Behind the Mask Part 2

Light music filled what parts of the large room weren’t occupied by the many bodies dancing to it.

Kankuro sighed again for the millionth time that evening, standing next to his brother.

Gaara eyed him coolly, wondering what had plagued his brother. As per tradition, the only people who weren’t wearing masks was a Kazekage and a handful of his bodyguards and advisors.

“What’s the matter?” He decided to probe.

Kankuro looked up and over to him before sighing again and replying, “I haven’t seen Temari or Kaya all night.”

Gaara had to hold back an eye roll. He knew his brother was interested in the Leaf Shinobi despite her lack of interest in him. Yet he too was curious about the where bouts of his sister and their friend.

Just as that thought had occurred to him, gasps and low chatter filled the room drowning out the music. His sea foam eyes followed the direction everyone was staring in.

Two young women just walked in. One was blonde, one had black hair. They wore matching outfits and mask. The blonde was dressed in a short, sparkly, sleeveless purple dress that showed off her shapely figure with purple lace attached to the end of the sparkly fabric half way down her thigh that fell down to her ankles showing off her strappy black high heels. Her hair was down and curled into loose ringlets that framed her round face. Her mask only covered her teal eyes. It was a black base covered with purple feathers and lace trim, allowing an odd black jewel to break up the pattern along with small amounts of gold glitter.

The black haired girl wore a black dress that was floor length. Her left sleeve was a thin off the shoulder chiffon strap that hung there loosely. The boddis of the dress clung to her frame showing off her excellent curves, her fair chest, her slim waist, her plump hips. The skirt however hung looser than the rest of the dress with a slit on the left side of the dress, showing off her shapely legs and strappy purple high heels, and allowed the skirt to flow about her with such grace. Her long, black hair was also worn down, but unlike her friend, it was worn straight. Her mask also only covered her black eyes, tapering down to cover a bit of her nose as well. The base of her mask was purple, it was covered mostly by black feathers and lace trim with the odd purple gem to break up the pattern and a small amount of silver glitter.

The women walked forward and began to mingle with other patrons, the party continued.

“Who are those girls?” Kankuro whispered to himself in awe of what he had just seen.

“Temari and Kaya.” Gaara told his brother.

“Wait, what?” Kankuro demanded, hearing his brother’s words.

“Those girls are Temari and Kaya who just walked in.” He told the brunette to his left.

“How can you be sure it was them?” Kankuro countered.

“How many other people do you know with teal eyes?” He countered.

Kankuro shrugged.

“Aside from that, the girl in black not only possesses a Konha Anbu Black Ops tattoo on her left arm, but the same scars on her right arm that Kaya does.” He reasoned.

Kankuro just pouted again, “Now I’m never going to be able to dance with her looking like that.”

Gaara just sighed at his brother and looked away, back to the girls. He could spot Temari easily enough, most of the girls this year had opted for red dresses so she stuck out rather well. The blonde was mingling with a few people, yet the red head’s sea foam eyes had to search feverishly for the black haired girl. He finally found her leaning against the furthest wall, a glass of wine in her left hand.

People around her gave longing stares at her, admiring her. Yet they all gave her the widest berth they could. Beautiful as she was, she was still her intimidating form and her harsh black eyes.

Gaara allowed himself to slip away unnoticed by his brother and body guards to the far side of the room where unwavering, onyx eyes followed his every movement.

The girl nodded deeply to the Kazekage as he stepped towards her.

“Good evening, Kazekage-sama.” She said smoothly.

“Good evening to yourself, Kaya.” Gaara all but whispered seeing her up close.

“I feel honoured that you recognized me.” She smiled at him.

“You aren’t difficult to spot when you know what to look for.” He smiled at her.

“And what were you looking for, if you don’t mind me asking.” Kaya smirked.

Gaara mirrored her actions, “I never knew you drank.” He motioned to the glass in her left hand, cleverly avoiding the topic.

Kaya shrugged, “Not generally. Alcohol dulls the senses.”

Gaara nodded in acceptance to that response.

