Chapter 24

Wave

Standing in front of a nice little three bedroom house, Naruto knocked against the wooden door as Hana and Hayate stood on his left and right side. The triplets were stationed between Hana and himself, all three sniffing the area and making sure there were no enemy signatures around to cause problems.

Since Wave Country was not all that far from Water country it only took them about two days to arrive at the merchant country. Wave Country was a country where they had no shinobi of their own since they had their own natural defenses. The country was a simple trading country that many of the minor countries and a few major countries did business with. It was not often that they got requests from Wave Country since the country overall was normally a very quiet yet peaceful place.

From behind the wooden door Naruto heard a few voices suddenly cease and go silent. Light footsteps were then heard coming closer to the door until stopping with the door sliding open.

Standing in front of him was a beautiful woman with dark hair that looked to be in her early thirties dressed in a pink blouse and a dark blue skirts. Behind her he could see an older man in his sixties sitting at a small table with a glass of sake in front of him.

"May I help you?" she asked politely looking at the new comers but having an idea of who they were given their headbands.

"Hello miss. My names Naruto and these are my teammates Hana and Hayate. We are from Konoha and were told to arrive at this location by our Hokage after receiving a requiring backup letter from Kakashi Hatake," Naruto told her and saw the recollection appear in her eyes before she nodded.

"Please come in," she welcomed them stepping to the side and allowing them entry into their home. The home was cosy and comfortable and was definantly one of the better looking houses from what he had seen from the town so far.

It showed that the area had fallen on very hard times.

As soon as they walked in and entered the small dining room Naruto saw Eiji sitting by the small table reading one of the books their father had given him about fuinjutsu.

Hearing their footsteps Eiji looked up where his face brightened tenfold when he saw his older brother walk into the room. He got up and quickly hugged his older brother tightly which was reciprocated by Naruto.

"I'm glad you here," he heard Eiji whispered where as Naruto patted his on the shoulder. While Eiji would not admit it freely he had been spooked big time but the arrival of one of the Seven Ninja Swordsman.

Zabuza had scared the life out of him. The man was the definition of dangerous and was able to go toe to toe with Kakashi of all people. They had only managed to still be alive because he and Sasuke were lucky enough to free Kakashi after he got caught.

The other two members of the team Sasuke and Sakura were both sitting around the table as well. Sasuke was looking out the window with a brooding look plastered on his face while Sakura was staring at Sasuke with an adoring look.

'Fan girl,' was the only though that ran through the heads of Naruto, Hana and Hayate as Naruto put his arm over his little brother's shoulder.

"Are you okay? It scared m a little to hear my little brother encountered Zabuza Mamochi of all people. Are you hurt anywhere?" He asked and saw Eiji shake his head negatively.

"I'm okay but Kakashi sensei is up stairs in bed. He overused his Sharingan in the fight and has been bedridden for the last two days."

For the next ten minutes he listened to Eiji as he explained what had happened when they left Konoha for their supposed C rank mission. Only three hours after they had set off they had been attacked by the Demon Brothers, two well known thugs of Zabuza. They were only C rank criminals in the bingo books but it was more than enough for a couple of genin. Eiji and Sasuke had managed to protect the client until Kakashi appeared and took them out after observing who they were after.

Though Naruto had wished Kakashi had taken his brother and his team back to the village, he couldn't fault them for wanting to continue the mission. Though Kakashi should have known that someone like Zabuza must have been lying in wait.

After three days had past and arriving on the banks of Wave Country where they were met by Zabuza who immediately began to battle Kakashi. From what Eiji described to him it was intense before Kakashi fell into a trap and got himself caught, only to later be freed from the combined teamwork of Eiji and Sasuke.

Naruto wanted to berate Eiji but he knew he would have done something similar if the situation had been reversed. So he just patted him on the shoulder, getting a happy grin from Eiji. He swore even Sasuke's mouth twitched upwards for eve a moment.

Kakashi then fought Zabuza again before eventually defeating Zabuza with his own move. But before he could land a final blow a masked nin who apparently was a Hunter nin from Kiri arrived and took him out before leaving with the body.

