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People Who Are Important: Book Two

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Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto and Tv tokyo. This is a purely fanwritten work, with which I make no money, and write only for the pleasure of myself and my readers.

READ THIS: I am going to differ from the original plot line a little now. It is a year later, and Sasuke has fought and killed his brother. It will differ slightly from the original timeline as well. For those of you who don't read the manga, don't even worry about it.

Prologue

Sakura stared down at the sedentary figure in the hospital bed. She didn't move from her spot in the doorway. Not for a long while. She couldn't believe it. After all these years…four long years and now…there he was. Laying in Konohagakure Hospital, in need of her skills to help him live. His jet black hair was fanned out around his head as it lay on the pillow. His face, though contorted in pain, was as beautiful as she remembered; if not more so. Uchiha Sasuke had been found about a week ago by Naruto. She could still remember the first time she saw the battle battered body of her first love.

...

...

(Flashback)

...

"I've got him!" Naruto's voice called to the large group of people who were on the mission.

Everyone turned to see the exuberant blond running as fast as he could with a very bloody, very unconscious Uchiha slung on his back. When he finally reached them, he gently laid the badly wounded man on the floor. Sakura jumped into action immediately. She healed Naruto's wounds quickly, knowing that the fox would have healed them mostly by then. She plopped down in front of the raven and began an assessment of his wounds.

"Where did you find him?" Kakashi asked. Naruto's blue eyes looked up at his sensei.

"He was laying unconscious in the Uchiha Hideout next to the body of his dead brother," the blond answered.

'So you killed him Sasuke-kun. I wonder if it was worth it,' Sakura thought bitterly, but pushed the thought back as she flared her chakra to begin the healing.

"What happened to Uchiha Itachi?" Neji asked. The Kyuubi container looked towards him.

"I…um….I left him there. I couldn't carry them both with me, so I just took Sasuke and ran," he answered.

"That won't do. Sai…go find Itachi's body and bring it back here. It needs to be brought back to Konoha where they can successfully make sure the Sharingan bloodline doesn't get into the wrong hands," Kakashi said. Naruto thrust his arm out to stop Sai.

By now, he knew there'd be other Akatsuki there to retrieve the body. That, and…Itachi wasn't really fit to be seen right now. Even if he was a villain. Even if he did kill an entire clan, and cause his younger brother to spiral into insanity. He still deserved at least a little respect in his death. No one should see him the way he was.

"I don't think that'll be a problem. Um…his eyes…they were…they were…well….destroyed," he stumbled, not really wanting to remember the mutilated state of the elder Uchiha's face. Kakashi's eyes widened and his lips formed an 'Oh'.

"Besides, the body probably isn't there anymore. No doubt the Akatsuki Leader had someone go fetch it. From what I hear, his partner was not far away," Sakura added as she continued to heal the wounds as best she could.

"Fine then, our job is done here. Sai, Sakura and Neji stay here with me to help transport Sasuke back to Konoha. The rest of you go home. Naruto, make sure you report to Tsunade-sama what has happened here," Kakashi said. Naruto opened his mouth to argue.

"I know you want to stay, but that is too dangerous. The Akatsuki could be anywhere right now, and their target is you. You've done your part," the silver haired man said. Naruto pouted and tried to protest again, but this time Sakura cut in.

"Naruto!" he snapped his blue eyes to stare at a very somber and upset looking pinkette.

"Just go. Your safety is just as important to me as Sasuke-kun's return. You've kept your promise Naruto, and I am grateful. But please…go with everyone and be safe," she said quietly. Naruto laid a hand on his female teammate's shoulder and squeezed.

"Hai, Sakura-chan," he said, and leapt off with the rest of the group.

...

(end of flashback)

...

...

Hesitantly Sakura moved forward until she was at the foot of the slumbering Uchiha's bed. He hadn't woken yet; well not coherently. She lifted his charts to take a look, and sighed in relief that things seemed to be getting better. Another few days of her treating him, and he'd be back to normal. Whatever normal was for him now. Anxiety gripped her stomach tightly. What if he ran again? What if he pushed her away? She was still in love with him. She couldn't stop herself. At the same time, she didn't know how she'd react to him. A part of her just wanted to accept him back, love him, and treat him as she used to. But…the more mature part of her, molded by her years of training and chasing him just couldn't forgive him for what he did.

