12 The Unexpected

"Wake up, Little Butterfly." Sachi softly nudged Kaname's arm.

"Ugh..." She groaned, turning around on a sofa.

"Drunk too much?" Her mother smirked.

"Shhh... Too loud. Pain."

"I'm whispering, Little Butterfly."

"Not you. The air, it's too loud. I hear my hair growing."

"Hmm, it seems Jiraiya-san pulled out his handmade moonshine. Still, two days of getting wasted do that to everyone." The elderly Uchiha stated.

"Two? I-I don't remember-" bile of acid rose from her bowel. Kaname jumped out of a sofa and bolted towards the corridor.

"Haaa..." Sachi shook her head after she heard her daughter retching in the toilet. "Do you feel better now?" she asked when Kaname came back with a pale, sickly-looking face.

"Too much... I drunk way too much."

"Yeah, you should never try to measure up to these two at a competition in drinking alcohol. Jiraiya and Tsunade are professional alcoholics." the older woman chided.

"How..." Kaname swallowed another bile coming from deep underneath, "Ugh. How did I end up on your sofa, mom? I don't remember walking here."

"Heh, don't overestimate yourself, my princess. Jiraiya-san brought you here, unconscious, with mud splattered on the side of your face."

"... I must have fallen somewhere. That would explain the dirt in my mouth."

"Excluding the slap of your image and respect, you finished the wake without any major problems. I can't say the same for Tsunade-san."

"What happened?"

"You don't remember a thing, do you?" Kaname shrugged her shoulders, "Your private party soon turned into a full-blown festival. You were joined by other shinobis. Someone, most likely Anko-chan, started a dare game. In her alcohol-induced desire to accomplish a challenge, Tsunade obliterated one of the Konoha's squares. Luckily there weren't any casualties - civilians just scrammed when a drunk shinobi mob came over."

"Ah! Yeah, I remember laughing my ass off when Granny damaged one of ANBU bases there."

"That was the first time I saw people laughing at someone's memorial. Still, knowing Hiruzen-san for so long, I believe he wouldn't have it any other way."

"Yeah." Kaname smiled, standing back up on her feet, "I have so many things to do today and so little time."

"Izumi-chan chased Utakata-kun out the hospital. He is home with Haru and Kushi. They're torturing my poor son-in-law by trying to take care of him. Oh, by the way, Tsunade-san was looking for you. Kakashi-kun came over, but we weren't able to rouse you."

"Thanks, mom. I will keep it in mind." Kaname wobbly walked towards the exit.

"Not so fast, Little Butterfly. I have my own tested methods for a hangover from hell. Come with me."

----

"Yo, Granny. I heard you wanted something from me?"

"Hush... Not so loud." Hokage groaned, faceplanting her desk, "It's so cold and comfortable..."

"It seems you continued the party without me, huh?" Kaname smirked.

"Ughh. You won't leave me alone?"

"Nope. The last time I was late on your call, someone died. Now out with it, it seems important."

"Yeah, it is... Find Shizune. Your idea became more problematic than I thought it could." Tsunade didn't even notice her assistant standing at her side.

'Letters from Kumo and Iwa?' Kaname pulled up the one from Kumogakure first to her eyes. 'Condolescenses... Raikage is busy and will send a delegation?'

"Oh, A-san will send his adopted brother and a team of bodyguards. Is that a problem?' Kaname summarised the letter.

"Raikage's brother is a jinchūriki, Kaname-san."

"... And?"

"*Hiccup* Heh, I knew you wouldn't mind that, Flat Board. I hoped that old Fence-Sitter would just ignore us, but he didn't. Read the next letter."

"Tsuchikage is on his way? Yeah, I didn't expect that either." Kaname gasped, seeing the Iwagakure official stamp on the message.

"It's not a problem, Flat Board. Turn the page around, look at his bodyguards."

"His granddaughter Kurotsuchi and... Are you fucking kidding me?!"

"Ugh... Don't shout."

"Tsunade-sama, you reacted the same way." Shizune murmured.

"Ōnoki is taking Akatsuki with him here?! A murderer will attend the funeral of the murdered?"

"I don't like it any better than you do, Flat Board. It's another power play of his. Whoever Tsuchikage takes with him has diplomatic immunity for the duration of being in Konoha. It was your stupid idea - I want you to take care of it. I'll be angry at any Konoha's shinobi that will break the protocol. Make sure they act the part."

"Me? I'll be the first to strike down the moron that comes here in their creepy cloak."

"Flat Board, I'm not asking."

"... Fuck. Make Jiraiya-san do it. I won't protect one of them. If it's Orochimaru or Obito, I won't be able to hold myself back."

