Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Warnings: If you didn't see it already from the summary, this is yaoi, with lemony content. There will be lemons in this chapter! Also, spoilers for future manga chapters are included in this story.

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ
I know there were some of you who had a hard time being able to distinguish between past and present since you couldn't see the page breaks. So, I just wanted to let you know I went back to the beginning and did some editing. The present day will be in Italics. The past will be in standard font. The edit note is at the beginning of the first chapter. Hopefully that will help. :)

'Italics' = Thoughts

a/n: Well, this is it. The final chapter. *sniffles* I'm kind of sad to see it end so quickly. I hope you all will enjoy this final very long chapter. I had a burst of inspiration, so now I'm flipping the script a bit on you all. Trying to do the entire chapter in first person was annoying me, so instead everything is in the present. The last part will be the future.


TIME WILL TELL

Ch 7 - Eternity


Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. - Henry Van Dyke

xxx

If Naruto thought he was nervous before, it was nothing compared to the butterflies he felt now.

Naruto followed along as Shizune led them outside in back of the hokage tower. Neji was already outside fully decked out in the ceremonial ANBU garb to match Sasuke, as well as Kakashi's ANBU guards. All the ANBU were already masked. The only people who knew that Sasuke and Neji were the new chosen guards were Tsunade, Kakashi and Shizune. And that's the way it would stay.

Poor Shizune scrambled back and forth to check over everyone one last time - making sure the ANBU guards' cloaks were just right, that Kakashi's ceremonial robes were perfect, and that Tsunade wasn't hiding any sake under her robe. Naruto rolled his eyes. There was more pomp and circumstance going into this thing than he ever thought possible. When she turned her gaze on him, he cringed at the predatory look in her eye.

"Naruto, your hair is a mess!"

"What? It's always like this." He replied while running his fingers through his hair, his face contorted into a confused look.

"Stop that! You'll make it worse!" Before Naruto could protest, she slapped his hands away and attempted to comb through his hair.

"Itai! Wait!" Naruto could swear she was taking out patches of his hair along with the knots. 'Great...at this rate, I'll be bald by the age of 30...'

After much fuss over what was probably nothing, at least to Naruto, she finally moved back and assessed the blond. "Hmm...I guess it will have to do. Now, get in line."

'I swear, she's become more pushy than Iruka-sensei.' Naruto shook his head and continued to watch her fuss everyone into position. He didn't remember the inauguration ceremony being this big a deal. Then again, he wasn't at the last one. And Tsunade didn't exactly have anormal ceremony.

"Hey teme." Naruto whispered.

"Hn?"

"Was Kakashi-sensei's inauguration this bad?"

"Yes."

"Oh." 'Wonderful...'

On some unknown signal the music started and the procession began. The Daimyo and his wife led the way, carried by their attendants and flanked by their guards. Next went Kakashi and his guards. Tsunade, as last member of the Senju clan and previous Hokage, went after him. Behind her was Sakura, who was now starting to look as nervous as Naruto.

And then it was Naruto's turn with his guards flanking him. He surreptitiously looked around high and low for the older Uchiha, without success.

"He better not break his promise," Naruto muttered softly enough so no one would hear him, "Otherwise I am going to hunt him down, beat him unconscious, and drag him back to Konoha by his ponytail." He heard a snicker and looked to his right. Sasuke was laughing under his mask. Bastard.

The rest of the long walk was a blur to Naruto, at least until Kakashi reached the platform, then a thunderous roar filled the air and his eyes went wide. He stared ahead and he suddenly prayed he wouldn't trip up the platform that had been erected for the ceremony. If he did, he would never live it down. Once he climbed the platform successfully, he looked out at the crowd. That's when he truly understood how many people were standing out there. It was a rolling sea of humanity that stretched on as far as the eye could see. Naruto gulped.

"Naruto? Are you okay?" Sakura whispered from her position. The blond turned to look at her.

"Dobe...you're looking a bit pale." Sasuke added.

"I'm fine." 'I think I'm going to be sick.' Naruto was panicking and the ceremony hadn't even truly started yet.

"I stand here before you proudly today, for I am as proud of the man behind me as I would be if he were my son..." Kakashi began his farewell address. But Naruto stopped listening. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears and wondered if his guards could hear it.

"Dobe," Sasuke whispered through his mask, "Quit looking so freaked out. It's not like you forgot your speech of something."

Naruto's eyes got wider. His train of thought stopped. Sasuke's eyes got wide under his mask at his friend's expression.

"Right?"

'Oh crap...the speech...' "Uh...I think...I did forget my speech." 'Oh kami, what the hell am I supposed to do without my speech? Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap.' Naruto was now in full panic mode. For the life of him, he couldn't remember anything he practiced. Not one line.

"This is not the time for a prank Naruto."

"I'm not joking!" He squeaked out, his eyes looking a bit wild as he looked to Sasuke for help. "What the hell am I supposed to do without a speech?"

Sasuke shrugged. "Hn, better think up a new one."

Naruto glared at the brunet. He was of no help at all. Another cheer signaling the end of Kakashi's speech derailed his already downward spiraling thoughts. He took a deep breath and tried to focus on his grandmother-figure who was walking to the spot Kakashi had just vacated. Naruto smiled wistfully. His baa-chan had finally acknowledged her age and stopped using the jutsu after the defeat of Akatsuki. The wrinkles showed and each year they became a bit more prominent. That she was stepping down from her last major duty clearly showed she didn't have the stamina she used to. She would be the only one out of her team that would have the chance to retire on her own terms and enjoy the rest of her life. And he would make sure she enjoyed it.

"Thank you Rokudaime-sama. As you all know, I've lived a very long time. I've been through good and bad times. There are things I regret, but there are more things that I am proud of. I was proud to become the first medical ninja and usher in a new era. I am proud of having assisted in the many advancements made in medical jutsu over the years. I was proud to serve as your Godaime Hokage and I have proudly served as head of the hospital. However, it is time I retire completely and enjoy what's left of my life." She turned and looked at Sakura. "Sakura here became my apprentice at the age of twelve. She has followed in my footsteps and with her intelligence she has a chance to do more than even I could. I couldn't be prouder. Now, Haruno Sakura, step forward."

Despite Naruto's shot nerves, he still winked at the pinkette and gave her a grin as she stepped up to her mentor. She rolled her eyes at him and then turned to stare ahead. Naruto almost laughed at the one word she soundlessly sent in his direction. 'Idiot.'

