"Naruto" - Person Talking

'Naruto' - Person Thinking

"Naruto" - Summons/Bijū talking

"Naruto" - Summons/Bijū thinking

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" - Jutsu

Hey guys, been some time eh? Don't worry, I'm still alive and kickin', though unfortunately ain't getting the sleep I deserve and need but that's a tale for another day. Well I was hoping to get this out to start the New Year but as you can see, that didn't happen. Well, least it's here right? Not too much happening this chapter or anything too exciting, just some drama and fluff hopefully. Writing character interactions isn't my strong suit and it'll probably show while you read. As to why it's takin' so long, well I've been busy with my big boy job, failure analysis and calibration are kinda garbo, haha. After this chapter, I'll be focusing on one of my other stories, one that I haven't touched for about a year, geh. So yeah, Read, Review, PM and all that jazz alright? And thank you guys for sticking with me and this story, don't know how much it means to see you all still yelling at me to hurry up or lay me to rest, really gets me motivated, haha. Ah, well you waited long enough right? Then, let's a go.

A Son Forgotten - Chapter 41

(Scene Change – En Route to Kumogakure: Hisako, Naru and Kisame's Location)

"Fish man, Fish man. Can I hold your sword?" Naru asked in her same monotone manner as she stared with shining eyes at Samehada hanging over Kisame's shoulder, the blue skinned man never having risen his dropped head since his earlier intervention with Deidara.

"For the last time, brat! My name isn't Fish man! It's Kisame Hoshigaki! And no you can't, so stop asking!" He shouted with nothing but exasperation coating his words, Hisako giggling at the sight of the two despite the rather precarious situation that they had just emerged from.

"U-Umm, e-excuse me, K-Kisame-san." Hisako finally said in a shy and nervous tone after the banter between the two started to stray a bit into the violent side, Kisame sighing before shooting the silverette a slightly less irritated look.

"Something the matter, little miss?" He asked in a curious but tired tone, Hisako shaking her head in the negative as he raised a brow.

"N-No! Nothing's the m-matter! I j-just haven't introduced m-myself is all!" Hisako quickly added as Kisame flinched a bit at how sincere the silvered haired young lady before him was, his irritation fading as he offered her a small smirk at her statement.

"I guess you're right about that, little miss. As you probably know no thanks to this blonde brat, I'm Kisame Hoshigaki, a former ninja from Kirigakure." Kisame quipped as he introduced himself, Hisako smiling as she carved his name into her heart for his selfless act of rescuing them from Deidara.

"I-It's a pleasure to m-meet you, Kisame-san. I-I'm Hisako, thank you for taking care of Naru." Hisako returned as she offered him a polite and graceful bow, Kisame laughing a bit at how prim and proper the young lady was despite how rattled she was earlier with Deidara.

"Heh, that's first, little miss. You and your family, the three of you are probably the only honest and truthful people I've met in my life." Kisame said in a slightly somber tone, drawing a curious expression from the silverette at his statement and slight change of mood.

"U-Umm… I-If you don't m-mind, would you p-please tell me your story? B-But only if y-you want to!" Hisako asked the man as he flinched a bit in turn, though he opted to offer her a small smile as he nodded his head.

"Again, you're the first person to ask me to share my story with you, haha. But if you're willing to listen, who am I to say no." He replied in a soft manner as they found a comfortable spot on a fallen log, the trio falling into an amiable atmosphere as they awaited the man to start his tale.

Recounting his past as a ninja of Kirigakure, his upbringing and his involvement with the Akatsuki; Hisako was a bit surprised that he had a rather bloody childhood, though the silverette was reassured that the reign of the "bloody mist" had been over for a few years. Having an upbringing from a clan of swordsmen, he was the odd one out due to his family lineage and genetic appearance being bolder then the others of his clan mates.

"My folks looked like regular people, though they did have my facial markings and other features. I just so happened to be the odd one out, the freak that no one wanted anything to do with. When I was barely able to walk, it had already been decided, with permission from my mother and father, that I would be essentially a slave to the Hoshigaki clan; just another pawn to train, give a sword to and have cut down anyone who they deemed dangerous or a nuisance." He explained as Hisako's heart ached for the man, Naru seemingly affected to as she patted him on the head only to have a hand chop her own.

Though, Hisako did feel a bit scared and saddened when he recounted that in order for him to break the chains that bound him to servitude to his clan due to his appearance, he had to kill each and every one of them to find his freedom; she did know what it was like to be outcasted and discriminated for looking different, her own past was similar in a vain to the man recounting his own.

"After that, I joined the academy and low and behold, I cut down enough people to earn my right as a genin. Once that was all settled, it was just a matter of rising through the ranks and earning the next title and the one after that. Before I knew it, I was being called in by one of the former Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist and offered a job to guard the Cypher Division by a guy named Fuguki. Though, that's where things went downhill…" He muttered as Hisako frowned slightly, moving to gently place her hand on his shoulder as he offered her a small smile in return.

"Eventually, I learned that Fuguki was selling information to other villages, the conniving bastard had it coming when I killed him and took Samehada for myself; no one as corrupted as that deserved to hold a sword, especially not one as amazing as Samehada. After that, the Fourth Mizukage, Yagura Karatachi, commended me for my so called "loyalty" to Kirigakure. But that was a load of bullshit, absolute bullshit." Kisame continued as he furrowed his brow in turn, unconsciously gripping his hands as he recounted the countless nights spent awake from nightmares and paranoia.

"That all changed when I found out that Yagura wasn't really the guy I thought he was, he was apparently being controlled by the guy who scouted and recruited me for the Akatsuki. Heh, who would've thought that Madara Uchiha was still alive, thought that monster kicked the bucket years ago. After hearing him explain his Eye of the Moon Plan and his "world of truth," I had to get in on it." He carried on as Hisako mulled over the information he had shared with her and Naru, turning to look up at him as he returned her stare.

"S-So, why were you so c-compelled to help w-with the Eye of Moon plan, Kisame-san?" Hisako asked in a tone of genuine curiosity as he flinched in turn, opting to offer her a wistful smile as he looked up.

"Honestly… I was motivated to help in completing the Eye of the Moon plan because of my own petty disillusionment with the world we live in. I never felt as though I had a place I belonged to or knew who I truly was; my own family viewed me as a tool to use to satisfy their own gain, and not once did I even feel as though I belonged with them. Even when I was a ninja for Kirigakure, I never got close with anyone since I was ordered to take missions that would make some murderers look like angels, like killing my own comrades because that bastard Fuguki ordered me to protect some worthless pieces of information above their lives. But the tipping point was probably when I learned that snake Fuguki, a man I actually kind of respected and trusted, was selling the intel he ordered me to kill my comrades for; intel that was sold to the very people who we were trying to stop from getting it in the first place. Killing that traitorous bastard after hearing all that bullshit he spat about loyalty to your comrades and home, it made me believe that the world was filled with nothing but lies." He said as he tightened his hands into fists, gritting his teeth as he recalled the betrayed and hurt faces of his comrades that he had murdered.

"Well… I guess that's my story, little miss. Everything else isn't something I wanna share with someone as kind as you, if you don't mind." He finished as Hisako wiped a few tears that managed to leak from her bandages, Kisame smiling a bit as she turned to look at him as Naru helped dab away her tears.

"N-Not at all, Kisame-san! T-Thank you so much for sharing your story with me… U-Umm, w-would you like me to share mine with you? S-Since you shared yours with Naru and I!" Hisako asked only to quickly amend her question in order to avoid sounding pushy, Kisame offering her a hearty laugh as he nodded.

"I'd actually like that a lot, little miss." He quipped as Hisako smiled, Naru moving to fix the three of them a few snacks from the undamaged remains of their knapsacks.

(Time Skip – Twenty Minutes Later)

"Damn it… I knew Kiri hated Kekkai Genkai, but shit…" Kisame muttered as he moved to wipe a few stray tears from his eyes, Naru sniffling alongside him as Hisako's story always made her feel unfamiliar amounts of sorrow.

"S-Sorry if that story was a b-bit boring, Kisame-san… B-But I wanted you to know my story, s-since you shared yours with us." Hisako said in a soft and gentle tone, getting shake of the head from the large man as he sniffled a bit more.

"N-No! Don't apologize, little miss. Thanks, I know it takes a lot of courage to share something like that, especially for someone as kind and gentle as you are to share something so painful." He said with a small smile on his face, Hisako returning it as he shook his head while they sat in an amiable silence for a few minutes.

"Kisame-san?" Hisako asked after a few more seconds of amiable silence, drawing the attention of the man as he turned to look at her.

"Something the matter, little miss?" He asked in a concerned tone, drawing a smile from the silverette as she shook her head.

"No, n-nothing's wrong, but I was wondering… I-If you said that you don't have somewhere where you belong, y-you could come and stay with Naru, Naruto and I when the w-war is over." She offered as his eyes widened to the size of dinner plates, Naru's eyes shining as she instantly agreed with the silverette's idea.

"Oh! That's a good idea, Hisako! You should come, Fish man! Onii-chan and Hisako make the best everything you can ever imagine! Onii-chan can be the cook, Hisako can be the manager, I can be the waitress and you can be the gardener!" Naru said in a tone that had more excitement then the blue-skinned man could ever remember hearing, the shock on his face eventually fading as a smile of sincere gratitude crossed his visage.

"I swear… You sure you really aren't an angel, little miss?" He asked as her face flushed deeply while denying the assumption, Kisame offering a good natured laugh as he calmed himself before steeling his nerves.

"If you're not terrified or worried with having a wanted man, a murderer and someone who's betrayed his comrades by the side of your family, then I'd be truly honored to take you up on your offer, little miss." He said in a serious and calm tone as he waited for her immediate withdrawal of her offer, Hisako giggling slightly as she motioned for him to lighten up his serious expression.

"Like Naru said, Kisame-san, you're a good person at h-heart. And Naru doesn't lie, does she?" She asked as Kisame turned a bit pink at her question, growing more irritated and embarrassed when he caught sight of Naru staring at him in expectation.

"Fish man, do you remember when I helped you? Do you? When we met in the forest and I told you that you were a good person? That was when we first met and I-" Naru started only to be interrupted by a hand gripping her head courtesy of a, once again, irate Kisame.

"Yes I remember, brat! We've been over this like three times already! For Kami's sake, how can you deal with this thing!?" He shouted at Naru before turning to ask Hisako in an almost broken manner, the silverette simply giggling once more as the two of them fell into another bit of light hearted bantering while they continued the search for A and his ninja.

(Scene Change – En Route to Kumogakure: Kumo Ninja's Location)

"Damn it all! C, Darui! Any signs of Hisako-chan or Naru-san?!" A asked in a mix of worry and fear, his concerns only growing when he saw them shake their heads in an equally worried and fearful manner.

"We haven't been able to find a trace of either of them. Tch! That blonde bastard just had to rain all those explosives down on us when we were resting." C muttered in an irate and self-loathing tone, clenching his fists as he tried to imagine where the two young ladies would have gone.

"We need to find them, no matter what. We didn't only promise Naruto that we'd keep them safe but we promised Hisako-chan as well." Darui stated in a serious tone as the two other men beside him nodded their heads in agreement, their pride as men and as friends of the young lady demanding their success in their current endeavor.

Taking a moment to calm and collect themselves, the trio moved to relay their current predicament to their fellow ninja, A ordering them to move out towards their home while they continued the search for their charges. A bit hesitant at first, they were eventually swayed when B and Yugito reassured them that their leader and comrades would be safe. Seeing that confidence in two of their best, they left the trio behind with a bit of trepidation in their hearts as A, Darui and C moved to continue the search for Hisako and Naru.

