Heh hey everybody! Crippleshot is back! For those of you who were wondering, no. I'm not dead. But I feel like it. Work, College, etc...is tough. I just want to say how sorry I am for how long it's been since I last wrote. I have been working on another project with Kitsune060698 though. Its just that I haven't had time to work on it much because of school and such. But I am on break now so you can expect me to start releasing chapters of that story soon. Anyway, this is just a little side project that came into my head last night in a dream, and I wanted to be able to write it down before I forgot it. It's very hard for me to remember dreams sometimes TT-TT. As a little side note, this is NOT an epilogue to my Juubi's Decision story. Maybe in a non cannon universe but to me, it's a new story starting off similarly at the end of that story, just not with Naruto and Sakura together. SO! I won't stall any longer! I've made you guys wait long enough! ON TO THE STORY!

Disclaimer: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let the record show that I own nothing of Naruto and anything related to Naruto. Everything belongs to Kishimoto-San. And I plead not guilty.

The war was finally over. The Alliance had won, and everything was peaceful in the world. But there was one thing that the hero of all the villages, and the world, could not get out of his mind. Naruto stood atop a tall balcony, watching over the Village he's loved since he could remember, being rebuilt. It was also the village he would be the head of very soon. He had been told that due to his efforts in helping to save the world from Madara, he was to be the next Hokage. Yet not even this could get his mind off of what he was thinking about at that moment. Or more specifically, who.

"Something troubling you, Lord Hokage?" Asked a voice from behind him, adding emphasis to that last part.

Naruto turned around halfway and smiled before turning back again. "Hey, Kakashi-Sensei. And You don't have to call me that. I prefer Naruto. At least, from you. Besides, I'm not even Hokage yet."

"My apologies. But it was a serious question. What's on your mind?"

Naruto let out a sigh. "Shouldn't it be obvious by now?"

"Maybe. But I want to hear YOU say it. It'll never happen until you take that first step. And that's talking about it."

Naruto kept his gaze on the village. It was nearly sunset and the new village lanterns were starting to light up. Their reflections flickered in his sapphire eyes as if he was staring at them for answers. He closed his eyes and turned to face his long time teacher.

"I love her." He finally said.

"You love who?" Kakashi asked.

"I love Sakura." Naruto said without hesitation.

"Good. Now, continue."

"I told Sai one, 'How can I ever tell her how I feel, when I can't even keep my promise to her?' But...now that Sasuke is back with us...I still don't know if I can tell her. I mean, all this time she's loved him. Now that he's back, I just don't think it would feel right to tell her when she's probably focused on confessing to him again."

"And you're sure that she still holds those feelings for him? Have you confirmed this? Did she tell you specifically that she still loved him?"

"Well...no..."

"Then how can you be so sure she feels the same now? Three years can change a lot of things, Naruto. Especially when she spent all that time with you, and with him not here. A woman's heart is a strange thing. And you'll never know the answer to all your questions until you ask the right person. In this case, that's Sakura." Kakashi stated seriously.

"But...I'm afraid she'll reject me like all the other times. And I'm afraid that it will hurt more this time than all the others." Naruto said as he lowered his head to stare at the ground.

Kakashi sighed and put his hand to his forehead. "You've faced countless deadly enemies, deafeated the most powerful Ninja known to history, and are the future Hokage, and you're scared of rejection?" Kakashi asked in a mocking voice.

Naruto didn't say anything and continued to stare at the ground. He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth.

"This is not the Naruto I know. When you were younger, you wouldn't have any trouble blurting out your feelings for her. So stop being such a damn coward and face this like a man!" Kakashi scolded.

That last part seemed to reach Naruto. His expression turned to shock, but after a few seconds, it returned to a calm demeanor. He unclenched his fists and looked up once again. Kakashi could see a new determination in his eyes. He smiled under his mask.

"That's more like it." He said.

Naruto smiled. "Thanks, Kakashi-Sensei. You really know how to get through to me. You're right. This is nothing compared to what I've faced...actually...I'm more scared of Sakura's punches than I ever was of anything Madara threw at me."

"We all are." Kakashi agreed.

Naruto turned around and hopped onto the balcony, ready to leap off. But he paused and looked back at his Sensei.

"Thanks again, Kakashi-Sensei. I don't know what I'd do without you."

Kakashi raised his hand and eye smiled. "Not a problem."

Naruto turned around again but still didn't jump yet. Instead, he spoke one last time. "Oh, by the way. When I'm Hokage, if you ever speak to me like that again..." He paused a moment and turned around slowly wearing an extremely creepy smile that rivaled even Yamato's scary face. "I'll have you executed."

Kakashi literally froze and his whole body shook starting from his head, all the way to his feet. Naruto's creepy smile suddenly changed to his trademark grin.

"See ya!" Naruto said as he dashed off.

Kakashi still didn't move and sweat dropped. "Naruto...so mean..."

He recovered and smiled again. He walked over to where Naruto had jumped off and looked down at the sights.

