Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto….


Warning: Bad language, bad grammar…..

Chibi Outtake:

Chouji: With the coming of the holiday seasons, all Chibis are off-duty from any outtakes until further notice.

Shikamaru: This is going to be troublesome…

Ino: Just say the damn thing, Shika!!

Shikamaru: The poll for who gets Hinata-chan will officially close by 30th March 2009, for those who have not voted, please do so….and fyi, Sasuke is leading the polls followed closely by Gaara and Itachi….oh man, what a drag….


"My name is Touga, and I am the eldest son of my clan in Suna. We're also among the oldest clan existed within the Five Shinobi Nations and we're able to trace back our ancestry lines to where we originated from."

"How will that interest me, young man? As you have yet to introduce your Clan and yourself with proper introduction." Hiashi's steely gaze emanated coolly against the long red-haired young noble.

His brilliant pale blue eyes looked at Hiashi solemnly. "It will interest you alright, Hiashi-dono, for I am Hirryuu Touga of the Hirryuu Clan, Wielder of the Hirryuu's Somaringan, descendents of the ancient Hyuuga's Byakugan."


Hiashi slammed his right hand down onto his table thus breaking it in two.

"HOW DARE YOU!!" Hiashi's Byakugan flared ominously at the calm looking young man with long flowing red-hair who dared to come before him and asked for his baby girl's hand in marriage, knowing full well the wrath of the Hyuugas against blood traitors. Against the Hirryuu Clan.


Hinata cocked her head sideways, looking adorably cute.

Cute?? I must be delusional…. Gaara couldn't believe he even used such word. Cute are for cutesy things, like kittens, puppies and little girls but most certainly, not women.

Gaara frowned deeply.

To Sabaku no Gaara, women were categorized in two categories; those he can bed and those he can't.

Those he took to bed are usually the ones described as 'beautiful', 'strong', 'seducingly sexy' and most importantly, 'willingly' and 'independent' women. Gaara doesn't care for meek and shy, he couldn't even be bothered by those. He'd prefer to go straight to the point and not beating around the bush.

Courting was never his thing and he never seemed to have the time for such hassle.

Those under 'forbidden territories' are those who did not make it into the first category. Gaara was and is simply not interested if the women presented to him is not at par to his level of expectations. And yes, he has to admit, he's just a typical stereotypical male who would prefer body and looks compared to other things. Just trying to keep it as simple as possible and Gaara does indeed have tastes and opinion irregardless to how chauvinistic he was.

Simply put, he doesn't give a damn about others' opinion. And is hell proud of it.

Stealing sideway glances at his hostess, he noted how large her pale lavender tinted eyes looked at him curiously as they both walked together, very much aware of the uneasiness between them. Gaara folded his hands across his chest and inhaled deeply. Trying to make the situation less tense as it already have.

She's not even near beautiful. What an obviously plain young woman to be an heiress. He observed.

"Gaara-sama, I hope you don't mind me asking, but how is Suna's economic development have been going on?" Hinata asked. "Since the agreement with our clan last year, the harvest ought to have bring some importance to Suna?"

Gaara was surprised.

"What is it, Gaara-sama?"

"You did not stutter." It was not even a question.

Hinata blushed slightly. "Oh…would you rather me…to stutter?"



"I meant I'm surprised that you stutter most of the time but when you asked me about the harvest import from Konoha, I was surprised that you did not stutter."

Hinata blushed even darker and smiled softly. "I think its because when I am thinking something as serious as…Clan business or…shinobi mission, I will not stutter."

"Shinobi mission? Are you still active, Hinata-sama?"

"Of course Gaara-sama

"Are you with the ANBU then?"

Hinata smiled gently. "What do you think, Gaara-sama?"

Gaara chuckled at her boldness. "You certainly know how to surprise me, Hinata-sama."

"Aaahhh….such a surprise is good for a shinobi. Always expect the unexpected. Isn't that what a good shinobi must always know at first hand?"

Gaara surprisingly smiled. The young woman beside him now has turned more acute and alert, compared to before. Even her intonation sounded more serious and confident. Very sharp and sensitive to her surroundings, Gaara hid a smile.

"You are definitely ANBU."

"How can you be sure?"

"I have my own ways."

"Ways of Suna is different than Konoha."

"Hai, but it is still the ways of a shinobi."

"True, but you can never be too sure."

"How sure do you think I am?"

"Call it a women's intuition."

"Aaahhh….now we're talking sexist talks."

"It is not sexist, Gaara-sama."

"Is it not?" Gaara seemed more entertained than before. Who would've thought that a mousey young girl beside him could retort like a professional debater?

"Not unless you concede to a women's intuition."

