The sequel to Naruto: A New Path is finally here guys. I hope that you enjoy this story as much as its prequel. I have tried to improve my writing to make it more organized and easier to read so don't hesitate to tell me if I need to improve on certain aspects.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
"The coming battles will be tough," Jiraiya spoke in sincerity. He placed a hand on his student's shoulder, a determined smile on his face, "I'll teach you all that I know. That, is a promise."
Naruto nodded with a grin, "I'll do my best."
Naruto: Making of a Hokage
Ch.1 Hero's Comeback!
Jiraiya, legendary sage had, for the first time, exceeded his own expectations. Not only had he managed to train a Hokage not too long ago, but now had a student that would probably get there with time. More importantly, he had managed to solely focus on his student's training. Taking their training to Mount Myoboku had not only helped lessen his peeking habits but had helped in Naruto's training considerably.
That's why he couldn't help but feel pride whenever he looked at his student. No longer a loud-mouthed boy that rushed into things, Naruto had turned into a fine ninja with the years. He took his job seriously when on missions and had developed a calm attitude when in tough situations, much like his father had.
The shinobi in question walked next to Jiraiya, his hair swaying slightly with the light breeze. His hair had grown on his time out of the village with a bit of it blocking parts of his black headband and metal plate. Two bangs that reached a little past his ears framed his face, which had lost all remaining baby fat.
He wore a long-sleeved black shirt with an Uzumaki symbol on the right shoulder. A standard katana was strapped to his back, it's red handle peeking from his right shoulder. His hands were wrapped in white bandages but left his fingers exposed. He also wore dark blue pants with black wrappings around his ankles, ending at his black ninja sandals.
All of this was finished with his chunin vest, showing his rank to ally and enemy alike. It was a slightly modified version of his old outfit since he knew that Ino would probably not appreciate him returning to the village wearing something orange.
A smile formed on Naruto's face at that last thought. After three years he was finally going back to the village. Back to his friends and, most of all, back to Ino. He had missed her deeply during his travels but those days were behind him now.
His attention turned back to the road ahead. They were currently walking through the dense forest just outside of Konoha. The sky was a bright blue with the sun's rays peeking through gaps on the trees.
A sudden shift in movement caught Naruto's attention, turning to his left to see a messenger hawk with a scroll on its beak flying towards him. His brows furrowed before turning to Jiraiya in confusion. The sage had gotten word of all other missions before they arrived, giving him the time to prepare, but he apparently got no word of this one.
"You didn't tell me I had a mission," he spoke in a deeper voice before sticking his left arm out and having the hawk land on it.
Jiraiya shrugged nonchalantly, "I might have gotten word from missions before but, who knows? This could be a last minute one. Tsunade knows that we're near Konoha by now so it wouldn't surprise me."
The hawk opened its mouth, dropping a scroll on Naruto's hand before flapping its wings and leaving. "Let's see…" Naruto muttered with a scowl, fearing that he would have to go away just as he was about to get home.
The toad sage watched his student's darting eyes with a bit of curiosity. "What is it?" he asked once Naruto put the scroll down before pocketing it on his vest.
"It's just the typical hunter ninja task," Naruto explained with a bit of relief on his voice. "Apparently a jailed ninja managed to escape a few hours ago and should be around here," he focused his chakra before using a single hand seal, "Shadow Clone Jutsu."
Three clones appeared at his side, nodding at the original before scattering in opposite directions. Naruto turned to Jiraiya and gave a confident grin, "I'll get this done quick."
"Good job on the mission Ino," Tsunade praised with a smile as she took a scroll from Ino.
"No problem," Ino grinned.
She had changed with the years, her body sporting the curves that came with adulthood. Her hair was still the same though her bangs covered a bit more of the right side of her face. The style of her clothing had also changed.
Ino wore a purple overcoat over a dark yellow shirt, sporting black shorts and fishnets over her knees. A few bandages covered her upper right leg, the same place where she put her kunai holster. More bandages covered her right ankle, their white color clashing against her black ninja sandals.
"You're done for today," Tsunade went on, watching the impatient look Ino's face, "I'm sure you know that he'll be coming back soon."
"Yeah," Ino replied almost instantly, her eyes lighting up in excitement, "We've been exchanging letters and the last one he sent said that he'd be coming home soon."
Tsunade shook her head with a small smile, knowing how she felt, "You're free to leave Ino."
Ino nodded once more before leaving the office. Her footsteps echoed on the hallways of the building as she hurried out of it. She had been waiting for Naruto at the gate for around two days now. Because of responsibilities and other duties her time was cut short but she had managed to wait for at least an hour before leaving so far.
