Here's the mandatory disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. But if I did, by now Naruto would have said something about Hinata's confession.

Chapter 1: A Surprise Attack With A Surprising Result

Four shinobi of 18 years of age were heading towards Konoha from Ame. One wore an orange-with-black jumpsuit and had blonde hair and whisker marks on his face. Another wore a tan jacket, had brown hair with one red streak on each cheek under his eyes, and was riding a dog. Another wore a dark green jacket with a high collar and hood up to hide most distinguishing features, except for his sunglasses. The last was the only female in the group and she wore a lavender jacket and had long black hair with a blueish tint and pale eyes with a lavender tint. The only common feature between them all was the Konoha hitai-ate they all sported in their preferred ways.

They were Team Eight accompanied by Konoha's latest and greatest hero, Naruto Uzumaki. He had been the village's hero since day one, literally, although for the better part of his life he was an unsung hero regarded as a villain. He had warmed his way into several people's hearts by the time he was 13, and even more by the time he was 16. One of the things that had helped him the most was when he saved the people of Konoha from Pain of the Akatsuki. The entire town had cheered for him when he returned, almost everyone dropping their prejudices against him. The downside was that everyone had found out his dirty little secret involving the Kyuubi, but those that knew him still respected him. One person was quoted as saying that if he was the fox, then obviously the demon wasn't demonic in the first place. Even so, everyone said he wasn't really the fox, and now the older generation finally started to agree.

Sadly not everyone had a change of heart in that one instance, particularly the seniors on the council. But even they had their opinions changed on an occasion not too long ago. When Danzo made Hokage, he had no intention of having it be a filler position until Tsunade recovered. He gave most of the missions to his ROOT, had the other ninjas work on reconstruction, and tried to corrupt the other kages into giving him power over the other nations. He might have succeeded even, had the Akatsuki not shown up and one guard caught onto his sharingan usage. When he got back to Konoha after a battle with rogue nin Sasuke Uchiha, he feared he had to take a preemptive measure to keep his position, meaning he chose to kill Tsunade in her sleep. Too bad for him Naruto and Shizune caught him and fought him off, which was easy since the old warhawk was out of top shape and tired from the previous fight. They incapacitated him and he was put on trial. Luckily one of Shizune's toxins was an extra-strong truth serum so Danzo was forced to confess, thus losing all support from the other council members. He was executed and other ROOT members were reprogramed by Ibiki and Inoichi in time. Tsunade woke up and was regiven her position, after she reapplied her younger look. Her first act was to give Naruto a field promotion to chuunin.

By now even the old fossils once on the council decided to give Naruto a chance, albeit grudgingly. And with former ROOT members, Sai included, still under surveillance, all the other ninjas got back on duty. Sakura stayed in town most of the time to heal others until Tsunade was 100% again so Naruto teamed up with other teams like he did when Sasuke left. At the moment he was with Team Eight since Kurenai had yet to retake mission work even after having her son. That and everyone wanted to give him and Hinata more time together after her little confession. Including themselves.

-Flashback to shortly after Pain battle-

"Hi Hinata, can I talk with you for a bit?" Naruto greeted her at the remains of the Hyuuga compound the day after he came back from seeking the Raikage.

Hinata blushed, knowing exactly what he wanted to discuss. She looked to her father, who nodded his approval then went back to supervising the reconstruction of the estate. She turned back to the whiskered blond. "S-sure, Naruto-kun." The two walked away to one of the forests around the city outside what was left of the walls. They sat down on a log that was near a creek with lots of wildflowers. "So... wha-what's on y-your mind, Naruto-kun?"

Naruto looked up at the clouds and some passing birds. "Well, I was thinking... about what you said to me earlier." Out of the corner of his eye he saw her blush deepen and she began fiddling with her fingers. "Is that... really what you think of me?"

She could tell in his voice he was curious and maybe even a little hopeful. "Y-yes, it is, Naruto-kun. I meant it, I love you. Is that... a p-problem for you?"

