i'm thinking about writing an AU story next...since that will be a good challenge by making Gaara and Sakura real life characters and not just anime characters. i'm also thinking on doing something with Gaara's mother's diary that was mentioned in one of these chapters...

so thanks once again everyone. it's been a great ride...


A few days later, our son was presented to the village.

I was nervous that they would reject him, but cheers once again echoed throughout the desert as Sakura held him in her arms while I had my arm wrapped protectively around her.

Eventually I told her about what are son was and why the birth had went so badly. Upon hearing the news, she held him closer and reached out to hold my hand. She explained to me that she had been having dreams about our son somehow she knew that they weren't really dreams and that there was something special about him.
She was upset that I hadn't told her, but she understood why I hadn't as well.

Sakura's strength amazed me.

Within twenty-four hours after the birth, she was back to her old self again and walking around as if she hadn't almost died.
This was all due to Tsunade's care and medical attention of course…
But still, her ability to bounce back and recover made my insides swell with pride.
I don't know why she had ever thought herself weak…she is the strongest person I know.

Our son was silent and observant.
He hardly made any noise and never cried, of course, he had no reason to cry.

He would constantly watch and analyze everything.
Nothing escaped his gaze, and Temari often teased me with stories of when I was a baby and how I would do the same exact thing.

He would sometimes fuss in Sakura's arms, and the only way to get him to stop was for her to hand him over to me.
As soon as he was placed in my hesitant arms, he would stop fussing and stare contentedly at me or whatever else was around him.
I would often find myself locked into staring contests with my son…some of which he would win.

Sakura would often say, "Like father like son…" but no matter how much he resembled me, I could see more of Sakura in him then anything. I saw her in his eyes whenever he stared at something; he didn't stare at it in anger or hatred like I had done, he was more curious about the object and simply wanted to learn more about it.

One night, I was sitting in bed doing paper work while Sakura slept soundly next to me.
Her naked body was draped in blankets and bathed in moonlight.
I found myself distracted from my work as my gaze often drifted to her as I watched her sleep.

A soft breeze blew through our bedroom window and washed over me.
But there was something different about this wind, because as much as I felt it, it didn't seem to touch anything else because the covers on the bed and even Sakura's soft hair didn't move at all.

There was also a familiar scent to the wind…it smelled strongly of hot desert sand and blood…
Shukaku… I thought.
I knew that I had to go out there and see what the meaning of this wind was…maybe Shukaku hadn't been taken by the Akatsuki after all…

I crept out of bed silently, making sure not to disturb Sakura, and went to check on my son before I left.

When I looked into his room, I saw him being disturbed by the same wind that I had…only he was reaching his small arms out to it and trying to grab it with his chubby hands.

I walked over to his crib and looked at him. His gaze broke away from the invisible wind and rested on me, begging me to take him with me.

My son and I always had a way of communicating with one another…probably due to the link that we had with Shukaku. I seemed to understand him more then anyone else. Whenever he fussed, I immediately knew what he wanted…whether he was hungry or tired or needed to be changed…I knew what he needed before Sakura or my siblings could figure it out.

I rubbed my fingers over his forehead and whispered, "I'm sorry…I didn't want you to bare this burden as well."

But he only tried to reached for my hand and grabbed my finger, squeezing it; as if to say, "it's okay".

Picking him up and wrapping him heavily in blankets in order to protect him from the harsh cold wind, I transported us both deep into the desert.

And then I waited.

It wasn't long before I felt a huge chakra presence, one of which I knew all too well…it was Shukaku.

The giant sand demon slunk toward us and then sat down near us with a thud that shook the ground.

Hello boy… he said as his mouth twisted into a grin.

"Shukaku…" I said smirking right back at him. "You're free."
Oddly enough, it felt good to see the demon that had once plagued my existence.

They tried to place me in a new host…but he soon broke under my power.

My smirk grew into a full smile as I envisioned one of those Akatsuki members breaking under Shukaku, writhing on the ground in pain as Shukaku tore him apart from the inside out.

What are you holding? Shukaku's voice broke me away from my thoughts.

My smile faded and I unwrapped my son from his blankets and held him up for Shukaku to see.
Upon seeing the demon, my son didn't cry out shrink away, he just stared at the beast in wonderment and curiosity.

"Our son." I said answering Shukaku's question.

The demon gaped openly at the baby and then gave him a skeptic smirk.

A tendril of sand came out and took my son gently from my arms.
I knew that Shukaku wouldn't hurt him, my son was a child of the desert, just as I am; and although Shukaku would never openly say it, he held a deep respect for the beings that thrived in this barren land.

Shukaku floated my son close to his face and studied him.

Hmmm, you should tell this creature that it's not polite to stare at his superiors…

A small noise escaped from my son and I smiled when I recognized it as laughter.
I watched as the baby reached out and grabbed Shukaku's nose.
Shukaku withdrew his face immediately and growled threatingly at the boy.
I readied myself to defend my child, but was quickly unnerved when I heard Shukaku's growling become a loud echoing laughter.
But it wasn't the maniacal laughter that had often plagued my mind, it was a loud belly laugh that I had never heard escape Shukaku's mouth before.

What is his name? Shukaku asked as he placed the boy in his hand and played with him using some sand.

