"We're home!"

Her statement, although very simple, made him feel good. He'd heard the statement time and time again when his siblings returned from a long mission and he felt relief but hearing Xin say something like that was completely different. Gaara watched as Xin threw her hands up in cheer. She was swamped in his overcoat and the sleeves waved in the wind. He'd forced her into the overcoat when her state of undress caused a serious distraction among the team. It was one thing to catch Jura staring at her chest. He did it often but it was disturbing to catch Kankuro's eyes straying towards her chest. Xin, for whatever reason, remained ignorant to all the attention she was attracting. Until he practically manhandled her into the overcoat.

Xin continued to cheer while waving her hands around. "I want a shower! And our bed, Jesus Christ I missed this place! Oh! And Ume! I missed Ume," She sung loudly despite it being the ass crack of dawn.

Gaara wondered where she pulled that energy from. "Shut the fuck up, Xin," Kankuro scowled as he followed behind her. Almost instantly she stopped her cheering and waving to glare at him.

Gaara caught her around the waist before she could bulldoze into his brother. Temari sighed heavily, sick of everyone around her. "Gaara, why don't you take Xin home first? I know the two of you are exhausted. We can handle the rest," Temari suggested evenly. Xin, despite her sudden burst of energy, was running dangerously low on Chakra and they expected her to fall over at any moment. Gaara hadn't a good nights rest since leaving Konoha, insisting that he forgo sleep to make sure the trio remained bound with his sand. The two were rightfully exhausted.

They glanced at each other, both frowning. "Ehh...but I wanted to get my hands on them…" Xin pouted while pointing at the trio. While the motion was cute, it was ruined by the meaning behind her seemingly innocent statement.

Temari placed her hands on her hips. "Just go home, Xin. We can talk about that when we've all had rest," She sighed heavily, not really in the mood to deal with Xin's sadism.

Xin continued to pout but relented. "Finnnne," She huffed and then looked over at Ukyo. "Are you going to be okay? The Mikawa's is on the way home, do you want to come with us?"

Ukyo frowned softly and tried to discreetly glance at Gaara. She'd be safe around him but she'd also be safe with Kankuro, Jura and Temari. Gaara missed the look, too busy with manipulating his sand back into the small gourd at his hip. Xin, however, was freakishly observant and noticed the small motion. "I'd hate to trouble you any further, Sensei."

Xin tried not to sigh, instead waving her hand lazily. "No trouble at all, now come on. Bed sounds really good right now," the older woman didn't give Ukyo much of a chance when she wrapped an arm around her neck. The motion seemed lazy but it caused Ukyo to be trapped against Xin. Despite her weakened Chakra, the woman still had freakish strength. With an easygoing smile, she practically dragged Ukyo away.

"You think she's gonna be okay?" Kankuro asked slowly while watching the trio walk away. Temari also watched them go while Jura busied himself with securing Masahiro, Kyohei and Genji.

"I really don't know."


"Yaaay!" Xin cheered loudly as she threw the bedroom door open. "We're home, we're home!" She exclaimed, flopping down on the bed.

"Don't jump into bed yet without showering," Gaara nudged her leg. "And I thought you liked going out on missions, what's with all this energy now that we're home?"

Xin rolled off of the bed, making a dull thump when she hit the floor. Gaara only offered a fleeting glance before turning to the closet. "I do, well, I did like going out on missions but that was because I was trying to prove to my parents that I was good for something. Besides, I felt like I didn't belong at home so I always wanted to be out on missions," Xin explained while stretched out on the floor.

"So you aren't trying to prove anything anymore?"

"No, I don't think I really have to. At least, I don't think I have to prove myself in that sort of aspect to you, right?"

"You don't have to prove anything to me."

Xin smiled slowly, eyes closed. "Aren't you sweet?" She mused seemingly to herself. "You want to take a shower with me?" She suddenly asked while sitting up. He looked back at her over his shoulder. "I mean, there's more than one bathroom in this place so I guess we don't have to shower together. I just figured we'd both be in a rush to get some sleep so..um…"

Gaara snorted. "Being bashful suits your sister more. It's weird on you."

"Oh fuck off!"


Xin's P.O.V

I managed to sleep well into the next day. It was around two, almost three o'clock in the afternoon when my body decided I had enough sleep. Sitting up slowly, I groaned loudly. I realized that ever since coming here and getting married, I slept in more times than I could count. If I was back in Konoha, even if I was exhausted, I would have showered and slept for maybe three hours before getting up again.

One change I'm not sure if I liked or not was that I felt lazier and even heavier. After my shower, I twisted and turned in front of the mirror, wondering if I had actually gained weight or not. Vaguely I wondered if it was all in my head or if I was really gaining weight. It couldn't be….baby weight, could it? No, that couldn't be possible. If that was the case, I wouldn't be showing signs this early. Besides, Sakura would have noticed immediately if that was the case. She would have noticed and slapped the shit out of me for going out on a mission while pregnant.

Which meant I was just getting fat and lazy.

Great.

Sighing heavily, I twisted my hair into a ponytail and made my way down to the kitchen. The house was obviously silent, not that I was surprised. I puttered around in the kitchen, making a quick lunch out of the ingredients that hadn't gone bad yet. Maybe after having lunch with Gaara, I could drag him with my to go grocery shopping.

The walk to the Tower was short and filled with villagers politely greeting me. It felt good to be acknowledged. Clearly they only gave a fuck about me because I was married to their leader but I'll still take it. Who doesn't like to be acknowledged after being gone for nearly a month?

For a moment, I pondered scaling the wall of the tower to avoid climbing those fuckin' stairs. By the time I get up those damn stairs, I'll be out of breath. Gaara probably wouldn't be too pleased if I did that so I just sucked it up and climbed the God forsaken stairs. "Hey, I'm alive!" I sung while swinging the door open. Granted, it was rude as hell to just barge in but when have I ever cared? This fuckin' ring on my finger meant I could come and go as pleased. Gaara would probably argue this point but that's why I never said it out loud.

Only to stop dead in my tracks. Matsuri stood at the desk, smiling sweetly with hands behind her back. My dumbass husband was sitting, innocently eating lunch. It didn't take a genius to realize Matsuri had taken it upon herself to bring lunch to Gaara.

"Oh, you're awake," Gaara said after swallowing whatever the fuck he was currently eating. "I thought you would have slept through the entire day," He stated easily, clearly not seeing the problem with this picture. Matsuri finally chose to look up at me, finally acknowledging my presence. She offered a less than sweet smile. Was I imagining shit? I thought Matsuri and I were as good as it would get between two girls who liked the same guy. I thought she gave up and accepted the marriage a long time ago but clearly I missed some shit.

At least Hatsune was upfront with her burning hatred for me. At least Hatsune told me how she felt about both me and the marriage.

"Yeah, well, I'm tired of being tired," I smiled tightly, hand still clenched around the doorknob. "And anyway, I need to go shopping and I thought I'd stop by to see if you're okay. You know, if you remembered to eat," I tried hard not to scowl but my grip on the doorknob tightened dangerously. When I felt the metal of the knob nearly bend under my hand, I let it go.

"But clearly that's taken care of so I'll just get started on the grocery shopping," I continued in the same high pitched voice. Gaara tried to say something but I swiftly turned around. It probably wouldn't be good to start a fight at the moment. And maybe I was being a bit sensitive but still! Matsuri better thank fuck that I was too drained to snatch her stupid ass up. I huffed as soon as I stepped out of the building, scowling as the sun practically baked my eyeballs in my head.

Now what the hell was I supposed to do with the lunches I made? I suddenly didn't feel too hungry but I didn't want to waste the food. I couldn't just carry it about with me all day, I had other things I needed to carry. Plus it would spoil in the sun all day long. For a second time, I huffed in annoyance and stormed off towards the marketplace. I really had to do something about my anger and jealousy issues. I'm his wife, for shit's sake, what do I care if he has lunch with Matsuri? He's allowed to have friends, he's known the girl longer than he's known me.

"Oi, Xin!"

I paused in the middle of my psychotic ranting and turned towards the training grounds. Kankuro was looking at me and Hideki was waving enthusiastically. Without thinking much of it, I easily veered off of my original path in favor of them. "Good to see you're alive," Kankuro grinned widely. "You missed out on Temari's breakfast this morning," He elbowed me in the ribs. I mindlessly slapped his hand away.

"Yes, well, not even burnt fish could get me up this morning."

"They weren't burnt, just well-done."

I snorted and shrugged my shoulders. "How about some lunch? I managed to get this together but I'm on my way to go grocery shopping," I suggested, though I didn't give him a choice. I shoved the lunches into his hand. "Give Hideki a break, yeah?" I nodded towards the boy. "Have you checked on Ukyo?" I asked quietly while Kankuro handed the lunch off to Hideki. He seemed grateful and rushed towards the benches set up at the edge of the training grounds.

"Hatsune said she was still sleeping and I thought it would be a good idea to leave her alone for a few more days," Kankuro admitted, peeking into the lunch. I nodded slowly.

"I'll check on her soon but I should get going before dinnertime rolls around," I said simply. Kankuro nodded, thanked me for the lunch and I was quickly on my way. I felt like a voice in the back of my head should be sneering in disgust at my domesticated errands and actions. But there was no voice. Maybe now that I finally admitted that the voice was just a scapegoat I'd created myself, it finally vanished. I didn't need it anymore. I didn't need to place the blame on anyone but myself. It felt good.

"Oi, spacing out in the middle of the road?"

I ran smack-dab into someone's palm. I blinked hard and backed away while rubbing my forehead. I peeked up and pressed my lips together. "Ah, I thought Gaara killed you before we left a month ago."

Sasori snorted and folded his arms across his chest. He looked down at me, unimpressed. To my surprise, I didn't feel annoyance at the sight of him. "I know your husband is a talented ninja but let's not get ahead of ourselves."

