The sunny day seemed mournful to many. The warmth of it did nothing but make everyone feel the raw heat on account of their black clothes. The rather large group of mourners gathered around the freshly dug grave, most of them sniffling while the men looked sorrowful. But none could look as horribly devastated as the blond captain Naruto. His blue eyes were blank and dead, it seemed as though he was reliving every moment he had spent with his now dead wife.
The priest finished the last rites and pretty blue coffin which housed the most beautiful woman that many had ever seen was lowered in to the ground. Naruto mechanically raised his hand and dropped the first handful of dirt. Even the Lady Haruno had the grace to look pained…and maybe she was for she had lost a rival that was very dear to her. While everyone shuffled out, Naruto was the last one left standing by it until the last few shovels of dirt were patted down.
Kakashi walked down to him. "Captain?" He could never bring himself to call him 'general'. Naruto did not even blink. Kakashi caught him by the shoulders and led him away. "I think you should get some rest, lad…"
The silence held good for sometime and then… "Please tell my men to get the ship ready, Kakashi. The Nine Tails will set sail in three days."
Kakashi sighed and let the man walk towards his family who were waiting for him. Well if the people could not cheer him after the dreadful event, then maybe the sea could….
Two days passed with Naruto not budging from his room. He did not entertain any visitors, lost in his own thoughts. It had taken three men to stop him from purposefully killing Orochimaru. He had tried to keep his face happy, but nothing could really stop the pain he felt right inside.
He was thinking of Sasuke all the time and the flow of memories was unbearable. To think they had only been married a week before the snake had erased Sasuke's existence so completely. Rage as well as pain built up in him until Naruto thought he would shatter into a million pieces.
"Brother? May I please enter, Brother?"
Naruto wanted to scream out a refusal…he just wanted to sit here and waste away, but this was Ino. He could not bring himself to hurt Ino. "Yes…"
Ino came in and sat down by him. She caught him up in a small embrace. "Please brother…loosing Kiara has been a horrible blow to us all, but we could not bear to loose you as well. Please brother, you and father are all I have…"
Naruto returned her embrace. He wanted to cry, but the sobs that had so easily wrenched themselves out when he'd held his wife's lifeless body did not come. He let Ino comfort him for a few minutes. "Now…Ino…I would like to be alone…"
Ino shook her head. "Father wants you down immediately in his study. He said I was to hit you with a cudgel and drag you to him if you refused. He says there are a few important things to settle and that since you were leaving tomorrow, you had better meet all the people coming to see you."
Naruto cleaned up and then followed Ino; she took him to the library. "The Hyuuga's have arrived. Father says that before you meet him you must make thing all right with them. Lady Hinata has news for you."
Naruto frowned but let himself inside. Before he knew what was happening, he was caught up in an embrace by Hiashi himself. "I'm sorry, my boy…I know this has been a sad blow to you. I am sorry I was harsh towards her…she has done a good deed in clearing Uchiha's name as well. If I could I would make sure that snake never saw daylight again."
Naruto nodded into Hiashi's coat, not wanting to speak, afraid that he might loose control of himself and shame himself by bawling like a child. After a few minutes of silence they all sat around him, Hinata by his side comforting him.
"Captain…I have something to tell you. It is churlish of me to give you news of this now, but so be it. You are leaving tomorrow…" Hinata took a deep breath. "I am to be married to Mr. Inuzuka. My father has not been opposed to this match and I wish it very much."
"To Kiba? That is a very good thing! He is quite mad over you, my Lady." Naruto let the first small grin since Sasuke's demise sneak onto his face.
"Yes it is. We are to be married in three months. Now that Earl Uchiha is to be allowed back, please inform him that I would like him at my wedding as well." Hinata blushed prettily.
Naruto felt a stab of pain go through him. Sasuke was…Sasuke was…he sighed. "If I find him I will do so…"
The Hyuuga's stood. "I am sorry, but we will have to take leave of you. We have to go to Lady Akimichi's home."
Naruto nodded to show his understanding and saw them off at the door. Then he decided he had better go see what Minato wanted. He knocked on the door. Before he could announce himself his father opened the door.
"Naruto…I think this situation is yours to handle…" Minato pushed his son into the study and shut the door on him.
Naruto stood alone in the study facing a chair which had its back to him. "Pardon me?"
"For what?" Said a voice emanating from the chair.
Naruto frowned it was familiar. "Who are you?" he asked feeling more brazen.
