Chapter 20

As the three teammates followed Shikamaru they talked amongst themselves of what was going to happen. Boruto thought maybe they would be on some really lame Mission that for some reason the Hokage found important for them to do. Mitsuki speculated it maybe was not a mission but something about Sarada and her Sharingan. The idea of them meeting about the Uchiha had all three of them on edge. Sarada wondered why once again the attention was on her, without her being warned first. The idea of anything being about her was silly at this point, but she decided she better not rule that possibility out in her head as she walked through the village at the heel of the Hokage's advisor.

"Almost there" Shikamaru spoke calmly as they passed a number of shops, and a number of people looking at them as they walked. From just a couple shops up the street came a clone of the Hokage.

"They are up ahead. Can I take Sarada though?" The clone spoke to Shikamaru. Shikamaru nodded and stepped aside.

"Mitsuki and Boruto let's get going." Shikamaru motioned for them to hurry ahead.

"Hokage?" Sarada looked up at the clone.

"I imagine you three have been trying to figure out why exactly we are meeting like this…" The clone glanced around to see who was around them.

"Of course." Sarada half laughed. She looked around to see what the Hokage was looking for. Sarada turned her attention back to him after a moment of not really noticing anything out of the usual. The clone smiled down at her. He jerked his head toward the street behind him. Sarada had not ever remembered walking through this street before. It seemed more like an alley way. It was narrow and just the sort of place she would not want to find herself wandering down on her own. Both of them walked into the narrow way.

"What is going on Hokage?" Sarada reached her hand out to his arm. The clone gently placed his hand over hers, and gave her a warm smile.

"There is a lot to discuss. I just wanted to meet with you before you got to the meeting spot. We can go this way…"

As they walked, the both of them kept their hands at their sides. Sarada watched the clone walk and stayed at his heel. She wondered why she had to be pulled away from her team like this. At the end of the alleyway was Kakashi Sensei perched on a cement half wall. Sarada felt even more confused. She looked at Kakashi.

"You have been doing so well with your Sharingan, Sarada." The Hokage glanced at her, and then turned his attention to Kakashi.

"So quick at learning, much like your mom." Kakashi complimented Sarada.

"Uhm… Thank you…" Sarada felt lost.

"I assumed this was why you have been watching her training from a distance." Kakashi nodded.

"Why? What is going on?" Sarada butted in hoping for answers.

"Your father is here." The Clone spoke seriously and his tone gave off an air of distraction. The clone's thoughts seemed to be elsewhere at the moment.

"My dad?" Sarada asked unsure of what was going on even still.

"Yep. The Hokage and him are over in the abandoned field sparring while waiting for you and your teammates." Kakashi thought for a moment. "Come to think of it though… when were those two NOT sparring. It feels like they were always fighting and trying to outdo one another." Kakashi rolled his eyes and shrugged.

"And why is he here?" Sarada asked.

"Well… Your Sharingan Sarada." Kakashi spoke in matter of fact sort of way.

"I don't get it." Sarada looked and felt even more confused then when this conversation first started.

The clone of the Hokage placed a hand on Sarada's shoulder, and looked over Sarada's face. Sarada's eyes met his. Kakashi stood up and stretched his arms over his head and turned his back to the two as he gave into the feeling of the stretch.

"His hawk came last night" The clone hesitated for a moment trying to find a way to say what he needed to say.

"Come on then…" Kakashi turned around and jerked his head in the direction of the abandoned field.

"yeah..." The clone nodded, and removed his hand from Sarada's shoulder.

"And what did the hawk bring?" Sarada questioned the clone as they walked.

"He is requesting you…" The clone said in a hushed tone.

"Me?" Sarada mouthed in silence. The clone nodded.

"But why me?" Sarada questioned him as The clone looked to the sky and watched the cloud shift.

"You see I have had this feeling for weeks that something was going on with Sasuke…" The clone looked toward Kakashi wondering how much he could hear if the two behind him were speaking in hushed voices.

"Oh.." Sarada looked to Kakashi as well. She thought that she better not say anything about the secret that she and Hokage shared while Kakashi was anywhere near them, even if they were whispering.

"I sent word to him about a week ago, but as usual there was no response from him, but instead a note from Suigetsu last night." The clone took a deep breath. Sarada listened wanting to know more. It explained the distance between the two of them had been having the last couple of weeks. Sarada wondered what could possibly have given the Hokage that feeling he had about her dad.

