Author Notes

Hello people. First off, the disclaimer.

I don't own Naruto or any character displayed in it.

Now that it's done, I'm not gonna repost it at each chapter. Second, I'm french, English is not my maternal language, so if I make any mistake, please point them out, it'll help me, thanks a lot ^^. Now, about the story. If any of you took the time to go look at my profile you'll se it's my first Naruto fanfic, so please, be nice, don't flame too much. Next, I should warn you, I'm currently writing the fifth (and hopefully last) chapter of this story. The fact is, I already wrote a handful of fics but published none since I couldn't bring myself to finish them, so it's kind of a first there. Since the story is almost finished, I can plan a regular update schedule. So, I'll publish a chapter every thursday (don't hesitate to mail me if I forget).

Now, onto the story !

Konoha was the oldest of the Hidden Villages, the eldest of this very violent family, but certainly not the wiser. Nearly thirteen years after the Kyubi attacked the village, a defection had occurred, the betrayal of the last Uchiha in the village, Sasuke. Due to the recent Sand-Sound invasion, the village was forced to put the weight of an enormous amount of missions on a thinned force. Ninja's that were used to have time and lounge a bit in their free time were suddenly forced to work day and night to ensure the village still appeared strong to the other powers. This sudden drop of the ninja presence in the village left plenty of occasions for the deserters, and Sasuke Uchiha took one such occasion. Because of this lack of experienced ninja, the Hokage was forced to send a squad of Genin after the traitor and his unknown escort. It was an utter miracle that the Sound Four were defeated and an even bigger miracle when it appeared that, despite heavy injuries and two near death cases, there were no death. However, that was where the miracles stopped. Despite Uzumaki Naruto's best efforts, he failed, and Sasuke Uchiwa left.

Sasuke was viewed by the leaf civilians as their little prince and such an event did not sit well with them. In their rage, they did what they had done for the last thirteen years. They blamed the innocent. The civilians became enraged, shouting it was Naruto's fault, that he caused Sasuke's desertion, not realizing in their narrow minds that he was the one that could have avoided it. In their fury, they began demanding the banishment of the blond and when it was refused, an insurrection erupted. A good 90% of the civilian population of the village went against the Hokage. Drawn by the smell of blood, some ninja clans and shinobi of various renown came to support the motion putting Tsunade in front of a full scale revolt. At first, she began to repress the insurrection, but defections inside the Anbu forced her to bow to avoid the civil war. She was the one to tell Naruto of this, to tell him that, in order to save his life, she had to crush his dream. Tsunade was the first to admit that it was a bitter defeat, and Naruto had completely collapsed when he heard that. It was grief stricken that Naruto had been released from the hospital. Jiraya soon came to him with an offer. He would take him as an apprentice, make him stronger than any ninja in Konoha, so powerful that they would be forced to beg him to come back and make him Hokage. Of course, Naruto knew it was his only sliver of hope, so he went for it without any second thoughts. However, the village wasn't finished. A particularly vicious jonin with some skills in fuinjutsu decided that banishment was not enough, so he captured Naruto, tortured him for hours and then crushed his last hope by sealing off all of his chakra permanently. The seal had been engraved in his blood using a forbidden and particularly painful ritual, and even a seal master as experienced as Jiraya could do nothing about it. Kakashi, which was in the village in between mission, was the first to find Naruto after he savagely murdered his tormentor. The blood covered blond was crying in a corner of the basement of the Jonin, crying over the dream that had been taken away from him once again.

Jiraya and Tsunade did not know what to do anymore. Naruto was going to be banished, and now he didn't even had the means to defend himself. Two days before the banishment, while they were desperately trying to find a solution, Naruto beat them to the punch, deciding to leave the village on his own and disappear. The shattered blond was walking through the village, walking slowly to the gates, so focused that he became oblivious to the taunts and insults sent his way. As he walked through the market, the villagers did one last mistake. A villager, out of spite, threw a knife at him. Without even looking, Naruto blocked it in between his fingers. The other villagers, irritated, began insulting him louder and louder, until one of them snapped and tried to stab the blond with a knife. Inside the teen, something broke, and so began what would be later remembered as the Marketplace Slaughter. When the Anbu arrived, they were shocked. The market was bloodied, bodies littered the floors, the wounded and the dying were crying in pain, and Naruto was calmly walking down the street, a bloody knife in each hand. The shock was so great that none stopped the blond from leaving. As Naruto disappeared behind the horizon, the village realized what happened, how a seemingly harmless child had slaughtered over fifty people, how he could have done so for years, how he just went with pranks. They realized that they went too far, and maybe created the very demon they accused him of being for so long. Fear began to spread.

