Return of Naruto Hatake
Chapter 31: Home Coming
Two years had passed and the world had changed a bit in that time, the villages of the Leaf and Sand ninjas had slowly been repairing their fractured truce, it was a long road and although some wounds were harder to heal than others, it was recovering. The villages themselves were also recovering in that time they had shown the world that they were not weakened doing everything they could to prevent any of the other larger nations thinking they could be beaten in another war.
Not far from the village two individuals were walking the lone path to the village.
"Come on, hurry up!" Naruto told Jiraiya as the young man was very impatient to get home after all this time.
"Hold on the village isn't going anywhere." Jiraiya told him as he walked as fast as his body could at his age.
"I haven't been home in over two years!" Naruto exclaimed. "I can see the mountain and the walls from here."
"And a little more time shouldn't hurt." Jiraiya told him calmly.
Naruto pouted as he ran a hand over his exposed face, his mask was no longer on and he didn't like it. "You still haven't let me replace my mask."
"You were looking for the exact same one that got ripped up," He pointed out to him.
"Because I really liked it!"
"Well where did you get it?"
"Anko gave it to me," Naruto told him.
"Well then ask her where she got it when you see her then," He sighed looking seeing the longing in the young man's face as he looked to the large walls ahead of them.
Well they were close enough to the village that if anyone was after them they wouldn't try anything this close at least. He figured he might as well let the kid loose and enjoy himself. "Fine then, go on ahead."
Naruto grinned happily, "Thanks!"
He ran off as fast as he could, finally after all this time he would see everyone again, his friends, his family and especially Hinata.
In the Leaf village the next generation was making progress on establishing themselves. In the years since the failed Suna/Sound invasion the younger generation had done well.
At this moment two such individuals were walking the streets together. They were Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha.
"I can't believe we got sent on that mission." Sasuke grumbled.
"Oh stop, we were the only ones available and there wasn't anything higher that was free." Sakura told him seeing him grunt. He always got like this when he felt their skills weren't being used to the fullest, she would have told him that he was pouting but he always said that he 'didn't pout' so she just shook her head.
"Don't worry something will come up," she assured him.
They walked in silence for a bit before Sakura looked around. "Do you know when he's supposed to be back?"
"No idea," Sasuke didn't have to ask they both knew who they were talking about. "It should have been last week."
"You don't think they ran into some trouble do you?" She asked.
"It's Naruto, trouble follows him or he runs right into it." Sasuke said in a deadpan voice.
Sakura sighed, "Yeah you're right about that. Still I can't help but look forward to him coming back. A lot has changed."
Sasuke gave a slightly amused grunt, there was a lot of stuff that Naruto had missed in the time he was gone. The village had nearly fully recovered and all of the friends that Naruto knew had improved since his time away. Plus there were the little things here and there as well. He felt Sakura's hand slip into his own something that in the past he wouldn't have cared for.
But like she had just said, a lot of things had changed that Naruto missed out on.
As they were walking through the village those that were generally on gate duty were sitting at their post just passing the time. It was a bit of a dull day, not many were coming for trading and there were not many guests that were supposed to show up for the day. So there they were a little bored as the two chunins were just making small talk.
"I'm telling you that girl over in research is into me." The first one says.
The other man just rolled his eyes, "Please you know she's seeing a chunin over in the scouting unit."
"This from the guy who doesn't have the guts to ask Shizune out."
"Hey I thought we agreed not to bring that up!"
"Not my fault you get talkative when you get drunk and...the hell?" The man blinked as he saw a young blonde man rush through the gate. He was about to jump out from behind his desk but noticed the Konoha headband making him pause. He didn't remember anyone that young that left.
"Hey who was that?" The guy asked as he pulled open the log book trying to find who it could have been. It wasn't that much longer when another person walked through the gate.
This was an older man than the young in a mostly red attire with long white spiky hair, it was a man that needed no introduction as he was well known among the ninja of the village. He just walked in like he owned the place with his hands in his pockets without a care in the world.
"Yep, I think it was." The other said. "Huh, well looks like things will get lively again."
"So that was Hatake's kid just now? Kid grew up, I remember him when he didn't come up to my shoulders. Although didn't he used to wear a mask the entire time?"
Naruto ran through the village feeling so happy to finally be back home. Running through the streets brought back all kinds of memories, from his dad taking him to places as a kid or him with his friends. He smiled at the welcomed memories. Just being back here felt so right to him.
He saw old familiar places and even a few new ones, he couldn't wait to see how everything had changed in the time he was gone. He jumped up onto a building and looked around spreading his arms wide.