The voice snapped her out of her thoughts, eyes widening slightly when finding herself outside the building, apparently too deep in thought to notice.
She turned to the source of the voice to see Sakura walking towards her, her now short hair bouncing with each step, "Did you just get back from a mission?"
"About an hour now," Ino replied before crossing her arms, "I just had to go over things from the mission with Tsunade-sensei."
"I see," Sakura muttered when noticing the hurried look on Ino's eyes, "Are you late for something?"
Ino's eyes widened slightly before a smile formed on her face. "I'm just going to the gate," she explained, eyes filled with happiness, "Naruto's coming back soon and I want to greet him at the gate."
"Naruto?" Sakura repeated in slight shock. She hadn't seen her teammate ever since she saw him leave to get Sasuke back. Though he had failed on his mission she didn't hold him responsible for any of it, in fact she was looking forward to seeing him again.
"Mind if I go with you?"
"Of course not," Ino smiled, "It'll be nice to have someone to talk to while waiting."
The two soon began to walk through the village. Konoha was at its best at the moment, showing no hint of having been attack only a few years ago. People were happy and some ninja walked through the streets with no hurry. Peaceful times were great indeed.
"By the way," Sakura began, gaining Ino's attention, "I never asked why you stopped training with Lady Tsunade and I."
"Oh, that," Ino replied with a dismissive hand. "I still train with Tsunade-sensei from time to time," she began, turning back to the path ahead, "The reason I don't train with her as much is because I only wanted to know enough medical jutsu to help out on missions. After I got where I wanted, I started to train on combat again."
Sakura nodded in agreement. Ino had always been more of a fighter than the other kunoichi. Having her become a medical ninja would be odd for those who knew her. Sakura had also heard word of Ino and Anko training together, which she guessed explained why she had taken to wear an overcoat.
"How's your training coming along?" Ino asked, throwing a glance at Sakura.
The medic ninja smiled proudly, "Lady Tsunade said I've become almost as good as Shizune now. Not to mention that she taught me how to use her chakra enhanced punches."
Ino nodded absently, her thoughts turning to Naruto for the hundredth time this week. Ever since she had gotten his last letter she had been looking forward to seeing him again. He could have had given her a specific date but, knowing him, she knew he probably got overexcited and forgot to mention anything of the sort.
Naruto jumped from branch to branch while making sure to scan the area for any sort of trap just in case the unknown ninja was clever. He had yet to see any sort of trap but it was better to be careful rather than rash in pursuit missions.
One of his cones had found the ninja entering a cabin not too far from where he currently was. A second clone had stayed near the cabin just in case the ninja left once more. He wanted to end this mission early, having the ninja escape would only waste his time. He wanted to get back to Konoha as soon as possible. His heart beat loudly on his chest in almost uncontrollable excitement, he was just so glad to be going back.
"Calm down…" Naruto muttered to himself while shaking his head, getting overexcited would only get him in trouble.
Ridding himself of those thoughts, he continued moving through the woods before finally making it to where the other clone was. It stood against a tree with its arms crossed, apparently bored with the whole ordeal.
The clone noticed Naruto and clicked its tongue in annoyance, "You took too long."
"… Right," Naruto let out a sigh, he hated clones with attitude. It was something he could never really change when making small numbers of clones. They would get these different attitudes when not in the middle of battles and it could get annoying at times, "Is he still in there?"
"Have I dispelled yet?" the clone asked with a glare, throwing its hands up in the air, "Seriously. If I'm still here it means he hasn't left yet you son of a-"
Naruto dispelled the clone with an annoyed look. "Why didn't I do that in the first place?" he asked himself before looking at the small cabin standing on a small clearing. It was nothing impressive really but he thought it was strange for a cabin to be on the outskirts of a Hidden Village. He decided to simply destroy it once the ninja was taken down.
'Let's get this over with,' Naruto stepped out of the trees, nearing the cabin in short steps.
A hand glided over his katana when hearing the sound of footsteps. He stopped dead on his tracks, jaw clenching in anticipation, before a man stepped out of the cabin.
The man's eyes widened at seeing a ninja in front of him but quickly dismissed the initial shock when taking a good look at who the ninja was, his whisker marks being a dead giveaway. He snarled before speaking the name he hated, "Naruto..."
Naruto furrowed his brows at hearing his name. Just who was this ninja? He was dressed in a dark gray vest with the sleeves cut off, finished by a black pants and sandals. This man had a muscular build and silver hair that reached a little past his shoulders. He didn't recall ever meeting anyone like that.