"That is hardly fair for the men in general, Hinata-sama."

"What is it that is not fair, Gaara-sama?" Hinata turned to face him. Her pale eyes hardened.

"Oh, I guess I must have touched a sensitive issue there."

"I think that has confirmed it," Hinata sighed.

"Confirmed what, Hinata-sama?"

"That all men are generally sexists."

"If that is the case, all women are bigots then."

Hinata whipped over and faced him. "That is a very very sexist remark, Gaara-sama."

"What is it sexist about, Hinata-sama?" Gaara remained calm. "You proclaimed all men are sexist and then calling us 'unfair', so I deemed women are hypocrites as well."

"That is salacious," Hinata frowned.

"I find it not," Gaara turned towards her and moved closer. "I find them….weaker."

Hinata glared at him.

"Do you think all women are weak then?"

"Every single one," Gaara half-lied. "With the exception of my sister, she's pretty terrifying."

Hinata smiled, "Yes, I do believed Shika-kun ever mentioned several times about it. Actually, most of the times."

"Then he spoke the truth," Gaara remained calm.

"So, its only Temari-chan that you think is not weak?"

"I would have also add your Hokage, but the way she immersed herself in sake sort of changed my thoughts about her."

"But she's Sakura-chan's sensei," Hinata objected. She simply could not understand why would Gaara say Tsunade weak considering she's one of the legendary Sannin. It simply confuses her.

Perhaps he's more arrogant than I thought. Hinata said to herself, contemplating the egoistic red-haired kazekage in her mind.

"That is just my personal opinion, Hinata-sama. You don't necessarily have to tell her that," Gaara frowned, wondering if Hinata would tell Tsunade about their little conversation. And if Tsunade knew about this, she would've make him drink sake with her all night!

Gaara shivered in fear, remembering that one outing that he, Naruto and Tsunade went on a drinking spree…..it was one hell of a night he'll never ever forget.

"Nobody in their right mind will challenge Tsunade-sama to a drink. Its not worth the morning hangover."

Hinata chuckled. He's afraid of her alright…

Hmmm…. Gaara thought to himself as his thoughts now wonder to his Hime-sama….

Hinata wondered who is the other woman is…..

How can I tell him that?? Hinata was twisting the hem of her kimono sleeves. The feeling of guilt still deeply embedded within her. How can she tell the Kazekage of Suna that she had seen him being intimate with his lover? And how is she going to apologise to him without starting a war?

Hinata could feel her blood pressure on high levels whenever she thought about it, and worst, with him just walking beside her, Hinata just wished for the ground to swallow her up and save her the embarrassment!

By the time they both reached one of Hinata's gardens, Gaara took a seat on the marble bench and indicate Hinata to take a seat beside him.

Hinata just stood about two feet away from him.

Gaara could still feel her discomfort and his aquamarine pools looked slightly regretful at the young Heiress before him, "I would like to apologise to you, Hinata-sama."

"Eehhh??" Hinata looked at him in surprised.

Gaara raised a non-existent eyebrow. "You've been saying that quite a lot lately."

"Oh," Hinata lifted a hand to her lips and she bowed again. "Gomen."

"Stop bowing." Gaara frowned in annoyance. "And stop apologizing. Its not even your fault."

"Ha…ha..hai." Hinata was very much embarrassed and went back to stuttering and Gaara sighed, having to deal with a stuttering girl.

"I just want to apologise," Gaara said. "For any….inconvenience you may feel regarding tha…tha…that night."

Hinata willed herself not to faint. Not after all she had been through to get to where she is, only to faint before Gaara.

"I can understand how embarrassed you are as of right now, Hinata-sama and I hope you will forget that incident and to never mention it to others. I would appreciate that you would keep this strictly between us?"

Hinata nodded her head. "I understand….as…as….well, Kazekage-sama."


Hinata turned and face the small koi pond and said, "You….don't have to worry about anything, Gaara-sama. I won't say or breathe a word to anyone." She turned to face him and smiled gently. "Besides, I have already forgotten about it."

Gaara didn't know why, but he felt that he could trust her. Nodding his head in understanding, he looked at her. His clear aquamarines were searching onto her face for something fake or malicious, but he could not detect anything false about the plain young woman before him. Everything about this young woman before him seemed so….unreal? Gaara ponder whether or not, Hinata is who she seemed to be, because all his life, he was surrounded by people who fear him, casted him away with hatred. And when he became Kazekage, those hypocrites now grovel at his feet like begging dogs. It annoyed Gaara to no end, and as much as he wanted to kill those leeches of hypocrites, he could not. Not because he didn't want to, but because of a promise he made to himself when he finally had a friend in Naruto.

