Chapter 22

Hey all. I got some very interesting reviews for my last chapter, but I'm thankful for all of them. Though, a few of them did scare me, namely, those that wanted Naruto to go straight to Heaven, leaving the girls to rot, or that the girls should be beat to a pulp. I DO NOT CONDONE THE BEATING OF WOMEN! It sickens me whenever I hear about a man beating on his wife or girlfriend, I can't stand it! I also got one or two that were concerned about the direction this story was taking. Again, don't worry, you must have faith in me, the story will not end darkly. As for two endings, I'm a little hesitant to do that because I really don't like dark stories, even though they can be fun to write occasionally. However, I did have a sudden random thought as I was reading some fics. If fire techniques are the Uchiha specialty, does that make them pyros? I can just imagine it…

Sasuke-You're lousy and stupid dobe.


Sakura-Don't call Sasuke-kun a bastard, Naruto!

Naruto-Ohhh Sasukeee…

Sasuke-What do you want, dobe?

(Naruto holds up lighter with uchiha fan on it)

Sasuke-No! He has the precious! Give it backs to us!

Naruto-No! it is evil, look at it, it has taken control of your mind! It must be destroyed!

Sasuke-No!(Attacks Naruto. Anime dustcloud appears, before Sasuke emerges triumphantly. He then moves to corner of screen and crouches, flicking the lighter on and off)yes! Our precious is returned to us! Pretty colors…

Naruto-I…Was too weak…to destroy the lighter. However, it is a burden only I can bear, it must be destroyed.

(pushes Sasuke off of a cliff while the Angsty Avenger(Sasuke's new name) continues to play with the lighter) I have succeeded in my quest! I am free to go home. (Walks home)

Sakura- Sasuke-kun! (Jumps in after Angsty Avenger)

Kakashi-(looks up from book) Where the hell is everybody?

Of course, this is purely speculation. There is no guarantee that this would take place, but there might be a remote possibility. Of course, Sasuke would never have mental issues, and Sakura is not, at least in the beginning, a weakling pining after the Angsty Avenger. You know, I should really get a band to play the superhero song everytime I say that. (Duh Duh-Duh Duh!) Angsty Avenger, Away!

Okay, enough screwing around. I got to leave for third now… Back again, now boys and girls, it's storytime!

Naruto trudged back into the castle, his clothes soaked and muddied from the rain. He was tired, tired of al of the bullshit he had to deal with. He just wanted to get away, but he couldn't not yet, he couldn't break a promise he'd made. Death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain. (A/N this is a phrase I borrowed from the Wheel of Time series, so don't sue, please). He made his way to his room, ignoring the disgusted looks he was receiving from the Daimyo's honor guard due to his uncleanliness.

He began packing the rest of his gear. He didn't really care if he was leaving early. The sooner he finished his mission, the sooner he could die.

Stuffing the last shirt in, he cinched the duffel bag closed and slid his door open, only to come face to face with Kyuubi.

The two of them stared at each other, the silence between them deafening. Then Kyuubi saw his pack. "So you're leaving?" He didn't answer. "Of course you are, and my guess is that you weren't planning on telling anybody, save maybe for you're grandfather, but only because he's the Daimyo." Again, no response.

The silence between them resumed shortly afterward. Naruto stared at her, his eyes darting occasionally to the huge bruise left on her throat. Kyuubi cleared her throat, looking at him nervously. Unconsciously, she began to inch away as she said, "I'm sorry." This time there was a reaction, "I've heard that before, but no matter what people say, they don't change."

"You have," Kyuubi responded quietly, "and not in a good way, either. I'm scared for you, actually, all of us are. You're no longer cheerful, laughing, nothing! You've turned into an emotionless killing machine, like Itachi used to be!"

Naruto's chakra flared, "Why is that? Why do you think I became like this? You and the others made me what I am! You guys were the reason I was training so hard, but you were also what kept me from going so hard as to kill myself. I realized I needed to get stronger quickly, and so trained as much as I could, as often as I could. I figured that by the time I'd killed the last few demons and the Akatsuki, I wouldn't have to train for the rest of my life, and we could relax and start a family!"