"Don't screw up. That was probably some of the last advice I will ever give you as your Sensei." He whispered as he disappeared from the balcony.

Xxx

Naruto was jumping excitedly down hill from where he was with Kakashi. He was smilng wide and enjoying the rush of energy he now had.

"Kakashi-Sensei is right! I can't believe I was so scarred! That's not like me at all!" Naurto said in his mind.

"You got that right. That was pathetic. I was almost sad to call you my host at that moment." Kurama chimed in.

"Shut it, ya bastard! Don't make me come in there and kick your ass!"

"Try it! I dare you, ya damn brat!"

The two growled at each other. Then they started to laugh. Naruto stepped on a tile on a building that was being repaired and broke it off as he jumped away. Normally it would be overlooked, but the person working on it wasn't too pleased.

"HEY! WATCH IT, IDIOT! I'M WORKIN' HERE! WHERE ARE YOU OFF TO IN SUCH A RUSH ANYWAY!" The person yelled.

Naruto looked back and grinned. "SORRY, SASUKE! I'M OFF TO CONFESS TO SAKURA!" Naruto yelled back.

"Tch...loser."

Sasuke picked up another tile and started hammering it into place. He smiled while no one was looking.

"Good luck, Naruto."

xxx

Sakura was at the hospital camp site. It hadn't been fully repaired yet, so they had make shift tents set up for each patient. She was walking down a row of tents checking off the patients she had already visited on her clipboard.

"Ok. Looks like I've finished my rounds for the night."

She walked towards the biggest tent which had a sign that read "Medical Personnel Only."

She pulled back one of the tent flaps and walked in. "Excuse me, Lady Tsunade, I've finished my rounds. Everyone is looking well."

Tsunade looked up from her paperwork and smiled at her. "Good work, Sakura, You're free to go. And take the day off tomorrow. You've worked really hard recently. Plus its the celebration day for finally rebuilding the village."

Sakura smiled happily and bowed. "Thank you, Lady Tsunade! Thank you so much!"

Tsunade raised her hand for Sakura to stop and chuckled. "Don't worry about it. So, do you plan to ask Sasuke to be your date for the festivities tomorrow evening?" She asked with a mocking smirk.

Sakura huffed and pouted. "No! While I'm glad Sasuke is finally home, I don't feel that way about him anymore."

"Oh? And when did you start feeling this way."

Sakura paused for a moment and looked away embarrassed. "I...I thought I still felt that way about him. But when he came back to the village with us, I noticed that I didn't have that same feeling I had about him back when I was younger. Don't get me wrong! I'm still happy he's back. Just as a friend and a teammate..." She explained.

Tsunade intertwined her fingers and used her hands to prop her chin on. "I see. So then do you have those feelings for someone else now, or do you not feel that way about anyone at all right now?"

Sakura looked down at her feet. "I...I don't know."

Sakura's mentor raised an eyebrow in suspicion. "You don't know? Or you just don't want to say?"

Sakura didn't say anything. Tsunade sighed and got up from her chair. She walked over to her pupil and put her hands on her shoulders. Sakura finally looked up at her with unsure eyes.

Tsunade smiled warmly at her. "You can tell me. I'll listen to you."

Sakura took a deep breath to compose herself. Tsunade motioned for her to sit in the chair across from her desk that seems to have been placed there all too conveniently. But Sakura didn't seem to think much of it. She sat down and Tsunade sat back down in her chair and leaned over in anticipation.

Sakura fidgeted in the chair and rubbed her feet together nervously. A vien popped from the Sannin and current Hokage's forehead. Her anger was rising while Sakura continued to fidget. Finally she couldn't take it any longer and stood up.

Her head grew three times its normal size. "SPIT IT OUT ALREADY!" She yelled.

Sakura jumped and let out a small high pitched yelp. Tsunade's head returned to normal size and she let out a frustrated gasp of air.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you. It's just that it can be so damn irritating when you don't speak your mind when you know you can talk to me about anything!" She admitted.

Sakura shook her head. "No. You're right. I'm sorry. I know you mean well. I just find this hard to talk about."

"Fine. I'll start then. Why are you so afraid of telling him?"

"Because what if he rejects me? I already lied about it once. What if he thinks I'm lying again?"

"He wont, Last time you told him, he could tell you were lying because he knows you so well. He knows people well. He can tell when someone's being truthful to themselves or hurting others by lying to them. I guarantee if you told him this time, he'll believe you."

"Do you really think that, Lady Tsunade? What if he doesn't feel the same way anymore after having done that to him?"

"Are you kidding me? He's the most forgiving guy on the planet! Hell, he forgave Obito for almost destroying the world! Even I'd believe him if he confessed to me! Of course I personally would punch him through a wall for being such a pervert." She finished ranting.

That caused Sakura to chuckle. Tsunade smiled seeing as she was finally getting through to her prized student.

"My point is, if he's the person I think he is, he's still head over heels in love with you just like he was when you two were still kids." Tsunade reassured her.