He promised himself a change. A change for the better. Not only for himself, but for his people, by earning their respect. To earn their love would be a far greater challenge, but respect was enough for Gaara. Until the Akatsuki incident, and his revival, the only thing he thought that he would never ever achieve in his lifetime, proved false. He finally earned the love of his people, that was more than enough for Gaara, who lived to protect his village and being given a second chance at life.

Naruto is one friend he knew he could trust outside of Konoha. And surprisingly, Gaara felt that he could trust this weak Hyuuga before him.

"I do not know why, perhaps Naruto is good for my soul," Gaara said calmly and gaze at the young Hyuuga Heiress. "But I feel that I can trust you Hinata-sama."

Hinata beamed him a brilliant smile.

For a moment, Gaara felt his heart jumped at the sight of Hinata smiling at him. A warm feeling starting to envelop him when he started to recall a familiar feeling he remembered when he was a child. Though she may not be the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, but something about her smile that warms him up. Deep within his cold heart, Gaara felt a slight thudding.

He clutched his chest slightly.

"Gaara-sama! Are you alright?" Hinata gasped. Kneeling beside him, she laid a hand on his chest.

Gaara turned slightly towards her. He felt the pulling of his heart was stronger than before, it was a very strong feeling.

Hinata blushed slightly, at their close proximity, but brushed aside as she used her medical knowledge and apply it to the Godaime Kazekage. "Let me help you, Gaara-sama."

"I think its nothing seri…."

"Hinata-sama! Hinata-sama!" a young Hyuuga branch maid came running towards them.

"Oh, Hatsumi-chan," Hinata bowed gracefully which did not escape from Gaara's observation. "What is the matter? Is something wrong?"

"Its….Its…your father, Hi..Hi…nata-sama!" Hatsumi was trying to catch her breath.

"Otou-sama?" Hinata gasped and activated her bloodline limit, the Byakugan. "Otou-sama!! Hatsumi-chan, please inform the Hokage," Hinata exclaimed before turning to Gaara and apologised.

"Sumimasen Gaara-sama," Hinata bowed apologetically. "But apparently something has happened and…"

"Its alright Hinata-sama," Gaara stood up impassively. "It doesn't seem to be anything that serious, Hinata-sama. Only that your father has killer intent upon the other unfortunate soul."

Hinata sighed. "It must be someone asking my hand in marriage. Again." She whispered softly, clutching her hands together.

Gaara's expression broke into a slight smile. "Come Hinata-sama, I will walk you to your father."

"Arigatou Gaara-sama," Hinata bowed slightly.

"Stop with the bowing."


"Why not?"



Hinata giggled.

Gaara frowned at her. He wasn't used to be laughed or giggled at….well, all except Temari of course.

"Oh…you reminded me of….someone."


Hinata giggled again. Gaara-sama is no different than Sasuke-kun. I wonder if both of them are…..Oh…stop that! Hinata mentally scolded herself. I ought not to be thinking about the Kazekage like this! This is wrong! Wrong!

Hinata's cheeks were burning. She quickly raised her hands towards her burning cheeks and shook her head in denial.

Gaara turned to look at the flushed Heiress. He could not help but smile at her suddenly. She seemed awfully….adorable? Gaara smirked to himself. There is no way he could think someone as mousey as her being more than adorable.

Mouse. Is. Not. Cute. They are rodents! And why am I thinking about rodents? Gaara shaking his head. Being in Konoha seem to trouble him more than ever. He couldn't remember when was the last time he was this…. inconsequential before. Remembering the Hyuuga sitting beside him, Gaara noticed the flush look on her face.

"Do you always blush like that, Hinata-sama?" Gaara asked all of a sudden as they both walked pass through the gardens.


"Forgive me for being blunt, then. But I am curious," Gaara admitted. "Suna women do not blush shyly not because they don't want to, but women in Suna were more direct and outcome compared to women in Konoha." Gaara realized that Konoha have various types of emotional display, unlike Suna. Suna is more rigid and is a custom-dictated culture with everything seemed to be monotonous and dull. Almost every building in Suna are of the same colour whilst in Konoha, it seemed to be bursting with myriads of colours and shapes, bringing variety and diversity.

Gaara was envious. Even the Hyuuga Household seemed more colourful than his current residential home, the Sand Palace.

Hinata smiled warmly towards him. "You remind me of my friend, Sai-kun."

"Sai?" Gaara looked partly surprised. He has met this Sai fellow when Naruto introduced him a few years ago. "The one looked like the Uchiha?"

"Hai," Hinata smiled gently. "He is truly a funny person without realizing it."