Kyuubi stared at him, her crimson eyes unblinking, before she closed them tightly, tears starting to leak out. "I'm sorry… I'm so sorry." She leaned against the doorframe as sobs wracked her body.

Naruto felt his hard exterior melt a little bit as he watched the woman weeping before him. As if it had a mind of its own, his body reached out and wrapped hers in a hug. She stiffened at the touch, before relaxing and gripping the front of his already-soaked shirt. Naruto's tails gently wrapped around her, save for one…

Kyuubi's face turned turnip red, and she looked up at Naruto, who was sliently cursing the return of his perverted appendage. Giggling a little bit, she grabbed Naruto's head in her hands and pulled him in for a kiss.

And that was how they were found by the other girls, making out in Naruto's doorway, with Naruto's tails wrapped around Kyuubi, save for one, which was copping a feel of her behind.

A few minutes later, all of them were sitting in Naruto's room talking. The boy had been shocked at their apologies, but had forgiven them nonetheless. For some reason, he felt like he could fly, there was a light feeling in his chest that made him feel like he was about to burst. When he asked Temari about it, she had giggled and said, "Silly, that's when you feel extreme happiness or love." While the others talked around him, naruto silently contemplated what he felt. He knew he had loved them all beforehand, but that had shattered when they had left him. However, he still got the feeling when he looked at each of them, and if what temari said was right, then he loved them even more so than before.

That night, Naruto didn't leave, and for some strange reason, none of the girls were in their rooms.

After saying their goodbyes to Ryu, the group headed back for Konoha. This time, they were a much happier lot, talking and laughing. The only interruption was a two-tailed weasel, the second to last of Kyuubi's rivals, which was dispatched with relative ease.

As they camped down the night before reaching Konoha, Naruo started as someone joined him in his sleeping bag. Smelling fox on the person, Naruto asked, "Kyuubi, what are you doing?" Even in the pitch dark of his tent, Naruto knew she was smiling. "Well, you said you wanted a family, so I figured that we might as well get started. However, in return, you are to get married to us within the month, is that clear?"

Naruto chuckled, "Yes, ma'am." And silenced her righteous indignation with a kiss, which gradually became more heated.

Congratulations for all of you who wanted a lemon. I will be posting the lemon on AFF the same time that I post this, so keep an eye out, ok? I'll put a link to my author page on my profile.

The next morning, a light mist covered the ground surrounding the forest, making the weather unusually chill. The sun shone a pale gold in place of the usual vibrant yellow. The hairs on the back of Naruto's neck stood up as he walked through the forest with the girls.

They formed a basic coloumn, with Naruto at the head, Sakura and Hinata behind him guarding the flanks, behind them was Anko and Kurenai, Ino, Temari, Tenten, Ayame, and Kyuubi. Kit and Kyrie were holding up the rear, using their advanced senses to keep an eye out from behind. The girls weren't focused on their duties, however, as they were far too occupied by glaring at Kyuubi, who was rubbing her abdomen gently.

The former demon was well aware of the fact that she was pregnant, even though it was only the day after. After all, even though she was no longer a demoness, she still had full awareness of her body and all of its functions. "So, which is it?" Temari asked, as she tore her eyes away from the red head and began scanning the woods. Kyuubi smiled softly, "It's a boy. It's definitely a boy." Tenten barked out a short laugh, "Do you think the father knows your pregnant yet?"

Kyuubi shook her head, "No, not yet, I'll tell him when he's finished what he needs to do here. There are still Akatsuki out there that need to be eliminated before we can relax, and I don't want him worrying about me too much."

Ino clucked her tongue, "Yeah well, you're not going to be the only one soon, Kyu. I intend to keep on trying until I'm pregnant as well. Not that it won't be fun in the process." Kyuubi blushed. "Ino, you are such a pervert."

Naruto's original fears were confirmed when a three-bladed scythe came flying out of the mist towards them. The girls ducked, but Naruto simply caught the scythe by the handle. "I was wondering when Akatsuki would show up again. And there are three of you this time." Indeed, three shadows came out of the mist, to reveal a tall man with white hair, his face peeved, a man that looked more like a girl, and another tall man carrying a huge sword made of scales.

