Hey again guys, this is a Gaaraxneji story and I hope you like it. This fanfiction is written for C.H.S..M.L. I really hope you like this. Anyway, the warnings are that this is AU, the characters are OOC, and it is yaoi. Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto, Neji would be with every hot guy in the series. So, I really liked this idea and I hope you do too. So read and enjoy!

Destined: A GaaraxNeji Story

In a large dark forest, a little gray wolf pup was wandering. He paused to sniff the air and his ears perked up. He waited, and as a man with blonde hair, fox ears and tail, and whisker marks on his cheeks walked into the clearing, the wolf pup disappeared and in its place was a young man with long black hair, gray eyes, and fuzzy gray wolf ears on his head and a wolf tail.

"What are you doing wandering around in the forest Prince Neji?" the blonde man asked. Neji scrunched up his nose. Why was Naruto calling him Prince? Usually when Naruto called him Prince, it meant that Neji's uncle was close by. That's as far as Neji's thoughts got before he saw his uncle, the king, walk into the clearing. When he saw the furious look on his uncle's face, Neji cringed and prepared himself for an hour-long lecture.

"I would like to know the answer to that question myself," the king said. He looked at his nephew in a disapproving manner. Neji looked up at his uncle, a man with long black hair, black wolf ears and tail, and flushed in embarrassment. He hadn't really had a reason, just that it was a beautiful day and he hadn't wanted to stay in a stuffy castle on a day like this.

"I did not have a reason, I just thought that today was a day you should not spend inside," Neji said softly.

"You know its dangerous to wander around alone right now Neji. We are trying to negotiate peace with the Sand Kingdom after millennia of war. Any number of people would want to kidnap a young prince to prevent the peace from happening. I will not allow that to happen, I will do anything to see this peace through, and I am disappointed Neji, I thought you had more sense," the king said.

"I'm sorry Uncle, it won't happen again," Neji said.

"Its alright Neji, I was just worried about you. I already lost your father; I don't want to lose you as well. Besides, Hinata was worried sick about you all day and you know that is not good for her condition. Her worrying over you had Naruto worrying over her. You must make sure you apologize to both of them," his uncle replied a little less harshly. "Now, let us return to the castle," he said, turning and walking out of the clearing. Neji followed his uncle with Naruto following closely behind him.

Neji was sitting in his room after returning to the castle and apologizing to his cousin. Hinata had smothered him with hugs and kisses; her belly getting in the way as it got bigger every day till the pups would arrive, which should be very soon. He had spent two hours assuring her that he was indeed okay, and that he was not injured. She had finally let him go when Naruto had come to his rescue saying that Hinata needed to rest and that Neji needed to rest as well.

Neji was still very young because in this world the people age very slowly. He, at twenty-one, was still a pup. Even though he looked around sixteen in his human form, his animal form was still a puppy. Hinata and Naruto were both well over a hundred years old, but they only looked to be in their early twenties. Neji's uncle was around his age when the war between the Fire Kingdom and the Sand Kingdom started around two thousand years ago.

Neji was reaching the age where he should start trying to find his destined mate. Without a destined mate, a couple could not reproduce. Hinata and Naruto had become friends at a very young age and had realized, some years later, that they were destined mates. Your destined mate is revealed to you once you hit twenty-two. When you turn twenty-two, you begin to be able to sense your mate's life force and that is how you find them. In three months Neji would turn twenty-two, and he would find the person he would be with for the rest of his life.

Neji had realized long ago that he was attracted to males, so he hoped his destined mate was male. He also realized that if his mate did end up being a male, that he, Neji, would be the one to carry the pups. This scared him only a little bit, but in the end his instincts told him that this was natural and that he was ready.

Neji sighed and decided to turn in for the night because he had an early start in the morning for his lessons. He lay down and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Neji woke up to a shout in the hallway outside his door. He got up to investigate, and soon found out that Hinata was having her baby. Neji ran to where his uncle was waiting outside of Hinata's room with Naruto. They looked up when he reached them and his uncle smiled while Naruto looked extremely anxious.

They stood there waiting for a long time before the door opened and a nurse walked out. She looked over at Naruto and smiled. "It's a boy!" she said. Naruto grinned happily and rushed passed the nurse into the room. Neji and the king followed him into the room at a slower pace.

Hinata was sitting up in the bed with the baby wrapped up in blankets in her arm. Naruto was standing at the side of the bed looking down at the baby adoringly. When Neji was able to see the baby he saw that he had a mop of black hair that fell a little onto his forehead. The baby was small and extremely cute.

Neji was extremely happy that the baby was a boy because that meant that he did not have to be king. The baby had a greater claim to the throne than he did, and he was glad. He had hated the idea of becoming king, and the whole time that Hinata was pregnant he had hoped that she would give birth to a boy.

Naruto moved aside do that Neji could approach the bed to see his baby cousin. Neji stepped closer and smiled at the baby. He bent down and planted a kiss on his cheek and then kissed Hinata's cheek he grinned from ear to ear and walked out of the room extremely happy.

The rest of that day passed in a blur. Neji's lessons were cancelled for that day because everyone was excited about the Princess giving birth to a baby boy. Neji walked around in the palace gardens while everyone ran around getting the castle ready for the feast that night in honor of the birth of Hinata and Naruto's son Suzaku. (Okay, so I love the name Suzaku, and they live in the fire kingdom and Suzaku, means phoenix, which is a firebird. So that is the reason for my choice in names.)

Neji loved walking around in the gardens because he felt free. The beauty of the flowers and other plants caused him to feel like he was far away from the castle, and was not who he was. He wasn't a prince who was forced to learn things he found pointless, like what fork to use when. He wasn't confined to the castle and constantly watched, even though he knew that right outside the walls of the garden were his personal bodyguards.

Neji craved this feeling of freedom and escaped to the gardens as often as possible. In spring he loved to watch the buds open, and the flowers grow. He loved to watch the bees hard at work collecting nectar, and unintentionally pollinating the flowers. He just sat there for hours watching the butterflies flutter past, and the squirrels chatter as they started collecting nuts for the next winter.

But, sadly, he was always interrupted and his feelings of peace were crushed by the renewal of reality. He would realize that he could never be free like he wanted to. But now, he had hope. He had hope because there was an heir, other than him, that was closer in line to the throne than him. This meant that he would feel less pressure and would hopefully gain more freedom to do what he wanted.

