Snap Back To Reality @jazhop
End of Part I

Snap Back To Reality 52

End of Part I

I waited patiently in my cell for hours until the door opened, and I was greeted by a welcome but worried face. Gaku didn't even hesitate to bypass the table to bend down by my chair and pull me into a hug. I would have liked to hug him back but my hands were still shackled behind my back and so I settled for resting my forehead on his shoulder. He had this effect on me—making me feel unnecessarily safe. Not even having the backing of a Sannin could provide the same comfort which confused me. Gaku was considerably less strong than some of the people I knew, but it was like only his opinion mattered in the end.

"I heard what you did to Danzo. Can't say I blame you," he chuckled wryly in worry before he pulled away, a frown marring his face as he held my shoulders and looked me in the eye and asked, "Did it help?"

I faltered for a moment at his question. My face twisted in a grimace, I gritted my teeth together in shame as I closed my eyes and shook my head. No it hadn't. It hadn't helped, not in the slightest. Beyond the hate was only a debilitating emotion that seemed to weigh me down, a hatred that directed inwards instead of at Danzo.

"You were trying to survive kiddo. I know you. Your heart has always been in the right place."

"It isn't, it really isn't," I whispered. "I don't regret what I did to Danzo… just everything I had done to get to him. And to you, the one person who I know won't ever leave me, I've lied to," I admitted.

Gaku pulled away from the hug and waited patiently for me to continue. It looked like he didn't know what to say, and I couldn't blame him. He was big and strong and reliable, but he wasn't the kind to be any of those things with words as he was with his actions. I felt the urge to be open with him, but a small part of me was still holding onto my secrets. I think I always would hold onto the world changing knowledge I possessed. Even imagining the thought of handing over such valuable information made my hair stand on edge. What could be done with it in the wrong hands? But to Gaku, I wanted to tell everything.

"I'm no child. This isn't even the first life I've lived. In my previous life I was a scientist, and for some reason I've come to this world. I thought—maybe it had to do with my failings. I had lost a loved one because of my stupidity, and I thought this life was an atonement for that… but I just ended up making things even worse."

I hated the tears that fell at this deep secret. Admitting it just made it more real. Now I was showing my weakness in front of someone… something I hadn't done since Guy comforted me a long time ago. I would have continued crying if Gaku hadn't hit me over the head in a very awkward karate chop. When I looked up, his expression wasn't one of anger or betrayal or even disappointment, he simply looked sad.

"Kami—that's really hard to believe and I'll need to get back to you on the reincarnation thing, but what I do know for certain is, you've always been too hard on yourself. One day you'll realise you're only human, and then you'll learn to take your failures like you take your victories."

"Are you activating that elusive sensei wisdom?" I sniffled and tried to crack a joke like usual to lighten up the depressing mood.

Normally Gaku would laugh along, tell me that it was typical of me to try and divert people from my emotions, but his expression didn't change. He still looked sad and stern and so my attempt at humour died and I was confronted with the same mood as before. Why? Why wouldn't he let me deflect this time? If he didn't, I really would devolve into some useless blubbering mess.

"Hina, I never told you this before, but even if you say you are a reincarnation or something equally as ridiculous. It doesn't change a thing. To me and Nami, you have always been like our child to us. Before you came into our lives, we had tried many times for a child. Every single one of them were stillborn, and Nami— well she had lost that light in her eyes until you came around for dinner. It doesn't matter what you do Hina, even if you lose sight of yourself, nothing will change the fact that you are family to me."

I was caught off-guard by Gaku's words. Never before had he ever told me about their miscarriages. I had always speculated, but I had never asked, and to hear I was like his child… I couldn't put the feeling into words. It was like there were no bounds in this relationship, none that would break it, and I was truly grateful. I put my head on his shoulder, trying to hold back my tears. His big arms wrapping around me just made me want to cry harder.

"My only regret was that I couldn't be there for you when it mattered," he said softly

Gaku had never cried in front of me in my entire life, and to feel his tears drop onto my shoulders had been like a slap.

"S-stupid sensei, it was never your fault," I chuckled through ugly sobs.

I was flicked on the forehead. "The same goes for you my stupid student."

I sniffled before I smiled his way. I quickly got to wiping the tears dramatically on his shoulders since I couldn't use my hands before I stuck my tongue out at his grossed-out face. We both chuckled and I was glad that he hadn't let me deflect like I normally did.