Sakura felt a rush of confidence filling her at her master's words. "She's right. How could I be so stupid? I've known him for so long. All of this should be obvious by now." Sakura thought to herself. "I'm gonna go find him. It's time I told him the truth."

Tsunade smirked. "That's my girl."

Sakura got up and ran out of the tent. The Hokage leaned back in her chair and complimented herself on a job well done. "You're a lucky guy, Naruto...wait...does she even know where he is?"

xxx

"I have no idea where he is." Sakura whined and slumped her head.

She had run out of the medical tent so excited but it wasn't until ten minutes later that she realized she had no idea where her blond teammate was.

"Oh well. He seems to do a good job at finding me a lot. So I'll just walk around until he does."

Sakura was in the shopping district. Her main focus was on Naruto, but it seems her subconscious was on something else entirely. She walked around looking through all the shop windows and seeing many things she liked, but couldn't afford to buy at the time. Money was tight those days. It mostly went to the efforts in helping rebuild the village, but that didn't mean that she was dirt poor. Just...on a budget.

"Sakura?" A voice called out to her.

Sakura turned around to notice her best girl-friend and former love rival, Ino. She smiled and waved.

"Hey, Ino!How are you?" She shouted back.

"Not too bad!" She said as she jogged over. "Did Lady Tsunade let you off early?"

"Yeah. I finished my rounds and she told me to rest and take the day off in preparation for the celebration tomorrow."

"Oh that's awesome! So, who's gonna be your date? Is it Sasuke? I'll bet it's Sasuke isn't it?" She asked poking her bestie in the ribs with her elbow.

"No. For your information, I intend to ask Naruto." Sakura stated matter-of-factly.

Ino's jaw almost dropped to the ground. "You mean you've finally gotten over Sasuke and are going to be with the one you should have been with all along?" She asked really fast.

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean!?"

"Well duh! I've been waiting for you two to get together for years now! I mean come on! It's no secret to anyone that Naruto is madly in love with you! He'd do anything for you! He's essentially the perfect guy!...well...in most aspects anyway. But he's the perfect guy for you!"

"Where is this coming from? Last time I checked, you though Naruto was an annoying loudmouth." Sakura shot back.

"It's called growing up, Billboard Brow. I've come to see him in a new light. Not that I'm in love with him. But he really is a sweet guy. Any girl would be lucky to have him."

"You talk about growing up, but you're still calling me names, Ino Pig. And you've only come to see him in a new light because he's saved the world, haven't you?

"Details, details. And no. I'm not THAT shallow. He's done more for this village and is more dedicated to it than anybody could ever hope to do or be. But most importantly, he's a great friend. I've just come to appreciate that part of him more."

"You sure you're not in love with him? Cause you're not doing a very good job of convincing me otherwise." Sakura quipped sarcastically.

"Nope. I've already got a man."

"Oh yeah? Who's that?"

"Sai." Ino said with a sly smirk.

Sakura couldn't believe her ears. Sai didn't know what kind of things to say to a friend without the help of a book. How was he in a relationship with a complicated girl like Ino?

"So, how come you're here instead of looking for Naruto?" Ino asked changing the subject.

"Oh, I ran out of the medical tent without realizing that I had no idea where he was until I ended up here. So I thought that I'd do some window shopping until he found me, since he's so good at that."

"That's fair I suppose. Hey, do you have a kimono for tomorrow night?"

"No. My only one was destroyed in the village attack." She said sadly.

Ino grabbed her by the wrist. "Come with me!"

Sakura was dragged to a clothing store a few blocks down with much protest on her part, but was stunned silent when she realized what Ino wanted to show her. She stared in amazement at a beautiful red and pink Kimono with white camellia flowers on it that was on display in the window. Her heart sunk though when she noticed the price.

"Did you bring me here just to crush my hopes? I can't afford this!"

"Relax will you? This is a special occasion. I'm willing to pay half for you."

It was Sakura's turn for her jaw to drop. "You what!? Wait...what's the catch?"

"Absolutely nothing." Ino stated happily.

"But Ino, I couldn't ask you to do that. We're barely getting paid as it is because of all the repairs."

"Don't worry about it. Really. Like I said. It's a special occasion. It's not every day I get to help my best friend dress up for the man she likes." She said winking.

Sakura blushed a deeper red than that of her blouse. She turned to look at the kimono again. Her eyes showed her longing for it, but her guilt of making Ino pay for half was still nagging her in the back of her mind.

"Do you really think he'd like it?"

"Please. He'd love you even if you wore sweats and a white T-shirt."

Sakura finally caved in and the two went inside to purchase the traditional dress. The store clerk was very polite and even gave them a discount seeing as the festival was tomorrow. The two girls bowed and the owner wished them a nice evening. They left the store excited to save as much money as they did and rushed back to Sakura's so she could try on the dress. It was a perfect fit and she looked stunning in it. She had her hair tied up in a bun and wore high platform sandles to go with it. Even Ino had to admit that she was jealous of how good she looked. After talking a little bit longer about girl stuff, Ino left so she could get ready for tomorrow too. Sakura had taken off the kimono and put it in her closet and was now back in her regular attire.