In this context of shock and sorrow, the Hyuga elders acted. Taking advantage of one of Hiashi's training trips with Hanabi, they branded Hinata with the Caged-bird seal before forcing her through a painful and humiliating ritual resulting in a seal that would kill her if she ever became pregnant. Once their deed was done, they took advantage of Tsunade's sorrow to make her sign the banishment of the young girl. In less than a day, the already emotionally battered Hinata had lost her title of heiress, her status as a leaf ninja and her home. She set off to the wild, stumbling on shaking legs, vaguely hoping to meet her crush along the way, but knowing deep down that she would not. When Tsunade realized what she had signed, she frantically tried to erase the act, but it was too late. When Hiashi came back with his youngest, he was met with the news. His first reaction was to ask coldly if it was a joke of any kind, but the Hokage's red eyes told him otherwise. Slowly, realization and horror dawned on his usually impassive face. Hanabi, shocked, asked her father what would happen of his sister, but Hiashi did not answered with words, but with tears. Two days later, the elders were executed in front of the whole clan by Hiashi himself. He then quickly sent as many search teams as possible to find his daughter and bring her back, hopping that Jiraya could get rid of, at least, the degrading seal that prevented her from giving birth; but it was quickly revealed that the girl had, for all intent, disappeared.

Roughly at the same time, in Taki, a thirteen years old girl with pale green hair was driven out of the village by a mob of villagers, civilians and ninja alike. Her one crime was to be the container of the Shichibi, and because of that she was hunted down. It was, sadly, quite a common occurrence in her life. They would first attack her small house, breaking the windows and furniture, damaging the walls and such, then they would hunt her to the outskirts of the village where she would wait a few days then go back. The leader of the village, her uncle, never really paid attention to any of this because she always came back, but not this time. Her house had been burnt down, she had lost everything and her own blood-father had turned his back on her, she had no more reasons to stay. With one last hateful look at Taki, she left, to the West and it's unknown and savage lands.

The night had fallen on the palace, engulfing the throne room in dreadful shadows. A man stood there with eight guards around him, frightened. He was not afraid of the guards but of the shadowy figure seating on the throne, only their feet visible.

"Y-y-you can't do that! You can't! I'll have you killed if you even dare to think of that!" Threatened the man, but it was for naught, his voice too laced with fear. The person on the throne made a motion of their tiny, delicate hand, and three corpses fell from the ceiling. The man was now visibly shaking.

"No! I … I'll give you wealth! I can give you anything! Even you must need things I sell! I … I …"

The sound of snapping fingers was his only answer as a guard drew his sword.

"I … I don't want to die…" For the first and last time, the man heard the voice belonging to the occupant of the throne, strangely calm and gentle, but laced with overwhelming authority.

"I … am an Empress. My word … is law." A sword cut through the night, and silence fell on the palace again.

