Author's Note: And here we are. The very last chapter. Man, it feels so weird to be writing this knowing that this is where the story ends. It feels like yesterday when this story just began and I was planning (just planning, not writing) the stages of the Chunin Exams, and thinking about all the arcs that were going to come after that. Yet in the end, we went through every single one of them.
It was a fun ride, wasn't it? Now, let's end this story with style, and enjoy the epilogue:
The New Era
So Long, and Thanks for all the Reviews
Thirty Two years after the Nine Tails attacked
Hinata blinked as the light that filtered through the windows slowly forced her awake. Suppresing a yawn, she looked at the clock on her bedside to check the hour. She scolwed a little, before turning to the other side, where Naruto, her husband of more than a decade, was sleeping, seemingly unperturbed by the growing light.
"Naruto-kun, wake up," Hinata said as she gently rocked her husband, who stirred in return.
"Five more minutes..." the blond grumbled, as he rolled around, giving her his back.
Hinata sighed, and rocked him again, this time less gently. "Naruto-kun, come on!"
This seemed to work, as the blond finally opened his eyes, the lighting making him wince a little, before he looked at Hinata.
"Good morning dear," Hinata smiled, as she kissed Naruto on the lips, a kiss he happily welcomed. "Slept well?"
"Not as much as I wanted, but I'll manage," Naruto said, letting out an unnecesarily loud yawn.
"Today's the graduation day, so you better be ready," Hinata reminded him. She began to undress, removing her nightgown, and started to put on her underwear and her usual clothes.
Naruto mimicked her as well. "Hey, since dad's Academy reform, we had a one hundred percent team approval rate, so I don't expect any problems."
"Perhaps, but it never hurts to be ready, don't you agree?" Hinata asked. "Anyway, can you start preparing breakfast? I'm going to wake up the kids."
Naruto walked towards the kitchen-dinning room, passing a chest of drawers with multiple framed pictures. The oldest one was the picture of Naruto and Hinata with Haku and Kurenai from the day their team was formed. There was also a large photo of Naruto and Hinata the day of their wedding – Kami, Hinata was so beautiful that day, Naruto would always think upon seeing the picture–, pictures of their children, and lastly, a picture of Naruto with three young teens no older than twelve: two girls and a boy, both girls being black haired, one of them having spiky hair and red eyes, and the other having straight hair and onyx eyes, with the boy having short purple hair.
A few minutes later, breakfast was already on the table, with Naruto and two other kids sitting at the table. The first kid was a boy of twelve years old, who looked nearly identical to Naruto, blond and blue eyed, except that he had only four whisker marks on his cheeks instead of Naruto's six. Next to him was a girl, no older than ten, with dark blue hair, blue eyes, and four whisker marks as well.
"So, today's your gradutation, Boruto. Nervous?" Naruto asked the boy, Boruto.
"Why should I be?" the boy asked, trying to sound flippant. "It's not that I'm going to start doing A-rank missions, right? Not that they'd be that difficult to me," he haughtily claimed, before deflating a little. "But I know what I'm going to be doing for the next few weeks."
"I know the first weeks of being a ninja aren't that great. I was talking about meeting your future teammates and Jonin-sensei. I certainly was nervous about meeting mine," Naruto confided.
Boruto just shrugged. "Whoever my teammates are, they're people I already know, so no big deal."
"Yes, but your teammates are more than just classmates!" the blue haired girl chimed in. "After all, mom and dad fell in love after they were put in the same team!"
"Exactly, Himawari," Hinata said, as she entered the kitchen-dinning room. She was carrying a toddler of a year and a half, a little girl with pale skin, the Hyuga pale lavender eyes, and most strangely, vivid red hair. She was happily sucking on a pacifier. "Though I was already in love with your father back in the Academy. Then again, I admit that being put on the same team helped the two of us come together," she said with a pleasant smile.
"Eh, I think we would have ended up together even if we were in other teams," Naruto rebuked. "Because I can't see myself being in love with anybody else."
Boruto rolled his eyes. "Come on, it's way too early for you to get mushy. Can you guys wait at least until I'm out?"
"Awww, look at that Urara-chan, your big brother doesn't like when mommy and daddy get loving with each other," Hinata said to the baby, as she sat her on a high chair. "But you don't mind, don't you?"
Barely understanding a word of her mother, Urara giggled at Hinata.
After the Uzumaki family finished their breakfast, Boruto quickly got dressed, grabbed his things, and headed for the Academy.
"Do you want me to give you a lift, son?" Naruto offered.
"Eh, pass. I feel like walking today," Boruto said, before leaving the house. "See you guys later!"
"Goodbye, big bro!" Himawari happily said.
Naruto looked a bit slumped by Boruto's rejection at first, but he quickly pushed those feelings aside, and got up from the table, and gave a kiss to the three girls. "I think I'll be heading to the office as well. See you later!."
"Goodbye, daddy!" Himawari said goodbye to her father in the same cheerful tone.
Naruto's body flickered for a second, before it suddenly vanished.
Uchiha Clan Compound
Inside one of the rooms of the large compound, a black haired girl of twelve years of age got out of the bed and began to get dressed. As she put on her glasses, the door of her room was opened, revealing a girl about two years older than her, with pale skin, long staright green hair than fell down her back, and the same onyx eyes at her.
"Hey, Sarada, time to- oh, you awake already?" the older girl asked. "And already dressed no less."
"Of course I am. Did you expect me to be late on such an important day, Naoki?" Sarada fired back.
The older girl, Naoki, just shurgged. "Hey, I just wanted to make sure you didn't miss your big day," Naoki defended. "Everybody else is already awake and having breakfast, so I wanted to check on you. Anyway, let's go."
As the two girls walked, Sarada couldn't help but shoot the older girl, her cousin, a glance of uncertainity. Naoki was Itachi Uchiha's daughter, and fate had her inherit not only most of his sheer talent, but she was also the wielder of two Bloodline Limits, a fact she often loved to remind everybody. Because even if Naoki had the same onyx eyes as Sarada's, the green haired girl's weren't the same: while Sarada had two Sharingan, as every other Uchiha, only Naoki's right eye had a Sharingan; her left eye hid a Byakugan, inherited from her mother Natsu.
Between her sheer talent and two Bloodline Limits, it was no surprise that Naoki's ninja career had been on the rise since the day she graduated from the Academy, becoming a Chunin only a few months after graduation on her first Chunin Exam, and successfully completing lots of B and A-ranked missions afterwards. This made Sarada wonder how would she compare against her older cousin.
"Don't think that. You already have your path set ahead of you," the youngest Uchiha reminded herself.
A few minutes later, the two girls arrived at the large dinning room, where true to Naoki's words, everybody was already there, having breakfast. Sarada took her usual seat, between her mother Sakura and Naoki herself. Next to Sakura was Sarada's father Sasuke, and next to Naoki were her parents, Itachi and Natsu. Next to Natsu was Shizune, Shisui's wife and Sasuke and Sakura's former Jonin-sensei. Finally, Shisui and Shizune's children, Shiro and Shizuka, were sitting next to them.
While they were much older than her, and thus less prone to comparisons, Shiro and Shizuka also had glowing ninja careers. The two of them were already Jonin, with Shiro working alongside his father Shisui as a high ranked officer of the restored Military Police, and not only Shizuka was an ANBU Captain, but her Jonin-sensei was no other than Naruto Uzumaki, the current Hokage.