"I hope Naruto likes it...oh my God...NARUTO! I COMPLETEY FORGOT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OUT THERE LOOKING FOR HIM!"

She dashed downstairs and got ready to go back out. When she was ready, she swung open the door only to find Naruto standing there ready to knock on it. He had a puzzled look on his face.

"Expecting me?" He asked.

"No, but I was just about to come looking for you!" She said between heavy breaths.

"Really? Why?"

"I need to talk to you. How did you even know I was here?" She asked, now regaining her composure.

"I ran into Ino a few minutes ago and she said that she just left your place. So I came straight here."

"Oh. Well then, come on in." She offered as she pulled the door open further and motioned for him to come inside.

Naruto thanked her and walked in. Both of them were really nervous seeing as how they were both about to confess their feelings to each other. Unbeknownst to the other, of course.

"Hey, why were you looking for me too?" She asked as she shut the door.

"Oh...Umm...I kinda...need to talk to you...too." He said nervously.

"You okay? You're sweating. Do you have a fever?" She asked as she lifted his headband to feel his forehead.

"I'm f-fine." He stuttered.

Being that close to Sakura made him sweat even more. He felt like he was going to have a panic attack.

"Getting cold feet, partner?"

"Yes!" He answered as his voice cracked.

"Relax will ya? Didn't you just go over this with Kakashi?"

"Then and now are two completely different things!"

Kurama face palmed. He couldn't believe the savior of the ninja world was cowering at the hands of a female. Much less his best friend and crush.

"Help me?" He whimpered to the fox.

"Sorry. You're on your own here. I don't know the workings of human relationships that well."

"I hate you."

Kurama laughed and decided to take a nap. Naruto would remember this when the time comes that Kurama would need his help.

"Naruto?" Sakura asked.

Naruto snapped back to reality. "Hmm? Yes?"

"Are you sure you're okay? You kinda zoned out there for a minute."

Naruto grinned. "Yeah! I'm fine, Sakura! No need to worry!" He said reassuringly.

She looked him over for a few more seconds suspiciously, but gave up and dropped the subject.

"Do you want anything to drink? I'd be happy to get you something." She said sweetly.

In reality, she wanted to get out of the room to compose herself before she confessed. Lucky for her, he accepted her offer. She told him to sit on the couch and wait while she made some tea.

"Ok Sakura. You can do this. He deserves this. He's loved you all this time and you're finally ready to return his feelings...why can't this be as easy for me as it is for him? She said to herself.

"You say something, Sakura?" Naruto asked from the next room.

She jumped and almost dropped the tea. "N-no! Nothing!"

"Ok."

She sighed in relief. If he had heard that, who knows what would have happened. She took a deep breath and found her resolve. She walked back into the family room with a tray and two cups of tea. She found Naruto fidgeting on the couch. She was worried. He didn't normally act this way. Did he do something wrong?

She set the tray down on the table in front of the couch. "Naruto, is something wrong? You can tell me anything, you know."

She sat next to him and even she didn't realize how close she was to him until her hand brushed up against his. Both of them blushed and turned away from each other.

"Come on Naruto! Just do it already! You've shouted this in public before so many times! You can do this!" He shouted in his mind.

"This is it Sakura! You have to tell him now! Just tell him damnit! He deserves to know!" She shouted in hers as well.

Both turned around and said at the same time "This is really important."

They both paused and stared at each other in confusion. "Uhh...you can go first, Sakura. I don't mind."

"No no! It's Ok! Go ahead, Naruto."

He took a deep breath. "Ok. Uhhh..."

He looked at her and couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful she looked. She didn't even look any different than the other times he'd seen her. But he couldn't help but notice how much he was in love with her just by looking at her. He smiled and all his fears melted away right there. His eyes turned soft and he spoke clearly.

"I know I can be an idiot. And I know I've said this thousands of times when we were younger. But those times don't compare to this right here. I know I haven't said this in a long time, and it's mostly because I didn't feel like I could since I couldn't keep my promise to you at the time. But now that Sasuke's back, I feel like I can say it again." His expression turned serious. "I love you, Sakura."

Those words stunned her. She was speechless. But he wasn't finished.

"I know that saying this might not mean anything. Hell, it probably annoys you since you've heard it so many times already. And I know you probably still love Sasuke, so I'll bet this is pretty awkward for you. But I had to tell you. At least one last time. And if you hate me for it, that's Ok too. I can just leave if you want."

Before Naruto could react, Sakura had grabbed him and pulled him into a tight hug. She was crying and Naruto thought he had hurt her.

"I'm sorry Sakura! Please don't cry!"

"You idiot! I'm not crying because I'm sad! I'm crying because you beat me to a confession!"

"Wait...whaaaa?" He asked confused once more.

"This is what I wanted to talk to you about too. I was about to confess to you, but you beat me to it. And it was going to be a real confession this time."

