Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to Naruto nor the artwork of Sora Omote

Blue Skies

Epilogue


Kakashi sighed.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and best of all he had an adorable-especially-when-flustered boyfriend. A boyfriend who had no classes to teach today and he himself had taken a sick leave from training his team, because he really was quite ill, really. Cough. See?

So, sick as he was, he had planned to spend all day bed-ridden with his boyfriend, playing "Doctor."

That is, until Iruka closed the door on his face, blushing and muttering something about grading papers. The aforementioned door hadn't budged since, no matter how much the jounin pawed at it.

That was several hours ago, in which Kakashi gave up trying to get into his boyfriend's pa-…house. His dolphin could be quite abstinent when he wanted to be, which left him with his other love: Icha Icha Paradise.

Settled in a nice tree with a perfect view of a certain chuunin's front door, he had proceeded to indulge in his text, except the main protagonist no longer had brown hair, but gray, and the female lead now had a cute scar across her nose. And was male. And they were going at it like rabbits on speed. Yes, all was right with the world.

"I take it from that look on your face you're having another sick fantasy about Iruka."

His visible eye swung lazily to the left, where he knew the busty form of Tsunade was mimicking his position against the tree trunk on the next branch over.

"Ah, Hokage-sama. How do you know it is Iruka-sensei whom I'm fantasizing about?"

Tsunade rolled her eyes. Trust Kakashi to not even deny that he's having sexual fantasies. Truly a follower of that pervert Jiraiya and his books. Momentarily, she wondered what he would do if she banned those books from Konoha, but then decided it was more trouble than it was worth.

"Please, Kakashi. I have never seen you turn in so many mission reports on time. And each time you leave, Iruka's redder than a tomato. I'd appreciate it if you don't harass my helpers during their work hours."

Meaning any other time is fine…

The jounin's smile widened, though Tsunade did not see it due to his mask.

"So, to what else do I owe this personal visit? I am on sick leave, if you do not know Hokage-sama."

The sennin waved her manicured hand at him in a relaxed manner.

"Calm down. There are no missions. And I would never dream of putting a sick ninja into battle," The look she gave him clearly stated what she thought of his "illness." Kakashi smiled, then coughed loudly for good measure.

Tsunade kept from rolling her eyes again, looking through the leafy branches at the village instead. The village. Her village. Every building and every person inhabiting them were under her protection. And she would risk her life for all of them. Except when she couldn't.

"How is he? The brat."

She turned to look at the jounin when he did not answer, and frowned to see he seemed fully immersed in his perverted book again. But she knew better, seeing how he lacked the normal mischievous look in his eye. He was waiting. Technically, Tsunade outranked him (heck, she outranked everyone in the village), and could force the answer out of him. But some days, days like these, she wanted to forget all that, all her responsibilities, her title. Sighing, Tsunade leaned back to stretch further along the branch.

"Hunter and Mika just turned in their report. All people present believe that it was a show put on by the owner as a surprise for his customers. I spoke to them before they returned to their posts."

She paused, and still hearing no sounds from the gray-haired instructor, continued.

"The two of them had been hired by that club owner almost as soon as it was opened several years back, so it's no surprise they didn't recognize Naruto at first. From what they described, even if they had known, it would have been hard to tell. They say it was like he was a completely different person."

She paused again. Still no reaction. Frustration gnawed at her. She had never been a patient woman, vouching more for noise and action. With that, she kicked the branch Kakashi was so precariously perched on, using just enough of her super strength to shake the man over the side. She watched with small satisfaction as the jounin was forced to drop his precious book in favor of latching onto the tree branch like a sloth to prevent his fall.

The worn book landed on the ground with a small "thwap."

Kakashi looked down longingly at his favorite novel, then up at his Hokage with watery eyes. Well, eye.

"That was mean, Hokage-sama."

Tsunade smiled sweetly.

"Tough, Kakashi. I'm sure you can live without your perverted stories long enough to tell me what I came out here to know."

Slowly, the jounin grappled the branch tightly before pulling himself right side up, brushing bits of bark off his vest before looking straight at Tsunade.

"Well, what do you think? You are the medicine nin between us."

Tsunade straightened a bit, biting her bottom lip.

"Deterioration in everyday life functions, disintegration in expressed personality, multiple personalities…as a medic, I would have to diagnose possible schizophrenia. But…"

"That would mean Naruto is crazy."