"I can safely say that I didn't plan on seeing you again," the man commented with a smirk.
Naruto cocked his head to the side, confusion showing on his face, "Who are you again?"
"What? You can't be serious," the man growled before pointing his thumb at his chest, "Did you already forget me, demon? I'm Mizuki, you're old teacher and I'm here to finish what I started that night."
"Doesn't ring a bell," Naruto replied in a bored tone.
Mizuki gritted his teeth in anger as his fists clenched, "How can you be so stup-"
He was cut off as a fist landed painfully against his chest. Pain shot through his body before receiving a harsh kick to his stomach, doubling over in pain and letting out violent coughs in an attempt to regain his breath.
Naruto pulled the katana from its sheath before bringing it down on the enemy with no hesitation. Blood splattered in all directions as the blade sliced through Mizuki's exposed neck. His body falling limply on the ground, dead, before he got the chance to realize what happened.
Blood flooded out of the wound on the back of Mizuki's neck, only deep enough to kill. Naruto might at peace with killing for his village but he would only do the necessary to get the kill, there was really no need to be too flashy when killing an enemy.
He pulled out an explosive tag before slapping against Mizuki's back. Once done he put his katana back on its sheath before walking away. He placed his hands in a single hand seal in order to activate the tag left behind.
The ground behind him exploded in a large cloud of dust, leaving no sign of the cabin or body behind. He turned back to make sure there was nothing left before nodding to himself.
Naruto began to run through the forest now that his mission was over. Mizuki had made the mistake to leave himself wide open when in battle just by getting angry. That was the thing with those that left imprisonment, they forgot how to fight real shinobi and were easy to defeat.
Naruto rid himself of those thoughts and smiled. Now that his mission was over, he and Jiraiya could finally get going again.
Jiraiya leaned against a tree with his eyes closed. His sharp ears had heard the explosion not long ago and knew that Naruto had gotten the job done already. It was good since he couldn't wait to get to Konoha, the girls there were just too good for his research. It was a little warm out which meant that there would be girls swimming on local rivers. He smiled, he just couldn't wait.
He turned to his left just as Naruto landed in front of him, not looking like he had just been in a fight. Jiraiya grinned in amusement, "Another angry one?"
Naruto only nodded as they began to walk towards Konoha once more. "Yup, this one left himself wide open," he spoke casually.
Jiraiya chuckled slightly as they walked. It wasn't long until they could see the high walls that surrounded their home village. He threw a glance at his student, noticing the way his eyes lit up.
"Well, our training trip is officially over," Jiraiya stated. "I have to say I'm quite proud of myself in how well you turned out," he admitted, watching in amusement as Naruto rolled his eyes, "Though I'm a bit hurt that you still haven't told me anything of your travels with Anko."
Naruto's face heated up as a growl escaped his lips. "I told you nothing happened! Stop saying stuff like that!" he exclaimed before stomping away from his teacher.
Jiraiya quickly chased after his student, laughing as he did so, "Come on kid, I won't tell anyone. Why are you angry if nothing happened anyway?"
"Just shut up pervert!" Naruto exclaimed as he tried to get away from his master.
Kotetsu and Izumo, the usual gatekeepers of Konoha could only gape as they were struck by a blast from the past. Jiraiya, the legendary sage, walking alongside someone who looked like their late Fourth Hokage.
Jiraiya noticed the looks and could only grin. His student was starting to really look like his father and his haircut only raised the resemblance. The downside would be that some people would obviously know who Naruto's father was but it didn't matter much anymore.
Naruto though, didn't noticed the looks of shock, too transfixed on the village. A smile was plastered on his face as he took in his home. The damage from the Sound invasion was long gone and Tsunade's face had been added to the Hokage Monument, just beside his father's face.
"Hey Naruto," Jiraiya snapped him out of his thoughts, the blond turning to look at his master, "We have to report to Tsunade first. You can go look around later."
"Right," he nodded with the smile never leaving his face.
"Hey, what's it like working with the Hokage?"
"Is she really the most powerful kunoichi?"
"Who cares? I'm going to be the Hokage someday anyway."
Ino and Sakura tried to ignore the three genin walking behind them. Looking back, maybe it hadn't been a good idea to tell them that Naruto would be coming home soon. The three were starting to get on Ino's nerves and she was sure that Sakura was about to snap.
Sakura turned to Konohamaru, Moegi and Udon with a glare. "Alright brats that's enough questions already," she growled, scaring the three children that quickly hid behind Ino.
"Sakura just calm down," Ino sighed out, feeling a bit annoyed by how loud things had gotten.