She buried her head in his shoulder and continued to cry. But it was more out of the sheer joy that he still loved her. All of her worries floated away like they were never there. Sakura felt Naruto stroke her hair softly. It felt nice to her. She sighed happily as she hugged him tighter.

Naruto chuckled. "You know, I wouldn't mind still hearing what you wanted to say. A confession from you is something I've always dreamed of."

Sakura looked up at him and smiled. "Ok." she said simply.

She pulled away from him so she could look in his eyes. She had to wipe the tears out of her own first. Naruto helped by wiping away some dry ones with his thumb. Sakura took a deep breath and composed herself while Naruto waited with anticipation.

She finally began to speak. "I know you've loved me for a long time. Ever since we were kids. You would always confess to me and ask me on dates and I would only turn you down in the harshest of ways. Yet you kept trying. I didn't understand it then and I found it pretty annoying because I liked Sasuke at the time." She let out a small laugh. "I used to think you would just get in the way of my affection for him."

Naruto whined. "Sakuraaaa? What kind of a confession is this?" Naruto asked with a stream of tears falling down his face.

"Will you let me finish?" She asked, playfully hitting him in the chest.

"Ow! That hurt!"

"Liar."

Naruto grinned. "You got me."

Sakura shook her head and smiled. "May I continue now?"

Naruto nodded vigorously and Sakura had to think about where she had left off.

When she remembered, she began again. "When Sasuke left the village, and you promised to bring him back to me, I was so happy. I was selfish. I didn't think about you. When you went away with Master Jiraiya, I felt sad and alone. I hadn't really realized it before because you were always there. Not having you around, I would just sulk all day. Then one day, it dawned on me that you and Sasuke were out there getting stronger, and I was sitting there doing nothing to help. So I went to train under Lady Tsunade. When you came back, I was so happy. I felt like a part of me returned after being gone so long. I still hadn't noticed my feelings yet at this point. But I would soon. I found it cute when you went back to asking me out on dates. I even accepted a few because I felt bad for not doing so when we were younger."

"Oh...so you only accepted them out of pity." Naruto said in a depressed tone, a dark cloud forming over his head as he stared at the floor.

"Naruto Uzumaki, if you want a proper confession, you will wait till I am finished speaking. Do you understand?" Sakura scolded him like a mother, but in a playful way.

"Yes ma'am." He said like a sad child.

"Very good. Now then, I didn't accept them out of pity. I really enjoyed them. You're a very sweet guy and it was nice to feel appreciated for a change. But then you stopped asking me on dates and stopped confessing all together. I didn't understand why and it made me feel a little sad. That is, until Sai told me what you had said to him. About how you felt that you couldn't confess to me when you couldn't keep your promise. It all made sense to me then and I then decided that I had to kill Sasuke for the both of us. He had caused us so much pain and I didn't want to live like that anymore. So yes, technically my confession then was a lie to throw you off the plan, but at the same time, I wanted it to be real. I was wrong ever thinking that I had to resort to killing him. That meant that I doubted your ability. That I doubted the promise you made to me."

Sakura started to tear up again and Naruto wiped them away like before. He didn't say anything this time and let her compose herself before she went on.

"Sorry."

"Don't be."

She smiled again and continued. "When the war started, all I could think about was protecting you. I didn't want you to fall into Obito's and Madara's hands. I couldn't bare to lose you. When you showed up on the battlefield, I nearly had a heart attack. Every time you were hit, my breath hitched. I was so relieved when Sasuke came to help us. You two were like the ultimate tag team. I wish I could have joined you, but I had to focus on healing the injured. Still. I knew deep down you would win. And now, Sasuke is back and the village will be finished tomorrow. When we came home, all I could think about was you. But I was so scared of saying anything to you because I thought you would think I was lying. But then Lady Tsunade gave me the push I needed to be able to face you and tell you that...I love you."

Sakura sighed, letting Naruto know she was finished. She looked at him and could only see pure happiness in his eyes. Without warning, Naurto wrapped her in a tight hug and was laughing. Sakura was confused and couldn't really react properly.

"What so funny?"

"Nothing. It's just that I'm so happy and that was the best confession I could have ever hoped for! It blew mine out of the water! Mine wasn't even a proper one!"

"Don't say that! I loved yours!"

"Yeah, but I never even got to say that..." He leaned in closer to her. "I love you."

Sakura's heart stopped and her face heated up like she was in boiling water. Hearing him say that made her want to melt. Especially because of the way he said it. It was so gentle, yet seductive and sexy at the same time. Sakura felt numb and wanted to "attack" right there, but she kept herself under control. His voice brought her back to reality.

"You okay, Sakura? You look a little red there. Are you sick?"

She shook her head and hugged him. "No, silly. It's nothing. Don't worry about it."

Sakura remembered about the festival tomorrow and thought now would be a good a time as any to ask Naruto if he wanted to go.

"Hey, Naruto?"

"Yeah?"

"Would you like to go to the festival with me tomorrow?"