Naruto turned too looked at Hana and Hayate and he could see the both knew something was wrong with what they just heard. Considering where they just came from he knew there were no Kiri Hunter nins currently out looking for Zabuza. The Mizukage had already told them that this was first time they had heard from about Zabuza in over a year and that all their Hunter nins were still stationed in Kiri, helping to train the next generation of Hunter nins.

"That was no Hunter nin," Hana told them as she patted one of her three dogs on the head. Eiji Sasuke and Sakura turned their heads towards her. "We just came from Kiri and a meeting with the Mizukage. She has no hunter nins currently searching for Zabuza."

They heard Sakura gasp. "But then who was that person with the mask?"

"Most likely…..cough….someone working with Zabuza," Hayate answered.

"He has been gone a long time .It's not surprising Zabuza may have found some new additions to his little group."

"Eiji-kun where did the hunter nin hit him exactly? Where on the body?" Hana asked with Eiji telling them he was hit twice in the neck with senbon needles.

Hana feared this. "He was put in a death like state. Make the heartbeat so shallow that it masks the shinobi still being alive. Zabuza is very much alive and still out there."

Naruto ran a hand through his hair and saw Eiji, Sakura and Sasuke look a little fearful at the idea of Zabuza still being alive. He had left a lasting impression on the trio and he couldn't blame them. It was there first mission outside of the village and they ended up running into one of the Seven Swordsman of the Mist.

"We will need to speak to Kakashi about this. But first we need to focus on these three. No doubt they will be in the firing range since Zabuza and his accomplices will want them gone. Zabuza strikes me as a prideful person."

Hana tapped her chin. She didn't know a whole lot of medical ninjutsu but she knew enough to make her a novice. Thankfully her time with Anko helped her when it came to the human body and what certain effects can happen to them when put in specific states.

"Zabuza is not dead but he will need time to heal. He will be bedridden for at least ten days until he is back at full strength. Two days have past since the battle so that gives us eight days until he would likely attack again."

"Which means we have eight days to whip these guys into shape," Naruto muttered before turning his attention back to Eiji and his team.

"Have you and your team done much training since you arrived?" He asked and inwardly was not surprised that Eiji shook his head which was followed by similar head shakes from the other two members of Team 7.

Naruto pinched his nose before taking a big sigh and looking towards Eiji and his team.

"Okay then tell me what Kakashi has been doing with you so far in terms of training. How far have you gotten?"

Eiji scratched the back of his head nervously, obviously showing a negative sign to the trio of Jonin that recently arrived.

"Kakashi-sensei has been teaching us teamwork skills and had us work on the tree climbing exercises so far," they heard Sakura tell them. They waited for her continue but quickly realized she had already finished.

All three of them looked at them in disbelief. "That's it? That's all he has taught you in a month?" He got three nods in response to his question.

"That's ridiculous," Hana piped up, looking less than impressed and angry at the veteran Jonin that was leading these three genin. "That is something you should have done in your first week. Why is that all you have learnt?"

"Kakashi sensei is always three hours late," Sakura told them as she twiddled her thumbs on her lap. "We do an hour of teamwork exercises and then we go to D rank missions. After that he tells us to go home."

Naruto and Hana both felt like pulling their hair out while Hayate shuffled away from them. "Good for nothing scarecrow," the both muttered before Naruto took an empty scroll out from one of the seals on his arm and put it on the table. He then pulled out a brush and ink.

"Alright I'm going to be straight with you three," he told them as the three thirteen year olds looked at him. "Right now you are way behind where you should be. Eiji and Sasuke might be ahead given their clan training but you Sakura aren't where you should be."

Sakura looked down, disappointed in herself as she nodded. She knew she was the weakest in the group despite being the smartest.

"But the three of you should be further along and it was Kakashi's job to ensure you got the right training. Obviously he has not done that which means for the next eight days you three will be working your asses off. Understand?" He told them and saw all three of them nod.

Eiji looked happy; Sasuke had a tiny grin on his face while Sakura had a determined look appear on her face.

"Have all three of you completed the tree walking exercise?" Hana asked as she planned on helping Naruto with the training plan for them. All three nodded their heads which was a relief to the three Jonin.

