Disclaimer: I disclaim all that I use in this work of fanfiction, including, but not limited to, the strand of hair that always seems to be between Hanabi's eyes. How does she keep from brushing that aside? Seriously, if I had a strand of hair like that that went down the middle of my face, I'd be itching all the time!
Author's Note: I'm sorry, I'M SORRY! I really wish I had a decent excuse as to why I haven't gotten more done more quickly, as well as such an excuse for why I put three of my fics on temporary hiatus, but I honestly don't. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the Naruto manga and/or anime ended before I got done with any of my fics! Either way, I'm VERY sorry that I kept all of you waiting. You don't know how much it irks me to not be able to post chapters often like so many other authors on this site. But, yeah, I'm sorry, readers. I'm trying, at least, so that counts for something, right?
Sage Versus God
A few days later
Naruto and Hinata were enjoying themselves in one of the training grounds, deciding not to go to the park since the civilians there would treat them with hate as usual, and they didn't want to expose their unborn child to such feelings in case it was conscious of itself already, and had the ability they had to sense emotions in other people.
Tsunade's shadow clone sat nearby, watching her two shinobi enjoy themselves as they chased each other around the field playfully. Soon enough, they were joined by Hanabi, who wanted to spend time with her sister and her soon-to-be brother-in-law. The two half-bloods were startled out of their playtime, however, when they sensed a wonderful jolt of happiness coming from a few people nearby.
"NARUTO-NIICHAN!" three young Genin shouted, leaping down from one of the nearby trees. Hinata stood by Naruto, placing a hand on his shoulder in a calming gesture, not that it was needed. The three Genin tackle-hugged Naruto, who began laughing happily.
"Gimme a couple minutes to remember you guys fully! I've already got your names on the tip of my tongue!" he laughed heartily. The three Genin were saddened, reminded suddenly that Naruto had been reported to have lost his memories, then were startled into excitement again when Naruto pushed all three off him and pounced onto them this time, and called out, "Konohamaru, Moegi, Udon! I'm so glad to see you all again!"
Konohamaru grinned. "We knew we'd see you again, Boss! It was just a matter of time!" he exclaimed.
"We missed you!" Moegi added, nodding her head as she got out from under Naruto, along with Konohamaru and Udon.
"We bugged the Hokage so much about going to look for you, she got fed up with us and sent our team out on border patrol," Udon said, explaining why he hadn't seen them for a while.
Naruto nodded, understanding what happened. "Yeah, Tsunade-kaachan can get cranky sometimes, but she has her reasons for doing these things," he replied.
"KONOHAMARU!" Hanabi shouted, gesturing for the boy to come over to her. Konohamaru trudged over, somewhat afraid of what Hanabi would do when he got to her. To his surprise, what she did was nothing unpleasant. The small girl hugged him, mumbling, "I missed you...Something bad almost happened while you guys were gone, and...I've been having trouble dealing with it without you..."
Hinata put her hands on her hips, having heard what Hanabi said quite clearly. "Hanabi-chan, you should have come to me right away if you were having problems with that still. I care about you, and I want you to come to me if you have issues that are difficult to talk about," she scolded lightly, then turned to Naruto, and explained, "In case you haven't realized, Konohamaru and Hanabi-chan started dating while you were missing. It seems we Hyuuga maidens tend to gravitate towards knuckle-headed boys."
Hanabi frowned. "Sorry, Neechan. I...I didn't want to interrupt your time with Naruto-niichan by going to you with my problems..." she apologized softly.
Hinata smiled. "You wouldn't be a bother. Naruto-kun and I would happily help you anytime, and I'm sure Naruto wouldn't have a problem with that," she explained, then after Naruto nodded in agreement, added, "Come by sometime, and I'll brush your hair for you, like back when we were smaller."
Hanabi nodded. "Thank you...Mama..." she mumbled softly, blushing lightly.
"Mama?" Naruto questioned softly towards Hinata.
The blunette turned to Naruto and replied, "Come sit with me by that tree over there. I'll explain why she called me that while we relax."