Sakura sat in the chair next to his bed and took his hand into hers lightly. His face contorted in pain, and he murmured something that sounded like 'no aniki…'. Her face softened. Moving a piece of raven hair out of his face, she leaned down to press a soft kiss on his forehead.

"You're safe now Sasuke-kun. It's all over. You're home," she said, before moving back. She pulled the sheets up over him, and with one last glance, she left the room. Tonight was Senji's first birthday party, and she had to be at the Akito Complex in a half hour.

...

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

...

People…there were people everywhere and the party hadn't even started yet. Gaara was still locked in his room attempting to dress his son up for his first birthday. After a year, Senji could walk, run, and say short words like "Momma and dada". With the help of his overly excited sister, all of those moments had been caught on tape. Though he had to admit, he was happy they were, because when the little tyke grew up he'd be able to remember those firsts just by playing the video. Senji squirmed as he tried to attach the clip on bow tie to his neckband.

"Would you stay still? Your mother will be here any second and I promised I'd get you dressed," he muttered to the fidgeting child.

Senji just stared up at him with those clear blue eyes of his. Both of them had thought he'd have his mother's eyes, but after a little while most babies' eye color changes from the dark fuzzy color they were born with. The baby now had a mixture of both of their eye colors. Light and clear like Gaara, yet blue, like his mother.

"Dada…" Senji said; reaching out his chubby little baby hands to grasp his father's blood red locks.

"Ow! Senji NO!" he said sternly. The baby let go and stared up at him with wide chibi eyes.

Immediately losing any anger he'd, had he gathered the baby into his arms and coddled him. That was the scene that Shia walked into. She smiled softly at her husband and child. After a year and seven months of marriage they'd had some highs, lows, and probably many to come. They'd come to Konoha together this time, so she could complete her business here, but also so they could celebrate their son's first birthday with all their friends.

"What are you boys up to in here?" Shia asked with a little chuckle.

"Momma!" Senji cried out, reaching his arms out in her direction from his position inside his father's.

Gaara turned to look at his wife. She hadn't changed much; well obviously, it'd only been a year. They were both sixteen now, and she was just as forgiving and beautiful as she was the day they married. Though they argued a lot, they kept it away from Senji, and always sorted everything out together in the end. She'd been a great help to him as the Kazehime. The Council loved her, and even the village had fallen head over heals. She was in charge of publicity. She made sure the villagers had faith in their Kage. She also helped him with important decisions, as was the original reason the Council wanted to force him into marriage. As he did with her Clan decisions.

"I was just getting him ready," Gaara said. His wife walked over and kissed him softly on the lips.

"Well let's get going boys! You've got a big night Senji-chan!" Shia exclaimed, kissing the baby on the nose affectionately. Senji smiled and giggled, but refused to leave his father's arms. Shia's expression became confused for a second and Gaara shrugged.

"Senji-chan...you're going to hurt Momma's feelings," the redhead said to the child. The one year old just reached out to grab his nose and tug in a surprisingly strong, painful way.

"Ow! Senji!" the Kazekage scolded, sighing when the boy just smiled at him cutely.

"You're defenseless against him Kazekage-kun!" Shia giggled, reaching out to run a hand through her son's bright red hair. He grabbed her hand, but did not transfer into her arms.

"I'm sorry Shia...I don't know what's gotten into him," Gaara said, hoping she didn't feel rejected.

"Iie...it's alright Gaara...it's only natural he'd want to be near you. You've been busy all week with the talks with the Lightning Village. He missed you," Shia said, waving a hand dismissively. The redhead sent her an apologetic look, unconsciously hugging his son closer.

"Well, I'm free now. I'll be staying here the week while you get your Clan matters in order. He'll have plenty of time with me while you're busy," he replied. She smiled.

"Hai...well! Let's get out there! Can't keep the guests waiting!" Shia chirped.

"Hm...especially Uzumaki...we both know how impatient he is," Gaara said with that little smile. Shia laughed, nodding her head as they both headed out the door.

...

...

Konoha Tea Shop

...

...

"So are you going to come back with us to Sunagakure for a visit? I haven't seen much of you lately," Temari said to the leaf-nin across from her. He sat with his hands folded behind his head in that all too familiar position.

"I don't know. It's so troublesome to walk through the desert for three days. I don't know what reason I can come up with that the Hokage will buy. There's also this whole inheriting the Clan Business. I'm the heir, whether I want to be or not, and my mother is making me follow my father around to see how it is done. It's tedious and annoying, I'd much rather be sleeping...but...what are you gonna do?" Shikamaru answered. Temari pouted cutely from the other side of the table.