"Then we can start on the next exercise." Naruto told them. "Hayate every morning I want you to teach them the Water walking exercise. That will improve their chakra control and their reserves. You three will do that every morning until you can do the exercise without even thinking about it."

The trio nodded though Sasuke looked a little miffed that he had to listen to his brothers friends. "In the afternoon we will focus on your individual skills and raise them up. If I think it's possible, we might even show teach you guys a new jutsu or two. Understand?"

The three genin nodded their heads while Tazuna and Tsunami who had simply watched and listened for the last thirty minutes were impressed at how quickly Naruto had taken control. Tazuna stood up as he prepared to leave for the bridge and continue with its construction.

"Since its still morning you three will go out with Hayate and begin the water walking exercise. Hayate don't let them come back until they can stand on the water for at least thirty seconds."

"Will…..cough….do," Hayate responded as he stood up and ushered for the genin to follow him. The trio left each looking excited and determined and obviously happy they were getting some real training though Sasuke did glare at Naruto for a few moments but quickly got moving when Naruto gave him a look indicating him to get ass moving.

Being a Jonin had it perks when it came to the genin.

As they left Naruto made two shadow clones. "Tazuna-san these clones will go with you to the bridge and keep guard for you. I promise nothing will get past them," he told Tazuna who nodded his head in gratitude as he left after saying goodbye to his daughter.

Once everyone left Hana looked at Naruto irately and slammed a hand down on the table. "What the hell was Kakashi thinking? What was the Hokage thinking? They should have been sent straight back to the village the moment they ran into the Demon Brothers. How could Kakashi be so foolish?"

"Let's go and find out," Naruto told her as they both stood up and walked up the flight of stairs with Naruto in front and Hana following closely behind.

Hana was beyond furious. She and Kiba might not see eye to eye right now but it didn't mean she stopped caring about him. If she found out that her little brother had run into a shinobi with the caliber of Zabuza Mamochi, she would have been irate and would be calling for Kakashi's head.

She knew Naruto long enough to know when he was angry. And by the look in his eye she could tell Kakashi and too an extent his father had really angered him.

Twenty minutes later a sleepy and exhausted Kakashi woke up having dreamed of beautiful girls in bikini's in a large hot tub. He groaned and went to sit up but instead felt a weight on his chest. Blinking the sleepers out of his eyes he looked up to see Hana's three ninken with their paws on his chest, snarling at him.

He gulped before his face went pale when he noticed Naruto and Hana sitting with their backs to the wall and both with their arms crossed. Both had narrowed eyes and he could have sworn he heard Naruto's knuckles cracking.

"So I'm guessing you're the backup?" Kakashi asked timidly. Neither gave him an answer before Hana slammed the door closed and he watched Naruto activate silencing seals around the room.

Outside Hayate watched as Eiji, Sasuke and Sakura continued to fall into the ice cold water obvious to what was happening inside. He was having too much fun watching the genin fall into the water like suckers.

The trio shook in their wet clothes, oblivious to the beating and scolding their sensei was being given.


Next Day

Naruto stood in the makeshift training field he and Hana had made for the three genin as they stood off to the side and watched Eiji, Sakura and Sasuke run laps around the field each looking a little different than the other. Hayate was currently guarding the bridge builder with Kakashi who was walking around thanks to the shosen jutsu.

Eiji looked relatively okay thanks to his Uzumaki stamina with only a light sweat on his forehead. Sasuke trailed slightly behind a few paces looking a bit more out of breath then his blonde haired teammate but was still able to keep up the pace. And then trailing behind was Sakura whom the two boys had managed to lap twice already and looked ready to collapse at any moment.

Since yesterday they had watched the trio of genin and cooked up a familiar training regimen that each would perform each day in hopes that their strength and skills will be improved enough to help with the incoming threat of Zabuza.

Eiji Naruto knew well enough since his range of skills and moves were similar to their father in that he relied more on speed then power and preferred taijutsu and his tri pronged kunai in combat situations. He and Mito were alike in that they were close-mid range fighters. He had Eiji focus on his speed and used weight seals on his legs and arms. He had him spar with a shadow clone of his.