"How can I be the same as him when I am not funny?" Gaara was slightly miffed to be compared to another shinobi of lower rank. Worst….to be compared to the Uchiha…..

"And how can I be compared to someone of lowly stature."

Hinata blinked for a moment before she smiled a little. "Sai-kun is not of lowly stature, Kazekage-sama, he was a member of ROOT ANBU and captain of his own squad."

Gaara looked impassive and crossed his arms across his lean chest. Still slightly annoyed to be compared to the Uchiha lookalike.

Hinata continued, "Well, you and Sai-kun have limited understanding of human relationships and are most curious about it. However, the difference is that, you are able to experience various emotions, but Sai-kun is unable to."

Gaara agreed, "I guess you're right. He is rather odd."

"Yes," she agreed. "He does say the darndest thing though." Hinata smiled softly. He's not so bad….once you get used to him.

"But I disagree with you Hinata-sama that I am to be compared to the Uchiha," Gaara turned to her with a slight hiss when mentioning 'Uchiha'.

Hinata hid her smile and ignored Gaara's attempt to provoke her.

"A…anou Gaara-sama?"


"May I ask a question?"

"Hai, Hinata-sama."

"How many ANBUs did you bring with you here to Konoha?"

Gaara frowned. "Why the need to know, Hinata-sama?"

Oh no….I can't tell him the truth! Hinata flushed slightly, hoping that Gaara could give her some answers and at the same time, she didn't want to be that obvious.

"Ne, I…I…am preparing dinner for tonight, and I didn't know how many ANBUs are with you, only that there are four of them."



"There are only four."



"No more than four?"

"Do you need me to write that down for you, Hinata-sama?" Gaara went sarcastic.

"O…o…okay," Hinata murmured softly, slightly flinching away from him.

Gaara was too irritated to notice the look of sadness etched on Hinata's face.

So, Ouji-sama….is…not….here. He broke….his…his….promise. Hinata bit her lower lip to prevent herself from crying. I should have known….he…he…..doesn't…like…me…..

Hinata's line of thoughts were broken when a Hyuuga branch member ran towards her in frantic. "Hinata-sama! Hiashi-sama is fighting with one of our Suna guest!"

"What?!" Both Hinata and Gaara exclaimed and hastened their pace.

An hour later:

"I hope you have a very good explanation to this," Tsunade glared hotly at the icy looking yet ruffled up Hiashi and a slightly bruised Touga. "A very good one indeed."

Hatsumi managed to locate the Hokage who was in the midst of discussion with the Elders concerning Suna's proposals when the matter was brought to her attention. Under Tsunade's orders, Hinata sat on her left while on her right was the impassive Gaara and three main Hyuuga Elders sat at the side of the room. Both Hiashi and Touga sat right in the middle, facing the pretty much angry looking Kages.

Hiashi refused to look at the long-haired young man sitting about a foot away from him.

Gaara turned his look towards the immobile Touga. "Do you have anything to say about this, Touga?"

Touga shook his head and bowed apologetically. "I would not speak anything unless Hyuuga-dono permits me."

"I want to know who started attacking who first? Is it that very difficult for the two of you to answer me?" Tsunade demanded, frowning hatefully at the two stubborn men who purportedly had ruined her afternoon nap.

"Witnesses to the fight said that no knew who attacked first, but from the fight, it was Hiashi-sama who did all the attacking and the Suna guest was going all the way defending," Shizune reported.

"Why did you attack one of my subjects, Hiashi-sama?" Gaara asked, referring Touga as one of his people.

"I did not attack your people, Gaara-sama," Hiashi replied. "It was merely on the basis of self-preservation," he glared hatefully at the young man beside him. There was no way Hiashi is going to communicate with him and everyone could see the utter displeasure etched on Hiashi's once stoic expression. Even Hinata wondered what ever did Touga did to get on her father's most evil side? The last time she remembered her father was this menacing was when she was four years old and was almost gotten kidnapped by Cloud nins that eventually cost the life of her uncle, Hizashi.

"Self-preservation? What the hell do you mean by 'self-preservation'??" Tsunade bellowed sarcastically. "This isn't the time for you to get all legally technical with me, Hiashi! You could very much cause another war here with Sunagakure and we can't afford to have war going on when there's Orochimaru out there waiting to strike any time. Then there's that Akatsuki who's going after all the jinchuurikis and waiting to strike at Konoha. I have enough problems now on my hand and I don't need another one! If I have to beat it out of you, by Kami I will!" Tsunade slammed her hand onto the table until it broke into two.

Shizune bit her sleeves.

Hiashi mentally calculate the cost of the table.

Hinata sighed.

Touga and the rest sweatdropped.

