Warnings: Cheese, cheese, and more cheese.
Author's Notes: Yay for epilogues. Some of you guys are seriously bloody-thirsty for a nicer end to this story. LOL. Here you have it. A more "endish" end. You'll like it. That is, if the sap doesn't overwhelm you.
It's Spring, yet again. I roll my eyes as I look out the window. A strange feeling of déjà vu overwhelms me. Yes, the birds still feel like singing as if summer, fall, and winter never passed. The sky has never been bluer and clouds have never looked more innocent and serene. The smell of flowers bombards my senses and I can't help it if I find the whole scenario so redundant and happy to excess.
A year later and I'm still doing the same thing. It's not exactly the same because I've decided to do more ninja work on the side of my tending and selling of flowers. Memories from last Spring always fill my mind whenever I do anything that might remind me of him. Of course that includes too many things. Flowers, ramen, sweeping, drinking water, sand, hospitals…
All these things remind me of him. Unlike the rest of the young Konoha couples, my "other half" is far away in a desert. I can only assume he's waiting for me. I've waited for so long, I can only imagine that soon everyone will start getting married and then I'll REALLY start feeling alone yet again.
Damn that Gaara. I gently place some flowers in their place and wipe my hands on my apron. I'm not wearing my favorite yellow one. I'm wearing the one with a cute heart on it that still feels like him. Whether its my imagination or not, I always think it smells like sand.
I know he hasn't forgotten me. I got a card and a present for my birthday. I never thought he would have done something like that, but he really did. You'll never guess what he gave me. Flowers! Oh yes! So many flowers I didn't have anywhere to put them. My eighteenth birthday really was a great one.
Suddenly, I have a thought. Waiting around is such a pain. Perhaps there is something I can do to help speed things up between us. Aside from my birthday, we've communicated through a few letters. He always seems so busy though and it is a little difficult to write to him.
What would you tell the ruler of a nation that would seem noteworthy?
Gaara helped stop another war from starting and I made a flower arrangement for a birthday party. It always seems to put my life into harsh perspective. My darling Kazekage, he's so important.
A burst of energy animates my body. I'm going to make something for him! I've decided! It will be the most perfect bouquet ever. I pull out a large vase (it's going to need to be big), and carefully view all the flowers in the store. So many to choose from…
With emotion and the most diligence and care I have ever shown for flowers, I begin to pick things out just for him. It takes me a few hours, but it's really looking amazing. The few customers that come in while I'm working on my project stare in awe.
It's big and it's wonderful!
Satisfied, I go to have someone deliver the bouquet.
"These are for the Kazekage! If even a single flower is misplaced, I'll kill you!" That's what I tell the boy and he says, 'but the Kazekage is all the way in the desert'. He calls me crazy too, I think. Then I say. "Listen, brat! This is important! I don't care how you do it, you need to send these flowers over there!"
That was how my labor of love left the care of my shop to be sent to the man I still love. Even if the flowers don't survive in the desert, I think he should have them.
A few weeks later…
I had almost forgotten about the bouquet. I was starting to think maybe it was incredibly stupid to send Gaara flowers. After all, he is a man, the busy ruler of a country, and an ex-homicidal shinobi. Most importantly, he's a man. What if I offend him with my effeminate display of love? Or what if he didn't like the arrangement I picked out? It was a bright bouquet tempered down with a few darker colors. I thought he would like it, but I still hadn't gotten any letter in response.
I walk to work with a sigh. As I take out the keys to open up shop I look down and see an envelope. Finally. I jump to pick it up and almost squeal out loud when I see its from Suna. It's all official so I do my best not to rip it to pieces. The first thing in the envelope was a hard piece of paper, similar to a note card.
Ms. or Mr. Yamanaka,
The Kazekage has received your gift. He thanks you very much for your kind generosity.
The Kazekage's Secretary,
My jaw hangs open. A letter from his secretary? There was a frickin' STAMP of the Kazeka – Gaara's – signature on the bottom of the note. I was going to kill him! Kazekage or not, he was dead!
I tore into the store in my fury, but stopped before I could reach my register. Haha, silly Ino. There was something else in the envelope. Damn this man. It better be a proposal of marriage to make up for the nasty impersonal secretary's note.
I got your flowers and thought they were nice. I don't usually like to keep flowers, but I keep yours in my office where I can see them. They're still alive too. It's a little weird. I thought they would die faster.
I laugh at him, because I just can't help it. How can a letter be so cute? I can almost imagine him sitting at his desk, staring at the flowers and wondering why they're still alive. One of the best things about this letter is that it's written by hand and I know for sure its his.
I miss the flowers at the shop. I never thought I'd miss flowers. We don't really have many over here.
I miss you too. I really miss you.
"Aw…" I swoon to myself as I read over the messy script.
I've been Kazekage for almost a year and I feel really good. Things aren't so busy around here now and I think its about time I got married, which is why you should definitely visit me. Now.
"OH MY GOD!" I read over the last few lines a few times. I'm not imagining things. "OH! OH…WHAT?"
Sabaku no Gaara.
P.S. – I'm serious. If you don't come over here, I'll go over there and get you.
It took about two seconds for me to run out of the store. I had to run back though because I left everything unlocked and unattended. After locking everything up, I flip the sign to 'closed' and run home. My father is still home and he starts yelling for me to go back to the store.
"SHUT UP! I'M GONNA GO TO SUNA!"
"W-What? Ino-chan! You just can't do that…You didn't even ask your parents!" My dad pouts.
"I'M GONNA MARRY GAARA, DAMMIT!"
From then on, my father had even more questions, and I had even more energy to pack.
The trip to Suna was long and tiring. I had no idea it could be so hot. I'm very thankful for all the missions and training I had been doing lately. I was as resilient as humanly possible. I would go through more than a few deserts to see Gaara again.
It was only typical that the longest, most frustrating part of the trip was when I finally got there. It was the bureaucracy bullshit that killed me. No, for the thousandth time: I am not a terrorist. I have papers, see? Lots of papers! I do not want to do anything illegal, and I don't have any vegetables or fruits from Konoha with me, now let me see Gaara!
Everybody was wondering who I was as I walked to the interior of the Kazekage building. I had a special appointment with Gaara and I know they were all dying to know what it was about. I snicker to myself with glee.
I meet two big doors that can only led to his office and wait patiently (or at least as patiently as I'm able). A woman addresses me from behind.
"Oh, its you. That was fast." I would recognize that voice anywhere and turn quickly to greet the woman.
"Temari!" I hiss, but force a smile, "W-Well….its nice to see you….Can you let me in?"
"Of course…of course…" she sighs as if she can't believe I actually came. She pulls open the doors, "There he is."
A step or two into the room is all I take before freezing in place. Oh, wow. Gaara looks good. He seems happier and healthier. Not only that, but he looks unbelievably amazing leaning against his desk in his official Kazekage robes with his red hair all tousled.
"You look good…" he says to me with a smirk on his pale lips.
"GAARA!" I cry out happily and run to him. I wrap my arms around him and kiss him eagerly a few hundred times. I'm not sure how many times, but it doesn't matter because it feels so good and so right. He's a bit shocked and kisses me back clumsily. We'll have to work on that.
"H-Hey…I was….gonna…ask you…." He tries to speak in between my kisses. "About…if you…"
"YES! YES YES!" I squeal like a mad woman and don't let up on any of my kisses. He doesn't seem to mind… "Yes…Is my answer."
So I guess I was wrong.
I was the first of the young Konoha shinobi to get married.