This is Getting Awkward
Naruto opened his eyes and sighed, he hadn't gotten a very good night's sleep. The wound on his side made sitting up a very painful experience. But once he did manage to get up, he noticed that Kushina was missing. Her sleeping bag was rolled and tied up, so he wasn't worried. He tugged a simple black shirt over his blonde spikes and after rolling his bag up he exited the small tent.
Dawn was streaking over the sky in vibrant pinks and blues. Everything was wet, testifying to Kushina's prediction of rain, and it was quite chilly. Minato, Jiraiya, and Kushina were all sitting around a small fire talking quietly. Minato noticed Naruto first and gave him a large smile. The younger blonde settled down between Kushina and Jiraiya and said,
"How long have you guys been up?" Minato shrugged and said,
"Not long, don't worry. We just finished starting the fire." Kushina piped up and said,
"Sorry, you just looked so tired, and I know you didn't sleep very well so I thought you might enjoy an extra few minutes." Naruto gave her a small smile, but it was hard to make his lips move that way. Kushina's skin was more mottled black and blue than not, and every movement caused her to grimace. The way she ignored it however, told Naruto that she would rather not talk about it, so he followed suit.
"Ok, well, now that everyone is here, we can discuss whether or not we are still able to complete this mission." Jiraiya's face was grim as he said this, causing Kushina to look down guiltily. Minato hesitated for a second before snaking his arm around her shoulders and giving her a reassuring squeeze. Kushina sighed quietly when he let his arm drop.
"What is the mission anyway? I still don't know." Minato shook his head at his brother and said,
"It's an infiltration mission but that's all I can say until we decide on taking it or not. It's very sensitive." Naruto pouted, but didn't say anything else as Jiraiya continued.
"We have 4 from an original 7, but we may still be able to make this work." Kushina shook her head and said,
"Souma-san's abilities are lost; I'm not so sure we can." Minato wanted to grab her hand to reassure her, but he didn't want to intrude on her personal space.
"Come now child, surely it might be even easier to play your role if you are by yourself. We already know that this man likes to be by himself, it makes for an easy target. The only ones whose job is going to be more difficult is us. We have to provide the distraction." Kushina shrugged and said,
"I guess. I know this is a critical mission, so if you think we can pull this off Sensei, I will agree to do it." Minato hadn't said anything yet, but after a few glances at Naruto and Kushina he said,
"Will we be able to still pull this off if we are a few days later than the scheduled time? Naruto-kun and Kushina both need a bit more rest before we take on something this important and have any hopes of completing it properly." Jiraiya nodded.
"I timed this originally to give us a month of leeway, and we are still on time, so we can take our time." Minato nodded and Jiraiya forced a small smile before saying,
"Alright, it's decided. We are going ahead with this." Naruto was finally at the end of his ability to not talk and spoke up.
"Can I know what's going on? I can already tell by the seriousness of this that we are participating in an assassination." Minato lifted a brow and Jiraiya said,
"Ha! What an observant brat. Indeed we are, Naruto. The target is a member of the Tsuchikage's council." Naruto sucked in a breath.
"If this is ever traced back to Konoha the results would be disastrous." Minato nodded in agreement.
"Very true," Minato said, "which is why Konoha's best is on this team, despite the few members lost. Not many know it, but Kushina is ANBU's best assassin, and Jiraiya has a vast spy network that he singlehandedly runs. I'm the escape cover, and you, Naruto-kun, were included in this partially because you are my brother, which provides us with a better cover, and because Hokage-sama has recognized your ability to improvise on the field." Naruto saw Kushina look at Minato with a glare of irritability when he revealed her position in ANBU. ANBU identities are supposed to be secret because they technically didn't exist.
"Well, what was our cover going to be...before?" The younger blonde asked carefully. Jiraiya shrugged, but Kushina answered this time.
"We were going to be a travelling caravan from Kiri, but we don't have enough people anymore, so I propose we use these next few resting days to think of a better one." Jiraiya rubbed his hands together and said,
"Oh my dear I already have the perfect one." The look of horror on Minato's face as he even contemplated what his teacher could think of was enough to put Naruto into stitches.
A few hours later found Naruto and Jiraiya lounging in a tree several kilometres away from the base camp. The weird and suspicious looks that the older man was giving Naruto were a little disconcerting, but in all honesty, Naruto missed him fiercely and this was golden time on his part.
