Author's Note: I realize that it has literally been forever since I've updated this. I hardly even know how to use this website anymore because so much has changed. Pharmacy school has taken over my life, but I had this written awhile ago and forgot to post it. Here is the epilogue, which I think is kind of lame compared to the actual story itself. I realize that a lot of people who have read this story when I was updating it frequently probably don't remember much that happened since it has been so long! I apologize for waiting so long to post the epilogue that a lot of you asked for. I know it's probably too late now. But for all of you who have read this story and followed it, thank you so much for all your support. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me to have amazing people supporting me. And to everyone who just now read this story through, thank you for reading it. I know the characters are OOC and there are things that have happened in the Naruto series that have not been included in my story. I started this story way before a lot of things happened in Naruto Shippuden, so just keep that in mind. Sorry if you don't remember everything, but I said I'd post the epilogue, and I know it has been a few years, but I'm posting it!
Naruto was off the boat in seconds and in Konoha, racing down the streets. "Ramen, ramen, ramen, ramen, ramen!" His three friends were trailing behind. They were glad to be home, but they weren't going to go rushing around and making fools of themselves, quite unlike Naruto was doing.
Konoha hadn't changed a bit. It was just the way they remembered it from when they had last been there. It was wonderful to be back home, but the looming feeling of failure of their mission was depressing. A great day being back home was dampened by this failure. It wasn't often that these elite ninja failed missions. It hadn't been like they had been given a chance to actually try to successfully complete the mission, though. They hadn't really even started it. They had been on their way to start it. Still, it didn't matter. They still felt like they had failed no matter what.
They all went their separate ways, not really saying a farewell to one another. It was obvious they would see each other soon enough since they were all so close. Their minds were elsewhere, anyways...like on how they were going to go straight home and take showers.
Kakashi, trailing behind with his orange manga book pulled out, glanced up from it. A soft smile formed under his mask as he watched Naruto's figure getting progressively smaller as he hurried toward Ichiraku and as he watched Sakura, Sasuke, and Hinata part ways. It was good to have them all home.
Sighing, Naruto tucked his arms behind his head as he strolled along the streets of Konoha. There were a couple people following him, asking questions about what had happened while he had been stranded on the island with his friends. Just smiling, he left them all guessing what his journey had been like for a few minutes.
"Was it youthful and exciting?" Rock Lee asked, an edge of wonder in his voice. "I bet it was fantasic being with Sakura for that long and bonding!" The man with bushy eyebrows looked a bit star-struck. "I wish I could have been stranded on an island with her. We would have trained together and bonded. We would be the best of friends!"
Turning and walking backwards, the blond grinned at the group of people following him.
Neji Hyuga did not seem pleased. "How could you have let something happen to Hinata?" Without waiting for an answer, he snorted, arms crossed. "You didn't try anything, did you?"
Genuinely puzzled, Naruto tilted his head to the side, chuckling a bit. "What do you mean by that?"
"He means did you make any romantic moves on her while you were on the island, dumbass," Ino said, rolling her eyes and waving her hand. "Knowing you, I doubt it. You probably don't know how to be romantic at all."
The man glowered. "Do so. You can ask Hinata. We're dating now."
Neji advanced towards the man a bit faster, causing Naruto to start chuckling nervously and pick up his own pace. Everyone else that was following him seemed to hesitate with their walking, shocked at what he had just said. Naruto hadn't led anyone to believe he had liked Hinata before they had left for the mission. Now he was back, and they were suddenly dating? Naruto couldn't understand why they were all so surprised. Apparently everyone had known about Hinata's massive crush on him while he had been oblivious, so why were they all so bewildered? He must have not made it quite clear that he had gotten over Sakura. If it hadn't been clear before he left, it was definitely clear now.
Before Neji could catch up to the man, Hinata approached the group. Naruto was the first to take notice. Smiling, he reached a hand out towards her as he continued to walk backwards briskly, the mass of people still following.
"Hinata, we were just talking about you!" Naurto exclaimed, laughing. The woman lightly took his hand, blushing ferociously.
"Y-You were?" she stammered, not knowing if she should be insulted or flattered. It didn't really matter. The point was that people were paying attention to her and her new relationship.
A year later...
"Remember where we were about this time last year?" Hinata asked, glancing over at her best friend. The pink-haired woman rolled her eyes, heaving a sigh. It was interesting to think back to those days when they had been stranded on the island. Those had actually been slightly fun days, although also very frustrating. "Camping out in the shelter we built, hunting for food..."
Sakura frowned. "I miss Saru."
Her now husband-to-be, Sasuke, rolled his eyes. "You seriously miss that dumb monkey? You've got to be shitting me. Sakura, it's a monkey."
Pointing an index finger at herself, Sakura exclaimed, "That monkey understood me."
Blue eyes widened as the blond standing beside Hinata made a creepy sound. "He could see into your soul..."
"Shut up. You're an idiot." Crossing her arms over her chest, Sakura turned her head away from him. "You wouldn't understand. None of you ever connected with that monkey the way I did. He listened to me and understood what I was saying. He even stuck up for me."
The four started walking down the street together towards Ichiraku. Naruto slid an arm around Hinata's waist. The two were now a happily married couple, having been married for about a month and a half. Pearl-colored eyes flickered in his direction, a smile played across the woman's face. She couldn't be happier. She had waited so many years for Naruto to return her feelings, and now she was finally married to him and living a good life.