(Scene Change – Konoha: Damaged Village Center)

"What's the status, Genma?" Minato asked the man standing beside him as he observed the aftermath of the Akatsuki's attack, letting a sigh of relief leave as the most important of the village's infrastructure was left mostly undamaged.

"We got hit hard, but we came out pretty good all things considered. The entirely of the western, eastern and southern gates and walls are in ruins. Looks like 40% of the residential areas are in shambles, along with the merchant area being nearly ruined. The northern part of Konoha is relatively untouched though, mostly due to the barrier keeping most of it covered. The tower and Academy were untouched, probably due to them focusing on the hospital and provisional areas to weaken our morale and resources. But that's all I've got for now until the scouts come back with more details, Minato-sama." Genma reported as he let a sigh of relief also leave his mouth, Minato nodding as he thanked and dismissed the man.

"Ah, before I forget Genma, how did you all manage to get out of that ambush? I still haven't heard any details about it yet." He asked as Genma had a visible wince pass his face, getting Minato's attention as the man before him rose to meet his gaze.

"Truth is; we probably wouldn't have gotten out of the hold they had on us even by the time you all returned. The reason why we're all standing here, that the collateral damage was so minimalized was because of your son." He said as Minato's eyes widened a bit, confused as Naruto was able to catch up to them after a few minutes of them leaving if he was remembering correctly.

"After you and Kakashi left, Zabuza left to find his family. He left the delegation that you gave to him to Naruto, and… I… I can't even begin to imagine that he's like when he's serious or angry. He used two jutsu to completely eradicate the ninja attacking. One to kill or maim the majority of them and another to ensure that anyone who was still breathing, died. You had to be there to see it because just hearing it will only make you skeptical." Genma explained as Minato stared wide eyed at him as he processed the information, slowly nodding his head as Genma excused himself to help out with the construction effort.

As he processed what Genma had told him, Minato slowly began to shake his head as the tale the bandana wearing man wasn't as farfetched as what he had seen earlier. He had seen his son angered, the aura of sheer bloodlust and hatred that radiated off of him when he faced off against Hiruko at Tetsu no Kuni and the power of "Instinct," as he called it, wasn't like anything he had seen or heard from his lifetime.

Hearing that his son was able to singlehandedly eliminate a large force of ninja, with only two jutsu, it only added to the mystery and slight fear that he began to feel towards him. While he knew it was a near impossibility, he had hoped that Naruto would have opened up to him and told him of his deed when they returned a few minutes ago; but alas, the blonde haired man was more interested in gaining as much distance from him and his family as possible.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to close that gap with our time together here." Minato whispered to himself in a soft tone, shelving his current feelings for those of helping his village back to a stable condition before the coming war ensnared it.

(Scene Change – Konoha: Southern Area – Construction Area)

"Hey, could you guys move all that rubble to the side?"

"The foundations all ready here, whenever you guys are set just holler!"

"This area is all clear! It's ready for you guys when you're finished over there!"

As the shouts and calls for the reconstruction effort sounded from the southern area of Konoha, a certain blonde was watching the scene with a bit of empathy in his eyes. After all, this would be the second time that he had witnessed Konoha rebuilding after an attack. Debating on whether or not he was obligated to aide them in rebuilding, as per Hisako's request, he was approached by a red headed woman as she moved to stand beside him and silently watch the scene before the two of them.

"Is something on your mind, Naru-chan?" Kushina asked her eldest in a fond and warm tone, getting a negative shake of the head from the young man.

"No, nothings troubling me. But… Thanks for asking…" He replied in a stiff and awkward tone, causing the redhead beside him to smile a bit at his answer as she kept her head forward.

"You didn't have to come, Naru-chan. After everything that you've experienced here, all the painful and sad memories that Konoha brings you, you didn't have a reason to come back here." Kushina said in a soft tone after a few seconds of staring at the scene before the two of them in silence, Naruto turning to look at her in a slightly curious manner at her statement.

"You had no obligation to come back here, even less to save everyone, including me… I know it's selfish of me to say this, but… I'm glad that you did come back though…" She said as she turned to offer him a small but radiant smile, Naruto blinking a bit before a small half-smile graced his features.

"At least you admitted that it was selfish of you to say that, that's a first…" He said in a half-joking manner, Kushina blinking a bit as she saw a very faint outline of her eldest once again looking like he did when he was a child.

"Even after all these years, you still haven't changed all that much, have you Naru-chan…" Kushina quipped in a smiling tone, drawing a confused look from him as he tried to parse together the meaning behind her words.

"You always did just speak your mind when you were a child, no matter how embarrassing or insensitive it was." Kushina told him as he blinked a bit, shaking his head with a slightly larger smirk appearing.

"Well, if you look at it like that, I got it from you most likely." He countered as she laughed in a soft and gentle manner as his smile became a bit fuller, the interaction between the two drawing attention from those around them as they all smiled at the pair.

"I know that this doesn't make up for anything that I've done to you in the past, Naru-chan. But thank you for talking with me, even if you were just barely tolerating it. Do you think we could talk more, later tonight? If you're still here, that is. Do you think you can come… Back home, if even for the evening?" Kushina whispered in a soft tone before asking her eldest, Naruto pausing for a bit before softly and stiffly nodding his head as she beamed him a warm and loving smile.

"I… That's fine I guess…" He answered in turn in an awkward and slightly forced tone as he rubbed the back of his neck, Kushina simply opting to giggle softly as he excused himself.

Watching him go, Kushina let a small smile grace her features as she returned her gaze towards the reconstruction effort for her home. Letting a soft sigh escape, she pulled out the pair of gloves resting in her back pocket before moving to lend her help to her village. Deep within her heart, she was hoping that this was a physical metaphor for what was to come between her and her son. That hopefully, the two of them will be able to talk like they did earlier without any pretenses and that they could both truly smile with each other like they did in the past.

"Where are we all at, everyone?" Kushina called out as she moved towards the men and women hoisting away a pile of rubble, many flinching a bit as they saw her approaching.

"K-Kushina-sama! Please, you need to go rest! We all know what happened with Danzo and the Akatsuki, so let us handle this!" They all countered when they heard her request to help, the redhead blinking in turn before her brow started twitching.

"Are you all saying I'm too weak to help? Is that it?!" She roared as they all squeaked in fear, quickly and fearfully filling her in as to what was going on in the resident area.

(Scene Change – Konoha: Center – Relief Area)

After breaking away from his mother, Naruto found himself in a bit of thought concerning the redhead and their earlier interaction. While he had forced himself to talk to her, he found that the longer that they talked, the more comfortable he found himself. The thought was a bit strange to the blonde, but he found himself welcoming the thought despite his inner turmoil. Smiling a bit to himself, he focused his gaze forward as the notion that he could possibly reconnect with his old family was a possible one, though he still wouldn't trade Hisako or Naru for any of them.

"Once things settle down here, I'll head back." He whispered to himself as he saw that things were progressing much faster then when Irihi no Sato was attacked, the blonde surmising that it was due to Konoha having the ability to use ninjutsu to speed up the recovery process.

A bit lost in his thoughts, he was ignorant of the pair of eyes that were locked onto his person. As he continued on, those eyes began to grow more and more narrowed when he didn't seem to feel their gazes on him. Finally, the restraint of the owners of those eyes broke as they marched up to him, many giving them a wide berth as the aura of those individuals' screamed agitation and irritation. Once they were within arm's reach of the blonde, he was finally broken from his mild stupor when he felt something connect with his cheek; a light feeling along with the scent of winter jasmine, a scent that instantly linked its owner to the blonde.

"Ha… What are you doing, Haku?" Naruto asked in a slightly irked manner, the raven haired beauty simply beaming him a smile as she moved to link arms with him.

"Me? I'm not doing anything, Naruto-kun! That's what I should be asking you. Here you are, suddenly in Konoha and you didn't even seem to be looking for me." She countered in a tone of faux hurt, the blonde sighing a bit at her attempt to guilt trip him.

"That's not what I'm asking. Did you have to kiss me?" He asked once more as he moved to look at her, Haku simply smiling in turn as she moved to hold his arm closer to her.

"Isn't that what couples are supposed to do, Naruto-kun?" She asked in an innocent tone, the question drawing a sigh from the blonde as she giggled in turn.

The lovey-dovey atmosphere between the two drawing looks from all over; many ranging from confusion, to disbelief and most of all, jealousy, they were broken from their stares as fear and their self-preservation instincts began to nip at the front of their minds. Turning, the onlookers of the pair quickly fled as the other pair of eyes that had been tracing the blonde were wide with a mix of anger, jealousy and disbelief. Growling, the pair of young ladies that they belonged to marched towards the chatting pair, drawing the attention of the two as Haku narrowed her eyes on them.

"Tsk. Satsuki, Yakumo; could you two please leave Naruto-kun and I alone? We're trying to make up for lost time, isn't that right?" She told the two in a cool tone, though it turned bright when she turned towards Naruto to address her question.

"Oh yeah? Huh, that's kinda funny actually, because you see… What makes you so special, huh!?" Satsuki shouted at the Hyōton user with copious amounts of anger in her voice, her ire only growing as all she received in turn for her question was a haughty smirk.

"Satsuki is right, Haku. Why did you take it upon yourself to welcome him, alone? We were all waiting to surprise him, but you just couldn't wait a few more minutes?" Yakumo admonished the other raven haired girl, getting a small frown in turn as Haku released Naruto's arm.

"Ha, you two just can't let me have a moment alone can you?" She asked the two of them in a tired tone, getting them to narrow their eyes on her before turning to glare slightly at Naruto.

"But I'll agree with one thing, why didn't you come find us if you did come back?" Satsuki asked in a slightly hurt tone, Naruto sighing once again as he motioned for the three of them to follow him while he recounted the previous events of the day.

(Time Skip – Fifteen Minutes Later)

(Scene Change – Konoha: Hokage's Tower – Base)

"T-Then… Those huge tremors were because of you…?" Yakumo whispered in a slightly startled manner, her sentiments shared between Satsuki and Haku as they all felt as though multiple earthquakes had been set off in their village.

"Yeah, I needed to clear out everyone who was attacking before I could do what I was asked to." He responded in a nonchalant manner, this tone contrasting the rather terrifying display of power that he displayed to the three young ladies.

"I know you're strong, Naruto-kun, probably one of the strongest people I know; but even I find it a bit hard to believe that you did that by yourself." Haku quipped as she tried to rationalize the idea of the blonde having that much power at his disposal, finding it rather unsettling in the depths of her heart.

"Ah! Yakumo-chan!" A cheerful voice called out as the quartet were in the midst of their conversation, drawing their attention to a pink haired young lady as she headed towards them waving.

"Sakura-chan!" Yakumo called out in a warm tone, Sakura returning it as she reached the quartet with a few others following behind her.

"Are you alright? You weren't at your house so I was a bit worried if you were caught up in the attack or not!" Sakura exclaimed to the brunette in a relieved tone, Yakumo giggling as she reassured her friend that she was indeed unharmed.

Trailing behind her, the faces of their old classmates and friends could be seen steadily making their way towards the now quintet. Kiba, Choji, Shino, Lee, Tenten and Sai were a bit more then shocked to see the face of the young man who they had thought perished nearly five ago in the flesh. Sasuke, Neji and Hinata were a bit less surprised, though they were a bit shocked to see him standing in Konoha when Taiyo no Kuni was quite a way's away.

