Hello! Please enjoy this story!

Naruto is not mine.


Chapter One

Standing on the balcony and looking out over at the hidden village and the desert beyond it stood a figure dressed in formal blue and white robes accompanied with a wide hat and a bēru covering the bottom half of his face. Those who saw this person and knew what the clothes meant would know that they were looking at the leader of the village, the Kazekage, and the fifth to hold that title.

People also knew that if they were standing close enough to him, they might even catch a glimpse of hard jade eyes framed with black rings caused by years of insomnia. And if he moved his head back slightly, a red tattoo of the kanji for love might even be observed. Of course, this was only if they were near him, but where he was standing was a place that only officials or his family (his brother and sister) were ever allowed to be.

This man, the Fifth Kazekage of Sunagakure, the village hidden in Sand, was called Sabaku no Gaara, and he was waiting on a messenger hawk from their closest and strongest ally. The village hidden in leaves, Konohagakure in the land of fire. Only three days ago he'd been in the village to discuss their trade negotiations and had only arrived back in Suna less than an hour ago. But the biggest topic for discussion had been the alliance between the two villages, and any and all things that could be done to solidify it.

Thinking of what the council in Konoha had proposed, Gaara's lips curled slightly in disgust, especially when he thought of the fact that the elders of his own village that had accompanied him had agreed to it. Meddling in his personal affairs was something that he'd warned long ago would not be tolerated, but he figured that they'd decided to use their age as an excuse to 'conveniently' forget what he'd told them. Right now, they should be glad he'd left them to make their own way back to Suna! (There were jounin there to protect those bastards, so he hadn't entirely abandoned them)

They wanted him to get married, but not to just anyone. Only a bride from Konoha would do, because apparently this would permanently seal the deal between their two villages. He resisted the urge to snort in disgust at their excuses, especially since the alliance between Suna and Konoha was as strong as ever. It was just another method in which they could interfere in a way they had no real right to.

Personally, Gaara couldn't wait until Naruto took over as the sixth Hokage, because he knew that the loud mouth would have been completely on his side instead of the council's and the elder's. Tsunade was a great Hokage, but the fact that she'd even considered agreeing to this ridiculous proposal had lowered his opinion of her more than just slightly. She was cracking under the pressure of her council elders, and the inevitable prospect of her complete break-down was extremely unappealing to him.

Sighing, he turned as he sensed a presence behind him, one he knew, so he did not need to worry about going on the offensive. As he watched his brother Kankurou approach, he let the brief thought of disappearing from Suna for awhile flit through his mind before dismissing it entirely. As he came closer, Kankurou saw the flicker in his eyes and gave him a knowing grin.

"I know that look," he said. "Let me guess, while you were in Konoha, the council made suggestions you hated, and those stupid elders agreed to them?"

Removing the bēru from his face, a scowling Gaara was revealed. "Those idiots all want me to marry a Konoha woman," he positively glowered.

Kankurou's eyebrow was raised a fraction, then he sighed. "Is it really so unexpected?" he asked. "They probably said that it would benefit the alliance, and it would certainly do that, but you really should have seen it coming."

"I did," Gaara said curtly, "and I'd already warned them not to interfere with my personal life, but they've ignored the warning."

Kankurou snorted in disgust. "When have they ever really listened to you about this sort of thing?" he asked. "They've made it their business for some time to interfere in all three of our lives!"

The cry of a hawk interrupted whatever Gaara was about to say, and he looked up at the sky, hat coming off as he stared at the bird, noting the Konoha emblem on it. It was the one he was waiting for, and he disappeared in a swirl of sand, leaving his brother behind as he reappeared in the aviary where the hawks were kept. The man in charge there took a moment to notice his presence, so caught up in his birds was he. To have something that you were that passionate about, Gaara almost envied him.


The man in question jumped a mile at the sound of his Kazekage's voice, and he turned to see him standing there with an indecipherable look on his face.

"Kazekage-sama!" he exclaimed. "Uh... you're here for the message, aren't you?"

