A/N - The first and second flash-forwards will make much more sense if you go read my ficlet Fathers and Sons first.
Epilogue - Three times when Naruto kissed Sasuke, and one more time when he did
The nurse pointed them in the right direction and Naruto hurried ahead, stopping after a few yards to look back and wait for Sasuke.
"Come on, hurry up," he whined, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. "Aren't you excited?"
Sasuke continued to step forward at a leisurely pace. If anything, he was going even more slowly. "Why should I be?"
Naruto threw the plush fox toy he'd picked up on the way in the air and caught it easily again. Sasuke could be such a pain, sometimes. "It's the first Uchiha born since—" Naruto gave him a sideways look as they moved on toward the room the nurse had indicated. Sasuke's expression was still a cool, slightly annoyed mask. "—you know."
Juggling the plush toy again, Naruto snorted. "As eloquent as ever."
Sasuke snatched the fox from the air and threw him a mild glare. "As annoying as ever."
Naruto accelerated to reach the room first. "Not last this time!" Throwing the door open, he called out a loud, "Hi, Karin!" only to be glared and hissed at by the two irate people sitting on the hospital bed.
"Be quiet, you idiot!"
"Oops. Sorry." He rubbed the back of his head, smiling apologetically. "How's the baby? Can I see it?"
Suigetsu threw him a pointed look, and Naruto was suddenly glad the proud father was currently carrying a child rather than any of his swords. "See her, Uzumaki, not it."
Naruto was used to Suigetsu's ways and he didn't take it personally. After all, he had long ago deduced that the man had to be brain-damaged. There was no other reason he could see why Suigetsu would have returned to Konoha, camped outside the village for two weeks waiting for Karin to return from a mission, then proceeded to tell her how annoying she was and how he couldn't stand her before asking her out on a date.
"A girl! Cool!"
Without a word, Sasuke thrust the toy at him. Naruto took it and walked closer to the bed with his offering.
"I brought a present!"
Arms crossed over her hospital gown, Karin huffed when she saw what the toy was. "Trying to give her nightmares from the start, fox boy?"
Her words didn't bother Naruto, either. He knew what Karin's problem with him was. He'd thought it'd get better when she had finally stopped smashing her hand into Suigetsu's face and agreed to go out with him, but somehow, she could be happily in love – at least, he assumed she was; she certainly had been hitting Suigetsu a lot less – and still be jealous.
Despite her sneering words, she did take the plush toy and petted it absently, even as Suigetsu looked at her. At her nod, he stood, stepping closer to Sasuke who had remained a few feet back. Without warning, he handed his daughter to Sasuke. Judging by his startled look, it was the last thing Sasuke expected, and he was too surprised to move back in time. Naruto grinned at the pure horror on his lover's face when he looked down at the child he was now holding.
"We want you to name her," Karin announced on a no-nonsense tone.
Sasuke's eyebrows only tried to climb higher on his forehead. "What? No, I—"
"We can't agree on a name," Suigetsu cut in. "You're head of our clan. You pick one."
Vainly, Sasuke tried to return the child to her parents, but neither of them was taking her. "But I don't—"
"You really want to offend us, Sasuke-san?" Karin asked mildly.
Sasuke glared at her, then at Suigetsu, and even at Naruto for good measure before looking down at the baby in his arms. He brushed his fingers against her thin, bright red hair. Eyes closed and sucking on her tiny fist, she was adorable, Naruto thought, but he was glad he wasn't the one who had to name her. He'd never have known what to pick.
"Kushina," Sasuke said quietly after a few moments, looking up to meet Naruto's eyes.
A jolt had passed through Naruto at the name and he swallowed hard.
"Is that OK?" Sasuke asked.
Naruto nodded and managed a weak smile though he was unable to say a word. Without thinking, he brought a hand to his chest, absently touching the two pictures that he kept in the inside pocket through the fabric of his vest. It had been difficult to find a picture of his mother to keep with the picture of his father that Kakashi had given him. He wished he had one of them together – even better, with him as well. He looked at Karin, Suigetsu, and baby Kushina with a bit of longing. They formed a touching scene together. At least, he thought, now he knew his parents' names and faces.
