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Cheesy AN time!
Well, here it is. The final chapter of OotD. 3000 simple words to wrap it all up. I couldn't have gotten this far without all your support, whether you reviewed to say you loved, offered me honest criticism, or simply followed and favorite to let me know you wanted more.
Special thanks goes to my sister, as always, with whom I work out most of my plot twists, and to itachi, skipbeataddict, SF Geronimo, angel897, nightraze, loteva, analelle, chaosthevoid, the keeper of worlds, toreh, spartan1, sakura2113, BloodFeud, TheNewSarcastic, outcast001, OoOAquaMoonOoO and many, many more for your encouragement, understanding, patience, and criticism.
This chapter is for you guys. Enjoy.
"You're supposed to be resting."
Sakura turned to face her husband, who bent down to kiss her gently. "I keep telling you, I don't need to rest."
"Sakura, you're thirty-six weeks pregnant. You shouldn't be working."
"Honestly, Itachi, it's not a problem." She rolled her eyes. "I stopped going on missions as soon as I knew I was pregnant. And I stopped working at the hospital completely two weeks ago. Sitting in a chair doing paperwork all day is nowhere near as stressful or tiring as working a six hour shift. Graveyards and forty-eight hours are completely different."
The Fourth Shinobi World War had ended seven years ago. Sakura visited the war memorial that had been erected next to the Stone Memorial at least once a year. The first month after the war she practically lived in that clearing. She thanked Kami for those that lived, mourned for those that had died, and begged Ino to forgive her for not saving her. Ironically, it was Kakashi of all people who told her standing in front of the memorial remembering better times was not healthy and regret would result in her turning out like him.
Naruto, true to his word, had taken the mantle of Hokage from Tsunade, who retired and was now traveling the countries again gambling to her heart's content, three years ago. Naruto wasn't the youngest Kage ever, Gaara had that recognition at the age of fourteen, but he was the youngest Hokage at twenty-one. His father, the Fourth Hokage, had been twenty-five.
In true Naruto fashion, the blonde had made many friends from the other nations, particularly the other Kages. He had a mysterious power. Everyone who met him became his friend, no matter how little contact they had beforehand. His magic even worked on the Raikage. Admittedly, that friendship took the longest to form. The Raikage was very upset with his brother's death during the war and used his grief to fuel a hatred for Konoha, claiming that the Leaf Village was dangerous since they were now the only country in possession of a Bijuu. Needless to say, Naruto worked his magic and made him see sense. With all the other Kages now Naruto's friend, maintaining peace between the Five Elemental Nations was easy. It also helped that there wasn't a shinobi out there that could hold a candle to Naruto, but there was no reason for the other villages to attack Konoha.
Each year Naruto left Konoha to visit the other villages. He spent one month in each village and thus was gone from Konohagakure for four months. He had convinced her not to rebuild Whirlpool as Konoha's ally once more. Aside from being his mother's birthplace, Naruto had no attachment to Uzushiogakure. Konoha was his home. So he convinced her to take over Shizune's position. As his assistant, Sakura stepped in as Hokage for those four months.
It was the first time in any village's history that there were co-Kages. Sakura had argued against it adamantly in the beginning, pointing out that Naruto was more than capable of leaving behind a clone or ten to do his job. He shot her argument down by saying that a clone was not capable of defending the village should the need arise; one direct hit and it was gone. Sakura couldn't fault that logic and accepted the job.
To some, the job would seem stressful. But to Sakura it wasn't. She had been Tsunade's assistant for a decade. She knew the job as well as she did her position as Head of the hospital, and both required she sign her name on a million different forms.
They had returned home to a village that had been completely rebuilt, and contrary to her fears, hers and Itachi's relationship had not fallen apart or lost its thrill. Mikoto had been overjoyed when Itachi brought her home to announce their courtship and nearly spontaneously combusted when her eldest proposed. Sakura had immediately relinquished the job of planning the wedding to the mothers. She didn't care how it happened so long as she was Mrs. Itachi Uchiha at the end of the day.