"Well he is the Kazekage and you...well..you did return on a stretcher, half dead and everything," I reminded him wryly. Sasori snorted but had no comeback for that one. That caused me to grin while maneuvering around him to continue on my way. Sasori quietly followed suit. For one reason or another, I didn't tell him to go away. "I've got a question for you," I prompted with my arms behind my back. Sasori simply glanced at me.

Like was he going to help me with the grocery shopping and if so, why? He wasn't obligated to do so and it was obvious where I was going. But anyway…

"What is it about me that attracts you?" I blurted out. Sasori snorted and pointedly looked away. I only quirked a brow and placed my empty hand on my hip. "And don't try to say you aren't attracted to me. You've come onto me twice. Very strongly," I reminded him blankly. Sasori continued to look away and I noticed his hands fidgeting before he stuffed them into his pockets. I blatantly stared at him, not really caring that he was clearly uncomfortable.

"You're mean to me."

"What?"

Sasori huffed a long sigh. "Women have always been the same, ever since I was younger and before I left. They've always been...quick to fall over themselves to get my attention. But you...well you're the complete opposite."

"So you're like a masochist or something?"

Sasori finally looked down at me only to roll his eyes. "No, I'm not a masochist. You treat me like a normal person. I'm not a nice person and you treat me how I should be treated."

"Well you can be a pretty shitty person. You lose all your appeal when you open that mouth of yours. Besides, you aren't as cute as my husband," I said casually. He shot me a look of disdain but I only shrugged. "Listen, as much as you annoy the fuck out of me, I like our friendship. It reminds me of my relationship I share with a certain Uchiha back home," I paused at the thought of Sasuke. I kind of missed that asshole. I missed them all, actually. "Anyway, I like our friendship but that's all this will ever be. And if you can't accept that and respect my relationship than we won't have a relationship at all."

Sasori didn't say anything and that bothered me. "Sasori, tell me you understand, tell me you respect me enough to bury it."

Slowly he nodded. "Alright, Xin. I understand," He answered quietly. A smile spread across my lips and he shook his head. "It was that smile, that smile deserves to be captured forever."

"What, like on a puppet? Because that would be creepy."

"Shut up, Xin."


Although Sasori lifted my mood and helped take my mind off of my anger towards Matsuri and Gaara, it came rearing its ugly head when I started working on dinner. I mean, honestly, that's got to be some disrespectful shit, right? My knowledge of marriage probably wasn't the best but I'm almost positive that another woman bringing food for someone else's husband is like a metaphorical slap in the face.

Obviously she must have seen Gaara during the early hours and figured I might be too tired to make him lunch. The little sneak must have rushed home to make him something. My grip on the knife tightened and inhaled I deeply. That had to be wrong in someone's book, right? I couldn't just be overreacting. That just seemed like you didn't do out of respect for someone's marriage. But they're friends, I can't tell him what they can and can't do for him.

"No...you go ask her…"

"Hell no, she has a knife."

"Do you honestly think she'll actually stab you?"

"...Yes!"

"Are you serious? You're like 6'0 and she's barely 5'2, just go!"

"Temari, you're tall as fuck, what does that have to do with anything? Have you seen how fast that woman moves? She'd kick me in the face before I even see her move her leg. You're a girl, you go talk to her."

I blankly ignored Temari and Kankuro's loud bickering. I looked down at the cutting board and sighed. "You guys," I called over their arguing. "You know I can hear you, right? Why don't the both of you just come in here? You're distracting me and if I cut my finger off, I'm cutting one of your fingers off," I threatened blandly. The bickering ceased but I heard some shuffling. The kitchen chairs scraped against the floor and the two settled quietly at the table. It was silent for a long time with just the sound of the knife hitting the cutting board.

"You're going to cut our cutting board in half," Temari finally said. "Those things aren't cheap, Xin," She pointed out. I tried not to roll my eyes.

"What's wrong with you, Xin? You homesick?" Kankuro piped up.

"Can't be homesick if I'm home, moron."

"Oh," Temari placed her hand against her heart as if she was touched. "Isn't that sweet, she finally feels at home."

"I've been living here for nearly a year."

"How is that sweet? She called me a moron."

"Well, you are."

I snorted and shook my head, suddenly feeling very maternal and domesticated. If someone would have told me that by the time I turn eighteen, I'd be married and cooking for a family of four, I would have slapped the shit out of them. Hyuga Xin, cooking? Grocery shopping? Refereeing bickering siblings? Ha! As if. Who would have thought? Married at eighteen, domesticated before turning nineteen, considering children by twenty.

"I think I might murder Matsuri," I said over their bickering. Again, their arguing came to a screeching halt.

"Xin, you give me that knife right now."

I scowled and placed the knife down before turning towards them. My hand tightened into a fist but I placed it against my hip. My other hand flattened against the counter but I spread my fingers out so that I could drum them irritably against the surface. "I'm not going to do it right now."

"Course not, you gotta finish baking that pie before going on a murder-spree," Kankuro sarcastically stated. I narrowed my eyes and considered throwing something at him but thought better of it.

"Shut up or you get no pie," I shot at him. Kankuro frowned but wisely chose to stay quiet. "I'm not sure if I'm justified or if I'm being crazy but something really bothered me today.." I started to explain, wondering if I should even bother. "You guys know I usually make or buy lunch to have with Gaara…"

"Mhm…"

"And maybe I'm just being paranoid or something but I went by to have lunch but it seems like Matsuri beat me to it."

"Matsuri made lunch for Gaara?"

"Yep."

"And he...accepted it?"

"Uh-huh."

Temari's face twisted up but Kankuro simply frowned. "So that lunch you gave us today was just second hand," He glared at me. I rolled my eyes and turned back to the task at hand.

"Be grateful that I decided to feed you in the first place."

"Shut up, Kankuro, this is important."

"I wasn't even talking, Xin was!"

"You were about to say something stupid. Now shut up, this is serious."

"How is this serious? So what if Matsuri made him lunch? Shouldn't we be glad that someone is looking out for him when his wife decides to sleep in?"

"Oh, well, excuse the fuck out of me for being exhausted. The next time you get wounded, you'd better suck that shit up cuz' I won't waste even a pinch of Chakra on your ungrateful ass."

"This is serious because Gaara is a married man. He just can't accept things like this anymore. It's disrespectful and it makes Xin look like she's not doing what she's supposed to be doing as a wife. It's bad for their image."

I stared back at her with a blank gaze. "Yeah, I guess there's that too.." I muttered. Truthfully, I hadn't even thought of that.

"Well, did you tell him that?" Kankuro asked.

"No, I had to leave before I ripped the door knob off to beat her with it."

"That's a new one. You never cease to amaze me with the threats you come up with."

"I have a natural talent when it comes to threatening others."

That made them both laugh. I chuckled along with them, suddenly feeling relief wash over me. I wasn't sure if it was because Temari agreed with me or because we could actually laugh like this together but I didn't care. It was a nice feeling. "You know you have to talk to him," Kankuro pointed out as I gathered the pile of vegetables up to dump in the pot. I stirred the pot quietly and then moved back to the cutting board. I grabbed the mackerel and hacked the head off. I started to quietly prepare it.

"I don't feel like arguing with him," I admitted slowly. "He's going to assume I'm just being dramatic and I'm going to get angry and threaten him," I pointed out. I really didn't feel like impending argument.

"You can't just not tell him. That's not how relationships work," Temari reminded me. I snorted and focused on frying the fish. Since when did any of us know anything about relationships? Did Kankuro even have a girlfriend? Would he ever get a girlfriend? Would Temari stop beating around the bush and just admit that her and Shikamaru are a thing? I decided to end the conversation about my insecurity and jealousy. It would only get me angrier because I knew I was right about being upset.

Just as Kankuro and Temari were setting the table and I was sliding the pie out of the oven, the front door opened. The three of us paused as I sat the pie down on the counter. I glanced between them, silently asking if that was Gaara or someone else. Temari got up and ducked out of the kitchen. I simply shrugged at Kankuro and continued on with setting everything up. By the time we were both settled at the table, Temari and Gaara came into the kitchen.

"Hey," Kankuro grinned widely while I simply looked up. "You're home early. Temari said you had a lot of work so we weren't even expecting you," He babbled on in an attempt to make everything seem like it was okay. Temari shot me a pointed look.

"Welcome home," I managed not to grumble. Temari shot me yet another look and I forced myself to smile at him. I'm pretty sure he got a weird vibe because he frowned at me before leaning down to kiss my forehead. The two settled down across at the table. The child in me wanted to kick Gaara under the table. The adult decided to quietly drink the tea set out.

"Xin said she was going grocery shopping so I assumed she'd make a big dinner since it's the first night back. Besides, I'm hungry."

Temari nodded along to his words, "you didn't eat today?"

"No, I had lunch."

"Really? Xin must be amazing to have whipped up something with the sparse ingredients that was left over," Temari added casually. I froze and turned to stare at her. What the fuck did she think she was doing? I tried to catch her gaze but she easily ignored my eyes.

"Xin didn't prepare it, Matsuri stopped by with lunch today."

Temari's blonde brows shot up her forehead. Fuck, she was a great actress. "You're telling me another woman prepared food for you and accepted it? Even after Xin went through the trouble of making you lunch?" She asked in faked astonishment. Gaara blinked in confusion and turned towards me. I pressed my hand to my face, shielding my view.

"Oh, that's why Xin gave those lunches to me and Hideki today," Kankuro snapped his fingers as if he just remembered. I looked up at him sharply and wrestled with the idea of stabbing him with my chopsticks.

"You guys," I scowled at them.

"You made lunch?" Gaara asked after taking a moment to glance at the three of us. I finally looked over at him and fought the urge to pout.