"N-No way… You died, right?" Kiba asked in a slightly nervous tone, things having to do with the supernatural had always been a weakness for the dog-loving young man.

"That's of no concern to you." Naruto replied in a curt and terse tone, Kiba's rebuttal instantly dying in his throat when he caught sight of the blonde's eyes.

"W-Whatever…" He quipped in a slightly hesitant tone, his instincts screaming at him to do everything in his power to avoid a conflict with the man before him.

"I-It's a pleasure to see you again, N-Naruto-kun. T-Thank you once again for your hospitality." Hinata said in a shy tone as she offered him a polite bow, the blonde blinking a bit before offering her a small smile and a polite bow of his own.

"The pleasure was all mine, Hinata-san. Thank you for gracing me with your patronage." He replied in turn as a bit of a blush marred her face, the others looking on in a bit of confusion between the two.

"H-Hold it! Enough with the sappy, mushy, lovey-dovey stuff! Why are you here? Weren't you in Taiyo no Kuni with that blonde and silverette?" Sasuke asked in a confused and slightly heated tone, obviously not happy with the current development.

"That's a good question, why are you here and not with those two?" Neji asked in an inquisitive tone, all eyes on the blonde before them as he let another sigh leave his mouth.

"Someone asked me to come and make sure that everyone was safe, that's all." Naruto replied in a curt tone, getting confused stares from most of the gathered people.

"It's that silver haired girl, isn't it?" Satsuki asked in a low tone, the question garnering the interest of everyone present as Naruto furrowed his brows a bit.

"What's your relationship with her anyway, Naruto-kun?" Yakumo asked in a slightly nervous tone, the question having plagued the brunette's heart since she had seen the two of them interact so intimately during their stay.

"Hisako is a very important person to me, that's all." He replied in a tone that held no room for further questioning, the others opting to shelve their questions no matter how painful it was.

The blonde's answer effectively ending the formerly light atmosphere, it took an awkward tone as they found no common ground to stand on with the blonde. Everything that they wanted to talk about involved their home, a notion that left the young man five years ago. But before things could get more uncomfortable for the gathered ninja, a series of loud shouts drew their attention; belonging to more members of the aforementioned blonde's estranged family.

"Everyone, it's good to see you safe!" Ino called out as she waved to the oncoming Uzumaki-Namikaze children, her friends quickly following her example as they moved to check on the formerly kidnapped ninja.

"Umi-chan! Did they hurt you anywhere?" Hinata asked in a panicked tone, fretting over the youngest blonde as she vehemently shook her head in the negative.

"I'm fine, Hina-chan! Geez, no need to get all worked up over nothing, sheesh!" Narumi groaned as she tried to ease her best friend's worries, Hinata letting a relieved sigh escape as she beamed a soft smile at her.

"You alright, Menma? Nothing lingering is there?" Shikamaru quipped as he gave the other blonde young man a worried look, his fears relieved as his friend gave him a thumb's up with a smile.

"Everything is good on my end, just a bit tired is all!" He answered in a sure tone as the other young men, sans Naruto, shot him smiles and smirks at the blonde's energy.

"I'm assuming that you're good too then, Mito? Nothing feeling out of the ordinary?" Satsuki asked the last of the kidnapped trio, getting a thankful smile in turn for her consideration.

"Nope, I'm feeling fine as well. Like Menma though, I am feeling a bit more tired then usual." Mito replied with a small yawn escaping, the answers of the three drawing sighs of relief from the other ninja as the moved to discuss the current situation.

(Time Skip – Seven Minutes Later)

"Umm… A-Aniki, are you ok?" Mito asked in a timid tone after a few minutes of catching up with her friends and fellow ninja, the question drawing the attention of everyone to the eldest sibling of the three.

"I'm fine, though I've got a few things to check up on. Until next time." Naruto replied as a brief flash of panic and sadness passed the faces of his younger siblings, drawing a sigh from the older blonde as he mustered all of his willpower to move towards them.

Seeing him close the distance between them immediately caused the hearts of the ninja before him to quicken; some in fear, others in trepidation and a few in excitement. Watching those emotions grace the faces of the young adults in front of him caused the blonde to furrow his brows slightly, opting to ignore them in order to, hopefully, ease the worries of his younger siblings. Reaching out to them, he gave them all an awkward pat on the head and slight ruffle of their hair, the action making their eyes widen to comical proportions.

"Don't look so down, we'll see each other again. Alright?" He told the three in a sure albeit awkward tone, though the latter part of his statement was directed towards everyone preset.

"S-Stop it, Nii-san! I'm not a kid anymore!" Menma shouted as he jumped back from Naruto's uncharacteristic show of affection, a blush coloring his cheeks as he desperately fought to beat it down before anyone else saw it.

"Muu… You promise, Naru-nii?" Narumi purred before pouting when his hand left her head, getting a small smirk in turn as he nodded his head in affirmation.

"Y-You had better, or else, Aniki…" Mito mulled in a disheartened tone as he nodded once more, bidding the group farewell before turning to head towards the merchant district.

But before he could even take a step forward, he felt a sudden chill invade his body. Tensing, he was about to act only to pause when he felt a very familiar sensation on his cheek. That sensation was abruptly ended with Haku being shoved out of the way by Yakumo, who replaced her and her lips with her own on the cheek of the blonde. But once more, Yakumo was pulled away before Satsuki planted her lips on the lips on the blonde, a myriad of screams sounding as the Uchiha savored the light taste of coffee and what she assumed was a danish or some pastry.

The jaws of everyone dropping at the sight of three of Konoha's "Ice Princesses" kissing the same young man, one of them snapped shut as Sasuke's Sharingan sprang to life. The tomoe spinning wildly in his eyes, the youngest of the Uchiha children growled as he watched his sister continue to kiss the blonde, his brow soon twitching when he caught sight of her starting to nibble on his bottom lip. About to act, he was beaten to it when a hail of shuriken sped towards Naruto. The blonde quickly separating from the dazed and slightly panting Uchiha as Haku, Yakumo, Narumi and Mito slowly closed in on her.

"What do you think you're doing to my beloved daughter."

"What do you think you're doing to my pure little sister."

The voices of Fugaku and Itachi sounded out in unison, their own Sharingan spinning as they leveled a heated glare at the blonde.

They had accepted that Satsuki liked Naruto, the actions of her past together with him cementing that fact much to the shock of the two. They even accepted it when they saw her kiss him weeks prior at his hostel, though they let that slide as it was a passion of the moment sort of event, the knowledge that he was alive after being declared deceased five years shocking all parties who had been present. But seeing her kiss him once more with the knowledge that he wasn't deceased, seeing the blonde do nothing to stop her advances and seeing him "three-timing" as they had aptly put it, finally broke the restraints on the two.

"I won't let you have her!" They shouted in unison once again, Naruto narrowing his eyes as black and crimson lightning began to arc up and down his right arm.

"This is a bad time…" He muttered as he readied himself to intercept the two, drawing his arm back as they neared his striking range.

But as soon as they were within arm's reach, they were sent face-first into the ground courtesy of a smiling Mikoto. The two men groaning as they laid face first in the dirt, Mikoto turned her smiling face towards Naruto as the blonde tensed once more at her appearance and sudden disposal of her family members. Though his tension was for naught as the elder Uchiha offered him a polite bow as she moved to shift her smile from a rather frightening one to a mature albeit mischievous one.

"It's quite a surprise to see you so soon, Naruto-kun. Are you doing well?" Mikoto quipped as she hefted the prone bodies of her eldest and husband over her shoulders, the blonde sweat dropping a bit at the casual tone of the raven haired woman.

"I'm fine, Mikoto-san, though I can't quite say the same for your husband and son." The blonde countered as she offered a playful giggle, though it turned to the sound of the Shinigami's cackling when a certain other Uchiha heard it.

"Oh, don't you worry, Naruto-kun. These two will be fine within the hour! Now then… Sasuke-chan, could you please help me carry these two home? I've got something to discuss with you as well along the way." She asked her youngest child in a sweet tone, Sasuke already shaking slightly as he nodded his head in a resigned manner.

Shifting his older brother's arm over his shoulder, he meekly began following his mother as she beamed a terrifying smile at the young man, only serving to cement his fears as to what was to come. Watching them leave with wry expression marring his face, Naruto turned to glance at the other group of gathered people only to see Satsuki being carried away by the group of young ladies that held affections for him. Seeing them go, the group turned to look at Naruto before bolting to following their friends and fellow ninja; though Hinata and Neji offered him a polite bow and parting before following after the group.

Watching them leave, Naruto was a bit relieved that he didn't have to deal with them and any more misunderstandings concerning his person. Turning back towards the merchant district, the blonde started down his mental checklist of things to finish before he could return to the sides of his newest family members. Though, as he walked through the bustling districts that were busily and steadily rebuilding, he couldn't help but feel something ominous hovering over the horizon.

(Scene Change – En Route to Kumogakure: Hisako, Naru and Kisame's Location)

"Wait." Naru whispered in a tense tone, her banter with Kisame ending abruptly as the blue skinned man raised a brow at her sudden change in demeanor.

"Eh? What now, brat? I didn't hurt your feelings, did I?" He asked in a nonchalant tone, though internally he was a bit worried that he did offend the young blonde.

"No, something's coming." Naru replied as she entered her Apex state, Kisame trusting the young lady's instincts as he readied himself for an encounter.

"N-Naru, K-Kisame-san? What's h-happening?" Hisako asked in a slightly fearful tone, the two having moved to eliminate any possible points of attack that concerned the silverette.

"We might have some trouble coming our way, little miss. You stay right where you are and we'll make sure that nothing touches a hair on you, you hear?" Kisame told the young lady in a reassuring tone, tightening his grip on his Samehada as he felt his own instincts begin to nip at the forefront of his mind.

About to ask what the situation was, Kisame was cut off when a heavy torrent of wind was sent barreling their way. Narrowing his eyes, Kisame was about to draw Samehada to cleave through the oncoming gale only to pause when he saw Naru step towards it. Her eyes also narrowing, she drew upon her own Ryuuton chakra before swiping towards the opposing wind with a charged hand; sending out her own gale.

Though, the resulting swipe of the blonde's hand caused a heavy gale that easily and quickly surpassed and devoured the opposing wind, tearing through and shredding the tree line that the wave originated from. Blinking a bit at the causal destruction that she had caused, Kisame was about to comment on it only to sharply turn and cleave an oncoming fireball in two.

"Looks like we do have trouble… Brat, keep an eye on the canopy and upper branches, if they're half the ninja they're trying to be, that's where they'll be. If not, they'll be closest to the south; the sun's pretty high up so they'll take advantage that if they're going to attack from above." Kisame instructed the blonde haired young lady, Naru nodding as she began to build up a dense shroud of wind around her arms in turn.

"But given this situation, the place that they'll hit next i-" Kisame started only to be cut off when the ground beneath them quickly began to soften, the man's eyes widening as he felt the world around him seem to start to spin.

The senses of the trio beginning to dull a bit, Kisame instantly released himself from the genjutsu he assumed was affecting the three of them, Naru forcibly braking free from it when she exited and re-entered her Apex state akin to flicking off and on a light switch. Hisako was the only one of them affected as she was put to sleep by the sudden illusion, the ground that Kisame assumed was part of the illusion turning out to be reality as it swallowed up the unconscious silverette.

