The Lucky One

By: BlindHuntress

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

He came back to his village on the shoulders of his once teammates, those he betrayed. With tearful eyes and thankful smiles from the two people he trusted more than anyone, he never saw that they had changed more than physically and he should have.

Oh how things had changed…

And so he was welcomed back to Konoha with Karin trailing behind, broken and bruised, but ever faithful.

Beginning at the genin level, being reassigned to Team 7 to find that it was now a five man team. To be healed so meticulously, so perfectly by the one girl he had always tried to ignore, the one he took for granted, the one he came back to Konoha expecting to still be in love with him, to still be waiting for him.

But things had changed and the cherry blossom no longer loved the last man with the Uchiha eyes. The Kyuubi once again wrought havoc on Konoha, but this time it was in the heart of the sole survivor, because he had lost the battle to the demon container; the greatest battle he never fought.

..oOo..

It seemed he would never get over Haruno Sakura and it burned him, not just in the disappointment, but in the irony. Irony that laughed at him everyday in a voice that sounded suspiciously like Itachi's, dry and hollow.

Naruto and Sakura had wed in the biggest wedding Konoha had ever seen; hundreds of doves released into the blue sky, thousands of white rose petals littering every paved street and millions of rice grains being thrown up-up into the air.

The last Uchiha heir's wedding, once the gossip of town; it would be so grand, the most extravagant wedding in Konoha history, was sparsely attended and compared to the Uzumaki wedding, plain.

Cheers, bubbling laughter and smiles as bright as the sun made up the white wedding of the Kyuubi container-Hokage and the "medic that had surpassed Tsunade-hime". The Uchiha ceremony was made up of tentative smiles and awkward silence.

On the day of his wedding, in the short line of well wishes and congratulations Sasuke pulled his pink haired teammate to the side.

Avoiding Karin's questioning gaze, Sasuke bent low, hiding in the shadow of his darkened locks.

"Will you ever love me like you once did? Just…just say the word and I'll leave Karin," he whispered, desperation lacing his words.

Beryl eyes widened to the size of saucers shock at first and even horror before it was swiftly hidden from their depths.

"Sasuke-kun," she whispered, stepping back.

Sasuke reached out to her delicate hand, sparkling with a lone diamond on her finger. He could give her a ring encrusted with diamonds; it would catch the sun and blind shinobi all the way to Sound, if she just gave the word.

"Sasuke, do you know what you're saying?" She hissed in low tones, eyes now angry as they slipped between him and her laughing husband, as he tried to entertain the small crowd while casting curious glances back at his best friend and wife.

"I do," Sasuke said fervently, reverently, "We'll leave Konoha, we'll be happy."

"I am happy!" his teammate spat in disgust, "And you're talking about defection! Defection, Sasuke! Naruto just cleared your record for that!"

"I don't care about leaving this stupid village, or even what the Dobe has done for me, just…I just want you Sakura."

Uzumaki Sakura raised her nose and looked down at him with anger and disgust, "That dobe is my husband, and this village is our home. How dare you Uchiha, you're barely married for five minutes and already you shame your wife!"

Sakura turned in a whirl of beautiful emerald green and latched onto the arm of her husband. Tugging and pulling she whispered pleadingly into his golden mane of spikey hair and with a confused glance in Sasuke's direction Naruto nodded absentmindedly.

"Okay Sakura-chan, okay, just one minute." Turning to Sasuke with azure eyes sparkling he shouted across the small Uchiha courtyard, "Congratulations Teme, my apologies Karin-san for being stuck with such a jackass!" Laughing, Naruto allowed himself to be lead away by his distressed wife and Karin hurriedly approached Sasuke, hands fluttering nervously.

"Sasuke, what wrong? Is everything ok-"

"It's fine. It's nothing." Sasuke snapped and watched emotionlessly as the few spectators to his wedding followed after the Hokage; the only reason why they even bothered to come to the wedding of the Traitor.

..oOo..

Naruto and Sakura welcomed their child into the world first and of course, as their once teammate, Sasuke was welcomed to witnessing the birth by the proud father.

"Naruto why the hell did you invite nearly the whole village to witness this?!" Sakura growled viciously through gritted teeth, her white knuckled grip on her husband's tan hand looking positively painful as she seethed.

