Disclaimer: Naruto and Co. not mine. Stop making me say it! ::pouts::

A/N: this chappie is kinda slow.. sorry about that.. it's a transition chapter so yeah… don't worry it picks up a bit in the next chapter I promise! Thank you to all the reviewers! I dunno where I'd be w/o you guys!! Ok then.. here we go… enjoy!

Tidbit about this universe: Sakura's alter-form is a grey merlin and she is a Lady of the Avian clan. Ino, however, is a second cousin to the royal line and her alter-form is a black and white osprey.

The Legend of the Thiasa

Chapter 9: To Protect

Time passed quickly as the two boys tried to let go of their worries. Days flew by and each attempted to drown their memories of that painful night in each other's arms. Naruto worried constantly over Sasuke. The boy had become withdrawn and even quieter than he already was. Naruto knew that he tried to hide it from him and act normal, but it's not that easy to hide things from someone who has access to your mind.

Sasuke lay awake at nights now. He thought fiercely about his brother and how to avenge his family. There was no doubt that he WOULD avenge his family – after the fear had subsided, it had been replaced by a hatred that burned so brightly inside of him that at times, he was afraid Naruto would see it. He wanted nothing more than to see Itachi dead. In the dark, the boy's troubled mind twisted and bent, trying to find a way to seek revenge without alarming Naruto. If Naruto knew of his intentions… he knew that his mate would never allow him to go. He dared not think too much about Itachi's parting words. If he ever embraced his bloodlust… what would happen? That line of thought was the start of a very dangerous path that Sasuke was afraid of exploring. It wasn't that he didn't want to reach out and grasp the power that was right in front of him – it was Naruto, that damn Naruto.

Sasuke sighed and rolled over to gaze at his mate. Naruto's peaceful face brought a small, sad smile to his face. He scooted closer and wrapped his arms around him, breathing in his unique scent.

"Naruto, why the hell are you so troublesome," Sasuke murmured, unknowingly falling in the same footsteps as a certain other Canis boy. He closed his eyes and let the weariness envelop him.

Sasuke awoke at the first footsteps. He sat up, causing the covers to slide down to his waist and reveal his bare chest. Iruka stepped inside the modest room.

"Ah, Sasuke, you're awake," he said gratefully. "Would you mind waking Naruto for me? I'm taking you both somewhere today."

Sasuke opened his mouth to ask where, but Iruka had already ducked out. Slightly annoyed, he glanced down to his left at Naruto. Damnit. He hated waking Naruto up if for the only reason that he WOULDN'T wake up.

"NARUTO!!!!!! WAKE UP, IDIOT!!!!" Sasuke had bent down and was currently screaming in boy's ear. Naruto grumbled a little and merely flopped over, still fast asleep. Sasuke sat back up and glared at him. This would take something extremely creative to get him out of bed. He thought for a moment and slowly a sinister grin spread across his face. Looking and feeling very un-Sasuke like, he chuckled darkly to himself before executing his plan.

"…mmm… orange… bastard…i…" Naruto was having an extremely pleasant dream when suddenly a sweet aroma filled the air. He breathed in deeply a few times before bolting up, eyes completely open, and yelling, "RAMEN!!!"

Sasuke grinned and ate the entire cup before a shocked Naruto could react. "That's what you get for not waking up."

Naruto wailed. "SASUKE!!! MY RAMEN!!!"

"… mehehehehe…"

Naruto stared at Sasuke, shocked speechless yet again. Had Sasuke really ..had he really… Kyarae, he DID!! "AHHHH!!! Sasuke!!! You just giggled!!"

"I did not," Sasuke coughed, embarrassed, and tried to recover what was left of his dignity.

"Did too!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!!"


Iruka popped his head in, clearly annoyed. "Stop fighting! Honestly, Naruto, how old are you??" With a huff, he withdrew. He called back, "Hurry up, we're leaving soon!"