"That is going to cost, Hokage-sama." Hiashi remained impassive. "Its pure teak wood."

"You can get teak wood here in Konoha, Hiashi," Tsunade reasoned.

Hiashi glowered. "That teak wood table is more than five hundred years old, Hokage-sama."

"We'll find you a five hundred year old tree and carved it out then!" she yelled back.

"Ano…Tsunade-sama," Shizune began. "All trees above one hundred years old are protected in the forest reserve under the Forest Reservation Act and all forms of lumbering are prohibited under the Act."

Everyone fell silent.

"Charge it to the Council then," Tsunade growled.

"But Tsunade-sama!" Shizune was about to object when Hiashi interrupt.

"It will be my pleasure," Hiashi replied icily.

Is his face made out of solid granite? Tsunade twitched. "You Hyuuga men are all made of ice, no wonder your sex life are dull beyond mentioning."

Shizune wished to die.

Hinata twitched, afraid to look at her father.

Gaara and the others twitched at the brash female Hokage.

"Why the hell am I surrounded by stubborn fools called 'men'??" Tsunade was getting more irritated by the minute. Ignoring the offended glances directed towards her. "You can't get a real man nowadays, you're all a bunch of wussies!"

Hinata noticed the tension inside the room is beginning to heat up, thinking a fast way out, she turned towards Tsunade and bowed forward and slightly in a very ladylike manner of a noble woman. "Tsunade-sama, may I request your permission to treat my father's wounds?" Hinata asked in her gentle voice. "Perhaps his wounds have severed his train of thoughts and deemed my father to respond very unwisely."

All eyes were on the petite young woman with indigo tinted hair.

"Go ahead, Hinata. Trying to get through to your old senile father is going to take more than just a jackhammer," Tsunade drowned another cup of sake.

Hiashi twitched.

Hinata smiled softly before proceeding towards her father, she knelt by his side and took a small leather wrapped pouch from the confines of her kimono. She unrolled them and took out a small white coloured medic tub and a roll of bandages. Without asking, Hinata took her father's wounded arm in her hands and started to dab his wounds with medications.

Everyone wonder how is the small petite young woman is going to make her father talk?

Dealing with a Hyuuga is like talking to a brick wall, and Hyuuga Hiashi is known to be a very stubborn and a hard-headed man to deal with.

All the while, Hinata kept quiet and the only sound is the sound of Hinata capped and uncapped some bottles and smaller tubes before cutting some gauze bandages. All eyes were on her now, even the elusive Touga.

Touga gave a small smile when Hinata raise her head and met his gaze.

Everyone notice the little gesture until they heard a small growling noise.

"I would appreciate it if you'd keep your traitorous Hirryuu eyes to yourself, blood traitor," Hiashi glared openly at the young Touga.

Hiashi hissed when all of a sudden, Hinata forcefully dabbed a greenish coloured cream onto his arm. "Are you putting that witchhazel cream, Hinata? You know I don't like witchhazel?"

Hinata ignored him and continue to dab the green cream around his other wounds. Hiashi could feel an extreme stinging pain that dug deep into his skin.

Tsunade was smiling lasciviously.

Hinata took another small ceramic container then put on her medic gloves before taking out a pair of small portable steel tongs. She then peeled open the lid of the container, surprisingly it was made of aluminium steel foil that got the audience around surprised. With the steel tongs, Hinata took out a small piece of black oily leaf and laid it on a small ceramic bowl before mixing it with some diluted sake.

"Is that?" Tsunade wondered.

"Hai Tsunade-sama," Hinata bowed gracefully and proceed to grind the mixture with a small white mortar.

"I'm surprised you know how to use it, Hinata," Tsunade smiled.

"The benefits of having studying extensive herbology, Tsunade-sama."

The mixture caused a disgusting smell permeated the room and resorted to several figures excusing themselves from further inhaling the nauseating fumes. Only Tsunade, Hinata and surprisingly Gaara seemed to be immune to the ghastly fumes that smelt pretty familiar to rotten fish innards.

Hiashi blanched. How about if I pretend to pass out?? Hiashi contemplated, but when he looked at Touga looking at his precious little girl like some predator, he growled in animosity.

Touga gave a slight look of worry and wondered thoughtfully if Hinata is going to put some of those horrid smelling mixture on him? Touga had a lot of things running through his mind by now.

When Hinata was done, she took a small bottle of water and filled the small ceramic bowl. A pale greenish-greyish smoke filled the small bowl and had a very strong odour that gotten Hiashi blanched further. A few seconds later, the foul odour was replaced with a very sweet yet pungent smell.

"Errr….Hinata, what are you using, child?" Hiashi couldn't help but ask.

