"Everyone ready?" Naruto asked as he looked at Tsunade as she walked up with the older adults.
"Looks like it. You ready for this?" Naruto gave a small nod and looked around at the rows of ninja awaiting orders. "make sure your careful, both of you." she told Naruto and Sakura as they looked at her sadly "I don't want to be stuck with those little brats so you better come back." she smiled as Sakura began to tear up as Azumi helped her brother and sister run over to them.
"How long ya gonna be now?" Azumi asked Sakura as she knelt down to hug her three children while Naruto continued to talk to Tsunade.
"We're always careful, you should know that Granny." Naruto chuckled and saw Tsunade smirk. "We'll be fine, just like any other mission. We're the best there is."
"Don't get cocky. This is Madara and the best there is of the enemy, don't mess around. I want you to take everyone into battle and meet with the other nations. Get in do what you have to and get out, don't take unnecessary risks. Understand?"
"Naruto, she's only worried about you like all the rest of us." Kushina smiled at her son as he looked at her with a small smile. "We all care about you and don't want you to get hurt."
"Yeah I know. I've been doing dangerous stuff for years; this is going to be just like all the others."
"Looks like you've got the best of the best to go along with you into this mission." Jiraiya smirked as he looked around and saw all of Naruto friends from when he was growing up with other ninja standing behind them, all saying goodbye to their families. Naruto glanced around and looked back and noticed all but the third and Tsunade geared up and ready to go.
"You know your mission; you know what you must do. I'm leaving the rest and this army in your hands, Naruto. You better come home or I might have to find someone else to give the Hokage title to." She smiled he stared at her for a moment before a smirk broke from his lips.
"Yeah yeah. Just wait till I get back Granny. You really will be considered old!" he laughed before Sakura hit the back of his head making him stop and pout at her. "Sakura!"
"Tsunade just offered you the Hokage position and you're playing around." Sakura shook her head and smiled at Tsunade before she continued. "Don't worry too much about us, you know we can handle ourselves and take care of the others just fine."
"I know that, but I still want to see Naruto become Hokage like he's always bragged about." She smirked as he chuckled and turned away to talk to Azumi. "Don't you do anything reckless either I know you better than most and I know that when it comes to your friends and family, especially Naruto you will stop at nothing to protect them. Just make sure you take care of yourself and don't let that brat get into too much trouble."
"I'll do my best, but you know Naruto." Tsunade and Sakura laughed softly and looked over at Naruto who was kneeling on the ground talking to the three children. "You can count on that." She smiled as she knelt beside Naruto and began talking to their daughter.
"So you gotta beat this guy up so he can't hurt anyone?"
"Yup, that's the plan. So while we're gone I want you to be really good for granny and grandma. This is a really bad guy and they're very worried, don't make them any more upset than they already are." Naruto explained and reached out and hugged her as she let a few tears fall from her eyes. She was four years old but understood more than an average four year old, and knew that her father telling her to be good and help as much as possible meant that something bad could happen.
"I will daddy!" she whispered as she held him tight. Naruto pulled back and smiled at her as she hugged Sakura before she and Naruto stood with the twins in their arms.
"Keep an eye out for our reports; I'll try to get back to you every chance I get." Tsunade nodded as she took Satoru from his arms and the boy began to cry only moments before his sister was in Akemi's arms crying, both sensing the tension.
"shhhh. It's alright sweethearts." Sakura soothed as she place her hand on both of their heads calming them. "Take good care of all three of my babies." Sakura smiled as tears threatened to spill over.
"I love you mommy! I love you daddy!" Azumi cried as she wrapped one arm around each of their legs making Naruto pick her up. "Please don't go. I don't want you and mommy to die. Please stay, don't go." She begged as tears flowed down her cheeks. Naruto whipped them away as she cried and tried to catch her breath.
"Azumi, we talked about this right? Remember we have to go make sure this guy can't get to you or anyone else. He'll hurt a lot of people if we don't stop him and we won't take the chance that he could come here." Naruto explained again.
