Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Here's an early present for everyone! And I hope you all have a happy New Year as well!

Chapter 32: Happily Ever After

Thankfully, the two teams made it back safely to Konoha. They entered the Hokage's office and listened as Shikamaru and Kakashi reported on their encounter and defeat of the supposedly immortal duo.

"Excellent work everyone. Don't get complacent, thought. There are still Akatsuki to deal with. For now, thought, you can all take a break. You've earned it." Tsunade finished with a small smirk.

"Thank you, Lady Tsunade." Kakashi spoke for the obviously exhausted group of teenagers before they left the office.

"We're going to go check in with Asuma-Sensei," Choji announced to the group as he and Shikamaru split off and headed back towards the hospital.

"Come on, we need to get you to the hospital too, Naruto." Sakura commented, reaching to guide him to the white walled institution of boredom.

Naruto froze in his tracks. He paused a moment then turned to his teammate, flashing one of his trademark smiles, "Come on, Sakura. You know I heal fast." He cajoled.

"Not *that* fast, Naruto." The pink-haired med-nin replied with a raised eyebrow. "Not to mention you caused considerable damage to your arm with that new jutsu of yours." Sakura pointed out, grazing his right arm with her fingertips.

"Owowowowowowow!" He screamed out in pain.

"See? And I barely touched you," Sakura said lightly.

"Shouldn't you go as well, Kakashi-San?" Akemi asked as she attempted to stop herself from laughing at the scene of the leaf ninja before her. As much as she loved the blond, the sight of him crying his eyes out, while pleading with Sakura not to take him in as she dragged him along was almost more than Akemi could bear watching with a straight face.

"Hmm?" Kakashi looked up wearily from his book.

"She does have a point, Kakashi-Sensei. You had a pretty tough fight with that Kakuzu person. At the very least you should have someone examine you." Sakura chimed in.

"I should be fine with a day's rest. After all, I didn't have to resort to using the mangekyo." Kakashi explained. Sakura gave him a look that silently told him she didn't believe him. "I'll be fine, Sakura. Ja ne." He said, as he shunshined away, nose in his book.

Akemi, Sakura, and a still whining Naruto made their way to the Leaf hospital. Naruto was admitted into his usual room on the top floor. Akemi waited patiently in the uncomfortable plastic chairs that every hospital seems have in its halls while Sakura worked on healing Naruto's injuries.

She leaned her head back against the wall across from Naruto's door. The black haired teen gently closed her eyes as she mentally reviewed the past few hours. Two Akatsuki members were dead. More importantly, Hidan was dead. Her family and her village were finally avenged; and hopefully all her loved ones were now at peace.

Akemi sighed as she realized that she was now officially the last ninja of the Hidden Hot Spring Village. She wrapped her arms around her torso, her nails gripping into her arms. She winced as she aggravated the reinjured ribs that she had sustained during the fight. Her arms fell to her sides as she opened her eyes, staring at the blank, industrial ceiling. What was left for her now? What was her purpose?

She was still accepted here in the Leaf. She had a place to live. She could complete missions through the Hokage. She had people who she could call friends here. She had someone special here. For all intents and purposes, Konoha had become home. She started to smile.

"Akemi?" Sakura's voice brought the girl back to the present.

Akemi blinked her eyes a few times to see the pink-haired girl standing before her. "Oh, sorry, Sakura."

"Deep in thought?" Sakura questioned her.

"Just a little worn out," Akemi responded. It wasn't exactly a lie, she was tired.

"Well Naruto's all fixed up now." Sakura informed her brightly.

"Is he up for visitors?"

Sakura smiled, "Even if he wasn't, he'd still want to see you." She answered knowingly.

"Thanks," Akemi slowly pushed herself off the wall, and hugged the girl before her. She winced at the pressure around her ribcage.

Sakura noticed the grimace before Akemi could hide it. "After you're done visiting him, you're coming to see me."

"Hmm? Why?"

"I saw that. You hurt your ribs again." Sakura gave the kunoichi a look that wouldn't tolerate argument on this point.

"Okay," Akemi sighed as she left the girl's side. She walked through the open door and shut it quietly. Naruto was sitting up in bed, his right arm in a cast and resting on top of a pillow. "Are you going to be alright?"

Naruto flashed his trademark smile at her, "Of course! This is nothing, I've been through worse."
"Good," She sat on the left edge of the bed.

Quiet grew as neither could find words to break it.

"So … what's going to happen now?" Akemi questioned him hesitantly.

"I don't know…"

Silence again.

Before she could lose the courage, Akemi looked directly into Naruto's cerulean eyes. "Thank you, Naruto…for everything."

The teen was confused at the sudden outburst. "What?" He wasn't given any time to think.

Akemi had tucked a lock of her dark hair behind her left ear. Her left hand rested on Naruto's left forearm. She leaned in towards him. Her lips softly started to brush up against his, as her eyes started to drift shut.

He was surprised at her action for a fraction of a second before he reacted. He raised his good arm as he placed his hand on the back of her head, pulling her closer. He returned her brief kiss with a more passionate one of his own.

"Wow…" the blonde murmured as he locked his gaze with her honey eyes. "If this is what I've been missing, I might have to give Gai-sensei a piece of my mind."

"I'll help." She laughed softly as she carefully arranged herself closer to her boyfriend, letting his steady warmth and presence relax her, sending her to sleep in his arms.

Jiraiya watched the scene unfold from a nearby tree. He had been about to visit his annoying gaki of a student when he noticed the beautiful visitor. He watched the young couple as they drifted off together. The white haired sage silently retreated from his perch. The future was uncertain, even more so when one's partner is a target for a powerful organization. A soft smile graced his lips.

'Let them enjoy their happily ever after. For now.'

~The End~

*Soprano-in-waiting waves at the crowds of readers.*
Hi! I promise I wasn't trying to torture you, but yeah…finals and various other things….anyways, thanks for waiting ^_^ Hope you enjoyed it.
Ja ne.

Hey there everyone! I just wanted to thank you all for sticking with me for so long! Yep, its finally over. What did you think? If you could post any suggestions, comments I'd really appreciate it. Its the one time I'm asking for feedback; so I can better myself in the future.

If you're looking for other stories to read and enjoyed this fic, please feel free to check out my other works:

Naruto: Romantic One Shots -ON HERE-
Naruto Fanfiction
~Just one shots of all different parings in Naruto. Please vote each time on which paring you want me to do next! These may be funny/romantic/sad. It could be just a meeting, a date, a marriage. May be OOC.

Uchiha's Snow (Working) -ON HERE-
Naruto Fanfiction
~Yukino was a girl that left Konoha with her parents only to return in less than a year all alone. What would happen to everyone if one person was added into the mix? What if that one person happened to be close to the Uchihas?

Deceptions (Working) -ON HERE-
Naruto-ish Fanfic
~Naruto and his friends have all grown up. Now its the time to follow their kids as they go on their own adventures. But something's up... Akemi Uzumaki is about to graduate from the academy but not is all as it seems.

Twin Survivors (Working) -WILL POST SOON-
Naruto Fanfiction
~Sasuke and Renn survived the slaughter of their clan the night Itachi left, but can they survive picking up the broken pieces of their lives?