After the Storm

Chapter 6

The meeting continued once the Raikage arrived with the news that he had found his brother fighting against Akatsuki member Hoshigaki Kisame.

It came as a blessing that they managed to secure him, or else Akatsuki would have yet another tailed beast to use. Now, it came the time to choose the best suitable place to hide both Naruto and Kirabi from the most powerful organization ever in existence. Kakashi remained silenced throughout the discussion between the Raikage and the Tsushikage. Earth Country was filled with underground caves and hideouts that only the Tsushikage knew of. However, the Raikage knew of a place that no enemy could reach and that started a very lively debate between the two.

Kakashi's mind was more worried as to Naruto's reaction when he finds out that he will not be participating in the war directly.

His student have defeated an enemy no one from Konoha could have and he even learned how to behave somewhat, but the young Kage knew how feisty Naruto could be. Kakashi would have to think of something to bribe him sort of speak. And that generally meant new skills to teach him. Quickly analyzing the tools he had at his disposal, Kakashi knew of only a couple things he could teach Naruto. Either give him a bunch of scrolls about ninjutsu or even some advanced katas for his knives or ask someone to teach him.

Furthermore, the only person he knew would be with Naruto at all times was the Hachibi Jinchuuriki.

'Humm, I bet that Kirabi could help Naruto more in getting used to the fox's chakra.'

Kakashi stopped wondering as the other Kages reached a decision regarding the jinchuuriki hideout. With that topic settled, the meeting came to a close. The next one will be held in Kumo, where the leaders will discuss the battle plans and army formations. Now it was time for each Kage to consult with their respective daimyos and in Kakashi's case, Naruto.

===At Sunagakure===

As soon as Senju Tsunade opened her eyes, she wondered if she had died and was in heaven or hell right now.

She recognized the white ceiling anywhere though, but she questioned why she was inside a hospital if she was dead. Also, the last thing she remembered was Konoha's destruction by Pein. How they managed to build a facility like this in such a short amount of time? Was she really dead? Her memories were a mess and the only thing she remembered was giving Naruto a part of her summon Katsuyu to defeat Pein. She didn't even know if he managed to defeat the enemy or not. Her wonderings were cut short once a man in doctor clothes rushed inside and checked on her pulse.

Apparently, she wasn't dead if she could feel his touch.

"I'm glad you're awake Tsunade-sama, my name is Shizuko and I'm a part of Sunagakure's medical squad."

As soon as he uttered the word Suna, Tsunade was shocked, but due to her dry throat, her voice came out weak.

"W…hat am I doing in Suna, what happened to Konoha?" The doctor ushered her to stop speaking or else it would damage her throat.

"Easy Tsunade-sama, you just came out of a comma. Your body is quite weak and dehydrated. In moments, plenty of food and water will be brought to you, so please rest a bit." After earning a nod from the Godaime Hokage, the doctor left the room, leaving her alone in the room, or so she thought. As soon as the doctor's body left, in her line of sight, appeared a man she thought was killed by Pein.

"Ji…..ji….." She couldn't for the live of her speak his name. She couldn't even breathe properly.

It was too much, though to wake up from a comma and see a man to whom she kept crying for an entire week over his supposed death. At first, she thought she was just dreaming. Jiraiya was dead and even Pein had confirmed so when he attacked Konoha. It couldn't be. Because of her fatigue, though, her shock was the only thing that gave her strength to remain awake. However, it was in vain as she fainted once more. Jiraiya was surprised when he heard the doctor entering the room and even more surprised when he had announced that Tsunade had awoken. He didn't know what to say to her, though.

Food and water came three hours later by Suna's personnel. Tsunade was eating everything as if her life deeply depended on it, surprising everyone at how fast the woman swallowed it all. Jiraiya could see her eyes glancing at him from time to time. The nurses were getting scared seeing as Tsunade already eaten at least twice any normal human could and she was still going without signs of stopping soon. The fact that none of the present looked at Jiraiya showed Tsunade that she had mourned his loss so much that now she was hallucinating. Finally when she stopped, the doctor checked on Tsunade once more, before leaving her alone with Jiraiya, or at least his image.