"How lucky one has be to have such a legend as your instructor?" Sarada wondered.
"Ready for today, sweetheart?" Sakura asked, smiling brightly at her. "Today you finally become a ninja!"
"And about time! She was the only one in the family so far who wasn't one!" Naoki laughed.
"Naoki, that's not a kind thing to say," her mother chided.
Naoki merely rolled her eyes. "Come on mom, I was just being happy for her. Now she'll experience the joy and thrill of what being a ninja feels like. Well, once she gets through a couple motnhs of D-Rank missions, hehe."
"Even then, it's probably for the better if you don't put more pressure on Sarada. I'm sure she feels nervous enough already," Itachi added.
"Anyway, I heard that your father is going to be one of the Jonin-sensei," Shisui intervened, trying to change the topic. "Maybe you'll get him as your instructor."
"Highly unlikely," Sarada replied, as she adjuted her glasses. "Since it's forbidden to place an Academy graduate under a Jonin-sensei that's related to them." Sarada said almost as if she was reading from a book. Shizune opened her mouth, but Sarada didn't give her the chance. "And before you say how you were with uncle Shisui when you became papa's Jonin-sensei, you weren't married to him, so it doesn't count, aunt Shizune."
Shizune closed her mouth.
"I already know who my students are going to be, and Sarada isn't among them," Sasuke interceded. "Though, it's not that she needs me to be her instructor. I already give her plenty of training at home."
"Agreed. Nothing against you, dad, but I already see you enough at home," Sarada said, smiling a little so she didn't sound like she detested spending time with him.
"Since I'm going to the Academy today, do you mind if we go together?" Sasuke offered.
"Sure thing, dad," Sarada replied.
In one of the rooms of the large compound, there were a pair of adults surrounded by a small army of children, no less than six of them, ages from two to nine. The man was tall, good looking to the point of being pretty, with long brown hair that fell down his back, and the usual Byakugan eyes. The woman was a redhead with long spiky red hair and eyes of the same color, sporting a rather large pregnant belly.
All the kids had the same eyes as the adult man. Some had the same red hair as the woman, while the others had brown hair.
"So, how are you feeling, dear?" Neji asked his wife. "Does your body still ache?"
"Ughhhhh..." Karin groaned, as she slumped on a rocking chair. "What do you think, asshole?"
All the kids gasped in shock.
"Mom said a bad word!" a little girl said.
"You'll have to excuse your mother. Her back was in a lot of pain tonight, and she didn't get much sleep," Neji explained their children. She then looked at Karin and smiled at her.
"Everything's okay here?" a new voice asked. Everybody turned to the door, and saw the Clan Head, Hanabi Hyuga, peeking her head through the door.
"Nothing you should worry about, Hanabi-sama," Neji reassured her. "Karin spent a bad night due her aching body."
"Oh. Sorry to hear that," Hanabi said, looking at the redhead with sympathy. "I'm kind of busy, but if you want, I can ask mom to take the kids away from you for a few hours?"
"That would be a blessing," Karin said, letting out a deep sigh. "Sorry kids, mommy loves you, but right now mommy needs time for herself."
Neji held her hand. "Don't worry, it will be over soon. I promise you this will be the last one."
"That's the same thing you said when Osamu was born, before making me another one," Karin huffed. "Once I get this thing out of my body, I'm grabbing the shears."
Neji laughed at her joke. Or at least, he was hoping it was a joke.
Inside the kitched of a small but very cozy home, two girls and two women were having breakfast as well, each of the young girls looking like a much younger version of the two women, one who had her long hair loose, and the other had it styled in two buns. Though one of the alleged women, the one with the long hair, was actually a man, most people wouldn't be able to tell given his feminine appearance.
"Ah, last day of academy, finally," the older of the two girls said, as she ate her bowl of rice. She was twelve years old, and looked like an identical younger version of her father. "This day couldn't reach soon enough."
"Do you want to become a ninja that badly, Miyuki?" the only man asked.
"She wants to get me out of her sight, Haku," the woman replied, though she didn't sound resentful.
"What? Is not that you're to tough on her, are you, Tenten?" Haku asked his wife.
"No, she isn't," Miyuki was quick to point out. "But come on, do you know what it feels to have your mom as your homeroom teacher?"
"Was I really that bad? I always made sure not to say anything that would embarrass you in front of your friends," Tenten softly said.
"I'd love to have you as my teacher, mom," the other girl, the one who ressembled Tenten more, happily said.
Tenten smiled at her youngest daughter. "I know you do, dear."
Miyuki gave her little sister a stinky eye. "You say that now, Fuyuko, but you'll change your tune once it happens."
When Yakumo woke up from her bed, she saw that her husband wasn't there. When she went to check on her children's rooms, they weren't there either. In fact, their beds were even made. Normally, such situation would cause no small amount of distress to anyone, but for the brown haired woman, it was normal. Her husband and children were early risers. Very early risers. Like, "waking up a full two hours" before her early risers.
Seeing the hour, she just went to the kitchen and started to prepare breakfast. After that, she peeked her head out of the window, as if expecting somebody to arrive. If her calculations were right –and they often were– her family would arrive soon.
Heralded by a trail of dust raised by the speed he was carrying, Yakumo's husband, Rock Lee, running on his hands arrived in front of the house, before leaping to his feet.
Rock Lee was always a source of inspiration for Yakumo, somebody who was able to make his dream of becoming a fine ninja in spite of overwhelming odds. After the war ended, the last bearer of the Kurama clan Bloodline Limit tried to befriend him in order to get to know him better. She first asked him help to train her body –even if Tsunade's treatments improved her physical condition just enough to pass the required medical exam, her physical condition still had a lot of room for improvement–, something the green clad ninja was more than happy to obligue.
As she trained under him and became stronger little by little, Yakumo and Lee started to grow close. She found how incredibly earnest and sweet guy he was, and romance quickly bloomed between them. Said romance was disaporoved by the clan elders, since they felt that a man unable to use ninjutsu nor genjutsu would father defective children.
Not that Yakumo listened to any of their complains, and in a few years, the two of them were happily married.
Their son Metal Lee, wearing the same green jumpsuit as his father –but without the torn sleeves– quickly arrived, also running on his hands, looking much more exhausted. The boy was twelve years old, and had a very similar hair to his father, in both color and style.
A few seconds later, a girl, Yakumo and Lee's daughter, Tetsuko Lee, also wearing the same outfit as her brother and running on her hands, joined her father and older brother, and looked just as exhauted as her brother. She was three years younger than Metal and also had short hair, but it was brown rather than black.
None of her children had inherited her Bloodline Limit, but that didn't bother her. After all, said Bloodline Limit only appeared once every few generations. Besides, in her own experience, that was more a burden than a blessing, and she was sure that her children would be happier without it.
"Yosh! Today was a really good morning light training!" Lee loudly gushed. "Now, time for some breakfast!"
"Yes!" the two of them said at once.
"Also, Metal, since starting from today you're finally going to be a real ninja, your training will be more serious now!" Lee announced.
"I'm ready for it, father!" Metal excitedly said.
"If you're going to increase Metal's training, you should also increase mine!" Tetsuko protested. "Or else the gap between the two of us will get even bigger!"
Watching her husband and children's antics, Yakumo just shook her head, and chuckled. Yes, no matter what others might said, she would never trade this for anything else.
