Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto and Tv tokyo. This is a purely fanwritten work, with which I make no money, and write only for the pleasure of myself and my readers.

a/n: Ummmmmm so it's been awhile huh?...*peeks around bashfully*..well, I do want to say I'm sorry. The last time we met I was so excited to continue this story, but then my life kind of imploded upon itself. I was not doing well in college, because the major I'd chosen wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. My parents didn't want me to change majors. They felt that I should just stick with what I'd first chosen and follow through, which only caused me to do even more poorly in school. I went into a complete downspiral. I was so depressed I'd go to bed wishing I wouldn't wake up and got up wishing I hadn't. It was really bad. It lasted for almost three years.

Then, I told my parents they needed to let me take a break. And I did. I got a full time job as a Day Care teacher and I'm loving it! I intend to go back to school for Early Childhood Education. I've also found my inspiration again for this story.

Now...I'm just doing this one chapter on the Shinobi War. I will not being going too far into detail on it, as in the Manga it's not over and I don't want to give away too many spoilers. After this chapter, the story will continue focused on the character development or our main couples, and everyone else. There will be deaths, major character deaths, but I will not confirm or deny to people who haven't read yet which ones actually die in the Manga. I also will not go into all the details of the Massacre, because I do not want to spoil any of the new information that was issued in the Manga. I will ask the reviewers to do the same. Please do not confirm in the comments which characters have or have not died in the Manga. I do not want to ruin it for people. That being said, let's get this show on the road!


Chapter 20

Sasuke never did get to find the rest of the clues that his brother had left for him. Not a month later, Pein attacked Konoha, leaving it a steaming crater in the Earth in his wake. The Fourth Shinobi War began with a bang, uniting all of the Shinobi villages together against the Akatsuki with the one and only Sabaku no Gaara as their Commander. Sasuke was immediately rushed to a secure bunker deep beneath the Hokage Tower. As far as Lady Tsunade was concerned, he could not be trusted but his bloodline was too important to the village to leave behind.

The lockdown lasted all of a month before the Hokage realized that Uchiha Sasuke was not a resource they could do without for this war. He was released, his chakra was unbound, and sent out into the battle field. That is where Sasuke finally came upon the truth of what happened to his family. That is what made him vow to make sure no one would ever be able to make the mistakes their elders made that lead to his family's destruction again. Sarutobi would have been able to stop the Uchiha uprising. He was a good diplomat, and more than that the Uchiha respected him. While Sasuke was now aware that a man like him, a man who'd betrayed his village, would never be able to be Hokage...Sasuke also knew Naruto would become Hokage without a doubt. He would be there, beside his best friend when that happened. He would be there to guide Naruto, to help him sort things and learn diplomacy. He would be the voice in Naruto's ears telling him to disband the elder council, or at least replace the current members.

The war waged for nearly a year before the Shinobi Alliance finally won. It was Naruto who defeated Madara..for good. They torched his body to ash so he could never rise again. They destroyed all of his bases, everything in them. The Reanimation Jutsu was sealed and placed in protection so no one could ever learn how to use it again. When the villages parted ways, their alliance was not dissolved. They made promises of meeting to help with the reconstruction of Konoha, and the reconstruction of the other villages that were destroyed by the Akatsuki. Even Suna, who'd been attacked nearly two years back, was still recovering from Deidara's attack.

When Sasuke returned to Konoha with his comrades, a heavy sorrow hung over the group. They'd lost people...good people. They'd all lost a bit of themselves in that war as well. For Sasuke, his precious people were still there. Kakashi, Sakura, and Naruto were all alive. He was lucky, others had not been. Shikamaru lost his father, and was catapulted to Clan Leader upon his return with his wife Temari. Ino also lost her father, and a few other clan members. She was being primed to take over as Clan Leader. Hinata, Naruto's girl, had lost both her father and her cousin to the war. Tenten was completely wrought with grief at the loss of her fiance Neji.