Despite the village being in peace time, Sakura needed to keep herself busy. She had participated in ANBU missions until she found herself pregnant. Unlike her mother-in-law, Sakura refused to quit her multiple jobs. She took missions, worked the hospital, creating a wing just for ANBU shinobi that had restricted access, a.k.a only she, the ANBU medic, was allowed in, continued to assist Tsunade in every way but fetching her alcohol, and took Hanabi on as her apprentice.
Her husband continually told her that she worked too much. Maybe he was right, but she had been pushing herself for over a decade, ever since she graduated the Academy. Every time he mentioned her workaholic tendencies, she argued that he worked harder than she did, and he was forced to drop the matter or face his wife's traumatizing hormonal wrath.
"This will all be here in the morning." Itachi tried to convince her that putting it off a day wouldn't kill her.
"Only if I don't finish it now." She said pointedly. "Besides, Naruto will be back in another three weeks. By that point they won't even call me in for emergency cases and you can lock me inside the house then."
"Must you be so stubborn?"
"You knew what you were getting into when you married me."
"I don't think I did." He nuzzled her neck. "There used to be a time when you obeyed me."
Sakura snorted. "Yeah, and Tsunade-shishou reamed me out for it, too," she teased. She adopted a more serious tone as she gazed into his concerned dark eyes. "Trust me, love. This isn't my first baby." Sakura and Itachi were the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl with raven locks and onyx eyes. A typical Uchiha complexion, but Hikari Uchiha took after her mother in personality and fittingly was as smart as a Nara. Their little girl was almost five and quite the prodigy. She idolized her parents and wanted nothing more than to be a kunoichi.
The pair was leaving the gender of their second child a surprise. Sakura secretly wished for a boy. One of each would be perfect. Mikoto wanted another granddaughter. Her mother-in-law had an almost scary obsession. She already painted their nursery a pale pink.
The door to Naruto's office swung open and his receptionist timidly poked her head through. "Hokage-sama, Team Four has returned."
Sakura had long ago stopped protesting when people addressed her as Hokage-sama. She had argued that it was only four months of the year and only when Naruto was traveling and maintaining Konoha's peaceful relations with the other nations, but that didn't matter to everyone else. Naruto had given an impassioned speech on how the village was to obey her like she was him while he was gone and had gone as far as to order that her face be carved into the mountain underneath his. And so Naruto's and hers likenesses were immortalized in the rock.
The best thing regarding the Hokage Monument, the second they had returned from the war, Tsunade-shishou ordered that she remove Danzou's face. Sakura took great pleasure in using her strength strong enough to crack mountains to actually demolish part of a mountain. It was very therapeutic to finally be able to take out her frustrations on the man that manipulated the village from the shadows for half a century.
"Have them report in the morning." Her brown hair bobbed as she retreated back to her desk.
Sakura returned her attention back to the infinite stacks of paperwork on her desk. She finally agreed to leave after an hour to appease her husband.
As it was, Sakura was forced out of the office in half that time.
Their second bundle of joy decided to come early. Itachi rushed her to the hospital and she was rolled into the delivery and maternity wing. Within the hour the entirety of their immediate family had been roused from their beds and was crowded into the hospital's lobby.
Sakura ordered her staff to keep the majority of them away from her room. Only Itachi and Shikamaru, holding his niece who demanded that she be present when her little sibling was born, were allowed in with her. And Shisui, too. After managing to get Itachi drunk one night, he had convinced them to name him godfather to all their children. It was Sakura's excuse for stopping with this one. He would have been forced to wait with the rest of the family, but the nurses obeyed his every whim because he had sacrificed himself for Tsunade.
It was a long and painful seven hours, but as the sun painted the Hokage Mountain orange the nurse placed a cleaned up and measured baby wrapped in a blue blanket into the father's arms.
"Ne, don't you think the mother should get to see the baby first? After all, I carried it for nine months and just pushed it out of my body." She teased, seeing Itachi's shocked face.
"Him." He said softly, gently shifting the baby boy to be cradled in her arms. Sakura's eyes widened as she gazed at her first son. "You've done the impossible love."
