Forgiveness of a Kitsune

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. If I did then there would have been serious changes made to the story.

Chapter 13

Despite certain debt issues that had to be cleared up with a little help from Boss Jirocho, the group that consisted of almost all kunoichi managed to leave the town in relative peace. Kaiya and Kushina seemed to have declared a prank war on each other and it tested the patience of everyone. Tsunade, Shizune, Tonton, Rin, and even Jiraiya, after he was fished out of the hot spring, couldn't figure out the reason for the prank war between Kushina and Kaiya. However, the pranks were at least small scale and harmless in nature. Luckily for everyone, the only targets in the pranks were Kaiya and Kushina. It wasn't clear who started the little war though Rin did notice that Kushina had a smug look on her face when Kaiya had reported her new toothpaste being a little spicy. If one calls a little spicy to be enough to cause Kaiya to literally breathe fire in the middle of nowhere that is. Kushina soon felt Kaiya's retaliation in the form of feeling a strong need to go to the bathroom. Too bad for her she had to use the bushes. Kaiya's cool attitude seemed a little too cool at that time. Eventually they agreed to a truce when it was realized that the prank war was slowing them down.

To make up for lost time, Kaiya used her fox form to transport everyone. It was an interesting trip even though Kaiya's speed made it rather short. The trees they passed by seemed like more of a blur and if one were to look up then they'd be treated to the unique view of the sky. The sky was like some one had used a scroll as a canvas and continuously opened it at a steady pace. While it would have taken days to reach Konoha on foot, the actual time it took was just a few hours much to the disappointment of everyone. Fortunately, Kaiya's path was free of people even though she did literally scare the crap out of a few wild animals. None dared block Kaiya's path or attack her for that matter. A bit of wisdom made Kaiya stop short of reaching Konoha. After all, there's no need to scare the village into doing something drastic. Everyone made sure to jump down before Kaiya shape-shifted back into human form. Her fox body seemed to shrink before reaching the appropriate size for the next part of the process to occur.

Jiraiya quickly turned around before anything significant was available to everyone's eyes. This saved him from being hurt by not only Tsunade but also Kushina. Kaiya's last stage of transforming seemed rather disturbing and fascinating at the same time. First, some of the white fur lengthened and seemed to form a temporary mane around the head as the muzzle, ears, and fur receded into the shape of a human head and face. Second, the rest of the fur on her body began to recede in a flowing motion like skin colored water cascading from the top of the neck to the toes of her feet that still resembled the paws they were a moment ago. Going from walking on all fours to two legs was an interesting sight as Kaiya arched her back during that part while her nine tails receded into the base of her spine. It was an impressive sight. The only problem is that she was naked thanks to the fact she hadn't learned certain techniques from Akahana just yet. So Kaiya was stuck with the annoyance for now. However, being naked wasn't as bad as the problem that Kaiya suddenly found herself dealing with.

Apparently, her severe lack of testing out her shape-shifting ability on such a large scale kind of made her unused to the whole thing. Include the distance she traveled in such a quick amount of time and it'll add up to one tired Neo Kyuubi no Kitsune. In an impressive display of speed, Kushina caught Kaiya before the girl could fall forward and land face first against the ground in front of her. Shizune brought over Kaiya's clothes and they quickly dressed her body. Rin was actually thankful for developing her skills in storage seals since she was able to carry Kushina's stuff while Kaiya was carried piggy-back style by the late Yondaime's tomboyish wife.

This was the very sight that the guards at one of Konoha's gates had the privilege of seeing. One guard in particular was smart enough to just let the group through with only a greeting to interrupt their entrance into the village. After all, he did see Tsunade send Jiraiya into the sky for something that the Toad-Sannin said. The Sannin's landing and condition after the fall was good enough identification for him to believe that Jiraiya and Tsunade had returned to the village. He didn't know the other two but he wasn't about to argue since he noticed that the redheaded woman was carrying Kaiya Namikaze who was mumbling something about ramen and a pool. The guard idly wondered if a food addiction was a genetically inheritable trait. If it was then he shuddered to think what Anko's kids might be like should she ever let some guy into her heart. His shift soon ended and the guard suddenly felt the need for a strong drink. 'Funny, seems a lot of people are sharing the same idea lately. Maybe we should start calling this place the village hidden among the sake.' The guard disappeared in a relatively quiet swirl of leaves.

