Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
7 Days, Come What May
Chapter XXVI: Farewell
Temari was the first one up at the morning of departure. Most of the days, she slept in later than Shikamaru, but today…today was a little different. Today the Konohas were returning to Konoha and she and her brothers were returning to Suna.
In truth, neither Temari nor Shikamaru had given this much thought…actually, they'd been more like…avoiding it. But today, Temari couldn't shut out the questions that'd been ringing in her head since last night any longer. Questions like, what would happen to their newfound relationship if they part? Would a long distance relationship ever work? Would he be committed? Will she have enough faith in him?
The more Temari thought about it, the more hopeless she got. She spun around in her chair and looked at the still sleeping Shikamaru.
'Even sleeping…he still has a kind of annoyed expression on his face!' she giggled silently at the thought.
Suddenly, it made her kind of sad, watching him like this. To think that she wouldn't be able to see him again for a long time…To think that he wouldn't be there when she felt like hugging someone… Temari suddenly realized that her eyes were a bit damp.
'What! This isn't me…I don't cry over little stuff…' Temari thought, ferociously wiping the embarrassment from her eyes.
Hastily standing up, she decided to stay out of Shikamaru's way until she was a long ways away from the hot springs. She didn't want to see him when they had to part. Most of all, she didn't want him to see her cry.
After Temari gone out of the bedroom, shutting her door very, very quietly, Shikamaru cracked open one eye. He sat up. He, too, didn't want to face this sad reality, but he knew that he had to.
"Yahhhhhhhhhh!" Sakura yelled, and charged at her suitcase.
She forcefully jumped on it, and yet, it still refused to close. She couldn't figure out why everything fitted perfectly when she came here, when now everything was too stuffed.
'Hmm…maybe it's because of that yukata that Sasuke bought me! Maybe that's why…'
Sakura unzipped the big and pulled the yukata out and set it beside the suitcase. Then, she zipped it up again and tried to close it.
'Another try should do!' And with that thought, Sakura proceeded to charge at the suitcase again.
Unfortunately, Sasuke had chosen that very moment to pop his head inside to room to check out on how Sakura was doing with the packing. Instead of charging into the suitcase, Sakura ended up tackling Sasuke and pinning him to the floor.
"Hey! Sakura, what are you doing!" He looked up at her, a bit shocked from the impact of the fall.
"Oh! Sorry, sorry, so sorry!" she blushed a little, and then quickly stood up, offering him a hand. "I was just…"
He took her hand. "…Trying to pack up, huh?"
There goes the infamous smirk.
"Yea, yea…" Sakura didn't want to admit defeat just yet. "…Don't worry, I'll get it over and done with soon…"
The pink haired-shinobi quickly readied herself for another forceful jump at her stubborn suitcase. Sasuke watched, amused.
And yet, after another jump, the suitcase still refused to move. Sakura sat on the suitcase, her hair all riled up and a grudging look on her face.
"This is hopeless…"
To her ultimate surprise, Sasuke chuckled a little at her downfall. She stared. If there was one fact she knew, it was that the Uchiha did not usually laugh. Then, he did another thing that she didn't expect at all. Sasuke walked over and crouched down next to her where she was sitting on the suitcase. And then…
He gave her a peck on the forehead. Then…
"…Get off of the suitcase, Sakura," he commanded in his usual cold voice. "Obviously, you don't know how to pack."
Sakura did as he had told her to (mostly because she was still stunned). Sasuke unzipped the suitcase and looked for the source of the problem; why the suitcase wouldn't close. He found the problem immediately. None of the clothes were folded up neatly. He looked at her and raised his eyebrows.
"…You're messier than you look, Sakura."
"I'm not! I just…I hate folding clothes…"
Sasuke just smirked, pulled out a red shirt from the suitcase, and started folding. Sakura just watched the Uchiha in awe. He could be a housewife for all she knew.
'Maybe that's because he lived alone all his life…that's why he's so good at this stuff!' she thought, observing him folding up her things.
After a few minutes, Sasuke was finished; he took the yukata that Sakura had taken out of the suitcase a while ago and set it on top of all her other things. It fit in the suitcase comfortably.
"Let's go now, I think the carriages are already parking outside," he said, after zipping up the suitcase.
"Yea, okay…." Sakura smiled at him. "Hey, thanks for helping!"