"What did he say?" Sarada asked as the two of them turned the corner after Kakashi.

"It just said… He is coming to the leaf." The clone stopped walking. He looked down at Sarada and their eyes met.

"But why?" Sarada still didn't understand a thing about this whole situation. "Why would he come here for me?"

Kakashi turned to Sarada and the clone. Sarada looked over at Kakashi, then back at the clone. As her eyes met the clone's again, he vanished. She felt disappointed that his clone jutsu would release right this moment. She glared into the absence of the clone. She turned to Kakashi.

"You will know soon enough, Sarada." Kakashi said. He pointed to the field across the walk way. "I have been instructed to stay here in case the Seventh needs me. Please go on ahead. I am sure your father has been waiting long enough."

Sarada nodded and walked passed Kakashi. She tried to keep her cool on her way up the grassy hill leading up the field. It had been a while since she felt irritation like this surface, and she was not looking forward to losing control of her temper. She looked up at the open field and saw Boruto and Mitsuki standing beside Shikamaru. The three of them facing the Hokage and her father. As she approached everyone she could hear the usual excitement in Boruto's voice to be faced with some one he admired, or looked up to in the slightest. The Hokage looked over at Sarada, which in turn had everyone glancing over at her. Sarada put her hands nervously together, and she looked at the Hokage, and then her dad.

"Shikamaru… Thank you." The Hokage nodded to him. Shikamaru stared at Sasuke for a moment trying to figure out if he should stay or not, but as instructed by the Hokage, turned on his heel and walked back toward the village.

"Interesting." Sasuke looked at Sarada and noticed the lack of surprise to see him. Boruto and Mitsuki were clearly surprised to see that is was Sasuke in the village. Sarada shifted on her feet and did not say anything to her dad, but instead looked into his dark eyes. She tried to think of why the Hokage would have a strange feeling about her dad, and what exactly that feeling could be about.

"Sarada, we need to talk." Sasuke took a step toward her. Sarada looked over at her teammates, and then at the Hokage. She bit the inside of her lip trying to keep her cool. She side stepped to her teammates. Boruto watched her, and noted the standoffish action. He thought Sarada would be happy to see her dad again. Boruto looked to the Hokage. The Hokage also watched Sarada's action. Sasuke looked to the Hokage.

"What did you tell her?" Sasuke's tone cold, and accusing.

"That you are here." The Hokage looked at Sasuke.

"Have you seen mom yet?" Sarada changed the subject from accusing the Hokage of anything to her mom.

"Not yet…Why didn't you tell her I was here, Hokage?" Sasuke looked toward the village.

"That is not the Hokage's job." Sarada spoke up feeling defiance surfacing. She looked at her dad trying to figure out his motives. The Hokage's eyes moved to Sasuke watching him. He didn't say anything. Boruto looked at Sarada puzzled. He wondered if that tone in her voice is the way he sounded when he talked to his father.

"But it is his job to… Privately tell you that I am here?" Sasuke's eyes met his daughters and he probed her emotions with the question. His eyes searched hers for the emotional attachment she had for the Hokage. Boruto studied the interactions of the Uchihas and his brow became furrowed.

"It is neither my job, but my courtesy to your daughter. She, unlike Sakura, is new to having her father in her life." The Hokage walked to the younger adults. He stepped behind Boruto so that he was closer to Sarada, and also facing Sasuke.

"Courtesy… of course, Naruto." Sasuke chuckled. Mitsuki and Boruto exchanged faces. Hardly anyone was so confident in themselves to just address the Hokage by his first name; Even if they had known him his whole life. They still had enough respect for the title, and maybe even the person wearing the cloak.

"You weren't even going to tell her you are here, were you?" Sarada took a small step back so that her and Boruto were standing side by side.

"I need to talk to you… what I have to say and do doesn't involve her." Sasuke stepped toward Sarada.

"What do you need to tell me?" Sarada put her hands at he sides, and her fingers curled in to fists.

"Send your teammates away." Sasuke smiled.

"Why can't they stay?" Sarada leaned just enough that her arm brushed against Boruto's.

