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Sunday, May 4, 2008

20th birthday chapter 1

A/N - As the others say Naruto is owned by Masashi Kishimoto. The only Naruto stuff I own at this time is several of the Manga books and the first two uncut DVD box sets.

This was originally intended to be a little humor piece, somehow I couldn't help but to weave some NaruHina romance into it.

20th birthday

Author: TJchaos

“NO!” Tsunade roared for what felt like the thirtieth time.

“Oh come on, Tsunade-sama! My birthday is only a few months away.” Naruto pleaded.

“It’s more like six months. So forget it. You are not of age and I am not about to contribute towards furthering your delinquency, you’re already bad enough.”

Naruto thought for a moment. “What if I promise you that I won’t drink any of it? Well at least not until my birthday.”

Tsunade scowled. “If you’re simply doing this for Jiraiya I will be very disappointed in you and even more so with him.”

“You’re kidding right? As if I would give him anything like that. He already owes me a lot of money from our training trips if you ask me.”

“The answer is still no.”

Naruto had a sudden brilliant idea. “How about I buy it and you hold on to it for me until my birthday? I can trust you with it can’t I?” He said with a sly grin.

“O.K. Naruto what are you up to?” Tsunade asked narrowing her eyes slightly.

“It’s a special project I’m working on, kind of a secret you know. Please?”

“I’m probably going to regret this but as long as I’m holding on to it, then O.K.” She finally relented.

“Great! Lets go then.” Naruto exclaimed as he ran around her desk and started to pull her towards the door.

“Naruto! I’ve got a lot of work to do. I can’t go running off right now.”

“Give me a break already, you’ve been here all morning, you could use a break.”

Tsunade relented and as Naruto led her off they ran into Shizune carrying an arm load of paperwork.

“Shizune, we’ll be back shortly, I’m helping Naruto out with something.” Tsunade called out as Naruto dragged her off down the hallway and out the front door of the Hokage tower.

“You’re just looking to get out of work!” Shizune shouted out in vain to the already gone duo.

Naruto led Tsunade through the busy streets of Konoha, clearly knowing exactly where he was going. It didn’t take long for the blonde ninja to lead the village leader to the largest brewer in the village. Entering first Naruto earned himself a glare from the man behind the counter.

“No underage sales Uzumaki!” The man yelled out before his eyes bulged once he realized that Naruto was quite literally dragging the Hokage herself into the establishment. “Godaime Hokage-sama!” The man exclaimed bowing deeply.

“I think you can make an exception this time.” Naruto smiled. “What kind of bulk discount can I get anyway?”

“Bulk?” Both Tsunade and the salesman exclaimed.

“What am I not loud enough?” Narutos smile grew very wide.

“What could you possibly need so much sake for that you’re looking for a bulk discount?” Tsunade asked.

“Didn’t I say it’s a secret? Besides you’re holding it all anyway right. If you want you can come along when I need it.” Naruto turned to the sales man. “So what’s the largest single amount you sell any way?”

“Well we can go as high as a two hundred liter barrel.”

“That sounds great!” Naruto looked thoughtful for a moment. “You wouldn’t be have it in those plastic barrels that the whole top comes off of would you?”

It was the mans turn to look thoughtful. “Actually most of the rice we buy comes in those exact barrels. I guess we could rinse one out for you. It should hold roughly two hundred liters.”

“That’s great, how much for a barrel like that along with a liter bottle of honjōzō-shu?” Naruto asked.

The man ticked off figures in his head and with a glance to Tsunade he gave Naruto a very good price on his order. Naruto smiled and pulled out his beat up gama-chan wallet.

“Sold!” He called out as he opened his wallet and started counting out the money. The man disappeared into the back barked out a few orders and returned with a single bottle. Naruto handed him the money, took the bottle and handed it to Tsunade.

“Consider it a storage fee.” Naruto smiled at the look of pleased surprise on Tsunades face.

Roughly fifteen minutes later one of the workers from the back wheeled out a blue plastic barrel full of the sake Naruto had ordered. Naruto beamed as he pulled out a scroll. Tsunade looked on with a slightly puzzled look that became outright confused as Naruto opened the scroll and she saw that it was a blank scroll. Naruto whipped out a writing brush and with surprising deftness began to fill a small portion of the scroll with symbols, most in a circular pattern leaving a blank circular area in the middle of all the writing. When he finished to his satisfaction Naruto drew on his chakra and performed a series of hand seals.

“Sealing jutsu!” Naruto called out. There was a flash of light and suddenly the barrel of sake disappeared as it was sealed into the scroll. Naruto rolled the scroll up in a snap, tied it closed and handed it to Tsunade.

