Disclaimer: All original Naruto characters, settings, plot etc. are the property of Masashi Kishimoto. No copyright infringement is intended and I make no profit from this story.
Okay…so, I know it's sudden and I've given virtually no warning, but this is the last chapter. However, I'm not doing a sequel; instead I will be writing a series of epilogues for this story. I don't know when I will write them, but I will.
As soon as I get the final votes in on my poll I'll also be starting my new story; please don't get mad if it isn't the one you voted for – I'm more than likely going to do most of them in the future anyways.
"So! What'll it be tonight then, Naruto?" the jolly Ichiraku owner chuckled with glee as Naruto sat himself on one of the bar stools. The blond was his best customer, yet he'd been seeing less and less of him lately, it genuinely worried him that the boy he'd known since his early days was acting so peculiar, especially when his birthday was tomorrow. He knew how harsh some of the villagers could be, but he was sure things were different now that Naruto had proven – to an extent – his loyalties to the village.
"Just a bowl of miso, please!" Naruto chirped back, it was nice to come to Ichiraku's stall, the manager and his daughter were very nice to him - they always had been. He watched as the man went about preparing his ramen. In all honesty he didn't really feel like eating ramen at the moment, but he wasn't very aware of the other restaurants and was supposed to be meeting Sakura any moment; Ichiraku's had seemed like the best option.
Naruto smiled to himself when he realized that he'd been unconsciously playing with the ring on his finger. Yes, Sasuke had given him a ring. It wasn't anything fancy, his fiancé had told him that he'd planned their wedding rings to be amazing though, and that Naruto would have to go in and make some decisions on them too, just to make sure they were perfect. But the engagement ring was just a thin strip of silver with small, chipped diamonds scattered on it. He liked it, mainly because it wasn't too fancy or girly, just subtle and nice.
He sighed to himself, picking at his ramen as it was given to him. He really didn't feel like eating ramen. The fox had stayed quiet since the whole 'question' thing, and Naruto wasn't very sure what to make of that. At least he wasn't shouting at him. He missed the female Kyuubi – she was much less aggressive and so much nicer; well, to him anyway, she was still a complete bitch of course, just…slightly more…maternal.
"Naruto?" Sakura's sweet voice – drenched in nervousness - drifted through the small ramen bar.
"Hey, Sakura-chan!" was the ever happy response from Naruto. Needless to say…he was a little shocked when Sakura rushed to envelope him in a hug so tight he thought she'd break his back.
"S-Sakura!" He managed to stutter out as he tried to peal her away from him, to no avail, obviously, hardly anyone could match her strength nowadays. Only Tsunade.
"Oh, Naruto! I'm so sorry! It doesn't matter anyway…you're so much better than him…way too good for him even!" Naruto stopped struggling, figuring it was easier to breath when he stayed still; it seemed Sakura was done with squeezing the life out of him for the moment anyway as she stepped backwards and sat on the nearest barstool.
All was quiet for a few moments; the nightlife from outside the stall being the only distraction for Naruto's mind…what on earth was Sakura even talking about?
"Eh…Sakura, I don't think I follow you." At that remark his pink haired friend shot him a look that clearly said she thought he'd lost what little brain he had to begin with.
"Sasuke of course!" She spoke harshly, annoyed by his obvious confusion, before she realized how mean she'd been and how upset he must be. "Sorry…it's just…news travels fast and…I heard about the break up…" She trailed off, not wanting to hurt her friend more.
Naruto, however, was starting to catch on to her train of thought. 'Heh, word doesn't travel that fast though' Then again…their break up hadn't really lasted all that long in the first place – strange, it had felt like an eternity to Naruto. He opened his mouth to correct her when she seemed to decide to distract him, cutting his words off before they'd even begun.
"Me and Lee are so stressed right now. We never imagined it would be so difficult to continue on as a Ninja once there's a baby involved, but – wow!- it's no wonder most Kunoichi quit their careers after becoming a mother. It's just so difficult! I am actually getting no sleep at all anymore! Cause every night Kaname is like…"
Shit this girl could talk! Naruto couldn't really remember the last time she'd ranted to him like this before. Well, correction…he could, but he didn't remember when it was.
Naruto put his hand on the counter.
"…and Lee has been great and all, but he's just so into his training with Gai and everything. And cutting my hours has made it better, don't get me wrong, now at least I get to sleep some of the day, well…as long as Lee can watch her, some time's Ino helps out with her too…"
Okay, maybe the subtle moves weren't the best way to go with this. He'd try something more noticeable.
For a long moment, Naruto scratched his cheek.