Naruto placed his hand over hers, making her gasp lightly. "No not at all, Hinata-chan. I'm just surprised that a girl like you could even like someone like me as more than just an occasional teammate."

"Why wouldn't I?" Hinata asked. "Is it because of... well... the Kyuubi? I don't mind. You're too nice and caring to be a demon. And... even if you w-were a demon, then I should be ashamed of m-myself for being a human."

This surprised Naruto greatly. "Really? But... demons are dangerous and evil."

"And humans aren't?" Hinata countered. "People can be monsters too, especially if they hated you for holding the Kyuubi captive. You're the most humane and admirable person I know, and I love you for it. Even if... if you d-don't f-feel the same..." Hinata was cut off by Naruto wiping off a tear she didn't know she had shed.

"Hinata-chan, thank you. This means a lot to me. I wish I could say it back, but I never thought you would accept me that way." Naruto told her, and she felt her heart crack a little, ready to break completely. "But... I am willing to give us a chance, if you would like." Her eyes widened and her heart soared at this. Naruto then gave her a warm grin. "So what do you say?"

Her hug was his answer.

-End Flashback-

Since then the two had been a couple. Kiba and Shino had supported their teammate and helped give her advice on how to appeal to Naruto more. Shizune, Ino, and Sakura, who was a little upset since she began realizing how much Naruto meant to her, also tried to teach Naruto how to please a woman romantically. Kurenai helped out a little there too since Hinata was like a daughter to her. Neji helped them both out since Hinata was his relative and he felt he owed Naruto for opening his eyes years ago.

They had enjoyed their relationship greatly for the past two years. The Hyuuga clan wasn't preventing Hinata from being with him and Naruto didn't have anybody trying to stop him either. But the only thing that was an obstacle were the few remaining Akatsuki members. The black Zetsu had been vanquished about a year ago when Naruto and Team Ten paired up with the Sand Siblings at the border of Wind Country. It took everything they had to finish off the freaky gemini flytrap, but they succeeded. And strangely, after that all the produced white Zetsu's withered and died within hours after that, like their lives were connected to the black Zetsu. Kisame was killed in Land of Lightning with several Kumo nin and naruto as witnesses to confirm the details. So now all that was left was Tobi and the still missing Sasuke.

As long as the Akatsuki were still out there and hunting the last jinchuuriki, Naruto and Hinata couldn't advance their relationship. Naruto felt that if they did that and he were to be captured and killed it would destroy Hinata and she would die shortly after. Once the group of missing nins was gone completely, then maybe they could go further. Hinata understood his reasons and went with them, but found herself getting antsy as time went on, and wanting to take the risk. Unknown to her, Naruto felt that way too.

While the two were running through the trees into Land of Fire, Kiba and Akamaru smelled something they didn't like. "We should stop here for a moment." He quietly told everyone as they came to a stop in the branches.

"What's wrong?" Naruto asked.

Akamaru looked left and right trying to get a better lock on the scent. Kiba checked above and behind them. "Not sure, but I think we've got company." With that, Shino got his insects ready to swarm, Hinata got her byakugan active, and Naruto created two shadow clones and they took a triangular position with him to look everywhere, each armed with a kunai.

Hinata saw something spinning really fast like a shuriken fly into view from the west right towards them, slicing through the trees with ease. "Everyone jump now!" Hinata warned them. They obeyed and all four avoided being cut.

They landed on the ground and looked westward. They saw a tall man wearing a Kiri hitai-ate with the metal plate right above the right ear. His hair was yellow and cut short with a long thin braid that almost looked like a rat tail. He wore a dark grey tank top with earth-brown armor pads on his shoulders and a similar colored glove on his right hand. He also wore loose camouflage patterned pants that were dull blue rather than green with steel grey army boots. One of the most disturbing features was that there were scars carved onto his left forearm that looked like the symbols for Kiri, Kumo, Kusa, and Taki, from top to bottom.

