Chapter Thirty-Six

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Note: I don't remember the exact quote, but I've heard that every story ends with either a wedding or a funeral (or, to be more precise, with the characters in love or dead) and since this is a parody, let there be a wedding. Or at least the aftermath of one.

Three weeks passed and everything was slowly returning to normal after the invasion, although the effects of the time travel secret being shared were still lingering. Tsunade was refusing to so much as step foot in the Hokage Tower, Jiraiya had sent a missive off to Amegakure telling Nagato and Konan he had heard they were running the Village and informing them that he would have kept in contact but he had believed them to be dead, Minato had opened up a dialogue with the leaders of Amegakure (who couldn't have been more surprised), Itachi looked more relaxed now that he no longer had to fear Sasuke finding out the truth but not pleased that his brother knew, and Anko had added 'guilt Kakashi about not mentioning he was a time traveler' to her rather lengthy list of ways to get Kakashi to show up places on time. Minato had also taken up eyeing some of the Villagers suspiciously but as per Naruto's request, tried to remember that his son had never been ostracized in this timeline. Not that that stopped him from yelling at Jiraiya, of course.

Almost before they knew it, the day of Anko and Kakashi's wedding was upon them. As Kakashi was much more lively in this timeline than his previous one and due to his close association with the Hokage, all of the ninja knew him and most showed up to the ceremony. To the surprise of nearly everyone present, Kakashi actually showed up fifteen minutes before the ceremony was to start of his own volition – that is, if by 'of his own volition' one meant 'because he was terrified of what Anko would do to him if he was late.' Still, he was there and got married without a hitch and that was really all that mattered.

Then, of course, there was the reception. Alcohol was provided and, perhaps foolishly, no one had thought to set a limit on drinks or minimum age so anyone who had graduated from the Academy and made it to Genin could have as much as they liked.

"I can't believe you finally got married," Obito remarked as he downed yet another drink. He wasn't drunk yet but at the rate he was going he'd be feeling it in the morning. "You and Anko were dating for, what, five years? I honestly thought you were going to die a bachelor at the speed you were going. "

"I didn't want to rush things," Kakashi claimed. "And Anko didn't care when we got married as long as she didn't think I wasn't taking our relationship seriously."

"And did she ever think that?" Obito felt the need to ask.

Kakashi raised an eyebrow. "I'm still alive and unmaimed, aren't I?"

"Point," Obito conceded. "You new wife is kind of crazy, you know that, right?"

Kakashi rolled his eyes. "If I didn't, don't you think now's a little late to be warning me about this?"

"If you didn't notice after five years of dating, you completely deserved to find out on your own," Obito claimed.

"We're veteran ninja," Kakashi pointed out. "We're all a little crazy. Or a lot. Or disturbingly so. The point is, there's a reason there's no MSR to become a Jounin. Besides, the crazy is half the fun."

"I don't know," Obito said slowly. "Her one-time crush on you notwithstanding, Rin seems to be fairly stable."

"You want to know why I was never able to return her feelings? That's part of it right there," Kakashi declared.

"Well I, for one, am grateful that she's too sane for your tastes," Obito laughed.

"And I, for one, am officially starting to feel old," Minato announced, coming up to stand beside them. "All three of my former students are now happily married and I'm still single…"

Obito grinned. "And you're over here because Jiraiya and Tsunade didn't appreciate you talking about being old when you're fifteen or so years younger than them? And what are you worried about? You don't really have to feel worried about feeling old until Naruto's wedding."

Minato sighed. "Naruto's wedding. I know he's only thirteen, but I've heard so many things about his potential love interests that I'm starting to have nightmares about it already."

"You mean because no one can make up their mind if he's going to marry Sakura and you'll have pink-haired grandchildren, Hinata and you'll have to deal with Hyuuga tradition every step of the way, Gaara and Naruto will be the only Hokage to have ever lived in Suna, or Sasuke and they'll probably not bother with a wedding but just live in sin for the rest of their lives?" Kakashi asked innocently.

