Return of Naruto Hatake
Chapter 26: Goodbye but not Forever
After a couple of days a lot of people were by one of the main gates to see Naruto and Jiraiya off. When Kakashi walked with Naruto out of their home and by the time they got to the gate there was a small group already gathered there. Standing there were all his friends, their senseis, Tsunade and Shizune were also standing there. Anko was there waiting for them too. He even saw Konohamaru and his two friends along with Hanabi standing there.
It actually made Naruto already feel homesick knowing that there were so many people waiting for him to return, but he had already made up his mind and he was going through with this. They walked to the front gate as Jiraiya pulled himself away from Tsunade looking the boy over.
"Well kid take one last look and make your goodbyes count, it will be some time before either of us show our faces around here," He grinned at him. He clapped Naruto on the shoulder. "I'll wait for you by the gate when you're done."
"Thanks," Naruto wasn't sure who to go to first but he saw his team mates there and decided to start with them. "Hey guys, so this is it huh?"
"Yeah two years until we see each other again," Sakura nodded a little sad to see him go.
"You better keep your promise about getting stronger as well," Sasuke told him with a grin.
Naruto grinned back, "You bet I will just wait and see."
The three of them stood there as friends and as team mates for the last time, the things they had gone through together had bound them in ways that most would never know. The three of them shared the moment together knowing that until they were reunited they would never feel totally complete again. But no matter if the separation were of time or of distance their bond would remain.
There really wasn't much else to say between them, Naruto gave his goodbyes to them and they did in return as he moved on to the next. He found it was Gai and his team, Lee was very energetic as usual as he gave Naruto a huge bear hug that Naruto swore that nearly cracked some of his ribs.
"Lee, easy!" Naruto managed to get out as the slightly older boy dropped him.
"Sorry Naruto-kun," Lee apologized. "I was just over excited, when you get back let's have a spar to see who is stronger!"
"You're on," Naruto told him as he shook hands with Tenten and then with Neji who he gave one small thing that he had to say to him. "Hey keep an eye on Hinata-chan for me will you?"
"I always have and always will," Neji told him with a nod.
"See ya Uncle Gai," Naruto told the older man.
"It is sad to see you go but when you return let's celebrate by doing five hundred laps around the village?" Gai asked him giving him a thumbs up.
Naruto sweat dropped, "Uh...we'll see." He moved on to the next group being Asuma and his team.
He said his goodbyes to each of them as they did in return, it would be odd not seeing Choji at the local BBQ shop, or finding Shikamaru trying to ditch work to look at the clouds or even seeing Ino with Sakura as the two spent time together on their time off. He would even miss that smell of Asuma's cigarette smoke that sometimes clung to the man.
The next group was with Hinata and her team, he said his goodbyes to them all. Shino was very simple although Kiba also seemed to want to challenge him when he got back but that was okay for Naruto he was always up for a little sparring. He gave a respectful goodbye to Kurenai who flashed him a knowing look as he looked at Hinata. She led the others away to give the young couple some time alone.
"Well...here we are I guess," Naruto scratched the back of his head looking at Hinata who looked slightly dejected at his leaving. "You know, leaving you behind is one of the harder things I think is about this."
She nodded her head not trusting her voice at the moment, although she knew this day was coming that didn't make it any less hard on her.
"Hey I wanted you to keep something safe for me will you?" Naruto asked and looked around knowing full well if people saw what he was digging out of his pack then he might never hear the end of it especially from someone like Kiba. Naruto pulled out one of his most treasured items, it was a small stuffed fox toy that apparently he had as a child. He was too young to remember getting it but he as long as he remembered he had this little stuffed fox.
"I want you to have this and make sure it's safe when I get back," He told her handing it over to her.
She remembered seeing this toy in his room, it was one of his precious items so the fact that he was handing it to her for safe keeping told her more than any words he was saying. He was telling her that not only did he trust her this much but that he was coming back. She hugged the small orange stuffed toy closer to her.
"Plus well," Naruto starched the back of his head, "You know, if you ever get lonely he's good company..."
She giggled as she nodded her head a smile growing on her face. "I'll remember that Naruto-kun."
Hinata's face got a small blush as an idea came to her, she really wasn't comfortable doing it in front of everyone but he had given her something to remind her of him when he was gone. She didn't have anything on her but this was the last time they would see each other for a long time. She gathered as much courage as she could.
