Title: The Forsaken
Chapter2: Escape! With the Kitchen Sink, Too
Ships: Naruto/Hinata, Naruto/Hinata/Ino
Key: "Speech", 'Thoughts', "Demonic Speech", 'Demonic thoughts'
[Author's Notes:] - Almost all of the submissions to this challenge have Tsunade appoint Jiraiya as Rokudaime Hokage. While I'm sticking to having the two Sannin talk, Tsunade does NOT have Jiraiya set to take her place.
Warnings: Hinata's Inner Pervert runs amok! Well, its hands do...
Timeline: Naruto returns on Monday (and is the day the Council decided to banish him.) All of last chapter was that day and Tuesday. This chapter starts at the beginning of Wednesday. They leave at midnight on Thursday night. Naruto is expected to be banished and out of Konoha on Saturday.
QUESTION! My current plan is for all graphic naughty stuff, when it comes about, to happen off-camera, so to speak. My question will be which do the majority of you prefer? Do you want to see the naughty stuff or no? Personally, I'm okay with either. I've been told I'm decent at writing lemons. Check my other Naruto stories "Hinata's Darkened Desire" and "Reforging the Past" if you want to see some examples. I'll create a poll on my profile for those of you who care enough to make a decision. HOWEVER! If Perfect Lionheart, the challenge's issuer says no, I will take him as the authority on this issue. I know he doesn't write naughty stuff (that I've read and know about) and planned on not doing it since it appeared he prefers not having it in the story.
Recommended Story of the Chapter: "Escape From the Hokage's Hat" by Anothvortex (Naruto/Hinata)
Tsunade smiled as she finished double checking she had authorized Naruto and Hinata as Chuunin and freed them, along with herself and Shizune, of all obligations to Konoha as ninja members of their clans and just allowed them to keep their ninja status and ranks. Everything she had the impromptu team of Shikamaru, Ino and Shino get two days before was now in a scroll on the edge of her desk, along with the Forbidden Scroll, all of the equipment from the ANBU's supplies and the food rations for emergencies while the medical supplies were all in another scroll for safety and ease of access.
And with Naruto around, she could unseal what she needed without unsealing all the other stuff, too. She was sure she'd need it.
Hinata had arrived earlier for their daily meetings and had given her every scroll she had access to from the Hyuuga archives and had apparently broken protocol to access the restricted area and borrowed the advanced technique and taijutsu scrolls overnight, long enough to copy them, although without the elegant framework and artistry, and had replaced them early in the morning before most others had awakened, though she couldn't get anything from the Head's Private Library. The girl was surprisingly efficient and had an odd knack for stealth.
Though, it could also have been the fact that, once she was done with her family scrolls, she spent all of her time with Naruto.
Tsunade had to admit that she was thankful to the little Hyuuga for that. The boy had been like a zombie when she went back to check his healing progress. He tried to show emotion, but it was easy to tell he was as miserable as it was possible to get. It was depressing, to be honest. But Hinata had been able to pull him out a little each time they met and, by the middle of the day, they were talking about all sorts of things and he was fine until he was left alone again.
She had even explained the types of things that happened to the Branch side of the Hyuuga family and why she was pleased to leave because of it. Naruto had almost gone feral at the knowledge, but the Hyuuga maiden calmed him and Tsunade was pleased while she was eavesdropping. The girl was growing quickly in confidence while around Naruto.
Well, perhaps it was best to say she was nearly over her stuttering and fainting while around Naruto as long as he didn't make any possibly suggestive comments. Hinata was still extremely shy and seemed to always have a blush on her face, along with a minor nosebleed, but loved spending time with him and actually talking to him. And was at her happiest when he was unconscious. It didn't take long to realize that the girl had roaming hands and that urge to explore unknown territory that made Jiraiya so infamous. The difference was that she was very reserved and didn't go anywhere naughty unless she was unconscious herself. Jiraiya was just a bloody pervert.
"Tsunade-sama," Shizune interrupted the Hokage's mental checklist that had gotten a little off track. "Jiraiya-sama is here as you requested."
'Speak of the perverted Devil,' Tsunade thought as she nodded, pleased to see that Shizune kept to her word and allowed no one entry into her office without her approval. Had that Genin team heard the wrong information, there would be no telling what may have happened; especially with Ino being well-known to thrive on gossip and juicy news. "Go ahead and send him in."
Seconds later, Jiraiya entered the room and sat in the chair across from the desk with a large pout. "You made me wait in the waiting room?" He asked incredulously. "Those tiny chairs are uncomfortable as hell!"
Tsunade ignored his protests and got straight to the point. "I've got a favor to ask of you," she told him simply, getting a raised eyebrow.
"Oh? What would that be?" He asked, wondering what she would ask of him. The last time she needed a favor, she hooked him up with a very lithe and flexible girl in their Genin days that he had been eyeballing.
She hadn't offered him a favor since the girl found Tsunade and beat the hell out of her. Though, the medical techniques were exactly what had put Tsunade on her path to greatness.
"I really fucked up," she said bluntly. "The Council sent law reforms into effect while I was hung over and not really reading things properly and gave themselves extra powers and now they're using that to banish Naruto."
"What?" Jiraiya asked dangerously.
Tsunade nodded, understanding his tone. "I royally fucked up, but I'm not sending him out alone. I won't do that again. I'm actually leaving here with him, along with Shizune and the Hyuuga heiress, Hinata."
"The girl who's got a crush on him?" He asked, remembering a pretty Hyuuga girl that was always spying on his training during the one-month reprieve before the Chuunin Exam finals. The girl was wounded and still came to watch him. That alone let Jiraiya not stop the girl and made him decide to see if his new student would live up to the reputation of the Great Jiraiya.
That, and the girl was a pervert after his own heart. She even had her own little notepad where she was taking notes!
"That's the one. I also made her confess that to him and I think he's open to the idea, but needs a little time. He's latched onto her after we told him the situation and has come to enjoy talking with her. I hadn't considered it at the time, but taking someone his own age with him will help tremendously in giving him someone to confide in. Genjutsu or not, I'm still an adult to him, as is Shizune."
"Why don't you start from the beginning," Jiraiya asked with a sigh. He was thrilled that his godson may have a little romance coming his way, but this seemed like there would just be far too much trouble to let that remain at the top of his thoughts. However, as her story got a little longer, he grew more and more amused. It was bad, yes, but Tsunade had pulled through and made more than the best of it.
"I've got to tell you, I've always wondered if they would try something like this, or execution, or sending out a hunter-nin to take him out while away from the village, but I didn't expect this in combination with your plans."
Tsunade nodded in agreement. "So did Sarutobi. That's one of the reasons he was put with Kakashi; the man could protect his charges from most of our hunter-nin and teach Naruto to protect himself at the same time. The only problem was that the bastard only taught the brat tree-climbing and let him spar with his teammates and focused almost exclusively on the traitor due to his own history. While this means I can teach the gaki from the ground up to mold him into whatever I want, it's bad because it means I'm working from nothing. That's part of why I need your help."
Jiraiya nodded, finding little in the way of flaws in its logic. "So, let me guess. You want me to take over as Hokage to give you guys a better lead? Maybe put in a few laws into affect to really piss them off and the like?"
Tsunade snorted. "Hell no!" She exclaimed, much to Jiraiya's shock. Then she went even further. "I'll make enough laws to piss them off that they'll learn about after they find out we're gone. I need you to continue working on your spy networks since Akatsuki is still a threat and will learn he's out there, along with almost everyone else, so I can't take you with us or put you as Hokage. I'm actually asking you for a dozen copies of each of your books, all autographed with a few autographed pictures to take with us."
Jiraiya groaned and palmed his face. "Damn it, Kakashi! I told you to stop trying this!" Jiraiya yelled while shaking a fist at the shocked Tsunade. "I'll admit you did much better on the illusion this time and even had me with the story, but I'm not falling for it!"
"I'm not Kakashi, you pervert!" To prove her point, she punched the Sannin in the face and watched in satisfaction as he bounced off of the wall and came half way back to her desk before he groaned an apology.
"In my defense," Jiraiya said from the floor, "Kakashi's tried to get me to give him autographed copies like this six times already."
"Why the hell doesn't he just ask?" Tsunade asked while Jiraiya got up.
"Hell if I know," Jiraiya said as he limped back to his seat. "Why the hell do you want autographed copies of my work? I thought you hated it."
Tsunade sighed and decided that she had to tell him. She didn't want to, but it was for her adopted little brother. "I'm going to force Naruto and Hinata to read them as part of my plan to get the two together," she said with an almost non-existent blush. "While I don't like the idea of Naruto going around peeping on women, I'm willing to allow damn near anything else to make sure he has a happy and active love life. If this means turning the two into perverts and giving them rooms alone to get up to whatever naughty stuff they want to, I'm willing to allow it and plan to do so just to help the situation progress. Naruto is trying to be strong, but he's been crushed by this shit from the Council. He's always tried to work hard and force everyone's opinions of him to change, but this is like the ultimate failure. In a relationship, he can get something back out of this. Some semblance of what he had been trying to get here. Aside from that, while I hate the fact that it's got a lot of smut, it can help him understand love and romance as well. I'm loathe to say it, but your main line of books has a good and solid plot that he can learn from." She watched in exasperation as Jiraiya began to weep and grovel at her feet, thanking her and offering to suck on her toes in praise of her plan.
He had a thing for feet. She didn't understand it. It creeped her out.
Sighing, she sat down and asked, "does this mean you'll cough up the books?"
