The Silent Warrior

Chapter 5

CHAPTER 5

Hinata was taking her time walking home, just like yesterday. Her father was very upset with her for taking so long. But, if I keep my normal routine… Walking around the village made the days feel longer.

She was making her way to the ninja academy turned a corner and stopped. There was someone wearing white standing by the swing. The person had a hand on one of the ropes. It struck Hinata that it was a very lonely scene. Then she realized who it was, "NARUTO!' She ran up to him. "Naruto!" But he wouldn't turn around. When she reached him, she placed a hand on his arm. He finally turned to face her, but it looked as if he didn't recognize her.

"Naruto, have you been released from the hospital?" He just looked at her. "Are you alright? Maybe I should get you back?" But Naruto didn't move. He just looked at her. It seemed like he could look right through her. But his face was kind. It was like he was lost. "Naruto?"

He held out a hand to her. Hinata looked at it. He wants to hold my hand? She started to blush, and shakily reached out to him. When she grabbed his hand, she felt chakra flowing to her and enveloping her. She wanted to cry out, but she couldn't. The world around her began to disappear. As she passed out, Naruto's face was the last thing she saw.

--

When she came to, Naruto was holding her looking very concerned. She blushed and started to get up. "Oh, I'm sorry…"

"ARE YOU ALRIGHT?"

"Naruto, your voice sounds strange. Yeah, I'm fine." Hinata stood up, with Naruto's help. He still looked concerned. "No, really, I'm fine."

"ARE YOU SURE?"

She was looking right at him, but his mouth never moved. She looked around to see if someone else had spoken.

"IS SOMETHING WRONG?"

Again, his mouth never moved. "Naruto, why does your voice sound so strange? It sounded like three voices speaking at once. And how can I hear you? Your mouth hasn't moved."

He looked at her, puzzled. "SO YOU KNOW ME? WHERE IS THIS PLACE? WHO ARE YOU?"

"It's me, Hinata Hyuga. This is Kohoha, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. And you…you are Naruto Uzumaki." She was blushing so much that her whole face was red.

"YOU SOUND SO SURE OF THIS. I WILL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT. CAN YOU TELL ME MORE."

Hinata looked at him. So he's lost his memory. I wonder if that is why he's out here. She smiled at him. I guess he's stronger than any of us imagined.

"STRONGER THAN WHAT?"

"You can read my mind?"

Naruto shrugged, "I DO NOT KNOW. I HEARD YOU SAY, 'I GUESS HE IS STRONGER THAN ANY OF US IMAGINED.'"

Hinata nodded. Can you hear this? But Naruto just looked at her. Let me try something else. She took a moment, focused her chakra and her feelings. It's good to have you back.

"BACK FROM WHERE?"

Hinata smiled, "I get it now, you can feel my emotions through my chakra and that translates into the words I used."

"IS THAT BAD?"

She shook her head. "Can you do that with everyone?"

"I DO NOT KNOW. WHO IS HERE?"

Hinata was starting to feel more confident. This time she reached out her hand, "Let me show you around. Maybe you will remember something."

He smiled and grabbed her hand. They took off through the town.

--

At Ichiraku Ramen Shop, some of Naruto's friends had gathered. There was Choji, Kiba, Shino, Neji, and Lee. This Ramen Shop had been Naruto's favorite place to eat for years. After Tsunade had sent everyone home yesterday, they all stopped here. Today, they were looking for Hinata.

Neji sounded frustrated, "Uncle should just let her be."

"You just want to get some sleep." Kiba said with a playful tone to his voice.

Neji grunted.

"We are waiting for the girls to check a few places that we cannot," Lee chimed in.

"We're probably missing her by just moments. She's been walking around the village. I think she's trying to avoid thinking about him."

Everyone nodded. They all knew how Hinata felt about Naruto.

"Well, why don't you stay and have breakfast?" Choji asked as he was severed his order.

Neji started to respond when Hinata walked in and bumped into him.

"Oh,!" She said in a surprised voice. "I didn't think there would be so many people here this early. What good luck."

"Hinata! Where have you been? Your father is really worried…" Neji started, then he noticed that she was holding someone's hand. "Hinata, who…"

"Oh! Everyone, look who I have here." She tugged on the hand and Naruto came through the door way.

"NARUTO!!" Everyone said at once. They all gather around him, pushing Hinata off to the side.