"Sensei, I have one request of you tomorrow," I finally said.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Can you bring me my father's omamori. If I die tomorrow, I want to hold it one last time."

Gaku flicked my forehead again and I scowled. He stood up and moved to the door before he turned around.

"I'll bring you your omamori, but I will not allow anyone to touch a hair on your head."

The truly frightening thing was, I had never seen Gaku put on such a determined and terrifying face. Someone had kicked the lying wolf and they would regret it. I nodded his way, a small smile taking my tired face.

"See you tomorrow kiddo."

"See you tomorrow," I nodded.

Then I watched in trepidation as he left me alone once more in the cell. Just one promise from him, even as ridiculous as it was, made me feel entirely safe. I had never believed in anyone so much before in my life.

I didn't know whether it was a blessing or a waste that I was allowed to get cleaned and change into a plain grey kimono before the trial. It would have been amusing in its own right to go there drenched in Danzo's blood, but that would also paint me as a maniac and not in a sympathetic light. I figured the reason they gave me such a large kimono was to exaggerate my childish proportions and make me more agreeable. Maybe Sarutobi really didn't want me dead…

Either way I was escorted out of my cell by several ANBU to where the hearing was going to be held. It was close to the administrations rooms near the Hokage's office, but it was a bit of a walk from where I was being held, and although I was escorted away from the main streets, a sizeable number of people still did crowd around to gawk. I could hear their whispers, some talking about how I had murdered my mother, that her madness had been passed down to me, and how I'd be executed for killing a Councilman. It wasn't very reassuring words, all things considered, but I remembered Gaku's promise and I sure as hell knew he hadn't been idle the whole day after our meeting. He probably went to convince the Inuzuka Clan Head to vote in my favour. I had no doubt Shikaku would too, despite being against my plan earlier to kill Danzo. Now that the deed was done, I didn't think he would be petty enough to want me dead. He had for a better part of my childhood raised me with Hanami despite his betrayal. That had to mean something.

The other clans… I wasn't so sure of. The Uchiha had potential considering Danzo had killed their members and used their eyes, which was a gross overstepping of their rights, but he was also a logical man and knowing that I had destroyed a chunk of Konoha's forces during the war would no doubt sour my reputation in his eyes. The Hyuuga, Aburame, Yamanaka, Sarutobi and Akimichi clans were up in the air.

It was with these thoughts that I entered the circular building. I was met by the rather imposing sight of an amphitheatre, with Hiruzen in the middle wearing his full Hokage garb. Around him was the various Clan heads and besides him were my biggest obstacles Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane the two remaining councilmen. I was sure Konoha's legal system for matters of this case was a simple majority vote and then a long tedious discussion. At least it was a lot simpler than the court system back in my old world

I was escorted by two ANBU into the centre of the room, on a semi-circle like stand where I faced my judges. For once Hiruzen actually looked rather intimidating. Guess he could put on the Hokage face when it mattered. I scanned the rest of the room and was surprised to find Gaku sitting beside Inuzuka Nakano, the Clan's heiress, being the only non-Clan Head in the meeting. He sent me a determined look and I smiled the best Kakashi smile I could, getting me a couple of confused looks. Really internally all of this was a little too intimidating, but I didn't want to show that weakness. My attention turned to the Hokage when my name was called out.

"Suzuki Hina, you have been called today under Konoha's Clan-heads and Councilmen under the charges of the illegal and unsanctioned massacre of 350 estimated ROOT Shinobi, and the murder of one Shimura Danzo. Do you reject these claims?" Hiruzen began.

"No I do not," I said as clearly and succinctly as I could.

Dozens of members turned to look at each other and I turned my eye to Shikaku who was sitting there with his arms folded and face stern. I turned my attention back to the Hokage who looked to be in much the same position. They probably had to look as impartial as possible.

"Is there anything you would like to add to your defence?"

"I do," I said nodding my head.


"I do not for even a minute regret what I did to both Danzo and ROOT, and if I had the opportunity again, I would not hesitate to repeat my earlier actions," I began unapologetically.

Koharu shot up in indignation, although despite how irritated she looked she managed to settle into a tone of voice that befitted a hearing. "The girl admits to her crimes and is unrepentant. It is as if she is welcoming her sentence. Should we not give it to her?"

"Shall we finish hearing her out first?" Hiruzen asked, and Koharu reluctantly nodded.

