Don't be scared to fly alone, find a path that is your own. Love will open every door it's in your hands, the world is yours. Don't hold back and always know, all the answers they will unfold. What are you waiting for, spread your wings and soar.

-.-

This Memory of Eden haunts us all

-.-

You lift your gaze to stare at the empty skies above you. You dream of rain, you dream of clouds. You close your eyes and smile. It is a bittersweet smile, a smile I have seen many times before. Nostalgia, now a friend of you and me, visits often. When we talk about what was once, how we met and what we had, back in the days.

Three years ago we started this. On exactly this day, even. I do not blame love for our beginning, I blame sake. It was, is a friend of your father, and in that night we sure did acquaintance with it as well. You were only 15. Technically, I was a pedophile. Though, you were the mature one the morning after when woke up in your hotel room, telling me to blame the sake. I remembered everything, and looking back on the look in those bedroom eyes, so did you.

Yet I agreed.

We repeated the act the following night, this time not in your hotel room, but in my room, keeping quiet while pretending to be drunk. You know, you keep your eyes slightly closed when you're drunk? You should try to work on that while pretending to be intoxicated. And you call yourself a ninja.

Nevertheless, it took us four more nights to admit, in the middle of passion I might add, that there was no alcohol in our veins. Merely toxic, there since the day we laid eyes on each other, finally spreading from our heart through our entire bodies.

The sweet intoxication of your love, I later discovered, was incurable and possibly lethal for both of us. One more night in Suna, and you uttered three words like they were foreign to you.

"I am leaving" And I nodded. After seeing you off, just like any other time. I resumed my life and dreamed of rain.

The next time I saw you was after I had broken my leg twice, and my wrist once. Four children were born in Suna, only three survived. It was not there that we met again, but at your home, and used words instead of body language.

Sitting on your family grounds, somewhere in that enormous woods you still miss, we actually talked common sense. How some things were frowned upon and some secretly very related gossips about those who crossed the lines that were starting to blur for us as well. But our words made no sense to that feeling I had to start denying more everyday it grew, and nor did I make sense when I made my demand.

"Kiss me" I said. You complied, and strangely enough, I remember forgetting to check your eyes for dilated pupils, like any other ninja would do. Searching for the signs of undeniable attraction, for a certainty in our existence. But I couldn't because as soon as you closed your eyes, I closed mine. Or the other way around. Really, rather clichéd, but true.

It is slow, lingering because that was what we needed, your breath getting caught in my throat. A undeniable sensation overcame me, and by the way you suddenly cut it off, you felt the same. It was strange how easy this feeling was to deny, to ignore.

What was actually even stranger, was that nothing else happened that day. Or that month.

And then you showed up at my place, two in the morning I remember, dead tired. Again, I pulled you in, letting the sheets cover for us. My brothers would look strange at me whenever they saw me from that morning on. You stayed two weeks, in which you blamed my perfume for practically everything.

Even the lack of clouds in the sky.

Even the lack of clothes on our bodies.

Even the lack of silence when we screamed.

Even the lack of understanding from their side.

I lost that bottle of scented water somewhere between your next visit, or technically mine, though you came to my hotel room. You showed me all the places in Konoha you loved. I met all the people you cared for, visited every store you had ever entered, tasted the food of every restaurant you ate before. I counted every bird the sky could contain, I heard every gossip your mother made behind your back, I sat on every rooftop Konoha owned and made love in every hotel you knew.

In the end of those three weeks, I still dreamed of rain, and so did you. We shared that look, not at some secluded place that could be called romantic, but just at a random ramen stand at our last evening, in front of your teammates even. You arced your eyebrows in a strange way only you could pull off, and that made me remember the heat of my hometown.

'Is it all worth it?' We both knew the answer. But parted nevertheless.

I remember the insecurity. Our feelings were so raw and so undeniably there, not fragile or glass-like as a teenage crush. I could take a hit. We could take a hit. But there was no vocal acknowledgement yet, from neither of us. I remembered my own stubbornness that kept us separated for three long months. In my dreams, a monsoon passed in the mean time. But I visited you last time, it was your turn to reply now. I was not a desperate woman after all.

