Reiki and Naruto had stolen away from their house, sneaking out to avoid their overprotective children and grandchildren, to go to their favorite place. Hand in hand, they had scaled the steep path up the backside of the Hokage Monument. The children had often begged them not to go up there because they felt it was too dangerous and life threatening for their parents to do so. However, Reiki and Naruto had always been prone to bouts of stubbornness so the concerns, which were totally unnecessary and unfounded, went ignored. They were old but they were not infirm. Many times throughout their lives they had come up here to sit on the carved heads of the Hokages of Konoha. Over the last few months they had developed a daily ritual of coming up here together to watch the sunset. This place had acquired a deeper meaning for them over the years and had always held a certain nostalgia considering this was where Nariko had been created. It just seemed right for them to spend as much time here as possible while their lives rushed toward a close. Time was not fair. There was still so much they wanted to do, so much to see and experience. Nevertheless, the time had come for them to allow their progeny to do all of the exploring and discovering in their stead. Watching the sunset allowed Naruto and Reiki to spend uninterrupted time together. They often recalled the most memorable moments of their life together; laughing about the good times and sometimes crying over the bad times. On some occasions, they simply embraced while a tranquil quiet surrounded them as they delighted in each others presence. They had created a beautiful life together.
Their first-born had the determination and willingness to shock the villagers of Konoha every chance she could. Not only did she look like her Grandmother Kushina, she had inadvertently become quite a bit like her. This made her father happier in more ways than he could express. At least her parents had taught her to channel that resolve in a positive manner. After spending a few years in Suna receiving tutelage directly from her Uncle Gaara, she rose in the ranks to become the Suna Assassin Captain. Bored with no wars to fight and no insurrectionists to kill, she returned home before she turned twenty. The first major stir she caused within the village was when she chose to keep her father's last name after marrying Shikamizu Nara. Traditional values be damned because she was resolute on honoring the Uzumaki name. Family and friends alike relentlessly teased the easygoing Shikamizu, referring to him as Mr. Nariko Uzumaki. He could not possibly care less. Ten years later, the second chance for her to rebel against conventional beliefs and make history as well, came when she was declared at the age of thirty to be the second female Hokage of Konoha, following in her Grandmother Tsunade's footsteps. This decision in turn had made her husband, Shikamizu Uzumaki, the first Prince of Konoha; the First Man of Konoha just did not have special ring and flow to it after all. Taking it all in stride with his patent lackadaisical attitude, Shikamizu would allow the ghost of a smile to haunt his lips when anyone referred to him as the Prince. Following in their parents' fertile footsteps on both sides of the family, the lovely couple became prolific breeders with a family of six, four boys and two girls. This number fell comfortable between the amount of brood hatched by their parents: four Uzumaki's in comparison to the total of eight children in the Nara clan. With Nariko being the Hokage, it was left to Shikamizu to be Mr. Mom: a title he wore as proudly as the First Prince of Konoha or Mr. Nariko Uzumaki.
Kitsune refused to settle down and choose one woman. Instead, he indulged in his fangirl following like a true Casanova would. He made his Uncles Kakashi, Haku, and Rock Lee proud being an unapologetic ladies' man; his parents not so much. Grandpa Jiraiya enjoyed being regaled with his grandson's stories of salacious deeds even when he could no longer hold a pen to write them down and until the day he died. Somehow, Kit had managed NOT to get any of the lucky ladies pregnant. Of course, heart stopping near misses had occurred and false accusations had flown throughout the years. In the end, it all had been much ado about nothing. Apparently the man had leaned more heavily on his undomesticated side when it came to the intimate personal matters. Besides, being Captain of the ANBU really did not lend itself to being a family man. His parents still prayed to Kami that one day he would find that one cherished woman with whom he would pass on his unparalleled and particularly uncommon bloodline from which he had been born.
The twins were now in their mid thirties and had acted as emissaries for the village for many years. Long ago while in their late teens, they had sought to continue the work their father had been doing when their mother had gotten pregnant with them. The high and lofty ideals of their father had become their lifetime commitment. Equipped with the ability to kick ass and forget names while at the same time possessing outstanding diplomatic skills, together they had set out to finish the mission of bringing all of the elemental nations together with one common goal of peace complete with iron clad contracts to prevent wars and uprisings while promoting friendship among all people. It remained to be seen if they would choose marriage and family at some point. Their big sister harped and complained, urging them to pick a wife and have children before it was too late. Their big brother told them they had plenty of time to settle down and not to rush things. Their parents managed to remain neutral, deciding it was best not to try to push the boys in either direction. Along with their parents, both elder siblings waited and watched with breathless anticipation to see what would occur in the younger ones lives.