Naruto was sitting, looking at the ocean, like he so often did during the last six years, his memories passing before his eyes. After his painful banishment and last act of violence, he went to Wave and settled there. Of course, the country had been enraged with the way Konoha had treated him and reacted accordingly by shutting all trade agreements with Konoha and severely reducing their trade with Fire country. The entire country stood by his side, never moving, not even when he revealed everything about the Kyubi. The argument had been closed when Tazuna bellowed that demons don't help people. With Wave's newfound freedom came a little bit more of comfort. During one of his afternoons at the port, helping the fishers, Naruto asked one of them why they didn't traded with countries other than Fire Country since they were ideally placed to reach Tea, Lightning and Water country. This led to a council from the mayors of the country, and then the creation of a trade port to test the idea. Within the first month, the port had been flooded and money had flown into the country as it evolved into a trade platform of great importance. With the money came luxuries the country could not afford before, like a large library. Naruto had spent all of his free time in the library, doing something he never did in the leaf: learning. During his years, he had accumulated an impressive sum of knowledge. People began to come to seek advice three years after he left Konoha, and he had seen quite a lot of people. Envoys from several curious Daimyo, traders and even his former teammate Sasuke. The blond smiled amusedly thinking of their two meetings. The first was soon after he killed the snake that trained him and the avenger didn't asked for any advice, and the second had been soon after he learned the truth on his brother and this time he did seek advices.

The true leader of the Akastuki went to him, to capture him he said, and cynically offered him the occasion to advise him. He had exposed his plan, expecting the usual moral arguments. But Naruto had moved past the point where his arguments were fully moral. He had calmly explained why his plan was useless, how it would only delay the wars, how it would bring unnecessary and useless pain to the world, how his inheritors would fight over the power left behind. The masked man grew more and more fierce, trying to defend his idea, only to see it methodically shot down. In the end, he left, defeated and disillusioned, his only determination left being to tell Sasuke the truth and die by his hand. Before he left, he gave Naruto a present that he didn't awaited anymore: the name of his parents. The information left him moping around for some time, but in the end he got over it and went on with his life. Soon after, Sasuke came to see him again. He was lost, he didn't know who to hate or what to do anymore. He told his former friend everything, how his clan betrayed Konoha and how Itachi killed them to save the village. Naruto's answer was to find Itachi, talk to him, and maybe find a way to bring him back to Konoha while clearing his name, but he warned Sasuke that it would be at the cost of his clan's honor. Three months later, Sasuke had surrendered to Konoha and revealed everything of the Uchiha Revolt, Itachi had been called back, decorated for his service going beyond what could be normally asked, and due to the population pressure, Sasuke had only been condemned to two years of jail. Soon after he had surrendered, Tsunade and Jiraya came to see Naruto with those of the rookies that did not thought ill of him and were free. After the Kyubi issue had been made public knowledge, they were a handful. Shino didn't speak much, but what he said was meaningful, Lee had been as exuberant as he remembered him to be, Neji had been warmer than anyone would have thought and, surprisingly, Shikamaru had been quite excited to see him again. Among those that weren't there, Choji didn't exactly knew what to think of him, Sakura was too ashamed to see him, Tenten didn't really knew him, Ino was completely freaked out by the Kyubi, as for Kiba, he was putting the responsibility for Hinata's banishment on the blonde's shoulders. Thinking of the Hyuga heiress, Naruto felt his old heartache come back. Even in Wave, he had heard of the banishment of the Hyuga heiress and had quickly set off to find her. Three months of intense research had led to nothing, and when he came back, he was crying softly. Only then had he learned she had been banished for standing up for him. It was still something he would cry over.

Feeling a presence behind him, Naruto looked above his shoulder curiously before smiling warmly at the Iwa nin.

"Namikaze-sama, Tsuchikage-sama and Raikage-sama are waiting for you.

"Oh c'mon Ryu-san, I already told you, no need to go with the –sama thingy, I'm just an ermit."

"Yet you already avoided a major conflict and two minor wars."

"Ah, err, yeah, that. Oh, well. Let's go, A-san is not the most patient guy ever, and it's worse when Bee's around." Getting up, Naruto dusted his beige coat. Underneath it, he wore a dark blue kimono and black sandals. His hair had grown wilder with the years, showing more his lineage.

The two men began walking toward the Town hall, where the two Kage were waiting for Naruto. It had been quite a surprise to the blond when the Raikage had sent an envoy asking for his mediation during a political conflict with the Tsuchikage, and even more of a surprise when Onoki had accepted while it was evident his father was the Yellow Flash. In the end, everything worked out fine and a bloody conflict was avoided. Following this, several small villages asked him the same and Naruto managed to avoid some more wars. Right now, Naruto had been asked to be the witness of the peace treaty between Kumo and Iwa, an achievement he was very proud of. As he came inside the building, he had the pleasing surprise to see that A and Onoki were talking together, mostly complaining about paperwork, while in a corner, Kurotsuchi was shamelessly messing with a Kumo jonin. Seeing the blond was there, the two leaders stopped talking and smiled contentedly at him.