Hinata remained silent.

The silence was awkward to everyone. Particularly to Hiashi, and Hiashi abhors the silent treatment he is receiving from his daughter.

"Its mandrake leaves, Hiashi," Tsunade provided him the answer. "You'll be fine after this, the pain is only a little but you'll survive." She chuckled maliciously. Oh yes…you will survive….

Hiashi took a deep breath when Hinata dabbed his wound with the mandrake leave mixture. His reaction was a deep intake of breath, eyes widened and for a minute of silence, it was soon replaced by a high bellow no one would've thought the Hyuuga Head could produce.

"What was that sound?" Lee asked, necking at the source of the awful sound.

"That is the sound of troublesome, Lee," Shikamaru yawned. "C'mon, help me with this new desk the Hokage broke last week."

Hiashi could not help himself any longer, his breathing was deep and heavy. "I am alright, Hinata." Hinata hovered protectively over her father, her worried expression clearly evident on her pale face.

"Are you sure, Otou-sama?" Hinata wiped her father's with a cloth.

"You're lucky I was around, or else you'd be visiting your late wife and brother by now," Tsunade grinned widely. "Suck it in Hiashi and be a man."

Then he glared ominously at the Godaime Hokage. "May I remind you who almost died?"

"Or maybe I was a little bit off with the 'little' there," Tsunade admitted with a malicious smirk.

"Very much off," Hiashi muttered. "Like your age."

"Did you say something, Hiashi?" Tsunade asked him threateningly.

"Nothing, Hokage-sama."

Hinata kept quiet but his glare went back to the long-haired Touga.

Without turning to face Touga, Hiashi muttered darkly, "You do not need my permission to tell your tale, blood traitor. Your presence offends me to the core and your traitorous kinds disgust me."

"Hiashi…," Tsunade was running out of patience.

"My apologies to the Kazekage-sama and to his fellow countrymen," Hiashi bowed slightly. "If my fellow guests understand some way of our past and history, I implore you to understand my situation, our situation here….in the Hyuuga Clan." He paused briefly, catching his breath.

"Treachery has never been on good side with the Hyuugas and we are known to be irrevocably loyal, but the act of treachery from the Hirryuu have marred that very idea and concept by betraying our family and everything that holds sacred within the Hyuuga Clan."

Gaara sighed resignedly. He knew this is a very tricky situation. He knew of Touga's ancestry, but he underestimated the wrath coming from the Hyuuga Clan Leader.

Damn it! By the time that old man finishes talking, Tsunade's going to be a bitch to deal with. Gaara observed the now serious looking Hokage. Turning to look at his subordinate, Gaara frowned at Touga's intentions. He knew Touga was one of the eligible young men for the matchmaking, but he did not realized Touga's chosen bride.

Damn it! Its definitely going to be a bitch talking to Tsunade later…. Gaara cussed again.

"My apologies to Hyuuga-sama if it offends you, but I would never expect this would happen," Gaara replied calmly.

Everyone turned their eyes on Gaara.

"I have no knowledge that my subordinate would chose to approach the Head of the Hyuuga Clan and host to my entourage," Gaara looked calm. "My sincerest apologies on behalf of Sunagakure, Hiashi-dono."

Hiashi still look like a bear with a sore paw.

"However, I would very much appreciate it if you were not to directly attacked one of my retainers and personal bodyguard in the near future," Gaara's aquamarine eyes gazed coolly against Hiashi's pale ones. "I do not take too keenly on personal attacks."

"Personal attacks remains personal, Kazekage-sama," Hiashi replied, his eyes maintained its icy depths. "The Hyuuga Edict was given to all Hyuugas when the blood traitors left Konoha to join the other side. And we Hyuugas do not forget such treachery and betrayal."

"What is done cannot be undone, Hyuuga-sama and they are now my people, citizens of Sunagakure. What happened in the past is beyond our control and time, and the war has long ended. Are we still enemies to Konoha then?"

"Is that a request or a command, Kazekage-sama?" It was Tsunade's turn to retort. She did not like how this so-called negotiations going on between Hiashi and Gaara.

Gaara knew he wouldn't win against Tsunade because the odds were against him.

"Very well," Gaara nodded his head. "But I demand an explanation. I am not judgmental, but I must know why in order to justify my actions if I am to let this lie." He looked at Hiashi. "Your explanation on 'blood traitors' is not sufficient for me to justify my actions later, Hiashi-dono." Gaara then looked at Tsunade, "This will definitely reach the ears of my Council, Tsunade-sama and mind you, most of them still belonged to the world where my late-father reigns and admired. These are ruthless men….ambitious men if you must know. Greed is what motivates them, and war satiates their need for power. They will take every opportunity they can to take revenge on Konoha."