Naruto grinned despite his breaking left hand, his wife having already broken his right, which was currently healing due to the Kyuubi bond.

"Sakura-chan, this is the birth of OUR CHILD! This is going to become a national Konoha holiday!" he crowed happily, "Anyway it's not the entire village! Only Teme, Kakashi-sensei, Sai, Yamato, the Rookie Nine, their sensei's, except for Asuma, of course, the Subaku family and then uh…well I don't know who those people are." The Hokage rambled, eyeing an equally uncomfortable looking couple barricaded in the corner of the room by the surrounding shinobi.

Tsunade smirked amusedly from her place between Sakura's stirruped legs, watching as her apprentice's limbs quaked with pure fury.

"NARUTO!" Sakura screamed, a vein in her forehead throbbing.

"Calm down Forehead, you don't want your baby to come out and see you looking more ugly than usual." Nara Ino quipped from the side Naruto currently wasn't occupying.

"Pig!" The pinkette snarled, green eyes glinting, their shine more brilliant than the rivulets of sweat pouring from her hair line.

But Sasuke couldn't disagree more with his once fan-girl; Sakura had never looked more beautiful, brining a life into the world.

"Okay Sakura, one more push and my grandchild will be out, get to it!"

"Shishou!" Sakura began to whine, but then it quickly turned into a scream.

Several men who may have caught a glance to the Uzumaki child crowning turned green and dimly one could hear Hyuuga Hinata fainting and hitting the floor.

"Go Sakura-chan, GO!" Naruto cheered, looking a bit green around the gills himself as his attention switched between Sakura's agonized face and Tsunade baa-chan's efforts to help his child make its entrance.

"NARUTO!" his wife shrilled, tears leaking out her eyes and Ino wiped her brow comfortingly.

Sasuke heard the wail of a babe and saw Tsunade-sama stand with a triumphant smile on her face, tears in her eyes, "It's a boy!"

The blonde haired Godaime Hokage handed over the fussing and squalling bundle to his haggard looking mother while his father nearly jumped through the ceiling in joy, pumping his fist.

"I have a boy! Believe it!" he crowed.

In serene silence Sakura used the edge of a blanket to wipe the grime of childbirth from her infant son's face, a flash of thankfulness crossing her face at the sight of his blonde head.

Faces relaxed into smiles as the Uzumaki family; no longer two but three, cuddled close; Naruto's smile as blinding as the sun and Sakura looking radiant with the glow of motherhood as their child nestled against her breast.

"Good job Dobe," Sasuke said softly, but if Naruto heard he never acknowledged his teammate, all his focus on his newborn son who gripped his large finger tightly.

"Sakura-chan, he's so strong, just like his beautiful Mom," the Hokage whispered into her damp pink locks, tears evident in his eyes.

"Like his Dad," she amended with a tired smile and Naruto kissed her temple lovingly, cupping her head and rubbing the base of her neck with his healed right thumb.

"Thank you," he said brokenly, voice brimming with love and everyone in the room heard it; all throats in the room filled with lumps; except for Sasuke himself, who was above that, human emotion, being the trivial thing it was.

Sakura kissed his cheek and then rested her own against the top of their son's head, eyes fluttering in exhaustion.

"Everyone out, it's time for both mother and child to rest," Tsunade-sama declared and ushered everyone out with forceful hands.

"Naruto, she will need some rest, okay?" his predecessor reminded as Sasuke held open the door for the blonde Sannin.

"Yes baa-chan," Naruto answered, but was totally enamored with his son whom he carefully took from his wife's tired arms.

"Hello Minato Jiraiya Uzumaki," he whispered and Tsunade left the room sobbing quietly.

Sasuke's eyes lingered on his friend and then on Sakura, his heart ached for all that he would never have with her, all that he had passed up a long, long time ago. In silent anguish the Uchiha left the happy, tired family who had suffered so much to be where they were.

..oOo..

Nine months later the next Uchiha heir in nearly thirty years was born.

Sasuke's first child was a girl, with hair just a couple of shades lighter than her mother's cranberry locks.

"Lucky she gets her looks from her Ma," Naruto barbed as the two teammates looked through the nursery glass at the squirming child.