Sasuke was a little different in that his was more a ninjutsu fighter and with his fire jutsu and taijutsu prowess, he could switch ranges from long distance to close up. So Naruto had asked him what fire jutsu's he knew and had him practice two knew katon jutsu. He told Sasuke every time he mastered a katon jutsu he would give him one more while they were on the mission.

Sasuke had tried to push his luck but got quickly put in his place when Naruto twisted his arm behind him and shoved him to the ground, reminding him who his superior was.

Sakura though was by far the worst in terms of physical skills. The girl was smart for sure and her chakra control was impressive but that was due to her reserves being so tiny. She would get tired too easily and had told them she was on a diet so she could keep her figure.

Naruto had face palmed big time while Hana was left incensed. She told him she would deal with Sakura and would personally train the girl. If there was one thing Hana had picked up from her girlfriend it was a deep hatred for fan girls.

"KEEP MOVING PINKIE OR I'M SETTING THE TRIPLETS ON YOUR ASS," Hana shouted to Sakura when the pink haired girl had stopped to take a breather. Sakura turned her head to look at them but quickly set off running again when the triplets snarled at her.

Hana huffed in annoyance before turning to look at Naruto who was grinning at her.

"What are you grinning at Blondie?"

"Who knew my lovely Anko-chan would have such an effect on you. Tell me when's the wedding?" he asked and saw her blush like a tomato before swatting his arm.

"Shut up you blonde idiot. Go and get yourself a girl of your own," she chided him as he chuckled.

"But you have taken after Anko so much. I think its clear who the dominant one in the relationship is." he whispered into her ear which led to her blushing even brighter in before. Before Naruto could begin to laugh he felt Hana jump him and grab him in a headlock and dragged them to the ground.

"Ahhh you stupid blonde baka," Hana hissed out while Naruto had now begun laughing.

"Hana-chan wouldn't Anko be jealous of us being so close," Naruto chuckled out and felt Hana tighten her grip on him.

His laughing alerted the three genin who looked over to see Eiji older brother being choked out by Kiba older sister. Eiji looked confused while Sasuke and Sakura were muttering something about stupid older siblings.

After another minute of Hana attempting to strangle Naruto to death, she eventually ceased and the two got back up. Naruto grinned at Hana who huffed in annoyance before she let a small smile appear in her face when she felt Naruto peck her on the cheek.

Big dumb blonde.

"Do you think they will be ready? Eight days is not a lot of time and let's not forget who we are dealing with," Hana asked since it had been on her mind. While she was confident they could get the genin stronger than they were, she wasn't sure it would be enough.

She felt him put his arm around her shoulders and she decided to lean in and enjoy his warmth. Wave country was not the warmest of countries.

"I think they will be fine. It's not like we are going to let them face Zabuza after all," he told her which Hana nodded in relief. "Either I or Kakashi will deal with Zabuza."

While Hana didn't like the idea of her childhood friend fighting someone like Zabuza, she had to remember this was the young man that went toe to toe with the Sandaime Hokage. If he could hold his own against someone like him then she knew he would be fine. "And the others?"

Naruto tapped his chin in thought. "From how they described the hunter nin, he or she can't be any older then 15-16 years of age. If we train them up enough then they might be able to handle them. At least Eiji and Sasuke anyway. I think Sakura might be better off just protecting the bridge builder.

"I agree. I highly doubt she will be ready for eight days time." Hana responded as she eyed the pink haired girl.

"She has potential but eight days won't be enough to bring it out. Once we get back maybe I could speak with Shizune. Sakura's chakra control is impressive so she could make a fine med-nin."

"Hmm I hadn't thought of that?" Hana said and thoughtfully agreed. Med-Nins were crucial and too few in number in Konoha. Having a med nin on any squad was a boon.

"You think you can handle things here for me Hana-chan?" Naruto asked and saw Hana nod her head though looked like she wanted to know where he was going.

"Where are you headed?"

"Into the town. I want to get a good layout of the place and see if I can't get any information out of some of the thugs this Gato has."

Hana nodded as she watched Naruto make another clone to held Sasuke and Eiji before he leapt away and made his way into the town.


Town

If Naruto was a lesser man then he would have teared up and broke down as he walked through the streets of Wave. He could feel various emotions building up inside of him ranging from sadness all the way up to anger.