Tsunade smiled at her former apprentice. "I know that I leave the care of this village in good hands."

No one expected what Tsunade did next, not even Sakura, apparently, since she was gaping.

"I pass not only the title of Head of Konoha Hospital to you. I pass this on to you as well." She took off her green jacket which was just as much a part of her as the color orange was to Naruto and passed it to Sakura, who's mouth kept opening and closing in want of something to say. Finally she shook it off and put on the article. At that moment, she didn't care that the jacket swam on her smaller frame. More cheers rang out from the crowd...Ino's voice trumped them all.

"Please tell me you were joking about your speech." Neji pleaded with Naruto over the cheers.

A still pale Naruto turned his head to look at his other anbu guard and tried to give him one of those "Everything will be just fine" grins, but he failed. "Neji..." Naruto didn't even know why he said his name. He couldn't think of anything else...maybe it was a cry for help now that his part of the festivities was all that was left. His heart rate jumped to a new level.

"What the hell am I supposed to do? Wing it?" Naruto whispered to himself.

"Uzumaki Naruto, step forward." he heard Kakashi's voice.

'Oh hell...' Naruto gulped and made to move but couldn't. His legs refused to cooperate.

"Uh, dobe, I think that's your cue." Sasuke's hand was suddenly on Naruto's back pushing him forward. Naruto stumbled forward, thanks to his best friend - who he would have to make plans to kill later. There were cheers and laughs from those closer to the front who saw the stumble. He was definitely killing the bastard later.

Kakashi chuckled, at the stumble and Naruto glared at him, but he was too nervous for it to have any effect. Student and teacher stood facing each other and silence swept over the crowd that waited for the final words of their Rokudaime.

"I, Hatake Kakashi, retire from my position as Rokudaime Hokage, and by authority of the Daimyo, name Uzumaki Naruto the Nanadaime Hokage."

If there were boos, Naruto couldn't hear them. All he could hear were the roars of approval. Of course, he wasn't stupid enough to think there weren't objectors out there. It was no secret that some of Konoha's residents still hated him. But that group was no longer in the majority. And right now it seems, from the sounds of cheering, that most of those who still hated him didn't bother attending the festivities. He could feel his smile getting wider. It had taken a long time and a lot of hard work, but he was finally acknowledged and accepted by the village.

Kakashi smiled under his mask. "Normally, I would pass this robe on to you. But I think you'll like this much better."

Naruto was confused. What the hell was he up to? He'd been waiting for that hokage robe for almost his whole life. He wanted to glare and yell for the ex-hokage to hand it over. Instead, he waited and watched as Kakashi was handed a red bundle. When he dropped it open, Naruto's mouth dropped open with it. A familiar robe was held in front of him, dark red with black flames licking the bottom. "How did you..." he tried to ask. That robe died a swift death during the battle with Pein and he had never bothered with another one even though he had liked it.

"Tsunade remembered what it looked like, so she had one made just for this. Funny...it kind of reminds me of your father's."

Kakashi turned it around and Naruto noticed the kanji stating his title on the back. His mouth opened and closed. For once, he was speechless. Kakashi smirked and held the garment out to him. Naruto wordlessly placed his arms in the sleeves and let him pull it over his shoulders. He couldn't stop the flood of emotion. With tears in his eyes, he turned and latched onto his old sensei in a hug. He would explain it as temporary insanity later. Kakashi stiffened momentarily but relaxed and ruffled the blond hair, much to Shizune's consternation, and whispered in his ear...his voice filled with more emotion than normal. "Your father would be proud of you."

A hat was plopped on his head, a bit askew, but it didn't matter. He watched Kakashi back away and now the stage was all Naruto's. He straightened the infamous hat so it sat on his head correctly. It was at that moment, the words he had planned to say all came back to him. But now he wasn't so sure he wanted to do the speech. He'd never bothered with planned speeches before...why start now?

It looked like he would be winging it after all.

"Thank you Rokudaime-sama." Naruto began with a smile as he looked at the crowd in front of him. He saw his friends together, all smiling happily, Kiba whistling loudly and Lee yelling something about youth before Tenten smacked him upside the head. He resisted the urge to wave at them, but did give them a grin. Right in the front row sat Gaara, who gave him a nod in acknowledgment. The nervousness he felt as he stepped up to the microphone faded away to nothing. And the words flowed without thought, straight from the heart.

"Someone once told me 'When a person has something precious to protect, that's when they can truly become strong.' He's been gone a long time but I've never forgotten those words. I made it part of my nindo. And even though many of you hated me for what I carried, I knew if I wanted to be a great ninja, and possibly a great leader, I had to want to protect you. All of you...whether you hated me or not.

"The Sandaime was the first person to acknowledge me. And he showed me what it meant to have the will of fire. Iruka-sensei was the first teacher I had who treated me as a human being. Between them, they gave me a goal that kept me going, even when things were rough, when people thought I was a terrible ninja, when the Sandaime died, when I lost a friend, when I lost a godfather. And even when I finally felt like giving it all up, someone else I met made me promise not to.

"While I was never one who spent much time feeling sorry for myself, I used to wonder why the Yondaime had chosen me out of everyone. I used to think it was just fate that I was born on that day or that it was because I was a random orphan. Of course, eventually I found out about my parents. Still, I didn't get it. It was a long time before I finally began to understand. I was his son, and although it was part of the reason, that wasn't the main reason. You see, my father believed in me...believed I was strong enough to carry such a power and not be tainted by it...believed that I would be strong enough to deal with adversity, for even he had to know that I would never be considered a hero after such a disaster. And he left me behind believing I would willingly protect Konoha, as he did, and eventually find a way to bring peace. I hope to prove him right.

"As you know, I grew up without a family, without a mother to dote on me or a father to be proud of me and share jutsus with. For the longest time, I thought I was alone. But I grew to have friends," Naruto grinned and winked at the small group of ninja he had grown up with, "and I made my own family." He smiled at those standing behind him. "Konoha is my home. All of you...the entire village...are precious to me. And because you are my precious people, I will protect all of you with my life. That is my promise to you."

The entire square erupted into rousing cheers. The sounds were heard all around Konoha.

Naruto grinned and spread his arms wide.

"Now, let's get this party started!"


Naruto didn't bother to stifle his yawn as he climbed the stairs of the hokage tower. He really didn't have to come back tonight, but he just wanted to see it once more, to sit in his chair in front of his desk and look out at his village. 'I'm the hokage. I did it. I really did it. I got my dream.'

