This chapter was beta-read by: Sakura's Unicorn
Naruto gazes around his dining room, taking in the flurry of activity and din of voices, and beams in satisfaction. All of the former Squad Seven are present, along with their significant others and children, filling his home with a family he couldn't even fathom as a child.
Twenty years ago, he never would've imagined that this kind of event was in his future – and a regular occurrence, at that.
Tonight is the first time everyone's gotten together since the botched exams, but that's only because there's been so much to do. There was all that paperwork, then trying to find more time to spend with his family. In between, he's training Sarada and Mitsuki, because he figures he has to make sure they both learn things their parents can't teach them.
(Like how to relax).
It's also been a pain in the ass trying to get Sasuke ranked as a Jōnin without him having to take any stupid tests or exams. (The stubborn bastard refuses to do it, not that Naruto can blame him. He and Sasuke helped to save the whole damn planet – you'd think that'd be enough to cut through the red tape!) Naruto has Shikamaru researching every loophole he can find right now. If they can get all the still-living Hokage to back it, they might be able to pull it off.
In the living room, Kakashi's fifteen-year-old twin terrors Shinzou and Kobushi, recount their latest mission to a wide-eyed Inojin, who looks halfway between disturbed and impressed. Meanwhile, their younger brother, Obito, enthusiastically flips through a giant tome about the Five Great Shinobi Countries, stopping every now and again to point something out to Sarada. She listens raptly, the beginnings of a smile on her lips – a rare sight in the past month, if Boruto is to be believed. The latter is actually sitting with them, striving to keep still and scowling at Obito every so often.
Naruto has no clue what that's all about because, usually, Boruto gets along well with the youngest Hatake.
Hinata probably knows what that's all about, he decides, and goes to ask her, but finds she's deep in conversation with Sakura. She's pointing out the most recent photo additions on their wall, possibly bragging – in her uniquely Hinata way – about the milestones their genius daughter has been meeting recently.
Naruto decides it can wait until later. Hinata rarely brags about anything, and their daughter is definitely someone to make a fuss over.
By the window, Kakashi and Sasuke are having some kind of discussion or argument, but it's hard to tell with them. Sensei always wears the damn mask (Naruto has passed on the challenge of seeing what lies beneath to his son) and Sasuke barely moves his lips when he talks. Naruto can't even lip-read what they're talking about.
If he could actually lip-read.
He suspects they're exchanging information about things he, as Hokage, needs to have plausible deniability about. But they could also be coming up with new ideas for a Chidori change of nature technique or comparing hair styling products for all he knows.
Sensei's wife, Manako, laughs uproariously at something Sai has said, while the former Root-member blinks in confusion. Either he doesn't know exactly what he said that was so funny, or he's still not used to someone who finds his cluelessness amusing instead of insulting.
Then again, the Inuzuka clan all have weird senses of humour. Just look at Kiba...
Over at the table, amidst the remnants of dinner, Yamato is playing mah-jong with Mitsuki. Those two usually gravitate toward one another at these gatherings.
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