This story is going to be a time skip story spanning the time from the Pain attack to after the fourth shinobi war and then some. Roughly three years when all is said and done. So expect a 19-20 year old Naruto that has matured in the allotted time and a Hinata that is a bit more sure of herself since the attack and the war. Look for fluff of course since I am making this a pairing story, but I am going to be working in a little side Naruto/Genin team side story as I go along with the plot. So stick around.
Naruto is of course owned by the creator, but I have unable to get this spin out of my head. Hope you enjoy it
You can in fact come home again.
It was late in the evening when he finally made it to the large hidden leaf wall. With the moon high in the sky he found the large reinforced wooden doors closed for the night, as expected. The Young ANBU searched the wall beside the door looking for the smaller entrance used for teams coming in late at night and was greeted with a small torch lighting an entryway only large enough for one at a time. He found himself drawing a smile behind the custom mask of a white rabbit with blue stripes over the eyes, thinking how the sight of the torch lighting the way home would not be possible during the war.
Making his way towards the doorway he was greeted by two tired looking Chūnin dressed in traditional hidden leaf garb. Looking at them he could guess that he was catching them around their shift change since they were both as groggy as they were.
"Who's there? Identify yourself." The one that seemed to be coming onto the shift shouted as the ANBU filtered out of the darkness to stand under the light of the torch.
The guard had a right to be jumpy as this ANBU officer was not due to return tonight and as such was to be treated as a threat until otherwise proven so. Holding up his hands he had to laugh behind his mask something that he guessed unnerved the guards. ANBU didn't laugh…or really even speak much for that matter. Just before it looked like one was going to sound the alarm he gladly pulled back the cloak that was worn by the usual rank and tugged a scroll from his right thigh exposing what looked like black special combat black pants with blue stitching to match his mask.
" Relax guys this is what you need I think," He held out to them the scroll barring the village's seal leaving it up to them to authenticate it themselves, as was their duty.
The one that had called him out in the first place tentatively stepped forward to take the scroll from the masked man with the distinct impression that the man before him was smiling. Passing the scroll back to his partner he spoke lowly for him to check it out while he kept his eyes on the ANBU before him for any movement.
In turn the ANBU just leaned back and looked up the wall with a hand behind his head scratching the back of his neck, "Just like old times..." He whispered to himself behind the mask.
This of course though drew a quick response from the guard watching him, "What was that?"
Blinking he turned his eyes down from the wall to the overcautious guard that snipped at him, "Sorry I have been away a long time."
The partner came forward and whispered something into the guard's ear that made him instantly relax and move to hand the scroll back to the ANBU, " Says here you have been out in the field since before the war, what's that like two? Two and a half years?"
They had both brightened considerably now that they knew they were not in any danger from the Officer and bowed their heads in welcome as he took back the scroll.
"Three actually." The young ANBU paused looking back behind him to the trail then turned back towards the two men in the doorway," It's good to be home."
They were about to say something in agreement and perhaps invite the ANBU to eat something with them behind the wall at their station after his long trip, but as soon as the traveler had spoken his last word he disappeared from view without a hint of, substitution, or travel in any direction.
"You look tired Granny," he said as he stepped out of the shadow in the corner of the room causing the Hokage's eyes to shoot up from her desk littered in paperwork and her third cup of coffee causing the two Chunin that regularly guarded her door at this late of an hour to come rushing into the room hand seals already forming.
In that instant the Chunin hesitated looking ready for battle at the slight signal from their Hokage, but she herself had not even moved from her chair eyes fading from shock to form a small smile that tugged at the corner of her lips. With that the two ninjas lowered their arms and with a motion of her hand moved from the room. All the while the rabbit masked ANBU didn't move from the spot he had entered from.
" You know just cause you're a big shot now does not mean you can go around scaring the lower ranks kid." She scolded, but was already getting up from her chair and rounding her desk to wrap the young man up in her arms, not taking care and nearly bumping the mask from his face.
Countless battles of staying concealed and his mask nearly had gotten removed by an overzealous family friend. The mask had become apart of him as much as any of his family. It had protected him from harm and in turn he gave it the respect it deserved.
"It's good to see you to Tsunade," He managed to squeak out between her strong arms wrapped around him.
Getting the hint she smiled that small, knowing smile of hers and backed up around to sit at her desk once again eyeing him from behind her coffee mug like she had done so long ago.