"I didn't do shit. I just came by to check on you is all. So did Matsuri, who cares?" I tried not to snap but I probably failed miserably. I was going to smack the shit out of Temari and Kankuro when I got the chance. "Anyway, I slaved over a hot stove to make sure you all had a good dinner our first night back. So everyone can shut the fuck up and eat."

"How can we shut the fuck up and eat at the same time?"

I slapped the living shit out of Kankuro.


Temari and Gaara were put on dish duty so that left Kankuro to my mercy. We stood in the hallway just outside of the kitchen, quietly hitting each other. Well, I was hitting him and he was trying to block my hits. "What the hell is wrong with you?" I hissed at him.

"We were only trying to help!" Kankuro whispered-shouted through chuckles. Fortunately I wasn't slapping him hard enough to actually hurt him. I was simply venting my frustration out on him.

"Did I ask for your help? And how did that even help? He looked confused as fuck," I snapped at him, finally turning away to storm into the living room.

Kankuro followed after me, still chuckling. "Listen, you guys really need to learn how to talk to each other," He reminded me as we both plopped down on the couch. I rolled my eyes and reached for the book on the coffee table. A romance novel. Great. I pulled my legs under me and leaned towards Kankuro.

"Why don't you have a girlfriend since you know much?" I muttered quietly, flipping the book open. A fiction about the Three Kingdoms. Dad made me read the actual Romance of the Three Kingdoms when I was about eight or nine.

"Cause relationships take too much effort. It's time consuming. It's not something I want to deal with right now," Kankuro admitted while leaning back into the couch. He spread his arms against the back of the couch and tilted his head back. I automatically shifted closer until I was tucked into his side.

"Alright but don't complain to me when you're the only one single with no kids."

"You're going to have kids with Gaara?"

I shrugged one shoulder. "Most likely. Isn't that what this is all about?" I asked while breezing through the first couple of pages. Kankuro made a weird noise and I just shook my head. "You Suna Shinobi are great and everything but what's something Konoha has that Suna does not?"

"Morons for Shinobi."

"Oh, you've got some nerve," I snorted and elbowed him. "Moving on. Konoha is filled to the brim with Clans. And not just weak clans, powerful clans with powerful family techniques. The Hyuga, Uchiha, Nara, Akimichi, Yamanaka, Aburame and the Inuzaku. There's also the Senju and the Uzumaki but they've mostly died out and the few that are still alive are spread all over the world. But anyway, we've got powerful families. Lots of them. Suna doesn't," I explained simply. Kankuro made a face at that but I only shrugged. "They'll probably try to mold our child into the next Kage. Think about it, a Kage with Gaara's talent and my bloodline. I bet your council think they've lucked out getting their hands on my bloodline."

"While I get that but isn't there a chance the kid won't inherit the bloodline? I mean, your clans, in order to keep the bloodline strong, don't they marry cousins?"

"Well yeah, they do. It's usually distant cousins, if my parents were say, siblings, or even Uncle and niece, it could've fucked my sisters and I up since their DNA would have been too similar. But yeah, there's a chance my kid won't inherit it at all. Hinata's kid either, since she seems to be on the track of marrying Naruto."

Kankuro nodded along to my words. "So if you hadn't married Gaara, you would've married a cousin?"

I shrugged again. "Perhaps. I think my family would have avoided marrying me to someone. There's a chance my kid could inherit my fucked up mental or bloodlust. Although Uchiha Mikoto always used to tease that I could marry one of her sons."

"And if you did, would the kid inherit your bloodline or theirs?"

"I'm not sure. They might inherit each in one eye. Which is kind of creepy. Could you just imagine a child walking around with one pale eye and one dark eye? And then having veins pulse out of the side of their head while the dark eye turns blood red?"

"That kid would be a walking nightmare."

"Honestly I think anything that comes out of me would be a nightmare."

Kankuro burst out into laughter. "You're not that bad, Xin," He insisted between loud chuckles. "I mean, if the kid doesn't inherit that awful temper of yours we should be good!" He continued to laugh. I tried to glare at him but his laughter was getting to me. My pathetic glare crumpled and soon I was laughing just as hard as he was. We didn't even notice Temari and Gaara come into the living room.

"What's so funny?" Temari asked in confusion.

We continued to laugh.


"So, did Temari give you the lecture Kankuro tried to give to me?" I asked while walking into the bedroom. My hair was wrapped up in a towel. I readjusted my tank top and reached up to dry my hair.

"I didn't know accepting lunch from Matsuri was such a terrible thing," Gaara said instead of answering me. For a moment I thought he was being sarcastic until I saw the look on his face. He seemed bothered.

"It..it wasn't. I mean it was...rude but it wasn't terrible. I was...I was just angry and jealous. And scared. Insecure, whatever."

"Scared and insecure about what?"

I rubbed my forehead and turned to settle on the couch. I pulled my knees to my chest and sighed. "You and Matsuri would have made a great couple. She genuinely has feelings for you opposed to the rest of the girls who just lust after you. She's the one I have to watch out for."

"You know you don't have to watch out for her. I'm married to you."

"But do you love me?" I countered. "Remember when I said love has nothing to do with marriage? I mean, I said it to be an asshole but sometimes it's true. People get married to benefit each other, we got married to benefit Suna and your image. Just because I love you doesn't mean you can't fall for Matsuri."

"You'd probably kill her if that were to happen," Gaara muttered quietly. I only stared at him and wrapped my arms around my legs. I settled my chin against my knees and sighed softly.

"No, I wouldn't. I'd be...jealous but I wouldn't kill her. I want you to be happy, I do. I know I suck at showing it but I want you to be happy. If you'd be happy with her, I would have to suck it up. I didn't come here to be happy. I came here for a reason and no one said anything about being happy."

"So you aren't happy?" Gaara settled down next to me but I didn't move closer towards him. Every time we took one step forward in our relationship, we took two steps back.

"Should I be? I'm a raging maniac with jealousy issues over a man who doesn't return my feelings. Should I be happy, Gaara? Would you be happy if you loved me but I didn't return the sentiment? If Sasori or Jura really posed a threat to you?"

"Of course I wouldn't be happy."

"Then you shouldn't expect the same from me. I love you but I admit that I'm not...happy. I'm content, I suppose. I turned my life around, I don't know who I am, what I want or what I need. I feel like I need to kick Matsuri's teeth in."

Gaara snorted. "Please don't."

"If she pulls another stunt like today then I won't really have a choice, will I?"

"Alright, I'll speak to her tomorrow morning."

I nodded along to his words. "Oh," I puckered my lips. "It's only fair that I tell you that I met up with Sasori today. Not on purpose or anything, stop looking at me like that. I literally ran into him and he followed me. We had a talk about relationships and boundaries but feel free to talk to him as well."

"Did you threaten him?"

I thought back to my conversation with Sasori and slowly shook my head no. "I didn't feel the need to," I told him, frowning at his disgruntled expression.

"The one time I want you to threaten someone and you decide to do the opposite and be a good person."

I made a sound of confusion before looking at him. A snort of laughter suddenly escaped me and I reached for one of the throw pillows used for decorations. I smacked him with it. "Oh shut up!"

"What are you, five?" Gaara snickered and tried to smack the pillow out of my hand. I managed to hit him a few good times before he yanked me up and tossed me to the bed like a sack of potatoes.

Asshole.


The very next day, I stood outside of the Mikawa house. I hadn't seen Kyohei or Genji but Jura returned home and placed on house arrest. The council were still deciding what to do with the trio of morons, I guess. I actually don't know, I haven't given it much thought. Sighing heavily, I knocked on the front door. I heard a muffled 'coming!' before the door swung open. Hatsune peered down at me. I bit back the urge to groan. Five people in the house and this one decided to answer the goddamn door.

"Oh, you're alive," Hatsune greeted me plainly. I only quirked a brow at her as she leaned against the doorframe.

"Remember when I put you in the hospital? Cause I do. I can do it again if you don't shut the hell up and move. I'm not here for you and your pathetic jealousy. I need to talk to Asuna."

Hatsune straightened up and folded her arms across her chest. "I'm not moving. What makes you think you deserve to talk to my sister? She's in a very fragile state and all you'll do is fuck it up."

"Have you forgotten I'm trained in medical ninjutsu, mosquito tits?" I snapped at her. Hatsune gaped at me and looked down at her chest. "You know, maybe the reason Gaara never looked your way is because you have the body of a thirteen year old girl. Now get the fuck out of my way before I break something else on you."

Hatsune faltered. "Hatsune, just let her in. If all she wants is to talk to me, what's the harm? You're acting like she's here to kill us all off," Asuna suddenly appeared behind Hatsune. She looked drained and like she would burst any second. "Good afternoon, my Lady. Won't you come in? I assume you have some information regarding my brother and husband?"

"Hey, Susu," I waved at her. She smiled softly at the nickname before turning away to walk back into the house. Hatsune scowled at me bit moved out of the way. I smiled at her while sliding out of my sandals. "Pardon my intrusion," I hummed politely. Ignoring Hatsune, I followed Asuna to the kitchen. She was already pouring tea. "I told you before leaving a month ago that you should be on bed rest," I reminded her sternly while sitting down at the table. The blonde only smiled at me before slowly sitting down herself.

"I have been on bed rest. Hideki and Hatsune refused to let me do anything for the past month. However, enough is enough. I'm pregnant, not invalid."

I could only shrug. "Don't say I didn't warn you when you go into labor unexpectedly. Anyway, I see that you seem to be in good health considering how close your due-date is. If I'm correct, you have perhaps a week left? Maybe even less."

Asuna nodded along to my words. "Yes, we are nearing the end. I have to admit, I'm terrified of the childbirth…"

"Nonsense! You're a trained kunoichi accustomed to pain. Birthing will be a walk in the park!"