Team Seven, well...they had each other. Even Sai, who had somehow become trustworthy in Sasuke's eyes. The artist truly cared for Naruto and Sakura enough to put his life on the line to keep them safe. That alone was enough to secure Sasuke's trust. But Team Seven had not come away unscathed by the war. Sasuke never really knew him but Tenzo, the man who was placed as their Captain for a time, had been lost in the war. Sakura, Naruto, and even Sai were clearly mourning his death. Kakashi seemed okay, but then again, he always seemed okay. He'd lost so much already.

As soon as they returned, rebuilding began. They worked tirelessly to rebuild civilian homes and businesses first. Shinobi could stand without homes for a while. Even the one's whose family compounds weren't destroyed were sleeping in tents around the construction zones. Sunagakure sent as many as they could to help, as did the other villages. However, many of them were just as damaged and could not spare the manpower. It was months before Konoha looked anything like it did before the war.

"We have come a long way in the year we've had since the end of The Fourth Shinobi War. Look around us, Konohagakure has nearly been returned to the beautiful village it was before Pein invaded us two years ago. I am proud to be a Leaf Shinobi, and I am proud to call myself your leader," Lady Tsunade spoke from her spot on the balcony of Hokage Tower.

The whole village was gathered together to celebrate the successful rebuilding of Konohagakure. Below was a sea of villagers and shinobi, cheering and screaming in jubilation at their Hokage's speech. The village looked amazing, a far cry from the crater it was before. The shinobi behind the new city planning had even used that bowl like shape to their advantage, building walls around Konoha that sprouted up around the cratered village. Konoha's strongest clans had relocated their compounds. The Naras, the Hyuugas, the Yamanakas, Akimichis, Akitos, and so on had all built their new clan compounds around the edges of this wall. The logic behind this? Enemies would have to get through Konoha's strongest to get in, a plan thought up by none other than Nara Shikamaru.

"Now, with the rebirth of our village there will be a rebirth of our leadership as well. I, Lady Tsunade, Legendary Sannin and Hokage of Konohagakure...will be stepping down to take a place on the new Elder Council. In light of the information exposed about the Uchiha Massacre during the war, it was decided that the Elder Council be dissolved and reappointed," the Hokage said. With those words, the crowd fell into shocked silence. The Leader who had overseen their return from destruction was standing down?

"Myself, along with the other newly appointed Councilman will introduce our choice for the Rokudaime Hokage of Konohagakure," she said, stepping to the side so that the masked Shinobi behind her could step forward to greet the villagers. The silence seemed to become deafening in the face of the two new members of the Elder Council.

"Now, I don't think that I'm old enough to be considered an Elder...but like hell if I was going to turn down a cushy job like this one," Hatake Kakashi said with a wink out towards the crowd. Tsunade barely repressed rolling her eyes at his lack of professionalism. The crowd seemed to eat it up though, cheering and calling out to him.

"I think you will all be very happy with our choice of Hokage. He's been training under Lady Tsunade to succeed since he returned. He's the man who saved us all from disaster. He's the Hero of The Fourth Shinobi War. Please help us welcome the Rokudaime Hokage of Konohagakure, Namikaze-Uzumaki Naruto!" Kakashi said. Both he and Tsunade parted so that the blonde could make his way between them, raising his hands to the crowd and smiling broadly, his red Hokage robes billowing in the brisk wind.

Naruto couldn't help the feeling of intense happiness that washed over him as the citizens of his village went absolutely wild at the news. These people had hated him, scorned him, distrusted him for the beast that was locked inside. But now, he had finally proven himself. They no longer need fear the beast inside of him, because Naruto was fully in control of the Fox now. He'd used that power to save them from the wrath of the Akatsuki and from Madara. Naruto threw a look to Hinata, who was standing back by the doors of the Hokage's office smiling proudly at him before he turned to gesture for the crowd to quiet down.