"Why do you want so many?" He asked as he got back in his chair, his grin still in place. Tsunade had long ago said she would never admit his books to be worth anything more than burn fodder, and this was while she was standing over the charred remains of his note pad.
"I figured we could offer them in trade if we needed to badly enough or sell them if we need the cash, though I don't see that as likely. We can even gain the favor of some of the perverts who're in charge since you only normally sign ten of every edition. I'm actually taking off with a shit load of money, too, but it's mostly going to be Naruto's or Senju clan cash and I hope to save that for as long as possible."
Jiraiya frowned as he realized one very, very important fact about this plan. "Aw man! I'm not going to be there to watch their advancement!" Pouting again, he asked, "so what do I get out of this, then, if I can't watch my protégé become a man?" And he hoped often.
Tsunade groaned and began to chant a mantra in her head of 'this is all for Naruto, this is all for Naruto'. "You've offered far less to see my breasts."
After the nosebleed sent him through several walls, Tsunade could hear him yelling his answer. "YES! OH SWEET KAMI, YES!"
"Daddy!" Ino hugged her father happily, glad he was back. Chouji and Shikamaru's fathers had both arrived the day before and her father was the only one who was missing and she had begun to worry. They were all on different missions, so it was expected that they would show up at different times, but after the one-day war and learning about Naruto's past, she had been extremely tense and nervous. And her mother hadn't helped matters in the least.
"Hey, Baby Girl. How're you holding up?" Inoichi asked wearily.
"I'm doing well. So is Shikamaru. He only got a broken finger, but Chouji had to use his family's food pills to beat his opponent and almost died. He's going to get better, but he isn't gaining weight and the doctors can't figure out why," Ino said in one long breath. "Are you good to eat and have a talk with me? There are some things I need to ask you about."
Inoichi's mind first went to the subject of boys and hormones before he realized that his daughter would probably go to her mother first, and felt it was not too likely after the near death of her teammates unless she already harbored feelings that only just came out, then went to ninja-related ideas, but they were so numerous that he had no clue where to even begin. "Not a problem, sweety. Just let me drop my things and-"
"Inoichi!" His wife exclaimed happily as she wrapped him up in a big hug. "Welcome home! I'll heat something to eat for you." And then she was gone, causing Inoichi to blink and then smile down at his daughter.
"Well, I guess that means we can go ahead and speak. What's on your mind?" He asked as they entered the room he had taken as his office and stowed away his gear, refilling used items before putting his pack at its place, ready to be taken at a moment's notice.
"Daddy, you're on the village council, right?" Ino asked, deciding to find out how much her own father may have been guilty of before putting him on his guard to ask about Naruto.
Surprised, Inoichi hesitated before he sat. "Yes, I am," he said. "Why do you ask?"
Ino sat in the leather chair, one that she always remembered was made from the skin of the Nara clan's deer when she sat in it, and took a deep breath. "When was the last time you banished someone from Konoha?"
Inoichi frowned heavily, wondering what made Ino want to know such a thing. Either someone she knew had been hurt, or some soon-to-be-dead man had hurt her and she was wanting to know what to do about it. If that was the case, the man wouldn't have the chance to be banished. "The last time was about a year ago when we had to declare one of our ninja who went rogue as a missing nin, and then a few years before that to do the same to Uchiha Itachi after he killed his family and escaped the village. Why do you ask?"
Ino nodded, pleased her father wasn't against Naruto when it came to his banishment. "Do you know Uzumaki Naruto?" She asked, watching her dad very carefully. The man was far from an idiot. He helped with torture and interrogation and that required a strong mind and the intelligence to glean as much as you can from the smallest of scraps and find connections that should be almost impossible to find.
His little girl asking about banishment and then Uzumaki Naruto was far from an impossible connection.
Nervously, and wondering where she was going with this, Inoichi nodded. "I do, yes. Why?"
"Two days ago, I found out that the Council banished Naruto and I ... have a pretty good idea why," she admitted, looking away from her father.
Inoichi's hackles rose as he realized the position his daughter was in. If she overheard something about the Kyuubi and then spoke about it to anyone but him or her mother, she would have most likely been killed, unless it didn't get too out of hand, and even then, it would have been close. If someone told her this deliberately, however, then that was almost as bad as them waiting for her to take the information and commit suicide by blathering on about it. The girl was at the center of the gossip hub, after all. "Nothing we say will leave this room, Ino," he said heavily, gentle father gone and full-out warrior in its place. "But I need to know what you know."
Ino frowned, trying to decide how best to answer him before shaking her head futilely. "It would probably be best if you entered my mind and watched the memory," she told him, not sure where to begin. The amount of information and severity of it was almost mind-numbing. "But you have to promise not to do anything to stop the Hokage from their plans."
Curious, Inoichi nodded. "Alright. I won't fight. Just push me out if you need to." Getting a nod, he entered the dark void of her mind, much like a huge room filled with bubbles in the air that housed the multitude of memories she possessed and waited for her to push the one he wanted to him just as they did in practice for their clan techniques. As one bubble rushed towards him, he began to focus on the task at hand and took in as many details as he could.
Tsunade sighed as Jiraiya twitched on the ground, covered in his own drool. The deal had been very clear; she would leave herself exposed and take whatever pose he wanted for ten minutes in exchange for a scroll filled with jutsu, particularly those related to use with his toad summons, and the dozen complete sets of his erotica smut, all autographed. Jiraiya had even offered to sweeten the pot with the books he wrote about sealing over two decades ago that he planned to use after he retired from his ninja duties. It was several volumes long and explained things in such detail that it would easily become the standard in shinobi sealing education.
But now it was all Naruto's.
Thankfully, him passing out at the sight of her only half-uncovered mammaries as she began to uncover them was not brought up in the deal, so she sat there with her girls hanging out, though she was surprised to find that she enjoyed the partial breeze from the open window, without even being seen and had to admit, the experience wasn't nearly as bad as she had expected. She had honestly thought he'd stay alert through the whole thing. As it was, he didn't even get to see the complete prize. He saw the upper half of her expansive bosom, about as much in a low-cut top, and was out for the whole ten minutes.
Yes, it wasn't nearly as bad as she had expected.
Whistling a happy tune, she gathered the items and sealed them in their own scrolls and took them to meet up with Shizune and take her to speak with Naruto and Hinata, who was sure to be there with him.
"You feel normal," Hinata told Naruto as she checked his temperature with the back of her hand on his forehead, taking careful note to lean against Naruto over the bed so her chest touched his. Just because he hadn't accepted her as a girlfriend right away, it didn't mean she couldn't use every opportunity to touch him in whatever way she could. She rather enjoyed doing it, actually.
"I dunno. I just had this sudden chill race down my spine," Naruto said with a frown, unaware that Tsunade had just told Jiraiya her plans for his love life.
Hinata shrugged and held up Naruto's ramen for him to take a bite. "We'll figure it out when Tsunade-shishou comes over. Now, eat up."
Naruto grumbled good-naturedly and took the proffered noodles. "An', why aw we doing th'sh again?" He asked with his mouth full.
"Swallow and then talk," Hinata scolded lightly. "Tsunade-shishou told us to make it appear as though you're still weak, and this is quite conducive to that." Actually, it was because she was hoping to break him of the habit of eating his ramen in nearly a single bite and because she enjoyed doing it for him. He had been so welcoming to her presence that she almost felt ashamed of how nervous she had been in the past. Had she actually approached him and befriended him, there would be no telling how far along she could have had him trained into the proper boyfriend by now!
That thought alone spurred her on and kept her pushing the boundaries.
And even odder, she found that she relished the odd friendship she had with him now. He was the exact same Naruto she always knew; caring, helpful, friendly and even empowering, but by having developed this friendship with him while he knew her deepest secret, or at least the one she was most scared of him finding out, she realized there was this anticipatory state where she wanted to get him to agree to be hers. Since he wasn't pushing her away or saying it couldn't happen, then that was just great! That meant every single action she did, every little thing she said, it would all build to relationship points! It was like a game where she really couldn't lose!
Naruto did as told without a second thought and then asked, "so, are you really ready to do this? Tomorrow's the big day."
Hinata nodded immediately. "I am. I get to be with you," she said, blushing prettily as it was still different to say the words, even though he knew them, "and will be learning my preferred art from the best medic in the Elemental Countries."
Naruto nodded and then was quiet for several moments before he smiled at the girl. "I'm still glad to have you coming with us. You're the only person to really inspire me to really try hard aside from ... from Old Man Sarutobi."
"I ... what?" Hinata asked. She had helped him? When?
Naruto smiled softly at her, different from his usual ones that were so wide they pushed his eyes shut. "Right before the Finals at the Chuunin Exams," he explained. "I was heading to the stadium and was wondering if I could really do it. And you were there and told me that I screw up, a lot, but that I never stop trying." He smiled wider and could barely see her through his scrunched eyes. "You'll always be important to me for that."
Hinata felt a rush of heat fill her chest and face as Naruto's words filled her with happiness. It was impossible for her to keep her smile off of her face, so she looked down and played with the bowl that held Naruto's ramen. "Th-thank you."
As if on cue from some unholy god, the door to the bedroom slammed open from Tsunade's outstretched foot where she had kicked it open, holding a pile of scrolls while Shizune carried Tonton.
"Baa-chan! What the hell!? Don't you ever knock!?" Naruto yelled out from the side of the bed where he had taken an immediate battle stance next to Hinata who had done the same.
"Stop your grumbling," she muttered, dropping the scrolls on the bed. "We've got to finalize preparations and make sure we've got everything ready for tomorrow night."