"Jiraiya is... incapacitated. He won't be able to move for the next week." Tsunade replied, "You're the only one that can protect the village from the threat of Akatsuki level."

"What did he do this time, Granny? We agreed on it - you like the attention he gives you."

"We won't talk about this, ever!"

"Hehe, look at yourself in the mirror and say that you don't see any chances of you two ending up together, Granny."

"... Just, shut up!" Tsunade blushed.

"... When Tsuchikage is expected to arrive?"

"In eight hours. Thanks."

"I'm not saying I'll do that. I'm willing to think about it. There is a more important thing for me to do, and I may need your help with that."

"Huh?"

"Put yourself back together. See you in ten."

-----

Guy with his team visited a new grave on a deserted cemetery. Despite silent tears dripping down his cheeks, the jōnin tried to act strong as a beacon of hope for his students.

A sob escaped Tenten's mouth, "If I- if we were stronger..."

"Pops did that to protect us, Tenten-chan. He knew we would get stronger than he ever was." Guy replied.

"It's never enough, Guy-sensei. All my training and all I could do was to get knocked out in an instant. And now this..." Lee pointed at the wheelchair he sat in.

"Lee-kun, you saved my life!" Tenten firmly disagreed, "You blocked a projectile of an S+ rank shinobi. The results of your training were there. It was me - all I did was stand there like a log!"

"Enough. We didn't come here to argue over who is weaker." Neji took control of the situation.

"Neji-chan is right. Hi, Guy-kun, kids."

"K-Kaname-neesan!" The girl exclaimed.

"Thank you for coming. I knew I could count on you, Kana-chan."

"Hmm, no one came for the funeral yesterday because of the party I kick-started?"

"Yes and no, Kana-chan. Yes, we were only the ones to bury Pops. But what happened yesterday was necessary for the people. Hokage-sama was a great man - his loss would fester in our hearts without a proper way to bid him farewell."

"I'm sorry. I was dead drunk yesterday."

"Heh, I noticed." Guy chuckled.

"I have pulled several strings to make it right. I kind of owed Duy-san several things."

"Pops would disagree with that - he owed you his life, Kana-chan."

"I heard of what he had done. Duy-san must have painstakingly collected every ounce of chakra for the last decade to activate the Eight Gate. I would be proud of him if I was you."

"Heh, I am, Kana-chan. Ignoring the pain, he stood back up on his own feet. Thank you for whatever you planned, but it's not necessary."

"Too late, it's already done, Guy-kun."

"What is?"

"Granny, what do you think?"

Tsunade flickered next to the group. "Unfortunately, I noticed the 'eternal genin' blunder too late, but for Duy-san's long service and an even longer list of merits, he will be noted as one of our elite jōnins."

"Hokage-sama?" Guy gasped.

"You heard her, Guy-kun. And you know what is tied to the funeral of one of Konoha's elites?" Kaname smirked.

Kakashi arrived as the third one, holding himself up with crutches, "Yo."

"My eternal rival!"

"Kana-chan pulled my sorry ass out the hospital." The silver-haired jōnin replied.

Tsunade took a deep breath and stated firmly, "Gather, shinobi of Konoha!"

[AN: Time for OST - Naruto Shippuden: Departure To The Front Lines]

The silence of the graveyard was interrupted by the noise of dozens of high-speed <Flickering Techniques> performed by ninjas.

Team Guy watched the spectacle with their mouths widely opened in astonishment.

"It doesn't matter if one comes from a clan or not." Kakashi pointed at the Konoha's shinobi clan leaders, "We're all in this together, Guy."

Before he sobered up from his shock, Guy felt a small delicate palm catching his. Looking to his left, he noticed a pale-eyed genin smiling at him, "Firecracker?"

"Kaname-neesama said my godfather needed help." Hanabi tightened her hold on Guy's palm, "My mom called other clans. I went around and asked my friends and their teams to come here." she bragged.

"Heh." Guy ran his fingers through Hanabi's hair, "Thanks." Turning to express his gratitude to Kaname, he snorted with laughter, "Utakata, what-?"

The man at Kaname's side had cute pink ribbons attached to his hair. "Don't ask, please. It's glued." Kaname's boyfriend pleaded, glaring at his children, while they gave themselves a fist bump.

"Heh, Pops was right. When I was young, I thought our attitude would push people away but seeing all of you here..." Guy looked upon dozens of ninja, a small tear danced in his eyes, "It's really amazing. T-Thank you for coming."

With a voice full of authority, Tsunade loudly commanded, "Pay respect to our fallen hero!" The entire Konoha shinobi force listened to their Hokage, lightly bowing their heads towards Duy's grave.

