A/N:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to chapter SIX and start from there. Grazie! Yeah, I take Italian ;)

Still not owning anything.


~Two Years Later~

"What happened in here?" Tori demanded.

Naruto and Hinata both looked up sheepishly. Naruto had grown once again, demanding a new change of clothing. He still wore an ANBU uniform whenever he was around the base, but now he wore civilian clothes much of the time. Which is why he was now wearing a dark orange shirt and a pair of black shorts. If one wasn't looking carefully, they wouldn't have noticed the Namikaze crest embroidered onto his right sleeve.

"Um-

"It wasn't really-"

"Well you see-"

"Ano...-"

"No excuses. Honestly, I didn't think leaving the room for two minutes would result in... this," she said impatiently, waving her hands in the air. Naruto and Hinata looked back at their handiwork. Of course, Tori was still glad that Naruto could still be a child outside of HQ, but this was bordering on dangerous.

It had started innocently. Then one thing lead to another and the Hyuuga Main House living room was covered with neon paint and feathers. After trying to dispel what Tori knew wasn't a genjutsu, she knew that blood would be spilt if they didn't get this cleaned up before Hiashi got back from the Clan Council meeting.

"Naruto, we'll need some clones for this," Tori ordered, her hands forming a cross. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" Two identical copies of Hyuuga Tori appeared besides the original and, sighing to themselves, got to work cleaning the room. They were soon joined by a dozen clones of Naruto, who preferred to grumble to themselves about the work. After a stern look from Tori, both seven year olds got to work.

When Hiashi stepped through the door fifteen minutes later, the room was, by some miracle, clean once more. Hiashi said hello to the three in the room, having gotten used to Naruto's presence over the two years he and Hinata had gone from acquaintances to best friends.

"How long is your mission supposed to last?" Hiashi asked his sister, catching her by surprise. She blinked before shrugging.

"Its indefinite for now. I think Sandaime-sama will reassign me sometime next year."

"That's a long time to be stuck in the village," Hiashi commented lightly. Tori nodded once more.

"I told you that I was promoted to captain, right?" Tori said off handedly. Hiashi raised an eyebrow.

"You did not," he informed her. "Congratulations."

"It wasn't that big of a deal. My team's captain decided to retire and I had the most experience for our mission. I was the logical choice, I suppose," Tori smiled.

Hiashi congratulated her again before saying his goodbyes and disappearing into his office. Tori sighed when he was gone.

"The Council got a hold of him," she lamented quietly. "Who's up for some Ichiraku's?" she asked louder. Both Hinata and Naruto cheered at the opportunity.


"Hey, Teuchi-san," Tori greeted as Naruto jumped onto his favorite stool, closely followed by Hinata. Teuchi smiled warmly at the three.

"Miso, beef, and salt!" he called out to his daughter.

"Naruto-kun, Hinata-chan, and Tori-chan are here again?" she said, coming out from the back of the restaurant as she tied her apron. "How're you guys?"

"Can't complain," Tori shrugged, smiling.

"Awesome!" Naruto beamed.

"Well, thank you," Hinata murmured happily. While she was not as quiet as she was before she had met Naruto, she never stopped being polite.

"You guys start the Academy next month, right?" Ayame asked the two younger customers. Both nodded excitedly. "Looking forward to it?"

"Of course!" Naruto almost shouted as a bowl of miso ramen was placed in front of him.

"Hai," Hinata echoed happily, her salt ramen placed before her. A bowl of beef ramen was placed at Tori's place and the three began to eat.

Four bowls of miso ramen, two bowls of beef ramen later, and one bowl of salt ramen later, the three were satisfied. Tori paid for the meal, once again thanking the Sandaime for the income, and said their goodbyes.


After dropping Hinata off at the Main House, Tori and Naruto started walking back to their home on the edge of the compound. While Naruto was given an apartment for his use on his seventh birthday by the Sandaime, he almost always preferred to stay with Tori. He still used the apartment, but it was mostly for birthday parties or sleepovers with his friends. Now that they were older, Tori couldn't afford to invite Naruto's village friends, Hinata included, to the base. It was too much of a security risk.

Tori had taken it upon herself to introduce Naruto to the children that he'd be classmates with in the Academy. It was a little awkward to give any explanation for Tori's relationship to Naruto, but she explained it away. In the eyes of most of Konoha, Naruto was Tori's godson. The heads of most clans- those who could be trusted, at least- were aware of Naruto's parentage. In the year that Naruto had gotten close to their children, they had learned to look around his jinchuuriki status just as the ANBU had.

Tori broke out of her thoughts as they approached their home, the sun setting on the horizon.

"You'll be training with Ame tomorrow morning. She said to report to Training Ground-"

"Twelve," Naruto finished, smiling. "And then I report to Kakashi at the Third Training Ground."

Tori smiled warmly at the eight year old. He was so different from the scared little boy she had healed three years ago. There was still that innocence in his mannerisms, but it was almost overshadowed by a calculating logic that had been drilled into him by his numerous tutors around the ANBU base. But most importantly, he was happy. His smile still lit up a room, and Tori was glad that growing up ANBU didn't destroy that.

Her thoughts turned from Fox to Weasel and her smiled waned. Itachi had gone insane, as she was told, and slaughtered every Uchiha with the exception of his little brother, Uchiha Sasuke, who was Naruto's age, before disappearing from the village. There were rumors on his whereabouts, but they were merely whispers. ANBU were assigned to watch over the lone Uchiha survivor, but Tori knew that the self imposed isolation wouldn't be good for the boy.

"You haven't forgotten anything, have you?"

"No," Naruto said, rolling his eyes. Tori smiled, only slightly reassured. She gave the eight year old a hug before turning to her room.

"I'll see you in the morning."

"Night, neesan," he grinned. Tori returned a smile before stepping into the darkness of her room, closing the door behind her and making her way to her desk. She grabbed a clean sheet of paper and pen from her desk and began to write.

Sandaime,

As you are aware, he is starting the Academy next month. I think it's time to tell the Council that he survived. I'm not sure what they know, but they should be aware that Minato and Kushina had a son, and just who that that son is. On that note, if his chuunin instructor gives him even the slightest bit of grief, I can guarantee that someone is going to be injured.

You know me too well, Sandaime. Being an ANBU operative wouldn't have much meaning for me if he wasn't there too. That's why I'd like to resign as ANBU when he begins school. It was the Hyuuga Council's dream for me to join ANBU, not mine.

Please keep this letter to yourself. I have not yet told Hiashi and I doubt the Elders will approve of it. Do not worry, though. I would not be in danger. I have too many friends in other clans that they cannot afford to anger.

Hyuuga Tori

Tori put the letter to the side, not sure if she should send it or not.

Still thinking about the letter, and any repercussions it would cause, Tori drifted into an uneasy sleep.


A/N:

, CUT!

Finished, but with a bit of a cliff-hanger, I'll admit. I'll get around to the sequel when I can, but no promises on an immediate start.

For now, it's camping time :D

^-^ Susie ^-^