"I knew you could beat that stupid jutsu!" Kiba said.

"Your strength never ceases to amaze me." Lee added.

Naruto looked to each person, but his expression never changed, nor did he say anything.

Hinata made her way back through everyone. She placed a hand on Naruto's arm. "It's ok. Come over here." She lead Naruto to a seat. He was looking around like it was his first time there.

Hinata ordered something for him, but before she could sit down, Neji grabbed her arm and pulled her to the back. "What's going on?"

Everyone crowded around Hinata. "Naruto survived the jutsu. He's lost his memory, though."

"WHAT!?" Everyone said, shocked.

"I've been taking him around the village hoping his memory would come back. But so far…" She just shook her head.

"I'm surprised that the Hokage let him out of the hospital in that condition." Shino said.

Hinata nodded, "I thought it was strange, too. Especially how I found him. He was…" She stopped and looked over at Naruto, as if he called her name. "Wait, I'm coming. Excuse me everyone." She made her way over to Naruto.

Everyone watched as Hinata went over and showed Naruto how to use the chopsticks and how to eat the ramen.

Even the shop keeper, Teuchi, was watching Naruto. He had seen Naruto grow up coming to his ramen shop. Teuchi was so happy to see Naruto that he made Naruto his favorite ramen.

"Something's not right. Doesn't Hinata seem off?" Kiba asked.

"Indeed. She is more aggressive and sure of herself than I've ever seen." Shino added.

Neji was going to step forward when Skikamaru came into the ramen shop. "Hey! What's going on? Why is everyone here?"

Choji started to answer when someone spoke from behind Shikamaru. "Is there a problem?" Asked Gaara.

"No Kazekage, no problem. I think."

Gaara walked into the ramen shop followed by Temari and Kankuro. "Shikamaru was showing us around your village. I'm surprised how much…we…are…" Gaara stopped.

Shikamaru followed Gaara's gaze. "Naruto!?"

Temari and Kankuro were also astonished. Gaara started walking towards Naruto. Kankuro was going to say something when he got pushed from behind as Sakura, TenTen, and Ino tried to push into the ramen shop.

"Hey what's everyone doing here?" Ino asked.

Sakura started to say something but she noticed that everyone was looking at the same point. She followed everyone's gaze and her heart missed a beat. "N…Na…Naruto?" She too, started to push through everyone to get to him.

Gaara had sat down beside Naruto on the opposite side of Hinata and just stared at Naruto. Naruto returned his gaze, but this time there seemed to be the light of recognition in his eyes.

"What do you mean you're the same?" Hinata asked.

"No one said anything, Hinata." Kiba said. Now everyone was starting to get worried. Something just wasn't right. Only Sakura, Gaara, and Hinata seemed not to notice anything was wrong.

Naruto smiled and held his hand out to Gaara. Gaara grasped it. Immediately chakra flowed from Naruto's hand, enveloping Gaara.

"No! Stop!" Kankuro shouted. But it was to late. Gaara was completely surrounded by Naruto's chakra. It lasted only for a few seconds, but when it was gone, Gaara closed his eyes and lost consciousness.

--

Back in the hospital, Tsunade was walking up the hall and trying to figure out what she was going to say to everyone, when Shizune come running up to her. "He's gone! Naruto, he's gone!"

"Shizune, you knew that I was…"

But Shizune was shaking her head, "No! His body! His body is gone!"

Tsunade was shocked. "What do you mean?"

"I mean there is nothing in Naruto's room!"

They both ran to Naruto's room. Tsunade flung the door open so hard that it came off of it's hinges. The room was empty. "What went on in here!?" Tsunade bellowed to the guards.

"Nothing. No one went in or out until Shizune."

Tsunade looked around, there was nothing out of place. The windows were closed. What the hell is going on?! "Shizune! Get that old man over here! Also, summon Iruka, Jiraiya , and Kakashi." Tsunade stormed off.

--

Everyone had gathered in Tsunade's office. But the announcement she made surprised everyone.

"What do you mean he's missing?" Iruka asked, his voice heavy with concern.

"You heard me. Last night Naruto passed away. I was planning on making the announcement this morning." Tsunade stopped, her emotions were starting to get the better of her. "Shizune is the one who found his room empty." She looked at Kaien. "What is going on? Is this still part of the jutsu?"

Kaien shook his head. "I don't know."