Minato groaned. "YES. I have got to stop talking to Kurenai or I'm never going to get any sleep until he's engaged."

"Or not, if it's Sasuke," Kakashi added helpfully. "Of course, then Itachi might very well kill him for 'corrupting' his little brother…"

"SO not helping," Minato complained, shaking his head and resolving to keep a closer eye on his son and his interaction with the four supposed top contenders for his heart from now on.

"I can't believe in only takes two shots to get Lee completely wasted," Neji was complaining. "How in the world did he manage to pass the MSR and not me?"

"I suspect the lack of alcohol present at the exam might have had something to do with it," Tenten replied dryly. "And so what if he has a bit of an…extreme reaction to alcohol? That doesn't necessarily bring his sanity into question."

"He's fighting imaginary opponents," Neji pointed out. "And two shots isn't nearly enough alcohol to start hallucinating so he's either seeing things on his own, which calls his sanity into question, or legitimately thinks he's fighting invisible opponents, which also, coincidentally, calls his sanity into question."

"Two shots might be enough alcohol for that last one," Tenten told him thoughtfully. "I could always call him over and ask him whether his enemy is invisible or not, if you'd like."

"No!" Neji shouted. He cleared his throat. "I mean, that's hardly necessary. He's likely to do less damage fighting his invisible enemies."

"True," Tenten allowed. "So I suppose we should be thankful that it's worked out like this. Remind me to never, ever let Lee near alcohol again, though. Sooner or later, he'd do some collateral damage or start looking for real opponents."

"Agreed," Neji said grimly. "Where is Gai-sensei, anyway? He should be putting a stop to this or something."

"He's right over there," Tenten said, gesturing over to their teacher standing a few feet back from Lee and partially hidden by some trees. "I think he's taking notes."

"Taking notes?" Neji repeated. "You don't think he means to see if he can get Lee to utilize his drunken strength in battle, do you?"

"Would it surprise you in the slightest if he did exactly that?" Tenten asked rhetorically.

Neji sighed deeply. "I guess that means we're going to have to hide the alcohol from Gai-sensei, too. And to think, apparently I'm the unbalanced one."

"Well, you were doing fine until you started ranting at Sakura," Tenten reminded him. "And when she flat-out told you at the end that she wouldn't have won if you hadn't wasted so much time ranting at her certainly didn't help matters. Maybe if you'd won they might have been able to overlook that, but as it stands…"

"It was really all I could not to start lecturing her about how inappropriate her hair color was for a ninja," Neji said honestly. "I mean, seriously? Pink? You just can't take that seriously and it's horrible for stealth. I figured that would not go over very well, however, and went for my fall-back lecture."

"That was probably a good idea," Tenten decided. "But it still cost you Chuunin status. But don't worry; we're sure to make it in the next exam six months from now."

"So, Hinata?" Kiba asked. "You know how your cousin is really, really scary?"

"Which cousin would that be?" Hinata inquired. "I have many relatives, after all."

"I think he means Neji," Shino told her, "if the way he jumps when Neji looks at him is any indication."

"I do not jump," Kiba scowled. "Although yes, I do mean Neji."

"I have never been scared of him," Hinata answered. "So no, I'm sorry but I wouldn't really know."

"Well pretend you know that," Kiba instructed. "Does the fact that he's considered a prodigy and is a year older than us with a year's more worth of experience as a genin and yet he failed to make Chuunin but everyone else in the finals managed just fine bother him?"

"I think it does, a little," Hinata confessed. "Although I think it is mostly that Lee made it and not him. They're rivals and things tend to get messy when it looks like one of them is superior to the other in something."

"At least Tenten's with him," Kiba declared. "I know she'll calm him down."

"What do you mean?" Shino asked. "No, wait, I am nearly positive I do not wish to know."

"Too late, you asked," Kiba told him smugly. "Tenten and Neji are so clearly interested in each other that it's inevitable that they'll start dating sooner or later, especially because they have no real reason not to as neither of them is in denial about their sexuality or have a single-minded obsession that precludes them from committing to a relationship."