The two boys exchanged glares before turning their back on each other and getting dressed in silence. Ten minutes later, they found themselves walking briskly through the maze of tunnels, trying to keep up with Iruka. Sasuke had disguised himself again and the trio drew very few looks. Naruto, in his usual loudmouth manner, demanded consistently to know where they were going, but his questions were only met by Iruka's noncommittal answers. Iruka halted suddenly, nearly causing the two boys to crash into him.

"We're here."

Naruto and Sasuke gazed around at their surroundings. Before them were large, oak doors that loomed forebodingly. To either side, stood several guards, each one stiff and expressionless with attention. After telling the two boys to stay put, Iruka went over to one of the guards and spoke in hushed voices with him. Sasuke strained to hear, but by the time he had gotten the correct amount of chakra channeled to his ears, Iruka was already walking toward the doors, beckoning for them to follow.

Inside, a huge cavern greeted them. Lights of chakra floated in various spots, giving off a steady, bright glow that filled the room. Two elaborate wooden thrones sat on a raised dais, a sense of power radiating from them even though they were empty. Cushions and pillows were scattered around the room – it would be later when Sasuke and Naruto would learn that they were for the kneeling subjects.

As if sensing their arrival, a smaller set of doors on the right side of the thrones were thrown open. A woman strode through them, confidence in her every step. Immediately, Iruka fell to his knees and the boys were spared only a moment of wonder and confusion before they too knelt hesitantly behind Iruka. Who was this woman? Neither of them had seen her before. A smirk appeared on her small mouth, slight amusement penetrating her sharp brown eyes. Blonde hair swung slightly as it hung in two loose ponytails, in sync with her walk. She stopped in front of the bowing trio and placed her hands on her hips.

"Iruka! How many times must I tell you!?"

Iruka looked up, a genuine smile lighting up his face. "Sorry," he laughed as he pushed himself up off the ground. He turned and gestured for the two to rise as well. Stepping aside, he introduced them. "Naruto, Sasuke, I'd like you to meet the Thymera."

Sasuke's eyes widened a tiny bit before he immediately snapped to attention and bowed deeply, holding it and waiting for the command to be at ease. Shit. He had no idea this woman was the ruler of the entire Canis clan. None of the stories that had filtered through ever said she was this young!

"Rise," Tsunade said easily. This boy's military training was pretty good for him to have that fast of a reaction time.

Cautious curiousity filled Naruto. "Ne, that means that you're our leader or something right?"

Iruka flushed in embarrassment. "Naruto!! Treat your Thymera with more respect!"

"No, it's ok," Tsunade laughed it off. "Yes, Naruto, being Thymera means that I lead the Canis people."

"But…" Naruto sputtered. "You're too young! You're like my age!"

"For your information, I'm actually around the First's age," Tsunade replied cheekily.


At this, Iruka exploded. "UMINO NARUTO!!!!" Tsunade's face had darkened to a very frightening shade and even the normally slow Naruto realized he was a deep trouble. Slowly, he started to back away, holding his hands out in front of him in a vain attempt at protection. "Um… Um…"

Sasuke sighed inwardly. Were all the Canis this emotional? What a huge difference from the reserved Avain, he mused. But aside from that, he needed to do something soon, or he had a hunch his mate would not live very long. He cleared his throat and asked, "Excuse me, Iruka, but why did you bring us here?"

Iruka shot one last glare at Naruto that promised punishment before turning back to Sasuke. "Ah… well…"

Tsunade cut in, "I'll handle this, Iruka." She faced Sasuke and appraised him critically. "So. You are Uchiha Sasuke from the mighty Uchiha clan of the Avian people."

Sasuke started in shock. How did she -? Swiftly he shot a look at Iruka. Just what did Naruto's father think he was doing?? His face hardened and subtly he shifted into a stance where he would be ready to fight.

Seeing his reaction, Tsunade snorted. "Don't worry, kid. I'm not gonna harm you. And don't even bother trying to fight me – you won't win." Her expression grew grave. "Don't blame Iruka for telling me. I would have found out anyway."

