Six Years Later

Hinata smiled brightly. "I can't believe it's finally here!" she said, her voice almost a song. Her long white gown barely contrasted with her pale skin or eyes, but her rosy cheeks and the joy in every aspect of her countenance made her seem to glow like the finest jewel.

Hanabi, watching her older sister, giggled slightly. "It's been a while since I saw you this happy, Hinata," she commented. Hinata smiled at her younger sister and simply nodded, humming to herself. Hanabi shook her head at her sister's antics. "I'm glad you can finally be like this again. It's been too long."

Hinata nodded, thinking back to all the dark times she, Naruto, her family, and, really, the whole village had gone through over the last few years. "Yes, it has been too long. But today, it will all be worth it!" she told Hanabi. Hanabi smiled, and Hinata spun once. "How do I look?"

Hanabi sighed; Hinata had asked that probably five times by now. "You look beautiful, Hinata, as always," Hanabi answered with a smile. "Naruto's going to lose it when he sees you."

Hinata blushed slightly. "You really think so?" she asked. Hanabi nodded confidently, giggling at her sister's blush. "I hope he thinks I'm pretty."

Hanabi shook her head. "Oh, come on, I'm sure he thinks you're far more than pretty by now...if he didn't, I doubt this would be happening," she commented, her voice taking on a long-suffering quality. Hinata had been saying things like that for days now...it seemed her old confidence issues had returned for some reason. Hanabi came and grabbed Hinata by the hand. "Come on," she said. "I know what you need." With that, she dragged the sputtering Hinata from the room.

Hiashi smiled when he saw his two daughters coming down the hall toward him. "Ready, Hinata?" he asked her, tears in his eyes as he looked at her.

Hinata sighed. "Ready as I'll ever be, I guess," she said, shooting Hanabi a glare. Hanabi simply rolled her eyes and took off down the hall. Hinata turned to her father again and smiled, clutching her bouquet to her chest carefully with both hands; it had been in her free hand when Hanabi dragged her to Hiashi's side.

Hanabi made her way to the side door of the chapel and joined Ino and Tenten at the front of the room. She sighed and told the other two, "Hinata's got the worst jitters I've ever seen. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she was getting cold feet!"

Ino shook her head. "She's just nervous. Who wouldn't be?"

Tenten nodded in agreement. "After all, she is marrying the love of her life today!" The three girls sighed dreamily; really, this was a momentous occasion.

Naruto, standing on the other side of the altar from the three girls, smiled at them. It had taken a while to make friends with them, but he had done it. Once they accepted him and realized he wasn't the fox, it wasn't all that hard, really. Now, they were Hinata's bridesmaids, and Hanabi was her Maid of Honor. Chuckling, he turned to Shino, his best man. "Thanks for being here, Shino," he said softly. Shino simply nodded. Naruto grinned, drew himself up straighter than usual, and droned, "It is only logical to assist a friend when he is in need of you." Grinning teasingly at Shino, he asked, "Am I right?"

Shino sighed. "Indeed that is true, Naruto, but I am here not as a friend assisting you, but as a friend celebrating your good fortune. Today, you become a married man, and Hinata becomes your wife. This is not a day when you require assistance, this is a day when all should celebrate with you," he told the blond.

Naruto chuckled. "Thanks, Shino, regardless, it means a lot to me that you're here," he said, holding out a hand. Shino shook the extended hand, and the two returned to waiting for the bride to arrive. As they turned, the doors opened a second time, this time to admit Hiashi and Hinata.

Naruto looked on in shock. Hinata's long white gown fit her perfectly, and her normally-concealed curves were put on full display today. She was always beautiful to him, she was the first one to really accept and love him, after all, but today she was absolutely gorgeous. Hinata seemed to absolutely glow with happiness as she and her father made their way down the aisle toward him. Naruto smiled and thanked any god that might be listening, not for the first time, that he had been able to get Hiashi to agree to a less-than-traditional wedding. It would have been extremely awkward to have a traditional wedding when there was no one to be there as his family.

