He didn't know how long he was clutched to Tsunade, but he could feel her shirts were soaked with his tears. Slowly, he raised his eyes to look at her. As Tsunade looked down at Sasuke, instead of seeing the man he was today, she saw the broken seven-year old boy from years past, pleading for comfort, wanting this all to be a sad nightmare. She sighed, and hugged him closer. Knowing the truth, he broke down, tears once more returning to his eyes. He didn't even notice the babbling words that came from his mouth. "He... he can't. It's not true." He gently shook in her arms, unable to comprehend the truth.
"I promised him. I told him I wouldn't let it happen, but I failed him." His small voice got calmer, his tears stopping. "I failed him like I failed everyone else. All I ever do is talk the talk. I couldn't even avenge my own family." Tsunade frowned, noticing the change in Sasuke. She gently pulled him away, and gasped at what she saw. His hollow eyes blinked back at her, a sea of red and black, the Sharingan twirling slowly. He looked directly at her, but she could tell he didn't see her. "But I will avenge him." And instantly, he was gone.
He appeared in front of the Tsuchikage, rabidly attacking him. The Tsuchikage tried to defend himself, but as he looked in Sasuke's eyes, his very soul was torn from his body, thrown in Sasuke's own nightmare realm. Even as the Tsuchikage's soul was being mentally mauled in Sasuke's memories, Sasuke relentlessly assaulted his body, throwing all his hatred and sorrow into his punches. Everyone watched in horror as the Uchiha viciously attacked him, unable to move at the horror before them, the sounds of cracking bones filling the air.
The Tsuchikage hit the ground, a sickening sound echoing in the air. Sasuke walked over to him, noticing that the Kage had returned from the living hell of the Sharingan. "How dare I give you a merciful death." With that, Sasuke's whole right arm alit with chakra, the sound of birds filling the air. The lightening of the Chidori danced around him, licking at everything around him, the heat of it turning the sand particles in the air to glass. Soon, it was raining glass shards around Sasuke, slicing both Sasuke and the Tsuchikage. Sasuke didn't notice as he raised his right arm, intending to finish off this murderer.
As the blazing arm came at him, the Tsuchikage closed his eyes calmly, ready to meet fate. However, the blow never came. Opening his eyes, he say Sasuke standing before him, hovering, a look of shock on his face. The Uchiha slowly turned to his right arm, as it seemed to be frozen in air. Sasuke noticed sand wrapping around his bicep tightly. "Mother?!" The sand slowly took shape into Karura, the womanly torso and arms incasing his arm.
Sasuke took a deep breath shakily, his eyes slowly losing their murderous glaze, "Please, Mother. I couldn't avenge my family. Please, let me at least avenge him." As he stared at her with his crazed eyes, he barely noticed someone walk up behind him. A small, weak voice echoed in his ears. "But my dear Avenger, you don't have to." Sasuke's eyes welled up, not wanting to look. The Chidori died away as he slowly turned around. As he looked into the jade eyes behind him, "Gaara." As the redhead nodded, Sasuke closed his eyes sadly.
Slowly, Sasuke shook his head. "You're an illusion. You're dead. When I open my eyes, you will be gone, and I will be stuck with this loneliness once more." The tears rolled down his face as he accepted that he was alone once more. "Please, don't taunt me. I can accept you're dead. Just…just leave me be." As Sasuke stood there, defeated by his own mind, he heard the Tsuchikage behind him slowly rise to his feet. Even losing the will to avenge Gaara, Sasuke stood there, his back to the Tsuchikage. Only wanting to die, Sasuke waited for the Tsuchikage to attack him. However, the Tsuchikage's words filled the arena. "Sasuke Uchiha has accused me of outrageous accusations and then proceeded to physically attack me. These are despicable behaviors, and they will not be tolerated. What do you plan to do about it, Kazekage?"
Sasuke snapped his eyes open, taking in the illusion once more. Gaara stood before him, his body shaking and face pale, but he smiled warmly up at Sasuke. Slowly, Sasuke walked towards him, reaching out gingerly. When his hand came in contact with Gaara's tattoo, he could instantly feel the fever underneath it. Gaara's weak voice filled the courtyard, "I can see why you are upset, Tsuchikage. However, I plan to do nothing about it." Sasuke hugged Gaara to him, breathing in the smells of the Kazekage. As more tears fell down his cheeks, he whispered into Gaara's ear, "I missed you."