Everywhere he looked he saw people homeless and starving. Their clothes were in rags and all of them looked like they had not showered in weeks. People ranging from the elderly to middle aged, even to children were on the streets looking lifeless and hopeless.

This Gato, the so called business tycoon had taken everything from these people. Their homes, their jobs, their food, even friends and family. And knew the man likely did not fee a damn thing as he sat on his expensive chair eating like a king.

He saw in what should have been a grocery store only hand scraps of food which all ranged from prices that were too expensive for anyone to afford. He couldn't blame the owners since they were as much victims as everyone else.

"These people deserve better then this," he whispered while shaking his head.

As he passed a corner, his anger spiked even more when he saw two thugs, no doubt two of Gato's hired mercenaries pushing a young woman in a corner as the stuck their blades to her stomach. Her very pregnant stomach.

"You haven't paid up this week Yuka-channnnnnnn," the taller of the two mercenaries told the woman as his head got a little too close to the woman and stuck his tongue out to lick the side of her face.

"You wouldn't want anything to happen to that whelp in your belly would you?" the shorter of the two said as he stuck his blade to her stomach, causing the fabric to rip ever so slightly.

The woman was crying as her hands tried to protect her large stomach. "Please I ccccan't afford it. I have nothing left to give," she cried out as hot wet tears began to form in her eyes.

Both of the mercenaries grinned perversely at her. "Oh I can think of something you can give us," the taller of the two told her as his hands went up to her dress and began yanking it down. Before the dress could be pulled all the way down however, the taller mercenary felt a sharp excruciating pain form in his chest and saw a pool of blood forming beneath him.

"What?" He choked out before a blade appeared through his chest and he felt a pair of hands around his neck. The last thing h saw were Naruto's violet eyes before Naruto snapped the man's neck.

"BASTARD!" The smaller mercenary said but was stopped immediately with Naruto picking the man up by the throat and smashing his head against the stone building beside them.

"Trash," Naruto muttered as he formed a clone to get rid of the bodies. He turned towards the woman who was looking at him in fear, desperately trying to protect her baby with her arms.

"It's okay," he told her reassuringly. "I'm not here to hurt you. I just saw what they were going to do to you and stepped in to stop them. I mean you no harm."

The woman gulped as she took one step closer but kept her hands on her stomach. "You shouldn't have done that. Gato will find out and he will come for your head," she told him but was surprised to see him chuckle.

"Mam I'm not afraid of this Gato guy. I'm a shinobi and if he thinks mercenary's and bandits are going to scare me then he is more stupid then I already think he is."

"But you…"

Naruto stropped her before she could say any more. "Do you have somewhere you can go? Let me walk you home. I don't like the idea of someone in your condition walking home with so many thugs and lowlifes around."

She nodded and Naruto told her to lead the way. She tried to protest telling him she would be fine but Naruto wouldn't have it. There was no way he would let a pregnant lady who he could tell was very close to her due date run into people like those two thugs again. Not on his watch.

For the next ten minutes he walked beside her making him look like her protector with the Shigure slung across his back as if asking people to just try and pull something. They walked past a few of the mercenaries and they did try to start something. But each time Naruto quickly put them in their place.

They made light conversation and found out her name was Yuka and that she worked at one of the orphanages in Wave Country that she ran with a group of women and her husband. However her husband was unfortunately killed by Gato's thugs when he tried to fight back against the tax Gato put on all of them.

She had gone to try and find food but her pregnancy wouldn't allow her to go very far.

"So when are you due?" Naruto asked looking down towards her stomach and saw the woman rub her belly affectionately.

"Two weeks today. I'm supposed to be on bed rest but with my husband no longer with us, most of the orphanage workers have had to work double-time with so little food and the cold nights. It doesn't help that Gato's thugs visit every few days to antagonize us."

"We do what we can for the children but there's only so much we can do with the little resources we have."

Naruto nodded in understanding as they arrived to a large worn down looking house and windows with holes and patches on top of the roof. The fences around it was mostly destroyed and the grass and lowers around it were all but dead.

"You live here? Naruto asked and saw Yuka nod sadly.

"It use to be such a warm and loving place for the children. But now it's a shadow of itself thanks to Gato," she told him as she pushed the door open.

