Letter from the Author:
So as you all must have realized by now, I have long since retired from the shiny world of fanfiction. However, I have gotten a number of very nice emails over the years asking me to summarize the would-be endings of my still open fics.
This is a kind of Frankenstein ending that consists of my past notes for this story, which summarizes the ending, and partials of the scenes that I had written out for an epilogue. (I am looking at this stuff from years ago and fighting a violent urge to burn everything, despite their being computer files… but I tried to preserve most of it for consistency sakes.)
While I know this isn't what all my readers were waiting for, I do hope it will provide some closure. Of course, those of you who do not care for this form are free to ignore and imagine your own endings. If you are so inclined, please feel free to share them in a review or an email. I would love to hear about them.
I very much enjoyed writing fanfiction for the Naruto universe, a fandom I had been a part of since I was genin-age. Now that Naruto has grown up, I am ducking out of fanfiction retirement in this limited capacity to pay respects to an important part of my own childhood.
Thank you, everyone, for being a part of it too.
Give You Back: A First Second Love
(Here's a summary of the final chapter, followed by a written out epilogue for the story featuring Sasuke's son and Naruto's son. Please enjoy.)
Notes for the Final Chapter:
Amoto is held hostage at kunai point. Madara tells Sasuke to kill Naruto in exchange for the boy's safety. Naruto begs him, "If you love me, please, please kill me."
But Madara underestimates the determination of a seven-year-old boy – the son of Naruto and the namesake of Sasuke. Amoto fatally presses himself into the kunai to save Sasuke from the impossible choice of having to kill his father. Amoto dies, saying, "I'm sorry I said you didn't have anybody, Uchiha-san, you have me... you will always have me..."
Naruto and Hinata mourn, especially Naruto who is unable to resume his hokage work for many months, but finally they have to move on for the sake of the child who is born on the same day Amoto died. The newborn, a daughter, is named "Imouto", which means younger sister despite the fact that she's now the eldest child.
Sasuke, however, cannot move on because he had severed all his bonds to kill Itachi. The only bond left, the one that had kept him human during his horrible years as an avenger, was his love for Naruto. Even that, however, he had resigned to deny himself for the sake of Amoto, who Sasuke had loved in a way he had not loved even his dobe. In his way, Sasuke had loved Amoto without wanting or expecting anything, without blame or restraint. Now that bond is gone too. He had given up Naruto because he wanted to protect Naruto's son and Naruto's son had died because Sasuke had come back to Konoha after ten years.
So Amoto's death does what killing Itachi or even being rejected by Naruto could not do. It breaks Uchiha Sasuke into a million pieces.
Sasuke reveals to Naruto that he once came back to Konoha for him before the forbidden jutsu had been used, but he could not bring himself to go see him though he got as far as standing in front of his hospital room door. He tells him that he was equally late to save Amoto, and he will forever rather be dead than to live knowing he was late and late again behind closed doors and locked windows. So Naruto is forced to use the forbidden jutsu on Sasuke to save his best friend's life. And their ten-year-old love is put back into the dark for good.
As time heals these wounds, Sasuke eventually marries and has a son. Naruto and Hinata have another son the same age as well…
Epilogue (following the events of the story):
Haruno Sakura knew why sixteen-year-old Marika was smiling.
Ever since the Madara incident, Sakura had difficulty moving her right hand. Her right eye blinked two seconds later than she meant it to. The hearing of her right ear was terrible. It had meant the pink-haired kunoichi could no longer continue her duties as a medical nin, in which precision was the absolute key. But Sakura had never once lamented this fact because she hadn't wanted to cry for anything other than Amoto's death. She had gone into teaching, for children reminded her of Naruto's late son, Konoha's son, and gave her great comfort. Her beauty and intelligence and even her temper had endeared her to the academy children and Iruka sensei often joked about how her popularity was enough to endanger his own career.
And the past ten years of teaching had given the pink-haired woman special insights into her friends' children. That is why she knew certain habits of Marika better than maybe the kid's own mother.
Nara Marika, Shikamaru's daughter, had grown into a great beauty – one to join the legendary ranks of Tsunade and Hinata before her. She had her father's dark luxurious hair and her mother's figure. And, at sixteen, she was already one of the greatest strategists amongst the anbu and was especially ruthless when it came to tracking down missing nins. Adding to her immaculate image was the fact that she rarely spoke outside of meetings and never smiled.