The man was astute, he had to give him that. Gaara stared at the man until he fumbled with the leg of the bird, finally producing a tube containing the message that he awaited. Once again using his sand to transport him, Gaara rematerialised in his home, indifferently discarding the hat and busying himself with unravelling the message in his hands. Its contents were of no surprise to him; Tsunade had agreed to the marriage and would soon be sending him the information on the 'lucky' candidate.

Despite the circumstances, he hoped that it would be a kunoichi that she chose. That way, he wouldn't have to concern himself with the woman's welfare too much as she would be most likely able to look after herself. Anyone else would probably require constant guarding, and that would end up using resources and man power that would be better served elsewhere.

Deciding that he was overdue for a shower, Gaara made his way towards his bathroom, wondering how on earth he was going to deal with this new complication in his life.


A woman stood on the edge of the forest, looking out at a village that she hadn't seen in months. It was her home village, and she was definitely glad to be back. The young woman was attired in the standard Anbu gear, her hawk-like mask concealing her features, but the strand of cherry pink hair that fell from behind her hood was a dead give-away as to her identity; at least, to those who either knew her or just knew of her.

Haruno Sakura had just returned from a six month mission that had unexpectedly turned into an eight month one, and she was relieved that it was finally over. The unexpected delay in her return, she knew, had caused her to miss an important event in her best friend Ino's life; her wedding. She knew there was no way that it would have been delayed (Sakura would have throttled Ino if she'd tried) especially since it had taken some effort on Ino's part to snag her team mate, Shikamaru, in the first place.

The guy's total laziness had contributed to this, and Ino'd had to enlist Chouji's help to even get a proposal out of him. But it had all been worth it; the two of them were made for each other. Sakura smiled slightly and wondered if there was anyone out there that was made for her as well. Ever since her rather disastrous crush on her former team mate, Uchiha Sasuke, there hadn't really been anyone that she'd felt close to. There wasn't a single guy (or girl, she wasn't picky) that she'd felt that sort of connection with, and she was beginning to wonder if there was anyone out there for her at all.

Sighing, Sakura leapt down from the spot in the trees that she'd been standing and made her way to Konoha's main gate. The guard there immediately stood to attention when he saw her uniform and let her pass. Once inside the gates, she let herself relax and removed her mask, revealing her face to the world (well actually, just to the residents of Konoha). It was good to be home, she decided and immediately took off to the Hokage's office to give her report.

Lady Tsunade, the fifth Hokage and mentor to Sakura was fast asleep, the presence of the saké bottles an indication of the cause. Sighing, Sakura leaned over the desk and yelled, "THE VILLAGE IS OUT OF SAKÉ!"

Tsunade was up and out of her chair in an instant. "Who..? What the...? NO SAKÉ!? How the hell did that happen? I got that order in only..."

She stopped at the sight of her protégé doubled over with laughter.


Cackling evilly, Sakura straightened up and laid the mission scrolls on the desk, saying, "Sorry shishou, I couldn't resist!"

Tsunade glared at her, sat back down and practically snatched one of the scrolls off the table to peruse. "Watch it, missy, or I'll send you on a ten year mission to Rain!"

Sakura's only response to that threat was a roll of her eyes.

"Mission accomplished," she told the simmering Hokage. "Everything went off without a hitch, except that damned bastard from Waterfall was late, and that's why I am as well."

Tsunade nodded. "We got word that he might be delayed," she mused, then straightened in her seat. "Alright, you go get some rest, catch up with friends, etcetera, etcetera, and I'll see you bright and early in the morning!"

Sakura nodded and left the office, fully intending on hunting down Naruto and making him buy her food, after she'd bathed, of course.


Tsunade sighed. She really should have told Sakura what she had planned, but figured that giving her one night of catching up with her friends wouldn't hurt the situation too badly. Tomorrow she would tell her, and brace herself for when all hell was let loose. There was no way that her protégé would be too happy with her decision to send her to Sand.

AN: Bēru means veil.

Hope you liked, please review!

Working as hard as I can on my other stories, should have a couple more chapters out in a couple of days at least.