In the end, it took two more years for Naruto to finally achieve his lifelong dream. No one was surprised that his first action as Hokage was to throw a party to celebrate. Sand was invited to attend since a new treaty would have to be signed immediately to keep the peace between the two villages.
No one raised any eyebrows when the Sand entourage arrived early and left a full week after said party though there were a few smirks.
It was impossible to keep a secret in a ninja village but, strangely enough, it was possible to keep a well known one. A secret that was as obvious as the sky was blue but just as unspoken because it was something everyone knew.
The sky was blue.
The grass was green.
Naruto Uzumaki was in love with Gaara of the Sand.
Gaara of the Sand returned his feelings.
It was painfully obvious to even a blind ninja.
If asked directly about the nature of their relationship then they all replied with vague comments about friendship and changed the subject.
It was least they could do for the blond after the whole Pein incident.
Besides, it was funny to see the looks on the Council members faces when they learned the truth, too late to really do anything about it.
It was easily the most sought after photograph and was sold at a reasonable price if one swore absolute secrecy about where they got it under pain of Ibiki.
The elders were not amused.
Iruka denied having any sort of involvement with the taking of the photo and it's distribution as well as the attacks on the previous Hokage involving feathers, glitter, and glue.
Kakashi had retaliated, despite having no proof, by demoting the chuunin back to genin.
Naruto's second act as Hokage was to pardon his first sensei and give his second a rough draft of the new Icha Icha book.
Kakashi was appeased.
Iruka was mortified but sighed, "If Gaara doesn't mind then I guess that's all that matters."
Naruto blushed a bright red, "I'm not writing it!"
He was a horrible liar but a great Hokage even when he was a shadow clone at any given time.
"Naruto," Gaara smiled helplessly, "You're going to get into trouble one day."
He ignored her as he nuzzled her breast sleepily.
She ran her hands affectionately through his blond locks. He had kept his word to her and was always with her in one form or another. The times he was actually there, though, were to be savored as they were the only time she got to see him without the distraction of their duties.
They had decided he would only visit her in person two consecutive days in a week instead of every other day like he'd wanted originally. She had argued the importance of his presence in his village especially in the beginning. He had agreed reluctantly and set up preparations for his immediate summon should the unthinkable happen.
Naruto truly was the most unpredictable ninja of their generation. He had conquered the distance between the villages with a simple summoning scroll that was commonly used in the chuunin exams.
He always kept multiples in both Sand and Leaf on the off chance something happened and he didn't have a chance to write one before departure.
So far they'd kept up the switches with almost none the wiser. Iruka-sensei, Kakashi-sensei, Sakura, and Shikamaru kept the secret as they, too, carried scrolls on them at all times. It was better to be overly paranoid then caught with your pants down though that happened sometimes, too.
"Hinata and Shino invited us to their wedding," Naruto sat up finally and gazed at her blearily, "Wanna come?"
She continued to play with his hair, "Do you get lonely?"
He frowned, "What are you talking about? Are you lonely?"
Her hands stilled, "How can I be when I have your shadow clones to keep me company? I would leave you sand clones but it isn't the same thing-"
She trailed off as he grinned at her and firmed her mouth, "I'm serious."
"I know," his expression turned fond, "Truth?"
"Truth is I miss you all day," his arms tightened around her, "And then my clone poofs for the day and I suddenly have spent the whole day with you. Touched you, loved you, and annoyed you while you were trying to do your paperwork."
His grin was back.
"Your clones must get bored," she frowned, troubled at the thought.
"Nah, they usually use the time to meditate in order to draw in energy," he tilted his head at her, "Why?"
"I feel selfish," she met his eyes, "I can't be there for you the way you are for me."
He sighed and rested his head on her breast, "It's like dating a ghost. I get all these memories that make me expect you to come walking through the door but you aren't really there." He lifted his head and met her eyes, "Sometimes I spend a couple of hours in bed just going through the information and . . .It just makes the times when we're actually together all the more precious to me. When I don't have to remember I touched your face about lunchtime to get your attention but to experience it now and know it's happening now."
"It's not fair to you," her eyes drifted away.