"Tsunade, I…"

The voice couldn't be a part of her hallucination. As a doctor, she knew how powerful the brain could be in creating these hallucinations. She just turned her head away from Jiraiya as in hoping the image would just go away. The pervert approached her bed and placed his hand on her shoulder. As soon as the contact was made, Tsunade flinched. An illusion can affect the eyes and even the ears, but it couldn't affect her tact or even smell. When she looked at him once more, a great load of tears started falling from her eyes at the possibility of Jiraiya somehow being resurrected.

"….you're real!" Jiraiya could feel the exasperated voice, so he prepared himself for what was sure to come.

"What happened to you, Jiraiya? When I heard you're killed by Pein, I just cried for hours, days, even weeks. I couldn't do anything and the village needed me, they needed their Hokage. And I couldn't do it, I kept thinking of you the entire time and wondering what would happen now that you're dead. When I saw how Naruto suffered because of it I cried even more. Where were you huh you damn pervert? If you were alive this entire time, then why didn't you show you damn face? Pein destroyed Konoha and killed almost everyone." The fact that Tsunade kept rambling all her pent up frustration was one thing, but now her tone of voice was morphing into anger

Jiraiya just hugged her for a while, feeling her tears falling down his face. Her arms enveloped his back and the two had just remained there for a while.

"I thought I was dead too and then I awoke here in Suna. I don't know what or how it happened."

Jiraiya told her everything that he heard from Baki beginning from how he was brought to Suna, mentioning Naruto's victory over Pein and ending with the Kage Summit held by the Raikage. Tsunade managed to quiet down, but it didn't mean that she let him go. She kept hugging him as if she was afraid that he would leave her alone again and she just couldn't take it anymore. She had lost her most important people because of the war and it was only due to Naruto that she managed to overcome. With Jiraiya's passing, her feelings resurfaced. The pervert smiled at the interaction and just closed his eyes in happiness. Despite the dire situation, Jiraiya could not help but show a perverted grin as Tsunade's breasts happened to rub against his chest.

Tsunade snorted in derision, but the smile of happiness never let her face.

===At Konoha===

Knowing nothing on the events in Tetsu no Kuni and Suna, Naruto was currently busy assisting a group of workers to lift some wood for the new hospital's construction. He had summoned both Gamabunta and Gamaken to do the heavy lifting. With the toads' assistance, the workers managed to do their job much faster. Naruto even summoned a couple of clones to assist the workers. The real Naruto was using his wind affinity to sharpen some of the tools required by the workers, while a jounin by the name of Aoba was supervising the entire procedure.

The hospital's construction had just begun and it would take at least a couple of months to finish.

Naruto's idea of using the toads and his bunshins aided the construction crew a lot and they would be able to finish it ahead of schedule. Aoba could see that the toads weren't exactly enjoying their time and he could remember at least two or three times that Naruto had to stop what he was doing just to convince the summons that fixing Konoha was the most important thing right now. Even so the toads were used for battle, not for this, so they still complained from time to time.

"Oi Naruto, how much longer do we have to do this, damn it? I'm missing my sake right now."

"Oi you damn drunken toad, you're angry because you want to drink! If you don't stop your complain, I'll tell Gamakichi and Gamatatsu to drink your entire load of sake and you won't have anything to drink." The gigantic toad mumbled some incoherent word and crossed his members, while the clones used him as a ladder. If Bunta regretted one thing was to introduce sake to his children. Now they became addicted to the drink and drank every last drop of it. The workers and the jounin almost fell on the ground laughing at the situation, before returning to their order of business. Eventually, everything that needed to be done was finished and Naruto was released from his duty. It came out as a relief because it was almost time for his lunch with the Hyuuga Clan and he didn't want to be late for it. He was about to run towards where the Hyuugas were stationed when Aoba stopped him.

"Naruto, Shikaku-san placed you to help me tomorrow for the bridge's construction. Please report there tomorrow."

"I'll be there Aoba-taichou. See ya." Naruto saluted the jounin, before running away.

===At the Hyuuga Compound===

The Hyuuga Compound was now just a great load of tents confined inside the area that was initially reserved for the clan. It was agreed between the ninja clans that the village would focus first in building the most important buildings first like hospitals, apartment buildings, schools and the Hokage Tower. The clan compounds would be built last. Nevertheless, even if the clans couldn't use Konoha's funds to build their compounds, they could use their own funds, hiring private contractors. Hence why upon arriving, Naruto saw different workers building the walls of the compound.