The spinning weapon turned and returned to him, and he caught it in his gloved hand. The weapon turned out to be a one-sided sword with the blade bent at an obtuse angle, making the sword look like a boomerang. Judging from the fact that it returned to him showed it acted like one too. He smirked a fiendish grin. "Well well well, looks like I can add Konoha's symbol to my collection."

"Any idea who this is?" Kiba asked as he got off Akamaru and readied a food pill.

"Sorry, I do not." Shino replied.

"Taste this! Hiraito!" The newcomer shouted and swung his sword. It flew at them like a shuriken again. The Konoha nin easily dodged it by jumping away. At that moment the newcomer made the tiger sign. "Rai!" The boomerang sword instantly shot off bolts of lightning in all directions for a moment as it swung. Shino, Kiba, and Akamaru were behind some trees so they were missed, and Hinata managed to briefly make a Rotation to shield herself. Both of Naruto's clones took the full force of the voltage and disappeared. The sword then cut through another tree and returned to its owner. "Damn. Well, no fun if the kill was easy."

"Don't get too excited pal." Naruto commented as he threw some shuriken at the swordsman, who deflected them with ease. He slashed at the orange-clad ninja and hit, only for him to vanish in a puff of smoke. From behind him the real Naruto was creating a rasengan with another shadow clone and pounced at him. The Kiri swordsman swung his sword without throwing it and struck them both in the stomach. The clone vanished but Naruto felt a gash on his abdomen and yelled.

Hinata screamed at seeing her boyfriend injured and rushed to his side. Kiba and Akamaru did their Beast Mimicry Jutsu and attacked with Fang Over Fang. The swordsman jumped and blocked their assault with his sword. A swarm of Shino's bugs flew at him and he sliced at them, but it did no damage. The chakra-eating insects landed on him and did their job. The swordsman tried batting them off, but they clung on tightly and more joined them. Kiba and Akamaru got ready to attack again. Then from out of nowhere a few smoke bombs landed at the swordsman's feet and smoke appeared. When it cleared the swordsman was gone and Shino's bugs were on the ground, twitching but alive.

"Huh? Where'd he go? How'd he leave so quickly?" Kiba asked as he looked around the area, finding no trace of the enemy's scent.

Shino was silent as he went over to his downed swarm and gently scooped them up. "Perhaps he had assistance somewhere."

"Better check with the Hokage and see if he's listed." Kiba suggested. Shino nodded. "Everything okay, Hinata?"

They looked over towards Naruto where he was gripping his bleeding stomach. Hinata opened his orange jacket and pulled up his black shirt. The wound looked pretty bad but not fatal and cut right across the now-visible seal. Hinata reached into her bag for her healing balm and had just grabbed it when Naruto yelled again and the seal glowed a soft red. Team Eight's eyes widened when they saw the seal pulse, then shrink and vanish then red chakra leak out of Naruto's wound, healing it in the meantime.

"Oh no. This could be bad." Kiba stated, a little worried.

The red chakra left Naruto's body and condensed in a ball whose diameter was roughly the size of a large microwave at least. It then started taking on a humanoid shape, curled up in a fetal position. Within the chakra one could see a small skeleton start to form, one the size of a small child. But what caught everyone's attention the most, even Naruto's now, was that this skeleton had nine tails coming out of the pelvis.

"Oh crap. I think the Kyuubi's been released." Kiba said, now a little more than worried.

"But it's so small." Hinata added, expecting something bigger than this in such a scenario.

Muscles and veins started forming on the bones, giving it an even more humane appearance rather than vulpine. Then skin and red hair appeared, making the thing of interest look like a young redheaded girl with nine red fox tails and two red fox ears, both features tipped black. She had no clothes on so Hinata took Naruto's jacket and covered the young girl. She sniffed and her eyes twitched open. Her eyes were the same blue as Naruto's. She sat up and looked over them all, her expression one of innocent curiosity, until she saw Naruto. Then her tails wagged and she smiled, throwing herself into his lap.