Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
This final Chapter I dedicate to ThisIsntClaire, Babygurl1012, ShikaTem.rox.like.hell, and Boredwithlifeandlove. … Thank you for reading my story and reviewing, it made writing each chapter all the more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy this last one. :D
"Crystal Country?" Shikamaru scratched his head, wondering why, of all place, Gaara and Soraoi had decided to hold their ceremony in the far off Land of Crystals.
"Don't ask me." Temari shrugged, "I've only ever been out here once; and that was a long time ago."
"They couldn't possibly have picked a worst time for this, either," Yoshino complained, sitting next to Shikamaru and Temari on a wooden bench table, at one of the finer restaurant's in Nijitaki.(A/N: Niji means rainbow, and taki means waterfall, but, lets pretend it means Rainbow-falls, the name of the hidden village of the Land of Crystals, which if you forgot, I just made up).
"Well, at least it looks like the rain is going to stop soon." Shikaku observed, looking up at the cloudy sky through the window.
Everyone had arrived two days earlier, in anticipation of the festivities; unfortunately, it had been raining rather heavily. This had come as a disappointment to everyone, except the bride and groom, who appeared to be pleased by the sight of the rain, though no one was sure why.
Temari had suggested to the couple that they move their outdoor wedding into the feudal lord's mansion, but this idea was met with two resounding "No's!" So instead, the entire wedding party was forced to wait out the rain.
"This is so troublesome." Shikamaru huffed.
"They don't seem to mind." Kankuro pointed toward the happy couple who was walking outside, enjoying the light sprinkles.
"I think tomorrow's going to be the day." Soraoi happy stated, as she twirled around in the moonlight.
"It appears that way." Gaara stood under the umbrella, avoiding the rain as much as possible, but enjoying being out with his beautiful bride nonetheless.
It was beautiful night out, despite the light drizzle, and the following day was sure to be a wonderful day for a wedding.
"You look beautiful." Yoshino told her daughter, as she helped pin the last strand of hair into place.
"Thank you." Soraoi smiled at her mother's reflection in the mirror before her.
She was very excited, though at the same time quite nervous. Outside the Shinto shrine, in the temple gardens, awaited her family and closest friends, along with the man who she would soon be calling her husband. The old Soraoi would be forgotten; all the good and bad experiences she had lived through, nothing more than a distant memory, and a new Soraoi would emerge.
Much had changed since the day she had walked through the gates of Konoha, months earlier. She had come in, a listless shattered spirit, with little hope, and broken dreams, and had come out, with a full heart and a new love.
"I'm ready." She smiled as she saw her father enter the room to escort her out into the gardens.
"My little girl…" Shikaku whispered in awe at the sight of his daughter dressed in a white shiro-maku. (A/N: Shiro meaning white and maku meaning pure; it's a traditional Japanese wedding kimono).
Everyone else exited the room, and moved out into the gardens, where the rest of the guests were ready and waiting for Soraoi's entrance.
"You look just like your mother." Shikaku said, as he extended his right arm for Soraoi to take.
"Thank you." She replied, latching her left arm into her father's, as they made their way out into the gardens.
Paper lanterns hanging from the trees, lined the surrounding area, casting a soft glow that was truly mesmerizing. Gaara stood next to the Shinto priest, as musicians played flutes and other wind instruments, adding to the serene ambience.
Shikaku walked Soraoi down the short aisle, past the few close friends and family assembled in the lush green gardens. The chairs were decorated white with light blue cranes engraved on the backs. Everyone was dressed very elegantly.
As Soraoi walked down the aisle with her father, she looked over the crowd of those gathered to share in her joyous occasion. Shikamaru, of course, was positioned in the spot reserved for the best man, and Temari stood as Soraoi's maid of honor. The rest of the guests included all of Shikamaru's friends, who had become friends with Soraoi over the time she had gotten to know them, as well as having shared a history, and friendship, with Gaara and the sand siblings. Tomoe, of course, was present, seated next to Yoshino, having been like a second mother to Soraoi. Some Suna council members, including Baki, Chiyo and Ebizo, and some Suna ANBU members, as well as the Hokage, a small number of jonin, and a few Konoha ANBU escorts were also present.
When father and daughter arrive before the Shinto priest, Shikaku politely bowed at the Priest and Gaara, and then made his way towards where his wife was seated, to join her during the ceremony.
"You look lovely." Gaara sincerely smiled, as his bride approached his side.
"I love when you smile." Soraoi said, smiling back at her groom.
As the ceremony began, the priest said a few words to the bride and groom and those assembled there to witness their union, and then began the purifying ritual. After the purification and vows were performed, the priest commenced the "san san ku do" ritual, an ancient wedding custom of sharing sake. (A/N: San San Ku Do means "three sets of three sips equals nine").
The exquisite miniature sized sake set, consisting of three flat cups escalating in size, was placed before the couple. Starting with the smallest of the three cups, Gaara took his three sips and then handed the cup to Soraoi, who proceeded to drink from it. He then took the middle size sake cup, took three sips, and passed it over to Soraoi to do the same. Lastly, he took the largest sake cup and drank from it, before passing it, once more, over to Soraoi. At the conclusion of the sake toast ceremony, both families drank a cup of sake to signify, not only the union of the bride and groom, but also the unity of the two families.
At the conclusion of the ceremony the priest pronounced the happy couple husband and wife. "You may now kiss the bride."
Gaara bent down slightly to lean in as Soraoi rose onto her tippy-toes; their faces mere inches apart, and then he pressed his lips on hers, in a chaste, yet passionate kiss. After what seemed like a blissful eternity, the young couple separated, both with wide smiles, and happy hearts.
"Look." Soraoi pointed towards the sky. Above them, high in the sky, was the brightest, most colorful rainbow any of their wedding guests had ever seen. All those gathered in the temple gardens were amazed at the beauty of the rainbow; everyone, that is, but Gaara and Soraoi, who had seen this rainbow once before, and many times within their dreams.
"Behind the veil
Hidden beauty lies.
Happy hues on bended trail
Lighting up two lovers eyes.
Within two hearts
A light shines through
As romance starts
And love begins to anew." Gaara and Soraoi quietly recited the poem to one another; unheard by those around them, changing the last word to mark the new beginning of their life as husband and wife.
THE END (A/N: And they lived happily ever after… lol)
A/N: once, and for the final time (at least for this story), thanks for reading. I hope you all enjoyed this story. :D