Okay guys, here it is: the final chapter of The Fox and the Hound. I thank you all for sticking with me until the end, I appreciate all your comments, criticisms... everything! I hope you enjoy the finale! Oh, and reviewers... you guys get digital sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. Enjoy!

werewolfluvr147- I'm glad I was able to touch you again, here. I know exactly what you mean about Naruto, he can be very frustrating sometimes. Thank goodness Shikamaru's there to be the voice of reason...

Fire's Descent- Oh, I feel honored! I'm glad to hear I struck a chord.

Rose Tiger- I know what you mean... I still feel bad about Kiba dying. At least he's happy, though!

freshman007- I'm glad you liked the last chapter. It's always good to hear that my characters reacted believably, and I appreciate the compliment on the ending!

Now, on to the chapter!


Epilogue

It was just over five years later when Naruto Uzumaki found himself returning to the very same church where they had said goodbye to Kiba once and for all. Of course, unlike on his previous visit to this little chapel, on this particular day Naruto was brimming with a strange combination of excitement and anxiety. He was standing before all of his friends and family, who were staring up at him in joyful anticipation, though his mind was in no way focused on them. No, that wasn't the cause of his anxiety… it was the Hyuuga standing next to him in an elegant, white gown.

I can't believe I'm doing this…

In front of the young couple, a priest was giving a nice an elegant speech… or so the blonde assumed. He wasn't exactly paying attention, not because he didn't care, though, but his mind was racing with other thoughts. He was simply too afraid to let think of anything other than "don't faint," lest he forget and collapse right before the altar.

"Do you, Naruto, take Hinata to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part?"

"I do."

Did I just say that?

"And do you, Hinata, take Naruto to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part?"

"I do."

She does?!

"Then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife," the priest continued in his warm, yet formal manner. "You may kiss the bride."

Hearing those words, Naruto suddenly felt all doubt flee from him at once as he leaned in and planted a chaste kiss on the Hyuuga's lips. At this, the crowd erupted in applause, many whistling loudly to make their approval known. After only a few seconds, Naruto backed out of the kiss and gazed down at his wife, a gentle smile graced both of their features.

No words were spoken between the two of them; it was as if, with their marriage, they had a sort of telepathic link, with each knowing exactly what the other was saying. Thus, it was with a mere nod that Naruto and Hinata raced down the aisle, the blonde's eyes scanning the crowd for familiar faces as he ran.

Iruka… and Akamaru, of course… Neji… Shikamaru… wait, is he wearing a suit? Never thought I'd see the day…

Before long, though, the young couple burst through the chapel doors into the bright sunshine, where a car bearing the words "Just Married" awaited them. Naruto hopped in the driver's side, waving happily to his family gathered in front of the church as Hinata climbed in. Once they were both settled, the blonde turned the ignition and stepped on the gas, his eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror until his family was out of sight.

It took only a few minutes for the young couple to arrive at their new home, neither one saying a word as they drove along. It wasn't an awkward kind of silence, though, but rather… pleasant. They still had that telepathic link between them, and they both knew that no words were needed at this moment. Even when they stepped out of the car, the newlyweds never said a word. Naruto knew to carry Hinata over the threshold, Hinata knew to be carried… it was instinctive. Once Naruto actually passed through the door, however, he felt an overwhelming urge to break that peaceful silence with a completely unnecessary statement.

"Well, here we are," the blonde said with a grin, looking down at the girl in his arms.

"Here we are," Hinata repeated with a softer smile.

In any other case, Naruto would have felt foolish for saying something so obvious, but for whatever reason it felt right at that moment. Yes, they both knew that they were there… but it felt so much more real to actually hear those words.

Of course, it then seemed to dawn on the young couple instantly: there was still one thing left to do. Once again, neither one had to say anything; they could simply see it in one another's eyes. Thus, they raced up the stairs towards the master bedroom, Naruto gradually removing his tuxedo as he went. By the time they reached their destination, the blonde was nearly tripping over his pants, while Hinata was busy undoing her wedding gown. Before long, though, they were both down to their underwear, at which point they tumbled onto the bedspread, their lips locked in a passionate kiss.


About a half hour later, Naruto Uzumaki found himself lying in bed, his body covered in a thin layer of sweat. Scattered about the room were various pillows and articles of clothing, which made it look as if a tornado had swept through. Beside him, Hinata was lying on her side and gazing at the blonde, a bed sheet wrapped sensuously about her.

"Something on your mind?" Hinata asked after a moment, though more out of curiosity than concern.

"No, not really," Naruto responded simply as he continued to stare up at the ceiling.

"You know he'd be proud of you, right?" Hinata continued, "Kiba, I mean."

"You think so?" the blonde asked, glancing at his wife with a raised eyebrow.

"Of course," the former Hyuuga replied, "You've made me the happiest woman in the world."

"Is that so?" Naruto responded as he turned on his side, a playful grin on his face. "I take it I was good, then?"

"Well, I wouldn't say that," Hinata responded coyly. "After all, it's hard to tell after just one time."

"That sounds like a challenge," the blonde said as he inched closer to his bride. "I'll just have to prove that was no fluke then, won't I?"

With that, Naruto rolled on top of Hinata, his lips traveling slowly from the base of her neck up towards her mouth. For a moment the pale woman simply lied there, anticipating the kiss that was to come, only to tumble to the side and off the bed as she proceeded to lock lips with the blonde herself.

Indeed, Kiba would have been pleased, for Hinata Hyuuga had finally found true happiness in her beloved Naruto.

The End


Well, there you have it... the end of the story. Once again, I'd appreciate any comments you guys might have. As for future fanfics... well, I'm going to take the summer to focus on my novel, but we'll see if I have any good ideas come September.