"…And damn! You should see the way Ino's been acting lately…she's so out of it, sometimes she just stares of into space; like she's seeing something that isn't there. And then, just the other day, when we were shopping for my wedding dress…"
Okay…so since Sakura had obviously turned blind recently, the blond decided to become drastic in his mission.
Naruto ran his hand through Sakura's pink locks, trapping a few strands and pulling them round in front of her face. "Your hair looks strange today Sakura…have you done something different to it?" He asked, his voice full of mischief.
Sakura stared at the hand in front of her face as tanned fingers played with the hair, a look on her face that told Naruto she was confused.
"Well…I haven't actually…had much time…to…to do…anything…What the hell is that?!" Sakura cut herself of by grabbing the still-moving hand from in front of her face, ripping it out from around her hair, twisting her body round so that she could get a better look in the light from the shop, dragging Naruto's body with her.
"Hey, hey, Sakura! Watch it! You're gonna pull my arm off!" He yelled half in amusement and half in discomfort as Sakura dragged him further and further off his stood and his arm further toward the light above the bar.
"What is that?" he tone was more sober this time, slightly delicate and shaky as she considered the possibilities…there weren't many. Naruto could only giggle at her and turn his head away in an attempt to resist the building hysterics. His friend, though, didn't seem to find anything funny as she turned harsh, almost sad eyes on him.
"S-sakura-chan…it's a…a ring!" ad that was all he managed to say before erupting into a fit of giggles, pulling his arm and Sakura with it as he twisted on his stool. Sakura didn't like that at all.
Her tone certainly held no traces of humor when she spoke again - the words were sugar coated in ice. "I can see it's a ring, Naruto. I want you to tell me why you are wearing an engagement ring when you and Sasuke broke up?" The blond managed to conceal his laughter after only a few more snorts and hisses.
"Well…" Clearly Naruto didn't know how to be sly, that much was obvious as he blushed over quivering lips; he didn't know how to hold back a grin either.
"Oh, my god…you're…?" Sakura let his arm go and it fell to the counter with an undignified 'plunk'.
"Yes! We're getting married!"
"Isn't it a good thing?" Naruto frowned, the look on the other girl's face wasn't doing much for his confidence; why didn't she look pleased, the expression almost seemed like…pity.
She shook her head slowly…"Naruto, I…don't know how to say this, but…it just feels as though this might not turn out so good, I know you love him and all; I understand, and I know he loves you, I'm not saying he doesn't, but…" She trailed off, her eyes distant as she contemplated how to put her thoughts to words.
"Just spit it out Sakura." To say the jinchuuriki was agitated would be an understatement – what was wrong with Sakura? She should have been happy about this, not looking all somber and worried.
"Isn't it a little…well, I don't know…unfair…for you. When he is only with you for the child really, because otherwise he'd be out with…someone else…" her hand clenched into a fist, her words weren't only hard on Naruto.
Her words were hard for different reasons however; she was thinking the same thing Naruto had been this morning, but Naruto was thinking of how on earth he was supposed to tell Sasuke about the…baby…although, there had been a few different concerns raging in the back of his mind concerning the…supposed baby, as well.
'…once they began growing…', '…ain't good for them…'
That word…it had been bugging him, but in all honesty he wasn't entirely sure he wanted to know…'they'… it seemed a little suspicious of Kyuubi to accidentally confuse his pronouns, truly odd. He refused to question the fox though, who knew the answer he'd get, and he only prayed he wasn't going to have a litter.
"Naruto?" Sakura's voice – full of unconcealed concern – brought him back from his thoughts and he turned his head to stare wide eyed into emerald pools.
"It's all okay Sakura-chan." When all he received was a confused expression he realized he'd need to divulge his answer. Sighing, he began. "I uh…haven't told him about the…baby, yet. He decided to stay with me anyways…said he chose me over the family heh."
Sakura didn't reply, just stared ahead for a few minutes and left Naruto alone in his mind to ponder things he'd never wanted to think of before. Like, what were he and Sasuke going to do after…once he wasn't pregnant any more. How were they going to bring up children when neither of them had experienced a proper family life themselves – how could they bring up children when they'd barely been allowed a childhood of their own?
And what would the reactions be to this. Naruto had no doubt in his mind that it would not go down well with the citizens of Konoha, what lengths would he and Sasuke need to go to in order to ensure their child's safety. He already knew that Tsunade would be sure to have him as Hokage before the situation was presented to the people, but he didn't need another reason for Konoha to despise him. How could they love his child when it would be a result of Kyuubi's creativity?