"Little miss!"


The stunned and concerned voices of the two crying out in panic and confusion, Kisame was about to blow away the ground beneath them only to freeze when he felt the air around him shift. Stiffly craning his head towards the blonde beside him, he felt his blood run cold when he caught sight of the hateful and crazed look that her eyes held. Contemplating on whether or not it was wise to suggest that she calm her current state, he was sent flying away when Naru drove her arm into the ground; a concussive explosion ripping through the area as the greenery and ground were blown away in a circular pattern.

Grunting as he collided with a tree, Kisame quickly tried to regain his bearing once the grimace that marred his face passed. When he finally did, his eyes widened when he saw the aftermath of the enraged blonde's attack, a large crater in the earth that appeared as if a giant drill have been used to bore into it. Gritting his teeth, he secured his grip on his blade before rushing towards the epicenter of the hole; stopping when he caught sight of the blonde standing before a terrified group of ninja with an unconscious Hisako held protectively in her arms.

"Fish man, come here, please." She called out to the blue skinned man in an unsettlingly calm manner, Kisame feeling none of the usual irritation to the cute nature of her nickname for him.

Quickly moving to follow her request, he saw that the aftermath of her attack and the hole that it caused exposed a small cavern that the rogue ninja before them were using to ambush travellers; the piles of stolen goods scattered about being a clear indication of what had been happening. Seeing him arrive, many paled when they saw who it was that they had just tried to attack, the large man flashing them a savage and angered grin as he heaved Samehada over his shoulder. The action causing many of them to quiver in fear, he slowly began to feel his anger and panic shift to slight sadistic pleasure when he took in their terrified visages.

Scanning them, he counted that there were ten of them and that they were all varied in age; the youngest appearing to be around thirteen while the eldest of them appeared to be in their fifties. About to interrogate them about what exactly it was that they were attempting to do, though he suspected that he already knew the answer, Naru turned to him with her eyes never having lost the crazed and angered tone from earlier.

"Fish man, can you please protect Hisako for a little bit?" She asked in him a polite and calm tone, the man already feeling a shiver run down his spine as he soon had a case of horripilation quickly occur.

Stiffly nodding his head, he gently and gingerly took the unconscious silverette into his arms after securing Samehada on his back; the blonde uttering a soft thank you before she instantly snapped her head to face the group of ten before them. The tense and fearful atmosphere from before instantly shifted to that of sheer horror and terror when Naru entered her Apex state once again, opting to remain silent as she stomped her way towards the frozen group of ninja.

"Which one of you made Hisako fall asleep?" The blonde asked in her same monotone manner, quickly scanning the group before focusing on the form of a woman holding her shaking hands together in the Tora seal.

Tilting her head towards the frozen woman, Naru was standing in front of her in an instant to the fright of the gathered ninja. The eyes of the older woman widening in a mix of shock and terror, she soon let out a bloodcurdling shriek when Naru grabbed and crushed her hands together, that scream being cut short when the knee of the blonde crashed into her abdomen with brutal force. As the woman lurched forward, Naru secured a hold on her wrists before moving behind her and planting her foot on her back, forcing her to her knees as she began exerting a tremendous amount of pressure on her arms and shoulders.

"You won't need these anymore." Naru quipped in a nonchalant tone as she tightened the pressure on the arms of the woman, the others in the chamber watching in rapt horror as her arms began to break.

Then, with a simple tug, Naru dislocated the woman's arms before completely tearing them off as her screams instantly died. Dropping to the ground, she laid in a pool of her own blood that was slowly expanding in size, the shock of what had happened to her stopping her heart as Naru gazed blankly at her. Staring for a few more seconds, Naru glanced down to look at the severed arms she held in each hand before shrugging and tossing them beside the woman they originated from. Though, her attention quickly shifted to the closest of the ninja who attacked them as he instantly felt fear like no other consume him.

"W-Wait! P-Please do-" A young man in his twenties pleaded towards the demonic blonde only to have his throat seized before being brought face to face with her, fear and terror like nothing he had ever experienced devouring his psyche.

"Be quiet and die, okay?" She quipped in a drone albeit frigid tone before reeling her head back and slamming her head with his face, a garbled scream of pain emanating from the man as his lower face caved in.

Frowning slightly, Naru pulled her arm back before slamming the neck of the man into the ground as another, louder, garbled sound of agony echoed. That sound quickly grew higher pitched as she slowly crushed the throat of the spasming man. As his actions became more frantic and desperate, they stopped immediately when Naru completely crushed his throat and in turn broke his neck. Letting go, she slowly stood back up as cries and pleas for forgiveness and mercy sounded from the group cowering before her; those pleas increasing in volume when they saw her lift her foot and send the remains of the head of the man splattering across the ground.

"P-Please! Don't kill me!"

"I-I never wanted to be a part of this! I'm o-only fourteen, they m-made me do it!"

"Forgive us! W-We didn't know!"

Their terrified voices slowly growing in volume and desperation, one of those who were begging for mercy were silenced when Naru stepped forward and connected her foot with their head; the result being a messy eruption of blood and teeth as their face was shattered and caved in, the others effectively silenced by the horrifying display of power and brutality. Another followed suit as she spun on her heel and kicked them in the neck, blood spewing from the orifices in their head as their cervical spine was reduced to splintered bone from the obscene force it was subjected to.

The body of the woman who was kicked flew a few meters before hitting and tumbling across the ground, lying prone as blood began to pool around her head. Seeing the pool of blood and the way that the woman's neck was bent, bits of warped bone beginning to protrude from the neck of the woman, fear was but an understatement for what was being felt in the small cavern that had become an execution chamber. Giving the prone body of her latest victim a dismissive gaze, Naru returned towards the remaining six before stalking up to them; lashing out to grab the eldest of the rogue ninja as they immediately started pleading for their life once more.

"P-Please! S-Spare me, I-I meant no harm, I swear! W-We don't kill! We've n-never killed anyone!" The elderly man begged as tears of fear freely rolled down his cheeks, Naru opting to remain silent as she tightened her grip on the collar of his shirt to his horror.

Turning, the blonde wrenched her arm, and in turn the man, towards the ground. The result was a horrid and horrendous collision of the man's head with the stone floor. The chilling sound of his skull being crushed echoing throughout the chamber, it was made more horrifying with the choking and unintelligible sounds that the dying man was desperately trying to voice. Completely apathetic with the suffering of the man, Naru causally walked up to him before ending his life the same way she did earlier; by crushing what remained of his skull with her foot.

"Guh!" A muffled and pained cry suddenly sounded as Naru snapped her head towards its origin, immediately narrowing her eyes when she saw one of the remaining five trying to end their life by stabbing themselves through the heart.

Almost instantly, she was before the young woman with her hand on the offending appendage holding the kunai as it was drawing a thin line of blood. The eyes of the young woman widening with untold amounts of horror present, it was soon replaced with sheer agony as Naru crushed her hand and in turn the kunai it was gripping; the woman flailing like a fish out of water as she desperately begged the blonde to end her suffering and pain.

Her pleas were answered when the knee of the blonde connected with her throat; crushing it and her part of her cervical spine as her eyes rolled into the back of her head, blood soon oozing from her nose and mouth. Pulling back a bit, Naru slammed her knee once more into the neck of the woman, blood spewing from her nose and mouth as her body collapsed to the ground, jerking slightly with the remnants of her dying neural signals making their last transmissions. Standing to her full height once more, she carried on the execution of the remaining ninja in the cavern in the same ruthless and merciless manner, screams and cries sounding shrilly before ending abruptly.

Soon enough, all that was left was the youngest of the ninja, the fourteen year old girl sitting in a pool of her own urine as a repugnant smell emanated from her person. Throughout the entire massacre of her group, she had continuously backed away from the scene of carnage playing out before her until her back hit the wall; doing nothing but weeping and muttering under her breath as it had signaled the end of her life. Though, as Naru was about to carry out the thoughts of final member of the group that attacked them, she paused when she felt Kisame's hand fall onto her shoulder.

"Oi. That's enough." He told her in a stern tone, having to fight with all of his might to suppress the shiver that wanted to show when she turned to face him.

"What's enough, Fish man." She countered in her same flat tone, though the blue skinned man knew that it was more of a threat then anything else.

"Should've stopped you after the first guy you took out. Here, you take the little miss. I'll finish things up here." He told her in the same stern tone from before, Naru staring at him for a few seconds before nodding her head and taking Hisako into her arms.

Letting a sigh escape, Kisame had rested his hand on the handle of his Samehada, moving towards the last of the rogue ninja as he had to suppress a grimace when he saw her miserable state. Muttering unintelligible to herself, she was practically in a comatose state due to the shock and horror that she had just witnessed; though that was excluding the obscene killing intent that Naru was emanating the entire time. Seeing her like that, he shook his head a bit before quickly and efficiently ending the life of the young ninja as her body and head hit the ground shortly after he sheathed his blade. Letting another sigh loose, he glanced at Naru and had to criticize himself internally for letting the blonde he owed a debt to dirty her hands, and in such a ruthless and messy manner.

"All done, Fish man?" Naru asked in her usual deadpan, Kisame letting a breath of relief loose when he saw that her eyes were back to their usual blank and content tone.

"Yeah, we're done here. Come'on, I don't want the little miss there waking up and seeing or smelling this mess." He told her as she nodded her head in agreement, the two quickly making their way to the surface as another surprise was awaiting them.

(Time Skip – Fifteen Minutes Later)

(Scene Change – En Route to Kumogakure: Kumo Ninja's Location)

"Quick, it came over here!" A called out as C and Darui moved to match his pace, the sudden explosion having rekindled the hope that Hisako and Naru were still safe.

After spending nearly an hour searching for any signs of the silverette and blonde, the spirits of the Kumo ninja were as dampened as a piece of paper in the vast ocean. Though, those spirits were instantly brought back to full when they felt the tremor and saw the plume of debris in the distance. While they were innately frightened, they had confidence that the two of them were safe, if the words of the enigmatic blonde who was accompanying Hisako were true.

"That Akatsuki bastard is dead when I get my hands on him." Darui muttered in a hateful and frigid tone, a stark contrast to his normally amiable and easy-going self.

"Be sure to save some for me as well, Darui. I owe him a great debt for attacking Hisako-san and her companion while under our care." C added in an equally frigid tone, the other man nodding his head as they started prepping their jutsu for the oncoming encounter.

"Please, Kami-sama, let the two of them be safe." A whispered under his breath as he entered his Raiton Chakura Mōdo, focusing his mind as the edge of the tree line slowly came into view.

(Scene Change – En Route to Kumogakure: Unknown Clearing)

"For the last time, stop trying to touch Samehada!" Kisame shouted at the blank faced blonde pouting as she reluctantly pulled her hand back from the handle of Samehada, a result of once again, trying to take the bandaged blade resting on the man's back.

"But I want to use a sword too…" Naru pouted as she puffed her cheeks out slightly, Hisako having been moved onto her back for ease of movement and security.

"Then go get one yourself! Kami, there were at least a dozen back in that cavern! Why didn't you take one of them, huh?!" He asked her in an exasperated manner; Naru's pout only increasing as she stared at him as if he asked her the most ridiculous question.

"Because they aren't as cool as yours, Fish man. I want mine to have bandages too." She mulled in a disappointed tone, Kisame's brow twitching with complete and utter irritation as he latched onto her head with an ironclad grip.

