in the heat of battle before the Kage went off to face a situation of certain doom. The fact their Kage had been killed, and killed within their own walls, had left Konoha in a rather peculiar situation. It made them look weak.
They had failed to kill one of their own. They had failed to protect their village. They had failed to protect their Kage. They had even failed to be prepared for the death of their Kage.
All those failures should have resulted in the destruction of their village.
But it hadn't. The traitor was crippled. The village guarded and the invaders repelled. And most impressive, they had a new Kage who was a respected individual world-wide for her battle prowess, her intelligence, and her medical miracles.
Konoha had suffered an attack that should have crippled them and came out stronger than before.
It impressed two of the remaining five big villages. One was still far too involved in a civil war to be impressed.
However, the remaining major hidden village was feeling the repercussions the strongest.
The attackers who should have prevailed, who had been aided by the greatest traitor of Konoha, and who had had the element of surprise, were still floundering to recover from their losses.
All of this was the cause of the tension within Suna's council room.
"How? How is it that we, who were the aggressors in the attack, have yet to recover to the extent Konoha has? They already have another Hokage! We haven't even elected possible candidates!"
"What do you mean they already have another Hokage?" Another council asked.
"I mean just what I said. Tsunade Senju is going to become the Fifth Hokage in a matter of days. It was announced earlier today that she accepted the title and will assume to position as soon as she returns to Konoha." Several councilors cursed under their breath.
"Wait." One of the elders spoke out. "Tsunade Senju? As in Tsunade of the Sannin? I thought she swore that she would never return to that place."
A councilor to his right nodded before answering.
"Well, it seems that her old teammate Jiraiya, and some blonde kid, managed to convince her to return."
That one piece of information set off alarm bells in the heads of all high-ranking military personnel. After a shared glance one of the commanders spoke up.
"A blonde kid you say?" The interested commander asked, leaning forward in his seat with a worried expression on his face. The same councilor who had spoke before him nodded.
"Yes. My sources say it was a blonde boy about the age of fourteen, perhaps fifteen, but they were unable to identify the boy. While Jiraiya was easy to tail from brothel to brothel, the boy rarely stayed in town." All turned to focus on the worried commander who sat back in his chair and let out a ragged breath. Upon seeing the confused expression of the councilors the man let out another breath.
"You are all aware that Gaara was defeated, correct?" He asked before continuing to cut off the many outbursts about how obvious that fact was"And… some of you are aware it was a team of genin who defeated him." That quieted the room as most had been unaware of that little tidbit of information. "What has yet to be disclosed is this: it was not Sasuke Uchiha, or even an entire team of genin who defeated Gaara. According to Temari, who observed the entire battle, reported it was the blonde teammate of Sasuke Uchiha who defeated Gaara. A young blonde haired boy of roughly the same age. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't recall seeing too many blonde haired boys in Konoha."
"But it couldn't have just been this random boy!" A different councilor shouted out.
"Agreed! We all saw that the Uchiha damaged Gaara in the arena." A separate councilor spoke up.
Before long the entire room dissolved into a debate over which scenario was more plausible.
"Silence!" The eldest commander commanded bringing order back to the room. "We shall ask Gaara himself." All present went wide-eyed and some began to appear nervous. Seeing their expressions he held up a hand. "Don't worry. According to his sensei, Baki, the boy has calmed himself after losing." Though many protested bringing the demonic boy in, the order was sent out. Soon enough, a short, red haired boy with a pale white complexion and blue-green eyes walked in. On the boy's back was a large gourd made of sand. Another noticeable feature was the kanji for 'love' written in a blood red color on his forehead. Accompanying the boy was a tall man wearing the standard Jonin apparel with the addition of a white turban covering the left half of his face.
"You summoned us?" Baki asked. The commander nodded before directing his attention to the youngest in the room.
"Gaara, we are reviewing your performance in Konoha and reached a point of contention. Tell us, who contributed to your defeat? The Uchiha or the blonde boy- "
"Naruto Uzumaki." Gaara said in his usual monotone, cutting off the commander mid sentence.