Shizune closed the door and cast a privacy jutsu that stopped sound waves so no one would be able to hear them without the aid of an electronic listening device. "Tsunade-sama, please don't speak so loud until everything's in place," she grumbled. There were many doctors roaming this hall compared to the past few days when there were very few and any of them could be informants for the Council members who were causing problems.
Tsunade ignored her, feeling flush from her major victory over her perverted teammate. "Hinata, have you got everything ready?"
"Yes. I've copied everything of value from the Hyuuga Clan Archives and have taken everything from my home that I care to keep in the sealing scroll you provided yesterday after showing me how to use them. You said to only bring clothes for Court and enough to blend into any environment since we would be getting everything on the road, but only without the Hyuuga emblem, so I don't have much aside from a couple of kimonos. I've also placed a letter to Kurenai-sensei in my kunai pouch to mail tomorrow so she will get word of what's going on without telling her anything that could jeopardize us to make sure she doesn't worry."
Tsunade nodded pleasantly. "Good, good. Make sure to have a kimono ready for when we enter the Daimyo's court, just in case we need it. I doubt we will, but it's always good for a lady to be prepared." Turning to Naruto, she said, "we'll have to resupply you with standard clothes later, I'm afraid. All you've got are those jumpsuits and things to wear underneath while you're at home."
"Is there anything I should be worried about taking?" Naruto asked, unsure. "I usually have everything I like to keep on me and don't really leave anything at my apartment, but I've got ramen and some plants and stuff."
"Only the things you want to, but nothing else, really. You'll be getting new equipment and clothes outside. The Capitol will have a large assortment of ... well, everything, really, so we can get anything we need there. And I'm sure some of the clothes from the Uchiha Estate will fit if we need them at the Daimyo's place."
Sitting back, Tsunade decided to explain the details as they were thus far, bringing everyone up to date. "Okay, here's what we've got so far. We've taken about forty percent of the village's liquid assets by restitution from Sasuke to everyone who went on that mission to get him, Naruto getting the majority of it of course, along with what came with his inheritance from his father and twenty percent was from Senju clan funds that I wasn't even aware that I had." She decided they didn't need to learn anything about who, how or why that information had been withheld from her, or why there were standing orders for it all to be transferred to various civilian members of the Council with her death.
"We've got supplies to outfit four squads of ninja, so we have more than enough equipment, some tech for long range communications if we need them, jutsu scrolls to learn from while we're out and trying to decide what we're going to do, food to last us probably two years in isolation if we need to just go under ground and hole up in some cave system somewhere, including water, and I've released everyone going on this little expedition from any kinds of duties or obligations to Konoha or our families," she said with a pointed look to Hinata who was quite thankful.
"So, it's basically what you told us yesterday?" Naruto asked.
Tsunade nodded slightly, but looked uncomfortable. "There's more this time, actually," she said, turning to Naruto. "Naruto, would you do anything to protect Hinata?"
Shocked, Naruto nodded emphatically. "Of course I would!"
Before he could get into a rant, Tsunade turned to Hinata and asked the same. "And would you do anything for Naruto?"
Hinata simply nodded, curious to know what was going on.
Tsunade grinned widely, looking far too smug. "Good. Then I want you to know that, even though I released you from Konoha and the Hyuuga, in your case, Hinata, they could still bring you back through an arranged marriage of one form or another since you actually carry the Byakugan."
"What!" Naruto yelled, full of righteous indignation.
"I found a way around it," Tsunade said, stopping Naruto mid-rant. "As of midnight tonight, you will both be husband and wife."
Tsunade and Shizune both turned expectantly at Hinata's chair, expecting to see a red-faced, unconscious and smiling Hyuuga, well, Uzumaki now. Instead, they saw her smiling at the bed, cheeks barely tinted red and trailing a small line of blood from her nose. Looking back at the bed, they saw only Naruto's foot that was sticking up from the ground, twitching.
"Oh, we are so screwed," Inoichi grumbled as he pinched the bridge of his nose after leaving Ino's mindscape. The Council somehow managed to banish Naruto without the whole group present and had apparently done so legally since Tsunade couldn't fight her way out of it and was leaving with the boy. That meant that those who did so had to have done something to grant themselves more power or somehow found a law in the books that gave them more authority than the Hokage.
And he knew a law like that didn't exist or he'd have been gone a long time ago. He always supported Naruto, along with the Nara, Akimichi and other shinobi clans other than the Uchiha who actively opposed the boy and the Hyuuga who was willing to let the boy exist if there was some form of control. And of course Danzo who wanted to turn the kid into a weapon, so certainly wanted him alive, and those who followed Danzo's lead.
However, this also meant that those who had to have found a way to give themselves more control had to have done so with only a portion of the complete Council, since those same clans wouldn't have allowed it to get that far. It was commonly done of course, as many of those clan heads had business that had them outside of the village at times, but should be impossible for serious matters like this. They had to be able to meet and eke out details while the ninja portion was on missions, but something of this magnitude? No... there would be a civil war coming. It was obvious that the Council had just split into two factions, and only one side even knew about it.
"Daddy?" Ino asked, worried at how depressed her father had just become.
Inoichi looked up and into the eyes of his little girl and realized that she was going to be caught up in the middle of things, and there was only one thing he could possibly do to help her. "You did the right thing, Ino. Had you gone to anyone else, you would have probably been put to death if it got out to the public, maybe just probation if it was stopped in time," he said while thinking plans up on the fly. "Honey? What do you think of Naruto? Is he a good person?"
Surprised in the sudden shift in topics, Ino nodded. "Yes, he is. Ever since I found out about all of this, I've been going over every memory I had of him using our Spirit Walk Technique," she said. The technique itself was nothing more than the ability to read memories of someone rather than the actual thought processes. So, it would be impossible to use for finding out what a person was planning, as it only showed memories they stored in long-term areas of the brain. But, it was also capable of being used on one's self to sort through and organize memories, which was something all Yamanaka had to do or they could accidentally give control to the enemy if their mind was too cluttered or weak for disorganization.
"And?" Inoichi asked, curious despite himself. He liked the kid, but he never really had anything to do with the young Uzumaki.
Ino hesitated only a moment before summing up her thoughts in the one phrase she had been using since the start. "I honestly don't know why he hasn't already destroyed Konoha."
"Eh?" Inoichi asked incredulously.
Red-faced, Ino amended herself. "Well, what I mean is that I would have destroyed Konoha several times over if I were him. I went around under a henge to look like him because I was curious about how much I saw was his whole life, and it was horrible. The villagers didn't even try to hide their dislike of him. They called him names to his face, blamed Sasuke-ku- er, Sasuke's defection on him and all sorts of bad things. And almost all of the shops overcharged him. So, if he still wants to stay here and earn their respect and protect them, I figure he has to be a really good person. Not to mention that I've only ever seen him try to help people or make them laugh. I've never seen him hurt anyone."
Inoichi nodded, having not ever really considered the boy's position in the village and how it had to be for him beyond acknowledging things were bad. "That makes sense, I suppose."
"Why do you ask?" Ino asked, wondering what her father was thinking.
Sighing, Inoichi decided to get straight to the point. "Honey, what the Council did, it had to have done without any of the ninja clans around. Most of us support the boy having full faith and trust in the Yondaime's seal and the man himself. The civilians don't understand the nature of seals and scare far too easily. They are the ones who would be doing this to him and they managed to give themselves power somehow that went behind the ninja clans' backs. If I know them even a quarter of as well as I think I do, this could very well risk a civil war in Konoha."
"What!" Ino squawked. "But! But this is Konoha! We-"
"-Are a ninja village just like any other," Inoichi interrupted her. "We may have a kinder face than many others, but don't be fooled. We have power struggles quite often, just like any other village. Wherever there is a structured government, there will be people who want to be the top dog. The difference is that it usually happens in a political climate here rather than in a bloody coup like in Mist. You can't even begin to imagine how many attempts there have been to wage war in the past year and each year on average. Some people simply enjoy and thrive in it, and even Konoha has those people, some of them in very high places in our infrastructure."
"Oh," Ino mumbled as she sat back in her chair.
"Honey," Inoichi began as he put a comforting hand on her shoulder, "I think Konoha is going to be in for some rough times ahead. There are a lot of people who like the boy, but many who still fear or hate him. The ninja clans are probably going to be at odds against all of the civilians soon because of this. It looks like they're somehow managing to amass power for themselves and trying to circumvent us, so you'll need to be on your toes when out in public, understand?"
Ino nodded, hesitant to offer a suggestion she had been thinking of for the last day and a half. "Um, what if I asked Tsunade-sama if I could join her?"
"What?" Inoichi asked, shocked.
"It isn't that I want to leave you," Ino rushed to assure her father, "but it's going to be a long time before my team is back on missions or training, Asuma-sensei didn't do a lot of training for us and mostly played strategy games with Shika, and is on missions now, so I won't be getting much training in and Chouji will be in the hospital for another couple of weeks at least. I could learn a lot from Tsunade-sama. I don't really care so much about medical skills, but there isn't really much here that I can learn aside from the interrogation techniques our family usually does, but with every Jounin and Chuunin, just about, out on missions, teaching a fresh Genin isn't going to be high on their to-do list and everyone is saying Orochimaru is still planning on attacking again some time, so it may be safer with Tsunade-sama where I can learn her super strength and to heal people so I can at least be useful."
Ino immediately took a deep breath, not having realized she had run out of air before she paused in sudden nervousness to see what her father would say.
Inoichi regulated his breathing as he thought through the different scenarios in his head and, as much as he was loath to admit it, the girl had a genius plan. And most important, to him at least, it kept her out of the possible conflicts that were sure to come there in Konoha. Especially with the knowledge that the ninja clans would have to go on the offensive if they wanted to not lose their rights to the civilians. Tsunade was sure to encounter trouble on the outside, but who better to protect his little princess than a real princess and Sannin?