Sarutobi thought carefully about what was going on. From the celebratory mood of the village he could tell that Tsunade was back. Then why did he feel an odd sense of foreboding? The aged Hokage decided to wisely hide his unique book while relaxing as his kage bunshins do the paperwork. He had to thank Kaiya for the suggestion that was made so long ago. It actually allowed him more time to make up for certain mistakes with his family. Well, there was also the freedom to read his book while the stacks of paper were handled. Fortunately, each bunshin was dispelled one at a time allowing for the old man to sort through the bunshin's memories before dealing with the remaining bunshins. For now, the three bunshin were left alone to deal with a particularly large stack that had fallen in the old man's lap.

Even though he could deal with the paperwork easily these days, it was very annoying to see that the stacks had apparently seemed to slowly increase due to his ability to handle things. Sarutobi thought it best to warn his student of this and worked to consider ways to counter what was going on. At least he thought about it for a bit, and then paled in fear when a slightly drunk guard showed up to inform him of the answer to his earlier question. Kushina was back and only Sarutobi knew that she'd be very unhappy with him. The old man knew that he had done what he believed to be best when considering the surround circumstances. For the most part, his actions minimized the danger to Kaiya's life. Although her life wasn't exactly what one would consider an improvement even though she didn't have to worry about threats from outside the village. At least he wasn't alone as far as those that'll probably be in pain soon. The council did have a hand in keeping Kushina from her child even though the blame mainly fell on Danzo and the two who were once the Sandaime's teammates.

Cursing the old fools, Sarutobi made sure that anything important was safe and secure from the coming maelstrom. A small laugh escaped his lips as he thought about the name that Minato had given his son after the Kyuubi's defeat and before the whole incident that drastically changed the child. It pained Sarutobi that things had happened the way they did thanks to power hungry fools who didn't know when to stop. Konoha was supposed to be a village where everyone was treated as family and they all worked together in protecting their home. Somehow, like Orochimaru's dream of mastering Ninjutsu, the village's ideals became twisted. Konoha's citizens only cared for those who shared things in common with others and tended to avoid things that unnerved them.

This was the cause for most Aburame to be loners until some one sees them for who they are and not what they contain. The Hyuuga clan was in a similar state yet because of their prized kekkei genkai it wasn't as bad. To make matters worse, the village seemed to have a rather unfortunate reputation for stealing power. Sarutobi had heard of these complaints on the occasions he walked amongst other villages while posing as a simple civilian. He had a feeling that it wasn't just the council that was responsible for this. Though the three elders who were mainly responsible for this were now dead, there were still a few members who were foolishly looking to gain power quickly like a certain Uchiha before Kaiya fixed his problem. ROOT was also an issue that Sarutobi had been quick to fix. Konoha still had a long way to go before it regained the respect of other villages. For now…

Bam!

'Oh shit.' Sarutobi thought as he saw the faces of rather unhappy kunoichi in the doorway of the door that had nearly been knocked off its hinges. He thanked any and all deities he could think of when his grandson fell from the ceiling and into his lap. Kaiya may have gotten the kid to stop attempting to assassinate him but that didn't prevent the occasional spying. At least Konohamaru had Moegi and Udon around as friends. A few training methods slipped in the times when Kaiya played ninja with them made the trio quite the handful for Iruka. Right now they were a life saver for the old Hokage. The fact Kaiya was asleep only made things easier for him even though he knew that he wouldn't get away unscathed. The first to words spoken were rather funny and a slight surprise considering their source.

"Mmm… Ramen…" Kaiya stated while still sleeping. The fact she almost mistook Kushina's hair for ramen noodles made the mood seem not as bad as it would have been for the old man. Hilarity aside, there was much to discuss. Mainly Sarutobi had to explain why he chose certain methods to keep a few secrets. Even though the Konohamaru Corps kept the Sandaime safe by just being there, the old man was still with the understanding that if he didn't tread carefully then he'd probably lose the very thing that defines him as male among other possible and painful punishments. Sadly, the old man's biggest edge was rather useless since the members of the Konohamaru Corps weren't old enough to drink sake. Sarutobi's strategic thinking halted by Kushina's chuckling and her next choice of words.

"Just tell me one thing and I'll only trouble you if I don't like the answer. Did you choose your actions in the hopes that they were best for everyone involved even though things didn't exactly turn out as you'd hope?" The look on Kushina's face told the old man that even if he said yes, then he better pray that his response was not a lie or mistaken as one.

"Yes." Sarutobi stated with complete honesty. "I'll admit I made rash decisions but I managed to repair what damage I could even though I regret the result that put Kaiya through such a life of hardship."