Upon reaching the top of the monument, Reiki walked straight to their usual spot to spread the blanket. They always sat atop the chiseled head of her husband's likeness, the sixth Hokage, to watch the sunset. She was thankful he had allowed his hair to grow and become smooth and long in his days as Hokage. Sitting on those sharp carved spikes would have been a bitch. A content smile curled her lips as she and Naruto sat down to assume their usual position. Naruto leaned back on his hands with his long legs stretched out in front of him. She pressed herself to his side, laying her head on his chest with her hand over his heart. Their eyes looked out to the horizon. The sun had become a crimson red ball while orange and yellow colored the sky around it. Her smile broadened. The sunset was like a tribute to Minato, Kushina, and Naruto. The rich red was the color of his Mother's beautiful hair while representing her fiery attitude as well. The golden-yellow depicted the color of his father's hair and nature's homage to his title of being the "Yellow Flash of the Leaf." Together those colors and their love had blended wonderfully to create orange: Naruto and his once signature color. Reiki snorted to stifle a giggle. Years and years ago, before they were married, she had lovingly packed away that ridiculous orange jumpsuit he had worn day in and day out. It remained to this day in a box hidden in the back of their closet. Despite it being an eyesore, she had just never been able to part with the ugly thing. She guessed it was because she held a certain affinity for the fashion nightmare considering it had been an identifying characteristic of him when they first met. Back then, it had been just as much a part of him as his blond spikes and big blue eyes.
"It's great, isn't it?" Naruto asked, stroking her hair that was still silky and white. "Truly spectacular."
"Incredible," she replied. "A marvelous miracle of nature itself." She was fully aware that he was speaking about the life they had created together, not the sunset.
"I love you," he murmured, kissing the top of her head.
"I love you too," she returned, patting his chest.
Naruto had become a legend not only in his own mind but in the world around them. Their love story had been retold in fairy tales to children. Their more mature adventures had reached many through the books of Jiraiya. Everything else was passed around by word of mouth. Through time and imagination, the retold accounts of their escapades had become a type of mythology due to fantastic embellishment from the storytellers. But many of the events that had taken place in their lifetime had been pretty damn spectacular to begin with.
The sun was bisected by the horizon at the moment as it continued to sink. Not much longer now. The sun was setting on a life and not just the day. The light of the disappearing sun had been broken into single rays that desperately tried to halt the coming of the night, the end. If only it could be stopped.
"Reiki," Naruto murmured, putting one arm around her to hug her to him. "I'm tired."
Reiki sucked in a deep breath, blinking back the stinging tears that sprang to her eyes with shocking swiftness. It was close. The inevitable had caught up with them. She raised her head from his chest, gazing into his big blue eyes that still held their jewel like brilliance. Her lips pressed to his for a tender kiss.
"Rest now, my love," she whispered, her voice stolen by the raging emotion of sadness. A single tear streaked down her cheek to drip onto his hand that was raising to touch her.
"I hate to leave you," he murmured, kissing her again to apologize and comfort her at the same time. His warm palm lay against her cheek, caressing away the tears that continued to fall.
"I'll be along soon. You know that I can't go on living without you," she told him, pressing her hands to his cheeks while she gazed into his eyes.
"Good bye, my darling," he said, kissing her again. This time his lips lingered, the tears that escaped his eyes surging down his cheeks to meet hers and blend together.
"It's not good-bye. It's until I see you again," she corrected him unable to hold back the sob of sorrow.
"Until I see you again." He had forgotten that was how they had always bid each other farewell in the past. It had been a long, long time since they had been forced to be apart from each other.
Naruto smiled at her, kissing both of her cheeks. He slowly lay back, wrapping his arms around her to pull her down with him. Closing his eyes, he held the woman who meant everything to him while his consciousness flowed away from him into the next world.
Reiki positioned her head over his heart, enclosing his waist with her arm. Tears continued to flow from her eyes, soaking his shirt. Each of his heart beats echoed in her ear like thunder despite the fact the thuds were growing slower with the seconds between each one increasing signalling that he drifting away from her. She bit her lower lip to hold in the mournful cry when his hands stopped moving through her hair. Her body began to shake when his muscles slackened and his arms fell away from her body. His last breath shattered her, and she screamed in helpless mourning. Laying on top of him, she aligned her body to his with her head nestled beneath his chin.
They had always been a seamless match for each other, complementing the other to make one whole human being and an impeccable love between them. All of their lives, Naruto and Reiki had made sure their children and grandchildren knew that they loved them. Before their departure, they had made it a point to spend extra time with them, reveling in the small moments of life. They had even gone to visit their parents graves to tell them they would be coming to see them soon. Nothing had been left undone. Their lives on earth were complete.
"Reiki," Naruto's voice floated to her from the Great Beyond. "Don't keep me waiting. Come on. Be with me...forever."
"Okay," she breathed. And then, she let go. Giving up her life, she died so she could go to him. Now, they could live a whole new life and love for an eternity.
Always together, never to be apart.
I will love you forever, with all of my heart.