“You always seem to gravitate to the edge of any large group. Why is that?” He asked, leaning against the wall to her right.

“I always like having some space between me and those around me. I like to have at least little reaction time.”

Gaara just stared at her at that. He finally took the time to properly appreciate her form.

“I’m sorry of this makes you uncomfortable.” Kaya almost whispered. Gaara had to strain his ears to hear her over the music and sounds of the people all around them.

“What makes me uncomfortable?” He breathed, his sea foam eyes meeting her black gems.

Kaya couldn’t meet his gaze as she half shrugged, half motioned to her right arm.

Gaara’s lips pressed together to form a tight line.

“Would you like to go somewhere more private with me so we can talk?”

Kaya looked up at him, almost scared she had upset him. Seeing there was no animosity in his eyes, she nodded slightly and allowed the red head to take the glass of wine from her hand and set it down before grabbing her left hand and leading her away.

The black haired girl did her best to keep her right arm hidden from view.

“I don’t believe I’ve told you yet how beautiful you look, have I?” Gaara said more to himself as they came to a stop on a deserted back street.

“Thank you.” Kaya said meekly, she had never gotten many compliments in her life and wasn’t sure how to take it.

“You know, Temari never told us that you would be coming here. It was a nice surprise. I’m glad you accepted her invitation.”

Kaya shrugged again, “Temari is a hard person to turn down.”

A ghost of a smile pulled at Gaara’s lips as he looked Kaya in the eye again.

“You didn’t ask me here to talk about Temari and me coming here, did you?” She breathed.

Gaara shook his head and reached carefully forward towards Kaya’s right arm. The black eyed girl stiffened for a moment before relaxing and letting Gaara’s warm hands pull her arm forward so he could examine it.

He turned it over gently, his fingers barely grazing the scared flesh as his hands moved up and down Kaya’s arm.

She was ridged in fear, yet trembling at his touch.

“Does it still hurt?” Gaara finally whispered, acknowledging Kaya’s fear.

“No.” She breathed to him.

“Are you afraid of me?” He asked, looking up from her arm into her eyes.

“No.” Kaya breathed again.

“Then why do you shake?” He asked, “Why do you hide this from me? Why did you lie to Kankuro?”

Kaya took a deep breath and closed her eyes tightly before she replied to the red head, “I lied to Kankuro because it’s a very long story to explain. I’ve tried my best to hide this from you because I know how bad you felt when it happened. I know how much you cried. I know you did everything you could to help me feel better once the doctors treated me. I know you thought yourself as nothing more than a monster because of what you did when I wasn’t even trying to hurt you. I… I don’t want this,” She motioned widely to her right arm, “To hurt you anymore than it already has in the past. I care about you and will do anything I can to make sure you never feel that way again.”

Gaara trailed his fingers up Kaya’s right arm, up her shoulder, her neck to her cheek. He carefully slid her mask up over her head, holding it in his right hand and using his left to wipe away the stray tears that fell from her right eye.

“I never want to see you in pain again, Kaya.” He whispered to the black haired girl, “I want to make sure no more pain ever be falls you. I love you.”

Kaya’s black gems flew open and stared into Gaara’s sea foam orbs.

“I love you too, Gaara.” She whispered, “I really do.”

Gaara smiled wide then, knowing she meant it.

“Then please don’t feel the need to hide this from me again. Please.” Gaara begged, ghosting his fingers along her arm again.

Kaya shivered at the touch but nodded.

“May I kiss you?” Gaara asked softly seeing Kaya’s eyes clear.

Kaya smiled broadly at the fact he asked that. But she nodded eagerly anyway.

Gaara leaned down slightly and pressed his lips gently against hers. Kaya ran her hand up his torso and placed them on his shoulders to help hold him place. The kiss was soft and light, but very loving and caring. It was exactly what the other craved from them, and there was nothing to block it.


Behind The Mask(A Gaara One-Shot)

A firm knock swept through the house early that morning. Temari’s eyes lit up, knowing exactly who that was.

“I got it!” She all but yelled, running past her brothers to get to the front door.