I took in a deep breath. "The reason I do not regret my actions is because Danzo was the perpetuator of several crimes against the village that would no doubt be punished by execution itself. I had been recruited at the age of 7 into ROOT against my will, in which time I had been branded with a cursed seal, tortured, made to partake in battles that ended in a fellow shinobi's death, and recently sent out on a mission where I was told to smuggle in Kekkai Genkai wielding children into ROOT's indoctrination system. Furthermore Danzo had committed crimes against Konoha's citizens, including the Uchiha Clan in which he stole 6 Sharingan eyes and grafted them into his right arm. I took his life and the life of those that followed him because he was a threat to his own people."

That did get a couple of Clan-head's attention. While they no doubt had read the case file it was still a grave claim. Not only was stealing a Doujutsu a massive crime, but I had also insinuated that Hiruzen had known of these events and not acted on them. I had no real way of knowing if he did in fact know about Danzo thieving the Uchiha Doujutsu, but that wasn't what I was really worried about anyway.

"Not a threat to you?" Homura asked in scepticism.

I tried not to scowl, but I unfortunately had volatile emotions that came with being a kid. Keeping my composure was a lot harder than it ever had been as an adult.

"He had already gone past being a threat to me. I was forced to kill my own parents under the threat that if I weren't to obey that my entire family would be murdered. Danzo set me and my team up on a suicide mission—"

I looked at the Hokage briefly and he narrowed his eyes. I would need to stop talking it seemed. I took in a deep breath and fixed up my collar. It wouldn't do me any good spouting S class mission secrets, even in a court hearing where it mattered.

"The things he ordered me to do, I couldn't keep doing and so I decided to take matters into my own hands. That is why I am not repentant about my actions," I said settling back into a less aggravated tone.

"Permission to speak Hokage-sama," Hiashi asked.


I hadn't expected the Hyuuga to give in their input, so I was unsure of what exactly was coming. Hiashi seemed stern but reasonable though so maybe his criticisms would be fair and not tilt opinion of me negatively.

"There is no doubt that Danzo was not innocent. The Doujutsu found on his arm was confirmation enough. The question is not if Suzuki-san is innocent, but if she was justified in his murder. Not only are we at war now on two fronts, but already a sizeable portion of our army is tired and many retired from injuries. During a period like this, Suzuki-san's actions could be what potentially destroys Konoha's chance at the war. A Shinobi puts aside personal issues for the greater good of their Village. By that definition alone she is a traitor to her people."

Hiashi was making too much sense for my liking and it didn't help that all the Clan elders were stoic to a fault right now. It was hard to tell who's side they were taking. I had of course anticipated this viewpoint, but it was tricky to retort to. The only thing I could do was take the emotional route, and appeal to their values.

"Shikaku do you wish to speak?"

"Hai Hokage-sama," the man said as he leaned forward.


"I do admit that 350 Shinobi is no small amount, but I want to note that those 350 shinobi weren't in adherence to Konoha's ideals. They were shinobi who followed the orders of Danzo solely. This is a man who has been proven to not only show a lack of value to Konoha's people but committed crimes in secret using the Village's name. It could be argued that because he was already a traitor to his Village that anyone supporting him would therefore also be considered equally traitorous. What Suzuki-san did was not murder by that definition but an execution of village traitors, traitors whom we have tolerated for the sake of a drawn-out war. During these uncertain times, the loss of 350 Shinobi is nothing in comparison to the threat of their potential for internal sabotage and betrayal. I therefore believe that what Suzuki-san did was a service to our Village and its ideals."

I hadn't expected Shikaku of all people to present such an argument for me. I knew this wasn't ideal for him, that he would have preferred ROOT to exist for a while longer, but I was glad I didn't get his character wrong. He wasn't petty enough to want me dead after I had gone against his wishes to wait. His first allegiance was always going to be towards the Village, but that didn't mean he lacked any commitment to its individuals. But for him to present such a bias argument for me, it meant that he truly didn't want me to fail, and as the Jounin Commander, he was more than just a Clan-head, he was someone with strategic thinking. His words had more weight.

"Thank you, Shikaku-san."

The Aburame Clan-head rose his hands.


"In my eyes the morality of the situation is not the issue. It is simply the fact that Suzuki-san acted on her own and dismantled a Konoha sanctioned of-chute of ANBU. While I had been unaware of its presence, that does not mean it wasn't an authorized force within Konoha's Shinobi. Therefore Suzuki-san's actions are in direct violation of Konoha's government, and she should be judged accordingly. Unless ROOT was an off-the books private force," the man said turning his next accusation towards the Hokage himself too.

