I don't own Naruto.
EDIT: The great Duesal Bladesinger and AlmostElectric were the beta readers for this chapter, since PyrothTenka was busy. Can't believe how many errors I had made. Then PyrothTenka joined anyway because she was curious… Go figure. Hope you'll enjoy this fixed version.
Then PyrothTenka joined anyway because she was curious… Go figure.
Hope you'll enjoy this fixed version.
"Come on, Naruto! Just a little further!" yelled a feminine voice.
"How come I have to do all the heavy lifting, Sakura? You're the one with the brutish strength!" Naruto lamented as he pushed the sofa from one side of the living room to the other.
"BAKA! Do you really think that's something to say to a girl?" shouted Sakura.
"Dobe," another voice interrupted before the pinkette could yell again. "Why don't you just use your Kage Bunshin? Let them do the manual labor."
Naruto paused, blushing a bright red.
'Why didn't I think about that?'
'Because you're still a moron.'
'Shut up, Kurama.'
Naruto frowned, pointing an accusing finger at the last living Uchiha.
"Shut up, Teme! Don't talk like that when you've been sitting on the couch I've been pushing all along!"
"I agreed to come here, not to help you," said Sasuke in an annoyed tone, his head resting on the couch's cushions.
"You weren't forced to come early, you know," muttered the blonde, pouting.
"Yes he was. And he has to help," chirped Sakura. "Karin blackmailed him."
"What? Really?" asked Naruto as Sasuke turned his head away from his team-mates.
"Yeah. She told me that if he didn't get himself here before the rest of the gang and actually help us," said Sakura with a conspiratory tone, "he's going to sleep on the couch for a month."
There was a long, tense moment of silence, which was interrupted when Naruto made a whipping sound, complete with a motion to accompany it.
"So, what's it gonna be, Sasuke? Are you going to help us, or will you just stay on my sofa to practice for a long, lonely month?" the blond jinchuriki said, grinning evilly.
Uchiha Sasuke, the last of his clan, former S-rank missing-nin, then prisoner on probation and now restored a shinobi of Konoha with the rank of tokubetsu jonin, was mopping the floor of Naruto's living room.
And Sakura was taking pictures with a camera.
He had never felt so embarrassed in all his life.
"I really regret returning to the village now," he admitted, blushing a little.
"OI! SASUKE! DON'T SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT!" all the clones shouted in unison, moving various furnishings around.
The stereo effect was impressive, even if some of the clones said "Teme" instead of "Sasuke".
The raven-haired boy raised a hand in a silencing gesture.
"Shut up, Naruto."
As he said that, Naruto—the real one—was just passing near him, carrying a stack of boxes overflowing with scrolls and books.
"Naruto, what's with all the books?"
Naruto turned around to respond to him.
"Just a few of Fuuinjutsu scrolls and tomes that I inherited from Ero-sennin. And all of his unfinished Icha Icha novels."
Taking one last picture of Sasuke, Sakura glared at Naruto, sending a cold shiver running down his spine.
"You better not start reading porn in public like Kakashi-sensei, Naruto."
"I-I would never do that! I'm only keeping them as a reminder of Ero-sennin, I swear!" said Naruto defensively.
"Yeah, right..." muttered Sakura, who started to put the kitchen area in order.
"Nevermind the smut books. Did you find anything good inside the scrolls?" asked Sasuke, getting curious.
"I don't know what they're about. I just got them yesterday. Haven't really had time to study them."
"Just yesterday? Really?"
"Yeah, you know… after Ero-sennin's death..." A sad expression settled on the blond's face as he reminded the fate of the Toad Sage. "... I didn't have enough time to check and see if he left me something. Pein's invasion, training with Bee, the War, Madara… and what followed."
Sasuke hn'd in understanding. "I'm sure you'll able to do that now, Naruto."
The blond shinobi smiled and nodded before leaving him alone.
After the end of the Fourth Shinobi War, the hardest part had been keeping the Shinobi Alliance alive.
Without a common enemy threatening their survival, the old rivalries between the Five Great Nations and their wilder subordinates had threatened to erupt once again.
It had only been thanks to a carefully planned diplomatic gathering of all the leaders of the Alliance—the Kages, the Daimyos and Naruto—that the peace had lasted. But the draft of an official, fool-proof treaty had taken almost one year, as more small nations and hidden villages had asked to join.
Naruto had returned definitively to Konoha only just a few days ago.
Waiting for him, along with his friends and allies, was a shiny new apartment in one of the buildings constructed after Pein's invasion, completely furnished, as a payment for the 'mission' of having ended the war.
It was a very big apartment.
With a very big living room. Big enough to fit a whole regular sized apartment inside, and still have some space to spare.
To celebrate his return, someone—he didn't know if it was Sakura or Ino, probably both—had suggested they throw a giant party.
And Sasuke had to clean all of it. Without jutsus. Or his 'friends' would tattle to Karin, and he wouldn't get any action for a month.