“She’s way too much of a morning person.” Kankuro yawned at his sister.

Gaara merely shrugged at his siblings.

“Guys, you better behave. Kaya is here!” Temari called again coming into the kitchen with the black haired girl in tow.

Kaya waved shyly to the two men.

“What are you doing here, Kaya?” Kankuro asked the Uchiha.

“Temari invited me to the village for the annual festival of the masks. I hope you don’t mind.” She said softly, her black eyes holding Kankuro’s own black orbs.

“Of course they don’t mind, right guys?” Temari smiled.

Kankuro was about to say something, but he was cut off by his brother for once in his life.

“Not at all.” Gaara cut in, smiling at the kunoichi, “I hope you enjoy your stay here. We’ll try to be as hospitable as possible.”

“Stop being so formal you two!” Temari all but yelled at them, “Kaya, you are here for vacation. You don’t need to address Gaara as Kazekage-sama anymore, and Gaara don’t get overly formal either. I know you have that habit.”

Both shinobi just looked away from the blonde, but said nothing.

“Good.” Temari said finally, “If you guys need us, Kaya and I will be upstairs in my room working on our costumes for the festival of the masks. Don’t need us.”

“A little late to be working on them, don’t you think sis?” Kankuro cut in before the two hurried out of the kitchen.

“Never too late for women with our expert taste.” Temari smirked before pulling Kaya along with her.

Gaara’s eyes lingered on the spot where the black haired girl once stood.

“Man, I hope I can dance with her tomorrow night.” Kankuro sighed to himself, causing his brother to glance at him.

“Oh come on, Gaara.” Kankuro probed, “Even someone like you has to admit Kaya’s a pretty girl. Well, pretty, and smart, and strong. She’s a real catch, I’m surprised she’s still single.”

Gaara said nothing as he finished his breakfast, but he couldn’t argue with his brother.

Kaya’s long black hair, soft black, round eyes. Her button nose and thin mouth. She had high cheekbones and a tapered chin. She had a very feminine face, and a very feminine form. Though her curves were not quite as defined as they could have been had she not been a shinobi, but she still had a decent chest and full hips with a toned butt. She possessed a lot of muscle on her for a woman, but non of it was bulk it was all finely tuned to be hard as steel through intense training. Yet with a light scar nicking her jaw line, just left of her mouth and bandages that constantly covered her right arm to hide a hideous scar and the fact she stood taller than most girls at 5’7 gave her quite an intimidating appearance. Couple that with the fact she was almost always in her combat attire and carrying all her weapons never made for an easy approach.

So to Gaara, it wasn’t a real surprise that she was still without a partner. Yet he would not allow the excitement of knowing that for a fact to take over him. He had liked the Uchiha ever since they had met when they were young. He too held the hope that he might be able to dance with the girl.

“I hate these things.” Kankuro whined as he tried to adjust the collar of his robes, he was accompanying Gaara to the festival of the Masks as his body guard, and, as per tradition, he had to dawn ceremonious robes.

“I’m right behind you with that.” Gaara grumbled to himself as he tried to fix his collar in the mirror.

“Um, forgive me if I’m interrupting.” Kaya’s smooth voice called  from the door way into the living room where the men stood, trying to fix their collars.

“You aren’t interrupting, Kaya.” Gaara assured the black haired girl without turning around, “What is it you need of us.”

“Yeah, it’s almost time for us to-woah.” Kankuro cut himself off as he turned around to look at the Leaf Shinobi, “Please tell me you are attending like that.”

Gaara, both confused and irritated looked over his shoulder to see what had sparked his brother’s more perverted side, he had to do a double take.

Kaya was standing in the door way, her hands clasped behind her back she was being especially careful to keep her right arm out of sight of the two. What she had on was what caught the attention of both men.

It was non other than a short, black, silken night robe that showed off her great curves and the miles that were her legs. Gaara couldn’t help himself but to allow his eyes to wander down and take note of the faint little nick and scars that healed over and littered her legs.

