Synopsis: Heavy on character profiling, this angsty story focuses mainly on Gaara and Hinata, with some Shikamaru and Temari involvement. Gaara is starting to understand what it is to love others, but has yet to have someone return the feeling for him. Naruto introduces Hinata to him while Gaara is attending an important conference in Konoha and he finds himself wanting to know the shy girl better. Hinata is curious about the strong but silent Suna shinobi's interest in her and soon he is constantly in her thoughts. Thus marks the beginning of a tumultuous few years for the both of them, as members of the Hyuuga family, distance, and misunderstandings threaten to tear them apart. As they both become young adults, will their love mature into something more or will it all end in catastrophe? (Okay, I'm really horrible at writing these things, but I'd like to think that the whole story is a bit more exciting than I just made it out to be, so please just give it a try? ;;)
If you don't care about the story and are only here for the adult content, please refer to chapters 19 (Gaara x Hinata), 26 (Shikamaru x Temari), and 27 (Gaara x Hinata).
Author's note: This story starts off during the filler story arc in the anime, about five months after the Sasuke/Naruto battle, and continues from there through Shippuuden. Also, following the end of each chapter, I will try to define any terms which may be confusing for all but the die-hard Japanese-version Naruto fans.
Disclaimers: I do not own Naruto nor the characters depicted within (except for the ones that I created...no Mary Sue, don't worry). They are owned by Kishimoto Masashi-san, Shonen Jump, Viz, and whoever else that has a license. I am just borrowing them for my own (and hopefully your) amusement. Also, any quotations I use from the anime are taken from Dattebayo fan subs and quotations from the manga are from Shannaro! scanlations, however I may have modified them a bit for fluency issues.
Warning: This story, though mostly tame, does contain some adult and graphic under-the-age-of-consent (U.S. standard) heterosexual scenes of romance which are not to be viewed by anyone under the age of 18. There are also some segments with minor language so be forewarned if this bothers you. If not, please continue.
Spoilers: As I said, this story takes place starting during the filler story arc and continues through events in Shippuuden, including manga material which has yet to be animated. I will post spoilers for each chapter if there are any. If you are only familiar with the English dub of Naruto, then this whole story will be filled with spoilers, so be forewarned.
Special thanks: Thanks to my wonderful girlfriend for helping me think more like Shikamaru, for being patient with me while I worked on this, and listening to me go on and on about this story when I'm sure she had better things to do; to Faerys Delight (my beta reader), Allys, and Birddi for all their time, aid, and patience; and special thanks to you, the reader, for giving my work a try. It's not often that I actually complete a story, especially something as long as this. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing.
Dedication: To Birddi...just 'cuz.
Author's note #2: If you find any spelling, grammatical, timeline, or other mistakes in your reading, please feel free to contact me and let me know. Reviews are also nice, and I welcome both compliments and constructive criticism. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me at with any of the aforementioned.
Author's note #3: " " either denotes a gap in time between what is before it and what is after, or switching scenes. Italicized text between the ' ' are thoughts and the bold italicized text between the are Shukaku speaking to Gaara in his mind. ...Okay. I hope that cuts down on any possible confusion. Now, (finally) onto the story!Epilogue
"Heh. I can hardly believe it," Kankurou whispered with a smirk, placing a hand on his brother's shoulder who stood with his arms folded across his chest. "Those are yours." Gaara merely nodded, his attention focused intently on the two small babies sleeping soundly in the cribs before him. "Is Hinata still resting?" Gaara gave another small nod. "Have you decided on names yet?"
"Well, you've got a boy and a girl so you and Hinata can both chose one, right?"
"I suppose," Gaara simply replied. Though this was one of the most joyful days of his life, he wore a small frown. This did not go unnoticed by his older brother.
"You're supposed to be happy right now, you know? What's wrong?"
Gaara turned his head slightly, eyeing the taller boy next to him. After a moment he sighed then walked next to his son's crib, his arms still adamantly folded across his chest. If he wanted to reach down and touch the small baby before him, he seemed either unwilling or unsure of himself to do so. Instead he just stared, taking in the reality of it all.
"Gaara?" Kankurou prompted.
"This one has the Byakugan," he stated.
"...Oh," came Kankurou's short reply, but that one word held worlds of understanding about the consequences of Gaara's news. "But not the girl?" Gaara shook his head. "Shit. What are you gonna do?"
Gaara sighed once again. "Wait until Hinata wakes up."
"She doesn't know?"
Stepping next to his younger brother, Kankurou again placed his hand on the shorter boy's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "You'll figure something out. Everything'll be fine and you'll feel stupid for worrying about it so much. Heh. You'll see."
While Gaara hoped that those words held truth, he very much doubted it. He slowly uncrossed his arms and hesitantly reached down, placing his hand on his son's small bald head. It was surprisingly warmer than he'd thought it would be. He gently stroked his forehead, but as the baby awoke and began to cry, he pulled his hand away and stepped back. Kankurou couldn't help but laugh.
"What's so funny?" Gaara growled. Now his daughter was awake and had joined her twin brother in his noisy song.
"You didn't hurt him. Babies just cry. A LOT. Heh. Get used to it," he informed, picking up his nephew and cradling him. "Go on," he urged, motioning to his niece. Reluctantly, Gaara followed his lead and lifted his daughter from her crib as if she were the most fragile thing in the world. Observing his big brother and following suit, the two were able to successfully lull the little ones back to sleep.
"See? You'll be fine," Kankurou reassured.
'Maybe I will...but what about him?' the new father contemplated as he watched Kankurou place his son back in the crib.
He continued to hold his daughter, savoring the feel of her in his arms as she slept. Who could have predicted a few years ago that he, Sabaku no Gaara, feared throughout the continent, would be where he was now. If someone would have shown him a picture of his future self holding a baby, his baby, several years before...he would have scoffed at it in disbelief, perhaps even killing whoever showed him the picture to begin with. He wouldn't have believed it. But now he couldn't imagine his life being anything but this. How was it that he'd made this transition from the monster that he was who cared about nothing but himself, into a loving father who wouldn't hesitate to give up his life for his precious children?