"You don't know how long I've waited for this day to come. Ever since I was a little kid, wandering the streets of Konoha alone, I have dreamed of becoming Hokage," he started, fighting the happy tears that wanted to escape his eyes as he spoke.

"And here I am. It took winning a war to get here, and while I wish we never had to lose all we did I still think it was worth it. I have reached my goals through strength, dedication, and the support of the people precious to me. I would never have made it here without them. And now I have promises to make to you all," he continued, as Sasuke, Sakura, Sai came up beside him.

"As your Hokage, I promise to protect you all with my life. I promise to remember that every soul in this village is just as important as the others. I will make sure that no one is made to suffer the way that Uchiha Itachi and Uchiha Sasuke had to suffer because of my inability to act quickly or have trustworthy shinobi on my Council. Above all, I will make sure that our nation never has to see a war like this again. I will maintain favorable relations with our fellow Shinobi villages, and through those connections we will be able to stop organizations like the Akatsuki from ever rising again. It was because we hoarded our information on criminals from our countries so closely that the Akatsuki was able to form without our knowledge in the first place. Never again," Naruto vowed in the face of his citizens.

The crowd once again went wild, and through the noise Naruto was sworn in as the Rokudaime Hokage of Konohagakure. His appointed "cabinet" was also introduced. Haruno Sakura, as the Chief of Medicine at Konohagakure Medical. She was also appointed as the medical liaison between Fire Country and the others around it. Uchiha Sasuke was appointed Chief of ANBU, his original crimes against Konoha forgotten during the war. The truth of the Uchiha Massacre had been revealed to the public, Itachi's intentions for Sasuke with it. He'd fought just as valiantly for Konoha as any other Shinobi, and his strength as a Shinobi was not something that Naruto was willing to lose for any amount of time. Sai was put in charge of what was left of ANBU Root. He was set to the task of evaluating and deciding which individuals were able to transition into normal ANBU ranks, and which ones should be chakra sealed permanently and turned into civilians. Sai was also appointed as Sasuke's right hand man. Sai's knowledge of the inner workings of ANBU would be a huge help in restructuring the organization.

And Hyuuga Hinata...well...she was the Hokage's most precious person. She was the one who'd stuck by him through the entire war, and even when he'd lost all hopes for winning. She'd been there to literally slap sense into him to keep on going.

"Now that all the official stuff's out of the way, let's party!" Naruto called into the crowd only moments after signing the official document that would put him into office.

The cheer was deafening and the Festival began.

Sakura looked in the mirror as she pulled the braid out of her long pink locks. She wore a pale pink kimono with a red obi. The material looked nearly white, it was such a pale shade of pink. Falling cherry blossom petals patterned the kimono as well, seeming to fall randomly over the now eighteen year old kunoichi's curved form. Haruno Sakura had changed in the two years it'd took to finally surface from the war. Her face was mostly the same, if a little matured along her bone structure. Her eyes were that same shade of pale jade, though tinted with her experiences and losses in the war. Her hair the same bubblegum pink, but fell in a long sheet to the top of her tailbone. She'd grown taller, standing at an average five foot six inches. Her body had also filled out around the hips and the bust. She still didn't have the ample chest of her shishou, but Sakura's bust filled in a C-cup just fine. Her belly was flat, her waist was small and her hips flared out in a way that was very aesthetically desirable. Her long legs were perfectly toned.

All in all, Haruno Sakura was a woman now, not the little girl she'd been before the war began. She'd seen and done things over the past two years that had changed her irrevocably, but she would be okay. She was strong, and so was her support system. Besides, there were others in her life who needed her to be strong now more than ever. The war had left its mark on everyone in some way or another.

"Are you ready, Sakura?" a male voice broke her out of her thoughts.