“No.” Kaya said slowly, staring at Kankuro confused, “Temari let me borrow this so I could come down and tell you guys to go on without us. We’ve had just a little wardrobe malfunction. Don’t worry though, we’ll catch up.”

Gaara just nodded and looked away, hoping to fix his collar shortly. He would not allow himself to drool over her like his brother was.

“We’d love to get going,” Kankuro grumbled, finally realizing that Kaya was not comfortable, “But these damn, stupid collars! We should really get rid of these!”

“Um,” Kaya started again, “I can help if you guys want.”

“You know how to do these?” Kankuro asked in disbelief.

The black eyed girl nodded, “My father had traditional robes kinda like that, I learned how to do them up.”

“Be my guest.” Kankuro smiled at her, opening his arms as in invitation to the girl.

Kaya hesitated a moment before striding into the room. The sleeves on the robe only came down about three-quarters of the way, still showing off a fair amount though. Her right hand, going up her wrist and forearm, extending even further than that, was covered in healed over burn scars. Some would think she slid really badly on grass or stone walkways. It was actually from high pressured sand slicing against her arm. But there was only two people who knew that.

“How’d you get that?” Kankuro asked as Kaya pulled lightly on his collar and did it up in a matter of seconds.

“Training accident.” She said shortly before turning to Gaara and quickly doing his up not meeting his gaze. He watched her hands carefully. He knew exactly how she got that scar. He knew exactly the amount of pain she had been in when she had gotten it. He knew exactly how many stitches were put in her arm to keep it together after it had happened. He wanted to run his fingers over it and make sure it didn’t hurt anymore.

But the second his collar was snapped into place, Kaya’s kind hands were gone and she began to walk out of the room.

“We’ll see you there then.” She sent a smile over her shoulder before all but disappearing back upstairs before Temari could yell for her.


A Gaara One Shot

It was a beautiful day in Konoha, the sun was shinning, the birds were singing and people were buzzing around the market place.

I lifted my shopping bag up from the ground and slipped my right arm through the straps so it would rest on my shoulder as I bid good day to the shop owner.

I pulled my long, black pony tail over my left shoulder as I sighed. It was rare I got a day like this. One where I could just relax.

My younger brother, Sasuke, was no longer going down the dark path I had feared. The akatsuki was dealt with. The great war was over. The Hokage, Kakashi, ordered me to take the day off, saying after everything that had occurred I deserved a day where I was resting instead of training.

Ever since I was 14 years old I had earned the rank of Jounin, prior to that I was part of the anbu blackops since I was 9. At that age, my elder brother, Itachi, slaughtered my clan. He did it to save Sasuke and myself. The 3rd Hokage had called us in, knowing we were both unrivalably loyal and just. I had known nothing about the Uchiha plans prior to that meeting. Itachi then made me promise to take care of our little brother. A promise, that for many years, I thought I failed. I took care of Sasuke for 6 tough years before he left.

My entire life had been training and caring for him. As a daughter I wasn’t exactly well loved, especially by my father. So I trained day and night to prove myself. That, somehow, wound up with me being one of the strongest shinobi to ever come out of Konoha.

Perhaps it was through my dedication and determination to protect and serve that I allowed certain aspects of myself to get weaker. Communication outside of missions, knowledge about my feelings and willingness to accept them, my preferences.

I didn’t really have any super close friends, I had friends but non who really knew what I was thinking. I understood my feelings, however because of my loyalty to my position and village I never acted on them not wanting them to affect me in battle or compromise my, or worse the village’s, possition. As for preferences, I wasn’t girly. I wanted to be, but it wasn’t practical. I wanted to be like all those other girls who could strut down the street in dresses and heels, with their faces painted all pretty and their long hair flowing behind them. However, that was never practical. I always prided myself with being ready at a moment’s notice. So my wardrobe mostly consisted of shorts, t-shirts and muscle shirts. I did own fish nets and wrappings and wore them quite often, but it wasn’t the same.