"You are making this more difficult than it needs to be…" Sasuke raised his eyebrows. "I guess that is to be expected from anyone on Team 7." Sasuke looked around the field for a moment, and he looked annoyed at the Hokage.

"I suspect Kakashi is here somewhere too." Sasuke narrowed his eyes. Naruto half smiled, and he placed his hands on the shoulder of both Mitsuki and Boruto. The boys looked over at the Hokage. Naruto told them to walk to the edge of the grass to give Sasuke some kind of privacy for the moment. Boruto started to say something, but Sarada elbowed him. Boruto mumbled "fine" and the two walked off to the edge of the grass.

"Just get on with it Sasuke." The Hokage spoke impatiently. Sarada took a deep breath hearing the Hokage's impatience.

"I need your Sharingan, Sarada." Sasuke spoke irritably.

"Why?" Sarada glared at him.

"You two…" Sasuke growled. "I need your help. What do you think I need it for?" Sasuke narrowed his eyes at Naruto. Sarada thought about that feeling Naruto said he had about her dad. She bit the inside of her lip waiting on more information.

"Is it related to the tech ninja?" the Hokage asked.

"Yes. Sarada just look at me, and trust me. I need a Sharingan that has not been tainted by destructive intent." Sasuke pulled from his cloak pocket a scroll, and tossed it to his daughter. Sarada caught it and unraveled it. It was a map of a tower. On the bottom of the map was a description that was written in recently. She looked over the words and thought carefully about what it meant.

"A mission?" the Hokage questioned Sasuke.

"Yes. What is wrong with everyone in this village? You guys think I am here to what? …kidnap my own kid?" Sasuke's voice accusing the Hokage again.

"Why didn't you tell us you were coming then?"

"Why do you think?" Sasuke pointed to his forehead. "Rogue ninja, you idiot."

"Not good enough, Sasuke." The Hokage looked at the scroll Sarada was holding. "I let you in when you said you needed to speak with her, but to take her away… I should have known my gut feeling was right."

"Where is this tower?" Sarada asked.

"Unclaimed lands in the north west… it is a long journey…" Sasuke addressed his daughter, and then turned his attention to his old teammate. "…and I am not taking her. It is her choice. I need her Sharingan. She is the only one I can call on. You know it is not like I have a family of Uchiha to call on… you must how that goes, Uzumaki…" Sasuke huffed.

The Orange Hokage looked sternly at Sasuke. Sarada could feel the tension in the air when both family names were spoken about in the way that her dad mentioned them. Sarada shifted on her feet trying to decide what she should do. She looked over at her teammates, who were waiting on her. She looked over at her father.

I need to really think about this… really… Go on some crazy mission with my dad who I barely know. Naruto says he trusts my dad, but whenever they are around each other they are acting like this. Is Naruto just being protective of the village and the people in the village… or is there any suspicion of bad intentions. Oh brother…here we go… once again… my life was going great! Why? Why does all this stuff happen when I am happy… is there something out there working against my happiness. I mean sure my life was a little scattered, secret, forbidden…but I have been happy these last couple months. I even managed to get things sorted with my mom…

Sarada's thoughts carried on. She got lost in thinking about things always working against her, and how coincidental it is that almost every time her misery is at its lowest is when it involves the mention or appearance of her father.

"Sarada…" The Hokage placed a hand on her shoulder. Sarada snapped out of her thoughts. "It is a lot to take in. I can see that."

Sarada glanced at the hand on her shoulder. She wanted so bad to turn to the Hokage and look deeply in to his eyes to find answers. She gulped down trying to subdue the feelings for the Hokage that were surfacing. She looked over at her dad.

"I can't just decide now. I need to talk to my team…" Sarada nodded to her mates, and then looked back at her dad, "and You need to see mom."

Sasuke closed his eyes in annoyance.

"You said you miss her…" Sarada felt tears creep into her eyes. She recalled the first time she met him. How could he act so cold toward her?...

Sasuke opened his eyes at her words. He could hear the emotion in her voice. The Hokage moved his hand from Sarada's shoulder, and motioned for Boruto and Mitsuki to return to them. Boruto and Mitsuki did not hesitate to return to Sarada's side.

"How about this… You go find Sakura… Tell her whatever you need to tell her… Let Sarada decide what she wants to do." The Hokage looked over Sasuke's expression.