"Really?"

"Fuck no, it's gonna hurt badly," I grinned sadistically at her pouting. "Don't worry, I'll take care of you. It'll hurt but I'll support you the entire time," I reassured her while picking up the teacup. "Hm, Dandelion leaf tea."

"You've have it before?" Asuna questioned with her head tilted to the side. "I heard that it's good for late pregnancies."

"My grandparents forced my sisters and I to learn the art of tea ceremony while growing up. Just in case being kunoichi didn't work out, we'd make the perfect traditional housewife."

"Really? What else did they have you learn?"

"Flower arrangement, calligraphy, I can play the shamisen, the biwa and the flute. I was also taught how to dress and undress myself and others in kimono. And then there's the normal stuff like cooking, cleaning and caring for children."

Asuna whistled. "I would have never thought. All of that on top of regular training and medical training? You must be some type of genius back in Konoha."

I sat back in the chair and laughed. "Nah, that title belongs to my cousin. Women in clans like mine are expected to learn all of that on top of Shinobi training."

"You Konoha ninja are brutal."

"Well, we're the best for a reason."

"And cocky."

"When you're as good as us, you're allowed to be cocky."

Asuna chuckled and shook her head. "As much as I enjoy this, this isn't what you're here to talk about, is it?" She said as her chuckles died down. Her pretty face twisted, settling into a serious expression. I sat up and placed the teacup back down.

"I wish it was," I muttered softly. "Jura has been on house-arrest and has been forbidden to speak of what happened," I reminded her. She nodded. "Right, well, we've captured Genji and Kyohei and brought them back along with their leader. Genji didn't put up much of a fight, not that he really could. If he makes it out of this alive, your husband might fear me forever."

"I'm sure we all do."

I tried not to laugh. "I think Jura will only be put on house arrest until further notice. But with his compliance, it might not be a long arrest. Kyohei...well...he hasn't really cooperated and he's caused as much trouble as that idiotic leader of his."

"He'll be executed, won't he?"

I looked her straight in the eye. "More than likely," I uttered softly. "Gaara has a kind soul, I'm sure you're aware of. He might try to avoid that but…" I trailed off softly. I really didn't know what Gaara would decide to do with Kyohei.

Asuna nodded slowly, taking in my words. "It breaks my heart to think Kyo might be put to death but...he's done some awful things. He let revenge consume him. I can't...I can't have something like that around my baby."

"I understand. I wish I could do something," I said. Of course I was lying. I didn't wish I could do shit for Kyohei. I barely cared about Genji. In fact, in Konoha, they would have already been put to death. Konoha didn't take betrayal lightly.

She smiled sadly. "That means a lot to me, my Lady. Unfortunately, the life we live is not an easy one. I only wished he could have met my little one. I'm sure...the brother I knew before all of this...he would have been a great Uncle to my child."

I doubt that. Kyohei was a fuckin' psycho.

Asuna's smile suddenly dropped. I watched in confusion as she paled with eyes wide open. "Asuna?" I began to reach for her. "What's the matter? Are you okay?"

"My Lady...I...I think my water just broke."

End P.O.V


Three hours of frantic screaming, arguing and fainting later, Xin presented Asuna with her firstborn daughter. The Hyuga smiled proudly at the exhausted blonde. Jura and Hatsune were sprawled out on the floor, exhausted and scarred by having to help Xin with the delivery.

The baby cried loudly in Xin's care as she expertly wrapped her in a blanket. She cooed down at the baby, talking quietly. "You'll look just like your Mother," She hummed sweetly. "Lucky you," She chuckled before turning towards Asuna's bedroom. She only glanced down at Jura and Hatsune. "If I didn't know any better, I would have thought you two were the ones who just gave birth with the way you're acting," Xin commented while delicately stepping over Jura's prone form.

The two let out a series of similar groans. Xin only rolled her eyes and approached the bed. Asuna looked as if she was about to pass out at any second. "Congratulations, it's a girl," Xin spoke softly while leaning over the blonde. Asuna let out an exhausted laugh as Xin settled the bundle in her arms.

"Look at her, my Lady. Look at her, she's so beautiful. Isn't she beautiful? Oh my God," Asuna babbled as she looked down at the bundle. Xin smiled sweetly and nodded along to Asuna's words.

"Do you have a name picked out?"

"Momoka," She said between exhausted laughs. "Her name is Momoka."

"Pretty name," Xin complemented gently. She glanced down at Hatsune and Jura and then clapped her hands. "Alright. Get up. We've got to get Asuna and Momoka to the hospital."

The two groaned at her words but she only rolled her eyes. "I'm on house-arrest," Jura pointed out from the far corner of the room. Xin placed her hands on her hips.

"I need to get her to the hospital. The baby needs to be monitored and the birth certificate needs to be filled out. Get your ass up and get your sister out of this bed before I rupture your kidney."

"She's a dream," Hatsune muttered into the floor.

A half hour later, they were down at the hospital. Xin directed Jura to a room for Asuna while holding Momoka. Hatsune followed behind the older woman quietly as Xin cooed and smiled down at Momoka. It was unnerving to witness the psychotic woman hold and care for her niece. The woman had put her in the hospital and broke her wrist on two separate occasions. She literally just threatened her only hours ago. And yet here she was, making funny faces down at the newborn baby.

"Hatsune, do you want to hold Momoka?" Xin suddenly asked. The question surprised her as Xin hadn't paid her any mind since leaving the house.

"I don't know how to hold a baby."

"You've never held Hideki as a baby?"

"Not really. He's three years younger so I wasn't really big enough to hold him when my mom gave birth to him."

"Oh. Well come here, I'll show you," Xin beckoned for Hatsune to come closer. She carefully did, never fully trusting the woman. "It's pretty easy to hold newborns, they're small and don't move too much. Support her head. Not so stiff, geez, just relax. Babies smell fear. I'm kidding. Or am I? Who knows but if you're uncomfortable then they're uncomfortable. Then you've got a crying baby."

Hatsune did as she was instructed and shifted her arms to comfortably hold Momoka. Xin smiled and nodded, proud that Hatsune seemed to get the hang of it easily. Meanwhile Hatsune's eyes darted from Momoka to Xin'a hands. Her slim fingers pulled and tugged at the blanket to better accommodate Momoka so she missed Hatsune staring directly at her face. This was the same woman who put her in the hospital, who broke her wrist casually like she was opening a bag of chips. She threatened her ruthlessly at every chance she got.

And yet...she seemed so natural with an innocent baby.

"You're the last person I would expect to be so….nurturing," Hatsune finally uttered, interrupting Xin's one sided conversation with Momoka. Xin didn't move except for the slow incline of her eyes towards Hatsune. The brunette wondered if the blunette knew how creepy that was.

"I'm the last person everyone expects to be so nurturing," Xin hummed simply. "You're right to be surprised. I'd make a terrible mother."

"Well, you are a terrible woman."

"A terrible woman with great breasts."

"Screw you, my Lady."

"Glad you remembered that title. Momoka can call me Aunty though."

Hatsune scowled down at the shorter woman. As if she'd let the psycho near Momoka. She opened her mouth to tell her just that when another, deeper, voice beat her to it. "You didn't kidnap someone's child, did you?"

Xin peeked over her shoulder and stuck her tongue out at Gaara. "Remember that conversation we had about knocking before entering a room? That applies to this office. And no, I didn't steal anyone's child. Asuna gave birth. I needed to fill out the birth certificate but Hatsune was too stupid to hold a baby so I'm teaching her."

"You never knock before coming into my office," Gaara reminded her. "Was it a safe birth?"

"I do that solely to annoy you," Xin grinned, finally leaving Momoka and Hatsune be in favor of sitting at her desk. "And as safe as a home birth can be. Momoka is a healthy bundle of joy," Xin mused as she began filling out the birth certificate. "Hatsune, why don't you take the baby to Asuna? New mothers get anxious if they're away from the baby for too long. Besides, Jura is probably being an annoying fuck right now."

"Jura is supposed to be on house-arrest."

Xin paused and looked up at Gaara. "I wasn't gonna carry Asuna and Momoka down to the hospital. Asuna is tall like some amazon. I wasn't putting myself through that after delivering a baby unexpectedly."

Gaara only shook his head. "See to it that your brother returns home, Hatsune," He spoke to the younger brunette, leaving Xin to continue her task. Hatsune blushed under his gaze but nodded quickly. Xin happened to glance up when she realized Hatsune was still in the room and still staring at Gaara.

"Would you look at that? You're still here. I could've sworn I just told you to take the child to her mother. Gaara even told you to take your stupid brother home. And yet you're still here. Fascinating," Xin bit out, rolling her eyes in obvious annoyance. Hatsune shot her a scathing look but quickly left. She politely said goodbye to Gaara before the door closed behind her. Xin waited several minutes before looking over at Gaara. "Did something happen? You really don't come looking for me during work hours."

"You're still supposed to be recovering," Gaara pointed out while sitting down across from her. Xin only quirked a fine brow and studied him for a quick second. She then shrugged and looked back down.

"Things need to get done. Life doesn't stop for anyone. Besides...I'm not doing anything strenuous or anything. I'll just make a big dinner tonight so that'll help my Chakra."

Gaara gave her a look but decided not to fight with her. "Masahiro wishes to speak with you," He stated simply. Much to his surprise, Xin didn't react at all. In fact, she hadn't mentioned anything about Masahiro or Kyohei since being back. Gaara had sworn she'd be kicking down his door with the intention of demanding to see either one.

"For what?" Xin droned, not the least bit interested. She should have been jumping at the chance to get Masahiro in a small room to herself. That motherfucker had sadistically tortured her. He literally tried to kill her, tried to have her killed. She'd obsessed on getting her hands on that bastard. And now that she had the chance she'd been craving for, she was going to wave at it as it sailed by her.