She quickly went forward and kissed him on the cheek to his surprise, "I-I just wanted to give you one last one before you left." She looked down shuffling from embarrassment knowing full well that eyes of everyone were on them now. She could literally feel the their looks as she didn't need the special ability of her eyes to tell her that.
Naruto grinned as looked at her, he wished he could keep the feeling of her lips on his cheek but he would remember her as she was now.
"Well how about this then, I'll return you one when I get back?" He smiled.
She grew even redder but she was smiling as she nodded her head slightly as she would look forward to that day. He felt a tug on his sleeve and he turned to see Konohamaru and his friends with Hanabi eagerly looking up at him.
"You're really going boss?" Konohamaru asked him.
"Yeah I'm going but it's to get super strong and come back even better than ever!"
"By the time you come back we'll be genins," Konohamaru told him thinking about where they would be when he would return to the village.
"Then when I get back how about you show me what kind of genins you guys became?" Naruto told them. "Maybe I'll even show you guys a few tricks when I get back."
"Cool! Just you wait we'll all make you proud of us when you get back," Konohamaru told him as his friends nodded their heads.
"I'll look after my sister for you," Hanabi told him as she wanted to make sure Hinata would be okay. It would be tough on her sister not seeing him for all this time so she wanted be sure her sister would always have someone there. Although there was also Neji but sometimes it was better if sisters were there for each other.
Naruto nodded his head to her, "Thanks I feel better knowing she'll have you with her. Make sure to cheer her up when I can't okay?"
"Yes," she nodded to him.
Naruto had to move on as he found Tsunade and Shizune were next. He grinned as he looked up at the older leader of the village.
"Well kid I hope you're ready, I know that he may be an idiot but he does do good work," Tsunade told him remembering how he had trained those three orphans from Rain. Although they had been killed he had been very proud of them and apparently they had a lot of potential from what Jiraiya had said about them. Now he was taking yet another student, the son of his last student who had ended up as Hokage.
Looking down at the young masked blonde she couldn't help but see that one day she might just retire and give him the job when he was ready.
"Yeah, it's going to be weird being away but with this I'm sure I'll get stronger," Naruto grinned.
"Good," She leaned down to him to whisper. "Just keep on eye on that damn pervert so that he's not slacking off when he's supposed to be training you."
"You got it!"
She smirked as Shizune came up, "Good luck and come back safe Naruto-kun." She told him.
"Sure thing Shizune-neechan." He liked the kind assistant to the Hokage, she was very easy to get along with and she was always brought this nice atmosphere when they had to get missions from the Hokage. If he ever wanted a big sister in his life she would have fit the bill.
Anko was one of the last ones as she walked up to him and placed a hand on his head ruffling up his hair. "Well brat looks like we won't see your hyperactive self anytime soon. Should be interested to see if you can grow any or you'll still be the same size when you get back short stuff."
"Just you wait, when I get back I'll be taller than you are!" He told her taking her hand off his head.
"Oh?" She grinned bending down a little. "I still think you'll be short for life."
"And I think you'll still be crazy for life!"
The two stared each other down until both seemed to smirk at each other as they started to relax. It would be a long time before they could tease each other so both of them wanted just one last time to get under each other's skin. It was just their odd way of bonding with each other that they had done since they had first met.
"Take care of my dad huh?" Naruto asked her as he couldn't think of anyone better to keep an eye on his dad for him.
"Like you need to ask that," She grinned at him. "Just take care of yourself will ya? This place will get too boring without you around to cause trouble."
"Oh please like you're any better." He grinned back at her.
"Okay you got me there but I can only do so much to keep this place not going dull you know," Anko ruffled his hair one last time. "Take care brat."
"See ya Aunti Anko," He would miss seeing her around as well as she never did make anything boring. Plus she made his dad really happy and anything that could do that was good in his book.
Speaking of his dad he walked over to the last person waiting by the gate. Although they had spent the last few hours together it was still hard to see him go. This would be the longest he would be away from the only family he has ever known. But he wanted to make his dad proud of him, to come back even stronger. He looked up at his dad wanting to remember this as it would be a very long time until he could do it next. He also hoped that when he got back he would be able to look at him eye to eye, literally.
His dad was always so tall and he hoped that he grew up enough to match him.