Neji looked up when he heard someone enter the garden. He saw Kakashi, one of his personal bodyguards, approaching him. The silver haired man bowed swiftly and said, "Neji, your uncle said to inform you that the feast will be starting soon, and that you should get ready."

Neji smiled at the man who had protected him his whole life and said, "Thank you Kakashi." Neji left the garden and headed towards his room. Kakashi and Iruka, his other bodyguard, followed him. He smiled as he watched the two men walk on either side of him. They were mates, and he always loved watching them interact together. They were so carefree and jovial that it made his heart warm. They were not only his bodyguards, they were his friends and they were almost like two overprotective older brothers.

Neji reached his room, and got ready for the feast. The night was a long one filled with food, music, dancing and storytelling. Neji was so glad when he was finally able to escape to his room to turn in for the night, that he flopped down on the bed and fell instantly to sleep.

The next couple of weeks were fun for Neji. He escaped most of his lessons by visiting Hinata and Suzaku. Naruto would get very angry with him because he said that it was important for Neji to attend his lessons because he would be turning twenty-two soon, but Neji's uncle told him to go easy on Neji. His uncle seemed to think it was cute that Neji wanted to spend so much time with Suzaku.

Neji couldn't help it; he just thought that his baby cousin was so cute. Suzaku seemed to be extra happy whenever Neji was near. There were times when Hinata would be playing with Suzaku and Neji would walk in to visit, and Suzaku would giggle and reach out for Neji to play with him. Hinata would smile and hand Suzaku over to Neji and she would lie down for some much needed rest.

One day, a month after Suzaku was born, Neji was walking around, rocking Suzaku to get him to sleep, when a knock came at the door. Naruto got up from the seat he was in reading some notes, and opened the door. Kakashi and Iruka were at the door and Naruto stepped aside to allow them into the room. Once the door was closed Iruka said, "The King sent us to tell the three of you that the king of the Sand Kingdom will be visiting tomorrow to negotiate. The king would like for the three of you to be there when the negotiations take place."

Neji froze, still holding Suzaku, and couldn't help but be scared. He remembered learning the history of his kingdom, and learning about the war between the Fire Kingdom and the Sand Kingdom. He also remembered the stories he was told about the current king of the Sand Kingdom. King Gaara was two hundred years old, and had been ruling the sand kingdom for seventy-five years. In those seventy-five years the king of the Sand Kingdom had gained a reputation for being bloodthirsty and insane.

"Please inform the king that we will make sure to be there," Naruto said. Iruka and Kakashi nodded and left the room to tell the king. Neji looked down to see that Suzaku was sleeping, so he lay him down in his crib. Neji left the room and wandered around the castle. Neji was deep in thought worrying about what would happen tomorrow. He knew that if the king of the Sand Kingdom was coming, that meant that his feared siblings would be coming too.

Gaara's older sister was Temari, and she was feared for her strength and cunning during battle. Kankuro was Gaara's older brother. Kankuro was not as strong as Gaara and that is why he had not become king, but he was known to be just as bloodthirsty as his younger brother, if not more so. Neji shivered at the thought of meeting all three of these feared people at once. These were the people that children in the Fire Kingdom were taught to fear from birth, and Neji was one of those children who were taught that the most. Neji retired to his room in the hopes that a good night sleep would calm his nerves and prepare him for tomorrow, but the fear still lingered at the back of his mind.

The next morning Neji was woke up by Iruka telling him to get ready. Neji got up and found clothes laid out for him on a chair in his room. Neji dressed as slowly as possible, trying to delay the inevitable meeting with the King of the Sand Kingdom. Neji sighed when he was finished dressing, and walked out of his room. Kakashi and Iruka looked up as he exited the room and told him to follow them.

Kakashi walked in front of Neji, and Iruka walked behind Neji. Neji followed Kakashi into the great Hall towards the Throne Room where they would meet up with his uncle and cousins to head towards the Main Meeting Room where they would meet King Gaara and negotiate.

Neji entered the Throne room to see everyone waiting for him to arrive. When he entered they all stood up and they all headed towards the Main Meeting Room. Neji followed nervously behind his family. They entered the meeting room and he saw King Gaara standing flanked by Princess Temari on his right and Prince Kankuro on his left. King Gaara looked up as they entered the Throne Room, and he nodded his head in a slight bow towards King Hiashi. Hiashi nodded his head towards King Gaara in a similar manner.

Neji and Naruto bowed towards King Gaara while Hinata curtsied carefully with Suzaku in her arms. Kankuro bowed towards King Hiashi as Temari curtsied. "Now that the formalities are finished, let us sit and begin our negotiations," Hiashi said. They all sat at the long table and the negotiations were started.

Throughout the negotiations, Neji could not shake the strange feeling that King Gaara was watching him too closely. Every time Neji would look up he would see Gaara looking at him a very peculiar way. This odd behavior the king of the Sand Kingdom was showing was causing Neji to be extremely nervous.

Neji found himself looking up every once in a while to see king Gaara look back towards Hiashi. Neji looked at Gaara and realized that he was raccoon dog. He had the fluffy raccoon tail and the round, short ears on his head. Neji looked back down quickly before anyone noticed he was staring.

After about an hour of talking, the negotiations were almost finished. "I would like to speak to you alone King Hiashi," King Gaara said. Neji looked up to see king Gaara looking at him. Neji looked back down at the table quickly.

"Alright, Hinata, Naruto and Neji wait in the hall until I call you back in," Hiashi said. Neji got up and followed his cousins out of the room without looking back. He felt King Gaara's eyes on his back his whole way out of the room. Neji let out a small sigh as he heard the door click closed behind him.

As they waited for King Hiashi to call them back into the room, Suzaku began to cry. Neji looked up to se Hinata and Naruto trying to calm him down but all of their efforts would not calm him down. Neji walked over to them and Suzaku looked at him and stopped crying. Suzaku reached towards Neji and giggled. Neji looked at Hinata who smiled happily and offered Suzaku towards Neji. Neji took Suzaku and began to rock him and play with him so the baby would stay calm.

