Disclaimer: Nope don't own Naruto, and I never will. I'm only saying this because I'm at gunpoint. I do own Naruto…I mean I don't!
Story: Fem!Naru Minato tells Kushina to flee to Suna, if something were to go wrong in Konoha after his death. Because of this, somehow Naruto is raised in the Sand.
Set as an AU.
Warnings: The usual stuff? I mean, most people who read my stuff are repeated readers, so they should know…otherwise…eh…
Suna no Hoshi
Chapter Eighteen: Dancing On the Edge of My Vision
He automatically caught her when she promptly passed out, mumbling a bit. He started to think a bit again, and his first emotions were utter bliss and happiness.
She'd kissed him this time.
Hell, she'd kissed him.
It was the best Valentine's present he could have only dreamt of and never expected to have. He kept kissing her all these times, and every time she wasn't even aware that he'd had either. And now she'd kissed him (except he had a feeling she might not be fully aware either).
He didn't know whether he had the best of luck or the worst.
And then he finally remembered his promise to Kushina and was pretty sure this wasn't what she meant. His dream came back to haunt him and then he further spiraled down into a gloom.
"Eh, what's wrong?" Gamabunta's voice boomed behind him, though the boss toad was trying to do his best to be quiet to not wake up Naruto. "I thought you would have been happy Naru-chan kissed you."
Rasa looked up blankly. "I was. Still am. But then I remembered her parents, and I'm pretty sure that they would be doing their best to come back to life and kill me right now."
Gamabunta sweatdropped. "Well…good thing they're dead, heh?"
Rasa twitched. "Yeah…great. They'll just haunt me through nightmares…"
All the toads around sweatdropped this time.
He ended up brooding and stricken all night, though he selfishly kept holding onto and letting Naruto sleep peacefully in his arms. When she started to wake up in the morning, he stiffened up unnoticeably and watched her warily.
"Mm, Rasa?" she murmured sleepily.
"Morning," he moved her hair out of her eyes. "How's your head?"
She yawned. "Okay…It doesn't really hurt."
He huffed, rolling his eyes at her. "Lucky," he flicked her forehead. "Most people have killer headaches."
"And how do you feel?" she asked, still sleepy-sounding and not looking like she was going to move from him any time soon. He can be glad of that, even if it was because she was sleepy and still out of it.
Now that he was thinking about it, he felt a dull ache in his head, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it should have been –considering how strong the saké had been. Then he considered that he, guiltily enough, was still riding on the bliss of sharing a kiss with Naruto, and had sobered up quite quickly from that and from the thoughts of impending death threats through nightmares, as well as somber thoughts of Kushina and Minato and what they would be thinking of this.
"I'm doing okay," he answered her finally. "Do you remember last night?"
"Hmmm…not really," she admitted, and he inwardly sighed and smiled sadly.
Maybe it was for the best.
"I don't really either," he lied. "Come on. We should get ready for the day. You still have some more training to go, before we have to leave and go back to Suna."
And yet he couldn't find any regrets inside of him. To be honest, he didn't want to not love Naruto or give her up, now that it's gotten to this point. Minato and Kushina wasn't there. And even though it wasn't what they would think of on taking care of her, he wasn't reneging on his promise and he was definitely going to make sure she was loved and cared for.
Just because it ended up like this, it didn't mean he was going back on his promise.
He just loved her much more than those two would have liked.
Rasa took a deep breath and moved closer to her, casually sliding his arm around her shoulders while staring straight ahead and showing nothing on his face. She looked up curiously at him, but on finding nothing, decided it was nothing and didn't question it.
For better or worse, he was hers.
There simply wasn't any going back on that, and he couldn't turn off what he felt. He was just going to have to resign himself to it, and learn to deal with how he felt around her.
He turned to the questioning girl and smiled reassuringly at her.
"Everything's just fine."
Baki steeled himself. He was going to go in and once again confront that irritating smart aleck of a brat. And he was going to make sure the Kazekage job was being done properly this time.
He thrust the door open and stared.