Sasuke and Naruto visited for a few minutes more before finally leaving. Naruto managed to wait until Sasuke had closed the door behind them before he grabbed his vest, shoved him against the wall, and kissed him within an inch of his life.
Naruto was halfway through soaping every inch of his skin for the second time when the shower door slid open. Startled that he hadn't even heard Sasuke enter the bathroom, he dropped the soap. He knew better than to bend down and pick it up, though, not when it was Sasuke's turn and they had no time for games.
"No, no, not today, not now," he said quickly, stepping under the spray and as far away from Sasuke as he could in the shower stall. "I can't be late today, it's too important, we can't—"
Sasuke picked up the soap and set it on the holder. Naruto made sure to keep his eyes straight ahead, lest his determination would waver.
"You know Kakashi will be late," Sasuke said with a slight smile. "The Hokage ceremony can't start without him."
Tempting reasoning, but Naruto wasn't that weak, not at all, and he wasn't looking down to where Sasuke's cock was hardening just like his own was. Nope. Not listening, not looking.
"He wasn't late for his own ceremony!" he said quickly as Sasuke continued to inch closer. "He knows when stuff is important!"
A single finger trailed down his chest, and he sucked in a breath, expecting the touch to turn much more intimate. He breathed a sigh of relief – or maybe disappointment – when the finger retreated.
"He had you to keep him on track," Sasuke pointed out, coming closer still so that their cocks were now trapped together between their bodies. Leaning into Naruto's neck, he placed small licks along his neck in between words. "No one's… going to… tell him… to hurry up… not on his last day as Hokage."
With some distress, Naruto realized his arms had betrayed him and were now wrapped around Sasuke's waist. "But we'll be late!" he whined.
The plea did not affect Sasuke at all. "You're way too tense," he murmured, now trailing kisses up his neck and across his jaw. "If you go like that, you'll be fumbling through your entire speech."
Naruto almost asked what speech he was talking about. It was becoming hard to think, suddenly. Very hard.
"You don't want the villagers to think their new Hokage can't say three sentences without tripping over his own tongue, do you?"
It just wasn't fair. Sasuke was a bastard. He kept saying that word, and every time he did, Naruto's stomach was trying to climb out of his throat. "But—"
Whatever objections Naruto had disappeared in a kiss that robbed him of his resolve, along with his ability to form coherent thoughts.
"See?" Sasuke said, smirking, when he pulled back. "I'm helping. Keeping your tongue all supple and agile. Aren't you lucky to have me?"
Naruto's cock and hands and skin all agreed that he was lucky, indeed. His brain, on the other hand, was trying to cling to a single thought. "Can't be late…"
"Turn around." Sasuke murmured, his hands already on Naruto's hips and showing what he meant.
Naruto's body obeyed, and he leaned his hands against the cold tiles even as he protested. "But Sasuke—"
A sneaky hand wrapped around Naruto's cock. The second one had found the lube and was busy applying it liberally.
"We can make it quick," Sasuke promised, his fist sliding a little faster over Naruto's cock while his fingers slid a little deeper.
Naruto squeaked – except, future Hokages didn't squeak, did they? "Or we can—" He gasped. "—wait until after."
"Ah, but if we wait until after, I won't have the satisfaction of knowing the new Hokage isn't glowing because he finally got what he wanted but rather because of me."
With that last word, Sasuke's cock finally slid in with one fluid movement that drew a muffled cry from Naruto's lips.
True to his word, Sasuke set a fast rhythm, his hands tights on Naruto's hips. "But if you really want to fuck after… you can make that your first official act. Send everyone out of your office and fuck me on your new desk."
Naruto moaned. "Pervert."
"Don't tell me you weren't planning to. I know you."
The worst of it was, he was right. "Shut up and fuck me."
Very obligingly, Sasuke did.
As Naruto had predicted, they were late, although only by two minutes. Of course, Kakashi arrived thirty-seven minutes after they did, so it didn't really matter. He explained that he'd been finishing to clean up his desk in case Naruto wanted to get to work right away. During the entire ceremony, he kept throwing puzzled looks at the first row of the audience where Sasuke, in a very uncharacteristic fashion, was stifling fits of laughter behind his ANBU mask. Naruto's cheeks were burning the entire time. Sasuke was going to pay for this. He was going to pay very dearly.