Hanabi blushed more heavily than before, stammering out an explanation to her friends and boyfriend why she called Hinata her mother. Soon enough, Naruto and Hinata were seated under a tree, leaning against each other. "It's been a very long time since Hanabi-chan called me that," Hinata said, then continued, "a few minutes after she'd been born, our mother, Izumi Hyuuga, passed away due to a few complications, blood loss being one of them. Father was stricken with grief, and he couldn't bear it sometimes to look at us, seeing as we both resembled Mother so much. He buried himself in his work, and spent very little time with us. I, however, dealt with my grief in a more productive manner. Hanabi-chan was all I had left of Mother, and I dedicated myself to raising her."
Naruto frowned. "But you were only five years old back then. It must have been really tough..." he replied softly, feeling the pain Hinata was feeling while she described the aftermath of her mother's death.
"It was, but whenever I got down, I thought to myself, 'Hanabi needs me. This little bundle of joy is relying on me to keep her happy and safe. She's a part of Mother, just like I am, and I should be happy that she's with me.' And I did become happy. Hanabi was such a joy to be around. She was tiring to take care of, yes, but she was wonderful to be around, and she filled my heart with joy so many times. Eventually, she began learning how to crawl, and put blocks on top of one another, and talk," Hinata explained, then smiled warmly, and continued, "She learned to talk so fast, and somehow, she came to think that I was 'Mama.' She was wrong, obviously, and I had to correct her to start calling me 'Neechan,' but it made me so happy when she called me that...I knew then that someday, I wanted a little one of my own. And now, thanks to you, Naruto-kun, that dream is coming true." As she said this, she took Naruto's hand with her own, and placed it over her still flat, but slightly harder than usual, belly.
Naruto smiled. "She's going to love having you as a mother, Hinata," he said happily, dropping the -chan suffix due to how close he felt to her right then.
Hinata giggled. "You know, if she turns out to be a boy, it'll be a bit tough to explain to him why we called him a she throughout his time in here," she joked.
Naruto let out a 'hmph' and crossed his arms. "You know why I'm having us call her a she. I refuse to refer to any of my children, or grandchildren for that matter, as 'it!'" he exclaimed.
Hinata nodded, remembering what happened when she had called their child 'it.' Naruto had flinched visibly, and he asked her to pick a gender, and to stick with referring to the baby as said gender. Hinata had asked why, and Naruto replied, "That's all they called me when I was kept in captivity. Either that, or 'jinchuuriki." Not sure on which gender to decide upon, Hinata took a coin and tossed it, and decided to refer to their child as if it was a girl from then on, unless she was proven to be a boy later on in the pregnancy.
"It's a good reason to not call her that, Naruto. I'm sure she'll appreciate how much you care about her. I was only joking before anyway," the blunette replied, resting her head against one of Naruto's shoulders.
Naruto smiled. "Thanks, Hinata...You're right, though, if she winds up being a he, I'm pretty sure he'll give me a hard time about it for kicks!" he laughed. Hinata giggled, and they both began chuckling lightly together.
Meanwhile, with Hanabi and the others
Konohamaru smiled, kissing Hanabi's forehead. "You tell your dad to expect a marriage proposal soon. I know we're rushing it, but I want you to know that I want to be with you, Hanabi-chan," he said happily.
Hanabi giggled, blushing. "You don't have to do that, Kono-kun. You're already so good at making me feel wanted. Let's wait another half a year, otherwise people will think weird things about us," she replied happily, then mock-glared and added, "I still expect to go on dates whenever we both have free time, though!"
Unfortunately, Hanabi's mock-glare was so close to a real one, that Konohamaru started to panic lightly. "Y-yes ma'am!" he exclaimed, saluting by instinct.
Hanabi frowned. "I did it again, didn't I? I've gotta learn how to joke around better! Oh, Konohamaru-kun, what will you do with me?" she complained.
Konohamaru grinned, recovering quickly. "How about I...take you out on a date to the ice cream parlor?" he suggested happily.
Hanabi wrapped her arms around him, grinning. "You're the best, Konohamaru-kun!" she exclaimed.
"Um, (sniff) could you make that a double date?" a nasally voice said from nearby. Konohamaru and Hanabi turned to see Udon and Moegi grinning, hand in hand.
Hanabi grinned smugly. "I was wondering when you two were going to reveal that you were a couple!" she said happily.
Moegi pouted. "You knew? For how long?" she asked.