"Fine…" Sasuke raised a hand to Hokage. "Sarada… It is important. You could help me take out the person behind these thieves of prowess. Do not let anyone here hold you back."

-3—

For Sarada it felt weird to even think about stepping foot on the Uzumaki property. Every time she was invited over by Boruto she would always have a reason or excuse out of it. She avoided it, or opted to wait outside when she needed to meet up for a mission or something. Tonight, seemed to be a different case. She got chills walking through the village thinking about what her dad was asking of her. She looked over at Boruto who was trying to understand what the Hokage was talking about. It had been about half and hour since they left the field. Sasuke was to meet with Sakura right now. Sarada was trying to imagine the look on her mom's face when she saw Sasuke. Sarada had to decide whether she wanted to commit to a mission with her dad. This, of course, was a huge decision, and she needed to think it through. She found herself being guided in to going back to the Hokage's home to talk as a team with Boruto and Mitsuki. The Hokage accompanied them as they made their way to the home.

As the Hokage, Mitsuki, and Boruto walked up the walkway to the home of the Uzumakis; Sarada froze at the edge of the yard. She got a chill on her arm thinking about being inside that home. That is the Hokage's home…Naruto's home… Sarada bit the inside of her lip. She tried to think about why she was here… She had to focus now. She managed to pick up her feet and walk up the walkway.

As she walked in to the home she recalled the same feeling she had the first time she had been in the home. It was the same as she remembered it, except there were toys scattered around the home. The Hokage motioned for everyone to meet in his office down the hall.

"It's pretty serious if he is inviting us in here…" Boruto said sarcastically.

"This is serious, son." The Hokage led them in. "Sit down and let's talk about this."

Sarada looked around trying to think about anything but the sudden feeling of being quite literally in the middle of the Hokage's personal life. She took a deep breath as she got the dizzying feeling that all she right now was Lady Hinata to burst through the door and make this feel even more awkward. It felt overwhelming… her dad showing up… wanting her to go run off on a mission with him… being brought into the Uzumaki home… looking into the Hokage's eyes and trying not to lose her cool. Back to the same ol' Sarada that she used to be.

"It would seem that this is Sarada's decision." Mitsuki spoke up, which Sarada was thankful for as her thoughts were getting her all worked up again.

"What are you talking about? She is a part of our team. We should be telling her… "Boruto started to speak, and he caught his dad's eyes as he finished his thought. "…We want to help you make a decision. We are a team. Let's work this out…"

The Hokage smiled at his son. For a moment Sarada would not have known that was Boruto speaking because it sounded so selfless.

"But that is not our father calling on us to go… it is hers." Mitsuki looked at Boruto confused. "It is not like we have been given a mission from the Hokage."

The room fell silent at Mitsuki's words. Sarada thought to herself about her teammate's words. I mean sure Mitsuki had a point. He wasn't being a jerk or anything. It was true… this was something coming from her family, it wasn't a ranked mission from the Hokage. She looked down at her hands in her lap. She could see her hands trembling thinking about her options, her views of her teammates being split, and the thought still lingering in her mind that she was sitting in the Hokage's home. She could feel the eyes of the Hokage, Boruto and Mitsuki looking to her.

"Well… what if I did make it a mission?" The Hokage spoke as if he was in thought. Sarada looked up at the Hokage wide eyed.

"Yes! Then we have to!" Boruto made a fist in the air out of excitement. He grinned widely and Mitsuki nodded at the Hokage.

"I could not ask that of you, Hokage." Sarada bit the inside of her lip again. She could not ask that of anyone in this village. She herself didn't even know what she was to do.

"You know how Shikamaru is. He is all about Strategies. We met before we called on you guys. Shikamaru thought of as many outcomes as he could." The Hokage took a deep breath. "We concluded that if your father was looking to take you from the village there had to be conditions… terms… I sent a clone to Lady Hinata and the clone that met with you in the alleyway had just been with Sakura… Your mom."

A foxlike grin crossed the Hokage's face. Sarada could not help but let a smile cross her face seeing his grin. She hoped the warmth in her cheeks was not showing.

"But you told my dad that she didn't know?" Sarada mentioned as she tried to keep her attention off the look on the Hokage's face.

"Did you really think Shikamaru and I would just let him come through the Leaf making demands without telling Sakura he was here?"