Gaara's confusion was evident in his face but he chose not to comment on it. If Xin wanted him to know, she would have said it. But then again, she probably didn't realize she was acting out of character. Which caused him to wonder, was she curving her bloodlust? Was she unconsciously making the changes she longed for? If that was the case, he was definitely going to keep his comments to himself. If Xin no longer wanted to skin the man alive, he wasn't going to say shit about it.

"I'm not sure but the council has agreed to allow it."

Xin's quick hand motions across the certificate paused and she looked up at him. "And you? Did you agree to it?" She asked calmly. There was no sadistic glee in her eye. No twinkle of psychotic mirth. Xin looked freakishly normal and it kind of bothered him.

Gaara shrugged a shoulder. "I think it's a pointless action but he will be executed so I suppose speaking to you one last time wouldn't cause any harm. Besides, I'm curious about what he could possibly want to say to you."

"I doubt it's an apology."

"Would you accept an apology from him? You never seemed bothered with him trying to kill you but you haven't been the same since your hair was cut off."

Xin scowled harshly. No, Masahiro hadn't been the one to cut her hair but if he hadn't sent Kyohei after her, her hair wouldn't be as short as it was. "That was just unforgivable. Torture, I can take. But my hair..it's...it's…it was special. Hasn't been the same since. I should punch him in his throat."

A very tamed threat.

"I guess it couldn't hurt to see what that moron wants," Xin finally stopped her muttering. "He probably wants to remind me that we're horrible people. Try to make me feel guilty or something," Xin spoke casually. "Jokes on him though, I have no soul."

Gaara snorted but chose not to comment. After all, he shared his soul with an actual demon. "I'm hungry, let's get some lunch."

Xin smiled widely.


Xin stood outside of Masahiro's cell with her hip cocked to the side. Her hands rested on the slopes of her hips as she studied Masahiro through the bars. He stared back at her, blank faced. She settled down on the ground and leaned against the bars. "Well? What do you want?" She asked simply. There wasn't any point to beat around the bush. "Something you want to get off of your chest?"

Masahiro didn't reply for a long time, opting to stare at the woman sitting opposite of him. When Xin's impatience began to rear its head, he finally spoke. "I just want to understand something," His voice cut through the silence. Xin shifted and looked at him, unimpressed and bored. "How can you be with him?" He asked slowly. Xin's expression didn't change but her mouth pinched a little. "You saw what he was becoming and instead of running, you went straight for him. Why is that? How can you see a monster and not want to run?"

Xin stared at Masahiro for what felt like a long time. "Well, he's good in bed so there's that," She said to break the silence. Masahiro looked at her with disgust but she only chuckled. "I think you've got it all wrong, Masahiro. You've got us all wrong," she played with the hem of her shirt. "The Shukaku is something entirely different from my husband. If you got to know Gaara, you'd see he's the exact opposite of the beast. Of his reputation. You wanna know who the real monsters are?"

Masahiro didn't answer but Xin didn't seem to mind or even care. "Us. You and I, people like us. We're the real monsters. The things we've done aren't because of a bloodthirsty demon sealed inside of us. We did those things because we wanted to. Because we felt it was right or because we felt like it had to be done," She spoke quietly but her words thundered in his ears.

"How can you sit there and point fingers when you're indirectly responsible for Minori's death? A child. You're the reason she's dead. You have just as much fault as I do. Gaara didn't kill her, didn't even want me to kill her. But I did it because I wanted revenge, which is why I also killed Kenta. You wanted to kill me because you lost your own wife. You wanted someone to suffer just like I wanted someone to suffer. Don't you think that's evil? Monstrous?"

The cell was quiet but Xin didn't seem to care. She continued to play with her shirt, waiting for anything Masahiro had to say to that.

"She didn't deserve it," He uttered idly, sounding like a wounded child. Xin snorted boyishly and shrugged her shoulder.

"Probably not but did that mean I deserved it? Or Ukyo? No and you know that we didn't. Did that stop you? Not at all."

"You killed Minori right in front of me."

"I did. Can't do anything about it now, can you? What's done is done. What you should have done is live on for the sake of Komari. But did you? Nope. Now she's dead, Minori is dead and look at that, you're about to die. Good job," Xin rustled around in her pouch, producing a cigarette. Masahiro blankly watched as she light the cigarette, eyes focused on the burning tip. "Was it worth it?" Xin asked after a couple of seconds of silence. "Not that you achieved anything but if you had, would you be happy?" Xin asked after a moment of just puffing away. She rolled the cigarette between her fingers before putting it back in her mouth.

"I think I would."

Xin snorted and shifted around until she was resting comfortably against the bars. "Yeah right," She chuckled darkly. "You're a disgrace," Xin commented simply with no room for argument. "But while I'm here, why don't you tell me some things? I don't really see a point in torturing you for information but I will if I have to."

This time Masahiro snorted. There was no point in cooperating, was there? Why tell her what she wanted to know? It wasn't like he would live. "And why would I do that?"

Xin twisted and suddenly reached through the bars. She snatched Masahiro up by his shirt and yanked hard, slamming him against the bars. She leaned in close, eyes narrowed. "You listen here, you pathetic sack of shit. For some odd reason Gaara is still trying to be lenient with you. I'm tired of this, it's not fun anymore. You're going to answer my questions and you're going to like it or so help me I will rip your fuckin' tongue straight out of your head. I beat a man with his own fuckin' arm once, I am not afraid of a little blood. Don't make me come in there."

Masahiro would eat glass before admitting that this tiny woman scared the shit out of him at the moment. He'd seen her at her worst, when she was broken and bloody and delirious. He tried to steel his nerves and sneer at her but she didn't seem impressed. There really was nothing worse than a fed-up woman. "What the hell do you want to know?"

Xin seemed satisfied by his cooperation and slowly let his shirt go. "Genji. I want to know why he was involved and how you got him involved. Did Gaara kill his great Aunt or some shit?"

Masahiro scowled at her insensitive attitude. "I threatened him into complying with my demands. I told them that if he didn't do as I said, I'd kill his wife and unborn child. I knew he had access to the things I needed since he was from Kiri," He stated, watching her expression closely. She was a twisted woman but who threatened a mother and her unborn child? Not even this psycho was capable of that.

"Huh," Xin remained unimpressed. "Yeah, that'll usually do it," Xin shrugged a shoulder and Masahiro squinted at her. "It's not like he's a ninja so there isn't much he can do to protect his wife and child. Pathetic really, I don't know why she'd fall for him but love is blind, I suppose."

"Have you threatened pregnant women before…?"

Xin's eyes hardened as she turned to look at him. "Sure," She replied blankly. "That's not the point. Anyway, you got any more followers hiding out in the desert we should know about?" She asked simply. Masahiro silently shook his head. They were all dead. Every last one of them had been taken down. Surprisingly not be her. She'd actually only taken a couple down compared to everyone else. Kyohei and Genji were both still alive but what good would that do? What good had they done?

"Shit just fell right apart, huh?" Xin mused dryly. "See what happens when you live your life so wickedly? Shame shame," She tutted and shook her head. She flicked some of the ashes off of the cigarette. "Well, one last question and I'm asking this seriously," She watched him through the bars. Masahiro stared at her for a long second. Xin stared back, not blinking. "If you knew what you know now, if you knew how it would all turn out, would you have changed anything?"

The cell remained quiet. Xin only sighed and nodded slowly. She smoked the last of her cigarette before snuffing it out against the floor. Xin climbed to her feet, keeping eye contact all the while. "Wait, you can't just leave me in here," Masahiro jumped to his feet, hand straining past the bars. Xin quirk a brow and tilted her head to the side. "I did it because I loved her, at least let me tell the council that! You can't just walk away, it wouldn't be right."

Xin seemed as if she was thinking his words over and absently light another cigarette She folded her arms across her chest and nodded her head. "Yeah, I guess you're right," Xin stepped closer and for a moment Masahiro thought the woman would actually unlock the cell. Xin reached for him, ignoring his shocked cry when she caught him by the neck. "I will show you the mercy Suna didn't show your wife or Minori. May you find happiness in the afterlife," Xin uttered simply, holding the cigarette between her fingers before placing it between her lips. She softly clenched the butt of the cigarette while he struggled against her grip.

Despite her weakened state, she still easily held on while he fruitlessly struggled. Blank eyes watched as struggled and clawed at her arm. Xin didn't react and quietly dragged him closer, pressing his face tightly against the bars. Xin continued to stare at him and smoke as Masahiro sputtered and clung to the last bit of life he had left.

And then suddenly, he stopped. His body sagged against the bars. Xin slowly let him go and watched as the body dropped to the floor, eyes squinted again. She unlocked the cell door and stepped in to crouch down next to Masahiro. She took her time in checking his pulse, all the while humming softly.

Satisfied, she stood up and quietly left the holding cell. She leaned against the bars and whistled low while flicking the ashes from her cigarette. Ume, who'd been curled in the corner of the room abruptly sat up. Xin watched as the little ball of fur darted down the hallway. For a few long minutes, nothing happened. And then Ume came padding back towards her with the sound of two sets of footsteps approaching.

Xin crouched once more, this time to scoop up the cat. "You're so small," She muttered to the cat. "Perhaps it's a bone-deficiency. You know, my sister's teammate has an older sister who's a veterinarian. I mean, I'm sure Suna has vets but Hana just has this way with animals. Maybe because she's from the Inuzaku clan? Who knows but we should pay her a visit next time we're in Konoha. How do you feel about traveling through the desert?"

"My Lady, if you're finished…"

Xin looked up, lips curling into a slow smile. "Baki, Councilwoman Mai," She nodded her head and coaxed Ume onto her shoulder. "You know he'll be pissed off if he finds out I had anything to do with this. I didn't want anything to do with this."