"Finally, I'm back!" Naruto shouted out opening his arms wide.
"Hey what are you doing up there?" A voice from below shouted at him.
Naruto looked down and a huge grin appeared on his face as he jumped down to land before the two people. He stood up as he looked at the two people in front of them, they had changed but he knew them all too well.
"Sakura-chan, Sasuke!" Naruto greeted them.
"N-Naruto is that you?" Sakura looked at him she hadn't realised it was him without the mask on his face. His clothing was a bit different and he was actually taller now, looking closely he was actually taller than her now.
"About time you got back," Sasuke smirked although he was glad to see him too even if he didn't really show it.
"Yeah I know but I just got back," Naruto scratched the back of his head with a huge smile on his face.
"Everyone is going to be so excited to see that you're back." Sakura told him.
"Well let's go find everyone," Naruto started off as the two fell in step. "So what have I missed?"
Across the village in her office Tsunade was at her desk with the new bane of her existence, paper work. She loathed paper work and if she had known the job would be like this, she would have told her old teacher to take the damn job back. She didn't care if he was a cripple enjoying his retirement, if not she would have thrown the office of the Hokage right back at him.
"You know even with a genjutsu if you keep looking like that you're going to get more wrinkles on your face."
Tsunade scowled at that voice and she turned to see Jiraiya sitting in her window. "Can't you just walk into my office like a normal person?"
"Two years and that's the first thing you say to me?" His smile faltered.
She leaned back in her chair, "Well you caught me at a bad day...so how did things go with Naruto?"
"Things went pretty well, we didn't run into that group thankfully and despite a little hiccup here and there, I think you'll be pleased by his progress."
"Good," Tsunade pulled open her drawer since if there was ever a time for a drink now was the time. She pulled out a jar and two shot glasses as she poured them a drink. Jiraiya walked from the window and sit across from her.
He took the offered drink as they both shared a look and drank it down together. "Not bad, I can see why you have this stuff on hand."
"It's not even my best stuff either," Tsunade told him relaxing a bit in her chair. "So, should I schedule some time for Naruto and his team to hi the training ground? They've been apart for awhile and their teamwork will need some dusting off. Plus I wouldn't mind seeing how they all do together after all this time."
Jiraiya thought about it, "Give him a day to settle in, he's been so eager to see everyone. Plus he's got a lot to catch up on as well I bet."
"Alright I can do that," She looked at the pile of papers. "Don't suppose you could do something useful and help with all this can you?"
She looked up to see him already gone, causing her left eye started twitching.
Back with Naruto he and his friends were catching up on everything that had been going on lately.
"So everyone's a chunin now?" Naruto asked them after hearing that. "That's awesome!"
"Well actually Neji and Sasuke-kun are both Jonins." Sakura told him with a smile.
"Wait-what!?" Naruto looked at his dark haired friend who had a small smirk on his face.
"That's right, I outrank you now." Sasuke told him as he was enjoying this moment seeing the frustration on Naruto's face.
"Damn it! I won't fall behind you for long," Naruto pointed at him.
" Well you got a lot of work to catch up to me," He said back challenging him.
Sakura rolled her eyes as she linked her arm with Sasuke's. "Come on he just got back, can we just hae our first day together without you two challenging each other? We get enough of that with Lee and Neji."
Sasuke grunted, "Fine."
Naruto blinked as he looked at the scene before freezing up and pointed at them. "When did this happen?!"
Sakura and Sasuke looked at him and then at each other as they noticed their arms interlinked. Sakura blushed as she looked at Naruto. "About a year ago."
Naruto got a grin on his face happy to see them together and they actually seemed happy as well.
"Man I can't wait to see everyone," Naruto looked around. "So do you know where they might be?"
Sakura thought about it, "I think Ino and her team should be having a meal at the barbeque place, we can swing by and see if they're there if you want."
"Hell yeah, let's track them down." Naruto let himself be lead by them as they talked on the way. It actually wasn't a long way off so it didn't take them long thankfully. Naruto smiled as he saw three people he would know anyway walking out.
They had changed a bit over the years, Ino had gotten kind of hot from the looks of it and she wore clothing that seemed to show it. Choji was wearing armor for now, Shikamaru was actually wearing his chunin vest now. It was odd seeing the school slacker actually look somewhat respectable even if he did carry himself the same way.
"Hey guys!" Naruto shouted out waving to them. All three looked over and he could see the surprise and happiness suddenly on their faces.