Sasuke stayed in his fighting stance, still wary. "What do you want with me then?"

"Well, first of all, get rid of that ridiculous disguise." Sasuke glanced at Naruto for reassurance before hesitantly shedding his disguise. Secretly, Naruto gazed at Sasuke, amazed at how his heart skipped a beat every time he saw Sasuke's true form.

Tsunade grinned. "Good. Now, just a few questions, Uchiha-san. You are bonded to Naruto, correct? No lying either – I've placed a jutsu on you that'll make it quite painful if you do." She added.

Sasuke frowned. When had she done that? He hadn't even noticed and it was only when he concentrated fiercely did he find the faint traces of hidden chakra around his body. No doubt, if she hadn't told him, he would still be oblivious. He'd have to be much more careful around this woman. "Yes, Naruto and I are bonded." He replied.

She nodded. "Are you from the Avian clan?"


"What is your relation to the Maari?"

"I am his student."

"Ah." Tsunade paused for a moment, thinking of how to present her next question. Quietly, with a hint of darkness, she asked, "Will you betray us?"

Naruto lunged at her. "What the fuck kind of question is that?!?!" Anger burned in his blue eyes. Calmly, Tsunade avoided him and turning, caught him and punched him across the room. Naruto slammed against the wall and slid down. Unconsciously, Sasuke took two steps toward his mate before he stopped himself. Shaking, Naruto got up. He wiped the blood away from his mouth and stormed back to where his Thymera stood.

"How dare you… how dare you even THINK that Sasuke would betray us!!"

Tsunade performed a quick hand seal and Naruto froze. Softly she spoke, "Calm down, Naruto. I'm doing this because I have to. I have to think not only of you guys, but of the entire Canis clan." She sighed. "Just let me finish, alright?" With another hand seal, she released him, and he stumbled back into motion. Grumbling, Naruto crossed his arms and settled for glaring at Tsunade. She turned back to Sasuke and asked one more time, "Will you betray us?"

Sasuke remained quiet for a moment or two. "No," he finally said softly. "I won't."

Tsunade nodded, satisfied. "My last question is more personal," she said gently. "But please, answer it honestly." Sasuke inclined his head. She stepped closer to him to look him full in the eye. The sparkle had gone from her eyes, what remained was a deadly seriousness that made Sasuke tense.

"Will you hurt Naruto?"

"Never," the answer came naturally and firmly, leaving no room for doubt. Sasuke's eyes widened a bit at his own answer. He hadn't really anticipated that – the word had merely slipped from his lips before he could stop it. Inwardly, he frowned slightly in annoyance. Just how much had Naruto changed him?

A smile appeared on Tsunade's face, changing her expression completely. "Good. You may leave now." Some quick hand seals released the truth jutsu from him and Sasuke allowed himself to relax a little. She turned around and retreated behind the doors she had come from.

After a moment of silence, Iruka sighed, "C'mon. Let's go home."

Tsunade closed the door and was faced with a mountain of paperwork. She grimaced with distaste as she walked over to her desk. With a heavy sigh, she sat down and started working. She had barely finished the first document when one of her advisors, Genma, rushed in without even bothering to knock. She set her pen down with a frown.

"What is it?"

The bloodhound before her panted hard and with much effort, shifted back to his human form. He knelt still, trying to catch his breath. Worry grew in Tsunade – this must be something extremely important for Genma to have spent that much energy reaching her.

"…hah… The Viperia…" he gulped for air before continuing. "… They're massing and training people in huge numbers. Just two days ago, they started attacking the northern borders."

Tsunade's eyes widened. The Viperia were a clan in the north that delighted in warfare. For the past decade or so, they had remained strangely dormant and quiet. This alone was suspicious enough for Tsunade to send a steady stream of spies to keep her informed of their activities at all times. Her jaw tightened. She knew something like this would happen someday. She had been expecting it.