"Sakura, are you asking me on a date?" He asked smirking and making fun of her.

"I'm allowed." She retorted.

"Haha! I would love to!"

Sakura could barely contain her excitement. She had finally confessed her feelings for Naruto and now all her doubts were gone.

"I have a new outfit to show you tomorrow. I hope you'll like it." Sakura said blushing slightly.

"If you're wearing it, it'll be nothing but perfection." Naruto complimented.

Sakura blushed harder. "Since when did Naruto learn to become such a gentleman?" She thought.

Sakura looked at her clock and noticed it was getting late. She didn't want to, but she knew she had to let Naruto get home. It was a busy day for him tomorrow. He'll be named the next Hokage in the morning and then the festival will begin. So she was sure he needed the rest.

"It's getting late Naruto. You should probably get home and sleep. You have a huge day tomorrow." She said reluctantly.

"But Sakuraaaaaaaaaa!? I wanna spend more time with yooooou!" He whined like a kid.

"No buts mister. You'll see me all day tomorrow after you become Hokage."

Naruto pouted but then smiled. "Ok. That's fair I suppose." He said standing up.

Sakura got up as well. "I'll walk home with you if you want." She offered.

"OK!" He said enthusiastically, wearing his usual grin.

She really loved that grin. It made him look goofy, but that's how Naruto is. They got their sandals on and left Sakura's house. The two walked a few feet a part at first. Laughing at old memories about Naruto and Sasuke's rivalry. Sakura brought up a bad memory for Naruto when she mentioned their kiss. Naruto grabbed his throat in reflex and began to gag. Sakura laughed and almost fell over. Naruto caught her and helped her back to her upright position. She blushed and thanked him. She walked closer to him now. Without thinking, she wrapped her arm around his and leaned on his shoulder. Naruto didn't know how to react so he kept walking in silence. But he was happy. As they passed some villagers, they got many approving glances. Some of the males give him silent winks and thumbs ups while the women giggled and waved. Sakura didn't mind one bit. She was happy to be seen with him like this. Naruto felt the same way. They soon arrived at Naruto's newly built apartment. The villagers insisted that he let them build a grand new home to commemorate his heroic deeds, but Naruto refused and told them to build the same exact model apartment he lived in before. He didn't want special treatment just because he was a hero and the future Hokage. He just wanted to be seen as Naruto. The recognition was enough. That's all he ever wanted in life. To be recognized by the villagers. He had everything he could ever want now.

"Well, this is my stop." Naruto said.

"I still can't believe you asked them to rebuild your old apartment. You could have any house you want in the entire village, but you choose to go back to this little hole."

"I happen to like this little hold, thank you. Besides. I don't want a fancy house. It's not my style. I like just being me. And me wants this old apartment back."

Sakura chuckled at his reasoning. She had to admit that she loved his humble side. She was glad that being a hero didn't go to his head. He was still the same Naruto and she couldn't ask for anymore than that.

"I'll see you tomorrow after the ceremony. After that, we can do whatever you want." Naruto said.

"I look forward to it, Lord Hokage!" She teased.

"Not you too! I already have Kakashi-Sensei trying to call me that! What's next? Sai?"

"Even better. Sasuke." She joked.

"The day Sasuke calls me that is the day I die of laughter."

They both laughed. When they calmed down, they said their goodbyes for the evening. Naruto wrapped Sakura in a gentle hug and kissed her forehead. This caused Sakura to blow out steam from her ears in embarrassment. She'd have to get used to that. Naruto laughed and patted her on the back saying that it was a natural reaction to a man such as himself. A vain popped up on Sakura's forehead. She put some chakra into her right fist and slammed it into Naruto's gut. His eyes bulged from their sockets and he was punched through his door and crashed into what sounded like kitchenware. Sakura wiped her hands and gave a nod of approval. She smiled to herself and giggled.

"Bye, Naruto! See you tomorrow!" She said sweetly.

"Yeah...see ya..." He said in a daze and a cracked voice.

Sakura walked home happily already planning what she and Naruto would do the next day. When she got home, she changed into her pajamas and hopped into bed. She stared at the ceiling thinking about the wonderful day she'd have with Naruto until finally, sleep overtook her.

Xxx

Cheers roared throughout the village. Naruto had just been named the new Hokage and everyone couldn't contain their excitement. Ever since He saved the village from Pein and the world from Madara, the villagers would accept no one else besides Naruto as their new leader. Once the crowd settled down, Naruto gave his speech to his people.

