Hello. Anyway, enjoy this chapter.
Chapter 88: Undefeated
"Reiji arrived earlier," Rui- Akemi's and Chie's first child, insisted to the other team composed of Ryota, Shunya and Atsuko. She looked at them through her aristocratic nose with an arrogance born within the Uchiha and Chie's blood.
Shunya looked at them just as arrogantly. He was the second child of Miki and surprisingly the strongest among her children. While Amaterasu and Reiji- their youngest child- had an unstable chakra causing them seal the Sharingan, Shunya was different. His chakra was consistent throughout his childhood years and he showed a great possibility that he could master both the Byakugan and Sharingan. And the Hyuuga elders gloat with the fact that a person who could be the most powerful that ever lived existed in their clan.
"No, Shunya did therefore we won," Ryota who was the third child of Akemi, stubbornly argued back. The other team bristled.
They looked at their blond grandfather who was standing at the porch, waiting for his judge as their referee. Naruto rubbed the back of his head while giving them a toothy sheepish smile.
"Ah I got distracted and I miss the tie-break."
The six youngsters rolled their eyes and snapped their head back to their opponents and continued arguing and defending their opinion, neither of the group backing out.
A vein twitched on Sasuke's forehead at the din. He didn't like it when he was disturbed from his nap that he usually took at the bench situated in the porch. He was about to scold them when a voice beat him to it.
The two groups looked at the person who dared to intrude their discussion.
"Can't you guys act someone at your age rather than as bickering children?" the 26-year-old Haruo said. He was exasperated at their childishness. "What's the prize this time?"
"The losers will treat the winners to the newly-opened onsen at the next village," Toshiya- Akemi's second child explained.
"How foolish can you get?"
That statement earned him six glares but it didn't faze him.
"Start from the scratch rather than fighting who won," Haruo continued before he left them to walk to the porch. He nodded to Sasuke before approaching his other grandfather.
"Grandpa, you make a poor referee, y'know."
Naruto pouted. "I was distracted. I noticed that Fuurin's nose is longer than it should be," he said, pointing to the Nanadaime's face being sculpted on the Hokage Mountain beside his.
Naruto had retired five years ago. When he announced that to the council his retirement, he also announced his successor- Fuurin. But the council members wanted Yuuzuki. But the young man who was now the Uchiha leader for five years and counting had declined. His reason was simple: the work was too much. Being the leader of a clan was enough especially when he had to look after a very mischievous Harou, a cunning-to-the-point-of-being-sadistic Yuuhi and accident-prone Akihito. In addition, he had to look after his two brothers who were always at each other's throat. Of course, not physically but their conversations which were natural, polite and friendly to an outsider were really , to a trained ear, well-veiled threats made in a creepy but friendly manner and Yuuzuki was worried that the two would carry out those threats. He swore that Akemi and Kisho were like explosion tags just waiting to explode. No matter how hard the council tried to convince him, Yuuzuki had been firm with his answer.
The next candidate was Hisayuki but the man had also declined because like Yuuzuki, his role as the Hyuuga leader was too demanding to think about being responsible for the entire village. So in the end, Fuurin was chosen. Although displeased that he was the council's third candidate, he accepted the role. And because secretly he was a fan of the Rokudaime, he made sure to continue the previous hokage's projects he deemed perfect in his reign at the same time create his own. So far, Fuurin was doing well as the Nanadaime.
Haruo took a moment to look at the work. "The sculptor isn't finish yet. There are still finishing touches."
"You think so?"
He chucked at the man's innocence. "I'm certain."
"Hey bastard," Naruto said, "Don't you think Yuuzuki became younger than the last time?"
Sasuke snorted. "Dobe, that was Haruo not Yuuzuki."
"My eyesight might be nil but my hearing is very perfect and I say that's Harou's voice."
Naruto was about to retort something when Reiji shouted. "We're going to the compound's lake." The blonde leaned over the ledge of the porch to shoot, "No funny games. Your parents want you all to return by six in the evening."
"Yeah… yeah," they all chorused before they disappeared. The blonde continued leaning over, loving the smell that the wind carried. It was the smell of the Sandaime, Jiraiya, Tsunade and of something else which his heart whispered that it was the scent of his father. The wind carried the scent of leaves and fire and it was addicting.