His face was hurting from all the smiling he did all day, but still he couldn't stop grinning.

He spent four hours smiling and shaking hands with dignitaries, talking politics with the other kages, entertaining the various daimyos, meeting influential people, taking pictures...lots and lots of pictures.

Of course, Naruto wasn't the typical hokage. He was not about to change into some stuck up prick and forget who he was. So once he had his fill of polite conversation, he found a way to disappear and walked around his home village. People who were happy about his appointment stopped him to exchange pleasantries and congratulate him. Children ran up to talk to him and show him what they learned at the academy. Sure, he could still hear the grumbles...comes with his enhanced hearing...but their closed-mindedness no longer mattered to him.

He spent a good hour walking around before he was found and scolded by his wolf anbu guard and dragged back to the boring affair.

He didn't get to see any of his friends - sans his guards - until much later in the day. Once the official activities ended, the real party began. The group found themselves at Ichiraku Ramen for their own party. Sasuke and Neji, unmasked by then, still sat at Naruto's sides playing unofficial guardians. Just because they weren't in uniform didn't mean they still weren't responsible for guarding the new hokage. The girls were gushing over Sakura's new jacket, that she still hadn't taken off yet, and how awesome it was that Tsunade had passed it on to her. The guys, all in good nature of course, poked fun at Naruto's pre-ceremony jitters and his little stumble on the stage. And the ramen kept being served...best of all, it was free...what could beat that?

It was eight o'clock at night when he had decided enough was enough. After many shaken hands, hugs and kisses goodbye, and a fist in his shoulder along with a 'Dobe.' from the teme, he left them all behind.

Only one thing could possibly make this day even better...

He stepped into the office and closed the door behind him, tossing the traditional hokage hat on the couch. He flicked on the lights and gasped.

His day had just gotten better.

He leaned against the door and crossed his arms over his chest. "Uh...excuse me, you're in my chair."

"Hn. So it seems."

Naruto clutched his shirt right where his heart was pounding. The smile on his face couldn't possibly get any wider. He forgot all about how much his face hurt.

"And get your feet off the desk. Don't you have any respect for the hokage?"

The feet disappeared and Naruto watched the owner of the voice stand and slowly walk around the desk until he was standing right in front of the blonde.

"As a matter of fact I do. Especially this one." And then Naruto was in the man's arms and his lips crushed against the blond's. Their eyes closed as they moaned almost simultaneously from the intense feelings that flowed through them just from one kiss. The crushing intensity only lasted a moment as the kiss turned slow and heated. Their lips parted and tongues met and slowly swirled in a dance and Naruto's hands slid up the strong back and tangled into black locks. He broke away finally with a moan of his name.

"Itachi..."

There was a moan and then the slightly taller body slumped into him.

"Itachi?"

Naruto shifted, still holding onto the dead weight and maneuvered him onto the couch. That was when he saw the blood. Little drops trailed sporadically from the desk to the spot where they were kissing. Naruto's eyes went wide.

"ITACHI!"


Naruto appeared in the emergency room with Itachi in his arms. He ran to the first medic he saw.

"Where's Sakura?"

"Hokage-sama!" The young woman bowed with a smile too caught up in being respectful to catch the edge of panic in the blond's eyes. "Here, let me get someone to take him off your hands."

"Where...is..Sakura?" He tried again, not even thinking of letting go of his unconscious lover. Right now there was only one person he would trust with him.

"Oh! Uh...I think she's looking in on some patients. I can page-"

"WHERE?" He growled.

"Third floor...I think. But..." The new hokage was already gone.

Naruto didn't care that the dead weight Itachi was heavy. He ran up the stairs to the third floor and looked all up and down the hallways for a sign of the pink haired girl. Her hair was pink after all. How could she be so hard to find?

A green coat was suddenly in his sights and he ran forward. "Sakura!" She turned and was about to smile when she saw the bundle in his arms.

"Naruto? Who is-"

"Later. He's hurt. You have to help him."

"Of course, I'll just let emergency know."

"NO!" Sakura saw something flicker through the blue eyes and hesitated.

"But, Naruto..."

"Please?"

Sakura sighed. She looked at her chart for a moment then grabbed his arm. "Come on, we'll put him in here."

Naruto put him on the bed and it was only then that Sakura noticed the long black hair and the pale skin. She gasped at first, thinking it was Sasuke. But the hair was too long. Sakura stared into Naruto's eyes, which pleaded with her to treat him and not ask questions. It was going to kill her not to ask, but she would comply with his wishes for now. She nodded at her friend and watched as he relaxed minutely. She ran to the door and yelled to the nurse on the floor. "I need Ino and Hinata now!" She knew she could trust her friends not to talk. The nurse scrambled to obey and Sakura hurried back to the unconscious man and started methodically checking his injuries. Ino and Hinata showed up minutes later.

Ino gasped. "Oh god, Sasuke!"

"That's not Sasuke." Sakura replied. Ino looked closer and her eyes widened.

"Isn't he supposed to be dead?" Sakura glared at her friend's big mouth.

"Ino!"

Naruto was staring at the three females, his eyes panic stricken. "Sakura?"

"Not now Naruto." She was done with being interrupted and directed the medics to assist her. Machines and IV's were hooked up as quickly as Naruto could blink. When they cut the black shirt off of him, that's when Naruto gasped and blanched. Blood drenched Itachi's poorly bandaged torso.

"Sakura!"

"I KNOW Naruto dammit!" Sakura sighed and reigned in her temper before she went on. "Actually, get out. You shouldn't be in here anyway."

"You can't put me out, I'm the hokage."

"And I'm the head of this hospital and I have a job to do. Now out! Before I throw you out the window. Go find Sasuke or something." Naruto was about to protest until she said Sasuke's name. Then his eyes widened. Sasuke would need to know. And the council...oh shit. He left the hospital behind and transported himself to Sasuke's house and started banging on the door.

Sasuke opened the door with a growl. "Dammit dobe, I just left you behind. What could you possibly want now?" Naruto looked down.

"Uh...you need to come to the hospital." Sasuke stared at him confused.

"Why?"

"Its..." Naruto gulped. "It's Itachi...he's hurt."

Sasuke's eyes went wide. To his memory, Itachi has never gotten hurt except the time they fought. "What happened?" he asked as he pulled on his sandals and pushed Naruto out the door locking it behind him.

"I don't know. He was fine one minute, then the next he was passed out. That's when I noticed the blood."

"Please don't tell me you were stupid enough to leave him to the hospital."