"Ah, so you finally decided to join us. Tired of watching the sea?"

"Heh, never. But if I left you two unattended, you would probably come up with some evil plan to get rid of the world's paperwork."

"And how is that evil?"

"Dunno, but I'm sure you could make it evil."

A burst into laughter, slamming a hand on Naruto's back, who didn't even flinched.

"Alright Namikaze, ready to sign your first peace treaty?"

"You make it sound like there will be more."

"Heh, you managed to erase the tensions between Kumo and Iwa, young man. With that mind of yours, I'm willing to bet you could even bring peace between my village and Konoha. It would be ironically fitting considering who your father was."

"Yeah. Well maybe another day, for now we have a treaty to sign!"

With a nod, the two kage took their place, and signed the treaty; it was then Naruto's turn to do so. With this treaty, a new era was beginning, and maybe peace would come forth. After such a short act, they all felt a sense of accomplishment completely disproportionate, but they didn't care. An overly enthusiastic A asked to the mayor, Tazuna, if they could stay here to celebrate a bit, which was of course accepted without any complaint. Naruto and the others then left the building, only to be welcomed by a surprising, and for the two leaders, angering view. Two peoples, a man and a woman, wearing the cloak of the Akatsuki. Immediately, the two leaders were ready to fight, but Naruto stopped them.

"No. There will be no fighting."

"What? Are you kidding? They're here for you!"

"He is right young one, they will kill you."

"I don't fear death."

"You can all calm down, we are not here to fight." Uneasily said the woman.

The Iwa and Kumo nin, relax ever so slightly and studied the two Akatsuki before them. The man was a redheaded middle-aged man and the woman had blue hair with a piercing in the lower lip. Naruto faced them with a smile.

"Well, if you are not here to fight, then maybe you would like to ask for an advice?"


"Excuse me sir? I quite didn't catch that since you were whispering." Naruto asked sheepishly

"How? How can you, with just words, swat away decades of hatred? How is such a thing possible?"

At first, everyone was silent, but a sad smile appeared on Naruto's face.

"Then you must be Nagato and Konan. Jiraya-sensei told me about you two. I take it Yahiko perished. It is sad. *sigh* Such a question cannot be answered quickly, come, we will be more at ease to talk around a cup of tea. But I must ask one last thing."

Turning to the two leaders with hope in his eyes, the blond asked the question he ever asked when either of them came nearby. "Do you have any news of her?" Onoki only lowered his head with a sigh while A shook his head solemnly. "I see. Once again, thank you for your continuous efforts." Bidding his farewell, Naruto led the leaders of Ame to his house, a small house that reflected the way of life he choose to adopt. Sitting them at the table, he quickly prepared some tea, before beginning to answer their question. When they left the next morning, Nagato was humbled in many ways. While the Akastuki leaders were crossing the bridge, Naruto saw a familiar silhouette coming toward him. Sending a surprised glance at the two Ame nin and returning an uneasy greeting, the black-haired Konoha Jonin continued on his way. Sasuke had changed a lot, and that was seen in both his attitude and clothing. He was now wearing proudly his Konoha flak jacket, a black Haori bearing the Uchiha crest on his back above it and a sword strapped to his back. As he reached Naruto, he greeted him with a warm yet hesitant smile.


"Sasuke. I think I know why you're here. You want me to go back to Konoha."

"Yes. It's your home after all, you belong there."

"No, I don't. This village has insulted me, ridiculed me, tortured me ad broken my one dream … twice. And now that my father's name is known, they want me to go back? No. Besides, here I can make the difference, I can bring peace."

"… Are you sure?"

"Hell yeah! Just yesterday I signed a peace treaty between Iwa and Kumo! Isn't that awesome?" Asked Naruto with one of his biggest grins.

