"When you used to go around shouting that you were going to become the Hokage, I used to laugh at you. You're obnoxious, loud-mouthed, noisy, probably the worst ninja to send on a spying mission. I thought that you'd end up dying before you'd get this far. You'd never let yourself die. You have too much of a will for that. After all you've been through growing up. Dealing with inner demons, literally and not. You're the strongest person I know because of that. So, here at your inauguration as the Rokudaime Hokage, I've decided to tell the world about the you I've come to know as both Sabaku no Gaara and the Kazekage.
Uzumaki Naruto. You are the best at what you do. Eating ramen. (the crowd laughs) But eating ramen doesn't make you a candidate for Hokage. What makes you so special is your devotion to your village. These people viewed you as a monster and you still love them. Your dedication far surpasses mine. You inspire me. I want to be like you. Every person you get to know is changed by you forever. Supreme example includes Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura, Hyuuga Neji, and me. Your love for everyone in Konoha is your strength. I admire you for that. When you love something, you love it with your whole heart and that is what makes you so strong. I know personally how much you love this village. I can recall a battle between us that you won when I almost destroyed Konoha.
As long as you are Hokage, and doing what you do best, I will be Kazekage. Forever Konoha and Suna will be allies under our leadership. Welcome to Kage-hood, which includes piles of paperwork everyday, long days at the office, assigning dangerous missions from which your shinobi may not come back from, troublesome children who might turn out like you, and protecting your village with your whole heart. Congratulation and good luck, Uzumaki Naruto."
Gaara, the Kazekage, stepped behind his friend and pushed his forward as the crowd below cheered more and more. All of Naruto's friends cheered the loudest, even Shikamaru, who never really expected Naruto to come this far or at such a young age. Sakura and Ino were jumping around together in joy. Sasuke was the one smiling the widest for his best friend. Everyone in his class was hollering for him. Even Shino and Hinata joined Kiba, Chouji and Lee in a chant of "U-Zu-Ma-Ki." Naruto was so overwhelmed by all the people who were supporting him.
Tsunade stepped up next to Naruto. She gave him a pat on the back.
"As the Godaime Hokage, I officially turn over the title of Hokage to the one who has been waiting for this moment for long enough. Uzumaki Naruto, the Rokudaime Hokage. You truly deserve this."
The former Hokage then placed the hat on Naruto's head. Tsunade then kissed Naruto's forehead like she did when he was still a young boy and had convinced her to be the new Hokage. The blond man just couldn't take it anymore. In front of the entire village, he broke out in tears. He barely managed a thank you before stepping back into the building.
Sakura, his head medical-nin, cornered him for a chat before he made it down the stairs.
"What are you going to do next?"
"I'm not sure…"
"You could fall in love."
"I already am in love, Sakura."
"Naruto, you couldn't possibly still be… with me… I mean, you know it could never work. I'm a married woman now. Sasuke is the best husband I could ask for… and don't tell him, but I think I'm pregnant."
"It's not you. Don't fret. And go check with Tsunade-baachan about that pregnant part."
"You know. You all know. No one wants to admit it. No one wants to really let it go public. Foreign relations might turn bad. You know that…"
Sakura nodded and let him go on his way. She frowned a little as he passed her by. She also knew that she probably wouldn't see him for the rest of the night. He'd try to disappear somewhere. Lately, Naruto had become very good at it. She speculated that Tsunade-sama had taught him a few tricks to get out of paperwork.
That night, there was a festival for the induction of a new Hokage. Booths were set up with tons of food. There were games for everyone and for all ages. Fireworks were scheduled for later in the night. Everyone was celebrating Naruto. And he just couldn't handle it. Even having the Kazekage give a speech was more than he could handle. So, instead of walking around, Naruto tried to hide himself at Ichiraku's Ramen Stand. He downed another bowl as if he was trying to drown himself in shots of alcohol but with ramen instead.
That's precisely where Gaara found his best friend.
"Uzumaki. You're too predictable. Come on. At least watch the fireworks."
"Gaara… that's the most I've ever heard you speak in one day. How long did it take you to come up with that speech," Naruto questioned, trying to change the subject.
"You're not funny. You're watching the fireworks. Now."
Gaara pulled his friend out of the ramen stand and across the entire village. People greeted Naruto as he went, patted him on the back, and presented him with free food. Naruto turned none of it down, of course. He had a demon to feed inside of him. Through the mess of people, Naruto couldn't see where Gaara was taking him. Then, they finally got there. They climbed the steps all the way up.
"You're face will be here too one of these days," Gaara stated.
"They haven't even started Tsunade-obaachan's yet. I'll die before mine gets up there."
"You're twenty. I doubt that."
"You never know…"
"I always know."
"You do, don't you?"
Naruto sighed and looked to the sky. The pair sat there in silence staring up at the stars as they appeared one by one in the darkening sky.
"What comes next?"
"Lots of big flashy booms in the sky?"
"You know what I mean!"
"Lots of diplomatic meetings just so we can see each other every week?"
"That sounds nice."
"I'm scared of being so responsible."
"You'll do fine. Look at me."
"I guess so."
"For the love of Shukaku! What Naruto?"
"Thank you for all you said about me up there. It meant a lot to me. You know that right? All those nice things. Perhaps some of those people who were skeptical about me being Hokage will take your words to heart. You've been a great Kazekage for years now. They realize that. Maybe they'll respect me."
"Everyone respects you. You're the fucking Hokage."
"Shut up and watch the fireworks. They're starting."
If Gaara didn't have such good hearing, he would have missed the words Naruto spoke covered by the loud booms.
"I love you, Gaara," Naruto whispered.
Gaara let Naruto be in peace as he watched the fireworks. He pretended not to hear those three words. He knew that Naruto would die of embarrassment. Things had been, not necessarily awkward between them, but perhaps a little too close for friends. They both knew it, but did nothing about it. It had been going on for years now, behind the scenes. Hugs that lasted a little too long and kisses that shouldn't exist between friends. Now, maybe Naruto was ready to do something. Gaara could never bring himself to make the first move. He wouldn't know the first thing about anything like that. He'd seen a couple of Kankuro's magazines left around, but nothing that could be useful in this situation. So, Gaara just watched the fireworks silently.
Then, it was over. Gaara still said nothing as he picked Naruto up off the ground. He took the Hokage's hand and led him back down the steps. Halfway down, Gaara turned to Naruto. He looked him directly in the eyes and let his soul be seen. Slowly, he moved towards his friend. It was a strange situation but not uncommon to them. Gaara gently placed him lips upon Naruto's. He let his tongue push open Naruto's mouth and sought after the blonde's tongue. They slowly caressed each other and danced to their own soft melody. For lack of air, they pulled away. Gaara locked his eyes back onto Naruto's blue pair.
"I love you, too, Naruto," Gaara whispered.
Naruto stood shocked, until Gaara started walking away.
"Wait, wait, wait! You heard that?"
"I hear all. I know all. I see all."
Gaara just smirked as he continued walking away and Naruto chased after him.