"I'm not an idiot teme. Sakura, Hinata, and Ino are working on him right now in a private room. Those three are the only ones that know."

"Hn." Sasuke said nothing else and transported to the hospital. Naruto showed up just after him.

"Follow me." He led Sasuke to the waiting area closest to Itachi's room. "We'll have to wait until their done. Sakura already forced me out the room. I doubt they'll let either of us in.

"Hn."

An hour went by.

Then two.

Naruto and Sasuke sat side by side not saying a word. Sasuke stared ahead blankly. But Naruto knew he was worried, even if he wouldn't say or show it. He didn't have time to dwell on that right now though because he was a wreck. He'd had too many emotions unleashed on him today - nervousness, elation, annoyance, happiness, and now worry. His mind was spinning. He didn't know what to do...what to say to help Sasuke...to help himself. He couldn't lose Itachi now, not when he just finally got him back. Not after all that waiting. Not when he finally knew what love was. Not when he finally knew who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

Another hour of tense silence went by before Sakura tiredly walked toward them. The two best friends jumped up at once, but neither spoke. They were too afraid to ask the dreaded question.

Sakura smiled slightly. It was all they needed to know and they both relaxed with a slump of their shoulders.

"Come with me." She said and walked away. They followed. Once they were in the small room, Sakura's new office, she closed the door and set up a silencing jutsu.

"Well?" Naruto asked.

"He had various injuries - cuts and slashes, a couple of broken ribs - one of which was dangerously close to puncturing a lung, the worst, though, was the stab wound. It went straight through him and that's where most of the bleeding came from. He was fortunate it didn't hit anything vital. He lost so much blood, that's why the whole process took so long."

"So he'll be ok." Sasuke asked.

"Yes, with some rest, he'll be fine. Now, I have a question for the two of you." Naruto sighed, knowing what was coming but nodded anyway. "Why is it that neither one of you look surprised at seeing him not only alive, but here?"

"Heh...yeah, about that..." Naruto rubbed the back of his head, "remember that botched mission to Iwa?"

"Of course."

"He saved my life. Then he and Sasuke smoothed things over before he left." Sakura raised one manicured pink eyebrow and turned to Sasuke. He gave a nod and a shrug to show his agreement. Of course, it was an oversimplified explaination, but this was Naruto after all. Then he turned his head and smirked at the blond.

"You neglected to mention the hot springs dobe."

"Shut up teme!" Naruto growled. Sakura grinned in a way that promised pain if he didn't comply.

"What happened at the hot springs Naruto?"

"Uh..." He wondered if he could transport himself to the tower from here.

"Don't even think about leaving this room baka." She started cracking her knuckles.

'Oh hell...' "I saw him there...scared me half to death at the time. He left the day after since he had a job to do."

"He's a missing nin Naruto."

"Wrongfully so. And thanks for reminding me. I plan to have that little technicality resolved tomorrow."

"Huh?"

"Nothing...hokage business. Now have we satisfied your curiosity enough to see the patient?"

Sakura sighed. "No...but, I guess I can't stop you. Hey, why are you so concerned anyway? I can understand Sasuke, since he's family and all, but you..."

Naruto walked toward the door. He didn't look back. "Let's just say I have a vested interest in him staying alive."


Naruto and Sasuke sat across from one another on opposite sides of Itachi's bed. They both tried to ignore the beeping of machines.

"So, you're really going to take this to the council?" Sasuke asked.

"It's not like I have a choice. As soon as I talk to you I'm going to have summons sent to the council to meet at first light."

"Hn."

"You need to be there." Naruto saw the question in Sasuke's onyx eyes and went on. "Two reasons. You'll be the one to testify on Itachi's behalf. Make sure you bring the clan scrolls - everything on the sharingan, the coup, Madara, and Itachi."

"And the second reason."

"I need an Uchiha on the council."

"W-what?"

Naruto chuckled softly. "You probably don't remember but the Uchiha clan has always had a place on the council. Of course, it was never mentioned to you because the three old bats on the council never wanted you to know. They would be happy to never see another Uchiha on the council."

"How long have you known? Why didn't you say anything?"

"Because, it wasn't my place. And Kakashi obviously had his reasons for not telling you. I can tell you now because I'm the hokage, and I plan to take advantage of my new position to make sure your brother doesn't die...again."

"Fine, I'll be there."

"Good." Naruto stood and gave his lover one last glance. With a sigh he steeled his features. "I better get going and prepare for tomorrow. I'll see you in the morning."


The council chambers was empty, save one individual.

Naruto was sitting in the center chair, the one reserved for the hokage, going over what he wanted to say in his mind. He knew he would have to be smart. Danzou may no longer be around to make life miserable, but the other two council members could make this meeting hell if he didn't do this right. He hoped Sasuke brought everything. It was the only way he could pull this off.

The door opened and let in a stream of light. Sasuke walked in with a bag full of scrolls.

"How long have you been in here dobe?"

"Only about an hour. It doesn't matter, I'm too nervous to sleep anyway. You brought everything? The council stuff?"

"Yes dobe. Relax, I brought everything."

"Alright." Naruto ran a hand through his hair with a sigh. He had done everything he could think of, now all that was left was to let things play out. He could only hope things would work in his favor. "How is he?"

"Still sleeping. Maybe he'll be awake by the time this is over."

The door opened again before Naruto could reply and he watched all the other council members walk in and take their seats.

Naruto stood and smiled at everyone. "Good, you're all here. I'm glad you all could make it on such short notice."

"What could be so important that you would summons us so early and just one day after your appointment?" Utatane Koharu asked, her eyes narrowed. It was easy to tell she was annoyed at being there.

"And why is he here? That Uchiha is not a council member." her teammate, Mitokado Homura added.

"No, he's not, but he should be and you both know that." Both stayed silent. They didn't expect the new hokage to know about that. "This council has been without a representative from the Uchiha clan for years. It will be rectified today. Take a seat Sasuke."

With a short nod, the brunet sat in the empty seat next to Aburame Shibi.

"B-but...this needs our approval." Homura sputtered.

"No, it doesn't. It just needs mine, and I approve it." He glared at Naruto. Naruto glared back.

"Troublesome."

Naruto heard the familiar murmur and glanced at Shikaku to see a slight smirk on his face. He looked around the rest of the table and saw the respect on many of the faces there. Suddenly he didn't feel so nervous. He took a deep breath and let it out. Then he began.

"The reason I summoned you here is because there is an issue that has yet to be resolved even after over a decade."