"Excuse me?" The commanded questioned with an edge to his voice. Were it any other ninja he'd rebuke them for being so blatantly disrespectful. Gaara wasn't any other ninja.
"Naruto Uzumaki. His name is Naruto Uzumaki." A few of the council members glanced at one another with confusion written clearly across their faces. Why did the demon value that name?
The commander made a mental note that Gaara valued the boy before continuing.
"Very well then, who was the decisive factor in your defeat? Sasuke Uchiha or Naruto Uzumaki?"
Several expected the volatile youth to explode at the very mention of defeat; however, Gaara didn't even seem bothered by it.
One councilor stood up, an almost angry look on his face.
"That can't be! Sasuke Uchiha learned Kakashi Hatake's signature jutsu, managed to severely wound you, and has unlocked the Sharingan! Do you mean to tell us that a no name boy who lucked through his match in the Chunin Exam has more battle prowess than the Uchiha?" Gaara's expressionless eyes swiveled in their sockets to focus on the councilor who was shouting at him. Remaining calm, Gaara closed his eyes and shook his head.
"Uzumaki was the one that defeated me."
"Are you saying that Uzumaki has an attack stronger than the Chidori?"
Again, Gaara merely shook his head.
Getting frustrated at the boy, the councilor was about to do something rather stupid when another councilor spoke up.
"Then how was it that Uzumaki was able to defeat you?" For a while Gaara said nothing, just stood there as immobile as a statue thinking back over his battle with one Naruto Uzumaki. The 'hidden' kunai. The countless shadow clones. The summoning jutsu. The explosion of fiery red chakra. The look of absolute determination. Right as a councilor was about to speak Gaara opened his mouth.
"His will and reasons for fighting were stronger than mine." The councilor that had shouted out earlier was about to go off on another tirade but Gaara continued. "Nothing stopped him."
The aggressive councilor scoffed and rolled his eyes.
"Put him in your sand coffin, that ought to stop anyone."
Even Baki went wide-eyed at hearing that particular detail of the battle. For a good long while no one said anything.
"H-How did the boy get out of it?" One man finally managed to ask.
"By summoning a toad. The toad wore a blue vest, had a scar over his eye, smoked a pipe, and carried a tanto."
"Gamabunta." An older councilor breathed, causing the rest to turn to face him.
"Who?" A younger councilor asked causing the older one to snap out of his stupor."Gamabunta is the only toad I know of that fits that description and he is the boss of the toad summons." As if that wasn't enough to make the councilors' jaws drop the old man continued. "The only known summoners of this toad are Jiraiya the toad sage, and his student the Fourth Hokage. It seems Jiraiya has taken on a new student who is already capable of summoning the boss of the toad contract."
Gaara allowed the tiniest of smirks to cross his face for a fraction of a second before turning to leave. Baki saw him depart and decided to leave the councilors to their own devices. He never was one for politics.
"Team seven." A busty blonde lady said in a tone full of authority to a group of teenagers causing them to all pause what they were doing. The blonde one froze mid sentence. The pink haired girl momentarily stopped fussing over the raven-haired boy who just lifted his eyes to focus on the blonde woman before him. "Now that you have regained your last teammate, you will start taking missions again. Report to my office a week from today. Understood?"
"Got it Ba-chan!" The blonde loudmouth said with a mock salute. Before he could even blink a clip-board slammed into his face. He froze with it stuck to his face for a few seconds before slowly pulling it off, his skin sticking to it like glue. When he finally managed to get the blasted thing off his face it revealed the three whisker marks on each of his cheeks and two piercing blue eyes. "AH!" Naruto shouted as he flopped onto the ground holding his face, which was glowing a nice shade of red.
Sakura ignored the groaning moron and turned her attention on her long time crush Sasuke Uchiha. The pink haired girl chewed her bottom lip and opened her mouth to say something when Tsunade spoke up again.