Kakashi placed a hand on his son's shoulder, "Take care son, and come back safe."
"No problem dad, trust me I'll come back and you'll be surprised by everything I learn." Naruto told him.
Kakashi chuckled, "I wouldn't bet against it Naruto, I look forward to you coming home and seeing it firsthand." He paused to take one last look at his son, "You got everything and said that's all to be said?"
"Yeah I think so," He shifted the pack on his back and looking around. He had said everything needed to everyone he thought.
Kakashi knelt down as he quickly gave him a small hug, "See you in about 2 years."
Naruto felt a bit embarrassed about being hugged in front of everyone but it still felt nice. "Yeah...don't worry dad I'm sure I'll be back before you know it."
Kakashi smiled behind his mask standing up to let him go. Everyone gathered around the gate as they watched Naruto walk over to Jiraiya. Everyone waved at him as he waved back, Naruto looked at all the faces that came to see him as he remembered them, all of them friends or family in some way or form as they were all the most important people to him that he would miss.
As Naruto and Jiraiya got out of sight of the village Naruto turned to the older man. "So what's up first for us?"
Jiraiya had given it some thought, "Well first stop is to see a friend who I think can help you polish your fighting skills."
"Why didn't I just stick with Uncle Gai and Lee then?" Naruto frowned as he figured since those two were experts in hand to hand fighting they would be perfect.
"I wanted something that is more your style and those two kind of go to the extreme," Jiraiya told him honestly. "Plus with those two they focus only on fighting skills to compensate for the other areas they don't either know much about or have no skills in."
"We also don't have time to hang around training with them as they most likely have their own training and missions to go on. Plus the style of the guy we're going to see is something I think you would have a better handle of, he's got a nearly unnatural ability when it comes to fighting and he can also show you how to fight dirty, how to fight in close with your current skills and also how best to hit the weak spots of an opponent. Gai and Lee are more upfront with their fighting from what I gathered, a lot of brute force is behind their attacks and it would take too long to build you up to their physical level to effectively use their techniques."
"Cool, so where is this guy?" Naruto was starting to get exciting at the sound of this guy.
"He's usually at this beach along the coast, shouldn't be too hard to find him as he's not the kind to keep a low profile." Jiraiya only hoped that they didn't kill each other, although he was a talented fighter his personality was total garbage. Then he noticed the suspicious look that Naruto was giving him.
"We're not going to a beach just for you to ogle girls in their swimsuits are you?"
"NO!" Jiraiya told him although if there was free time he was hoping to look around for some inspiration for his next novel.
-A week later-
Kakashi walked into the home and not for the first time felt just how large the place seemed lately. It had been only a week and already he felt the absence of Naruto. He walked through the home as everything just felt too still, too quiet. Was this really how the next few years were going to play out? He was so used to all the sounds Naruto made when he was here that the quiet actually kind of bothered him.
He paused seeing Naruto's room the door was open as the room had been cleaned up before he left. Kakashi would have to keep the place dusted in his absence but he couldn't help but go into the room. He noticed all the little things, the marks on the wall when Kakashi had caught Naruto throwing butter knifes at the wall saying he was practicing kunai throwing. All the little things like the pictures he had, his graduation photo, a picture of everyone on one of his birthdays, a picture of just Hinata.
That had been a recent addition as she looked very shyly at most likely Naruto taking the picture. Then there was just a picture of him and Naruto together. If he remembered that had been Anko who had taken it by surprised after finding his camera.
Then he noticed something by the corner wall by the dresser. He looked down and there on the wallpaper hidden was something that the dresser was just nearly covering, it was a foot away from the wall but the image was of a crud child's drawing in crayon. He had completely forgotten about when he once caught Naruto coloring on the walls. Apparently he had missed a spot in cleaning up, Kakashi took a closer look as he could.
It was obviously a stick drawing of himself and Naruto, the headband over one eye and the yellow spiky hair was a giveaway. Down below it were just two simple words in a child's handwriting.
Me and Daddy
Kakashi felt a deep sense of emptiness in that moment, he knew it would be tough the day Naruto left but he hadn't expected this. There was a hollow feeling inside of him that he knew wouldn't be filled until two years from now.
Kakashi sighed pushing himself up and leaving the room, the placed was filled with ghosts of memories and he didn't want to surround himself with them at the moment. He normally had enough ghosts in his life then dealing with the ones of someone who wasn't even dead, just…not here.