"What are you talking about? Nothing is ever left unresolved by this council." Koharu growled indignantly.

"Are you sure? Does the name Uchiha Itachi sound familiar?"

The woman scoffed. "He's dead. And even if he wasn't, he should be. He's a missing nin, he killed his clan. So there's nothing to resolve. It's finished...was finished, long ago."

Naruto glanced at Sasuke hoping he wouldn't lose it because of such tactlessness. A pale hand was clenched into a fist, but he was still looking calm. That was good.

"Well, I have evidence right here in this bag," Naruto gestured to the bag of scrolls in front of them, "that proves Itachi was only doing his duty as a shinobi and therefore should not be considered a missing nin. It includes official documentation from Danzou and the hokage's advisors that ordered him to act as he did." The two advisors blanched.

"Ordered?" Inuzuka Tsume asked. "Why would he be ordered to kill his own clan?"

"Yes ordered. And as for why...the answer is in these scrolls. Sasuke?" His teammate nodded and found what Naruto wanted and held it out. The Aburame head took the scroll and started reading through it's contents.

"Why does it matter if he's no longer among the living?" Hyuuga Hiashi asked. Naruto had fortunately anticipated a question like that. So he was prepared.

"Because if he was only acting on orders, then he should be granted the same honor as any other Konoha ninja lost in battle, his name on the memorial stone. "

Shibi placed the scroll on the table when he finished. Everyone looked at him curious as to the contents. "It has an official seal. The orders are clear. And the names are on the scroll."

"Troublesome." Shikaku said as he began to read the scroll.

Over the next two hours, the council read every scroll. Then they questioned Sasuke about his brother, the Uchiha clan, the Akatsuki, and Madara. Once all the information was out in the open, all eyes were back on Naruto. Shibi was the first to speak.

"Now that we know the truth, what do you want to do?"

"First, I am removing Mitokado and Utatane from their positions as advisors and members of the council."

Both gasped. "How dare you! You can't do that." Naruto stood up and glared down both advisors.

"You appointed me the Nanadaime. I can and will do it. I just thought I'd give you the option of retiring with some respect in tact. But, if you want, I can just have you arrested and sent to jail."

"On what charge?"

"Treason. It's all right here in ink." He held up the scroll. "You overstepped your bounds the day you and Danzou gave Itachi the order to slaughter his family. You three were council members...advisors. It was not your place. The hokage was the only one that should've given that order."

"But we were only doing what was best for the safety of Konoha. And he complied." Naruto snorted in disgust.

"Of course he complied. He was an anbu captain. He was 13 years old. What else would he do? Say no to the council? I think not. Besides, he knew if he didn't do it, you'd just pass the job on to someone else. Either way the Uchiha clan was doomed. It may be that it was best for Konoha, but that was not your decision to make." Naruto shrugged and sat back down with feigned nonchalance. "The choice is yours..."

The two old teammates looked at one another and the rest waited to see what they would do. The silence dragged on. Finally, on some signal of their own, they both stood and said in a quiet monotone. "With your approval, I humbly retire from this council."

Naruto resisted the urge to smirk. So did Sasuke. One problem down. "Approved. You may leave." The two old advisors left quickly, still holding their heads high. In walked the two former hokages. When the door closed, Naruto let out a sigh of relief.

"Now what are they doing here?" Hiashi asked, annoyance in his tone.

"Oh. You see, before this meeting, I officially appointed Hatake Kakashi and Tsunade as my head advisors...pending the retirement of the others."

"You can't just randomly do things without our approval." Hiashi growled.

"Let's get one thing straight, shall we, so we won't have to discuss this again. The purpose of the council is to advise and assist. That's what the positions were meant for. I have no problem with you sharing your opinions and suggestions, but the final decision lies with me. I do not need your approval, nor will you make any decisions for me unless I am incapacitated. And even those decisions will have to be approved by my two head advisors."

And then there was silence. Naruto allowed them to digest his words.

"It's troublesome, but he is right." Shikaku broke the silence. "This council was not created to make decisions. Only to advise the hokage. The Sandaime allowed us to do more only during his second term because he didn't have the energy to do as much."

"So we have an understanding?" Naruto asked. After a beat, everyone nodded. He flashed a grin. "Great. Now, let's get this over with and go home. I'm sure you all have better things to do. All I want is Uchiha Itachi reinstated as a Konoha ninja." Naruto held his breath and hoped that no one would look underneath the underneath.

Too bad there's a Nara on the council.

"One doesn't have to reinstate someone as a ninja in order for their name to be memorialized. Is there any other reason why you need a dead man reinstated as a ninja hokage-sama?"

Damn that genius Nara clan. Sapphire eyes met onyx. Sasuke gave him a shrug. Well, he guessed there was no help for it.

"Uchiha Itachi isn't dead. He is in the hospital at this very moment."

"Why weren't we informed?" Hiashi growled once again.

"Because I was just informed myself." Ok, sure, it was give or take a few or more hours, but they didn't need to know the specifics.

"I thought he died by your hand Sasuke." Kakashi's one eye was wide with surprise.

"So did I. It was quite a shock to find out he was alive."

"I'm sure it was."

"You can't just reinstate him! We need to know where his loyalties lie." The Hyuuga stated.

"That's impossible, he's unconscious." Sasuke was quick to point out.

"Then we shall wait until he is conscious."

"That won't be necessary." Naruto interrupted. "I already know where his loyalties lie. And so should you. You just read years of evidence of his loyalty. But if you need more proof, fine. A few years ago my anbu squad was on a mission near Iwa that turned out to be a trap. I'm sure you remember that. What our squad never revealed was the reason that the four of us are still alive today is because of him. He risked his own life to save ours that day for no other reason than that we were from Konoha. He has spent his entire life being loyal to Konoha and I see no need to burden that man for any further proof of his loyalty because some on this council don't like or trust him."

The chambers became silent as the council thought over what to do. Finally Shibi voiced his opinion. "I agree with hokage-sama. Even without the tale, the evidence in front of us already proves his loyalty to Konoha. I see no reason to wait for him to wake."

Naruto's eyes slowly roamed over the group. Hiashi didn't look at all happy, but the Hyuuga knew he would be in the minority so he stayed silent. "Well if there's no more objections, then I officially reinstate Uchiha Itachi as a ninja of Konoha. His status will be dealt with when he awakens. Thank you for your time and you're all dismissed."