He shrugged indifferently, even though there was a tinge of pink on his cheeks. Then, together, they headed out the door, Sakura clinging onto his arm, and he carrying her suitcase.
"Aww, Akamaru, you're a big boy now! I'm so proud, you know?" Kiba rubbed his dog's head affectionately and looked at the female dog next to him. "Ramen here seems to like you too!"
Akamaru woofed in response as Ramen cuddled lovingly next to him.
"Well, just so you know, Akamaru and Ramen, you have my blessings!" said Kiba, in a most serious tone of voice.
Before Akamaru or Ramen could bark anything in reply…
Kiba turned around, seeing Kankurou there with Lee and Shino.
"Kiba, Neji told us that you were the one who was left to look after that female Sound nin last, the one called Emiko," Kankurou said. "Where is she now?"
"…Yea….where is she? Also, unfortunately, the male Sound nin called Jiro has already mysteriously escaped," Lee added.
Kiba was silent for a moment. He picked at the grass.
"Well?" Kankurou pressed.
"Why are you asking now, I thought you guys have forgotten all about the enemies…" Kiba said.
"We have, momentarily…because of the celebration that everyone's back, safe and sound…but Neji remembered…"Shino explained.
Another silence followed.
"I…let Emiko go," Kiba said finally, and then turned back to look at his dogs. "…And she probably went to rescue her brother…"
"What! Kiba, how could you do such a thing!" Lee exclaimed, unbelieving his ears.
"…Explain this now, Kiba…" Kankurou's voice ringed of impatience.
"…I trusted her…she didn't look like she was about to join back with the other Sound people…she just wanted to save her brother and live peacefully…" Kiba's voice didn't waver at all as he explained this.
"…Do you mean to tell me that that's the only reason you let her go!" Kankurou now walked dangerously closer to where Kiba was crouching down.
Kiba didn't answer. Akamaru let out a little whimper of encouragement. Everything was silent for a very, very long time.
"I…will trust your judgment of Emiko and Jiro, Kiba," Lee spoke up suddenly.
Everyone turned to stare at the Green Beast of Konoha.
"What! Lee, they can't be trusted, they're the Sound!" Kankurou cried in rage.
"I trust Kiba with my life, Kankurou," this time, Shino was the one to speak. "I've been in his team for years…and he hasn't let me down. I trust his instincts."
Kiba looked at his teammate, his eyes wide. Rarely did Shino speak a sentence this long.
"Whoa, Shino…man, that was….strangely nice to hear, considering it was from your mouth…" Kiba still stared at the bug-guy.
"Shut up…" Shino said quickly.
"Psh! Fine, fine!" Kankurou drawled. "…But don't come crawling for help from the Sand if Emiko comes and stabs you in the back."
Kiba grinned. "No way, I wouldn't do that."
"Oh, dears, thank you for keeping watch over me the night when the Sound nins were attacking!" Aunt Midori crushed both Neji and Ten Ten into a tight hug.
"T-That's okay, Aunt Midori!" Ten Ten was a bit surprised by the hug.
To Neji's relief, Aunt Midori let go of them now.
"I will miss you guys so much!" the old lady said gently.
"We will too," Ten Ten smiled and leaned over to give Aunt Midori another hug.
After that, Aunt Midori let go of Ten Ten and proceeded to give the very uncomfortable Hyuuga yet another hug.
"…Good luck with your relationship…" the old lady whispered into Neji's ear without Ten Ten hearing.
Neji stiffened. How did she know? The Hyuuga just stiffened and nodded as she released him from the hug.
"Thank you…for everything," Neji said, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
Naruto and Hinata were both already inside the carriage that was prepared for them.
"Hey, Hinata-chan, let's you and me come here again sometime soon, just the two of us, okay?" Naruto told the girl excitedly.
"I-I…would love that, N-Naruto-kun…" the Hyuuga heir blushed when Naruto's hand brushed lightly against hers.
Then, the carriage door swung open, showing a bewildered Shikamaru. So much for a romantic moment.
"Oy, Shikamaru! I was getting intimate with my girlfriend here!" Naruto cried out in dismay (while Hinata reddened like crazy).
"Yea, sorry, sorry….Have you two seen Temari anywhere?" Strangely, the Nara didn't look lazy today. More like, panicky.
Naruto and Hinata shook their heads.