Naruto had been such a large part of his life for so long that not having him in it was a hard adjustment. He was so used to the sounds and signs of Naruto living here that the place felt 'off' now. He was taken out of his thoughts as he heard the front door open. He narrowed his eyes as only a select few even had keys to the place, hell he didn't have to use all five fingers to the people who had keys to his home.
He pushed himself off Naruto's bed as he went out to see who it was. He didn't have to go far before he found a familiar brown coat in the living room. Looking at the table he caught Anko bending over as she was setting down what looked like a bottle of wine with glasses. He didn't recognize the glasses or the bottle so she had to have brought it.
Anko straightened up and looked at him with a small grin, "Well if it isn't the mopy ninja that has been seen wondering around the village."
Kakashi sighed, although her childish side could be amusing sometimes he didn't feel like it at the moment. "Anko what do you want?"
She looked at him with a bit of a cold look not liking that tone he used with her but she would let that pass, this time. She sat down on the couch as she pointed her finger down at the place next to her in a silent command. Kakashi stood there like he was considering just standing there but eventually he just walked over to sit down.
"Look you've been like this ever since the Naruto left," Anko told him trying to be a bit gentler now. "I know you miss him, hell I miss the brat too, so does everyone else."
"Everyone else isn't his father."
"Okay there is that," She told him with a sigh. "But my point is we all miss him as well, hell I've known the kid since he was this tall." She showed with her hand the height Naruto was when they first met. "The village is just too damn quiet without his brand of chaos."
Kakashi gave a small grunt of a chuckled at how she phrased it knowing full well what she meant.
"Now I have to tell you something mister, if you're going to be like this for the entire two years this is going to be a very long two years for our relationship." She told him. She had seen how he had been lately and he wasn't getting any better. He didn't have any kind of enthusiasm anymore, okay sure to the untrained eye it looked like he never had but it was the little things she had noticed.
He did take his book out but he never flipped the pages, he just opened it to make it look like he was reading so people wouldn't be bothering him. She also didn't see him linger around anywhere any more, he never stayed behind with the others after a briefing, never hung out with Asuma or the other guys after work. Hell he all but ignored Gai's challenges now and to top it off she was feeling like there was this wall building up between them lately.
Well she didn't want to lose him now not after all the crap she had dealt with just to get to this point in her life. Not after nearly losing him and also coming to terms with her own feelings, something she didn't like doing but in the end she couldn't run away from it.
"Look you're kind of walling everyone else out lately and it's starting to worry everyone," Anko told him honestly.
Kakashi looked at her and sighed running his hand through his hair, "I didn't mean worry anyone, it's just not easy. I keep expecting him to be here all the time."
Honestly he couldn't stop worrying about Naruto, as a lot could happen in two years and he would have no way of knowing if anything happened to him until it was far too late. As a parent it was one of the worst things to find yourself in, not being able to be there for your child. His mind had been so wrapped up in worry that apparently he had been spacing out.
Anko moved to suddenly be straddling his waist as she looped her arms around his neck making him look at her. "Look I'm not going to say you can't miss him, hell I bet he's missing everyone too. But you can't just shut down."
"Sorry it's just that," Kakashi paused remembering the last time this had happened. It had been after his father's death when he had started building up walls around himself. It took years to take those down and then when his friends on his team had died part of it was built up again. It just seemed to be his natural response to experiencing loss.
He wasn't sure how to express that to her.
Anko could see that what she had said managed to hit home with him in some way and he was trying to say something but was having trouble. She knew the feelings he might be wanting to express given she wasn't exactly that great and the whole heart to heart thing either. So she decided to give him a break.
"I think I get it," she told him as she pressed her forehead to his. "You know you really have to consider how messed up you were getting if I'm coming to you as the voice of reason."
Kakashi managed a small chuckled from that as his hands gently went to her waist. He took a moment closing his eyes thinking about things. Looking back she was right, he had been slipping and hadn't noticed. "So did the others put you up to this or was this your idea?"
She grinned at him, "Well there was talk of locking you in a room with Gai for a day."
He looked at her then, "Now that's cruel and unusual punishment."
"Good because I told them I was plan A, he was plan B."
Kakashi sighed, "Sorry for being distant but I can't promise that I'll just be sunshine and rainbows you know."