Chairs scraped the floor and each of the council members filed out, except for the three newest members. Naruto, now in the presence of his most trusted people, let out a deep sigh of relief and slumped in his chair. That had been the most exhausting experience. He felt a hand ruffling his hair and grimaced slightly.

"You did good brat." Tsunade said with a grin lifting her hand away from the blond spikes.

"Thanks."

Kakashi smirked beneath his mask. "So, how long have you two known Itachi was still among the living?"

"I found out on the mission in Iwa." Sasuke replied.

"And you Naruto?" Naruto tried not to blush.

"Uh...I might've seen him in passing...once or twice..."

Sasuke snorted. Naruto glared at him.

"Brat..." Tsunade growled.

"Why does it matter?"

Tsunade cracked her knuckles. Naruto's eyes went wide and he backed his chair up. Except Kakashi held onto it so he couldn't move. And Sasuke was too busy enjoying his discomfort to be of any assistance.

"Crazy old hag...fine, I kinda ran into him...at the hot springs." He mumbled the last words. But the two advisors had keen hearing when they wanted to. Kakashi suddenly had a perverted grin on his face.

"Did you say hot springs?"

Naruto slumped further and lowered his head, hoping to hide the blush.

"Brat, you're blushing. Did something happen at the hot springs?"

"What? No!" No, all the stuff happened when Itachi was right here in Konoha for a day.

"Ask the dobe about what happened after the hot springs." Sasuke grinned.

"Teme!" Naruto stood up with a growl. Kakashi pulled him back down and Sasuke smirked as he walked out the room.

"Later dobe. I'm sure he'll be awake by the time you get there."

"I'm gonna kill you bastard!"


It took two hours for Naruto to finally get away from his nosy advisors and stalk his way to the hospital. He entered the room to find Itachi asleep and Sasuke reading a scroll. He looked up as the blonde appeared.

"About time dobe. I do need to train you know." Naruto growled.

"Shut up teme! It's all your fault anyways. You left me with a bonafide pervert and a closet one. And you gave them fuel for the fire."

"Hn...Sucked to be you then." Naruto glared and saluted his so called best friend with his middle finger. He stood next to the bed and looked down at the sleeping Uchiha.

"So, did he wake at all?"

"A while ago. Then Sakura came and checked him over and she must've slipped something into the I.V. because he's been knocked out ever since."

"Oh...alright."

"You sound disappointed dobe."

"Whatever teme...Just shut up and leave."

"Hn." Sasuke walked out with a quick wave of his hand. When the door closed, Naruto sighed and took the seat Sasuke vacated. He looked over the raven, who looked even paler than normal. Taking his hand, he smiled softly.

"What is it about you damn Uchihas?" Naruto shook his head. Somehow one was his best friend and the other he was in love with. He sighed. "You scared the hell out of me you know."

"Sorry." A sleep addled voice replied.

Naruto gasped at the unexpected reply. He looked into his lover's face to see the smoky eyes, a bit bleary, open and on him. "Itachi...you're awake."

"Impossible to sleep with you two in a room."

"Sorry...So, how are you feeling?"

Itachi blinked slowly as he got his bearings. "Better. Tired."

"I'm just glad you're ok."

"Hn."

"What happened?"

"I was careless."

Naruto raised a brow, wanting the raven to elaborate.

"The mission was taking longer than planned and I wanted to be here for you."

Maybe he shouldn't have asked. Now he felt guilty. "Itachi..." Naruto looked down and rubbed his thumb over the pale hand.

"Don't feel guilty. It was my mistake. I should have planned better. Besides, I'm here aren't I?"

"But you're hurt."

"Thanks to your pink-haired friend, I'm healing." Itachi turned his hand so he could intertwine his pale fingers with tan ones. "So, tell me about the inauguration."

"Alright. No, actually before I get to that, I have something for you." He grinned and pulled a shiny new hitai-ite from his pocket and handed it to Itachi who raised an eyebrow in question. "Congratulations! You have been officially reinstated as a Konoha ninja. We'll discuss details later." Itachi stared at the headband for a long time. It's was new, perfect, unslashed. With a slight smile, he took the headband and held on to it. He really didn't think Naruto would've been able to have him reinstated so quickly.

"Thank you." He mumbled tiredly.

"You're welcome. Now about yesterday..." Naruto began to tell him all about the inauguration ceremony. Before he even finished talking about the way Shizune ran around like a chicken with her head cut off, he looked down to see Itachi's eyes closed and his chest slowly rising and falling. Naruto chuckled softly. "I guess I'll have to tell you the rest later." He leaned down and brushed the dark bangs back and kissed the sleeping man's forehead before leaving to go back to his duties.


It had been a long day. Naruto glanced out the window at the dusky sky before turning back to his desk. He'd hardly moved all day. Between handing out new missions, taking in reports, and doing paperwork, he'd been too busy to even see Itachi. Sasuke had stopped by around 10 in the morning to tell him Itachi was doing better and was ready to leave the hospital lest he kill one of the fangirl nurses. Sasuke looked way too entertained by the fact that his brother had to deal with fangirls just like him.

He yawned and stretched. He wondered if there was some kind of trickery involved. The paperwork seemed to multiply every time he blinked. No wonder Saratobi ji-ji and baa-chan hated paperwork!

"Half an hour more and I'm leaving."

"How about now." The deep tenor he knew so well said in his ear. Then two strong hands started rubbing his shoulders. Naruto sighed and leaned back into the hands and the subsequent body that went with it.

"How did you get in here without me knowing? Matter of fact, what are you doing here?" Naruto sat straight suddenly and turned around. "Why aren't you still in the hospital?" Itachi gave him a smirk and a shrug.

"Discharged. And getting in here was quite easy. I was an anbu captain you know." He leaned forward, his hands on the sides of the chair so Naruto sat trapped in it. "I believe we have some unfinished business."

Sapphire eyes went wide for a moment before a slow grin spread over his face. "Yes, I believe we do. We were stalled by your fainting."

The Uchiha glare was turned on Naruto. "I perfer to call it passed out."

"Whatever floats your boat Itachi." Naruto replied with a grin, the glare not affecting him in the least.

"Hn." Itachi leaned further still until their lips were just brushing. Naruto moved the last bit forward making their lips meet fully. This time, it wasn't Naruto who moaned. It was Itachi. Naruto stood and took control and just let Itachi feel. He sucked on the slightly chapped lower lip nipping slightly with his teeth. Itachi's lips parted and he slipped his tongue in, exploring every inch of the hot mouth. Their tongues tangled and Itachi wrapped an arm around Naruto's slim waist and pulled him closer so their bodies molded together.

