Eulogy

BY : Mannah_Pierce
Category: Naruto > Yaoi - Male/Male > Naruto/Sasuke
Dragon prints: 894
Disclaimer: This story has some of Masashi Kishimoto's characters from Naruto in a universe of my own devising. I do not own Naruto. I do not make any money from these writings.



Thank you to my beta and muse, Small Fox, who helped me from ‘In the cold of space you find the heat of suns’ to the last chapter of ‘Leader’.

I promised this final story, an epilogue, almost two years ago. Here it is. If you are hoping that I will ever continue my Naruto fanfic, you may not want to read it.



If you want to know more the other stories set in this world, vist my website, which is given in my profile.



This is an epilogue. It needs to be read after ‘In the cold of space you find the heat of suns’, ‘Tales of Tarrasade’, ‘Iteration’, ‘Real’ and ‘Leader’.



Eulogy



Keizo had been the longest lived of Naruto’s bright shadows but finally, sixty-three standards after the big litter had been born, he had left them. They gathered in the Great Hall of the Uchiha compound in Tarrasade to sing his song.

It was beautiful.

Sasuke had tried to slip in unseen but he could not control those who chose to stand beside him. Shikamaru was on his left and Kakashi on his right. Behind Kakashi were the remnants of Old Uchiha: Asuma, Choza, Gai and Hamaki. Beside Shikamaru were Sumiko and Aiko.

Iruka would have probably preferred to be at Kakashi’s side but, as Head of the Household, he stood on Hoshi’s right on the wide dais. Neji, her life-partner, was on her left. In pride of place was Ayame, supported by Izumo and Kotetsu, flanked by her children and surrounded by her grandchildren: Keizo’s children; Keizo’s grandchildren.

Kei-chan had been a fabulous parent. Like his To-san.

It was always better to concentrate on those who were present rather than the absent. Sasuke scanned the crowd and picked out some of them: Haru with Ran and Haku; Teruko who played her biwa with such exquisite sensitivity; Naomi weeping with Mai at her side comforting her; Moegi and Udon; Shino and Anko with their family; Konohamaru with his children; Sumaru with Sakura and Ino.

Only it was so hard not to think of those who could have been there if Lady Luck had been more generous. Takara lost; there was still no trace of her or her crew. Hikaru killed in a blaze of glory stopping a fleet of pirate slavers. Dan and Rin dead because they were in the wrong place at the worst time.

Itachi and Kisame, their bodies entwined; Kisame dead of a heart attack and Itachi unable to face life without him.

It had been the only time Sasuke had regretted leaving. He had wanted to be there for Haku.

Haru and Ran had stepped up. Over the standards since, the two of them had managed to persuade Haku that respect and friendship could develop into something more.

The singing came to its end and the giant display screens around the Hall began showing images of those who had sent messages of condolence. Some were too far away to make it home, like Shou and Nagato. Others’ homes were too far away, like Inari and Tayuya.

Then, that over, there was silence. Into that silence Hoshi spoke of her beloved brother and what he had meant to each and every one of them.

Sasuke could not take in everything she said but he knew that it was beautiful.

Hoshi finished in the traditional way; the Uchiha lullaby*.

“Goodnight

Goodnight

to friends in space

and those on ships

that interlace

with suns and moons

across the seas

of light that rim

our galaxies.”

Then everyone else joined in; the true voice of Uchiha.

“Goodnight,

Goodnight

to all who fly

and those who seek

worlds in the sky

from those united

under red and blue

a long and peaceful

calm to you.”

As the last note died away Sasuke turned to leave only to be stayed by Shikamaru’s hand on his arm.

“Please,” Shikamaru begged. “If not for a day, at least until nightfall.”

Experience told Sasuke that it was only more painful for everyone if he delayed.

Before he could answer Tsuneo was there. His arm snaked around Shikamaru’s waist and pulled him close.

“You shouldn’t give Papa a hard time, my love,” he scolded. “We will walk with you to the docks, Papa.”

Sasuke opened his mouth to object that Shikamaru was too precious to be exposed to such risk only to have Tsuneo raise a finger.

“Everything is in hand, Papa. Sumaru-san is providing six squads of Knives. It will be perfectly safe.”

Tsuneo had outmanoeuvred him. Sasuke’s escort would be impressive: the Knives; Tsuneo with Shikamaru, Hoshi with Neji, Haru and Teruko. Not Iruka or Haku; Sasuke knew that neither of them could bear another goodbye.

Kakashi and Ran stayed with them.

As they left the elevator and started down the main corridor towards the docks, Sasuke realised why Tsuneo had done it. This could be his last visit. He had only returned when one of his children had died.

Maybe, if he was lucky, it would be. He hoped that Hoshi, Haru, Teruko and Tsuneo would outlive him.

There were no objections raised by the residents who had been cleared from their path by the Knives. They waited silently and respectfully in the side corridors. Sasuke doubted they recognised him; few non-spacers saw past the bard’s blue cloak and the biwa case slung across his back. However every person living in Tarrasade knew Hoshi: wise; compassionate; beautiful; the embodiment of New Uchiha.

It was different once they reached spacer territory. To spacers he was The Bard; Sasuke Uchiha was merely part of the myth that surrounded him.

He had not planned it that way. Two standards after Kuuya had stepped down and Hoshi became leader, Sasuke had finally done what he had needed to do since Naruto had left him.

He had handed his life to Lady Luck and walked away.

Twenty-six standards later he was still walking. Lady Luck had yet to desert him. Perhaps she liked his songs.

The spacers were not quiet like the residents. They called out. They stamped their feet to demonstrate their appreciation. They sang snatches of his songs.

Then they were through the spacer quarter and into the docks.

The crews had heard he was on his way. They stood at the entrances to their berths. Some of them were Uchiha; most were not. Sasuke recognised a number of them. He never travelled on the same ship twice so he did not know why they stood there. Respect? Hope?

A youngster caught his eye. There was an air about him that reminded Sasuke of Hikaru.

He turned that way only to be stopped by Tsuneo’s arms around him.

“I love you, Papa,” he whispered. “You will never leave us because you, like To-chan, live in our hearts.”

Sasuke blinked back tears.

Left with little choice, he accepted hugs from Hoshi, Haru and Teruko. Then what he had desperately wanted to avoid happened; he made eye contact with Shikamaru.

Only, this time, Shikamaru’s eyes were not pleading with him to stay.

Drawn together as Naruto faded, they had tried to be enough for each other. It had not worked for Sasuke. Naruto’s death had left a hole in his heart that could never be filled.

Then Tsuneo had returned to live in Tarrasade. He had pursued Shikamaru with impressive determination and persistence. By the time Sasuke left, Tsuneo and Shikamaru were established as a couple.

Now, with Tsuneo, five children and two grandchildren, Shikamaru was utterly content and completely loved.

Sasuke embraced him, kissing his cheek. When he pulled back, he could see the surprise in Shikamaru’s eyes.

“You look after them,” Sasuke told him. “And let them look after you.”

Shikamaru nodded.

Then Sasuke walked away; into the cold of space, where the heat of the sun was a memory.

 



The End





*The poem is essentially Lullaby by Sarah Wilson - from Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Blast Off! Poems About Space. NY: Harper Collins, 1995 – found on the internet at http://inquiryunlimited.org/lit/poetry/space_poems.html#R – apologies to the author for the changes to make it more appropriate to this context.





Author’s note

Some of you know that I started writing the Naruto fanfic on my fiftieth birthday, to get me back to writing stories in the SciFi world I had created decades before. What had been intended to be a few stories turned into a saga that I hope you have enjoyed.

 



 



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