ONE YEAR LATER
Tsunade was looking out her office window.The crowd was already gathering down in the plaza. She could hear some of them chanting and singing. There were a few drums being banged on as well. It was all in celebration. She flattened out some wrinkles in the Hokage robes she had on. She didn't much care for wearing them or for making speeches, but for today she would make a willing exception. For today they would celebrate their victory in Naruto's War. She smirked wondering what the brat would think about having an actual war named in his honor. She supposed he would probably grin and say it was cool.
Looking on her desk she looked fondly at a picture of him. He was of course smiling. She picked it up and smiled back at the photo even as she felt the tugs on her heart. "I kept my promise kid; they'll never forget you now." She had made damn sure of that. Outside the tower entrance there was a statue of him. In the academy the students were told about the boy who had born the burden of holding the Kyuubi, who had defeated Gaara the possessor if the Shukaku demon, who had battled right beside her and Jiraiya against Orochimaruand who had ultimately died trying to save his friend from abandoning his village. To the future generations Naruto would be a hero just like his father. Sighing she put the picture back on the desk. Of course she had wanted them to know the whole truth about what he had endured growing up; the loneliness and the abuse. But somehow those facts seemed to get left out. She supposed it was only natural, after all who would want to admit to hating such a hero?
She shut her eyes and leaned back in her chair. He had been such an amazing kid. What might he have accomplished if only he'd lived? He would have been her successor, of that she had no doubt at all. He would have changed the world had he lived; really he had changed it even in death. What had once been Rice country was now Rice province, a part of Fire country. The war that they'd be remembering today had come to a surprisingly swift conclusion once the news got out that Orochimaru was dead and that the Rice Daimyo's daughters were safe. Immediately the Daimyo had surrendered to her unconditionally. With that she had called a halt to the policy of burning everything and resistance from the civilian population and Rice troops had ended. Many of the Sound ninjas also either surrendered or fled. In the end only about a hundred hard core Sound nins had insisted on making a last bloody stand in their village. They were the ones who truly believed in Orochimaru and loved him (much as Anko or Kabuto had.) They had been annihilated along with their village in the climatic last battle of the war.
The war had been short but had changed so much. The single greatest change of course was the existence of clan Uzumaki. When the time had come to form a new Council she had made sure to give Uzumaki a hereditary seat. Of course the Hyuga clan had been livid about that; they refused to recognize the Uzumaki as being legitimate. Tsunade frowned remembering the near riot that had been the result of a Hyuga member activating the curse seal of an Uzmaki. That had happened once. The offender had been arrested, tried, and was now serving a ten year sentence for assaulting a shinobi of the leaf. Despite the problems Hyuga Hinata was proving to be an outstanding leader even at her age. Alas it seemed she was destined to never find real happiness, even after a year there was still something missing in the girl's heart. Tsunade could understand that (ah Dan,) but she hoped in time Hinata would be better able to deal with the loss. Neji and Tenten were happily dating. And speaking of dating there was a more mature and serious Shikamaru dating the Suna ambassador Temari. Tsuande hoped that things remained smooth between Shikamaru and Temari,as she did not need hostility from the Kazekage's sister.
Not everyone had adjusted so well. Upon returning to the village Kakashi had requested to be returned to the ANBU black ops. He made it unmistakably plain that he would never again be a Jonin sensei. Once returning to the black ops he had quickly become a complete loner, going so far as to refuse to acknowledge Guy or Asuma anymore. She was worried about him as he seemed constantly depressed and isolated. But he was an adult and a functioning member of society, not to mention an outstanding ninja. What could she do?
Thoughts of troubling men brought her to Jiraiya. She sighed and shook her head. What had she been thinking to actually agree to a date? Her relationship with the man was… troubling. They were not really dating, but had become a bit more than friends. Unfortunately the old pervert absolutely refused to give up his old habits including his, 'research.' Despite herself she smiled just a little.
Problems had hardly gone away. Akatsuki was still active, though they appeared to have given up capturing biju and jinchuriiki. What their new goals were remained a mystery but they were a serious threat. There were also distant rumblings from Earth and Rain countries and something strange was going on in Lightning. Still, with Orochimaru dead and Sound destroyed there was no question the world was a better and safer place. She looked at the picture on the desk. But she would trade it all to have Naruto in her office calling her baachan again.
There was a knock on the door. Without waiting a reply it opened and Shizune stuck her head in. "They are ready for you Lady Tsunade."
"Fine," she got up from her chair. "Let's get this over with." She chuckled. "Maybe I can talk Jiraiya into buying me a few drinks later."