"So, we have Hidan, Deidara, and Kisame all together at once. You stupid fools." Kisame growled dangerously, "And what, exactly, it is that makes us such stupid fools?" Naruto chuckled darkly as his chakra began to spread around him, red, blue, gold, and black, all mixing together, "Because now I have something worth protecting…And I will never leave them!"

Twisting the scythe in his grip, Naruto hurled it towards Hidan piercing him in the shoulder and side, pinning him to a tree. Kisame snarled and charged Naruto, but stopped when a flash caught him in the stomach. Kisame coughed up a huge gout of blood, but couldn't recover properly before he was caught by a spin kick to the side of his head sending him crashing to the ground.

Naruto then leapt up, avoiding Deidara's explosive bird. Spinning, he dodged the kunai, that a now-free Hidan had thrown. Flashing through handseals, he cried out "Naruto Pinball Combo!" A seal appeared in mid-air underneath his feet, and he leaped off of it, disappearing in a yellow flash.

Suddenly, yellow streaks surrounded Kisame, and the shark-like man began to grow cuts and bruises all over his body, before collapsing. Naruto appeared, breathing barely affected, as he brought one of his kamas up to defend against Hidan's scythe. The man curled his lip at Naruto, "You may have beaten Kisame, but I am invincible, I can recover from any wound you give me!" Naruto smirked, despite the fact that there was a scythe blade mere centimeters from his face, "Really? We have something in common, then. Too bad I have to kill you."

Locking his kama underneath a blade, Naruto spun, ripping the weapon from Hidan's grasp. Following through with his motion, he pulled out his second kama and cut Hidan in half from the groin to the head. Quickly making seals, he burned the body to ashes before Hidan had a chance to regenerate.

His extra precaution cost him, though, as one of Deidara's explosives caught him from behind, throwing him forward into a tree. The girly-man smirked, "That was good, yeah. True artwork." "You call that artwork? I thought art was the creation of something, not the destruction of it." Naruto brought himself back to his feet.

Deidara sneered, "It's called an artistic license, brat. Now, enough screwing around. Come with me, I'm tired of having to fucking track you everywhere." "Really? My heart bleeds for you. And I don't see what the point is in me going with you is, anyway. The nine-tailed fox no longer resides in me. I am Kyuubi."

Deidara began to sweat, "The demon took over?" "No, you dumbshit! I absorbed her powers! Kami, how fucking retarded do you have to be?" Deidara grimaced, "Then what happened to the demon?"

Looking around, his eyes caught on Kyu, and he smirked. "You little bastard, so that's what happened. Well, Let's see how your girlfriend likes my art!"

A clay pigeon burst from his hand towards Kyu. It never made it to its intended target, as Naruto crushed it quickly in his hand. Black flames spread from his free hand as the Soul Reaper appeared, its haunting song filling the air. "Deidara of the Akatsuki, you have been found guilty of crimes against life. Your punishment is therefore death."

Naruto charged the cloaked man, his first slash barely being dodged. Deidara saw his opportunity in Naruto's overextended lunge, and began to mold more clay with lightning speed. It never finished. Naruto reversed his grip on the scythe, and brought it around the way it came. The blade cut through the body bloodlessly, instead ripping out the shade of Deidara. The shade screamed silently, a look of pure agony on its face. Once the shade was free of the shell, a black hand reached forth from beyond space and time and collected it. The shell of Deidara collapsed to the ground, eyes still wide open, but was quickly burned by Anko, while Kurenai took care of Kisame.

The chakra aura subsided, and the scythe disappeared. Suddenly exhausted, Naruto began to tilt on his feet, but was supported by Sakura and Ayame, both of whom gave him a loving smile. He smiled weakly back at them, and they made their way towards Konoha.

I know, I know, I made them make up rather quickly, but I don't have a whole lot of time left in this story, so I wanted to make sure I was able to continue on. My brain has totally been fried writing this, so please forgive me. Naruto has so far killed I think, four Akatsuki, with four more to go, as Itachi is no longer a member. And as for one of my reviewers' worries about whether or not the epilogue was a sequel, no its not. It's just just an epilogue. 25 chapters of story, with an extra chapter telling what happens later. But, I still think the Left hand of Kami is more popular than this, at least for where it is now. Anyways, I have to go and post this and the lemon now, so, bye.