"Why, you had a fight with your girlfriend?" Naruto asked in a triumphant tone that said 'you-had-a-fight-with-your-girlfriend-and-I-didn't –hahaha'.
"No, I'll explain to you later, okay?" and with that, Shikamaru strode off.
"H-He…looked like he was in quite in a h-hurry, didn't he…" Hinata remarked quietly after the Nara was gone.
"I wonder what that was about…" Naruto wondered aloud.
By about ten in the morning, everyone was already in their carriages…everyone except Shikamaru and Temari, that is. The Nara was desperate to see Temari before he left for Konoha, but he couldn't find her anywhere. He'd looked in all of the carriages, the hot springs, and even the souvenir shop. Temari was nowhere to be found.
The people in the carriages were waiting impatiently for Shikamaru to find Temari and bring her back, so they could go. The Nara's footsteps thumped continuously on the ground as he ran, his eyes searching for any sign of the blonde hair that he liked so much…
"Aunt Midori, have you seen Temari?" Shikamaru leaned over the counter, where the old lady was working.
"I'd thought you'd already left, Shikamaru!" the old lady exclaimed, surprised. "…Temari? Hmm…I gave her back the keys to her room a while ago…she said she'd forgotten something…"
Shikamaru didn't need to hear anymore. "Thanks, Aunt Midori!"
"You're welcome, my boy!"
At last, Shikamaru found himself again in front of Room 002 of the Konoha Hot Springs. He could still remember the time when he had just come here and stood in front of this very room…to find soon after that the occupant of the room was none other than Temari. The Nara leaned on the door, and heard soft crying sounds.
There was no mistake about it. It was Temari. Slowly raising his hand, he knocked…once, twice… After a moment of silence, the door opened for him. There stood Temari, smiling, as carefree as she could be…like nothing was wrong.
Shikamaru stepped in and closed the door behind him.
"…Temari…is anything wrong?" the Nara asked, a bit awkwardly.
"Oh, no no….nothing's wrong…are we ready to go?" Temari grinned and turned away from him, about to go out the door.
He quickly grabbed her wrist. "Wait, Temari…."
She stopped without turning around. She didn't want to turn around. She was afraid that she would cry.
"Hmm?" Temari asked in a casual voice.
Even though he was the one who'd said 'wait', Shikamaru hadn't really planned about what he was going to say.
"….I…you…." Shikamaru coughed a little, and then resumed his normal tone. "…Well, actually, what were you doing up here? Everyone's waiting for you, you know…"
This time, Temari did turn around. No longer were her face all-smiles, like before. She looked sad, and her eyes were damp.
"I…came back up here…I just wanted to say goodbye to the room…I mean…all the memories…" now, she looked away again, and continued in a colder voice. "…You know, 'cause you and I are over and everything…"
Shikamaru froze. She couldn't possibly think that all this was over, could she? After all they'd been through together... The Nara placed both of his hands firmly on the Sand shinobi's shoulders.
"…Woman, who said we were over?"
Temari looked up at him, the words 'logic' clearly written all over her face.
"…Long distance relationships never work," she replied coldly.
"How'd you know?"
"…I just know…"
"…No, Temari…" he squeezed her shoulders a bit tighter. "…You can't know that stuff…we haven't tried it out…"
She didn't reply. She was using up all her energy just to hold back the tears. The Nara noticed this, and pulled her into a gentle hug.
"Cry if you want, woman, but we're not over…"
And so, Temari cried into Shikamaru's shoulders while her rubbed her head, like an adult would do to a little girl.
"…Hey, woman….you're going to miss me that much, huh," Shikamaru teased, trying to lighten up the mood.
This earned him a hit on his chest.
"N-No! You!" Temari said this in between sobs and all the thumping.
Shikamaru smoothed down her hair again.
"Don't be too sad, Temari…I'll go visit you as often as I can in the Sand…or you can come visit me…if you really think about it, our villages aren't that far from each other," this time, the Nara said it in a more gentle tone.
The crying was lessening now. Temari determinedly wiped away her tears for the last time, and looked up into Shikamaru's eyes.
"…I'm sorry…for doubting that you'd continue with this relationship…" she said softly.
"T-That's okay…" Shikamaru reddened a little. "That's okay…"
Neither of them spoke for a long time. They just looked at each other. Then, Temari broke the silence with something unexpected for Shikamaru.