Grimly, she got up and started to pace as she talked. "I want you to send out 10 squads." She paused. "200 people – is that enough? Yes, yes, it should be. This is not an attack. It is merely to test their strength and see what they have done these past years."

Genma saluted. "Yes, Thymera." He slipped back into his bloodhound form and was gone as quickly as he had come. The blonde woman stilled and sat back down. She closed her eyes and rubbed worriedly at her temples.


Naruto and Sasuke were walking along yet another corridor. Sasuke had disguised himself once again. The chakra lights that were scattered here and there cast sharp shadows across both of their faces. Their footsteps echoed in the empty tunnel, the remaining silence only broken by Naruto's insistent chatter. Sasuke listened, only half attentive. The other part of him was still mulling over the Thymera's questions and examining himself. He felt his soul stretched between Naruto and Itachi and who he would become if he were to follow either one. Confusion – he was not used to it, nor did he like it. He stopped suddenly, his thoughts broken off abruptly. His keen senses told him that there was someone there. Smoothly, he shifted his body so that he would be ready to attack at any time.

Naruto halted. "Huh? What's wrong, Sasuke?"

Black eyes swept the area, the boy not responding to the question. "Come out and I might not kill you." he called out coldly.

A figure stepped out from the shadows into the harsh light. Sasuke scanned him sharply. Brilliant red hair that contrasted with pale skin and mysterious green eyes. Dark rings circled those eyes, making the boy look as if he was constantly glaring. A tattoo hovered on his forehead, partly hidden by the hair. A giant gourd was slung around his shoulder, nearly dwarfing the boy.

Naruto's face brightened. "Gaara! What are you doing here?"

Ignoring him, Gaara walked slowly over to where Sasuke stood. Each step was filled with predatory intent and his green eyes hinted at malice. Sasuke's returned stare was just as hostile – tension seemed to condense.

A faint whisper of noise was all the warning Sasuke had before he found himself wrapped from neck to toe in sand. He gasped for air as the sand began to tighten. His disguise flickered wildly as he focused his energies on escaping. In a deadly quiet voice, Gaara began to speak.

"Who are you?"

"… Fuck … you…" Sasuke gasped. His eyes flashed dangerously, even as he struggled inside. This boy – the bloodlust was going crazy underneath his skin just by his presence. He could not release it when Naruto was so near. He could feel his mate's worry and outrage through the link and tried to ignore him and focus on the enemy in front of him.

Gaara's expression did not change at Sasuke's answer – the sand merely tightened, leaving the dark haired Avian struggling for breath. "Who are you?"

Through the growing pain, Sasuke vaguely heard Naruto's shouting. "GAARA! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?! PUT HIM DOWN!!!" Sasuke closed his eyes. The disguise was starting to slip more and more as blackness formed on the outer edges of his vision.

Naruto was beyond furious. Why the fuck was everyone threatening Sasuke today?! He called up a clone and a sphere of blue chakra started to form in his right hand. "Gaara, I'm warning you!"

Suddenly, Gaara turned to face him and the sand slithered away from Sasuke. He landed on the ground with a thump, heaving for air. Gaara walked until he stood in front of Naruto.

In a quiet voice, he asked, "What is he to you?"

"He's my fucking mate, that's what!" Naruto yelled. "And I swear, Gaara, if you harm him again, I will KILL you, friends or not!" Anger filled his blue eyes as he stared at his friend. The Rasengan spun in his hand, still, casting it's blue light on the two boys.

Flickers of emotions ran through Gaara, though his mask remained unchanged. He stared at Naruto, unsure of what to feel or think. Abruptly, he turned to Sasuke, who had struggled up to a standing position.

"Do not hurt him," his voice had dropped to a deadly quiet whisper meant for Sasuke's ears alone. "The thought of your blood excites me. If it were not for him…" He licked his lips. "If you hurt him, I will kill you and enjoy every minute of it." Gaara's hands came up to form several seals and he disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

Naruto let his Rasengan fade with a pop. He ran over to Sasuke's side, worry showing in his eyes. "Are you alright?"