"We named him Aiji." I said, smirking at the scene in front of me. I had never thought I would ever see Shukaku openly playing with a baby…

Hmmm, Aiji…meaning beloved child. It suits him. I sense a lot of that pink haired kunoichi in him…I take it she is the mother?

I nodded at him and replied, "Yes she is. We're married now."

I must say…you're life has turned out better then all of the other hosts I've had combined.

"Look at yourself." I mused at him, "playing with a baby…"

Shukaku stopped his actions immediately, and leaned in close to me in a threatening way.
However, the dense mood was destroyed by my son giving the demon the meanest glare he could muster…

One look at the baby's glare, and Shukaku was reduced to laughter once again.
Apparently all of those changes you went through while you were still my host rubbed off on me as well…
Looking at me once again he continued, He will make a fine Sand shinobi. I take it that is what he will be…

I nodded at him once again, "Sakura and I have discussed his future, and we both want him to become a shinobi for his country, and will hopefully follow in my footsteps as Kazekage."

Shukaku returned his gaze to my son and said, He has a great inner strength. He will be a fine leader.

Lifting Aiji with another tendril of sand, he held him in the air between us and said, Aiji, you are a part of me and are therefore part of this desert, and for that I will grant you my protection. You will be a controller of sand just as your father is and will forever find yourself protected by it.

With that said, Shukaku placed Aiji into my arms once again.

I bowed deeply, thanking him for this gift.

Shukaku nodded at me and turned to leave. Take care of yourself boy…I'm returning to the desert where I belong. You may find me summoning you once again…but until then…

"Until then." I said, nodding and smirking at him.

When I returned to my home, nothing had changed.
Everyone was still sound asleep…I placed Aiji back into his crib and stayed by his side until he fell asleep.

I never told Sakura what had transpired that night.
As Aiji and his talent with sand grew, she just assumed that it was just inherited genetically through me.
It was purely a secret that Aiji and I kept between the two of us.

About a year and a half later, Sakura was pregnant once again.
Only this time I had no doubts or fears about it…

Nine months flew by and we soon had another son, who we named Yuu, because he fully inherited his mother's gentle spirit.
His emerald green eyes looked upon everything with a gentle nature and he constantly reached out to the world with an innocence that I had never known.

Between my duties as a Kazekage, my duties to Sakura as a friend and husband, and my fathering duties to our two children, my days and nights were completely wrapped in bliss.

Suna was thriving in ways it had never known.
We were now completely independent and our treaty and relationship with Leaf was so strong it was almost like they were just another extension off of us, and not a separate village.

Years flew by and our house was brimming with the sound of children's laughter…After Aiji and Yuu, Sakura and I had three more children: our son Sachiko named after his constant smiling and laughter; our son Takeshi named after the risks he took while he played with his siblings; and our youngest, a daughter that we named Sabaku no Suiren since she was strong both physically and mentally like her mother but still had an elegant grace and beauty to her…just like a lily.

In addition to our children, there was also Temari's daughter Bara; who had the attitude of her mother but the laziness of her father…that Nara boy.

Kankuro also had his hands full with his wife, Ino, and son, Haru…
I was a little uneasy about his relationship with Sakura's best friend, especially since she annoyed me; but overtime she grew on me and I was happy for my brother.
But mostly I liked watching as he was beaten repeatedly over the head by Ino for his immaturity and stupidity…

I was amazed at how great my life had turned out for me...

I was married to and in love with Sakura.
Our four sons and daughter were healthy and strong, and all showed great promise in becoming some of the strongest shinobi Suna had ever seen.
My siblings were both happy and were busy with families of their own.
I had been recognized by all of Suna, and they had given me the title of the greatest Kazekage in the history of our village.

Late one night, I was enjoying the silence in the house that was hardly ever heard anymore.
Everyone was sound asleep, and I walked outside to enjoy the cold night air.

The greenhouse that was built and housing the two Sakura trees that Tsunade had given us as a wedding present caught my eye, and I found myself walking to it.

The heat and humidity inside of the building caught me off guard, but I soon forgot the drastic change in climate as I stared at the two trees in front of me. They had both thrived under Sakura's constant care and I smirked at a smaller sapling that was growing between the two.
Apparently the two trees had germinated over the years, and I found this to be very fitting compared to our actual family.

I walked up to the smaller tree and studied the flowers that were blooming on it.
The flowers were pink with red mixed into them…

A smile spread across my face as I reflected on the intermixing colors…
Red and pink…I thought. How fitting…

A noise behind me broke me away from my reflections, and I turned around to see Sakura standing in the doorway.

"Are you okay?" she asked, sleep heavy in her voice.

I walked over to her and pulled her into a hug, "I'm fine." I said, squeezing her tight into me.

She sighed against me and returned the hug.

"Thank you…" I whispered.

"For what?" she asked into my chest.

I loosened my grip on her and said, "For loving me."

She pulled me into a kiss and said, "Thank you for trusting me."

Kissing her once again, I broke away and said, "Come on, let's go to bed."

Smiling at me, she grabbed me by the hand and walked with me into the house…

As I reflect on how good my life has turned out, and how much I have gained over the years, I have concluded this: I would gladly suffer through those first few years of hell in my life over and over again just as long as I got Sakura and my family in the end...

The End.