"Just! Just keep quiet and make sure that you don't wake up the little miss on your back! I want to be as far away from that place as possible before I release the genjutsu on her." He told her in the same tone as before, Naru shooting him a blank look as his irritation only grew in intensity.

"You're being louder, Fish man. You should learn to control your anger and the volume of your voice, you could wake Hisako. Tsk, tsk, tsk." Naru quipped as she wagged her finger in a scolding manner, the last bastions of Kisame's sanity creaking as his eye began twitching in an exasperated manner.

"Are you kidding me!? You of all people have no right to say that you brat!" He snapped at her while moving to grab her head, his entire person filled with nothing but irritation and exasperation.

About to continue on his tirade about her contradictory statement, he paused when he saw her enter her Apex state once more. Seeing that, he immediately moved to grab Samehada only for Hisako to be pushed into his arms by the blonde. Blinking as he held the unconscious silverette, he was about to comment on her action only for Naru to rush beside him and hold her arm out; a sudden and powerful surge of wind and subsequent shockwave quelling the words that were about to leave his mouth. The reasoning for that was that she had caught the electrified fist of A with her bare hand; the shock Kisame was experiencing mirrored by A as the man was gawking at the scene of a girl half his size having withstood and stopped his Raitoningu Sutorētowith absolutely no change in expression.

"What…?" A whispered in a confused and stunned tone, racking his mind for any and all possible reasons his attack was stopped so easily.

"What are you doing?" Naru asked in a tone of genuine confusion, a bit stumped why the man her older brother and Hisako seemed to like would attack them.

"What am I doing? Don't you know who that is?! That's Kisame Hoshigaki, an S-Rank Missing-Nin from Kirigakure! We need to rescue Hisako-chan before anything happens to her!" A told her in an urgent tone, Naru merely blinking at his words before turning and alternating to look between at Kisame the bulky Kage before her.

"But fish man isn't dangerous. He's a lot weaker then I am. He's just really loud and gets angry really, really easy. Isn't that right, fish man?" Naru quipped as she turned towards the blue skinned man for confirmation, the man's cheeks a shade of pink with the obscene amount of embarrassment and humiliation that he was experiencing at the hands of the blonde.

"Guh! Grr! Geh!" Kisame could only offer a series of growls and grunts in response to the blonde's rather demeaning and cutting descriptions of his person, A still a bit out of the loop as C and Darui soon joined dropped in the area.

"What's going on here?" The normally laid-back man asked in an urgent and worried tone, taking note with fear that Hisako was both unconscious and in the arms of a member of the Akatsuki.

"A-sama! What's the plan!" C called out in an unusual show of rashness, his impatience stemming from the fact that they were at a standstill with Hisako's life potentially on the line.

"Oh, I think I get it now." Naru quipped as they alternated her gaze between the four men gathered around her, drawing their attention as the waved for them to gather closer around here.

"Tsk. I don't think that's a good idea." A muttered in a frigid tone as he glared at Kisame, the man still having not moved an inch from Naru's humiliating description of his person.

"I can explain, but we need to wake Hisako up first." The blonde quipped once more as she moved to grab Hisako out of Kisame's arms, the blue skinned man relenting as the Kumo ninja could only gawk at her causal behavior around the man.

Turning towards the men gathered, she was silently asking if they knew how to wake the sleeping silverette. A blinking a bit, he nodded his head as he cautiously made his way over to the duo before gently placing a hand on Hisako's shoulder. Focusing his chakra a bit, he quickly broke the genjutsu that she was put under; the bulky Kage being joined by the other three men as Hisako slowly began to wake up from her illusion induced slumber.

"H-Huh…? What's going on?" Hisako whispered as she groggily looked at the faces of those present, the tension and fear that held the hearts of the men instantly lifted as they saw that she was unharmed.



The sudden shouts of joy and relief startling the silverette, she offered them a slightly awkward but eased smile as they couldn't help but return. As they settled into a rather light and amiable atmosphere, it took a turn for the worst when A and his ninja remembered the member of the enemy of the elemental nations standing beside them. Instantly, they were shielding the two young ladies from his person, the three Kumo ninja emanating a potent amount of killing intent as Kisame followed their example and readied himself for another encounter.

"W-Wait, please!" Hisako cried out as she felt the tension in the air become nearly palpable, the four men turning towards her with trepidation evident on their faces.

"T-Thank you… U-Umm, I'll explain everything i-if you all will listen." Hisako said in a soft and slightly apprehensive tone, the reasoning behind her rather rigid and fearful posture being that the killing intent that the men were emanating hadn't lightened up in the slightest.

"Calm down and listen to Hisako, now." Naru quipped in her same deadpan manner, though it was more of a threat then anything as she entered her Apex state and amplified her own killing intent to drown out that of the four men in front of her.

The threat being taken rather seriously, more so for the fact that they either knew what the blonde could do or what her older brother would do to them should he find out. Following through, they dialed down their killing intent, though the tension on their bodies could be seen in spades. Seeing that, Naru fell from her powered state and moved to stand beside the silverette as she began retelling what had occurred in the past hour.

(Time Skip – Fifteen Minutes Later)

"-nd when I woke up, all of you were here." Hisako explained as she finished what she could recount during their time together with Kisame, the Kumo ninja's fears and concerns lifted somewhat as they placed him on a higher standard then before.

"Hmm, so you saved Hisako-chan and Naru-san…" A said in a calm tone as he turned to look at the other man, Kisame opting to simply nod his head in the positive at the statement.

"T-That's right, A-sama! S-So please, don't fight…" Hisako pleaded the men gathered around her in a tearful and hopeful tone, instantly breaking any and all protests that they had about the situation at hand as they turned to look at the other party.

"You're really betraying the Akatsuki, all because of Naru-san. Am I getting that right?" C asked the larger man in a tone of genuine curiosity, Kisame heaving a slightly irritated sigh as he nodded once more.

"Yeah, I am. That brat gave me back something and reminded me of what I used to be, that what I thought I threw away still was with me despite every horrible thing that I did. But it's not only because of her. This little miss only added to that, offering me a place in her own home, with her family, once things settle down. For someone like me, who's never had a place to truly call home and who thought his entire life was a lie; these two are probably the only truthful people I've met in my life, and I imagine that the other blonde is as honest as he is terrifying." Kisame quipped in a slightly somber manner, Naru frowning slightly as she moved to pat him on the head despite the obvious irritation and embarrassment that instantly showed on his person.

"You know I'd be betraying the five village alliance that the elemental nations have recently erected to stop the Akatsuki if I kept quiet about this, Hisako-chan." A told the silverette in a stern and serious tone, the silverette immediately stiffening up as a shiver ran down her spine at the notion.

"B-But… K-Kisame-san isn't a bad person, A-sama! H-He… He just had a bad beginning, without anyone t-to reach their hand out to him. I… I was the same too, before Naruto saved me." Hisako explained to the man in a somber tone as A kept his stony expression, Darui and C having a large flash of conflict cross their faces at the situation at hand.

"Oi. Don't go causing the little miss here any more trouble then I'm already causing her. I don't care if you're the Raikage or if you're a so called 'friend' to her family, I'll cut you down if you stress her out more then she already is." Kisame bit out in a cold tone, A instantly becoming angered at the jab to his relationship with her and her family.

"Say that again, I dare you to. I was just simply stating the facts about the situation to Hisako-chan; did I ever say anything about following through and reporting her involvement with you? Imply that I would break my relationship with Hisako-chan and Naruto again and I'll personally see to it that you're six-feet under by dusk." A spat out as lightning sparked around him, the volatile situation instantly drawing the fear and tension of three of the four bystanders.

But that tension was for naught was A and Kisame dropped the tense expressions on their faces, the act drawing curious looks from the others as they continued to stare at the other. Though they had absolutely no trust between the other, A and Kisame opted to shelve their current tense state as they were linked together with the friendship and trust of a certain silverette and blonde. The two releasing a slightly haggard sigh at the current situation, they shot the other one more look before inclining their heads slightly in a mutual agreement with each other.

"I don't trust you, and I probably won't considering who you are, but since Hisako-chan trusts you, I'll have to place my faith in her judgment of character. " A said in a terse manner towards the man, Kisame merely scoffing a bit as he shared the bulky Kage's sentiments.

"No need to spout obvious facts. Only reason I'm going along with you is to make sure that the little miss and brat are safe. We'll be begging to die if either of them gets hurt while they're under our protection." Kisame reiterated as a soul chilling shiver ran down the length of the spines of the other men present, the simple fact that Naruto caused two head members of the Akatsuki to flee on sight being a testament to his terrifying presence.

"S-So, can we all g-go together?" Hisako asked in a hopeful and timid manner, her question causing a sigh to run through the mouths of the ninja present as they nodded their heads.

"We'll allow this, Hisako-chan. I don't know what'll happen when the other villages find out, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it." A said in a calm but serious tone, his answer drawing a smile from the silverette despite the slight tension that still showed on her person.

"T-That's great! Let's go then, everyone." Hisako chirped as her energy and personality drew smiles from the people around her, the tension that was nearly palpable from before becoming nothing more then a slightly damp feeling.

"Don't worry, Hisako; if anyone else is mean to Fish man or us, I'll tell Onii-chan on them. I'm going to tell him that the people behind us were being mean after they lost us." Naru quipped in a sure tone as the faces of the men trailing behind her blanched heavily, sweat beginning to run down their faces from the ominous and terrifying statement from the blonde.

"W-Wait! P-Please, don't tell Naruto that we got separated from you two!" Darui pleaded in a terrified and panicked manner, his sentiments shared with the still and pale A and C beside him.

"D-Darui is right! We'll be killed if Naruto finds out that we lost sight of you two! We gave our word that we would protect you both!" C added in an equally panicked tone, the two Kumo ninja frantically trying to appeal to the blank faced blonde looking at them.

"Heh, looks like the three of you are dead meat." Kisame snickered in a snide and savage tone, instantly drawing the ire of A as the man opted to hold his tongue in the current situation.

"Don't forget to tell your brother that I stepped in to save the little miss and you after those clods lost you two, brat." Kisame added in an equally snide tone, the brows of the three other ninja twitching heavily as they saw him trying to earn the favor of the terrifying blonde.

"Mmm, sure fish man. I also have to tell Onii-chan that you kept hitting me for no reason, just because I wanted to talk with you." Naru quipped as Kisame's savage smile instantly fell, his complexion paling considerably as the Kumo ninja soon smirked at the revelation.

"O-Oi! That's only because you kept acting like a child who didn't get what she wanted! I only did it to protect you, you brat!" Kisame bit out in a tone of mixed irritation and fear, snickers soon emanating from the three beside him as he turned to glare at them.

"Don't think the three of ya are off the hook either! That guy hears about any of this and the war that'll be happening will be the absolute least of our worries!" He snapped at them as they stopped immediately, the four begrudgingly banding together in an attempt to find a solution to loosen the nooses around their necks.

"Ufufu! Thank you, Naru." Hisako whispered to the blonde beside her in a grateful and slightly mischievous tone, Naru's blank visage having a small but beautiful smile grace it as she moved to hold the hand of the silverette.

"Anytime, Hisako." The blonde answered in a soft and fond tone, drawing a larger smile from the other young lady as they moved to diffuse the cloud of misery and resignation that was slowly beginning to form above the four men before them.

(Time Skip – Two Hour Later)

(Scene Change – Konoha: Merchant District – Relief Area)

"Please everyone, don't forget to come get something to eat!" A cheerful voice called out as a raven haired young lady called out as she held a tray of baked goods, many offering her smiles and thanks as they accepted the snacks with gratitude before moving to continue rebuilding their village.