Naruto must have rubbed off on her. Her baby boy had tufts of her bright pink locks. "How? Aren't your Uchiha genes supposed to be superior? I've never seen an Uchiha that didn't have dark hair and dark eyes."
Itachi held Hikari on his hip so that she could see her little brother. Shikamaru slipped out of the room to inform the rest. Shisui flickered away to develop pictures he could share with the whole clan. "He has hair like mommy. I want pink hair too." She pouted.
Itachi slanted his lips over his wife's. "He's perfect. It doesn't matter that he has pink hair. In fact, he'll probably be stronger because of it. After all, you're the strongest woman I know."
Sakura blushed at his praise. He was right. In the academy, no one took her seriously because of her pink hair, so she proved them all wrong by being the smartest and training to become the strongest too. She, Naruto, and Sasuke were famous since the war. They were heralded as the second coming of the Sannin. Their son wouldn't let the color of his hair hinder him. There wasn't a shinobi in the world that would underestimate him in a fight just because he had pink hair.
"Kane. His name is Kane Uchiha." Itachi murmured his agreement. "And Itachi, he's the last one."
Her husband gave her a devilish smirk. She nearly melted into a boneless puddle. "I sure I can convince you to have more."
Sakura smiled softly. She had no doubts that he could. She loved him and would do anything for him. If more children made him happy they would have more. She had been an only child, lonely and bullied. Sakura would have loved to have siblings, so she probably wouldn't deny Itachi and her children if they truly wanted a larger family.
However, it was very tempting to deny Shisui. After the incident with her daughter, the lack of tomatoes in the village for a week, the bread knife, Naruto, and a pet squirrel, Sakura wasn't sure she wanted him to corrupt more of her children.
"You have to tell your mother that it's a boy." She laughed at her husband's grimace. She knew Mikoto would be happy to have another healthy grandchild, but the woman really wanted more females to balance out all the testosterone.
"She's going to have to repaint the nursery."
Sakura smiled softly at Kane's fuzzy pink hair. "I think the pink should be fine."
Naruto returned in three weeks as scheduled. He barely had the time to gush over the cute pink-haired Uchiha baby boy before Sakura punched his lights out.
The blonde cowered, holding his head in his hands. "Mou, what was that for, Sakura-chan?"
"That," she said pointedly, "was for leaving your duties to me when you knew I was due."
"How was I supposed to know he would come early?"
"When does a baby ever come on time?" Sakura asked, raising a slim eyebrow.
Naruto grinned sheepishly at her. He and Hinata had three children, one set of identical boys and another son, and Hinata was currently pregnant again, this time with a girl. All three of his kids had come early. The pair had gotten together right out of the war, and were the first to get married and have children.
"Sorry, Sakura-chan. It won't happen again."
"You bet it won't. The next time I'm putting you in the hospital so that you can't leave. Even Kurama would need a month to fix you." Sakura threatened. Then she hit him upside the head with chakra.
"Sakura-chan!" the Hokage whined.
"And that was for teaching my five year old daughter your Sexy Jutsu!"
Sometimes Sakura didn't understand her daughter. The girl was under the impression that Naruto was someone to copy. Just because the Hokage is supposed to be revered did not mean she needed to transform into a female version of him. Although honestly, there were worse role models. That honor belonged to Uncle Sasuke.
Naruto gulped and nodded his head furiously, fervently promising to never leave if she was pregnant or to teach her children any more of his perverted jutsus. The rosette let up her assault. Naruto never broke a promise.
And Naruto kept his word. The blonde, through a combination of the Uzumaki's natural longevity and the Nine-Tails sealed inside him, had the longest tenure as Hokage. In that period, Sakura had four more children. Only one was due around the time of his vacation. Naruto rescheduled his trip and didn't leave until her baby was at least a month old.
Hinata, Shizune, and herself also enjoyed longer than natural lives. It was an unexpected benefit from when he had shared the Kyuubi's chakra with them so that they could seal the Juubi. So, Sakura eventually retired from active duty around the age of eighty and enjoyed watching her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews grow up, passing on the slug contract to her eldest daughter.
