By: Junsui Kegasu

A/N: WH00T! First request fic! Take that as an invitation to submit your own! PLEASE! I'M A WRECK WITHOUT WRITING! (edit: I started Quicken, so my withdrawal ended u.u) Okay, I'm better…no more exclamation points…

Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto. I do own…what name do you review under now? (checks) Bubble Shark. I pwn you. Enjoy, my dance partner!

There really was no difference between seventeen and eighteen. At seventeen he was Gaara's body-guard, and he had yet to be promoted. Whether he was eight or eighteen he was still Sabaku no Kankurou, still that aspiring little kugutsu-nin, the kazekage's brother. Although legally he was an adult today, he felt no difference. Perhaps that was the scalding desert heat though.

He did feel a difference between fourteen and eighteen, however. At fourteen, he had been cowardly, a pushover. He could snort about it in amusement with Gaara now, but back then, he had humiliatingly taken orders from a boy two years, seven inches, and forty-six pounds less than he. He had been a genin, a follower. Now he was a jounin, a leader.

Well, he could be a leader if he chose to. Kankurou hated kids; having a group of them under his responsibility made his head hurt already (she wanted kids) so he was happy with just being a jounin bodyguard and nothing more. He knew Gaara didn't like it, but the last thing Kankurou wanted was for him to get kidnapped again. That was far too traumatizing.

That had been only a year and a half ago, he reminisced. He should've died at that time, as should've Gaara. That wasn't to say he was ungrateful for the miracles that saved them; it was just an eerie thought. It was ironic that the same girl who should've died by his brother's sand four years ago had saved him. Her miracle at that time had saved Gaara. Fate had odd ways of following Newton's (whoever he was) laws.

She had evolved so much from twelve. Back then she had been such a hormone-crazed amateur. On top of that, if she had any particular skills, she had no displayed them, so he could justly form the opinion that she was weak. Now, though…it was as if a completely different person had appeared. And he loved it.

After she had cured him of poison, he really just couldn't stop thinking about her. About how much she had changed (in more than one way) and how he really liked those changes. When she and her team had been sent here for some ambassador delegation (it might've been the formal alliance, he didn't know) he had, so to speak, 'asked her out.' They were here for two weeks, so he gave her time to think.

That was another blatant difference between fourteen and eighteen: he was no longer single. Though their relationship was long-distance, (she did come to Sunaga a lot for medical purposes, though.) it was working out very well. He was slightly (minutely, microscopically, barely) disappointed that she couldn't make it for his birthday. However, there was a poison spreading around Kirigakure and she was there attempting to find an antidote.

A rare smile crossed Kankurou's features (unmarred by paint because his family liked it like that) when he remembered the present he had received. Intelligent as she was, Sakura had timed the delivery bird just right. Her gift (a tiny, perfect, miniature puppet, a hamburger cooked to perfection and preserved by some house-wife jutsu, a new jar of kabuki ceremonial paint, some ingredients for his poisons, and a letter filled with love) had arrived just as he woke to begin his day.

They had been going out since just after he sixteenth birthday, but he still knew he would never (ever) be that good at giving presents. An excuse could be that he had lack of experience (Gaara had nearly killed Temari and him for playing 'messenger' and giving him the gifts from his fan club on his fifteenth – they never attempted birthdays again) but he still wished he had an inkling of an idea for Christmas. If he said it was far off, it would be December in less than a blink.

"I think I would be really uncomfortable if anyone proposed to me before seventeen."

Was that a hint to him? He wasn't sure, but even so, seventeen was a little young for him, too. Though he was unsure for Christmas, he knew what he'd get her for her eighteenth birthday. If they were together for that long, then it was pretty much a given – they were 'meant to be.' He could remember a time when he knew about as much about love as Gaara, but now, things had changed.

After all, there was a huge difference between fourteen and eighteen. Sakura would see that, too, and they would look back on the old times and smile because it was in the past


Yay, I did something non-angsty. That's amazing for me. Love me, Bubble Shark. This would've been longer, and possibly multi-chapter, but…I couldn't make this multi-chapter without making it AU. I have too many AU as it is (after I post FoaL, I'm done with them, I think.) so…yeah…but I couldn't find a way to make it anything other than drabble otherwise, so you'll have to deal with drabble. u.u I think it suits the mood.

Dedicated to: Bubble Shark