"*sigh* It will forever be beyond me how you can swing from dead serious to overly happy in just a second. But that was not what I meant."

"I know. But I will stand by my decision. My friends know where to find me and they can come whenever they want. Even Kiba came by. It was to break my face but, oh well. I always healed fast."

"Is there any way to make you change your mind?"

"Tell me Hinata-chan is back in Konoha and I just might think about it." Said naruto, looking away.

"That's not funny."

"That's not a joke."

Seeing his friend's seriousness, Sasuke's head dropped.

"Naruto … nobody heard of her in six years … and she wasn't that strong … I know it's hard to accept but … She's probably dead."

"I know."

"And you will let that hold you back? That's not the Naruto I know."

"That Naruto died six years ago. Do you really think you could know the new one with barely three meetings?"

"One thing is for sure. You changed."

"Yeah. Oh, but where are my manners!"

"You never had any."

"Well that changed too! Come on, let's go to my house."

Naruto then led the Uchiha to his house, light talking keeping their minds distracted along the way.

Far from there, to the west, in the capital of a young empire, a blue haired beauty awoke to the peaceful face of her mint-haired lover. Like her, she was from the east and had been thrown out of one of the hidden villages. They formed one of the most unlikely couples. The strong willed container and the once meek heiress. But Hinata was far past that point. Her banishment had made her bitter, her inability to bear life making her even angrier. She had met Fuu on the way to the West, and they became friends due to shared pains and the fact Hinata didn't cared about Fuu's bijuu. They grew closer in the West, and quickly an objective came to their minds: unify the lands to help it's people. For four years they had battled the warlords that ruled these lands and had won many victories, until finally an Empire was born. Fuu was the first general, and an exceptional one at that, she knew how to motivate the troops while still being able to negotiate a treaty on the fly. Hinata, on the other hand, was the real leader. She was the initiator of the Unification war, and many battles had been avoided when her voice rang. She was told to be able to bend even the most stubborn to her will with words alone, and she had an incredible talent to manage complex tasks. During the war, Fu and Hinata had grown even closer, until they became lovers. It was after an awfully bloody battle, Fuu was depressed, and Hinata had tried to comfort her. After Fuu's cries died down, they had stayed looking at each other's eyes for several minutes before kissing softly. Since then, they stood at each other's side, supporting their lover with unshakable faith. The young empire prospered under Hinata's rule and peace was reigning over the land. Now, it was time to look to the east once more, to look for her old crush, and maybe see if he could be more. Fuu knew that Hinata's feelings were still strong for the blond, Hinata had confessed it herself, but she didn't mind, as long as Hinata still loved her she was willing to share (with the added condition of being allowed to have her way with the blond). 'Soon Naruto-kun, soon.'

With a smile, Hinata concentrated once again on her beloved Fuu. As always, they had slipped under the silk of the sheets naked, enjoying the touch of the soft material against their skin. Besides, it allowed for some morning fun. Like right now. With a mischievous smile, Hinata began to fondle one of Fuu's breast while her other hand went to grope the girl's backside, earning a soft moan as an answer. As Hinata continued to caress her lover, she began to kiss the tanned skin of her beloved, beginning with the neck before slowly going down until she reached the jinchuriki's chest. There, she stopped for some time, kissing lovingly the right mound while caressing the left. Meanwhile, her left hand was slowly making it way to Fuu's womanhood, feeling and hearing her arousal along the way. To Hinata's ears, her lover's moans and pants were music. Finally coming out of her dreams and into the blissful reality, Fu began to stir, moaning a bit more loudly as her hands travelled to Hinata's head, caressing her hair lovingly.

"Hmm, you sure know how to wake me up love."

"Oh, you're awake? But I'm not done." Purred Hinata.

"Let's pretend I'm still sleeping, Okay? Hmmm."