"Naruto! Is that you?" Ino asked looking him over, he wasn't the shrimp anymore, hell he was taller than all of them now it seemed. "I almost didn't recognize you without the mask on."
"Yeah I think we only saw you once without it," Choji told him before taking him in a bear hug. "How have you been?"
"Good," Naruto managed to get out, he hadn't known Choji was this strong before. He signed in relieve to get out of that hug. He it was nice to see him all the same.
"Well it's nice to see you home," Shikamaru told him hands in his pockets. "It's been kind of a drag with you gone."
"Yeah well I'm back now, I heard you guys all made chunin while I was gone, congratulations!" Naruto threw up his arms happy for them.
"Yeah we got it done at the next exams," Ino told him. "Hey have you seen Hinata yet?"
"Uh no, why?" Naruto blinked.
"Oh no reason," She grinned sharing a look with Sakura as both girls shared a knowing look.
"Man I can't wait to see her, you guys know where she might be?" Naruto looked around.
Sasuke was the one that gently took Sakura and inched them a few paces to the left. She was about to ask him what he was doing before a large creature landed in their midst. There was a large thud as there was a huge amount of dusk. Sasuke had seen it coming with his eyes, even without the sharingan activated his senses were sharp after all.
When the dust cleared Naruto was face to muzzle with an extremely large animal.
"Awww!" Naruto jumped back as it barked at him.
"Hey you were right, it was Naruto!" Kiba of all people said while riding the huge dog.
"Kiba!?" Naruto looked closely, he looked to have ditched the parka like jacket and was sporting black leather now. He took a closer look at the animal and his eyes widened at the sight of it. "Is that Akamaru!?"
"Yeah guess it has been a long time," Kiba told him with a huge smile.
"No kidding he used to rid on your head all the time and now you're riding him." Naruto hadn't know that the little puppy he had known would turn into such a large animal. "Hey wait where's the rest of your team?"
"Shouldn't be too far," Kiba said looking around. "We weren't too far away when Akamaru told me he picked up on your scent."
"I'm already here," A slightly muffled voice called out making mostly everyone jump in surprise.
Naruto looked to see someone their age all covered up in clothing, he couldn't even see the guy's face. He squinted his eyes not sure who this was, although there was a familiar sensation about him.
"Do you not recognize your friends?" The guy said.
Naruto's eyes widened. "Shino, is that you!?"
"To think you're recognize everyone else but me." A dark gloom seemed to cover Shino.
"How the hell was I supposed to realise it was you?" Naruto defended himself. "You're all covered up, I can barely see your face and your voice is muffled."
"Naruto-kun?" A new voice called to him, a very familiar one that he had dreamed of hearing again.
Naruto turned to see her standing there by a fence, she had grown since they had last seen each other, her hair was longer but he would know her from anywhere. He smiled brightly at seeing Hinata after all these years.
"Hinata-chan!" He ran over to her and threw his arms around her hugging her close. Hinata was shocked by eagerly hugged him back, she found that he was so tall now that she could rest her head on his shoulder. She couldn't believe that he was finally back after all this time, but here he was, in her arms and finally she felt like a piece of her had returned.
Naruto couldn't help but breath in the scent of her, she smelled really nice. He also suddenly noticed that something was pressing against his chest, in fact a pair of somethings.
'Huh, when did she grow up this big?' he thought. He tried not to think about it but damn she had grown up in a few places he wasn't expecting. He fought off anymore of those thoughts, he could push them for later after all.
He pulled back looking at her. "You let your hair grow out."
"Oh uh, y-yes...do you like it?" She really hoped he did, Ino and Sakura had convinced her to grow it out over a year ago and she hoped he liked it.
He only smiled at her, "Yeah it really suits you."
She felt her cheeks heat up but glad he liked it. "Huh, what happened to your mask?"
Naruto frowned as he crossed his arms and pouted, "Ero-sennin got it destroyed during training and I couldn't find another one like it since."
She smiled as she placed a hand on his cheek, "I kind of like seeing your face."
Both blushed as Naruto looked away, well if she liked it, then maybe he could see about maybe putting off finding a new one. Then an idea hit him, "Hey are you doing anything for the rest of the day?"
"Uh, no." She blinked.
"Meet me at the foot of the monument mountain in a couple of hours will you?" He asked.
"Great, see you there!" He rushed off leaving everyone perplexed on what he had planned but it was soon apparent that Naruto wanted some alone time with her.
"Arrgh!" Ino let out a frustrated cry as everyone suddenly looked at her. "This is so unfair!"