"But… but….. But why do you gotta go? Let someone else do it!" she cried and burred her head in his neck as she cried harder making him sigh and look at Sakura who could only look back.
"Azumi, look at me." Sakura told her and watched her daughter turn her watery bright green eyes to look at her. "We are very strong, the strongest there is. You think we should send someone else after him and let them die?" she shook her head. "Well then, you just have to get through the next little while and know that nothing will happen to us. Nothing will be able to stop your father or me from coming back to you and your brother and sister." Sakura smoothed a hand through the little girls pink hair with a smile.
"You think you can help granny and grandma take care of the two brats?" Naruto smirked as the girl calmed down and looked up at him with sad eyes and an excited smile. "Make sure they don't get into anything for me." He smiled as he set her down on her own feet. "You be good too." Naruto kissed her forehead then Sakura did the same.
"We'll be back."
"Take care of the brats for me, Granny." Naruto said low before he gave a nod and turned to gather those who were to follow him. He looked around and saw all the families that were being stretched and soon would be torn apart all because of one enemy who had vengeance on the mind. He felt Sakura place her hand on his arm before he watched Tsunade address the mass of Ninja calling them all to attention before they all moved out with Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke in the lead.
"How they holding up?" Naruto asked as Sakura and several of the other women walked back over to him and the men.
"They're doing alright. They know we're here and are going to protect them as much as possible." Sakura told her husband as they sat around a fir they had created for the tenth night in a row. "You think the kids are alright?"
"I think they're fine. They're probably keeping the old man and granny occupied right now." He chuckled making several of the others laugh before they fell silent.
"I'm sure Azumi is leading the pack of 'em after Tsunade, or at least making plans for the attack." Jiraiya laughed making Naruto chuckle and Sakura smile. "We'll get home and then those brats and everything else is your problem."
"Yeah." Naruto smirked and looked into the fire. "Been waiting for that for a long time."
"You've been saying you would become the Hokage even before you became a ninja." Iruka said as he walked up and sat beside Kakashi and Minato. "I remember talking to you before the exams and you telling me that you would become the Hokage."
"Yeah, now we can stop telling you to shut up."Kiba laughed as he sat leaning up against Akamaru with Hinata sleeping beside him. The group went quiet as they all started thinking about when they were only children with dreams and now the positions they were in now.
"It's been so long since those days." Ino whispered. "The old days when everything was easier." Sakura glanced at Naruto as he continued to stare into the flames; slowly she reached out and grabbed his hand making him snap his blue eyes to look at her as she gave a small smile.
"Why don't we go for a walk?" she whispered to him as the others began talking about when they were children. Naruto smirked and stood up with her. "We'll be back." she told the others as they all turned to look at them as they stood and walked off into the darkness. The group looked at each other as if asking what they were doing and if the two were alight, until Sasuke spoke up.
"They'll be fine. Probably just going to walk around for a bit. They've never left the kids behind and went out so unsure if they would come home."
"Like we enjoy it." Said a female ninja sitting next to Shino as he turned slightly and looked at her like the others.
"Hosanna, you have no idea what those two have been through." Kiba started as he moved away from Akamaru and Hinata. "sure not one of us like leaving our kids at home when we go off to end a war and not know if we'll make it through, but I can guarantee there will only be a few casualties and injuries if any."
"Naruto and Sakura have been battling for their lies since they were young. Naruto grew up taking care of himself and protecting himself from villagers, while you were growing up like a spoiled little brat of a council member." Ino added as she put her hand on Kiba shoulder.
"Shino. Aren't you going to say anything?" Hosanna asked her husband as he shook his head.
"You should know who you insult before you open your mouth." She could only look shocked at her husband as the others moved closer to tell her where she had gone wrong.
"Those two have been putting their life on the line to protect us from everything." Ino started. "Naruto used to be the class clown and a complete screw up, as you remember from school. But him becoming a ninja was the greatest thing that could have happened for everyone."
"He's saved our lives more times than you can know." Choji smirked.