They had just taken down a small deer and were in the process of cleaning it when Jiraiya said,
"Why did you look so surprised to see me when we first met?" Naruto stopped what he was doing and looked up at the elder man. The question had come out of nowhere and surprised him.
"Uh, what? What do you mean surprised?" That was all he could think to say in the few milliseconds he had to think. Jiraiya narrowed his eyes.
"Don't play stupid boy." Naruto froze again, his heart pounding, "That was the first time I had met you, but by the look in your eyes, that was not the first time you had met me." Naruto opened his mouth after a moment of shock to explain, but Jiraiya cut him off.
"Don't even try to say that you recognize me from pictures, because I know very well that pictures of living shinobi are few and far between with most being kept a secret. The bingo book is mostly sketches for a reason." Naruto's jaw clicked shut. The damn old man outsmarted him again.
"Well?" Jiraiya said impatiently. In his head he smirked, the boy was squirming and looking for an answer.
"Uh, well Ni-san was your student and he talked about you a lot. He also hinted that we might be doing a mission with you soon...and well... I'm a huge fan." Naruto's cheeks reddened when he said this, "I don't know why you think I've seen you before, other than the bingo book sketch and the picture of you and your genin team that Ni-san has, but you are pretty recognizable!" He finished with an exuberant smile, hoping to change the atmosphere. Jiraiya kept his gaze firmly on the blonde's face for a full minute, looking for minute signs of lying before he too broke out in a grin.
"Ha ha kid, ok. I believe you." For the most part. Naruto visibly relaxed, but tensed up again when he saw Jiraiya give him an extra look. It was a look that Naruto knew quite well. It generally meant that the toad sage believed him, but knew he was holding something back, and he intended to find out what.
The rest of the cleaning process was done in silence as Naruto tried to form up solid back stories for any kind of question he thought he would get asked, and Jiraiya contemplated what the boy had said. They dragged the kill back to camp in mostly silence as well, only stopping to reapply dressings to a torn stitch on Naruto's side. Naruto wasn't sure if it was revenge, or just a way of picking on the boy, but Jiraiya called Minato over as soon as they reached camp and told him about the broken stitch, which caused Minato to hover frantically over his younger brother. Naruto quite verbally cursed Jiraiya, but only got the older man's cackle in response.
They had decided that it would be best to stay for 5 days, or until Naruto's wound fully closed, whichever came first. Kushina's mottled skin had completely vanished by the second day, and her broken nose was completely healed shortly after that. Naruto's wound, much to Jiraiya's surprise, was almost completely covered in scar tissue by the third day, allowing them to move at a much faster pace. They reached a small town after a day's worth of travelling and with Jiraiya's instruction pilfered some ratty farmer's clothes. After they had donned them, Jiraiya sat them down and explained their cover.
"Ok, I have come up with the perfect cover that will suit us four." He rifled some torn up passports from his bag.
"I had the toads fetch these from a friend of mine." He said as he handed one to each of them. Kushina opened hers and saw the fuzzy black and white photo beside her fake information. According to this she was Watanabe Kaori. Leaning over she saw Minato's passport claiming he was a Hizoto Makoto.
"Hizoto Naoki? What kind of a name is that?" Jiraiya snorted.
"I picked names that would be easy to remember. Hizoto was my mother's family name so I expect you to not dishonour it please." He looked down at his own passport. The name he had been using on and off for various infiltration missions was Hizoto Raido. He had upped his age ten years however.
"Alright children. Minato and Naruto will continue to be brothers, and you will be my brats. Kushina, you'll be Minato's fiancée." Minato coughed and both of them turned red at this. "Also Kushina-chan, I have something to ask of you that will be difficult, but it will enable us to leave after everything is done with minimal suspicion." Kushina narrowed her eyes, she had an awful feeling she knew what he was going to ask her to do.
"We are playing the roles of refugees from Kiri. It hasn't been made to the general public just yet, but any jounin worth his salt knows that there has been unrest about kekkai genkai in Kiri. They've even starting slaughtering clans because of it. While none of us have a blood line, our neighbours did, which put us under light as sympathizers. However, Kushina's mother had specialized chakra that she passed down to Kushina, which explains the apparent usage that she shows, despite not being a shinobi, it gives us another reason for leaving. We didn't want to take the chance that it would be mistaken as a blood line." Kushina gave a very short nod. She wished that Jiraiya hadn't mentioned her chakra, but the best cover was a cover built on truths.