"Come with me you brat!" The new hokage declared as she grabbed a handful of Naruto's hair and began to drag him out of the hospital room and down the hall. As soon as they were out of ear-shot from the room they had been in the busty blonde released the younger blonde's hair.
"Oi! What was that for Ba-chan?" Naruto grumbled while rubbing his head and glaring at Tsunade.
Ignoring the jab at her age for once, Tsunade pulled out a roll of cash and handed it to Naruto.
"Here. Go get some of that ramen you love so much and keep out of my hair."
Naruto gladly snatched the roll of money before she could reconsider.
"Can do!" Naruto cheered before marching off to do just that.
"Sasuke-kun." Sakura said only to pause when the Uchiha seemed to ignore her and walk over to the window. "After the mission would you want to maybe go get something to eat with me?"
Sasuke froze with his hand on the window and growled. Again? He hadn't even left the hospital yet, and she was asking him out. Again? This had officially gone on long enough. Itachi had made it clear he had too many distractions. Time to get rid of one.
"Why would I want to go out with you? You're weak." The Uchiha growled out without bothering to turn around.
"I'm not that weak." The pinkette mumbled while looking at the ground.
Sasuke fully turned around. He didn't glare, Uchihas don't glare aside from their perpetual scowl. He did, however, narrow his eyes, which was enough to make the already self-conscious girl shrink into herself even further.
"That so? I heard from Kakashi that you and Ino tied after struggling through a pathetic match. Apparently, the only jutsu you were able to use was the academy clone jutsu. Hell, Ino did better and actually caught you with a thread of chakra so she could use her family jutsu.
"I beat her jutsu!" Sakura shouted, almost in tears trying to defend herself. Having Sasuke shoot down her invitations to a date was one thing. Having him tear apart her performance as a ninja was another matter altogether.
"What you did was allow your loud mouthed personality to beat her jutsu because she performed it so poorly." Sasuke scoffed at her. He turned around and would have jumped out the window had Sakura not spoken up again.
"So…" She stated in an almost whisper that was so quiet Sasuke almost missed it. "If I was stronger would you go out with me?"
For a while the raven-haired boy tossed the thought around before finally giving up and sighing.
Since his back was turned he didn't see her head snap back up. Didn't see the utter joy that lit up her face like a Christmas tree. Didn't see the hope that sprung to life in her emerald green eyes.
Instead he continued in the same unemotional and detached voice he always spoke in. "When you can compete with me… and the dobe. Then I will go out with you, but don't ask until then." With those final words he vanished out the window in a burst of speed.
What felt like an hour, but was really just a couple of seconds, passed with Sakura doing nothing but staring at the space he had just been. Then she did a very Naruto like thing.
"ALRIGHT!" She shouted at the top of her lungs and started to bounce up and down giggling and squealing in happiness. After a nice, long victory dance she started to walk out of the hospital, so lost in thought thinking up how to train that she didn't see the Hokage watching her.
Or take note of the content smile on the buxom blonde's face.
Flopping into the huge green chair her former sensei used to sit in, Tsunade let out a sigh and leaned her head back.
"Alright… the councilors have left the building, Shizune left early to take care of TonTon, and I have no more meeting for the day, which means…." In a flash Tsunade pulled open the top left draw of her desk, lifted the fake bottom and pulled out a bottle of sake. Forgoing a saucer, she tipped the bottle to her lips and moaned as the delicious liquid flowed over her tongue and down her throat. After drinking a good bit she set down the bottle.
"Well you're in a good mood." An overly familiar voice said to her right, causing a tick mark to throb to life on her forehead.
"Jiraiya! Would it kill you to use the door?" She snarled though the toad sage didn't flinch in the slightest.
"It might. Never know when you might booby trap it. On second thought, that might be a nice way to go out." The sage finished with a lecherous grin on his face.
Tsunade growled at him and was about to throw whatever happened to be in hand until she saw that it was her precious sake. Letting out a breath through her teeth she glared harder at her teammate who just held up his hands defensively.