Naruto smiled as Hinata joined him at the altar. He could see her face through her veil quite easily; no fabric could ever conceal the glow she was emanating today. Naruto's eyes met Hiashi's briefly, and the two men nodded to one another. Hiashi passed Hinata's hand to Naruto solemnly. Naruto took it tenderly and returned his loving gaze to Hinata. Hinata beamed at her long-time love as she saw the tender look on his face.

The Third Hokage stepped forward and smiled at everyone in the room. As he spoke of the love that bound Naruto and Hinata and the future they could look forward to together, Naruto looked over the faces of the guests briefly. Hinata's side was filled to the brim with her family, so their friends were on his side. Shikamaru, Temari, Kakashi, Gaara, Kankuro, Choji, Lee, Kiba, and, surprisingly, Neji grinned at him. Surprising no one, Lee had steady streams of tears running from his eyes. Surprising those around him, though, Neji was also openly crying! Neji had told his family he wanted to sit with the rest of them as a show of his acknowledgement of Naruto, and now he was openly showing just how happy he was for both the bride and groom as his tears flowed freely.

Naruto returned his gaze to Hinata and smiled as Hiruzen asked, "And do you, Naruto, take Hinata Hyuga as your lawfully wedded wife, to love and to hold, to honor and cherish, for better or worse, till death do you part?"

Naruto smiled, his eyes full of joy. "I do," he answered.

Hiruzen turned to Hinata. "And do you, Hinata, take Naruto Uzumaki as your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to hold, to honor and cherish, for better or worse, till death do you part?"

Hinata blushed, smiled, and nodded enthusiastically. "I do," she said happily.

Hiruzen smiled at them. "Then I now pronounce you man and wife." Turning to Naruto, he added, "You may kiss the bride."

Naruto turned to him and teased, "I don't need you to tell me that!" Then he turned and raised Hinata's veil. Hinata smiled up at him, and the two leaned together. Their lips met, and time seemed to freeze for them. This was the moment they had waited so long for, and now it was finally happening! After a time that felt like an eternity yet was still far too short, the newlyweds parted. Naruto smiled to everyone as they cheered in celebration. Hinata turned her back to the crowd and threw her bouquet. A Branch House Hyuga caught it, and most of the girls squealed joyfully.

Naruto took his wife's hand in his and the two made their way out of the chapel. As they made it outside, the two began to run. They both wanted to get home as soon as they could. There was a small reception planned, and they had to get changed before going to it; it wouldn't do to mess up their wedding clothes, after all!

An Hour Later

Naruto and Hinata arrived to the reception just in time for the toast; perfect timing, so far as they were concerned. Hiashi rose from his spot at the head of the table and spoke. "You are embarking on a brand new adventure today," he told them. "You will have many hardships, I'm sure, but if you stick together, your bond will see you through them all. May you have many good days, filled with love and joy, and may your lives be long and prosperous." He raised his glass to them, and everyone drank to the newlyweds.

Naruto smiled and took Hinata's hand in his again. "Thank you, Father," he said softly. Hiashi sat down, and, moments later, a bunch of people dressed as waiters came out and served a huge feast to the guests. Naruto smiled when he saw Teuchi among them. He gave the ramen chef a nod, and the man returned it with a joyful smile.

The food was great, the company was enjoyable, and everyone felt the night was a great success in general. By the time the night was winding down, everyone was exhausted, but extremely happy. By the time Naruto and Hinata left the reception and made their way home, it was nearing midnight. Naruto carried Hinata into their home and into their bedroom, which they had been sharing for many years. Tonight was different, though. Tonight, they both knew they would make love for the first time.

As Naruto joined his wife on the bed, he kissed her gently and smiled at her. "Good evening, Mrs. Uzumaki," he commented, "and welcome to the rest of your life." Hinata just smiled, then kissed Naruto deeply. That night, the two were joined, body, heart, and soul. It was a night neither would ever forget, and it was the perfect start to their new life together.