I paused for a moment on my way back to my apartment and sighed. I was thinking way too much about that. Those weren’t the kind of things I should dwell on. Sasuke is back. The akatsuki are taken care of. All the villages are at peace with one another. And I have the day off.

“Hey! Kaya!”

I looked over my shoulder at were the call was coming from.

Kankuro and Temari were walking up to me.

I turned around and greeted them with a warm smile, “Hey, what brings you guys here?”

“We’re escorting Gaara.” Temari informed me, “He’s in a meeting with Kakashi. We thought we’d take a walk around and see some old faces.”

“Well it’s good to see you guys too.” I told them.

“Speaking of which,” Kankuro directed, “How’ve you been holding up knowing about your brother?”

“Kankuro!” Temari snarled.

I shook my head, “It’s okay, Temari.” I told her, “It’s been weird, I’ll be honest there. I do find it a little bit unfair simply because of what he managed to pull off for us during the war. Yet at the same time I understand the need for this kind of punishment after what he had done against us. And after so long of him being gone, it’s nice to know exactly where he is.”

“You seem to be taking it well.” Kankuro noted.

I shrugged, “It’s part of being a shinobi I suppose.”

“Say,” Temari said gaining my attention, “Gaara’s going to be in a meeting all day. Do you wanna head to the bathhouse with us? We don’t have on in Suna.”

It was obvious to me that Temari was trying to change the subject to make me feel better.

“That sounds like fun.” I told her, “I have to run some stuff back home really quick though. So how about I meet you guys there?”

“Alright.” She said with a nod, “But if you aren’t there within 10 minutes of us I’m hunting you down myself.”

I nodded as Kankuro rolled his eyes.

“I’ll see you there.” I said and bowed before turning and leaving.

I continued on my way, walking down the back alley leading to my apparent building. I made my way up the stairs as I took out my key from my pocket. I unlocked the door and stepped inside, closing it behind me. I toed off my blue shoes and stepped into the hallway. I walked down it and ducked into the kitchen, quickly putting my groceries in the fridge and cupboards.

Once I was done  I exited the kitchen and was about to head into the bathroom to gather up some of my toiletries for the bathhouse, but something caught my eye.

I turned my head towards the window in the living room where something was off. The window was open, not like I left it, on the sill was a fresh cut, white lily.

I sighed before padding across room to pick up the flower and close the window. I didn’t have to look at the sill to know there was a small amount of sand there. I put the lily in a vase in the kitchen before going into the bathroom to gather my things.

Every time he was at the village he found me, and he left me a flower.

I showed him kindness when he was young and I was on a mission in Suna. Before I left he gave be a desert rose as a token of friendship, which I had preserved in resin shortly after coming home. However because I lived so far away I couldn’t be there for him like he deserved.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have feelings towards the red head. After the pain he went through in his childhood, dealing with the Shukaku, going through the trails of becoming a Kage, leading the great shinobi war. It was admirable to say the least. Because of that it was obvious he was dedicated, intelligent, loyal, caring, skilled as a shinobi. He was attractive physically too, there was never any denying any of that.

My 1 issue about accepting my feelings for the young Kazekage was his position. I was only a Jonin of a faded clan, and he was the leader of a nation, more than likely with many, much more suitable, suitors at his disposal.

I always had it in my head, ever since I was little, my life was going to go 1 of 2 ways. The first; I was going to become a respectable and high ranked shinobi who became K.I.A. in a mission so their allies could complete the mission or return to the village safely and possibly get reinforcements. The second; as a daughter, I had assumed my father(who was the head of the clan) or the Hokage, would have married me off to another clan or village to keep peace. With the war over and Gaara being the Kazekage, neither of those were paths for me to follow that intertwined with his.

I opened the front door and tapped the toe of my shoe on the cement of the inside of my apartment before closing and locking it and heading on my way up the mountain to the hot springs.

As I approached the entrance to the hot spring I saw Temari and Konkuro standing there with a variety of other people, including: Naruto, Sakura, Lee, Tenten, Ino, Kiba, Shikamaru and Choji.

“Took you long enough.” Temari smirked as she saw me.