Hanabi's grin got even wider. "Since a week before I asked this knucklehead out!" she exclaimed.
Konohamaru nearly fell over at this revelation. "Wha...How...Why didn't you tell me, Hanabi-chan?" he asked.
Hanabi smiled softly at the scarf-wearing brunet. "It wasn't my secret to tell," she explained softly, then got all excited and shouted, "Now let's go on that double date!"
The four of them walked off happily, with Tsunade's shadow clone smiling happily. "The leaves of the tree of Konoha are mingling...Do you see it, Sarutobi-sensei? Now if only that idiotic pervert were here, we might be able to make that a triple date, though I guess that'd be weird for the brats," she said to herself, chuckling lightly, then frowned and added, "I hope you're safe, wherever you are now, Jiraiya..."
The next day, somewhere in Grass Country
Jiraiya sat, hidden and waiting. Soon enough, the messenger toad he'd been waiting for summoned itself next to him. "So, will he help me out, little guy?"
The toad croaked, then replied, "Yes. Crow is waiting, and only wishes to help keep the leaves afloat."
Jiraiya nodded. "Good. Tell Crow that he will fly together with the leaves again after all this is over, if I have anything to say about it," he said.
The toad nodded, and vanished.
Somewhere in Amegakure no Sato
A hooded figure stood in an out-of-the-way alley, hidden from the constant rain by various rooftops. A familiar toad appeared in front of him, delivering its message.
'Crow' smiled. "I'm grateful. Bring him here now, please. We have little time before I'm discovered missing," he said. The toad made several hand seals, and in a miniature cloud of smoke, Jiraiya appeared.
Jiraiya grinned. "I'm glad to be the one to finally be bringing you home, Itachi," he said, then cracked his knuckles and explained, "You remember the plan, right? I bring the thunder, you bring the lightning!"
Itachi nodded, remembering the ANBU code phrase. Jiraiya would be loud and devastating, making a distraction, and Itachi would be swift and precise, killing in the shadows. "Let's go."
And so, the two S-ranked shinobi went their separate ways, preparing to do what needed to be done.
Half an hour later
Jiraiya grinned. While his role was 'thunder,' he still had to sneak around a bit, but he was pretty sure he'd be detected soon enough. It helped that he left a few Ame-nins' corpses lying in out-of-the-way places, where only shinobi would find them, and he was sure they would, with how much of a stink burnt flesh made. "This is almost too easy," he said softly, then called out, "You know, it's not nice to sneak up on people!"
A familiar voice from behind stated in an even tone, "It seems I still have to work on that, Jiraiya-sensei."
Startled, Jiraiya turned around, only to be forced to dodge a flurry of paper shuriken that somehow pierced partway through the wall behind where he'd been. Remembering his student's talent, and how to beat it, Jiraiya spat a glob of oil at his attacker. "That's no way to greet your sensei after being apart for so long, Konan," he said, remorse in his voice. "So, you joined the Akatsuki. What about the other two, Yahiko and Nagato? Even if we're enemies, it would be nice to have the team together again, and it would make me feel better to know that you all survived."
"This is as far as the 'reunion' gets, Jiraiya-sensei," another voice called out from above. Jiraiya raised his head to see a man that resembled his student Nagato slightly.
"Yeesh, when did you dye your hair, Nagato? And does this mean that Yahiko is dead? That is such a shame...I had such high hopes for you three, and look how you turned out. One dead, and the other two members of a terrorist organization. I truly have failed as your sensei," the toad sage said sadly.
Nagato frowned. "Nagato is dead, as is Yahiko. Only Pain remains. Your power is nothing against the power of Kami, Sensei. I will ask you only once. Will you join my organization?" the orange-haired man asked.
Jiraiya frowned. "I'm sorry, but I can't do that. My godson and his family are counting on me to stop you, since you're targeting jinchuuriki. And I'd stop you even if Naruto wasn't one, because what you're doing isn't just!" he exclaimed.
The newly-dubbed Pain closed his eyes and shook his head. "You always were a fool, Sensei. Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
Suddenly, from the wall, an enormous crab summon appeared. It sprayed a pond's worth of foam out towards Jiraiya, who barely managed to get out of the way in time. The foam filled the area for a moment, and Konan flew out of the stuff, carried by paper wings.