Itachi passed on first, at the age of ninety-three. It was quite the accomplishment for a ninja to live beyond forty, and he had lived more than twice that.
Sakura herself was approaching one hundred when Naruto asked a favor of her.
The Bijuu had always been a point of contention amongst the Elemental Nations. As new Kages were sworn in, they argued that something should be done about the Kyuubi, that it wasn't fair that Konoha still had control of a Tailed Beast. Naruto always soothed their ruffled feathers, but never shared how with her.
"I promised to have Kurama sealed in the moon with his brothers and sisters. That way no one will have a Tailed Beast. There will be no more Jinchurriki."
Sakura agreed with his decision. It had actually been Kurama's idea. He did not wish for an existence of being released and resealed into another human. He had faith in Naruto, but scorned the rest of the human race. Naruto had grown on the fox and Kurama genuinely cared for him. Kurama claimed none would compare with Naruto.
The blonde took that to mean he was more than just bearable like the Kyuubi had been calling him and that Kurama actually like him and wished he could spend eternity with him. Even at a century old, Naruto was still idealistic.
"Are you sure this is what you want, Naruto?" she asked, concerned.
"Positive, Sakura-chan. Konoha's safe. There's peace amongst all the nations. Kurama will be with his family again and so will I." It wasn't anything spectacular, like his speech when he finally took the helm of Hokage, but Sakura knew exactly how he felt. He was filled with an easy confidence and sureness of himself and his decision.
So Sakura commandeered the three best medic-nins out of the hospital. Naruto released the seal on the Kyuubi's cage inside his mind. He lived long enough to exchange a taunting but meaningful goodbye with the fox that had been his companion since birth and a "Don't make us wait too long," to Sakura.
Kurama sat still as the Four-Corner Sealing Barrier leeched his chakra and constricted. Just after night had fallen, the last of the Kyuubi had been sealed into the moon with the other Tailed Beasts. The other three medic-nins had been sworn to silence about their participation.
Konoha and the other villages were informed of the Kyuubi's sealing. Sakura prepared an outlandishly orange funeral for Konoha's Orange Hokage. Shinobi from every village come to honor one of the last heroes of the Fourth Great Shinobi War. Naruto had kept his promise from when Team 7 had first met with their sensei. He had followed his dream and became a Hokage like no other, greater than all of those that came before him.
As promised, she followed her best friend into death's arms. Sakura was dreaming about her life the night she died, one week after Naruto's death. She had grown from a little naïve girl that signed up at the academy to catch the attention of a cute boy to a kunoichi recognizable for her own strength. She had risen above the low expectations of herself and others. She surpassed Tsunade with her medical ninjutsu, which she never stopped designing. She was the only shinobi that could claim to have killed three Akatsuki. She had earned the titles of Akatsuki's Bane and Slug Sage and Hokage. She had been a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Sakura passed away quietly in her sleep, surrounded by her very large family, with a gentle smile on her face.
Voting time! New poll up!
Please vote on the next Naruto story you want me to write. I have three ideas.
1 ) The Last One Alive- Sakura is the last living member of the Fable Legendary Team 7. A story told in a recollection of flashbacks about how Team 7 met its end. Will most likely be a lot on the angsty side.
2 ) Unnamed- an Alanna the Lioness take on the Naruto world. In a world where only men can be shinobi, Sakura switches places with a brother to become the first Kunoichi in 1000 years. Now she only has to hide her gender for the next 8 years.
3 ) Insert Creative Title Here- Everyone loves time travel. In a world where the war did not end perfectly, but instead dragged on many years. A war torn and devastated group return to the past in hopes of ending the war before it begins. Their destination, the chuunin exams, the catalyst for the war that ravaged the world.
Please vote for your favorite. Feel free to suggest titles, and if you like option three, who would you like to see jump through time. Naruto's definitely going, but two or three others will be tagging along for the ride.
P.S. SF Geronimo, I'm so glad you're going to continue your story. I'll be on the lookout for it. Is it Born to Die or The Next Guardian, because I'm following both.