Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
How I Met Your Father
Chapter 2: Surprise! Surprise!
Here we go...
"It's Sasuke Uchiha!"
"Don't let him near the Kage!"
I could hear the hysterical voices even through the thick doors. Licking my lips, I slipped from my place on the couch, and rolled off my kimono, revealing my ninja garb beneath.
They'd set me in a small, windowless room sparsely furnished with a few chairs and a glossy wooden table. I expected better from the Iron Country with their 'iron pride' and all. They did, however, station two samurai outside my doors. How very sweet of them. Insert smile here.
One guard seemed to have bitten the dust. I cracked the door open. "Lady Rinmaru! You must retreat—"
"Take a nap, sir. You need it more than I do." I said grasping my hands together to start the genjutsu. I was borderline bored, I couldn't dream of a better remedy.
I followed the noise, hastily sprinting through the corridors. I came upon a great hall held together by large columns. I skidded to a stop beside the Temari, the Kazekage's female guard. I'd walked in on a glorious battle. I looked toward the ceiling, thanking the heavens I was born for this moment.
My eyes followed the young Uchiha in the middle of the room. He wore a beautiful smirk the likes of which made me instantly grin. That look held so much confidence it was palpable—I could practically taste it. I licked my lips. It was dark too, sort of like the candy you're not supposed to have but want anyway. Aunt Mei would probably have a heart attack if she saw him. While I liked to look, she'd much rather touch…and keep…and then marry. Not necessarily in that order.
"Oh," I said, garnering the attention of those beside me, "No one said he looked that good. Ha! Even bleeding I want to taste him." I started weaving signs. The boy couldn't reach the Mizukage. Sexy face or not, beautiful had to die. Tragic really.
"Is that really your first concern?" Temari said narrowing his eyes at me, shaking off that tiny smile that appeared on her lips.
"Naturally," I responded with a roll of my eyes. "Are you blind Temari? Even messed up the man's basically a god!"
Her serious expression wavered before she narrowed her eyes at Uchiha again. I knew I liked her.
"And shouldn't you be back in your room?" Kankuro seemed to growl, clearly miffed that I'd moved on so fast. I mean…can you blame me? "Back where it's safe?"
"As much as I enjoyed our time together, Dear, you had to know I was faking. I wasn't even trying that hard." I admitted, flexing my brow at Kankuro. "I still think you're cute though. Maybe we could be friends…we'll see."
"Enough," the Kazekage's deep voice, broke through the silliness. It was authoritative, effectively silencing both Kankuro and Temari. The Kazekage started talking to Uchiha like he knew him, tried to 'reason' with him. All Uchiha said was something about the darkness—and that's about the time I tuned out.
"Gaara," Kankuro said finally, urging the Kazekage. "You're the Kazekage, you can't let this get personal." I glanced over at him, his expression was for the most part, a mask but still as his guard spoke to him I saw a single tear slip from his eye. He didn't want this. He was the absolute last person that wanted this. My stomach clenched from one look at him. I couldn't stand it, why was he even the Kazekage? All Kage had to make tough decisions. He needed to suck it up or no one would take him seriously. Hell, at first glance at him I didn't really even respect him. Didn't he get that?
I shook my head, "You're nothing like I thought you'd be," I told the Kazekage, "I expected more from Gaara of the Desert."
The Kazekage's gaze drifted over to my face, seeming to remember I was even there. "Valuing life is not a weakness, no matter how dark it has become."
I blinked at him, my cheeky reply lost in my throat. His eyes returned to Uchiha, an unsettling quiet falling over him. I don't think I've ever hated anyone more than I hated him in that moment.
Despite his hesitance, however, his sand began to move, sealing his resolve. Sue me, but…I started to feel dirty. Don't get me wrong—because I didn't feel guilty—I was absolutely right! But, whatever Uchiha was to him…anyone could tell the guy didn't want to fight. Cursing, I cracked my fingers. I threw up my hand and started waving at Uchiha to get his attention. "Hey! Beautiful! You want to put that sword down and come over here so we can talk this out?"
