7 years later.
Or something like that.
Small hands tugged insistently on Kakashi's pants. "We're gonna be late. Uncle 'Ruka said late is not ok."
Kakashi bent down obligingly to sweep his daughter up in his arms. "Where did I go wrong with you?" He gave a mournful sigh over his child's distressingly time-abiding nature.
"Wanting to be on time isn't a bad thing," Naruto chided, shooing them all out the door.
The ANBU guard on the roof gave her a dirty look.
"As I say, not as I do!" The blonde called up to Hawk with a jaunty wave before setting a brisk pace down the street.
The five year old mimicked her mother and waved to the masked ninja cheerfully. "Buh-bye Birdie!"
"Hawk, puppy." Kakashi corrected, already knowing he'd be ignored. Hawk and Raven and Eagle all went by 'Birdie,' in his daughter's world.
"Do you have your bento?" Naruto asked, prattling off a list of items— more to remind herself that she hadn't made a grievous error as a mother than because she was worried the girl had forgotten anything.
"Pencils?" Naruto tried to wrestle her blonde hair into a twist that she could pin in place.
"Yes." The girl's hair was already smoothly styled into pigtails, not a strand out of place.
Kakashi did their daughter's hair.
"Notebook?" Naruto mumbled, mouth full of hair clip.
Naruto paused, brows furrowed, clearly trying to recall what else her child was supposed to bring.
"Smoke bomb?" Interjected Kakashi, attempting to be helpful.
"Maybe." His daughter admitted with a sly giggle.
"Oh no," moaned Naruto fitfully as they arrived at their destination, joining the throng of other parents and children eagerly anticipating the first day of school. "Not on the first day. I mean, that's totally ok, but I've already had your teacher in my office every day this week on the verge of a nervous breakdown about leading his first class this year. You should really give Konohamaru-Sensei at least 24 hours. He's already a bit of a mess."
Kakashi nodded gravely. "That's right. It's always best to lull your opponents into a false sense of security."
"What horrible advice are you giving my god-daughter?" Sakura peered suspiciously over Kakashi's shoulder, as if summoned by the mere mention of mischief.
"You look so pretty, puppy!" Sakura cooed at girl, reaching out to playfully tug one of the ribbons holding her silver pigtails. "You go in there and charm their socks off! Remember, you catch more flies with honey." Sakura winked at her.
"Right." The little girl nodded obediently. Kakashi doubted Sakura heard his daughter mutter that she had that too. His child probably had a different interpretation of Sakura's words of wisdom.
"Down, Daddy." Demanded the kid, squirming to be released.
Naruto knelt down to give out a hug. "Have fun, ok? And be mostly good."
"Big kids don't need hugs," sniffed a familiar childish voice.
"Ryosuke," scolded Sasuke tiredly, as if he'd said the same name in the same tone ten times today already. The man stopped next to Sakura, their son shifting impatiently as far in front of them he could be without being reprimanded to stand closer.
Kakashi eyed his god-son and once again prayed fervently to whatever deity might actually bother to still pay attention to him for Sasuke and Sakura's continued good health.
"He's going through that independent phase," Sakura said with a strained smile.
"Ah," Kakashi nodded knowingly. Ryosuke had been going through that 'independent phase' since he was a day old. The boy's first word was 'no,' followed closely by 'mine.' Then the brat promptly refused to speak at all until he could verbalize complete, grammatically perfect sentences.
His own child continued to give her mother a prolonged hug, just to spite the boy.
And then she reached up to him. "Hug, Daddy." Kakashi knelt down, hugging her tight and kissing the top of her smooth silver hair. "Be good pup." He leaned in close, as if sharing a secret. "That means don't do anything I would have done, and do everything your mother did."
"Right!" She laughed at him and clapped her hands, and stood on tip-toe to kiss his cheek.
The bells chimed and the Academy doors opened. Kakashi could see a flustered Konohamaru trying to identify his own students among the multitude of milling children.
They locked eyes briefly and Konohamaru made his way over to them.
"You, Little Miss Blue Eyes!" He pointed at Kakashi's daughter, who had her fingers clenched tight in her father's pants.