"And how about you, Gaara?" Tsunade questioned him back. "Where is your stand in this?"

Gaara sighed deeply, "Truthfully speaking, we're in deep shit hole." Looking at Touga. "Even if Touga refuse to admit the truth, those old bastards back in Suna have ways to extract the truth without him knowing it."

"You have one shit of a Council, Gaara."

"Yeah, old fucking bastards."

Tsunade burst out laughing. "You got a bunch of old bastards and don't know what to do?" She leered at him. "Lets make a trade, Gaara," she grinned. "I'll exchange your councilmen for Danzou."

Gaara raised a non-existent eyebrow at the suggestion.

"He's one of Tsunade's Advisory Council member." Shizune explained.

"Yeah, he's the constant pain to three hokage's in his lifetime and nobody seem to know how to get rid a parasite like him," Tsunade snorted. "Heck! I bet if my grandpa's alive, he wouldn't be able to stand that offhanded withering prick of a bastard."

"Tsunade-sama…." Shizune warned and smiled apologetically to the others.

Hinata winced at the Hokage's choice of language. Looking around, she saw the three Hyuuga Elders convening amongst themselves while Tsunade and Shizune were having their own private arguments. That leaves her father, Touga and Gaara. And by the looks of those three, it was definitely not 'friendly'.

"Permission to speak," Hinata queried, looking between her father and Tsunade, thus breaking the dissention.

"Hn." Hiashi grunted.

"Permission granted," Tsunade nodded her head.

"Hai," Hinata bowed slightly again. Looking at the crowds, "I suggest that we adjourned to a safer location before we further discuss this matter, somewhere more private and secure. I am sure the Hyuuga Elders would prefer somewhere with higher level of secrecy as this may include Clan matters."

Everyone ponder at Hinata's suggestion.

Even Gaara was surprised at Hinata's quick action in neutralizing the heated situation.

"Hinata is right," Hiashi finally said. "If a justification is what the Kazekage wants in order to avoid another shinobi war, then so be it." Looking around at everybody and finally his sights settled on Gaara. "If you want to know why the Hyuugas cannot forgive blood traitors? Then, you will have your truth, Kazekage-sama."

"Its 'needs', Hiashi-dono," Gaara corrected him. "Please refrain from putting words into my mouth."

Hiashi was about to object when one of the elders stood up.

Wearing a typical white and dark grey male Hyuuga tunic with gold and silver linings, a matching hakama pants, stood up shakily from his cushioned seat. "Hiashi! Stop this! This is forbidden!"

"It is my decision to tell, Hiro jii-sama," Hiashi replied, fixing his stare at the oldest looking Hyuuga Elder. "And the time has come as well."

"It is not for them to know, Hiashi. Outsiders must never ever know about this," another elder stood up besides Elder Hiro. Dressed in light grey priestess attire with green lining, she is the only female elder out of the three.

"Himeka-shishou, my apologies to you and to the Religious Sect," Hiashi bowed to her. "This is a matter of urgency which I felt it is Time."

The elderly woman sighed. "Has that Time approaches, yet Hiashi?"

"I'm afraid this is it, Himeka-shishou," Hiashi bowed.

"Wait!" Tsunade looked between Hiashi and the three Elders. "You have a religious sect within the Clan?"

Hiashi sighed.

"Great, now clan secrets are no more clan secrets," the third Elder replied sarcastically. This one wore a similar outfit to Elder Hiro, except his linings were red and yellow.

"Himura," Elder Himeka chided and turned to Tsunade. "All will be revealed in due time, Hokage-sama."

"I thought the Hyuuga Clan has a few elected priests and priestesses to care for the shrines and temples within the Hyuuga Compound, but I would never expect a Religious Sect," Tsunade frowned at them, looking highly suspicious. "Especially someone of your caliber, Himeka-sama."

"It is my duty to my Clan, Hokage-sama," Himeka bowed slightly towards Tsunade.

"Is this a cult problem, Tsunade-sama?" Gaara asked. "I've had my share of cult activities, if you require any assistance?"

"No thank you, Gaara-sama," Elder Himeka smiled serenely. "Our Religious Sect has nothing to do with sacrificial victims or blood drinking. And yes, I know about your problem with the demon worshippers you're having in your country, Gaara-sama."

"You know about them?" Gaara looked surprised.

"We do," Elder Himura retorted. "Why don't you ask that blood traitor about them? He would've known about them too. And very closely I'd say."

Gaara turned to Touga.

Touga sighed deeply, "It's a long story, Kazekage-sama. A very long one."