"Hn," Sasuke responded, and wondered if his daughter would get the Sharingan; he almost didn't want to burden her with it.

"What's her name?" Naruto asked after Sasuke failed to rise to the insult.

"Mikoto," Sasuke answered simply.

"After your mother, huh? That's nice. Hey Mikoto, it's me, Uncle Naruto!"

Sasuke rolled his eyes at his teammate, but couldn't help but try to resist the urge to follow Naruto's suite and wave at his child.

"Always knew you'd have pink haired kids, Teme," Naruto teased eyes faraway and happy.

Sasuke looked at his daughter's dark roseate head and felt a familiar ache and wrench in his heart, almost wishing that she would open her eyes and they would be green, emerald green.

Instead, Uchiha Mikoto's eyes would be gray, gray as the darkest storm, like her father's.

..oOo..

Sasuke would go on to have a son, Daisuke and another daughter Akemi; his son the splitting image of himself and his youngest child with her mother's looks and her spark.

During Akemi's third year Sakura gave birth to her third child and first girl, Hitomi. Hitomi was the apple of her father's eye and her mother's clone, with a normal sized forehead.

The Uzumaki children were all beautiful rays of light, not only in their parents' lives, but also in that of the entire village.

Minato and Taiyo were like Naruto in everyway, except Minato had his mother's eyes and was slightly more well behaved than his father and younger brother. As their baby sister Hitomi grew it seemed that Daisuke was drawn inexplicably to her in ways no one but his father could secretly understand.

"Otousan," his six year old son spoke and Sasuke bent his head to his middle child as they walked down the street, hand-in-hand.

"Yes Daisuke?" Sasuke rumbled.

"I think I'm going to marry Uzumaki Hitomi one day," Daisuke said seriously and looked almost relieved to say it. "I don't care if Taiyo doesn't like me, I love her Otousan, she's pretty."

Sasuke's grip on his son's hand tightened to painful proportions and Daisuke yipped in pain, "Otou-"

"You will have nothing to do with the Uzumaki girl; do you understand me, Daisuke? Nothing." Sasuke growled.

Daisuke shrunk under the weight of his father's menacing gaze, eyes glinting red in the sunlight, "Yes, Otousan."

There was no more talk of girls between Sasuke and his son, in fact, the man had more interaction with his two red-headed daughters than the son he had always longed for; their only interaction was spars.

..oOo..

Naruto brought harmony, wealth and happiness to Konoha during his time as Hokage; he was what the village had hoped for under his father's short lived reign. Tsunade spoiled her grandchildren as only a grandma could and she no longer chastised Naruto for calling her as such; she loved her new role in life and flourished under the most common title she had ever been given.

Sometimes the Uzumaki family worried for her though, she had long been done with "Dan, this" and "Dan, that", but now she spoke of "Jiraiya, this" and "Jiraiya, that"; her long time love's death had irreparably broken her in ways so deep, no one would ever know.

Kakashi-sensei, forever the bachelor, never married and read his unfinished series of Icha Icha until the hard covers were worn down to paperbacks. He was named the Uzumaki children's grandfather and though he protested and grumbled "I'm not THAT old, hateful children", he also took to the blonde haired boys and was smitten with the pink haired little girl.

Then it came upon a fateful day; and it could only be as such, for days that a precious person dies are not common days, but life altering, fateful.

Naruto received a request like any other, a trip to Suna to teach new medical discoveries and methods.

Since the birth of her children, Sakura had only played the role of making the discoveries and then sending Inuzuka Hinata as a medical ambassador to the surrounding nations to teach and heal. This time however, Sakura felt that Naruto could take care of their children sufficiently for a week until her return.

Because of her role as being mother to the Kyuubi container's children, she had carried three unnaturally chakra laden infants. Their irratic chakra patterns often had left Sakura weak during pregnancy, sapping at her own chakra reservoirs and taking all of the perfect control she had to not let her children's chakra burn her from the inside out. Because all of her pregnancies had left her weak, her recovery had played a huge part in not being assigned to missions since her first pregnancy with Minato. With this chance that she hadn't been able to take in all of fifteen years, Sakura itched to be a shinobi again and with much begging to her husband, the man who assigned missions, she was granted her first mission in over a decade. So she left with kisses to her children and a near grope session with her husband, for which she swiftly punched him and then left Konoha with Kakashi and two other shinobi for safe passage. Though the journey was easy and held little dangers, no precaution was left untaken for the Hokage's wife, per the Hokage's orders.