Gaara's laugh came out dry and weak, but Sasuke loved every note of it. Sasuke was brought abruptly back to reality as the Tsuchikage fumed, "What do you mean, nothing?!" Gaara smiled at Sasuke as he pulled away. "Exactly that. In case you didn't know, which I find very unlikely; there was an attempt on my life. Until both the focus, which Sasuke found, and this jutsu is investigated, I will not reprimand Sasuke." Still holding Gaara, Sasuke frowned at him. "How can we investigate it if it is still active?" Gaara pulled a small ball made of sand out of his robes. "But, it's not."
Sasuke stared at it, "What…?" Gaara looked at the ball thoughtfully. "Well, Tsunade was talking about transferring the jutsu to something else." Tsunade walked up next to them, confused. "But we couldn't. To transfer a jutsu, it has to be a like object. Animate being to animate being, and vice versa. It would just end up killing the person it was transferred to." Gaara nodded. "Correct, however, once you and Naruto left to see what the racket was, Mother had a great idea." Sasuke jumped on the bandwagon. "She transferred it to herself, being a somewhat animate being herself. However, she was also non animate because of the sand. She then transferred it to real sand."
Sasuke closed his eyes, hugging Gaara closer to him. "And she lost chakra control long enough during the fight to…" Gaara grinned at him, "Long enough for you to jump to conclusions." Instead of a rebuttal, Sasuke gently kissed Gaara, relieved to still have the man with him. The Tsuchikage was tired of being ignored, "Kazekage. That is unacceptable. If you don't reprimand Uchiha, I will have no choice but to-" However, his rampage was interrupted by a voice near the doors. "Or you will what, Gordin? Start a war?" Everyone turned as Councilor Briggs walked down the steps to the Tsuchikage. "Cause I think you didn't need this little fight to start preparing for one. The council has been watching your actions for quite some time now. Don't think we are blind to your plans. You have been planning war for years, now."
The Tsuchikage turned to Briggs, "Maybe you fail to notice my attentions. I have worked long and hard to make sure that the Land of Earth is a safe, well-protected place. And I plan to keep it that way, even if I have to clean up the Lands surrounding it. The Kazekage is an unstable man. Every one of his past records can vouch for that. As the head of the council, you should know this already." Looking at the Tsuchikage thoughtfully, Briggs then turned to Gaara. "I will agree that the records do not hold good bearings for Sabaku no Gaara." Sasuke watched Gaara pale even whiter. He was about to berate Briggs and the Tsuchikage, but Briggs gently smiled, a twinkle in his eye.
"However, those records are old and fading. New ones have appeared across the Lands on the wonderful leadership of the Kazekage. Even in our lands, I heard from a little girl that the Kazekage has shaped up to be a protecting young man, with time to hear everyone's opinion, no matter how small or trivial. I find your case lacking, Gordin." The Tsuchikage gaped at Briggs, before glaring at him. "You would take the word of a child over mine?! What would a little whelp know about such affairs?!" Sasuke and Gaara almost jumped on the Tsuchikage for offending Drin, but they both stopped when they saw Briggs bristle at the comment.
Briggs words came out forced and bitter, "Trust me, Gordin. I would take my daughter's word over yours any day. You have been disgraceful to the Land of Earth for far too long, Gordin." He pulled out a letter from his robes. Turning around, he motioned one of the guards forward. "This is to be sent directly to the council immediately." In a puff of sand, the ninja was gone. Briggs turned back to the Tsuchikage. "As the head of the council, I am challenging your right to the title of the Tsuchikage. Sraith Gordin, you will be escorted back to the Land of Earth, where you will be trailed against the misuse of the title of Tsuchikage."
The Tsuchikage faced turned red. "You can not do that to me. Guards, apprehend Briggs immediately. He is delusional and is in league with the Land of Wind." However, none of the guards moved. Councilor Myers walked up to his companion, "On the contrary, Gordin, they can not apprehend a member of the council, specially since they are the councilor's personally hired guards. Boys, please restrain Gordin." Briggs turned to Gaara, a gentle smile on his face. "If it isn't too much to ask, do you have a place we can stick him until we leave?" Gaara slowly nodded.