"I'm...not very good with speeches. But I'll do my best. This village has seen its share of hardships. There was Orochimaru's attack during the Chuunin exams, where we lost a great leader in the Third Hokage. Then, most recently, there was Pein's attack. Where the Fifth Hokage risked her life to save everyone. One thing in common with those attacks, your Hokages fought to protect all of you with their lives. And as your next Hokage, I will do the same thing. I swear to you all I will put my life on the line as they did for each and every one of you. And if I die while doing it, I will be happy knowing that I was able to fight for you as your leader. But the Hokage don't deserve all the credit. The many great ninja that have taken an oath to protect you deserve just as much. In my eyes, they are the real heroes. They risk their lives every day for the good of this village. We lost many great ninja in the war and I am proud to have been able to fight along side them. Let us always remember their sacrifice and keep them in our hearts. Today is not just a celebration for the rebuilding of the village! And it is not a celebration for me becoming the Hokage! No. This is a day to celebrate in their honor, for their sacrifice is why we are still here today! They wouldn't want us to be sad they are gone! They would want us to be happy because they gave us a chance to live today and for a long time to come! So let us respect their wishes and get this festival going!" Naruto finished his speech with a fist pump to the air.

The entire village erupted in cheers once again. Even louder than the first time. Ever one did as their Hokage said and set out to enjoy the festivities. Every street was crowded with people talking, shopping and enjoying carnival games. Naruto looked on and smiled with pride. Tsunade stepped up to his side and watched with him.

"Not good with speeches, huh?" She joked.

"I guess this was a rare occasion."

"It was a great speech, Naruto. I'm sure all of our comrades would think the same thing if they were still with us."

"I hope so. I want this day to be about them. I may be the Hokage, but my people come first above everything."

"And that's exactly the type of leader these people need. You're going to be a wonderful Hokage. I'm proud to call you my successor."

Naruto turned to her and smiled. "Thanks, Granny!"

She nodded. "You should go. I'm sure your friends want to see you. Especially your girlfriend."

Naruto blushed at that last part. He rubbed the back of his head and grinned. Tsunade smiled and motioned for him to join everyone. He nodded and jumped into the crowd. Tsunade watched on as his friends surrounded him and lifted him up. Even Sai was enjoying himself. They were all laughing except for Sasuke who just stood to the side and smiled.

"You've grown so much, Naruto. Your parents, the Third and Jiraiya would be proud." Tsunade looked to the sky and saw the images of her past friends and mentor.

They all looked on with pride as Naruto talked and laughed with his friends. They turned their attention to Tsunade and gave her their own sign of approval. Minatio and Kushina smiled at her while Sarutobi nodded. Jiraiya gave her a big grin and a thumbs up as they all faded from view. She smiled and turned to walk away so she could join in on the fun as well.

Xxx

After Naruto talked with his friends, he and Sakura set off on their own just as planned. They stopped at Ichiraku for lunch where they had an all you can eat meal to commemorate Naruto's achievement. After lunch, they went shopping. Naruto bought all kinds of things for Sakura. The merchants strongly refused Naruto's money, but he wore them down and still paid for everything. He bought her things ranging from a necklace with a cherry blossom on it, to stuffed animals for her to snuggle up with at night. Once they were done with that, they decided to play some carnival games. The kids laughed at how Naruto pretended to be bad at the games so they wouldn't feel so bad. Many of them climbed on top of him and used him as a mini play ground. He didn't mind one bit. He even got a picture with them before their parents took them to play more games. Sakura was amazed at how well he got along with everyone now. It seemed like only yesterday that they all despised him for harboring the Nine Tailed Fox. Now he was their hero and earned their recognition he had wanted for so long. After doing everything they wanted to do, they took a walk to see the sights of everyone enjoying themselves.

"So when do I get to see this new outfit of yours?" He asked curiously.

"Patients, Naruto. You'll see it tonight at the fireworks celebration."

"Hehe, I can't wait!"

Sakura blushed. "I really hope he likes it."

He took her hand as they continued to walk. They would occasionally get some head turns like the night before. And once again, they didn't mind the attention.

"Hey, speaking of outfits, do you have anything to wear for tonight." Sakura asked.

They stopped walking and Naruto had to pause to think. His expression turned to one of pure horror.

"Crap! I don't have anything to wear for tonight!" He shouted in a panic.

Sakura laughed and shook her head. "I thought as much. Come on. Let's go see if we can find you something." She said as she dragged the now shocked Hokage to the nearest clothes store.

Xxx

It was now evening and the sun was starting to set. Everyone had gone home to get ready for the fireworks, including the new Hokage and his love interest. They had gotten him a custom made kimono in his favorite orange and black colors. The top half portion consisted of solid black, while the bottom half had orange with black flames. On the back it had his signature spiral pattern representing the Uzumaki clan. They had just happened to run into the most famous tailor in the village and he insisted that Naruto let him make him something special for that evening. Sakura thought he looked really good in it. It suited him well. She was now in her room changing into her kimono. When she got it on, she looked at herself in the mirror and did a twirl to check everything. Once she was satisfied, she went downstairs to where Naruto was waiting. He was stunned by her beauty. His mouth hung open but no words would come out. Sakura took that as a compliment. She closed his mouth with her finger and he regained consciousness.

"So? How do I look?" She asked.

"Sakura, no amount of words could possibly be used to explain how beautiful you look." He complimented.

She blushed. "Thank you, Naruto. That's very sweet of you."

"That actually worked?" He thought, surprised.

"Of course it did. All girls want to hear a man say something like that!" Kurama chimed in.