With a soft giggle, Hinata went back to caressing the girl's body, leaving the chest to slowly go further down, her head slowly disappearing under the sheets as her left hand came back to please the abandoned breast. After a few moments, Fu took a sharp intake of air, moaning now more loudly than before, spasms of pleasure coursing through her body as her chest began to rise faster and more erratically and her hips began to buck on their own accord while her back was arching. Hinata slowly and lovingly led Fuu to the brinks of her release, keeping her there for a long time, making the usually unbreakable general putty in her hands. After what seemed like hours of the sweet torture, Hinata finally allowed Fu to reach her peak, making the mint-haired woman moan loudly in pleasure. Coming out from under the sheets, Hinata slowly kissed her way up Fuu's body, stopping at her lips as their bodies melted against each other, their chests pressed together, and their hands roaming the back of their lover. Finally pulling out of the kiss, a very flushed and panting Fuu looked at Hinata. "Maybe we … should take it to … the shower … you know … to avoid … ruining the sheets." With a smile, Hinata kissed her lover and, still kissing her, led her to the shower.

After they were done with playing around in the hot water, the Imperial couple left the comfort of their apartments and walked to Hinata's office. The Empress was clothed in a simple dark blue yukata embroidered with a golden dragon and low-heeled sandals, while her consort was wearing black cargo pants, a dark green armor on her chest above a black shirt, a dark orange Haori with golden rings on her shoulders and in the middle of her back, dark green forearm protections to go with her armor and reinforced low-heeled sandals. As she grew, Hinata had let her hair grow and they were now flowing past her waist, two shoulder-long strands framing her face, Fuu on the other hand had mostly retained her childhood hairstyle, only letting a long strand of hair grow to mid-back length and decorating it with golden pearls. Once in the office, they began working on their paperwork, Hinata dealing with it the fastest. Due to years of dealing with such pain, she knew exactly where to look to quickly know what was involved. Even if she trained Fuu, the mint-haired war master was more at ease on a battlefield or a training ground than facing paper enemies. Luckily there were few papers to work on this day and they quickly finished their work.

"Okay Hina-chan, the Kazekage should be here soon. Heh, I wish you were there when I talked to his envoy. The guy was ultra-laid back, and damn weird with that, can you believe he was wearing make-up?"

"Make-up? Was he using puppets?"

"Don't know, I didn't fight him, but he did have scrolls on his back. He was also wearing some kind of cat cosplay."

"Kankuro of the Hidden Sand, nicknamed the Lord of Puppets. He fought Sasori of the red sands head on and even stole half of his puppets and all of his most powerful ones."

"Huh? So he's a badass? Well he still went pale when he learned who I am. Looks like the War Lady is known to the East too."

"So it seems. I didn't paid much attention to the politics in the Suna, I wonder who is the Kazekage …"

"I heard it's a guy with huge bags under his eyes, and that he used to be a psycho."

"Gaara-san …"

"You know him?"

"He is the container of the Ichibi. Maybe he knows where Naruto-kun is …"

"I sure hope so, I wanna meet that guy."

Hinata smiled at Fuu's brash announcement. As she was about to answer, a knock was heard at the door. Fuu opened it to see a servant. The man elegantly bowed and informed them that the Suna envoy had arrived. Thanking him, the two women rose to their feet, Hinata grabbing her veil on the way. She never appeared before strangers with her face unobscured, it was both a way of protection and intimidation. Her eyes were a source of superstition and one of the reasons of her charisma. She was believed to be blind yet able to see into the soul of those before her. Putting on her dark blue veil, she entered the throne room and sat on the throne. The room was gigantic, a dozen of 5 feet large painted columns were lining the long dark gold carpet leading to the throne with smaller ones behind them, each pillar engraved in honor of one of the summon clans that supported the rise of the Empire. The Crane, Lion, Panther, Fox, Tanuki, Wolf and Raven clans were among the most notable. Samurai wearing the dark yellow armor of the Empire stood guard in the halls, and shinobi of the innumerable clans of the Empire were hiding in the ceiling. At the end of the enormous hall stood the throne, a golden chair with dragon decorations. The wall behind the throne was decorated with wooden statues of dragons, their slender silhouettes snaking on the wall. The five dragons presented were the most powerful of the dragon clan, the personal summons of the empress. How she came to impress such beasts, no one knew, but it was a mark of her might and wisdom everyone bowed to. As she sat on the throne, Hinata Hyuga ceased to be, replaced by the Blind Empress, the Dragon of the West, conqueror of a thousand kingdoms.