"Wonderful. We still want to look around your wonderful town, but it would be a hassle dragging him around." Gaara waved to Kankuro, and soon the puppet master was leading the way to the prison cells. Sasuke, never having let go of Gaara, noticed that the redhead was leaning heavily on to him for support. However, Gaara turned back to Briggs. "Even though this challenge only involves the Land of Earth, how will this affect the treaties?"
Briggs smiled at Gaara, "Even though this was just a set up for Gordin's plan, a treaty between the Land of Earth and the Land of Wind will benefit both greatly. Since Myers and myself are two of the leading councilors of the Land of Earth, we are more than capable of finishing up the meetings." Briggs was going to say more, but something stopped him. Gaara frowned, and then followed his line of sight. Gaara almost laughed as he saw his Avenger glaring daggers at the Councilor. Briggs grinned, "However, I say we leave that until you are in better condition. I can see that I am not the only one to think that idea."
Gaara nodded, and soon was dragged back to his room by Sasuke and two very concerned Hokages, Briggs following behind. As he was laid on the bed, Sasuke laid next to him, hugging him close. Once he was under the covers, pinned in place by Sasuke, Tsunade took the transferred jutsu. "Well, I know Sasuke won't let you wander around, so Naruto and I will find who did this." Briggs put up his hand. "That won't be necessary. There is plenty of evidence against Gordin as it is. We know he did it. But that isn't his worst problem currently. If he is found guilty for misuse of his title, his punishment will be death."
After that, everyone headed out, leaving the Kazekage to rest. Sasuke snuggled his head into the nook of Gaara's neck, whispering, "Who needs a trial, I could have just killed him." Gaara sighed and ran his fingers through Sasuke's hair. "You're going to pout about it, aren't you?" Sasuke gently kissed his shoulder. "Maybe." Gaara frowned at him, but Sasuke noticed a twinkle in the redhead's eye. "First, I think you are a bit selfish, and second if that is a get-well kiss, I think you are kissing the wrong thing."
Sasuke grinned, and gently pressed his lips to Gaara's. As they pulled away, Sasuke laid his head on Gaara's shoulder. "I love you." As he thought of early, a small tear slide down his cheek. His voice came out soft, pleading, "Don't ever leave me." Gaara cupped Sasuke's face in his hand, wiping away the tear. "Your love means more to me than anything ever could. I want you to know that I love you, my dear Avenger. And I would fight my way to hell and back before I left you." Sasuke gently smiled and kissed the palm of Gaara's hand.
They laid in silence, enjoying each other's company. Eventually, Gaara's weakened state called him into sleep, leave Sasuke alone with his thoughts. He held his soul mate in his arms, gently stroking the flaming red hair. "Thank you, Gaara. But hell would have to take me first."
A small group of people were gathered at the entrance of Sunagakure, seeing both the Earth visitors off, as well as the Hokages. Once all the guards were prepared, the chained Tsuchikage in the middle, Briggs turned to Gaara and Sasuke. "I must say, that was a wonderful visit. We enjoyed your hospitality immensely. And we appreciated the invite to your festivals. We have had a splendid time. And with the treaties in place, I think I might be visiting more often." Gaara smiled, "You are always welcome here, Councilor Briggs. Next time, I am sure Drin would love to visit also."
Briggs grinned at the thought of his daughter. "I wouldn't doubt it. Well, until next time, Kazekage." As Briggs turned to leave, Gaara stopped him. "Wait, Councilor." Briggs turned around, confused. "Well, I was wondering if you could deliver something for me." Briggs looked surprised, but nodded. Gaara then pulled sand into his hand, making a small statue of his mother. Naruto, watching the whole exchange, frowned, "But won't it crumb-" However, Sasuke brought his hand, crackling with chakra. As the lightening hit statue, it crystallized into glass.
Naruto looked suspicious at the statue. "But, now its glass, I don't think that would travel well." Gaara rolled his eyes and dropped the glass figure, gently punt-kicking it. The figurine bounced off Briggs shoe, but was unscathed. "I think it will survive." Briggs bent down and picked it up. "That is a good quality to have with Drin. She would break it. Well, then we best be off." The Earth group slowly started out, their treacherous leader in tow.