I was a little shocked how brutally honest the Aburame were. I had only worked with a few, and they had been quiet, and this was possibly the first time I'd heard one of them speak more than 3 sentences at once, but it was succinct and straight to the point while also holding a kind of curtly venomous sting. Throwing an accusation in the form of a roundabout question at the Hokage himself made me wonder if this man really did value law and order that much. The biggest question however was whether or not Hiruzen himself would acknowledge his hand in Danzo's unlawful schemes.

"You do not question the Hokage in a hearing not pertaining to him," Koharu retorted sharply.

Hiruzen held up a hand and stopped her from speaking out of turn. He let out a small sigh. Was he going to speak? Wasn't this court hearing about me though? Why was this suddenly about Hiruzen?

"Shibi-san is well within his rights to question my involvement. I will admit to my fault in this matter. I had given Danzo too much power, which cost countless of Konoha citizens under my care's lives, but my fate is not to be decided today. Today is the trial of Suzuki Hina. Does anyone else have anything to say?"

I was surprised by Hiruzen admitting his faults. For some reason it felt like he was blinded to them, but maybe I was wrong about that. Maybe he did know. That didn't change the fact that he had the power to stop Danzo a lot earlier and didn't have the will to go through with it. All those lives were still partially on him, as much as it was on me.

The next Clan-head to voice their opinion was Inuzuka Nakano.

"Permission to speak Hokage-sama," she said boldly.


She sent me a smile and Gaku nodded besides her. I tried to keep my expression neutral. Out of all the Clans, the Inuzuka never bothered hiding away their emotions, instead they seemed rather incapable of doing so. Even though Nakano sat in an appropriate way, she looked far too emotionally invested in this. Maybe Gaku really had given her the most sugar-coated view of me he could.

"I disagree completely with Shibi-san. It's not just about the law in Suzuki-chan's case. She was wronged on a personal and criminal level by Danzo. If he were simply another Shinobi, then we wouldn't even be having this hearing right now, but because of his perceived importance we are. Suzuki-chan, you were forced to commit crimes against your own family correct?"

"Correct," I said nodding.

"See there you go. To threaten someone with the lives of their family is dishonourable, especially when said family is civilian. There is also the fact that Suzuki-chan, is a child, with considerable talent sure, but still a child. What she did was out of desperation for her comrades and family's safety, not for any nefarious purpose. She embodied the Will of Fire in her actions. She committed acts against her parents to save her siblings which shows her dedication to her precious people, a trait mind you, that we encourage in our Shinobi. As for her actions against the 350 ROOT agents, that is something she did after he threatened to kill her correct? I am assuming these agents would have been ready to attack. Is that correct Suzuki-chan?"

"That is correct," I said.

"Then she was simply protecting herself, and it is every Shinobi's right to do so. Therefore Suzuki Hina has the full-most support of the Inuzuka Clan."

I swear the Akimichi head and the Yamanaka head had just nodded along in agreement. I couldn't help but smile slightly at Gaku and Nakano. Unfortunately for me it seemed the councilmen, the Aburame and the Hyuuga wanted to execute me, which was still four votes too many. Without the Hokage allowed to be involved in this vote for partiality reasons, that only put me at a definite vote from Nara, Inuzuka, Yamanaka and the Akimichi. I still had no idea what Fugaku was thinking, and he was the deciding vote. I felt my neck itch terribly, but I held back and controlled my breathing and my expression. I didn't want to die… didn't want to be dragged somewhere else after this again, but if I was to die, I wanted some dignity at least.

"Permission to speak," Fugaku finally spoke up.


"I disagree with Inuzuka-san. Suzuki Hina acted purely for personal reasons regarding Shimura Danzo's murder. I was involved in the team that found the body, and it was mutilated beyond recognition. What Suzuki Hina did was calculated and brutal, and the wounds found on Danzo's body indicated she took pleasure in prolonging his suffering as long as possible. Is that correct Suzuki Hina?"

"That is correct," I said frowning.

"However, despite this if it weren't for her actions, we would not have gotten justice for the Doujutsu stolen from our Clan. Danzo forfeit his rights as a citizen of Konoha the moment he committed crimes against its people. Suzuki Hina has done nothing but kill a traitor in my eyes, and by extension ROOT was traitorous by association."