His hand was grasped for a second time – the difference being the tenderness this second grasp held. "I think you should tell him." Naruto found himself interrupted by his pink haired friend once again. He knew she was right and he knew he'd need to tell Sasuke soon – before it became more obvious.
Sakura didn't reply, just picked herself up from her seat and placed a bundle of cash on the counter before walking slowly out of the shop, a sympathetic smile and reassuring wink all that she would give to him.
And once again Naruto found himself in his thoughts as he made his way home and to bed, where his fiancé would be waiting.
Sasuke had said he didn't like kids…it didn't take a genius to notice that someone like Sasuke would naturally dislike children. They were just too sweet and cuddly and…sicky and smelly. But Naruto adored kids and he had been pleased when Kyuubi had told him of the life growing inside of him; he'd just been so confused and so mystified by it all, not to mention shocked beyond belief, that he'd failed to see the good in such a thing.
Sighing to himself he continued on his way, not even realizing as he entered the Uchiha house. So what if Sasuke didn't want the children; he couldn't force Naruto to give them away or – god forbid – destroy them! Not that Naruto expected him too…but there was sure to be some sort of argument about it.
How was he supposed to break the news to his lover anyway? 'Oh hey Darling, by the way, Kyuubi let you knock me up! Yeah I'm a pregnant dude!' Hmm…that was so not happening. And if Sasuke asked questions, what then? Surely he wouldn't settle for the answers the blond had needed to be given; he'd want more details and information and Naruto just didn't want to discuss the weird things that were happening inside him.
The blond was so caught up in his intricate thoughts that he barely took notice of the gaping hole in the wall by the bedroom door…oh, that must have been where Sasuke punched it earlier. Turns out Naruto had been too blocked up by emotions and his own noise to hear when Sasuke's fist had gone through the wall…shame.
Naruto's face was the epitome of worry as he laid himself down in bed beside his fiancé. After he'd accepted Sasuke's offer the two had lain most of the day on the floor talking about so much he could hardly believe Sasuke capable, and so little he couldn't even remember half of it.
Sasuke shifted as he noticed his lover's body beside his. Pale arms came to wrap around Naruto's waist as the blond leaned away to switch off the bedside light.
"Hey…" is boyfriends tone was sleepy and Naruto had a feeling he'd been waiting for him to return. "How did it go with Sakura?" Naruto shrugged, it wasn't really important; he'd arranged to meet Sakura in order to tell her about the marriage and he had done just that. Sure he'd not received the response he'd wanted but that was beside the point.
"Fine." Was all Naruto could say because Sakura's words came back to him and he just had to tell his fiancé about the 'condition'. Oh god. "Sasuke…?" He whispered, barely a breath.
"Hn." His lover's response was almost softer than his own.
"What would you say if I told you that…that you could fulfill your dream, and still stay with me." Sasuke pulled back from their embrace, looking at Naruto's moonlit features, barely viable in the soft light.
"I'm not going to put you on the sidelines, I've made my decision, Naruto…I want to be with you; you're enough and I want to be someone who deserves you." With that he resumed their previous position. Obviously jumping to the conclusion that the conversation was over…it hadn't even begun.
"No, but…what if…what if Kyuubi," Sasuke's hold tightened a fraction, but it was enough for Naruto to pause; could he really do this? What if Sasuke was completely disgusted by him? He shook his head minutely and closed his eyes tight. They'd get through this – hadn't Sasuke just said the blond was all that he wanted. What if he really didn't want anything else?
"What if Kyuubi could do something to me. I've talked to her and maybe she could…she could…"
Sasuke growled lowly by his ear. "I don't care what Kyuubi can do; she isn't going to use you to spawn some kind of experimental thing. It would be far too dangerous to you." Naruto gasped, did that mean he'd want to get rid of it, Naruto's arms twitched, wanting so badly to wrap instinctively around his navel.
"But, what if she could make me pregnant…you know…nothing weird." His voice caught at the end and he stopped; willing himself to be strong enough to hold back his panicked tears.
"And what would be the risk to you? There is no way something like that could possibly happen and even I it could; what would be the price, because I wouldn't trade you for anything. Now drop it – go to sleep, Naruto."
"B-but, Sasuke…she could...she could make things good….she could…" he trailed off, noticing how Sasuke's body had gone solid as a rock against him.
"Alright," The Uchiha's voice was forceful, almost uncomfortable. "I'm going to humor you. What would the risks be and what would we need to do in order to gain this…well this miracle." Naruto frowned at that despite the pleasing words; Sasuke seemed to be having a hard time grasping at the idea. He didn't have a wide imagination though, so the blond couldn't blame him.