"Anyways, what has you in such a good mood?"
"Nothing, aside from the usual glee derived from knowing that the gaki is gonna have an amusing time. It seems Konoha needs him to perform another 'duty' for the village." Tsunade answered with a smirk before tossing a scroll at the white haired old man. Jiraiya caught the scroll without having to look up at it.
"Oh? And what service do they need him to perform this time?" He asked even as he began to read the scroll.
Instead of answering Tsunade simply sat back and waited for his reaction.
She didn't have to wait long.
"The hell is this?" Jiraiya thundered before rereading the scroll a second, and then third, time.
"A hilarious turn of events." Tsunade chuckled before she noticed the tension wasn't flowing out of Jiraiya. "It's hilarious, right?"
"For you and I, maybe." Jiraiya finally acquiesced, though there was a notable lack of humor in his voice. "The kid won't find this amusing. Any idea why him?"
"Sadly not. This was all decided before I took the position. Suna caught wind of my return and moved so that our council could make the decision without my input. Seems they were afraid I might reject the proposal. I can ask around, but is it really so suspicious that they chose him?" Tsunade questioned even as she turned in her chair to fully face Jiraiya. "We defeated them after repelling a surprise attack during peaceful times, which automatically means they owe us. What better way to ensure we are sincere in our agreement to keep the peace than keep us nice and happy? So they offer up one of their best ninja. Heck, she's even the daughter of the fool who decided to go against us. As for him, he was part of the team who put down their 'ultimate weapon' and was the decisive element in that fight. Sasuke could have slowed the kid down, but only someone with our level of fire-power could have stopped the kid. They saw him perform in the exams, so they know it wasn't a fluke he beat Gaara. Why not him?"
"Because of who and what he is? Do you think anyone aside from us, the old man, and Kakashi know who he really is?"
"Mmmm, I wouldn't know. I haven't been in the village for so long I don't know who is still connected and who isn't. Though I'd bet anything the old war hawk knows who he is. As for Suna, I doubt it. That secret was guarded too closely for anyone outside of the village to know."
Jiraiya groaned and rubbed his forehead.
"Well, I'll check in with my contacts in Suna and see if they think anyone knows more about Naruto than they should. Regardless of that, you need to give this information to Team Seven in the right way."
Tsunade blinked at that.
"The right way? They're a bunch of genin. Two of them are rather special, but what does it matter how I give them the news?"
"It matters because of the rivalries within that team. Sasuke and Naruto, their rivalry is worse than the one I had with Orochimaru." Jiraiya nodded when he saw Tsunade's eyes widen. "Exactly. Whereas I had a one sided rivalry with the Snake Bastard, Sasuke and Naruto seem to have a mutual rivalry. Additionally, Orochimaru has already offered to train Sasuke and give him the power to kill Itachi. None of that is even mentioning the fact that Orochimaru already has a curse mark on the kid, which I imagine you noticed when you gave him a check up."
"I did." Was all Tsunade grumbled while rubbing the bridge of her nose in frustration. Letting out a heavy sigh, she took another swig from the bottle. "I hate babying egos. Never does any good in the long run."
"Better get used to it, Hime." Jiraiya chuckled. With a shake of his head he leapt off the window sill to snag the bottle before plopping down on the couch. "That's half of the job."
"Ugh, why did I take this job again?"
"Cause you're a sucker for blonde brats?"
Tsunade said nothing but scowled at the man across from her. After watching him drain the bottle for the second time she sighed and walked across the room to plop down on the couch next to him.
"It isn't nice to hold my sake hostage."
Jiraiya rumbled with laughter but didn't say a word. Words weren't needed between them. The two sat silently, basking in the evening sun and enjoying their drink. After a moment Tsunade sat up with an amused smirk slowly spreading across her face.
"Oh boy…" Jiraiya groaned. "What is that smirk for?"
"Well, it just occurred to me that you have those marvelous little Toad Summing ponds to jump around the country side. How fast could you get from here to Suna and back?"