"It's more than I ever hoped for," he contradicted, "And this way I'm not lonely either."
Her eyes drifted back in question.
"'Cuz I get to look forward to hanging out with you all day," he kissed her nose, "And, suddenly, my day wasn't full of just boring meetings, Sasuke bugging me for Shiho's address, he's decided he wants smart kids now, dodging Sakura about double dating with Lee, and signing paper after paper so Iruka-sensei doesn't glue me to the desk! 'Cuz in the midst of all that I have you in Sand. My own private oasis so don't worry."
A pleased if embarrassed smile crossed her face and she cusped his face, "Okay."
She kissed him sweetly.
"Oh, so before I forget," he pulled away to sit up, "Did you wanna go?"
She gave a quiet sigh before nodding as she also sat up.
"Hey, you know what," he beamed at her suddenly, "We should get married."
She blinked at him, "You want me to stop being Kazekage?"
Her eyes narrowed in thought, "You want to merge our villages?"
"No!" He shook his head, "Nothing like that! I just want to get married."
"And we'll both remain Kages?"
She tilted her head, "It's never been done."
"See! We'll make Kage history!"
"What about children?"
"You're right! We should have at least ten!"
She stared, "Would they be Leaf or Sand?"
"The boys will be Leaf and the girls, Sand."
"And if the boys have an affinity for sand?"
"Then the girls will be Leaf and the boys, Sand."
"What if they all-"
"You can't keep all the kids to yourself," he grumped.
She smiled, "Fine, you can carry half of them."
"Gaara . . ." He whined and collapsed into her lap, "That's not fair! Besides, it's not like you can impregnate me anyway!"
"You developed a jutsu that turns you female. Surely, I can develop one that makes me male," she reasoned.
Naruto hummed to himself, "How about we wait and see what happens?"
"You wait and I'll plan," she left the bed and started to pull out clothes for the day.
He rolled out of bed reluctantly and started organizing his Sand anbu uniform that allowed him to shadow her every move without question. Only her siblings and Baki knew who was really behind the mask.
"Where are you going?" He whined, these two days were supposed to be their mutual time off baring an emergency.
She paused, "You wanted to get married, didn't you?"
"What? Right now?" He blinked.
"If not now, when?" She pulled out a blank scroll and quickly wrote out a proposal to cement their treaty through marriage for her council to approve. They would likely assume it was for Temari and-
She took out a fresh sheet and started again. She finished it with a satisfied nod and slanted it so Naruto would have a better angle to read it over her shoulder.
"Oh, you tricky, tricky girl," he grinned, "You're totally implying that it's Temari who's going to marry a Leaf shinobi while still leaving it open for her in case she ever gets Shikamaru to say yes." He leaned in close, "Then you mention, almost casually that you'll be marrying your anbu guard in order to stabilize your commitment to both Leaf and Sand."
"You like it," she smirked, "I even included the clause about the children taking on the village of their bearers."
"What?" He snatched up the paper and reread it carefully, "Gaara, you can't put that in the official document!"
She plucked the paper from his hands before he could muss it, "I'm not going to spend the rest of my life pregnant. Besides, we don't even know if it's possible for jinchuuriki to reproduce."
"Oh, they can," he leered at her with his Sand anbu mask perched on his head, "Didn't I tell you? My mom was the original holder of the nine tails. I can get you pregnant."
"Not if I get you pregnant first," she smirked as his eyes lit up in challenge, "Bring the camera."
"What?" He almost fell, surely she wasn't suggesting-!
"I want a picture of my council members faces when they realize my personal anbu guard is actually the Hokage."
Naruto complied happily, there was a reason he loved this woman so much!
AN: Alright, that's it! I hope this was worth waiting for and that everyone enjoyed the ride though I have to say I have mixed feelings about this story. I enjoyed writing it and playing with the gender roles but I've never gotten such a mixed response from my readers before. I want to thank everyone who did like the story and left such nice comments. To those who didn't like the story for one reason or another, I'm sorry if this was disappointing to you but, well, I did everything I set out to do and, hopefully, next time it will be to your liking. Shrugs. Thanks again. Michelle.