After about a half an hour, Hiashi opened the door to let them back in the room. Neji was still holding Suzaku as he walked into the room and sat back down at the long table. Without looking up, Neji was able to tell that King Gaara was still watching him. "King Gaara I would like to speak with my family alone before we complete the negotiations," King Hiashi said.

Neji looked up in time to see King Gaara incline his head and for him and Princess Temari and Prince Kankuro to leave the room. Neji looked up at his uncle to see him frowning slightly. The King sighed and said, "King Gaara has asked a very specific request in exchange for complete peace between our two kingdoms. He has also said that if his request is not fulfilled, that there will never, as long as he lives, be peace between our kingdoms." The king paused after this.

"What did he ask for Father?" Hinata asked warily. She had noticed the way King Gaara had watched her baby cousin, and she did not like it one bit. The King sighed and looked up at his family. Neji had never seen his uncle look so sad.

"He wants Neji's hand," the king said. Neji's eyes widened in shock, and he gaped at his uncle. How could this be happening? His hand given to King Gaara, or there would never be a peace between their kingdoms.

"There is no way we can allow this Father!" Hinata yelled at Hiashi.

"Calm down Hinata," Naruto said. He grabbed her hand and forced her to sit back down.

"I won't calm down Naruto. You can't just negotiate with Neji like he doesn't have a will of his own. It's not right," Hinata said. The King, Hinata and Naruto began to talk heatedly about whether or not it was right to negotiate a peace with Neji as a consolation prize. Suzaku started to cry and Neji calmed him down.

"You all are treating me as if I'm not here," Neji said quietly. They all stopped their arguing and looked over at Neji. "I want the war between our Kingdom and the sand Kingdom to come to an end as well. If that means my hand must be given to King Gaara then so be it."

"But Neji –"

"No Hinata. You're treating me worse than you think they are. You're not even thinking about what I want in this matter. Would you rather be selfish and have me here with you, or let me go with King Gaara and end this war and stop the killing of so many of our people?" Neji said. Hinata opened her mouth as if she were going to say something, but closed her mouth when she realized the truth of Neji's words.

"Then it is settled. Neji will marry Gaara, and there will be peace between our two kingdoms," Hiashi sighed and looked at his young nephew proudly. He was proud of how wise and thoughtful of their people he had become.


"He wants Neji's hand," King Hiashi said. Gaara listened to the conversation that was going on in the room behind him. He waited for the eruption he knew would occur from at least one of the people in the room, and was not surprised when he heard, "There is no way we can allow this Father!"

Gaara sighed as he heard the Princess shout her disapproval of his proposal. He listened anxiously, although you could not tell because he left his emotionless mask on his face, to their heated discussion. "You all are treating me as if I'm not here," he heard Neji say quietly. Gaara was quite intrigued by this. He had watched the young Prince the whole time they were in the negotiations and had noticed the fear the boy held towards him and his siblings.

"I want the war between our Kingdom and the sand Kingdom to come to an end as well. If that means my hand must be given to King Gaara then so be it," Gaara's heart skipped a beat at this response. Did he dare hope that the young prince would agree to this proposal?

"But Neji –" Gaara almost growled at the 'but,' but then he heard, "No Hinata. You're treating me worse than you think they are. You're not even thinking about what I want in this matter. Would you rather be selfish and have me here with you, or let me go with King Gaara and end this war and stop the killing of so many of our people?" Gaara was surprised by the wisdom in the young prince's response. He realized that Neji could be the perfect Queen. He was excited for this peace to be negotiated, and hopeful towards his relationship with the young prince.

Hiashi opened the door for the king of the Sand Kingdom and his siblings and sat down as they took their seats as well. "King Gaara, we have come to an agreement within our family, and will accept your proposal for peace. Neji was the wise decision maker who accepted your offer," Hiashi said.

Neji blushed because of his uncle's praise, and looked up to see Gaara watching him again. He looked down quickly and listened to what was said next. "Then that means all we have to do now is decide what you will receive out of this peace, and then sign the papers," King Gaara said.

"All we would like would be for Neji to be able to visit us and for us to be able to visit Neji," his uncle said. Neji looked up to see his a serious look on his uncle's face.

"Agreed," the Sand King said. Neji looked up to see no emotions on the Sand King's face. The papers were then brought out and signed by both Kings. Neji watched the pens scratch across the papers as they signed for the peace between two kingdoms that had been fighting for so long.

He looked up when his uncle put his hand on his shoulder. "You will be leaving with King Gaara tomorrow morning Neji. That gives you the rest of today to get ready and to say you farewells," Hiashi said. Neji looked over at the Sand King and saw him and his siblings walking out of the room.

The rest of the day Neji spent in a depressed gloom. He slowly packed up clothes and a picture of each of his family members. His favorite one he placed in the safest pocket. It was a picture of him holding Suzaku. He was smiling as Suzaku pulled on a lock of his long hair giggling softly. Neji was going to miss everyone, but he would miss Suzaku the most.

When he was done packing, he went down to the dining hall for dinner. He walked in and saw his uncle sitting at one end of the long table and King Gaara sitting at the other. Prince Kankuro and Princess Temari sat on either side of Gaara. Hinata sat to the right of her father with Naruto sitting next to her. Neji took his seat to the left of his uncle and began to eat.

Usually when they ate, his family was very loud, but tonight no one talked. Neji ate as fast as he could then excused himself from the table and escaped to one of the gardens. Kakashi and Iruka stopped at the entrance to the garden and took up position on either side.

Neji sat in his favorite spot in the whole castle. He sat under a huge Banyan tree on a bench that his mother used to sit on and sing to him. Neji sat with his eyes closed as he remembered his mothers voice singing to him after he had fallen out of the tree and started crying. Neji was so lost in his memories that he did not hear someone approaching him.

"May I sit down next to you?" Neji jumped when he heard King Gaara's voice cut across his memories.

"O – of course you can King Gaara," Neji stuttered out nervously. Gaara sat down and chuckled quietly. Neji looked up at him confused.

"Don't be so nervous please, and just call me Gaara," Gaara said. He looked over at the nervous boy beside him and sighed. "I hope that you don't hate me for pulling you away from your family like this," he said.

"I don't hate you. I am just a little confused to why you want my hand in marriage when I'm not your destined mate. Without me being your destined mate, I can't give you an heir to the throne," Neji said.

