Note: Thanks again, so much, for all the reviews! I too love this pairing, and older Naruto is such a joy to write.

After giving it some thought, I realized that all this fic needs is an epilogue, no matter how much I'd like to write more for it.

You're the one true thing I know I can believe in
Sarah McLachlan - Push

The leaves were turning when the Hokage took a wife. She wore a kimono of white and at her best friend's insistence, had roses in her hair. Nearly the entire village came, but the most important ones were his close family and friends. Those ones gathered well into the night at their former instructor's house; laughing, drinking, and telling tales both true and with no basis in reality.

There was only one person missing, and he couldn't say that he didn't think of his former friend from time to time. But his wife and the joy she wore bright and alive in her face captured most all of his attention. He scarcely left her side, except for her occasional trips to the bathroom (which the others didn't let him escape from teasing as they demanded to know why he didn't just follow her in there as well).

Gifts were exchanged, and the moments weren't without their laughter, tears, and annoyance. Some of them were appropriate and others quite useless, but he wasn't any less pleased with those than the others. Advice was given (both good and bad), toasts were created (sometimes just for the excuse to drink), and games were played (some revealing more about your friend than you actually wanted to know). He kept it all inside, squiring it away in his memory to take out for a day when he forgot what it all meant.

He ate until he thought he was going to be sick, laughed until he cried, and all the while, kept her foremost in his mind, careful not to drink too much so that he could be lucid for later when they were alone. They shared secrets when their eyes met, love when their fingers touched as they passed, and lust while they danced. And the joy of it all, with it's imperfections whirled them both from one moment to the next.

Someone drank too much and couldn't make it to the bathroom; someone fell asleep on another; and someone started a fight only to remember where they were and to save their grievances for later. Romances not well known were revealed, marriages were solidified, and the beginning of romances began with them all privileged enough to be witness. Through it all, he remembered why he loved this village, it's people, and the quick, unforgiving jolt of living.

Much later in the night, when they were alone as the night fell around them, they gave unselfishly of themselves as they came together. Weary from the celebrations, they fell asleep wrapped in each other, unaware that this first time together was all it took to create life.

It was he that would fall asleep after her, unable to help himself from watching her peaceful in dreams. And as his eyes slipped shut, he laced his fingers with hers and remembered to share with her the one true thing that had never changed. I love you.