Other clans did the same, even if their funds weren't as massive as the Hyuuga's.

Naruto approached the two stationed guards outside the compound's perimeter and handled them the invitation with Hiashi's personal signature.

One of the guards ushered Naruto to follow.

As Naruto walked throughout the Hyuuga Compound, he could see the members going about their business, taking care of the necessary arrangements. He could see a many ninjas practicing together as he knew the discipline required to master the jyuuken style of fighting. Looking closer at the group, Naruto smiled upon catching a glimpse of a familiar Hyuuga almost hidden within the group. Neji was busy practicing the advanced forms of the jyuuken, so he didn't even register the fact that Naruto was inside the compound.

Naruto stopped just inches before opening the tent, wondering what he was supposed to do.

He had never been invited into an important clan such as the Hyuuga's and he never saw the clan head before. The guard stationed just by his side looked at the chunnin and wondered why he was hesitant in entering. Deciding to aid the guest, the guard just opened the tent and announced Naruto's arrival, much to his surprise, since he was busy contemplating with himself about how he should behave once inside. Of course, Hinata was an issue, more specifically, what her father thought of her interaction with the jinchuuriki. Naruto inwardly cursed the Hyuuga guard as he was forced to improvise. Quickly spotting the tent inside, he could see Hinata and a man wearing white robes, looking slightly like an older Neji.

"I was wondering how longer you would stay outside Naruto-san. Please come on in and take a seat next to Hinata."

Hiashi caught Naruto's body language instantly as the boy's discomfort was easily perceptible.

Naruto appreciated the man with a nod and took a seat next to Hinata. The two exchanged a quick greeting. Hiashi maintained his serious demeanor, but he had caught something with this greeting. Normally, it would take only one second to greet a person and then turn, but they kept staring at one another far longer. Hiashi knew about his daughter's affection to Uzumaki, but he wasn't aware that the feeling was mutual. Hiashi immediately conjured a mental note to talk to the kid later.

"I appreciate your invitation for lunch, Hyuuga-san. I just hope I wasn't late or anything."

"Nonsense, Naruto. I know for a fact that you've been busy assisting with the village's reconstruction. Every order issued by Shikaku-san is first discussed at the council, which I'm a part of." The fact that Hiashi was smiling at him kind of reduced the amount of pressure for social standards. And it was clear that Naruto didn't have any as he wasn't even properly dressed for the occasion.

"Yeah, I just came from the place where the new hospital will be built." Naruto was being served by Hinata while discussing with the Hyuuga clanhead. She had discussed with her father prior to this meeting that Naruto may not be accustomed to the usual formalities of the Hyuuga Clan, hence why he was the one to lead the conversation on. So far it was everything going well, but Hinata for some reason still felt as if something bad was about to happen. And by the look on her little sister's face and her mouth opening, Hinata sighed in dismay and prepared for the worst.

"You don't look like much to me" Naruto blinked in confusion and looked at the source of the voice. "They say you're the one who defeated Pein and everything, but you don't look that strong to me." The little comment made Hinata wish she had a wall to bang her head against or even Hanabi's for that manner. She wasn't concerned about Naruto, but rather how he would respond to the comment. She loved him dearly, but she knew how he tended to respond against such accusations, the constant teasing from Kiba in the past. Hiashi would normally berate his daughter for such rude behavior, but he decided to see how his guest would handle this matter. Naruto suddenly scratched his head in confusion.

"I'm sorry but who are you again?"

Hiashi had to work very hard to maintain his stoic composure and not laugh out loud, as he saw the irate look on Hanabi's face. Hinata was on the same boat.

"I'm Hyuuga Hanabi, daughter of the clan head Hyuuga Hiashi and proud member of the clan's main branch. I have just…"

Hanabi introduced herself heatedly, but was stopped by Naruto with a smile on his face.