"Three years is a long time." She said.
The young ANBU gave a small nod and returned her smile behind his mask, "Was ready to be home."
She gave his form a long look noting that he seemed a bit taller and broader then the last time she had seen him. Perhaps her little charge had finally grown up to the man he was meant to be.
Setting down her mug she shot a look out across the village then back to him, "Well I think you know how important to the village your time away was. If I had known you were going to make it back today I would have made sure you had quite the welcome home party. I could probably have something put together for tomorrow?"
He just reached up a black fingerless gloved hand that had a worn metal plate across the back of it and shook her off, "No, that is part of the reason I came as I did. I just want to get back to normal. I have had enough excitement for now."
She had to scoff at the idea that the boy before her would turn down the chance to bask in front of the village, but if that's what he wanted that's what she was going to give him, "Of course. You've earned it." The warmth in her voice was worn on her sleeve along with her heart for the boy in the statement.
That same hand came up and rubbed the back of his neck like he had done before, an old habit as he shifted on his feet a bit, "I brought you something from the Hidden Mist people." Reaching his hand to his left side where he kept his pack tight to his hip, he stepped up to the desk and placed a small item on the tabletop.
The item was a small mirror with a handle made out of what looked like silver. Taking it up from the table she looked it over once expecting something to happen, but when she looked into the mirror all she saw was her own reflection, "Yo…you didn't have to do that."
"It is not what it appears." He simply stated.
She eyed him with a look of mild annoyance and internally smiled. She missed this, "Well I had guessed that, is it more than a mirror?"
"The Mists have a genjutsu that makes the user appear only how they wish to appear much like your own….changes…" Skirting around the fact that she used her own chakra to help with her looks, "I used a variation of that on this mirror so that you will see whoever you wish to see. Not real time of course. More of how you remember them."
He knew about her lost brother, love, and other love if you wanted to look at him that way. With this it would give her the chance to see them, to live in the memory long past like it was happening in the moment.
Smiling at her gazing into the mirror he cleared his throat to get her attention and spoke lowly, "Use it wisely…"
She hesitantly set down the mirror before her on the desk face down and slowly tore her eyes back up to the young man before her, "Thank you….really thank you."
He simply nodded and tilted his head to check the time on the clock on her wall.
"Yes well do you have your reports? I am sure you would like to head into town after so long."
Blinking he suddenly remembered the reports and reached back into his pack on his right side pulling the same scroll from before out from his cloak to set it upon the desk silently.
"By the way what's with the blue coloring?" She said with a slight dart of her eyes from the stitching in his pants when he revealed them for the scroll and the mask he wore to cover his features.
The young man reached up to the mask he wore and traced down the vertical stripes that covered his eyes, "Its temporary, people were starting to recognize my animal and colors. They are like racing stripes…they make me look fast right?"
She could tell he was smirking behind the mask so she just shook her head at the comment he made about the stripes, "mhm…" pondering her own answers for the colors, "As for your service I have set aside your back pay into your account, taken care of what was left of your stuff from your home after the attack, and tended to the personal matter you asked me to."
Moving her eyes up at the last part she looked for any sort of reaction from him, but all she got in return was a small nod. She hoped that his time away and the war had not taken the warmth from the boy she used to know
Going on she added, "As such I am going to grant you whatever station or mission you would like for the duration of your career up until you take my place."
This got the reaction she wanted from him as he took a quick step forward and she was able to read confusion behind that cold mask he wore, "Wait, what are you talking about Granny?"
"Cant you ever stop calling me that you brat?" She ground her teeth together and shifted around a paper on her desk so that it was facing him, "This here states that after a period of three years I will step down and appoint a new Hokage, you."
He hesitated when she held up her own pen for him to use not knowing if she was being serious or not. Many times before the war, they had teased over this topic and he was skeptical that she was about to pull another one over on him. Taking the pen slowly he dropped his eyes to the paper and began to read it over.
After a moment to read the fine print he spoke softly as if holding an egg he didn't want to break, "You're serious."
Leaned back in her chair she downed what was left of her coffee and gave him a bright smile, "I will announce it as soon as you reveal yourself tomorrow." Setting her mug on the desk she added," You will be revealing yourself tomorrow." Her tone was spoken in only a statement so that there was no confusion about her intent.