"I know that, but I felt that marrying a member of the Fire Kingdom's royal family would solidify the peace between the two kingdoms better than just a piece of paper with two signatures on it. Besides, I think your cute," Gaara said. Neji blushed at this and looked away.

"But what will you do without an heir to the throne?" Neji asked curiously.

"Both Temari and Kankuro have found their mates, so one of their children will become king or queen," Gaara said, watching the pink and orange clouds as the sun slowly set. Neji watched the king as he watched the clouds. Neji was surprised by the actions of this man that he had feared his whole life. This didn't seem to be the same man that was legendary for his brutality and ruthlessness in battle.

Neji looked up to see Iruka and Kakashi approaching them. They bowed towards him and the king and Kakashi said, "King Hiashi would like to see you Neji." Neji nodded and said good-bye to the king.

He turned to leave but Gaara caught his wrist and stopped him from leaving. Neji watched as Gaara raised his hand to his lips and kissed his hand. "Good night Neji," he said. Neji blushed and took his hand back and walked away quickly with Iruka and Kakashi on either side of him.

Gaara watched as Neji walked away from him. He sighed softly and sat back down on the bench he had been sitting on. He leaned back with his hands splayed out on the bench on either side of him. His right hand moved across a rough area in the smooth surface and Gaara looked down to see what it was. Inscribed into the stone was Neji loves Suzaku. Gaara smiled slightly at this. From what he could remember Suzaku was the Princess's child.

Gaara looked up when he heard someone approaching. He saw Temari and Kankuro nearing the bench he was sitting on. They stopped when they were standing in front of him and Temari said, "Why don't you just tell him Gaara?"

"I've told you already, he needs to find out on his own Temari," Gaara said with a sigh.

Kankuro chuckled and said, "Well little brother, you have some waiting to do. I hope you're up to it." Gaara closed his eyes and sighed hoping that he would be able to handle holding this information to himself.

Neji was sitting in Naruto and Hinata's rooms with them, his uncle and Suzaku. He was watching Suzaku chew on his fist while looking up at him with big blue eyes like his father's. Neji smiled and tickled Suzaku's stomach making the little boy laugh and squirm on the floor in front of him.

He looked up at the clock to see what time it was and when he realized it was really late he said good night to his family and escaped to his room. He flopped down on his bed when he got there and snuggled himself deep into the comforters. Neji soon drifted off into a fitful sleep.

Neji woke up the next morning and when he saw his bags he sighed. Nope it definitely was not a bad dream. He got up and got ready for the journey to the Sand Kingdom. He had just finished getting dressed in traveling clothes when there was a knock at the door. "Come in," he said while brushing his long hair and putting it up in a leather binding.

He looked up to see Kakashi and Iruka entering his room. They both had huge smiles on their faces so he was a little confused. "We're coming with you Neji," Iruka said excitedly. Neji's eyes widened and he ran to the two men and hugged them close. They chuckled and hugged him back.

"It's time to go though Neji so lets go," Kakashi said, picking up his bags. Neji walked out of his room and headed towards the Entrance Hall where his family and the Sand Kingdom and his siblings were waiting for him. Neji walked up to his family and faced his uncle nervously.

"Good-bye Neji, we'll visit soon," Hiashi said and surprised Neji by pulling him into a tight hug. Hiashi let go of him and Neji turned towards Naruto. Naruto smiled at him and hugged him lightly and said, "Love ya Neji, and don't annoy the Sand King too much okay." Neji rolled his eyes and turned towards his cousin. Hinata was trying not to cry, but she wasn't succeeding. Tears were flowing down her cheeks and when she looked at Neji she handed Suzaku to Naruto and clutched Neji too her tightly, sobbing into his shoulder. Neji patted Hinata's shoulder awkwardly and said, "It's alright Hinata I'll see you soon." She nodded and let go of him. Neji turned back to Naruto and looked at his baby cousin who looked up at him with wide eyes that didn't understand what was going on. Neji stepped forward and took Suzaku from Naruto and kissed his cousin on his forehead. Suzaku giggled and patted his cheek with a wet fist. Neji smiled sadly and placed a necklace with a phoenix (or Suzaku, I know I'm a geek) on it around the boy's neck.

Neji gave Suzaku back to Hinata and turned towards Gaara and his siblings. Gaara took his hand and kissed his knuckles. Neji blushed, and followed Gaara outside. There were two carriages waiting for them. Neji followed Gaara into the first one, and Kakashi and Iruka followed Temari and Kankuro into the second one.

Neji sat on the seat opposite of Gaara and looked out the window, watching the castle fade into the distance. Neji and Gaara sat I silence as Neji watched the scenery outside the window change form that of the Fire Kingdom to that of the Sand Kingdom. Neji was fascinated with the subtle changes from his Kingdom to the Sand Kingdom. They were both beautiful but in their own unique ways.

Gaara watched Neji as he looked out the window. When He saw Neji's look of fascination, Gaara sighed happily. He was glad that Neji didn't find his kingdom boring or ugly. He wanted Neji to enjoy it here after all; he definitely did not want Neji to be miserable. Gaara sat back with less worry and enjoyed the rest of the ride to his castle, watching Neji the whole time.

About halfway through the trip Neji had fallen asleep, and Gaara had moved to the other seat and laid Neji's head in his lap. When they finally reached the castle Gaara picked Neji up bridal style without waking him up and carried him into the castle. Kakashi, Iruka, Temari, and Kankuro followed the king into the castle.

Gaara laid Neji on the bed in the room that was connected to his and covered him up. He went back outside the room to talk to the four people who were standing there. "Two of the four of you will guard him at all times. There is no telling what some of the people in our own kingdom who did not want this peace would try to do to him," Gaara said. The four of them nodded and Iruka and Kakashi positioned themselves on either side of the door.

Temari and Kankuro followed Gaara to Gaara's Study. Gaara sat down and sighed. "You know the two of you are officially married. If someone tries to hurt him it will be considered treason. That should cause most of the people who would want to get rid of him to think twice before touching him," Temari said.

Gaara looked up at her and said, "Most of them, but there will be at least one who doesn't care what happens to them as long as they get rid of Neji."

"Maybe you should just tell them what you know. That would probably make it clear how big a mistake it would be to harm him," Kankuro said.