"Konan, stay back. I will deal with this," Pain called out. The blunette simply nodded, floating back to observe from a distance. Pain sent his crab summon back to wherever it came from, and glared at his teacher. "Here I come, Sensei."
From the same wall the crab appeared from, a dog summon appeared, with Rinnegan eyes like its master, and three heads, and it rushed at the toad sage.
"A battle of summoning, eh? Come on out, Gamaken-san!" Jiraiya shouted, hopping onto the water behind them, from which a toad equally as enormous as the three-headed dog rose, with Jiraiya on his head. Shield at the ready, Gamaken blocked the Cerberus's charge.
The multi-headed animal attempted to get away, but Gamaken wouldn't have it. "Clumsy as I am, I won't let you escape!" he shouted, then stabbed his forked mace at the beast, who howled in rage.
Pain, who sensed something was afoot elsewhere, decided to up the ante, and called back his dog. Leaping at his teacher, he placed his hands together, and summoned a pair of humans, both with Rinnegan eyes, orange hair, and strange piercings, like him.
Realizing he was outmatched, Jiraiya sent back Gamaken, and summoned stronger reinforcements. Seconds after the three enemies entered the cloud of smoke caused by the summoning technique, they were sent flying out of it.
"What the..." Pain muttered out loud, not expecting to have been knocked away so easily.
"It's been a long time, Jiraiya-chan," an elderly man's voice spoke from the smoke.
"Why'd you have to summon us now, though, lad? I was just cooking dinner!" an old woman's voice complained.
"Boss, Ma'am, I'm dealing with three Rinnegan users right now, so I need all the help I can get," he explained. The smoke cleared, and Jiraiya reappeared, but he was changed, and he wasn't alone. His eyes were like a toad's, and they had red tinting in the skin around them. His nose became large and warty, and he'd grown a decent amount of facial hair as well. On his left shoulder was a tiny frog, who appeared to have covered up the top of her head with a purple, skin-tight film, showing the bumps underneath, and wore a collared cloak around her body. On his right shoulder was a male toad, with a bit of a goatee and a spiked Mohawk on his head, more because he was missing the hair on the sides of his head than because he'd styled it that way. He, too, wore a collared cloak around his body. These two were Shima and Fukasaku, respectively. They were the toad sages of Mount Myoboku, and mentors of Jiraiya.
The human toad sage, in his new form, grinned. "Let's see you beat me and my friends in Sage Mode!" With that, he leapt backwards, onto a nearby wall, then launched at high speed at the trio of pierced men. A gargantuan orb of spiraling chakra appeared from Jiraiya's hand. "Giant Rasengan!" he shouted.
Before the enormous Rasengan could impact his enemy, though, one of the men Pain summoned stepped in front of the attack and held his hands out. The attack suddenly began to shrink, or so it seemed at first. Then it was clear that the man was absorbing the attack!
Jiraiya aborted the attack, then substituted with a stone that was nearby, and aimed a blow at Pain's head from behind. Somehow, though, the man blocked it perfectly, though only the man with long straight hair had seen the attack coming. The white-haired spy-master leapt back, thinking about what he knew of his opponent so far.
"It's like that one guy saw what I was doing, and Pain knew what I was up to just from that," Jiraiya muttered.
"You don't think their eyes are linked or something, do ya, Jiraiya-chan?" Shima asked.
"Maybe," Jiraiya replied, frowning.
Fukasaku grimaced. "Better to test it out than to just assume. He could be tracking us by sound, for all we know. Try getting that one guy near your clone from behind, but be silent and quick!" he suggested.
Jiraiya nodded, and sent a telepathic command to his clone, who leapt up from behind the man who had absorbed the Giant Rasengan earlier, about to knock his block off. The man simply held his hand out behind him, and Jiraiya's clone dispelled.
Jiraiya grinned. "I know just what to do," he said smugly, then took off running. The three men chased after him, not willing to let him get away. Soon enough, Jiraiya came upon an alleyway that opened up to an open area, with a large rock jutting out of water. Turning around quickly, knowing for a fact that his three opponents were right on his tail, he inhaled, along with Fukasaku and Shima. "Sage Art: Bath of Boiling Oil!" he shouted as he spat out a huge glob of oil, which Fukasaku and Shima heated up immensely with wind and fire techniques. The tubby man tried to absorb the technique, but since he only seemed able to absorb the chakra from techniques, the superheated oil remained, and burned him and the long-haired man alive. Pain, however, managed to dodge, and he and Jiraiya leapt out onto the rock.
