(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)








(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)

I woke up in a warm bed. I was in between two familiar bodies and scents.

My eyes flew open.

Kakashi smiled at me. "Good morning."

"Kashi," I whispered, my eyes burning. "It's you? It's really you?"

"Well, yeah—"

I threw my arms around him, choking back a sob. "Oh, Kakashi. Oh. I love you. I love you so much—"

Suddenly, more arms were around us. I could feel Obito squeezing us tightly.

"I love you both," Obito cried, burying his face in my back.

"Gah, what's gotten into you two?" Kakashi demanded. "You're squeezing way too hard."

I couldn't speak; couldn't respond. Tears poured out of my eyes.

"Breakfast~" sung a—

I gasped, bolting out of bed. I hurtled down the hallway, stumbling to a stop when I saw—


She was at the stove top, flipping an omelet onto a plate. Minato beside her, setting the table. Both of them beamed at me.

"Good morning," Kushina said brightly, smiling radiantly at me.

"Hungry?" asked Minato. "We made a lot."

I fell to the floor, the first of many sobs escaping me.

"Oh no," cried out Kushina. She rushed to me, pulling me in her—

Ah. I've missed this smell.

"I missed you," I hiccuped. "I missed you so much. I—I—"

"Little sapling, what's wrong?"

I cried harder at that voice because suddenly Grandmother was there. She was kneeling beside me, gently, kindly, warmly rubbing my back.

"It was so hard," I wept. "I—I—I'm s-s-s-o—-I—"

"Shh, shh," soothed Grandmother. "There, there, my little sapling. You're okay."

"That's right," echoed Kushina. "You're okay."

"We're here," said Minato.

"Everything will be okay," promised Kakashi.

"You've nothing to worry about anymore," Obito said.

"Did you have a bad dream?" Grandmother asked. She glared at Obito and Kakashi. "You boys kept her up too late, didn't you?"
"Wha—did not!" Obito immediately protested, wide-eyed.

"Yeah, we were perfect angels," Kakashi said, eyes sparkling with mirth.

"Can we not?" grumbled Naruto as he came into the dining room. "Ugh, I need my own place."

"You and me both," muttered Sasuke. "Why is she crying?"

"Nee-chan, don't cry," Naruto said.

"That's right, Naa-chan. Don't cry," murmured Grandmother. "You've nothing to be sad about anymore."

"Yes," I whispered. "You're right. I…"

I wiped at my eyes.

"You're right," I repeated. "Thank… thank you…"

(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)

"The tornado that blew through here was really something, huh?"

"Right? My roof's completely destroyed."

"Street's a mess, too."

"So nice of Ame to help us repair."


"Did you see some of those Akatsuki members?"

"Which ones?"
"The trio that came through here—?"

"Oh that blue-haired woman was a beauty."

"Those guys with her were pretty hot though."

"That redhead was too skinny but that orange-haired guy ooooo—"

"It's hime! Good morning, hime!"

"Good morning," I returned brightly.

Konoha's streets were partially destroyed from the final battle, but it looked like everyone else remembered it as being a natural disaster rather than something violent.

Good, I thought, savoring the peace.

It had taken some time before I had calmed down enough. To everyone else this was normal. To everyone else I had seemingly awoken from a bad dream.

A dream filled with monsters.

Yes, it must have been a dream, right?

This was reality. There were no such things as monsters here.

Just peace.

Just warmth.

Just love.

I walked through the streets of Konoha, no destination in mind. I only wanted to see everything for myself. To relish this hard fought victory.

All my years of suffering had finally borne fruit. I deserved the right to witness it bloom. I stopped by Sasori's art shop when I heard familiar voices.

"Sasori," protested Sakura. "We really don't have to do this."

"My mother threw a fit, what else do you expect me to do?" he grumbled. "Damn woman, as stubborn as that old hag."
"Your grandma's actually pretty awesome—"

"She is not, do not encourage her—"

I smiled to myself.

"They make a cute couple, age gap aside," remarked Kisame as he appeared beside me.

"And you?" I asked him with a smile.

"I'm happy to live vicariously through you and your freaky threesome," he said cheerfully.

"Could be a freaky four—"

"Nope, nope, nope. Let me stay vanilla, please."

I laughed.

Kisame grinned, holding out an arm to me. "Shall I be your escort for the day, my dear hime?"

With a beam, I accepted his arm. "Yes. Thank you."

(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)

We toured all over Konoha, running into many familiar faces.

Many smiling faces.

Hearing Chouji's voice from inside a BBQ with several other students caught me by surprise, but it was a happy surprise. I saw Gaara with Guren and members of the Black Acolytes in the park. Hinata was out with her sister on a walk. Kiba playing catch with Akamaru. Shisui and Itachi eating lunch with Raion.




Everything was so… lovely.

"Perfect," I breathed.

"Konoha's a really nice place, huh?" asked Kisame.

"Yes," I agreed, my heart skipping a beat. I couldn't resist giggling. "Gosh, it's… it's perfect. It really is, isn't it?"

"Sure," he said, his stomach letting out a loud gurgle. "Uh."

"Come on. Let's go home and eat lunch," I said, tugging him along.

"Lunch sounds great!"

(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)

My day ended as it began.


I would have thought it was a dream if not for the sensations I felt. The firmness of the kisses placed upon me, or the knowing look Obito gave me.

We did it.

We really did it.

It was so hard to believe—so hard to accept.

As the sun dipped down and the moon rose, I climbed to the roof of our compound. I pulled my legs into my chest as I stared out at the village.

I could hear Kushina laughing with Minato and Naruto inside.

There was a pause, a shift in the air.

Madara sat beside me. Madara smiled at me. He reached forward, cupping my cheeks. He lightly kissed my nose, then my lips. "Well done, my dear."

"We did it," I whispered, leaning into him.

"We did," he agreed. "Enjoy your victory."

"Our victory."

"Yes…" Madara pulled away from me, shadows swirling around him. He slowly disappeared in a swirl of smoke. While he was gone from my vision, I knew he was watching.

He would always be watching.

I closed my eyes, savoring the warmth of the summer air.

Yes, I thought, turning to look over at my family. This is our victory.

And the red moon rose.

(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)


The End

(ง ⌣ ~ ⌣)

The end was a struggle. Happy it's done though.

Thanks for reading this catastrophe of a story.

Special thanks to my beta who stuck through this to the very end.

Question: Would you like to live a perfect illusion world until you die, or an imperfect reality?