"I can't take the risk that there will be others who want to hurt him even more because of that," Gaara said and sighed softly. Temari and Kankuro looked at each other worriedly, they had never seen Gaara this stressed about anything. They would make sure to keep an extra close watch on anything around Neji.

Neji woke up in a very unfamiliar place. Neji sat up in bed and wondered how he had gotten here. The last thing he remembered was riding in the carriage and looking out the window. He must have fallen asleep sometime during the ride. That means Gaara must have carried him here. That thought made Neji blush and for some reason made his heart flutter happily.

That confused Neji, did that mean he liked Gaara. He guessed that would be a good thing if he did though. Neji jumped as a door to his right opened. Gaara walked through the door and smiled when he saw that he was awake. Neji blushed because of what he had just been thinking about.

"How would you like for me to give you a tour around the castle?" Gaara asked. Neji's eyes widened and he nodded excitedly. "Good! Get dressed, I'll be waiting in the hall," he said and walked out. Neji got dressed quickly. This was the perfect chance to see if he really did like Gaara. When he was done he walked out into the hall. Gaara linked arms with Neji and led him around the castle.

Neji was surprised at the beauty of the castle. It was just as beautiful as the Fire Kingdom's, if not more so. Gaara showed him the whole castle and the whole time their arms were linked. Every time Neji remembered that their arms were linked he would blush deeply and turn his face away from Gaara pretending to look at something so Gaara would not see his blush.

"Well, this is the last place I want to show you," Gaara said, looking at Neji with a smile. He opened the door and let Neji walk in before him. Neji gasped at what he was seeing. Neji had walked into a huge indoor garden, complete with fountains and everything. "Beautiful huh? My mother loved this place. It hasn't been opened, except by my mother's trusted gardener, since she died," Gaara said looking around, memories of his mother flooding back to him.

"It's amazing Gaara," Neji said. He was looking around with wide eyes.

"I'm glad, it's yours now," Gaara said.

"What? But your mother Gaara," Neji said quickly.

"She's dead, and she would be happy someone who loves gardens as much as she did was taking care of it," Gaara said matter-of-factly. He was completely surprised when Neji turned around and hugged him tightly. Gaara looked down to see Neji with a huge smile looking up at him. Gaara's heart did a flip flop because of this. Hope that Neji might learn to like, maybe even love him, entered his heart in that moment, and the rest of the day was spent with him and Neji wandering through the garden.

The next couple of weeks Neji spent getting used to the differences between the Fire Kingdom and the Sand Kingdom. He got used to the lay out of the castle so he didn't have to stop and ask Temari and Kankuro where he had to turn when they were the ones guarding him.

In these weeks Neji started to understand his feelings for Gaara. Everyday he was with Gaara his feelings grew. This kind of scared Neji because he wasn't sure what Gaara's feelings towards him were. He didn't know if Gaara really liked him, or if he just saw this as a marriage for politics.

Neji was scared that if he let his feelings be shown he would be hurt. There was also the small problem of what would happen when he turned twenty-two and was able to sense his mate. Would he have to ignore that and live on with Gaara even though Gaara probably didn't return his feelings? Also, where was Gaara's mate? All of these problems began to flit around his head and he didn't know just what to make of them. He was afraid to find the answers to any of those questions.

A month and a half had gone by since he had come to the Sand Kingdom and he was sitting in the garden watching the butterflies and bees fly around the flowers. It was two weeks until his birthday, and these questions were becoming even more important. He finally couldn't take it any more, and decided to confront Gaara and discuss these questions.

He got up from where he was sitting and walked out of the garden. Kakashi and Iruka walked behind him to his left and right. He walked towards Gaara's Study and stopped at the door about to knock when he heard an interesting conversation going on inside.

"It is getting close to his birthday Gaara. You should tell him before he finds out for himself and feels like he was deceived," Temari said.

"If he finds out you knew and didn't tell him, any chance you may have had with him might disappear," Kankuro said.

Gaara sighed, "I know the risks, but I really want him to find out that he is my mate on his own. When I couldn't sense my mate when I turned twenty-two, I feared I didn't have one. Then, almost twenty-two years ago, I was able to sense my mate for the first time. When I realized my mate had just been born to the brother of the king of the Fire Kingdom I knew we needed a peace between our kingdoms. If he finds out by himself that I'm his mate he might take it better than if I tell him I knew and planned this whole thing," he said.

Neji's eyes widened and he fell to his knees outside of the study. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. All this time he had been worrying and there had been no reason to. Neji heard footsteps moving towards the door, but he could not pick himself up off the ground. He looked up when the door opened to see Temari and Kankuro coming through the door. They stopped when they saw him sitting on the ground outside the study.

Gaara came out of the room after them and stopped when he saw Neji looking up at him with wide eyes. Had Neji heard what they were just talking about? This couldn't be good, or maybe it could. Neji jumped up and ran away from the situation. He was confused; his mind was full of conflicting thoughts of betrayal yet happiness at finding out that Gaara was is mate.

Neji heard running footsteps behind him and knew that Gaara was probably following him. Neji ran into the garden and fell to his knees next to the center fountain. Gaara ran into the garden right after Neji and watched as Neji dropped to the ground next to the fountain. Gaara paused to catch his breath, and then moved slowly towards Neji.

Neji watched as Gaara sat down next to him. "I can understand if you are angry with me for not telling you," Gaara said hesitantly. Neji looked up at him and saw the nervous look that was on Gaara's face.

Neji sighed, "It's alright I'm not mad. I'm just somewhat confused and a little disappointed that you didn't tell me, but I'm actually really happy," he said.

Gaara looked up at Neji, surprised by this statement. "Really?" he said.

Neji nodded and smiled. "Yeah, I had just been coming to tell you about my feelings towards you when I overheard your conversation. I had also been coming to inquire about yours," he said flushing brightly.

Gaara smiled and said, "I like you too. How could I not, I have known you were my mate for years now, and I have waited that long for you. I'm glad to know you like me even without knowing I'm your mate. I see now what Temari and Kankuro were talking about when they said I should tell you." Gaara wrapped his arms around Neji's waist, and drew him into a tight hug.