Could one of his friends have taken him? But why? Tsunade just couldn't put the pieces together. "Alright! Everyone, fan out! Find everyone who was in that room yesterday!"

Everyone nodded and left expect for Tsunade and Kaien. She got up and started looking through her books. "If I find out that you have something to do with this…"

But, Kaien looked very concerned. "No, I do not. I know that you have no reason to believe me, but I have nothing to do with this."

"We'll see."

They waited in silence.

--

Gaara opened his eyes to find chaos going on. Temari and Sakura were by him. Sakura was trying to perform her healing jutsu, but neither were looking at Gaara. Hinata was being held back by Neji. "No, really, he's going to be ok. The same thing happened to me. It's ok…" But her words were falling on deaf ears. Kankuro, Lee, Kiba, and Shikamaru all had a hold of Naruto. But he wasn't struggling, in fact, he was the only one actually looking at Gaara.

"ARE YOU ALRIGHT?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Your voice sounds different." Gaara started to stand.

Now, everyone turned to face Gaara. Temari was the first to speak, "Gaara are you alright? Whose voice sounds different?"

"Yes, I'm fine." He looked around and started towards Naruto, but Temari stopped him. "Doesn't his voice sound different to you?"

"Whose voice?"

"Naruto's"

Everyone looked at each other. Shino spoke first, "He has not said anything."

Now, Gaara was confused.

"ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE ALRIGHT?"

Gaara looked at Naruto, "Yes, really, I'm fine."

No one knew what was going on. No one, expect Hinata, "Kazekage, you can hear him?"

Gaara looked at her and nodded.

Hinata smiled. "I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but if you focus your thoughts and chakra, he can hear you.

Gaara tried, Why did you do this to me?

"I AM SORRY. IT FELT AS THOUGH I KNEW YOU AND SO FAR, NOTHING HAS FELT FAMILIAR."

"I see."

"Nothing, Naruto?" Hinata asked.

He shook his head.

Everyone else was looking at each other in confusion. "So you mean that he doesn't need to speak? He can read and send thoughts?" Shikamaru asked.

Hinata and Gaara nodded.

"Can he read everyone's mind?" Kiba asked suspiciously.

Hinata shook her head. "I thought it was just me, but now Gaara too."

Everyone looked at Naruto. Sakura felt heart broken, It isn't Naruto. It may look like him, but it's not."

"I think we should get him to the Hokage." Shikamaru said. Everyone nodded. He looked at Naruto. "Are you going to fight us?"

"NO, BUT WHO IS HOKAGE? IS IT A RELATIVE OF KAZEKAGE?"

Hinata laughed, "No. It's the leader of this village. Gaara is the leader of the Village Hidden in the Sand, so he is Kazekage."

Naruto nodded, but no one moved.

"He said that he will go willingly." Gaara informed everyone as he pushed past Temari and went over to Naruto.

No one knew what to do. "Neji you can let me go. It's ok," Hinata said.

"I'm not sure you are who you say you are."

She just smiled, "Neji, it's ok." He reluctantly released her. She went right over to Naruto. "It's ok everyone, really." She gently put a hand on Kiba & Shikamaru. "Really, we'll go willingly."

Kiba and Shikamaru looked at each other, then at Kankuro and Lee. They all nodded and slowly let go.

Naruto didn't move. Hinata grabbed his hand, "Come on. I'll show you the way." He smiled at her and then nodded. Gaara followed.

Shikamaru looked worried. "I think we should all go. Just to make sure nothing happens."

Everyone nodded and started to leave the ramen shop. Sakura was standing there, her face was flushed red. When Hinata grabbed Naruto's hand, he looked at her very fondly. When did he start looking at Hinata like that? He never seemed to notice her feelings before.

Sakura was still mulling it over when Ino came beside her, "What's the matter Sakura, jealous?"

"No! Of course not! I just…I just…" But she couldn't put her feelings into words.

"Come on, let's go." Ino giggled as she smacked Sakura on the shoulder on the way out.

The group hadn't gotten very far when Naruto looked up and saw the monument to the former Hokages. In the mountainside, overlooking the village, five figureheads were chiseled. These represented the four previous and the current Hokage.

When Naruto saw this, he stopped moving and just stared at the figureheads.

"What's wrong," Gaara and Hinata said in unison. Everyone stopped and gathered around.