"Your end is inevitable, Sensei," Pain said, then clapped his hands together, and in an enormous cloud of smoke, about as big as the smoke for one of Jiraiya's boss summons, a gigantic bull appeared. The bull immediately charged at the toad sage, aiming to trample him under its feet.
Jiraiya leapt out of the way skillfully, rolling to rise so he was facing the bull. As the beast attempted to end its charge and turn around for another, Jiraiya inhaled, preparing for one of his most devastating Fire Style attacks. "Fire Style: Giant Flame Bombs!" he called out, as a gargantuan wave of flames, about as big as the summon he was aiming to fry, flew from his mouth, hitting its target dead on. "Did we get him?" Jiraiya wondered out loud.
His answer was clear when Pain leapt from the flames, brandishing some sort of rod in a way that suggested he intended to impale Jiraiya with it. Jiraiya reached his hand out, grabbing the rod with his Sage Mode induced herculean strength, barely keeping it from stabbing him through the chest.
Fukasaku, knowing that, if Jiraiya tried to attack with his other hand, Pain would only leap away, decided on a different course of action. "Ma, let's use genjutsu!"
Shima nodded, understanding her significant other's line of thinking. For a moment, Pain only knew the sound of frogs croaking, and when he came to, he was held in a barrier jutsu by several large toads.
Pain frowned. "I was unaware you knew such a genjutsu, Jiraiya-sensei," he said, still in that same monotonous voice.
"Nagato..." Jiraiya stated softly as he looked up at his captive student. "I'm sorry it came to this. Goodbye, my pupil."
Inside the barrier, Pain, or Nagato, or whoever he had become after all his time spent as the leader of Akatsuki, gasped, feeling a sudden, inexplicable pain. And with that, Pain died.
Outside of the genjutsu, on the same rock Jiraiya and Pain had battled on
Jiraiya let go of the ornamental blade he had stabbed Pain with, letting out a sigh of relief. "Sorry I had to call you two out here," he said.
"You did what you had to, Jiraiya-chan," Fukasaku replied, then continued, "That was some fight, huh? You don't do battle with Rinnegan users everyday, now do you?"
Jiraiya nodded. "Now I just have to wait for-"
"Didn't you say never to turn your back on an enemy, Jiraiya-sensei?" A familiar voice said from behind.
Jiraiya whirled around, but was unable to do a thing when his left arm was ripped off. Falling to the ground, the perverted writer wondered what had gone wrong.
"Now, then..." a voice said, just as six men, three of them being the guys Jiraiya had just beaten, landed in formation on an outcropping above him.
"The Six Paths of Pain! In attendance!"
"What?!" Jiraiya gasped.
"Six of them? There are six Rinnegan users here?!" Shima cried out.
"How are we supposed to beat that?!" Fukasaku questioned.
Jiraiya's eyes widened upon seeing the man in front of the others. "No way...Is that you, Yahiko? Why do you have the Rinnegan?" the white haired hermit asked.
"You really are his teacher, aren't you? Sadly, no. Yahiko is dead. All that remains...is Pain," the man using Yahiko's body said ominously.
Jiraiya frowned, looking at all the other men before him. "They're all people I've met during my travels...I know for a fact that some of those people died, though...And their eyes are all linked, I assume. The guy I fought before definitely wasn't Nagato, though, now that I think about it. He certainly didn't fight like him...If these are all dead bodies, though, then that means somebody else must be around here somewhere, pulling the strings!"
Fukasaku looked at Jiraiya, wondering what he was up to. "Jiraiya-chan, what's wrong?"
"The real one isn't here," he muttered, then turned to Fukasaku and Shima and whispered, "If I don't make it out of this, make sure that information gets to the village, along with Itachi."
Shima frowned, and slapped Jiraiya upside the head, despite the situation. "You'd better make it back! Your godson is getting married soon, and will be having a tadpole in a while as well! There's no way you're getting out of helping him through that!" she shouted.