But Sakura knew this was wrong. Marika only smiled in one person's presence. Sure enough, moments later, the hokage and his family appeared in the academy grounds. Naruto had grown out his hair, so that the sun-bright locks fell about his face – perfect for his seven-year-old son to use as reins when he was riding the kitsune's shoulders as the child was doing now. Uzumaki Hamono whooped like a cowboy and his father muttered something to his wife, something that had Hyuuga Hinata burst into giggles that she muffled into Naruto's shoulder. Hand in hand with Hinata was Marika's one precious person: Uzumaki Imouto.
At age ten, Imouto was the eldest of Naruto and Hinata's children – but her name, of course, meant "younger sister". Sakura agreed with the other teachers when they said that her spirit was half Amoto's: she was extremely precocious, already having graduated the ninja academy at the head of her class; she was loud and cocky, bragging to anyone who couldn't escape that she'd be hokage in her father's place within a couple years; and she specialized in wind and fire element jutsus, which matched her temper just fine but not her looks – her short glossy blue-black hair, her ivory-white skin, and her heavenly blue eyes. Imouto was fiercely protective of her younger brother and would fight it out with anyone, but had a soft spot for Marika.
Just then, Imouto's round blue eyes lit up when she realized her shadow was dancing without her. Immediately understanding the message, the child released her mother's hand and was bounding across the academy yard towards her mentor and friend. For her part, Marika was still smiling her very rare smile.
"Marika-nee, can I come with you on your next mission datteba?" Imouto launched herself into the older girl's arms and practically bleated, "I promise I'll be super stealthy as I blast the enemy into smithereens with my awesome cool jutsus and stuff. I'll even leave some bad guys for you to take out with your shadows."
Marika shook her head. "Isn't there a safe D-ranked mission your team was assigned? Something suitable for genins?"
"Oh, my still being a genin is pure technicality. They just wanted to wait a little longer before they fired pop and put me in his place, you know? For old time's sake? Anyway, D-ranked missions are so boring! Boring times boring! Why can't I fight missing nins with you? I'll give them a POW and then a BOOM and maybe some BASH-IN-FACE and they will be like, 'Noooo,' and I will be like 'Muhahaha, I am so good!' and you'll be all impressed and stuff."
Sakura's attention was stolen then by Naruto and Hinata approaching her. Hamono was trying to duck behind the hokage's head, darting suspicious looks her way.
"Sakura-chan, I guess I will be entrusting you with another Uzumaki." Naruto held out his hand and the pink-haired girl clasped it.
"I didn't know you could make it to the Academy Entrance Ceremony, Naruto."
"Oh, yeah, Konohamaru is holding down the fort while I'm gone."
Sakura made a face. "He's crying right now, isn't he?"
"Yeah. Probably," the handsome blond man admitted.
"Daaaaad," Hamono urgently hissed into his father's ear and flashed Sakura another accusing look, "ask her if she has to assign homework. I dun need that stuff."
Hinata bowed gracefully towards Sakura. "Sensei, please take care of our son. Please assign homework."
"Mooooooom," Hamono stage-whispered, "the opposite of that! The opposite of that!"
The adults' laughter was interrupted by Yamanaka Ino clearing her throat and teasing, "My, my, never thought I'd see the day when I turned my little prince over to big-forehead-girl."
"Ino-pig," the pink-haired girl replied cheerfully, "never thought I'd see the day when you actually got married and had kids, so I guess the surprise is all mine."
The two women embraced, finally pulling away to make room in the circle for Uchiha Sasuke and his son, Yamanaka Seisuke.
When ninjas were being assigned to help Uchiha Sasuke recover from the forbidden jutsu, Sakura had outright refused to take the job. Her love for Sasuke, while as strong as ever, would never be that simple romantic infatuation again; more importantly, she didn't want it to be that simple romantic infatuation ever again. If Naruto's bond with Sasuke was torn, Sakura wanted hers to be torn too – so the old Team Seven could recreate their bond anew. So she had been wholly glad when, out of all the Konoha kunoichi that vied for the gorgeous raven-haired man's affections, Ino had been the one to claim it and Sasuke joined the Yamanaka clan. Ino had always been smart with her love: though she loved deeply and passionately, she could also turn her love off when situations called for it – an ability that Sakura herself had never possessed.
Furthermore, it was no secret that Sasuke had always had a thing for feisty blondes with large blue eyes.