"…If I find out that you're cheating on me…." She gave him a ferocious look. "…I, not Kankurou or Gaara, will kill you."
Somehow, the thought of Temari killing him struck Shikamaru as being scarier than Kankurou's puppets or Gaara's sand. The Nara rose up his hands in defense.
"Hey! I didn't even do anything, woman!"
"…Answer me, are you going to cheat on me?"
Well, departing or not, Temari was Temari. Sharp, straight-to-the-point, as always.
"No…" Shikamaru practically squeaked.
Temari let out a satisfied grin. "Good…"
Then, she leaned up and gave the Nara a peck on the lips.
"…That's for our goodbye kiss," she said cheekily. "…And if you want more, you have to come visit me at the Sand or else!"
Shikamaru gave her a cool grin. "Yea, I promise I will…"
"Hey, everyone, look, that's Shikamaru coming back with Temari!" Ino cried, pointing out of her carriage (which consisted of Shino, Chouji, and Kiba).
"…It's about time," Kiba grumbled. "…I bet that sly Nara was making out with her, that's why it took so long…"
"…You bet?" Chouji perked up, interested, and popped another chip in his mouth.
Ino looked thoughtful now. "…Actually, I wouldn't put it past Shikamaru…that guy looks lazy, but he'd definitely do something like that…"
Shino nodded in agreement.
In Neji, Ten Ten, and Lee's carriage, Lee had also noticed the commotion.
"…It looks like Temari has been found," he said.
Neji nodded and Ten Ten leaned back on her seat.
"…Yea, but I don't think that's the only thing that's delay our trip now…look at that," Ten Ten remarked, and then pointed out of her carriage window.
Neji and Lee looked out of the window just as their teammate had instructed. They could see the carriage that parked a little bit to their left. Gaara was leaning over the window, talking to the tons of girls that had come crowding around the redhead's carriage. All of the girls looked tearful, like they couldn't take the fact that the redheaded pimp was leaving.
A short-haired girl even walked right over to Gaara and handed him a bouquet of red roses!
"…Well, that was quite a farewell," Ten Ten stated, her eyes wide.
Neji and Lee couldn't agree more.
Good moments had the tendency to pass away quickly. And, in no time at all, the Konohas found themselves back in their village. Tsunade and Kakashi were the ones to come and welcome back the young Konoha shinobis from their one-week vacation. The two adults would never have anticipated what they would see.
For a first, Kakashi was most ultimately surprised when he saw that Sakura was walking hand-in-hand with Sasuke, and that the Uchiha was making no attempt to pull away. In contrast, he looked rather pleased with himself. The leader of Team 7 was even more surprised to see that Naruto was not bopping Sasuke over the head by now (because Sakura was holding his hand), but rather, the fox-boy had his arm draped over the shy Hyuuga heir, Hinata.
'Aa…little boys and little girls grow up…I'm proud…' the silver-haired nin thought, a smile forming behind his mask.
Tsunade, being the Hokage and all, noticed all this and more. She noticed how Neji was so tender with Ten Ten; she could practically sense their feelings in the air…All this, it almost made her miss being a teenager.
The Fifth saw the look in the Nara boy's eyes; the distant look that told her that he had finally found something…someone that meant more to him than anything. As for the rest of the people, they didn't look quite as occupied, but they were content and happy, telling her that the vacation had went well.
"Hey, guys, welcome back to Konoha," Tsunade smiled genuinely at every one of them.
It was funny how a seven-day vacation could change so much.
Joyce: Wow, and it's ended. I don't know what else to say, other than that I'm really happy with everyone who's taken their time to review, and read my chapters…Thank you, for sticking with me all the way through these 26 chapters. I am extremely grateful to all of you…:')…One more thing…I'm going to be doing drawings for this story…lol, just for the fun of it, you know….going to post it sometime later in my dA account…if you guys wanna see, the URL is on my page...the pictures aren't there now, but later they'll be (when I finish) :)…so watch it if you wanna…Oh, and I'm going to enter 10th grade this Monday, so wish me luck! XD
To xxxShootingStarxxx: I'm glad you found it funny:D Thanks for reviewing!
To The8thSin: Lol, funny review! XD Thanks for sticking with me and reading! (hug)
To Mimiru-Sama: Yea, lol, Ramen is cute, right:D Thank you!