"Sakura's been able to keep us all healed during fights. And she has taken so many hits for all of us. The two have taken on more than they could handle so many times just to make sure that we got out of the way safely."
"like when we screw up." Ino added as she, Kiba, and Shikamaru looked down at the ground. "We only disobeyed their orders once and it almost cost them their lives."
"We were bought into a war that they were already in and in order to make sure we got out safe they sent us a head and they fought. They showed up a few days later and collapsed at the main gate, they almost didn't make it."
"They did all that?" Hosanna asked looking around wide eyed. "I had heard stories about some small things they did and all the things they did wrong when they were at the village. Like taking in some girl from another country and trying to raise her as their own when they were only nineteen and not married and living together."
"The council made everyone believe what they wanted to get Naruto and Sakura to do what they wanted. They never gave in and just kept fighting and came out on top." Temari smiled as she leaned against Shikamaru. "We all have been through a lot and we all know what it's like to leave our kids at home and not know if we'll ever see them again, but for them it's a bigger possibility that we are going to have to go home and explain to their three little kids what happened to their mother and father."
"I'm sorry." She said as she looked down ashamed that she had said and even thought everything she had. The others smiled at her as they all relaxed.
"It's alright. Just don't go assuming you know one of us when you only know what the council members say." Ino smiled. "Those two really deserve some time away, either by themselves or with the kids. But there's absolutely no chance with all of this going on and there's no way the council will allow it even after wards."
"Because they are the best we have." Minato told her "They can't go on vacation or relax because they always need to be ready for any threat that comes after their village."
"But why can't all of us take their place?"
"Because even all of you together can't equal what even one of the three of us separately." Sasuke told her making her look down sadly. "I've tried to watch the kids while they went out but something always seems to pop up and make them come back to work."
"We can talk to Tsunade when we get back. She's been telling me for a while now that they need a break. Besides it's not good for even the best ninja to work constantly." Jiraiya smirked as they all started talking about their kids and the fun they will have when they finished this war and got back to them.
"It's been so long since we had since a nice night to just walk by ourselves." Sakura smiled as she walked through the woods hand in hand with Naruto.
"I think the last time we went walking anywhere by ourselves was before we had Azumi." Naruto chuckled. "Sasuke's been trying to help out; no one else seems to want to stop causing problems where we have to come back to work."
"He's changed a lot."
"Who the bastard? Yeah, he's talking more in conversations and is laughing and joking with everyone else. He still looks like he has fun playing with the kids." Naruto laughed.
"Why don't we talk to Tsunade when we get back? Get some time off just me and you? He's been doing fine watching the kids and if he needs help my parents and your parents and practically everyone is there to help." Sakura looked at Naruto as he stopped in his tracks and looked down at her with a smile.
"I knew there was a reason I fell in love with you and married you." he smirked as she started to laugh. "It's because you're so smart when it comes to these things." The two started to laugh as Sakura wrapped her arms around his neck and he wrapped his around her waist as they kissed. The two pulled back and looked at each other with the look that both knew well.
"Naruto, this is what got us taking care of and leavening three kids at home." Sakura smiled making him laugh.
"See I told you. You are smart."
"Come on. Let's get back to the others and relax until we have to go and fight. We can make this all up when we get back home. I'm sure you'll be glad you waited." She smiled making him chuckle as the two started to walk slowly back to camp. Once back they walked back over and sat in their still empty seats as the others continued to talk.
"That was fast." Jiraiya said and was hit hard on the head by Sakura as she turned away making the guys laugh. "ow! Ow! OW!" he whimpered.
"That's what you get for being the pervy sage." Naruto taunted from his seat on the ground leaning against a tree while Sakura situated herself between his raised knees leaning back on his chest.
"So what do you guys plan on doing when you get back to the kids?" Kiba asked Naruto and Sakura
"Probably fix whatever they broke first. Definitely going to have to take my mom out somewhere nice." Sakura laughed as the others chuckled.
"Don't forget that dog, Azumi wants." Naruto added making everyone look at the two parents as they rolled their eyes.