Naruto started to shake with anger. No one noticed that his eyes had changed to dull gray snake eyes. His fury grew. "THAT OLD MAN OWES ME!"

Hinata grabbed her head and went down to her knees. 'Naruto! What are you talking about? Why are you so angry with the Third Hokage?"

Naruto couldn't hear her through his rage. He walked forward only focusing on the mountain in front of him. His chakra was building visibly. He struck out with his hands and his chakra flew off of him in the form of a great white snake.

Gaara put a hand to his head and winced in pain.

"Gaara?" Temari asked worriedly. Kankuro came over to them.

All the other guys went to grab Naruto but they couldn't even get close to him because his chakra was surrounding him like a force field.

"NARUTO! STOP IT!!" Sakura yelled as she too tried to reach him.

All of the sudden a huge frog appeared and knocked the snake out of the way. The two started fighting.

Naruto's fury grew as he prepared for another strike. Hinata passed out and Gaara now gripped his head with both hands.

Sakura knew where that frog had come from. She looked around trying to find Jiraiya. He was standing on top of one of the near by buildings. He jumped down in front of Naruto.

Naruto looked at him with those gray eyes, full of fury. Jiraiya knew those eyes, they were Orochimaru's. So Orochimaru won the battle and instead of getting Sasuke's body, he got Naruto's. This made Jiraiya very angry. If I could, I'd rip Orochimaru out of him and shove him into Sasuke! Naruto doesn't deserve this fate!

Naruto stared back. "WHY ARE YOU IN MY WAY! HE OWES ME!" Of course, only Gaara could hear him since Hinata had passed out.

Jiraiya went to reach out to Naruto, but he couldn't get through Naruto's chakra either.

Gaara started walking towards Naruto. Temari tried to stop him, "You shouldn't go near him!" But Gaara shrugged her off and kept going.

Jiraiya was trying hard to contain his anger. "So, you think you've won, Orochimaru! Do you think that we won't take action because you're in that body!"

Sakura was horrified. You mean that Orochimaru has taken over Naruto's body! After everything he did to protect Sasuke from that, this is the out come! It's not right! Naruto's only ever looked out for everyone else! He…

Jiraiya was getting prepared to use the Rasengan, when Gaara came from behind Naruto and placed a hand on his shoulder. Naruto spun around to face him.

Jiraiya was surprised. How did he get through that wall of chakra!?

"Naruto. This isn't your anger." Gaara said very calmly. "This isn't what you really feel."

"HOW WOULD YOU KNOW!?" But, when he saw how much pain Gaara was in, he stopped. "GAARA? ARE YOU ALRIGHT? WHAT IS WRONG?" Naruto's anger was completely gone and the snake disappeared. He placed a hand an Gaara, again the chakra was visible. When it was gone, the two men were looking at each other. "I AM SORRY. I DID NOT REALIZE…"

"It's alright. I think Hinata needs your help." Gaara stepped aside showing Neji cradling Hinata. Naruto went right over to her and knelt down. Neji jerked her away. Naruto looked at him very sincerely, he reached out and placed a hand on her arm. His chakra enveloped them both. Hinata opened her eyes and with her other hand placed it on Naruto's check. "It's ok. I'm fine." They looked into each other's eyes very fondly.

Sakura's face went red again.

"What IS going on?!" Jiraiya was very confused and angry.

"We're taking him to the Hokage. I'll explain along the way." Shikamaru said.

Jiraiya nodded and the group headed out. No one noticed the eyes watching from the shadows.

--

Jiraiya had signaled to the others that were out searching to come to the Hokage's office. They gathered outside her office. Everyone stared at Naruto and wanted to say something. But Jiraiya silenced them with a look, "Let's get to the Hokage first." I don't think anyone is going to believe this. I'm not even sure I do.

Everyone went inside. Tsunade couldn't believe her eyes. "Kaien, what's going on?"

Kaien walked up to Naruto. "Do you remember me?"

Naruto shook his head.

"How do you feel?" But, Naruto just stared at him. Kaien tried again, "How do you feel?"

"He feels fine, just confused." Hinata said.

"I'm asking him."

"He answered you. You just couldn't hear him"

"So, are you the only one who can hear him, Hinata?" Tsunade asked.

'No, Gaara can hear him, too." Gaara, who had been standing behind Naruto, stepped forward.

"Alright! Let's get to the bottom of this," Tsunade growled.