Neji wrapped his arms around Gaara and hugged him back just as tight. Gaara drew back and brought his hand up to tilt Neji's chin up. He brushed his lips over Neji's lightly, and then drew Neji into a real kiss. Neji's eyes widened as he felt Gaara's lips against his. He gasped when he felt Gaara's tongue flit against his lips. Gaara took that opening to explore Neji's mouth. Neji hesitantly brushed his own tongue against Gaara's, and he moaned at the contact. Neji drew back for some much needed air and blushed from the realization of what they had just done. "I love you Neji," Gaara whispered.

Neji gasped and hugged Gaara fiercely muttering, "I love you too Gaara," into Gaara's shoulder.

The next couple of days Gaara and Neji spent as much time as possible together. They talked and got to know each other better, and they slowly felt a deeper love grow between them. They were making preparations for Neji's Twenty-second birthday party, and the arrival of his family to celebrate with them. Security was becoming tighter as the arrival of the King of the Fire Kingdom neared.

Neji was escaping the hectic atmosphere of the castle more and more. He would slip away from the advisors that seemed to swarm around him for advice on decorations and other party things. He hid away in the huge garden. His mind would then wander and he would feel free from the craziness that had overcome him lately. These escapes gave him the perfect chance to think about recent events.

It was now the day of his family's arrival, and he was nervous because anything could go wrong. He was standing next to Gaara in the Entrance Hall as he watched his family walk into the hall. Neji smiled as he saw his family stop a few feet away from them and he stepped closer them and hugged each of them. It was definitely good to see them again. Neji and Gaara gave them a tour of the castle and then showed them to their rooms so they could rest after such a long trip.

Neji walked towards his own room, holding hands with Gaara. Neji was nervous and excited about tomorrow because it was his birthday. He would finally be able to sense Gaara as his mate and understand what Gaara was feeling. He was happy because knowing Gaara was his mate meant he had the chance of having a family.

Neji and Gaara reached Neji's room and they paused. Neji looked up at Gaara and felt his lips crash down on his. Neji leaned into the kiss, craving the feeling it created. Gaara pulled back and said, "Good night Neji," and kissed the back of his hand and walked to his own room.

Neji opened the door to his own room, entered, and closed the door behind him. When he did he ran into something solid in his path. Neji looked up to see a tall man who looked like his animal form was a jackal. Before Neji could make any noise the man punched Neji in the stomach. Neji gasped and slumped into the man's arms, blacking out from the pain.

Gaara walked through the door that connected his room to Neji's. He entered the room expecting to see a sleeping Neji in his bed, but the bed was empty and didn't even look like it had been slept in. Gaara had a terrible feeling building in his gut and he didn't like how this was going one bit.

He strode to the door that led to the hall and was faced with Iruka and Kakashi looking up at him in surprise. "Where is Neji?" Gaara asked. He watched the look of confusion flitted over their faces as they looked at each other.

"Isn't he in his room King Gaara?" Iruka asked hesitantly.

"NO! Neji is not in his room and his bed has not been slept in," Gaara said. He was seriously panicking now. It was Neji's twenty-second birthday and that meant that he would be hitting maturity and be gaining the ability to sense his mate. Those were the good things that would happen for Neji today. If Neji was not near Gaara, his mate, today he would go through excruciating pain. He knew because he had gone through the pain but twice as bad because his mate wasn't even born yet (it was very rare that that actually happened).

"What do you mean he isn't in his room? We would have noticed if he left," Kakashi said. At that moment Temari and Kankuro walked up to them, planning to relieve Kakashi and Iruka so they could get some rest.

"Temari get the trackers and find whoever did this," Gaara said, his tail bristling with fury. Temari nodded and went off to gather the people she would need.

"Kankuro double the guard around the Fire King and his family," Gaara said. Kankuro nodded and headed off to do as his brother said. Gaara put his head in his hands and sighed in frustration. Wherever Neji was, Gaara hoped he was okay.

Neji woke up to his whole body being in blinding pain. He tried to scream but couldn't. He looked down to see two leather straps around his wrists, and he felt a collar around his neck. All three were sending pulses throughout his body that would subdue him completely. The most Neji could do was move his head.

Neji looked around to see that he was in a dark room with no windows and only one door. Neji looked up at the door as he heard footsteps approaching. The door opened and in walked the man who had captured him last night. Behind the man stood a woman with white cat ears and tail, and a boy around his age with bear ears and tail.

"Well look who is awake Kuro," the woman said looking up at the man with the jackal ears. The man smirked and walked forward to kneel in front of Neji.

"Well little wolfy, are you in pain? I bet you are," the man named Kuro said. The woman and the boy smirked behind him. "You're going to suffer for what your kingdom has done to the innocent people of our kingdom. You think just because you make a peace with our kingdom and marry our king that it erases the past. Well your wrong," the man said venomously.

Didn't these people realize that it takes two sides to have a war? So all the things that Neji's kingdom had done to their kingdom, their kingdom had done to his. Families lost loved ones in battle in his kingdom too. People suffered universally. They didn't even know what or who had truly started the war. The truth had been lost over the thousands of years. All, except for his uncle, who had been alive when the war started, had perished. Ever since the king before Hiashi had died, Hiashi had been vying for peace. But, stubbornness had kept peace from happening.

Neji tried to reply but the pain increased extremely and he winced, tears welling up and stinging his eyes. The man saw this and smirked. "Can't handle the pain of being away from your mate?" Kuro asked mockingly. He laughed as he stood up, "It'll only get worse the longer you are away from him," he said snidely. He walked out with the woman and boy following him, snickering the whole way.

Neji flinched as another wave of pain wracked his body. He was sure that if the collar and bracelets weren't manipulating his body it would be shaking uncontrollably. As it was, all Neji could do was bite his lip and scream a silent scream as each new and more intense wave of pain hit him.

Gaara was sitting in the garden next to the center fountain waiting for some information from Temari. He was hoping that they would find Neji soon before the pain got too bad. His head snapped up when he heard the door of the garden open.

Temari dashed over to her brother who was sitting next to the center fountain and paused to catch her breath. "One of my trackers has found traces of an intruder in Neji's room, and was able to find a trail from that," Temari said breathlessly. She had run here as soon as she had gotten the information.

Gaara jumped to his feet. "Then lets go," he said hastily.

Temari followed Gaara to Neji's room to meet up with the tracker. They then followed the tracker, with a group of guards, as he started to follow the trail of Neji's abductors. The tracker came to a halt outside of what was supposed to be an abandoned building. He led them to a side door and they knocked in the door. The guards rushed into the building before them and screaming was heard from inside.