"Since when are you a love expert?"

"How long do you think I've been around? I've seen my fair share of romances."

"I'll take your word for it." He said sarcastically.

"Well, come on! We're gonna be late for the fireworks!" Sakura said, excited.

She looked like she was about to burst with happiness. Naruto could only smile.

"Ok! Let's go! I know the perfect place to watch the fireworks without anyone bugging us."

"Really? Where?" She asked, tilting her head in confusion.

"Hehe you'll have to keep up with me to find out!"

As soon as he said that, he ran out the door. Sakura was shocked and ran after him as soon as she realized she had been left behind.

Naruto was jumping on rooftops and it took all Sakura had just to keep up with him.

"Naruto, slow down! I can't move as fast in these sandals!" She pleaded.

He didn't listen, however. After a few minutes of jumping, Sakura was able to deduce where Naruto was leading her. She saw him running up a wall and onto a plateau. She saw him come to a stop on top of the Forth Hokage's statue head. Or more specifically, his dad's head. She ran up the wall and then ran up the side of the head, stumbling a little bit, but keeping her balance. When she finally arrived, Naruto was grinning and chuckling. Sakura was trying to catch her breath. It was harder to run and jump in that dress than she thought it would be. Once she caught her breath, she began to reprimand Naruto.

"What's gotten into you? Why would you just run off like that?!"

"I was just having a little fun!" He said innocently.

She couldn't stay mad at him. He made a face only a person with no soul could hate. She sighed and admitted defeat. He hugged her making her feel a lot better.

"I had a lot of fun today. Thanks for asking me to go with you." Naruto said in a gentle voice.

"I did too. Thanks for going with me." She said just as sweetly.

"Do you want to make it official right here?" He asked.

"Make what official?" She asked.

"Our relationship."

Naruto was answered with a kiss on his cheek. He was shocked for a moment at the sudden gesture. Sakura pulled back from him and looked into his eyes.

"I'd love that." She said.

Naruto recovered and smiled. He moved a stray hair that escaped Sakura's bun and put it behind her ear.

"I love you." He whispered.

"I love you too." She whispered back.

They slowly leaned in and kissed to make the relationship official. As if on cue from some sort of cheesy romance film, the fireworks started going off in the background, but the two didn't seem to care. All that mattered right now was that they were with each other and sharing their first moment as a couple in their own special place.

The End...or not.

The Next Day

Naruto starred in horror at the scene on his desk. Tsunade was standing on the other side of it with a malicious grin, while even Shizune and Ton Ton seemed to be afraid.

"Wh-what is this!?" Naruto stuttered.

"The best part of the job. Paperwork!" She said in an evil tone.

There were stacks of paper almost up to the ceiling on and around his desk. It looked like it was about to consume him as if it were the jaws of evil itself.

"Paperwork already!? But the ceremony was yesterday! Don't I get any time to get a feel for the job before I have to do all this?!" He asked, panicking.

"The best way to learn is by experience, Lord Hokage." The Sannin told him.

"You gotta help me, Granny! Isn't there some strategy to all this? A way to get it done faster? Maybe a secret technique passed down between Hokages?"

"As a matter of fact, there is!" She said.

Hope gleamed in Naruto's eyes as he stared at her in anticipation, wanting to know the secret to defeating his soon to be worst enemy.

"Drink lots of Sake!" She shouted as she turned around and left the room laughing.

Naruto's happy and hopeful face shattered into that of a man who just lost his soul to the devil. Shizune and Ton Ton looked on sympathetically and closed the door behind them. As they did, all the the paperwork came crashing down on top of him. Naruto let out a loud scream as he was buried. He popped up from the sea of papers and looked like he was about to cry.

"BUT I'M TOO YOUNG TO DRIIIIIIIINK!" He shouted to no one in particular.

The End...for real this time

AN: And that's a wrap! This took me longer than I thought it would (three days to be exact)! But I'm really glad to have it done. I'll just say right now, not all of this happened in my dream. Most of it did. Bonus cookies to those who can guess which parts weren't ;). Haha, I had fun writing this one. It's always nice to take something you dream up and put it on paper. It's like your own personal story and the characters are just borrowed to help tell it. BUT! Do not forget that I'm still working on another story with Kitsune060698. It's a more revamped version of his story that he wrote called "The Fox Nine." feel free to read it! It's on his page. I'll be working on the story as much as possible while I'm on break! Expect the first two chapters or so coming soon! We're still working out some planning details, but we have enough for at least the first two. It feels really good to be writing again. I've missed it and I've missed you guys. But things haven't been going my way. I got a D+ in one of my classes and I blame my boss for not compromising with me on my schedule for work. I never get D's. I'm an A-B student. Things are tough right now, but maybe writing will help me calm down a little. Some reviews would really help too. I really appreciate them. You guys know how to cheer me up. SO! Thank you all so much for reading! Please review and leave some criticism if you see something I need to work on! Look forward to the new story coming soon! Until next time, CYA!