I've been really bad in updating anything, but all I can say is that I haven't felt like writing. And given the fact that for the last couple of months, I've been rather obsessed with playing the game Skyrim… well, all of that was a bad combination for my stories. But I discovered that this chapter was only a couple hundred words from complete, so it was easy to get done.
But whatever. I hope you all enjoy this update.
I don't own Naruto…
Sakura felt incredibly giddy with delight. Losing herself in the dance was helping her to forget any nerves she had about tonight, and as she and Ino slowed down to finish, Sakura felt quite pleased with their performance. All that practice had paid off, they hadn't stuffed up once. If she mentioned that to Ino, no doubt the blonde would scoff and say of course it was perfect because she was involved!
The beat set by the musicians was slow and seductive, and she and Ino moved with deliberate steps. This dance was seductive enough on its own without the use of chakra, and the amount of skin the two women were showing added to that. Long, pale arms moved in unison with the sway of their hips as the beat sped up, and soon they were dancing fast enough that their feet barely seemed to touch the ground.
Sakura could feel the audience responding to the mixture of their alluring moves and the subtle waves of chakra both she and Ino were emanating. The tempo of the music increased once more, the crescendo crashing over the dancers as well as the audience, and Sakura could feel their dance coming to an end. She and Ino weaved around one another, celebrating the music and their femininity, and all of a sudden the music stopped, and the two women ended on a sensual and challenging strut.
There was silence a moment, then the roar of the guests cheering and applauding. Breathing heavily, the two women bowed deeply to their audience before leaving the centre of the room and heading off to a place to quickly wash their sweat off and change into more suitable clothing.
"That was exhilarating!" Ino declared, and Sakura couldn't help but agree.
Gaara was stunned. How could one dance affect him so much? He'd felt the waves of chakra coming from them, and deduced that a large portion of what he and others were feeling was due to that, but the dance itself was certainly enough to man even the most powerful man weak at the knees. At least now he had an idea of what Naruto meant when he said the dance had questionable origins. Something like that could only come out of the Red Light districts found mostly in the major villages. What was it doing being used by the upperclassmen?
The fact that chakra was involved… Perhaps it had been adopted by shinobi to be used in the seduction missions of kunoichi? Something like that would definitely give them an edge on a mission… Gaara was intensely curious about this dance, and he intended to find out from Naruto what was involved in its history. In the meantime, though, he needed to get his body's reactions under control.
The woman, Sakura, was a stunning female, which was something Gaara could not deny. She'd sparked his interest when he saw her before the dance started, and then it had changed to a more sexual tone while she danced. He'd never really been too worried about women before, though that was not to say that he'd never been with one. He'd been with enough, but none of them had caught his attention in mere seconds like Sakura had. Something about her made her special in that regard, and he wanted to know why.
The atmosphere in the room lightened as more performers came out for their amusement, thought they could not hold a candle to the two women who'd come before them. A few jugglers, musicians, nothing really all that interesting, so Gaara ignored him. Instead, he turned his attention to Naruto, who was wearing the biggest grin he could manage.
"That performance was awesome, wasn't it?" Naruto said. "All the men here wanted them, but knew they couldn't touch, and it drove them crazy!"
Gaara grunted. "You're rather happy about that," he noted.
"That's because later, I do get to touch," he said. "Ino-chan, that is, not Sakura-chan. That would be gross."
"I told you, she's practically my sister!"
Practically his sister. Gaara considered the fact that if his own sister ever danced like that, then he would kill all the men in the room at the time.
Gaara and Naruto's discussion turned to politics then, the trade agreement between their two nations, the lack of well trained medical nin and the outrageous price of barley wheat coming out of Earth Country. Twenty minutes later, the doors that Sakura and Ino had gone through opened to reveal the two women, more appropriately dressed for the evening. Ino made a beeline for her husband, throwing herself into his arms.
"Did you like our dance, Naru-kun?" she asked coquettishly. "I was magnificent, wasn't I?"
Naruto gave a goofy grin. "You sure were!" And he kissed her thoroughly right there and then.
Then she came forward. Sakura. Gaara's eyes locked on to her lithe form and refused to be drawn away. "Naruto, you have guests, don't make them want to lose the food they're eating," she said with a smile, and Gaara was drawn in by her melodic voice.
The two of them broke apart, with Naruto pulling away from his wife to pout at Sakura. "That's a mean thing to say, Sakura-chan!" he complained then grinned and said, "You two did great! Did you enjoy yourself? I knew you'd enjoy yourself!"
"Of course I did," Sakura said. "You know that anyone who performs that dance feels great both during and after."
Ino snickered and Sakura glared at her, but it was only half-hearted. "Sit down, now!" Naruto said. "Have something to eat, you must be famished after all that exertion!"
He indicated a seat that was two down from him, and it was then that Sakura finally looked up and caught Gaara's rather intense gaze. "Oh, Sakura-chan! How could I forget?" Naruto exclaimed. "This is Sabaku no Gaara, one of my oldest friends!"
Sakura inclined her head to the red head, and Gaara returned the gesture. She was rather surprised when she saw him, he wasn't what she'd expected from the descriptions of both Naruto and Ino. And the fact that he kept staring at her… It was unnerving to say the least. The look he was sending her way was so intense, she felt that she would falter. She bravely returned his gaze, but felt that in a battle of wills, he would be the victor.