"Oh you're Hinata-chan's little sister then. It's nice to meet you." Naruto greeted her by rubbing her head just like he often did with Konohamaru. The little firecracker, though, didn't enjoy it one bit and pushed his hand away, even staring at him with the byakugan activated. Naruto looked at Hinata from the corner of his eyes, but she had just offered a smile instead, which meant that he was on his own. Looking at the tiny person once more, the boy frowned.

"Ok easy there Hanabi-chan, you're freaking me out with the continuous staring. Is there something I could help you with?" At this point, Hanabi was fuming.

"I said..."

"Hanabi, please don't bother our guest any longer. You can ask him questions later on. Now, Naruto, I trust that the food is enjoyable." Hanabi pouted at not having what she wanted and returned to her seat, while Naruto, Hinata and Hiashi conversed with each other. Eventually, the meal was over and they left the tent towards the yard, since it was time for Hinata and Hanabi's spar. Hiashi invited Naruto to join him for a brief conversation while the girls sparred with each other.

"I apologize for my daughter's rude behavior. She's always been pampered by the members of the Hyuuga Council" Naruto looked at the man in surprise.

"It's alright. She reminded me of how Neji used to be like when we fought at the Chunnin Exams. She has great agility from what I can see, though." Hiashi nodded as he turned to the girl's battle. Both of them were using jyuuken strikes and battling quite fiercely, but Hiashi knew that Hinata wasn't going all out. He remembered how she managed to defeat Neji that time and now knew that Hinata managed to increase greatly, since her interaction with the boy next to him.

"It appears that Hinata too managed to increase her skills and I presume it's because of your constant interaction in spars." Naruto turned at the man surprised, before Hiashi turned to him and pointed towards his eyes. "A Hyuuga doesn't need to be close in order to see what's going on, remember. I always keep my eyes on them to ensure their safety. So, in that regard, I want to ask you one thing, Naruto." The fact that Hiashi turned to Naruto with his byakugan eyes active scared him a little bit. "Taking my daughter's welfare into consideration, I feel inclined to ask what are your intentions concerning my Hinata?" Hiashi even added a small amount of killing intent.

Even if the threat was genuine, Naruto felt inclined to tell the man the truth, instead of going slow.

"I'm still not sure yet Hiashi-sama. I mean, I'm enjoying her company a lot these past few days and we got to talk about a lot of things, actually. I see in her something that I can't describe and it feels good when I make her smile. Other than that, though, I don't know. If her welfare is what you're concerned, than you have nothing to worry about. I treasure her too much to ever do anything to harm her. It's just that…I just don't know what this feeling is." Hiashi could see that Naruto wasn't lying to him, so he deactivated his byakugan. He could see that the boy was lost, probably because of the lack of normal interactions upon growing up. He smiled, though. Naruto liked Hinata, that much was true. He just doesn't know what this entails.

It actually made him remember of another person.

"You know that your father behaved the same way about your mother." The comment alone surprised Naruto, before he turned abruptly from looking at the fight.

"You knew them?" Hiashi nodded with a smile.

"Your father was also an orphan. The only difference between you two was that he was just a regular child, while you have the Kyuubi inside of you. So, his story growing up was a little better than yours, at least as far as his interactions with others were concerned. Did you know that your father, I and my brother was at the same class together? Hiashi was really just telling the story, so he wasn't expecting a reply from Naruto. "We were actually bitter rivals back then, but that bastard always managed to find something to have an edge in our spars. It was really frustrating to see this kid, with no background, beating everyone." Naruto smiled at the thought. It had something to do with being proud of telling that his father was better than the others. He remembered something that Jiraiya once told him when Naruto was learning the Rasengan.

"My sensei once said that, since he was a genin, my father was already considered a prodigy. I guess I have much to learn if I want to follow his steps."

Hiashi, though, didn't agree with the term for Minato.

"I tend to disagree with Jiraiya-sama. A prodigy is someone who does not need to work hard in order to grasp a subject or two. A prodigy manages to perform skills with ease whereas others have to work twice as hard for it. Because of this, prodigies often tend to believe that they are more important than the rest. Many Uchihas were hailed as prodigies and I won't deny that many Hyuugas were as well. Even your first sensei was considered a prodigy. Minato was considered as such, but not once did he behave like one. He was the strongest man alive, but he didn't act upon the title. He was a very modest man, you know. Perhaps it was because of this reason that he managed to go so far in his career. So far, only one person managed to beat him."