..oOo..

Sasuke sipped his hot green tea on the back porch, watching Daisuke practice with the shuriken and kunai while Akemi sat off to his side knee to knee as she switched between watching her brother and playing with her dolls.

The front gate slamming followed by a similar sound with the front door and rapid footsteps made Sasuke pause and set down his tea, waiting for the familiar chakra signature to find him. When she finally did her breathing was panicked and her face stricken, gray.

"What is it Karin?" he asked his wife.

"The gates…Kakashi," she whispered.

Sasuke frowned and stood, his children stilling and observing his rare show of concern.

"Kakashi…Sakura?" he asked, but Karin only hung her head and then with a crack of china Sasuke was gone. Karin raised her head, her heart somewhere between sadness and apathy as she looked at her children's curious faces.

"Daisuke, please watch your sister. I'll send for Mikoto," she addressed her ten year old, who nodded like a good shinobi.

"Yes Okaa-san."

..oOo..

When Sasuke reached Konoha gates he found he had been beaten there by a large crowd, faces white and eyes pained.

Pushing his way to the front, Sasuke found Naruto still as stone watching the figure approaching. Sasuke glanced behind his best friend to see Minato, now fifteen, holding his four year old sister and pushing her face into his shoulder. At his side Taiyo, unnaturally silent, did not look ahead at the stumbling figure, only from his brother's solemn face to his father's gray one.

A feeling akin to panic mixed with denial swarmed through Sasuke like a colony of hornets and he clutched at Naruto's shoulder, who did not respond.

As the stumbling and staggering figure got closer, it became evident there was a body held between it's arms and the survivor was alternating between sobs and high pitched talking as he spoke to his only audience, the corpse.

Tsuande let out a keening cry and several people behind Sasuke moved to catch her as she fell. Naruto walked smoothly forward to their sensei and gently took his wife's body from the man's shaking arms.

Her face was an unnatural shade of gray and her once vibrant pink hair was now lank and pale, she now looked her forty some odd years.

Kakashi babbled on, covered in blood that was not his own; no man could bleed that much and be alive, then with his burden gone, he fell to his knees and pressed his blood caked hands into his eyes and wept.

All eyes however were on the silent, impassive Hokage as he stood holding his wife's cold form with dead blue eyes on the scarlet bandages that had been wrapped excessively around her neck. Detachedly curious, he went down to his knees and draped her across his lap, fingers moving to the bandages around her neck, going beneath her short curtain of hair to find the shuriken peeking from in between the wrappings.

So that was how his wife died, a shuriken to the neck that had probably nearly severed her head from her body. Naruto was numb, but thankful that it had been quick.

"Who was it?" he asked aloud to Kakashi, stroking her face; eyes no longer on her blood drenched torso and legs.

Kakashi, who had ceased weeping and now only knelt looking far away started to life at his Hokage's voice, "They wore Atasuki cloaks, probably trying to resurrect it, Hokage-sama."

Sasuke shook from head to toe, fists clenched so tight his dull nails began to pierce his flesh.

"Hokage-sama," Kakashi continued, now standing and walking over to place a hand on Naruto's barely trembling shoulders, "They went directly after her. They…they separated us, but they're main goal was her. They wanted the head of the Hokage's wife."

A roar ripped out of Naruto that left the trees in the Forbidden Forest shaking, and the watching crowd felt their knees knock together. Taiyo's weeping broke the answering silence and Hitomi's soft voice.

"Minato, where is Mommy? Daddy, Daddy, where is Mommy?"

Minato tried to quell his sibling's escalating cries, which quickly turned into shrieks.

"Minato I want Mommy! Put me down! DOWN! I want Mommy! Mommy!" Hitomi wailed and pounded on her brother's shoulder.

As her cries gradually subsided, only Naruto's sobs remained.

All he had ever wanted to be was Hokage and what had it gotten him? A hit on his wife, a ransom for her head. It left his children motherless; it left him without the love of his life.

They will pay, the Kyuubi growled inside his mind.

'They will,' Naruto answered silently.