"You think that they like each other?" Hinata asked, surprised. "How come?"

"I wouldn't know for sure, of course, but I think that they were drawn together by their need to find a bit of sanity amongst the craziness which is Lee and Gai," Kiba theorized. "Which is rather ironic given that Lee passed the MSR and Neji didn't. Tenten didn't have to face the MSR so I don't know how she would do. Perhaps I have it all wrong and Gai and Lee are too sane for them. Of course, that is in and of itself a very scary thought…"

"Why must you attempt to play matchmaker with everyone you know?" Shino demanded. "It gets very tiresome sometimes."

"I do not 'play matchmaker'!" Kiba insisted, affronted. "I just point out the obvious. And speaking of, I saw Kurenai-sensei and Asuma holding hands last week so I'd like it to be known that I was totally right about that."

"If you pair everyone up, sooner or later you will be right once," Shino said shortly.

"I do not pair everyone up," Kiba claimed.

"Really?" Hinata asked surprised. "It really seems like it, though."

"Sure, the most obvious secret love is the one between Sasuke and Naruto, Ino and that one guy with the navel shirt I thought would be good together talked for the better part of two hours earlier tonight, Temari and Shikamaru seem like they could balance each other out when he gets older, Tenten and Neji are practically dating already, Kurenai-sensei and Asuma are dating, Jiraiya seems just a few more rejections away from a shot with Tsunade, and Kankuro spends a little too much time with his puppets is no reason to think I'm obsessive or anything," Kiba claimed.

"Where did we go wrong with you?" Shino wondered aloud. "And is it too late to reverse the damage?"

"Hey, it's not like Kurenai-sensei doesn't do it, too," Kiba said defensively. "Although her track record isn't one hundred percent. Did you know that she used to think Kakashi and Iruka had a thing before Anko entered the picture? It took her years before she was convinced Anko wasn't just Kakashi's beard. And speaking of Sakura…"

"No one on Team Seven has shown any interest in each other. Or in anyone," Hinata objected, somewhat sadly. "So I don't believe that Sasuke or Naruto are using Sakura in that regard."

Kiba snorted. " 'No interest' indeed. And Sakura…she's hard to pin down. I can't tell if she has feelings for Naruto, Sasuke, Lee, or Ino. Who knows? Maybe she can't make up her mind either and that's why I'm getting these mixed signals."

"Did Kiba just decide Sakura might be in love with me and I'm in love with Sai?" Ino wondered, sitting down besides Shikamaru and Choji on the grass.

"Kiba thinks everyone is in love with each other," Shikamaru replied, stretching his arms. "The whole thing is rather troublesome."

"You would think that since he thinks you'll end up with a violent and bossy girl with two brothers who are either psychotic or a Jinchuriki," Choji noted.

"At least he did not put me with Ino," Shikamaru murmured.

Ino's eye twitched. "Excuse me? Keep in mind that I'd sooner stab myself than date you, but why are you so against the idea of dating someone as beautiful as me?"

"While I think Temari might be even more troublesome than you are, she does live in Suna and you are my teammate so if we did date and things ended badly, it would be more troublesome if it were you rather than her," Shikamaru explained. "Of course, girls are far too troublesome to bother with anyway."

"Better not tell Kiba that," Choji warned. "He'll simply decide you're gay and before you know it he'll go around insisting we're in love."

"At least it would be less troublesome," Shikamaru mused. "And no children, either. Children seem like they would be troublesome."

"Temari's right," Ino said, rolling her eyes. "We really could replace you with a button that said 'troublesome' and no one would notice the difference. Of course, given that I've yet to get my vengeance on her and she's bravely ran away to Suna, if she decided she liked you, I might be willing to bite the bullet and date you first so I could get back at her that way."

"You're such an admirable person, Ino," Shikamaru deadpanned.

Ino smiled brightly. "I know, it's a gift."

