Three young Genin stood in front of the Hokage, listening to his short explanation. They were the only three that were promoted to Chuunin. Shikamaru was promoted because he was good with planning out everything before he actually did it. He could have easily won against Temari, but instead decided to forfeit. Shino was able to stay clam in even the toughest situations. Naruto was a skilled and cautious fighter. He fought with reason and thought of others.
"Ah, my parents will want to have a party, how troublesome. I shouldn't even tell them." Shikamaru sighed. All he wanted to do was to go home and relax. However, he knew that, if his parents are to find out about his promotion to the Chuunin rank, they'd make a huge deal out of it, and that's not what Shikamaru wanted.
"I've already told your family, as well as yours, Shino, and Naruto, I told Sasuke, Kakashi, and Sakura. Kakashi was proud, and Sakura was excited. They'll be meeting you at Yaniku Q directly after this, to celebrate." Sandaime explained.
"Wha…what about Sasuke?" Naruto asked. He hoped that Sasuke was happy for him too.
"You three are dismissed now. I would like you to prepare yourselves. Your missions will be a lot more difficult now." Sandaime warned them. He was so proud of all of them, especially Naruto. The blond had progressed so much for such a young age. He didn't exactly have it easy growing up, either.
The small group left after Sandaime had dismissed them. He was worried about Naruto. He would never forget the angry look upon Sasuke's face when he had told team seven that Naruto was promoted to a Chuunin. Sandaime couldn't even attempt to explain how angry Sasuke looked. However, Sandaime knew Naruto would be okay. He was always okay. He was strong, tough, and for that, Sandaime was extremely grateful.
"Naruto, over here!" Sakura called out. She stood up and waved her hand a few times, beckoning Naruto over to sit with her, Kakashi, and Sasuke. Around the table, there was food that they had been placed on the table a few moments earlier (So everything would be ready for Naruto when he showed up) as well as two presents. One from Sakura and one from Kakashi. There was nothing from Sasuke, but Naruto wasn't surprised.
"Hi Kakashi-sensei, Sakura-chan, Sasuke-san." He replied cheerfully as he took a seat next to Sasuke, eying the delicious food.
"Oh Naruto-chan! I'm so happy for you!" She said, hugging him tightly. Kakashi pat him on the head gently, a form of congratulations, while Sasuke simply glared at him.
Shino, Kiba, and Kurenai stood around the bed that their teammate was currently laying in. They were all trying to be strong for her, but it was difficult. Her fight with Sasuke had damaged many of her internal organs. It also blocked off many of her chakra paths. However, the worst of it was the chidori to her spine, because it left her paralyzed from the waist down. She wouldn't be able to be a ninja anymore. Of course, there was always a chance for her to regain the feeling in her legs, but it was very slim.
No one had told her yet, because everyone was too crushed to do it. Her father wasn't disappointed. Her younger sister, Hanabi was already stronger than she was, so now she would be the heir of the family. In fact, it was almost as if this was what he wanted. Everyone thought it would be best if he were to be the one to break the news to her.
"Hinata, there is something I need to speak to you about," Her father began, and everyone took that as a cue to leave. They wanted to give her and her father some time alone, so he could explain everything to her. That and they didn't want to see the look on her face when he told her she wasn't going to be a ninja anymore, or the heir to the Hyuuga clan.
"Sasuke-san! Stop!" Naruto yelled, shielding himself from Sasuke's brutal attacks. The raven had literally dragged him inside the house by the hair. Once inside, with the door closed, he kicked Naruto to the floor, making sure his foot made hard contact with Naruto's chest.
"What did I do now?! I passed the exams! I'm a chuunin now, isn't that what you wanted?! Didn't you tell me that I better pass?!" He asked. He heaved loudly as Sasuke aimed a harsh kick to his stomach.
"You…you ungrateful brat!" He yelled, picking Naruto up by the hair and shoving him up against the wall.
"Sasuke-san, stop! Let me go, bastard!" Naruto struggled. Nothing made sense now. Sasuke wanted him to pass the exams, and now that he did, Sasuke was angry. It didn't make sense at all! And what exactly made him ungrateful?!