"I think you need to ask her to see," he finally said. "But, if she accepts you, I'll help you gather as much as I can. Just understand that things will not be the cake-walk they've been here in Konoha. She's bound to put you through your paces and work you into the ground to get as good as she is and you may have to do things that make you uncomfortable since you'll be learning about what's inside of a body with her surgery techniques and such."
Ino nodded vigorously, having already considered that and feeling it would be easier on her to heal those things than cause them. "I think it will also help with our clan's normal jobs, too. I can do better with interrogation if I understand the body better."
"If you're going to find out and get your stuff ready by tomorrow night, then you should talk to Tsunade-sama now," Inoichi warned, thankful it was still early in the day. "Let her know you have my support and that I'll handle your mother if she has any problems with it and that I need to know what you need to take with you."
Ino hugged her father and left, leaving the man to his thoughts as he waited for his wife to bring his meal. He would have to meet with his friends and discuss this new situation over a hell of a lot of sake. Konoha would be in the middle of a civil war by the next week's end.
"What do you mean we're getting married!?" Naruto screeched out in fear. Here, he had been thinking of dating Hinata, but now he was married to her!?
Seeing the sudden pang of hurt on Hinata's face, Naruto turned and held up his hands in a defensive gesture. "It isn't that I don't want to be married to you, Hinata, but ... I mean ... I was only just considering dating!" Turning narrowed eyes on the amused Hokage, Naruto asked, "did you have a bet on us getting together with Ero-sannin or something?"
Tsunade waved off Naruto's question. "No, no, nothing like that. He actually didn't know about it until half an hour ago."
"Because this helps us in many ways, Naruto," Shizune said, feeling she could explain better since Tsunade was doing a poor job at it. "If Hinata were not married, then her family could marry her to anyone they wanted and force her to come back. The problem, though, is that they would put a seal on her that would-"
"The Caged Bird Seal, I know," Naruto said, glaring at the wall and leaking a minor amount of killing intent. "I hate that seal." In truth, he hated it more than his own seal. He hated what it stood for when Neji had told him about it during the Chuunin Exam finals, but when Hinata explained that some of the Main branch members of the Hyuuga used it to rape the Cadet branch members, or rather, to keep them in line to rape them whenever they wanted, and to just cause pain or kill those who didn't obey fully and immediately, he hated it as thoroughly as he hated Orochimaru.
"Er, yes," Shizune stuttered, wondering how he knew as she darted a furtive glance at Hinata. The seal was a touchy subject with all Hyuuga and she hadn't thought Hinata would talk about it quite yet. "Anyway, it would make her nothing more than a slave, so we did this because, being married to you, she must follow her husband and, since you're banished, they can't force her to come back without allowing you to come back as well and no one can force her away from you, even after bringing you back."
Peeved at Shizune explaining her brilliant idea, Tsunade continued on, "and it saves us from worrying about anyone else from other villages trying to do the same with either of you since you'll both be big targets for political marriages once it gets out that you're the Yondaime's son, Naruto, and Hinata is an unsealed Hyuuga. This also lets us cut down on the number of hotel rooms we'll get," she duly noted Hinata's sudden blush and wider grin, "and gives us a good cover for the two of you if you need it. We do not want Hinata-chan here to have a room to herself where someone could try to come in and steal her away, do we?"
"No," Naruto grumbled, not sure about this new plan. "But I don't know how to be a husband," he complained.
Tsunade and Shizune chuckled while Hinata had to refrain herself from doing something embarrassing. "Naruto," Shizune said with a smile, "a husband and wife are supposed to be great friends who care for each other and look out for each other. They share their lives and their dreams and do their best to help each other achieve them. So, they are basically like best friends, but you get to kiss, hug, hold hands and do other stuff together as well, including raising a family later on in life."
Naruto cocked his head to look at Shizune, then down to Hinata and nodded resolutely. "I can do that," he said, showing the same conviction he did with everything else while Hinata squeed quietly to herself. Besides, he had already promised he would get rid of the Caged Bird Seal after Neji explained what it did.
'HOORAY FOR THE 'OTHER STUFF'!' Hinata's inner self yelled at the top of her lungs, wondering when they got to have a wedding night.
"Good," Tsunade said. "We'll see about a proper ceremony later, but it will be official at midnight." Granted, that was midnight two days ago, but it was a minor detail. "Other than that, does everyone know their parts of the plan?"
"I'm to meet with you as normal tomorrow and we will get Naruto-kun and then go to Ichiraku Ramen for our final dinner, then I will leave to meet up with you in your office one hour later, Tsunade-shishou," Hinata said, getting a nod from the woman.
"I'm going to wait for you guys to take me from here to there, eat, go to the bathroom and make a Kage Bunshin to come back to the hospital while I'm under a disguise with Hinata-chan, then we meet you in your office and all leave together, right?" Naruto asked, getting another nod and rub on the top of his head.
"Perfect, Naruto," Tsunade praised. "Remember, I'll want you to make a good show of just hearing the information then and there, understood?"
Naruto grinned warmly, feeling a pang of hurt that was offset with the knowledge that these people were coming with him because they actually cared. "Don't worry, Baa-chan. I've got a plan," he confessed, stealing a glance at Hinata whom had heard said plan earlier. She had even offered to do the ink-work necessary since she had far better penmanship and a steadier hand to make the required item.
"This isn't going to cause me a headache, is it?" Tsunade growled out, wondering what the boy was up to.
"No," Naruto said innocently. "But I think you'll enjoy it."
Tsunade shrugged. "What the hell. Go for flashy." She was almost worried by his and Hinata's grins.
"You wanted something?" Tsunade grunted at the young blonde girl waiting outside of her office as she kicked her door open and entered, expecting the girl to follow. Tsunade didn't care so much about pleasantries since she planned on being gone the next night.
Ino followed the woman into the room, not getting a negative response in doing so, and shut the door, sitting quietly and nervously in the chair across from the older woman who was now watching her lazily, looking as though her time was being wasted frivolously.
"First, I want to say that no matter what happens here, I'll stay quiet about everything at least until after you're gone," Ino said, flinching as Tsunade's eyes widened and the desk under her elbow cracked.
"I'm going to kill Jiraiya," Tsunade said calmly, too calmly, erroneously thinking that he was the leak and told the girl all he knew. Yes, Ino was quite pretty, but she was a damned child! The old pervert should know better than that! He was as old as she was! Even if Tsunade wouldn't admit her true age even to herself at this point in time, it was still old. It may be common to wed their young, female ninja at times to older men, but that was for a purpose. Not some perverted old man ogling their bits.
"Um, I overheard you talking to Hinata and Naruto a few days ago when you told him he was being kicked out," Ino said, making Tsunade narrow her eyes and frown.
"So you heard about things that are considered S-Class secrets and classified," Tsunade stated more than asked. "I haven't heard about havoc in the village, so I'm assuming you haven't already gone around telling people, so you're not going to be killed right away. Tell me why that isn't going to become the result anyway."
Ino gulped and began to sweat. Suddenly, the danger of being a ninja in her own village became more real than she had known in the past. "I want to go with you?" She squeaked out, looking unsure.
"You want to leave your village, your family and your team?" Tsunade asked incredulously, wondering what made Ino think she would believe that. "You have nothing to lose here. Try again, girly."
Ino glared at the older woman, hating being dismissed like that. "I overheard about Naruto and spent the last two days thinking about the situation. I even went around under a henge to look like him, though the Ichiraku Ramen people knew I wasn't him somehow and got mad at me while everyone else just got mad because they thought I was him."
"Get to the point," Tsunade interrupted while making mental notes.
"I decided he's a good guy and that he isn't the fox," Ino clipped out. "I had hoped to talk to my mom about Naruto, but she didn't want to have anything to do with it when she knew it was him I was talking about, even though she didn't know what I found out. My dad came home about an hour ago and I showed him my memory of the meeting and he said he thinks a civil war will be coming soon between ninja and civilians and I told him I was thinking about this because I have no chance to become a kunoichi I can be proud of since all of the upper-class ninja are spending all their time on missions to keep Konoha where we used to be and he said to let you know he supported it and would help me get things ready."
Tsunade knew she should worry more about the words 'civil war' coming second-hand through a known gossip hound. She also knew she should worry that some random factor now knew that she and the others were leaving, but all she could think about was this girl wanted to come with them and was another person who would help support Naruto. Another young, pretty girl who already knew his secret and was just coming into breeding years. "And you want to come with us, you say?"
Ino couldn't explain it, but she felt a shiver race down her spine, making her ponytail stick out and become poofy like a cat's tail. "Yes?" She asked uncertainly.
"Anyone who is a part of a clan, even if all obligations are cut off between family and village, can still be brought back due to various laws that are agreed upon by all ninja villages regarding bloodlines," Tsunade began. "If you're going to come with us, and not let anyone who gets angered by what your father is about to do threaten to bring you back for any reason, including making an example of you to punish your dad, then you will need to do as Naruto and Hinata have done and marry Naruto."
"WHAT!?" Ino's ponytail looked like a mash of kunai, sticking up to defend her honor against anyone who wanted to touch her.
"It's simple, really," Tsunade said, deciding this would be the girl's test. If she was willing to do this and go with them, especially if more developed out of it, then she would take the girl with them. And in all honesty, she was going to make damned certain Naruto got whoever he wanted. Hinata was almost a guarantee. Ino was very pretty and already decided he was worth leaving for, at least in part. She obviously had her own reasons as well, but Naruto was still the catalyst. Sakura, she knew the boy liked, but was also a lost cause. She had already offered to betray Konoha to leave with Sasuke who was leaving as a traitor. That was different than leaving for someone who was loyal and banished by a bunch of power-hungry bastards.