Konohamaru cowered in fear before looking for a way to escape only to have his eyes widen in shock, an exited smile quickly forming on his mouth, "Boss!"
Everyone turned at the sound of Konohamaru's voice, finding a smirking Jiraiya standing next to a very amused Naruto.
"Please, don't let us interrupt," Jiraiya chuckled.
Ino's breath hitched in her throat as she stared at the newly arrived ninja. Her eyes met his, finding their usual warmth and energy before tears welled up in her eyes.
"Naruto," she smiled before running at him and tackling him into a hug.
He returned the hug with a warm smile on his face. "I missed you…" he let out as he held her closer, taking in her warmth and scent, "So much."
A few happy tears rolled down Ino's cheeks as she buried her head on the crook of his neck. "Me too, you don't know how much," she replied with her eyes closed. She let out a giggle when noticing their height difference, "You're taller than me now."
Naruto smiled as he pulled away from the hug, staring into Ino's eyes. For that moment it was just the two of them, everyone else seemed to fade away. They continued to look into each other's eyes before closing them and meeting in a kiss.
"The boss has a girlfriend?"
The two quickly broke apart, realizing that they were standing right in the middle of their friends. Naruto blushed slightly before turning to his teacher and finding him writing rigorously on his notebook, he could only roll his eyes at his antics.
"Stop using me for your research," he complained but wasn't heard by the smiling Jiraiya that kept on writing. Konohamaru quickly moved in front of Naruto, throwing him a smirk.
"Hey boss, I have to show you my new jutsu!" Konohamaru exclaimed. Naruto's eye twitched when seeing the familiar hand sign and, much to his misfortune, everyone else had given their attention to the genin who didn't seem to notice and performed it, "Sexy Jutsu!"
He was engulfed by a cloud of smoke before a naked girl appeared on his place with the smoke blocking just the right places.
"Now that's what I call a jutsu!" Jiraiya exclaimed in glee, giving two thumbs up.
Ino and Sakura only glared at the boy while wondering where he had learned such a jutsu.
Naruto, despite his initial worry, began to chuckle. It was just too nostalgic to see the jutsu once again.
Konohamaru raised a brow before releasing the jutsu, "What's with the laugh boss?"
"You shouldn't be using jutsu like that anymore," he smiled before noticing the sad look that crossed Konohamaru's face. "Since I was the one that taught you that jutsu, I guess I'll need to fix things," he declared, "Whenever I have the time, I'll teach you a real jutsu."
"Really?" Konohamaru exclaimed excitedly.
"Of course," the chunin assured before turning back to Ino, "Let's go talk at Ichiraku ramen. I want to know all you've been up to, letters can only say so much."
"Alright," Ino agreed before clinging to Naruto's arm, not wanting to be separated from him anymore.
It wasn't until now that Naruto took note of Sakura, watching her with an almost shocked expression, "Hey Sakura, you haven't changed at all."
"Hi Naruto," she said through gritted teeth, feeling a bit insulted from his comment before taking in his appearance and looking at him oddly. "I have to admit that you changed a lot," she pointed out.
"Really?" he asked in slight confusion, "I haven't really noticed."
Ino giggled, tightening her grip on the blond, "Trust me, you did. But it's a good change though."
"Alright that's enough," Jiraiya broke in, having stood on the sidelines long enough. "We have to see the Hokage. Naruto, you can go out with your girlfriend to continue what you were doing later," the two blonds blushed at that, "For now, let's go report to Tsunade."
"Right," Naruto chuckled nervously before turning to Sakura and the three genin, "You guys want to come along?"
"Of course," Konohamaru agreed with a smile.
Moegi pulled on his ear before looking at Naruto with an apologetic smile, "We have to meet with Ebisu-sensei, sorry."
Konohamaru objected but was pulled away by his two teammates while trying to get out of their hold.
"I guess I'll tag along," Sakura said as they watched the three genin leave.
"Then let's go. I have places to be," Jiraiya informed before leading the group towards the Hokage Tower.
Naruto smiled as he walked with Ino clinging into his arm. He turned to her, their eyes meeting before he broke into a smile. He was finally home.
That's it for now guys. As usual, I'll try to release the chapters weekly. Anyway I hope you liked the start of this story. I can tell you that this is where things really change from canon, unlike the previous story in which it kind of followed it.
Also for those of you wondering how he could kill Mizuki so easily. That's because, like Naruto said, jailed ninja have forgotten what it's like to fight real ninja instead of criminals. What I'm trying to say is that Naruto is and will be more ruthless in battle now, he saw his chance and took it.