Their mission is to get into the village Ame and gather whatever information they can secretly over a course of two months. If things became too difficult they were to pull out. They had been in the rain country for almost two months when they began hearing rumors of Kabuto being alive and using the rain country to get what he wants before helping to destroy Konoha and the last remaining tailed beasts. Naruto and Sakura tried to delve deeper but never found anything more than that. In the two months hiding in the rain country the two became even closer as they planned on going back and not caring who said what or what went on. They were to be leaving in one day when they got wind of strange ninja wandering around asking questions about Kabuto and people asking questions about him, other than them. It was all hear say, no one they talked to had anything farther than the rumors. There was nothing much in the rain country, no real proof of anything that way said. The day they were to leave they heard several more stories for travelers about strange ninja lurking about in several countries. All looking the same and asking about the same type of people.
"You know we're gonna get back and she's gonna send us out to one of these countries the rumors are from to see if we can find anything." Naruto mumbled as he and Sakura started on their way back to the village.
"We'll just have to go off alone again and find out what we can." She smirked at him while he gave a bright smile. The two had yet to take their relationship to the next level but it was coming close and they both knew it. After a week straight of traveling they came to Konoha's gates, they we happy to finally be home and not have to use all of their skills every day. What they weren't expecting when they got back were a few whispers and a bunch of smiles.
"What's going on?" Naruto was confused as people were smiling happily at them and others were whispering to each other in the back.
"Ino." Sakura said as the two hurried their pace to get to Tsunade, both hoping that Tsunade would send them out right away to get away from the people being creepy.
"Granny!" Naruto called as he opened the door and found Tsunade sitting behind her desk drinking her sake. "We're back. Not much from the rain country. Mostly rumors again."
"But this time it was about Kabuto being there and trying to help plan to come after Konoha, then before we left there was talk about strange ninja asking around about Kabuto in the rain county and several travelers were talking about the same strange ninja in the grass country looking for Zetzu, and in the sound looking for Madara. It sounds like they know something we don't because they are the only areas targeted and for specific people." Sakura explained.
"I want you to rest up for three days then I'll decide where to send you next. Oh and you might want to thank Ino for spreading the word." Sakura and Naruto looked at each other before they took off running to find Ino who obviously said too much. "They'll never learn not to tell that girl anything."
Naruto and Sakura ran all around the village looking for her and finally found her in the training grounds holding a meeting with all of their friends. They both walked up unsure of what to say or do when the others started asking questions.
"Ino." Sakura said trying to keep her voice even and not sound like she was mad at her. Ino smiled at her best friend and walked over to her as she and Sakura walked away Sakura heard Kiba's comment.
"So you finally got her." Naruto looked at him unsure what to respond.
"yeah." He chuckled and rubbed the back of his head nervously as he walked over and joined the others.
"So how'd the mission go?" Tenten asked trying to drive the conversation in another direction.
"Not much to bring back. Only got some rumors but we might all be sent out looking for information soon. Grass, rain, and sound are being targeted for specific people. Got three days then we're off again."
"You guys have been doing most of the missions for a while. I wonder why lady Hokage will only send you two out to those sneaky missions and give us the stupid three man escorting missions." Choji grumbled.
"Because they're the strongest and most able in the situations I put them in." Tsunade said as she walked up to them. "I just got some information back from a few ANBU I had sent out. Figured you and Sakura might want to know a little more about the strange ninja." The others looked between the two before Tsunade looked at them and thought. "I guess it would be better to let you all know in case you happen to see one of them."
"Are they the most dangerous we've seen?" Lee asked
"No the most dangerous we've seen is sitting in front of you and talking over there." She pointed with her thumb to where Sakura and Ino were still talking. Tsunade looked back and shook her head before calling out. "Sakura!" the two young women looked over and started running back.
"Aren't you supposed to be doing work, Granny?" Naruto asked making her narrow her eyes at him.