"Kin, do you think we'll need to head back to restock?" A red haired young lady asked as Kin contemplated the idea, though she shook her head in return to the question.

"I think we'll be fine, Tayuya! If anything, we can just ask Kohheru-san or Tenpi-san if we can borrow a few supplies from them. I'm sure they won't mind with everything that's happened." Kin replied as Tayuya smiled at her in a bright manner, the two working with the other bakers of the merchant district to provide enough goods for the men and women hard at work with the construction effort.

Seeing that her fellow bakers and Tayuya were handling things effectively, Kin was ordered to take a break by the others, stating that she had been among the first to begin baking for the villagers. Sighing a bit at their persistence, she finally relented as she removed her flour covered apron and strolled around the district, a bit downtrodden that her home was in such a broken state. In the midst of her thoughts, she froze when she caught sight of something that she could never forget, not even when she lost a majority of her memories five years ago. Her heart beginning to hammer in her chest, something that even the most handsome of her suitors failed to do in her various marriage interviews; she started sprinting towards the figure while she tried to drown out her own hopes in the case that what she was seeing was a mistake.

"Please… Please let this be real…" She prayed with all of her might, tears unbeknowingly forming in the corners of the eyes of the young lady as she neared the source of those golden locks.

Then, like a scene from a dream, she saw him. Her breath hitching, she felt her face heat up for the first time in a number of years. Kin had her heart quicken and her face warm before when she was flattered and complimented by those who found her attractive, kind and warm; but those feelings were frigid in comparison to what she was feeling now. Her eyes shining, her tears finally falling, Kin had a melting and tearful smile cross her face as she finally saw him again.

"Naruto-kun…" She whispered in a tone that held nothing but the upmost love and affection, somehow catching the attention of the blonde despite the bustling district.

"…Kin?" He asked in a slightly surprised tone, the raven haired young lady sprinting into his arms as he flinched slightly at the sudden action.

"It really is you…" She said in a teary but relieved tone, looking up to smile at him as he offered her a small but awkward smile of his own.

"Why don't we find somewhere to talk, Kin?" Naruto said after a few seconds of having the young lady embrace him, getting a smile and a nod of the head in turn as they found a nearby bench that suited their need.

(Time Skip – Half an Hour Later)

"-nd that's what's been going on with me… I'm… I'm so glad I got to see you again, though. To have been able to say thank you." Kin said as she wiped a few stray tears from her eyes, Naruto offering her a warm gaze as she giggled slightly at his expression.

"I'm glad that you're doing well, as well. And congratulations, you deserve all the happiness in the world, Kin." He said as she smiled softly, taking a deep breath before finally standing and facing him.

"I'll admit, Naruto-kun. It does hurt knowing that you've been alive all this time, and even more so now that I thought I had gotten over you. But again, thank you for all that you've done for me. I'll save you the best seat at our wedding, ok?" Kin beamed as Naruto laughed softly, the raven haired young lady giving him one last warm hug and a quick peck on the cheek after he stood beside her.

"I see, I'll take you up on that offer then, Kin. It won't be an issue for a late invite, would it?" He asked in a mirthful but understanding tone, getting a negative shake of the head from the young lady as she began leading him towards the person they were speaking of.

"No, you saved her too, Naruto-kun. Tayuya will be thrilled to know that the person who gave her back her flute will be attending the wedding." She said as Naruto smirked slightly, the two finally meeting with the redhead as she blinked in surprise at the sight of the two.

"Huh? Who's this, Kin?" Tayuya asked in a puzzled tone as Kin giggled a bit, Naruto opting to offer her a polite bow as she flushed a bit at the courteous greeting.

"He's the one who gave you back your flute five years ago, remember?" Kin asked as Tayuya blinked a bit as she tried to recall the memory, her eyes widening as she finally pieced the memory together.

"Y-You mean, he's the one that you…" Tayuya trailed off in a slightly frightened tone, Kin's eyes softening as she moved to give the redhead a reassuring hug.

"Don't worry, Tayuya. That was five years ago, and while I do still love him, I think I love you just a little bit more. But just a little bit!" Kin chirped as Tayuya turned a bit red in the face, grumbling something under her breath as Kin and Naruto shared a good natured laugh at her expense.

"So, will you be in Konoha for long, Naruto-kun?" Kin asked after calming down the slightly sulking redhead beside her, getting a negative shake of the head from the blonde to her dismay.

"I'll probably be going after I finish up some business tonight, though I'm still not sure how that'll play out." He said in a slightly troubled tone, drawing slight looks of apprehension from the young ladies before him as he seemed like someone who was invincible.

"O-Oh, I see. Well, if you're ever in Konoha again please don't be afraid to visit our bakery, ok? It'll be my treat!" Kin said in a cheerful manner as Naruto offered her a small smile, nodding his head and thanking her as he waved the two farewell.

Turning, Naruto glanced towards the sky and estimated that it was just about to be dusk. Mulling over the promise he made to his mother earlier in the day to spend some time talking, with everyone who was a part of his family, he let a soft sigh leave as he resigned himself to follow through with his promise. Stretching as he had a bit of tension enter his body from his decision to head back to his family's estate, he turned and headed towards the north, where the Uzumaki-Namikaze estate laid.

"This is going to be rough…" He muttered in a slightly exhausted tone, slowly and stiffly following a very familiar but very heavy road towards his past.

(Time Skip – Ten Minutes Later)

(Scene Change – Konoha: Residential District – Uzumaki-Namikaze Estate)

"It hasn't changed…" Naruto muttered as he stared at the entrance to the estate, his appearance catching the attention of a number of people as they quickly moved outside to greet him.

"Naru-nii!" Narumi cheered as she lunged towards the awkwardly standing blonde, instantly latching onto him as she snuggled into his chest while hugging him.

"Nii-san! What're you doing here!" Menma called out in an excited tone as he beamed a smile towards his older brother, shaking a bit with excitement at the possible scenarios that played out in his head.

"Umi-chan, come'on! Aniki can't come inside with you latched onto him like that!" Mito scolded her younger sister with a slightly jealous tone, mentally beating herself for not sneaking a hug like her sister did.

"Kids? Why'd you all suddenly rush out fo-" Minato called out from the confines of his home, instantly stopping mid-sentence when he caught sight of the fourth person amongst his children.

"Naruto!" He shouted with joy and excitement shining from his tone, moving to greet his eldest as the others who were inside had finally joined to see what the commotion was.

"Ah! Naruto-kun! It's so wonderful to see you again!" Shizune chimed in a joyful tone, blushing a bit when she saw caught herself admiring him a bit more then she would have liked.

"This is a surprise, isn't it?" Kakashi said as he closed his coveted orange colored book, offering the blonde a close-eyed smile in turn.

"Huh, so he's back." Jiraiya quipped in a cool tone, scanning his eldest godson for any traces of suspicious activity.

"Quit looking at him like he's a danger to everyone and greet him properly, you moron." Tsunade barked at the white haired man as she smacked the back of his head, moving to join the others in welcoming their estranged godchild as Jiraiya sniffled while he rubbed the lump on his head.

"It's quite a surprise to see you here. How have you been, Naruto-chan?" Orochimaru asked as he scanned his godson from head to toe, taking the first time to truly see how he had grown since they last spoke.

"Think we could head inside before we can talk? Not too keen on the attention that we're starting to attract." Naruto asked as they saw what he was speaking about, their sudden and rather boisterous greeting of the blonde having drawn the attention of their neighbors.

"Come on in! Your mother is just finishing up dinner, so you came right on time!" Minato urged as he grinned at his eldest, Naruto nodding his head in an awkward manner as he entered his old home for the first time in a number of years.

(Scene Change – Konoha: Uzumaki-Namikaze Estate – Dining Room Foyer)

"Everyone? Dinner is almost ready, have you all washed up?" Kushina called out to the dining room as she walked out of the kitchen, glancing around for her abnormally quiet family members as she dried her hands on a towel.

"Huh? Where did everyone go?" She asked herself as she had a bit of anxiety enter her heart at the thoughts of something having happened, quickening her pace as he moved towards the foyer of the living room.

But those thoughts and her anxiety were for naught when she heard their voices coming from the entryway, a sigh leaving her mouth before it was replaced with a rather stern expression for leaving without saying anything. Folding her arms across her chest, she tapped her foot and awaited the faces that the laughing and chatting voices to come in view. After a few more moments, her stern expression melted slightly when she caught sight of a brilliant smile on her beloved husband's face. Shaking her slightly, she let a smile of her own cross her face as she moved to greet them, securing the lecture she had in store for them for after dinner was over.

"Everyone, couldn't one of you have said something before leaving so suddenly?" Kushina asked in a slightly scolding manner as she shot them a mildly exasperated look, her family members stiffening slightly at the sound of her voice before laughing wryly as they faced her.

About to carry on with her minor lecture, she froze when she caught sight of an extra head in contrast to the usual number that occupied her home. A bit of confusion entering her, it soon turned to shock before melting to joy when she saw that it was her eldest. An equally melting smile appearing on her face, Kushina beamed it at him as Naruto turned away in an awkward manner, a light dusting of pink on his face at the attention he was being given. Giggling at his expression, Kushina quickly ushered the group before her inside the dining room as dinner was just about to be served.

(Time Skip – Fifteen Minutes Later)

(Scene Change – Konoha: Uzumaki-Namikaze Estate – Dining Room)

"-ter tonight, we'll probably be accelerating the reconstruction effort. But once that's over, everything will probably be allocated to the war that'll be happening in the coming days. From our estimates, we're expecting the first major attack to be here within two weeks' time, since the last piece of the Akatsuki's puzzle is the Kyuubi." Minato explained in a serious tone, the mood having taking a serious turn when Menma asked about the current situation concerning his home.

"W-Well, we'll be fine, right everyone? Come now, why don't we just enjoy tonight for what it is? No one was harmed in the sudden attack today and most of all; Naru-chan is here with us." Kushina said as she tried to disperse the rather tense and heavy atmosphere that gripped the dining room, sighing a bit as she found that it only lightened up slightly in contrast to what she had hoped.

Though, dinner was a slightly strained affair after the debriefing that Minato gave them, the blonde mentally beating himself for ruining his family's dinner. Mito, Menma and Narumi opted to head to bed as they were the reason as to why their home was going to be attacked weighing heavily on their hearts, despite protests from the others present that it wasn't them personally. The others still in the dining room, the atmosphere turned tense once more as Kushina closed the doors leading to it before sealing the room to prevent sound from exiting. The occupants of the room; Naruto, Orochimaru, Tsunade, Jiraiya, Shizune and Kakashi, looked at her in curiosity while Minato fixed some more tea for them as he knew what she had in store for the gathered group.

"Well, that was a dinner that I'd rather leave behind." Kushina quipped in a slightly irritated tone, shooting Minato a mildly aggravated look as the man laughed wryly in turn.

"Something the matter, Kushina?" Jiraiya asked in a serious tone, drawing a slightly angered look from the woman to his despair.

"I want to ask the four of you, Tsunade, Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Kakashi, a question." She said as they all stiffened a bit in turn, knowing that denying the redhead an answer would mean a lot of pain in various different ways.

"W-What's on your mind, Kushina?" Tsunade asked as she tried to calm her nerves with the saucer of sake shakily held in her hand, Orochimaru following her example with mirrored actions.

