That Which Lingers

"Your ramen's already been paid for, Naruto-kun," Teuchi says as Naruto gets out his wallet. "The woman who did it is over there. She wants to speak to you."

He follows Teuchi's gaze to a blonde woman sitting at the end of the counter. She turns to face them and beckons to him.

Plopping down on the stool next to her, he glances at her curiously. She's wearing a Suna headband tied to one hip and a fan leans against her side. There's something familiar about her.

"I wanted to thank you, Naruto-san."

"Thank me?"

He's confused briefly then his face lights up.

"Oh, for saving Gaara, right? No problem."

She smiles gently.

"It means a lot to me though."

He looks at her more closely.

"Are you related to him or something?"

Her expression is more guarded now.

"Why do you say that?"

"You just look a lot like him, that's all."

"Yes, I am."

She looks thoughtful for a moment.

"I have to go now. Keep this as a token of my thanks."

She unties her headband and holds it out to him.

"Um, don't you need that?"

"Not any more. I've been retired for a long time."

He takes it reluctantly. Giving away her headband? She must be really grateful.

She gets up to go and straps the fan onto her back.

"Wait!"

"Yes?"

"What's your name?"

"It's Karura."

He watches her walk away. In the distance, there's a man waiting for her. He catches Naruto's gaze and nods at him. They disappear into the crowd together.

He shrugs and turns back to his ramen. Weird lady but nice.


Naruto is so hard to write.

The headband thing is a way of signalling her loyalty to him and the man is probably the Kazekage but could equally be Yashamaru.