"You may have grown up a bit but I can still beat you with one finger." Naruto chuckled as Sakura smacked the back of his head to make him be quiet. "Thank you Sakura. Now then, there have been reports of strange ninja in the Grass, Rain and Sound countries. I have just recently received a description of two that were seen in Grass and two spotted in Sound. It seems they travel as a two man team, a male and female. They are dressed in all black and a hood to cover their heads. They wear masks that are unlike anything anyone's ever seen. It seems the male has a gray mask with black flames on it and the female wears a gray mask with think black diagonal lines from the top to the bottom. My ANBU have reported a few techniques that seemed to be very dangerous. If you run into one of them get the hell out and get back up. That includes you two." She looked at Naruto and Sakura who gave sharp nods.
"What if they try to confront us?" Shikamaru wondered.
"In that case find the easiest route to get help behind you. Naruto, Sakura, I want you to leave in two days for the Sound. Madara's at the heart of this and we may be able to stop things from happening."
"Why do they get to go by themselves without back up?" asked Tenten.
"I already explained that to you. They are the most able and useful in the situations I put them in."
"Why don't you send them with us? Naruto and I will be able to keep things under control and this way if we run into problems we have back up." Sakura suggested. Tsunade thought for a moment looking around.
"There will only be four to go with you and I want you two on constant watch. You are to be back in a month I want them sent home in two weeks. Everyone is to come back earlier if problems arise. Understood?" The entire group nodded and agreed. "Alright. Two days, Naruto and Sakura are in charge of the mission."
"I'll be sure to bring you back some more sake." Naruto chuckled but was hit over the head by Sakura.
"I think you're itching to get beat again." Tsunade said leaning down to face him where he sat on the ground.
"Sure you're not to old?"
"I believe that's a challenge."
"So when you want me to beat ya? I've been workin' on a few things, I'd be happy to show you." the two grinned at each other while the others didn't know what to do. They knew better than to talk to the Hokage the way he did and they knew they would get beat to a pulp if they did, no one understood why he did and could get away with it.
"Naruto!" Sakura scolded as she grabbed his jacket and began to pull him away.
"Tomorrow at noon, brat." Tsunade said as Naruto and Sakura left.
"Um. Lady Tsunade?" Ino spoke "why do you let him get away with everything? I mean if anyone else spoke to you like that we would get severely punished, but he doesn't."
"Because of everything else he goes through. Besides, I punish him. You just don't see it most of the time. But you'll be able to see this one. Probably going to be a repeat from when he and Jiraiya found me."
"A repeat?" Shino asked.
"Yeah, when he was a kid with Jiraiya he started mouthing off. I had to put him in his place. Told him to master his rasengan in a week, something even his father couldn't do. But we'll see how he does tomorrow." She smiled and left before anyone could ask any more questions.
"She knew his dad?" Ino wondered out loud. "But wasn't it said that his parents were just villagers?"
"That is strange. I wonder who else knows anything about Naruto-kun's father." Hinata finally spoke.
"Who cares? It's his business." Kiba told her.
Naruto stood leaning against a tree on one of the old training grounds. As more and more people began to gather, Sakura shook her head when a big crowd gathered. Tsunade walked through the crowd exactly at noon with a smirk on her face to find Naruto relaxing under the tree.
"You ready brat?"
"Only if you are Granny Tsunade." She scowled at the old nickname he had given her all those years ago "I'll show you what I've learned." She grinned as he created a rasengan in his palm and began to charge at her. She smirked knowing this would be a quick battle. Just as she was about to reach out and grab hold of him he disappeared, reappearing from another side kicking her. The crowd gasped, their Hokage was just tricked by a young ninja. "You're getting old."
"Oh yeah?" She said as she got ready to actually fight. Naruto smirked and charged with a kunai this time and disappeared like last time, reappearing in the same spot and was blocked. Before she could hit him he was gone. She looked around trying to sense where his chakra had gone realizing his Chakra was all over the place. She wouldn't be able to find him. The crowd watched anxiously as Tsunade looked around trying to find Naruto when ten came walking out of the trees.
