"Talking"

"Thinking"

Bijju/summon

Hello everyone!

Firstly I want to thank everyone that has reviewed and sent PMs since the last time I updated. I can't believe it's been almost six months! While there is several reasons as to why it's been so long, the main ones are that my laptop was destroyed during a new year's party at my place and I couldn't afford to replace it until earlier this month when I received my tax return. The other reason is that I just don't have a lot of free time. As I have mentioned before my job is very time consuming and I don't get much time off. And after my father's passing last summer I realized that I should spend more time with my family instead of reading books and playing games on the computer. This is why I have can't promise fast updates. The only thing I can promise is that as long as I'm breathing I will never abandon this or any of my stories.

Now to some unpleasant news. I have been made aware that someone is plagiarizing my story. Sadly this is not the first time this happens. But every time it does it just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. While I have no problem with someone using my ideas and making them their own, Wako12 is a good example of this, this writer, is copy and pasting a lot of my work without ever bothering to contact me. It just very disrespectful to me and very other author who work hard to bring our stories to all of you. Its things like this that saps the energy and desire to keep writing if some else can just steal it. I'm not sure if there is anything I can even do, will Fanfiction even do anything about it?

I guess I can only try and do my thing and not let it bother me as much as it does. Anyway here is the next chapter, I hope all of you enjoy it!

XxX

Chapter 15

The day after the introduction ceremony, Naruto found himself in one of the only places in the Leaf Village that he had been looking forward to visiting, The Leaf Village cemetery. Naruto was grateful to have Hinata standing next to him. This was difficult, but having Hinata with him helped. When Hinata volunteered to give Naruto and his team a tour of the village, Naruto knew this was the first place he wanted to see. Now he stood in the center of this sacred ground, looking at a pair of grave stones bearing the names of two of the most important people of his life.

Minato Namikaze

Kushina Uzumaki Namikaze

Naruto had always wanted to see his parents' resting place. Naruto still felt that his mother should be with the rest of the Uzumaki Clan. If the Leaf ever provoked him, Naruto would make sure to bring both of his parent's bodies back to Whirlpool where they belonged.

"Hello mom, dad. I have wanted to come visit you for a long time. There is so much I want to tell you. While the first years of my life were hard, I now live in Whirlpool with grandfather and uncle. I am very happy now, and I will do everything in my power to be a great leader to our people. I'm going to be spending some time in this village that you both loved so much. I may not feel the same way about the Leaf that you do, but I'm here for an important reason, for someone important to me. Someone I would like for you to meet. This is my betrothed, Hinata Hyuuga."

Hinata, who had been standing next to Naruto, gave a small bow to the grave stones before speaking. "It is an honor to meet you Lord Hokage, Lady Kushina. I just want to let you know that I care for your son very much. And I will do my best to help him and fulfill his dreams and make him happy."

Naruto smiled at Hinata and took hold of her hand. They spent some time together while Haku and Kimimaro watched from a short distance away, not wanting to intrude on such a personal moment for them.

XxX

At the Hokage Tower

While Naruto and Hinata were spending some time together, Sasuke was having a hard time controlling his temper.

"What do you mean you won't give me a re-match?! That loser cheated somehow, it's the only way that-"

"Silence! You are not here to discuss a re-match with anybody. You are here so we can tell you what disciplinary actions will be taken against you for the assault on Hinata Hyuuga."

"What! I didn't do anything!" yelled Sasuke.

"Well, several witnesses say otherwise," answered the Hokage. "These are unacceptable actions for a Leaf ninja. You will be on probation for the next six months and a fine of 20,000 ryo will be paid by the Uchiha account to the Hyuuga clan. If something like this happens again, the consequences for you will be far more serious. Do you understand?"

"Yes...Sir," answered Sasuke through gritted teeth. He didn't care about the money; this was just another humiliation to him by that Namikaze bastard. Sasuke would make him pay, he would show Naruto that the Uchiha were the greatest clan, and Hinata would be his wife whether she wanted to be or not.