“Sorry.” I said with a smile, “My head’s been else where.”

“Doesn’t matter!” Naruto cut in, “Let’s just go in already.”

We all sort of sighed but followed the blonde inside anyway.

“I just feel sorry Hinata couldn’t come.” Sakura said as she washed Ino’s back.

“It’s fine.” Temari said as she dumped hot water on her head to clean out the suds, “I get she’s busy. I was actually surprised, Kaya had said yes.”

I looked over at her from where I was shampooing.

“What’s that supposed to mean, Temari?” I asked her.

“Just that you always seem to be working.” She said and stood up, having finished cleaning herself, “And when you aren’t working you’re training like crazy.”

I shrugged and turned back to the wall, not really sure how to respond to the truth like that.

“How else do you think she got that good?” Tenten defended, “It’s those who work the hardest at what they believe in that go the furthest.”

“But if you’re always working,” Temari countered, “And don’t make time for relaxation and rest your body will be over exerted. But it’s more than just that.”

I felt Temari behind me, she knelt down and wrapped her arms around my neck bringing me into a hug.

“I like hanging out with you Kaya,” She told me with a smile, “I rarely come to this village, and because of it rarely get to hang out with you, so obviously I don’t like the way you always push yourself.”

“Sorry.” I told the blonde looking over my shoulder at her, our noses practically touching, “It’s just something I’m used to.”

“Well get unused to it.” Temari scolded and stood back up, “Besides, I happen to know, under good authority, a certain red head who has the hots for you.”

I looked over my shoulder at her in disbelief.

“Oh my gosh!” Ino gasped, “Really, Gaara of all people like Kaya!?”

“Why is that such a surprise!?” Sakura snapped at the blonde in anger.

“Kaya’s always cold and serious, never showing interest in anyone.” Ino started, “And Gaara of all people, if stone cold and static had a face it would be him. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Ever thought he just doesn’t like feminine women.” Sakura snapped.

I sighed softly to myself and dumped water on my head to get the shampoo out of my hair. They both had their points.

“Do you two really have to talk like she isn’t here!” Tenten all but screamed at the 2 of them, “She has feelings you know.”

“Oh, right. Sorry, Kaya.” Sakura said.

“Yeah, sorry. It was just surprising.” Ino added.

“It’s alright.” I told them, “But take what someone says with a grain of salt.” I added, “You don’t know what’s true until you go to the source.”

I then stood and made my way to the bath to join Temari.

“Does that mean you’re going to ask Gaara when we see him next?” Temari asked with a knowing smirk.

“No.” I said shortly, submerging myself in the hot water, “Kazekage-sama has every right to his privacy. Aside from that, even though you’re his sister, it may be incorrect, then I have projected assumptions onto him which may cause a rift between Konoha and Suna. Something I will not be responsible for.”

“Blindly loyal too.” Ino added quietly.

I rolled my eyes and sunk further into the water, I didn’t want to hear anything more from any of them about this.

I walked down the hall of the Hokage building and knocked on the door when I came to it. The Hokage had called me in today, apparently I had mission on a special request.

“Come in.” I heard from the other side.

I opened the door and stepped in, closing it behind me. I walked up to the desk and bowed.

“You wished to see me, Hokage-sama.” I said.

“Kaya, we’ve gone over this, repeatedly.” He told me with a little smile, “It’s just Kakashi, nothing more, nothing less. But that’s besides the point isn’t it.”

He paused and stared at me, “The Kazekage had requested this of you himself.”

I straightened up, waiting in anticipation to hear what was needed of me.

“He would like of you to spend the day with him.” I was told, my face dropped for a moment. Of all the things He wanted of me, the Kazekage of the sand wanted to spend a day with me of all people.

“At his request you are to address him Gaara, not Kazekage-sama, treating him as a friend from dawn until dusk. This is your mission, you do have the opportunity to refuse it.”

“The Kazekage of the sand had specifically requested me for this mission.” I stated, “I don’t know for what purpose and I don’t know why, but if I refuse a mission coming directly from him it could cause great tension between villages. I refuse to allow that happen on my watch. I accept.”