Sasuke nodded, dark eyes were distant as he thought.

Betrayal. Why did such a simple word have so many dark angles? Why did it call to him alluringly yet repulse him so much? He glanced down into sky blue eyes, wondering what betrayal tasted like.

Eleven days later, Tsunade sat again in her office, slumped over her desk. She hated paperwork with all her heart. She let herself drift off into a nice, peaceful doze. She had nearly fallen asleep when the doors where thrown open. Sighing, she forced herself up. Why didn't anyone ever knock anymore?

"Thymera! Thymera!" Her guards cradled a bleeding bloodhound in their arms, shouting frantically for her to do something. She stood up, wide awake now, and quickly went over and healed him, her blue chakra dancing over wounds. It's eyes opened and it struggled off the ground until it was standing on all four of its shaky legs. It's image blurred for a split second and when it focused once more, Genma knelt in it's spot. He trembled, still drained from his injuries and hurriedly, Tsunade helped him over to a chair.

With concern in her eyes, she questioned him urgently. "What happened?"

He breathed deeply a few more times, trying to regain his strength, before he answered. "The Viperia are led by a new leader, Orochimaru, who apparently has a ring of strong support to back him up. The ring's composed of three to five people – we're not sure, we've never seen them. Around three days ago, we were met with his advancing army. We fought, but their numbers were too great and so we retreated with what men were left."

"How many?" Tsunade breathed, almost afraid of the answer.


"Kyarae… where are they now?"

"In the medical cavern, I hope." Even before he finished speaking, Tsunade nodded to one of her guards and he slipped out quietly to check up on the survivors.

"Genma," she said, locking gazes with the man. "Could you estimate for me how many men the Viperia have?"

The brown haired man thought seriously for a long moment, wanting to give the best and most accurate answer. Slowly, he spoke again, "I would say they have 15,000."

The Thymera stood up, her face grim and hard. This was worse than she had thought. 15,000… even summoning all their strength, the Canis had at most only 6,000 able-bodied warriors. And how was she supposed to defend her people from two enemies at once? They could not afford to fight a war on both the northern and eastern borders – they'd collapse within a month.

When Genma had left, Tsunade sat down, took out a throwing needle and began to twirl it around her fingers. It was a habit she had picked up from her comrade, Shizune, and she found that the repetitious motions calmed her mind. She frowned as she thought of the new situation, wracking her brains for a solution.

Nearly three hours later, she had finally, grudgingly come to the conclusion that the only way to solve this problem would be to concentrate on the Viperia alone. Right now, they were the more deadly threat. She chewed on her lip worriedly. That meant, however, that the Canis and Avain forces must join if there was to be any hope at all of getting out of this alive. She slowly picked up her pen and began to write.

To the Maari of the Avian clan…

The sunset blazed overhead, matching his hair, hue for hue. Green eyes watched impassively as the brilliant colors shimmered and reflected off the tranquil lake. The evening breeze tugged at his loose clothing and ruffled his short hair. He had forgotten how long he'd been sitting there, watching but not seeing, too lost in his own labyrinth of a mind to care. He sensed rather than heard the footsteps behind him. The next light inhale confirmed his suspicions as his nose registered the faint traces of scent.

Neji stopped his steps and stood for a moment, gazing at Gaara's hunched back. A moment longer and he carefully picked his way over and sat down beside the pale boy. The two sat in companionable silence, watching the sky fade from streaked red to a husky black. Neji said nothing but he knew. There was only one person Gaara cared enough about to be able to upset him this way. There had always been that one person and with quiet wisdom, Neji understood. As part of the Brae clan, who stood on neutral ground and therefore heard many things others might not have, he knew of Gaara's past.

He still remembered that one humid summer. It had been years, decades, centuries ago – he didn't know exactly, to him time had always been blurred. A small clan of badgers had wandered in from the west, beyond the mountains and off the map. They had the misfortune of stumbling into the midst of death-smelling fields, where the dirt had been permanently stained maroon. They had been killed, all of them - save one.