"I see...well if it's too troublesome then I guess you'll just have to reacquaint yourself with your left hand. I mean, if I am in Suna, and you are here, and neither of us are willing to trudge across the sand, then I guess you'll just have to do without pussy for a few months until I can get back here," she retorted smoothly.

His eyes bugged out of his face with a fearful look in their depths. He sputtered incoherently for a few seconds at her threat. Shikamaru may be lazy when it comes to a lot of things, but he liked sex. He was good at it, and his girlfriend was both gorgeous and talented. They'd been dating since about a month after Senji's birth, giving them about a year together. They'd started having sex around month six of their relationship. Things were getting very serious with their upcoming One Year Anniversary. Temari, though terrified of the idea of it, was almost positive that she was in love with the lazy Nara. Shikamaru was a genius, but...still a thick headed man...he knew he loved her, but was unsure of how to go about taking the next step with her.

"Now, now...no need to get rash, Troublesome Woman. Of course it would be bothersome to cross the desert, but I believe you are worth the trouble," he said. She narrowed her pretty green eyes skeptically at him.

"You're just saying that to change my mind. You know very well I'm not the type to swoon Lazyass," his girlfriend said flatly. He smirked.

"Oh...I know...impressing you is just about the most troublesome thing in my life," Shikamaru retorted. Temari snorted in a very unladylike manner...something that, despite the fact that it was rather crude, Shikamaru liked about his girl. She wasn't like all the other preening, self centered, prima donnas. She was herself...always, and he loved her for it.

"You're lucky that I would probably go into withdrawal if we didn't have sex for a few months otherwise you'd be fucked...or... ermm...un-fucked," the blond said with a sexy smirk across her lips. He chuckled quietly.

"You like it that much do you? I must be pretty good then, huh?" he drawled with a cocky smile on his face. She laughed loudly.

"I wouldn't know would I? I've never been with anyone else, so I've got nothing to compare it with," she said with a teasing glint in her eyes.

"Che! You don't need anything to compare it with. I'm a genius...in all respects," he retorted boastfully. They both laughed heartily as they finished their tea. Temari glanced at the clock on the far wall. She sighed, digging through her bag for some money.

"I've got it. Don't worry," her boyfriend's voice interrupted. She scowled.

"You know you can't keep paying for me all the time. I'll get spoiled and start sticking Kankurou with the lunch bill again," she chided. He laughed.

"Well, consider it part of my mission as the Sunagakure Ambassador's personal slave...oh I mean body guard," he said. She smiled at him. He loved it when she smiled. Her face seemed to lift, green eyes brightened, and full pink lips stretched revealing perfectly even, pearly teeth. She had small dimples as a cute addition to her stunning facial structure. Gods she was beautiful.

"Fine then," she rose, "we should get going. We'll be late."

"Hai...I suppose we should. But...there's something I've been meaning to ask you, I just...suck at tact I guess and wasn't sure how to go about doing so," he said as they walked from the shop and in the direction of the Akito Complex.

"Ask away oh Lazy One," she teased. He smiled.

"I was wondering...if you'd ever considered becoming a permanent Liaison between Konoha and Suna. Live here and go back once a month for a week to report to your village Council and your brother," he explained. He glanced at her through the corner of his eyes. Her expression was thoughtful.

"Like Shia-chan?" she asked, turning her green eyes to him. He averted his gaze to the road ahead, knowing his resolve would be lost if he looked at her, and nodded.

"I...I have thought of it. I like Konohagakure. It's so fresh and alive. So green and boisterous...not at all like the desert. I love my village...but...I love this village as well. I've become such good friends with so many people and...to live here would mean I'd be able to be with you more often," she answered.

"I see," Shikamaru said softly.

"Why do you ask?" Temari asked. He sighed.

"I've been thinking about a lot of things lately. We've been together about a year now, and I'll admit to you that I'm kind of hoping that this is it for me. I don't want to be with anyone else, that much is clear to me. I would like to move up a level in our relationship, but I need you to be on the same page as me before we do so. I want you to move in with me...at the Nara Compound," he said, his stomach clenching in anxiety.