"And you, Sullen Sulky Brat!"
Ryosuke scowled, offended.
"You're both with me got it!" Konohamaru rose with a sigh.
"Tough first day?" Kakashi tried to appear sympathetic. Naruto was making her best understanding hum at his shoulder.
"How am I supposed to find them all," Konohamaru whined, eyes darting around wildly. "They're all so short and they all look the same!"
"It'll get easier with time." Kakashi advised, as if he actually knew what he was talking about.
Konohamaru sighed and walked back toward the building, motioning for the children to follow him.
"That's our teacher?" Ryosuke frowned up at his parents. "He looks stupid."
"He's the grandson of the Sandaime," corrected Sasuke. "He's stronger than he seems."
Ryosuke gave a huff of disbelief. "Then why is he stuck teaching five year olds?" He took off without waiting for an answer, briefly gazing back at his peer. "Are you coming? I won't be in your class for long, but I suppose it'll be nice to have someone I know to beat while I'm there."
"Oh my god." Sakura held a hand to her forehead. "I don't even know where he comes up with this. I've told him we won't sign the paperwork for him to graduate early." She punched Sasuke's shoulder lightly, "I'm blaming this on you. I think you reincarnated early. Or something."
Sasuke rolled his eyes.
Ryosuke was one of the youngest in the class, but clearly determined to be the biggest pain in the ass.
Kakashi smiled down at his daughter with amusement. "Are you going to catch up?"
The girl was busy scowling at Ryosuke's back, but she looked up at him when he spoke.
"I'm gonna break his face." She promised seriously.
"That's my girl!" Kakashi beamed at her and waved her off. She ran up the steps, looking back briefly one last time as she reached the top.
"We love you, Aiko-chan!" Naruto called out, cupping her hands to her face, as if she needed assistance to be heard over the crowd.
"I know!" Yelled back their daughter, beaming before she turned to run into the building.
Naruto's grin turned thin. "That," said the blonde, turning on Kakashi. "That is entirely your fault!"
Sakura frowned. "Wasn't that a line from one of the Icha Icha books?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Kakashi replied, voice mild.
Naruto sighed and leaned into his shoulder. "Should I be worried? About her?" She lingered as the crowd dispersed, resting against him before heeding the inevitable call of the endless work waiting for her at her desk in the Hokage's office.
"No." Kakashi shook his head and smiled. "Not at all."
"Is that—" Naruto narrowed her eyes. "Kakashi, is that Akino?"
"Where?" asked Kakashi nonchalantly.
"Over there, by the fence—that is Akino!" She scowled up at the man. "You promised. She'll be fine, Kakashi."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Kakashi wrapped his arms around his partner and turned her away from the school, intent on walking her to her office. "Besides, he's completely inconspicuous."
"He's wearing sunglasses, Kakashi. That's hardly 'inconspicuous.'"
"It's not like you didn't send any toads," retorted Kakashi.
"Of course I didn't send any toads," protested Naruto. "I have complete faith in Konohamaru's capabilities."
Kakashi waved to a shopkeeper, nodded to another jōnin, walked a few steps forward.
"Ok," admitted Naruto reluctantly. "I sent one toad."
Thanks. To everyone who read this and spared a moment to drop me a note and tell me how happy it made them. If you hadn't, I would have abandoned this long ago. I'm so happy to be at the end and be able to say I finished a long story. It was your help that got me here.
An extra thank you to those who were sounding boards for the early chapters, including Eurwen and CrystallineX. Thank you to LadyWinterFic, who both partially inspired me to write this and then took interest in it and encouraged me to take it in more interesting ways.
Finally, a very, very big thanks to ElectraSev5n, who came in and took over being my pre-reader somewhere in the middle and stayed through the end. I had so much fun trading chapters with you (although you wrote something like ten times as much as I did during this period). I had some severe writer's block in ¾ of the way through this thing, and probably would have stalled permanently had it not been for some of her advice and for learning from how she her tackled her own writer's block issues on Vapors and Clarity. I'd give you a hug, but I know you'd probably run, so I'll content myself with sharing sentiments of thanks and beaming smiles from afar.
