Ninja Kitsune

Epilogue: The Passage of Time

Konoha Village: 3 months after the end of the war – Time: 18:00 hours.

"By the power vested in me by the Daimyo of the Land of Fire," Tsunade began, "It is with great honor that I pronounce you man and wife. Haku, go ahead and kiss her, already."

And what a kiss was seen by all, as Haku took Naruko into his arms and it took Sasuke and Kakashi checking with their respective Sharingans to see that both were still able to get air, and an airtight seal had not been created between the two. Over the past 2 hours, the ceremony was less than what could be considered traditional. Naruko, instead of wearing an overly cumbersome dress or kimono, opted for a white version of her typical outfit, while Haku opted for a light blue shirt with black jacket and pants with a white tie. Naruko had only chosen her closest friends for her maids. Those friends were Hinata, Yugito and Sakura as maid of honor. Haku had asked Zabuza to be his best man, with Sasuke and Lee as his groomsmen. After the ceremony came the reception, which saw everyone partying until the sun came up. Sakura caught the bouquet. As the sun rose over the Hokage monument, Naruko summoned Akagi, and the new couple rode off toward their honeymoon.

Konoha Village: 1 year after the end of the war – Time: 09:00 hours.

"SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!" yelled Iruka Umino as the latest class of graduates took their seats. He read through the list of teams, with looks of excitement on the faces of the young potential genin. "Team 7 will be: Konda Hyuga, Shikari Nara, and Mita Suriku. Your sensei will be….no way she's already got a team."

"Iruka Sensei," Mita Suriku started, "Who's our sensei?"

"Me," came a voice from behind the students, as Naruko landed from an opening in the ceiling tiles, "and yes, Iruka Sensei, I've asked Tsunade to be an instructor. Team 7, join me on the roof in 5 minutes, and I'll tell you all you want to know."

"Get going, team 7," Iruka told the three youngsters, "And meet your sensei. Now, Team 8 will be…" he would have completed that statement, but the students he was going to call on stood up and started to walk to the door. "Where are you going?" Iruka inquired.

"To meet our sensei at the Hokage monument," one student said, "he's already contacted us. See the ice on our desks?"

"Haku," Iruka thought, "Figures. Good thing Sasuke's in T&A and Sakura's heading up the medical program."

Konoha Village: 4 years after the end of the war – Time: 13:00 hours

"You've come a long way," Haku tells his wife as she stands behind Tsunade, who is addressing the village as Hokage for the final time. Beside the two are their two teammates, Sakura and Sasuke, Ryu and Ayane Hayabusa, Jiraiya, and Sarutobi.

"Now," Tsunade concludes, "It is with great honor that I announce to you your new Hokage. Naruko Uzumaki, come forward and say a few words to your people."

Naruko did step forward and Tsunade took a couple of steps back. "It wasn't so long ago," Naruko began, "That I wanted to become Hokage for reasons that, now, I realize were wrong. I wanted to become Hokage to earn your respect. But, over the course of my career, I realized that you don't become Hokage to earn respect. You earn the respect of your people to become Hokage. Now, I stand here, as your new Hokage, and I find myself wanting to say 'Thank you' for letting me serve in this position, and to let you know that I will do all within my power to protect this village from all enemies, foreign and domestic. You are all precious to me." The cheers for Naruko's address could be heard all the way to Kumo and Iwa.

Cavern outside Konoha Village – 2 years after Naruko's becoming Hokage – Time: 12:00 hours

"I swear to Kami, Haku," Naruko screams as Haku does his best to keep her seal stable, "If you put me through this again, I will KILL you."

"Ok, Naruko," Sakura Uchiha told her friend, "One more good push."

Naruko pushed with all she had, and within a moment, a small, yet loud, cry could be heard through the cave. Naruko breathed a sigh of relief as she lay back on the table, winded.

"Congratulations," Sakura said to her friends, "It's a boy."

"Any idea what you'll name him?" Sasuke Uchiha asked, as Sakura cleaned the infant off and handed him to his mother.

"We decided on Minato," Haku stated, "After Naru-chan's father, the 4th Hokage."

"Think he'll surpass us?" Sakura asked.

"Only one way to find out," Naruko smiled, "And that's to just watch and see."

"From Person to Person, Age to Age, as long as memories last, we will not forget the sacrifices that have been made."

END