"Looking for us?" they chuckled. Tsunade quickly dispersed the first six leaving three to fight. She smirked as she got ready to attack. The smirk quickly fell from her face as the eyes on the clones changed to red then the pupils formed a cross. "What's the matter Granny?" they grinned. Sakura stood in the crowd shaking her head at the little tricks Naruto was using.
"What's the matter Sakura?" Kakashi asked as he walked up beside her.
"He's not even taking this seriously. Everything he's done so far is just to show off. I've seen the jutsus and techniques he can do and this is child's play to him."
"I see. So him using his father's technique is child's play?" he asked making her head snap up and look at him. "You never knew that disappearing act was his father's technique? Although I see Naruto has made a few adjustments it's still the same." He pushed his forehead protector up to revile his sharingon so he could watch Naruto work. Suddenly water spilled out of the forest and the crowd to meet in the middle. Tsunade tried to use her charka to stay on top but when she went to move she would be pulled down by a whirlpool.
"He only used this once before. It uses a lot of chakra to control this one." Sakura told Kakashi who nodded.
"I know. It is one of his mother's." he looked at the young woman standing next to him. "It seems he's already told you about his parents, since you don't seem all that curious." Sakura smiled and nodded. "Good, then that will explain a few things he does."
"It explains a lot about him." She smiled and watched as Naruto started walking out of the forest with a smirk on his face. He suddenly was right next to Tsunade. "Don't do it Naruto." She whispered getting Kakashi to cock an eyebrow. "I taught him a little about the strength and when he taps the fox Chakra he can intensify it and make it feel like you were just smashed to little pieces but you never move. I can't believe he's going to actually try it on the Hokage." She explained before she heard Naruto.
"You give?" When Tsunade smirked and swing at him making him loose his concentration on his technique. Once the water was gone Tsunade and Naruto began fighting again. Naruto was knocked back into a tree cracking it. He stood back up laughing. Sakura could see he was running low on Chakra and knew he was bound to do something that would cause a big problem.
"Sakura, how often does he use the fox chakra?" Kakashi asked.
"Only when he needs it in battle and on special jutsus. Why?" she asked but already could figure out the answer. "Oh no." she said as she watched Naruto close his eyes as red chakra flew around him. Before their eyes he turned into a six foot tall red nine tailed fox. Many of the spectators began to panic; Tsunade was confused and almost as beat as Naruto. Sakura saw the fear in the people around her and decided it was time to put an end to this. She walked out in front of Naruto and looked up at him.
"Sakura, you're going to be killed!" called a person as others fared for their own lives.
"I'm not going to be killed!" she yelled before turning back to Naruto. "Naruto! You stop this right this instant! You're going to cause another war if you mess around like this. Turn back right now!" she demanded staring dead into the blood red eyes. "Don't make me do it for you, Naruto." She warned and suddenly he was standing in front of her chuckling and rubbing his head.
"You take all the fun out of things Sakura-chan." Tsunade walked up to them amazed. "So you give, Granny?"
"I think we'll call it a tie for now." Kakashi said as he joined them. "I don't think you two could continue with the amount of chakra and the wounds to have. Sakura looked at the two and noticed a bunch of wounds all over them that she hadn't seen from her spot in the crowd. No one realized that was why they were both slowing down.
"I think your right." Tsunade said as Naruto collapsed only moments before she did.
"Looks like it's off to the hospital." Sakura mumbled. "Kakashi-sensei can you take her? I have to lug the idiot there." Kakashi smirked and lifted Tsunade into his arms and started off as Sakura was about place Naruto's arm over her shoulders when Kiba and the others walked up smiling.
"Let Akamaru carry him. He's probably heavy." Kiba said as he and Lee hoisted him up and onto Akamaru's back while the rest of their friends worked on clearing the amazed crowd.