He was glad, though, that he seemed to be worried for no reason since it wasn't actually harmf- 'Kit…' his demons voice erupted suddenly inside of him.Well that didn't sound too good; he'd never heard Kyuubi speak with such a tone in the past. 'I may have been a little vague with the whole explanation and stuff, but there are certain…risks. I just forgot to mention them.'
The jinchuuriki wasn't worried though; Kyuubi wouldn't have done anything without thinking it through. So he was slightly surprised by his next words.
'There's about a…twenty seven percent chance that you – we – won't make it.' There was silence for a moment, thankfully Sasuke seemed to realize he was having an internal conversation; at least he wouldn't have to tell him that too.
'I'm…likely to die?'
'Not very! Just a little; it's to be expected, I mean, a male body isn't built for the excess weight, excess space needed to be used and men don't have the natural equipment to deal with pregnancy – I've been using my power to cancel out the pain you'd be feeling from the womb pressing into everything else in there. There just isn't room.'
Naruto wasn't very sure how to reply, so he chose the most civil route. 'Why wasn't I told about this? I wasn't even asked if I wanted this done; which I wouldn't have! Why didn't you ask me?!'
'Because I'd made up my mind – if the Uchiha had left you we would have ended up the equivalent of death anyway.'
'That isn't true! I could live without Sasuke!'
'Yeah, but would you really have been living?'
'But he isn't leaving me anyway, so doing this for that reason was pointless.'
'I won't apologize, now your boyfriend's getting restless, you should probably let him know the details.' Beside him, his dark haired lover was shifting slightly; obviously feeling perturbed by the news Naruto had given him.
"S…Sasuke, there is a small chance – nothing big, just twenty seven percent or something – that it'll be fatal. But it isn't that big a deal! I mean…me and Kyuubi are strong…we can…mana…ge…" he trailed off slightly, realizing his mistake and noticing a little too late that it hadn't gone unnoticed by Sasuke.
He pulled back slightly, trying unsuccessfully to keep the worry off his face as he searched his lover's eyes for his thoughts. His attempts were in vain, however, since his fiancé had his eyes closed tight. The blond could only imagine what images were running though his head at the moment.
Himself bent over a tree as he was violently sick…the tears he couldn't stop from coming…the snappy comments he'd made so often for no apparent reason…the strange food that Sasuke hated him eating…the small bump on his belly…
Naruto bit his lip from crying out in shock as a cool hand moved round to cradle his stomach, Sasuke's eyes opened to look straight into his and neither had to say a word; they both knew what was being thought.
Laying for what seemed like hours in such a comfortable silence made it hard to break it. Naruto was the one who took the initiative and spoke the words he felt were needed.
"It'll be okay. Everything will be just fine – you know how tough I am." Yes, Sasuke knew; although he was ashamed of the reasons why he'd needed to see such a thing. "I won't leave you, Sasuke." He felt Sasuke smile against his neck in response as the Uchiha pulled them tighter together.
"I won't leave you either, I'll do whatever you want, Naruto, I swear. I'm yours.
The blond couldn't help but giggle at that; his fiancé suddenly sounded so fragile. "I'm yours too you know, and no matter what comes our way from now on, trust me; we'll be fine."
Sasuke smiled as he kissed the tender skin on Naruto's neck again, the action so gentle that Naruto couldn't help but snuggle deeper into his lover's warm hold.
"No. We'll be better than that – we'll be happy."
I got a review for the last chapter from someone who signed as 'hunny', and well, to answer the question asked I will now explain my – unintentionally complicated – twist. I think I'll need to work on them in future…
So…back in chapter twelve…I did say there was a reason I used first person narrative in the parts with Mijime…and that was because I didn't want to have to say who the person was. I knew everyone would automatically assume it was Sasuke, and therefore would get a bigger shock when I revealed that it was in fact Ino! So the one who slept with Mijime was Ino. As for Sasuke and Mijime; she is his psychiatrist, because…he really does need one. That's all she is to him, and kind of a friend too. I hoped it would be clear to people, since it was the first time I used first person narrative, but I'll need to work on that twist thing next time, definitely...So I hope that cleared things up!
Ino Mijime will have an epilogue all of their own! So don't fret people…I won't leave their ending out.
Thanks to everyone who has done my poll. It's going to stay open until I finish this story, so to the readers who haven't voted yet, please do. It'll really help me out, plus it's you guys who might be the ones reading it, you never know.
Thanks for reading this story people! I hope you enjoyed!