Disclaimers- All characters and the world are the intellectual property of Masashi Kishimoto. He's done an amazing job of creating them and making them come alive for us. This story is my creation of what might happen with his characters. Thank you for reading.


Raido waved to his friends as his eyes adjusted to the dimly lit bar and he made a stop to get himself a whiskey before he joined them. Smiling at the bartender "Hi there Megumi. I'll have a whiskey, on the rocks tonight." As he waited for his drink he looked around to get a feel for who was here tonight.

"Well hello there Raido."

A soft feminine voice caught his attention and not recognizing it immediately he turned to see who it was. His face registered his surprise. "Miki? I can't believe it! I thought you'd moved to Kiri?"

"Well I did for a while but really just to study business under Dad's friend. I've been back for a year or so."

"I see." He didn't add that she hadn't bothered to look him up. "So what have you been up to?"

"The usual. I run the shop for Dad now. He just shows up and works." Her laugh tinkled in his ears pleasantly. "You?"

"The same. I was invited to be a Hokage guard and I work on special missions when they ask me to."

"Still serving your village, huh?"

"So are you , really."

"Yeah. But not to the exception, and possible cost, of my life." She smiled at him and it was apparent that she was still hurt by the choices he'd made ten years ago when he'd explained that he couldn't date her anymore.

"I have a life, it's just that the village comes first for me. I can't help that." He sounded a bit more defensive than he needed to, in his opinion. "Have you met anyone?"

"I dated a guy in Kiri for a while but for the most part I've been a loner. You?"

"The same." He saw Genma watching him and wondering when he would join them but at the moment he really wanted to just stand here and talk with Miki. Ten years had not changed her much, she was beautiful. Her blond hair was longer than it had been falling close to her waist and tonight it was hanging down behind her just asking for him to bury his head in it. She was just slightly shorter than he was and although she was curvier than she had been she was by no means heavy. It was more the curves of maturity and he liked them. At that moment he made the decision to sit down and spend some time with her. Genma would understand. "Can I buy you a drink?"

She smiled at him, "hoping to catch up on old times?"

His eyes twinkled at her "Maybe." And he slid into the seat next to her. "Maybe I just want to spend some time with a beautiful woman." His tone bordered on teasing and his eyes twinkled at her.

She laughed lightly, "Would that be me you are so shamelessly flirting with Namiasha-san?"

"Maybe." He grinned at her and indicated she should order a drink for herself while he sipped at the whiskey in his hand.

"You've changed." Her tone was neutral and it was unclear whether this change was good or bad.

"What do you mean?" He looked at her questioningly. "The scar?"

"Well that is new but I mean you used to be so serious. You've lightened up. Or maybe grown up?"

He chuckled. "Maybe a little of both. Putting your life on the line tends to cause that." His eyes softened as he looked at her. "What about you? Has life been good to you?"

"I guess. I learned a lot from Dad's friend in Kiri. And I am doing well running the shop. But sometimes life seems so empty." She sighed and looked at him with a wistful glance.

Raido thought he knew what she was thinking. They'd had a very serious relationship ten years ago when he'd been invited to join in some elite training that had resulted in his assassination skills and eventual invitation to the Hokage Guard squad. He'd decided that he had to give himself all or nothing to the training and broken it off with her. She'd been hurt very deeply by his choice of the village over her and had left for Kiri within a few months. "I guess you just have to find ways to fill it with those you love to make it seem less empty, huh?"

Her gaze drifted over him and he knew she was remembering the last time they had met. He had taken her on a picnic to break the news to her, hoping that she'd understand his need to serve Konoha. She hadn't, she had screamed at him, and then sat against a tree with her legs pulled up to her chest and cried as if her best friend had died. He'd never felt so terrible in his life as he did that day, knowing he had broken the heart of the woman he loved, but he also knew he was doing the right thing. "And have you found ways to fill it then?" Her tone implied that she wondered if he'd moved on.

"I have friends." He nodded towards Genma and her gaze followed.

"Genma?" She sounded hurt. "You replaced me with Genma?"

"He's hardly a replacement." Raido let his hand rest on her arm. "He has been a good friend though in good times and bad." He let his eyes meet hers with a serious gaze, "There hasn't been anyone else, not seriously, since you Miki. If that's what you want to know."

"Really?" The surprise was unmistakeable in her voice and then she was quiet as if she didn't dare say what she was thinking out loud lest it be true. "I guess I always figured that you were just giving me a line to get rid of me and make room for someone else."

"That was never my intention Miki." Raido felt bad that she had thought this. "I really needed to concentrate on my training. And I was training to be an assassin, it's not exactly safe work. I couldn't go to work and worry that I'd never come home to you."

Her eyes softened. "I think I knew that deep down and never wanted to accept it." She sighed again. "So how is work? Are you still an assassin?"

"I am."

"Oh." Disappointment filled her voice. She looked at him with a sadness that he hated. "I guess I should be getting home, the shop opens early."

"Miki," Raido put his hand on her arm. "I made a choice that I thought I had to make. I'm older and wiser now and I'd like a second chance if you're willing to give me one." He looked into her eyes. "I'd like to take you out for dinner tomorrow night if you'll let me."

She smiled up at him sadly, "I don't know if my heart can take another rejection from you, Raido."

"I understand. Will you think about it?"

"I will." She smiled up at him and as she stood to leave she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a hug, pressing herself against him as she did. "Will you pick me up tomorrow night, or should I meet you somewhere?" Her smile gave him all the encouragement he needed.

"I'll pick you up." He let his lips brush her cheek as she turned to leave. "Thank you for the second chance."