"What were half of that stuff he did?" Lee wondered as he walked beside Sakura as she kept her eye on Naruto.
"He was showing off. He's going to get hit so hard when he wakes up. He knows how much chakra those take."
"That was showing off?" Ino was surprised that those strong techniques and jutsus were only playing around. It made them all wonder what his serious ones were like. "Where did he learn ones like that?"
"The disappearing one was his dad's and the water one was his mom's and the others were just him messing around on the training ground."
"So his parents were ninja too?" Hinata asked softly from the other side of Naruto. "Do you know about his parents?"
"Yeah, they were two of the greatest. But you really should ask Naruto if you really want to know. It's better for him to tell you than for me."
"Oh." The group made it to the hospital and Sakura led Akamaru and Kiba down the hall to a room for Naruto to rest in. She pushed her chakra into her muscles and helped Kiba lift Naruto onto the bed.
"Thanks Kiba and thank you Akamaru." She smiled as she looked at Kiba. "Tell the others not to tell Naruto anything I told you about his parents. I think everything would be better for him to say it." Kiba gave a nod as he and Akamaru walked back down the hall where the others were waiting while Sakura began working on healing Naruto so his chakra would replenish faster.
"Is Sakura coming too? I would have thought she would just leave him to heal on his own because he was such an idiot." Ino said while everyone gave a nod agreeing but Hinata who only asked what room he had been taken to. She told them she wanted to see if Sakura needed any help but truly she wanted to see if Naruto was alright and if she could have a moment alone with him. It had been three years since she confessed her love to him. She wanted to see if he felt the same and she wondered about the things Ino said. She knocked on the door and entered.
"Hinata, I thought you would be with the others." Sakura said as she went back to working on healing.
"I was wondering if you needed any help. And I had a few questions."
"Sure. Just work on the major problems, the others will heal themselves. What questions do you have?"
"Well, when we leave, what are we going to do exactly?"
"Naruto and I will be talking to people, we want you guys to hide in the shadows and see what you hear. A lot of time that's where we get most of our information. If we have to we might have a few of you talk to people but you have to change your appearance so no one recognizes you."
"What about in case something happens? What are we supposed to do? Tsunade said to get out of there."
"Depending on the battle. More than likely Naruto and I will hold the enemy off while you guys find a place to hold our ground or we'll tell you to get out of there."
"Sakura-chan?" Naruto groaned as he started to regain consciousness as Hinata was about to start healing. "Did I win?"
"Kakashi-sensei called it a tie. You both fell uncurious right after I got you to stop scaring people. That wasn't nice, you know most of those people are afraid you'll turn into the thing and attack them. Besides the fact that you were just showing off and using all of your chakra for nothing." She scolded making him chuckle.
"Not for nothing. You said Granny passed out too so she didn't beat me with one finger. And it was only a little transformation. It's not when we were fighting that one-" He was cut off when Sakura cleared her throat. He looked at the other side of him and saw the blushing Hinata sitting there. "Oh. Hi Hinata."
"Hi. How are you feeling?"
"Better." He started to sit up and was slapped on the head by Sakura.
"You know better than to get up after you messed around like that. Go to sleep before I put you out." He started to chuckle softly.
"Yes, ma'me." He said making Sakura smirk. "Got you to laugh!" he said as he sat up while she was busy thinking of something to say and how to keep from laughing at him. She grabbed his shoulder and pushed him back down on the bed. "Aw. Come on Sakura-chan. You know I'm perfectly fine now. Anytime you heal me I'm better faster." He began to whine making her sigh and roll her eyes.
"Go to sleep and I'll let you up when you wake up. I know how you are, remember." He smirked as she walked around the bed. "I'm going to go get something to drink. You stay in bed and lying down. I'll be right back." She told him as she walked put the door leaving him alone with Hinata.
"Um…. Naruto-kun….I was….um. I was wondering about when Pein attacked." She mumbled. "It's been three years and …um… well I was wondering if what Ino said was true." She asked looking away blushing.