Temari hesitated. Of course...she would love to move to Konoha and live with the boy she was in love with. It would allow them to develop an even stronger bond than they already had. She liked being with him. She was happy with him. However...she didn't just want to leave her brothers. She knew they were capable of taking care of themselves, but...they were her little brothers. She'd all but raised Kankurou, and had never known a day when she didn't watch over Gaara. It'd be tough saying goodbye to them. She loved them. They were her family. But...at the same time...she knew that they would support her decision. Both Gaara and Kankurou were aware of the happiness she felt when she was with Shikamaru.

"I...I don't know. I've never been away from my home for more than a few months at a time. My brothers wouldn't know what to do with themselves. Neither of them can cook, and Kankurou's an idiot. My village needs me. I am one of the best Jounin they have to offer. I can't just up and leave….my family…I," she trailed off.

"You can still see them. You can visit them anytime you want, and as the Liaison between our countries, you'll be obligated to go back there anyway. Gaara is married, with a kid. He's got his own life to live now. Kankurou may be an idiot, but he'll have one too someday," Shikamaru interjected. She sighed. What she was really afraid of was losing the family that her and her brothers had finally become. She feared that if she left, it would fall apart.

"I understand all of that, but…who would cook and clean, and do all the laundry. Kankurou can't work a washing machine; and Gaara is just as hopeless, except with less time…and who'll protect the"

"Gaara has a wife to cook and clean, and do the dishes. He's stronger every time I visit. He's gonna be fine. Kankurou is the Chief of ANBU Sunagakure. I'm sure he is more than capable of protecting them both if the time should come. He's also a grown man. He's got to learn how to take care of himself one day. I know your brothers Temari…they would want you to be happy. Would you be unhappy living here…with me?" the Nara asked.

"Iie….I'd be very happy. But…I can't remember a day in my life that they weren't there with me. It'll be strange to leave them. Strange and sad. I'll worry all the time about how they're doing. I'll worry about Gaara and his wife. Little Senji-chan. Even Kankurou, the annoying bastard," she said with a soft look in her green eyes.

"Temari…it's only natural for you to worry…you're their sister. But…it's time that you lived your life, and let them start their own. They'll always love you, and you them. They'll always be there for you whenever you need them. You three have come a long way together, and now it's time you decided your futures. Gaara has, and you can too. Come live here…with me…" Shikamaru said, looking nervous, but in such an adorable way that Temari couldn't help but smile.

"I suppose, if my brothers approved then I wouldn't hesitate to move in with you..."

"What do you think about marriage?" he asked suddenly...he heard her gasp. 'Marriage?' she thought dizzily.

"Well...we've been together for a year and we've been friends for about four years. I'd say marriage would be ideal...as long as my family approved," she answered truthfully.

"I'm glad..." Shikamaru started, "of course that would be a while off, but I'm glad that you are open to the idea." Temari slid her hand into his as the guard-nin let them pass through the Akito Main Gates.

"Heh...baka...of course," was her answer. They entered the house together, smiling at the couple who greeted them at the door. 'Looks like I'll have to take the initiative…how troublesome…' Shikamaru thought.

...

...

Konohagakure Hospital

...

...

He could feel consciousness just barely eluding him as the heavy darkness of the coma started to lift. He couldn't open his eyes, the lids being much too heavy for the moment. His body felt like a lump of nothing, numb and useless. His head felt stuffy, yet dizzy. He groaned, hearing the sound of it as if it were twenty feet away in some echoing canyon, and not coming from his own mouth. Thoughts gradually came to him as his mind cleared only slightly. 'Where am I? Is it over? Is he dead? Am I dead?' he thought.

"Ayame! Go get Tsunade-sama! He's coming to!" a woman's voice cried out from somewhere nearby. 'Who's there?' What is this place?' he thought groggily. The last thing he remembered was fighting Itachi. What had happened? Did he win?

"Hai, Fumiko-senpai!" another, younger sounding female voice agreed.

"Ugch…" he groaned, trying to move.

"I'm sorry Uchiha-san. You can't be moving just yet. Please forgive me," the frazzled, scared sounding voice of the woman said. He felt something cold cover his mouth. When he breathed in…darkness consumed him once again.

...

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Akito Main House

...

...

"Happy Birthday dear Senji-chan! Happy Birthday to you!" the crowd all sang in unison.