"Sakura," the raven-haired shinobi, looking as elegant and deadly as ever, nodded towards his son's would-be teacher, "Hinata and… Naruto."
Hinata's acknowledgement was sincere and sweet. "How are you, Sasuke?"
Sasuke's answer too was sincere if not sweet. "Hnn."
"Naruto, are you balding?" Ino crowed.
"No, it's because this brat keeps pulling out tufts of my hair," the hokage lowered a wiggling Hamono to the ground.
And there was a long pause before Sasuke spoke.
"Don't blame your child for your failed hairline, usuratonkachi."
"TEME, JUST BECAUSE YOU GROW OUT YOUR BANGS SO OTHERS CAN'T FREAKING SEE YOUR HAIRLINE!"
While their respective wives tried to intervene on the two most powerful ninjas of Konoha making war over premature baldness, Sakura realized a very sullen Hamono was squaring off against an equally sullen Seisuke.
Hamono and Sei, which Seisuke's almost always went by, were sources of endless fascination for the adults of Konoha. Hamono could have been a child Naruto's shadow bunshin, except for his white eyes – Byakugan, like his mother. Sei, too, was Sasuke's spitting image, save his narrowed light blue eyes – Ino's, if bubbly Ino were ever that hostile. Though their families were great friends and worked closely together, the two boys never seemed to share a word with each other. And it was rather too obvious that they loathed the other's very being. Sei's eyes were positively twitching and Hamono was all out growling.
Haruno Sakura supposed that she'd find out the reason behind this animosity soon enough. Tomorrow, she'd become their homeroom teacher and introduce the boys to academy training.
Uzumaki Hamono knew his archrival Yamanaka Sei had entered the academy grounds without having to turn around and see the raven-haired boy trailing his red-eyed father. As always, the jerk announced his presence in the blond boy's head, a clear misuse of the Yamanaka's clan's mind transfer jutsu if any.
Dobe, why are you riding your father's shoulder as if you were four?
In response, Hamono thought hard of a hundred Ebisu sensei's giving Sei the finger – a sign that his otherwise gentle mother had warned him never to make again.
Even your response reminds me of when you were four.
Hamono furiously thought back an image of his own four-year-old self, extra buff and with Gaara's pretty red-haired daughter Ai-chan hanging from his arm, along with Sei's four-year-old self, albeit much weaker and sickly looking – reminding the jerk that, even though Sei was three months older, they were the same age.
Hung up on some girl from an enemy village. How typical.
Over the noise of their parents' arguing, Hamono thought back to the last festival celebrating Konoha's continued alliance with Suna. In response, he got a clear image in his head of himself, tripping out of his yukata in front of cute, so cute, Ai-chan. His butt-naked backside was revealed for all the world to see, because Sei had purposefully stepped on the end of his robe.
That's why Hamono was fuming as Naruto plucked him from his shoulders and finally set him down in front of Sei, who looked extremely smug with his light blue eyes gloating.
Darn him. Hamono knew the rooster head had done that on purpose!
Growling, Naruto's son imagined hard Sei being blown up by a bazooka.
Eyes twitching, Sasuke's son sent images of Hamono being zapped by a lazer-eyed robot and having a rain of missiles fall on him from a passing fighter jet.
Only after both boys had been killed umpteen times by Godzillas, the creature from Ring one and two, and X-men; dressed in diapers and then Gai sensei's outfits; and finally subjected to humiliating memories from each other's toddler years, did Sei send his final message – before whispering to his father that he was going to the bathroom.
Meet me in the Academy classroom. It should be empty now. Come alone, dobe, unless you are too chicken.
Hamono was seething. He barely had enough breath to tell his own father that he needed to take a dump too, before stomping after Sei.
Naruto's son had always hated Sei's guts. From the crib. There was just no way around it. He wasn't that good-looking and his personality was terrible, but the girls seemed to go for him and the boys wanted to be his friend for absolutely no reason since Sei was a freak who never played – he just studied. Before coming into the academy, Sasuke's son had mastered several mind-body techniques of the Yamanaka clan, possessed a near encyclopedic knowledge of ninja plants, and was skilled in genjutsu like his mother and father – when genjutsu was Hamono's big weakness. Worse, Sei wasn't going to be modest about it either, sending Hamono his creepy mind-to-mind messages in passing about his progress when Hamono had spent the day playing video games and kick-the-can with his friends. And, finally, the rooster head was always bragging about how strong and great his father was when it was common knowledge that Hamono's father was the strongest and the greatest.