"Dobe, lean more and you'll fall down," Sasuke warned, snapping the blonde from his daze.
"I know, bastard," he shot back.
Sasuke turned his head to look at Naruto. And even though all he could see were blurs as if everything was hidden behind mist, he knew Naruto was smiling. Every time he looked at his wife, it was his heart that was looking not his eyes.
He retired from his work and from his position as an Uchiha leader five years ago when his eyesight's deterioration had become fast. That had been the reason why Naruto retired as well three months later. With his retirement as the leader, Yuuzuki as he promised, had transferred his family's residence to the manor house and lived together with them. And their former house was now being occupied by Haruo who had married a year ago.
"Getting excited, are we?" came a voice.
"Kisho! When did you arrive? I thought you won't be able to come home." Sasuke said.
"And miss your 50th wedding anniversary?" Kisho retorted. "I arrived last night and then me and Mako-chan had fun until dawn."
His otousan rolled his eyes.
"When are you getting married?" Naruto asked. His son and Makoto had been living together for almost 15 years at the house near Haruo's place but neither of them seemed willing to make their relationship official.
The younger blonde waved his hand casually. "Kazushi and Shigure aren't married but they acted like one so I don't see any reason for us to get married. Makoto shared my opinion." But unlike their two friends, he and his lover didn't adopt a child. With the demands of their work, it was too hard to look after a child. Hell, they even had no time to see each other. Besides, with the nieces and nephews they have, who needs adoption? He reached a hand to place a flower on behind Naruto's left ear. "Beside," he murmured sweetly making Sasuke tensed in response, "the person I want to marry is already married." He laughed when he heard a growl coming from his otousan's throat.
"Kidding… besides it wasn't I who made a promise with you but Akemi." He was referring to that time when his brother, who had been a child, had sworn to take their chichiue away from their otousan when the latter would hurt the blonde.
"What promise?" Naruto asked, looking at them back and forth.
"Sorry… only among men." Kisho leaned back to dodge the blonde's quick kick.
"I'm a man."
Their son was about to retort when Sasuke said, "Kisho, you don't want me to burn your ultimate collection of Icha Icha paradise, do you? Or I could ask Akemi to do it for chichiue?"
That shut the younger blonde up. "Okay, I'm off to help the wedding preparations." And with that, he entered the house.
Naruto chuckled and sat beside his husband. "Are you nervous?" he asked quietly.
"For our golden anniversary wedding."
Naruto leaned back on the bench knowing that Sasuke was also nervous. Although it was just a commemoration event of their wedding, it felt like it was the first time. They were going to exchange vows in front of many people but instead of Tsunade officiating the marriage, it would be Fuurin. He secretly wanted it to be the Godaime but she had departed two years ago. She left just as quiet as Jiraiya. But Naruto had been prepared because Tsunade had been so happy on the eve of her death. Not only that, she had been lucky. She won in any form of gamble and spent the money buying Japanese wine to her close friends. Everything had been perfect for her and an hour before she retired to her bed, she was happily talking about her younger brother and her lover as if she was going to see them soon and she did.
With her dead, it was Sakura who soon became the head director of the Medic-nin organization. But it almost took her two months to finally occupy her master's office and another three months to get rid of Tsunade's things but she still left the Japanese wine bottle and cup her master was so fond of using at the same place the blonde medic-nin placed.
Lee had put up his own Taijutsu School to improve the taijutsu skills of every shinobi especially special jounin. He established a group of jounin whose specialty was taijutsu and luckily for them, the green beast of Konoha didn't order them to wear green spandex, bowl haircut and orange legwarmers.
Gai had been proud of his protégé's accomplishment that it improved his bad mood caused by the way Kakashi treated him at the home for the aged. His eternal rival had completely forgotten him... forgotten everything and everyone except for his dear Iruka who was sharing a room with him.
Iruka was still the same- a worry-freak and prim but he cared deeply for Kakashi who clung unto the only thing that he could never ever forget- him.