With that said Fugaku sat back down. There was a moment of silence where I wondered if the Akimichi were going to give their say, but no one else decided on a vote. I sent Fugaku a look. It all really did hinge on him. I doubted there was much I could do in the way of escaping a whole Village unless someone aided me.

"If no one else wishes to speak, we will begin our vote. All against Suzuki Hina raise their hands."

I held my breath as the Aburame, Hyuuga and Councilmen raised their hands. I turned my eyes to Fugaku, but he wasn't looking at me. Hiruzen waited for a few seconds, a few seconds that stretched far too long to be comfortable. To my absolute relief Fugaku did not raise his hands.

"All for Suzuki Hina raise their hands."

The Akimichi, Inuzuka, Nara, Yamanaka and Uchiha raised their hands on my defence.

"Then today's hearing goes in Suzuki Hina's favour. You are hereby considered not guilty for the murder of Shimura Danzo and the illegal dismantling of unsanctioned massacre of ROOT Shinobi."

I sighed in relief as I palmed the omamori my dad had given me years ago. I closed my eyes and wondered if this would give me some closure, but I didn't feel any different. I thought I would be escorted out by now, but the Hokage stood up and caught everyone's attention.

"Before you go, there is one more announcement I wish to make."

This caught all the Clan-heads attention as they sat back down and looked at the Hokage.

"There is no doubt that this hearing would not have needed to be held if it weren't for me. I had direct knowledge of many of ROOT's operations and had approved of Danzo's plan to form ROOT during its creation. Therefore as Hokage the direct blame for the crimes ROOT has committed falls on my shoulders. Therefore it is my duty as Hokage to step down. I will sign my formal resignation once this war is over."

There was a sort of stunned silence in the small hearing. Even I was a little shocked that Hiruzen would step forth and say something like this now.

"I will hold a public meeting announcing Shimura Danzo's crimes and make it clear what has happened will never happen again."

I was once again caught unawares when his gaze locked onto me and he bowed deeply.

"And for the grief I have caused you Suzuki Hina, I am deeply sorry."

I stepped back flustered for a moment before indignation threatened to rise in my chest. A sorry? That was all that it amounted to? A fucking sorry and a resignation? This wasn't a simple office incident, or fraud—this cost me the lives of my parents, and the life of a child under my protection. A sorry would never cut it. I couldn't accept this apology, and despite my best efforts to look unaffected, my expression twisted into anger. I knew everyone had seen it and known. I didn't want them to know, this deep pain still clutching onto me along with my unending hatred. But there was no doubt about it.

Everyone knew I hadn't accepted the Hokage's apology.

I waited in the backroom, still chained up. I didn't expect Inoichi to walk inside instead of the Hokage, but he was there holding up the keys. I wanted to frown his way and show my distaste at his presence, but he had voted in my favour and I owed him my life.

"I'm glad you didn't speak too much today. The things you have the right to complain about and address, you withheld didn't you," he said as he unlocked my chains.

"Don't get me wrong. I only kept it to myself because I don't want to hurt the war effort more than I already did."

"You didn't seem to think that way yesterday."

"I was angry yesterday. I still am, but I can think clearly now, and you—you went inside my head when I was tired and confused. I don't think I'll ever forgive you for that," I hissed.

He held his hands up in surrender. "If it's any consolation, I felt a great deal of your pain along with you. I sympathise, I really do Hina-chan, but you should know you've gotten of light because of the Hokage."

"He's probably trying to save his arse by being nice to me," I said glaring his way.

I knew things about him that should I release would make people lose their faith in the Hokage. That would ruin a precarious balance that came with the title itself, and I couldn't bring it onto myself to do that much damage to this Village. It still had people in it that depended on the military and ruining the figurehead and their sacred position as a protector to the people, would damage an entire system too quickly. Then we'd end up like the Mist and that would lead to unnecessary deaths for more innocent people I didn't want on my conscience too.

"What did you see in my head?" I asked.

"Are you asking for Orochimaru?" he replied raising a brow.

I shook my head and scowled. "No, for myself. I want to know if you saw my… failures."

"I did, and I know Orochimaru knew it would happen, that he didn't lift a finger to help you in that moment. So to see you defend him so hotly confuses and angers me," he replied honestly.

"I know exactly where he stands. He doesn't care about anyone but himself, and so he was never obligated to protect me… but he does," I said feeling oddly defensive. "It's not his responsibility to have my back, and I know it."