Jiraiya smiled grimly. "It'll take a miracle to get me out of here," he said.
"Then a miracle you shall receive, Jiraiya-sama," a voice stated, and Itachi landed between Jiraiya and the six paths of Pain.
"You..." Pain stated.
"I've completed my part of the mission, Jiraiya-sama. It's time to go home," Itachi said, summoning Susano'o to ward off their enemy.
Jiraiya grinned. "Good, now that we're all here, we can leave!" he exclaimed. Pain tried to get to them to stop them, but Itachi's Susano'o bashed the ground with its shield, and by the time the cloud of dust was gone, Pain was alone.
Meanwhile, in Konoha
Naruto grinned as he watched Hinata brush her sister's hair. The two of them seemed to be enjoying themselves, and so was he, feeling privileged to be allowed to watch this intimate family moment between the two. Slowly, he walked up behind Hinata, and upon reaching her, began running his fingers through her hair.
Hinata giggled at Naruto's actions. "I can teach you to brush my hair for real, if you want, Naruto-kun," she said softly.
Naruto's grin widened. "I'd like that, but for now, this is nice," he replied happily.
Hanabi laughed lightly. "You two are so good for each other! I can't wait till you two are married! And if that baby of yours is going to be anything like you two, I'm going to be one happy aunt!" the brunette chipped in.
Just then, Naruto sensed Tsunade's shadow clone dispelling in the other room. Getting worried, he stretched out his senses to find her in the village. He succeeded, and he sensed that near where she was, a very weak Jiraiya was holding on for dear life.
"Naruto?" Hinata questioned, sensing her mate's worry.
The blond quickly made a shadow clone, and said, "I'll be back. Ero-sennin is hurt bad. I need to make sure he gets through whatever's going on all right."
Hinata sighed. "Dispel your shadow clone. I'm coming with you," she said softly, but firmly.
Naruto nodded, doing as she said. Soon enough, they were off, Hanabi going with them as well.
At the hospital
Tsunade was doing her best not to panic as she worked on Jiraiya. Itachi had been taken by the ANBU to a holding cell, more so that people wouldn't attack him than to keep him imprisoned. If all went well, Jiraiya would be healed soon, and Itachi would be a free man again. However, for some odd reason, the wound where the old pervert's left arm used to be didn't seem to be healing up like it should.
"Gah! It...must be from that weapon of his..." Jiraiya grunted, insisting on being awake for the procedure so that he could make sure his hime was all right. "It messed up my chakra pretty bad...when I grabbed it..."
"Shut up, you old pervert! You're going to make it through this, messed up chakra or not!" Tsunade replied, refocusing her chakra to heal the injury Jiraiya was suffering from. It was too bad that they didn't have the actual arm. She may very well have been able to reattach it, with Katsuyu's help, but it was a no-go without the arm itself.
"Ero-sennin!" a voice called out from the doorway. Tsunade didn't even turn her head. She knew Naruto's voice well enough by now.
"Unless you have some kind of miracle up your sleeve, gaki, get out! I can't have too many distractions!" Tsunade grunted.
"Apologies, Hokage-sama. By the time we realized he was here, he was already through the door," the Chunin on duty at the door said.
"Don't worry about it. It just gives me all the more excuse to promote him later on," the blonde Hokage replied, then said to Naruto, "In all seriousness, though, please leave. You're very distracting."
However, Naruto seemed to be in a bit of a trance. In his mind, he saw a man, tiny compared to him somehow, missing one of his legs. He gently reached one of his claws out, which he was sure in some part of his mind weren't his, and synchronized his chakra with the man's, giving the man an aura of red chakra, which seemed to rapidly regenerate his leg. Blinking out of the trance, Naruto realized something. "I can help him!" he exclaimed suddenly, then grasped Jiraiya's remaining hand with one of his, and gently pushed some of his chakra into the man.
Jiraiya was startled for half a second, then realized he was starting to be able to feel his arm again, little by little. He noticed, idly, that he was covered in an aura of red chakra, but unlike what it once did to Naruto, it only seemed to be healing him, and not damaging him at the same time. He realized at the same time that he felt stronger with this aura, like he could take on an army and then have time to wipe the floor with Pain twice!