Inuzuka Clan Compound
Kiba and Tamaki stood in front of the compound's many kennels, the latter holding the former's arm. Behind them was Akamaru, laying at their feet, looking half asleep. The two humans were looking at one of the kennels expectantly.
Inside the kennel was a girl of ten years old, with long dark brown hair and red fang-shaped tatoos on her cheeks, and, strangely enough, a black and white kitty resting on one of her shoulders, checking the cream-colored puppies around her one by one. She would grab a puppy, watch it, touch it, even smell it, before putting it down and move to the next.
She did this many times, until she finally found the one she thought it was the one for her. Nodding to herself, she grabbed it and exited the kennel.
"So, did you finally choose, Tamiko?" Kiba asked the little girl.
"I did, dad," Tamiko said, proudly showing the puppy she choose to her father, then to her mother, before she placed it on her free shoulder, opposite of the cat.
"Congratulations, squirt! You just didn't choose a pet, but a partner that will fight alongside you during all your battles!" Kiba said, ruffling the girl's hair, who giggled in return.
"It really looks healthy," Tamaki smiled at her daughter. "Did you choose a name?"
Tamiko grew pensive, and hummed as she placed a hand under her chin. Then, her face lit up as a name dawned upon her. "How about... Riku!"
"Riku... that's a cute name," Tamaki said, nodding.
"Yes! Between Riku and Sora, no one will be able to stop us!" the little girl cheered, as she hugged her two animal companions.
Akimichi Clan Compound
Inside the compund's main building, a dark skinned twelve year old girl with spiky auburn red hair and a hefty build got ready for the day.
"Mom, Dad, I'm going to the Academy! See you later!" the girl said, and as she headed out, she grabbed a couplebags of chips, put them on her backpack.
Karui entered the room, saw the girl grabbing the bags of snaks, and shook her head.
"Chocho, we're going to have a feast later. Do you really need to take those to the Academy?" Karui asked.
"Yep! I need to eat to cope with stress, and today's going to be super stressful," Chocho replied.
"But the exam was yesterday. Today they're only going to announce the teams," Karui said, placing her hands on her hips.
"Exactly! That's why I'm so nervous! Who knows whose my teammates are! They could be a pair of jerks that make fun of my weight?"
"If you're so concerned about your weight maybe you should watch what you eat then," Karui deadpanned.
"Come on honey, let her," Choji said, as he entered the room. "Besides, if you're worried about the feast, I can assure you that she's going to still have plenty of space."
"See? Daddy gets me!" Chocho said. "Anyway, I better get going!"
Nara Clan Compound
Just like witht th Akimichis, at the entry of the Nara Clan Compound a young boy with black hair styled in a ponytail and big teal eyes prepared to leave.
"Alright, time to go to the Academy," the boy said. "I'll see you in the afternoon."
"Shikadai, wait!" the boy's mother, Temari, called. Besides her there was a nine year old girl with shoulder length sand blond hair, wearing a purple dress. "You're forgetting your backpack."
"He doesn't need it," Temari's husband and Shikadai's father, Shikamaru, walked to his wife. "There's no coursework on the last day, they'll simply tell them the team formations, and then they spend the rest of the day getting to know his new teammates and Jonin-sensei."
"My teammates will be two of my classmates, so I don't need to get to know them," Shikadai pointed out.
"Shikadai-niisan also says that he knows who his teammates are going to be," the girl stated.
"Exactly, Kazane-chan. So no need to make a big deal out of it," Shikadai said with a shrug.
"Perhaps. But not your Jonin-sensei," Shikamaru rebutted. "I was pretty nervous to meet mine."
"Also, remember not to come too late. Tonight the four of us going to celebrate you finally becoming a ninja
"I won't. Anyway, I better get going," Shikadai said, before leaving the house.
Yamanaka Clan Compound
Just like her former teammates were doing at the same time, Ino was also bidding her child a good day at the Academy.
"...and remember Inojin, don't get too upset if you're put with somebody you don't get along with," Ino adviced her son. "I'm sure that, as you work together, you'll eventually be on better terms."
"And if not, you can always ask the Hokage to put you on another team," a smiling Sai supplied.
"It's okay. I'm not worried. I get along with everybody in class," Inojin said. "Well, I should get going!"
Maito Gai's Park of Youth
Inside a large park surrounded by lush green trees, bogs and bushes, as well as many benches to sit down and swings and seesaws for children to play, a lone man stood, in front a statue in the middle of the park. A statue of the man the park was named after, giving a thumbs up and smiling energically. Normally, there would be plenty of people enjoying the peaceful place, but given that it was early in the morning, nobody was there.
Nobody, except Kakashi Hatake. After the war was over, he no longer visited the Memorial Stone, but as soon as the park was made to honor the late Gai, he would spend a good chunk of his time there, just standing still in front of the statue.
"Figured I'd find you here," a new voice said from behind.
Kakashi turned around, and saw the only other living member of Team Minato. Rin Nohara had grown into quite a beauty. While still on the short side, she no longer looked like the young teen he remember unwillingly killing, but an actual woman.
Kakashi chuckled under his mask. "You talk as if you just unearthed a deep secret about me."
"Very funny," Rin said, crossing her arms.
"Though, I'm surprised to see you here," Kakashi said, turning his sight back to the statue. "Shouldn't you be in the Academy?"
"I still have time," Rin said. She then grew a little uneasy, and rubbed her arm. "Though... that's why I wanted to talk with you."
"Still doubting yourself, I see," Kakashi said. "I'd say that you're worrying over nothing and that you'll do fine, but I already told you that several times and it didn't work. Perhaps some reverse psychology should do the trick this time? Rin, you're an awful teacher, and you are going to become the laughing stock of all of Konoha's Jonin if you take a team of Genin, so save yourself the embarrasment."
Even if she wanted to protest, Rin couldn't help but giggle at Kakashi's jest.
"Is it working?" Kakashi asked.
"A little. I'm slowly feeling a fire inside me just to prove you wrong," Rin replied, still giggling.
"Glad I could help," Kakashi said. "But in all seriousness, you'll do fine. All of us worry over how well are we going to teach a new team, and in the end, we find our way. I mean, if Anko or I were able to do it, I'm sure you'll have no problem."
"Oh, right, Anko. I keep forgetting that she used to be a Jonin-sensei too. And to a trio of foreign ninjas!" Rin said in realization. "Hell, if Anko can do it, so can I!"
"That's the spirit," Kakashi said, smiling under the mask.
Rin turned around, ready to leave, but then he turned back at Kakashi, and with a sheepish expression said: "Please don't tell Anko I said that about her."
"My lips are sealed," Kakashi assured her.
Sarutobi Clan Compound
On one of the compound's several training dojos, a middle aged black haired man with tan skin was sparring with a teenage girl, also black haired, but with paler skin tone and crimson red eyes. Watching them from afar, sitting on a bench was a middle aged woman, with long raven hair and the same red eyes as the girl.
Both the man and the girl were armed with trench knives, which they channeled wind chakra through in order to increase their cutting power. Their fight consisted almost exclusively in trading swipes and parrys with the aforementioned weapons.
Upon noticing the man's breathe becoming a little heavier, the girl smirked a little. "Tired, dad?"
The man smirked. "Yes. Tired of how you think you still beat me when you're so green, Mirai."
"Come on Mirai, don't understimate your father," the woman from the bench said. "Your father might not be what he used to be, but he still has a lifetime of battles worth of experience."