He nodded, “Then you will find Gaara waiting for you at the training grounds.”

I nodded.

“You are dismissed, Kaya.” The Hokage tole me.

I bowed and turned leaving the room, and closing the door behind me.

I stayed under the shade of the trees in the training grounds as I watched Naruto and Gaara spare a little.

“You’ve gotten better.” Gaara noted to the blonde.

“Yeah, I’m not going to let you be that far a head of me for long, Gaara.” Naruto told him.

“I expect nothing less.” The red head told him, “I’m sorry to cut this interaction short, Naruto, but-”

“I know, I know.” Naruto cut in, “You got things to do. Thanks for taking the time though. I’ll see ya’ later!” The blonde then took off running, most likely to Ichiraku’s.

The red head sighed as he watched his friend take off. I approached slowly from my position.

“Good morning, Gaara-sama.” I said as I came up beside him.

The red head turned to me in surprise, I had never used his name to address him since he became Kazekage.

“Good morning, Kaya.” He told me with a gentle smile, “I’m glad you accepted.”

“It’s not every day that I get a mission from a Kage of another village.” I informed him, “Though, I must say that I’m surprised about the details.”

“I couldn’t think of any other way to hang out with you as equals.” He told me, “Though, even that seems to not be 100% fool proof.”

“I’m sorry, Gaara-sama, but our titles still hold as they are. I’m afraid that’s the best I can do in terms of informalities.” I said to him.

His smile faded as I told him this but he nodded anyway, “Would you like to go for a walk with me?”

I nodded with a little smile, “I’d like that.”

Walking shoulder to shoulder we made our way out of the training grounds towards town, up and down the streets. We were just talking, catching up, letting little things off our chests.

“The rebuild had certainly gone well.” Gaara noted as we were walking down a back alley, “It’s almost like you can’t tell it was destroyed.”

I nodded, “Everyone pulled together, so the rebuild went very fast.”

“I’m sure you’re conflicted about your brother aswell.” He added.

I just shrugged before saying, “I suppose, you get used to these sorts of things.” I told him, “Being a shinobi, loss is almost a synonym. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just how things are.”

“I don’t believe you should lose anything ever again, Kaya.” Gaara told me, stopping and turning to face me. I did the same.

“That’s very kind of you, Gaara-sama.” I told him, “But I don’t think I have much else I could lose. My family. My village. The Hokage. I think the only thing I have left that’s of note is my life.”

“What about your friends?” He asked.

I looked up at him, he had grown to be about an inch or 2 taller than me. His face had matured quite a lot since he had first become Kazekage. His sea foam eyes were still unreadable to me not matter how hard I tried. His bright red hair was still messy, but considerably less than it had been before.

“I would die, before I let another person I hold dear die.” I all but hissed, “I lost too many in the war for me to be able to handle that again.”

My black eyes bore into him as I said that. I meant every singe word. I would never let that happen again.

The sounds of a stomach growl cut through my glare. I saw Gaara’s face become flush as the sound reached both of our ears.

I put my hand over my mouth to try to stop the giggle from coming out.

“Gaara-sama,” I said to him with a smile, “If you were getting hungry you should have told me.”

He said nothing, just looked away.

“Where do we want to go?” I asked him, “Ramen? Sushi? Bbq? Nabe? Curry? Sandwiches? Help me out here, I can’t read your mind.”

“What do you prefer?” He asked, still embarrassed.

“I know it’s spring, but I’m really feeling nabe.” I told him.

“Let’s get that then.” He said.

“Alright, I know the best restaurant too.” I said and started walking, him following, “My favorite pot that they have is the vegetable one. It always has beautiful seasonal vegetables in it, mushrooms, and both buckwheat and konjaku noodles in it. I personally like to get it in chicken broth rather than beef or vegetable, but we can get whichever you’d prefer. I’m just letting you know my experience, Gaara-sama.”

“It sounds delicious.” He told me, the embarrassment fleeing from his voice.