"Who is this clown?" I heard the Raikage yell.
"She's a civilian I think, she came with the Mizukage." The dark skinned, white haired guard near the Raikage spoke up and I leveled a wink at him. He greeted me with a shrug and a smile. Also cute in this sort of effortless way.
"Well aren't you observant." I said, stepping forward to get a better look at him. "We'll have to talk later. Now you—" I turned my attention back to Uchiha, who was watching me suspiciously. "How about it handsome? Just you and me…no Kage. I can pull a few strings…get you what you want…I can set you up with my aunt…everyone wins."
I weighed my hands back in forth. "But clearly, you're the main winner here. You get to live! How about that?"
"Who are you supposed to be?" Uchiha replied coarsely, he either didn't pick up on my flirting with him or he didn't care, either way I appreciated his pluck. I wasn't vain or anything, but when I flirted with a guy he usually noticed. He usually drooled too or undressed me with his eyes, not necessarily in that order.
"I'm important." I swaggered forward again, ignoring the Sand's complaints behind me. "That's all you need to know." I ignored the Raikage complaining about not knowing who the hell I was.
His gaze narrowed again, but he made no move to drop that sword.
"See, Sasuke—can I call you Sasuke?—you have two options." I held up two fingers, "You can either come quietly or…you and your little group can all die right now. Which is it? And you should choose wisely because, unlike Lord Kazekage over there, I don't know you. Your very existence is a threat to my village. My home. And, I may not look like it, but—like the Raikage— I'd much rather pop off your sexy little head and call it a day. But I'm playing diplomat and thought I'd try talking first. What do you say, beautiful?"
He started to laugh, one of those maniacal laughs you see in the movies. Mouth wide and everything and suddenly his stopped and pointed his sword at me. "Unless you can give me Danzo, we're done talking."
That's it? "Done." I said and flashed a smile at the Sand, "Who's Danzo?"
Both Temari and Kankuro stared at me opened mouthed. The Kazekage's eyes were slightly widened, apparently he's never seen a successful peace talk before. No one said anything for a moment until that Kazekage spoke, "He's the acting Hokage."
"Ah," I turned back to Uchiha. "Yeah, that can't happen. Sorry, Sasuke. Let's try this again."
Anger flashed in his eyes. Yep, he was done. I lunged forward and threw a kunai knife at the pillar to his left with a paper bomb attached to it. The area exploded, but I'd already set up two portals. Instead of exploding from his left, the scattered depris fell from above, not that it mattered. Uchiha didn't even dodge. That skeleton thing came to his rescue.
I started forward, and he flicked his eye open at me immediately engulfing my body in flames. The clone dispersed and the real me came at his left.
Water Style! I pulled my head back. Serpent's Venom Jutsu!
Poison, needle like streaks of water burst from my mouth at high speed. He only stood there, making my attacks look hugely ineffective. "Damn you!" I shouted, "What the hell is that thing?"
The Kazekage attacked, despite his hesitance and Uchiha dodged him. He shot that fire but it was quickly stopped by sand. It went on like a dance before everyone decided a group attack was the best way to handle this guy.
We all gave our best shots but…
"Gaara," Uchiha said, well beyond attractive now. He'd gone and embarrassed me in front of these people. If he didn't die today, so help me! "My defense is even better than yours!"
Uchiha moved. His Susanoo attacked twice.
"He's aiming for the pillars!" someone shouted.
I threw a large portal right above our heads and another towards Uchiha. As the ceiling tumbled down, it fell through the portal and landed right where I last saw Uchiha but of course…the bitch was gone. What a waste. I took a deep breath and mentally started chucking rocks into the wall. In my mind's eye I was dancing over Uchiha's head and using his decaying body as my own personal play thing—
"That's some jutsu," the Kazekage said to me as I turned around. His face was expressionless, despite his browless brow being draw together in either frustration or concentration. I wouldn't know. He didn't look angry at me. Of course he shouldn't be, I saved his ass…after he stepped in to save mine.