Little Senji sat in front of the cake between his mother and father as he leaned forward to blow out the candles. He took a big breath and blew, only getting two or three. With a flick of her wrist, Temari smited the rest; causing the one year old to smile happily at 'his' accomplishment. Shia cut a small piece for her son who immediately dug into it with his chubby little hands. Gaara chuckled into his hand silently at the sight of it. The cake began circulating the room to all of the guests.

...

Naruto and Sakura

"You know I kinda want a kid now…" Naruto said as he watched his nephew make a quick disaster out of his piece of birthday cake. Sakura smacked him in the head hard.

"Itai!" he cried.

"Naruto…having kids isn't like having a pet. How in the hell would you take care of a child?" Sakura yelled.

"Gaara's doing it!" he shouted back. The pinkette narrowed her green eyes at him skeptically.

"HE'S responsible," she shot back.

"Obviously not if he knocked'er up in the first place!" Naruto retorted.

Sakura's eyes widened and her mouth fell open a little. 'Well damn…he has a point…' she thought. It was then that the little blue eyed chibi of the night decided to run up to them. Naruto smiled down at the little tyke as the kid bounced up and down, tugging at his orange pants. Sakura giggled.

"Unkie Naru!" the child cried, looking up at the blond with huge blue eyes.

"Hey there Senji-chan!" Naruto said, ruffling the kid's blood red hair. He really did look exactly like his father.

"Up! Up!" Senji cried, raising his little arms in the air in the blonde's direction. Argument with Sakura forgotten…Naruto leaned down to pick the baby up.

"Happy Birthday Senji-chan!" Sakura said, smiling and tickling her nephew. He giggled adorably.

"Unkie Naru! Up!" the baby said. Naruto chuckled readjusting the kid in his hands.

"Alright then!" Naruto exclaimed, tossing the child up towards the ceiling as said child shrieked with high pitched laughter. Sakura's expression softened at the sight of her teammate playing with their nephew. 'Maybe he will make a good father,' she thought.

...

Shia, Gaara, and Hinata

"Aw! Look at that!" Shia said, smiling at the sight of her son's obvious happiness.

" GASP….ano…are you sure that Naruto-kun should be doing that?" Hinata asked with wide lilac eyes. Shia laughed.

"Don't worry about it Hinata. It's fine," she answered. Gaara nodded his agreement.

"I trust Naruto," the redhead said.

"Hey look its Neji and Tenten!" Shia exclaimed waving furiously at the two shinobi in the far corner. Neji nodded politely while the girl next to him waved enthusiastically back. It was then that Shia noticed an older man with the same white eyes watching the two intently.

"Who's that weird guy with them?" she asked frowning. Hinata sighed.

"That's their Chaperon. They officially started courting about a week ago, so according to Hyuuga Clan Law, they have to be chaperoned everywhere they go until they marry," the Hyuuga Heiress explained.

"Bummer," Shia said. Gaara repressed an amused snort at his wife's eloquent response.

"Yea I know," Hinata said with a small frown.

The chiming of a spoon being tapped against a wine glass flowed through the room, and suddenly it was silent. Naruto caught the baby and held him at his side as he looked in the direction of the noise. Just to the left of the parents of the evening, stood a couple that was well known in both Sunagakure and Konohagakure. Gaara looked to his unsure sister, and a very nervous Shikamaru. He smirked. It was only a few minutes ago when the Nara had come to speak with him and his brother. Boy was Temari in for a surprise. 'I hope she's ready for this,' he thought.

"Good evening everyone, and Happy Birthday Senji-chan. At this time I would like to propose a toast to Gaara and Shia in celebration of their son's first birthday. Congratulations, he's a smart kid, and I know he'll be one hell of a shinobi when he gets older," the Nara said raising his glass.

"To Senji-chan," he said, and everyone raised their glasses to clink together with whoever was closest. After taking a sip of his wine, he cleared his throat again.

"Also, there is something I have to say," Shikamaru said, turning to his girlfriend. Temari looked extremely confused at this point while the crowd looked on with interest.

"Temari…we've been dating for a year now. We squabble, we argue, and irritate each other to no end. When we're together you're bossy, vindictive, and more than bothersome enough for me. But…when you're away, I find myself feeling…incomplete. For a long time I have analyzed these feelings you draw out of me. It confused me and frustrated me in the beginning. It was when I thought I'd go insane because of the effects of your absence that I realized I loved you," Shikamaru said.