“It is.” I told him, “I just hope you’re a big eater.”

“Why’s that?” He asked in concern.

“I never really eat much.” I admitted, “Don’t get me wrong I eat until I’m full, but that just never seems to be as much as everyone else.”

“Whatever you don’t eat, I will.” Gaara assured me, “Especially if it’s as good as you say it is.”

Gaara sat next to me as we were perched on top of a cliff that overlooked the entire village. The sun was beginning to set and the entire landscape was bathed in a yellow-orange light.

We sat in a comfortable silence enjoying the view.

“So, tell me,” I said finally, breaking the silence, “Why did you really want to spend the day with me?”

The red head gave me the smallest ghost of a smile as he replied, “I don’t think you would believe me.” He told me in his deep, raspy voice.

I smiled, pulled my legs up from dangling over the edge of the cliff, brought my thighs up to my chest and turned to face him fully.

“Try me, Gaara-sama.” I urged him.

Gaara rose and dusted himself off before extending a hand to me, silently asking me to stand with him.

I took his pale hand in my tanned and scared one, allowing him to help me stand.

“I know you’ve never been the kind of person to cross boundries like this,” He started, not letting go of my hand as he spoke, “But a person like you, Kaya, only comes around once in a lifetime. A person who will do any and everything they can for what they believe in, to grow as powerful and as dedicated as you. Someone with that much passion and love in your heart, and strength that can’t be matched.”

“These are very kind words of you to say, Gaara-sama.” I said thinking he was done.

“Kaya,” Gaara started, some emotion I couldn’t place shadowing his eyes, “You have shown me love. And I have grown you love you back. I know we never had a romantic relationship to support me saying this. But I do love you, Kaya. And I want to wake up every morning to be loved by you, so I never forget how you make me feel.”

I could not believe what I was hearing, “Gaara-sama?” I asked slowly, not sure what he was getting at.

“Kaya,” He said slowly as he took a step back from me, let go of my hand, reached into his pocket for something, and he got it he knelt down on one knee before me.

One of my hands went over my mouth as I shook my head not wanting to believe this.

“Will you marry me?” He asked with such a beautiful smile on his face.

“This is wrong.” I managed out, trying not to cry.

“Do you not feel the same way?” Gaara asked, seeming hurt.

“It doesn’t matter how I feel!” I all but yelled at him.

Gaara rose very fast and all but glared down at me, “I’m asking you to tell me how you feel and you insist it’s wrong?”

“My feelings have nothing to do with it!” I insisted, “You are the Kazekage of the sand, you more than likely have hundreds if not thousands of much more suitable potential suitors than a Leaf shinobi!”

“Kaya.” Gaara barked at me, “I don’t care about any other girls that are out there, I want to be with you. I want you to know that. And as Kazekage I hereby order you to forget about titles and positions and what’s considered correct and what’s not for a minute and tell me what you feel right now, with me.”

I let out a small hiccup before answering, “I feel so unbelievably happy right not. I feel like I want to jump into your arms and kiss you and cry, and tell you I feel the same way. I feel so overwhelmed with emotions I almost can’t express them as well as I want to.” I wiped my eyes with the backs of my hands, not wanting to look him in the eye.

After a few seconds of silence between us, his pale, slender fingers hooked under my chin and made me look at him. His eyes were such a beautiful shade of blue in that moment, it made my knees go weak.

“Then do all of it, Kaya.” He told me and gently pressed his lips against mine.

The kiss was gentle his lips were soft and cool. I was so happy because I was finally able to express my emotions for him. I wrapped my arms around his neck, bringing him down closer to me. Gaara wrapped his arms around my waist and gently pulled me close to him not wanting to hurt me.

We pulled away for some air, we still held each other close. Gaara rested his forehead on mine after he pulled my headband down towards my neck. He bore his blue eyes into my black ones.

“So, will you marry me, Kaya?” He asked, almost desperately.

“I would love to, Gaara.” I said with a smile and pressed a light kiss onto his nose, “Because I love you.”

Gaara only smiled wide and pulled me closer.