"Yes, well, you can't have it." I said, dropping any sense of decorum. "Where's the rest of the Kage?"
He replied in that monotone, "Off the corridor—"
"See you around, Red!" I said stepping onto the ground through another portal. "I'll try not to hate you next time."
I didn't see the Kazekage for a while after that, but when I did see him, we were already at war.
I was with Chojuro for the most part, until I ended up half to hell and half way across the battle field searching for my Aunt Mei. The carnage was heavy. Bodies were everywhere but I didn't bat an eye. I was from the Mist Village after all, we didn't get the name Bloody Mist because we puked up our insides.
Some dead ninja from the Cloud village lunged at me, but I was up and over him in seconds using my Water Release to take his head from his shoulders in one spin. It was one of my favorite long-range attacks but it drained chakra if there wasn't enough water around me. But I was in no mood to fuck around.
I released the jutsu and darted through battling shinobi. Through the chaos, I saw a flash of dark blonde hair and grinned. If I couldn't find Mei, Temari was good enough. She was fighting quite a force on her own; cutting them to ribbons with her wind release like it was child's play. Some genius of course was trying to sneak up behind her. He lounged forward but I threw a portal at his feet, and when he fell from the sky above me I drew my twin swords and diced him in half, molten heat rolling off the blades. His body turned to ashes before he hit the ground. I was the Mizukage's guard for a reason, plus…I was still sore about Uchiha kicking my ass at the summit. I had to take it out on someone.
I leaped behind Temari, and stood at her back. "I knew I'd find you here. Did you miss me?"
"Are we supposed to be friends now?" Temari replied with a smirk.
"Damn. Here I thought we had a connection." I said with a shrug. "I guess I'll go butt in on your Kazekage's fight. Maybe he misses me."
She threw her head back with a laugh, "You were quite a topic of conversation. Wind Scythe!"
"Dancing Sun!" I whirled the blades around, sending slashes of molten heat into the throng that surrounded us. "Is that right?"
"Kankuro thinks about you often." Temari replied.
"Ah! I have one of you at least."
Temari laughed again, "We survive this…I'll be your best friend for life!"
"Deal. Let's finish this, shall we?"
"Let's." Temari and I turned on our heels and launched our attacks at the enemy surrounding us.
Long story short…we won the war. Madara can kiss my ass. I hope he burns in hell.
I walked through the sweltering desert, water in hand. Wishing for death, anything but this.
"We're almost there," the ninja from the Sand said, as we continued our trek. "We'll be there shortly. It's just beyond that mound there."
"I bet it is." I complained, hating Temari, my parents and their connections. Hating everyone.
"Don't complain." Ichigo muttered through the scarf tied around her neck. "It's amazing you were even picked to be the Envoy to the Sand. I would've thought they'd want someone with a better temperament than you."
"You say something, Ichigo? My ears are stuffed with this gritty substance—"
Ichigo rolled her eyes at me, "I would jump at the chance to be a Mist representative for the Sand. At least you're not being sent to the Hidden Rock."
"What do you mean 'at least'? At least you won't have to apply a million liters of lotion on your legs ever yday."
"Just cover them up." Ichigo replied reasonably.
"'Just cover them—are you insane? Do you know how selfish that would be?" I shook my head at her as if she spoke blasphemy. "My legs are a gift. Have care with how you speak."
Ichigo burst into a fit of laughter, scaring our guide half to death when he turned to address us. "We're here."
We were greeted at the gates by Kazekage himself along with a crowd of people. I threw on a dazzling smile, and straightened up. I was representing the Mist after all. I had to show off a little bit.
The crowd stood mostly to his left and right, but still giving our group a wide girth. Many of them waved, acting as if they knew me already. I gave them all a smile, sashaying as I moved. My royal blue clothes and strawberry hair a red flag to all those around me that I was different—other, but they didn't seem to mind at all. It was weird to think that only a few months ago, I would have been on the alert here, waiting for any sign of aggression. But I was shocked…almost disappointed in a way. But I was glad too. That meant no more crying Kazekages. I laughed to myself, trying my best to hold it in.