The Hokage rubbed the back of his head, "She would kill me!"

"So… It is a mission!?" Boruto's voice chimed in, in its usual happy way when something was going his way, or in his favor. Boruto grinned at his dad waiting for a reply.

"If Sarada is okay with it being a mission then it is an official B-Rank mission." The Hokage was now looking at his son.

"B-Rank? Like spying and assassinations?" Mitsuki looked at the Hokage with a hint of confusion in his voice.

The Hokage waved at hand at Mitsuki's words, "Not every B-Rank mission is going to have all that, but given that we do not know all the details of the mission, Shikamaru and I have special instructions for the three of you. On top of assisting Sasuke… We want intel on what Sasuke is doing, and who he is up against."

Sarada's mind was swimming with ideas… the Hokage and Lady Hinata would send their son on a mission like this and label it a mission to make it official…just for one girl in the village who has daddy issues… Boruto and Mitsuki would go through with this for her… Sarada thought about everything that she was hearing. She could not understand why this was happening to her again. She felt torn about what she should do. She wanted to help her dad. He seemed like he was doing something that could help other ninja across the land. She felt like she didn't want to help him, because well…When did he ever come to her aid when she needed a father in her life… where was he when I needed him…

Sarada lowered her head to her hands and closed her eyes as she felt another dizzying feeling. She pushed her glasses up on her head band and buried her face in her hands.

"Sarada…" Mitsuki looked over at her.

"Hey… Sarada!" Boruto turned to her, and put a hand on her arm.

The Hokage stood up and knelt in front of Sarada. He looked up at her, and he recalled the last time she was overwhelmed over her father. He wondered if she activated her Sharingan again. He looked at the rest of Team 7. He jerked his head slightly to the door, silently telling them to leave the room. Boruto did not question his father like he normally would. Both Mitsuki and Boruto left he room and shut the door behind them. Naruto bit his lip looking up at the young Uchiha.

"Sarada… it's a lot to take in, I know…" His voice quiet, and comforting.

"Hokage…" Sarada's shaky voice spoke from behind her hands.

"Sh… Don't worry about saying anything right now." The Seventh placed a hand on Sarada's knee and his thumb caressed the curve of her leg that led to her inner leg. Sarada slowly lowered her fingers from her eyes and looked down into the Hokage's eyes. For a few moments they sat silently looking into one another's eyes.

"Why would you make Boruto go?" Sarada stared wide eyed at the Hokage. To the Hokage's relief there was no Sharingan looking back at him. Naruto half smiled. Sarada felt confused by his smile.

"Because I can't." The Hokage blinked his eyes and Sarada could see the glassy look in his eyes. He has tears in his eyes…

"Naruto…" Sarada said in a hushed tone. "How did you know I was going to go?"

Naruto's smile softened, and he blinked his eyes again, and this time tear drops collected in the corner of his eyes. Sarada's hands lowered further from her face, and one hand found his, and held his fingers comfortingly. She could see the look on his face. She didn't know how he knew, because she herself didn't quite know herself. The Hokage took a deep breath, and tears trailed down his face. He lowered his head, and with his free hand he wiped the tears from his eyes.

Sarada looked over the Seventh's body posture, and thought about how well planned and prepped the Hokage had been today. She put a hand on his head, and caressed his short blond hair.

"You were going to talk me into it, weren't you?" Sarada's voice crackling as she herself was now fighting back tears in her eyes. Her hand moved from his hair as the Hokage looked back up at Sarada. He nodded, and gulped down the urge to whimper.

"But why?" Sarada looked over his face wondering why he would send her off like that.

Naruto didn't reply right away. He moved his hand from her leg. He sat on his feet, and put his hands on his legs. He looked into her eyes. Sarada felt like he is looking for something. She could feel something was different. She bit her lip waiting for his words.

Naruto's eyes lowered and found focus on Sarada's hands as they messed with the hem on her khaki shorts.

"Sarada you are very skilled, and are very smart." He looked up into her eyes. "You do not need me to tell you yet again, how important family is. Sure, your father may have his reasons for not being here for you… but in his own strange way he is reaching out to you now. Your childhood has come to an end. You have learned so much from us here in the village."

Sarada saw tears forming in the Hokage's eyes again.