That last part made Naruto look at Hiashin in question. The clan head was just smiling. A person that managed to beat his father the Yondaime, the man who used the Rasengan and the Hiraishin in a way that made him look like a god was defeated? Who was this person, Naruto wondered. And why no one ever told him that there was someone stronger than his father out there?

"Ah Hiashi-sama, who was considered stronger than my father? Wasn't he hailed as the strongest shinobi of his time?"

"He was, but no man alive could ever defend himself against an eight month pregnant kunoichi."

Naruto stared at him for a while, before laughing nonstop. Hiashi smiled at the memory.

"Your mother was at the time refusing to stay at the hospital after some morning sickness. Your father even tried to argue with her, but ended up fleeing for his life once Kushina grabbed her kunai pouch. I was actually with him at the time and one kunai even came dangerously close to me." Naruto was now holding his stomach from laughing so hard and a lone tear escaped his eye at the image of the strongest shinobi ever running scared from a hormone driven kunoichi. Naruto suddenly stopped once he remembered the time that Sakura punched him. It was indeed scary, he mused.

"You say you wish to follow in his footsteps and I say that that's an admirable goal, albeit very foolish." Naruto turned to him and asked why.

"The choices made by your father were his own, based on the options that were presented to him. Your life is different than his and therefore should remain different. You have your own set of skills which are already highly respected throughout the elemental countries. And I'm pretty sure that you'll only grow in time. Your skills lie in ninjutsu and kenjutsu, while his was mainly fuuinjutsu and ninjutsu. His methods were more silencing and precise while yours, although less subtle, is no less dangerous. You have the chakra to become great by yourself. I once heard you shouting that you wanted to become Hokage. So be a different Hokage than your father was."

"...Do you think I can do it? Overcome him i mean."

Hiashi turned to the blond and saw the long look. Naruto as expecting a positive answer. Of course, the boy always wanted recognition above all things.

"Three things are required for a good shinobi and those are skills, experience and leadership. Actually, with these two qualities, you're certain on your way to jounin level. What makes a shinobi worthy of receiving the position of Kage, though, it's the drive to be more than just a leader. When the village is in trouble, it's the Hokage who must step up and do what's right for the population. And sometimes sacrifices will have to be made. All the kages had sacrificed themselves for the village's welfare as you're aware of. I believe you're on your way yes Naruto, but taking up a kage's mantle is noble but a dangerous path. I know you screamed to the heavens about being the Hokage one day, but I believe that to this day, no one has ever told you what the job really entails."

Naruto was listening to every word the man in front of him was saying.

"Ever since i remember myself, Sandaime-jiji talked to me about a lot of things. Most of the time was for me to stop pranking people, but he would also teach me a thing or two about what it means to be a Hokage. I still want to become Hokage like him and my father; to protect the village and my loved ones as well." Hiashi nodded with a satisfied smile.

"Good, I was hoping that you wouldn't back down from your dream just because of the job's hardships. Now I feel more at ease with you dating my daughter."

Hiashi already knew what was going to happen next so he was already smiling in anticipation.

"DATING? I….." Naruto was so surprised that he didn't see a father's smile of joy. It was indeed fun to mess with his daughter's boyfriends.

"You mean you didn't take her to a proper date yet?"

Naruto knew the word, though perhaps this was the first time he heard his name and dating on the same sentence. Truth be told, when it came to these sort of things, Naruto had the same mastery as Maito Gai when it came to fashion sense. What it was worse about it, was that when he screamed the word, Hinata turned at their direction so fast that she almost couldn't avoid Hanabi's blow in time. Hiashi, for his part, was having way too much fun right now, but he decided to enlighten the clueless hero. He took only a minute to be amused at almost seeing a déjà vu happening right in front of him.

"Well, since you're so shocked at the word, I'd come out and say that you two haven't yet, huh?"

"Yeah, well I don't know it actually. We hang out a lot during spars and a few lunches, but I don't know if that even constitutes a date."

"It's not actually."

Hinata and Hanabi continued their spar while Hinata was confident that her father wouldn't screw things out with her and Naruto.