"Then why do you have his?" Inoichi asked unimpressed.

I couldn't find the words to reply to his question and he left before I would be forced to. I rubbed my sore wrists and frowned. Why… why was I protecting him?

"Oh an Hina-chan."


"Keep your reincarnated status to as little people as possible. It's not enough to be a village secret on its own, but who knows what trouble it might bring," he advised.

I nodded. Well it wasn't like I was going to hold a Village meeting and shout that to the world.

I was grateful to be able to change back into my Shinobi outfit. I put my holster back on my thighs after wrapping it up tightly with some bandages and tied up my long green hair at the nape of my neck again. I expected to leave in relative silence, but as I made my way to go out, I was met with Fugaku who was about to leave to. I bowed to him catching his attention.

"Thank you for voting in my favour Uchiha-sama," I said appreciatively.

"And thank you for avenging my Clansmen," he said curtly, turning to take his leave.

I watched him for a second and I felt inexplicably like I needed to say something foolish and outlandish all at once.

"Uchiha-sama," I called out, stopping him again. "I want you to know that you would make a great Hokage."

For a brief moment he looked caught off-guard, but he nodded, taking my comment in silence before leaving. I felt like I had said something significant without giving it too much thought, but for some reason it didn't feel like the wrong thing to say either. Neither Orochimaru nor Minato would do well as the next Hokage. Orochimaru was… well there was a whole lot wrong with him. Minato definitely held the qualities of a great Shinobi, and a Hokage of great character who would give up his life for his village, but he was too young and inexperienced to deal with the deep political matters that would come from the fallout of a half-decade long war. Fugaku had something more than just character; he had experience. He was both a war hero and a leader already, and he was well versed in Clan affairs, as well as national affairs. I knew he would die for his people, but I also knew he was shrewd.

I couldn't simply stand by anymore. To let things happen naturally was good and well, but I couldn't let Konoha fall back into Hiruzen's hands, which would happen if—Obito killed Minato. Maybe I could somehow stop Obito beforehand but that seemed uncertain. I couldn't let someone like Danzo rise to power again, and I knew his partner Koharu had agreed with his methods and was still a threat to bringing back ROOT. I was certainly not going to let Orochimaru become the next Hokage.

My family and friends lived in this Village despite the numerous times I had failed it and it me. Even though I felt a hatred for the way this place had treated me, I didn't know where else to go. I wanted out of these walls because it felt like it was always closing in on me, and now I knew others must have felt it too. Maybe that's why people deserted to live a life of banditry and crime. Could I risk that?

"Hey kiddo, I knew we could do it," Gaku greeted me with a fist to the shoulder and shaking me out of my thoughts.

"Your sensei was very adamant about your character. He might have convinced me to talk to some of the other clan heads about your tenacity and courage during our little dinner last night," Nakano added in from besides the man as she waved a quick goodbye and exited dramatically.

"Why is she… actually kind of cool?" I asked in disbelief.

"Of course she's cool. She's the Inuzuka's Clan head," Gaku snorted.

He smiled down widely at me, and I smiled back, palming the omamori in my pocket. This time when he ruffled my hair, I didn't flinch. Not even a part of me was afraid of the pain that had been ingrained into me when it came to Gaku.

"Are you going to keep smiling at me or are you going to go out there and greet everyone?" Gaku asked.

"Everyone?" I asked in confusion.

Gaku put a hand on my shoulder and opened the door to outside. Dozens of familiar faces greeted me and before I could make out all of them, I was bounded into by Anko, Guy and Kurenai. I looked up and noticed Taichi, Tsukiya, Rui, Kakashi, Shisui, Asuma, Yugao, Hayate, Nami, Hanami, Mebuki, Taichi and even Minato and Kushina were in the group.

Before long I was bombarded by a plethora of crying and thrown off kilter from everyone who had rushed me. Guy picked me up and squished me too hard, and then Anko punched him to get him off me before she punched me too. I held my now bruised cheek in shock before she pulled me into an equally as harsh hug.

"Don't worry me like that again," she said sniffling.

"Are y-you crying?" I asked in disbelief.

"Idiot vegetable!" she grumbled in embarrassment as she turned away and wiped her tears with a smile

"Nee-chan! You said you'd be back for dinner!" Tsukiya added from in-between hiccups as he tugged at my haori.

"Sorry Tsuki-chan. I won't be late ever again ok."