"You should go with him, and try and learn from him. He is a selfish, cocky bastard… but he is my best friend… I wouldn't have believed he would ever walk in to this village requesting you to accompany him, unless he felt something that day you two met for the first time." Naruto wanted to say more, but he was feeling his heart weighing down on the other things he was trying to work himself up to say.

Sarada's fingers continued to pick at the hem of her shorts, and she lowered her eyes to her legs as she tried to think of what she should say. This moment was making her recall the first and second times she had ever met alone with the Hokage. She recalled him mentioning the importance of family… how he grew up without his family… how he wanted to be there for Sarada whenever she needed him. She closed her eyes feeling hear emotions for the Hokage build up in her as she recalled the scent of his skin, the way he smirked at her… the way he told her to call him by his name… Sarada's eyes shut tighter as she brought her hands to her face again.

The Hokage moved to sit beside Sarada. His body was turned enough that he could comfortably wrap an arm around her. He leaned his body in against hers, and brushed his nose against her earlobe. The warmth of his breath danced along her ear and jawline. Sarada lightly turned her head to encourage the Hokage to continue the small intimate gesture. Sarada couldn't think of anything to say. She didn't want to say anything else.

"I will miss every moment we have had alone with each other" The Hokage whispered into her ear. His lips brushed the curve of her ear lobe.

"Naruto…" Sarada breathed; her voice filled with emotion.

"Please Sarada…"

Sarada's fingers rubbed the tears from her eyes. She could not hold back the tears as Naruto's voice was so heartfelt and clearly expressing how close the two of them had become. Sarada whimpered trying to gather her thoughts and come up with something to say. She turned her head to Naruto. Both of them looked into each other's eyes. Sarada wanted to tell him that she didn't want to go because she didn't want to be without him. She wanted to tell him, why can't you just make a clone to go with us. She parted her lips to try and get out the words she wanted to say.

"I will go," Sarada turned her eyes to the desk in front of her. She backed out of telling him what was on her heart. There was a soft smile on Naruto's face as he moved her arm from around Sarada. He bit his bottom lip as he turned his attention to his desk too.

There was a moment or two while neither of them said a word to each other. Naruto could tell there was more to what Sarada wanted to say, but he didn't pry. He too had a thing or two things he still wanted to tell her, but he himself could not bring himself to say them. He knew what he had to say would break her heart. He bit the inside of his bottom lip hard as he tried to regain his composure.

-3—

Meeting Sasuke back on the abandoned field was something that Sarada, and Naruto were not looking forward to, but Mitsuki and Boruto seemed intrigued by the idea of this mission. Hinata and Himawari took an extra ten minutes giving Boruto affection and love. Boruto joked that he had enough hugs from them to last the whole trip. Sarada watched as Sakura told Sasuke a long list of things she expects from this mission, and one of those things was that her daughter returns to the village safely. Sakura bowed her head with a blush to Sasuke, and turned to her daughter. Sarada listened to her mom talk about old Team 7, and being safe, and remember all her Medical Ninja training…and a bunch of other very worrisome, and motherly things. The Hokage ruffled his son's hair and gave him a fist bump. Boruto grinned brightly at his dad. Boruto was so happy to see his dad trusting him on such a mission as this one.

"Sarada… Before you go… Please take this note… it is for you… please when your find camp and after everything settles down…when you can steal away a moment or two… read it… Please… don't let anyone get a hold of it." The Hokage spoke quietly to Sarada, and tried his best to pass on the note without anyone catching on.

"Yes Hokage." Sarada Nodded, and tucked the note into her head band. As Sarada turned on her heel to walk to walk to her father and other teammates; she heard the Hokage "psst" to her. Sarada looked over at him.

He smirked: "Thank You."

The smile on Sarada's face was a bittersweet one, that was accompanied by tears. The Hokage returned the same smile. He took a long deep breath as he turned to Sasuke who was turning to get Sakura off his arm. Sakura was asking him for one more hug.

"Sasuke." Naruto looked the man in the eyes and with the most serious face he had ever name gave Sasuke one request. "Bring Team 7 back safely."