We will slaughter them, rip out their entrails and break their bones!

'And so much more,' Naruto thought numbly.

Slowly he once again took up his wife's body and got to his feet. Turning to the crowd, Naruto faced his people with red irises and slit pupils.

"An ANBU team will be put together, we will completely wipe out this new Atasuki and there will never be talks of rebuilding it ever again."

"I will go," was voiced, and several men stepped forward; Uchiha Sasuke, Sai, Yamato Tenzou and Nara Shikamaru.

Naruto nodded, meeting Sasuke's eyes briefly, "So be it. I want them dead. Konoha will lose no more of her people to the Dawn."

..oOo..

After the men were dead and parts scattered across every nation as a warning to never put together the cursed group again, the shinobi returned home to find a grieving country and broken Hokage.

"You know," Naruto slurred one night, elbowing Sasuke as they sat at the bar. Baa-chan was taking care of the children, and Karin was home with Mikoto and the little ones, she hadn't been able to get a word out of Sasuke since he had come back from the mission.

"What dobe?" Sasuke asked deadly.

"I used to tell Sakura she could leave, if she wanted."

Sasuke frowned in his drunken daze and turned to look at Naruto, "What?"

"I used to tell her she could leave me for you, if she wanted. And…and each time she rolled her eyes, until one day she punched me through our house and screamed at me until I thought my ears were bleeding." Naruto laughed at the memory, "I never thanked her for that," he choked.

Sasuke was silent, only staring wide eyed at the drunken Hokage next to him, who began to cry.

"She was always so sorry for how she had treated me when we were kids, but, but I never got to tell her that her just saying that, it made it worth every mean word, every punch. I would have loved her even if she had left me; Kami knows I never deserved her."

..oOo..

Sasuke made sure Naruto got home safe and delivered him into the hands of a haggard Tsunade before making his way home and falling into his bed, ignoring his wife's questions and comforts.

Sasuke dreamt of Sakura smiling, her laughter. He dreamed of her voice, telling him she loved him, telling him she would betray the village for him, telling him she forgave him. But in reality, Sakura had never forgiven Sasuke; although she had forgiven him for his defection, his betrayal, she had never forgiven him for the proposition he had made on his wedding day. In fact, Sakura had never said more than maybe three words at a time to him since that day. She had never hugged him, never brushed his hand, never looked at him, not even at the birth of his children, all of whom she delivered.

..oOo..

Seasons came and went in Konoha, as did people; children grew and the sanity of the men of the original Team 7 slipped away with each passing year.

Kakashi stopped going on missions and instead holed himself up in his home, barely interacting with anyone despite Naruto's numerous visits to relinquish him of any blame involving Sakura's death. When the old man wasn't in his apartment he was at the Memorial stone, tracing his student's name plus those of his teammates, sensei, and that of his mentor.

Tenzou, Yamato; he answered to either, eventually retired from ANBU and tried to live out the rest of his days in peace. Unfortunately, with so little acquaintances outside of the anonymous ANBU, Tenzou was left to drown in loneliness and memories. He could not lean upon the students he once taught, or the man he had once respected so greatly, the Copy Nin. The only person who would have been able to reach inside him and save him was long dead, petrified and decaying at the foot of the Hokage Monument, beneath the visage of the Rokudaime. So one day it came to be that Tenzou decided to hide himself forever; from the loneliness, from the guilt, the nameless faces that he had killed; from the very village he once would have died to protect. Tsunade called it post traumatic stress, probably a reoccurrence due to his lack of support and social life, memories of Orochimaru's experiments too horrific to have to relive again. Anko had eventually killed herself, so it wasn't very surprising that Tenzou did the same, encasing himself in a coffin of wood from which he refused to emerge.