"I will be a retired ninja. I was injured in the second secret war and was honourably dismissed from active duty. I married a civilian girl whose family owned a small farm and we lived there until she died of an illness 4 years ago. Although she didn't approve, I taught you two, my precious sons, basics in chakra control and taijutsu because I wished for you to be able to defend yourselves or if you had ever intended to leave the farm to serve as ninja." Jiraiya swept a look over the small crowd of three and said,
"Everyone got that?" They all nodded, Naruto was smiling excitedly.
"Naruto, what's your name?" He asked quickly, and was pleased to hear the blonde say,
"Hizoto Naoki!" Minato let his lips quirk up in a smile.
"Sensei, what about you? You don't look old enough to be my father, nor do you really look like either of us." Jiraiya grinned.
"You leave that to me. But first, I need to take Kushina into town to pick up some supplies. You two stay here. You need to dispose of anything shinobi related that can't be purchased by civilians except the weapons. We will sort through those when I get back." Naruto nodded and Kushina looked surprised.
The town was small but it was midday and the small market area bustled with activity. Kushina helped Jiraiya pick out some hair dyes that matched the boy's, and he insisted that she buy a few trinkets to stash away to make it look as if they were really relocating in the event that their bags were stashed. Combs and a very old looking necklaces, as well as a few nice looking, but old plates and cups were carefully wrapped in cloth and placed into a bag. After a few hours, Kushina finally turned to Jiraiya and said,
"Alright, what do I have to do?" Jiraiya's face split into a devilish grin and Kushina sighed.
"We need to throw suspicion off of us, so I need to disguise you as being heavily pregnant." Kushina buried her face in her hands.
"No, you see it's a really good distraction. Our story about wanting to raise the child in a better place with better protection will get us into the city better, and no one even registers pregnant women as threats. Minato's mother henning tendencies will also come in handy." She looked up at Jiraiya with desperation lacing her violet eyes.
"Really. Do I really have to do this?" Jiraiya nodded and she buried her face again.
"Just think, after you finish the mission, you can fake your death via childbirth. The three of us will depart claiming that we can't stand the place anymore, and I trust you will be able to get out of the city without being detected. I have several contacts that can help with this. It should be the easiest infiltration mission ever performed." Kushina groaned and Jiraiya lowered his voice.
"I want you to be really careful though. I've come to think of you as my own and not to mention it would kill Minato if anything happened to you." Kushina blushed, but she nodded. It was times like these that made her miss her parents. They had died very shortly after she had been born and she had been passed around various relatives until she was about 6. After the Kyuubi had been sealed into her by her great aunt Mito, she had been kept under constant watch for the next three years by the Sandaime's wife until her chakra was deemed stable enough to not be a problem.
When Kushina arrived back at the camp with Jiraiya later in the afternoon, she was surprised at how well the boys had cleaned up the area to look like nothing had been there at all. She tugged Jiraiya down to the river nearby to dye his hair, surprising both of the boys when they came back. With blonde hair Jiraiya surprisingly looked like he could actually pull this off. White streaks left in his hair really added years to him. He wouldn't even need any extra touches to age him enough.
Kushina on the other hand, puzzled for the rest of the night how she was going to convincingly pull off looking like she was a full term pregnant woman. She thought of a pillow, but they didn't have any and when she tried shoving clothes under her shirt, it looked lumpy and unrealistic.
Unfortunately for her, Naruto chose this time to climb into the tent. He froze when he saw what she was doing and she gave a squeak that reminded him of a certain Hyuuga girl.
"It's not what it looks like!" She said rather hurriedly. Naruto looked at her sceptically.
"I don't know what this looks like in the first place." He said after a few moments. Kushina sunk down on her sleeping bag, the clothes still under her shirt. Her face was bright red through her hands which she kept mashed against her cheeks.
"Can I ask what you were doing? Or do I not want to know." Kushina breathed heavily for a few seconds trying to get her face back to normal colouring.
"Jiraiya told me that the best way to get in and out with the least amount of suspicion would be to pretend I'm a weak and helpless pregnant woman." She explained everything that Jiraiya had told her that afternoon. When she finished Naruto had his hand on his chin.
"I can't get it to look realistic enough. I don't even know what a pregnant woman would look like!" Naruto knew, although he didn't say. It was painful to think about still, after all of these years. He had an idea however...