Sequel. No, I have no plans for a sequel. Originally, what was written was Part I of a II Part story, but I realize I don't want to write that Part II anymore. This is enough. However, I have posted another story called Making Arrangements: Scrapbook. It is on AO3, because it was easier to put it there than on ff net. There you will find cut scenes that didn't make the story as well as bits and any future drabbles I might want to write in this verse. For example, it currently contains the story of how Aiko got her name (chapter four of MA: Scrapbook). If you want further children fluff, you'll find it there—assuming I ever get around to writing more.
Grammatical Editing. Nope. Stop it. That's my biggest pet peeve, when someone simply writes a review that says 'you misspelled x.' I spent over twenty unpaid hours on each of those later chapters. That's hundreds of hours spent writing this thing. It's awful to have put that much time into something, post it and then have someone go: 'That's nice, but you missed a spot.'
Intellectually, I understand the grammatical error. I studied English and writing in college and grad school. I'm actually a published writer (not in fiction, in really technical legal stuff that you would find mind-numbingly boring unless you were a business owner dealing with employment issues). I work closely with editors to make sure my professional writing is perfect. This isn't that type of writing. This is just for fun. I have no paid editors to comb over my work and catch everything. I'm not paid to comb over everything and make sure it's perfect. I can get it to 95% grammatical perfection, but I'm human and there will always be few sections that slip through the cracks (usually because I'm trying to proof the thing at 1 am).
I feel really unappreciated when people nit-pick the story for grammar.
Stylistic Editing. However, I may, if I get bored enough, go back and rework some of the early chapters to feel more like the end chapters. If I do, those changes will only be reflected on AO3, not here. It's easier to edit old chapters on AO3, which is why that archive will reflect any future changes to the original story. I don't plan on making substantive changes, but you grow quite a bit over three years of writing. When I read the start and end, it feels like different authors wrote them. I'd like to try and smooth that over if I ever find the time.
Biggest Struggle. Point of view and plotting. The point of view of this fic is all over the place, I acknowledge that. I tried to start it out as third person omniscient and failed epically at that, falling back into third person limited by the end of the fic. As far as plot goes, I pretty much suck at creating plot on my own. I'd much rather focus on character development to the exclusion of plot. Which I pretty much manage to do…but the story reached an end anyway and the characters grew, so there plot. I win.
Sakura/Sasuke. They are their own characters with their own goals and actions independent of Naruto and Kakashi. Interpret their story however you wish, but they weren't the focus of this fic, which is why you only see their actions as they impact Naruto and Kakashi.
Shino. Does not have a crush on Naruto. He just feels immensely guilty because Kurenai had him damage the apartment as part of training exercise. He didn't realize it was Naruto's apartment until after the fact, at which point he awkwardly expresses his guilt (which he has been forbidden to directly explain) in his awkward Shino way. However, even if he did have a crush, Kakashi wouldn't do anything about that. He knows Shino is no threat to his relationship with Naruto. He'd probably just sit back and continue to get as much work out of the boy as possible.
Any more Kaka/FemNaru? No. I think I've said all I have to say on the subject. I've done Inconceivable, the short story. And now I've done the long story too. I wrote them because I wanted good Kaka/FemNaru fiction and couldn't find anything I liked. That's not a problem anymore, although I reserve the right to add drabbles in this verse in MA: Scrapbook on AO3.
By Any Other Name. Sasuke/FemNaru. I've started this Romeo/Juliet parody and do hope to finish it one day. It's strictly comedy and will have a happy ending. It's more of a Road to Ninja interpretation of Sasuke which I find very fun to play with. (only on ff net as of now)
Leaves of Grass. SI, no pairing. This is a world-building self insert Naruto piece that takes place in the third shinobi war. It's more of a slice of life drama with hints of comedy. It focuses on familial relationships and the Sanin, for the main part. I'm not really sure where it's going. I'm having fun exploring the difficult aspects of Naruto that the story lets me explore. (only on ff net as of now)
Where/How can you find me.