Just updating this, because it came to my attention through a review that I had accidentally written Temari alive in this chapter, which is wrong. The only excuse I can give is that subconsciously, I wanted her alive.
I also want to say that this will be the last update on this story. I had another Extra planned, but its been more than a year since I'd started it, and I no longer remember what I wanted to write for it. I'm also not really into the Naruto fandom anymore, but have instead returned to my roots, as it were. Inuyasha was one of the first anime/manga I fell in love with, when I was younger, and I still love it very much today. Submersing myself in the SessKag site Dokuga, and the group on dA has also done a lot for me, and I have a feeling that I'm there to stay.
With those last words, I bid you goodbye, Naruto fandom.
Extra 2 – Gaara and Suki
"Gaara-sama, the last of the volunteers have just left for Konoha," Suki said as she entered his office, a pile of paperwork in her arms.
"Then what is that you are carrying?" he asked, inclining his head tellingly.
"Ah! These are the last things you need to sign to officially change the citizenships of the volunteers from Suna to Konoha," she explained, dropping them on his desk. He picked one up and scanned it slowly.
It had been a few months since Suki had left Konoha and Hinata's side to return to the only home she knew. Since the death of Tatsuo, she had been debating the best course of action. She didn't want to go home disgraced – not only was her master dead, but a traitor to the ninja world for working with Pein. The shame her family was probably experiencing for sending their daughter to him would only be increased were she to return home. Of course, she could have remained with Hinata-san, but Konoha was unfamiliar to her, and Hinata was busy setting up her own life and getting used to becoming a mother and wife. She didn't need Suki around to worry about too.
So Suki had returned to Suna. Upon arriving and stating her name, Suki was told that the Kazekage had requested her presence should she return. A little worried as to why he would want to see her (after all, she was just a lowly mistress to the man who had betrayed Suna; she hadn't even made it into his bed before he was killed), she made her way to the Kage Tower and knocked on his door.
"Enter," a stern voice called out. Gulping, Suki did as ordered, opening the door slowly and stepping in with small footsteps.
"You requested my presence, Kazekage-sama?" she managed to say without stuttering.
He looked up from his desk and in one quick glanced sized her up. "You are Suki, one of Tatsuo's former mistresses?" he asked.
"Y-yes," she mumbled. Oh god, this is about Tatsuo!
"You are also a close friend to Hinata of the Leaf, who in turn is a friend of Naruto, the new Hokage," he observed, clasping his hands in front of his face.
"U-um, yes. I-If you don't mind my asking…why was I ordered here?"
He stared at her silently for a minute before leaning back in his chair. "I would like to offer you the job of my secretary."
"Excuse me?" she exclaimed, startled. She had expected him to throw her out of Suna, not offer her a job! Was he serious?
He stood up and walked around the desk to lean on the edge and cross his arms over his chest. "While I was gone, Tatsuo made many changes to how things were run in Suna, and frankly, it is too much work for me to go through on my own. My former secretary, Matsuri," he stopped and had to visibly collect himself, his eyes closing, "was killed during the Battle of Konoha, and so I am in need of a new one. I need someone I can trust, and as Hinata-san has confidence in you, I feel that I can place my faith in you as well."
"Kazekage-sama, you do me a great honour!" she smiled, bowing low. "I would love to be your secretary."
"Call me Gaara," he responded, going back around his desk to sit down, a clear dismissal. Nodding rapidly and backing out, she left, her heart pounding.
Whatever she had been expecting when she returned to Suna, it wasn't this! Not only would she have a job (something she had thought she would have to work hard to find, and even then, she wouldn't get one this good, considering her past associations), she would also manage to redeem herself and her family!
She smiled as she remembered that fateful day. She had been truly frightened of the returned Kazekage, but over the last few weeks she had come to know him better, and realized that beneath his cold exterior, he was a good man. She was proud to be known as his secretary.
"So once I sign these, the volunteers will be Konoha citizens?" he asked, bringing her attention back to the present.
"Well, they will need Naruto-sama's signature as well," she said. Since working with Gaara she had gone to a first name basis with many high figures within Suna and Konoha, but like her mentor, she felt the need to still address them respectfully. "Once the Hokage has signed them, it will be official. After you sign them, Gaara-sama, we will be sending them to Konoha by messenger hawk. They should arrive a day before the volunteers."
He nodded and began signing the sheets. "Very good. Was there anything else?"
"Ah, yes! Kankuro-sama has requested that you join him for dinner today," she relayed, refusing to make eye contact with him when his head whipped up by looking out the window.