"How could we forget that, she only begs a million times a day."
"Dog? You guys are getting a dog?" Kiba asked making them shrug.
"We don't know. She's been asking for about a year now and we keep telling her no, but she keeps begging." Sakura explained. "Besides we're not home to take care of it, it's something we'll probably get when at least she's older."
"Well we do have regular dogs too. Only like one litter every coupled months but still have a few normal dogs if you decide to get one." Kiba told them.
"She's just going to be running around even more frantic with the dog." Jiraiya told them.
"Rather have us let her go after you?" Naruto Chuckled. "People or the dog. That's the options right now and the dog's sounding pretty damn good right now."
"What she get into this time?" Rin asked with a smirk as Naruto closed his eyes and Sakura sighed.
"She's starting to get into our things and take them out side to practice with Saki and Satoru."
"Things as in your gear?" Ino asked and watched as Sakura nodded. "But you guys have the most dangerous things to get into."
"She's starting to learn to summon and she's trying to find all my scrolls so she can play." Naruto told them making many of the friends laugh. "You won't be laughing when she gets a hold of some of my hidden scrolls and half the village is missing."
"Hidden scrolls?" Jiraiya and Minato asked. After being with them for well over a year they had no idea about Naruto's hidden scrolls.
"They're scrolls he made up that we only use when we are cornered on missions. He has several different kinds made up, any one of which can easily wipe out half the village." Sakura explained.
"Why do you have such dangerous scrolls?" Jiraiya asked making Naruto looked at him.
"Because we were sent on such dangerous missions every day." Naruto told him as he sighed and shook his head. "Hey as long as she doesn't get into all the papers I have on all the jutsu's I think we'll be safe. I have them locked far away from her." he chuckled as he glanced down at Sakura as the others started to yawn and turn in for the night leaving Minato, Jiraiya, Rin, Obito, Kakashi and Kaori sitting on their stones while Kushina slept leaning agents Minato's side Anko was sound asleep laying on blankets not far from Kakashi, Naruto sat leaning against a tree across from them with Sakura relaxing on his chest.
"You gonna go to sleep?" Jiraiya asked Naruto as he laid his head against the tree again.
"I don't really sleep when I'm out. Just a habit I can't get rid of since we started working the missions when we were younger."
"Well looks like Sakura has no problem."
"She's still awake." Naruto smirked as Jiraiya and the others looked at him and the woman leaning against him.
"Really?" Rin asked
"Yup." Sakura smiled as she turned her head to look at them. "It's something we got used to on our missions. The most we do is doze for a few minutes."
"That can't be good for you."
"It's better than not waking up when an enemy walks into camp and tries to kill you." She smiled and laid her head back to listen to Naruto's heart beat as he started talking again.
"So do you guys have some sort of limit on how long you can take to take these guys out? I mean what's to say you just keep chasing them and never catch them?"
"We only have another two years to get all of the rest of them. After that the deals off and the death god can take us back if they see fit." Minato told his son as he nodded and sighed. "Why do you ask?"
"I was just working on how long we have to make a plan good enough to take them all out. I really don't want to have to explain to Azumi where you guys went, besides, it's a great help having you guys in the village to help with things too."
"Naruto, you sound like such a jerk." Sakura told him as she sat up and looked at all of them as several smirked at Naruto's comments. "What the idiot is trying to say is we love having you guys back and we want to try to make plans to make sure you stay right where you want to be." Sakura explained as she glanced at him to see him dozing off.
"Kyuubi says he doesn't mind it either, he says it's less work for him." Naruto chuckled as Sakura turned and glared at Naruto with his eyes closed.
"Oh go to sleep, both of you. I think there's plenty of people here to make sure no one gets into camp." Naruto nodded as everyone left and began to move off to rest before they needed to use their strength to travel and then fight. "Good night, Naruto." She smirked as she turned to lie sideways in his lap as they both started to drift of to sleep. Three hours later Sakura woke Naruto as she jumped and gasped as she sat up breathing heavy. He looked down to see her starting to cry.