To PanPan: Hahahahaha, rofl, its funny to hear that Neji's perverted thoughts are keeping you going:D
To Secily: WOW! I'm so happy to hear that you like my story, and my style of writing:D Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks VERY, VERY much for your encouraging review:D It is really one of my favorite reviews. :)
To OnEcRaZyGaL: Yea, hahahaha, Gaara does seem cruel at times, right? Lol, but he's still nice :D Thanks for the review!
To xXxReixXx: Oooh, you're jealous of 3 girls hanging on to Gaara, huh? Lol, I am too :D
To Jester12: Yah! Da Pimp of Da Sand ROX! XD
To BlackMageRose13: Thanks for reviewing:D I'm glad you liked how I made Gaara in this story..:D…and the stalker's stopped stalking! Yay! Thanks for asking :D:D:D.
To MyNameIsMyName: Thank you for saying my story is awesome! I don't' know if I'm going to write more…:S 'Cause I'm entering tenth grade and all…but I will try to:D Thanks for your review:D
To Kurisuta-Chan: Lol, I'm glad you liked the story line. Thank you:D
To NeyugnNosila: Yay! Glad you enjoyed my story. :)
To frozenangel1992: Yea, Sakura and Sasuke is cute, right? XD I'm glad you liked it, 'cause I like it too! ;)
To pau-of-the-desert: Yea, I TOTALLY agree with you that Gaara is SO cute! Yay for Gaara! XD
To lunarangel: Well, what can I say…I'm going to really, really miss reading your long, entertaining reviews:D It's nice to know that there's someone who actually takes their time and reads my story and takes their time to comment on it! I am eternally grateful to you for all this, and more! Thank you! (hug)
To TheGurlWithNoName: Since you said you're going to miss reading this…:')..I'm going to miss reading your reviews too! I loved reading your reviews and I think they help me a lot. Thank you:)
To moonlightpath: Lol, yea, I kind of feel sorry for those bachelors and bachelorettes too:D Thanks for all your support:)
To little wolf blossom: Yesh, yesh, yesh, we could just hug Gaara together because he's so cute, right? XD…Glad you liked the plot:D
To Kurenai Chinoumi: Yay, I'm delighted you liked my chapters! Thanks!
To GaArA LuVeR: …And, judging from your name, you must like Gaara! XD Yay for Gaara! XD…Yay, I'm glad you reviewed:D
To Zuan: Ya! Sasuke x Sakura is forever cute, I agree. :)
To senx2: …And you, girl! Thanks for reading till the end and reviewing…and even adding me on MSN! Lol, you're a great person to chat with, and you're a great source of encouragement to me. I must forever thank you:D
To lexy499: Yay! Thank you for every review that you've submitted:D
To Fire Blazing Chan S.E.: Aww, yea, Akamaru and Ramen are cute, aren't they:D…Thank you, thank you!
To HarunoSakura's tears: Lol, glad you liked the Gaara pimp part, lol! I'm going to miss your reviews too. :')
To InuyashaObsessed101: Yea, the dog love scene…glad you liked:)
To Hiei's Cute Girl: Hahahaha, I'm glad you liked what Gaara was doing:D
To pei-chan: Lol, yea, personally, I also don't like guys who use girls and dumped them! Lol, thanks for your review!
To Mochi 3ingGirl: Yea…I agree! So cute :D Thanks! You review a lot, and I'm glad! (hug)
To neko-leaf: Hahahaha, glad you liked Neji in a braid! I was giggling, thinking of that too! Lol, and yea, he NEEDS Clorox whipe to clean out his brain! Hmm..and you asked what Hinata was wearing…I really haven't thought about that…but I guess she can be wearing a two-piece swimsuit...a purple two-piece:D
To NarutosGirl52: Aww, you're so sweet! Thanks for the encouraging review:)
To minoko-chan: XD, Sorry for leaving you hanging! I hope you're satisfied with this last chapter! Thanks for all your support:D
To MisSs005: Hahahaha, yea, glad you liked the Gaara-being-a-pimp part:D
To Dragon Man 180: …I'm going to miss hearing from you in your reviews:')…You're one of my regulars and …I'm so glad you stuck with me all the way through:')…Glad you liked Gaara the pimp! Lol..:D
To Latouya: XD Glad you liked the bachelor/bachelorette parts! XD
To The Shadow Alchemist: Aww, thank you:D
…And Farewell. :')