"Are you calling me old, Kurenai?" the man asked in a taunting manner. "Because I need to remind you that we're the same age."
The woman smirked. "Women don't get old, Asuma, they mature."
Tenten was standing in front of the class, taking a look at the young ninjas who had been her students for the past year, as a small feeling of sadness gripped her soul over the fact that she wouldn't teach them again. She sighed, pushed that feeling to the back of her mind, and began speaking.
"First of all, let me congratulate all of you again for passing yesterday's final exam. It has been great to have all of you as my pupils, but from today's onwards, the ninjas behind me," she spread her arms to emphasize the adult ninjas around her, their future Jonin-sensei. "-will be the ones to continue your formation and development. As you probably know, you'll be organized into four man cells, three of you under the supervision of a Jonin. Without further ado, here are the team formations..."
Tenten unfurled a scroll and started to read the names of the teams, followed by the Jonin-sensei they were assigned to. As she read the names, those called would get up from their seats and walk to their respective sensei, and follow them out of the class. Little by little, the class was starting to grow empty as the teams were announced.
Despite looking cool on the outside, Sarada was feeling a little nervous. She knew all the people in her class, but there were some she would prefer to have as teammates over others. Her ideal teammates would be her friends and deskmates Chocho Akimichi and Sumire Kakei, but she knew the chances of them being in the same team were slim.
From time to time, she couldn't help but shot a glance at her father, who was standing among the rest of the prospective Jonin-sensei, and wondered who would be the lucky or unlucky Genin placed under him.
"...Close Combat Squad: Namida Suzumeno, Wasabi Izumo, and Metal Lee! Your Jonin-sensei will be Hagane Senju!" Tenten announced.
The two girls mentioned, one with brown eyes and hair of the same color styled in two long pigtails, and another, taller than the first, with short spiky dark brown hair and green eyes that looked like those of a cat got up from their seats and cheered.
"Yes! We're in the same team together, Wasabi-chan!" the girl with the pigtails said, as she hugged her friend.
"Guess they saw how well we work as a team, Namida!" Wasabi replied.
The two of them, as well as Metal Lee, walked towards their sensei, a man in his late twenties with brown eyes and short spiky white hair, before the four of them left the classroom.
"Lucky. The son of the Fifth Hokage, with a powerful Bloodline Limit, and a war veteran when he was my age," Sarada thought, as she quickly reviewed Hagane's record.
"Tactical Squad: Shikadai Nara, Chocho Akimichi and Inojin Yamanaka! Your Jonin-sensei will be Kaida Senju!"
"Called it," Shikadai said, as he and Inojin got up from their seats.
"Ughh..." Chocho groaned, as she dropped her forehead on her table. "Ino-Shika-Cho again. Do these people have any imagination?"
Sarada, who was sitting besides her, patted her on the back sympathetically. "Guess they're sticking to what it works. Sorry we can't be together in the same team."
"It's okay, girl. We can still hang out when we aren't on the job," Chocho said, as she got up from her seat.
"Look at the bright side. You know Shikadai and Inojin very well, so you won't have problems working with them," Sumire, sitting at Sarada's other side, tried to reassure while smiling weakly at her.
The newest generation of Ino-Shika-Cho walked towards their sensei, Hagane's sister Kaida, who like him also had brown eyes and white hair, except hers was much longer and styled into a single ponytail.
"Lucky Chocho, Kaida's record is as impressive as her brother's. Plus not everybody can have a Jonin-sensei with Wood Release," Sarada thought as she watched her friend greet her new Jonin-sensei.
Once they vacated the classroom, Tenten continued.
"Medical Squad: Sarada Uchiha, Hako Kuroi, and Mitsuki! Your Jonin-sensei will be Rin Nohara!"
As the three of them got up, Sarada eyed her two new teammates. She didn't know too much about Mitsuki, other than he was the son of a high ranking Otogakure ninja, and used to hang out with Boruto a lot. However, he was a pleasant individual and competent ninja, so she didn't have any worries about working with him.
Her other teammate, Hako, was a goth girl who wore a long, dark purple dress with a cape, and carried a rather creepy pink stuffed doll with her at all times. Sarada knew that Hako could animate the doll and make it fight for her. She was also proficient in medical ninjutsu, so her choice for the team wasn't that surprising.
Then there was their sensei, Rin. She was a Sage and a good medic, but her reputation as a girl who was brought back from the dead with Wood Release and a healing factor by the infamous Obito Uchiha overshadowed that. Well, Chocho wasn't the only one whose sensei was a living legend with Wood Release anymore.
Before they could leave, Tenten continued reading from the list of teams.
"...Assault Squad, Boruto Uzumaki, Sumire Kakei, and Miyuki Yuki! Your Jonin-sensei will be Sasuke Uchiha!"
"Aw yeah!" Boruto cheered, as he shot up and pumped a fist into the air.
"So, they assigned my dad to Boruto? Funny," Sarada thought, as he watched the excited blond walk down the stairs to meet her father. Following him was the purple haired, sailor fuku-wearing Sumire, and the brown haired Miyuki. Sarada guessed that, after the incident with the Nue, they wanted a powerful Jonin to keep an eye on her in case something similar happens.
Well, Sarada was happy for her friend. Sasuke was a tough but fair teacher, so she'd learn a lot under him. Plus she'd appreciate being in the same team as the boy she had a crush on. As for the other girl, Miyuki, Tenten's daughter, Sarada knew that her Ice Release made her a fearsome ninjutsu specialist, hence her choice as a member of the Assault Squad. Though she couldn't help but think how the fact that her father Haku and Boruto's father Naruto were on the same team, the very first iteration of the Assault Squad, wasn't a coincidence.
Sarada looked at her father, who introduced himself to his new students, and waved him goodbye before she followed her new sensei and teammates out of the classroom.
Uzumaki Residence, a few weeks later
As the door closed behind them, Naruto and Hinata got ready for an important day. They left Himawari and Urara under the care of one of the newly minted Genin teams for the rest of the day, given that they would be busy at least until nightime. Even then, Naruto and Hinata were looking forward what they were going to do next, given that they were going to see a lot of people that they didn't have the chance to see that often.
While Naruto often favored more casual clothes for his everyday life, he was now wearing what he had dubbed his "Hokage Costume", which was essentially a long white cloak with red flames over his usual clothes –a look inspired by his biological father– plus the official Hokage hat. Hinata was also wearing a more formal attire: a light purple kimono blouse with dark blue floral patterns, combined with a dark purple knee-length skirt tied with a red obi.
"You ready, hime?" Naruto asked, offering his arm at her. "Our friends from outside the village awaits us."
"Of course," Hinata replied, wrapping her arms around his.
Naruto and Hinata flickered for a fraction of a second, before they vanished, reappearing somwhere else.
After the war, Naruto and Jiraiya had embarked on a lot of projects regarding fuinjutsu, making a lot of breakthroughs in the art. One of them was the rediscovery of Minato's Flying Thundergod Jutsu. It took them many years of research and trials, but they eventually managed to do it. Though given the power of the jutsu and the advanced knowledge in fuinjutsu required to use it, for the time being Naruto and Jiraiya were its only users.
They reappeared inside a domed building with a single room. Said room had a multitude of circular sealing arrays painted on the floor, similar to the seals that made the Moon Portal. And indeed, those arrays were bidirectional portals to another villages, born out of Naruto and Jiraiya's efforts in reverse engineering the Moon Portal. After that, they created a portal network that linked most ninja villages between each other, making traveling between villages much easier.