Gaara, in his miniature fitted Kazekage outfit, was reading paperwork, while a stack was neatly stacked to the side and clearly finished. The other stack to his side was dwindling in size. The office was cleared of the mounds of sand, and he couldn't find any hidden paperwork.
"Appointment?" Gaara drawled, similar to last time.
Baki twitched. "I'm your sensei, brat. I don't need an appointment," he growled.
He took a more clear look around the office, before nodding in satisfaction.
"Good job," he grunted. "Keep it up."
He turned in time to see a councilman entering through the door before sand grabbed hold of him and tossed him out of the office. He twitched again. It seemed that Gaara was still tossing out Council members, however…
Whatever. As long as the paperwork was at least kept up with.
He stomped out and Gaara absentmindedly patted the two-tailed fox by his feet, hidden behind the desk.
"Thanks a lot, Momo-chan," he hummed.
The kitsune had given him a huge favor, relaying Naruto's message that she and his father were coming back in a few days. From last night to now, he'd worked tirelessly to finally get through the monstrous load of paperwork, and for once he was glad he was an insomniac. His control over sand had it disappearing from his father's office quickly, and now he could bask in a good job and hopefully some praise and thanks from his father…who wouldn't end up angry at him for a sand-covered office and backed up work, since those problems had been fixed before he could know.
Rasa mumbled irritably, but didn't say anything aloud. Ryuujin was back, having settled again on his head, and was chewing idly on his hair.
"You are so lucky you missed last night and playing 'slay the dragon,'" Rasa muttered threateningly at him.
Ryuujin just gave him a bland stare.
"Why are you back anyway?" Rasa went back to packing his things.
"I was bored," Ryuujin grumbled. "And I want to go back with you and see what your home is like, human."
Well…it was an upgrade from 'puny mortal.'
"Whatever," Rasa decided to just go with it and instead finished up with his task. When he was done, he met back up with Naruto, who smiled at him (it seemed oddly strained for some reason).
"Ready to go?" he asked her.
"Un!" the two of them waited, and in no time they were being reverse summoned back into their world and smack dab in the middle of Rasa's house.
To which two of his kids were ravenously chowing down on chocolate in the kitchen.
The two stopped and stared at Rasa and Naruto, freezing in the middle of eating chocolate. Kankuro shut his opened mouth, and chewed once and then swallowed. Temari licked her lips and broke the awkward silence nervously.
"Um, we're currently on a chocolate diet," she explained weakly.
"We're saved!" Kankuro threw his hands up. "The leftovers ran out and we had to resort to eating all the Valentine's chocolate as meals since. I almost got sick of chocolate! I don't want to get sick of chocolate!"
"We're almost out of our chocolate to eat," Temari said mulishly. "I wanted to savor mine."
"Yeah," Kankuro grumbled. "We're going through Gaara's stash –we were just going to start in on both of yours."
Rasa and Naruto kept staring at them after they were done. Ryuujin's head popped up from where he'd been laying down on Nagi's head.
"Your chocolate is still good too, for some reason," Kankuro aimed at Naruto. "Dad's are still good because those psycho women put preservation seals on their chocolates."
Rasa twitched, while Naruto tried to keep from scowling at the mention of those other women and that they'd given Rasa chocolate.
"Where are mine?" Rasa sighed wearily. "And where's Gaara?"
Both of his kids pointed in a direction and they turned, seeing the ridiculous amount of chocolate piled together on the kitchen counters. All the kitchen counters.
"Gaara's in your office," Kankuro said vaguely.
"Wait a sec, mine?" Naruto gave them a strange look, cutting in. "Why would I have chocolate?"
Kankuro snorted. "Why would you, huh? Ouji-sama."
Naruto blushed and coughed.
Rasa scratched his head. "Uh, I guess I'll just sort that in a bit."
Naruto hefted her bag. "I'll just drop this off in my room, and I'll help you out."
She left them behind and headed to her room, remembering they'd mentioned she'd had chocolate in her room. She slipped into it and then gaped at her room.