"Simple how?" Ino asked.
"Well, I'm taking on those that go with us as apprentices and I have to know I can trust them. I also have to know that whatever I teach won't be forced back to Konoha to be learned here since I'm teaching what has become Senju clan medical techniques, which I plan to leave to Naruto since I can't have children of my own. Also, we're leaving for Naruto's sake, since he was the only reason Shizune and I even came back. Anyone willing to join us will either be in this for helping Naruto first, and everything else second, or they will be either left behind or killed, whichever I feel is necessary to keep him safe." Seeing the girl's eyes widen and her face drain of color, Tsunade decided to ease the girl's discomfort. But just a little. "You promised you'd remain quiet, so you would be safe if you don't think you can marry him, but left behind, if you're curious."
"But ... I'm wanting to come along so I can actually get some training and be a good kunoichi," Ino murmured nervously. "I know all of the Jounin are being used on as many missions as they can and that we can't really work as teams anymore for training, so ..."
"That's true," Tsunade agreed. "All Jounin are being used on whatever missions they can be used on and will continue for at least a year for sure. We lost too many people during the invasion, and the same holds true for most of all Chuunin, as well. Other than family training, you'd have to rely mainly on yourself unless you could manage to talk one of the upper-level ninja to train you, but it won't be cheap, assuming they let you pay with money and not 'other' services." Sometimes, giving Genin adult rights really sucked. It wasn't just a saying that Mitarashi Anko loved so much: 'old enough to kill, old enough to have sex'. Nor was she the only upper-class ninja to feel like that.
Ino swallowed as Tsunade confirmed she would learn next to nothing if she were left to her own devices and stayed in Konoha before the woman continued, unheeding Ino's mental debate.
"I'll lay it out straight for you. I'm leaving to go with Naruto because I love the little brat. I came to Konoha because I believed in him, not this village. This village dimmed in my eyes long ago and it took him to bring me back. Shizune feels the same. And Hinata is going because she loves Naruto. So, even though he's the only one being forced out, we're leaving directly for him. I am also planning on getting Naruto to finally experience love and am planning on making damn sure he isn't alone in all this. I've already promised Hinata to help her get him and find her worthy of him. If you want to go, you have to be willing to give it a try and be willing to give it time and at least act like a true married couple and like you enjoy being married until we can get the marriage annulled, which won't be until we can come back or you find someone else to marry instead, just to keep you safe. It's just like when we have to marry our ninja for covers to hold up under scrutiny or insertion missions to have a hidden kunoichi somewhere to gather information. It's all official, but only has to go as far as the situation requires."
"So ... I have to marry Naruto before we leave, act like I am not only married to him, but want to be married to him, and if I find someone else, I can get a divorce or annulment and marry them instead?" Ino asked, wanting to be very sure. "And wait, what about ... ah..."
Her blush told Tsunade everything she needed to know. "Your wifely duties, particularly those related to bedtime fun?" The smirking Hokage asked, rather amused.
Ino squeaked and nodded, her blush now quite intense.
"In public, you will be required to hold hands, hug and kiss on occasion and give many little gestures of affection. Beyond that, you will share a room and we will require that you get comfortable around each other, especially since I'll have you giving each other exams to learn my techniques. Therefore, any time you go to bed, you will be required to be in your underwear at most or less if you want. As for the sex, I'll be encouraging it, but you won't have to actually do it."
"E-encouraging it?" Ino squawked. "Why!?"
"Because I'm devoting my life to Naruto's. I'll help him train and become strong, I'll help him learn about love and be loved and I'll be there to help him through anything and everything else," Tsunade said firmly. "I've already failed him, and I will not do it again."
"I ... see," Ino said. And in truth, she kind of did. Naruto had been an orphan and alone his entire life. She just didn't realize the full extent of it.
"If you want to come, have anything you need sealed in a sealing scroll and meet us back here at eleven tomorrow night. You'll need any and all jutsu you can get your hands on. We've got a lot, but clan-specific jutsu or any that may be rare that you're family has, you'll want to copy and take with you. Any clothing without the Konoha emblem can be taken, but we'll have most of the supplies you'll need. Don't take anything with the Konoha seal unless you want to take your hitai-ate as a memento. You won't be wearing it again until we can come back to Konoha."
"Thank you, Tsunade-sama!" Ino chirruped in glee.
"One last warning," Tsunade said lowly. "If you do anything to hurt Naruto, or threaten him in any way, I'll destroy you myself. Do you understand me?"
The obvious sincerity within the Hokage's eyes made the younger blonde shiver, but she nodded. "I don't plan on hurting him. I don't have a reason to."
"Then tell no one but your father and remember, eleven o'clock tomorrow night in my office."
Ino bowed happily and quickly left the room with a huge grin on her face. So she had to pretend to be married to Naruto. That wasn't a big deal. He was a good guy and took a lot of effort to make the people around him happier and was always trying to be helpful. She had noticed that in her memories when she was trying to look for hints of evil and she really didn't think he would take advantage of the situation with his dislike of perverts.
As loath as she was to admit it, Sasuke showed more traits in common with a demon than Naruto did, this whole traitor thing not withstanding.
She could deal with sharing a bedroom with him and Hinata, she supposed. Naruto was sure to be a gentleman about it all.
Well, he would have if Tsunade didn't plan on forcing him into the life of a lecher with his new wives.
"You mean she actually agreed?" Inoichi asked in shock. He had honestly expected to be consoling a miserable daughter right about this time. "Just like that?"
"Well," Ino hedged, "to make sure I can't be pulled back by the Council to make an example of you or prove any points they hold power over you for what may happen, I have to officially marry Naruto like some of the kunoichi have to do on insertion missions to go with them."
Inoichi really wished she hadn't said 'insertion' in conjunction with telling him she was going to get married in under a day. "I'll be having words with Miss Hokage about that," he muttered darkly.
"I don't have to ... er, do anything," she said with a massive blush, hoping to keep her father calm so he didn't ruin things. "It's just so I can't be married off to someone else and I can always come back and get it annulled later." It would also be interesting to see what it felt like to be married to the son of a Hokage, and the Yondaime to boot. Would it feel strange like it did on birthdays and holidays, or would it just be creepy and weird?
"I understand it," he said. "I just don't like it. But it makes sense. And you said he's a good kid."
"And he hates perverts," Ino supplied helpfully, not realizing that was soon to be a thing of the past. "But, Tsunade-sama said I need all my clothes and things I want to take sealed up, along with copies of any jutsu that belongs to the clan or is rare that she may not have and I'll meet her tomorrow at eleven at night."
Inoichi frowned, suddenly realizing how drastic the situation was concerning his daughter. He now had a time that she would cease being his and ... belong to another man.
He shuddered in horror. He watched kunoichi get sent off to various villages, towns and cities all the time as undercover wives, though they were usually orphans, so this was nothing new (and some were certainly as young as Ino,) but he didn't have appreciate knowing his daughter was about to be a married woman.
He was SO not going to be the one to tell his wife!
"I have all of our jutsu on a scroll in case of emergencies where we have to leave quickly. I'll copy that and give it to you and help you seal everything away."
"What about Mom?" Ino asked. "She's never happy when I go out on missions and I could be gone a long time."
"We won't tell her anything. Just tell her you're going on a long mission tomorrow about midday and not what it is or anything. She'll never keep quiet," he warned. He loved his wife, but Ino didn't get her obsession with status and gossip from him, that was certain.
Tsunade took a long pull from her sake bottle as she continued to think of how to get out of the mess she had just created. Her thoughts had been sudden and foolproof at the time. She wanted Naruto to be awash in love and, for once in his life, happy. For however long it lasted, she wanted him to be content in his life and have that romance and love and all that sappy stuff she wanted as a younger girl.
Now, however, she had to figure out how to let Hinata know without the first Uzumaki wife trying to kill her when she learned there was now a second.
Tsunade shuddered and grabbed a second sake bottle.
Shizune smiled as she entered Naruto's room and saw Hinata snuggled up next to him, both sleeping soundly and peacefully. She had overheard Hinata promising to share some of the things married people did that she knew about.
Sleeping in the same bed fit the bill quite nicely, it seemed.
Shizune chuckled quietly as she began the handseals to do her scanning jutsu of their final night within Konoha, stopping in the middle to pull Hinata's hand from under the front of Naruto's pants where it had grasped her prize and put it out of the way. The girl moaned in disappointment while Shizune began running her technique again in amusement.
Then she frowned in confusion and apprehension. Naruto was now fully healed, but her scans were showing abnormal growth of his skeletal structure. All evidence of previous broken ribs were gone and his ribcage and sternum were now three times as dense as standard bone and his spine was now covered in the Kyuubi's chakra and being modified to a similar state.
"What in the world?" Shizune murmured as she absently grasped Hinata's roaming hand and put it back on the bed between the two teenagers before running a scan over Naruto's whole body and finding nothing else amiss aside from the presence of more chakra than was generally in a sleeping body.
"I'll have to inform Tsunade-sama about this tomorrow," she whispered to herself as she drew the blankets over the couple, this time letting Hinata's hands go where they pleased as she left.
"It's nice to meet you again, Sasuke-kun," Orochimaru said warmly as the boy was shown into his chamber. The sight of those blood red eyes sent an excited shiver up his spine. "I hope you had a pleasant journey?"