Gaara walked into the building, following the tracker. They walked past people being subdued and found there way to a dark hallway. Three figures were walking down the hallway, and when the tracker sniffed the air that was around them he growled. The three figures looked up at this sound and the smug looks that had been on their faces were replaced by looks of surprise and fear.

Gaara leapt forward unexpectedly and grabbed at the tallest man's throat. He twisted his wrist and smiled a wicked smile at the sound of a sickening snap. The man fell form his grasp and he looked at the other two people with hatred in his eyes. They slowly backed up, but before they could get very far, Temari and Gaara both lunged forward and killed them swiftly with one flick of their wrists.

Gaara looked away from the mess they had made to the tracker who had moved towards one of the doors farther down the hall. Gaara approached the door and opened it. What he saw made him want to kill the three again. Neji was on the floor with a collar and two bracelets of submission on. Those were only supposed to be used for their most hated enemies. What was worse than this was the small trickle of blood that flowed down Neji's chin from biting his lip from the pain, the tears that flooded down his cheeks, and the way Neji was much paler than usual and barely breathing.

Gaara ran over to Neji, and made quick work of the collar and bracelets. He cringed as Neji gave out an agonizing cry and started to shake. Gaara wrapped his arms around Neji's waist and pulled him close to him, offering his warmth and comfort. Neji slowly started to calm down as the waves of pain did not continue, but the already existing pain did not dull. Neji looked up at Gaara blurrily and then everything went black.

Neji awoke to a feeling of warmth and safety. His eyes fluttered open, and he looked up to see Gaara carrying him up the stairs to the castle. Neji closed his eyes tightly as the pain dulled slightly but still remained. He wrapped his arms around Gaara's neck and snuggled his face into Gaara's shoulder.

Gaara made his way to Neji's room. He had decided that the celebration would have to be postponed because of what happened today. He opened Neji's door and walked in, closing the door behind him. He walked over to Neji's bed and laid him down. "Are you still in pain Neji?" Gaara asked quietly.

Neji looked up with wide eyes and said, "A little, but not as bad as before. I like your smell Gaara, I never noticed it before but it draws me to you," Neji said softly.

Gaara chuckled softly. "That smell is what you get when you can sense your mate. Essentially, it is the bond between you and your mate that you sense. Also, the pain will go away after awhile or I can help you get rid of the pain quicker," he said.

Neji looked up at him when he said this and blushed. He looked away quickly when he saw the look of lust in Gaara's eyes. "I won't do anything if you don't want me too," Gaara said softly. Neji looked back at Gaara and quickly grabbed his head, crashing Gaara's lips down on his own. He pulled back and showed Gaara the lust and love that were filling his eyes.

Gaara quickly stripped himself and Neji of their clothes. He straddled Neji's waist and gave quick, sharp nips to Neji's neck. He drew back and rubbed his hands over Neji's chest and teased one of Neji's nipples. Gaara reveled in the gasps that Neji let out as he flicked Neji's right nipple with his thumb. He brought his mouth down to tease the other nipple with his tongue. He flicked his tongue over the nub as Neji wrapped his arms around his neck. He bit the pert nipple slightly and moved down Neji's chest with licks and nips.

Neji gasped and arched into Gaara as he paused, hovering over his erect shaft. He muffled a delighted scream when Gaara deep-throated him. Gaara nipped and licked Neji's cock as he felt Neji's grip tighten around his neck. "G-gaara…aah, I'm g-gonna cum," Neji gasped out. Gaara hummed around Neji's erection, and the vibrations were enough to send Neji over the edge. Gaara sucked greedily at Neji's cock as his seed spurted into his mouth.

Gaara swallowed as he drew back to look down at Neji. Neji was panting, and his eyes were hooded with lust, but mostly with love. Gaara leaned over Neji to open the drawer of the nightstand to remove the bottle of lube. He opened the bottle with a 'snap' and applied a good amount to three of his fingers. He closed the bottle and placed it where he could reach it again soon.

Gaara inserted his index finger into Neji's hot, quivering hole. He slowly stroked him as he stretched him. He inserted his middle finger and began a scissoring motion, looking for the bundle of nerves inside of Neji.

Neji cried out when something inside of him was hit that sent a wave of pleasure crashing through him. Gaara added a third finger and Neji winced from the slight pain. Gaara, feeling that Neji had been stretched enough, removed his fingers and retrieved the bottle once more. He poured some of the oil into his hand and threw the bottle somewhere behind him into the room.

Gaara applied the oil to his erect shaft and positioned himself at Neji's opening. He kissed Neji as he plunged into the hot opening. Neji's cry of pain and pleasure was caught in Gaara's mouth. Gaara set up a furious pace, pounding into Neji's prostate with every thrust. The heat was building inside of Gaara and he knew that he wouldn't last much longer, but he didn't want to come before Neji. He started to stroke Neji's cock in time with his thrusts.

Neji gasped at the double stimulation and dug his nails into Gaara's back as he his seed spurted onto his stomach and Gaara's hand. Gaara thrusted into Neji a few more times before releasing his seed inside of Neji's tight hole. Gaara slumped to the side of Neji and pulled him close, covering them both with the blanket and drifting off to sleep.

The days after Neji's birthday were quiet and they were thankful. No more threats towards Neji had been made, the first attempters making a prime example for any who thought about it.

It was two months after his birthday, and Neji felt like crap. He had been throwing up his meals for the past couple of days and couldn't explain it. He looked up from the book he was reading when he heard the door open to his and Gaara's room. Gaara walked in with a very scary looking blonde woman with golden fox ears like Naruto's. "This is Tsunade, she's here to figure out why you've been sick lately," Gaara stated calmly in reply to the questioning look Neji sent him.

Gaara stepped outside and allowed the doctor to do her job. He had been worried about Neji because if what he believed was wrong with Neji was true, he would have a very moody and demanding mate soon. After awhile the door opened and Tsunade ushered him into the room. He stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. He walked over to the bed and sat down behind Neji, drawing him back to sit in his lap.

"So, what's wrong with Neji Tsunade?" Gaara asked hoping his suspicions were right.