Naruto gasped upon realizing what he did, and what it meant. "Tsunade-kaachan...I can heal people! If I heal people so well, they might like me! They might acknowledge me!" he exclaimed, then started making shadow clone after shadow clone, who all headed out to the various rooms of the hospital, startling many as they passed, shouting how they can heal people, and that people might finally notice him in a good light.
That day was seen as a miracle by almost everybody in the village. A storm of Naruto's clones flooded the hospital, and saved the lives of hundreds, along with getting rid of minor ailments like headaches and such. By the end of the day, people were talking about how Naruto had healed everybody in the hospital. The only people he was unable to heal were those whose amputations were already healed, and even then, if they had anything else wrong with them, that was dealt with quickly.
That evening, in the Hokage's office
"That was a good thing you did, Naruto-kun," Hinata said softly, smiling warmly at the young man.
"That it was, gaki. The village owes you, and they finally realize it, too," Tsunade said happily, then added, "I hope you realize that this means I'll be calling you in to help with the tougher medical cases from now on, but I don't want to rely on you as a crutch. If I did that, my own medical skills would wane, and obviously, that's a bad thing for the village. You can't cure everything, after all, if today was anything to go by."
Naruto nodded. There had been one shinobi with internal bleeding from a mission gone wrong, and while he was able to heal the man, there had still been blood in his lungs, which a medic had been quick to expel. It seemed his healing power was limited to regeneration. "I understand, Tsunade-kaachan," he replied, then continued, "But you should have seen everybody's faces! They looked so happy! And I made that happen! They all thanked me! It...It was great! For a while, I was considering taking Hinata and leaving the village after our baby was born, but now...we just might have a chance at a happy, normal life!"
Tsunade was startled. "Since when were you planning that?" she asked, somewhat offended that Naruto wouldn't come to her with this information.
Hinata frowned. "It started when that one drunk that we ran across one night last week said how he was going to kill our baby before she was born, and how she was a 'demon spawn.' We didn't want our baby growing up being hurt by such prejudice," she explained sadly, then smiled and said, "But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. People are starting to realize what a good person Naruto is, and therefore, our baby should be just fine growing up in the village, whether she looks part fox or not."
Jiraiya, who was standing nearby, still missing his left sleeve, grinned. "I'm really glad you guys won't be leaving. If you had gone, I just might have been tempted to leave with you! But that would have been hard, leaving my hime behind!" he said, then turned to said hime, and added, "We still have that date to go on, by the way!"
Tsunade sighed. "Pick me up tomorrow at five thirty. Let's go somewhere fancy," she said with a smirk.
Jiraiya grinned. "It'll be really fancy, don't worry!"
An ANBU suddenly appeared in the room. "We have Itachi Uchiha here, ready for his mission debriefing," the masked agent said.
"Itachi Uchiha? He has a mission debriefing?" Hinata wondered out loud.
Tsunade nodded. "Don't worry. He's not as evil as everybody has been led to believe," she told Hinata, then turned to the ANBU at the door and said, "Bring him in."
The ANBU nodded, and Itachi entered, wearing the standard Konoha ANBU uniform. "You two might want to leave. I'll be heading home in a bit, hopefully," Tsunade said to Naruto and Hinata.
The two nodded, and while they were tempted to stay, since they worried for Tsunade and Jiraiya's safety, decided that the two of them knew what they were doing, and headed off for home. Tsunade turned to Itachi, and said, "Report, agent Crow."
"My half of the mission, while partially successful, also revealed some startling news, which I will get to shortly. I managed to kill Deidara of Iwa, and force the masked Sharingan user to destroy his eyes via Tsukuyomi, but he, Zetsu, and Kisame got away. I managed to glean some of their plans off the masked man, due to his habit of monologuing, and it's not good. He intends to take all of the Biju, combine them into a beast of old, called the Jubi, become its jinchuuriki, and use its power to cast an endless Tsukuyomi on the planet by reflecting it from the moon, essentially bringing 'peace' by making the world a slave to an illusion. That's not the most disturbing part, however. When I forced the man to destroy his eyes, he removed his mask to do so," Itachi explained, then added, with sadness in his voice, "The masked man is really...Obito Uchiha."
End Chapter Six