"Skip the pleasantries," Sasuke sneered. "You promised me power. I'm here for it. Your personal guard were defeated by my Genin classmates and I'm not overly impressed. I'm waiting to see if you're worth my time."
"Yes, I bet you are," the gold-eyed Sannin preened, not feeling bad in the least about his lost guard. "But first, I have a challenge for you. Complete it, and I will accept you into the fold and teach you. Fail ... well, there won't be any failure, I'm sure."
Orochimaru snapped his fingers and his chief medical researcher brought in a little girl, no more than four years old. She looked around with wild eyes, obviously scared and holding onto the red-headed medic for dear life. The girl was quite lovely, probably only going to gain more exotic beauty with age, and the type of child that made girls squee and long for motherhood.
"Kill the child and show me you will do what it takes to become a true ninja. Your payment for this will be your first technique," Orochimaru smirked and tossed a kunai at the raven-haired youth's feet. "There's nothing like your first kill, ku ku ku!"
The little girl clung to Karin as the boy with evil red eyes approached.
The next day, Naruto didn't have to fake his enthusiasm to be let out of the hospital while he, Hinata, Tsunade and Shizune went to Ichiraku Ramen for their dinner. Though he did have to tone it way down so as not to appear too healthy.
"Three times as dense?" Tsunade asked Shizune as Naruto practically pulled Hinata towards the restaurant.
Shizune nodded. This had been the first time she had managed to get the Hokage mostly alone for a discussion and, since this development wouldn't stop them from leaving anyway, she took what she could get. "His entire skeletal structure is now three times as dense as standard bone and all evidence of previous assaults and breakage are gone. His muscles are changing now. I checked him this morning and it seems to be centered around his chest, but will be spreading like the alterations to his bones did."
"Changing how?" Tsunade asked with narrowed eyes.
"I'm not sure. It wasn't far enough along to determine. I could tell they were shifting slightly, but most importantly, I noticed a massive amount of lactic acid."
"Suggesting the muscles are getting broken down and regrown as if he was working out extensively," Tsunade finished for her first apprentice. "Think it's the furball?" She asked. "Making him capable of dealing and taking more damage?"
"Fuzzy, yes, but as to why?" Shizune shrugged helplessly. "If it was that, though, why wait this long? He still has a lot of growing to do so it couldn't have been waiting for him to stop, or it wouldn't be doing that now. He'd be a midget for life."
"C'mon, Baa-chan! Hinata's going to try a shrimp ramen!" Naruto called out as he dragged the smirking Hinata through the curtain and into the small building.
"We'll look into it in a few days. It doesn't seem to be causing damage and fretting right now won't help."
"Naruto ... you're being banished from Konoha," Tsunade retold Naruto for the benefit of Ayame and Teuchi who had been listening to Naruto's story for the past hour.
Naruto put up a masterful performance as he confirmed what was said and then threw up his dinner before walking out of the ramen stall like a zombie and then channeling his chakra. A blue globe surrounded him and the people, ninja and civilian alike looked on in awe and horror respectively as the chakra built up around them like a heavy weight in the air before the blonde-haired boy released it with a tortured scream, covering the entire village in smoke.
Five thousand Naruto clones littered rooftops and roadways and began to yell, releasing as much chakra as they could into the air until all of the clones eventually held so little that they couldn't even keep themselves together.
Tsunade and Shizune watched in fascination as the spectacle went on in front of them. Naruto had always had massive amounts of chakra, but he always had such horrible control that it wasn't quite the trump card it would have been for others. But this was just the type of thing only he could do; he covered the entire village in a miasma-like cloak of his chakra and blanketed the entire expanse of buildings within its walls.
Except one part.
Naruto and Hinata had made a slight change of plans to what Tsunade and Shizune had expected. Naruto had actually created a clone early in the morning with all of the chakra he could put into it, leaving himself with so little that he was lightheaded for a few minutes and that was the Naruto that left with the two women while he went to the rendezvous point he had set up with Hinata. That clone would go and eat, and then throw up to get rid of all of the ramen so it wouldn't be left behind when the clone dispersed after it went to the hospital to pretend to be him.
His blue-haired wife (and odd how that didn't phase him now) showed up only a few moments after a huge cloud of smoke seemed to erupt from the whole village. "We only have a few moments, Naruto-kun," Hinata warned him as she unrolled the scroll as they ran.
Naruto nodded and both stopped in front of the main gates to the Uchiha district. "I'll pump as much as I can between my hands. Take it as you need it and try to get as much of the sector as you can, m'kay?"
Hinata nodded as she activated her clan's doujutsu. "I can see the whole sector if I push extra chakra to my eyes. But it gets painful if I do so for longer than just a few seconds."
"Just don't hurt yourself," Naruto warned with a frown as he began to pump chakra a heartbeat after his numerous clones raised a smokescreen to cover their activities.
He quickly shoved as much chakra as he could force through his chakra circulatory system and between his hands where he held it as a large blob of energy, useless now to him as every ounce of his focus was on not releasing it and causing a backlash that could hurt the two of them.
Hinata frowned and hesitated a brief moment as she saw Naruto's chakra leave his body and rest in his hands, leaving only the red of the Kyuubi in Naruto's system. It wasn't the fact that Naruto now looked red instead of blue, but that the chakra of the demon fox's chakra pushed all of that which Naruto was leaving within his body out as well, leaving only its own chakra within her love toy.
But, seeing Naruto not affected adversely, she did her part and pushed the entirety of Naruto's chakra over the Uchiha sector as her eyes began to burn and her vision to blur of everything but the chakra.
They were leaving the walls of the sector to hide their theft as long as possible, but everything inside of those massive walls were coated in a shell of blue chakra before suddenly winking out of existence with a dull whump.
Naruto felt the last of his chakra leave his hands and the rush as it all came back and passed through his fingers and into the scroll and had an odd moment of fascination as he realized he felt quite strange. Like lines of icy water were forming throughout his entire body.
"Naruto-kun, you'll need to help me to Tsunade-shishou's office. I'm afraid my vision is blurry. It'll take a few minutes to get back to normal."
Naruto looked at Hinata and nodded, losing focus on the strange feeling in his body. "Oh! Yea, sure Hinata-chan." He grabbed her hand and began to walk her through back streets and alleys so no one would see them and had nearly a minute before his clones began to exhaust themselves into disruption. "Why'd you keep going if your eyes would get hurt?"
"Channeling that much chakra just causes the muscles that control our eyes to overexert themselves, making our sight better temporarily with the cost of our normal vision afterwards and lessening the amount of time we can use our Byakugan. I just need to give them some time to relax."
It had nothing to do with the fact that their hands were now clasped together or that she could stray and make him pull her into him to get her going the right way.
"When I said 'make it flashy', I really didn't think you were quite so skilled as to go that far with it," Tsunade told Naruto as she and Shizune entered her office and found the two already waiting for them. "It actually made me feel bad about telling you all over again," she grunted.
"Well, it served its purpose," Naruto said with a huge grin.
"Oh? What was that, Naruto-kun?" Shizune asked. Even Hinata seemed to be smirking.
"We sealed the Uchiha sector, but left the wall that separates it to hide it as long as possible," Hinata answered. Naruto had wanted her to be the one to say what they had done, hoping to let her feel like she had done more for the prank.
In truth, it made her feel like she was the guilty party, but she would admit that it made her feel an odd sort of excitement as well. She had joined in on a massive prank! And got to play with Naruto's ... chakra, to boot!
"You ... you what?" Tsunade asked in a near whisper. "The power for that ... You couldn't hide stealing it without ..." It suddenly hit her. All of those clones releasing all of that chakra had hidden it perfectly. What was more, he had come up with it the morning two days before, only a day after learning about sealing scrolls.
"I supplied the chakra and Hinata-chan controlled it," he supplied helpfully.
"I thought the Byakugan had a range limit," Shizune asked of Hinata.
"We do, but we can push more chakra into our eyes to expand on that, but it only helps for a few moments before the excess chakra causes our muscles to become uncontrollable and we lose all sight until the muscles aren't so exhausted."
"Like taxing arm or leg muscles," Tsunade mumbled to herself, wondering what could be done with that.
"So, do we have everything ready to go?" Naruto asked.
"All but one," Tsunade said as she took her seat behind the large desk. "I know it's short notice, but I wanted to tell you before we got to the gate; Yamanaka Ino will be joining us on this excursion."
"Tsunade-sama, are you sure?"
Tsunade held up her hands to make them silent. "She overheard us Tuesday when we were telling you everything. We got careless and she heard from behind the door, but she hasn't told anyone but her father, who is keeping it secret until everyone finds out we're gone."
"But why does she want to come?" Naruto asked incredulously.
"Naruto, what the Council did to get the power to banish you was, while not illegal, a blatant act of aggression. They basically managed to give themselves control over ninja for civilian and intervillage purposes so they could get their own ninja and have them doing various things within our own walls."
"So," the buxom Hokage said, "the ninja clans weren't in on any of it. That means that the civilians and the ninja are going to be fighting each other very soon for power and that could be very bad for any ninja clans on the Council, like Ino's father, where they may use their children as an example."
"How do you mean?" Naruto asked, not liking how this sounded.
"We'll use Ino as an example since she is the one going with us," Tsunade said. "Inoichi, her father, has long supported you and the actions Sarutobi took on your behalf, as did most of the shinobi members. However, the civilian side was unanimously against it all, making them all enemies that way. Now, because they have the power to order ninja for various things within Konoha, they could force Ino to do things that are horrible just because they could, and because it would make Inoichi suffer as much as Ino."
"How do you mean?" Naruto asked, wondering what could really be bad in Konoha.