The voice chuckled. "Forgotten my voice all ready? Idiot…" A figure stood and two dark obsidian eyes blinked at Naruto. "Good Lord, you look awful!"
Naruto stared at the apparition in shock, disbelief pouring over him. "Sasu…"
The dark one smirked. "Thought I was dead? How churlish of you…."
There was a short yell and the blond launched himself at the man. The fist landed hard just at the right spot hurting the other man. It slowly degenerated into a flurry of fists and legs. When they finally separated, it was the former captain who jumped off the man and backed away a few paces. "Sasuke…you bastard! You were alive….have you no shame? Do you understand how much I suffered? I thought you were gone!" Naruto's voice finally cracked and tears began to leak from his eyes. "You…if you had a plan you could have told me!"
Sasuke's face which earlier bore a smirk had now dissolved into a similar look of anguish. "Idiot…listen to me…" he moved forward and reached for the Captain who stepped away.
"No!" Naruto's face was contorted. "Am I that untrustworthy, Uchiha? Am I that gullible as to give the plan away? You believed my acting skills to be bad did you not? You believed I would not be able to keep up that charade? So you deceived me into playing out the proper role in your plot?"
Sasuke grabbed the blond man's shoulders and hugged him close. "Stop saying silly thing, Naruto…" Sasuke just held him and let him cry into his shirt for a while. When he tears finally stopped streaming down the blond man's cheeks, Sasuke shifted them both onto the sofa at the far end of the study.
Naruto could not help but frown at his dark haired love. "I demand that you tell me everything this moment, Uchiha. I will not stand this curiosity and anger a moment longer!"
Sasuke shook his head. "You will never change…always so impatient. Now do not interrupt me and let me tell you the whole story."
"The day, your father made the announcement I was seized with a sort of urgency about Orochimaru. You see the more I stayed my hand, the faster my fortune would be eaten away by Orochimaru. So I set about thinking of a plan. There had to be a convincing way to fool everyone, jail Orochimaru and get rid of Kiara once and for all. It had to be after the wedding, so that I could finally be with you as myself." Sasuke cleared his throat a little afraid of Naruto's stone like demeanor. "I called Kakashi o my room and we decided that we would enlist the help of a particular actor I had known in my childhood by the name of Sai."
"Now he reason I did not tell you that I was planning this was…well two reasons actually…I wanted to fight this particular battle on my own…before you argue I did enlist your help because you are the one who rightfully jailed Orochimaru at the end for the death of your fiancé. The second reason was that you would have been excitable the whole night. Orochimaru is a snake who would have sensed it. You are very possessive and you would have hated me conning Orochimaru into following me out of lust. Knowing you, you would have brandished a cudgel and bopped him on the head and drug him off to a grave. Which would not have served my purpose. Now I staged it so that you who I love most in the world would have reacted befittingly. I needed to spur your rage in order to ensure that you would be angry enough to see to it that Orochimaru went punished."
"So after that I used some of the fake blood in a little pouch and a fake gun. What I did not expect was for Orochimaru to shoot at you. You came to soon idiot…so I had to step in…there was not any other way for me to make the whole plot work. In the meanwhile Kakashi had gotten someone from Scotland Yard to hide in the room, so he heard everything I forced out of Orochimaru before my "death". After that just as I hoped for, Kakashi convinced you to let my body go without a examination conducted on it…and you made sure my identity would remain a secret. The coffin you ordered…Kakashi made sure it came from Sai."
"You mean…that is the reason Kakashi wanted to know the whereabouts of the burial site?"
"Kakashi had another passage dug next to it and that was the reason he insisted on that short stand below the coffin in the site. All I had to do was wait to be buried fully and then remove the false bottom and get away through that tunnel. Kakashi had Sai waiting for me on the other side. Then I snuck aboard Captain Asuma's trade ship and pretended to have landed this morning, to claim my fortunes. After that I came straight here…"
Naruto glared at him and waited a while before he said. "So you used me…do you have any idea how cruel this plot of yours was? I could have been just as angry that he dared to shoot you in the first place! How could you Sasuke…? You went through it once was it so necessary that you had to make me feel the guilt of having you killed in order for me to live?"
"I…" Sasuke bit his lip. "I did not think of the possibility that you might feel that way. Like I explained. I did not think you would come barging in at that moment and that I would have to jump in between."