Sasuke narrowed his eyes. The only reason he even let Boruto and Mitsuki come was because it was the only way Sarada would go, the only way Sakura would let Sarada go, and the only way the Orange Hokage would let Sarada go. Naruto turned to Himawari, and Hinata. He glanced back at Boruto, Mitsuki, and Sarada. The three young adults turned to Sasuke and Sasuke, already irritated with his situation, led them out of the village.

-3-

Travelling with the three younger ninjas was going to prove to be a feat for Sasuke. He felt a twinge in his eyebrow every time Boruto started going off on a rant. Sasuke wondered to himself if this was an Uzumaki trait… That there has to always be one big mouth that just doesn't know when to shut their mouths. Sasuke thought that Mitsuki was not so bad to have around, aside from the Orochimaru vibes that he gave off. Then there was Sarada. He could feel there was something off with her. He expected her to ask him questions, and possibly irritate him as well… but she stayed quiet most of the time they travelled. She spoke when spoken to, and she threatened Boruto at least twice about being louder than he needed to be. Sasuke could tell that Boruto and Sarada had grown closer since the last time he had seen the two of them together.

Sarada felt a gloom over her as she instinctively followed the person in front of her. It seemed second nature to her. Mission after mission she would make way through the trees and roads all around the Hidden Leaf. Sarada's heart felt heavy as she thought about the Hokage, and every moment she had had with him. Her eyes stayed focused on the trail ahead of her, but her heart was aching thinking about when the next time she would find herself in the leaf.

"The sun's low." Mitsuki stated as he could tell the pace of travelling was slowing.

"We still have light." Sasuke pushed them on.

They continued moving on their way till the sun was barely peaking in the horizon. Boruto groaned holding his stomach, and realizing just how hungry he was, because he refused rations so they could spend less time on breaks. Sarada had warned him he would be starving, but Boruto waved his hand at her.

"We will rest here… As soon as there is light in the morning we will be on our way." Sasuke instructed the three with him.

As everyone set up their own little space to sleep, Sarada looked at her father. He hadn't tried to talk to her at all as they travelled. Sasuke made eye contact with her, and Sarada lowered her head. She wondered how pissed he was that Boruto and Mitsuki were there with them.

"Sarada." Sasuke walked to his daughter.

"Yeah." Sarada took off her backpack and started making herself seem busy, now that her father was near her.

"If you need the scroll for this mission just ask for it." Sasuke watched as Sarada removed her small sleeping bag.

"Sure, okay." Sarada glanced over at her father, and then turned her attention back to getting her sleeping spot ready.

"...and.." Sasuke was never good with the small talk, or the thanking of people… "Thank you for doing this."

"Well… It is like you told Nanadaime: you need my Sharingan. I am the only one you can call on and it is not like you have a family of Uchiha to call on…" Sarada tried her best to recall his exact words, and sound as in control of her emotions as possible.

The truth be told Sarada was not feeling all that great about being on this mission now that it sank in that she would be going months, possibly, without seeing the Hokage. She thought about her mom, and what she was thinking about this mission. She realized amidst everything happening she did not really get a chance to have a heart to heart talk with her mom. She listened to her mom tell her how she was wrong to try and keep Sarada from her father in the past, but she just didn't know what to say or do when it came to him. She told Sarada how this might be a good experience for Sasuke to be around other people. Sarada told her mom that Boruto would be the limit for her father. Sakura reassured her daughter If your father has gone all these years without killing our Seventh… I am sure Boruto is fine.

Sasuke watched his daughter for a moment more and then turned away without saying another word. He was not going to engage in that. He felt irritation that there was so much hostility over this whole situation.

Boruto and Sarada passed around some rations, and Mitsuki made sure everyone had plenty of water. Boruto tried to engage Sasuke in conversation, but every attempt at getting him to open up resulted in short to the point answers that gave off an air of don't you dare dig deeper.

"Maybe we should get rest to be sure we are ready for the morning" Sarada suggested. She could tell her dad was not the talking type. She remembered how she all to often would choose not to engage in conversation, but instead listen to everything being said. She used to spend a lot of time observing. She could tell her father was trying to figure the three of them out.

"Rest. Right!" Boruto nodded, and yawned loudly. Sarada elbowed Boruto in the ribs as Boruto's arm stretched over his head. He let out a yelp.