"I don't think that's quite what he meant…" Choji said quietly. "But who is this 'Sai' guy? Do we know him?"

"Oh, he's the guy I was talking to earlier," Ino explained. "He's cute and looks kind of like Sasuke-kun but there's no way I'd date him just yet. He has…issues."

Shikamaru raised an eyebrow. " 'Issues'? And Sasuke doesn't?"

" 'Issues' as in 'he was in a secret illegal branch of ANBU that tried to turn him into an emotionless zombie until their leader died less than two years ago'," Ino clarified. "He says he's made a lot of progress, which is a bit unnerving, but I'm sure he'll make more in the years to come. Besides, unlike certain other people I could mention, he always calls me beautiful."

"Telling you what you so obviously want to hear," Shikamaru said wryly. "That's absolutely amazing, really."

"That's it, Temari would have to want to have your babies before I'd even remotely consider getting involved with you," Ino declared dramatically.

"Thank God for small mercies," Shikamaru muttered.


"If Kiba thinks hostility is secretly a sign of hidden affection, why doesn't he think Ino and Shikamaru could make it?" Choji wondered.

"Do you ever get the feeling that all of our friends are insane?" Naruto wondered aloud.

"All the time," Sasuke replied promptly. "And all things considered, that's really saying something coming from the three of us."

"Well, it's not like they don't think we're crazy, too," Sakura pointed out. "But at least we have having to relive at least a few years of our lives as our excuse. What's theirs?"

"Insanity is contagious?" Naruto suggested. "Seriously, with less Neji brooding and Sasuke having enough sense to keep his issues to himself, what's there to get all serious over? Everyone was pretty light-hearted unless they had deep dark pasts I needed to personally help them overcome until after Orochimaru killed the Sandaime anyway."

"It's kind of sad that the person it took the longest for you to personally change their entire worldview would be the one person who was on the same team as you and you spent the most time with," Sakura remarked.

"That's because I clearly had the most traumatic past," Sasuke claimed.

Sakura rolled her eyes. "You just keep right on thinking that."

"What would you know? You never had a sob story," Sasuke sniffed. "And Naruto only ever acted like he did once or twice even though his was arguably worse than most people's."

"But not yours, right?" Naruto asked, grinning.

"Absolutely not," Sasuke agreed. "The only person whose life I am willing to admit might possibly have been worse than mine is Itachi's."

"That's love, right there," Sakura declared, pretending to wipe a tear from her eye.

"Seriously, though, for all the insanity we've wrought, especially since Sakura-chan's returned, I really do think that things have worked out for the best," Naruto told them earnestly. "I mean, the Akatsuki is mostly gone already, Sasuke's still here, Obito, Rin, and my father are still alive, Kakashi got married – even if it is to the scariest woman I've ever met – Jiraiya and Asuma don't necessarily have to die, Itachi's still here and not trying to convince us all he's evil, Sakura…she still has us," he finished lamely.

Sakura's eyes narrowed. "Oh, not you, too! Seriously, both of you go die."

"I guess she's turned into the new you," Naruto told Sasuke.

"You'd better watch out then so she doesn't decide to seek vengeance," Sasuke cautioned.

"How am I supposed to do that?" Naruto wondered. "Get myself killed before she can get to me?"

"That could work," Sasuke agreed. "Or possibly me if she holds me responsible for this. Or maybe…" he trailed off.

Naruto cocked his head. "You think it would work? I don't think she's ever been on the receiving end of one before."

Sasuke shrugged. "Why not? It's worked on everyone else you've ever tried it on, even me, eventually."

Sakura was starting to get nervous. "What are you guys talking about?"

Naruto and Sasuke's matching smirks were decidedly evil.

"I'm going to give you a friendship speech," Naruto said cheerfully.

Sakura gulped.

Note: Friendship Speech=Therapy Jutsu without the need to get into an epic battle at Anko and Kakashi's wedding reception as all that alcohol and all those ninja might make that a bad idea, even by Team Seven's standards.

It's The End so Review Please!