Kurenai had never married nor dated anyone after Asuma. No matter how many suitors she had, her answer was the same, 'My heart had no place for you. I still love Asuma.' And among all the people who knew her, it was Shikamaru who understood and respected her wish the most. After all, he was the only one who saw her break down after he gently told her of his teacher's demise.
Shikamaru became a council member at the same time the senior head liaison officer. And for someone who found things to be troublesome, he was serious with his obligations. It was because his will of fire wasn't his own alone. It was his and Asuma's.
Chouji after resignation had put up a diner across Yamanaka's flower shop. It was more out of fun than anything else. He offered free meals to ninjas who were to leave for missions knowing that the probability of shinobis on field eating meals was low and their meals were rationed. A lot of people referred the free sumptuous meal as their 'last supper'.
Ino still worked at the hospital as one of the senior medic-nins. She was still as feisty as before, an attitude that youngsters found contagious.
Hinata spent her time as a volunteer at a daycare center and looking after her grandkids.
Kiba was still an active ninja but his missions' scope was a short-term B to A class mission. After Akamaru's death, he had refused any dogs given to him from his family. Akamaru was and always would be his only partner and that was the end of it. Period.
Shino became a council member too and as usual the most silent and creepy one. He was also the adviser for recon plans. During his free time, he spent his time training his grandchildren and breeding insects.
Neji spent most of his time training Shunya not out of favoritism but because of fear that the boy's power would corrupt him completely. He also didn't want him to be influenced by the elders who saw him not as a person but as a prize and weapon.
Tenten became the senior weaponry trainer of most special jounin. And with her grandchildren in their teenage years, she volunteered to help Lee in his dojo.
Gaara was still the Kazekage but he was now training Kankoru's eldest son to become his replacement. His love life was the same as before- static or to be exact dead. He didn't fancy anyone regardless of their gender. Everybody was certain that Gaara would die as a virgin and Gaara's reaction to that opinion was just a smirk. Of course, nobody knew that he had been and was still in love with somebody who could never be his. But at least, they were friends... close friends and it was the next best thing he could ever have.
Kankuro became Gaara's right-hand man and the person he could trust the most in the council.
Temari had risen as a diplomat because of her knowledge and understanding of Suna and Konoha. She served for the best interest of both villages.
Sai was still a pervert but no longer held the top position of perversion. He was still the leader of the Root and as his age increased, his urge in scandalizing anyone had gotten worse too. If one wasn't careful, he would see the man's drawings of a very detailed penis decorating every wall.
Despite their age, every one was still shining beautifully, fiercely and brightly in their own ways. And never had Konoha seen this type of shinobis and kunoichis who could maintain the same intense dedication and commitment to the village, their selves and their family at the same time. Never did the village have public servants like them before and it shall never have again.
Naruto looked at the sunset… casting its last rays over the place giving it a fiery or burning look. "The sun is beautiful," he muttered.
"I know," Sasuke said but he wasn't staring at the sun but at his sun who looked like a statue made of liquid gold. His heart told him that Naruto was blushing before looking at him.
The blonde cupped the side of his face, "But the moon is still entrancing." After saying that, he leaned forward to capture his spouse's lips for a slow and lingering stirring kiss. After what was like an eternal, the two broke apart breathless and their eyes half-lidded. The passion was still there even after many years had passed. It still left every inch of their body trembling in a good way.
"Don't make me wait long, bastard."
Sasuke rolled his eyes and scoffed, "The king of procrastination speaks."
Naruto sighed, thumbing those lips he so loved. "I hope you'd be less of a bastard."
"And you, a less dobe."
"Bastard," Naruto murmured as he snuggled closer.
"Usuratonkachi," was the retort.
-SasuNaru is love-
At the kitchen, the matriarchs were busy preparing. Although, the first decision was to cater, they finally decided to cook everything by themselves making it more personal.
A pleased smile grace Miki's lips as she completed the finishing touches on the wedding cake. "I bet otousan and chichiue will be disappointed to learn that we aren't serving onigiri or ramen." It was no secret to them that their parents wanted that in fact they especially Naruto had been implying their wants since two weeks ago.