"That does not excuse you!" Naruto's face contorted in fury. "Everyone! Everyone was hurt at losing you! Iruka asked for two days of leave and did not come out of his room! Have you faced what I faced Sasuke? You are not the only one who has lost people! I lost my mother, Haku, some of my crew every year…and you were the one I treasured most even more than my sister! You used m so your plot would proceed as more real! You used me, Sasuke…because you did not imagine that I could be as good at reigning in my emotions as you…you did not give me a chance…"
"That is because I did not have any room for failure!"
Naruto stared at him for a moment before his face took on a more distant look. "I shall inform my staff that you will be residing here for a day or two until your mansion is cleaned and made fit for your stay…you may stay as long as you see fit."
Sasuke felt a growing horror in him as Naruto turned his back to him and began to walk away. He knew he had made a mistake and it had just dawned on him that he might lose Naruto if did not do something…anything to stop him now!
Before the blond man could turn around, he felt himself stumble a few paces ahead as Sasuke grabbed him in an embrace from behind. "Be angry at me all you want…but do not ignore me! I have behaved in an uncouth, bastardly way with no real thought for your feelings and only my desire for revenge! I tried to mask it behind a veil of protection, but it is true that I thought you incapable of hiding your emotions. I…made a mistake…"
Naruto let his mind think on it before he turned to return the embrace. He cursed in his mind that Sasuke could be so manly even while making a silly apology like that. He drew away from his love and kissed him deeply. He let his fingers twine in that neat dark hair, just to muss it a little for the sake of revenge.
"Sasuke…you bastard. Did you really think I would leave my husband and walk away? I think we have just had our first marital tiff…though I must say; you have a knack for doing everything on a dramatically grand scale!" Naruto grinned at Sasuke, the anger and distance in his eyes ebbing away. "But really, love…I would have appreciated it if only you had told me…"
Sasuke fiddled with the ing Naruto had placed on his finger…his ring…not Kiara's and sighed. "Yes, I have a feeling our life ahead is going to be filled with many more such tiffs!"
Naruto laughed. "Of course. His is why I am happy not to have married a woman…I can at least beat you to the ground if you try something like this again…"
The Earl of Andover, Sasuke Uchiha was reinstated to his rightful title. It had become known that while in France he had married some beauty and she had left him for another. Even with this he and the former Captain Uzumaki were not off the marriage mart. Rumour had it, that the two men had decided to travel together aboard the now General's ship…the Nine Tails. And news of their hair-raising escapades cam back to jolly old England.
Queen Tsunade agreed that if anything were to happen to the Uchiha half his fortune would go to Ino Nara and the other half to his heir Konohamaru. Later on they both commanded and fought in the Fifth Bloody War between England and Spain…which of course they won for England. After this hey appeared to have disappeared from sight, although period deductions of money from their accounts warrants for the suspicions that they had remained some place far far away on account of the many scary matrons and their equally scary daughters.
"Bastard! Would you pass the butter?" The old blond man said. He had the distinguished appearance of a seasoned warrior gone to seed. But he still seemed in good health.
"Come and get it idiot…" said another old man opposite him. This man was a dark haired beauty and sitting there on the deck of their ship they resembled the day and night.
"My arthritis is hurting me!"
"so you are weak?"
This resulted in a loud yell and curses from the crew…the marital tiffs of these men had led to many of the crew jumping into the water in hope of drowning themselves!
"Sasuke Uchiha…YOU ARE A VERITABLE BASTAAAAARD!"
A/N: So yes…after two years of working on this it is finally over. As the author I must say it's been a rather difficult journey and that a lot of times I have completely lost hope. But it has turned out better than my expectations. The characters have a lot to say, but I want to say thank you all very much and love you all. Please drop off your last review for to read. See ya guys later!
Naruto: liked the acting in this. It was very different from Dealing with Love and I need to get the accent and the pronunciation correct. Polishing up my grammar was hell too…and running around in pantaloons? But I could not resist when Taka showed me the script….sasuke as usual was a bastard but I did end up choosing him anyway…
Sasuke: Yes, the dobe had a hard time with the English. And I could help have perverted fantasies about the pantaloons. The scrip was fun…running around in skirts put me off but since the dobe pleaded I decided to try it. Hurting Sakura and insulting her just helped me to move along happily.
Sakura: I hated playing the bitch…especially now that I've grown up properly and all. The number of times I had to do the falling into the lake part was irritating and I landed up with a cold. But I think I still enjoyed this!
And that's that…