'It sounded more like she went through hell repeatedly when Tsunade explained things. From what Jiraiya explained on the way here, the blame falls on the shoulders of three dead elders.' Kushina thought with no small amount of irritation. She quickly got the old man to tell her the location of Kaiya's home and was slightly surprised that Kaiya actually moved into the Namikaze estate. After all, the whole place was set up by Minato. Regardless, Kushina carried her daughter home while the others explained what happened during their journey. The Konohamaru Corps was her "official" escort but she could tell that there were some ANBU tailing her and it was easy to understand why. For all they knew, she could be a threat to the village. Their concern for the village was touching, yet Kushina idly wondered how concerned they were for Kaiya's safety. Based on what she heard, their concern was a little lacking since there were certain attacks that occurred and yet the ANBU could have prevented such attacks. Thankfully, Kaiya's Tamagan allowed her to avoid a number of problems before the villagers started to get even further out of hand with their attacks.

The irony of it all was not lost on Kushina. As she carried Kaiya through the streets she noticed the occasional passerby talking with others and subtly glancing at her, or at least they thought they were subtle. She could tell that they were asking about her as if thinking that the person they were asking might know something. It was doubtful since she wasn't as memorable as Minato, but that's the price one pays for being an ANBU captain. Regardless of that, Kushina was looking forward to meeting the young man that captured her daughter's heart. Just before the whole incident with Kaiya being kidnapped, Jiraiya had told her to expect Haku to have a rather feminine appearance. The fact that Hinata was included bothered Kushina a little bit, but it was mostly because of how it sounded like Kaiya and Hinata planned the whole situation. She wasn't sure how to react to the information since Hinata was a Hyuuga and such behavior hardly seemed like what one could expect from the Hyuuga heir. If it weren't for the fact that Hinata was the only Hyuuga who knew about Kaiya being Naruto, then the Hyuuga clan might have raised a ruckus about how Kaiya corrupted Hinata.

To Kushina, it didn't matter who corrupted who since she now had not only a future son in law to worry about, but also a future daughter in law. She actually wondered if Haku might end up with even more wives before the marriage finally takes place.

'Well, first they'd need to be engaged and I haven't heard anything about that so far.' Kushina thought as she stood facing the front door of the Namikaze estate. Konohamaru was kind enough to knock on the door for her. Unfortunately for Kushina, she probably should have let them stay after thanking them for escorting her to Kaiya's home. She was in for quite a surprise when the door opened.

"Hello, how may I help you?" Haku said to Kushina while not noticing Kaiya just yet.

"Haku-kun, who is it?" Hinata asked from somewhere behind Haku. Kushina's mind froze for a moment as she tried to process what she was seeing.

'I know she said to expect Haku to appear feminine but I didn't expect this much.' Kushina thought quickly as her mind raced. Her dazed state made her ignore most of whatever was being said as she was guided to a table that snacks quickly occupied. Fortunately, she only missed a little bit since Haku and Hinata noticed her current condition and wondered if they broke her. Kushina was shaken out of her stupor when Zabuza sat down at the table and reached for a snack. His behavior caused the appropriate proverbial cold shower which caused Kushina's next action.

SMACK!

"If you wanted a snack, then you should ask politely for the person nearest to it to pass the plate to you." Kushina stated while in the good manners lecture mode. Haku and Hinata snickered a little at Zabuza as he was rubbing the spot where Kushina hit him.

"Fine… Will you please pass me the snacks?" Zabuza asked politely, knowing that she'd probably hit him again if he didn't. It's not to say he's afraid of her, yet Kushina made it quite clear just now that she was most definitely the wife of a kage level shinobi. Haku may not have realized it yet, but Zabuza knew Kushina's description well enough to recognize her. Too bad Zabuza ended up regretting eating when Kushina asked Haku if he truly was a boy. It wasn't the question that bothered him, but Hinata's comment about how Haku was definitely a man. The way she said it made him feel like he really didn't need to know the next part.

"What makes you say that Hinata?" Kushina asked carefully since she wasn't sure she wanted to intrude on anything personal, even though she wasn't so sure about the whole age situation. She was among those who partially agree with the idea that if you're old enough to kill, then you're old enough to be considered an adult and deal with all that entails such status.

"Let's just say that it's a mystery how Haku is able to wear what he does and keep hidden what defines him as male from Anko-nee-chan." Kaiya said softly as she was halfway awake. Haku blushed from embarrassment while Hinata had a slightly different reason for her full body blush and slightly glazed eyes. Kushina and Zabuza were a mix of spit takes and choking. Zabuza had been well informed of how Anko is like and his reaction only solidified Kushina's strong feeling of what Kaiya hinted. The whole thing left Kushina feeling pretty silly for walking right into that. While Kaiya was in the process of fully waking up, Kushina was idly wondering what other surprises might come around.