One week later Team Seven stood before Tsunade. Sakura and Sasuke were both at attention and trying to look their best before the new hokage. Naruto was just as relaxed and at ease as he always. Though, instead of assuming his typical stance he was gazing around the room.
"Oi oi, where is Kaka-sensei?" Naruto asked.
"He will not be escorting you on this mission. You have been genin for a while. It is high time you learn to do things on your own in preparation for the high ranks. So from time to time you will be doing less dangerous missions on your own. With the village still in a bit of disarray from the attack, we need all active ninja doing as much as possible." Reaching into a seemingly random drawer, the busty hokage pulled out a scroll. "Your mission is to go to the coordinates on that scroll and meet up with the Team Sand Siblings, which consist of: Temari, Kankuro, and Gaara of the Desert."
Sakura went wide-eyed and stepped back a bit. Sasuke's eyes narrowed and rage began to course through his veins. Naruto had the strangest reaction considering his last meeting with the sand siblings.
"Alright! We get to see Gaara again!"
Both Sakura and Sasuke turned their heads to look at their ecstatic teammate who was jumping up and down. Sakura shivered at the memory of the young red head before smacking Naruto on the head.
"Baka! Why would you want to see that monster again? He nearly killed me! Did you not hear or see how he…"
"Don't call him a monster." Naruto said in a low tone stopping Sakura mid rant. Standing up from the floor where Sakura's punch had left him. "Don't ever call him a monster. You haven't met a monster yet."
"Hm? what are you talking about, dobe?"
Naruto's eyes turned on Sasuke and the raven-haired Uchiha didn't miss the flash of crimson that flitted across Naruto's eyes. However, before he could question it, Tsunade spoke up interrupting the conversation.
"Anyways, once you meet up with them, you are to split up into two different groups. Naruto, you will escort Temari and Kankuro back to the Leaf village. Sasuke and Sakura, you two are going to be escorted to the Sand village by Gaara. For a month we will be exchanging ninja. Sakura and Sasuke will become Sand ninja for a month and Temari and Kankuro will become Leaf ninja for that month as well."
"Y-you mean we have to be teammates with that mon-" Sakura stopped when she heard a low, and rather inhuman, growl emanate from Naruto. "-with them?" She corrected, and was surprisingly glad when Naruto stopped growling.
"Yes." Tsunade said before closing her eyes. "In the ninja world you will be forced to work with people you formerly considered your enemies, to place your trust in those who attempted to kill you only seconds before, and to fight against people you have thought of as comrades for most of your life. It is a harsh and cruel reality, but it's time you all face it. Dismissed." Team Seven nodded and went to walk out the door when Tsunade spoke up again. "Naruto, stay here for a second. You two be at the gate in an hour."
Both Sakura and Sasuke looked at Naruto curiously for a second before Sasuke shrugged it off and marched out the door with Sakura following his lead. Sighing, Naruto turned around and faced his 'grandma,' who was looking at him with a rather serious expression on her face. The two blondes stared one another down for the longest time before Naruto caved.
"You want me to explain don't you?" The blonde hokage just nodded her head. "The first time I tapped into its chakra I got a huge rush of energy unlike anything I've ever felt, but afterwards… I don't know. It was like someone had plugged me into the sun. After I hit Neji's rotation…"
A huge explosion rocked the stadium as Naruto slammed his chakra encased fist into Neji's sphere of chakra. Both Neji and Naruto were sent hurdling out of the explosion in opposite directions, each creating a trench with their bodies as they went. The entire crowd held their breaths as they waited to see which of the genin would manage to stand. Finally, Neji staggered to his feet, scratches and cuts scattered across his body and a trickle of blood running out of his mouth. Naruto still lay in the crater he made, unmoving. Neji smirked and walked towards the unconscious Naruto, confident he had won. With his bloodline inactive he never saw it coming.