"Kami-sama, what the hell happened to my room?!" she couldn't help screaming out.
A rush of footsteps was heard and then three of the Sand family was behind her. Rasa gaped at the monument of her.
Ryuujin whistled. "Wow, you've got some crazy fans."
"Again, how has that thing not melted in this freaking desert?" Kankuro huffed. "Or any of your chocolate. We kept ours in the fridge. Even Gaara's big pile."
"Not like we had anything in the fridge to take up room," Temari deadpanned.
Naruto gave a dismissive wave as she kept on staring. "I have preservation seals all over my room. It's to help keep the room fresh and clean. Dear God, I don't know whether to be in awe or freak out."
"I don't know whether to be impressed or jealous," Rasa muttered under his breath.
What the hell kind of suitors did he have to compete with? And damn it, how many were there? There were mountains in here! He didn't have as much as her. And how was he going to match up to that thing? White Day was coming up and he didn't know what to give –
Holy shit. White Day. Those people were going to give even more chocolate. Hell, there were probably going to be even more people giving her chocolate –that is, if the majority of the chocolate here was given by females, then White Day was more than probably going to have males and the females handing out chocolate to Naruto like they were running out of season!
And what was he going to give her?
Oh God, what could match up to that kiss she gave him?
"Maybe I could make her a gold statue…" he said weakly, still staring at the chocolate statue of a princely her.
His kids twitched as they heard him.
"No gold statues, Dad," Temari sighed.
Kankuro patted his back sympathetically. "It's alright, Dad. We understand. We're all here for you."
Rasa could just feel a raincloud growing over his head, and he headed back to the kitchen in depression, the others following soon after.
Between Naruto, his kids, and Rasa, they were able to sort out his chocolates rather quickly. They all then started on Naruto's, and Rasa twitched when he realized that along with a huge amount of chocolates had come from females, a few had indeed come from some guys.
Even Shinoda! His trusted, favorite chuunin instructor of the Academy.
He grumbled in his head, though he was impressed and could appreciate the chocolate kunai/shuriken set the teacher had given. It was a good and tasteful gift, and no small amount of money had been spent on it either.
Rasa reached out and grabbed a rather classy gift of a set of simple orange earrings. He found the card and got ready to read it and write down the name, so that Naruto could give a return gift on White Day, when he froze at reaching the gifter.
"Yashamaru," he murmured.
"Hm? What did you say?" Naruto glanced at him.
He gave her an off smile. "It's nothing."
It had been a very long time since that name and that person had come up.
"Just someone named Yashamaru gave you these," Rasa held up the earrings.
His kids flinched at the mention of that name.
Naruto's eyes lit up and she reached for them. "Ohh, Yashamaru-sensei gave these? And they're orange!"
Rasa swallowed. So Yashamaru knew her and had known about it for a long time, and she seemed to be on very good terms with the blond man.
He never really knew what to do about him.
Rasa looked at his son, who stared back steadily at him.
He didn't know whether to stare strangely at him or coo at the adorableness of his son wearing Nagi's Kazekage clothing…and made even more adorable by the fact they'd been altered to fit Gaara's size.
"I do hope my Anbu took pictures," he drawled out.
"Plenty, sir," one of them spoke from where they hid.
Gaara flushed red.
"Good job, Gaara. It seemed like I didn't have to worry about the work I left behind," Rasa praised, looking around his office. "Although, Baki has told me –"
"Ahah, let's forget what Baki-sensei said, alright?" Gaara laughed nervously, sweating a little under his father's stare. "I'll just…go join the others at home."
Rasa let his son escape and sat down at his desk. He blinked as he felt sand shifting under his foot when he placed it under his desk, and he looked under his desk to see a moderate pile of sand. He sweatdropped and reached down, digging sand out of what seemed to be a hole and then stared at the small stack of paperwork left.
