Slumberland


EPILOGUE

...TWO WEEKS LATER...

"Well, the roundabout explanation is that it wasn't an invasion as much as an infiltration," Naruto explained wearily. Konohamaru and Kiba had been hounding him for over an hour with every question they could conceive, but Naruto couldn't blame them. He had just made it back down to Earth nearly a day previous, with no word to anyone since the day Danzo was killed.

"Infiltration?" Konohamaru raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah, so we can…share Earth. For the time being at least. It's going to take a lot of compromising, and of course, the government doesn't want anyone knowing about it."

"Which is exactly why you're telling everyone?" Shikamaru Nara let himself into the conference room, hardly making an effort to apologize for his interruption. Despite the fact it was full of only people Naruto was close with, Shikamaru wanted the details to be kept under wraps. "I may have been assigned to be your—"

"To be completely honest, General, Naruto hardly needs a protector," Itachi's voice rose from the rear of the room, where he had been lazily sprawled across two chairs, attempting to nap, a newspaper over his head.

Kiba groaned and downed a few gulps of coffee. "Yeah. He's kind of important now."

Naruto sighed and attempted a smile. He had done all that he could do. At the time, Sakura had rushed to warn the council, and they had returned with her. They had seen Danzo's end, and they hadn't been able to tear Naruto away from Sasuke, who was barely conscious.

The elders had admired him somewhat, and aside from that, Sakura had said something about Sasuke's 'people' siding with him. It had taken Naruto a few days to realize that Sasuke had become a prince of sorts for many of the Aliqui families not related to a larger bloodline, and the council, in an effort to at least keep the peace within their own people, had decided to name both Naruto and Sasuke members.

"Councilman Naruto," Konohamaru laughed. "Ugh, you sound so old now."

Naruto grimaced. He felt old. Especially because it was a lifelong commitment. Half of the council had stayed on board the Procul (after interrogating Naruto, Sasuke, and Itachi for a very long period of time) while the other half had dispersed on land. They had ways of contacting each other. Ways of keeping track.

"You have a meeting with the Executive Chief," Shikamaru said dully. "If I can't protect you, the least I can do to validate my paycheck is be your personal calendar."

At this, Naruto laughed. He didn't like being busy and having so many obligations, but he felt better knowing it was him and not someone else.

"What time is the meeting?" Naruto stifled a yawn.

"In a few hours."

Naruto nodded and licked his lips. The door to the conference room opened again, and Naruto felt his heartbeat hasten as he took in the face of the person who had stopped by.

"I'll be back in a few hours then," Naruto rose from his feet and drifted forward, ignoring the looks he received from behind him. He slipped out of the room and embraced Sasuke.

"I missed you."

They had only seen each other on and off for the last couple of weeks, only after Naruto had known for sure that Sasuke would be alright. He had only let the Aliqui haul him off, then.

Instead of insulting him, which Naruto had fully expected, ("Aliqui don't miss people.") Sasuke said something surprising. "We managed without knowing each other existed for a good 23 years. Another week shouldn't have felt so long."

Naruto laughed and tugged Sasuke back into the shadows of an unused hallway, away from the passerbys that drifted back and forth from the conference room he had been in. After all, he had turned celebrity.

"This is going to be a whole new life," Naruto stated truthfully, almost as if it was painful to admit. There were parts that Naruto wouldn't trade for the world, and others that he could stand to lessen the burden of responsibility for.

Sasuke's lips brushed his forehead, a simple gesture that was comforting. "I think I'll like this life a bit better than before…" he said absently, his tone even.

"Why's that?" Naruto asked, genuinely curious. Sasuke had a lot on the Procul that he was leaving behind.

Sasuke's eyes looked distant and he lowered himself to smile against Naruto's neck, breathing in something he found almost like a drug t his senses. "It has colors I've never seen before."