There was a collective gasp among the guests. Temari looked pretty shocked and a little teary eyed. She knew he loved her, but public displays of affection were not his thing. Also…they'd never really said it aloud before. They'd both just accepted it to be a truth in their relationship. Both of them were extremely intelligent and highly perceptive. It was obvious to them both. To have him say it in front of all of their friends and family was such a wonderful shock, she almost couldn't hold back the tears.

"That is why I've decided to ask you…" he opened a small black box containing a ring.

"Will you be the most troublesome woman in my life?" he asked.

Temari's eyes opened to the size of dinner plates, a few stray tears streaking down her honey toned cheeks. Her heart stopped in her chest for what she thought was at least ten seconds. She looked to her brothers who just nodded and smiled, then to the man on his knee in front of her. She could see the nervousness in her lover's eyes. She took a breath and smiled a beautiful smile.

"Only if you'll be my Lazyass baka of a husband," she said with a smirk. A few chuckles flitted around the room.

"Then we have an engagement," Shikamaru said with a matching smirk as he slipped the ring onto her finger.

"That we do," Temari said as he rose.

He took her in his arms and kissed her in a way that left her weak. The room broke out into a loud applause, and Temari couldn't help but smile. Kankurou and Gaara would miss their sister dearly. However….the smile they saw on her face right now was the happiest smile they'd ever seen grace her lips. If she was happy…then they were too.

...

...

Konohagakure Hospital

...

...

"He woke up?" Tsunade asked as she stared at the unconscious form of the last Uchiha in front of her.

"Hai Hokage-sama," Ayame answered her.

"But we put him back down," Fumiko piped up. Tsunade's eye twitched and a vein appeared at her temple.

"…The patient was coming to…trying to sit up even…." they both nodded, "so…you knocked him out again," the Godaime said.

The vein started pulsating and her brow began to twitch in irritation. The two nurses backed away as the killer intent of the Hokage increased.

"Why can't I give Sakura and Ino the night off without one of you idiots screwing up!" the busty blond screamed. Her foot stomped into the ground, causing tremors to shake the hospital.

"Um…Gome..."

"Never mind! Get out! Both of you!" the Hokage yelled angrily. The two nurses scurried out of the door in fear, leaving just Shizune standing in the doorway.

"Shizune fetch Sakura and the other's I specified for that mission we talked about," Tsunade said, desperately trying to control herself.

"Hai! Tsunade-sama!" the brunette answered, disappearing in a puff of smoke.

...

...

Akito Main House

...

...

"Congratulations you two…it's about damn time," Ino said, looking pointedly at Shikamaru.

"Yea, looks like I'm stuck with her for life," the Nara drawled back. He didn't even try to move when the fan came into contact with his skull.

"Ow…" he groaned, rubbing the sore spot.

"Shut up you baka!" Temari snapped, and then smiled at Ino. The two blondes began talking animatedly about what married life with Shikamaru would be like for Temari. Mostly in a teasingly mocking kind of way.

...

Gaara, Shia, and Hinata

"I can't say I didn't see that one coming," Shia said, smiling at the bickering couple across the room.

"Hn….well, he came to Kankurou and I to ask permission first," Gaara answered.

"Did he now? He must love her. That's the most effort I've ever seen him put into anything that wasn't a mission," his wife laughed. Hinata giggled with her.

"I'll miss her. We both will I think, but…if she's happy here with Nara, then that is where she should be," the redhead said.

"Yea…I'm happy for them," Shia added. Both Gaara and Hinata nodded their agreement.

"Shia-chan!" they heard Naruto's voice shout. All three turned to see the blond walking towards them with a very unconscious Senji in his arms.

"Oh! Looks like he's done for the night," Shia said as the sleeping child was placed into her arms. Naruto smiled.

"I guess he just got tired out from all the fun," he said, a soft look coming to his eyes as he looked at the baby.

"He always gets tired when he plays with his Uncle Naruto," Shia giggled.

There were few hurried knocks on the door, and Shia immediately identified the chakra signal as Shizune. 'I wonder what she wants,' the Akito Head thought as her and the group of people around her made their way to the door. She opened it to reveal Shizune of course. The brunette smiled apologetically at them all.

"I'm sorry to intrude on your party, but the Hokage has summoned Akito-sama, Sakura, Hinata-san, and Naruto-kun to her office for a mission," the Hokage's assistant explained. Shia transferred her sleeping son into his father's arms.

"Sakura!" she called over her shoulder. The pinkette crossed the room to the door, and then looked to Shizune, confused.