Outside, on his way home and still in his Kazekage clothing, Gaara winced as he finally remembered what he'd forgotten. The only pile of paperwork and sand he'd managed to forget about…
Rasa just decided to get through the paperwork quickly (it hadn't even been that much), and decided he'd make Gaara take the rest of the sand out of his office later. After he was done, he decided he needed to go out and see if he could find a good White Day present.
White Day was only in two days, damn it. What kind of sense of timing did the toads have?!
Therefore, he began to comb through the entire village in agitation, trying his best to find something that would be worthy enough for him to give to Naruto, in exchange for that kiss. White Day presents were supposed to be two to three times worth as much as the Valentine Day's gift (responding to loved ones, of course), which made looking for his gift for her even harder for him.
For everyone else, he was going to go with Naruto later to buy chocolates to give back. They couldn't possibly have the time to make homemade chocolates to give out. Well…Naruto didn't have the time –Rasa was pretty sure that everyone would be quite fine that he didn't even attempt it. Happy actually.
They would all rather be content getting store-bought chocolates from him.
He sighed as he realized he was seeing nothing that he would readily think would be fitting to give to Naruto. He frowned to himself and began to think, when he uncertainly began to come up with an idea that might just work.
Besides, he was coming to the decision that he needed to just stop holding back and move forward, damn everything else.
"What are you planning, human?" Ryuujin mumbled quietly from his spot on his head, camouflaging in his hair.
"Something important," Rasa muttered and began to head towards the store he said he'd meet Naruto at, when the time came.
And Naruto was waiting for him when he got there, wearing a happy smile as she caught sight of him. He returned it tiredly, and the two of them entered the store and browsed the sweets selection together. They began looking over their list of names they had to return chocolates to, and they started to pile in chocolate confections into a cart.
"We might need another cart," Rasa cleared his throat, glancing incredulously at their lists. His was huge by itself. Hers was insane. Together it was just monstrous.
Naruto snorted. "Make that a handful."
They looked at each other and then sighed, making a cross with their fingers and creating a few clones that paired up and got carts for themselves. The two of them tore their lists into separate parts and handed them to their clones.
"So…did you get me a White Day present?" Naruto quietly asked, looking away. "Even though I didn't manage to get you some Valentine's chocolate."
He glanced at her in surprise. He contemplated what he should say and reveal, before deciding that he should continue his resolve to show his feelings, even if unreturned.
"Not yet, I haven't," he admitted, and she was both disappointed he hadn't but gleeful that he was actually looking and getting her something. "I'm trying to find something that would be worthy enough for the Valentine's gift you indeed gave me that night."
"Oh! S-so you do remember that night?" her voice cracked slightly.
One discreet look at her showed she was blushing lightly and doing her best not to look at him. So she did remember that night as well. Or at least, she had now.
In fact, she did remember. She hadn't at first, but then sometime before they were getting ready to leave Mt. Myoboku, she remembered the events of that night and couldn't help acting odd around him when it came time to go. She wished she hadn't brought it up now.
The mood between them became kind of awkward after that.
"Hey, at least some of the females that gave me chocolates actually gave you some too, so it'll be easier and faster to collect the return gifts," Rasa noted, trying to break the stilted atmosphere.
Naruto snorted. "That's oddly hilarious."
It didn't do much to ease the tension between them, but Naruto wasn't prying away from him at least. And that put more resolve and confidence to what he was beginning to think he should end up doing as his White Day gift.
And therefore, two days later, White Day arrived and Rasa had a few of his Anbu hand-deliver the return chocolates, while he stressed out in his office about his plans. Everything was all planned out and ready…but he wasn't sure if he was ready or willing to go with it at all.
"You are the first and only Summoner of the Dragon Spirits…don't wuss out," Ryuujin started majestically, before ending in a snide tone that had Rasa ready to toss him into a boiling pot and cook him.
"I'm not going to wuss out," he glowered at the dragon god. "I'm preparing myself. So shut up –you're not helping in the least."
Ryuujin snorted and turned his snout up at him.
Rasa just gave him one last withering look, before he stood up and straightened up his kage robe. Then he left his office determinedly and headed home, hoping that his kids got the message and went to bug Baki and sleep over the man's home.
