Chapter Nineteen


Akito sighed as he folded his clothes and put them neatly in his pack. He didn't really want to leave, but at the same time he did. If he left he wouldn't have to be around Toshiro, Natsumi, and Minako, and feel the weight of his mistake. But if he left he wouldn't get to be around his two best friends or his love. Though he supposed being separated from her was for the best. Then they would get to have time apart to think about everything.

When he finished packing his things, he ran across some of Natsumi's clothes. She hadn't been to sleep with him since he had returned, and he didn't blame her. But he missed falling asleep with her in his arms and waking up seeing her beautiful face. He picked up her clothes and began to fold them. He would have to return them to her before he left. Suddenly the door to his room opened and Natsumi walked in. He paused in folding her clothes and looked at her, embarrassed at having been caught in doing something nice.

She stopped in the hallway and stared at him, then down at her clothes. "Sorry…I was just coming to get those…" she said, now more hesitant than her previous demeanor.

"Yeah, I was just…folding them for you…" he said, feeling completely awkward.

"That's okay I can just take them." She moved forward, standing surprisingly close to him and holding out her hands for them.

He looked down at her hands, and then back up at her. He slowly handed over her clothes, and turned away from her to pick up his pack. Turning back to face her he asked, "So do you want to walk to the gate with me?"

She rolled up her pajamas and fit them into her empty kunai holster. They were pretty skimpy after all. "Yeah sure." She looked up at him, feeling the same pain she had for the last few days. They left the hotel room and returned the keys, getting a suspicious look from the owner. They walked in silence, side by side, it was so awkward between the two now. Natsumi felt their hands brush on accident and tried to hide the sharp intake of breath. She looked away from him and slowly began to lace her fingers with his. She wanted so much to forgive him…but she just couldn't. Before they could fully hold hands she pulled hers away and held it close to her chest. "I'm sorry." She mumbled sadly, trying so hard to stop herself from crying.

"You don't have anything to apologize for." He said, looking down at the ground. "Out of the two of us I'm the one who should be sorry. And I am."

There was no more dialogue after that. They reached the gate and saw the rest of her family, as well as Naruto, Hinata, Shuhei, and Kakashi. The group actually looked pretty shocked to see the two together and not fighting or arguing.

"I'm going to miss you so much Yuki-chan." Shuhei said, hugging her tightly.

"Why do you always hug me?" the young redhead asked angrily, already having given up trying to get him off her.

"Because, on the off chance that you hug me back, it's the only way you show me affection." He replied, pulling away from her.

She stared at him oddly and then her expression softened. She slowly adjusted herself and wrapped her arms around the blonde in his first hug from her. "I guess I'll miss you too."

He hugged her again, laying his head on hers in the process. Naruto looked at them and smiled. Then he nudged his friend. "Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey Gaara."

Gaara's murderous glare focused on the older blonde. "Get. Out. Of. My. Village."

"What?! That is so mean. You totally know you're going to miss me." Naruto answered, gripping the redhead in a fierce hug.

"Get out before I kill you…and take mini me with you." He seethed, moving away from his friend and hiding behind Sakura, using her as a barrier.

"Whatever. Fun-sucker." He said, walking over to his daughter. "I'm gonna miss you sweetie." He said, hugging her.

"I'll miss you too Daddy." She said, returning his embrace. When they pulled away Naruto turned to Toshiro and held his hand out to him. "Take good care of my daughter."

"I will sir, I promise. She means the world to me." He said truthfully, taking the Hokage's hand in a firm grip.

Hinata walked up then and hugged her daughter. "Bye dear. Don't forget to write often." She said.

"I will Mama." She said, pulling away from her mother and trying not to cry.

"Take care Toshiro-sama." Hinata said, smiling at her son-in-law.

He nodded and bowed respectfully to her. Each of the sand siblings did the same to the couple, wishing them a safe journey. Natsumi looked at Akito and couldn't tell if the ache in her heart was from her pain…or something else.

He looked at her and searched her face, trying to gauge how far he could go. He would normally kiss her cheek or something, but knew that it wouldn't be appreciated. Instead he brought his hand up and stroked her cheek tenderly before bringing it back down. "Bye squirt. I'll see you around I guess."

She stared at him, wide eyed. The silly nickname he had given her was only making it worse. Suddenly, Satomi was between the two and glaring at the Uchiha. "Let's hope it's not any time soon Uchiha. I'd rather not have to see my sister's hurt face. After all the crap you did to her."

"Satomi!" Natsumi stared in shock, grabbing onto her sister's arm. "Stop."

"What? It's true. I don't know why you're pretending to not be affected at how much being around him hurts your heart." She looked back at her sister.

"Satomi!" this time it was a darker voice. Gaara locked eyes with his eldest daughter. "Get over here. Now." He seethed, pointing to the ground beside him. Hesitantly she moved from her spot, but not before giving Akito a hateful look.

Akito's eyes had widened when he saw the truth in her words. His presence was hurting Natsumi. He straightened then and nodded at her. "Natsumi." He said, before walking away to join the Uzumakis.

"Wait, Akito." Natsumi stepped forward, making him turn to face her. "Just…be safe."

He nodded once more. "I will not die until you wish it." He said, turning away from her then and continuing on his way.

She watched him leave, her emotions overwhelming her. She didn't want him to leave. But she couldn't stand to be around him. Gaara was behind her then, has hand on her shoulder. "Come on Natsumi," he said softly, leading her back to their family once the Konoha shinobi were gone.

"Dad…" she began, looking up at him. He didn't reply with words, but his gaze was questioning. "I want to join Anbu."

His eyes widened a fraction but his stoic expression was soon back. "Alright. I will begin the process immediately."

The pink haired woman looked back out the gates and then ahead at the people in Suna who would never harm her. The people who loved her. She sighed, slowly, she was becoming her sister. Detaching herself from emotions so that the pain of his betrayal wouldn't kill her.

Minako sighed and looked up at Toshiro. "It's gonna be quieter with my family gone." She said. She would miss them, but was looking forward to staying in Suna. She loved it here, and had finally gotten used to the heat.

"Thank God." he sighed, wanting his normal life back. He placed his hand on the small of her back and left with the rest of their family to begin their new life.




In a Tempest of emotions, will two former lovers be able to overcome their past and make a better future?