"What is?" Sakura asked.
"I'm the only one without a boyfriend now!" she whined.
"That's what got you so annoyed?" Shikamaru sighed.
"You'll never understand a woman's heart!" Ino yelled at him.
"Good," He replied. "It's too troublesome to try and figure that out."
Naruto threw open the door to his home, "Hey pops you in?"
Naruto froze as he walked into the place as he looked around, there were some new furniture and other new items although most of the place did stay the same.
"Huh, did dad redecorate or something?" He muttered hoping that he didn't change his room while he was gone at least.
With a shrug Naruto walked through the home as he really felt truly home again. Walking into his old room he saw that nothing looked touched but it was kept clean. Placing his bag onto the floor Naruto fell onto his bed and sighed. It just felt so good being home again but he didn't time to enjoy it, Hinata was waiting for him after all. He found a pair of clothing that wasn't dirty as he quickly ran to the bathroom for a shower.
It had been a long trip and he didn't want to smell like dirt and sweat with her. When he got into the bathroom he paused again. There were a lot more items here, the shower had a several bottles labelled conditioner and was that perfume on the shelf near the sink?
"Something you want to tell me dad?" He muttered to himself a little worried that maybe his dad had a life style change or something while he was gone. Was he old enough for a mid life crisis?
While Naruto pushed it away and jumped into the shower he didn't hear the front door open up as someone walked in. Silently the person made their way deeper into the house and waiting for their opening to attack. Naruto was in just long enough to really get all the grime off and wash his hair a bit before stepping out and wrapping a towel around his waist. Picking up his clothing he was going to place them all in the hamper he knew was in the hallway before getting dressed in his room.
He didn't make it three feet from the door when a voice suddenly called out to him from behind.
"AHH!" Naruto jumped up and turned around making sure that the towel stayed on as he knew that voice as he glared at the grinning face of Anko.
"Damn it don't scare me like that!" Naruto yelled out.
"Well I heard you were back and decided to see if you came home yet, looks like I was right," Anko laughed looking him up and down. "Damn kid you grew up, although you're still a little shorter than me I think."
Naruto looked at her and noticed she had about an inch on him still, "Yeah well, I'm still growing, how did you get in anyway!?"
"You really think a ninja like me can't get into a simple home?" Anko placed a hand on her hip feeling a bit annoyed at that.
"So you broke in." Naruto said flatly.
"Of course not, I used my key," she grinned pulling out a house key.
"My dad gave you a key?"
Anko was enjoying this, she had been seeing how long she could milk it before she told him the bombshell so a little more playing was in store. "Well of course he did."
"What you don't want me coming over anymore?" Anko faked annoyance.
"N-No nothing like that!"
There was a pause before Naruto's own annoyance was starting to build plus he was kind of starting to feel uncomfortable with being in the hall with her in just a towel. "So why did dad give you a key?"
"So I could get in of course." Anko said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Naruto face palmed with his free hand, "Okay so you got a key, I got to get dressed now."
Anko huffed apparently the game was about to be over, oh well she got in a few mental laughs, time to drop the bombshell.
"Well okay then I won't stop you, just figured that you wanted to know that I'm living here now." Anko turned to the master bedroom which she and Kakashi shared.
"Yeah okay, nice seeing you again too," Naruto walked into his room for a split second before jumping out into the hall. "WHAT!?"
Anko winced at the volume as she looked over her shoulder. "Damn you're still loud, and yeah you're dad and me moved in about a year ago so we'll be seeing a lot of each other." She grinned as she waved goodbye to him going into the bedroom.
Naruto stood there for a moment trying to form words and failing, it wasn't like he didn't like the idea hell he enjoyed the fact that his dad and Anko were dating when he left. He felt good knowing that his dad had someone looking out for him, it was just going to be really weird seeing her here all the time.
Then another horrifying thought hit him, "I really hope I can't hear them having sex..." Naruto gulped as he felt a bit sick at that idea. He was going to have to look up to see if he could find anything on noise cancelling seals or something later. He really didn't want to test out how thick or thin the walls were.
Naruto was running through the village as he kept checking the item in his pocket. He had picked it up on the way back home and he didn't want to lose it. He really hoped that he wasn't going to be running late with his meeting with Hinata.
He stopped now and again to say 'hi' to those that greeted him, it wasn't many but he did run into a few familiar faces. He was halfway there when a voice called down at him from above.
"Huh?" Naruto paused as he looked around and then up in a tree lying on a large branch and holding one of his previous books was Kakashi.