"Hey Hinata, what's with the ring you got on your hand?" Kaiya asked after finally noticing the odd accessory on Hinata's left hand.

"Oh, Haku asked me to marry him." Hinata stated with happiness written all over her face while surprising Zabuza and Kushina. Kaiya decided to get more information as the two adults were busy making yet another mess.

"When did this happen?" Kaiya stated almost in monotone.

"Just before we were about to leave to find you. After all, Haku wanted to ask you something important." Hinata said as Haku stood up and walked over next to Kaiya who stood up as well while wondering what was going on. Kaiya of course had an idea but she didn't want to get her hopes up just yet.

"Kaiya Namikaze…" Haku said calmly as possible while nervousness was in his voice. Kneeling on one knee, Haku brought out a small box and opened it as he asked… "Will you marry me?"

"YES!" Kaiya practically screamed as she enveloped Haku in her arms. Tears of joy fell from her face as she literally wiggled around while causing her body to rub against Haku in an interesting manner. Hinata shifted over to join in the hug which caused Haku to feel like the meat inside a sandwich. He was just glad that he could still breathe and that the beautiful ring didn't fall out of the box and get lost. The engagement ring was a beautiful mix of silver and white gold for the band. There were four gemstones that had been placed as if to imitate the Sharingan despite the distinct differences. The "pupil" was a ruby while each tomoe had a different gem in their place. Diamond, amber, and amethyst clearly represented Kaiya, Haku, and Hinata while the ruby represented their love. It was the kind of love that would last a long time and be patient enough to wait for the wedding that would take place in a few years.

The last part was more for the sake of Kushina, Zabuza, and the others who'd have a fit just hearing about the engagement. Sarutobi probably would have had a heart attack if it weren't for the fact that Haku approached him when Hinata was busy with something while Kaiya was away. The reason why was because Haku believed that if anyone might know of the best place to get engagement rings, then it had to be the Hokage. After all, only the Hokage would know of just about everything in the village. Well, Danzo would probably know more but he's dead and Kaiya wasn't the best choice to be asked even if she was in the village. Asking Kaiya to use the memories she stole from Danzo to pick out the best place to go to for an engagement ring would ruin the surprise. Speaking of surprises, if the engagement was suppose to be a surprise of some kind for everyone else, then Kaiya's scream of yes ruined the surprise. After all, Ino was window shopping at the same store Haku bought the rings from and she had a pretty good idea what was going on.

Sarutobi chuckled lightly as he was sipping sake along with Tsunade, Jiraiya, Shizune, and Rin. The resounding "yes" was heard throughout Konoha and quite a few knew what it meant thanks to Ino. The blonde mind mistress lived up to her reputation for being a big gossip. A few shinobi and council members are almost as bad and the aged Hokage just knew his successor would be hearing from the council about this. It wouldn't be so that the marriage would be prevented, but rather so that they may add to the number of wives Haku would end up with. Apparently old does not mean wise since one would think that those on the council would be smart enough to not upset some one like Kaiya. Even then, there was still Hinata and Haku to worry about as well. Granted, things were rather rushed, but the council didn't need to make things worse. This sort of thing was a first considering the circumstances and who knows how it would end. Sarutobi's musings halted as he went back to discussing a few plans with Tsunade for when she'd take on the position of Hokage. He just hoped that things go smoothly even after Tsunade becomes Hokage. Still, he had the feeling he'd be doing one last act as Hokage before leaving office.

Six figures were making their way to Konohagakure no Sato and their destination was finally in sight. They all walked at a leisurely pace so as to not seem anymore threatening than what they usually do. After all, each of them happens to be pretty famous criminals of the highest order. As they were walking, the Sandaime was making his speech about the truth behind the Uchiha massacre. The pace of the six Akatsuki members seemed to match the tempo of Sarutobi's words. Itachi did have a sneezing fit while the others looked at him oddly. Kisame, Sasori, Deidara, and Konan put a little distance between themselves and Itachi while Zetsu got a little closer to the Uchiha. Anyway, the S-rank criminals missed out on hearing about how Itachi had discovered a deal between the Uchiha clan and Orochimaru.

Shisui Uchiha had apparently made the mistake of gloating while underestimating Itachi's skills when the Uchiha elders sent Shisui to kill Itachi. Unfortunately for Shisui, he died and Itachi managed to make it seem like Shisui committed suicide via drowning. Itachi then went to inform the Hokage of the Uchiha clan's betrayal. Sadly, there wasn't really anything Sarutobi could do that would stick since the Uchiha clan made up almost all of Konoha's police force. Not willing to risk civil war, the Sandaime took the time to consider his options and during this time some one else took action. Apparently, an Uchiha that lived outside of Konoha caught wind of the whole thing and decided to deny Orochimaru access to the Sharingan by posing as a fellow Uchiha and killing the clan. Thus he placed the blame on Itachi since the young Uchiha was already suspected of "murdering" Shisui who was like a brother to him.