Naruto shot out of the ground right in front of Neji and delivered a power packed punch to the brown haired boy's chin that sent him into the air. Before Neji could even start to fall Naruto spun and rammed a heel into his side, launching the air borne genin across the ground towards the stadium wall. However, before he got too far, Naruto vanished in a surge of blue chakra and reappeared in front of Neji's form. Bringing his fist down on Neji's head, Naruto slammed the boy into the ground so hard he created a crater twice the size of the one his shadow clone was still laying in. Naruto landed next to the barely conscious boy with a thud and a grin on his face. It felt good to win. It felt good to defeat the prick. And it felt good that all the bruises and scratches on his body had been healed.
"Where is your fate now? I thought you were fated to defeat me since I am nothing more than a dropout who is fated to lose this match. If your fatedecides everything then get up!" Naruto shouted. The only response he got was a groan as Neji's body went limp. The blonde genin scoffed, and in a single leap, landed back into the waiting box where the other genin contestants were watching. As he landed they all took a step back. All except Gaara, who was showing emotion for the first time either of his siblings could recall. And it wasn't blood lust.
"When I tapped into the fox's chakra I felt like brand new. Then when I stopped using its chakra, I felt better than when the match had started. It was almost scary that I had more chakra than when I started the match. When I used the fox's chakra against Gaara it was the same way. I was stronger than before." Tsunade nodded but raised an eyebrow.
"But what about the change in attitude?"
For that Naruto didn't have an answer. All he knew was that ever since he tapped into his inner demon's chakra he had been a bit more aggressive and a bit more... bloodthirsty. He had seen a bug crawling across his floor the other day and instead of wanting to flick it away, the urge to pick the bug up, look it in the eye and slowly squash it, had been almost irresistible. Instead of telling his adoptive granny about that Naruto just shrugged.
"I don't know. I just don't like them calling Gaara a monster. He holds the one tailed something or other doesn't he?"
"Well if holding that makes Gaara a monster, then what does holding the nine tailed fox make me?" Naruto asked dejectedly.
"It makes you a baka. You're not the fox and Gaara isn't the Tanuki. You two just have your quirks. Gaara randomly kills people by squishing them with his sand. You can't shut up, annoy the living crap out of everyone you meet, eat more ramen than I drink sake, and have a frog wallet. I can't tell which is worse." Naruto glared at her for a second before shaking his head as she laughed at him.
"Whatever, you old hag. I gotta go meet Sakura-chan and the teme soon." Waving at her as he ran out the door, Tsunade chuckled and shook her head. Shizune walked in a second or two later with a confused expression on her face.
"Why was Naruto-kun running down the hallway screaming about seeing raccoon face?" When her mentor burst out laughing poor Shizune was left even more confused than when she had walked in the door.
"Oh. Hey! They beat us here!" Naruto called out as they leapt through the forest.
"How can you tell that dobe?" Sasuke asked. He knew Naruto's sensory skills were beyond sub-par.
However, before Naruto could reply they cleared the final tree line and came to an interesting sight. The forest stopped at the exact spot the desert began to stretch on endlessly to the horizon. Three individuals were standing on the sand with their toes inches away from the first blades of grass that marked the end of the endless desert. None of the three sand siblings had changed since Team Seven saw them last, yet the air was different. The bloodthirsty and crazed aura that usually came off Gaara in waves was diminished to almost nonexistent. Temari seemed more relaxed and at ease while her brother Kankuro seemed to actually be enjoying himself.
Sasuke and Sakura landed on the grass on guard and ready to fight. Naruto landed behind the two before walking past them to stand directly in front of Gaara.
Gaara extended his right hand outwards slowly as sand surged up from beneath his feet, turning his right hand and shoulder into a massive arm. Naruto didn't even seem fazed by it. He may not have mastered the rasengan, but he sure did nail the part where you summon ungodly amounts of chakra in a flash. Naruto pumped chakra into his right arm to the point that his arm was encased in a blazing blue inferno of chakra before clasping Gaara's hand firmly in his. For a second the two just stood there with Naruto's chakra lashing about and Gaara's sand doing the same.