"I can't believe you! I'll make you pay, Naruto, I'll make you pay!" Sasuke growled as he shoved Naruto to the floor, and walked away, leaving Naruto panting and coughing up blood on the floor.
"You do understand what this means, correct? You are technically betraying your own village. We are enemies with Suna, so you will also be their enemy if you decide to stay here." Sarutobi explained, frowning. He didn't mind doing the village transfer, (although it was more of a hassle because he wouldn't be getting permission from the other village) but he wanted to make sure they were completely serious, and understood what would be happening.
"Yes, we understand." Gaara replied, cold, but calm. He quickly glanced over at his siblings, relieved that they had decided to stay with him (but he would never admit that).
Kankuro and Temari looked at one another, before giving Gaara their decision.
"We'll stay." They said together. Gaara's eyes widened slightly, shocked.
"You will?" He replied, keeping his voice level so as not to show his shock.
"Yes. You scare the crap out of us Gaara, I won't deny that." Kankuro replied.
"...but you're still our little brother, and we care about you, so we want to make sure you're safe. What the village did to you wasn't fair. They should treat you like a human, not a weapon." Temari smiled, placing her hand on Gaara's shoulder. Although Gaara didn't show it, both Temari and Kankuro knew that Gaara was happy they decided to stay with him.
"There is a series of loyalty tests you must take first, and then you will speak for the council, your wish to transfer, and the final decision will be made."
Naruto smiled as he made his way back to his house. He had gone on his first mission as a chuunin, and was now returning home. The mission took two weeks to complete, and Shikamaru had been with him. Thankfully, the mission was a success, and Sarutobi commended them on their first successful mission. Naruto was excited to tell Sasuke about it.
Naruto was anxious to get home. When he had told Sasuke about his mission, the raven ignored him, and didn't even say goodbye. It had hurt Naruto, but he was more than used to it.
"Sasuke-san? I'm home!" Naruto announced as he entered the home he shared with Sasuke. Naruto was a little surprised to find out that it seemed to have not been lived in for about a week.
"Sasuke?" Naruto called out again, hoping the teen would reply, when he got nothing, he wandered into Sasuke's room, searching for any clues as to where he may be.
"Okay, everything is complete; you three are now officially Konoha shinobi. Here are your forehead protectors," Sandaime said, handing Temari, Gaara, and Kankuro their new Konoha forehead protectors. They took them slowly, almost hesitantly. Temari and Kankuro felt a small wave of sadness consume them. She was sure that Baki and their father were angry about everything that had happened.
"Thank you Hokage-sama," Temari replied for herself and her brothers.
The news quickly spread, that the three Suna-nin had been on a loyalty mission to become part of the village. The villagers, or course, didn't trust them. Not after what happened at the Chuunin exams. They all believed that they were going to betray them. That is was all a part of some master plan. Gaara, Kankuro and Temari didn't blame them. Instead, they understood, and vowed to gain their trust.
They already knew that they had gained the trust in some people. Sakura, Naruto, Kakashi, just to name a few.
Temari felt like she had already become good friends with Sakura. Gaara was anxious to tell Naruto the news, and Kankuro had a crush on one of the Genin's, but believed it was too early to mention it.
Hinata took the news a lot better than anyone would have imagined. She still believed her legs would heal, and kept on believing she would one day be a ninja again.
Even though the doctors and nurses told her it was near impossible. Even though her teammates told her she wouldn't be able to fight, and even though her father told her that her little sister, Hanabi, would be the heir, she still had hope.
Naruto was devastated to find out that Kakashi, Sakura and Sasuke were on a mission together. If he hadn't become a chuunin, he'd be with them. He was happy, however, with his new position. He wouldn't trade it for anything.
Even as he sat alone at Ichiraku, slowly slurping his ramen.
"Hello, Naruto." A deep voice greeted, causing Naruto's eyes to widen as he turned to the owner.
"Gaara?!" Naruto explained, smiling and jumping the red head in excitement, hugging him tightly.
"What are you doing here?! Shouldn't you be back in your village?" He asked after the excitement had calmed down a little bit.
"My siblings and I have transferred here. We are now Konoha shinobi. I refused to be used as a weapon, and they decided to stay with me." Gaara explained.