Her breath was stolen from her as she stared him, he was so handsome. He had intense jade eyes that burned into her, and when she broke his gaze, she took more note of his hair, which was blood red. There was something like a tattoo on his forehead, or perhaps it was a scar? It was the kanji for love. There were rings around his eyes that looked like they were caused by insomnia, but she hadn't heard anything about that sort of thing, though how would she know?
He wasn't letting up on the intensity of his gaze, despite the fact that she was sure he knew how uncomfortable she was under it. Sakura shifted nervously under his scrutiny, and had the uncanny feeling that he was mentally undressing her, and that made her feel even more vulnerable. More than a little hesitantly, Sakura sat down two chairs away from Naruto, even as Ino sat down between them. The curved layout of the tables allowed Gaara to see her, and he kept his uncomfortable gaze on her through the rest of the evening.
Eventually the feast wound up, and Sakura made her excuses, getting away from that intense gaze as quickly as she could. Once she made it to the apartments set aside for her, she changed into a more comfortable dress, then donned a hooded cloak and headed off to the royal gardens, where she often found herself when she felt this off-centered. The serenity of the gardens would help her to calm down, and she sat down on one of the benches, gazing up at the night sky.
To say that Gaara was disappointed when Sakura left was an understatement. The direction she'd headed off in was west, towards the private apartments, the same direction as the Ambassadorial suites where he was staying himself. He wondered how quickly he could find out which of the western apartments was hers, though he had no idea what excuse he could use to go see her. But he would think of something, even if it seemed suspicious.
Before even coming here, Gaara had decided that he was going to be helping Naruto with the Sound problem. It was one of the reasons he'd brought such a large retinue along, he intended to leave almost all of them here when he left. One of the Generals he brought was an excellent strategist, and would be able to help plan how to use the extra forces to cover the areas Naruto considered the most sensitive. And once it was all settled and Gaara returned home, then he would send on even more troops to help stage a few counter offensives against the enemy.
Before he officially committed those men, though, he wanted to talk to Sakura, to get a feel for her personality, see if they were compatible. If they were, then he intended to use her in his bargaining with Naruto, though he wasn't entirely sure how just yet. One way or another, however, he was going to have her, whether for one night of passion while he was here, or forever in his palace with her growing fat with his child.
First things first though, he had to delay talking with Naruto over the Sound matter, and get Sakura alone.
Naruto was talking to someone at his left, not his wife, she'd left shortly after Sakura, the entertainment and the food had all gone. All that was left now was saké and politics. The person Naruto was talking to was Inuzuka Kiba, the ambassador to Konoha for Gekkōgakure, in the land of Half Moon. The Hyuuga, a powerful shinobi clan, were in power there, and their Tsukikage was Hyuuga Hiashi. Suna didn't really have much interaction with them, as their lands lay on the far side of Fire, closer to Sound and Lightning. But they did have an Ambassador in a suite in the palace, one Aburame Shino, for basic political affectations.
Raucous laughter interrupted Gaara's thoughts, and he realised that Naruto was slowly getting drunk with Kiba. There would definitely be no talking with him now, and he was glad of that. Gaara stood and made to leave, but Naruto noticed and asked extremely loudly, "Hey, Gaara! Where ya goin'?"
Sighing, Gaara turned to his friend and said, "To my rooms. It's been a long day."
"Oh, ok," Naruto said, then went back to his 'conversation' with the Inuzuka.
Grateful the drunk blond didn't press the issue, Gaara left the banquet hall behind him, intent on finding a certain beautiful, cherry haired woman.
The gardens were quiet except for the sounds of cicadas and assorted night birds. Sakura sat on a bench under one of the cherry blossom trees, though they weren't flowering at the moment. It was her favourite place to sit and think, though Ino liked to tease her a little about the fact that she was so comfortable with something that had the same name as her. Even Naruto had grinned like an idiot and poked at her when he'd found out, though she'd smacked him upside his head for that.
Sakura was one of the few people who could get away with something like that, another being Ino, of course.
In any case, she sat with her eyes closed, taking in the cold night air. It was autumn right now, soon it would be too cold to come out here at night, and she intended to take it in as much as she could before then.
It must have been almost an hour that she simply sat there before she sensed that someone had intruded on her privacy. Opening her eyes, she looked over towards the entrance of the gardens to see that Naruto's friend, Gaara, was leaning against the gate, staring at her with that intense and disturbing gaze of his. The two of them stared a moment, then Gaara pushed off the gate and walked over to her. Sakura's heart began to race, but she used her medical training to force it back to a normal rate, though she still felt uncomfortable under his gaze.
As soon as he reached her, Sakura stood, not wanting to feel dominated by his being up too much higher than she was, though he was a good head taller than her. The two of them stood there a moment, not saying anything, just staring, then Sakura nervously broke the silence and asked, "Greetings, Kazekage-sama. Was there anything you wanted?"
So you know the drill… Review please!
Gekkōgakure: Gekkō means moonlight, so village hidden in moonlight.
Tsuki means moon. Tsukikage, hopefully moon shadow.