I picked up my little brother and cradled him as Shisui smiled awkwardly at the pouting Anko and stepped over the knocked-out Guy to put another red scarf around my neck.

"Thought you might appreciate it," he smiled.

"Of course," I smiled back.

Kakashi simply nodded to himself, as if to confirm that I was alive before he left wordlessly. I chuckled in exasperation as I was bombarded by Taichi's big-brotherly concerns.

Then I turned to the people who had been waiting for me, to the people most precious to me, and my heart soared like never before. Tears welled up behind my eyes and a wide smile took my face, and I was unable to control whatever relief had overcome me in that moment. Surrounded by the people I loved, I wondered if there was any bigger blessing.


AAAANNNND the ROOT arc is OVER! God, I hope that ending was good, and that I set up what was going to come up next. If this were a book series, I would end book 1 here XD Also Hina has definitely not forgotten about what Shikaku did, but currently she's going to have a few more pressing concerns than him.

Also please don't slam me in the comments for my lack of awareness on how court cases work. I'm sure irl there's a lot more to it than this, and even for a village like Konoha I'm sure the actual process would be a whole lot more complicated and longer, but did I really want to drag a court case out for more than a chapter… noooope.

Thanks to everyone who stuck with me for this long! Honestly writing this story has been a pleasure. Around chapter 30 all the negative reviews really made me want to drop it, but I'm glad I didn't because I enjoy writing it regardless! Thanks to everyone who faved/followed/commented. Appreciate every single one of you!

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Chapter 1 4905 1 0 2. Chapter 2 6009 0 0 3. Chapter 3 5570 0 0 4. Chapter 4 5319 0 0 5. Chapter 5 5907 0 0 6. Chapter 6 5728 0 0 7. Chapter 7 4342 0 0 8. Chapter 8 4716 0 0 9. Chapter 9 9627 0 0 10. Chapter 10 4719 0 0 11. Chapter 11 5236 0 0 12. Chapter 12 5827 0 0 13. Chapter 13 6062 0 0 14. Chapter 14 6331 0 0 15. Chapter 15 4356 0 0 16. Chapter 16 3405 0 0 17. Chapter 17 6116 0 0 18. Chapter 18 3812 0 0 19. Chapter 19 3907 0 0 20. Chapter 20 5529 0 0 21. Chapter 21 5831 0 0 22. Chapter 22 6213 0 0 23. Chapter 23 6780 0 0 24. Chapter 24 4607 0 0 25. Chapter 25 4730 0 0 26. Orochimaru Part I 5058 0 0 27. Orochimaru Part II 5557 0 0 28. Chapter 28 7051 0 0 29. Chapter 29 6381 0 0 30. Chapter 30 3234 0 0 31. Chapter 31 4312 0 0 32. Chapter 32 7228 0 0 33. Chapter 33 6812 0 0 34. Suzuki Taichi Part I 7181 0 0 35. Suzuki Taichi Part II 3313 0 0 36. Chapter 36 7150 0 0 37. Chapter 37 5348 0 0 38. Chapter 38 5640 0 0 39. Chapter 39 7295 0 0 40. Chapter 40 6880 0 0 41. Chapter 41 4364 0 0 42. Chapter 42 7235 0 0 43. Chapter 43 4826 0 0 44. Chapter 44 4848 0 0 45. Chapter 45 4523 0 0 46. The Sages Edicts 6211 0 0 47. Chapter 47 5491 0 0 48. Chapter 48 6136 0 0 49. Chapter 49 5696 0 0 50. Chapter 50 4575 0 0 51. Chapter 51 5395 0 0 52. End of Part I 6060 0 0 53. Chapter 53 5512 0 0 54. Chapter 54 6088 0 0 55. Chapter 55 6659 0 0 56. Important Authors Note! 328 0 0 57. Chapter 57 5722 0 0 58. Chapter 58 6642 0 0 59. Chapter 59 8794 0 0 60. Nara Shikaku 1 6333 0 0 61. Nara Shikaku 2 3961 0 0 62. Chapter 62 7840 0 0 63. Chapter 63 4791 0 0 64. Chapter 64 5491 0 0 65. Chapter 65 7081 0 0 66. Hatake Kakashi 9379 0 0 67. Not discontinuing story, slower updates 610 0 0 68. Uchiha Fugaku Part I 3162 0 0 69. Uchiha Fugaku Part II 4249 0 0 70. Chapter 70 5916 0 0