After passing through most of the crowd, I met the Kazekage and his siblings in the middle, a few village elders behind them.
I stood in front of him, taking him in. I didn't quite remember him being this tall or that hair so red—the color of blood. I think he knew I was checking him out, he had to. I was never too subtle. My eyes ran over his face, the paleness of his skin, landing on his eyes a striking sea foam green, rounded with dark rings. A true panda if there ever was one. Was he born like that I wonder?
"Lady Rinmaru Terumi Asakura. Ichigo Fujime. Welcome to the Village Hidden in the Sand," the Kazekage's raspy voice said, stealing my wandering attention. "I hope your stay here will be pleasant and that my villagers make you feel at home."
Ichigo readily replied, her cheeks flushing red, "Thank you, Lord Kazekage. We already do."
"Lord Kazekage." I greeted with a dip. Ichigo bowed as well, forgetting in her flustered state. I cracked a grin, how cute. "Always pleasure. If I remember correctly, I owe you a debt. In my time here, I hope its repaid."
He narrowed his gaze in question, "A debt, you say?"
I glanced over to Ichigo on my left, she ducked her head in deference. Cheeks turning from red to purple. "Yes. During the Great War…" I put my hand on Ichigo's shoulder. "You saved my dearest friend. For that…you have my thanks. I owe you a life…no ten. I owe you ten lives. You will have them."
I could feel the burn of eyes on my skin. The Kazekage watched me carefully, his acceptance clear. His lips parted as if to speak, but his mouth closed again unable to do so. Ichigo choked at my sudden sentimentality, her hand trembling over her lips. After she had mentioned it, I didn't bring it up again. I was selfish. Vain. Reckless. But I repaid my debts…I intended to.
"But!" I said cheerily, stretching the drama away, "Let's leave that for another day. I hear you have food for me?"
The Kazekage's expression flickered at that, and I could see a small smirk break through that stoic expression of his. "You heard correctly."
Temari laughed aloud, "I see you haven't changed."
"Not in the least." Kankuro chuckled too, I see he still adored me.
"I try not to." I flashed them a smile, and greeted the people around us, "Thank you for all of your support. I hope to see each and every one of you at the festival you're throwing in my honor tomorrow night. Feel free to challenge me to game but I warn you…I am a sore winner."
I got a lot of laughs at that, and I smiled gaily, without wearing out my welcome. I couldn't crack another joke. You had to know when to walk away. When to dance and when to flirt. I was flirting with these people, I would make them all love me. Despite Ichigo's words, that's the exact reason I was picked. It was because of my temperament. Because of my incurable vanity. I turned to the Kazekage, "After you."
They gave us rooms in the Kazekage's mansion. And much to my surprise and joy…not everything was made out of sand!
After a long bath, I curled up on my bed and tucked into my favorite silk robe. Beside me lay the dresses I'd picked for today. Being a 'lady' had its perks, especially when you loved clothes the way I did. With a sigh, I picked the number that was the least revealing, long with sleeves that hung off my arms secured with gold bands. It was royal blue of course—why wouldn't it be?
I paused as a knock sounded on my door.
"It's Temari." she said. "Can I come in?"
"Of course," I replied, "It's your house, isn't it?"
I was surprised when I found out Temari, Kankuro and the Kazekage were all siblings. Their relationship did seem a little too personal but...so did a lot of peoples.
She slipped inside, "I thought I should warn you that dinner tonight won't involve the elders. It will just be Lord Gaara, Kankuro and I."
"Great," I said dismissing the gown I'd picked in favor of a long-sleeved crop top and a pair of high waisted royal blue shorts. "Putting on a show is tiring sometimes."
"Are you always like that?" Temari asked, obviously referring to my show with the people.
I shrugged. "I enjoy it. If you can't tell I'm a bit full of myself. Any excuse to show off is welcomed, but I'd rather not talk politics after so long in your god forsaken desert."
"I know what you mean. I'm glad Gaara insisted then. For some reason I thought you'd be disappointed."
