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May 23, 2007
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Naruto walked up the hill towards the monument that marked each Shinobi’s name who gave their life in protection of the village. He was not alone however; not with the blue-haired heiress in his arms. Twice she had woken from unconsciousness, and twice she had gone back under. He could sense his comrades up ahead of him, and mentally prepared himself for what was to come.

He could already hear what their questions would be…

“Who are you?”

“Why do you have Hinata?”

“Prepare to defend yourself!”

“Put Hinata down!”

And then once they figured out who exactly he was…

“Where have you been?”

“Why did you leave us?”

“Why didn’t you come back?”

“I’m gonna KILL YOU!”

He smile when he thought of what Sakura was going to try to do to him once they learned of his past journey. Of course, he was through getting beaten to a bloody pulp everywhere he spoke his mind near Sakura. He didn’t plan on hurting her, but he sure has hell didn’t plan on letting her hurt him.

“Oh well…..” He sighed. Hinata squirmed in his arms and smuggled closer to his chest, obviously enjoying the warmth “HM!” he chuckled, “Sorry, didn’t mean to disturb you.” Her eyes twitched open, woken by his voice amplified through his chest. “Please don’t pass out again.” He smiled.

“EEP!” Hinata squeaked, but didn’t fall into unconsciousness again.

“Good morning sleepy-head. Or actually, I should say, good evening.” He set the furiously blushing girl on her feet.

“Good evening. OH NO! EVENING! I’m sorry, I have to go!” she bowed and turned to run away.

“The funeral?” he raised an eyebrow as he watched her stop and look at him.

“How did you know?”

“I heard you and your friend talking about it earlier.”

“From all the way across the crowd?”

“These ears aren’t just for show” she smiled and tapped his ear.

“Hm…well I have to be leaving now.” She started to walk away only to be followed by Naruto. “Ano...can I help you with something?”

“I’m going to the funeral too.” He smiled

“You knew Naruto?”

He nodded and walked towards the monument and her awaiting friends.

----------

Sakura scanned the pathway leading to their meeting place. She was there, along with all of Naruto’s other friends when she spotted Hinata come over the rise. “FINALLY!” she threw her hands into the air. “Hinata, I thought you’d never come; especially because this is Naruto’s funeral. Wait, who is that?” she pointed at Naruto.

“Ano… I don’t know.” She looked at him, “He never said his name.”

Naruto opened his mouth to speak but the breath stopped in his mouth as he saw his own name sloppily scratched into the memorial stone. His eyes suddenly were on fire. He looked angrily at each of them there. “WHICH ONE OF YOU DID THIS?” He yelled and pointed to the stone.

They all looked nervously at each other, none willing to speak, lest the strange man draw his gaze on them; at least, not until Sakura shakily raised her hand, not raising her eyes from the ground. His eyes softened when she did so. “Look, this stone is for those who gave their lives for this village. Those who lived lives of honor, and died gloriously on the battlefield, or gave their lives protecting the ones they loved. Naruto’s name does not belong here.”

“But…!”

“HEY…!”

“Ano…”

“Wait…!”

None of them had the chance to finish before Naruto started to string along seals. They all stood, mouths agape, as he finished the extremely long and complex jutsu in under a few seconds.

“That’s a jutsu I’ve never seen before….” Neji stood, his eyes locked onto Naruto’s hands.

“That’s even more complex than Kakashi-sensei’s Water Dragon Blast!”

“Doton: Suppai fushoku no jutsu” (Earth style: Acid Corrosion Jutsu)

They all stood rooted to the spot as they watch a dark brown liquid come out of the ground to rest over Naruto’s name, cleanly corroding it off of the stone, leaving no trace but a small indentation of where the name used to be.

Sakura’s expression changed from shock and awe, to anger as she watched this strange man just erase the existence of their best friend’s name off of his death-right. “HEY!”
Yea right! Like I’m gonna let him desecrate Naruto’s name like that? Hell NO! screamed inner Sakura. She cocked her fist back and charged it with chakra.

“Wait Sakura-chan…” Lee said. He walked over towards the man, and stood inches away from him, his eyes starting into the man’s unwavering eyes. Lee suddenly grabbed the man and embraced him into a huge hug, crying over his shoulder. “I knew your flame of youth could not be extinguished so easily!” he yelled jumping up and down.