Elder Himeka turned to everyone, "If Hiashi says it is Time, then we shall not come in between. What must be done, must come to pass."

"You're talking cryptic again, Himeka," Himura grinned cheekily.

"You provoked me, Himura."

While the others were watching the banter between the Elders, Gaara noticed Hiashi's solemn expression, it seemed to him that the older man is deep in thought.

Hinata, Tsunade and Shizune looked completely baffled.

Hiashi felt something was undeniably wrong, but he couldn't think what was it. All he could do was glare at the two offending males sitting not far away from him.

One, there is the blood traitor.

The other, a former host for a tailed-beast.

Somehow, he could not fathom something else was missing. Remembering back his childhood, he remembered a certain story about the Hyuuga ancestry. It was of course a myth, but nobody knew the entire story. Except for Elder Himeka, who was his personal teacher, overseeing his studies in religious texts and ancient scriptures of their Mother-Goddess, Amaterasu.

Something was bothering Hiashi, but he could not remember what it was. Looking outside the window, daylight is slowly fading and night….



"The fallen knight."

Hiashi looked up. Kami-sama….Is it already?....

"Hiashi," Tsunade began, wondering about Hiashi's condition. He's been thinking a lot for a couple of minutes.

"Otou-sama," Hinata murmured.

Hiashi turned to look at his daughter and then to the rest in the room. "Oh? Yes, I'm fine. Just a little winded. Too many things have occurred in one day which took me by surprise."

Hinata scooted herself closer to her father. For a brief moment, Hinata noticed how much he aged when he's deep in thought.

"We need you to take an oath," Elder Hiro said, looking at their Suna guest and also their Hokage and her assistant.

"Oath?" Tsunade questioned. "This is getting absurd."

"Yes," Elder Hiro nodded his head. "An equal exchange."

"Very well," Gaara agreed. "How about Touga?"

The three Elders looked at each other. All had different expressions on their faces.

"The blood traitor would've already known the history of our Clan, and since he's here, technically he will have to take the oath as well," Hiashi replied.

"I object!!" Elder Himura disagreed. "Why should we include him?"

"He knows where this conversation is leading to, Himura jii-sama. And besides, he has a role to play," Hiashi sighed, feeling a deep migraine approaching.

"A player?" Elder Himeka asked suspiciously.

"Oh, I am not!" Touga objected vehemently. "I do not play around!" Turning to Hinata, he looked apologetically. "You must believe me, Hinata-san."

"Eeeehhhh!!" Hinata gasped.

"Elder Himeka did not mean it that way, blood traitor," Hiashi replied icily. "She meant your position as an individual. Here."

"Gomenasai Himeka-sama," Touga apologised, bowing deeply before the Elder Himeka.

Looking at the others around, Hiashi explained, "Once you all sworn to an oath, all will be revealed to you. This is the requirement requested from the Elders."

"This oath," Tsunade asked. "Is it some sort of binding jutsu?"

Elder Himeka smiled, "Tis something much stronger than that, Tsunade-sama."

Tsunade frowned, not liking it one bit.

"The Hyuuga Elders have no intention on hurting anyone who is willing to hear the Truth," Himeka began. "This oath provides some form of safety precaution, not only to us but to you as well."

Gaara looked skeptical.

"Please Gaara-sama," Hinata almost whispered to him. "You can have my word not only as a kunoichi, but also as a Hyuuga and also as the Heiress of this Clan."

"Hinata!" Hiashi looked appalled but Hinata ignored him, worrying more at how the Kazekage would respond.

"Hinata-sama! Please consider your actions!" Touga exclaimed from where he knelt.

Hiashi growled. He didn't like how Touga addressing this daughter. In fact, he despise how Touga even talked to his daughter.

"If it displeases you, I would be willing to receive any punishment you deem worthy to bestow upon me," Hinata bowed before Gaara. "Only please, concede to this request, Gaara-sama!" Hoping he would accept her terms and condition, knowing how important the situation has become, she was counting on Gaara to accept them.

Gaara looked slightly amused.

Everyone looked at him in surprise. Even Hinata blinked at his awkward response.

"Hinata-sama," Gaara began. "Have you noticed the way you talk?"


"You've been saying that a lot lately," Gaara looking amused at the surprised Hinata.

Hinata blushed slightly. "Go…"

"Very well," Gaara cut her off, refusing to listen to her another round of apologies. "I will make concessions this time. And only this time."

Everybody sighed in relief.

Except one.

And Hyuuga Hiashi does not looked pleased at all.


A/N: Yeah, and things are getting more serious now…..Just wanna wish everyone a very belated Christmas & Happy New Year~