Setting his left gloved hand on the desk he leaned down and with his right carefully signed the document. Once he was done he set the pen down and just stared at the paper for a lingering moment.
"Thank you," His tone understating his true feeling at the moment.
"You earned it and you know it."
He straightened up slowly eyes still on the paper following it as she carefully filed it away into her desk. Feeling his eyes on her the whole way, "so have you taken any thought to what you are going to do next for your interim three years?"
There was a sense of euphoria that he had to be snapped out of to focus, it took her clearing her throat much like he himself had done to her moments before, "Yes…um…well that would be the other part of my reason for returning early. I would like to lead a team."
She raised one of her brows at this in a fashion that he on his travels had pictured her doing whenever he said something rather questionable, "What sort of team?"
"I am under the impression the Academy graduation was today and that teams are to be chosen?" The young ANBU asked with an air of knowing the answer to his question.
He was met with something he didn't expect though from his question. Laughter. The Hokage leaned back in her chair and was laughing so hard she nearly fell back out of her chair, wobbling to the point that she was going down, only to be stopped by his sturdy hand setting her chair right as he crossed the floor in a whisper.
"You're…your serious?" She reached hands up to wipe away the tears from under her eyes while he walked around to the correct side of the desk.
Soon to be his desk he thought.
"If I am not mistaken it is the first time my classmates are going to be taking teams because of the war pushing back any hope of regular ninja schooling. I simply wish to be there to be with them, to return things to normal."
He didn't have to say it, but she heard it. To be normal. It's all he ever really wanted and suddenly the whole request made a lot more sense to her. After being alone for so long with a Title that held such responsibilities he just wanted to return to the comfort of his friends and be normal for a while. She had to smile at that a bit. Before he tried desperately to be normal because everyone saw him as something different and it scared them, but now everyone saw him as something different and they loved him for it.
She would do anything to return him to the place he always fought so hard to be, "Of course, Kakashi was going to fill in for you if you had not returned this month, but because of his eyesight condition that I am sure you are aware of, I am sure he would step down."
While one could not see his expression because of his cover it was easy to tell that the young ANBU was relieved, relaxing his shoulders and holding a breath that he had evidently had since he came in. This had her wondering if there was not another side motive to his plan.
"I would also like to put in for these three before the pairings are set up tomorrow as the teams are called." He said reaching within his coat to draw out three cards that were about the size of baseball cards, setting them face up facing the woman so she could quickly identify the candidates.
Sitting up a bit in her seat she leaned over her desk so she could look at the kids more closely, "Coming prepared? Growing up I see." She softly smiled and looked over the three cards one by one. Frowning she turned her hues back up to him once more almost questionably, "Are you sure about these three?"
"Well if that's the three you want I will make sure it's the three you get," she said with the warmth she had held in her voice moments before when she offered him the document, "report to the Academy at half past one for the team meeting with the students. I am sure they will be eager to meet their Sensei." Giving him a look that told him he was in for a mobbing.
"What about the team pairings before hand?" He questioned. It had always been the process that the team leaders would meet to hash out who went on whose team before hand after all.
"I will set aside these three and they are sure to assume Kakashi was unable to make it. Is that such a stretch? Besides I know you need a good nights sleep. He will be up waiting for you I am sure."
He gave a small nod once again and shifted his gave over her shoulder to the town below basking in the silent moonlight that lay over it like a protective blanket.
"Yes, it has been a long time since I slept soundly."
He made his move over to the window and set his hand on the sill pressing it open with the other looking back at her one last time, "Thank you again Hokage-sama."
"Anything for family Naruto…but get rid of that bunny mask before tomorrow you look ridiculous." Smiling she added just before he flashed off into the night, "Though I am sure she will appreciate the colors."
He landed on the balcony that lead into his old Sensei's home a smile on his lips from the last lingering comment from the old woman.
Blue on pale white.
"Yo." Was all that was called from the dimly lit interior of the apartment and it already had Naruto's small smile cracking into a wide grin.
Stepping through the sliding glass door Kakashi sat at his small kitchen table in his boxers with a bottle of sake and a familiar covered orange book in his hand waving him to join him.
The older ninja had not even raised his eyes from his book since Naruto flashed up onto his balcony, but the young blonde headed shinobi could tell that he was happy to see him.