"They're eating it almost every day," Chie said, rolling her eyes, "so it's not appropriate to serve such food during a special occasion."
"Exactly," Yukina nodded. "Besides what we are making are better than onigiri and ramen."
"Grandparents would resent that," Yuuhi's fiancée quipped.
"Definitely," Haruo's wife nodded in agreement.
"We almost have everything ready," Amaterasu announced a little bit too excited. But she couldn't be blamed because tonight two people who were very much in loved with each other would exchange their vows during a meteor shower. What a perfect romantic event.
-SasuNaru is love-
An hour or two later, everything was ready and Miki stepped into the family den where the men were engrossed in a serious discussion. Most of them were already dressed for the event and was just waiting for the time to leave.
"Have anyone seen Otousan and Chichiue?" she asked.
"They're probably upstairs preparing," Akemi said.
"I went to their room to help them get dressed or see if they need anything but they weren't there and their kimono were left untouched."
Kisho grinned. "Perhaps they decided to skip the ceremony part and proceeded to the honeymoon." That earned him a smack to his head courtesy of his lover.
"I saw them at the porch when I arrived." Haruo supplied. "Perhaps they're still there."
"At this time?" Yuuzuki asked. "And in those clothes? Damn. Aren't they thinking that they could easily get sick in this temperature?"
"I'll go get them," Yuuhi offered. "Before reminding my cousins that its time for them to start preparing."
After a short while, Yuuhi with an unreadable expression returned. "Umm…" he started making everyone in the den to look at him. "Grandparents are at the porch all right but I couldn't wake them up. Or to be more exact they won't wake up."
And somehow that statement alone, made Sasuke and Naruto's children paled and caused their hearts to beat faster. They 'poof'ed outside and just as Yuuhi said, their parents were at the porch and in each other's arms sleeping. But they all knew without even checking for their pulse that they were no longer in this world. Their chichiue and otousan were dead. They didn't care how and who went first, all they knew was that they died in each other's arms.
Naruto had his head on Sasuke's shoulder while one pale arm draped on the blonde's shoulder and the dark-haired man's other hand was held between tanned hands on both of their lap.
They had failed to cheat death but at least they managed to convince it to let them die together. Perhaps that was the reason there was an arrogant smirk on Sasuke's and a small victorious smile on Naruto's. They looked so contented and peaceful and it made their heart clenched in bitter sweetness and their tears flowed freely. They couldn't stop it… they didn't want it to stop.
-SasuNaru is love-
The wedding ceremony was cancelled but there was still a celebration and it was held in the front lawn of the manor house. But it was now a celebration to how the couple lived. The atmosphere that ruled the place was a bittersweet one. This time, sobs, muffled cries and sniffs outnumbered the chuckle and laughter. Everybody was grieving in their own way while they tried to smile knowing that was what Naruto wanted. But to smile at their loss was such a difficult task and they seek support from the people around them, trying to find the strength to smile; trying to find the bravery to move on and trying to find the courage to say goodbye. They tried to comfort one another when all of them were inconsolable at that moment.
On the porch… on the bench… Sasuke's and Naruto's corpses sat. Nobody had touched them yet. They wanted the couple to watch them celebrate the way they lived and to admire with them the breathtaking scene the meteor shower would give.
As the celestial show started, Iruka stood at the end of the stairs that led to the porch and looked at his former students who were different and yet the same and who were always opposite with and volatile around each other. And he cried harder.
"Iruka?" Kakashi called out quietly as he stood beside him. "Why are you crying?"
Big brown eyes looked at him before Iruka pressed his face against his chest. "Iruka, who are they? Why am I crying? Why don't these tears stop? Iruka?"
But all the silver-haired man received as an answer was just cries muffled by his chest and his arms wrapped around his beloved one. He didn't understand why he felt hollow or why his heart seemed so heavy. He didn't understand one thing but he rested his head on top of Iruka's head and closed his eyes. And like a streak of lighting that flashed across the dark sky, a lucid picture of a grinning blonde and a brooding dark-haired man came to his mind.
Sasuke and Naruto… His students…
Slowly, he whispered to the wind, "Naruto… Sasuke." And he cried harder for his loss, finally understanding the situation. And the pain threatened to sweep him away but Iruka was there, holding him tight.