They still had noticeable downsides that stopped them from widespread use, such as needing to infuse them with a huge amount of chakra any time they needed to be used, hence they could only be used sparingly, and they were often saved for diplomatic visits and events. Such as the one that was going to happen in Konoha that same afternoon.
"Oh, it seems we're last," Hinata said, looking around. "Everybody else is here."
Aside from ninjas guarding the place, there were also many other people as well, who were waiting to greet the foreign ninjas. Among them, their former teammate Haku.
A portal started to glow with chakra, and from it, the Fifth Raikage, Darui, followed by Omoi, T and Killer B stepped out. Naruto and Hinata went to greet the foreign Kage, as well as Choji and Karui. Karui was wearing both a Konoha and Kumo forehead protectors, identifying her as Kumo's ambassador in Konoha.
Given the lack of tension between ninja villages as well as the Village Portals making traveling much safer, many Kages and Village Heads didn't feel the need to bring bodyguards with them. However, many, like Darui, brought some people with them not as a security detail –even if they were officially– but so they could see the friends they were now living in other villages, such as Karui.
"Raikage. Welcome to Konoha," Naruto greeted him with a smile.
"It's an honor to see you, Raikage-sama," Karui said, making a slight bow. She then went to greet her former sensei and teammates, engaging them in conversation.
"Thanks," Darui replied, tipping his Kage hat. He started to look around. "So, I'm the first to arrive?"
"So it seems," Naruto said with a shrug.
"Hey there Number Nine! I can see you're pretty fine!" Killer B rapped, as he fist bumped Naruto. "And Hinata, as you can tell, I'm pretty happy to see you as well!"
"The feeling's mutual, B-san," the Hyuga replied.
"And hello to you too, Gyuki," Naruto mentally greeted the Tailed Beast sealed inside his Kumo friend.
"Nice to see you as well, Naruto," Gyuki replied. Upon noticing that a certain somebody remained silent, he added: "Hey, Kurama, aren't you going to greet your beloved brother?"
"No. Now let me sleep in peace," Kurama grumbled.
"Heh, classic Kurama," Naruto thought, sweatdropping a little. He then addressed Killer B. "By the way, didn't Yugito come this time around?" Naruto asked.
"Sadly, Number Two is busy with a mission, since you know how she likes such expeditions," Killer B said with a shrug.
After exchanging greetings, the Raikage and his small enourage went with Choji and Karui to the Akimichi compound, where they would spend the few days they were staying in Konoha.
A few minutes after that, another portal glowed. From this one, Kurotsuchi, the Tsuchikage, emerged, followed by a couple of Iwa ninjas that Naruto didn't recognize, and one he did: a very tall man wearing a red heavy armor. He and Hinata went to greet them, as well as a kunoichi with short black hair in an Iwa uniform, wearing both a Konoha and Iwa forehead protectors, marking her as Iwa's ambassador in Konoha.
"Welcome to Konoha, Tsuchikage," Naruto greeted her.
"We hope your stay here is a pleasant one," Hinata added.
"Thanks. I'm sure it will be," Kurotsuchi replied.
"And hey, good to see you, Han!" Naruto said, shaking hands with the towering man.
"Likewise, Naruto," Han replied, nodding. "Roshi sends his regards, and laments that he wasn't able to come. A man his age tends to have health problems."
"Hey, no big deal. I can always pay him a visit once the Summit is done," Naruto replied.
"Then again, he's still in better shape than grandpa," Kurotsuchi interjected, sounding a little dejected.
"Honestly, it's amazing that that old coot managed to live that long," Han replied, earning a glare from the Tsuchikage. "What? I'm just saying what everybody is thinking. You know I'm somebody who minces his words."
Before Kurotsuchi could say or do something that he kight regret later, she decided to get out of there and head to her hotel room, with her small entourage trailing behind.
Another portal activated. This time, it wasn't a Kage that appeared, but Shino, Fu, and a pair of children: a ten year old boy with spiky green hair, and a seven year old girl with black hair tied in two low pigtails.
Given how powerful she had grown during the Fourth War, Shibuki decided to step down and appoint Fu as the new Village Head of Takigakure. Shibuki's plan was to make Fu into the face of the village in order to improve its standing, while he took care of the administrative side of the job. His plan worked, and Taki received an unprecedented amount of customers, which brought much needed money to not only repair, but also improve the village.
Once the war was over, Shino and Fu continued their long distance relationship, though they put more effort into seeing each other in person. When Jiraiya started to appoint ambassadors to other villages, Naruto was quick to suggest Shino's name for the position of Konoha's ambassador in Taki, much to the Aburame's silent delight. Shino gave up his position as the Aburame Clan Heir and passed it to a younger cousin, and a year later, he and Fu married.
Shino survived the honeymoon without any broken bones, but he spent the next weeks walking with a limp.
Even if Fu wasn't a Kage, she was invited to the Summit. Given that ignoring the minor villages is what caused the walking nightmare that was Pain, the five Kages decided that the minor villages deserved to have a voice in matters that affected them, even if they didn't have as much influence as the great villages. Hence the Kage Summit was changed to Ninja Summit.
Naruto also extended an invitation to the Land of Iron, but the samurai politely declined, claiming not to want to get involved in the affairs of ninjas unless it was strictly necessary.
Naruto and Hinata, as well as Kiba, Tamaki and their daughter Tamiko walked towards the newcomers.
"Hello. Welcome to-URK!"
"Little bro!" Fu interrupted Naruto's greeting by pulling him in an almost literal bone breaking hug. Then, after noticing Hinata, she dropped Naruto, and gave Hinata another bear hug. "Sky sister!"
"Fu... can't... breathe..." Hinata wheezed.
"Your brat is just as a nuisance as an adult as she was as a kid, Chomei," Kurama chastised, annoyed at the commotion going outside of his seal that perturbed his rest.
"Fu is a very lively girl, and that's the best part about her! Why should I want that to change?" Chomei asked.
"Oops, sorry!" Fu sheepishly said, placing Hinata on the ground. "You know how happy I am to see you guys again!"
"We can tell," Naruto said, still wincing in pain, as he pulled himself back to his feet. He then saw Shino engaged in conversation with Kiba and Tamaki, while Tamiko was talking to the two kids. "Boy, Daisuke and Sawako have grown a lot since the last time I saw them!"
"Of course they have grown! They have a big mommy after all!" Fu laughed. "And their daddy is no slouch either."
While Shino had grown into quite the tall man, his wife still had a few centimeters on him. In fact, even if Naruto himself had also grown quite a lot, he had to still to look up to the green haired woman. Though, much to the blond's relief, the Taki leader hadn't grown any bigger since the Fourth Ninja War.
"So, where are Boruto and Himawari? I can't wait to see them!" Fu excitedly said.
"Boruto is on his first mission outside the village," Hinata said, making Fu deflate a little. "Though Himawari and Urara are at home, so you can drop by later to tell them hi."
"Oh, yes! I forgot you guys had another baby! I can't wait to see her!" Fu gushed. "In fact... Daisuke, Sawako, come here!"
Her two children quickly did so.
"Hey, did you hear that Boruto and Himawari have a little sister? Why don't you take Tamiko go and meet her?" Fu suggested. "I'll drop by once Naruto and I are done with all the boring grownup stuff."