Duh. That's why he was hokage and that's why everybody had to listen to the hokage. Except, of course, his mom. But moms were strong by default so that didn't count.
And now they had to go to school together? Be in the same class? See each other even more, when there was enough family gatherings to drive the little blond crazy already?
Hamono didn't think so. He'd have it out with Sei once and for all.
Sei impatiently waited for that human annoyance Hamono in their would-be new classroom. The little prodigy had sensed his father knew something was up and might come to find him – so he'd have to make this fast and dispose of the body somehow, in a place where even Sasuke's red eyes could not find. Sei wished his father would explain about those eyes already, so he could prepare for occasions such as this, but Sei knew better than anyone how loathe Sasuke was to talk about them. As if he hated them somehow, even though they were awesome. His father was just that much cooler than even the hokage and if only that little runt Hamono would acknowledge it too, he wouldn't get under Sei's skin so much…
To the young prodigy, Hamono was nothing – just a screw-up with too loud a voice and too bright a hair, who played pranks to cover up how stupid he really was. In Sei's mind, Hamono simply rode the coattails of his successful family. What was that great about blood line limits, anyway? Who but superficial dumbasses really cared about what clan someone was from? But always someone was blabbing on and on about how watching Hamono was like watching the hokage grow up again or how the great Neji-sama had taken his nephew under his wing to train in the ancient Hyuuga arts or how Hamono's Byakugan was flawless without a blind spot…
If Hamono's eyes were so darn great, then how come the dobe was such a dobe?
Because what really grated Yamanaka Sei about Naruto's son was the fact that, once when they were arguing about whether a toad with a sword could kick a snake's butt, Hamono had suddenly blurted, "Your dad's chakra's real funny."
No, it's not. Why do you say that?
Sei always used the jutsu with Hamono if he could, because there was no one else he could communicate with as effortlessly this way as he could with the blunt, stupid Hamono – not even his mother and grandfather, with whom he shared his abilities. And Sei liked to practice. That was all…
"It is so!" The blond had pouted. "Whenever he comes near my dad, his chakra turns red."
What color is chakra supposed to be?
"I mean, I always see it as blue. Except my dad's chakra. His is red all the time."
And that had made Sei furious enough to actually move his lips, "Are you implying red chakra is supposed to be better, dobe?"
"I didn't say it was better!" Hamono crossed his thin tan arms. "It's… it's really weird. Like, my dad's red chakra is everywhere. In his head. In his stomach. In his heart. Like fire. And your dad's… well, at least, when my dad's around, his chakra gets all red but stops from being a fire. As if it's frozen."
And Sei had slugged the little bastard because, where did he get off calling his dad's chakra red but frozen? They'd been enemies every since. Not even when Marika, the heir to the Nara family with whom Sei expected to work with in the future, had tried to get the boys to patch things up.
Sei and Hamono were just not meant to be. And that was that.
Having arrived in the classroom, Hamono crotched on the desk and stared with blatant disapproval at the raven-haired boy sitting woodenly before him. Sei glared up into the creamy orbs of the other boy with equal dislike. Electricity sparked the air. They had been engaged in this silent face off for some time now, waiting for the other to flinch.
But that moment, the desk that had withstood years of abuse and neglect from generations of genin suddenly decided to give once and for all. It sent an unsuspecting Hamono sprawling forward, his lips firmly planted themselves on Sei's. Both boys fell to the ground as the desk finished unloading Hamono on top of his archrival. Two pairs of white and blue eyes widened in absolute disgust.
Hamono ended up flinching first, ripping his lips away as a red blush dominated his cheek. "S-sorry. That was clearly an accident-"
But before Hamono could slide off the other boy's chest, Sei's arms shot up to grab the blonde's collar. That was the split second before Hamono experienced his second kiss.
"You think you can mess with my mind just by kissing me?" Sei demanded, and might have seemed cool save the tint of pink that spread across his pale cheeks. "Guess again… usuratonkachi."
"What did you call me… teme?!"
As the two soon-to-be Academy students began to verbally and physically argue, a red clock of destiny that had been frozen slowly began to tick again…
Tick. A first kiss.
Tick. A second kiss.
Tick tock. A first love a second time.
Thanks for reading!