“Not bad Naruto.” Tsunade said with a satisfied grin.

Over the next several months Naruto would drag Tsunade off to the brewery, usually after a well paying mission, and buy another barrel for the scroll and a bottle for Tsunade. Usually Naruto continued to buy honjōzō-shu but he would occasionally buy a barrel of Nigori, roughly every fifth barrel.

This continued until the chill air of the beginning of October filled the air.

“This is going to be the last barrel old man.” Naruto said with a smile. “Thanks for everything!”

“Naruto, I’m dying to know, just what are you planning on doing with all of that sake? You’ve got something like two or three thousand liters of the stuff.” The man asked.

“It’s still a secret but if you want to know you can meet me at the training ground near the memorial stone around six pm on October 10th.”

“You know he’s right Naruto that is a lot of sake.” Tsunade said as she looked thoughtful. “You’re not planning some sort of bizarre party with a few thousand of your clones are you?”

“Please! Do I look like ero-sennin? You’re going to be there yourself and it’s only a few days away.” Naruto said as he finished sealing the latest barrel of sake into the scroll and handed it to her.

“Well I’m sure this is going to be interesting, you must have spent a few years worth of your salary on all that sake.”

“I don’t think it was that much. Doesn’t matter, it’ll be worth it.” Naruto said with a smile as he took off out the door.

Tsunade sighed as she tucked his sake scroll into her vest along with the bottle he had given her.

“I guess I’ll see you on the 10th then?”

“You better believe it, there’s no way I’m going to miss finding out what he’s going to do with all that sake.” The man smiled as Tsunade left and headed back to the Hokage tower.

The next several days passed rather quickly and the tenth of October rolled around. Naruto spent much of the day keeping a low profile. Although the normal celebration of the fox’s defeat by the Fourth Hokage had seemed to be getting a little smaller each year there were still plenty of older people who were more than willing to send hateful glares Narutos way. He changed his normal training area to one of the more remote areas and spent the morning working more on his stealth techniques in order to help maintain his typical October tenth low profile. Naruto finished his morning training regime and decided to head to Tsunades office to collect his sake scroll before grabbing some lunch. Despite trying to not be noticed by everyone he figured there was no way he’d pass up Ichiraku’s on his birthday.

“Remember 6:00.” He said to Tsunade as she gave him the scroll, a short time later.

Three bowls of ramen later he left his favorite ramen stand, well actually it was the only ramen stand in Konoha he ever went to. A quick transformation to look like Iruka let him wander back to his apartment without anyone harassing him. He spent about an hour or so cleaning himself and his apartment up with a quick shower and a change of clothes. Checking the clock he saw that he had four hours to kill. He planned on another stop at Ichiraku’s around 5:00 but that still left him with three hours to kill. He had half convinced himself to catch a movie, something he rarely did, when someone knocked on his door. He was somewhat surprised to see his friend Hinata standing there looking uneasy.

“H-happy birthday, Na-Naruto-kun.” The poor girl stammered as her cheeks colored slightly and she held out a small box.

“Hinata-chan?” He asked puzzled as he noticed her cheeks grew a deeper red. “Oh, I’m sorry, please come in.”

Hinata-chan? He has never called me that before.’ The girl thought to herself. “I wanted to give you this for your birthday.”

“Oh, you didn’t have to but thank you.” He said softly as he accepted the small box from her. With a glance to her first he started to unwrap the small thin rectangular box. Inside he saw that it was a silver necklace with a silver Konoha leaf emblem pendant.

“It’s beautiful Hinata, thank you.” He told her as he took it out of its box and put it on. The leaf symbol hung from his neck just above the crystal he had gotten from Tsunade.

“You are welcome Naruto-kun.” Hinatas heart raced but she thought she would leave while she was ahead of this particular game. “I should go, I-I don’t want to disturb you.” She stammered out and turned to leave.

“Please, don’t go.” Naruto was struck with sudden inspiration. “I was just thinking about catching a movie, how would you like to come with me?” He asked her.

Hinatas faced suddenly turned bright red, causing Naruto to worry about her health.

“Umm…” She started to say but couldn’t find the words to continue.

“Well if you don’t want to, I understand.” He said with a bit of sadness.

Hinata nearly panicked at his words and detecting that sadness she found the courage to speak to him. “No!” Her eyes opened wide at the force in her own words. “I’m sorry Naruto for not being more clear but I would love to go to the movies with you.” She completely amazed herself by saying that. Her complexion returned to normal

“Great, it’ll be a date then!” Naruto exclaimed as he grabbed her hand and nearly bounded out the door. “Afterwards you can join me for some ramen too.”