"Do you know how to invert jutsu?" He asked and Kushina shrugged.
"I've never really tried. Are you thinking of inverting a henge?"
"Sort of." Naruto replied. Kushina grimaced and tried to lecture him on how henge worked, and that it wouldn't be substantial, but Naruto held his hand up before she got carried away.
"I said sort of. I taught myself henge when I was younger; it was easier to buy food when no one knew who you were." Naruto frowned curtly at the last few words, but continued. "I didn't find out until Ni-san showed me that I had been doing it wrong the entire time. I had actually invented my own way of doing it, although it takes a lot of chakra." Kushina snorted.
"I have a lot of chakra, so we won't have to worry about that." Naruto raised a brow and Kushina turned away.
"Ok, well, what my version did was make a touchable version of henge. I'm still not sure how it works completely, but it's helped me get out of a few scrapes here and there." He didn't mention that he used to use to get back at the perverts of Konoha back when things were still good.
"If you inverted it, you could add anything to your body, or change your body entirely, and to any but the absolute best of the shinobi, it would look natural. However, like I said before, it takes a massive amount of chakra. I have really high reserves, and the last time I used a full body one, it took almost all of it. I ended up spending three days in bed after it." He had been trying to escape his brother about a month after he came home with the news of their relation. He had transformed into a clothed version of his Orioke jutsu and spent a day on the town, so to speak.
"Like I said before, I have huge reserves. I can tell just by sitting here that I have at least twice the chakra you have, and that's until I get tired, not beaten." Naruto was taken back. He had a lot of chakra. Even now he was on par with Minato in terms of reserves, and since this body was only 14 years old, it was only going to grow. Something was nagging him about this entire thing.
"Why?" A long time ago, Naruto learned that it was almost always easier to just ask outright than to snoop around and discover it for one's self. It might not have been as fun, but that was beside the point.
"Why what?" Kushina asked, although she was racing for an answer in her mind.
"Why do you have so much chakra? Is it a blood line?" Kushina shrugged.
"Kind of. I'm not really sure. I've always had it." Naruto narrowed his eyes. She was hiding something, it was probably the reason she had been kidnapped, but he would let it go. It was obviously something she didn't want to talk about. So the blonde shrugged and averted his gaze and Kushina let out a tiny breath.
"Ok, well anyway, here are the hand signs." He flashed slowly through the hand signs. Once he felt that Kushina had gone through them enough, he said,
"To get the shape you need, it's very similar to henge, just think of the shape and cover it with skin. The hardest part about this jutsu is to give it a real look and feel by giving it a weight." Kushina nodded, mentally picturing, and blushing, over what she would look like.
"Ok, I'm ready to give it a try, I think." Naruto nodded and scooted back. Kushina stood on her knees slowly went through the signs. Naruto felt his cackles rise as she applied a large amount of chakra to her hands. Her chakra felt weird and familiar at the same time. It was smooth, but he could feel it raging behind her control. When she said she had a lot, she wasn't lying.
Kushina calmly called out the name of the jutsu, and when the small puff of smoke cleared, she unwound her hands and looked down. Running her hand over the bump on her belly, she sat back down on her heels. The thing on her stomach had weight for sure and it felt extremely real.
"Wow! That looks pretty real! I don't think it's big enough for someone just about ready to pop, but we still have time to work on it. How does it feel?" Kushina rubbed the protrusion and shrugged.
"I feel like a cow." Naruto burst out laughing. Minato, who was busy cleaning up the rest of the camp, swung his head towards the youngest two of the crowd's tent. He frowned, stamping down a twinge of jealousy he was feeling for his little brother. What he would do to be in Naruto's place right now (he would probably have eaten those words if he knew just what Kushina and Naruto were doing.)
Minato quickly realized what he was thinking and rubbed his hands on his face in an attempt to make his blush disappear. He busied himself with cleaning rather vigorously before retiring for the night. Thankfully Jiraiya was already sleeping and he didn't have to deal with another night of lectures on how to behave towards women and teasing talks of the birds and the bees. Giving one last longing sigh, Minato closed his eyes. Tomorrow they would be setting out for Iwagakure, and they would need all of their energy.
Chapter 9 END
Whew! Hahaha this chapter feels a bit awkward. I was trying to portray Kushina being mortifyingly embarrassed the entire time, but understanding Jiraiya's point. Minato is going to have a hay day with this!