"Wha...what?!" Naruto exclaimed, shocked. "Are you serious?! You're going to be living here from now on then? We can be friends?! We can go places together?" Naruto asked, smiling widely.
"Yes, of course. I would enjoy that, Naruto." Gaara replied.
That night, after walking around the village for a few hours with Gaara, Naruto made his way home, alone. He wanted to invite Gaara over, but figured it may not be a good idea. If Sasuke had come home, he wouldn't be too happy about Gaara being over. For reasons unknown to Naruto, Sasuke did not like Gaara.
Naruto opened and closed the door to the house, a little surprised to see that there were some lights on.
"Sasuke-san? Are you home?" Naruto called out, getting a strange, uncomfortable feeling. The young blond made his way up the stairs, towards Sasuke's room, realizing that the light was on.
Slowly, Naruto walked up to the door and peered in, smiling as he saw Sasuke, sound asleep in his bed. Laughing gently, Naruto walked over to the elder boy, and climbed into bed next to him, cuddling close and smiling.
"Sasuke-san, I'm home."
"You seen to really care for the boy, don't you?" Jiraiya sat with Kakashi at a small bar near the gates of Konoha.
"Yes, I just want him to be safe. Every time I picture him alone, in that house, with Sasuke..." Kakashi paused, taking a sip from his sake; "I fear for his life."
"And you called me because...?" Jiraiya asked.
"I want him to train with you. I think it'll be good for him. It'll make him stronger both physically and more importantly, mentally."
"I took him to train with me, didn't seem to help much." The sannin replied.
"I don't mean for a few weeks. I want you to take him for three years." Kakashi replied, causing Jiraiya to choke on his sake.
"Three years?! He'll interfere with my research for my writing! I can't possibly take that kid for that long!" Jiraiya complained. The last thing he wanted was a kid trailing behind him while he was snooping on woman's bath houses.
"He won't be a nuisance. Jiraiya, that's your God son you're talking about. Do you really want to see him break beyond repair? What would Kushina and Minato say?" Kakashi knew that would hit the older man hard. Jiraiya cared so deeply for Kushina and Minato, so he would want the best for their son.
"I suppose I can take him along. Have him meet me at the gate tomorrow morning and we'll be off. Tell him to pack, but don't tell him what's happening. Don't even tell him to say goodbye to Sasuke. If that Uchiha brat finds out what's happening, he'll never let Naruto go." Jiraiya explained as he took out some money and placed it on the counter, paying for both his and Kakashi's meal and drinks, before walking off.
"Thank you Jiraiya. You have no idea how much this is going to help him...in more ways than one."
The next morning, not even knowing what was going on, where he was going, how long he'd be gone, or who he was going with, Naruto waiting impatiently at the Konoha gates.
"Hey brat, ready to go?" Jiraiya greeted, smiling.
"Ero-sennin?! What are you doing here?" Naruto gasped, shocked, but happy to see the man.
"I'm taking you for some much needed training." Jiraiya replied, leading Naruto towards to gates.
"Really?!" Naruto bounced slightly, excited. "For how long?" He asked.
Naruto stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes wide, almost as if someone had just told him a loved on had died.
"N...no! I can't go for that long! Especially not without telling Sasuke! I can't be away from him for that long!" Naruto made a motion to run off, to run home, but his wrist was caught.
"You can, and you will. Sasuke will be fine. Kakashi will explain to him."
"There's a time in your life where you have to let go. I'll help you, kid. I'll help you become strong. I'll help you stand up to him. You just need to trust me."
"I can't leave him." Naruto frowned, trying to hold back his tears. He couldn't imagine his life without Sasuke.
"And you won't. We won't be gone forever, and you can write to him. These three years will fly by. You'll get so much stronger you won't even notice that you've been gone for three years."
"I...I guess so. Kakashi-sensei will tell him everything, right?"
"Yes, brat. Everything."
"Then let's go!"
Ahh, so there you go! Naruto is going away!
So that means the next time this is updated, there will be a three year time-skip!
I wonder how Sasuke will turn out, huh? Since he isn't with Orochimaru!
So tell me what you think, please! About everything that has happened thus far!
After this time skip, things will go much faster!
Also, anyone have an idea for a good picture for this story?
And don't forget to vote in my poll, please!