Sarutobi left out the fact that the responsible Uchiha's name was Obito since Kaiya had informed him quite a bit about the wayward Uchiha and how his body was being used by Madara. Obviously this information would cause unnecessary trauma for Kakashi after the Jounin were to wake up thanks to Tsunade. The old man did wonder about where Kaiya manages to get her information. Regardless, at the end of his speech an ANBU showed up and quietly informed him of the six visitors that were expected to show. Sarutobi had to marvel at how convenient their timing was. He had only just mentioned that they'd be arriving soon and that he'd like for everyone to not cause a disturbance when they entered.

'At least they didn't arrive in a similar manner as Anko.' Sarutobi thought as he made his way to the gate the six ex-Akatsuki members were at. The Sandaime Hokage could feel a headache coming on as he reached the gate. Then again, it might have something to do with how Sasuke was apparently coming towards his position only after the brat had been woken up by Tsunade just before the whole speech got started. 'Hopefully, he heard enough to know not to do anything stupid.'

"Itachi!" 'Guess not…' Sarutobi thought at he sighed. Turning around he noticed that Sasuke was clearly fuming but keeping his anger under control as he slowly walked up to his brother. Itachi didn't make a move while the other former Akatsuki members moved to the side just in case. The Chuunin looked toward the Hokage who waved him back while Sarutobi stepped aside to see what would happen. He'd only step in if things got out of hand. Sasuke looked angry at his brother but the aged Hokage could read into the boy's soul and tell that Sasuke lacked any killing intent at Itachi. However, that didn't mean Sasuke wasn't going to do something. The meaty sound of a fist meeting some one's cheek could be echoed.

"Why? Why did you take the blame when some one else was responsible and trying to frame you?" Sasuke demanded much to the relief of Sarutobi who was silently thanking Kaiya for her efforts. The boy did foolishly charge headlong into battle once before but apparently for a slightly different reason than revenge. It was to protect Kaiya even though she didn't need protection from Itachi. All Sarutobi could say about such a thing is that at least Sasuke had his priorities straight.

"If I hadn't taken the blame then you would have sought vengeance and you'd have no idea who really did it. Even if you knew who was truly responsible I doubt you'd have been a match for some one who's stronger than me. The one responsible was only able to be killed by a powerfully potent poison which wasn't the kind of thing you'd think to do." Itachi said while having a small smirk at the end.

Epilogue:

It wasn't easy, but it didn't take long to get the six ex-Akatsuki members instated as Konoha shinobi. Tsunade was quickly instated as Godaime Hokage and she kept Sarutobi around as an advisor after he resigned as Hokage. Konohagakure's relations with the other villages had to be reinforced but it didn't take long for the villages to become allies after some "negotiations" were performed. Time went on as Kaiya became the Rokudaime Hokage. She was probably the only Hokage who could defeat the enemy of all Kages while still enjoying her time with her children. The little balls of energy were quite the handful when they discovered that they had two kekkei genkai abilities. Hinata's children were probably just as bad and Kaiya worried a little about how they might be like when puberty hits. Sometimes she wondered if Hinata and Akahana were having private talks while she slept.

The things Hinata and Haku manage to do to each other and her while in bed were rather amazing. Kaiya sometimes had a difficult time walking and those were before she had to waddle her way around. It was almost funny to note that the couple times Kaiya got pregnant she never had just one baby. They actually had to buy earplugs for her seven two year old kids to keep them from hearing what she might say like the last time she had kids. It was odd on how they all looked rather androgynous despite how the four girls and three boys wore clothes that hopefully would make their gender seem obvious. Kaiya could just imagine the fan-girls and fan-boys that would be hounding her twelve children. After the second birth she had an equal amount of boys and girls. Kaiya had Tsunade make sure to keep the council from pressuring her into having more kids and stated that if they were really desperate then they could simply take her eggs and fertilize them before implanting at least one egg in each council member. They'd have to do a little research for the male members but the point was made and the council only needed to hear the threat once.

Time passed and Kaiya enjoyed life even though she finally realized the drawback of becoming Akahana's heir. Sometimes immortality sucks, but at least her descendants turned out okay. Well, for the most part at least…

Author's Notes: This is about as far as I can go with this story before it becomes a chore instead of something fun. I'll consider making a sequel sometime but I'm not promising anything. My apologies go out to those who are disappointed.