And so started the interrogation.

--

Hours later, everyone was frustrated and exhausted. The answers were coming slow since they had to wait for Hinata or Gaara had to translate.

"There has to be an easier way," Tsunade huffed.

Naruto looked at Hinata, she nodded. The he looked at Gaara, he nodded. They all closed their eyes for a few moments.

"What's going on?" Tsunade was ready to break something.

All three opened their eyes at the same time. Hinata was the first to speak, "This should speed things along. As I said earlier, the first thing I remember is standing by a tree. I felt mixed emotions about standing there, but I couldn't make sense out of what I was feeling. Then Hinata came up to me. I was so relieved to find someone."

No one knew how to react. "Hinata, why are you…" Tsunade started.

Next was Gaara, "They have agreed to act as my voice. I do not seem to have the ability to speak and this method will make answering you question easier."

"Will they be like this forever!?" Temari asked very concerned. Gaara can't act as the Kazekage if he is like this.

Naruto shook his head. Hinata responded, "We can change our bond at any time. I just thought this would make answering questions easier."

Tsunade and the others looked dubious, but she proceeded, "Who are you?"

Gaara: "Hinata seems to think that I am someone named Naruto Uzumaki. She seemed very sure of this, so I took her word for it."

"So you don't remember anything?"

Naruto shook his head.

"What about Gaara?"

Hinata: "I remembered a feeling when I looked at him. It felt like we were the same in some way and that he was some how important to me."

"So how is it that only Hinata and Gaara can hear you?"

Gaara: "When Hinata came up to me, I was so glad that someone was here and seemed to know me. I reached out to her with everything that I am. I think it was a little overwhelming because she passed out. When she came to, she could hear me. It was the same when I reached out to Gaara."

"What do you mean by 'reached out'."

Hinata: "I do not know if I can explain, let me show you."

"Wait! I don't want anyone else to end up like that."

Sakura felt a little disappointed,. She was going to volunteer. Wait, stupid! This isn't Naruto! He's nothing like him! It's someone pretending to be him!

Gaara: "That is alright. I can show you with these two."

Naruto turned to Hinata and she faced him. They grasped hands. Once again, Naruto's chakra became visible. It surround Hinata and then vanished.

"That's what happened to Gaara when Naruto shook his hand." Shikamaru confirmed.

Hinata looked at him and giggled, "That felt different than the last time."

Gaara: "That is because you are now familiar with me. It is not so overwhelming any more."

Hinata stood up on her tip toes and kissed Naruto's cheek, she smiled at him.

He smiled back and nodded. "ME TOO."

Hinata was a little surprised, "WE CAN STILL TALK LIKE THIS?"

Naruto winked at her, "THEY DO NOT NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING. RIGHT, GAARA."

Gaara looked over, very slightly and winked.

"Alright! What's with the personality change in Hinata!?" Tsunade growled. She hadn't noticed the exchange with Gaara.

Naruto just shook his head. Hinata turned back to respond to Tsunade. "I do not know. This is all new to me as well."

"So why did you attack our monument."

Naruto actually looked embarrassed. Gaara responded, "I am sorry. I do not know why I reacted that way. Gaara said the anger was not mine. All I know is that someone's image in the mountain made me angry. So much so that all I could think of was destroying it."

Tsunade didn't know what to do. She wanted him to be Naruto, but nothing about him was like Naruto. She sat back and sighed. The only reason he thinks he's Naruto is because Hinata said so. Tsunade looked back over them. "Ok. You three, please go into the next room. I need to talk to everyone."

Hinata, Gaara, and Naruto nodded. Hinata lead them out.

"Do you think it's wise to leave them by themselves?" Jiraiya asked.

Tsunade nodded, "I have guards in there." She sighed heavily, "What the hell is going on? Is he Naruto? Is he Orochimaru?" Her head was spinning.

"He is neither and both. Probably all three." Kaien said.

"What's that supposed to mean? This isn't the time for riddles old man." Jiraiya hissed.

"It all makes sense if you know the legend of the Silent Warrior." Kaien responded, there was none of the brashness to his voice anymore.

"Do you really think that Naruto has become the next Silent Warrior?" Tsunade said with surprise.

"Impossible!" Jiraiya exclaimed. But Kaien nodded.

"I'm sorry, but could you fill the rest of us in on this legend?" Iruka asked. The worry still clear in his voice.

