My first attempt at a longer story. I'm planning on 10-20 chapters of 1000-2000 words per chapter. Thanks to all my one-shot reviewers. I hope you will like this longer story. No promises on an update schedule. It will happen as time allows. I'm trying to stay 1-2 chapters ahead of posting so I can maintain continuity.
Naruto looked around the hall. Kakashi was leaning against the wall across the hall with his usual green book in his hand. The copy nin was projecting his usual calm exterior. The blonde glanced to his right. Sakura's parents were sitting on a bench. Her mother was still teary eyed from crying. Her eyes were fixed on the hospital room door. She'd nearly jump off the bench each time a shadow passed the door. Sakura's father shot the blonde ninja death glares from time to time while he continued to comfort his wife. Most of their friends were on missions so the usual crowd of well wishers wasn't there. Despite the war being over for four years, missions were still required as small rogue groups were popping up from time to time. Kakashi, Naruto and Sakura returned from a mission to deal with a rogue group a little over two weeks ago. Sakura had been injured on the mission. She'd been out of the hospital only a few days before she was readmitted.
Tsunade opened the hospital room door. She looked angry. Shizune was behind her. The raven haired medic nin looked concerned and a little scared.
"How is she?" blurted out Sakura's mother as she leapt to her feet.
The Hokage took a deep breath. A mother was concerned about her daughter. She had to be polite and diplomatic. When Tsunade finished with Sakura's parents she would rage. Naruto pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind as he wanted to know about Sakura's status.
"She's going to be fine. The seal has set and stabilized," said the Hokage.
Sakura's mother still looked concerned.
"What does this mean?" asked her mother on the verge of tears again.
It was clear that Sakura's mother wasn't going to be satisfied until she examined Sakura for herself.
"Sakura used a sealing jutsu to act as a reservoir for her chakra. She can release the seal and infuse her body with chakra. It is similar to the one I use," said the Hokage pointing to the purple diamond on her forehead.
"Can we see her," asked her father.
He was a ninja until the Kyuubi attack. He was badly injured and unable to continue as a shinobi. He ran a shop in the market district now. He had a better understanding of the situation so he was more in control.
Tsunade nodded. Both Harunos went into the room and closed the door. Naruto knew it was coming. He knew his friend took the sealing spell from his library. The seal on Tsunade's head was an Uzumaki seal. The Hokage didn't have the seal spell diagram to generate another seal like the one she bore. Her grandmother placed the seal upon her.
"Come with me," growled the Hokage.
Naruto and Kakashi followed the Hokage up the hall. When Tsunade was angry, she'd yell at him. When she was disappointed, she'd yell at him before lecturing him. When she was livid, she remained silent until they were alone so she could issue an ultimatum. Her silence told him that she blamed him for this. It was a long walk back to the Hokage tower. It felt like a death march near the end. Kakashi continued to read with a carefree appearance. Shizune was clearly nervous. They entered the Hokage's office. Tsunade went to her chair immediately. Shizune took up her usual position on Tsunade's right. She glared at the blonde.
"You have one minute to explain how Sakura got ahold of an Uzumaki sealing scroll with that seal in it. If I am not happy with your answer, you will be in far worse trouble than she is," threatened the Hokage.
Naruto took a deep breath and let it out. The answer was very simple and would take no time to explain.
"She took the scroll from my library. I was working on something and I asked for her help. She must have taken it when I wasn't looking," he said.
He knew things changed after the last mission. Sakura felt weak and inadequate like she was a genin all over again. She'd was in a battle with a mid range fighter. When she and Chiyo fought against Sasori they were able to use distraction and trickery, but she was alone. Her adversary was not a high level opponent but he was a terrible opponent for Sakura as her jutsu were best for close range fighting. He figured she'd train harder or ask Tsunade to teach her new jutsu. Sakura could learn to fight different classes of fighters. He hadn't expected this.
"How could you be so careless?" roared the Hokage after leaping to her feet.
Naruto's ire rose.
"She is one of my most trusted friends and comrades. She's been in that library many times and nothing was taken. I had no reason to distrust her," he growled back.
Tsunade continued to glare at him before putting her arms behind her back. She walked out from behind the desk.
"You do realize she almost died because of that seal," said the Hokage in a matter of fact tone.
"It needs to be applied by a true master. Mine was applied by Mito-sama, my grandmother. I doubt Sakura had the skill to do it alone," said the slug sannin.
"If you think I'd put a seal on her then you are crazy," he roared back. "I know the risk of putting powerful seals on people."
Tsunade looked deep into his eyes.
"But you love her and you would do things for her that are crazy. Hell, you've done crazy things for her," countered the Hokage.
The blonde hated it when Tsunade used his feelings against him.
"I've always protected her by putting my body and my life on the line. I've never put her in a position of harm. I knew the risk of that seal," he said angrily.
Kakashi closed his book.
"Sakura has seemed down since the last mission," he added. "I think she felt a little below average based upon her performance. It was a difficult opponent for her."
Tsunade glared at Kakashi.
"If you had been a better sensei, this wouldn't be an issue. She should have been taught to fight against midrange opponents by herself as a genin. Instead you focused all your attention on Sasuke Uchiha. That turned out well didn't it," hissed the Hokage.
Kakashi put his head down.
"Stupid testosterone filled idiots," muttered the Hokage. "Women aren't some weak creatures that need your protection."
Naruto looked away from the slug sannin.
"Look at me," she commanded.
Both ninja looked at their leader.
"I blame both of you as much as her. She took this step to remain equal in your eyes. If it causes her long term harm both of you will pay," she warned.
Both men nodded.
"Get out of my sight, Kakashi," ordered the Hokage.
The copy nin nodded and walked out the door. Naruto cursed mentally. If she dismissed Kakashi things were going to get worse. Tsunade returned to her desk. She sat in her chair. She rest her elbows on her desk. Her fingers were laced in front of her mouth. She fixed a solemn glare on the blonde.
"Shizune, I want to speak with Naruto alone."
The raven haired medic nin nodded and left the office. Tsunade sat silently for a few moments before speaking. Her eyes were boring into the younger blonde.
"We have another problem," said the Hokage.
Naruto hated the dramatic lead up but he kept his mouth shut. He didn't need to be punished with C-rank missions or worse until Sakura recovered.
"Sakura stole clan knowledge from you. If the clan council finds out, the consequences could be severe," said the Hokage.
Naruto felt better. The clan council couldn't agree on anything. They were a group of the clan leaders in Konoha. They met monthly but little was every accomplished. The council was started to appease the Uchiha at the founding of the village. The tradiation was too ingrained to disrupt easily.
"If the clan council is the problem, I'm not worried. They can't agree on how tie their shoes let alone punish anyone."
Tsunade shook her head.
"Normally, I'd agree, but this will unify them. Clan knowledge is a sensitive issue. I can recall three instances when clan knowledge was stolen. The thief was killed in two cases after the council forced the Second's hand. The third was a kunoichi. She was married to a male member of the clan and forced to produce a child within two years if she wanted to live."
Naruto shook his head.
"No one can know that seal belongs to the Uzumaki. You use that seal. People will believe Sakura learned it from you. The master apprentice relationship allows for the sharing of knowledge."
"If no one asks, we are fine, but I won't lie," said the Hokage.
"I understand," said the blue eyed Jonin.
"Go see her," said the Hokage.
Naruto turned to leave.
"If I find out that you lied to me Naruto, you will regret it," warned the Hokage.
Naruto looked over his shoulder coldly. He didn't respond before leaving the Hokage's office.