XxX

Once Naruto had paid his respects to his parents, Hinata thought it would be good for Naruto to get to see some of the village. Naruto had not spoken much, and his silence was making Hinata worry. She was thinking of where she should take Naruto to cheer him up, when suddenly Naruto stopped. Hinata turned to look at him and saw Naruto sniffing the air. Hinata could swear Naruto's eyes had a star-like shine for a split second.

"Let's go this way!" yelled Naruto as he grabbed Hinata's hand and dragged her down the shopping district with Haku and Kimimaro following right behind. Hinata didn't know what had posessed Naruto so suddenly, but she was glad that he wasn't brooding anymore. Naruto stopped running and Hinata saw they had halted in front of a little food shack. Naruto looked breathlessly excited as his eyes riveted themselves to the name-sign above the entrance.

Ichiraku Ramen

"Hey, let's get something to eat! Is it ok if we eat here Hinata?"

Hinata smiled, "Sure, let's get some lunch."

As the four of them entered the small stand Hinata recognized two of the occupants right away. Shikamaru Nara sat lazily against the counter while Choji Akimchi was eating ramen at an incredible speed.

"Hello, Shikamaru, Choji. How are you two doing today?"

"Huh? Oh, hey Hinata!" said Choji. Shikamaru was too lazy to speak to he just waved hello.

Naruto took a seat next to Hinata and quickly ordered four bowls of ramen while his companions ordered one bowl each.

"Are you sure you should eat that much Nauto-kun?" asked Hinata.

"When it comes to ramen, no one can eat more than me!" said Naruto.

Choji's ears twitched when he heard that. No Akimichi could hear a statement like that and not do something about it. "I hate to disagree with you Naruto-sama; but, as an Akamchi, I have to tell you that we can eat more than anyone else, especially when the food is this good."

Naruto raised an eyebrow. "Is that so? That sounds like a challenge to me."

Shikamaru sighed, "This is going to be real troublesome".

Hinata smiled at Shikamaru, she knew Naruto was very competitive, especially when it came to his favorite food. Hinata, Haku, and Kimimaro calmly enjoyed their meal while Naruto and Choji battled it out in a fierce ramen eating contest.

One hour, and over thirty bowls of ramen for Naruto and Choji, Choji looked on in dismay. Naruto had not only matched him bowl for bowl, but now held a three bowl lead on him. What was worse, for the first time Choji could remember, there was delicious food in front of him that he didn't think he could eat.

"I... surrender." said Choji.

Naruto finished his bowl before he answered. "Well, that was by far the most difficult eating challenge I ever had. I don't think I could have eaten another bowl. I can see why your clan claims to be the best. If you ever want a rematch, I would love to give you another shot." Naruto said. Choji cheered up a bit, he may have lost today but there would be a chance for a rematch.

"I think you just want an excuse to pig out on ramen again Naruto-Sama," said Haku.

Naruto scratched the back of his head and laughed; he knew he was caught. That didn't mean he hadn't enjoyed the match. It was great to meet a fellow ramen lover.

"So what are you guys up to today?" asked Shikamaru.

"I'm showing them around the village since we all start missions tomorrow and it will be more difficult to spend time together," answered Hinata.

"That makes sense," said Choji.

"We're going to enjoy our last day off by going cloud watching at usual spot and play some Shogi," said Shikamaru.

"Shogi?" asked Haku.

"Yes, do you play?"

"All of us were taught to play Shogi and other strategy games," she answered.

"Really? Do you want to play a game?" asked Shikamaru. "There is a park with some tables nearby, we could go there," Shikamaru was always up to playing Shogi with new people.

Haku turned to look at Naruto to see if it was ok. Naruto for his part was too full of ramen to go walking around so this was a great idea to him, he gave Haku a nod of approval. After paying for their meals, everyone made their way to the park that Shikamaru had mentioned. Once there, Shikamarue procured a portable Shogi board but Naruto raised a hand to signal him to stop.