'Funeral befitting a Hokage? Once again, Kana-chan surpassed our imaginations, Pops. Thank you, I will continue your work. See you someday.' Guy's sight was drawn to the woman and her family next to him.

The solemn silence lasted for a long minute, after which Kaname caught his eyes. 'Thank you.' he moved his lips soundlessly. She winked playfully back at him in reply. "Thank you for coming, Hokage-sama and everyone. I appreciate it."

"It was necessary as much for you as for the new generation, Guy." Hokage pointed at the fresh genin teams standing furthest away, "Death is always a tragedy, but we can honor each sacrifice and hope for a better tomorrow. Team Guy has a week of paid leave. Have some fun and recuperate."

"Thank you! We will train harder than ever!" Green Beast of Konoha replied, his eyes burning with newfound power.

"Haa... That's your definition of rest?" Tsunade deadpanned.

-----

"Hi, Furry-kun."

"*Growl* Just come through those bars..." Kurama growled at the Uchiha.

"Yeah, it wouldn't help you much." Kaname entered Kyūbi's cell.

"Ugh, those cursed eyes! Let me move!"

"Nope. We need to talk without you bitching around." she replied, sitting on a Nine-tailed fox's nose looking straight into his eyes.

"I'll kill all of you! Your entire family will suffer!"

"Yeah-yeah, I heard it before. Let's talk. You saw what happened with Saiken and Utakata. Have you got any reflections on that topic, Kurama?"

"You're not allowed to call me that!"

"So?"

"Nothing changes! You're all the same! Lesser beings, hairless monkeys with lust for power!"

"... What an idiot." Kaname murmured, "So us protecting you and Saiken is a bad thing, huh?"

"Protecting?" The fox sniggered, "Where did your help get Saiken?! We're the Bijū's! We don't need your feeble apes' protection."

"... I'm glad your attitude helped Saiken. Speak, what's the statue they used to extract the Bijū, Kurama."

"I won't assist you. You're one of them!"

"Damn you! I'm trying to help you here, Kurama! Naru-chan said you were distressed when you saw it. You know what they're doing!"

"Stick that nose somewhere else! My matters are my own!"

"Haaa... It's impossible to persuade you." Kaname sighed, "There is an Akatsuki on his way to Konoha. Try to keep your head down, okay?" she jumped down onto a flooded sewer floor.

"*Growl* Let me go!" The woman's control over his limbs disappeared the moment she walked between his cell's bars. Kurama instantly leaped after her, trying to spear his enormous claws through her body.

The water and floor exploded under his strike, "Grrr... GET BACK HERE!" The fox howled, noticing he missed his target.

-----

"Jinchūriki-sama, we can see Konoha's walls." a dark-skinned beauty reported.

"You heard her, Karui. Leave the talking to Mabui-san." A young man called out to his red-headed teammate. He was dark-skinned Kumo-nin with short, spiky, white hair and dark eyes. "For all we know, you would start spouting some bullshit. That would put B-san and us in an unfavorable position, then we would need to flee Konoha leaving behind a bloody trail..." Omoi took a step back, "No way... It was your plan all along! You want to start a war between two villages!"

"GRAH! SHUT UP, you stupid fool! You're always overthinking things!" She impulsively assaulted her teammate. Karui was a dark-skinned kunoichi with long spiky red hair and amber eyes.

"Stop it. Remember that we represent Kumo." The team's blonde leader caught Karui's hand before it reached the back of Omoi's head for the second time. Samui was a tall, fair-skinned woman with a curvaceous figure who generally wore a stoic, aloof expression on her face. She had blue eyes and straight, shoulder-length blonde hair cut in an asymmetrical bob style. The woman's massive bust could rival only that of the Hokage.

"Wheehoo! Our trip was quick like a flip!" Killer B, but stopped rhyming thinking about his finish.

"Maybe ship or whip, jinchūriki-sama." Mabui gave him several options.

"Ah!" The host of the Eight-Tailed Bijū pulled a small notebook and started writing into it.

"Wow, would you look at that!" Omoi pointed at Konoha kunoichi, waiting for them in front of the gate.

"Yuck! Stop checking out an older woman! And I thought you liked big breasts, Omoi!"

"I just don't like flat planes like yours, Karui. And she isn't that much older, five years at most! And those high kneesocks on her legs, damn... I even like the way she acts. She is hot, and she knows it! You have so many things to learn from an experienced kunoichi like her!" He whined back at his teammate, "I could go on dates with her, and after a year or two, we would have some children. Our love would join the two strongest villages and provide peace-"

"Omoi," Samui's voice interrupted his daydreaming, "You're talking like you're already dating her." he blushed at her comment.