Sliding his precious burden onto his left arm, Naruto opened the door and called out, "I'm home!" as he entered the apartment.
"You're also three hours late," came the predictable response from the kitchen. "We didn't wait for you. Didn't you say you were right behind me when I left the Tower?"
Naruto toed off his shoes and dropped his hat on the low table by the entrance. "I was. But I kind of got sidetracked."
Running his free hand through his hair, he walked toward the kitchen. Damn, but he hated that stupid hat. He shouldn't have let Kakashi goad him into swearing he'd wear it. He stopped just before the door and watched Sasuke at the other end of the kitchen for a minute. He knew he was going to get in trouble for this. He'd known before he'd even made the decision. He also knew it was the right decision, and Sasuke would see that. Eventually, he would.
Sasuke finally turned around, his mouth already opened to say something. He blinked when he saw the child asleep in Naruto's arms, her head resting against his shoulder.
"Naruto?" he said, frowning lightly.
"This is Misaki," Naruto said with a hesitant smile. "She's four. Her father died in a mission last spring. And her mother died the same way two days ago."
Sasuke sighed. "Naruto…"
Misaki stirred in Naruto's arms. She woke up and rubbed sleep out of her eyes with her fists.
"Oh, there she goes," Naruto said, patting her back gently. "Had a nice nap, Misaki-chan? This is Sasuke. Remember how I told you about him? Can you say hi to him?"
She waved her fingers at Sasuke, giving him a shy half-smile. "Hello, Sasuke-san."
Naruto gave her a big grin. "See how polite she is? Perfect little girl."
He tickled her and she giggled, squirming until he put her down. Just then, a flash of black hair ran past Naruto and went to hide behind Sasuke's legs while Misaki was hiding behind him. Naruto watched as Sasuke's hand came down to stroke Isas' hair, and that simple yet telling gesture gave him hope. Sasuke had been reluctant about Isas, too, at first.
"Isas-chan, this is Misaki. Will you show her your room? I need to talk to Sasuke for a minute."
A little hesitant, Isas came to stand in front of Naruto and held out his hand toward Misaki.
"Hi, Misaki-chan. I'm Uchiha Isas. Do you want to see my room?"
Misaki looked up at Naruto and he gave her an encouraging nod. Smiling shyly, she took Isas' hand and they slipped out of the kitchen.
On the other side of the table, Sasuke crossed his arms. "So our lives aren't complicated enough for you?"
Naruto came forward and sat at the table with a light groan. It had been a long day. It had been a long day even before he had heard the report from the team of Misaki's mother.
"She's got no one else," he said quietly, looking up to meet Sasuke's eyes.
Sasuke expression didn't change. "We both have duties."
"And one of mine is to take care of Konoha. Everyone in Konoha."
They'd had this discussion before, and Sasuke had learned it was useless to argue about this particular point. Sitting across from Naruto, he changed his angle of attack.
"So what, we're going to run an orphanage?"
Naruto grimaced. "Hell, no. Those places are awful."
Sasuke stared at him, and he was silent for a few seconds. Although his eyes remained black, Naruto had the unpleasant feeling he was under the scrutiny of the sharingan.
"You never told me," Sasuke said, almost accusing.
"I haven't thought about it in a long time," Naruto replied with a shrug. "I got out of there as soon as they let me. They weren't exactly sad to see me go."
"It wouldn't be the same for her," Sasuke argued, more gently, maybe, than he would have moments earlier. "They wouldn't be scared like brainless idiots."
"Maybe. Maybe they just wouldn't care."
Sasuke sighed. "Naruto…Come on. We can't just take in every kid whose parents die on a mission."
Annoyed, Naruto stood and stretched, locking his hands at the back of his head. They weren't talking about every child in Konoha. They were talking about one little girl who had watched him with huge, frightened eyes when he had picked her up from her babysitter to tell her that her mother wouldn't come back.
"Don't tell me Isas or Misaki would be fine growing up without someone who actually cares about them, Sasuke. Don't tell me I was. And don't you fucking try to tell me you were."
Without waiting for Sasuke's answer, he walked out of the kitchen and went to Isas' bedroom, stopping to lean against the wall next to the door and listen in.