"Alright, mom," Daisuke said.
He and his sister grabbed each of Tamiko's hands, quickly run out of the bulding, jumped into the air... and grew two insect-like wings out of their backs, allowing them to soar into the sky while carrying the Inuzuka girl. While it was obvious that Chomei had something to do with this new Bloodline Limit, others thought that their Aburame genes also played a role.
Once the greetings were over, Shino and Fu left the domed building, followed by Tamaki and Kiba. The Takigakure family would spend their stay in Konoha at the Aburame Clan Compound.
Another portal came to life. From this one emerged a trio of women decked in Amegakure uniforms. Naruto and Hinata moved to greet them, as well as Konan.
After Konan's sentence was finally over, she asked the new Amegakure leadership to grant her the job of ambassador so she could continue her work of better relationships between the great and minor villages, something that was granted without much fuss.
After the Fourth Ninja War, Amegakure sadly entered in a period of unrest and instability due Konan not being there to put order. The rest of the villages tried to help, but they didn't dare to interfere too much with their internal affairs, hoping that they could reach a solution on their own. During the first few years, Amegakure went through a multitude of leaders that didn't last very long in the position, most of them retiring.
"Greeting, Ajisai," Naruto told her. "I hope you find your stay in Konoha to your liking."
It seems that things finally were starting to get better when Ajisai, a woman Naruto's age who was one of Amegakure's most promising ninjas, was made its new Village Head.
Ajisai was a pretty woman with purple hair that she often wore tied in a messy bun. Her two escorts were also her former teammates: Fuyo, a girl with black hair styled in a bang so long it covered half of her face, purple eyes, who carried an umbrella strapped to her back, and Suiren, a woman with long, green spiky hair that emerged from beneath her bandanna, whose lower half of her face was covered by a dark blue mask, similar to Kakashi.
"If it's going to be like the other times, I'm sure it will be," the purplette answered. Then, she looked at Konan, and bowed. "We're honored to meet you again, Angel-sama."
Konan was tired of telling them not to call her that anymore, but they would never listen. So she simply replied with a mere "thank you, me too," and offered to lead them to the hotel rooms she had reserved for them.
Once the foursome of Ame kunoichis were out of sight, another portal activated. From this one emerged Mei Terumi, her husband Zabuza, and a truckload of children, making one hell of a racket as soon as they stepped out of the portal.
"Keep your mouth shut, you noisy brats!" Zabuza bellowed, and the kids instantly grew silent.
Unsurprisingly, Mei's clan wasn't happy when her firstborn daughter, Kasumi, was only born with Lava Release. Her first son and second kid, Satoshi, was born with both Lava Release and Boil Release. But just one kid with both Bloodline Limits wasn't enough for them, and they kept pressuring her to have more children, until finally her sixth and youngest kid, a little girl named Haruka, was also born with both Bloodline Limits.
The clan elders pointed out that one in each three children of Mei would manifest both Bloodline Limits, so if she had three more children, at least one of them was bound to have both powers.
Mei's response came in the form of a surgery to ligate her fallopian tubes.
Naruto and Hinata quickly moved to greet them. So did Haku and Tenten, who were patiently waiting for the Kirigakure leaders to show up.
"Hey there, Mei, Zabuza!" Naruto greeted. "It's so great to have you here!"
Mei smiled at the blond. "The feeling's mutual, Naruto. Hinata, it's a pleasure to see you too."
Hinata smiled and made a small bow.
"So, wasn't Utakata able to come this time?" Naruto asked.
"Hotaru-san is almost due any day now, so I don't blame him for wanting to stay close to her," Mei explained. "And before you ask, we got another letter from Yagura and Aiko a couple weeks ago. They just left the Land of Demons, and they're now planning their next destination."
"Good to see that they're doing well," Naruto said, nodding in satisfaction.
Haku then took the chance to greet his former master and his wife.
"Mizukage-sama. Zabuza-sama. Welcome to Konoha," Haku greeted them with his usual politeness.
"I'll never miss a chance to see you again, kid," Zabuza said, patting Haku on the shoulder.
"Uncle Haku!" Mei and Zabuza's oldest, Kasumi, quickly ran to her honorary uncle. "It's so great to see you!"
"The feeling's mutual, Kasumi. You look strong. Have you been training?" Haku asked.
"You bet! I told Kumori-sensei to increase the pace of my training. While mom and dad are busy with the summit, let's have a spar! I want to show you the new jutsu I've been learning!" the young woman excitedly said.
"I can't wait to see them," Haku said. "Perhaps you could also show them to Miyuki, given that she recently became a kunoichi herself."
Haku and Tenten lead the Kirigakure family out of the domed building. Normally, Haku offered Mei and Zabuza to stay at his house whenever they came to Konoha. However, the more and more children they had, the less of a viable option it became, and in the end, they had to resort to hotel rooms like other foreign leaders.
Once again, another portal glowed up. From this one, a small contingent of Otogakure ninjas emerged, lead by a white haired man that looked almost identical to Naruto's adopted brother Hagane: his clone created by Orochimaru, Hebimaru. While most of the Oto ninjas appeared to be escorts, there was a kunoichi with light green hair styled on two long bangs that framed her face, deep blue eyes, and a somewhat gloomy disposition who had her arms wrapped around his.
And once again, Naruto and Hinata went to greet the new party, along with Hebimaru's sister Hebiko, who was accompanied by Dosu, Zaku and Kin.
After Orochimaru's final defeat at the hands of his former teammates, Hebiko and Hebimaru took over the remnants of the fallen Sanin's forces, and they turned them into a legitimate ninja village in the Land of Sound. After a few years, Hebiko was sent to Konoha to act as Otogakure's ambassador. Dosu, Zaku and Kin started to work under her to make sure the alliance between the two villages remained strong.
"Hebimaru. It's great to see you. Welcome to Konoha," Naruto greeted the white haired man. "Looking good, Kagero."
Kagero Fuuma, Hebimaru's wife, merely acknowledged the compliment with a nod.
"Thank you, Hokage. I'm glad to be here," Hebimaru said, before turning towards Hebiko. "Hello, sister. I'm happy to see you. As well as you, Dosu, Zaku, Kin. May I ask where is your sensei?"
"Can't you guess? She went to Kiri to visit her boyfriend," Zaku answered with a snort.
"However, I'm sure she'll return before you'll have to depart to Oto, in the case you want to greet her as well" Dosu told him.
"Then again, if she's late, she can always come to visit. That's what the portals are for," Hebimaru said with a shrug. "By the way, Hokage, how's my son doing?"
"Mitsuki's doing great. He graduated with the rest of his class a few weeks ago," Naruto explained.
"Can we see him?" Kagero asked. "It's been quite some time since the last time we spoke to him."
"I believe he hasn't left the village, so I can't see why not," Naruto said. Kagero nodded once again, pleased with the answer.
"Come. I'll show you where you'll be staying for the duration of the summit," Hebiko said.
Hebimaru nodded, and he and his ninjas followed his sister out of the domed building.
And then, another portal activated. Naruto beamed upon seeing Gaara, the current Kazekage, accompained his entourage, emerged from the portal. Of course, Naruto and Hinata wasted no time to greet them. So did Shikamaru and Temari –though Temari had to wake up her husband first, who had fell asleep slouching against a wall while they waited.
"Gaara!" Naruto excitedly said, as he greeted his old friend and formerly fellow jinchuriki with a warm hug. "Heh, I was worrying you weren't going to come."