She turned to see Uchiha Sasuke standing in her doorway with an amused glint in his eyes. He was wearing his ANBU uniform, and she couldn't help but giggle at the sight of it. Seriously...it was like a shiny new toy he felt he had to show off to the entire village. Those dark eyes narrowed on her as she laughed.

"Is that what you're wearing to the festival, Sasuke-kun?" she asked. He scowled at her.

"And why shouldn't I? I am the Chief of ANBU now aren't I?" he retorted. She just giggled harder.

"Yes of course. It looks good on you, Sasuke-kun. Let's go, I'm ready," she said through her giggling fit. He just huffed at her and offered his arm for her to slide her small hand into.

"Let's go..if we wait any longer, that idiot will be drunk before we get there," he said in a gruff tone, clearly irritated by her giggles but not enough to storm out of the house.

The left the new Uchiha District together, arm in arm towards the festival. Why they were still living together even though Sakura was no longer his parole officer was something neither of them had really invested any time in figuring out. When they'd returned to Konoha after the war, they'd shared a tent with Naruto and Sai. When all the housing was rebuilt, Sakura never bothered releasing her apartment. She just went with Sasuke to the new location of the rebuilt Uchiha District and moved into the Main House with him. It just seemed natural to them. They saw no reason to be separated. The rest of their comrades and friends didn't even bat an eyelash at the development. They all accepted it as the natural progression of things.

The Rokudaime Hokage sat at a VIP table in one of the hottest clubs in Konoha surrounded by his friends..his family. To his right was Hyuuga Hinata, the woman he loved, wrapped at the waist by his strong arm with no cares on how public the display of affection was. He was wearing his Kage robes, because damned it if he ever wanted to take them off. To his left sat the Godaime Kazekage, Sabaku no Gaara, who'd come in from Sunagakure just to see Naruto's inauguration. With the Shinobi world in peace as it had been since the end of the war, Gaara had felt confident in leaving his brother in charge of the village for the week he intended on visiting Konohagakure. Besides, he would like to be of help to his best friend, give him a few pointers on being a Kage as young as they both were.

Sakura and Sasuke had yet to arrive, the others of the rookie nine were scattered around the VIP section chatting and drinking sociably. Though there were a few that were understandably not here. Shikamaru, Ino, Tenten...they were all busy with other things. Two of them were still in preparation to take over their Clans. Tenten, well she hadn't been the same since Neji's death. Naruto made a note to go see her sometime soon.

"So, is your wife coming?" Naruto asked, turning to Gaara curiously. Mint green eyes darkened slightly, the only sign that Gaara was feeling anything before the Kazekage felt.

"She's...home with the children. She may join us out at the street festival later tonight," the redhead said softly.

"How is she doing?" Naruto asked.

"She says she still needs time. I do not know what to do to make it better. I wish she would let me help, but she seems intent on avoiding me. She's been here since the rebuilding began, and I only get to see her when she comes to drop the children with me in Sunagakure for my time with them," Gaara replied.

Most wouldn't be able to tell, but Naruto could hear the hopelessness in his friend's tone. The war had been rough on Gaara's marriage. Shia being pregnant at the beginning of it left her unable to follow her husband into battle. She was left in Sunagakure to give birth alone and run the village alone, all the while having only letters from her husband as a source of knowing whether he was still alive or not. Shia had not taken it well. When the twins were born, she couldn't up and leave them alone in Sunagakure so she could go fight a war. She spent the first year of their life as their soul parent, the soul leader of the Sand, and in her eyes..an impending widow. It had been rough on her. When Gaara returned, she was very happy that he was alive, but she needed time to come to terms with everything that had happened. She also wanted to be a part of the rebuilding of Konoha. It was the home of her Clan after all. Gaara had only seen her in short time frames since she'd left.

"I'm sorry, Gaara. I hope she comes around," Naruto said, unsure of what else to say to make Gaara feel better.

Gaara didn't say anything. He didn't want to ruin Naruto's night of celebration with talk of his marital troubles any further. This was Naruto's night. He should spend it happy, inebriated, and in the arms of the woman he loved.