The redness flooded back into her face at his words. ‘Date? Did he really say date?’ She thought not believing her own ears as he dragged her out to the street and off to the theater.

The next few hours were something of a blur for the young woman. Naruto insisted that he pay for her ticket, stifling any argument from her by claiming it was his birthday and that she shouldn’t argue with him. They missed the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Naruto claimed that it didn’t matter, saying something along the lines that all these samurai/romance movies were all basically the same. Besides he informed her, he had an important appointment at 6:00 so waiting for something else to start wasn’t an option. Naruto again insisted that he pay for their popcorn and drinks. By that time Hinata wasn’t about to try arguing with him again. She got a small thrill each time their fingers brushed against each other when they reached for more popcorn. Before she realized what was really going on the movie was over and she couldn’t remember any of it. Naruto was simply bouncing along as he led the blinking Hinata over to the Ichiraku ramen stand. She was amazed as he nearly inhaled four bowls of ramen in the same amount of time that it took her to finish one.

Looking at the clock on the wall he spoke out.

“Not much time left.”

“Oh.” Hinatas euphoria suddenly deflated as she realized that the best day of her life was about to end.

Naruto looked at her intently, he had detected a thinly veiled sadness in that single word.

“Would you like to come with me Hinata?” He asked.

“I-I wouldn’t want to impose on your appointment.” She answered quietly.

“Hey remember it’s my birthday, trust me you wouldn’t be imposing.”

“Well if I’m not going to be a bother or anything.” She said softly.

“Hinata, you are never a bother to me.” He said with a small laugh. “Come on. We’re running short on time.” He grabbed her hand and led her off to the training areas.

Before long they were standing before the three logs where he had fully become a genin. He smiled to himself as he remembered being tied to the center log.

“Naruto! You had better not have any bad intentions with Hinata there.” Tsunades voice rang out as she entered the clearing with the salesman from the brewery along with Shizune who was holding Ton-Ton.

“Give me a break granny.” Naruto said while rolling his eyes.

“Godaime Hokage-sama!” Hinata exclaimed and bowed deeply.

“Relax Hinata, its after hours, call me Tsunade please.” Tsunade said.

“Sorry, Tsunade-sama.” Hinata said her cheeks coloring slightly.

“So just what are you doing with Hinata here anyway? I take it she doesn’t have anything to do with all that sake you’ve been buying does she?” Tsunade practically glared at Naruto.

“No of course not, Hinata being here is simply a happy accident.” Naruto smiled broadly. “Actually she’s my date for the day.”

“Your date?” Tsunade was completely stunned. “Does that mean you finally figured it out?” She asked.

“Figured what out?” Naruto asked completely confused.

“I guess not.” Tsunade said as she rolled her eyes before looking at the furiously blushing Hinata. “You know what forget it. Lets see what you’re planning with all that damn sake.”

“Right!” Naruto concentrated focusing his chakra. Biting his thumb, he performed a series of seals before slamming his hand to the ground, he then called out “KUCHIYOSE NO JUTSU!” With a soft almost explosion of smoke a large orange and blue toad appeared. With a dark blue vest the roughly three meter high as it crouched toad had a very large kunai and an intricately carved pipe tucked into its belt.

“Naruto! What’s the occasion?” The large toad spoke and actually smiled.

“Gamakichi! It’s my birthday! I have to talk to your pop but I figured I’d talk to you first and make sure he isn’t in one of his bad moods.”

“Oh he’s fine, he’d get a kick out of being summoned for a birthday party instead of a fight I bet.” Gamakichi said as he looked at the small gathering of people. “Although this looks a bit on the small and quiet side for a party.”

“Cool!” Naruto built up a truly tremendous amount of chakra. Hinata, Shizune and the sake salesman were all stunned as his chakra became so intense it actually became visible in a rather large bubble of energy around him. Tsunade and Gamakichi though smiled. Again Naruto performed the summons jutsu. This time everyone nearly fell over from the force of the absolutely tremendous toad that appeared.

“Naruto.” The giant toad said as it looked down and scowled at the young ninja. Gamabunta looked around and was somewhat surprised that there was no monster to fight. In fact he was very surprised that there wasn’t even a fight of any sort going on.

“Hey Chief Toad!” Naruto called out. “Remember you said you couldn’t make me your henchman until we sealed the deal with a drink?”

“Actually the way I remember it you begged off on that drink because you claimed to be too young but out of the kindness of my heart I officially accepted you anyway.”

“Well I turned twenty today and I figured I owed you a drink!”