"No. I'm not that terrible, Temari." I said. "I thought you knew me better than that?"
"Sorry to disappoint. I'll step out and let you change. Your friend is right through that door,"she pointed to the leftmost door beside the closet. "you can enter her room through there. You might want to give her a heads up."
After getting dressed I gave the door a knock, and she curiously opened it and jumped back when she saw me standing there. "Rinmaru! Jeez."
"Who did you think would be standing here? The Kazekage ready to wed?" I said with a twirl of my hand, stepping past her into the room.
I didn't miss the way her cheeks flushed. "Rinmaru..."
"I don't know what you're thinking, but be nice."
"I am nice."
"I mean it."
"I mean it too."
"Urgh!" Ichigo had done her hair up in elaborate braids, a few of her finer clothes laid out. "You know what I mean. just try okay?"
"Okay." I said with a dangerous smirk, plans taking shape in my mind-
"You can't be stopped, can you?"
"I'm a wrecking ball, Ichigo. It's what I do."
"Sure." she finally smiled, eyes wandering over her choices. "What should I wear, do you think?"
"Something casual, Temari said. There's no need to go all out." I walked over to her pack and pulled out a pair of marron leggings and gave her a dress like short sleeved shirt with a drop neckline. "cas." I shortened the word, much to Ichigo's annoyance.
"Cas?" she eyed the long drop, "I'll pass." Instead she reached for the black dress like shirt with mid-length sleeves. This was the one I wanted her to pick in the first place but if I gave her that one she would immediately refuse. I swear these people didn't think I knew them.
"That's cute." I said, dropping onto her bed. "If that Kazekage has any hormones he'll make out with you the second he sees you."
"Don't be stupid," she said but seemed to hold her head higher as she slipped on her clothes and even gave her lips a dab of gloss. Smitten.
We sat at an intimate dining room table with six seats, placed around the rectangle. Gaara sat at the head of the table. Kankuro sat across from him. Temari sat on his right and at his left a girl with long dark brown hair, decorated with an assortment of jewels sat beside him, chattering away as he seemed to listen intently, hands cupped beneath his chin. They all rose when we walked in the room.
I gestured for them to sit, and took my seat next to Temari. Ichigo sat next to the girl, her eyes darting over to her before abruptly darting away. Ichigo stuck to her food, didn't even so much as glance up again. Temari, Kankuro and I immediately fell into conversation. And when the moment came I addressed the elephant in the room.
"Hello," I said with a gracious smile, catching the stranger's attention. Her head moved to face me and she straightened up cheerily. "I'm afraid we weren't introduced."
Gaara seemed to remember himself, "Forgive me." he said, "Lady Rinmaru Terumi-"
"Rinmaru, please." I amended, my eyes on this new stranger.
"Lady Rinmaru. This is the lady Miharu Abarai, heiress of the Abarai clan in the land of Wind."
I greeted her, "A pleasure."
She returned the gesture. "I really wanted to meet you, you know. My betrothed told me so much about you."
"He did, did he?" I immediately turned my head to look at Kankuro, who was half way through a bite of his spiced chicken. "How nice."
"Yes. Lord Gaara mentioned you quite a lot." She looked over at him possessively, imperiously. Her big brown eyes, stood in sharp contrast to her smile. In her eyes, I could see an edge there. I did my best to hide any edge she may find in my eyes. I was playing diplomat afterall. "He hardly talks but...you seem to be the exception."
And then it clicked.
No you didn't.
I watched her for a moment before looking over at the Kazekage who had chosen to stay out of our conversation. He watched me stoically, eerily still. My eyes did not betray me.
Manners be damned. I threw my head back, and I started to laugh.
Author's Note: Got this idea from the Naruto Novel Gaara Hiden: A Sandstrom Mirage. Of course, it's not the same but it was heavily inspired by it. I heard your call! I love the amount of support and feedback I received from that one chapter. I have half of the third chapter finished. I should have it uploaded by Monday at the latest. This chapter was more set up. Expect more from chapter 3.