When Gaara entered the room with his escort, he instantly felt intimidated by the place. His trip in the Empire already showed him that the West enjoyed gigantic buildings, but this was insane. The room was at least two story tall, the sheer number of guards patrolling here was overkill, and on the throne stood a woman that was told to be the most powerful kunoichi to ever walk the face of the earth, her close second standing by her side. 'I wonder if coming here was such a good idea.' Glancing at his escort, he could see Temari looking at the columns in awe, Kankuro gazing anxiously at Fuu, the War Lady, war master of the Empire, and Matsuri looking ill at ease. With a sigh and a prayer, Gaara began his walk to his possible impending doom. Once close enough to the throne, he bowed deeply, waiting for the Empress to talk, and his wait was short.

"Kazekage-dono, what do I owe the pleasure?" Asked the powerful woman in a polite, yet warm tone.

"Empress-sama, I am here today to know what your intentions toward Wind Country are. Our Daimyo is growing nervous, the strength of your army is well known."

"If you are worried for your independence, then do not worry anymore, I do not intend to invade Wind country."

"That is most fortunate, I am sure my Lord will be relieved. Perhaps trade agreements would help cement the peace between our countries? We are most interested in the goods from the West."

"Trade is always welcome for it ensures peace." Hinata smiled behind her veil. She had them just where she wanted and it had been easier than she had hoped. Someone would have to go to Wind to negotiate those treaties, which in turn would give Hinata a good insight of the politics of the East without revealing herself too much. With a small wave of her hand, Hinata motioned Fuu closer and, once close enough, began to discuss quietly with her. After a minute, Fu left the room.

"My right hand, Fuu, will accompany you and represent me in those negotiations. She will be ready shortly and you can then leave at your convenience. Though, I would be most pleased if you stayed a bit and enjoyed the facilities at your disposal."

Gaara bowed, thanking the Empress. After five years of politic, he knew how to discern a polite dismissal and a gracious invitation, and this was definitely the later. He kept replaying the exchange in his head as a guard led them to their apartments. Once there, he sat down in a very comfortable armchair, sighing heavily. Immediately noticing, Matsuri went to the young Kage, worried.

"Gaara-kun? What is it?"

"She was pleased. Pleased enough to invite us to stay as long as we want. I said something that satisfied her greatly and I just can't put my finger on it."

"You think there's something fishy?" Asked Kankuro, still clearly nervous. "I'd be careful with these guys. I heard the Empress can summon dragons and that the War Lady managed to defeat one in duel."

"That's a show of power, not of subtlety." Remarked Temari. "Is there any other thing we should be wary of?"

"Yeah sis, there is. The Empress is sending us a Jinchuriki that is actually in good terms with her bijuu, she can take the Shichibi's form anytime she wants if our reports are accurate."

"Oh. That's bad. But she is supposed to negotiate a treaty, right? What would be the point of lying on that? If they want to invade us, wouldn't they first try to intimidate us into giving in?"

"That they would." Said Gaara. "The Empress wants this treaty. But not for trade alone. Could it be she is interested in the East? But if so, why not directly invade it? Perhaps it is knowledge she seeks … In any way, I don't think we have to worry about a war. My instinct tells me she has nothing against the Sand. She will leave us at peace … At least for now. *sigh* We might as well do what she said, enjoy the facilities. I saw a fine restaurant on the way, would you like to try it Matsuri?"

"Oh, I-I … I would love it" Answered a blushing and smiling Matsuri. Gaara let a rare smile spread on his face as he offered his arm to the woman and began to lead her away.

"Well, I'm gonna see if they have hotsprings." With that, Temari took her leave.

"Hmm, might as well see what they have to eat." And with that, Kankuro left the room as well.

Author Notes N°2

Well, here it is. Please, review if you liked it. If you didn't, well please tell me why (as long as it's not a problem of pairing).

Well, see you next week ^^