"Been a long time Kakashi."
"You're still wearing your rabbit mask."
Naruto laughed reaching up to remove the carefully made mask and set it aside on the tabletop resending the small jutsu he put on it allowing it to return to its original shape.
"I would offer you a drink, but-"
"I don't drink."
The young ninja again cut a smile at just being back around the copy cat before taking a moment to cast his eyes about the room.
"I hear you're just in time and will be taking my place as an academy team leader?"
Shocked, Naruto shot his eyes back across to the table to Kakashi who simply glanced up then back down. How…?
"Umm…yes I hope that's alright with you?"
"Of course Naruto, I am getting a little too beat up for such duties you know, but if you have any questions do not hesitate to come by."
Naruto sighed and shook his head, same old Kakashi he thought.
"You can crash here for as long as you need. They didn't rebuild your particular apartment building, but I am sure we will find a place to your liking among some of the newer buildings. Or well we know a guy." He chuckled lowly drawing the old students' thoughts to the captain that had a hand in building nearly every new structure in the village.
"Yamato," Naruto just shook his head and leaned back in the chair eyeing a very comfortable looking couch.
"Do you mind if I…?" He drew out hoping the older comrade got his question.
"Just be sure to be at the Academy no later then half past one."
Thankful, Naruto got up from the kitchen table and headed across the room to the cloth covered couch there set against one wall. Testing it once with his hands he moved around a pillow or two before stretching out across it on his back wrapped up in his ANBU cloak that he had yet to remove. He had slept in the thing countless nights. Some things would take time to get over.
The old instructor just looked on with a smile that was not hidden behind his usual black mask, but he noticed that Naruto had said nothing about it. It was good to have the kid home. Moments later the blonde headed Nin started to snore softly enjoying perhaps the first truly good night of sleep he had gotten in the last three years.
The next morning the light started to filter through the glass of the balcony and onto the sleeping nin's form. There on the chocolate colored couch he should have risen, but he just rolled over and went back to sleep. It had been a long time since he had the pleasure of sleeping in. Passing in the kitchen on his way out Kakashi just smiled and set out a note that said "help yourself to the fridge…within reason," leaving it on the kitchen table and was out the door not wanting to wake his old student.
Eventually even Naruto had to rouse himself from his slumber and he leaned up on the couch still clad in his combat uniform and cloak, stretching his arms up over his head like a cat after a good nap. Turning his attention to the glass door he noted where the sun was in the sky and grumbled something about having less time then he thought.
Quickly the young ANBU officer moved about the small apartment taking the time to shower, eat something, and redress before he was heading back out onto the balcony checking the time, "should make without being late." Stepping off the balcony he pulled his mask down over his face and once again took on the bunny jutsu hiding the true colors and shape of his disguise from the world. He then fell from the railing only to flash away leaving his old instructors place behind.
The Academy was in its first year back after the fourth shinobi war and it was looking like one of their best years yet. Because of the back up of the three years they had far more students then were normal, but luckily they had a great array of young instructors to lean on. Out in the seats and some not in their seats the students watched as the team leaders filed into the room knowing that each one of them by the end of the day would find their way onto a team that would shape their lives forever. It was a big day.
The line of instructors found themselves looking out towards the students thinking that it had not been to long ago that they had been in the student's shoes, hoping that they would get the instructor they wanted. Most of them, well probably except for Shikamaru hoped that their students would be pleased to be on their teams. Before they were to call out the names though Iruka waved his hands and cleared his throat causing the students to scramble back to their seats knowing what was to happen next.
"Now it has been my pleasure to teach this group of students. You faced the adversity of rebuilding a village with your fellow students and the burden of the fourth shinobi war, but always remember you are stronger for it." Pausing he glanced to a particular rowdy kid catching his eye causing him to instantly still, " Today your going to meet your new instructors and I hope you show them the same amount of trust and respect you showed me over these past few years. Because of the success of the joint shinobi force and in keeping with the dignitary treaties signed, you will be the first young shinobi with access to other village training."
There was a low murmur amongst the students when this last bit came up and one in the front row raised his hand swiftly speaking before Iruka could tell him to wait.
"I thought they were going to be our teachers?"