"I know I just wanted you to know that you don't have to feel alone because in case you forgot you got yourself the most dazzling, sexy and awesome girlfriend in the whole village here to help put that gloom again." She told him.
Kakashi paused for a moment, "I didn't know I was dating Shizune-OW!"
"Try that again," Anko told him with an icy tone after slamming her fist into chest. She may not look like it but she could hit hard when she wanted to.
"I was just joking," Kakashi told her then saw the look she was still giving him. "Anko Mitarashi is the most beautiful, talented and amazing female ninja in the whole village if not the world."
"And with every glorious step she takes, flowers bloom and women hide their faces in envy of her beauty. Her skills know no equal and any man alive would kiss the ground she walks on and thank god that he was lucky enough to date her."
"Good boy," She told him with a kiss all being forgiven for his joke as she settled into his lap slightly. "Now here's a treat."
She kissed him in a long and slowly savoring each second of it pulling back slightly to pull on his lip at the end gently. She looked at him with passionate eyes promising all kinds of things to help take his mind off his troubles.
"So I'm your 'dog' now then?" Kakashi slightly amused although he wasn't sure he liked being thought of that.
"Kind of appropriate given you do summon ninja dogs," Anko teased him. "But don't worry I won't start calling you cute puppy dog names."
"Thanks that would get awkward," He sweat dropped as he suddenly got the mental image of him with a collar on with a lease being held by her. Some might be into that kind of kinky thing but thankful their tastes were on the more normal kind of things.
"So feeling a bit better now?" Anko asked him, "Because I brought all this good whine here to drink and I am not drinking it alone."
"Well we can't have that can we...so...you going to get off so we can drink?" He asked as with her on his lap he couldn't really reach the glasses on the table let alone the alcohol glass bottle next to them.
"But I'm so comfy here," She fake pouted wiggling around on his lap making his mind go somewhere else than drinking. "Oh I know."
Kakashi raised an eyebrow wondering what she had planned when she took his hands and placed them on her hips telling him that he better hold her still. He did as he watched her arch her back and bend backwards in a very flexible way reaching up and over to grab the glasses and bottle and slowly right herself up. He had to admit, that was very hot and was again giving him a few ideas.
"That...was impressive," He said as she poured the liquid into the glasses.
"If you like it so much maybe you'll see it later," She winked at him.
Kakashi was very tempted to just throw the glasses away, pick her up and carry her off to the bedroom but he stopped himself. After all sometimes the anticipation and the build up was half the fun. He took the glass as they gently rapped them together and taking their first drink. It wasn't bad from what he could tell, not that was a connoisseur of this kind of stuff but he knew what he liked.
"You know there is most likely just one really good thing about the brat not being around," She told him refilling their drinks.
"Okay I'll bite, what in the world could that be?" Kakashi couldn't think of a reason at the moment but then again his mind might be clouded by the sense of loss still there.
"We get a lot more alone time together," she grinned at him.
"Ah," Kakashi drank the drink feeling the slight burn go down as a slow buzz was forming in the back of his brain. The warmth of the liquid settling in his stomach was building up with the warmth of his body as what she said did make him think that there would be a lot more time to spend with her alone. Yes he loved his son but he also loved his girlfriend and it could get awkward at times when they were in the middle of something Naruto might walk in and see it, usually killing the mood.
He was also starting to think it was time for him to go on the attack as he pulled her in by the back of her head gently towards him as they locked their lips together. Soon he switched from her lips to attack her neck, especially that spot that he found she really liked when he bite down gently.
"Oh, now that's more like it," Anko ran her hand through his scalp pulling him into her neck glad that he was starting to get out of his funk and what he was doing to her now was making her glad she went with this plan and not the one with Gai. Sure they were both fun for her in different ways but this was a lot more fun for her.
"Bedroom, now mister," She told him was he was working her up and if he didn't take her there then she might have to take him right on the couch. Wouldn't be the first time but the bed was a lot more comfortable.
"Glasses," he told her as she took them, he then grabbed her thighs standing up as she laughed leaning into his chest so she wouldn't fall as he carefully made their way to the other room.
Next up Chapter 27: The Great Hawk
I'm going to be using a character from another anime/manga for the next chapter just because I've always wanted to right this character. It's not a real 'crossover' but I thought someone like him would fit the story.