The Value of Life


Description: A simple evening between Yondaime and Karura. Fluff.

Disclaimer: Yondaime, Karura, and the Naruto-verse are copyrighted by Masashi Kishimoto and Weekly Shonen Jump. I am making no profit; this is just for fun.

A/N: Pre-series. I chose Hirohiko as the name for Yondaime Kazekage.

Some days Yondaime Kazekage, known to his family and friends as Hirohiko, thought his job was killing him. He'd been elected Kazekage after an extensive search for his uncle, Sandaime, who had vanished mysteriously. Upon election, Hirohiko had inherited an economic nightmare: Suna's struggling economy in the face of Konoha's stealing their missions by underselling them.

He'd been Kazekage for a year now, and already pulling himself out of his wife's arms at 5:00 every morning had turned into a nearly impossible task. He got his work done at the office, but he did so under the secret promise to himself that at 7:00 he'd be back home to have dinner with Karura. Then he could spend the evening curled up with her on the couch, holding her closely as they watched TV.

More than once he'd wished he hadn't accepted the position of Kazekage. He'd learned quickly that terrible, hard calls had to be made constantly, calls that could save lives, calls that could end lives. He'd learned the pressure of the Council bearing down on him, demanding strategies and solutions. He'd learned that the safety and well-being of an entire village now rested on his shoulders. However, as his uncle's only possible successor — the one also gifted with magnet release — Hirohiko had seen it as his duty to take on the mantel.

And now having a well-paying job in a lagging economy was more important than ever: Karura was pregnant.

On this particular day, 7:15 found Hirohiko stumbling through the door and slipping off his sandals. Supper with Karura was next, just as he'd been promising himself all day. He stepped into the living room and found Karura on the couch, a tray of tea sitting on the kotatsu table in front of her. Her hands were resting on her swollen stomach. She grinned at him, and he fell in love with her all over again. A simple smile from his wife was enough to assure him that, at least for the next few hours at home, everything would be quiet, calm, and filled with love.

"The baby is kicking," Karura said. "Would you like to feel?"

Hirohiko rushed across the room, kneeling in front of the couch and placing his hand where Karura directed him to. Sure enough, he could feel the movement against his palm. Exhausted as he was, he still smiled up at her. The wonder and awe he felt that they had created a new life together was not one he could put into words. "It's amazing," he whispered simply.

With a widening smile, Karura nodded. "Proof of our love," she added.

Overcome by that sentiment, Hirohiko gently laid his head against her stomach. She reached up with one hand and caressed his auburn hair, smoothing it down slightly.

"Another hard day?" she asked softly.

"Iwa's getting restless again," Hirohiko replied, closing his eyes and soaking in her care. He had found and married the perfect woman. He still felt so after two years of marriage. She had a powerful will, courageous heart, and deep love.

"Again?" Karura sighed. "Will we ever not be at war with them?"

Hirohiko snorted faintly. "Sometimes I doubt it."

Karura rested her free hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, love."

Not just for him, Hirohiko knew. Karura was bothered also by the number of Suna lives that had been lost in the battles with Iwa. However, for right now Hirohiko wasn't going to think about that. He was going to focus on his loving wife and their first child.

"Have you found names you like yet?" he asked, purposefully changing the subject. Karura was having fun researching names in baby name books.

"I did," Karura said. Hirohiko could hear the happiness return to her voice. "I think that if it's a girl, we should name her Temari. And if it's a boy, we should name him Kankuro."

"Temari and Kankuro," Hirohiko repeated, letting the names roll off his tongue. "They're both wonderful names." He was predisposed to agree with whatever she came up with, but he genuinely approved of the choices.

"I'm glad you like them," Karura said, the lilt in her voice conveying her pleasure. She paused. "Do you hope it's a boy?"

The question she had yet to ask him. Hirohiko shook his head faintly and smiled. "I was rather hoping we could have one of each. The order doesn't matter."

"How's four sound?" Karura asked.

Hirohiko already knew his wife wanted a large family. He'd been an only child, and that was precisely why he didn't mind. "Four sounds fine by me." He imagined three toddlers and one baby. "Just not all clustered together, please."

Karura laughed. "Well, that's up to us and our activities, isn't it?"

Hirohiko blushed a bit and chuckled. "I suppose it is."

And there it was: moments like these got Hirohiko through every night so that he could get through each day. He hoped one day he would adjust better to his job and be surrounded by his loving wife and four loving children. That life would have the greatest value, indeed.

It was fortunate, then, that Hirohiko could not know the future.

A/N: Sorry I've been gone so long. This is all I can offer up for now, though. I'm still . . . Well, things have been rough.

Thank you to everyone who has been reviewing my other stories and who reviews this story.