"Please, allow me to provide the board," said Naruto. Naruto then pulled a scroll from his kimono and proceeded to unseal the most luxurious Shogi set Shikamaru had ever seen. It was the type of set that only daimyos could afford. Shikamaru knew of the Uzumaki Clan's immense wealth, but seeing proof of it with your own eyes was an entirely a different matter. Putting that aside for the moment, Shikamaru concentrated on the game that was about to begin.

One hour later

Shikamaru stared at the board with sweat on his brow. He had just finished one of the hardest games of Shogi he had ever played. The only person that had given him a tougher time was his father. To have a young beautiful girl not much older than him give him such trouble was difficult for the lazy genius to believe.

"It looks like you win the game Shikamaru-San. It was a good game," said Haku.

"You were amazing, how did you get to be so good?" asked Shikamaru.

"Ishida-sensei taught the three of us how to play. Though I'm not as good as Naruto-Sama, I learned much from our sensei."

Shikamaru was surprised to hear that some else his age was so good at Shogi, and even more astounded to hear that Naruto was even better than her. Shikamaru would love to play against Naruto if what Haku said was true.

Naruto must have noticed the look on Shikamaru's face because he smiled at him indulgently. "I would love to play you some time. But I think that it's about time we continue our tour since we start missions tomorrow," said Naruto.

"Sure, I look forward to the game," answered Shikamaru.

After the group picked up and said their goodbyes, the group split and Hinata led Naruto and his team to another part of the village. A short time later Naruto found himself standing at the top of the Hokage monument overlooking the Leaf Village. Naruto may still have reservations about this village; but even he had to admit that standing on top of his father's head, with an arm round his precious HInata-Hime, Naruto felt pretty happy.

If only he didn't have deal with the stupidity of the village leaders; and, to a lesser extent, the villagers themselves, this situation wouldn't be so bad. At least the villagers hadn't tried anything stupid...yet! Naruto hoped that his team at least received interesting missions; it was about the only thing he had been looking forward to about tomorrow. Back in Whirlpool just about everything was done for Naruto, and he was eagerly awaiting being able to finally put all his training to use. Unfortunately for Naruto and his team, they were in for an unpleasant surprise the next day.

XxX

Naruto, Haku and Kimimaru were led by Shigure to the Hokage Tower to receive their first mission. After waiting a few minutes they were led in to the Hokage's office were the Hokage and some Chunnin were handing out missions.

"Team Whirlpool reporting for duty Lord Hokage," said Shigure in her monotone tone of voice.

"Welcome. I look forward to seeing how well you all perform your duties."

"We are ready to receive our first mission," replied Shigure.

"Excellent! I think I have the perfect one for you," said the Hokage.

XxX

Two Hours Later...

"You have got to be kidding me!" exclaimed Naruto as he stared at the "target" his team had been tasked with capturing. Said target was purring happily in Haku's arms.

"I don't know what's worse. That our first ninja mission was to catch a cat or that it took us two hours to get the blasted fur ball." That comment got Naruto an angry hiss from the mentioned fur ball.

"That wasn't a nice thing to say Naruto-sama," chided Haku.

Naruto sighed. "Let's just get him to the tower so we can get a new mission."

Team Whirlpool made their way to the Hokage tower. Once there the Hokage and his team were surprised to see them, especially with the cat Tora in their custody.

"My team has completed their objective Hokage-sama," said Shigure.

"I'm very impressed. It usually takes the average Gennin team most of the day to locate and capture Tora. No matter, we have plenty of other missions for your team to choose from. Let's see… we have some grocery shopping for an elderly couple, trash clean up at the river area and…"

It was at this point that Naruto felt he had to speak up. "Excuse me Lord Hokage. But these 'missions' of yours seem to be little more that chores; I don't see how they can be considered ninja missions."