"Since Gato arrived we now have triple the amount of children living here due to Gato's mercenaries killing parents when they can't pay up."

Naruto followed her inside and he quickly felt his heartbreak when they walked in a large living room with at least a dozen children inside it wrapped up in blankets and sleeping bags. There were more children in the next room and with his sensory abilities he could sense there were at least 50 children all cramped inside this one large building with Yuka and four other women.

"Yuka-san," he heard and saw the children light up when she appeared and saw them all come up to her and cuddle around her. He saw the warm look in her eyes and saw her wrap as many as she could in a hug despite her large stomach.

"Yuk-san thanks goodness your safe," he heard and saw four other women appear. Two were around the same age while the other two were at somewhere in their fifties.

She quickly told them about her savior and Naruto was quickly showered with gratitude and thanks from the other four women and many of the older kids. The younger ones all looked at up at him as if he was some kind of super hero.

Very quickly the children all crowded around Naruto and with Naruto being the warm hearted person he knew he was, he sat on the floor and began entertaining the children with his various shinobi tricks.

For the next hour Yuka and the other workers were all smiles as they listened to the children laugh and shout out in amazement as Naruto performed trick after trick, showing them fire shaped like little animals or using the henge to look like something funny.

The biggest pop though was when he summoned a few of the younger Tiger cubs for the kids to play and cuddle with. They were a big hit and he was happy ad smiling as watched the little children play and cuddle with them, looking far happier than they did when he first walked in.

Once again Naruto's heartstrings were getting pulled when a little girl no older than four with dark hair and big brown eyes found herself being drawn more and more towards Naruto. She nestled happily on his lap as she played with one of the cubs.

Despite his good deed and keeping the kids entertained, Naruto wanted to do something that lasted and wanted to do something for them to protect them from Gato's thugs and make sure these children and the brave women that looked after them were kept warm.

He looked around and he knew that he could definantly do something about the house. It was a wooden house and that immediately gave him an idea.

'If there was ever a good reason to use it then now would be a perfect time,' he thought as he stood up. The little girl who was on his lap pouted, making him laugh before she smiled again when he patted her hair.

"Yuka-san how helpful would it be if you had another building for the children to live in?" Naruto asked and saw Yuka and the other women look at him funny.

"It would be extremely helpful since this one is falling apart." she told him and she watched confusion as he got up and saw him head outside towards the back of the house. She waddled after him with the other women in tow along with the children that wanted to see where the cool new super hero was going.

"I ask that you keep what I'm about to do a secret everyone for the time being," Naruto asked the five adults and saw them hesitate for a moment before nodding. "Can you kids keep a secret?"

"YEAH!" they all shouted making him laugh. They watched as Naruto made various hand signs before he slammed his hands on the ground.

"Mokuton: Renchuka no Jutsu." he said as everyone felt the ground beneath them begin to shake and watched in amazement as four very large houses suddenly appeared out of the earth, standing in a row and looking as if they had been newly built by the carpenters. Each house was the same size as the current house they were in only in far better condition. The adults could feel hot tears appearing in their eyes as Naruto turned around grinning at them.

"I figured these four houses would provide enough room for the five of you and all the children. None of them have holes in or are damaged in any way so they will be a lot warmer then this current house."

He walked up to one of the houses and knocked against it with his fist. "The woods strong so it won't be damaged very easily. It will take a lot of force to even make a dent in it. I'd say with the room sizes you could easily fit at least thirty kids in each house so you have plenty of room to spread out."

Naruto's grin seemed to wake them all up as the kids who had been awestruck quickly cheered and went running towards the new homes with the adults quickly following after them, not before each gave him a hug and kiss on the cheek and praised him for being set out of heaven. He saw how happy they all looked and saw a bit of hope returned to their previously hopeless eyes.

Knowing there was a lot more he could do, Naruto disappeared and headed towards the ocean.

They all hoped they would get to see him again and they got their wish just as the afternoon was coming to a close and the orange sky appeared above them.

"WHO'S HUNGRY?!" They all heard as the adults all came out of each house, having set up an order of who would be in which house and where the children would sleep. If they were teary eyed before then they were bawling their eyes out now.