"Throughout tonight's dinner, I didn't see a single one of you even try to talk with Naruto. Why was that?" She asked as they all flinched heavily in turn, awkwardly turning to look at the same blonde she was talking about as he simply returned to the book he was reading.

"That's… Well, uh…" Kakashi tried to explain only to quiet when Kushina shot him an irritated gaze, gulping as he opted to shelve the excuses that were about to leave his mouth.

"Ha, again with this Kushina?" Jiraiya asked in an exasperated tone, instantly causing the temperature of the room to plummet with his phrasing.

"Again with what exactly, Jiraiya?" She countered in a controlled tone of anger, the white haired man shaking his head slightly as Orochimaru, Tsunade, Kakashi and Shizune scooted away from his seat.

"Every time, every single time, you're always playing this scenario like it's entirely our fault. Yes, I'll be the first to admit it, Naruto. I haven't been the greatest godparent to you, that's something that probably everyone can see. But I have to ask you, have you tried extending your hand to us?" Jiraiya stated as he turned to look at the young blonde, Naruto closing his book before leveling his gaze on the white haired man.

"I do recall offering that to you all during your tenure at my hostel. Though, if you are talking about currently, I can't find a time where we've spoken one on one." Naruto said as Jiraiya suppressed the shiver that wanted to dance down his spine, the blonde's eyes seemingly piercing through his very soul should he make a mistake.

"That's exactly what I'm talking about! I'm not saying that everyone makes up and we all just forget about the past, there's no chance of that ever happening. I… I just want there to be no lingering resentment between any of us. I don't know what happened between you and Naruto, Jiraiya, but out of everyone, you seem the most hostile towards him." Kushina said in a somber and slightly hurt tone as she gazed at the man, Jiraiya heaving a tired sigh as he looked towards the young man before him.

"I'll be honest, Kushina, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't feel any hostility towards Naruto." He said in a serious tone, catching everyone off guard as the tension in the room spiked considerably.

"I don't remember the last time I felt so on edge around someone, not even when Hiruko was working with us did I feel anything like I do with Naruto. Add to that the fact that I've had the right to utilize Sage Mode revoked because of him, or rather my treatment of him, it only makes trying to make amends with him so difficult for me. I don't know what it is, Naruto, but I just can't bring myself to lower my guard around you." He said as he gave Naruto the most serious look he had remembered seeing from the white haired man, Naruto returning his look before sighing as the tension in the air was reaching a nearly palpable state.

"What if I told you, I think I know what it is that's keeping you from trusting me?" Naruto asked as Jiraiya flinched a bit in turn, growing curious as to what it was that the blonde knew that he didn't.

"I'm not surprised that you don't remember, I just remembered a while ago myself." Naruto said as he gained a slightly wistful look in his eyes, drawing curious looks from everyone present as they had never seen the blonde like that.

(Flashback – Many Years Ago)

(Scene Change – Uzumaki-Namikaze Estate: Entrance Foyer)

"Well, you all set to go, Naruto!" Jiraiya chirped as he beamed a bright smile towards the shining eyed child next to him, Naruto returning it as the man laughed heartily at his expression.

"Mhmm! Let's go Raiya-jiji!" The blonde replied in a barely controlled tone of excitement, Jiraiya grinning as he held the blonde's hand as they headed out of the house.

Today was a special day for the smiling duo as it was one of the few days that it was just the two of them spending the day together. Jiraiya had to admit, Naruto was most likely the lowest on his list of favorite godchildren, not that he didn't love the bright blonde, but because he was so much more mature then he would have expected from someone his age. While his younger siblings were just a hair's bit younger than him, he acted like he was at least two to three years older then he really was. Always making sure that they were fed, happy and safe, Jiraiya was a bit surprised that someone so young could be so responsible.

The reasoning behind Naruto being the lowest on his list was the fact that the blonde understood that his younger siblings wanted to spend time with their godparents and offered his time slots for the three of them. The time he would have spent bonding with Orochimaru, Tsunade and himself were usually taken up by Mito, Narumi and Menma, respectively, and that caused a bit of a gap to form between him and his god parents. But, that rift was a minor one, one that was easily resolved with an outing just like the one the two were on at the moment.

"So where are we going today, Raiya-jiji?" Naruto asked in a much more controlled tone of excitement, Jiraiya smirking as he pointed the hot springs.

"There my young Naruto! We'll spend the day washing away our troubles!" He declared in a tone of absolute conviction, drawing a slightly dry look from the blonde as he blinked a bit in turn.

"Raiya-jiji… Tsuna-baachan told me to tell on you if take me to the hot springs." He drawled in a slightly wry tone as the white haired man blanched heavily, quickly running through his various backup plans for such a scenario.

"A-Ahaha, I was just testing you, Naruto! I knew Tsunade told you to tell on me if I suggested going there, good job!" He said in a slightly panicked and nervous tone, patting Naruto on the head as the blonde's eyes shone slightly.

"Oh! I see, that was a test! You're sneaky, Raiya-jiji! I won't fall for that next time!" He declared as Jiraiya lost his previous fear and anxiety, a rather genuine and warm smile marring his face at the blonde's innocence and trust in him.

"Heh, I'm sure you won't Naruto. Now then, why don't we just head out and do a bit of light training? I heard from someone that you're trying to become the greatest ninja in the world, is that right?" He asked as Naruto blushed a bit that his dream was made known to the older man, Jiraiya letting a soft laugh leave as he ruffled his hair in turn.

"There's nothing to be embarrassed about, Naruto. Why is that, if you don't mind me asking?" Jiraiya asked as Naruto gained a rather mature expression, surprising the man as he had never seen such a face from the blonde.

"I want to be the greatest ninja in the world so I can hopefully stop all the fighting that keeps happening. I hear it sometimes when I'm at Teuchi-san and Ayame-neechan's restaurant, that people are still fighting for things that make no sense like money, power and fame. Hehe, I guess I want to be kind of like the ninja in your book, Raiya-jiji." Naruto admitted as a dusting of pink colored his cheeks, Jiraiya's eyes widening a bit with surprise before being replaced with confusion.

"My b-book…? W-Which volume?! W-Why are you reading something like that at your age?!" He asked in a panicked and heavily terrified manner, gripping the young blonde by the shoulders as he pleaded to every deity that his mother and Tsunade never caught wind of their conversation.

"Your book, Raiya-jiji. Don't you remember? You gave it to me last year on my sixth birthday." Naruto said in an equally confused tone, tilting his head as Jiraiya racked his memory for any and all images of handing or packaging an orange or pink colored book for the blonde.

"Uhh… Y-You're gonna have to remind me, Naruto. Your godfather isn't really remembering things too well at the moment, haha…" The white haired man said in a nervous tone, Naruto grinning as he pulled his godfather back inside and towards his room.

(Scene Change – Uzumaki-Namikaze Estate: Naruto's Room)

Arriving in the room of his eldest godson, Jiraiya glanced around and saw that it still hadn't changed much over the past few years. As opposed to his younger siblings, his room was a bare in comparison, books lining the bookshelf being really the only differentiating detail compared to the spare guest rooms in the estate. In the midst of his thoughts, he was pulled from them when he saw Naruto standing in front of him with a worn book held in his hands. Blinking a bit, his eyes widened when he saw the title of title of the book.

"'Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'…" He whispered as he felt his heart skip a beat to his embarrassment, shaking his head a bit to rid it of the sparkles and bubbles that shone around his godson.

"That old thing? I think I remember telling you that it was a complete failure of a book, Naruto. Haha, man… That thing sure brings back memories…" Jiraiya said in a fond and nostalgic tone, gently taking the book from the blonde before him as he opened the cover.

"Heh, 'Naruto, did you know you were named after the main character of this book! You may not enjoy it, heck you may even dislike it but I still take pride in the fact I had a part in picking your name! I hope that you grow up to be as great as a ninja that the Naruto in this book is and maybe, find a way to break the 'curse' that fills our world as well. – Your Number One Godparent, Jiraiya'." Jiraiya reiterated as he chuckled slightly at the comment he left for the blonde, gently closing the book as he saw Naruto staring at him with that same mature expression having returned to his face.

"I haven't forgotten, Raiya-jiji… I promise that I'll be an even greater ninja then the Naruto in your book, I'll show everyone that the story you wrote is the greatest story in the world! So, do you think you can watch after me just a little bit longer?" Naruto asked in a slightly nervous and bashful tone, Jiraiya shaking his head as a bittersweet and fond smile marred his face.

"You don't even need to ask, Naruto. I think… No, I know that you'll be the one to bring peace this this world. I'll be right there, every step along the way, alright? Now, why don't we get started on your legend?" He said in an equally fond and warm tone, Naruto beaming him a bright smile as he took the hand of the white haired man.

"I know it for sure, Naruto… You are the child of prophecy, there's no doubt in my heart… This time for sure, I know you'll be the one who'll bring peace, I just know it… Heh, 'The Legend of Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze, that has quite the fancy ring to it now doesn't it?" He thought to himself with a chuckle, gently placing his godson's 'treasure' back where it belonged on the center of his desk.

"Don't you worry, Naruto. With me at your side, there's no way that you won't be the greatest ninja in the world, because after all… I'm Jiraiya! The Great Toad Sage!" He declared as he performed his signature pose, Naruto's eyes shining as they always did when he saw the famed pose of his godfather.

"Oi! Keep it down would ya! My head is killing me already; I don't need you acting like a moron in front of Naru-chan and making it worse!" Tsunade roared from the confines of her room, Jiraiya instantly paling as he took his godson's hand and made a break for the door.

"Come now, Naruto! Time's a wastin'!" He quickly said in a panic as Naruto giggled in turn, taking up after his godfather as Orochimaru watched them leave from the living room.

"Still the same fool, Jiraiya… But I will admit, I agree with you on Naruto becoming the one who'll bring about peace. There's something special about that child, I know it as well." Orochimaru quipped as he shot the shrinking duo a small smile, shaking his head good naturedly before returning to his book.

(Flashback – End)

(Scene Change – Konoha: Uzumaki-Namikaze Estate – Dining Room)

"I'm not sure if it's that's the reason for your wariness of me, but that's what I think it is." Naruto said as he finished his story, the eyes of everyone wide as they had never once heard the story the blonde had told them.

"Y-You… You actually remembered that?" Jiraiya asked in a stunned tone, his eyes full of shock and confusion as Naruto inclined his head slightly.

"I told you all back in Taiyo no Kuni didn't I? I lost my memories for a period of time and I only just got them back when you all were staying there. Even if I could forget a memory like that, there's no way that I'd abandon something as precious as that." The blonde said in a slightly somber tone, his eyes softening a bit more then the group before him had seen since reuniting with him.

"But… I… You…" Jiraiya said as he tried to find some way to articulate his thoughts, clenching his fists as he racked his mind for a way to properly say what it was that he was thinking.

"I haven't forgotten what you asked of me either, Jiraiya." Naruto suddenly said as the man's head snapped up to look at him, Naruto staring directly into his eyes as he saw no traces of lies or deceit present in his crimson and navy orbs.

"After all, I don't break promises, no matter how long it's been since I made them." The blonde said in a soft tone, holding up the book that he had been reading since the start of their night's dinner.

"What book is that, Naruto-kun?" Shizune asked in a curious tone as she tried to make out the cover, failing to do so given how worn and used the book appeared to be.

"It's one of my favorites, if not my most favorite." He answered as he tossed the book towards Jiraiya, the man catching the book from the air before examining it closely.