"A mission." You said when we met again at the walls that confined the population to which I still belonged. I just nodded. Really, there was no complication in all this, because I was expected to expect his return.

Or not, since we were not a couple. We were allies, friends at best. A man from Konoha. A woman from Suna. Both ninjas, loyal to their villages.

Lanterns, candles, even the sweet smell of the promise of dango filled that streets that night. I remember the sky, already shifting it's colors when I showed you my home, my birth grounds, my Suna. I showed you my love for the place, fiery like you said I am.

That night we danced, even though there could be never be love between us, according to the very crowd that danced around us. You moved against me, called me troublesome a couple of times and kissed my nose when you lost your grace during one of the faster songs and I laughed at you. I never imagined somebody as lazy as you could cut an eight shape like that, though you proved me wrongs many times after that first time.

We spend a few nights together after that evening. In those perfect nights, In which there were no brothers in the other rooms. In which our love was real, in which there was no time, no fall nor spring, no summer nor winter, and no departure date. No morning in which my brothers would refuse to talk to me, no noon in which people would stare at us, no evenings in which the setting sun reminded me of what had to come. In which we felt the love that's been burning through our veins ever since. Begging for release, for you, for love.

We were in a bliss, and the world could be damned for all we cared. I remember saying it first to you, though you would claim later you admitted it first. Anyway, those clichéd three words were long overdue but still very appreciated. Even if you said them when you left me and my city alone.

We were good at that, leaving. Also in returning, fortunately.

Though you broke our little tradition when you ended on my doorstep a month after that. I hadn't gotten the time to go to Konoha yet, though I was not above showing how glad I was that he had actually taken the lead and time to seek me out.

I remember exactly what we did those three days: fight. Three times actually. If it would have been me visiting Konoha, I would have left already after the first fight. But I guess your laziness did come in handy sometimes, or to quote you; 'It was too troublesome to go back without finishing the mission and have to return later on.' I remember how I twisted that statement into something completely different that made both of us upset and awkward.

But in the end, the make-up sex was good and we managed to talk a lot during the interludes of our fights. I learned a lot of trivial things about you, how you were actually praised on your natural meditation skills, which I wrote off to your natural laziness. And how Ino and Chouji would complain about all the missions he took off to see me, to which I replied that it was your fault my brothers kept looking at me strangely after you had been so loud.

A lot of witty comebacks and unfortunately located hickeys later, I decided to travel back with him. To keep up the genjutsu that covered those love bites of course. In all my time as a Suna kunoichi, it never took me so long to make my way through the desert. It didn't feel strange at the time though, when I saw his eyes light up more with every step away from my village, prolonging our goodbye.

It worked out somehow, the traveling back and forth, and I swear that if we hadn't run into four extremely familiar missing nins somewhere within the third week, we could've kept it up for another month. Though in the end we should have thanked Naruto for giving us a good alibi for our prolonged absence. We chased them for days, we would later explain to our superiors, and I shot down Gaara's suspicion with a letter from his dear friend. Shikamaru was pardoned as well after relying a message from the former team 7. I remember how we laughed about that the next time I came to Konoha.

Though it was the only thing to laugh about during my stay. We worked hard, and when we even thought about spending some private time, someone would make certain that we would not be alone. I think that was the moment that we realized that both of our villages where suspicious of our supposed 'platonic' relationship. I think it was the only time I ever happy I got to leave you, or rather that village. Still you confided in me that you dreamed of rain.

Many days passed after that, 6 weeks actually. And when you returned, you brought a child with you. I remember thinking it was what a woman would do instead of a man.

Not a child, a baby, and I could take that hit. Even if it broke my heart how you held him, how the love in your eyes was so plain obvious. He didn't even look like you, he wasn't even really yours.

You told me how his father died, and how you had sworn that you would take care of his child. How lost you had felt when he died, and how the child's mother's death had pushed you back into that abyss after you had finally climbed back up a little. But also about Kenji, your godson's name, about what a hassle he was and how he actually had to move out of his parent's house in order to keep him.

But you would smile at him the entire time, cradling him while complaining. I have never been so jealous in my life, and looking back on it, I also have never acted so immature in my life.