"Dating is when you take someone out for dinner, not going together for some ramen after training. I actually know a place that Hinata likes to go if you're interested. You can pick her up in about two hours." Naruto was looking at Hinata's father and wondering why he was being so nice to him about this dating thing. He half expected the man to give him a hard time because of his interaction with Hinata. Now, he is giving advices to Naruto. Truth was that Hiashi, even if some disagreed, was not a bad person. And he truly wished for his daughter's happiness. If that happiness lies with Naruto, then he would aid the poor boy. He knew that Naruto lacked guidance in almost everything aside from the shinobi world, so it wasn't so hard.

"Well, okay then, I can pick her up in two hours. I don't know what to do, though, in a date." Hiashi just smiled at the boy.

"Just take her to the place, show her a good time and perhaps even buy her something. That'll do for the first date."

===At Sunagakure===

Once Gaara and his siblings returned from the summit, they were informed of the Daimyo's position on the war.

Gaara wasn't surprised that the man had authorized the war against Akatsuki, because he knew how frightened the Daimyos were at the mention of Uchiha Madara's name. After being told of the situation, Gaara went back to his office and issued an order to the attending chunnin to give him a detailed report of the village's weapon storage and Sunagakure's entire shinobi program. Because of the war, every shinobi would be needed and thus those who were stationed abroad would have to be called back. Gaara went to his chair and took a seat as he tried to sort things out. The last events were too much for a young kage to handle, but Gaara had knowledge that far exceeded his experience in running his village.

Unfortunately, like all kages, Gaara didn't have the luxury of a couple minutes in peace. Baki had just entered, asking how the summons went.

"The alliance was formed and thus we need to form a report of our weapons and our shinobi. In a few days, I'll be leaving towards Kumo so that we can devise the battle strategy. Anything new happened since my departure?" Before answering the question, though, Baki had to smile a bit. He knew that as soon as he reported what happened, Gaara would jump in surprise.

"It is best that you follow me Kazekage-sama. We have two very important guests at our hospital that are requesting a special audience with you."

To that, Gaara just lifted his right eyebrow and asked their identities. Baki, though, just smiled.

"If I told you, you wouldn't believe me anyway. The first one is Tsunade, she had awakened from her comma. The other one…well…I ask that you follow me and see for yourself." Gaara took a moment to look at Baki, before getting up from his seat and followed his former sensei. Baki was cursing his existence right now, because he didn't have a camera with him to register the look of pure shock in his kage's eyes when he sees just who was sharing the room with Tsunade.

===At Tsunade and Jiraiya's Room===

After the tense moment, the two sannins were busy talking about things that occurred since Jiraiya's death.

However, most of their talk revolved around one person in common. Tsunade was made aware of the events by Jiraiya who forwarded to her the information given by Baki a couple weeks ago. Tsunade was proud of the boy who managed to defeat a man no one in Konoha could, but she couldn't help but be responsible for the destruction that Pein caused in Konoha: every blood spilled, every brick shattered, every hope lost of Konoha's survival.

"Naruto had surpassed a great load of expectations, hasn't he?" The reason behind Jiraiya's smile was his pride at Naruto that much was evident.

"He did, but I'm still afraid for his well-be…"

Tsunade was interrupted by a knock on the door before Baki and the Kazekage entered the room. As soon as Gaara stepped inside, he was looking at Jiraiya with wide eyes and open mouth. He didn't utter a single word nor did it appear that he was even breathing. He just stood there, looking at the perverted sannin as if he was hallucinating like Tsunade thought when she saw Jiraiya for the first time. Jiraiya figured that he would get the same reaction out of everyone he knew, so he just waited a couple of seconds so that Gaara could recover his focus. It actually took a long time for that, but eventually Gaara had returned to the real world and received an explanation as to why Jiraiya was still alive.

Gaara, then, explained to them what happened after the attack. He knew that upon mentioning Madara's name, that both Jiraiya and Tsunade would be shocked. Tsunade was perhaps the only one in the room who actually remembered who exactly Uchiha Madara was and why the man was so feared. Her heart reached for Naruto's and she was worried for his safety. If Madara was behind the Akatsuki, then he would be coming for Naruto eventually.