Mai remained stone faced but Baki looked somewhat apologetic. "We knew you were capable of doing what needed to be done. Gaara is a good man, a good leader and he would have tried to sway the decision of putting him to death."

Xin folded her arms and stubbornly looked away. Baki was right, she knew that. Gaara was the good she wished she could be. But she wasn't and even if she tried to leave the shadows, she'd always have one hand extended to it. "You'll keep this from him, that was the deal. But if he puts shit together and questions anything, I will not lie to him. The last time he found out I was keeping shit from him could have potentially ruined this whole shit we've cooked up."

Mai nodded with a calm expression. "Everything will be taken care of, my Lady. You've done something great in order to protect Suna."

Xin rolled her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. "It isn't the first time," She muttered loud enough to hear. Mai's face morphed into some twisted form of giddiness. Xin chose not to comment, opting instead to look at Baki. "Don't make me hurt him again," She uttered softly, regretfully. Mai raised a thin brow but Baki understood. He knew about Xin coming clean to Gaara. He knew all about their explosive fight. He knew about Gaara avoiding Xin, he'd even turned her away when she would pop up at the tower. He just wasn't aware of how much it hurt her.

Mai decided to speak up, smiling coldly. "Thank you for your cooperation, my Lady. We couldn't have done this without you," She commented coolly. Xin only stared back at her with a frown. That was a lie and the three of them knew it. They had a handful of Shinobi who could carry out this sort of thing for them. This was simply a reminder and a test. A test of Xin's loyalty to Suna and a reminder that no matter what she did, she'd always go back to her dark and bloody roots. Xin was no fool, she knew exactly why they asked to do this. She was a kunoichi of Suna now with an extensive bloody past. They would use her just like Konoha used her. She knew this.

With nothing left to say, she turned sharply and took her leave. She'd had enough of death, the smell was beginning to turn her stomach. The feel of the sun beating down on her was appreciated and for a moment, she relished in the sunlight. She made her way back to the hospital to check on Asuna and Momoka. Asuna was sleeping but Hideki was in the room along with Xin's unofficial assistant, Sachiko. The assistant was busily showing Hideki how to properly hold Momoka.

Satisfied that Asuna and Momoka were being taken care of and not lonely, Xin quietly left for her office. She gathered up the proper documents for Momoka's certificate and decided to drop them off with the head doctor in charge before heading home. "Hello, Moriya-sensei," She greeted the older man kindly. "I have the birth certificate for Sagara Momoka. Just wanted to submit it before I forgot," Xin smiled and waved the certificate around.

The older man looked up at her and smiled kindly. "Oh, Xin-chan, just the woman I was looking for," Moriya stood up and motioned for her to come closer. "Are you doing well? I know it's no use to tell you but you should be resting at home," He lightly scolded her as she came closer. Xin handed him Momoka's certificate and then sat down.

"I'm fine, Sensei. Honestly, you sound like my husband. I'm doing fine, I'd get cabin fever if I just sat home all day," Xin waved his concern off. "But besides that, you were looking for me? Is there something the matter?"

Moriya sighed heavily and slowly nodded. "Yes, there something I want to ask of you. It involves this last mission you came back from," He said while sitting down. Xin squinted at him in confusion but Moriya took his time in telling her whatever was on his mind. "I'm concerned for Ukyo-chan," He stated simply. Xin tilted her head to the side. "I read her medical report and with the situation, performed both a pregnancy test and sent her blood to test for any diseases she could have contracted from the rape," Moriya informed her with a serious impression. Xin suddenly straightened up and paled. She hadn't even thought of that. "Fortunately she came back clean. But there is something I'm concerned about…."

Xin only blinked at him, lips pinched into a frown. She felt like complete shit that she'd forgotten about the health repercussions of rape. What kind of mentor was she? Jesus fuck, she was doing a terrible job at caring for Ukyo.

"Her mental stability needs to be tested," Moriya told her seriously. "I fear she may not have the stability one needs as a medical ninja any longer," He told her, watching as her face crumpled at the notion. Ukyo was a great medical ninja in the making. Something like this just couldn't happen to her. "I want you to talk to her, access the situation and tell me what you think as her mentor."

"Like a psych eval?"

Moriya nodded and Xin frowned sadly. She sighed heavily and nodded in compliance. "I understand, Sensei. I will do it as soon as I come in tomorrow," Xin promised while slowly rising and glancing at the clock. "If you'll excuse me, Sensei. I have to get home soon."

"Of course, Xin-chan. Have a good night."

Xin smiled tightly and waved before quickly leaving the room. Her stomach was doing flips. What if Ukyo no longer had the capability to be a kunoichi? She had so much potential and now it was possibly ruined because of that asshole Kenta. Xin scowled harshly, fingernails digging into the soft flesh of her palms. She wished she hadn't immediately killed him. Death and bloodshed didn't excite her like it did but she would have enjoyed the fuck out of torturing that sick motherfucker.

She threw the front door open roughly and violently kicked off her sandals. Ume jumped down, scampering off to get away from her owner's foul mood. Xin paid the cat no mind and stormed into the kitchen. She wasn't in the mood to cook anymore but cooking usually did a good job at calming her down. That or sparring and well...no one deserved to get their ass kicked right now. There's no way she would've held back with the type of anger that was bubbling over.

Cooking did not distract her like she thought it would and by the time she was nearly finished, she found herself crouched down in front of the stove. The woman gritted her teeth in a vain attempt but suddenly tears were gushing down her face. It was just….God, she didn't deserve any of this! Her parents were dead, her brother was killed, her Uncle was a pedophile in the making and now on top of that, she was possibly suffering so much that she possibly would have to end her career.

She was thirteen, for fuck's sake!

Why hadn't she been quicker that night? Why the hell did she stop to help Hatsune, of all people? She didn't even like that little asshole and yet for some odd reason, she stopped to take care of her instead of going after Ukyo. What kind of person was she? What's the point of being this supposedly talented kunoichi when she couldn't even protect someone? What the hell was the point? And not only failing Ukyo, now she had to evaluate the girl and decide whether or not she'd have to retire early.

And all top of all that bullshit, she just committed murder after vowing to be a better person. What the hell was wrong with her?

It was all too much.

Xin sobbed into her knees, shoulders shaking quietly. It was just so much. She felt so guilty. She was such a shitty person, Jesus Christ. She didn't even have the right to cry! She wasn't suffering. She finally had repaired her relationship with her family, she was getting along great with her friends, Temari and Kankuro could comfortably talk and joke with her and she and Gaara were getting along great as well. So he didn't love her like she loved him but at least he didn't hate her anymore!

How could she just watch Ukyo's life fall to pieces and not even be supporting? The hell was wrong with her? No wonder Kankuro bitched about her becoming Ukyo's teacher.

"Xin, what the hell is going on here?" Kankuro paused in the doorway, stiffening when Xin turned watery eyes on him. "Ho-ly shit, are you crying?" Kankuro nearly shouted. Instead of fleeing, he made a quick beeline for her. "What the hell has gotten into you?" He grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her to her feet. Xin's tears continued down her cheeks.

"I'm a horrible person!" She wailed. Kankuro looked scared shitless. Because like, yeah, she was a horrible person but they liked her the way she was. She usually made jokes about her notoriety, why the hell was she crying in the kitchen? What the hell was he supposed to do? Where was Temari? He wasn't cut out for this. "Oh my godddddd," Xin continued to wail like some demented banshee. "I'm a horrible woman, I don't deserve shit!" She cried, knees suddenly giving out. Luckily Kankuro had a firm grip on her thin wrists and all she did was sag against his chest.

"Xin, you gotta calm down and shut the hell up. You'll wake up the dead at this point. And what the fuck are you even talking about?"

Xin picked her head up at looked at him, tears gushing down her phantom eyes. Kankuro wondered if it would be creepy to tell her she was a pretty crier. It sounded creepy in his head so he decided not to tell her that. "How the fuck do you want me to shut the hell up and explain what the fuck I'm talking abooooooooout?" Xin sobbed shrilly. "That makes no fuckin' sense!"

"You are the last one that should be criticizing anyone about some fuckin' sense!"

"I knooooow! I'm a fuckin' hypocrite. Jesus just fuckin' kill me now!"

"Xin!"

Kankuro was so busy trying to get the inconsolable woman to calm down that he completely missed his siblings hurrying into the room. "What the fuck is going on?!" Temari swore loudly. Kankuro looked over his shoulder and nearly dropped Xin once he got a good look at Gaara's face. Maybe they thought with all of Xins screaming, she was being potentially murdered in their kitchen. That was the only explanation of Gaara's murderous expression.

"I found her crying! I didn't do shit to her!" Kankuro swung around, dragging Xin with him. He gracelessly shoved Xin towards his brother and it was simply by the grace of God that Gaara managed to catch her. Temari quickly moved away in fear of the sobbing woman. This was still something they were trying to get used to when it came to Xin. Her actually crying was kind of frightening, not that any of them would admit it.

"I'm a horrible woman," Xin cried into Gaara's chest. Gaara made a confused noise as Xins fingers twisted the fabric of his shirt. He looked over top of her head but his siblings offered no advice.

"Yes, well, we know that Xin. Why is that making you cry? The food is going to burn…" He muttered the last part to his siblings. They scrambled towards the stove. The food was nearly done cooking so there's no way they could ruin it at this point. Kankuro wondered how Xin would react to Gaara agreeing that she was a horrible woman. He'd been too afraid to agree with her. Clearly Gaara had no fear because who the fuck would agree with her at this moment?

