It was three years after Naruto had sacrificed himself to save the village from Pein. Right after Naruto and Jiraiya had returned from their 2 and a half year trip, Pein attacked the village in order to obtain the Kyuubi. Pein was about to destroy the village, but Naruto sacrificed himself in order to save the village. Kakashi, Shikamaru, Sakura and Kiba went after the Akatsuki to save Naruto but, they were too late. Naruto was dead. They were able to obtain Naruto's body in order to have a funeral. Since then, the Akatsuki have not made a move. The Kyuubi was the first tailed beast the Akatsuki were able to obtain.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or the characters
"I can't believe it's already been three years." Shikamaru said looking at his lap.
The Konoha rookies (although they aren't rookies anymore), Kakashi, Iruka, Tsunade, Jiraiya, Gai, Kurenai, Asuma and Shizune were sitting around a table at Ichiraku's. It was their tradition that every year on the day of Naruto's death and his birthday, they would eat at Ichiraku's. It was respect to Naruto. In three years, Ichiraku's had expanded become a large restaurant. Today was one of their busiest days for obvious reasons.
"The meal is on the house tonight guys." Teuchi said as he walked by.
"Thank you." Sakura said with out looking up.
The food on the table remained untouched, even Choji's. This was normal; no one has an appetite to eat.
"I know." Kakashi agreed with Shikamaru.
"I miss him," Hinata said as she started to cry.
It was silent most of the night besides a few short words every now and then.
Everyone remembered the funeral they had for Naruto when Kakashi returned carrying Naruto's body.
A few days after Kakashi had returned with Naruto's body a funeral for Naruto was held on top of the Hokage's Mansion.
Iruka was standing next to Kakashi on his left and with Konohamaru on his right. Konohamaru was crying and Iruka was trying to calm him down, but with no prevail. Unknown to most everyone, Iruka had taken Naruto's death the hardest out of all of them, as Naruto was like his little brother. Since Iruka was a Chunin and an academy teacher at that, he needed to be strong in front of the younger generation.
Kakashi placed his hand on Iruka's shoulder, showing his support. Iruka just looked up and gave a slight smile to Kakashi as a thank you.
Everyone placed a white rose on the table in front of Naruto's coffin, as a sign of respect.
Tsunade told the whole village that Naruto was to be regard as a hero who saved the village from wrath of Pein.
As everyone left the Ramen Shop, Jiraiya asked Tsunade to speak with him.
Shikamaru walked alone to the cemetery. He walked in silence until he reached Naruto's grave, which he visited only two days a year: Naruto's birthday and the day of Naruto's death. Any other day, it was just too painful. Before Naruto's death, Shikamaru had grown very close to Naruto since Sasuke had left the village. No one knew how hard Shikamaru had taken Naruto's death, except for Shikamaru's sensei.
Naruto's grave was full of flowers and memorials from those who had visited him earlier that day. Shikamaru was the last to visit.
"Hey, Naruto." Shikamaru started. "As I tell you every time I visit you, I wish you were still here helping us fight the Akatsuki. Although there weren't be much to do since they haven't made a move since that day. Did you know Sakura was made a Jonin last month? I guess your still the only one from our class who is not a Jonin now."
Shikamaru smiled slightly then started to cry after trying to hold back the tears.
"I miss you Naruto…" Shikamaru continued through his sobs.
"I knew you would be here" Asuma had placed a hand on Shikamaru shoulder.
"Why?" Shikamaru sobbed as he dropped to his knees "Why did it have to be him?"
"I don't know Shikamaru. Maybe it was fate or destiny." Asuma responded.
"Its not fair…" Shikamaru continued.
"I know." Asuma said
After what seemed like a lifetime, Shikamaru stood up and walked away leaving Asuma in front of Naruto's grave.
"What did you need to speak with me about?" Tsunade said quietly, almost a whisper.
"They're making a move." Jiraiya said staring ahead.
"What?!" Tsunade said as her head shot up to look at Jiraiya.
Since the day, Naruto gave himself up to protect the village; the Akatsuki had stopped all movements. Even though they weren't making any movements, Jiraiya still kept an eye on them.
"A few members have been spotted around the Hidden Rain Village and around the Fire Country" Jiraiya said. "My research shows they are going to collect the tailed beasts in order. Starting with the one tail."
"That means they are going to start with Gaara the Kazakage." Tsunade said, "We have to warn them."
"I already have. I sent a messenger pigeon to Gaara a few days ago. He responded saying they have men positioned out side of the Sand Village about 3 days out so it will give us enough time to send reinforcements if need be." Jiraiya said in a monotone.
"It's time those asses pay for what they did." Tsunade snarled.
"I agree" was the only response.
They went their separate ways.
"Are you ready to leave" a voice called out from the shadows.
"Yes." Another voice responded.
"It's been three years. Your training is complete. You should be ready to take them on."
"Good, then lets get going"
A few days after Jiraiya has told Tsunade that the Akatsuki were making their move, Shizune receive a messenger pigeon from the Sand Village asking for reinforcements.
"Tsunade-Sama!" Shizune called as the burst through the door.
"What is it?" Tsunade looked up from her paper work.
"Here" Shizune handed Tsunade the paper as she reached the Hokage's desk.
After reading the paper, Tsunade's eyes widened.
"Summon Gai's team, Kurenai's Team, Asuma's team, Kakashi and Sakura! NOW!" Tsunade yelled. "And tell them it's an emergency!"
"HAI!" Shizune responded rushing out the door to retrieve the ninja the Hokage had requested.
Tsunade sat at her desk with Shizune behind her to her left and Jiraiya to her right. In front of her are the Konoha 11 (minus Naruto), Gai, Asuma, Kakashi and Kurenai. She summoned this many people because they were facing very dangerous foes and they are protecting one of Naruto's closest friends. Tsunade would do anything to protect what Naruto held most precious.
"Good you are all here…"Tsunade started but then trailed off.
"You said it was an emergency, Tsunade-sama?" Kakashi said.
"Yes, the Akatsuki are making their move." Tsunade said coldly.
"What?" A unison response came from almost everyone in the room.
"Yes, they are heading to the Hidden Sand in order to capture the One Tails in Gaara. He has asked for reinforcements. I am sending you all. Kakashi you will be the leader."
"Sakura you're the head medic."
"Shikamaru come up with a strategy on your way there"
"Kiba, Hinata, Neji, Shino, you may have to track the Akatsuki incase they end up capturing Gaara so plan a head of time."
"One last thing. The men who are heading to Suna are Sasori a missing-nin from the Sand, an unknown and the man who was with Pein when he… And Deidara, a missing-nin from the Stone. "
You can almost see the tension in the room raise. Just the name Akatsuki made those in the room grit their teeth and clench their fists, especially when it came to those involved in Naruto's death.
"Do not let your emotions affect the mission! Understood?"
"Hai!" They all responded.
"HEAD OUT!" Tsunade said standing up and pointing towards the door.
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