“Well, well, well, you are certainly a surprising one Naruto Uzumaki!” The chief toad said with a laugh. “It’s a shame that those bottles you humans use are so small though.”

“Actually sir I thought of that. I wasn’t sure how much sake you drink normally so I got as much as I could.” Naruto said with a large grin as he pulled out the sake scroll.

Unrolling the entire scroll he smeared a bit of his blood along the entire length of writing and focusing his chakra while performing a series of hand seals he released the sealed scroll. With a series of ‘poofs’ 15 barrels suddenly appeared amidst a fair amount of smoke.

“I only got two types, I hope you like them. I got three barrels of Nigori and the rest are honjōzō-shu”

“Honjōzō-shu did you say?” The chief toad licked his upper lip slightly. “By the looks of this, I think you are the best henchman I’ve ever had Naruto.”

Narutos smile grew at the giant toads words. He popped the ring off the first barrel, pulled the lid off and took out a decent sized wooden box cup. Dipping the cup into the sake he raised the cup up in salute of the chief toad. Gamabunta carefully wrapped his front flipper around the barrel making it seem small, almost the size of one of the small porcelain cups that Tsunade herself favored.

“Ah, now that was some very good sake.” Gamabunta sighed.

Naruto coughed and his eyes teared as he swallowed his. “If you say so.” The orange clad ninja sputtered out, earning a laugh from the chief toad.

“Well now that we’ve made everything official we should share a bit of the next one with your friends.” Gamabunta said. “I already know my own son of course along with Tsunade, Shizune and even Ton-Ton but who are these other two Naruto?”

Narutos head swam slightly, he had never had anything to drink before and his cup was a little on the large size. Slurring his words slightly he replied. “This guy here…you know I don’t think I ever got your name sir, but anyways he’s the guy I bought the sake from.” Naruto hiccupped. “This lovely young woman here is my date for the day and my good friend Hinata.”

“Your date eh?” The chief toad smiled. “What ever happened to that little pink haired girl?”

“Sakura? Ha! Like I would ever really go out with her.” Naruto laughed. “I gave up on that psycho a long, long time ago. Don’t get me wrong she’s a great friend but the only reason I kept asking her out was because I knew she’d say no. Well of course there were all those times I thought I needed a good headache too, you can’t beat Sakura when it comes to violent rejections. Besides she’s way too tied up in her head over Sasuke, probably planning on rebuilding the Uchiha clan right now hahahaha.”

“Really now?” The chief toad smiled. “So what about this Hinata here? She looks like she’d make a good girlfriend, she seems quite attracted to you and you’re already on a date.” Hinatas eyes nearly fell out of her head as they widened in shock and she felt the warmth of her brilliant glow-in-the-dark blush spread to her ears and down her chest.

“Hinata?” Naruto stumbled as the sake really kicked in. “Are you kidding? She’s too good for someone like me. She’s practically a princess here in Konoha. I’m lucky to even get her to go out with me on a date. She’d never really go for a guy like me, I don’t have a family or much of anything else.”

Naruto tripped and fell flat on his face at that.

Tsunade rolled her eyes as she stepped over the unconscious Naruto and opened the next barrel. Pulling out a few cups of her own she started to fill them from the barrel and handed one to the salesman and one to Shizune. After a moments hesitation she handed another filled cup to Hinata before filling one for herself.

“Go ahead, I know you’re only 19 but after that I’m sure it’ll be o.k.”

Hinata numbly took the cup from Tsunade her eyes never leaving Naruto. “I-I can’t believe that he thinks that I am too good for him.” She said softly as tears started to form in her eyes.

“Give him a minute Hinata.” Tsunade said as she drank her sake and Gamabunta took the open barrel. “He’s new to drinking but he adapts quickly, just watch.”

Naruto made a sudden great gasp of air before rolling over and bringing himself to his feet.

“Wow, I didn’t expect that.” He said as he looked around. “Did I miss something?”

“I don’t know kiddo, what’s the last thing you remember?” Tsunade asked with a smirk.

“I…I think I was introducing Hinata-chan to Gamabunta.” Naruto frowned as he tried to clear the fog of the past few minutes.

“How’s your head feel?” Tsunade asked still grinning.

“Hmm, oh, fine why wouldn’t it?” He replied.

“Well other than planting your face in the ground, people often get headaches from drinking, it’s called a hangover. You seem to be on fast forward for recovering though.”

“Headache? Nope nothing like that.” Naruto mused.

“Figures, you would be one of those lucky bastards who doesn’t get hang overs.” Tsunade scowled at him as she opened the third barrel. Pulling yet another cup from somewhere she filled it along with her own and handed the extra one to Naruto. “Here try this one, you should take it easy when you first start drinking. So drink it slowly.”