The Hokage Laughed lightly, Gennin always complained about their missions, it looked like Naruto's team was no different. "Naruto, there is a reason why we have these types of missions for newly graduated Gennin. You see, a new team needs these missions so the team members can get familiar with each other and build teamwork, while safely within the village. Once their sensei believes they are ready, we start giving them more dangerous missions outside the safety of the village walls."

Naruto nodded. "That makes sense; however, my team and I don't require working on teamwork. We have been training together, along with our sensei, for several years now. We know and trust each other absolutely. Using us for these types of missions is a waste of our talents, I'm confident that we can handle a higher mission. "

The Hokage stroked his beard as he thought about it. He knew that Naruto's team was above an average Gennin level; perhaps it was better if he gave them a higher mission. It could be a good opportunity to gain some favor with Naruto.

"I will look into giving you a higher mission, today we only have D-rank missions for Gennin teams but perhaps tomorrow we can have a C-rank for your team."

Naruto didn't look happy of having to do more D-rank missions but at least tomorrow he might get something better.

XxX

Later that day Naruto and Hinata met in the Namikaze compound to talk about their day and their missions.

"And then we had to go shopping for people's groceries. How are those things considered ninja missions."

Hinata giggled, she knew it was frustrating for Naruto. Kiba had been very vocal about his displeasure of D-rank missions too. "Well maybe you will get a better mission tomorrow; my team will be doing D-ranks for weeks before we are ready for a C-rank mission."

"Eh? But you said that you work great together with Kiba and Shino, why would you have to wait so long?" asked Naruto.

"Yes, but we still need to learn teamwork and training to be able to use our abilities as a unit. Not just in battle but in other situations too. All that takes time, also Kurenai sensei will be teaching us exercises that are not part of our clan training."

"I'm sure your team will be ready for higher missions faster than the other Leaf Gennin. None of them looked very impressive to be honest with you."

"Many don't take their training seriously, but if they past their sensei's test then they at the very least then they have the potential to be better. It's up to their sensei to bring out that potential."

"I guess…I don't envy the. They have a lot of work to do."

Hinata smiled, but before she could answer Haku walked into the room.

"Naruto-Sama, there is someone here for lady Hinata." Shortly afterward a person wearing Hyuuga robes walked in. Hinata tensed up when she saw her cousin Neji come in with a frown on his face.

"Hinata-Sama, I was sent to collect you. Your father wanted to make sure you arrived on time,"

Naruto didn't like the way Neji spoke to Hinata. He knew about the grudge Neji held against the main branch of the Hyuuga Clan. Naruto couldn't even blame him for it, but that didn't mean he had to like Neji's attitude.

"I see, I didn't realize it was so late. I have to go now Naruto-kun. I will try to see you tomorrow ok?"

"Sure, we'll talk some more tomorrow Hime." Naruto hugged Hinata goodbye and watched as she left with her cousin.

"That Hyuuga seemed to have some hostility towards lady Hinata," said Haku.

"That was her cousin, Neji Hyuuga. He has a grudge against every Hyuuga that is part of the main branch. It's a long story but he blames them for his father's death. From what Hinata has told me he has every right to be mad. But I still don't like his attitude towards Hinata-Hime."

"It's too bad he feels that way, but it is a family matter."

"I know, and I'll stay out of it. It's just that I know how much it bothers Hinata. She wants her clan to be united, a family. But no matter how hard her father tries, the elders and main branch members always fight him to keep things the same. I guess all I can do is support Hinata as much as I can."

"Come Naruto-Sama, we should get ready for dinner."

"Ok. We do have a busy day tomorrow…especially if we get a good mission."

"It would be nice to have a chance to test our skills," said Haku.

"We will, and we will show everyone the strength of Whirlpool ninja."

"Yes, we will do our best to help you succeed Naruto-sama."