"Did you tell him that I've been working late?" he asked, somewhat darkly.
Suki was unafraid. She had come to learn that Gaara never acted out on his anger. No, instead he would pretend nothing had happened, and then weeks later you would discover something missing from your room. No one realized it, but her boss had exacted his revenge many times by taking something of value from the people he judged had wronged him; the item in question would eventually be returned, just not in the condition it had formerly been in. She giggled a little, remembering Kankuro's anger at one of his dolls going missing. As of yet, an arm had been returned.
"I did tell him, Gaara-sama," she said honestly. She wasn't that worried about something going missing. Gaara seemed to have a slight soft spot for her; maybe because like he had once been treated, she was held in contempt amongst the villagers, though it was getting better as the months wore on. "You look very tired, Gaara-sama, and though you sleep, you still need to get out of this office while you are awake and do something else to distract your mind. Eating a meal with your brother is an added bonus."
He looked up at her through lowered lids before shaking his head. "Fine, you may tell Kankuro that I will have time at seven this evening on one condition."
"Anything, Gaara-sama!" she agreed joyfully. She cared a great deal for her boss, and only wanted to see him happy. She knew he didn't show it, but Gaara missed being able to spend time with his brother, thanks to being so busy with the volunteers. Now that it was winding down, he had no excuse not to go except not wanting to give in. By saying his presence had been requested, he could agree and not lose face.
"You will be dining with us also." He smirked when she gasped, scandalized by the command.
"Gaara-sama, I couldn't! I'm just your secretary!"
He shook his head again. "After hours, you are no longer my employee, but a trusted and valuable friend. Friends can dine with each other, can they not?"
"But your brother surely wishes…." Surely he would want to spend the time with him alone.
"He will understand," he smirked. "Go tell him we will be there at seven."
"A-all right," she demurred, bowing and leaving the office, mind in a whirl. Why on earth could Gaara want her to dine with him and his family?
Suki tugged at her kimono one last time, staring at herself nervously in the mirror. Since working with Gaara, she had been able to afford many fine dresses. They weren't as expensive as the kimonos she would wear at home or even in Tatsuo's palace, but she was always proud when she wore one of them, because she had earned it with her own money. Tonight, however, she couldn't get passed her inner turmoil.
The brunette still didn't understand why Gaara had asked her to dinner, but had managed to convince herself that his reasons were as innocent as he had said they were. If Gaara-sama wished anything more, he would have asked me to dinner sooner, surely, and not to dine with his family in attendance! No, Gaara-sama spoke honestly, and he merely wants to eat with friend and family.
Giving the kimono one last tug, she looked at herself critically. It was the finest kimono she owned, falling elegantly over her curves (what little of them she had) to rest against her ankles. It was blue in colour, fading from a pale sky blue to a dark sea blue at the bottom. The obi she had used to tie it with was orange, and matched the koi fish that peeked out of the darkness near her calves.
Suki gave one last sigh, patted her hair (which she had simply put up into a bun, a few loose hairs falling around her neck) and left her room, heading down the corridor to the Kazekage's wing of the Tower.
Due to the frequency of desert storms, the Kazekage and his entire household staff lived in the Tower, in separate wings. The Kazekage's family lived with him in his wing, while staff had a separate wing, and there was still one other wing for councilors and any other government officials. When Tatsuo was in power, he wanted to leave that idea behind and had his own palace built where he and his household lived. That building was now being used as an indoor market, after it was discovered that Tatuo's underground dungeon in fact had tunnels leading to every corner of the city, even to the Tower.
At first, whenever Suki thought about Tatsuo and what he had done, she was weighed down by guilt and confusion, but as more was revealed of his involvement with Akatsuki, she became more and more convinced that there was nothing she could have done. The head mistress, Hinata, hadn't even known what was occurring at first! Working as secretary to the Kazekage had really opened Suki's eyes to what true trust between a master and their subordinate was!
Gaara had no qualms about letting her read personal correspondence. In face, aside from letter from friends and family, he encouraged her to deal with his mail, and it was her responsibility to write replies and send them. Gaara had no secrets that she didn't know, and the almost unconscious trust he held that she wouldn't sell those secrets made her feel deeply honoured and appreciated. So she granted his wish to join his family for dinner, rather than chicken out and hide in her room like she wanted too.
Suki hadn't met many men of influence in her life – while her family was indeed rich, it wasn't very powerful, and as the youngest daughter, Suki hadn't had many suitors – and after coming to live with Tatsuo, he was the only man allowed to approach her, which he hadn't, so it wasn't a surprise to Suki that she was awed by Gaara.