"We have a red light district, as an example," Tsunade said with a frown. As much as she hated the fact, it was true. Ninja had many, many problems with all the constant death and sex and the various aspects within the red light district made an easy and profitable way for tensions to be released. "They could force her to work there under the guise of getting information out of any foreign agents who come into Konoha."
"They'd really do that to her?" Naruto asked, shocked senseless.
"It's done quite often, actually," Tsunade said. "It's an ugly truth, but men talk to pretty girls, especially after sex."
Suddenly, many things clicked for Naruto. "That's why Ero-Sennin is always going to those girls in those places, isn't it?" He asked. "He spends money on them and buys all those drinks and gets information from them."
Several eyes widened, though it was Tsunade who confirmed it. "As a matter of fact, yes. He actually owns many of those places and uses the money he makes from his books to pay the girls quite well. I'm sure there are many more than just those, but it's a major factor, I'm sure."
Naruto still scowled. "I don't like it."
"Few do, Naruto, but it's a fact of life. And it doesn't require using ninja, but doing so means they can guide conversation and will look out for certain things. But that's not the point. The point is that they can do those things and are likely to. She overheard us and knows that the odds of getting any decent training in Konoha are slim to none and her father is supporting this. What I need to know is if either of you have any problems with her coming along or with her in general."
"Only that she liked Sasuke," Naruto grunted.
"She was a pretty nice girl as long as you weren't competition for Sasuke," Hinata murmured quietly. Her vision had come back half way to the Hokage's Tower, but knowing she had just helped to steal an entire section of Konoha without them even realizing it had made her feel a little guilty. That didn't stop her from realizing something, however. "Um, Tsunade-shishou, can they force her back when they find out she came with us?"
Ino was from a clan that had a bloodline as well, even if it was a minor one that didn't manifest itself physically like the Hyuuga or Uchiha. Few knew the details of the Yamanaka bloodline, but what was known was that it had a more complex brain chemistry that allowed them the ability to enter another's mind. Hinata knew for a fact that the Yamanaka clan techniques didn't work for non-Hyuuga. They were in her own clan archives, but the techniques failed half of the time for any Hyuuga who attempted them. It was dependent on the will of the one trying and the one trying to stop them. That just wasn't the case with a Yamanaka.
"I've ... er, taken care of that," Tsunade said guiltily. "The only way to protect her while out with us was by ... er, marrying her to Naruto as well."
"Another one!?" Naruto squawked.
Hinata frowned and considered the situation as Tsunade flinched under her gaze. It would have made her horribly angry and extremely sad had she not already known she was married to Naruto as well, but the fact that Tsunade, the Slug Sannin, of all people, winced from Uzumaki Hinata's (her inner self squee'd) gaze made her pause and consider the Hokage's actions.
On one hand, Ino didn't care for Naruto in a romantic sense. At least not yet, though Hinata didn't think any girl could withstand him for long. And that meant that she wouldn't be competing for his affections for now.
On the other hand, Hinata was a smart girl and Tsunade horrible at hiding anything on her face.
"Is there more to this, Tsunade-shishou?" Hinata asked.
"I'll discuss it in more detail later, but I want to know if either of you have a problem with her coming along," Tsunade said, not wanting to explain her plan in front of Naruto. Playing matchmaker was normal for adults who loved their family, especially much younger family, but this went a bit beyond that. Not every mother or grandmother had the ability to literally marry a young man to any woman she chose to. And she really didn't want to have to explain things to Naruto right now.
"I'm okay with it as long as Hinata-chan is," Naruto said, looking to the bluenette girl and being perfectly okay with what he thought was just another female friend in his eyes. "She's my first wife, so she should have some say in others, right?"
Hinata almost melted as Naruto claimed her verbally as his wife.
She wanted to say no, but she also couldn't let Ino be subjected to the things Tsunade had used as an example, which had been the older woman's intention, but Hinata didn't realize that. "I'm okay with it as long as she doesn't hurt Naruto-kun."
"Good," Tsunade said, stamping the paperwork she had written up to take Ino along with them with all the same rights and privileges. "Naruto, will you go into that room over there and look through the scrolls to see if there are any you want to take?" Tsunade asked, pointing at a bookshelf that was a hidden door to the Hokage Archives and jutsu library.
The boy was off like a rocket, leaving Tsunade to explain to Hinata what she had told Ino earlier in the day about giving Naruto as much love as he could possibly stand.
Meanwhile, Naruto nearly frothed at the mouth as he found himself surrounded by the entirety of the Hokage's jutsu library. This room was not sifted through by Tsunade or Shizune. The two were far too busy making plans to escape Konoha while appearing to be trying to find some loophole to keep Naruto around and, as far as they were concerned, all of the jutsu they would need was in the Forbidden Scroll, which was being taken anyway.
Naruto, knowing that the scroll was coming with them, began scanning for things with impressive names like 'grand' this and 'explosion' that while also picking up anything that he felt could have helped him in any of the fights he had been in in the past.
Like the Shadow Clone scroll and the other techniques that were listed on the original scroll that he hadn't managed to read through from the Forbidden Scroll.
One of those exploded, after all.
So he gathered his choices, scroll by scroll, picking up one that made him think first of Hinata with the word 'Heavenly' on it, along with the whole shelf that were all labeled as a 'Divine Style'.
Then he came across a shelf with a wooden chest inside of a glass case and his interest was peaked. The boy looked to the opening where the hidden door had closed and he immediately set about opening the case and taking out the chest and opening that to find three scrolls whose parchment seemed like some kind of flexible glass but as strong as steel mesh and shone like polished bronze.
'Ooh. Shiny,' Naruto thought, giggling like an Uchiha fangirl. It didn't matter what they were now. He had to have them. So he put the scroll back and took the case itself along with them, figuring they were in there for some purpose to begin with.
He continued along, searching for more scrolls as he figured anything that he gathered with copies of, he could just keep for his own archive until he found another shelf that had only two scrolls on it, each held on a little rack.
"Impossible," he breathed out, barely daring to reach forward and touch the large scrolls reverently. "Contract of the Monkey," he whispered, running his fingertip gently over the words and then the same to the next scroll, "Contract of the Ferret."
He unrolled both scrolls and stared first at the monkey contract, seeing the Sandaime's palm print and name. 'I didn't know the old man's name was Hiruzen,' he thought with a mental smile before looking at the other.
Naruto's grip tightened as he realized both what this was, and who it had once belonged to. It suddenly struck him that he had never known anything at all about his mother. He didn't know what she looked like, what kind of woman she had been or even if she had loved his father. He had only been told that they were his parents. For all he knew, he could have been the result of nothing more than a shared night during a long mission.
But the summons would know who she was. If they were anything like the toads, she would have spent time with them to learn and talk.
Or if she was anything like him.
Naruto looked at the closed door again through the blurry vision of unshed tears before creating a clone for each shelf to gather all of the scrolls, though he packed the summoning contracts within his own sealing scroll with his household items.
He would be signing that as soon as they were far enough out that no one could find out if he screwed up. After all, the bosses of the three contracts he had seen for himself were all monstrously huge. Who knew how much damage a hundred-foot tall ferret could cause?
"So she doesn't have any r-romantic feelings for Naruto-kun? And she doesn't have to have s-sex with him?" Hinata asked both questions for a third time, wanting to be very sure.
"No," Tsunade said, beyond relieved that the small girl wasn't angry. "She knows I will make you all sleep in the same bed in underwear or less, that she has to hug, kiss and hold hands, but anything more is up to all of you."
Hinata nodded, her face stained with a massive blush. She had found that she couldn't fault Tsunade's logic and knew she would share him with Ino if it meant having him to herself as well. Throughout much of the Academy, she had planned on different ways to join him after Sakura wizened up and accepted Naruto's love. To Hinata, it was just unfathomable that any of the girls wouldn't want to be with Naruto.
That still didn't mean she had to like it. But she could accept it for now and see if Ino would be good for Naruto-kun later. Worse case scenario, Ino hurt him and Hinata would have to kill her. Best case scenario, they live happily ever after. It wasn't as if Hinata and Ino were married to each other, after all. Hinata only had eyes for one blonde and he was already hers.
It was also not too far off from what awaited her should her father have gone through with his current plans in four years to marry her to one of the Daimyo's sons who already had two wives and was always willing to have more.
"I'm o-okay with this as long as Ino-chan doesn't hurt him," Hinata said after a moment. "It will take t-time to be okay with it as a relationship, though."
"I understand," Tsunade said warmly. And in truth, she did. No woman wanted to be a possible second to her man. It was only the knowledge that Naruto could fully love more than one person that made her think this had a chance at all of working. And it wasn't set in stone. They could always choose to leave the relationship later. "Take your time, become friends and remember, the two of you are married to Naruto. You don't have to be romantically involved with her."
"I am only Naruto-kun's," Hinata said with a mild glare. It didn't really matter what happened. She was all Naruto's and that was the way she wanted it. Were it Naruto's wish to see something ... naughty ... happen between the two of them, she may be willing to consider it (the idea of being seen by him in such a manner both excited her and made her nervous,) but only for such a reason.
Shizune giggled like a schoolgirl. Hinata was just so cute! She was like a ferocious little kitten! "That's all we hope for, Hinata-chan."
The group felt a pulse of chakra from behind the hidden shelf and Shizune rushed to open it and looked in, seeing Naruto picking up the only scroll from within the room.
"What on earth did you do with all the scrolls, Naruto?" She asked, already fearing the answer.