Naruto smiled at Haku and both made their way to the dining room where Kimimaro was waiting for them. Naruto noticed that Shigure was gone.

"Where is sensei?"

Kimimaro shrugged.

Shigure was always doing this. Naruto guessed it had something to do with being a master of spies. Naruto didn't worry about it too much; after all, if anybody could take care of themselves, it was Shigure.

XxX

At a Dango shop in the Business District.

Anko Mitarashi likes the simple things in life. She likes a good fight, cheap booze and tasty dango. That's why she was entering her favorite bar after a long day of 'entertaining' prisoners in the Information Retreival & Interrogations Department. Her mood changed very suddenly when Anko saw someone sitting at her favorite table. The regulars of the shop knew that was her seat and learned the hard way not to sit there on the days Anko was known to be there. She chose another table and had a seat.

"Anko, the usual?" asked the shop owner as he placed a bottle of sake and a small sake dish in front of her.

"You know it! But hey, who is that at my table? I haven't seen her before."

"Don't know. She showed up a while ago. She ordered some dango but hasn't said much to anyone," said the shop owner.

Anko looked at the woman sitting at her table while she drank her sake. She was wearing a tiny purple kimono and had a long sword leaning against the table. There was something about the woman that made Anko…nervous. Anko couldn't place her finger on it, but she could tell this woman was not someone to mess with lightly. Just then Anko noticed one of the guys sitting on a table near the woman get up and walk towards her. Even from where Anko was sitting she could tell the man had been drinking too much - he wasn't even walking straight.

"This should be fun to watch" thought Anko as she saw the man approach the woman.

With Shigure

Shigure was enjoying her dango when she saw a man, a ninja of Chuunin rank by the uniform he was wearing, approaching her.

"Hey there gorgeous, I haven't seen you around here before," said the man his voice slightly slurred. Shigure ignored him without even acknowledging him. This upset the inebriated man.

"Hey I'm talking to you!" the man said…loudly. He made the mistake of putting his hand on Shigure to get her attention. Before his hand could touch her, there was a blur of movement from Shigure and the man found his hand skewered by a dango stick.

"Ahhh" the man screamed in pain. "What the hell you crazy bitch!" he raged at her. Again Shigure didn't bother to look at him and continued to eat her dango. By then two of the man's friends made their way to stand next to him.

"Who do you think you are?" screamed another. All three men had pulled kunai and it looked like a fight was inevitable. However, before either of the men could move, there was another blur from Shigure. At first nothing happened, but as the men recovered from their confusion cuts appeared all over their clothing. A second later all of the men's clothing fell off having been cut to shreds.

"Ha ha ha ha!" everyone in the bar laughed at the now naked men, Anko laughing the loudest. The men ran out of the bar as fast as they could and Shigure resumed her meal. Only to be joined by a purple haired woman wearing a tan colored trench coat.

"Hey there!" the woman said with a wave as she sat herself across from Shigure and placed a sake bottle and a rather large plate of dango in front of herself. "That was some nice work you did back there, I'm impressed".

Shigure glanced at the woman but didn't answer.

"Not much of a talker huh? That's ok. I'm Anko Mitarashi, what's your name?"

"Shigure Kosaka."

"Shigure huh? Well Shigure-chan, I like your style. And I think we are going to be good friends; you and I…I just know it." Anko said with a devilish grin on her face.

Back in the Namikaze Compound Naruto and his team suddenly felt a shiver run down their spine. They grew worried that something horrible had just happened… they didn't know just how right they were.

XxX

So there you have it, what do all of you think? Next chapter Naruto finally gets to see some ninja action and there will be more issues with the Leaf. Things will start to pick up from now on and Naruto and Hinata's relationship will be targeted by people that want to separate them. Please read and review and let me know any ideas on what was good, bad, or could be better.

As always I would like to thank my friend JS for helping with spelling and grammar.

Lord Rahl Master of D'Hara