The story went that a blonde boy had defeated this particular badger and yet had spared his life. Even when mobs began to swarm around the last 'enemy', Naruto had stood his ground and stood by Gaara, a mere stranger – even going to the lengths of taking several enraged blows. Eventually, Gaara had been allowed to stay and the two boys had formed an odd kind of relationship. Neji sighed. At least, that was what the rumors had said. He had yet to hear it from Gaara's own mouth.

Stars began to show their shy faces one by one. He turned slightly to look at the darkened profile of his companion. He understood him too, in a different way than Naruto understood him but it was still a connection.

In a soft voice he said, "Gaara, you need to trust Sasuke."

The boy stiffened then relaxed but his posture still reflected his troubled thoughts. Neji sighed and gently took Gaara's hand, giving it a comforting squeeze before getting up.

"He loves him, doesn't he?" Gaara suddenly spoke, his deep voice tinged with a hint of despair.

Neji said nothing.


(This won't be a very good one because I don't want to give anything away. Sorry!)

The clearing was jammed with people. A loud hum of curious chatter filled the area – there hadn't been a formal gathering called in decades. Men and women milled about, unused to their formal, traditional robes. Small children ran about, not knowing or caring what the meaning behind the 'playtime' was. A few small chakra lights hung above the area, giving off a warm, gentle luminescence that barely allowed the people to walk without tripping. The night stars sparkled against the black sky, companions to the beautiful full moon that provided most of the lighting. The banners that had been hung around the place fluttered in the gentle breeze. Suddenly, a few short strains of music were heard and the crowd went deadly silent. The music faded away and in it's place, the Thymera of the Canis people stepped onto the raised platform in the front.

Alright here we go… this might take a while, but I want all of you to know how much I appreciate your reviews!!! Thank you so much!!

LilBlackNiteCat: I'm glad I got the interaction between Sasuke and Naruto right… I was afraid when I first started that I would totally botch it up… heheh and you should know what clan Gaara's from now… I'm not naming them though because it's not really needed for the storyline..

Myuu-Foxgirl: ooo HP and the Chamber of Secrets is my personal favorite out of the series so far… well actually.. it's a close tie b/t that and the Order of the Phoenix… hahah maybe if you keep talking about yaoi with your friends, you'll hook them into SasuNaru!!! Yes!!! SN forever!!!!

Ghostninja85: sorry about the really long wait… and nope, Gaara's not a canis, he gets his own lil clan.. albeit a nearly extinct one but o well. XD

Renn: oh don't worry.. I get the feeling Iruka and Kakashi will meet again… someday… ::rubs hands mischievously::

ILLK: hahah I'm glad you think AU's are the best.. because that's mostly what I'm planning to write… I have just soooo many good AU ideas floating around in my head… yay!

Clow Angel: I'm glad you love the fic! It's not beautiful but the fact that you think it is makes me all warm and giggly inside… hehe

Noniechan: HAHA I'm sorry to say, but I'm already married … jk!… besides, who says I can't have multiple spouses?? The more the merrier right?? Hehe

Jinglebellluver: yay I'm glad you like it!

Pochacco5: Thank you!! ::blushes:: I know a lot of people who write soo much better than me though hahaha.. reading their works puts me back in my place whenever I start to get too puffed up…

Kurokioku: yupyup.. there ya go… Gaara has appeared!!! XD

Izumi: hmmm not sure about leaving Naruto as the seme tho… even tho Sasuke as the uke is a very adorable image.. I think I like it better when they take turns heheheh sharing is caring right? .

Demonesse: thanks! Hopefully this chapter was up to your expectations… hahah

Freakish Lemon: hahah I have an overactive imagination.. I've actually come up with a lot more details for this world but I don't have any room in the fic to put them… ah well.. ooo I just thought of something.. maybe at the beginning of each chapter I'll put up lil tidbits about the world eh? Yay I'll go do that to this chapter right now! And yes.. war is evil… enemies aren't really enemies.. they're still HUMANS.