Kakashi chuckled as he closed his book with a snap and jumped down. "I figured you might run past here eventually."
Kakashi nodded at this was a major intersection for the village, so given the odds Naruto would have had to come by here at some point. It was a lot better than running around trying to search for him, then again he could have gotten his dogs to track him down but that was a bit overkill.
Kakashi looked Naruto over, he had grown a lot in his time away, the young boy was now a young man although Naruto still wasn't as tall as himself. "Welcome home son."
Naruto got a warm smile on his face. "Thanks dad."
Kakashi clapped a hand onto Naruto's shoulder, "I'm happy you got back here safe."
"Thanks and just wait until you see what I learned."
Kakashi chuckled. "We can work on that tomorrow, first day back and I want you to rest up and see everyone."
"Yeah I already saw mostly everyone...including Auntie Anko...in our home." Naruto told him flatly.
"Ah...I meant to tell you about that," Kakashi scratched the back of his head. "You're not mad or anything are you?"
Naruto thought about it and shrugged, "Naw, but a heads up would have been nice but I'm glad you two are together."
Kakashi nodded, "Well I'm sure it will be strange with her there but she does make me happy."
"I know something else that will make you happy," Naruto grinned. "I left it on the kitchen table when I left. It's an advanced copy of Ero-Sennin's new book."
Kakashi's single exposed eye widened before clapping both hands onto Naruto's shoulders. "You are the best son of all time."
Naruto laughed, "You're damn right, well I got to go. Meeting Hinata-chan and I don't want to be late."
"Alright, have fun," Kakashi waved as he made his way back home. There was a new book just calling to him.
Hinata was waiting at the foot of the path that led to the Hokage monument not sure why Naruto asked to meet here but she couldn't care less, she was finally going to see him again and with just the two of them for the first time in years. She felt her heart race at the thought she wasn't the little girls she was but a young woman now and yet the butterflies in her stomach were still there.
Hinata turned around and smiled seeing Naruto rushing towards her, he looked freshly dressed too.
"Hey I didn't keep you waiting long?" Naruto asked as he stopped in front of her.
Hinata shook her head.
"Great, come on," he grabbed her hand as he lead her up the stairs, she blushed at the contact but eagerly went with him. They went up the long set of stairs as they went higher and higher, thankfully both of them were in great shape so they made it up without too much difficulty.
They were breathing a bit harder by the time they got to the top as they felt their leg muscles starting to burn from the effort. Naruto looked out over the entire village as he sighed at the sight, it just felt so great to be back and here it was like he was being welcomed back by the entire village at once.
"You know I always liked coming up here," Naruto told her.
Hinata nodded, "I remember."
He grinned at her, "Yeah, I don't know what it is but it's kind of like my special spot, which I why I wanted to share it with you."
She blushed as she felt like Naruto was giving her a small place for her in a special corner of his life.
"Oh yeah," He dug into his pocket. "I missed a lot of your birthdays and stuff and I got a few things for you while I was gone."
"Oh! You didn't need to do that." She assured him. "I'm just glad to have you back."
"Yeah but I really wanted to get you something," He pulled out what it was as she looked at it.
It was a light blue hair pin but what caught her eyes were the two jewels in it. One was a pearl and the other was an orange smooth stone.
"I kind of got this when we were at a beach area," Naruto explained. "The pearl reminded me of the color of your eyes."
"It's beautiful," She said honestly.
Naruto stepped in close as he gently placed it into her hair. She closed her eyes feeling his hands through her long hair felt nice as she felt it being put into place. She slowly opened her eyes as they locked with his blue ones. They held their eyes as their eyes spoke more than any words could ever do.
He realized his hand was still in her hair as he placed it on her cheek, for over two years he had waited for this and he didn't want t wait any longer. Hinata felt her face heat up but she didn't fight her feelings, she closed her eyes as Naruto's face drew itself closer.
Their lips touched in a tender kiss as two years of waiting were finally paid off, they were finally together again and both felt like a missing piece in their lives was finally returned.
Sorry for the wait, I think I just got burned out by Naruto stories and I just needed a break. I did have one more arc but it wasn't long and I think that I'll have to really think about what I could do if I want to make a third story. If I do make a third I'll add in that arc I had planned first thing.
Yeah I'm ending it here, honestly I need a break from Naruto and if I'm going to take this story longer then I'd have to plan out a lot for it so I think a break is needed. I did want to give a nice ending while leaving it open for more if I get around to it. Again sorry for the long delay things happened and I just wasn't feeling writing it for the longest time.