"Shizune? What are you doing here?" she asked.

"I need you all to follow me now for an important mission briefing," Shizune said. They nodded and followed.

"I'll be back later Gaara," Shia said, kissing him before she left with the others.

Gaara watched his wife walk away for a few seconds before closing the door. He walked through the house until he made it to his son's room. He tucked the slumbering child in before placing a kiss on his forehead. 'What could this mission be about? I don't know if she should do any missions right now?' he thought as he let the guests out of the house. After he'd said goodnight to the last one, he retired to his room to get some paperwork done.

...

...

Hokage Tower

...

...

"Here we are. If you'll excuse me, I have something I have to do," Shizune said with a bow. They waved before she transported away. They walked up into Hokage tower until they reached the big doors that lead into Tsunade's office. Sakura knocked softly.

"Enter!" Tsunade's voice said from behind it. They filed in until they all stood in a line facing the desk.

"Perfect, you're all here. I have a very important mission for you concerning the Akatsuki," the Godaime started.

"Akatsuki!?" Hinata gasped. Tsunade nodded.

"We've gotten some new information about the Leader that may give us the edge. This will be labeled an S-class mission, so you can not repeat anything that is said in this briefing today. Not to anyone," the Hokage said. They nodded.

"Shishou…I understand why you would want to but…is it really safe for us to assign Naruto to a mission like this? He's their last target. Isn't this a little risky?" Sakura asked concern evident in her tone.

"Don't worry about me Sakura-chan. I can take care of myself. I won't get caught; you can count on that," Naruto said with that big smile of his. Sakura was unsure about it, but could do nothing less than believe him. How could she not with that big, confident smile on his handsome face.

"I agree with Naruto. Besides…we need him on this one," Tsunade said with a knowing smile.

"What is our mission?" Hinata asked, curiously.

"It'll be dangerous and difficult to pull off, but I believe you three can do it," the Hokage answered.

"Three? What about…?" Sakura started.

"She is here for a different mission," the blond said, glancing at the Akito Head.

"Please wait outside while I explain the details of this mission with these three," Tsunade said. Shia nodded and left the room obediently.

"Alright…this is an information gathering mission….you're job will be to…."

...

...

Konohagakure Hospital

...

...

His nerves began to tingle all over as his body awakened. His fingers twitched, then his toes, then his legs and arms. He could smell the heavy scent of sanitizer and illness in the air. His eardrums picked up the sounds of various machines to which he was attached. Finally, his heavy lids lifted to reveal a pair of coal black eyes. Eyes void of any emotion aside from a twinkle of confusion. Those bottomless eyes…unsettling eyes…Uchiha eyes, flicked around the room until they rested on a lone figure standing at the foot of his bed.

"Uchiha Sasuke….welcome to Konohagakure Hospital. You are a traitor and a known missing-nin. You will be grounded to this hospital, chakra sealed, until you have recovered. After that, your fate will be decided by Hokage-sama and the Council of Elders. Do you understand?" the dark haired woman he recognized as the Hokage's attendant asked.

His brain swam for a few moments. Information swirling confusingly until he fully came to consciousness. He stared at the Hokage's assistant; his empty black eyes boring through her. She fidgeted slightly, but did not stand down. After a few more moments of measuring her up, he gave a small nod. She bowed and left the room, but he could feel her standing just outside the door.

'So the Dobe managed to drag me back after all. I don't remember much. I can't remember if I killed the bastard or not. For Uzumaki's sake I'd better have. Because chakra seal or no, if he took away my revenge…he dies,' Sasuke thought angrily. He spotted his medical chart sitting on the table next to his bed. Curious, he picked it up.

Chart

Patient: Uchiha Sasuke

Age: 16 years

Gender: Male

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..

...

.multiple stab wounds and gashes scattered over body.

.Serious burns

.internal bleeding

.severed blood vessels.

.head trauma

.psychological damage

.unconscious upon arrival

.awakened after a week of treatment and healing of most serious injuries.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

...

Primary Nurse: Niigata, Fumiko

Assistant Nurse: Iwate, Ayame

Attending Doctor: Haruno, Sakura

Surgeons: Haruno, Sakura and Tsunade-hime

...

end chart

...

Sasuke stared at his doctor's name for a few minutes as the information slowly took hold in his brain. 'Sakura?' he thought.

...

End

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Iie- no
Itai- ouch/ow!