"I may be a little tardy, but you you know I'd never miss such an important event. Besides, I always appreciate a chance to visit Konoha, and its wonderful people," Gaara said.
"Not to mention the hot springs!" one of Gaara's escorts, Yukata, happily chimed in.
"Yukata..." Matsuri groaned.
"It's okay. I'm sure there will be time for all of us to enjoy the hot springs once the summit is over," Hinata said.
Aside from his wife Matsuri, oldest adopted son Shinki and biological twin daughters Asashi and Kairi –who looked like small versions of Matsuri with red hair instead of their mother's brown– , they had also brought Matsuri's old teammates Mikoshi and Yukata, as well as his brother Kankuro and his wife Sari. Sari was a friend of Matsuri that she introduced to Kankuro while playing matchmaker. Much to her joy, the two of them hit it off and got married after a couple years of engagement.
"Hey there, little brothers," Temari greeted Gaara and Kankuro. "Ready to spend some time with your beloved big sister you don't get to see anymore?"
"No, but it's not like we're getting a say in that," Kankuro replied, making Temari fume.
Shikamaru let out a sympathetic sigh. "Man, he's going to pay for that comment so badly..."
After a few more exchanges of greetings, the Suna group followed Temari and Shikamaru to the Nara Clan Compound, where they would stay, while Naruto and Hinata stayed there to greet the leaders of the remaining villages that hadn't arrived yet.
Hokage Tower, Afternoon
Naruto walked at a hastened pace as he headed towards the Council Room, where the Ninja Summit was going to be held. He had tried to get some work done before it began, and didn't realize how much time he had spent swamped by the cursed paperwork. He tried to remind himself that it wasn't that late.
"So, you finally show up."
Slouched besides the double doors to the Council Room was Naruto's adptive father and previous Hokage, Jiraiya. Despite a decade and a half had passed since the ending of the war, the Toad Sage didn't look a year older than he did back then, almost as if the Sannin was frozen in time. The reason, though, is that Tsunade was worried that if Jiraiya continued to age while she kept her true age hidden, the fact that she masked her age would be even more noticeable, so she pretty much forced him to use the same variation of the Transformation Jutsu she used to maintain her looks. Jiraiya wasn't a vain man, but he decided to humor his wife.
"You know, all of them are already there, and they're wondering when do you plan to show up," Jiraiya said.
Naruto cringed a little, and felt a bead of sweat trickle down his temple. "Oh boy... I didn't realize it was this late."
Naruto walked in front of the door, but didn't open it. He just took a deep breath, and stared at the door without making an attempt to open it.
"Nervous, kid?" Jiraiya asked. "This is going to be your first Ninja Summit as Hokage, so it's natural if you are."
"I know. Doesn't make it any better," the blond replied.
"Do you want me to go with you?" Jiraiya offered.
Naruto shook his head. "I'm the Hokage now. I have to do this on my own. Anyway, let's go."
Naruto entered the Council Room, greeted the foreign leaders, apologized for being late, and officially began the meeting. Seeing that he was no longer needed, Jiraiya left the place via Flying Thundergod.
Hokage Tower, Rooftop
Jiraiya appeared at the top of the Hokage Tower, where there was already somebody there. His wife, Tsunade, leaning against the railing, watching the village that sprawled in front of her. The place that has been their home for such a long time.
Wordlessly, Jiraiya walked towards her, and leaned on the railway as well.
"So, how did it go?" Tsunade asked.
"I think he has this under control," Jiraiya asked. "I wanted to help him, but he wanted to fly alone."
"He doesn't need us anymore, huh? Good for him," Tsunade softly said.
The two of them fell into a comfortable silence, as they admired the village beneath them. Most of the old buildings were now obscured by shiny, silver-white, tall skyscrappers. Asphalt roads covered what used to be pure dirt pathways. Airships slowly flew above the village below. Tsunade let out a sigh.
"I just don't get used to how much the village changed..." Tsunade began. "Remember the sorry state the village was when we arrived after the Nine Tails attacked? It's hard to believe that this is the very same village as before."
"The village? Heh, if that was the hard part," Jiraiya snorted. "I still need to remind myself that Naruto is a married man with children, and not that hyperactive brat we raised and trained."
Tsunade turned around, and looked at the Hokage monument, Naruto's face carved besides Jiraiya's. "Me too. It still feels weird to see his face on that mountain."
"And the same thing goes for Kaida and Hagane. I never pictured them as having their own Genin team," Jiraiya added.
"Yes. Everything changes and moves forward. And look at us. Looking the same way we did so many years ago," Tsunade said, with a chuckle. "Everything changes except us. The old fossils of a bygone age."
"Perhaps on the outside. But on the inside, I think we did change as well," Jiraiya said, placing an arm around her shoulders. "Remember when we first arrived? Neither of us were in a very good place. Until we got our heads out of the gutter, and started to work to make things better. For us and for everybody."
He then waved his other arm at the village.
"And this is the result," Jiraiya said, smiling at Tsunade.
"Still, I don't feel like this is our village anymore," Tsunade said with some sad nostalgia.
"Because it's not. Now this is the village of Naruto and the younger generation. Which, just like we did before, they will nurture and protect it before passing it down to their own children," Jiraiya explained.
"And where does that leave us?" Tsunade asked.
Jiraiya's smile was a savage one now. "That's the best part! We now get to enjoy the fruits of a job well done in our retirement! We play with our grandkids during the day, get wasted on the afternoon, and have plenty of bedroom fun at night!"
This drew a laugh from Tsunade, who grabbed Jiraiya's hand on her shoulder, while she rested her head on his own. Jiraiya laughed as well. "So, what we've been doing since the war ended? Well, it sounds like a good retirement plan. Say, how about if we drop by Naruto and Hinata's house and take their kids for a ride? I feel like spoiling them a little."
"You know, Hinata forbade us from taking the kids to casinos again," Jiraiya reminded her.
"Hey, there are plenty of ways to spoil kids. Plus, we need to do something with all the money we have, and I think it will be better spent on them than in slot machines," Tsunade replied.
"Guess I can't argue with that."
Jiraiya made a hand seal, and their bodies flickered for a second before they vanished from there.
Author's Note: ...and that's a wrap!
As you can see, the epilogue was split into two parts: the first one, which focuses on the Academy and the formation of the new teams, is to show what the Konoha characters have been up to since the war ended, and the second part, focused on the coming Ninja Summit, is to show how the other villages are doing. I wish I could have included more characters rather than merely mentioning them (like Anko or some of the revived jinchuriki) but the chapter was getting a little cluttered and I wanted to cover most of the bases.
I remeber sometime ago that a reviewer suggested the idea of Naruto and Hinata to have a redheaded child on top of Boruto and Himawari, and I said, sure, why not?
Hey, remember how I said that my original plan for Yakumo was to introduce her as Kurenai's replacement, before I ended up scrapping it? Well, as part of her character arc, Yakumo was going to befriend and bond with Lee when the latter offerede to help train the former in taijutsu, as well as their similar predicaments. Unfortunately, by the time I introduced Yakumo, there was no more time for such a subplot to happen. Still, I wanted to keep the couple, so I put an abridged version of what Lee and Yakumo's romance would have been had I written it into the story.