"I don't recognize it, at least not from the covers. It's gotta be good if you're still holding onto a copy as tattered as th-" Jiraiya started as he opened the cover to view the title page before trailing off, his eyes widening as they shone a bit with unshed tears at the sight of a very familiar page.

"'Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi'…" He whispered as he slowly raised his head to face his eldest godson, the blonde offering him a small ghost of a smile as he nodded his head.

"I found that book with my other belongings when I was able to access a few of the seals I had on my person. Even then, I knew that the person who gave that book to me had entrusted me with something important. I'll tell you this, Jiraiya; we can't make up anything that happened in the past, we will never be able to do anything about it but look back and shake our heads at how we acted, that's a fact. But if you're willing to meet me halfway, I'll do my best to fulfill that promise we made that day." Naruto said in a tone that the white haired man hadn't heard in a number of years, the tone that belonged to the same young blonde who declared that he would be the greatest ninja in the world no matter the journey.

"I… Please excuse me…" Jiraiya whispered in a slightly pained tone as he moved to hand the book back, Naruto nodding his head as accepted it and sealed it away.

With that, Jiraiya excused himself from the room as he broke the seal and reapplied it after leaving. The atmosphere turning a bit somber and awkward, Kushina turned to Tsunade and Orochimaru as the two of them were staring with slightly wide eyes at the sight of Naruto having attempted to repair the gap between their old friend and himself. Turning to look at each other, the two sighed a bit in turn before meeting the gaze of the blonde themselves. Gulping slightly, they were a bit nervous in what they were about to ask, though the knowledge that Jiraiya was able to have a hand extended to him steeled their resolve.

"So, uhh… Do you think you'd be willing to you know, get to know each other again, Naruto?" Tsunade asked in an embarrassed tone, her pink face growing redder as she heard her trusted aide giggle beside her.

"I assume that you know what I was about to ask as well, Naruto-chan." Orochimaru said in a calm tone, though the dusting of pink on his cheeks spoke volumes about how he felt inside.

"Like I told all of you, I don't have an issue with getting to know you all again. Someone precious to me showed me that everyone deserves a second chance. Well, mostly everyone." Naruto said in a sure tone, though he amended his statement as the others laughed a bit.

The tense atmosphere from before dispelled with the rather humorous quip from the blonde, the lingering members of the dining room bid farewell to each other. The remaining three, Naruto, Minato and Kushina moved to clean up after everyone else; Minato and Kushina adamantly denying the younger blonde from helping only to see him start without them. Moving quickly to avoid having him do all the work, the trio managed to finish clearing and cleaning the table in a rather quick amount of time relative to how long it would take normally. As the two watched their eldest start on washing the dishes, they let a pair of smiles cross their faces at how natural he looked in their home.

"I wish he really was coming back home, Minato…" Kushina whispered in a soft and somber tone, her beloved holding her hand as she mirrored her thoughts in whole.

"I do too, Kushina. But you saw how he was with those two girls. I don't think he'll be coming home anytime soon." He said in a soft tone as she nodded her head in acceptance, though those thoughts turned to the conversation that he had with Jiraiya earlier.

"While I'm glad that Orochimaru and Tsunade worked up the courage to try and connect with him, I wish that they had a heart to heart with Naru-chan like Jiraiya did." She said as she stared at the back of her eldest, Minato nodding his head as he leveled a soft sigh at the thought.

"I know it's not going to be an easy recovery for the four of them, but I'm glad that they took the first few steps towards it. Don't you?" He asked her as she smiled at him, moving to kiss him softly as he returned it in whole.

"I am. Why don't you head to bed, Minato? I want to spend a bit more time with Naru-chan." Kushina told her beloved, Minato beaming her a smile as he nodded his head and moved towards their bedroom.

Watching him leave with love and affection in her eyes, she turned those same eyes towards her eldest as he was finishing wiping down the pot she used for the Chankonabe they had for dinner. Moving towards him, she saw him peek at her before returning to his task, though he scooted over slightly to make room for her. Seeing that, she felt a bit of warmth spark in her heart as she quickened her pace and stood proudly beside him. The two working in silence, they didn't need to exchange words as the feelings between the two were rather mutual; one seeking love and the other offering it.

"So Naru-chan… Have you, you know…" Kushina asked after a few minutes of silence, Naruto turning to gaze at her as he failed to find the meaning behind her statement.

"Have I what?" He asked as she turned a bit pink, his brows furrowing when he saw her ears turn a bit red.

"H-Have you… Have you, you know… Done that with that silver haired young lady?" She asked with embarrassment heavily evident in her tone, Naruto still failing to grasp what it was that his mother was talking about.

"I'm sorry, but you're going to have to be a bit more direct then that." He said as her face became a full shade of red, Naruto racking his brain for what she could be talking about only for his eyes to widen when he connected the dots.

"Have you had sex with her and did you use protection!?" She nearly shouted as Naruto raced to beat her before she could ask the dreaded question, the blonde's face becoming pink as he vehemently shook his head at his mother's stare.

"I-I have not! Could you please not say something so tactless so loudly!" He barked at her in an equally embarrassed and slightly heated tone, Kushina snapping her eyes shut as she tried to rid her mind of the possible scenarios that could have played out throughout the years he had been gone.

"B-But you have used protection when y-you've done it, r-right!" She stated as he nearly broke the plate he was clenching, his person shaking as embarrassment like no other seeped into his person.

"C-Could we please not talk about this? I'd rather not talk about something like this so openly." He answered as Kushina peeked through one of her closed eyes, opening the other when she saw that her eldest had both his eyes closed in embarrassment.

"Wait… Y-You've had the 'talk' right, Naru-chan?" She asked as Naruto instantly stiffened up at the question, his reaction causing his mother to cover her mouth with her hand.

"Oh dear… D-Do you want m-me to give it? Or do you want me to get your father?" She asked as he shook his head in turn, letting an embarrassed and irritated sigh leave as he face her.

"Please, could we just drop this conversation? I've had the 'talk', I haven't had the need to use protection and I haven't done 'that' with Hisako." He said as Kushina slowly and stiffly nodded her head, Naruto internally groaning as he knew she was about to say something else as embarrassing as before.

"S-So you have done it…" She whispered in an embarrassed tone as Naruto let his head drop in turn, the two working in silence as they were unaware of the eavesdropping trio having listened in on their conversation since the beginning.

"W-Wow… Niisan is a real man…" Menma whispered as a bit of blood ran from his nose, his face red as he imagined his brother surrounded by countless beautiful women.

"Shut up!" The twin voices of Mito and Narumi bit out as they knocked the other blonde on the head, their faces red and burning as many vivid and unsavory scenarios of what their mother was talking about flashed through their mind.

"Jiraiya-jiji is dead meat for giving me one of those books for Christmas." Mito thought in a heated manner as she cursed the white haired man's way of describing the scenes from a certain orange book, steam pluming from her head as she quickly tried to reign in her rampaging thoughts.

"Grr… Hina-chan, darn you and those romance books!" Narumi screamed internally as she cursed herself for getting curious about the reading material of her best friend, the tears and joy she usually felt when reading them replaced with the more mature selections that she had 'skimmed'.

As the five-way misunderstanding played out in the Uzumaki-Namikaze estate, it gave way towards more eased feelings for the two at the center of it. The young trio eventually sneaking back to their rooms when they thought they saw their older brother glance at them, the possibility that he knew they were listening in on them was enough to deter them from eavesdropping further. Meanwhile, Kushina tried to pull more information about her son's love life, said blonde was denying any of the claims that his mother assuming he had done, having slowly drifted into outlandish territory. Soon enough, the time came for parting as Naruto and Kushina finished the task of washing and drying the night's dishes; a rather tearful farewell coming from the redhead as she gave him one last hug.

"I know I told you this already, Naru-chan, but thank you." Kushina whispered as she squeezed him slightly, feeling him tense slightly before forcing himself to relax.

"Stay safe, alright? I most likely won't be there next time to save you." Naruto told her in a serious tone as she giggled softly, her reaction confusing Naruto slightly as he didn't really see any humor in his statement.

"I will, Naru-chan. But I have a feeling that if I was in trouble again, you'd come right away." She said as she winked at him, Naruto looking at her in confusion as she shook her head with a smile on her face.

"Thank you, again. Please, I know I don't need to tell you this but you stay safe too, ok?" She said as she cupped his face, Naruto flinching as Kushina brought his head down while she tiptoed and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.

"There, you're all set to go now." She whispered with pride and affection as Naruto stared at her with wide eyes, pink coloring his cheeks a bit more as she simply giggled at his expression before seeing him out of her home.

Bowing in a stiff and awkward fashion, he bid his mother farewell as she watched him leave. Sighing in a somber manner, Kushina saw his form grow smaller before eventually disappearing in the night. Smiling softly, she moved to touch her shoulder where he had placed a small sealing array when she hugged him earlier. Warmth and affection filling her eyes at his concern for her, despite everything that had happened, she felt that the broken bridge between the two of them had been repaired just a bit. Knowing that, Kushina headed to bed with less of a burden on her heart and with more a skip to her step. Hopefully, maybe even in the coming months, the two of them will be laughing about tonight's events with the rest of their family.

(Scene Change – Konoha: Residential District – Naruto's Location)

"Family, huh." Naruto whispered as a small smile marred his face, the warmth that the kiss his mother gave him still lingering on his person.

"Hopefully, things will work out in the end." He said to himself as he stopped and stared towards the night sky, stretching his slightly taut muscles as he let a sigh of content leave his mouth.

"Now then, let's see what A's excuse is for losing Hisako and Naru." The blonde quipped in a frigid and ruthless tone, black and crimson lightning arcing around his person before be vanished in a flash of similar color.

Well, that's a wrap guys. Again, nothing too exciting right? And yeah, writing character interactions isn't my strong suit and it probably showed while ya'll were reading, didn't it? Hopefully I can still improve in that regard, still want to make em more believable but with how this story started, it might be a bit hard, haha. And that'll wrap things up, guys. Again, thanks for sticking with me and liking this ol' story, hope I can see it through to the end with you all. Review and PM, I know I don't get to em but I like reading em regardless and as always, you guys stay awesome.

Raiton Chakura Mōdo - Lightning Release Chakra Mode: B-Rank, Ninjutsu, Nagashi; The user wraps their body in a layer of Raiton chakra which, instead of being used offensively, is used to electrically stimulate the user's nervous system. The technique speeds up neural synapses to react faster, and to push physical prowess to the absolute limit, allowing for tremendous raw speed. The technique has different levels of activation. The level's activation is depicted by the users hair which stands up when the technique is activated to the fullest. The higher the level, the higher the speed the user can achieve.

Raitoningu Sutorēto - Lightning Straight: B-Rank, Nintaijutsu; While in their Raiton Chakura Mōdo, the user runs towards the opponent and punches them at maximum speed. A refers to this as his "fastest punch," the only shinobi to have ever dodged it being Minato Namikaze with his Hiraishin.

Hiraishin - Flying Thunder God: S-Rank, Supplementary; To activate this technique, the user places a special seal or "technique formula" to mark an intended destination. After this is done, they can at will enter a dimensional void that instantaneously transports them to the location of the seal. The mark can be applied to almost any area through brief physical contact, including an opponent or other surrounding feature. Because this technique is able to affect anything that is in contact with the user or somehow connected to their chakra, they can also use this technique to teleport other objects or people, though the size of the object dictates the amount of chakra required. As Minato also noted, the marking formula never disappears from a marked target.