Naruto looked up at the sun. "Yeah, we should be off too. It was a good thing you invited us when you visited Konoha, huh, Gaara?" Gaara nodded. As Naruto picked up his pack, he jumped at the thought. "Completely forgot something." He rummaged through his pack. Finally, he pulled out two scrolls, and faced Sasuke and Gaara, a serious look on his face. "I have a mission for both of you. Neither of you can decline it, or there will be serious consequences."
He then handed each a scroll. Once delivered, he followed after Tsunade. Sasuke grinned as they left, not opening his mission statement. Finally, he gently opened the letter. In big, sloppy letters, it read 'Be Happy!' Grinning, Sasuke rolled up the significant note. He turned to Gaara, noticing that the red head hadn't opened his. "Why aren't you opening it?" Gaara frowned looked at the rolled up piece of paper. "I would rather not know what it says. I don't want to know what 'mission' Naruto has for me." Sasuke rolled his eyes and took it from Gaara. "Come on, what the worst it's going to say? 'Don't Worry?'"
Gaara frowned at Sasuke. "Great. Back to fish advice." Sasuke grinned. "Hey, the fish is very wise." Sasuke leaned in and kissed Gaara on the lips. Pulling away, "Besides, you wouldn't have me without Naruto's mission statements. I think you need to rel-" However, when he saw the note, Sasuke was bee lining Naruto at full speed. "Naruto, get better get back here now! I am going to kill you!" Grinning, Gaara watched as his love raced after the blonde. He picked up the mission statement and read it. As always, Naruto's missions were unexpected and eventful. Smiling, he was then gently rolled it up.
Gaara watched as Sasuke eventually walked back up to him. As Sasuke saw the grin on his face, "What?" Gaara leaned in and kissed Sasuke. "Where's the fish advice now?" Sasuke frowned at him. "Well, not here apparently. He deserves a quick kick to the pants." Gaara tilted his head, "Oh, is it just you're too prideful?" Sasuke playfully growled and leaned into Gaara. "So, what if it is? Going to get rid of me?" Gaara shook his head, grinning at Sasuke. "Never. Never, ever." Sasuke mirrored his look, gently grabbing Gaara's mission statement. "Good, but you can get rid of this."
Gaara snatched it back, making Sasuke frown. "I don't think so. You said yourself that it's because of Naruto that I have you. I think I am going to keep it." Sasuke tried to grab it away again, "And forever you shall have me. But I don't think that letter is the best way to remember that." Gaara tucked the letter into his robes. "True, but sometimes I might need to remind myself." Sasuke gave up, hugging Gaara to him, grumbling gently. "Troublesome blonde. I don't know how I can stand him." Gaara gently kissed the upset brunette. As Gaara leaned his head on Sasuke's chest, Sasuke quietly thanked the loud-mouthed blonde. Even though he could be blunt and difficult, he had given Sasuke the best gift ever, one he would cherish to his dying day. All thanks to a little mission.
Unknown to him, that night, Gaara had his mission statement framed. When the two laid down in bed, Sasuke noticed the frame on the ceiling above the bed. Frowning, he turned to Gaara, "Was that necessary?" Gaara gave a hurt look, but Sasuke could see he was faking it. Gaara rolled next to Sasuke to whisper in his ear, "Aren't you going to see what I have for the remedy?" Gaara then pulled Sasuke into a passionate kiss. When they finally surfaced for air, Sasuke returned his grin. "Well, if the doctor is in…" The two fell back into each other, finding bliss in each other's arms that night. And above them, the mission state stood watch all night. Many mornings to follow, Sasuke would look at it without resentment, now accepting it as their little joke. He would grin to himself each time he read the fine, graceful print above him:
'Help Sasuke get that stick out of his ass.'
OMG! Woot! I think it is done…for now. I dead-headed it, so after NaNoWriMo, I could pick it up. But if I don't, I didn't cliff hang you guys! So, Let me know what you think! And I mean EVERYONE! I need to know, or this story is finished. No more writing! So, what is a little button pressing? Hell, if I get enough reviews, I might throw on one more chapter before I start the NaNo! So post! Thanks for the support, everyone! And I hope to see your reviews for the NaNo….Don't forget. Username ToBeMyWorstEnemy! Thanks Everyone!!!