Only he didn't feel so prepared and ready when he came face to face with a confused Naruto, who was sighing to herself in the kitchen.
She saw him and turned red, nearly tipping backwards on the chair she sat in as she hurried to get up and greet him.
"R-Rasa, you're home! How's work? Er, it was g-good, yeah?" she stumbled around, looking awkward and uncomfortable.
"Work was slow…nothing more than the usual though," he answered before he self-consciously slipped off his kage robe and gently waved the small handful of paperwork he took with him from the office. "I'm going to put this away and take a quick shower right now. I'll see you in a bit. We can have dinner then."
She cleared her throat. "Um, the o-others haven't come home yet. I could look for them in the meantime?"
He didn't look at her when he replied. "Actually, I had them go harass Baki. I was hoping we could have dinner together. Alone."
Since he wasn't looking at her, he missed her face just burning bright red then. "T-that would be nice…"
He felt a little bit more reassured at her answer and finally looked at her, hesitantly giving her a small grin.
"I got us some Ichiraku Ramen from Konohagakure –I heard they sell the best ramen around. The ninja courier should be coming in around soon, so you could wait for him and get it for us."
She nodded quickly and he left for his room, where even in the shower he was trying to keeping himself composed. He made his shower quick, and time seemed too short as he was face to face with Naruto again, and who had the food put out into regular bowls and the containers thrown away already.
"I snuck a bite," she said sheepishly. "It's really good. I mean really good," she beamed happily with awe.
And it really, really was. She could get addicted to this Ichiraku stuff.
He smiled at her in amusement as he slid into a chair. "Good. I'm glad you like it."
"It's perfection," she purred, looking up dreamily. She looked in utter bliss. "The faultless way the noodles wrap around my chopsticks, the exultant taste of the broth, the rightness of the textures, and the way it just melts in my mouth…"
Rasa held back the huge burst of laughter that threatened to make him fall off his chair, but he let her continue waxing poetry of the ramen from Konoha while he started on his. It was very good. The noodles Kazuhiro made were very good, but this was on another level. If there were any Noodle Gods (as Naruto proclaimed there were), then this must've come from them.
"It is really good," he actually let out a moan as he closed his eyes to savor the taste, and he thought that maybe Naruto was becoming too much of an influence on him as ramen was becoming one of his favorite foods now.
Instead of hearing loud agreements from her, as he had expected, he opened his eyes to see her staring at him strangely and a light flush on her cheeks. He swallowed heavily and laid down his chopsticks.
"Naruto, I need to talk to you…I need to tell you something," he said quietly and didn't look away from her as he tried to convey his seriousness about what he was trying to say.
She watched wide-eyed.
Rasa hesitated, but decided to go over to her and kneel by her side. Taking one of her hands, he gently laid a kiss on it and watched as Naruto's blue eyes widened further.
"I'm not exactly expecting anything and I don't want you to feel uncomfortable or strange about it, but I want you to know something very important, Naruto." Rasa took a deep breath before looking deep into her eyes.
She practically stopped breathing.
"Naruto, I just want you to know I'm in love with you."
He took it a step further and steeling his nerves, he tugged her closer to him and gently kissed her lips. Only a few moments after his lips touched hers, she fainted. Lack of breathing does that to a person.
Hey –it wasn't her fault if she forgot to breathe, right?
Elsewhere, a certain Toad Sannin stared in disbelief at a plaque on a bridge, proclaiming it "The Great Uzumaki Bridge."
"What the hell?"
Started 3/30/14 – Completed 5/4/14
A/n: I'm glad people really enjoy this story, despite the odd pair! I also want to work on drawing some of the stuff from here, like a fox-tailed and ears Naruto and a Kazekage-dress up Gaara, but I have no time. Maybe later on? Hehe. So Jiraiya comes in, which means Konoha will come in soon. Look forward to it! I hope everyone enjoys this chapter, and please remember to review! I'll try to work in an omake next chapter!