"Go ahead Kaien," Tsunade nodded in his direction.

--

There was a young warrior who had lost his parents. He was taken in by his uncle, who was the high priest of the Uzumaki clan. As high priest, he trained all the young warriors. At first, he did not want to train his nephew, since he was the only family the high priest had left.

But the young warrior wanted to protect his clan. So after much arguing, the high priest agreed to train him.

The young warrior soon rose to the top of the warriors. He even convinced his uncle to teach him some of the most secret jutsus, which included the self imprisonment seal.

As the warrior grew up, many thought that he would be the next clan leader, as the current clan leader was aging and had no heir. But one day a rival clan attacked. One of their warriors had developed a new powerful jutsu and decided to wipe out the Uzumakis.

The young warrior saw his friends and clansmen being slaughtered. Everything the Uzumakis did was repelled. So the young warrior made a decision. He trapped the warrior of the rival clan, who was wielding the new jutsu. And before anyone could stop him, he performed the Self Imprisonment Jutsu. It was something none of the rival clan had seen before and so they withdrew.

Only the high priest knew what would happened when that jutsu was used. His nephew was brought to him. The high priest started making the funeral arrangements. There had never been anyone who survived this jutsu. The high priest knew that on the third day, his nephew would be dead. That is why the jutsu had been hidden away.

On the third day, the devastated high priest walked into his nephew's room, ready to take his body for the funeral. But there stood the young warrior, who greeted him with a smile. The high priest started asking many questions, but the young warrior would not speak. As much as the high priest tried, his nephew just would not say anything. The high priest didn't really care, he was just happy his nephew was alive.

As the warrior recovered, he began training again. But he never spoke a word. During a training session, he was able to use the power that the rival clan had used. But it was different in that it was more powerful. Many were impressed with his abilities, but felt that they couldn't follow a clan leader if he could not speak. Instead, the high priest was made the next clan leader with his nephew by his side. The Uzumaki clan once again rose into prominence.

--

"That's a ridiculous story! It's the kind of "Legend" that every clan has. The invincible warrior who make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the clan." Jiraiya spat.

"It seems to match what is happening to Naruto." Kaien responded.

"So what does that mean for Naruto?" Tsunade asked.

Kaien shrugged, "I don't know. What happens when you mix three very different things together?"

"You get something completely different." Everyone turned to look at Neji. He was clenching his fists. "He really isn't Naruto anymore."

It was hard enough for everyone to accept Naruto's death, but this?

"Can we be sure that it isn't Orochimaru? I saw his eyes transform. I would know Orochimaru's eyes anywhere." Jiraiya stated.

"I don't think so," Tsunade stated, "from what you told me, Naruto showed real concern for Gaara and Hinata. That is something Orochimaru could never do."

"So now what?" Shizune asked. "Do we still treat him like Naruto?"

Tsunade just couldn't take this all in. "I don't know. Kiba, go and get Kurenai. We'll be needing her ability again."

Kiba nodded. He and Akamaru took off.

"Bring them in." Tsunade said to Iruka.

He nodded and went to get them.

Tsunade looked around the room at all of the agonized faces. This is so hard for everyone. As shinobi , we all prepare to deal with death. It's not easy, but we know that it is part of our life. But this? How do you prepare yourself for something like this?

Tsunade was jolted out of her thoughts. As Iruka brought the three of them back in, Hinata was humming a song. Tsunade's head and heart were thumping. It can't be! She stood up and walked over to them, standing in front of Naruto.

"Lady Tsunade?" Shizune called.

"Hinata, that song. Where have you heard it?" Tsunade couldn't contain her shaking.

Hinata shrugged, "It's stuck in his head. So now, it's stuck in mine. Do you know it Hokage?"

Tsunade nodded, it was the lullaby that she had sung to Naruto.

Naruto looked her in the eyes. "Don't worry Granny Tsunade, it will all work out." It was Gaara's voice, but Tsunade knew that it was Naruto's thoughts.

Everyone gasped at what Gaara had said. Naruto always referred to Tsunade as Granny since she hid her age with a jutsu. It was his way of reminding her that she wouldn't fool him.

Tsunade reached out and pulled Naruto into an embrace. He didn't return it but he didn't pull away. Even without Kurenai, Tsunade had her answer of who she was holding. Inspite of herself, she once again shed tears.

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