A/N: The "Out Walking" story needed major tweaking, so I probably will post it way later, when I finally see the mythical creature called "free time".

Thanks for all the reviews for my other fics, really appreciate your comments :) In the meantime, enjoy the story.

Setting: It's the annual gala dinner between allies Konoha and Suna, held in Sunagakure. Everyone's there (almost everyone) and in their best getup. War with Akatsuki's over, most people survived.

Pairings: Definite -NaruSaku, ShikaTema. Tentative - KibaIno, GaaraHina/ShinoHina, LeeTenten/NejiTenten


The large square full of people settled into silence as both the Kazekage and the Hokage made their way up the stage. Gaara bowed formally to Tsunade, who took the podium first. She was resplendent in a red gown, but held the Hokage hat and coat in her arms. She placed them on the podium, then cleared her throat to speak.

"We are gathered today, in celebration of the dawn of a new year, and to usher in an era of peace," she began, and the roar of tumultuous applause caused her to smile warmly at the assembled. Then she turned somber.

"It has been six months since the war ended, since the last of the beasts was tamed. But six months, most of us here know, is far too short a time.

"We've begun rebuilding. We've started our schools again. We've recovered from physical wounds sustained in battle. But we have not recovered from loss, and from the pain of loss. So today, I ask all of us, as we observe a minute of silence for the dead, to reflect on the new life they secured for us, that we can celebrate today, and, gods willing, for all the rest of our days. Let us remember what they gave us."

Everyone looked down. There was no sound, not even a sniffle or a shuffle. Tsunade held the silence, her hands on the podium.

"Now," and the entire square looked up, "I have three announcements. Firstly, today we mark the third anniversary of our renewed alliance with Sunagakure. Both villages will continue to work and learn together, and I hope we will continue to prosper." Polite and scattered applause - this was expected stuff.

"Secondly, I am retiring."

Suddenly the square was full of noise. There were many people asking their neighbors to repeat what she said, and many more people discussing if they actually heard what they heard. Tsunade waited until the hubbub died down before she continued.

"My dear people, I am very old now - even if I don't look it. I've decided to retire with my best and oldest friend-" here she looked affectionately at Jiraiya, seated offstage "- and move to the big city, with plenty of booze, babes, hunks and gambling for us to 'observe' and enjoy."

"Aren't you supposed to have quiet retirements?" someone yelled from the crowd. Tsunade laughed.

"We've lived with these vices all through our careers, you think we're gonna give them up with retirement?"

As laughter rolled through the gathering, she looked at Gaara and nodded. "The Kazekage will help me make the third announcement."

Gaara stood and came to the microphone. The people stopped talking.

"It is with great honor that I present the sixth Hokage." Gaara's low, serious voice held a hint of warmth in it as he gestured to someone offstage. "To all assembled here today, Konohagakure's new Hokage - Hatake Kakashi-san."

As the masked man proceeded up the stage, the cheer that started near the front gathered momentum and spread, a tidal wave of sound. Kakashi accepted the badges of office – the hat, which he placed on the podium, and the cloak, which he slung over his shoulders. Tsunade stepped offstage to sit next to Jiraiya's wheelchair, holding his hand. The cheering went on for five minutes before they finally quietened down to listen to the new Hokage's first speech.

"Alright, um, those who know me know I'm not that good at speeches," he started with a shrug. "So there's just three things I'll say today, to all of us here. These three things I learnt from people dear to me, and now I hope would be useful to you."

He looked at the ranks of faces before him, from genin-to-be to his colleagues to senior advisors, and not least his predecessor and his students.

"Firstly, I'd like all of us to remember the words of the fourth Hokage, who was also my teacher. As shinobi, we must do what is right – even at the expense of our lives. We must first be righteous for the world to become righteous, because we hold the power to change the world, for good or evil. The war has shown us what it can become if we succumb to power's seduction. We must decide our paths early to avoid straying too far.

"To remain righteous, you need friends. My second point is that teamwork is paramount.

"This I learnt from my best friend, who gave me both the ability and the heart to stand here today. Do not measure worth by the number of missions you complete, although that is important. But more important is teamwork – that is the founding belief, the reason why shinobi operate the way we do. Any ninja who values missions more than his comrades – he is no ninja worth keeping.

"Last, but not least, a lesson I learnt, from my wise and incredibly patient wife: be punctual and stop dallying." As the knowing smiles and chuckles rippled through the square, Kakashi nodded to Gaara and to the rest of the assembled shinobi. "Without further ado, let us party!"

The applause thundered through the village.