Sai's lessons in human emotion had never been complete, but despite his lack of knowledge concerning humanity; besides the numerous ways to kill them, he, like every other being, was plagued by the human condition. Guilt, he would find and research, was the feeling that he got when he reflected back on Sakura. His teacher in emotions had not been able to verbally pass on all the information she could have, but her life was a living testament to the multitude of emotions one could experience and cherish in one's life. So Sai painted one last colorful portrait, of Sakura standing among the sakura trees surrounding Konoha and gave it to Naruto as a belated gift to being named Hokage. Naruto hung up the portrait in his office, staring up at the way her gloved fingertip brushed back a stray pink hair from her beryl vision even as he granted Sai's request. Every so often in Sai's career as head of Root, he would stare through his porcelain mask; more real than his own flesh and blood face, and think about a girl who could have taught him much, a girl whose every breath screamed lifelovehappinesssadnessbetrayalheartbreakstrengthbeautycourageskillgeniusinsecurehopefaithtrustecstasysorrowreinvention- and maybe he smiled, truly, underneath his porcelain mask, but it made the organ inside his chest hurt, so he did not dwell on the cherry blossom girl for long and lost himself once more among the nameless, the emotionless and tried to ignore the feeling that threatened to grip him whole and bring him down, regret.

Naruto continued to be Hokage and would eventually pass the title down to Konohamaru, that is until one of his children kicked the twerp off of the throne and it once again belonged to an Uzumaki.

Minato, with his terrifying chakra and excellent control; as was shared by all of the Uzumaki children, had made him the top of his genin, chunnin and jounin classes. As an ANBU, Minato was a menacing force, but outside of the mask he was a beautiful, happy man who smiled and laughed. Playful and as loveable as his father, he still leaned toward being more like Sakura, keeping his younger brother in line and inheriting his mother's always underestimated genius. Later, he would go on to marry the daughter of Inuzuka Kiba who had inherited her mother's Byakugan and take the title of Hokage from Konohamaru.

Taiyo had the hardest time with his mother's death, but emerged from his grief as a person who kept his precious people close and told them he loved them everyday. He had inherited all of his father's troublesome side as well as his mother's temper and passion. In a move that had Naruto laughing till he cried, Taiyo was placed on Lee's genin team and hated every moment of it. Taiyo would grow up to become a wonderful jounin who found most of his pleasure in life by teaching genin. Taiyo would eventual marry Uchiha Akemi and have several happy children.

Hitomi blossomed as her mother had, beautifully and in her own time. She had also inherited her mother's brains and became eternal rivals with Nara Shinako, another genius. Hitomi would struggle with the physical side of being a shinobi, but eventually would apprentice under Shizune and inherit her grandmother and mother's strength. Also like her mother, Hitomi would become a medic kunoichi and make proud her mother's legacy. Eventually Hitomi would marry Nara Inoichi, named for his maternal grandfather and would make Nara Ino weep endless tears of grief between loud guffaws of laughter at their wedding. Hitomi and Inoichi would live very happy, full lives together, yet forever shadowed unknowingly by Uchiha Daisuke, who watched the Uzumaki daughter with an eerie obsession.

Uchiha Mikoto was killed on the eve of her twentieth birthday on an ANBU mission with her captain, the future eighth Hokage, who held her in his arms as she choked to death on her own blood. She was one of the greatest trackers in Konoha history and an Uchiha to boot. Her entire life Mikoto had strived to make her father, her name, proud. She graduated into the Academy young, but despite her best efforts always seemed to come in second place behind Uzumaki Minato. It simply wasn't fair, Mikoto thought as she died. Uchiha Mikoto's body was hastily buried by her too kind hearted ANBU captain somewhere on the outskirts of Rock country; unlike the Uchiha who had died on the battlefield before her, Mikoto got to keep her eyes; she had never received the Sharingan.

Daisuke was put on the same team as Uzumaki Taiyo and from their first introductions; though they had already met countless times before, they hated each other. When it came to skill between these carbon copies of their fathers, Daisuke always seemed to be ontop and Taiyo dead last. Yet as they aged the power gap was quickly lessened and they eventually reached a level of mutual understanding and respect towards each other. Daisuke never spoke to his father; unless under duress, since his sixth year and tolerated his mother despite her obvious weakness and foolery when it came to his bastard father. The stupid cow worshiped him even though the man barely acknowledged her existence. Given the choice between the two careers for which he was most suited, ANBU or Root, Daisuke chose ANBU and eventually took the title as Head Interrogator; a role that hadn't been as infamous since Morino Ibiki had retired. The Elders decided Uchiha Daisuke was best suited for this position because of his questionable sanity, which had also gotten Ibiki the job and Anko before him. His questionable obsession with Nara-Uzumaki Hitomi went by almost completely unnoticed, except for his eternal rival Taiyo, who had never stopped keeping a careful eye on his once teammate.