Naruto kissed over the strong jaw and his tongue lazily licked down the milky column stopping where he felt Itachi's pulse racing. He gently bit down on the pulse point, satisfied when he heard the uncharacteristic whimper slip from his love's lips. He slipped his fingers under the shirt lightly grazing the new scar that marred his lover's frame. Moving beyond, he skimmed his fingers slowly, lovingly over ever inch of skin he could reach while his tongue and teeth had minds of their own and continued the gentle assault on his neck.

"Naruto..." Itachi tried to growl, but it came out more as a moan and he almost blushed at the way Naruto seemed to be able to make him lose himself. His hands shook slightly in desperate need to feel the tanned skin he had been denied of for far too long. And he gave in to his hands' desire, sliding them under the black t-shirt Naruto wore. The hokage gasped and arched into those glorious hands that grazed the most senstive part of his stomach where the seal lay. Itachi smirked and slid the questing fingers around Naruto's back and up his spine, making him arch even further into him.

Naruto moaned and closed his eyes as the slightly calloused fingers made him shiver yet burn at the same time. Good god, he missed this.

"Naruto."

This time it was a growl and Naruto felt the sound of it resonate from his head to his toes and desire pooled in his belly. He wanted Itachi so badly. It was only through a miracle that he could remember where they were.

"I-Itachi...we can't...not here..." He said through panting breaths and then gasped as a finger grazed his nipple. "Oh god..."

Itachi's lips grazed the shell of his ear as he replied in his dark silky voice. "You are right. What I have planned we can't do here." He wrapped his arms around the blond's waist.

Naruto felt like melting from the rush of heat that went through him at the sound of the sinful voice and the words that went along with it. He didn't know Itachi was making hand signs and a moment later he found himself in his bedroom. Before he could blink, the t-shirt was gone from his frame and Itachi was removing his own. Deep blue eyes wandered over the muscular chest and stomach, cataloging every single scar on the beautiful body. Almost in a trance, he moved forward and ran his hands over the pale skin then his mouth began a trail of it's own, kissing slowly down the places his fingers left behind. He sucked on one dusky nipple and Itachi arched into him with a gasp. With a smirk, Naruto kissed down the well toned stomach while his hands worked quickly to remove the last barrier. Itachi's arousal jutted out proudly and all Naruto wanted at that moment was to taste him. He flicked his tongue experimentally over the tip.

Itachi's eyes rolled back in his head as Naruto's talented tongue slowly tortured him. He almost lost it when he was enveloped by the hot wetness of Naruto's mouth. His legs were shaking and the ache was unbearable. He swore he was about to explode into a million pieces. But not yet...not like this. He wanted to be inside his blond. With a groan that showed only a hint of his true need, he pulled away from that wonderful mouth and yanked Naruto up and kissed him hungrily. His hands moved to the slim hips and made quick work of pushing off the offending clothing that was in his way of what he wanted.

The cool air hit Naruto and he gasped. He was so hard it hurt. Then their arousals collided and he cried out in pleasure and yearning. Itachi was very quickly losing his battle with control and he pushed Naruto down onto the bed. Itachi bit down on the junction between neck and shoulder and smirked as Naruto cried out his name. Itachi knelt down and grabbed the lube out of his pants pocket then kissed up one tanned leg while his fingers caressed up the other leg. His other hand deftly popped the top on the lube and coated his fingers. He slipped one, then soon enough two and three into the tight space, groaning himself as the tight heat swallowed his fingers one by one. Just the thought of how he would be tightly encased in that same heat had his already hard erection twitching.

"Tell me you want me." He whispered in Naruto's ear.

"God yes, I want you so bad it hurts." Naruto groaned in reply arching off the bed and throwing his head back with a whimper as the long digits stroked the spot that had his legs quivering.

That needy groan went straight through Itachi's groin and he couldn't wait any longer. He quickly, with shaking hands, coated himself with lube and lined himself up. Naruto spread his legs wider and almost held his breath as he felt the thick head breach his entrance.

Sliding inside, Itachi groaned as he was slowly swallowed in tight heat. He was finally home. Not in Konoha, but here where Naruto was, around him, inside him. Naruto was home. He trembled as the threads of his control unravelled more and more the longer he stayed still. But he had to keep some semblance of control. He had a one last plan to execute.

Naruto turned his beautiful blue eyes on him and it took every ounce of control he possessed to not lose himself in those eyes. Instead, he smirked and he felt the familiar chakra burn as his eyes swirled into the sharingan and then into the mangekyou. Naruto's eyes went wide as Itachi whispered...

"Tsukiyomi."

He heard Naruto gasp before the world went black.

Naruto looked around at the red and black world. It was an eerie space and he shivered slightly at the chill. Wrapping his arms around himself, he gasped in surprise at finding himself naked and outlined in red. He guessed he shouldn't be too surprised since he was already naked at home. But the lack of color was just weird.

So this was the world he wanted to see so badly. Tsukiyomi... What did Kakashi and Sasuke have to endure here? He felt a twinge of fear, but he stamped it down. This was Itachi. He wouldn't hurt him.

"Welcome to my world." The voice echoed through the blackness. Itachi appeared out of the darkness in an outline of red, just like him. He had that infernal Uchiha smirk on his beautiful face. "Let me tell you a little about this place. You see, I have full control of everything here. And I can manipulate this place as I see fit." With a wave of his hand, the darkness suddenly morphed into a bedroom...Naruto's bedroom, except the sheets were different. They were red silk. Naruto found himself tied to the bed looking up into the red-eyed Uchiha.

"Time is very different here. What will only be minutes in the real world is 72 hours here in mine." Naruto gulped and Itachi chuckled at the look on the blond's face. "Worried love? Don't be. I assure you, for the next 72 hours there will be nothing but pleasure."

Naruto shivered at the thought of 72 hours with Itachi. But he remembered the past so well. "B-but...Kakashi...Sasuke...they were out for days." He was the hokage. He had responsibilities. He couldn't be out of it for days.

"Sasuke has already been informed that you won't be in for a couple of days and will take care of the important things while you're gone."

"You told him?"

"About this, no. This will be our little secret. I only mentioned that you and I would be catching up for a couple of days and not to bother us."

"Oh."