“Umm…Lee-san?” Tenten asked.

Lee turned towards Tenten, but said nothing. The only thing he did was take off his belt and run over behind the man and put it over his forehead just like a normal leaf shinobi.

They stood there for a few seconds before it dawned on them. Tenten heard a crash and turned her head expecting to see Hinata on the ground, but found that Hinata was, though blushing furiously, was standing upright still staring dumbly at Naruto. The person who had actually passed out was Sakura.

“Naruto-kun…” Hinata mumbled.

“The one and only…” he said with a smile.

This time Hinata really did pass out.

---

“You owe us some answers…” Neji stated.

“I know, but it can wait for later. I still must get settled back in. I only got back this morning.”

“You’ve been here since this morning, and you didn’t come see us?” Tenten said with a whine.

“You know Baa-chan…She had me in her office for hours.” He lied. “I’ve been all over the village just taking it all back in.” he looked back at the buildings in the distance “Not much has changed.”

“It has.” Neji deadpanned. “Maybe not the buildings or training grounds, but the people have. The mood here has grown dark and moody. Everyone seems on edge. Some people,” he looked at his cousin, whose head was in Tenten’s lap, “have been crushed since you’ve gone. The whole morale of the village has plummeted.”

Naruto raised an eyebrow, silently asking him to elaborate.

“Sure, the villagers celebrated when you had gone, seeing as how they thought the Kyuubi was dead,” he paused watching Naruto flinched at the word ‘Kyuubi’, “but most of the shinobi have been slipping: mission success rates, missions taken, and training dummies wrecked.” he glanced at Lee.

“Maybe we were all afraid to admit it, but we all missed you Naruto…” Kiba said with a slight smile on his face. “Now I don’t have to prank anyone anymore.”

“Hm…well, I’m afraid I’ve grown out of that phase. Two years on my own, I’ve had to grow up, a lot.”

“That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.” Kiba elbowed Naruto.

He only smiled and stretched his arms above his head, and chuckled when he was Ino and Tenten staring at him with a slight blush. “Well. I’ve got to get going. I’ve got to go get settled in.” he scratched the back of his head. “And then maybe a quick bite to eat before I go see Baa-chan for my mission status.” He was answered with a howl from his mid-section. “On second thought maybe I’ll go get some food now before I die from starvation.”

“Mind if I join you? Maybe you can tell us how the forces of evil tried to extinguish your flames of youth, but failed!” Lee more told than asked.

“Do I have a choice?” the question was greeted by a shake of Lee’s head. He only shrugged and turned towards the two downed girls. “I’ll just revive the girls and we’ll all go out for some ramen…” He grinned “…my treat.”

“Wow. I’M UP FOR THAT!” Choji yelled.

Naruto walked over to Sakura and put Sakura’s temples in between his thumb and middle  fingers. He closed his eyes in concentration and was rewarded a few seconds later by the fluttering of Sakura’s eyes.

“Wha…?”

“Take it easy. You passed out from the shock. Wait a minute or two before standing up. The last thing we need is or you to be dizzy all the way to Ichiraku’s.” he stated as he moved towards Hinata. He did the same for her.

“What…happened? Naruto-kun…he…c-carried me here.” She said with a smile. Then she realized where she was and who was standing over her. She turned beet-red.

“Now’s not the time to pass out again. C’mon,” he motioned to follow him “we’re all going to Ichiraku's.” he smiled.

“And it’s his treat!!!” yelled Choji.

“Yea yea, You keep screaming like that and I might have to limit you to five bowls.” He grinned as he saw the crestfallen Choji fall silent. He turned to walk towards the ramen stand that stood in town. “Mmmmmm…it’s been a while since I’ve had Ichiraku’s. I wonder if it has gotten any better…still; since I’ve had Yamanashi’s ramen, I’m going to have to compare. It’s going to be pretty hard to compare them to each other. Their both soo good…”

Sakura and Ino both laughed as they watched Naruto muse over ramen, and almost doubled over as they saw the drool spill out over his lip.