Naruto would live to have his hair turn handsome shades of faded blonde, gray and white. Having lost touch and any connection he ever might have had with Sasuke not long after Mikoto's death, Naruto holed himself away in the home he and Sakura once shared. His days he would spend laughing with his children and rolling in the grass with his grandchildren; he would ruffle Minato's head, as tall as his own and then tease the shorter and easily ruffled Taiyo until they got into a real knock-down-drag-out spar from which they needed Hitomi's skills to recover.

"Daddy," she would cluck and chide as she reached out and healed the newest cut to bisect his left eyebrow. Naruto would smile despite the painful déjà vu and grin apologetically at his daughter, "Ne, but you gotta say it was pretty awesome huh, Hitomi-chan? Your brother almost beat me that time!" And his daughter would laugh and nod and Naruto would feel his heartbreak all over again, then go and spend his nights burrowing into Sakura's clothes that he had strewn about the bed, just to catch the scent of her once again.

The Kyuubi and Naruto had long since learned to communicate with each other and had also come to a kind of understanding. The rest of Naruto's days were peaceful and the Kyuubi was satisfied in the small amount of itself that it had passed along to his children.

Ah Jinchinkuuri, how many moons have we seen together? Time did not pass as slow as this when I was free. Your ningen lives are so dreadfully boring; I fear I may end up dying of it, the boredom.

"I'm sure you will," Naruto spoke aloud in his lonely room, you will die of boredom and I will die of heartbreak and we will leave this world in the same peace that we have fought to give it and achieved.

Naruto would one day die, far into the future after seeing his first great grandchild be born and still not looking a day over sixty. The precarious balance that had always somehow been maintained between the Kyuubi's devastating chakra and his own finally broke and it poisoned him from the inside out.

I will give you this one last thing brat, despite naming your first pup after that filth that trapped me here. I will give you this, just a slight push onto the seal and finally…we will both rest and no longer be haunted by the memory of the pink haired green eyed girl.

Sasuke would outlive them all, his entire generation, all of the Rookie Nine and even some of their children and grandchildren. Hell, he'd outlived his firstborn decades back, but it still hurt to think of his Mikoto, rotted away inside some godforsaken place outside of Rock. His only entertainment since Akemi's marriage and exit of his life; except for a few visits from the grandchildren here and there, was hearing that Suigetsu (who had walked Karin down the aisle with a grim face) had taken over Mist and had actually made the beastly nation…a good place to live. Juugo had been lost with the sands of time and none of the once Hebi cared to find him again, fear of what they might find.

Despite his numerous attempts to die on a mission, Sasuke never did die as a shinobi should, on the battlefield. He was always saved, or at the last minute couldn't let that idiot be the one who got to say that he had killed the Uchiha Sasuke, there was no way in hell. So instead Sasuke died living to a ripe old age in the comforts of his own compound and bed with Karin dutifully by his side, holding his wrinkled, age spotted hand and still hoping for a declaration of love.

He died dreaming of Sakura, as he always did. He wanted pink hair, not red. He wanted slim hips, not curvy; he wanted small but firm breasts that fit into his hands so damn perfectly, not Karin's heavily gifted frame. He wanted green eyes, not brown .He wanted a medic, genjutsu type, slightly schizophrenic kunoichi, not a lovesick, failed experiment tracker. He wanted less, where Karin was always more.

He wanted SakuraSakuraSakura Sakura.

"Sakura," he rasped, and with a dry wheeze, breathed his last.

Karin's milky brown eyes studied his slowly relaxing face, searched his every wrinkle, every white hair and age spot. But there was no love to be found for her even on his corpse, because every part of him had always been held back for Sakura, a woman nearly fifty years dead. The woman all little girls went into the Academy wanting to be like, to emulate, Uzumaki Sakura, the strongest, smartest kunoichi to ever live in Fire Country.

..oOo..

The luckiest woman in the world, thought Uchiha Karin.

Fin

Daisuke- Great help

Akemi- Bright and beautiful, red beauty

Taiyo- Thick sunlight

Shinako- Faithful child

Hitomi- Beautiful virtue