Xin actually started calming down. Her loud wails died down into soft sniffles. She blinked slowly and rolled her lips into her mouth to prevent herself from pouting. Although Gaara really don't care if she pouted after witnessing her having a breakdown. "Ukyo, it's about Ukyo. How could I let this happen to her? She's such a good girl and I let this awful shit happen to her. If she can't pass this evaluation then I'm going to force her into early retirement. She's thirteen with no family! How can I possibly do that to her?!"

"Xin, you didn't do anything, stop that," Gaara sternly reminded her, hands dropping from her wrists to settle at her waist. "You didn't do anything wrong," Gaara paused and looked at his siblings. They were trying to get dinner together but they were obviously listening. Gaara sighed and literally dragged Xin out of the kitchen. For once, she didn't fight it all.

The young Kazekage dropped her on the couch and then sat down next to her. He grabbed her hands, easily encasing them in his larger hands. "You can't control these things, Xin. Bad things happen to good people, we can't do anything about it but move forward. Crying and potentially burning down the house is not going to help Ukyo. I know you're upset and I know you don't want to force Ukyo into retirement but you have to act more mature than this."

Xin frowned sadly at him. "That's easy for you to say," She sniffled while rubbing an eye. He fought the urge to tell her how cute that was. "Matsuri wasn't snatched right in front of your eyes only to turn up raped, delirious and broken."

Well, he couldn't argue that point. Although Xin was snatched up only to turn up nearly dead, unconscious and apparently molested. And okay, he didn't have a mental breakdown and nearly burn their house down but he did throw Jura into a building and most likely would have killed him had it not been for Temari and Ukyo interfering. "Xin, just calm down," He sighed instead of arguing her point. Xin started to pout and rub even harder at her eyes. "Listen, I'll bring you food later. Go upstairs and take a bath," Gaara pushed gently at her shoulder.

"Taking a bath isn't going to solve all my problems," Xin pouted.

"No, but it'll solve that stench of death that's hanging over you."

Xin paused and dropped her hands into her lap. She looked at him, bloodshot eyes narrowing. "I do not have the stench of death hanging over me."

Gaara gave her a funny look. "You always have a stench of death hanging over you."

Xin seemingly deflated, forgetting that that sort of thing was a running joke between the two of them. She rubbed again at her eyes and got up. "Sorry for the breakdown. I'm just...I'm going to take that bath," Xin muttered while turning towards the staircase. Gaara watched her go, not moving until he heard the upstairs bathroom close.

"What the hell was that about?" Temari asked as soon as he came into the kitchen. He was glad to see they were able to save dinner. He was not in the mood for burnt food. He all but collapsed at the dinner table and wished Temari would just let it go. But he knew his sister and he knew she wouldn't rest until she knew what the hell had Xin screaming and crying.

"From what I understand, because she wasn't really clear," Gaara started to say, realizing he had to piece together Xins words to actually understand anything. "Ukyo needs a psych evaluation. If she can't pass the evaluation, Xin might have to talk her into retiring."

"That's….cruel," Temari said after a long pause. "No wonder she thinks she's a horrible woman," She said thoughtfully. "I mean she is a horrible woman but she's always been pretty good to Ukyo. As good as Xin can get," Temari commented as an afterthought. Kankuro was shockingly quiet and picked at his food.

"It's not her fault," Kankuro stated simply. Gaara only nodded in agreement while Temari frowned.

"Something odd happened today. Besides Xin's random breakdown," Gaara changed the topic effortlessly, gaining their attention immediately. "Masahiro is dead."

Temari and Kankuro shared an odd look. "Wasn't that the endgame?" Kankuro asked, not really understanding why that was odd. Gaara only shook his head.

"He was strangled to death. Correct me if I'm wrong but that's not how executions are handled."

Again it was silent as his siblings mulled over his words. "You didn't order that?" Temari asked just to be sure. Again, Gaara shook his head. "Well, what the fuck."

"You've been swearing a lot lately," Kankuro muttered absently. "Xin is rubbing off on you."

"Xin is responsible."

"What?"

Gaara nodded slowly. "I made a comment about her smelling like death, like I usually do. She became defensive. She was also the last one to speak to Masahiro before he was found dead."

"Why the fuck…"

"I'm certain Baki and Mai had her do it."

"Gaara, you can't keep revealing these things and not explaining them fully. Why would they have Xin strangle him to death?"

Gaara ignored Temari's obvious exasperation. "I don't know but they didn't seem surprised when he was found dead."

"Is Kyohei and Genji still alive?" Kankuro asked.

"Yes, they're alive."

"Why would they want to kill Masahiro like this? And why get Xin to do it?"

Kankuro glanced in between his older sister and younger brother, both clearly annoyed with the new developments. "You were having doubts at putting him straight to death, weren't you? You said you were feeling a little guilty since you're the one who killed his wife...if it hadn't been for that, this never would've happened," Kankuro began to speak. Gaara could only nod along to his words.

"You wanted to at least put him on trial," Temari picked up where Kankuro left off. "I doubt the council wanted to give him that sort of chance. Why bother? He was dead set on ruining your life and killing your wife, why give him a chance?" Temari's fingers drummed against the tabletop.

"Doesn't explain why they would have Xin do it. I mean, we aren't exactly lacking when it comes to ninja who are trained specifically for execution," Kankuro pointed out. "Are you going to talk to her about it?"

"I will but I'm not sure if she'll tell the truth. She's used to working in the shadows like this, her reaction is to lie about these things when questioned."

They spent the rest of their dinner silently.


Xin grinned widely when he handed her the plate of food. She took it, muttering a quick thank you before shoving food into her mouth. Gaara found Xin, fresh-faced and smelling a hell of a lot better in their room, sitting on the couch. Her hair was messily piled on her head and her tank top and shorts were a little crooked but it's rather cute to him. "Did you strangle Masahiro to death?"

Gaara watched closely as Xin paused, grin slowly dwindling down until her plump lips set into a firm line. Her jaw twitched as she chewed slowly. "Why do you ask?"

"Because I would like to know."

"What gave you the impression that I had anything to do with it?"

Gaara massaged his temples and braced himself for an explosive argument. "I don't want any of your mind games, woman. I just want the truth. Did you kill him?" He asked firmly. Xin stared at him quietly and then set the plate of food on the coffee table. She looked back at him and then gave one short nod. She said nothing else, waiting for his wrath. She told Mai and Baki straight up that if he asked, she would tell the truth. "Why?"

"Because he had to die," Xin answered shortly. "Mai and Baki knew you'd try to give him some sort of chance. You're good like that. But sometimes you need the bad to balance the good."

"Any particular reason why they asked you?"

Xin started to pick at her food, suddenly she wasn't so hungry anymore. "They didn't really say but I'm pretty sure it was like a test and a reminder."

"For what?"

"Well, a test to see if I'm really loyal to Suna and a reminder that no matter what, I'm still that person Suna needs me to be," Xin replied evenly. "I don't think Baki wanted me to do this but Mai can be rather convincing, can't she?"

Gaara nodded absently. Baki and Mai were beginning to piss him the hell off. He glanced at Xin and noted that she actually looked apologetic. "Strangling isn't really your style, is it?" He asked lightheartedly.

Xin blushed and pointedly looked away. "Whatever gets the job done, I always say."

"You never say that."

A surprised smile broke its way across her face as he slumped down next to her. When he didn't choke her with his sand, she reached for the food once more. Gaara leaned back into the couch, laying his arms across the back of the couch. "Are you mad?" She asked around a mouthful of chicken.

"That you're talking with your mouth full? Yes."

Xin tried hard not to laugh. "Your sense of humor is disturbing," She pointed out after swallowing the mouthful of food. "No, I mean...about Masahiro and…" the woman trailed off guiltily. She knew Gaara would figure out she had something to do with Masahiro's death but hell if she thought he'd figure it out so soon. Mai and Baki would be pissed. Well, actually, Mai would be pissed. Baki would remained unaffected like he always did.

"I can't really be mad, now can I?" Gaara asked rhetorically. "It's not like I can force you to bring him back so we can put him on trial or anything," Gaara continued, closing his eyes and resting his head back. "He's dead, I just wanted to know if you would lie to me about it."

"I had no intentions of telling you but I told them I wouldn't lie if you asked about it," Xin stated in reply to his statement. "I didn't think you'd figure it out hours later though. Sometimes I forget you're so smart," She continued casually, finishing the rest of her dinner.

Xin leaned forward to drop the plate on the table before leaning backwards into Gaara's side. "You're terrible at giving compliments," Gaara commented simply while Xin dropped her head and chuckled. She scooted over until she firmly pressed to his side, grinning when his arm dropped around her shoulders. His fingers idly toyed with the thin strap of her tank top. "Are you going to be okay?" He asked suddenly, throwing her for a loop. She frowned and looked up at him, brows knitting together. "Ukyo," He answered simply and felt her shoulders slump under his arm.

"Yeah, I guess so. I mean, it's not like I'm the one who has to retire or was raped. I don't know what came over me."

Gaara rolled his eyes. "It's because you love her, you moron," He spat, ignoring the dirty look she shot him. "You're worried about her and you feel like you failed her and that it's all your fault," Gaara informed her of the missing piece. "But I don't think Ukyo would ever blame you. She loves you just as much as you love her, I can tell. She really looks up to you."

"Ah, remember, she said she's afraid of becoming like me."

"Well, you are a psycho," Gaara stated casually, ignoring her dark look. "But you have good qualities that any young kunoichi would idolize."

"Oh? You think so?" Xin mused with raised eyebrows. Gaara only nodded and tightened his grip around her neck. Xin leaned towards him obediently, pressing her lips to his jawline. "You have a crush on me, don't you? How embarrassing," Xin grinned against her jaw.

"We're married…"

"Yeah but still…you dork."

Gaara shook his head at her teasing. "I'm serious, Xin. You're a good kunoichi, a good woman. The girls of Suna will look up to you for years to come."