Shaking her head at the team antics, Raikage's assistant reported, "It's Kaname Uchiha, be careful around that woman. I believe she isn't our enemy here, but she is easily one of the biggest threats we could find in Konoha. Raikage-sama ordered us to not upset her or the new Hokage - the consequences would be dire for all of us."

They walked towards the group waiting for them.

"Welcome to Konoha." Kaname greeted them. She stopped Killer B's with a finger raised in front of her, "Before you start rapping, B-san. Rip, flip, slip, or wingtip would work as well. But you should listen to Mabui-san and limit it around Hokage and me. It's unique, but it's really a bother to listen to."

[AN: and write :-/]

"H-how? We were too far for you to hear us talk." The blonde kunoichi from Kumo gasped.

With a blink of her eyelids, Kaname's eyes glowed red, "I have my methods, Samui-san." she smiled, crossing her arms.

After a moment of looking at her, Samui smirked back, crossing her arms below her bust pushing it up.

Kaname's eyebrow rose, "Well, at least you will get along with granny on that topic..." she deadpanned.

"I-I'm sorry, Kaname-san. We shouldn't-"

"Nah, don't sweat it, Mabui-san. Now, Omoi-kun, I'm engaged and have two kids - you're out of luck, kiddo." The Uchiha chuckled, seeing the young man, Naruto's age, blush profusely.

"Heh, I told you didn't stand a chance, you stupid lecher! Wait?! Kids? But you're not that much older than us?"

"Yeah. I don't know, it just happened? From a medical point of view, the best age for pregnancy is in the late twenties. In that sense, I was a year faster than the norm."

"Ha! This gorilla won't find a man until her late fifties! Guh-!" Karui elbowed her teammate in the solar plexus.

"... Raikage asked us to show full professionalism. It's a complete disaster..." Mabui was devastated. After a moment, she realized that B hadn't spoken a word from the second they met Kaname. Looking at Raikage's stepbrother, the woman noticed he was trembling and sweating profusely, "Jinchūriki-sama?!"

"Hehehe, Killer B-san also got smitten." Karui joked.

"S-s-scary..." the jinchūriki gasped, taking a step back from the woman.

"I'm sorry, Mabui-san. B, Gyūki-san, and I had a private chat. Your Bijū is much nicer than the Kyūbi." Seeing the confusion written on their faces, she added, "Perks of being an Uchiha."

"Like that explains things!"

"Bakayarō! Konoyarō! A message from yours Hachibi-sama. Be her friend, and let her defend!"

Kaname facepalmed, "Well, I wish you luck with the Hokage. She won't stand for rhyming every sentence. Tenzō, lead them to Granny. I'm waiting for the delegation from Iwa." she ordered.

"I understand." The masked man flickered next to her and directed the guests inside the village.

-----

"Are you sure that's a good idea, Kana-chan?"

"Nope. But I was asked to do this, Genma."

"Yeah, you're one of the few I could trust with my life, but we're talking about Akatsuki here."

"Whoever comes will have a hard time in Konoha. I'll make sure of it. It sucks, but I'm going to keep constant vigilance on our questionable guest. It would help me if you took care of Tsuchikage."

"I will, no biggie, Kana-chan. I employed Raido-san - you overlooked something." Genma chuckled.

"Huh?"

"You will keep an eye on Akatsuki, but someone has to keep an eye on you, Kana-chan. We can't let our cute kouhai get hurt. Ouch- what the?" a small pebble struck the back of his head, "Ah, they're coming, Kana-chan."

She turned around. The Tsuchikage was a very short, old man with a triangular beard, a mustache, a big red nose, and thick eyebrows. The top of his head was completely bald, although, he had long white hair on the lower half, the back of which was tied with a yellow ribbon into a topknot. Ōnoki wore a green and yellow coat with a red collar. To Kaname's astonishment, the tiny old man was floating above the ground.

His only companion was a young black-haired woman with sharp eyes clothed in a standard Iwa outfit.

"Two? Is it them? Where is the Akatsuki?" Genma questioned, lacking Kaname's sight, he was unsure of the identity of faraway figures.

"Hmm. Ah, there you are! <Kuchiyose no Jutsu>." A bed-sized red butterfly poofed into existence in front of Kaname, "Matsu-kun, ask her to come down to us. Tell her that I'm watching and any unnecessary movement will be met with lethal force." she pointed into the air.

The monarch butterfly nodded its insect head and flew into the air.

"Her?" Genma barely discerned a silhouette flying high in the sky, hiding in the bright light of the afternoon sun. "A bird?" He was pretty sure he saw two wings on the black figure's back.

"Konan... I didn't expect her."

Next chapter