Her awe had slowly but surely turned into affection, and then attraction. There was no doubt that Gaara was a truly beautiful man. His skin was unblemished thanks to his sand shield, aside from his self-inflicted scar on his forehead, and ever since his demon had been removed, he showed his emotions freely, making his eyes glow with them. He wasn't as tall as his brother – in fact, Suki was the same height as him in her geta – but he was powerfully built, with wide shoulders and strong muscles.
Suki knew, though, that when and if Gaara became involved with a woman, it would be for political purposes to strengthen alliances with the other villages. As the daughter of a noble family in Wind Country – and an ex-mistress to one of the nations' enemies – Suki was not an ideal candidate.
As long as she was his secretary, though, and his friend, Suki knew she could be content. Smiling again, eager to see Gaara, she continued to the dinning room with a small skip in her step.
"The meal was delicious," Suki told the chef politely later that evening. Because Gaara often ate his meals in his office, Suki would go fetch them in order to relieve the strain on the severs who were taking meals to important dignitaries living in the Tower (truthfully, she also enjoyed so personal a task as choosing and delivering his meal). This left her well acquainted with the head chef, and after dinner, she decided to thank him personally.
Dinner itself had been delicious, but the atmosphere had been thick with tension. At first, things had been easy; Kankuro was there already when she arrived, though Gaara had not been. They were talking and waiting for him in order to be seated when Kankuro had suddenly rubbed her butt, making her stiffen instantly in shock and miss the telling look he sent someone over her shoulder. Turning his back to face the direction she was, he took her hand and looped her arm through his, escorting her to the table and seating her. It was at that point that Gaara walked behind them and took his seat at the head of the table with a glare, making her realize he had seen his brother touching her.
Embarrassed beyond belief, she blushed fiercely and kept her head down for the rest of the meal, speaking only when spoken to, which thankfully wasn't often because Gaara didn't speak at all and Kankuro only seemed to want to flirt with her while she silently stewed, not knowing what to say in response.
Giving one last nod to the chef she turned to leave the kitchen and head back to her room. Just as she was entering her wing of the house she bumped into a familiar chest, smarting her nose.
"Oh!" she cried out, rubbing her nose and looking up at Gaara. "I'm so sorry, Gaara-sama, I didn't see you there!"
"Do you return my brother's affections?" he asked darkly.
"I – what?"
"All night my brother was flirting with you, and you blushed and stuttered back. Is this not a sign of returned feelings?"
Unable to believe the words coming so formally from his mouth she laughed softly, unperturbed by the hardening of his glare. "G-Gaara-sama, those can a-also be the signs of embarrassment rather th-than returned feelings," she giggled.
He seemed to calm immediately. "Then what are the signs of returned feelings?" he inquired. Curiously, he appeared eager for her response, making her heart rate pick up slightly.
"Blushing is one," she whispered hoarsely, making her flush again in embarrassment and clear her throat, not noticing as her boss took a step closer towards her.
"What else?" he asked, eyes darkening.
She looked up and, noticing how close he was getting, widened her eyes and took a step backwards. Slowly he maneuvered her until her back connected with a wall, making her gasp in surprise.
"What else?" he repeated, voice deepening.
"Increased heart beat," she said breathlessly, "glazed eyes, dry mouth –"
"How can I tell if you have a dry mouth?" he asked huskily, reaching out to lightly touch her cheek.
"I-I would lick my lips more," she said, unconsciously doing so and drawing his eyes to them.
"Suki," he breathed out, leaning close.
"Gaara-sama," she moaned softly, eyelids fluttering closed. His lips had barely touched hers, however, before her eyes were popping open and she was pushing away, chest heaving as she faced him, this time with some distance between them.
"Gaara-sama, you cannot –" she began, but he interrupted angrily.
"Why not? Why should I be denied pleasure when my brother can take it freely?"
She choked slightly in shock and ire. "Is that what this about? Because your brother touched me and flirted with me? Were you jealous that your brother might 'take' something?"
He blinked and suddenly realized what he had implied. "I didn't mean—"
"No, I know what you meant," she interrupted this time, glaring through the tears beginning to build up. "You don't have feelings for me, not like how I feel for you," she unintentionally revealed in her upset, not noticing the way he looked at her with more interest. "You just wanted to get back at your brother for some slight I don't understand. Well, whatever is going on, don't think that I want to be part of it!" Turning away, she raced down the corridor, ignoring the plea in Gaara's voice as he called out to her.