"Sakura-chan. What's wrong?" he whispered as he wrapped his arms around her.
"I just had this dream and I swear it was real. It was the Madara had tricked us and made us think that there was an army here but the army was really sneaking down to Konaoha and they started to attack and….and…and…." she trailed off as he pulled her to his chest and she started to cry harder as Minato, Jiraiya, Kaori and Kakashi looked over to see what was going on.
"Sakrua-chan. It was only a dream. Everyone's fine." he soothed her as he held her tight and she cried that it was real, that something was wrong. Naruto bit his thumb and summoned a large red toad.
"yo what you waking me up for?" he asked before he looked at Sakura as her body shook with sobs.
"Do me a favor, Gamaichi. I need you to pop in and talk to Tsunade, find out how things are going." The toad gave a small nod and disappeared as Naruto began trying to calm Sakura as the four men moved closer.
"What's going on?" asked Kaori as he sat next to his son-in-law.
"She had a dream that this is a trick to get us out of the village and the real army is attacking the village." He explained.
"Is that what you called the toad for?" Jiraiya asked as he, Minato and Kakashi took their seat across from him and watched him nod. "This does seem too good. Normally if you're going to have a huge army you're not going to get clear reports and we would have been attacked at least once by now since we're getting so close to them." Jiraiya sat thinking as Naruto looked down as the still crying Sakura as he held her close and smoothed his hand up and down her back. Suddenly a smaller toad popped next to Naruto.
"Gamakichi sent me. He said that you and the others need to get back as soon as you can. He said they are having some problems holding the army out and holding off Kabuto, and Kisami." Sakura's head shot up to look at Naruto as he sat for a moment before he helped Sakura stand then himself.
"Start getting everyone up and split the group in two. Ginji isn't with them so he's gotta be around here somewhere. Take half the group and go after him and then take the other half and meet us at the village. It's going to take a while to get the entire army up, moving and split." He told the three men before he started waking his friends.
"Naruto, what if it's too much for either side?" Kaori asked.
"We have to make do. This is all we have to work with and this is going to have to do." He told him and turned away. "Sasuke. Shikamaru, Kiba. Wake up." He called making his friends open their eyes. "The village is being attacked we gotta take half the people back and leave the other half to fight up here."
"How do you want to split it?" Kiba asked "you know as soon as the ones that are to stay here find out that their loved ones are in danger they are going to protest."
"Well Kisami and Kabuto are at the village and only Ginji is up here. We need to leave a few skilled people up here and take the rest to Konaoha."
"What if you, Sakura, Sasuke, Kakashi, Anko, Minato, Kushina, Jiraiya and Kaori went and the rest stayed here? Is that split enough for you?" Shikamaru asked Naruto as he pulled his scrolls on over his jacket.
"Yeah, that should do. If you guys run into any problems get Sai to send us word and we'll get back and help out here." Shikamaru nodded. "I'm leaving the rest of the army here in your command Shikamaru."
"What a drag." He groaned as he sighed. "Just take care of Hirumi for me." Naruto gave a nod.
"Make sure Hideki is safe for me." Kiba asked Naruto.
"The first thing I'm gonna do is get the kids out of there. Don't worry, I'll keep them safe." the two men gave a nod as everyone leaving gathered together as Naruto pulled a scroll and poured his chakra into it bringing them onto the Hokage tower's roof.
"Naruto." Sakura whispered as they looked out to the gates that were surrounded by an army as the leaf fought to keep them back while the villagers tried to find somewhere to stay safe.
"I know. The kids are first though. Spread out and get the kids and meet back here." Everyone gave a nod and spread in separate directions except Naruto, Sakura and Kaori who all went to the house to find Akemi trying to hide as she held a crying twin in each hand and Azumi stuck to her side with a kunai in her hand.
"Akemi!" Kaori called as they walked into the house.
"Azumi!" Naruto called through the house and smiled and sighed heavily as he saw her run to him and hold onto him tightly as Akemi ran to them, Sakura taking one of the twins as they all hugged.