"Baa-chan said to take what I wanted and I decided I wanted it all," he responded, a little more shortly than he normally would have, though it wasn't enough to be noticeable to anyone other than Hinata who knew the boy better than anyone else.
Tsunade laughed. She should have expected that.
Ino knocked on the Hokage's office door at precisely eleven. She had a full packet of soldier pills in her pocket and nearly every possession she owned and a good many her father forced her to take sealed in a scroll at her hip.
That included, unknown to her, a box of condoms that he was far too embarrassed to ensure she would use if the situation required it. Hopefully, she would be the one to find them, too. As a ninja, he had long ago accepted she may have to do the things any kunoichi might, but he really, really didn't want to become a granddaddy out of this whole thing!
She squeaked as the door was thrown open and Tsunade glared imperiously at the trespasser until she saw who it was and softened her expression.
"Get in here, Squirt," the old woman said, dragging Ino in and slamming the door shut.
"Hi," Ino said quietly, waving at her two peers who were sitting in front of the Hokage's desk.
"Did you know you're my wife now?" Naruto asked bluntly.
Ino's face pinked.
Everything had been checked and marked off of a list Shizune had thought to create and everyone was now free and clear of any obligations to Konoha. Naruto, because they kicked him out, Hinata and Ino because they were now officially married to the boy and Shizune and Tsunade because Tsunade had the stamp and could do anything she wanted with it. Also, with taking off with so much money, the entirety of the Hokage's jutsu archive a la Naruto, the Forbidden Scroll (which was the only back-up of said archive) and a good many of the village's emergency supplies, Tsunade cleared them of any and all past and present crimes after a rare moment of clarity.
Which came right after sealing away a large amount of sake that had yet to be paid for from three different liquor stores between the Hokage Tower and the West Gate.
The group of of five rushed through the trees and tried to make a good amount of headway into the night, hoping that no one would find their absences out of place for another thirty-six hours at least. They had all of Friday to get a head start and then the old fools on the Council would be looking for them on Saturday to try and get their way. They weren't going for stealth, so much as they were speed, since Hinata was the only one of the younger three who had obtained any training in moving without leaving a trail.
"Where are we going first?" Ino asked after the first hour had passed.
"The Daimyo's palace," Tsunade said immediately. "We'll be getting everyone some basic clothes to replace our current ones since Naruto, at least, will stick out to everyone's memory."
"When do we start training?" Naruto asked, wondering if there was anything they could do on the move like he had done with the pervert.
"Not for a couple of days until we leave the Daimyo's palace. We don't want to get hurt before that and we don't want to get slowed down. That reminds me," Tsunade said, moving closer to Naruto. "I want you to promise me that you won't practice any new techniques without running it by Shizune or myself first and getting our permission."
"I'm a Sannin, Naruto," Tsunade said, trying a psychological track first and foremost. "Do you agree that means I know how to become strong?"
"I suppose," the blue-eyed boy grumbled unhappily.
"And as a medic, the best in the world, I know enough about the body to know how to make it stronger, faster?"
Naruto thought about it for a moment before agreeing. "Yea."
"Then understand that my plan is to make you as strong as I possibly can, all of you," Tsunade told them all, looking at the girls to make sure she had their attention. "I'm going to work on your bodies first to make you stronger and faster. Then we'll work on making you get more jutsu."
"But I am good at jutsu!" Naruto complained. "And I don't really know that many!"
"Well I'm not going to keep you from them," Tsunade amended, changing her plans on the fly. "I'll give you jutsu to learn every time you accomplish something and give you one worthy of whatever you accomplish."
Naruto grinned. "So all we have to do is get stronger, and we get more jutsu also, right? Easy!" Internally, Naruto couldn't help but remember one very pleasant fact. 'Besides, I already know how to summon. The jutsu is the same, even if the creature won't be.'
"No, I said every time you accomplish something," Tsunade said with a thwack to the boy's head without her super strength. It was gentle enough to show him she was just reproving him. "That means whenever you learn something the right way or reach certain goals we set for you."
"Like what?" Ino asked, wondering what she would be learning first.
"First and foremost, chakra control levels," Tsunade told them, making Naruto groan and palm his face.
"Aw man! That's my worst subject!"
"Which is exactly why you need to learn it, brat," Tsunade grumbled.
"Well, what else is there other than tree-climbing and water walking?" Naruto asked. "I can do both of those."
"Being able to do the exercises and mastering them are two different things, Naruto-kun," Shizune entered into the conversation. "You can use a string to tie a knot, for example, but you can also use a thick rope. Both make knots, but you can do it with far less than you have to as long as you have the dexterity to do it."
"You mean I use too much chakra?" Naruto asked, picking up the analogy.
"Exactly. We'll have you doing so many more exercises later that you'll beg for mercy," Shizune said with a sadistic grin that Naruto matched.
"Bring it on, Shizune-chan!"
Hinata giggled, wondering if she would be able to help or even advance some herself.
Ino wondered what in the hell she got herself into.
"Alright brats," Tsunade called out as they made it to a heavy thicket of trees half an hour out of the way from any trails to ensure they would be unnoticed. "We're setting up camp here. I know this clearing is small, but with all the trees around us, we'll be out of sight and we need to get at least some sleep to run through the day tomorrow."
All three Genin yawned as if on cue.
"Naruto, come over here. I want to do another check-up to make sure the running hasn't done anything."
In truth, she wanted to get a look at the changes Shizune had commented on. There had been no real time to do so before leaving and they had to leave no matter the results, so it was best left until later since her first apprentice was monitoring the situation. That was also why they were holding off on official training to begin with. If he was in the middle of changes to his muscular and bone structures, then exerting either was a bad idea.
As Naruto plopped over without a single complaint, she ran her glowing green hands over his body and had to work to keep the shock off of her face.
As Shizune had stated, his bones were now three times as dense as normal bone and his muscles had indeed altered slightly in alignment and form. They, too, were more dense and every strand of muscle fiber appeared to have gained both elasticity and toughness. While there may be a little more definition, it seemed like all of the changes were meant to make him faster and stronger.
Then her scan went deeper and she couldn't stop her eyes from widening. "Hinata, come over here." With a squeak, the bluenette did as commanded. "Look at Naruto's chakra pathways and tell me what you see. Describe them for me."
Confused, Hinata activated her Byakugan. "Um. Naruto's chakra is surrounded by the other one and ..."
"And what?" Tsunade demanded as the girl trailed off.
"It appears as though Naruto-kun's chakra pathways are no longer round like normal, but octagonal in shape instead," Hinata murmured, getting closer to her new husband and watching the paths coming from his heart. "However, where most people's paths pulse with their hearts, Naruto-kun's remain solid and don't swell. It looks like they're stronger because of the shape. There is much more chakra flowing through him and at a much faster rate as well."
"What does that mean?" Naruto and Ino asked as one.
"It means Naruto should be able to use more chakra at once," Tsunade muttered, wondering what the fox was up to. "At least the latter does. I'm not sure about the shape aspect."
"Is it the Kyuubi?" Naruto asked. It had been easier to tell Ino about the furball behind his naval than it had been with Hinata, but that was because Tsunade had admitted she already knew about it.
"It may be," Tsunade admitted. "I have no way of knowing for sure, but it's almost a guarantee. I just have no idea as to why."
"I'll ask him tomorrow," Naruto said with a shrug.
"Ask him?" Several female voices asked. "How?"
"I can go inside and talk to him. I did it when Ero-Sennin threw me off a cliff to access his chakra for the first time on purpose."
'Kill the pervert,' Hinata chanted within the safe confines of her own mind.
"Is it safe?" Ino asked.
"It can't reach me as long as I don't get too close to its cage."
"We'll see," Tsunade said in a tone of voice most children knew to mean something wasn't likely to happen. "For now, it's bed time. Like I told you all, I will be teaching you everything I know, which includes medical techniques. Since you'll be practicing on each other, you're all to start sleeping in the same tent in nothing but your underwear or less."
"What!?" Naruto yelled.
"Naruto, they're your wives now," Tsunade said, barely hiding a grin. "It's normal for married people to do that type of thing and it's the easiest way to get you all comfortable with bodies. When you do check-ups, most of the time the person is naked. This is easier than that, right?" She decided she would wait until after they left the Daimyo's palace to gift them with their own copies of Icha Icha Paradise. No sense in making them nervous before Court.
"I guess not," Naruto grumbled. "But if I find out you have a bet with Ero-Sennin, I'm going to make you regret it."
Naruto and the girls entered their tent after setting it up and, almost as soon as Naruto began removing his shirt, Hinata passed out with a minor nose bleed, leaving a grinning Tsunade to suggest disrobing her so his wife would be more comfortable.
Seeing how nervous just taking his shirt off made Hinata, he realized the gambling addict may have had a point with the whole thing.
Until Ino took Tsunade's advice, not wanting to be the first one of the two Naruto saw in her underwear and he passed out as well.
Outside, Tsunade grumbled and handed several Ryo notes to Shizune, who had bet Naruto would do just that.
[Author's Notes:] - There will be no harem. The relationship will be Naruto/Hinata/Ino all the way. Other girls may joke, and yes, Hinata thinks Naruto is the epitome of the perfect boyfriend and husband, but that's because she's quite enamored with him.
Ino does not currently have a crush on Naruto, much less love him. This is purely for becoming a stronger kunoichi. She will begin to care for him, yes, but she won't just suddenly fall for him.
I will explain the information on my ferrets in the next chapter once posted. They have a few quirks that have a fun history, if I do say so myself. At least, it'll be good for humor.
To those asking for this chapter and especially those who saw the foreshadowing of sealing off the Uchiha sector, you're awesome and here ya go. All done. ^_^