-------

“Five bowls of your best Miso Pork! And then a bowl for each of my comrades!”

“That voice…” he turned around and took a good long stare at Naruto. “Naruto! Welcome back! Of course Ayame! Get our Special Stock ready! We have a special customer.” He yelled into the back.

“Yes father!” Ayame walked out into the front where Naruto could see her. Her eyes went wide as she saw Naruto. She ran around outside and engulfed him into a big hug.

Naruto was just as surprised as everyone else there. “A-Ayame?”

She jumped back from him “Oh sorry…” she said with a blush. She turned and ran back into the kitchen turning her attention fully to the counter where the vegetables lay waiting to be diced up.  She missed the glares from three of the four Kunoichi; the only one oblivious was Sakura, who was still nursing a pounding headache. Apparently Naruto’s healing technique had not been as gentle with her as it had been with Hinata.

“Naruto, what happened to your hair? And where did the marks on your face go?” Teuchi asked.

“That’s right. I can’t believe I didn’t notice…” Sakura mumbled.

“Huh? Oh right.” He pulled a napkin off of one of the dispensers on the counter. “Well I was sorta supposed to lay low for a while, but when I was at the funeral, I didn’t want to attract any unnecessary attention, from both ninja and non-ninja alike.  Since some people can still sense my Genjutsu, however few they may be, I decided that makeup worked better.” He wiped the makeup off of his face revealing the six whisker marks on his face. “And the hair?” he ran fingers through his hair “I just saw someone else with hair like it, and I thought it would look cool.” He scratched the back of his head with a huge grin.

Naruto got his first bowl with the rest of them, but refrained from digging in. Hinting at his distress, Ino came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. He tensed visibly at this, but then seemed to relax with an outward sigh.

“I guess you guys will want to know what happened out there.” He looked straight into his food as if the answer lay deep within the meat and broth.

He sighed deeply, “I guess I’ll start when Jiraya and I left for Cloud…”
OK here's chapter six.

sorry if it's a bit short, but i was kinda forcing it. This is NOT one of my favorite chapters. The next one will tell you exactly what happend with Naruto the four years he was gone.

Chapter 5:[link]
Chapter 7:[link]
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:iconsocorro333:
socorro333 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
this story is sooo good! i absolutely love it! 
ps. i was wondering how no one noticed him even if he did change his clothes and hair color. but the make up thing totally makes sense.it was super cute how lee was the first to recognize him. awww :)
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:iconstorm008:
storm008 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013
I Love this story.
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:iconminicoopermaverick:
minicoopermaverick Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Blaaaaaaaa
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:iconminicoopermaverick:
minicoopermaverick Featured By Owner May 30, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
No pun intended on my last commt
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:iconmissmybcmiyuki:
missmybcmiyuki Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008
i for one love this story
though different from the other, there's still the presence of strong emotions. i love how mature naruto has gotten, but i bet it was due to the harsh conditions and things he had to endure.

poor hinata, it's fainting day for her.
naruto is so sweet for picking her up :heart:

keep it up! ^w^
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:iconunluckybastard:
unluckybastard Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2007
lol at almost the end it was 'toy our hair' i am guessing that it was supposed to be to 'to your hair'.







MONKEYZ RULE
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:iconnapalmjoe88:
napalmjoe88 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007
thanks for telling me.

Edit-Bots...AWAY! :mechabug::mechabug::mechabug::mechabug::mechabug::mechabug:
Reply
:iconreject-xfx:
Reject-xfx Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007
Hmm. I can't help but feel Two Halves was better....
I'm sorry for the lack of support behind this series, but I feel that you should have continues TH instead of started a new one.
But I hope this will not discourage you in continueing this series, you must do what you want, and not let others opinions get in the way of that.
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:iconnarukemon4ever1:
narukemon4ever1 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2010
I agree fully! 2Halves RULEZ! PLEASE TIMES INFINITE TO THE POWER OF INFINITE SQUARED ADD MORE TO THE 2 HALVES STORY! add on where chapter 21 left off except a week later from when they got to konaha! please and thanks if you do!
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:iconk2e:
k2e Featured By Owner May 23, 2007
can't wait to hear what happens to him
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