And then the bloodlust Temari and Kankuro were more than familiar with spiked to inhuman levels. Temari's left hand moved to the base of her fan. Kankuro attached chakra strings to the two puppets he had attached to his back. Sasuke activated his Sharingan. Sakura noticed everyone tensing but had nothing, nothing at all, that she specifically used to fight with. Settling for reaching for her kunai holster, the pink haired girl focused on Gaara as the sand on his arms shifted. It transformed into a vicious looking claw with several blue lines that looked like veins running through it. The final part of Gaara's transformation was his right eye changing from blue green to a golden yellow, a four pointed pupil with small black circles between each of the points replacing his normal one.
'You gonna let the one tail show us up fox?'Naruto mentally asked the demon caged within him. His response came in a surge of chakra easily twice what he used in the stadium against Neji. If Temari and Kankuro had been nervous before, they were scared witless as the unsuspecting blonde genin pumped out more killer intent and bloodlust than even Gaara. The blue inferno on Naruto's right arm transformed into a blaze of orange that extended further outwards from his arm and curved out around his back. Sasuke felt the curse mark on his neck throb to life in the presence of all the demonic chakra that was freely flowing through the area. Restraining it, Sasuke glared at the two, furious at how those two had access to some sort of ultimate power.
Naruto's eyes shifted from a calm, azure blue to a burning crimson red. For a few seconds the two demon carriers stood there, arms locked and chakra warring with one another. And then, as if some unspoken conversation came to a close, it stopped. The sand fell from Gaara's arm, Naruto's chakra calmed and slowly dissipated, and the ungodly amount of killer intent and bloodlust slowly tapered off to regular levels.
"Good to see you, Mr. Raccoon." Naruto said with a smirk on his face.
"Same, Fox." Gaara replied in the same monotone he always spoke in, though Temari and Kankuro both picked up on the tiny upwards curl on their brother's lips. Stepping back from the red head Naruto clapped his hands.
"Alright! You take the teme and Sakura." Aforementioned pink haired girl's eyes widened at the loss of the affectionate suffix that usually was attached to her name. "And I take the guy walking around wearing his hot sister's makeup and the hot sister." Temari blushed at being complemented, even off handedly. Kankuro grumbled about how it was war paint. Gaara simply nodded before turning around and beginning to walk back into the desert with Sasuke and Sakura silently following him.
"Take care of my family, Uzumaki." Gaara said without turning around as he walked off. Both of the sand siblings froze in their tracks at being referred to as family by their younger brother. The same brother that not even a month ago had threatened to kill them. The same brother that more times than they could count told them explicitly how he never considered them family. The same brother who for the longest time cared for nothing more than proving his existence and killing others. "Especially Kankuro, he needs it." Were the final words Gaara said before dashing across the desert.
"Did, did he, did he just, did he just make, a joke?" Kankuro asked bewildered. Naruto burst out laughing and pointed at the two sand siblings.
"Haha you should see the looks on your faces!" Wiping the imaginary tears from his eyes Naruto straightened up. "Alright! Last one back to Konoha buys the others lunch at Ichiraku's. Go!" With that Naruto did a chakra powered back flip back into the tree line. Temari took one final look out over the desert, trying to catch a final glimpse of her brother before taking off into the trees behind the enigma that was Naruto Uzumaki.
Kankuro took a good three minutes for his mind to compute that his younger brother had in fact made a joke, and for him to realize that he had been ditched by his other two traveling companions.
"Hey get back here!" The puppeteer shouted as he began to run through the forest in hopes of catching up to the two blondes.
Sitting in the trees hidden from view by the shadows two figures sighed, finally releasing the breaths they had been holding.
"I thought they were going to fight for a while there." The man with the left half of his face covered in a white cloth. Beside him the man with a leaf headband covering his left eye and a mask covering the lower half of his face just shrugged.
"Eh, Naruto would have won again. Now I better head back before the team misses me." As the silver haired Jonin got up the other man did as well and shook his head.