"Don't you have a mommy?" Misaki was asking, her voice trembling.
Sasuke joined him and, arms crossed, leaned against the wall facing him.
"I did," Isas replied. "She died."
Sasuke's features hardened.
"My mommy died, too."
Misaki sounded like she was crying. Naruto started pushing away from the wall, ready to walk in, but Sasuke stopped him with a hand on his shoulder and a slight shake of his head.
"Don't cry," Isas said gently. "It'll be ok."
"But the bad people killed my daddy. And now they killed my mommy, too. What if they come to kill me?"
Something twisted inside Naruto. There were few words he hated to hear as much as these. If a Konoha child was scared, it simply meant he hadn't done a good enough job.
Sasuke's hand tightened on his shoulder and he mouthed the words, "Not your fault" even as Isas said, "Do you know how to throw a kunai?"
"I do." Isas sounded proud now, and older than his five years of age. "Father taught me. He can teach you, too. And until he does, I will protect you. And Father will, too. And Dad also. He's the Hokage. He's very important. And very strong."
"Naruto-sama is nice. He took me to have ramen."
Naruto beamed. Sasuke rolled his eyes.
"Sasuke-san is nice, too."
"He looks scary."
"He does, but he's just pretending. He's really very nice."
This time, Sasuke huffed while Naruto snickered. "Told you you weren't fooling anyone," he murmured.
"You're an idiot."
"I'm an idiot who's helping repopulate your clan."
Yet again, Sasuke rolled his eyes. Naruto had told him more than once he'd end up hurting himself doing that.
"I'll clean up my parents' house tomorrow," Sasuke muttered, looking away. "That way, they can each have their own room."
Reaching out, Naruto curled his fingers at the back of Sasuke's neck and drew him forward. He didn't have time to do more than brush his lips against Sasuke's before the twin "Eww!" resounded at their side.
After two weeks away from Konoha, their return promised to be very busy, Sasuke thought when they crossed the border. He'd have a lot to do in the Tower to catch up on paperwork. If he waited for Naruto to get around to doing it on his own, the backlog would still be there the next time they visited Suna. Naruto was a good Hokage when it came to actually doing things, but the administrative aspects of the job never kept his attention for very long. Sasuke had often wondered in the past decade or so what Naruto's tenure as Hokage would have been like if he hadn't had a secretary who didn't hesitate to offer sexual favors – or threaten to withhold them – to get Naruto to do the necessary paperwork in a timely manner.
The work in the Tower wasn't what mattered most, though. They'd never left the kids alone before, and although Juugo had moved in to look over them while Naruto and Sasuke were gone, Sasuke hadn't stopped worrying the entire time. Isas and Misaki both took the honor of the Uchiha name a bit too seriously, at times. Isas had graduated from the academy at the top of his class, and he was as impatient to get missions above D-level as Naruto and Sasuke had been, what seemed like a couple of lifetimes ago. As for Misaki, she could not wait to become a genin, and they often had trouble stopping her from over-exerting herself. He hoped Juugo had kept a close eye on her. And on Dai, too. She was only three years old, after all, and she probably didn't understand why Sasuke wasn't the one to pick her up from the baby-sitter anymore, or why Naruto wasn't the one who woke her up and made her breakfast in the morning. Yes, the work at the Tower would definitely have to wait until they checked on the kids and made sure—
"Still pouting, huh?" Naruto said abruptly, falling into step next to him. "I told you that you had no reason to be jealous."
Sasuke snorted. "I'm not pouting," he said, spitting out the word as though it were venom. Naruto had the strangest ideas, at times. Like deciding that two Kages sparring together was a good thing. "And the day I'm jealous of Gaara is the day I become a priest. If you must know, I was thinking of the kids."
Naruto chuckled. "Juugo sent a message just two days ago! They're fine!"
"A lot could have happened in two days."
"They're fine," Naruto repeated, shaking his head indulgently. "And you're really going to be a pain when they start going on missions out of the village."
Sasuke scowled at him, but he refrained from pointing out that Naruto was the one who kept making sure Isas' team only received missions that took place inside the walls of Konoha. Sooner or later, Isas would realize that, and then Sasuke would be the one laughing.