"Couldn't your teacher just give him a giant pile of money?" the Uchiha asked Sakura, in a annoyed tone.
"The Council wanted to do that, but it turns out we don't have enough money for a 'thanks- for-saving-the-world-reward'. So to prevent the village from going bankrupt, they offered him this instead. And he accepted."
Sasuke resumed mopping the floor, muttering bitterly, "How come we don't get a giant apartment?"
"You are lucky enough that Killer Bee-san and Naruto persuaded the Raikage to not take your head. Now less talking, more cleaning!"
It's been a great day so far for the Hokage of the Hidden Leaf.
No, scratch that.
It's been a great year so far for the Hokage of the Hidden Leaf.
The war was over long ago, thanks to him, a lot of people would say, calling him a hero, but he preferred being modest about that. He didn't want the glory and fame to go to his head.
Just a few weeks ago, it was announced to the village that he was going to be their new Hokage. It had been his dream since childhood, to gain the title and be acknowledged by the village.
Of course, he had gained the acknowledgement of the village long ago, before the war, but he was still able to finally crown his oldest aspiration.
And it felt good. It felt really, really good.
An evil little cackle escaped his lips as he relished that feeling.
All right, maybe he was letting the glory and fame go to his head. Just a little bit.
'Bad Hokage, bad!'
But seriously, who could blame him?
As a coronation of his lately successful life, yesterday he had finally summoned the courage to ask his girlfriend to marry him.
And the girl—no, woman. When had that happened?—he was in love with had said yes. She had actually said yes!
And she had showed him her happiness in a very special way…
Right before entering the Hokage Tower's office halls, he'd had to actually stop and get a grip of himself.
After all, it would ruin his image in front of the employees if their leader was seen grinning like an idiot.
Taking a deep breath, he opened the doors.
He was immediately assaulted.
"Hokage-sama! Thank Kami and the Log you're here! We need your signature on the papers for the enrollment of the new Academy instructors!" said an administrative shinobi as soon as he was spotted.
"Hokage-sama! Our mission office requires your authorization for three A-rank missions, thirteen B-rank missions and fifty-one C-rank missions! We still haven't gathered all the D-rank missions' files yet!" yelled an almost hysterical chunin who was running around carrying a giant pile of folders and scrolls.
"Hokage-sama!" called another. He tuned out what the clerk was saying. It was probably something about some documents needing a stamp of approval, anyway.
"Hokage-sama!" pressed another.
Inwardly, the blond Hokage sighed.
When he was a child and had decided that he would become the Hokage, he hadn't understood that the job was full of responsibilities, a lot of them tedious to boot.
Seriously, it seemed like some people believed that if he didn't micromanage everything and make two or three copies, the village of Konoha would go bankrupt or something.
The clerks of the office lounge seemed to believe that, at least.
Still walking and looking straight in front of him—he just knew that if he actually met their eyes he would stop to help them, damn his soft heart!—he gave them his orders.
"Take all the documentation that need an approval seal, signature, or any other kind of authorization to my office."
'Just like every other day,' he thought.
"I'll revise everything personally, and decide whether to approve the aforementioned papers or not."
'Like I do every other day. Seriously, do any of these bureaucrats actually know how we process these papers? They seem to go into a panic every time we have a sudden influx of documents.'
"Hokage-sama," called the first chunin that had spoken up. "What about the mission reports?
'Crap. I forgot about those. What to do? What to do? Think fast, blondie!'
"Just add them to the pile. But since I have important decisions to make regarding other written requests, no debriefing in my office until this afternoon."
He paused for a second.
"Unless it's an S-rank mission."
After all, S-rank missions were of great importance to the village. He couldn't postpone a briefing for one just because he wanted to be lazy for a day.
The desk-jockey confirmed his order, scrolling down a list to check something.
"We seem to not have issued any S-rank missions as of late, Hokage-sama."
'YES! No debriefings for this morning!'
"Yet," concluded the chunin, happily.
'AAARGH! I bet the bastard is just hoping for a S-rank to show up just to feast on the paperwork! This job is going to be the death of me, I just know it!'
Finally, he was alone in his office, admiring the view of the village from his window.
'Hehe, my office. Still got to get used to saying that.'
Some of the good mood he'd had a few minutes ago returned for a little while, until he looked to his desk, covered by the bane of every Kage in every Hidden Village (or at least he hoped so) that had ever existed: paperwork.
His eyes narrowing, he decided that it was time to apply his secret strategy.
'Those poor chunin think I'll do all this work by myself… suckers!'
He pressed the intercom button, calling his secretary.
"Noriko, please don't let anyone in my office. If it's a matter of extreme importance, let me know, but don't let them in unless I say so, alright?"
"Of course, Hokage-sama!"
Finishing this last detail of his evil plan, he formed a simple hand-seal and muttered:
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
With a poof of smoke, three clones appeared in the office, right beside him.
"Get to work, boys!"
