NARUTO © Kishimoto Masashi ・Shueisha ・Studio Pierrot ・TV Tokyo. All rights reserved. Non-profit fun ahead!

Note: Alternate universe. Fluffy friendship. Lots of WAFF! No pairings. You have been warned.

Down The Untrodden Path

"So, like," Naruto scratched his head, "what kind of things do Kings usually do, anyway?"

Sasuke just had to slap his own forehead.


After the coronation, they spent a good amount of time rebuilding, regrouping, and reassuring.

Yes, Orochimaru was gone for good. Yes, the Uchiha have been loyal all this time. Yes, we will be fixing up the capital. No, there will not be a war. No, the people will not suffer because the new King could not tell his left hand from his right.

Iruka and Kakashi arrived from the next town as well, Iruka to help and Kakashi to have a holiday. While Iruka had meetings (lessons, as Naruto liked to call them, seeing how Iruka shrieked at the cowed diplomats like they were his trembling students) with the council every day, the first thing Kakashi did was to find Itachi and give him a hearty, merciless slap on the back.

Watching his older brother almost stumble into the well was quite novel and very amusing, Sasuke noted to himself.

The Hyuuga arrived during the entire fray and requested for the absolving of the marriage agreement they had with the Fourth, which surprised everyone present. Now that the new King had showed up, it was naturally assumed that the marriage would go through. It was quite unlike the Hyuuga, an old and honourable clan which valued integrity more than their lives, to step down from an agreement - and such an important one at that.

But Hinata was firm in her decision. "Give me a chance to forge the agreement by myself," she muttered incomprehensibly. Although Naruto had no idea what she meant, it was not like he was going to say no. ("Yes! Sakura-chan!" He later cheered, only to be whacked upside the head by Sasuke. But nobody was going to hear of /that/ story.)

Shikamaru and Chouji dropped by often with junk food. Naruto later heard that Sasuke had pulled some rank and promoted them to palace captains instead. No wonder they were showing up every other day.

Tsunade had sobered up and joined the palace medics. And she certainly looked much happier there, Naruto was quick to observe.

As for Jiraiya, he set off on a journey after shoving his work and title to Sasuke. One year later, they would find a copy of his latest book in the mail, but that was another story for another time.

One day, Itachi vanished from the Palace. Not that he had been doing much in the aftermath anyway, but it did result in a furore of discussion which was quickly quashed when Naruto started a tirade of shouts and high-pitched wailing.

Sasuke knew where his brother went, of course, but he was certainly not telling.


"Are you sure?" Sasuke had asked Itachi on the day of his departure.

"It is too soon, Sasuke," Itachi was saying. "They still do not trust me, and my presence here will only distract them and make them grow to distrust you eventually."

"I don't care," the younger boy was stubborn. "I don't care what the others think. You did what you had to. We all did."

Itachi smiled wanly. He reached out and put a hand on Sasuke's head.

"You've done a good job, Sasuke," he congratulated the boy softly. "I'll be back when things are more settled."

With those words, he disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"Sasuke?" Naruto's head peeked out from behind a pillar. "Help, please? Iruka-sensei's scolding, I mean, discussing stuff with the council again, and I think they're just about ready to blow up the entire main hall..."

Sasuke turned around and fixed Naruto with an unreadable stare. "Isn't it about time you learnt how to do such things yourself?" He asked.

"Why should I when I have you with me?" Was Naruto's cheery answer.

Sasuke wanted to sigh, but he settled for a smile instead. He turned and walked towards the direction of the main hall, a dumbstruck Naruto trailing behind.

"You smile!" Naruto sounded delirious.

"Yes, and you stink," Sasuke retorted.

"No I don't, bastard!"

"That's what you think, moron."


"Brainless twit."


"Careful now, wouldn't want to strain your only brain cell."


And so it went on and on, down the untrodden path.

tougenkyou . net / xd

this fic was started in october 2004. it is now june 2008. has it already been almost four years? O.O throughout this entire period, i am very grateful for the support and encouragement from all the readers on ffnet. through the good times and the bad, the long delays and the sudden bursts of inspiration, you were always there, cheering for the fic to go on and putting in a helpful comment or two. thank you all so very much for being such great readers, and really hope to see you guys around! XD