-SasuNaru is love-
With crystal eyes, the being looked at his subject - whitish blond hair, bluer-than-the clearest-sky eyes and whiskered cheeks. Definitely, he was certain. Well, he was certain from the beginning but he always wanted to follow SOP.
"Uzumaki, Naruto," he said in his cool voice even before half of his body came out from the wisp of white smoke.
"Uchiha," came the irritated reply before he found himself under the blonde's heavy gaze.
Naruto took in the being's appearance. Even though he, he assumed the being was a he, was wearing a hooded long robe that covered the ground he stood, Naruto could tell the being's lankiness and yet he felt a great void beneath that black cloth. His eyes were translucent and droopy. His dark long hair was tied in a high ponytail, showing his slightly pointed ears outlined with black studs. The being was giving him a feeling of peace and light-headedness.
"I've been waiting for you," he greeted.
"You don't have to wait anymore," was the casual reply. "Your time is up."
Naruto just nodded. He had expected this.
"And this time, you can't bargain."
The blonde nodded again. "Then take Sasuke with us."
He spared a look to the other man who was oblivious to this conversation. Uchiha... the man who had cheated too many gods of death. He was one of the most slippery mortals.
"It's not his time yet."
The blonde pouted. "I can't just leave him. I mean, he already suffered enough. He already lost too much."
The deity laughed, amused at the man's naiveté. "Uzu-"
"Whatever. Do you know, we gods of death have no emotions? I don't care what he went through and what he will go through if you're dead."
Blond eyebrows knitted into a frown. "Then I won't go with you. I'll fight you to stay with him." The last statement was a warning made in a feral growl.
The shinigami let out a hollow laughter. Did this mortal think he could defeat a god of death? Although one of the hokages and a jinchuuriki, he was still nothing compared to them, immortals. "Don't be a fool. After judgment is passed, you will remember nothing about each other. Your memories will be erased like footprints in the dunes of dessert sands."
"So? I don't care about that. What matters most is now."
But the immortal knew the blonde cared. His sharp eyes told him so.
Naruto cared but he believed in their love and in their promise to find each other. They believed in reincarnation because of that. This was getting pointless, he realized and decided to change tactics. He took a deep breath.
"Sasuke... he was supposed to die a lot of times but managed to escape. Don't you feel vexed at that? A mere mortal who could make a fool out of you guys?" He noticed the scowl. "I was the reason why he cheated too many times. And now I'm giving you permission."
"You talk as if you own his life."
Naruto smiled uncannily. "I owned him... all of him. If I tell him to die, he will without any protest and hesitation."
Obsession and dedication in their twisted form, the deity's mind supplied. Was this how a human should love?
"Don't you want the reputation that goes with his capture?"
That was tempting. The prospect was tempting. Not to mention, the couple's struggle as they'd try to find each other after their memories were wiped out. He was no mortal but he wasn't invincible against temptation as sweet as this.
"The carriage I brought is fit for two persons only," he said and Naruto smiled knowing it was his victory. "You're lucky that my scope of jurisdiction is wide." In one single snap of his fingers, a thick book appeared and displayed the page he wanted. He swept a ring-laden hand over the page and immediately Sasuke's lifespan became zero.
Sasuke snapped his eyes open when he felt himself jolted somewhere. He smirked as he saw the being who had once chased after him. "We met again."
"So it seems" the deity replied coolly.
The three of them turned when another deity joined them but the newcomer paid them no attention. His tangerine eyes were focused on the Kyuubi who appeared a second after. To the couple's surprise, Kyuubi looked tamed like a house cat.
"He's assigned to demons and had charms to keep them like that."
"Wait," Naruto called out when they were about to leave. Without thinking, he hugged one of Kyuubi's legs. "Thank you," he whispered. "Thank you for everything."
"Anytime, human," Kyuubi growled but there was definitely warmth in his voice. Naruto smiled when one tail pat his head. And then they were gone, disappearing into space like vapors.
"Unlike you, his memories won't be wiped out. He can visit you if he so wishes," he explained because the blonde was close to crying. "Shall we go now?"