Since Shino no longer lives in Konoha, Tenten takes his place as an Academy teacher. Truth be told, I hated how both Shino and Tenten were treated post-war, with Tenten having a failing weapon shop and Shino having a job he sucks at. I always thought that Tenten could be a pretty good Academy teacher, at least when it comes to the practical side like hand to hand combat, shuriken throw and all that jazz. Plus hey, there's the whole thing with her mentoring Konohamaru in the Hanabi Gaiden.
Is it any surprise that I also ended up changing the teams of the new generation (minus Ino-Shika-Cho)? I don't know if I ever mentioned it here, but Sumire is my favorite character introduced in Boruto, so of course I'm going to put her in the same team as him. Though unlike Sakura, I actually like Sarada a lot, and if it wasn't for Sasuke being Boruto's Jonin-sensei, I would have placed her with Boruto and Sumire as well. I guess there's no surprise here that Konohamaru, Udon and Moegi aren't Jonin-senseis, given that the former is only mentioned a couple times in the story and the latter two not even that, so it wouldn't make any sense to give them such roles. There's also Hanabi, but I preferred other characters to be Jonin-sensei.
I hope you liked the little tribute to Gai's sacrifice in the war. He might be gone but won't be forgotten.
Now, a few things you may feel the need to ask about:
-Yes, Naruto still has Six Paths Sage Mode and a piece of chakra of the other eight Tailed Beasts, and both halves of Kurama merged into one. Hinata and Hanabi still have the Tenseigan.
-In case you're wondering, Naruto's students are Mirai Sarutobi, Shizuka Uchiha and Seiichi Gekko (Hayate and Yugao's son). Originally their sensei was going to be Hinata, but I felt that Naruto being a Jonin-sensei would make more sense (I had this idea that Jiraiya would task him to train a team first as a requirement to become Hokage, given that every previous Hokage minus Hashirama trained a team).
-Yeah, in the end I managed to salvage Mitsuki despite killing Orochimaru off. He's now the biological son of Hebimaru and Kagero Fuuma.
-Yes, both Haku's daughters can use Ice Release even if I only mentioned one of them having it.
-All of Neji and Karin's children have the Byakugan, but only some of them have Karin's ability to heal others by being bitten. Urara has the Byakugan as well.
-Iwabee Yuino and Denki Kaminarimon still exist and were in Boruto's class, but I didn't feel like featuring them since I'm not that big of a fan of them.
-If it wasn't clear, the stuff with Sumire Kakkei happen exactly as in canon.
-While some characters weren't shown to be in a relationship (like Hanabi) their status is more a "Schrodinger's Cat" kind of thing; just because I haven't mentioned a significant other doesn't mean that they don't exist.
-If you're worried about any character I haven't mentioned like, say, Iruka (again, I couldn't cover everybody), rest assured that they are doing okay and they didn't die offscreen.
And given that the story began with Jiraiya and Tsunade, I felt that it would be appropriate if it ended with them. Plus, since the chapter begins with one of the two main couples, Naruto and Hinata, it would be fitting if it closed with the other main couple as well.
Thanks to Ookami88 for betareading this chapter.
FINAL AUTHOR'S NOTES
And thus, after a long process that lasted more than four years, this story finally comes to an end. On one side, I feel relieved that this monster of a story is finally over, and I can now rest for a little. Seriously, I don't even remember what's to sit down in front of the PC and being able to relax without any writing commitment gnawing at the back of my mind. Though on the other side, I'm a little sad, given that I spent so much time working on this, and for the most part, I had a lot of fun writing it.
Looking back, I see many things that I'm very proud of (like Hinata's character arc), others that I could have done better (like the jinchuriki arcs) and others that I lament I wasn't able to do at all (like the aforementioned Yakumo arc). Though, if there's one thing I didn't regret doing, is the team formations. Or at least, putting Naruto and Hinata in the same team. Had I left the teams untouched (and put Haku, Karin and Tamaki on the same team) I would have to come up with something to switch Hinata and Sakura, because man, I REALLY love to write Hinata, especially with Naruto, while writing Sakura was always such a chore that filled me with dread.
Now, before you ask, I want to get this out of the way: no, I don't plan to write anything else related to this story, or even Naruto in general, so don't ask if I'm going to adapt Boruto, given that I exhausted my last Naruto creative juices writing this. Hell, I was basically writing the last arc while running on fumes, because I didn't want to leave this story unfinished when I was so close to the end.
When I began writing this story, I had many goals that I wanted to accomplish, such as a fully fleshed out relationship between Naruto and Hinata, patching many plotholes from canon, Hinata getting the Tenseigan, saving Fu and giving her a big role, making Sasuke more likeable and giving him the kind of relationship with Itachi he never had in canon... and while looking back, I can see I could have done some things better, in the end I'm satisfied with the final result, so I don't feel the need to write anymore Naruto.
I know many of you wanted to see more things, like maybe this version's story of Naruto and Hinata's wedding, or the battle against Momoshiki and Kinshiki, but no, the story ends here, at least on my part. As you know from Hanabi Gaiden, I allow other writers to write oneshots/sidestories of this fanfic, so if you want to see the above mentioned events or even write a sequel, you can write it yourself. Before you discuss the details with me first, of course.
Even if I'm no longer going to write for Naruto, I do plan to keep on writing, since it's something I enjoy a lot. My next fanfic more than likely will be about the Pokemon Anime (Amourshipping FTW!), though I'd also like to write stuff for Star Wars, My Hero Academia and Miraculous Ladybug. Though, one thing is sure, even if I do plan to update my stories regularly, I'm not going to keep a regular schedule like with this story. Not only did it cause me a lot of stress and some friction with the betareaders, but I think I spoiled the readers updating so often and always on schedule. I dont want my stories to be taken for granted.
Thanks to my betas Grimlock987, gio08 and especially Ookami88, who betaread more than half the chapters of this story.
Also thanks to FoxBlueReaver, Darth Caesar, Gamemaster and Kagetsuki88 at TVTropes for keeping the TVTropes page of this fanfic always updated, as for their work on the amazing character page (I know other people contributed to the page as well, but those four are the ones that do more often and thus their names stand out the most).
Of course, thanks a lot to all the people who left a review on this story. Seriously, the fact that this story has literally thousands of reviews makes me super happy. When I started writing this, I considered getting more than five hundred reviews a success, so this went beyond my wildest dreams.
And lastly, even if the chances of him reading this are close to zero, thanks to Mashashi Kishimoto for writing Naruto. I know I criticized him a lot regarding plot holes, plot decisions, characters and the like, but even with all its flaws, I still think that Naruto was a great story and I wouldn't have written this fic (which I consider deep down a huge love letter to Naruto) if I didn't like and enjoy Naruto to begin with (and that's part of the reason of why I won't write a sequel covering Boruto).
I guess that's all. I know that some of you expressed sadness of seeing this story ending, but hey, it was inevitable. No story can last forever. It was either that, or being abandoned. Instead, take joy it was the former (I'm sure all of you already know how frustrating it feels when a writer stops updating their story for whatever reason). So I hope once you finish reading, you find at least some satisfaction and closure. Plus hey, I'm going to take your sadness as a compliment: it means that this story didn't outstay its welcome. At least nobody's saying "ugh, thank goodness it's finally over", which was my reaction to the Naruto manga finally ending.
Now, I bid all of you goodbye. Until we meet again.
SON OF THE SANNIN
Written by Ander Arias
October 11th, 2016 – March 24th, 2021
Thank you for reading!