Itachi suddenly disappeared. A few seconds later Naruto was gasping as invisible fingers trailed over his body touching every single part of him. The threat of the unknown was making Naruto dizzy with pleasure. A throaty moan escaped as fingers one by one slipped into his opening. He was being stretched all over again and this time he felt no pain as the fingers moved inside him going deeper and deeper until they reached that secret spot. Slowly pleasure built with the stimulation and Naruto closed his eyes, consumed by white hot sparks shooting up and down his spine and through his groin.

He screamed.

When he next opened his eyes he felt, and saw, Itachi above him, his red eyes filled with lust. He watched him lean forward and then his eyes closed again as feather light kisses trailed over his skin, over his lips. He felt Itachi once again breaching the ring of muscles and slowly filling him.

Itachi closed his own eyes as Naruto's muscles gripped him like a vice and he took deep breaths to keep himself from exploding right then and there.

"God Naruto, I need to move...please tell me I can move." Itachi surprised himself. Begging was not an Uchiha trait.

But then no other Uchiha had ever been inside Naruto.

"Yes." Naruto whispered, his voice quivering.

And then they were moving in unison, Itachi thrusting forward and Naruto arching into him. Naruto gripped the posts his hands were tied to like a lifeline as Itachi buried himself over and over again inside him. His one last coherent thought was to wonder if they were moving this same way in real life at this exact moment. And then he was drowning in the pleasure that only Itachi could give him.

Itachi groaned as muscles tightened around him once again and he sped up, forcing himself deeper into the blond writhing underneath him, striking that spot repeatedly, making him scream to the dark world around them. He knew neither he, nor Naruto, would last much longer. With one more thrust, Naruto was arching off the bed, his whole body taut. And then he was coming, so hard...it felt like he would never stop.

Those tight walls clamped down around him and the tight coil inside Itachi finally snapped. He threw back his head and, in this world where there was no one but Naruto and Itachi...where there was no one to judge him, he let go completely and yelled out his lover's name as he came. He panted and laid his sweaty forehead on Naruto's shoulder, waiting for his heart to stop pounding and his body to cease shaking. He waved a tired hand and Naruto's hands were freed.

Moments later those arms were wrapped around him, holding him close. Fingers ran through his hair as both males slowly came down from their high. Once Naruto could finally speak, he raised Itachi's head from his shoulder.

"So, how long do we have left?" He figured it had to have been a while. Itachi chuckled and ran a hand through Naruto's sweat darkened locks.

"It's only been one minute love." Naruto's eyes were wide as saucers.

"Oh hell no!" Another 71 hours and 59 minutes to go? He wouldn't be out for days. He would be out for weeks!

Naruto groaned.

Itachi gave him a drop dead sexy smirk.

"Oh yes."

xxx

72 hours and three more days later, Naruto was finally up and walking around. Itachi's eyes followed him hungrily. Naruto growled at the raven, who smirked in response.

"Don't even think about it. I swear, I still feel worn out."

"Hn." Itachi gave him a self-satisfied grin.

"Bastard."

"Naruto! If you're not out here in ten seconds, I swear I'm coming up and I'll bring Sakura with me! You do have a job to do you know." Sasuke annoyed yell was easily heard from the bedroom. Naruto cringed. Sasuke he could deal with, Sakura he could not.

"Sorry Itachi. I'm not dealing with the wrath of Haruno Sakura. Later." He practically ran out the house.


Ten Years Later

It is a much more mature face that lightly reflectes from the window. A few wrinkles adorn the face. Bright blond locks still spike in every direction, but they've tamed a bit over the years, especially as the strands were allowed to grow out. The sapphire blue orbs though, remain the same. Maybe a bit more world weary, but still bright as ever.

My fingers touched the cool surface of the glass and I smiled at my hazy reflection. My younger self can be seen every day when I look out at the hokage mountain. Has it really been ten years already?

So many things have changed since I became hokage. There have been treaties signed, promises and concessions made, skirmishes here and there. In the end though, my father was right, the prophecy was right. I did bring peace. There haven't been any wars since my inauguration. Any enemies from other lands who tried anything were quickly subdued by Konoha or one of the other great ninja nations before they got a foothold. Ninja were only needed now for escort missions, catching the random missing nin, or missions recieved from nations far away.

I'm glad that baa-chan was here to see it. She died a couple of years after the last treaty was signed. Heh, I'm sure she and ero-sennin are having their fun drinking sake wherever they are.

Our world has thrived and prospered. I'm happy, of course. But sometimes I'm a bit apprehensive. All good things must come to an end as they say. Maybe it's just me being cautious, but I never get too relaxed.

I felt the presence before it appeared, but even then I didn't turn around from the window. A few seconds later strong arms wrapped around me and I sighed and relaxed in his arms.

"Thinking again?" Itachi murmured in my ear.

"Uh huh."

"You think too much."

"I know." His lips brushed against my neck and I smiled at his actions. Uchiha Itachi may seem like an emotional wall in public, but he sure had no problem showing this tender side of himself with me. I finally turned around to face him. He was still in his anbu uniform, the tattoo from many years ago still displayed proudly on his shoulder. His fox mask - he decided if I could have a weasel mask, he could have a fox one - hung off of his belt. He did consent to become the head of anbu, just like I had wanted him to. He worked the anbu like nobody's business, but they were much better off for it.

The years have been just as kind to Itachi as to me. He had a few wrinkles but they only served to make him look more distinguished. Those Uchiha genes were good for that. He wears glasses when he reads now, but I don't care. In fact, they make him look hot. Which is why I refuse to let him wear them in public.

"So what are you thinking about?" He whispered in my ear as his fingers slipped under my shirt and slowly drove me to distraction.

"The last ten years."

"Ah. Any regrets?" I held up my hand as if examining it, the ring he'd given me a few months after my inauguration glinting in the light. Itachi has one of his own, that I bought, on his finger. I had never thought of marriage before he came along and brought it up.

"Not at all. You?"

"No. I'll never regret coming back."

Yes, time had been good to both of us.

What the future holds for us, who knows. Maybe I'll retire. We could travel around the world without any threats looming over us. Maybe we'll eventually adopt some little brats of our own. That would be interesting.

The future looked pretty bright from here.

But only time would tell.

Owari

xx

xx

a/n: And that's a wrap. I hope you enjoyed it. I know I enjoyed writing it. Thank you so much for reading. I could never come up with these ideas without you. My muse is fed by all of you wonderful readers. Please take a moment to review. I love hearing from you.

"He better not break his promise," ..."Otherwise I am going to hunt him down, beat him unconcious, and drag him back to Konoha by his ponytail." - Thanks Peppymint for the quote. :) I told you I'd end up finding a way to use it.