"Ah, like Tsunade? I always wanted to be like her when I was young. I mean, the legends are always about Shinobi and their accomplishments. But she's this great Sannin and she beats the crap out of people, have you ever seen that woman? I swore I'd do anything to be like her."

"So what happened? What changed?"

"I did," Xin shrugged a shoulder. "How could I hope to be like a woman who dedicated her life to healing when I was the one shedding all the blood?" the Konoha native sighed heavily. "I learned medical ninjutsu anyway but still…"

"You don't have to be like Tsunade. You can be like yourself."

Xin hummed. "You're surprisingly supportive, Gaara. It's nice though. I like when we get along like this."

"Ah, so you don't like our fights?"

"Only when they turn into those kisses I like so much."

"Which ones?"

Xin's grin was wry as he leaned down towards her but paused when the door suddenly opened. "Ah, I'm heading over to the office but you forgot to sign some of these….oh," Temari jerked to a stop at the doorway, a very light blush across her face. "Oh….well...I wasn't expecting this…"

Xin snorted and pushed away from Gaara, standing up while grabbing the plate. "I'm going to take this downstairs—stop looking at me like that," She hurried past Temari, head ducked down to avoid the older blonde's face. Temari watched her go, still a little unnerved with their relationship.

She turned back to Gaara, head tilted to the side. "Well, it seems like you made her feel better, huh?" She mused while coming into the room. She could faintly hear Xin and Kankuro downstairs, bickering quite loudly. She rolled her eyes in good natured, wondering if the two would ever grow up and stop their childish fighting.

"Why don't you ever knock?" Gaara grumbled while sitting up. Temari only smirked while coming towards him, holding several forms out to him. He took the forms from her and leaned over them, briefly reading them before signing.

"I did knock. I thought you might be asleep...not….trying to procreate," he could just hear the smirk in her voice. "But I really did want to know if you made made her feel better, hm?" Temari was grinning. "Did you ask her about Masahiro?"

Gaara rolled his eyes at her but then nodded. "She strangled him to death."

Temari's grin dropped in favor of a frown while plopping down next to him. She glanced around the room, remembering how plain it was decorated before Xin came in like a damn tornado. Come to think of it, Xin entered their life in the form of a typhoon, turning anything and everything upside down in her wake. It wasn't a bad thing, now that she thought about it. Xin had her bad moments but Temari trusted the younger woman with her brothers. She would take care of the two even if she insisted that she didn't care for their wellbeing. It might have sounded ironic, since she did just strangle a man to death, but Temari still trusted Xin.

"Strangling is new, isn't it?"

"Whatever gets the job done, she always says."

"She's…..never said that before."

Gaara snorted, "that's what I told her."

It was quiet for a few moments when Temari spoke up again. "Are you two planning on having children?" She asked, briefly wondering what kind of parents the two would make. Gaara paused, thinking the question over.

"It's a possibility."

Temari nodded, figuring they hadn't really talked about that yet. "You know last week I was convinced she was all wrong for you. She's not perfect but I realized I was wrong. I mean, she is a psycho, but she really does love you. And Ukyo, that much is clear."

"She loves you too. And Kankuro."

A slow smile pulled at Temari's lips. "We love her too. I hope she knows that."

"She does. She'll act disgusted but she knows."

Temari silently wondered if Xin knew that Gaara loved her just as much. She wondered if he even knew.


When the siblings returned home from dropping the forms off, Temari quickly went to bed but Gaara wandered towards the kitchen when he realized the light was still on. Xin was still up, surprisingly, and was standing with her back pressed against the counter. She was staring off into space, a mug pressed to her lips. He hoped it wasn't full of coffee. Gaara purposely made sure his footsteps were loud enough to break her out of her trance. She slowly looked over at him, lips pulling into a smile against the mug.

"You're home," She sighed around the mug. It was weird but she sounded so relieved and it made him feel warm. The thought of her staying up just to make sure he returned home was nice. Nevermind the fact that Temari had gone with him and they were only dropping some forms off. He approached her, plucking the mug out of her hand (and vaguely noting that it was tea and not coffee) to set aside. Her fingers were still poised as if she was holding the mug and she blinked owlishly at him. Her lips puckered in questioned when his arms slipped around her waist.

"Gaara?" She prompted as he folded into her, resting his chin against her shoulder. "Did something happen?" Xin asked while twisting her arms around his torso. "Are you okay?" She asked slowly, fingers drawing soothing patterns into his back. She pulled back from him, a worried smile pulling at her lips. "Should I be concerned? You're making me nervous."

The redhead stared down at her, wondering how they'd gotten this far and where they'd go and if they'd be happy together. He thought about Temari's question on having children and wondered if that was in their future. He thought about Xin's insistence that she was a horrible woman and her early breakdown for Ukyo.

Gaara's hands encased her face, fingers easily cradling her skull. She tilted her head back and though there was still some concern in her eyes, they obediently slid close. She pulled her hands away to place them on his arms, sighing softly when he settled a kiss on her lips. "Everything will be okay," He uttered against her lips, for whose sake, he wasn't sure. Her lips pulled into a smile against his and she leaned away to show him that pretty smile of hers.

"If I'm being honest, I'm a little concerned," She was still smiling but he could see the concern still in her eyes. "You seem a little…I don't know...off. Are you really okay?" She held her hands up as if she was either waiting for him to topple over or warding him away. For a moment, he thought her hands would start glowing green.

But Gaara leaned in, resting his forehead against her. Her hands pressed into his chest but she didn't push him away so he locked his arms around her waist. "I love you."

For a moment, Xin didn't react. For a long moment she just stood locked in his embrace. Slowly her arms tensed and her fingers curled against his chest. "You...what?" Her smile completely vanished in favor of a look of shock. "Are you drunk? Were you drinking again?"

"You think Temari would stop for drinks on the way home?"

"I don't know what the fuck I think that woman would do but I think you just said some serious shit that can't be taken lightly," She pointed out. "Look, I know I'm a horrible person but that's not funny."

"It's not a joke."

Xin had no comeback for that, quietly staring up at him with a pinched mouth. In fact, she stewed quietly for several minutes. "Why?" she broke the silence. What a stupid question, he thought. He didn't bother asking her why she loved him the first time she said it. Then again, she blurted it out and then vehemently avoided talking about it. But Xin was freakish about that and was in denial. He wasn't.

"Because I just do," He answered simply, almost laughing at her confused face. She looked as if she would fight his very simple reasoning but her lips pulled into yet another smile and her face flushed red.

"I love you too. Just because I do," She declared around her shy smile. It was a little odd to hear her willingly admit it and not spitting it out angrily. But either way, he didn't fight her when she wrapped her thin fingers around his arm and pulled him out of the kitchen and up towards their bedroom. Didn't fight her at all.


TeeBeMe: Shades of Cool is still alive, lol.

dancibayo: Yep, the're alive. This story is set in an AU, not in the canon universe. They're not exactly important to the story and the story is almost over but perhaps they'll pop back up again. Your avatar is really great! Despite not liking het relationships, I'm glad you gave the story and Xin a chance. And no worries, I like rambles and questions and all that!

LightMidnight: I think above all else, comedy is my specialty, lol. Glad you liked everything and I hope you like this chapter.

Skywriter14: You know, notifications had been really wonky lately. Hope this one shows up and I hope you like the chapter!

emilyamazing: bruh, I only keep up with Boruto cause I want to see everyone as adults. I'm not really fond of Boruto or even Sarada. The only kids I'm fond of are Hima because she's cute as fuck and Chocho but even that's not really enough to make me want to watch the show or read the manga. It's so different from Naruto and I'm kind of disappointed!

curlystruggle: Xin and Gaara are a weird couple but that's why they work, lol. hope you enjoyed!

zerom1v: Xin is having a hard time changing but she is trying so A for effort! Gaara does love Xin but up until now he could never put it into words. Least he finally said it though, right? Boruto is a little shit, just saying.

marinaa07: I love you and your long-winded reviews. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a long review, short ones are just as appreciated but you get what I'm saying. I'm so glad my writing has inspired you, writers block is such a bitch! Xin is a psycho but that's why I love her so much, I wanted to make her as different as possible but not so much that she comes off as a Mary-Sue. Gaara finaaaaally told her that he loves her so I hope that makes up for all the sad times when he didn't return the feeling. Don't feel bad for Jura, he'll be alright. Who told him to fall for a married woman? Letting the characters make their own choices and face the consequences is exactly what I'm talking about when I say Xin basically writes herself, glad you could get that! I really hope you enjoyed this update and I look forward to any of your feedback! Xin would totally approve a nice cup of scotch and a good read.

saltqueen: see the problem with both of them is that neither of them really understand love. that's exactly why they're so okay with how destructive and abusive their relationship is but they'll learn. hope you liked the update.

OtakuTrash: Glad you caught the last author's note! You really motivated me to finish that last chapter, honestly. Sometimes I feel a little guilty when yall forsake sleep to read the chapters but I've been there too so at the same time it kind of makes me happy? Idk, that probably sounds weird or something so hopefully you get what I mean, lol. As I said before, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

kateskates24: Why thank you so much, glad this could be one of your favorites. hope you enjoyed!

sukondis: you know, sometimes I'm a little insecure when I'm writing certain characters cause' I'm like 'would they say this?' or 'is this how they would react or am I just being shitty?' so I'm really glad when yall tell me not only about Xin's characterization but everyone else's too, especially when it comes to dealing with an original character.

Akari: Jura will be alright, this is his punishment. I want them babies too, I bet they'd make some cute babies. A pregnant Xin would be so fun to write, I'm considering certain things when it comes to her future! Hope you enjoyed the update.

I hope you all enjoyed the update and will review. I know this chapter is a little...surprising so I really want you guys to tell me what you think. Until next time, stay safe!