"Oops. Sorry. I didn't realize you were so close." She grinned. Boruto let out a heh-heh-heh. Mitsuki let a small smile cross his lips. He moved to his spot where hew as sleeping. He glanced over at the older Uchiha. Mitsuki still found himself fascinated by the Uchiha's prowess. The older Uchiha let a faint smug expression creep on his face.

"I will keep watch." Sasuke noted as he stood to his feet and walked away to make a perimeter check.

"Of course, he is." Boruto shook his head.

"Don't waste your sarcasm on him." Sarada crawled in to her sleeping bag. She actually was feeling pretty exhausted. She had not realized just how much ground they covered in the last couple hours until now. Her feet felt sore, and her eyelids heavy.

"No sneaking off." Mitsuki warned Boruto as all three of them laid their heads down.

"Sneaking off? I wouldn't do that." He chuckled.

"But your clones would. No clones either." Sarada chimed in.

"You guys think you're so clever." Boruto groaned that both his teammates were picking on him. Sarada laughed, and then yawned sleepily.

She turned on her back when she realized her headband was still on. She felt silly as the knot in the back dug uncomfortably into her head. She lifted her head, and untied it. As she pulled the headband down her face, a piece of paper fell on her face. She got startled thinking it was a bug. She grabbed at the thing tickling her face when she realized it was a note.

She pushed her head band away. She rolled over so her back was to her teammates. She lifted the sleeping bag over her ears, and covered her face as much as she could. She brought the paper to her lips, and kissed the paper softly as she said "Naruto" as quietly as she possibly could. Her lips brushed the paper, and she found there was a faint scent on the page. She smiled knowing right away it was the faint scent of the Hokage's favorite food, Ramen.

She knew it was much too dark to try and read the note, especially with her teammates around. She told herself she would just have to get to it in the morning. As she closed her eyes she breathed in any scents she could get off the paper that was lightly pressed to her lips. After a moment she took the paper and buried it deeply into her shorts pocket and told herself that first thing in the morning she would find a way to read the note.

-3-

The next day came all too quickly for Sarada. She groaned miserably realizing her dream was just that; a dream. She rubbed her eyes feeling for her glasses and headband. She hastily put them on as she sat up. She slowly crawled form her sleeping bag and started putting everything away. She glanced around to see her teammates still very much asleep. She looked across the way to see her Father slouched with he back to her. She wondered if he was asleep.

She packed up her backpack and looked to her father again. He was still in the same position so she could only assume he was asleep or concentrating on something. Sarada reached in to her pocket and pulled out her note. It was a little more worn from spending the night in her pocket. She bit her lip unfolding it and finding the Hokage's handwriting on the page. She began to read:

Sarada,
I need to tell you something that I just could not bring myself to say as you and I sat in my home the other night. Please give my words thought, and do not harbor ill feelings or emotion toward me. This has been hard on me too.
There was another reason for you to go on with your father, and I knew the only thing that would work for everyone was to make it a team mission…

I know how you might take this so take a deep breath and try and keep a clear mind.

By taking this mission I want you to move on. I want you to clear your mind of thoughts of me. It pains me to request such a thing from you, but it should be done. You know there is so much in this world for you to explore… there are so many people you can meet, and grow close to… You deserve some one that can give you their hearts entirely.

I have grown to think about you in free time. My mind has drifted from work to daydreams in which you and I find ourselves alone… the scent of your skin filling my senses as if you were here with me. I find myself biting on my lip hearing you say 'Hokage', or calling me by name. I never thought I would find someone saying my name as arousing as I do when you say it.

I hope you can understand the dilemma we keep finding ourselves in. You are a very smart person, and I am sure I do not need to express the consequences of our actions if anyone is to find out of how close we have become.

I will miss the way you have opened up to me, more than anything. It will be painful I know. Your heart must already be in pieces. I want to be there in person to pick up those pieces, but I can't.

Your Hokage,
Naruto Uzumaki

I look forward to you all returning safely.

Tears fell from Sarada's face and unto the note as she finished reading the last part of the note.

!Fin!

A/N:

Don't hate me for ending it like that. Gosh… I hated ending this!
I plan on writing some NaruSara oneshots in the future.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone that has favorited and followed me! You guys kept me going, and I probably could have done like 50 more chapters of this one- I felt this fanfiction might have overstayed it's welcome ONLY because I am not used to writing long stories like this!

Thanks again guys! You are the best!