And I couldn't stop wondering why the hell you took a baby with you, to me, your girlfriend, who lives in another country.

But for three weeks I was forced to put up with him. I hated him, called him names in my head and grew furious every time you would turn you attention from him to me. But in the end I found my hateful thoughts of what we would be doing that very instance if they didn't have to take care of the baby, changing into girly fantasies of him being ours. Not that I told you of course.

That smug grin was already annoying me way too much anyway, especially when you kept grinning while you two were about to leave and I said my goodbye to a baby I proclaimed I did not like.

When I visited Konoha next time, people accused me for the first time right in my face, of mothering over a child that is not my own as I roam the streets with Kenji. You had to talk with the father of his deceased godmother, and I almost smile at the irony. I have never been so terrified and offended at the same time, in my entire life. I left the next day, though not before singing of rain to a child I started to consider my own somewhere between the lyrics. You still complain that I left a lousy note behind for him. You were just jealous because you missed his first word, even if you still deny that as well.

I know you still have that note, and I know that my words were harsh. Yet I am grateful that you acted on them. You can't imagine my surprise when you (and your youthful company on your back) dragged me into an ally a week later, after all the warning I got was a whisper of my own name. Just before I beat the crap out of my supposed attacker, luckily.

Then I see Kenji, the bags, the absence of metal and that pleading look that we shared so long ago when you showed me the ins and outs your hometown.

I asked if you were going to stay here, the masochist that I am.

"Temari" you repeated, as if the word was foreign to you. I don't remember what exactly went through my head when I got my confirmation. I already felt sorrow nail me to the ground, because either way I was going to lose everything. I remember trying to decline, I remember screaming at myself. I remember taking your hand and interwining our fingers, while you led us back to my house.

I remember the stares from the people that were no longer my own. I remember my brother's faces change when they realized that this was it. I remember how Gaara cried first, and how taken back I was because of that. I remember how Kankurou took Kenji (after ranting for a while) and asked us if the child ever needed a teacher. Neither of them tried to stop us. I remember confessing stupid things I did in my youth as a way of avoiding goodbyes.

And how we passed the gates together, knowing we could never return to that place where we shared more than just our first dance.

Both of us, we remember the sorrow, everything we lost in a the time span of a few days. How we left our headbands behind us while you tell me that your village will hunt us.

The years that followed after that, how we had to struggle to find a new lifestyle, and how we missed our old days of relaxation.

But that is what we have lost, what we choose to forsake in order for this to become reality. Nostalgia is what we share, the familiar feeling of seeing your eyes become distant and remembering and missing, but never regretting what we did.

Because not all is lost. Even if we have passed the point of no return years ago, when we first laid eyes upon each other, when we kissed or had sex for the first time, when we tried to deny it or maybe when we left, or somewhere in between those moments, we gained and regained so much.

What we have is there, in that cradle, our pride and joy. Bearing the name of your first love, and who could have ever guessed that we would give life? Konohana is the daughter of two proud nomads, the little 'sister' of their godchild.

And what we have is here, in our hearts, when we gave up the safety of our homes, sacrificed everything that we once held above everything else, is here in the atmosphere. Is here in the soft lulling of the desert winds in our ears, the dying light of the setting sun in our backs and the familiar eight shape we dance in the middle of the desert. There is no time right here, not until the sun has set and we have to move to the next oasis before it gets to cold. There is no fear right here.

There is a future for us, for this, and for the two children we raise. I no longer dream of rain. There are no rainclouds above us. Just endless colors, changing as we do. And we somehow smile simultaneously.

Because in the end, we are soaring to greater heights.

-

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

For those who are curious, Kenji is Asuma and Kurenai's son. The original team 7 went rogue, which means including Sasuke. (After all, they want to be together again, right? Well, there is no way they are going to take him back as things are right now) There is a cameo appearance of Hinata, and I just know everybody missed it (She is the godmother). Kankurou rocks, and he doesn't get enough attention. Dreaming of rain (or even a monsoon at some part) means crying alone, in private. Yes, I made that up myself.

Now, the real question is; does this story contain spoilers for "In the Shadows"?