The three gave him an annoyed look, and started ransacking the pile of paperwork, muttering something along the lines of 'yes boss', 'slave-driver' and 'sloth-lazy Hokage'.
They could complain all they wanted; he would be merciless.
The three of them had only been summoned to form an efficient, documents-evaluating and approving\declining machine.
As the clones processed the giant—dubbed 'not-urgently-requiring-the-Hokage's-immediate attention—mountain of paper, he would dedicate his attention to the more important ones.
Which turned out to be only two scrolls.
One from the Fire Daimyo, and one from Suna.
'Weird. Usually we find more important scrolls than this. Oh, well. Less work to do,' he thought with a shrug.
Thanks to the clones, he could concentrate all his attention on them, allowing more time to evaluate the letter and formulate the proper response to the Daimyo's requests without offending the leader of Hi no Kuni, as well as consider any proposals the Kazekage may have sent to him.
'And once I've done that, I get to relax for the rest of the morning!'
"Aaand, done. The Daimyo shall be quite pleased to receive this message. Don't you agree?" he asked his clones.
They stared at him, eyes filled with accusation and frustration, without pausing in their their assigned task.
'What sullen looks. The worst part is that I'll actually remember being angry at myself once they dispel. That's a weird thought.'
He put the scroll with his response to the ruler of the Land of Fire in a safe container before reaching for the letter from Suna. What could the Kazekage want?
Just as he'd touched the scroll, the door to his office opened with a bang.
Startled by the sudden noise, the clones hid in the blink of an eye as someone barged in.
It was one of their orders: instead of dispelling, leaving a cloud of suspicious smoke that would have revealed his "Secret Jutsu Against Paperwork™," they would conceal their presence in the case of a sudden intrusion.
"HOKAGE-SAMA!" yelled the man who had just entered the office. Either an old chunin or a young jonin; he couldn't remember which rank the man was.
Behind him, the Hokage could see his secretary poking her head through the open entrance.
"I'm sorry, Hokage-sama, but he just didn't stop!"
"It's all right, Noriko," responded the blond man. "I'm sure he has a good reason. Right?" he asked the chunin\jonin with a flat tone that caused the man to stand ramrod-straight at attention.
"Yes, Hokage-sama!" He said, looking very nervous. "I was sent here by Uchiha-san to inform you of an… urgent situation."
The Hokage didn't say anything, waiting for the man to continue.
Of course it was an emergency. He was pretty sure that if anyone sent a messenger to advise the Hokage even if he'd ordered to not be disturbed, it was for a pressing matter that the Hokage should know of as soon as possible.
Instead, the messenger who just rushed inside his office paused, hesitating.
"Hokage-sama? Why is there a clone of yours hiding behind a plant?"
Turning his head, the blond could see that, truly, there was one of his bushin hiding -badly- behind a potted plant just a few feet away.
The clone at least had the decency to look embarrassed. Inwardly, he was too. It was his clone, after all.
"He's gathering intelligence," he deadpanned without hesitation, facing the messenger once again.
"...Yes, of course, Hokage-sama."
In the silence of the room, you could have heard a pin drop.
"The situation you have to report about?" he asked, annoyed.
Clearing his throat, it was now the messenger's turn to look embarrassed.
"Uchiha-san sent me to inform you that, at a still unknown time this morning… a… building appeared inside Konoha's walls."
Another moment of silence followed that phrase.
"A building appeared in Konoha?"
He had to ask that, because he wasn't sure if he had heard right.
"Yes, Hokage-sama. More or less in the southern district, sir."
"...Are you sure that the emergency wasn't about something else?"
"Pretty sure, sir. The building in question seems to have just materialized out of nowhere. Also, it's quite big. Uchiha-san and other shinobi on the scene confirmed that it's not a genjutsu. And, Hokage-sama..." the man paused, uncertain to continue.
"Speak!" he yelled, his patience wearing thin.
"You can see the building from your office window, Hokage-sama," the messenger finished with a whimper, pointing behind his leader with a trembling finger.
'WHAT?' the blond Hokage thought, snapping his head to the window.
It was true. He could see, in the distance, almost on the outskirts of the village, the outline of a building he's never seen before. He knew there were no construction sites in that part of the village, and buildings didn't just grow overnight.
'What is going on?'
"They confirmed it's not a genjutsu, you said? How?" he asked, without looking at the messenger, he rose from his seat, eyes never leaving Konoha's altered skyline.
"One chunin tried to prove that it was a genjutsu by punching one of the walls, sir. He broke three fingers."
"What measures have been taken?"
"Uchiha-san ordered the evacuation of the neighbourhood where the building is located and established a security cordon around the location. Also he placed spotters and sentinels on the rooftops, but hasn't tried to inspect the interior of the building yet. He's requesting your presence. Sir."
"Good, good. I'll be going then. Dismissed."
Searching for the chakra signature of one of the seals he had strategically placed around the village, Minato Namikaze was gone in a yellow flash.
A\N: Aand cut! First story, hope you'll like it. Please review!