"Aren't you always late anyways?" An infamous eye smile was the only reply he got before Kakashi vanished in a shushin.
Temari and Kankuro were out of breath. They had both arrived at the gate around the same time, and both had been running as fast as possible the entire way there without a single break. Yet they had never seen hide or hair of the blonde boy that was supposed to be guiding them here.
"Oh, hey guys! I was wondering when you were gonna get here." Naruto said as he stood up and stretched before walking out of the guard box and tossing what appeared to be an empty bowl onto the stack of nine others. "Since you took so long, I already went ahead and ate. Hope you don't mind."
For a second the Sand Siblings gawked at him.
"You're just not normal, kid." Temari grumbled "How could you possibly beat us back here and still have enough time to inhale so much food?
Naruto flashed a fox grin.
"Cause I am just that good." Even the guards still in the guard box sweat dropped at that. "Now shall we go see Ba-chan and report a mission complete?" When he got two nods as a response Naruto turned on his heels and started to walk to the Hokage's office.
"He isn't human." Temari whispered to her brother who nodded.
Kankuro nodded and both sped up a bit to keep pace with the energizer bunny from hell that was their tour guide. In almost no time at all they had reached the office doors of Tsunade Senju, the current Hokage. Considering the level of formality that was standard in Suna, the Sand Siblings were expecting a wait before they could see the Hokage. Instead, Naruto merely strolled past the receptionist's desk, which was vacant for some odd reason, and barged right into the Hokage's office.
"Yo Ba-chan! We're back!"
A sake bottle to the face was his reward.
"Brat! How many times have I told you not to call me that?" Peeling the bottle from his face Naruto shrugged.
"Don't know. How many times have I been hit by one of your sake bottles?" Both blondes glared at one another for a good long while before eerily similar smirks appeared on their faces and they both began to chuckle.
Kankuro and Temari blinked in confusion.
A sigh from behind them caught the confused siblings' attention and they turned to see a black haired lady carrying a stack of papers with a little pink pig walking beside her.
"Forgive them. Those two are always like that." Shizune muttered as she walked around the desk and dropped the massive stack of papers. Upon seeing the huge pile of white paperwork Tsunade sighed and sobered up rather quickly.
"So, everything went safely?" She inquired even as she began to read the top file.
"Yep!" Naruto cheered before pumping a fist into the air. "Mission complete!"
As Naruto cheered a devious smirk spread across Tsunade's lips and she peered around the file.
"Not quite, gaki. Nope. Turns out you and Temari here have a nice, life-long mission ahead of yourselves."
Naruto's victory dance came to a screeching halt as he cocked his head to one side.
"Huh? What are you talking about Ba-chan?"
"It would appear that Suna feels Konoha has not been adequately repaid for the losses we experienced in the fight. As such, they felt a more permanent means of solidifying our alliance was needed."
Wheels and gears were beginning to turn inside Temari's head as all the extra classes she took as a Kage's daughter suddenly came to the front of her mind. Something about the way Tsunade was talking sounded familiar, but Temari just couldn't quite place it.
"I know that. Isn't that why we traded teammates for the month? That way we get to use their ninja and our ninja get to learn from them?"
The grin on Tsunade's face would have made a cheshire cat green with envy.
"That was done for other reasons. I didn't have to make Sakura and Sasuke go to Suna. I didn't even need to bring Kankuro here. All I need is for you and Temari to be together. Forever. Till death do you part."
That did for Temari. Her face went pale as snow, her breath froze in her throat, and her pulse quickened.
"Arranged political marriage?" She whispered so quietly that almost no one heard it. Almost. The blonde boy standing to her left with demonically enhanced senses heard it loud and clear.
If humanly possible, Tsunade's grin grew even more as she saw realization dawn on Temari's and Kankuro's faces, and a second later Naruto's. Lifting her fingers to her ears to protect her from the incoming apocalyptic outburst, Tsunade shut her eyes and waited. She didn't have to wait long.