She held Kakashi's gaze for a moment before nodding. Neither said anything, but instead, contemplated the effects, and more importantly, the dangers of having someone mentally unstable in possession of the Kyuubi. It was several minutes later before Kakashi broke the silence.

"Naruto is not crazy, Hokage-sama."

Tsunade frowned. "How can you be so sure?"

Kakashi leaned back against the tree trunk, drawing one knee up against his chest as he glanced up at the patches of sunlight leaking through the foliage.

"Iruka once told me about a conversation he had with the Fifth Hokage."

/ "Iruka…can you imagine…?"

"Imagine what?"

"How it must feel…so much hatred and hostility…to be treated with an animosity so intense as to be annihilating…to have around you many who would deny you even…the right to exist…" /

Again, Tsunade found herself the focus of the jounin's piercing gaze.

"Tell me, Hokage-sama. Would you be able to survive such circumstances?"

She could not tell if it was the way he was suddenly looking at her, or her mind reeling at the situation it was envisioning, but suddenly she felt a lot colder, despite the lack of wind.

"No normal human would."

"But Naruto is not normal."

Her head snapped up at his comment, mouth already forming the questions filling her head, but he spoke before she could utter a sound.

"Whether it be the Kyuubi or sheer will, Naruto has done some amazing things; things that have surprised us all because we thought them not possible. He's a strong kid. Something like this is just…a small bump on the path of growing up."

Tsunade stared.

Kakashi smiled.

"Are you saying…this was all caused by TEEN ANGST?!"

"Yep!"

Stare.

Smile.

Tsunade kicked his tree branch again.

"Meanie!"

The sennin rolled her eyes as Kakashi clung to the underside of the branch, not bothering to help him up.

"Whether what you say is true or not, the question is will it happen again? Will 'Blue' show up again?"

"I think—"

"Sasuke! Come back here and fight m—Whoa!"

From their perch in the trees, the two ninjas watched as the Uchiha heir caught the topic of their discussion in his arms.

"Dobe."

A splash of red painted Naruto's face as he hurriedly straightened, glaring pointedly at his rival.

"Bastard!"

As the two boys continued to squabble below them, the jounin and the sennin above them glanced at each other.

"…I think you have nothing to worry about, Hokage-sama."

Tsunade watched the pair for a few more seconds, a soft smile settling on her lips as she found the blond once again filled with the energy that convinced her to give him her most precious thing. The same energy that will make him Hokage one day.

"You can't even walk right, dobe, much less beat me!"

"I can too walk right, Uchiha bastard! It's not my fault I tripped over…!"

Naruto's eyes widened.

Sasuke's eyes widened.

Iruka stepped out of his house, and his eyes widened.

Kakashi paled.

Tsunade fought down her laughter.

An orange book laid innocently in the blond boy's hand.

"I think…Kakashi…that you have much to worry about." With a wink and a grin, the female sennin bound off, leaving the jounin to the wolves, or in this case, dolphin.

"KAKASHI!!!"

Make that a very very angry dolphin.

Kakashi sighed.

And it was such a beautiful day too.

Owari

Author's Note: That's it, people! Blue Skies is officially done! Whoo!

Sorry that it took so long for this last part, but I had such Writer's Block when I got back. This is the third take on the ending! I also apologize that the quality got progressively worse near the end. ; It's rather difficult for me to write Tsunade, since I don't know her that well as a character, and Kakashi...since he's just a very complicated and annoying man. XD Kidding kidding. I love Kakashi.

Anyway, I hope everyone was satisfied with this ending, even if it may be a little OOC and there wasn't as much SasuNaru fluff as I would have liked. I tried, I really did! But the boys are determined to remain clueless. XD But that's part of what makes their interaction so cute, I guess. I hope a few things are cleared up now, and if not, uh...take your best guess! ;

But really, thank you all for your support during the whole writing process. Your words meant a lot! Really!

Okay then, until next time!

--- Inaho

Special Thanks:

To whoever it was that sent me that really long email! I'm sorry, I forgot your name, and stupid AOL got rid of the email. But you know who you are, and thanks for your constructive comments! I definately try to work on those in the future!

To whoever it was that sent me my ver first fanart!! Again, I'm sorry that I forgot your name and that my box ate up your email, but I have the picture on me computer and thanks so much! I'm an artist too, so it's really exciting to have inspired someone to draw. Thank you!

And to

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Thank you all for not only reviewing, but encouraging me to write more! You are all too cool!!