Tsunade grinned happily at her King and said, "Neji is pregnant." She watched as Neji's eyes widened and he turned around and hugged Gaara fiercely. "I want to have a checkup once next month and then more frequent check ups as we get closer to the due date which is three months from now (1)," she said before excusing herself.

"Gaara, I'm pregnant!" Neji exclaimed clinging to Gaara as tears of happiness flowed down his cheeks.

Gaara held his mate close and was glad that his suspicions were proven right.

It was three months into Neji's pregnancy and he was starting to show. He was so excited, and when he had told his family they had all hugged him fiercely. It was now his baby shower and his family and all the nobles from the two allied kingdoms, and other kingdoms close by were there.

He just couldn't get the grin off of his place that was there because of the little clothes he was unwrapping. He just wanted to 'ooh' and 'aah' at the little socks and onesies. He couldn't wait for this baby to be born. Today was the day he would find out the gender of his and Gaara's baby. He was just waiting for Gaara to come and get him so they could go see Tsunade together.

The door opened and Neji leaped up when he saw Gaara walk in the room. "Sorry everyone but we have to go find out whether our baby's going to be a boy or a girl," he said to the room of people as he grabbed Neji's arm and disappeared from the room. When they got to Tsunade's, she told Neji to lie down and lift up his shirt. She squirted a cool gel onto his slightly round belly and smoothed it around. She then placed the imager onto his stomach and moved around until she said, "Ah hah!" She chuckled, "That's interesting."

"What is it?" Neji asked nervously.

Tsunade turned to see Gaara holding Neji's hand and both of them looking at her expectantly. She cracked a huge grin and said, "Well it's a girl and it's a boy."

Neji and Gaara exchanged a confused glance before Gaara asked, "What do you mean by that?"

"I mean," Tsunade grinned even wider, "that you're having twins, and it's a boy and a girl."

Two months later and Gaara was getting nervous. It was past time for Neji to deliver, and he still hadn't. He couldn't keep the nightmares of anything that could go wrong going wrong from his head at night. He would wake up in a cold sweat and would look down at the swelled belly and reassure himself that everything was all right.

Tsunade had told them that because it was a mix between two different animal forms, the pregnancy might last longer. Gaara knew that Neji was just as worried as he was, but he kept it hidden behind a bright smile that only disappeared when he thought Gaara wasn't looking.

Gaara sighed as he lifted his pen from the paper he had just signed from the endless pile of paperwork he had to do. He was just about to start the next one when the door to his study burst open and Kankuro bounded into the room clutching a stitch in his side and gasping for breath. "What is it Kankuro?" Gaara asked warily.

"N-neji's … w-water … broke… h-he's … going …into …l-labor," he gasped out, trying to catch his breath. Gaara shot out of his seat and said, "Bring me to where he is," Gaara said quickly. Kankuro nodded, and the two of them dashed out of the Study and down numerous halls.

Gaara was about fed up with how far they were going until Kankuro finally came to a stop outside of a room Gaara supposed Neji was in. The door opened before he could open it himself. Tsunade walked out and when she saw him she smiled. "Aah, King Gaara, you will be happy to know that Neji's labor is going along great. "

Gaara sighed happily and said, "Can I be in there with him?"

"Yeah, I was actually coming to get you because Neji was saying he would kill me before he let the baby be born with out you there. So if you would please come with me," with that Tsunade walked back into the room and Gaara followed closing the door behind him. He walked over to the bed Neji was lying on and saw that Neji was panting and sweaty. He gripped Neji's hand and Neji looked up at him smiling.

Twelve hours later and Gaara was looking down at his and Neji's tiny daughter and son. Their daughter had tiny grey wolf ears like her mother (Neji) and a tiny wolf tail, and their son had tiny Tanuki ears and a tail like him. "What are we going to name them Neji?" Gaara asked.

Neji smiled up at him and said, "I was thinking of Hikari for our daughter, and Izumi for our son. What do you think Gaara?"

Gaara smiled down at his mate, "I love it." At that moment Tsunade came in to talk to them.

"Alright King Gaara, Neji needs to rest, so could you please come back tomorrow morning?" Tsunade asked.

Gaara nodded, and kissed Neji's forehead and both of his children's foreheads. He headed out of the room and pulled up short when he was faced with both of his siblings and Neji's family. "Don't worry guys, he's fine and we have a beautiful boy and girl."

-Twenty-Two Years Later-

Neji laughed as he watched his son chase his older cousin through the castle. Those two had become quite close. It was a few months until Izumi and Hikari's birthday, but when Suzaku turned Twenty-Two, he was able to sense who his mate was. He had sensed that his mate was his younger cousin Izumi. Izumi and Suzaku would be married a week after Izumi's birthday.

"Mother, Father is looking for you," Hikari said as she walked past with her nose in a book.

"Thank you Hikari," Neji said before walking towards Gaara's Study. He opened the door and walked in. Gaara was standing in front of the window looking out at the rain that was pattering against the glass pane. "Hikari said you were looking for me," Neji said.

Gaara turned and smiled at him. "I've been holding a secret from you for about twenty-two years now," Gaara said.

Neji arched a brow at this, "What kind of secret have you been keeping from me for so long?"

"You may want to sit down," Neji frowned at this, but sat down all the same. "Kankuro told me a few weeks after Hikari and Izumi were born that Hikari was his mate," Gaara said warily watching Neji for his reaction.

Neji grinned, "Well that's great! Now both of our children will know their mates and can get married together. That's perfect Gaara!"

Gaara stared at him, "Your okay with my older brother being our daughter's mate?"

"Yeah. Why not? You're okay with it right. Why shouldn't I be? Besides, I personally think that's better because we know he'll take care of her, and she'll be here where we can still see her," Neji said.

Gaara just grinned and pulled his mate into his arms. He could not have wished for a better mate. He was happy that their family would be okay. They had a marriage that would tie the two kingdoms even closer together, and a marriage that would make his brother happy.

He looked down at his smiling mate and knew that everything would be great from now on.

(1): because they have animal forms their pregnancy is shorter, and I just happened to pick five months as a normal carry time. Neji is already two months pregnant.

Yay! I'm finally finished with this. It took me forever. I really hope you like this C.H.S..M.L, and everyone else too. Please read and review. Oh, and if you have any pairing/story ideas let me know. I'm always open. Love y'all, goodbye now!