They watched as Naruto walk alongside four of his clones that he had made earlier to impress the kids. In two of the clone's hands they saw large nets full of freshly caught fish. They didn't even wonder how he could carry such a large net of fish all by himself since they were more awestruck at how many there were in each. There must have been at least a hundred fish in each net.

Beside them the other two clones carried piles and piles of fresh new blankets. Naruto had put a favor in with Kiara and asked if she could get him some warm, comfortable and soft new blankets for the children. The White Tiger summons had always been good to him and they did so again when they fulfilled his request.

"I've never fished before so I kind winged it. I hope this is enough and the blankets are courtesy of our tiger friends." he told them before he found himself dog piled on by the children who were all cheering his name while the adults were expressing their undying gratitude for him. There were happy tears all around.

Never did they think when they woke up that morning that a stranger from another country would protect Yuka, build four new houses out of nowhere for them, catch enough fish for a week's worth of food and bring them all dozens of new blankets for them to keep warm.

He had one of his clones make a large stone pit where they could cook the fish since there were no kitchens currently in the houses. Even he couldn't make kitchens appear out of thin air. They all sat down and cooked the fish before they began to chow down as Naruto kept the children entertained again.

"So this is where you disappeared too." they all heard as they gathered around the fire as Hana appeared with her three ninken by her side. She had gotten worried when he never returned for dinner at Tsunami's home and went off to find him with Hayate remaining behind with Team Seven, Tazuna and his family. "Everyone was beginning to wonder where you were."

She knew he would not have been in trouble since Naruto could take care of himself. But she knew that her friend no doubt found some new project to diverge on.

"Hey Hana-chan," he spoke with a mouthful of freshly cooked fish, making a few of the kids around him giggle at him.

Hana looked around and saw all the happy faces and quickly smirked at the blonde man. "I'm guessing this is your doing?" She asked and saw him nod his head happily as her three ninken went and sat beside some of the children and let them pet them.

"Naru-Oniichan is the best," she heard all of the kids say as they happily munched on the fish, quickly showing how hungry they were. Each kid had at least three helpings; even the younger kids devoured their food like little monsters and the caretaker spent a good few minutes wiping the younger ones faces.

Naruto felt one of the younger children poke him in the arm and was pointing towards Hana who by now had come to stand beside Naruto.

"Onii-chan is she your this?" she asked as she pointed to the ring finger. "She's really pretty."

It took only a moment for both of them to understand what she was asking as Naruto threw his head back laughing and Hana blushed and quickly shook her head.

"No no sweetie we're just friends. Good friends that's all," Hana told the little girl who just looked at her absentmindedly. Though Naruto leaned down and whispered something in the girl's ear that made her begin giggling.

"What are you saying to her?" Hana inquired but Naruto just grinned back and winked at her.

"Naruto seriously what did you say?" Hana asked again but Naruto just continued to grin until he saw Hana feral annoyed look on her face and saw her go to swat him in the head. Naruto though ducked it and jumped away onto one of the roofs, getting everyone's attention.

"You really want to know Hana-chan?" He asked and saw Hana nod her head and getting an impatient look appear on her face as well. "I just told her your secretly in love with me and that you've been trying to get me in your bed for a long time."

He began laughing and quickly duck and rolled out the way as Hana lunged at him with a great burst of speed, her eyes narrowed and slitted showing. Her body shook with annoyance and anger before taking off after Naruto when he began to move.

"Don't deny our love Hana-chan. We can be together forever," Naruto laughed out as he dodged a swipe from Hana as she chased after him, fully intending to beat him into the ground. Around the fires the children and adults all laughed at the interaction as Naruto narrowly avoided Hana's attack as he laughed out loud.

He was thanking Kami above that Anko wasn't here.


Chapter 24 Completed

So this chapter was for me a good way to ease back into the story since i have been gone form it for a while. I wanted to show Naruto's big heart in this chapter, similar to how he is in the canon.

The Naruto/Hana moments are nothing romantic. They are just two very close friends and Naruto did promise to keep an eye on Hana for Anko.

I'm going to update Oh Brother next and then afterwards it will likely be Prodigal again.

Thanks for reading and please Review