Iceheart19: I updated! Even though it took me a really really long time.. but hehe that's beside the point…

Kieshar: Thank you for reviewing!! I hope you enjoyed this chapter too! Thanks again for coming out of the lurking kingdom!

Heero2001: ahh.. I wanna go to college… HS is too much drama, too much work yeesh.. anyhoo I hope you liked this chapter!

Tenshikaitou: oh no! sorry!! I tried to make the AU not as confusing… but apparently I didn't succeed as well as I had thought… well.. I'm glad you stuck with me!! hahah

Orlis-gal48(2: thanks… I personally don't like fics that rush the relationship.. it's not as believable then y'know? It's like.. one moment they're still denying the fact that they were meant to be together (which they are…) and then the next moment they're having sex… haha.. I just don't buy it…

Nakira Ayame Outsuno: Yes yes!! Read Hawksong!! It is such an awesome book… esp for ppl like me who are suckers for romance and action.. I actually read the book three times in two weeks… I love it that much…

::breathes:: goodness… how many reviewers are there?? Hahah it's ok though, I love you all!!

Kanemoshi: hahah yes I know… Kakashi does seem a little… irresponsible to be king right? Oh well… we all know that underneath that perverted exterior, he's powerful enough to have me shaking in my socks… wahahah KakaIru are so irresistible..

TheTrueSilver: was it sad? Errr.. ::tries to remember what exactly she wrote in the last chapter:: I can't remember… but … don't cry! There's a happy ending later I swear!!

Tryster: hahah I hate it when my hands are cold and I hafta type with gloves… it's very awkward and embarrassing.. I hope you liked this chapter

Melony: yes of course I had to stop there… it's what all evil fanfic writers HAVE TO do. I can't help it. Anyhoo. I've read Impassioned Shades of Red… but I think the only thing that the two fics have in common is the whole bonding thing.. and even then it's a bit different. O well. I'm still flattered that Thiasa is compared to such an awesome fic as that one. Here I'll tell you what happens next… ::leans closer:: psst psssst psst… yup! .

XxMercuryTearsxX: yay I'm glad you like the fic! SasuNaru forever!!! Woot! And I don't mind stalkers.. I've had my fair share of them hahah… and thanks for pointing out the difference b/t yaoi and shounen ai… it kinda confused me before…

Chibi nazumi: yup they're together! I hope you liked this chapter!

Yuki Sweettfurr: I'm glad you like it!! ::does happy dance::

Kimseh: omgosh.. you have to read Hawksong!! It's so awesome.. I love Naruto toooooo!!! Hopefully this chapter lived up to your expectations!

Dreamer: well… I didn't really explain it in the chapter, but Sasuke's cover doesn't really get blown… but Gaara already knows that Sasuke's an Avian… sorry if that was a bit confusing..

Animebay-b: uh oh.. I hope this chapter met those high expectations!! ::ducks the thrown vegetables::

The Original Dirtyangel: thanks, I'm glad you like it!

Kurisutaru39: I updated, I updated!! I'm proud of myself… haha jkjk

Momochi Zabuza II: thank YOU for reviewing! I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that you liked this chapter too…

Silent laugh: whot? What? I'm confused… but still happy that you enjoyed the fic!

Aivivi: I'm going… I'm going… lol

Nat: hahah drugs... SASUNARU will someday rule the world… seriously.

Quaebah24: thanks for reviewing! I've written more, as you can see, and I plan to write much much more… I have so many yummy fic ideas floating around in my head…

LadyRed06: yay! I'm glad you love it!

Monkan: I've updated! Sorry if this chapter was a bit slow… it's kinda a transition chapter… but oh well… I suppose the parts where Naruto got protective of Sasuke could be counted as sweet right?? XD

Wow that took forever… hahah