Smiling widely Iruka thought back to when the info first came in and it filled him with a bit of pride that he had a hand in shaping what had come to be, "Thanks to a certain ninja you are going to be visited in the village by a ninja of the same rank as your instructors and receive jutsu training of the like you would normally not be able to get just here in the leaf."
That seemed to settle the mind of the students, at least for the moment and he took this moment to get on with the names. Stepping out from behind his podium he took the list in his hands and started to call off names.
The first three called off seemed happy enough to be called together all jumping from their seats and running up to a welcoming looking Sakura greeting them with, each received a handshake and a hug where she deemed it was needed to curb the students excitement.
Down the line the other students met a similar reaction from their own instructors Kiba, Ino, Lee, Shino, Choji, Tenten, Neji, heck even Shika couldn't help, but rub one of his new student's hair when they all gathered around him.
That left six students with one instructor and Iruka glanced back down at his sheet that clearly said there would be a instructor here to replace Kakashi today, but clear as day he looked down the line of kids and instructors and all he saw was Hinata standing on the end of the line near the door eyeing him right back questionably, darting her eyes between the six students and the list he held in his hand.
Iruka slowly called off the next three names for team Hinata and to his relief someone came around the corner into his room as if late, just like Kakashi to be- Wait was that an ANBU? Everyone in the room suddenly turned towards the new entry. The kids were halfway down the stairs to meet Hinata when the man in the white with blue stripes bunny mask made his way into the room.
The man in the mask just motioned with a gloved hand for the students to continue on their way down to meet Hinata and took his place standing beside the Hyuga with his hands pressed into the pockets of his combat pants, his form hidden behind the mask and ANBU cloak.
The three remaining students were not the best in the class, in fact it wouldn't be right to say that they were even average. They were in fact the three lowest scoring kids in the class and it had Iruka checking his list once again in frustration. One of the kids even had a disability, but still trained hard enough to squeak past the final exam. How could they be on the same team, it was not how it had ever been done?
The Academy instructor shot his eyes from the students down to the ANBU that had just walked in and motioned to the list, "I don't thin...-", but was cut off with the bunny masked man simply raised a right hand from under his cloak and gave a thumbs up. Everything about the young ANBU said he seemed to know what he was doing and frankly Iruka felt like he should trust him. The Hokage wouldn't just send any ANBU to be an instructor after all. Active ANBU had not instructed Academy students in the past.
"Izumi, Shuo, and Kenta you are on team…" Iruka trailed off noticing that the list did not have a name for the final instructor so on the hang of his announcement all eyes turned to the man at the end of the line.
Reaching his hand up Naruto pressed his hand to the front of the mask and released the jutsu returning his outfit to normal a wave revealing a stark orange and white worn fox mask along with a ANBU cloak that was actually the orange and black cloak he had worn on the day so long ago that he fought against Pain to save the village. Removing the mask slowly he revealed his blue hues to the room, distinctive blonde locks that fell shaggily around his eyes and over his ears, then finally the fox birthmarks on his cheek.
"You're on Team Naruto, Uzumaki Naruto." He said with a grin on his face that rivaled any anyone in the room had ever scene, but before they could surround and hound him with questions he reached out and roughed up the hair of one of his new running students quick to get to him, though his eyes were only for the Hyuga beside him whose own eyes were as pure and wider then he had ever had the pleasure to see, "And I love you Hyuga Hinata."
Nearly the whole room just froze at his reveal for more then one reason. The kids of course didn't understand, some just staring at him while others jockeyed to get a closer look. His old friends each held a different expression on their faces, but only two were able to get anything out.
"Classic Naruto…" Shika grinned in his usual lazy way.
"N-n-Naruto-kun?" Hinata hesitantly got out just before dropping to the floor, much to the confusion of her new students.
Seeing Hinata fall to the floor and her students rush around her drew a special smile to Naruto's face and he nodded with a whisper just before the pink hair girl sent him to the same plane as his love, "It's good to be home."
So yeah that's my entry into my first Fanfic. Not a lot of Hinata in this portion, but I can tell you hold on the next chapter its near 100%.
I want the two main character to feel older and that feeling to grow in how they handle things as I go along.
As for update speed I already have the next two chapters finished just finishing up my editing and I should have at least one a week up if not fast, but then again that's baring something of course.
Please Review and be honest.
Thanks for reading.
(This chapter has been re-edited and uploaded again.)