"I will inform Konoha immediately of your status Tsunade-sama. Kakashi has become the Rokudaime Hokage in your stead and he must be arriving shortly. Jiraiya-sama, should I tell them you're alive as well?" Jiraiya nodded his head negatively, though, with a smile on his face. He wanted to tell his student personally, not through a letter.

"No, I'll take care of that, thank you Kazekage-sama. As soon as Tsunade is ready to leave, we'll return to the village. Just tell me what had the alliance agreed on regarding the two last jinchuuriki?" Gaara nodded and explained.

"Both Naruto and the Hachibi Jinchuuriki will be taken to a hidden location chosen by the Raikage. It was agreed that it was best to protect them rather than using them at the front lines, even if Madara has the power of the other seven tailed beasts. Actually, the Tsushikage was the only one against the idea, but he was outvoted. Kakashi-san will deliver the news to Naruto as soon as he arrives in Konoha. I guess that he'll select a couple of jounins to escort Naruto towards the location, so if you two wish to be with him, it's better to at least tell Kakashi about it."

Tsunade was surprised that she would have agreed with the Tsushikage regarding the jinchuurikis.

Jiraiya, though, found it better to protect them and use them later when the enemy's strength is fully revealed.

"I'll tell Kakashi to place both Tsunade and me along with Naruto. I still think that Yamato will be chosen. I'm sure that Tsunade agrees with me."

Tsunade nodded and Gaara left, so that he could write the letter to the Hokage.

===At Konoha===

As instructed by Hiashi, Naruto returned to the compound two hours later and picked Hinata for their first date.

The restaurant that Hiashi told him about was actually one of the few that was rebuilt, but that's only because the Hyuuga Clan paid for the reconstruction. As soon as the new couple arrived, they were guided by the waiter to a table located on the far corner of the room. Like Hiashi instructed, Naruto bought something for Hinata. After leaving his tent, he went to Yamanaka Clan's shop and asked for something to buy for Hinata. Naruto remembered how static the woman was that Naruto finally returned Hinata's feelings that she took fifteen minutes, going through every flower in her store to fix the perfect flower arrangement for Hinata.

The Hyuuga chunnin was so excited about the flowers that she almost fainted on the spot.

She didn't know what Naruto and her father talked about, only that Naruto one time shouted the word 'dating' in surprise. Whatever it was, she enjoyed it immensely. The fact that Naruto brought her to her favorite restaurant was evidence that her father told him this because she never spoke of this place to him. Other than that, though, she didn't know what else her father and Naruto talked about. The date was progressing nicely and Hinata was enjoying the fact that they were talking about other things besides training. She knew how much Naruto enjoyed this particular subject, but to her surprise, he was telling her about his exploits during his three year training with Jiraiya of the Sannin. Hinata could see how much Naruto cared for him, by seeing the smile on his face. His laughter was contagious as he told her of the time he had to save Jiraiya from getting kicked in the nuts by a mob of angry women in Lightning Country. Also the time when Jiraiya had to flee from a city in Earth Country when he was caught flirting with a dignitary's wife.

"You really liked him didn't you Naruto-kun?"

Hinata was smiling at him upon asking and Naruto felt his heart doing the same thing once more. Her beauty just illuminated the room, he thought.

"Yeah, I did. I…." Naruto was interrupted when he turned to the left and saw his old sensei there with the Hokage's hat looking at them.

"Kakashi-sensei…excuse me Hokage-sama, what are you doing here?" The fact that Kakashi was flanked by two Anbus, sent both Naruto and Hinata on edge.

"I already told you to call me sensei Naruto. I'm glad you finally asked Hinata out. However, I'm afraid you must come with me to the Hokage's Office. You can come too Hinata, if you want to." Both chunnins nodded and followed Kakashi out of the restaurant. Kakashi had received Suna's courier hawk a few miles from Konoha and he was terribly shocked at the news of what happened in Sunagakure. The man didn't know how Naruto was going to react once he heard of it. Not to mention the fact that he too had news to tell him, albeit a bad one. He supposed that he should tell Naruto the bad one first, before moving on for what probably should be the best news right now. He would have to call in Aoba and Gai as well to escort Naruto towards the hidden location. The other two would meet them on the way.