The two nodded before sharing a look. The deity opened the carriage that looked too dingy to be used. He was still not comfortable that he would take the driver's seat outside the vehicle. His coat would make him stand the frosty temperature but it won't block out those fluttering noises he would hear throughout the journey. Noises that still made him cranky even after billions of years working as a god of death.
He grumbled more before taking a seat. Following his mind's desire, the carriage lifted from the ground and flew. He was about to relax when he realized something.
When the couple had stepped out from their respective rusty shells and shed off their aging skin, they reverted back to the age their hearts desired them to be. Most of the time, his catch would revert back to her teenage or childhood years but the couple had changed back to their mid-twenties... the time when...
He sat up and slammed a palm on the wooden roof. "No, naughty business!" But, he knew he was too late when there was no reply other than a breathless moan.
-SasuNaru is eternity-
The sadistic part in me wanted to make all of this a dream of a 17-year-old Sasuke who had collapsed after he killed Itachi. And when he woke up, he shrugged it off, knowing he could never make that dream into reality especially when Orochimaru was waiting at one particular room to do the body transfer technique but… I decided to follow the original end which was the real reason why I started writing this whole story.
I know I didn't write the reaction of each of the couple's friends with their death but that is because if I go into a detail it would make the story dragging and I believed that in this case giving less detail was a better way to create an impact. I'm certain not all of us had felt the loss of a loved one but I believed that we know what it would probably feel like and I wanted to stimulate that response through this way. I wanted the sad emotion to come from somewhere deep within you rather than being produced by your brain through what I wrote. I hope I managed to pull it off. Sometimes, I'm so ambitious.
After reading fanfics, doujinshis and manga and watching the series, I wanted for Sasu and Naru to die together. But that want turn into "What if Sasu and Naru died together as a couple?" and from there the rest was history. When writing a fic, I usually planned the ending first. Yes, everything starts from the end and I know it's a bit strange but that's just how I work. Then from the end, it could either be the climax or the start depending on my mood. Originally, this fic was supposed to end when Yuuzuki married but when I was writing chapter 5, I realized it was unfair to Akemi, Miki and Kisho. So this fic which should have been good for 20 or 30 chapters spanned to 88. Yes, 88. When I posted Chapter 85, I was disappointed thinking I only had 87 chapters then remembered that I had started writing Naruto's confrontation against his friends which was chapter 86. When I remembered that, I was happy because I have 88 chapters and 8 symbolizes infinity, does it not? To be honest, I wanted to end it to 69 because of its sexual connotation but it proved to be so difficult to cram all plots so yeah I went over 69 but was glad I reached 88.
As for the italics, well, I could have leave it off where Kakashi cried but I was like "That's it?". I felt that the chapter was hanging so I decided to either replay those SasuNaru moments that were present in anime or manga OR write their encounter with Shinigami. Everybody knows what happened in the anime or manga and might get bored reading it so I decided to do the latter. I know you guys wanted to know who died first and how so, yeah… consider the last part as just an Omake (extra).
Now, to all those who read this fic especially those who stayed from the beginning to end despite the grammatical errors I committed, I could never thank you enough for the support and time you have given for this. I am more surprised that you guys stayed rather than with the fact that I manage to remain interested and attentive to this fic. It was you guys who made my attention and interest to never waver. And I showed this gratitude by replying to your reviews. I never saw it as an obligation but as a means to let you know how much I appreciate your presence. Although it's a bit sad that I couldn't privately thank those who remained quiet throughout. To those lurkers, thank you very much. I have three one-shots I made as a break from writing the "The Uchiha couple" but they still need few touches here and there so please look forward to them. I'll probably rest before posting them or post them before resting.
Anyway, I had fun taking this ride with you guys and I hope you feel the same way. Let's take a journey together next time. For now, let me rest.
Sasuke and Naruto: 69
Haruo: 26 Yuuhi: 25 Akihito: 23
Rui: 19 Toshiya: 17 Ryota: 16 Atsuko: 14
Amaterasu 23 Shunya: 18 Reiji: 15
Kisho: 35 Makoto: 38