There was an odd silence as Tsunade opened the fourth barrel but only filled the cups for herself, Shizune and the salesman, leaving Naruto and Hinata to continue nursing their cups from the previous barrel. Gamabunta let Gamakichi take a drink from the barrel before he took it and polished it off in one small swallow for him. Although still very young Gamakichi was considered old enough to drink for a toad. The next barrel was one of the Nigori which the chief toad claimed to be quite good and a nice change but he preferred the honjōzō-shu. The salesman begged off after that, still quite star struck to have been drinking with the chief toad. After a few more barrels Shizune claimed that she had paperwork to attend to and she to left. Although she did get a promise from Tsunade to make sure the Hokage kept a watchful eye on Naruto and Hinata.

“Thanks for summoning me for this one Naruto, you’re the best. I should get going myself, if I have any more to drink I won’t be able to find my way home.” With a wave and a burst of smoke Gamakichi vanished.

It didn’t take long for all fifteen barrels to become empty. Tsunade got a cup from each one except that first one that was for Naruto and Gamabunta alone. Naruto and Hinata managed to nurse another cup of honjōzō-shu and a single cup of Nigori throughout the rest of the barrels.

“Naruto Uzumaki, you are indeed full of surprises. You are a much better henchman than Jiraiya, in fact you may very well be as good as Yondaime Hokage. Thank you for a pleasant and enjoyable evening. Have a goodnight and happy birthday.” With that the chief toad vanished in a cloud of smoke.

“Well I think you two are o.k. to find your own way home. I’m going to stay here for a little while.” Tsunade said as she pulled out one of the bottles Naruto had given her and she headed off towards the memorial stone.

Although both Naruto and Hinata felt a little tipsy they were able to head back to the main part of the village hardly stumbling at all.

“So what would you like to do next?” Naruto asked Hinata as they walked along.
“It’s your birthday Naruto-kun, you should make that decision.” She said softly.

“Well we could go for some more ramen.” He smiled.

“Do you ever eat anything else?” She rolled her eyes but still smiled.

“Eat something else? Are you crazy, especially on my birthday? Not a chance.” He replied with a laugh that showed he wasn’t completely serious. Although he still headed towards Ichiraku.

“Well I’m sure that you’ll come up with something.” She smiled.

Sure enough he led them to Ichiraku where he finished off two more bowls. He took his time with these two though, well for Naruto anyway. He still finished both bowls in the time it took Hinata to finish one. Again he refused to let her chip in for the bill.

“How about we go see the fireworks together?” He asked quietly.

“That would be very nice Naruto-kun.” She answered barely believing that she could even answer that question.

They worked their way through to the village’s largest park. Naruto bought them a couple of dango sticks and they found a semi secluded spot away from the main crowd that was there to see the fireworks. As the sun set and the stars started to come out an occasional rocket was fired off to let people know that the show was getting closer. It didn’t take long for the darkness to wrap itself around them and a short time later the fireworks show really got started.

Naruto glanced over to Hinata during one particularly spectacular display and slowly took her hand in his own.

“Naruto…” Hinata began.

“I’m sorry.” He replied and he tried to take his hand away but she gripped tight and wouldn’t let his hand go.

“Please don’t. I like holding your hand.” She paused as she turned to look into his brilliant blue eyes. “Naruto, I, I’m not a princess.”

Naruto was gripped by a spasm of fear and some of what he said earlier suddenly cut through the fog. “I’m sorry Hinata, I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

“Actually I’m very grateful.” She realized that after all the years of waiting this was her best chance to talk to him about this. “Naruto-kun…I, I’ve always liked you. Ever since our days together at the academy.”

Naruto was completely stunned at her confession. He could have been quite easily knocked over with a feather.

“You know what Hinata, I think I like you too. In fact I think I’ve liked you for a few years now. I’m a little dense with this kind of stuff.” He laughed. “Who am I kidding, I’m more than a little dense.”

“Naruto-kun!” Hinata began to cry as she wrapped her arms around him. “Thank you!”

“You know Hinata-chan, you’ve made this the best birthday I’ve ever had. I should be thanking you.”

With that he leaned over, twisted a bit and softly kissed her on her lips. Her eyes snapped open wide in shock for a moment before they slowly closed. They slowly pulled apart from each other and stared into each others eyes as the fireworks continued to flash overhead.

“Hinata-chan, seriously, thank you. You really have made this the best birthday I’ve ever had in my life.”

This was definitely the start of something really good.’ Naruto thought with a smile.

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