Naruto fell back a little, and Sasuke heard him argue with the leader of the ANBU team that accompanied them, although he couldn't make out the words. After a little while, the ANBU gave up. Moments later, Sasuke realized that he and Naruto were now alone, with their guards nowhere to be seen. It had been seven years since he had last worn an ANBU mask, but all his instincts were screaming at him that this was wrong and unnecessarily dangerous.
"What's going on?" he asked, slowing down and falling into step with Naruto.
"Nothing, just follow me."
With that, Naruto picked up speed, refusing to reply anymore when Sasuke called after him. It wasn't long before Sasuke realized where they were going, and not much longer after that before they reached the Valley of the End. He stopped by the edge of the water and looked at the waterfall in front of them, memories he had thought long forgotten suddenly cascading through his mind. Some of them were bitter, and he'd rather have forgotten them. The rest had led him to where he was today – standing at Naruto's side in all possible ways.
"Why?" he asked simply.
Naruto dropped his hat along with his formal robes as he answered. "Because you beat me once here, and you let me win the second time. I want a rematch. I've wanted a rematch for close to fifteen years, actually."
"And we've fought just about every other day during those fifteen years," Sasuke pointed out. "You've beaten me plenty of times."
Naruto shook his head, though he was grinning. "We were sparring. That's different."
"You want to actually fight?" Sasuke asked, unsure – or afraid – he understood correctly.
Arms stretched high above his head, Naruto chuckled. "Wouldn't you, if I had beaten you?"
Sasuke didn't dispute that. It was irrelevant. What mattered was that this was an incredibly stupid idea. Then again, coming from Naruto, what had he expected?
"You didn't tell the ANBU this was what you planned, did you? They'd never have let you go through with this."
Naruto's chuckle turned into full-out laughter, and a flock of birds took flight from nearby trees. "I told them I wanted to fuck you," he confided, his eyes sparkling.
"You wish," Sasuke said dryly. "It's my turn, dobe-sama."
The reminder didn't seem to put off Naruto. "Fine. You can fuck me after I beat you."
"Don't be ridiculous. No way you'd win if we fought. But we won't, because I don't want to hurt you."
Naruto didn't even argue. Grin still firmly in place, he asked, "But you do want to fuck me, don't you?"
Sasuke was beginning to see where this was going, and he couldn't say he liked it. Not in the least.
"Naruto—" he started warningly, but Naruto quickly cut in.
"You're not touching me until we have that fight."
Stepping closer to glare all the more threateningly, Sasuke crossed his arms. "Ultimatums, now? What are you, twelve? I can't believe—"
This time, Naruto shut him up with a kiss. He cupped Sasuke's face with both hands and crushed their mouths together, slipping his tongue past Sasuke's lips when Sasuke tried to protest. Their tongues battled for a moment and Naruto even nipped at Sasuke's bottom lip before pulling back, grinning widely and just a little out of breath.
"I mean it, bastard. I'm not saying you should put your hand through my chest, but if you do, I promise not to have you thrown in jail."
Sasuke stared at him, his eyes wide and just a little incredulous. "You're insane." Still shaking his head in disbelief, he pulled off his travel coat. "And I must be insane, too," he concluded.
Concentrating chakra to the bottom of his feet, he stepped onto the lake formed by the waterfall. This technique, he remembered with a sudden burst of nostalgia, they'd learned together, though they'd practiced climbing trees, not walking on water. They'd come a long way since then, changed in many ways, they'd grown up to fulfill their dreams though, in Sasuke's case, in much different ways than he had expected. One thing hadn't changed, though. They may be partners, but they also were rivals – they had been both things from the very first day of Team Seven.
He turned to face Naruto, and couldn't help smirking at him.
"Ready to be dead last again?"
He didn't wait for Naruto to answer before launching his first attack.
A/N: To answer a question that popped up in reviews, yes, this story is finished. If you want more, check out the series of ficlets. Never Change.
Last A/N: One last chance for me to thank Kantayra for introducing me to this fandom, inspiring this fic and beta'ing it. One last chance also to thank everyone who cared enough to review; please believe that your support was very much appreciated. And one last chance to ask it yet again, especially from all the lurkers out there... Please review?