"She will, Gaara. Shia-chan loves you, there is no doubt in that. She just spent the better part of two years alone with three young children, scared out of her mind that she would lose you. Helpless to protect her family and friends out on the battle field. It's been a year, maybe you should talk with her. She might be unsure of how to breach the subject now, unsure if you would be receptive," Hinata said, smiling warmly at the Kazekage.

Gaara merely nodded and was glad when the subject of conversation switched from he and Shia's failing marriage to the arrival of Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Sasuke. Naruto stood, smiling broadly at his two teammates as the approached.

"It's about time you guys got here! Even Kakashi-sensei showed up earlier than you!" he teased, gesturing to the bar where Hatake Kakashi was sitting next to YĆ«hi Kurenai and drinking some amber colored liquid straight from a large glass.

All three of the new generation of Sannin hoped to the gods that he wasn't trying to pick her up. They knew for a fact that Shikamaru would not be happy about it. Kurenai's son was now two years old, but Shikamaru wouldn't let any man near her that wasn't serious about settling down. After Asuma died, it was well known that Shikamaru had pledged to watch out for the child Kurenai would bare. He took his role very seriously, as did his wife Temari..who was somehow even scarier to deal with. Shikamaru and Temari had married in the midst of war, officiated by her own brother Gaara right before a huge battle. They were one of the scariest couples in Konoha. Nobody messed with them.

"Well you know how long it takes Sasuke-kun to get beautiful. You can't really fault me," Sakura replied to Naruto's jest. Both of them cracked up as the aforementioned Uchiha scowled at them ominously.

"Have a seat, both of you! Waitress a couple of whatever-they-wants and another round for the table!" Naruto called jovially.

The atmosphere lightened considerably as everyone began to drink and chat. Naruto turned his head to Hinata, who was talking quietly with Sakura and smiling. She looked so beautiful dressed in her red kimono with fire country flames licking at her curves. Her hair was held up in an intricate twist by a gorgeous ruby hairpiece. A matching pair of earrings hung from her ears, and a necklace rested at the base of her pale throat. Naruto's heart swelled with pride at the sight of the elegant woman beside him. He knew he wouldn't be here, sitting in kage robes and celebrating his rise to Hokage if it weren't for her. Leaning down, Naruto nuzzled his nose against the skin behind her ear, causing her to giggle and blush lightly at his public affections.

"Naruto-kun, behave yourself!" she scolded only half serious.

Naruto just grinned foxily at her and shrugged. He couldn't help himself. He was mildly tipsy and feeling good. He wanted nothing more than to take Hinata home and make love to her all night. After two years of being together, fighting a war together, and having absolutely no privacy all Naruto wanted was to spend time with his girl alone. Of course he was having fun in the company of his friends right now. But, when things settled, Naruto would be taking more time to be with Hinata. He loved her and he was pretty sure she was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. With her father dead, Naruto would have to get permission from the Hyuuga Elders. But he would. If he could become Hokage, he could do anything.

"Sorry Hina-chan! You know the affect you have on me," he said teasingly. Sakura giggled, Gaara arched a hairless brow and Sasuke made fake gagging noises.

"You mean she made you grow a dick? Wow, Hinata-san you must be some woman," Sai's voice came from across the table. Naruto's eyes narrowed at the dark haired man before he smiled brightly and kicked Sai in the shin under the table, hard.

"Sai even you can't ruin my night right now!" he said brightly. Sai smiled back, his expression genuine as opposed to his usual fake one.

"Of course, Hokage-sama. Even being dickless couldn't ruin a night like this!"

For that, Sai got a harder kick to the other shin...from Sakura this time. But everyone laughed it off and continued having a good time.

A/N: So, that's it for this chapter. I'm sorry again for how long that this took to get back to. I hope you all understand my reasons, and I hope you enjoyed the chapter.