"What exactly did she say?" he asked not knowing whether he wanted to kill or just talk to the young woman.
"She said that…..um you and Sakura were…. Going out and that you were going to get married soon. She said that it was because Sakura and you were going to have a baby." Naruto shot straight up in bed scaring Hinata.
"That is not why anything is happening. Damn Ino." He cursed as he jumped out of bed and opened the door. He was about to walk down the hall when he fell into the wall and slid to the ground making Hinata and Sakura who was coming back run to him.
"I told you! Naruto, what are you doing out of bed?" she asked as she knelt beside him and placed a pale blue colored hand on his head as he leaned against her.
"Gotta kill Ino." He mumbled making her look at him confused. "she told everyone that we were going out and getting married soon and it was all because we were going to have a kid." Sakura gasped as the anger rose in side.
"You're head better now?" he gave a small nod as she helped him stand up again. "Now it's time to go after Ino."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to start something. He asked what she said and I told him and –"
"Hinata, it's not your fault. We would have found out sooner or later and Ino would have been in big trouble anyway. This way Naruto can't really kill her and I used a lot of chakra healing so I can't kill her." The three of them walked into the waiting room and found all f their friends waiting to hear something about their friend. "INO!" Sakura yelled making the young woman jump knowing that the two had found out exactly what she had been spreading.
"I didn't mean for it to get so out of control. I swear I only told people you were going out and going to get married…. That baby thing was made up by a very cleaver person." Ino told the two fast, knowing that if she didn't get it out they were likely to kill her.
"Why would you spread that stuff in the first place?" Sakura and Naruto were coming closer and closer and Ino was getting more and more frantic. "You know it's not true."
"Then what is true?" Tenten asked looking curiously at the two. "We were told you were going on so many missions alone because it was your time together and that's how you got pregnant." Sakura and Naruto glared at Ino before looking back at the other friends to straight the mess out.
"Are you guys on those missions alone cause of that?"Lee asked
"No!" the both said together
"What about the baby? Are you going to have a baby? I would have no problem helping out if you need it. I hope it has its mother's looks." Lee was hit on the head hard by Tenten
"Shut it Lee. Obviously they aren't. I'm sure they would have said something themselves if they were."
"Then I still have a youthful chance!" he chanted as he looked happily at Sakura who balled her fist and was about to hit him when Naruto grabbed her and pulled her back.
"It's not worth it." He said with a chuckle making her sigh. "But just to let you know, Lee. It doesn't look so youthful anymore."
"So was at least the going out part true?" Tenten asked wondering what got Ino started on a gossip roll in the first place.
"Yeah." Naruto smiled and rubbed the back of his head while Sakura smiled. "That's at least one thing she got right." He said looking over at Ino who stood shrugging.
"Who knows? The other things may come true soon." Naruto grabbed Sakura around the waist to stop her from killing Ino. "What I said soon, that could mean years from now….or tomorrow." She whispered the last part but the others could here.
"You keep it up and I'll let her go. Besides we don't need to be messing around when we leave tomorrow." Everyone, but Sakura looked at him surprised he would say something like that. "On the missions we get sent on we can't mess around at all. It's not like the little D and C class missions. This one tomorrow is an S class. We are going after information on Madara on his own land. We can't afford to be caught by anyone."
"S class?" Tenten sounded concerned. "We've never even been on an A rank and only a few have done B rank. We're only Chunin and the fifth is sending us on an S?"
"Sakura and I have been doing 'S' rank for years. It's simple if you know the right things to do. I guess granny thinks it's time she gets more out there knowing how to do it than just us and the ANBU."
"So how dangerous is this gonna be?" Kiba asked
"This one is probably not too bad. If we had to actually get close to the group it would be a hell of a lot harder."
"We'll go over exact procedures when we get to the border." Sakura told them and saw everyone worrying. "Don't worry, everything will be fine."